Giving Satan a Bad Name

Highlights from Hair Balls


God is good, and for some Satan is, too.

Satanists don't deserve the bad rap they're getting after the recent news linking accused killers to the Prince of Darkness. The words "satanic ritual murder" or "occult killing" set off alarms in God-fearing people, and that's probably why prosecutors and the media ran with it.

This hit home when two Harris County teens were charged with capital murder recently in what the Houston Chronicle referred to as an "occult killing." Other news outlets headlined it "deal with the devil" or "ritual murder."

John Jordan of the Harris County DA's office is working the case and says that Jose E. Reyes, 17, allegedly talked a 16-year-old into joining him in killing schoolmate Corriann Cervantes. The younger kid wanted to join Reyes in a deal with the devil. Cervantes, 15, was mutilated, strangled and raped. Authorities said there was an upside-down cross carved on her belly.

Last week Reyes told a TV news reporter that he's actually a Christian and doesn't follow Satan, but he was really into the devil a few years ago.

Followers of Satan are used to having their beliefs scapegoated in the name of murder.

"You now have people who are practicing the illusion of the occult," says Michael Bradley, a Satanist and a regular in Houston's goth scene. When you hear about people, especially teens, killing in the name of the devil, there's probably mental illness involved, and an imagination twisted on images from metal music groups and hit movies that teens consume in hopes of scaring the shit out of their parents.

Blaming a supernatural force for causing someone to commit murder is disturbing and sad, and at this point, very unoriginal. Claiming "I did it for the devil," is no different from people saying they were commanded by angels, God or other voices to commit murder," says Bradley. "It's unfortunate that it's sensationalized," he said. "The supernatural, the occult, help to relieve people of their responsibility."

"If you were going to cut somebody," says Satan worshipper Jef Rouner (a frequent contributor to the Houston Press), "you'd get the same amount of energy from jerking off." Laid out in the Satanic Bible are rituals for wealth, revenge and other things that are mostly symbolic, he says. You're not supposed to go around killing people, though.

From jail, Miranda Barbour told a small-town Pennsylvania newspaper she had joined a satanic murder cult in Alaska when she was a teen, according to the Associated Press. She claims to have participated in almost two dozen murders, including one in Texas.

CNN followed up this Satan worship claim with a call to some ranking followers.

"Top Satanists say they have no ties to Barbour or her husband, Elytte Barbour, who is also charged in the 2013 killing of 42-year-old Troy LaFerrara. Police say LaFerrara responded to a 'companionship' ad placed by Miranda Barbour on Craigslist."

Rouner also doesn't buy any of it, and he's been a self-proclaimed Satanist since the late 1980s. "When you bring me the Satanic version of Warren Jeffs, when there is a compound where you can prove to me that child rape and murder were done by devout Satanists who thought that they were doing the right thing, when you show me a single conviction where sober faith and not raving lunacy invoked Satan in a heinous ritual crime, then I will believe it."

Satanism, after all, is about worshipping yourself, and Satanists nationwide have been fighting the evil, ritual-killings stereotype as their Church of Satan and related practices inch into the mainstream. Conspiracies abound.

For now, no matter who they owe their souls to, the Barbours face the death penalty, and here Reyes could face life in prison.


Pork-Infused Bullets
Want to buy these special items from Idaho in case you're attacked by a terrorist?

Craig Malisow

Texas is renowned as a gun-lover's paradise, and firearm enthusiasts in Houston are fortunate to have a vast array of gun shops to choose from — but unfortunately, if you want pork-laced ammunition to fend off a crazed jihadist, you'll have to order it from the clear-minded, levelheaded folks at the Idaho-based

An alert Hair Balls reader sent us the link, and at first we thought it was a joke. But no, the company sells "pork infused ballistic coating" that's "endorsed by Uncle Ham." The thinking (if it can be called that) is that shooting a terrorist with this ammo "will prevent their attaining entrance into heaven."

The "porcine coating" is a "natural deterrent to the ever growing threat of radical Islam and sharia law." (We hear this is an especially big problem in Idaho.)

Of course, you'll need to hone your skills, so Jihawg sells paper targets with nifty drawings, like a bearded, robed, AK-47-wielding "terrorist" with a unibrow and pig's nose standing under a headline that reads "Put Some Ham in MoHAMed." (Another suggests you "Do 72 Virgins A Favor," which isn't logically consistent with the company's mission statement, because the whole point of the pork bullets is that the deceased doesn't go to heaven. But we digress.)

You can also show your anti-jihadist leanings via caps and koozies. God help us all.

Know Your Local Media

Sperm Mokes
Chronicle deals with cached racy copy from days gone by.

Camilo Smith

It's a good thing we have Google's cache feature to keep these guys honest.

The Houston Chronicle had to come clean last week and quickly try to erase the last bits of its defunct website after media site got ahold of a post on

The Chronicle reportedly took down a review of a book about sperm-flavored desserts posted four years ago after it was resurfaced this week by the media website.

The original post went into sticky details on the tome:

Semen is inexpensive to produce and is commonly available in many, if not most, homes and restaurants." Which is a coy way of saying "Available at a dick near you, baby!"

Just because something is "commonly available" doesn't mean that I'm going to want to mix it into Aunt Lisa's chicken and dumpling recipe; lots of things are "commonly available": motor oil, toothpaste, pencil shavings...and none of those require ten to thirty minutes of "harvest time" per batch.

At first someone thought the Chronicle's website got hacked, but due diligence by media hawk Jim Romenesko proved otherwise and even got the paper's managing editor, Vernon Loeb, to go on the record about the "Cum On" article.

Here's what the Loeb-ster had to say:

The 2010 content you linked to on Monday originated on a website called that the Houston Chronicle created some years back to appeal to a younger audience attracted to alternative media.

Ah, so this was the sexy product the Chron was trying to push out to horny teens and twentysomethings? Loeb went on to explain that last year the old site was migrated to a blog at, but no one knew about the infamous Girl Dick columns or other articles that were about as NSFW as you could get.

"The author of this material was a freelancer and is no longer employed here," Loeb wrote. "We apologize to anyone who may have been offended by this content, and we trust that all of it has been removed from our website."

But is it right to just rub this archive off the face of the Internets?

The Girl Dick columns were sassy and entertaining. She even did theater reviews.

The takeaway from this is that at least we can search Google's nether regions for a little piece of Houston's digital media nostalgia. And as for Girl Dick, we hope she moved out of Houston to go write screenplays in Hollywood or something.

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Camilo Hannibal Smith started writing for the Houston Press in 2014. A former copy editor, he was inspired to focus on writing about pop culture and entertainment after a colleague wrote a story about Paul Wall's grills. His work has been published in the Los Angeles Times and the Source magazine.