Murders motivated by the occult are always feared most of all, not only for the grisly actions of those involved, but the motivation which is often inexplicable and entirely senseless to the rest of us. And the case of the teenage run cult of Satanists that murdered their victims and then cannibalized them is no exception. Between the 29th and 30th of June in 2008 dark forces were at work when a group of Satanists lured four teenagers into the woods and ate them.
The murders sent a shudder through the town of Yaraslavi some 150 miles from Moscow City. The town, previous to the murders, was best known for its beautiful cathedrals and architecture paying an homage to divine forces. Russia’s Golden Ring of tourist destinations, however, have no doubt been adversely affected by the incident. As the details of the grisly murders are released bit by bit to the public as the trials go on one can only wonder what could change a person to make them a cultist with either no will of their own or murderous and evil intentions. The details have been a constant horrifying reminder to the families of the victims with no end in sight as the case continues to be heard out of the eye of the Russian public. Still, occasionally a piece of information leaks out. Most recently the public has learned that the murdered victims were actually eaten in a dark ritual misleadingly intended to imbue the cultists with dark powers.
There will be no shortage of questions left in the wake of such seemingly inhuman events, but one of the most striking is one that has followed psychologists and sociologists since the inception of their practices: What could drive a human being to act so far outside the realm of what is considered acceptable? And furthermore, how could one’s identity be so stripped from them that they associate themselves more with a horrible murderous appetite than the compassion and empathy so many in the majority feel?
The answer may have already been revealed with years of cult studies. Dr. Michael Langone has taken great strides toward a collective understanding of the cult mentality. Those involved in the cult mentality often adopt an “us vs. them” mentality that polarizes morality, or rather an understanding of accepted behaviors. Satanic cults generally emphasize power over humanity and compassion. The polarized thinking is one of acquisition either for themselves or for a predetermined “leader.” In addition, these sorts of cults often feel the need to push the envelope in order to facilitate and reaffirm their philosophies, being driven ever farther from the brink of rationality in order to enact a series of often improvised rituals that emphasize those philosophies. Taboo is often an emphasis of these cults as the motivation of the cultists is one of rebellion and is often pathologically motivated rather than their claimed motivation for the acquisition of power. Of course the understanding of these dangerous and violent brands of cult are still in the process of being discovered and understood.
Still, even when we make an attempt to explain behaviors such as these some cannot help but wonder if there really is another force at work. Though it’s clear the cultists achieved nothing but a complete loss of the things they were attempting to acquire, could their misery have been the intended result of something far more sinister than mental illness mixed with group mentality?