Satanism and Witchcraft – The Occult and the West – Paganism

By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon; ©2003
Several well-known serial killers in the past few years have admitted an interest in Satanism. How much has that interest contributed to their criminal activity?

Satanism and Witchcraft: The Occult and the West – Paganism

We think that we ignore the revival of paganism at our own risk. Let us give an example. Like some science-fiction horror story where the AIDS virus assumes human form and hunts down victim after victim, serial killers now stalk the land—estimates range from several hundred to several thousand. We think the chances are good that many (not all) serial killers initially began their slaughter inspired by Satanism or other forms of the occult.

Collectively, serial killers may be responsible for thousands of murders. (A few have at least confessed to murders in the hundreds.) We are familiar with some of the names: Ted Bundy and Charles Boardman each murdered over 40 people; John Wayne Gacy mur­dered 33 young men and boys. Richard Ramirez (the night stalker) allegedly murdered two dozen people. David Berkowitz (“Son of Sam”) murdered at least six individuals, with seven wounded; Peter Sutcliffe (the “Yorkshire Ripper”) murdered 13 women. Henry Lee Lucas murdered who knows how many. There are also the older cases: Richard Benjamin Speck murdered eight nurses; Charles Manson’s family murdered at least seven people, but according to some authorities probably over 30.

These persons kill large numbers of people wantonly, without remorse; they often mur­der in a vicious manner, further, there are sometimes indications of possible or actual occult or satanic involvement in the lives of these people: Ramirez, Lucas, Berkowitz, Sutcliffe, Manson, etc:

Convicted mass murderers Richard Berkowitz (Son of Sam) in New York and Henry Lee Lucas in Texas have both confessed to being part of Satanic cults involving blood sacrifice. In Montana, Stanley Dean Baker dismembered a man he had stabbed 27 times, took out his heart and ate it. He had one of the man’s fingers in his pocket at the time of his arrest…. In Massachusetts, a Satanic cult killed a 20-year-old woman, cut off her fingers, slit her throat, and severed her head and kicked it around. The leader, Carl Drew, then had sex with the decapitated body.[1]

Further, the connection between gruesome murders and spirit possession has long been noted. Psychic researcher and authority on spiritism in the 1920s, Carl A. Wickland, M.D., observed that “in many cases of revolting murder, investigation will show that the crimes were committed by innocent persons [sic] under the control of disembodied spirits who had taken complete possession of the murderer.”[2] Although we disagree such persons are “innocent,” or with Wickland’s mediumistic view of such spirits (deceased men who were evil), the spiritistic hypothesis is credible biblically (Psalm 106:35-40; John 8:44), histori­cally, and culturally. In Murder for Magic: Witchcraft in Africa, Alastair Scolri notes, “This type of killing [ritual murder] can be found in a great many African tribes and districts.”[3] He refers to “the rise in ritual murder, the utter brutality of the crimes [and] the hideous beliefs that lead to them.”[4]

Why do we think some serial killers may be satanically inspired?

In 1987 award-winning reporter Maury Terry published The Ultimate Evil: An Investiga­tion of America’s Most Dangerous Satanic Cult.[5] In that text he links mass murderers Charles Manson and David Berkowitz to a gruesome satanic networking that crisscrosses America and is murdering untold numbers of persons:

There is compelling evidence of the existence of a nationwide network of satanic cults, some aligned more closely than others. Some are purveying narcotics; others have branched into child pornography and violent sadomasochistic crime, including murder. I am concerned that the toll of innocent victims will steadily mount unless law enforcement officials recognize the threat and face it.
Unlike some of those authorities, I’ve been there. I know how serious the situation is.[6]

With the drug/pornography/snuff film/occult links to the Atlanta child murders in mind as well, one can only ask, how many serial killers were bred and born within the blood-soaked loins of that segment of occultism that has traveled throughout history within almost all cultures, murdering and sacrificing collectively millions of innocent people?

Now America is receiving a taste of that paganism which she is increasingly turning to. And as far as the satanic cult leaders whom Terry exposes, “There is not a shred of evi­dence to suggest they have stopped recruiting young people, stopped twisting impression­able minds or stopped planning the periodic slaying of victims.”[7]

But concerning the level of ignorance that exists within society in general and the church in particular as to these activities, we are reminded of a statement by scientist Ralph Lapp, concerned over the implications of the scientific and technological revolutions:

No one, not even the most brilliant scientist alive today, really knows where science is taking us today. We are aboard a train which is gathering speed, racing down a track on which there are an unknown number of destinations. No single scientist is in the engine cab and there may be demons at the switch. Most of society is in the caboose looking backward.[8]

And that seems to be the position of society, law enforcement agencies, and the church concerning Satanism: in the caboose looking backward. Larry Kahaner’s Cults That Kill reveals that police authorities often give their officers strict orders not to discuss occult crimes. Many captains simply refuse to believe such crimes even exist. It is too bizarre, it is bad public relations for municipalities, lawyers will use the concept of satanic influence to plead diminished capacity, Satanism is protected by the First Amendment, etc., are some of the reasons for avoiding the reality.

We simply do not want to believe in evil at so horrendous a level, and so nothing is done and the evil proliferates.

Maury Terry shows that (as was true for the Atlanta murders) the Berkowitz murders were done on witchcraft holidays[9] and he cites certain types of murders connected with corpses, body wounds, and sexual activity that are sickening beyond belief. He observes that police departments are still skeptical, “virtually powerless,” and woefully unprepared to deal with the problem, and yet that most of the Satanists “are young and successful people from professional walks of life.”[10] He also makes it clear that no one is safe. In mentioning one of the groups he reveals some startling facts:

New information which made its way to me in mid-July of 1986 was specific: not only was the Chingon cult still active; it had now established strong financial ties with a private college in the Los Angeles area. The cult’s wealthy leaders were said to be funding the institution, and satanic activity was in fact flourishing on the campus.
At the same time, police in the Los Angeles area and two former L.A. Satanists sent word that an East Coast cult branch allied with the Chingons—the Black Cross—was operating as an elite “hit squad” for various U.S. satanic groups involved in drug and pornography enterprises. Obviously, the narcotics and child-porn details further confirmed earlier New York prison allegations. And as for the Black Cross itself, it appeared to be closely linked to the [Son of] Sam cult in New York and existed for one purpose: murder.
Its function, the California contacts said, was the elimination of defecting cult members or other enemies, including innocent people who inadvertently learned about a given group’s illegal activities. Murder, anywhere in the country, was now but a phone call away for the cults tied in to the Chingon network.[11]



  1. John Frattarola, Passport Magazine, Special Report, 1986, published by Calvary Chapel Church in West Covina, CA, p. 3.
  2. Carl Wickland, 30 Years Among the Dead (Van Nuys, CA: New Castle Publishing, 1974 rpt.), p. 116.
  3. Alastair Scolri, Magic For Murder: Witchcraft in Africa (London: Cassell & Co., 1965), p. 49.
  4. Ibid., p. 118.
  5. Maury Terry, The Ultimate Evil: An Investigation of America’s Most Dangerous Satanic Cult (Gar­den City, NY: Dolphin/Doubleday, 1987).
  6. Ibid., p. 511.
  7. Ibid., p. xiii.
  8. Ralph Lapp, The New Priesthood (1961), p. 29.
  9. Terry, The Ultimate Evil, p. 170.
  10. Ibid., pp. 509-11.
  11. Ibid., p. 510.

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