They Came For the Mayor

Ken Williams (aka Don LaRose) was the mayor of Centerton, Arkansas for 6 years until this March 5th when he resigned. His reason for resigning – 30 years ago he believes he was abducted and brainwashed by Satanists. He claims he was not aware of his tormented past until he recently was injected with a “truth serum.”

This “truth serum”, which is unnamed in the article, caused these memories to come rushing back, and he realized he had a wife and two kids in his previous life as Don LaRose. Williams said he left his wife and kids to protect them from the Satanists and changed his name and started a new life.

The ReligionNews Blog details the story further, their take is slightly different and fills in some of the back story. LaRose became Pastor of a Hessville Baptist church in 1978. At some point he told his parishioners that he was abducted by a cult in in Maine, New York back in 1975 for “blaspheming Satan”. He says they gave him multiple shock treatments to erase his memory and took him from Maine to Minneapolis and dumped him off. In 1980 he began acting strangely and telling people the Satanists were after him again for criticizing cults. He claims to have seen one of the Satanists through the window of the church while delivering a sermon, no one present at the sermon saw anyone suspicious. The next day LaRose did a runner and disappeared.

He floated around for a few years before settling in Arkansas, and ultimately wound up a multi-term mayor in Centerton under his new identity, an identity he stole from a man who died in 1958.

LaRose/Williams now claims, at least to some media, it was an underworld crime organization rather than a Satanic cult that was or is after him. He is quoted here as saying that he lived in fear of being found out ever since, and now that he’s been outed feels he may be in danger again. This suggests he didn’t need the “truth serum” to recall any of this and his Grandson isn’t buying the tale at all.

Here’s a peek at “Satanic Panic: The Creation Of A Contemporary Legend” on GoogleBooks if you are unaware of the of the Satanic Panic movement. A more concise summary can be seen here courtesy of the Skeptics Dictionary. The media space this idea consumed in the 80’s really was absurd. Geraldo Rivera pretty much built a career off of it as well as numerous moth like pop-psychologists drawn to the fictional satanic flame. There was never any evidence uncovered that organized and violent Satanic Cults existed.

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Spookatorium 021

Welcome gawkers to episode 21 of the show! This episode we examine the Jewish ritual of Kapparot – the transfer of sins into the body of a chicken and the sacrifice of the chicken prior to Yom Kippur… as well as recent performance of it in New York and the aftermath left behind. I’ve also included a short PETA video here in the notes to further give you an idea of what we are talking about. I also juxtapose this with a sensational article from the Sioux City Journal regarding a reported ritual killing.

Following this we look at the hoax of the Jenny Haniver. Oddly named this crytpotaxidermy beast constructed from dried, rays, skates and cuttlefish has been passed off as a bona fide monster since the 16th Century, and continues to be despite widely being dubbed a hoax from early on. You can buy one right here.

Finally a look at the fascinating Charles Bonnet Syndrome. The condition in which those with failing vision find their lives interrupted by elaborate hallucinations. I hadn’t heard of this until reading a great piece in the book Dark Lore Vol. 1 which I would recommend.

In addition this time we are having a little drawing from which the winner will receive a copy of Blood of the Black Owl’s self titled record on Bindrune Recordings. Details are in the show…

Music this time from the likes of…

BLIXA BARGELD (1:05)
CARPATHIAN FOREST (5:00)
TULUS (10:45)
THE ACCUSED (26:33)
HARMONY GARDEN (28:55)
MALHAVOC (32:51)
DARKTHRONE (37:14)
BABYLAND (43:23)
SUBTERANNEAN MASQUERADE (46:56)
EMBER (52:45)
DESSAU (54:57)
COIL (65:17)
NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS (71:15)
NEVER PRESENCE FOREVER (76:25)

With background accompaniment from
DEL

Professor Gruntsplatter’s Spookatorium 021

That is it this time, leave a comment or drop an email ya ingrates.

– Prof. Gruntsplatter

Devil May Care

Here are some additional pieces to follow up on the stories in the last podcast regarding possession and exorcism.

The latest exorcism death comes to us from Texas where a 60 year old man killed his 59 year old wife. His claim is that he was attempting to perform an exorcism when the devil entered HIS body and the devil killed her. He told the police he was pinning her face down on the carpet when she died. When the police arrived he’d wrapped the body in the a sheet and placed a cross and a sword on the body. I haven’t seen any reports on the autopsy yet in regards to what actually killed her, suffocation sounds like a real possibility. Hubby was charged with murder. I believe this was the 4th exorcism death I have seen a report on in the last month.

The other part of the story from the show was in regard to the Catholic Church and their renewed focus on exorcism and satanic fear mongering. This story from the BBC struck my curiosity… during the reign of Pope John Paul II enrollment in the religious orders fell 25%, and just between 2005 and 2006 it dropped an additional 10%. So, the ranks and influence of the Church and its full time adherents seems to be hemorrhaging and has been for sometime. It could be suggested that the Vatican may be trying to spice up the prospect of a life within the Church. In this day and age with the knowledge we have of science, the evolution of myth and archetypes, with the politicization of religion and zealotry on the upswing in some circles the Catholic Church doesn’t have the presence it once had. They are seeking the resurrection of the bogeyman.

Additionally, the Washington Post picked up the story on the possession treatment center in Poland we covered in the last show. Here’s their piece on that one. There is a bit more detail in this one than the originally translated Polish article I mentioned, and it offers a bit of a larger picture.

Rev. Amorth, who is considered the “Exorcist In Chief” for the Vatican says, “People don’t pray anymore, they don’t go to church, they don’t go to confession. The devil has an easy time of it,” Amorth said in an interview. “There’s a lot more devil worship, people interested in satanic things and seances, and less in Jesus.”

According to Rev. Jankowski, one of the folks working at the center those at risk include “include people who turn away from the church and embrace New Age therapies, alternative religions or the occult. Internet addicts and yoga devotees are also at risk.”

Yoga is potentially Satanic, but raping children isn’t on their list for some reason. However a woman who was seeking a divorce and began to hate her husband is most likely possessed as the story linked indicates.

They are resurrecting the bogeyman to validate themselves. This message is filtering down to those who… don’t have a real good sense of discretion, and as I said this is the 4th exorcism death I have seen in a month.

– Prof. Gruntsplatter

Why Goats?

A couple stories I found recently got me wondering “why goats?” For centuries they have had a symbolism attached to them that is cross cultural and malleable, but seemingly ever present in some form or another.

The ChristStory Bestiary runs through a lot of them, largely in a negative or neutral light, but to summarize… Christians art uses it as a symbol of the damned, and frequently as the antithesis of sheep. This evolved into the goat as a personification of the devil, and during the European Witch Trials, not to new confused with the equally retarded sequel The American Witch Trials, goats were seen as the witches familiars and it was believed, even had the ability to bestow supernatural rewards upon the alleged witches.

It has been mentioned as a symbol of freewill, lust, lechery, fertility, courage, and spiritual initiation, in alchemy the goat represents sulfur, there is an association with thunder and lightning across cultures… The term scapegoat came about from a Day of Atonement ritual where one goat was sacrificed for Israel’s sins, and one was ritually burdened with the sins of the people and cast out into the world to fend for itself, this was “scapegoat.” Similarly in France and areas of the Mediterranean a “scapegoat” was kept on the farm in the belief that it would absorb bad germs or diseases and thereby protect the rest of the livestock. The Chinese include the goat in their calendar, and someone born in the year of the goat is considered sociable, trustworthy and considerate… In addition, the half man half goat motif appears in many mythologies, and the goat is a popular mount for the gods of multiple cultures to ride while seeing to their godly chores. The International Kiko Goat Association (who knew) also as some additional background on goats in myth and folklore. Perhaps not surprisingly the IKGA site doesn’t really go into the more diabolical connotations of the goat that the ChristStory site does.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the more nature attuned religions and myths, be they from the East or from Pagan Europe are the ones that see the goat in a more positive light, and the Christian faith which separates man from the rest of nature see it in a negative light. Believed to be only second to the dog in becoming a domesticated animal, early cultures would have been living in closer proximity to goats than they would many other animals. This closeness would lead them to a greater understanding of the animals temperament and traits, and thus make them more likely to ascribe personality and human qualities to them. This may help explain why they are so common in folklore and myth.

What am I getting at? The mythic persona of the goat is still alive and well today as outlined by these three stories.

A Wisconsin defense attorney received a package outside her office in late August. The package was a severed goats head in a pink bag . Inside the goats mouth was a note with the attorneys name written on it six times, backwards. The attorney didn’t have any idea who could have sent it, but suggested it may have something to do with the full moon, and the paper who reported the story consulted an expert in Voodoo, who said the scenario wasn’t familiar to him, though he did acknowledge that sacrifice of goats can be part of voodoo rituals he didn’t see any parallels. Voodoo must have been the only alternative religion represented at the local university…

Next up we jaunt from Milwaukee, to Kathmandu, Nepal where Nepal’s official state airline, Nepal Airlines sacrificed two goats to the Hindu sky god Akash Bhairab. It seems they had two airplanes that were having persistent mechanical issues and so the goats were sacrificed before the planes in the traditional manner in hopes of appeasing the sky god and getting the planes back in the air. The planes are flying again, and Nepal Airlines has refused to state what the issue had been.

Finally, we make our last stop in Sweden, where every year since 1966 the town of Gavle has erected a 43 foot goat made of straw and wood to mark the beginning of the Christmas season. It has become a bit of sport apparently to burn down the goats when the opportunity arises, and just 10 goat have survived where 22 have fallen to flame some within hours of completion.

So there you have it, the goat has been woven into our collective unconscious and continues to rear its head in mythical ways today, sometimes even at the airport.

– Prof. Gruntsplatter