In any country with a sense of religious tradition, the notion of Satanism lurking beneath the underbelly of society is enough to warrant panic, fear, and of course, media coverage. Tales of murders, kidnappings and sacrifices all committed in the name of the devil have been reported all over the world and while the majority of these suspected cases of crimes perpetrated by devil worshipers are mere media sensationalism, some are, in fact, shockingly true. There are indeed groups of people on the outskirts of society who firmly believe in the devil, and commit horrific crimes in his name. Whether or not one believes, or doesn’t believe, that god and the devil are real is one thing, but the fact is, these shocking crimes committed in the devil’s name are all too human and all too real.
10. Norwegian Church Burnings
During a brief period in Norway in the early to mid 1990s, a young group of satanic heavy metal musicians, all playing a genre of music dubbed black metal, formed an inner circle centered within an Oslo record shop aptly named Helvete (hell). Inside that inner circle were prominent band members within the scene, and all had a vendetta against the Christianization of Norway. Keeping in mind that the majority of those involved in the satanic crimes were either teenagers, or in their early twenties, the decision to vent their frustrations at Christianity in a violent way were unsurprising. And so in 1992, the church burnings commenced. All told, the musicians and even eventually fans of the black metal scene committed over 50 arsons of Christian churches across Norway between 1992 and 1996. One of the most prominent members of the satanic music scene, Varg Vikernes (who later served a lengthy prison term for murder) was ultimately convicted of burning four churches, including the Fantoft Stave Church, an eleventh-century national landmark whose loss severely grieved Norwegian society. And while other members of the so-called inner circle of the scene were also convicted of arson, it did nothing to change their views on their crimes. Well over a decade later, another prominent black metal musician left a documentary filmmaker investigating the group with this quote:
“Church burnings and all these things are, of course, things that I support 100 percent and it should have been done much more and will be done much more in the future. We have to remove every trace from what Christianity and the Semitic roots have to offer this world.”
9. Metal Singer’s Assault and Torture Convictions
In keeping with the Norwegian musician committing acts of violence in the name of Satan theme, the number nine crime on this dubious list goes to overtly satanic black metal band Gorgoroth’s former singer Gaahl (stage name of course). In 2002 the singer was sentenced to a year in prison without the possibility of parole after his second episode of extreme violence when he assaulted and tortured a 40-year-old man for several hours at a party. According to Norwegian courts, the victim stated that he “wanted to leave, what I did was react verbally to a situation which I perceived as threatening.” Allegedly, when the man attempted to leave the party, Gaahl prevented him from doing so, and proceeded to hit him on the head, tie him to a chair and torture him. At one point, the victim claims Gaahl collected the man’s blood in a cup, and threatened him saying, “I’m going to sacrifice you, I’m going to drink your blood.” For his part, Gaahl claims he was the one who was attacked, but given the fact that the singer was again convicted for torturing another victim for over six hours in 2006, showed up to both court appearances adorned in satanic imagery and stated to the press “I always say, when people cross my line… then I will be the one to decide what their punishment will be,” it’s hard to believe the satanic vocalist acted with mercy on his mind.
8. Ricky Kasso
While many alleged crimes perpetrated in the name of devil worship turn out to be nothing more than mere media sensationalism, there always a few cases of murders being committed in which the perpetrator openly confesses their allegiance to the ‘dark lord.’ Drug addict and mental patient Ricky Kasso is one such case. Claiming that Satan, in the form of a black crow, ordered him to commit murder, Kasso lured his acquaintance Gary Lauwers into the woods, and then held a knife to his throat while commanding him to “say you love Satan.” Afterwards, Ricky Kasso gouged out Lauwers eyeballs and then buried him.
7. The Beasts of Satan
While Italy may be known more for its wine, food and Catholicism, it’s also been known for satanic cults over the past 20 years, none more famous than The Beasts of Satan. The Beasts of Satan were, what else, a group of heavy metal fans, that first killed for Satan in 1998 when they ritually murdered two of their friends. Both victims were stabbed and beaten and then buried, after which the killers Andrea Volpe, Nicola Sapone and Mario Maccione danced on their graves and screamed, “now you’re both zombies! Try to get out of this hole, if you dare!” Six years later, Volpe killed again, but the group was ultimately caught after a tip from one of their associates. In 2004 Nicola Sapone was sentenced to life in prison, while his partners in demonic crime received 25-year terms. The group was also accused of pushing another member to commit suicide because he refused to join in the killings, but this has never been proven.
6. Elyse Pahler Murder
Elyse Pahler was a young California girl with her life fully ahead of her. The band Hatred was a going nowhere fast basement-grade heavy metal band that needed a little help from the dark lord to make a crazy enough impression on the music world to get noticed. One evening in 1995 Pahler was lured from her home by three of the band members who then murdered her, and defiled her corpse as part of their satanic ritual. The three killers returned to the body repeatedly to further violate it for Satan until it was discovered in March of 1996. Ultimately, one of the killers confessed, finally bringing closure to the Pahler family. The case received double the notoriety, due to the murder, and its satanic implications, as well as for the fact that the victim’s family tried to sue extremely popular heavy metal band Slayer, saying the bands music drove the three to kill their daughter. The lawsuit was thrown out of court, but undoubtedly helped in continuing the debate about whether art can instigate vile acts of violence.
5. The Ripper Crew
A group of serial killers, led by former John Wayne Gacy employee Robin Gecht, that stalked prostitutes in Chicago between 1981 and 1982, the Ripper Crew were also apparently devout Satanists. The problem with their brand of Satanism, however, was that it all came from Anton LaVey’s Satanic Bible, well known to be more a tome for life worshipping hedonists than devil worshippers. While the satanic motivation for their crimes may have been laughingly misguided, the actual offences this gruesome crew committed were not. They were barbaric. After picking up prostitutes, the group would return to Gecht’s apartment where they would murder the girl (while Gecht read from the Satanic Bible), and then obscenely desecrate the corpse before eating it. Eventually, the Ripper Crew was caught, and all four members received the death penalty for their crimes.
4. Russian Satanic Murders
In 2008, four Russian Satanists decided that merely paying lip service to their adoration of the devil wasn’t enough to get his attention, so the group, led by former church choirboy Nikolai Ogolobyak, decided that human sacrifice was the logical next step. After luring four teenaged acquaintances into the woods outside a cottage in Yaroslavl, the devil worshipping Russians stabbed all four of them, symbolically, 666 times each. Once dead, the victims were scalped, cut apart, and partially eaten. Eventually the murderers were arrested after the victims’ remaining body parts were found near Ogolobyak’s apartment complex. To prove how deeply committed to Satanism they truly were the group members told authorities both, “Satan will help me avoid responsibility; I made many sacrifices to him” and, more bluntly, “I tried to turn to God, but it didn’t bring me any money. I prayed to Satan, and things improved.”
3. Black Metal Fan Murders Catholic Priest
Clearly, when the most impressionable, or sometimes just plain psychotic, members of society start listening to music with a violent, anti-Christian message, tragic things may happen. Though this writer will ALWAYS support freedom of speech, and sees no correlation between art influencing the sick and destructive behavior of a group of individuals or an individual whatsoever, when in the hands of an already unhinged individual, their choice in music can have serious consequences, regardless of the genre. 25-year-old Chilean black metal fan Rodrigo Orias Gallardo is clearly one of those people who already had some serious underlying mental issues in order to kill a priest in 2004. Orias, who’s allegiance to Satan was made clear by the pentagram branded on the left side of his chest, covering his heart, and several other satanic symbols tattooed on his body, waited until Father Faustino Gazziero had finished delivering his mass and then slit his throat. After the killing, Orias smeared himself in the priest’s blood and proceeded to stab himself several times in the chest and neck with the same knife. Equally terrifying was the fact that Orias was not found to be under the effect of any drugs or alcohol at the time, leading authorities to surmise the murder was a direct attack against the Church.
2. Craigslist Killer
One of the most sensational media stories of the past year, the story of the Craigslist Killers, namely Miranda Barbour and her husband Elytte Barbour, originally seemed like a pair of psychopaths who lured a man to his death via Craigslist simply because they “just wanted to murder someone together.” Soon after being arrested and charged with the crime, however, Miranda Barbour began to make shocking claims of being a serial killer, with at least 22 victims to her credit. And she claimed all of these victims were killed in the name of Satan. Stating that she was raised by a Satanist and brought up in a satanic cult after joining them when she was 13, Barbour began killing soon after joining the cult and couldn’t stop, according to statements she has made in interviews since being arrested. She attests that the majority of the murders she committed were in Alaska, but other victims can be found in North Carolina, Texas and California. Though many people, including her sister, refute Barbour’s claims to be a satanic serial killer, investigations into the alleged crimes are underway. Regardless of whether this is a tragic case of one man’s murder for fun, or a legitimate case of a serial killer in league with the devil, the media exploited both angles at every turn, making it shocking in every possible way.
1. Richard Ramirez AKA The Night Stalker
The original reason for the satanic panic in America in the 1980s that spawned everything from public service announcements to predictions the Antichrist would soon arrive, Richard Ramirez, known as the Night Stalker, terrorized Los Angeles and San Francisco from June 1984 until August 1985 and sparked fear in the hearts of many a believing soul. His crimes, (home invasion, attacking, raping and murdering women), were seemingly committed completely at random. He also used a random variety of weapons, including handguns, knives, a machete, a tire iron, and a hammer, to commit his shocking acts of brutality. Furthermore, to add fuel to the media panic that a satanic serial killer was on the loose, the Night Stalker would leave drawings of pentagrams on the bodies of his victims and on walls in their homes. Though some survived his vicious attacks, all told, Ramirez claimed 14 victims in his brief spree of terror. An avowed Satanist, when arrested, Ramirez told police that he was “a minion of Satan sent to Earth to carry out atrocities for the devil.” And that he did.