Don Rimer, controversial ‘expert’ on occult crimes, passes away

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Last Saturday retired police officer Donald H. Rimer passed away.

He was, by all accounts, a successful law enforcement professional with a career at the Virginia Beach, VA. Police Department spanning 34 years.

But during the mid-eighties Don Rimer also managed to establish himself as an internationally known authority on ‘Ritual Crime and the Occult’ — which he referred to as ‘the new youth subculture.’

This was at the height of the so-called ‘Satanic Panic’ period when the media was full of hysterical reports (read: urban legends) about ‘Satanists,’ ‘Pagans,’ ‘Witches’ and others who used secret underground networks to traffic in stolen children.

There were sensational reports about the sexual torture of children and the ritual sacrifice of babies. Stories appeared in newspapers and on Usenet of people who, all or not with the help of therapists, had ‘recovered’ memories about their early childhoods in which they had been subjected to ‘satanic ritual abuse.’

Those who believed they themselves might have been victims of such crimes were warned against contacting the authorities, as many law enforcement officers, judges and other authority figures were said to be undercover Satanists.


The story of this period of hysteria can be read in the book, “Satanic Panic,” by Jeffrey S. Victor.

Unfortunately, Rimer — who presented seminars on the occult to police departments, justice agencies, schools and churches throughout the US and Canada — very much contributed to this Satanic Panic.

While some observers considered him fair and sincere, most people familiar with the subjects Rimer addressed claimed he misrepresented minority faiths. They included Pagans, Witches, vampires, and even Goths and people who are into role-playing games.

Many pagans and witches viewed him as an uninformed fear-monger.

To their credit, many in the Pagan and vampire groups — communities much affected by Rimer’s work — have called for respect for those he leaves behind.

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This post was last updated: Jan. 26, 2012