Satan cultists and cannibals of 1970 behind mysterious murders where victims' hearts missing
BY Mara Bovsun
July 18th 2010,
On June16, 1970, a hiker stumbled upon a shallow grave off a highway near El Cariso, in southern California. It held the body of Florence Nancy Brown, 29, a schoolteacher from El Toro who worked with handicapped children. Thirteen days earlier, Brown told her husband she was going to a PTA meeting, got into her car and vanished.
About a month later, July 11, 1970, a man fishing on the Yellowstone River in Montana cast his line into the rushing waters and, instead of a trout, snagged a corpse. It was the remains of James Schlosser, 22, a social worker from Roundup, Mont. On the previous Friday, the young man had cheerfully set off in his yellow Opel Kadett, after telling his mother that he was looking forward to a weekend hiking in Yellowstone National Park. Both victims had been stabbed multiple times, and their bodies mutilated. Brown's right arm had been hacked off and Schlosser's legs, arms and head were missing. And the most chilling detail: Neither corpse had a heart.
Although separated by 1,000 miles, the two killings sparked fears that Schlosser and Brown had fallen prey to a deadly fad - the devil cult. It had been about five years since a one-time carnival worker, Anton LaVey, came up with the notion of worshiping Satan for fun and profit. He opened the Church of Satan, penned the "Satanic Bible," and attracted a few thousand followers. Suddenly, Satan was chic. Most of it was harmless ritual. But sometimes the hell-raising turned deadly, especially when mixed with LSD and other mind-bending potions. In 1969, the world was horrified by the Manson family bloodbaths, the work of the followers of one such anti-Christ.
Now, less than a year later, two separate murders suggested more devils were on the loose, and even worse, that cannibal clans of Satan-worshiping killers were popping up all over the country. Working on a tip, California police nabbed Brown's murderers by the end of June. They were part of a loose cult of grubby drug addicts, some teenagers, who called themselves the Sons of Satan. They scraped by day-to-day, sleeping where they could, stealing and wandering around in search of their next fix.
Group leader Steven Hurd, 20, called the devil "father," and boasted that he had eaten Brown's heart to honor Satan. The young mother had been the group's second killing in as many days. The first, on June 2, was Jerry Carlin, a gas-station attendant working the lobster shift. It started as a robbery, but Carlin, 20 and a newlywed, wasn't cooperative enough. One of Hurd's acolytes, Arthur (Moose) Hulse, 16, 6 feet tall and 260 pounds, got annoyed. Hulse would later tell a jury, "He kept bugging me."
To quiet him down, Hulse whacked Carlin once in the head with the dull edge of a hatchet. When that failed to silence the victim, Hulse turned the hatchet around, and hacked Carlin to death. The take: $73. The next night, Brown, an attractive mother of four, stopped at an intersection, and was attacked by Hurd's band of killers. They forced their way into her car and drove her to an orange grove, where Hurd stabbed her 20 times. After another short ride, Hurd and his accomplices buried her at the secluded site near the highway. Hurd told investigators that he returned later, alone, dug the body up, mutilated it, then cut out the heart and ate it.
The Yellowstone killers - Stanley Dean Baker, 22, and Harry Stroup, 20, were nabbed after a traffic accident near Salinas, Calif., on July 15. They had been speeding along an isolated road 20 miles south of Big Sur, in Schlosser's yellow Opel. Upon his arrest Baker made a startling statement. "I have a problem," he said. "I am a cannibal." He then reached into his pocket and pulled out a few small, white objects - finger bones. Baker said they came from Schlosser's hands. He had hacked them off the victim and put them in his pocket, in case, he said, he wanted a snack.
Along with the severed digits, Baker had a copy of the "Satanic Bible" in his pocket. Baker freely confessed to what had happened. He told police that he and Stroup had been dropping acid and hitchhiking on July 11 when Schlosser pulled over to offer a ride. They stopped to camp for the night. Sometime after dark, a thunderstorm set Baker's LSD-addled brain into a demonic trance. He could not help himself; Satan told him to stab Schlosser and cut out his heart. "I ate it, raw," he boasted.
Baker pleaded guilty to Schlosser's murder, and was given a life sentence. Stroup was later convicted of manslaughter and sent to jail for 10 years. Behind bars, Baker apparently forgot about the devil and behaved like a little angel, and by 1985, he was paroled.
In California, Hulse was quickly tried, and his defense team tried to argue that years of blowing out his brains with booze and drugs rendered him incapable of taking responsibility for his actions. The jury found him guilty and sent him to jail for life. It took five years of psychiatric treatment before Hurd was declared sane enough to stand trial. His attorney portrayed Hurd as a helpless pawn of delusions that Satan was forcing him to kill, and that his addiction to Seconal and LSD had scrambled his brain.
After three days of deliberation, the jury decided that Hurd had no one but himself to blame for his actions and that this devil deserved no sympathy. He was sentenced to life in prison and is still behind bars.
Is the Pope Catholic . . . Enough?
By Christopher Noxon
March 9, 2003
The first sign that something unusual was going on up the hill was the appearance of a fleet of brand-new Volkswagen bugs, lined up on a muddy bluff like a row of oversize Easter eggs. It was a local handyman who spotted them while he was out on a walk through this little valley in the mountains northwest of Los Angeles, near Malibu. Neighbors had already been talking about the 16-acre property on the valley's south slope, and soon word spread that a church group called Holy Family had purchased the site with plans to break ground for a 9,300-square-foot Mission-style church complex.
Among the neighbors who wondered about the new arrival was my father, a recently retired documentary filmmaker who joined the local homeowners association when he moved to the area two years ago. This latest project, however, wasn't the usual commercial complex or instant enclave of luxury homes that tended to attract the association's attention. It was a church, that much was clear, but it didn't sound at all like your garden-variety community parish. A representative for the property owner explained that the church was Catholic, but it wasn't affiliated with the Roman Catholic archdiocese. While the church building was relatively large, the congregation was quite small, with about 70 members. And though religious practices and rituals would be familiar to Catholics, there was one big difference: Sunday Mass, it was reported, would be conducted entirely in Latin.
Lest anyone get the impression that this band of spiritual seekers might disperse if the collection baskets were to run dry, a church representative assured the neighbors that the church was supported by an unnamed individual congregant with ''tremendous financial viability.''
Would that explain the VW bugs? The handyman recalls posing the question at an early community meeting. He was told that the congregant financing the church ''had given them as gifts to his nieces and nephews,'' he says. ''I remember thinking, 'That's some generous uncle.'''
The person behind the unusually well-endowed chapel turned out to be the actor Mel Gibson, star of ''Mad Max,'' ''Lethal Weapon'' and ''Braveheart.'' The church is operated by a nonprofit corporation; according to public financial records, Gibson is its director, chief executive officer and sole benefactor, making more than $2.8 million in contributions over the past three years.
The fact that Gibson is building a church in the hills near Los Angeles should come as no huge surprise. Gibson's Catholicism has never been a secret, and in fact gives him a sort of reverse-exoticism in a town where other stars dabble in Buddhism, kabala and Scientology. An avowed family man still on his first marriage, with seven children to show for it, Gibson smokes, raises cattle, publicly shuns plastic surgery and seems wholly unmoved by most of the liberal-left causes favored by industry peers. Recently, however, something beyond the impulse to entertain has been showing up in Gibson's work. Last year he played a former minister who rediscovers religion amid an alien invasion in ''Signs'' and a reverent Catholic lieutenant colonel in the war drama ''We Were Soldiers.'' In these films, but especially in a new movie, a monumentally risky project called ''The Passion,'' which he co-wrote and is currently directing in and around Rome, Gibson appears increasingly driven to express a theology only hinted at in his previous work. That theology is a strain of Catholicism rooted in the dictates of a 16th-century papal council and nurtured by a splinter group of conspiracy-minded Catholics, mystics, monarchists and disaffected conservatives -- including a seminary dropout and rabble-rousing theologist who also happens to be Mel Gibson's father.
Gibson is the star practitioner of this movement, which is known as Catholic traditionalism. Seeking to maintain the faith as it was understood before the landmark Second Vatican Council of 1962-1965, traditionalists view modern reforms as the work of either foolish liberals or hellbent heretics. They generally operate outside the authority or oversight of the official church, often maintaining their own chapels, schools, seminaries and clerical orders. Central to the movement is the Tridentine Mass, the Latin rite that was codified by the Council of Trent in the 16th century and remained in place until the Second Vatican Council deemed that Mass should be held in the popular language of each country. Latin, however, is just the beginning -- traditionalists refrain from eating meat on Fridays, and traditionalist women wear headdresses in church. The movement seeks to revive an orthodoxy uncorrupted by the theological and social changes of the last 300 years or so.
Michael W. Cuneo, a sociology professor at Fordham University who reported on right-wing Catholic dissent in his 1997 book, ''The Smoke of Satan,'' wrote that traditionalists ''would like nothing more than to be transported back to Louis XIV's France or Franco's Spain, where Catholicism enjoyed an unrivaled presidency over cultural life and other religions existed entirely at its beneficence.''
While traditionalists agree on the broad outlines of correct religious practice, the movement is hardly united. Its brief history is the story of a movement branching off into ever-smaller submovements. Today there are approximately 600 traditionalist chapels, representing a number of theological streams, including the more Vatican-friendly Society of Saint Pius X, the more strident Society of Saint Pius V, the militantly traditional Mount St. Michael's community and the Apostles of Infinite Love, a monastic community in Quebec led by a onetime Catholic brother who claims to be the incarnation of the one true pope. All told, there are an estimated 100,000 traditionalists in the United States.
Gibson's church may be the most comfortably endowed traditionalist house of worship in the country, but in other respects it is quite typical. Most of the congregation met while attending services held by a traditionalist priest, whose church in the San Gabriel Valley was eventually taken over by the Society of Saint Pius X. A group of congregants, including the Gibson family, left in protest. They gained approval from Los Angeles County to build their own church early last year after agreeing to a set of operating guidelines -- covering such issues as parking, lighting, signage and hours of services -- with the regional planning commission and neighbors (including my father).
When I called the church elder who was Holy Family's representative at the county meetings, he agreed to an interview and accepted my request to attend a service, on the conditions that I not identify him or any member of the congregation beyond Mel Gibson, and that I withhold details that might invite the interest of fans or paparazzi. He also asked that I refrain from speaking to the priest, the congregants or anyone else during my visit. He told me that anyone seen speaking to me ''will not be welcome back at our church again.''
After all the warnings, I was a little surprised to find Sunday Mass at Holy Family an almost entirely ordinary experience. The service itself was remarkably similar to what I remember from parochial school -- that is, until a homily delivered near the end of the two-hour Mass. The priest read a parable from St. Matthew about a farmer whose fields are raided in the night by an enemy who spreads a noxious weed in his wheat. The evil in the story, the priest said, is ''the modern church,'' whose wickedness will be dealt with on Judgment Day.
''The wiping out of our opposition must wait until harvest time,'' he concluded. It suddenly became clear why Gibson isn't worshiping with his fellow Catholic Martin Sheen down at Our Lady of Malibu.
Gibson is widely known in traditionalist circles, and he has made no secret of his religious affiliation. ''I go to an all-pre-Vatican II Latin Mass,'' he told USA Today in an interview two years ago. ''There was a lot of talk, particularly in the 60's, of 'Wow, we've got to change with the times.' But the Creator instituted something very specific, and we can't just go change it.'' More recently, the Italian newspaper Il Giornale reported that Gibson made a ''scathing attack against the Vatican,'' calling it a ''wolf in sheep's clothing.''
While many traditionalists can't abide some of Gibson's career choices -- the onscreen baring of his bottom is a particular source of concern -- most are content to overlook his occasional wild streak. ''Gibson should get the tsk-tsk award for lowering his impressive acting talent on occasion,'' wrote a priest known as Father Moderator on the Internet posting board Traditio. Nonetheless, the priest continued, Gibson ''never ceases to project his traditional Catholic faith to the public. Who else in such a prominent position ever does?''
Mel Gibson is also known in traditionalist circles as the most famous son of Hutton Gibson, a well-known author and activist who has railed against the Vatican for more than 30 years. His books on the topic include ''Is the Pope Catholic?'' and ''The Enemy Is Here.'' (Precisely where is indicated by a map on the dust jacket -- it's a cartoon of Italy, drawn by one of his 49 grandchildren). Gibson père also publishes a quarterly newsletter called ''The War Is Now!,'' which includes all manner of verbal volleys against a pope he calls ''Garrulous Karolus, the Koran Kisser.''
Now living in suburban Houston, Hutton Gibson invited me for a weekend visit after an initial phone conversation. When I arrived, he was wrapping up an interview with a syndicated radio program. Hutton Gibson is 84 but seemed a good deal younger (which he credited to his abstinence from drinking, daily doses of vitamins and ''never going near a doctor''). He is energized by an abiding love of corny jokes and lively debate, and he peppered a commentary on the scandals facing the Catholic Church with jokes about Texans, the Irish and, inevitably, the pope.
He said he speaks to his son frequently and knows all about Mel's chapel in the hills. ''Mel wasn't raised in the new church, and he wouldn't go for it anymore than I would,'' he said. ''I've got to say that my whole family is with me -- all 10 of them.''
While his rhetoric showed no signs of mellowing, the elder Gibson had plenty of reasons to be satisfied. For one, he is a newlywed. His doting bride, Joye, is a statuesque Oregonian who playfully addressed him as ''Mr. G.'' Surrounded by ceramic knickknacks and photos of his grandchildren, he seemed entirely at ease with himself and the world.
Which made it all the odder when he launched into one of his complex conspiracy theories. On our first night together, he nursed a mug of sassafras tea while leading a four-hour tutorial on so-called sedevacantism, which holds that all the popes going back to John XXIII in the 1950's have been illegitimate -- ''anti-popes,'' he called them. As Hutton explained it, the conservative cardinal Giuseppe Siri was probably passed over for pope in 1958 in favor of a more reform-minded candidate. Hutton said Cardinal Siri was duly elected, but was forced to step aside by conspirators inside and outside the church. These shadowy enemies might have threatened ''to atom-bomb the Vatican City,'' he said. In another conversation, he told me that the Second Vatican Council was ''a Masonic plot backed by the Jews.''
The intrigue got only murkier and more menacing from there. The next day after church, over a plate of roast beef at a buffet joint off the highway, conversation turned to the events of Sept. 11. Hutton flatly rejected that Al Qaeda hijackers had anything to do with the attacks. ''Anybody can put out a passenger list,'' he said.
So what happened? ''They were crashed by remote control,'' he replied.
He moved on to the Holocaust, dismissing historical accounts that six million Jews were exterminated. ''Go and ask an undertaker or the guy who operates the crematorium what it takes to get rid of a dead body,'' he said. ''It takes one liter of petrol and 20 minutes. Now, six million?''
Across the table, Joye suddenly looked up from her plate. She was dressed in a stylish outfit for church, wearing a leather patchwork blazer and a felt beret in place of the traditional headdress. She had kept quiet most of the day, so it was a surprise when she cheerfully piped in. ''There weren't even that many Jews in all of Europe,'' she said.
''Anyway, there were more after the war than before,'' Hutton added.
The entire catastrophe was manufactured, said Hutton, as part of an arrangement between Hitler and ''financiers'' to move Jews out of Germany. Hitler ''had this deal where he was supposed to make it rough on them so they would all get out and migrate to Israel because they needed people there to fight the Arabs,'' he said.
Whether any of this has rubbed off on Hutton's son Mel is an open question. A church elder at Holy Family says that while the two share the same foundation of faith, Mel Gibson parts company with his father on many points. ''He doesn't go along with a lot of what his dad says,'' he says. And beyond claiming to have seen the plans for Holy Family and attended services with the congregation, Hutton Gibson has no apparent connection to his son's church in California.
Still, Mel Gibson has shown some of his father's flair for conspiracy scenarios. In a 1995 Playboy interview, he related a sketchy theory that various presidential assassinations and assassination attempts have been acts of retribution for economic reforms that challenged the powers-that-be. ''There's something to do with the Federal Reserve that Lincoln did, Kennedy did and Reagan tried,'' he said. ''I can't remember what it was. My dad told me about it. Everyone who did this particular thing that would have fixed the economy got undone. Anyway, I'll end up dead if I keep talking.''
Perhaps nothing Gibson has done will serve as a more public announcement of his faith and worldview than the project he's now completing in Rome. ''The Passion'' is a graphic depiction of the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus Christ, based on biblical accounts and the writings of two mystic nuns. Gibson is returning to the director's chair for the first time since ''Braveheart'' in 1995, but he will not appear on-screen. There will not, in fact, be any big stars. Nor will there be subtitles, which might prove a challenge for many moviegoers, since the actors will speak only Aramaic and Latin. Gibson has said that he hopes to depict Christ's ordeal using ''filmic storytelling'' techniques that will make the understanding of dialogue unnecessary.
The idea came to him a decade ago, he announced at a news conference last September, and he is soldiering on now without the backing of a studio or a U.S. distributor. ''Obviously, nobody wants to touch something filmed in two dead languages,'' he said. ''They think I'm crazy, and maybe I am. But maybe I'm a genius.''
In Hollywood, the astonishment many felt upon hearing about the project has been heightened by reports that his production company is paying the film's estimated $25 million cost itself. Making a movie that has anything at all to do with religion is risky enough -- remember ''The Last Temptation of Christ''? But spending your own money to help pay for it?
''It's a very gutsy thing to do -- I certainly wouldn't do it,'' says the veteran producer Alan Ladd Jr., who chose Gibson to star in and direct ''Braveheart.'' ''But he wouldn't do it if he couldn't it pull off, at least in his own mind. He's obviously satisfying some deep personal need in himself.''
Only Gibson knows the precise nature of that personal need, and he declined numerous requests for an interview, limiting his public comments to a January appearance on the Fox news program ''The O'Reilly Factor,'' in which he complained about inquiries regarding his faith and suggested that any reporter asking such questions might be part of a plot to undermine his message of salvation. ''I think he's been sent,'' he told Bill O'Reilly. ''When you touch this subject, it does have a lot of enemies.''
Many traditionalists, meanwhile, hope the graphic approach Gibson is taking -- production stills show the star, James Caviezel, beaten to a pulp and drenched in blood, fresh from a flagellation -- will serve as a big-budget dramatization of key points of traditionalist theology. After waging a quiet war against what they see as the Vatican's overly accommodating theology, traditionalists suddenly find themselves equipped with a most unfamiliar weapon: star power. ''I'm delighted he's getting more involved,'' says Bishop Daniel Dolan, founder of more than 30 Latin Mass churches and one of the most influential traditionalists in the country. ''To put the weight of his Hollywood celebrity behind the truth that the whole modern church structure is rotten to the core is excellent. I welcome it.''
A friend of the Gibson family has his own ideas about how traditionalist thought is informing ''The Passion.'' Gary Giuffré, a founder of the traditionalist St. Jude Chapel in Texas, says Gibson told him about his plans for ''The Passion'' on a recent visit. ''It will graphically portray the intense suffering of Christ, perhaps as no film has done before.'' Most important, he says, the film will lay the blame for the death of Christ where it belongs -- which some traditionalists believe means the Jewish authorities who presided over his trial and delivered him to the Romans to be crucified.
In his conversation with Bill O'Reilly (who prefaced the interview by disclosing that Gibson's production company has optioned the rights to O'Reilly's mystery novel), Gibson was asked whether his account might particularly upset Jews. ''It may,'' he said. ''It's not meant to. I think it's meant to just tell the truth. I want to be as truthful as possible. But when you look at the reasons why Christ came, why he was crucified -- he died for all mankind and he suffered for all mankind. So that, really, anyone who transgresses has to look at their own part or look at their own culpability.''
Photos: Laying the blame for Christ's death where it belongs?: Gibson directing ''The Passion.'' (Stefano/Lucky Mat); Hutton Gibson, traditionalist author, father of Mel, seer of vast conspiracies. (Danny Turner for The New York Times)
This is quite an old story, but with Mel Gibson being in the news again it's reappeared.
LONDON, July 27 (UPI) -- A man who used his self-awarded standing as a Buddhist leader to sexually assault women has been sentenced to 10 years in a British prison.
Michael Lyons, 51, who used the name Mohan Singh, appeared in a London court Monday, The Daily Mail reported. He was sentenced for the rape of one woman and a sexual assault on another, but investigators say he may have molested hundreds of women in both Britain and the United States.
Judge Nicolas Browne in Wood Green Crown Court had hard words for Lyons and for some of his female disciples. The judge said they abetted his sexual predation. "They well knew what was likely to happen to both victims before their sexual abuse," the judge said. "Women's groups everywhere will be shocked and appalled in the complicity in these two crimes of women close to you. It was complete betrayal by women to women."
One woman said she met Lyons in Washington, where he told her he was the Dalai Lama's osteopath. She said he and his followers engaged her in a discussion about Buddhism, and she arranged to meet Lyons the next day, when she was raped, the newspaper said.
Tennessee Lt. Gov.: Islam may be a 'cult'
28th July 2010
Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, one of three Republican candidates running for governor, has drawn rebukes after suggesting that Islam may be a “cult” instead of a religion.
Ramsey, speaking earlier this month at a campaign stop in Chattanooga, was asked by an audience member about the threat posed to the United States by Muslims. Ramsey replied that he’s “all about freedom of religion,” even mentioning that Muslims are attempting to construct a mosque in a nearby county. “But you cross the line when they start trying to bring Sharia law into the United States,” he said, referring to the strict Islamic law enforced in some majority-Muslim nations.
Ramsey continued, “Now you could even argue whether being a Muslim is actually a religion, or is it a nationality, a way of life, or cult – whatever you want to call it. We do protect our religions, but at the same time, this is something that we are going to have to face.”
The remarks brought a swift rebuke from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the country’s most prominent Islamic civil liberties group. CAIR’s spokesman, Ibrahim Hooper, told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that Ramsey’s remark “seems to be part of a trend nationwide in which there are those who are seeking to delegitimize the faith of Islam so that Muslim civil and religious rights can somehow be restricted.”
Hooper later told the Tennessean: “Islam is the faith of one-fifth of the world's population. [It’s] not a cult; it's a real religion. And American Muslims have the same religious and constitutional rights as other citizens.”
Ramsey attempted to clarify his comments to the Times Free Press, telling the paper he has “no problem with peace-loving, freedom-loving Muslims” living in America. But, he added, “I do believe that there’s been a portion of their religion that’s been co-opted by a faction that advocates violence and especially against Americans. And that’s what I have a problem with.”
But Mwafaq Mohammed, president of the Salahadeen Center of Nashville, wasn’t satisfied with Ramsey’s explanation. Mohammed told the Tennessean that Ramsey’s comments are indicative of “elements within the two (political) parties that are using … Islamophobia … for their own advantage,” adding: "It's election season. He doesn't have the facts."
Ramsey’s comments exploded throughout the political blogosphere Tuesday after a video was posted online showing the exchange. Ramsey’s opponents in next Thursday’s GOP primary – Rep. Zach Wamp and Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam – both steered clear of the controversy Tuesday, with Wamp’s campaign declining to comment and Haslam’s spokesman telling the Tennessean: “"The mayor's faith is very important to him, and he respects the right of others to practice their faith, so long as they are respectful of the communities in which they live and the laws of the land.”
A Mason-Dixon Polling & Research survey conducted last week showed Ramsey trailing both Haslam and Wamp among 400 likely GOP voters: Haslam took 36 percent of the vote, compared to 25 percent for Wamp and 20 percent for Ramsey. Another 17 percent were still undecided.
Cult members go missing in apparent mass suicide bid Police launched a helicopter search for 13 missing cult members on Sunday amid fears they had gone to a California desert to commit mass suicide.
By Nick Allen in Los Angeles
19 Sep 2010
The religious sect included eight children, aged as young as three, and was led by a suburban housewife Reyna Marisol Chicas, 32. She took her two children Ezequel, 15, and Genisis, 12, with her, police said. The group, made up of El Salvadorian immigrants, left behind a bag with a relative which contained farewell notes in which members indicated the world was about to end and they were “going to heaven.”
An alert issued by the California Highway Patrol said: “It is believed, through further investigation, that their intentions are to commit mass suicide.” Police Captain Mike Parker said: “The letters essentially stated that they were all going to heaven shortly to meet Jesus and their deceased relatives.”
The adults in the group included three sisters, and the children were six boys and two girls. They left Palmdale in northern Los Angeles County in three vehicles and were believed to have headed to an area called the Antelope Valley. The bag they left behind also contained mobile phones, cash and deeds to their homes.
Relatives accused Chicas of brainwashing the rest of the group. Her two-storey home, which has a three car garage, was empty when police arrived. Neighbours said she was an unlikely cult leader and a “good mother” who would baby-sit for other families. She had little education and liked going on camping trips to Yosemite National Park. Chicas separated from her husband four years ago and had become increasingly religious, going to a mainstream church several times a week.
Agape cult leader Rocco Leo wanted for assault
Ken McGregor, Court Reporter
September 28, 2010
RUNAWAY Agape cult leader Rocco Leo assaulted the estanged husband of one of his church members at Adelaide Airport less than a month before his doomsday cult was raided by police, a court has heard. Magistrate Lydia Makiv issued an arrest warrant for Leo - who failed to appear at today's scheduled hearing - before recalling it to allow his lawyers to argue against it tomorrow.
Leo, 54, has been charged with assault after allegedly attacking Philip Arbon, the estranged husband of one of his parishoners, at Adelaide Airport in April. The Holden Hill Magistrates Court today heard Leo also smashed Mr Arbon's camera, causing about $3000 damage, before going to police and and making a false report that Mr Arbon was the instigator of the attack.
Leo allegedly led the doomsday cult until May this year, when it is believed he fled overseas despite allegedly owing more than a million dollars to church members. Church insiders have claimed Leo said he had a direct link to God and would take true believers to an island in the South Pacific.
In documents tendered to the court, Senior Constable Kevin Fulcher says Leo is under investigation by police for fraud and is in hiding. "Leo has been the subject of significant media coverage in relation to other matters," he said. "Extensive enquiries by major fraud section have indicated that the accused is no longer in the state and may be out of the country... the accused is actively avoiding police".
Snr Const Fulcher says CCTV footage of the alleged assault showed Mr Arbon's version of the alleged assault was correct.
‘Alien’ Cult Leader Held on Sex Charges
By Alexandra Taranova
The St. Petersburg Times
MOSCOW — A self-proclaimed alien from the star Sirius has been arrested in Novosibirsk on charges of organizing a nationwide totalitarian sect that brainwashed and sexually abused members, police said Tuesday.
A local court on Saturday approved the arrest of Konstantin Rudnev, 43, leader of the Ashram Shambala religious group, a Novosibirsk police spokeswoman said by phone. Rudnev was detained in a cottage owned by the group in Novosibirsk on Sept. 30 along with 38 followers, all citizens of Russia and Ukraine. Among them were four teenage girls whose parents had reported them as missing, police said in a statement. A package containing 4 grams of heroin was found in the pocket of Rudnev’s shirt, the statement said.
Ashram Shambala, established more than 20 years ago, grew into a powerful cult with branches in many cities across Russia in the late 1990s, the local branch of the Investigative Committee said in a statement posted on its web site Tuesday. Rudnev, who claimed to be an alien sent to Earth to enlighten mankind, combined Oriental esoterica and the writings of Carlos Castaneda with elements of yoga and shamanism in his teaching, investigators said. The group also offered yoga courses and self-help camps that attracted thousands of people.
Members were forced to turn over their property to Rudnev, and young female members had to participate in regular sexual orgies with him and other senior members, investigators said.
'Black Jesus' cult leader guilty of raping his flower-girl followers
By Kathy Marks,
9 October 2010
Steven Tari boasted that he had sex with more than 400 young "flower girls" who joined his notorious Papua New Guinea sect. Yesterday the self-styled "Black Jesus" was convicted of raping four of those girls, who had been told that he was their bridge to heaven. Tari, 39, was arrested in 2007 amid claims he had performed sacrificial killings and feasted on the flesh of his victims. In the event, he was tried only for rape, but rumours of murder and cannibalism continue to dog him.
A Bible school drop-out who promised his followers eternal life and prosperity, he claimed that his beliefs entitled him to have sex with female recruits as young as eight, known as flower girls. In an interview in prison in 2008, he told Australian Associated Press: "I got plenty, 430 [girls]. What I did ... is under and in line with my religion. It was religious and not wrong." In a country where superstition and sorcery remain powerful forces, Tari attracted thousands of devotees. Arrested in 2005, he absconded and went on the run, hiding in remote mountain villages, guarded by a loyal core of armed disciples. He was eventually captured by villagers, and carried out of the jungle on a bamboo stretcher, hands and feet bound, wearing only a loincloth.
Like much of Melanesia, nominally Christian, Papua New Guinea is home to numerous sects and cults. Last year, the Post Courier newspaper reported that police were hunting a cult leader who was coercing followers to take part in public sex with promises of a bumper banana harvest. The South Pacific's first native Anglican bishop, Sir George Ambo, was excommunicated after running off with a nun, Sister Cora, with whom he set up a visionary cult. Sir George, a Papua New Guinean whose grandfather was a cannibal, was forgiven by the church on his deathbed.
Tari's alleged behaviour was more sinister. Police investigated reports that one girl, Rita Herman, was offered to him by her mother, Barmarhal, who forced her to have sex with Tari and then stabbed her to death. Afterwards the pair allegedly collected her warm blood and drank it from a cup, before slicing flesh off her body and eating it. Barmarhal denied the allegations. Tari, who preached that young girls were to be "married" to him because it was God's prophecy, was charged with raping five girls in the village of Gal, in Madang province. The court heard they all submitted because he said they would go to heaven. According to Tari, they were brought to him by their parents and relatives, which meant that their consent was given.
Tari studied to become a Lutheran minister at a Bible college in Madang, but quit after rejecting the Bible's teachings, leaving behind his clothes and possessions. Retreating to the mountains, he founded his personality cult, calling himself Son of Yali and claiming he had been sent by his father. Yali, who was unrelated to Tari, was a much revered cult leader in Madang. During his reign, Tari – whose "spiritual assistant" was a Lutheran pastor who helped him evade police – closed down village churches and schools. Many homes, along with crops, were torched by his followers.
I've not heard of these groups you mentioned Colston - if you want to post something about them in the History section that would be good...
I keep meaning to do this!
The Theosophical Society was set up in New York in the second half of the nineteenth century primarily by an itinerant Ukranian battleaxe Helena Blavatsky and two yanks one of which Henry Olcott moved with her to India where the HQ of the society was set up and where it remains today.
The Society has a great interest in esoteric knowledge which of course is also known as the occult. The official blurb states 'The Society is dedicated to the comparative study of religion, science and philosophy and the practice of the Art of Self-Realisation. The Society is composed of members of different religious backgrounds who are united in a belief that mankind is a spiritual family and that humanity can have a glorious future through a compassionate and intelligent way of living.'
Blavatsky and Olcott were both Buddhists. Towards the end of her life Blavatsky moved back to Europe and eventually settled in England where she met Annie Besant who later became the Theosophical Society's president and opened the branch that I attend which as far as I know is still in the same building. We have weekly lectures on a variety of subjects. Our branch chair is particularly fond of the teachings of Gurdjieff and the Fourth Way - a method of spiritual development.
Part of the origins of the Theosophical Society involved Blavatsky receiving teachings in a meditative state from so-called ascended masters. Her two major works Isis Unveiled and the Secret Doctrine are dense spiritual tracts. The teachings include some views on the development of human races that were skewed by the Nazis to underscore there racial policies and the development of a master race.
Rudolf Steiner comes into the picture as the leader of the German/Austrian branches who split with the society over Besant and Olcott's views about Jiddu Krishnamurti who they felt was more or less akin to the second coming. He formed the Anthroposophical society. It's aims were to form 'an association of people whose will it is to nurture the life of the soul, both in the individual and in human society, on the basis of a true knowledge of the spiritual world.' The two societies are broadly similar but the latter profoundly influenced by Steiner who was a brilliant individual and prolific thinker, writer and speaker. He was behind the foundation of Waldorf schools which are based on his principles of education, a system of sustainable farming, was an accomplished architect and developed a medicinal system (Weleda products are anthroposophical medicines) and much much more. A true polymath. I like him. Hitler didn't and tried to have him killed as he felt that he could see what he was up to in the spiritual wordl - Steiner being able to directkly read the akashic records which contain all knowledge of human experience and the history of the cosmos encoded in a non-physical plane of existence..
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