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Jul 31 2012

“Cult Activity” in New Jersey?

There seems a strange proclivity
To speak of strange activity
And treat with exclusivity
The notion of a cult

We think our own humanity
Immune from such insanity
And, reasoning through vanity,
Arrive at this result

A distant possibility
With broad acceptability
Which shows the true utility
Of naming these accused

When faced with such atrocity
With evidence in paucity
Extreme religiosity
Gets others’ cults abused.

The remains of a woman who died at age 98 have been stolen from the mausoleum in Pleasantville, NJ where they had lain for 16 years. Depending on which source you read, either police or relatives or unnamed sources suspect the involvement of a cult.

I lived in Jersey for a bit; not long, but long enough to have heard rumors of “satanic cults” that kidnapped and sacrificed local children. As is typical with urban legends, the story was always a few degrees of separation away from the storyteller; his cousin’s friend’s brother, or her mom’s friend’s cousin, or whatever.

My first thought was “what’s the evidence behind their accusation?” So far, I haven’t seen any. But accusing a cult has a long tradition, makes headlines, serves to paint mainstream churches as good guys and cults as baddies while affirming the worldview of good and evil, and did I mention makes headlines?

Here is an interesting view of the “it’s those damned cults” accusation. It’s a bit dated, but it does not appear that much has changed. You’ll note the inclusion of something strange, though… evidence. And a simple and straightforward conclusion:

In short, law enforcers must remove the “cult” from cult crime and do their jobs accordingly. Thank you.

12 comments

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  1. 1
    Noadi

    Okay, Occam’s Razor time. What scenario is more likely?
    A) A satanic cult robbing a graveyard in order to use the body in some bizarre arcane ritual, possibly involving a blood sacrifice.
    B) A small group of people, mostly likely young and drunk/stoned, thought stealing a body would be fun.

    If A makes more sense than B, you need a refresher in reality.

  2. 2
    Randomfactor

    It just occurred to me: nearly every cult I’ve heard of in the US is an offshoot of the Christian religion*, down to the Branch Davidians and the People’s Temple. (Even the Heaven’s Gate folks had their roots in Christianity.) I think I see the problem…

    (One of the great bloodbaths in China, too, was caused a Christian-offshoot-cult. If only their god would stop changing his mind about revelation…)

    *Excepting of course Scientology, which is deeply rooted in the Sacred Buck. And TM, which I suspect has similar origins.

  3. 3
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Maybe you just happened to live in Jersey during one of the entirely manufactured moral panics centered around “cults”? (Like when cults were kidnapping our children from daycare. Or not, as the case is. Hell, there wasn’t even that much kidnapping, let alone cult involvement.) In fact, the dated reference material is almost certainly from one of these phases our society goes through. (Because blaming something stupid like rock ‘n roll for strange or horrible occurrences continues to become less believable. Dungeons and Dragons still flies as a reason occasionally, but this is so close to a cult in the minds of believers that it is a distinction with little difference.)

    Love the verse. Awesome.

  4. 4
    Gregory in Seattle

    @Randomfactor #2 – And do not forget that Satanism is a faith practice that could not exist without a Christian world-view. So ultimately, all the alleged and completely unsubstantiated “Satanic cults” are also Christian in origin.

  5. 5
    Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    As soon as I encountered the word “proclivity”, I knew we were in for a good one.

  6. 6
    dean

    I read a story about this in which a local officer made a comment that the only “cults” he’d encountered used animal bones from the woods or chicken bones left over from lunch. He thought this was done by drunken losers.

    On a side note, a mausoleum in a city near where I grew up was an occasional night trip for dating couples in high school, since (I assume) changes in temp and humidity at night in the fall caused “eerie” sounds, which cascaded into long, tight embraces with dates. However, we – err, the high schoolers – never took the time to remove anything (from the vaults).

  7. 7
    carpenterman

    What kind of damn idiot would join a satanic cult in New Jersey? Even if the devil was real, he wouldn’t have the balls to show up here.

  8. 8
    qwerty

    I seem to recall a 48 hours or NBC presentation on some innocent young men who were accused of satanic rituals in a murder in Arkansas. Then, after languishing for years in prison, someone examined the paucity of evidence and they were finally released.

    Yes, satanic cults or cults are an excuse to lock up someone who has a tatoo or a bad haircut.

  9. 9
    Uncle Glenny

    What kind of damn idiot would join a satanic cult in New Jersey? Even if the devil was real, he wouldn’t have the balls to show up here.

    Well, the Jersey Devil did have his territory there.

  10. 10
    Uncle Glenny

    They should get Sheriff Joe’s team to inspect the death certificate. It may have been forged.

  11. 11
    Enidi

    It was vast in Vineland N.J. back in the early 70′S. It seemed to be corrupted and police investigated for years. This included a Satan cult killing when I attended high school and friends of mine who were tortured by cults. A complete mess that was never cleaned up. Very sad.

  12. 12
    Cuttlefish

    I’m sure you gave your deposition to the cops…

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