July 1st 1976 a 23 year old Anneliese Michel died of dehydration and malnutrition. She weighed a measly 68 pounds at the time of her death. She was in the care of her parents and some priests at the time, so how could she possibly have died that way? Because of an archaic Catholic dogma that lead her devout parents to seek an exorcism instead of proper medical care.
Anneliese had Grand Mal epilepsy, not demonic possession. Demons, a fairy tale designed to scare believers and sometimes used as a metaphors for various subjective evils. However, thanks to movies like The Exorcist a surge in its practice has resulted in numerous violent and negligent deaths such when Mario Garcia almost killed his mother in law or Carolyn Shea who barely survived a family member shoving a crucifix so far up her nose it reached brain or this whole list of victims and this one (warning: a little disturbing).
Which brings me to this at which I am both saddened and sickened. There are many ethical issues with this:
- Fraud: With such easy access to information in the modern age it is hard to comprehend that someone would honestly believe in the literal existence of demons and the effectiveness of exorcisms. Clearly some do and the Larsons are laughing all the way to the bank whether they actually believe it or not.
- Indoctrination: If these young teen girls actually do believe in possession and the ability to exorcize demons then their parents, elders and educators (they were home schooled) have failed them and that is very sad.
- Exploitation: Three teenage girls being used in this way is also very sad. To make the situation even worse their own father is responsible for using their ‘teen appeal’
- Ignorance and misinformation: This leads people to believe something that simply isn’t true and so propagates ignorance. Any enemy of knowledge and education is enemy of this blog.
Teen appeal: Most teenagers live at home with no serious expenses and some even have part-time jobs. Any money they have is for spending and so teenagers make for a potentially lucrative market. Three attractive teenage girls striking a pose makes this a pretty obvious attempt to sell to the same cohort as boy bands and Twilight movies. This is what some marketers call ‘teen appeal’.
These harms, like in any pseudoscience or the paranormal, apply here. People suffering from physical and mental illnesses are not getting the help they need when their illnesses and afflictions are attributed to mythical creatures that only exist in Catholic dogma.
It is doubtful that the Larsons would ever listen to reason. As such it is everyone’s responsibility to educate. Hopefully education will dissuade potential clients from using them and instead getting their loved ones the professional help they need. So, please if you hear of someone speaking of recruiting the Larson’s help or talking of demons and exorcisms educate them and you will save them from wasting their money and quite possibly save a life.