By Omar W. Rosales, J.D.,
Author of ‘American Cult’
One of the revelations in the trial of Keith Raniere is that he insisted on his followers consuming his semen to download his energy and aura. Did Raniere actually believe it worked?
For thousands of years, people believed that consuming human flesh and body fluids would bestow energy and power. Some groups used war captives and children of tribute areas as their source for flesh, bones, and blood. Neolithic burial sites show bones with cut marks where tendons were removed so flesh could be harvested.
The Mexica (Aztec) Empire demanded tribute from neighboring tribes in the form of children and females to harvest for sacrifice. The Korowai tribe of Papua New Guinea cooked and consumed the flesh of people they believed were possessed. By eating the flesh of the victim, the demon, they believed, would depart and leave the community.
Crowley aka ‘The Beast of England’
Aleister Crowley was an occultist during the Victorian, Edwardian, and World War I and II eras in England.
He challenged societal norms and social practices to achieve fame, notoriety, contempt, and hate. Crowley favored Nazism and Communism because they were subversive and embraced dissident politics which provided him with publicity and attention.
Crowley claimed to be a magician and developed a movement known as Thelema. He said that Magick was a way to conform the natural world to a person’s will and that science is a follow-on manifestation of Magick. [He spelled magic as magick]. Whereas the original magic would use spells, talismans, and ceremonies to meet a goal, science could meet that same goal using physical objects and principles of Newtonian physics, electrical circuits, and matter.
In some of Crowley’s ceremonies, participants would consume cakes made of flour, semen, and menstrual fluid. The idea was a self-created human Eucharist that would harness the power of the original man or woman, to bestow an archetype of power to consumers of the cakes. Crowley included his recipes for seminal and menstrual cakes in his books.
Did Crowley actually believe it? Or were these ceremonies done for publicity and notoriety?
Maybe both. Crowley loved to shock people. He may have believed the cakes would bestow energy and power. He enjoyed the spotlight. He enjoyed being the provocateur and center of attention.
If Crowley wanted fame, he achieved it from his self-promotion as the Beast. He is not remembered for his political views, but for his occult practices. His consumption of body fluids served both of Crowley’s goals – to shock the audience and create a new religion. He has many followers today.
Then there are serial killers who recreate Satanic rituals because they believe they are worshiping Satan through murder. An example is Richard Ramirez of Los Angeles, also known as Nightstalker.
Ramirez carried out a series of killings in Southern California in the early 1980s. Ramirez’s first victim was a 9-year-old girl named Mei Leung. The Nightstalker would typically engage his victims via a nighttime sneak attack, a vicious beating and prolonged rape of the female victims. During the attacks, Ramirez would demand that female victims swear to Satan. At his trial, Ramirez carved a pentagram on his left hand and displayed it for cameras. Ramirez said that after his death, he would sit at Satan’s table and serve at the Devil’s left hand.
Ramirez died of cancer in June 2013. He had been on California’s death row for 23 years.
As a child, Ramirez experienced several concussions and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) events at the hands of his abusive father. This may have caused his delusions and psychosis. Did Ramirez believe he was worshipping Satan? Or were his actions a byproduct of his delusions, psychosis, and TBI?
Brain scans of serial killers show lower activity in the pre-frontal cortex – the area that manages aggression, concentration, and impulse control. But no brain scans were ever done of the Nightstalker, so we will never be 100% percent certain.
What about Keith Raniere? Did he believe he had miraculous powers? The power to change the weather, to make others see blue lights, or set off radar detectors?
I don’t think so.
I believe Keith used his ‘magical abilities’ as a tool of control, a way to measure how gullible or naive his followers were. If someone accepted his teachings and the explanations of his great power – then that person was seen as an easy mark. An easy target that would yield and follow Keith to the letter. In this sense, Keith did not believe in his own abilities. Instead, he saw the con as a tool to gauge how far he could manipulate people.
If a follower believed in Vanguard’s saint-like powers, that person could be controlled.
The ingestion of his semen, slaves branded with Keith’s mark, slave armies designed in clusters of 6-6-6, signing over unborn children – I believe – were devised simply to see how far Raniere could push someone. It was his yardstick to see how far followers would go.
By breaking societal norms and challenging established religions, Raniere could gauge what boundaries his followers would break, how far an acolyte was willing to go, what they were willing to do.
Raniere’s plans included planning and staging crimes to measure followers’ devotion. These crimes would include break-ins and thefts. Would murder have been next?
Raniere relished giving himself the powers of the state. For only the state can sanction murder, robbery, and crime in a society and call it ‘Police Power’ or ‘Military Authority’.
Oops! I seem to have caused that Thunderbolt too!
Did Keith actually believe he had superpowers? When he fled the United States, Raniere switched to encrypted communications to mask his locations. Yet, why would he need to hide his emails if he could disrupt electronics at will? Why did he need to fear the police if he could create snowstorms?
Just conjure up a blizzard in June if you are afraid of cops coming to your estate. Instead, he hid in a closet when they came and sent Lauren Salzman to the front to protect him.
Raniere’s actions do not match his philosophy and purported abilities. Why did Vanguard leave the USA? Because he knew he broke laws, and the FBI was on his trail. The jig was up.
This is the conman. The con knows it’s a con. To them, magic is not a mystical act. Magic is the deceptive appearance, the acceptance from fools that believe anything you tell them. That is true magic for a grifter, reiver, and con artist – such as Keith Raniere.