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A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A PRIESTESS
by Vicki Copeland
"High Priestess Seldom Leaves Mythic Domain", "Occult Took Me To Brink of Death, Priest Tells" As Halloween nears, headlines will blare accusations, the press will sensationalize, and misquote, and the public will believe what it wishes to hear.
Let me share with you what it means to be a Priestess. It means throwing a party when two coveners call and say "The fertility spell worked - we're pregnant!" And it means getting out of a warm bed at 4 am seven months later when a panicked husband calls with news that his wife has gone into premature labor and the doctors can guarantee neither her life or that of the child. It means going to the hospital, walking the floor, and praying to the Gods for the lives of the family and then joyfully presiding at a ceremony of thanks for the healing of mother and son.
Being a Priestess is being aware that some of your coveners are AA and using apple juice in the chalice so that their sobriety isn't endangered. And when you receive a call from one of the AA folks who has broken sobriety, it is going to their home, holding their hand, and reassuring them that they are still loved and still a worthwhile person.
The job involves getting home from work after a long day and answering the phone to find the Christian wife a students. She and her husband have had a dispute and she's afraid for the marriage. She called you because you are her spouse's clergy. So you go to their home and counsel them. When you leave you have spent seven long hours and it's 1 a.m. on a work night, but they are talking TO each other instead of screaming AT each other.
(Continued Next Page...)
IN THIS ISSUE:
Ritualistic Crime in CA,By Sandi Gallant
Buddhist Temple Murders in AZ
And much more....
A DAY IN THE LIFE (Cont'd)
It is getting a call from a local hospital with the news of an AIDS patient near death who is Wiccan and can you please do something? And it's counseling with that patient and seeing him walk out of the hospital a few weeks later.
Sometimes being a Priestess means holding a covener while they sob out stories of child abuse and incest and then being held in turn by them as you realize they are telling YOUR life story too.
It's sharing the good times such as childbirth, hand-fasting, and the daily joys and wonders of life.
And it's also attending church with Christian relatives out of respect for their feelings and beliefs and having to listen to a minister say Witches conduct orgies and eat babies. This has happened to me, and when it did, I couldn't help but remember that LONG night I stood beside a new father in a hospital nursery, watching his premature son fight for life, and I remembered the joy and pride on his face as he and his wife brought their son home.
I hear sermons about orgies and sexual perversion and I think of the people I've counseled that were so sexually dysfunctional that the mere thought of sex was agony for them; people whose lives were so scarred with abuse and incest that what most consider a normal healthy sex life is for them a dream.
So, law enforcement officers, next time you see folks dancing in the park, don't assume that the orgy is starts after you leave. And clinicians, if a patient tells you they are Wiccan, don't assume they are sacrificing the neighbor's cats and babies. And Mr. Christian Clergyman, stop and think before you preach the sermon that says that Witches have drunken orgies, eat children, and are out to destroy your congregation. That visitor in the audience just MIGHT be a Wiccan attending church with her Christian family out of love and respect for others.
Wat Promkunaram Buddhist temple of Arizona Maryland Ave. and Cotton Ln. West of Phoenix, Arizona Occurred sometime between 10 PM August 9, 1991 and 8 AM, August 10, 1991
The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is investigating the brutal execution-style murder of nine members of a Buddhist temple, including six priests. Victims were shot in the head with an unknown caliber weapon and a shotgun.
It is not clear if robbery was the motive, but the altar portions of the temple were not disturbed.
A vehicle described as a late model Ford Bronco II, very clean, with a red over white or white over red paint scheme was seen leaving the area at about 7 AM August 10, just before the bodies were discovered.
Anyone with any possible information, no matter how insignificant, is urged to contact the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office 24 hour hot-line at 602-256-1010.
Well, there seems to have been a break in the case! Due to an anonymous tip, MCSO has several people from Tucson, AZ in custody.
It seems to have been a simple robbery, with the robbers getting upset because there was no temple treasure...and thus killing the folks there.
There is possible involvement with the Crips gang, tho this has not been proven. The evening paper also says (from another anonymous informant) that MCSO has confessions to the crime.
EMERGENCE OF RITUALISTIC CRIMES: STATE OF CALIFORNIA
By Sandi Gallant
In 1978 the world's attention was drawn to San Francisco, Redwood Valley, and a far away and little known place called Guyana, in the aftermath of the tragedy of the Peoples Temple.
In the coming years, law enforcement's attention has been drawn into an area of criminality that is currently being referred to as "Ritualistic Crimes" - crimes that encompass a system of rites, a ceremonial action, or customarily repeated acts involving bizarre behavior patterns.
Many of these cases involve individuals who have studied texts from various spiritual belief systems and given these texts their own interpretations in such a manner as to justify criminal behavior.
In other instances, individuals, such as the people of Jonestown, have been motivated into criminal acts, through a group's interpretation of who they are in relationship to a spiritual master, and who they are in relationship to the rest of the world. It is on this basis that ritualistic crimes are committed.
In CA, as well as other parts of the country, we have seen specific trends emerge since the late 1970's. The Adolescent Supernatural Subculture, Satanism, Ritual Abuse, Adult Supernatural Subculture, and Santeria will be addressed in this report.
It is important to keep in mind that no statistical data is currently available on ritualistic crimes at a local, state, or national level. This is due to the fact that no clearing house or data base has been established within law enforcement to track this category of criminal activity. It must also be kept in mind that issues dealt with in this report are from a perspective of a local agency's contacts with various police agencies, therapists, psychologists, sociologists, and concerned citizens from throughout the United States. In no way is it to be considered an overall picture of the issues.
1. YOUTH SUPERNATURAL SUBCULTURE
Adolescent interest in supernatural subcultures has been on a steady upswing with involvement going from a vague, curious interest, to intense involvement including criminal behaviors such as church desecration, vandalism, assault, cemetery desecration, animal mutilation, suicide, and homicide
Although much attention is given to the influence of the subculture through heavy metal music and fantasy role playing games, it is clear in almost every case that has surfaced that adolescents and young adults who become intensely involved have specific characteristics in common with each other:
A. Predominantly males exhibiting various behavior problems that have gone unnoticed or undiagnosed.
B. Intelligent individuals, but underachievers.
C. Creative with high curiosity levels.
D. Low self esteem including feelings of ineligiblilty (may repress traumas they have suffered including abuse, from detached or dysfunctional homes, parents who set no limits or force conformity.)
E. Middle to upper middle class families.
F. Caucasian and some Latinos.
G. Difficulty relating to peers.
H. Power seeking individuals.
I. Attention grabbers.
The largest amount of activity in the supernatural subculture is in Southern CA with some involvement of youth gangs in the LA area. Other areas of attention are the suburbs of cities such as the Bay area, or more isolated parts of the state, such as Grass Valley and Shasta County. Calls received by the SFPD over the past two years verify this.
Much of the adolescent interest in supernatural subcultures involves Satanism. The main draws are power, control, and a sense of identity and recognition.
Satanism, from the perspective of the follower, is described as a belief system in which you devote yourself to dominance, cruelty, lust and greed. Power comes from within the self and loyalty is to the self. Satanists are not concerned with others' moral judgments or the natural order of things within a society.
While the 1970s were filled with popular religions and cultic movements in which one turned control of their life to another, the 1980's have shown increased interest in supernatural belief systems, such as Satanism, because it allows you to maintain control over your own life. Studies of increased interest in Satanism have shown that followers fall into three basic categories, with some variation in each, as this is a religion based on individual interpretation.
Usually part of an organized and structured group who practice Satanic worship as a faith. Many do not believe in the Christian concept of an entity called Satan, however, they do identify with the symbolic vision of the devil. Most organized groups refer to their deity in other terms. The faith may be passed down generationally within a family. Few groups are above ground and identified.
B. DABBLERS OR SELF-STYLED BELIEVERS
Usually individuals or loosely organized groups who have incorporated Satanic rituals into bizarre and sometimes criminal behavior patterns. Dabblers commonly study a variety of occult teachings and combine systems of belief to fit their needs. They enjoy the attention it brings and often leave indicators of involvement at crime scenes. The mixture of occult symbolism is a clue to identifying a dabbler.
C. YOUTH SUBCULTURE
Normally comprised of adolescents and young adults seeking power. Symbolism is flaunted and graffiti and ritual indicators are usually left at crime scenes. Shock value intensifies their rebellious attitudes towards traditionally accepted belief systems.
Some skinheads have attached to the symbolism however, the extent of their knowledge or interest seems to be rather simplistic. It is also in strong opposition to the spiritual beliefs of white supremacist movements that the skinheads have aligned with . It is for this reason that I believe their interest in occult symbolism is mainly for shock value rather than intense spiritual interest.
3. RITUALIZED SEXUAL ABUSE
Ritual abuse is best described as a series of repeated physical, emotional, and/or sexual assaults combined with a systematic use of symbols, ceremonies, and/or machinations. The actions appear designed and premeditated with the intention of instilling fear in the victim. It may involve sadistic psychological manipulation used to induce the victims' involvement and as a controlling tool to force conformity to the desires of the perpetrator(s) or groups, if such is the case.
Cases of reported "ritualized sexual abuse" began to surface in the late 1970s with little attention being given by law enforcement. This was due to skepticism on the part of the investigator and an unbelievability in the information being reported. From 1983-1985 numerous cases surfaced around the state including Manhattan Beach, Pico Rivera, Sacramento, Concord, Redwood City, Atherton, and Bakersfield. At the same time, cases were being reported in other states in which victims reported incident indicators that closely matched reports in the above cases.
These indicators alleged:
Drinking of human and animal blood
Ceremonies involving usage of robes, candles, and symbols
Drugging of victim
Sexual activity with adults, children, animals
Usage of cemeteries, mortuaries
Photographing of sexual events
Calling upon negative spiritual powers
Another significant factor was that law enforcement officers handling these "new breed" of cases were not conferring with each other so there was no cross-contamination taking place in the interviewing and investigating process.
This has changed, however, over the past three years, as media attention has been given to this area. Parents of victims began to form support groups. Child interviews extended from investigator/ therapist to parent/ therapist/child protective service worker/ investigator/ parent to parent, etc. This has provided an unfortunate avenue for confusion and cross-contamination through misinterpretation of what is being said and that interpretation being passed on to investigators by other interested parties, rather than the victim.
Much of this has led to further complicating an already complicated case, unsuccessful prosecutions, and a hysterical response to the entire issue.
While only a limited number of cases involving true ritual aspects have emerged, misunderstanding and misinterpretation of case indicators combined with crosscontamination and a hysterical response have allowed the issue to appear much more wide-spread than it is. This has occurred throughout the nation. A recent news article emerging from Great Britain has shown a similar problem occurring in that country.
To further confuse the issue, numerous adults are now coming forward to therapists alleging to be "survivors of ritualized abuse" they suffered as children. Adult survivors' stories are told in scattered detail with little, if any, validation and few are willing to name times, places, and names of individuals they are alleging were involved in horrific events.
Included in reported events are human sacrifices involving adults and infants.
Similar reports have surfaced in cases involving young child victims. The fact remains that no bodies have been found to verify any of these allegations. While law enforcement has been unable to prove the allegations that such acts have taken place, we have also been unable to disprove it.
What has become abundantly clear is that traditional investigative responses have not provided clear cut answers in these cases. This, combined with a lengthy judicial process, has allowed only seven cases to be successfully prosecuted in court. None were in the State of Calif.
In 1986, the SFPD developed a means to categorize ritual abuse cases and procedural guidelines to assist in their investigation. The following section covers those items.
CATEGORIES OF RITUAL ABUSE
1. Spiritual Connotation: some form of spiritual activity is included in abuse. Perpetrators are manipulators who get power from controlling others. They may not be true believers and only use the religion to justify their behavior. It is imperative to determine the leader, if a group, and if their motivation and justification are the same or separate. May include:
In the stages of early recognition (1983-1985) it was assumed that the majority of the cases arose out of Satanism. As we have further and become more aware of the extent of the problem, it has been clarified that many cases emerged from other forms of spirituality that had been twisted to fit the perpetrators' needs. In other words, true human evil was the issue rather than theologically described evil.
2. Perverse Connotation: May appear to have spiritual over-tones, as some ritualized behavior will appear. Closer review will show this not to be the case. These individuals are predators who receive power through both financial and/or sexual gratification. May include:
Misinterpretation of symbolism
Misinterpretation of disclosures
Adult/child sex rings
Thrill sex cases
Smokescreen cases deliberately attempting to discredit victims
Activities are primarily the expression of an individual's obsessional or delusional system. May have no spiritual overtones, however, usage of feces, urine, or blood may be a part of the ritual (fetish).
PROCEDURAL GUIDELINES, RITUALIZED ABUSE
Upon receipt of complaint:
1. Document all information as it is received. Be detailed in your accounting of what is reported.
2. Evaluate and prioritize information and leads.
3. Recognize that logical/ rational thinking in the investigative process does not always apply. This is your state of mind, not the perpetrators'. Many are irrational. Think as they would think. Trying to investigate in the usual way locks us into traditional responses.
5. Work as a team with investigators, clinicians, and child protective service.
6. Clearly define the role or each team member.
7. Review the case every 30 days.
8. Don't eliminate factors unless they are conclusive.
9. Audiotape all interviews to maintain clarity as to who originated the material.
10. Approach District Attorney in early phases to ascertain best approach for a successful prosecution.
11. Keep investigative material as confidential as possible by all interested parties for as long as possible.
12. Day care center investigations should be approached cautiously.
Check for prior licensing in/out of state.
Premise location calls
13. One investigator (not team member) should act as liaison with parents and parental support groups, media, hot line for tips, etc.
14. Caution parents, custodians, and other interested parties regarding their not questioning the victims. They may document any unsolicited revelations, however, you need to validate information before it becomes part of the case.
15. Avoid contamination.
16. During search warrants, have crime lab obtain latents. Children touch everything. Look for false I.D.'s, birth/ death certificates, items associated with category 1.
17. Build case of information which can be substantiated. Consider separate investigation for accusations for which no evidence is currently available.
18. Investigative teams must have knowledge of ritualized/ serial abuse.
19. Interview process: Do not ask leading or suggestive questions. Use victims' terminology and do not interpret what they are saying. (document verbatim). Assess the victims' verbalization skills. Let the child speak in narrative form. This allows for continuity during the interviewing process and prevents tainting the outcome of the interview. Keep questions open-ended. Avoid yes/no responses.
20. Be willing to open up to new theories from team members. Don't get locked into one road with no alternate route.
21. Don't draw conclusions nor document them in report. These are complex cases and lengthy investigations.
22. Avoid narcissistic denial and narcissistic approach - "This case will make my career."
23. VICTIM SAFETY FIRST!
ADULT SUPERNATURAL SUBCULTURE
In CA, there are numerous organized groups involved in the supernatural subculture, however, no evidence has ever been brought forward to prove that any organized group is involved in a conspiracy to commit ritualistic crimes. Of greater concern to law enforcement are adults who "dabble" in this subculture.
Individuals such as Charles Manson, Richard Ramirez, Clifford St. Joseph, and, possibly, Leonard Lake, have studied supernatural spiritualism merely to justify horrendous criminal acts that they already had the desire to commit. Adolescents, usually suffer from deep-rooted psychological problems that are then manifested through the belief system. In other words, they have found a way to commit the crime without having to accept any internal responsibility or guilt.
Individuals throughout history have committed bizarre crimes in the name of God. These are isolated cases and no connection has been shown between the perpetrators and organized movements, however, many of these individuals have made attempts to communicate with or join groups, with little or no success.
Santeria is an Afro-Cuban religion that is rooted in the Yoruba tribe in Nigeria. As immigrants have come to the United States from Cuba, they have brought this religion with them. It combines voodoo with catholicism which has been perverted to suit the Santeros' needs.
A large number of animal mutilations within the State of CA have been directly attributed to Santeros.
Many practice their religion on an individual basis and do not become involved in organized groups, however, a concerted effort is taking place in Southern CA amongst Santeros to be allowed to conduct animal sacrifices within their church.
This state currently recognizes animal sacrifice as a religious rite. Many individuals who are concerned with this issue are speaking out against animal sacrifice for spiritual purposes.
A few homicides, including two in San Francisco, since 1981, were conducted by practitioners of Santeria.
RITUAL INDICATORS AND CRIME SCENE CLUES
The following indicators may be used to assist investigators in determining if a crime is ritual based. The presence of these indicators in and of themselves does not define this modus operandi for a crime and should only be used as an investigative aid:
1. Animal and fowl mutilations including the removal of specific organs: (head, heart, tongue, eyes, digits)
2. Homicides involving decapitation/mutilation, removal of specific organs, branding of specific symbolism
3. Cannibalism or absence of blood in victim or at scene.
4. Removal of hair.
5. Wax, powders, oils, on or around body or crime scene area. (Used as controlling substances during rituals).
6. Altars, candles, or chalices. Biblical passages, occult writings, writings in non-discernable alphabet, graffiti).
7. Symbols: inverted crosses, pentagrams, inverted pentagrams, etc.
8. Goat's head
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