So, do Satanic cults exist?

This is total friend-of-a-friend territory, but I know someone who was in an intensive group therapy for a few months, and someone in the group claimed to have grown up in a Satanic cult, complete with animal and human sacrifices and torture. Not Anton LaVay satanism, but full-on multiple-personality-causing urban legend satanism. The cult member in my friend’s group escaped the cult, but has since lived in fear, to the point of getting appearance-altering plastic sugery, becuase the cult was made up of high standing members of the community, from police officers to politicians (so, of course, reporting the abuse was out of the question), and they threatened to kill anyone who left the cult.

So, my bullshit radar went off. When I said to my friend, “That’s bullshit, there’s no documentation of satanic cults. It was all hysteria and bad therapy,” my friend promptly freaked out, claiming that there was no way that this person would lie.

But, really, there’s no such thing, right? There’s no creepy underground masonic/illuminati/satanic stuff going on with our respected officials, or could there be small factions of crazy communities who sacrifice animals and try to kill people who escape? I mean, cults exist, how much of a leap is it to go all-out satanic? Or does the lack of documented evidence just render the whole thing impossible? Or is it undocumented because those who document these kinds of things are in on it?

Woah. I’m getting a little too conspiracy theoried here. Someone else sort this out for me, please.

ZJ

Well, yes, there are Satanic Cults. There’s the Church of Satan, for one thing.

However, the Cults do not seem to have any great influence or power, nor are there (reported) any significant number of people sacrificed becuase of them. In the few cases there were- it can be argued that it was more a “few crazies” than a real “Satanic Cult”- see Charles Manson.

There are a few Cults that more or less openly practice Animal sacrifice. I think there’s a Voodoo sect and a few similar ones, and I wouldn’t be suprised if there were a couple that claimed to be “Satanists”.

In general- the "Satanic cults’ seem to be two groups- young goth kids who think it’s fun to do “black magic” and a couple groups of crazies. I could imagine that if you joined a Manson-like cult that it could be worth your life to try and leave them.

Certainly, there is more 'smoke" than fire- more hysteria over Satanic Cults than real cults. Witness that crap in Bakersfield with that poor Child care center, for example. I mean- we had real honest to god elected officials believing in a huge satanic child sacrifice cult. :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :eek: :mad:

See this link:
http://skepdic.com/satanrit.html

“One of the more pernicious consequences of the SRA witch-hunts was that many cases where adults were charged with molesting children but not with SRA slipped beneath the media’s radar. For example, while the McMartin preschool case in Los Angeles received extensive national media attention, a much more extensive witch-hunt in Bakersfield, California, went virtually unnoticed. In the 1980s, the office of District Attorney Ed Jagels prosecuted 46 people in eight alleged molestation rings. Twenty-two of thirty convictions were later reversed, including that of Jeffrey Modahl. Eight had the charges dropped and eight plea bargained to keep them from doing time in prison. One of those convicted died in prison. The rest served out their sentences.* The last of the accused, John Stoll, served 20 years in prison before his conviction was overturned in May 2004.”

In other words, some poor dude went to prison for 20 freaken years, 1 died, and 44 more lives were ruined- all because some moron DA beleived in this shit.

2nd Tuesday of everymonth. BYOG {bring your own goat}

I have no factual answer, but in general if you think humanity wouldn’t go that low–you’re probably wrong.

I’m certain there are such groups, but I would doubt that they are composed of high-ranking people and policemen–particularly of enough of them that you couldn’t find policemen you could trust. My personal guess would be that either the friend was in the middle of some very bad stuff as a child but was also lied to about the societal positions of the members, or that the friend may be minorly schizophrenic.

Let’s not confuse Satanic cults with the Straight Dope Message Board Initiation Ceremony.

Or he’s just a damn liar. Let’s not forget there are plenty of people who will tell wild tales for no good reason at all. Lots of people have claimed to have been involved in Satanic cults which practiced human sacrifice. Not one story has ever held up under close examination.

Surely it’s possible the source thinks it is true but it was a delusion? He or she is in intensive group therapy, so it’s a given there are mental problems.

Before anybody jumps on my ass, I realize not everybody in therapy, group therapy, or intensive group therapy are delusional.

Ah yes. My mistake. There are so many similarities and I’m usually pretty messed up on mushrooms at both, so you can understand my error. :smack:

Do you get mushrooms at the ceremony if you’re the one being initiated?? Because if you do, I’m payin up!

But, on topic, I’ve gotta agree that these things might happen, but that they’re pretty fringe. As far as official types being involved, my BS meter goes off, too. I wouldn’t say never never never (I line in Mississippi, and the KKK immediately springs to mind. Which isn’t the same, I know, but does involve official cover-ups of murder), but c’mon. And this is the sort of topic people love to lie about.

Damn liar is also a possibility, but I do know of at least two cases (historical.)

Gilles de Rais
Erzsebet Bathory

Let’s not rule out that the person in the therapy group may fully believe that s/he had these experiences & could have had false memories encourages by an overzealous previous therapist.

So the options so far-

abused but mistaken/lied to as to the number/power of the abusers
abused somewhat but has exaggerated memories
not abused at all, delusional, subject to prior bad therapy
damn liar
it’s all true & this person is fortunate to have survived the perversions of the Illuminati (unless of course, s/he is a sleeper agent programmed to go off at a signal)

I asked my wife, “If witchcraft works, why do they still live in Bakersfield?”

She answered, “Maybe they used to live in East St. Louis and Bakersfield is an improvement.”

I’ve wondered why there was never any “reverse” propaganda instituted by Satan (like I believe this stuff anyway). I mean all he was supposedly guilty of was not wanting to be conrolled by God and there is certainly nothing evil about that.
So why, if this was all real, wouldn’t he/it put out the word “Hey, God is tyrannical, I got a bum deal”?

And is there any cult version(not pagan or Wiccan) that worships Satan as a non evil demi-god?

Satanists (the La Vey version–not the goat sacrificing version.) True, they state that their Satan isn’t the Christian Satan, but rather the more wiccan-style nature-god thingy that Satan would have been based on.
Satanist beliefs are largely Randist–but with the added bit of picking on less intelligent Satanists who are in it for the image, and conniving as much money out of them as you can get to teach them “black magic.”
At least that was my impression from when I checked out their official homepage some time ago (obviously they didn’t say they were preying on idiots in so many words–but they also didn’t seem to be hiding it, if you could read between the words.)

Hey, remember the first rule of Straight Dope Club.

There’s Yezidism, and there was the Process Church. (Strictly speaking, the former worship the fallen angel Melek Taus, but he’s often equated with Lucifer or Iblis by christians or muslims.)

Thanks Ranchoth, great links!

NEVER, ever, talk about Straight Dope Club.

Indeed. Paul Ingram, the victim of one of the most famous SRA bullshit prosecutions, was encouraged to remember more and more horrible things he’d supposedly done by his pastor and therapist, both of whom believed him to be the monster his daughters accused him of being. In an experiment, one investigator seeded Ingram with supposed details from a story the investigator made up about Ingram raping his son. A few hours later, Ingram began to “remember” it, even though it bever happened. (Ingram ended up serving fifteen years in prison for crimes that never happened and were entirely the fantasies of his daughters.)

Your friend’s friend may well be telling what he believes to be the truth, but it almost certainly is bullshit. You couldn’t keep a big cult like this a secret. If they did exist they’d be easy to find, what with the 30-person bonfire-lit bachanalian orgies of animal sacrifice, rape, and murder. Once there was even a tiny hint of evidence, any couple of dudes with half a brain between them could find it by tailing alleged cult members. There are surely a few groups of amoral teenage pricks out there who try to justify their sad existence by praying to Satan. And occasionally some of them might get so caught up in the fantasy that they commit a crime or two. But them they get caught, because you can’t hide stuff like that. The big, sprawling secret organizations that all the city fathers belong to? They don’t exist.

–Cliffy

There IS NO Straight Dope Club. :mad:

:cool:

The ancient Gnostics had a belief-system that did not include Satan by name but essentially identified Yahweh with Satan. From http://www.religioustolerance.org/gnostic2.htm: