When confronted with the possibility that ritual abuse may occur, one of the first questions people ask is: “But if it’s real, why aren’t they caught?”. In other words, how can an organized society meet and execute rituals in secret, yet not leave any incriminating evidence which may lead to a conviction? How can such secrecy possibly be maintained in this day and age? Surely they would leave behind a ‘trail’ that would alert others as to what was happening.
I will address these questions from my own experience with one cultic group and also provide a link to articles about other ritually abusive groups who HAVE been ‘caught in the act’ and subsequently convicted in court. I would first, however, like to discuss one other secret society that has continued to operate in the US since the early 1920s (approx.). A secret society that commits acts of brutality including not only physical beatings, but also cold blooded murder. A criminal group that engages in a variety of illegal activities. An organization with members who are born into it and thus can be termed ‘generational’. One who prior to the 1970s enjoyed the official FBI position of non-existence, despite those who were reporting its reality (sounds much like ritual abuse today!). I am referring, of course, to ‘La Cosa Nostra’ aka ‘The Mafia’.
In ‘Who Is The Mob Today?’ (2/25/1996), Peter Maas quotes FBI Director Louis J.Freeh admitting the terrible past mistake made by the FBI in rejecting accounts of the Mafia’s existence: For decades under the late J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI’s official position was that the existence of Cosa Nostra was a myth. “We cannot allow the same kinds of mistakes to be made today”, Freeh told Congress. “The failure of American law enforcement, including the FBI… permitted the development of a powerful, well-entrenched organized crime syndicate (that required) 35 years of concerted law-enforcement effort and the expenditure of incredible resources to address.”
The current ‘official’ position of the FBI is that organized, secretive societies that ritually abuse and participate in illegal activities do not exist, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The bureau appears to have a consistent track record in this department.
What kind of evidence? Ritual abuse does occur and is being successfully prosecuted in courts today, despite the claims of those who deny this fact. Evidence such as pentagrams and assorted paraphernalia IS being found in many of these instances. The following URL is an excellent link to such cases and I would strongly encourage anyone interested in learning more about the reality of ritual abuse to visit this site. It is an eye-opener.
Survivor memories: More and more survivors are coming forward and sharing memories of ritual abuse. These accounts are specific in terms of dates, times, individuals present and events which transpired. Such disclosures have been made by both children and adults from around the world.
How security is maintained: One group’s methods
In the remainder of this article I will share my knowledge of how one group operated its internal security in order to prevent detection. I cannot speak of other groups or their security measures. As previously stated, I was a member of the Illuminati for the first 38 years of my life, spanning from 1957 to 1995. Based on this experience I will now discuss exactly how security was maintained both in Northern Virginia and San Diego, Ca.
1. Telephone Tree: General meetings were scheduled by the leadership council well in advance (usually several months) during their private meetings. In turn, these dates were then given to ranking leaders in the group who, several days prior to a meeting, would activate a telephone tree. Higher members first called their peers, then those beneath them in the group hierarchy. Those at the lowest level were notified just one night before the meeting date, since they were considered ‘higher security risks’.
2. Conditioning To Remain Silent: From the age of 24 months, ALL children in the group were taught the importance of not discussing group activities during the daytime. Teaching methods included ‘set-ups’, in which a member ‘told’ and was then ‘punished’ by the administration of torture. Set-ups were designed to look very realistic, with the ‘betrayer’ loudly screaming throughout his ‘punishment’ – which may have included drowning, burning or even murder. This graphic experience of what happened to those who ‘tell’, served as an unforgettable lesson to young children.
Other methods included beating the child if he spoke of night-related activities in the daytime. The adults around the child also modeled this behaviour by NEVER discussing night activities the following morning. If the child mentioned something he would be told “you were dreaming” and to “forget it”. Severe and brutal physical punishment of children was also used. Set-up scenarios such as fake burials, where the child is then retrieved from a coffin and told he will stay below ground forever should he even think of talking about group activities was done. I was put through that scenario as a young child and in turn, as an adult, saw it perpetrated upon young children. The child is always screaming and swears to never ever tell.
3. Expert Clean-up Crews: Many rituals involving murder were set-ups (no, the cult was not murdering its children – however they did create very realistic set-ups that had powerful psychological effects on the children present). More commonly, an animal was used during spiritual rituals (as I will discuss in another article, there were many other kinds of meetings. Spiritual was but one of six areas of group activities, the others being military, sciences, scholarship, leadership and government). Members were trained in post-meeting clean-up techniques from childhood. Wooden tables were taken apart, bleached,cleaned and then loaded into vans. Clothes were folded in preparation for laundering later. If the site was outdoors then the area was raked clean. If inside a large private home then the site was thoroughly washed down.
4. Restriction Of Meeting Size: In order to avoid overly large meetings, the San Diego group was divided into 24 sister groups (each approx. 60 members) that met on alternating days at alternating sites. Some groups met on Mondays and Thursdays, others on Tuesdays and Fridays, and yet others on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Usually two groups (occasionally three) would meet together at one site. Only at major annual meetings would large numbers congregate. As mentioned above, meeting times were coordinated by telephone trees.
5. Clandestine Times: Meetings were held between 12:30am and 2:00am and on occasion were extended to 4:00am. Traffic would be light. Members often lived in communities where everyone was a member of the group (oh yes, there are ‘cult communities’ because like attracts like, and often whole neighborhoods are comprised exclusively of cult members). People would leave quietly in the night, with car lights off until they were out on the street. The adult non-driver would be the ‘watcher’, checking that they were not being followed.
Each family had a cover story to be used in the event of an outsider catching them leaving. Typically the story would involve an urgently hospitalized relative, which would satisfactorily explain the lateness of the hour and the presence of small children . Normal clothes were worn enroute to the meeting and people would change once on-site. In my family we would sometimes go to sleep in our clothes, which saved time when we got up in the middle of the night. I never considered it unusual to go to bed in my clothing two or three nights a week.
6. On-site Security: The group had several security perimeters around meetings. The first checkpoint (outermost perimeter) was at the five mile mark. There were always at least two roads leading into the meeting site and both would be manned by members possessing a list of approved license plate numbers. All vehicles (incoming and outgoing) were checked. Vehicle flow was minimized as families often car pooled. In the event of an unauthorized vehicle breaching the perimeter, a hidden security person (they would stand behind a tree, watching) would radio ahead and the meeting was immediately packed-up and the people quickly dispersed. Meanwhile, the incoming vehicle would be delayed by the non-hidden security who would pretend to be stranded and in need of assistance. They were taught how to engage the outsider for several crucial minutes. If that ploy failed then they would alert the next perimeter where logs would then be positioned to block the roadway. Of the three-man security team, one would be responsible for alerting members while the other two executed delaying tactics if required.
This security procedure was repeated at both the three mile and one mile perimeters, meaning members had to pass through a total of three checkpoints before arriving at the meeting. To avoid boredom or staleness, security members were rotated on a bi-monthly basis.
Often, on private property, indoor meetings or trainings would occur on large multi-acred estates appointed with securely fenced perimeters. The site would be located in a downstairs basement which could be closed-off from the rest of the house by a false wall. These estates usually had at least one private roadway at the rear and the customary security perimeters in place. As you may by now appreciate, it would be extremely difficult to ‘crash a meeting’ considering the security measures utilized by the group. Given that an outsider was able to discover the time and date of a meeting, he would then have to travel in a vehicle with approved plates. Short of breaking the law, this would require the cooperation of an active group member (which is quite difficult to arrange as they are taught to report to their leader anything like this).
The above has been shared with police departments and they have said that I describe a “highly sophisticated security system”. It is the only one I ever knew while part of this group.
What about the bodies? As mentioned above, the reality is that many of the ‘ritual killings’ (although not all) were set-ups. Fake. Some involved filling a corpse (obtained prior to the ritual) with warm blood. The child would be allowed to play with a living infant before a ceremony, then the switch would be made while the child was in a room ‘preparing’.
Children NEVER question set-ups (they are too frightened) and truly believe they actually killed someone. The group wants them to believe this because the perpetrator guilt will then bind the child to them, and make it less willing to disclose group activities. The child is told it is now a murderer and will go to jail should it ever talk about the meetings. There are real ritual killings, but I believe that set-ups inflate the figures somewhat. Homeless people, and runaways were also used on rare ocassions.
At times animals are used, however they usually belonged to group members. When living in San Diego I had four cats and three dogs mysteriously ‘disappear’ as well as most of my chickens (I lived in the country). These pets were undoubtedly used in ceremonies. After that I quit having pets – the trauma was too great. Goats, chickens, cattle and deer are all used on occasion. The carcasses are are subsequently torn-up, buried or thrown to the dogs in order to make the killings appear to have been done by wild dogs. Sometimes the skins are incinerated and the ashes buried.
It is not my intention to be gruesome. I am merely attempting to explain the mechanics of how this group maintained its secrecy. No doubt other groups use different methods.
In closing, I would like to offer a comparison upon which to ponder. The Mafia, comprised of thousands of members and openly killing people, maintained its secrecy for over fifty years in the US. Today nobody doubts their existence, yet those same people question that other groups could successfully remain secret. Secrecy is not difficult. The Mafia used their own code of silence – ‘Omerta’. The Illuminati cult also maintains its own silence to this day.
Copyright © 2000 by Svali
Groups that abuse
Before I address survivor’s stories in later articles, I believe it is important to understand how groups that ritually abuse operate.
Cults can be abusive or non-abusive, and there are many fairly benign cult-like groups that exist today. But for the purposes of my article, I want to look at cults that abuse, specifically, in the sense of ritual abuse.
What are the characteristics of an abusive cult? There are many studies that have defined controlling cults. Dr. Margaret Singer, Phd, U.Ca. Berkley, has written one of the definitive articles on cults that employ mind control and their characteristics (1).
She states that thought reform, as employed by controlling cults, involves the entire anthropological/social spectrum of behaviour, including language use, social environment, and influence of the leader and peers on the member. This often involves attacking the person’s self concept.
I would like to take the six conditions that she has identified as being pre-requisites to exerting mind control, and compare them to experiences of survivors in ritualistically abusive groups. The two correlate completely.
1. CONTROL OVER TIME: this is Singer’s first condition. The cult group must get some of the person’s time, as much as possible, and have the individual think about group idealogy. Survivors report spending time during the week in contact with the cultic groups that abuse them. Contact is by phone; by verbal discussion, or going to meetings. Survivors state that group meetings often occur weekly, monthly, or as frequently as two to three times a week for intensive training sessions. The group that I was involved in (the Illuminati) met two to three times a week for normal teaching times, and had large group meetings on a monthly basis (“ritual times”) as well as leadership meetings once a month to plan the activities for the next few weeks.
2. CREATE A SENSE OF POWERLESSNESS: Most groups involved in ritual abuse do this to the nth degree. Through pain, degradation, tying up victims, and experiences created to show there is “no escape” from infancy on, the victim of cult control soon comes to believe that he/she is trapped, can never break free, and should just “give in” to what is asked of them.
3. MANIPULATE REWARDS, PUNISHMENTS, EXPERIENCES IN ORDER TO SUPPRESS OLD SOCIAL BEHAVIOR BEHAVIORS REWARDED: Participation, conformity to ideas/behavior, zeal, personal changes BEHAVIORS PUNISHED: criticalness, independent thinking, non-conformity to ideas/behavior. From earliest childhood in generational ritual groups, to later childhood or adulthood in other groups, the use of rewards and praise, as well as punishment have a name: training. Cult type groups believe strongly in the use of praise if the person does well, including merit badges, ceremonies of reward, and high status if the person conforms to the expected behaviour, and severe punishment, even death threatened if the person refuses to perform. Often, abusive and coercive groups will take this concept to its outermost extremes.
4. MANIPULATE REWARDS, PUNISHMENTS, EXPERIENCES IN ORDER TO ELICIT NEW BEHAVIOR: Models will demonstrate new behavior Conformity: dress, language, behavior Using group language will eventually still the thinking mind I will discuss this from the point of view of my experiences in the Illuminati in San Diego, Ca. Again, “training” in the Illuminati and other highly controlling groups (outside people call it “programming” ) is meant to create behaviour that helps the group to continue. The goal is a member who is absolutely committed to the group; who never questions leadership, who strives to excel, and who scoffs at the weak. Weakness is the displaying of emotion during ritual events; the refusal to perform an act, or the inability to keep up with others in the group during activities. “Weak” members are brought forward, and punished in view of all. During military exercises (the group had a strong military basis, with forced marches at night, and mock “battles” and “hunts” ) if a member did well, they were highly praised and rewarded. This could be being excused from a difficult maneuver, or sexual rewards, or moving up in status at the next award time. Members were highly conscious of their standing in the group, and were constantly seeking to “move up.”
5. MUST BE A TIGHTLY CONTROLLED SYSTEM OF LOGIC: There must be authoritarian leaders in control, who inspire confidence and punish questioning behaviour. In San Diego, as well as several Illuminati groups that I belonged to across the country, the leadership looked like a “pyramid”, with the top person being head of “leadership council”, then a group of two “advisors” below him. Below these two were six administrators who coordinated finances, meeting times, and running the groups logistically. Below them were six head trainers. Underneath were the “sister groups” of about 50 members each, with priests/priestesses, and others. All aspired to a leadership role, to being allowed to move up the rigid hierarchy. Questioning of leadership was unthought of, and considered quite dangerous. From earliest childhood on, members were taught that seeking to leave, or questioning the group’s philosophy, would mean isolation, beratement, punishment, and possible death, with “deaths” being staged to convince children of this reality. Survivors of groups outside the Illuminati have also reported similar activities to control members, with a hierarchy of leadership and leaders being given the right to severely punish or discipline nonconformers.
6. PERSONS BEING THOUGHT REFORMED MUST BE UNAWARE THAT THEY ARE BEING MOVED THROUGH A PROGRAM TO MAKE THEM DEPLOYABLE AGENTS: A person is hard to manipulate if they KNOW they are being manipulated. That is why techniques used by ritualistically abusive groups are often based on a sophisticated knowledge of human behaviour and psychology. The member’s peers including family, closest friends, and spouse are ALL members of the group in generational cults. These people all reinforce for the member that the group is good; has the member’s “best interests” at heart, no matter how abusive the behaviour. That they want to “help” the member. Trainers and behaviour programmers also use these techniques, including “bonding” with the victim, convincing the victim that they “care for them” , that “no one else could possibly understand them the way their ‘family’ (the name the Illuminati go by) does”, etc. As a former trainer in this group, I used those phrases frequently during sessions. At one time, I even believed them myself, until I began questioning what I was doing (this will be the focus of another article: why I left). Surrounded by members who all dress alike, act alike, the person in an abusive cult will often question themselves instead of the cult group, if they question at all. After all, in generational cults, this is the ONLY reality the person has known, from infancy on, and not everyone questions what happens to them.
In later articles, I hope to be able to incorporate survivor accounts of the types of groups involved in this kind of abuse. On a personal note, the group that was involved in my ritual abuse was known as the Illuminati, although day to day they called themselves “family”, “the Order”, or “the Society” depending on the circumstances. For thirteen years, at times my abuse occurred in a Masonic temple in Alexandria, Virginia and some of the abusers were Masons, although most of the membership of that group had no idea that some of the members were using the temple for that purpose. All Masons are NOT abusers, most are not, but SOME in my experience were members of the Illuminati and abused me in that context. I was also abused in a small abandoned Baptist church in the country in northern Virginia. One of the abusers was a deacon in a local baptist church. All Baptists are NOT abusers, but in this one instance, some members of the local church were members of a group that abused during the night hours. In the daytime, these people were respected members of the community, churchgoers, and appeared benevolent. This shows that a person’s daytime “persona” can be quite different from how they act at night or in a different setting. All of the members of the group that abused me were generational themselves, and had been abused in the same way when they were children. This shows how the cycle of abuse, if not healed, will continue generation after generation in some families.
Copyright © 2000 by Svali