Global Dynamics

Inteligence Profiling
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ForensicProfiling

The Occult And Crime

Experts in the area of ritual violence have been popping up in the last several years. It seems to some, that experts in the area of ritual crime are unnecessary in the modern world. However, ritual crimes are becoming an increasing issue in many urban as well as suburban areas. According to Investigative Journalist and Author Maury Terry, there is a network of Satan-worshipping cults crisscrossing the nation. According to other statistics 50,000 people per year are murdered or otherwise involved in violent Occult Religious Rituals (such as being the victim of sexual assault) many of these alleged victims are children. The so-called "satanic panic" began in the early 1980s with the publication of "Michelle Remembers" a book that was marketed as non-fiction, written by a woman that was allegedly a victim of Ritual Abuse and her therapist. The Novel shares the story of Michelle Smith and her yearlong journey to remember repressed memories of her victimization at 5 years of age by a satanic cult. Her therapist, and later husband, Dr. Lawrence Pazder, was with her every step of the way, helping her access these memories. Years after the book's publication, the veracity of Michelle Smith's claims were investigated. The investigation revealed that the claims made by Michelle Smith were untrue. Dr. Pazder stated this in interviews:

Pazder himself stated in a 1990 interview with The Mail On Sunday newspaper, that whether the events described in Michelle Remembers actually occurred was less important than Smith believing that they occurred. (Dr. Pazder’s entire interview can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Pazder) And the great debate had begun; does ritual abuse (including ritual homicide and sexual assault) exist? Many in the law enforcement community deny that it does, others insist that, even if books on the subject, published as fact, are actually fiction it does not mean that the existence of ritual abuse is any less possible, that in fact ritual abuse is taking place all over the country with record numbers of victims. Occult related ritual crime is occurring in the US and other nations, however, some sort of shadow conspiracy attempting to deny the existence of such crimes isn’t perpetrating it. They are isolated incidents of crime being perpetrated by an individual or small group of individuals.

In the context of my work ritual will describe crimes that have ritual elements, meaning acts that an offender will engage in that have nothing to do with religion or the successful completion of the crime. (Post-mortem mutilations, etc.)

At this point it is important for the reader to have a clear understanding of the terms I'll be using in the body of this work, as such the following definitions are included.

Occultism is an umbrella term for a wide array of belief systems that involve or use supernatural beliefs and/or powers. Satanism is just one of the many belief systems. It is not the occult but rather a type of occult belief system. Ritualism, which involves a series of repeated acts, is a method for celebrating a belief system. In cases where ritualistic methods involve some sort of abuse their commission becomes a criminal rather than a legal activity. (2 occult primer)

Occult crime encompasses ceremonial actions and/or ritualistic acts, involves occult-related behavior patterns and is motivated by a belief in some occult ideology. Satanic crime is a type of occult crime it encompasses only those criminal activities that may be committed by practicing Satanists not all occultists. Similarly ritualistic abuse is a type of occult crime involving repeated physical, sexual, psychological and/or spiritual abuse, which utilizes rituals (25 occult primer)

Investigation into ritual violence is in its infancy because no agreement can be made about the nature and extent of ritual violence. As such no solid numbers exist on the extent of the problem. Building upon a 1989 California Law Enforcement Study of occult crime ritualistic crime is defined as any act of violence characterized by a series of repeated physical sexual and/or psychological actions/assaults combined with a systematic use of symbols ceremonies and/or machinations. The need to repeat such acts can be cultural, sexual, economic, psychosexual and/or spiritually.

Now more than ever it is imperative that law enforcement and other public service employees have a clear understanding of the nature of ritual crime. As more and more immigrants from Latin American countries move to America, they will increasingly be bringing their religious practices with them. These religious ceremonies are completely different than more mainstream religious practices common in this country, therefore they have been, and will continue to be, misunderstood. Also interest (especially among teenagers) in occult religions is now at an all time high. Many of these religions are non-violent, but they are easily misunderstood. These are the individuals that will be engaging in so-called "satanic crime" or sacrifice. And in recent years, these crimes have occurred both in America and abroad. Take for example the 1996 case of Rod Ferrell (the Vampire Killer). Rod Ferrell and his accomplices were followers of the vampire religion, involved in a vampire role-playing game, and, as with many serial or ritual (more on this later) killers, fantasy became reality. A more recent case of sacrifice occurred in London in 2001, in that case the body of a black boy was pulled from the Thames River, the body was missing it's arms, legs, and head. His body had been slit and his body drained of blood. Investigators in this case consulted with Religious experts and were able to determine that blood is often poured on the ground as an offering to spirits involved. One Ancient African belief states that spirits of the dead are invoked through sacrifice. Killing animals and birds is a common act for appeasing the gods or for making traditional medicine--the greater the sacrifice, the stronger the prayer potion. This appeared to be a case of Muti Murder; muti is the Zulu word for medicine. A muti murder occurs when an individual dies as a result of their body parts being harvested for use in traditional medicine. The body parts are then mixed with other ingredients such as herbs or plant roots to make the muti. Another case that will be highlighted later on is the 1993 West Memphis, AR triple homicide that has been nicknamed the case of the West Memphis Three. In this case police investigators felt they were dealing with a satanic group because the crime appeared to be ritualistic in nature. As you will see through out the course of this work, ritual does not necessarily mean religious. Ritual is something that an offender does during the course of his or her crimes out of a psychological need, not because it lends to successful completion of the crime. In fact ritual requires an offender to spend more time with his or her victims, increasing the possibility of detection. In the case of the West Memphis Three investigators saw the ritual and assumed that it was part of a religious ceremony. In other cases, investigators misunderstand or ignore ritual elements. In both cases, either looking for religious significance in ritual crime or ignoring ritual elements, led to costly mistakes during an investigation. This is why it is more important that ever for investigators to have a clear understanding of new religious movements and ritual elements, ritual type crimes, elements of ritual crimes and how to investigate them.