5 – John Jenkin
In the summer of 2013, 25-year-old John Jenkin from Cumbria, England expressed fears that he would kill his mother.
Whilst in a deranged state, he approached a van driver, put his hands in the air in a surrender motion and cried out: ‘I am armed, but it’s not in my hands.’
Desperate to avoid committing such an atrocity, Jenkin tried to end his life by drowning himself in a river. He was discovered later that day, unstable, and smeared with his own blood after cutting himself with shells.
After his failed suicide attempt, Jenkin was admitted to a psychiatric hospital. However, staff judged him as low risk and released him. Later that evening, he confessed to a group of friends that he was ‘possessed by demons’. He also said: ‘I am the devil, I need to confess.’
The following morning, Jenkin butchered his mother and sister with an axe.
After the killings, Jenkin was found naked crouched behind a bench, acting erratically. When a police officer asked him if he had taken anything, Jenkin replied: ‘Lives.’
4 – Jason Dalton
There are over 160,000 Uber drivers worldwide. For one of them, the incredibly popular transportation Smartphone app was his licence to slaughter.
Jason Dalton has been described by those who knew him as a ‘nice guy’ and a ‘good family man’. Hardly the sort of person one would expect to massacre six innocent individuals.
However, in February 2016, that is exactly what Dalton did.
According to police reports, Dalton claims that the Uber app on his phone began displaying Satanic iconography, including Lucifer’s Eastern Star. Once he pressed the button on the application, he became Satan’s puppet.
Over the next month, Dalton shot six people and attempted to take the lives of two others in between collecting his clients. All of his victims were chosen at random.
In interviews with police, Dalton consistently gave the same response to every question asked of him:
‘Why did you pick up a bullet proof vest?’
‘The Devil made me do it.’
‘Why did you pick up a gun that day?’
‘The Devil made me do it.’
‘Why did you kill these people?’
‘The Devil made me do it.’
In the aftermath of Dalton’s arrest, it has been clear that his mental state is far from stable. During a preliminary hearing, he made a verbal outburst and interrupted his first victim, and survivor, Tiana Carruthers, whilst she was testifying. The statements Dalton made were indecipherable and deranged, resulting in him being dragged from the courtroom after his victim began to cry.
The case of Jason Dalton is neither singular nor unique. Rather, this case is a chilling reminder of a symptom of modernity. As more and more people use smartphones and their applications, claims of demonic possession through a technological medium are becoming more common.
3 – David Berkowitz a.k.a. ‘Son of Sam’
That was David Berkowitz defence for his murderous rampage in the summer of 1976 in New York City. All in all, he killed at least six and seriously wounded seven others. Throughout his killing spree, he would leave a trail of taunting notes for the police. In them, he would claim to be ‘Beelzebub’, a ‘monster’, amongst many other things.
Of all his claims, Berkowitz stated that he was killing to get blood for ‘Father Sam’. Berkowitz referenced himself as the subjugated ‘Son of Sam’. He would write, in erratic scrawling handwriting, that he was ‘programmed to kill’ for ‘papa Sam’ who ‘needs some blood to preserve his youth’. In one of his letters he warned that ‘to stop me you must kill me. […] Shoot to kill […] or you will die.’
Upon his arrest, Berkowitz claimed that a ‘possessed’ demon dog had instructed him to perform the killings. However, weeks after his confession, his story altered. The murders, he professed, had been committed as part of a series of ritual killings for a Satanic cult to which he belonged. He offered his chilling warning: ‘There are other Sons out there, God help the world.’
Even today from his prison cell in New York, Berkowitz asserts that diabolical forces were at work, and he was merely a vessel to be used to sate their bloodlust.
2 – Arne Cheyenne Johnson
Shortly after 6pm on 16th February 1981 in Connecticut, Debbie Glatzel watched on in confounded horror as her ordinarily even-tempered fiancé repeatedly plunged a five-inch pocket knife into her boss and landlord’s chest. The victim would die an hour later in hospital, sparking an historic murder case in American legal history.
At his trial, Arne Cheyenne Johnson pleaded not guilty to the murder charge. The defence was as follows: it was not Johnson who had murdered Alan Bono, but a demonic entity which inhabited his body.
The story behind such an implausible defence involves the alleged possession of David Glatzel, the 11-year-old brother of Johnson’s fiancée, who was living with the couple prior to the murder.
Strange happenings first began in the summer before the murder. David awoke in the night, sobbing in fear after being visited by hideous creature: ‘a man with big black eyes, a thin face with animal features and jagged teeth, pointed ears, horns and hoofs.’ The beastly apparition had issued a warning: ‘Beware.’
The visions amplified. David’s beast was now haunting him during the daytime. Each time the child experienced a visitation, deep scratches would appear on the front door of the family’s home. Red marks also began to appear on David’s body.
Everyone in the household believed the boy’s claims. According to his sister, Debbie, it was out of character for him to lie. She related how ‘He never liked anything spooky, not even scary comic books.’
Increasingly worried for young David, a priest was summoned to bless the house – to no avail. The possession escalated to such heights that the family were taking shifts to monitor the boy during the night. Eventually, the involvement of the paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren was sought.
Lorraine, who asserts the gift of clairvoyancy, described encountering a ‘black misty form’ during her first meeting with David. She immediately knew that they were ‘dealing with something of a negative nature’.
Lorraine has stated that, over the course of several visits, ‘David made numerous references to murder and stabbings’.
In an attempt to save David from his unceasing tormentors, Johnson taunted the demons during exorcisms to enter his body and leave the boy alone. Alas, the challenge was accepted.
In the months leading up to the murder of Alan Bono, Johnson’s fiancée reported that he would ‘go into a trance’.
‘He would growl and say he saw the beast. Later he would have no memory of it. It was just like David.’
Johnson had changed.
It was six months later that Johnson brutally attacked his landlord, stabbing him in a frenzy as he growled like a beast.
1 – Michael Taylor
In the 1970s, Michael Taylor was largely an ordinary figure in the town of Ossett, Yorkshire. He, his wife Christine, five children and their pet poodle lived peaceful and happy lives. Their house was always full of laughter, with friends and neighbours describing Taylor as cheerful and good-natured. However, to the disappointment of the community, the Taylors were not particularly religious. This prompted friends and neighbours to invite Michael and his wife to a Christian Fellowship group led by a lady named Marie Robinson. Contrary to what one might expect, Taylor developed a sudden and obsessive zeal for the group and, in particular, an infatuation with its charismatic leader, Marie. He would spend an inordinate amount of time with her, even staying up all night to repeatedly perform the sign of the cross to ward off evil powers. It was clear that Taylor was under her spell.
Long gone was his cheerful and easygoing nature. Now, he was infuriated, venting anger at Marie. Marie would later state that his eyes changed to something bestial, and that he began to speak in tongues. Taylor claimed that he had no memory of such an incident.
Due to the terrifying and unnatural character displayed by Michael that night, the local vicar stated that the man was possessed by demonic forces. So, on the 5th October 1974, Michael Taylor was exorcised.
As soon as the exorcism began, Taylor acted violently. He growled and snapped at all those around him. His behaviour was so erratic that he needed to be physically restrained. Over the next eight hours, the crazed man would have crucifixes stuffed inside of his mouth while being doused with holy water. During those hours, 40 demons were supposedly exorcised, with the exception of three: Insanity, Anger, and Murder.
The priest, exhausted by the ordeal, ordered the Taylors to go home and prepare for the next round of exorcisms.
The priest should have kept Michael in chains.
Two hours later, Michael’s hands were wrapped around Christine’s throat. With his bare hands, he would gouge out her eyes, rip out her tongue, and disfigure her face beyond recognition. After his wife lay dead, Taylor went outside and killed the family dog also. His neighbours would find him later wandering the streets, naked, and soaked in his wife’s blood, shouting over and over again: ‘It is the blood of Satan!’.