Why the Dates Don't Work
Jon Trott and Mike Hertenstein

“Some of the names in this book have been changed to protect the individuals involved. The events are absolutely as described.”
--flyleaf to The Satan Seller

This section will disclose formidable chronological problems in The Satan Seller, totally apart from the historical investigative research which appears in the main body of this article. These discrepancies could have been uncovered by anyone else in the past twenty years—including us—with minimal research. But nobody took the time to do the math.

Dates are rare in The Satan Seller. Yet Mike Warnke provides just enough information to check his story against a real calendar. He says he didn’t join the Satanists until after college began, and he was kicked out of the satanic cult just before he joined the Navy.

Some external information helps to define the limits of this period. School records show freshman classes began at San Bernardino Valley College on September 13, 1965. Mike Warnke’s Naval records show he entered the Navy on June 2, 1966.

Things can be narrowed even further. Warnke gives us a midpoint in his history, when he makes it clear he became a satanic high priest shortly before Christmas, 1965.[1] In fact, he provides enough information for us to determine the exact date he became a high priest.

Mike’s book describes two important events which took place before Christmas, each of them on the night of a full moon: the night he joined the coven,[2] and the night he became a high priest.[3] According to the 1965 World Almanac, there were three full moons that year between the date school began and Christmas: October 10th, November 8th, and December 8th.[4]

Obviously, this pair of significant events described by Warnke— if they actually happened—must have happened on two of these three dates.

He couldn’t have joined the coven on the full moon of October 10th, and here’s why: The Satan Seller tells us Warnke visited his first Black Mass “three weeks” before being initiated into the coven (under a full moon).[5] The Black Mass did not occur until “about a month after” he was fired from his job.[6] He didn’t take the job until after degenerating from a shy freshman to a drug addict who needed money for speed.[7] Even if that transformation happened in a single day, and Warnke got the job the first day of school (Sept. 13), the addition of “about a month” plus “three weeks” brings us forward to November 1. This totally eliminates the October 10th full moon as a possibility.

Therefore, based on the information he provides us, Mike Warnke could only have been initiated into his satanic cult on the full moon of November 8th, and been made High Priest on the full moon of December 8th. Now that we have these dates, we can figure out one more. Warnke’s visit to his first Black Mass, three weeks before the November 8th initiation, must have occurred on or near October 18th.

That means everything Mike Warnke says he did between the start of school and his first Black Mass—namely, his transformation into a drug addict/pusher—must have taken place in only five weeks.

Yet the real calendar forces us to continue the relentless whittling: Warnke doesn’t have five weeks. He has no time at all.

Here’s why: Warnke says that some “days” after college begins,[8] he is offered marijuana, turns it down, but changes his mind in “a week or so.”[9] After trying marijuana, he experiments with LSD, reds, mescaline, peyote, and finally speed. He gets a job to support his speed habit,[10] gets fired, and “about a month after I had been fired,” his satanic recruiter, Dean, invites Warnke to his first sex orgy.[11] Sometime after that, Mike attends his first Black Mass on Oct. 18th.

The seven days it took Mike to begin using marijuana, plus the month between losing his job and his first orgy fills up the five weeks till October 18.

This leaves no time for the unspecified number of days which Mike says elapsed between the time school started and the time he was first offered marijuana.[12]

This leaves no time for him to be addicted to all those drugs, which is Mike’s reason for getting a job in the first place. During his days of drug addiction, Mike says he was transformed from a “heavyset jovial guy down to 125 pounds.”[13] The necessary time interval is missing between Mike’s first toke of marijuana and his transformation into a hard-core speed freak, desperate for cash.

This leaves no time for Mike to work at his job. Warnke says he took the job to support his drug habit. After getting hired, then he dropped out of school, then became a pusher himself, then he got fired.[14] Even if he got fired the same day he was hired, there’s not enough time.

This leaves no time between Mike’s first sex orgy and his first Black Mass. Mike says that after that first orgy, he “started attending these parties regularly,”[15] ran errands for Dean (including a big drug payoff near the Mexican border),[16] then attended some “secondary meetings” in witchcraft, then “finally” was invited to the Black Mass.[17] But there’s no time for trips to Mexico or unspecified evenings spent in debauchery, because by the time of that first orgy, we’re already at October 18th, the date of the first Black Mass. Long before this point, time has run out.

There’s no other way to add things up. No wonder Warnke’s friends had trouble with the dates in The Satan Seller! But with Mike’s publication in 1991 of Schemes of Satan, we have more events to squeeze into this impossible calendar:

. . . before I became directly involved in satanism, I was riding my motorcycle across the Texas plains. . . . I had just concluded a successful drug deal in Louisiana. . . . Several days later I was in California, and soon thereafter I took my first steps toward becoming a satanist high priest![18]

There is also no time for this story, which appeared in the October 1976 issue of Harmony magazine:

Now, I’m a strong civil rights advocate. The last time I had been in Alabama was with Dr. Martin Luther King, back in my college days when I went down there on Freedom Rides. The last time I was there was to march in a civil rights demonstration.[19]

Set aside the question of why a Satanist would take an interest in civil rights. A more pressing issue is the fact that the Freedom Rides were in 1961, four years before Warnke started college. It is true that Martin Luther King marched to Selma, Alabama, in 1965, but it was in April of 1965, while Warnke was still a senior in high school.

Yet another anachronism appears in his testimony: the Charles Manson problem. As of January 1972, Warnke was claiming to have had “former acquaintance with Charles Manson,” according to a twelve-page promotional insert in the San Diego Evening Tribune.[20] This story was amplified in The Back Side of Satan, a book credited to Morris Cerullo, but written by Dave Balsiger (Warnke’s coauthor for The Satan Seller).[21]

Back Side devotes an entire chapter to Warnke’s story, and includes a major detail that The Satan Seller omits:

Mike says he saw convicted killer Charles Manson at such a ritual once and that Manson “thought he was being shortchanged. He favored actually sacrificing the person.” He described Manson as being a person who “bugged everybody he was around. . . .” And, he added, “Manson had bad eyeballs.”[22]

This same book has Mike Warnke attending a conference in San Francisco in January 1966, noting, “It was here, among other places, that Warnke saw Manson.”[23] Also, newspaperman Murray Norris (credited in the “Acknowledgements” of The Satan Seller) told us that Mike claimed to have known Charles Manson and even spent a few days in the desert with him.[24]

One problem here. During the entire time Warnke was allegedly a Satanist, Charles Manson was imprisoned at the federal penitentiary on McNeil Island, off the coast of Washington State. Manson wasn’t released from his six-year stretch for forgery until March 1967, by which time Warnke was in the Navy.[25]

These comparisons demonstrate that Mike Warnke’s story does not meet the test of time or history.


1. Mike Warnke, with Dave Balsiner and Les Jones, The Satan Seller (Plainfield, N.J.: Logos International, 1972), 73-74. Hereafter, abbreviated SS.

2. SS, 35.

3. SS, 58.

4. The 1965 Almanac and Book of Facts (New York: New York World-Telegram and Sun, 1965), ed. Harry Hansen, 476.

5. SS, 33, 36.

6. SS, 25.

7. SS, 23. In writing about this period, Warnke marks the time with phrases such as “a week or so went by.” The overall impression is that several weeks or even a couple months elapsed between the start of school and getting the job.

8. SS, 18.

9. SS, 19.

10. SS, 23. In retrospect Warnke’s alleged habit of “ten dollars a week” for speed seems fairly mild.

11. SS, 25.

12. SS, 18. The text says only “the days went by,” but context implies more than a week, since Warnke goes from attending classes “regularly at first” to falling victim to alcohol abuse.

13. SS, 23. The alleged weight drop may have occurred after Warnke’s employment.

14. SS, 23-25.

15. SS, 28.

16. SS, 29-30.

17. SS, 31, 32-33 (emphasis added).

18. Michael A. Warnke, Schemes of Satan (Tulsa: Victory House, 1991), 43-44.

19. Peggy Hancherick, “Mike Warnke: Jester in the King’s Court,” Harmony, Sept./Oct. 1976, 9.

20. Dave Balsiger et al., “It’s Happening Now,” insert, San Diego Evening Tribune, 17 Jan. 1972.

21. Phone interview with Dave Balsiger.

22. Morris Cerullo, The Back Side of Satan (Carol Stream, Ill.: Creation House, 1973), 170-171.

23. Back Side, 171.

24. Phone interview with Murray Norris.

25. Vincent Bugliosi, Helter Skelter (New York: W.W. Norton, 1974), 195. Particularly odd is the fact that Manson’s 1967 release date was included in Back Side on pp. 76-77.

original filename: CSM0982A.TXT
“Why the Dates Don’t Work”
Release A, 7 November 1997
HTML rev. 06/18/1998

This file was previously released as DATES.TXT as part of WARNKE.ZIP on the JPUSA BBS in July 1992. Formatting changed, minor spelling and punctuation errors in previous version corrected.

Copyright © 1992 by Jon Trott and Mike Hertenstein. This file may be reproduced on electronic media and communications services without charge or permission from the author(s), so long as the wording of the text remains unaltered. For additional information about our publications, please contact <http://www.cornerstonemag.com/> or write to: Cornerstone, 939 W. Wilson Ave., Chicago, IL 60640-5706, U.S.A.