Craiglist Killer Taps Into Satanic Panic Hype

Back in November, Miranda and Elytte Barbour lured a man via Craigslist and then violently murdered them for no better reason than they wanted to kill someone as a couple.

The Super Serial Killer

Now Miranda, 19, is claiming that she has killed more than 22 (“When I hit 22, I stopped counting”) people but less than 100.  Gosh, Miranda, that’s a really big range.  Can’t you narrow it down just a bit?  Off the top of my head, I can’t tell you exactly how many states I’ve visited, but I’d say something like “roughly 30” rather than “more than 10 but less than 50.”  And if you asked me to actually count them, I could.  Yet, apparently, me visiting Iowa is more memorable than committing first degree murder.

Female serial killers are incredibly rare.  And at her age?  I doubt anyone comes close.  She claims to have started at age 13, so she has committed the spree over 6 years, half of which she couldn’t even have a driver’s license.

She has, supposedly, committed these crimes over many states.  She also claims she can say exactly where the bodies are, which actually surprised me.  I totally had my money on her giving only vague descriptions and claiming she didn’t know the areas well.

And yet…so far there are no bodies.  There aren’t even cases – at least in her home state of Alaska – that anyone suspects might be connected with her. (Source)

Satanists Made Me Do It

Barbour also claims that she started killing when part of a Satanic cult, and that’s where the story goes from fairly absurd to basic fear-mongering and B-movies.

I have (academically) studied Satanism for several years.  They’re an interesting bunch.  I even agree with a lot of what they say (avoiding arbitrary taboos, taking control of your life, responsibility for oneself, etc.).  There’s several different approaches to Satanism, but none of them are the maniacal evil figures of bad movies.  Their vision of Satan isn’t the Satan of Christianity (and the Christian Satan isn’t the same as the Jewish understanding of Satan, incidentally).  Satanists abhor rape, murder and child abuse as much as the rest of us.

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Now, every once in a while some lone nutcase commits murder and says he did it in the name of Satan.  Those people are nuts.  They have nothing to do with organized Satanic groups, and they don’t have meet-ups with one another.  The Satanic cult that runs around murdering people simply doesn’t exist, just as covens of witches didn’t exist 500 years ago.

Her Satanic cult is bullshit.  Want me to believe you?  Give me names of members, locations of meetings, descriptions of rituals, you know, things you should have in great detail if this was real.  People crying “there was this group, and it did stuff,” show up from time to time.  They’re never for real.

Lamest Satan Ever

One detail she has given is her first killing was in an alley of a man who owed the cult leader money.  That’s a really crappy offering to Satan, don’t you think?  Wouldn’t that be like sacrificing your sickest, most scrawny animal to a more traditional god?  That wasn’t Satanic.  That was killing for money.

She claims many of her subsequent killings were also part of the cult.  However, her victims “did bad things and didn’t deserve to be here anymore.” (source)  So, wait, your Satan wants you to go vigilante?  He wants you to sin but only against other sinners?

Your Satan doesn’t plan very well.

Transformed into a Killer

Barbour insists she didn’t want to commit her first killing.  The leader let her “tag along” (what an understanding cultist) on the hit.  He then shot the man and handed the gun to Barbour.  She didn’t want to use it.

“I couldn’t do it, so he came behind me and he took his hands and put them on top of mine and we pulled the trigger,” she claims.  (source)

You don’t learn to love murder.  One psychopath might encourage another psychopath to embrace it, and you might terrorize someone into acting it out, but you don’t forcibly turn someone into a homicidal maniac.
Satan did not, in fact, make you do it.

Satanic Panic

Shades of the Satanic Panic are one of my great pet peeves.  In the 1980s, there was a rash of accusations against supposed Satanists who kidnapped children and forced them to witness horrible acts.  The accusations were often made against teachers and daycare workers.  People lost their jobs over it, even though no one came to trial.

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People started seeing signs of Satanism in all sorts of things like heavy metal and Dungeons & Dragons for the most absurd of reasons.  One writer warned parents that:

  • D&D players are encouraged to worship other gods in life to get more into character (which is simply wrong).
  • Creator Gary Gygax talked to real Satanists to get the incantations correct (there are no incantations in D&D books, and I’m confident real Satanists have no incantations for magic missiles anyway).
  • D&D encourages players to act cruelly toward foes by using such spells as “slow poison” (The spell did exist, but it was a healing spell.  It kept a character from dying from poison.  Now it’s called “delay poison,” probably to avoid this nonsense).

And even though the idea of Satanic Ritual Abuse was eventually thoroughly discredited by law enforcement, there are still people who believe evil Satanists are out there stealing our children and turning them into monsters.

It’s fear-mongering, plain and simple.  It’s finding a villain when there is no villain, just like 500 years ago during witch-hunts.  It is the cheapest of the cheap accusations.  It’s ignorant and encouraging stupidity and scapegoating and it just needs to stop.

Why?

Some might think she’s deranged, but I’m thinking this is attention seeking and maybe prep for an insanity defense, considering she’s plead innocent even though she confessed to authorities (who she says coerced her) and to a reporter (who presumably didn’t).  She’s also said she doesn’t deserve the death penalty because it’s cruel and unusual punishment.

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From a woman who stabbed a stranger 20 times for kicks.

Her father has come forward and stated that he does not believe the serial killer story, although if she is found guilty of the Craigslist murder and sentenced to death he will hold the hand of the victim’s widow.  He didn’t think his daughter was capable of murder, but he’s accepting the potential. Good.  I’m tired of parents insisting their kid is an angel.

More important here, however, is that he describes her as the most manipulative person he’s ever known:

“Miranda lives in a fantasy world made up in her own mind,” Dean [her father] said.“She craves attention, is selfish, dishonest and manipulative.”(source)

On the downside, her father is also playing into the Satanic Panic mentality.  While he doesn’t know if Barbour was ever part of a cult,

“Satanism is real,” he said. “It is a growing cult that will go to great lengths to seize our children. You don’t have to be affiliated with the ‘Church of Satan’ to worship him.” (source)

Incidentally, I wrote my previous statements about people believing evil Satanists are stealing our children before I came across that quote.  This is why people need to cut this crap out.  Next time someone tells you one of those tales, ask for names, places, dates and sources.

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