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Article ID: 4823
Age Group: Adult
Posted: December 30th. 2002
Police Who Believe 
by Kerr Cuhulain
Detective Robert "Jerry" Simandl was a Youth Officer with the Chicago Police Department. Jerry Simandl is a devout Catholic. He has spent his latter years in this department's Youth Division. Simandl was the president of the Illinois chapter of the Midwest Gang Investigators Association (MGIA).
Simandl attended a seminar sponsored by the California Gang Investigators Association while he was a Chicago Gang Squad officer many years ago. It was at this seminar that he was first introduced to the concept of ritualistic crime. Simandl spent the next 6 to 7 years on his own time studying this subject. Since then he has worked on this problem, mostly on his own time. Simandl has appeared in numerous television interviews and training films on the subject.
Simandl's police department does not appear to support his research efforts, nor do they appear to recognize ritualistic crime as a problem. Simandl told me at one of his lectures that he does his lectures on ritualistic crime on his days off as his department will not give him the time off to do such presentations. Never the less, Simandl's efforts in his own time have won him "expert" status from supporters of the Satanic conspiracy myth. This is a clear indication of his commitment to this cause. He told me in 1990 that he typically fielded 10-14 calls per day. Simandl went on to be a consultant with the Adolescent Unit of Chicago's Hartgrove Hospital, where he worked with Dr. Roberta G. Sachs, (a therapist at the Rush North Shore Medical Center and Hartgrove Hospital), Beth Vargo (a worker at the Center for the Treatment of Ritualistic Abuse at Hartgrove Hospital and president of the Chicago chapter of "Believe the Children"), Dr Bennett Braun (an associate of Dr Sachs who is the director of the Dissociative Disorder Program at Rush North Shore Medical Center), John Costigan (another worker at Hartgrove Hospital's Center for the Treatment of Ritualistic Abuse), Dr Catherine Gould (a California therapist treating alleged survivors of SRA), and Pam Hudson (another therapist treating alleged survivors of SRA). Most of these individuals will be discussed in a later installment in this series. All are disseminators of the Satanic conspiracy myth.
Simandl has given expert testimony on ritualistic crime in court many times. He has lectured all over North America, even lecturing at such prestigious institutions as the Mayo Clinic and in Reading in England and Dundee in Scotland.
In January 1990 I attended a seminar by Simandl at the main auditorium of the British Columbia Justice Institute. The title of this presentation was: "Identification and Investigation of Ritualistic Criminal Activity." This seminar was for police officers only and was two days in length. About 60 officers from British Columbia, Washington State, and Oregon attended.
On this occasion Simandl was especially careful not to address anyone's religious beliefs and stated this right at the beginning of the seminar. Simandl constantly cautioned his audience not to overreact and advised us to "keep both feet on the ground." It was good to hear him repeatedly say that we should investigate crimes, not religions. In his own words: "We should not confuse this with people practising legal religion." At one point during a break I overheard an individual asking him: "If we see some people dancing around a fire in the woods, what do we do? Arrest them? Take their licence numbers?" Simandl's answer, which he repeated later for everyone's benefit, was as follow: "No! Of course not! Are they doing something illegal? If not, don't worry about it! Its just their belief system. If they shouldn't be there that's different. Would you go into a church or synagogue and take names and license numbers? Of course not!" I found this to be a refreshing point of view after some lectures by other "experts" on this subject I had reviewed. Simandl cautioned us all "not to judge a book by its cover."
At this time Simandl appeared to recognize the different forms of ritualism, a point that many so-called "occult experts" miss. He emphasized taking each case individually on its own merits. I also noted that at this time, Simandl, unlike many others in his field, recognized that some individuals have had their recollections "contaminated (Simandl's term) by reading accounts of other "survivors" such as Michelle Pazder. Compare this to his remarks a bit later when I describe his lecture in 1992.
Simandl emphasized communication between agencies and "team response." Team response was to him a coordinated effort between law enforcement, therapists, school officials, clergy, parents, doctors, and prosecutors, all of whom have had proper training in ritualistic crime. He emphasized that the police/therapist link was important, as they can "keep each other from over or under reacting." This is a sound concept, but it relies on the nature of the "training in ritualistic crime" involved. As you will soon see, no matter how sincere the investigators and therapists involved are, if the information that is given to them is incorrect, they will draw the wrong conclusions.
Simandl presented the following four categories of Satanic offenders, which are typical of lists presented at such seminars:
- Non Traditional (self styled).
- Organized Traditional Groups.
- Occultic Networking.
Unlike other presentations that I had seen, however, Simandl made it quite clear that these individuals "do not graduate from one level to another" in this system. This is quite different from the "escalating levels" model presented by many other "experts" in this field.
Simandl focussed on Satanism almost exclusively. He only mentioned other beliefs such as Palo Mayombe briefly in reference to the Matamoros incident. Simandl also made it quite clear on this occasion that Wicca was in no way connected with Satanism.
Shortly after this a female officer asked him: "Are you saying that some of these Satanists are not doing this ritualistic criminal stuff? Like that girl that keeps appearing on Donahue or whatever?" Simandl replied: "I've never heard of them being charged with anything. Aquino, LeVay, and Zeena [LeVay's daughter, whom he obviously assumes is the person referred to in this question] have never been charged, that's all I can say. We aren't going to charge someone with being a Witch or a Jew or a Catholic." Simandl said that Pagan beliefs and Witchcraft were not illegal. He did not mention Pagan beliefs again.
Simandl showed us Parents Music Resource Center's video "Rising to the Challenge." The main premise of this video is that the children's television program Sesame Street uses music to teach children, therefore Heavy Metal music must teach children inappropriate activities. Simandl had a display showing numerous Heavy Metal albums, song sheets and posters. His emphasis is slightly different than most occult crime lecturers on this topic. Simandl states that most children aren't affected by Heavy Metal music, but that mentally unstable kids could easily become obsessed with it. He told an anecdote about a fundamentalist Christian who once claimed to have infiltrated a Satanic coven and filmed the ritual. This person showed him a tape which Simandl recognized as having been copied from a Heavy Metal rock video. This demonstrates that Simandl is aware of the extent to which people will go to try to prove their fraudulent claims. Yet this hasn't deterred Simandl from believing in the concept.
Similarly, Simandl is concerned about Fantasy Role Playing Games. He showed us literature from Bothered about Dungeons and Dragons (BADD) and a BADD video entitled "A Comprehensive Look at the Damaging Effects of Fantasy Role Playing Games." This featured Pat Pulling (founder of BADD), Mary Ann Herold (the caption on the screen calling her a "former black witch," which she is not) and Gali Sanchez (a former employee of TSR, who manufactures the game Dungeons and Dragons).
Sanchez's and Simandl's main thrust was that the realistic rituals and names should be edited out of the game and replaced with "harmless, imaginary" stuff. Simandl stated, as he did with Heavy Metal music, that only kids who are already disturbed would have problems with it.
Simandl showed numerous clips from TV news reports, ABC TV's 20/20 program, and similar TV "news magazines", detailing the more well known ritualistic crime incidents. He had some excellent Matamoros footage shot by Mexican authorities and not available to the public. Some of his news clips were from Geraldo Rivera's talk show. Whenever Geraldo's serious face appeared there were loud groans from the police audience around me. Evidently the majority of the audience did not have a high opinion of Geraldo's show.
Simandl showed some films by Cavalcade Productions an outfit run by fundamentalist Christian Dale McCulley: "Ritual Crime: Guidelines for Identification" and "Identification of the Ritually Abused Child." Some of Simandl's therapist associates appear in these films.
The latter 40 minute video advocates Catherine Gould's use of a sand tray, which is a sand box filled with toys and articles which the child victim can use to demonstrate a story which the child may have difficulty verbalizing. This sand tray method has its merits, but it appeared to me that Gould's sand box contained a large number of demons, monsters, and devils in amongst the children's toys. It seemed to me that the selection of articles in the box lent itself to Satanic interpretations but little else. Combined with leading questioning techniques such sand boxes would make it very easy to get children to make up disclosures about Satanic activity.
Dr Catherine Gould, who is best known for her lists of "Symptoms of Ritualistic and Sexual Abuse" which commonly appear in Satanic conspiracy literature, is one of the main characters of this film. Indeed, it is merely a video version of these lists. Gould showed some children's drawings of fairly innocuous scenes of clouds and people which she interpreted as scenes of witches and Satanists involved in evil. Gould and her associates obviously have no knowledge of Wiccan religion and seem to consider Witchcraft to be synonymous with Satanism.
Another video shown by Simandl was a tape of "Bill Elder's Journal," a "news magazine" show in the US. This sensational and inaccurate report focussed on alleged Satanic activities in Hammond and Gretna, Louisiana. It suggests that the murder of Donna Burns was committed by Satanists, although there are no known suspects and there is no evidence to suggest this at all. It also includes an interview with serial killer Charlie Gervais, who is a self styled Satanist. Later they show the case of Sandra Kellum who alleges that her ex-husband was a Satanist. Kellum's son makes "disclosures" about sacrifice and grisly rituals with absolutely no emotion at all. His mother coaches him, asking leading questions like: "Can you tell them how they put you in the ground in a coffin?" The boy says that activity of this sort went on nearly every day for 6 and a half years. These disclosures were taken before a Grand Jury in Lafayette, who dismissed it. Thus rather than being an example of actual disclosures of Satanic activity this video was a good example of how people use leading questioning to get the stories that they expect out of child victims and how unsubstantiated reports are later produced as "evidence."
Simandl emphasized that investigators at crime scenes should only seize contraband, not legal ceremonial items (Compare this to his 1992 lecture below). He advocated photographing scenes and told another anecdote about a fundamentalist Christian officer who spray painted Christian slogans over some satanic graffiti that he'd found in a graveyard vandalism site before he took pictures of the scene, thus destroying his own case (which produced much laughter).
Simandl said that he believed that reports of generational Satanic abuse, Satanic "baby breeders" and international Satanic networking have some merit. He insisted, however, that extensive investigation and research needed to be done to substantiate such claims. He freely admitted that there is presently little or no evidence to show the extent of such practices.
Simandl also believed that Satanists use a technique he calls "magic surgery" to deter possible informers. Simandl claimed that they drug a child to sleep and, when the child wakes up, tell them that they have put a rat, a bomb, or some such in their tummy that will eat them or blow up if they ever tell anyone about the Satanic rituals that they have seen. "Cueing" is another technique that Simandl describes: The victim is allegedly brainwashed into responding to an object or a phrase. If the victim enters therapy the Satanists allegedly send this object or phrase to the victim and the victim, responding to programming, commits suicide. Simandl gave a whole lot of examples of the forms that such cues could take.
This is very imaginative stuff, but the problem is that to date there is no evidence that anyone has actually ever done such a thing outside of the uncorroborated disclosures of supposed survivors of Satanic Ritual Abuse. It seems to me to be an attempt to explain some of the shortcomings and lack of evidence which Simandl and his associates have problems explaining. It also may be used by therapists to attempt to explain people who leave them after figuring out that their "therapy" is all nonsense and that the therapist has been wasting their time. Rather than admit that they are wrong the therapist will conveniently claim that the Satanists must have gotten to the "patient" with a preprogrammed clue that caused them to leave.
Simandl's short hand-outs included many of the standard occult symbols often seen at these seminars. However, he did not cover the topic of symbols in his seminar, except to say that these were only examples of the sort of thing that an investigator might see and that we should not take them too seriously. Many of the symbols on this list were inaccurate (more on this later).
To relate the entire content of this course would take a small book. I found no evidence of an international Satanic conspiracy mentioned in Simandl's presentation. Simandl obviously believed that there must be something like this out there in order to explain what he has been hearing from "survivors," but freely admitted the lack of evidence. Simandl believed in the "baby breeders" too, though he again admitted that no evidence had been found and that we only had the statements of these alleged "survivors" to go on.
At that time I was generally pleased with Simandl's presentation and professionalism, but almost three years later I attended another presentation by Simandl at the same facility on December 4-5, 1992. The lecture took place in an older hall within the same Justice Institute. The attendance was about thirty people, half what it had been in 1990. The make-up of the audience had changed too. In the 1990 lecture most of those present had been police officers. In 1992 of those in attendance where social and health workers: Only seven were police officers.
I identified myself to Simandl before the lecture began and gave him a copy of the second edition of my manual Law Enforcement Guide to Wicca. He was relaxed and did not seem surprised. I asked if he would join me for lunch to discuss things and he accepted.
Simandl opened by saying: "I am here to discuss criminal activity, not someone's religion," which is the same as before. However, he now stated that he preferred the term "sadistic abuse" to his previous catch phrase "ritualistic abuse," explaining that the older expression had become sensationalised. Simandl told us that at the end of October he had attended a Child Abuse Seminar in Toronto where it had been decided that this would be a better term to use.
Simandl first showed us the updated version of the Cavalcade film: "Ritual Crime: Guidelines for Identification." The persons appearing in this new version were: Simandl, Sandy Gallant, Agent William Carmody (Senior Intelligence Instructor at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center and the author of a book Satanic Cults and Black Witchcraft: A General Overview), Judge William Laswell (whose son is reported to be a victim of child abuse in daycare) and Sharon Esonis, PhD. This film seeks to convince us that "ritual crime" (in other words, Satanic crime) is widespread.
Several unidentified parents appeared in this film. Two unidentified children (one silhouetted to hide their features) also appeared. All spoke about their experiences in the McMartin Day Care case, suggesting that they were children of members of the organization Believe the Children, but this is just an educated guess on my part. To use the testimonials of these children as evidence of ritualistic crime is questionable, as the McMartin case failed to prove any of the allegations of ritualistic abuse made.
Four unidentified female "survivors" also appeared in this film. One related a story about a Satanic ceremony that she participated in which sounded just like a description of a scene from a film called The Occult Experience which shows Anton LaVey and members of his Church of Satan doing a ritual. Was she describing a film that she had seen and hoping that no one would spot it? I wonder. After the video Simandl gave out the address of Cavalcade films in case we wished to obtain a copy and recommended Cavalcade founder Dale McCulley.
Simandl then spent some time describing how right is good and left is evil to a Satanist. He said that Satanists will take parts from the right side of a body. We've encountered this concept elsewhere in this series. Simandl or his source appear to have adapted this concept from an idea that was popularized by the founder of Theosophy, H. P. Blavatsky (1831-1891 CE). Blavatsky borrowed the idea from Tantrism, a form of Yoga from India. In Tantrism the female was positioned to the right of the male for Mantra and Mudra ceremonies. For erotic ceremonies she was positioned to the left of the male. Blavatsky felt ritual sex of any form to be perverse, so she used the term "left hand path" to describe magickal systems that she disapproved of and "right hand path" to describe those that she sanctioned. She may also have been influenced by Inquisitional folklore about left handed people. The demonologists of the Inquisition taught that people who were left handed (in other words, different from the norm) were Witches. Ultimately, through popular usage, the term "left hand path" later came to be a term for evil or black magic. Simandl offered no examples to substantiate his claims.
This time Simandl strongly emphasized documentation of crime scene evidence by "front line officers" and stressed the necessity to educate them on what to look for. The lack of evidence to support Simandl's beliefs was obviously troubling him. He was really digging deep to come up with plausible explanations to account for this lack. For example Simandl suggested the use of drop cloths by perpetrators to explain a lack of blood traces at a crime scene. A major difference from Simandl's lecture two years ago is that he now advocates seizing everything, "because it may not be significant now but it may be later." This rather concerns me, since before he said that investigators should only seize contraband, not legal ceremonial items. By taking everything the investigators make it easier to use the material that they have seized to dream up some justification after the fact, especially if they don't find what they were looking for. This is commonly referred to in police circles as "C.Y.A." (cover your ass). It isn't very professional and of questionable legality because an officer is supposed to be able to justify to the judge issuing a search warrant what the officer expects to find and how it will affect the case. What Simandl seemed to be suggesting is that you take the evidence and then create a story to justify it after the fact. Additionally, the officer should be sensitive to the fact that these items may be someone's religious tools and held as sacred by them. To confiscate everything, just in case, would be like finding someone shot in a Christian church and in addition to the smoking gun the officer also confiscates all the altar paraphernalia and hymnals, just in case.
(Continued... Click HERE for page II)
| ABOUT... |
Location: Surrey, British Columbia
Bio: Kerr Cuhulain the author of this article, is known to the mundane world as Detective Constable Charles Ennis. Ennis, a former child abuse investigator, is the author of several articles on child abuse investigation that appeared in Law & Order Magazine. Better known to the Pagan community by his Wiccan name, Kerr Cuhulain, Ennis was the first Wiccan police officer to go public about his beliefs 28 years ago. Kerr is now the Preceptor General of Officers of Avalon. Kerr went on to write four books: The Law Enforcement Guide to Wicca (Horned Owl Publishing), Wiccan Warrior and Full Contact Magick: A Book of Shadows for the Wiccan Warrior. (Llewellyn Publications), as well as a book based on this series: Witch Hunts: Out of the Broom Closet (Spiral Publishing).
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