Walpurgisnacht, 1990 e.v. The purpose of this essay is to present a brief overview of the

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Walpurgisnacht, 1990 e.v. The purpose of this essay is to present a brief overview of the "best" (i.e., most interesting as well as most apparently comprehensive) of literally dozens of publications discussing purported satanic/ritualistic crime conspiracies. Since satanic/ritualistic murderers would likely repeat their actions year after year according to a calendar of satanic holidays (e.g., Walpurgisnacht which falls on April 30), such people would also be deemed serial murderers. Several books list hundreds of serial murderers (6 and 12), but only a few of these people claim any satanic link, notably Henry Lee Lucas who is the subject of both a recent biography (2) and a new movie (13). Lucas and his partner, Ottis Toole, both were allegedly part of a group known as the "Hand of Death" which is said inter alia to kill on contract, deal in drugs and smuggle children to Mexico. No clear public evidence for such a group is available to the best of my knowledge, although its activities are claimed to be extensive. Alleged "Nightstalker" serial murderer Richard Ramirez became infamous when he flashed an inverted pentagram drawn on the palm of his hand as he walked into a Los Angeles courtroom but appears to have acted alone. Author Maury Terry (10) has written the most flamboyant book concerning The Process Church of the Final Judgement, which he claims links New York's "Son of Sam" serial murderer David Berkowitz with California's Manson family (allegedly responsible for the 1969 Tate/LaBianca slayings) and numerous more obscure murders and other crimes. Author Ed Sanders was forced to remove allegations concerning The Process Church from his book (7) on the Manson family. Other less lurid books (1 and 8) cast The Process in a more benign light. What conclusions can we draw from these stories? Lucas' claimed existence of the "Hand of Death" stands unverified. The Process Church's supposed connections to various crimes rest primarily on Terry's 1987 allegations, but no indictments have been handed down. Terry's long-promised sequel book has yet to emerge. Serial murderers certainly have existed for centuries (4), but they appear to be lone actors in almost every case (5). In a nutshell (pun intended), no solid evidence of a satanic/ritualistic conspiracy involving serial murders has ever been presented! It appears that the tide of fundamentalist books on the topic has peaked and may be receding, at least in the U.S.A. Carol White's recent "epistle" (11) may be an exception. (I am aware of the valiant efforts of Chris Bray of The Sorcerer's Apprentice in Leeds to fight misinformation on paganism in the U.K.) Many U.S. "fundies" seem to have become disillusioned or gone into hiding following the well-publicized disgrace of a slew (pun intended) of TV evangelists. One Xtian publisher has even gone so far as to withdraw its book (9) from the market after reporters cast doubt on its validity. The most accurate debunking that I have seen of the satanic/ritualistic crimes myth is set forth in a recent book (3) sponsored by the Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion (CSER). Its authors' credentials are impeccable, including a PhD physicist, an emeritus professor of religion, a doctoral candidate in comparative literature, a police consultant and an F.B.I. (Federal Bureau of Investigation) agent. The book concludes that "[t]he truth then is that Satanism is, as a religion, unfairly maligned and much misunderstood." p. 150. "Murders have been justified in the name of Christ many more times than in the name of Lucifer." p. 151. "All the promoters of this [new hysteria] are themselves suspect." p. 153. What psychological aberrations might explain the flood of allegations? As the authors of the CSER book conclude, some promoters of the satanism/ritualistic crime myth are simply "...opportunists who have used sweeping statements justified only by shoddy research to create for themselves a cottage industry of fear." p. 153. Others are people whose "...long histories of emotional and/or psychological problems are well documented." p. 154. The CSER book's bottom line: "None of the theory's proponents can provide any significant physical evidence in support of their claims and all of the anti-Satanist activists whom we have investigated appear to be either gullible, fraudulent or insane." p. 154. The psychological term "projection" also comes to mind for fundamentalists who are not otherwise certifiably mentally ill, i.e., as defined in Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary (1981): "...the attribution of one's own ideas, feelings, or attitudes to other people or to objects; [especially] the externalization of blame, guilt or responsibility as a defense against anxiety." I have known and worked extensively with fundamentalists of various descriptions. (I even married into a whole family of them in my younger days!) Quite frankly, I have found them to be the most repressed and hate-filled human beings imaginable, although generally these emotions are extremely well hidden. Their urge to remake others' attitudes/behavior is incredible. Why not just live and let live? It seems to me, then, that a projected "witchhunt" mentality serves as the basis for paranoia concerning imagined satanic/ritualistic crime conspiracies, when gullibility, greed and/or other mental illness are insufficient explanations. (I realize that my own statements should be evaluated carefully for projective tendencies and have thought carefully before saying these things.) Certain booksellers (14, 15 and 16) carry some of the titles listed below, as well as other most unusual publications! Interested readers are invited to correspond with the author at P.O. Box 466, Wickliffe, Ohio 44092, U.S.A. No mail bombs please!!! Books 1. Bainbridge, William Sims. Satan's Power (1978). University of California Press, 2120 Berkeley Way, Berkeley, CA. $14.95. A sociological view of The Process Church, which the author discreetly sanitizes as "The Power". 2. Call, Max. Hand of Death--The Henry Lee Lucas Story (1985). Prescott Press, Inc., 104 Row 2, Lafayette, LA 70505. Interesting even though written from a fundamentalist perspective. 3. Carlson, Shawn et al. Satanism in America--How the Devil Got Much More Than His Due (1989). Gaia Press, P.O. Box 466, El Cerrito, CA 94530-0466. $12.95. The most objective book in print on the subject! 4. Knight, Stephen. Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution (1986). Grafton Books, 8 Grafton Street, London W1X 3LA. 5. Markman, Ronald et al. Alone with the Devil--Famous Cases of a Courtroom Psychiatrist (1989). Doubleday, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10103. $18.95. Written by a court-appointed psychiatrist who examined two of Charles Manson's followers and a host of other celebrities! 6. Newton, Michael. Hunting Humans--An Encyclopedia of Modern Serial Killers (1990). Loompanics Unlimited, P.O. Box 1197, Port Townsend, WA 98368. $34.95. 7. Sanders, Ed. The Family (1971 hardback and 1989 paperback). New American Library, 1633 Broadway, New York, NY 10019. $5.95 paperback. A 1972 court settlement forced rewriting of this book to delete unflattering references to The Process. Thus the 1971 first edition is rare. The paperback contains four new chapters. 8. Sennitt, Stephen. The Process (1989). NOX Press, 170 Doncaster Road, Mexborough S64 0JW. 9. Stratford, Lauren. Satan's Underground--The Extraordinary Story of One Woman's Escape (1988). Harvest House Publishers, 1075 Arrowsmith, Eugene, OR 97402. A fundamentalist rant withdrawn by the publisher after doubts surfaced about the author's truthfulness. 10. Terry, Maury. The Ultimate Evil (1987 hardback and 1989 paperback). Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10103. $5.95 paperback. What a great address for conspiracy theorists (see also #5)! 11. White, Carol. Satanism: Crime Wave of the '90s (1990). Executive Intelligence Review, P.O. Box 17390, Washington, D.C. 20041-0390. $100.00. An expensive but fascinating rant by a publishing arm of perennial American presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche (now serving a long prison term for alleged financial misdeeds). 12. Wilson, Colin et al. The Encyclopedia of Modern Murder (1988). Crown Publishers, Inc. 225 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003. $17.95. Film 13. "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer" (1990). This movie could make Henry Lee Lucas the next American cult hero--like Charles Manson! Purveyors of Most Unusual Publications 14. AMOK, P.O. Box 861867, Terminal Annex, Los Angeles, CA 90086-1867. Catalog contains over 4,000 titles and is $5.00. Best weirdness source I've seen! 15. Loompanics Unlimited. P.O. Box 1197, Port Townsend, WA 98368. Catalog is $3.00. Also very worthwhile if strangeness is your game! 16. Paladin Press, P.O. Box 1307, Boulder, CO 80306. Catalog is $1.00.


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