On Charles Manson, The Process Church, & Scientology.

Spoiler: >
by Adam Gorightly

In The Ultimate Evil, author Maury Terry contended that the Son of Sam killer, David Berkowitz, was a member of “The Children,” a satanic cult based in Venice, California, with links to the military and intelligence establishments. According to Terry, The Children is a splinter group of The Process Church of the Final Judgment, which—although officially disbanded some thirty years ago—continues to operate secretly in six major U.S. cities. Terry claims that The Process Church has changed its name many times, along the way accumulating millions of dollars in real estate holdings, and operates from a “remote enclave” in New York.

According to Terry, Berkowitz—though admittedly involved in some of the Son of Sam murders—was set up as a fall guy by The Children for the series of murders, in the same way that Charles Manson may have been manipulated in the Tate-LaBianca murders. In his treatise, Terry accused The Process Church of Hitler worship, animal sacrifice, drug running, kiddie porn, murder, and complicity in Son of Sam murders. Process apologists argue that Terry took Process founder Robert DeGrimston’s symbolic teachings too literally, and that The Ultimate Evil suffers from poor logic and dubious sources, and is littered with “red herrings.”

The Mayfair Mindbenders

In 1963, Robert DeGrimston Moore met Mary Anne MacLean at the Hubbard Institute of Scientology in London where they both worked as auditors and instructors. This relationship led to marriage, and the pair eventually left Scientology, taking with them some of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s principles and methods. They incorporated them into a new group called “Compulsions Analysis,” which used a technique or “process” similar to Scientology.

Eventually, “Compulsions Analysis” evolved into The Process Church of the Final Judgment.

According to Ed Sanders in The Family, during his stint with Scientology, DeGrimston had attained the level of “Clear,” just as Charles Manson claimed to have reached the same lofty level while studying Scientology in prison. The textbook Scientology definition of “Clear” is “an individual who can be at cause knowingly and at will over mental matter, energy, space and time (MEST).”

In March of 1966, The Process moved into a mansion on Balfour Place in the Mayfair district of London, followed by twenty-five young acolytes, who turned over all their worldly possessions to the DeGrimstons. Garbed in matching black uniforms—consisting of tailor-made magician’s capes with the Mendez goat of Satan stitched in red on the back—The Process sponsored public gatherings during this period. For a half-pound admittance fee, the faithful were treated to telepathy circles, midnight meditations, “I Ching” interpretations, group encounter games (for instance, one called “Rape”), and guidance in the Tarot and Kabala. Many of these activities took place in a coffee bar called Satan’s Cavern, located in the basement of Balfour Place.


After their Xtul sojourn, The Process returned to London and made forays into the pop music field, trying to attract into their ranks the likes of the Beatles and Mick Jagger.

During this period they became very adept at the art of “End Times” proselytizations, holding lectures, demonstrations and outdoor rant sessions in Hyde Park. They also began publishing a magazine to further the cause called, quite fittingly, Process, which adorned its covers with pictures of battlefield death imagery.

Around this time, they managed to attract Mick Jagger’s girlfriend, Marianne Faithful, into the fold. In issue #3 of Process, she appeared on the cover, lying down, as if dead, and holding a rose.

Earlier, Jagger himself appeared on the cover of another Process one-shot magazine, Freedom of Expression.

In “The Death” issue of Process from 1971, a brief article by Charles Manson appeared, entitled “Pseudo-profundity in Death,” which Charlie penned during the course of the Tate/LaBianca trial. In this article, Manson described death as “total awareness … Coming to Now … and Peace from this world’s madness and paradise in my own self.”

While The Process took measures to distance themselves from the Manson camp, the inclusion of Manson’s essay only further muddies the waters of an alliance that, at the very least, shared many of the same philosophical tenets.

Unholy Alliances

In 1967, Robert DeGrimston and other Process members descended upon San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury district during the Summer of Love, taking lease of a property located at 407 Cole Street.

Meanwhile, Charlie Manson and his girls lived at 636 Cole Street, a mere two blocks away. One of the more controversial assertions I’ve heard suggesting contact between Manson and The Process comes courtesy of John Parker’s Polanski, which claims that Manson was a regular visitor at The Process headquarters on Cole Street, “reaching the fourth of the six levels of initiation, that of ‘prophet.'” At the end of 1968, he was established as a leader of a group which he called “Satan’s Slaves.” During their Haight Ashbury period, Parker contends, The Process also attempted to form a union with Anton LaVey, high priest and founder of the San Francisco-based Church of Satan. However, these efforts were unsuccessful.

Through his own calculated Satanic-related media events, LaVey attracted the attention of such Hollywood bigshots as Sammy Davis, Jr. and sexpot Jayne Mansfield. Through these Hollywood connections, LaVey made inroads into the movie industry and was on the payroll of both The Mephisto Waltz and Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby.

In the latter, LaVey appeared on screen as the Devil himself, bedding down comely Mia Farrow and impregnating her with the literal spawn of Satan.
Eerily enough, one young beauty LaVey attracted was Susan Atkins, who appeared topless in his Witches’ Sabbath show playing the fitting role of a vampire.

Three years later, Atkins would confess to licking blood from the knife that she used to kill actress Sharon Tate, when her theatrical vampire fantasy became reality during the Tate-LaBianca murder spree. Photos from this period show Atkins in her predestined vampire role, wearing a long, open black robe, revealing her nude body, as mock blood dripped from her lips. Later, of course, she fell into the loving arms of Father Manson, and the rest is dark history.

In another strange twist of fate, Rosemary’s Baby was filmed in New York City at Manhattan’s Dakota Apartments, a massive gothic building that later was the home and sacrificial death site of former Beatle John Lennon, co-writer of a song that influenced Manson, “Helter Skelter.” (see Paranoia, issue 33)

The Process Church opened a chapter in Los Angeles in early 1968. They stayed in public view until a few days after Robert Kennedy’s assassination on June 5, 1968, after which they dropped mysteriously from sight.

By this time, The Process had become subdivided into three sub-groups: the Luciferians, the Jehovans and the Satanists.

[Whitley Strieber] has traveled through many parts of the world, working in fields as diverse as intelligence and filmmaking. His underground films were shown frequently in England in the late sixties. His other work includes a documentary on the Process Church of Final Judgment, an unusual religious group that has been connected with satanism. - The Hunger (1981)

Strieber is on record as stating that he didn’t write this bio and that his publisher had “sensationalized some parts of his life . . . particularly the part about having worked in fields ‘as diverse as intelligence.’” It’s likely they also exaggerated his reputation as an underground filmmaker—particularly since Strieber claims to have only spent a year in London studying film (he graduated from the University of Texas in 1967), a year in which he was apparently also studying at the (Fabian) London School of Economics!

At the same time, Strieber as a 1960s underground London filmmaker hanging out with The Process Church seems supremely unlikely, in light of his known history and personality (Strieber is about as far from a ‘60s swinger as it is possible to imagine).

As for The Process Church, any researcher into conspiracy and occult lore will tell you that this shadowy group is like a “strange attractor” for weirdness, and its brief history overlaps with everything from Scientology to the Son of Sam.

This isn’t the only unexpected overlap with other areas of my research either: William Sims Bainbridge, the transhumanist who had such a strong influence on Ray Kurzweil, did a five-year ethnographic study of The Process. He even took some pages out of their book when he adopted the term “religious engineering.”[2]

The Process Church was founded by two Scientology “apostates,” Mary Ann McLean and Robert de Grimston Moor. Moor and most of the other founding members—just like Charles Whitman—were architecture students. Mary Ann McLean was born in Scotland and worked as a dominatrix and prostitute.

The Process Church - Sex Magazine
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