Satanists! The new boogeyman in a post-1994 South Africa. According to alleged ‘occult experts’ there are currently 80000 Satanists in South Africa; and these are not of the LaVeyan, Luciferanism or Theistic variety. No, the media and SAPS have been led to believe that there are tens of thousands of supposed ‘Satanists’ sacrificing women, children and babies every month while meditating to Judas Priest and blaspheming at every possible opportunity. What’s worse is this nonsensical belief is allowed to infect SAPS investigations and media reports. This is how we end up with illogical media reports like Hunted by Satanists (You magazine, 11 October 2012), and Satanists killing us off (TimesLive, 12 October 2012). Up until this point the media has painted rosy pictures of inter-church ministry, Overcomers through Christ; but what is not being said is that it is a deliverance ministry. Deliverance Deliverance ministry focuses on the idea that today’s social ills are a result of demonic possession. According to deliveranceministry.co.za, demons are the root cause of issues such as: obesity, homosexuality, depression, cancer, Bi-polar disorder, Autism, schizophrenia, financial woes, speech impediments, addictions and the list goes on. They believe the cure to all these ills is to ‘cast the demon/s out’; which is allegedly done through intense prayer and quoting the Christian Bible. The reality is that sometimes physical violent shaking, slapping, and shoving are involved along with multiple people shouting prayers and Bible quotes at the alleged ‘host’. When the media reports that Overcomers through Christ members only sought to help ‘Satanists’, they conveniently omit the way in which that ‘help’ is meted out. Equally forgotten is any such definition of what this ‘Satanism’ is. The latter is especially dangerous when considering the following list based on information from self-styled ‘occult expert’ and believer in deliverance ministry, Kobus Jonker: · “Severe mood swings, a drop in school marks, intense introspection, depression, sleep disturbances, frequent nightmares, paranoia or excessive fear/anxiety. · Inappropriate sexual tendencies or fantasies. · A sudden or rapid change in attitudes towards authorities. A rebellious, sullen spirit towards parents. · Secretive and withdrawn. Some places of the child’s room are locked and out of reach of parents, brothers and sisters. · Lack of empathy towards others the hurt of others, be it people or animals in distress. · Suicidal tendencies and self-destructive behavior. · Drastic personality changes. (From a perfectionist to a room where you can find the wardrobe on the floor.) · Use of illegal drugs of any kind; alcohol abuse · Evidence of cruelty to animals. · A philosophy or attitude that shows a reversal of norm, eg bad is good and good is bad. · Self mutilation, including cutting oneself or marking with tattoos. · Obsessive preoccupation with death and gruesome and bizarre methods of dying. · Animosity towards Christianity, the church and Jesus Christ. Resistance and hate towards God and religious leaders. · Unusual body movements, such as twitching, tics, rocking, glazed eyes, head banging, moaning or groaning and chanting. · Different sexually transmitted diseases.” Sourced from ‘Breaking the Circle’ featured in Servamus’ ‘Drugs & Occult-Related Crime’ This is not a list of symptoms of psychological disorders, or typical teenage behavior, or medical conditions: according to Kobus Jonker and fraudulent ‘occult experts’, the above are signs of Satanic involvement. In short, if Satanism were a disease, these are the symptoms they claim would lead to its diagnosis. From this it is easy to see who could be labeled as a ‘Satanist’ by Overcomers through Christ (OTC) - the average teenager, sufferers of neurological disorders, and people with mental disorders. Hunted by Delusions From media reports a timeline of events can be constructed: July 2012: OTC member Natacha Burger finds a smear on a gutter on her property believed to be blood. She photographs it with her cellphone and shares it with fellow OTC members; one of whom suggests it is linked to Satanism. 26 July 2012: Natacha Burger (33) and her neighbour, Joy Boonzaaier (68), are murdered in Joy’s home. Both women had their throats slit and suffered numerous blows to the head. August 2012: Several OTC members claim to have received threatening sms’, one of which read: “She [Natacha] screamed like a pig…” 13 August 2012: Reginald Bendixen (75) is murdered. His throat is slit and his upper lip cut off. Reginald was a ‘spiritual mentor’ to OTC leader, Ria Grunewald. Late August 2012: Ria Grunewald (OTC Leader) finds a package on her doorstep with a note, “Now you can have your own little piece of Regi…” The contents of the package are believed to be brain tissue. 4 October 2012: Michaela Valentine (25) is murdered in her home. She is stabbed to death and a cellphone is missing from her possession. There are similarities between the murders of Natacha, Joy and Reginald in that they each had their throats slit. However, only one of those- Natacha- was an OTC member. Joy was probably in the wrong place at the wrong time and Reginald was, according to Ria, her ‘spiritual mentor’ and was not an OTC member. Michaela’s only connection is that she attended an OTC course three years ago. Her murder is more likely to be coincidence as she was not an OTC member, nor was she killed in the same way as the other three victims. Sources for the alleged Satanism link are OTC members. They told police of the mark on the gutter and suggested the link to ‘Satanism’ from their own warped perspective. These OTC members also claim they received threatening sms’- surely with RICA, the number could easily be traced? The SAPS’s prejudice and ineptitude when it comes to ‘Satanism’ is further evidenced in Hunted by Satanists: “The police have raided three flats in Krugersdorp and , among other things, seized the contents of a plastic crate believed to be used in Satanic rituals. The contents of the crate included an impala’s head and horns, ornaments in the shape of a wolf, a dragon and an angel, and a piece of clothing described as a ceremonial robe.” None of the above items, aside from what is claimed to be a ceremonial robe, are tools required for religious Satanic practices. An impala’s head and horns could possibly be used on an altar, but not just by a practicing Satanist, but Pagans too. And while the above mentioned ornaments may have some spiritual significance for a person, they are not clear-cut indications of Satanic practices. However, the most important overlooked fact is that Satanism is a religion protected under the South African Constitution. In media coverage of Reginald’s murder no mention is ever made of any trauma to the skull or harvesting of brain tissue; only that his upper lip was removed, and his throat slit. How then is it possible that his brain tissue ended up on OTC leader, Ria’s, doorstep? It is also quoted in Hunted by Satanists that a ‘source close to the investigation’ claims that a slit throat and missing severed upper lip are indicators of possible ‘Satanism’ links. What is not said in any of the media coverage is that killing is in direct violation of Satanic ethics and principles- within the modern religious practices of Satanism you will not find ritual killing or the harvesting of body parts. The lost art of logic What the SAPS and media are failing to see is that the only link in these cases is that two of the victims were known to Ria Grunewald, and only one of them was an OTC member (Natacha). Another grossly overlooked aspect is that OTC members possibly believe psychological disorders are ‘signs’ of someone being involved in Satanism, and that their definition of Satanism is definitely skewed. If the SAPS were using logic and proper investigative processes they would be looking at individuals who experienced ‘deliverance’, possibly from Ria Grunewald. They could narrow the suspect list down by honing in on deliverance victims with a history of mental illness symptoms. But alas, as long as the likes of Kobus Jonker hold the public sway with nonsensical tales of pentagrams and baby-fat candles, the media and SAPS will chase phantoms while the real culprit walk free.