In the mid 1980's Stanislaus County was witness to several cult related crimes, including Satanic rituals and the desecration of a body at the Denair Cemetery.
In 1985 several Modesto residents received ominous letters signed by a "Natas" (Satan spelled backwards) that said "Watch out for when you hear footsteps at night, and see SHADOWS on the WALL, and then the ghostly sounds of SILENCE as the MIST begins to fall and a scream goes out like THUNDER and SATAN calls this number 666 'AND FOR YOU ARE THE CHOSEN ONE, FOR HE SAID IT MUST BE DONE." Also scribbled on the type written letters were upside down crosses representing the antichrist and swastikas representing forces turned against nature.
Nearly a year later the small town of Denair was shocked when sheriff's deputies found the town's small cemetery was the site of a satanic ritual that including digging up and desecration of an interned body.
According to deputies the grave robbers left two unmistakable telltale signs that they were practicing some form of devil worship, a fire blackened circle on the ground near where the body was unearthed. The other was that the body was partially dismembered, though details weren't given about the dismemberment besides stating that body parts were missing. Deputies said the markings on the ground were consistent with satanic rituals and that they stand inside the burned circle as part of the ritual to protect them from harm. Evidence at the scene suggested there were at least six people involved.
Local residents were both shocked and outraged at what happened. Though people had their suspicions as to who the culprits were, no one was ever arrested for these crimes. At the time agencies in the area said they were convinced that the incident was part of a growing trend of devil worship.
Despite the fact that the Modesto Bee said this was one of several occurrences of cult activity in the area, I couldn't find anything else mentioned besides some random posts of someone's dad seeing figures in black robes on the side of a road nailing a dead cat to a stop sign, or of a severed goat's head found in Stockton. I do find it funny that the article then goes on to blame heavy metal artists like Ozzy Ozzbourne and Motley Crue (Motley Crue is heavy metal?) for the rise of interest of Satanism in teenagers.
Still it's interesting that there was a rash of cult activity in Stanislaus County. I wonder what happened to the members. Did they just grow out of this phase of their lives? Or did they just disappear into everyday society and took their cult activities underground and are still practicing this day? No one may ever know.