Two preteen girls who said they worship Satan have been arrested for bringing butcher knives and a pizza cutter to school with the intention of killing fellow students.
The Florida middle schoolers, who have yet to be identified by name because they’re ages 11 and 12, claimed Satan inspired them to stab more than a dozen students to death. (It’s important to note that belief in Satan doesn’t line up with secular forms of “Satanism,” which emphasize rebellion, naturalism, and scientific inquiry.)
“They told us they were Satan worshipers,” Bartow Police Chief Joe Hall said at a news conference on Wednesday. “They did make comments that they were willing to drink blood and possibly eat flesh…”
Hall said that there had been rumors Monday that there would be “issues” at the middle school, and a student had informed a teacher that “something bad” was going to happen. As a result, extra officers were present on Tuesday.
When the 11-year-old failed to show up for her second period class, her mother received a robo-call notifying her that her daughter was absent, Hall said. The girl’s mother contacted the school and said she believed that her daughter was on campus, prompting administrators to launch a search.
An assistant principal found the two girls hiding in a bathroom with a goblet, Hall said. Suspecting that it might have been used to drink alcohol, she escorted them both to the principal’s office.
When the principal, Christopher Roberts, ordered the 11-year-old to empty her pockets, she handed over a paring knife and a sharpener, Hall said. Asked why she had a weapon, the girl said that she and the other student were planning on attacking as many students as possible. Officials then searched the 12-year-old and found several other knives and a pizza cutter in her possession. Hall didn’t specify what the pizza cutter’s intended use was.
This is an unusual case. It’s not often that self-proclaimed Satan worshipers actually drink blood and plan murders. That’s what you’d expect from Christian conspiracy theories from the 1980s, not any popular form of Satanism today. Are these girls reason for a new Satanic Panic… or are they just young, ignorant, and eager to throw blame for their actions anywhere else?
At the 12-year-old’s home, police found a hand-drawn map of the middle school’s campus that said, “Go to kill in bathroom.” Officers searched the students’ phones and found that the two had discussed killing themselves after leaving their classmates’ body parts by the school’s entrance. “Thank Satan we are doing this in a bit,” the 12-year-old allegedly wrote in a message over social media on Tuesday.
These girls may have claimed to worship Satan, but there is nothing yet that links them to any major proponent of “Satanism.” In fact, The Satanic Temple and the Church of Satan — two separate groups — have issued denunciations on Twitter.
My reply today to a journalist seeking comment regarding a story in which two middle school girls are alleged to have plotted a mass murder in the name of Satan. pic.twitter.com/dPCspfBrRm
— Lucien Greaves (@LucienGreaves) October 25, 2018
Incidents such as this spring from Christian beliefs, sensationalism, and media fear mongering such as that recently presented in AHS. These theists create their own monsters, let them own it. Our rational, life-affirming philosophy plays no role here. https://t.co/H5o2fZ3DUZ
— The Church Of Satan (@ChurchofSatan) October 25, 2018
As these groups also point out, if these girls actually believed in Satan, they were not atheists… which is to say they’re not Satanists in the mold of those groups since they are secular by nature. If anything, those who believe in Satan are just practicing a version of Christianity with an emphasis on a different biblical character.