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by Robert Hicks
Adapted from a presentation given at the llth annual crime prevention conference of
the Virginia Crime Prevention Association, Chesapeake, Virginia, June 23, l989
NOTE: The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily
reflect opinions of the Department of Criminal Justice Services or the Commonwealth
Criminal Justice Analyst/Law Enforcement Section
Department of Criminal Justice Services
805 E. Broad Street
Richmond, Virginia 232l9
"I wish to alert you to a dangerous cult that has implanted itself not only in
Virginia but throughout the country. This group, called the Tnevnoc cult, is a
"communal, sectarian group affiliated with a large and powerful international
I can communicate something to you of the methods and goals of the organization by
describing the cult's recruitment and indoctrination practices.
"The cult aims to recruit young women, either
teenagers or young adults, and does so openly at schools and colleges. Following
indoctrination into the cult, young women eventually lose any power of will, succumbing
entirely to the regimen of the cult.
"Cult members must abandon their former lives, even surrendering their outside
friendships and personal possessions. Cult members' activities, then, involve the cult
exclusively. Members must arise at 4:30 in the morning, wear prayer beads attached to
their wrists, engage in long, monotonous chants and prayers, and in one of the most
bizarre activities, members consumed food they were told represented the dead cult
founder's body. Women must even pledge in writing absolute obedience to the cult. To
further distance itself from worldly affairs, the cult assigns new names to members and
designates as their birthdays the dates of their entry into the cult.
"After hours of performing menial tasks such as scrubbing floors coupled with the
incessant recitation of ritualistic prayers, members might occasionally transgress rules
which are punished harshly. For example, punishment might require women to go without
food, having to beg on their knees for the crumbs from others' plates. But the most
shocking ritual of all required members to become brides to the dead cult leader.
"I hope that I have sufficiently aroused your curiosity, if not your indignation and
anger that such activities could happen in the United States. In
case you haven't figured it out, Tnevnoc is Convent spelled backwards. I have just
described the socialization of young women into Christian convents. But, you say, convents
are harmless, in a criminal sense anyway, and in part comprise established religion in our
society. In short, convents are legitimate.
"I have described the working of Christian convents in this way for a few reasons.
First, I have used the jargon of police satanic cult seminars to describe a familiar
phenomenon. Viewed in cult seminar terms, convents appear evil and pernicious. I sprinkled
in the description words which are never defined by cult crime experts, that is,
"cult" and "ritual." Cult crime experts, as they call themselves, by
not defining such words, impart to them connotations of evil, the demonic, the
supernaturally criminal. If you don't think my description of Christian convents provides
a fair comparison to the way non-Christian religions are described at cult crime seminars,
think again. When convents appeared in the United States during the last century,
many citizens objected to their manipulative, authoritarian methods by describing the same
practices in the same ways to arose public mortification. Similarly, one reads
newspaper accounts nowadays of how officers investigate ceremonial sites with altars,
pentagrams, melted candle wax in ritually significant colors, all frequently involving
innocuous teenage antics but sometimes attributable to small non-Christian groups who show
no criminal involvement.
"Law enforcement officals flock to training seminars about satanic cults and crime.
The seminars offer a world view that interprets both the familiar and
explainable--and unfamiliar and poorly understood--as increasing participation by
Americans in satanic worship. The seminars further claim that satanism has spawned
gruesome crimes and aberrant behavior that might presage violent crime. I suggest
that the current preoccupation with satanism and cults involves nothing new: the
phenomenon has a firm and documented historical and sociological context. I also
suggest that the news media have largely defined the law enforcement model of cult
activity since the evidence offered at cult seminars for cult mayhem is nothing more than
newspaper stories. Frequently, though, the same news stories don't even attribute
nasty incidents to cults, but the police have been quick to infer from them
cause-effect relationships anyway. The law enforcement model of cult crime is
ill-considered, based on nondocumented secondary sources or other unsubstantiated
information, and is rife with errors of logic. Such errors include false analogies,
faulty cause-effect relationships, and broad, unsupported generalizations. The cult
crime model betrays an ignorance of a larger academic context of anthropology, sociology,
psychology, and history.
"Even the law enforcement literature makes the same mistakes. For example, Law
Enforcement News, a publication of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York,
began an article on cult crime with a titillating opener: "A l4-year-old Jefferson
Township, N.J., boy kills his mother with a Boy Scout knife, sets the family home on fire,
and commits suicide in a neighbor's backyard by slashing his wrists and throat.
Investigators find books on the occult and Satan worship in the boy's room."(2) The article, then, implied some
connection between reading books on the occult and the murder/suicide. But did the boy
have a collection of spiders? A stack of pornographic magazines under his bed? A
girlfriend who just jilted him? A history of psychiatric treatment for depression?
Newspaper accounts never mention other attributes of a crime scene since only those
touched by a nameless, faceless evil will suit the reader's hunger for an explanation of
why good boys do terrible things. And the same newspaper article will be reproduced and
circulated at cult seminars to substantiate
the satanic connection.
"The cult crime model is in part driven by Fundamentalist Christianity. The most
notable newsletter circulating among cult crime investigators, the File l8 Newsletter,
follows a Christian world view in which police officers, who claim to separate their
religious views from their professional duties, nevertheless maintain that salvation
through Jesus Christ is the only sure antidote to satanic involvement, whether criminal or
noncriminal, and point out that no police officer can honorably and properly do his or her
duty without reference to Christian standards. But more of File l8 Newsletter in a moment.
Other cult crime seminar speakers make a living at it: Thomas Wedge, a former deputy
sheriff, maintains a Baptist line of thinking at his seminars by beginning with his brand
of "Theology l0l."(3)
And while cult seminar presenters caution about respecting First Amendment rights of
unusual beliefs, the same officers can't help but inflict their bias on audiences:
anything that is not mainstream Christianity is dubbed a "non-traditional
belief." Cult officers distribute handouts at seminars showing symbols to identify at
crime scenes, accompanied by their meanings. The cult cops attribute fixed meanings to the
symbols as if satanists world-wide universally use the symbols in precise configurations
with identical meanings. The handouts typically attribute no sources but many derive from
Christian material. For example, the peace symbol of the l960's is now dubbed the
"Cross of Nero." Someone decided that the upside-down broken cross on the symbol
somehow mocks Christianity. In fact, common knowledge has it that the symbol was invented
in the l950's using semaphore representations for the letters "n" and
"d" for nuclear disarmament. But cult officers go on their merry
way, uncritically disseminating borrowed, undocumented information.
"Fundamentalist Christianity motivates the
proponents of cult crime conspiracy theories in other ways. For example, arguing against
their theory is, to them, attacking their world view. Special Agent Ken Lanning of the FBI
understands this quite well. Lanning, an agent who specializes in child abuse cases, has
offered skeptical observations about satanic crime at many seminars, only to be branded a
satanist himself by Christian groups. Lanning has noted the irony of this, since he raises
his own family according to Christian principles. But to some cult crime officers, arguing
against their model denies the existence of Satan as a lurking,
palpable entity who appears to tempt and torture us. Satan becomes the ultimate crime
leader: the drug lord, the Mafia don, the gang leader. Chicago police investigator Jerry
Simandl has demonstrated the cult officer world view in his work. He doesn't
just investigate crimes, he also interprets cult behavior--particularly that which
threatens Christians-- according to the cult seminar world view, interpretations that were
once the province of crusading clergy. He can tell whether a church vandalism was
mindlessly committed by kids or purposefully by a cult group: "For example, an
organ might be vandalized by having its keys broken. That means the vandals were seeking
to deny a congregation the ability to 'communicate with God' through music."(4) Simandl draws amazing inferences about a
crime that experiences the lowest clearance rate because we are frequently left with no
suspects and no evidence beyond the vandalism. And it apparently occurs to no one to link
a church vandalism to, say, a bias crime, a term coming to the fore these days in law
enforcement practice, a term now taking on a legal definition.* But no: the vandalism so
shocks Christian sensibilities that the cult officer--armed with his new world view that
cults cause crime--can only interpret the crime as satanic. ( "Bias crimes, or incidents of hate violence, are words or actions
intended to intimidate or injure an individual because of his or her race, religion,
national origin, or sexual preference. Bias crimes range from threatening phone calls to
murder. The impact of these types of offenses is far more pervasive than impacts of
comparable crimes that do not involve prejudice because the consequences frighten an
entire group. The fear that such acts generate . . .can victimize a whole class of
people." From Justice Research, November/December l987, p. l, published by the
National Criminal Justice Assocation.)
"As I noted before, cult crime officers do not define their terms: the words
"cult," "occult," "satanic," and "ritual" find
casual usage, the words imbued with demonic and evil associations. Evil is, indeed, the
operative word. Law enforcers who meld cult crime theories with their professional world
views have transformed their legal duties into a confrontation between good and evil. So
back to the File l8 Newsletter. The publication's editor, police officer Larry Jones,
believes that a satanic network exists in all levels of society, a network that maintains
extreme secrecy to shroud its program of murder. Defensive about the lack of physical
evidence of cult mayhem, Jones states:
"Those who deny, explain away, or cover up the obvious undeniably growing mountain of
evidence often demand statistical evidence or positive linkages between operational
suspect groups. At best, this demand for positive proof of a 'horizontal conspiracy' is
naive. . .
Consider the possibility that the reason supposedly unrelated groups in different
localities over various time periods acting-out in a similar manner, is that consistent
directives are recieved [sic] independently from higher levels of authority. Instead of
being directly linked to each other, these groups may be linked vertically to a common
source of direction and control. This 'vertical conspiracy model' is consistent with the
'authoritarian'. . .structure seen in many cult and occult groups.
"Those who accept this theory as a reasonable possibility need to rethink the
meaning, scope, and effects of the term conspiracy!(5) In other words, if the evidence doesn't seem to fit a particular
conspiracy theory, just create a bigger conspiracy theory. Other hints of File l8
Newsletter's Fundamentalist bias show through in other ways. Writer Arthur Lyons recounted
receiving a copy of the newsletter accompanied by an article from a Christian magazine,
Passport, entitled, "America's Best Kept Secret."(6) The article described the "best-kept secret" as the conspiracy
of satanists in America among all classes and races, and the article further noted the
"Wicca Letters," a spurious document which offers a blueprint for takeover by
satanists. Jones has apparently not decided to abandon Passport of late: in a recent issue
of File l8 Newsletter (Volume IV, No. 89-4) the Passport article is
once again available with an accompanying videotape for "an effective training
combination." But Jones and other cult officers impose any model they can contrive on
a hodge-podge of ideas, claims, exaggerations, or suppositions.
"For example, cult investigators would have us believe that cult practitioners learn
skills in the vivisection of livestock and household pets. One investigator, retired
police captain Dale Griffis, says that "occultists will stun the animal on his back
with an electric probe. Then they will spray freon on the animal's throat. . .The heart's
still pumping and they will use an embalming tool to get the blood out. It's fast and
efficient. Hell, the farmer heard the animal whine, and he was there within five
"A sheriff's investigator, in a memorandum about cattle mutilations, interviewed a
young woman who claimed to be an ex-satanic cult member who had mutilated animals. Her
cult, which consisted of "doctors, lawyers, veterinarians" were taught by the
vets how to perform the fatal surgery. The animal's blood and removed organs, it seems,
were used for baptismal rites. She further related:
"When using the helicopter [the cult members] sometimes picked up the cow by using a
homemade. . .sling. . .and they would move it and drop it further down from where the
mutilations occurred. This would account for there not being any footprints or tire
tracks... When using the van trucks they would also have a telescoping lift which... was
about 200 feet
long mounted outside the truck and would use that to extend a man out to the cow, and he
would mutilate it from a board platform on the end of the boom and would never touch the
ground. . .They some times do three or four cows. (8)
"Of course, the cult members went to such lengths because they delight in baffling
"The sheriff's investigator reported to his supervisor each detail of this story from
a convincing woman, but he was obviously unacquainted with a principle of logic, Occam's
Razor. This principle suggests that when faced with two hypotheses for an explanation,
each of which can explain the phenomenon, one chooses the simpler. The investigator never
considered here the work of a predator, or even the action of a vandal. Of course, news
accounts of such livestock deaths, particularly if related by cult officers, will
attribute deaths to cultists, and newspapers will use one of my favorite adverbs for such
activities: the animal was killed and organs were surgically removed. Did a surgeon do the
work? Can a police officer tell the difference between a hole in a cow's head put there by
a bullet, scalpel, or predator's bite? But back to Occam's Razor. Imagine the woman's
story: trucks with 200-foot booms are not plentiful and would appear conspicuous in rural
America, particularly when the cultists call in helicopter air support.
"In other areas, cult crime officers simply deny facts. For example, one of the
recent murders dubbed satanic by cult officers was that of Stephen Newberry, a teenager
from Springfield, New Jersey, whose friends bashed him to death with a baseball bat. Even
though Larry Jones quotes local investigators, a prosecutor, a psychologist, and an
academic cult expert who claimed that no satanic sacrifice of Newberry occurred but
instead blamed drug abuse, Jones nevertheless offers the opinion that the experts do not
give credit to the strong influence of the tenets of the satanic belief system over its
initiates. In some cases the subjects become
involved with satanism... prior to the onset of family problems... [T]he only true and
lasting solution to 'devil worship' or satanicinvolvement is a personal encounter with
true Christianity... (9)
"Jones's earlier guess that a "vertical conspiracy" might exist, that a
higher authority directs groups to murder as a form of worship to Satan within an
authoritarian cult led by a charismatic leader, is a ghost of the cult officer's mind: the
police have identified no such groups.
"Characteristically, law enforcement cult seminars all parley the same model of
satanic cults, circulating the same second-hand information, most of it without
documentation or sources for quotations. The model convinces many because it takes
phenomena familiar to the officer and imbues them with new meanings: officers learn a new
vocabulary to describe old phenomena and therefore see the cult problem as a new threat to
"The self-proclaimed cult experts who teach the seminars advise officers not to
interfere with constitutionally-protected civil liberties, yet proceed to do just that.
Investigator Bill Lightfoot, Richmond, Virginia, Bureau of Police, recommends confiscating
books on the occult whenever law enforcers find them during investigations (ritual crime
in- service seminar, Petersburg, VA, September l3, l988); other cult experts such as Dale
Griffis have advised officers to ask public libraries to turn over to police lists of
patrons who have borrowed books on the occult. (10) The same self-proclaimed experts take the bigoted stand that because a
person commits a vile crime and identifies himself as a satanist, then by extension all
satanists must have condoned the crime; the crime must be sanctioned by the satanic order
or church. That relationship between the person and the belief, then, justifies police
surveillance of non-Christian groups. By contrast, we don't follow the same reasoning
when Christians or Jews commit crimes. In Richmond recently, police arrested a man who had
years ago murdered his family. He had since been living under a new identity with a new
wife. The fact that the murderer was a conservative churchgoing Christian did not lead
anyone to label his acts as Christian crime, but if the man had professed a belief in
Satan, or in any other so- called "non-traditional belief," such as Yoruba,
voodoo or hoodoo, cult cops would be quick to label the crime as evidence of cult activity
"Larry Jones provides an example. In his File l8 Newsletter, he discusses some
"non-traditional" beliefs and ends up finding fault even where he can't connect
crime with the belief. In a discourse on Wicca witchcraft, he posits, for example, that
any belief system must set absolute standards of conduct. Relative ones won't do because
they "open the door to excesses." (11) So in a treatment of Wicca he can only find fault by abstracting this
standard of absolute conduct that measures somehow the legitimacy of belief systems. While
concluding nevertheless that Wicca is benign and that its practitioners claim no
connection with satanism, Jones lumps Wicca in with "Luciferian" Aleister
Crowley with his ties to Black Magic organizations. Larry Jones forgets that if a belief
system "opens its door to excesses," the history of Christianity provides no
small example of excesses committed for holy purposes.
"One doesn't condemn Christianity because Jim Jones and his group--all Christians
--committed mass suicide or because the Pope spurred a murderous crusade in the Middle
East some centuries ago. Whether or not people can get criminal ideas from belief
systems--whether from Buddhism, Christianity, voodoo, Islam, or anything else--has little
to do with the belief system but rather with a person's own psychological make-up. And in
this realm the police have no jurisdiction. It is not a law enforcement responsibility to
guess at what might prompt a citizen to commit a crime. Police arrest people who commit
crimes under the influence of alcohol, but we don't blame the alcohol. People who have
domestic disputes live in homes with guns and knives, but we don't take away such weapons
to prevent a
"In the cult crime seminars, cult officers give a disjointed history of satanism and
witchcraft and usually peg two contemporary satanists who have molded the philosophy of
their movement: Aleister Crowley and Anton LaVey. Crowley, described in police seminars as
an "influential satanist," although indulging in pagan shenanigans during the
early part of the century, promoted the Order of the Golden Dawn and the Ordo Templi
Orientis, "the largest practicing satanic cult operating today," according to
Griffis (advanced ritualistic crime seminar, Richmond, VA,
September 22, l989). Further, say the police, the main belief
fostered by groups deriving from Crowley's legacy involves "sexual perversion."
"LaVey, on the other hand, a former police photographer and circus performer, founded
the Church of Satan in San Francisco in l966 at the zenith of Haight Ashbury hippiedom.
Police officers teach that LaVey's two books, The Satanic Bible and The Satanic Rituals
Book, can be dangerous. In particular, cult officers cite LaVey's nine principles of the
Church of Satan which include:
l. Satan represents indulgence, instead of abstinence!
5. Satan represents vengeance, instead of turning the other cheek!
8. Satan represents all of the so-called sins, as they lead to physical or
mental gratification! (12)
Cult officers maintain that LaVey's dicta foster in his followers the attitude, "If
it feels good, do it," thus justifying criminal acts.
"Aleister Crowley, apparently, added a more wicked dimension to this philosophy for
in his Book of the Law he states, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the
law." (13) Taken in
context, however, the book consists of a metaphorical jaunt through the ancient Egyptian
pantheon full of erotic and Masonic allusions. What Crowley said was not meant to be taken
literally, but figuratively.
"A reading of Crowley's text reveals that the damning statement refers to people
inevitably moving through their lives according to their destinies, that people will act
according to experience, impulse, and the "law of growth." In other words,
people are going to do what people are going to do. Put another way, people are what they
are. But Crowley did not worship Satan nor spur his followers to worship Satan.
"I heard Investigator Lightfoot (noted earlier) give
a cult crime seminar (September l3, l988, Petersburg, VA) in which he held up a copy of
Crowley's book and said that short of obtaining one from a member of the highly secretive
Ordo Templi Orientis, one can only obtain a copy from an obscure Pennsylvania occult
bookstore. He said that he could not reveal how he obtained his copy. I happened to
examine the officer's copy, noted the reprinting publisher's name and address, and called
their customer service representative. The company, Samuel Weiser, publishes quite a few
books under the New Age category. I asked how to obtain a copy of Crowley: she replied
that I need only send a check for $5.50 and I would soon receive one. When I told her what
Lightfoot had said about the difficulty of obtaining a copy, she
exclaimed, "But we'll sell it to anyone who asks!" She apologized, though,
because the book was only available in soft cover, not hardback.
"LaVey, on the other hand, operates without mysticism or even a deity. To the Church
of Satan, the Evil One is no deity but rather a symbolic adversary. The Church of Satan
pulls a clever trick:
"'What are the Seven Deadly Sins?' LaVey is fond of asking. "Gluttony, avarice,
lust, sloth--they are urges every man feels at least once a day. How could you set
yourself up as the most powerful institution on earth? You first find out what every man
feels at least once a day, establish that as a sin, and set yourself up as the only
institution capable of pardoning that sin. (14)
"LaVey, then, tries to subvert Christianity by offering what Christian churches
forbid. Since people's guilt, apprehension, and anxiety make them ill rather than the
urges themselves, the Church of Satan offers people a release: indulge yourselves, says
the Church, as long as you abide by the law and harm no one. Some members have even found
the Church of Satan therapeutic: the Church engineered, for example, a psychodrama in
which a woman afraid of her domineering husband role-plays him to help reduce his menacing
effect on her. An anthropologist confirmed the therapeutic value of Church of Satan
membership for some people years ago in an academic study based on months' long
participant observation. (15)
"Church of Satan deities even invoke fictional sources, such as H.P. Lovecraft, H.G.
Wells, and Ursula LeGuin. Writer Arthur Lyons observed, "In joining the Church of
Satan, these people not only managed to inject a little mastery and exoticism into their
otherwise banal lives, they achieved a mastery of their own fates by the practice of
ritual magic." (l6)
"If LaVey's ideology is contrived of fiction, symbolism, and a deliberate antidote to
Establishment Christianity, and Crowley retailed in what we now call New Age thinking, why
the law enforcement interest? Cult officers focus on these two because they have
published, because their philosophies are within easy reach. They make easy targets. One
article in a law enforcement journal even pointed out that LaVey uses a symbolic Satan and
noted in context that the Church of Satan condemns sex crimes including bestiality, but
nevertheless stated, "It seems contradictory for a group to encourage all forms of
sexual expression, and at the same time place parameters on that activity." (l7)
"Again, in the fashion of Larry Jones, law enforcers can't resist criticizing others'
beliefs. Consider, for a moment, law enforcers teaching cult seminars by parading books by
LaVey, Crowley, and others, noting the dangerous ideas these books represent. But what is
this? Is this crime prevention? Is crime prevention served by providing officers with
lists of dangerous books? If we wanted to alert officers to books that might incite people
to slug it out, we'd also have to list The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Mein Kampf by Adolf
Hitler, the Bible, the Koran, to name a few.
"But some officers claim that books on the occult have some inherent force of evil,
that weak-minded people may pluck criminal ideas from them. One law enforcement book went
so far as to state, "[The authors] urge you to continue your education in [satanism]
by reading as widely as possible on the subject. But note: intense study of resource books
and materials by occult sources or practitioners is hazardous. Preferred is
studying overviews and synopses. . .Study and/or experimentation are to be avoided." (l8) I have tried to show with Crowley and
LaVey that their own purported guides to the occult hold no particular power or force
other than what readers may impart to them. The satanic or occult books that cult officers
use for show-and-tell either derive from scholarly sources or represent modern invention.
Few can be traced to some remote, pre- Christian occult mysticism.
"Cult officers not only cite LaVey and Crowley as some compendia of occult knowledge
rising from the dim horizon of ancient history, but also cite as dangerous the occult
symbols on rock music albums, the songs' lyrics, and the fantasy characters that appear in
the popular game, Dungeons and Dragons. Yet as the game's designers take pains to point
out, the D&D gods derive largely from the imaginations of game designers and the
"Cult investigators have constructed four general levels of satanic or cult
involvement. The outer, or fourth level, finds the "dabblers," mostly children,
teenagers, or young adults who might play with satanic bits and pieces. Supposedly
Dungeons and Dragons, heavy metal rock music, Ouija boards and the like rope kids into the
occult. Investigator Lightfoot, like many other cult cops, maintains that satanic
messages are present in rock lyrics when the music is played backwards. But cult officers
don't distinguish between the presence of messages and their efficacy; they do not
critically discuss what effect the messages have nor agree on their actual wording, and
never describe how kids' brains are supposed to assimilate the messages anyway. No
studies prove the efficacy of subliminal messages, satanic or otherwise.
"Cult officers strike at Dungeons and Dragons as the essential evil where kids are
concerned, estimating that anywhere from 95 to l50 documented deaths of children exist
that can be attributed to the game. While similar figures appear in the press, the fact is
that outside of reporters' suggestions, no documented killing or suicide exists directly
attributable to playing the game. No reputable authority has ever detected a causal link
between playing D&D and anything but a healthy adventure in the creative imagination.
"The next level of involvement includes self-styled satanists, the killers such as
John Wayne Gacey or Henry Lee Lucas. These men, social isolates and psychopaths, invented
or borrowed satanic trappings to justify their crimes. This idea is the single most
plausible component of the cult crime model: sociopaths or psychopaths may choose an
ideology that helps them reconcile their crimes with their conscience.
"The second level of satanists we have already discussed, the organized, public
groups such as the Church of Satan or the Temple of Set. While cult officers are forced to
admit that such groups have small, fluid memberships with doctrines that oppose violence
and crime, the same officers recommend placing them under surveillance because they may
harbor criminals or breed psychopaths. By this logic,then, we will have to do the same for
most Christian churches. What's more, no one even knows how many cults exist in the United
States. Estimates vary from 500 groups on up, with total memberships from l50,000 to over
ten million. Which brings us back to the word "cult" and its lack of definition.
"What and who are cults? Notoriously lacking from cult seminars is the voice of the
"non-traditional belief." Law enforcers declare themselves experts in and give
seminars on groups whose members they've never met. They interpret signs and symbols of
groups that may not even exist. The scholar of comparative religion Gordon Melton has
noted that, "The term 'cult' is a pejorative label used to describe certain religious
groups outside of the mainstream of Western religion." (20) Melton's approach to surveying cults, which he has published in The
Encyclopedia of American Religions and Encyclopedic Handbook of Cults in America, prefers
to remove bias and terms other beliefs as "alternative religions." I refer you
to Melton for further discussion of cults, sects, churches, their definitions and
"Finally we reach the last level of satanic involvement, the real evil meanies, the
traditional satanists. These folks belong not to different denominations of the same thing
but rather to an international megacult tightly organized in a clandestine hierarchy. Dale
Griffis has been selling law enforcers on the model of these people as driven by mind
control methods, slavishly participating in cult ceremonies including sexual assault,
mutilation, murder, to name the most important activities. These satanists' belief in
magic propels them to sacrifice people: they release some primal energy force through
killing which enriches the participants. The abuse of children itself is a form of
worship. While these satanists use their own children for sacrifice, satanists sometimes
collect their lambs for slaughter at daycare centers. For example, Lightfoot noted one
daycare center at which parents dropped off their kids at the start of the day, whereupon
the daycare staff herded the kids onto busses, took them to an airfield, flew them to a
ceremonial site, used them for rituals, sexually assaulted them and so on, then returned
them to the daycare center by the end of the day. The parents picked up their kids, none
"Supposedly, then, we have much to fear from these satanists. Ex- deputy sheriff
Thomas Wedge, who makes a living giving cult seminars, says, "It doesn't matter what
you and I believe. It's what they believe that makes them dangerous . . .For the first
time, we in law enforcement are dealing with something we can't shout at. . .can't
handcuff." (21) Larry Jones
has echoed the same sentiment, even pointing out that Christian police officers are
particularly well qualified to confront the menace. Cult officers say that the ranks
of secret satanists boast the intelligentsia of our society, hence the moneyed power
behind the rituals. Patricia Pulling, a mother whose son committed suicide which she
attributes to playing Dungeons and Dragons and who founded Bothered About Dungeons and
Dragons (BADD), maintains that satanic ranks include "doctors, lawyers, clergymen,
"Despite this large-scale conspiracy, police still have uncovered no evidence of
cults' murderous activities. Police say that the lack of evidence owes to the cults'
success: cultists eat bodies or dispose of them without a trace. FBI's Ken Lanning has
pointed out many times that human history cannot produce a single example of any large
scale organized murder (on the order of 50,000 human sacrifices a year, as some cult
officers claim) without someone breaking ranks sooner or later. No such enterprise has
ever existed, one that can commandeer so many people to carry out for so long thousands
and thousands of violent crimes. People in any group change their minds, get jealous,
build empires, develop rivalries, disagree, ally themselves in factions. Why should
satanists be any different?
"Cult officers cite two prime examples of the work of traditional satanists: cult
survivors' stories and child abuse cases. Cult survivors are the offspring of satanic
parents bred to a life of abuse and witnessed murders. The prototype survivor is Michelle
Smith who, with her psychiatrist husband, Lawrence Pazder, wrote Michelle Remembers
(l980). By her own admission, Smith endured a rough, unhappy childhood with a violent,
alcoholic father. After years of psychotherapy with Pazder, a new story emerged. Without
prompting, Smith entered a trance in which she regressed to a childhood persona. In that
persona, she told of ceremonies she had witnessed replete with black candles, black
drapes, goblets, dismembered bodies, sexual abuse, having dismembered baby limbs rubbed on
her, imprisonment in a snake-infested cage, confrontations with red spiders, and watching
satanists rend kittens with their teeth. And all of this through the introduction of
Michelle to satanism by her mother. Some curious loose ends remain, though. Smith's
father denied the incidents, Smith loved her mother very much, as did her two sisters, not
mentioned in the book, who never witnessed any satanic involvement. One sister has been
deeply distressed at Smith's representation of her mother. Not mentioned either was the
Catholic Pazder's divorce, Smith's conversion as a Catholic and her own divorce in order
to marry Pazder, practices frowned upon by the Catholic Church, yet the book extols
Catholic ceremonies and ritual as a way to combat Smith's terror. (23)
"Nevertheless, Pazder reacts to the lurid stories of his patient thus: "'I
happen to believe you. . .for many reasons . . .but mostly for what I feel with you. It
feels real. . .I think the way you are expressing the experience is very touching. It is
authentic as an experience."/24 Remember, this is a psychiatrist's talk, not a police
officer's. Feeling the authenticity of Smith's experience may aid a physician's clinical
work. Police officers must approach such stories differently. Smith is cited as a Multiple
Personality Disorder (MPD) sufferer, a complex phenomenon that afflicts some genuinely
abused people, but not others. For a fuller clinical description consult the DSM-IIIR, or
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, third edition, revised, l987.
Recent research even reveals that distinct physiological changes accompany personality
changes in MPD sufferers. Such changes include rapidly appearing and disappearing rashes,
welts, scars, switches in handwriting and
handedness, allergies, vision changes and even color blindness. Such symptoms might
easily confuse and alarm an investigator.
"The preoccupation of cult officers with MPD sufferers presents police with some
contradictions. On the one hand, police cite the growing number of cult survivor stories
and their sameness as evidence of the satanic underground (that is, people who have never
met telling identical tales). Yet most MPD sufferers, usually young women, do not present
verifiable stories. None has yielded physical evidence of crime other than physiological
symptoms which are part and parcel of MPD anyway. Hypnosis for police purposes produces no
results. MPD sufferers can take years to interview to ascertain even a few facts.
"But another interpretation of cult survivors' claims can be offered. As Ken Lanning
has noted, he has been unable to find accounts by cult survivors of Smith-like tales
before the publication of her book. The mass media have fanned Smith's experience through
the tabloids and TV sets of the world, supplemented by the slasher films and television
shows that produce quite creative and believable monsters. Some MPD sufferers describe
ceremonies and rituals that can only be traced to fiction since many of them have no
"Stories of ritual abuse (that is, abuse committed incidental to a ritual as a form
of propitiation, as cult officers use the term) present no new phenomena, as folkorist Jan
Harold Brunvand has described in his popular books about urban legends, The Choking
Doberman (l984) and The Mexican Pet (l986). Stories of abduction and mutilation of
children, plus regular appearances of Satan pervade European and American history.
Brunvand describes urban legends as "believed oral narratives," though not
necessarily believed wholely by their narrators all of the time. Some stories are rumor,
or "plotless unverified reports" as opposed to the legend, or the
"traditional believed story." Most importantly, "urban legends. . .often
appear to be 'new' when they begin to spread, but even the newest-sounding stories may
have gone the rounds before. A 'new urban legend,' then, may be merely a modern story told
in a plausible manner by a credible narrator to someone who hasn't heard the story before,
at least not recently enough to remember it." (25)
"One can find abundant folklore literature--particularly the dictionaries of folkore
motifs--which contain all the satanic stories that appear in the cult seminars, folklore
with a very long history. I'll give an example of a recurring urban myth the spreading of
which takes place every few years. A spurious police circular found its way through South
Carolina a few years ago telling of an LSD-impregnated Mickey Mouse transfer, thus
Without verifying the circular, the Pendleton, South Carolina, Police Department warned
the community about the transfers. After the public sufficiently worried itself, someone
checked out the source and found it was bogus. The same story, with the same anonymous
police circular, recently traveled throughout New Jersey alarming citizens and police.(27)
"In some cases, police have tried to keep citizens from believing macabre stories
about garden variety violence. In Eloy, Arizona, a murdered man turned up in a trash bin,
having died of head injuries, his throat slashed. Nevertheless, the police had been
powerless to stem local rumors which persisted in creating the story that the victim had
his chest opened up, his heart ripped out, his blood sucked.(28) In Roanoke, high school faculty and some law enforcers have perplexedly
tried to locate a gang of violent youths, The Posse, to whom students attribute much
violence and disruption, but the local police have begun to suspect that the gang doesn't
exist. The Roanoke County Sheriff said, "All you have to do is get two kids talking
at a table in the cafeteria. Two other kids at the next table hear half the conversation,
and a rumor is spread."(29)
"Sociologist David Bromley of Virginia Commonwealth University classifies such tales
into three categories, one of which is the subversion myth where many satanic tales fit.
These myths are "cautionary tales," stories that reveal tensions which
"emanate most directly from pervasive anxieties about dangers to children."(30) Another sociologist, Jeffrey Victor,
tracked down satanic rumors in western New York, stories which became widespread and
publically accepted, stories Victor likened to a "collective nightmare."
Throughout the region, rumors of cult meetings, animal killings, ritual drinking of blood,
and an impending sacrifice of a "blond, blue-eyed virgin" reached a peak of
hysteria on Friday the thirteenth of May, l988.(31) In this case, the Jamestown, New York, Police Department acted with
remarkable restraint and insight and even forestalled a mob bent on vengeance. The police
headed off a group of armed and angry citizens that showed up at a rumored cult site. But
another site, a warehouse rumored to harbor cult meetings, received thousands of dollars
"I'll give you another example of the police response to myth and hysteria. The
Allenstown, New Hampshire, Police Department received reports a few months ago that six
cats had been found hanging from a tree, a decapitated dog turned up nearby, and the sound
of drums could be heard in a state park at night. A woman walking her dog came upon what
was described as a makeshift altar supporting a carcass of a mutilated beaver. The beaver
had been skinned. Another beaver turned up, found upright surrounded by stakes. The police
decided to turn to cult officer Sandi Gallant, San Francisco Police, for help, who--though
in San Francisco and unable to inspect the animals--interpreted the findings as indicative
of satanic rituals. Since the carcasses were found near May l, the cult officer said that
the recent Walpurgis Night, a satanic holiday, probably stimulated the sacrifices. The
sergeant in charge of the investigation worried about these events, linking those who
sacrificed animals to drug- taking, listening to heavy metal music, a view confirmed by a
local Baptist minister who believed the devil responsible. The sergeant wanted to find the
satanic group behind this. Characteristically, he said, "Their freedom of worship is
protected. . .but we want to monitor them."(32) The next day, the Manchester, New Hampshire, Union Leader ran an
editorial which stated, "We have reached a sorry state of affairs when following the
Devil is defined as 'worship'. . ."(33)
"Within a few days, the mystery unravelled. In fact, no dead cats were found in
trees. The beavers were legally trapped in the state park. Other dead animals reported by
local residents were ones killed on the road and stacked off the road for later pick-up.(34) But even though the phenomena turned out
to be mundane, other law enforcers didn't remember the follow-up news story but only the
original news report. After the whole incident passed from the headlines, the mayor of
Manchester tried to ban the appearance of a heavy metal band in town because they would
stimulate more incidents similar to what occurred in Allenstown, forgetting that the
Allenstown events had non-satanic explanations.(35)
"In another incident, a few years back in Brown County, Indiana, a New Age group
called the Elf Lore Family (ELF) arranged to have a public gathering at a public park. ELF
posters around town mentioned camping, feasts, dancing, "New Age workshops,"
"bardic tales and tunes," and other similar events. Many of the organizers
described themselves as witches and even distributed "witchcraft fact sheets" to
explain their beliefs.(36) So
far, no problem. But by the ELF weekend gathering, a local church group had planned a
strategy to proselytize the ELFers, and the local sheriff's department became involved
through a deputy who had attended a cult seminar given by two Indiana state police
officers, self-proclaimed experts, who had in turn received their information from cult
consultant Dale Griffis. Following the weekend, the local newspaper reported the event
under the title, "Satanic rites held at Yellowwood Forest," the article
discussing animal sacrifice, drinking blood in rituals,
nude dancing, or dancing by people in "devil-like costumes." Finally, the ELFers
were seen eating "raw flesh." The news reporter used one source for the article:
the deputy sheriff.
"Neither a local Baptist minister nor the park
conservation professionals nor the ELFers at all could corroborate the sacrifices, blood
drinking, nude dancing, or any of the other sensationalistic claims of the local sheriff's
department. The article dutifully noted, though, that "[the sheriff's department]
could not stop the satanic rites because of the Constitutional right to freedom of
religion that protected the worshippers." But the ELFers are not satanic. The
satanism was created by the seminar-trained police who spent much time and effort
watching the ELFers simply because they were not Christians celebrating in a conventional
way. The sheriff's department, by feeding information to a gullible journalist, created a
new myth: the news article then becomes a cult seminar handout proving that satanic
activity is rampant in the USA. An Indiana University folklorist who documented the event
noted, "The influence of second-hand opinions proved especially strong among the law
enforcement element." The preconceptions of the law enforcers colored their
perceptions of an innocuous camp-out, and thereby created a legend.
"Thus far I have mentioned cult expert Dale Griffis in several contexts. Although
Griffis appears to act out of concern for improving law enforcement's handling of bizarre
crimes, and although he certainly earns no big bucks on the lecture circuit, his effort
misleads and confuses. Griffis, a retired police captain, used the title,
"Ph.D." and other cult cops refer to him as "Doctor Griffis." In
truth, Griffis holds a doctorate from Columbia Pacific University in California, a
non-accredited non-resident campus that offers low-cost degrees with only several months
of effort (according to the CPU brochure and detailed by John Bear in How to Get the
Degree You Want, Ten Speed Press, l982, and by William J. Halterman, The Complete Guide to
Nontraditional Education, Facts on File, New York, l983). Primarily, CPU offers credit for
life experiences, the type of institution currently under scrutiny by Senate
Bill l90 in California which aims to tighten licensing standards for such "diploma
(detailed in Community Crime Prevention Digest for May, l989, p. 8). Griffis's degree is
in law enforcement, based on a doctoral thesis, Mind Control Groups and Their Effects on
the Objective of Law Enforcement, which carries no date and is even signed by Griffis with
his title, "Ph.D."
"The dissertation reveals Griffis's cult pitch: almost a fourth of it contains an ad
misericordium argument that his message is grounded in sincerity, fidelity to the police
brother-and sisterhood, and concern for our posterity. The following statement is typical:
"I am a veteran member of the 'Thin Blue Line'. that which lies between chaos and
democracy" (p. 88). Griffis relies heavily on the work of Robert Jay Lifton (Thought
Reform and the Psychology of Totalism) to argue a priori that cults, nebulously defined,
deceptively recruit members, place them under control of a charismatic leader, and direct
members to commit crimes. To Griffis, the link between the existence of cults and crime is
also a priori. Griffis even takes excursions into psychology with odd results: "Let
it be noted that a common factor among recruits is that a high percentage suffer from
sub-clinical depression" (p. 52).
Griffis does not substantiate this assertion, but as proof he offers that "recruiters
carry out their assignments with trained skills and precise detail. One only has to travel
through O'Hare Airport to see this in operation" (p. 53). Of the estimated 3000 cults
in the USA (Griffis's estimate, not substantiated), he asserts that "the interest,
purpose, magnitude and ultimate goals differ from cult to cult; however, all demand in
common devotion, obedience, and ultimately, submission" (p. 5l). Again, Griffis
offers such statements repeatedly but without substantiation, no critical review of
pertinent literature on cults, nor with any professional correspondence with academic
experts. And his dissertation has become his cult seminar platform. While the CPU degree
might academic standing somewhere, officers attending cult seminars point to Griffis as
the man with credentials in both worlds--the police front line and the academy--to justify
his role as cult ideologue.
"I can't discuss myths and legends without referring to the Matamoros drug killings.
When the news accounts first appeared in early April concerning the discovery of bodies on
a Mexican ranch near the Texas border, the Associated Press dubbed the killings
"satanic." That adjective graced many newspaper headlines for weeks. Now,
information concerning the murders continues to be ambiguous because we have depended on
second- and third-hand information about them. The Mexican police promptly placed their
suspects before cameras to tell gruesome tales. We do not know much of the backgrounds of
the murderers in the drug gang, but recent evidence suggests that the drug leader, Adolfo
de Jesus Constanzo, hobnobbed with the Mexican city elite, providing drugs and limpias, or
folk "cleansing rites," recruited assistants from the northern Mexican
prosperous families, mostly young adults.(37)
Apparently, Constanzo did not employ the semi- literate impoverished Mexicans from the
northern part of their country, the same type recruited for other criminal activities: gun
and stolen vehicle running and herding illegal aliens into the USA.
"Where does the satanic label come from? Rex Springston, a reporter for the Richmond
News Leader, decided to trace the label. In talking to the American investigators cited in
the news releases, he learned that none of them classified the murders as satanic. Only
the Texas attorney general's assistant responded that the attorney general might have used
the label early on. So officials don't view the killings as satanic. Officials now think
that most of the murders victimized rival drug dealers, not innocent people snatched off
the street. The drug gang leader, Constanzo, according to current thinking, was a Charles
Manson who gathered whatever symbolism and ritual he could to intimidate rivals and his
own lackeys. So he invented his own symbology (not a belief system, which he did not
invent) to justify his behavior, to offer his workers protection which he was in fact
powerless to provide, to convince people to risk their lives to become involved with drug
dealing where the monetary rewards for most are meager. Matamoros represents violence
associated with the drug trade with a hint of borrowed religious ritual, nothing more.
"No evidence exists-- insofar as details of the
incident have been made public--of any participation by Constanzo and his group in satanic
activities, involvement with a satanic organization, or human sacrifice to propitiate the
devil. By April l7, even the mass media had begun to focus on the incident as
drug-related, not satanic, almost one week after the first reports of the killings.(38)
"But although the Matamoros story is far from over,
at least one local police investigator still misrepresents the events, thus creating urban
myth. Detective Don Rimer, Virginia Beach Police, recently gave a seminar citing the
Matamoros killings as satanic. Rimer was quoted in the newspapers as saying that the
Matamoros killings "prove that human sacrifices by Satanists are not simply 'urban
those people who talked about the 'urban myth' and asked, 'Where are the bodies?' are
silent," the officer said to a citizens' group. Well, the Matamoros business
displaces nothing about urban myth, proves nothing about satanism, and should be properly
viewed in the context of Mexican border drug running and its associated violence.
"The central aspect of satanic crime which has seared the American conscience is
child abuse. Beginning with a daycare center in Manhattan Beach, California and another in
Jordan, Minnesota, in l983, stories of ritual abuse of children in daycare centers has
spread to over l00 American cities. At the core of such stories, one finds stories by
children. The same stories, uncorroborated by physical evidence or adult testimony, have
resulted in indictments of innocent people, their careers forfeited to the publicity. In
the most comprehensive and critical examination of such investigations to date (conducted
by the Memphis, Tennessee, Commercial Appeal), investigative journalists found that the
system of prosecution fostered the spread of unfounded allegations. One social worker
observed, "During the course of the investigation, virtually every name that was ever
mentioned became a suspect." Alarmed at the manner in which parents and therapists
prompted and rewarded children's testimony, a psychiatrist commented, "If [the
investigator] got a child to the point where they believe [the child] helped kill a baby
or eaten flesh, I want to know whether you're a child abuser."(40)
"The Jordan case, for example, began with a single child's allegation of molestation
and quickly thereafter 60 children began to claim the same abuse. The phenomena reported
by the children included being bussed to ceremonial sites, digging up coffins,
dismembering bodies, being thrown into shark pits, cooking and eating babies, nude
photography, and having foreign objects inserted into a rectum or vagina, performing oral
sex on daycare staff, and sacrificing animals. In the end, though, after heated
accusations, the FBI concluded that the children made up the stories of murders and noted
that the investigations had been so flawed that people truly guilty of child molesting may
have gone free.
"So what has happened? Many states conduct trials unhampered by rules of evidence
that apply to adults: all states have dropped the requirement that children's stories be
corroborated by evidence or adults' testimony. Therefore an opportunity develops to
suggest the story to the child: their stories evolve through coaxing until a coherent
narrative emerges. Psychiatrist and child therapist Dr. Lee Coleman has noted that
"[i]n all too many cases, the interviews with the children are horribly biased. The
interviewers assume, before talking with the child, that molestation has taken place. The
accused persons are assumed to be guilty, and the thinly disguised purpose of the
interview is to get something out of the child to confirm these suspicions. It is all too
easy, with repeated and leading and suggestive questions, to get a young child so confused
that he or she can't tell the difference between fact and fantasy.(41)
"Dr. Coleman provided the Commercial Appeal with the following interview between a
social worker and a four-year-old:
"Interviewer: What's Miss Frances doing while children are in the other room?
"Child: I don't know.
"Interviewer: Come here. . .I want to talk to you a second. (Boy's name), you do
know. Look at me. Look at me. You know about the secret. But see, it's not a secret any
more, because (another child) told us about it and (another child) told us about it, and
your parents want you to tell us. . .You can be a very good boy and tell us about it. . .
"Child: I don't know.
"Interviewer: Yes, you do. [Later, near the end of the interview, the social worker
asks if the same things happened to the boy that were reported by other children.)
I"nterviewer: She did it to you, too.
"Child: No. She didn't do it to me.
"Interviewer: It's not your fault, OK?
"Child: She didn't do it to me.
"Interviewer: Yes, she did; yes, she did (stroking the child's head).
"Some therapists and counselors--and police officers--inject into these cases an
ideology that presumes that children don't lie about abuse. We have even created aids to
encourage and facilitate children's stories. Anatomically-correct dolls have proven
useful, but not exclusively so: the dolls themselves can constitute leading questions by
suggesting abuse, or the dolls themselves may have bodies so disproportionate and bizarre
that children can't use them. And recently two psychologists have estimated that "for
every person correctly identified as a child sexual abuser through such techniques, four
to nine are incorrectly identified."(42) In abuse cases, children may undergo up to fifty interviews, most by
parents and therapists even before the police become involved. Again, the same parents or
therapists feel that the children must be believed because they have neither the
experience nor vocabulary to talk about sexual molestation. But the parents and therapists
ask leading questions, offer rewards, and refuse to accept children's denials that
molestation occurred: the kids are called "dumb" for not admitting to abuse.
"Law enforcers must remember that they themselves and the therapists pursue different
goals in these investigations. Therapy overcomes trauma; police investigate offenses for
prosecution. Of danger to law enforcement, one criminal justice academic noted that if in
interviews, "children denied victimization, then it was assumed they were concealing
the truth, which must be drawn out by some inducement or reinforcement. The therapeutic
process thus became an infallible generating mechanism for criminal charges. . ."(43) Police must not simply believe the
children; rather, as FBI's Lanning urges, police must listen. Don't ignore the possibility
of bona fide molestation by losing a case in the pursuit of Satan.
"So where do we stand? Child abuse does exist. Some people commit violent crimes
while invoking the power of Satan. Such people may act with others. But law enforcers
cannot demonstrate the existence of a widespread satanic conspiracy: the evidence doesn't
exist. No evidence links fantasy role-playing games to teen suicides. No evidence supports
the idea that daycare workers subject children to abuse in propitiation of Satan. No
evidence exists supporting the literal truth of cult survivors' claims. Officers can and
should stick to the Constitutional basics: they investigate irregular behavior based on a
well-founded and legally-defined reasonable suspicion; they arrest based on probable
cause. No one expects police to ignore pentagrams drawn in blood at a homicide scene:
complete documentation of crime scenes has always been the rule. But we have no
justification for carrying on unwarranted explorations of the beliefs of the unpopular
few, or from waving books at seminars and pronouncing them dangerous.
"Law enforcers have taken on the role of religious theorists. As Gordon Melton
"The Satanic literature has been carried almost totally by the imaginative literature
of non-Satanists -- primarily conservative Christians who describe the practices in vivid
detail in the process of denouncing them.(44)
"Law enforcers do have tools adequate to do their jobs, if not always the money to
buy them. Advances in criminal investigation from the Automated Fingerprint Identification
System or from DNA typing promise to revolutionize the business. The FBI's serial crime
psychological profiling model incorporates, without the satanic bias, the proper questions
to ask to correlate a possible criminal ideology to ritualized (that is, committed
similarly on multiple occasions) violent crimes.
"In short, law enforcers must remove the "cult" from cult crime and do
their jobs accordingly. Thank you."
1. Bromley, David G., and Shupe, Anson D., Jr. The Tnevnoc Cult. Sociological Analysis,
40(4): 36l-366. l979
2. Clark, J.R. The macabre faces of occult-related crime. Law Enforcement News, XIV (279,
280). October 3l, November l5, l988.
3. Hyer, M. Blue Knights and the Black Art. The Washington Post, April l8, l989.
4. Clark, op. cit.
5. File l8 Newsletter, IV (89-l), l989.
6. Lyons, Arthur. Satan Wants You. The Mysterious Press, New York, l988, p. l49.
7. Kahaner, Larry. Cults That Kill. Warner Books, New York, l988, p. l46.
8. Ibid., p. l48.
9. File l8 Newsletter, op cit.
10. American Library Association, Office of Intellectual Freedom, Memorandum,
11. File l8 Newsletter, III (88-3), l988, p. 7.
12. LaVey, Anton. The Satanic Bible. Avon Books, New York, l969, p. 26.
13. Crowley, Aleister. The Book of the Law. Samuel Weiser, Inc., York Beach, Maine, l976
(reprint), p. 9.
14. Lyons, p. lll.
15. Moody, E.J. Magic therapy: an anthropological investigation of contemporary Satanism.
In I.I. Zaretsky and M.P. Leone (eds.), Religious Movements in Contemporary America.
Princeton University Press, New Jersey, l974.
16. Lyons, p. ll6.
17. Barry, R. J. Satanism: The Law Enforcement Response. The National Sheriff, XXXVIII
(l): 39, l987.
18. Smith, Lindsay E. and Walstad, Bruce A. Sting Shift. Street-Smart Communications,
Littleton, Colorado, l989, p. l04.
19. Stackpole, Michael. Game Manufacturers' Association. Personal communication, l988.
20. Melton, J. Gordon. Encyclopedic Handbook of Cults in America. Garland Publishing
Company, New York, l986, p.3.
21. Hyer, op. cit.
22. Briggs, E. Satanic cults said to entice teens with sex, drugs. Richmond Times
Dispatch, March 5, l988.
23. Things that go bump in Victoria. Maclean's, October 27, l980.
24. Smith, M. and L. Pazder. Michelle Remembers, Congdon and Lattes, Inc., New York, l980,
25. Brunvand, Jan H. The Choking Doberman and Other "New Urban Legends" W. W.
Norton, New York, l984, p. 4-5.
26. Ibid., p. l62.
27. Kolata, G. Rumor of LSD-Tainted Tattoos Called Hoax, The New York Times, December 9,
29. Hammack, L. Fears grow as rumors spread. Times and World News (Roanoke, Virginia),
November 25, l988.
30. Bromley, David. Folk Narratives and Deviance Construction: Cautionary Tales as a
Response to Structural Tensions in the Social Order. In C. Sanders (ed.), Deviance and
Popular Culture, in press, p. ll.
31. Victor, Jeffrey S. A Rumor-Panic About a Dangerous Satanic Cult in Western New York.
New York Folklore, XV (l-2): 23-49, l989.
32. Recounted in Noonan, Veronica. Satanic Cult Killed Animals in Allenstown, Police Say,
Union Leader (New Hampshire), May 3, l989.
33. Satanism in NH. Editorial in the Manchester Union Leader, May 4, l989.
34. Zitner, Aaron. N.H. police chief discounts alleged signs of cult activity, The Boston
Globe, May 5, l989.
35. Zitner, Aaron. Cult scare seen as overrated, The Boston Globe, May 28, l989.
36. Guinee, William. Satanism in Yellowwood Forest: The Interdependence of Antagonistic
World Views. Indiana Folklore and Oral History, l6(l): l-30, l987.
37. Miller, Marjorie, and Kennedy, J. Michael. Potent Mix of Ritual and Charisma. Los
Angeles Times, May l6. Also, Debbie Nathan, investigative reporter, El Paso, l989.
38. Applebone, Peter. On North-South Line, Violence Grows, The New York Times, April l7,
39. Crocker, Bonnie. Detective warns of Satanism, Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia),
June l0, l989.
40. Charlier, T., and S. Downing. Justice Abused: A l980s Witch--Hunt, The Commercial
Appeal (Memphis, Tennessee). Six-part series printed in January, l988.
41. Coleman, L. Therapists are the real culprits in many child abuse cases, Augustus,
IX(6): 7-9, l986.
42. Moss, D.C. "Real" Dolls Too Suggestive. American Bar Association Journal,
December l, l988, p. 24-26.
43. Jenkins, P. Protecting Victims of Child Sexual Abuse: A Case for Caution, The Prison
Journal, Fall/Winter l988: 25-35.
44. Melton, p. 76.
Robert has also written a book which is highly
(If you would like to purchase the book click on the
by Robert D. Hicks, Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 1991.
Undoubtedly the best book written to date on the topic of
satanism and the occult from the law enforcement perspective. Robert D. Hicks is a former
police officer who is currently employed as a criminal justice analyst for the state of
Virginia. This is must reading for any criminal justice professional involved in
Unfortunately, in the chapter on "Satanic Abuse of
Children", the author appears to have been overly influenced by extreme skeptics with
minimal or questionable credentials in this area.
In the late seventies and early eighties, the Satanic
Scare was a profitable new source of income for shock-peddlers. All throughout the
eighties, it grew, mutated, and spread like a cross between the most virulent urban legend
and a cancer. Now, at the dawn of the year 2000, the 'fact' that the normal behavior
of Satanists is to kill, molest, mutilate, and destroy has been accepted by everyone from
religious fanatics to police officers to some of the would-be Satanists themselves.
As a result, we are beginning to reap the whirlwind of self-fulfilling prophecy, while
innocent day-care providers still languish in prison on false molestation charges
and any kid who dares to wear black to school is set upon by legions of counselors and
This book is the first and best rebuttal to the Satanic Network Theory that we have come
across. If it were widely read it could do a lot towards helping law enforcement
officials avoid making tragic errors due to religious prejudice.The book is easy to read, logical, and highly recommended.
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RFCSE, for reprinting. But permission by originating authors may be needed.
The duration of the working links are not under our control. RFCSE has not reviewed
all of the sites linked to our site and is not responsible for the content of any off-site
pages or any other sites linked to our site. Your linking to any other off-site pages or
other sites from our site is at your own risk.
All articles and descriptions of persons or
organizations on this page, are the resposibility of the submitter. The
Religious Freedom Coalition of the Southeast, the association of Cymry Wicca and all
others who provide hosting for this page, bear no legal responsibility for any errors.
But we will immediately investigate all claims of mistakes or errors, and if such a
claim is found to be with merit, we will remove an error. But, if the claim of an
error is found meritless, we will bill the the claimant for the cost of researching the
claim, and if warranted, seek redress in the court system. Any attempt to interfere
with our first amendemnt right of opinion and free expression will be met with the full
force of the U. S. Court system.
Our Original Web Master, an associate died
from a threat by a person who did not appreciate Religious Freedom. Before she
died, she asked us to continue her Religious Freedom Page. We will. Even
though we have been attacked by Right Wing extremists, pseudo-Christian apologists, and
other fringe elements of the Christian Right and Left, we still exist because of the First
Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. We have been threatened by some, that we
will be sued for exposing religious bigotry and hate. Since we have no assets, but a
great deal of voluntary legal support, we will welcome each attempt to silence us, as an
opportunity to expose, in open court, the characteristics and lies of these so called
"religiouis leaders." We will feel
free to request an extensive production of documents.
Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, who were
deists (not Christians), helped frame the Constitution of The United States of American
and placed language in the First Amendment to guarantee Religious Rights for all
Americans. We will uphold that tradition.
For information on all individuals
and organizations listed in this website, or the name of a contact person in your area
that can give you further information on the Religious Freedom Coalition of the Southeast,
or the First Amendment Coalition, call us at 000-000-0000 If you access our voice
mail, we will call you back collect if long distance.
Or, you can write to Rachel at: RFCSE, P.O. Box 673206, Marietta, GA