Police in Bauchi have drawn the attention of parents to the possibility of their children being enticed with biscuits, sweets and chocolate by strangers, to initiate them into Occultism. The Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, in the state, DSP Haruna Mohammed said that it has been established that such gifts are used by as bait to initiate children into occultism without their knowledge and cautioned parents to be mindful of such people.
Haruna has already embarked on a sensitisation campaign in schools for children to know the consequences of accepting such gifts offered to them but the onus rests on parents to monitor and ensure that their children rejected such enticing gifts and also related with a responsible peer group because even their age mates could be agents of Occultism, Haruna indicated.
“Parents are advised to closely monitor their children, know their peer group and also discourage them from collecting gift items such as sweets, biscuits and chocolates from strangers, as these are the easiest ways to initiate them into secret cults and other social vices, he said.
In an exposé by a writer, Jason Baker, on Youth and the Occult, he said the occult is becoming an increasingly common component of television programmes oriented towards youth. The increased exposure of witchcraft and other occultic practices is increasing the acceptance of these practices by youth as exciting, exotic alternatives to mainstream religion (particularly Christianity).
Baker highlighted a worst-case example of how children could be involved in occultism besides being enticed with sweets and biscuits, in the study of the Herald-Leader, who was motivated by the murder of two people on November 25, 1996, by a vampire cult led by Kentucky teenager, Rod Ferrell.
Ferrell claims that, as a young child, his father and first stepfather exposed him to occult rituals and human sacrifices. More plausibly, Ferrell also claims to have been exposed to the occult and vampirism as a child through playing Dungeons & Dragons. He began to engage in serious Occultic practices following his mother’s second divorce, walking in cemeteries at night, cutting himself and offering his blood to others, and pretending to be a 500-year-old vampire named “Vesago.”
In addition to more typical acts of teenage rebellion, (such as using drugs and avoiding school), Ferrell became involved in a role-playing game called Vampire: The Masquerade. Masquerade players physically engage in the actions of their characters, much like they would do if performing in a play, whereas traditional tabletop role-playing games involve dice, playing cards, and other components used by players to imagine the action being described. Therefore, parents should also check out the type of films that their children watched at home and Cinemas.
The attraction of occultism has been linked to many reasons, namely the desire for wealth, lust for power, a peek into the future, ability to communicate with the dead, the novelty of real spiritual experience while for some it is mere curiosity, like reading the stars. Though some have willingly involved themselves in occultism others have been forced to become members of secret cults with many more resisting the temptation because it is against their religion, culture and tradition.
While it is evident that modern occult practices are not identical with those in the ancient world, there is enough comparison to demonstrate that modern forms of occultism are clearly condemned by God. The New Testament equally condemns occult practices. Paul includes witchcraft in the list of the acts of the sinful nature, and says that people who practice such things will never enter the kingdom of God (Gal. 5:20).
Testimonies of former members seeking release from what they termed “satanic influence” abound as given in Churches and Radio stations the most popular being the “Lean on me programme on Kapital FM in Abuja. A man who spoke of his experience said, “As a young man I fell into this trap when my wife died aged 23 – I attended a spiritualists ‘church’ for two months seeking answers to my problem”.
These word ‘occultism’ and ‘cult’ are sometimes confused because the expression, a cult, often sounds like the word occult.
Cult according to the Dictionary, most commonly means a religious sect organised around a strong leader and requiring beliefs or commitments not typical of other related groups. It can also refer to a following of a particular religious figure or icon within an organised religion or a fanatical following of a particular entertainer, athlete, film, television show, or historical figure.
“Cult is normally a noun, though it can be used as an adjective meaning “having a cult following” as in a cult film. Occult literally means “hidden” and generally refers to the pursuit of some kind of magic or secret supernatural knowledge or power. It is most often used as an adjective but is sometimes used as a noun.
“The verb to occult means “to hide from view,” and is used most commonly in scientific or specialized fields such as astronomy, navigation, or optics”.
However, both are viewed to be dangerous to the future of children, who when initiated into Occultism have tendency to become Cult members in school. Cultism as experienced in some schools has been assumed to emanate from Occultism as they show similar characteristics. Therefore, Educationists have also decried Cult practices in schools for the breakdown of discipline in schools with the attendant poor performance of students. A report showed that “The most essential problem facing tertiary institutions in Nigeria is the problem of cultism here and there. There is no long existing institution of higher learning that has not experienced the menace of cultism at one time or another. As we have today, the menace and the aggressiveness of cult members and cult related violent clashes and activities on most tertiary institutions campuses have caused the sudden death of lecturers and students”.
Students engagement in cultism have resulted in all manners of evil ,“such as examination malpractice, rape, robbery, arson, maiming, murder, killing, intimidation of fellow students and lectures for good grades, love (girlfriend), clashes of rival cult group among others.
Ivor Ogidefa, an educationist, in identifying why students join cults cited search for responsibility, search for satisfaction of one’s aspirations and needs, search for security and search for social identity.

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