Those who commit crimes for theologically evil purposes are occult practitioners who must commit heinous crimes to obey the requirements of their particular belief system. They are usually manipulators who derive personal power from controlling others; their occult spirituality gives them such power.
Those who commit crimes for theologically good purposes are occult practitioners whose actions may or may not be criminal based upon cultural and legal standards. For instance, Santeria practitioners neither consider animal sacrifice immoral or illegal; yet animal sacrifice for religious reasons is illegal in some states and localities.
True criminals are persons who use the occult as an excuse to justify or rationalize their criminal behavior. They act individually or within occult groups which can and do "act as a social binding mechanism for some people to do what they want to do." (Kahaner interview, April 11, 1989.) True criminals both dabble with the occult and are involved in rituals that fit their particular physical, sexual, psychological, social, economic, and/ or spiritual needs; they are committed not to the belief system, but to the criminal action. Some law enforcement agencies call these occult criminals predatory and psychopathic ritualists.
Predatory Ritualists commit ritualistic crime because they crave power, financial gain and/or sexual gratification. Perpetrators most often prey upon certain victims - especially children - and use them for a wide array of sexual and economic means. An example of a predatory ritualistic criminal is the child sex ring organizer.
Psychopathic Ritualists commit ritualistic crime to satisfy their own deluded means. Perpetrators have obsessional or delusional personalities that allow them to twist religious symbolism to meet their specific psychopathic needs. Examples of such personalities are Charles Manson and the "Night stalker", Richard Ramirez.
Thus, true believers are motivated by their belief system and utilize ritualistic methods to commit their criminal actions.
True criminals are motivated by criminal instincts or desires and utilize both dabbling and ritualistic methods. But are these methods and motives applicable primarily to individuals who adopt an individualistic occult theology, or are they applicable to certain occult groups? Technically, any individual occultist could be responsible for any type of crime.
He or she could be a true believer or a true criminal. In many law enforcement agencies, these lone individuals are considered the most dangerous and perhaps the most crazed.
Certain occult groups, however, are rarely, if ever, linked as a group to occult crime. In particular, the law enforcement officials contacted for this study stated that very few if any of the Neo-Pagan or Wiccan groups with whom they were familiar were involved in criminal activity directly related to their particular belief systems. The occult groups law enforcers target as most prone to possible criminal involvement are Santeria, Palo Mayombe and Satanism. This does not mean these groups actually are involved in criminal activity, but rather that some evidence exists to link them to certain activities. In some cases, as will be demonstrated in this and the remaining chapter, clear links have been established.
A general profile of the Youth Subculture Satanist has been compiled by San Francisco Police Department's veteran occult investigator, Sandi Gallant.
Youth Subculture Satanists are primarily male, Caucasian adolescents who exhibit various behavior problems that have gone unnoticed or undiagnosed; are intelligent but who underachieve; are creative and have high levels of curiosity; have low self-esteem; come from middle to upper-middle class families, some of whom may be dysfunctional or detached; have difficulty relating to peers; and who seek power and attention. Their belief system allows them to become involved in crime without having to accept any internal responsibility or guilt for it. (Gallant interview, April 3, 1989.)
A general profile of the Self-styled Satanist - the adult counterpart to the Youth Subculture Satanist, has been compiled by Dr. Martin Sanchez Jankowski. Dr. Jankowski was independently approached by three Satanic groups in the San Femando valley who asked him to become their informal historian. For two years, he I regularly visited each group to observe their rituals and I ceremonies. (Members wore masks during all encounters with Dr. Jankowski to protect their identities.) From his preliminary observations of 94 members in all three groups, he created a tentative profile:
Members were males and females primarily, between the ages of 20 and 28. The vast majority were from Caucasian middle to upper class families with traditional Christian backgrounds (as opposed to fundamentalist or "born again" backgrounds.) Most were high school educated and some had college degrees or some post-secondary schooling. The majority held odd jobs and a few had connections with the drug industry. The members referred to themselves as Satanists. Their rituals included flagellating and scarring themselves, especially their genitals; group sex; sacrificing animals such as dogs, cats and chickens; drinking the blood of sacrificed animals; and burning and burying the innards of sacrificed animals. (Jankowski interview, May 10, 1989.)