On June 7, 2011, we carried the story Theistic Satanism Booming on the Internet, says Catholic Conference: But Why Would anyone Want to Worship the Devil? In the article, we referred to the article History of Satanism posted on the website of the Satanic Kindred Organization which refers to reported cases of Ex-Satanic cult members reporting:
…gruesome rituals in which hearts are cut out of living victims. Others report that victims are sexually abused before being killed; then their blood is drunk and their flesh is eaten. Women “breeders” produce babies for the “ultimate” and “ideal” human sacrifice. Former breeders report witnessing their babies being skinned alive, eaten, burned, poured in concrete and cut up and thrown in the ocean.
Diane Vera, a leading member of the Theistic Satanist community on the internet, who describes herself as an Azazelian Polytheistic Satanist, has responded to claims of "Satanic Ritual Abuse " in the 1980s and early 90s, with the explanation that the stories of satanic ritual abuse from this period have largely been proven false. Diane Vera cynically describes stories of "women breeders" and gruesome rituals as "classic Satanic Ritual Abuse allegations most of which have long since been discredited and have never been substantiated." She writes:
…the book Michelle Remembers, which launched the “Satanic Ritual Abuse” scare of 1980 to 1995, has been definitively debunked as being, at best, a collection of false memories — if not an outright hoax."
Michelle Remembers (1980) was written by Michelle Smith and Lawrence Pazder (M.D.). The book detailed the terrors of Smith's expereince as a child of five in Victoria Columbia (1954-1955). Michelle Smith claimed that her mother gave her to devil worship rituals and that she witnessed ritual killings of animals and infants. Michelle, in her alleged recollections, claimed that she was shut in coffins and put into graves and made to defaecate on the cross and renounce the Christian god. She recollected seeing the Devil, a not-so congenial gentlemen with lashing, snake-like tail, which struck her neck and seared her flesh.
Diane Vera disagrees with the Satanic Kindred Organization article History of Satanism which says:
Perhaps most dangerous of all are small cults whose members call themselves Satanists and practice ritual murder and animal mutilation. Such groups are said to kidnap runaway children and the homeless and use them as sacrificial victims.
Such cults were alleged to be commonplace in the 1980's, and were a common feature of the highly questionable “recovered memories” that were faddish back then. However, in real life, only one cult even remotely resembling this description has ever been found and prosecuted: the drug gang led by Adolfo de Jesús Constanzo.
She refers to the Bakersfield case of 1985 in which a ten year old boy, in Bakersfield, California, claimed that he and about two dozen other boys were forced to participate in gory satanic ritual in a "bad church." Diane Vera points out, with references, that the 34 convictions related to the Kern County Child Abuse cases were overturned in appeals. She debunks the "Satanic Ritual Abuse" cases as "full-fledged witch-hunt which ruined the lives of thousands of probably-innocent people." She also refers to the 1992 report by FBI special agent Kenneth Lanning ,who concluded that the "Satanic Ritual Abuse" cases were "almost entirely nonsense."
She similarly refers to Maury Terry's book Ultimate Evil (1987), describing it as "trash journalism". In the book, Ultimate Evil, Maury Terry claimed that the 1970's serial killer David Berkowitz alias "son of Sam" was a member of a Satanic cult which operated in Westchester County and linked to a network of cults across the country.
Diane Vera takes the Satanic Kindred Organization to task for accepting the claims of Satanic Ritual Abuses without skepticism. She writes:
Nowhere does the Satanic Kindred page put these allegations into historical context…The Satanic Kindred page echoes “Satanic Ritual Abuse” scare claims without any attempt to debunk them. Instead of debunking them, the Satanic Kindred page’s sole concern is to classify these alleged crimes as “Devil Worship” and, thereby, to absolve LaVeyan Satanists and Setians.
Diane Vera says that Satanists are law abiding. According to Ms. Vera, Satanist groups like Church of Satan, the Temple of Set and First Satanic Church encourage their members to be law abiding. She also comments that the Pontifical Academy Regina Apostolorum has a mistaken picture of Satanism based on she describes as:
criminal antics of deranged members of a metal band called the Beasts of Satan who are not representative of real-life Satanists.
Diane Vera concludes her refutation of "Satanic Ritual Abuse" or "Satanic Panic":
It is vitally important that Satanists not endorse such claims. When Satanists – of all people! – repeat such claims without debunking them, it gives the claims undeserved credibility in the eyes of the general public, because a Satanist’s endorsement of such claims will be seen as an admission that goes against our natural bias.