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BOOK REVIEW: THE DEMONIC CONNECTION by TOYNE NEWTON

Posted on: April 14, 2015

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Or to give it it’s full title ‘The Demonic Connection: An Investigation Into Satanism In England and the International Black Magic Conspiracy’.  I’ve been wanting to get my hands on a copy of this for quite some time.  When I first blogged about the mysterious happenings around Clapham Wood a few years ago, I couldn’t find a copy for love nor money, so I was pleased recently when I was able to order a reasonably-priced copy.

The title led me to believe that I would be getting an exhaustive in-depth look at the possibility of Satanism and Black Magic active in the UK, but no, not really.  For anyone as fascinated by the whole Clapham Wood phenomenon as I am it’s still interesting reading though.  Toyne gives us a history of the area, going back to the days of the Domesday Book, and how dark legends and folklore have always been attached to the place.  There are some interesting anecdotes about nearby Chanctonbury Ring.  Unfortunately the book was published in 1986, a year before much of the Ring was devastated by the hurricane of October 1987, which has altered the complexion of the area.

One of the aspects of the whole Clapham Wood case which is particularly interesting is that of the murders, involving four people from 1972 to 1981.  Toyne does analyse each case individually, and I was able to glean some further information about the victims involved.  Such as that the Rev. Snelling had had a history of depression – including a suicide attempt – and had used his experience to work for the Samaritans.  In the time leading up to his disappearance and death he had seemed distracted, “often seen walking about the village looking disturbed as if he had something else, much bigger, on his mind”.  Toyne queries whether this “something else” was the presence of a Satanic cult in his parish.  But frankly, it could have been absolutely anything!  How often do we ever know what is really preying uppermost on someone’s mind, unless we know them exceptionally well (and not always then).

There is no mention whatsoever of the mysterious Jim Withers, the serial-killer who was supposedly banged up for the murders, and about whom I’ve never been able to find anything out.

Towards the end of the book Toyne goes into the possibility of a large Satanic network which is intent on dragging Britain into a state of disorder and negativity.  Some of this does ring true.  Nearly 30 years on from the book’s publication, and it’s plain to see that Toyne’s fears have all too often become a reality.  At one point he cites his concerns over the growing suicide rate amongst young people, and I couldn’t help thinking of the spate of disturbing teenage suicides in the Bridgend area of Wales in recent years, which, to the best of my knowledge, are still unexplained.

I would be fascinated to know Toyne’s views on the current situation, and particularly the revelations about paedophile networks.   I was a bit disappointed there wasn’t more to the book than there was.  I was expecting something a bit more explosive I suppose.  I know in things like this you have to be extra-vigilant about naming names, just on hearsay, but at the same time you do need more proof than just speculation.  There were also times when Toyne didn’t show opposing sceptical viewpoints, such as that many locals believed the disappearing dogs were down to a gamekeeper, or (as I was informed back in 2011) that the grim artwork in the barn may have been down to squatters.

Having said all that, if you’re interested in the whole Clapham Wood mystery, and the possibility of Satanic rings at large here in Blighty, then the book is well worth tracking down.  I wouldn’t advise paying £2000 for it though, which is what I saw someone on Amazon charging!

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