What to Watch For

September 01, 1989 1 min read

Heavy metal rock music is presumed to exert great influence over cult-involved teens. For example, one of the convicted teenage killers of Steven Newberry, had a particular affinity for a band called Megadeath: Ronald Charles Clements reportedly told court psychiatrists he had been inspired by the lyrics of a Megadeath song, called “Good Mourning, Black Friday.” Yet, a taste for gruesome rock lyrics may or may not be a warning sign of satanic involvement. Newberry’s killers listened to the stuff continuously, but other kids who buy the records often do not buy the message. However, if the interest seems strong, experts advise parents and teachers to keep a watchful eye, and look for such other signs of satanic “dabbling” as:

  • Sharp changes in behavior, such as alienation from family and friends, a drop in grades, changes in diet, fatigue, deception, and substance abuse.
  • Self-mutilation, including tattoos on the arms and hands, or a blackened nail on the little or middle finger of the left hand.
  • Black clothing, and silver jewelry portraying satanic symbols.
  • Possession of a “Book of Shadows"—usually a black notebook, but sometimes a computer file—containing rituals and symbols, and possibly meditations on violent death.

For more information, contact The Cult Awareness Network at (312) 267-7777. Also, see “Assessment and Intervention With Adolescents Involved in Satanism,” Social Work, November-December 1988.
A version of this article appeared in the September 01, 1989 edition of Teacher as What to Watch For