February 17th, 2014
06:41 PM ET
By Daniel Burke, Belief Blog Co-editor
(CNN) - She's not one of us.
That's what Satanists are saying about accused "Craigslist killer" Miranda Barbour.
The 19-year-old told The Daily Item, a Pennsylvania newspaper, that she joined a satanic cult in Alaska when she was 13 and participated in several murders.
Barbour, who has been charged with one slaying in 2013, told the newspaper that she has been involved in at least 22 killings.
But authorities haven't corroborated her claims, and 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.
"According to our records, we have never had any contact from this woman, nor her accomplice," said Magus Peter Gilmore, high priest of the Church of Satan. "It seems to me that she is calling herself a member of a 'satanic cult,' not a legally incorporated above-ground form of satanism."
"Thorough investigation will likely demonstrate that this cult story is fiction," Gilmore added.
Founded in 1966 by Anton LaVey, the Church of Satan is the oldest and largest such body in the United States.
The church's "Nine Satanic Statements" hold that Satan "represents all of the so-called sins, as they all lead to physical, mental, or emotional gratification!"
Like Gilmore, Lucien Greaves, spokesman for the rival Satanic Temple, said his group has no ties to Barbour or her husband.
"Barbour seems bent on displaying herself as prolific murderer and absolute monster, and her 'Satanism' seems nothing more than another transparent effort to aid in this campaign of reverse," public relations, Greaves said.
"It must be remembered that 'the Devil made me do it' excuse far predates any written doctrine of Satanism, and I feel certain that Barbour's own relationship with any organized Satanism will turn out to be vague or non-existent," he added.
Greaves' Satanic Temple, more a band of political provocateurs than an organized religious group, is trying to place a monument to Satan at the Oklahoma state courthouse.
Barbour's alleged satanic ties may resurrect painful memories for Satanists, who found themselves at the center of controversy during the "satanic panic" of the 1980s.
During that time, several American communities reported that Satanists had abused children during horrifying rituals. The accusations were later debunked, but only after what Satanists like Gilmore describe as a "witch hunt."
Gilmore said his church is not a cult and does not allow minors to participate in its activities.
"As we’ve said time and again, satanism is a law and order philosophy, and we consider that the punishment should fit in kind and degree the crimes committed," Gilmore said. "Murderers deserve to be punished to the full extent of the law."
About this blog
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.