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Article Specs

VxAcct: 230739

Article ID: 4824

Section: whs

Age Group: Adult

Posted: December 30th. 2002

Views: 11403

Police Who Believe [9]

by Kerr Cuhulain

Simandl then talked about "Magical surgery" and "cueing" as he had two years ago. These, like the "drop cloth" explanations above, are simply further attempts to rationalize the lack of verifiable disclosures and evidence. As before, Simandl's difficulty is that to date there is still not one single case of "magical surgery" or "cuing" to prove this theory. This may account for the fact that, unlike his 1990 presentation, he did not give examples of magical surgery or cuing and seemed reluctant to get into these topics.

Simandl's new term "Sadistic abuse" was defined as follows: "The repeated physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual assaults combined with a systematized use of symbols, ceremonies and the use of evil, designed and orchestrated to attain harmful effects, to turn the victim against themselves, society and God." This is, word for word, Dr Lawrence Pazder's definition of "ritualistic abuse," Pazder being the author of Michelle Remembers. Obviously "sadistic abuse" is simply a new name for the same old material.

Simandl then stated that: "The real experts are the adult survivors that we are learning from." But if these people are not really survivors, doesn't this make their expert status questionable? Simandl was aware of frauds: In fact he warned us about them. Yet Simandl was obviously unwilling to entertain the possibility that if any of those that he originally believed in have since been found to be frauds that the remainder might be frauds as well.

Simandl had also modified his classifications of Satanists since 1990:
  • Experimentalist (renamed dabblers)
  • Self Styled (new-says they don't network)
  • Organized/traditional groups
  • Occultic network

Then Simandl started saying some rather disturbing stuff. Referring to Satanism he stated: "This is something taking over the world." Simandl could give no statistics to substantiate this statement, specifically stating that there were "no numbers here." In fact Simandl carefully avoided giving any sort of statistics despite direct requests for statistics from myself and others in the audience. Simandl said that he thought that there may be an "occultic network" running "organized/traditional groups." Note the new use of fundamentalist buzz word "occultic" here. This is a change from 1990, when Simandl suggested that there was no connection between levels.

Simandl then showed a film entitled: "Destructive Occult Behaviour" by the Milwaukee Public School System and Simandl's Midwest Gang Investigator's Association. This video was directed at parents. The opening scene was a dramatization of a Wisconsin case where a teenage girl tries to stab her father. Eliphas Levi's picture of the "sabbatical goat" is used in this video as a picture of the devil, even though this is not what the original represents. The Egyptian Ankh is shown as a Satanic symbol, which it is not. Anton LaVey is discussed. The narrator in this video says that Aleister Crowley fuelled new interest in Satanism and called him the "father of modern Satanism." I pointed out earlier that Crowley was not a Satanist. The video used Simandl's classifications of Satanists, but called the fourth category "international". Instead of presenting evidence the narrator in the video makes vague statements such as: "rumours... surround international groups." While the video clearly presents the message that Satanism is a problem, it also emphasises that Satanism is a legal religion. The fundamentalist Christian buzz word "occultic" is used over and over again in this video.

At this point the lunch break occurred. Before lunch Detective Gary Vath of the Vancouver Integrated Intelligence Unit asked Simandl a very good question: "Why are those claiming to be survivors always the central figure? Why do they always claim to have been the High Priest or High Priestess. Why have no 'peripheral' people come forward?" Simandl seemed uncomfortable and gave a vague and unsatisfactory answer: "Well we don't know enough. We're just starting to find out through therapy." Simandl then claimed that most ritualistic offenders are put in jail for crimes that aren't classified as ritualistic, therefore we cannot accurately count the cases. The trouble with this argument is simply that if they had committed a ritualistic crime, one would expect them to have been convicted of it in most cases. It sounded like another lame attempt to explain away the lack of evidence.

Another person asked: "Are gangs involved?" Simandl replied: "Mostly no. Just small cells within gangs." If this is Simandl's opinion, I wonder why the Midwest Gang Investigators Association with of which Simandl is an officer is sponsoring the making of movies on occult crime?

I went to lunch with Simandl and two other officers at the Justice Institute cafeteria. Conversation concerned routine police matters to begin with and Simandl made no attempt to mention his lecture subject. I tried to get him talking by asking him what he thought about the apparent dwindling of support for Lieutenant Larry Jones of Cult Crime Impact Network, Inc. Simandl cautiously replied that he thought that Jones's heart was in the right place and that he was really concerned about children. Obviously Simandl is still sympathetic to Jones's cause.

I then asked Simandl about several incidents which had occurred involving Wiccans who had been discriminated against, but he had no knowledge of them. In fact, it seemed from the blank looks that I got that he had no idea what Wicca was all about. This is rather interesting, because at his lecture three years earlier I had seen a Victoria Police officer give Simandl a copy of my Law Enforcement Guide to Wicca, which would have given him some basic information. More on this later.

After lunch Simandl described the alleged use of freon or ether to kill cattle, the substance allegedly being sprayed into their throats to stun them. Simandl said that Satanists used portable embalming pumps to extract the blood from this cattle. Very creative, but again, to date there has never been a proven case of this happening. Simandl claimed that traces of freon and/or ether are not found because there is no autopsy. But in many cases forensic veterinaries have done autopsies in such cases and have never found such traces. In fact, in most cases where autopsies have been performed on livestock, the death has been conclusively proven to have been due to natural causes and the mutilation of the carcass has been shown to be due to natural predators.

Another thing that concerned me was that Simandl showed us the BADD (Bothered About Dungeons and Dragons) manual on Fantasy Role Playing Games and recommended it. I dissected this manual earlier in this series to show you the reasons why this book is a matter of concern.

Simandl was also still recommending Maury Terry's book The Ultimate Evil. You'll recall that back in 1990 he specifically recommended the second edition, probably because of the aforementioned law suits concerning the original. Obviously this hasn't diminished Simandl's regard for Terry. He still speaks highly of him.

Simandl next showed us an unfinished video being done by his Midwest Gang Investigator's Association called "When Allison Gets Out." It is mostly an interview with a girl only identified as "Allison," who is being interviewed by Darrel Christiansen, a therapist who appeared in the earlier MGIA video. At one point Allison states: "I wanted to fill the empty space in me with something destructive like witchcraft." No attempt is made in the video to explain what Wicca is, and to point out that it isn't destructive, another indication that Simandl, who appears in the video, doesn't understand what Wicca is.

Next was a video of a Milwaukee television news broadcast done by newscasters Jerry Taff and Marty Burns Wolfe. They introduce a four part report entitled "Satan's Children" by Angie Moreschi. The first part is about Satanism and sacrifice. It starts with a scene from the movie "Prime Evil" which they claim to be an accurate depiction of witchcraft. In fact it is only an accurate depiction of the standard Inquisitional stereotype of "witchcraft," which is totally divorced from reality. The second part features Jack Roper, founder of Christian Apologetics Research and Information Service (CARIS) whom I discussed earlier in this series. The subtitles identify Roper as a "Satanism investigator." Darrell Christiansen appears in this segment as well. The third part features an interview with a hefty teen whose face and voice have been distorted to conceal his identity. He talks about rituals that he claims to have done with his friends. Mixed in with this are scenes from the movie "The Necromancer." The final segment features Darrell Christiansen once again and Jim Scores of the MGIA. They identify the The Necronomicon as "satanic". I pointed out earlier that The Necronomicon is a clever modern fiction. It seemed that the major evidence presented in this video was excerpts from popular horror movies, which is not evidence of actual Satanic activity at all.

There was a break at this point. A social worker from Chilliwack asked Simandl if the New Age was linked to Satanism. Simandl's answer was "I don't know." This is a marked departure from 1990 when he pretty clearly differentiated between Satanism and New Age beliefs.

Next Simandl then showed a "Roll Call" police training video featuring an incident of homicide which occurred in Warren, Michigan on July 11, 1990. It featured Detective John Uritescu and Randall Willms of the Warren (MI) Police Department and Sergeant Ray Skinner of the Alvin (TX) Community College Police Department, who was identified in this video as a "Satanic expert." It concerned Jaime Rodriguez and Augustin Pena, who were arrested for a brutal ritualistic slaying and dismemberment of a juvenile runaway. These two were dabbling in Satanism and experimenting with various magical systems. One of the things found at the scene was a copy of Raymond Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft. This prompted the moderator to ask Skinner if there was any connection between Witchcraft and Satanism. Skinner answered by stating that there is a definite "cross over" between Witchcraft and Satanism happening now. Buckland is a well known Wiccan and this book contains nothing resembling Satanism or the practices of Rodriguez and Pena.

There was a break at this point and I went to Simandl to point out that in his list of Satanic symbols, which is the same one he had handed out in 1990, he had included the "ZOSO symbol" with the inaccurate definition that I discussed earlier in this book. I told him that his interpretation of the symbol was incorrect. He obviously had no idea what I was talking about. I also called him on a remark that he made when showing us some intricate artwork done by a mentally disturbed juvenile earlier in his presentation. He had correctly identified the written characters used in one of the pieces as runes, but had said that they were from "The Book of Runes." I asked Simandl what "Book of Runes" he was referring to, since I had never heard of such a book. When it was obvious that he didn't know what I meant I explained that runes were an alphabet called a "futharc," that was used by several ancient Germanic peoples and asked if he was referring to some modern book, since runes are a popular subject these days. He smiled faintly and replied that he wasn't referring to a book, it was just an expression that he had used. In fact, the impression that I got from speaking with Simandl and asking him further similar questions is that not only is his knowledge of "occult" topics extremely limited, but that he did not seem terribly interested in learning about it. In fact he didn't seem to care that there were errors in his hand-outs. I thought back to his reaction to my questions about Wicca at lunch earlier. Obviously Simandl has focussed his attention almost exclusively on the allegations of survivors and has neglected other areas of study that would give him insights into his field of study. I wonder how he can justify himself as an expert, since he obviously doesn't possess the knowledge to accurately assess the allegations that he is lecturing about.

Simandl let slip that he has a personal computer data base in which he stores information on what he classifies as Satanic activity. He would say very little about it except that he hoped that some day it would prove useful. Simandl did say that his data entry was about a year behind schedule. This being the case I wonder how useful it really is?

When he started again, Simandl began emphasizing the "team response" approach that he was recommending in 1990. He mentioned a case of a Department of Child Welfare Worker whom Simandl blames for blowing a case by mishandling it. I wasn't sure from what was said if the real reason that this case hadn't gone anywhere was because there really wasn't any evidence or because he had been careless as Simandl suggested. What alarmed me is that Simandl said: "We'll be watching him. We've got his name." He did not identify who he meant when he said "we." Simandl didn't clarify this any further. Does this mean that this worker's name is now in Simandl's database? Does Simandl consider a person who fails to uphold Simandl's beliefs his opponent? Simandl spoke generally about how to handle investigations and then, referring once again to people who don't do what Simandl considers to be a good investigation, he said: "People will keep track of their track record." This sounded pretty ominous to me.

Unlike 1990, Simandl did not show any Geraldo Rivera video footage. He did say, however, that he thought that Geraldo had done good work, despite its sensational nature. I totally disagree with Simandl in this. That Geraldo's research is slipshod and biassed can easily be proven and his television shows are largely responsible for sustaining the irresponsible hysteria about Satanism that still abounds.

Simandl stated that he didn't think that most therapists could contaminate or influence the disclosures of their child patients. This is a complete turn around from what I heard him say in 1990. Simandl was very unhappy about the "False Memory Syndrome" proposed by legitimate experts, calling it "a threat to therapists." Simandl said that if a patient told you about how they had been Satanically abused and then later told you that they had made it all up, that we were to accept the earlier story and ignore the later denial "because this is just brain washing, just conditioning" and not an attempt on the part of the patient to tell the truth. This is a very alarming position for a police officer to take, as what Simandl is saying is that if the patient tells you a lie that you want to believe at first and then recants, you should believe the original lie! This isn't therapy, this isn't objectivity, this is wishful thinking of the worst kind.

Simandl was showing other signs of paranoia that were not evident in the 1990 lecture. For example, Simandl mentioned that Vicky Graham-Costain and Pamela Reagor, both therapists who have appeared in Cavalcade films on ritualistic abuse, had just done a lecture in Duncan, BC, for social workers there. Some of the people in the room were social workers from Vancouver Island and had apparently attended this lecture. Simandl reported that these two therapists had been followed and that they had been victims of "organo-phosphate poisoning" by Satanists. He did not identify the "organo-phosphate" with which these two therapists had been poisoned, which I would have thought would have been good information for people in the room to know if it had really happened, since it would have given us something specific to be on the lookout for. Keep this in mind because a bit later in this series we will see how this little piece of information was taken by some of those present and used to start a whole new wave of hysteria.

Simandl also said that many therapists had been forced to stop treating "survivors" due to suits being launched to compromise their malpractice insurance. He gave no specific instances or details to back up these claims, but these lawsuits involved some of the therapists that he worked with in Chicago, such as Dr Bennet Braun.

After lunch Simandl showed a new Cavalcade video: "Children at Risk: Ritual Abuse in America." This is hosted by Mike Farrell, the actor who played "BJ" on the series "M.A.S.H.". It reported on the child abuse case concerning the Gallup Christian Day Care Centers in Roseburg, Oregon. Three people were convicted of sexual abuse in this case, but no Satanism was involved. It also told of the investigation at Centerville (MA) Elementary, where a child collapsed from an overdose. Several children were hospitalized. No charges were ever laid. Persons appear in the video: Detective Mark Ranger, Bill Carmody (mentioned earlier), Sharon Esonis, PhD (a therapist treating SRA survivors), Sarah King (co-founder of Mothers Alliance for the Rights of Children), Prosecutor Cynthia Angell, Bennett Braun (mentioned earlier) and Bonita Bergman Sheldon, MD. In this video Braun states that he estimates that 25% of Multiple Personality Disorders (MPD) victims are Satanically abused. He provides no evidence to support his estimate.

Next Simandl played part of an audio tape in which an unidentified therapist told a bizarre tale of how descendants of an unidentified royal Slavic family which would be traced back to "610 AD" had moved to the US and started a Satanic community which had infiltrated all levels of society. She talked about seeing bodies being cooked in a "cast iron bathtub." She said that she made "life and death decisions" in this group for 6 years and spent 9 years as a high priestess. (Simandl commented later that this did not necessarily mean that she had an "administrative position," presumably because of the scepticism expressed to him earlier about all survivors claiming to have been the high priest/ess).

I am not certain, but I thought that the voice was that of Esther Cantella, whom Simandl identifies as a survivor. Cantella is on the Ritual Abuse Committee of VOICES Inc with Beth Vargo. I asked Simandl at the conclusion of the tape who it was. He just smiled and said, "A survivor." I then asked him where this alleged group was operating. He said that they had established "two safe pockets within their regions" and that they were active in eight states. I got him to name two of them: Pennsylvania and Ohio. Simandl wouldn't comment further.

Next Simandl showed another Cavalcade video, adapted from a KPIX (San Francisco) television report by Dave McElhatton entitled "Significant Others," which is about Multiple Personality Disorder. McElhatton interviews Betty Schaat, who is reported to have 370 personalities and Karen Stardancer, who has 15. Dale McCulley (the CEO of Cavalcade Productions), Detective Tony Perarsall of the Vallejo (CA) Police Department, Vicki Graham-Costain (mentioned earlier), Father Kent Burtner (a Dominican priest who runs the Positive Action Center in Portland, OR, an organization promoting "deprogramming"), and Pamela Hudson (mentioned earlier).

In this video Hudson talks about "Magic surgery". Perarsall shows us "occult" symbols and paraphernalia. Father Burtner, the author of the books Of Witches and the Craft: An Overview and Coping with Cults, claims to have deprogrammed 16 people before 1985.

By this time I'm sure that you have noticed that Simandl spent a lot of time showing us one film after another telling us about how there is a Satanic conspiracy out there. But you will also notice that he spent very little time actually showing us any evidence of it. In fact he admitted several times that he is still looking for evidence. Almost all of the films shown by Simandl are made by the same organization: Cavalcade films. They involve the same people making the same claims but consistently avoiding providing any convincing evidence that what they say is true. Thus the entire substance of the seminar is the claims alone. This is typical of such seminars. Lots of talk but no evidence.

At the end of his presentation one of the social workers asked Simandl if there were ties between Satanism and the white supremacists. "Definitely" he replied. He might also have pointed out as I did earlier in this book the well known ties between such extremists and Identity Churches like the Church of Jesus Christ Christian, but he did not.

In the end Simandl recommended the video "After McMartin, Who Walks the Point?" by Cavalcade Productions again. It is basically a post mortem of the McMartin case, the objective being how to go about it next time so that they can succeed in proving that Satanism was responsible.

Simandl seemed to have lost a lot of the objectivity and responsibility that I thought that I perceived two years earlier. It is also obvious that despite the passage of time he has learned very little. Simandl's lists of symbols, for example, are as inaccurate as they were two years ago. Despite his inaccurate information and questionable research and total lack of proof for his claims, he was still in demand as a lecturer, spreading the myth of a Satanic conspiracy.


Kerr Cuhulain

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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