Satanic Panic: Pop Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s – Edited by Kier-La Janisse & Paul Corupe

satanic panic pop-cultural paranoiain the 1980s.jpgSatanic Panic: Pop Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s 
Edited by Kier-La Janisse & Paul Corupe
FAB Press – 2018 (Originally published 2015)

This is a collection of essays about different elements of the Satanic Panic of the 1980s. I remember seeing something about this book when it came out and thinking that it looked cool, and when I recently saw that it contained an essay on Russ Martin’s sexy Satanic mind-control novels, I knew I’d have to read it. I got a couple of gift vouchers from work over the past year, and I was delighted to find a way to use those vouchers to pursue my interest in Satanism.

The essays in here are of varying quality, but most are pretty good. I guess it’s inevitable that each reader will like some better than others. Together they present a pretty comprehensive look at the Satanic Panic of the 1980s.

Reading the book over the course of a few days was a bit odd as the introductory background information in some of the essays is pretty similar. Geraldo’s infamous Exposing Satan’s Underground special gets quite a few mentions. I guess this two hour TV special is probably the defining peak of the panic. Despite multiple attempts, I’ve never managed to watch the whole thing through. After a few moments of it, I feel a maddening urge to listen to Slayer and throw stones through church windows.

I’ve encountered a lot of the material in this book before, and covered some of it on this blog. There’s essays on Michelle Remembers, Bob Larson, books by Phil Phillips, and one on the McMartin preschool trial. The McMartin essay was one of the more interesting in the book. It argues that the claims of Satanist involvement in that case actually prevented prosecutors from busting a real paedophile ring. There are also interesting essays on Chick Tracts, Dungeons and Dragons, and heavy metal in here.

I felt that a few of the writers went a bit overboard trying to make their essays feel academic. One of them even references Foucault. Ugh. We get it guys, you went to college…

(Haha, after writing that last bit, I looked up the guy who made the reference to Foucault, and he actually teaches a course on college writing in a college. Classic! Referencing ol’ Michel might be a surefire way to dazzle your liberal arts prof, but it don’t impress me much.)

This is a far fancier book than the ones I usually read. It looks and feels really nice. There’s so many cool pictures, and it felt like a lot of work was put into the layout. Just to flick through it is a cool experience. In sincerity, if you know any goths who have a birthday coming up, this would be perfect for their coffee table.

I don’t have much more to say about this one. Overall, it’s a very cool book. I’m quite sure I’ll reread some of these essays as research for future posts.

 

The Legend of the Mass of Saint Sécaire

mass of saint secaire
This is an original translation of Jean-François Bladé’s description of the diabolical Mass of Saint Sécaire:

Of course, some magicians have a more dangerous trick up their sleeves, one of these being the Mass of Saint Sécaire. It withers a man’s body, little by little, and doctors won’t be able to diagnose what’s happening to him.

Very few priests know the Mass of St. Sécaire; and three quarters of those who know it will never perform it, neither for gold nor for money. Only evil priests, damned without hope of redemption, are willing to do it. These are the type of miscreants who never stay two consecutive days in the same place. They travel by night, constantly on the run, today on the mountain, tomorrow in Bordeaux or Bayonne.

The Mass of St. Sécaire can only be said in an abandoned church that has been partly demolished or tainted by some terrible occurrence. These churches should house owls, bats, and occasionally gypsies. Under the altar, there should be plenty of croaking toads.

For the mass, the evil priest brings his mistress with him to serve him as clerk. He must be alone in the church with this slut, and they must share a fine supper. At the stroke of eleven o’clock, the mass begins and continues until midnight. The communion wafer is black, and three-pointed. The evil priest does not consecrate wine: he drinks water from a well in which an unbaptised child has been drowned. The sign of the cross is made on the ground with the priest’s left foot.

There are other terrible things that happen at the Mass of St. Sécaire, but to see them happening would blind a good Christian for the rest of their lives.

This is how some terrible people wreak vengeance on their foes.

The evil priests and their customers will find themselves in a nasty situation on judgement day. Only the Pope of Rome can grant forgiveness for this most terrible of sins, and the penance that must be paid is truly Hellish and must last until the death of the sinner. Very few of these wretches submit to their penance, and most die damned to eternal suffering in Hell.

There is a way to guard against the Mass of St. Sécaire; but I do not know the counter-mass that must be said. Please believe that if I had been taught it, I would pass it on to you…(there’s a couple of lines here that I’m omitting because they have nothing to do with the mass.) Unfortunately, the counter-mass only has the power to gradually kill the bad priest and the people who paid him. Both will die as their victim did, without knowing the cause of their own death.

I first heard of the abominable mass of Saint Sécaire in Montague Summers’ The History of Witchcraft, and I recall it popping up again when I was reading H.T.F. Rhodes’ The Satanic Mass. The description was intriguing. Summers notes that he read about this horrible rite in  Jean-François Bladé’s 1883 book, Quatorze Superstitions Populaires de la Gascogne. An almost identical description appeared 7 years later in James Frazer’s Golden Bough, and this doubtlessly brought the Mass to the attention of a larger audience. You can find Frazer’s account online, but I always want to read the original of everything and I wasn’t able to find a direct English translation of Bladé’s text online, so I made one myself. My French isn’t great, but after comparing my translation with Frazer, I’m confident that the above gets the message across.

Frazer omits the few lines about the counter-mass at the end of Bladé’s description of the Mass of Saint Sécaire, but otherwise his account is almost identical. The descriptions of the mass in the aforementioned books by Summers and Rhodes follow directly in this line of succession. (Summers provides another extremely similar account in his later book, A Popular History of Witchcraft.)

When I briefly mentioned this blasphemous ritual in a post 4 years ago, I knew that I’d have to return to it at some stage. A couple of weeks ago I picked up a novel that had been lying on my shelf for years. It turns out that the Mass of Saint Sécaire is a major part of the story.

the witching night c.s. codyThe Witching Night – C.S. Cody (Leslie Waller)
Bantam 1974 (First published 1952)

I’m ripping through my paperback collection at the moment, and I’m trying to get some of the boring ones out of the way with. When I was starting The Witching Night, I assumed that it would be fairly dull. It turns out that it’s actually a Satanic love story filled with mystery and suspense. This book is absolutely deadly.

A doctor encounters an old friend who is dying. The doctor realises that something very peculiar is going on, but his friend won’t speak explicitly about it. The only clue he gives before dying is the name of a girl. When the doctor tracks her down, he finds her irresistible. The only problem is that she is the Satanic witch who performed the Mass of Saint Sécaire that killed his friend! The doctor soon suspects that he too has been cursed, but he can’t bring himself to sever his relationship with the woman who he knows is responsible.

the witching night c.s. cody back coverFuck yes.

Some grisly Satanic rituals are described, but the really entertaining part of the book is how the author gets into the psychology of what’d be like to fall for a very sexy, yet very evil, witch. Imagine being in love with a person who was slowly killing you. There are also some really interesting dream sequences and supporting characters in here, and I was kept guessing what would happen until the last few pages. This is a surprisingly well written book. (So well written in fact, that I discovered some pathetic loser who copied the text, changed the names of the characters and tried to pass it off as her own work. Join me in complaining to her publisher.)

The author of The Witching Night, Leslie Waller, used ‘C.S. Cody’ as a pseudonym for this work, and as far as I can tell didn’t write any more occult themed fiction. This is unfortunate, as he did so in a tasteful way. The occultism in here is serious and effective. This isn’t a Scooby-Doo episode where the devil is unmasked and demystified at the end. The power of Satan is real! And while it’s an infamous black magic ritual that moves the plot of this book along, the author doesn’t rely on occult references to make his book entertaining.

Frazer’s account of the Mass is quoted in this novel, but later in the book the female character admits to having said the mass herself. This doesn’t really make sense, as she’s obviously not a Catholic priest, but I’ll let it slide because it adds to the story. Also, Waller describes a hitherto unmentioned way to cancel the effects of the Mass, but you’ll want to read the book to find out what that is.

 

After reading The Witching Night and realising that I’d have to do discuss the Mass of Saint Sécaire in my review of this book, I decided to check out the Aleister Crowley story about the Mass too. It was written in 1918 and published as part of Golden Twigs, a book of 8 short stories that were influenced by Frazer’s Golden Bough.

aleister crowley simon iff and other worksAll 8 of the Golden Twigs tales are featured in this collection.

If you’ve read the above description of the mass, this story is pretty straightforward. Two men love one woman. She loves one back. The other lad gets jealous and gets a dodgy priest to say the Mass… No surprises. I think I liked Crowley’s description of the Mass best. I mean, it gives the exact same details as Bladé‘s, Frazer’s, Summers’, Rhodes’, Waller’s and mine, but I felt that Crowley made it sound nice and creepy. I haven’t read any of Crowley’s other short fiction, but I have a couple of books of his short stories that’ll get reviewed on here someday.

 

While researching the Mass of Saint Sécaire, I saw that there was a radio play recorded in 1974 that was based around this terrible ritual. It was part of CBS’s Mystery Theater series, and it was called The Secret Doctrine. Thankfully, somebody has posted every episode of this series online (complete with advertisements from the early 70s). I was so happy to be able to listen to this. Again, if you know about the Mass, this story is very straightforward. Unrequited love, frustration, blasphemous ritual, death… This story is perhaps the most complete fictional account of the mass – it includes the sinner’s repentance and penance. There was a brief mention of Eliphas Levi, and the play seems to take its name from Helena Blavatsky’s 1888 theosophical opus. The writer here seems to have had a genuine interest in the occult. I was also intrigued to see William Johnstone on the cast list for this show. (He plays Father Giles.) A decade after this radio drama was recorded, Johnstone would go on to write a bunch of insane horror novels about Satanists – I just finished his The Nursery a couple of days ago. I can honestly say that it was one of the most mental books I’ve ever read.

mass of saint secaire books
Just some of the works I had to reference for this post.

Of course, there is no Saint Sécaire. There are 3 Saint Sacerdos, 2 Saint Securus, a Saint Sacer, a Saint Sektar and a Saint Sagar. A few of these boys were French too, so the name Saint Sécaire probably sounded legitimate to the Gascony peasants from whom Bladé heard the legend. Also, I have read several places online that Sécaire probably comes from the French word ‘sécher’ which means to dry. If you wanted to imagine a corresponding creepy name for a Saint in English, you could go with Saint Withers. I think that works pretty well. I wouldn’t want one of my enemies saying the Mass of Saint Withers against me.

Back in November 2001, in an article in Fortean Times titled Satan in Suburbia, Gareth J. Medway suggested that the Mass of Saint Sécaire was fictional. (Meday also claimed that the original source for the story of the Mass was Bladé’s Contes Populaires de La Gascogne, but this is not quite true. Contes Populaires was published in 1895; Quatorze Superstitions had been published in 1883. The passages in these books about the Mass are identical though, so the point that Medway was making in his article still rings true.) Bladé was a collector of folklore and fairy tales, and he never presented his account of the Mass of Saint Sécaire as history. Russell Hope Robbin’s Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology states that “The so-called mortuary mass of St. Sécaire in Basque-speaking territories and the mass of the Holy Ghost in Normandy belong to folklore or anthropology, but not to witchcraft.” Was the Mass of Saint Sécaire ever a real thing? I really doubt it, but let’s be honest, it makes for a damn cool story. In the aforementioned article by Medway, he points out that later occult authors went on to use parts of the description of this terrible ritual in their descriptions of more general Black Masses, and from what I have read, it has since become a basis for modern black magic ceremonies. I’ve presented three pieces of fiction based on this blasphemous rite, and I’d love to know if there’s any more out there.

If you’re interested in other folk tales that came to be accepted as elements of occult history, I recommend that you check back soon. I’ve got a post on Gilles De Rais lined up for next week.

 

Secrets of the Black Temple by the Red Spider

 Since starting this blog 4 years ago, I’ve reviewed more than 250 books. Some of which have been classics of literature, while others have been bizarre esoteric nonsense. The book I’m about to review is a pretty good example of the latter.

secrets of the black temple by the red spiderSecrets of the Black Temple by the Red Spider (Basil Crouch)
Self published – Unknown publication date. (Probably 1980s)

Although the text is initally attributed to “The Red Spider”, it becomes quickly apparent that the author is Basil Crouch. It’s not until the final pages of the book that the relationship between these two is discussed. (I can’t say it’s ever clarified.) I don’t normally summarize books, but this thing is so odd that I feel it necessary. I’ll highlight the more salient points for those who aren’t entirely invested in understanding this curious grimoire.

There is a very bad secret society. The author initially refers to this order as “The Temple of Set”, but I really don’t think that he’s talking about the order established by Michael Aquino.

Giant stones containing the spirits of ancient Taihitian leaders killed many innocent people because other people had been sacrificed on these rocks. One of these stone spirits is named Moana. Unfortunately, this is not the Disney Moana. 

A witch gave abortions. When she died, a box of hers ended up in a second hand shop and killed the shop owner’s dog and cat. Then he sold it, and the person who bought it got sick and went to hosptial. Then her ward caught fire and she disappeared.

A man got sick. Basil went in to him, said a prayer to Satan and then realised the man’s daughter had a doll that was actually a cursed ritual statue that needed to be appeased. He appeased it, and then the lad got better and buried the doll back where he found it.

A very successful girl got sick and became a loser because her boyfriend won her a cursed doll at a fair which the fairground guy had found in the fair. It had been left behind by a man who had found it in the ocean. It was originally from Haiti

You don’t choose to join the Black Temple. (I assume this is the order he referred to as the Temple of Set at the beginning of the book.) The Black Temple kidnap you, test you with a questionnaire and then ask if you wanna join.

Next come some instructions on how to set up a temple in your home.

To decide which man you want to marry, play heads or tails with a piece of bread.

A magician took on a job to magically assassinate somebody. He couldn’t do it though because he had no period blood at his disposal. He came up with a cunning plan to solve this problem – he took some hypnotism lessons from the author of this book and then set up a fake psychiatry practice. He hypnotised a young girl. Then he raped her and got her pregnant.
Problem solved.

the dreaded incubi.jpgNothing makes any sense here.

A psychiatrist hypnotised one of his patients into robbing a bank then killing himself. 

Smelly, the tragically named magician, took a job putting a revenge curse on a man. He sent a mean letter to the man that said “you are doomed”. Then he paid a kid to give flowers that looked as though they came from a mistress to the man’s wife. The wife argued with the man when he got home, resulting in him driving away, running a red light and killing a baby in a pram.

At this point the narrative cuts to Smelly bending a woman over, tearing out her tampon, sticking a bottle in her pussy and telling her to menstruate into it. No explanation is given as to why this is being described.

A mean magistrate sentenced a poor man with a wife and kids to 2 years hard labour for poaching rabbits. The man’s wife went to the local magician, a chap named Lankynob, for help. He raped her several times. Then he skinned a rabbit so it looked like a fetus and hung it in the magistrate’s garden. A picture of this was published in the local newspaper and the magistate got so angry that he had a stroke. The man he had sentenced left his wife after finding out that she had been raped, so she started dating Lankynob, the rapist magician.

For 25 pounds, Basil Crouch will teach you a foolproof, scientific method of betting on horses. It’s guaranteed to make you rich.

A woman complained to a magician because another sexier woman had called the police on her because she was a bad mother.
The magician took some dirty pictures of this woman and then raped her.

For a small fee, Basil Crouch can enlarge your photos. He’s very discreet. No pics of kids without parental permission.

Now there’s a description of a weird group ritual – half the book in and we’re finally getting to the Black Order of this book’s title. The start of the ritual sounds like standard masonic nonsense, but things turn uncomfortably dark when a lad shows up with a 14 year old girl and proceeds to spike her Fanta with sleeping tablets and then fingers her in front of his friends. After watching the child molestation, the lads do another ritual to kill a person. Basil doesn’t include details here, but he’s willing to sell them to you if you promise to be discrete.

black temple ritualThen there’s the above pic of a coven and a cum-collector about to rape a 21 year old virgin. (This part is actually explained about 50 pages later.)

The author then says that he once convinced two 14 year old girls to go to bed with him. He claims that he only did this to see if he could and that he actually refrained from doing anything to them. In my humble opinion, any adult man who tries things like this should be swiftly executed.

Suzy wanted some cash. She approached the Black Order for help. They invited her to a ritual, violently stripped her naked, stuck a knife into her tits and licked the blood

To get money, the Black Temple hypnotise old ladies and bank managers.

The Black Temple once got a lad a job, then one of the members convinced that same lad to spend all of his money on an expensive car.

Our old pal Lankynob is being initiated into the 10th degree of the Black Order. The ritual involves him being jerked off by a brother in the Order while a prostitute is fingered opposite him. Their discharges are mixed together on a sheet of paper on the floor. Now Lankynob is going to be given the knowledge of how to use the Order’s foolproof system of betting on horses, but before he learns this, the prostitute must be killed.

The actual murder here is never described, but the author does tell us that she is stabbed in the breasts and raped several times beforehand. The author offers an alternative way to get the horse racing system – just send him 25 quid and promise to keep it a secret.

For a good ritual, its best to sacrifice a baby, but if this isn’t possible, a sex magic ritual will do. A man and a woman go to a graveyard with two pre-made plasticine figures. Make one in the likeness of a “wishy washy semi-invalid girl who is always pale” and the other in the likeness of a man. They then find a grave of a man and offer his spirit some sex with the girl represented by the plasticine figure. Next, the real woman present at the grave sucks the real mans dick. Then they put the plasticine figures on the ground and step on them, thus allowing the ghost of the dead man to spiritually rape the invalid girl.

A lad called Skints was kicked out of the Black Order for putting an irreversible curse on another member. He later used witchcraft to seduce a girl and impregnate her. Her dad ran him over in his car and he died.

A 105 year old magician came to the Black Temple once and tried to sell them herbal remedies for impotence.

One member of the Temple used voodoo poison to kidnap children so he could sell them to Arabs. The author is remorseful over the fact that this man is dead.

It turns out that Jesus was never crucified. He just went to Glastobury and set up a church there instead. The ritual to pick a high priest/priestess of the Black Order has been handed down from Christ himself:
A kidnapped virgin is tied to the ground. Thirteen men are wanked off into a cows horn with a hole drilled in the tip. When the bukakke cornucopia is full, the small end of it is shoved into the virgin’s cunt and then the cum collector blows hard into the other end, pumping the reservoir of gip into the virgin’s womb. If she doesn’t die, the virgin will give birth to the next high priest/priestess of the order. 

tosser spermHonestly.

To steal a person’s good luck, write their name on a piece of paper and have a woman wank you off so that you gip on their name.

To create a Psychogone (a weird spirit creature similar to the Hallowed Genie in Basil’s other book) you should make a little figure out of wax. Make sure it has a willy. Then find a willing participant to do some weird sex magic with. Make sure to hypnotise or drug  her so she’s willing. (Yeah, I know.) Then fuck her a little bit, whip your dick out, cum on her pussy lips, and then stick the little wax doll you made into her cunt and frig her with it until she gets off. Then sling her out of your house. Your Psychogone is now ready for business.

The author then goes on to say that the Spider gave him more spells and rituals but these involved animal sacrifice so he wants to keep them secret because he likes animals. This part is interesting because it suggests that the information in this book came from this Spider character and not from Basil himself. This seems like a pathetic attempt to exculpate himself – he has already given his own name and address several times throughout the text.

Basil then says that he will initiate others further in person, but only if they’re female.

The contents of this book are so disjointed and childish that it is difficult to read this as the work of a sane individual. The way in which the text will drop a story only to continue it much further on made me wonder if the author hadn’t been practicing William Burrough’s cut-up technique, but a note at the back of the book claims that Basil had over 75 years experience with occult magic when he wrote this book. If this is true, it seems far more likely that it is senility rather than artistic experimentation that is to blame for this book’s lack of coherence. A low IQ shouldn’t be disqualified from our considerations either. The only other book I’ve read by this lad was also very, very stupid and shit.

Basil advertises several different services throughout the book including photocopying, selling herbs, and occult initiations, but my favourite money-making scheme of his is the following image. It is included in the middle of the book. It has zero relation to anything that comes before or after it.

basils girl 2 poundSend me two pound, and I’ll tell you whose arse this is.

As noted above, this book seems to have been self published. Perhaps it was due to the lack of a publisher’s restrictions that Basil felt comfortable including so much rape in here. My biggest complaint about Crouch’s The Hallowed Genie was that it wasn’t dark enough, but the Secrets of The Black Temple is too dark. This is the bad kind of darkness. I want to read about people cutting off arrogant priests’ heads, not a gang of scumbags molesting a drugged 14 year old.

Basil Crouch was not a knowledgeable magician. He was a disgusting old pervert with a poorly functioning brain. It is good that he is dead. If I knew where he was buried, I’d dance on his grave.

Well that’s all I have to say about Basil for the moment. As I mentioned before, this blog has now been going for four years. I’ve enjoyed the experience quite a lot, but I am considering slowing things down a little. Since starting this blog, I’ve limited my reading to mostly occult and horror books. It might be healthy for me to branch out a little, but I want to keep this blog for spooky stuff. This probably means going back to two or three posts a month rather than the 2 a week I’ve been aiming for since September. We’ll see how things work out. Anyways, I want to sincerely thank everyone who follows along with my ramblings. I’m always happy to receive recommendations or to chat about books on facebook, twitter or email, or just leave a comment below.

The Devil’s Dozen – Gemma Gary

devil's dozen gemma gary.jpgThe Devil’s Dozen: Thirteen Craft Rites of the Old One – Gemma Gary
Troy Books – 2015
This one was alright. It’s a book about communing with the Devil. The Devil here isn’t quite what some might expect. He’s an old Pagan god with a more complicated set of morals than the Biblical Prince of Evil.

gemma gary skulls devil

While this book does outline the procedure for summoning the Dark Man, it leaves it up to the reader to decide what to do if that summoning is succesful. Other grimoires I’ve read give fairly specific instructions on what to do and say when in the presence of Satan, but this one leaves it up to the magician. I liked this. It made Satan seem like an affable sort, the kind of guy you can talk to.

As far as grimoires go, this one is quite cool. It’s dark enough that you don’t feel like a wuss when you’re reading it, but it also has a kind of a natural, folky feel to it that actually makes it seem far more sincere than other over-the-top sinister grimoires. (This is more Black Widow than Black Witchery.) This is the second book by this author that I have read recently, and while I can’t speak to its efficacy, I definitely get the sense that Gary knows what she’s talking about.

skull gary devil
Reading this book made me reflect on my own relationship with the Devil. I’ve never met the lad, but I’m sometimes surprised by how much I am drawn to books about him. It’s been 15 years since my parents last forced me to go to mass. Why do I still think that Satan is so cool? I guess this whole blog is just a desperate last act of rebellion as I approach middle age. Oh well.

Satan was a Lesbian – Fred Haley/Monica Roberts

satan was a lesbian fred haley.jpgSatan was a Lesbian – Fred Haley/Monica Roberts
PEC – 1960

I’m sure you already saw it, but take another look at that incredible cover there. Bask in its glory. It’s a thing of absolute beauty. This cover was also used on Jan Hudson’s Satan’s Daughter. That book was originally published in 1961, 5 years prior to Satan was a Lesbian, but there were at least two printings of that novel, and I don’t know if this cover originally appeared there or on Haley’s book.

Unfortunately, Satan was a Lesbian fails to make good on the promises its cover makes. This is a relatively boring softcore porn novel that has nothing to do with Satan. The cover lists Fred Haley as the author, but the inside says Monica Roberts. I don’t know which is the pseudonym.

Don’t worry about spoilers. The story is lame. Here it is:

A little girl named Charlene comes across a man drowning some kittens. She becomes very upset. Later in life, Charlene leaves home and gets a job as a server at a drive-in movie theatre. She hooks up with a girl that she meets at work. Through this experience, Charlene discovers that she likes being the dominant lover. The girl that she hooks up with tells her lesbian friends.

One of these friends, a woman named Karen, comes to Charlene’s job and arranges a tryst. Charlene makes her kiss her foot before they shag. Soon after this, Karen, with help from her butch friend Billie, kidnap and rape Charlene. Charlene beats them up the next morning and leaves.

Charlene hooks up with yet another girl, Cynthia. Cynthia gets off on being afraid, so Charlene drives her around at dangerously high speeds before they shag. They see each other a few times more.

On one of these occasions, the girls that raped Charlene show up and things turn nasty. Karen tries to rape Charlene’s new girlfriend, but Charlene manages to beat her up again.

After this, Charlene runs away without telling Cynthia where she’s going. She moves to Hollywood and murders a man who raped one of her new friends. She also meets another girl at work and ends up having some rather kinky sex with her.

Meanwhile, Cynthia is raped by the lesbians who were after Charlene. She enters into a weird 3-way relationship with them, but ends up stabbing them both to death and running away after her dad peeks through a window and sees her tickling one of them with a large feather.

In the last chapter of the book, Cynthia meets Charlene in Hollywood and they drive their car into a wall and die.

There’s quite a lot of titty squeezing, but anything below the belt is described only in very vague suggestions and metaphors. The author shies away from mentioning any kind of penetration, but s/he is comfortable describing a woman being walked around on a leash and subjected to other acts of degradation.

Apart from a few “you’re a devil” comments, there’s nothing about Satan in this book.

Satan was a Lesbian has one of the greatest covers I have ever seen, but it’s actually a very shit book. Copies of the original printing are ridiculously expensive too. There’s a print-on-demand version that you can find for much cheaper, but that’s just a printed copy of the the pdf version that you’ll be able to find for free with a quick google search.

Dark Rites & Encounters With the Devil – Marcus T. Bottomley

dark rites & encounters with the devil marcus t. bottomley.jpgDark Rites & Encounters With the Devil – Marcus T. Bottomley
Finbarr – 2010

I was going to start off this review by saying that this book is black magic for stupid people, but that wording might imply some kind of similarity with those Complete Idiots Guide to books. No, this is not merely black magic for idiots; it is inherently and entirely idiotic black magic. These “Dark Rites” are unrelated, silly procedures that have no spiritual, philosophical, or logical reasoning behind them. Marcus T. Bottomley is an awful wizard and a bad author. I can and will do better than him:

Sinister Rituals and Rendezvous with Satan by Duke De Richleau

1. If you want a person to fall in love with you, soak their toenail clippings in your urine for a week and then bury them under a bush. You’ll be shagging in no time.

2. If you want to become rich, go into the forest at night and squeeze out a turd on a bed of oak leaves. Smear the feces into a circle, using anticlockwise motions. Stand in the center of the pooey circle until a black cat appears and tells you where his treasure is buried.

3. To ensure that you get the new job that you’ve been interviewed for, eat nothing but baked beans and vinegary chips for 3 days. On the third night, visit a graveyard at midnight. Once you have found a quiet spot in the graveyard, push out a fart into your cupped hand and breathe it in through your mouth. Hold the breath for as long as you can. When finally exhaling your own brown gas, whisper these words:
“Lucifer, I hath paid thy stinky toll. Delivereth unto me the job that I desire. So mote it be!”
If the Prince of Darkness does not immediately appear and provide further instruction, take this as a sign that your breath was not brown enough. Push harder on the next fart and try again.

If you actually go ahead and read a copy of Dark Rites & Encounters With the Devil, you might be surprised at how little I have exaggerated here. Absolutely no effort was put into writing this awful book of absolute nonsense.

The Satan Sleuth Series – Michael Avallone

michael avallone satan sleuth seriesPhilip St. George III, aka the Satan Sleuth, is wealthy, vengeful, sexy, equipped with ridiculous gadgets, and he loves solving spooky mysteries. Yeah, he’s basically a mix of Batman, James Bond and Scooby Doo. This is a series of three novels that I first read about in Paperbacks from Hell. I spent a stupid amount of time and money tracking down old paperback copies, but I saw a few days ago that you can actually buy kindle versions off Amazon.

satan sleuth fallen angel avalloneThe Satan Sleuth #1:  Fallen Angel
Mews Books – 1976 (First Published 1974)
This is the Satan Sleuth’s origin story. A gang of weirdos break into a young millionaire’s house and kill his wife in the name of Satan. He gets super upset and decides to hunt them down for revenge. Luckily for him, the Satanists come back to his house right after he has filled it with Satanist catching equipment. What follows is essentially a slightly less violent version of Home Alone.

This is the most dated book in the collection. Of the four criminals, one is described as “A walking moron, even if she was the best and free-est piece of tail in the world. With the biggest boobs.” She is repeatedly and brutally beaten and berated by her boyfriend for being dim. The Satan Sleuth shows her no leniency despite the fact that she was clearly coerced into partaking in the murder by her brutal and manipulative partner.

Another of the Satanists is “gay as a green goose when the bare asses were down”. He is also referred to as a “Fruitman”, and a “damn pineapple”, and it is insinuated that he gets off on brutally murdering a woman because he is gay. This kind of stuff is pretty distasteful in 2019, but this book was a written almost half a century ago by a man who was approaching 50. It’s hardly surprising.

satan sleuth avallone

Early on in the novel, the hero decides to do some research on Satanism so that he can understand his enemies. He gives his lawyer a list of books on the occult and has him track these down. I recognised a few of the names on the list, but some I had never heard of before, despite their amazing titles. I had to do some sleuthing myself to figure out which were real and which were Michael Avallone’s own creations.

satan sleuth book list.jpg

Possession by T.K. Oesterreich, The Satanic Mass by H.T.F. Rhodes, During Sleep by Robert Crookall, The Magus by Francis Barrett, Timeless Earth by Peter Kolosimo, Gypsies, Demons and Divinities by Elwood B. Trigg, Your Sixth Sense by Brad Steiger and The Satanic Rituals by Anton La Vey are all very real books.

Where the Devil Walks by Marcel Alevoinne sounds great, but the author’s name struck me as rather similar to Michael Avallone. It turns out that Marcel Alevoinne was actually a pseudonym that Avallone used to use to order take-out.

Lucifer, My King by Jean-Anne de Pré also sounds incredible, but I discovered that Avallone used Jean Anne de Pré as a pseudonym for several gothic novels including The Third Woman, A Sound of Dying Roses, Warlock’s Woman, Die, Jessica, Die and Aquarius, My Evil. Unfortunately, I can find no evidence to suggest that a book called Lucifer, My King was ever written

Mark Dane, the author of Beyond our Ken is yet another of Avallone’s many pseudonyms.

This leaves one book, The Blask Mass (sic) by Sidney Stuart. I couldn’t find anything on this one online. It turns out that Sidney Stuart was the name of one of Michael Avallone’s early agents, so it’s likely that book is also a fake.

 

satan sleuth the werewolf walks tonight avalloneThe Satan Sleuth #2: The Werewolf Walks Tonight
Warner Paperback Library – 1974

This one is about a werewolf instead of Satanists. It was not published as part of the UK Mews edition of the series, so my copy of this book and my copy of Devil, Devil (the third book in the series) are both labelled #2 on their covers. I didn’t like this one as much as the other two. Maybe the Brits felt the same and that’s why they chose to leave it out.

satan sleuth number 2Two #2s

The most interesting part of this book was the way it pushes the reader back and forth between believing/not believing in the supernatural. There are times when the text flat out says that nothing supernatural is occurring and other times when it says the opposite. In truth, I’m a bit unsure as to whether this was intentional or just sloppy writing. The time sequence in this one is confusing too, and I can’t help but feel that it would have benefited with a bit of proofreading.

Oh, and this book features another mentally challenged woman with “splendid round breasts” being brutally raped. She is referred to as both “a peacherino” and “prime cut beef”.

satan sleuth devil, devilThe Satan Sleuth #3: Devil, Devil
Mews Books – 1976 (First Published 1975)

This was probably my favourite out of the three. Not only does the Satan Sleuth find himself in the clutches of a coven of evil Satanists, but the ringleader of the coven is named Catharine Copely! Any Satan Sleuth worth their salt will surely recognize the Satanic relevance of the name Copely. Canon Copely-Syle, the strange mix between Montague Summers and Aleister Crowley, is the antagonist in Dennis Wheatley’s classic To the Devil – a Daughter. The Satan Sleuth series was written more than 20 years after Wheatley’s book, so maybe Avallone had read it and decided to pay homage. (If not, there’s some weird synchronicity going on. Copely Woods is also name given by Budd Hopkins to an area of high UFO activity in the Eastern United States.)

The women in this one still have big jugs, but they’re not as dim as the ladies in the other entries of this series. The main antagonist here is female, but unfortunately, she meets her doom after being charmed by the Satan Sleuth’s snake. She decides not to sacrifice him to Satan after seeing him lying naked, unconscious and strapped to the altar. “But this man – this intruder – whoever he truly was – was gifted in every conceivable department. He was superbly endowed. Pan would envied him for his incredible appendage. The principal male tendon was a thing of beauty, even dormant and idle. The Ram’s staff!” Sister Sorrow may not have been mentally deficient, but she was unable to resist a nice juicy cock.

 

Avallone is infamous for the rate at which he wrote paperback fiction. To be honest, I got the sense that these three books were churned out fairly quickly. There’s a few spelling mistakes in each of these novels, and Avallone is remarkably fond of sentence fragments. Really. So many it’s silly. Seriously. Also, in the last book it seems that he’s using the word “cockamamie” at least once every two pages.

When my copies of these books arrived, I saw the following line on the back cover of Fallen Angel and was instantly satisfied with my purchase.
satan sleuth dennis wheatleyDennis Wheatley, for any Philistines reading this, is the author that made me want to start this blog. After having read all three Satan Sleuth novels, I have to say that aside from dodgy writing and less than progressive depictions of women and homosexuals, Avallone’s books have very little in common with Wheatley’s. Black magic is a powerful force in Wheatley’s novels, but the supernatural is always presented as a farce in the Satan Sleuth series. Avallone would later claim that this was the reason that this series didn’t get more attention (source). I reckon he was right about this. By the time I got to the third book, I knew that anything spooky that happened would be explained away later on. This cuts out a lot of suspense. Why did he write his books this way? Well, I reckon that it had something to do with the fact that Avallone, despite what it says on the blurb at the back of Fallen Angel, was not nearly as knowledgeable on Satanism and Black Magic as our Dennis.

satan sleuth avallone occult expert

At one point he refers to the werewolf as a Lycanthrophobe, and when his hero is going up against a team of Satanists, Avallone has him read a bunch of books on ESP, Ancient Aliens and fairies. There’s no rhyme or reason to the Satanism presented in the Satan Sleuth novels either. The Satanists in the first novel are Satanists by name only. Sure they murder a woman for the glory of Satan, but there’s no real spiritual or philosophical motivation behind their crime.  None of them believe in what they are doing. They’re just a bunch of drugged out social outcasts who occasionally say dumb things like, “God sucked. Lucifer was right. Make way for Beelzebub!”

The last book presents a Satanism far closer to the Satanism presented in Wheatley’s novels, but unlike Wheatley, Avallone doesn’t manage to explain why the Satanists are acting the way they are. They’re just bad for the sake of being bad here. There’s a few references to the Church of Satan that suggest that Avallone didn’t really know what he was talking about.

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Anton LaVey’s Satanism deserves to be criticized, but it’s not fair to present his followers as the kind of people who murder and decapitate young women. I’m not misrepresenting things here either. Sister Sorrow, the villain of Devil, Devil is seen reading from The Satanic Bible only a page after Avallone quotes from the Satanic Rituals, LaVey’s companion text to his Satanic Bible. I can’t imagine any way of reading this that doesn’t suggest that the fiends in this book are LaVeyan Satanists.

satan sleuth lavey quote

Satanism exists in so many forms, and it’s such a silly concept to begin with, that I’m not going to hold it against an author if they mix it up a bit. The Satan Sleuth series is far more straight forward than Paradise Lost or Goethe’s Faust. In Avallone’s work, Satan and his followers are categorically bad. I’m fine with this. I wasn’t exactly expecting profound philosophical fiction when I bought these books. These are fun adventure stories, and they work as such.

In Paperbacks from Hell, Grady Hendrix writes that “Avallone planned two more Satan Sleuth novels—Vampires Wild and Zombie Depot—but Warner Books never bought them, so he never wrote them.” This is not true. Both Vampires Wild and Zombie Depot were written, but as of today they remain unpublished. David Avallone, Michael’s son, has confirmed that he is working on having the final two Satan Sleuth novels published later on this year. (David also helped me figure out where some of the books mentioned in Fallen Angel came from. Thanks David!) I’ll be reviewing the final entries in the series as shortly after they’re released as possible!