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Internet Book of Shadows, (Various Authors), [1999], at

                          BEYOND REASON: A new look at an old Devil
                                          by Aries
           Inside my mind is a court room. It is dark and sombre, a few shafts of
           light from high slit windows etch out sloping pillars of swirling
           dust. In the public gallery are a representative sample of the great
           unwashed; fighting, fornicating, eating, suckling piglets, and other
           sub-Bosch activities that lend atmosphere to the Baroque wanderings of
           my imagination. The judge is unhappy. Whatever happens, someone,
           somewhere, will hate him for it. In the dock are the three grand-dames
           from Shakespeare's "Scottish" play, and I am counsel for the defence.
           The Advocatus Diaboli, I guess. In the witness stand is "Dance with
           the Devil" by Audrey Harper and Harry Pugh, and grave are its accus-
           ations. But first, let's have its story.
           Audrey Harper; a familiar tale of degradation and final redemption t-
           hrough our Saviour Jesu Christos; sent to a Dr Barnado's home by her
           mother, she grew up with deprivation and social stigma. In time she
           becomes a WRAF, falls in love, gets pregnant, boyfriend dies, she
           turns to booze, gives up her baby and becomes homeless. Wandering to
           Piccadilly Circus she meets some Flower Children with the killer weed,
           and her descent into Hell is assured. By day she gets stoned and eats
           junk food; by night she sleeps in squats and doorways. Along comes
           Molly; the whore with a heart of gold who teaches Audrey the art of
           streetwalking. She flirts with shoplifting, gets into pills, and then
           gets talent spotted and invited to a Chelsea party, where wealth, pow-
           er and tasteful decor are dangled as bait. At the next party she is
           hooked by the "group", which meets "every month in Virginia Water".
           She agrees to go to the next meeting which is to be held at Hallow-
           Inside the dark Temple lit by black candles and full of "A heady,
           sickly sweet smell from burning incense", she is "initiated" by the "-
           warlock", whose "face was deathly pale and skeletal... his eyes ... w-
           ere dark and sunken" and whose "breath and body seemed to exude a
           strange smell, a little like stale alcohol." She signs herself over to
           Satan with her own blood on a parchment scroll, whereupon a baby is
           produced, its throat cut, and the blood drank. Following this she gets
           dumped on the "altar" and fucked as the "sacrifice of the White
           Virgin". The meeting finishes with a little ritual cursing and she's
           left to wander "home" in the dark. 
           Her life falls into a steady routine of meetings in Virginia Water,
           getting screwed by the "warlock", drug abuse, petty crime, and recrui-
           ting runaways for parties, where the drinks are spiked - "probably
           LSD" - and candles injected with heroin release "stupefying fumes into
           the air"; the object being sex kicks and pornography. She falls
           pregnant again, gets committed to a psychiatric hospital, has the
           baby, and gives it away convinced that the "warlock" would sacrifice
           Things then become a confusion of Church desecration, drug addiction,
           ritual abuse, psychiatric hospital, and falling in with Christian folk
           who try vainly to save her soul. For rather vague reasons the "coven"
           decide to drop her from the team, and she dedicates herself to a true
           junkie's lifestyle with a steady round of overdosing, jaundice, and
           detoxification units. The "warlock" drops by to threaten her, and she
           makes her way north via some psychiatric hospitals to a Christian
           Rehabilitation farm. She gets married, has a child which she keeps,
           and becomes a regular churchgoer. But beneath the surface are recur-
           ring nightmares, insane anger and murderous feelings towards her
           brethren. At the Emmanual Pentecostal Church in Stourport she asks the
           Minister, Roy Davies, for help. He prays, and God tells him that she
           was involved with witchcraft. An exorcism has her born again, cleansed
           of her sin. She gets baptised and has no more nightmares, becoming a
           generally nicer person. She becomes the "occult expert" of the Reach-
           out Trust and Evangelical Alliance, and makes a career out of telling
           an edited version of her tale. 
           Geoffrey Dickens MP persuades her to tell all on live TV; "Audrey, to
           your knowledge is child sacrifice still going on?" To this she rep-
           lies, "To my knowledge, yes." After this the whole thing rambles into
           an untidy conclusion of self-congratulation, self-promotion, and self-
           justification; and for a grand finale pulls out a list of horrendous
           child abuse, which is shamelessly exploited in typically journalistic
           fashion, and by the usual fallacious arguments which links it to
           anything "occult"; help-lines, astro predictions in newspapers, and
           even New Age festivals. 
           And so we are left with a horrifying vision of hordes of Satanists
           swarming the country, buggering kids, sacrificing babies, and feeding
           their own faeces to the flock. I would be tempted to consider this
           story a modern parable; a Rakes Progress for the late 20th century,
           were it not for the claim of truth and the accusations cast.
           Throughout her tale Mrs Harper shows herself to be a clumsy diss-
           embler; inconsistencies appear throughout, and the tone is shrill and
           hysterical. "I know parts of my story are hard to believe. I realise
           there are some sceptics who will not accept that such things can h-
           appen." This is a perfect example of the fallacy known as "poisoning
           the well", but what part might we find hard to believe? On page 79
           with her bare face hanging out she tells us that, "I was, by now,
           quite an accomplished young witch. I could levitate. I could bring
           down the powers of darkness to move furniture about." Better a wilful
           sceptic than having us believe in levitating junkies. But was she a
           witch? When the Chelsea girl invites her along, "she never mentioned
           witchcraft. But somehow, as she spoke, her words conjured up an eerie
           atmosphere." And according to her testimony, nobody actually mentions
           witchcraft prior to Roy Davies, who is tipped the wink by Lord God
           Regardless of that, she still promiscuously mixes up the terms; wi-
           tchcraft, Satanism and Paganism, playing free and easy with the rules
           of evidence. However, it does appear that there is a thing called
           Wicca or White Witches who "certainly do not set out to do evil", but
           are still damned because "even if they don't do deliberate harm, their
           activities are opposed to Christian teachings because they worship
           false gods." Obviously possessed of the spirit of discernment, or as
           Joseph Campbell said, "You can't fool around with Yahweh." 1
                  Okay, so where is the evidence? In Mrs Harper's reality tunnel the e-
           vidence is everywhere, for the world is full of "evils that are the
           work of Satan." Not for Mrs Harper the easy road of "hardfacts" when
           she assures us that "There have been mounting suspicions over the
           years that child sacrifices take place regularly. I believe that they
           do. I have no evidence to support this belief." "It's my belief that
           some of the hundreds of children and adults who go missing every year
           end up being sacrificed." All that she offers us is her belief, but is
           it a rational belief? Consider these words from another book, in a
           chapter called "Schizophrenia: The Demon in Control - "Let's say that
           when you awake tomorrow, you find standing at your bedside a man with
           purple scale skin...from Mars... visible and audible only to you...he
           warns you not to reveal his presence; if you attempt to do so, he
           threatens, he will kill you instantly... On the basis of what you can
           so clearly see and hear, you accept the fact, astounding as it is,
           that the stranger is what he says he is."2  Barbara O'Brien then goes
           on to describe the schizophrenic trip and how she toured America in
           Greyhound buses in an attempt to escape the "hook operators". 
           But, what if someone woke up to find Satan by their bed? Mrs Harper is
           one of the sad minority to do just that. In hospital, after an over-
           dose she returned to her bed to find on it "a miniature hooded figure-
           ... I was sure it was Satan manifesting himself to me." If we check
           the diagnosis of schizophrenia we find that the schizophrenic "ceases
           to experience his mental processes and his will as under his own
           control; he may insist that thoughts are being put into his mind."3
                  And what does Mrs Harper tell us? She signed in blood a parchment
           scroll which stated that, "I am no longer my own. Satan is my master."
           As for arranging her social calendar, "I was rarely summoned... Some
           inner compulsion told me when, and where, to go...Satan could direct
           me to the coven by remote control." At other times there was "just the
           telepathic message buzzing in my head... Satan was beckoning... There
           was no resistance. I had to go." In fact most of the time "Satan was
           at the helm of my thinking processes." This is not all, for we also r-
           ead that the schizophrenic "hears voices telling him what to do."3    
                  Three or four weeks after her "initiation", Mrs Harper experienced a
           blinding headache. "Then a voice came to me, telling me to be at H-
           ighgate Cemetery just before midnight." The voice went on to give her
           some travel directions, which was very obliging. "In acute stages of
           the illness other hallucinations and delusions of varied kinds may be
           present."3  I think we can safely classify levitation and telekinesis
           under the heading of hallucination and delusion, but what about babies
           being killed? Or coven meetings even? "The paranoid schizophrenic has
           'a persistent idea...that there is a conspiracy or concerted action
           against him...a delusion of grandeur."3  Whenever she took an overdose,
           "I knew who was behind it all - the coven. This was Satan attacking
           me." Whenever things went wrong for Mrs Harper it was Satan, "making
           me follow foolish impulses...causing me to behave in a stupid way."
           Every time she got moving "Satan played another of his little tricks"
           to stop her short. "Delusions of unworthiness occur in depressive
           illnesses in association with misery and hopelessness." 3  Any comment
           Mrs Harper? "I felt myself wishing that I could be good, like these
           nurses, instead of a servant of the Devil." " inadequate I was
           compared with the other churchgoers."
           On her first TV programme she was asked, "How do you know you were not
           just on a bad trip?", to which she replied, "A bad trip doesn't last
           five years." But if this bad trip is schizophrenia, it could. As far
           as backgrounds go, hers was ideal for inducing psychosis; harsh, cold
           and alienating. Significantly she had nicknamed the matron of the home
           "the witch", and after her escape attempts "It didn't take the police
           long...they soon had me back under the spell
           of the witch." A process of learned helplessness. Bob Wilson 4  disc-
           usses the possible role of schizophrenia and self-medication in heroin
           addiction, and certainly at the more stable periods of her life she s-
           eems to have no problem giving up her drugs. Although this may not be
           important, it is worth bearing in mind that Virginia Water is home to
           the Royal Holloway Psychiatric Hospital, which, at the time of her t-
           ale, had a bustling schizophrenic population. Maybe this explains how
           she ended up so often wandering around dazed in the dark. Of course
           this is all speculation, but the mere possibility that an undiagnosed
           schizophrenic with a medieval delusion is trying to drag us into her
           fantasy, and to restrict the civil liberties of others has me worried.
           Even more worrying was a "Despatches" documentary shown on Channel 4
           TV on the 19th February 1992, portraying an alleged expose of Satanism
           and ritual abuse. An array of "survivors" were brought before us; some
           of whom were severely traumatised individuals and in need of much care
           and help to re-build their lives. Others had me suspecting malice as a
           motivating force.  These "survivors" refuse to go to the police, just
           like our Mrs Harper neglected to report a whole heap of crimes such
           as; desecration, rape, child abuse, drug running, animal brutality,
           murder, eating foetuses and stealing library books. When at long last
           someone goes as far as pointing to where the bodies are buried, the
           police do a lot of digging, but find nothing. Similarly, those cases
           that come to trial are thrown out on the grounds of insufficient
           evidence or doubts about the social workers' methods.
           Therapists and social workers assure us that the physical reactions of
           these people when under analysis are authentic, but this proves
           little. The link between mind and body is profound; the body reacts to
           the mind's content regardless of the authenticity of that content;
           i.e., belief will evoke as great a response as actual recall. What do
           these "carers" have to gain by their behaviour? I guess it's much
           sexier to be on a special Satanic ritual abuse group, rather than just
           another social worker in the child unit. After the "Operation Julie"
           team split up, the majority of its members left the police rather than
           return to normal duties - the power of being in a special elite sedu-
           ces the best of us.
           As is usual Uncle Aleister comes in for some ritual abuse; this evil
           black magician (sic) on the "Bloody Sacrifice"; and "Dispatches"
           quotes those infamous lines from page 219: "A male child of perfect
           innocence and high intelligence is the most satisfactory and suitable
                  But they neglected the all-important footnote: "It is the sacrifice of
           oneself spiritually. And the intelligence and innocence of that male
           child are the perfect understanding of the Magician, his one aim,
           without lust of result. And male he must be, because what he sacr-
           ifices is not the material blood, but his creative power."5  We can
           surmise that either the "Dispatches" team are totally incompetent to
           have missed that footnote, or deliberately dishonest.  As far as I can
           tell the only sin in what Uncle Aleister suggests is the Sin of Onan.
           (See: Sacred Mushroom and the Cross by J M Allegro for a full ex-
           planation of the link between sperm and sin.)
           Finally, after teasing us overmuch with hints of a secret Satanic gro-
           up that regularly murders babes in arms and worships Uncle Aleister in
           a basement Temple in the East End of London, they were going to reveal
           all. Well, actually not all: they stop short of naming names, due no
           doubt to a sharp eye on this country's libel laws. Instead we get
           shown clips of an arty video from The Temple ov Psychic Youth's
           playroom; a video I thought was available by mail order, and some of
           which was shown publicly as far back as 1987 at the 2nd Thelemic
           Conference at Oxford. The offending content was a little low-level S&M
           (low-level compared to what is currently available from Amsterdam),
           and certainly not as visually gripping as some films by Dali or
           Kenneth Anger. What seemed to have been forgotten is that Sado-
           masochistic behaviour is ritualistic, but that doesn't mean that rit-
           ual is an incidence of intention of abuse.
           It was confidently stated that claims of identical detail concerning
           Satanic ritual abuse go back 700 years; but in all this time, those
           tricky Satanists have evaded capture. "Dispatches" claimed that the
           wily Satanists escape the net because their crimes are "beyond bel-
           ief", and hence not believed. Personally I wonder whether the claims
           themselves may well be beyond reason. Suppose these survivors claimed
           to have been abducted by fairies, or the Evil Space Brothers; how wo-
           uld we react? Evidence is coming through that suggests that Multiple
           Personalities and UFO abductees show a tendency of abuse of some sort
           as a child. Hypnotised subjects are able to construct a detailed and
           realistic UFO kidnap scenario without having any UFO knowledge or ex-
           perience.6  We are obviously talking about something that is coming up
           from the deeper structures of the mind, possibly at the level of the
           Archetypes, and I'm sure we can agree that the "Satanic Ritual" s-
           cenario is well embedded in the group consciousness. We should bear in
           mind two things; firstly, the mind is a much more complex entity than
           our current models allow for. Also that memory is symbolic; it does
           not run back like a film; rather it is reconstructed from elements
           that "seem right", but the result is always partial, leaving room for
           symbolism to dress the events in a ways that serves a deeper need. A
           child being treated brutally by parents it believes should be loving,
           could then "demonise" them, so that images of "satanic parents" will
           slowly emerge in therapy as the real trauma is dealt with. The symbol-
           ic nature of this recalled material allows it to be easily dealt with
           by psychodrama such as exorcism. Maybe it's all true; many abusers use
           ritual trappings to induce fear, so maybe there are Satanic abusers;
           Lord knows there are more than enough Christian and non-Satanic
           abusers about. But to politicise others' pain and suffering is to my
           mind, both wrong-headed and dangerous.
           The truth is that there are a lot of sick people out there, both
           perpetrators and victims who are hurt and traumatised. They need all
           the help we can give, not exploitation. We have seen the effect of
           mass hysteria before; from the Pendle Witches and Jews up to the
           Guildford Four and Orkney Twelve. The Witch Hunts died out because
           wilful sceptics refused to believe on women flying about the country-
           side on broomsticks, and tended to (rather unkindly) laugh at the peo-
           ple who believed in such things. The UK is currently in its worse
           recession this century, and we can confidently expect a rise in the
           rates of suicide, child abuse and scape-goating. Right now we have a
           greater need of wilful sceptics than we do of fanatics fresh from a
           medieval reality tunnel. I rest my case.
           1    Joseph Campbell: The Power of Myth
           2    Barbara O'Brien: Operators and Things - The Inner Life of a S-
           3    Richard L Gregory (Ed.): The Oxford Companion to the Mind
           4    Robert Anton Wilson: Sex and Drugs - A Journey Beyond Limits
           5    Aleister Crowley: Magick
           6    Hilary Evans: Visions, Apparitions, Alien Visitors
           And not forgetting DANCE WITH THE DEVIL: A Young Woman's Struggle to
           Escape the Coven's Curse, by Audrey Harper with Harry Pugh, published
           by Kingsway Publications. (As an interesting postscript to this arti-
           cle: readers may be interested to learn that it was Audrey Harper's
           appearance on Australian TV, telling us all about the dangers of S-
           atanic/Witchcraft ritual child abuse that prompted me to found the Pan
           Pacific Pagan Alliance - Julia)

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