Meet the teenage exorcists


The BBC will introduce you. There are three of them. They met at karate school.

They are now karate black belts, but because of their particular Christian beliefs, they have also decided to do battle – they say – against evil spirits or demons. They believe that these demons can possess a human being and cause suffering, depression or addiction.

“A demon can’t just come into anybody whenever it chooses to – God doesn’t allow that,” says Brynne.

“What happens is when someone sins or does something, or something’s done to them that allows the demon to come into them, that’s called the legal right or the reason that it’s there.”

Is that a fact – and how does Brynne think she knows that?

The young women have been trained by Brynne’s father, the Reverend Bob Larson, who says he has performed more than 15,000 exorcisms. They have appeared alongside him in America and overseas, including the UK.

They were told it by an apparently ignorant and credulous cleric, and they didn’t have the resources to know it was bullshit, so now they think they know it.

“Every single country has a specific kind of demon,” says Tess, 18, who loves music and reading.

They believe that the UK in particular is a hotbed for “witchcraft”, because of the popularity of J K Rowling’s Harry Potter books.

“The spells and things that you’re reading in the Harry Potter books, those aren’t just something that are made up, those are actual spells. Those are things that came from witchcraft books,” says Tess.

Well here’s a fun fact: things can be in books and still be made up. Things can be in “witchcraft books” and still be made up.

Exorcism is an ancient practice and one that appears in many different religions, but many believers doubt the existence of demons.

Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, saw spirit possession as a neurotic delusion, and demons as repressed “instinctual impulses”.

Freud? What’s Freud got to do with anything?

Tess, Savannah and Brynne have all been home-schooled. In Brynne’s case it was because her father’s profession led the family to travel widely.

“With going [to] over 20 countries and stuff, I don’t really have time to go to school, but I’ll just sit at my desk and work on calculus or read all my books,” she says. “This is so much better than going to a stinky old school room.”

Brynne and Tess have been awarded places at college this year, while Savannah is already a college student. But as well as continuing their education they are determined to continue their spiritual battle against what they see as the forces of evil.

Well let’s hope they’re not going to a bible college, and will actually learn something now.

Comments

  1. iplon says

    15,000 exorcisms?

    That’s like… one a day for 40 years! How does he find the time for anything else?

  2. skemono says

    They are now karate black belts, but because of their particular Christian beliefs, they have also decided to do battle – they say – against evil spirits or demons.

    Pretty sure you have to be higher level before your fists start to affect extra-planar beings.

  3. Acolyte of Sagan says

    1.
    iplon
    September 12, 2013 at 9:49 am (UTC -7) Link to this comment

    15,000 exorcisms?

    That’s like… one a day for 40 years! How does he find the time for anything else?

    My guess is group exorcisms; they just fill rooms with those people that you can fool all of the time.

  4. says

    I wish some of the spells in Harry Potter were real. That would be amazing.

    But that controversy over Harry Potter always made me laugh. No one asked the two questions I desperately wanted asked:

    “Excuse me, but may I inquire as to why you’re so afraid that your children will be unable to tell the difference between fantasy and reality? And, as a follow-up, might it possible be because you’re teaching them a fantasy as reality? And you know it?”

    (So… okay… three questions… but still…)

  5. says

    iplon at #1:

    15,000 exorcisms?

    That’s like… one a day for 40 years! How does he find the time for anything else?

    I’m guessing these are Evangelical Christians and not Catholics. For evangelicals, “Exorcism” looks almost exactly like Faith Healing, or “a laying on of hands”. They basically walk into the church or revival tent or whatever, walk up to the preacher, he puts his hand on their head, says some meaningless nonsense, and pushes them over backwards. And the demon is gone.

    So 15,000 exorcisms would be very easy for an Evangelical preacher (while it’d be impossible for a Catholic priest, since they make it this whole insane ritual).

  6. says

    Great, just what this world needs: more morons to push harmful and potentially deadly Ableist exorcist crap on everyone who suffers from possession/abduction phenomena. Exorcists rarely do any real good, and the few times they do it often involves mundanely non-sensationalist recommendations to their patients like ‘you should get out more’ followed by aiding them in that process. The first thing that came to mind when I saw these girls was “Oh great, more Bible bullies”. =(

    The Exorcist I knew years ago-Vatican Roman Catholic Priest, had been an Exorcist for like almost four decades at that point- didn’t do SQUAT to help me with djinn possession/abduction phenomena, but DID help me get out of a creepy Monarchist cult within which I was heavily isolated by the group (cuz they didn’t like me). this old Exorcist had a dual specialty of cult specialist, and THAT apparently came in handy. I was way too rational for him to consider me as having suffered from possession/abduction pain, which came in handy actually, because that means he didn’t try to do insane things like starve me to death or shove a cross down my throat.

    Stupid exorcists.

  7. AsqJames says

    “The spells and things that you’re reading in the Harry Potter books, those aren’t just something that are made up, those are actual spells. Those are things that came from witchcraft books,” says Tess.

    Well here’s a fun fact: things can be in books and still be made up. Things can be in “witchcraft books” and still be made up.

    That’s true, but unless someone can produce the “witchcraft books” J.K. Rowling stole them from, I’m going to assume she really did just make them up. Even if such a book did exist, most of them seem to be bastardizations from Latin or other ancient languages of words or phrases related to their supposed effect (List of spells in Harry Potter). So even if J.K. didn’t invent them from whole cloth, the simplest and most rational explanation is that somebody else did.

    Anyway, if saying these spells invites demons to possess your soul “and cause suffering, depression or addiction”, how come the ex-cast members all seem to be living normal healthy lives? Daniel Radcliffe alone ought to be absolutely riddled with problems, yet he seems to be incredibly rational and well balanced.

  8. Osbert Snudge says

    I saw the programme title in the RadioTimes earlier this evening and naturally assumed it was comedy…

  9. John Phillips, FCD says

    As soon as I saw teen in the title I thought it might be on BBC3 as that is beeb’s main channel nowadays for programs for or about teens and twenty somethings

    Riiiiight, just watched about 10 minutes on iplayer before I gave up as I didn’t know whether to laugh at the absurdity or feel nauseous at the, to me, very obvious chicanery and exploitativeness of the father. The exorcism scenes were like a very bad amateur playhouse presentation of The Exorcist with no budget and full of confirmation bias with the ‘demons’ sounding exactly like you imagine a bad actor would make them sound, complete with hoarse voices, and the girls ‘commanding’ the ‘demons’ in stern ‘do what you’re told voices’. I still can’t decide whether the girls are innocent dupes being used by the father and really believe that crap or are now in on the act, though they seem sincere enough. But I just couldn’t be bothered to watch any more. Perhaps it is just too far outside my experience to comprehend, though I have no doubts about the father.

  10. Moe says

    Hoo boy, there are a few inaccurate statements in this. First , let me introduce myself. I am a Bob Larson watcher since 1986 ever since he had a radio show in America.

    While Larson calls himself reverend and wears the outfit of a priest or ordained minister, the fact is he’s a college drop out and his ministerial credentials such as they are, come from a Christian mail order diploma mill. Basically he wears it as a deception lure to give the misleading impression he has credibility.

    The so-called ” teenage exorcists” ( Savannah is 20 years old) are really little more than puppets McExorcist Bob Larson displays. Long story short on that exploitation, Larson tried selling ” teenage exorcists” as a reality TV series in America a few years back, then when that failed, he tried ” touring” with them to sell his ” International School of Exorcism” ( ” accredited” by his cult church).

    As for them claiming not to be theatrical, that is utter garbage. The things they say in interviews are intentionally memorized responses, not their own words, trained and controlled by Bob Larson. The crosses they wield are intentionally large and gaudy, labeled the” cross of deliverance” by Bob Larson , who sells them for $100 each, claiming he personally blesses the crosses.

    The whole damn thing is a money making, attention seeking, exploitive racket. The ” freedom fighters” name, BTW, was not a Bob Larson original. Another ” deliverance minister” coined the phrase.

    Its a con, plain and simple. Whether the ” girls” understand it or not I do not know. They may believe the hogwash or they may be in on the deceptions. At any rate the concept of teenage exorcists is about as credible as kiddie snipers.

    Moe

  11. Moe says

    Actually McExorcist Bob Larson’s ” 15,000 exorcisms in 30 years” is an old BS line he’s been puling for years without bothering to update the 30 years part.. Now you see why I call him ” McExorcist”.

    Simply put, his claim is not credible because when he started his 30 years claim, he had ” Bob Larson Ministries” which was producing his two hour weekday syndicated radio show ” Talk- Back with Bob Larson”, he supposedly was writing books ( actually his staff was) and other very non- exorcism matters taking up his time ( including a divorce). The math doesn’t add up.

    52 weeks times 30 years is 1560 weeks. Divide that to 15,000 and you get 9.615 per week.

    And this while doing his supposed ” ministry” work.

    Mister Wham Bam Scram is doing his exploitive, self glorifying publicity act, folks. He’s a carney hustler whose act doesn’t sell well in America except to the more ignorant and desperate.

    Oh yeah, his ” personal intensive encounters” cost $495 per hour. Prepaid.

    Too bad BBC 3 didn’t show his mansion in Scottsdale Arizona

    Moe

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