MichNews Peddles Satanic Panic


With a tragic murder in California, the peddlers of Satanic panic are back in business. Over to Jim Kouri, vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and wingnut pundit at MichNews.com:

The news coverage of the extraordinarily brutal murder of Pamela Vitale, wife of well-known California criminal defense attorney Daniel Horowitz, seems to have renewed interest in ritualistic crime. The 16-year old suspect is reported to have been involved in some kind of self-styled Satanism including the reading the Anton LeVay’s [sic – should be LaVey, of course. He gets it right later] Satanic Bible and use of occult symbols at the crime scene.

But, in just the first of many leaps of logic to come, Kouri asserts that this “some kind of self-styled Satanism” actually reveals a wider Satanic trend:

In spite of mankind’s advances in the arts and sciences, there remains a large number of people who have not been able to — or refuse to — shake-off the practices of pagan rituals, some of which date back thousands of years.

Unlike the rituals of Christianity, of course…

Included within the broad spectrum of paganism are so-called Satanic cults which are suspect in a number of bizarre crimes throughout the United States:

According to investigative journalist and author Maury Terry, there exists today a network of Satan-worshiping cults with members crisscrossing our nation. Terry, whose research takes him to just about every state of the union, participated in a special regional police conference in Ohio, co-sponsored by the American Federation of Police and the National Association of Chiefs OF Police.

Terry apparently thinks “Son of Sam” David Berkowitz was involved in a wider Satanic plot, but had to change one his books following a libel action. Kouri ploughs on:

The world of the Satanic cultist is filled with ritualistic violence, perverse sexual activity and abuse, Heavy Metal music and the use of illegal drugs such as marijuana, amphetamines (crank, speed, meth, crystal), psylocybin (an hallucinogenic drug similar to LSD), heroin and other others. This is a world which, even in the beginning of the 21st Century,  continues to attract a large number of young people who follow the precepts of Anton LaVey’s Satanic Bible, a volume that has millions of copies in print today.

Millions? James R Lewis of CESNUR writes the following:

One measure of The Satanic Bible’s appeal is that it has continuously been in print since it first appeared in 1970, and has been translated into a number of other languages. I have been unable to obtain recent figures, but in his 1991 book, In Pursuit of Satan, Robert Hicks mentions a sales figure of 618,000 copies (p. 351). There were also a number of illegal foreign language editions. These include a Spanish translation published in Mexico in the 70s, a Danish translation in the 80s, and a Russian translation in the late 90s. Legal editions include Czech and Swedish translations in the mid 90s and a 1999 German edition. The French translation has been completed but not yet printed. Also, the rights for a Greek translation were purchased, but the book does not seem to have appeared.

Not exactly The Satan-Driven Life, then. Lewis adds:

In addition to escaping institutional bounds and taking on a life of its own as the principal source document for a loose, anarchistic Satanist “movement,” The Satanic Bible came to play a role in the Satanic Ritual Abuse scare of the 1980s and 1990s…Despite the fact that LaVey explicitly rejected unlawful activity-especially blood sacrifice-in The Satanic Bible, the discovery of a copy of this widely-available book at a crime scene was often sufficient evidence for investigators to label the crime Satanic. (We might note that the similar presence of a Christian Bible at a crime scene has never led police to label the crime Christian.

Kouri, perhaps with an eye-out for the lawyers, goes on to note that Michael Aquino’s Temple of Set operates within the law. However, Satanic cults are another matter:

…According to Ed Briggs, crime reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch , Satanic cults seduce teenagers and young adults with sex and drugs and the promise of power over others. Also, involvement in this religion is the ultimate in rebellion against parental control, especially if the parents are religious Christians, Jews, Muslims, or part of any mainstream religious organization — even Religious Satanism which is recognized by the federal government as a legitimate religion deserving of all privileges enjoyed by Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc. churches and temples.

Apparently Briggs wrote a couple of articles in the late 1980s on the topic. But it’s hardly news – we’ve always known that small groups of teenagers get up to this sort of thing (as in the recent case in Italy, which I blogged on at the time). Kouri then starts going further off the rails:

How many Satanic practitioners are there in the US? 

“The adherents of this violent [quasi-]religion number over 300,000, ” claims Lieutenant Larry Jones of the Boise, ID Police Department.

No explanation is given for where this figure has come from; Adherents.com provides some alternative statistics, the most sensible sources coming up with around 3,000 to 20,000. But Larry Jones is notoriously unreliable, and the fact that someone of Kouri’s position can take him seriously is very worrying. Witchvox has the lowdown, particularly Jones’s links with fake ex-Satanists turned Christian fundamentalists like Rebecca Brown and Mike Warnke (who are both unaccountably still in business, by the way), among much else.

But it gets worse:

…Although there have been reports of human sacrifices, especially infanticide, these incidents are extremely rare.

Unless they’re not:

Those claiming they are not rare but routine say that the infants used in the monstrous ceremony is one that has been conceived and raised just for the purpose of ritual murder. These police officers — Sandi Gallant among them — say that birth records of these babies do not exist since the children are born using midwife who’s a member of the group or even a physician-member.

This story has been around for years; lack of evidence has been no bar to its perpetuation.

Kouri then goes on to resurrect Pat Pulling from 1980s obscurity. Pulling is a rather sad figure – her son committed suicide in 1982, which inspired her on a crusade against Dungeons & Dragons:

…Who is drawn to this religion? Who gets involved in demonic activity? Well, a profile was developed by Pat Pulling, the leading expert in this area of psychology. The profile is similar in structure to those developed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Behavioral Science Unit. In fact, the creator of the Criminal Profiling System, Special Agent Robert Ressler, during his interviews with over 100 serial-killers and unusually  violent criminals, found elements of the occult in the psyche of a few of these killers.

“Elements” of the occult in “a few”! Damning indeed. I wonder how the incidence of these “elements” compares with incidences of other forms of religious mania, though? Kouri does not bother to ask.

After a digression into a survery of Santeria and voodoo, Kouri concludes with a discussion of the difficulties of investigating Satanic crime (i.e. the lack of any evidence):

…Investigators arriving at the crime scene of a homicide or suicide should remain open-minded with regard to possible ritualism or Satanic connections to the crime.

Even if that means being so open-minded the brains falling out.

(Tipped from The Pagan Prattle and Bulldada Newsblog)