6 Cities with Satanic Ties
Luckily for the saints among us, all American sins are not created, or distributed equally. Some cities on this list are well-known hot spots of blasphemous activity, while others may surprise you.
Fort Thomas, Kentucky USA
On a cold winter morning in February 1896, a headless corpse was found on the Fort Thomas, Kentucky, farm of John Locke. Upon closer inspection, it was revealed that the corpse belonged to a pregnant woman named Pearl Bryan.
A native of Greencastle, Indiana, Bryan soon became a newspaper sensation because of her gruesome fate and the mystery surrounding why she was in Kentucky in the first place. Once the culprits were apprehended, the case grew creepier. Bryan’s killers, Alonzo Walling and Scott Jackson, were believed to be practicing occultists who murdered Bryan as part of a satanic ritual that took place after hours in a slaughterhouse.
The veracity of these allegations was bolstered because neither Walling nor Jackson would tell the police what they had done with Bryan’s head. If they did, both men claimed they would be visited by the wrath of Satan.
Nowadays, the murder and the sinister motivations of Walling and Jackson live on in nearby Wilder, Kentucky. There, the spirits of all three supposedly haunt Bobby Mackey’s Music World nightclub.
St. James, New York USA
Long Island has long had an association with satanism beyond Amityville. Although the residents of North Massapequa believe that a “Devil Worship House” exists in their town, the Church of Satan has a small presence in neighboring Massapequa Park.
Even the folkloric Cropsey of Staten Island contains a satanic element. This has helped the proliferation of various legend-tripping activities throughout rural Long Island, which shares a version of the Cropsey legend.
Despite all of this sensationalism, many New Yorkers still see Long Island as a refuge—an escape from the hustle and bustle of America’s largest city. That’s what Jeannette Meyran and her daughters sought when they moved to the small town of St. James on Long Island in 2006.
The family was also trying to leave behind tragedy. Their patriarch, Curtis Meyran, had died in an apartment fire during what the New York Fire Department has called their “Black Sunday.”
Sadly, the fresh start the Meyrans were hoping for never came. After claiming to see hooded men on their property and hear disembodied voices and thumps throughout the house, the family discovered a diary from 1927 in their unfinished basement. The diary, written by a girl named Christina, reportedly spoke about animal sacrifices and sexual abuse as part of a Long Island–based cult.
For years afterward, the family continued to experience paranormal events, some of which included physical violence. The family’s ordeal was eventually made into an episode for Syfy’s Paranormal Witness program.
Victoria, British Columbia CN
During the 1980s, Satanists were everywhere. Not only was professional wrestler Kevin Sullivan portraying one on Florida television, but other devil worshipers were popping up in movies, on television, and in music videos.
The glut of satanism in the 1980s was largely inspired by the so-called “satanic panic,” which created an entire industry dedicated to ferreting out devil worshipers, whether criminals or white-collar professionals. Of all the major accusations against Satanists, none was more damning than the assertion that they were in charge of day cares and schools.
This theory took off in 1980 with the publication of Michelle Remembers, a book cowritten by a young girl and her psychiatrist. In the book, Michelle Smith of Victoria, British Columbia, claimed that she and other children had been subjected to sexual abuse rituals at the hands of a local satanic cult.
Michelle claimed that much of the town’s adult population, including her mother, were in the cult. That her ordeal had occurred during the 1950s did little to calm society’s collective nerves.
Michelle Remembers became an instruction manual on how to deal with abused children and spot potential Satanists within the community. Thirty-six years later, allegations of satanic ritual abuse continue, often with the fear that pedophiles are a contributing factor. At the heart of Michelle Remembers is the practice of recovered memory therapy, a highly controversial process that uncovers “repressed memories” that are harming the patient in the present.
With questions raised about the legitimacy of recovered memory therapy, many of the abuse claims made during the satanic panic were refuted later on, thus helping the hysteria to die down by the late 1980s.
Toledo, Ohio USA
Eldritch Rites don’t immediately come to mind when you hear the words “Toledo, Ohio.” A grimy, mostly working-class city in northwestern Ohio, Toledo was the home of the satanic Our Lady of Endor Coven. Founded around 1948 by Toledo native Herbert Sloane, the cult enjoyed a long existence until his death in the 1980s.Sloane, who performed black magic rituals in the back of his barbershop, genuinely believed in and worshiped Satan. As such, Sloane and his group were some of the first public Satanists in the US, predating Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan by almost 20 years.
Sloane’s coven believed in a Gnostic interpretation of satanism. In their view, the “Horned God” of Satan told Eve in the Garden of Eden that a supreme God held power over the Judeo-Christian God who had created the universe.
Our Lady of Endor Coven—named after the medium responsible for raising the spirit of the prophet Samuel in the First Book of Samuel—was almost entirely mystical and was committed to performing many occult rituals to commune more closely with the Horned God.
Such cerebral devil worship kept membership low. As a result, Sloane’s group never achieved the notoriety of the Church of Satan or its many offshoots.
San Francisco, California USA
Satanism in San Francisco is synonymous with Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan. Later dubbed the “Black Pope,” LaVey was a crime scene photographer, nightclub organist, psychic, and lion tamer before becoming the face of modern devil worship. In 1968, as an example of LaVey’s authority on all things obsidian, he served as a consultant on the set of Rosemary’s Baby.
Two years earlier, LaVey and a small group of followers had founded the Church of Satan in San Francisco on Walpurgis Night. Located in the city’s Richmond District, the Church of Satan was operated out of LaVey’s private home—an all-black house at 6118–6122 California Street.
LaVey and his followers conducted highly dramatic rituals, some of which were filmed for posterity. Thanks to such broadcast footage, as well as the publication of LaVey’s The Satanic Bible in 1969, the Church of Satan enjoyed widespread visibility throughout the late 1960s and 1970s. Many Hollywood celebrities, such as Sammy Davis Jr., became members.
San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area have been home to several satanic or possibly satanic serial killers, such as the Zodiac Killer and the Night Stalker.
The Kurdish Yazidi community in northern Iraq has long been the target of religious persecution. The source of this hatred comes from the widely held belief that the Yazidis are devil worshipers. Recently, this idea was invoked by ISIS, who began targeting the secretive community as part of a genocide campaign that has included mass murder and mass sexual slavery.
Mostly, the Yazidi connection to Satan began with Melek Taus, the “Peacock Angel” whom the Yazidis worship as the supreme God and the creator of the universe. According to their Christian and Muslim neighbors, Melek Taus is none other than Satan—a fallen angel who has come to Earth to lead men and women astray.
Unlike many of the religions around them, the Yazidis are open about the pagan elements contained within their syncretic religion. As a result, the important shrine at Lalish, an ancient center of worship with possibly Sumerian roots, is the seat of Yazidi devilry.
In 1927, the American travel writer William Seabrook helped to further perpetuate this stereotype by calling Lalish one of the seven towers of satanism run by the Yazidis in Asia. Around the same time, this belief was echoed by H.P. Lovecraft in “The Horror at Red Hook,” which calls the Yazidis “Persian devil worshipers.”
Currently, Lalish is a gathering place for the Yazidi resistance against ISIS in northern Iraq. Although old superstitions die hard, the old distaste for the Yazidi community may finally turn a corner.