South Africa’s Satanic Panic


A couple of new articles in various Afrikaans newspapers start off with a warning that South Africa needs to be on its knees and turn to God after the “occult murder” of Michael Van Eck. Yes, it is a terrible and gruesome murder, we all agree on that. What I do not agree with is the irresponsible way in which the media perpetuates the satanic conspiracy myth.

No real evidence has emerged which would clearly connect the murder to Satanism or criminal occult activity, yet everyone has jumped on the bandwagon by calling it an “occult” or “satanic” murder. I seriously doubt most people in this country even knows what the term occult means and simply equate the term incorrectly with Satanism. The newspaper articles brought all sorts out of the woodwork in their comments section. Commenters came forward with their own stories about Satanism and why it is a real threat. Some claimed to know real “satanism survivors”.

“Occult survivors” who become born-again Christians are really the least reliable of all sources. Why do they feel the need to lie about gruesome murder and ritualistic abuse? Yet they do lie and this has been shown again and again. Rebecca Brown and Elaine Moses lied and manufactured their accounts. They have been thoroughly debunked by even Christian sources. See for instance the article by Personal Freedom Outreach Ministries, Drugs, Demons and Delusions. Mike Warnke lied about his experiences and he was thoroughly debunked by the Christian source, Cornerstone Magazine. In the end, Warnke admitted he lied about quite a few things. Lauren Stratford, who claimed to have born children for satanic sacrifice fabricated all her stories and at the end of her life she styled herself a “holocaust survivor” with a different story to sell. Incidentally, Stratford was quoted as an “authority” by a few papers trying to link the Graveyard Murder to satanic activity and a ritualistic motive. Michelle Smith and a few other “occult survivors”, remembered their experiences under dodgy regression therapy techniques or hypnosis. All these individuals contributed to the creation of the contemporary satanic myth and panic.

All these alleged survivors talk about horrendous crimes and yet none of them ever provided any factual information to the police. No bodies left behind due to alleged satanic murder were ever uncovered and no arrests were ever made. This is the same story over and over again when it comes to so-called Satanism. In the heat of the Satanic Panic the FBI stepped in to investigate. In the 1992 Lanning report they found absolutely no evidence of widespread “Satanism” or conspiracy. Despite this, the Welkom graveyard murder continues to be used by believers as proof that the dangers of Satanism are real and of control in South Africa.

The satanic myth is not really new or modern. It is not something that only started in the 60’s. In fact it is a repeat of a lot of the same nonsense that emerged in the Late Middle Ages during witch trials. One would think that perhaps we should learn lessons from the past? People were guilty simply by accusation. Most people accused of witchcraft and who confessed under torture to devil worship were in fact innocent of any involvement with devil worship. Any remotely strange behaviour could bring accusation of devil worship and subsequent death. The European and American witch trials were the product of hysteria.

Can people not see that by calling a murder occult or satanic we are actually placing a target on innocent people? Occultism contains many disparate belief systems, including Wicca. By calling a murder an occult murder, innocent people are made suspect. There are real Occultists and Satanists who do not condone murder or violence. The Satanic Bible is clearly against it. Serious theistic Satanists such as Diane Vera, speak out against it.

A large part of Occult history is actually Christian history. The Occultists of the Medieval and Renaissance periods were all Christians. They sought to delve the occult (hidden) secrets of the universe in order to uncover the mysteries of God. See for example, the Three Books of Occult Philosophy where Henry Cornelius Agrippa defends the belief in God as a step towards truth and divine revelation.

Occult survivors are known to lie because they cannot fool anyone actually involved in the occult. They always show their lack of knowledge about the belief systems they supposedly came out off. They make mistakes no one with actual knowledge of such systems would make. They show time and time again they know nothing about contemporary religion. I was given Rebecca Brown’s, He Came to Set the Captives Free, as a serious source. Later read her other books. I had to roll my eyes at how she confounded religious systems and practitioners e.g. Witches, Satanists, Spiritualists as one. She also knew next to nothing about the true nature of certain occult practices. I can make a whole list of problems and factual errors found in Brown’s (or should I say Bailey’s) books.

South Africa is a strange case indeed when it comes to Satanism. The satanic panic which was rampant in the United States, started to die down in the 90’s. In South Africa the Satanic Panic was created and is kept alive by men like Kobus Jonker. Jonker has indeed been criticized for the way in which he draws conclusion that a murder is satanic. Jonker is a fundamentalist and born-again Christian who believes in the literal reality of the devil. Should he be trusted to comment on other religions? Obviously, he looks at the world in a certain way. Another more sceptical investigator may find a different motive for the murder as opposed to calling it Satanism and believing that actual demonic powers are somehow involved. A few so-called satanic murders may have had surface elements and symbols, although these usually appear very juvenile and almost silly. It does not suggest a wide-spread satanic conspiracy. Troubled youngsters from a Christian background could rebel and spray paint a church with “satanic symbols”. It will be understood by many, without question, as evidence for the satanic conspiracy.

When it comes to Jonker he can’t get his facts straight on numerous occasions. His so-called “satanic calendar” is a case in point. Yule, the winter solstice, is supposedly on the 25th of December, where Satanists supposedly honour the birth of the sun to the Great Mother. Yule however is mostly associated with Pagan customs. But Yule is associated with the Winter Solstice only and we are in the southern hemisphere. The Winter Solstice occurs in June in South Africa, not December. The calendar fails to take into account the seasonal differences between the northern and southern hemispheres and it is an odd mix of festivals from Paganism and other days for which no source is provided. This calendar has been used as a serious source by police and educators. At other times, it seems Jonker simply makes things fit. If Harmse burned black candles as opposed to purple, the case may well have been called satanic.

There have been a few high profile cases in South Africa where Satanism was dragged in. One such case involved a so-called satanic high priest, Maurice Smith. The crime involved three young men (Smith was the leader) who murdered a homeless man in a shack. They cut off his head. Smith later confessed to being a Satanist, but he was simply self-styled and made up his own rituals and ideas as he went along. No evidence of ties to actual Satanism exists. Self-styled Satanists (actually dabblers from a Christian background) are merely a nuisance to serious Satanists or Occultists.

I also have to wonder how Bill Ellis’s concept of Legend Tripping comes into play. Christianity has a myth about a vast organization of black robed, blood drinking killers. These elusive killers murder cats and commit vicious crimes. The myth exists already – one day a person may come and fulfil these myths in the form of a horrendous crime. Such a person is acting against anything stipulated by serious Satanists. He is simply fulfilling Christian myth. Of course such a case would then be evidence of a wide ranging satanic conspiracy again. Of course, it would be nonsense !

On the topic of folklore, I actually believe that is what the Christian version of Satanism is. The exact same stories were told by the Romans and used against the early Christians. They drank blood and practiced cannibalism. Later, the accusations were used by the Christians against the Jews. Throughout European history, Jews got the blame for lots of things including disasters and plagues. Stories circulated that Jews kidnapped young Christian children and used their blood in rituals. It usually provided an excuse for the Christians to mobilize and drive out or exterminate the Jews! This is known as blood-libel. These kinds of urban legends seem to represent the fears of communities against strangers and outsiders.

I see a Christian agenda at work behind labelling the recent killing as satanic and occult. It has to do with getting people back to God. It uses fear and the supposed deterioration of society, together with a focus on family values, to get people to turn back to God. The satanic murders are presented as proof that evil does indeed exist. What is the solution?  The Christian God and religion of course! There is a certain irony in this. Not only does it use blatant dishonesty to make a point but more people have actually been killed in the name of God than in the name of Satan.

The fact that this murder garnered so much attention from the media, clearly reveals just how rare such supposed “satanic acts” actually are. I find that we have witnessed firsthand how the Christian mythical Satanism is actually created. It did not take much for the public to jump on the Satanism bandwagon and issue warnings about the dangers of the occult. They did not even need evidence. The idea that the murder was inspired by Satanism and occultism has become so ingrained, that you’ll have serious trouble convincing people otherwise. Their elusive black robed cat-killers have finally been revealed! True evil exists and only they have the power to combat it. A world-view has been affirmed, despite the fact that in this particular instance, it is based on lies, deception and outright fabrication.


SA ‘hoort op sy knieë’ ná man se okkulte-dood. (SA “must bow down” after man’s occult death). A few other paper’s changed the title to “unusual death” to their credit. (SOURCE)

Rebecca Brown debunked in the article: Drugs, Demons and Delusions

Mike Warnke, former “Satanic High Priest” debunked.  Cornerstone thoroughly debunks Mike Warnke

Lauren Stratford debunked by the Christian Publication Cornerstone Magazine
and HERE

Vel op vermoorde se gesig bestem vir rite (Skin from victims face to be used in a ritual). Without evidence a conclusion is made that the murder has a ritualistic motive.

Menslike maskers uiters waardevol vir sataniste, wys outobiografie (Masks of human skin valuable to satanists as revealed in autobiography) Here they use Lauren Stratford as if a credible source on satanism

Information on Satanism as Christian myth. From The Humanist.

January 1992
Kenneth V. Lanning
Supervisory Special Agent
Behavioural Science Unit
National Centre for the Analysis of Violent Crime
Federal Bureau of Investigation
FBI Academy
Quantico, Virginia 22135

The Satanic Bible

Diane Vera on Theistic Satanism

Kobus Jonker’s claims challenged by another investigator

Challenge to Jonker’s findings on the “Thames Torso Case”. Maurice Smith case criticized in passing

Bill Ellis: Raising the Devil
Folkloric study of Satanism

Satanic Panic: The creation of a contemporary legend

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5 Responses

  1. Francisco says:

    Thank you for your reply Christian4life.

    I would advise that you read subsequent articles here in Penton and especially the recent one’s. We have addressed so-called “left-wing” satanic groups and the Kirsty Theologo case before.

    Organized Satanic groups involved in criminal acts are a rarity. They are usually young people from a Christian background who make up their own rituals based on the Christian myth of Satanism, as spread within Christianity by concerned pastors and “cult-cops”, so-called “legend trippers” or “tabloid prophecy fulfillers”.

    Such criminal fringe groups are a nuisance to the serious Occultists, Pagans and Satanists. They are usually scattered and unorganized. There really are no groups with the devil secretly running the show, where he bestows supernatural powers upon his followers – proving the Christian mythical war between “good” and “evil” and Biblical accounts.

    I have come across references to The Brotherhood of the Ram, The Order of Darkness, so-called satanic orders etc. only in works by Kobus Jonker. There is very little evidence on these groups and that they are part of organized conspiracy and crime.

    The Brotherhood of the Ram was a short lived Californian based occult group who worked out of an occult store called Panpipes founded by Donald Blythe. The store is rather famous as it was owned at one time by the actress Fairuza Balk.

    There is no evidence of what Jonker attributes to the BOR. He calls them the “mafia of the occult world”. The few other references you can find to the BOR come from a satanic panic and SRA scare in a small Canadian town, Martensville – the rumours about a Satanic group involved in crime and human sacrifice indeed turned out to be nothing but a scare.

    Since there is so little evidence of Jonker’s “Satanic Orders”, we either really have a conspiracy on our hands (unlikely) or he based his ideas on short-lived groups and misinformation from informants.

    I do not see how pointing out contradictions in the Satanic Bible proves anything and I don’t see what it has to do with the central premise. No one claimed it is infallible or should be followed slavishly.

    Fact remains, members of the Church of Satan and organized Satanic groups are law-abiding and have condemned so-called satanic crime on numerous occasions. If you expect conspiracy and that they secretly engage in criminal acts, the burden of proof is really on you. You do admit later you expect many of them to be involved in secular humanism and the like.

    The criminal fringe is not part of Theistic Satanism either, and they may believe in Satan as a being, see the works of Diane Vera for instance.

    The rest of your comment consists of beliefs or opinions and is not something I can address.

    I suggest you read all the available articles here. Start here and read the subsequent articles.

  2. Christian4Life says:

    Guys, Anton Lavey made a critical error. He called his “religion” Satanism and that is what has doomed this so called “religion” which is more a way of life. See, I have read the Satanic Bible because I believe knowing the enemy empowers you to defeat him. A quick analogy, sport has always sent scouts and recently we do video analysis to know the opponent.

    Before I move on, please read your so called satanic bible and explain the contradiction, MASSIVE, where in the first or second chapter he advises that his belief system does not worship any entity but in the following chapter you are taught about the 4 crown princes of hell and in the following chapter there is a the satanic our father. Anton Lavey’s Satanism / Satanic Church does condemn the act of sacrifice but I believe that I understand the reason why. And if I remember correctly this was also read within the pages of his bible. A child is born into a world of innocence and therefore they condemn the act because they need to wait until the soul is corrupted first.

    And contrary to what you believe there are known satanic cults like the order of the ram who actually do partake in blood rituals. This I have read in Michael Aquino’s works and it is done largely due to it being 1 of the unforgivable acts in the bible. Read Deuteronomy 12:16 for clarification.

    As far as killing in the name of God is concerned, you are 100% correct. There was the Knight’s Templar and their crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the war of Bethlehem and more recently Islam suicide bombers and lets not forget 9/11. Again these are acts of individuals and not every person in our religion but does it make it right? In Islam they still sacrifice a lamb every year and this is allowed by law so I believe it is hypocritical to then say that the left wing satanist groups may not sacrifice a cat or dog for instance. They are both animals and because cats and dogs are considered our pets they are different to goats and lambs? Human sacrifice has been condemned by all religion apart from pagan and satanic left wing groups.

    I understand that there are many church of satan followers who are considered humanists as Anton Lavey put it but this path still leads away from God. I feel that any agnostic, athiast, evolutionist (darwinist) and many more are all then to be considered forms of Lavey satanists. The actual devil worshipers, the ones who worship God’s adversary as in the Holy Bible, these are the groups who do their utmost to oppose God and therefore break all 12 commandments and other rules as God gave to Moses on Mt. Sinai. They take part in the blood rituals, killings, thefts, adultery and all others sins.

    The Welkom murders where the most brutal but this was 1 of 4 major killings in 2011. Look up Kirsty Theologo, sacrificed and all 6 admit this was ritual sacrifice.

    I am a proud Christian and will be forever. I played in the occult and Lavey Satanism when I was younger and I have realized that it is not worth it. There is 1 God and he is omnipotent. I understand that your beliefs are different than mine but my God is merciful, so much so that you will not even need to ask for forgiveness, you will walk alongside me in paradise my equal but I choose to worship God who has bestowed upon me all my talents and skills.

    Thanks for reading

  3. toxic maggot says:

    im just glad they did not link any musical, mainly metal, band to the murder. thats the work of poor journalism these days

  4. 找人 says:

    do you have twitter or facebook!I want to be your fans in hurry.2

  5. Christopher Blackwell says:

    The Satanic conspiracy is still alive and well here in the United States. We even have ex policemen selling this fakery, and making a good living off of it, even getting tax payers money to speak in front of police groups about alleged Occult Crime.

    Even if such a thing actually existed what would it mean? A murder remains a murder, regardless of whether someone does a ceremony in the process. So investigating it requires the same careful police-work and collecting clues. Vandalism remains vandalism regardless of the type of marks you make or what you destroy in the process, including church property.

    So far none of the alleged Occult or Satanic ties put on such crimes changes the nature of the crime one iota. Often, all it does is distract the police from wide spreading their net to search for evidence of everybody that might have something to do with the crime.

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