Son Of Sam (David Berkowitz; Conspiracy?; Cult?)

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Anonymous

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A while back I read a book about the 'Son of Sam' killings in America. The author an investigative journalist claims with some pretty fantastic evidence David Berkowowitz (the alleged Son of Sam) was a patsy. He was a member of a coven who set him up to take the fall. He realised his entire family would be killed if he refused to co-operate. An excellent book with some horrific and graphic case files. But if like me you're on the search for truth read it ..."The Ultimate Evil" by Maury Terry.

If anyone has any other uncovered cases they can relate I would be grateful.
 
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Anonymous

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I've read Terry's book - a load of old ****. He links together separate cases, leaps to unwarrented conclusions and makes assumptions without proof. He was successfully sued by one of the Satanic groups mentioned in the book, which meant it was withdrawn and pulped.
 
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Anonymous

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son of sam a patsy?

I haven't read the book you mentioned, but "Son of Sam" David Berkowitz was clearly identified as the murderer by investigators, psychologists etc. Was this book written in the 1980's? That decade in particular in the U.S. witnessed great paranoia about "satanic" cults abusing, torturing & murdering. The official Church of Satan, founded by Anton LaVey (author of "Satanic Bible" & other works) clearly condemns such acts & advises all members to follow all societal laws. Just read any of LaVey's books, or get on the site churchofsatan.com In years past numerous lunatics (or liars) claimed to have "repressed memories" of ritual abuse, etc. Many of these accounts were found to be fraudulent, & these were encouraged by unscrupulous psychotherapists & fanatical Christians. Certainly, a few individuals & small groups have committed horendous crimes in the name of Satan or the occult, but this is a rare occurrence.
 
A

Anonymous

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Is that Official Church Of Satan ™-of-the-Beast?

I've read 'The Ultimate Evil'. Jolly nonsense, on the whole, though I'm not dismissing the possibility of cult involvement.
Incidentally, one of the supposed cult murders was investigated by the retired detective with whom James Ellroy teamed-up to investigate his mother's murder. The case as presented in Ellroy's 'My Dark Places' comes across as radically different to Maury Terry's version.
 

MrRING

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I wonder... I just saw a special about the whole cult angle, and it certainly seems that the sketches and eyewitnesses were identifying people who looked very different from Berkowitz.... here is a story I found about it:

STORY

Are The 'Son Of Sam' Killers Still Out There, Or Is It Just A Conspiracy Theory

(New York-WABC, August 12, 2002) — The "Son of Sam" is locked away, convicted of a horrific murder spree. But is the case really closed? Some say no. David Berkowitz was arrested almost 25 years ago to the day, but now, surviving victims and family members weigh in on the possibility of a conspiracy. The Investigator's Sarah Wallace has the story.

You might be surprised at the position those with a personal stake in this case take. The idea of a "Son of Sam" conspiracy isn't just some wild, Oliver Stone-type idea. Sources tell us that just a few years ago, New York City detectives wanted to reopen the case, but got nowhere. Even today, questions remain about the most sensational crime spree in local history.

Mike Lauria, Victim's Father: "There is not a day goes by that I don't think of my daughter." For Mike Lauria, the pain is as fresh today as it was 26 years ago, the day Donna Lauria, just 18 years old, died in an explosion of bullets outside the family's Bronx home.

Lauria: "I didn't get out the door when the shot rang out."

No one knew it at the time, but the Son of Sam shootings had begun. By the unforgettable next Summer, New York would literally be paralyzed with fear and the night streets would be empty. Police unleashed the largest manhunt in city history to try and stop the killer. Finally On August 10th, 1977 residents got the news they was waiting to hear.

Abe Beame, Former NYC Mayor (August 1977): "Police have captured a man whom they believe to be the Son of Sam."

David Berkowitz, a then 24 year-old Yonkers postal worker, readily confessed to a year-long rampage of eight shooting attacks in Queens, the Bronx and Brooklyn. The attacks left a toll of six young people dead and seven others wounded. Berkowitz pleaded guilty, never going to trial, and was sentenced to life.

But in a stunning reversal in 1997, Berkowitz told Eyewitness News producer Maury Terry that he had other partners in crime, saying it was a murder conspiracy. Berkowitz said the conspiracy began with satanic meetings at Untermeyer Park in Yonkers.

David Berkowitz, Convicted Killer (1997): "I mean, this was not just something they were doing for any type of, necessarily, pleasure, but that it was just part of an agenda. A very deep, covert and hidden agenda. You know, they were about making war, and they were about bringing some chaos into the world."

And what better way to create chaos, Berkowitz told us, then to slay the symbol of America's future: Bright young people in middle-class neighborhoods throughout the city. Berkowitz readily admits he pulled the trigger in two of the attacks, including the murder of Donna Lauria.

Berkowitz's story has an unlikely supporter in Donna's father.

Lauria: "I always said that. And I say my daughter was his first victim, and that was his initiation into the cult."

In fact, Berkowitz there were at least five other killers altogether, and they included women. His claim is supported by multiple composite sketches of suspects, most looking nothing like Berkowitz, and descriptions of several cars at several scenes.

Carl Denaro survived a gunshot wound to the head in the Son of Sam shootings. He also believes there were others.

Carl Denaro, Victim: "I firmly believe that the police brass, and certainly the detective working on it knew, knew then, and obviously still know now that other people were involved. I think it was kind of convenient, for them to, you know, one guy, one gun, one shooter, he's caught, it is all over."

And it was all over, until a few years ago, when sources tell us that New York City detectives tried to reopen the case based on new information. Those same sources say that top police brass ordered the investigation shut down and wouldn't even let detectives pull the original case files.

We spoke with This federal investigator who was an insider to the decision.

Federal Investigator: "The reason goes all the way to the top of the department: You do not want to embarrass this department. I believe from what we saw, that there was a lot of botches in the case: Ballistics... they messed up... searches and seizures... at the time of Berkowitz' arrest and prior to his arrest."

Police officials maintain there were no solid leads to pursue. Retired Chief of Detectives Joseph Borrelli says that's because there aren't any. He led the 'Son of Sam' investigation.

Joseph Borrelli, Retired Chief Of Detectives: "The best proof I have that he acted alone: Has there been a homicide of a similar nature since?"

Borrelli maintains the evidence against Berkowitz as a lone killer was, and is, overwhelming.

Borrelli: "If this was a cult, why didn't, after he was arrested, why couldn't they get another individual under the same circumstances, and have that person go out and do the killing. Because there never was a cult, and there wasn't anybody doing it, except him."

But those with a personal stake in the 'Son of Sam' case would like to see a new investigation.

Lauria: "I think they should go after them, they should still find out who did it. Because there's other people."

Denaro: "Certainly now, 25 years later, I can't believe that anyone's career would be ruined if they reopened the case and actually got to the bottom of it."

Other victims we've spoken to in the past few years believe the same thing.


 

Mighty_Emperor

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See also this thread on the Son of Sam and the Monster of Florence:

http://www.forteantimes.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=4426

Did 'Son of Sam' really act alone?

Some original detectives wonder if there's something or someone they missed

By John Hockenberry
Updated: 5:42 p.m. ET July 02, 2004

In August of 1977, the world got a glimpse at the Son of Sam, David Berkowitz, under arrest and on parade, claiming he killed six people and wounded seven. The demon of the decade had turned out to be a humble looking, chubby smiling man, a postal worker. This lone gunman was behind a whole city's reign of terror, and the city could now move on -- unless of course, the New York Police Department's lone gunman was just a theory, and wrong.

What most don't know about the Son of Sam case is that from the beginning, not everyone bought the idea that Berkowitz acted alone. On the list of skeptics, police who worked the case, even the prosecutor from Queens, where five of the shootings took place. In addition, Berkowitz himself, in a little known interview done years after the killings, claimed there were other shooters, naming names.

But perhaps most surprising is what Dateline recently learned, that the arrest of David Berkowitz didn't actually close the Son of Sam case. In Berkowitz's home town it is still not officially closed.

The official story

It was back in the 1970s, the best of times and the worst of times, full of wisdom and foolishness. The city's season of disco lights would give way to darkness. It all started early on the morning of July 29, 1976, outside a Bronx apartment building. In what seemed like an isolated killing, an 18-year-old woman was shot dead as she sat in a car with a girlfriend.

On Oct. 23, eight miles away, in different part of New York City, the borough of Queens, Carl Denero was riding with his date, looking for a place to park. The shooter crept up behind the car.

Carl Denero: “And next thing you know there was glass all over. I felt the car exploded. Later on I found out I was shot.”

There was no apparent relationship between the shootings. A month later, on the night of Nov. 27, 1976, again in Queens, two young girls were sitting on a front porch. A man approached, asked for directions, then pulled out a gun and fired. Both girls were seriously wounded.

Still, with three shootings in two different parts of the city, no connection was made by the police. Two months later in January 1977, Christine Freund was sitting with her fiancé in a car parked near a train station in Queens. Three shots hit her from behind, killing her.

Just a block away and a little more than a month later in March, another woman was shot in the face as she walked home from college. She died instantly.

Police worked the crime scenes independently, but it was ballistics that first saw a pattern, theorizing that there was one thing in common: a gun, a 44-caliber bulldog revolver. One gun and five shootings suggested a psychopathic killer was stalking the city. A tough city was suddenly on edge.

Soon 300 officers were on the hunt. There were also numerous, distinct police sketches compiled from statements by witnesses to the shootings. A national wanted poster blazed across the network news.

In April 1977, the killer struck again, this time in the Bronx. Suddenly the nameless monster who had been stalking the city for eight months had a name. He introduced himself in a letter dropped at the crime scene, a name that would go down in history:

"I am the Son of Sam"

Maury Terry is a journalist who has been covering the Son of Sam story for more than 25 years.

John Hockenberry: “What do you think was going through the officer's mind who first opened that envelope and read that note at the scene of that crime?”

Maury Terry: “They realized they were dealing with something very serious, and they realized that the same person was responsible for the other stuff, because there were references back to Queens.”

The letter told of being "commanded" to "go out and kill" by someone called "Father Sam." It closed, "I'll be back!"

A month later, another letter appeared, this time mailed to columnist Jimmy Breslin, who had been writing about the Son of Sam crimes for the Daily News. Those words from the very pen of the Son of Sam still burn in Breslin's memory.

Jimmy Breslin: “’Hello from the sidewalks of New York. Ants that feed on the dried blood in the cracks of the sidewalks of the city of New York.’ He had that cadence. I remember when I read it, I said, this guy could take my place with a column. He had that big city beat to his writing. It was sensational.”

Beyond sensational, the letters contained bizarre references and symbols. The police wrote it off as lunatic ravings contributing to a city's sense of dread. And in June 1977, less than a month after the second letter, Son of Sam was back right in Queens. Another young couple was shot in their car outside this disco. Both were injured but survived. A seventh shooting created more tension, in an already jittery Big Apple.

Discos and other late-night spots were empty, and the city truly felt under siege. It was the "Summer of Sam." Weeks, sometimes months would go by between shootings, and before long it would be the one year anniversary of the first attack, July 29, 1977.

The Son of Sam considered this his own macabre holiday. In that letter to Jimmy Breslin he had asked, "What will you have for July 29?" The Son of Sam had already picked out his gift.

And when that gift arrived, it was a couple of days late and in a new part of town, Brooklyn, right here in bath beach park, July 31, 1977. As soon as the detectives familiar with the methods of Son of Sam arrived at the scene, they knew their man had struck again.

This crime scene had all the hallmarks of the Son of Sam. Robert Violante and his date, Stacey Moscowitz were shot in their car. The gun was again the infamous 44-bulldog revolver.

Violante was partially blinded and Stacey Moscowitz died a day later. But this time, there was a witness. Tommy Zaino, also parked with his date right in front of the victims' car, got a look at the shooter. There was another sketch and witnesses said they saw a yellow Volkswagen making a getaway.

A macabre anniversary

It was early August 1977 and the killer had been on the prowl for more than a year. There were six dead and seven wounded. No one could escape the Son of Sam. He was everywhere, and cops all over the city were on the lookout for that yellow Volkswagen. But the dragnet produced nothing.

Berkowitz was the biggest fish caught in an NYPD dragnet in years. Twenty-five officers were promoted. It was the largest number for a single case in the NYPD'S history, all on the heels of Berkowitz's horrifying, convincing confession.
All of the suspects the police had been following had alibis for the night of the Moscowitz shooting. There were confusing sketches that seemed to look like different people. Police had been concentrating their efforts in Queens and the Bronx. This was the first Son of Sam shooting in Brooklyn. They now had a new part of the city to worry about.

But then a new witness, Brooklyn resident Cecelia Davis, out walking her dog snowball the night of the Moscowitz shooting, stepped forward to tell police of a man she'd seen walk by her just before the shots rang out. Davis supplied one fact that would change everything. She told police she had watched the man she remembered remove a ticket from his car, illegally parked at a particular hydrant. The police traced it to a car owned by a postal worker living in the city of Yonkers, David Berkowitz.

Thinking Berkowitz was now an important witness, an NYPD detective called Yonkers, a city 12 miles north of Manhattan, and asked the police for some help tracking him down. Mike Novotny was a sergeant at the Yonkers Police Department. According to Novotny, the Yonkers police had their own suspicions about Berkowitz, in connection with other strange crimes in Yonkers, crimes they saw referenced in one of the Son of Sam letters. To the shock of the NYPD they told the New York City detective that Berkowitz might just be the Son of Sam.

NYPD officers raced to Yonkers, and found this car parked near Berkowitz' apartment. A machine gun was in the back seat. Berkowitz came out of his building, got in his car, and was immediately arrested. He had bullets in his pocket, and most incriminating of all, a 44-caliber bulldog revolver on the front seat.

He confessed to everything, and it was the end of story according to Jimmy Breslin.

Breslin: “When they talked to David Berkowitz that night, he recalled everything step by step by step, the guy has 1000 percent recall and that's it. He's the guy and there's nothing else to look at.”

Berkowitz was the biggest fish caught in an NYPD dragnet in years. Twenty-five officers were promoted. It was the largest number for a single case in the NYPD'S history, all on the heels of Berkowitz's horrifying, convincing confession.

What about the contradictory sketches, or the elusive yellow Volkswagon and its driver? All that went away. Perhaps most importantly, the killing stopped.

The killing stops, but is the story over?

Was that the end of the story, or just the beginning? It depends on who you believe and there are plenty of people who believe that there are nagging questions that were not settled by the arrest of David Berkowitz.

The district attorney in Queens, came to believe that Berkowitz did not act alone. And years after the arrest, The city of Yonkers reopened the Son of Sam case. Then there's the Son of Sam himself, who's not going anywhere, abruptly stirring the pot, saying there were accomplices, lots of them.

'
They were into the occult. I met some people there who said that they were witches. There were animal sacrifices and other dark and ugly things happening.'
— David Berkowitz
In the late summer of 1977, David Berkowitz was a gruesome celebrity without peer. Claiming a dog had ordered him to kill, he still seemed under some demonic influence when he showed up in court. But 20 years later Berkowitz wants you to believe that it's not the devil who commands him anymore. He says he is a born again Christian now, counseling his fellow inmates on the ways of the good book.

David Berkowitz: “It says in the Bible that to everything there's a season and a time to every purpose under heaven. And it also say that there's a time to keep silence and a time to speak. And this is my time to speak.”

Berkowitz had never wavered from his original confession. That confession became the official account of the Son of Sam shootings. But then Berkowitz changed his story. He declined to speak to Dateline NBC, but in 1997, he spoke with someone who he had been in contact with for years, a dogged journalist with his own near obsession with the Son of Sam case.

Around the time Berkowitz began serving his life sentence, Maury Terry began devoting his life to the Son of Sam case. He wrote a 500-page book outlining a theory of a vast conspiracy that reaches from coast to coast, connecting social outcasts with the politically powerful. Some of Terry's claims may seem outlandish, but what of the core of his theory, that David Berkowitz did not act alone and did not shoot all of the Son of Sam victims? It's a question Berkowitz had a chilling answer for back in 1997.

He had called Stacey Moscowitz a whore in court back in 1977. Now he said that her killing was a team effort and he a minor player. He claimed he was a lookout not the triggerman, one of many, part of a group of Son of Sam killers, a group he first came in contact with two years before Son of Sam crimes.

Berkowitz: “I had gone to a party in the neighborhood and I met some interesting people there.”

Interesting, Berkowitz claimed, because they were into Satanism.

Berkowitz: “We began to talk about the occult. It just came up.”

He said he would go with the group to a park in Yonkers, Untermeyer Park.

Berkowitz: “And there'd be people getting high and going through some rituals. They were into the occult. I met some people there who said that they were witches. There were animal sacrifices and other dark and ugly things happening.”

He said he got caught up in the rituals. The group, he said, began to take over his very soul.

Berkowitz: “It was a recruitment process. A slow but methodical recruitment process.”

But Berkowitz said it was about more than animal sacrifice.

Berkowitz: “They were into child pornography, and there was other people that were into that thing, you know, where they wanted that. And they would provide that.”

Maury Terry: “Producing child pornography, is that what you're saying? And providing children?”

Berkowitz: “Yeah.”

Some members of the group, according to Berkowitz, were plotting ritualistic murder, human sacrifices to the devil, which is what this born again Christian was now saying the Son of Sam killings were all about.

Berkowitz: “They were working with Satan to try to bring in a lot of chaos.”

Terry: “Are you telling me that one of those attempts at bringing on chaos was the Son of Sam murders?”

Berkowitz: “Well, that-- yes. Definitely. “

But is there anything definite in this seemingly outlandish story, any facts or recollections that might support the theory of a 20-year-old satanic conspiracy as an explanation for the Son of Sam murders?

'Makes a hell of a lot more sense than thinking some guy listened to a talking dog and went out and shot people. It's ridiculous.'
— Maury Terry
Reporter
James Rothstein worked in a vice unit in Manhattan. He recalls leads he picked up years before the Son of Sam killing, a nefarious ring involved in pedophilia, and child pornography.

Rothstein: “We got information that children were being used and in particular there was something strange going on in Van Courtland park and Untermyer park.

Untermyer Park, in Yonkers is the same place Berkowitz said the group he ran with was centered. There Rothstein says, he first found evidence of animal sacrifice.

Rothstein: “And it came down that somebody was murdering German shepherds.”

Could this have been some kind of boardroom for a Son of Sam conspirators, the place where they planned their brutal crimes?

Rothstein: “And here was this building that had all these Satanic ritualistic drawings and stuff of that. So I had a pretty good idea I was looking at some type of a cult activity.”

Rothstein found this bizarre place five years before the first Son of Sam shootings. Reports of Satanic activity offer a possible motive for the Son of Sam killings – and a motive is something that the NYPD has never come up with even though they arrested Berkowitz. Cult activity also suggests the possibility of a murder conspiracy, something Maury Terry says there was already evidence for.

Terry: “Makes a hell of a lot more sense than thinking some guy listened to a talking dog and went out and shot people. It's ridiculous.”

David Berkowitz does admit to being a part of all eight shootings.

Berkowitz: “I was there, at all of them. And in the area, and scouting, and I had a part. I'm responsible for my involvement in those things, and, you know, definitely guilty.”

And Maury Terry says the case for a conspiracy really takes off with a closer look at the Son of Sam's last stand July 31, 1977, with the shooting of Stacey Moscowitz and Robert Violante. According to Berkowitz new version of events, he said he did not pull the trigger.

Terry took us back to the scene of the shooting. In one of the cars was eyewitness, Tommy Zaino. He gave police a description that would not suggest the pudgy, dark curly-haired David Berkowitz, that Zaino could still recall years later, mentioning “strawy hair… long, all out of shape, light brown hair, light blonde.”

Witnesses also described different automobiles at the scene, including a description of a getaway driver in a yellow Volkswagen. Because of those witnesses, police had been looking for a yellow Volkswagen.

Yet, Berkowtiz owned a Ford Galaxy. Was he aware of other cars?

Terry: The shooter escaped in that yellow VW?”

Berkowitz: “He drove off, yeah.”

Berkowitz diagramed his escape route for Terry and, he claimed, the routes of his accomplices. He named some of them, reluctantly. But Maury Terry says if you want names, all you have to do, is look at the Son of Sam's letter to Jimmy Breslin. Terry says the NYPD dismissed much of the letter as the lunatic ravings of a lone killer, but he says some names mentioned in the writings point to real people, for instance, John Wheaties.

Terry: “Well, John Carr's nickname was Wheaties.”

Berkowitz claimed he was the gunman at only two of the eight shootings attributed to the Son of Sam, and that he killed three of the six victims, all in the Bronx.
John Carr lived in a house right behind David Berkowitz' apartment. Carr’s father was a man named Sam. New York police had an explanation for this. Berkowitz had allegedly been obsessed with the Carr's dog and may have even shot the animal. But Terry says there's a lot more to it. Carr's brother was named by Berkowitz as one of the so-called "interesting people" who made up the Satanic cult.

Berkowitz said the Carr brothers actually took part in the killings, that Michael Carr was the gunman at the disco shooting in Queens.

Michael Carr died in a traffic accident on Manhattan's West Side Highway. Berkowitz said it was Michael's brother John Carr, who was the gunman at another of the Queens shootings.

Maury: “Is it a fact that the shooter that night was John Carr.”

Was he the gunman that night?

Berkowitz: “Yeah.”

Does anything support these claims? How about the sketches? During the investigation, witnesses frequently seemed to be describing different people. But could there be another explanation for the different hairstyles? In his interview with Terry, Berkowitz claimed he was the gunman at only two of the eight shootings attributed to the Son of Sam, and that he killed three of the six victims, all in the Bronx. The witness sketch from the first Bronx shooting bears a clear resemblance to Berkowitz. The sketches from other shootings, where Berkowitz claimed someone else pulled the trigger, indeed look like someone else. They come from the shooting Berkowitz said John Carr committed.

John Carr is also dead, of gunshot wounds he sustained in North Dakota in 1978. Police came to believe it was a probably a homicide.

Of course you might say that the death of both Carr brothers conveniently supports the theory of a convicted murderer. Berkowtiz would not name any other accomplices. He claimed some of them are still alive. His family he says would be at the mercy of his former satanic cohorts if he named them.

This wouldn't be the first time a criminal has blamed a cult for crimes he committed, even though in Berkowitz's case he had reason to be concerned about his own safety. His throat was cut by an inmate in 1979. But this is not just a convict's wild theory to shift guilt away from himself. There are other voices who believe this case should never have been closed.

All the tanalizing theories about satanic cults behind the Son of Sam case are worth next to nothing in court without solid evidence. Yet in the late 1970s the Queens D.A., a man with five of the shootings in his jursidiction, who would have loved to say case closed, instead challenged the NYPD'S lone gunman theory.

Santucci: “I believe David Berkowitz did not act alone, that in fact others did cooperate, aid and abet him in the commission of these crimes. In fact, it has crossed my mind that this 44-caliber pistol was passed around among a number of people.”

'There's no way that David Berkowitz did all the shootings. I personally think it was a cult.'
— Carl Denero
Father of victim
Santucci is retired and did not respond to our attempts to contact him. But his former press secretary now historian Tom McArthy did sit down with us. He says his ex boss, even though convinced by the evidence of a conspiracy, never had enough to take it to court and put one of the NYPD'S most famous cases on trial, but he felt obliged for the public's interest to keep the case open.

Eventually, the Queens da did close the Son of Sam case. The city and the nation had moved on. But not ex-Yonkers cop Mike Novotny.

Hockenberry: “They got the guy, he's under arrest, city's safe, everybody go home. What was wrong with that?”

Mike Novotny: “At the time, I didn't think anything.”

Hockenberry: “And then?”

Novotny: “And then I began to realize that there may be more people involved in this.”

The Yonkers Police Department would not comment on our story, but after we sent them a Freedom of Information request, they sent us a letter, which confirms that an investigation was started in 1996, and has not been closed to this day.

Hockenberry: “Give me an idea, a ballpark number of people who you thought strongly might have been involved.”

Novotny: “Oh, I'd say half a dozen.”

Since his confession, Berkowitz has never testified or been cross-examined about his version of events in a trial. Some of the people closest to the tragedy, after all this time, yearn for closure. Dateline contacted three parents of Son of Sam victims. While they remain bitter about the man locked away for killing their loved one, all three told us they now think Berkowitz probably did not act alone. Even a man who took a Son of Sam bullet, Carl Denero, agrees.

Carl Denero: “There's no way that David Berkowitz did all the shootings. I personally think it was a cult. I don't know that for a fact. But I am convinced that -- and no one can unconvince me -- that more than one person was involved.”

And as for columnist and Son of Sam pen-pal Jimmy Breslin, he's heard it all before and doesn't buy any of it. And it's not just Jimmy Breslin. A former FBI profiler who spent hours interviewing Berkowtiz told us he was convinced Berkowitz acted alone, was an "introverted loner, not capable of being involved in group activity."

The case in Yonkers has never been brought before a grand jury. The New York City police would not comment on any aspect of the Son of Sam case, but have never wavered from their belief that a lone gunman was the Son of Sam.

Berkowitz in his 1997 interview with Maury Terry seemed to shine a light on Terry's conspiracy theory, but he declined to elaborate on his allegations, and would not grant an interview to Dateline. So we're left with these last on-camera words from David Berkowitz.

Berkowitz: “It was a time of foolishness for me, a time of spiritual darkness, a time of a lot of confusion.”

It is like the confusion which continues to surround this case, which Berkowitz himself has helped to perpetuate, and which apparently he has no intention of clarifying.

Berkowitz: “I made a lot of bad choices. I made a lot of bad mistakes. I'm truly sorry for the lives that were destroyed. I'd like to say that I'm very, very sorry.”

But not sorry enough to either testify before a grand jury and move the case forward or close it forever by admitting once and for all, he was in fact the lone gunman responsible for the Son of Sam shootings.

David Berkowitz is serving six consecutive terms of 25 years to life. In June, he was denied parole, for a second time. The review is automatic under New York state law. Berkowitz himself, in a letter he wrote two years ago, said he has no interest in parole, and can give no good reason why he should even be considered.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5351509/

There seems to be a lot of the Arguement from Disbelief being bandied around there: "I can't believe one man was capable of....." and I suppose in some ways such conspiracies make it easier for people to grasp rather than accept that it might just be the work of one screwed up guy. Not helped by the usual serial killer BS.

Emps
 

MrRING

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To me, the most compelling evidence FOR multiple Sons of Sam:

1) The varied witness decriptions of the killer(s) - the illustrations witnesses had were really all over the map, and the ones that Berkowitz says he did look like him, and the others don't.

2) That one person (two brothers, his former neighbors and both now dead) named by Berkowitz looked quite alot like one of the other sketches of the Son of Sam.

3) The fact that the case never really got it's due in court - the investigation stopped for the most part with his confession.
 

OldTimeRadio

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The Ultimate Evil

Maury Terry's book THE ULTIMATE EVIL is rough sailing in places because Terry very badly over-proved his case by going into long-winded and wholly unneccessary digressions as to possible anagrams and code-words in the Son of Sam letters.

But he seems to have proven what he set out to prove - there there are at least apparent linkages between David Berkowitz and/or his neighbors and various "cult"-type murders in other sections of the United States.

The book is by no means nonsense. It's just poorly written in spots.
 

gerhard1

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I don't usually accept conspiracy theories because there is often no evidence to back them up. I just wanted to get that out there at the start. There is one case, however, that really makes me wonder if there isn't something to it and that is the case of the Son of Sam in the mid-1970's.

The position of the New York City Police is that David Berkowitz, the man they arrested and charged in the case, acted alone. Maury Terry in his book, The Ultimate Evil, disputed this, going into various discrepancies in the eyewitness accounts, handwriting analysis and ballistic evidence.

Terry believed that a group, a cult, of which Berkowitz was certainly a member, carried out the murders, and he makes a fairly good case. For example, very few of the police composite sketches bore any resemblance to Berkowitz. Even if we grant that people's memories are somewhat faulty, there should have been more of a similarity to Berkowitz were he the sole killer. Further, I recall that a few of the surviving eyewitnesses said that they didn't believe that Berkowitz was the man who shot them.

Handwriting experts consulted by Terry seem to think that that the letters dropped at one of the scenes was not written by Berkowitz, and also one mailed to Jimmy Breslin, a columnist for a New York tabloid was written by Berkowitz but contained enough dissimilarities in language, etc., that the documents examiner felt that it was copied by or dictated to Berkowitz. Also at the bottom of the page of the Breslin letter was an occult symbol. I will speculate that this symbol was added by Berkowitz before he mailed it to Breslin.

The ballistics evidence was definitive in that all of the slugs the NYPD was able to recover were 44 caliber, but most of them were too deformed to match to an individual firearm. Rifling characteristics in most of the recovered slugs were consistent with the Charter Arms Bulldog revolver that was found in Berkowitz' possession when he was arrested, but they couldn't do a positive match. Terry believed that more than one revolver was used and that there was more than one shooter.

There are other things as well. In one of the letters, there is a reference to a 'John Wheaties'. A person known as 'Wheaties', one John Carr, whom it was said was a member of the cult, was found dead in Minot, North Dakota, his head torn apart by a round from a high-powered hunting rifle, and his brother Michael was killed in a car crash near New York City a few months after. Part of the Carr brothers significance here is that their father Sam Carr lived a very short distance from Berkowitz and he is where the son of 'Sam' name is derived.

Terry felt that the group responsible for the Sam killings in New York was also involved in other homicides in California as well as North Dakota. There was one murder, that of a 19-year-old newlywed in California that Berkowitz seemed to be familiar with, that he alluded to after he was imprisoned,. It seems that the person who killed this young lady told Berkowitz about it before the Sam killings occurred.

Now, of course, this doesn't prove the Sam killings were the work of a cult, but it does raise questions. A lot of them.

For those interested, there is Maury Terry's book, The Ultimate Evil. It is out-of-print, but it is an excellent read.

As an aside, I do believe that this my 500th post on this forum. It has been a pleasure to be here.
 

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And it's a pleasure to have hosted your posts here.

No need to merge threads immediately, but here's some of what has been said previously:

forum.forteantimes.com/index.php?threads/son-of-sam.512 *
* That thread has now been merged into this one.

forum.forteantimes.com/index.php?threads/the-son-of-sam-and-the-monster-of-florence.4426
Link is obsolete. The current link is:
https://forums.forteana.org/index.php?threads/the-son-of-sam-the-monster-of-florence.4426/
 
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gerhard1

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And it's a pleasure to have hosted your posts here.

No need to merge threads immediately, but here's some of what has been said previously:
Sorry about that. I looked under 'Berkowitz' but I didn't see anything.
 
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maximus otter

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gerhard1 said:
...various discrepancies in the eyewitness accounts, handwriting analysis and ballistic evidence.

The ballistics evidence was definitive in that all of the slugs the NYPD was able to recover were 44 caliber, but most of them were too deformed to match to an individual firearm. Rifling characteristics in most of the recovered slugs were consistent with the Charter Arms Bulldog revolver that was found in Berkowitz' possession.

...very few of the police composite sketches bore any resemblance to Berkowitz. Even if we grant that people's memories are somewhat faulty, there should have been more of a similarity to Berkowitz were he the sole killer. Further, I recall that a few of the surviving eyewitnesses said that they didn't believe that Berkowitz was the man who shot them.
I have quite a bit of experience in dealing with all-too-fallible witnesses. I don't find it at all surprising that witnesses' descriptions were inconsistent, or that victims didn't pick out Berkowitz. Here, for example, are wanted posters of two undisputed killers:



Gary Ridgway, the "Green River Killer".





Randall Woodfield, the "I5 Killer".

Human memory and descriptive powers are poor. Try, for example, to remember the face of the cashier who last served you at a supermarket. Now try to describe her to me in such detail that I could prepare a worthwhile sketch of her.

Handwriting evidence is interesting, and admissible in UK courts, but contains a high element of subjectivity.

Berkowitz initially claimed that "Son of Sam" referred to a dog belonging to his neighbour Sam, from which pooch he allegedly received telepathic orders to kill. It was only after this didn't work, and he'd confessed to all the killings and been convicted, that he withdrew this initial attempt at a psychiatric defence.

The ballistic evidence I find compelling. The Charter Arms .44 Bulldog that Berkowitz used and was in possession of, was not a common weapon back then. The idea that two separate offenders, or a gang of copycats, would choose it over a universally-available Smith & Wesson .38, for example, is highly implausible.

maximus otter
 

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AlchoPwn

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Berkowitz initially claimed that "Son of Sam" referred to a dog belonging to his neighbour Sam, from which pooch he allegedly received telepathic orders to kill. It was only after this didn't work, and he'd confessed to all the killings and been convicted, that he withdrew this initial attempt at a psychiatric defence.

maximus otter
Is anyone familiar with the 1975 movie "A Boy and his Dog" ?https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Boy_and_His_Dog_(1975_film)

This movie also has a psychopathic abuser and killer of women (albeit in a barbaric post-apocalyptic "society") who took telepathic orders from his dog. Given the fact that this little "cult classic" movie was around at the same time, I wonder which telepathic dog informed which? (If you take my meaning?)
 

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I remember the film and the short story.
 

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Is anyone familiar with the 1975 movie "A Boy and his Dog" ?https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Boy_and_His_Dog_(1975_film)

This movie also has a psychopathic abuser and killer of women (albeit in a barbaric post-apocalyptic "society") who took telepathic orders from his dog. Given the fact that this little "cult classic" movie was around at the same time, I wonder which telepathic dog informed which? (If you take my meaning?)
I didn't see the film, but I read the original Harlan Ellison 1969 novella. Here's a synopsis of the plot.

Berkowitz claimed that he shot (mainly) women because of his lack of success with the opposite sex. I could see A Boy and his Dog, with Vic's misogyny and search for sexual gratification assisted by Blood's telepathy, chiming with Berkowitz.

I believe, however, that I read a book about Son of Sam, and I'm sure I'd remember if the defence had raised the issue of an SF story that I'd read being an influence on him.

maximus otter
 

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I didn't see the film, but I read the original Harlan Ellison 1969 novella. Here's a synopsis of the plot.

Berkowitz claimed that he shot (mainly) women because of his lack of success with the opposite sex. I could see A Boy and his Dog, with Vic's misogyny and search for sexual gratification assisted by Blood's telepathy, chiming with Berkowitz.

I believe, however, that I read a book about Son of Sam, and I'm sure I'd remember if the defence had raised the issue of an SF story that I'd read being an influence on him.

maximus otter
That was one one of the theories put forth for his motivation, but I don't recall reading anywhere that he actually said that.

Please note that I am only saying that Terry raised some questions about Berkowitz' involvement in a cult, not that it is an established fact. The Queens DA also was looking into possible involvement of other people in the murders and there were more than a few NYPD people who were far from satisfied that Berkowitz acted alone.

Me? I do wonder.
 

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Is anyone familiar with the 1975 movie "A Boy and his Dog" ?https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Boy_and_His_Dog_(1975_film)

This movie also has a psychopathic abuser and killer of women (albeit in a barbaric post-apocalyptic "society") who took telepathic orders from his dog. Given the fact that this little "cult classic" movie was around at the same time, I wonder which telepathic dog informed which? (If you take my meaning?)
A dark film, better things could have been done with it if the director and production designer had been more imaginative.
 

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I didn't see the film, but I read the original Harlan Ellison 1969 novella. Here's a synopsis of the plot.
Berkowitz claimed that he shot (mainly) women because of his lack of success with the opposite sex. I could see A Boy and his Dog, with Vic's misogyny and search for sexual gratification assisted by Blood's telepathy, chiming with Berkowitz.
I believe, however, that I read a book about Son of Sam, and I'm sure I'd remember if the defense had raised the issue of an SF story that I'd read being an influence on him.
maximus otter
*Chuckle* I have heard that Harlan Ellison was a difficult character. Has anyone checked him out as a possible serial killer?

A dark film, better things could have been done with it if the director and production designer had been more imaginative.
I confess I enjoyed it quite a lot on first watching a few years ago. It was off-beat and off-color enough to be very amusing. Now there is a Son of Sam association, the whole ethos of the movie gels better. The 1970s was all about the impending nuclear annihilation, collapse of US infrastructure spending and urban renewal, with NYC being on the verge of total bankruptcy like Detroit today. Blood's psychic narrative about politics leading up to the war, to Vic makes sense in this context, and the film makes a lot more sense through the lens of the Son of Sam killings. If we view Vic as the Son of Sam, so much falls into place. Makes me wonder about Ellison though.
 

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Great posts. Really interesting all round post wise.

I hadn't even thought of the film a boy and his dog. I saw that when it came out. I don't really recall the character being an abusive women killer. He may have killed and cooked the girl he escapes the lunatics living underground with but this is an issue of survival considering the conditions he is forced to live in. I saw this ending as a kind of twisted fate which could only be resolved by her becoming the next meal. So a horny teen in a post apocalyptic world without food whose life and usual sex was dependent on his dog and not on her.

Might have to think about this one a little deeper. Who were the victims and what did they do, or who were their parents, what connections do the victims have to anyone whom may have been selected for punishment, or whom needed to be eliminated because they knew something. More along those lines I think is where there's going to be smoke. That kind of back tracking is going to lead to somewhere, if it leads anywhere at all.

My bet is someone in the victims line up was a target. Others could be muddying. See, if there's a cult aspect to this then it's not something which just sprung up all on it's own, or because the guy read a boy and his dog.

However there's another link here because of the whole pretext which leads to the story is about the dog finding females for sex, and this then combines with the famous milking scene played by a young John Johnson? Movies like this do tell us things.
http://www.pregnancy-info.net/childbirth-history/sperm-bank.html


What I find compelling in the post by Gerhard is the association of mass murders to cults and how these cults are evidently then connected to sub-cults. In the Charles Manson case these links are recorded. They involve sexual proclivities of unusual nature, group sex, pedophilia, and other allegations.

Then these cases are notoriously linked to major police departments whose associations to political and military power are deeply tied. Simply meaning that controlling investigations and handing out the official version of reality is purely a bureaucratic function. Can there really be truth in such a system?

A little disjointed I realize but I think this is a unique perspective and that there is likely a cult connection, but that the cult is a front, and the murders are cover with one or more victims being targeted: Think Tylenol here.
 
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I decided to move this part here.

If the story of "A Boy And His Dog" is telling us a future forecast for those involved with something then what is the movie actually telling us about? Lets look at the films main points.

Secret underground world, androids/artificial life, artificial insemination, unusual sexual practices, and cannibalism. Look at this story of "A Boy and His Dog" symbolically and then ask if this is linked to the Son of Sam Crimes, and if there were a cult, who then would that cult be working for?

If the movie is a story telling about something, and not just a science fiction story, then what is it telling us? Obviously this is telling us then that and underground artificial world exists where people are creating androids/artificial beings using artificial means, and that escaping *read leaving here* means death. This is the cannibalism ending. Which by the way is another big flag since this cannibalism motif is seen in other films of note like "Cloud Atlas." It's a repeating motif of film makers.

At any rate it's clear that if the victims can be linked to an underground/hidden civilization, and most likely doing biological engineering, then that's where I think you're going to make connections to a cult as a cover for murder. Does this make sense to any of you?
 
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I hadn't even thought of the film a boy and his dog. I saw that when it came out. I don't really recall the character being an abusive women killer. He may have killed and cooked the girl he escapes the lunatics living underground with but this is an issue of survival considering the conditions he is forced to live in. I saw this ending as a kind of twisted fate which could only be resolved by her becoming the next meal. So a horny teen in a post apocalyptic world without food whose life and usual sex was dependent on his dog and not on her.
Good analysis, in the story it is clearer that he chose his dog over the girl. She wanted him to abandon the injured dog. The dog wad sentient and had other enhancements which would aid the boy's future survival.
 

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Then these cases are notoriously linked to major police departments whose associations to political and military power are deeply tied. Simply meaning that controlling investigations and handing out the official version of reality is purely a bureaucratic function. Can there really be truth in such a system?
It always surprises me how quickly Americans will dismiss their whole system as irretrievable if there are any tiny areas of imperfection. One little perverted cult with ties to a local police department doesn't mean the whole system of government is irretrievably corrupt across the country.

I beg you to reconsider. The fact is that in the 1980s there was a Ritual Satanic Abuse moral panic in the USA. This occurred primarily in areas with a gullible and extremely religious population, and was the modern equivalent of the Salem Witch Trials. The truth of the matter was that the evidence of the affair was produced under hypnosis by some truly reprehensible psychologists who implanted false memories into their patients in order to keep them coming back and paying bills. The fact was, in many of the affected areas with the stigma of mental illness combined with the effectiveness of treatment, many treating psychologists weren't making enough money to keep themselves in practice. It is a sordid story, and while there are certainly unsavory people and nasty little cults out there, the fact is that if you buy into the conspiracy theory the bad guys have won a propaganda victory over you. For goodness sake check the facts:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satanic_ritual_abuse

Now, to be perfectly clear, this is not to say that ALL cases of this sort have been falsified. For example, there is the story of what happened in Ponchatoula Louisiana:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/25/us/sex-charges-follow-a-churchs-collapse.html

My advice is, don't fall for the moral panic. Don't listen to hearsay evidence from sources with a vested interest in doing more than providing the story. If you have a strong moral conviction about such things, then you also have a duty to make certain that you aren't unintentionally spreading any falsehoods. At very least there is an onus to provide sources for your claims, which I, as I hope you recognise, have done.
 

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It always surprises me how quickly Americans will dismiss their whole system as irretrievable if there are any tiny areas of imperfection. One little perverted cult with ties to a local police department doesn't mean the whole system of government is irretrievably corrupt across the country.

I beg you to reconsider. The fact is that in the 1980s there was a Ritual Satanic Abuse moral panic in the USA. This occurred primarily in areas with a gullible and extremely religious population, and was the modern equivalent of the Salem Witch Trials. The truth of the matter was that the evidence of the affair was produced under hypnosis by some truly reprehensible psychologists who implanted false memories into their patients in order to keep them coming back and paying bills. The fact was, in many of the affected areas with the stigma of mental illness combined with the effectiveness of treatment, many treating psychologists weren't making enough money to keep themselves in practice. It is a sordid story, and while there are certainly unsavory people and nasty little cults out there, the fact is that if you buy into the conspiracy theory the bad guys have won a propaganda victory over you. For goodness sake check the facts:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satanic_ritual_abuse

Now, to be perfectly clear, this is not to say that ALL cases of this sort have been falsified. For example, there is the story of what happened in Ponchatoula Louisiana:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/25/us/sex-charges-follow-a-churchs-collapse.html

My advice is, don't fall for the moral panic. Don't listen to hearsay evidence from sources with a vested interest in doing more than providing the story. If you have a strong moral conviction about such things, then you also have a duty to make certain that you aren't unintentionally spreading any falsehoods. At very least there is an onus to provide sources for your claims, which I, as I hope you recognise, have done.
Oh no, don't misunderstand me. I devoted my life to either building or maintaining civilization. The pristine document is still pristine. The government is sound on paper.

PS: I grock what you're saying. The issue is about sex and cults using sex as means to attract recruits and whom are then exploited. There's two separate issues involved with some cross connections or potential cross connections. It's not the government. It's corporations and their access to military and quasi-military and contracts +$$$.

Blaming the government or a politician is like blaming a Walmart Employee for the Walton Family Wealth.

A cult is a black op, it's a cloaked forum with secret agenda's, but all critical links are potential access points, no one is immune from potential recruitment, officials in other words, and then there's just the simplistic aspect of the political rule: The emperor cannot be naked ya know, he has to have answers, solutions, control. Everything is fine, there is nothing to worry about, case closed and crime solved. That kind of thing. Charles Manson, lunatic arrested and locked away forever, Son of Sam another lunatic arrested and locked away forever. Case closed; go back to bed.

In other words, Mr & Mrs Muggles have to be reassured that Johnny Jumping Jack will be safe while being educated properly and so on and so forth. They could never say that, well hey, it looks like this corporate association is running a black project...which our taxes are paying them to do...cough...and this person was gonna spill the beans so they offed them using a lunatic that was recruited and then put through the washing machine to solve the problem.

So naturally the next phone call is to the Chief of Police. Put a lid on this immediately.
 
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Gambeir

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I forgot one crucial point in the symbolism of 'A Boy and His Dog." The dog is the All Seeing Eye: See how that works? It's psychic don't ya see. It knows everything. Really this complete the story telling as a symbolic message.
 

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It always surprises me how quickly Americans will dismiss their whole system as irretrievable if there are any tiny areas of imperfection. One little perverted cult with ties to a local police department doesn't mean the whole system of government is irretrievably corrupt across the country.

I beg you to reconsider. The fact is that in the 1980s there was a Ritual Satanic Abuse moral panic in the USA. This occurred primarily in areas with a gullible and extremely religious population, and was the modern equivalent of the Salem Witch Trials. The truth of the matter was that the evidence of the affair was produced under hypnosis by some truly reprehensible psychologists who implanted false memories into their patients in order to keep them coming back and paying bills. The fact was, in many of the affected areas with the stigma of mental illness combined with the effectiveness of treatment, many treating psychologists weren't making enough money to keep themselves in practice. It is a sordid story, and while there are certainly unsavory people and nasty little cults out there, the fact is that if you buy into the conspiracy theory the bad guys have won a propaganda victory over you. For goodness sake check the facts:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satanic_ritual_abuse

Now, to be perfectly clear, this is not to say that ALL cases of this sort have been falsified. For example, there is the story of what happened in Ponchatoula Louisiana:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/25/us/sex-charges-follow-a-churchs-collapse.html

My advice is, don't fall for the moral panic. Don't listen to hearsay evidence from sources with a vested interest in doing more than providing the story. If you have a strong moral conviction about such things, then you also have a duty to make certain that you aren't unintentionally spreading any falsehoods. At very least there is an onus to provide sources for your claims, which I, as I hope you recognise, have done.
Also there is the Country Walk case, which Dade County State Attorney Janet Reno's office prosecuted. The chief witness for the prosecution later alleged that she was tortured to make false testimony. As many political differences as I have with Reno, (she was the US Attorney-General under Bill Clinton) she was a honorable person and I don't believe that she would countenance torture of witnesses to get a conviction.

As a possible matter of interest, I have a slight acquaintance with a woman who said that she was subjected to SRA. Granted, it might not be as widespread as it was thought, but I do believe it happens.

But getting back to Berkowitz, what argues against claims of cult involvement? He does not claim innocence; he admits to at least two of the shootings, and he has said that he does not deserve to be let go. I don't believe that he would ever be paroled anyway.
 

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A cult is a black op, it's a cloaked forum with secret agenda's, but all critical links are potential access points, no one is immune from potential recruitment, officials in other words, and then there's just the simplistic aspect of the political rule: The emperor cannot be naked ya know, he has to have answers, solutions, control. Everything is fine, there is nothing to worry about, case closed and crime solved. That kind of thing. Charles Manson, lunatic arrested and locked away forever, Son of Sam another lunatic arrested and locked away forever. Case closed; go back to bed.
No cult can be a black op. Black ops are developed as a rapid insertion rapid exit mission for the most part. Human contact is limited as much as possible in a black op. Cults must be at least semi-permanent, which means they need to use a more Espionage/Terror cell system, and that means employing the Organized Crime business model. It is exponentially harder to cover up a secret, the more people become involved.

Now you correctly suggest that there is a link between Espionage and Cult activity, but you put the wagon before the horse imo. Spies use cults as cover, not the other way round. The classic example if Dr. John Dee (allegedly the original agent 007), who traveled the Royal Courts of Europe posing as an eminent occultist, while using his weird writings and Enochian Keys as the ciphers of his spycraft. It was a great cover. Similarly the historical ninja families of Japan, the Koga and Iga Shinobi used to rely on local superstition and demonology to scare people away from their operations scooby doo style. This was also a tactic employed by the Roman Areani, who were their recon/elite services. As the quote goes "Yea tho I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death I shall fear no evil for I am the meanest sonofabitch in the valley" i.e. you don't need to fear the supernatural when you are the scariest thing going bump in the night. Similarly the classic Espionage recruiting system of MISE (Money Ideology Sex Ego) can all be easily facilitated through the cover of a cult. There is even reason to believe that Aleister Crowley was spying on Mussolini for the British from his cult base at the Abbey of Thelema on Sicily. Allegedly Mussolini was personally insulted and mortified when he heard that Crowley was a vocal proponent of fascism, which is hilarious. I have made a close and historical critical study of the role of Freemasonry and the so-called Illuminati conspiracy in the USA, and it is immensely exaggerated and was far more Christian than anyone seems prepared to admit. Most people are unaware, for example, that Freemasonry doesn't admit atheists.
 

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Which by the way is another big flag since this cannibalism motif is seen in other films of note like "Cloud Atlas." It's a repeating motif of film makers.
What constitutes a film "of note"?
 

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Getting back to Berkowitz, what argues against claims of cult involvement? He does not claim innocence; he admits to at least two of the shootings, and he has said that he does not deserve to be let go. I don't believe that he would ever be paroled anyway.
Please don't misunderstand me. I am more than prepared to consider the possibility that more people were involved in the killings than Berkowitz. The fact that the secret is slightly more likely to get out if more than one person is involved, there are benefits to be reaped by having extra hands, brains and resources in any crime. What is interesting is that Serial Killing lacks the profit motive of most crimes, so one is less likely to recruit a fellow traveler.

Now if there were a cult, surely they would have been immensely interested in ensuring that Berkowitz remained very quiet about them, which Berkowitz conspicuously was not. If there was a cult involved Berkowitz would have a double incentive to be quiet about them, as (a) they might conspire to kill him if he squealed and (b) if he remained quiet they might be able to help him. The fact that Berkowitz is said to have mentioned that there was a cult involved cannot be viewed as being reliable. Now while Maury Terry who was investigating the case was pretty certain there was more than one person involved, the fact is that after Berkowitz is captured the murders stop and don't start again. THAT is evidence that the serial killer has been caught. The possibility remains that there were others involved, but it becomes increasingly unlikely. On the other hand, the subsequent violent and suspicious deaths in the Carr family hints at planned revenge.
 

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*Chuckle* I have heard that Harlan Ellison was a difficult character. Has anyone checked him out as a possible serial killer?



I confess I enjoyed it quite a lot on first watching a few years ago. It was off-beat and off-color enough to be very amusing. Now there is a Son of Sam association, the whole ethos of the movie gels better. The 1970s was all about the impending nuclear annihilation, collapse of US infrastructure spending and urban renewal, with NYC being on the verge of total bankruptcy like Detroit today. Blood's psychic narrative about politics leading up to the war, to Vic makes sense in this context, and the film makes a lot more sense through the lens of the Son of Sam killings. If we view Vic as the Son of Sam, so much falls into place. Makes me wonder about Ellison though.
Harlan Ellison once phoned me up at work - true! I used to work for a science-fiction magazine, as a sub-editor/writer, and was in the office on my own one evening when the phone rang; I picked it up and it was the great man himself calling from the USA. The notoriously difficult and famously litigious writer was calling to complain/put us right about something we'd written concerning the creation of the film The Terminator. Luckily I'd just been reading some of his work the night before - The Glass Teat, if memory serves - and we got on superbly. He even called me a 'cool m*****f*****'! I sweet-talked him, calmed him down and we got him to write a piece for the magazine! Result.
 

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Our very own Mr Otter said
Berkowitz claimed that he shot (mainly) women because of his lack of success with the opposite sex.
That was one one of the theories put forth for his motivation, but I don't recall reading anywhere that he actually said that.

Please note that I am only saying that Terry raised some questions about Berkowitz' involvement in a cult, not that it is an established fact. The Queens DA also was looking into possible involvement of other people in the murders and there were more than a few NYPD people who were far from satisfied that Berkowitz acted alone.

Me? I do wonder.
It seems that such a statement was indeed made to Robert Ressler of the FBI.
 
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