Three young American exorcists are heading to the UK on a mission to save people from demons. Tess Sherkenback, Savannah Sherkenback and Brynne Larson are young women from Arizona who, like a number of fundamentalist Christians, have a problem with children’s book series Harry Potter.
The group claims that the popularity of the books endorses “satanic” behaviour and that, because of it, the UK is a hotbed of witchcraft, demons and other supernatural dangers.
Meeting at martial arts lessons when they were in their early teens, the girls soon became close friends. Brynne’s father is Bob Larson, a failed celebrity televangelist who famously featured in a video exorcism where he lifted “the curse of homosexuality” from a man in the crowd. Bob Larson has faced tough questions about finances and accusations that he preys on weak, easily led people to get rich and famous. He also tried and failed to convert famous satanists in the 80s.
Now Bob is back and has a strike team of attractive young women performing live battles with the forces of evil.
Bob and the girls say that half the world is possessed by demons and that Harry Potter isn’t just harmless fun. ”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.”
Despite the applause and adoration from the crowd, as well as the theatrical nature of their appearances, the group claims they aren’t in it for the entertainment aspect. “It isn’t showmanship” says Brynne, “it’s the power of god.”
Various media outlets can’t help comparing the trio with Joss Whedon’s hugely popular television series Buffy The Vampire Slayer. While Whedon’s heroine was a liberal and inclusive one, with a lesbian best friend and more than one formerly evil boyfriend, these girls are sticking to a more old fashioned code of conduct. They believe that loose morals are a main cause of possession. To them STD stands for Sexually Transmitted Demon.
When it comes to finances, Bob seems a little tetchy, telling the BBC that “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.”
The BBC will air a documentary about the group tonight at 9pm on BBC 3.