Just after dawn on Sept. 7, 2020, along a well-trodden path of the West Humber Trail in Toronto, a jogger saw something that stopped them in their tracks.
Laying along the side of the trail, under a bridge, was the body of Rampreet Singh. Cops happened upon a grizzly scene: Singh had been attacked in his sleeping bag and stabbed repeatedly. He was likely attacked while he was still fast asleep.
Five days later, police would be called again, to a mosque just a few blocks away. On Sept. 12, cops arrived at the mosque, just a 10-minute drive from where Singh’s body was found. Outside the front doors, they found Mohamed-Aslim Zafis with his throat slit.
The Canadian cops worried that the two slayings might be connected. Fears abounded in the community that someone was targeting men of color. Authorities acknowledged that the attacks may have been the work of a serial killer.
Then police caught a break a week later, arresting 34-year-old Guilherme Von Neutegem for Zafis’ killing.
But, more than a year later, as Von Neutegem awaits trial, his case has garnered scant attention. What happened to Singh remains unclear. What may have provoked the vicious attacks remains unexplained.
Clues in Von Neutegem’s online life, however, point towards a little-known cult: a neo-Nazi satanist religion that has ensnared a significant and loyal following. The movement, the Order of Nine Angles, proselytizes a coming race war, with some texts even instructing its followers to accelerate the violence through random human sacrifices.
Von Neutegem is not the first follower of the Order to be accused of acts of violence. Experts worry he won’t be the last.
The West Humber Trail is a haven of seclusion in the otherwise industrial and bustling Etobicoke neighborhood, in the west end of Toronto.
The path is particularly popular with joggers out for a run before heading to work. Many of those who frequented the path in the early morning hours recognized Singh. He had been living under a bridge for months. Those who trekked the path told local news that he was a friendly guy. Some had even taken to delivering him food on their morning walk to work.
When the Toronto Police Service homicide squad were called after the jogger found Singh’s body, it was clear the slaying wouldn’t be an open-and-shut case. While conflicts between those who sleep rough in Toronto can turn violent, Singh was bedding down far away from the populated encampments closer to downtown. What’s more, there was little evidence of a struggle or a robbery. “He kept to himself,” one officer told the media in the weeks after Singh’s death.
Singh had fallen on hard times, but he wasn’t the type to provoke a fight. He had trained as a chemical engineer in his native India, before emigrating to Canada. For a time he had a well-paying job at a plastic factory, and a modest apartment in a rooming house.
“He was a simple guy,” Randy Welch, who worked with Singh years before his death, told The Daily Beast.
But Singh quit his job abruptly around 2012. In the meantime, Toronto’s housing market has exploded. Many of those rooming houses were knocked down or converted into high-priced condos. The city’s homeless population remains underserved, and often ignored, many struggling with undiagnosed or under-treated mental health issues. That’s where Singh ended up: on the streets.
Welch is sympathetic: “The Toronto streets are brutal,” he said.
For a time, Singh had been staying closer to downtown, where he accessed services from a support center. “He was struggling, but he just always wanted to do good,” Kimberly Curry, an outreach worker, told the Toronto Star. She recalled arriving at the center one day to find that, behind the center, Singh had set up a little encampment for himself and a friend—complete with fresh vegetables for them to eat. “It was like a little house he had set up outside,” she told the Star.
His slaying had the hallmarks of being targeted and deliberate. Officers were left struggling to answer a basic question: Why would anyone want to kill him?
When Welch saw his friend’s face on the news, he says, “It took me awhile to recognize him.” Singh had clearly had a rough few years since he and Welch had been coworkers. Still, Welch thought, why would anyone want to kill him?
A similar thought ran through the minds of members of Toronto’s Muslim community on the evening of Sept. 12.
That evening, Zafis had ducked inside his mosque for evening prayers. Afterwards, he walked outside and took up his perch in a plain white lawn chair, facing the mosque’s parking lot. The 58-year-old was there to make sure worshippers washed their hands, kept their masks on, and stayed the requisite six feet from each other inside, complying with the province’s COVID-19 restrictions. In the weeks before, Zafis had been volunteering in the mosque food bank. “He would take the lead to hand it out to those who are in need,” recalls Omar Farouk, president of the mosque. Farouk says Zafis, an immigrant from Guyana, was always the first to raise his hand to volunteer.
On that warm September evening, Zafis stationed himself just below the white and green sign for the International Muslim Organization of Toronto. He sat with a book in his lap, his back turned to the red brick building.
Zafis didn’t turn his head, at first, when a figure walked up the path towards the mosque’s front doors. He only shifted in the plastic chair when the figure was behind him. He craned his neck to see who it was. But the hooded figure walked on, into the darkness. Zafis returned to his reading.
The figure only made it a few paces beyond Zafis before doubling back, walking a long arc, past the front doors of the mosque, slowly creeping back from where he or she came, almost as though they were pacing. Deliberating.
Then, the figure stopped. The security footage from the mosque is grainy, but they clearly turned their head towards Zafis. They reached into the pocket and pulled something out, making their way towards the mosque caretaker. Quickly, without Zafis turning, they crouched behind the 58-year-old and reached their arm around his neck.
The figure then bolted into the darkness, with only a dim glow—perhaps of a cellphone—visible.
Zafis stood up from his chair, wobbly. He stumbled forward, then collapsed, rolling onto his back.
The security camera footage that showed his killing wouldn’t be shared with the public until a month after his murder, but police knew full well the weight of what they were watching. Whoever killed Zafis had showed up to the mosque that night with a knife in their backpack. They had skulked in the darkness, but killed Zafis under a bright street light, in full view of the parking lot.
The killings looked similar: random, brutal stabbings. Both in the same neighborhood. Both attacks on men of color. Toronto police didn’t link the two slayings, but acknowledged they couldn’t “exclude that possibility.”
The city didn’t need to hold its breath for a suspect for long. On Sept. 18, police arrested 34-year-old Guilherme Von Neutegem and charged him with first-degree murder for the death of Zafis.
Guilherme Von Neutegem grew up in southern Brazil, the son of a Seventh-day Adventist pastor.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is not far from the Protestant mainstream; its theology differs, mostly, in its belief that there is no hell.
But those who knew Von Neutegem in Brazil say he wasn’t interested in the church. One of Von Neutegem’s former classmates, who did not wish to be named, recalls getting on fairly well with him. But he was, she wrote, “estranho”—strange.
She told The Daily Beast that he had an interest in peculiar things. He was smart, and well-versed in technology, but not terribly social.
Around 2004, Von Neutegem left Brazil. Moving around was fairly common for his family, as the church believes strongly in missionary work. Von Neutegem’s father would move to churches throughout the United States and Canada.
Much of the family ended up in Toronto in the early 2010s. Von Neutegem’s parents made a point of helping new Brazilian immigrants to the city acclimatize to their new home. That’s how Von Neutegem met his future wife.
Friends who knew the Von Neutegems say they were the epitome of happiness. They were the “most amazing supportive and caring parents,” a friend of the family told The Daily Beast.
The only point of contention appeared to be Von Neutegem’s rejection of his parents’ faith. He seemed more taken with esoteric philosophy than Christianity. That “made his parents a little sad,” the friend said. But, they said, “his parents always respected him, even though they wished he could be on the same path as theirs.”
Von Neutegem enrolled in a local college in 2014, studying psychology. A year later, he married his girlfriend. According to an online listing, he began a “holistic medicine practise,” seemingly operating out of his condo. The whole family appeared close: Facebook albums show Von Neutegem, his wife, parents, and brother traveling together to Niagara Falls, on a skiing trip to Alberta, and enjoying dinner together.
Von Neutegem’s friends lost touch with him in the years that followed. His marriage ended abruptly, and his ex-wife returned to Brazil, as did his parents. The happy family vacations on his social media pages were steadily replaced with esoteric religious imagery and increasingly reactionary political opinions.
“The Liberal trend of political correctness and flirtation with utopian socialism and globalism will inevitably give way to an authoritarian type of world Government,” Von Neutegem tweeted in 2019.
As the pandemic hit, in the spring of 2020, Von Neutegem’s politics turned even more conspiratorial. He warned that the coronavirus pandemic was a “global propaganda campaign” to build a “World Government.” The same month, on Facebook, he posted a meme comparing 5G cellphone service to the Eye of Sauron from Lord of the Rings.
He followed conservative politicians and media in Canada and further afield. On Twitter, he followed and liked Varg Vikernes, a Norwegian black metal musician convicted of numerous arsons of churches and the killing of a former associate, and Red Ice TV, an online media outlet suspended by YouTube for hate speech.
It’s clear that Von Neutegem had tilted towards openly antisemitic and extremist political and media figures in the years before his arrest. But one particular fixation became more pronounced.
His most recent upload to his YouTube page, from January 2020, was titled “Chant (ONA)”. In it, Von Neutegem lilts over an atonal drone. The grainy black-and-white footage hovers over a candle-lit shrine, panning up to a six-pointed star—a heptagram.
Researchers with Anti-Hate Canada were quick to note the significance, writing in a blog post shortly after Von Neutegem’s arrest: “The Order of the 9 Angles is a neo-Nazi death cult and its believers are told to carry out murders to establish a satanic empire. Its training manual says, ‘to cull humans is to be the ONA.’”
On Facebook, Von Neutegem had joined multiple groups advertising themselves as “covens”—or “nexions”—of the Order of Nine Angles (O9A or ONA). On Pinterest, he hoarded O9A symbolism and followed other influencers from the movement. On Instagram, he uploaded a photo of a shrine he appears to have built; at its center is a Sonnenrad, a type of swastika.
The banner image for Von Neutegem’s YouTube page features two Nordic runes—one of which was made infamous on the uniforms of Hitler’s Waffen-SS— a stylized swastika, and a wooden-handled dagger.
Someone who had been close with Von Neutegem, up until the years before his arrest, can’t say what led him towards these extremist positions. “I have no clue. I mean it. I don’t understand either. Nobody does. Only he knows what drove him into these ideas,” they wrote to The Daily Beast, while declining to be interviewed.
At the time of his arrest, Von Neutegem was living in a recently completed luxury condo building in Etobicoke, in Toronto’s West End—three-and-a-half miles from the mosque where Zafis was stabbed. A city bus, which stops in front of Von Neutegem’s building, could have taken him to there in about 20 minutes.
Unlike the thicket of neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups and movements that have sprung up in recent years, birthed on far-right social media pages and secretive members-only chat rooms, O9A dates back to a pre-digital age. Despite its three decades of existence, understanding anything concrete about the Order can prove challenging.
What is abundantly clear is that the O9A preaches a violent, reactionary, and hateful ideology. It glorifies Hitler and promises to endow its followers with the magic power to provoke a race war.
The O9A mythology claims it was founded in the 1960s, as a marriage of three obscure satanic temples. For decades, it had no particular public presence. By the late 1980s, however, a new leader took over to, as one O9A text reads, “make the teachings known on a large scale”—Anton Long. Massive tomes of literature, which makes up the core of the Order of Nine Angles philosophy and religious doctrine, are attributed to Long. Yet Long is a ghost: virtually non-existent, beyond his affiliation with O9A.
Almost every researcher who has studied O9A accepts that Long is a nom de plume. While the name may have been used by multiple key figures in the pseudo-religious cult, there is considerable evidence to suggest Long is, at least primarily, an Englishman named David Myatt—a longtime far-right agitator who had been involved with neo-Nazi organizations as far back as the 1960s and was once dubbed The Most Evil Nazi in Britain.
Proving, without a doubt, that the two men are one and the same is frustratingly difficult, but there is ample evidence to back up the claim. Long and Myatt often use similar concepts and esoteric language, they both share a publisher, and their biographies share core details. Despite that, Myatt has denied being Long. Many followers of O9A, however, believe they are one and the same. Such is a fairly common paradox of the Order: Things are true, false, and neither at the same time.
There are plenty of circumstantial clues that Myatt might, in fact, be Long. Their voluminous writings are remarkably similar in length, style, and density. Plenty of Long’s essays are on Myatt’s website, right next to those that carry his name. When Jacob Senholt, a master’s student, penned an extensive thesis on Myatt and the O9A in 2009, he concluded that the small pile of “hints and references” pointing to Myatt and Long being one and the same “should be enough to warrant such a connection.”
Unlike Long, Myatt isn’t hard to find. His personal website boasts a grainy picture of him—in a gray three-piece suit, a black tie, a crisp white shirt—standing in front of an altar, near a tall candle and a stained glass window. Next to his name is the ancient Greek phrase “Πάθει Μάθος”—pathei mathos, or, “learning through suffering.” Von Neutegem had saved similar photos of Myatt to his Pinterest page.
Large parts of Myatt’s website are inscrutable. His essays carry titles like “concerning ἀγαθός and νοῦς in the Corpus Hermeticum,” and make inscrutably dense arguments. (“In essence, empathy and pathei-mathos lead us away from the abstractions we have constructed and manufactured and which abstractions we often tend to impose…”) There is a whole section for his poetry, which is simplistic by contrast (“The Sun, the city, to wear such sadness down/For I am only one among the many.”)
The Englishman had been on watchdog radars for some time, including Nick Lowles, a longtime contributor to Searchlight, an anti-fascist magazine devoted to exposing the English far right.
Lowles says Myatt had essentially “dropped off the radar” in the 1970s, and reappeared on the scene in the 1990s, as a senior figure in notorious neo-Nazi group Combat 18. Myatt had grand ambitions, Lowles says. He wanted Combat 18 to be his own personal army. He wanted to bring the United Kingdom to the brink. Myatt wanted to “instigate a race war,” Lowles says.
But Myatt was an awkward theorist amongst the rough-and-ready jackboots. “These people weren’t really big readers,” Lowles says. That led to a “clash between Myatt’s fantasy and the reality of the British hard-right.”
The group seemed more interested in heavy drinking and street brawls. Internal politics led to one member stabbing another in the throat. That largely precipitated the end of Combat 18, as its members were arrested in droves in the late 1990s. Myatt lost what he hoped would be his, as Lowles phrases it, personal army.
In 1998, Myatt had decamped to the English countryside, where he set up a spiritual successor to Combat 18: the National Socialist Movement. It would become more of an intellectual movement than rowdy beer-hall politics.
“Revolution means struggle,” he wrote around that time. “It means war. It means certain tactics have to be employed, and a great revolutionary movement organized which is primarily composed of those prepared to fight, prepared to get their hands dirty and perhaps spill some blood.”
With his new profile, Lowles and Searchlight began to wonder what Myatt had been doing in those decades prior. They began to suspect that Myatt had a hand in founding the Order of Nine Angles.
O9A was hardly a major movement at this point, but it had a loyal following who ordered its texts through the mail—literature that echoed Myatt’s other groups. “This work aims to provide a brief guide to the strategy and tactics National-Socialists need in order to create a revolution and create a National-Socialist State,” one O9A from the time read. Some were written under the pseudonym Godric Redbeard (Myatt boasted a bushy ginger beard around then) while others carried Anton Long’s name.
In 1998, Lowles, the anti-racist researcher, decided to reach out to Myatt. “I just rang him up,” Lowles says. It was March 20 when they met for lunch at a pub in a small farming town. Both men had been secretly taping the conversation; one of their recordings has since found its way online.
“You obviously say you’ve never had any connections with the Order of Nine Angles,” Lowles tells Myatt, at the beginning of the recording.
“What do you mean by the Order of Nine Angles?” Myatt replies, clearly feigning ignorance. “Do you think it’s a group, or do you think it’s one person?”
In the conversation, Lowles reveals that he has evidence showing Myatt owned and operated three post office boxes connected with O9A, dating back to the 1980s. While Myatt admits he checked the mail boxes, he danced around on the question of his own involvement, insisting only that “I have tried to use, or convert, people who had been involved with various occult groups for national socialism.”
“I’ve never been involved,” Myatt told Lowles.
“He lied through his teeth,” Lowles told The Daily Beast, pointing to significant evidence establishing that, even if he is not the sole leader of the group, Myatt has been intimately involved in the organization for years. (In 2020, the National Counterterrorism Center assessed the likelihood that Myatt being the leader of O9A as “probable.”)
Over lunch, Lowles recalled, Myatt reached into his coat and produced a SS dagger, like Hitler’s stormtroopers carried—and pulled out an envelope. “He gave me a letter with an invitation to a duel,” Lowles recalls, laughing.
In April 1999, as Lowles toiled away on his expose of the enigmatic extremist, London was shocked by a nail bomb attack in Brixton Market, in a predominantly Black neighborhood. A week later, a second bomb exploded in a predominantly immigrant community near Whitechapel. Days later, a third bomb went off inside one of Soho’s oldest gay bars.
All told, three died and some 140 were injured in the attacks.
Combat 18, though it was essentially defunct, claimed responsibility for the attacks. As did a tiny, relatively unknown neo-Nazi group, the White Wolves—a group with virtually no footprint, beyond a pamphlet proclaiming: “We do not believe that we alone can win the Race War, but we can start it.”
Not long after the last attack, police arrested 22-year-old David Copeland, charging him with three counts of first-degree murder.
Copeland was a member and organizer of Myatt’s National Socialist Movement and would tell investigators that “my main intent was to spread fear, resentment and hatred throughout this country.” He would claim to be a member of the mysterious White Wolves. A jury would later convict him of three counts of murder, refusing to accept his plea of manslaughter.
In the melee after Copeland’s arrest, it was becoming increasingly clear that all roads led back to Myatt. He had led the National Socialist Movement. Police linked the White Wolves to a senior figure in Combat 18. Searchlight contended their violent call to arms was written, at least in part, by Myatt.
Searchlight pointed to another pamphlet that Myatt was happy to put his name to, issued before the attacks: “A Practical Guide to The Strategy and Tactics of Revolution.” The leaflet read that “a practical strategy to follow now in regard to assassination is to target and kill several soft targets over the next year or two.” On the topic of bombing campaigns, he advises “the simplest way to begin is with ‘fertilizer/sugar’ bombs, or simple ‘nail-bombs.’”
When Searchlight’s exposé finally came in 2000, it laid out Myatt’s entire past properly for the first time: from his younger years, as a rough-and-tumble skinhead; to his role as the brain trust of Combat 18; to leading the National Socialist Movement; and finally his alleged senior role in the Order of Nine Angles.
The paper called him the “theoretician of terror.”
Myatt wasn’t just a local extremist, Lowles wrote, but a leading figure in an international neo-Nazi satanist movement which had grandiose ambitions.
Lowles suspected that Myatt had re-emerged under his real name in the ’90s to try and put his philosophies in action through groups like Combat 18.
Myatt, in 2003, himself wrote that, “I conceived a plan to use or if necessary create secret Occult-type groups with several aims,” he wrote, under his own name. Recruiting members, he said, would help “spread the idea of a world-wide revolution and world-wide National-Socialist renaissance.” He continued: “In pursuit of these covert aims I infiltrated several already existing Occult-type groups and created a new one.”
But Myatt’s plans had been seriously wrecked by the police investigation into Copeland’s terror campaign. His marriage ended in divorce. He had been outed as one of the U.K.’s most prolific extremists. And he was no closer to inciting his race war.
And so, Myatt writes in his autobiography, “I began to seriously study Islam.”
When SEAL Team Six cleared Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound in the frantic early morning raid after they killed the al Qaeda leader, they grabbed every document and hard drive that could reveal details about the terror network.
Famously, bin Laden’s computers were crammed with cartoons, wedding tapes, pornography, and beheading videos. In 2017, the CIA released reams of those documents online.
Tucked in the thousands of files is a three-page document entitled “The Significance of the Taliban for the Muslim Ummah,” authored by Abdul-Aziz ibn Myatt—another one of David Myatt’s pen names (this one, he admits to using).
Anyone familiar with Myatt’s other writings would recognize it immediately: the clunky naturalist poetry (“I felt connected—to the desert, the Sun, the land around, to the Prophet”) and the layered philosophies that never seem to say anything (“Islam is futuristic because it is a gateway to the next and most important life.”) The short treatise is an endorsement of the Taliban as “inspiring.”
Myatt, in an autobiography posted to his website, insists his conversion to Islam was not sudden. He skims over the years in his life: how he went from leading one of Britain’s most notorious neo-Nazi organizations to, in his words, “[rejecting] all forms of nationalism, including National-Socialism, and racialism itself.” He makes little mention of his conversion to radical fundamentalist Islam. (Lowles, the Searchlight researcher, notes that nothing in Myatt’s “sanitized” autobiography should be taken too seriously.)
Myatt may not dwell on it, but through those years, Sheikh Abdul-Aziz ibn Myatt operated as an English influencer for al Qaeda. He opened a Geocities page, which remains online, where he mixed hard-line Islamic doctrine with geopolitical invectives, calling other Westerners to the holy war. At the bottom of his page is a black badge: “SUPPORT OUR TROOPS,” it reads, above the shahada common amongst radical Islamist groups and the icon of an AK-47.
One of his most infamous texts is a lengthy defense of suicide bombings, published to his blog in 2003. “This pure, honourable, Islamic, intention, of a Mujahid is quite different from the selfish despair of the person who commits ‘suicide,’” he writes.
Myatt was something of a futurist in this regard. Al Qaeda had put little effort into recruiting outside the Islamic world for their holy war in those years. It would take until 2010 for them to publish the English-language Inspire magazine. The founding of the Islamic State a few years later would see a massive, destructive, rise in the radicalization of disaffected Western youth to their terror campaign.
Myatt may have been years ahead of his time, but he was a fairly dismal failure. In his own telling, Myatt briefly glances over his departure from Islam and his return to the United Kingdom before his autobiography peters out into a lengthy set of footnotes and appendices.
On April 19, 2020, a U.S. servicemember calling himself Etil Reggad logged onto a chat.
Using an encrypted messaging app, he joined a room billing itself as “Order of the 9 Rapes.” He told the other users that he had to be “careful as fuck” in chatting with them—“don’t want to end up like that f--got from who got caught while he was in the military,” he wrote. But quickly, Reggad was regaling his fellow users, who sometimes identified themselves as belonging to the RapeWaffen Division, about his military training, survival instincts, and links to “other groups.” He could be useful, he told them.
Over the next few weeks, according to a court record of the conversations, Reggad proved his worth to the group. Risking, as he wrote, his “literal free life,” he supplied users of the secretive chatroom with details of when and where American military personnel would be deployed to Turkey. He was “expecting results” from those in the chat. Nothing short of a “new war,” spurred by an attack on his unit, would be good enough. He wanted a “mascal”—a mass casualty event.
The chat was happy to oblige. Their plan was to make it look like a “jihadi attack”—inspired by the Islamic State or al Qaeda. Just months earlier, America had teetered precipitously close to war with Iran over a rocket attack that wounded dozens of U.S. troops in retaliation for the killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.
If this attack succeeded in killing even one American soldier, the repercussions could be immense. Reggad knew that. “Another 10 year war in the Middle East would definitely leave a mark,” he wrote.
In the days that followed, Reggad provided a raft of incredibly specific information about the deployment: the number of soldiers, where they would be staying, surveillance and defensive capabilities—it was all sent “in order to try to maximize the likelihood of a successful attack,” prosecutors would later allege.
Reggad knew all this because he was in the unit that was shipping out for Turkey. If he died in the attack, he wrote, “I would have died successfully.”
Etil Reggad’s real name, prosecutors allege, is Ethan Melzer, an actual private in the U.S. Army. His plan was stopped before it came to fruition; one of the people on the chat had been an FBI informant, according to court papers. An indictment of Melzer, filed in a New York court in June 2020, alleges that Melzer ascribed to “anarchist, neo-fascist, neo-Nazi, and anti-Semitic beliefs” and communicated with other members of the O9A. Investigators found a document on his iCloud account entitled “The Joy of the Sinister: The Traditional Satanism of the Order of the Nine Angles” — a collection of essays which includes an essay entitled “Culling As Art,” signed by Anton Long.
The indictment further alleged that Melzer shared intelligence with someone who he believed was from al Qaeda.
The court papers noted that the Order of Nine Angles denies the Holocaust and believes that “Adolf Hitler was sent by [their] gods to guide [them] to greatness.”
Melzer is fighting the charges, asking them be dismissed on various grounds, including by challenging the racial make-up of his potential jury and by claiming his actions on an overseas military base fall outside the ambit of the New York court.
The case, if proven, would be a clear sign that O9A—with all its calls for a race war and exhortations to “spill some blood”—continues to be influential. A 2020 National Counterterrorism Center report found that Melzner "demonstrated a commitment to” O9A and, more broadly, that they are “playing [an] influential role among some [racially-motivated violent extremists].”
After his drift away from Islam, Myatt seemed to fade away entirely. He has, at least according to his website, retired and rejected extremism but O9A has birthed a whole new generation of theorists and polemicists.
His writings, as well as those of his alleged alter-ego Anton Long, were finding new communities on a burgeoning far-right internet culture.
The so-called “sinister tradition” of O9A gave adherents a mix of radically self-interested philosophy, pioneered by the likes of Freidrich Nietzsche; the sort of magic realism that has been increasingly popular in neo-pagan and occult groups; and the intensely nationalist, racist, homophobic, antisemitic counter-culture increasingly popular on online forums like 4Chan.
In recent decades, Western states have struggled to understand and prevent both religiously-motivated extremism, such as the kind peddled by the Islamic State, and extremism motivated by prejudice and ideology, such as the virulent antisemitism and Islamophobia that inspired numerous mass shootings in America in recent years. Myatt’s claim to fame was his ability to erase the line between those two types of terror.
By and large, that effort was a success. Political scientist George Michael wrote in his book, The Enemy of My Enemy, that Myatt “has arguably done more than any other theorist to develop a synthesis of the extreme right and Islam.”
But convincing young white Americans to convert to Islam was a non-starter. And infiltrating a major Christian sect would be next to impossible. That’s what makes satanism so alluring.
Satanism is a fairly decentralized set of movements. The Satanic Temple, for example, has earned public attention in recent years by using its status as a recognized religion to push for expanded abortion rights and to oppose religious symbols and prayer in government spaces; while the Church of Satan is generally an apolitical organization focused on the occult.
Founding his own religion—even if it only exists as an idea, not as a formally established religion or organization—meant that Myatt could couch those acts of violence, meant to accelerate social unrest, in theology.
O9A is explicit in its commitment to violence. Unlike the other sects of Satanism, Anton Long wrote in one official O9A text: “We, on the contrary, are dark and really sinister—and propound culling.” Culling means ritual murder.
“We uphold human culling as beneficial, for both the individual who does the culling (it being a character-building experience) and for our species in general, since culling by its nature removes the worthless and thus improves the stock,” the text reads.
Long wrote that there are “proper ways to choose who is to be culled.” By picking the ‘right’ targets, he envisions it could spark killing on “a somewhat larger scale by using magickal means to direct/influence/control events in real time...and so produce historical change (war/strife/struggle/revolution and so on).” It was essentially what Myatt had written in the 90s, his call-to-arms that provoked Copeland’s nail bomb campaign, but shrouded in a dark mysticism.
In 1990, the leader of a larger satanist sect penned a letter to Myatt— included in one tome of official O9A literature—brushing aside that there was any meaningful difference between him and Long. He wrote that O9A’s texts calling for ritual sacrifice are “a dangerous ‘loaded weapon’ to be used by any child (of any age) who picks it up.”
It’s an apt description for the Order. O9A, today, is a leaderless movement. Individual members regularly contribute their own texts, zines, essays, and treatises. They congregate on Facebook groups, blogs, and Discord channels. Each coven, or nexion, has its own leadership and direction.
One O9A adherent wrote in a semi-official text that “mundanes,” or non-followers, should be terrified. “We are the ones who cull, in real life: As a challenge, as a joy.”
O9A, like much of Myatt’s work, is rife with internal contradictions. Some O9A followers reject the idea of ritual killing, and even dismiss the allegations that it is an anti-Semitic or neo-Nazi movement. They contend that the entire notion is the result of a smear campaign from Lowles and the mainstream media. But that interpretation requires one to ignore huge swaths of the O9A texts—many of which are dated “Yf,” or “Year of the Fürher.”
The idea of killing has become so normalized in O9A theology that the largest point of contention is how and when the killing is supposed to happen. In some texts, culling is something to be used liberally. In others, it is a rare tool. Many texts refer to a series of tests that ought to be put to someone before they are culled. But other official texts say that “selective elimination” is not murder, and instead a gift to society. “A person of contemptible character, a coward, those deemed worthless—all of these can factor in the selection of a victim,” it reads.
While there’s no clear evidence that Von Netuegem was in a nexion, he certainly followed several on Facebook—including one which has promoted “offerings of lead,” instructing its followers to chat incantations “in between trigger pulls.” Another chant published to their Facebook and blog reads: “We stand armed and dangerous before the bloody fields of history.” It has posted these chants alongside photos of rifles with O9A insignia.
Exactly how deep into the O9A rabbithole Von Neutegem went is unclear.
Even today, more than a year later, police have released virtually nothing about Von Neutegem’s arrest. The city seemed to move on from the killings nearly instantly. Police have yet to lay charges in connection with Singh’s killing, though they insist the trail has not yet gone cold.
“The homicide of Peter Singh is an active investigation,” the Toronto Police wrote in a statement to the Beast—but multiple interview requests for the detectives responsible were refused. “While it cannot be ruled out completely, no part of the investigation at this stage establishes a link between Mr. Singh’s homicide and the homicide of Mohamed-Aslim Zafis. We continue to explore all possibilities,” the statement read. Investigators are still pleading with the public for information.
Von Neutegem, for his part, has not yet had his day in court. His trial is currently scheduled for January 2023. Interview requests to his legal team went unanswered. Police have not said how they connected Von Neutegem to the homicide, although security footage from near the mosque generally matches the 34-year-old’s description.
But the seemingly random targeting of two men of color fits many aspects of O9A’s perverse culling test.
The threat posed by O9A has been bubbling under the surface for some time.
Lowles, who now runs an anti-extremist organization called HOPE Not Hate, has identified a number of thwarted violent crimes tied directly or indirectly to the Order of Nine Angles. They identified now-defunct neo-Nazi forum Iron March as a crucial organizing hub for those efforts: It spawned Order of Nine Angles offshoot Tempel ov Blood, and heavily influenced the Atomwaffen Division.
ProPublica has identified five murders throughout the United States—including of a gay Jewish teenager—allegedly tied to members of various Atomwaffen cells. Extensive reporting has exposed how Atomwaffen clandestinely organized training camps in preparation for attacks designed to spark a race war.
The relationship between these offshoots and O9A are symbiotic. RapeWaffen, itself a split from Atomwaffen, encouraged followers to “JOIN YOUR LOCAL NEXION,” Hope Not Hate reported. (Atomwaffen, meanwhile, has undergone an internal fight over its ties to O9A.)
As the Southern Poverty Law Centre has noted, Atomwaffen Division’s mixing with O9A follows in a tradition of groups that “meld religious and political extremism—two powerful conduits for violence.”
Police in the United Kingdom have made multiple arrests in recent years of youths involved in National Action, a neo-Nazi organization clearly influenced and tied to O9A. Two members of National Action were convicted in 2019 of inciting terror attacks against Prince Harry and Meaghan Markle. The same year, U.K. police arrested a 16-year-old supporter of National Action who was similarly fixated with O9A—he would be the youngest person ever convicted in the U.K. of terrorism offences. When police arrested him, they found a note in his pocket reading: “Killing is probably easier than your paranoid mind thinks. You’re just not used to it. Most were caught because they got sloppy.”
Hope Not Hate, which catalogued National Action’s support for O9A and Islamic extremism, noted bleakly that “British neo-Nazis are morphing into Satanic rape gangs.”
U.S. intelligence agencies have warned about the threat posed by O9A. In a briefing document, obtained by Yahoo News, the Department of Homeland Security and FBI reported that they “lack reliable reporting" on the size and influence of O9A, but that they have found the group has "reinforced these [racially-motivated violent extremist] groups’ violent tendencies.”
The West is furiously wrestling with the many tendrils of online extremism. The Islamic State showed the dangers of a potent theological message. The rise of QAnon has showcased how esoteric, even magical, thinking can radicalize masses. The surge in white supremacist militias has shown how quickly nationalism can border into extremism. Since the Jan. 6 insurrection, and a series of police busts, infighting is plaguing these groups. It’s impossible to say whether O9A will lose influence in this internal turmoil, or gain it.
There has been a conscious effort to chase these extremist groups off social media, and, in some cases, to criminalize the organizations outright.
It’s far from clear that those strategies would work on the Order of Nine Angles. “What, actually, do you ban?” Lowles says. After all, their writing has proliferated across a multitude of blogging platforms, on anonymous hosting sites, across Facebook, through Pinterest, on YouTube, and beyond—some of those networks have banned O9A accounts, but many remain. The Russian social media platform VK, in particular, has become home to many followers. The actual organizing, meanwhile, takes place in private, in private groups and on encrypted, unpoliced chats.
What is clear is that the strategy Myatt pioneered three decades ago, to use esoteric philosophy and religion to supercharge hate groups, has been remarkably effective.
Meanwhile, the families in Toronto are left picking up the pieces. Von Neutegem’s family have been robbed, their son and brother allegedly weaponized into an evil effort to spark a race war. Zafis’ family are left to go on without him. Singh was robbed of his chance to put his life back together—and there’s no telling if police will ever have evidence to lay charges in his murder.