Ritual Abuse: The Evidence Surfaces
Daniel Ryder, CCDC, LSW
following lyrics are from a song about Satanic ritual abuse off Joan
Baezís latest album, Play Me Backwards. Incidentally, itís the
donít have to play me backwards
To get the meaning of my verse.
You donít have to die and go to hell
To feel the devilís
not only the "devilís curse" survivors of Satanic ritual
abuse have been feeling of late. They have also been feeling the
curse of a pronounced societal backlash. In some circles now, the
stories of some of the most heinous abuse imaginable - sexual abuse,
brainwashing, torture, murder/sacrifice - are being labeled as
"patently false." Therapists are being accused of planting
these memories. And, for instance, the FBI has come out debunking
the phenomenon, saying, unequivocally, there is no tangible evidence
organized Satanic ritual abuse exists at all.
my research shows it does exist. And
indications are we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg of a
social phenomenon that, when totally exposed, will rock the core of
the last four years, I have crises-crossed the country interviewing
cult researchers, ritual crime investigators, task force members,
therapists, investigative reporters, cult survivors...as part of an
in-depth investigation on the issue of Satanic ritual abuse. And,
the research has yielded some extremely eye-opening things.
most eye-opening hasnít been the mutilated backwoods remains of a
cult victimís body in Massachusetts. It wasnít the bloody
pentagram carved into a cult victimís corpse in San Francisco. The
most eye-opening, has been a widely cited Law Enforcement
Perspective report out of the FBIís Behavioral Science Center in
report was written by supervisory special agent Kenneth Lanning. It
has gone out to law enforcement agencies around the country; and has
been cited consistently throughout the media the last several years.
report states, in regards to "organized" Satanic ritual
abuse homicide (that is, two or more Satanic cult members conspiring
to commit murder): "The law enforcement perspective canít
ignore the lack of physical evidence (no bodies, or even hairs,
fibers, or fluids left by violent murders."
following is an excerpt from a March 13, 1981, UPI article:
Mass. -- The alleged leader of a devil worship cult was found guilty
of first degree murder Friday in the ritual killing of a young Fall
River, Mass. prostitute last year. Carl Drew, 26, stood pale and
expressionless as the verdict was announced. He was immediately
sentenced to life imprisonment by superior court judge Francis W.
Keating...Miss Marsden was allegedly killed, mutilated and beheaded
by Drew and two others in a blood-soaked night time ritual in a
wooded area because she wanted to leave the cult."
1993, House Bill 1689 was introduced in the Massachusetts
Legislature. It is a bill prohibiting "Certain Ritualistic
Acts." Some of these acts include: ritual mutilation,
dismemberment, torture, the sacrifice of animals, humans...(A
similar bill was passed in Idaho in 1990).
in the 1993 Avon Books release: Raising Hell, author/investigative
reporter Michael Newton writes, "While some cult apologists may
be forgiven their ignorance of current events, (FBI) Agent Lanning
-- with access to nationwide police files -- should know better. As
this volume amply demonstrates, cult related killers stand convicted
of murder in 23 states and at least nine foreign countries. Numerous
other occultists are now serving time for practicing their
"faith" through acts of arson, rape, assault, cruelty to
animals, and similar crimes."
organization, Looking Up, founded initially as a nationwide
support/referral program for incest survivors, serves approximately
15,000 people a year, 40% of whom now are reporting they are dealing
with ritualistic or cult related abuse. According to a spokesperson
for JUSTUS Unlimited in Denver, a non-profit referral and resource
center, they are currently receiving more than 7,000 Satanic ritual
abuse related calls a year. (Whatís more, they are also hearing
from all over the world: Australia, New Zealand, England, The
Netherlands, Germany, Israel, Canada...)
the tangible evidence now surfacing, and given the volume of people
reporting Satanic cult related abuse, it would seem curious the FBI
would come out with such a definitive stance attempting to discredit
the increasing phenomenon. Of course, then again, it was the same
FBI that for more than the first half of this century consistently
said there was no evidence whatsoever of another type of
"organized" criminal activity. That is -- Mafia related
Satanic cults are somewhat similar to Mafia crime families.
is, for instance, extreme secrecy through code of silence
programming. This is usually initiated with the signing of a
"blood" contract. Wendell Amstutz, author of Satanism in
America, said these contracts are generally signed in the initiateís
own blood. The contract, said Amstutz, usually demands life-long
obedience. And breaking it means death.
that'ís exactly what it meant for the four California Satanic cult
defectors one fateful night in 1990. The defectors were tracked to
an apartment on, of all places, Elm Street in the small town of
defectors were beaten and stabbed. Finally, they were decapitated.
was left behind rivaled the carnage of the Tate-LaBianca crime
trail led back to five Satanic cult members, and the story began to
five who were indicted were part of a 55-member Satanic cult that
was operating out of a compound in Salida. Cult members stretched
across a three-county are, with a number of them holed-up in a
Salida compound (homes and trailers), somewhat similar to Wacoís
Branch Davidian complex. Except for one thing: What was going on in
the Salida compound for the most part made what was going on in Waco
seem like a Disney production.
Cerny, Director of the Northern Chapter of Californiaís Ritual
Crime Investigatorís Association, had followed the cult closely.
And after the indictments, he interviewed several of the cult
members and reviewed extensive diaries theyíd kept.
said the cult worshipped Satan, followed the teachings of renowned
Satanist Aleister Crowley, engaged in sexual abuse, ritual torture
including electric shock, child abuse, murder...In other words, many
of the same things Satanic ritual abuse survivors have been
also said it was reported cult members were from all walks of life.
This even included a dentist, a minister, and a woman enrolled in a
law enforcement class at a local community college. (Satanic cult
members arenít, by any means, always tattooed teen bikers who have
listened to one too many Metallica albums, Often, Satanic ritual
abuse survivors report their cult perpetrators are respected members
of the community: doctors, law enforcement officials, PTA members,
little league coaches...This all, apparently, is part of the
of the Matomoros cult members responsible for some of the 13 grisly
murder/sacrifices in Mexico a few years back, was majoring in law
enforcement at Texas Southmost College at the time she was arrested.
California cult was a very secretive, close-knit, sophisticated
Satanic cult was run under the iron fist of charismatic leader, high
priest, Gerald Cruz. And, as David Koresh had done in Waco, Cruz
used sleep deprivation, brainwashing, torture...to keep members in
line. At a trial in Oakland in December, 1992, cult expert and
psychologist, Daniel Goldstine, would characterize Cruz as
"evil and sadistic."
jury thought so too. Cruz and two other cult members were sentenced
to death for the murders. Two other cult members got life. "Now
letís project this 20 to 25 years down the road," Cerny
continued. "Say someone walks into a police department or
therapistís office and says, ĎIím starting to have memories
that my dad was a leader of this Satanic cult in California. And
they would brainwash people, torture them with electric shock,
sexually abuse me, sacrifice animals, kill people...í "
wondered if that would all be passed off as a "false
syndicated columnist Molly Ivins might well have passed it off as
just that. In a May, 1994, column, Ms. Ivins wrote: "...social
workers who deal with child abuse have nightmares about the people
who come up with patently false recovered memories of Satanic ritual
Beerle seemed to be nobodyís "false recovered memory."
The following is a February 18, 1992, Newsday article excerpt:
York -- Members of a cult here killed ballerina Monika Beerle in
August, 1989, and then dismembered her and fed her flesh to the
homeless as part of a Satanic ritual, law enforcement sources said
yesterday after arresting a cult member in connection with the
slaying. "The public isnít generating enough momentum to get
police mobilized around this (Satanic ritual abuse) issue at this
point," explained Akron, Ohio Police Captain Jerry Foys. And
John Hunt, Sherman, Texas ritual crime investigator says that
"because of the FBI report, the stigma around Satanism and
other factors have made it hard to get internal police department
support in following up on the ritual aspects of a crime."
and Foys both said they believe the Satanic ritual abuse is quite
widespread -- and extremely dangerous.
definitely proved dangerous for an alcoholic drifter known only as
John Doe No. 60, whose body was found in San Francisco. According to
a May 6, 1988, San Francisco Chronicle article:
victim had a pentagram carved into his chest, lash marks across his
buttocks, a stab wound to his neck, wax in his right eye and hair,
and a sliced lip. The naked body was virtually drained of
St. Joseph, 46, was eventually convicted and sentenced to 34 years
to life for the killing.
his book, Raising Hell, Michael Newton writes when police
came to St. Josephís apartment nine days after the body was found,
they found St. Joseph dressed in a black robe, companion Michael
Bork, 26, stripped to the waist, his face daubed with cosmetics, and
another man, Edward Spela, 26, passed out from drugs. In the middle
of the room was a 19-year old man, who was laying on the floor,
handcuffed and surrounded by candles.
to the San Francisco Chronicle:
said that St. Joseph appeared to be part of a Satanic cult that
involved men of means in San Franciscoís gay community."
John Doe No. 60ís mutilated body was real. It was nobodyís false
term popular culture has latched onto tightly in the last couple of
years is the very clinical sounding, false memory syndrome. It is a
term coined by the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania based False Memory
Syndrome Foundation (FMSF), which is an advocacy group for people
whose children have accused them of either sexual abuse and/or
Satanic ritual abuse.
its scientific sounding title, there is actually no such thing as a
clinically acknowledged category for "false memory
syndrome," reports Judith Herman, an associate clinical
professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and author of the
book, Trauma and Recovery. "The very name FMSF is prejudicial
and misleading," said Dr. Herman. "There is no such
syndrome, and we have no evidence reported memories are false. We
only know they are disputed."
professionals dealing with Satanic ritual abuse believe we are
seeing the beginnings of a phenomenon that might well mushroom into
staggering proportions. And they draw a parallel to the amazing
evolution of the sexual abuse field.
recently as the 1970s," said Herman, "rape was considered
rare, and incest was regarded as a universal taboo. Less than twenty
years ago, for example, the Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry
estimated the prevalence of all forms of incest at one case per
million population. And popular and professional literature [as in
the case with SRA survivors now] routinely questioned the character
of victims, and disparaged the credibility of women who made claims
of assault. Today, however, widespread sexual abuse/incest has been
the case of false memory allegations, perhaps we should be spending
a bit more time actually questioning the character of some of those
accusing the "alleged" victims of confabulation. And
perhaps we should start at the False Memory Syndrome Foundation
following is an excerpt from a February 29, 1992, FMSF Newsletter
where the organization claims it is:
in the business of representing pedophiles...We are a good-looking
bunch of people: graying hair, well-dressed, healthy, smiling...Just
about every person is someone you would likely find interesting and
want to count as a friend."
Baez's song goes on:
the night begin
Thereís a pop of skin
And a sudden rush of scarlet
Thereís a little boy riding on a
And a little girl playing the harlot
Itís a sacrifice in an empty church
Sweet little baby Rose...
1989 Cleveland Plain Dealer article excerpt reads:
Norwalk area residents charged with opening two graves, beheading
the corpses and stealing the skulls, were part of a cult that had
recently gotten instructions on how to sacrifice babies to Satan,
Norwalk police said yesterday. "Weíre taking this very
seriously," he [Police Chief Gary Dewalt] said."
society should take the police chief's lead, in a lot of different
areas regarding this problem. For one, many youth are bombarded with
Satanic symbols, images, lyrics...One area where it is probably the
most prevalent is in the heavy/black metal music scene. For
instance, the heavy metal band Venom sings:
glowing, altars burn
Virginís death is needed ther
Sacrifice to Lucifer my master
Bring the chalice, raise the knife
Welcome to my sacrifice..."
a passing phase kids go through? Just lyrics?
5, 1993 -- Three eight year old boys were riding their bikes down a
country road in West Memphis, Arkansas. Suddenly they were forced
off the road and horribly killed. One of the suspects accused in the
murders, Jessie Lloyd Miskelly, Jr., 17 according to wire service
reports, told police that the murders were tied to a teen Satanic
cult sacrifice. "Miskelly said the children were lured into a
wooded area of West Memphis known as Robin Hood Park, choked until
they were unconscious, then brutalized in various ways -- including
to a March 8, 1994 article on the trial appearing in the West
Memphis The Commercial Appeal: "A witness last week told him
Baldwin (one of the accused) told him he sucked the blood from one
victim after he mutilated him."
indicated the Satanic cult in Salida, California, followed the
teachings of renowned Satanist Aleister Crowley. In his book, Magick
in Theory and Practice, Crowley wrote, "The blood is the
life...any living thing is the storehouse of energy...at the death
of the animal this energy is liberated suddenly. The animal should
therefore be killed within the Circle, or Triangle, so that itís
energy cannot escape...For the highest spiritual working one must
accordingly choose that victim which the greatest and purest force.
A male child of perfect innocence is the most satisfactory and
a good bet that seven year old Yvando Caetano, like most seven year
olds, was living a life in "perfect innocence" in the
small town of Guaratuba, Brazil. This may well have been the
precipitating factor in his death. According to a July 28, 1992,
Cable News Network (CNN) report/transcript, Yvando was found in a
shallow grave. His arms and legs had been dismembered, his internal
organs cut out. Ritual implements used during the ceremony were also
found near the body.
Jose Moscic Favetti said police believed the mayorís wife and
daughter were involved with a Satanic cult, and that the wife had
paid five cult members to sacrifice Yvando to Satan -- in return for
the mayor having a good political year.
stories (about different aspects of cult rituals) are very much the
same, whether itís someone reporting about a ceremony in
Melbourne, Australia, Vermont, Utah..." said Dr. Judianne
Densen-Gerber. "This leads me to believe, not only are the
cults all over, but because of the similarities, many are also
Densen-Gerber is a New York Psychiatrist who has treated a number of
SRA survivors since 1980. She also has a law degree, and is the
founder of PACT (Protect Americaís Children Today).
American children in danger because of these Satanic cults? Well,
the small town in Brazil might provide some clues. Besides the death
of 7-year old Yvando in July, 10 other children had come up missing
in Guarutuba since January of that year.
to Brandon Perez, initial Development Director of the National
Missing Childrenís Center, based in Houston, Texas, there are
currently some 4000,000 abductions a year in the United States of
which, said Perez, almost 50% of the children are never found. Perez
added that many of these cases are not adequately tracked.
his book, The Franklin Cover-up: Child Abuse, Satanism and Murder
in Nebraska, author and former Nebraska State Senator John
DeCamp interviewed 28 year veteran FBI agent Ted Gunderson.
Since his retirement from the FBI, Gunderson has been actively
investigating reports of Satanic ritual abuse.
from Gundersonís investigations has convinced him tens of
thousands of children or young people disappear from their homes
each year, and that many of them are ritualistically
sacrificed...nobody knows the true figure because the FBI doesnít
keep count. Gunderson observes, ĎThe FBI has an accurate count on
the number of automobiles stolen every year. It knows the number of
homicides, rapes, and robberies, but the FBI has no idea of the
number of children who disappear every year. They simply do not ask
for the statistics.í Gunderson goes onto say he believes they donít
ask for the statistics, simply, because they donít want to see
them. "They would be confronted with an instant public outcry
for action, because the figures would show a major social problem
that would demand action.í"
itís not just the tragedy of the missing children that come up
dead as a result of this savage cult abuse -- there are many
children that are "walking wounded."
Hudson, LCSW, a child therapist with a county health outpatient
department in northern California began to identify the symptoms of
SRA in several children who had been referred to her in 1985. What
was to follow was a most frightening phenomenon. Throughout the
remainder of 1985 and into 1986, twenty-four children, all from the
same day care center, all exhibiting varying degrees of ritual abuse
symptoms, were brought to her by concerned parents. (What was even
more amazing, said Hudson, was that the cases came to her
individually, without the parents initially talking among each
of the symptoms included frequent night terrors, night sweats,
extreme separation anxiety, uncontrolled vomiting, 3,4, and 5 year
olds acting out sexually in bizarre, sadistic manners...all
indicators of significant trauma. As Hudson continued to work with
the children, the Satanic ritual abuse stories started to surface:
the children reported being locked in cages, buried for short
periods in coffins, injected with drugs, defecated and urinated on,
sexually abused, forced to watch animal and human sacrifice...
took the information to authorities, but the District Attorneyís
office decided not to prosecute. A disappointed Hudson said she
attributes the decision to the lack of physical evidence, and the
children being perceived as too young, and also considered too
emotionally traumatized for the stories to appear credible to a
several years later, a jury in Austin, Texas, did find childrenís
stories of sexual and Satanic ritual abuse credible enough to put
Franís Day Care directors, Fran and Dan Keller, in prison for
extended sentences. (The Kellers arenít eligible for parole until
with the case in California, the children talked of extreme forms of
abuse: being threatened with guns, being buried alive, forced to
make pornographic movies, watch an infant sacrifice...
addition, my research has also turned up similar day care and school
SRA cases in Florida, several more in California, Massachusetts, New
Jersey, and in Christchurch, New Zealand.
longest trial in American history, Californiaís McMartin Day
School case, was one of the first day care center cases to claim
Satanic ritual abuse. There were some 500 separate reports filed at
the Manhattan Beach Police Department in connection with the case.
The childrenís stories matched those of other cases cited.
However, there was an additional component to the McMartin case. The
children consistently talked of being abused in an underground
tunnel below the day care center.
highly qualified archaeologist, hired by the childrenís families,
talked about a series of what he says were highly questionable
incidents in the search for the elusive tunnels.
Gary Stickle, Ph.D., has worked extensively in the United States and
in Europe, including heading the largest underwater archeological
sonar survey ever conducted in Europe. In addition, he has been a
consultant to Lucas Films in the development of the Indiana Jones
movie series. He has also been professor of Archeology at the
University of California at Long Beach. Stickle said initially a
private investigator went to the day care center site and did some
preliminary informal digging. It is reported, said Stickle, that
this investigator found some rabbit bones in the soil. (The children
talked about rabbits being sacrificed.) However, the day before he
was to testify, the private investigator was found dead from a gun
shot wound. It was determined to be a suicide. But Stickle said that
determination was questioned by more than a few people, given the
timing. Eventually, said Stickle, the prosecution hired an
archeological firm that dug seven pits clustered outside of the
building. (This was curious, said Stickle, because the children were
reporting the abuse had gone on in tunnels below the building.)
Stickle said a remote sensing device was also used at the time, but
it was reported that no tunnels were found. That was 1985.
lack of a tunnel damaged the credibility of the childrenís stories
firm was hired by the parents in 1990. Using a sophisticated ground
penetrating radar, Stickle said a tunnel was found, right where some
of the children had told his staff it would be.
even though evidence of the tunnel was found in May of 1990, while
the trial was still in progress -- the evidence was never introduced
in court, said Stickle.
such a tunnel was highly relevant (to the case)," said Stickle.
"Because it (prior lack of physical evidence of a tunnel) was a
major thing used to discredit the children."
accused McMartin Day Care Center staff were eventually acquitted.
However, some of the McMartin parents havenít quit fighting. A two
hundred page report on the tunnel findings has recently been
released by the parents, in an ongoing effort to keep the case
before the public.
with these children, it is becoming more and more apparent that
there are many adult SRA walking wounded as well. As a result of the
trauma, these are people often afflicted with things like severe
paranoia, schizophrenia, multiple personalities. They are people
almost off the scales in terms of addictions/compulsions,
depression, self-mutilating behavior...
an advancing therapeutic field has developed highly sophisticated
techniques to help survivors. And the prognosis for recovery is
addition, parts of society are also rallying around these survivors.
The County Commission for Women has a Ritual Abuse Task Force in Los
Angeles; there is a state-wide Minnesota Awareness of Ritual Abuse
group; Jireh, headquartered in Arlington, Texas, is a national
program to create safe-houses for cult survivors breaking away; The
International Council on Cultism and Ritual Trauma, in Richardson,
Texas, and a number of cult survivor resource and referral
organizations; ritual abuse twelve-step programs are evolving.
much as we donít want to believe it as a society -- Satanic ritual
abuse is a reality.
And, as was done by the parents in the McMartin Day Care Center
case, we need to be rolling up our sleeves and digging deeper to get
at the whole truth.
25, 1994 was designated National Missing Childrenís Day. Those
postcards that come to our homes so very often donít represent
anybodyís "false memories." Those are real children,
with real fates.
Ryder, CCDC, LSW, an investigative journalist and a counselor,
is the author of Breaking the Circle of Satanic Ritual Abuse.
The above article is based on material from Mr. Ryderís newest
book, Cover-up of the Century (Satanic Ritual Crime and
you are going to work with ritual abuse survivors, you must
also get educated if you want to be effective. And you must
learn to be humble. Trauma survivors do not need to be around
ignorant, modern-day Pharisees. Survivors in pain need people
who will connect with them on an emotional level, get right
down in there where they are, and listen. --Kathleen