The above links are a few weeks old, but I have been holding on to them for Halloween. The first is a Huffington Post piece, where I first learned of the story. The second is a more detailed account from a local, to the subject, news agency. The story describes a misguided, broken, and deranged man who calls himself Pazuzu Illah Algarad. It describes his efforts to be "a worshiper of evil gods" (let's use his own words and not confuse the issue with bringing up inappropriate references to pop culture concepts of Satan or the Devil.) It describes the authorities discovery of two bodies on "Pazuzu"'s property. It also describes the squalid conditions of the home and a history of mental illness.
So what is this story about? First, let us make clear what it is not about. It is not about a real demon worshiper. The name Pazuzu could come from one of three places. The most likely is the 1973 classic The Exorcist, which identifies the demon as "Pazuzu." The second, less likely possibility is that the name is a reference to an evil god in the Pathfinder RPG; itself likely a reference back to movie. The third is the source for the name, an ancient Neo-Assyrian spirit often associated with disease and famine; usually regarded as an evil being, his aid was nevertheless invoked as a ward against plague and to combat his rival Lamashtu, who is said to prey upon women and children during childbirth. The subject of our story picked up the name from pop-culture. There is nothing in any of these stories, or others that you can find on line, that associate anything he was doing with actual worship of Pazuzu, or any other entity or god for that matter. In arms reach I have books on the occult that range the span of Western history and nothing that man was doing is in any of them. No one should be afraid of "satanists" living in their neighborhood. No one should start marching about the lure of the occult.
So what is this story about? Its about the tragedy of mental illness. Its a story about people drawn to a charismatic and frightful man. Its about the failure of the system time and again,with which he repeatedly came into contact, to do anything to prevent this horror from happening. It is about a community that was unable to protect any of the people in the story from their fates, either through apathy or misguided intentions. It is about the simple fact that some people do bad things all on their own and need no appeals to demons or gods or video games or movies or comic books or their mothers or their priests. They just do bad things.
This is not a story about religion.
Pazuzu is not his real name.