Louisiana authorities arrested Holden Matthews, 21, a suspect in the recent torching of three black churches. He is the son of a sheriff’s deputy, who turned the young man in after he found a gas can, and connected his boy to the crimes. Excerpt:

A Facebook page that appeared to belong to Matthews showed he was active in pagan and black metal pages, and that he commented on two memes about far-right former neo-Nazi metal musician Varg Vikernes, who served 15 years in prison for killing a fellow metal musician and burning churches in Norway. The comments revealed little other than that they indicated his familiarity with the figure.

The pagan circles Matthews and Vikernes frequented can be popular with neo-Nazis. Matthews frequently posted about pagan beliefs, and recently uploaded a picture of a gun and a knife with the caption “I carry this…..maybe not legally but I only truly follow the law of Odin….. which says as you said,arm yourself…… Odins advice> modern law.” Odin is a pagan Norse god.

One of the pagan pages Matthews was active on specifically forbade racism and “nazi stuff.” Matthews also appeared aware of the religion’s white supremacist associations. In one post, a group member noted that a drawing of a pagan figure had a swastika-like design on his belt. “well yea the belt gives him extra strength and power…..white power lmao jk jk I had to,” Matthews wrote.

Here is a review from the rock press of a 2014 Brooklyn concert by one of the leading black metal bands. Excerpts:

Last night, I decided to see Watain, a Swedish black metal band about Satan, at Brooklyn Night Bazaar, a performance space that also doubles as a weird flea market thing. For those of you who don’t know, Watain’s live show is famous for a few things. Well, one thing really—being as gross as humanly fu**ing possible, but in a bunch of different ways. They’ve been known to perform next to rotting goat carcasses, throw pig blood on the audience, soak their clothes in blood and bury them in graveyards between gigs, and practice something called “Theistic Satanism,” which is basically a nice way of saying they are active devil-worshippers. They seem designed to micturate in the face of the few remaining cultural taboos, which has elevated them from a sorta run-of-the-mill metal band to one of the most prominent touring extreme music acts around. Because of this, it’s rare that they bring their “full stage show” (i.e., blood, animal carcases, etc.) to New York. But last night, they did—for the first time in four years, in fact.

More:

Sh*t started to get weird around the time Watain frontman Erik Danielsson brought out this (I assume) Satanic talisman thingy, which from my vantage point looked kind of like a human skull with ram horns jammed into it, held it aloft, then waved it around like he was casting a spell onto the crowd.

That’s around the time people started leaving the mosh pit with blood on them. Shortly after that, it started to smell ungodly, like human flesh was actively putrefying in the room. And that, believe it or not, was when people started throwing up.

It’s probably not a coincidence that this is when people started getting really into the show. People, mainly already-creepy biker and crust dudes, started stumbling around the venue as if they were under a spell, possessed by the unholy, or at least the overwhelming, cacophonic symphony of the crushing live show. Even a cursory look into Watain reveals they’re active Satanists, and in interviews they frequently refer to their live shows as “rituals,” as in “church for people who people who worship the devil.” Which begs the question—had Watain actually managed to hypnotize some of the audience?

So that’s exciting.

(Now, cue the clueless readers who say, “Oh, this is no big deal. In the Fifties, people thought Elvis was bad.)

UPDATE: In reading subsequent reports, I’ve not seen confirmation that the young man’s father turned him in. In fact, it seems that the authorities went to the father and told him that his son was a suspect; the father reportedly fell apart emotionally. Today the Louisiana governor asked people to include the suspect’s parents in their prayers.

Baconboy, who lives in Louisiana, comments:

Just a minor correction that the father didn’t connect him to the crime – the sheriff was quite clear about that this morning. Rather, the father just drove his son to a neutral site where he could be arrested without violence. The sheriff said he told the dad about it yesterday and he was quite broken up.

I knew a guy once who burned some churches in Florida. Also a satan worshiper. Got 8 years in a federal facility.

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