FROM THE EDITOR
by Gerald L. Bliss
"Why are you a Witch?" This is the question most frequently asked of me, by
the police, by our families, by the media. It isn't an easy question to
answer without running comparisons between Christianity and the Craft; the
world is far too complex for old answers to deal with.
One major factor drawing people to the Craft is that we feel a lack of
opportunity for personal growth and/or psychic development. Many people
simply cannot sit back and accept someone else's authority over their
lives, and that means you have to do a lot of self-discovery; Witchcraft
affords a system of instruction that demands questioning and includes
hundreds of hours of ethical, as well as magical, training, and you simply
have to find out what works best for you.
Another reason for becoming a Witch is to get religious training in
combination with using our own intrinsic power (magick, if you will). The
alternatives to the Craft usually develop from a desire for power, rather
than a desire to be of service.
As a result of the ethical, magickal, and religious considerations being
addressed by the Witch, we have been known to gravitate to various causes:
vegetarianism, the ecology, personal freedom, gun control, with each Witch
making the decisions that seem "right" to them (and believing nobody else
qualified to make that decision for them). Few Witches will share the same
ideas of what is "right", but we each try to understand that everyone has
the right to make these decisions.
Another question has arisen: "Why do you think the police equate Wicca
with Satanism?" I admit I was shocked to receive this question from a
police officer in Florida. When the movies, the newspapers, and certain
fundamentalist ministers are not busy trying to shove this equation down
our throats, the police are next on the list. At CWR, we choose to believe
that this is due to a lack of information (something that is NOT true for
Hollywood and is usually not true for newspaper reporters); otherwise, we
would not be publishing this newsletter. We hope that, by presenting topics
on cults (whether called witchcraft, satanism, or whatever), we can provide
you with the information you need to determine the difference between a
cult and a religion.
Our first issue generated quite a bit of response from a number of police
officers and departments, including a request for information on a specific
Let me state that, first and foremost, CultWatch Response, Inc., exists
for the purpose of educating law enforcement officers and the media as to
the reality of Witchcraft in America. We are not, and never intend to be,
some kind of clandestine Wiccan Police Force, and we will not, now or in
the future, release any information that we do not have firsthand knowledge
of AND which is not acknowledged to be public information by the group
It is, indeed, a terrible temptation to set ourselves up as the people
the police turn to when they can't get the information to "bust" some
"obviously unethical" group; we simply cannot obtain enough information to
be certain of the charges, and it cannot become our job to interfere with
police work on these and related issues. We can, however, help teach and
inform the various law enforcement agencies (and the media) what to look
for in determining "occult crime", and would be happy to do so on a
first-hand basis; however, we also feel that there is adequate information
available in print in dealing with these issues, although it is frequently
overlooked by various people who are involved in presenting "occult crime"
issues. We hope to fill in that gap, with this newsletter and with any
other materials we can disseminate.
If you responded to our questionnaire in the last issue and have not
heard back from us, please let us know; we have, to the best of our
knowledge, given a written reply (at least) to every questionnaire and
letter we have received, and have copies on file.
Being aware that this issue is late, I will end my ramblings and get to
IN THIS ISSUE OF CultWatch Response:
Rowan Moonstone presents the first part of her article on "Ritual Child
Kerr Cuhulain re-presents the first part of his excellent series,
"The Plight of the Pagan Cop";
Hal Mansfield submits an excellent article entitled, "Pseudo-Satanism in
School Systems Today";
...and more on CultWatch Response, Inc. Who are we? What are we trying to
accomplish? How do we expect to go about it? And a re-definition of our
editorial policies, and more...
CWR NEXT ISSUE (Candlemas 1989):
Rowan Moonstone continues her treatise on "Ritual Child Abuse"; the
second installment of "The Plight of the Pagan Cop" (a continuing series,
not necessarily in consecutive issues); and a few surprises.
CultWatch Response, Inc.:
WHO WE ARE
Gerald L. Bliss (Exec. Secty. & Editor) is a Second Degree Witch from
Colorado Springs, CO, trained in a Neo-Gardnerian tradition in addition to
having Discordian roots prior to his Wiccan training. He studied for two
years at a Presbyterian college in Kansas and a State college in Colorado,
and has a background in music, history, geography, math, and the Bible as a
result of those studies.
Vicki M. Copeland (Co-Founder) is a Second Degree Witch from Oklahoma
City trained in the Georgian tradition. She has been engaged in private
research on occult crime for the past three years,and maintains extensive
newspaper and magazine clippings on occult crime, as well as Witchcraft,
dating back to the early 1970's. She currently is the Oklahoma chapter head
for the Witches League for Public Awareness; her work with WLPA has put her
in close contact with many law enforcement officers and others who have
dealt with the question of "occult-related" crime. (Editor's Note:
CultWatch Response, Inc. is neither connected to nor endorsed by the WLPA,
regardless of Vicki's close association.) Recent efforts include assisting
Thomas Zane in Florida with a revision of his college-level training
material for law enforcement officers concerning Witchcraft, and working
with Dr. Lowell Streiker on his forthcoming book "New Age Comes to Main
Street" for a chapter concerning Witchcraft. The majority of her published
works are under the pseudonym, "Rowan Moonstone".
We are also developing a network of Witches and other Pagans across the
country to be able to deal with the issues presented to CultWatch Response,
Inc., by the various local and state police departments and service
organizations. As these people wish to come forward and outline their
credentials, they will be published herein.
RITUALISTIC ABUSE- FACT OR URBAN LEGEND?
by Rowan Moonstone
Consider carefully the following scene. An old man is on trial. He
confesses to heinous crimes including denying God, desecrating the cross,
and finally, sacrificing his own baby daughter to the devil. Some current
day survivor of a ritualistic child abuse Satanic cult you ask? No. this
case history belongs to one Pierre Vallin who was tried in France in 1438.
The judges of his day condemned him as a heretic, idolater, apostate, and
invoker of demons.(1) Today, many similar stories are being told by
supposed survivors of ritualistic child abuse cults and devil worshipping
groups, and yet the actual evidence in no more real than that presented at
The current round of accusations had their beginning in 1981 with the
publication of "Michelle Remembers" by Dr. Lawrence Pazder. During therapy
sessions with Michelle Smith, Dr. Pazder began to uncover horrible memories
of a ritualistic nature in his patient. She told stories of ritualistic
rape, animal mutilation and human sacrifice, culminating in something she
called the "Feast of the Beast". It is a horrifying account of torture that
would do credit to Stephen King, however, it has absolutely no
corroborating evidence. Dr. J. Gordon Melton of the Institute for the Study
of American Religion says, "It was Michelle's fantasy, and Pazder
Perhaps the most widely publicized account of supposed ritualistic child
abuse today is the McMartin Daycare Center case in California. In Aug.
1983, Judy Johnson, of Manhattan Beach, CA, brought a case of alleged child
sexual abuse to the authorities. By Feb. 1984, allegations of human
sacrifice were also surfacing. By 1985, police had dug up a great deal of
ground which supposedly held remains of ritualistically slaughtered
animals. They found 2 tortoise shells. As the case progressed into more
bizarre areas, even some of the prosecutors began to doubt the evidence and
the methods of gathering it, until finally Glenn Stevens, a member of the
prosecution team resigned, stating "Kee MacFarlane (the psychologist
interviewing the children involved) could make a 6-month-old baby confess
to being molested."(3) Despite numerous allegations of Satanic and/or
ritualistic activity from the children involved, no hard physical evidence
has ever been produced, and even the stories the children tell conflict
from child to child. No two children tell the same story.
The same facts hold true for any number of the supposed child abuse cases
which have been brought to trial. As one newspaper story stated, "The
principal obstacle confronting them, say those investigating the various
cases, is the almost total lack of physical evidence including bodies to
confirm the children's allegations."(4) According to Arthur Lyons, in his
book "Satan Wants You", of the thirteen cases which have come to trial in
nine different states, none has produced any physical evidence, and no
convictions have been obtained,(5) and in the May 1985 story entitled "The
Devil Worshippers" (which ran on the "20/20" television series), San
Francisco police officer Sandi Gallant admits that no bodies have ever been
found, despite numerous allegations of their existence.
Some of the allegations of ritualistic abuse have been proven to be
physically impossible. Take for example the case cited in "Satanism: Is
Your Family Safe?" by Ted Schwartz. "In one police case, there was definite
proof of child molestation but the allegation went much further - children
being forced to drink blood that had been taken from their bodies. One boy
said that the blood was taken from the back of his leg, and that story was
repeated by others, yet the pediatricians examining the children said that
there were no veins that could be used in this manner in the areas the
children described." (6) Schwartz's book also illustrates an excellent
example of how children can confuse issues. He relates a story of a child
who told of witnessing a murder from the window of her mother's bedroom.
The scene she described fit the facts quite well until police took her in
the bedroom and asked her to point out which window she observed the crime
from. She pointed to the television set, and it was only then that
authorities realised she was describing a scene from a movie which happened
to fit many of the facts of the actual crime which was committed.(7)
Certainly crimes of violence and abuse against children do happen, and
happen all too frequently. BUT another-all present danger in the phenomenon
of "ritualistic child abuse" is the "Salem syndrome", so named for the
infamous witch trials in the Massachusetts colony, in which 19 innocent
people were accused of witchcraft, condemned, and executed, all on the
evidence of hysterical children who later admitted to fabricating the
entire story. It behooves everyone involved, parents,law enforcement
personnel, medical personnel, and educational authorities, to view these
stories with a critical eye for FACTS which can be proven, not hysterical
reactions based on unfounded rumors and allegations.
(Next Issue: Part II, "Breeders and Baby Killers" )
(1) Russell, Jeffrey B., "A History of Witchcraft, Sorcerers, Heretics
and Pagans", Thames & Hudson, 1980, p.78.
(2) A.S. Ross," A Presumption of guilt. Child Abuse Cults: How Real?" San
Francisco Examiner, 9-29-86, p. A7.
(3) Gorney, Cynthia, "The Terrible Puzzle of McMartin Preschool in
California, the Long-Running Trial of a Baffling Child Molestation Case",
The Washington Post, 5-17-88.
(4) Crewdson, John, "Satanism Haunts Tales of Child Sex Abuse", The
Chicago Tribune, 7-29-85, p. 10.
(5) Lyons, Arthur, "Satan Wants You", The Mysterious Press, N. Y., 1988,
(6) Schwartz, Ted & Duane Empey, "Satanism: Is Your Family Safe?"
Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 1988, p 181.
(7) ibid., p. 184.
Pseudo-Satanism in School Systems Today
compiled by Hal Mansfield, Director
Religious Movement Resource Center
(NOTE: This article is on the hazards of "pseudo-satanism", written by a
person who has done a lot of work in negating the effects of the "common
cult". As you will read, the author does not believe that Witchcraft,
Satanism, and/or "pseudo-satanism" are connected. Feel free to direct your
comments to either Hal or CWR. Ed.)
This paper is designed to provide observations and opinions from
our center on the issue of Pseudo-Satanism and the links to our school
systems. Our intention is to provide topics for discussion, and this is not
intended to be the last word on this topic. We also have covered things in
a general manner to keep it as simple as possible on a complex problem. The
topics presented are in no particular order, and we would appreciate any
feedback as to what information the reader may have.
1. GROWTH OF PSEUDO-SATANISM
There seems to be a growth of this "religious" system within our
public schools. Our office has had a great increase of calls in this area.
Other centers across the U.S. and Canada have also received increased
calls. Police departments, school systems, and mental health facilities
have increased their attention on Satanism. The media has certainly
increased coverage, though many reports seem to be sensationalized.
2. WHY THE INCREASE
There have been many theories on why we are seeing such an increase
in satanism or pseudo-satanism. We have selected a few that we feel best
fits. One is the effect of changing value systems and socio-economic
shifts. Any time you have radical changes in society, you have increases in
cult activity. This has been proven down through the ages to include the
Industrial Revolution, Renaissance, etc. One reason that causes us great
concern is certain family patterns: too many families are shifting
responsibility of teaching basic moral values to schools and law
enforcement officials. Basic right-from-wrong differentiation needs to be
taught at home; not to do so invites disaster. Another pattern too often
seen is that whenever we find an adolescent we also find a family that
avoids talking about AIDS, drugs, cults, sex; they simply don't talk. The
parents had no clue their child was involved, despite obvious signs.
3. WHO GETS INVOLVED
There seem to be two distinct backgrounds. One - the curious,
intellectual, bright kids. The tend to dabble in the occult and experiment
with magick. The lure, in this case, seems to be the magick. The other
background, which is more dangerous, is that of the substance abuser. In
this profile, self-confidence and esteem are very low. Some turn to
pseudo-satanism to boost the self image, as if to say, "I'm special; I'm
magickal; don't mess with me." Control by the leader of such a group over
someone with this background can be very powerful; that power can be used
by the leader to get his group to sell drugs for him, with the fear of
saying anything about it because "the Devil will get me". Whichever
background is in play, it is important to remember that "belonging" needs
are very important to an adolescent, which is why you frequently see the
gang mentality surface in many of these groups.
4. DRUG LINKS
There are definite ties with substance abuse and the
Pseudo-Satanism movements. As one researcher found out through many
interviews, not everyone who is a drug user is a satanist, but every
pseudo-satanist is a drug user. This seems to be true in over 90% of the
cases our center has been involved in and has been further confirmed by
many drug rehabilitation facilities. This is where the most danger comes
from, and if there is violence in these groups, it is most likely to be a
link to a member who is a drug user. Drugs are used in rituals and rites of
passage; many times, and obsession with death and dying occurs in these
groups. That, plus the use of hallucinogenics, leads to paranoid behavior.
Many suicides result from this double-whammy of drug use plus a
self-destructive belief system. Secondary crime relating to support of the
habit results from this, and a person's own dementia many times involves
serious criminal behavior. This dementia leads to the more bizarre behavior
to include digging up graves and perversions of all sorts of magnitude.
5. THE COVEN
What we have found in the majority of cases is a "do-it-yourself"
coven. Usually it is one leader who is basing the group's beliefs on a
certain group of books, movies, or combination of magick, beliefs, and
practices from many religions. In fact, most have such a blending from so
many different areas that they are not a legitimate ANYTHING, even though
they call themselves Satanists. The more common books found in these groups
include: The Necronomicon, The Egyptian Book of the Dead, The Satanic
Bible, and any book dealing with Magick. These books can easily be found in
many bookstores. Aleister Crowley is a very popular author with these
groups, as is Anton LeVay (found of the Church of Satan). The number of
members in these covens (or, more accurately, groups) can be any size,
though most tend to be fewer than ten members. The leader can be male or
female, although most tend to be male. The income level of families whose
children are involved tends to be middle-to- upper class, with very few
from lower class families. We see a racially mixed makeup, with a
prevalence of Caucasians. These groups are very dynamic for one simple
reason -- kids tend to graduate, move, or grow up. This is why so many of
these groups are hard to pin down; most of these groups come and go. There
are a few (very few) that have adult influences in the coven. These can be
very dangerous, and tend to be more oriented toward drug distribution. Fear
and guilt, along with paranoia, run strong in this kind of group, and
control over members is extremely strong.
9. FANTASY ROLE-PLAYING GAMES
There has been a lot of speculation that games such as Dungeons &
Dragons (D&D) lead some people to these groups. We tend to doubt that.
There is no good objective evidence or study available that points to D&D
as part of a cause-and-effect relationship. What can be said is that
someone who is obsessed with the game (or any game or activity) is showing
a symptom of a problem. When we say obsessed, we don't mean someone who
plays D&D on the weekends with their buddies; we mean someone who does
nothing else with their free time, substituting fantasy for reality. The
problem may be pseudo-satanic activity, or it may be a drug problem, family
problem, social problem, or simply acute depression. The important thing
here is not to remove a symptom but to address the problem itself. Taking
away the game rarely improves anything, much like putting a Band-Aid on a
7. SYMPTOMS OF PSEUDO-SATANISM
A lot of the symptoms in this area are identical to those of drug
use: radical mood shifts, a drop in grades, introversion, and loss of sleep
are all part of the picture. Other things to watch for include obsession
with death and dying, wearing of jewelry with an inverted pentagram (the
single point pointing downward), and an obsession with negative magick. It
might be wise to visit the room with your child to see if there are
remnants of these items and/or drug paraphernalia.
8. RITUAL SITES
These vary greatly, since each group will have its own operating
rules. Most common show signs of mixed blood and urine, which is passed
around during a power ritual. Small animal remains can be found. Symbols
drawn on walls or trees are common, although there is usually a mix of
these symbols. Sometimes herbs, oils, and candle drippings can be found,
and there is usually a fire pit.
9. COMMON MISTAKES
One of the most common mistakes made when dealing with this subject
is confusing Satanism and pseudo-satanism with Witchcraft and other
systems; these are all separate, and most Witchcraft-based groups (i.e.,
Wicca) are not producing the violence. Any legitimate practitioner would be
the first to tell you that. We need to take each case on its own merits.
Most kids that are dabbling with devil worship are trying to shock their
parents with spray- painted symbols; a legitimate Satanist is not going to
be spray-painting anything, since it would call attention to them. Each
case must be handled as being unique, as there are many different reasons
that someone gets involved in these groups and each group has its own
rituals, beliefs, etc. It is far too simplistic to lump everything
10. EFFECTIVE DEFENSE
The most effective defense we have is education and information-
sharing. No single center or organization has all the answers; we must work
together on this problem. Cooperation must also exist among agencies that
deal with adolescents. Getting adults to be aware of what is out there and
teaching basic moral values at home would put a big dent in this problem.
There is far too much sensationalism on both sides of this house; we need
good data to provide patterns and information on how to counter them in a
positive manner. There is a workable solution to this problem if we all
11. LAST THOUGHTS
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, we would like your
input on this situation and any thoughts you might have. If we managed to
get you to think about this problem, whether you agree with our conclusions
or not, we have accomplished what we set out to do. Please send your
comments to: Hal Mansfield, Religious Movement Resource Center, 629 S.
Howes, Ft. Collins, CO 80521. You are welcome to reprint this paper, share
it, or throw it away if you like!
PLIGHT OF THE PAGAN POLICEMAN
by "Constable Cuhulain"
Vancouver, B.C. Canada
Lately there has been a fair amount of attention paid by the media to the
subject of Satanic worship and its connection to criminal activities,
particularly involving young people. "Devil worship", "Satanism", and
"Witchcraft" are some of the terms used to describe it. We are treated to
the usual descriptions of "covens" practicing "Black Mass" and equating
Witchcraft with "Black magic".
It's not hard to see where these kids got their ideas from. For many
years we have been bombarded with Hollywood's version of what Witchcraft
is. More recently this has expanded into the realm of heavy metal rock and
its accompanying videos. Originally, of course, Hollywood got its ideas on
this subject from the inventors of Satan, the Christians. Now these
impressionable young people take all of this in and, inevitably, some of
them end up copying it. Hollywood has convinced many of them that they are
I speak from experience, but anyone who knows my city well has seen them.
On one end of the scale we have the average young denizen of Granville
Mall, selling drugs, stolen property, and sometimes themselves. Dressed in
their jean jackets, emblazoned with rock logos (Motley Crue, Black Sabbath,
and Ozzy Osbourne to name a few) their interest seems to be merely one of
appearances, street image. On the other end of the scale is the "punks" who
inhabit Robson Square. Outlandish multicolored hair and black (mostly
leather) clothing. These individuals take their Satanism (and their
anarchism) a bit more seriously. They are invariably equipped with: a)
skateboards; b) liquor; and, c) felt pens. Some actually carry Anton
LaVay's Satanic Bible around with them. They scrawl on the walls, drink
like drains, and commit random acts of assault and/or mischief.
All this gives the press and/or the Christian clergy something to rant
about (it also seems to divert attention from TV ministry
scandals....hmmm). Kind of a self-fulfilling prophesy.
Now I am sure that none of this is news to you. You may well wonder what
a police officer is doing writing about it. I can't really blame you
because you (and some police officers) have probably developed a
stereotyped image of me thanks to those same Hollywood producers. Sure,
this situation gives me a great deal of work to do, but that's not the
point. The point is you see, I am a Witch.
Now I learned long ago that Hollywood tends to use the words "Satanist"
and "Witch" interchangably. And it doesn't take much imagination to figure
out what would happen in most police departments if one of their members
was found to be a Wiccan. That member would, in short order, be placed in
the same category as the aforementioned little crooks, previous police
record not withstanding. Not a pleasant prospect.
This hasn't deterred me, but all you Pagans out there could do me a big
favour. Write to the movie producers and the news media and tell them to
STOP using the name of our faith to describe Satanists, Devil Worshippers
and crooks. Let's educate people to equate Wicca with goodness for a
change. I don't expect it to reduce my work load, but it would do wonders
for the job security department.
In the meantime, I'll continue chasing these youthful Hollywood
stereotypes and hope the Christian society appreciates what this Pagan
policeman is doing for them.
(NEXT ISSUE: Part 2 of this continuing series)
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