The two-for-one account of Dr. Rebecca Brown and "Elaine" plays out like every B movie you've ever seen. Satanic nurses out for blood...a marriage to the Devil...snoozy Midwestern towns run by witches...a hospital showdown between the forces of light and darkness...
The "Elaine" hoax was wholly facilitated by our old friend Jack Chick, the same guy who incorporated John Todd's nonsense into comic books about a vast conspiracy of murderous Satanic witches, and continues to spread Bill Schnoebelen's warnings about the occult dangers of Dungeons & Dragons. In fact, I have yet to find a Chick source who wasn't a hoaxer or crank. It's like the man is allergic to accurate information.
So it isn't hard to believe that in the mid-'80s, when two women approached Chick with a mind-boggling story of Satanic conspiracy and evil, he bought it wholesale.
The two women identified themselves as Elaine, the former high priestess of a Satanic cult based in Indiana, and Dr. Rebecca Brown, a GP who ran a small practice in the same state. Both women were in their late thirties.
Dr. Brown had been taking care of Elaine, emotionally and physically, since her escape from the cult. She was Elaine's housemate, physician, protector, and spiritual mentor. Elaine suffered leukemia at this time, and was often confined to bed. They evidently felt it was essential to share Elaine's story with the world before her time ran out, and Jack Chick was just the man to help them do it.
Even by ex-witch standards, Elaine's story was incredibly bizarre. It involved a literal marriage to Satan, summer camps where children were forcibly initiated into Satanic witchcraft, and nearly every form of diabolical misdeed imaginable. She was even schooled in the art of bomb-making by her Satanic superiors.
On examination, however, her testimony appears to be culled from all of the other stories we've seen so far in this series. The werewolves and the marriage to Satan come from Bill Schnoebelen. The witch camps are quite similar to the witch schools described by John Todd, and the notion that all rock musicians must sign themselves over to Satan comes straight from him. Elaine's crowning as a witch queen perfectly mirrors Doreen Irvine's account. And according to Elaine, she belonged to The Brotherhood, the same cult Mike Warnke supposedly joined in the '60s. She also claims The Brotherhood is described in Hal Lindsey's 1972 book Satan Is Alive And Well On Planet Earth. These are telling statements, because Hal Lindsey was of the belief that Warnke knew nothing about the real Satanic/Illuminati network, and Satan Is Alive and Well... described general trends in various forms of occultism, rather than a single cult.
Chick sold his audio interviews with Elaine and Brown as two cassette tapes, Closet Witches 1 and Closet Witches 2.
Typically, Elaine's account contains virtually no time markers or specific names (not even her own), so verifying any of the events she describes would be a tough task. What we do know is that Elaine was born around 1947 to the Knost family of New Castle, Indiana. She spent most of her life in that area. (2)
Elaine said she was unwittingly bonded to Satan by her own mother when she was a small child, who offered up a tiny amount of Elaine's blood in exchange for surgery to correct her cleft palate. A nurse told Mrs. Knost the blood would be used for experimental purposes, but it was actually used in a Satanic ceremony in which Elaine's soul was "sold" to Satan without her knowledge. As we'll see, this was just one part of a vast conspiracy involving Indiana hospitals.
Elaine did not have the same sort of dismal, abusive childhood described by most of the other ex-witches in this series; her life was normal and relatively carefree until her teen years. Sometime in the early or mid '60s, she made the fateful decision to visit a "witch camp" with her friend Sandy. Though Elaine didn't name this place, her description of it as a community of fortunetellers and psychics indicates it was probably Camp Chesterfield, Indiana. It was here, Elaine alleged, that she was initiated into the Satanic witch cult known as The Brotherhood (once again, a "former Satanist" fails to distinguish between Satanism and witchcraft). She refused to join at first, so the palm readers locked her in a closet and brainwashed her with an audio loop that told her Jesus was dead and Satan was king. (2)
Like Warnke, Doreen Irvine, and Bill Schnoebelen, Elaine signed herself over to Satan in blood without being fully aware of what she was getting herself into. This is quite different from real covens, in which initiates are required to have at least some rudimentary knowledge of the tradition to which they are pledging themselves.
Elaine got with the program right away, though. She devoted herself to occult study and rose quickly through the ranks of The Brotherhood (not as rapidly as Mike Warnke, of course; he became a high priest in about six months). She became a high priestess and was assigned a powerful demon guide called Man-Chan. She was appointed to the International Council of Witches. (2)
At some unspecified time, she took part in a national witchcraft competition and beat out all her opponents to become the cult's "top witch". This part of her testimony is nearly identical to Doreen Irvine's story of winning a magical contest and being made "queen of the black witches of Europe" for one year.
In Irvine's account, she was given a crown of "pure gold" and ensconced on a throne, with the other witches prostrated before her.
In Elaine's account, a crown of gold was placed on her head and the other cult members "bowed down and gave homage" to her. (2)
The Brotherhood was like Irvine's UK cult in that it focused primarily on subverting Christianity. Elaine and cohorts infiltrated Bible-believing churches and worked to undermine the faith of members. She and Brown described to Jack Chick how the first church Elaine attended after becoming a Christian was infiltrated and systematically destroyed by a high priest masquerading as a born-again believer. He lured the church's members to weekly Bible studies with appeals to patriotism and godliness, then gradually undermined their religious faith until they were spiritually bankrupt. (3)
Even the brutal human sacrifices performed on each "Black Sabbath" centred around mockery of Christianity, taking the form of bloody crucifixions. Keep in mind that Mike Warnke witnessed no such rites as a high priest of The Brotherhood. (1)
In no other ways does Elaine's alleged cult resemble Irvine's. While Irvine remained in a life of heroin addiction and poverty, selling her body on the streets of London, Elaine was given royal treatment not unlike that supposedly experienced by Mike Warnke when he was a high priest of the Brotherhood in California. It's interesting that the two never met, if they both held high positions in the same nation-wide cult and traveled widely to network with other members. They were even the same age (both graduated high school in 1965). Clearly, the left hand had no idea what the left hand was doing.
Elaine did have one thing in common with Irvine, though: Awesome superhero powers. Thanks to the protection of a demon horde, she could levitate, stop bullets in midair, turn animals into other animals, and astrally project herself anywhere in the world. She could beat up high school bullies nearly three times her size. She could even injure and kill people while out of her body, though she apparently attempted astral murder on only one occasion. She and the other out-of-body witches were prevented from harming their intended victim by a perimeter guard of angels.
Who had the witches been intending to kill? Jack Chick, of course. Satan viewed his comic books and mass-produced tracts as serious threats to his empire.
So, yeah. Um, the Devil apparently reads Christian comic books. (3)
Warnke was booted from The Brotherhood for being a paranoid speed freak in '66, while Elaine's Satanic star continued to rise. She was such a special specimen that her higher-ups (the Illuminati?) selected her for the ultimate honor: Getting hitched to Satan.
According to Elaine, there are five to ten Regional Brides of Satan within the U.S. at any given time. It's a very great honor for a high priestess.
We don't know when this marriage occurred. As researchers would later learn, Elaine was married to a human in 1966, when she was 19 years old, and divorced him the following year. The marriage to Satan presumably occurred after this. (1)
The Devil manifested as a normal-looking dude for the wedding, and rented a Presbyterian church in which to hold the ceremony. If this makes any sense, let me know.
For irony's sake, apparently, the groom wore a white tux and Elaine wore a white dress.
After the honeymoon, Elaine's status in the league of Satan naturally rose. She became her husband's official delegate to the Vatican (where she met personally with the Pope), oversaw international arms deals, traveled to the Far and Near East, and met with associates in Mecca and Israel. This indicates that the Brotherhood was organized on an international level, at the very highest levels of government, which is somewhat at odds with Warnke's description of a nationally-organized cult controlled mostly by witches.
Elaine also met with many rock musicians to oversee the signing of their pacts with Satan, just as John Todd described. (2)
Weirdly, though, Elaine didn't mention the Illuminati, which Warnke identified as the power behind The Brotherhood.
Elaine's dramatic conversion story, like her dramatic Satanic initiation story, is nearly identical to Doreen Irvine's. She entered a Christian church in order to infiltrate it, but the spiritual power of the congregation was so strong that Elaine's demons tried to get her out the door as quickly as possible. They were too late. Elaine had already read a Chick tract (The Contract!), and now fully understood that her pact with Satan was null and void. She was saved. (3)
Elaine's relationship with Satan was more or less over by 1980. He was so furious over her betrayal that he cursed her with a serious illness. She was admitted to Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie and made the acquaintance of Dr. Rebecca Brown, a GP who was busily combating the powers of darkness in and around Muncie.
Brown immediately sensed that Elaine was surrounded by a demonic presence, and demanded to know if she had been involved in witchcraft.
Eventually, after Dr. Brown had earned her trust, Elaine told her all about her cult experiences and expressed a desire to break away from the Satanists. She said her (human) husband, also a member of the cult, had recently abandoned her and their mentally disabled daughter, Claudia. This was not true; she had divorced in 1967.
While she was in hospital, the Satanists tried to kill Elaine by slipping Pavulon into her IV. Fortunately, God informed Brown of this plot. She and a doctor were able to save Elaine just in time.
Brown discovered "firebombs" resembling dynamite inside her stereo, her car, and even her phone. Elaine showed her how to dismantle them. God also warned Brown that her food and coffee were being poisoned by other hospital staffers, and on some occasions miraculously removed the poison. A nurse later confessed she was in on the poisoning plot, and expressed amazement that Brown had survived after eating a poisoned lunch. (4)
After Elaine's release, she and Brown both received a letter from the cult, indicating that their every move was being observed. If they didn't cease their anti-cult activities, the writers warned, they would be ritually sacrificed at an Eastertime Black Mass. Neither woman reported her threatening letter to the police, because they knew the chief of police (along with the mayor of Muncie and other public officials) worshiped Satan.
Dr. Brown was a Christian, so she prayed for guidance on how to deal with Elaine's situation. God immediately told her to take Elaine and 12-year-old Claudia into her home, warning her that Elaine would kill herself rather than surrender to the cult. Though Elaine had embraced Christianity, her faith was still too fragile to give her the strength she needed to stand up against a powerful coalition of Satanists who wouldn't tolerate defectors. As we've seen, John Todd and Mike Warnke both had to dodge a few bullets after betraying the Satanists, while Irvine and other ex-witches faced no repercussions at all. These "well-organized" Satanists are anything but consistent.
Brown then became a one-woman conversion machine, operating a sort of underground railroad for former Satanists. She claimed to have saved about 1000 witches from murderous covens in the first half of the '80s. Her greatest success story, however, remained Elaine and Claudia.
They persisted in their mission even though the Brotherhood tried everything in its power to frighten the two women into silence, including breaking into Brown's home and slaughtering all their pets.
They bravely revealed that Catholics and Freemasons are devil-worshipers, that Dungeons & Dragons is Satan's favourite game, and that Eastern religious practices like yoga are of the Devil. Never mind that every other ex-Satanist in this series said the exact same things around the exact same time.
Elaine may have been unique in her relationship to Satan, but everything else she said was boilerplate anti-occult stuff. Chick had already churned out a multitude of tracts and comic books dealing with these subjects. Still, he was so awed by Brown and Elaine's story that his Chick Publications printed two books by Brown, He Came to Set the Captives Free (1986) and Prepare for War (1987). The first book detailed Elaine's years as a Satanic witch and her rebirth in Christ, while the second served as a manual on how to combat the Satanic menace with spiritual warfare. He Came to Set the Captives Free contains some truly bizarre scenes, like Brown's encounter with a talking werewolf. Prepare for War is full of weird anecdotes about all the ways people can become afflicted by demons, as well as the reasons why Catholicism is actually a form of witchcraft.
Brown's later books deal extensively with purging or blessing demonically-infested "unclean objects" (geisha paintings, role-playing games, tattoos, museum exhibits, certain hairdos, secondhand items, the citizenship papers of ancestors, rosaries, etc.). This preoccupation with transmitted evil is sometimes referred to as "curse theology". It offers a profoundly paranoid and negative view of the world, in which most cultural and religious artifacts that aren't Christian are vessels of the demonic.
Chick also incorporated Elaine's information into several of his comic book tracts: The Poor Little Witch, Why No Revival?, Satan's Master.
In Poor Little Witch (1987), an outcast named Mandy is lured into witchcraft by one of her schoolteachers. She learns to cast spells by the power of "Bruth", and witnesses the ritual murder of a baby "especially conceived" for sacrifice. She is told the chief of police is a Satanist. Meanwhile, the local church the schoolteacher attends turns out to be a Satanic coven in disguise. Its members are able to manipulate and exploit their new pastor, Reverend Smiley, because he isn't a fundamentalist. Mandy runs to this church for help, but of course Smiley is in the pocket of the witch-cult and turns her away. So she seeks help from a former witch, Mrs. Grayson (who somewhat resembles Rebecca Brown). Grayson attends a real church, of the Bible-based storefront variety. Its members are able to save Mandy's soul in just three panels.
Why No Revival? (1986) contains this note: "Most churches have been successfully infiltrated by witches." This reflects claims made by both Elaine and Bill Schnoebelen.
In 1987, Brown and Elaine appeared on one of Geraldo Rivera's shows about Satanism. Perhaps significantly, they were not included in his '89 special Devil Worship: Exposing Satan's Underground. By that time, the most popular ex-Satanist testimony was that of "Lauren Stratford". She'll be the subject of the next post in this series.
Brown's books appealed strongly to daytime TV viewers and Chick's target audience (naive, slightly paranoid Christians of the fundamentalist strain). Outside those circles, however, they raised deep skepticism in readers.
Part II: Dr. Brown's Story and the Exposure of "Elaine" and Brown
1. "Drugs, Demons, and Delusions: The 'Amazing' Saga of Dr. Rebecca Brown" by by G. Richard Fisher, Paul R. Blizard and M. Kurt Goedelman. Originally published in The Quarterly Journal of Personal Freedom Outreach. Vol. 9, No. 4, October-December 1989. (reposted @ Cult Help and Information)
2. He Came to Set the Captives Free by Rebecca Brown, M.D. (Chick Publications. Chino, Calif., 1986)
3. Closet Witches summary @ Monsterwax.com (reposted @ James Japan's homepage). Retrieved June 25/11.
4. Prepare for War by Rebecca Brown, M.D. (Chick Publications, Chino, Calif., 1987)