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Updates on Old Stories

  • When Lawrence Harris Jr. of Sioux City, Iowa, murdered his two stepdaughters on January 4, 2008, the media pounced on reports that Harris had dabbled in both Wicca and Satanism. He had allegedly muttered something about a “spell gone bad” after police found the bodies of Kendra Suing, 10, and Alysha Suing, 8, in their home. Media reports and blog posts mentioned spells, LaVey’s Satanic Bible, and witchcraft at great length…but stayed away from the more pertinent issues of family violence and mental illness.
    Later, Harris claimed he had been attempting to cast the spell on his stepson Triton, who wasn’t home at the time. Just how this led to the strangulation and stabbing of two little girls has never been adequately explained. In fact, this case remains about as clear as cola. Harris pled not guilty by reason of insanity, but was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Significantly, Harris’ religious interests were never brought up by the prosecution. Rather than focusing on Harris’ alleged Satanism, prosecutors argued (successfully, it would seem) that Harris killed Alysha and Kendra because he suspected his wife was having an affair, then faked insanity. If this is indeed the case, then witchcraft and Satanism are even mooter points than they were in the first place. Naturally, that doesn’t stop Fox News: “Iowa Man Convicted of Killing Two Stepdaughters During Satanic Ritual“.
  • The prosecutor in the 2009 abduction/torture case of Joy Johnson and Joseph Craig took a completely different tack, declaring even before the start of trial that the defendants’ alleged confinement and abuse of another couple was directly related to Satanism. This came across as a transparent ploy to make the couple appear as deviant as possible (as if that was necessary). The bottom line is that Craig entered an Alford plea and Johnson pleaded guilty to committing crimes, not of practicing magick. The media’s insistence on highlighting their political and religious affiliations, rather than the nature of their alleged criminal activity, was the real scandal in this case. I don’t care if Johnson and Craig were Democrats, libertarians, or Communists. I don’t care if they worshiped Satan, Christ, or pumpkins. Creeps are creeps, and crime is crime.
  • A staple of Western conspiranoia culture is that affluent, well-connected Satanists are operating massive child-trafficking rings throughout the world for the purposes of ritual abuse, ritual sacrifice, and child prostitution (see the “Franklin cover-up” hoax for one of many examples). But as I pointed out in this 2010 post about a group of Baptist missionaries, global child trafficking is not confined to any particular religion or tax bracket.
    Whatever happened to those orphan-hustling Baptists in Haiti? Incredibly, nine of the ten people arrested were released without charge, leaving just one woman to face trial in Haiti for human trafficking. Laura Silsby was convicted, but went free after sentencing because her six-month prison sentence had “already been served”. You read that correctly. Abducting Haitian children gets you less prison time than stealing a car.
    Wow. So where are the outraged conspiracy theorists, writing books and making documentaries about the Baptist conspiracy to steal and sell kids? Don’t any of them find it interesting that 33 Haitian children were taken…the very number sacred to Scottish Rite Freemasons?
  • When I last checked in on him, in 2007, “occult expert” Jerry Johnston was in some hot water, facing allegations of financial mismanagement and other shady dealings at his Kansas megachurch.
    Here’s what happened. In February 2011, First Family Church went into receivership, owing $14.4 in loans. At that time, First Family had an annual payroll of $915,000, with over $600,000 of that going to members of Jerry Johnston’s family. On September 11, 2011, First Family Church closed it doors.
  • For a time, the Hosanna Church case in Ponchatoula, Louisiana appeared to be the world’s first authentic incident of Satanic ritual abuse. Pastor Louis Lamonica Jr. had confessed to molesting children in a ritualistic manner, and his clannish little following certainly fit the profile of a dangerous Satanic cult.
    The problem was, the Hosanna church cultists weren’t Satanists. They were Christians. And when the case finally went to trial in 2008, two of the three children supposedly abused by cult members retracted their accusations on the witness stand. The two boys first gave retractions back in 2005, but prosecutors proceeded with the case anyway.
    Far from worshiping Satan, church members attempted to expel demons from their bodies by purging and confessed their every sin to the charismatic assistant pastor, Lois Mowbray.
    Again, where are the conspiracy theorists? They were all over this case when it was about Satanism, but they seem to have faded into the woodwork now that it’s all about deviant Christianity.
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Weak attempts to link the Connecticut shootings to Devil worship

Tabloids, Christian websites, and YouTube auteurs are attempting to link Newtown, Connecticut, killer Adam Lanza to Satanism – on the softest evidence you can possibly imagine.

A Daily Mail article quotes Trevor L. Todd, a “former classmate” of Lanza, as saying that Adam once had a “Satan worshiping” web page with a banner that featured the word Devil in a red, “Gothic-style” font. This vaguely-remembered website supposedly created by a middle school student is the only evidence presented to suggest that Lanza was a Satanist. To date, the web page’s existence hasn’t even been confirmed.
The article goes on to claim that FBI investigators “strongly believe he made use of devil-worshiping and suicide sites and boasted of his murder plans on message forums”. No source is given for this information.

World Net Daily doesn’t have any more solid information than the Daily Mail, but the writer of this article attempts to give the story some teeth by throwing in references to other murders committed by “Satanists”. Aaron Klein even speculates about a possible Satanic conspiracy:
“Was Lanza part of a larger Satanic or ritualistic subculture locally or online in which he could have revealed his plans or could have even received support in preparing for the killings?”
Then he takes other media outlets to task for failing to report on the Satanic angle of the Aurora, Colorado shootings. “Although largely underreported, Satanic subculture and so-called devil worship has been a factor in numerous other mass killings, including the recent Batman shooting massacre.”
At this point, Klein is forced to  concede that James Holmes wasn’t actually a Satanist; he just liked the Joker as played by Heath Ledger a lot, and the Joker had Satanic attributes. You know, like every supervillain in every comic book ever.
Klein goes on to educate WND readers about other infamous “Satanic” murders, starting with the Manson Family killings:
“According to reports, Tate was originally selected to play the main character in her husband’s Rosemary’s Baby, a film about a pregnant woman who fears that her husband may have made a pact with neighbors to use her child as a human sacrifice in their occult rituals. Actress Mia Farrow ultimately got the role, while Tate did make a brief appearance in the film.”
This is wrong on just about every level. Sharon Tate was never considered for the role of Rosemary in her husband’s film. The film itself has absolutely nothing to do with the murders; the Tate/Polanski residence was targeted by Manson and his followers because Polanski and Tate were subletting the house from music producer Terry Melcher, a man Manson deeply resented for failing to turn him into a recording superstar.
Richard Ramirez is the next “Satanic” killer on the list, and he’s the only one who really qualifies for inclusion. Ramirez did identify himself as a Satanist.
But Sean Sellers, the teenager who converted to Christianity in jail after murdering his parents? He may have promoted himself as a “reformed Satanist” who killed only because he was under the Devil’s influence, but an examination of his criminal appeals tells a different story. Sellers was so desperate to escape the death penalty for crimes he admittedly committed that he pled diminished capacity due to demonic possession, and later claimed to have Multiple Personality Disorder. Sellers was a shrewdly manipulative man who knew exactly what he was doing at all times.

The last case Klein cites is the murder of Steven Newberry by a trio of teens, led by a charismatic thug named Jim Hardy. The killers practiced some rudimentary form of “Satanism” that mostly revolved around torturing and killing cats. The murder of their “friend” Newberry was a thrill killing that would have been committed with or without their childish attempts at devil worship.
Klein’s efforts to lay the blame for Adam Lanza’s crimes on Satanism are baseless. To call Lanza’s evil deeds “Satanic” because he allegedly expressed interest in the Devil in his teens is just as absurd as labeling a murder “Christian” because the killer was once an altar boy.

Some Christians don’t want to stop at blaming Satanism for the massacre, though. They also want to blame the victims’ parents and even God himself, arguing that mass murder of 6-year-olds is God’s just punishment for “kicking God out of schools”. In the video below, Christian rapper Tireo tells us that God granted Satan permission to “demonize” Adam Lanza so that he would murder children, but the media won’t disclose this because Adam was white. Also, the victims were handpicked (by God?) because their parents “had sin in their lives.”

Blaming Satan

Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, has stated that Satan was behind last week’s murders in Newtown, Connecticut.

Tragic events like the mass murder of schoolchildren certainly have an evil aura, and it isn’t out of line to label the killer’s actions as evil, in my opinion.
But to attribute the killer’s actions directly to Satan, as Wildmon has done, is problematic. First of all, it’s entirely possible that Adam Lanza had an emotional or mental disorder that interfered with his ability to feel empathy for others, manage his emotions, or control his impulses. The notion that mental illness is caused by demonic infestation or Satanic influence, promoted by Alex Jones and others, is positively Medieval and has no place in an informed, educated society like our own. It will not benefit the mentally ill, their caregivers, mental health professionals, or family members to fob the blame off on the Devil. If Lanza was not mentally ill, then he was fully responsible for his crimes, and no one else (including Satan) deserves even a shred of the blame for what he chose to do.

The West Memphis Three are OUT!

This is a beautiful day: The day that I remove the “Free the West Memphis Three” posters from my blogs. After spending the entirety of their young adulthoods in prison, Jessie Misskelley, Jason Baldwin, and Damien Echols have been freed after a plea deal. Sadly, the deal prevents them from suing for wrongful prosecution or anything else related to their false convictions, and it is incredibly unlikely that West Memphis investigators will ever admit their mistakes and search for the real killer or killers.

Not just three, but six boys’ worlds were destroyed by the murders of Stevie Branch, Michael Moore, and Christopher Byers. Now that the West Memphis Three have some justice, let’s see some justice for the three boys who lost their lives. Enough time has been wasted.

I’m dismayed by some of the media coverage of this. For instance, ABC News posted a video with the sub-headline “Three men convicted of killing three boys in a satanic cult ritual are set free.” Really? The prosecution couldn’t present any evidence of a Satanic ritual, because there wasn’t any. At all.

Some anti-occult nonsense

  • After their failed bid to cast their daughter as the girl martyr of Columbine, the parents of Cassie Bernall are now giving public addresses in which they describe their daughter as a Satanic would-be murderer (because she wrote angry study hall letters and had some “occult” stuff in her bedroom). I don’t quite understand how disparaging their murdered daughter will accomplish…well, anything.
  • A very strange anti-occult site called Satan’s Fake Apocalypse asks some very strange questions, like “Criss Angel: Black Magician or Illusionist?” (is this where Sheldon got his info?), and “Was Bertrand Russell Possessed?”. Other articles include “Programming Kids for Satanism with Video Games”, “SRA: the appalling and pervasive reality hidden in plain sight”, and “Demonic possession: sociopathy on steroids”. A blog post by the same person asserts that kidnapping-for-ransom victim Eduardo Valesca was probably abducted by Satanists. Something to do with Satanists controlling the real estate market, and the “fact” that letters usually featured on maps of Mexico convert to the number sequence 9969, which translates to 666 if you remove a 9 and invert the others (without inverting the 6). This person believes his former housemates were ritualistically torturing him with sleep deprivation because they belonged to a Lucis Trust offshoot known as Triangles, which he read about in one of the Satanic panic pamphlets Lyndon LaRouche’s organization cranked out in the ’80s. Evidence for this plot included triangular decals on one roomie’s vehicle, a bag of Mission Triangle tortilla chips left on a countertop, and a secret code employed on Lucis Trust websites. He “translated” these websites, “which was one of the more mentally draining efforts of my life because they were deliberately written to be highly ambiguous”.

Satanic Panic is Alive and Well

Satanic panic is alive and well. The crafty and the naive alike exploit it to achieve their own ends – whether that’s putting the fear of God in people, prosecuting an alleged criminal, or just selling lots of DVDs. Just one recent example:

– In a recent interview with David Icke, conspiranoid radio host Alex Jones gave several examples of what he considers Satanic sacrifice and deviant sexuality. “We know that Satanists sacrifice people. They get caught doing it all the time.”
He declared that France’s Minister of Culture, Frederic Mitterand, bragged in a book that he “goes to slave camps and rapes little boys”. Mitterand even refers to this practice as a “ritual”.
This is pure bullshit. The book Jones refers to (though he clearly hasn’t read it) is Mitterand’s 2005 autobiographical novel, The Bad Life, in which he describes visiting young male prostitutes (young men, not children) in Thailand. No “slave camps”. No “rape”. No “little boys”. However, Mitterand did push the envelope by describing his reaction the sex trade in Bangkok thusly: “All these rituals of the market for youths, the slave market, excite me enormously”.

Icke stated, “Roman Polanski is a practicing Satanist.” He said Sharon Tate’s murder was directly connected to Satanism. This is pure bullshit. The Manson Family murders had nothing to do with Satanism, and making a film about devil worshippers does not make you a Satanist. Period.
He went on to explain one of his central conspiracy theories, that the elite routinely rape and sacrifice prepubescent children to obtain their energy (and blood, since they are blood-drinking, shapeshifting Reptiles from another dimension).

Jones listed the cultures that have practiced ritual human sacrifice: Mesoamericans, Africans, Aztecs, Asians, Babylonians, Romans, Greeks, Middle Eastern tribes. All had high priests who worshipped the same snake god and followed the same “secret mathematics religion”, and all sacrificed healthy people of all ages and both sexes. Most tortured their victims. Most used hallucinogens (as does Icke himself, but Icke stayed mum at this point in the broadcast). Note, please, that Jones didn’t mention Celtic or Nordic sacrifice.
Again, pure bullshit. There is no “secret mathematics religion”, and the cultures mentioned had an array of gods (not just a single “snake god”, though a few did incorporate snakes or serpents into their cosmology and/or mythology at one time or another – as does Christianity, which Jones favors, and the chemognostic New Age “shamanism” that Icke appreciates).

Jones went on to say that Tony Blair likes to be possessed by the spirit of “white light”, and that homosexual orgies take place during Skull & Bones initiation ceremonies. Blair is Catholic now, so his alleged ecstatic states have nothing to do with Satanism. And while I’m sure college secret societies have some homoerotic aspects, no one has ever reported gay orgies (or orgies of any kind) at S&B.

More Satanic Panic in Africa

In Ndola, Zambia, two teen boys (13 and 14) are being sued for defamation by Kamba Ward PF councillor Oscar Himanga. Last year, the boys declared that Himanga lured them into Satanism with money and sweets when they were 5 and 6 years old. Since that time, they claim, he has ordered them to murder over 300 people.
According to the courtroom testimony of the 13-year-old, their initiation took place inside an “old warehouse in Kawama where they found white men who were half humans and half snakes”. Over the years “they continued to meet the same people in the Atlantic Ocean”, and the boy used a “spiritual computer” to kill people at the Satanists’ command. The boy said he came forward with his confession last year because the cultists had ordered him to kill his mother, and he didn’t want to do it.
I sincerely hope that Mr. Himanga wins his suit.

Also in Zambia, five girls have been expelled from school for allegedly practicing Satanism.