The sects, those groups united by a faith, a practice or a Christian, satanic, Hindu, animist, magical … They remain in our imagination like those groups of mysterious people full of rituals and blood. The reality is not like that, although it is no less dramatic: It is a social problem that should not be ignored, since it is estimated that 1% of the Spanish population is currently involved and subjected to these psychological deceptions, according Miguel Perlado, coordinator of the Working Group on Sectarian Drifts of the Official College of Psychology of Catalonia (COPC).
Spain is not a country that stands out for having an abnormal number of sects. Proportionally, it would be on par with France, the United Kingdom and Germany. However, there is an interesting fact: a large part is in the Valencian Community (“In Spain there are between 200 and 250 sects, although there are no exact figures […] and only in the Valencian Community there are 50 or 60 groups ”, reports an article by EFE).
Within this autonomy, the north of the province of Alicante, where there are many satanic sects, or so the psychiatrist and professor at the University of Cádiz Leonardo Casais assures, who assures that this province concentrates one out of every five sects in the entire country.
According to their hypotheses, this prevalence occurs because groups of immigrants from countries with faiths and religions that believe in spiritualistic rites, sacrifices and energies, “from Brazil and Haiti, above all”, have settled in this region and they have been able to continue with their cults, which in Spain are considered sectarian.
However, it is by no means an exclusive matter for migrant communities. After these foreign traditions are established in western territory, many people raised in the local culture are drawn to the cult of the devil because “in all developed western peoples there is less belief in God” and the rise of neo-gothic folklore and pseudosciences, more akin to spiritual beliefs, make many people curious by these dark sects that “have a guaranteed show”, in Casais’s words. In fact, the data corroborate that in 2019, for the first time, in Spain there were already registered more atheists than Catholics.
In the end, once they have entered these sects out of curiosity, the Ibero-American Association for the Investigation of Psychological Abuse (AIIAP) warns that this is when the development of psychological abuse and absorption. And at that point they become slaves to these groups, who manipulate them to undermine their confidence and increase their feelings of guilt and fear.
Other reasons that explain this large number of sects is the geography from the Alicante region. Madrid and Barcelona are also large welcoming centers of sects (they are regions with many inhabitants and that, thanks to social and friendly networks, can gradually attract faithful to their ranks, “to more traffic of people, and in large urban centers, greater anonymity and a better way to go unnoticed “, says the expert).
But at the same time, a more rural area also ensures that they can operate more discreetly avoiding opposition from local governments. In the northern areas of Alicante this is not the case, something that is repeated to a lesser extent in the Basque Country. There they have the benefit of being close to large urban centers, but they are areas depopulated enough to go unnoticed and impose “his law”, Add.
The profile of followers is also very varied, but there is a common element among those recruited: “people who in a moment of crisis they start flirting with them, or with a history of affective dependencies, emotional or drug or alcohol consumption ”, he explains. Also young idealists and eager to change the world.
These sects have already made their mark on the community, from conspiracy theories even crimes (reaching the culmination of cruelty, the murder of a woman in 1999 after being mutilated by a satanic ritual), but they are not the only ones.
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There are also emotional, self-help, sexual or political component (jihadists, neo-Nazis …), with different but equally harmful effects, since they always include brainwashing and free will control.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.