Interesting Times

Cultic Studies Journal, Volume 8, Number 2, 1991, pages 151-190

Interesting Times

Kevin Garvey

Linda Blood


The report, Satanism in America, by the Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion (CSER) purports to show dm destructive effects and criminal activities allegedly associated with Satanism are actually the product of hysteria and can be explained away by exposing the "opportunism, emotional instability, and religious bigotry" of those who concern themselves with these problems. Here we show that the CSER report itself contains fundamental methodological flaws, including use of the logical fallacy known as the argumentum ad hominem, a naive approach to its subject, disregard for the empirical evidence, and omission of material damaging to the public postures of the "recognized satanic churches." Thus a work which could have been a valuable contribution to the debate over the nature and extent of problems associated with Satanism merely contributes to, and indeed serves to aggravate, the already existing polarization concerning this subject.

Irony and pathos increasingly emerge as the criteria by which our era must be assessed. As the signs of social deterioration multiply, swarms of pundits and apologists gather to feast on the shards of our former hopes and certitudes. The spectacle created by the advocates of competing viewpoints is a disquieting reminder of the Chinese aphorism, “May you live in interesting times." We do indeed, and the irony is that the increased interest generated by the commentators on our crises too often fosters pathos. This is especially true when the pundits and apologists are easily exposed by their own inadequacies. Such is the case with Satanism in America, the recent report by the Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion (CSER).

This report was written by a collection of authors officially representing the Academy of Humanism. This group is integrally connected to the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), which has produced various and admirable works exposing religious and scientific frauds. The parent group has as associates such reputable people as Martin Gardner and Carl Sagan. It is not necessary to agree with every word such people utter to know that one is being addressed by honest scholarship, intelligent reasoning, and challenging opinion. Such, alas, is not the case with Satanism in America, and that is why this report merits a detailed critique. It is not worthy of its impressive lineage, which endows it with an undeserved presumption of credibility.

The obvious dilemmas posed by this report may partially stem from the fact that it was prepared by a committee. The primary authors are: Shawn Carlson, Ph.D., physicist; Gerald Larue, Emeritus Professor of Religion, University of Southern California; Gerry O'Sullivan, April A. Masche, and D. Hudson Frew. These authors wrote the bulk of the report. Three shorter reports are included as appendices. They were written by Robert Hicks, a Criminal Justice Analyst, Kenneth Lanning, a Special Agent of the F.B.I., and Michael Stackpole, who writes on role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons. This is an impressive-sounding group. Their product is also impressive - but not for the authors' intended purposes.

What is impressive about this study? The first thing is its temerity. It addresses an important, difficult, volatile topic without failing to comment on each of its many facets. The second impressive aspect is the study's clearly stated intention. The authors declare in their Introduction

The entire topic of Satanic belief, Satanic religious practices and ritual crime is an abyss of bigotry and ignorance because of thousand-year-old superstitions and misunderstanding. Satanism has reached the limelight, and remained there, because of religious arrogance and intolerance through which tiny bubbles of truth must perilously percolate [sic] if they are to break onto the surface of the public mind. Hopefully, this report will be one of those bubbles and, undoubtedly, this exposed will be quite controversial. [1]

It should be controversial, but not merely for its audacity. Indeed, the report’s third impressive trait is its most important one - its pretentiousness. This shows through in many ways. The first is its claim to objectivity and scholarship. The second is the moral indignation it assumes when attacking those who attempt to address satanist influences. The third reflection of the authors' pretensions is clearly discernible in the manner of their attack on specific individuals: they use a blatant argumentum ad hominem approach rather than a coherent dissection of the claims of specific individuals. In the process, they misquote some sources, fail to verify others, and falsely expand their few accurate charges to include people who are not guilty of the errors alleged by the report. This mode of attack pervades the report and is accompanied by an equally pervasive, and equally shoddy, strain of pseudologic.

The CSER report addresses a wide array of categories, people, incidents and statements. To justify their selection, the authors of the report, and the authors of two of the three appendices, cite the analytic tool known as Ockham's Razor. "Ockham's Razor,” the report states, “is a rule that is used in science, and many other endeavors, that helps sort the truth from nonsense. It stipulates that when several explanations could explain a SCA of facts, the one that is most likely to be true is the explanation that is simplest.” [2) The authors then provide us with what amounts to their analytic theme. Emphasizing the importance of their views by the use of italics, they declare: 'Never attribute to international Devil-worshipping conspiracies what opportunism, emotional instability and religious bigotry are sufficient to explain.” [3] This statement claims the mantle of scientific precision, introduces a powerful straw man - “international Devil-worshipping conspiracies” - and, in a particularly scurrilous implication, declares that all concerns about Satanism merely reflect "opportunism, emotional instability and religious bigotry.” [41 This audacious assertion is more clearly emphasized in the report's Abstract. After informing the reader that Gerry O'Sullivan “investigated the backgrounds" of those whom the report challenges, the Abstract states:

In addition to presenting an analysis of the allegations made by conspiracy theory advocates, this report also documents the insanity, severe emotional problems of some, the thinly disguised extremist Christian agenda of others, the opportunism of a few and the self-guilt purging crusade of the rest. The anti- Satanism hysteria that is sweeping the country is being fueled by people for whom facts have little meaning. They invent "facts" to try and [sic] marshal the public's support on the side of unreason. [5]

Such extraordinary use of the ad hominem tactic serves the report s need to avoid logical debate. An examination of the analytic tool, Ockham's Razor, explains why the report rests upon such polemical tactics rather than honest debate.

Ockham's Razor derives from the logical principles developed by William of Ockham during the early fourteenth century. His attempt to revise the assumptions underlying medieval realism in no way encompassed the report’s rejection of fact, evidence, and analytic reason. Ockham's effort: .presupposed and was based on the principle that the human mind can directly apprehend existent individuals and their sensible qualities, and that it can also directly apprehend its own acts.” [61 Ockham should be seen, and used, not as a grammatical impediment to due investigation, but in the service of a true .economy of ontological commitment” through which extraneous arguments are bypassed. This did not imply any denial of facts or truth. It encouraged reliance on logically grounded assumptions and facts "established by evident experience or evident reasoning." The CSER report violates this insistence on fact and reason. A few examples of their ad hominem approach will illustrate its deficiencies.

Ad Hominem Approach of CSER

On page 22 of the report, the authors declare that retired police Captain Dale Griffis “claims that nationwide 50,000 children and teens are killed annually during satanic human sacrifice rituals.” [Emphasis theirs.] In a telephone conversation, followed by a written confirmation, Captain Griffis acknowledged having played a taped report by another investigator, which included this claim, during a conference in Buffalo, New York. This conference is the one cited by CSER. Griffis pointed out, however, that his comments about the tape strongly challenged the 50,000 figure. What he said at the conference was that such figures require validation, and that none is available. However, the CSER source, a Buffalo reporter, did not even attend the conference. The report also places Griffis at a 1989 conference sponsored by the organization Bothered About Dungeons and Dragons (B.A.D.D.), at which time he allegedly repeated his remark about the 50,000 sacrifices. In point of fact, Griffis had cancelled his appearance at that conference due to an injury and had remained at home on the advice of his physician.

Also on page 22, Patricia Pulling, founder of B.A.D.D., is quoted as having claimed that "the number of Satanic sacrifices could be as many as 10,000 sacrifices per year - perhaps more. We have no way of knowing.” [Emphasis theirs.] What is left out is the tone of that interview. Pulling says that her statement was made during an exchange in which she was emphasizing the dangers of exaggeration, and that it was with a demeanor provoked by frustration, incredulity, and satirical defiance that she pointed out to CSER's source, reporter Rex Springston, that no one could answer his pointedly loaded questions about the number of satanic sacrifices. As Pulling recalls, her answer was along the lines of, "How should I or anyone else know? There could be 10 or there could be 10,000. We am dealing with a clandestine activity. We have no way of knowing the exact numbers.” This is a far cry from claiming 10,000 or more sacrifices per year. And, Pulling adds, no one from CSER contacted her before reprinting Springston's account of the story. (Nor, to the best of our knowledge, did CSER bother to contact any of the other individuals whom their report attacks. They did, however, see fit to send a draft of the report to Michael Aquino, high priest of the satanist Temple of Set, and invite his comments on their work - which were extensive and, not surprisingly, laudatory.)

The reports comments on Maury Terry, author of The Ultimate Evil, combine all its polemical tactics in one concerted attack. On page 96, the report asserts that Terry used "strangely interpreted evidence” and egregious leaps of logic.” It also maligns Terry's use of what it calls experts with dubious opinions and affiliations.” The report claims that Terry was sued by the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) over comments he made about that organization in his book, The Ultimate Evil, and that the case was settled out of court. One of the alleged ten-ns of the settlement was the deletion of all references to the O.T.O. from future editions. This is simply not true. Terry pointed out in a telephone conversation that the paperback edition of his book, released in 1989, contains all the original O.T.O. references. Terry also noted that the CSER report was marked by a conspicuous absence of comment on the hard evidence presented in the book, much of which has been borne out by recent developments in the Roy Radin murder case in Los Angeles.

Not being content with this factual error enclosed within an argumentum ad hominem, the report's authors follow it up with the very serious charge that Terry illegally obtained, and then withheld, evidence in the much-publicized Lisa Steinberg murder case. The report refers to Terry's acknowledgement on the Geraldo Rivera Show that he possessed Hedda Nussbaum's appointment diary. The authors then state that they called the New York City District Attorney's Office on October 2, 1988, and .were told that, if Terry's claim was indeed true, he would be guilty of withholding evidence in a murder case - a crime." The truth, as the authors could have learned by contacting Maury Terry themselves, is that Terry was in the Steinberg apartment after the police released it from crime scene status. With Joel Steinberg’s permission, in the company of Steinberg's attorney, and with the knowledge of the police, Terry took the appointment book. If this was an illegal act, why hasn't Terry been arrested? Terry has also pointed out to us that documents going back to the early 1980's, in Hedda Nussbaum's handwriting, demonstrate that Hedda was involved in cultic activities that overlapped with child pornography. The police are currently in possession of these documents.

These examples underscore the report's failure to abide by its authors' criteria for responsible commentary. The examples also undercut their claim to the valid use of Ockham's Razor. This leaves their intentions suspect. The selective scholarship which marks the Introduction dominates and distorts the reports main sections as well, and we have many questions about the bulk of the report’s other claims and assertions. For one thing, the authors combine their selective scholarship with a guilt-by-association maneuver. After soundly berating several individuals who are widely considered to be charlatans, the report then attempts to claim that their chicanery contaminates everyone who criticizes Satanism's spread. But these individuals are not representative of all those who are willing to speak out on this topic. For another, the report's discussion of their generic topics - Satanism, Witchcraft, Child Abuse, and related criminal activities - is simply too disingenuous.

CSER Error Number One: Wicca and Other Occult Religions

In their section on "Wicca and Other “Occult” Religions," the authors attempt to portray Witchcraft and other forms of neo-pagan religion, as well as Native American Religion, and Santeria, Voodoo, Palo Mayombe, and other African- Caribbean-American religions, as entirely benevolent and innocent (while characterizing Evangelical Christianity as vicious, intolerant, and superstitious). However, the authors overlook the fact that the concept of “black magic” appears in some form in virtually all of these religions. In keeping with its consistent use of its original straw man, the International Satan-worshipping Conspiracy, the report flatly states that Wicca has .nothing to do with the Devil." This assertion, because it appears in conjunction with a blanket claim incorporating several religions, cannot go unchallenged. Satanic religion, “devil worship,” and Wicca all rely upon a central religious experience which, despite variations in perspective, reflects a uniform underlying impulse and belief system. The report completely misses the point that what ties these religions together, and sets them apart from Biblical theology, is their reliance upon theological concepts derived from Animism. What the ancient Greeks meant by their word (entheos), the root of our word enthusiasm, entails a necessarily passive state of mind without which the rituals lose their power. While the individual religions do have varying applications of this core belief, the principle is uniform. A deity, it is believed, can be drawn into the person, or self, of an individual, or the selves of a group, and thereby redirect the perceptions, convictions, and actions according to the wishes of the deity. The subsequent and perceptible shifts are accepted as the palpable signs of the deity's presence. This is what these people believe happens, and, via the necessary reification of their own sensations, what they worship. In Wicca, for example, the sought-for shift largely affects the sexual realm.

CSER's list of Wicca-type religions possesses a common thread of magic, the goal of which is to bring down discanate spirits to a point where they infuse the suppliant This may be done for purposes of expiation, in order to gain direct control over reality, or for a number of other reasons. However, it is not comparable to practices such as kosher butchery and the slaughter of turkeys for Thanksgiving, as the report tries to imply. The difference is in immediate intention and ultimate goal. Kosher butchery is done in acquiescence to the authority of a distant deity, possibly to incur the deity's favor, but with no intention of infusion into the rabbi, the animal, or those who par-take of the animal. The same applies to Thanksgiving, which is the celebration of an act which was originally performed simply to express gratitude for sustenance.

CSER cites Michael Aquino of the Temple of Set as an authority. Here is what Aquino has to say about bringing down the spirit of Set to infuse the celebrant.:

The Priesthood involves the opening of a very special kind of door: the merging of the consciousness, indeed the personality, with that of the Prince of Darkness himself. In this Working the Priest or Priestess in no sense loses personal identity of Self- awareness; rather one's consciousness is augmented, energized, and strengthened by that of Set. Hence the Priest or Priestess - when acting as such, for “Priesthood” is a deliberate act, not an office - is something more than human, something more than the individual whose human visage appears before onlookers. At such times he or she is not "possessed," but is rather become a veritable living Temple indwelled by the presence of Set. Each Priest and Priestess of Set is a Temple of Set: a psyche so purified, educated, consecrated, and initiated that is has become a fit medium for the Prince of Darkness. Nowhere is this more succinctly illustrated than in the ultimate admonition of the Egyptian sage to Her-Bak, at the culmination of the latter's initiation as a Priest: “O Her-Bak. 0 Egypt. You are the temple which the Neter of Neters inhabits. Awaken Him... then let the temple fall crashing.” [71

Aquino's description should remove any doubt about the intention of satanist practice. Rhetorical double-talk to the contrary notwithstanding, what Aquino is describing is indeed possession. It is to allow one's self, one's thoughts, beliefs and acts of will, to be absorbed into those belonging to an alien entity - and the “temple” must indeed come crashing down. One's self - that is, one's unique, authentic non-cult personality - thus becomes the first sacrifice to one7s satanic Self merged with that of the Prince of Darkness. This initial psychic casualty accounts for the reversed ethical judgments of many satanists. Restraint is replaced by aggression, compassion fades into cruelty, and the pursuit of the experience of power emerges as the means and the end. Satanists do not see these shifts as evil. A knowledgeable Satanist such as Michael Aquino considers judgments of good and evil to be subject to purely personal criteria. [81 A believing and practicing Satanist is more than a theological maverick. He or she is also a philosophical subjectivist.

Wicca is a contemporary form of traditional witchcraft. As such it incorporates attributes of the generic craft and traits normally found in more obviously occultic practices. Wiccan practice is a syncretistic quagmire in that it is not based on a uniform ritual, universal theology, or coherently ordered network. It is possible, however, to discern parallels between Wicca and the CSER report's description of satanic worship. The report says that “Satanists believe that there exists an all-pervasive and creative “force of Nature” that is responsible for the “balance” in nature... the one thing that is necessary to personally experience this “force,” to know it and to be able to use it to advance one's life, is to indulge in earthly pleasure.” [91 The similarity between Wiccan beliefs and the Satanic beliefs expounded by the report can be observed in the book The Witches' Goddess by Janet and Stewart Farrar. The authors write, “paganism (and perhaps the Craft in particular is strongly Nature-based. Both in their worship and in their daily lives, pagans love, respect and endeavor to attune themselves to their natural environment... its currents and rhythms.” [10] Attuning to this environment is assisted by acts of communion with the Goddess of Nature. This is not, however, “a purely rational activity.” It must be expressed through myth and ritual and ultimately depends on “the psychic fermentation which cannot be hurried but which gradually transmutes knowledge into personal awareness." [II]

Another parallel between Satanism and Goddess worship is the monist conception on which each rests and from which each religion's ominous aspects emerge. The Farrars write that, "The Goddess is both the womb and the tomb; she gives birth, she creates form, she nourishes, and she reabsorbs the outworn preparatory to its reshaping and rebirth. If she were not the destroyer, she could not be the renewer.” [121 The report says that Satanists believe that “one cannot know love without also knowing hate, one cannot know ecstasy without also knowing agony.” [131 The Farrars go even further and acknowledge that the dark side of the Goddess is the force “the patriarchal order" mistakes as the Devil. [141 This is quite telling, because of the similarity between the types of sorcery each requires.

The most striking parallel between Wicca and the report's cited satanic beliefs is to be found in the phenomenon of sought-for possession. Where Aquino acknowledges the Prince of Darkness, the Wiccans seek the presence of the Goddess. The ritual is called Drawing Down the Moon. The Farrars describe a very explicit ritual in which the Priest "addresses the Goddess independently of the woman, invoking her to “descend into the body of thy servant and priestess." [151 The Farrars claim that this ritual "works.” [16] "Time and again, an “ordinary” human woman seems transformed by it, so that the coven has no difficulty in reacting to her as the voice and presence of the Goddess." [171 The Farrars explain that the words of the Charge, or its human channel, are often replaced by something quite different. “Every experienced High Priestess is familiar with the strange feeling of observing from a corner of her own mind, of listening to the Goddess using her vocal chords, and wondering what will come next.” [ 18]

As the history of Goddess-worship so clearly attests, "what will come next" may well be human sacrifice. In his book Witchcraft in the Middle Ages, the reports designated expert on witchcraft, Jeffrey Burton Russell, acknowledges that many medieval witches did indeed perform the horrific acts attributed to them. He cites Lynn White's observation that "Witchcraft is always a turning upsidedown of the moral standards of the world in which the witch lives.” [191 White also noted that it is a rebellion, a repudiation, “a form of nihilism which is demanded by mentally and emotionally unstable people in any time of rapid change.” [201 In a predominantly Christian world the rebellion would necessarily be against a Christian moral order. As the Farrars point out, contemporary witches express an anti-Christian view. [211 This is not surprising. “People alienated from society escape ambiguity, dissonance, and despair only by throwing themselves totally into another symbolic order. In turning away from God, the witches naturally sought to discover their identity in total union with the Devil." [22]

This, then, is what the report obscures. Wicca and Satanism share, metaphysically speaking, a regression to an ethical mode based upon the relinquishing of personal responsibility in the experience of possession. By acquiescing to the directive will of a spiritual Force greater than the individual, afl manner of license is permitted, then demanded. A state of primal innocence is entered, wherein actions are considered to be ultimately those of the spirit, not the individual. It is increasingly evident that contemporary practitioners are, as were those of the Middle Ages, pursuing ecstasy through domination of themselves, of Nature, and of other people. And total dominance means just that. Death. For, as history demonstrates, the Earth Goddess and the Devil do demand death. (The drift toward this demand is already apparent in another realm we shall be examining, the social fascination with magical and satanic themes found in certain forms of rock music.)

But the CSER report ignores this historical fact, as it does any unpleasant fact about “alternative religions.” It is patronizing and inaccurate to deny the place of malevolent "black magic” practices in Voodoo, Santeria, Brujeria etc., especially when its existence is acknowledged by recognized experts on these religions. As for Palo Mayombe, the very name means "way of the black witch,” and it is described by Migene Gonzalez-Wippler as having been derived from the black magic of the Congo. [23] Metraux notes that in Voodoo society sorcerers, or boko, are those whose patron gods, or loa, are believed to be mercenary and, therefore, amoral. [24] Harvard anthropologist Wade Davis has described how and why some of these boko create "zombies" as a tool of social control. In addition, the report ignores related issues such as the cult of pain in Native American religion (e.g., the Sun Dance), the ritual sacrifice of young women by the Blackfeet, the body-piercing rituals of the ancient Maya, and the wholesale human sacrifices - including the sacrifice of children - of the Incas and Aztecs. While these practices were not specifically “satanic” in intent, they certainly give the lie to the notion that these “folk religions" were, or are, all sweetness and light.

"Black magicians' are not limited to practices which might be defined as “legitimate Satanism” - whatever that is - but are happy to employ whatever works. Authorities in the field recognize that, due to the inherent moral neutrality of magical practice, certain folk religions, such as Brujeria and Palo Mayombe, are popular with criminals. Adolfo Constanzo, high priest of the Matamoros drug-trafficking cult, borrowed liberally from the whole magical menu, and threw in elements of Aztec ritual sacrifice for good measure. Military investigators who examined the contents of Manual Noriega's headquarters in Panama discovered that the General apparently had invoked every unorthodox creed he could think of in an effort to magically confound his enemies. [25]

For the authors of the CSER report to contend that the Matamoros incident is unrelated to the phenomenon of “satanic” crime because, in effect, the members of the cult were not “traditional satanists” is absurd. Complaining that the practices of Constanzo and his cohorts were a “perverted" form of Palo Mayombe, and hand-wringing over alleged “distorted views” and "ignorance about minority religions,” cannot wipe out the fact that the Matamoros massacre is a nearly textbook example of occult-related murder and mayhem. Unfortunately, readers who are relatively unfamiliar with these folk religions will tend to accept CSER's laundered version of their beliefs and practices. However, our interest lies in dealing with crimes committed in the name of any form of malevolent occultism, not just traditional European- American “Satanism." The focus is on the criminal activity. If, as CSER implies, criticism of Satanism were merely a case of “religious persecution," then where were the persecutors 25 years ago when the Church of Satan announced itself to the world?

Error Number Two: The Nature of Satanism

Another of the Report's claims involves an attack on its targets' methodology. Its authors extend their argumentum ad hominem to the point of suggesting that concerns about satanic influence are the product of prejudgment. Contrary to CSER's assertions, however, reputable investigators in this area did not start out with the assumption that an “international conspiracy of Devil-worshippers” was plotting atrocities and then attempt to make the facts of individual crimes fit into that framework. Instead, over a period of several years, we and others equally concerned were confronted with a series of crimes and incidents sharing certain characteristics which led us to identify them as part of a pattern of criminal activity in which practices consistent with malevolent forms of occultism played a significant role. This pattern is sufficiently consistent to allow the suspicion that a common source exists. This does not mean that a consensus about a conspiracy also exists. CSER, on the other hand, apparently began its "investigation” with the attitude that a collection of venal, demented, and/or hysterical fundamentalist Christians were beating the bushes for Satanists, and has steadfastly ignored any and all evidence to the contrary.

In their summary of the report published in Free Inquiry, Carlson and Lame refer to Satanism as a 'benign" religion which has been “unfairly maligned and much misunderstood.” [26] Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary defines the word “benign" as signifying “kind... gracious... generous... beneficial.” Satanism fits that description only in regard to its own members' belief that their deity is a good and gracious god - to them. However, in its outlook on humanity in general, Satanism is essentially misanthropic and predatory. In the seventh of his "Nine Satanic Statements' Anton LaVey declares that "Satanism represents man as just another animal, sometimes better, more often worse than those that walk on afl-fours, who, because of his “divine spiritual and intellectual development,” has become the most vicious animal of all!” [271 In other words, according to LaVey, the hallmarks of our humanity - our reason and self-awareness - serve only to mark us as vicious, predatory beasts whose aim in life should be to dominate others. Nowhere in any of the "satanic literature” is there any statement acknowledging the existence of human rights, whether natural or “God- given." Satanists believe in “rights” only for the satanic “elite.” The “legitimate” Satanist "churches” must avoid outright violence and illegality, as well as exhortations to same, in order to stay in business. But their philosophies clearly demonstrate an "us-versus-them" mentality in the form of contempt for, and hostility towards, non-satanists.

The CSER report claims that the "modem era" of Satanism was inaugurated in this country in 1966 with the founding of Anton LaVey's Church of Satan. [28] Even if this rather arbitrary assertion is true, it no more grants L.aVey the right to establish the definition of “Satanism" than does a similar Johnny-come-lately position entitle the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to rewrite the definition of Christianity. The report, however, blithely assumes that it does - and then proceeds to contradict itself as it lists the following tenets and conditions of "Satanism":

Satan is the symbol of rebellion against authority; inverted anti-Christianity associated with the Black Mass is not practiced. In fact, the Church of Satan disbelieves in the existence of the Christian Devil. [291

"Rebellion against authority” is a broad term capable of both praiseworthy and sinister applications. The irrationalist in Dostoesky's Notes from the Underground declares, “What do I care for the laws of nature and arithmetic, when, for some reason, I dislike those laws and the fact that twice two makes four?” This, too, is “rebellion against authority” - the authority of reality - and it is essentially this sort of rebellion that is practiced by the followers of LaVey and Aquino.

In regard to the Black Mass, it has indeed been performed in the Church of Satan, and LaVey's The Satanic Rituals contains a full-length Messe Noir. Michael Aquino notes that LaVey explains in the Satanic Bible that the purpose of a Black Mass ritual is to:

purge participants or onlookers of any conditioned fears they may have as a consequence of old superstitions or indoctrinations. Once he has seen his sacred cows trampled upon with impunity, he will never feel quite the same about them again, no matter how artificial he recognizes the desecration to be. [30]

Lest we confuse this process with harness “psychodrama,” Aquino then goes on to discuss “an excellent example of a “Black Mass” technique in George Orwell's 1984, wherein the magician O'Brien forces his victim/student Winston Smith to “trample upon the sacred cow” of his love for Julia," thereby destroying the “illusion” of that love. [311 The fictional O'Brien is not the only “magician” to have recognized the effect of such an “initiatory" experience. In The Informed Heart, Bruno Bettelheim, writing of his experiences in the Nazi death camps, notes that new prisoners were "initiated" through a pattern of torture, abuse, and exhaustion intended to traumatize them and break their resistance:

The guards also forced prisoners to hit one another and to defile what the SS considered the prisoners' most cherished values. They were forced to curse God, to accuse themselves and one another of vile actions, and their wives of adultery and prostitution... any failure to obey an order ... or any help given a tortured prisoner was viewed as mutiny and swiftly punished by death. [32]

Are these the beliefs and practices of a “benign" alternative religion? Hardly. Such nihilistic exhortations are not novel, nor do they lack ambiguity. Indeed, it might be said that the Satanists and their ilk are attempting to perform a “Black Mass ritual" on our entire civilization. Church desecrations and heavy metal music may be only portents of what Dr. Carl Raschke, in his book Painted Black, calls the satanists' policy of "cultural terrorism."

The predatory nature of the abuses reported by Bettelheim are paralleled in the cases of apparent satanic activity. A taped interview with a teenage girl raped by four of her teachers, and left unreported because of her family's fear, is chilling in its details. She describes how they ritualistically positioned her, glacially drank in her vulnerability and terror, appeared to violate her according to a hierarchy of rank, and, when done, viciously employed a broom handle so violently that it broke! Without a note of concern for their act, and with an arrogance and confidence borne out by her family's silence, they left her where the violation had taken place. [33]

CSER's report repeatedly claims and implies that no facts exist which can demonstrate a satanic intent based upon Anton LaVey's books, The Satanic Bible and The Satanic Rituals. The many reports of the presence of these books among the personal belongings of young criminals is dismissed as coincidence or, at best, a reflection of a curiously anarchistic and fruitless search. Besides, the report contends, Satan is merely a metaphorical figurehead to thew Satanists and therefore cannot function as the source of a genuine religious impulse. To demonstrate the inadequacy of this position it is merely necessary to go to the source. Here is what Michael Aquino, formerly LaVey's protégé/colleague, has to say about the Church of Satan and Satan himself, quoting from the introduction to his religious statement, The Book of Coming Forth by Night:

In its formative years the Church of Satan took an essentially metaphorical approach towards the being from whom it took its names. "Satan" was the term representing, it was thought, simply the principle of carnality. Such rituals and ceremonies as the Church first celebrated, therefore, were conceived as illustrative, inspirational, and allegorical. At least, that's the way it all began.

"When he is called," Eliphas Levi once observed, "the Devil comes and is seen.” And in that prosaic statement lies a truth whose implications challenge the rational constructs of the most exacting intellects. The one common feature to all the gods of all the nations of history, it may be said, is that they do not come and are not seen.

Satan, however, did come to the Church of Satan - first as the faintest of atmospheres in its ceremonies, and ultimately as a metaphysical presence whose expression of being was awesome, exhilarating - the very fire of life to those who took his name as a part of their own and called themselves Satanists. [34]

Such “sacred” revelations were not, of course, to be shared with the "profane." So while LaVey continued to preach the gospel of symbolism to the ignorant masses, the Church of Satan's select" inner circle hugged their secret to their bosoms:

Satan is the symbol of the self, then, as it should be within the Satanist. But this symbolism is only part of the truth, because man's very ability to think and act in disregard of the “balancing factor” of the Universe necessitates a source for that ability. And that source is thus the intelligence that made the Church of Satan far more than an exercise in psychodramatic narcissism. It is the intelligence of what mankind has personified as the Prince of Darkness himself - no symbol or allegory, but a sentient being. This was the central "secret" - and the heart - of the Church of Satan. With the irony that so often accompanies great truths, it was proclaimed in the institution's very title; yet in its simplicity it confronted such a massive psychological block in the minds of even some of the most dedicated Satanists that it remained unnamed and unacknowledged. In the discussions and debates which regularly surfaced, it would be referred to obliquely and in hesitant tones. Eventually Anton and I spoke openly to one another about it, but only at times and in places of sacred significance to us. [35]

So much for the CSER report's contention that Satanists do not worship Satan.

It is true that church and cemetery desecration might be the product of merely rebellious teenagers. But repeated incursions into a Pennsylvania Catholic church, noteworthy for the patterned drippings of black candle wax around an impromptu bed, violations of the altar and tabernacle, “calling cards” of amulets, books, and an altar stone stolen form another church, point toward more design and intent than one would expect from a drunkenly spontaneous group of young "rebels." [361 Is it not reasonable, then, to deduce that an adolescent perpetrator of an act of extreme violence is probably acting out, no matter how indirectly, an act of Satanically inspired predation?

To continue with the CSER report's assertions:

A large percentage of the membership consists of mail-order members, about whom the groups' [sic] administration knows little and over whom they have no control (e.g., a teenager who scrawls Satanic graffiti and claims to be a member of the Church of Satan is acting without the group's knowledge or sanction). Members who are found to be breaking the law and who are more closely associated with the Church of Satan than being simply a mail-order member are expelled. [37]

This statement raises more questions than it answers. If this policy is characteristic of the Church of Satan, what, then, are we to make of the Temple of Set - headed by Michael Aquino, a former Church of Satan leader - which takes pains to contact and supervise even its isolated “mail-order" members and requires extensive correspondence and participation? Does this put the Temple of Set outside the definition of “Satanism?” And if a kid with a Church of Satan mad-order membership desecrates a church but doesn't get caught, does that mean he is still technically a "real” Satanist because he is, after all, a member of a “recognized” satanic church? Or that "closely associated” Church of Satan members are "real Satanists” until they get caught breaking the law and are expelled? Are members of non-public, non- Church of Satan-affiliated groups "true Satanists” so long as they don't break the law?

The report parrots the claim of LaVey and Aquino that a “real" Satanist would never commit a heinous crime such as human sacrifice. Anton LaVey claims that his Satanic Bible expressly forbids actual human sacrifice and therefore cannot be cited as an influence on Satanism-fixated people who kill. However, LaVey himself seems a bit cavalier about how literally that admonition is to be taken. In an interview published in the August 10, 1986, edition of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, LaVey was asked about an instruction in The Satanic Rituals calling for a human arm or leg bone, which is to be waved about in the course of one of the rites. "I figured people would get the bone someplace other dm by Hling a person. But if they're going to kill, I hope they at least get a deserving victim," LaVey cracked. [381 Lest this be excused as a mere slip of his tongue, in an interview in the "Modem Primitives" issue of Research lavey elaborates on his view that those he deems “stupid” should be “put to the flamethrower, regardless of race." “Satan knows we sure need a good thinning-out process," LaVey fulminates. “Every time there's a disaster... I start tallying things up and wondering not that it was such a tragedy, but wondering only, “So few? Is that all?” “ [39]

The total number of Satanists, people who are recognized by one of the Satanic churches as being a member is most likely to be between 10,000 and 100,000 in the U.S. [401

This example of CSER's scientific precision, with its 90% margin of error, is used to defend the notion that Satanism is a well-established alternative religion. From where, however, do they derive these figures, and how are they documented? Just what constitutes a "recognized Satanic church?” Are they limiting this to the Church of Satan and Temple of Set and claiming these groups can boast a combined membership in the tens of thousands? Or are they including neo-Nazi, Church of Satan-affiliated groups such as the Abraxas Foundation and the Werewolf Order? Furthermore, cults are notorious for inflating estimates of their membership for publicity purposes, and Aquino claims in his book The Church of Satan that LaVey did so regularly. Yet, while the report's authors blithely attack the opponents of Satanism for inflating their figures on sacrifice, breeders, and occult-related crime in general, they accept these grandiose figures without comment.

In short, CSER's attempt to define Satanism fails because it too neatly circumscribes the issue and applies only to a very few selected cases. A proper definition must incorporate the essentials of a given concept. For example, the essential defining factor of Christianity is the belief in the divinity of Jesus Christ. It is not equated with the peculiar tenets of any given Christian sect. There is absolutely no justification for claiming that the assertions of Anton LaVey or Michael Aquino constitute the definition of “Satanism” or are valid for anything outside of their respective sects. They are certainly not grounds for discarding 2,000 years of common usage. CSER's re-defining of the ten-n crates a floating straw man and a red herring.

Error Number Three: The Empirical Evidence

Working off this “definition," the report claims that there are no substantiated cases of Satanism-inspired murder. Here they are in disagreement with, to give just one example, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, which in August 1986 upheld the conviction of self-proclaimed Satanist Scott Waterhouse for the strangulation murder of 12-year-old Gycelle Cote. The appeal had centered on the prosecution's disclosure of Waterhouse’s satanic beliefs. In the course of the trial, the state introduced into evidence portions of Anton LaVey's The Satanic Bible. In a tape-recorded conversation played at the trial, Waterhouse stated that Satanism represents the darker side of humanity and urges indulgence of man's carnal needs rather than abstinence, which certainly sounds like an accurate presentation of key features of LaVey's philosophy. The appeals court concluded that:

As to identity, the evidence described above demonstrates that as a believer in Satanism, defendant could view commission of the heinous crime involved in this case as a means of achieving .physical, mental or emotional gratification.' Similarly, he could believe that a demonstration of strength by total domination of a weaker person would bring “reverence among men" at the expense of one who, being weak, deserved his fate. It was for the jury to decide whether such motivations were actually at work in this case, but the evidence of satanic beliefs is certainly probative of motive and, therefore, of the identity of the perpetrator... On the issue of intent ... the consistency between the circumstances of the crime and Satanism's emphasis on sex [Waterhouse had masturbated over the body], destruction and denigration of weakness, makes it more likely that if defendant killed the victim, he did so intentionally rather than by accident, i.e., though recklessness or criminal negligence. [41]

It appears that the state of Maine, at least, is prepared to take LaVey at his word. So should we all. For, as William of Ockham believed, one such incident provides a fact from which parallels may be deduced. It is logical, in Ockham's terms, to conclude that additional violent incidents accompanied by The Satanic Bible were influenced by LaVey's message. It is also worth noting that this decision was handed down before Satanism became a widely covered topic in the media.

On the other hand, Michael Aquino stated on the Geraldo Rivera Show that the Satanic Bible is mere “polemics” and is not to be taken literally. If this is the case, it raises a number of questions in regard to CSER's report. The Church of Satan is presented as the exemplar of “recognized satanic churches.” If this "church's" scripture is exposed as nothing but "polemics," what does that say about the legitimacy and sincerity of the “church” and the intellectual status and sense of responsibility of Anton LaVey? To be fair, however, we must note that LaVey may not be entirely to blame for the contents of the Satanic Bible. According to his former acolyte, Michael Aquino, LaVey lifted an entire section of the book from a previous work:

The Satanic Bible consists of two comparatively distinct sections of writings: those articulating the social philosophy of Satanism (the Book of Satan and the Book of Lucifer) and those giving instructions for the practice of Satanic magic (the Book of Belial and the Book of Leviathan)... The Book of Satan is represented as a diatribe by Anton on behalf of the Devil. Not until 1987 was it discovered that he was not its true author at all. It is in fact authored by a New Zealander by the name of Arthur Desmond, who wrote it under the pen name of "Ragnar Redbeard” in 1896. (Although Anton includes the name of Redbeard in his roster of names to whom the Satanic Bible is dedicated, he does not explain that dedication, nor credit Redbeard in any way as the true author of the contents of the Book of Satan.) The plagiarisms that constitute the Book of Satan are to be found through Redbeard's book Might is Right. [421

In regard to the issue of "rebellious” youth who are supposedly using Satanism as an “excuse” to do things they would do anyway - a favorite CSER catchphrase - some observations on the phenomenon of the “thrill high" are pertinent. Rob Tucker, director of the Toronto-based Council on Mind Abuse, reports that some participants experience euphoria during certain satanic ceremonies, and this "high” is often linked to destructive acts against others. Tucker notes that the youths apparently “learn" this kind of pleasure; some report experiencing it as a powerful urge to harm, and say they can achieve it by systematically torturing and killing animals. (This "power rush" is celebrated throughout “dark metal” music.) These '"thrill kids” are characterized by pleasure, lack of remorse, and lack of guilt. [431

Heavy Metal

But the authors of the CSER report see no such dangers deriving from the effects of heavy metal music. While acknowledging heavy metal's "wild and rebellious" lyrics, “shocking symbolism,” "ritual costumes,” and "concert theatrics," the report denies that a specifically satanic message could be conveyed by such a "hodgepodge of symbols culled from various subcultures.”

The symbols am not presented in a coherent or effective way for conveying a particular message, either in the lyrics, album covers, posters or stage acts. Rather, the symbols seem intended more to shock than to convert, or to give the aura of the existence of some message just beyond the audience's understanding. [44]

One has to wonder how much the CSER authors know about our youth. Have they ever been to a concert of this type? It is common knowledge that such an experience is unpleasant to downright dangerous. Have they ever witnessed 'slam dancing? Have they lost sight of the difference between a lullaby, a dirge, and music composed for the sole purpose of producing the eradication of thought by the arousal of primal instincts and appetites? Or do they believe that the Rolling Stones' "Jumpin’ Jack Flash" is indistinguishable from "Silent Night?" One must wonder about this in light of the easily procured evidence that points toward wholly different conclusions.

The most concrete examples which disprove the report's claims about an absence of coherent messages in heavy metal music are to be found in the lyrics. The group Motley Crue proclaims in their double platinum album, Shout at the Devil,

Not a woman, but a whore.

I can taste the hate.

Well, now I'm killing you ...

Watch your face turning blue.

Their song, Bastard, says:

Out go the lights.

In goes the knife.

Pull out his life.

Consider the bastard dead.

Make it quick.

Blow off his head.

This is not explicitly satanic. But it is far removed from the love songs of Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly. For more explicit encouragement to violence, one need only listen to the group called Bitch. Their song, Leatherbound, contains the following lines:

The whip is my toy

Handcuffs are your joy

You hold me down and I'm screaming for more

When you tie me up and gag me

The way you give me pain Give me lashes

C'mon and drag me.

Perhaps this, too, lacks sufficient satanic references. For that we turn to the well-known band Venom. In order to avoid being misconstrued, this group conveniently compresses its message into a form suitable to the inefficient understanding of its audience. Its song, “Possessed," could have been written by LaVey himself. Its "ambiguous” message is as follows:

Look at me, Satan's child

Born of evil, thus defiled.

Brought to life through Satan's birth

Come look at me and I'll show you things that will open your eyes...

Listen to me and I'll tell you things that will sicken your mind.

I drink the vomit of the priests,

Make love with the dying whore...

Satan as my master incarnate

Hail, praise to my unholy host.

It is important to remember that those whose lives straddle the worlds of satanic fashion, heavy metal music, and predatory violence listen to a collection of such records. The messages are driven home by repeated exposure, and merge with each other. The screaming sounds, relentless beat, and appeal to excitement do not encourage discernment. When combined with a need to exert power for power, per se, and with a more direct and local authorization for violence, this music contributes to the eventual outcome. It may not be the cause, but it is a factor in the cause even if that factor is limited to its being the anthem of satanically inspired anarchy.

The attraction of violence and its visceral pleasures is not solely a contemporary issue. Saint Augustine's Confessions includes a vivid account of the power exerted by the gory spectacles in the local circus. The cruel killings provoked among the spectators a lust for more killings, even among those previously opposed. “We feel we are masters over life and death when we hold the fate of others in our hands,” wrote Ernest Becker in Escape From Evil, dealing with the same period. He pointed out that “the highest form of pure excitement is to watch another's death while you remain invulnerable." [45] But this sense of power does not need to be the product of its personal exercise. Being a part of a group or community can provide the same sense via identification with acceptable sadistic agents. The Roman spectacles of orchestrated mass murders allowed the individual the same sense of power he would normally experience in war. In his Confessions, St. Augustine re4CallS the experience of his young student, Alypius, who had gone to Rome to study law. Literally dragged along by his friends to view the gladiatorial shows, Alypius intended to demonstrate that, as a good Christian, he was immune to such influences. But such was not his experience.

When they arrived at the arena, the place was seething with the lust for cruelty... and Alypius shut his eyes tightly, determined to have nothing to do with these atrocities. If only he had closed his cars as well! For an incident in the fight drew a great roar from the crowd, and this thrilled him so deeply that he could not contain his curiosity... So he opened his eyes... When he saw the blood, it was as though he had drunk a deep draught of savage passion. Instead of turning away, he fixed his eyes upon the scene and drank in all its frenzy, unaware of what he was doing. He reveled in the wickedness of the fighting, and was drunk with the fascination of bloodshed. He was no longer the man who had come to the arena, but simply one of the crowd which he had joined, a fit companion for the friends who had brought him... and when he left the arena, he carried away with him a diseased mind which would leave him no peace until he came back again, no longer simply together with friends who had first dragged him there, but at their head... [46]

As Becker observes, “for man, maximum excitement is the confrontation of death and the skillful defiance of it by watching others fed to it as he survives transfixed with rapture." [47] While this is certainly not a universal response, it is common enough to have implications in regard to heavy metal music and satanic doctrine.

Are these lessons suddenly inapplicable? Are our youth immune to the thrills so many sources carefully describe? Or are we justified in our concerns that this form of predatory pleasure is being encouraged? The report would have us believe we are not. The report emphatically states that, "there is no compelling evidence that heavy metal music compels teens to vandalize.” [481 This flies in the face of heavy metal being a presence in every such incident we have examined. The report does acknowledge that heavy metal bands use a combination of acts, costumes, and lyrics which reflect ideas about "Satan, sex and drugs" - then, as we have already noted, adds its vacuous observation that "the symbols seem intended more to shock dm to convert.” [49,501 To shock whom? Do the reports authors really believe that heavy metal music has no raison d'etre other than to scandalize Mom and Dad?

Teenage "Mischief"

In their chapter on “Satanic Vandalism," under "Desecration of Religious Property,” the authors of the report try to make light of the malicious vandalism of churches, synagogues and cemeteries by minimizing - using terms such as “occasionally" and “fewer than 100” - and trivializing the issue. Statements such as: “Law enforcement agencies have no evidence that any of these occurrences are coordinated in any way," and "It seems odd that a clandestine murderous Devil-worshipping cult that has maintained its secrecy for years would go about advertising its existence in such a public fashion,” employ the conspiracy red herring in an effort to divert attention from the real issue, which is the malicious desecration of religious sites using satanic symbols. [51] “It's mischief,” Gerald Larue told an Illinois reporter. "They kind of want to shock the older generation by writing 666 on tombstones.” [52]

The report somewhat cryptically adds, “It is interesting to note that all of the reports obtained by CSER are desecrations of Christian sites which, of course, are more numerous than any other type of religious setting in this country.” [53] What does this state4rnent imply? That the vandals wished to wreck cemeteries - any cemeteries - but because they could only find Christian ones they are being unjustly labeled satanic? Surely a desecration that includes satanic graffiti can be recognized as more specifically focused than one that merely involves the breaking or overturning of headstones. Or do the authors mean to suggest that because Christian sites are so numerous, the vandals couldn't find the sites they really wanted to desecrate? What else are Satanists going to attack, if not Christian sites - or Jewish ones, if the Satanists involved are of the growing neo-Nazi contingent? (When Jewish cemeteries were vandalized in Europe several months ago, the French authorities saw fit to question members of a satanic cult. And an ominous fusion of Satanists with Nazi Skinheads is a growing trend in this country.) Assuming that the authors of the report would agree that desecration of Jewish sacred sites by neo-Nazis is a vicious hate crime, why is such action suddenly downgraded to "mischief” when committed by Satanists against Christians?

A related issue is grave robbing. Again, CSER's assertions are not backed up by facts: “Grave robbing allegations are common, although most are not corroborated by independent police investigation." [54] This is patently false. Consider, for example, the following account of a grave-robbing incident reported in the February 1987 issue of Police:

Special Investigations Bureau Prison Gang Unit, Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department, deputies were thrust into occult investigation after two Los Angeles mausoleums were broken into and 10 bodies were cut up and desecrated ... Deputies investigating the mausoleum desecration discovered the bodies had been lifted out of their coffins, bones and hands had been removed, and several heads had been placed outside the mausoleum.

The vandals, who had not been apprehended at the time the article was written, had removed a crucifix and altar candles and left occult graffiti at the scene. They were first believed to be members of Los Angeles “stoner" gangs, but gang informants told police to look instead for “these weird people who hang around the graveyard, play records backwards, and do what the devil tells them to do." [55] This is only one of many cases in which this repulsive crime has been accompanied by satanic “calling cards." The CSER reports authors don't seem to care about the anguish suffered by the families of those whose graves are robbed or desecrated and the parishioners whose churches are vandalized. Their attitude appears to be that these people should realize that it is all done in fun by high-spirited kids protesting their parents” ..hypocrisy.”

The report devotes four short paragraphs to the issue of animal mutilation and sacrifice. After reluctantly conceding that there are “some documented cases of willful mutilation," the authors portentously caution their readers that .whenever animal bodies are found... prominent promoters of the Satanic hysteria arrive on the scene to lend a new credibility to people's fears.” [561 This statement is made with reference to a series of incidents in 1989 in which dead and mutilated animals, usually cats, were found neatly arranged on the front lawns of homes in Orange County, California. It is worth taking a closer look at this California cat caper, since it provides such a vivid illustration of the posturing and bumbling that ail too frequently accompany official “investigations” of such incidents.

A report prepared for the City Council by the Acting Chief of Police of Tustin, in Orange County, dated March 21, 1989, acknowledges that the police “do have knowledge of some cat killing in the ... area being committed by the human hand." The memo continues:

There are two youth groups in the area that might be responsible for a portion of this activity. They are the Orange County Skinheads and "Da Boyz." Information regarding these two groups indicates the Orange County Skinheads got a new leader approximately one year ago, and that individual is heavily involved in Satanic-type activity... The change in leadership direction may be the cause of the increase in the cat killings we are now experiencing. Information on "Da Boyz' group reveals they are primarily Hispanic, with selected members who are involved in cat killing and animal mutilation connected with Satanic worship... the Santa Ana Police Department has information on this group in their city, and they have advised there are a select few... who are involved in this type of Satanism. [571

“It looks like 10 to 15 cats were killed for skinhead fun and games or used in ritual or satanic worship,” wrote a police officer in charge of Community Resources, whose opinion was included in the Tustin P.D. report. In addition, notes from a February 1989 meeting of the Orange County Gang Investigators contains the following information: From the District Attorney's office: “Da Boyz have sacrificed cats and have access to AK47's and Uzis.” (No indication that they used the Uzis on the cats, however.) And, from the Tustin Police Department, “Two schools were broken into with the result of the “pet snake” being sacrificed with satanic and racist graffiti put up by O.C. Skins and War [White Aryan Resistance]." [581 These documents clearly show that the local police departments were aware of Satanist activity involving the killing and mutilation of animals. This being the case, how did these same police departments deal with the public response to this issue?

The Orange County Sheriffs Department representative expressed fears that the allegations of human involvement were “creating public panic or hysteria.” [591 To head off the prospect of wild-eyed cat lovers swarming through the streets with torches looking for hapless skinheads to lynch, the cops came up with the perfect scapegoat: coyotes. Now, the coyote, like its close relative, the wolf, characteristically devours its prey completely, leaving little more than scraps behind. But most of the animals in question were found neatly severed in half, their intestines strung out in a line or coiled into a circle nearby, perhaps with a severed head and/or matching set of paws completing the arrangement did dawn's early light revealed adorning ft front lawns of neighborhood pet owners. Nor did the police find anything “satanic" about one particularly gruesome lawn ornament: a deceased black feline found strapped to a two-foot-high wooden cross. Perhaps Orange County possesses an especially precocious breed of coyote.

Local residents soon tired of the coyote party line and formed their own citizens' group, Tustin Residents Against Animal Killers (T.R.A.K.). They instituted night patrols and offered a $1,600 reward, later increased to $3,000, for information leading to conviction. The group's leader, Tustin resident Janet Hampson, managed to get permission to recover the bodies of 65 of the mutilated animals from Animal Control. She turned them over to local veterinarians, all of whom were of the opinion that most of the animals were killed by humans - while the bureaucracy continued to blame the coyotes. By the end of March, 1989, Hampson had meticulously recorded 70 cases, most of them clearly suspicious; the list eventually grew to more than 250. Hampson recently presented the Orange County Board of Supervisors with a 300-page report on the investigation. As of this writing, the Board has asked the Orange County Sheriff's Department to reopen the case, based on Hampson's report. [60] But why, we must ask, was it left to private citizens to conduct a proper investigation of this situation? Given that extreme cruelty to animals by a youth is universally regarded as an early warning sign of a potential murderer, why have the police so adamantly refused to pursue an investigation of this sort of crime? Is this what the authors of the CSER report want - for law enforcement officials to turn their heads away from any crime, no matter how vicious, that might be associated with “Satanism?”

Error Number Four: Significant Omissions

The fact is that the report's authors have obviously lost sight of their subjects attributes - if indeed they ever had them in their sights in the first place. Elsewhere they have described Satanism as "a symptom of a sick mind" and then, virtually in the same breath, as a "benign religion. [61] Such contradictory statements detract from the report's credibility. Anton LaVey, whose magical watchword is "Indulgence,” explicitly exhorts his flock toward total self-aggrandizement. But the published goals of the Werewolf Order, a group related to the Church of Satan, make LaVey sound like a Boy Scout leader, and dispel any doubts about the nature of this “benign religion."

Nikolas Schreck, editor of The Manson File, is the founder of the Werewolf Order. Its motto is “To Unleash the Beast in Man." The Order describes itself as “an international network of men and women of action dedicated to the creation of a new Satanic world order... an unholy war for dominion of this earth.” [62] It is linked to the Church of Satan, and credits “Dr. Anton LaVey” with inspiring its mission. Zeena LaVey, who is cited in the CSER report as official spokesperson for the Church of Satan and a source of “reliable and accurate information regarding the occult and ritual crime," is also involved with the Order. Ms. LaVey, who, the report informs us, .consults with people interested in applying Satanic principles to their lives," [631 received early childhood training in these “principles" from her father. As she comments in her introduction to the elder LaVey's The Satanic Witch, "My father taught me how to crack a bullwhip at nine, so by the time I was eleven I was already attracting boys who needed to be told what to do (a recurring theme throughout my life).” [641

Ms. LaVey should be able to put such training to good use in the Werewolf Order, of which she is listed as co-director. “The warrior priests and priestesses of our Order are lone wolves who shun the bovine herd of humankind and seek to fulfill their ancient legacy of power and mastery of the world,” [651 declares its recruiting literature. The group appears fixated on psychotronics and bioacoustics as a tool with great propaganda potential. "We began our operations in 1984 with the activities of Radio Werewolf, the sonic propaganda unit of the Order," the same recruiting material states. [661 In an earlier broadside entitled "Radio Werewolf Indoctrination," a spokesman for the "Radio Werewolf Supreme Command” informs readers that the music of Radio Werewolf "is designed to instill the gleam of pride and independence of the beast of prey back into the eyes of the pitiless youth." If this sounds familiar, it should, because the statement incorporates a direct quote from Adolf Hitler. Pretentious, deluded, and grandiose the Werewolf Order may be, but benign it is not.

In an interview with a Boston reporter, a youthful member of the Abraxas Foundation - which he described as an “occult-fascist think tank" with ties to the Church of Satan - named Hider and Charles Manson as among those whose "feral nature” he admires. [67] The Werewolf Order and Abraxas Foundation hardly constitute an "international conspiracy," but such detai4s don't dampen the enthusiasm of a self-described “flesh and blood incarnation of the timeless archetype of Loki's legions, the avenging army that rises from the underworld at the twilight of the gods" armed with a Thirteen-Year Plan" aimed at nothing less than the triumph of the "Demonic Revolution" by the year 2002.

The growing fusion of some neo-Nazis and Satanists strikes another blow at the image of the benevolent Satanist. Indeed, fascination with Nazi occultism is a common feature of the "recognized Satanic churches,” such as Michael Aquino's Temple of Set, described in the CSER report as being “focused on a disciplined approach to magic as a means for succeeding in life.” [68] In a recent exchange with some wary neo-pagans over the Magicknet computer network, Aquino chides those whose “cozy little house of black and white morality” prevents them from appreciating the "good and praiseworthy parts of Nazi ideology.” [691 Discussion of such a topic, Aquino sniffs,

"presumes a definition of “goodness” on which we all agree. I doubt that if you and Heinrich Himmler were discussing morals over coffee, you would be able to get very far, because what he would perceive as moral behavior would be quite alien to your notions on the subject. As one indoctrinated by the social morality of the political and social groups who defeated the Nazis in the 1940s, you assume that your standards are the standards - that, like the Judaeo-Christian “God,” you know “good” and “evil” because you have the exclusive prerogative to define them. [And how blasphemous it was when Set/”Satan” (or in the aforementioned illustration, Himmler) assumed this same prerogative, much less offered it to humanity! Assuredly deserving of condemnation and punishment!] In perhaps another 100 years, the profane world will be ready to consider objectively whether there is anything “good or praiseworthy” about Nazism...” [701

In the meantime, Aquino suggests, "those who want to see reassuringly 100% evil comic-book Nazis should go to Indiana Jones movies.” [711

Or maybe just rent a video of the Nuremberg trials. Assuming, of course, that one is not too distressed at all the condemnation and punishment heaped upon those poor, misunderstood Nazis who had “offered” their peculiar conception of moral behavior to the world.

CSER's Appendices

It is important to note that the CSER report is accompanied by three appendices, two of which are the product of law enforcement officials. Dissecting each of these appendices is beyond this essay's purpose. Each, it may be said, uses the same arguments, and much of the evidence, found in the report itself By contributing to this awesome apologia these officers, Robert Hicks, a Criminal Justice Analyst in Richmond, and Kenneth V. Lanning of the F.B.I. Academy in Quantico, VA, underscore the success Satanism has already achieved. To extend its influence, Satanism need not destroy its logical opponents. It need only disarm them.

Lanning's and Hicks' views have been widely disseminated among police officers, several of whom have expressed to us general agreement with their misconceptions. Although these comments do not represent a consensus, we have heard other remarks which reflect new doubts about Satanism's importance. In a sense, this may be a healthy development, because skepticism is a necessary analytic component when addressing such issues, particularly for those who exercise a potentially punitive authority. Hicks and Lanning do not, however, merely reflect the CSER report's flaws. Where they offer views from their special realm of law enforcement they are, quite simply, wrong. Hicks extends the report's ad hominem approach to the level of a universal norm. He declares that, "whether or not people can get criminal ideas from belief systems... has little to do with the belief system but rather with a person's own psychological make-up.” [72] seat this statement defies the root of our nation's legal system - recognition of the fact that ideas have consequences - is disturbing enough. But Hicks also proceeds to defy one of the principal tenets of legal investigation when he adds, "It is not a law enforcement responsibility to guess at what might prompt a citizen to commit a crime." [73] Hicks intends this observation to be a cautionary note against public surveillance of general behavior, but it is insufficient for the legitimate practice of investigating criminal patterns. A serial killer operates from a mental construct. The police are obliged to assess that construct. Charles Manson's Family committed murders after the police investigation had begun. If Vincent Bugliosi had accepted Hicks' views, he never would have "guessed" at what prompted these crimes. Hicks' use of the argumentum ad hominem distorts his view of law enforcement. He claims that Anton LaVey's and Aleister Crowley's published works are attacked by anti-cult investigators because these works are accessible. The truth is, as was cited in the Scott Waterhouse judicial opinion, these works are cited because they repeatedly show up in the personal belongings of such violent criminals. They are attacked because they are influential - not only among teenage “dabblers,” but in the occult subculture as a whole. A valid application of Ockham's Razor demands the conclusion that the ideas the books espouse are at least causal factors in the crimes committed by students of each book's content

Additional evidence of Hicks' attempt to disarm anti-satanic criticism surfaces when he states that, "What [Aleister] Crowley said was not meant to be taken literally, but figuratively.” [741 Aleister Crowley was a notorious black magician who was deported from Mussolini's Italy after the occult practices at his Abbey of Thelema produced some very bad press. Several of his disciples died or went mad in the course of their involvement with him. But, of course, Hicks assures us, this was merely the result of “figurative" misunderstandings. Hicks’ most egregiously biased distortion, however, and the one which clearly marks his work as satanic apologetics, is his remark about the mass murderers John Wayne Gacy and Henry Lee Lucas. He claims that, "These men, social isolates and psychopaths, invented or borrowed satanic trappings to justify their crimes.” [75] His implication is that the satanic trappings played no causal role in the murders. Hicks does not appear to realize that he is implying the validity of one of our concerns. That is, that the authorization for violence contained in the "satanic trappings" is itse4f a contributing factor to the violence, and it is for this reason that "satanic trappings" are a valid subject of police investigations.

A concession to Hicks may be made in regard to his comments about the copy-cat phenomenon and, to some extent, to the role of what he calls “urban myths." There is no question that the whole issue of Satanism is volatile and rife with ambiguities. It certainly requires a sound verification of fact and sound reasoning in investigation. But why does Hicks fail in this regard? Why does he embellish his valid objections so that they are reduced to straw men? Why does he deny the validity of what his targets are saying - that their interest is in preventing and solving crimes?

Kenneth Lanning's appendix is more crucial than Hicks' if only because of Lanning's visibility as an F.B.I. spokesman. The appendix originally appeared in the professional journal, The Police Chief, in October 1989. It has, in other words, had a wide influence. This is unfortunate because it also repeats the report's methodology and conclusions. Lanning's key point is expressed in a way that extends the CSER argument that nothing criminal can be demonstrated to be the effect of a satanic - or, generally speaking, of any - belief system. He makes the point that what is called an M.O., a method of operation, is a set of actions performed "by an offender because it works.” [761 He separates this from a sexual ritual by saying that it fulfills a need. Carrying on with his argument, he says, “Deviant acts, such as urinating on, defecating on, or even eviscerating a victim, are far more likely to be the result of sexual ritualism than religious or “satanic” ritualism.” [771 He does acknowledge that religious themes can overlap sexually motivated compulsions, but he fails to see how such themes can be imposed or that the discernment of such impositions is a critical and valid act of legal investigation. As demonstrated by the Scott Waterhouse case, and cited in the judicial opinion, the satanic themes definitely dictated what was done and how and why it was done. Waterhouse may have had a psychosexual need, but his acts met the criteria of a satanic ritual.

Because his essay was written for a professional law enforcement audience, Lanning relies upon accepted professional presuppositions, which makes it more difficult to challenge his style. His style, however, also relies upon the same rhetorical shoddiness we find in the main report. Lanning is more sophisticated, but he is not more coherent. The bulk of his article is given over to a shopping list of obviously difficult questions. But he uses these as the base of his apologia. He cites, for example, the problem presented by the army of “experts" who conduct law enforcement seminars. Lanning is correct in pointing out that a comprehensive review of what these “experts” label Satanism ranges from astrology to Roman Catholicism. Certainly this demonstrates the existence of some bigotry. But bigotry on the part of some does not mean that truth never exists, nor does false reasoning always exclude valid conclusion. Lanning appears to think that it does.

After citing other reflections of religious bias, Lanning rejects responsibility by adding, “Yet, it is just as difficult to precisely define Satanism as it is to define Christianity or any complex belief system.” [781 Religious authorities do not experience such difficulties. Why does Lanning? A Buddhist, as the Dalai Lama has often said, cannot simultaneously be a Christian. A Jew does not believe that Christ was the Messiah. A Satanist does not believe that Jahweh's biblical religion ought to be practiced. Why does Lanning insist that this factor be separated from criminal investigations, and then insist that when distinguishing between satanic and non-satanic child abuse you must rely upon “specific satanic symbols, artifacts, or doctrine" [emphasis added]? He then immediately segues into a rejection of the significance of ritual when he adds, “rather than the mere presence of any ritualistic element." [791 Can not a ritualistic element be examined for its relation to doctrine? Apparently not.

Another of Lanning's lacunae involves a list of child abuse crimes perpetrated by Christian parents. He asks the legitimate question, “How do we label [such] crimes?” [801 But, again, he fails to answer the question. Instead, in an elaborate argumentum ad hominem, Lanning slides through the issues. He acknowledges that most people would say that these “Christian” parents distorted Christianity, while Satanists abusing children are applying Satanism. But he then proceeds into a list of questions. Who decides, he asks, what is a misinterpretation? After all, the parents believed they were following their religion. Lanning appears to think that makes this an insoluble issue. But all religions present the follower with a sequence of beliefs ranging from the ethical to the mystical. Within this sequence there is room for deviations. This does not alter the orthodox belief system. Even Lanning's implication that because Christians believe in various forms of worship and dogma one can't define Christianity does not hold up. The core beliefs of Christianity are constant as are those of Buddhism, even if some adherents disagree on certain points. The generic elements remain, are discernible, and have discernible effects. The same is true of satanic variations. LaVey and Aquino have doctrinal differences. Each, as Aquino so conveniently attests, believes in Satan and in the predatory cruelty he demands.

Lanning follows the pattern of the main report by establishing specific criteria that are nearly impossible to meet, and then denying the existence of evidence for his criteria. Satanic murder, for example, only occurs when two or more people rationally plan a crime whose "primary motivation is to ulfill a prescribed satanic ritual calling for murder." [811 Scott Waterhouse, therefore, cannot be a satanic murderer! But what about the Ricky Kasso case in Northport, New York? Or the Sean Sellers case in Oklahoma? Are these, too, lacking in evidence of a satanic ritual “rationally" perpetuated? And if so, why? In each of these cases the prosecutor's evidence demonstrated a satanic influence, and the perpetrators acknowledged that they were influenced by satanic ideation. But F.B.I. Special Agent Lanning apparently believes that his more pedantically constrictive criteria should be sufficient guides for judging satanic motivation.

Another of Lanning's lacunae involves his acknowledgement that investigators must prove a connection between beliefs and crimes. But he then proceeds to declare that serious crimes lack such evidence. Although he accepts that valid evidence reveals a connection between Satanism and desecration, animal mutilations and the like, he obscures the issue by insisting that “a teenager's excessive involvement in Satanism... is a symptom... not the cause of a problem,” [821 i.e., satanic involvement cannot be the cause of such a teenager's particular crimes. This subtle ad hominem argument neglects the obvious. While a troubled youth may seek a rebellious path, the one he embraces will strongly influence the destination. Satanism accelerates the progress to violence, frames its arena, and authorizes the act. It is not a necessary cause, but when present it can be a sufficient one.

Lanning's conclusions are, at first glance, reasonable. He begins with a call for a balanced law enforcement perspective. He immediately follows this with a repetition of the main report's supercilious straw men. He waltzes through the charges about widespread claims of babies bred for sacrifice, the 50,000 per year figure for satanic sacrifices, and the claim that Satanists dominate the day care centers. [At this point, it may be pertinent to ask if the "50,000 baby sacrifices" is an "urban legend" that the CSER report itself has taken a major role in perpetuating.] As does the report, Lanning fails to provide valid evidence demonstrating who originated these statements. He is correct in warning against an anti-satanic hysteria. He is not, however, serving the cause of responsible investigations.

The third appendix, “The Truth About Role Playing Gaines,” by Michael A. Stackpole, repeats the themes of the main body of the report, while ostensibly demonstrating the benign nature of fantasy role-playing games. Stackpole repeats the arguments of Hicks and Lanning, his primary target being Patricia Pulling, founder of Bothered About Dungeons and Dragons [B.A.D.D.J. Stackpole extends the main report's scientific pretensions into an attack on what he claims is Pulling's misuse of statistics in regard to the issue of whether or not role playing games contribute to teen suicides. Stackpole argues that Pulling erroneously claims that they do. It is interesting to see how he develops his point. His first tactic is to cite a list of studies on attempted and successful teen suicides. Four such studies, Stackpole tells us, clearly fail to demonstrate a correlation between role playing games (RPG) and teenage suicide. [83] This sounds impressive. The lack of relevance to Pulling's claim, however, is revealed in Stackpole's comment on the first of his cited studies. This study of “over 700 adolescents who had attempted suicide,” was conducted by Dr. S. Kenneth Schonberg of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. [841 Stackpole adds the observation that none of these cases indicated that a role playing game (RPG) was a factor in the attempted suicide. He also conveniently informs us that “the subjects were not selected for the study in any special way.” [85] But he then proceeds to claim this and the other studies as authoritative reflections of the impact RPGs have on a very select cross-section of our adolescent population, those who play role playing games and attempt suicide. Stackpole uses this faulty observation as the background from which he attempts to demolish what he says are Pulling's errors. In truth, all he establishes is comparison.

Stackpole uses Pulling's figure of 4,000,000 - the number of people her book, The Devil's Web, says are Dungeons and Dragons players. He then cites an undocumented set of figures for the percentage of suicides among the 15-24 years old segment of our population, using a fluctuating rate of 11.7 per 100,000 to 12.8 per 100,000 during the period between 1975 and 1980. [861 He adds the undocumented observation that the rate has since dropped. From these figures, Stackpole extrapolates necessary figures for suicide among D&D players of 468 and 512 per year, respectively. Then, resuscitating the by now tired straw man approach, he claims that this should add up to 6,840 suicides among "the players of role playing games [emphasis added] since Dungeons and Dragons was published, role playing games did not incite teens to suicide." [87] [italics in original] This laborious line of reasoning culminates in Stackpole's revelation that Pat Pulling's book cites approximately 70 suicides among all RPG players "as of 1987." [881 He further reports: “But this number is only about 1% of the 6,840 successful suicides expected if D&D has no effect at all on the suicide rate of its players.” [891 All this appears coherent until one examines some important contributing factors. Pulling, for example, thinks of adolescents as falling into the 13-20 years old range, not the 15-24 years old range. Her comments, therefore, refer to a different population group from the one Stackpole cites. Pulling also notes that the percentage of 13-20 years old players of Dungeons and Dragons is quite small relative to the population at large. She elaborated on her viewpoint during an extensive phone interview by pointing out that she believes that only 8%-10% of the 13-20-year-old population group plays Dungeons and Dragons. Fewer still are recurring players. Even in the absence of a solid statistical base, this means that the pertinent subject group is much smaller than that to which Stackpole alludes. By using his straw man of 6,840, Stackpole artfully diminishes the impact of Pulling's observations.

Pulling's conclusions may overestimate the impact of D&D - we are not arguing that point. But Stackpole's argument does not support his accusation. Pulling's warning that D&D is a dangerous game that warrants serious scrutiny is home out by her analysis as well as by our own observations of its impact on individuals we have counseled. The issue is not the ratio of suicides per 100,000 people. The issue is whether or not it can be demonstrated that fantasy role-playing games have contributed to any suicides or murders. If, as we believe, this is the case, then Ockham's Razor says that Pulling's concern is legitimate. Stackpole is too eager to brush aside this concern. The percentage of suicides among people owning steak knives may be no higher than that of nonsuicides. But this does not mean that a steak knife which slashes an artery didn't contribute to a particular suicide.

In keeping with the “independent" nature of his appendix, Stackpole faithfully resurrects the keen polemical edge of Ockham's Razor - but not effectively. After linking Patricia Pulling to a circle of allegedly spurious critics of Satanism, Stackpole reintroduces the grand conspiracy theory. His source for this is the newsletter File 18, which is published by a "questionable" investigator, Larry Jones, and which espouses the theory of a vertical Satanist conspiracy. We do not adhere to this viewpoint, and regret the lack of space in which to explain why we hold our position. However, we do wish to comment on several statements by Stackpole, including one that demonstrates that the mildest use of Ockham's Razor will reveal the flaw in File 18's “ vertical conspiracy theory." [90]

Stackpole notes that adolescents caught up in "bizarre occult antics” frequently say they learned them by watching Geraldo Rivera's talk show. [91] Because people we have counseled have made that same claim, we do not doubt Stackpole's observation. We do, however, seriously question his credulity. Those individuals we have counseled who have cited this show as the source of their satanic knowledge and inspiration have uniformly lied. Examples include members of a New England group which employed satanic symbols for over a year before the Geraldo Rivera show debuted. These youths calmly acknowledged their longstanding practice of self-mutilation, done to the energizing refrains of heavy metal music. A 17-year-old Pennsylvania girl who tried to calm her parents with this claim, had for a period of three years been a member of a ritualistic sex group which sacrificed animals for thrills and power. A group of drug dealers whose locale will go unspecified learned their dual trade of Satanism and dealing from their fathers. These cases do not suggest a worldwide conspiracy. They do satisfy us that a correct application of William of Ockham's logical economy leads to the conclusion that this problem exists, is based on fairly uniform influences, and certainly predates Geraldo Rivera's talk show.

While allegedly representing an "expert" opinion, Stackpole inadvertently demonstrates his ignorance about the occult subculture when he dismisses the ersatz magical grimoire known as The Necronomicon as a “joke." [921 While the "Nec" is certainly not what it purports to be, neither is it merely a hoax. The book was not written by H.P. Lovecraft, but it was directly inspired by his works. Lovecraft created the legend of the Necronomicon as part of his Cthulhu mythos, derived from his interest in the power of myth. The “cth-” prefix is a key. It refers to the cthonic or underground deities so important to early Mediterranean religions. But the grimoire itself was written by Lovecraft fans - several of them, as Stackpole notes. A New York occultist named “Simon” is responsible for the paperback edition published by Avon. This is the Necronomicon used by teenage “dabblers” in black magic.

Once again we are indebted to Michael Aquino for obligingly offering his insights into the real magical significance of a work such as the Necronomicon - namely, that its potency is not determined by its "authenticity." In the chapter on The Satanic Rituals from his monograph on the Church of Satan, Aquino writes, “Anton LaVey states that the actual function of Satanic ritual is to enable the mind, whose processes are normally governed by perceptions of external reality (objectivity), to assume a mode of operation in which it itself controls reality by expression (subjectivity).” [931 (Emphasis his.] Aquino notes that most of the book's readers do not bother to check up on the authenticity of the background information given for the rituals, but if they did they would soon find out that much of it is made up out of whole cloth. However, Aquino points out, this is irrelevant - because the rituals “work.” In Aquino's words, they work because "the great truth that underlies the art and science of magic [is] that both the power to create and the power to define are a function of the Win... " [94] This is a rather overblown way of saying that they work for the same reason any good work of fiction works, because they create their own worlds. The same principle is at work with a flight of fancy like the Necronomicon, which in turn grew out of the bizarre universe of primeval forces created by Lovecraft. That principle is at work in a Role Playing Game such as Dungeons and Dragons as well. A subjective universe is created by the game's designers and extended by each player.

With respect to Stackpole's comments about the application of Ockham's Razor to File 18's vertical conspiracy theory, we must note that he once again demonstrates that he and the report's authors simply do not understand their topic. This is amply demonstrated by their ironic reliance upon what they call Ockham's Razor. A comment Michael Aquino makes about his Erstwhile satanic colleague, Anton LaVey, underscores by analogy the absence of understanding which pervades the CSER report. As Aquinas makes plain, LaVey's intention demands a set of abstract constants to support his metaphysical goals. Aquino and LaVey appeal to mental and extramental realities in order to entice agreement with their views, as the report does by substituting innuendo and fabrication for established fact and researched argument. The irony is that for William of Ockham the metaphysical realm supporting LaVey's concept simply does not exist because, for Ockham, "metaphysics in fact does not exist." [95] His Nominalism erected a strong barrier between external reality, or objects, and what the mind speculates about them. LaVey assumes a mind that is capable of abstract thought, but, for Ockham, “the mental process of abstraction... cannot be shown to exist.” [96] On the other hand, Ockham never doubted the independent existence of God and an independent external reality. This prevents the type of Idealism espoused by LaVey. For Ockham accepted that the “formal distinction is not made by the discernments of the mind of the observer. It is there in the object before we discern it.” [97] This is the basis for Ockham's principle of Parsimony: because things are there because God placed them there, Ockham said, "we must not assume anything as indispensable for explaining a certain event unless reason, experience or revelation requires us to do so.” [981

If the CSER authors understood Ockham, they would have realized that, being a faithful Christian, he would have applied his logical principle of Parsimony in favor of the supposedly benighted Christians, not, as does the report, in favor of an attack on Christianity and, we should add, on scientifically grounded rationalism. It is highly unlikely that Ockham would have supported hysterical fundamentalists, but, given the weight of physical evidence, he probably would have agreed with those who view the current outbreak of Satanism as a serious issue. Whether or not Anton LaVey, Zeena LaVey, Michael Aquino, or Shawn Carlson and his colleagues are comfortable acknowledging the fact, it remains that for Ockham, scriptural revelation provides the most “economical” ground from which a judgment about Satan can be made. This acknowledgement of Ockham's ontological leaning does not reflect any tendency on our own part to disregard proper rationality. Nor, in fact, is our rejection of his theological simplicity contrary to Christian tradition. SL Augustine acknowledged that the Bible is not a scientific handbook, and St. Thomas Aquinas clearly stated the individual's obligation to use his or her own powers of reason, rather than rely upon mere authority, when he wrote that “truth properly speaking - and error in attendance - enters with the judgment and its expression in a statement, rather dm with simple apprehension [i.e., perception] and its manifestation in definition.” [99]


The CSER report's attempt to analyze a serious social problem has not only failed, but its acceptance is, ironically, serving the cause it claims to challenge: confusion. And this leaves us with a disquieting observation. As Aquinas also noted, "the end sought by the intemperate man is not the loss of the benefit of reason, but sense-delight involving rational disorder." [1001 The CSER reports efforts to rationalize our society's spreading disorder tends import to the intent of the aphorism which has inspired our reply. For the ancient Chinese did not intend their admonition about living in “interesting times” to be a blessing. It was a curse.


Carlson, Shawn and Gerald A. Larne, Satanism in America, San Francisco, Gaia press, 1989, p.2.

Carlson and Larne, p. 16.

Carlson and Larne, p. 16.

Carlson and Larne, p. 16.

Carlson and Larne, p.ii.

Encyclopedia of Philosophy, V. 7-8, p.307. Copyright 1976 by Macmillan, Inc.

Aquino, Michael, "The Initiatory Degree System of Western Occultism," Temple of Set Information Paper distributed at Ritualistic Crimes Seminar, Killeen, Texas, February 1989, p.4.

"[T]hose of low intelligence... consider good/evil objective and those of high intelligence... consider good/evil subjective." Aquino, Michael, Temple of Set Reading List, Temple of Set, 1990, Preface to Category 16.

Carlson and Larne, p. 13.

Farrar, Janet and Stewart, The Witches' Goddess: The Feminine Principle of Divinity, Custer, WA: Phoenix Publishing, Inc., 1987, p.3.

Farrar, p.4.

Farrar, p.19.

Carlson and Larne, p. 12.

Farrar, p. 19.

Farrar, p.64.

Farrar, p.64.

Farrar, p.64.

Farrar, p.65.

Russell, Jeffrey Burton, Witchcraft in the Middle Ages, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1972, p.278.

Russell, p.278.

Farrar, pp. 18-19; 63; and ch.vii. 1 86

Russell, p.279.

Gonzdlez-Wippler, Santeria: African Magic in Latin America, New York: Original Publications, 1987, copyright, the Julian Press (Crown Publications) 1973, p.124. The CSER report's prim assertion that human sacrifice is "expressly forbidden" by Palo Mayombe irresistibly recalls an anecdote told by Isaiah Oke in his book, Blood Secrets. Oke, a former priest of the Nigerian folk religion of juju - a West African source of Santeria - attests that on one occasion he was forced to participate in a ritual human sacrifice. Some time later he was discussing the subject with a very young anthropologist who heatedly insisted that juju priests no longer performed the rite except in 11 symbolic" form. "How did she know? Simple: She asked a jujuman, she said, and he told her so,” Oke recalls. "Besides, she reminded me, human sacrifice is against the law.” (Oke, Isaiah. Blood Secrets. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 1989.) If this young woman thought legal strictures had wiped out the practice, she was misinformed. An item in the Boston Globe for October 26, 1989, entitled "Police will watch graveyards closely,” notes that authorities in the West African nation of Sierra Leone have tightened security at graveyards to prevent "witch doctors' from digging up bodies. "Ritual killing and grave robbing for witchcraft is widespread but little publicized in Africa," the Globe reports.

Metraux, Alfred, Voodoo in Haiti, New York: Schocken Books, 1972, copyright 1959 by Alfred Metraux, pp.65, 267.

Raschke, Carl A., Painted Black, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1990, pp.25-26.

Carlson, Shawn and Gerald H. Larne, "Giving the Devil Much More Than His Due,” Free Inquiry, Summer 1990, pp.25-27.

LaVey, Anton, The Satanic Bible, p.25.

Carlson and Larne, Satanism in America" p.1 1.

Carlson and Larne, Satanism in America, p.12.

Aquino, Michael, "The Satanic Rituals,” Temple of Set Information Paper, distributed at Ritualistic Crimes Seminar, Killeen, Texas, February 1989, p.3.

Aquino, "The Satanic Rituals," p.3.

Bettelheim, Bruno, The Informed Heart, New York, Avon Books, 197 1, copyright 1960 by The Free Press.

Kevin Garvey, personal communication.

Aquino, Michael, The Book of Coming Forth by Night: Analysis and Commentary, p. 1.

Aquino, Michael, "The Satanic Bible," Temple of Set Information Paper, distributed at Ritualistic Crimes Seminar, Killeenn, Texas, February 1989, p.5.

Kevin, Garvey, personal communication. Mr. Garvey was called in as a consultant on this case, which was kept confidential.

Carlson and Larue, Satanism in America, p. 12.

Elias,Thomas, Devil worship: Police confront a modem nightmare, Los Angeles Herald Examiner, August 10, 1986, p.A II.

"Modem Primitives,” Research, 1989, p.95.

Carlson and Larue, Satanism in America, p. 12.

State of Maine v. Scott Waterhouse, Decision No. 4216, Law Docket No. Lin-85-23.

Aquino, Michael, "The Satanic Bible," pp.2,5.

Tucker, Rob, Teen Satanism, Paper presented at Ritual Abuse: Fact or Fiction? Conference sponsored by The Institute for the Prevention of Child Abuse, Aylmer, Ontario, May 29-30, 1989.

Carlson and Larue, Satanism in America, p.33.

Becker, Ernest. Escape From EWI, New York: Free Press, 1975, p. 114.

St. Augustine, Confessions, Book VI, chapter 8. Trans. R.S. Pine-Coffin. New York: Penguin Books, 1961.

Becker, p. 11.

Carlson and Larue, Satanism in America, p.46.

Carlson and Larue, Satanism in America, p.46.

Carlson and Larue, Satanism in America, p.46.

Carlson and Larue, Satanism in America, p.35.

terHorst, Cheryl, The dark side of adolescence, Daily Herald [Palatine, IL, December 8, 1988, p. 1.

Carlson and Larue, Satanism in America, p.35.

Carlson and Larue, Satanism in America, p.35.

Allen, Carole, and Metoyer, Pat., Crimes of the occult, Police, February 1987.

Carlson and Larue, Satanism in America, p.37.

City of Tustin Inter-Com. To: William A. Huston, City Manager. From: Fred Wakefield, Acting Chief of Police. Subject: Cat Killings.

City of Tustin Inter-Com.

C. Gewertz, Tustin group offers $1,600 reward in cat deaths, Los Angeles Times, September 19, 1989.

Janet Hampson, personal communication.

Carlson, Shawn and Gerald H. Larue, "Giving the Devil Much More Than His Due," pp.25,26.

"The Werewolf Order is the Frontline of the Demonic Revolution,” Werewolf Order Ministry of Propaganda & Public Enlightenment, Los Angeles, CA, 1990.

Carlson and Larue, Satanism in America, p.99.

LaVey, Anton, The Satanic Witch, Los Angeles: Feral House, 1989. [Originally published as The Compleat Witch or What to Do When Virtue Fails, New York: Dodd, Mead, 1971.1

"The Werewolf Order is the Frontline of the Demonic Revolution," Werewolf Order Ministry of Propaganda & Public Enlightenment, Us Angeles, CA, 1990.

"The Werewolf Order is the Frontline of the Demonic Revolution," Werewolf Order Ministry of Propaganda & Public Enlightenment, Los Angeles, CA, 1990.

Graham, Lamar B., Interview with a vampire... sort of, The Boston Phoenix, October 20, 1989.

Carlson and Larue, Satanism in America, p.12.

Aquino, Michael, message #3463, “MAGICKNET,” 05-Mar-90 11:17.

Aquino, Michael, message #3463, “MAGICKNET,” 05-Mar-90 11:17.

Aquino, Michael, message #3463, “MAGICKNET,” 05-Mar-90 11:17.

Carlson and Larue, Satanism in America. Robert Hicks, Appendix One: Satanic Cults-. A Skeptical View of the Law Enforcement Approach, p.9.

Carlson and Larue, Satanism in America. Robert Hicks, Appendix One: Satanic Cults: A Skeptical View of the Law Enforcement Approach, p.9.

Carlson and Larue, Satanism in America. Robert Hicks, Appendix One: Satanic Cults: A Skeptical View of the Law Enforcement Approach, p.9.

Carlson and Larue, Satanism in America. Robert Hicks, Appendix One: Satanic Cults: A Skeptical View of the Law Enforcement Approach, p. 12.

Carlson and Larue, Satanism in America. Kenneth V. Lanning, Appendix Two: Satanic, Occult, Ritualistic Crime: A Law Enforcement Approach, p.3.

Carlson and Larue, Satanism in America. Kenneth V. Lanning, Appendix Two: Satanic, Occult, Ritualistic Crime: A Law Enforcement Approach, p.3.

Carlson and Larue, Satanism in America. Kenneth V. Lanning, Appendix Two: Satanic, Occult, Ritualistic Crime. A Law Enforcement Approach, p.3.

Carlson and Larue, Satanism in America. Kenneth V. Lanning, Appendix Two: Satanic, Occult, Ritualistic Crime: A Law Enforcement Approach, p.4. In his book The Archaeology of Ritual and Magic, Ralph Merrifield notes that while archaeologists intellectually accept the proposition that religion, magic, and superstition have left many traces on the archaeological record, in their daily work they are apt to put forth "every other possible interpretation, however unlikely... provided that it makes sense in terms of accident or functional utility, while the possibility that it should be interpreted as yet another example of a not uncommon form of religious or magical ritual remains ignored. Any such suggestion is likely to be greeted with nervous laughter and the standard response that ritual is just something we don't understand, and therefore the term has to be avoided,” (Merrifield, Ralph. The Archaeology of Ritual and Magic. New York: New Amsterdam Books, 1988, pp.1-2). Merrifield, however, does not accept this "unduly defeatest proposition," but regards it as the duty of the professional to .1 study such problems and try to solve them," (p.2). Would that F.B.I. agent Lanning shared his attitude.

Carlson and Larue, Satanism in America. Kenneth V. Lanning, Appendix Two: Satanic, Occult, Ritualistic Crime: A Law Enforcement Approach, p.6.

Carlson and Larue, Satanism in America. Kenneth V. Lanning, Appendix Two: Satanic, Occult, Ritualistic Crime: A Law Enforcement Approach, p.9.

Carlson and Larue, Satanism in America. Kenneth V. Lanning, Appendix Two: Satanic, Occult, Ritualistic Crime: A Law Enforcement Approach, p.9.

Carlson and Larue, Satanism in America. Michael A. Stackpole, The Truth About Role Playing Games, p.7.

Carlson and Larue, Satanism in America. Michael A. Stackpole, The Truth About Role Playing Games, p.7.

Carlson and Larue, Satanism in America. Michael A. Stackpole, The Truth About Role Playing Games, p.7.

Carlson and Larue, Satanism in America. Michael A. Stackpole, The Truth About Role Playing Games, p.7.

Carlson and Larue, Satanism in America. Michael A. Stackpole, The Truth About Role Playing Games, p.8.

Carlson and Larue, Satanism in America. Michael A. Stackpole, The Truth About Role Playing Games, p.8.

Carlson and Larue, Satanism in America. Michael A. Stackpole, The Truth About Role Playing Games, p.8.

Carlson and Larue, Satanism in America. Michael A. Stackpole, The Truth About Role Playing Games, p.25.

Carlson and Larue, Satanism in America. Michael A. Stackpole, The Truth About Role Playing Games, p.25.

Carlson and Larue, Satanism in America. Michael A. Stackpole, The Truth About Role Playing Games, p. 16.

Aquino, Michael, The Church of Satan, San Francisco: Temple of Set, 1983, p.53.

Aquino, Michael, The Church of Satan, San Francisco: Temple of Set, 1983, p.53.

Knowles, David, The Evolution of Medieval Philosophy, Princeton University Press, 1964, p.32.

Knowles, David, The Evolution of Medieval Philosophy, Princeton University Press, 1964, p.322.

Weinberg, Julius, A Short History of Medieval Philosophy, Princeton University Press, 1964, p.246.

Weinberg, Julius, A Short History of Medieval Philosophy, Princeton University Press, 1964, p.239.

Thomas Aquinas, Commentary, 1, Sentences, xix, vol. 1, ad 7.

Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, la, xiviii ad 3.

Kevin Garvey, who has been an exit counselor for more than fifteen years, began his inquiries into the cult phenomenon while studying philosophy at Columbia University. He has special expertise in New Age and occult groups.

Linda Blood is a former member of the Temple of Set and is co-author, with Michael Langone, of Satanism and Occult-Related Violence. What You Should Know.