WITCH BASHING BY POLICE This file, courtesy of the W L P A, is from a Police bulletin call

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WITCH BASHING BY POLICE This file, courtesy of the W L P A, is from a Police bulletin called, The Police Marksman, published by Police Marksman Association, 6000 East Shirley Lane, Montgomery, Alabama 36117, publisher/editor Charles Leslie Dees and Connie Adams Dees. This is published bi-monthly since 1976. The article below is from the September/October issue, Vol. XIII, No. 5, 1988. ______________________________________________________________________________ THE WEIRD AND THE UNKNOWN by Joseph Melnichak If you spend enough time in our business, you may get to the point where you think you have seen it all. Beware of the officer who says he has seen it all. Like Murphy's law that says, "there is no bottom to worse," the muses and forces that govern law enforcement dictate that there is no ultimate to weird - not when you deal with people. About time you sink back and peer over you stained coffee mug and think that you have seen it all, the next call you get will make a liar of you. The average officer's time from swearing in to pension is usually divided into three phases - at least for the purpose of this column. The first phase is "I haven't seen anything." This is marked by the fact each call and each encounter is new and different. Calls are handled with wide-eyed wonder and marked enthusiasm. The officer the evolves into the second phases [sic] which is "I've seen it all." This is the cynical phase.#It is marked by a jaundiced view that there is nothing under the sun which the officer hasn't seen or handled. Calls and reports are handled with eyes hooded like Sly Stallone and a bored scowl which tells of hours enmeshed in human misery and fault. When wisdom replaces cynicism, the third phase arrives. This is called "I've seen a lot but humans are so inventive that people are basically weird and live to mess up my day." This phase is marked with a blend of wide-eyed wonder and the expectation that people, being people, will act weird for the sole purpose of the officer's amusement and entertainment - once the crisis has passed. This officer is no longer surprised at what people can do; nor, is this officer expecting weird behavior from people. He understands that people are people and will behave in a certain way. If anything, this phase can be termed acceptance without comment. While weird behavior of most people is not of a tactical concern here - save for a source of locker room humor - there are those who transcend normalcy and even transcend weird behavior by routine (?) standards. These people present a unique problem to the officer. Unique in that conventional thought process must be put aside and a new thought process must take over. Their crimes make sense only to themselves and to their "group." To those on the outside, their criminal activity is beyond comprehension - a truly senseless crime. It is unless you understand what is behind it and why they will do those things to each other and others. Then it will make a kind of sense. The reason for the concern for this type of weird crime in an area mostly dealing with terrorism is that there is a spill over effect. One cannot view the events surrounding the fabled "Son of Sam" killer(s) in New York without feeling the city was in the grips of terror. While this, of course, a misapplication of terrorism, it is something we have to deal with, though some will only do so on a limited basis. It happens often enough that it warrants being known by all of us. None of us in law enforcement can sit back in comfort knowing with any degree of certitude that our area of operations is free from those who will do the absolute weirdest crime or rite. There is no small community in this country which can be smug in the knowledge this scenario occurs only in the large metro areas. Weird behavior knows no geographic limit. I have become aware of this type of activity only because of the "spill over" effect as it concerns the activities of the Neo-Nazi groups and other extremists. I do not profess to be an expert on the occult or on Satanic crimes. I have studied with and talked with those who are. I will not leave any reader with the impression that a limited amount of study and a seminar or two qualifies anyone as an expert. There are those like Deputy Thomas Kerfoot of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department who are experts and are most willing to share their expertise. Man has always been fascinated with the occult and with the basic philosophical questions of good and evil. This has led him to explain much of what surrounds him in those terms. Some cultures, yet today, have a catalogue of god and goddesses to explain life and questions surrounding experience. Others pride their culture in being removed from those needs in favor of scientific and rational approach to existence. However, beneath that vaneer [sic] of civilization lies a fascination with it all - magic, gods, evil, Satan, spooks, ghosts and, haints. We make movies about it. We whisper amongst ourselves about strange and unexplained happenings. We read horoscopes and consult seers to determine our future.We wear charms and amulets to inspire, protect, or enchant us. We, for all of our pretense to the contrary, stand in awe of the unknown and need something to assist us in the explaining of the unexplainable. Up to this point, there is nothing to concerned abut from a law enforcement standpoint, save for the occasional fraud or con game. Again, seems like pretty routine stuff. There are those who take all of this to the nth degree - one more step. There are those who claim to be witches and belong to covens. They perform their magic and cast their spells. They bring to mind the opening scene from "MacBeth." [sic] It shocks us to think there are those still around who honestly believe in magic and witchcraft. We quickly avoid any comment on this other than through humor and satire. But, those people are all over the country. Cotton Mather and his cohorts didn't end it at Salem. Still, there is no law against claiming to be a witch or a warlock. While it may be unpleasant, mixing bats wings and such in a cauldron, does not really violate any laws. There are those who will go one step beyond this. There are those who do commit crimes in the name of their belief - horrible and unspeakable crimes in the name of their credo. These are the ones we need to be concerned with. To those who would raise their eyebrows in disbelief and scoff, let me say I was once with you. After some research and discussion with various investigators, I have come to the conclusion this stuff goes on. What stuff? Satanic black masses, sacrifices, canibalism, abductions, murder, and rape - all in the name of Satan or Lucifer. Is this stuff for real? Are there such things as evil spirits roaming the world? I personally don't know. Professionally, it is enough for us to know there are those people out there who do believe in it and cause crimes to occur. To those who are interested, let me say a quick introduction into this world of can be had through two basic books. If you have a chance to hear Tom Kerfoot speak, I would highly recommend it as both eye-opening and worth the time. Investigative reporter Maury Terry has written a very good book on the Satanic subculture called THE ULTIMATE EVIL. In this work, Terry peers into the world of convicted "Son of Sam" killer David Berkowitz. The detail with which Terry writes reveals this subculture and the lengths its influence reaches - from New York to Los Angeles; from Texas to North Dakota; from San Jose to Florida. He discusses the origins of the cult as well as what the cult is capable of doing. This is not a novel by Stephen King but a slice of life. This is not something from the imaginations of a gaggle of Hollywood script writers, but something police officers have had to deal with in each of those jurisdictions. Now, there are those who will, again, utter those classic words, "But it can't happen here." How many have had unexplainable animal mutilations? One department in the deep South had 10 dogs carved and butchered but their Chief excused it all as some prank. Perhaps, not every mutilation is the work of some cult. But to dismiss it without investigation or even consider the possibility is to do disservice to the public we protect. If it can happen in a small town in the deep South or in North Dakota, it can and does happen anywhere. The second book worth reading on this is by Ed Sanders called THE FAMILY. Author Sanders, in very readable prose, details the workings of the Manson "Family" up until the time of the arrests at Barker and Spahn ranches. In interviews with both principles and fringe members, the scenes of eating a human heart and drinking dog's blood leap out at the reader. Terry in his book, connects Manson with the cult to which Berkowitz was a member. There are reported films and tapes made by the Mansonoids of their rituals.#Sanders does a very fine job of tracking down rumors and stories to provide a look into the world of the weird and strange. We know there are those who, for whatever reason, have entered into this type of behavior.#Sanders, in his book, tells of the fascination with the occult by outlaw bikers and the association of some of the bikers with the Manson group. The same types are also used by various neo-Nazi groups to transport arms and other contraband. The association is made because bikers are suppose to hate Blacks and Jews. So, philosophically, they are aligned with the far "right" wing extremists. Many bikers also have a fascination and admiration for Nazi Germany and will bedeck themselves with Nazi emblems and regalia, in honor of brother Adolf. This is where the "spillover" comes in. Bikers are useful to the nazi groups - an instant action arm or enforcement unit. One can find a parallel to Hitler's "Brown Shirts" during his rise to power. One also has to remember what happened to the Brown shirts when Hitler finally didn't need them anymore. For those who have forgotten, it was called "Night of the Long Knives" and several bosom buddies paid dearly for underestimating Hitler. There is some evidence of the fascination by Hitler of the occult. Here is where the trail becomes muddy.#It is easy to believe Hitler had his image of the occult. It is also too easy to excuse this type of aborration to one single concept. Hitler was far too complex a character to have it all explained through one facet alone. Thus far, we have very briefly covered the weird world and what it is capable of doing. That part was to alert many to its existence and the possibility of similar crimes in their jurisdictions. The central idea is not to make experts of all who read this but merely to plant the idea that this type of motivation is to be considered. We need to flexible enough to allow those ideas which are not routine or normal in to explain motives. We cannot dismiss the possibility of these types of crimes simply because we, ourselves, do not believe in the "Mumbo Jumbo" they believe in. We need to be flexible enough to pick up on certain clues and manifestations which would tend to bolster that idea. We cannot afford to simply dismiss it out of hand. Deputy Kerfoot has given permission to use some of the material he hands out to his classes to be used here. The purpose is to provide a seed of an idea. Not every case where some of these things are present will be occult-oriented or Satanic in nature. When these are found, it should be a clue to get in touch with an expert and check things out more closely. It is also important to remember that there are levels of degrees of membership. There are those who would be called "wannabe" in class. A wannabe is a corruption of "Want to be" and is a neophyte who desires to be associated with a group - be they bikers, witches, satanists or whatever. There are also those known as dabblers who will only dabble in the occult, as a lark for shock value to the older generations. then there are the hard-core members we have to concern ourselves with. In general crime scene investigations, the following should signal that there may be occult or Black Occult activity: 1. mockery of Christian symbols, such as the inverted cross. 2. use of stolen or vandalized Christian artifacts 3. discovery of candles or candle drippings 4. unusual drawings, symbols on walls or floor 5. non-discernible alphabet 6. animal mutilations including removal of specific body parts 7. use of animal parts such as feathers or bones to form signs and symbols on the ground 8. absence of blood on the ground or in the animal 9. altar containing artifacts such as knives, chalice, etc. 10. effigies such as voodoo dolls stuck with pins 11. bowls of powder or colored salt 12. skulls with or without candles 13. robes, especially black, white, or scarlet 14. rooms draped in black or red 15. books on Satanism, "Magic" Rituals, etc


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