In the Middle Ages, the Devil appeared everywhere as a legendary figure who was responsible for spreading evil and brutality on earth and attempting to lead the faithful to perdition.

In today’s world, demons still exist in the form of Satanism, a destructive and deadly belief in the supremacy of evil. Far from having disappeared, Satan’s shadow falls in places where it is least expected, lurking in everyday life, just beneath the surface.

On October 24, 2018, America was shocked by the story of two female students who had plotted to kill their classmates at Bartow High School in Florida.

In a press conference after the plot had come to light, Sheriff Joe Hall explained the gravity of the incident. “They wanted to kill at least 15 children,” he began, “and were waiting in the toilet for the chance to kill a younger student whose body they could use in their ceremony.”

The case reminded Americans of the Dark Ages, when fear of demons, fanatics, and black magic haunted ordinary people.

A typical case

Bartow County is located in the heart of Florida, south of Lakeland, with many churches and a large Catholic population. The residents of this peaceful area were shocked by the two pre-teens’ horrific plans.

The would-be killers, aged 11 and 12 respectively, were conspiring to commit murder, possessing a weapon on school property, and disrupt a school campus. The police seized their weapons as evidence and the haul included several kitchen knives, a meat cleaver, a pizza cutter, and a glass goblet that they planned to drink their victims’ blood out of during a special “conjuring ceremony.”


An exhibit of the weapons that the two female students were preparing to use (

The heinous acts were fortunately prevented when one of the suspects blurted out to another student to stay away from school, because “something bad is about to happen.” Alerted by school administrators, police found the two female students hiding in the restrooms.

At the home of one of the suspects, the police found a manuscript containing the phrase “killing in the toilet.” The co-conspirators’ text messages also revealed their terrifying designs: “We will leave their boy parts at the entrance to the school,” they wrote, “and then commit suicide.”

Their handwritten note shows the perpetrators’ intent to kill (Twitter/ WFLA news)

According to the police, the two girls intended to hide in the toilet stalls where they would wait for the younger students to come in, to kill them. With this foul deed accomplished, both hoped that after death they would go to hell to meet their master, Satan. The last message between the two girls was a text: “Today is a lesson about health. Thank you Satan,” they wrote, “for we are doing this.”

Speaking to the press, Sheriff Joe Hall said: “Last night when I observed them taking their testimony, it became clear to me it was not a joke.” Bartow County Police opened an investigation to search for accomplices who they believed encouraged the two girls to become Satan worshippers.

School plot

BARTOW SCHOOL PLOT: Police update on two girls planning a stabbing spree at Bartow Middle School:

FOX 13 News – Tampa Bayさんの投稿 2018年10月24日水曜日

Sheriff Joe Hall: “I believe this is not a joke” (Facebook/ Fox 13 news)

Many tragedies in the U.S. have taken place over the past few years due to the poor mental health of the perpetrators who seemingly delighted in committing crimes against innocent bystanders. The thought that schoolchildren may be being drawn into this trend is even more frightening. The case at Bartow reminded Americans about the presence of Satanism, which has long haunted the country.

The terror of Satanism

On the hot summer night of June 28, 1984, Mrs. Jennie Vincow (aged 79) opened an apartment window in Glassell Park, Los Angeles, to get some fresh air. At that moment, a shadow suddenly appeared through the window and subdued the ill-fated senior. A few hours later, her body was discovered by her son; he lived in the apartment above.

Those present at the scene were deeply shocked by the perpetrator’s cruelty. The victim’s body had been stabbed many times and her throat was viciously cut.

The case shook the U.S., and many believed the killer was a Satanist. From June 1984 to August 1985, 13 consecutive murders occurred in Los Angeles and San Francisco, perplexing the police. All the victims were deprived of their lives by a masked man in the same manner as Mrs. Vincow, leading to the Los Angeles Herald Examiner dubbing the perpetrator the “Murderer of the Night.”

The murderer carefully planned home intrusions and killed his victims outside. The killer baffled the police when he deliberately left a “calling card,” a symbol on the wall or floor, or even on the victim’s body.

The symbol was none other than a pentagram (a 5-pointed star), the symbol of Satan. The murderer’s victims were diverse in age, gender, and ethnicity;  whether men or women, children or adults, people living in the city all felt insecure because he did not exclude anyone from his murderous wrath.

All of these circumstances encouraged investigators to focus on the Satanic nature of the acts. The whole of Los Angeles was littered with leaflets of the portrayed murderer, and city dwellers were on high alert.

But the murderer evaded capture and continued his reign of terror across California: on April 17, 1985, outside of Lake Merced, near San Francisco; on August 25, 1985, in Mission Viejo.

It wasn’t until the perpetrator’s car was found in the Rampart area of Los Angeles that the police finally had a lead. The fingerprint on the car was confirmed to belong to a criminal who had previously been convicted of theft, named Ricardo Ramirez. The dragnet was tightening, and Ramirez was eventually arrested.

After his capture, the murderer’s grisly background was revealed. Ricardo Ramirez was born into a large, poor family, yet his mother always did her best to raise them. She successfully educated five children, except her youngest son, Ricardo.

From a young age, when the mother took all six children to church to study the Bible, Ricardo Ramirez rebelled. He instead frequented libraries to read books about Satan and demons, inviting evil to take root within him.

The perpetrator left the mark of Satanists, a hand gesture symbolizing a goat’s head (Twitter/ Richard Ramirez)

As an adult, Ricardo Ramirez had three passions: martial arts, intoxicants, and rock music. His idols were the hard rock bands Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, and these musicians celebrated Satan through both their lyrics and album cover photos. Perhaps because of listening to this kind of music, Ramirez discovered a greater passion: devotion to Satan in stories of mysterious rituals.

In 1989, in the Southern California courtroom, Ricardo Ramirez threatened the judge and reporters by showing a five-pointed star symbol tattooed on his palm and saying: “I have surpassed good and evil. I will get revenge. Lucifer lives in everyone. That’s it.”

Ricardo Ramirez was sentenced to death with charges of causing 13 murders, 11 sexual assaults, and 14 theft cases. He was only 29 years old.

Why is Satanism so appealing to young people?

According to the Finnish police, most criminals involved in drug trafficking and violence are young people. Many of them are “rookies,” from 10 to 15 years old. and are involved in Satan worship.

“I believe in a completely selfish life,” said one teenager, a member of a popular Satanist group. “Doing all the things people consider evil makes me happy. Sin gives me emotional, physical, and mental satisfaction.”

Ostensibly, it is understood that Satanic sects promise that people will receive everything they desire in return for sacrificing very little, with the exception of, alarmingly, their lives.

Diego Rivera and Miguel Alvarez-Florez charged with murder in Houston, Texas. Both belong to the Salvadorean MS-13 gang and are Satanists (Steve Gonzales / AP)

Increasing numbers of young people who are affiliated with Satanism are even willing to commit suicide because they believe that they will “ascend and be promoted in another life” to positions of power. The dark mysteries of this cult arouse the natural curiosity and ambition of youth.

In the Satanic Bible, Anton LaVey, the “father” of the Satan Worship Society and the founder of the official Church of Satan, wrote: “When you serve Satan, you will become eternal. In the next life, you will rule the world, and everyone will bow before you.”

Global reverberations

Many countries in the world are confronted with devotees of Satan. The Italian police have been struggling with a wave of crimes related to the worship of demons in recent years. Many priests of the Vatican have even joined the Squadra Anti Sette protection team (SAS) after the Papacy became concerned about many churches being destroyed by Satan worshippers.

Sheriff Gianni de Gennaro reported that there are at least 8,000 Satanic sects throughout Italy comprising 600,000 members, and their ranks are growing.

South Africa, a land of immensely strong religious tradition, is also battling the trend of devotion to Satan. In the book Revealing the Devil, the country’s former top law enforcement official wrote a startling passage: “South Africa has entered a new era fraught with dangers, such as drugs, AIDS, and demonic activity.”

Today, South Africa is facing the fact that Satanism is infiltrating high schools and draws many students toward worshipping demons. The situation is so critical that psychologists, sociologists, teachers, priests, and police have had to prevent teenagers from macabre rituals in which groups of 11 to 13-year-olds were found slaughtering animals, cutting themselves, and drinking human blood outside of school.

A police unit was sent to Tafelsig High School at Mitchells Plain in Cape Town, where it was reported that a group of around 15 high school students was performing strange rituals in the Fan Swartklip Park near the school.

In order to avoid being seen, the children met at the park on Wednesdays and Fridays to perform ceremonies that involved self-mutilation.

From its headquarters at the Black House in San Francisco, the Church of Satan has established roots in South America with large branches in Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, and Argentina. In Argentina alone, there are approximately 90,000 identified Satan worshippers, mostly young people who have been lured away from Catholicism by duplicitous promises.

Shane Westhoelter, director of the National Information Network (USA), claims that about 30 to 40% of high school students in America participate in occult rituals, while 70% of criminals under the age of 17 are affiliated with Satan worshipping groups.

The legendary figure of the Devil has certainly outlived mythology to become a tangible presence in our modern world.