It sounds like the premise of a reality television show, and that's just the direction this trio may take. The girls are currently involved in exorcizing what they say are particularly resilient demons infesting a great many people. And while they may sound ambitious, one of the girls' fathers claims to have exorcised over 10,000 demons. While the story sounds fantastic, even more fantastic is what they want to do next.
The demons, which are said to live in the area surrounding Phoenix Arizona and throughout the world, number in the billions. The world they describe is one in which the paranormal is not something to be pushed to the edge of our understanding, but an inherent core of our very existence. In addition to the mental illnesses that afflict those unfortunate enough to develop them, they say a host of supernatural entities are infecting millions - and they can see them.
And if the plot doesn't sound like a 90's paranormal drama yet, their mentor says he has exorcized 10,000 such demons from people - and he's considering a number of reality television shows about their exploits. Bob Larson admits the controversy infused with what they're attempting, but he says by some estimates, 50% of the world is possessed by demonic forces. One out of every two people, according to Larson, may have a sentient paranormal force living within.
Of course this is an extremely large claim to make, but they assure audiences around the world that it will take only witnessing one of their exorcisms to convince skeptics. Critics have expressed concern over what the harm may be if the people they treat are not possessed, but rather mentally ill. And of course this is only the latest manifestation of a debate that has been following the practice of exorcism for years.
Are exorcisms having an effect on paranormal entities, or are they generally mental illnesses that are simply manifesting as exorcisms? Looking at the practice on film both in the case of the Arizona trio and others, the sessions can be chilling. But the behaviors exhibited by those undergoing exorcism are used on both sides. Advocates of the practice of casting out demons suggest it is a sign that the afflicted are actually possessed while mental health advocates suggest the behavior is sign of a troubled person going through an episode. The only thing they agree on is that something is happening inside these people to change them.
Chris MacKenna, an Anglican priest, spoke on the matter of exorcisms earlier this week, suggesting that the ritual of exorcism may allow a language to express ideas hidden within the mind. MacKenna, who is not associated with the exorcist girls, said he much prefers the term 'deliverance' over exorcism when describing the practice. What the video suggests is that there may be a place for exorcism in society, though it may not involve the same forces that we generally think of when we look at these terrifying encounters. Whether that would make good television is still undecided.
The most important thing it seems to keep in mind with this case is the fact that these are real people involved, regardless of the process behind it. Is the reality television circuit the most effective and dignified means for people to rid themselves of inner demons?
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