Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Occult Crime Isn't

The whole idea of "occult crime" is something that gets tossed around by the media and law enforcement, but the truth is that for the most part it doesn't exist. While you will sometimes come across a murderer with severe mental illness who happens to be fixated on occult and/or ritualistic themes, the "occult" components of what they do are nonsense from the standpoint of genuine esotericism. Magick is a technology and it works a certain way. "Occult" murderers are basically the same thing as someone who sacrifices their neighbor in order to pour their blood over a laptop with a fried motherboard - because, you know, that'll totally get it running again.

To be clear, there are spirits out there who like blood offerings and so forth, but if a spirit demands that you go out and murder someone before it will work with you the solution is simple - find another spirit to work with. They're everywhere, and most of the old grimoires have been published, so it's not like it's hard. And there's absolutely no evidence that spirits who like blood are more powerful than ones that don't need and/or want it. For example, the Enochian angels and cacodemons are famous for being especially powerful. They don't demand offerings at all (though they will accept them), and I've written a couple of straightforward books on how to contact and work with them.

At any rate, here's a story from the British tabloid Mirror that illustrates how law enforcement's poor understanding of magick and occultism can result in all sorts of incorrect assumptions.

A blue moon – a rare second full moon in a lunar cycle – only occurs every two or three years, hence the saying, ‘Once in a blue moon.’ It is considered a spiritual time to many and authorities in Pensacola, Florida, were convinced it had triggered the murders of three family members. ‘It’s witchcraft, I’ll say that right now,’ a sheriff declared at a press conference to an astonished room of media.

It was July 2015 and Voncile Smith, 77, and her two sons, John, 49, and Richard, 47, had been slain in their home with the blue moon fast approaching. The brutal killings were described as being ‘ritualistic’ by the local authorities. It seemed something beautiful was being blamed for causing something very tragic indeed.

How were they "ritualistic?" No, nobody found any evidence of a magical ceremony. Here's what the police had to say about the crime scene:

They had all had their throats cut and they’d all been beaten over the head with a claw hammer. Richard had also been shot in the head near his right ear – he was the bigger of the three victims, so it was assumed the killer had to attack harder to bring him down. The end of Voncile’s little finger had been cut off, too – as though she’d been tortured.

So that's the kind of thing police are talking about when they say a murder is "ritualistic." It doesn't mean they found spellcasting implements, magical tools, or anything resembling actual occult magical technology. It means that they think the scene looks "weird," whatever that means to the department or individual officer. What reports like that in the media suggest is that anything "weird" is actually "occult" when it usually isn't. There's plenty of weirdness in the world that we magicians are in no way responsible for.

The prime suspect in the case, Vocile Smith's son William Hartung, happened to be Wiccan and law enforcement seized on that as a motive. But that's just goofy. Wiccans don't kill people because they're Wiccan or that murder has anything to do with Wiccan practice. The vast majority of murderers in the United States are Christian because the vast majority of people in the United States are Christian.

Hartung was convicted of the murders, but the motive presented to the jury had nothing to do with occultism because there was no connection to the occult. The prosecution found a simpler and much more believable motive - money. Hartnung's mother was wealthy, but left no provision for him in her will. The only way he could inherit as next of kin was for both her and her other heirs, Hartnung's two half-brothers, to die at the same time.

Hartung wasn’t in his mum’s will – but if she died, and so did his half-brothers, he would get it all. And ‘all’ was a surprisingly large amount. In total, the family had close to $900,000 in their accounts. It seemed the blue moon had been a coincidence – the motive was money. Hartung was arrested in the October and charged with the three murders. It would be four and a half years before the case came to trial. The prosecution said Hartung had killed his family for financial gain.

‘This family of three was minding their own business, staying to themselves and taking care of one another for years,’ they said. ‘And no one tried to harm them until, that Tuesday July 28, 2015, when this defendant, Donald Hartung, already had in his mind that he was going to retire.’ They said that Hartung wanted the fortune and knew he could only get it if they all died.

They had an inmate testify against Hartung. Marlin Purifoy, who was serving time for attempted murder, had been in jail with Hartung and said that he’d confessed to the killing, and that he’d been planning it for years. The defence said they were simply the words of a convict who was trying to negotiate a deal. But Marlin did know that the end of Voncile’s finger had been cut off – which was believed to have been an attempt by Hartung to get her to reveal the combination to the safe. It was a detail that wasn’t common knowledge.

So no, there's nothing occult here - just a man who got greedy and was willing to resort to murder. That's pretty much how crime works, and totally not how magick and occultism work. Occultist who go around killing people "just to be evil" aren't real - they're something out of pulp novels and horror movies.

Technorati Digg This Stumble Stumble

No comments: