Satanism and Occult-Ritual Activity:
Questions and Answers
How Prevalent are Satanism and other Occult-Related
No reliable scientific data can tell us how many people are
involved, but a most disturbing trend has been the apparent increased interest among the
What are the Different Levels of Involvement?
- "Dabblers," usually teenagers who become
attracted to satanism on a relatively superficial level through easily-available books,
heavy-metal music, fantasy role-playing games and the like;
- "self-styled" or "psychopathic"
satanists, usually loners attracted to the more violent forms of satanism which are then
grafted onto their pre-existing pathology;
- "religious" satanists involved in well-organized,
publicly-acknowledged groups such as the Church of Satan or Temple of Set, and
- "satanic cults,"
the sophisticated, clandestine groups which may be engaged in criminal activities. These
Who Gets Involved and Why?
Dabblers are often alienated, troubled teens with low
self-esteem who exhibit problems with aggressive behavior and/or suicidal tendencies, both
of which can be aggravated by involvement in satanism.
Youngsters often come from dysfunctional families.
Many are bright, creative, and intellectually curious but
are usually underachievers and loners who do poorly in school and/or have learning
disabilities. They may be bored and rebellious, but they also feel the need to belong and
may be vulnerable to influence by strong, charismatic personalities.
Teenagers often become involved with satanic cults because
the rituals appear to confer magical power, provide an outlet for their religious needs,
and justify the free expression of aggressive and sexual drives.
What are Some Possible Signs of Involvement?
[Please note: Many of these signs in and of themselves,
have nothing to do with satanism and may be associated with other types of problems. Look
at the whole picture and remember that destructive satanic involvement will often be
associated with, if not in fact result from, more traditional psychological problems such
as low self-esteem, depression, or alienation.]
- Diminished intellectual ability, falling grades
- Drug and/or alcohol abuse
- Accumulating satanic paraphernalia, such as books about
Satan, witchcraft, and the occult; knives and other weapons; whips; black or red candles
and robes; bones; posters depicting sex, violence, or occult images . Use of satanic signs
and symbols in jewelry, sewn on clothing, or drawn on papers, books, or walls.
- Developing an obsession with movies, videos, and heavy-metal
music with themes of occultism and
- demonism, violence, rape, mutilation, suicide, and
- death; obsession with fantasy role-playing games;
- obsession with ouija boards and/or tarot cards and means of
predicting the future
- Displaying signs of ritualistic mutilation such as
unexplained cuts on the left arm or chest area;
- Maintaining a notebook in which
rituals and other activities are recorded;
- Preoccupation with suicide and death
- Participation in antisocial, violent, and/or criminal acts
- Deterioration in physical health
- Alienation from family and old friends;
secretiveness about new friends and activities.
What Can Families Do?
Dont panic, and be patient. Assess the situation
thoroughly. Educate yourself. Communicate effectively. Set a hierarchy of goals. Exercise
authority when appropriate. Know whenand whereto seek professional help.
What Can Educators and Mental-Health Professionals
Educate yourself. Learn to spot possible
signs of involvement and to assess the extent and seriousness of the involvement. Find out
where to go for further information and expert assistance.