Damien Echols (Today I’ll be Wiccan, then tomorrow Buddhist. Maybe Hasidic Jew next.)
Recently there was a triple homicide in Florida that some local Barney Fife called a ‘Wiccan Ritual Killing’. More than likely the doughnut eater wouldn’t recognize anything Wicca if it bit him in the ass. Not surprisingly some in the Wiccan community had a problem with this. That’s totally understandable. They probably have every right to be.
One of those who took issue were Peg Aloi who writes a blog called The Witching Hour. I have no problem with Ms. Aloi personally. She is well within her right to stand up for her beliefs and educate those who may be ignorant about them. What I do take issue with is when Ms. Aloi compared this case to the West Memphis 3.
Ms. Aloi wrote in this blog post…
Indeed, for those unfamiliar with the West Memphis Three case, suffice it to say that three innocent young men were sent to prison for eighteen years after being convicted of a grisly triple murder of three boys in Arkansas in 1993. The murders were characterized as “cult killings” by local police, and a bogus “cult crime expert” gave ridiculous testimony that nevertheless painted supposed “ringleader” Damien Echols (a smart, sensitive 18 year old outcast who was dabbling in Wicca and other aspects of the occult at the time; he is now a practicing Buddhist and has been for a number of years) as a monster who had committed an act of ritual human sacrifice. The Witches’ Voice website covered the case in detail for years. The Three were released in 2011, and have been truing to rebuild their lives; the killer remains at large, although the case is still being investigated and one victim’s stepfather is the prime suspect.
First off the three were never innocent. They were all convicted and they were released on Alford pleas which as I’ve discussed before is still a guilty plea. Secondly the so-called bogus cult expert also holds several criminology and other degrees from brick and mortar universities and has studied under some of the country’s most decorated police investigators. The case is officially closed as far as law enforcement on any level is concerned and the victim’s stepfather is not a prime suspect as I previously stated the investigation is officially closed. But that’s not what I wanted to talk about.
Damien Echols was never Wiccan in my opinion and the Wiccan and Pagan communities do themselves a disservice by holding him up as one of their own. Echols would use terms like Wiccan or Satanic to make him look like some kind of counterculture badass in the Bible Belt of Arkansas. I don’t know too many Wiccans that stomp dogs to death. I may not be the most prolific student of the ways of Wicca but I believe this goes against its tenets of nature, Hell (no pun intended), even Satanists say in the 10th Satanic Rule of the Earth “Do not kill non-human animals unless you are attacked or for your food.” Ironically the 9th Rule states “Do not harm little children.” but I’ll let that one go for now.
As I have said before the killings were not occult killings but cult killings, the cult of Damien Echols, much like in the mold of Charles Manson. By all accounts of his mental history Echols has always leaned towards violent psychopathy and the three true victims, Steve Branch, Michael Moore, and Christopher Byers, were his opportunity to make a name for himself. He even has a name for his fans/followers as he calls them Chupacabras like he’s in some kind of band. That seems very cult-like to me. Very reminiscent of David Koresh.
He uses Wicca as an excuse for his actions and by holding him up as a persecuted Wiccan martyr you’re doing a grave disservice to the Wiccan community at large.
I bear no vitriol or ill-will towards Ms. Aloi and I don’t want my readers to either. I’m just trying to point out discrepancies much like she did to the media.