Supermoons, satanists and grisly deaths on Dartmoor

Supermoons, satanists and grisly deaths on Dartmoor Police review cases of animal sacrifice after foal is found mutilated in apparent ritual slaughter. 

‘Police investigating the possibility of a satanic cult being responsible for killing nd mutilating a pony on Dartmoor during a “supermoon” this week say they have been called to three similar attacks in the past year”

Read the rest of the story on the Telegraph here.

Magus Peter H. Gilmore, a member of the Church of Satan, not only denies that the horse was killed in a satanic ritual but says that contrary to popular belief. satanists do not actually believe in the Devil:
‘Sacrifice has no part of Satanism since we are an atheist philosophy. Since Satan does not exist, ritual sacrifice is anathema to us. We suspect that lunatics, sociopaths or people who believe in supernatural entities are likely the ones who could perform such a heinous act. Satanists respect our fellow species and would only kill an animal for food or self-defense. Whoever slaughtered the foal in Dartmoor should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.’

Some coverage has conflated satanism with paganism. I approached the leading pagan organisation in the UK, the Pagan Federation. Maia Messenger, the Devon and Cornwall district manager, gave this statement:

‘I’m incredibly disappointed that every time there are injuries to horses or sheep in this area that the Pagan Federation get a phone call. The vast majority of Pagans would never draw the blood of any living being – I believe most are vegetarians! Pagan beliefs (and there are many paths), are based on love. It’s love and life that we celebrate. Death is seen as part of the cycle of life and is honoured as a natural event. The Pagan Federation members agree on  3  principle which can be summarised as: love of Nature, personal responsibility and recognition of Divine ( Of course I recognise there are some horrible people in this world, and they may even appoint themselves a name that sounds ‘pagan’ but they are clearly not. It is my view that this may have been done by some group of misguided individuals as part of a rite of passage, but this group will have no connection to Pagans today. Any person performing that kind of damage to an animal would have other goals which by definition has no Pagan connection. It is very distressing to hear that another animal has suffered and in such a painful and disrespectful manner. Full Moons are associated with ceremony at any time of the year, but on a practical level it assists night time activities with sufficient light to see pathways on the moor for those with good and bad intent.  Local Pagans are doing their best to help the Police with their enquiries as we are as concerned as they are to catch those responsible and for the Law to bring them to justice.’