Piper Sounds Warning Of Occult Danger

Published 3:24 pm Thursday, March 7, 2013

Local author L. P. Hoffman was at a book signing in September 2009 with her first book, The Canaan Creed, when she heard the news about the murders on First Avenue in Farmville. Hoffman knew it was time to write about a topic that most shy away from. Shadow of the Piper, released last month, takes the reader into a sinister world of evil and the occult where teenagers and youth, like the children in the Piper's town of Hamelin, find themselves ensnared.

Robert Browning's poem, “The Pied Piper,” sets the tone for the book's plot:

Into the street the piper stept,

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Smiling first a little smile,

As if he knew what magic slept

In his quiet pipe the while.

When lo, as they reached the mountain-side,

A wondrous portal opened wide,

As if a cavern was suddenly hollowed;

And the Piper advanced and the

children followed.

And when all were in to the very last,

The door in the mountain-side shut fast.

In September 2009, the Farmville community experienced first-hand the horror that results when troubled teens enter the world of the occult.

An aspiring 20-year-old rapper from the West Coast met a Farmville teen on the Internet. Her parents accompanied the 16-year-old and another teenaged girl friend to Michigan to attend the Strictly for the Wicked Festival that featured “horrorcore” music. There they met the young rapper, and after the concert brought all three teens back to Farmville for a visit. A few days later the bodies of the two teenaged girls and two adults were discovered in their home on First Avenue.

“Our kids are seeking spirituality in the wrong places,” Hoffman stressed. “We aren't giving it to them in the home or in church. I know what draws kids into this. Their world is spinning out of control. That comes with the territory of the age. The lure of the occult is that they feel like they can have some control.”

Ozmand Wright, a character in Shadow of the Piper, is a young man whose life is decidedly lacking control.

Ozmand rolled over in his disheveled bed and stared at the digital clock. It was almost noon; though his mother usually found some excuse to work on Saturdays, he could hear her banging around in the kitchen. Probably scraping together some slop to eat, he thought. Cooking had never been one of his mother's skills; to make matters worse, she wore a look of self-sacrifice upon her face whenever she attempted anything domestic.

Anger rose within him. He covered his head with his pillow. She doesn't know me. She has no idea what makes me tick.

Lately his mother had been thrusting herself uninvited into his world, trying to talk when she'd previously shown no interest. As far as Ozmand was concerned, it was too late.

Teens such as Ozmand, Hoffman noted, are easily lured into a world they do not understand – until it is too late.

Beneath the streets of Hamlin, the sound of swishing robes and shuffling feet marked the progression of the Piper's followers. No one spoke . . . Ozmand felt excited – and maybe a little scared – about what lay ahead. If Hollywood movies were any indication, he was convinced that his first dark ritual would be a rush . . . The high priest stood abruptly and stretched out fingers decorated with long silver talons. His shrill voice sliced through the room like a Skilsaw. “Bring forth the offering.”

Ozmand thought he saw a figure in the flames. Instinct told him to run, but he could not seem to move. He tried not to think about the upcoming Black Mass that would mark Halloween. Ozmand no longer wanted to know its secrets. He wiped away beads of sweat and noticed that his hands were trembling – hands now chained by secrets . . . Mute and chilled by the damp, he wished he could turn back time.

The occult organization in Shadow of the Piper, Hoffman noted, was fictitiously based on patterns that have historically preyed on young people.

“My heart's desire to reach out to youth has been there for years,” Hoffman related. “In fact, I have ministered to some youth who have been involved.”

Hoffman patterned the teen “recruiter” in her book after a boy she knew in her hometown.

“I was working with a Christian group in Casper, Wyoming, that was doing some street evangelism,” Hoffman recalled. “I was in my mid-twenties then. There was a young man who was a hot dog skateboarder, and he was a recruiter. There was a very organized but secretive and dangerous satanic network in Casper.”

Hoffman also experienced occult practices up close and personal as a young teen when her family was living in Venezuela.

“The culture in Venezuela recognizes the occult,” she added. “It's very open there.”

Although parents sometimes choose to overlook it, Hoffman said, occult influences are out in the open in this country as well.

“All you have to do is turn on the television for a diet, a smorgasbord, of occult things,” she stated. “There are video games that teach our kids about the occult.”

Hoffman attended the seminar held at Farmville United Methodist Church following the quadruple murders in 2009. The Rev. Sylvia Meadows had invited an occult specialist to speak with members of the community to help them come to grips with the dark side of humanity that the town had experienced.

“We have looked evil in the face and cannot deny that it exists,” Meadows stated in an Oct. 6, 2009, interview by CNN News. “God is stronger than evil. God is bigger.”

Hoffman agrees with that view.

“Anyone who's been involved in the occult and turns away from it and goes on to have a relationship with God has a stronger faith,” she affirmed. “They know the supernatural exists – it's not just church on Sunday.”

Hoffman has been invited to participate in the Festival of the Book at the Omni Hotel in Charlottesville March 22-23.

“I'm on a panel called Murder in the Name of God,” she explained. “If they ask me about how my novel is about Murder in the Name of God I would say – that's not my God but a different god – a little 'g' god that promotes evil.”

Hoffman still remembers a comment made by the occult specialist at the 2009 seminar in Farmville.

“He said the worst thing that parents can do is to let their children have a secret world on their computer,” Hoffman related. “When they start to get secretive about their space, that's a huge red flag.”

Hoffman hopes that both parents and teens will read her book – and discuss it.

“If my book would cause parents and kids to open a dialogue and talk about these issues I think it will have served its purpose,” Hoffman said. “There may be some things that even Christian parents may not like to talk about, but reality is reality. Let's deal with it.”

L. P. Hoffman's Shadow of the Piper opens a window into a dark and sinister world that many would rather not see. The warning is clear: those who step into the shadowy world of evil must ultimately pay the Piper.

L.P. Hoffman will hold a book signing at the Barnes & Noble Book Store in Farmville on Friday, March, 15, 5-7 p.m. Hoffman will also be a part of a Crime Wave panel discussion at the Virginia Festival of the Book at the Omni Hotel in Charlottesville on Saturday, March 23, at 4 p.m. The Crime Wave panel, titled “Murder in the Name of God,” is free and open to the public.