Teens and the Occult; what parents need to know… After many years of so-called experts “warning you

about the dangers of the occult to your kids”, and most of them being debunked as frauds (or people with obvious religious bigotry towards any faith that was not their own), perhaps it’s time to tell the real truth. It’s time the truth won out over mass hysteria, ignorance, fear and bigotry. Well we don’t have witch burnings anymore, right? Witch trials are a thing of the past, or are they? From the 1970’s through the early 1990’s there was a period of time when many books were written and the press sensationalized “Satanism” as the new extreme fad young people were involved in. Blame that evil heavy metal music! Burn it! Every so often some talk show would have “victims” of SRA (satanic ritual abuse) on who would tell wild stories of babies being eaten, or sacrificed. They would tell wild tales of orgies and bonfires where drugs were readily available. It was an easy answer to a complex set of problems. We’ve all heard these stories. Eventually after the early 90’s they went away, for the most part. Nobody hears about why the stories went away. Many of the fear mongers were discredited, by Christians and non Christians alike. The Lanning report to congress debunked most of the stories of SRA (Satanic Ritual Abuse) as being unfounded urban legends and media hype. There was no forensic evidence, and many of the “victims” later came out and recanted their stories. Some criminal cases were dismissed due to the leading questioning of social workers, child psychologists and police. The lack of forensic evidence did not help either. Despite this, the belief in “Satanic child pedophile rings” persisted among many involved in the fundamentalist Christian movement. Many Wiccans came out of the broom closet, and people were likely to know someone who was. These weren’t the rabid “Satan worshipping” type of people, more like hippy bunny huggers. They were becoming more likely to fight back as well when they felt they had been misrepresented in the press. People started seeing that Wiccans were not evil people, but their neighbors, friends and family members. That killed the ideas (mostly spread by fundamentalist Christians) that witches were all baby killing, devil worshippers. Many areas and towns have a small circle of Wiccans who practice their beliefs in homes, or at the local parks. Recently the panic is having a renaissance. It’s the same old “warning signs” that your teenager may be “at risk” (most of those disturbing signs were called “being a teenager”). Some ex-cops and so called “experts” are at it again. Now this time they are warning you of the “dangers of the vampire (or occult) community”. Here we go again, same old story just a new name. Most of these so called “experts” have not undergone any official training that certifies them as an “occult expert”. I know of one who, when I asked where he got his facts from, he said “well I’ve been a cop for 30 years, and investigated various cases...” That doesn’t mean he knows anything about the occult, and from his presentation I can tell you that he didn’t. Most of what he does know is rehashed “satanic panic” crap that was debunked by Ken Lanning, the head of the Behavioral Analysis Unit for the FBI. You can Google the Lanning report and download the report for yourself. At the end of his seminar he said “if I’m wrong, tell me” and looked right at me when he said it. I took him up on his offer, and he did everything he could to brush me aside. He didn’t want the truth; he wanted to sell fear to the fundies. I even invited the man out to dinner, and he

took off like his butt was on fire. Why this man is still teaching cops this with my tax dollars is beyond me, other than the fact that many politicians in my state have ties to the fundamentalist Christian community and don’t want to loose those campaign dollars. I’ve considered contacting the media just to push the “waste of taxpayer dollars” issue. So I guess I should answer the one question many of you have at this point, what is the Occult? How do you define it? Occult is an old Greek term meaning “hidden teachings”. Why were they hidden? To make a long story short, look up the inquisition, or burning times. Anybody who didn’t practice as the church dictated was burned alive as a heretic. Not a pleasant way to go! The reasons these teachings continue to be hidden today, in our age of religious freedom, are many. Many teachings are still hidden out of tradition. More often than not, it is out of fear of persecution. People still face harassment at work, and in their communities in the US and throughout the world. In Africa and India, women and children are injured, killed and sometimes burned to death by “witch hunters”. There are cases in the US of parents having their children taken away by well meaning social workers because they didn’t understand the difference between Wicca and Satanism. Parents have lost custody and visitation rights in divorce proceedings, because one parent was Pagan. There have been cases of assaults, worship centers vandalized and even politicians contributing to the hate (look up Bob Barr and his comments against wiccans). There are still those politicians who would love to take away our right to worship freely, in favor of instituting a theocracy. Check out the background of some of your conservative politicians, you’d be surprised what you find. Those who scream loudest about religious freedom are the last people to defend it for non-Christians. Parents, let me assure you, those who are involved with the Occult (which can include Wicca and Paganism) are not out to recruit your kids. You can have them! Most of them don’t have an attention span long enough to sit and read anything longer than a comic book! If it’s not a movie or a video game, forget it. Since we are on the subject of movies, let me say this now, Harry Potter has nothing to do with real witches or the craft! Forget what the fundies (aka, fundamentalist Christians) have told you. Your kid is not going to go out and sacrifice the family cat and listen to Cradle of Filth* just because he watched (or read) Harry Potter. It is a great series of books that, if anything, encourages kids to read. Last I checked that was a good thing. As someone who has researched various occult practices over the years, here’s what I can tell you. There is no reputable occult lodge, circle, community or school that allows members who are not legal adults (which in most of the US is 18). They do not proselytize; go out seeking members or new recruits. They won’t wind up knocking on your door at the crack of dawn on Saturday. There are many reasons for this. One is that teenagers are ever changing. One month they want to be a rock star, next month they want to be something else. Most teenagers, who do look at the occult, do so through the lenses of the media and Hollywood. It’s a distorted view. They want the quick fix they see in the movies and on TV. When most of them see that most, if not all occult studies, are a lifelong course of study and practice, they loose interest. Reason number two, hysterical parents and the media. Let’s say, hypothetically, a kid comes home to tell mom and dad, “Hey guess what, I’m not gonna go to your church anymore! I’m going to go practice witchcraft in the woods with my new friends.” Say that the kid listens to rock bands like H.I.M. and 69 Eyes. Now the parents watch the news and the local self appointed “occult specialist” tells them that “the occult is trying to

lure your kids into crime and devil worship!” Never mind the fact that the “specialist” is getting paid tons of $ for his appearance, has ties to the local fundamentalist churches, and has no real facts or any scientific studies to back up his statements. The parents call the police and say “my kid’s been involved with Satanists! What do I do?” They haul the kid into the station; scare the bejesus out of him to tell who his “abusers” are. After hours on end, he relents and gives a few names. Some people are arrested. The headlines read “Satanic Cultists Charged with Child Abuse”. After a few months and the headlines die down, the trial begins. The kid takes the stand and says “no, they did not abuse me, Satan was never involved, ECT” By the time the trial is over, and everyone acquitted, their lives are ruined. Most have lost jobs, homes, families torn apart, kids taken away. The story of the acquittal runs on page 8, which nobody reads. They are tarred and feathered for life as “Devil Worshippers”, even though they were a group of Wiccans. Sounds like a modern day witch hunt, doesn’t it? Imagine a case where the innocent are convicted by hysteria and no real evidence, and despite media attention and public outcry, they remain in jail for over 15 years. This is what has happened in West Memphis Arkansas. The case is known as the West Memphis Three. The most recent target of such “occult specialists” is the Vampyric community. A few cases of predators using the persona of a vampire wound up in the media, and were widely overblown. Most of the people involved in those cases were seriously mentally ill, and had been for some time. Interest in the vampire community may have been a symptom of mental illness but not the cause of the behavior. Once again, the organized vampire community (households, temples, lodges, ECT), do not admit anyone under the age of majority (18 in the US). Most members of the organized community will not socialize with anyone under 18 unless they are immediate family members, just to avoid the accusation of recruiting minors. This includes online conversation as well. If you are interested in what many vampires do believe, look into the Black Veil. It is a general guideline that is followed by most of the community. This is somewhat of a double edged sword. Whereas most people involved in the organized community will not get involved with minors, won’t talk to them on the internet or in chat rooms, which leaves the ones who will. The ones who will may be predators, or someone with severe mental illness who can endanger your child. How often do we see something on the news of some teen who took off with someone they met online and it turns out that the person is a predator? You’d think parents would have enough sense by now to sit down and talk to their kids about street smarts. They don’t just stop on the street. Internet chat rooms can be great, but you never know who you are talking to. It can be anybody. Never agree to meet someone alone, or at their house. If you do meet up with someone (which I don’t suggest), do so in a public place like a mall or a coffee shop. You want to be someplace where there are people around. You also want to be able to leave on your own, so if you do not have a car and your friend is your ride, you stay with your friend. Do not leave with this new person, no matter who they are. Trust your instincts, if something doesn’t feel right, leave. What about these books my kids brought home? What about those? I can’t stop your kid from buying The Satanic Bible, Vampires in their own words, or the Necronomicon. You are the parent! You make those decisions. Instead of freaking out because some so called “expert” has them on his list of “dangerous books”, try reading

them for yourself. I’ve found many parents who found Vampires in their Own Words by Michelle Bellanger to be quite enlightening. Discuss these books with your kids, find out what it is they like about them. Educate yourself, as a way to fight fear and ignorance. No matter what, don’t believe the hype! If you are truly stuck, and don’t know what to do, call in the councilors or psychiatrist. Ask around, and find one who’s used to working with teenagers. Having to get professional help does not mean that you have failed as a parent! It means you care about your child. They didn’t come with a manual when they were born, so sometimes you need an outside opinion. More than likely they will help sort it all out, and address any underlying issues that may or may not be there. “The Occult is not the problem, parents are”- Dr Paul Reilly
*My apologies to Cradle of Filth and their fans.

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