FVPCC (Family Violence Prevention Coordinating Committee)

(1991. September 16).


Family violence: Prevention in the 1990s.

Christchurch, New Zealand.


Conference Proceedings,

Two Volumes. Wellington, FVPCC.


Vol.2. Pages 15-17.










Dabblers are people who undertake something superficially without serious intent. The ten is used to describe those who have a limited knowledge of what they are involved in. Dabbling in ritual activities is known as ritual dabbling and is described a one of the fastest growing levels within the ritual abuse/satanic belief system.






The following general characteristics are constructed from American material and from what is known in Aotearoa/New Zealand. The more points that fit the dabbler, the more chance of having already been recruited or being recruited into a higher level of initiation. The behaviour, activities and beliefs of a dabbler progress the further involved the become.

 - generally male, middle to upper class, age 9 to 28

 - limited knowledge of what they are involved in

 - believe the more anti social they are the better they are

 - substance abuse

 - of European descent

 - wear satanist symbols eg jewellery made of silver

 - tattoos of satanist symbols

 - dress in black eg Gothics or Shitheads

 - creative and curious

 - above average intelligence

 - underachievers

 - low self esteem

 - history of suicide attempts

 - into self harm especially stab wounds of cigarette burns generally on the left arm

 - preoccupied with death


Fantasy role playing games (eg Dungeons and Dragons), heavy metal music, books and movies can influence and possibly enhance the dabblers involvement. However, if these activities are not taken to the extreme they are not considered dangerous.






It is becoming increasingly apparent that criminal acts are perpetrated by groups involved in ritual activities.


There is also a risk of a dabbler progressing from having a limited knowledge to becoming involved in upper levels of cult involvement. This has implications for those working in the areas of youth suicide, substance abuse and ritual abuse.


A dabbler can be at risk of this progression whether they have become a dabbler haphazardly through experimentation with peers or where there has been a leader.  There are two types of adult leaders:

  Those recruiting for purposes of self gratification

  Those recruiting for upper levels of cult involvement


Taking the ritual dabbler seriously is important because it seems that Satanists seek new members for groups by screening dabblers.






Organised groups hold parties that teenage dabblers get invited to. The parties offer free sex and drugs. The scenario may go like this - if the lure is a party, the prospective member is shown a special room for a select few. Photographs and videos are then taken of the person while in compromised positions. Later they are then taken to the special room where the new belief system is introduced. The person would sign a contract to Satan. This might be to agree to sacrifice themselves at a certain age. The photographs and videos are used to induce participation.


Once a member, different ritual activities commence. They may include, but are not limited to, ceremonies in wooded areas, cemeteries, commercial or residential areas or abandoned buildings, the drinking of blood, wine and or urine mixtures, the use of drugs and the mutilation and sacrifice of animals. The size of the dabbler ritual group varies in size from 2 to 3 people and up.


As involvement progresses, dabblers may become involved in criminal acts such as desecrating graves, theft, selling drugs and arson. When members become bored with animal sacrifice the next step is human sacrifice or suicide. Members may attempt to leave the belief system at this point by seeking hospitalisation, substance abuse treatment or committing suicide.


During the progression into these higher rituals the following changes may occur:

 - bitter hatred towards family and religion

 - drop in grades

 - cuts to body

 - increased use of illegal drugs

 - use of satanic nicknames

 - use of various alphabets





While the threat of mental, physical, sexual and emotional abuse may not be evident within groups of teen dabblers, higher involvement increases the risk of abuse occurring. It is through identifying behaviour changes that parents, teachers, educators and counsellors can act before involvement progresses. It is important to remember that adolescents get involved in groups such as cults and the occult mainly out of a desire to:-

 - get acceptance and belonging

 - have a spiritual experience

 - have a sense of purpose



(Adapted from Cults and Consequences)


Parents are looking for the following items

a black covered book or computer counterpart that has types and locations of rituals and contracts for suicide or homicide

 -  ceremonial knives

 -  candles

 -  chalice

 -  robes

 -  photographs and/or videos

 -  books about belief systems, eg satanic

 -  animal bones and human bones, especially skull, right upper leg, rib and upper portion of right arm.


It is preferable that parents do not directly confront but use outside resources such as counsellors, mental health personnel, police and legitimate clergy to determine the level of involvement.


Given the noticeable increase of ritual dabbling and related crimes in Aotearoa/New Zealand, the challenge is to becomemore knowledgeable about levels of involvement in the occult or cults. The goals are to prevent youth suicide and substance abuse through maintaining open lines of communication with youth. The final goal in understanding the phenomena of dabbling and potential higher initiation is to prevent the sexual, physical and emotional abuse of children, adolescents and adults.






Cult Awareness Network News "Dabbling their way to Ritual Crime"  Aug 1989;  Detective Robert Simandi USA


Loose Sheet on Juvenile Dabblers


Notes defining some aspects of the occult, religious, and semi-religious practices relevant to the subject of ritual abuse;  Nigel A Marriot July 1991 NZ


Cults and Consequences The definitive Handbook 1989, Commission on Cults and Missionaries USA  Andres R, Lane J


Ritual Action Group


August '91