February 13, 1988 - By LISA LEVITT RYCKMAN AP National Writer Five years ago, Colorado pol

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February 13, 1988 ------ By LISA LEVITT RYCKMAN AP National Writer Five years ago, Colorado police destroyed evidence in a teen-age suicide when their cruiser tires obliterated occult symbols drawn with a stick in driveway gravel. Oklahoma investigators saved a few satanic drawings and writings by a boy who had killed his parents; relatives threw away the rest. They know better now. Police, parents, teachers and clergy have learned some tough lessons about a hard-to-believe phenomenon as dark as it is complex. Violence and crime among teen-agers caught up in the occult, particularly a self-styled Satanism laced with drugs, savage rock music and a mish-mash of symbols and rituals, have adults talking seriously about the unspeakable. "Three years ago, nobody wanted to hear it, nobody believed it was real," said San Francisco police Detective Sandi Gallant, who receives four calls a day from around the country on crimes with satanic or occult overtones. "Now I'm seeing them tuning into it, looking to see it is a reality and facing it head-on." The Satan of "Paradise Lost" was a favored angel cast from Heaven for defying God. In the 1980s, a small but growing number of fallen angels has pushed accepted adolescent rebellion into the realm of the bizarre. "The paranoid fantasy is becoming a major national social problem," said Carl Rashcke, director of the Institute of Humanities at the University of Denver. "If you're not looking for it, you don't see the evidence. But when you're looking for it, you see it everywhere." In one month this winter, three Missouri teen-agers were charged with first-degree murder in the death of a classmate beaten with baseball bats and dumped into a cistern with a bludgeoned cat. A popular 15-year-old put a rifle to her head in Vermont. A New Jersey eighth-grader fatally stabbed his mother with a Boy Scout knife, then slit his throat and wrists. "The kids will tell you themselves: `What have we got to live for? You've crammed religion down our throats. You've destroyed everything. You've built bombs that can wipe out the world. So we live for today,"' said Denver police Detective Bill Wickersham. "That's what Satanism says -- `Do what thou wilt."' At the Chicago-based Cult Awareness Network, every month brings news of a teen-ager involved in crime believed linked to devil worship. At least 10 percent of the 250 calls they receive each month are about satanic cults, a significant figure considering the thousands of U.S. cults. "I suspect we're only getting the tip of the iceberg," said Executive Director Cynthia Kisser. "I believe for every one we're hearing about, there are five or six teen-agers ... we haven't picked up on." It's easy to see why. Thomas Sullivan Jr., 14, appeared to be a model son and student until a month before he killed his mother and himself. Michele Kimball, 15, before she put a bullet through her brain, was considered a giving, loving child who brought light into others' lives. James Hardy, one of three 17-year-olds charged in the beating death, was senior class president. Kids involved in self-styled Satanism -- separate from the traditional religious Satanists, who are public about their beliefs and disapprove of criminal activity, and adult devil cults, which some observers believe use drugs and blackmail to lure youngsters into crime -- usually are bright and creative, sometimes underachievers. Like many teen-agers, they lack self-confidence and have trouble communicating with their families. Most are white males, although that is changing, and often from stable, middle-class families. Satanism, which revels in evil, destruction, instant gratification and ritual guaranteed to shock parents, offers the ultimate rebellion. "It's a shortcut to power, and the only thing you have to do is stick your neck out. There's this element of danger," said Linda Blood, a former member of the Temple of Set, a group of traditional Satanists. "It's like the occult version of the Marines: `Are you man enough for this? Do you have what it takes?"' Law enforcement, which has been in the forefront of education about teen-age satanic activity, cautions against reading too much into youthful fascination with such common introductions to the occult as heavy metal music, fantasy games like Dungeons & Dragons or science fiction. "Only about 5 percent of the kids ever involved through one of those influences will get extremely involved, and only 1 to 3 percent will become obsessed and act out in a violent way," Gallant said. Some graduate from fun and games to experimentation. They become "dabblers," adopting some of the outward trappings: black clothing, inverted crosses, encircled pentagrams, goat heads or the number 666 worn as jewelry or drawn on notebooks. How do parents know when the dabbling is turning dangerous? Involved kids keep a "Book of Shadows," sometimes just a simple spiral notebook, where they write down rituals, violent song lyrics, satanic symbols and suicide notes, according to Detective Jerry Simandl of the Chicago police department's Gang Crimes Task Force. They might create their own code, possibly some form of reverse alphabet, and give themselves satanic names. They might set up a kind of altar in their bedrooms using candles, ritual knives, skulls and bones. Some rob graveyards to get what they need. Drugs play a major role, especially amphetamines, PCP and hallucinogens such as psilocybin. Satanism and drugs were the glue for the Purple Knights, a gang of Denver-area teen-agers, some as young as 12, involved in burglaries, suicide attempts, auto theft and arson. They conducted rituals where they drank blood drained from self-inflicted c


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