The Satanic Ritual Abuse (or SRA) conspiracy fad of the 1980s may have torn apart families, destroyed the lives of innumerable innocent people and set the credibility of clinical psychology back at least 50 years — but for fans of sleazy, poorly researched, exploitative true-crime books, it was a godsend. While cognoscenti hold a special place in their hearts for such early fabrications as Michelle Remembers and The Satan Seller, the pièce de résistance of the genre was Maury Terry’s enthralling 640-page bestseller,The Ultimate Evil, which attributed the Manson, Zodiac and Son of Sam murders to a global satanic underground masterminded by a sinister cult known as the Process Church of the Final Judgment, led by the shadowy and charismatic Robert de Grimston, who had disappeared from public view in the early ’70s. The only problem was that, by the time Terry’s 1987 magnum opus briefly rekindled the flames of the dwindling SRA media frenzy, de Grimston had reverted to his birth name of Robert Moor and was working an office day job on Staten Island, while the Process Church itself — from which he’d long been excommunicated — had morphed into the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, the largest no-kill animal shelter in America. Somewhere between these mundane and sensationalist extremes lay the truth about the Process Church and its role in the cultural upheavals of the ’60s, but reliable accounts were fragmentary and scattered.

more from Doug Harvey at the LA Weekly here.