I believe I’ve mentioned the Teen Exorcists before, but if you missed it, you’re missing some real LOLs. The sad thing, though, is that this isn’t meant to be a joke.
Meet the trio of Brynne Larson and sisters Tess and Savannah Scherkenback:
[They] are all-American girls from Arizona, who enjoy martial arts and horse riding. But something sets them apart from most teenagers – they perform public exorcisms and often appear on TV chat shows.
Eighteen-year-old Brynne met sisters Tess and Savannah about eight years ago at a karate class.
“We just really hit it off,” says Savannah, aged 21. “I don’t know what happens but somehow you bond when you’re punching one another and throwing knees. We were working out together, learning how to fight and how to defend ourselves and defend others.”
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.
This two-part video from Vice Media, which I recommend viewing in its entirety (it’s about 26 minutes total) includes interviews with the trio, and follows them on a tour to the Ukraine where they proceed to drive Satan out of some troubled people. It will scare the hell out of you, but also entertain you with some of the more bizarre excrescences of faith.
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.
“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.
The teens see themselves as “freedom fighters”. During an exorcism they brandish silver crosses and Bibles while confronting the so-called demon to make it return to hell.
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.”
The Vice reporter, of course, takes them apart completely