ABC's Nightline recently devoted a segment -- in all seriousness -- to three high school girls in Arizona who claim to be exorcists. The segment and accompanying online article describe them with all the hard-hitting journalistic objectivity of a Hollywood flack puffing an upcoming CW show:
Brynne, Tess and Savannah from Phoenix are black belts in karate, expert horseback riders and avid musical theater fans. And they perform exorcisms."We're just normal girls who do something extraordinary for God," Brynne said. "After seeing an actual exorcism in person, led by us, you will walk away with no doubt, whatsoever."Brynne, 17, is the leader of the pack, the one the others call the "enforcer." She is home-schooled and a regular on the beauty pageant circuit. Savannah, 20, is known as the "compassionate one," a college student who likes to shop. Finally, there's Tess, "the middle man" because the others say this 17-year-old can play both good and bad cop. She also performs in local musicals."There is a war going on every day, being waged against us," Brynne said. "Satan hates us. We know how the enemy is, we know what he's attacking and we can fight back."
You can see the whole thing right here:
Part of me suspects that the girls, like so many others striving for easy money and media attention out there, are just angling for a reality TV show contract (you can almost hear the pitch: "It's like Mean Girls meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer -- only it's for real!"), which would be bad enough, but then I think that they might actually believe it, which might be even worse.
I mean, back when I was a kid and imagined what living in the Twenty-First Century (then thirty or so years in the future) might be like, I like a lot of people, imagined a world of flying cars, vacations on the moon, cures for cancer, and so on. Sure, I was prepared to be disappointed and find out that none of that would happen, but I also thought that the only reason it wouldn't, and that instead we'd be living in a time when those who thought other people's problems were caused by evil spirits were taken seriously by anyone other than credulous backwoods troglodytes would be because civilization itself had collapsed due to nuclear war or some other global catastrophe.
Sometimes I think nuclear war might have been preferable.
*Thanks to Esquire's inestimable Charles P. Pierce for both the title and the subject of this post.