The Devil Didn’t Make Them Do It… but he makes a fine scapegoat

Six Six Six Days of Satan! Day 2

Perhaps Keyser Soze was right when he said, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist”. In spite of media hype and public perception, two of Los Angeles’ most famous murderers didn’t act on behalf of Satan, or even in his name. And in the case of the murder of a 14 year old girl (who may in fact have been a sacrifice), the media and public barely noticed…

manson1a.jpgThe Manson Family murders, which many associate with the devil worship, were never commited for any occult purpose… unless showbusiness counts (according to one theory).

Sharon Tate had the misfortune of living in the home previously occupied by record exec Terry Melcher, who Manson hoped to intimidate so that Milcher would sign him a recording deal. Similary, LaBianca lived next door to an old music industry friend of Manson’s who’s promises to help Charlie never panned out. The more popular theory behind the killings, and the one presented at trial, is the Manson hoped that the murders would invoke a race war. Regardless, Manson himself was never found guilty of killing anyone personally… which might be fitting, as Satan has never been known to get his own hands dirty… thus the term “the devil’s work”. Then again, maybe his followers had a different idea; Tex Watson announced as he walked into the Tate residence to commit the brutal murders, “I am the Devil and I’m here to do the Devil’s business.”

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Richard Ramirez, who terrorized Los Angeles under the Night Stalker misnomer from 1984-1985, has claimed to have been interested in Satanism since his youth. But it appears that he was inspired to kill by a cousin of his who had returned from Vietnam, bragging about massacring women and children in vivid detail. Ramirez in fact had a drug habit that he financed with home burglaries.

On June 28, 1984, his burglaries turned into something far more evil. Ramirez entered through an opened window of Glassel Park resident, Jennie Vincow, age 79. According to Philip Carlo’s book, ‘The Night Stalker,’ he became angry after not finding anything of value to steal, and began stabbing the sleeping Vincow, eventually slitting her throat. The act of killing aroused him sexually, and he had sex with the corpse before leaving. (source: was eight months before Ramirez killed again, shooting two people in one night in two seperate attacks. Although a spree had begun, it wasn’t until a few killings (albeit only a two months) later before he began leaving pentagrams and other occult like symbols at the crime scenes. This appears to have been more out of pure egotism than any religious or Satanic purpose, to taunt the police and terrify the public.

Police were eventually able to identify him based in part on the description given by a man who survived an attack (his fiance was raped and killed and front of him) and distrubuted an old mugshot from an autotheft years before. Ramirez was spotted in late August, 1985, by an angry mob in East Los Angeles, who delivered some community justice before police were able to drag him away. The most widely circulated photo of Ramirez is of him holding up his hand, a pentagram carved into his palm, as waved to the court room where he was given the death penalty.

While Ramirez may have hoped to gain Satan’s respect while feeding his drug habit and lust for raping old women and little boys, he wasn’t actively seeking a sacrifice, as seems to have been of the most recent of murders associated with the occult.

Glen Mason was convicted of strangling 14-year-old Shevawn Geoghegan in a Santa Monica squat in February, 1998. Mason was a drifter who told his friends he aspired to be a “Generation X Charles Manson”. A friend of his said, “He wanted to be compared to something evil. He craved attention, and he craved power.” (source: LA Weekly) Mason would read excerpts of the Satanic Bible and the Necronomicon to friends (ironically, both he and Richard Ramirez ignored the passages that dispute the mere existence of Satan).

He attempted to communicate with Satan by placing his forehead on a pentagram painted on a wall with the blood of a pigeon hed decapitated and crucified.
“He Tased it to death [with a stun gun] until the eyes were popped out, then cut the head with a machete,” Yoakum said. “He crucified it on a wall . . . and had the head hanging on the other wall.
“A regular drawn pentagram is a symbol,” Yoakum explained in his testimony. “The one he drew in blood is more a channel. Its like a telephone. He would sit there and put his head to it and chant . . . He was mumbling or chanting or praying, talking to his god, Satan.”

Shevawn was his on again, off again girlfriend was a Santa Monica local with an attraction to the squatter lifestyle. She still lived at home with a well to do family, but spent a lot of time with the runaways who hung out at the Promenade. Mason became paranoid that Shevawn was spreading gossip about him around the same time he was actively seeking a victim to kill. While the final details are sketchy, Shevawn went with Mason to an abandoned mental facility he had made into his home, and place of worship, and with the help of a couple friends, stuck a sock in her mouth to silence her, tied her up, and strangled her.

It took approximately one minute to strangle the life out of Shevawn Geoghegan, whose body showed no trace of drugs or alcohol, Coroner Irwin Golden testified. According to testimony, the three suspects then took the body down the stairs, wrapped it in a sleeping-bag cover and hid it in a corner of the basement, covering it with wooden pallets.

Yoakum said that after the killing, an elated Mason pulled him aside on the Third Street Promenade and, sitting on a step, bragged about how he strangled Shevawn. “He was ecstatic,” Yoakum said. “It seemed like he just won the lottery . . . He said, ‘Since you live at the squat, there’s something you should know.’ He said, ‘You know how I said we needed a body as a trophy.’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘Look in the basement.'”

All three partipants, including Mason, were caught and convicted of participating in Shevawn’s killing – Mason was given a life sentence. The murder is still referred to by locals as having been a Satanic sacrifice, even though it is more likely resulted from a bad acid trip the trio was coming off of the night of the murder.

Cielo Drive – The Story of the Manson Family and Their Victims
The Trial of Charles Manson – by Douglas Linder
“Satanists Don’t Wear Gold” – Anthony Bruno,
Richard Ramirez: The Night Stalker –
Murder In a Santa Monica Squat – Jorge Casuso, LA Weekly, July 29, 1999

Richard Ramirez image by Chuck Hodi.

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