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The Vacuum - Issue 16 - Satan spacer The Vacuum - Issue 16 - Satan
The Devil: Alive and Well in Ulster
by Conor Garrett
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The devil is alive and well and coming to a picnic area near you! Or so it seemed as a teenager growing up in the 'burbs of stormy south Belfast, where rumours were rife of dark deeds taking place at pretty much any given stretch of parkland in the area.
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Whether it was reports of skinned animals discovered, pentangles carved into trees or cloaked figures seen cavorting in the dead of night, if it was a public green space then you could be fairly certain 'devil worshippers' were at work somewhere. Among a list of such locations said to be hot beds of satanic activity were Belvoir Forest Park, The Giants Ring, Lisnabreena House (now Lagan College) and even the Mary Peter's Track.
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But how much of this was true? Were satanic rituals really taking place all around me? Could my next-door neighbour be supping with Beelzebub and if so, did that explain his penchant for black polo-neck jumpers? It was time I picked up the phone to Jim Cairns, 'Satanic cult expert from Ulster' (People 29/02/2004), to find out.
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'We know there was devil worshipping activity around the Cultra monument', says Jim. 'There were animals skinned and it was widely believed that this was devil worship related. There were also recorded incidents in Antrim and Coleraine'.
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As author of 'Disappeared Off the Face of the Earth,' a book detailing his 'first hand experiences of witches covens in Northern Ireland and the Republic', Jim Cairns should know. Originally from Ballyclare and today based in Kilkenny, he says he came to Satan, or rather Satan came to him, through his own 'bitter experiences'. 'It all opened up after a paramilitary incident, an abduction attempt on me which took place in 1994' he explains. 'A lot of things started to trouble me about the incident and how the paramilitaries were able to pin-point where I was that night - only one person really knew where I would be and that was my ex-wife'.
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Jim outlines how he later discovered his ex-wife 'was involved with the IRA and a satanic cultwhich was masquerading as a pseudo Christian sect. That is the one thing that the IRA and UVF have in common, membership of this satanic cult'. Um. Okay. 'I get very specific information from Reverend Roy Magee who is a Belfast based go-between, between the paramilitaries and their victims', he continues. 'A Presbyterian minister called Reverend Bradford was shot by the IRA and Reverend Roy Magee told me that he was shot because he found out about the activities of the rich and the powerful in Northern Ireland. He found out that the rich and the powerful were involved in satanic activity'.
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According to Jim Cairns, this devotion to darkness blazes a highly organised trail through the whole of Northern Irish society. From the police service and the judiciary, to the church and the wealthy - it appears Satan's little helpers are just about everywhere. 'It's endemic at present', he says. 'These secret societies believe that we're coming to the 'end of times' and they're celebrating. It's very likely top levels of the police force are involved. I don't believe any of those top police commissioners get to that level unless they are connected in some way. I also wouldn't be surprised if there were large numbers of clergy in Northern Ireland who proclaim to be Christians but are most certainly of the other persuasion, they're Satanists'.
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And so our conversation continues on this Devil Rides Out/Rosemary's Baby style trajectory. There's much talk of 'the dark road' and 'covens that use drugs and mind control', and how 'it goes right to the Royal family'. Indeed, refer to any notorious incident to have taken place in this country over the last three decades and you can be sure, that for Jim Cairns, there's some sort of satanic link. The Kincora child abuse scandal, the Ormeau Park murder of Brian McDermott, the Shankill Butchers...
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'I can't prove it but they had all the symptoms of it, the dates on which they were carried out and the way they were killed indicates that the Shankill Butcher murders were satanic murders'.
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Tellingly, a cursory glance at Jim's web-site reveals that prior to his abduction attempt in 1994 his 'only knowledge of witchcraft or anything devilish would have been the Hammer Horror films of the sixties, ie, Dracula and The Wicker Man.' It's also worth pointing out that this self same web-site has links to another site, belonging to a certain individual known as David Icke.
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In a way though, it's not hard not to accept some of the conclusions drawn by Jim Cairns. Devilry and devil-worship may indeed be all around us in one form or another. While it might be difficult to imagine, say, your bank manager embracing the bizarre philosophies established by Anton LaVey and the Church of Satan in the 1960's, praise for the dark side now pervades life in a far more media friendly, insidious way.
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It certainly manages to creep into our front rooms every night. Tune into the latest instalment of 'Evil Big Brother' to gloat at contestants condemned to a mini-me version of hell and damnation, as brought to you by 'Endemol'. Then there's 'Hell's Kitchen' with Gordon Ramsey, but that could just be a diabolical programme. After settling down for an evenings viewing, you might want to use your mobile, text a fellow coven member - 'the devil makes work for idle thumbs' you know.
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The internet is another quick and convenient place to worship the devil. Simply log-on, clickety-click and you'll be sacrificing virtual virgins before you can say Google backwards. Or why not use your morning coffee break to try 'Dante's Inferno Test' where through an on-line, multiple-choice test, 'your purity will be judged and you will be banished to the appropriate level of hell'.
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Alternatively, you could always just go back to basics and do what I like to do - dress up in a big black cloak and head down to the park at the end of the road to scatter skinned animals about the place. Between the discarded porn and glue bags is usually a good spot. Cavorting adds to the overall effect.
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