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Le Défi magique, volume 2

Massimo Introvigne
Jean-Baptiste Martin

La question du satanisme aujourd'hui

Sociopathy of satanists

Michele C. Del Re


Le problème de la perversion sataniste se pose comme problème de normalité ou d’état pathologique en cas de crimes commis au nom de Satan.
On peut distinguer trois types de criminels satanistes : le sataniste psychopathique, qui vit sa perversion sans conflits ni sens de la culpabilité; le sataniste neurotique, pour lequel la perversion est liée à la coercition à répéter ; le psychotique, malade dans son corps.
Les symptômes typiques du sataniste se réfèrent à une perversion de la socialité et à l’insensibilité à la douleur d’autrui. Très intéressante est la recherche des symptômes de la névrose des adolescents satanistes
Mais y a-t-il une manière de vivre particulière propre aux satanistes ? L’évêque Milingo, catholique et exorciste en Italie, Franklin, aux USA, qui a préparé un questionnaire à leur propos, nous énoncent des caractères typiques des satanistes. Il faut se méfier, à mon avis, des classifications trop précises, parce que dans beaucoup de cas les symptômes ne sont pas exclusifs de la perversion sataniste, mais se réfèrent à tout état sociopathique.

Texte intégral

1. Satanist perversion

  • 1 C. A. Del Giudice, Superstizione e criminalita nel mondo moderno, Torino 1920; Florian, Delitti co (...)

1In XIXth and early XXth century criminology, all criminal acts associated with unreasonable beliefs, and in primis those committed by Satanists, were put under the heading of superstition1. Research was distorted by simplistic generalizations and dogmatic presumptions: «It is very well-known», the criminologist Del Pozzo wrote, «that criminals are amongst the most superstitious classes of people». Such an idea was founded on the theory of the criminal being retarded: «Superstitious belief is the proof of murderers’ religious feeling: of course of a very low and primitive instinct, similar to savages’ fetichism; such a class of criminals adds this character of similarity to the other analogies»; instead, one of the few quite certain findings in this field is that satanic crimes and crimes which are motivated by superstition affect every social class, age group and temperament.

2We know how a satanic attitude can grow in a child, due to a conformation caused by the Satanist group. We know that such an attitude can be manifested in a recurring psychopathological form conditioned by the treatment suffered and with a rhythm given by the failure of triggers destined to operate as emotional factors; but the criminal Satanist is not necessarily mentally insane, even though often manifest pathological aspects are present. This diagnosis, of course, is referred to as the empirical and pragmatical parameter of mental insanity used in the legal praxis. The judgement includes the guilt consciousness of the group that Satanism raises, as it elevates the breaking of taboos, substituting the sacred for the execrable, and traditional rites for clearly despicable procedure; it also includes the reproach which is caused by brutal reasoning, astute preparation, and the Satanist’s ability to lie. The judgement of social reprobation does not fit in with the affirmation of mental insanity. In other words, declaring the satanists sane seems in some cases to be a socially accepted choice, which is emotional rather than rational, and would exclude the Satanist from the right to solidarity which, according to our parameters, patients are due: in short, the Satanist is considered capable of understanding and willingness in order to be considered punishable, therefore deserving to suffer as a guilty person. This explains some neglect of psychiatric aspects which some Courts have demonstrated even in cases where the facts gave clear and precise evidence of insanity.

  • 2 F. P. Ranzato, La perversione umana, Roma 1983.

3The psychiatric classification of perversion allows us to distinguish three categories of perverse Satanists2 the (perverse) psychopathic Satanist, who «lives his perversion without conflicts or guilt consciousness, because he has isolated his super-Ego which has somehow kept him at a distance, or has corrupted him», with some mechanism of defense, like propitiatory formulae or the rituals of ingratiation. Perversion is a way of life for this subject, who degrades others to mere objects of lustful satisfaction, considering others as Körperding. Thus the psychopathic Satanist certainly does not consider himself a patient, a deviant to be assisted and treated, but he is satisfied to fill his life with his perverse spirituality. He will therefore make use of a psychiatrist paradoxically when he will not be able to satisfy his perverse desires, to perform his rites, or when his social reaction will have caused in him frustration, a state of depression and therefore of suffering, from which he would try to escape. The neurotic Satanist «lives his perversion in the form of threats to be repeated, which ignores the principle of pleasure and of convenience in general». He fights against his own perversion through incantations, exorcisms, ceremonials and so on (psychicism of defense against the Ego). The perverse act is reproduced with a certain constancy concerning time and space, which is in general in the same situations. It is accompanied by anguish and is followed by guilt consciousness, by frequent resorts to confession and by expiation in the form of often ridiculous and absurd self-punishments. Psychodynamically there is a struggle between the Ego and the super-Ego from which only the anguish of the conflict is derived. Naturally in a weak personality instincts prevail and that is the reason why an absurd and perverse act is determined. It is therefore a question of personalities which are structurally neurotic and which are therefore curable with adequate psychotherapy. Within this psychological picture fall a good part of the obsessed, in which a suffered conflict lives between perverse impulses and the super-Ego: the neurotic Satanist will go to an exorcist priest; will come to an arrangement with Satan, because paradoxically this contractual bond binds the Evil One, his perversion, in established limits; will find relief in putting the blame for his sinful and/or criminal behaviours on external diabolical powers. The psychotic Satanist is organically ill; in this type we find post-encephalitics, cerebral arteriosclerotics, epileptics, and psychotics and schizophrenes in general, for whom perversion represents the epiphenomenon of cerebral illness.

2. Sociopathic Satanist

4According to empirical data, associated with observers’ personal experiences, the person who adheres to the satanic cult, possesses, in an exalted form, the characteristics of the socio-pathic criminal, that is the deviant who, while maintaining a standard intellectual level, suffers from a total contempt for social values, and carelessness for others’ suffering; it would be Ferri’s category of moral insane people which is somehow recognized in the Italian criminal Code with the figure of the delinquent by tendency. Many of these characteristics are deduced ex post, by extensive generalization, and have therefore a weak symptomatic character of the specific form of delinquency represented by satanical criminality:

  1. Incapacity to form durable social relationships, which means considering people as inanimate objects;
  2. Lack of commonly accepted values (and therefore difficulty to find models inside society);
  3. Antisocial attitude which has a consequence on the level of behaviour, the commission of violent acts, which is often gratuitous. Egocentrism results in parasitic behaviour and an insatiable need to be believed and gratified;
  4. Incapacity to feel a guilt consciousness (or remorse) which results in an attitude of unconstrained satisfaction for the violent criminal acts performed in external behaviour (even though sometimes a criminal can express regret and other emotions);
  5. Lack of ethical conscience: the criminal Satanist cannot develop praxiological principles, perhaps because of the lack, at the right moment, of appropriate role models, and so aggressive or dangerous behaviour, fits of violent fury, are his answer to normal frustrations;
  6. Tendency to look for high levels of excitation and emotion which results in a bizarre and grotesque behaviour is the rule, rather than the exception;
  7. The attitude of brutality towards animals is a manifestation of insensitivity for others’ suffering;
  8. Sexual behaviour would be excessive and would often lead to perversion; a common component of religion and of erotical attractiveness is the availability to sacrifice oneself, to offer oneself in favour of the object that one desires; it admits that in religious and erotical borderline cases one invokes and feels as pleasure what is objectively pain, humiliation and cruelty: «the religious hyperesthesia and the sexual one at the acme of their development show the same degree of intensity and the same quality of excitation; they can, in certain circumstances, inter-exchange. In some pathological states they degenerate in cruelty», wrote Krafft-Ebbing, in his famous Psychopatia sexualis.
  9. The lack of psychological penetration makes the Satanist underestimate his influence on others;
  10. Impulsivity results in a childish attitude which cannot do without pleasures before it aspires to further aims;
  11. In the sociopathic character, besides, a certain form of superficial attractiveness and good intelligence are also present, so that a Satanist can find many people who trust him.
  12. The sociopath, besides, cannot be trusted and is so irresponsible and pathologically false as to be able to live various roles, according to momentary impulses. Often he confuses these roles.
  • 3 Barry, Satanism, E. Jones, On the nightmares, Londra 1931.

5In short, the sociopath suffers, so to speak, of the syndrom of the need for failure, which is manifested on the level of behaviour in not knowing or wanting to elaborate projects of life, except, perhaps, that tacit and unconfessed one of always losing life’s battles. Such a syndrome is linked with the nostalgia of omnipotence3.

6Besides, amongst Satanists many mentally feeble subjects exist who are guided and subdued by socio – and psycho-pathic criminals. Moreover, moral insanity, carelessness for others do not fatally lead to Satanism, but can take other directions, also non-antisocial ones, like, for example, certain professions and trades.

7Besides, when a Sadist raptus takes place, it «finds its justification in the malicious conjunction of three archtypes of the psychic dimensions. The sacrifying priest, the decapitating magician, the religious mantis, together, in a diabolical union, move the hand of the murderer» writes Ranzato, recalling the sacred killings, both magic and profane.

3. Symptoms of risky adolescent neurosis

8It is very difficult to note the signs of satanic uneasiness of certain youngsters and to distinguish these premonitory signs of violence for themselves and for others from effervescent liveliness-but also restlessness, which is pleasure and suffering-which is typical of adolescence.

  • 4 Denver Magazine, Febbraio 1985.

9Signs which are common to subjects who are dedicated to pagan and satanic practices would be the following, according to the scheme of characteristics and behaviour elaborated by John Stratton (of the psychological services of the County Sheriff of Los Angeles); it is superflous to specify that it does not include all and only Satanists, but has an indicative value, as every preconstituted hypothesis for police investigations must be an instrument for the acquisition of concrete elements for the judgement, and not an instrument for the judgement itself4.

  1. The typical characteriological profile of the subject who devotes himself to Satanism would be that of a clever, creative, curious boy, who usually succeeds in school less than he should, being of middle or uppermiddle class, who underestimates himself, who finds it difficult to have relationships with his schoolmates, who is detached from the family religion; males are numerically prevalent.
  2. The involvement in Satanic practices would he shown by stress, accompanied by anxiety and fear, a feeling of inadequacy concerning social exigences and loss of the sense and of the value of one’s social tasks. The following are indicated as significant evidences:
    • obsession with games which involve fantasy roles;
    • obsession with heavy metal rock;
    • passion for books on magic, witchcraft, paganism, satanism, «keys» or «picklocks» for magic;
    • taste and search (beyond even excessive curiosity) for objects which have been used for rituals or conjurations, coloured candles, or objects in the shape of human bodies, chandeliers, incense, knives, pentagrams, converse pentagrams or converse crosses, inscriptions of the number 666;
    • symbolic jewels, which are looked upon as «real» talismans;
    • abnormal and jealous attachment.

10The symptoms of paranoia or of fear of the world typical of the Satanist, would be the extreme secrecy (the child or the boy tries to isolate himself, refuses to talk and gets scared if the conversation leads to Satanism) and the fear to unveil his involvement, fearing that others in the group might discover the betrayal, maybe with magic means.

  • 5 J. Franklyn, Death by Enchantment, Londra 1971; R. Cavendish, The Black Arts, N. Y. 1976; T. M. Lu (...)

11Here is the transcription of a pact with the devil, that of Stefan Lojacono, 16 years of age5:

12«I give you, lord Lucifer, my soul and 20 other souls, within 30 years, in exchange of these powers that I now list:

131) the power of invisibility; 2) the power of polymorphia (that is to change form); 3) the power to not feel tiredness; 4) the power to fly; 5) the power to levitate; 6) the power to emit hell’s fire and rays of energy from my body, in every moment, according to my will».

  • 6 M. Green e C. Tamarkin, «A boy love of Satan ends in murder», in People Magazine, Dicembre 86.

14It is a document of the eighties, of our century. It is stupidly and tragically similar to that of the abbé Grandier, the main character of the satanic manifestations of Loudun6.

15The difference is in the notarial precision of the list of requests, in the reference to the very modern «rays of energy», and in the missing request for the «possession of innumerable women» which Grandier asked for. As far as we know, nowadays the sexual request is satisfied by our permissive society, it goes without selling one’s soul...

4. The way of life of witches according to Franklin and Milingo

  • 7 E. Milingo, Contro Satana, Gardolo di Trento, 1989.

16According to Franklin, the priests of Satan (witches and wizards) adopt an exterior behaviour which is sweet, pleasant, kind, friendly, very cooperative in order to hide better the will to destroy all those who like them and who trust their smiling face. These chosen ones do not frequent traditional groups, and are instead strongly against those congregations like the Wicca of Gardner, nevertheless are often tied up with other chosen ones. They are perverse by nature, they do not need to cultivate the arcana of classic witchcraft7.

17The questionnaires of Franklin would give concordant and precise clues which show that isolated witches are asocial and quarrelsome since school age, haunted by the other children (who are also considered coarse and stupid by the witch) who torment the strange schoolmate because they are jealous of her position, of her intellectual superiority. However the brilliant mental qualities of the witches-says Franklin-remain superficial; their character, which is signed by some suffering during childhood, like a lack of guidance by the parents, render these subjects perfect media for demons: one of them takes by storm the future witch at the moment when she becomes a woman and guides her through the path towards witchcraft.

18Franklin then sees the «normal» life of the woman predestined to witchcraft continue: very young, even before leaving school, the witches choose-without hesitating delay or errors-a young sensitive and tender man whom they persuade of their profound love until he marries the witch who is at this point happy to have her first victim; she torments her unfortunate husband and reduces him to a coward, who deserves contempt; slowly she leads him to depression, to the loss of vital energy: being an unknown victim of witchcraft, he will die from this fall of his vital dynamism...

19Are the old legends of the lamias of classic Greece making their way in the questionnaires of the year 2000?

20Milingo, the exorcist and healer bishop, sees the relationship between the witch and her group in this way: «Witchcraft is the power to hurt human beings which is held by people who seem to be innocent and who remain unknown outside their circle. A wizard, a witch live in a community and behave normally in every activity. Both are bound by oath and do not reveal to anybody, except in their own limited group, what they possess or do. Witchcraft is the religion of evil. It consists of an introduction (or presentation), of a novitiate (or initiation) and of a final acceptance. This world is divided into particular sectors, exclusively in which some groups or associations of witches and wizards can operate. In the literal sense of the word, a wizard (a witch) is a person who has the power-and it is a great power-to use what is commonly called ‘black magic’. In other words, both are the faithful disciples of the devil, with whom they share his destructive powers, his true nature. They are no less than the ‘incarnate devil’. For wizards and witches morality does not exist, because they are made in such a way as to be against anything that comes from God and which is of religious nature. Having asked God to close his Paradise to them and being convinced that ‘their’ kingdom is here on the earth, they enjoy exerting-unlimitedly-an extraordinary power on other men. They kill their own offspring, commit incests, torture other human beings to the highest degree. Wizards and witches are against anything which is sanctioned by customs and social consent, which is tacitly accepted by tradition, only to demonstrate that they are above any order existing on earth and to manifest to God that they can live even rebelling against Him».

21It is certainly not so easy to guess the vocation for Satan from the characteriological notes, nor can the life of witches and wizards be reconstructed on the basis of generalizations of a few known life experiences. Not every neurotic person incapable of leading a normal social life is an isolated wizard, if we do not want to go back to the diagnosis of the demonologists of the Renaissance...

22A simplified psychology of these diagnostic pictures or recording of significant symptoms does not prevent the indicated attitudes from being of some presumptive value. These are the first data to take into account in the preliminary investigation, faced with inexplicable facts with the usual motives of the crime; it is a serious mistake of method and of evaluation to think that observers who have elaborated these characteriological pictures want all the neuropaths with occultistic tendencies to be condemned.


1 C. A. Del Giudice, Superstizione e criminalita nel mondo moderno, Torino 1920; Florian, Delitti contro il sentimento religioso, Milano 1936; Loewenstimm, Superstizione e diritto penale, Cassino 1897; A. Niceforo, L’uomo delinquente: la «facies» interna, Milano 1941.

2 F. P. Ranzato, La perversione umana, Roma 1983.

3 Barry, Satanism, E. Jones, On the nightmares, Londra 1931.

4 Denver Magazine, Febbraio 1985.

5 J. Franklyn, Death by Enchantment, Londra 1971; R. Cavendish, The Black Arts, N. Y. 1976; T. M. Luhrmann, Persuasion of the Witch’s Craft, Cambridge Mass., 1989.

6 M. Green e C. Tamarkin, «A boy love of Satan ends in murder», in People Magazine, Dicembre 86.

7 E. Milingo, Contro Satana, Gardolo di Trento, 1989.


Université de Camerino.

© Presses universitaires de Lyon, 1994

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