Monday, November 1, 2010

Scary Truth About Satanists: Halloween Special!

The concept of those who worship Satan is hundreds and hundreds of years old and so is the fear associated with those who might be those people.  Often Satanism is connected to torture, murder (serial or otherwise), and child abuse all of which are scary prospects but what's just as frightening is the idea that, under the guise of this "religion" many are excused, and convicted, of crimes they never committed.  From the Salem Witch Trials in 1692 to the West Memphis Three of today there is an almost uncontrollable terror in the idea of possible satanism occurring and, more often than not, it leads to a hysteria that destroys innocent lives.

When In Doubt, Blame Satan

Many people know the general start of this case.  A few young girls in Salem begin to behave strangely and, because they can find no other reason, people in the town turn to the concept of witches casting spells in the name of Satan.  After that happens the concept of Satanists living and cursing among innocent citizens grows into a frenzy of terror that sends 19 people to hang at the gallows, one elderly man to be crushed to death, and numerous others to have their lives ruined.

The possibility of this happening is relatively understandable given the time that this occurred in.  During Puritanical times, times in which God was truly, deeply, believed as real and ever present it's not a surprise that his counter-point, The Devil, would be too.  And, if Satan is believed in, then he care be feared as having the potential to do great harm to others...like God he could, presumably, be worshiped and have followers to do his work.  Add to that the lack of real, scientific and forensic, knowledge then it's hardly surprise, short of any other obvious explanation, the work of The Devil and his followers causes a hysteria that ends up ending lives in towns during the 1600s.

Satanic Ritual Abuse Scare

Satanic Ritual Abuse, SRA for short, goes by a number of different names (ritual abuse, ritualistic abuse, organised abuse, sadistic ritual abuse, among others) is all boils down to the same idea.  From the 1980s-1990s, across the US, and eventually other parts of the world, people seemed panicked over the concept of horrifyingly strange abuses occurring in pre-schools and daycares.  Numerous caretakers were accused, charged, and even convicted, of sexual abuse of small children based on little more than panic and stories told by small children who were given leading interviews by parents and psychiatrists.

While it's understandable, when someone hears of a young child being abused somewhere they should be safe it strikes fears in the heart of every parent, looking back it's hard to believe many of the stories.  Children's stories included "magic rooms", secret tunnels, flying witches, hot-air balloon rides, and, in one case, even Chuck Norris was fingered by a child as the abuser.  Add to that, almost none of the children in these preschools and daycares came out saying they'd been abused on their own...it tended to be the parents (untrained in how to properly interview a child concerning these sorts of crimes and likely already convinced something terrible had happened to their child) who would ask the children about whether or not they were abused, frequently using leading questions or otherwise - no matter how unintentionally - manipulating them into saying they had been abused and then come forward.  ...Even in the relatively modern 1980s and 1990s it seemed that, even though the more devil-oriented aspects were a touch more in the background (the focus, of course, being more on the abuse of small children), Satanism was still feared and lives were still destroyed through the panic it caused.

The West Memphis Three

When cases of torture and murder are discovered frequently people must search for a reason behind it...they're almost desperate to understand why such a terrible thing was done.  This is never more true when the victims are three eight-year-old boys.  The trouble is, sometimes, the fear of some mad killer running around taking, mutilating, and murdering children can cause a reactionary move of arresting the wrong people.  ...This is exactly what happened in West Memphis, Arkansas in 1993.

After the murdered boys were found in a creek in the woods the police seemed to immediately want to close the case - refusing the help of state professionals and others in favor for going after what they felt was the most likely suspect to them...a then 18-year-old young man by the name of Damien Echols.  Echols came from a troubled background and, in a conservative and Evangelical Christian-based city, he stuck out rather plainly in his dark clothes, love of "dark" music and fiction, and occasional run-ins with the law.  Within a month the local police arrested Echols and two others, Jessie Misskelley Jr. (then 17) and Jason Baldwin (then 16) claiming that the teens had killed the children as part of a Satanic ritual.

This case has been a disaster from the start with evidence being poorly treated, stored, and processed, testimony being clearly false or otherwise coerced (including the confession of Misskelley who not only immediately recanted his confession was a minor at the time he was interviewed and has an IQ of 72 making him borderline mentally disabled), and, seemingly, jury misconduct.  Yet these three young men are still in prison today - despite new evidence that clearly shows their innocence, despite some of the young victims' own family members now coming forward saying they believe the men to be innocent and would like the case reexamined to know who truly killed their children, and despite what seems like a great injustice.

Don't Be Afraid

...Sadly nothing can be done about the Salem Witch Trials except for us to learn from those mistakes.  More sadly, however, is that it doesn't seem that always happens as proven by the Satanic Ritual Abuse cases and the West Memphis Three.  It's natural to fear bad things happening to you and your loved ones, to search for any reason that a terrible thing might happen outside "just because", and to go after those you feel are evil in some way.  But it's unwise, and even dangerous, to fear the concept of Satanism (or anything else) to the point that you ignore facts and/or your own logic.

Author's Note: The West Memphis Three (and the families of those three eight-year-old boys) are still trying to find justice.  Please go to Free The West Memphis Three and read the whole story.  Understand how carelessness, presumptions, and fear can railroad others...can railroad the very concept of fairness and justice. 

1 comment:

dpd said...

Great update on the West Memphis Three . Jessie's statements don't pass the laugh test - he was NEVER able to give anything close to a narrative nor anything that came close to aligning with the physical evidence.

In fact, there isn't a hair, a fingerprint, an allele, a footprint, or a strand of DNA .... and they've tested many, many items over the years. And Damien wore Army boots and had hair down his back. There's NADA that links them.

There is DNA and a footprint that links the actual killer... whose day is coming.

Anyone interested in following the case should check out http://www.wm3blackboard.com -- run by one of the victims' families (who is a vocal supporter of the WM3).

* * * Justice for 6 = Free the 3 + Arrest the 1 * * *