Brighton and Hove Leader
Leads Bigotry Stakes this Halloween
Of all the unjust slanders against the religion of Paganism one of the most persistent is that Witches sacrifice animals at Halloween. The S.A.F.F. has tracked the use of this black-propaganda by fundamentalists during the past 12 years. See elsewhere on this site for Satanic Animal Mutilation Scare (SAMS). We discredited the stupidities then, and we also highlighted extremists at the RSPCA who appeared to be getting ready to bandwagon the scare just as their social worker equivalents did over fundie claims of Satanic Ritual Abuse in the child scare industry. No matter how we spotlight this motif, it keeps resurfacing as a major blood-libel , primarily because of the bigotry, laziness and gullibility of The British Media who will print any muck about minorities to pacify the prejudice in their readership. This year it would appear that fundamentalists have been involved in letter-writing to local rags claiming personal experience of animal sacrifice at Halloween. The letter printed by the Brighto
n and Hove Leader (see below) is the best example of various ones we have been sent and fully illustrates the way that sectarians can manipulate dim editors on the local scene. The letter is obviously an attack on Halloween rather than what it at first purports to be; an attempt to protect cats from harm. The telling of the story is clearly contrived yet the editor prints it without any qualifying statement. Why? Because it's just in time for HALLOWEEN! The illustration of the cat is not only thoroughly unnecessary but appears to have been applied by the editor simply to spice the pot. Did you think that it was a photo of Rob Bending's cat? Take a look at this drivel, a classic example of all that is puerile in the British Press, and then judge for yourself.
(1) There was little if any publicity 'last year' about attacks on animals at Halloween which was not directly caused by spurrious claims by Christian fundamentalists wanting to discredit the celebrations. The inference is that ritual animal sacrifice is a proven and continuing problem. That is not true. Why did Bending wait a year to tell this story? Surely the time to complain was last year when the trail was hot? The clue is when he writes 'it took me a year to summon up the courage'. What kind of courage? The courage of a Christian worker against SATANISTS perhaps!
(2) The language and motifs chosen by Bending appear specifically designed to infer evil motives. 'sinister fate befalling' , 'she was a black cat' (inferring the fundamentalist nonsense that only fully black cats are chosen for ritual sacrifice); However, Bending's cat was called 'Pepper' a name given usually to tabbies or tortoiseshell cats, not to almost black cats surely? Bending's story becomes even more enigmatic 'there was no blood' he states. This 'no blood' claim is a frequently met with 'indication' continually highlighted by fundamentalist literature both here and in the U.S.A. where the original Satanic Animal Mutilation Scare stories were invented. Its appearance in this letter is tantamount to firm evidence of a fundamentalist link or input. To this day I am still not sure what the phrase 'no-blood' is supposed to mean. How much blood do we expect a cat to bleed? That Cat's do not bleed a lot is, unfortunately, all too proveable, as motorists can confirm, because w
e pass road-kill on a regular basis and when have you ever seen a pool of blood in evidence even when a poor animal is squashed flat? Could it be that Bending is attempting to infer that the cat's blood was mysteriously SUCKED out of it? Now we are getting somewhere because the Vampire motif (although having nothing whatsoever to do with the celtic festival of Halloween) is popular in non-pagan celebrations and links well with some notorious serial killers and popular notion ('I braised his liver in wine' ). But just how does one go about sucking all the blood out of a Cat, pray tell ?
(3) Although starting his letter with the seemingly 'reasonable' argument that unruly kids might suffer indignities upon residents' pets if refused a treat, Bending ends up revealing his rea agenda in his last paragraph.
'A ritual killing is the only explanation, Satanism is alive and well and living in Hove'.
Excuse me? How did we get from the possible risk of kids kicking animals out of petulence, to full blown satanic ritual sacrifice? By way of Bending's dead cat of course. That is the emotional empowerment of first hand testimony which 'proves' the risk. But does it? Of course not. Firstly we would we have to blithely accept Bending's illogcal stance that the killing of one cat proves the existence of a local satanic conspiracy. Secondly we only have Bending's word for what happened (the absence of any evidence save personal testimony is a regular feature of fundamentalist claims) . But why should we stop there? Did Bending not call the police? If not why not? What did they conclude? If they thought it was cruelty rather than a predator there will be a record of the crime and the RSPCA is usually called in and will have their records too. These questions should have been asked by the editor of the Brighton and Hove Leader of course, but when it comes to religious prejudice against
minority beliefs the British Media soon forget about their 'voluntary codes of practice'.
(4) Cruelty to animals is unsustainable in any form, but Bending's relating of his Cat Pepper's death reads like some kind of penny-dreadful. More like a fictional reworking to exact the maximum sympathy than a factual account. 'Pepper was my pet cat - she had been with me five years - she had lost her left front paw - it was unusually quiet - I put my head out of the door and called her - and saw what was left of her on the patio. AAAAWWWWWWW! The only witness, a neighbour, is not identified and then the story takes a ridiculous turn. The neighbour hears a cat wailing. Neither Bending nor the neighbour could possibly tell WHICH cat made the wailing but we are supposed to assume it was Pepper. Why? After the wailing came SAWING! This could have been a neighbour doing a bit of nocturnal DIY (a broken window perhaps), but the more probable inferrance (according to Bending) is that it was Satanists sawing up the corpse of his cat! In my limited experience of anatomy there is no bo
ne in a cat which is big enough to require sawing but why would a Satanist want to saw up a cat anyway? And if he did so why would he then throw it into Bending's back yard afterwards? The story gets sillier by the minute.
Ask any RSPCA inspector and he will tell you that cats get killed regularly. Cars and Dogs are the biggest Cat Killers, but local gangs of youths terrorising residents are next on the list. When all said and done there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever to provide even the slightest suspicion that Bending's cat died because of some supposed satanic involvement and this is the situation with every one of these 'Halloween Spoiler' letters we have seen. I'll tell you what I believe; this is just another result of the interference by the cadre of Christian fundamentalist agitators who have terrorised Brighton, Hove and East Sussex with similar inane claims about satanic involvement in the surrounding area for the past decade. The S.A.F.F. has already blown their claims apart with our special report on The Lewes Satanic Death Curse Myth (see link below for more details) and YES we discredited two other claimed Satanic Cat Killings in there as well. But these troublemakers just don't give up. And why s
hould they when couldn't-care-less hacks on the local rag are willing to publish any of their outpourings no matter how ridiculous, no matter how unproven, no matter how unlikely, no matter how little evidence is provided and without bothering to get any independent evidence to corroborate the claims. Is this just cynicism or is it prejudice? Well, when we see the Brighton and Hove Leader publishing letters complaining about Christians crucifying Bunny Rabbits at Easter we'll call it cynicism. Meanwhile we'll call it what it is - despicable religious prejudice.