It’s the stuff of insipid Hollywood films: cults in which Satan worshippers drink the blood of animals and make human sacrifices during special ceremonies.
But for Laura, who was born into such a world in the Muenster region in western Germany, it’s a bit closer to reality. She’s managed to escape the cult, but it was a long, painful process.
“My father was well respected in the sect and he started training me at a young age to do what the circle wanted,” she explained. “That I allow everything to be done with me, that I wouldn’t cry or scream or respond to the pain, and that I would not say anything to anyone outside the group. We were supposed to do what the higher power wanted.”
For Laura, the higher power used to be Satan, and she said she was forced to accept pain, torture and rape in his name. But it also meant that she had to lead to parallel life. To the outside world, she presented herself as a normal schoolgirl; in the other, secret world, she was a servant at black masses and Satanic rituals.
“I was expected to be completely obedient to men,” she said. “When I was supposed to prostitute myself, then I was told that the higher power wanted the circle to have money.”
The money went straight into the group’s coffers, and it was the group who chose the clients.
Marburg-based religion expert Adelheid Herrmann-Pfandt said Laura’s parents exposed her to a Satanic cult that is particularly worrying – one that celebrates an especially brutal form of Satanism and keeps itself out of the public’s eye.
“Those who conduct these really extreme practices are not recognizable in society,” Herrmann-Pfandt said. “They don’t go running around with upside-down crucifixes in their hands. They want to stay under the radar their entire lives.”
Brigitte Hahn, the sect commissioner for the Catholic Diocese of Muenster, agreed. She said 30 victims of such Satanic cults have sought help from her office. Some of the women described black masses, which also included ritualistic abortions and even murder.
In 2008, Hahn sent around a survey to 2,000 doctors and therapists in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, of which Muenster is a part. Some 120 responded saying they had female patients who had suffered violence in Satanic groups.
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