Walpurgisnacht, 1990 e.v. The purpose of this essay is to present a brief overview of the
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!!!
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
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.
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
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.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank