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When Satanist high priest Anton LaVey heralded our modern era as
"the Age of Satan"1
he was apparently not far from the truth. Today books on Satanism have
sold in the millions. LaVey’s first book, The Satanic Bible,
has sold over 750,000 copies;2
and apparently, it frequently turns up in police investigations of
Since The Satanic Bible was published in 1969, Satan worship
has increased dramatically. Many park rangers encounter satanic sites
so frequently they may no longer report them.4
Satanism is producing problems in many American communities. Several
major cities on the West Coast have aired special segments dealing
with Satanism. For example, Channel 7 Eyewitness News in Los Angeles,
California, ran a week-long special devoted to the topic in February
1986. It documented the increase of Satanism, the secrecy, the
desecration of churches, ritual animal sacrifices, etc. Satanic
graffiti included "Hail, Satan" and "Kill all the Christians."
Satanists were interviewed who stated their beliefs. One man (who had
carved 666 on his arm) stated: "This says I believe in Satan, worship
Satan, believe that he is master, that he is lord."
Another Satanist replied that the reason for his involvement was
"strength and power and everything else that goes along with it:
drugs, women, money, violence." Both were members of a gang called
"the Stoners" and were interviewed from the California Youth Authority
in Chino where they were wards of the state. A connection was noted
between devil worship and heavy metal rock music; indeed, there are
apparently hundreds of heavy metal/ "Stoner" gangs with various
degrees of involvement in Satanism.
A number of murders related to Satanism were also cited. One former
Satanist admitted on camera to murdering his father and to the
attempted murder of his mother when he was 17. His story began early
in the fourth grade with an interest in the occult which developed
into an interest in Satan. Richard Frederickson, the Orange County
assistant district attorney, noted a gruesome local fact. Where one or
more parents were murdered by their children, "Of those 6-8 cases
there is probably 5 that have had some sort of overtones of Satanism."
Incredibly, in spite of the obvious evils of Satanism, there are
actually respected scholars today who laud its alleged "social
The Cable News Network reported on August 25, 1985, that a family
found to be involved in making snuff films had allegedly murdered
children in the process. They were suspected of involvement in
Satanism and ritual murder and had been arrested on child molesting
charges three years earlier.
It is a lack of evidence in satanic crime which is the greatest
problem law enforcement agencies face (see Occult Criminality
below). Without hard evidence, police are powerless. Yet, the highly
secretive nature of serious Satanism means that all evidence of a
crime is carefully disposed of. Thus, when the police or TV news
reporters usually conclude, "We found no evidence of a satanic crime,"
the public tends to think no crime was ever committed. But anyone who
has studied Satanism knows that crimes are being committed, for
criminal activity is inherently compatible with Satanism—and much
High school teacher Joy Childress is one wounded survivor of
Satanism who tries to warn others:
I was in the Satanic cult from birth until I was twenty-one years
old. My whole family was in the cult. It was generational as my
grandfather on my mother’s side also participated. My experience
deals with ritualistic rape, ritualistic sacrificing of children and
dogs, mainly German shepherds, ritualistic eating of flesh, feces,
vomit and urine, and ritualistic drinking of animal or human
blood.... It was a family cult—made up entirely of families. At one
time, the high priest was an ordained Baptist minister of a
prominent church in Denver, Colorado.... Some of the ceremonies
would be performed to gain Satan’s power through the terror of the
child. The child would be starved, tortured, and raped in order to
gain that power. Some of the ceremonies were strictly for
sacrificial killings for Satan. The child would be killed with a
knife through the heart while a cult member was raping the child.
The point of all this was to have the sexual climax at the point of
death of the child.... The bodies were always burned. Some of the
bones were kept as implements for the ceremonies…. These things do
upset me very much when I talk about them, but people need to know
and understand that these things really did happen and are still
Detective Sandi Gallant of the Intelligence Division of the San
Francisco Police Department is among the most respected of police
officers who investigate occult crime. She observes, "With organized
groups, it is very deliberate that we were not finding any evidence of
criminal activity. They’re much too careful and hide their tracks very
Lack of evidence and public denials by Satanists may fool some
people, but it will never change the nature of serious Satanism
itself, which is inherently anti-moral and dedicated to the
promulgation of evil. Having said this, we must observe that Satanism
and Satanic practices may vary by group.
A number of problems surround the relationship between occult
activity and homicide. (Larry Kahaner’s Cults That Kill: Probing
the Underworld of Occult Crime is essential reading here.)
• Disbelief. Evidence may never be heard or
reported because of skepticism. It is true that more police
departments are becoming aware of the problem (a few have units
devoted solely to investigating criminal occult activity), but often
there is a denial that, where present in significant proportions,
occultism may have been a contributing factor in serious crimes.
• Absent or conflicting evidence. Those who are
serious about occult murder are secretive and dispose of evidence
methodologically. Conflicting evidence can be interpreted in various
ways when the motives are multiple, and investigators downplay the
occult factor for less bizarre answers.
• Impotence. Police may find it almost impossible
to infiltrate satanic or related groups. Often someone cannot join
such groups without an initiation that involves criminal acts.
• Fear of repercussions. Most people
instinctively avoid that which is overtly evil. Investigators may be
concerned that reprisal is more likely in groups with a satanic
philosophy and where trial and conviction are unlikely.
In several cases where alleged Satanism, ritual killing, and other
crimes were involved, the Chicago Tribune (July 29, 1985)
illustrated a number of the problems discussed above:
"It’s something I don’t want to be identified as knowing that
much about," said a psychiatrist who has interviewed the children in
one of the cases. "I think anybody who works in this area ought to
carry a badge and wear a gun. And not have a family."
"Good luck with your life," said another child therapist, one of
whose patients is among the children making such accusations. "My
car was blown up ten days ago."
"People," one psychiatrist says, "just aren’t ready for this."
A mistrial was declared in the case when the jury announced that
it was deadlocked 6-6, and Jewett said several jurors told him later
that it had been their disbelief of the girl’s testimony about
Satanic rituals, and not about being abused, that prompted them to
vote for acquittal.
"There’s no doubt in my mind that she was a participant in
Satanic worship," Jewett said, "But she also described incidents of
human sacrifice, bestiality and cannibalism...."
His dilemma is shared by Rick Lewkowitz, a deputy district
attorney in Sacramento who is prepared for a preliminary hearing in
the case of five men, many of them waiters in the same restaurant,
who are charged with 77 counts of sexually abusing nine children.
"There’ve been descriptions of Satanic rituals," Lewkowitz said
in a telephone interview.... "Four of the children have described
one specific incident where three children were killed by the
sexually abused victims."
Lewkowitz is convinced that the children are telling the truth.
"I don’t see where these kids would be able to come up with the
consistent detail they come up with, if not from their own
experience," he said.
The principal obstacle confronting them, say those investigating
the various cases, is the almost total lack of physical evidence,
including bodies, to confirm the children’s allegations.
Of course, it is a big world with lots of places to hide bodies.
Perhaps the estimated 25,000 to 50,000 children who disappear off the
face of the earth each year might account for some of them.
Most of the one-and-a-half to two million children who disappear
are found. But many are kidnapped by child molesters and Satanists who
use them in pornographic films, occult rituals, and/or "snuff" films.
Robert Simandl is a 20-year veteran of the Chicago police department
and a leading authority on crime and Satanism. He is one of many who
thinks there is an international network of Satanists responsible for
selling drugs, child pornography, and other crimes.8
Up to 50,000 children are never found and never accounted
for—children who, presumably, never wanted to be lost in the first
place. One can only wonder what may have happened to them. We know for
a fact what happened to some: "Each year between 2,500 and 5,000
unidentified children are found slain, and many are thought to be the
victims of child abductors."9