Conspiracy: A combination of men for an evil purpose; an agreement, between two or more persons, to commit a crime in concert, as treason; a plot.
It has been a long and slippery road since my first involvement in investigating and researching occult crimes in 1987. Everything seemed very simplistic then, and we had no want of information, crimes or cases to work on.
I have learned some difficult lessons since then, lessons that are vital for anyone seeking to do this work in the new Millennium.
No one in this field expected the massive backlash that began in 1989. Certainly, there were nay sayers and critics of our work; but the work spoke for itself. Det. Larry Jones of Boise ID PD released several years of monthly newsletters documenting – carefully, I must add – real satanic crime and activities. This unique law enforcement & professional publication was unprecedented in its subject matter and unchallenged in its information – fair, constitutionally protective of religious rights, and objective – its only challenge came from those who felt ANY investigative work in this field was bigotry and hate mongering. After the FIle 18 Newsletter mailing list was accessed, and addressees were sent letters threatening lawsuits, monitoring, hexes, curses, etc. if we didn’t watch our step and get all our facts straight, it was apparent that this was a taste of things to come.
But we were not really prepared for it when it did come. Most of us, by 1990, were already overloaded and nearing burnout. When it did come, it came in a Tsunami of criticism, ridicule, threatened lawsuits, and a massive media blitz designed to convince John Q. Public that all the “hoopla” about satanic crime was simply hype, false memories, “satanic panic” and “village folklore.” Before it was over, few of us would survive with our mission intact.
Those of us who remain – as well as those who had to leave the fight – know that what we were facing was a real and serious crime subculture. Except for the one or two who later came to believe it was “much ado about nothing”, my recent conversations with many of the “old guard” indicate that there has been no change in the core belief that we were engaging a stealth, and deadly, cancer that in the end, simply evaded and outwitted us. And still does. But what hasn’t changed is the belief that the need for ongoing training, intelligence and investigation into dangerous occult-related groups and individuals is still crucial.
Because satanic crime has left the media spotlight doesn’t mean it has gone away. Rather, it has simply gone unreported – sometimes unrecognized – and unfortunately, when it IS recognized and reported, the skeptics are scrambled into position to say it’s not satanic before you can say “pentagram.”
I don’t presume to know the motive of those who are so quick to jump on these events to “prove” it has nothing to do with satanism. What I do know is that it has made our job increasingly difficult. Because I truly believe we have merely seen a public lull in these events (it seems to be cyclical in the way it surfaces in the public eye) I believe it is imperative that we learn from the last fifteen years, see where we misstepped, see the bigger picture, and regroup in order to be ready when the next wave comes. I would like to see – both for the “old guard” and the “new kids on the block” – our efforts become bulletproof – or, at least, harder to penetrate.
Where We Went Wrong
1. Lack of unified information and networking.
One of the huge snags in our work was lack of coordinated effort. Information is everything – and far too often, we found that we simply lacked the unified network to relay information in a timely and uniform manner. Unfortunately, part of this was due to the provincialism and protectionism of some departments that simply did not want to share their intel with other departments outside their jurisdiction. And when information got the attention of the FBI, generally it went right into the “informational black hole” of that department, where information is known for going in, and never being seen again. And this leads to a second semi-related problem we faced:
2. One man shows and one-upmanship.
Occult crime was a “hot topic” at one time. Unfortunately, a number of people in law enforcement, professional groups and religious settings grabbed up some general information, added their own spin and took their show on the road as “occult experts.” ( We should always be extremely cautious of ANYONE who calls themselves an “expert” in this field. Experts don’t bill themselves that way if they are credible, in my opinion.) Then, these same “experts” began to bad-mouth other investigators and researchers – mainly, anyone who wasn’t them. Over and over, good cases went sour because one of these “experts” decided to hogtie the case themselves, excluding good and valuable individuals that could have been of immeasurable help. In these kinds of crimes, cooperation with others with expertise and coordinated effort is critical. More than a few times, we failed to make that happen. Whether people did this because they were looking for a “career-making case” or simply because of raw ego, I don’t know. But there is no room in this work for those who have to be the “star of the show”.
Along that line, I became aware in the mid 1990’s that we were starting to engage in a weird kind of occult “show and tell” in after-conference hours. I personally was subtly disinvited to one such meeting, where several officers and experts spent the evening bartering for the best occult crime slides and paraphernalia. I realized we had begun to lose the thread. A friend of mine said, “There is no limit to what a man can achieve as long as he doesn’t care who gets the credit.” If we don’t go in with that attitude, we’ve lost before we’ve begun. It is, after all, “not about us” – but about innocent lives being destroyed. There’s no room for grandstanding in this work.
3. One-course experts.
Admittedly, many of us came into this work naive and learning. And we had to learn fast how wide and vast the field was, and be willing to adjust, change and clarify as we went along. However, a number of people attended one or two cult crime classes and took off like a bat out of purgatory, billing themselves as experts and ruining a lot of good opportunities in the process. An associate of mine and I joked recently that one of the earmarks of a one-course experts is if they speak about “SA-TONIC” crime. Or if they still refer to Metallica as a devil-worshiping rock group. I’m trying to make light of a very serious problem, and that problem is that skeptics and “the other side” are watching every word we say and every step we publicly make, and we cannot give them any room for discounting us because our information is flaky, half-researched or borrowed from others. I am constantly researching, deleting some outdated elements of my training, asking questions, and updating my information. This is crucial to being relevant, factual and helpful in an already difficult area of work. We owe it to our audiences and classes to be as close to the mark as we can on what we present.
Which leads me to one of the most common criticisms of what we do: As one writer said, “These ‘experts’ are using the same old ‘signs and symbols of the occult’ that were presented as ‘danger signs of satanic crime’ a decade ago.”
I admit to being one of these people. While I have updated a lot of the signs and symbols I present, most of them remain the same for the simple reason that classic occultism rarely changes its symbology. Some of the symbols we use date back for centuries, some several centuries. Their meaning does not change, and when they continue to be found on crime scenes, the symbols remain relevant and pertinent.
3. Rumors, incorrect information and bad intel.
We probably shot ourselves in the foot more in this area than in any other. I understood from the get-go that having verifiable information was absolutely crucial. And I cringed as I attended workshops where the most outlandish stories were being put forth as truth, and no one challenged them. There were rumors of Halloween blond-hair, blue eyed 13 year old virgin girls that were going to be sacrificed. There were rumors of the president of Procter & Gamble being a satanist and saying so on Geraldo or Oprah. And those were the less absurd rumors. But they caught like wildfire and wasted a lot of valuable time in debunking them with the facts.
In addition, it took us some time to get up to speed on all the facts concerning satanism, wicca, and occult crime. Some were, in the beginning, equating Wicca and satanism as one and the same. They are not. Satanism involves worshiping satan (unless you are a wannabe LaVey styler who claims to only worship themselves). Wiccans worship a pantheon of pagan gods and goddesses. True satan worshipers believe in, and practice, blood sacrifice of animals and humans. Most Wiccans, whose creed is “harm none” do not believe in nor support such activities. Regardless of what you think about the spiritual dimensions and harmfulness of either practice, the fact is, the differences between satanism and Wicca are vast, and it was a huge mistake for some not to recognize and define those differences, throwing them both into the same “criminal mix”. Live and learn -the hard way.
4. The Conspiracy and Paranoia trap.
Perhaps one of the most destructive elements that crept into our ranks in the early 1990’s was the “conspiracy network.” Simply defined, it was a network of people who claimed there was a vast, international conspiracy or powerful and organized satanists bent on world domination. From these ranks grew a frightening paranoia, which resulted in their own “black list” – people who claimed to be on “our side” but were really infiltrators, satanists in disguise, illuminati members.
I looked at each claim as it came up. (I don’t discard any information up front, no matter how outlandish, until I’ve thoroughly checked it out.) What I found was disturbing and unsettling. At a time when credibility was an absolute necessity, people and groups were traversing the country accusing good people I knew were trustworthy of being “one of them”, making claims that were patently false, and making us all look like alien-abductee wackos. The damage this has done is still being measured and felt.
Having said that, I want to allude back to the original definition of “Conspiracy” at the top of this article:
A combination of men for an evil purpose; an
agreement, between two or more persons, to commit a crime in concert, as treason; a plot.
There is no question in my mind that to some degree, according to the above definition, a conspiracy does exist in the satanic underground. Fourteen years of experience have shown over and over, that during some of the most serious investigations into satanic networks, bigger hands have come into play – to close a case – to threaten the investigators – to smear someone’s character – to make evidence disappear. That clearly speaks to a conspiracy at some level, in some places, among some people in places of authority. And why should this surprise us? Drug cartels are a “conspiracy” – buying off people, murdering those who try to get out, greasing the palms of politicians. We can believe that kind of conspiracy reaches into the higher echelons of society where money and power are the only real currency. We can even believe – as is evidenced by the recent Catholic church scandal – that a conspiracy to silence victims, reassign pedophile priests and deny any culpability was clearly in operation at the top ranks of the church. But when you speak of ‘satanic conspiracy”, everyone discounts it as ludicrous. Unfortunately, those of us who are veterans in this field see evidence of it all the time. How far reaching it is – how deep it goes into the court system, political arena and intelligence community – I cannot say. But I would be a fool to say it is not there. But one can’t uncover something of this nature by making outlandish, unproveable claims and calling them truth.
If we are to succeed in our work in the next wave, we must be careful who we align ourselves with. I have seen some good investigators get sidetracked in this muck and ruin the good work they have done – one of them is now pursuing UFO’s at Area 51. They have hurt us. Others have aligned themselves with Militia groups who claim the entire US government is part of the plot and not to be trusted. It is vital to get distance from them as well.
The work we do is so crucial, and so sensitive, that we can ill-afford to misstep, or fail to learn from our mistakes. Because, of this I am certain – organized satanic crime as well as random satanic acts of crime not only will not go away – but they never went away. We have lost ground but we need not lose the war. Live in the past, as the Russian proverb says, lose an eye – forget the past, lose both eyes. It is my hope that in learning from that past that we can be fully equipped to deal with the next wave of satanic crime when it comes. And come it will.
Gregory R Reid, DD