Perlmutter is a conservative activist and self-appointed expert in ritual and occult crimes. She has written on the parallels that exist between Satanism and terrorism in a piece entitled “Skandalon 2001: the Religious Practices of Modern Satanists and Terrorists.” Here is an excerpt from this embarrassing excuse for a piece of scholarship.



Perlmutter’s academic credentials are in art history. She holds a PhD from NYU and an MFA from American University (more on her academic background below; spoiler: there’s nothing in her academic background that qualifies her to speak on forenics, criminal justice, Satanism, etc.).

Dissertation: Graven Images: Creative Acts of Idolatry: A Hermeneutic Study of the Relevance of Theological Proscription of Image-making in Judaic Law to Contemporary Jewish Art and Artists (1993)

Advisor: David W. Ecker (art, art history, aesthetics)


Current Employment: Tritechforensics Training Division

About Dawn Perlmutter (from site above)

Dawn Perlmutter, Ph.D., Director of the Symbol Intelligence Group is considered one of the leading subject matter experts (SME) in the areas of symbols, symbolic methodologies, unfamiliar customs and ritualistic crimes. In her SME capacity, she routinely provides law enforcement investigators, defense and intelligence agencies with specialized information to assist in operations, investigation and analysis. She has advised police departments and prosecutors offices on numerous cases of ritual homicide and presented expert witness testimony on ritualistic crimes.

Dr. Perlmutter is an adjunct Professor in the Forensic Medicine Program at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. She is the author of two books, Investigating Religious Terrorism and Ritualistic Crimes and Symbols of Terrorism as well as numerous publications on ritual violence.

Dr. Perlmutter has been interviewed for many documentaries, newspapers and newscasts. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy from New York University and a Masters Degree from The American University, Washington, D.C. Dawn Perlmutter is an active member of The American Investigative Society of Cold Cases (AISOCC) and The Vidocq Society, an exclusive crime-solving organization that solves cold case homicides.

Perlmutter teaches a course on “Ritualistic and Occult Crime.” The following is from a description of this course:

Ritualistic and Occult Crimes is a comprehensive workshop designed to provide public safety, crime scene analysts, and law enforcement professionals with an extensive understanding of crime scenes containing symbolic and unfamiliar evidence. Investigators will be introduced to the types of crimes most often associated with occult activity, crime scene clues, investigation strategies, and an overview of active groups. Crime scenes, forensic and symbolic evidence involving the ritual practices of Satanism, Santeria, Voodoo, Palo Mayombe, and the Goth, Vampire, and Fetish Scenes will be presented. Crime scene and autopsy images will demonstrate forensic and symbolic evidence specific to particular groups. Case studies include ritual sexual abuse, animal sacrifice, and numerous ritual homicides.


In the summer of 2015, the bodies of three individuals were found in Pensacola, FL. The Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan believed this crime to have been a Wiccan blue moon ritual. Perlmutter, having never seen the crime scene, declared it ritual murder despite the fact that Wiccan ritual traditions incorporate no violent acts and the murders did not occur on the night of a blue moon. Other experts decried the claims of the Sheriff noting that there was no evidence to suggest this crime was related to “witchcraft.”

Unfortunately, Vice did give her an outlet for her opinions. Perlmutter told Vice, regarding the murders,

“When someone who practices Wicca conducts a ritual homicide, then they’re no longer practicing Wicca—they’ve crossed over to the dark side, which would be Satanism. They definitely would not be accepted in that tradition if they were doing this… I’ve worked on dozens of ritual murders and testified on them. In terms of statistics, I don’t think they’re as common as bank robberies, but they’re certainly more common than serial killing. They occur. They definitely occur. A lot of people don’t believe that they happen, but I just testified in two cases in LA, one last month, that was a ritual killing by a couple. And one was by a young Satanist in LA who murdered his mother. In both of those cases, there was severe mutilation and positioning of the bodies, so there was no doubt they were ritual murders.”

And regarding Satanic Ritual Abuse, Perlmutter told Vice,

This [Satanic Ritual Abuse] comes up often. It’s not really my area of expertise. I do not work with the victims. I don’t like to comment on the Satanic ritual abuse, because I think there are victims, but there are also issues with contaminating evidence. There are definitely murder victims tied to Satanic ideologies, so it would make sense there’s ritual abuse also.


Sources specific to this crime and its connection to witchcraft/the occult (the connection turned out to be tenuous at best):

And here is a nice piece exposing her as, basically, a fraud:

Excerpt: Dawn Perlmutter is fond of describing herself as having a “Doctor of Philosophy” degree from New York University. What she doesn’t like to admit is that her PhD was not in forensics, or criminal justice, or anthropology, or religious studies, but from the Department of Art and Art Professions. She describes herself as having a “master’s degree from American University”, but doesn’t share with her audience that her degree from American University was a Master of Fine Arts degree – the kind of degree that teaches you how to make art.

In short, Dawn Perlmutter has none of the academic education or professional training required to understand a crime scene. She may have done some reading on the use of ritual theory in art, but that is not at all the same thing as understanding the workings of ritual in a religious setting, much less in a criminal setting. If Dawn Perlmutter is considered to be an “expert on ritual killings” by some people, it’s because she promotes herself as such, not because she has any actual expertise in the matter.


Other sources relevant to Perlmutter not related to the Pensacola case specifically:

“Police were puzzled by the crime. A corpse had been disinterred in the cemetery, mutilated and left near a mausoleum covered with graffiti.

Eager for a trail to follow, police turned to Dawn Perlmutter, an expert on ritualistic murder and religious terrorism.

It turned out to be exactly the right move. Perlmutter immediately suspected the crime was linked to satanism and urged police to begin by talking to people at nearby stores selling occult books and symbols.”


Perlmutter’s Book


The legalities of particular religious practices depend on many factors, such as the type of occult or religious activity, the current laws, and the intention of the individual practitioner. Written by the director of the Institute for the Research of Organized and Ritual Violence, Investigating Religious Terrorism and Ritualistic Crimes is the first complete resource to assist in crime scene identification, criminal investigation, and prosecution of religious terrorism and occult crime. It analyzes occult and religious terrorist practices from each group’s theological perspective to help you understand traditional and contemporary occult groups and domestic and international terrorist religions, demarcate legal religious practice from criminal activity, and acquire techniques specific to occult and terrorist religion crime scene investigation.”


“Dawn Perlmutter appeared in an episode of “On the Case with Paula Zahn” (Investigation Discovery Channel) on Sunday, January 8, 2012. She consulted on a 24-year-old cold case homicide that involved the ritualistic murder of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl in the sacristy of a chapel on Easter Saturday, 1980 in Toledo, Ohio. This case involved unusual symbolic and forensic evidence. The episode will be re-run on January 14.

She was also quoted in a January 12, 2012 NPR article about the U.S. military’s desecration of the corpses of Taliban fighters.

Dawn Perlmutter was interviewed by Robert Siegel August 29, 2014 on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered in a segment about beheading as a modern warfare tactic.”


Other items of interest, but not of specific relevance to Gray Faction:

Perlmutter’s contributions to Frontpage Mag, some of which would be quite at home on O’Reilly’s (former) show:


Choice quotes from The Washington Times