Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Ripper Rapists

Demons & Satanism

Two main reasons for young people to become involved in the occult are: (1) because they can't find acceptance anywhere in their lives and then stumble onto a Satanic cell where they are welcomed; and (2) to gain the supernatural power promised by those already involved. Assuming that du Toit was indeed involved in Satanism, he would've been after the power. Kruger was probably after both.

But young people usually don't find their way to Satanism on their own; typically they are drafted by other Satanists and prepared for some time, during which they are systematically drawn deeper and deeper into the world of devil worship. John and Helen Gardiner describe it as a slow and deliberate process, approached intelligently and quite psychologically. A highly successful technique, apparently frequently employed in South Africa, is for students at school to approach their peers, first telling them about easy sex, drugs and supernatural powers, then giving them glimpses of this dark world, and finally sucking them in completely. The ostracized and lonely make easy targets.

Of course there are schoolchildren who are only superficially involved. They wear black and adorn themselves with Satanic symbols, but they do not belong to an organized Satanic gathering. There are a number of these organized Satanic churches in South Africa, such as the Order of Darkness and the Brotherhood of the Ram, which operate underground and contain some prominent members of society. Doctors, police officers, business executives, teachers, even elders in the Christian churches are thought to be members. They specifically target younger children, both because they are easy and because they are more likely to remain members.

Apart from worshiping the devil and performing magical rituals, the more organized Satanists are also believed to engage in ritual abuse and sexual molestation.

John Gardiner, with his wife Helen, began investigating Satanism in South Africa after he became aware of its existence in 1988 as editor of the magazine Personality. They spoke with numerous people who had been or still were involved in Satanism, and that is where the information contained in their book derives from. Although they found it difficult to believe at first, many of the stories were confirmed from other sources, and very similar stories came from diverse areas of the country. From the outset, the Gardiners state that their book is written from a Christian perspective.

Count Grishnackh
Count Grishnackh

But what do the Satanists have to say? On the one hand, there are those who openly profess and advocate the dark and ritualistic nature of Satanism. In 1993 Gavin Baddeley interviewed two members of a Norwegian black metal rock group, later included in an article in The X Factor. Baddeley asked the one member, called Count Grishnackh, what was happening in Norway. He replied that "over a period of six months there have been eight churches ruined by fire. And, of course, the normal grave desecrations. Also, some people have disappeared." When asked what might have happened to these people, Grishnackh said, "Something along the lines of a Satanic murder." When Baddeley asked the other one, who called himself Euronymous, what he thought about these occurrences, he replied: "I support it 100 per cent. I think all kinds of actions which are necessary for spreading sorrow are great. Many people say, for example, that desecrating churchyards is just stupid because you don't harm the Christians. But I think it's great because it can depress so many people ... It spreads sorrow and I think that's very important." Grishnackh went on to stab Euronymous 25 times in the head and torso later that year, killing him.

Anton Szandor LaVey
Anton Szandor LaVey

Gavin Baddeley is himself a Satanist and a priest in the Church of Satan, founded by Anton Szandor LaVey in 1966 in San Francisco. An avid researcher, writer, and well-educated, Baddeley is quite adept at trying to dispel the evil connotation of Satanism with rational argument. He claims that Satanism, as practiced by the Church of Satan, does not entail the worshiping of Satan as an entity, but rather the pursuit of pleasure and want, without the restraints of guilt and sin. He denounces claims of ritual abuse and ritualistic sacrifice as Christian propaganda, and attributes those isolated instances which may be true to perpetrators with no "understanding of basic Satanic philosophy or connection to established Satanic groups," according to another article in The X Factor. If Satanism is then actually merely the pursuit of pleasure, why all the evil symbolism? Why does the cover of LaVey's book The Satanic Bible have an upside-down pentagram with the Satanic goat Baphomet inside it? The Satanic Bible contains extensive information on demons, rituals and magic, including the correct wording to be used. There is also a prayer to Satan — strange if he's not actually worshiped as an entity. There is a frequently published photo of LaVey conducting a Satanic wedding, dressed in black, with a black hood sporting two horns, with a backdrop of a pentagram with Baphomet on the wall and a naked woman draped across an altar. If the sole aim is the unfettered pursuit of pleasure, why have any connection with Satan at all? Why not just go for "The Church of Hedonism"?

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