A Study of Gothic Subculture

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Updated 3-12-2009
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Types of Satanists

[Information presented here was originally written by Captain Randy Johnson of the West Jordan Police Department. I have edited and reformatted this material, which was taken from handouts of his I acquired that are usually a part of a minimum of four hours of instruction and are written for a four day school. This information may not be entirely accurate. Please read the FBI report by Kenneth Lanning concerning the myth of ritual Satanic abuse. There are many other types of Satanists which Johnson lists in his handout. However, I have narrowed the list to include only the types of Satanists which are relevant to gothic culture.]

Proclaimed Satanists: These people are members of the documented Satanic churches. The First Church of Satan and the Temple of Set are examples. Anton LaVey founded the Church of Satan in the 1960's when he wrote The Satanic Bible, a text which emphasizes that man is an animal, no better than his four-legged brethren. LaVey's Satanism claims that as an animal, man should follow his natural instincts. Members of these proclaimed satanist groups are usually young adults or older. They rarely admit juveniles. Members come from all professions: doctors, lawyers, school teachers, politicians, police officers, etc. Their income and IQ are generally average or above. They denounce criminals and criminal acts by occultists. Their belief system is centered around principles of self-empowerment, individualism, responsibility, and questioning. They do not necessarily see Satan as an actual being or deity to worship. Often Satan is the symbolic representation of man's carnal nature.

Theatrical Satanists: These youths are usually ages 9 to 17 years old and are called "wannabes" by some experts. The name "theatrical" comes from the fact that they only act the part. They get what little occult knowledge they have from readily obtainable commercial sources: music, movies, videos, magazines, television and friends. They are unsophisticated in their occult practices. Usually they are part of a group of youth with similar interests. They often will dress like the rock stars to whose music they listen. They generally commit those violations of the law common to youthful offenders. Approximately 5 - 8% of the youth pass through this stage of "living on the dark side of life." Most mature and pass through this phase relatively unaffected, but a few may progress on to the next phase.

Experimental Satanists: Ranging in age from about 14 to 20, these youths have sensed a power or fulfilled a need during the theatrical stage of involvement. They have now read and studied occult training manuals, and/or attended rituals conducted by more experienced practitioners. These children are now conducting rituals themselves. The rituals may be simple or complex. Their knowledge has been acquired through effort. They are most often part of a group which might commit a wide range of crimes from vandalism to homicide. They may cut themselves to obtain blood for ceremonies. Drugs and sex are a part of their rituals, and they may participate in animal sacrifice. Please see Christian / Youthful Satanists.