Those of you who have read the Encyclical Letter of the Autumn Equinox 1988 E.V. which dealt with the satanic hysteria primarily by way of a review of Arthur Lyons' book Satan Wants You: The Cult of Devil Worship in America will remember that I mentioned my own firsthand experience with gross media manipulation of the facts to further promote the hysteria on our local Pittsburgh 2Day show hosted by Patrica King Brown and Jon Burnett. Mr. Burnett, who seems to have literally taken over the program, constantly claims to be "open minded". By this we can only assume that he means he has a hole in his head, because he has proven to be a very insincere and closed-minded individual. Mr. Burnett has proven to be extremely prejudicial in matters relating to the so-called "occult" - with little doubt, religiously bigoted.
Most recently, September 29th of 1989 E.V., one Patrick Tierney was a guest on Pittsburgh 2Day. Mr. Tierney is a "science writer", a "part-time archeologist and anthropologist" who has studied human sacrifice in the remote past as well as the most primitive sections of South America today, and he was obviously on this talk show to promote his book The Highest Altar: The Story of Human Sacrifice. Unfortunately for Mr. Tierney, Burnett insisted upon using him and his book to try and further the dying out hysteria over the more fictitious than factual growth of satanism in America.
Burnett: "Are there not cases where humans actually give themselves to Satan?"
Tierney: "Well, satanism in the United States is, ah, is another subject. In the Andes there have been cases historically where people did willingly sacrifice themselves to the gods. ... We also find this in the Bible, by the way. ... [Tierney went on to point out a few examples.] ... The main idea behind sacrifice seems to be that God is somehow pleased by the suffering of ... of ... another person."
Burnett: "Jesus Christ?"
Tierney: "Well, Jesus Christ. The crucifixion. We believe that the agonizing death of Jesus somehow pleased God the Father so much that it saved humanity. I think when we consider human sacrifice, even when we get into the sensational elements of it - the cocaine mafia, satanism in the United States - we have to remember that human sacrifice is still at the heart of our own culture - when we walk into a church, when we celebrate Yom Kippur ... and we have to consider why it is that we think God is somehow pleased by sacrificing."
Ms. Brown pointed out that human sacrifice is usually attributed to satanism these days.
Tierney: "Well, 'satanism' is kind of a catch-all for many different cults and beliefs."
After a commercial break, an extremely large and unattractive woman simply called "Sharon", in quotation marks, labelled a "Former Member Of Pittsburgh's Satanic Coven" [sic], appeared on the set - not magically, we assume. Immediately she insists that she "now belong(s) to Jesus Christ as a born again Christian", then claims that while in junior high school she was invited to a party and eventually recruited into a satanic "coven". She also admits that she was doing drugs at the time. However, it could not have been much of a satanic "coven" as "Sharon" pointed out that "no one dressed in robes or anything like that."
"Sharon" claims that she had been seduced by the promise of power and that she was "studying to be a high priestess, which was all the way in as far as you can get." Mr. Tierney, who did not speak up much after "Sharon" was introduced, asked her to clarify something she had said, asking if she believed that satanic groups were better organized then than they are now. "Highly organized," she replied, stating that "people (were) trained to get rid of ... the carcasses, the instruments, the altar that we used", and so forth. To me that not only sounds extremely inefficient, but also expensive and downright unmagical to be constantly disposing of one's magical instruments and even one's altar. Rather than keeping these in a secret place until needed, each ritual act charging the instruments of ritual with greater power. And we are talking about young adults and not wealthy people.
"Sharon" further claimed to have used the power she had gained to "hex" her family. She described a moronic ritual in which she drew a pentagram and burned a candle to petition the "demonic deity" to put her mother "out of commission". When her mother splashed bleach in her eyes that was assumed to have been the result. Furthermore, "Sharon" claimed to have hexed her brother as well, resulting in him getting hit by a car. Yeah. Right. Sure.
"Sharon", who admitted to a "normal Presbyterian" background, when asked by Ms. Brown if she really thought that she was practicing satanism at the time or if she was simply rebelling against her parents' teachings, replied that she had been a genuine satanist. "Sharon" also claimed that "some" animal sacrifice had been involved, but not human sacrifice, but added "I - I remember bits and pieces of what could have been a human sacrifice, but I was so drug induced that I wouldn't ..." And here Ms. Brown interrupted her to ask if she had ever been asked to perform a human sacrifice, whereupon "Sharon" explained that to "prove yourself" and "to work your way through" one had to do various things - "cursing your family members ... doing certain things, astral projection ... human sacrifice is the last step", and of course that is where she claims to have backed out.
What was extremely obvious about all of this is that if indeed this unidentified woman had really belonged to some kind of a group, according to her practicing satanism in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh (my backyard), that group was little more than some infantile pot-heads when hippies, dropping out, were in vogue. If indeed they did dabble in the occult, it was only dabbling, playing, harming no one, only wasting their time, for she apparently acquired no genuine esoteric knowledge from her experience. And there is a distinct possibility that this woman identified only by the pseudonym of "Sharon" never was a member of any such group whatsoever and either on her own initiative or at the behest of a group of born again "Christians", made up the whole story to keep the hysteria alive because the fear of satanism helps them to keep their following in line, maintain their ranks and recruit more donation-giving people to born again pseudo-christianity. And of course, that pleases a man like Jon Burnett for religious reasons as well as financial and career reasons.
Another commercial break came, just before which "Satan Worshipping Among Pittsburgh's Teens" was promised as the next subject to be discussed.
Mr. Earl Hill, Program Director for Adolescent Chemical Dependency, identified by the program: "St. Francis Hospital, Counsels Teens Involved With Satanism", joined the others on the set.
Hill: "We see anywhere from three to six kids a month who are heavily involved in satanic activity."
Burnett mentioned a local case where a young man murdered two young girls - a case, by the way, that was proven not to have been part of a satanic ritual.
Mr. Tierney agains speaks up and points out that there have been "reports" but "what you have is circumstantial evidence. Almost disjointed pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. You have a growing catalogue of ritual murders where people influenced by satanism have committed homicides. The big question is whether or not there's any connection other than the fact that people get a hold of satanic literature, or are influenced by movies, or MTV graphic depiction of sacrificial scenes."
Burnett, after asking (his own opinion already painfully obvious) if these incidents are "a few isolated cases perpetrated by some bad seeds, or is satanism a religion that is built around human sacrifice", points out with obvious annoyance that satanism is "legally recognized by the Constitution of this country!"
Tierney: "... We're not trying to start a witchhunt," he tries to remind Burnett, "and certainly I'm not an expert on the subject", but then playing the game he mentions that there have been "allegations", then tries to bring the subject back to his research and book - with little success.
Mr. Hill explains that he works with "kids" twelve to eighteen years of age, and that many are influenced by heavy metal music, drugs, alcohol and free sex.
"Sharon" begins preaching and then points out that "To better understand satanism in the United States you can take it back to the Bible. Good against evil ..."
And we could not agree more! If not for the perversions of the original simple and sublime teachings of the Nazarene which resulted in the various sects of Christianity and worse, born again pseudo-christianity, satanism would not today exist for it is their bastard child and certainly not a development of the legitimate esoteric philosophies, arts and sciences, nor the pre-christian mystery and pagan religions which are now enjoying a kind of rebirth in the world. Satanism is in truth nothing more than the perverse rebellion and overreaction to the irrational restrictions, restraints, rules and regulations of the Judeo-Christian religions which have gone way beyond the rational to regulate such things as what a woman can and cannot do with her own body, what sexual acts are good and which are bad, and when they are permitted according to "God's law". If not for the irrational and ungodly extremes of the Judeo-Christian religions, the extreme of satanism, a natural if perverse reaction, would not have come into being, and the two now enjoy a symbiotic relationship - the one needing the other to survive and prosper. This is entirely apart from the rest of the so-called "occult" - the esoteric philosophies which existed long before either the modern Christian and Jewish religions as well as satanism, and which will surely not only exist but prosper again once these have been forgotten. Yes, if you wish to understand satanism you do indeed need to look to the Judeo-Christian Bible, for the gross misinterpretation of that collection of ancient texts, written by many different men, with somewhat different philosophies, is the virtual cradle of satanism. Satan and the worship of "the Devil" was never a part of Thelema, Wicca (Witchcraft), nor were these in anyway related to the various esoteric ways - except in the fevered and ambitious minds of propagandists and con artists.
Tierney: "I think it's a big mistake to equate New Age activities of all kinds with satanism," he pointed out in reply to some nonsense from "Sharon", "I mean that's really a gross distortion and the problem with dealing with satanism in those terms is that people begin to lump everything together, and clearly, um, the various things that she's mentioned - astrology, ouji boards, astral projection - this is such a hodgepodge. I mean if everything that's done in the name of satanism is bad we'll have to stop praying, chanting, getting together in groups, ah, building altars, churches, burning incense, I mean all of these things are parts of normal religious practices, so, I think you have to stop, draw a line somewhere. There's a danger of creating a witchhunt mentality. ..."
Mr. Hill tried to be more reasonable and he pointed out that the kids who get into animal sacrifice are more "dabblers", but he does point out that the more serious satanists are more secretive. He also cautions against the witchhunt mentality and adds that one must guard against "looking around for things that are not really there", also adding that "The majority of kids who get in will dabble around with it and they'll get out."
Mr. Hill pointed out that Anto LaVey does not advocate human sacrifice, "Sharon" tried to claim that the Constitution protects LaVey, et al, if they perform human sacrifice in the context of a religious ceremony by pointing out that contributions to the satanic church are tax write offs - which made no sense at all to anyone - and Mr. Tierney asked if human sacrifice is ever going to go away and suggesed an end to the scapegoat mentality of having someone else pay for one's sins and replace it with symbolic self-sacrifice. Etc., etc., etc.
Tierney: "There's nothing glamourous about satanism. It's just the most primitive level of a common human religion that you can find in every tribal society. I think it's a mistake to glamourize satanism and to pretend it's something extremely exciting. It's very banal really."
And basically I agree, although elements of primitive religious practices have simply been stolen like everything else by satanists to create their pseudo-philosophy, and satanism as it is, is not a form of common religion, but rather a rebellion against religion.
Naturally "Sharon" insisted upon having the final word and preached a bit.
Characteristically, Jon Burnett tried his best to further hype the satanic hysteria, while also trying to appear to be "open minded", but while he played the game a bit, Mr. Tierney interjected some reason into the program that inspired Mr. Hill to try, as best he could, to be reasonable. "Sharon" is a hopeless case - as is Mr. Burnett apparently.
Now who says God does not answer prayers? God - or should I say "My God"? - answered mine! Robert Bianco reported in the January 11th, 1990 E.V. issue of The Pittsburgh Press that "KDKA-TV has canceled its long-running afternoon talk show, 'Pittsburgh 2Day.' The program ... will have its last airing Jan. 19." And another local program, Evening Magazine, co-hosted by Jon Burnett, is experiencing "economic difficulties".
1997 E.V. NOTE: Not long after, Evening Magazine was also cancelled and Jon Burnett is now working for KDKA-TV here in Pittsburgh as a weatherman.
Recently a survey showed that while Geraldo Rivera's credibility with the viewing audience was very low, his popularity was still quite high. This says nothing good about either Rivera or the television viewing audience. And lately it seems that Rivera, the sultan of sleaze, is calling for less sleaze on television! If he really wanted that why does he contribute the major portion if sleaze to television?
Someone once approached me with the idea that I am fixated on Geraldo Rivera because I write about him so much. The fact of the matter is that I am not "fixated". Rivera is simply the best example of the worst on television - an insult to legitimate television and printed journalism everywhere. Besides, I am a Thelemite, this is a Thelemic publication, and Rivera made the big mistake of slandering the foremost prophet and teacher of Thelema, Aleister Crowley, on national television. Rivera asked for it!
And he is such a joke ...
Did you happen to catch the made-for-television movie "Jury Duty: the Comedy" in which Bronson Pinchot satirically portrayed Rivera under the extremely thin disguise of Jorge Jiminez? (That's HORHAY ... not George.) Marvelous. Pinchot, exaggerating, just a little, ahum, had Rivera down pat - and the contrast between responsible television journalism and Rivera's inanely irrational form of sensationalistic pseudo-journalism was beautiful.
It is definitely time for the American television audience to wake up. Most of them already find it impossible to take Rivera seriously and believe what he claims, he has become such an incredible media joke - it is about time people stop watching Geraldo, put down their trashy tabloids, and really get real. There is better entertainment to be had.
Geraldo Rivera has been pretty quiet about satanism lately, however, on October 3rd of 1989 E.V. the topic of Geraldo, Rivera's talk show, was "Mothers Running From The Devil". Supposedly his guests were women and one man running away, with their children, from their spouses who, according to them, were not only guilty of molesting their children, but of doing so in the context of satanic rituals. Among the guests were grandparents who claimed that their own son was guilty of molestation. Needless to say, there were a host of disguises and pseudonyms, sensational and dramatic presentations of horrific stories, and the whole ragbag of tricks one has come to expect from Geraldo Rivera and anything that he is associated with. However, it is worth noting that there was no talk of the so-called nationwide network of satanists determined upon world domination - a fiction that works far better in a Hollywood movie - and we heard Rivera say things like this frequently throughout the program:
"Alleged sexual abuse ..."
"Are their stories true? We have no way of knowing. But ... the allegations are certainly consistant and they are terrible enough to justify a full-blown congressional investigation to find out once and for all the extent of this satanic ritual abuse and the number of children in this and other countries who are actually being harmed by it."
"We don't know if these stories are literally true. We know again that the allegations you are going to hear are incredibly consistent. They are widespread."
"I gotta say again, we have no idea whether or not Amber, or Ashley rather, no, Amber, that's Ashley, all these names are made up names, is telling what literally happened or, you know, whether, sh..., I don't know ... maybe, maybe what really happened is totally different, but we at least must be incredibly upset and disturbed that the allegations are so widespread."
Et cetera. Alleged. Allegations. Literally. I don't know. Key words and phrases.
Personally I have no doubt that at least some of these children if not all of them were sexually abused, although it is more than likely that at least some of the people on this program were telling tales to try and get full custody of their children, and certainly that in some cases the satanic trappings were possibly used, because such programs as this have made the ground fertile for these allegations. Rivera himself asked "Could it be that this story is the result of your desire to accumulate ammunition to use against your ex so you can keep these children?", and of course the answer was no, and of course Rivera only asked it to appear to be objective, and it was quickly dismissed.
Yet there is something very disturbing here that I think may warrant the congressional investigation Rivera called for and while I, a staunch opponent of satanism, see no reason why a careful eye should not be kept on satanic organizations, I believe the focus of a serious investigation should be elsewhere.
Bernedette MacArthur, one of the few identified guests, was running from her husband, fearing his sexual abuse of their children, and she had no idea that satanism played a part in it until she went to Faye Yager of The Underground Network.
Andrea from Canada: "I thought we were fleeing from sexual abuse. I contacted Miss Yager and she had interviewed Matthew and within a very short period of time he said he had been made to kill children and that he had also poisoned me, with, ah, medication, that [Rivera dramatically sighs "Oh my God" as if sickened by it all.] his dad had given to him ..."
Rivera asked of Alyssa: "Was there ritual abuse? Was there a cult?"
And Andrea too replied: "Yes, um, I talked to Faye ... I told her of the sexual abuse, which is all I knew about at the time. Ah, she said, but that sounds like satanic to me because my father was a minister, um, we were apparently the ideal pick ... She said that's satanic." Two days later her son tells her about a ritual in a church. "Since then has come the details."
Diane, formerly a police officer in an Ohio city, supposedly retired for "unrelated reasons", said she had caught her husband in the act of sexually abusing their son. The fact that the court would not listen to her, that neither child protective services nor the police department would take her report and that the judge gave the father unsupervised rights to the boy on weekends and thirty days in the summer, seems to go against her accusations badly. And this woman is quick to say
"I want to clarify something. Everyone has been stating that as soon as Faye Yager questioned their children..." And she went on to explain that the reason the children tell Ms. Yager things they would not say at home, to the unoffending parent, is because she makes them feel safe.
Does she? Is that the reason these children end up telling these horrible stories? Rivera asked Ms. Yager if she had ever considered the possibility that the stories were made up to score points in a custody battle, and without hesitation she replied "No." She had never even considered the possibility. Think about that. She went on to say that she asks children questions like: "Did more than one person hurt you?" and "Did you ever have to hurt someone that you loved - that you were made to do it?" Not only coaxing the children, but downright telling them what she wants to hear. And the worst of it is yet to follow!
Yager: "I tell these children that they're at the end of the road. Nobody's going to help them if I don't, and if someone like me doesn't help them, and if they don't tell me the truth, forget it. I'm not going to help them. And I tell 'em I'm going to put them on a plane and send them back!"
Faye Yager makes the children feel safe? This is essentially the same tactic used in the time of the Spanish Inquisition, torturing someone to extract a confession of guilt - and to stop the horrible pain one was all too likely to say whatever the inquisitor wanted to hear. Here you have children who probably are victims of common sexual abuse, afraid to be returned to the abusing parent, and once threatened by Ms. Yager - and her hard face and voice alone would be intimidating to a small, frightened child - these poor kids would say anything they were expected to say to avoid being put on a plane to be sent back to the molesting parent! Truth is often relative, and what it obviously boils down to here is that truth is whatever Ms. Yager says truth is. Not only, then, are the children first abused by the one parent, then by such people as Ms. Yager who "puts the fear of God" into them, but I would wager to say that some of the innocent parents are also abused, convinced that the satanic fables are true, further frightening them, discrediting them when they go to court, and so forth.
Yes. I agree. Let us have a congressional investigation. And let the focus of that investigation be people like Ms. Yager, so-called therapists, occult investigators and "experts", deprogrammers and the like, as well as The Underground Network, the Cult Awareness Network that Rivera is always promoting, the Warnke Ministries, and so on.
I could go into much more detail about this particular installment of Geraldo, but I think I have made my point.
On the 14th of August 1989 I viewed another installment of Rivera's program that bore a 1988 copyright - probably a rerun that I missed the first time around. It's official topic title was "From Prison: Young Devil Worshipers", but Rivera kept calling it "Young Satanic Killers".
Same old crap all over again. Rivera stated
"The critics be damned! Devil worship is real, ladies and gentlemen, and it is influencing our young people. This is a follow up to last month's special."
No one ever doubted the existence of satanism and devil worship - it is the rest of his package that, as more time goes on, more evidence is either revealed or fails to turn up, we have a very good reason to seriously doubt.
There were the horror stories, the list of teen age murderers and their crimes, but the program primarily focused upon Pete Roland, 18, "Satanic Killer", interviewed via satillite, in Missouri State Penitentiary sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for having participated in the beating to death of a classmate - supposedly as part of a satanic sacrifice. Also Sean Sellers, 19, "Satanic Killer", the youngest inmate on Oklahoma's death row, also via satillite, who murdered a convenience store clerk as well as his mother and stepfather.
Pete said he wanted "power", "popularity", "to belong", to "make me feel big", and so forth - these were his motives for murder. It was the president of his senior class, he claimed, who got him involved in satanism, but now, he continued "I am a Christian." Sean's murders were "satanically inspired". What of the multitude of murders that were inspired by the Bible and a host of other things that an unbalanced individual employs as a vehicle and an excuse for his crimes? "Satanically inspired" means nothing. If not one thing it would be another. Sean stated that he "was going through a lot of problems" at the time and he wanted "to fit in", he kept stating that he was responsible for the murders, trying his damnest to look reformed - yes, now he too is a "Christian", spreading the good news - but it was obvious that he is nowhere near reformed and it is all a scam. "Satanism took from Pete his life, and it's given me death." WRONG. Pete is to blame for his situation as is Sean. They did what they did because they wanted to do it, not because satanism made them do it. And why?
Sean: "A lot of the reasons the kids get involved in satanism is because they see hypocrisy in the Christian church."
He went on to point out the lack of love and compassion, the fact that people supposedly embracing Christianity around him did not practice what they preach, and so forth. The father of another young "satanist" on the program, Kevin, said "We come from middle class America ... very Christian ..." Pete's advice to parents to keep their children from becoming involved in satanism
"Show 'em that you really care about 'em. Show 'em love."
Again I could no on and on, as you know, but the point is this: satanism is a SCAPEGOAT. It is a SYMPTOM of a dis-ease in America, not the CAUSE of that dis-ease. The cause behind these horror stories lies much closer to home, it is rooted deep in the Judeo-Christian culture, the Judeo-Christian religions and the lack of parental concern. But facing that fact, well, that is far more frightening than talk of satanic cults and sacrifices, and it is much easier to blame it all on someone or something else. Rivera said, "don't blame yourself". Parents, BLAME YOURSELF, BLAME YOUR PARENTS, YOUR RELIGION, THE SOCIETY YOU ALL CREATED. And make the necessary corrections before it is too late. Once you learn to take responsibility for your failings, your children will learn from you to be responsible.
At the time of this writing I received a newspaper clipping in the mail from a friend. It is from the January 12th, 1990 E.V. issue of The Delaware County Daily Times. The article, entitled "Satanic stupidity", was written by Gil Spencer, a regular columnist for the newspaper, and it reads in part:
"The accused satanist came to the door of his three-bedroom Pottstown condominium ... 'Let's go upstairs,' Courtney Franklin III said. Looking for telltale signs of ritualistic worship, I ascended the stairs. There, in the middle of the living room floor, I got what I was looking for. A 6-foot-high, ornately decorated, pagan symbol; some people call it a Christmas tree. ... being accused of child molestation, murder and satanism isn't his idea of a fun time. It already has cost him his part-time job as a real estate agent, and more money than he and his new wife, Patricia, have.
"The charges come from Louis Behr of Springfield, Patricia's ex-husband and the father of her four boys. He is supported by a handful of anti-satanism hysterics who warn America that satanism is on the rise with the help of shameless mass media that can't get enough of these kooky stories.
"Patricia and Courtney have listened to Behr spout the charges against them on 'AM-Philadelpha' and 'Geraldo!' She listened to her oldest son say on national TV that he and his brother had taken part in the satanic murder of a child.
"'We stabbed it a lot,' the boy told a horrified Geraldo.
"Nevermind that aside from a few child's drawings, there was no evidence, physical or otherwise, to suggest that such a murder ever took place. No body. No missing children in the area where the crime was supposed to have taken place. Nothing ... but the confused statement of a 9-year-old boy.
"Make that a 9-year-old boy who'd been abducted by his father, along with his three brothers, and forced to live in an underground halfway house in Georgia, run by a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic named Fay Yager. ... On the show [AM-Philadelphia], [Tom] Watts got Yager to admit that she had been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic.
"'I feel sorry for Fay but I feel a lot more sorry for her innocent victims,' Watts said yesterday. 'She has certainly brought misery to hundreds of people.' ... Until recently, Patricia [Franklin] was an emergency room nurse at Sacred Heart Medical Center. It was there that she met Cortney Franklin, who worked as a paramedic on the hospital's ambulance squad. When they met, Franklin was going through a divorce and Patricia was having a tough time in her marriage.
"Patricia subsequently left her husband twice, only to return twice because, she says, she was afraid of losing her children in the custody battle that he promised her if she didn't come back to him.
"When she returned, she claims, he beat her up - once, in front of the children. ... Behr said yesterday that he and his lawyer are looking into Cortney Franklin's background for amunition in their upcoming hearing. Franklin says he is not worried. He says he's had background checks performed by two police departments and the hospital where he works.
"Mr. Behr's background is something else again.
"He faces forgery, criminal trespass and theft charges in Delaware County for allegedly stealing checks from a former business associate and forging his name to the tune of $2,300.
"He took ARD probation for violating his ex-wife's protection from abuse order in Chester County. Harassment by communication and aggravated assault charges are still pending in Montgomery County.
"The 17-year-old girl he moved in with after his separation from his wife swore in a deposition last September that Behr had a $1,200-a-day cocaine habit and that he used to snort cocaine and other drugs in front of his children when he had them for visitation.
"He also faces charges of interfering with the custody of his own children for abducting them and going to Georgia for three months until the FBI caught up with him. ... He is an admitted former cocaine user and mental patient, and yet it is he who is always suggesting when someone disagrees with him that they need 'psychiatric treatment.' His wife, her husband, even his own psychologist. ... One more thing, the December before last, Courtney Franklin pulled two brothers out of a frozen creek and breathed live [sic] back into them. In so doing, he became the one thing Louis Behr will never be and so has come to hate - a hero."
Don't you think it is about time Rivera is taken off the air before he can totally undermine society by promoting every kook, crackpot and charlatan phoney baloney "authority" that comes along? The man either has no judgment at all ... or no scruples ...
The January 20-26 TV Guide, under the heading "A gentler Geraldo for the '90s"
"'I was embarrasing myself,' admits Geraldo Rivera ... 'I stepped over the line. I am publicly saying: I went too far.' ... Adds Rivera: 'When Donahue or Oprah do the same topics as I do, they attract less critical attention.' (They also receive higher ratings: Geraldo ranks third among these talk shows.) 'I have to accept that. I can't do a personality makeover at this stage, but what I intend to do is be more prudent in my topic selection.'..."
My suggestion is to just forget it. Hang it up. Rivera has been in a credibility self-destruct mode for years, mostly because he is simply an awful journalist who simply cannot get a hold of and present the facts, the truth - and the truth eventually comes out. Time to just retire, Geraldo.
In a National Enquirer article (January 16, 1990 E.V.) Geraldo Rivera, the Sultan of Sleaze, is quoted as having said
"I'm sick of trash TV! Shows like Oprah and Donahue and even my own have gone over the line, and we've all got to stop piping sleazy, perverted material into America's homes!"
And the tough guy, macho Geraldo Rivera, characteristically whines
"Phil, Oprah, Sally and the rest cover just about the same subject matter ... yet they never get near the criticism that I do."
Perhaps it is because Rivera pays less attention to accuracy, is more than willing to manipulate the facts if it suits his own personal fanaticism, and his presentation of the material is more like the rantings of a shady evangelist's tent service, a carnival huckster's spiel outside the geek tent, rather than the cold, objective, rational, logical presentation of a true investigative journalist, which he falsely claims to be.
And speaking of satanism...
The February 18, 1990 E.V. issue of The Pittsburgh Press, in an article by Ann Rodgers-Melnick, reports that
"'Satan's Underground' - an alleged autobiographical account of satanic sexual abuse which helped inspire Geraldo Rivera's 1988 Satanism special - has been withdrawn by its publisher after an investigation raised questions about the story's credibility. The book purports to be the story of a woman who, after her mother began selling her as a prostitute at age 6, became ensalved to a satanic pornography ring. She claimed to have been a 'breeder' who gve birth to three children who were murdered in pornographic movies and satanic rituals. The author's name is given as Lauren Stratford, a pseudonym for Laurel Willson, 48, of Bakersfield, Calif. After the book was published in 1988, Ms. Willson made the rounds of the syndicated afternoon talk shows and appeared on Geraldo Rivera's popular NBC special 'Devil Worship: Exposing Satan's Underground.' ... Cornerstone, an evangelical Christian magazine in Chicago, initiated an investigation of the book late last year. The magazine gathered public records of Ms. Willson's life and interviewed people who have known her well. The witnesses quoted in the article contradicted the accounts in her book. ... Ms. Willson's friends and relatives quoted in Cornerstone consistently described her as an emotionally troubled woman who gained their sympathy with wild tales of illness or abuse that often proved false. For instance, a family of Pentecostal evangelists who befriended in her 1962 said Ms. Willson had faked blindness for a time. In 1986, during a time Ms. Willson claimed to have evidence to offer in the McMartin Preschool sexual abuse case, she told a private investigator that she was terminally ill, the magazine reported. Among the book's discrepancies reported in Cornerstone:
"In 'Satan's Underground' she claimed to have given birth to three children while in her teens and early 20s. But Ms. Willson's friends, relatives and teachers from those years - during which she was an honor student in high school, attended college and gave public singing and piano concerts - said she was not pregnant at that time.
"In 'Satan's Underground' she claimed that her father left the family when she was 4 years old and that she did not see him again until she was 15. She said his death in 1983 enabled her to leave the satanic pornography ring two years later. Cornerstone reported that her parents separated when she was 9 years old but that she saw her father regularly in the following years. The magazine, citing public records and relatives, reported her father died in 1965, 18 years earlier than the book claims.
"The book mentions no siblings, but Ms. Willson has a sister, Willow Nell. She told the magazine their childhood home was troubled but dismissed the tales of child prostitution, bestiality and a pornography ring. ..."
And this raises the question: If an evangelical Christian magazine, whom you would think would accept Ms. Willson's story with open arms, was able to see through her story and easily ascertain the facts by checking with public records, relatives and others, how is it the great "investigative journalist" Geraldo Rivera was unable to discover the truth? Or is it a case of ignoring the facts because the story supported a fanatic and fantastic obsession, and made a terrific sensational story which would put the personality of an egomaniac unavoidably in front of an entire nation? Either Geraldo Rivera is the worst investigative journalist imaginable, or he deliberately covered up the truth and manipulated the facts to persecute a segment of the population for fame, profit and pure sensationalism. I do not see how it can be denied that Geraldo Rivera has abused his position at NBC and perverted journalistic ethics, employing every sideshow freak and social geek with a thin veneer of rationality, to promote his outrageous ego and cater to its maniacal needs.
And speaking of satanism ...
Ms. Ann Rodgers-Melnick, in a personal letter to me, wrote:
"Loved your write up on The Ultimate Evil [TNN VI.5]. A couple of details in the book that really bugged me:
1. Terry casually mentions John Carr is a paranoid schizophrenic - as if this would have no bearing on his behavior. He also says Carr seemed happy & normal immediately prior to his death. But he also says Carr was taking massive doses of haloperidol (Haldol) at the same time. Haldol causes severe depression, memory loss, impaired judgment even in fairly mild doses.
2. Berkowitz is supposed to be a practicing Satanist, an expert on Satanism. Yet, when he wanted to give information on Satanism to a pen-pal, he enclosed pamphlets by some fundamentalist preacher. I suspect Berkowitz's conversion to Satanism was a case of jailhouse religion."
Oh yes, she began her letter by responding to another elbow to the ribs from me and writing
"OK, OK, I'm sorry for calling you 'Gary' in print. It's just that editors have this obsession with full names & we already had an overload of partially named sources in the series." [Reference to TNN VI.4.Title Page - 3.]