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Das Testament des Bösen

(The Testament of Evil) by Horst Knaut, Seewald Verlag, Stuttgart, 1979, 356 pp.

Horst Knaut, a former criminal investigator and journalist with eight years of experience in producing TV documentaries for West German audiences, has produced a lengthy collection of reports of and observations on some of the more bizarre underground religious movements in Germany and the United States. Although Knaut is startled by the results of his research and titles his Forward »Mama mia, das ist ja unglaublich« (Mama mia, that is just unbelievable), he cautions the reader not to dismiss the social implications of the multitude of small, secretive movements. From the position of social commentator, Knaut suggests that those movements are refined splinters of a larger cultural confusion and anxiety about sex and death. Among the reports are religion and ritual death and the occult teaching and practice of various groups. The material is presented journalistically, with first-hand accounts from Knaut’s research.