NOTE: The following article appeared in _The National Sheriff_ magazine's February-March 1

Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

NOTE: The following article appeared in _The National Sheriff_ magazine's February-March 1987 issue. It is reproduced here without permission for informational and fair-use purposes only. S A T A N I S M THE LAW ENFORCEMENT RESPONSE Robert J. Barry Satanism is on the rise in America. Hardly a day passes without reports of violent acts conducted by Satanists. Across the country law enforcement organizations are receiving reports of homicide, mayhem, assault, suicide, child abuse and animal mutilations that are linked with the satanic occult. Investigators may find it difficult to believe the strange and bizarre tales of criminal acts being committed by persons wearing priestly robes and adorned with symbols of the devil. Law enforcement authorities have the responsibility to meet the challenge of the Satanist with education, knowledge, understanding, cooperation and appropriate resources at all governmental levels. Only through knowledge and understanding of the organization, beliefs, rituals and practices of various occult groups, will investigators be able to successfully prosecute persons engaged in Satanistic Criminal behavior. Appropriate communication regarding satanistic activities must be shared between law enforcement agencies throughout the country. There must be a renewed awareness of satanic overtones in certain crimes. The Beliefs of Satanism Satanism, also referred to as black magic, has existed since the dawn of Christianity. According to the Bible, God is the father of all, including both Christ and Lucifer (the Devil). There was conflict in heaven between the forces of Christ and Lucifer, and the Lucifer forces lost and were "cast out into the earth" (Revelations 12:7-9 (2)). Thus, people have long realized the struggle between the righteousness of God and the forces of evil in the devil. This same struggle is recognized by the Satanist, who is committed with religious fervor to winning that battle. The Satanist believes Lucifer rules the earth, and when the end of the world comes, the forces of Lucifer will overpower the forces of God and Christ and rule in heaven. Therefore, the Satanist pledges allegiance to the devil, not only for his assistance in this world, but in the world to come. During the 1900s, the leading advocate of Satanism was Aleister Crowley. Crowley, born in 1875 in England, was raised a Christian and graduated from Cambridge University.[1] Eventually, he became obsessed with ancient occult beliefs. His writings in this area have probably popularized Satanism and devil worship more than any other source.[2] In 1898, Crowley joined an occult organization called "The Order of the Golden Dawn" and quickly rose to a position of authority within that group. He later entered the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO), a satanic ritual group founded by Earl Keller in 1900. Crowley organized a chapter of the OTO in Los Angeles, California, in approximately 1905.[3] Crowley published his _Book of Law_ in 1904, in which "do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law was advocated." It was from this philosophy that Crowley developed his ritual black magic which advocated violation of every moral code known to civilized men. In a later book, _Magic(k) in Theory and Practice_, he wrote, "for nearly all purposes human sacrifice is best, and a male child of perfect innocence and high intelligence is the most satisfactory and suitable victim."[4] Crowley called himself "the beast" and "the wickedest man in the world." In 1909, his book, _The Equinox_, became the bible for the OTO. In his later years, Crowley spent some time in an insane asylum and was reportedly a heroin addict. He died in a cheap rooming house in Hastings, England in 1947. While Crowley is gone, his philosophies and literature live on. Authorities believe Anton La Vey, also known as the "Black Pope," is probably the best known modern proponent of Satanism. Born in 1930, he ran off to join a carnival as a magician's assistant after dropping out of high school. He was a con artist and used his theatrical showmanship to found The Church of Satan in April 1966 in San Francisco, California. The Church of Satan was the first legally recognized, tax-exempt, church of its kind. In 1969, La Vey published _The Satanic Bible_, which outsells the _Bible_ in many bookstores.[5] In his book, La Vey wrote, "We hold Satan as a symbolic, personal savior, who takes care of mundane, fleshy, carnal things. Satanism encourages any form of sexual expression you may desire, so long as it hurts no one else."[6] La Vey later states, "Satanism does not advocate rape, child molesting (and) sexual defilement of animals..."[7] It seems contradictory for a group to encourage all forms of sexual expression, and at the same time place parameters on that activity. It is difficult to encourage indulgence and vengeance and not to expect debauchery, mayhem, and other criminal acts. On human sacrifice, La Vey said that, in general, a Satanist should not sacrifice a human being unless, "it were to serve a two-fold purpose; that being to release the magician's wrath in the throwing of a curse, and more important, to dispose of a totally obnoxious and deserving individual."[8] The philosophy of La Vey was much like that of Crowley: "A person lives only for today and should indulge in all life's good feelings ... Satanism condones any type of sexual activity which properly satisfies your individual desires, be it heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual."[9] La Vey's satanic church is now relatively inactive, due to dissatisfaction with his leadership. However, his followers have organized a number of splinter groups. The Church of the Satanic Brotherhood was founded in March 1973 and the Temple of Set in 1975. The latter organization has a national following of several hundred persons. The membership seems obsessed with the military and the Nazi movement in particular. Numerous smaller splinter groups have also developed; however, they seem to lack the sophistication and leadership of the larger, more formal organizations. Although these splinter groups +-----------------------------+ may follow the basic satanist teachings and | Satanic Cults Organized | practices, they tend to interpret some of | in the United States[10] | these to meet their individual needs. These | | small groups are the ones that come to the | Church of All Worlds | attention of law enforcement, since it is | Temple of Truth | within their memberships that the mentally | Shrine of Sothis | ill, criminal psychopathic personality is | Nemeton | found. | Order of Thelema | Most black magic occult groups have certain | Process Church of the Final | practices and rituals that are common to all. | Order of the Circle | They are usually organized into "covens," | The Chingons | consisting of 9 or 13 members. Authorities | The Four P Movement | have estimated there were approximately 10,000 | Brotherhood of the Ram | covens in the country in 1946, 48,000 by 1976, | Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO) | and 135,000 by 1985.[12] | The Satan Senate | +----------------------------------------------+-----------------------------+ | The Criminal Psychopath or Sociopath[11] | | | | CHARACTERISTICS BEHAVIOR | | Inability to experience guilt or Experiences no guilt or remorse for | | remorse. violent criminal acts, although he or | | she can express sorrow and other | | emotions. | | | | Inability to form lasting Treats persons as if they are | | relationships. inanimate objects. | | | | | | Tendency to seek high levels of Behaves bizarrely and grotesquely as | | thrills and excitement. a rule, rather than an exception. | | | | Impulsiveness. Childlike--cannot defer immediate | | pleasures for long range goals--lives | | for the present. | | | | Lack of conscience. Fails to develop a conscience due to | | lack of appropriate role models. | | | | Aggressive and dangerous Reacts to frustration with violent | | behavior. fury. | | | | Superficial charm and intelligence. Plays role of a "confidence man." | | | | Unreliability and irresponsibility. Has short periods of responsibility | | coupled with irresponsibility. | | | | Pathological lying. Plays many roles--doctor, lawyer, | | soldier, Satan--according to his | | whims and often confuses these | | roles. | | | | Anti-social behavior. Impulsively commits violent acts "just | | for the hell of it." | | | | Egocentricity. Behaves parasitically because of an | | insatiable need to be believed, served | | and supported. | | | | Lack of values. Fails to develop contemporary | | societal value system. | | | | Brutuality toward dumb animals. Tortures and kills animals. | | | | Lack of insight. Has little appreciation of his impact | | on others. | | | | Casual and excessive sexual Has a casual attitude toward sex and | | behavior. sexual contacts. Some sex acts may | | be outlandish and bizarre. | | | | A need to fail. Has no life plan, except perhaps the | | need to make a failure of himself, a | | born loser. | +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+ A new coven member must make a strong lifetime commitment to the group, which includes a strict vow of secrecy, not unlike the La Cosa Nostra (LCN). Members are not allowed to disassociate themselves from the group after having been exposed to their various criminal activities. A member breaking the code of secrecy places his life and the lives of his family in serious jeopardy. The reasons for joining the coven are as varied as the characteristics of the members themselves. The members come from all walks of life, all ethnic groups, and all social and economic levels. Some join for reasons of personal gratification from the sadistic, anti-social or sexual behavior; while others may possibly find the religious aspect meets their needs. All members pay strict obedience to the high priest, or priestess, who has complete control over all members. The group leader uses fear, paranoia, intimidation, socialization, depersonalization, drugs, alcohol and a rewards system to maintain control over members of the coven. Child members are secretive about their involvement due to the vow of secrecy, fear and the threat of retaliation against themselves or their families. Coven members try to remain anonymous and unknown to law enforcement organizations. They believe their evil criminal acts will not be rewarded by Satan if they are identified and prosecuted by authorities. Coven rituals are usually individualistic in nature, but certain symbols and instruments are very basic. During a ritual, a pentagram (a five-pointed star enclosed within a circle), usually nine feet in diameter, is drawn on the ground or floor. The relative position of star points and the altar determines the type of ritual or magic performed. Devices used during a ritual usually include red or black robes, hoods or masks, hats or helmets, music or chanting, black or white candles and holders, a dagger or double edged short-sword, chalices, a cauldron for fire, an altar for the high priest and various trappings bearing satanistic symbols. Several occultist rituals call for animal or human sacrifice. Satanists believe that a quantity of stored energy is released to those nearby when a warm-blooded animal or human is killed. These sacrifices will usually be performed inside the sign of a pentagram, or triangle, which has been drawn on the floor or ground. This drawing forms a "cone of power" which focuses escaping energy on participants. Many rituals have violent sexual overtones. Many violent criminal acts came to the attention of investigators as a result of these satanic coven rituals.[13] The Heavy Metal Music Phenomenon One major +---------------------------------------------------------+ contemporary | SIGNS OF SATAN | movement | | exploiting | AC/DC ANTI-CHRIST | Satanism is the | DEVIL CHILD {A} PENTAGRAM | music industry and | WHITE MAGIC | its punk rock and | ZOSO THREE-HEADED DOG | "heavy metal" | GUARDS GATE TO HELL | productions. The | | messages carried | S SATAN STONER PENTAGRAM | in this type of | {B} UPSIDE DOWN STAR | music include self | MARKOS ABRACADABRA SIGN OF OCCULT | mutilation; | ' | assault; mayhem; | FFF ANTI-CHRIST | suicide; drugs; | | murder; sex; anti- | 666 ANTI-CHRIST | establishment and | {C} HEXAGRAM CIRCLE | anti-social | 6 6 ANTI-CHRIST | rebellion against | 6 | society, parents, | INFINITY | education, law and | NATAS SATAN REVERSED {D} CONTAINMENT | order. The music | CONTROL OF EVIL | attempts to | 6,9,13,XIII OCCULT NUMBERS POWER | promote the ideals | | of absolute | u HORNS AND TAIL | freedom, | C ADDED TO ANY LETTER | irresponsibility | -' {E} ANK | and violence. | ___ LIGHTNING BOLT | In heavy metal, | ___\ HEAVEN TO HELL | these ideals also | ___\ STRENGTH | encompass the use | | of satanic | __ | symbols. Some | |__|__ SWASTIKA | heavy metal record | __| | {F} LUCIFER MORNING | album covers are | STAR | decorated with | ____|____ ANTI-CHRIST | satanic violent | CROSS OF CONFUSION | themes.[14] | | Some people | [Transcriber's note: Illustrations in the right-hand | believe this music | column couldn't be copied in ASCII or anything like it. | is only a fad. | A = star in circle, one point up; B = star in circle, | That may be true | two points up; C = six-pointed star (star of David) in | for some, but for | circle; D = circle within a circle; E = ankh, circle on| others it may lead | top of cross (badly drawn); F = star and crescent moon.]| to a way of life +---------------------------------------------------------+ that drastically changes their basic ethics and value systems. Some groups have organized to fight this heavy metal rock use of violence, sex, drugs, and Satanism for its major theme. One group proposes a warning label on records to inform consumers of their lyrical content. There is also a movement to have lyrics printed on the covers of albums. These proposals have met with strong opposition from music industry and civil libertarians concerned with censorship, the stifling of creative art and freedom of speech. Conclusion Law enforcement managers realize this renewed interest in Satanism and the occult is a serious national problem. Authorities must meet the challenge by assuring these crimes are detected, reported and prosecuted for what they are: satanic related. This challenge is best addressed by a multi-faceted approach: * An increased awareness of the satanic trend by all law enforcement personnel. * Maintenance of special records on satanic type crimes. * Dissemination of information to appropriate organizations. * Cooperative intelligence gathering apparatus. * County or state task forces to coordinate investigation of satanic related crimes. * State and federal computer utilization for satanic related crimes. * Standardized report forms for Satanic related crimes. * The development of reliable sources of information and possible informants. * Allocation of adequate departmental resources. * Generalized training at recruit and in-service levels. * Indepth training for specialized investigators. * Involvement of both community and private sector resources in combating this threat to the basic American value system. This response should lead to successful prosecution of persons performing satanic cult criminal acts and have important deterrent effects on persons engaged in other satanic activities. In addition, this effort should add to the strong existing paranoia of detection and prosecution among most satanic cult members. The challenge of Satanism will be met by progressive and innovative law enforcement administrators. Through education, training, planning and mutual cooperation, this threat to our society will be contained. Endnotes [1] William J. Petersen, _Those Curious New Cults in the 1980's_, Keats, New Canaan, Conn. 1982, p. 87. [2] Daniel Logan, _America Bewitched_, Morrow, New York, 1973, pp. 13-14. [3] Ibid, pp. 64-65. [4] Aleister Crowley, _Magic(k) in Theory and Practice_, Castle, New York, date unknown, pp. 95-96. [5] Petersen, p. 89. [6] Ibid, pp. 89-90. [7] Anton Szandor La Vey, _The Satanic Bible_, Avon, New York, 1969, pp. 69-70. [8] Ibid, pp. 88-89. [9] Ibid, Introduction. [10] Ronald Noblet, Gang Consultant, Lecture at Center for the Administration of Justice, University of Southern California, February 21, 1986. [11] John Stratton, Director Psychological Services, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Interview on February 10, 1986. [12] Darlyne Pettinicchio, Gang Consultant, Lecture at Center for the Administration of Justice, University of Southern California, January 23, 1985. [13] Noblet. [14] Bob Barker, "Satanism Overtones and Other Slayings," _Los Angeles Times_, September 2, 1985.


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank