Bill Schnoebelen |
Author: Kerr Cuhulain
Posted: July 22nd. 2002
Times Viewed: 21,615
In October 1990 I received a "Saints Alive In Jesus" pamphlet entitled "Halloween: Tis The Season To Be Evil." On the cover is a demonic figure holding a baby. The pamphlet was authored by Schnoebelen.
In this pamphlet Schnoebelen repeats his storyline about his having been "an actual witch" who was a Satan worshipper. It is full of Biblical quotations. Schnoebelen states that October 31 was named after "Saman (sic), god of the Dead", listing the "Dictionary of Satanism", copyright 1972, by Wade Baskin, pg 285 and "The Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets", copyright 1983, by Barbara Walker, pg 372, as his sources. Barbara Walker claims in her book that the Celtic festival of Samhain was "named for the Aryan Lord of Death, Samana, 'the Leveller', or the Grim Reaper, leader of ancestral ghosts... the Irish used to call the holy night the Vigil of Saman." This is an erroneous assumption based on the similarity in the two names. The Celts had a God Samhain, who was not the God of death: He was a minor God of cattle. You would think that if the Celts intended to name their festival after one of their Gods of Death that the festival would have been named Arawn, Gwyn Ap Nudd, or Don. Schnoebelen seems to be unaware that Wiccans call October 31 "Samhain", not "Saman".
Schnoebelen also doesn't tell you that one of his sources, Wade Baskin, is also the author of the fundamentalist Christian books Satanism: A Guide to the Awesome Power of Satan and The Sorcerer's Handbook, neither of them much more accurate than Schnoebelen's material.
Schnoebelen also claims that Samhain rites included human sacrifice, stating: "Even witches admit this involved human sacrifice." He cites the book Eight Sabbats for Witches, copyright 1981, by Janet and Stewart Farrar, page 122 and The History and Origin of Druidism, copyright 1976, by Spence, page 104, as his sources. Schnoebelen then states: "Only innocent blood could resurrect Bel and thus infants were slain on the Druid altars".
Schnoebelen is misquoting both of his sources here. His sources state that criminals were saved by the Celts as sacrificial victims or that the practice involved the sacrifice of the reigning king. Their assumption that the reigning king was sacrificed was a theory advanced by Margaret Murray in the 1920s and long since disproved by archaeologists and folklorists. Neither is there any convincing evidence to suggest that the Druids sacrificed infants to a deity named Bel. In fact, Bel was an Assyro-Babylonian God, not a Celtic one.
Schnoebelen makes several even more bizarre claims, in true Schnoebelen fashion, including the following:
He states that Jack O'Lanterns are a symbol of "the Lord of the Dead, a 'god', just like a Buddha- in short an idol" and that its "fearsome face represented the god, Saman (sic)". NOTE: Jack O'Lanterns were derived from the British custom of "punkies" and do not represent a deity. They were meant to serve as a beacon to help the spirits of the ancestors find us. Buddha is not a Buddhist "lord of the dead" or an "idol." Buddha is the enlightened man in Buddhism. Here again we see Schnoebelen lumping all non Christian religions together under the category of Satanism.
Schnoebelen states: "The black cat is also both the witch's 'familiar' or magic helper, and is the chief totem (idol) of the goddess of Wicca, Diana. In legend, she turns into a black cat to commit incest with her brother, Lucifer". Schnoebelen cites the 10th part of The Alex Sanders Lectures on Witchcraft as his source.
NOTE: In this particular lecture, Sanders was quoting the first chapter of Charles Geoffrey Leland's book Aradia. To see what Aradia was about we need to go back to a man named Jules Michelet. Michelet was a popular French scholar of the early 1800s. Michelet wrote a book entitled La Sorciere, claiming to be a description of the rites of medieval Witches, describing them as followers of a pre-Christian Goddess religion. La Sorciere was a best seller, but the scholarship that went into it was poor. Michelet was not a good historian even by the standards of his era, and his book was basically a romantic flight of fancy. Michelet reported that the name of the Goddess of this ancient religion was "Herodias". This is the name of a very wicked woman who appears in the chapters Matthew (14:3, 14:6), Mark (6:17, 6:19, 6:22) and Luke (3:19) in the New Testament of the Bible.
Now in the 10th century the Church issued the Canon Episcopi, which claimed that literal belief in witchcraft was folly because it was an illusion inspired by Satan. The Canon, re-enacted several times until the Council of Treves in 1310, gave the name Herodias as the name of the leader of the "Wild Hunt", the nocturnal procession of the Goddess of the Hunt and her retinue. Michelet probably thought that this was based on factual accounts, rather than the speculation of Church theologians of the time.
Charles Geoffrey Leland, a lawyer and soldier of fortune, took up this same idea in 1899 with his book Aradia: Gospel of the Witches. This was allegedly a description of traditional Tuscan witchcraft as described to him by a witch named Maddelena and a translation of their "gospel", which he named "Vangelo". It bears a striking resemblance to Michelet's earlier La Sorciere. Originally the name of the Goddess in Leland's book was identical to that in Michelet's book: "Herodias". Once rendered into Italian, "Herodias" became "Aradia".
The first problem with Leland's allegations is that no historian or folklorist has found any evidence of the Tuscan witch cult described by Leland, nor any evidence of a goddess named "Aradia". Leland's original use of the name "Herodias" clearly shows that he was borrowing from the Canon Episcopi and/or the Bible. Secondly, the language of Vangelo, the witch "gospel" allegedly recovered by Leland, is unmistakably nineteenth century, and not fourteenth century as Leland suggests.
The upshot of this is that Sanders was quoting an entirely fictional account. In other words there is no validity to Schnoebelen's claims about cats and Wicca at all.
Schnoebelen states: "The skeleton is a form of the god of the Dead, the witches 'Horned God'".
NOTE: The Horned God is represented in Wicca as a living man with animal's attributes, such as horns or antlers, not a skeleton. Nor is the Horned God a "God of the Dead": He is Father Nature.
Schnoebelen states: "Far too many former witches who are now Believers share testimonies of having their innocent little souls cracked open as kids by Halloween activities and the floodgates of Hell pouring in!"
NOTE: Schnoebelen does not share any of these testimonies or identify any of these supposedly reformed witches, however.
Schnoebelen states: "Fear has also become part of trick or treat because of the placing of razor blades, etc, in candy by witches. They are using this to help provide the human sacrifices for Samhain, spreading fear through spiritual terrorism". Schnoebelen goes on to say: "Many witches also fill their candy with familiar spirits and then feed it to trick or treaters, hoping that in eating the candy the child will take the controlling spirit within. Does your child partake of this 'table of demons?'".
NOTE: If Wiccans were to want to do such a thing they'd first have to believe that demons, a Christian mythological figure, exist. They don't.
Schnoebelen states: "Even more fear has emerged recently with the realization of the very real danger of children being kidnapped for Samhain sacrifices at this season. Our ministry has dealt with several cases of either alleged ritual kidnapping or ritual abuse by witches and satanists".
NOTE: Schnoebelen says "alleged" and not "proven." No verified case of a child being kidnapped by a Satanist has ever been reported. Nor am I aware of Schnoebelen ever identifying any of these alleged cases to anyone.
Here again, in typical fashion, Schnoebelen blends selected facts, often taken out of context, with outright falsehoods to further his fundamentalist Christian ministry through the very fear which he condemns. It is fundamentalist Christians like Schnoebelen who are making Halloween a fearful time, not some shadowy cult group.
A new Schnoebelen supporter is Jack Chick, whom I will discuss in a later article in this series. Jack Chick has backed a whole series of frauds like Schnoebelen, in some cases long beyond the point where they were publicly discredited
With the backing of Decker and Chick, Schnoebelen has become well known to others promoting the Satanic conspiracy myth and has been lecturing for them all over North America. He appeared in Caryl Matrisciana's hysterical film "Devil Worship: The Rise of Satanism" and Jeremiah Films' anti-Masonic video "Free Masonry: From Darkness to Light." In the latter film Schnoebelen claims to have been a "32nd degree Mason". I am unaware of any evidence that would show that he took time off from his earlier busy schedule of sampling different religions to study Freemasonry. As the lessons he learned from Eli's Mental Science Institute had certain Masonic teachings, it is likely that Schnoebelen is once again fabricating history to suit his purposes based on pieces of Eli's material. Schnoebelen has also appeared on the Christian "700 Club" TV program on Halloween 1990 and has been quoted by Satanic conspiracy promoters such as Cultivate Ministries and David Brown/Logos Communications.
Schnoebelen is best know to the evangelical Christian community for his book Wicca: Satan's Little White Lie. The basic premise of this book is that Wicca is simply a front organization for a larger Satanic conspiracy. Schnoebelen tries to convince the reader that after a few years a Wiccan must pursue "the study of the 'Higher Wisdon' of Satan in order to keep growing." He goes on to say: ... If you've stayed a Wiccan or 'white' witch for a long time, it's only because you don't have enough of the Promethean itch to grow. OR it may be that you have many Christian friends or loved ones praying for you. Did you ever think of that?[emphasis in original]"
Schnoebelen attempt to prove his argument by citing evangelical sources such as Texe Marr's book Mystery Mark of the New Age (which I will discuss in a later article). When he can't provide proof, Schnoebelen frequently resorts to evasion. For example, in Chapter 1, he states: "If confidentiality permitted it, I could give you the names of dozens of people who personally studied under us, and I don't think one of them would accuse me of being on a power trip or exploitive until the very end." You'd think that now that he has left Paganism, he'd have no reason to respect confidentiality. We have already seen some testimonials that refute his claims on not being exploitive. In the introduction, Schnoebelen lists the credentials that we discussed at the beginning of this article. He then quickly goes on to point out that modern scholars have disproved the theories of people such as Dr. Margaret Murray: That modern Witchcraft is a survival of an ancient "Witch Cult." He points out that modern Wicca was "a manufactured religion" dating back to around 1910. The inference is two fold. First Schnoebelen is presenting the tired logical fallacy that his spirituality is more valid because it is older. The second fallacious argument that Schnoebelen infers here is that Wicca was "manufactured" by people and Christianity was not. Schnoebelen refers to religions other than Christianity as "artificial religions." In the conclusion of his book, Schnoebelen claims that Christianity is not a religion at all:
"Christianity is not a religion! It is anti-religion!! Religion is man's attempts to do certain things to please his deity. Christianity is a relationship with the Lord of the Universe, Jesus Christ!"
Schnoebelen also tries to capitalize on the earlier published definitions of the term Wicca: That it means "wise one." The readers of this book won't know that the Wiccan community figured this out many years ago. Schnoebelen accuses Wiccans of "playing games, the same sort of word games most cultists play to conceal the truth." Ironic, given the word games that we've seen Schnoebelen engaging in.
In the first chapter of Wicca, Schnoebelen details the background of Gerald Gardner. Schnoebelen lists "ecology, environmental awareness and feminism" as inventions of Satan. Schnoebelen makes the common evangelical mistake of labelling Aleister Crowley a Satanist, and suggests that because Gardner sought out Crowley at one point in his career that Gardner must have copied most of his Wiccan material from Crowley. Modern historians such as Ronald Hutton have shown that Crowley did have an influence on Gardner, but that Wicca was certainly Gardner's invention, not Crowley's.
In this same chapter Schnoebelen describes the ritual known as the Descent of the Goddess into the Underworld. Of course Wiccans will recognize this as the ancient Sumerian myth of the descent of the Goddess Innanna. Schnoebelen claims that this is proof of what he has been saying, as in his view the Lord of Death is Satan. Schnoebelen claims that a Wiccan first becomes a "Luciferian and finally a Satanist."
Quite a few of the anti-Pagan evangelical texts that I have written use the term Luciferians as a synonym for Satanists. This usage only demonstrates their ignorance. The Luciferians were founded by Lucifer Calaritanus (died circa 370 CE), the bishop of Cagliari, Sardinia. He ardently opposed Arianism, a Christian doctrine started early in the 4th century CE by the Alexandrian presbyter Arius. Arianism held that Christ was not divine, since God is self existent, immutable and unique. Lucifer was opposed by the Roman Emperor Constantius II, himself an Arian.
As a result of two councils, one in Arelate, Gaul (later Arles, France) in 353 and the Council of Milan in 355, the Luciferian's chief bishop, St. Anthasius the Great, was condemned and Lucifer Calaritanus exiled to the east, where he continued to write tracts opposing the emperor.
When Constantius II died in 361 Lucifer returned, allowed back by an edict of Constantius' successor, Julian the Apostate. He went to Antioch, where two factions were struggling over who would be the rightful bishop. Lucifer Calaritanus consecrated one of the candidates, Paulinus, as bishop. His rival, Meletius, opposed Lucifer's actions until his death in 381.
Meanwhile Anasthasius had held a council in 362 pardoning former Arians who renounced their views. Lucifer Calaritanus then founded the Luciferians, who promulgated his opinion that all former Arians should be deposed and any bishop accepting them should be excommunicated.
The Luciferians were never a large group and died out by the 5th century CE. St Jerome criticized them in his Altercatio Luciferiani et Orthodoxi ("The Dispute of the Luciferian and the Orthodox").
Schnoebelen accuses Wiccans of having "no firm sense of ethics." An interesting remark, given some of the falsehoods he presents in this book. For example, Schnoebelen states that "It was taken for granted that the occasional animals needed for sacrifice would be slain without mercy knowing that, in reward, they would come back as human beings in their next lifetime. People who willingly gave their lives for Lucifer would come back as gods or goddesses. I was perfectly prepared to let myself be ritually slain if necessary..." Schnoebelen later devotes chapter 6 ("Due Sacrifice") to the idea that Wiccans worship dark goddesses that demand sacrifices and chapter 9 ("Power in the Blood") to the idea that Wiccans require blood sacrifices.
In the second chapter of Wicca, Schnoebelen quotes the materials that I mentioned that the WLPA had sent to him earlier. He takes each point and tries to refute them using Scripture. One ("Witches and Drugs") is devoted to the idea that Wiccans are drug addicts. Another (Is Satan Really a 'Christian' Concept?") argues that even though Wiccans state that Satan is not part or our mythology, he is really there in many forms and we are either whitewashing this or being willfully blind.
The conclusion to Wicca is the chapter "Satan's Hoofprints are All Over Wicca!" "You don't have to be sacrificing virgins or turning crosses upside down to be a satanist," Schnoebelen tell us, "All you have to do is spurn Jesus Christ and you are a satanist[emphasis in original]." Schnoebelen claims that he and his wife Alexandria were "the ONLY married couple we knew in all our years of Wicca that didn't get divorced [emphasis in original]." He claims that "a majority of the people we tried to help got worse! Many of them became so filled with their own egos that they could never relate to anyone else or they sank into the mire of drugs or liquor. Two or three went quite insane! In Milwaukee we had psychic wars between groups. Witches were shooting at each other in the streets because of adultery! Curses were filling the air like mosquitoes on a hot Wisconsin night." He urges all Wiccans to come to Jesus.
Schnoebelen is backed by some vocal fundamentalist Christians such as Decker and Chick who have a history of supporting those who tell them what they want to hear, regardless of it being proven to be untrue. Other evangelicals such as the Utah Lighthouse Ministry have discovered Schnoebelen's stories to be untrue and have warned their fellow members, but many have ignored them. Schnoebelen is mixing information from his colourful past with falsehoods from his fundamentalist present to create grandiose claims to further his career as an evangelist. Schnoebelen is given to finding trivial parallels between Wicca and faiths such as Mormonism or lodges such as Freemasonry in an attempt to prove his points. As you have seen he is not above misquoting his sources or using discredited ones, as do his backers. When challenged by Wiccans to provide evidence he becomes evasive and usually claims that he was at some mysterious higher Satanic level than his Wiccan detractors had attained of which his detractors were unaware. If these claims were true, and he is obviously willing to go public with it, why will he not provide evidence to support his claims? The answer is simple: There isn't any evidence. We are expected to take Schnoebelen's word for it.
Article ID: 4356
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 4,390
Times Read: 21,615
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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