Michael Taylor’s story is one of the most widely known cases of demonic possession on record due to the fact that it was documented extensively at every step by both medical professionals and clergymen alike throughout its duration from 1975 to 1976. During his ordeal, Michael exhibited superhuman strength which could only be subdued with sedatives or holy water as well as speaking in tongues and displaying knowledge about things that no human being should have known about such as events occurring hundreds of miles away at that very moment.
Occasionally, Michael Taylor would suffer from depressive episodes. He would become withdrawn and refuse to interact with family and friends. Family would later say a back injury earlier in life, which caused issues with Michael finding full-time employment, was to blame. Nevertheless, Michael was by all accounts a caring father and husband.
The Taylor family was not devout. They lived with a few miles of multiple churches, but never really found the time to attend. In a highly religious town like Ossett, this behavior just wouldn’t stand. A friend of Michael’s, who had decided his depression was caused by spiritual forces, convinced him to start attending a weekly prayer meeting.
His time away at church and private prayer meetings were starting to be noticed in his home life. When he wasn’t around Marie, he became withdrawn, slipping into deep depressions. He had become sullen and argumentative, and would lash out at his family.
Christine, Michael’s wife, had a suspicion that the prayer group wasn’t doing Michael any favors, and that his private meetings with Marie, the prayer group leader, may have been less than pious. During the next prayer meeting they attended, Christine openly confronted Michael about his time with Marie.
Something broke inside of Michael Taylor. He stood up, and instead of addressing his wife, he began to attack Marie, both verbally and physically. He was still shouting at her in tongues when the rest of the congregation restrained him. Later, Marie would have this to say:
“I suddenly glanced at Mike and his whole features changed. He looked almost bestial. He kept looking at me and there was a really wild look in his eyes. I started screaming at him out of fear. I started speaking in tongues. Mike also screamed at me in tongues. I was on the verge of death and I seemed to come to my senses. I knew that only the name of Jesus would save me and I just started saying over and over again ‘Jesus’. When Christine heard me calling on the name of Jesus she started saying it too, and I believe firmly that I was only by calling on his name that I was not killed”.
Michael’s outburst had not gone unrecognized. People were talking, and none of it was good. A local vicar called on a group of ministers, and declared that Michael was currently suffering from a demonic possession, and would need an exorcism.
October 5th, 1974 Father Peter Vincent and Reverend Raymond Smith met Michael at the St. Thomas’s Church in Gawber. The prayer group was also in attendance. Over the next 8 hours, they would perform the sacred rite of exorcism. Michael began thrashing, convulsing, and spitting, and had to be tied to the floor of the church.
A crucifix was jammed into his mouth, and he was completely soaked with holy water. At 8 a.m. October 6th, the priests couldn’t continue. They were exhausted, and by their admission, had cast out more than 40 demons from Michael. The priests said the exorcism would have to be finished at a later date, and advised Michael not to worry. They had only left but 3 demons to be exorcised: Murder, madness, and violence.
Michael and Christine were told to go home and prepare for part two of the exorcism. At 9:45, just an hour and forty five minutes after the exorcism, police patrolling the area where the Taylors lived discovered a gruesome sight: A man, shambling through the streets completely naked and covered with blood.
It was, of course, no other than Michael Taylor. The officer that had found Taylor rushed to his home, only to find more police officers were already there. Neighbors had heard noises, and the police were called. The officer approached the house but was waved off by an exiting criminal inspector.
“ You don’t want to see this one son. I’ve seen nothing like it before and I’ve seen a few. It’s the wife. She’s got no…He’s ripped at her son. It’s a right mess in there. There’s not much of her left. You don’t want to see it, eh?”
After saying this, he doubled over and vomited in the yard.
Upon entering the house, officers were met with what some would later call the worst crime scene they’ve ever worked. Michael had brutally attacked Christine, removing her eyes and tongue, before ripping her face off of her skull. He then strangled the family dog. After the dog was dead, he ripped out it’s eyes and tore it limb from limb, throwing them around the house. The house was covered wall to ceiling in blood.
At trial, Michael was acquitted by reason of insanity. He received psychiatric care for 4 years before being released back into the public
Once again, it is easy to be an arm chair quarterback and state your opinion as to what should have been done in such a case as that surrounding Michael Taylor. But as in the case of Annelise Michel we must recognize that reasoning based on secular experience, the belief that mental Illness can explain every sensational case such as Michael Taylor or Annelise Michel, does not explain the extreme paranormal activity reported by witnesses. In a criminal trial, the prosecution nor the defense have the option of compelling Satan himself to testify on the witness stand that it was he and his minions that caused the conditions of the victims of possession.