I'm getting kind of getting burnt out writing about this special. The research is starting to get to me, I think. I haven't left my house for a week with only Mister Matches to keep me company. He sits on my chest while I write. I decided to take a selfie of the two of us chilling out together.The little guy has only been living with me for the past few days, and I just noticed he smells strangely of brimstone. It's probably nothing. Anyway, we're onto the next chapter of our look back at the Geraldo Rivera special on Satanism. If you're just joining us for the first time right now, you've got a lot of catch up reading to do. When we last left off, Geraldo witnessed a bunch of religious rituals of other faiths, completely oblivious to the fact that these are the same things that are done in Satanism. He also gave a laughably bad history report on Satanism. So where is Geraldo now?
It Was About That Time that Geraldo Went Down to the Ooooooool' Homestead
How Geraldo Tells It:
Geraldo has taken us to the town of Amite, Louisiana, where a rash of cattle mutilations have been happening in the area. The locals have come to the conclusion that this was the work of Satanists. Geraldo is shown some of the mutilated cattle by two local women. They are convinced that these are ritual sacrifices because the perpetrator gutted the organs, removed the eyes, and cut off the tail. They then go to the local church where the preacher tells them that this is absolutely the work of the Devil. They react in the typical god-fearing-white-person fashion: locking and loading.
What Really is Going On:
Amite is one of those small towns of a few thousand people with nothing to do. Its big industry is in cattle sales. As far as the cattle mutilations go, they have been common across the United States over the past 40+ years. Even an investigation from the FBI has turned up nothing. These unexplained mutilations have been blamed on everything from Satanic Cults to UFOs. Since cattle are one of the biggest industries in the region, you'd think that a more rational explanation would be that a competing cattleman is slaughtering the stock of the competition. However, it doesn't sound as sexy as Satanists and space aliens, since competing ranchers butchering cows is the cliched stuff of westerns.However, if you want to go for the sensational, I'll give you a sensational. You see, the church seen in this story is the Abundant Life Church in the town of Hammond, Louisianna. In 2005, Louis Lamonica, the pastor of the Hosanna Church, walked into a police station and confessed to raping up to 25 children, claiming that he practiced Satanic rituals and drank cat's blood. The entire ordeal inspired an episode of True Detective. However, back in the real world, detectives who investigated the claims made by Lamonica found no evidence of any sort of "Satanic" window dressing that he claimed to have set up.Even if he did perform "Satanic" rituals, it's still a scapegoat to deflect the fact that he Lamonica is a sick fuck who raped children.
There Has a Base On My Mind. All The Time. Pr-Pr-Presidio
How Geraldo Tells It:
Geraldo then goes to San Francisco where he warns his viewing audience of the Satanic goings-on at the Presidio Military Base. He specifically mentions Michael Aquino, who was stationed at Presidio at that time. Stating that Aquino had been living a secret double life as a "Satanic High Priest" that is listed in the San Francisco telephone book. Geraldo also states that Aquino boasts about his religious affiliation on his answering machine message.Geraldo goes on to say that the United States army recognizes Satanism as a legitimate religion and provides information for Army Chaplains to provide services for soldiers who worship Satanism. He goes on to say that unofficially, the Army has become a sanctuary for Devil worshipers.
To further justify his claims, Geraldo speaks with Detective Ed Albonaski of the Santa Clara's Sheriff's office, who takes Geraldo on a midnight visit to the base under a full moon. There, Geraldo looks into a window of an abandoned World War II fortification. Albonaski claims that there is a Satanic altar among the graffiti. Geraldo tells the viewers what he sees when looking through a barred window. However, his cameraman is only able to capture one of the items that Geraldo describes, so we have to take everything he says about what he sees inside at face value.He then interviews a man named Joseph, whom Geraldo claims is a Satanist who is also enlisted in the army. However, Joseph has asked that his identity is concealed. He confirms that the top brass at Presidio was aware that he was a member of a "Satanic Cult" are active in the area. Geraldo then interviews the base commander Colonel Joseph Rafferty about it. Rafferty tells Rivera that he is unaware of any Satanic activities that are happening in the area.However, Geraldo claims that children who attended a daycare center at Presidio were molested by soldiers who were part of a Satanic group. He then takes it back to Albonaski, who says the kids were violated in every way possible before the segment ends.
The Actual Facts:
The only correct facts in this segment that are true are things I've already covered in previous parts: That Aquino was a member of the United States Army, and the fact that the Temple of Set is recognized by the United States Government. However, the fact that it is recognized by the government isn't as sinister as it sounds. All that means is that the Temple of Set is considered a religion by the IRS for tax purposes. On top of that, getting tax-exempt status isn't that hard to get.
What's is Incorrect:
As Aquino details in his book "Extreme Prejudice", the sexual abuse allegations were raised against Gary Hambright, who worked at the daycare center at Presidio. He was raked over the coals, his career ruined by false accusations. Aquino wasn't even on the base at the time that the allegations were made. A year later, the base's Chaplin accused Aquino and so it went. Aquino spent years proving his innocence. Also, about Aquino's "secret double life", Aquino's religious affiliation was never a secret and was well documented with the military.The mystery man named "Joseph", was later identified as Captain Lewis D. Seago. He's not a credible person in the least. He was a member of the Temple of Set but was expelled in 1982 over some kind of misconduct. Obviously, Seago bore a grudge against the Temple.As for the Satanic graffiti that was allegedly at the Presidio, this was a total fabrication.This is made obvious by the fact that Detective Ed Albonaski is from the Santa Clara Sheriff's Office. Santa Clara is about an hour away from San Francisco. It's another deceptive bit of editing on Geraldo's part, Albonaski never mentions Presidio.
Back to the Studio...
In the audience, Geraldo introduces Ed Abanowski as the former lead investigator in the Presidio daycare scandal. When introduced, Ed gives this face:
FUN FACT: This is bullshit. As seen in the mountain of official documents provided in Aquino's book "Extreme Prejudice". Of all the police documents there is nary a mention of Ed Abanowski.
Geraldo then takes it back to Michael Aquino, mentioning how he was implicated in the Presidio daycare scandal. He says that Aquino was never formally charged and "presumably" he was cleared of any wrongdoing. You'll notice that Geraldo is using terminology to add doubt to Aquino's innocence in the matter. Aquino doesn't even flinch. He calmly explains that during the time these alleged crimes occurred he was actually in Washington, D.C.Geraldo then mentions the 3-year-old girl who identified Aquino as being involved. Aquino corrects him, by pointing out that the accusations were made by her step-father, the Army Chaplain, and begins explaining how the child never made mention of Aquino molesting her in the original FBI investigation.
Fun Fact #2: All this is true, as detailed in the appendix of Aquino's book.
This starts breaking apart Geraldo's narrative, so he interjects. In order to protect his ass legally, he makes a point of saying that Aquino is innocent until proven guilty and then steers the conversation toward the police search of Aquino's home as if to suggest that alone makes Aquino guilty. Again, Aquino points out that the child verbally made the accusations only after she was sent to a child therapist and that his religious affiliation was not a secret to his employers.
FUN FACT #3: The search of Aquino's home netted nothing more sinister than VHS copies of Star Wars and Rambo 3.
Since he's once more losing credibility, Geraldo takes the same tactic as conspiracy theorists, deflecting to a different angle. Rivera's "Building Seven" is to question Aquino's ability to be a member of the United States Army, yet still being a Satanist. To punctuate his point, Geraldo reads a passage out of the Satanic Bible.The passage he reads is as follows:
“This is um... I guess... um, um, um, the number one commandment: ‘Death to the weakling, wealth to the strong!””
He then reiterates his question. Aquino points out that the Satanic Bible should not be taken literally. When Geraldo tries again to collude the Church of Satan with idiots like Sean Sellers, Aquino again states that the book is not literal and written as a polemic. When Geraldo reaffirms that the Satanic Bible should not be taken seriously, Michael affirms this.
The Logical Fallacy of Geraldo's Argument:
Geraldo thinks that the only way the Satanic Bible should be interpreted is literally. Geraldo is Jewish and was raised Jewish. Many members of his faith don't take the Torah literally either. The same thing as Christians and the Bible. The point of all religious texts is to be a guidebook on how not to be a complete dick to everyone around you unless they deserve it. A lot of them are written in an allegorical sense. The Satanic Bible, while polemic as opposed to allegorical, it does the same thing.Also, how many others have done horrific things in the name of the religion they claim to worship? Christians, and Muslims have had centuries of batshit crazy who bring rape and murder to fuck up the for everyone. Humanity can't have nice things.Certainly, Geraldo is deserving of a little wrath it at this point, but Aquino is such a cool cat that he knows that this annoying bug isn't worth squashing.
Dr. Walter Grote
Geraldo asks him how he feels about a Satanist being a high ranking official in the military. He goes on to talk about the 1988 election (The one where George Bush the Elder won) and the return to morality. He finds it hard to believe that one could serve their country "under God" while also being a Satanist. He also says that Aquino calls himself the Anti-Christ.
The Thing About Walter Grote:
The West Point Child Abuse Scandal happened in 1985. However, no charges were laid because (surprise, surprise) there is no evidence providing this. On top of this, none of the West Point allegations had nothing to do with "Satanism". Also, Aquino has never called himself an Anti-Christ. This poor dope suffers from the same problem as everyone else on Geraldo's side, once again confusing the Christian definition of a Satanist and the Chruch of Satan. There is nothing in the Satanic Bible about an Anti-Christ at all, because -- wait for it -- an "Anti-Christ" is from the Book of Revelations, it's a Christian construct. Revelations is only a story.
We're Going to Take a Break....
Mister Matches has reminded me that I've been writing about nothing but this special for seven days. He has suggested that I take a break. He has suggested that we go out looking for birds. Anyway, the weekend is here, so I'm going to take some time off on this subject. There's still an hour of this special left, and it's... going to get crazy... All objectivity goes out the window and Geraldo opens the floor to every lunatic and fraud artist that bandies around Satan like some kind of nebulous boogie-man.
If you thought things were crazy now, it gets much, much, worse from here on out. Check back in soon!