So, things are getting weird here at Cassa de Peron. I was prepping for the next chapter of my series and decided to make something to eat. Mister Matches, my cat, at my feet. I threw some Pizza Pops in the microwave. After they were cooked I stepped away from the plate for a moment and when I came back one of them was dissected.
It's almost as though someone performed a sacrifice on the pizza goodness of my Pizza Pops. But... there's nobody here but me and Mister Matches. It must be my imagination. Anyway, if you don't know what this is by now, please get yourself up to date. When we last left Geraldo, he was showcasing a bunch of cases of alleged Satanic Ritual Abuse that happened in pre- schools. Through the magic of hindsight, we learned that the accusations were nothing short of bullshit, much to the relief of Chuck Norris, I'm sure.
The Lisa Steinberg Murder
Let's get into it. Geraldo goes back to the studio and gives us another shark jumping conclusion on a story in New York City that was then in the news.
How Geraldo Tells It:
Geraldo informs the audience of the tragic death of Lisa Steinberg. She was beaten to death and the alleged perpetrator was her step-father, Joel Steinberg. Geraldo thinks that this is a case of Satanic cultism. To support this he brings on Maury Terry. Terry an expert on "Satanic crimes" and wrote a book called "The Ultimate Evil". He claims that the NYPD removed demonology books from the home, and he has seen writings from Lisa Steinberg's adoptive mother Hedda Nussbaum, who wrote about being a member of a Satanic Cult that operated out of Long Island and was into pornography. Terry then goes on to show Geraldo what is, apparently, Hussbaum's diary which claims that she was being deprogrammed after escaping the Satanic Cult. Then, as further "proof", shows a drawing done by Lisa Steinberg that further asserts his position that her parents were Satanists.
He points out that the drawing includes a pentagram and a "descending crescent moon" which he claims is another Satanic symbol. He says that this is a drawing of a ceremonial robe that Lisa was forced to wear and that she was "scared" of it. He then says that the authorities are treating it as a normal homicide, but assures Geraldo that there is more going on.
What Really Happened:
Let's start with Maury Terry because you should always be suspicious of someone with a book to sell. First of all, "The Ultimate Evil" is about how Terry believes that David Berkowitz, the Son of Sam, did not act alone and that he was an assassin for a Satanic cult. Here’s the thing, there was no evidence supporting these claims. Second of all, Berkowitz, much like Sean Sellers, would always change his story to suit whatever narrative got him the most attention. John Douglas, the guy who wrote the book on FBI profiling, told Berkowitz to his face that he was full of shit and he caved, admitting the whole "Satanism" angle was to try and get off easy with an insanity plea. Then when he converts to Christianity he becomes an evangelical poster child.
Also, a crescent moon is used in everything from Islam to Lucky Charms. That doesn't mean it's Satanic in nature. Moron.
Also remember that at the time of this special, this case was just starting to go to trial. The fact that he had the apparent original diary of Hedda Hussbaum's diary with him, stated so on national television and then goes on to detail it on air like that... Well, Geraldo puts it best
when he jokingly says "You should expect to be subpoenaed." The fact that nothing came of this just goes to show how full of shit this guy is.
Now, about those wacky Steinbergs. The only time Satanism is brought up during the trial was when it first started. As it turned out, both parents weren't Satanists, but heavily into crack- cocaine. During one of their drug benders, Hedda thought that Joel was supernatural and had healing powers. Now, it seems to me that when you have two negligent parents who are clearly addicted to a hard drug like crack, you'd look into the symptoms before you start thinking some drugged up maniac was part of a cult. What's a common side effect of doing crack? Oh, right, hallucinations. I had a friend once who did so much MDMA he thought I was a crow, and I believed him because I was also high. That doesn't mean we're secretly bird-men in disguise. It means our minds were fucked up by drugs.
With Special Guest: Charles Manson
Geraldo starts by his inspiration for doing this special was when he interviewed Charles Manson the previous year. Geraldo seems to think that Manson proclaimed that he was the reincarnation of the devil. As I mentioned back in the first part of this series, he is referring to the interview that was 2 hours in length chopped down to 15 minutes.
How Geraldo Tells It:
Geraldo plays a clip from that interview where Charles Manson states:
“Okay, I killed everyone since day one. I murdered them all. I’m God and I’ve killed everybody! ”
Geraldo, not missing a beat says "or devil?" In typical fashion, Chuck Manson riffs on this, saying you can call him whatever you'd like.
Geraldo then suggests that in Charles' own world, he is the devil. Chuck doesn't miss out on an opening like that:
“Yeah, I’ll play, I’ll play. There’s no game I can’t play. There’s no game I haven’t played. Okay, I’ll be the Devil.”
Geraldo then goes on to claim that next to Adolf Hitler, Charles Manson is Satanisms top celebrity.
“Yeah, I chopped up nine hogs, and I’m going to chop more of you mother fuckers. I’m going to kill as many as I can. I’m going to pile you up into the sky.”
Geraldo then makes the statement that Manson is the poster child for Satanic cults because of their wish to exterminate everyone they think is unfit to live.
Charles Manson was never directly involved in any of the murders , it was followers who committed murders on his behalf. Although he was convicted of first-degree murder, he's just a conspirator and accessory to murder. Also, as detailed in John Douglas' many books, he points out that Charles Manson was a simple con-man who wanted fame. He wanted to be a musician and he wanted to have tons of sex with young women. He took advantage of the tail end of the hippie movement and formed a commune with a bunch of kids who were high on acid.
As for this interview, it's not the only one Manson had done in the 1980s. Most of his interviews feature Manson saying a bunch of nonsense, acting unruly, and saying bizarre things. The census on Manson's interviews was that they were outrageous and unbelievable. A con-man seeking fame and attention, who feels at home in prison, is willing to say anything in front of a camera in order to get attention. Charles Manson conned all of these reporters looking for a scoop and played them for chumps. If you want a real picture of the mind of Charles Manson, you read the writings the FBI has on him.
Geraldo's Take On Schreck
It then cuts to Nikolas Shreck, the future husband of Zeena Schreck. It opens with a quote from Schreck:
“We would like to see most of the human race killed off. Because it is unworthy... it is unworthy of the gift of life.”
Geraldo then goes on to say that Shreck visited Charles Manson in prison and keeps a picture of his "hero" on his apartment wall, and displays a lock of Manson's hair as if it were a "sacred relic". Another quote from Shreck follows:
“A bloodbath would be a cleansing and a purification of a planet that has been dirtied and degraded for too long.”
This all sounds pretty spooky, right? Sounds like Geraldo finally found that lunatic fringe he was looking for, right? Well, about that...
What's Really Going On:
Nikolas Shreck is a huge Charles Manson nerd. The interview between Manson and Shreck was for a documentary the latter put together called Charles Manson Superstar. It's just like any other Manson interview, a rambling pile of nonsense. It's also... not very good. Rehashing the life and times of Charles Manson and the crimes in which he was involved. It also gives Shreck's take on everything as Shreck is part of a fringe that believes that there was a conspiracy to convict Charles Manson for the crimes. He also wrote a book called the "Manson Files", which has been revised and expanded upon many times to detail how he believes this conspiracy went down.
Shreck was a musician who founded the group Radio Werewolf. Like his wife, Zeena, he jumped ship from the Church of Satan to the Temple of Set to become a Tantric Buddist. As for his comments above, well, Schreck has a bit of a sense of humor.
He's had a history of going on live television and trolling people who clearly misunderstood and were frightened by everything they didn't understand. On your right is two parts of an interview that Radio Werewolf did on Wally George's "Hot Seat" a conservative television program that aired in the 1980s. It was best known for its far-right beliefs, and rowdy audiences. There is an interview with Shreck about it over at Dangerous Minds.
That said, Shreck was probably fucking with Geraldo. While this didn't really help the cause, it's nonsense. Satanism is about the survival of the fittest, but there is nothing in there about the wholesale slaughter of people who are deemed unworthy. Still, rationally speaking, his opinions about the human's effect on the planet aren't any different than those of animal rights and environmental groups.
If You Can't Believe a Serial Killer, Who Can You Believe?
How Geraldo Tells It:
Then, Geraldo starts rhyming off a number of Serial Killers who claimed that they were Satanists. He goes on to cite Son of Sam, Henry Lee Lucas, and Richard Ramirez as being worshipers of Satan. He shows images of Berkowitz's "Satanic" symbols, a clip from a Lucas interview where he claims he killed for an organization in order to resurrect the Devil, and of course, Ramirez's hand-drawn pentagram and his famous courtroom "Hail Satan".
I already pointed out that Berkowitz was full of shit, so we can soldier on. Henry Lee Lucas is also full of shit. His story is rife with inconsistencies, changing facts and so on. He was a drifter who claimed to kill between 100 and 3000 people. Lucas claimed that he and his partner, Ottos Toole, were assassins hired by the Hand of Death, a Satanic Cult alleged to exist in the swamps of Florida. Lucas was just another killer who tried to get off on an insanity defense. In prison, he also became a poster child for the Evangelists when he miraculously became a Christian. In fact, the only mention to the Hand of Death was in a book written by Max Call, a former writer for pornographic magazines that saw the light of Jesus.
Lastly, we have the Night Stalker, Kojak -- I mean, Richard Ramirez. He had brain damage, was coached in murder by his Vietnam Vet cousin, and was high on LSD all the time. He's not exactly a credible source. The guy was nuts.
Geraldo then editorializes by saying that Satanists practice bloody rituals and believe in Nazism. To prove this point, he shows footage of a Radio Werewolf performance. Not exactly the best choice of example, since Radio Werewolf was all about theatrics, storytelling, historical commentary, and allegory. They were like the 80's version of Marilyn Manson (for lack of a better comparison).
When We Come Back...
Well, I did it again, I intended on focusing on one thing and fell down the rabbit hole of other nonsense. However, the next part will be the final chapter in this. I am getting kind of sick of writing about this and want to be done.