Suicide, Murder, and Death in the
Occult - Part 2
Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr.
There are other ways to die
as a result of seeking the spirit world or other occult practices.
Professor Ed Gruss lists
several cases of Ouija-board-inspired murders.1 Pedro
McGreggor, in Jesus of the Spirits, relates a case where four
people were murdered by the actual spirits themselves.2 Dr.
Nandor Fodor discusses many more incidents in his Encyclopedia of
Psychic Science. For example, a Franklin B. Evans was executed in
Concord, New Hampshire, for the murder of a 12-year-old child. In his
confession made just before his execution, he said that "for some days
before the murder, I seemed to be attended continually by one who seemed
to bear a human form, urging me on to the deed. At length it became
fixed in my mind to take her life."3 Fodor relates another
case where a spirit persecuted one woman for almost a year, setting fire
to her house and even stabbing her in the back with a knife!4
Death magic also has a long
tradition where occultists attempt to command spirits to kill other
people.5 Dr. Koch observes that persecution and defense magic
are "among the most common forms of magic."6 The compilation
Demon Experiences in Many Lands quotes three missionaries in
Madras, India, who "won two men to Christ who were doing black magic
using it to kill people."7 Koch refers to one woman whose
"specialty was in causing sickness and in death magic; she has already
committed several murders which the police had been unable to solve."8
He refers to another woman who used the Sixth and Seventh
Book of Moses, The Spring Book, The Spiritual Shield, and many
other dangerous texts. She:
...experimented in the area
of magic persecution and death magic and she even boasted of having
caused the deaths of her husband and daughter. She would inflict her
enemies with diseases and claimed that she was able to cause eczemas,
diarrhea, heart trouble, itching, stomach pains, swelling of the body
and other things. After causing the death of all the members of her
family, according to her own words, she then took on the job of a
investigator John Keel has personally researched on-site cases around
the world. He observes:
practitioners of witchcraft and black magic traditionally end up as
victims of the very forces they hoped to control. Strange tragedies
stalk them, and they fall prey to the phenomenon of possession. That
is, some outside force seems to possess them, destroys their will
power, and forces them to carry out anti-social acts ranging from
arson to murder. This same kind of possession is apparent in many UFO
contactee cases. There have been a number of senseless murders in
which the killer’s only defense was that he had been ordered to commit
the act by "Martians."10
Another noted UFO researcher,
astrophysicist and parapsychologist Dr. Jacques Vallee agrees. For
In the Soviet Union, not so
long ago, a leading plasma physicist died in strange circumstances: He
was thrown under a Moscow subway train by a mentally deranged woman.
It is noteworthy that she claimed a "voice from space" had given her
orders to kill that particular man—orders she could not resist. Soviet
criminologists, I have been reliably informed, are worried by the
increase of such cases in recent years.11
Jack Roper, the director of a
Midwest countercult organization, has produced a computerized database
on Satanism, witchcraft, Druidism, and other forms of paganism which
lists hundreds of organizations involved in such activities. The
introduction also lists several incidents of criminal occult activity,
for example, 1) a physician involved in Satanism under investigation for
multiple murders and 2) a student who murdered his school principal
because his animal sacrifices to the devil were apparently not
In his ominous Cults That
Kill: Probing the Underworld of Occult Crime, award-winning
journalist Larry Kahaner supplies firsthand accounts of hideous torture,
child molestation, murder, crime and cruelty that are almost impossible
for the uninitiated to imagine. His purpose in writing this carefully
researched book was "to show the far-reaching breadth of this type of
But even dabbling on the
"innocent fringes" of occultism may carry a heavy price tag, at least
for some people. Perhaps several hundred deaths have now been connected
to imaginative games that role-play occult realities, such as Dungeons
and Dragons.14 Dungeons
and Dragons alone has sold some ten million sets and has led many
teenagers and adults into active occult practice.15
Further, "There is many a psychiatrist who will testify to having to
work with disturbed children whose trouble began with a fascination
aroused by such fantasy games."16
In an age of occult revival
and reality, even Halloween practices can present a problem:
In the opinion of Dr. David
Enoch, former senior consultant psychiatrist at the Royal Liverpool
Hospital and the University of Liverpool, Halloween practices open the
door to the occult and can introduce forces into people’s lives that
they do not understand and often cannot combat.
Much damage is done by
Christians who mix up Christianity with the occult by encouraging this
practice, which is pagan at heart. For too many children, this annual
preoccupation with evil leads to a deepening fascination with the
supernatural, witches and the possibility of exercising power over
In the United Kingdom, the
Association of Christian Teachers has produced a leaflet entitled
Hallowe’en in response to this popularization of something
intrinsically evil. They underline three reasons for concern about
Halloween as an educational exercise.
1. If we suppose that
witches and spirits are nonsense, why, then, encourage children to
celebrate their mythical frolics and perhaps take them seriously?
Paganism is hardly a cultural mainstay of all that is best in our
2. Suppose that in our
folklore, witches and demons merely represent moral evil. Hallowe’en
then tends to celebrate evil in the ascendant by the reversal of moral
standards. If Nazi figures were regularly presented for children’s
admiration and affection there would soon be a public outcry. But
lovable little witches are brought out every autumn. This disturbs the
polarization of good and bad, right and wrong, in children’s minds.
3. Hallowe’en does in fact
encourage an interest and fascination in the occult and this
invariably leads to more serious involvement and damage to the
The Washington Post
provided several illustrations of the tragedy resulting from the revival
of occultism in China, which it alleges is now "running rampant" as
admitted even by Communist leaders.18
The article briefly describes the conditions surrounding eight murders,
three deaths, and two suicides related to occult practices. It also
observes that literally millions of Chinese are ruled by superstitions
and occult beliefs.
In our eight years of
research on over 70 religious sects in America, we noted a theme of
unquestioning obedience to the authority figure, "whether right or
wrong." Unethical or criminal activity is justified on pragmatic
grounds, and many disciples spoke of a willingness to either kill
themselves or other people should their spiritual leader demand it.
We all remember the horror of
Jonestown and the murder of Rep. Leo Ryan. Former members of Jim Jones’
People’s Temple admitted they signed a statement declaring they would
"kill, destroy or commit any act necessary" to further the plans of
Jones.19 As a result, 900
murders and suicides in the Guyana jungle shocked the nation. But how
many people were ever aware of Rev. Jones’ connection to the occult? An
article in Christianity Today indicated Jones apparently
"believed he was ‘guided’ by a supernatural ‘spirit,’" and researcher
Dave Hunt refers to Jones’ early involvement with South American
Ironically, in a 1981
interview, Leo Ryan’s own daughter spoke of her devotion to the late
Indian guru Rajneesh. She stated, "I’ve heard other people say if
Bhagwan asked them to kill themselves, they would do it.... If Bhagwan
asked them to kill someone else, they would do it. I don’t know if my
trust in him is that total. I would like it to be, and I don’t believe
he would ever do that."21 But as we document elsewhere,22
even Rajneesh teaches there is nothing really wrong with murder as long
as it is done "properly" in "higher consciousness."
Regardless, death may also
occur from many other causes related to occult activity. For example,
death may result from the psychic vampirism of a séance. This has long
been noted, with probably hundreds of cases occurring since the
beginnings of modern American spiritism in 1848. Mediums require that
those present at séances allow themselves to become vampirized by the
control spirit who utilizes their energy as well as the mediums’ for its
own purposes. In one case with medium d’Esperance, "The draw on the
sitter proved fatal. The [ectoplasmic] phantom was grabbed, and an old
lady, the mother of the spirit grabber, who apparently contributed most
of the ectoplasm, was so seriously injured, that after much suffering,
she died from the consequences (Light, Nov. 21, 1903)."23
Former medium Raphael Gasson
During this process of
entering and departing from the medium’s body, the spirit demands
absolute silence on the part of the sitters, as a sudden noise,
movement, etc., may result in the medium receiving a violent shock to
his system and may even go so far as to cause him to lose his life.
Mediumship then is certainly not a thing to tamper with unless one is
prepared to risk everything for it.... At my last séance ... all I
could recall upon regaining consciousness was that... the spirits were
trying to take my life by preventing me returning to my body.24
Occultist Brennan offers
another example in a different area:
But fascination is not the
only danger. Any reader with experience of mental illness knows the
strength of psychic forces. On some levels of the Astral, these forces
are met head on. The effect on an unprepared personality can be
staggering. Dream deaths have actually been recorded in the
Sometimes even the dying
process itself carries an added weight of agony. "Many occultists and
magic workers, especially those who have cultivated the black arts and
signed themselves over to the devil in their own blood, die horrible
deaths. This is especially true when a ready successor is not provided
to carry on the nefarious practice."26 Occult literature and
biographies supply many illustrations of this fact, known only too well
by the tortured family members of the dying.
In conclusion, when life is
so precious and death so consequential for those outside of Christ, it
is nothing short of lunacy to risk one’s life by tampering with the
occult. But for those still living, there can be yet other consequences
of occult activity.
Edmund Gruss, The Ouija Board: Doorway to the Occult (Chicago,
IL: Moody Press, 1975), pp. 86-87. In "The Ouija Board Temptation," in
Ebon, The Satan Trap, p. 172, Kent Jordan refers to a similar
case; see also Stoker Hunt, The Ouija: A Most Dangerous Game;
cf. The Fortean Times, No. 52, p. 34; Maury Terry, The
Ultimate Evil: The Chicago Tribune, May 6, 1981; The Los
Angeles Time, Jun. 20, 1984.
Pedro McGreggor, Jesus of the Spirits (New York: Stein Day,
1960), p. 199.
Nandor Fodor, An Encyclopedia of Psychic Science
(Secaucus, NJ: Citadel, 1974), p. 266.
Ibid., p. 292.
Kurt Koch, Between Christ and Satan (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel,
1962), p. 81; J. Halifax-Grof, "Hex-Death," Parapsychology Review,
Sep.-Oct. 1975, p. 20.
Koch, Between Christ and Satan, p. 81.
Moody Press, a compilation, Demon Experiences in Many Lands
(Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1960), p. 22.
Koch, Between Christ and Satan, p. 79.
Ibid., pp. 83-84.
John Keel, Our Haunted Planet (Greenwich, CT: Fawcett, 1971),
Jacques Vallee, Passport to Magonia (Chicago, IL: Henry Regnery
Co., 1969), pp. 131-132.
Jack Roper, A Sorcery Iceberg in America (Milwaukee, WI: CARIS,
Larry Kahaner, Cults That Kill: Probing the Underworld of Occult
Crime (New York: Warner, 1988), p. viii.
Bob Larson, Satanism: The Seduction of America’s Youth
(Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1989), p. 201; Russ Parker, Battling
the Occult (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1990), pp. 16-17; cf.
John Weldon and James Bjornstad, Playing With Fire (Chicago,
IL: Moody, 1984).
Parker, Battling the Occult, pp. 16-17.
Ibid., p. 17.
Ibid., pp. 35-36.
The Washington Post, Mar. 30, 1984.
Christianity Today, Dec. 5, 1978, p. 38. Dave Hunt, Cult
Explosion (Irvine, CA: Harvest House Publishers, 1980), p. 157;
The Los Angeles Times, Nov. 24, 1978.
Hunt, The Cult Explosion, p. 221.
The Los Angeles Time, Jan. 19, 1981.
John Ankerberg, John Weldon, The Coming Darkness (Eugene, OR:
Harvest House Publishers, 1993), chapter 13.
Fodor, Encyclopedia of Psychic Science, p. 237.
Raphael Gasson, The Challenging Counterfeit (South Plainfield,
NJ: Bridge Publishing, 1966), p. 87
J. H. Brennan, Astral Doorways (Red Wheel Weiser, 1972, p. 9.
Merrill Unger, Biblical Demonology (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale,
1972), p. 95.
Copyright 2006, Ankerberg Theological Research Institute