Archives For Don Rimer

Pagan Community Notes is a series focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. Reinforcing the idea that what happens to and within our organizations, groups, and events is news, and news-worthy. My hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So let’s get started!

James L. Bianchi

James L. Bianchi

Earlier this year, I reported on an emergency Pagan conclave in California to discuss proposed regulations by the California Department of Corrections (CDCR) relating to religious items allowed by incarcerated Pagans. This “Religious Property Matrix” would significantly change the way religious materials were handled, and Pagan prison chaplains wrote impassioned editorials both for and against the new guidelines. Now, James L. Bianchi of the House of Danu’s chaplaincy program, who called the initial conclave, has issued a press release on proposed revisions to the property matrix that address many (but not all) concerns voiced by Pagans. Quote: “Though the revisions in the proposed Matrix represent substantial progress, we need to remain vigilant to ensure that the spiritual needs of our people are accommodated as required by federal law, and that Pagans enjoy the same religious freedoms as other religious traditions as required by the 1st, 5th, and 14th Amendments of the Constitution.” You can see the proposed revisions, here. Public comments on these changes are open until July 16th at 5pm, and can be sent to Timothy M. Lockwood, Chief, Regulation and Policy Management Branch, Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Chalice & Blade

Chalice & Blade

From our “better late than never” department: Pagan band Chalice & Blade, which features songwriter and podcaster Mojo of The Wigglian Way, had one of their most popular songs, “I Hear You Calling,” featured on the US television show “Being Human” earlier this year. The episode “One is Silver and The Other Pagan” aired in February of this year, and is available for rental at Amazon.com for those who’d like to see it. As one might expect, the episode features a Wiccan coven: “In order to begin reconstructing a new life for herself, Sally seeks out Bridget, her old best friend. Bridget is unusually calm about Sally’s sudden reappearance as a flesh and blood human, which prompts Sally to ask a few questions. Bridget, it seems, has taken up with a local Wiccan group.” Due to the renewed interest in their music, Mojo, along with singer Wendy, have re-formed the band as a duo and are now playing gigs again. Chalice & Blade’s last album was 2006′s “Wild Hunt,” available at CD Baby. Congratulations to Chalice & Blade!

Glenn Turner (Photo: OaklandNorth)

Glenn Turner

The 2013 TheurgiCon, is coming up this Weekend, July 13th, at the Bay Area Thelemic Temple in Oakland. TheurgiCon was founded in 2010 by Glenn Turner, who also founded PantheaCon, and features discussions on Neo-Platonism and theurgy. This year, featured speakers include Don Frew (who provides a look at the non-Greek Hermetic texts), Richard Reidy (speaking on Iamblichus and divine possession) and T. Thorn Coyle, who will be talking about theurgy in practice. Quote: “Theurgists such as Iamblichus instructed us to work from gross to fine in our operations. But what does this mean? How can we best approach this? There is a simple formulation: Thought. Energy. Emotion. Matter. The contemporary magic worker can use these levels to gauge what is missing from her magic, uncovering how best to approach the Gods and any theurgic operation. This session will include discussion and a diagnostic meditative working.” This one-day intensive costs $40, and includes meals. You can read previous Wild Hunt coverage of this event, here.

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 10.19.50 AMOn June 21st, a new book entitled “Cults and Criminals: Unraveling the Myths” was published, co-authored by Dr. David Oringderff, co-founder of Sacred Well Congregation, and “occult crimes expert” Don Rimer, who passed away at the beginning of 2012. The book claims to take you “beyond the hype” of occult crime. Quote: “There is likely no term that strikes holy terror in the western mind more than “Satanic Cult!” Most cults are not “Satanic.” Most criminals who commit horrific crimes, leaving satanic symbols, often in the victim’s blood, at the crime scene are not “Satanists.” This book takes you beyond the hype, hyperbole, misinformation, disinformation and urban legends of pop culture and mass media that suggest that all cults, cultic and occultic activities are inextricably intertwined with criminal activity. That is a fatally-flawed assumption. The truth is that most criminals are criminal and most cults are cults, and sometimes their paths cross.” The book makes it sound like it debunks the majority of “occult crime,” which would be a welcome narrative within law enforcement. Don Rimer was quoted in 2011 saying that “occult crime happens all over the world and it’s growing,”  so perhaps Mr. Rimer had a change of heart in the last years of his life? Anything is possible, and I certainly respect the work of Dr. Oringderff highly, so I’ll approach the book with an open mind.

 In Other Pagan Community News:

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!

There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up.

That’s it for now! Feel free to discuss any of these links in the comments, some of these I may expand into longer posts as needed.

To a certain extent, writing about PantheaCon in San Jose can in no way capture the energy and scope of the event. Friday has been a blur of reunions, meetings, conversations, missed connections, and intense socializing. For me, aside from the enjoyable time I had connecting with my co-religionists, Friday was a day of meet-and-greets. First, the Covenant of the Goddess meet-and-greet, where founders and new members convened, shared stories, and went over the history of the organization. Then, I had the pleasure of  attending the joint Solar Cross / New Alexandrian Library meet-and-greet, where discussions of building Pagan infrastructure was a key element in several interactions. All these organizations are working towards building something for our communities that last beyond their founders, and serve modern Pagans for generations to come.

Today, I’m personally immersed into several scheduled events, I’m coordinating a special meet-and-greet for the Pagan Newswire Collective, participating in a panel on Pagans in the media led by journalist and podcaster Devin Hunter, and after a special screening of “American Mystic”, I will be conducting a Q&A  with director Alex Mar, Morpheus Ravenna, and members of Stone City Pagan Sanctuary. I’m working with the PantheaCon media staff to get as much recorded for posterity as I can, and plan to share as much audio and video here as I’m able.

Before I end this update from the convention, I wanted to share a few links of note that I’m not able to give my full attention to, but hope to explore in greater depth once I return to civilization. First, John W. Morehead, takes on questionable “occult expert” Don Rimer in a lengthy post that examines Rimer’s materials and his problematic attitudes towards the “occult”.

“After my exchanges with Mr. Rimer I thought I would solicit feedback from academic colleagues of mine who specialize in these areas, as well as representatives from the religious communities and identity subcultures who are knowledgeable about the issues, and Rimer’s views on the matter. Without exception, everyone confirmed my suspicions. In fact, while Rimer has had some contact with those in the Pagan community, I could not track down anyone willing to agree that he accurately describes Paganism, and his claims about learning from vampires may be limited to magazine articles and random conversations at vampire clubs as well as newspaper articles on alleged “vampire killings,” hardly the stuff of good ethnographic research and scholarly study.”

You can read all of my past posts regarding Rimer, here. Rest assured that I’ll be coming back to this particular issue.

Next, the Phoenix New Times takes and in-depth look at the controversial Phoenix Goddess Temple, where controversy over whether it’s a legitimate religious order, or simply a front for sexual services rages amongst the local community.

“Practitioners at this self-styled church near 24th Street and Thomas Road say that what they do is sacred work to balance energy and heal people, and Clayton really seems to believe it — at least enough to let New Times watch two of his all-too-revealing sessions.”

I’ve covered this temple before, and I really wish I had the time to sit down and truly explore the issues raised here, so consider this link a place-holder for a longer post later, as I think some important, and potentially problematic, issues and being played out.

Finally, check out this trailer for a new documentary “Kypris – The Aphrodite of Cyprus Revealed,” about 12 women in Cyprus trying to “revive the ancient art of the frame drum, sacred to the worship of Aphrodite.”

To find out more, and help support this documentary, check out their web site. As I hear more on this, I’ll be sure to share it.

That’s all I have time for, so have a great day, and I’ll update as I can!

A few quick news notes and updates for you on this Tuesday.

Doctor Gonzales Speaks Regarding Native Blessing: Following the wave of criticism from conservative pundits regarding a traditional Native blessing given at a memorial service for those killed and injured in the horrific shooting in Tuscon, Arizona last week, Dr. Carlos Gonzales, the Pascua Yaqui Indian who gave the blessing, talks to CNS News to give some context.

“I was asked by the university to give a traditional Native American blessing,” Gonzales told CNSNews.com late Thursday. “This is the type of blessing that we give at memorial services to open up a ceremony. A medicine man will do a variation of it to open up a pow-wow. It’s basically a recognition of the powers of the seven directions and how they influence human beings–and how each direction has a certain characteristic; that when you pray to that direction, you ask for the inspiration that comes from that direction.”

Gonzales noted that the blessing should not be confused with religion, that is was “more of a way of appreciating spirituality,” and the Pascua Yaqui Indians have been predominately Catholic for generations now.

“I’m Yaqui and Yaquis have been Roman Catholics since 1650. We were one of the first tribes in Mexico to actually peacefully absorb Catholicism; however we have always practiced Catholicism in our own unique manner, incorporating traditional beliefs, and so I grew up as a Roman Catholic with a Yaqui variation. In reality, I’m Catholic, but the spirituality I’ve come across with traditional healers is one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen, and it’s a way of approaching people and it’s an additional way of healing that has actually helped me to be a better family doc.”

Sadly, even with this disclaimer firmly in place, many in the comments of the article expressed distaste for the Yaqui’s syncretism, with some calling the blessing “demonic.” Proving that any dialog and understanding between Western Christian and indigenous forms of religious expression has a long way to go. As for the wave of criticism towards Gonzales from various pundits, only one has recanted and apologized.  Perhaps satirist John Stewart, as always, has the final word on all this.

The Savage Fury of Savage: While some were paying close attention to the recent memorial service, others are still trying to pin Tuscon assassin Jared Lee Loughner into an easy-to-understand political left-right narrative. Conservatives and Tea Party groups have been arguing that they were incorrectly blamed by the Left for inspiring Loughner’s violence, but right-wing pundits have their own narratives of blame out in full force. This isn’t anything new in our world of divisive partisan politics, but I mention it now because one popular conservative talk-radio host, Michael Savage, who boasts an audience of 8 to 10 million listeners, making it the 3rd most listened to radio talk show in the country, has seemingly bought into the “occult” angle first brought up by the NY Daily News.

The man was an occultist, of course that didn’t make it into your local paper. Your going to start talking about banning handguns why not just ban the occult in America? Why don’t we get congressmen talking about banning Wicca in the Army? Banning the occult in America. I mean, did you see what came out today about the shooter? I’m sure you haven’t because your friends at CNN, NBC, and Fox News haven’t shown it to you. The man was a stone-hearted devil worshipper. Take a look at the thing [Gives web site information.] look at the altar in the shooter’s backyard [...] he’s not a troubled young man, he’s a devil-worshipping left-wing pot-head.”

You can listen to the whole excerpt if you want, but lower the volume, and be prepared for a weird pot-Hashshashin-assassin narrative, and the usual “Obama is a Marxist” stuff. I usually ignore talk radio, but when someone with an 8-10 million person strong megaphone starts talking about banning Wicca or the occult in the United States, even rhetorically, it can have a dramatic effect on the lives of modern Pagans. Because, and Savage may not know this, but people really did try to ban Wiccans from the Army. It isn’t mere inflated rhetoric, this stuff really happened to us. The players, largely unrepentant. Savage, of course, is free to fling his various conspiracy theories and partisan bromides wherever he pleases, but dragging Wicca and “the occult” into the narrative to shove Loughner into a “left” narrative is playing with fire.

The Troubling Persistence of “Occult Crime” Experts: As if on cue, what with terms like “occult” and “New Age” being thrown around in the Tuscon shooting case, our old friend, “international expert on occult crime” Dom Rimer rises to the surface once more.

More than 100 people — mostly police officers from across Hampton Roads and central Virginia — turned out for Rimer’s seminar Saturday about how occults can impact teenagers. The presentation, sponsored by the Newport News Police Department, also helped educate officers about the influences that satanic, gothic, and vampire groups can have on teens. “Occult crime happens all over the world and it’s growing,” said Rimer.”

So you have a presentation sponsored by a local police department, filled with police officers, listening to drivel like “in the world of gaming, there is evil,” or decapitated animals are telltale evidence of people who practice a faith known as Santeria,” or “teenagers who like techno-rock music may sometimes be confused with teens fully into the “goth” look and music.” Seriously.  It would all be hilarious if people very much like Rimer weren’t directly responsible for fueling moral panics that got innocent people thrown in jail, and got several more, to this day, harassed by law enforcement and government officials. Indeed, Rimer has no shame in the possible harm his profession may be doing. He sees himself as a man on a mission.

“I teach parents the warning signs. If that is fear, yes I teach fear … I teach law enforcement about the rituals. If that is fear, yes I teach fear … I will continue to teach, consult, and investigate Ritual Crime as long as those crimes are committed. I provide that service to local, state, and federal agencies across the United States and Canada.”

Oh, and if you think Rimer, or someone very much like him, would never get consulted in Arizona, think again.

“Near Tucson, Arizon, a young man who has embraced the worship of Satan, commits a grave robbery. Conducts a ritual with the stolen skull. Then enlists the aid of his teenage followers. they place the skull at the local high school as a threat against the School Resource Officer. I will testify in that case. I have taught at a state law enforcement conference for Arizona. If that is fear, yes I teach fear. I will continue to teach, consult, and investigate Ritual Crime as long as those crimes are committed.”

Self-proclaimed “experts” in “occult crime” are dangerous. They peddle fear and misinformation. They inflate problems, and classify things in manners that support their view of the world. That they continue to have influence over local police forces is troubling, to say the least.

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!

A few quick news notes for you today.

Trademarking the Gods: Video game company Nintendo just received permission from the Japanese Patent Office to trademark the name “Amaterasu” in relation to video games.

And you thought it was bad when Nintendo filed to trademark the phrase “It’s on like Donkey Kong.” The Japanese Patent Office recently revealed that Nintendo trademarked the kanji “Amaterasu” as well as the katakana form in relation to video games. ”Amaterasu” certainly seems to refer to the Shinto goddess, but the full name for the deity is Amaterasu Omikami. This name was not trademarked, as it’s unlikely that the Japanese Patent Office would allow Nintendo to copyright an actual god or goddess.

While this may seem like no big deal to some, it could set a troubling precedent. If corporations and private businesses start grabbing trademarks to the names of deities within different contexts, what will that mean for the religions that worship and revere those figures? This is especially true as video games, art, and social interactions start to blur within contexts like Second Life. If someone can trademark a god’s name in one context, there’s little to stop them from doing it in others.

The Birth of Freedom: City Journal features an essay by Andre Glucksmann concerning the birth of the idea of freedom, and the differences between the “epic freedom” of Hegel or Marx and the “tragic freedom” of Athens and Socrates. Glucksmann notes that polytheism creates a more “radical” idea of freedom than most monotheistic conceptions.

With the Athenians, however—and this is an important difference—the gods are as imperfect as human beings, and the divine words are consequently doubtful and impure. In this sense, the Greek experience seems more radical than that of the monotheisms, since it presupposes no adherence to a unique word that would dominate the thought and freedom of men and women. For the Greeks, there was no way around the permanent crisis that constitutes the existence of a free human being.

Glucksmann also credits ancient Greek thinkers with providing the framework for the separation of church and state, and our modern ideas of “human rights.” The whole text is worth a look.

Telltale Signs of Santeria? What happens when you mix “occult experts” with animal parts? You get assertions that the dead animals are a “telltale sign” of Santeria.

“Don Rimer, who spent 30 years as a law enforcement officer and now provides training in the fields of ritual crimes and the occult, said the decapitated animals are telltale evidence of people who practice a faith known as Santeria. Followers brought the faith with them to the New World when they were taken from Africa during the slave trade, first establishing themselves in the Caribbean region, he said. Santeria is a blend of ancient African religion and Catholicism, Rimer said. A Utah state agency alerted Rimer to the Park City cases, he said. Rimer, who lives in Virginia Beach, Va., said the circumstances of the Park City discoveries resemble those of Santeria practices elsewhere. Rimer said people who adhere to the faith sacrifice animals and then place the carcasses close to transportation corridors like pathways, railroad tracks and streams in honor of the means slaves used to move about.”

Yes, you read that right. The expert was Don Rimer, who also happens to be an expert on Paganism, Satanic crime, and vampires. One wonders where he gets the time to become so knowledgeable when he’s so busy traveling the country giving talks. No doubt Rimer thinks his influence was positive because he asserted that animal sacrifice was legal and the alleged practitioners of Santeria meant no harm, but instead he verified the for many the idea that leaving dead bodies lying around is a normal practice for Santeria (instead of acknowledging that there could be other explanations).

A few stories for you to digest this Saturday, starting with the announcement yesterday from Isaac and Phaedra Bonewits concerning the closure of their Internet venture Real Magic School.

“Isaac and Phaedra Bonewits are sad to announce that Real Magic School is now closed. It was a wonderful experiment but it turned out to be too much for our time commitments (and our finances) to handle. We have arranged with the Grey School of Wizardry to take transfer student s from RMS. We apologize to everyone, but especially our lifetime members, that the life time of Real Magic School was so short.”

The school, which opened for business in February 2008, had an aspirational trajectory of academic excellence and eventual accreditation. A somewhat different M.O. from the arranged transfer school, the Grey School of Wizardry, with its Harry Potter-isms and courses that equip someone to become a “Journeyman Wizard” (as opposed to the associates degrees RMS was planning to award). No doubt the current fiscal climate made this new venture difficult to sustain, it would be interesting to know how other schools (loosely) built on the Witch School model are doing.

CBS affiliate WBOC in Delmarva, Delaware reports on this Sunday’s Delmarva Pagan Pride Day, interviewing author, Wiccan elder, and event co-organizer Ivo Dominguez Jr. in the process. Too bad they also felt the need to get some “balance” by also digging up a disapproving Christian pastor.

“Still, some like Salisbury Pastor Luther Hill disagree, and say nothing positive can come out of the event.” “Pagans in the Bible usually deal with witchcraft and sorcery and those types of things,” Rev. Hill said. “But even in the Bible when that type of thing has gone on, the power of God has always been victorious over it.”

I wouldn’t mind this somewhat mindless faux-viewpoint-balance if the standard was also applied to puff coverage of local Christian events as well. Needless to say, I’m still awaiting a call regarding my opinions on upcoming Christmas celebrations.

In a final note, it’s time once again to check in with our old friend Don “internationally recognized authority on Ritual Crime and the Occult” Rimer. This time he’s making an appearance at the Oklahoma Gang Investigators Association seminar to talk about Satanic and vampire-related crime.

“Guest speaker Don Rimer spent over three decades as police officer in Virginia, where he discovered crimes involving cult activity.  Satanists committed some of these crimes, but some culprits acted as vampires … Rimer says movies like “Blade” and “Twilight” made vampirism cool, and people commit themselves to being vampires.  Rimer shows the official vampire bible, and there are sanguine who legally practice the ritualist consumption of human blood by drinking each other’s.”

This time the paper also includes his disclaimer that Wiccans and Pagans are no more likely to be criminals than any other citizen, but that kindness is somewhat offset by the fact that attendees to Rimer’s lectures, like Lawton Police Gang Investigator, Tiff Poff, apparently believe that ” appearance is in beginning stages, and they don’t realize it leads to violence, and murder, and suicide and things like that”. So don’t get caught dressing goth in Lawton, they may think your on the fast-track to killing people.

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!

My semi-regular round-up of articles, essays, and opinions of note for discerning Pagans and Heathens.

Move over Long Man of Wilmington and Cerne Abbas Giant, a mining company is carving a 400-yard goddess figure into the Northumberland landscape.

“Dubbed the “Goddess of the North”, Northumberlandia will be made from two million tonnes of earth dug out from an open cast mine in Cramlington, and tower 112ft into the northern sky. The Goddess, designed by artist Charles Jencks, will recline over the Shotton open-cast mine and form the centre piece of a new public park at the site.”

One wonders if this new addition to Britain’s landscape will, in a few hundred years, be considered an “ancient” pre-Christian survival by the locals. It will also be interesting to see if the site will become a pilgrimage place for modern Pagans and Goddess-worshippers.

The Oxford University Press blog points us to a “Meet the Author” interview with Owen Davies.

Davies is the author of  “Grimoires: A History of Magic Books”, a truly interesting work that you can expect to see a full review of at this blog sometime soon.

The Coalition of Visionary Resources (COVR) has given awards to three Llewellyn Worldwide titles: “Faith and Magick in the Armed Forces”, by Stefani E. Barner (Best New Wiccan/Pagan Title), “Magic, Power, Language, Symbol”, by Patrick Dunn (Best New Magic Title) and “The Enchanted Oracle”, by Jessica Galbreth and Barbara Moore (Best New Divination Title).

“COVR is an organization formed by a unique group of businesses that deal in “Visionary Resources,” and who work with and support each other as independent retailers, manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, and publishers of visionary books, music, and merchandise. For the twelfth consecutive year, COVR’s Visionary Awards were presented at the International New Age Trade Show (INATS) banquet, this year held on June 27th, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. The Visionary Awards are judged by retailers and seasoned professionals, who evaluate each title based upon content, presentation, and their own knowledge of the industry.”

Congratulations to Llewellyn and the assorted authors/artists involved. The publisher won two awards at last year’s gathering. As for the The International New Age Trade Show, you may remember that I reported on their contraction due to the economy last year.

Our pal Don Rimer is hitting the newswires again, promoting his upcoming appearance on a forensics radio program.

“Talk Forensics, a new talk radio show hosted by Larry E. Daniel of Guardian Digital Forensics, is proud to announce that DON RIMER Ritual Crime & The Occult Expert will be the guest this Sunday, July 5th at 4pm eastern. Don Rimer is a retired, 33-year veteran of the Virginia Beach, Virginia Police Department. He currently serves as the Public Information officer and Chaplain for the Virginia Gang Investigators Association. He is an internationally recognized authority on Ritual Crime and the Occult. He serves as an investigator and consultant to agencies throughout the United States and Canada.”

Ah yes, an “internationally recognized authority” (recognized by whom, exactly) who mixes just enough CYA (cover your assets) disclaimers into his old-school “occult crime” scare tactics to continue booking those speaking gigs at churches and civic groups. No doubt he’ll be around soon to remind us that he has a Wiccan friend advisor who gives him books to read.

In a final note, it looks like the Vatican is going to be tightening the theological reigns on American Nuns. Prompted by Cardinal Franc Rodé, who publicly wondered if some Nuns were operating “outside” the bounds of Church doctrine, orders will be evaluated on how well they are living in “fidelity” to their order’s (and the Church’s) guidelines.

“Cardinal Levada sent a letter to the Leadership Conference saying an investigation was warranted because it appeared that the organization had done little since it was warned eight years ago that it had failed to “promote” the church’s teachings on three issues: the male-only priesthood, homosexuality and the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church as the means to salvation.”

U.S. Bishops have already decreed that the practice of Reiki (energy healing), which was apparently gaining quite a bit of popularity among some nuns, to be outside the bounds of Church doctrine. Will we soon see a crack-down on nuns who have shown hospitality to Goddess-groups in the past? The coming years may be some tough one for the more doctrinally liberal elements in the Catholic Church.

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!

Back in November I wrote a post about the remaining “occult crime experts” that still travel the country informing local law enforcement, parents, and community leaders about the “evil” that lurks within their neighborhoods. That particular post singled out retired police officer (and occult “expert”) Don Rimer. Rimer was singled out in the past by Kerr Cuhulain (himself a former police officer) as someone with a decidedly mixed track record of being fair and accurate.


Don Rimer

“I believe that Rimer is sincere … I think that he is making some effort to properly define Wicca to selected audiences. I think that he is doing this because he knows that people like me are watching and he is concerned about liability. I don’t believe for a minute that he knows the difference between Neo-Pagan religions and Satanism. Rimer has said that he is willing to listen and learn and I will endeavor to educate him.”

After my post Rimer appeared to defend his reputation in the comments section.

“I teach parents the warning signs. If that is fear, yes I teach fear … I teach law enforcement about the rituals. If that is fear, yes I teach fear … I will continue to teach, consult, and investigate Ritual Crime as long as those crimes are committed. I provide that service to local, state, and federal agencies across the United States and Canada.”

Since then he has popped up now and then to take issue with how I report on a story.

“You have written about me before, accusing me of hating Wiccans. Wrong, wrong, wrong.”

Well here we go again. WAVY in Virginia reports on the “vampires” in our midst, and guess who pops up as an “expert” in all things evil and vampiric? You guessed it!

“With the advent of Twilight and TrueBlood, we’re seeing people, not just children, not just teenagers, but people are starting to take on that kind of a lifestyle,” says [Don] Rimer. “Very reminiscent of what people did when Ann Rice wrote Interview with a Vampire . Now people are playing games.  New games are coming out. There’s new merchandising that is associated with this and as long as they play their games and conduct their behavior lawfully, no one has a problem with that, but we’re having crimes associated with it.”

The text really doesn’t do justice to the sensationalistic television segment, complete with strange camera angles, spooky lighting, fog, and sound effects. Rimer goes on to depict a couple high-profile crimes as connected to the vampire craze, and inserts only the barest whisp of a disclaimer regarding the millions of people who enjoy vampire-themed media or participate in the vampire subculture/lifestyle and don’t commit horrendous crimes.

“Like in any society, we have good and evil. There are people involved in that that have no intention of committing crimes and then those who do.”

After that CYA (cover your assets) moment, he quickly veers back into how dangerous the vampire life is.

“There are people in that culture (who) believe they have the right to take human blood by whatever means necessary.  Then others are just playing a game. It’s just a game. It’s a movie, it’s a book and we just want to look that way. We’re just going to go to a club, but there’s all kinds and children getting involved in that don’t know the difference.”

Oh, and like all occult “experts”, Rimer gives the vague checklist of “warning signs”. Wearing black, writing backwards, strange new friends, “dark” make-up, and the number “7″ (which he claims is the vampiric number). The kind of list that gives parents the excuse they need to ship their children off to boarding schools, and not face that the problem could be with them, not their kids. I’m not saying that the occasional occultist loon-bat doesn’t occasionally pop a gasket and do something horrible, but these “trends” of occultic crimes are all correlation without causation (and very often have very mundane motivations behind them). In fact, many “occult” crimes could have just as easily been “crazy Christian” crimes if the troubled souls in question had picked up a Bible instead of “Twilight”. Yet you don’t see retired police officers traveling the country informing people of the hazardous effects of improper Bible-reading, giving lists of Christian “warning signs” (prays a lot, starts quoting the Bible randomly, sees demons), and intoning darkly about the dangers of unsupervised Bible study.

By linking troubled teens and isolated crimes with any vague occult angle they cand find, ritual crime experts create a comforting fantasy world of a pervasive directed evil that can be fought. It is a narrative that says “if only we can prevent our children from reading/watching media concerning vampires/werewolves/the occult then we will be safe”. But like all fantasies it isn’t true. Horrible things still happen. They happen even when you remove all troubling literature and occult-laced media from the public eye. It is a fact that the remaining “ritual crime experts” fear to engage with, because they’d be out of a job if all of this was believed to be truly random and had more to do with isolated cases of mental illness than with what movies these people watch. No doubt Don Rimer will be along in the comments shortly to tell me how wrong I am…

A surviving remnant of the bad-ol’ “Satanic Panic” days are the “occult crime experts” who travel the country speaking in various small towns to law enforcement groups, school boards, and various churches. Spreading misinformation, sowing unwarranted fear of teen subcultures, and presenting isolated “ritual” crimes as part of a larger evil occult underground. A paper in Danville, Illinois gives unquestioning press-release coverage of just such an “expert”.

“Teenagers who like techno-rock music may sometimes be confused with teens fully into the “goth” look and music, Don Rimer pointed out to a group of 90 people who attended his “Ritual Crime & the Occult” seminar Wednesday in Danville … Rimer, an internationally recognized authority on the expanding youth sub-culture that embraces the occult, is a retired Virginia Beach police officer who now consults with agencies faced with bizarre ritual crimes. He also speaks to schools, churches, civic groups and professional organizations around the country, pointing out dangers teenagers face when they begin to dabble in the occult. Rimer told the group there are many signs teens display that can warn parents their child is feeling disassociated from his or her peers and ripe for recruitment by an array of predators who call themselves vampires, Satanists or any number of other occult followers.”

Gods forbid your child slides down the slippery slope from “techno-rock” (a term I have never heard a young person use) into “goth”! He or she would be a sitting duck for occult vampire Satanic predators! Rimer claims that kids who aren’t involved in “sports teams, church groups and other organizations” are especially endangered (I’m truly surprised the vampires didn’t get me). As for Rimer, it just so happens that he has had an initially good, but increasingly chilly and hostile relationship with modern Pagans. Kerr Cuhulain, a former police officer, who has spent a lot of time highlighting these “experts”, spoke with several Pagans unhappy with Rimer’s presentations.

“I have heard him speak and he does not, repeat does not like Wiccans. He thinks everything that is not Christian is Satanic and he does not like being corrected. I’ve tried to correct him in several talks that he had given locally and he does not appreciate being corrected, because he finds Satanism in everything that he does, including pentacles. He thinks pentacles are the work of Satan, and if you wear one, you are a Satanist. He is considered an ‘expert’ around here on occultism and the powers that be around here like calling him in to identify items found at crime scenes or in teen’s bedrooms as Satanic. He is almost becoming a one trick pony in that he finds what he seeks.”

The problem with these “experts” is that their misinformation can help create the very chaos they claim to want to prevent. A parent who once tolerated their son or daughter’s exploration of non-Christian faiths could quickly turn hostile once they are convinced that such activities are part of some sort of occult criminal conspiracy (not to mention the danger of local out Pagans being branded as “predators”). When joined with school officials and local law enforcement who believe the same thing, you soon have a self-fulfilling prophecy of alienation and suicidal thoughts. Rimer, in his obsession with all things “Satanic”, carries an infectious plague of intolerance and fear wherever he goes.