HATRED & MISINFORMATION
DIRECTED AGAINST SATANISTS
Religion has probably the least exact language of any field of human study.
Many common religious terms have multiple and often contradictory meanings. For
example, the single term "Satanism" has at least eight
meanings: Two refer to actual, but very different,
Satanic religious belief systems; the remainder are unrelated groups:
|16th Century Satanists: "Satanism" is sometimes used as
a modern name for a Christian fable introduced during the late Middle Ages.
The Church taught that some "Witches," mostly
women, worshiped Satan. They gave an oath to submit their lives to him; they
kidnapped and killed babies; they devoted their life to harming others
through the use of curses and black magic; they flew through the air
on broomsticks; they changed shapes from human to animal and back. This type of
"Satanist" who allegedly engaged in Satanic
Ritual Abuse (SRA) did not exist then and does not exist today. However,
a "Satanic Panic" was triggered in 1980 and continues
in a much diminished form today, largely among a minority of feminists
and conservative Christians. Their beliefs about evil Satanists has
largely evaporated because of the complete lack of hard evidence that
abusive Satanists exist, or that these crimes actually happened. There
has been considerable "soft" evidence about SRA. It was in the form of
recovered memories of childhood abuse. These were eventually shown to
be false memories of non-existent events, created during recovered
memory therapy and other dangerous therapeutic techniques. 1
|Religious Satanists: Some of these are adults who worship a pre-Christian deity,
(e.g. "Set" from the ancient
Egyptian pantheon of deities). Others are Atheists or
who do not view Satan as a living entity; they see him as as a symbol of
power, vitality and pleasure. To our knowledge, there has been only
one conviction since the 17th century Salem Witch hunts of Satanic perpetrators of
a serious crime. This involved the sentencing of three teenagers for multiple
murders and a mutilation of children in Robin
Hood Hills, West Memphis, AR. However, recent bite mark evidence on the skin
of one of the victims has
indicated that the alleged perpetrators were almost certainly not responsible for the crimes.
Also, they knew little about Satanism when they were interrogated. One
was a Wiccan and is now a Buddhist. The other two were and are
|Satanic dabblers: These are typically rebellious teenagers who have
created their own form of black magic. It is composed of rituals taken from
benign sources: religious Satanism, Wicca, other Neopagan religions,
ceremonial magic, etc. These are the individuals who are
typically responsible for the Satanic graffiti that is occasionally seen on the sides of
buildings. Some dabblers might sacrifice a cat or small dog; but this
is quite rare.|
|Sometimes, the term "Satanist" will
be used as in articles or sermons of religious hatred as a
general-purpose "snarl" word. |
|Satanism may be used to refer to a
follower of a small minority religion such as Wicca,
|Sometimes it will refer to the follower of a major world religion
such as Buddhism, Hinduism,
|Occasionally a mass murderer will claim to have been under the
influence of Satan when they committed their crimes.
Investigations generally reveal that the perpetrators knew little
or nothing about Satanism, but were simply using the "Satan
made me do it" defense.|
|Occasionally an abusive pedophile will pretend to engage in
Satanic rituals in order to better control his child victims. But
these molesters are not actually Satanists; they are merely
abusers who find Satanic trappings useful.|
Quite often, a writer will mix and match all four types of "Satanists"
in a single article, without differentiating among them.
Satanism and the Police:
A series of Satanic Panics swept North America in the 1980s and 1990s.
Satanists were accused of kidnapping, killing, and even eating infants and
children. Estimates of 50,000 ritual murders per year were common. Many in law enforcement
were initially convinced that a secret, underground, multi-generational,
international cult of Satanists were perpetrating horrendous crime on an enormous
scale; they were literally getting away with mass murder. Some police
officers became alarmed. They devoted enormous effort in an unsuccessful
effort to track down those believed to be
responsible. They were unsuccessful because the crimes never happened. Satanic ritual abuse "experts" began giving seminars to social
workers, law enforcement personnel, and others. In the early 1980's, Kenneth V.
Lanning of the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit in Quantico, VA started to
follow the escalating reports of Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA). He became
convinced that SRA was non-existent (or almost so), largely because of the
lack of hard evidence that any crimes had actually occurred. A second indicator was that a
conspiracy of the magnitude necessary to support large scale SRA could not
remain secret for long. He documented his conclusions in a report in 1992 titled "Investigator's Guide to Allegations of 'Ritual'
Child Abuse. By the middle of the 1990s, most of law enforcement had become
skeptical of the existence of SRA. Only a few -- commonly called
"cult cops" -- remain as true SRA believers today.
Anti-Satanic hate literature:
Typical hate literature directed at Satanists is characterized by a
number of beliefs:
|Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) exists as a massive conspiracy.|
|Community leaders are often involved in SRA. These include city government,
lawyers, physicians, judges, police, etc. They are sufficiently
powerful able to cover up evidence of serious crimes.|
|Criminal Satanists exist as a multi-generational, underground
movement, controlled by a secret international organization.|
|Criminal Satanists, religious Satanists, teen-age dabblers in
Satanism, psychotic killers, etc. are all different aspects of the same movement.|
|(Sometimes) other religious groups are perceived as being forms of
Satanism. Wicca and Santeria
are most often targeted in this way.|
Some of these beliefs are seen in the article which is analyzed below.
Analysis of the article "Satanism and Crime:"
This article was published in POLICE magazine. 2 The
author is Sgt. Craig Meissner, a member of the New York City Police
Department. Some points raised in the article are listed below, with a
brief description of reality:
|Satanic crimes are a major challenge to law enforcement.
|Some teenage dabblers engage in crimes that are minor in nature,
and almost invariable involve minor acts of vandalism. But other
"Satanic crimes" (i.e. criminal activities motivated by a belief in
the Satanic religion) appear to be non-existent.|
|Some religious Satanists have undoubtedly engaged in criminal
activity, just as Christians, Jews and Muslims have. But it is
unreasonable to call any crime by a Satanist by the title "Satanic
crime" just as it is unreasonable to call all crimes by Christians as
|The total number of Satanic cults is unknown.
|By far the largest religious Satanic tradition is the
Satan. They do not release their membership numbers.|
|The term "cult" is not a useful term with which to
describe any religious group. It has essentially lost its original meaning, and
is now generally used as a general purpose snarl word used to denigrate
most common meaning in the media is of a destructive, doomsday religious group
that has led to loss of life among its members. None of these factors are found in
|The most common criminal acts by Satanists are: desecration of cemeteries,
vandalism of churches, mutilation of animals, arson, ritual abuse,
assault, murder, and use of illegal drugs.
|Here, the author has linked religious Satanists with the minor
trespassing and vandalism of teenage Satanic dabblers. The latter do
occasionally desecrate and vandalize cemeteries and perhaps even churches.
Very rarely, they have been known to mutilate and kill small animals. However, most animal
mutilations in which Satanist perpetrators are suspected, are
found to have been killed by non-human predators.
Very rare instances of arson, ritual abuse, assault and murder
have been done by people who claim to be Satanists. However,
further investigations have shown that their prime
motivation was their own mental illness, not their religion.|
|"Although intelligent, creative and possessing a highly
developed sense of curiosity, they usually experience a high degree of
stress, anxiety and fear."
|Some studies have indicated that although many teenage dabblers enter
Satanism with feelings of stress, etc., the religion helps them
overcome these problems.|
|Satanists may suffer from underachievement, poor social skills, low self
|Many if not most teenage dabblers n Satanism form social groups,
often called temples or grottos, with other like minded youth.
Again, some studies indicate that their involvement in Satanism
improves their self esteem and social skills.|
|"Satanism fills a void in their lives."
|This is commonly found in all religions. Youth are attracted to a religion
because it gives them answers, allows them to fellowship with other believers,
and (sometimes) gives them a deity to worship. This is true of Satanists,
Christians and members other faiths.|
|Satanism promotes destructive behavior, and promotes teen rebellion.
|Like other religions, Satanism may have positive or negative
effect on a teen's life. It has motivated some teens to engage in
acts of minor vandalism; it has motivated others to lead very ethical
|Satanists deny the existence of the Christian God.
|All the great religions of the world, other than Christianity,
deny the existence of the Christian Trinity. Satanism is no exception.|
|A few Satanists believe that "violence and service to Satan"
will bring them money and power.
|Here, the author has suddenly switched from discussing teenage
dabblers to talking about Christian legends about nonexistent
16th century Satanists. We
have been unable to find instances of ritual
abuse, or murder that were associated with religious Satanism.|
|Some Satanists are obsessed with fantasy
role-playing games (RPG) and heavy-metal rock music.
|The author appears to have switched back to teenage Satanic
dabblers again. Studies of RPG players indicate that they are
above average in intelligence and creativity. We have not seen any
studies which indicate a higher than normal involvement with RPGs
among Satanic dabblers. Enjoyment of heavy-metal rock music is near
universal among youth.|
|Possession of ritual tools, such as candles, robes, and knives may
indicate Satanic involvement.
|Candles, robes, an athame (double-edged ritual knife with a black
handle) are far more likely to indicate involvement in Wicca
than Satanism. Wiccans are far more numerous than are religious
Satanists, outnumbering them by perhaps 30 to one. |
|The author has suddenly switched from Satanism to the Occult. He
incorrectly assumes that all occult
activities are Satanic. The "Occult" is simply a collection of
religions, pastimes, men's fraternal organizations etc. which do
not publicize their belief systems. Rather, they reveal their secrets only
gradually to their trainees. They have little or nothing in common
with each other. The Masonic order,
Wicca, Satanism, and astrology are four examples of occult activities.
Other parts of the occult are tea-cup reading,
palm reading, Tarot cards, casting runes, etc. There is no linkage between occult activities and criminal
actions. "Occult crime" does not exist any more than
"Christian crime" or "Buddhist crime" or
"stamp collecting crime."|
|Occult related crimes tend to occur on occult holidays.
|The author lists the believer's birthday and 8 Wiccan Sabbats as
Satanic holidays. He substituting Halloween for the Wiccan New
Year celebration of Samhain.|
|Walpurgisnacht, is one of the three main Satanic holidays. However,
the author appears unaware of this.|
|The remaining many dozens of activities that form the
occult do not have any holidays associated with them (with the
possible exception of the Masonic order; we do not know if they
observe seasonal days of celebration).|
|Here, the author may be equating Wicca, (a reconstructed Pagan
religion that is based in part on ancient Celtic beliefs,
practices and symbols) with Satanism. This is incorrect. They are
two very different, and essentially unrelated religions.|
|Suicides and homicides are often timed to occur on a Satanic holiday
|Suicides have been committed by Satanists, just as they have by
Christians and Buddhists. But investigations reveal that the cause
of suicide is intense depression and emotional distress, not religion. We have never been
able to detect evidence of a homicide motivated by religious
|Satanists hang crucifixes on the walls where they perform rituals.
They use drop cloths to collect blood.
|The crucifix is a Christian symbol and is not used by religious
Satanists. The main Satanic symbol is a Baphomet - an inverted 5 pointed star inscribed with the head of a
|Christian authors who write anti-Satanic hate literature often
believe the fables from the Renaissance period that Satanist
rituals are parodies of Christian practices. With the exception of a few "black
masses" conducted for their publicity value, Satanic rituals are totally
unrelated to Christian rituals.|
|A very small percentage of Satanic dabblers do sacrifice a small
animal, but this is very rare. A drop cloth would probably be useful in
|The most important symbol for cult members is a 5, 9 or 13 ft.
diameter circle drawn with "paint, flour, chalk or blood."
|The word "cult" is a general-purpose snarl word used
to discredit religious groups. We advocate that it never be used,
except to refer to the very rare doomsday, destructive cults.|
|A 5 ft. diameter circle would be almost useless, except for
rituals by a solitary practitioner.|
|A 9 ft. diameter circle is very common among Wiccans. The author
may be confusing Wiccans and Satanists here.|
|The use of the number 13 may be related to the Renaissance myth that Satan worshipers
organized covens of 13 individual. The story was that they ridiculed
Christianity by having the same number of peoples in their groups as did Jesus and his 12
|Satanic ritual abuse includes carving symbols into the flesh of a
victim, smearing a victim's blood over the perpetrators' bodies,
dismemberment and removal of organs, forced ingestion of body fluids,
ritual sacrifice, etc.
|To our knowledge, some gang members have carved symbols into the
flesh of their victims. Some murderers have dismembered bodies to
Some psychotic individuals have removed organs from bodies, etc.
But no religious Satanist has ever been charged or convicted of
such a crime. The prosecution believed that the three
teenagers charged in the Robin Hood Murders cited above were
Satanists who engaged in mutilation and murder. However, recent
evidence shows that they are innocent. As mentioned above, none were
Satanists; one identified himself as a Wiccan; the other are
|The investigator should look for pieces of paper or parchment on
which pacts with the devil were written.
|This fable formed part of the teachings of the Christian church
during the Renaissance. It does not
form part of religious
|Disturbed earth may indicate where victims were buried.
|To our knowledge, no victim of ritual abuse, motivated by
religious Satanism, has ever been found -- buried or not.|
|Investigators should look for a Book of Shadows at a Satanic
|A Book of Shadows is a tradition of Wicca and other
|"...crimes associated with Satanic cults are
committed by violent
and unbalanced individuals."
|There is an element of truth in this statement. Although Satanic-motivated
crime committed by religious Satanists does not exist, some
terrible crimes (including mass murder) have been done by psychotic
individuals. Belief that they were controlled by Satan is often
one element of their psychosis.|
- We define Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) as referring to non-consensual
physical, mental, emotional or spiritual attacks on individuals, primarily
motivated by a desire to appease the perpetrator's deity, Satan. SRA thus
does not include the crimes of mass murderers who, when caught, claim that
they were influenced by Satan. Investigations show that they were motivated
primarily by mental illness, and that they had little or no knowledge or
association with Satanism.
- Craig Meissner, "Satanism and Crime: Look at the whole picture,"
POLICE magazine, 1999-DEC, Vol. 23, # 12, Pages 48 & 49.
- POLICE magazine is published by Bobit Publication Business & Editorial Office
Torrance, CA. Their E-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Their web site is at: http://www.policemag.com
Copyright © 2000 to 2005 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2000-JAN-12
Latest update: 2005-NOV-20
Author: B.A. Robinson