Satanic and Cult-Related Murder



·         Crime Scene Elements (a quick guide on p. 206)

o       Circle of salt

§         Usually used in Type I, not as much with II and III

§         Any amount of salt would be suspected of a ritualistic crime scene

§         Bowls of salt of different color mean different rituals (p. 203)

o       Candles

§         Important role in ritual

§         Black and white candles signify Type I, different colored signify Type II and III, mostly when profiling look for the wax unless you get lucky with the actual candles

·         Only one white candle is used for Type I

o       Destruction or mockery of Christian symbols

§         Inverted crosses hung above an alter, animal that was sacrificed above an alter, broken Christian statues, crosses, crucifixes, etc.

o       Satanic symbols (p. 204)

§         Drawings of a hexagram or inverted pentagram enclosed in a circle, Satanic alphabet, mark of the beast (666), swastika only if other Satanic symbols are around it

o       Blood

§         Type I may leave human and animal sacrifice ritual scenes, but this is rare if planned because blood and other “things” are used in the ritual of blood, in the ritual of burning, most of the time no blood is found

o       Bodies

§         Usually bodies won’t be found because at the end of rituals, bodies are moved/buried so that the soul can come back later for reincarnation

§         Burned bodies will mostly be left though, these 2 reflect Type I Satanists, if the body is found, more than likely it is by accident than investigation

§         Type II and III are more disorganized by leaving the body at the ritual scene

o       Animals

§         Usually small – dogs, cats, frogs, rabbits, etc.

§         Mostly due to Type III

§         Usually a goat is the main sacrifice, if a goat is not sacrificed then profilers know it isn’t a Type I but more of a Type III





Holmes, R. M., & Holmes, S. T. (2002). Profiling satanic and cult-related murders. In R. M. Holmes, & S. T. Holmes (Eds.), Profiling violent crimes: An investigative tool (3rd ed.) (pp. 185–207). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.


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