Evil smoldered in the eyes of the richly dressed men and women who lounged in the back of the carriage that hurtled through the narrow streets of Asnieres. The wheels seemed to race over the cobbles and the few bystanders who yelled and scattered got only a fleeting glimpse of the coach and its passengers.
"Sals cochons!” cursed a beggar, leaping aside just in time to avoid being run down. "Filthy pigs...aristocrats!”
Black clouds rolled across the moon, shrouding the district in deep shadow. Only the drumming of hoofs and the rattle of wheels broke the ominous hush woven by the night.
The coachman drew rein before a cluster of rotting wharves overlooking the Seine.
Gathering their ermine-lined cloaks about them against the damp mist rising from the river, the men and women descended from the carriage. One—seemingly with more authority than the rest—dismissed the driver with a curt nod and led his companions down an evil-looking alley of tumbledown wharves and sheds.
All was darkness, foul smells, and wisps of drifting fog.
At the end of the alley the group paused, and the leader rapped sharply on the weathered door of a deserted wharf with his gloved fist. Overhead, chains and pulleys, hanging in slack festoons, towered up into the night. A few feet away surged the river—turgid, black and horrible as it rolled toward the sea.
A voice spoke from behind the rotting timbers.
"Sang du Diable,” said the one who'd knocked.
"Enter,” said the voice, and the door creaked open on its hinges. . . .
Later that night, in a cellar under the wharf, a bizarre and horrible ceremony was in progress.
The cellar was a secret temple for the worship of Satan, a luxuriously furnished chamber for obscene and lustful orgies and for the practice of unprintable rites.
It was draped entirely in red—everywhere red, burning the eyeballs, like bowls of blood.
Below a gigantic image of Lucifer— a nightmare figure with distorted human faces protruding from its belly and joints—a red-robed priest was standing with upraised arms before an altar of glistening red stone. He was leading a number of masked men and women in Satanic prayer.
Wreaths of purple smoke drifted over the temple, filling the minds of the assembled devil worshipers with visions of sadistic madness.
One blonde beauty, her golden hair set in an elaborate coiffure, could control her bloodlust no longer.
"Blood!” she screamed. "The Master craves blood!”
Other Satanists took up the cry. "Blood,” they howled. “Blood!”
The red-robed priest turned to face his evil congregation. His lips drew back in a diabolical snarl. “Killnotshaltthou" he shrieked. Outside, stealthy steps padded to the door of the temple.
It opened. Two hooded men entered.
They were holding a girl.
The girl was mad with fear, sobbing and gibbering with panic.
The two men dragged the girl toward the altar, like butchers manhandling an animal in a slaughterhouse. She struggled to break free, but was as helpless as a baby in the men’s brutal grip.
The eyes of the devil worshipers were bright with cruelty.
"Strip her,” thundered the priest.
The Satanists’ enjoyment rose to fever pitch as the two men did as they were bidden. Roughly they ripped off the girl’s outer clothing, exposed her feminine body to the assembly’s lustful gaze.
Legs kicking, white arms flailing, the girl was spreadeagled upon the gleaming red altar, held down by cruel and willing hands. She screamed insanely as some of the masked women raked her soft flesh with their painted fingernails, and the men brutally knotted their fists in her long silken hair.
The priest drew himself up to his full height. He dominated the temple. His hand felt for his knife.
When she saw the ugly, razor-sharp blade the girl began to shriek like one demented.
She was still screaming when the priest drew the knife across her throat, her scream turning into a gurgle of blood.
The priest turned to the grinning Satanists, a gleam of madness in his dark eyes. “Frai du Diable,” he howled, "fay ce que voudras.” And like lust-mad beasts, the masked men and women tore off their clothes and fell upon one another with animal rapacity. . . .
This scene took place on Walpurga’s Eve, 1681. The red-robed priest was the notorious Count Sergean Mocata, and the red-draped cellar was the infamous Temple of the Beast in Asnieres near Paris.
A full description of this and other sabbats, black masses, and human sacrifices can be found in Jules Dassin’s fascinating and rather morbid work, De Prestigiis Doemonum.
Few persons today fully comprehend just how appalling conditions were in that country in the century that preceded that of the French Revolution. Before the Bastille was stormed and the ancien regime swept away in a torrent of blood, a few thousand degenerate aristocrats idled their lives away in fantastic luxury while the mass of the people existed in unimaginable misery. Then, in the summer of 1789, the people revolted. Before the Reign of Terror was over, thousands of aristocrats died screaming under the guillotine.
Thousands more were butchered by the mobs or burned alive in their chateaux, paying for centuries of callous neglect in an orgy of blood.
Until the French Revolution, the country was a monarchy, an absolutist state where the king was supreme. During the second half of the 17th century, France was ruled by Louis XIV. Known to posterity as the “Sun King,” Louis’ voluptuous tastes and incredible appetites became the scandal of Europe.
But despite the complete supremacy of the monarch, much power was in the hands of the nobles—wealthy aristocrats like Count Sergean Mocata.
Mocata, an accomplished student of the occult, was the founder of the Fraternite du Mai, the Brotherhood of Evil, a secret society dedicated to Satan, sex and sadism.
The society was the instrument of considerable power, and it was whispered throughout Paris that it, rather than the king, was the real master of France.
The Temple of the Beast, the horrible cellar under the Seine at Asnieres, was the brotherhood’s headquarters. It was here, in a setting of perverted luxury, that some of the most diabolical spectacles of recorded history took place, including the ritual butchery of young girls, bestiality, necrophilism, and other horrors too terrible to mention.
But if Mocata was the high priest of this satanic order, Angelique, his youthful wife, was its high priestess.
If ever there was such a thing as a pathological nymphomaniac and sadist, Angelique was it. An exotically beautiful girl, the countess was a psychopath whose craving for blood was only equaled by her abnormal fleshly appetites.
It was the sight of this luscious girl glorying in human agony at a public execution that first induced the count to make her his wife. Though at the time she was nothing more than the daughter of a humble Paris merchant, Angelique had started sensual fires within Mocata’s perverted being that only she could satisfy. Haughty as a queen, beautiful as a courtesan, the girl was a combination of psychopathic cruelty and lusts which the count was unable to resist.
Dassin describes how Angelique would entertain her husband and his cronies in the dungeon of their chateaux by flogging a naked serving wench to death.
The countess would stand, whip in hand, clad only in the suggestive lingerie favored by fashionable ladies of the period, her sleek young body poised delicately on six-inch heels.
Guffaws of drunken laughter would greet the victim’s pleas for mercy as the count's retainers tied her to the whipping post. Often she would be little more than a child, her thumbs bound above her pretty head, leaving her naked back exposed.
"Why do you wait, ma cherie,” Mocata would ask, unable to keep the excitement out of his voice.
Then Angelique would lick her red lips hungrily, and her arm would flash up, and lacquered leather would coil around the little maid’s nude body, and soon the chateau would ring with the girl’s agonized shrieks and the laughter of her tormentors. . . .
Is sadism always a part of Satanism? Not necessarily, although a love of cruelty for its own sake seems generally to have gone hand in hand with the practice of the Black Art. Gille de Rais reputedly butchered over three thousand children in the secret oubliettes of his castle; the mad Abbe Guibourg is said to have bought hundreds of convicted maidens from the Prefect of Paris to be ravished and slaughtered at celebrations of the black mass; and the Marquis de Sade, not only practiced unspeakable cruelties on young girls, he was also a black magician of a very high order. In each case these monsters have two factors in common—cruelty and a morbid interest in the occult.
The idea behind Satanism is simple: That Satan is the true God and should be revered as such. Hence bad is really good, and that which offends the God of the Bible is bound to placate his enemy, the Devil. Satan has always been the leader of those who challenged the moral prohibitions of the Church. John Milton, the great English poet of the 17th century, indicates this in Paradise Lost, when Satan, after condemnation to everlasting torment, replies, "Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven.”
Satanism, which probably reached its zenith during the 17th century, still exists in the world today, misty and illusive, holding all the horror of centuries.
Worship of Satan is based upon the premise that the Heavenly Father had two sons, the elder being Satan, who was unjustly and treacherously thrust from heaven. To him, so Satanists believe, man’s allegiance is due. Satan denies men nothing, but permits him every earthly pleasure, all the forbidden experiences of life. In return he is worshiped as God.
So it follows that if Satan, the Devil, is God, and is to be worshiped and adored as such, he is best served by every outrage done to the Christian faith. Fay ce que voudras, Do what thou wilt, the legend of the Fraternite du Mai meant exactly that: Do whatever gives you the most fleshly pleasure and to hell with Christian rectitude.
Accordingly, Satanists burlesque, mock and degrade all that is held most sacred by their opponents, the Christians.
The supreme act of Christian worship is the Mass, a sacrifice that can be offered to God alone. The Satanists offer to their master the black mass, an orgy of perversion, bestiality and blasphemy in which a young virgin girl is ravished in full view of the satanic congregation after her nude body has served as a satanic altar.
Many of the satanic rites—including the black mass—require human sacrifice to propitiate the diabolic forces, although today a cat or another such animal is often substituted.
Often, but not always is this so. Less than a decade ago, on August 2, 1952, a number of well known industrialists and fashionable young women were charged in Paris with having instigated a black mass at which an Algerian girl was murdered "under the most bizarre and shocking circumstances,” to quote a Paris newspaper. “Communism is not the only threat to world order," the newspaper continued. "An international black magic organization whose members are ruled by hypnotism, superstition and downright evil exists in the world today. Sadistic degenerates still gather at secret meeting places to hold sabbats similar to those staged during the Middle Ages. While uninhibited sex thrills, new and forbidden sensations, and a chance to indulge in animal lusts is the obvious motivation of many of the rank and file members of this international organization, a fanatical craving for power at any cost undoubtedly motivates its leaders.”
One of the great quests of Satanists has always been a method of prolonging earthly life, of postponing old age, lack of virility and death.
It was his failure successfully to solve this problem of immortality that finally brought about the ruin of Count Sergean Mocata.
Madame de Maintenon (whom Louis XIV married in 1684) was one of the most influential women in France. In an age of voluptuousness and wanton excess, she was more voluptuous and indulged in greater excesses than most.
Like most of the aristocratic courtesans who wallowed in debauchery an a luxury at Versailles, Mme. Maintenon was obsessed by a neurotic fear of losing her truly breathtaking beauty. In an age when the life expectancy of the average person was less than forty years when modern dentistry, skin and hair care, proper nutrition, and adequate hygiene were things quite unknown, a woman was middle aged by thirty. Often by twenty-five she was showing unmistakable signs of growing old. Young girls of fifteen and sixteen were those most preferred as bed companions.
Hence in 1683, Mme. Maintenon was already twenty-four, she asked Francois Bourie, the king’s favorite physician, to advise her as to how she might best preserve her already fading beauty.
Bourie, a friend of Mocata’s and an important member of the Fraternite du Mai, advised her to consult the count who, he assured her, had the power of bestowing eternal youth.
Whether or not Mme. Maintenon believed this clap-trap is open to doubt. What is certain is that she consulted Mocata, became fascinated by him, and is known to have attended at least one celebration of the black mass in the cellar at Asnieres.
Unfortunately, Satan seems to have turned a deaf ear to the black priest's supplications in her behalf. And a few months later, when Mme. Maintenon developed some kind of skin rash, she became convinced that far from helping her, Mocata had caused her to become bewitched. “It is God’s punishment," she cried distraught, looking at her marred beauty in her mirror. “That man is accursed.”
Since the king already intended making Mme. Maintenon his wife, he was furious when he noticed her spoiled looks. When the unhappy woman confessed that she had been consulting Mocata, Louis immediately signed a lettre de cachet for the count’s arrest.
A few days before Christmas, 1683, a squad of King’s Musketeers surrounded Mocata’s chateaux at Sevres, and called upon the black magician to yield. When he refused with Mocata’s retainers, they arrested the count and his beautiful young wife in the name of the king.
Mocata and Angelique were taken in chains to Paris, cursed and spat upon by the crowds who flocked from all parts of the city to see the black priest and priestess humiliated and scorned. After the Paris mob had had its fun with them, the count and his lovely wife were confined in the Bastille under heavy guard.
There was no question of a trial. They had been arrested on a lettre de cachet signed by the king, in fact, no one really knew why the beautiful Angelique had been arrested at all. Perhaps Mme. Maintenon, out of spite, saw to it that this woman whose loveliness rivaled her own should not escape.
A conference was held and it was decided that the two should serve as a scapegoat for many of the sins of the ancien regime, a blood sacrifice to placate the frustrated bloodlust of the people. Ironically, these two who had themselves condemned countless young women to unspeakable butchery were themselves to be butchered.
For years Count Mocata had been the terror of Paris. His leadership of the Fraternite du Mai had made him impregnable to all but the king. But few would risk a breach with Louis XIV in order to defend the discredited black magician. In fact all his best friends now turned against him.
Obviously to hang the black priest and priestess would be too merciful. To burn them alive might be better. But even that was hardly enough. The Paris mob, the mothers and fathers of the girls who had died screaming in Mocata’s chateaux and on the altar in the Temple of the Beast, wanted to hear the lovely Angelique shriek in similar agony, wanted to see her satin- soft body mangled, torn, branded and smashed. Something spectacular, something that would appeal to the people’s demand for just retribution, was obviously required.
They took Angelique first. A preliminary of the punishment can only be implied. This initial operation having been performed with unimaginable barbarity, her flesh was torn with red hot pincers, and her delicate hands and feet were smashed with iron mallets. After this she was left to the mob, which did things to her hideously mangled body that are best left unsaid.
Then it was Mocata’s turn. Still in chains he was dragged to a stake piled with faggots in the Place de Greve, his lice-covered body still foul with the filth of the dungeon. Quickly he was shackled and the pyre was set ablaze. Unlike most persons burned alive in Paris’ grim place of execution, the black magician was not suffocated first. He died slowly in the flames.
As Mocata began to jerk and dance and shriek in agony, the mob pressed nearer, craning to see, howling with merriment at his dying antics. Huge blisters broke out on his scorched flesh, his rags burst into flame. He screamed insanely, begging the Devil to save him, cursing his infernal master when he did not. Slowly, as slowly as the skill of the executioners could effect. Count Mocata died, twisting and squirming and clawing in unendurable agony long prolonged.
No correct estimate could be formed of the number of young virgin girls who became victims of this monster and his sadistic young wife. But it has been suggested, by chroniclers like Dassin, that several hundred young maidens died screaming for the pair’s unholy pleasure.
It has been suggested by a few historians that this hideous criminal and his woman were in reality the innocent victims of the king’s wrath and the spite of his mistress. The suggestion is absurd, for the evidence linking Mocata to his crimes is overwhelming. References to his leadership of the Fraternite du Mai appear in official records still preserved in the ancient archives of Paris. Eyewitness accounts of what went on in the Temple of the Beast, the dungeon in Mocata’s chateaux at Sevres, and several other places where sabbats, black masses, and other diabolical acts took place, are recorded in numerous old tomes.
But it would be an oversimplification to consider Count Sergean Mocata as just a psychopath, a sadistic crank who got his kicks through a mish-mash of devil worshiping mumbo-jumbo, sexual orgies, and watching a beautiful girl inflict unbearable pain.
No, the motives behind his dark and terrible depravities lie buried in us all. For that which made this 17th century aristocrat a primordial monster emerging from the miasmic fires of hell is with us still. It is something as old as the universe, ancient as the world itself. It is the lust of Satan.