- 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.
Now we have even graver allegations being made against a young Bible study leader in Kansas City, Missouri. Micah Moore, 22, has been charged with the murder of nurse Bethany Deaton, 27, and claims that he was persuaded to kill her by Bethany’s own husband, Tyler Deaton. Tyler is an “ex-gay” who has headed a small, tight-knit Christian group for the past several years. Some members are so devoted to Tyler that they followed him from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, to his current home in Kansas City. Tyler and Bethany had been married for just three months when she died. Bethany’s death on October 30 initially appeared to be a suicide (her body was found in a van parked near Longview Lake, a plastic bag over her head). No one suspected otherwise until Moore turned himself in earlier this month. He told police that Tyler has been engaging in “spiritual sex” with several of the young men who share his house, and that he routinely drugged Bethany so that his followers could rape her. Moore even claimed to possess video footage of these sexual assaults. Fearful that Bethany would tell her therapist about what was going on, Tyler approached Micah with the idea of murdering her and disguising her death as a suicide.
At this early stage, it’s possible that Moore’s story will turn out to be false. Maybe he killed his leader’s wife on his own and pinned the blame on Tyler. However, at least three of the Deatons’ four roommates have confirmed that Tyler was having sex with them and that he termed these relations “spiritual”. The fourth roommate feels he was being groomed to become one of Tyler’s sexual partners.
In Texas, Tyler felt that the official student clubs at Southwestern University weren’t hardcore enough for him, so he formed his own independent group. Members would spend hours of every day in the campus chapel, praying and singing under Tyler’s direction. They also engaged in “holy laughter”, and attempted faith healing of severely disabled people on at least two occasions. Tyler preached to his group about the evils of homosexuality, claiming he “overcame” his own gay orientation through the power of Christ. By the end of the 2008-2009 school year, Southwestern administrators were so troubled by the group’s activities that they denied Deaton further use of the chapel. That’s when Tyler, Bethany, and several young men decided to relocate to a more sympathetic school, the International House of Prayer University in Kansas City. In Missouri, Bethany and Tyler attended Forerunner Christian Fellowship Church. They married in August of this year.
If the allegations made by Micah Moore are true, then a murderous Christian sex cult has been active on the campus of a Christian university for the past three years, engaging in ritualistic sex and rape under the direction of a charismatic but deranged leader. Will we call this group’s practices “Christian ritual abuse”? Or will we continue to insist that abusive sexual practices are the exclusive domain of Satanists, when all evidence indicates that Satanic crime is, in fact, far less common than Christian crime? When you think about it, this makes sense. There are far fewer Satanists in America than Christians, so the rate of crimes committed by Christians should be much higher than the rate of crimes committed by Satanists. This includes sexual abuse and murder.Another Forerunner was in the news this week, when 19-year-old Two and a Half Men star Angus T. Jones declared in a video produced by The Forerunner Chronicles that he feels terrible about being on a show that is “filth” and might even be contributing to Satan’s plan to subvert humanity. He urged Americans to avoid television altogether, in fact. He has since qualified his remarks, stating that he has a lot of respect for everyone who works on the show; he considers them members of his family. He has not attempted to explain how a program produced by such good people can be a tool of the Devil.
The man who appears beside Jones in the video is Christopher “Forerunner” Hudson, a YouTuber who believes that Jay-Z is a Satan-worshiping Freemason. Hudson also buys into and promotes a broad range of conspiracy nonsense: The death of Osama bin Laden was faked, Michael Jackson’s death was engineered to distract the world from the Pope’s plea for a New World Order, etc.
Charisma magazine is the most popular Christian magazine in the world. Despite its conservative slant, the articles featured in it are usually timely and concisely written, with little of the bombast you’ll see on TV programs like The 700 Club or Jack Van Impe Presents. What, then, shall we make of a recent article titled “Can You Be Raped by the Devil?“, which claims that the Medieval notion of succubi and incubi invading our bedrooms at night is valid, and that the content of our dreams can be influenced by these demons? The article, which relies heavily on the anecdotal accounts of one former stripper, even suggests that sexual orientation can be altered by sexual demons. Does ancient superstition such as this really belong in the world’s foremost Christian publication, read by millions? What is this teaching the younger readers of the magazine – that every wet dream they experience in adolescence is actually a visitation from a demon bent on making them gay?
…and current conspiracy bullshitter.
So far, most of the ex-witches and former Satanists in this series have either faded into obscurity or died. This is not the case with Bill Schnoebelen. He was one of the very first “Ex-Men” to dominate the Christian conspiracy lecture circuit, beginning in 1984, and he is still with us. He might be with us for a long time to come, too, because he has an uncanny knack for tapping into the conspiranoid zeitgeist, claiming to possess inside info on every new menace that looms up to imperil Western civilization (I call this Forest Gump Syndrome).
Schnoebelen claims to have been, at various times between 1968 and the present:
- a Wiccan
- a “high Druidic” priest
- an Ordo Templi Orientis initiate (2nd degree)
- a channeler
- a Satanist
- a member of the Illuminati
- a Mormon
- a Catholic priest
- a 90th Degree Freemason
- a 9th Degree Rosicrucian
- a Knight Templar
- a Gnostic bishop
- a spiritualist priest
- a vampire
- a naturopathic physician
- a member of Elizabeth Clare Prophet’s Church Universal and Triumphant
- a fundamentalist Christian/ordained minister
Nowadays, he’s also a self-declared expert on natural healing and the “medical conspiracy”. I’m guessing he’s one of those people who takes forever deciding in a restaurant.
There is evidence that Bill Schnoebelen actually did do many of the things he talks about. But like John Todd, he smeared Mormons, Freemasons, and many other groups as closet Satanists, and made some claims that are profoundly absurd.
The Road to Everything
Schnoebelen was born into a devoutly Roman Catholic family in 1949, the only child of a tire shop co-owner and a housewife. He was raised in Jessup, Iowa. (3)
Bill says he was a faithful Catholic throughout his young adulthood, and even aspired to the priesthood, but was always prone to the dark and mysterious forces of the world. Trick-or-treating at the age of 8 or 9, he saw leathery, bat-like creatures filling the night sky. At 12, near his family’s lake cottage in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, he saw a gigantic black figure rise up from the horizon to “bestride the heavens”. It walked over him and vanished beyond a hillock. He believes this was a Wendigo. He also had more typical childhood fascinations like UFOs and haunted houses, but someday he would consider these further manifestations of evil in his life. (2)
After high school, Bill still intended to become a priest. First, though, he enrolled at a small Catholic school called Loras College, in Dubuque, Iowa. It was here, in that crazy year of 1968, that a few New Agey professors and the counter-fundamentalist influence of Vatican II persuaded Bill that man can become Christ. Christ, his liberal teachers taught him, was basically a magician or ascended master who had studied the occult. So, Bill began studying the occult to become more Christ-like. This was his first step into a revolving door of religious traditions that would keep him walking in circles for over 15 years. (1)
Step 1: Witch
After some occult study, Bill decided to become a witch. He wrote to Alex Sanders, the self-proclaimed “King of the Witches”, who referred him to a Massachusetts-based coven. Bill ultimately reached the third degree of Alexandrian Wicca. Note, please, that his initiation didn’t involve roosters or blood like the bizarre rites supposedly experienced by Doreen Irvine and Mike Warnke. Note also that Schnoebolen has not mentioned any Satanic scripture, like most of the “former witches” we’ve seen so far.
Bill graduated from Loras College in May 1971 with a major in music and a minor in education. (He claims he received his Masters in Theological Studies degree from the St. Francis School of Pastoral Ministry in 1980 and his Master of Arts degree in counseling from Liberty University in 1990.)
He says he took a leave of absence of absence from seminary in the early ’70s. He taught music at a Catholic school for a couple of years, and met his future wife while volunteering as a counselor at a drug rehab clinic. Sharon Mullen, apparently one of the clinic’s patients, was a married mother of two. Like Bill, she was deeply into witchcraft and the occult. Around 1973 she left her husband and kids to be with him. (3)
That summer, the couple traveled to Hattieville, Arkansas, to study under the “Grand Master Druid of all North America”. Bill doesn’t name this fellow, but he was Barney “Eli” Taylor. (3) Taylor ran something called the Mental Science Institute and taught herbal magic in the druidic witchcraft tradition. He made Sharon and Bill a high priestess and high priest, which basically means he issued them a certificate similar to the ones dispensed to John Todd and Tom Sanguinet by Gavin Frost in the ’70s. It is incredibly unlikely that Bill and Sharon “learned all the mysteries of hermeticism and metal magic and natural medicine and more” in three months, as he claims. (1) Occult study is not a cram course.
They also saw hovering UFOs every single night, as they studied under the stars. Schnoebelen later contradicted this claim by saying he has seen UFOs about three times in his life. (2)
Bill and Sharon returned to the Midwest to “spread the gospel of witchcraft” (something witches generally don’t do). They had a handfasting ceremony in Zion, Illinois, supposedly attended by 200 witches. (1)
They settled in Milwaukee to teach witchcraft and establish covens. Bill claims they drew in hundreds of eager followers, but one of those followers, Frater Barrabbas Tiresius, begs to differ. He claims the Schnoebelens founded just two covens in Milwaukee, containing 30-40 members. By this time, Bill had legally changed his named to Christopher Pendragon Syn, and Sharon called herself Alexandra. They both appeared to possess a great deal of occult knowledge, and at first the covens operated smoothly. According to Frater Barrabbas, things turned sour when Bill and Sharon formed complex romantic entanglements with their followers and began playing them against each other. He attributes the mental collapse of one of Bill’s lovers to these cruel mind games. (3)
Step 2: Warlock, Mason, and Illuminati Member
As a result of his occult studies, Bill was a spiritualist priest and a trance channeler. He often consulted numerous spirit guides, the highest of which Frater Barabbas identifies as Ambrosius and Parlemanon. (3) Bill read Anton LeVey’s Satanic Bible at the suggestion of one of these spirit guides, and promptly joined the Church of Satan. He reached the second degree, “Warlock”, before realizing that LeVey’s brand of Satanism was harmless “kid stuff”. He aspired to what he calls “hardcore Satanism”, and to enter that realm he had to become a Freemason. (1) (The supposed connection between Satanism and Freemasonry was also trumpeted by John Todd in the mid-’80s.)
Frater Barrabbas says it was his father who sponsored Bill into Freemasonry. After Bill reached the third degree, his interest waned and he stopped participating on a regular basis.
Bill then branched out into esoteric Freemasonry. He claims he reached the thirty-second degree of Scottish Rite Freemasonry, as well, and in his lectures displayed the certificate issued to him. He says he also became a Rosicrucian (9th Degree) and a Knight Templar. (1)
Schnoebelen offers up a wealth of misinformation about Freemasonry and the Knights Templar. For instance, in his Prophecy Club lecture (c. 1996), he declared that Freemasonry is “basically Babylonian witchcraft” and is anti-Christian. He said Jacques de Molay was a pedophile (de Molay confessed under torture to homosexual acts; it’s not known if he was really gay or not, much less a pedophile). He also talked about Jesuit mind control, claiming that Ignatius Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises are “profoundly occult” in nature, and formed the basis of Illuminati mind control techniques. This is absurd. Loyola recommended meditation and daily prayer to achieve deeper devotion to God and indifference to the material world. If that’s occultism, then virtually all priestly and monastic disciplines are occult.
Here’s where Bill’s story goes seriously off the rails. So far, none of his claims are particularly outlandish. But after he had covered “all the branches of Masonry there are to do”, he signed his soul over to Satan in a Black Book (in blood, of course). The contract entitled him to seven years of anything he wanted, at the end of which he would be killed and taken to Hell. This wasn’t such a bad thing, he explains, because hardcore Satanists view Hell as a sort of eternal party. (1)
This nonsense comes straight out of medieval folklore and has no basis in actuality, of course. You cannot sign a pact with Satan any more than you can sign a pact with God, or an angel, or the evil monkey who lives in your closet. Ask yourself, why did Schnoebolen admittedly work at a series of menial jobs throughout these years, if Satan had granted him anything he desired?
The silliness hits a new high with Bill’s claim that he was recruited into the Illuminati when fellow Freemasons noticed he had an occult background. This is contradicted by Frater Barrabbas, who says the Masons were unaware of Bill’s occult interests. (3)
Bill implies that his entry into the Illuminati wasn’t assured, that he slipped in via some arcane loophole. Spirit guides provided him with the appropriate “secret passwords”.
He describes three steps that each Illuminati Mason must go through, in addition to learning the arts of tantric sex and opening the third eye with hallucinogens. The first step is illumination. Bill described this as being “deluged in the blinding white light of Lucifer. It felt like my brain was being parboiled in pure light.” Step two is communion with the dead, something he had already mastered as a trance medium. Bill claims he had long chats with Jesus, Buddha, Zoraster, Hitler, Aleister Crowley, and others.
Step three is sex with a fallen angel, an “appalling and bizarre” process. Bill was formally married to his angel, a ceremony we’ll see again in the case of Dr. Rebecca Brown and the “former Satanist” known as Elaine. Apparently this is not considered bigamy, as Bill was already married to Sharon when he became an Illuminati member.
To accept this nonsense, one must accept that Richard Nixon and other high-level politicians did these things, too, because Bill informs us that many of the world’s elite were fellow Illuminists.
Step 3: Priest
Wait, it gets stupider. To “level up” to the hardcore Satanic high priesthood, Bill had to recruit seven people to sell their souls, and become a Catholic priest. He says medieval literature supports his contention that all Satanic high priests are also Catholic priests. (1) However, it isn’t required that you become an orthodox Catholic priest; it’s good enough just to be “ordained”, as both Schnoebolen and Mike Warnke were, as a “bishop” of the Old Catholic Church. This wasn’t difficult. Bill found a “bishop” who was willing to ordain him in exchange for being made a witch priest. Frater Barrabbas identifies this man as Edward M. Stehlik. (3)
Bill then became involved with the Patriarch of the Gnostic Catholic Church in Chicago, and was also made a bishop in that church. Oddly, he refers to this church as the Order of Memphis and Mizraim. They are not the same thing. The Gnostic Catholic Church is a branch of the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO), and is not officially affiliated with esoteric Freemasonry.
At any rate, Bill claims to have reached the ninetieth of ninety-seven degrees in the Order of Memphis and Mizraim (never mind that it only has ninety degrees). He was also initiated into the OTO at some point. Now the story reaches its zenith of ridiculousness.
Step 4: Vampire
His mastery of Freemasonry in all its forms allowed Bill to “cross the abyss”, an occult term referring to a state of enlightenment. Under the system of hardcore Satanism he had chosen, he now had to decide between two paths: Lycanthropy or vampirism. He selected vampirism, because the werewolves he knew had undergone some unpleasant experiences.
As it turned out, vampirism wasn’t so jolly, either. In the church of a Chicago vampire cult, Bill was made to drink the blood of what he believes to be a fallen angel, and underwent a physical transformation: His blood type changed, he could consume only blood and Catholic hosts, his skin blistered in the sun, and he couldn’t be near garlic. He carefully notes that he could not turn into a bat. Whew. For a minute there, I thought his imagination was getting the better of him. I mean, fallen angels and garlic are one thing, but bats? Let’s not be silly.
A small harem of witches provided Bill with blood, but as time went on he required more and more of it. As a Milkwaukee Sentinal deliveryman, he would see a hooker and “it would be all that I could do not to leap on that woman and rip her throat out and just drink every drop of blood out of her body.” Only his love for his wife prevented him from doing it. (1)
This is quite easily one of the most bizarre and least plausible claims ever made by an ex-witch in North America. It is also profoundly disturbing. I think it goes without saying that Bill Schnoebolen was not physically transformed into a vampire, so why on earth would he tell us about his homicidal fantasies? “Former Satanists” like to exaggerate their evil nature to make their Christian conversion stories as dramatic as possible (Mike Warnke essentially admitted as such on The Jim Bakker Show), but wanting to rip out the throats of prostitutes is beyond the pale. Even inventing such fantasies is indicative of mental imbalance, in my opinion.
Schnoebelen also claims to have been a cocaine addict during this period, though he was a peer counselor for addicts before and after his years as a Satanist. How and when he kicked the habit is unknown.
Step 5: Christian
As we have seen, all the testimonies of former witches and ex-Satanists feature dramatic conversion stories. This is the ultimate purpose of the testimonies; to show that anyone, even the most debauched devil-worshiper, can be saved by Christ.
There are problems with Schnoebelen’s conversion story. He claims that in 1984, one of his “tithe checks” to the Church of Satan bounced and was returned to him with a note scrawled on it by a Christian bank teller: “I’ll be praying for you in the name of Jesus.”
This makes no sense in the context of his hardcore Satanism/Illuminati stories. Bill clearly stated that the Church of Satan was “entry level” Satanism, and that he had surpassed it by becoming a real, hardcore Satanist. So why was he still a member of the CoS nearly a decade later? To make a bad analogy, that would be like paying your Brownie dues long after you’ve become a Girl Scout.
The prayers of the unknown Christian bank teller triggered a chain of events that ultimately led to Bill’s salvation. First, he lost all his magical and vampiric powers. This was a major setback, as he was “probably one of the most powerful warlocks on the west coast of Lake Michigan.” This was when he decided he needed to become a Mormon. (1)
Yeah, you read that correctly. He had to become a Mormon. This is because the LDS church was founded “by witches, for witches”, as a sort of deep cover. Schnoebelen later wrote a book about it: Mormonism’s Temple of Doom. (1)
There is a minute grain of truth in this assertion. Certain practices of Joseph Smith, including the use of scrying stones, are indicative of folk magic. But to call Smith a full-fledged witch would be absurd in the extreme; he was a Christian, not an adherent of any earth religion or occult belief system. The modern-day beliefs and practices of Mormons in no way resemble witchcraft.
The allegation that Mormons secretly practice witchcraft or worship Satan is not unique to Schnoebolen’s testimony, unfortunately. For instance, prominent conspiracy theorist A. True Ott, a former member of the LDS Church, claims that Mormons ritually sacrifice humans in their Salt Lake City temple. It is a smear intended to utterly discredit Mormonism, a sect that has been despised and feared by mainstream Protestants since its inception.
Schnoebelen also claims he belonged to Elizabeth Clare Prophet’s Church Universal and Triumphant (CUT), a cult-like New Age sect. CUT is currently based in Montana, but in the ’70s it operated out of California. So it’s not impossible Schnoebelen had some dealings with Prophet’s followers. (2)
Like all the other people in this series, Bill portrays witchcraft and Satanism (falsely) as the exact same thing. He also claims that one of the Twelve Apostles of the LDS Church, Elder James E. Faust, personally told him that Lucifer is the god of Mormonism.
In a Prophecy Club lecture given around 1996, Schnoeblen openly encouraged Christians to fear, reject, and disdain Mormons and Freemasons. At the same time, he displayed a disdain for homosexuals, and a total lack of knowledge about the nature of sexual orientation. “If you’ve got one Mason in your congregation…you’re gonna end up with a kind of bad apple spoiling the whole barrel routine…You never have one of these dudes in a church, ’cause they start recruiting. Masons are like homosexuals, they can’t reproduce themselves naturally – yeah, amen! – they can only recruit.” (1)
Though Mormonism was just another one of Bill’s spiritual dead ends, it led him to true salvation by spurring him to read the Bible for the very first time (rather strange for a former seminarian!). He realized that St. Paul could never have been a Mormon – he doesn’t explain why he reached this conclusion – and finally gave his life to Christ on June 22, 1984. (1)
As a Christian, Bill penned many books and tracts about the alleged evils of witchcraft, the occult, UFOs, Satanism, Mormonism, and Dungeons & Dragons. He claimed the creators of D&D consulted his Satanic coven in the late ’70s because they wanted to make their game “authentic” (Dungeons and Dragons was created in the early ’70s, and it’s about as authentically Satanic as Taco Bell food is authentically Tex-Mex). His article “Straight Talk on Dungeons and Dragons” is still available on Jack Chick’s website, along with the nonsense of John Todd. Chick is a strong supporter of Schnoebelen, and offers his book Lucifer Dethroned for sale.
Though he knows perfectly well that witches are not Satanists and Mormons are not witches, Schnoebelen continues to spread this misinformation via lectures, DVDs, and his With One Accord ministry.
In 2006, Schnoebelen sat down with Stephanie Relfe for a 9-hour interview that was packaged as a DVD, Interview with an Ex-Vampire. I’ve mentioned Mrs. Relfe on this blog before; she and her husband, Michael, used kinesiology to unlock Michael’s buried memories of being a U.S. government slave on Mars. Both Relfes, back on Earth, experienced extensive contact with aliens (Michael was also repeatedly abducted by military personnel). Their first child was teleported out of Stephanie’s womb by Reptilians.
Mrs. Relfe uncritically accepts Schnoebelen’s stories at face value, even the most absurd and fantastical ones. She listens patiently as Bill describes how a fellow Satanist summoned a mighty demon in his garage. Bill was a scribe at this ceremony, so he witnessed everything. The man successfully summoned a slithery, tentacled monster that filled the room, but made the mistake of stepping outside his magic circle to answer the phone. As it turned out, the ringing was a demonic illusion and the man was whisked away to another dimension by the demon. Because the story wouldn’t be believed, Bill said, he and the man’s wife never bothered to alert the authorities to his disappearance. He doesn’t provide names, a date, or a location.
Step 6: Naturopathic physician
“Naturopathy” is an extremely loose term that encompasses a broad range of alternative medicine, holistic health practices, and quackery. There are a few institutions that offer real degrees in naturopathy, but as Schnoebelen has not revealed where or when he received his, we have no idea if it’s valid or not.
As the alternative health biz is hot these days, Schnoebelen gave another Prophecy Club lecture on the “medical conspiracy”, explaining how the evil pharmaceutical companies are suppressing miraculous natural cures and whatnot. (4)
In the ’90s, Schnoebelen said he was working as a counselor specializing in addictions treatment. This is a bit alarming, as he doesn’t have any formal education or training in this field. Even more alarming is the fact that he believes there are about two million victims of Satanic ritual abuse (SRA) in the U.S., and treats some of those victims. In the ’80s and ’90s, even many fully-qualified professionals who treated SRA patients used highly questionable methods of treatment such as recovered memory therapy. I don’t even want to imagine the psychological damage an amateur therapist like Schnoebelen could do. But then, I don’t have to imagine it.
Schnoebelen says Dissociative Identity Disorder is caused by “scientifically inserted demons”. This medieval notion – that mental illness can be attributed to demonic possession – has no place in modern therapy. Even if deliverance has some limited efficacy in alleviating a patient’s symptoms, it doesn’t address the underlying cause(s) of the condition.
Schnoebelen is also of the misguided opinion that once a person becomes a Christian, he/she is fully healed of all psychological trauma resulting from childhood abuse and has no further need of therapy. Therefore, his goal as a counselor is probably just to convince emotionally vulnerable people that they must accept Christ as their personal saviour. Using “therapy” as a cover for proselytization is unethical in the extreme.
Schnoebelen’s take on history is equally mangled. He believes Josef Mengele was brought to the U.S. under Project Paperclip (he wasn’t; he fled to South America with a Vatican-issued passport). He says Mengele had experimented with mind control and cloning in Germany (he had nothing to do with either).
He says we’ve been successfully cloning animals since the 1940s. Dolly the sheep was just a cover.
As evidence that a UFO crashed near Roswell, New Mexico, in the year of Aleister Crowley’s death, Schnoebelen produced an artist’s rendering of a “long-range photo” showing two military policemen walking a tiny alien on a leash. Since the object that crashed in the desert was not extraterrestrial, this drawing-of-an-alleged-photo is obviously a crude hoax. No sane, rational person would accept it as evidence of anything.
Schnoebelen also gives credence to Eisenhower’s supposed meeting with aliens, Betty Hill’s “map” of Zeta Reticuli, and Reptilian sightings in malls beneath Salt Lake City. He speculates that aliens are really fallen angels, paving the way for the Antichrist. He wonders if SRA victims and alien abductees have implants that are really “tiny remote-controlled neutron bombs”. (1)
His Biblical exegesis isn’t much better. Schnoebelen believes that in I Corinthians 11:2-16, Paul seems to be warning women to be under the headship of men so they won’t be screwed by fallen angels. He suspects Adam and Eve may not have had blood until they ate the forbidden fruit, and that fallen angels must drink human blood to become sexually functional. (1)
When it comes to witchcraft, however, Schnoebelen shows himself more knowledgeable than his peers. He acknowledges that witches are just ordinary people, capable of love. He admits that Wicca is probably not ancient; Gerald Gardner’s New Forest coven was, in all likelihood, fictional. He knows that the Druids had no written language, and that our knowledge of their practices and beliefs is limited. This is quite a contrast to John Todd, Irene Park, and Tom Sanguinet, who attributed all sorts of evil deeds to the Druids. (2)
Some (Very Obvious) Problems with Schnoebolen’s Testimony
Why was he studying for a Masters degree in theology at a pastoral school and practicing Satanism at the same time, four years before he was saved?
Mormons are not witches. Mormons do not worship Lucifer. Witches do not worship Lucifer. If Mormons are secretly worshiping the Devil, why would Elder Faust confide this to two relatively new converts?
Freemasons are not Satanists, and Satanic high priests are not required to become Freemasons. Though rumours and hoaxes have attributed all manner of evil doings to Freemasonry, it is generally a benign fraternal organization.
Satanists are not required to become Catholic priests. Catholics are not permitted to be Freemasons. It is far more likely that Schnoebelen, like Mike Warnke, was drawn to the Old Catholic Church for reasons of his own, such as receiving the grand title of “bishop” without having to earn it.
Schnoebelen likened the Illuminati to Communist cells, compartmentalized in such a way that each member knows only one or two others. How, then, can the members engage in tantric sex with each other? How do they oversee and instruct one another? Who performed the ceremony in which he married his fallen angel? How can you even be sure the Illuminati truly exists, if you only know two of its supposed members?
Schnoebelen identifies Aleister Crowley as the key figure in his occult life, but gets many of the details about Crowley’s life and work seriously wrong. He claims Crowley was “probably the most highly honored Mason in the world”. In the recent Crowley autobiography Perdurabo, however, author Richard Kaczynski states that Crowley was not recognized as a Mason at all. Nor was Crowley a raper of children who “boasted of slaughtering 150 boys in a single year.” Crowley did write of child sacrifice in his book Magick in Theory and Practice, but made it clear that not everything in the book should be taken literally. There is no evidence that he ever physically harmed a child. On the contrary, most children enjoyed his company.
Schnoebelen also blames Crowley for Hitler, the Tunguska explosion, and “Transyuggothian magick“. Like John Todd, he suggests that H.P. Lovecraft had access to secret knowledge about demonic/alien entities. He says the Simon Necronomicon contains about half of the “real” Necronomicon, which is utter b.s. He points out that in both “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” and “The Dunwich Horror”, human women breed with nonhuman creatures. “I believe these stories are absolutely true…” (1)
Schnoebelen claims the Royal Secret of Scottish Rite Freemasonry is the sodomy of young boys, which occultists believe allows them to access a realm of “trans-Plutonian space” and gives them an illusion of immortality. He says even “good” Masons can be drawn into pedophilia and homosexuality. (1)
Again, he’s betraying a total ignorance of sexual orientation and attributing atrocious crimes to an organization that is, for the most part, benevolent. Predatory pedophiles are not over-represented in Freemasonry, and no occult tradition requires one to rape children.
Schnoebelen makes similar allegations against Michael Aquino, founder of the Temple of Set. He says Aquino was charged of child abuse three times, but the charges didn’t stick “probably because of government involvement.” (1)
First off, it was the government (the military) who investigated Aquino in the first place. Secondly, he was never charged with any crime. The investigations dead-ended, not because of government intervention but because the allegations were made by hysterical parents who feared that Colonel Aquino, an out-of-the-closet Satanist, was the child-raping, virgin-slaying devil of modern legend. It is very interesting that Aquino was never accused of a single crime until he outed himself as a Satanist.
In addition to his ridiculous stories about Catholic mind control and the Illuminati, Schnoebelen pulled out some of the same discredited conspiracy myths used by John Todd, such as the factoid that Freemason Albert Pike was a Satanist (a feature of the Taxil hoax). Also in common with Todd, he criticized Star Wars, soap operas, and romance novels. He told his Prophecy Club audience that because the U.S. government treats its citizens like “idiot children”, they turn to drugs and booze and fantasy (Star Trek, Star Wars, soaps, etc.). “As a result of this, most people end up on the dole, or in mental hospitals.” (1)
Excuse me? Most Americans are welfare recipients, and Star Trek is responsible for this? Since when?
If Schnoebelen legally wed a fallen angel, then I suggest he produce a marriage or divorce certificate to verify his story. Or at least pull out some wedding photos.
The stupidest and least tenable of all his claims, of course, is the assertion that he was a “real” vampire. Though Bill would have us believe that lycanthropy and vampirism are real supernatural phenomena with physiological manifestations, there is zero evidence to support that. No one needs to subsist on human blood. Blood type cannot change under any circumstances. If you are born AB positive, you will die AB positive. Faux vampirism and delusional lycanthropy certainly exist, but real vampires and werewolves do not. Duh.
1. Schnoebelen’s Prophecy Club talk “Exposing the Illuminati from Within” (c. 1996)
2. “Interview with an Ex-Vampire” (Schnoebelen’s 2006 interview with Stephanie Relfe)
3. Frater Barrabbas Tiresius’ 4-part blog series on Schnoebelen @ Talking About Ritual Magick
4. Schnoebelen’s Prophecy Club talk “The Medical Conspiracy” (date unknown)
The First of Many
In 1973, Englishwoman Doreen Irvine published her autobiography, From Witchcraft to Christ. Just eight years earlier, an exorcist had expelled 47 demons from her body. Years before that, she was Queen of the Black Witches of Europe.
Since the late ’60s, Irvine has given her Christian testimony countless times. She has appeared on 100 Huntley Street and in Christian documentaries about the dangers of the occult. (1) Her story has been cited by many Christian authors, including Russ Parker and the late Dr. Kurt Koch, as a reliable account of what witches and Satanists do (like many “former Satanists”, Irvine used the terms “witchcraft” and “Satanism” interchangeably).
She was the first of many born again Christians who claimed to be ex-witches and/or ex-Satanists, among them women who claimed to have been high priestesses in destructive Satanic cults, so her testimony provided a sort of blueprint. Among such testimonies, many of the same elements recur time and again:
– A Dickensian childhood full of abuse, exploitation, and deprivation
– An early introduction to Jesus that would pave the way for salvation later in life (In Doreen’s case, her Sunday school lessons)
– An absence of time markers
– Lack of detail about the beliefs of Satanists (scripture, philosophy, etc.), but extraneous detail about the practices of Satanists (sacrifice, crime, etc.)
– Helplessness. Rather than being led into Satanic evil through his/her bad choices, the protagonist is usually a naive and vulnerable innocent victimized, lured, or coerced into sin by more worldly people. Once ensnared, escape is impossible.
– Supernatural events and paranormal abilities are common. Demons and angels materialize, Satanists use death curses against their enemies, and sometimes Satan himself makes an appearance.
– A remarkable conversion experience
– Complete redemption and forgiveness through Christ
– Expert advice on the occult. After sharing his/her testimony, the ex-witch or former Satanist gives us pointers on how to avoid occultism, prevent children from becoming involved in it, and/or how to expunge it from our communities. There are typically warnings about Ouija boards, Halloween, and occult literature.
Doreen Irvine’s testimony does bear key differences from later ex-witch stories, though. First of all, she gives no explicit suggestion of a worldwide Satanic conspiracy. However, the “fact” that her cult encompasses at least the whole of Europe does hint at Satanic organization on a global scale. Secondly, her family was not involved in the occult (in later stories of “former Satanists”, multigenerational Satanism became the norm).
From Soho to Satan
According to her testimony, Irvine’s circuitous route to evangelical stardom began around 1948, when she became a teenage prostitute in London’s East End. We know the approximate year only because she gives the year of her conversion (1964) and provides a few numbers that allow us to make guesstimates of the chronology. As in most ex-Satanists’ testimonies, time markers and dates and specific names are almost nonexistent. Perhaps such details are omitted to lend the stories a timeless quality, or maybe there are other reasons for leaving out information that can be checked. (2)
Doreen describes her childhood as terrible. Though she adored him, her dad was a drunk who beat his wives and couldn’t provide for his five daughters. Doreen slept on piles of dirty laundry in lieu of a bed, and seldom had shoes. She attended school so rarely that she was illiterate until her late teens. Mum fled when she was 11.
So at 14, Doreen was walking the streets. By 16, after a stint as a domestic servant, she was a striptease artist and a callgirl in Soho.
She turned to Satanism around 1950, at the age of 16. She had begged to be inducted after overhearing two other strippers discussing the “secret, ancient order” to which they belonged. Reluctantly, the girls agreed to take her to a coven gathering at “Satan’s temple”, but she had to be blindfolded until she was inside.
When the blindfold was removed, Doreen saw about 400 people and 13 priests/priestesses gathered in a hall adorned with effigies of Satan. The high priest of these “black witches” sat on a throne (Irvine refers to him as “the chief Satanist”). At some point a white rooster was killed and its blood drained into a cup, to be mixed with blood from a cut made on Doreen’s arm. She drank from the cup, then signed a parchment pact with the Devil, pledging to serve Satan for the rest of her life.
Though the temple was packed with people, Doreen later learned that only VIPs were present that night, because there wasn’t enough elbow room for all the London area’s black witches.
Under the name Diana (her stage name), Doreen spent the next 16 years developing occult powers and learning by heart the Book of Satan, an ancient tome six times thicker than the Bible. Satanism had many rules, and she learned them all.
In return, she received Mindfreakish paranormal abilities. She could levitate several feet off the ground, read minds, render herself invisible, manifest apports, and kill birds in midflight just by looking at them.
At some point, the chief Satanist told her she would be a contender to become Queen of the Black Witches. She would compete against six other witches at a midnight ceremony held on the moor at Dartmoor.
As always, the witches were naked. Just before the ceremony commenced, a local pastor showed up with two reporters, having somehow caught wind that witches would be convening that night. The witches, having nowhere to hide, went into a panic until Doreen assured them she could make everyone invisible. They joined hands, and were enveloped in a swirling green mist that obscured them from the three men.
Doreen easily won the magical competition. In the final phase of the test, each witch had to walk into a raging bonfire with flames 7 feet high. The successful candidate would reach the centre of the fire, where Satan himself would met her and lead her out of the flames unharmed. This is exactly what happened to Doreen. She strode confidently into the fire and saw her master, “Diablos” [sic], materialize before her as a “great black figure”. He took her hand and walked with her out of the fire before vanishing, leaving Doreen without so much as a blister. She was then crowned with a crown of “pure gold” and ensconced on a throne as Queen of the Black Witches of Europe, with the other witches prostrated before her. She held this title for one year.
Doreen goes into great detail about her paranormal abilities, the accoutrements of Satanism (thrones, a “golden orb”, etc.), and the “perverted” lesbian and gay sexual activities of witches. But she tells us remarkably little about what the “black witches” of this “ancient order” believe. Their beliefs seem to be centred on the repudiation of Christianity and very little else, as evidenced by the 8 rules of Satanism:
1. Never reveal the whereabouts of a Satanic temple or what goes on in it to an outsider.
2. Obey the “chief satanist” and commit yourself to Satan for life.
3. Never enter a Christian church.
4. Never read the Holy Bible.
5. The Holy scriptures are to be mocked and burned in the Satanic temple, and all Christian literature destroyed.
6. Satanists who are not punctual at worship will be whipped.
7. Lying, cheating, swearing, lust, and murder are permitted.
8. Prayers must be made to Lucifer daily.
This list is bizarre and simple-minded in the extreme. It’s as though someone asked a child or a young teenager to describe what they think Satanists or witches might be like. Not one item corresponds to actual beliefs or practices common among Satanists, Pagans, or witches.
Surprisingly, being queen of all the witches in Europe brought absolutely no material benefits to Doreen. She held the title for just one year, then it was back to being a heroin addict and prostitute. Her circumstances worsened considerably as the years passed. Whereas in her teens she had been a “classy” callgirl, by 1964 (when she was about 30), she was back hooking on the streets. That’s where she spotted a poster for a sermon by evangelist Eric Hutchings, which enraged her. She decided to attend the event expressly to “punch him in the nose”.
Instead, she was saved. Satan audibly warned her not to give herself to Christ, and even physically tried to restrain her, yet Doreen felt a love she had never known and stumbled to the altar to commit herself to Christ just as unquestioningly as she committed herself to the Devil 16 years earlier.
Salvation did not completely dispel her demons, however. Doreen experienced fits at church services, so in 1965 she underwent a 7-month exorcism by the Reverend Arthur Neil of Bristol and a group of other pastors. They expelled 47 demons.
Aside from the events enshrined in her testimony, not much is known of Doreen Irvine’s life. We know she gave birth to a disabled daughter around 1962, two years before she was saved. For many years she traveled to other countries to share her testimony, and counselled other ex-witches in England. She fell out of public view in the mid-’90s.
When giving her testimony, Irvine always stressed that she wanted to glorify Christ rather than Satan, and spoke effusively of her new life in Christ. She spoke succinctly, in an organized manner, often using exactly the same words and phrases.
She comes across as an earnest, candid believer. It’s difficult to believe she could be mentally disturbed, or an attention junkie, but of course both possibilities must be considered. Irvine herself claims she was diagnosed as being schizophrenic (more on that below).
Why Doreen Irvine’s Testimony Probably Isn’t True
Quite simply, it doesn’t stand up to the facts.
Witches are not Satanists, and Satanists are not witches. This conflation appears again and again in the testimonies of “former witches”. Some Christians will try to tell you that Wiccans and Pagans only pretend to be devoted to earth religions; in reality, they’re devil-worshipers bent on destroying Christianity. As anyone familiar with Satanism, Paganism, and witchcraft knows, this is completely false.
Satanism, neo-Paganism, and witchcraft are far more than knee-jerk reactions to Christianity. They have distinct beliefs, rules, and rituals unrelated to Christianity.
No Satanic or witchcraft movement has encompassed all of Europe. Even in pre-Christian Europe, Pagan beliefs were regional and diverse. Celtic culture, for instance, had different gods and customs than Nordic cultures. Today, many covens operate more or less independently. The notion of a single, continent-wide Satanic church with a tightly organized hierarchical structure existing from ancient times is a fantasy.
If a Satanic “ancient order” did exist, its hierarchy would surely have well-defined titles and roles. There is little evidence of that in Doreen’s account. She says virtually nothing about her duties as Queen of the Black Witches, and she refers to her male counterpart by the generic title “chief Satanist” (a term that no established Satanic organization uses).
Loose terminology is a recurrent problem in ex-Satanist testimonies.
Irvine contradicts herself repeatedly. For example, rule #4 of Satanism is supposedly that Satanists must never enter Christian churches, yet Irvine tells us that she and her co-religionists frequently entered churches to steal and burn Bibles.
Her account is uncorroborated. In the four decades that have passed since Doreen Irvine began sharing her story, not one of the other thousands of “black witches” has appeared, and no evidence of their existence has surfaced. No one has seen the largest Satanic temple she described, supposedly located in Bristol.
Other ex-Satanists described covens much different from Doreen’s. In fact, despite the superficial similarities of their accounts, every former Satanist seems to describe a different system of Satanism – even though most of them claim to be describing the world-wide “church of Satan”.
She presents no evidence. This is another issue that crops up again and again with ex-Satanists’ testimonies.
People who have defected from secretive cults have generally been able to provide some evidence that they actually belonged to those groups. Ex-Satanists like Irvine provide zero evidence. No temples have been found, though they were of considerable size and were used frequently by hundreds of people. No one has seen a copy of the massive Book of Satan that Doreen memorized (and she will not reproduce passages from it). There is not a single photograph or document accompanying Doreen’s presentations, not one other defector has appeared, and she refuses to divulge any names or locations associated with the “black witches”.
Other claims Doreen’s story make no sense at all. Reverend Arthur Neil, the Bristol minister who exorcised Doreen in 1965, wrote the introduction to From Witchcraft to Christ. In it, he included a letter sent to him by Doreen in which she states that brain scans and X-rays taken prior to her exorcism revealed she had “extensive brain damage”. She was also diagnosed as schizophrenic and suffered from unnamed physical and neurological problems so severe that doctors gave her about six months to live.
X-rays taken after the exorcism, however, showed no evidence of brain damage. Ergo, she concludes, demons had caused brain damage that was miraculously reversed.
This is all very problematic for a few reasons. Firstly, because X-rays cannot show brain tissue (at the most, they can reveal skull damage indicating underlying tissue damage). Secondly, Doreen does not explicitly state that she was cured of the schizophrenia and the other unspecified ailments. Thirdly, she presents no evidence of either her ailments or their miraculous disappearance.
How Doreen Irvine’s Testimony Has Been Used
Doreen’s conversion story served both as an inspiration to Christians and as an evangelistic tool to be used on people they hoped to covert. It contained a powerful message of redemption: If even a drug-addicted prostitute who worshiped the Devil can be saved, then no one is beyond the grasp of Jesus. Any and all can be saved, and no sin is unforgivable.
Doreen’s story also served to foster complete reliance on Jesus Christ. “You can’t change yourself, ” she told her audiences. “Only Jesus can change you.” (2)
Doreen’s testimony was soon used for another purpose; to counteract the effects of the burgeoning New Age movement, and the various “alternative” religions that had become popular in the ’60s.
Its hegemony seriously threatened for the first time by other religions, the Christian church in America and the UK (particularly the fundamentalist denominations) launched an anti-occult crusade. Preachers warned of the spiritual hazards posed by Halloween, rock music, Ouija boards, and occult bookstores. Doreen’s story was cited extensively by the late Dr. Kurt Koch in his book Occult ABC (which I reviewed here), and by Russ Parker in his book Battling the Occult.
Doreen’s book, and the testimonies that followed, provided tangible evidence of a spiritual battle between the forces of God and the forces of evil. They helped mobilize Christians for spiritual warfare, created cohesion among believers by identifying a common enemy, and upped morale. After all, conversions like Doreen Irvine’s can make the enemy appear like a worthy opponent destined to be vanquished.
Doreen’s testimony is still being used in this way today. One Baptist blogger recently wrote, “One has only to read the testimonies of Dr Rebecca Brown and Doreen Irvine and of most missionaries to realize that there are dark forces assailed [sic] against us.”
In the late ’80s, Irvine actively joined in the anti-occult crusade in the UK spearheaded by the late Geoffrey Dickens MP, Maureen Davies of Reachout Trust, Dianne Core of Childfind, the Reverend Kevin Logan, and others. Dickens called for all forms of witchcraft to be outlawed in England, while Core and Davies disseminated alarmist misinformation about Satanic ritual abuse and Satanic crime. Rev. Logan performed mass exorcisms on “ritually abused” children and counseled adults who claimed to be former Satanists. Doreen also counseled former Satanists, joined the Investigation Committee of the Evangelical Alliance, and became a representative for the UK Campus Crusade for Christ. She and Maureen Davies appeared in Caryl Matrisciana‘s documentary Devil Worship: The Rise of Satanism. (3)
By this time, Satanism wasn’t just a threat to strippers anymore. Dickens, Core and cohorts insisted that children were being Satanically abused from infancy by parents, daycare providers, and pornographers. Every atrocity imaginable was being committed by these fiends: Incest, torture, ritual human sacrifice, bestiality, child sex slavery and prostitution.
There was no forensic evidence of these goings-on, so testimony like Irvine’s became indispensable as the only “evidence” that a well-organized criminal Satanic underground was operating in the UK.
Doreen’s influence on a younger generation of women soon become evident, and the results were grim.
In 1987, a deeply troubled 20-year-old woman named Caroline Marchant received counselling at the Zion Christian Temple at Yate, near Bristol. One of her counselors was Doreen Irvine.
Caroline claimed that at the age of 13, she had been sexually initiated into a Satanic cult in Norfolk by her boyfriends’ parents. She gave birth to a child that year, but the birth was unregistered and the baby taken from her and shipped to America by the Satanists. She also underwent at least one abortion. The teenage father of her first baby was ritually murdered in her presence by his own father, a leading member of the cult. The cult also sacrificed newborns on a regular basis.
Over the next 8 years Caroline became a high priestess of Satan, worked as a prostitute, and abused drugs. The Satanists ritually abused her throughout this time, raping her and carving symbols into the inside of her vagina.
In 1985 she joined a Baptist church, and gave her testimony to the congregation. She didn’t mention Satanism or abuse, but did say she had been raped while living in Norfolk.
During ’86 she spent several periods at residential healing centres operated by evangelical Christians, and began to speak of Satanism. For the rest of her life, she sought refuge in the homes of evangelical Christians who seemed sympathetic to her troubles. One Christian couple was harsh with her, however. Believing that she was not telling them the full story of her Satanic past, they ordered her to either confess all her sins to Maureen Davies of Reachout Trust or she would be cast out of their house like Cain, to wander as a fugitive for the remainder of her days. So Caroline contacted Davies and told her whole story.
Maureen Davies introduced Caroline to Kevin Logan. Logan took her into his home. Logan had turned St. John’s Vicarage near Blackburn, Lancashire, into a halfway house for ex-satanists and witches.
On the morning of February 16, 1990, Logan found Caroline unconscious in her room. She had taken a fatal dose of the anti-depressants she had been prescribed. She died 19 days later.
Davies and Logan told the press that Satanists had pursued Caroline after her defection from the cult. Increasingly fearful of being killed for her betrayal, she took her own life. That was the bullshit story given to London’s Sunday Mirror, which on March 25, 1990, published an account of Caroline’s life under the headline “I SACRIFICED MY BABIES TO SATAN – From sex orgy to death at the hands of the Devil’s disciples.” The article didn’t mention that Caroline had taken her fatal overdose while in the care of Kevin Logan.
The real story of Caroline’s life emerged, bit by bit. Caroline’s divorced father, Les Marchant, was a self-employed builder in Hayes, Middlesex. He placed his two children in foster care because he found it difficult to raise them on his own.
Shortly before Caroline’s 13th birthday in 1979, foster parents Gordon and May Porter moved to a horse farm in Norfolk. For the next four years, Caroline and younger brother lan lived at Border House Stables in Fordham with several other foster children and the Porters’ own daughters. Caroline rode horses and took dancing lessons. She had medical check-ups every six months and was closely supervised. The Porters, her friends, and her foster siblings agreed that she could not possibly have been pregnant during this time.
After high school, Caroline earned her certificate as a trainee instructor in horse management, then worked as a nanny before becoming dependent on her fellow Christians for housing and support. When she killed herself, she left behind bizarre and contradictory accounts of her supposed Satanic past.
The solicitor hired for her by Maureen Davies, Ronald Marshall, believed Caroline possessed valuable inside information about snuff movies, child sacrifice, Satanic financing, arms deals involving the IRA and the Baader-Meinhof gang, and shady political dealings. There is no evidence that Caroline Marchant had any knowledge of such things. In fact, everything she said and wrote about Satanism seemed to come from Christian sources.
Her incomplete autobiography plagiarized passages from Irvine’s From Witchcraft to Christ. Describing her first encounter with her devil-worshiping boyfriend she wrote, “He explained the difference between being good and what good really was. Evil was right… It sounded crazy to me but I was soon brainwashed into that way of thought.” Compare this to a passage in From Witchcraft to Christ, which reads “I was taught that evil… is not wrong, but right and good. It sounded stupid to me, but I started to believe it… It was a kind of brainwashing.” Caroline’s initiation into her boyfriend’s cult was nearly identical to Doreen’s: “When the time came I stepped forward up to the altar, an incision was made on my arm and some of the blood caught up in the cup with the cockerel’s blood.”
A second post-mortem exam conducted on Caroline by Leeds-based pathologist Dr Michael Green could not determine if Caroline had ever given birth. There was no conclusive evidence of sexual abuse. The genital mutilations were not evident at all.
Caroline Marchant was not the only “ex-Satanist” taken under the wing of the UK anti-occult crusaders during this time. Former devil-worshiper and born again evangelical Audrey Harper became a member of the Reachout Trust, lecturing widely on the dangers posed by Satanists in the UK. She claimed she had been lured into a posh Satanic coven in the late ’60s, when she was a homeless, drug-addicted prostitute.
In 1988 she gave her story to the Sunday Sport. She described how she been initiated into Satanism at a ceremony in which the throat of a rooster was slit and its blood smeared on her body. Two years later, when her memoir Dance with the Devil was published, the sacrificed rooster had become a sacrificed baby. Times had changed. (3)
1. Audio of her appearance on 100 Huntley Street can be found here.
2. In addition to the recording above, there is a video presentation on YouTube, c. 1986.
Satanic ritual abuse and “Nephilim hybrids” in Oklahoma
On the August 16th-17th broadcast of Coast to Coast AM, guest L.A. Marzulli was nattering on about endtime prophecy, natural disasters, and a Great Deception involving aliens or the Illuminati or something. I wasn’t really listening. Then he said this: According to two researchers who contacted him recently, at least two American women claiming to be victims of Satanic ritual abuse (SRA) have reported that the Satanists took them to Mount Hermon to be impregnated by fallen angels, which Marzulli referred to as the Nephilim of Genesis 6:4 (I’m not even sure if the Nephilim are supposed to be the same “sons of God” that mated with human women, or giants unrelated to the angels, or the offspring of angels and women, but that’s a different post). The researchers who alerted Marzulli to this story had no vested interest in the matter, he insisted.
Marzulli then hinted that the hybrid offspring of these women have some connection to the alien breeding program, and that the Nephilim are keeping them at an offworld location.
“Will they bring them back at some point?” host George Noory asked.
“Yes, they will,” Marzulli replied without hesitation.
So I Googled “Nephilim ritual abuse” and found a recent online radio interview with Pastor Doug Riggs, described as a friend of L.A. Marzulli. The subject was “Nephilim Mothers”.
The name Doug Riggs was very familiar to me, but I couldn’t recall precisely why. I rifled through some notes. Sure enough, I had jotted down a bit of info on the guy. A month or two ago I had stumbled upon a documentary from 1994, In Satan’s Name, which originally aired on HBO. Riggs and his Morningstar Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, were featured in the film’s most memorable and disturbing segment.
In 1994, no fewer than 14 members of Morningstar Church believed they had been brought up in Satanism, were horrifically abused as children, and had Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD). All of this was based on repressed memories they recovered while in “counseling” with Pastor Riggs, during sessions lasting up to 19 hours in length. Please keep in mind that we’re not talking about Okie bumpkins, here. These were reasonably intelligent, middle-class people who seriously should have known better.
To be fair, Morningstar didn’t look like a cult. Riggs was a poised, handsome man with graying hair and a mellow voice. He spoke knowledgeably about psychology. It’s no wonder that parishioners turned to him for pastoral counseling unrelated to Satanism or abuse (marital trouble, eating disorders, etc.).
From 1985 on, these counselees began recovering memories of horrific, lifelong ritual abuse at the hands of Satanists. Namely their own parents. And after 1991, when Riggs learned about MPD (now known as Dissociative Identity Disorder), they began to discover they had hundreds, even thousands, of separate personalities because of the Satanic ritual abuse. Riggs told them that every single one of their alters could be possessed by demons.
Counseling was conducted in a large room with a mattress on the floor, so counselees could go through abreactions without hurting themselves. Riggs would lay on top of the person when abreactions became intense, while helpers held the person’s arms and legs. In this way, counseling and deliverance from demonic possession were merged into a single process. In one filmed session with a 30ish man, Riggs ordered a demon out of his body (“Explode the seals!”) while the man writhed and convulsed on the mattress, growling obscenities.
Ultimately, Riggs concluded that all these people had been victimized by the same Satanic cult, led by a man named Joe (father of one of the parishioners, Pam), and that God had brought the victims together at Morningstar to be healed. Joe supposedly conducted powerful rituals for high government officials (including leaders of the Soviet Union), the Vatican, even heads of state. The narrator of In Satan’s Name explains that in reality, Joe was a Nebraska salesman who had never left his home state. He died during filming.
Needless to say, the allegations tore apart families. A graceful, soft-spoken couple in their 60s, Jim and Fran Field, mourned the loss of their daughter Cynthia to what they considered a destructive, all-consuming cult.
This was as far as In Satan’s Name took the story, but I soon learned that the situation at Morningstar was even stranger.
A testimony written in 1999 by 49-year-old Morningstar member Kim Campbell starts out as boilerplate SRA stuff. Campbell explains that Satanism, “as old as mankind itself”, is a blend of Sumero–Akkadian/Babylonian mystery religions, Kabbala, and Paganism. “The culture is unbelievably and ingeniously evil; virutally everything about the culture is humanly damaging.” Kim was subjected not only to “every abuse, trauma, and demonization imaginable within satanism”, but to “medically-based mind control programming” at U.S. government facilities, clinics, and the Tavistock Institute (a favourite bugaboo in the world of conspiracy theory). Half of his waking preschool life was spent “being indoctrinated and incested“. This realization came to him after 18 months of therapy with Pastor Riggs.
It isn’t until page 7 of the testimony that shit gets seriously weird. Kim drops this bombshell: His real father was Edouard Philippe de Rothschild, and Kim was the “bastard son…of occult incest”, indicating his mom Lula (who died in 1977) had some relation to the Rothschilds. Kim spent much of his childhood and adolescence on his dad’s French estate, and was brought up in homosexual incest. He thought it was normal, even admirable.
Edouard despised God and loved humanity with equal passion. “Such was the true generational core of my ancestral iniquity and, being a Rothschild descendant, it was maximally demonized.” As all Satanists do, Edouard introduced his son to Christianity, “with none other than Herr Josef Mengele himself coaching him over his shoulder.” Kim was being groomed to infiltrate the Protestant church. As Riggs declared, the members of Morningstar Church “had come together to live in such a way as to hasten the Lord’s coming for His Bride, but we also had been constituted in the occult to frustrate the will of God for the Church and bring the antichrist instead.”
Wow. Just wow. Somehow, Doug Riggs convinced most of his 30-40 parishioners that they were multiple personalities programmed in Zedekiah’s cave by the great families of Europe (plus Nazi doctors) to infiltrate the Christian Church and pave the way for the Antichrist, who will be a member of the Hapsburg family associated with the name “Alexander”.
Instead, they found a saviour. Un–fracking-believable, no?
Let’s go back to L.A. Marzulli for a moment. He also mentioned that Dr. Mengele was one of the originators of mind control. This is a very popular notion in conspiracy circles, but it makes little sense. Mengele was a geneticist, not a psychiatrist, and there’s no evidence that he took even the slightest interest in psychology.
Marzulli also made reference to the work of I.E.D. Thomas, a Welsh minister who believes that UFOs and alien abductions are demonic manifestations, another guise of the Nephilim.
Back to Riggs and the Morningstar Satanists. Last April, Riggs and his wife were guests on The Byte Show, accompanied by about half a dozen of Riggs’ SRA victims, to discuss the infiltration of Nephilim hybrids into society.
Riggs began the show with a reading of Matthew 24:37, in which it is stated that the coming of the Son of Man (Christ) will be just like the days of Noah. And what happened in the days of Noah? Nephilim mated with the daughters of Man. That’s exactly what Riggs contends is happening now. Fallen angels – the “B’nai Elohim” – are interbreeding with human women, by force. He cited the work of I.E.D. Thomas. Hmm. Call me an asshole, but I’m starting to wonder if Marzulli’s “two researchers” actually exist. Isn’t it more likely that he got his eschatological Illuminati-Satanic-Nephilim info from his buddy Doug?
Two women gave their stories of being “Nephilim mothers”.
Sally, a surprisingly chirpy woman, says that after joining Riggs’ church, she began to journal and pray, and memories started surfacing. She shared her journal with the pastor, but after a time she felt God compelling her to share things directly, even her most frightening memory (the President wearing a gorilla costume). Through prayer and God’s guidance, she learned to trust her emerging memories. She learned that she came from a royal bloodline, stamped with a certain iniquity and allied with Nazi doctors. Many years ago she revealed to Riggs that she had once given birth to a Nephilim child. She had been groomed literally from the womb to bond with the principality (spirit) that sired this child.
Riggs sat on the Nephilim hybrid revelation until this year. Now he’s an expert on the subject. Riggs explains that Nephilim conception occurs at age 13, through an arcane genetic-engineering process (angels can’t reproduce). Gestation is 4 months. Once the Nephilim hybrid sons have matured, their mothers are encouraged to become their lovers, carrying on the tradition of “incesting“.
The second woman, Juliana, learned just this year that her recovered memories of giving birth to human sons were actually screen memories of bearing Nephilim sons. Like all the other Morningstar members, she was born to a European “royal family”, then placed with relatives in the U.S. She was “incested” by the couple she called her mom and dad. She trusts her recovered memories because of their emotional intensity, a very poor indicator of whether a memory is true or false.
For the rest of the program, Riggs made a strenuous effort to show that the SRA victims’ memories didn’t come from him. Hilariously, though, he got them to explain how he doesn’t tell them what to say by telling them what to say.
There is, of course, ample reason to suspect that the Satanic Illuminati stories did come from Riggs. First of all, there’s that peculiar use of “incest” as a verb. While this may be common usage in the survivor community, I have come across it only a handful of times – and every single instance involved Riggs or one of his church members. Secondly, recovered memories of SRA have turned out time and time again to be unreliable (see the Ingram case for a particularly chilling example). Thirdly, some of the key details are whack. There was no Edouard Philippe de Rothschild, and if there had been he would have been Jewish. How, I wonder, would a Jewish Frenchman and a Catholic Nazi groom a child to infiltrate American Protestant churches? If the Satanic New World Order plot is closely linked with Hitler’s plan to create Aryan supermen, as Riggs contends, why would a former Nazi help a Jewish man raise his illegitimate children? And Satanism notwithstanding, why would a Nazi and a Jew be hanging out together in the first place?
Then there’s the fact that this has all happened before.
In the early ’90s, right around the time Riggs was learning about MPD/DID, psychiatrist Bennett Braun opened a DID treatment unit at Chicago’s Rush Presbyterian Hospital. Within a year, he and his colleagues had most of the patients convinced they were lifelong victims of Satanic cults, that their alter personalities still practiced Satanism, that they had ritually sacrificed and/or eaten other people, and that because of their Satanic affiliations they posed a mortal danger to their families, themselves, and other patients. Braun even told them that flowers sent to their rooms were coded mind-control messages from Satanists, with certain colours representing threats and commands.
As former patients like Pat Burgus and Mary Shanley later revealed (see the Frontline documentary The Search for Satan), the people in Braun’s DID unit were so heavily medicated that stories of cannibalism and Satanic incest began to make sense to them. They have since renounced all their “recovered memories”, and some filed lawsuits against Braun and the other doctors involved in their treatment.
What happened at Rush Presbyterian isn’t much different from the spectacular displays of female hysteria that gripped Paris’s Salpetriere Hospital in the late 19th century. Under the influence of Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot, numerous women underwent bizarre convulsions and contortions not unlike the symptoms of “demonic possession”. When Charcot died in 1893, the symptoms abated, leading some of his colleagues to suspect that the hysteria had been iatrogenic in nature. Medical historian Edward Shorter supports this conclusion in his book A History of Psychiatry (1997, John Wiley & Sons).
Though Dissociative Identity Disorder is classified as a dissociative disorder in the DSM-IV, Multiple Personality Disorder was considered a form of hysteria. Specifically, it was Grande Hysterie – the very same condition suffered by Charcot’s patients.
It’s tremendously disturbing to me that Riggs has been carrying on this “counseling” for over 30 years without interruption, and that he is bringing a new generation of “victims” into his circle (his youngest, a Canadian named Sarah, is just 21 years old).
There’s troubling evidence that the Nephilim hybrid/recovered memory nonsense has taken hold in at least one congregation in Australia. Riggs is also closely associated with Russ Dizdar, a pastor we’ll examine in the next post.
Also, Riggs’ belief system is rooted in a school of thought that sees all mental illness as demonic in nature, and/or indicative of repressed memories. He insists that before they enter into counseling with him, his parishioners read the work of Neil T. Anderson, a minister who preaches that 80% of Christians are “demonized” to some extent and that most (if not all) mental illness is a symptom of demonization. He offers “clinical deliverance” (exorcism) as treatment.
I know that at this moment, many Americans are deeply upset over Scott Brown’s election to the Massachusetts Senate. A Republican in that swing state will almost definitely spell the end of the new health care plan that could – if properly administered – transform U.S. health care from the “privilege” it is today to the basic human right it should be. This is tragic.
However, Pollyanna that I am, I’m going to point out a couple of things about the Democratic contender, Martha Coakley, that aren’t so great:
2. Coakley has a very mixed track record when it comes to common sense, and her handling of the Amirault case is as good (er, bad) an example as any.
Let me take you back to 1985. Almost exactly 25 years ago, Violet Amirault and her two children, 31-year-old Gerald and 28-year-old Cheryl, were charged with abusing and molesting children in the daycare run by Violet in Malden, Massachusetts.
Violet Amirault opened Fells Acre Daycare as a single parent and had been running it since the mid-1960s without any complaints. In fact, it was considered one of the best daycares in the community, and there was always a waiting list.
Then, in the autumn of 1984, the family of a 4-year-old who attended the daycare considered the boy’s sex play with his cousin to be a troubling sign. They questioned him about bad touching by adults. He said that Gerald Amirault (known as “Tooky“) had removed his pants one day. This was true; Gerald helped the boy change his clothes after he wet himself on one occasion.
Somehow, this incident mushroomed into a vast array of bizarre accusations. On September 12, 1984, more than a hundred parents attended a meeting to discuss the issue with police. Gerald had just been arrested, two days before the birth of his third child, and police were interviewing all of the daycare’s 70 or so children with the help of a pediatric nurse named Susan J. Kelly. Parents were encouraged to question their kids at home, as well. Soon, they were eliciting stories of secret rooms, clowns, sodomy with a butcher knife, a murdered baby, biting robots, witch and “bad lobster” costumes, and something about an elephant. One child said, “Tooky was sorry for chopping me into little pieces.” Another said that 16 fellow preschoolers had died.
Jurors at Gerald’s trial didn’t hear about clowns and monsters, but they did hear about secret rooms where child pornography was produced. These rooms were never located. At Violet and Cheryl’s trial, the allegations were more outlandish: a child lashed nude to a tree on a busy street, robots, butcher knives, etc. The prosecutors made an unusual decision to face the child witnesses directly toward the jury rather than the defendants, ostensibly for the children’s peace of mind.
There was no physical evidence in the case. The prosecution rested solely on interviews of the children. Video recordings of these sessions reveal that if the kids denied being abused, Kelly prodded until they disclosed something – anything. Officer John Rivers referred to the process as “getting blood from a stone”.
No one had ever heard screams of terror coming from the daycare, nor seen any naked children tied to trees. No Malden toddlers had mentioned Satan at the dinner table until after Gerald Amirault was arrested.
Nonetheless, Gerald Amirault was convicted of raping and abusing 9 children, and was sentenced to 30-40 years in prison. His mother and sister each received sentences of 8-20 years for raping and abusing four children. The women’s lighter sentences were clear indicators that the prosecution and jury considered Gerald to be the head of the family’s Satanic Robot Clown cult.
Violet’s and Cheryl’s convictions were overturned in 1995, when a judge ruled that they had been denied their Constitutional right to face their accusers in court. Then the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court reinstated the overturned convictions, and the Honorable Isaac Borenstein granted motions for separate trials. However, he ultimately ruled that “grave errors” in the original questioning of the children had irrevocably tainting their testimony, rendering it inadmissible as evidence. He believed the case bore the earmarks of ritual abuse hysteria, noting that none of the kids showed signs of abuse prior to the arrests of the Amiraults.
In 1997, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that Violet and Cheryl would be reincarcerated until their new trials. Violet passed away during this time, having spent close to a decade of her golden years in prison.
Here’s where Ms. Coakley enters the picture. In October 1999, as the Middlesex district attorney, Coakley struck a deal with Cheryl Amirault: In exchange for being released, Cheryl would receive 10 years probation – as long as she gave no TV interviews and had no unsupervised contact with children.
For Coakley, this deal wasn’t about getting some leniency for a woman almost universally considered an innocent victim of “Satanic panic”. No, for her it was about keeping Gerald Amirault in prison. Early in negotations, she demanded that the long-serving Amirault family attorney, James Sultan, pledge to drop Gerald as a client in return for Cheryl’s release. Sultan refused.
In July 2001, the parole board unanimously recommended that Gerald’s sentence be commuted. The final decision would be up to Governor Jane Swift.
Coakley, acting as advocate for the victims and their families, began lobbying Swift on their behalf.
While it’s commendable for Coakley to offer assistance to victims of child abuse, this particular case wasn’t a good place to start. Either she isn’t well-acquainted with the facts of the case, or she’s harebrained enough to believe that a Satanic Robot Clown cult operated a Hell Hostel for toddlersin plain view of a small town’s residents for nearly 20 years.
There is a third, even less appetizing possibility: That Martha Coakley politically exploited the Amirault case to make herself appear very tough on crimes against children. Again, being a victims’ advocate is commendable – but this wasn’t the right place to start. The Fells Acre case is full of victims: the Amiraults, the parents who believe their children were horrifically abused in a safe place, and the children who were persuaded of the same thing by suggestive questioning. Some of them bear psychic scars to this day. Victim Phaedra Hopkins and her family spoke out against the proposed commutation of Amirault’s sentence, as did Jennifer Bennett. She says she and the other kids were telling the truth; the Amirault family ruined her life. Brian Martinello and his mom, Barbara Standke, also spoke out. Brian had scratches or sores on his genitalia when he went to Fells Acres at age 4. He and his mother remain convinced that this was the result of sexual abuse.
Governor Swift rejected the parole board’s recommendation in 2002. Gerald Amirault spent another year and a half in prison before being released on parole, a registered sex offender and convicted child abuser for the rest of his life.
Thanks, Ms. Coakley.
Notes on Sources:
Most of the information in this article comes from John Demo’s excellent book The Enemy Within: 2,000 Years of Witch-hunting in the Modern World (Viking, 2008), Dorothy Rabinowitz’s January 14, 2009 Wall Street Journal piece (“Martha Coakley’s Convictions“), and news articles on the Fells Acre case compiled online by Hugo S. Cunningham. All online materials were retrieved January 20, 2010.
To date, a definitive account of the case has yet to be written.
Jeremiah Films has released a documentary entitled PopCulture Paganism, taking a right-handed swipe at the teen vampire trend, which they call “Neovampirism”. The filmmakers try to lump it in with Paganism as well as New Agey stuff like The Secret. The PopPaganism page features a glut of links to crimes and outrages that have pretty much nothing to do with the topics of the documentary. This film is apparently unconnected to the 13 other anti-Pagan films J.F. has made.
As you probably know, Jeremiah Films is the low-budget Christian Right/conspiranoia production company that churned out The Clinton Chronicles in the ’90s. Despite plugs on The 700 Club, the video ended up losing money after J.F. CEO Pat Matrisciana lost a defamation lawsuit. Since then, J.F. has stuck mainly to safer targets: Harry Potter, Mormons, and of course Freemasons.
The other film is a low-budget horror flick about a Satanic cult that ritually sacrifices random folks, aptly titled Satanic Panic. This wouldn’t be a big deal on its own, but unfortunately the movie is being promoted as “inspired by true accounts”, just like The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Haunting in Connecticut, and The Fourth Kind (which was really just a hoax). The film’s official website explains that the real Satanic Panic of the ’80s was sparked by a “rash” of unexplained disappearances throughout the U.S. This is not true. Disappearances played a very minor role in the hysteria to come, and at any rate the disappearance rate was not elevated in any noticeable way at that time. People were simply paying more attention to disappearances after the high-profile cases of Etan Patz, Adam Walsh, and other children.
Besides that, it strikes me as rather inappropriate to base a schlocky slasher film (complete with an ugly hillbilly) on the testimony of unbalanced people who, for the most part, really believed they had been tortured by Satanists as children. Real Satanic Panic ruined many lives, families, and minds. It’s not entertaining.