October 29, 2010
Posted: 01:07 PM ET
With Halloween just two days away, the LKL blog asked Dr. Katherine Ramsland of Investigation Discovery’s “American Occult” 5 Questions about the not so spooky, but rather, very scary real life killers and their link to ritualistic dark subcultures.
Ghosts and ghouls have nothing on these satanic worshipping killers. Read below to find out more!
LKL BLOG: Your show “American Occult” deals with strange rituals, kidnappings, and other mysteries, do these occurrences increase around Halloween?
Dr. Ramsland: They don’t increase so much, but they certainly get more visibility around Halloween because people are very aware about dark things, there are a lot of T.V. programs and what not that focus on Halloween, but typically people who are attracted to this kind of thing are doing it at anytime of the year.
LKL BLOG: What’s scarier to you – the supernatural, such as ghosts, or real-life folks involved in underground cults?
Dr. Ramsland: Well definitely the real life things because ghosts aren’t really that scary to me. I’ve been in many haunted houses and what not and ghosts don’t hurt you and keep you prisoner and torture you and things like that the way people can do. The kinds of things people think up to do to others is to me so creepily inventive and that’s what fascinates me and that’s really what is scary. People are really capable of doing some of the things we portray in the program.
LKL BLOG: How common are these subcultures?
Dr. Ramsland: Well, it’s hard to say because so many of them operate in secret. Only when someone gets arrested or somebody turns in the others do we find out about them. It’s hard to put a number on it. I wouldn’t say they are common, but I would say they could pop up really literally anywhere in the country.
LKL BLOG: In one episode – “Savage Sin,” women are brutally murdered until police finally discover their murders are linked to a group of cannibalistic devil worshippers, what are these killers thinking?
Dr. Ramsland: Well, this really started with a guy who had a really sick breast fetish and he talked three other guys, who were kind of losers into helping him abduct these women. He would take piano wire and cut off their breasts. Then he and the others would have sexual contact with the wounds while the women were alive! He apparently, he had a fetish, and for him, these women were just objects for his own gratification and he got these other guys because he needed them to help him with the abductions. So, he would use the idea that they were doing this for satanic purposes so that they would actually use these body parts that they had cut off, they would consume them, they’d go to an alter and consume them. The promise was more power. These were powerless, loser guys, so they were attracted to that aspect, whereas he was attracted to the torture and murder of these women.
LKL BLOG: What are you hoping people will retain out of watching “American Occult?”
Dr. Ramsland: I think there are several levels. One is, people are fascinated by creepy stories and in particular, how someone became the way they are. How does this even enter in peoples’ minds? There is a whole psychology of it that is somewhat educational. But also, you really want to see that these are people who might live next door to you. We have a 17 year old boy who decided he needed his father’s head for a satanic ritual, so he murdered both of his parents and removed his father’s head to burn in a bowl. But then he was going to go out into the community and start killing a lot of other people because he wanted to be famous. It’s important that people see that when we give a lot of attention to these kinds of kids, we might be inspiring somebody else. Also, not everyone who seems to be okay around you is okay. Some people need more intervention. I think you’ll see that. If you know of a cult for example, living on a farm, they may seem like ordinary, keep to themselves kinds of people, but in one of those stories, that cult kills an entire family of five and puts them into a mass grave. So if neighbors had been paying more attention, perhaps that family would be alive.
Filed under: 5 Questions
From around the web
Go Behind The Scenes
LARRY KING LIVE'S Emmy-winning Senior Executive Producer Wendy Walker knows what it takes to make a great story.
With anecdotes, provocative emails, scandals, show transcripts and insights into Walker's long working relationship with Larry King, her new book PRODUCER issues readers an invitation to listen in on the most intriguing conversations on the planet.