Before we go any further, I want to debunk several beliefs. I'm not saying Christians won't go to heaven nor am I saying that black magic is or is not real. I personally do not believe in magic or the fact that a person can conjure a spirit. I do believe in a higher power, so I must believe there is an evil power, however, I do not think a person can 'bring into this world' an evil spirit/being. Any actions that person takes is still of his or her own capabilities and of their own and true decision. You can't blame the devil for something you done, even if you asked the devil to help you do it. Plain and simply stated, "you are still responsible for your actions -- do not use religion or the lack there of, as a cop out for your dastardly behavior."
- Satanism: the worship of Satan or the powers of Evil
- Occult: of or pertaining to magic, astrology or any system claiming use or knowledge of secret or supernatural powers or agencies. Beyond the range of ordinary knowledge or understanding -- hidden from view.
- White magic: magic used for good purposes, usually to counteract evil (black magic).
- Black magic: magic used for evil purposes; witchcraft; sorcery.
- Witchcraft: the art or power of bringing magical preternatural power to bear or the act or practice of attempting to do so. The influence of magic or sorcery. Fascinating or bewitching influence or charm.
- Magic: The art of producing illusions as entertainment through slight of hand. The art of producing the desired result through incantation or other techniques that presumably assure human control of supernatural agencies or the forces of nature.
- Sorcery: the art, practice, or spells of a person who is suppose to exercise supernatural powers through the aid of evil spirits.
- Wicca: witchcraft, especially benevolent, nature-oriented practices derived from pre-Christian religions.
The obviously dangerous words are satanism, black magic and sorcery. When I think of these words, I picture the areas of Cajun country -- heat, humidity, swamps, and that movie "The Skeleton Key". That movie alone 'conjures' images in my head that would scare the best Christians... Here is a video pertaining to 'conjuring spirits', and music from the movie.
Now, it should also be stated that a persons beliefs should not hold them to a higher/lower standard of law or justice than the beliefs of a devout Christian, active in church and local ministries. They are just as human as the next person and deserve the same amount of consideration as the next person who is 'innocent until proven guilty'. Why should a person religious beliefs cast a shadow of doubt over their innocence?
LaVonda, where are you going with this? I'll tell you. The reason I'm putting this information out to you is to remind you that 2011 years ago (roughly) Jesus Christ was crucified. Since then, I've been raised to believe that he is coming back and unless we worship him, we will not go to Heaven. And that is fine. But if I am to believe that statement, I must also believe EVERYTHING else in the good book. And there is a lot to that book. And it also includes,
- 2 Corinthians 10:3 - “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.”
- Luke 6:27 - "But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you.”
- Proverbs 3:30 - “Do not accuse a man for no reason, when he has done you no harm.”
If I am to abide by the good book, then any wrong done to anyone should not be held against them in the book. I realize Man's Law is still to be fulfilled and that justice for the wronged should be found. But at what costs? Do we hold a person guilty because they are different? Do we accuse someone of such deeds because they 'fit the picture' of the amount of evil it would require to do such a heinous crime? Could a persons outward appearance cause doubt in a jury of their peers simply because they 'look' different?
|Jessie Miskelley, Jr.|
In a nut shell, Damien Echols was charged with the murder of three boys and was sentenced to death because he wore black clothing, had black hair, listened to music, and read books about White Magic. The State prosecutor, Brent Davis never could put Echols or his two friends at the scene of the crime. Furthermore, it was not stated how he even came to know the 8 year old boys or any motive he would have to murder them. What the state did prove, was how biased, judgemental, close minded, and gullible the state of Arkansas and the jurors of the case were. Not one shred of physical evidence was found at the scene. Not one alibi was disproved. Not one time has Echols or Baldwins stories of their whereabouts falter.
Lastly, the state managed to create a feeling of panic towards the jurors by instilling in them the words previously defined in this post. One having nothing to do with the other, mostly. And the ones in which Echols admitted to having knowledge to were White magic and Wicca. I would much rather deal with those two than with any of the others.
In order to prove pre-meditation and motive for Jason and Damien’s trial, the State called on the testimony of Dr. Dale Griffis. Griffis had received his doctorate from Columbia Pacific University in 1984 after studying by correspondence for four years. Since that time he had proclaimed himself as a "Cult-Cop" and gave lectures and seminars on the dangers of adolescent involvement in Satanic activities. It is difficult to determine his qualification for the term "expert," as according to the F.B.I there is very little evidence to substantiate stories about Satanic ritual murders in the United States. It seems that Judge Burnett, while questioning the validity of the discipline of social psychology as studied by Dr. Ofshe, did not have any problems with the rather dubious credentials of Dr. Griffis and allowed his testimony to be admitted.
The basis of Dr. Griffis’s testimony was that the crime scene "Bore the trappings of occultism." In his opinion, the most salient points in this crime which suggested to him that the murders were Satanic in nature were: -
- That they were carried out on a date close to a pagan holiday and on a full moon.
- That young children were often sought for sacrifice because they provided a "better ... life force."
- The number of victims reflected the significance of the number three in occultism.
- The age of the victims reflected the significance of the number eight as a witch’s number
- Sacrifices were often performed near water for a baptism-type ritual or just to wash the blood away
- The manner in which the victims were tied was significant as being tied ankle to wrist exposed the genitalia
- The removal of Christopher Byers’s testicles was significant as they are removed in Satanic rituals for the semen
- The absence of blood at the scene was significant because cult members often store blood for future services at which time they would drink or bathe in the blood
- The "overkill" or multiple cuts could reflect occult overtones
- The significance of most of the injuries being on the left side of the victim’s bodies was that people who practice occultism use the midline theory, the right side is related to those things synonymous with Christianity while the left side is that of Satanism
- The cleared area on the bank could be consistent with a ceremony
It would be interesting to know what scientific and empirical data Dr. Griffis based his opinions on as much of his information is incorrect, according to the Ontario Conference on Religious Tolerance. Apparently there is a Neo-Pagan festival held on the first of May, but it is only celebrated on that day, not four days later and Satanists do not hold rituals on a full or new moon. No evidence has been found that any children have been ritually murdered in the past century in the United States by the followers of any religion. The number three has no particular significance in any pagan religions, Christianity places more significance on this number because of its belief in a Triune God. The number eight has no significance in the Wiccan or any other pagan religions. Baptism is a Christian ritual which is not shared by any pagan religions and certainly not Satanists.
The statement regarding the collection of semen from the testicles reveals a lack of biological knowledge as semen is not stored in the testes and is not produced at all until adolescence. The idea that Satanists drink blood has been claimed since the 16th Century although not verified. It would be expected that in the case of a Satanic ritual there would be evidence of other ritual tools, such as an altar, a circle on the ground and candle wax.
Dr. Griffis’s testimony, although highly questionable, was a repetition of the many myths and fears surrounding witchcraft and Satanism which were widely known by the West Memphis community already. Dr. Griffis’s words would have spoken deeply to the superstitions and fears of the jury and any attempt to refute them would probably have fallen on deaf ears.
In Jessie Misskelley’s trial there was very little emphasis placed on the supposedly Satanic nature of the murders. To show pre-meditation the testimony of Melissa Byers, Christopher’s mother, that Christopher had told her six weeks before his death that a man wearing black clothing had taken his photograph. This testimony had been given after it had been widely known that Damien was a suspect and was not substantiated by any other evidence, nor was there any proof that Damien was in fact the man in black.