Graffiti, West Memphis. An increase in satanic graffiti was described by Jerry
Driver as one reason for the need to patrol the area to prevent human sacrifices.
Damien's Demons, Part Four
Blood sucking and vampirism
Damien Echols was remanded to Charter Hospital in September 1992 for his second stay after an incident in Craighead County Juvenile Detention Center in which he sucked the blood from a fellow inmate's cut. The accompanying letter from Juvenile Detention described the incident:
One of the boys scraped his arm a little, it was bleeding some. Without warning, Damien grabbed the arm that was bleeding, and began to suck the blood from it. (page 464)
This description, from those at the Juvenile Detention Center, contrasts greatly with the various ways in which this was subsequently described.
Call from Jerry Driver. . . Presenting problems: psychosis homicidal. . .Notes: Knocked him [inmate in detention] down to the ground, sucked the blood from the arm, rubbed it over his face and body, and say he is a blood sucking vampire. . . also grabbed another person and tried to suck their blood. (p. 341).
In several descriptions the blood was sucked from the victim's neck.
While at the Dentention Center he reportedly grabbed a peer and began "sucking blood from the peer's neck." (p. 82, similar in others)
In Damien's clinical assessment it adds the suggestion that the fellow inmate was attempting suicide. It also adds a denial from Damien indicating the story was not from him.
Transferred to Crittenden, one of the kids at the detention hall cut his wrists, Damien grabbed his arm and began to the suck the blood smeared it over his body and said he's a devil worshipping vampire. Says he's not a vampire but a witch. (p. 357) [Note: the incident occurred at Craighead County Juvenile Detention Center, not Crittenden.]
And again from Jerry Driver:
Informants 15 yo Damine Echols Jerry Driver probations officer.
Quality/Reliability of Data Received reliable
. . . Hit male who cut wrists sucked blood of male. Smeared blood on self. Made statements indicating belief he is a vampire who worships the devil. (p. 366) [Note: Damien Echols was 17 years old]
Yet again, 15 year old Damien Echols and Jerry Driver are given as the source for the Presenting Problems in Echols admission to Charter for a further mash-up of correct and incorrect information.
Damien was moved to the detention center in the Oregon area. While in the detention center, Damien witnessed a co-patient slashing his wrist. Damien is reported to have knocked the co-patient to the ground and began to suck the young man's blood. (p. 374) [Note: Damien was not in Juvenile Detention in Oregon, the incident took place in Arkansas and now the inmate is described a co-patient slashing his wrist.]
This is repeated and expanded on the next page including the allegation that Damien smeared the blood over his body and "Damien, at that time, stated he was a white witch who worshipped the devil." (p. 375) This quote is immediately followed by: "Major symptoms at the time of this admission do include a pattern of bizarre behavior and unusual thought processes, including Damien's belief that he is a vampire and that he does worship the devil."
Which eventually made its way into Damien's therapy plan. "Psychotic Disorder. . . as manifested by (give examples): Damien grabbed a peer and began to suck the blood out of his neck. He and his girlfriend had planned on having a baby boy & then sacrifice the baby." (p. 403)
In some instances it has Damien admit to sucking blood out of the peer's neck - even though the event didn't happen in this manner (ps. 369, 417). In the latter reference, Damien is quoted as giving a reason for the blood sucking. "Damien indicated he sucked blood to get into gang."
On an (only slightly) less sensationalistic note, Damien said he voluntarily drank blood from others as part of a bonding/power ritual.
Damien explained that he obtains his power by drinking blood of others. He typically drinks the blood of a sexual partner or of a ruling partner. This is achieved by biting or cutting. He states "it makes me feel like a God." Damien describes drinking blood as giving him more power and strength. He remembers doing this as far back as age 10. He does not remember where he learned to do this. (p. 52)
The incident report makes it clear that Damien did involuntarily suck the blood from a fellow inmate. The way in which this was wildly exaggerated in very nearly ever subsequent mention makes the further references suspect. The supposed admissions by Damien contradict the original event or seem to be quoting what Driver claimed: that Damien smeared the blood over himself and said he was a vampire and a devil-worshipper.
Plans to sacrifice his child to Satan
This has been discussed briefly, previously. Although it is brought up twelve times in various places in the mental health notes (and some pages are copies of others), there are few further details to this plan other than its alleged existence and Damien's denial.
Reportedly, Damien and his girlfriend were going to have a boy and sacrifice the baby. (p. 82, 368, 403, 456. Pages 92, 171, 186 are similar followed by a denial. Note: ps. 92, 171, 186 reference a parole officer "Joe Hutcheson")
Deanna Holcomb was claimed to be in on the plan. From Jerry Driver:
Made pact girlfriend & Devil to sacrifice 1st born (p. 175)
And virtually the same allegation in Driver's communication to a parole officer in Oregon:
Damion and his girlfriend were planning to have a child, so that they could offer it as a sacrifice to Satan. (p. 468)
Although not much more information is presented, the most extensive recital of the allegation and its denial was on page 236.
Upon his admission to Charter Hospital of Little Rock, there was a rumor that suggested that Damien and his 15-year-old girlfriend were arrested while in the act of copulation. The purpose of this coitus was so that the couple could conceive and had plans to sacrifice the infant in a satanic ritual. When this point was questioned as to the validity of these rumors, he admantly denied such and indicated again, as he had throughout the course of the psychosocial interview, that he did not believe in satanic worship, that he was practicing black magic, and he had no intention of sacrifice, nor would he ever. He also indicates that he and his girlfriend were not engaging in sexual activity for a said purpose. (p. 236, 381)
With no additional information in the mental health notes, the other sources to evaluate this are interviews with Jerry Driver and Deanna Holcomb.
Driver stated in his December 1993 interviews that this allegation was only based on secondhand stories and the interpretation of a drawing. At the time of his arrest for murder, Damien's then girlfriend, Domini Teer, was pregnant. She would eventually have a son. Driver's concerns were transferred to this child.
Domini and Damien get back together what. . ., what happens they have a baby uh, I'm very concerned about that just I'm sure everyone else is, Domini is no longer on probation to us, so I don't have any, any further uh, contact with her other than. ., than uh just telling DHS what I know about it, so they can take their action. (Driver, Dec. 1993)
Deanna Holcomb came to believe such a plan existed. Even though she was said to be a willing part of the plot, her 5/11/93 statement says she was not initially aware of the plan. In contrast to above description, she stated the child would be sacrificed if it was a girl.
Det. Ridge: How are you and Damien connected?
Deanna Holcomb: I ran away with Damien. I went to a hospital in Memphis and he went to one in Little Rock. I found out that he plained to kill our first born if it was a girl. Damien would not do it he is a coward and would have tried to get me to do it.
Although she said Damien was into black magic she says she never attended any ceremonies with him. She said she was into black magic but practiced alone.
Did Damien worship Satan or at least claim to worship Satan? These allegations come up many times in Damien's mental health notes. Often they are attributed to Jerry Driver. From a nurse's progress of care notes:
6/10 Referral communication - spoke with Jerry Driver concerning Damien. Mr. Driver was very focused on the the pt. alleaged satanic involvement. (p. 298) [the second "the" was struck out and the word "error" inserted.]
Other times the terms "reportedly involved" or "questioned about" satanic beliefs appear (p. 175, 278). There are many instances when Echols specifically denies satanic involvement (p. 92, 171, 186, others).
The issue of Satanism made its way into his intervention planning in almost matter-of-fact statements, demonstrating that the health care workers readily accepted Satanism as one of his "presenting problems." Among recommendations from his in-house teacher:
Damien will demonstrate improved judgment and peer relations by making better decisions regarding peer groups and activities (ie, Satan worshipping and other cult behaviors). (p.387)
Among the nursing notes there is the obscure comment, "Exhibiting satanism behavior" without further clarification (p. 398). In another it states "draws Satanic drawing and writes bizarre poetry" (ps. 428-9). At least one individual praised the poetry (p. 147).
On one page Damien's parents are said to be concerned he is into Satanism (p. 104), on another the parents are suspected of also being satanists (p. 468). In another instance his parents' concerns were described as being about Damien's witchcraft beliefs (p. 284). Perhaps this indicative of how the staff blurred the terms witchcraft and Satanism.
A dramatic example of how the mental health documents are a combination of Echols and Driver's comments and misinformation and how difficult to sort it out is on page 374.
"Information was obtained from 15-year-old Damien Echols and his probation officer from Jonesboro, Jerry Driver." [note: this is incorrect. Damien was 17 years old and Jerry Driver was with Crittenden County.] ". . .Damien believes he is a "white witch" who practices witchcraft and does worship the devil."
While the above lists Driver and Echols as sources, the statement seems an odd combination of two sets of claims. It is not reasonable to expect that each time a remarkable statement is made that a clear source can be determined. Having cited examples where Driver is the source, several more seem to be directly related to Echols.
One is a note from his Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, a massive, 566 question examination that is used to assess personality and diagnose personality disorders. He answered "True" to the question "Evil spirits possess me at times." Page 206.
Perhaps this explained in more detail in this session note, page 52.
"Damien relates that a spirit is now living with him. The spirit was put inside him last year. He indicates that a month ago the spirit decided to become part of him and he to become part of the spirit. This is reportedly a spirit of a woman who was killed by her husband. . . In addition, he also reports conversations with demons and other spirits. This is achieved through rituals. He denies that he is satanic, seeing himself more as being involved in demonology."
Finally, one statement to a social worker was even less ambiguous "He seemed to withhold no information and readily answered questions concerning his religious beliefs and the fact that he is a vampire and does worship the devil." Although "answering questions" does suggest that the answers may have been "no," the next sentence suggests otherwise. "It was the social worker's opinion that Damien was not disclosing information for the purposes of schock, that he was simply disclosing what he is currently believing." page 375.
In one direct reference that could help distinguish between Satanism and other interests in the occult, Damien describes who he'd like to meet. On a fill-in question of people he'd like to meet and get to know he listed Anton LaVey and Stephen King (p. 490). LaVey was the founder of a church of Satan in San Francisco and Stephen King (if there is anyone who doesn't know) is a best-selling author of horror.
In summary, beyond unsupported allegations and an inference based on who he'd like to meet, the claim that Damien was literally a satanist is not supported by Exhibit 500. The focus on Satanism that appears in the clinical notes is usually directly connected to Jerry Driver. There are many examples of Damien denying Satanism and speaking of his belief in witchcraft and magic. Although Satanism is a specific set of beliefs and has organized churches, for many, there is only a minor distinction as to whether someone is a satanist or whether that person is a Wiccan or has some other sort of belief in demons. There are some examples where Damien speaks of conversations with demons, possession by a spirit, and at least one instance where he appears to be the source of saying he worships the devil, although this too is on the page following a statement that Driver along with Echols was the source of the information of the "Presenting Problems (p. 374)."
The scarcity of statements directly attributed to Echols makes this and other matters less than conclusive. Echols has often gone through great pains to clearly distinguish between witchcraft beliefs and Satanism, as Wiccans are often accused of Satanism. Odd notes from the nursing staff "Exhibiting satanism behavior" suggest they were prone to interpreting his actions in a "satanic" light. The separation of witchcraft and demonism as it appears in Damien's mental health notes is murky. Several notes are suggestive of an active interest in darker areas of demonism.
As a final point, during his two-day stay at a hospital in Oregon, there is a long note where Damion denies many of the allegations against and presents his belief in witchcraft.
In discussing the assertions of Mr. Driver, Damion had the following responses: Damion denies any involvement in satanic cult or beliefs in Satanism. He expressed considerable displeasure with Mr. Driver in making such assertions. Damion did acknowledge a suicide pact that he and his girlfriend had made if the authorities or her parents attempted to keep them apart; however, he indicates that, following hospitalization, he is no longer interested in hurting himself or others. Damion denis ever making threats of killing his girlfriend's parents. Damion acknowledges he is a witch, and indicates this is his religious preference. He also distinguishes his religious beliefs from Satanism, indicating he believes in a series of gods and goddesses, and he sees this as his religious preference, which should not be of concern to State authorities. (p. 469)
This statement continues on to return to the original point of contention, Damien's name.
At this time, Damion indicates he is in the process of having his name changed from Damion back to Michael Damion Wayne Hutchinson. Damion is currently going by the name of Michael at his work place. (p. 469)
[Continued in: Damien's Demons Part Five]
Damien Echols, in his backyard.
Copyright © 2008 Martin David Hill
Site Design By Michael Gillen