Yes, here's yet another entry into this exposé on Geraldo's exposé blah blah blah. If you don't know what this is, catch up here. When last we left Geraldo, he was interrupted by the SATAN HUNTER himself, the portly Tom Wedge, and tried to convince us that the murder of Steven Newberry was because of album covers, also Ozzy Osborn complained about being the victim of a witch hunt. We're just barely a half hour into this shit-show and finally, finally, Geraldo has the Satanists speak!
Why is she on the Show:
Zeena Schreck (as she goes by now) is the daughter of Anton LeVey, the founder of the Church of Satan. Geraldo has her on the show to explain what Satanism, the religion is all about.Geraldo starts by asking Zeena how big her father's church is. She tells him it's worldwide, with a membership in the thousands (at the time). Then stammers about how the religion itself is a legal operation. She is clearly a little nervous.Geraldo gets frustrated with her for not answering the question directly. He then cuts her off and begins questioning Michael Anquino, then leader of the Temple of Set.
The Thing About Zeena Schreck:
Zeena Lavey at the time was a member of her father's religion. At the time, she tried to get her father to respond to the accusations that were being made against their church. Anton apparently, could care less. However, when Zeena pointed out that silence would be viewed as an admission of guilt. Still, LaVey the Elder couldn't be bothered. When Zeena offered to do the job on a temporary basis, he agreed and likely went back to realigning his ceremonial gong, or whatever it is he did in his free time.
As she says in the video below, she was thrust into the position and was unprepared for it. So you can kind of understand why she has trouble forming a response to Geraldo's asinine questions. However, she is an expert on the subject of Satanism and the occult. She even worked with law enforcement in California to educate them on Satanism. Actually providing them with facts rather than paranoid nonsense.
In an ironic twist, Zeena did the same thing a lot of these alleged Satanic teenagers did: She became disenfranchised with her upbringing and renounced the Satanic Church, legally changed her last name, and became the high priestess of the Temple of Set. She later became a Tantric Buddist. However, she proved that you can rebel against your parents, find a new religion, and not murder anybody.
Credibility: Unfair to Judge
As mentioned above, Zeena was tossed into this position by her father and had a steep learning curve to overcome. Also, she doesn't get to say a whole lot before Geraldo cuts her offand turns things over to Aquino. In hindsight, she is a very brilliant and usually very well spoken individual. Her knowledge base on true Satanism and the occult is incredible given her positions in various religions regarding such matters. It's a shame she didn't get to say much here, especially since so much of the spotlight was given to charlatans and lunatics. However, she will have her moment later on in the special, so don't write her off just yet.
Why He's On the Show:
Geraldo mistakes Aquino as being a Satanist. He's not, he's actually a Setianist, worshiping the Egyptian god known as Set. But we'll get into that later. Geraldo, likely had him on the show because of his past association with the Chuch of Satan, and the fact held the rank of Colonel of the United States Military at the time. When Geraldo starts asking him about Satanism, Aquino fires the best counter-point of this entire dog and pony show:
“There are some confusions tonight because this same term means something different to Satanists than it does Christians in the United States. By our own standards, the people you have shown in these film clips would not be Satanists, either in the present or the past. Rather, they would be considered failures of a more conventional religion.”
— Michael Aquino, 1988
When Geraldo asks Michael to describe what Satanism is to him, he's pretty straightforward.
“Well, originally when the Chruch of Satan was founded it composed not of people with a hatred of Christianity, but of people who by-and-large were Agnostics and Atheists... They felt the institutions that arisen around Christianity failed in their moral commitment. So Satanism became a focus on rational self-interest and taking responsibility for your own intellectual and ethical decisions.” - Michael Aquino, 1988
Well, Geraldo is having none of this "rational self-interest", what he says next is absolutely mind-blowing stupid, not to mention an unbridled expression of his absolute ignorance toward these people, their faith, and the facts. First, however, let's talk a little more about Aquino...
The Thing About Aquino
As I said above, Aquino at this point is not a member of the Church of Satan, while he joinedthe organization in 1969, he eventually became disenfranchised with the direction of the Church he left the organization in 1975. Aquino was more into esoterism and disliked that the Church of Satan was becoming like a "carnival show". He soon founded the Temple of Set, which is to the uninformed is mind-numbingly more complex and vastly different than the Church of Satan. Whereas Satanism is as Aquino explains above, the Temple wanted to practice serious occultism. I gave it a read and it is far, far too heavy for me to even try to explain it without devoting a lot of time to research it and meet my deadlines. The literature on the Temple of Set can be found on their website, or if you prefer the Coles Notes version, Wikipedia.
Where Aquino fits into this whole Satanic Panic though is for a few things that have nothing to do with his religious beliefs, but rather because of prejudice for his station in life. His detractors colluded his faith with the Christian definition of Satanism and given his profession, assumed that there was something nefarious going on.By this point in time, Aquino had been in the military for many years. His was an expert on psychological warfare and fought in the Vietnam War. He had a spotless career who earned his high rank in the United States Military.
Also around this time, Aquino found himself dragged into the Presidio Day-Care scandal, where children were alleging that they were being sexually abused by their teacher. Leading the accusations against Aquino was military Chaplin Larry Adams- Thompson. Aquino wrote a very informative book, "Extreme Prejudice: The Presidio "SatanicAbuse" Scam " about the whole experience. It is a very, very detailed, account of the religious persecution that he suffered because of the prejudice of another man in the service, and it was all for some big cash payout. His account is also supported by a lengthy appendix of correspondence that supports everything he says. Larry Adams-Thompson, if you are reading this right now, you are a disgusting human being.
Even though Aquino has worked hard to clear his name of any wrongdoing, he is still a target of conspiracy nuts who accuse him of being part of a Satanic infiltration of the United States government, among other, more ridiculous, such as David Icke's assertion that he is really a member of the alien shape-shifting race called a "Reptilians" that have been seeking to take over the world for centuries.Finding Aquino's story fascinating, and seeing that he was easily reachable on the internet, I decided to drop him a line and ask for his perspective on his experience on the show. He had this to say:
“Geraldo had done some previous regular shows scare-hyping the ongoing “SRA” national hysteria, so I was under no illusions that his planned special would be an objective expose. The message was: You can either participate and talk about yourself, or we’ll talk about you and say that you refused to respond. So obviously I accepted.”
Michael Aquino, April 4, 2018
His involvement in the show is explained in more detail in "Extreme Prejudice", and how I see this is that he was basically blackmailed into participation because of what was going on in his personal life. However, Aquino had this to say:
“In fairness, and presumably because I did participate, I recall Geraldo not attacking me personally during the special, indeed speaking up on my behalf. Off-camera he was courteous and polite. I remember his asking me to please keep my wording as simple as possible, since I sometimes use academic terminology and “we are broadcasting to an audience with an average 13-year-old mentality”.”
Michael Aquino, April 4, 2018
Aquino is a highly intelligent man with a doctorate, a highly decorated military officer who served in the Vietnam War. He worked hard, served his country only to be prosecuted for his religious beliefs. Still, the maintained a level of calm and professionalism in defending himself all the time is what I'd describe as herculean.
When We Come Back...
Buckle in for all reason to go right out the window as Geraldo ramps up the crazy with another one of his patented video montages. Voodoo priests, Satanic rituals, exorcisms, and more Michael Aquino. Be here!