“THE SATANIC PANIC AND THE STRANGE HISTORY OF THE DEVIL” #WeirdDarkness
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IN THIS EPISODE: The horror entertainment industry would make you think that Satan is everywhere, controlling world leaders, possessing church pastors, inhabiting the bodies of kids who play with Ouija boards, even somehow controlling your children’s dolls or other toys… all in the name of the Lord Lucifer. Ironically, Satan is only mentioned a handful of times in the bible, despite what you’ve been led to believe by Hollywood. The image of Satan we typically envision is actually not from the bible at all, but from a poem. Most Satanists, despite the clever name, don’t openly worship the devil. And while I do believe in Satan and the danger he poses – I believe we are giving him way too much credit for some things – especially some of the conspiracy theories people believe, or blaming him for when we do bad things, (i.e., “the devil made me do it!”). That being said, there are some areas that you have to wonder if perhaps he truly did place his crooked finger upon in order to insert his evil influence. What does Satan look like? What’s the meaning of 666? Do people really kill in the name of Satan? Are some places or objects somehow under a Satanic influence? We have a lot to cover.
SOURCES AND REFERENCES FROM THE EPISODE…
#ChurchOfTheUndead, “The Dangers of Demons And The Devil”: https://weirddarkness.com/archives/13783
#ChurchOfTheUndead, “Are We Wrong About How Satan Works?”: https://weirddarkness.com/archives/14558
#ChurchOfTheUndead, “The Devil Might Be Deceiving You In These End Times”: https://weirddarkness.com/archives/15542
#ChurchOfTheUndead, all episodes: https://weirddarkness.com/church
VIDEO: 20/20 “The Devil Worshippers”: https://youtu.be/vG_w-uElGbM
BOOK: “Michelle Remembers” by Lawrence Pazder M.D. and Michelle Smith: https://amzn.to/3QNB2F6
BOOK: “We Believe The Children – A Moral Panic In The 1980s” by Richard Beck: https://amzn.to/3ODWN7u
BOOK: “Republic of Lies – America’s Conspiracy Theorists And Their Surprising Rise to Power’ by Anna Merlan:https://amzn.to/3YNcfmC
“The Satanic Panic” by Alan Yuhas for the New York Times: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/mr3me97t
“Satanic Elements And Imagery” by Jacob Shelton for Graveyard Shift: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/bdzxhm3v
“Your Idea of Satan Is Wrong” by Inigo Gonzalez for Graveyard Shift: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/895x9y8y; and BillyGraham.ca: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/2p858f5w
“Teens Who Murdered In The Name of Satan” by Jacob Shelton for Unspeakable Crimes: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/bdejvvjt
“Satan’s Appearances in The Bible” by Jodi Smith for Weird History: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/yckkrfus
“The Devil’s Property” by Jodi Smith for Graveyard Shift: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/ypmzdyza
“Let’s Blame it On Satan” by Jacob Shelton for Graveyard Shift: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/42hxcp8y
“The Truth Behind 666” by Jacoby Bancroft” for Graveyard Shift: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/2p877skp; and AMatterOfTruth.com: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/2479ytt2
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OTHER PODCASTS I HOST…
Paranormality Magazine: (COMING SEPT. 30, 2023) https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/paranormalitymag
Micro Terrors: Scary Stories for Kids: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/microterrors
Retro Radio – Old Time Radio In The Dark: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/retroradio
Church of the Undead: https://weirddarkness.tiny.us/churchoftheundead
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(Over time links seen above may become invalid, disappear, or have different content. I always make sure to give authors credit for the material I use whenever possible. If I somehow overlooked doing so for a story, or if a credit is incorrect, please let me know and I will rectify it in these show notes immediately. Some links included above may benefit me financially through qualifying purchases.)
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Vigilante parents dug under a preschool, searching for secret tunnels. The police swapped tips on identifying pagan symbols. A company that sells toothpaste and soap had to deny, repeatedly, that it was acting as an agent of Satan. Early in the 1980s, baseless conspiracy theories about cults committing mass child abuse spread around the country. Talk shows and news programs fanned fears, and the authorities investigated hundreds of allegations. Even as cases slowly collapsed and skepticism prevailed, defendants went to prison, families were traumatized and millions of dollars were spent on prosecutions. The phenomenon was so sprawling that, in its aftermath, it took on several names, like the ritual abuse scare or the day care panic. But one name has increasingly stuck: the satanic panic. Ken Lanning, a former FBI agent who worked on hundreds of abuse cases was quoted, saying: “The evidence wasn’t there, but the allegations of satanic ritual abuse never really went away. When people get emotionally involved in an issue, common sense and reason go out the window. People believe what they want and need to believe.”
I’m Darren Marlar and this is Weird Darkness.
Welcome, Weirdos – this is Weird Darkness. Here you’ll find stories of the paranormal, supernatural, legends, lore, the strange and bizarre, crime, conspiracy, mysterious, macabre, unsolved and unexplained.
Coming up in this episode…
The horror entertainment industry would make you think that Satan is everywhere, controlling world leaders, possessing church pastors, inhabiting the bodies of kids who play with Ouija boards, even somehow controlling your children’s dolls or other toys… all in the name of the Lord Lucifer. Ironically, Satan is only mentioned a handful of times in the bible, despite what you’ve been led to believe by Hollywood. The image of Satan we typically envision is actually not from the bible at all, but from a poem. Most Satanists, despite the clever name, don’t openly worship the devil. And while I do believe in Satan and the danger he poses – I believe we are giving him way too much credit for some things – especially some of the conspiracy theories people believe, or blaming him for when we do bad things, (i.e., “the devil made me do it!”). That being said, there are some areas that you have to wonder if perhaps he truly did place his crooked finger upon in order to insert his evil influence. What does Satan look like? What’s the meaning of 666? Do people really kill in the name of Satan? Are some places or objects somehow under a Satanic influence? We have a lot to cover… beginning with the Satanic Panic of the 1980s.
If you’re new here, welcome to the show! While you’re listening, be sure to check out WeirdDarkness.com for merchandise, to visit sponsors you hear about during the show, sign up for my newsletter, enter contests, connect with me on social media, plus, you can visit the Hope in the Darkness page if you’re struggling with depression or dark thoughts. You can find all of that and more at WeirdDarkness.com.
Now.. bolt your doors, lock your windows, turn off your lights, and come with me into the Weird Darkness!
STORY: THE SATANIC PANIC=====
When the book “Michelle Remembers” was published in 1980, introducing readers to a cast of murderous Canadian satanists, it landed on a powder keg of American anxieties, said Mary deYoung, a professor emeritus of sociology at Grand Valley State University.
More women were going to work, by choice and necessity in the wake of the women’s rights movement and as the country struggled with a recession. Conservatism and the religious right were ascendant, and both emphasized the nuclear family. Good day care was hard to find, Ms. deYoung said, and many parents felt guilt for relying on it.
And after decades of denial, the public was starting to confront the problem of sexual abuse, especially involving children. “You hook all of those things together magically and boom — you’ve got the proper fuel for a moral panic,” she said.
The spark, she said, was “Michelle Remembers,” a book by a Canadian psychologist and his former patient about her memories of child abuse at the hands of satanists. Although its lurid claims were quickly challenged, the book was a best seller. Suddenly, it seemed, terror could be lurking in any neighborhood.
The book gave people a villain to look for outside the family, said Sarah Marshall, a host of the history podcast “You’re Wrong About.”What readers heard, she said, was, “Don’t look in the mirror, the call is not coming from inside the house — the satanists are the problem.”
Some social workers and police officers, searching for an authority to help them face the problem of abuse, even adopted it as a training text, she said.
In the summer of 1983, a woman in Manhattan Beach, Calif., accused an employee at her son’s preschool, McMartin, of abusing him. The police sent a letter to about 200 families, asking for help with their investigation.
“The following procedure is obviously an unpleasant one, but to protect the rights of your children as well as the rights of the accused, this inquiry is necessary,” the police chief wrote, describing alleged sex crimes. “Please question your child to see if he or she has been a witness to any crime or if she has been a victim.”
The letter was “a model of what not to do,” said John Myers, a professor at the University of California, Hastings, and a lawyer who represents child victims of abuse.
The authorities also asked therapists to help interview hundreds of children. They questioned them for hours at a time, often asking leading and suggestive questions, he said. “We as professionals were singularly ill-equipped,” Mr. Myers said. “Nobody had thought about proper forensic interviews in these situations.”
The allegations “didn’t move to full-blown satanism immediately,” said Richard Beck, the author of a book about the panic. “The intermediary steps were people saying there was something weird or elaborate about what happened, and a fair number of those claims came out of the interviews.”
In 1986, prosecutors charged seven employees with more than 100 counts of child molestation and conspiracy. A week later, they dropped the charges against five defendants, citing weak evidence. All the defendants maintained their innocence.
By then, the case was a national spectacle, and prosecutors pursued it despite growing doubts about the original accuser’s story and a variety of fantastical claims from interviews, including a “goatman,” bloody animal sacrifices, a school employee who could fly and acts of violence that left no physical trace. But the trial would not end for years, with no convictions, and prosecutors around the country started dozens of cases like it.
Each authority — the police, prosecutors, psychologists, the media — put pressure on the others to act, said Anna Merlan, the author of a book on the history of conspiracy theories. “It was a very fervid environment,” she said. “Very credible-seeming people were saying: ‘Occult ritual abuse is all around you. We’ve seen it and the signs are visible if you know how to look for it.’”
The authorities tried to make sense of the allegations. Mr. Lanning, the retired F.B.I. agent, said that as “a deluge” of calls about strange abuse began in 1983, he tried to investigate with an open mind. “My attitude was, yes, most anything is possible,” he said. “But where’s the evidence?”
So F.B.I. agents, police officers, lawyers and social workers gathered what they could, and shared their findings at conferences and seminars. They handed out satanic calendars, traded pamphlets about symbols like the “cross of Nero” and the “horned hand,” and copied lists of supposed occult organizations, which included a collective of feminist astrologers in Minnesota.
“A lot of this stuff was being disseminated by law enforcement without efforts to corroborate it,” Mr. Lanning said. “One cop would come up and say, ‘What a load of crap,’ but then another would say, ‘I’ve got to learn more!’”
When Mr. Lanning asked officers how they corroborated information, their stories fell apart, he said. “Oh, I got it from so-and-so,” he recalled hearing. But often, he said, the pamphlets still made it into copy machines and onto the news.
In May 1985, the news program “20/20” ran a segment on Satan worship that described animal mutilations “clearly used in some kind of bizarre ritual,” rock music “associated with devil worship,” “satanic graffiti” and backward messages in pop songs.
There were a few caveats. The host, Hugh Downs, opened by saying: “Police have been skeptical when investigating these acts, just as we are in reporting them. But there is no question that something is going on out there, and that’s sufficient reason for ‘20/20’ to look into it.”
The program presented cult activity, if not the occult itself, in all but certain terms. “Today we have found Satan is alive and thriving, or at least plenty of people believe he is,” said the correspondent Tom Jarriel. “His followers are extremely secretive but found in all walks of life.” Only near the end of the report did he say that, until evidence was proved, “the link between crime and satanic cults will remain speculative.” If you’d like to see that 20/20 special I’ll place a link to it in the show notes.
Three years later, NBC commissioned its own special, hosted by Geraldo Rivera, who described gruesome crimes, aired child testimony of abuse and interviewed Ozzy Osbourne. Almost 20 million homes tuned in.
In April 1985, thousands of curious, angry and confused customers were calling the corporate giant Procter & Gamble about leaflets that accused it of using its profits from household goods to support devil worship.
“They simply are not true,” W. Wallace Abbott, a senior vice president said at a news conference. “We haven’t the vaguest idea how it started; all we know is people are believing it. Do you know how hard it is to fight a rumor?”
False rumors had started years earlier, many claiming that its logo, of a bearded man in the moon facing 13 stars, was actually a symbol of the devil. (The logo dated to 1882 and the stars referred to the 13 original colonies.) The company began a two-decade campaign to defend its name, sending representatives to churches, filing lawsuits and pursuing court cases as recently as 2007. It also changed its logo.
In 1990, a jury acquitted the McMartin Preschool defendants on some charges and deadlocked on others, saying it was impossible to determine the truth from the children’s testimony. A second prosecution ended in a mistrial. Prosecutors, having spent $15 million, dropped the case.
Nearly 200 people were charged with crimes over the course of the satanic panic, and dozens were convicted. Many defendants were eventually freed, sometimes after years. Three Arkansas teenagers who became known as the West Memphis Three were freed in 2011, almost 20 years after they were convicted of murders that prosecutors portrayed as a satanic sacrifice. In 2013, a Texas couple were released after 21 years in prison; they were later awarded $3.4 million from a state fund for wrongful convictions.
In 1992, Mr. Lanning, the F.B.I. agent, released an investigative guide that explained his skepticism of satanic abuse claims. Two years later, researchers with the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect found that investigators could not substantiate any of roughly 12,000 accusations of group cult sexual abuse based on satanic ritual.
In a few instances, apologies followed, including from Mr. Riveraand Kyle Zirpolo, one of the former McMartin students who made allegations to the police. “I lied,” he told The Los Angeles Times. “It was an ordeal. I remember thinking to myself, ‘I’m not going to get out of here unless I tell them what they want to hear.’”
So what does Satan look like? What’s the deal with the horns, red skin, pitchfork, and bat wings? How much of that is really taken from the scriptures, and how much is just the imagination of man? We’ll look at some of the imagery of Satan up next.
STORY: SATANIC ELEMENTS AND IMAGERY=====
You may not realize it, but the Devil hasn’t always been such an important character in Biblical mythology. There isn’t even much of a description of Satan’s appearance in the good-book (we’ll get to that a bit later), but artists were able to answer the question, “What does Satan look like?” by pulling from their imaginations and other mythologies. If you’ve ever seen pictures of the Devil and wondered why is the Devil red, or just what the Devil looks like, hopefully this collection of historic information about how Satanic imagery has changed over the years will shed some light to the subject. Why does the Devil have a pitchfork? Does he have a lot of hay to work with in Hell? Does he just think it looks cool? And why does the Devil have horns? Are they actual horns or are they part of a headband that keeps his hair back? If you’ve spent any time looking at photos of demons, then you’ve likely asked yourself many of these same questions. And because of the changing nature of art and beliefs, the Devil has taken on many forms. Beyond the Devil himself, there’s also some prominent Satanic imagery that needs explanation, like the inverted cross and pentagrams. So, go ahead and light a black candle, play your records backwards, and get ready to learn about sweet, sweet Satan.
***The number 666 is so synonymous with Satan that there are even people who will go so far as to add more items to their purchase at a coffee shop just to make sure their total does not come out to $6.66. What did this number do to become so maligned? We’ll look more in depth at the number 666 later in the show, but as a teaser… the three-digit number originally comes from Saint Irenaeus, Bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul, who decided that the beast from Revelation 13 was in fact the Antichrist, and the numerical values associated with the letters of his name added up to 666. Although that may not be a reference to the devil, many scholars believe 666 was a way to speak out against Emperor Nero, as his name added up to 666 when written in Aramaic. It’s also possible Nero may have already been dead by the time the Book of Revelation was written, but one interpretation is that Irenaeus was using Nero as a way to compare rulers who were using Nero-esqe tactics like taxation, confiscation of property, and economic marginalization. We’ll get back to 666 later.
***Satan’s most well-known attribute is his horns, but if you’ve cracked open a Bible recently you’ll know the scripture makes zero reference to the Devil having horns. In fact, it doesn’t really describe Satan much at all. So, where are the horns from? In the first era of Christianity, the Church was still trying to wipe out paganism, so one of the main sources of propaganda was to take a pagan deity and turn him into something sinister. That’s how Egyptian gods like Bes and Isis – a feminine deity who is often shown wearing the headdress of Hathor – became variations of a horned Devil.
***If you’re picturing the Devil in your head right now, you’re probably thinking of a bright-red creature similar to Tim Curry in the movie Legend (in which he was phenomenal by the way because, well, Tim Curry.). But how did people decide on red? Initially the Devil was depicted as blue, because, in the 6th century, blue was way more evil than red. But as tastes and generalizations about what was and wasn’t evil began to change, so did depictions of the Devil who changed from a blue-robed figure to a straight-up red-skinned horned demon.
***What about that pitchfork? So, here’s the thing about that – it’s actually a trident. Satan’s pitchfork began as a pagan symbol for Poseidon, until the three prongs of the trident were appropriated by Christianity to represent the trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In medieval times, the trident was turned into a symbol for the Devil and changed into a pitchfork. There’s no explanation for why the change was made – tridents are way cooler than pitchforks – although it likely had something to do with artists depicting Satan as a pitchfork-carrying demon living in an agrarian society, rather than one living a life by the sea.
***The wings. While Satan’s leathery bat wings are less-notable than his bright-red sheen or the trident pitchfork he carries around on a regular basis, there are many depictions of a sad, sulking Satan with wings. Once again, this is an artistic rendering that came from guys who were trying to make their pieces stand out by inferring ideas from scripture. Beginning around the 14th century, angels were shown having massive feathery wings, and demons – who are technically fallen angels – were given bat wings. And, of course, the Devil has the biggest bat wings of them all. By the 16th century, John Baptist Medina had cemented the idea of a winged Devil with his beautiful engravings that accompanied the fourth edition of Milton’s Dante’s Inferno – the first to feature illustrations. Medina’s depictions of a winged Devil, complete with horns, would dominate depictions of Satan until the 19th century. And as a side note here, wings are never mentioned as being on angels in the bible itself – that is also a manmade concept.
***And then there’s those goat legs. If you’ve ever seen the seminal silent film Häxan, you have some idea of what a half-man-half-goat Satan looks like. While the concept of the Devil or Lucifer has existed since biblical times, scholars believe it wasn’t until the 19th century that his goat legs appeared. The most plausible theory for the appearance of his goat legs is that neo-paganism was coming into vogue, so poets and artists were suddenly interested in using the Greek goat-god, Pan, as a source of inspiration. So, when it came to painting the Devil, it was natural that the god of chaos and pan flutes would be used as a stand in for Old Scratch.
***Similar to Pan, when you think about Satan you probably think about goats, and when you think about goats you probably think about Satan, too. It’s not your fault, people have been conditioned to think this way for centuries – but why? Beginning in Greek mythology goats have been connected to chaotic, sexual beings – specifically Pan, an early inspiration for the depiction of Satan. Malcolm Gaskill, a professor of early-modern history at the University of East Anglia, believes that goats have always affected the human psyche, and despite offering evidence in the form of European engravings that “depict the witches’s Sabbath – that is, the remote meetings where witches were supposed to gather to pay homage to Satan – the devil is often depicted as a goat or a goat-like man,” he isn’t sure why that is: “I guess the goat-devil features so prominently in European iconography because of the horns and weird eyes. but also because of the association with predatory sexual potency and energy.”
***And this leads us to Baphomet – the goatman looking entity. The Baphomet is one of the main visual signifiers of Satanic power in the 21st century, but its origins can be found in a mish-mash of pagan visuals that paint the figure as more of a spooky catchall that has to be imbued with meaning from the viewer rather than as something with any inherent meaning. The Baphomet has been around since the 14th century and was first used by the Knights Templar as an idol, but depictions of what the Baphomet was changed from person to person. Under the duress of torture, various Knights Templar described the Baphomet as a severed head, a cat, or a head with three faces. It wasn’t until Eliphas Levi, the French Satanist who first inverted the pentagram, created a cannonical version of the Baphomet in the 1850s (at least 400 years after the Knights Templar were first tortured) that the goat creature you picture today began to take shape. Levi was inspired by a depiction of the Devil in early Tarot cards, and then he mixed in Occult, Kabbalistic, and Catholic imagery to form a Satanic representation of binary opposites.
***A lot of modern interpretations of Satan has him more handsome than horrific. How did that happen? The 19th century was a turning-point for the depiction of Satan in art. Not only did the Devil find his goat legs, the century also introduced the idea of Satan as a smooth-talking, mysterious figure. Both in Goethe’s Faust, and Mark Twain’s Mysterious Stranger, Satan takes on the role of a cunning, sly figure, who tricks people into their own hell rather than scaring them into doing his bidding, as he did in the story of Job. Even though Goethe’s Mephistopheles is the central antagonist in the tale, he’s given lines that make him sound like a proto-Morrissey, and it is delightful. One of the greatest lines in the book comes from the demonic character who says, “I am not omniscient, but I know a lot.” Aside from his smooth-talking ways in literature, the 19th century also saw Satan take on a rather clever style in the world of visual art. There was a movement to present Satan’s image via bronze busts by artists like Mark Matveevich Antokolsky and Auguste De Wever. Each artist had a different take on the cunning Mephistopheles, but in each version he was presented with a menace unseen in previous iterations.
***Whenever you see a pentagram in a film or TV show, you know immediately that Satan is involved somewhere. Pentagrams, simple five-pointed stars, have been around forever – but who decided that they were spooky-ooky? Initially, pentagrams were used as part of Christian symbolism to represent the five wounds of Christ (two hands, two feet, and the crown of thorns), but over the course of a few generations the cross became a more prevalent symbol. Then during the Enlightenment, Christian-influenced academics looked in Pythagoras’s use of the pentagram as a representation of the five elements, which he assigned to the points on the star: earth, water, air, and fire on the four lower points; with spirit resting on the topmost point. Finally, in the 19th century, French Satanist Eliphas Levi, declared that the inverted pentagram was an “intellectual subversion” of Christianity because of its reversal of the natural order, placing matter over the spirit world.
***Like the inverted pentagram, the inverted cross is one of the most well-known signifiers of Satanic lore today. The inversion of Christ’s crucifix was first used by Eugène Vintras, a 19th Gnostic revivalist from France. He wasn’t just the inventor of one of the most recognizable images ever, he also believed that he was the reincarnation of Elijah, and that he would bring about the end of the world. Shortly after preaching that the world would end, he was condemned by the Vatican, and he declared that the “Reign of the Suffering Christ had been superseded by the Reign of the Holy Spirit of Love.”
***When did the Devil get into gambling for people’s souls? The closest he got to doing that in the Bible was when he bet God that he could make Job curse his name – that’s really all Biblical scholars have to go off of. He never has a fiddle contest with anyone in order to grant them their wildest dreams or anything – so where did this part of the story come from? Faust, a German legend based on real life magician, astrologer, and alchemist Johann Georg Faust, as seen in popular works by Goethe and Christopher Marlowe, with puppets by Jan Švankmajer, introduces the concept of the Devil as an entity who’s happy to roll the dice for your immortal soul. The legend follows a doctor who grows bored with his life and decides to make a deal with the Devil, who is all too happy to take Faust up on his offer.
***And then there is the two-finger salute. This Satanic element isn’t as well-known as the pentagram or goats in general, but its occult status is well-known to anyone who looks up a YouTube video about the illuminati. The salute – two fingers on the right hand pointing up and two on the left hand pointing down – supposedly stands for, “as above, so below.” The phrase comes from Hermes Trismegistus, the alleged writer of Hermetic writings from 1 AD, whose writings became popular among alchemists in the Middle Ages. The salute was applied to Eliphas Levi’s Baphomet in order to express “the perfect harmony of mercy with justice.” Levi really should get some of the credit for creating modern Satanism while Aleister Crowley ended up hogging the spotlight.
Picture Satan in your mind. Got it? You’re wrong – that’s not what Satan looks like. Details coming up.
STORY: YOUR IDEA OF SATAN IS WRONG=====
In a few minutes we’ll look at the actual Satan spoken of in the bible, but let’s first look at the Satan most people think of. The one created out of fiction.
In 1667, Paradise Lost was published, and people were absolutely astounded, and perhaps even shocked, by John Milton’s portrayal of the Devil (Lucifer to his friends). This was largely because the Bible is fairly enigmatic about Satan in the first place.
Although Satan is a spiritual instead of a physical being, the Bible does tell us that at times he can assume physical form. For example, when Satan tempted Jesus to turn away from God in Matthew 4, he may have taken on the appearance of a man — although with supernatural powers. But the Bible doesn’t tell us exactly what Satan looks like when he does put in an appearance. The Apostle Paul warned in 2 Corinthians 11 that at times Satan may seem like an angel of light — in other words, appearing to be pure and good in order to deceive us into thinking his ways are best. At other times, however, his appearance must be frightening and evil — because that is Satan’s true nature, whether he is seen or unseen. The Bible warns, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
But if the bible doesn’t clearly describe his appearance, how do we know what Satan looks like? What’s the image of Satan based off of? In fact, who Satan is exactly, is a point of conflict between some theologians. The only things the Bible is crystal clear on is his coveting of God’s power, rebellion with God’s own angels, and his subsequent banishment to Hell as punishment.
Lucifer, in Paradise Lost, is a brooding fallen angel who rebels against God’s tyranny and declares his freedom despite his eternal imprisonment by an omnipotent child (his words, not mine). Because the epic poem begins with such a relatable plight, many who read it instantly sympathize with him. And even though it’s a work of fiction, it answers so many longstanding questions that many of them have bled into biblical canon. Questions such as “Where did Satan come from?,” and, “What’s the story of Lucifer?” were finally answered for many of the devout.
But, perhaps what is just as astounding is the fact that John Milton was himself a devout Puritan, which is sort of like an extremist Protestant. Specifically, he was devoted to completely removing Catholic restraints on the Church of England. He simply wanted to pray in freedom. On top of that, most of Milton’s work is deeply political and he often criticized the monarchy for its ineffectiveness. Like Lucifer, he wanted the powers ousted. And like Lucifer, he was jailed for it.
John Milton sided with the Devil in regards to tyranny, and out of that partnership, he penned an epic 10,000 line poem that influences society’s perception of Satan to this day.
Before Paradise Lost, the locations of Heaven and Hell were ambiguous. The Bible itself never specifies a location, and only discusses it in the abstract: that it is deep, or exists as a pit, or has levels. Mostly, the Bible states that it is a place of suffering for those who do not believe in Christ as their savior, but never really gets into where this suffering happens.
Milton’s Paradise Lost altered that perception quite dramatically. Milton envisioned that Heaven and Hell are physical locations that exist parallel to the Earth, sandwiching it. Their locations further his theme of hierarchy, which is explored in great detail throughout the poem. Milton specifically states that Heaven sits above the earth, which dangles from it by a golden chain. Those who prove their faith can climb the chain and join God and his angels for eternity. On the opposite end of things, Hell sits below the earth, linked only by a wide bridge into it. Getting to Heaven is tough – climbing that chain is an exhausting and demanding trial for entry. Meanwhile, entering Hell is easy – simply stroll across a bridge. Basically, Satan’s temptation made real. However, this image is so powerful and compelling that it has taken over what many believe about Heaven and Hell in Christianity.
Paradise Lost starts with Satan as its first character, and it’s set just after his failed rebellion. He, along with Beelzebub and the rest of his fallen comrades, are chained tight at the Lake of Fire, where they suffer the punishment of their disobedience. There they realize just how much more powerful God is compared to them, but their will for independence doesn’t break. Rather, they pledge to continue their fight, no matter how slim the chances: “All is not lost; the unconquerable Will, And study of revenge, immortal hate, And courage never to submit or yield: And what is else not to be overcome?”
And to contrast Satan’s plight and resolve, Milton reveals God’s attitude towards free will – that it’s only good if it’s his will that’s followed. Those who do follow him are rewarded with an eternity of happiness, while those who reject him are thrust into an eternity of agony. Because Satan is placed in this interesting, sympathetic light, many Romantic poets lauded him for it. Poet William Blake famously said of Milton’s work: “The reason Milton wrote in fetters when he wrote of Angels and God, and at liberty when of Devils and Hell, is because he was a true Poet and of the Devil’s party without knowing it.”
Fellow poet Percy Bysshe Shelley dismissed the notion that his devil’s characterization was accidental, saying “Milton’s Devil as a moral being is […] far superior to his God… And this bold neglect of a direct moral purpose is the most decisive proof of Milton’s genius.”
Satan is highly conflicted. He believes that God is a tyrant, and that free will is a lie perpetuated by him – only an unjust ruler would convey free will but then only reward one set of behaviors. Armed with this belief, he fires up his fellow fallen angels in a plot to get revenge for their imprisonment in Hell and to eventually overthrow God.
However, Satan also knows that this is completely futile. God is powerful. Far more powerful than Satan will ever be. Specifically, he ultimately knows that God has power over everyone’s fate, including his own. So, even though he incites rebellion among his allies, he knows that it’s fruitless; God will win no matter what they do. But he has no choice but to perpetuate the lie. Satan understands that Hell isn’t the Lake of Fire, or the deepest pit, it’s his own thoughts: “Then to submit, boasting I could subdue, Th’ Omnipotent. Ay me, they little know, How dearly I abide that boast so vaine, Under what torments inwardly I groane: While they adore me on the Throne of Hell, With Diadem and Sceptre high advanc’d, The lower still I fall, onely Supream, In miserie; such joy Ambition findes.”
Milton was devout throughout his entire lifetime – he actually joined the Protestant church when he was young, which caused him to be disowned by his Catholic family. Later in life, he radicalized even further as a Puritan, and wanted to remove all traces of Catholicism from the Church of England. He was also incredibly political and even held public office for a time.
In the mid 17th century, England was going through serious political upheaval. There was a huge civil war which upset the ruling order, and many vied for control of the country. Milton was vehemently opposed to a monarchy and was incredibly outspoken against the British crown. Luckily for him, his side won, and the crown was ousted, at least for a time. In 1660, the crown was restored to the throne, to the chagrin of all those who supported the commonwealth before it. Many supporters including Milton were placed in jail for their criticism of the monarchy.
Milton was not pleased, to say in the least. His frustration and anger at the monarchy bled into Paradise Lost, which is easily seen as an allegory for his political beliefs. God represents the tyranny of the monarchy, while Satan represents a rebellious break from that despotic rule.
Paradise Lost is filled to the brim with themes of hierarchy, and Milton explores it to the fullest with every character within. The basic premise is that God sits atop everything, followed by his most loyal angels, which is mirrored by Satan and his followers. But it isn’t just about hellish seating charts – Milton’s theological universe also has a hierarchy to it – Heaven sits above the Earth, which sits above Hell.
What’s interesting with the hierarchy between Heaven and Hell is that their rebellion was centered around their desire to leave such a hierarchy. And yet, Satan sits on the throne and consults with his most loyal lieutenants, much like God and his archangels. The Bible itself makes no mention of any such hierarchy in Hell, only that Satan exists there, and that he comes up to Earth and brings his temptations with him. In fact, many of the names of his lieutenants in Paradise Lost, such as Beelzebub, are simply alternate names for Satan in the Bible.
It’s also worth noting that Adam and Eve, unfortunately, have a hierarchy. Keep in mind that this was written and printed at a time when sexism was deeply ingrained in society; in both the Bible and in Paradise Lost, Adam is considered Eve’s superior. And the two of them, as a couple, stand above the rest of humanity.
Paradise Lost starts with Satan in chains at the Lake of Fire with his trusted lieutenant Beelzebub. They proceed to gather all of the fallen angels that are down in Hell with them to build their new capital – Pandemonium. Despite their crushing defeat, Satan decrees that their vengeance isn’t over, and tells them that they’ve only just begun: “All is not lost – the unconquerable will, and study of revenge, immortal hate, and courage never to submit or yield: and what is else not to be overcome?”
At least, that’s how Satan argues his side of the coin, and his followers happily lap it up. But in truth, Satan is beset by his own inadequacies in comparison to God. He sparked his own rebellion as he believed that God had no place above him – that he was God’s equal. His defeat showed him the complete opposite – that his fate is decided by God and God alone. And this characterization of Satan has extended well beyond the scant few lines that exist in the Bible about him.
In the Bible, he’s a fallen angel, and he’s definitely jealous of God’s power, but he isn’t propped up to be a charismatic leader of devils; he’s just the most fervent in his beliefs about independence. And although the Book of Revelations does state that there will be a final war in Heaven, it’s not specifically stated that Satan will lead it, only that it will happen between God and his enemies. Mostly, it means that Christ will lead an army of humans against an army of non-believers. The conflict would wipe out the non-believers, allowing only the devout to ascend to Heaven for the rest of eternity.
Paradise Lost changed that perception – today when we think about Armageddon, we believe that Satan will lead a host of demonic forces towards the gates of Heaven in an attempt to overthrow God. Many works of fiction perpetuate this alteration. Take the comic book series Spawn, where the deceased Recon Marine Al Simmons/Spawn is recruited and transformed for the sole purpose of fighting on Hell’s side, specifically for Armageddon.
Evil manifests itself in many ways in our modern world, be it through greed, or malice, or a simple need to sow chaos. Satan, however, is portrayed in Paradise Lost as being charming and well-spoken. In fact, he is presented as the most charismatic and persuasive character in the entirety of the poem, which is in total contrast with God, who doesn’t need to be persuasive – he is simply followed without question.
And therein lies the main conflict of Paradise Lost – Satan opposes God’s immutable decrees with his own strength of charisma. His most fearsome feature isn’t blood-red skin, rippling muscles, or goat legs, but rather his ability to masterfully manipulate people using only his words. In the story, Satan’s greatest achievement is when he takes over the body of a sleeping serpent in the Garden of Eden in an effort to thwart God’s plan for humanity. And in that guise, he’s able to convince Eve to take a bite of an apple from the Tree of Knowledge, in direct defiance of God.
In the Bible, the serpent is just a serpent, and though they represent deception and cunning, are not in and of themselves devils. It is because Milton imbued Satan with incredible powers of deception and persuasion that subsequent characterizations followed suit, and has even affected public perception regarding the nature of said serpent.
For example, in the film The Devil’s Advocate, high-powered lawyer John Milton (Al Pacino), AKA Satan, manipulates his own son, Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves), into helping him build their devilish legacy as a family. Both possess the trait of supernatural persuasion to the point where Lomax easily gets dangerous murderers acquitted of their charges in court.
Satan in Paradise Lost is an incredibly sympathetic character simply because of the deep conflicts he holds inside him. His rebellion is due to the desire to escape God’s tyranny, and his actions always further this desire, albeit desperately so. Throughout the book he knows deep down that there is no escape from that tyranny, and the only thing that his rebellion has achieved is distance – they can never escape from under his thumb. No matter what they do, they will always be at the mercy of their own creator. So he fools everyone who follows him about their own power, independence, and promises revenge on Heaven: “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.”
Interestingly, this duality is also mirrored in antiheroes throughout our more celebrated fictional works. Walter White in Breaking Bad is a devoted, loving father on one hand, and a murderous backstabbing drug kingpin on the other. Don Draper from Mad Men is another analogue to the devil; his duality exists in his silver tongue: “What you call love was invented by guys like me… to sell nylons.” And then there’s Lucifer, a TV show where the titular Lord of Hell abandons his throne so he can come up to the surface, run a nightclub, and solve crimes in Los Angeles.
Satan launches his initial rebellion against God simply because he comes to believe that his own power rivals or even exceeds that of God. His actions throughout the entire poem are driven by his need to equalize himself with God and prove his ability to remain independent of his creator. And throughout the story he makes many attempts to prove his point and sharpen his edge, all the while promising revenge to his followers.
Eventually, it culminates in his greatest deception – the corruption of Adam and Eve. He imbues them with his own pride and arrogance, which causes them to fall in God’s eyes. It’s a victory to him, because he influenced God’s greatest achievements, something that should have been impossible to do. And it puts him one step closer towards his vengeance.
By the end, however, he knows that his belief is a lie, and that his attempts are fleeting. He may have independence, but he realizes it’s only through God’s grace that he even has it in the first place.
In Paradise Lost, Satan displays his ability to shapeshift into the terrifying Leviathan, a creature of immense proportions. He becomes so large that sailors believe he’s actually an island and try to anchor on it. Later, when he attempts to enact his revenge, he first transforms into a bird so he can fly into the Garden of Eden. Then, when he finds Eve, he stalks her as a lion, and then a tiger. Finally, he takes the body of a serpent, with which he convinces Eve to disobey God by eating an apple from the Tree of Knowledge.
What’s amazing is that his shapeshifting serves two narrative purposes. First, it shows Satan in contrast to God – Satan changes constantly, to whatever suits his needs best. He’s adaptable, cunning, and clever. On the other hand, God never changes – he is absolute and unmoving; his omnipotence commands obedience and has no need to change.
And then, it drives home the point that Satan is incredibly powerful – enough to awe or to destroy or to deceive. But it still isn’t enough to overcome God, and never will be.
Now that we’ve looked at Milton’s Satan – the one we are most familiar with due to pop culture, up next we’ll look at the real thing – in the bible, and out in the world… when Weird Darkness returns!
STORY: SATAN’S APPEARANCES IN THE BIBLE=====
In the biblical conflict between good and evil, the world’s evil seemingly stems from one figure: the devil. Reckless teenagers who mistakenly summon Satan via rituals or ouija boards pepper the pop culture consciousness, and plenty of scary movies cast Satan or his demonic horde as the source of unspeakable horrors. When prompted to explain the omnipresence of Satan, most point to the devil’s appearance in the Bible’s Old and New Testaments. Those same people may be surprised to know that Satan only appears in the Bible roughly a dozen times. The general perception of Satan largely comes from sources outside of the Bible, such as Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy and the art that arose from that epic poem. In the Bible, Satan often arrives when the weakness of mankind is on display, taking on the appearance of a snake or beggar to test humanity’s faith. While the devil’s presence in the Bible is impactful, Satan’s role is not as prevalent as most would assume. These are all of the times the Devil appears in the Bible.
Perhaps the most well-known and oft-cited appearance of Satan takes place in Genesis 3:1-13 when he appears to Eve as a serpent in the Garden of Eden: ***Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will [perish].'” “You will not certainly [perish],” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” The man said, “The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”*** One thing to note is that Satan isn’t mentioned by name in the text, which leads some biblical scholars to point out that the serpent may just be that: an animal God rebukes. Later interpretations cast Satan as a disguised serpent tempting man. And some think it wasn’t a snake at all, but a misinterpretation of the original language which actually just meant Satan, or deceiver.
Most people will probably tell you that the snake in the garden of Eden was Satan, but Genesis was written prior to the development of the concept of the Devil, so that can’t be true. However, early interpreters of the Bible also couldn’t believe that the snake in the garden was simply a talking snake, and because the snake was culpable for dragging humans into the world of mortality, it just made too much sense for the snake to actually be Satan. The Devil then began to take on a more serpentine quality in the intertestamental period, when good and bad angels began to fill fiction and the Bible followed suit. Much of the snake-as-an-evil-creature mythology comes from Mesopotamian stories where serpents were known to steal strength, or from Sumerian myths where there were snake gods. Then, similar to when the Devil took on a horned quality because Christian scholars turned Egyptian gods into evil deities, the same thing happened with kindly snake gods.
The story of Judas betraying Jesus before the Last Supper serves as another key biblical appearance for Satan. Luke 22:3-5 offers a reason for Judas’s betrayal: “Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.” In John 13:27, there is another reference to Judas being filled with Satan: “As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. So Jesus told him, ‘What you are about to do, do quickly.'”
Satan plays a significant role in the Book of Job. According to the Bible, Job is a God-fearing man tested by Satan to prove his faithfulness to God. Job’s servants are struck down in the fields, his livestock are wiped out, and his children meet their end in a collapsed house. Job maintains his faith and prayers to God, but Satan soon appears again. This time, Satan questions Job’s faith in the face of disease. In Job 2, the devil gets God’s permission to test the man and places sores all over Job’s body.
In 1 Chronicles 21:1, Satan persuades King David to count all the citizens of Israel: “Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the troops, ‘Go and count the Israelites from Beersheba to Dan. Then report back to me so that I may know how many there are.'” Taking the census is not a sin in itself; however, because the intention behind the census was to boost David’s ego and wealth, it displeased God. Once the count is completed, David repents and throws himself on the mercy of God. David gets to choose from three punishments: three years of famine, three months of loss at the hands of his enemies, or three days of plague in Israel. David chooses the plague and later builds an altar to God.
Zechariah 3:1-5 recounts a vision of the high priest Joshua meeting Satan and an angel of God. Satan criticizes the priest’s dirty clothing and God basically tells the devil to back off: ***Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?” Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.” Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.” Then I said, “Put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the Lord stood by.***
While Jesus is wandering in the desert in the Gospel of Matthew, Satan tempts him three different times. In Matthew 4:1-11, the devil attempts to convince the starving Jesus to turn rocks into food and then throw himself from the top of a temple. The devil finally promises to give Jesus all of the world and its people if he turns away from God: ***Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'” Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.***
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus sends 72 of his followers out into the world in pairs to preach. Luke 10:17-18 describes what those followers reported when they came back: “The seventy-two returned with joy and said, ‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.’ He [Jesus] replied, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven…'” Biblical scholars debate what Jesus actually meant when he claimed to see the devil fall. Some believe it was a premonition of Satan’s future fall from power, while others think it was a vision of the moment Satan was first expelled from Heaven.
The Book of Revelation deals with Jesus’s visions of the future. In Revelation 12, a pregnant woman appears alongside a seven-headed dragon ready to eat her child as soon as she gives birth. The child is swept into safety with God while the mother gets to hide in the wilderness. Revelation 12:7-9 reveals the dragon to be Satan: “Then [conflict] broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down – that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.”
Isaiah 14 begins with a discussion of Babylon falling while the Lord forgives the chosen people of Israel. The text calls the devil Lucifer, which means “son of the morning” or “star of the morning.” This is supposedly an allusion to Satan’s time in Heaven and his desire to be God. Isaiah 14:9-12 talks of Satan’s jealousy and fall: ***The realm… below is all astir to meet you at your coming; it rouses the spirits of the departed to greet you – all those who were leaders in the world; it makes them rise from their thrones – all those who were kings over the nations. They will all respond, they will say to you, “You also have become weak, as we are; you have become like us.” All your pomp has been brought down to the grave, along with the noise of your harps; maggots are spread out beneath you and worms cover you. How you have fallen from heaven, morning star [Lucifer in the King James version], son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!***
Ephesians 6 speaks on the importance of honoring mothers and fathers and advises parents to raise children in the ways of the Lord. Ephesians 6:11-16 speaks of Satan and his evil minions attempting to turn the Lord’s followers astray: ***Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.***
***The Book of Jude speaks about the sinners and the punishment they receive for embracing evil. It specifically warns of ungodly men attempting to turn the faithful away from the Lord. It also mentions angels cast down to spend eternity chained in darkness. Jude 1:9-10 describes the archangel Michael battling with Satan: “But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct – as irrational animals do – will [harm] them.”
***Peter 5 reminds the faithful to lead others through by example. It also speaks of deferring to elders and remaining humble in action and thought. 1 Peter 5:8-9 warns about Satan’s tendency to prey upon the weak: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
When Weird Darkness returns, teenagers choose to follow Satan – and sacrifice others in his name.
STORY: TEENS WHO MURDERED IN THE NAME OF SATAN=====
What is it with teens and their devotion to the Devil? It’s like they’ve never even heard of an Xbox or being devoted to a time-consuming electronic instead of a soul-consuming demonic presence. True, almost everyone goes through a gloomy period in high school and learns a lot about poetry and the emo scene but there also those few tortured teens that get into murder. Some of them are straight up devil worshippers who mince no words about a deep-seated desire to make hell on earth. Some are still learning the ins and outs of Satanism, but the teenagers on this list have all committed the most egregious of acts against their fellow man. If you notice your teen selling PCP, joining an Italian black metal band, or drinking blood on a regular basis like certain individuals who will soon be revealed, perhaps you should sit him or her down and have a heart-to-heart. If you’re the teen in question and you love Satan, you might want to reconsider your path in life.
***Sources can’t agree if Ricky Kasso – a teen from Northport, Long Island – was a devil-worshipping murderer or a murderer motivated only by drugs and anger. What’s certain, though, is that at the tender age of 17, Kasso stabbed Gary Lauwers to death in June of 1984. Nicknamed the Acid King because of his love for using and selling the drug, Kasso remained free for about two weeks before being arraigned by police. It’s reported that with the aid of fellow teen James Troiano, the Acid King plunged a knife into the victim 32 times before gauging out his eyes to punish him for stealing 10 bags of PCP. Certain authors allege that the police bungled the ensuing press release when Kasso was caught and that he was not a member of any satanic cult but Kasso’s own statement allegedly claims that the devil made him kill Lauwers and a cawing craw relayed the deathly message. It’s unclear whether Ricky Kasso changed drastically from a young student-athlete who liked metal music to a drug-addled dabbler in the dark arts but he was certainly guilty of murder. Before he could be sentenced, he is said to have hung himself in a holding cell.
***In early 2016, Houston teen Edward O’Neal IV murdered his 16-year-old friend in what he claimed was a satanic ritual. Victim Ryan Roberts was found near an overpass in mid-January with multiple stab wounds covering his body. Everyone who seemed to know O’Neal personally were aware of his devil worship. Though his parents raised him in a Christian church and he even stayed at Roberts’s family home for a stint, O’Neal claimed to have sold his soul. He’d post hexagrams to his Facebook page without explanation but was also known to have been checked into a mental health institution. The Satan-obsessed teen admitted on three separate occasions to killing the victim.
***On February 5, 2014, Jose Reyes and Victor Alas committed a gruesome act of violence in the name of Satan. The two Houston teens kidnapped young Corriann Cervantes and planned to kill her in a ritual to help Alas sell his soul to the devil. According to reports, Reyes claimed that he had already made a pact with the dark lord and in order for his friend to join the ranks, they both had to commit a blood sacrifice. After kidnapping Cervantes, the two teens bashed her over the head with a toilet lid, carved an upside down cross on her stomach, sexually assaulted her, and then abandoned her body in a desolate apartment. In December of the same year, Reyes was tried as an adult and found guilty of capitol murder. He received an automatic life sentence. The teen murderer wrote a letter from prison claiming he was sick-minded but that the devil asked him to brutalize the victim. The letter in combination with the grisly murder proved him inarguably guilty. Victor Alas, who was 16 at the time of his trial, also received a life sentence.
***Much of America was rocked to the core when, in 1997, a group of young people carjacked and then murdered a group of Norwegian Jehovah’s witnesses in Pikeville, Tennessee. The Lillelid family was shot at close range and only two-year-old son Peter manged to survive. The group – composed of ringleader Natasha Cornett (18), Edward Mullins (19), Joseph Risner (20), Crystal Sturgill (18), Jason Bryant (14), and Karen Howell (17) – allegedly believed themselves to be a vampire cult working to further the goals of Satan but it wasn’t until later that Cornett and other members of the group claimed that they were coerced into saying that they were demonic minions. If that’s indeed true then the teens’s only motive for murder was stealing the deceased couple’s van and going for a joyride. The details of the day are murky but eyewitnesses saw the six youths speaking with the Lillelid Family at a rest stop before following them to a desolate location where chaos ensued. The criminals blamed their youngest member – Jason Bryant – for pulling the trigger but each participant received life in prison plus an additional 25 years for attempted murder after young Peter Lillelid pulled through. The documentary Six covers the discrepancies of the Lillelid case and attempts to determine if the group had Satanic underpinnings.
***Sean Sellers was known as the quiet kid in his Oklahoma town. He liked to read science fiction and play Dungeons and Dragons but at the tender age of 12, he was allegedly turned onto Satanism by a babysitter. Isolation and loneliness made the situation worse and multiple cross-country moves contributed to his desire to find community. He found a network that practiced the dark arts in Colorado. With that influence, he performed a satanic baptism on a friend, stripped him naked, cut him, and used the blood to write a dedication to Satan. Sellers’s parents discovered his books on Satanism and demonology and sent him to a priest but that didn’t slow his descent into darkness. He began abusing drugs and operating under the moniker Ezurate – his demonic alter ego. In 1985, the underage teen committed his first murder against convenience store clerk Robert Bower who’d refused to sell him beer. Sellers wasn’t initially suspected for the murder but questions arose when he wrote in English class that Satanism made him a better person and allowed him to kill without remorse. His English teacher understandably contacted his mother Vonda who wrote a six-page letter to her son. Instead of reading the note, Sellers fatally shot his mother and stepfather Paul, had a friend hide the gun, and then “found” the bodies the next day. After receiving the death penalty for his crimes, Sellers devoted himself to Christianity until his lethal injection in 1999.
***In 2011, 18-year-old Carl Guilford suffocated his six-year-old cousin to death with a blanket and told Las Vegas police that devils made him do it. His mother described the teen as troubled and said that he would often speak of spirits and the Illuminati. After murdering his cousin, Guilford he was put into a cell with Francesco San Fillipino, a man being held on child pornography charges. Guilford claims to have been grabbed by San Fillipino who he then stabbed to death with a pencil. Guilford later told police that the devil told him to kill San Filipino as well.
***In 2008, Russia played host to a terrifying crime when a group of eight teenage Satanists allegedly led by Nikolai Ogolobyak lured four teens (Anya Gorokhova, Olga Pukhova, Varya Kuzmina, and Andrei Sorokin) to the nearby woods in Yaroslavl and performed multiple ritual sacrifices. Both events occurred in late June when the victims told their respective families that they’d be attending a music festival. Instead, the teens were stabbed to death 666 times each. The mutilated bodies were then chopped up, carved with runes, and then cooked so that the youngsters could eat them. After being arrested one of the Satanists allegedly told police, “Satan will help me to avoid responsibility, I made lots of sacrifices to him” but the murderers were punished. Four of them, however, only received 10 year sentences because of their young age.
***On November 25, 1995, Richard and Ruth Wendorf of Eustis, Florida were slain in their home by Rod Ferrell. Ferrell believed himself to be a 500-year-old vampire named Vassago and he led a crew of teens who all dabbled in the occult. According to Ferrell, he was helping the Wendorf’s daughter Heather run away from home. Instead of just leaving town with the girl, Ferrell snuck into her parents’ home with Howard Anderson and used a crow bar to beat them to death. The accomplices then drove to Baton Rouge where they were picked up by the police. After the clan was arrested, Ferrell blamed the murders of Heather’s parents on a rival vampire gang. This quickly proved to be untrue as multiple members of the clan bragged of their crimes while in lockup. Anderson, in particular, told his cellmate that he tried to stop Ferrell from killing Heather’s parents. For a while police believed that Heather Wendorf told Ferrell to kill her parents but she was later cleared of any wrong doing. Ferrell is now serving life in Florida.
***At some point in 2017, 17-year-old Amanda Bennett and her 18-year-old friend Sebastian Dowell decided that they needed to kill two people every year to carry through with a Satanic ritual. The Missouri duo used social media platforms to quickly find their first victim. Kaytlin Root agreed to meet them in Krug Park for a friendly engagement but Bennet and Dowell took her to a hiking trail, choked her, injected her with an unnamed fluid, and stabbed her in the chest. They were quickly caught and charged with Second-Degree-Murder. Both were sentenced to life in prison.
***A lot of metal bands sing about being brutal and Satanic but the Italian black metal band Beasts of Satan actually followed through with their lyrics. From 1998 to 2004, the band carried out drug-fueled Satanic rituals that ended in murder. The first was a double homicide where they stabbed and beat 16-year-old band singer Fabio Tollis and his 17-year-old girlfriend Chiara Marino to death. Tolis allegedly got in the way when the band tried to stab Marino under the full moon. The group wouldn’t kill again until 2004 when they shot Mariangela Pezzotta in the throat and buried her in a shallow grave. After the discovery of her body, the police were able to track the band down fairly quickly. Italian police believe that the Beasts of Satan are connected to a larger web of Satanists but they weren’t able to prove it during trial. Nicola Sapone, the perceived mastermind, received a life sentence and the rest received between 24 and 26 years in prison.
It’s not just people Satan supposedly takes control of for his nefarious purposes… sometimes it’s places and things, as we’ll discover up next on Weird Darkness.
STORY: THE DEVIL’S PROPERTY=====
Just as holy relics and locations throughout the world are said to be blessed by deities on the side of “good,” other areas and objects are alleged to originate from Satan himself. Instead of blessed saints appearing to help those in need, numerous pieces of architecture around the globe are said to be products of deals with the Devil, made to assist or ensure each structure’s completion. Christianity has the Shroud of Turin – said to have enrobed Jesus Christ following the crucifixion – while the ancient Codex Gigas in Stockholm is believed to be a text completed with the assistance of Satan himself. Along with these manmade items, there are several natural features in England, the US, and around the globe that claim their name and existence as a direct result of Satan’s actions. The infamous “footprint of the Devil” marks multiple locations worldwide, and stone formations stand in the spot where witnesses to a sibling-marriage – allegedly ordered by Satan – met their end in Serbia. Each of these items and places named for Satan bears its own tale of his involvement, adding a sinister yet intriguing pull for possible tourists seeking proof the Devil truly exists in the details.
***One of the multiple structures around the globe referred to as “the Devil’s Bridge,” Teufelsbrucke stands in Andermatt, Switzerland, spanning Schöllenen Gorge and the Reuss River that runs through it. First built in 1230, Teufelsbrucke was refurbished in the 1820s before a more sturdy bridge was erected beside it in the 1950s. According to a story passed down through generations, the gorge’s size and terrain made construction extremely difficult, so a shepherd called out for Satan to make a bridge via supernatural means. Satan responded to the call and struck a bargain with the shepherd, stipulating the first to cross the bridge would pay with their soul. After the shepherd agreed to the terms, Satan conjured the bridge. To fulfill his end of the bargain, the savvy shepherd sent a goat across Teufelsbrucke, infuriating the Prince of Darkness, who began to smash the bridge with a rock until a woman wearing a cross necklace frightened him away.
***According to the cathedral’s own timeline, Jörg von Halsbach sought to create a new cathedral in Munich, Germany, in 1468. The legend tells that von Halsbach had to enlist Satan as a backer when he was unable to finance the project. The Lord of Darkness then prompted him to build the cathedral without windows, lest he lose his soul to the Devil’s whims. When Satan stepped into the completed cathedral, he was pleased to see little light and no windows. In one version of the tale, he stamps his foot in glee, while another version claims he did so in rage after discovering an optical illusion: strategically placed pillars were simply blocking the large windows von Halsbach had constructed. The footprint can be seen in a tile on the cathedral floor, still present after multiple renovations to the building. The cathedral’s version of the story contends that, after Satan left his immortal print in the floor, he attempted to rend the building, but failed. Supposedly, Satan left a demonic follower in the towers who would continue to wreak havoc on the hallowed ground.
***Located close to Kuršumlija, Serbia, the Devil’s Town consists of over 200 pillars of rock that range from two to 15 meters in height. The location’s mythology tells of the Devil’s annoyance with the peaceful, happy citizens in the nearby village. He elected to force the villagers to attend the wedding of a brother and sister – a union that qualified as a sin for which the villagers were then culpable. One end to the legend claims the villagers prayed for God’s assistance and received a blustery rainstorm that turned all of the wedding guests into the stone formations seen today. Another version stipulates the villagers conceded to the marriage, and the heaven-sent storm turned them to stone as punishment. In yet another ending, demons were clinging to the villagers’ backs to cause mischief, but the imps were turned to stone after a local church prayed for their demise.
***Legend says Satan rose from Hell to create Devil’s Ditch, a deep valley located north of Brighton, England, on South Downs. In an effort to flood the holy buildings of the surrounding towns, Satan dug the 328-foot-deep valley. While digging through the terrain, he stubbed his toe on the goldstone – so named for its composition of sandstone, flint, and tiny pieces of gold – and kicked the boulder in anger. In the 1800s, many surmised the goldstone was used in Druid rituals. This supposition led tourists to flock to the location, ruining the land where the famed rock lay. The goldstone was moved and buried, though it was rediscovered in 1900 and moved to Hove Park in England.
***The Codex Gigas is a 620-page manuscript created by an anonymous monk during the 13th century. It includes the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, along with information about exorcisms and other non-religious topics. The strangest entry of the sizable book is page 577, on which a full-color illustration of a devilish being resides. Legend claims the monk, called Herman the Recluse, somehow broke the vows of his order and, as a result, he was sentenced to live burial within a wall. In exchange for his life, Herman offered to create the Codex Gigas, a tome filled with all of the world’s knowledge. In order to finish the manuscript in one night – his order’s allotted timeframe – Herman sold his soul to Satan and included the mysterious illustration to pay homage to the Antichrist.
***An unspecified number of years ago, a crew of workers building a road in Maine encountered a large boulder on their site that they could not budge. One of the workers allegedly climbed to the top of the boulder and promised his soul to the Devil if it could be moved. Mysteriously, the next day, the boulder had indeed moved and the worker was nowhere to be found. Aside from the strange circumstances of the object’s transport, the remaining crew was stumped by another curiosity: two reddish imprints left in the stone. Those who saw the marks named them “the Devil’s Footprint.” The boulder bearing the infamous indentations sits as part of a cemetery’s fence near Maine’s North Manchester Meeting House. Locals claim ghostly apparitions stalk the cemetery where the Devil’s marked stone now resides.
***During the 14th century, Pont Valentré was erected as a three-towered bridge, meant to defend against approaching enemies. Beginning in 1308, the construction took a staggering 70 years to complete, and the towers never fulfilled their purpose in active conflict. At one point during those 70 years, one of the project’s leads allegedly “hired” Satan to construct the bridge. In an effort to trick the Devil, the builder provided only a sieve with which the Devil could carry water to mix the mortar, preventing the structure’s completion and indefinitely postponing the man’s payment for the bargain. As revenge, Satan appeared to snap off stone edges from the central tower, forcing them to be fixed regularly. As a nod to the bridge’s origins, architect Paul Gout, when repairing the tower in the 19th century, included a carving portraying Satan stealing a stone.
***Most devilish engineering feats include the offering of a soul in exchange for the landmark’s construction; in the case of the Devil’s Bridge located in Ceredigion, Wales, however, Satan allegedly created the bridge to assist an elderly woman whose cow was sitting on the opposite bank. The old woman’s lament summoned Satan’s appearance, as over the span of the Mynach River, no bridges could be built by man. The Devil, disguised as a monk, offered to create a bridge from thin air in exchange for the “first creature” that walked across it. After the old woman agreed, the bridge appeared, and she threw bread onto the walkway. Her dog followed after it and became the first creature to cross the structure, annoying Satan and prompting his leave.
***Located in Norfolk, England, the Devil’s Punchbowl is a circular pond with water levels that appear to lower and rise contrary to the area’s rainfall. The “punchbowl” is also a nearly perfect circle, leading some to believe its origins are supernatural. According to legend, Satan decided to annoy Thor, the god of thunder, by hurling chunks of dirt and rock at him. In his quest to pester Thor, Satan removed enough soil and rocks to create the divot in the area and allow it to fill with water.
***Over the Arda River in Bulgaria sits Dyavolski Most, known as “Sheytan Kyupriya,” or the Devil’s Bridge. Built between 1515 and 1518, the bridge is an impressive feat of architecture. The bridge measures 11.5 feet wide and a total length of 185 feet; it features three vaults. According to local legends, the project’s lead builder lost his wife during construction, and her spirit became trapped within the bridge. Another story contends Satan left his footprints somewhere on the bridge, giving pause to locals when confronted with crossing the bridge at night.
***Outside of a church in Brooklyn, NY, is the Martense Lane Rock and a plaque explaining its lore. Supposedly, the boulder originally sat along its namesake, Martense Lane, in Brooklyn. Two men began arguing nearby, and one man stomped on the rock in frustration. Left behind was the print of a hoof, revealing the man to be the Devil. In another version of the story, a fiddle competition took place, and the aforementioned hoofprint occurred when the Devil lost.
***Within the area of Purgatory Falls in Mont Vernon, NH, two natural features are said to be left by Satan himself. According to the legend, Satan invited holy men to join him at the falls for a feast of beans. While cooking the legumes over the fires of Hell, Satan unintentionally used too much heat and melted a rock around his foot. Hikers can visit Purgatory Falls and see both the Devil’s Footprint and the Devil’s Bean Pot near the top of the water feature.
***Chatham County, NC, is home to the Devil’s Tramping Ground, a circular woodland clearing in which nothing but scraggly vegetation grows. Locals have supposedly attempted to plant foliage in the area or impale the dirt with sticks, but each morning, the plants and sticks are nowhere to be seen. Stories of the expansive circle began around 1882, claiming the site was where the Devil went to dance. Other legends contest the clearing is where he paces in endless circles, plotting his evil deeds. Witnesses have claimed to see glowing red eyes in the circle, and a reporter camping there overnight allegedly heard footsteps circling his tent.
***The Devil’s Arrows were originally four or five tall stones standing in Boroughbridge in North Yorkshire, England, though only three remain. Legend tells of an encampment of Christian villagers ambushed by Satan and his arrows. Supposedly, the fired arrows missed and landed on the spots where the pillars now stand. The mythology of the arrows began in the 18th century, but many believe the rock formation actually originated during the Late Neolithic or Early Bronze Age.
STORY: LET’S BLAME IT ON SATAN=====
Conspiracy theories, specifically Satanic conspiracy theories, provide a new context for many world events that feel too large to have a simple catalyst. They offer a new way to look at the world via scrutinizing the organizations that have been controlling the world for hundreds of years. Satanism in world history has a somewhat nebulous definition. In some instances, the historical events caused by Satanism are directly influenced by magical rituals meant to raise a deity; in other cases, history was simply affected by Satanists who were looking to alter history. While digging into the world of Satanism conspiracy theories, separating reality from myth may be difficult. Once you read about these hypotheses for major world events, Satanic symbols may alter the way you look at history and even the present. The conspiracy theories collected here all contain elements of the truth, but in many of these cases, it’s impossible to know 100% of the facts, either due to the deaths of everyone involved, or simply because too much time has passed to get a straight story.
***Beginning in 2009, scientists at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) commenced use of the Large Hadron Collider to search for the Higgs Boson, the last unobserved fundamental particle in the Standard Model of particle physics, and the key to unlock the mechanism that gives mass to elementary particles. Conspiracy theorists believe, however, that CERN is actually a Satanic cult with designs on opening an interdimensional portal to Hell or some other dimension. “Proof” can be found in the LHC’s effects on weather patterns, recent earthquakes, and the space-time continuum. There are also reports that the scientists at CERN are actually performing Satanic human sacrifice rituals in order to increase their chances of opening a portal to another dimension so they can jumpstart the apocalypse. After a video of scientists at CERN performing Satanic rites made its way around the internet, journalists at Huffpo debunked the video by saying the footage was actually a recording of CERN employees goofing off. A spokesperson for CERN maintained that “CERN does not condone this kind of spoof, which breaches CERN’s professional guidelines, and is currently carrying out an internal investigation.”
***There are no easy explanations for something as nuanced and globe-spanning as a world conflict. One group whose shoulders were broad enough to place blame upon WWII would be the Third Reich. As the theory goes, the Thule Society was an occultist group active in the early 20th century in Germany, which eventually morphed into the N@zi Party. The organization was founded on the belief that the Aryans were the greatest race, and that humans of this specific bloodline originated in Atlantis. They also believed the Earth was hollow and filled with a race of giants and that Aryans would one day travel to a planet called Aldebaran in Taurus, which is about 65 light years away. Theorists believe that while a young Hitler was digging through his family records, he discovered that his biological grandfather was Baron Rothschild, a Jewish fellow who also happens to be a part of many New World Order conspiracies. Subsequently, he was afraid he would be blackmailed over his bloodline. This is where the conspiracy theory gets murkier. After The Thule Society trained Hitler to be a confident public speaker and instilled in him a desire to track down a series of biblical items in order to rule the world, he immediately invaded Austria so he could destroy his birth records and allegedly ended up jump-starting WWII.
***In almost every decade since the 1970s, there have been scandals, rumors, and accusations of an exploitative ring existing within the United States government that ties into an elite Satanic cabal. While the modern version of this story, “Pizzagate,” involves internet sleuths misconstruing phrases like “cheese pizza” as code words for relations with a minor, there were some medium-level Republican politicians who were involved in a scandal about exploiting children in the late ’80s and early ’90s. At the time, Larry E. King, the manager of the Franklin Community Federal Credit Union, was a rising star in the Republican party, and he allegedly allocated funds from the credit union in order to help fund underage pleasure parties with politicians. Reports claimed King ushered children through the White House for midnight liaisons with high-ranking officials.
***One theory about WWI begins in 1784, when Adam Weishaupt, a Jesuit professor of canon law, renounced Christianity and became a practicing Satanist. He organized the Illuminati and they began working on a long con to destroy all religions and bring about the end of the world. It took about 100 years, but after the 1840 dissolution of the “Auxiliary Indian Troops” for committing acts of atrocity, General Albert Pike found himself in the tutelage of the Illuminati and decided that a one-world government was ideal. After becoming a Luciferian priest, he decided to get to work on “ending the world.” It took almost 20 years, but beginning in 1859, Pike wrote out a blueprint for three world conflicts which were meant to act as super rituals to bring about the apocalypse and call Satan to Earth. He settled into his home in Arkansas and wrote that WWI would be fought in order to help the Illuminati to overthrow the Tzars of Russia and make the country fall in line with atheistic-communism. Afterward, communism could be built up and used to weaken religion with communists’ general lack of faith. Pike’s overall hopes for what would happen after the three world battles were as follows: “Citizens, obliged to defend themselves against the world minority of revolutionaries, will exterminate those destroyers of civilization, and the multitude, disillusioned with Christianity, whose deistic spirits will be from that moment without compass (direction), anxious for an ideal, but without knowing where to render its adoration, will receive the true light through the universal manifestation of the pure doctrine of Lucifer brought finally out in the public view, a manifestation which will result from the general reactionary movement which will follow the destruction of Christianity and atheism, both conquered and exterminated at the same time.”
***Some Satanic conspiracies are beyond ridiculous. How do religious conspiracy theorists know that the man who was elected 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, was brought to power by the Lucifer-loving Illuminati? It’s all in the hand gestures for the conspiracy theorists. Not only does he constantly throw up the three-fingered “okay” sign that provides a 666 for his home audience, but he’s also prone to prominently displaying the devil horns (a backward peace sign).
***But it’s not just on the Republican side that Satan has his greasy claws. Rather than use talking points to discuss why President Barack Obama may or may not be in league with the Dark Lord, talk show host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones decided it would be more appropriate to say the 44th President worshipped Satan because he was constantly surrounded by flies. In an interview with End Times’ talk radio host Steve Quayle, the two grown men agreed that President Obama was constantly surrounded by flies because his Satanic obedience made him smelly. Quayle explained Obama’s supposed body odor by saying: “Michelle Obama – and you should have your guys look this up – was talking about his odor, now I’ll tell you why. Beelzebub in the New Testament means Lord of the Flies. Lord of the Flies. Beelzebub is another name for who? Satan.”
***Many Americans have become caught up in the death of Jon Benét Ramsey on December 25, 1996. The sheer volume of conspiracy theories surrounding this case rivals the assassination of JFK and the moon landing. Much of this speculation revolves around people trying to wrap their heads around the tragic passing of a 6-year-old girl. Many theorists believe that Jon Benét’s death was a part of a Satanic ritual known as “The Last Bulb of the Christmas Tree,” which was first performed by Third Reich Doctor Josef Mengele, and that in 1996, the ritual was carried out by a local Satanic ring who was operating in the Boulder and Sedalia, Colorado, areas. It’s hard to find information on what exactly the “Last Bulb” ritual is because many conspiracy theory websites that discuss the ritual say it ties into the Cabalistic tree of life, which isn’t an explanation. It seems that nothing about the Jon Benét Ramsey case will ever have a complete answer.
***Many theorists believe that Pierre Charles L’Enfant, the man who was in charge of designing Washington, DC’s layout, hid occult symbols in his designs in order to turn the city into an altar to Satan. Not only are there multiple pentagrams woven into the streets of DC, but many of the cul-de-sacs become a triple 6 from an overhead view, and multiple Masonic symbols pop up in the strangest of places. The entire design of the city is allegedly meant to imbue the city with a sense of dark energy according to those who know the dark truth!
There is likely no number so feared as the dreaded 666. It will probably be linked forever with Lucifer and other Satanic entities. Many people may avoid a parking spot with the number 666 or freak out whenever their McDonald’s order caps out at $6.66, but have you ever wondered the meaning behind the number? Why is 666 evil? Where did 666 come from? Is it just a brief biblical reference, or is there a deeper reason why 666 has remained in the public consciousness for this long? The possible hidden meanings behind this spooky number go even deeper than you may think – and up next we’ll look at why 666 is associated with the Devil.
STORY: THE TRUTH BEHIND 666=====
***Almost everyone is aware that 666 is associated with the Devil from Christian theology, but not many people know the number’s dense history. Society gets its fear of the number from the Bible, specifically in the book of Revelation, chapter 13, verses 16-18. It reads: “Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell who does not have the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let anyone with understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a person. Its number is six hundred sixty-six.”
***Nero was perhaps the cruelest, most vile Roman emperor of them all. He ordered his mother and first wife slain, and he may have killed his pregnant second wife by kicking her in the stomach. He was also notoriously cruel towards Christians. The biblical passage about 666 could, quite possibly, refer to Nero. The author of Revelations, John, used a puzzle called gematria, in which numbers are used to represent letters. If you translate Nero’s name into a numerical value, you get 666. Here is a long list of other biblical names and phrases translated into numbers using this method. Such as…
MARK OF BEAST = 666
RECEIVE A MARK=666
THE HAND OR HEAD=666
WORLD ID CARD=666
BIO IMPLANT = 666
DIGITAL ID CHIP = 666
RFID BODY TAG = 666
RFID SCANNER = 666
SATAN’S SEAL = 666
IMAGE OF SATAN = 666
A SATANIC MARK = 666
SON OF SIN=666
SHARIA LAWS = 666
ISLAMIC LIES = 666
ALLAH IS LORD=666
BOOK OF THE DEAD = 666
PAPAL STATE = 666
FALLEN CHURCH = 666
SORCERIES = 666
WITCHCRAFT = 666
NECROMANCY = 666
ILLUSION = 666
FALSE MARKET = 666
MONETARY = 666
NO MORE CASH=666
***The number 666 may represent not just one man, but the entire Roman Empire. When John wrote Revelation, he may have used 666 to mock the oppressive power of Rome. While many consider Nero to be evil, he was likely no more evil than the Roman establishment, which claimed divine authority with no mandate. By all accounts, it was a hedonistic pagan empire at odds with many Christian beliefs. In numerology of the time period, seven was considered a pure and holy number, one associated with completeness. By referring to Rome as 666, Christians may have been saying the empire could never be complete or whole.
***One of the first references to 666 in the Bible comes in 1 Kings, where it’s written, “Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six  talents of gold.” After associating the Number of the Beast with currency, the Bible goes on to associate gold with a number of nefarious or immoral things, such as idolatry and hubris. As per this theory, money is the physical manifestation of the Number of the Beast, and is therefore the Mark of the Beast.
***The number 666 appears in religions and denominations outside of Christianity. For Jehovah’s Witnesses, a unique denomination of non-mainstream Christianity, 666 represents the world’s unified governments in opposition to God. The Witnesses see the number seven as signifying perfection, so 666 represents failings in the eyes of Jehovah. By contrast, Kabbalistic Judaism claims 666 represents the perfection of the world and its creations: the world was created in six days, there are six cardinal directions, and they see six as the numerical value of one of the letters of God’s name.
***Released in 1976, The Omen tells the story of a young boy (Damien) who is eventually revealed to be the Antichrist. The Omen was one of the most successful horror films of its time, and it even spawned a franchise. The film deals with 666 and the Mark of the Beast, so if you’re looking for something that has kept the fear of 666 alive in popular culture, look no further than The Omen.
***The Illuminati is an organization that many online theorists believe is in control of many powerful pop cultural figures. One conspiracy theory surrounding the Illuminati claims that they are responsible for the death of famed director Stanley Kubrick, who intentionally associated his own end with the Number of the Beast. Many people believe he used his film Eyes Wide Shut to rat out the secret society, who then had him killed on March 7, 1999.
This date is exactly 666 days before January 1, 2001, which some construe as a link to one of Kubrick’s most famous films, 2001: A Space Odyssey. While there is no empirical evidence whatsoever to support this story, many online theorists find it quite compelling regardless.
***If conspiracy theorists are to be believed, the Number of the Beast appears in myriad corporate logos, such as those for Monster Energy Drinks, Vodafone, and Google Chrome. While the intent of these alleged inclusions is unclear, many theorists believe they carry dark societal implications.
***Some people believe there will be a point at which humans are embedded with microchips containing all our personal information, which will place us under governmental control. They believe this advancement will ultimately herald the apocalypse. Microchips are already in use in animals under scientific observation and in zoos, as well as in pets, which many believe lends credence to this extreme theory. Another complex theory claims that the Mark of the Beast relates to commerce and will be branded upon people, in the way the government might “brand” its citizens with microchips and use their information to buy and sell people around the world. Despite these concerning theories, other sources insist these are a misreading of Revelation and should not be taken seriously.
Thanks for listening. If you want more on the subject of Satan, how he works, and how to battle against demonic activity, I have listed three episodes from my other podcast, Church of the Undead, in the show notes, entitled:
“Are We Wrong About How Satan Works”, “The Dangers of Demons and the Devil (And What To Do About Them)”, and “The Devil Might Be Deceiving You In These End Times – Here’s How”. Again, I have links to all of these Church of the Undead episodes in the show notes.
If you like Weird Darkness, please share it with someone you know who loves the paranormal or strange stories, true crime, monsters, or unsolved mysteries like you do! You can email me anytime with your questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. WeirdDarkness.com is also where you can find information on any of the sponsors you heard about during the show, find all of my social media, listen to audiobooks I’ve narrated, sign up for the email newsletter, visit the store for Weird Darkness merchandise, and more. WeirdDarkness.com is also where you can find the Hope in the Darkness page if you or someone you know is struggling with depression or dark thoughts. Also on the website, if you have a true paranormal or creepy tale to tell, you can click on TELL YOUR STORY. You can find all of that and more at WeirdDarkness.com.
All stories on Weird Darkness are purported to be true unless stated otherwise, and you can find links to the stories or the authors in the show notes.
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Now that we’re coming out of the dark, I’ll leave you with a little light… (Revelation 20:10) “…and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
And a final thought… “The devil doesn’t come dressed in a red cape and pointy horns. He comes appearing as everything you’ve ever wished for.” – Tucker Max
I’m Darren Marlar. Thanks for joining me in the Weird Darkness.