Satan, the ultimate scapegoat and boogeyman. Centuries ago, the Catholic Church used the Prince of Darkness to scare western Europe into submission, and as a convenient excuse to torture and execute those who spoke out against the organization's hegemony. In the 1980s, a rash of news stories and urban legends about occult rituals, dark magic, and brutal murders shook America. Little of it was true, and the hysteria is now know as the Satanic Panic. From metal bands that use Satanic imagery and lyrics to the criminals on this list who invoke the devil as their guiding hand, Lucifer has become something of a catchall of evil in the Western world.
When it comes to devil worship and possession, things get very messy, very fast; it's hard to tell someone they weren't possessed if they totally believe they were. Each possessed killer on this list blamed their crimes on the devil. Whether or not the people on these people were telling the truth about whatever caused them to commit their crimes doesn't matter. What does matter is they all committed truly heinous crimes, supposedly because the devil told them to.
In 2008, a gang of at least half-a-dozen self-professed Satanists led Nikolai Ogolobyak lured four teenagers into the woods outside of Yaroslavl, Russia, and proceeded to stab each one of them exactly 666 times. As reported by The Daily Mail: "The killers... allegedly lit a bonfire under a tree near their cottage in Russia's Yaroslavl region, 300 miles north-east of Moscow, where they cooked and ate their victims' body parts. The body of a small rodent crucified on an upside-down cross was also found."
The crimes of Ogolobyak's gang were so gruesome the gang's trial was closed to the public. Six members of the gang, four of whom were teenagers when they committed their crimes, were sentenced to up to 20 years in prison in 2011. When arrested, one of the members of the gang allegedly said "Satan will help me to avoid responsibility, I made lots of sacrifices to him".
In 2011, then 18-year-old Moises Meraz-Espinoza strangled his mother, Amelia, and then mutilated her lifeless body before skinning her, removing her organs, and cutting the body into pieces with a circular saw. Slices of skin and flesh were later found stacked in a freezer. Amelia’s skull was found in a backpack. All of her teeth and both eyes were removed, and two upside-down crosses were carved into the bone.
"Investigators recovered a satanic bible with a chapter on human sacrifice near the crime scene, and prosecutors argued that the killing had been a satanic ritual, according to the Long Beach Press-Telegram. Prosecutors claimed that the date of death corresponded to a day of human or animal sacrifice in the satanic calendar, and cited the accused’s tattoos of satanic imagery as evidence of his involvement in satanism."
The judge in the case called Meraz-Espinoza's crimes "disgusting, hideous, and vulgar".
In 1981 and 1982, the Ripper Crew cruised Chicago and its suburbs in a red van looking for women to abduct, rape, mutilate, and murder. The crew had four members (Robin Gecht, Edward Spreitzer, and brothers Andrew and Thomas Kokoraleis), whose actions were guided by a self-designed Satanic ritualism. Their rituals involved sex and cannibalism; they amputed women's breasts, usually while they were still alive, and ate them. In 1982, a victim who survived her encounter with the Ripper crew provided police with detailed descriptions of each man and they can they used. Gecht never confessed to murder, but was sentenced to 120 years in prison for rape and mutilation. Spreitzer was sentenced to death, though when Illinois banned the death penalty, this was commuted to a life sentence. Andrew Kokoraleis was executed in 1999, and his brother was sentenced to 70 years.
This headline from NY Daily News says it all: "Milwaukee roommates Rebecca Chandler and Raven Larabee arrested for satanic sex torture". According to the article, an 18-year-old man from Arizona traveled to Wisconsin for a threesome after meeting two women - Rebecca Chandler and her roommate Raven Larabee - online. Upon arrival, he was tied up with duct tape and, during the course of a two-day sex marathon, cut with a knife more than 300 times. Chandler claims the victim was okay with the cutting, it just got a bit out of hand.
Police found a number of books relating to the occult, magic, and and Satanism in the apartment, including The Necromantic Ritual Rule Book, The Werewolf's Guide to Life, and Intro to Sigilborne Spirits.