Satanic Panic in Australia

A blog called The Palimpsest has details of how a young married woman was persuaded by a religious group to repudiate her marriage and her family. The blog’s author, Nathan Zamprogno, is the woman’s ex-husband, and his case has featured on Australian television:

 …She cast aside her home, her wider family, even her name for the sake of a pseudo-Christian group that she had never met six months previously. She now goes by a name given to her by the cult, Hope,  after she was told that the person named Kylie had never existed. At a point where she was mentally unwell and exceptionally vulnerable, this cult misdirected her therapy, providing instead what a psychologist identified as a “treatment program” written by a group who believe Nazi-built, demonically piloted UFOs kidnap women and impregnate them to create a race of half-demon super soldiers.

…Kylie’s natural affections for her family, which were so loyal; her maternal bond with our son, which was so fierce, were pared away. She was persuaded that they were evil; that she had spent her childhood exposed to satanic torture (Necessary interjection: Kylie’s family are good, kind, civically engaged people, and their support has been indispensable). Her illness, the presentation of alternate personalities, was perverted into some kind of spiritual attunement, a conduit to hear messages from Jesus springing from Kylie’s lips; her altered states the channel to a prophetic gift, to foretell the future; to detect and oppose “astrals”, which were satanists purportedly making psychic out of body attacks on the group.

Zamprogno names the group as the Springwood Faulconbridge Home Church, and he explains that he and his wife encountered this church while working at an interdenominational Christian school near Sydney.

Some time later, Zamprogno met another man who had lost his wife to the same group; this man had some papers belonging to the group which his wife had left behind:

I leaf through hundreds of pages of handwritten and typed documents, some in Kylie’s writing, and some in the hand of various cult members. Pronouncements, curses, abjurations. Notes made by cult members as they guided my wife’s therapy, encouraging her to verbalise ever more lurid accounts of satanic murder and torture, with no evidence that they ever stopped to ask if it was true, but ecstatically wishing it to be true; insisting, surely it must be still worse, and pray, go further? Crudely drawn pictures of stick figures having indignities performed on them with bombs, torture devices, even a helicopter suspending victims over a mine field. Kindergarten scrawls of obscenities, ostensibly written by Kylie as she “regressed” to infantile alters to re-live her traumas. Crayon daubings of rainbows, roughly done.


Throughout the notes I had been provided, there was the repeated reference to two names: “John and Glenys Darnell” and “The Shepherd’s Heart Church”, based in Canberra:

… John Darnell believes demons walk the earth in human guise, called “Nephilim”. They breed with women, creating half demon-half human hybrids. They fly around in Nazi-built, demonically piloted UFOs. They kidnap women and take them to a secret underground base where the half demon embryos are removed. Oh, and the British Royal Family may be reptilians. All of this wackiness is recorded in the church’s own materials, or in a series of radio interviews John Darnell gave to some fringe U.S based Christian radio stations over the last 2 years.

Read the full account: Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

Darnell has a background with various house-church and Charismatic Christian groups; in particular, his website mentions a “group of churches God… largely based on the teachings of Mr George North, a powerful, authoritative minister”, Unity Bible College, and “Billy and Isobel Simpson… the worship leaders from Sunderland Christian Centre, a church where God poured out His Spirit in 1994”:

 Bill Simpson reached me, placed his hand on my head, and prayed “Lord, give him everything you have for him” I knew then that this was wonderfully of God. I managed to stand for about 10 seconds, and then completely overwhelmed by the presence and power of God, I collapsed. 

However, Darnell’s website does not indicate any current links with other churches, and Darnell does not appear to be answerable to anybody. Obviously, doctrines such as the “reptilian Royal Family” concept are derived from David Icke rather than from any sort of Christian teaching.

The “fringe U.S based Christian radio stations” which have given Darnell a platform include the Derek Dreamer Show, Firefall Talk Radio, and L.A. Marzulli’s Acceleration Radio. Marzulli in turn crosses over with some better-known US conspiracy theorists, such as George Noory. According to Marzulli,

John Darnell is on the front lines of ministry, in my opinion. He ministers in places that most of us will never see and only read about. He has been called to do what he does and I believe that he does it well and with a heart that is surrendered to God.

Darnell also has second website, devoted to a book called Satanic Strategies.