College Coeds Are Working As Exorcists [VIDEO]
Three Arizona young women are following in the footsteps of Brynne's father, Bob Larson.
On Thursday evening, the BBC will premiere the documentary, "Teen Exorcists," featuring three young women, Arizona natives and current college students who reportedly became pals while learning karate eight years ago. The BBC documentary will show the three young women doing their work -- performing public exorcisms; according to a separate report by the BBC, the women -- who consider themselves "freedom fighters" for their work of casting out "demons" -- decided to set up shop in the United Kingdom because they believe it's a "hotbed for witchcraft" after 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," Tess Scherkenback told the BBC. The three are paid for their services; they ask for a voluntary payment of a couple of hundred dollars for a one-on-one exorcism.
Larson claims she was inspired to become an exorcist because of the Scherkenback sisters, but her father also is an exorcist, Bob Larson -- who had his own stab at TV fame. The 69-year old head of the Spiritual Freedom Church in Scottsdale, Ariz., Larson had an exorcism reality show that was canceled just 30 hours before it was due to premiere on the Lifetime Network last year. On his blog, Larson blamed "a well-planned campaign" by "gay activists;" videos of Larson from the 1990s had emerged that reportedly showed Larson trying to help free churchgoers of "the curse of homosexuality," according to Daily Mail.
Bob Larson also plays a role in the BBC documentary; he is shown mentoring the young women as they travel around Europe conducting exorcisms. The elder Larson, who claims to have performed 15,000 exorcisms, defended the profession. "People will pay thousands of dollars to go to drug rehab or to pay psychiatrists but there's this idea that spirituality needs to be for free," he told the BBC.
His three acolytes also are no stranger to media publicity. Earlier this year, Vice Media chronicled the women as they performed exorcisms in Ukraine. The women, however, were not pleased with the final product, and wrote an open letter, in which they said Vice's video edits created a "gross misrepresentation" of their work. But in their letter, the young women also said they were hopeful people "with open hearts will see the truth of Christ's compassion for those in bondage to the devil."
Dan Fastenberg was most recently a reporter with TIME Magazine. Previously, he was a writer for the Thomson Reuters news service's Latin America desk. He was also a reporter and associate editor for the Buenos Aires Herald while living in South America.
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