Wednesday Weirdness Roundup: Slow News Week

As the U.S. seethes with racial tension, protestors swarm the streets of Hong Kong, and missiles gut Syria, a few intrepid journos have somehow managed to ferret out the real stories…

  • Say, does anyone remember the absurdly disappointing mystery of those invisible flying creatures known as “rods“? No? Well, let Oklahoma City’s News 9 take you back to ’97 with their hard-hitting report on bad photography.
rods

Fascinating.

Fry Screaming

IKR?

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Wednesday Weirdness Roundup: Ghost Sex, Celebrity Hauntings, and a Convenient Demon

This week, I’m going to labor the point that today’s celebrities just can’t seem to come up with anything original – even in the supernatural realm.

  • In 2011, Lady Gaga reportedly believed she was being followed around by the ghost of a dude named Ryan. A few months later, she told Harper’s Bazaar that the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen wrote her song “Born This Way” from beyond the grave (he had committed suicide the previous year). She might be the first celeb to have a ghost stalker, but she’s certainly not the first person to channel music from the dead. In the ’70s, an English senior by the name of Rosemary Brown released “new” works by major composers, including Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven. Weirdly, all of them spoke English.

 

  • Demi Lovato claims she has been followed around by the spirit of a little girl named Emily for most of her life. She told Ellen Degeneres she grew up in a “ridiculously haunted” house in Texas. Emily and her co-haunters like to screw around with electronics a little bit and make balloons float in the wrong direction. (Lovato also believes there might be mermaid aliens in the Indian Ocean, based mostly on an “extremely convincing documentary” she saw.)
    Even Ellen was unimpressed by the balloon story. And I’m unimpressed with the whole shebang, because it pales in comparison to the mother of all celebrity hauntings: Elke Sommer’s spooky-ass Beverly Hills house. In the mid- ’60s, Sommer and her husband, Joe Hyams, were hounded by poltergeist noises, ghostly dinner parties, and the spectre of a slovenly middle-aged man.
    While Lovato could produce nothing more than the unimpressive ghost photo you see below, Hyams became a less annoying version of the guy in Paranormal Activity, setting up microphones and even hiring a P.I. to monitor his house while he was away.

lovatoghost

 

  • Lee Ryan, a former member of some band I’ve never heard of,  says he grew up in Kent. But I think he grew up in the wilderness or something, because he didn’t recognize the ghost that visited him (via a psychic medium) when he was in his twenties. The spirit told him to work on his lower range and avoid drugs.
    Turns out it was Janis Joplin. Ryan took her advice about singing and abusing drugs, but may have forgotten to avoid abusing people.
    Michael Jackson did not grow up in the wilderness – though that might have been better for him – and immediately recognized Liberace when the ghost of the fabulous pianist began appearing to him with helpful career pointers. Jackson lined a secret room with mirrors so he could have a special place to commune with “Lee”. Then things got weird.
  • Ke$ha told Jimmy Kimmel that her hypnotherapist found a “ghost in her vagina” by waving a “ghost meter” over her body. She didn’t seem terribly concerned about this, and the whole thing may have been a publicity stunt. It’s not as disturbing as the fact that her mom dresses as a giant penis for her concerts.
    But then there’s B-movie actress Natasha Blasick. “I felt something entered the room. I couldn’t see anybody. Suddenly I could feel that somebody touching me,” she told the British TV show This Morning earlier this year. “Their hands were pushing me against my will and then I could feel the weight of their body on top of me but I couldn’t see anybody.” This sounded like a classic Old Hag encounter, until Blasick went on to say that when the experience occurred a second time she “decided to relax and it was really pleasurable, I really enjoyed it…You don’t see anybody but it’s very pleasant and it made me feel warm and fuzzy…It gave me comfort and support and love, and it did answer questions for me that there is something else out there.”
    Though the media had a field day with these crazy kids and their ghost sex, it’s all been done before. In the late 19th century, the much-persecuted sexual reformer Ida Craddock penned a series of works about her marriage to an angel/spirit she called Soph. For having the audacity to write about women and sex, Craddock was hounded to her death by Anthony Comstock.
    A few decades later, Englishwoman Dorothy Eady began receiving visitations from the spirit of Pharaoh Seti I, with whom she had been lovers in a previous lifetime. The two became lovers again, but Eady committed herself to a chaste life after becoming the unofficial guardian of the temple of Seti I in the ’50s. She took the name Omm Sety, meaning “mother of Seti”.
  • Now we move on to the dark side. Bob Cranmer is a former county commissioner in Pennsylvania. In 2003, he was charged with assaulting his 18-year-old son, punching him in the nose with such force that he was barely conscious by the time Cranmer’s 14-year-old son summoned the police. According to Cranmer’s younger son and wife, father and son had gotten into a quarrel over the bathroom. The charges were ultimately dropped.
    A decade later, Cranmer has a perfectly legitimate excuse for punching his son in the face: A haunted house. In his soon-to-be-released book The Demon of Brownsville Road, he explains that his Victorian home was possessed by a malevolent force that destroyed religious items, made a “blood-like” substance ooze from the walls, and wreaked emotional havoc on the entire family. He claims that his sons had to undergo psychological treatment to recover from the events of 2003-2006, and he has hinted that the demon infestation played a role in the family violence that erupted. What’s particularly odd about this demon is that the Cranmers had already been living in the house for 15 years when it became an “evil, evil entity” (to quote Cranmer).
    Sadly, this spirit-blaming business isn’t a new thing, either. When tomato farmer Maurice Theriault was charged with molesting his stepdaughter, professional ghostbusters Ed and Lorraine Warren tried to pin the blame on an incubus (even after Theriault admitted to his crime). Perhaps keep that in mind if you watch the latest blockbuster inspired by the Warrens’ legacy.

 

Satanic Panic in the News: Ouija Board Possession

On June 23, Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, the Daily Mail, several paranormal websites, and other media outlets reported on this video of a “possessed” Mexican woman. The girl seen in the clip, Alexandra Huerta, alternates between growling and laughing while restrained on a hospital stretcher.

These initial reports stated that Alexandra, 22, had begun to convulse and speak in tongues after using a Ouija board with her 23-year-old brother and a teenage cousin in the village of San Juan Tlacotenco in southwest Mexico. The Blaze article is headlined, “Terrifying Video Allegedly Shows Effects of Young Woman’s Use of a Ouija Board”, and the Daily Mail article stresses that many Christians perceive Ouija boards as dangerous occult instruments.
All three were taken to hospital to be treated for symptoms that included double vision and blindness, hallucinations, numbness, difficulty swallowing, muscle spasms, and deafness. The girl’s parents had sought an exorcism, but were reportedly refused one by local clergy on the grounds that the family didn’t attend church.

Two days later, the real story emerged: The two young men and Alexandra (who is 16, not 22) had ingested Brugmansia on the advice of Alexandra’s guardian, 48-year-old Maria Camaño.
Brugmansia, also known as Angel’s Trumpet, is an extremely potent (and poisonous) hallucinogenic plant that produces states of delirium in which a person can’t distinguish reality from fantasy and acts out in bizarre, sometimes violent, ways – “temporary insanity” is a term commonly used in relation to it. Effects can include fever, paralysis, convulsions, elevated heart rate (tachycardia), migraines, frightening visual and auditory hallucinations, vomiting, cycloplegia, photosensitivity, confusion, memory loss, and death.

datura drzewko-resized

Brugmansia in bloom. Psychoactive ingredients: the tropane alkaloids atropine, hyoscyamine and scopolamine.

Camaño reportedly told the young people that Brugmansia would help them contact the spirit world and perhaps receive messages from Alexandra’s deceased parents. After the girl began to convulse and “speak in tongues”, however, Camaño began to believe her body had been taken over by a spirit. She called the paramedics only after the youths’ conditions didn’t respond to prayer and the priest refused to perform an exorcism.

ouija

Typical Ouija board. Psychoactive ingredients: None.

All of the symptoms experienced by the three young people in Mexico can be attributed to Brugmansia ingestion. There is no need to blame the spirit world, the Devil, or a piece of wood with letters on it.

Wednesday Weirdness Roundup: The Bogus Christian Memoir Hall of Shame

go-back-and-try-again-before-you-make-me-cry

Literary fraud is an important topic at Swallowing the Camel. Whether it’s middle-aged women pretending to be teen boys afflicted with HIV/AIDS (here and here), or James Cameron’s BFF letting himself be snowjobbed by a lying WWII vet, or fake Holocaust memoirists, no one gets a free pass when it comes to literary misdeeds. So why should Christians be any different? This week’s Weirdness Roundup covers some of the most egregious frauds involving inspirational Christian nonfiction, starting with the most recent case:

  • A year after diligent readers expressed their concerns, UK Christian publishing house Authentic Media has withdrawn a popular preacher’s autobiography from the market. Tony Anthony’s Taming the Tiger (2004) told the awesome story of how Jesus transformed him from an angry young criminal to the person he is today (I’ll let you decide if that was an improvement or not).
    Taming the Tiger describes how 4-year-old Tony learned Kung Fu from his grandfather. As the book’s cover reminds us, he ultimately became a “3 times Kung Fu World Champion”. His professional debut was in 1984. The following year, he went to work as a bodyguard for international VIPs, including the Saudi ambassador to the UK, Italy, and Cyprus. In 1988 or ’89, his world fell apart when his girlfriend of three years, Aiya, was killed in a car accident. He turned his back on everything good in his life and become an enforcer for his boss, threatening and beating and even killing people who posed the slightest danger to the ambassador. He then became a burglar to raise money for an expensive medical procedure his father needed, and started getting into confrontations with police in Cyprus, where he was then living. He landed himself in jail in Christmas 1989, and it was there that an Irish missionary introduced him to Jesus Christ.
    Upon release in 1992, Anthony returned to the UK and settled down to have a family. He considered himself a good Christian, but after he was arrested for killing a woman in a hit and run (and lying to police about it) in 2001, he realized he still needed a lot of work. His second awakening as a Christian spurred him to write the memoir, which has sold more than a million copies in 25 languages. Its success gave him the opportunity to preach all over the world, and he established an Essex-based international evangelism organization called Avanti Ministries.
    The whole thing imploded when skeptical readers decided to look into Anthony’s actual background. One of the first things they discovered was that he was born in 1971…meaning he would have been just 13 years old when he became a Kung Fu grand master, and 14 when he was supposedly protecting an ambassador. He would still have been a teenager when he ended up in Nicosia prison. Also, the Saudi ambassador to the UK from 1980-1992, Nasser Almanqour, was never sent to Italy or Cyprus.
    It wasn’t just readers who were skeptical. One director of Avanti Ministries, Mike Hancock, resigned because Anthony seemed reluctant to verify the stories in his book. Hancock joined forces with another former Avanti director and a few concerned Christian ministers to investigate Anthony’s claims. Last year, they submitted a summary of their findings to the board of Avanti, the UK’s Evangelical Alliance, and Authentic Media, resulting in Authentic’s decision to pull the book.
    Tony Anthony has issued a statement saying he “wholeheartedly” defends everything he wrote in Taming the Tiger, with the exception of some details that he claims he wasn’t aware of at the time he wrote it. He admits that some names, places, etc., were altered to protect the privacy of certain people. He also claims he recently tried to publish an updated autobiography, but was blocked from doing so by unnamed persons “intent on discrediting” his ministry. Hilariously, he seems astonished that anyone would be interested in the historical veracity of his work (which is categorized as a nonfiction martial arts book in libraries and bookstores).
    Anthony’s statement includes the announcement that Avanti Ministries will no longer be in charge of its outreach programs.
  • The story of “Lauren Stratford” is by far the weirdest, most convoluted bogus Christian memoir tale of the past several decades. In 1988, her book Satan’s Underground was published by one of the top Christian publishers in America, Harvest House. In it, Stratford described a nightmarish existence as an abused child prostitute, handed over to child pornographers and pedophile rapists by her own mother (a schoolteacher). As a teen, she became a virtual sex slave to a Satan-worshiping porno kingpin known only as “Victor”. Victor’s cult engaged in everything from infanticide to cannibalism, and Lauren was forced to participate in their hellish rites. She was the first former Satanist to claim status as a “breeder”, a woman forced to bear children for ritual sacrifice, and I doubt it’s a coincidence that within months of the release of Satan’s Underground, breeders were popping out of the woodwork to appear on Geraldo and Sally Jesse Raphael. Stratford herself was invited to appear on Oprah and Geraldo as a victim of Satanic ritual abuse. Her book became very popular with recovered memory advocates and Christian therapists, and other ritual abuse survivors credited Stratford’s book with helping them retrieve their own “repressed memories”.
    Then, in 1991, the Christian magazine Cornerstone investigated Stratford’s background. The reporters couldn’t find a shred of evidence that Laurel Wilson had ever been abused by Satanists or anyone else, but they did uncover evidence indicating that Wilson/Stratford suffered a factitious disorder.
    Toward the end of her life, Stratford re-emerged as a Holocaust survivor named “Laura Grabowski”. She said she had been one of Josef Mengele’s victims, and even had a touching reunion with a fellow child survivor of Auschwitz, Binjamin Wilkomirski. The problem was, Wilkomirski had never been in Auschwitz, either.
    You can read more about the peculiar Wilson/Stratford/Grabowski saga in Part IX of my series The Prodigal Witch.
  • In 1986, Christian pamphleteer Jack Chick published a bizarre book titled He Came to Set the Captives Free, by one “Rebecca Brown, M.D.” It told the story of a crusading Christian doctor (Brown herself) who was engaged in a life-or-death struggle against evil forces in Indiana. Satanists were dogging her every step because she had rescued a young woman named Elaine from their clutches. Elaine had been brainwashed by the Satanists from childhood, and as an adult was forced to literally marry Satan in his human form.
    Having divorced Satan and her second husband too, Elaine helped Dr. Brown foil Satanic assassins and rescue other cult victims. The duo claimed to have saved about 1000 witches from dangerous covens in the first half of the ’80s alone. Brown published a second book about her battles with darkness, Prepare for War, in 1987. That same year, she and Elaine appeared on one of Geraldo Rivera’s shows about Satanism.
    In 1989, writers G. Richard Risher, Paul R. Blizard, and M. Kurt Goedelman delved into the backgrounds of Rebecca Brown and Elaine for the Personal Freedom Outreach Newsletter. What they found was deeply disturbing. Brown was really Ruth Bailey, and she had been stripped of her medical license five years earlier, after colleagues discovered she had been giving massive (potentially fatal) doses of prescription painkillers to one of her patients, Edna Moses. Edna Moses was “Elaine”. The two women had been living together in a filthy house for years, telling neighbours they were sisters. Bailey was known for her violent, unstable, paranoid behaviour. Edna/Elaine died in 2005.
    Bailey/Brown left Edna in 1989 to marry an ex-con who claimed he was tortured by Swiss rabbis as a boy, and the couple now runs a small ministry called Harvest Warriors.
    Though many Christians recognize Brown’s books for what they are (pure batshit insanity), they remain in print and continue to captivate the more gullible members of the Christian community.  In 2010, a sixth-grade science teacher in Brooklyn was mildly reprimanded for distributing and selling copies of They Came to Set the Captives Free to some of his students.
    The full story of Ruth Bailey and Edna Moses can be read in Part VIII of my Prodigal Witch series.
  • In the early ’70s, a roly-poly young Californian named Mike Warnke took the evangelical world by storm. He was loved for his Christian stand-up comedy (yes, that’s a thing, I guess), but it was his truly sinister background that drew the most attention to him. As he detailed in his 1973 memoir The Satan Seller, Warnke had dropped out of college to lead one branch of a nationwide Satanic cult that practiced blasphemous rites, lured teenagers into their ranks with the promise of sex and drugs, and occasionally raped and dismembered innocents in the name of the Devil. You know, typical frat stuff.
    Just like Tony Anthony, Warnke founded a successful ministry on the strength of his testimony. It wasn’t until 1992, nearly 20 years after The Satan Seller was printed, that a group of Christians published an exhaustive refutation of Warnke’s claims in a Cornerstone magazine article. As writers Jon Trott and Mike Hertenstein revealed, Warnke hadn’t been a Devil-worshiping drug addict in college; he had already become a Christian by that time, and spent most of his time doing ridiculously wholesome things that other square kids did in the late ’60s: Bowling, going out for ice cream, double-dating with his devoutly Catholic girlfriend, etc.
    Confronted with his make-believe past, Warnke weakly explained that his Satanic following may have been a bit smaller than he originally stated (around a dozen people, rather than 1500). He would not back down from anything else in his book. A few years ago, though, he admitted to Jim Bakker that he had felt compelled to present a dramatic conversion testimony to impress the evangelical community, and made a joke about “evangelasticity”.
    You can read more about Warnke in
    Part II of the Prodigal Witch series.
  • The same year The Satan Seller was published, Doreen Irvine’s autobiography From Witchcraft to Christ was released in the UK. A prim-looking older lady, Irvine claimed to have been a teen prostitute who was inducted into Satanism in London around 1950. Over the next 12 years, she developed the abilities to levitate several feet off the ground, read minds, render herself invisible, manifest apports, and kill birds in midflight just by looking at them. She was crowned Queen of the Black Witches of Europe. Then she walked into a church on a whim and was instantly converted to Christianity. After a grueling exorcism removed 47 demons from her body, she traveled to churches all over the world, sharing her story of redemption.
    No one has ever extensively refuted the claims in From Witchcraft to Christ, probably because they are too absurd to take seriously in the first place. But the book, and Doreen’s preaching, had a profound and lasting impact that has left at least one young woman dead. You can read more about her influence in Part I of The Prodigal Witch.

There are a number of other Christian memoirs that definitely set off my BS alarm, but the claims made in these books are so unverifiable that there is really no way to refute them. These include:

  • A Divine Revelation of Hell (1997) and A Divine Revelation of Heaven (1998) by Mary K. Baxter. Baxter, a Pentacostal preacher from Michigan, claims she was given walking tours of both Heaven and Hell by Jesus himself, so that she could bear witness to their physical reality. She says Hell is located near the planet’s core, is shaped like a human body, and contains many homosexuals. In Heaven, angels collect the tears of everyone on Earth and store them away in jars.
  • Blood Secrets by Isaiah Oke, as told to Joe Wright (1989). Oke is a Nigerian Christian who claims he was once a ju-ju shaman, and that he witnessed a brutal human sacrifice carried out by his mentor. The person who commissioned this sacrifice is described as a powerful colonel, and it’s quite obvious that Oke wants us to think he was Idi Amin.
    Oke became a Christian while studying accounting at college. As he and Wright tell it, a young American co-ed had annoyed him one day, but Oke was unable to “hex” her even after numerous attempts. Finally, he asked her why she was resistant to his magical powers, and she told him she was a Christian. He promptly converted, and continues to talk smack about Nigerian spirituality to the present day.

The Prodigal Witch Part XVIII: Today’s Former Satanists

The tradition continues….

Jeff Harshbarger

Jeff Harshbarger is a South Carolina minister who claims he was a teenage victim of Satanic deception and demonic possession. In 2005 he published an autobiography about his years as a Satanist, From Darkness to Light: How to Rescue Someone You Love From the Occult.
His Refuge Ministries educates others about Wicca, Satanism and the occult, with the goal of persuading them to abandon those practices in favour of Christ. His new book featuring the testimonies of other “exes”, Dancing with the Devil, is due to come out next year.
Refuge is a member of the Evangelical Ministries to New Religions, and has some connections to Reachout Trust U.K., the organization that promoted the false Satanism stories of Audrey Harper and Derry Mainwaring Knight and drummed up Satanic panic throughout the UK in the late ’80s (Reachout member Doug Harris was one of Harshbarger’s teachers at Bible college).

Jeff Harshbarger with wife Liz

On The 700 Club, Harshbarger explained that an evil presence was first drawn to him when he was a child, after he and his brother played with a Ouija board their parents had given to them. Experimenting with the board on his own, he felt increasingly closer to this presence. This harks back not only to The Exorcist, but to the dire warnings about Dungeons & Dragons and Ouija boards issued by John Todd, Doreen Irvine, and other “former Satanists” of the ’70s and ’80s. After all those lizardpeople from Mars and Illuminati blood rituals, I have to admit it’s kinda refreshing to return to that quainter time when Satan used mass-produced boardgames to capture kids’ souls.

If you screw around with this particular board, you’ll end up possessed and depressed.

As Jeff entered his teens, the evil presence gave him psychic powers and the ability to travel outside his body.
In a promotional video for Refuge Ministries (below), Harshbarger gives only the vaguest details about how he actually became a Satanist. In 1978, when Jeff was 17, “another guy” (elsewhere described as an 18-year-old assistant manager at the store where Jeff worked part-time) invited Jeff to his apartment and told him all about the wonders of Devil worship. Awed by this charismatic older teen, Jeff was eager to sign on. The two boys prayed to Satan for Jeff to be possessed by demons, and voila! Insta-possession! The demons gave him a rush of power, but over time they sapped his strength and betrayed him. He could hear them speaking to him and through him, and over time he was able to see them, too.

At college, Jeff and the Other Guy formed a teen coven, recruiting half a dozen boys to take part in “elaborate rituals” with them. All of these kids subsequently became possessed by demons. Pangs of conscious and a growing conviction that Satanism was wrong almost led Jeff to commit suicide in 1981. When he actually attempted to shoot himself, however, he couldn’t pull the trigger. His attempt to hang himself also failed (on his website, he mentions that he offered himself up to his fellow Satanists as a human sacrifice, an offer they evidently refused). Instead, God spoke to him audibly. Jeff fell to his knees and accepted Christ. He had been a Satanist for just four years.
It was surprisingly easy for him to get rid of the demons. “Black witch” Doreen Irvine had to undergo seven months of grueling exorcism, but all Harshbarger had to do was go to a church and ask a member to pray over him. As soon as the woman commanded the demons to leave, they did. Poof! Insta-exorcism!

Harshbarger gives a typically flat, stereotypical portrayal of how Satanists think and behave. They all want power more than anything. They don’t care about anyone but themselves. What he doesn’t seem to realize is that this describes a good percentage of teenagers who don’t worship the Devil.
He was, admittedly, a self-styled Satanist. He and his mentor didn’t belong to any organized group, assembled their rituals in willy-nilly fashion, and took part in juvenile stunts like Bible desecration (though Irvine, Mike Warnke and others insisted – falsely – that this is something practiced by authentic Satanists).

The Refuge Ministries promo page for Dancing with the Devil actually contains a blurb from “former Satanist” David Berkowitz. Son of Sam has long insisted that his crimes were committed at the behest of a violent Satanic cult, and he now claims to be a Christian (though his correspondence with another serial killer would indicate this, too, is a ruse designed to attract attention and sympathy). Sadly, many gullible folks have bought into this.

Harshbarger takes a Bible-based approach to the occult, and doesn’t seem to employ any of the fire-&-brimestone hyperbole or absurdly tall tales we’ve seen from Bill Schnoebelen and Mike Warnke. Nor does he have a criminal record or a history of deception, like John Todd and Derry Mainwaring Knight. He doesn’t claim to have been the leader of thousands of devil worshipers, or part of a worldwide Illuminati conspiracy, or a third-generation warlock. In fact, he comes across as a pretty low-key guy who probably did dabble in some form of Satanism in his younger days. But his story matches nearly every point of the familiar outline laid down by the original, bogus ex-Satanist testimonies (Doreen Irvine, Mike Warnke).

– A deprived childhood (his father was a violent alcoholic, his parents divorced)
– An absence of time markers (in Harshbarger’s case, there are virtually no details at all. We know only that he practiced Satanism from 1978 to 1981)
– Lack of detail about the beliefs of Satanists (Harshbarger mentions only a craving for power and wealth), but extraneous detail about the practices of Satanists (invoking demons, communicating with spirits).
– 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.
– Supernatural abilities and events (Harshbarger communicated with demons via Ouija board, manifested ESP, astrally projected, and was later possessed by demons)
– A remarkable conversion experience (after God intervened in his suicide attempt, he embraced Christ and demons were expelled from his body with minimal effort)
– 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.  Harshbarger dumps Eastern religion and New Age beliefs into the same pot as Satanism.

Perhaps the number one reason why Harshbarger’s story isn’t believable is that it exists in at least two different versions. On The 700 Club and in the promotional video below, he describes his initiation into Satanism as a demonic possession. But in a written version of his testimony available online, he claims he started out with LaVeyan Satanism – which has nothing to do with literal demons, nor even a literal Satan – then worked his way up to demonology. So which is it?


Refuge Ministries promotional video

Betty Brennan

Betty Brennan is a Brooklyn-born New Yorker who claims she was a Devil worshiper for most of her adult life. She is the only practicing Catholic in this series. That’s quite ironic, given that many of the other “former Satanists” included Catholics in their lists of Satanic baddies. Bill Schnoebelen stated that all Satanic high priests are required to become Catholic priests.  Leo Zagami declared that each and every Catholic works as a spy for the Vatican, which is at the head of the Satanic Illuminati.

Brennan’s message is so meticulously tailored to suit fellow Catholics that I doubt it would be of much interest to the evangelical Christians that ordinarily flock to these conversion stories. She has even told her audiences that Satanists are anti-Catholic (she herself was a “real persecutor of the Church”), and are imbued with Satanic powers that allow them to pick out consecrated communion wafers from unconsecrated ones.
Chosen faith aside, Brennan’s tale fits perfectly into the the ex-Satanist testimony template. Let’s take a look:

A Dickensian childhood. Betty’s father died when she was a child. Unable to cope with her grief and raise a family at the same time, her mother shipped Betty and her brother to overseas Catholic boarding schools, where they lived isolated and unhappy lives.
An early introduction to Jesus that would pave the way for salvation later in life. Betty’s mother was a devout Catholic, and raised her children to follow in her footsteps. They went to church, received religious instruction, and attended only Catholic schools.
An absence of time markers. In her speeches, Betty always mentions how long she has been out of Satanism. But she provides no other dates at all. We don’t even know when she was born.

After graduating from boarding school, Betty returned to the States and married. One of her children was born with a terminal brain disease that resulted in a slow, agonizing death just two years later. Her daughter’s death devastated Betty and caused her to become furious with God.
Betty was a professional cellist. Shortly after her daughter died, she joined an orchestra that contained four or five Satanic priests. One of them, an older psychologist, befriended her. They had long, heartfelt chats over coffee, and she became emotionally dependent on the man.
One night, Betty insisted on accompanying her friend to a “party” held in an old barn. Reluctantly, he took her along with him, but asked her to remain outside. It didn’t take her long to figure out that a Satanic ceremony was being conducted. Instead of running away, she felt compelled to join her friend’s coven. In this respect, her story diverges from the standard testimony, in which a dewy innocent is lured into a cult.

Betty didn’t tell anyone she was a Satanist. She continued to pretend she was a Catholic. We have seen this subterfuge again and again in this series, yet in the world of real Satanism, adherents are proud of who they are and feel no need to hide their lifestyle. They certainly don’t feel obligated to pay lip service to another religion.

Betty is careful to note that although she was deeply immersed in the “upper echelons” of Satanism, she stopped short of human sacrifice, implying that others did engage in it. One wonders if she has reported this to the proper authorities – no one else in this series every bothered to do so. Just like Brennan, they shielded alleged homicidal Satanists by refusing to divulge their names. Betty does not even give the name of the form of Satanism she supposedly practiced.

Lack of detail about the beliefs of Satanists (scripture, philosophy, etc.), but extraneous detail about the practices of Satanists (sacrifice, crime, etc.) This is particularly true in Brennan’s case. She conflates witchcraft with Satanism, and portrays the two belief systems as little more than magic shows for narcissistic, wayward people
Supernatural events and paranormal abilities are common. As mentioned above, the Satanists Betty knew could tell if a host was consecrated or not just by looking at it (sensing the presence of Christ’s flesh, I guess). Betty developed telekinetic powers and ESP. Later, she experienced spontaneous levitation, like Edna Moses supposedly did.
A remarkable conversion experience. Betty was working as a substitute teacher, carpooling with a colleague who happened to be Catholic. When this woman’s car broke down, she asked Betty to drive her to a healing Mass. Betty accompanied her into the church with the sole intent of interrupting the Mass by supernatural means. First she caused the lights to go out, but the priest produced candles. All her other tricks were foiled, as well. Eventually, the priest recognized that something was not quite right about Betty, and  gently confronted her. With very little coaxing, she confessed her Satanism.

Betty returned to Catholicism for real, but her deliverance from evil was a protracted affair. At each Mass she attended, she would invariably awe the other congregants by levitating.
Complete redemption and forgiveness through Christ
Expert advice on the occult. Betty has been very active in warning other Catholics about the dangers of anything non-Catholic, and urging them to gird themselves against occult influence with their faith. One of her talks is titled “The Family Under Attack: The Sacraments as Our Defense“.

Sources:

1. Undated, abridged speech by Betty Brennan @ Gloria.TV (this is from a Lighthouse Catholic Media CD titled “Former Satanist Becomes Catholic“)

The Prodigal Witch XI: Audrey Harper

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When Satanic panic spread to the UK, Audrey Harper become England’s version of Lauren Stratford: A real, live “former Satanic witch” who could help the righteous root out other dangerous devil worshipers.

Insanity in the UK

In the ’80s and ’90s, a woman named Audrey Harper made many appearances on behalf of the Christian organization Reachout Trust, a major proponent of Satanic panic in the UK. She claimed that in the ’60s, she belonged to a murderous Satanic cult in London. Her story was similar in theme to Doreen Irvine’s 1973 book From Witchcraft to Christ, and that may not have been a coincidence; reportedly, Irvine and Harper were both converted to Christianity by the same evangelist, Eric Hutchings. (3)  And both women, as living examples of “what Satanists do”, were integral to the anti-occult crusade spearheaded by the late Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens, Diane Core of Childwatch, and Maureen Davies of Reachout Trust. (1)

Though it has the same basic structure and many common elements, Audrey Harper’s story was much darker than Doreen Irvine’s. While Irvine witnessed nothing more “deviant” than some bird murders and gay orgies in the early ’60s, Audrey was party to child sacrifice and other extreme forms of brutality during the same time. It’s odd that they didn’t cross paths until becoming Christians, as they may have belonged to the same international “black witch” cult.
Their backgrounds were even eerily similar. Though Audrey had a more privileged life than Doreen (she was adopted by a doctor and his wife), hers was a loveless childhood. She fell into drug addiction and prostitution at a young age, and things only went downhill from there. Her boyfriend died, she gave up their baby for adoption, became an alcoholic. Homeless, she fell in with a gang of hippies in Picadilly Circus and became a chronic pill-popper and pot-smoker. (2)

Then everything changed. In 1961 Audrey was invited to a glamorous Chelsea party, because homeless hookers who reek of weed and booze get invited to these things all the time.
After the party, the beautiful people inducted her into a coven that met monthly in the upscale village of Virginia Water (where, ironically, some Harry Potter scenes have been filmed). On Halloween night she signed a parchment pledging herself to Satan (just like Irvine), and drank the blood of a sacrificed rooster (just like Irvine). Then she was sexually initiated on the temple altar by the cult’s head “warlock” (the same term used by Irvine). This is the story she told to the London paper Sunday Sport in one of her first interviews (March 13, 1988). (4)

The “warlock” soon enlisted Audrey to recruit other vulnerable youths for the cult. The kids were gathered in a room scented by “heroin candles” and given hallucinogen-spiked drinks, which invariably led to orgies and the filming of porn. Ritual abuse and infant sacrifices were routine.
The cult also engaged in a range of petty crime, from church desecration to robbery.
Audrey remained with the cult for five years.
Like Irvine, Audrey never gave a name for her cult nor identified any of its members (at least, not publicly). She used the terms “witchcraft” and “Satanism” interchangeably, implying there is no distinction between earth religions and devil-worship. She was vague about her cult’s religious beliefs. She didn’t mention any scripture, like Irvin’s massive Book of Satan, nor any rituals that didn’t involve drugs, sex or murder. But she did describe the supernatural powers she developed, including the ability to levitate and the very handy skill of occult furniture arrangement: “I could bring down the powers of darkness to move furniture about”. (2)
Irvine had developed the same skills during her years as a “black witch”. Sadly, everyone forgot to take pictures.

Drug-addicted and mistreated by cult members, Audrey ended up in and out of mental hospitals, where she gave birth to her second child. She gave up this baby for adoption as well, fearing the head warlock would sacrifice it. (2)
Her addictions, combined with personal intervention by the Devil himself, served to keep Audrey tied to the cult. “Satan could direct me to the coven by remote control,” she later explained. “There was no resistance. I had to go.” Even after leaving the cult, she continued to believe that all her self-harming actions and poor choices had been the direct result of Satanic interference. Every time she injected an overdose of heroin, or walked to a cemetery where babies would be slain and women raped on altars, it was all the Devil’s idea. This near-total abdication of personal responsibility is so common to the testimonies of “former Satanists” that it begins to wear very thin after you’ve heard a few of them. It’s hard to believe that even the most hopelessly drug-addicted, beaten-down person would passively watch gruesome atrocities committed under her nose month after month, year after year, without making any effort to extricate herself from the situation. (2)

Of course, because this is first and foremost a Christian testimony, it was God and His people who provided Audrey with a way out of Satanic slavery; she finally resolved to leave the cult after a stint in a Christian rehab centre in 1966. Her escape was effected without any repercussions, just as Irvine’s departure from the black witches had been. Somehow, though she was not yet born again, her telepathic link with Satan was weakened.

Audrey married, had a third child, and attended church regularly. But she was consumed by guilt and rage until 1986, when she was exorcised by Roy Davies of Emmanuel Pentacostal Church in Stourpart. Freed from the demonic aftereffects of witchcraft, she was finally born again (Doreen Irvine, too, was exorcised after leaving her witch cult).
In 1988, Audrey decided to go public with her story.

How Audrey’s Story Was (Mis)Used

Geoffrey Dickens latched on to Audrey Harper immediately, supporting her and helping her spread the news that, to her knowledge, English Satanists were still sacrificing children. Dickens was one of two Tory MPs (the other being David Wilshire) engaged in anti-occult agitation during the late ’80s. Wilshire actually called for witchcraft laws to be re-instated, and Dickens campaigned for occult literature to be restricted or banned. Complaining that “perverted cults which worship the devil can freely publish guides on how to dabble in the occult,” he opined, “The Home Office must act.” (1) He worked closely with Childwatch, a Hull-based organization that used every opportunity to warn the public about Satanic ritual abuse in England. Its founder, Diane Core, declared that up to 4000 English children were being sacrificed by Satanists annually. She publicly aired bizarre stories from alleged SRA survivors, like the “breeder” who claimed her cult froze sacrificed babies so members could defrost and eat them later.
Wilshire declared in the House of Commons that Satanism is about the ritual mutilation and torture of people, particularly children. (1)

Audrey Harper fit right into this crusade. Along with SRA survivor Cassandra “Sam” Hoyer, she gave numerous interviews and became a darling of the tabloid media. Both women were aided and abetted by Dickens, Wilshire, Core, and Davies of Reachout Trust, all of whom politely ignored the glaring inconsistencies in Ms. Hoyer’s various accounts. (1)

Police looked into the possibility that Harper’s baby-killing cult was still active, but Audrey gave them so little to go on that the investigation was soon dropped. If her story had seemed credible to law enforcement, it’s quite possible that Audrey herself would have been charged in connection with infant murders. This aiding and abetting is a very peculiar feature of ex-Satanist testimony, and it’s one that gets overlooked by many Christians. Few people have pointed out that Mike Warnke (if his story had been true) should have been charged with abduction and rape, that Lauren Stratford could have been prosecuted for allowing her three children to be killed by her associates, or that Irene Park deserved jail time for sexually exploiting her children. It’s bizarre that the people who tried to flush out occult criminals embraced self-described occult criminals when they encountered them, instead of demanding they be prosecuted. These “whistleblowers” were simply re-classified as victims and enlisted in the fight. But being a whistleblower does not necessarily absolve you of participation in awful deeds.
Fortunately, not one of these “whistleblowers” was actually telling the truth.
In spite of a years-long crusade against Satanic crime, no evidence of the mass murder of children by Satanists ever surfaced. The entire campaign was based on anecdotes, recovered memories, and uncorroborated stories from “former Satanists” and “ritual abuse survivors”.

Harper did a significant amount of work for this campaign. Alongside Irvine, she joined the Investigation Committee of the Evangelical Alliance, dedicating to compiling evidence of ritual abuse and other occult-related crime. (3)  She appeared on the talk show After Dark in April ’88, to confront neo-Pagans about their evil ways. (6)  She met with a parent involved in the Nottingham case to discuss ritual abuse. She collected the testimony of other “survivors” of Satanism to share with her audiences, including stories from coven “breeders” (women forced to give birth to babies specifically for ritual sacrifice). No criminal charges resulted from the sharing of these stories, because Harper did not know (or did not reveal) the full names of the alleged victims.  (2)

The UK effort was closely aligned with the one going on in the U.S. For example, Harper, David Wilshire, Doreen Irvine, and Maureen Davies appeared in Caryl Matrisciana’s documentary Devil Worship: The Rise of Satanism. You may recall that Matrisciana was one of the people who encouraged “Lauren Stratford” to write her 1988 memoir of violent Satanism, Satan’s Underground.

Was any part of Audrey Harper’s Story True?

Aside from the magical furniture-arranging and whatnot, there’s nothing in Harper’s story that couldn’t have happened. It is, of course, entirely possible (but not likely) that a kooky band of “witches” and “warlocks” were conducting some weird ceremonies in Virginia Water during the very early ’60s and that Audrey participated in them. But her accounts of Satanic crime don’t stand up to the slightest scrutiny. For one thing, she couldn’t bring forth a single person to corroborate any part of her story. She claimed that her life as a Satanist was so secretive, no one outside the cult was even aware of her involvement.
For another thing, her story changed dramatically during the first two years of her public appearances. Undoubtedly, the changes stemmed from her involvement with a group of activists who were desperately trying to convince the world of the reality of Satanic ritual abuse. Audrey’s original stories, told to tabloid reporters, didn’t contain much of that. By late ’80s standards, her Irvine-inspired material was bland and unhelpful. If she wanted to retain the interest and support of her allies, she had to offer up some “evidence” that would aid their campaign. So that’s exactly what she did.
In 1990, Harper and reporter Harold Pugh published her story of redemption from Satanism, Dance with the Devil: A Young Woman’s Struggle to Escape the Coven’s Curse.Suddenly, the sacrificed rooster used in her initiation ceremony was a sacrificed infant. Geoffrey Dickens, who wrote a foreword for the book, must have noticed the discrepancy. Perhaps, as Reachout would later do, he convinced himself that Audrey had simply been misquoted in the tabloid press. Some inept yellow journalist must have scribbled “cockerel” in his notes when he meant to write “baby”. Happens all the time.

As recently as 2005, Reachout Trust republished Harper’s book and continued to defend its integrity. They claim that two members, Doug Harris and Mike Thomas, have investigated Audrey’s story and concluded she has been truthful. It’s possible that Harper believed her own stories, but it’s the truth, not “honesty”, that is at issue in Satanic horror stories like Audrey’s. A perfectly sincere person can declare that tens of thousands of people are being slaughtered by devil worshipers every year, without having a single fact to support that statement. Doreen Irvine, who comes across as earnest and sincere in her presentations, was diagnosed as having schizophrenia.
It is our responsibility to learn if such statements have any factual basis before even repeating them, much less demanding action from legislators, citizens, and clergy (as Reachout, Childwatch, et al, did in the ’80s and ’90s). Reachout now states it does “not support the myth of SRA [Satanic ritual abuse].” Evidently, its members learned some hard lessons after the hysteria Reachout helped create destroyed lives, careers, and families throughout the UK.
Nonetheless, the organization still offers Dance with the Devil for sale on its website, at a significantly reduced price, along with Jeff Harshbarger’s memoir of Satanism.

Harper herself has apparently moved on.

Notes:

1. For more information on the UK anti-occult crusade, see this timeline . The UK crusade has also been extensively documented by the Sub-Culture Alternatives Freedom Foundation (SAFF)
2. Dance with the Devil by Audrey Harper and Harold Pugh (Publications, 1990)
3.Satan in Suburbia” by Gareth J. Medway. Fortean
Times. Nov. 2001. ,
4. Lure of the Sinister:
The Unnatural History of Satanism (New York University Press, 2001)
5. “Christian Authors” (part 5) by Kerr Kuhulain. Witchvox.com. Retrieved July 29/11.
6. “The Devil Rides In: Charismatic Christians and the Depiction of a Satanic Menace in Contemporary Great Britain” by Philip Jenkins. Religiologiques. Spring 1995.

The Prodigal Witch X: Derry Mainwaring Knight

God’s 007

In the spring of 1983, an unassuming, middle-aged fellow by the lofty name of Derry Mainwaring Knight appeared in Newick, East Sussex, and began attending the local Anglican church, St. Mary’s. He became a regular at Bible studies and prayer meetings. He offered to hand out Christian tracts.
He told the late vicar, John Baker, that he had been born again in jail (he had just been released from Hull Prison after serving time for a rape conviction). His sincerity and eagerness to devote himself to his newfound faith must have touched Reverend Baker deeply, because he did everything in his power to help the ex-con. When Knight said he was homeless, Baker gave him a room in the rectory attic, rent-free. When Knight said he was desperately short of cash, Baker promptly raised over £6000 to put toward the newcomer’s debts.

St. Mary’s Church in Newick

That’s when Knight began to show symptoms of demonic possession, lapsing into strange trances and talking about the Devil.
During one such spell, he revealed to Baker that he was the grandson of a sorceress who groomed him from childhood to be a great Satanic leader. When he was just eight years old, Granny informed Derry he could enter into communion with the Devil himself if special platinum plates were surgically implanted in his skull. The plates were installed, and just as Granny promised, Derry was able to communicate directly with Satan. As an adult, he become a high-ranking member of a secretive but powerful cult.
When he came out of his altered state, Baker repeated all this to Knight and asked him if it was true. Yes, Knight admitted, it was. For years, he had been struggling to break free from a Satanic cabal that operated at the the highest levels of English society.

The son of a pastor, Knight had been raised in Germany. Lucifer manifested in his bedroom one night to claim him when he was nine, he told Baker.

Now, Derry claimed, he wanted to destroy his own devil-worshiping sect from within. He wanted to rid himself of demonic possession. He wanted to pay off his debts to cult members, so they could no longer hold sway over him. He wanted to bring other Satanists out of occult slavery. He wanted to destroy unholy Satanic regalia. To do all that, though, he would need funds. Major funds.
Over the next several months, members of St. Mary’s Church and other area residents donated a staggering sum (over £300,000) to Knight’s anti-Satanic crusade. The county high sheriff gave over £83,000 pounds. The wife of millionaire Tory MP Timothy Sainsbury ponied up nearly £120,000 pounds. Anthony David Brand, Lord Hampden contributed a Rolls-Royce with state-of-the-art communications equipment so that Knight could continue to pose as an affluent Satanist-about-town. The bishop of Lewes wrote a letter on Derry’s behalf, requesting donations for his “necessary work”. In November 1983, Reverend Baker secured a £25,000 loan from a Christian charity and handed it over to Knight.

Lady Susan Sainsbury, one of Knight’s prominent victims

Where did all this money go? Knight claimed to be buying up Satanic paraphernalia such as talismans and robes, expressly to destroy them in dramatic ceremonies. He explained that some of these items were being used to magically influence him, keeping him tied to Satan; the objects would send “signals” to the plates in his head. Oddly, no one suggested he simply get the plates removed.
On one memorable occasion, Knight flung a golden scepter into the Thames. Another time, he and the Reverend Baker carried a silver chalice into the church garden and crushed it.
At the time of his arrest in 1985, Baker was in the process of raising £20,000 so Knight could acquire a “Satanic throne” from a lavish temple in Pall Mall.
The members of St. Mary’s didn’t get to see a lot for their money, but they treasured the satisfaction of knowing they were literally buying a man’s way out hell. Like shareholders, they held regular meetings so they could be briefed on Knight’s progress.

No one in the Newick congregation was aware that Knight had just been sprung from prison after a rape conviction. Nor that he had prior convictions for fraud and robbery. Nor that he was an out-of-work housepainter in spite of his cult’s supposed affluence.
Clearly, he was still in Satan’s grip and needed all the help they could give him. Sometimes he would collapse to the ground in a deep trance, muttering Satanic incantations.

The first person to hear serious alarm bells in his head was the Bishop of Chichester, the late Eric Kemp. The septuagenarian bishop caught wind in the summer of 1985 that congregants in Newick were throwing fat sums of money at a Satanic double agent, and didn’t think it sounded quite right. The double-agent thing was sensible enough, he thought, but the donations seemed excessive.
The alarm bells turned to sirens when Derry himself told Kemp he had been initiated into Satanism by a defrocked Catholic cardinal. As Bishop Kemp knew, no English cardinals had been defrocked in the ’50s.
Kemp believed the Charismatic movement, which was popular among certain Anglicans at that time, rendered Christians vulnerable to this sort of deception. They focused on the ubiquity of evil until they convinced themselves that things like mind-control scepters and telepathic head-plates could really exist. They also convinced themselves that God was speaking directly to them, exhorting them to help scammers like Knight in His name.

A church investigation, conducted by a retired bishop, uncovered Knight’s police record, and Newick authorities were notified. Inspector Terrance Fallon concluded he was dealing with your typical con man – Derry was just luckier than the usual crook, having stumbled onto a community of kind-hearted and extraordinarily gullible people with scads of money. The donations had gone straight into Knight’s own pocketbook, usually manifesting as gifts for “lady friends”, high-end car rentals for himself, and posh parties. On one occasion, he chartered a champagne steamboat cruise along the Thames for one hundred guests. The Anglicans were not invited.

Knight, under Inspector Fallon’s questioning, played the innocent. Sure, he had asked the vicar for some cash to pay down a debt, and chatted with him about black magic and Satanism because Baker was “interested in that sort of thing”. But he never asked for another handout, he insisted. The Anglicans were so keen to squash Satanic evildoing in their area that they plied him with fistfuls of money every time he showed up for a prayer meeting, begging him to do something about the occult menace. (1)

As it turned out, Knight had a colourful history of scamming Christians out of their money. He had been dishonorably discharged from the Coldstream Guards for defrauding a fellow out of thousands of marks.

When the Anglicans of Newick learned about Knight’s real past, and his Larry Flynt present, most of them wisely faced the fact they had been scammed. Many of them testified against Derry at his 1986 trial. So did local jewelers who had been hired by Derry to craft peculiar-looking scepters and medallions out of gold and silver.
Church member Randle Mainwaring (no relation) testified that Knight once proposed sexually blackmailing a local bank manager to raise funds for his anti-Satanism campaign.

But others stubbornly maintained that Derry had been doing God’s work, and should never have been arrested. Michael Warren, who lost £36,000 pounds to this “work”, vociferously defended Derry from the witness stand and warned the court that Satanism was “very much a potent source of evil in this country”. (2)
Reverend Baker, too, remained certain that Knight’s life was imperiled by devil-worshipers. On the witness stand, he refused to name the items he and Derry had destroyed, for fear he and others would be “shot or disposed of in some way” by cult leaders for revealing details of their ritual implements. (2)

Though Knight admitted to Inspector Fallon that he wasn’t a Satanist, just the recipient of something like compulsive philanthropy, his trial defence strategy was to declare himself a member of a cult called “The Sons of Lucifer” and bring out shocking testimony that would blow the lid off Satanic doings at the highest levels of English society. He “outed” two Tory politicians (William Whitelaw, Enoch Powell) and one Labour MP (Leopold Abse) as cult members.
He declared he would have no need to bilk money out of churchgoers, because he was a successful pimp.
Derry Mainwaring Knight was convicted of nineteen counts of obtaining money by deception and sentenced to seven years in prison by Judge Neil Denison. He also received a £75,000 fine.
After his conviction, his own mother claimed he had conned her out of a large sum of cash.

Knight’s Legacy

Reachout Trust, a UK organization dedicated to fighting the occult, listed Derry Mainwaring Knight’s story as evidence that ritual abuse was really occurring in England in the ’80s, and with Reverend Kevin Logan produced a tape titled Set Free in Christ. In the video, a woman identified as Peggy Knight claimed she was Derry’s mother and a born again Christian. She said the cult Derry betrayed still posed a serious threat to the entire family.
Logan also included the Knight story in his 1988 book Paganism and the Occult, though he obscured the names and details. In this book, Logan stated that every city and major town in the UK contains a “small exclusive coven made up mostly of people in the professions.” (3)
Logan was heavily involved in UK Satanic panic; one of his most tragic Satanic ritual abuse misadventures is described in my post on Doreen Irvine. We’ll see Logan and Reachout Trust again in the next part of this series, dealing with “former Satanist” Audrey Harper.

Today, professional conspiranoid David Icke still considers Derry Mainwaring Knight a valuable Satanic whistleblower: “Willie Whitelaw, a chairman of the Conservative Part, was named as a leading Satanist by self-confessed Satanist, Derry Mainwaring Knight, at Maidstone Crown Court in 1986. As usual, nothing was done about it. Mainwaring-Knight lived near East Grinstead, one of the centres of Satanism in England.” (4)

Is it possible that Derry Mainwaring Knight really did practice Satanism with high-level politicians, when he wasn’t scamming churchgoers? No. The fact that he had to manufacture Satanic paraphernalia in order to destroy it indicates he didn’t have access to any real stuff. At one point he claimed to be a member of the Ordo Templi Orientis, an occult organization, but this wasn’t verified. That’s probably why he chose not to mention the OTO at his trial. There is no known Satanic group called Sons of Lucifer, and no grand Satanic temple exists in Pall Mall. “Nothing was done” about his courtroom accusations against Whitelaw simply because no one, barring a country vicar and a few Charismatic believers, found his tales remotely credible.

Due to the prominence of Knight’s victims and the sheer wackiness of his scam, the outcome of his trial was covered by all the major English daily newspapers. The affair should have staunched the spread of Satanic panic in the UK, but sadly it did not. Stories of former Satanists and ritual abuse survivors, which were every bit as spurious as Knight’s Sons of Lucifer nonsense, continued to flow through the media like a diseased river, polluting minds and sweeping innocent people into whirlpools of persecution.

Sources

1. The Lure of the Sinister: The Unnatural History of Satanism by Gareth J. Medway(New York University Press, 2001)
2.A British Con Man Says the Devil Made Him Do It” by Dianna Waggoner. People magazine. Vol. 25. No. 24 (July 16, 1986)
3. Paganism and the Occult by Kevin Logan (Kingsway Publications, 1988)
4. The Biggest Secret by David Icke  (2nd edition; David Icke Books, 1990)

The Prodigal Witch VIII: "Elaine"

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The two-for-one account of Dr. Rebecca Brown and “Elaine” plays out like every B movie you’ve ever seen. Satanic nurses out for blood…a marriage to the Devil…snoozy Midwestern towns run by witches…a hospital showdown between the forces of light and darkness…

The “Elaine” hoax was wholly facilitated by our old friend Jack Chick, the same guy who incorporated John Todd‘s nonsense into comic books about a vast conspiracy of murderous Satanic witches, and continues to spread Bill Schnoebelen’s warnings about the occult dangers of Dungeons & Dragons. In fact, I have yet to find a Chick source who wasn’t a hoaxer or crank. It’s like the man is allergic to accurate information.

So it isn’t hard to believe that in the mid-’80s, when two women approached Chick with a mind-boggling story of Satanic conspiracy and evil, he bought it wholesale.
The two women identified themselves as Elaine, the former high priestess of a Satanic cult based in Indiana, and Dr. Rebecca Brown, a GP who ran a small practice in the same state. Both women were in their late thirties.
Dr. Brown had been taking care of Elaine, emotionally and physically, since her escape from the cult. She was Elaine’s housemate, physician, protector, and spiritual mentor. Elaine suffered leukemia at this time, and was often confined to bed. They evidently felt it was essential to share Elaine’s story with the world before her time ran out, and Jack Chick was just the man to help them do it.

Elaine’s Story

Even by ex-witch standards, Elaine’s story was incredibly bizarre. It involved a literal marriage to Satan, summer camps where children were forcibly initiated into Satanic witchcraft, and nearly every form of diabolical misdeed imaginable. She was even schooled in the art of bomb-making by her Satanic superiors.

On examination, however, her testimony appears to be culled from all of the other stories we’ve seen so far in this series. The werewolves and the marriage to Satan come from Bill Schnoebelen. The witch camps are quite similar to the witch schools described by John Todd, and the notion that all rock musicians must sign themselves over to Satan comes straight from him. Elaine’s crowning as a witch queen perfectly mirrors Doreen Irvine‘s account. And according to Elaine, she belonged to The Brotherhood, the same cult Mike Warnke supposedly joined in the ’60s. She also claims The Brotherhood is described in Hal Lindsey’s 1972 book Satan Is Alive And Well On Planet Earth. These are telling statements, because Hal Lindsey was of the belief that Warnke knew nothing about the real Satanic/Illuminati network, and Satan Is Alive and Well… described general trends in various forms of occultism, rather than a single cult.

Chick sold his audio interviews with Elaine and Brown as two cassette tapes, Closet Witches 1 and Closet Witches 2.

Typically, Elaine’s account contains virtually no time markers or specific names (not even her own), so verifying any of the events she describes would be a tough task. What we do know is that Elaine was born around 1947 to the Knost family of New Castle, Indiana. She spent most of her life in that area. (2)
Elaine said she was unwittingly bonded to Satan by her own mother when she was a small child, who offered up a tiny amount of Elaine’s blood in exchange for surgery to correct her cleft palate. A nurse told Mrs. Knost the blood would be used for experimental purposes, but it was actually used in a Satanic ceremony in which Elaine’s soul was “sold” to Satan without her knowledge. As we’ll see, this was just one part of a vast conspiracy involving Indiana hospitals.

Elaine did not have the same sort of dismal, abusive childhood described by most of the other ex-witches in this series; her life was normal and relatively carefree until her teen years. Sometime in the early or mid ’60s, she made the fateful decision to visit a “witch camp” with her friend Sandy. Though Elaine didn’t name this place, her description of it as a community of fortunetellers and psychics indicates it was probably Camp Chesterfield, Indiana. It was here, Elaine alleged, that she was initiated into the Satanic witch cult known as The Brotherhood (once again, a “former Satanist” fails to distinguish between Satanism and witchcraft). She refused to join at first, so the palm readers locked her in a closet and brainwashed her with an audio loop that told her Jesus was dead and Satan was king. (2)

Like Warnke, Doreen Irvine, and Bill Schnoebelen, Elaine signed herself over to Satan in blood without being fully aware of what she was getting herself into. This is quite different from real covens, in which initiates are required to have at least some rudimentary knowledge of the tradition to which they are pledging themselves.

Elaine got with the program right away, though. She devoted herself to occult study and rose quickly through the ranks of The Brotherhood (not as rapidly as Mike Warnke, of course; he became a high priest in about six months). She became a high priestess and was assigned a powerful demon guide called Man-Chan. She was appointed to the International Council of Witches. (2)
At some unspecified time, she took part in a national witchcraft competition and beat out all her opponents to become the cult’s “top witch”. This part of her testimony is nearly identical to Doreen Irvine’s story of winning a magical contest and being made “queen of the black witches of Europe” for one year.
In Irvine’s account, she was given a crown of “pure gold” and ensconced on a throne, with the other witches prostrated before her.
In Elaine’s account, a crown of gold was placed on her head and the other cult members “bowed down and gave homage” to her. (2)
The Brotherhood was like Irvine’s UK cult in that it focused primarily on subverting Christianity. Elaine and cohorts infiltrated Bible-believing churches and worked to undermine the faith of members. She and Brown described to Jack Chick how the first church Elaine attended after becoming a Christian was infiltrated and systematically destroyed by a high priest masquerading as a born-again believer. He lured the church’s members to weekly Bible studies with appeals to patriotism and godliness, then gradually undermined their religious faith until they were spiritually bankrupt. (3)

Even the brutal human sacrifices performed on each “Black Sabbath” centred around mockery of Christianity, taking the form of bloody crucifixions. Keep in mind that Mike Warnke witnessed no such rites as a high priest of The Brotherhood. (1)
In no other ways does Elaine’s alleged cult resemble Irvine’s. While Irvine remained in a life of heroin addiction and poverty, selling her body on the streets of London, Elaine was given royal treatment not unlike that supposedly experienced by Mike Warnke when he was a high priest of the Brotherhood in California. It’s interesting that the two never met, if they both held high positions in the same nation-wide cult and traveled widely to network with other members. They were even the same age (both graduated high school in 1965). Clearly, the left hand had no idea what the left hand was doing.

Elaine did have one thing in common with Irvine, though: Awesome superhero powers. Thanks to the protection of a demon horde, she could levitate, stop bullets in midair, turn animals into other animals, and astrally project herself anywhere in the world. She could beat up high school bullies nearly three times her size. She could even injure and kill people while out of her body, though she apparently attempted astral murder on only one occasion. She and the other out-of-body witches were prevented from harming their intended victim by a perimeter guard of angels.

Who had the witches been intending to kill? Jack Chick, of course. Satan viewed his comic books and mass-produced tracts as serious threats to his empire.
So, yeah. Um, the Devil apparently reads Christian comic books. (3)

Warnke was booted from The Brotherhood for being a paranoid speed freak in ’66, while Elaine’s Satanic star continued to rise. She was such a special specimen that her higher-ups (the Illuminati?) selected her for the ultimate honor: Getting hitched to Satan.

According to Elaine, there are five to ten Regional Brides of Satan within the U.S. at any given time. It’s a very great honor for a high priestess.
We don’t know when this marriage occurred. As researchers would later learn, Elaine was married to a human in 1966, when she was 19 years old, and divorced him the following year. The marriage to Satan presumably occurred after this. (1)

The Devil manifested as a normal-looking dude for the wedding, and rented a Presbyterian church in which to hold the ceremony. If this makes any sense, let me know.
For irony’s sake, apparently, the groom wore a white tux and Elaine wore a white dress.

After the honeymoon, Elaine’s status in the league of Satan naturally rose. She became her husband’s official delegate to the Vatican (where she met personally with the Pope), oversaw international arms deals, traveled to the Far and Near East, and met with associates in Mecca and Israel. This indicates that the Brotherhood was organized on an international level, at the very highest levels of government, which is somewhat at odds with Warnke’s description of a nationally-organized cult controlled mostly by witches.
Elaine also met with many rock musicians to oversee the signing of their pacts with Satan, just as John Todd described. (2)
Weirdly, though, Elaine didn’t mention the Illuminati, which Warnke identified as the power behind The Brotherhood.

Elaine’s dramatic conversion story, like her dramatic Satanic initiation story, is nearly identical to Doreen Irvine’s. She entered a Christian church in order to infiltrate it, but the spiritual power of the congregation was so strong that Elaine’s demons tried to get her out the door as quickly as possible. They were too late. Elaine had already read a Chick tract (The Contract!), and now fully understood that her pact with Satan was null and void. She was saved. (3)

Elaine’s relationship with Satan was more or less over by 1980. He was so furious over her betrayal that he cursed her with a serious illness. She was admitted to Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie and made the acquaintance of Dr. Rebecca Brown, a GP who was busily combating the powers of darkness in and around Muncie.

Brown immediately sensed that Elaine was surrounded by a demonic presence, and demanded to know if she had been involved in witchcraft.
Eventually, after Dr. Brown had earned her trust, Elaine told her all about her cult experiences and expressed a desire to break away from the Satanists. She said her (human) husband, also a member of the cult, had recently abandoned her and their mentally disabled daughter, Claudia. This was not true; she had divorced in 1967.

While she was in hospital, the Satanists tried to kill Elaine by slipping Pavulon into her IV. Fortunately, God informed Brown of this plot. She and a doctor were able to save Elaine just in time.
Brown discovered “firebombs” resembling dynamite inside her stereo, her car, and even her phone. Elaine showed her how to dismantle them. God also warned Brown that her food and coffee were being poisoned by other hospital staffers, and on some occasions miraculously removed the poison. A nurse later confessed she was in on the poisoning plot, and expressed amazement that Brown had survived after eating a poisoned lunch. (4)

After Elaine’s release, she and Brown both received a letter from the cult, indicating that their every move was being observed. If they didn’t cease their anti-cult activities, the writers warned, they would be ritually sacrificed at an Eastertime Black Mass. Neither woman reported her threatening letter to the police, because they knew the chief of police (along with the mayor of Muncie and other public officials) worshiped Satan.

Dr. Brown was a Christian, so she prayed for guidance on how to deal with Elaine’s situation. God immediately told her to take Elaine and 12-year-old Claudia into her home, warning her that Elaine would kill herself rather than surrender to the cult. Though Elaine had embraced Christianity, her faith was still too fragile to give her the strength she needed to stand up against a powerful coalition of Satanists who wouldn’t tolerate defectors. As we’ve seen, John Todd and Mike Warnke both had to dodge a few bullets after betraying the Satanists, while Irvine and other ex-witches faced no repercussions at all. These “well-organized” Satanists are anything but consistent.

Brown then became a one-woman conversion machine, operating a sort of underground railroad for former Satanists. She claimed to have saved about 1000 witches from murderous covens in the first half of the ’80s. Her greatest success story, however, remained Elaine and Claudia.
They persisted in their mission even though the Brotherhood tried everything in its power to frighten the two women into silence, including breaking into Brown’s home and slaughtering all their pets.
They bravely revealed that Catholics and Freemasons are devil-worshipers, that Dungeons & Dragons is Satan’s favourite game, and that Eastern religious practices like yoga are of the Devil. Never mind that every other ex-Satanist in this series said the exact same things around the exact same time.
Elaine may have been unique in her relationship to Satan, but everything else she said was boilerplate anti-occult stuff. Chick had already churned out a multitude of tracts and comic books dealing with these subjects. Still, he was so awed by Brown and Elaine’s story that his Chick Publications printed two books by Brown, He Came to Set the Captives Free (1986) and Prepare for War (1987). The first book detailed Elaine’s years as a Satanic witch and her rebirth in Christ, while the second served as a manual on how to combat the Satanic menace with spiritual warfare. He Came to Set the Captives Free contains some truly bizarre scenes, like Brown’s encounter with a talking werewolf. Prepare for War is full of weird anecdotes about all the ways people can become afflicted by demons, as well as the reasons why Catholicism is actually a form of witchcraft.
Brown’s later books deal extensively with purging or blessing demonically-infested “unclean objects” (geisha paintings, role-playing games, tattoos, museum exhibits, certain hairdos, secondhand items, the citizenship papers of ancestors, rosaries, etc.). This preoccupation with transmitted evil is sometimes referred to as “curse theology”. It offers a profoundly paranoid and negative view of the world, in which most cultural and religious artifacts that aren’t Christian are vessels of the demonic.

Chick also incorporated Elaine’s information into several of his comic book tracts: The Poor Little Witch, Why No Revival?, Satan’s Master.
In Poor Little Witch (1987), an outcast named Mandy is lured into witchcraft by one of her schoolteachers. She learns to cast spells by the power of “Bruth”, and witnesses the ritual murder of a baby “especially conceived” for sacrifice. She is told the chief of police is a Satanist. Meanwhile, the local church the schoolteacher attends turns out to be a Satanic coven in disguise. Its members are able to manipulate and exploit their new pastor, Reverend Smiley, because he isn’t a fundamentalist. Mandy runs to this church for help, but of course Smiley is in the pocket of the witch-cult and turns her away. So she seeks help from a former witch, Mrs. Grayson (who somewhat resembles Rebecca Brown). Grayson attends a real church, of the Bible-based storefront variety. Its members are able to save Mandy’s soul in just three panels.
Why No Revival? (1986) contains this note: “Most churches have been successfully infiltrated by witches.” This reflects claims made by both Elaine and Bill Schnoebelen.

In 1987, Brown and Elaine appeared on one of Geraldo Rivera’s shows about Satanism. Perhaps significantly, they were not included in his ’89 special Devil Worship: Exposing Satan’s Underground. By that time, the most popular ex-Satanist testimony was that of “Lauren Stratford”. She’ll be the subject of the next post in this series.

Brown’s books appealed strongly to daytime TV viewers and Chick’s target audience (naive, slightly paranoid Christians of the fundamentalist strain). Outside those circles, however, they raised deep skepticism in readers.

Part II: Dr. Brown’s Story and the Exposure of “Elaine” and Brown

Sources:

1. “Drugs, Demons, and Delusions: The ‘Amazing’ Saga of Dr. Rebecca Brown” by by G. Richard Fisher, Paul R. Blizard and M. Kurt Goedelman. Originally published in The Quarterly Journal of Personal Freedom Outreach. Vol. 9, No. 4, October-December 1989. (reposted @ Cult Help and Information)
2. He Came to Set the Captives Free by Rebecca Brown, M.D. (Chick Publications. Chino, Calif., 1986)
3. Closet Witches summary @ Monsterwax.com (reposted @ James Japan’s homepage). Retrieved June 25/11.
4. Prepare for Warby Rebecca Brown, M.D. (Chick Publications, Chino, Calif., 1987)

The Man Who Slew Leviathan in a Hotel Bathtub


And the other morons who slew innocent children

Today my brother brought to my attention a site called Fundies Say the Darndest Things, which – as you can guess – is a compendium of quotes culled from Christian fundamentalist forums, blogs, and whatnot. I normally avoid this kind of thing. I’ve had many fundie friends over the years, and I’ve had quite my fill of being told things like:

  • Putrefying basking shark corpses are actually plesiosaurs.
  • Jesus led So-and-So to a sale at Kohl’s because he wanted her to have a nicer coat.
  • I’ll go to hell if I don’t stop listening to the Beatles.

After years of hearing this sort of malarkey, I thought I was far beyond being troubled, annoyed, or even amused by the loopy notions that religious extremists of the evangelical/Pentacostal/charismatic variety can get into their heads.

But I was so wrong.

The #1 rated quote on Fundies Say the Darndest Things comes from an Illinois plumber who goes by the screen name “nautical999”. It’s a story posted to the Ministering Deliverance forum, of which Nautical is actually a moderator, in August 1999.
Basically, Nautical and his wife were chit-chatting with an angel at a fast food joint while on vacation. We’re not told if this angel had a fleshly form, or if they were just talking to an empty seat, or what. I guess it doesn’t really matter once you reach this level of WTFery.
Anyway, the spirit of Leviathan showed up to join the party.
In the Bible, Leviathan is an unspecified aquatic beast that defies capture. In Job 41, God tells Job, “Any hope of subduing him is false; the mere sight of him is overpowering. No one is fierce enough to rouse him.” In other passages, Leviathan is a many-headed snake or serpent. Explanations of just what this creature might have been range from crocodiles and hippos to plesiosaurs and giant octopi, but aside from the literal animal in Job, the Leviathan references in the Bible all seem to be metaphors for a powerful foe, like the seven-headed beast of Revelations.

Whatever Leviathan is, Mr. Nautical decided to kick its ass. He asked the McAngel to bring the spirit to a “predestinated” location. Specifically, his hotel room.
The angel and a companion obliged. For half an hour, Nautical engaged in sword battle with the spirit of Leviathan in his hotel room bathroom, an exhausting but highly gratifying experience that he saw fit to share with his community of demon-fighters.

The Leviathan-in-the-bathtub tale is weird enough, but the rest of the forum thread is equally absurd and far more disturbing. Commenters exchange information about various snake demons they have expelled, blame ADD/ADHD on demons, and inform a confused young woman that “deaf and dumb” demons can cause autism. On another Ministering Deliverance thread, Mr. Nautical tells us that all disease originates from sin, and “Elijah2” tells us that his brother’s 9-month-old child has autism because a cell phone “cooked his brain” (he goes on to explain that while not all diseases are the result of the sufferer being “demonised”, many childhood conditions like autism can be caused by “masonic spirits” and other demons).

Now my concern here is not that people believe this kind of hooey. Stupidity is a right, not a privilege. Sometimes it’s even unavoidable. But I am very, very concerned that this particular community of superstitious, scientifically illiterate folks is engaged in casting out demons (“deliverance” is the fundie term for exorcism). Not only are they teaching their children that evil spirits cause illness, they’re probably performing improvised deliverance rites on “demonised” children. Without proper training and guidance, such DIY exorcisms can be a highly dangerous undertaking. Take a look at this (short) list of the children who have died during unsupervised exorcisms:

  • Guyana, 2005: 15-year-old Roger Bosse was severely beaten for three days, then crucified, by members of the Celestial Church of Christ. Roger’s mother believed the boy’s epilepsy was caused by demons.
  • Wisconsin, 2003: 8-year-old Terrance Cottrell, Jr. was suffocated to death in an unlicensed storefront church by Ray Hemphill, a high school janitor who had recently been ordained as an evangelical minister. In accordance with James 5: 14-16, Hemphill and several church members, including Terrance’s mom, were attempting to exorcise the demons that supposedly caused Terrance’s autism. Hemphill pinned the boy to the floor with his knee while a grown woman laid on top of his chest. To their great surprise, Terrance couldn’t breathe. Under Wisconsin law, ministers and caregivers cannot be prosecuted for an injury or death resulting from “treatment by spiritual means through prayer”, so Hemphill was charged only with child abuse. He was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison.
  • Ontario, 1995: 2-year-old Kira Canhoto died of water intoxication after her parents and grandmother forced her to drink massive quantities of water. They were attempting to expel demons from the toddler.
  • New Zealand, 1994: Like Terrance Cottrell, 12-year-old Dane Gibson was restrained during an exorcism, beaten on the head with a brick, and suffocated to death. His parents were in the grips of religious mania and had been torturing their three children for several days.

I would advise Nautical999 and his cohorts to read their Bibles more carefully before proceeding with any more deliverances or bathtub battles. Jesus and his followers expelled demons from people without actually touching them, and did not engage with spirits or demons unless it was absolutely necessary. Even within your own belief system, you guys are way out of line.
Also, please learn to spell “Leviathan”.

Anti-Occult Nonsense On Stilts: Kurt Koch’s Occult ABC


In the world of anti-occult zealotry, Kurt Koch is something of a legend. A Lutheran pastor in Germany, he traveled the world addressing churches of nearly every denomination for over half a century, and claimed to have counseled about 20,000 people by the late ’70s.

I was *lucky* enough to score a copy of his most famous book, Occult ABC, at my local secondhand bookshop.

While it’s hard not to admire Koch’s deep religious devotion, it’s pretty easy to hate this book. Originally published in 1978, it reads like it was written in the early ’50s and consists almost entirely of anecdotes – mostly secondhand stories told by missionaries and pastors. You know the kind: “You wouldn’t believe what these savages are doing!” Koch even includes the old legend of the Hippie Babysitter and the Roasted Baby, substituting devil worshippers for the hippie. He also promotes the b.s. stories of “former Satanists” like Doreen Irvine and Mike Warnke. A big part of the reason Koch falls for this blarney is explained on p. 229: “When people have been convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit and have received Jesus Christ as their Lord, they generally speak the truth.”

As you’ve probably guessed, just about everything that doesn’t involve Bible-reading and praying to Jesus is “occult” in Koch’s opinion. He devotes sections to acupuncture, homosexuality, porn, yoga, meditation, “descent from the ape”, Freemasonry, and of course rock music. And Koch believes that any degree of occult influence can afflict multiple generations (the “sins of the father”), causing everything from skin diseases to demonic possession.

The wisdom Koch dispenses is often wildly contradictory. For instance, he maintains that all precognitive powers come from Satan, yet implies several times that it can be 100% accurate and that only a fool would ignore a warning from a psychic.
He stresses that some mental illnesses have natural causes and can be treated by psychiatry, while others are occult in origin and must be treated spiritually. But then he states that occult involvment isn’t the cause of mental illness; it just paves the way for mental illness to develop.
He describes many cases in which occultists changed their evil ways because a spouse or parent prayed for their salvation for many years. Later, he tells us never to pray for occultists unless they have explicitly expressed a desire to change, because it simply won’t work.

Some of his examples are just plain creepy. Koch boasts that Mirin Dajo died because some Christians prayed for his sword-piercing trick to fail onstage, and it did. (Actually, it didn’t. Dajo died after slipping into a coma, and he was not performing at the time.)
In another example, Koch writes of a man who foolishly yoked himself to a non-Christian wife and spent the rest of his life regretting it. His poor son-in-law got so tired of the woman’s nagging that he boxed her ears until she shut up. The lesson seems to be that it’s A-OK to smack your mother-in-law around if she’s a non-Christian.
Once, when a woman with a nasty skin disease consulted him, Koch asked her “how she ever got married in such a condition.” Nice.
Then there was the little girl who become “dreadfully depraved” after being treated by a nature healer. “At the age of ten she seduced a married man – not vice versa.” Where have I heard that before? Oh, right, from child molesters.

Here are just a few choice bits from Occult ABC:

  • Christian Scientists ganged up to psychically murder a man who left the church, giving him a skin disease that caused him to shed his skin “like a snake.”
  • Sorcerors in East Timor engage in “criminal activity” by projecting parts of their spirits into owls, which fly to the homes of enemies to steal pieces of the enemies’ livers.
  • After signing a pact with the Devil, a German woman become possessed and was repeatedly squished by a giant, invisible snake. Koch recorded about 100 cases of such blood pacts, and states that in the previous 20 years, “tens of thousands of young people have signed their souls to the Devil in their own blood.” As with every other statistic in the book, we have no idea where he got these numbers.
  • Elves are real.
  • All hypnosis is dangerous, even stage hypnosis. If you allow yourself to be hypnotized by one, you may become a drunk like this one chick in Argentina. Stage hypnotists are criminals.
  • If you go to an iridologist, you might become a wife-beating drunk like this one dude.
  • If an occultist becomes a Christian, the Devil will be furious and will do everything in his power to oppose you. So you might become a wife-beater anyway, like this other dude.
  • UFOs are heralds of the Antichrist.
  • Gospel singer Henry Drummond, before becoming a Christian, could hypnotize people at a distance of 50 miles.
  • A woman with legs of unequal length went to a “spiritist healer” for healing, and the shorter leg magically grew. But when she became a Christian, it shrank.
  • You must never collect bric-a-brac from non-Christian cultures. “A minister’s wife on Prince Edward Island had collected a whole table-full of figures of gods and cultic objects from the mission field. Today she is in a mental institution.”
  • About 50% of the compulsive neurotics Koch counseled had connections with spiritism or magic in their backgrounds, hence these things cause compulsive neuroses. (Keep in mind that Koch has no training in psychology.)
  • Uri Geller is really psychic, and everyone who found their cutlery bent after one of his TV broadcasts had some psychic ability, as well. “Only the ignorant make fun of these things.”
  • “Voodoo” practitioners drink blood and sacrifice children.
  • In his chapter on Freemasonry, Koch writes that “French historians like Abbe Barnuel maintain that the French Revolution” was engineered by Masons. First of all, it’s Barruel. Secondly, he was not a historian. He was a conspiranoid priest who later rewrote his anti-Masonic thesis, shifting blame to the Jews.
  • Koch takes the view that porn is a Communist device to weaken the morals of Westerners. Perversion for Profit, anyone?
  • Anonymous psychiatrist: “The ouija board is filling our pyschiatric clinics in New York.”
  • Koch on the manufacturers of ouija boards: “If the American government knew how much evil this one firm in Massassachusetts has brought on the American people, they would prohibit the production of these devilish boards at once.”
  • Some Africans can turn themselves into leopards.
  • “I go to the dentist when it is necessary. But I always pray when I go, for dental treatment can last six months and cause much pain.” (I’m guessing this wouldn’t have been the case if he went to the dentist more than “necessary”…)
  • In the Arctic, archaeologists found bones that were said to be 20,000 years old. “I am somewhat skeptical about this claim.”
  • On astrology: “There really ought to be a law prohibiting this and all other forms of fortune-telling. Astrology has been responsible for a number of suicides and murders.”
  • You must not touch a practicing medium. You might get an electric shock, like this one guy.

And so on. From what I’ve seen, all Koch’s books are like this one – so I won’t be reading any of them.