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Article Specs

VxAcct: 230739

Article ID: 5017

Section: whs

Age Group: Adult

Posted: January 19th. 2003

Views: 35109

Christian Authors [1]

by Kerr Cuhulain

Part 1: Johnston's Edge of Evil

So far we have been discussing the individuals and organizations that have been disseminating the urban legend of the Satanic Conspiracy. These people have presented themselves as experts and/or survivors of SRA. Although the presentations of some self appointed experts initially sound very convincing and sane, once we examine the sources that they use we often very quickly find how bizarre and inaccurate they can be. Most of the resource materials used to sell the Satanic conspiracy myth originate with fundamentalist Christian authors. So let's look at some of this fundamentalist Christian literature. There is far too much for me to show you all of what is available, but I can show you a couple of good examples that will illustrate the shoddy scholarship and hysteria involved. This will hopefully show you where some of the individuals that we have already discussed got their ideas from in the first place.

Jerry Johnston is the founder and National Executive Director of Jerry Johnston Associates and LIFE School Assemblies in Overland Park, Kansas. He is a fundamentalist Christian who has travelled about the country lecturing to school assemblies on the alleged dangers of the occult. Jerry is married and has three children. He is the author of several books, including: Why Suicide?, Going All The Way, It's Killing Our Kids and The Edge of Evil. Johnston is also supported by Dick Bernal of Jubilee Christian Center, who I have discussed elsewhere in this series. Johnston has appeared on the television shows "Straight Talk" (October 31, 1989) and "Crossfire" (CNN, July 7, 1989).

Let's look at Johnston's book, The Edge of Evil. In it Johnston frequently quotes John Frattarola, Lyle Rapacki and Jacquie Balodis. Rapacki and Frattarola are easily the least credible of all the "experts" available, as we have seen earlier in this series. Jacquie Balodis claims to have formerly been a breeder for a Satanic cult and is the founder of a fundamentalist organization called "Overcomers Victorious." Balodis is the author of Soul Stealing: An Overview of Satanic and Black Witchcraft.

Johnston's book begins with a foreword by Geraldo Rivera (accompanied by Geraldo's photo). Considering the sensational content of Johnston's book, this doesn't surprise me. Geraldo declares that Satanism certainly exists and declares: "Jerry Johnston takes the lid off Satanism in North America. He has criss-crossed the United States and Canada in search of the truth about Satanism. This informed and readable report is the result of that research."(1) Johnston's book may be readable, but informed it is certainly not, as we are about to see.

Johnston states in his introduction: "...Although occultic practices are as ancient as man, there is a fast-growing developing subculture movement in the teenage community, namely satanism."(2) Johnston lists all of the well known juvenile "Satanism" cases in his book: Kasso, Sellers, Roland et al, Sullivan, Lauwers, etc. While many of these individuals were dabblers in Satanism, none were members of any organized group with national or international connections. The only other proof that Johnston offers is testimonies of individuals claiming either to be experts or to have formerly been involved in Satanism. Most of these individuals are only identified by a first name, making verification impossible.

Johnston uses Jerry Simandl's classification of Satanists: "teenage dabblers, self-styled satanic groups or covens, public religious satanists and hardcore satanic cults." Johnston states:

"Another phenomenon is rumbling from our culture's underground: organized satanic cults. They've always been there in some form; but today they're protected as religious organizations. And for various reasons they're getting blatant in their activities; they're actively recruiting teenagers to join their drug or pornography operations, to exult in their revels."(3)

Johnston quotes Arthur Lyons, stating that he "writes in his book, The Second Coming: Satanism in America, that 'the United States probably harbours the fastest growing and most highly organized body of satanists in the world'."(4) Johnston, like several others that I discuss in this series, doesn't point out that in Lyons' later book, Satan Wants You, Lyons states that he believes that there are no more than 5,000 Satanists in such groups worldwide.

Johnston also quotes Maury Terry:

"In a book entitled The Ultimate Evil, author Maury Terry has followed a dangerous, incredible trail of clues suggesting that Berkowitz and Manson were both members of a sophisticated satanic cult called The Process. Terry warns that, although pushed further underground by publicity such as his gripping book, The Process is alive and well and operating in such areas as New York and Houston. And its aim is terror."(5)

Terry's allegation that Manson and Berkowitz were members of The Process isn't true. The Process Church of Final Judgement is a group which became defunct years ago, another fact which is, incidentally, found in Lyon's later book. This idea actually originated in a book about Charles Manson entitled The Family, by Ed Sanders. Johnston is either unaware or overlooks the fact that Sanders was sued by the Process Church for similar claims, and that the Process Church won, the courts ordering Sanders to remove the offending sections of his book in future editions. Like Terry, Johnston does not fear prosecution himself for repeating Sander's slander, since the Process Church is now defunct. Johnston also does not tell you that Terry made similar allegations involving the O.T.O. in The Ultimate Evil. The O.T.O. successfully sued Terry for this, forcing him to remove all mention of the O.T.O. in later editions of his book. It is curious that Johnston makes no mention of the O.T.O. in connection with Terry's book, suggesting that he is at least aware of this much.

What concerns me the most about Johnston's book is his treatment of Wicca. Johnston believes that Witchcraft is "A practice of occultic arts, from wiccan-nature worship to satanic worship"(6) and classifies Wicca as "The paganistic end of the witchcraft spectrum."(7) In The Edge of Evil, Johnston begins a discussion of the infamous urban legend concerning the "W.I.C.C.A. Letters":

"Law enforcement officials confiscated a letter which purportedly contains the protocols of the Witches International Coven Council or WICCA- not to be confused with the wiccan school of "white" witchcraft. Apparently the WICCA group met at a conclave in Mexico in 1981, and San Diego police obtained a copy of their resolutions..."(8)

As I pointed out earlier, the "law enforcement officials" that Johnston fails to identify here is actually one person: Deputy Dave Gaerin of the San Diego County Sheriff's office. It is also interesting to note that Johnston is making a distinction between "white" witchcraft and this supposedly Satanic group here; a distinction that he later repeatedly contradicts. Johnston next continues by reporting "actual" text of this fraudulent letter. Then he makes the following comments:

"Now, I'm no textual critic, but this alleged document is as genuine as a three dollar bill. Much as the "Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion" was a fake document on how the Jews of the world were plotting to overthrow everybody, this letter is either a not-too-clever rendition of the fears of an enemy of the black arts or a twelfth grader's civics doodling.

"The only lexical hint that the author knows anything about the occult is the single word "arctress". Other than that, the vocabulary is that of any English-speaking adult. Avoiding the use of any other secretive witchcraft/satanic jargon in a supposedly top secret witchcraft/black arts manifesto is fishy.

"The grammar is inconsistent. If satanic witches gathered from all corners of the globe in Mexico for an international fest, surely someone in the mob would have balked at the phrasing 'To bring about the covens...into one.' Now, the witches and wizards and satanists I've run into so far are intelligent people. Some of the teenage dabblers are a little fuzzy from their drug-induced highs, but adults who are dedicated to the dark side appear to me to be generally well read, usually well educated. The adults would never write as the ultimate document's opening line anything like 'bring about the covens into one'.

"Finally, the content of the letter is nearly ridiculous. and again, these people are not airheads. If a satanist group were plotting to overthrow the world, would they enumerate items that only applied to the US or Canadian social structure? Not too many countries are blessed with boys or girls clubs, daycare centers, or schools in which prayers can be 'removed'. So the American ethnocentricity of the WICCA letter suggests it comes from a group or individual from North America with absolutely no insight into establishing a world-class satanic religion.

"The content also is simply ludicrous. Does 'having teachers teach about drugs, sex, freedoms' mean anything? Or if the manifesto were serious about such a goal, wouldn't it at least mention in what way these items were to be taught: Should the teachers, in order to establish satanism as a world religion, teach pro or con 'freedoms'? WICCA satanists are going to 'gain access to all people's backgrounds' by 'convenience'? They're going to 'bring about personal debts'?

"Now, how much would you believe? The seventh goal wasn't formulated at the 1981 conference; it was to be revealed at the celebration of the summer solstice in 1986. In that revelation, also confiscated by friendly contacts, covens are authorized to abduct and sacrifice adults or children on the twenty-fourth of each month for the following 11 years, until 1997. At that time the satanists expect to be in complete control."(9)

Johnston makes some of the same points here that I made earlier concerning the grammar, content and resemblance to the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," another notable fraud. However Johnston makes some other remarks that reveal his own lack of expertise in occult matters. For example, he claims that "arctress" is an actual title used in Witchcraft, which it most certainly is not. Johnston seems to be trying to give us the impression here that he is dismissing the "W.I.C.C.A. Letters" as an inept fraud, which it most certainly is.

However, there are several clues that suggest that Johnston has included this reference as he is actually still clinging to a belief that these letters have some validity. It is very curious that he should question the believability of the "W.I.C.C.A. Letters" but still support Frattarola, the author of the Passport Magazine Special Edition: America's Best Kept Secret, which supports this fake so strongly. Secondly, we find a later statement in The Edge of Evil in which Johnston contradicts this position:

"...And Saturday is the 24th, which- remember- is supposedly a critical date to practitioners of ritual satanism because of that protocol established at the 1981 W.I.C.C.A. convention in Mexico."(10)

Clearly Johnston is not questioning that an organization named "W.I.C.C.A." exists here. Does he believe that this is an urban legend or not?

Here are some further excerpts from Johnston's book which demonstrate his attitude towards Wicca:

  • Johnston quotes from a report labelled "CRM 100 File" from Lyle Rapacki's awful manual, Satanism: The Not So New Problem. This report reports the claims of Diane Daskalakis of Citizens for Better Education that school children were being shown occult training films.(11) I showed you earlier that Rapacki was a fraud and that these claims had no substance. Yet Johnston buys it and concludes: "Face it, I think: If a kid wants to get into occult dabbling, he has to look no further than his school library holdings. Or even his school homework assignments."(12)
  • Johnston states: "On the University of California campus... I checked out the UCLA trove of occult holdings... Judging by the listings on the occult, devil worship, demonism, witchcraft, etc., there's no end to the black arts literature anybody can read who has access to a large library. That is, if the books aren't already all checked out."(13) Johnston's listing includes books like the Necronomicon. The Necronomicon is a well known fiction originally conceived by science fiction writer HP Lovecraft, a fact that Johnston is obviously unaware of.
  • Johnston interviews an employee identified only as "Mickey" at The Bhodi Tree in Hollywood, a metaphysical book and supply store: "'Yeah' says Mickey the guy. 'And put it down: We're witches and we're proud. And if you want some advise for your teenagers in Saskatchewan or Coral Gables, our message is to go for it. Go for power. Give your soul to the oneness of the universe."(14) This statement doesn't sound very Satanic to me.

Chapter 15 of The Edge of Evil is "The Wiccan Witch." This is a rather silly and redundant title, but one which clearly points out Johnston's belief that Wiccans are only a subgroup within Witchcraft. In this chapter Johnston interviews a person which he only identifies as "Heather" in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Like the incident with "Mickey" related above, Johnston is interviewing some unidentified person that he assures us is a real Wiccan. It is interesting to note that despite the fact that Johnston lists several well known Wiccans such as Margot Adler and Laurie Cabot, he apparently makes no effort to try to interview them. Instead he interviews unknowns who he only identifies with a first name. It makes me wonder if the person he is interviewing really is a Witch. If they are, it is clear that Johnston would rather deal with some unknown and likely self taught person less versed in Wiccan theology. This, of course, gives Johnston greater possibilities for tripping these people up. The following are excerpts from Johnston's interview with "Heather":

"Heather explains the basics of neopaganism, wiccan and traditional witchcraft- The Craft. First she reads some selections from Margot Adler's Drawing Down the Moon.

"Generally, she explains, witchcraft falls into categories of wiccan and satanist. Wiccan, from the Old English "wiccian" then divides into Gardnerian, after the famous English occultist Gerald Gardner, and traditionalists. 'Gardnerians are generally wilder', she says. 'I'm more of a traditionalist myself,' says Heather. 'Although you can't really group witchcraft into categories since there are thousands and thousands of interpretations of those traditions.

"...Wiccans believe that the world is currently under the rule of the 'Sky Father', although the earth once enjoyed a time when disciples of the earth mother, the goddess, predominated. Under the goddess' rule, the world was filled with peace and harmony; Compassion was valued more than power and intuitional energy wasn't squelched by institutionalism."(15)

No real Wiccan is going to say that Satanism is a category of witchcraft, since it most certainly is not. Nor are they going to say that Wicca is simply divided into "Gardnerians and traditionalists." Anyone who has read Margot Adler's book (which Heather is allegedly reading from here) would realize that Margot lists many other traditions as well. Nor does it appear that "Heather" has ever met a Gardnerian Wiccan. It is my observation that Gardnerians are hardly what one would describe as "wilder," tending to be generally rather conservative instead.

"Wiccian" is not the old English word that the name Wicca is derived from. As I pointed out earlier, the old English word is "Wicca."

Heather's comment about the rule of the "Sky Father" is clearly referring to the current dominance of paternalistic religion in the world today, the "Sky Father" being Jehovah. In the context of Johnston's book it is clearly being presented to suggest that this "Sky Father" is in fact the Devil.

Further statements by Heather are even more suspect. For example, Heather allegedly tells Johnston: "If you're willing to pay the price, you can get anything."(16) This is clearly something a Wiccan isn't likely to say, given that the keystone of Wiccan ethics is the Wiccan Rede. The Rede tells Wiccans that they may not do anything that may harm others. Johnston then asks Heather:

"But I've read that most of witchcraft's basic belief- Wiccan or otherwise- is based on Aleister Crowley's work. Have you read any of his books? 'Well', she says. 'Yes, I do as a matter of fact. But just because he was a loony toward the end of his life doesn't mean his earlier writings weren't inspired. And you don't have to go along with any of the dark side of his work anyway. He just had some interesting insights. Like in any pursuit, you take the good and ignore the bad. He simply believed in a being called Satan just as Christian preachers do. Yet I don't have to believe everything they do to glean some good insights from Crowley or preachers or you, for that matter.' Her real hero, she tells me, is Victor Anderson of 'the faerie tradition'."(17)

Note here that Johnston is asking a double barrelled question: Is Wiccan belief based on Crowley's work and have you read Crowley's books? Heather only answers the latter question. Johnston is trying to infer from this that the answer to the first question is in the affirmative as well. Heather obviously doesn't know her subject very well either. Crowley most certainly did not "[believe] in a being called Satan just as Christian preachers do." Heather's final remark suggests that Victor Anderson was somehow related to Crowley and his work too. But the truth is that Anderson was a blind poet and shaman who is best known for his book Thorns of the Blood Rose. Anderson's practice of Wicca was based on his poetry and visions, not on Crowley's work.

In The Edge of Evil we next meet a surly individual called "uncle Throe." Johnston allegedly goes with Heather and Throe to a site four miles out of town off Highway 62. They go off into the bush at night and Heather gets Johnston to try to see fairies in the dark, which he does not. Johnston then asks her:

"Are you a happy witch?

"'Oh, yes' , she says too quickly.

"Are you ever a sad witch?'

"'Most of the time', she says.

"...I knew that there'd be the negative questions. No, I do not practice black or even gray art... Never... Now tossing a curse or two is certainly within my powers."(18)

Heather then describes how she used hair from a brush to make the hair of a woman dating a man she was also dating fall out. If "Heather" is a real person then she is clearly no Wiccan. Her statements demonstrate an ignorance of fundamental Wiccan principles and a willingness to violate Wiccan ethics. If cursing isn't "black" or "grey" I don't know what is.

Johnston aids the impression that he is trying to create here by mixing gory excerpts from "Dr" Rebbecca Brown's books and from Pazder's Michelle Remembers into Heather's story. In my opinion, rather than enhancing Heather's story this serves to further discredit it, since these works are fraudulent.

Chapter 16 of The Edge of Evil is "Satanism Today." In it Johnston argues that Satanism was practised by Crowley, the Nazis and the O.T.O. Johnston states:

"Still others hold that Satan is not a being at all but is a personification, a symbol of the evil in the world. This rational view, obviously popular since the era of The Enlightenment in Europe and North America, is espoused today by most occultists, wiccan witches, and anyone who denies the existence of a spiritual dimension."(19)

(Continued... Click HERE for page 2)


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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