If there’s one thing that can be depended on to scare the piss out of middle America, it’s Satan worship. When people pledge allegiance to the big red guy, they’re capable of pretty much anything. While many satanic crimes actually turn out to be horribly overblown, there are some that are so grisly that they really give the whole deal a bad name. In this feature, we’ll shine the cold light of justice on 10 of the most horrific satanic cult acts in human history.
Say You Love Satan, 1984
The '80s were the peak of satanic panic in America, with parents freaking out over dark influences in music, movies and roleplaying games. While most of it was hokum, there were real Satan-obsessed creeps out there. One such person was Ricky Kasso, a Long Island burnout who was into two things: drugs and the occult. After stealing a skull and other items from a local cemetery, Kasso was hospitalized but released soon after. He then rounded up a posse and murdered associate Gary Lauwers in the woods, holding a knife to his throat and commanding him to “Say you love Satan” before gouging out his eyeballs and burying him. Kasso later claimed that Satan, in the form of a black crow, had given him the order to snuff Lauwers.
Satanic Threesome, 2011
If you’re looking for sex on the Internet, you have to expect that you’re going to meet some weirdos. And if you’re looking for satanic sex, you’re going to end up in trouble. In 2011, a young man from Arizona met a pair of Milwaukee women who invited him to travel to their home for a three-way. Upon arriving, the man engaged in sex with the two women, Raven Larrabee and Rebecca Chandler, but then they tied him up with duct tape and began cutting him with knives, inflicting over 300 wounds onto his body. He escaped, and cops followed the blood trail to the women’s apartment, taking them both into custody and finding a number of occult and satanic books on the premises.
Russian Goth Murders, 2008
Obviously, the biggest sacrifice you can give the dark lord Satan is to spill blood for him, and a quartet of Russian devil worshippers did so with gusto in 2008. Led by the charismatic and disturbing Nikolai Ogolobyak, the group lured four teenagers into the woods outside of Yaroslavl and proceeded to stab each one of them exactly 666 times before cutting off their genitals, scalping them and removing some of the most tender meat to cook and eat over a bonfire. After some of the remains were found in a pit outside of Ogolobyak’s house, the four were arrested and sentenced to as much as 20 years in prison.
Beasts of Satan, 1998
On their own, Satanists aren’t particularly threatening. It’s when they buddy up with each other that murders happen. One of the most fearsome devil-worshipping groups in Europe was Italy’s Beasts of Satan, a loosely organized tribe of heavy-metal lovers. They claimed their first blood in 1998 with the ritual double murder of Chiara Marino and Fabio Tollis, two teenagers who were actually friends with the group. The group’s ringleaders, Andrea Volpe, Nicola Sapone and Mario Maccione, buried the corpses in the woods and screamed “Now you’re both zombies!” at the grave. Six years later, Volpe killed another two people, and the police investigation led to the previous two bodies as well. Sapone got a life sentence and the other members caught 25-year bids.
Ripper Crew, 1981
Do you know why they tell kids to keep away from unmarked vans? It's because of creeps like the Ripper Crew. Between 1981 and 1982, this quartet of satanic sickos led by former John Wayne Gacy employee Robin Gecht drove around Chicago picking up prostitutes in their van. Once they landed a streetwalker, they would take her back to Gecht’s apartment and murder her while Gecht read from the Satanic Bible. Then they would chop off the prostitute’s breasts and desecrate them before eating them. Thankfully, their reign of terror was soon stopped, and all four members received the death penalty for their grisly actions.
Jealous Killing, 1995
Worshipping Satan doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll turn to evil, but it does give some people the inner strength to carry out nefarious deeds. Christa Pike was an ordinary high-school dropout working with the Job Corps in Tennessee when she began to get jealous that a co-worker had designs on her boyfriend. Along with the boyfriend and another woman, Pike lured the victim, 19-year-old Colleen Slemmer, to the woods, where they began beating and stabbing her, even carving a pentagram in her chest. The killing blow came when Pike crushed Slemmer’s skull with a piece of asphalt. She even kept a fragment of the cranial bone as a grisly souvenir. Within a day and a half, the trio were arrested, with copies of the Satanic Bible found in the boyfriend’s room. Pike was given the death penalty.
Slayed for Satan, 1995
Heavy-metal music is one of the most common soundtracks for Satanism, and the 1995 murder of San Luis Obispo teen Elyse Pahler brought one of the world’s greatest metal bands under serious scrutiny. Pahler was lured from her house one summer evening by three male acquaintances who murdered her and had sex with her corpse as part of a satanic ritual to give their garage-metal band, Hatred, the “craziness” they felt they needed to make it big. Over the next few months, the creeps returned to the body to further violate it until it was discovered in March of 1996 when one of the three confessed. Pahler’s parents tried to sue metal band Slayer, claiming that the band’s music made the three teens commit the vile act, but a judge threw it out of court.
Black-Metal Bloodbath, 1998
It’s interesting that some of these Satan worshippers have the charisma necessary to draw other people into their bizarre acts. Finnish metalhead Jarno Elg strangled and murdered a 23-year-old man in 1998 after torturing him and eating some of his body parts. The amazing thing is that Elg actually got three other men to come over and help him out, all the while blasting death metal by the band Ancient. After one of the corpse’s legs was found at a dump site, police traced the corpse back to Elg and his cohorts, and sent Elg to prison for life.
Satan’s Orders, 2001
If you saw German couple Manuela and Daniel Ruda walking down the street, you'd probably have gotten out of their way. The imposing Satanists had mouths fitted with vampire fangs and upside-down crosses shaved in their hair, and often supped on human blood. In 2001, Rudel allegedly received a spiritual message from Satan asking for a sacrifice, so he invited co-worker Frank Hackert over to his house, knocked him unconscious, hung him upside down and stabbed him 66 times before carving a pentagram into his chest. Cops found the body and hauled the love-struck killers in, and they’re now both committed to a secure mental institution in Germany.
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The Night Stalker, 1985
Satanism and serial killing go together like a hand in a tight-fitting black glove, and perhaps the most notorious murderer in thrall to the devil was Richard Ramirez, the Night Stalker. Ramirez terrorized Los Angeles with his seemingly random crimes, which saw him attacking women, raping and murdering them and sometimes leaving drawings of pentagrams behind. Ramirez claimed 14 victims in his brief killing career, and when he was arrested, he claimed to police that he was a minion of Satan sent to Earth to carry out atrocities for the devil.