BELTANE

 

 

 

 

 

                             by

 

 

 

 

 

                       Jacob O. Berry

 

 

 

                                    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.O. Box 9492

Amarillo, Texas  79105                         

                                   

 

 

 

 

INT. THE PITS OF HELL

 

Hollywood can do it up here -– the creation of a SHADOWY HELL on screen.

 

SUPER: What you are about to see is one of the more unusual stories told.  If you have no prior belief in the supernatural, this may be dull – to initiate a satanic attack to cause an individual to self-destruct.  This concerns a minister, who had a history of exploiting others through manipulation and duplicity.  It occurred in a rural area of the Northern Plains during the Farm Crisis (1980-85).  This will be told, not so much through “action”, but through “documentation”.  That is, the documentation of a fantasy through narration, a court deposition, legal arguments, letters and taped phone conversations concerning maleficia within the Pentecostal Movement.  Not one thing has been altered – original, exact documentation has been used.  The Movement does not label it “maleficia”, but, as stated in a United States federal court, the “operation of spiritual forces invoked”, and, the “actions of Satan as applied."  They label it a “Job trial”.  The Movement has taken full credit for it, but has little remorse.  You, the audience, are the jury.  Is the minister innocent, or guilty, of the invocation of a destructive demonic force.

 

EXT. STREET NEAR COLLEGE – DAY

 

JACOB BERRY, 150 lbs., ranch hand build, in his mid-forties, wearing small, black-rimmed glasses, sits in driver’s seat of l977 Ford Thunderbird on a fall afternoon, speaking into a hand held VOICE-RECORDER.  He wears blue jeans, plaid shirt, baseball cap.

 

SUPER: A street near Amarillo College, Amarillo, Texas - November 7, 2000 

                                                                                                       

              BERRY

         (little nervous)

This is a story that deals with myself, Jacob O. Berry, and a pastor of an Assembly of God church in Newell, South Dakota -– Morris Conklin.  This deals with an act that took place May l of l983.  This story is about the problem of “cursing people” and the inability or lack of desire of the church, in this case Assembly of God to...

 

INSERT - DEMONS

 

Shadowy demons FAINTLY HOWL in the background.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

...that is cursing people as being grounds, if the pastor does this for, as misconduct, for dismissal, for discipline, and this type of thing.  And, in this particular case, and this will be unfolding, there was nothing, absolutely nothing done by the leadership of this denomination.  This deals with an act that was committed, like I say, May l of l983. 

 

                                                CUT TO:

 

EXT. NEWELL – DAY

 

Small, typical PRAIRIE COMMUNITY of the Northern Plains -– with three gas stations, one market, one bank, one bar, four churches, etc.

 

SUPER: Newell, South Dakota - September 1979

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

The story begins in September of 1979, and I moved to Newell, South Dakota...

 

EXT. NORTHEAST OF NEWELL – DAY

 

l20 acre FARM, one mile east and two miles north of Newell, with old woven wire exterior and cross fences, 60 acres of dead sunflowers, two cisterns on south part of property, and three trees.  House and outbuildings are gone.  AERIAL SHOT, in small plane, from Newell to farmstead, zeroes in on property and surveys it.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

...and bought 120 acres of bare land...

 

EXT. SPEARFISH – DAY

 

On a lot, on house beams, sits GUESTHOUSE of old mansion -- an 1879 vintage, l6’ x 32’, one-and-a-half story house.  The mansion has been moved. 

 

SUPER: Spearfish, South Dakota - September 1979

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

...and began to fix it up -– bought an old 1879 farmhouse, moved it over there, put it on the property...

 

MONTAGE – 1879 FARMHOUSE

 

-- House-moving truck hauls old house down Hwy. 212     

   between Belle Fourche and Newell.

 

-- Three miles northeast of Newell, house is lowered  

   onto foundation, near old cistern, on 120 acre

   farmstead while Berry (in plaid shirt and blue jeans)

   watches.

 

-- In small living room, Berry, in a coat, sits cross- 

   legged on the floor in front of a fire in a barrel

   wood stove (i.e. stove made out of a barrel).  Door               

   of stove is open.

 

-- Twenty feet from house is a large pile of chopped             

   wood from old buildings, an old beat-up wagon full of

   firewood, and two piles of uncut boards.  Berry cuts  

   some boards that he has placed on sawhorses, using a

   chainsaw.

 

-- It is winter and upstairs in bedroom, with an old bed

   and dresser, Berry sleeps under a quilt.

 

-- Still winter and Berry takes a dump in an old, ranch-

   red outhouse (northwest of house ten yards), as wind

   roars and snow blows into outhouse through cracks.

 

-- It is spring and Berry stands on ladder painting house

   ranch red with white trim.

 

EXT. BERRY FARM – DAY

 

In the spring, Berry watches carefully while ERIC BAKER, a stocky farm-type person, with a crew cut, thirty-five years old, in blue jeans and flannel shirt, sits on old tractor lifting side of small 14’ x 20’ barn with grapple fork into place against posts.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

...and began to put various small improvements on there -– a small barn and etc. over a five year period of time.

 

MONTAGE - LIFE ON THE FARM

 

-- It is spring and Berry farms, drilling alfalfa with

   old drill and 1952 Farmall “C” tractor.  He drives,

   looking ahead and over his shoulder, watching drill.

    

-- It is summer and Berry builds corrals.  He sets

   railroad ties for posts, nails cross-piece boards on

   railroad ties, then nails wood slabs, from local

   sawmill, onto cross-piece boards. 

 

-- More summer.  Near chicken house a dozen Rhode Island

   Red chickens run around.  Berry walks with a pail of

   grain, scattering it to chickens.

 

-- Next spring and barn is finished.  Berry nails last

   piece of tin on roof of 1½ story barn.

 

-- Same spring and Berry tears down old cross-fencing.

 

-- It is summer and Berry milks a Holstein cow in the barn.

   Cow is tied with rope around neck to one of four center 

   posts supporting barn’s ceiling.  Leg chain hooks

   around cow’s legs and Berry sits on a milk stool.  Then

   he takes pail of milk and pours it into small metal

   half-barrel, (i.e. cut in half), for half dozen Red

   Duroc feeder pigs.

  

-- More summer.  Berry builds larger set of corrals to

   hold cattle.  Same procedure as previous corral

   construction.

 

-- It is fall and Berry builds loading chutes -– one for

   pigs and one for cattle.  

 

-- Next spring and Berry builds a fence around farm

   (railroad tie and two steel post for posts –- four 

   strands of barbwire for wire).

 

-- It is summer and Berry builds windbreak (several

   railroad tie posts which stand in curved formation);

   nailing sawmill slabs onto cross-piece boards as two

   half-draft, half-Quarter horses and two Quarter

   horses watch.

 

-- It is fall and Berry sets railroad tie posts in ground

   for two cattle feed lots (one west of corrals and one

   south of corrals).

 

                                                  CUT TO:

 

INT. DEPOSITION ROOM – DAY

 

Berry, STEVEN HELMERS and FRANCES HENDERSON -- Court Reporter for the United States District Court, sit around a large table in a room in court building.  Helmers, in suit and tie, takes DEPOSITION of Berry, dressed in plaid shirt and new blue jeans.  Henderson, smartly dressed, sits with recording device.

 

SUPER: Deposition Room (United States District Court, Rapid City, South Dakota) on October 2, 1996 - Steven Helmers, General Council Assembly of God attorney

 

              HELMERS

First of all, I guess I’ll just state for you, Jacob, you’re here representing yourself in this lawsuit; is that correct?  You don’t have an attorney at this time?

 

              BERRY

Basically before the trial I probably won’t have an attorney.  At the trial there will be an attorney representing me.

 

              HELMERS

And maybe we just better first have you state your full name and address for the record.

 

              BERRY

My name is Jacob O. Berry.  Address: HC 81, Box 27, New Underwood, SD   57761.

 

              HELMERS

And you’re willing to go ahead with this deposition today?

 

              BERRY

That’s correct.

 

EXT. STREET NEAR COLLEGE – DAY

 

Berry narration.

 

              BERRY

         (dryly)

I was attending this church...

 

                                              CUT TO:

 

EXT. ASSEMBLY OF GOD – MORNING

 

The CHURCH is a white, 1960s style building -– a classic, small town church edifice capable of holding 150 parishioners.  Rectangular sign, on legs, on lawn says “Assembly of God” and “Services: Sunday morning ll:00 A.M., Sunday night 7:00 P.M.  On a Sunday morning, cars and trucks park in parking lot.

 

SUPER: Assembly of God - October 1979

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

...pastored by this Reverend Morris Conklin...

 

INT. ASSEMBLY OF GOD - DAY

 

Inside the church PARISHIONERS sit in pews while MORRIS CONKLIN, a man in his mid-‘30s with black moustache, black hair parted in the middle and DEAD EYES, good looking with an unathletic body, tries to preach a sermon in an anemic voice.  He walks somewhat slow, not really in a rush to do much of anything.  He has a few problems –- asking the congregation for scripture references; browbeating; accusing a needy parishioner of being demon-possessed; justifying divorce; saying “judgment for his sin” concerning the death of a teenage parishioner in a freak vehicle wreck.  ANGLE ON the eyes.  The parishioners are solid, farm/ranch types.  Conklin came from Sioux Falls, South Dakota some months earlier to “pastor” the church.  Berry liked the congregation, but did not care much for the pastor.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

...in Newell three miles away.

 

INT. DEPOSITION ROOM – DAY

 

Helmers Deposition.

 

              HELMERS

And if you can, just tell me, what are the sorts of problems that you had with Conklin before May 1983?

 

              BERRY

When I first came to the church, I had been there a couple weeks, Conklin asked me to come over to his house for supper.  Normally a pastor would say, “Would you like to come over for supper.”  Conklin said, and I quote, “We’re going to have you over.”  And the tone of voice was like you really don’t have a choice, you will come over and have supper at my house. 

 

INT. PARSONAGE BASEMENT - NIGHT

 

Various items stored.  In a corner are a half dozen BEE HIVES.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

The other thing that concerned me, he kept some bees at his house...

 

LATER THAT NIGHT

 

Conklin shows Berry (Berry being in his mid-20s) beekeeping with a WEIRD LOOK in those eyes.

 

              BERRY (V.O. cont’d)

...and afterwards we went in the basement and he showed me his beekeeping and he kept referring to it as his craft...

 

INT. DEPOSITION ROOM – DAY

 

Helmers Deposition.

 

              BERRY

...and it struck me as being odd at the time.  He said, “This is my craft, this is my craft” over and over again.

 

LATER IN BERRY’S TESTIMONY

 

              HELMERS

         (repetitive)

Jacob, I guess to go back, prior to May of 1983 you had had some difficulties in your relationship with the pastor, Morris Conklin, correct?

 

              BERRY

         (matter-of-factly)

Subtle homosexual harassment coupled with emotional abuse.

 

              HELMERS

When you use the phrase subtle homosexual harassment, what specific actions do you speak of?

 

INT. ASSEMBLY OF GOD – DAY

 

After the Sunday morning service, parishioners mill about.  Conklin proceeds to shake Berry’s hand, RUBBING, lightly, Berry’s hand with his SOFT hand.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

Example, Morris loved to touch me.  He would come up to me after the services to talk, get nice and close.  When he would shake my hand after the service, this didn’t happen all the time, but then he had a very, at least I thought, soft hand and when he shook my hand, he would kind of -– instead of shaking my hand in a normal fashion, he would kind of rub his hand on mine while he shook it while he was standing just too close for a normal person.  In other words, a normal person, when you talk to somebody or when you shake someone’s hand, you keep some distance, a certain amount of distance.  It’s a normal courtesy.  He would get way too close while he would do this.

 

              HELMERS

         (questioning)

Did he touch you in any other physically offensive way than that?

 

              BERRY

         (flatly)

Yes.

 

              HELMERS

How is that?

 

INT. ASSEMBLY OF GOD – NIGHT

 

Berry sits in chair, with other MALE parishioners, all sitting in an oval formation after Sunday evening service in Sunday school room.  Conklin also sits in chair.  After several parishioners WASH each other’s feet, Conklin proceeds to take a towel and a washbasin, and FONDLE, as he washes Berry’s feet.  Berry sits, stone-faced.

 

SUPER: Fall 1979

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

We had a foot washing service and it was males in one room, females in another room.  He chose to wash my foot over other people’s feet, and when he washed the foot, he really didn’t wash the foot, he basically fondled the foot with that soft hand, at least that’s what I felt.

 

Conklin worked, in his job as minister, approximately twenty-five hours per week.  He worked no other job to support himself as pastor of this small town church.  He had plenty of time for mischief.

 

EXT. FARMHOUSE - DAY

 

At front door of house, Conklin hands Berry a brown paper sack containing various food items.  Berry takes sack into house.  In kitchen, Berry takes canned goods, cereal, packages of rice, etc. out of sack and lays them on counter.

 

SUPER: Six months later

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

Morris would give me small gifts of food, canned goods, packages and cereal...

 

He wanted gay sex.

 

INT. ASSEMBLY OF GOD – DAY

 

After service, as parishioners mill around, talking and leaving, Conklin makes a BEELINE for Berry, cornering him. 

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

...and then do these things, come up to me and then basically try to force a relationship with little gifts of food.

 

Conklin was a married man at that time.  He could measure #2 on the Kinsey bisexual scale. 

 

INT. DEPOSITION ROOM – DAY

 

Helmers Deposition.

 

              HELMERS

         (querying)

What other emotional abuse.

 

INT. ASSEMBLY OF GOD – DAY

 

In the church FOYER after a service.

 

              CONKLIN

You don’t even pay your tithe.

 

INT. ASSEMBLY OF GOD – DAY

 

COMMUNION is served on Sunday morning.  As the plate passes down the row Berry takes a piece of wafer and passes it to the next person seated near him.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

He accused me June 7, 1983 of not taking communion in the church.

 

A FEW MINUTES LATER

 

Grape juice passes down row.  Berry takes one of the small, plastic cups, drinks it, and passes plate to next person seated near him.

 

              HELMERS (V.O.)

And what did you say then?

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

I was in such a state of shock I didn’t say anything.  It was like someone pouring a five-gallon bucket of ice water on your head.

 

EXT. STREET NEAR COLLEGE – DAY

 

Berry narration.

 

              BERRY

When I was having problems finding a job...

 

EXT. FARMGROUND - DAY

 

In the spring, on 5000 acre sheep ranch four miles northeast of Newell, Berry stands on farmground with ALVIN FALZARANO, the owner -- a stocky, middle-aged man built like a truck, while Falzarano SIFTS through dried out soil.  Falzarano looks at Berry and SHAKES his head.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

...this was during the Farm Crisis of the first half of the 1980s...

 

MONTAGE – JOBS DURING THE FARM CRISIS

 

-- On same ranch, Berry stands in a sheep lot (large      

   corral) with Falzarano’s wife, THERESA, a stocky 

   middle-aged woman, behind 1500 head of sheep.  They 

   yell and wave their arms, trying to get the sheep                                     

   to go into a huge sheep barn, in the winter, to get                                  

   out of the cold.  Sheep at first refuse to budge.                                             

   Finally one sheep gingerly walks into barn -- then         

   herd mentality takes over and they all pack the                                                          

   barn.

 

-- Still winter and Berry sits with the Falzaranos at            

   kitchen table for supper.  The house is old, built           

   perhaps in the ‘40s, with modern kitchen               

   appliances. Table is long, with a tablecloth.

 

                        FALZARANO

          This is our last supper.

 

   Falzarano gets out checkbook, writes out check for          

   $.75/hour and hands it to Berry.  Berry studies            

   check with an surprised look.

 

-- In a barn on small cattle ranch four miles west           

   of Newell, Berry is up in the loft helping to           

   rebuild barn –- hammering some nails into new        

   lumber, in the spring.  GUY CASTEEL, the owner,           

   comes into barn.

 

                        CASTEEL

          We can pay you $2.25 an hour.

 

-- In the 1879 farmhouse, Berry talks to KEITH SWAN,           

   owner of a 4000 acre cattle ranch, on black wall                 

   telephone.

 

                        SWAN

          We’ve got a job for you shoveling

          cow manure if you’re interested.

 

-- On cattle ranch, seven miles east of Newell, Berry

   shovels a barn full of manure, in the spring.  He 

   uses normal manure pitchfork and shovels into  

   manure trailer hooked to tractor.

 

INT. ASSEMBLY OF GOD – DAY

 

Pastor’s OFFICE.  Conklin sits behind the desk, with Berry sitting in a chair.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

...Conklin’s comment was...

 

CONKLIN’S POV – BERRY

He looks across the desk at Berry.

 

              CONKLIN (O.S.)

         (extreme derogatory tone)

I don’t care where you’ve worked.

 

EXT. FARM – DAY

 

Berry comes out of house, dressed in plaid shirt, coat, near-new washed jeans, on Sunday morning, to find 1960 white Chevy pickup with red flatbed won’t start and 1964 light blue Ford Galaxie won’t start on MUDDY, spring day.

 

SUPER: Spring 1981 

 

              BERRY

         (exasperated)

Shit.

 

So, Berry WALKS through mud to gravel road, and begins to walk to Assembly of God church in Newell.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

Having to walk down to the church on a muddy day, due to a mechanical breakdown -– three miles to the church...

 

INT. ASSEMBLY OF GOD – DAY

 

Berry sits in pew, toward back of church, with a little mud on the CUFFS of the JEANS, while Conklin preaches sermon.  Various parishioners sit in pews.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

          ...Conklin’s comment was...

 

INT. ASSEMBLY OF GOD – DAY

 

Parishioners mill about in the FOYER.  Conklin comes up to Berry and speaks.

 

              CONKLIN

                   (extreme derogatory tone)

You came to the church in dirty jeans.

 

                                   CUT TO:

 

INT. HOUSE – NIGHT

 

A shadowy scene, late 1960s/early ‘70s, in the living room with an adult male and female child in a sleeping bag on the floor.

 

SUPER: He had previous mis-behavior, detailed in an e-mail dated September 8, 2007.

 

              AALGAARD (V.O.)

Well, for introductions, my name is Lou Aalgaard.  I am a 46-year-old woman that was sexually molested by Morris Conklin when I was very young up until 1975.  I have recently found out that my step-sister was also.  Morris Conklin is my uncle, brother-n-law to my mother.  I have always lived in the state of Washington, but they would come visit us and one time we spent two week at their home in the Dakotas.  I was molested every single night while in Dakota.  My mom slept with his wife, her sister, and put me on the floor in a sleeping bag with Morris.  I cried every single night not to sleep with him.  They laughed at me and said to stop being a brat.  He would also molest me on his visits to Washington.  I turned him into the Assembly of God 4.5 years ago, went through an extensive investigation, and character background.  After an entire year, they decided that what Morris did to me was in the past, too long ago, and they let him continue in ministry.  Although, the board of conductors, or whoever they were, said they all believed my accusations against him.  My brother who lived with Morris and his family for a few years in the early ‘80s also reported that he caught Morris in bed with one of the young teens during camp week.  After reading what he did to you, I am very concerned that he may have done something sexual to my brother.  My brother hates him with a vengeance.  I mean hates him!  I could never figure out what made this hatred so intense.  Now, I think I know.  And now, my step sister has turned him in.  It has been about four months since his investigation and we have heard nothing and I really don’t expect them to fire him. 

 

They are worse than the Catholics.

 

EXT. FARMHOUSE – NIGHT

 

WINDY WINTER NIGHT.  Outside circular temperature gauge, next to outside door, registers 10o below zero.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

I went through a lot of deprivations at this time which perhaps laid me open to this type of harassment.

 

INT. FARMHOUSE – NIGHT

 

Berry tries to sleep on couch in sleeping bag that winter night, with blankets, in living room...close to the wood stove.  There is a small dining room with an old wood table in excellent condition.  A barrel stove ROARS away with a one-and-a-half foot railroad tie chunk in it.  Curved stove pipe leads to wall.  The wind BLASTS with gusts up to 70 miles per hour.   Berry SHIVERS in coat, gloves, and wool hat.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

There were times it was below 0o in the house when I was first starting out due to a lack of heat...

 

INT. FARMHOUSE - NIGHT

 

On barrel wood stove, in the spring, is a COPPER BOILER.  A fire is in the stove.  Berry pours water from five-gallon bucket into copper boiler.  In the next room is a galvanized bathtub with bath towel, washcloth, soap and shampoo on small table near bathtub.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

...no running water at times in the house, basically heating was with wood.

 

Berry didn’t go through the deprivations in a Farm Crisis because he had nothing better to do.  Being new to agriculture as a young person, he did not understand economic forces.  Land prices plummeted (farmers who borrowed on the inflated value of their land in the 1970s were caught), interest rates rose to 21%, the drought damaged crops, experienced ranchers went under (i.e. bankrupt). 

 

Berry had what is called BATTERED PERSON SYNDROME.  “Battered person syndrome is a psychological condition of a person who has suffered emotional abuse from another person.  It is classified as ICD-9, code 995.81.  The condition was first researched extensively by LENORE WALKER, who used MARTIN SELIGMAN’S LEARNED HELPLESSNESS THEORY to explain why abused women stayed in destructive relationships (quoted from Wikipedia).”  Battered person syndrome is similar to BATTERED WOMAN SYDROME.  The Medical Dictionary defines this as, “A pattern of signs and symptoms, such as fear and a perceived inability to escape, appearing in women who are physically and mentally abused over an extended period by a husband or other dominant individual.”  The mental abuse by a dominant individual, i.e. the pastor, applies in this situation.  So why didn’t Berry leave the church –- learned helplessness.  The four conditions that made this work: 1) a Farm Crisis, 2) the deprivations, 3) only evangelical church within 25 miles, and 4) cattle ranchers in the Newell church. 

 

“Specifically, she (Walker) adapted Seligman’s theory of ‘learned helplessness’ to explain why so many battered women fail to leave their abusers.  Seligman’s theory sought to explain certain forms of psychological paralysis based on a study conducted with laboratory animals whereby the animal was repeatedly shocked.  The theory argued that the reason the animals failed to attempt to escape, even when escape was possible could be found in their distorted perceptions of one’s capacity to alter their position.  Seligman then drew comparisons between the behavior of the animals in the study and certain forms of human depression.  Drawing from Seligman’s work, Walker hypothesized that continual exposure to battering, like electric shocks, would, over time, diminish a woman’s motivation to respond (i.e. escape the situation)...More recently, the applicability of a theory (battered woman syndrome), based on research conducted with primarily middle class Caucasian women, [has been] to the situations of men and women from a diversity of cultural and socio-economic backgrounds.”  Quoted from the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse Topic Paper: Battered Woman Syndrome.

 

Berry was not a woman –- but a struggling parishioner in a Farm Crisis.  This, coupled with the deprivations, created a form of VULNERABILITY, somewhat similar to that which a female might experience in a bad marriage.  Not having another evangelical church for 25 miles, and cattle ranchers in the Newell church, created the BAIT.  The Pentecostals will target disillusioned people, exploiting their state of vulnerability.         

 

INT. DEPOSITION ROOM - DAY

 

Helmers Deposition.

 

              HELMERS

O.K.  You had some handwritten notes here, too, that you were referring to.  Do those have anything to do with this case?

 

Helmers looks at notes that Berry has in front of him.

 

EXT. CATTLE RANCH – DAY

 

Forty miles north of Newell, a RANCHER drives his pickup truck on the prairie checking his cows.  CAMERA scans expanse of 30,000 acres in western South Dakota, then focuses on pickup.

 

               BERRY (V.O.)

Yeah.  Basically the reason -– one reason I came to the church was the cattle ranchers were friendly to me when I attended.

 

INT. ASSEMBLY OF GOD – DAY

 

After spring service, parishioners mill around talking to each other, some walking out the door to leave in their cars.  Berry walks up to HOWARD HOTCHKISS, owner of this 30,000 acre cattle ranch.  Hotchkiss has his cream-colored COWBOY HAT on and is smartly dressed, but not in a suit.  He is in his late 50s, with silver hair.

 

BERRY’S POV – HOTCHKISS

He admires Hotchkiss’ hat.

 

              BERRY (O.S.)

         (interested)

Hey, Howard, what have you been up to?

 

REVERSE POV

 

              HOTCHKISS (O.S.)

         (chuckling)

As little as possible.

 

This is what interested Berry in the church.  The goal in life, then (in his mid-20s), was to be a cattle rancher.  Moving from Denver, Colorado to Newell in 1979, and to be able to meet cattle ranchers in this small town South Dakota church who owned 30,000 acres, 10,000 acres, 8,000 acres fascinated him.  In Denver 3,000 acres was considered a big spread. 

 

EXT. STREET NEAR COLLEGE - DAY

 

Berry narration.

 

              BERRY

Coming down to the church, of course, you’re kind of down because it’s a depressed economic time and etc.  Kicking someone when they’re down, as a minister, is not appropriate.

 

Conklin was a roller coaster.  The abuse did not occur weekly -– the minister was somewhat normal with binges of BIZARRE BEHAVIOR, perhaps once every two or three months.  He was no fool –- he knew if he indulged too often, he might get caught.  In spite of the cattle ranchers, Berry’s attendance at this church in 1982 was sporadic.  He still attended maybe once every other month. 

 

INT. ASSEMBLY OF GOD – DAY

 

Berry stands around with a small group of YOUNGER parishioners, in their early to mid-20s, after the Sunday morning service.  They talk among themselves and IGNORE him.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

The congregation didn’t seem to have any problem with it. 

 

EXT. ASSEMBLY OF GOD – DAY

 

They leave to get in their CARS.  Berry walks out church door, and begins to WALK on foot back to farm.     

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

The church had all sorts of problems while Conklin was there...  

 

INT. ASSEMBLY OF GOD – DAY

 

CAMERA is in lobby of church.  Conklin heard speaking from the office.

 

SUPER: Fall 1982

 

                        BERRY (V.O.)

          ...two divorces...

 

              CONKLIN (O.S.)

There’s another pastor in this town who is a divorcee.

 

SCREEN TEXT: “Written material concerning a divorce in the church.”

 

INSERT – LETTER

 

LETTER from Conklin dated December 13, 1993.  ANGLE ON date, salutation, quote, and signature.

 

                             CONKLIN (V.O.)

There was a young lady who had asked if she could live in our home until her wedding, since her family was moving away from town.

 

SCREEN TEXT: “The wife, only, moved out of town as a divorcee.  Conklin gave out mis-information.”

 

INT. ASSEMBLY OF GOD – DAY

 

CAMERA in lobby again.  Conklin whines from the office.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

...a foreclosure.

 

              CONKLIN (O.S.)

I don’t care about their business.

 

Perhaps Berry made the mistake of meddling in church affairs.

 

EXT. CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH - DAY

 

PARISHIONERS leave the church, a building built in the ‘40s, laughing, talking, looking at BALLOONS they have been given.  CAMERA makes it clear that church is located one block from Assembly of God. 

 

SUPER: Easter Sunday 1983

 

EXT. ASSEMBLY OF GOD – DAY  

 

Parishioners leave church looking like they have been to a FUNERAL. 

 

EXT. STREET NEAR COLLEGE – DAY

 

Berry narration.

 

              BERRY

         (matter-of-factly)

And this all led to this so-called dismissal proceeding for my calling former members of the church May 1, 1983.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

 

INT. DEPOSITION ROOM - DAY

 

Helmers Deposition.

 

              HELMERS

         (interested)

Let’s talk, then, about that ceremony.  It was May l of 1983, correct?

 

              BERRY

Correct.

 

              HELMERS

How did you hear or receive word that you were being asked to attend?

 

INT. FARMHOUSE – DAY

 

Berry talks to Conklin on wall telephone, mute to audience.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

Conklin had called me on the phone after the services May 1, 1983 at my house and had asked me to come down to the church.  This was approximately 2:00 P.M.

 

INT. DEPOSITION ROOM – DAY

 

Helmers Deposition.

 

              HELMERS

         (fascinated)

And you agreed to come down?

 

              BERRY

Right.

 

              HELMERS

Did he say why he was asking you there?

 

              BERRY

No, he didn’t.

 

EXT. ASSEMBLY OF GOD - DAY

 

Berry arrives at church in ’64 Galaxie.  It is a cold, RAINY, miserable afternoon.  Berry gets out of the car and walks into the church.

 

SUPER: Newell Assembly of God - May 1, 1983

 

              HELMERS (V.O.)

And so you arrived to this meeting, correct?

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

Correct.

 

INT. DEPOSITION ROOM – DAY

 

Helmers Deposition.

 

              HELMERS

And were other people present?

 

              BERRY

Yes, there were.

 

              HELMERS

Approximately how many?

 

EXT. ASSEMBLY OF GOD – DAY

 

The excommunication CEREMONY.  Berry walks through church and into SUNDAY SCHOOL ROOM.  Fifteen to twenty parishioners sit in rows, and three parishioners to the left, of a CHAIR placed in the midst of the room.  Conklin stands to the BACK of chair.  CAMERA scans the FACES.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

Fifteen.

 

              HELMERS (V.O.)

Male and female?

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

Correct.

 

              HELMERS (V.O.)

Alright.  And Conklin was there?

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

That’s right.

 

              HELMERS (V.O.)

And these individuals were all members of the church?

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

Yes.

 

              HELMERS (V.O.)

Were they leaders of the church in some respect?  Did they hold some office?

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

Some were, some weren’t.

 

              HELMERS (V.O.)

And where did this meeting take place?

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

In a Sunday School room.

 

              HELMERS (V.O.)

And tell me what first happened when you got there.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

When I first got there Conklin said...

 

MEGADEATH song in background: “Now that you can see the darker side of me...”

 

                        CONKLIN

         (slithering)

I’ve had enough of this.

 

INT. DEPOSITION ROOM – DAY

 

Helmers Deposition.

 

              HELMERS

What was he referring to, do you know?

 

              BERRY

I had been asking about other people leaving the church for quite some time because there were quite a few people that had left the church and were having problems.

 

SCREEN TEXT: “Former members of church on phone - spring 1983”

 

INT. FARMHOUSE - DAY

 

Berry calls SPENCER HALL on wall telephone.

 

SUPER: Spencer Hall, New Mexico

 

              BERRY

         (into phone)

Mr. Hall, how have you been?

 

              HALL (V.O.)

Fine, fine.  We bought a nice ranch down here in New Mexico.

 

              BERRY

         (into phone)

Kind of decided it was time to get out of South Dakota, huh?

 

                   HALL (V.O.)

Yeah...

 

INT. FARMHOUSE - DAY

 

Berry calls RALEIGH MILLS.

 

SUPER: Raleigh Mills, Wyoming

 

              BERRY

         (into phone)

Raleigh, how have you been getting along?

 

              MILLS (V.O.)

         (somewhat negative)

Alright, I guess.  I drive around all day checking gas wells.  We live in a trailer. 

 

              BERRY

         (into phone)

So, having a rough time then?

 

              MILLS (V.O.)

Somewhat...

 

INT. FARMHOUSE - DAY

 

Berry calls RON FEICKERT.

 

SUPER: Ron Feickert, California

 

              BERRY

         (into phone)

Mr. Feickert, how are you?

 

              FEICKERT (V.O.)

         (television blaring                     

          in the background)

Alright.

 

              BERRY

         (into phone)

Say, what happened with your dairy?

 

              FEICKERT (V.O.)

         (defensive)

You’re prying, you always pry...

 

INT. FARMHOUSE - DAY

 

Berry calls ALICE SCHMELE.  

 

SUPER: Alice Schmele, Minnesota

 

              BERRY

         (into phone)

Alice, how have you been doing?

 

              SCHMELE (V.O.)

I’m fine, thankyou.  How are you?

 

              BERRY

         (into phone)

Fine. How is Minnesota?

 

              SCHMELE (V.O.)

Wonderful.

 

              BERRY

         (into phone)

Ever think about coming back to Newell?

 

              SCHMELE (V.O.)

         (exuberant)

If the Lord leads me...

 

The former members of the church said nothing negative, but Conklin was worried.

 

INT. DEPOSITION ROOM – DAY

 

Helmers Deposition.

 

              HELMERS

Alright.  Anything else, then?  So Conklin says, I’ve had enough of this, right?

 

INT. ASSEMBLY OF GOD – DAY

 

Excommunication ceremony. 

 

              CONKLIN

         (matter-of-factly)

Would you please sit in the chair.

 

As Berry sat in the chair, he had a vague feeling of fear and apprehension.  He was about as much “on the ball” as was the United States on Sunday, December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor.  Like the Navy, Berry had had WARNING SIGNS, but chose to ignore them, being wrapped up in his little farm and involved with the community.  Did the spell casting put Berry to SLEEP mentally?  This can be argued back and forth for centuries.

 

INT. DEPOSITION ROOM - DAY

 

Helmers Deposition.

 

              HELMERS

Alright.  And you sat in this chair basically in front or surrounded by these other people?

 

              BERRY

Right.

 

              HELMERS

Was your back to them or were you facing them?

 

              BERRY

I was facing them, but my back was to Conklin.

 

              HELMERS

And Conklin was standing behind you?

 

              BERRY

Right.

 

              HELMERS

When he spoke to you did you turn to speak to him?

 

              BERRY

I don’t think so.  I don’t know.

 

              HELMERS

What happened then?

 

              BERRY

Okay.  He accused me of heresy and witchcraft.

 

INT. ASSEMBLY OF GOD – DAY

 

Excommunication ceremony.

 

              HELMERS (V.O.)

Okay.  Keep going.  What else happened in this meeting?

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

Then a member named John Williamson -–

 

JOHN WILLIAMSON stands up and speaks as procedure continues.

 

              WILLIAMSON

          (matter-of-factly)

We understand you’ve been making phone calls and writing letters.

 

                                              CUT TO:

 

EXT. RANCH - DAY

 

Simple, neat improvements on cattle/sheep ranch -– barn, sheds, small granary, nice ranch house built in the ‘60s, and etc.

 

SUPER: Ranch near Hereford, South Dakota - spring 1996

 

INT. RANCH HOUSE BASEMENT – DAY  

 

Berry is on phone in a laundry room of finished basement which also had a bedroom and bathroom in well-furnished, modern ranch home.  A small, flat cassette TAPE RECORDER connects to a device that permits the recording of a phone conversation.  Tape recorder is running.  He talks to Williamson in Sturgis, South Dakota.

 

SUPER: John Williamson on phone - spring 1996

 

              BERRY

         (into phone)

Do you remember I called you about a year ago and was asking you about the problems about the Newell Assembly?

 

              WILLIAMSON (V.O.)

Yeah.

 

              BERRY

         (into phone)

I had a couple of things I wanted to ask you.  There’s some, I don’t know how to put it, some satanic problems I’ve had...

 

              WILLIAMSON (V.O.)

Uh-huh.

 

              BERRY

         (into phone)

...down through the years due to what happened back then, and I don’t know if you recall, remember I kind of asked you, maybe some of the things that you recalled...Let me ask you something –- you believe that Satan exists, don’t you?

 

              WILLIAMSON (V.O.)

Um-hum.

 

              BERRY

         (into phone)

You believe he has power to harm?

 

              WILLIAMSON (V.O.)

Only if we give it to him...

 

              BERRY

         (into phone)

But what I was concerned about was when Conklin either called upon, loosed, delivered to Satan...I have had problems with satanic attacks...

 

INT. DEPOSITION ROOM – DAY

 

Helmers Deposition.

 

              HELMERS

         (curious)

Then what happened?

 

INT. ASSEMBLY OF GOD - DAY

 

Conklin, still standing behind Berry, states his position.

 

                        BERRY (V.O.)

          Conklin said...

 

              CONKLIN

         (authoritative)

He that criticizes me blasphemes God.

 

EXT. STREET NEAR COLLEGE - DAY

 

Berry narration.

 

              BERRY

Then he proceeded to go through his step-by-step procedure to, what was admitted to years later, “invoke spiritual forces”.  This was admitted to by the General Council Assembly of God in a legal document.

 

INT. ASSEMBLY OF GOD – DAY

 

Excommunication ceremony. 

 

CONKLIN’S POV – BERRY

Conklin speaks the WORD, looking at the back of Berry’s head.

 

              CONKLIN (O.S.)

         (snarling)

I loose Satan upon you.

 

MORBID ANGEL song “Evil Spells” in b.g. (first three lines only):  “Caught within my evil spell...Now it’s time to burn in hell...You were fooled, no return...”  The Pentecostals slowly break down the victim’s will to resist dark forces.  They deserve the lowest rungs of hell.

 

The pronouncing of an ancient satanic curse, by the congregation, the means to the end of the RAPE OF THE POOR.  A definition of “poor” is from a standpoint of the agricultural community.  120 acres in western South Dakota with meager improvements, which took Berry five years to complete, with no real livestock to speak of, would be regarded by agribusiness as being poor.  “Rape” in this context means to despoil, to strip of possessions.

 

The reason Berry has been somewhat silent over the years is because of a church policy of “be quiet, don’t rock the boat”.  Mimi Alford was JFK’s mistress back in ’62.  She waited half a century before telling her story in a memoir.  According to NEWSWEEK: “Today’s young women may wonder why it took Alford so long to assert herself.  And yet anyone who remembers the world before the women’s movement will recognize the toxic cultural assumptions that shaped the expectations of both men and women in such scenarios.”  She was trained to believe that women should accommodate whatsoever was demanded of them.  And in the church in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, parishioners were trained in the art of passive acceptance to the pastor’s authority –- come to the church and submit to the LORD’S ANOINTED. 

 

EXT. STREET NEAR COLLEGE – DAY

 

Berry narration.

                

              BERRY

         (nailing)

...then he accused me of being demon-possessed, then he cast Satan out. 

 

There may be another reason he loosed Satan –- revenge for something in the past.  It could have been a former congregation, who asked him to leave.  Or his preacher father neglecting him as a child, when the father led a church.

 

INT. DEPOSITION ROOM – DAY

 

Helmers Deposition.

 

              HELMERS

And then what happened?

 

              BERRY

And then he used the scripture, which is what the lawsuit is all about.

 

INT. ASSEMBLY OF GOD - DAY                   

 

Excommunication ceremony.  Conklin speaks, mute to audience.

 

              HELMERS (V.O.)

And what scripture is that?

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

First Corinthians 5.

 

              HELMERS (V.O.)

He read it over you?

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

Yeah, he read it over me.

 

                                            CUT TO:

 

INT. PENITENTARY - DAY

 

Berry sits at table in “pod” unit of the Jameson Unit with other INMATES.  He wears T-shirt, jeans, tennis shoes.  Other inmates wear the same.  He reads LETTER from Conklin dated October 20, 1993.  ANGLE ON letterhead, date, salutation, quote, and signature.

 

SUPER: South Dakota State Penitentiary - October 1993

 

DARK GOTHIC AND METAL song “The Dawn No More Rises” in b.g. (chorus only):  “Lightning strikes the realm of light...Angels burn in flames of fire...Storms from hell embrace the skies...As blackwinged hordes arrive...Infernal winds...Come forth from the ‘byss...Satan rides the winds of wrath...Across the blackened sky.”

 

                        CONKLIN (V.O.)

“When the Newell church dismissed you from membership and fellowship by a unanimous show-of-hands vote we prayed for you and prayed exactly according to I Corinthians 5:5 ‘We hand this man over to Satan...’ and actually quoted the verse.”

 

The act presaged ill fortune.  It would take Berry years to recover.

 

INT. ASSEMBLY OF GOD - DAY

 

Excommunication ceremony.  Conklin speaks.

 

              CONKLIN

         (self-righteous)

Not to even eat with such a one.

 

A parishioner concludes.

 

                        PARISHIONER

                   (condescending)

          We love you.

 

                                                 CUT TO:

 

EXT. RANCH - DAY

 

Same 1996 ranch as before.

 

INT. BASEMENT - DAY

 

Berry tapes conversation with DAVID NELSON in Mitchell, South Dakota.

 

SUPER: David Nelson (South Dakota District Council Assembly of God chairman) on phone - spring 1996

 

              BERRY

         (into phone)

Mr. Nelson, Jacob Berry, how are you doing this morning?

 

              NELSON (V.O.)

I’m fine, how are you.

 

              BERRY

         (into phone)

Great.  I had a question for you.  What does, to you, I Corinthians 5:5 mean -– deliver such a one to Satan?

 

              NELSON (V.O.)

Well, Paul, as I understand this, Jake, was talking about someone in the church who was guilty of fornication.  That’s not an easy verse to interpret.  Sounds like they were giving Satan approval to work in a man’s life.

 

              BERRY

         (into phone)

In the church today, when would this be used?

 

              NELSON (V.O.)

         (nicely)

That would be difficult to answer, Jake, it would depend on the circumstances within the church.

 

              BERRY

         (into phone)

See, that’s what Conklin had done, and that’s why I asked you how it’s justified with my situation.

 

              NELSON (V.O.)

         (trailing off)

Doesn’t really give much detail, it would be helpful if it did...

 

Nelson wasn’t telling the full truth.

 

INT. BASEMENT – DAY

 

Berry tapes conversation with PASTOR.

 

SUPER: Pentecostal pastor in Rapid City on phone - spring 1996

 

              BERRY

         (into phone)

Are you a pastor of a Pentecostal church there in Rapid?

 

              PASTOR (V.O.)

Yes I am.

 

              BERRY

         (into phone)

Alright.  Well my name is Jacob Berry and I live on a ranch up by Hereford, South Dakota.  I had a question for you...there’s a dogma that the Pentecostals use a lot of, or some of at least, dealing with I Corinthians 5:5.  Are you familiar with that?

 

              PASTOR (V.O.)

         (curious)

Ah, what does it say?

 

              BERRY

         (into phone)

It says, to deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh that the soul might be saved.

 

              PASTOR (V.O.)

Yeah I am...

 

                             BERRY

         (into phone)

What do you think would happen to someone this was done to, have any idea?

 

              PASTOR (V.O.)

         (pragmatic)

Well, I’ll tell you, I think it would be perhaps tantamount to what happened to Job when the Lord told Satan, you can remove the hedge from around him.  Of course He left him, and said you can’t take his life.  But I think it would be just submitting someone to some harsh trials.

 

The pastor knew harm could come, using this.

 

INT. DEPOSITION ROOM – DAY

 

Helmers Deposition.

 

              HELMERS

         (forcefully)

Would you agree that it is among the powers of the church, the local church, to determine and govern its own membership?  In other words, they can decide, they have the power to decide who will be a member and who won’t be a member.  Isn’t that part of the powers that the local church would have?

 

              BERRY

That is true, but let me read this to you.  This is out of the Interpreter’s Bible. “But since deliver to Satan for the destruction of the flesh can only be death, the emphasis lies on that conception.  Paul calls for the invoking of a curse to bring about the man’s death.”  Now, the Catholic Church used this same scripture when they were burning the Protestants at the stake and they identified it the same identical way.

 

              HELMERS

         (defensive)

I understand that you interpret this Bible scripture to have done something to you other than simply...

 

              BERRY

No, they interpret this Bible scripture, not me.

 

              HELMERS

I understand.

 

              BERRY

They do.

 

              HELMERS

We’re talking about two different things.  On the one hand we’re talking about dismissing you as a member of the church, and you agree that the local church has the power to do that?

 

              BERRY

That’s right.

 

              HELMERS

And then secondly is that you believe in addition to that, they were acting to loose Satan upon you and cause you harm, correct?

 

              BERRY

Deliver to Satan.  The loosing of Satan goes back to the first lawsuit.  That’s been dropped.  Deliver to Satan is a church doctrine.  There’s a difference. 

 

              HELMERS

Okay.  So in this case you’re saying they delivered you to Satan and that caused you some harm, correct?

 

              BERRY

Right.

 

EXT. STREET NEAR COLLEGE – DAY

 

Berry narration.

 

              BERRY

At the time, I didn’t take this seriously, I was just glad to be out of the church, I took it kind of as a big joke.

 

INT. ASSEMBLY OF GOD - DAY

 

CHURCH PEWS.  Back two fifths of pews are roped off.  Back fifth of pews are marked with a sign, “ONLY FOR PARENTS WITH SMALL CHILDREN”.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

Two fifths of the church were roped and marked off at the time -– one fifth was only for parents with small children, and the other fifth, I believe, you couldn’t sit there.

 

People left.

 

EXT. STREET NEAR COLLEGE - DAY

 

Berry narration.

 

              BERRY

This procedure, whatever it wishes to be called, May l, l983, caused a “satanic attack” to occur.  What this caused, in my case, were problems over a ten-year period of time.  On this farm, there was land payment due May 1st of l984.  Now, May l is one of the four satanic feast days...

 

INSERT - DEMON 

 

A little DEMON DANCES for a MOMENT.  This demon is midget-sized.  It has horns out of a bald head, eyes glowing like hot coals, scales on the body, claws for fingers, bat wings, pointed ears, a sinister smile on its face, fangs for teeth, ashen gray in color.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

...Beltane.  The farm was subsequently foreclosed on, in January of ’85. 

 

INT. DEPOSITION ROOM - DAY

 

Helmers Deposition.

 

              HELMERS

         (fascinated)

So now let’s talk about the consequences that you believe began to occur after this ceremony was held in which you were delivered over to Satan.

 

              BERRY

O.K.

 

              HELMERS

I’ve got a list of some of them because I’ve had some of these documents.

 

Helmers glances at a stack of documents in front of him.  A meaningful discussion of the satanic in the church follows.

 

              HELMERS (cont’d)

Your farm was foreclosed on?

 

              BERRY

Right.

 

              HELMERS

Who held the mortgage on your farm?  Who did you owe money to?

 

              BERRY

Martin Hubbard.  May I explain the foreclosure?

 

              HELMERS

I’m not sure we need to go into many of the details. 

 

              BERRY

I paid the land payment, I paid the taxes.  I was foreclosed on for not paying the irrigation water bill, which was a technicality of the contract.

 

              HELMERS

         (impatient)

I understand that you disagreed -- that it may have been unjustified, but you were foreclosed upon, correct?

 

              BERRY

The date the land payment was due was May l, l984.  This is when this foreclosure came on.  I was late paying it.  May l is a satanic feast day.  Basically what I’m saying is Satan, which is what we’re dealing with in this lawsuit, was leaving his footprint or, if you wish, his calling card, okay, on that foreclosure...

 

              HELMERS

         (co-operative)

One of things that you believe, you’ve done some research that tells you that among those that practice Satan worship, May l is a key date on the calendar.  It’s a satanic feast day.  And a number of these adverse events occurred to you either on that date or very close to it, correct?

 

              BERRY

                                Correct.

 

Helmers agreed that May 1 is a satanic feast day for those who practice Satan worship.

 

EXT. STREET NEAR COLLEGE – DAY

 

Berry narration.

 

              BERRY

         (little tense)

There was a barn I put up, and some sheds, loading chutes, corrals, and there were three fires down there that were a little strange.

 

EXT. FARM – DAY

 

Berry drives a 1957 one-and-a-half ton truck, box with a hoist, full of railroad ties to area of new lot (a big corral) being built, west of corrals.  Some posts are in the ground.  After driving to west and past large loading chute, truck stops and Berry gets out.  As he looks back toward loading chute, he notices small PRAIRIE FIRE near loading chute.  He runs and puts it out with his foot.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

One was a prairie fire by the loading chute, around October 10th-October 15th of 1984.  I put that out myself. 

 

EXT. FARM – DAY

 

A two year old HAYSTACK immediately south of corrals smolders, then bursts into FLAMES.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

One was a haystack fire -– there was a haystack in the corrals, this is in October, this is toward the end of October –- this is October 20th, and somehow this haystack, this was old hay, but at that time, in South Dakota, it’s not very warm, caught on fire.

 

INT. FARMHOUSE – DAY

 

Berry sits at kitchen table, drinking a cup of coffee, taking a break.  As he looks out window, he notices the haystack on fire and calls the Fire Department from wall phone.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

Spontaneous combustion -– how so.  I did not see any tracks of any human beings, I did not do it myself.  That was put out by the fire department. 

 

EXT. FARM – DAY

 

Fire truck douses flames of haystack.  Berry talks to one of the FIREMEN.

 

              BERRY

Isn’t this a note from hell. 

 

EXT. FARM – DAY

 

While cutting wood with chainsaw, Berry notices a last, small prairie fire in front of barn. 

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

The third fire, October 28th, was by the barn itself, right in front of the barn.  They were systematic fires.  Again, there were no tracks, I did not see anyone.

 

He runs to fire and stomps it out with his foot.  The three fires were possibly extraordinary supernatural disturbance -- arson by witchcraft.  Kind of a SCORCHED EARTH POLICY.   

 

INT. DEPOSITION ROOM – DAY

 

Helmers Deposition.

 

              HELMERS

         (querying)

And so then sometime in 1984 Morris Conklin left Newell, is that right?

 

              BERRY

I believe it was at the end of 1983, Possibly December of ’83.

 

              HELMERS

Where did he go?

 

              BERRY

North Dakota.  I keep trying to think of the town -- Stanley, North Dakota.

 

              HELMERS

Alright.  And then --

 

              BERRY

Which he had problems with as well.  He left in six months.

 

EXT STREET NEAR COLLEGE – DAY

 

Berry narration.

 

              BERRY

...and the Reverend Wayne Sharp had

replaced him.

 

EXT. SHARP’S HOUSE – DAY

 

Small, older home north of Stanley on the outskirts of town.  A little snow on the ground.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

January 1985, I visited with him concerning the Reverend Morris Conklin.

 

INT. SHARP’S HOUSE – DAY

 

In the minister’s house, WAYNE SHARP, a fairly muscular man in his early to mid-30s, his WIFE, a good looking, mid-sized woman in her early 30s, and Berry sit in minister’s living room.

 

SHARP’S POV – BERRY

He looks sharply at Berry.

 

              SHARP (O.S.)

         (protective)

Touch not the Lord’s anointed.

 

LATER IN CONVERSATION

 

              WIFE

         (belligerent)

You’d better not speak a word against Morris.

 

LATER IN CONVERSATION

 

              SHARP

         (light and airy)

Children will be children, must have been something in your childhood.

 

EXT. STREET NEAR COLLEGE – DAY

 

Berry narration.

 

              BERRY

May 1 of 1985...

 

EXT. FARM – DAY

 

A large Holstein milk cow eats hay in corral outside of small ranch-red barn.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

...I owned a milk cow, one milk cow...

 

INSERT - RECEIPT

 

This is a COPY of a milk cow medicine receipt.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

...medicine was bought for this cow, it was sick, the date on the receipt...

 

INSERT - DEMON

 

A little demon dances for a moment.

 

              BERRY (V.O. cont’d)

...again was May l, l985 -– Beltane, satanic feast day.

 

EXT. FARM – DAY

 

Spring 1984 -- Berry, with a GLASSY, DEMENTED LOOK in his eyes and a plastic Coke bottle filled with KEROSENE in his hand, walks toward an 8’ by 12’ bunkhouse with a wood cook stove in it, used as a barbeque.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

Here is the more scarier part of this deal.  When this type of thing is used, it can cause you to be deceived, they talk about Satan as being an angel of light spirit.

 

VOICE speaks to Berry’s mind, not audible.

 

              VOICE

         (commanding)

Burn it down.

 

At front door of bunkhouse, Berry unscrews cap off Coke bottle, DOUSES entrance, lights wooden match, TOSSES the match onto the kerosene and calmly walks away as bunkhouse slowly begins to BURN.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

I tried to save the farm from foreclosure which resulted in burning down an 8’ by 12’ shed...

 

In witchcraft, there is satanic control.  It is like a distant cousin of mind control –- causing an individual to self-destruct. 

 

INT. COURTHOUSE – DAY

 

A courtroom in Belle Fourche, South Dakota.  Judge ROBERT TSCHETTER, a stout man, JOHN FITZGERALD -- D.A., well built, KEN PUGH -– Public Defender, a pudgy man who had not won one case against the D.A., and was not going to make an exception in this case, Berry -- Defendant, JURY, and COURT REPORTER are present.  Fitzgerald argues his case before the jury.

 

SUPER: Butte County Courthouse - March 1986

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

...which resulted in defrauding an insurance company...

 

              FITZGERALD

It was a vicious plot to pay his land payment and taxes.  

 

                                                CUT TO:

 

EXT. PRISON – DAY

 

The building of the main prison in Sioux Falls, built perhaps in the 1920s, ‘30s, or ‘40s.

 

SUPER: South Dakota State Penitentiary - April 1986

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

...which resulted in a free trip to the Pen.

 

INT. PRISON – DAY

 

Berry checks in at front desk.  Butte County SHERIFF, a small, older man with graying hair, takes off Berry’s handcuffs.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

Now, the day I was sent down to the Pen. was April 30th, 1986, which was a satanic feast day...

 

INSERT - DEMON

 

A little demon dances for a moment.

 

              BERRY (V.O. cont’d)

...Beltane.

 

INT. DEPOSITION ROOM – DAY

 

Helmers Deposition.

 

              HELMERS

What was the charge that was made against you formally?

 

              BERRY

Defrauding an insurance company.

 

              HELMERS

And you were sentenced to five years in the State Penitentiary.

 

              BERRY

Five years with three suspended.

 

              HELMERS

So you served about 20 months.

 

              BERRY

Exactly.

 

              HELMERS

And you entered the Pen on April 30, 1986.  You consider that date to be significant because it was the day before this satanic feast day, right?

 

              BERRY

No.  In this witchcraft calendar, these satanic feast days -– this goes back to the Celts, the pagans, etc., pre-Christian Europe, and these satanic feast days began at sunset and ended at sunset; therefore, this particular satanic feast day began at sunset April 30 and ended at sunset May  1.                                                                

 

Conklin was getting his revenge.

 

INT. PRISON - DAY

 

SUPER: Fall 1986. 

 

CELLS of the Penitentiary.  INMATE, small man with long, straight hair, parted in the middle and a substantial beard, talks through cell bars with Berry who is next door. 

 

              INMATE

If these people loosed Satan on you, then...

 

Inmate, holding a Bible in his hand, reads three passages out of Revelation, that he has underlined, that speak of the GREAT WHORE.  ANGLE ON the passages.

 

                        INMATE (V.O.)

“And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither: I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters.” 

 

SUPER: Revelation 17:1

 

              INMATE (V.O. con’t)

“And I heard another voice from heaven saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.  For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.”

 

SUPER: Revelation 18:4-5

 

              INMATE (V.O. cont’d)

“And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.”

 

SUPER: Revelation 18:23

 

This refers, at least in part, to the use of satanic power within the church.

 

EXT. STREET NEAR COLLEGE – DAY

 

Berry narration.

 

              BERRY

Also...

 

EXT. PRISON FARM – DAY

 

FARM located ten miles west of Sioux Falls, South Dakota which contained a milk barn with cows, various sheds for large pig operation, including sows, feeders, basketball court, baseball diamond, and trustee building.  CAMERA does a tour of the farm.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

...when I was down at Sioux Falls, where their prison farm is located...

 

INT. DINING ROOM – NIGHT

 

Berry sits at table, in blue jeans and T-shirt, in dining room at trustee unit.  PASTOR in dress shirt and dress pants sits at table talking.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

...I was told by two Pentecostal leaders in 1987...

 

              PASTOR

         (sarcastic)

You should have got before you got hurt.

 

INT. DINING ROOM – NIGHT

 

Berry sits at same table, different night.  Different PASTOR in dress shirt and dress pants sits at table talking.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

...and...

  

              PASTOR

         (belligerent)

You’d better forgive, because you have to live with it.

 

The witch trial is having its effect.

 

INT. TRUSTEE BEDROOM – NIGHT

 

Berry sits cross-legged on one of two beds, on prison farm, as JOE DILGER, a gray witch who sits cross-legged on the other bed, narrates knowledge of witchcraft onto cassette tape.  On desk is DOLL with PINS stuck in it.  ANGLE ON the doll.  A 1987 version of cassette deck with radio is used, with a “mike”.  Berry and Dilger dress in T-shirt and jeans.  Dilger is a stocky, well-built man in his mid-30s, with a Chicago accent.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

...when I began to talk to them about this satanic attack, and this satanic power, and this type of thing.  This stuff is powerful, it will mess you up.

 

              DILGER

         (lecturing)

April 30th of the year is the eve of May Day, and in the spirit world it is known as Beltane...if you wanted to get even with your enemies, that was the time to do it.  Beltane, today, as we know it, is not forgotten.  We still have May Day parades; there are still people that practice witchcraft, other forms of magic, on other people around the world.  Modern day witches, or modern day sorcerers, they use other methods: they call to Satan...

 

LATER IN DILGER’S LECTURE

 

              DILGER (con’t)

...Now it’s hard to believe in this 1987 that these things happen.  I know I’ve seen proof, I’ve seen it.  I’ve seen spells put on people and mysterious fires start.  Nobody started them, they just happened.  There are spells put on people, the whole farm goes to hell.  May Day is the day you can ask for this.

 

EXT. PRISON FARM – DAY

 

Berry, with duffle bag and various boxes, walks out of trustee building to waiting van.  Prison DRIVER stands at van.  Various TRUSTEES watch.

 

EXT. SIOUX FALLS – DAY

 

Berry climbs aboard a Greyhound bus, after having put belongings in cargo area of bus.

 

SUPER: Sioux Falls, South Dakota – December 1987

 

INT. DEPOSITION ROOM – DAY

 

Helmers Deposition.

 

              HELMERS

         (hardball)

Just so we’re clear, though, you don’t contend that Morris Conklin or anyone from the General Council of the Assembly of God set any fire on your property?

 

              BERRY

         (defensive)

No, of course not.

 

              HELMERS

         (softer)

They didn’t have anything to do with the foreclosure on your farm personally?

 

              BERRY

No, not personally -- they believe that once they do this, you can have a loss of property, you can have health problems, marital problems, financial problems, so when they do this, it is a belief among these people that they will have these problems.  So when he delivered me to Satan, they believe that once they had done this, I was going to have all sorts of problems and this is simply the form that these problems took.  Because when these things happen on satanic feast days, it was like Satan was leaving his calling card every time saying I did this, I did that.

 

              HELMERS

         (real hardball)

So did anybody tell you, did Morris Conklin tell you that evil things such as this were going to occur to you because of that ceremony?  Did he tell you that evil things were going to happen to you because of that?

 

              BERRY

         (disgusted)

Not at the time, but in 1996 I found out other things.  This is when I discovered this.

 

              HELMERS

Let’s go back, then.  But you agree, Morris Conklin and nobody from the South Dakota District level, no one from the General Council personally or physically had anything to do with the fires or the foreclosure or your insurance claim or the arrest or the cow loss, correct?  They weren’t personally and physically there causing that to happen or influencing it in any way.

 

                                                 CUT TO:

 

EXT. SECOND HAND STORE – NIGHT

 

ENNING has one school, seven or eight houses, and one second hand store with a CONFEDERATE FLAG flying over it.  LAURA NEUBERT, a forty-one year-old medium built brunette, STEVE FOUDRAY, thirty-four years old, and SCOTT GLASSGOW, thirty-three years old, drive from Eagle Butte to Rapid City in a van.  Neubert drives, Foudray in the passenger seat, Glassgow in the back seat.  They STOP, just after midnight, for SODAS from a pop machine at the store.  The van’s radio plays. 

 

SUPER: Enning, South Dakota - August 24, 1995

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

It’s just like when a man fires a gun, he does not do the damage.  In the case of Tifft, it’s the bullet that did the damage.  The man didn’t do anything.

 

Foudray gets out to buy the sodas.  The van’s dome light is on.

 

                        FOUDRAY

Laura, you’ll have to have a Coke, they’re out of Pepsi.

 

              NEUBERT

O.K.

 

Foudray sees RUBE TIFFT, thirty-seven years old, standing in the BEAM of Neubert’s headlights, twenty or thirty yards away from the van.  He holds a “mini 14”, a smaller version of the military M-14 RIFLE.

 

              FOUDRAY

         (yelling)

Get out of here, Laura.

 

Foudray jumps back in the front seat.  Neubert starts to back up and sees Tifft pointing the rifle at her HEAD.  As Neubert backs onto the highway, Tifft FIRES.  The BULLET smashes through the windshield and across the left side of Neubert’s FACE, from her nose toward her ear. 

 

              NEUBERT

         (screaming)

Oh my God, I’m shot...I’m shot.

 

Blood pumps down the back of Neubert’s THROAT.  She presses a sweater against her face and somehow begins to steer the van down the highway.  Tifft continues to fire and SHOOTS OUT both front tires.

 

INT. DEPOSITION ROOM – DAY

 

Helmers Deposition.

 

              BERRY

         (digusted)

It’s the same type of situation here.  They knew full well the damage that could be done using this doctrine and they did and the damage was done.  In a sense they’re not involved and in a sense they are involved.

 

EXT. STREET NEAR COLLEGE – DAY

 

Berry narration.

 

              BERRY

November of ’90, I called the North Dakota District Council Chairman over the phone...

 

                                                  CUT TO:

 

EXT. PHONE BOOTH - DAY

 

Berry walks into phone booth, near R.C. Western Meats (a locker plant), dials number, then listens to MARCUS BAKKE talking on other end.

 

SUPER: Rapid City, South Dakota – 1990

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

...and I believe Morris Conklin was in North Dakota, and began to speak to him about some of the harassment, the abuse, and the satanic, and he didn’t have a problem with it...

 

               BAKKE (V.O.)

         (covering)

We shouldn’t get upset over trivial matters.

 

Berry’s trust in the church begins slowly to die.

 

INT. KILL FLOOR - DAY

 

This is the R.C. Western Meats KILL FLOOR on a typical morning, capable of handling approximately fifteen head of beef per day.  The header, LARRY STRICKLAND, a man weighing 170 lbs with a weight lifter build -- approximately thirty years old, takes the cattle out of the chute, after punching them in the head with a “head-puncher”.  He proceeds to cut off the head and sets the animal up for the skinner, VICTOR HOLZER, approximately thirty years old, 150 lbs., with black hair and a black moustache.  He, with the help of the State Meat Inspector, DON VESPER, approximately sixty years old, graying hair, 170 lbs, skins out the carcass.  As it is raised, so its butt is up in the air, the splitter, Berry, splits, washes, and weighs the beef, pushing it into the cooler.  Then the cycle repeats again.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

I got a job at Western Meats, down in Rapid City, South Dakota.  It was a locker plant, and I wound up being a splitter on the kill floor.  I was pretty good at my job, I could split buffalo better than my supervisor.  While I worked here...

 

EXT. TRAILER COURT – DAY

 

On west end of trailer court is trailer house with an attached room  -– about three miles west of Box Elder, South Dakota.  CAMERA scans trailer court, then focuses on end trailer.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

...I began to investigate mostly from a Christian perspective the occult because I suspected that Conklin was involved in the occult and had used a form of it on me.

 

INT. TRAILER HOUSE – DAY

 

Several scenes in rapid succession with Berry sitting cross-legged on a couch in living room, with Handel’s Messiah playing in background.  He reads various books on the OCCULT.  These scenes were on various weekends.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

I didn’t quite know what it was, or understand it, but I began to really look into it.  Again, not the how-to-use-it, but basically from a Christian perspective -- spiritual warfare and this type of thing.

 

The following scenes serve to educate the audience, so they can make an intelligent analysis on the issue of maleficia.  ANGLE over Berry’s shoulder ON various passages of books.

    

SUPER: Witchcraft at Salem, by Chadwick Hansen

 

              BERRY

         (reads to himself)

“If anything, the English law was the more comprehensive.  The first section read...

 

EXT. 17TH CENTURY EUROPE – DAY

 

Shadowy scene of three PEOPLE burning on the gallows, their lifeless bodies swaying in the wind.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

...‘One that shall use, practice, or exercise any invocation or conjuration of any evil or wicked spirit...whereby any person shall be killed, destroyed, wasted, consumed, pined, or lamed in his or her body, or any part thereof: such offenders duly and lawfully convicted and attainted, shall suffer death.’”

 

VENOM song “Don’t Burn the Witch” in b.g. (chorus only): “Don’t burn the witch...The ways of hell aren’t wrong...Don’t burn the witch...Let them brew their song.”

 

INT. TRAILER HOUSE - DAY

 

Same trailer scene, different weekend and book.

 

SUPER: Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology, by James Russell

 

         BERRY              

              (reads to himself)

“Maleficia.  Misfortunes, injuries, and calamities suffered by persons, animals, or property, for which no immediate explanation could be found, were called maleficia...According to Nider, [they] could work malefice [by] 1) inspiring hatred, 2) depriving of reason, 3) injuring property or animals...”

 

Maleficia: the operation of spiritual forces invoked, the actions of Satan as applied...to your life.

 

INT. TRAILER HOUSE – DAY

 

Different weekend.

 

SUPER: Witches, by Colin Wilson

 

                        BERRY

                   (reads to himself)

“In a chapter called “The Psi Underworld” in The Indefinite Boundary, Guy Playfair, tells a story of a psychology graduate named Marcia who picked up a small plaster statue of the sea god Yemanja on the beach at Sao Paolo and, against the advice of a friend, took it home.  A run of appalling bad luck began as soon as she had placed it on her mantelshelf: first, food poisoning, then tuberculosis...” 

 

INT. SMALL HOUSE – EVENING

 

A GIRL cooks something in a pressure cooker, which suddenly EXPLODES shooting burning hot gravy and pot roast on her and the walls.  

 

SUPER: San Paulo, Brazil

 

                        BERRY (V.O.)

“...then burns from an exploding pressure cooker...”

 

              GIRL

         (screaming)

Oh my God.

 

She runs into the bathroom, crying.

 

INT. HOUSE – EVENING

 

Girl cooks a roast in her OVEN, different night.  Suddenly, as she is in the living room watching a black and white TV, the oven explodes.  The roast is everywhere in the kitchen.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

“...then an exploding oven.”

 

EXT. STREET IN SAN PAULO - DAY

 

Girl stands in the middle of the block.  She begins to run across the street in front of the cars, but turns back as cars honk.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

“She began to experience suicidal urges, having to struggle to prevent herself from flinging herself in front of cars...”

 

INT. TRAILER HOUSE – DAY

 

Same trailer scene.

 

              BERRY

         (reads to himself)

“...or out of a window.  Finally, she decided to visit the local Umbanda center.  She took along the statue.  The director of the center told her that her sufferings were ‘revenge’ for the unlawful removal of the statue, and advised her to take it back to the place where she had found it.  When she did this, her life quickly returned to normal.  It was only after the Umbanda director warned her about the statue that she noted something odd...”

 

INT. HOUSE – DAY

 

Girl looks at the small plaster statue as she places it back on the beach where she found it.  She notices PATCHES of paint remaining on the statue.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

“...the paint was worn off the face and arms of the statue: patches remained in exactly the same places she had suffered burns; even the ‘spot’ on her lung corresponded to a remaining patch of paint.”

           

INT. TRAILER HOUSE – DAY

 

Different weekend.

 

SUPER: Satanism, by Bob Larson

 

              BERRY

         (reads to himself)

“October 31 is one of four major witches’ sabbats, the four ‘cross-quarter’ days of the Celtic calendar.  The first, February 2, commonly known as Ground-Hog Day, honored Brigit.  The second, a May holiday called Beltane, was witchcraft’s time to plant.  The third, an August harvest festival in honor of the sun god, commemorated Lugh.  The last, Samhain, marked the coming of winter.”

 

INT. TRAILER HOUSE – DAY

 

Different weekend.

 

SUPER: Witches, by Colin Wilson 

 

                        BERRY

                   (reads to himself)

“On the evening of July 29, 1967...”

 

INT. APARTMENT - NIGHT

 

Somewhere in San Francisco, a middle-aged MAN suddenly collapses on the floor of his apartment.  His WIFE and SON bend over him.  JAYNE MANSFIELD’S voice comes out of his mouth.

 

SUPER: San Francisco, July 29, 1967

 

              MAN

         (screaming)

I don’t want to die.

 

EXT. A STREET – NIGHT

 

A mid-60s car drives on a San Francisco street.  From under a narrow bridge a delivery truck HURTLES.  SAM BRODY, the man driving the car, tries furiously to work the brakes but unfortunately the PEDDLE goes all the way to the floor. 

 

                        BRODY

                   (yelling)

          What the fuck.

 

                        MANSFIELD

                   (screaming)

          Help me.

 

The truck crashes into the car.  Mansfield is DECAPITATED.

 

INT. TRAILER HOUSE – DAY

 

Same trailer scene.

 

              BERRY

         (reads to himself)

“...At the time of her death, Jayne Mansfield was being groomed by the studio as a successor to Marilyn Monroe, and her lawyer, Sam Brody, had the utmost objection to her involvement in LaVey’s satanic cult, which might cause embarrassment to the publicity department.  When he threatened to start a newspaper campaign, LaVey retaliated by pronouncing a solemn ritual curse.  He told Brody that he would be dead within a year, and warned Jayne Mansfield not to share Brody’s car.” 

 

INT. TRAILER HOUSE – DAY

 

Different weekend.

 

SUPER: Man, Myth, and Magic, compiled 

 

                        BERRY

                   (reads to himself)

“Samhain marked the beginning of winter.  Because the Celtic day started at sunset, and ran to the following sunset, the festival began on the eve on 1 November.  There were four main festivals in the Celtic year.  Imbolc (1 February) marked the coming of ewes into milk.  Beltane (1 May) was a fire festival.  Lugnasad (1 August) was sacred to the god Lugus.”

 

INT. TRAILER HOUSE – DAY

 

Different weekend.

 

SUPER: Witches, by Colin Wilson 

 

                        BERRY

                   (reads to himself)

“Neals’ Ju-ju in My Life describes his own gradual conversion to belief in the malevolent power of witchdoctors -– in this case, through unpleasant personal experience.  After causing the arrest of a man who had been extorting bribes from farmers, Neal was told that he had now become the target for ju-ju.”  

 

EXT. CITY STREET – DAY

 

A mid-‘70s British CAR.  A middle-aged British man, NEAL, looks on the seat of the car and sees a strange black powder.  His CHAUFFEUR, a middle-aged Black man, carefully brushes off the powder.  ANGLE ON chauffeur’s fly as he begins to unzip it, then on chauffeur’s PISS as it hits seat of car.

 

SUPER: Somewhere in Africa 

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

“On three occasions he found a black powder scattered on the seat of his car, which his chauffeur carefully brushed off, urinating on it to remove the ‘spell’.”

 

INT. AFRICAN HOUSE - DAY

 

Neal lies DELIRIOUS in a bed.  Sweat pours off him.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

“Then Neal became seriously ill although the European doctors could not diagnose the illness.”

 

INT. HOUSE – DAY

 

Neal still delirious in bed.  A BLACK MAN performs certain rituals over the sick man.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

“A black subordinate offered to call in his uncle, an expert on ju-ju attacks.  The uncle performed certain rituals, then described in detail the man who was behind the attacks -– a man he had never seen.”  

 

INT. TRAILER HOUSE – DAY

 

Different weekend.

 

SUPER: Celtic Magic, by D.J. Connelly

 

              BERRY

         (reads to himself)

“The ancient pagan world counted nights rather than days.  All their festivals were celebrated on the Eve, or night before.  Their day began at sundown.  Samhain, pronounced sow-en and called Halloween today, was the ending of the Celtic year.  The new year actually began with sunset on October 31.  The ritual was known as Ancestor Night or Feast of the Dead.”

 

INT. TRAILER HOUSE – DAY

 

Different weekend.

 

SUPER: Don’t Call Me Brother, by Austin Miles

 

              BERRY

         (reads to himself)

“I became increasingly aware of the astonishing prevalence of homosexuality among Assemblies of God ministers.  ‘Why couldn’t the people see this?’ I wondered.  I had resisted seeing it myself, even though my early experiences as victim ought to have sensitized me.  But the faithful accepted effeminate characteristics in ministers as examples of the gentleness and tenderness of Christ.  In one large church...”

 

INT. CHURCH – NIGHT

 

An Assembly of God church in a suburban neighborhood. The CONGREGATION of perhaps 200 to 300 stands and claps during the song service.  The PASTOR stands next to the SONG LEADER near AUSTIN MILES.  During an exuberant congregational song, the pastor glances over at the young man, WINKS his EYE, SMACKS his LIPS...

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

“...the pastor was standing next to the handsome young song leader, near where I was sitting on the platform...”

 

              PASTOR

         (lustfully)

You’re so gorgeous I could just eat you up.

 

INT. TRAILER HOUSE – DAY

 

Same trailer scene.

 

              BERRY

         (reads to himself)

“During a regional ministers’ convention, within earshot of me, a pastor...”

 

INT. BUILDING – DAY

 

ADULTS and CHILDREN mill around in large room.  Donuts and coffee on a table.  A PASTOR walks over to a BOY within earshot of Miles who talks to someone else.  Miles overhears the pastor. 

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

“...sidled up to a boy who belonged to the Royal Rangers, an Assemblies’ youth organization.”

 

              PASTOR

         (seductively)

My wife will be gone for the next four days.  Why don’t you come and sleep with me?

 

INT. TRAILER HOUSE – DAY

 

Same trailer scene.

 

              BERRY

         (reads to himself)

“At a district meeting of ministers in New York, one respected pastor...”

 

INT. BUILDING – DAY

 

A large meeting room somewhere in New York.  A table with various sweets and drinks (punch, coffee, etc.).  Miles talks again to someone, while watching the activity of two PASTORS as he talks.  One pastor PINCHES the CHEEK of the other pastor.

 

                        BERRY (V.O.)

“...tweaked the cheek of another Assemblies’ pastor.”

 

MOMENTS LATER

 

The cheek-pinching pastor then proceeds to TWITCH the other pastor’s ear with his fingers.

 

              BERRY (V.O. cont’d)

“The first pastor came back a few moments later and playfully twitched the second pastor’s ear with his fingers.”

 

“Victim” pastor walks over to Miles, smacking his lips.

 

              BERRY (V.O. cont’d)

“The second pastor walked over to me shaking his head.”

 

              PASTOR

That makes me so mad when he twitches my ear like that.

 

INT. TRAILER HOUSE – DAY

 

Same trailer scene.

 

              BERRY

         (reads to himself)

“I began to take special note of this sort of behavior in ministers as I went from church to church all over the United States and Canada.  I recorded my impressions in my journal.  Reviewing my journal the proportion of ministers I have reason to suspect were homosexually inclined -– from whom there had come some sort of clear demonstration of lascivious attention to another in my presence -– is a staggering eight out of ten.  And the great majority of them had what appeared to be good marriages.”

 

INT. TRAILER HOUSE – DAY

 

Different weekend.

 

SUPER: Salem Witchcraft, by Charles Upham

 

              BERRY

         (reads to himself)

“During the winter of 1691 and 1692...”

 

INT. PARSONAGE – DAY

 

A room in a late 17th century home in Salem, Massachusetts.  Seven GIRLS, ranging in age from nine to twenty years old, and a West Indies slave woman, TITUBA sit in chairs in a circle, holding hands with their eyes closed.  Tituba sits, as if she is in a trance, mumbling incoherent words.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

“...a circle of young girls had been formed, who were in the habit of meeting at Mr. Parris’ house for the purpose of practicing palmistry, and other arts of fortune-telling, and of becoming experts in the wonders of necromancy, magic and spiritualism.”

 

LATER IN THE BOOK

 

              BERRY

         (reads to himself)

“On the 23rd of March, a warrant was issued...for the arrest of ‘Rebecca, wife of Francis Nurse’, and the next morning...the examination took place forthwith at the meeting-house.”

 

INT. MEETING-HOUSE – DAY

 

JOHN HATHORNE, magistrate, REBECCA NURSE, suspected witch, a kindly old lady in her 70s, ANN PUTNAM, MARY WALCOT, ELIZABETH HUBBARD and ABIGAIL WILLIAMS, afflicted girls, hateful CROWD are present in a 17th century Salem meeting-house (17th century name for church).  The magistrate sits in front of the pulpit facing the crowd, a long raised platform before him.  Nurse sits on the platform, away from the crowd.  All wear 17th century Puritanical clothing.

 

SUPER: March 24, 1692

 

              HATHORNE

Abigail, have you been hurt by this woman?

 

              WILLIAMS

Yes.

 

Putnam was a grievous fit.

 

              PUTNAM

She hurts me.

 

              HATHORNE

Goody Nurse, here are two, Ann Putnam and Abigail Williams, complain of your hurting them.  What do you say to it?

 

              NURSE

I can say, before my eternal Father, I am innocent, and God will clear my innocency.

 

              HATHORNE

You do know whether you are guilty, and have familiarity with the Devil; and now, when you are here present, to see such a thing as these testify –- “a Black man whispering in your ear, and birds about you” –- what do you say to it?

 

              NURSE

It is all false, I am clear.

 

              HATHORNE

Possibly, you may apprehend you are no witch, but have you not been led aside by temptations that way?

 

              NURSE

I have not.

 

LATER IN THE BOOK

 

              BERRY

         (reads to himself)

Many of the documents exhibit a levity of spirit among these girls, which show how hardened and reckless they had become.

 

INT. HOUSE – DAY

 

A 17th century New England house.  DANIEL ELLIOT, aged 27, “GOODY” INGERSOLL, owner, WILLIAM RAYMOND, guest, and a GIRL, an afflicted person, are present in living room.

 

SUPER: March 28, 1692

 

              GIRL

         (looking up into the air)

There’s Goody Procter.

 

              RAYMOND

         (stern)

You’re lying.

 

              INGERSOLL

You’re telling a lie, for there is nothing.

 

              GIRL

         (laughing)

I did it for sport.

 

LATER IN THE BOOK

 

              BERRY

         (reads to himself)

“On the appearance of the accused, many of the witnesses against her instantly fell into fits.  The magistrate inquired of them...”

 

INT. MEETING-HOUSE – DAY

 

Hathorne, magistrate, SUSANNA MARTIN, suspected witch, Williams, Putnam, MERCY LEWIS, OTHERS, afflicted girls, same hateful crowd are present in same meeting-house.  The magistrate sits in front of pulpit facing crowd.  Martin sits on platform.

 

SUPER: May 2, 1692

 

              HATHORNE

         (to the girls)

Hath this woman hurt you?

 

              WILLIAMS

She hath hurt me often.

 

Putnam throws her GLOVE at Martin in a fit.  The other afflicted girls are silent.  Martin laughs.

 

              HATHORNE

         (to Martin)

What.  Do you laugh at it.

 

              MARTIN

Well I may at such folly.

 

              HATHORNE

Is this folly to see these so hurt?

 

              MARTIN

I never hurt man, woman, or child.

 

              LEWIS

She hath hurt me a great many times.

 

With this, Martin laughs again.  Other afflicted girls moan.

 

              HATHORNE

What do you say to this?

 

              MARTIN

I have no hand in witchcraft.

 

              HATHORNE

What did you do –- did you consent these should be hurt?

 

              MARTIN

No, never in my life.

 

              HATHORNE

What do you think ails them?

 

              MARTIN

I do not desire to spend my judgment upon it.

 

              HATHORNE

Do you think they are bewitched?

 

              MARTIN

No, I do not think they are.

 

              HATHORNE

Who do you think is their master?

 

              MARTIN

If they be dealing in the black art, you may know as well as I.

 

LATER IN THE BOOK

 

              BERRY

         (reads to himself)

“The number of persons who had publicly confessed that they had entered into a league with Satan, and exercised the diabolical power thus acquired, to the injury, torment, and death of innocent persons, produced a profound effect upon the public mind.  At the same time, the accusers had everywhere increased in number...”

 

INT. VARIOUS PRISONS – DAY

 

The inside of 17th century prisons, dark and dank.  Various PRISONERS -- men, women and children sit on the ground, chained to the walls in various cells.  They cry for help, but no one seems to hear.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

“...The prisons in Salem, Ipswich, Boston, and Cambridge were crowded.”

        

LATER IN THE BOOK

 

EXT. WITCHES HILL – DAY

 

The gallows.  Nurse, with four other women, hang lifeless, their necks broke.  She, even in death, has a look of godliness that defies all the lies peddled against her by the Puritans.

 

SUPER: Witches Hill, July 3, 1692, Rebecca Nurse and others

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

Mr. Noyes, the minister of Salem, a zealous prosecutor, excommunicated the poor old woman, and delivered her to Satan, to whom he supposed she had formally given herself up many years before.

 

INT. TRAILER HOUSE – DAY

 

Same trailer scene, different weekend and book.

 

SUPER: Witchcraft: The Heritage of a Heresy, by Hans Sebald

 

              BERRY

         (reads to himself)

“Witchcraft is a version of an awesome human venture: the pursuit of magic.  Man’s search for magic is ancient, and at its core lies his attempt to master life’s dangers and vicissitudes by commanding the service of supernatural powers.”

 

AC/DC song “Highway to Hell” in b.g. (chorus only):  “I’m on the highway to hell...On the highway to hell...Highway to hell...I’m on the highway to hell.”

 

INT. DEPOSITION ROOM - DAY

 

Helmers Deposition.

 

              HELMERS

And then the next problem that I understand that you attribute to this incident, to the May 1983 ceremony, was during your job at Western Meats in Rapid City; is that correct?

 

              BERRY

I was harassed about the act at Western Meats, right.

 

              HELMERS

You were harassed by whom?

 

              BERRY

Two supervisors and one meat inspector.

 

              HELMERS

These were employees at Western Meats?

 

              BERRY

The meat inspector was an employee of the State of South Dakota.

 

              HELMERS

How did they learn that this ceremony had occurred?

 

              BERRY

They didn’t know anything about this ceremony, which makes it that much stranger.

 

              HELMERS

How were they harassing you?

 

              BERRY

Things like, “You burned your barn down,” “Better not give you any matches.”

 

              HELMERS

Did you tell them that you had been in jail for this offense relating to the fire?

 

              BERRY

The employer knew.  The employer knew that.

 

Saying, “You burned your barn down,” began to bother Berry –- as Chinese water torture would.  This referred to the three fires set “down by the barn” in 1984.  This subtle harassment was done half a dozen times per workweek and led to unpleasant consequences.

 

INT. FAB ROOM – DAY

 

RON DASCHLE, supervisor of the fab room, a fiery man, 160 lbs., 5’9”, approximately thirty years old, cuts down a Mexican co-worker, with a small build.  Other WORKERS in fab room cut up hindquarters and fronts into appropriate cuts of meat.

 

                        DASCHLE

                   (jabbing)

          Eh, my little Taco.

 

INT. FAB ROOM/KILL FLOOR - DAY

 

Berry splits a beef during a “kill”.  Holzer skins a carcass of beef, helped by the State Meat Inspector.  Swinging door separates kill floor from fab room.  Daschle, from the fab room, opens the swinging door.  Daschle calls Berry a CARTOON CHARACTER and abruptly shuts door.

 

              DASCHLE

         (teasing)

Popeye.

 

INT. FAB ROOM/KILL FLOOR - DAY

 

Different day, same game.

 

SUPER: Two days later

 

              DASCHLE

Popeye.

 

INT. FAB ROOM/KILL FLOOR - DAY

 

Different day, same game.

 

SUPER: The next week

 

                        DASCHLE

          Popeye.

 

Not the conduct you might expect from a Senator’s cousin -– Ron Daschle being Tom Daschle’s cousin (U.S. Senator from South Dakota, 1990).

 

INT. FAB ROOM – DAY

 

LANCE WALD, another State Meat Inspector, approximately thirty years old, black hair, medium build, speaks to a FEMALE WORKER, also approximately thirty years old, short black hair, pretty face, stout build.  Daschle and other workers are busy cutting up beef into appropriate fronts and hind quarters.

 

                        WALD

                   (pointing to Daschle)

          Make love to “Dash”.  

 

She ultimately quit and threatened to sue Western Meats.

 

INT. KILL FLOOR – DAY

 

Berry and Wald are on the kill floor.  Berry cleans up after a kill. 

 

              WALD

         (playing)

I’ll lock you up and you won’t come out for a nice long time.

 

Wald knew Berry was in prison.  He had the “revolving door” philosophy: which is, “You’re out now, but we will put you back in (prison).”

 

INT. DEPOSITION ROOM – DAY

 

Helmers Deposition.

 

              HELMERS

And what other kind of harassment had they given you?

 

              BERRY

         (matter-of-factly)

I had four assaults against me.

 

MONTAGE – ASSAULTS ON THE JOB

 

-- In the fab room Berry, with rubber, kill floor boots

   on, holds meat hook for Holzer as Holzer attempts to

   hang beef hind quarter onto hook.  The quarter slips

   through Holzer’s fingers and drops onto Berry’s right

   foot.  The pain shows on the face. 

 

                        HOLZER

                   (sarcastic)

          You should have moved your foot.

 

-- On kill floor after a “kill” during the clean-up,

   Strickland goes nuts and pins Berry against a wall,

   right fist swirling.  Berry freezes, wondering

   what’s going to happen next.  Strickland calms down                 

   and walks away.

 

-- In break room ANGLE ON a small day calendar –- date:

   February 20, 1991.

 

-- In the front room Berry, Daschle and other employees

   are engaged in front room tasks.  Daschle, passing

   close to Berry, partially raises right, clenched fist                               

   as a bait.

 

Berry liked the job because he gained instruction concerning his career in cattle ranching -– i.e. the cow from the inside out.  Perhaps it wasn’t worth it given the harassment and assaults.

 

EXT. STREET NEAR COLLEGE – DAY

 

Berry narration.

 

              BERRY

         (dryly)

What this led to...

 

INT. BREAK ROOM – DAY

 

ANGLE ON same calendar –- date: February 19, 1991.

 

                        BERRY (V.O.)

          ...was two days after...

 

INT. KILL FLOOR – DAY

 

Berry, TIM (half-Native American header), Holzer, and Vesper, the State Meat Inspector, do a kill on 19th.  Holzer accidentally STABS Tim in the upper arm.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

...the supervisor had stabbed this other worker in the arm...

 

INT. KILL FLOOR – DAY

 

On February 21 the “kill” goes badly.  Bull carcasses pile up waiting to be washed, weighed and pushed into cooler.  An extra MAN helps Holzer, but Holzer won’t send him to help Berry get caught up.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

...I was splitting beef, I was getting behind; he had an extra man he could have sent to help me –- he told me in a very derogatory tone...

 

Holzer looks over at Berry, as he is behind processing beef.

 

                        HOLZER

                   (snarling)

          You better hurry up.

 

The “straw that broke the camel’s back”:  Berry starts chasing Holzer with a BONING KNIFE in his hand (Berry had been cutting bruises off of a beef).  He PUSHES the State Meat Inspector’s stainless steel table aside, they WALK FAST (Holzer walks backwards) through small hallway to “barrel room” where barrels of bone, fat and guts are kept –- approximately fifteen yards.  Vesper, the State Meat Inspector, YELLS. 

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

...and I wound up chasing him twelve yards with a boning knife.

 

Temporary insanity.

 

INT. LOCKER PLANT - DAY

 

After incident, Berry and Holzer walk SIDE-BY-SIDE throughout building to talk to chunky female RECEPTIONIST at front desk, asking if JUD SEAMAN, the plant manager, is in his office.

 

              HOLZER

Is Jud in?

 

              RECEPTIONIST

No.

 

Then, Berry and Holzer walk SIDE-BY-SIDE back, throughout building, to kill floor and it is decided that Berry should go home for the day.

 

              VESPER

Why don’t you just go on home.

 

              BERRY

O.K.

 

INT./EXT. LOCKER PLANT - DAY

 

Berry walks into break room, clocks out, exists building, and climbs into his 1974 black Ford PICKUP with topper and drives off.

 

INT. DEPOSITION ROOM – DAY

 

Helmers Deposition.

 

              HELMERS

Then there were some physical assaults in the workplace?

 

              BERRY

Right.

 

              HELMERS

         (querying)

Anything else?

 

              BERRY

         (shocked)

Other than the harassment and the assaults, no.

 

              HELMERS

And in one of these incidents you reacted by chasing your supervisor, Victor Holzer, with a skinning knife, correct?

 

              BERRY

Right.

 

              HELMERS

And as a result of that incident, you were criminally charged again?

 

              BERRY

Right.

 

              HELMERS

And that was for an aggravated assault?

 

              BERRY

Right.

 

Although it could be said that the overt harassment and assaults caused this, the root was the subtle, constant harassment about the fires which Berry believed was poltergeist activity triggered by a church ceremony. 

 

SUPER: Holzer was a Catholic, Wald a Lutheran, and Strickland an Evangelical.  The church is the law?

 

MONTAGE – RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES OF THE “BOYS”

 

-- With a solemn look on his face, Holzer proceeds to

   take COMMUNION from a PRIEST, the wafer and the cup,

   in a Catholic church.

 

-- Outside of TRINITY LUTHERAN CHURCH, Wald visits with

   other PARISHIONERS.  The building is a mid-1940s

   structure.  ANGLE on sign stating name of church.

 

-- In a room, Strickland has an open Bible in front of

   him, sitting at the head of a table.  Other BIBLE

   STUDY STUDENTS sit on both sides of table.

 

              STRICKLAND

Tonight we are going to talk about the love of God.

 

EXT. COURTHOUSE - DAY

 

The courthouse in Rapid City.

 

SUPER: Pennington County Courthouse - June 1991

 

INT. COURTHOUSE – DAY

 

Berry sits in DAVID OSBORNE’S office, a typical mindless government worker, officially a court service worker, for an interview.

 

OSBORNE’S POV – BERRY

He looks across desk at Berry.

 

              OSBORNE (O.S.)

         (maliciously)

Even if you were provoked, if you commit a foul, you’re taken out of the game.

 

Apparently, in the state of South Dakota, provocation is no defense.  Osborne had no problem with Holzer stabbing a co-worker two days before Berry’s incident.

 

EXT. STREET NEAR COLLEGE – DAY

 

Berry narration.

 

              BERRY

         (very upset)

I was told if I would plead guilty...

 

INT. COURTHOUSE – DAY

 

Courtroom.  The Judge, JOHN KONENKAMP, a middle-aged man with graying hair in Judge’s robes, the D.A., DENNIS GROFF, a man in his mid-30s, black hair, lanky, wearing a suit, Defendant’s attorney, RAMON ROUBIDEAUX, a man in his early 60s, a half-Native American, Defendant -- Berry, a COURT REPORTER, and a SHERIFF are present.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

...I would get probation...

 

              KONENKAMP

This is the sentencing in the State of South Dakota versus Jacob Berry. 

 

LATER IN COURT PROCEEDING

 

                        GROFF

And unfortunately, some of the things that we are learning as we get into this case are equally bizarre.  But I want to take that position that certainly I’m not changing or going back on anything here.  If he is eligible for probation and the Court feels comfortable with that, I’m recommending probation.

 

LATER IN COURT PROCEEDING

 

              KONENKAMP

Right now Mr. Berry is facing fifteen years in the penitentiary and I do not believe that the penitentiary sentence is mandatory, because I don’t believe that this prior offense is a crime of violence, but, of course, I’m not saying that I am going to give him probation.  I’m not saying what I am going to give him because I don’t think that’s appropriate.

 

              ROUBIDEAUX

May I inquire of the Court if we could have a very short recess?  How is your time schedule?

 

              KONKENKAMP

Yes, we can take a short recess.

 

              ROUBIDEAUX

I think a couple of minutes is all we need to speak outside.

 

INT. COURTHOUSE - DAY

 

Berry and Roubideaux exit courtroom and speak in hallway.

 

ROUBIDEAUX’S POV – BERRY

He looks at Berry.

 

              ROUBIDEAUX (O.S.)

         (soothing)

The Judge almost always accepts the recommendation of the D.A.

 

REVERSE POV

 

              BERRY (O.S.)

         (nervous)

O.K.

 

INT. COURTHOUSE - DAY

 

Berry and Roubideaux return to courtroom and take the seats.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

...and they played “bait-and-switch” with me...

 

              KONENKAMP

Now we are back on the record in the case of the State of South Dakota versus Jacob Berry and the record should show that all the same persons are present and Mr. Roubideaux, have you had enough time to visit with your client on whether or not he wants to withdraw his plea?

 

              ROUBIDEAUX

Yes.  I discussed it completely with him and he understands all of the aspects of it and he’s elected to proceed with the plea that’s been already made and would urge the Court to accept the recommendation of the State’s Attorney with the complete understanding that the Court’s not bound by it.

 

              KONENKAMP

You understand I’m not bound by he State’s recommendation, Mr. Berry?

 

              BERRY

Yes, your Honor.

 

              KONENKAMP

Alright.  I will then proceed with sentencing.  I’ll ask if the State wants to make any comments?

 

              GROFF

I think I made a detailed record including the recommendation and how it’s changed over time based on our recommendation as prior record so I have no further comments other than those already on the record.

 

              KONENKAMP

Mr. Roubideaux.

 

              ROUBIDEAUX

The only thing we want to add to the Court is that the weapon involved here was one of the tools of his trade at the place where he was working at and wasn’t something that he brought into work or something that he was introducing into a foreign atmosphere, but one of the tools they worked with there.

 

              KONENKAMP

         (frowning)

Well, I have got grave reservations about you Mr. Berry, not because of necessarily because of this prior crime.  My concern comes from the victims’ statements in their report saying that they are extremely afraid of you and that you have threatened to burn their house down many times.

 

              BERRY

         (pissed off)

That’s a lie.

 

              KONENKAMP

         (professorial)

It will be the sentence of the Court, upon your conviction for aggravated assault, that you be sentenced to four years in the South Dakota State Penitentiary.

 

 

BLACK MARIA song “Rats in the Prison” in b.g. (first two lines only):  “Rats in the prison...sentenced to obey...”

 

The sheriff escorts Berry from the courtroom.  Conklin’s revenge continues. 

 

                                                 CUT TO:

 

EXT. JAIL – DAY

 

JAIL, a very large and neat and new five story building. 

 

SUPER: Pennington County Jail - fall 1991

 

INT. JAIL – DAY

 

A “pod” set-up with tables and chairs.  Cells are along the outside wall, two levels.  INMATES, dressed in orange jumpsuits, sit, talk, play cards, stand around.  INMATE, a small man with long, straight hair parted in the middle, with a substantial beard, stands on the second level and drops ARTICLE from Rapid City Journal to Berry.  ANGLE ON text of article before it drops.  It concerns JIMMY SWAGGART caught again with a prostitute, in California.  Article FLUTTERS down to Berry standing on the first level.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

...and I wound up in prison again.

 

INT. JAIL - DAY

 

Inmates look at their mail.  Berry reads letter from NOAH HUTCHINGS, head of Southwest Radio Church.  ANGLE ON letterhead, date, salutation, quote, and signature. 

 

              HUCHINGS (V.O.)

“Your letter arrived at my desk today.  Thank you for sharing that testimony with us.  A colleague with whom I shared the letter found few surprises in it; he likewise left the charismatic movement a couple of decades ago.”       

 

This refers to an eight-page synopsis begun in November 199l, finished January 1992, on the “satanic problem”.  A copy was sent to Hutchings.  The initiation of a satanic attack by the Pentecostals did not stir Hutchings.

 

INT. JAIL – DAY

 

Off to one side of “pod” set-up in small room, with table and two chairs, where inmates may talk to clergy and attorneys, Negro PASTOR visits with Berry.

 

SUPER: Pentecostal pastor discusses satanic problem

 

BERRY’S POV – PASTOR

He looks across table at minister.

 

              BERRY (O.S.)

          (matter-of-factly)

I think that Conklin was a devil-worshipper hiding under the Bible.

 

REVERSE POV

 

              PASTOR (O.S.)

         (soothing)

Even devil-worshippers need love.

 

It didn’t bother him.

 

INT. JAIL – DAY

 

Tall and lanky INMATE sits at table, talking with Berry, also seated.  Other inmates sit, talk, play cards, stand around.

 

VENOM song “Possessed” in b.g.:  “Look at me and you will see, fire is burning inside of me...”

 

              INMATE

         (asinine)

Don’t put Satan down or he’ll fuck your world up. 

 

                                               CUT TO:

 

EXT. JAMESON UNIT – DAY

 

A plain brick building, built in 1992.

 

SUPER: Jameson Unit, South Dakota State Penitentiary - May 1993

 

INT. JAMESON UNIT – DAY

 

Berry sits at table in “pod” unit of the Jameson Unit with other inmates.  He wears T-shirt, jeans, tennis shoes.  Other inmates wear the same.  He reads letter dated April 30, 1993 from his LAWYER saying Writ of Habeas Corpus denied.  ANGLE ON letterhead and date.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

Letter from attorney, went through a Writ of Habeas Corpus, on a satanic feast day...

 

INSERT - DEMON

 

A little demon dances for a moment. 

 

              BERRY (V.O. cont’d)

...April 30th, 1993, saying Writ of Habeas Corpus denied.

 

                                    CUT TO:

 

INT. COURTHOUSE – DAY

 

Courtroom.  District Attorney MILLER, a short, stocky man in his mid-30s, sits at a table, Berry sits at another table with his attorney, RICHARD BODE, a slight man also in his mid-30s, Judge FITZGERALD, a stocky, graying judge, presides, the witness Roubideaux, and the COURT REPORTER are present.

 

SUPER: Pennington County Courthouse – Writ of Habeas Corpus proceeding

 

             FITZGERALD

Call your next witness.

 

              BODE

Thank you, Your Honor.  Call Mr. Roubideaux.

               

              FITZGERALD

Mr. Roubideaux, would you come forward, sir, and be sworn.

 

Roubideaux is sworn in.

 

LATER IN COURT PROCEEDING

 

              BODE

And did you note the inconsistencies in the discovery material between the statements initially given to the police and those that were ultimately provided to the Court through the Pre-sentence report?

 

              FITZGERALD

Statements from whom?

 

              BODE

From the victims.

 

              ROUBIDEAUX

         (incredulous)

Inconsistencies with what?

 

              BODE

With what had initially been reported to the police, and what ultimately turned up in the pre-sentence report.

 

              ROUBIDEAUX

Oh, there may have been some small inconsistencies, I don’t remember anything of any importance.

 

LATER IN COURT PROCEEDING

 

              FITZGERALD

Mr. Miller...

 

Bode sits down, and Miller walks over to witness stand.

 

              MILLER

Now, in reference to the pre-sentence report.  I want to make sure I understand this.  Your client had an opportunity to review the actual pre-sentence?

 

              ROUBIDEAUX

That’s right.  It’s my recollection that we did it right there in the courtroom.

 

              MILLER

Okay.  And this wasn’t something that you read and merely summarized for him in your own words?

 

              ROUBIDEAUX

No.  I let him read it and told him to ask any questions, if he didn’t understand anything or if there was anything there that was not true.

 

              MILLER

Did he have a problem with anything in the pre-sentence report that you recall?

 

              ROUBIDEAUX

None whatsoever that I remember.

 

LATER IN COURT PROCEEDING

 

Bode cross-examines Roubideaux.

 

                        BODE

Mr. Roubideaux, you could have subpoenaed those victims into court in order to allow Mr. Berry through yourself to question what they had provided to the Court in the pre-sentence report, couldn’t you?

 

              ROUBIDEAUX

Yes.  He made no request that I do so, though, at the time that we read the pre-sentence report.

 

              BODE

Which, according to your recollection, was just prior to the hearing or can you recall?

 

              ROUBIDEAUX

Prior to the sentencing.

 

              BODE

Prior to the sentencing, excuse me.

 

              ROUBIDEAUX

It’s been a long time ago.  I’m sure we did discuss the statements against him, because he was very upset about those statements and we -– we had some discussion about it.

 

The FLIP-FLOP.  Roubideaux oscillates back and forth, from “none whatsoever” to “very upset”.  He missed Holzer’s railroad job -– the provoking of the assault, then fabricating a story to the police. 

 

LATER IN COURT PROCEEDING

 

Judge Fitzgerald cross-examines Roubideaux.

 

              FITZGERALD

So the only way you could find the report prior to the day of sentencing, at least based upon the practices of almost the last twenty-five years that I’m familiar with, is you would have to call the Court sometime during the course of the week of the scheduled sentencing and say “Judge, is the report there, do you mind if my client and myself come down and read it now?”  Isn’t that true?

 

              ROUBIDEAUX

Yes.

 

              FITZGERALD

Now, you and I are both aware that there is a statute that says that the Court can allow a victim to come into court and testify if they make that request and express their viewpoint as to what the Judge should do with sentencing to a defendant?

 

              ROUBIDEAUX

That’s true.

 

              FITZGERALD

And you will also agree that the statute then allows that defendant in the event that this person says something that they disagree to, can ask the Court for the opportunity to refute it, to ask the Court for time for witnesses to appear for his reputation?

 

              ROUBIDEAUX

That’s true.

 

              FITZGERALD

This case, as I understand it, no live victim came and said stuff in person, but they came in the form of letters that were contained in the victim’s assistance -–

 

              ROUBIDEAUX

Yeah.  I’d asked Mr. Berry specifically if he had any people that could come in and testify on his behalf.

 

              FITZGERALD

Okay.  But I’m talking just about the victim.

 

              ROUBIDEAUX

Alright.

 

              FITZGERALD

Now, when Mr. Berry said “That’s a lie,” then did that import to you that what he was saying to the Court was “I disagree with what the victims are saying therefore I would like to have a hearing on that?”

 

              ROUBIDEAUX

No.

 

              FITZGERALD

         (querying)

What did it mean to you?

 

              ROUBIDEAUX

         (defensive)

Just meant that he said “That’s a lie.”

 

              FITZGERALD

         (sarcastic)

“That’s a lie.”  He never said he wanted to have a hearing?

 

              ROUBIDEAUX

No.

 

              FITZGERALD

And you were quiet?

 

              ROUBIDEAUX

What’s that?

 

              FITZGERALD

You never inquired of it?

 

              ROUBIDEAUX

No.

 

                                          CUT TO:

 

EXT. STREET NEAR COLLEGE – DAY

 

Berry narration.

 

              BERRY

When I first was locked up, complaining pretty viciously to a fellow inmate about this satanic problem that I’d experienced for years, and it is interesting to note that working in the kitchen that day...   

 

INT. MAIN PRISON – DAY

 

A prison kitchen.  Berry gives coffee to an INMATE out of a near-empty, commercial coffee pot at end of work day.  Other INMATES stand around or do various jobs.  A SUPERVISOR sees the inmate take the coffee. 

 

              SUPERVISOR

Did you give a cup of coffee to that inmate?

 

              BERRY

Uh, huh.

 

              SUPERVISOR

         (matter-of-factly)

You’re fired.

 

              BERRY

What?

 

INT. MAIN PRISON – DAY

 

An 8’x12’ concrete cell.  A simple bunk, prison bars, small wash basin and toilet, etc.  Berry wakes up next morning, finds blood stain on pillow.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

...the next day found blood on my pillow...

 

INT. MAIN PRISON – DAY

 

Same cell a few minutes later.  Berry does the normal thing -– washes face, brushes teeth.  As he feels in his pocket for his key, which is tied to a shoestring on one end and tied to his belt loop on the other, he notices it missing.  He pulls the string out of his pocket, but no key.

 

              BERRY

         (frustrated)

Now where’s that stupid key?

 

He looks everywhere in the 8’x12’ cell –- under the bed, on the shelf, under the mattress, but no key.  Bucking the church will wreak havoc in your life.

 

                                                 CUT TO:                

 

INT. JAMESON UNIT LIBRARY – DAY

 

Berry sits at an IBM typewriter.  Other inmates mill around looking at books, or sit at two round tables talking in low tones.  LIBRARIAN checks out books.  Berry has finished typing short, one-page SYNOPSIS of satanic problem and looks over it.  ANGLE over Berry’s shoulder ON first paragraph of synopsis, SCANNING DOWN to last paragraph.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

“I was calling former members of the church, Newell Assembly of God, Newell, S.D. asking why they left.  In this church families were ruined, the orchestra and choir ceased, and 70% of the key membership of the church left 1979-1983...Johanna Michaelsen in The Beautiful Side of Evil says, ‘What many of us in the church never expect is to find satanic counterfeits operating in the very midst of Pentecostal and charismatic meetings.  Yet what I have seen happen in some of these meetings has made my blood run cold.’”

 

Occult activity in the church.

 

INT. JAMESON UNIT – DAY

 

The “pod” unit.  Inmates play cards at tables, read books, talk.  Sitting at table, Berry reads letter dated August 23, 1993 from RITA ALLEN, Sioux Falls attorney.  ANGLE ON letterhead, date, salutation, quote, and signature.

 

              ALLEN (V.O.)

“We received your correspondence dated August 14, 1993.  My firm has no expertise in cases involving Satanism.  For this and other reasons, we are not interested in representing you in an action against the parties mentioned in your correspondence...”

 

INT. JAMESON UNIT – DAY

 

Next day.  Same table, different letter dated August 24, 1993 from DAVID NADOLSKI, another Sioux Falls attorney.  ANGLE ON letterhead, date, salutation, quote, and signature.

 

              NADOLSKI (V.O.)

“I am in receipt of a letter dated August 18, 1993 and certain documents and partial documents that were included with the letter...When I talked to you on the phone and told you I had some experience with regard to both clerical misconduct and satanic misconduct I was referring to experiences involving physical and emotional misconduct and abuse...Please understand that this firm will do nothing further on your behalf regarding the issues you have addressed in your letter of August 18, 1993.”

 

The synopsis of the occult problem, and other documents, were sent to the attorneys.  No interest.

 

INT. JAMESON UNIT – DAY

 

Berry sits at table in “pod” unit with other inmates.  He looks at his mail and is visibly SHAKEN as he notices the “Devil’s Lake” postmark.  ANGLE ON the POSTMARK.  Song starts up, in the background: “It was a letter from Hell, that was sent to me; it was a letter from Hell, that was sent to me; it was a letter from Hell, that was sent to me...”  DEMONS are shown dancing in the background.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

I wrote Conklin concerning some of these things, I received a letter postmarked on December 13, 1993 concerning some of these problems, and the postmark was DEVIL’S LAKE.  It’s a town in North Dakota, but it’s interesting to note where the postmark was from. 

 

EXT. STREET NEAR COLLEGE - DAY

 

Berry narration.

 

              BERRY

I continued to appeal my assault case, I had to do it pro se beyond the first appeal.  From the U.S. Court of Appeals I received a letter dated February 2 of 1994, Imbolc, satanic feast day...

 

INSERT - DEMON

 

A little demon dances for a moment.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

...verifying that a pro se appeal was received. 

                

INSERT - LETTER 

 

This is a letter from the United States Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, written by MICHAEL GANS, Clerk of Courts, verifying “notice of appeal”.  ANGLE ON letterhead, date, salutation, quote, and signature.

 

              GANS (V.O.)

“We have received certified copies of the notice of appeal and docket entries from the Clerk of the United States District Court...it will be forwarded to a panel of judges for consideration.  You will be advised of the action taken by the court.”

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

The appeal was denied, probably due to the fact it was pro se.

 

INT. JAMESON UNIT – DAY

 

Berry packs belongings into duffle bag, various boxes, inside cell.

 

SUPER: Sioux Falls - February 1994

 

EXT. SIOUX FALLS – DAY

 

Berry climbs aboard a Greyhound bus, after putting belongings in cargo area of bus.           

 

                                                  CUT TO:

 

EXT. METHODIST CHURCH – MORNING

 

The church is a 1920s building capable of seating 100 people.  ANGLE ON sign stating “United Methodist Church”.  Faith is a small town 75 miles northeast of Newell of 700 people.

 

SUPER: Faith, South Dakota - spring 1994

 

INT. METHODIST CHURCH – MORNING

 

Berry sits in office of PASTOR, a chunky, middle-aged career man, who reads one page synopsis of occult problem, written in prison. 

 

                        PASTOR       

So, what are you doing now?

 

BERRY’S POV - PASTOR

He looks across the desk at the pastor.

 

              BERRY (O.S.)

I’ve been thinking about joint-venturing a small cattle ranch.

 

The pastor smirks.

 

              PASTOR

         (derogatorally)

Do you think with two felonies against you, anyone would want to finance you?

 

INT. PENTECOSTAL CHURCH - DAY

 

Berry talks to another PASTOR, an overweight middle-aged man, in his office.  Sturgis is a town of 3000 people northwest of Rapid City 25 miles.  The church is a modern building.

 

SUPER: Sturgis, South Dakota - spring 1994

 

PASTOR’S POV – BERRY

He looks at Berry across the desk.

 

              PASTOR (O.S.)

         (soothing)

I don’t believe anything could happen to you.

 

EXT. ROAD NEAR CHURCH - DAY

 

Berry walks on road, down a hill, leading away from church.  ANGLE ON church sign stating “Church of the Open Door”.  At bottom of hill, police car comes up behind Berry and POLICEMAN motions Berry to get into front seat of police car.

             

              POLICEMAN

I need to see your driver’s license.

 

Berry hands policeman driver’s license and policeman runs check.

 

              BERRY

What’s this all about.

                              

              POLICEMAN

         (snickering)

The pastor was concerned about you.

 

EXT. BAPTIST CHURCH – DAY

 

Berry talks to BAPTIST MINISTER, a mid-30s man, and LAY MINISTER, a younger, biker-type man.  This is in front of a  Baptist church in Sturgis.  Lay minister reads synopsis of occult problem.

 

INT. CHURCH PARSONAGE – DAY

 

Berry, minister and lay minister are in library room of parsonage.  Lay minister is agitated.

 

              LAY MINISTER

          (screaming)

You need to forgive.

 

As Baptist minister looks on, Berry has a tormented look. 

 

INT. DEPOSITION ROOM - DAY

 

Helmers Deposition.

 

              HELMERS

         (querying)

So the difference is that prior to March of 1996, you believed that the harms we’ve listed occurred to you because Morris Conklin was dealing in satanic rituals of some kind, right?

 

              BERRY

Right.

 

              HELMERS

But instead, then, in March of 1996 you concluded that all that harm occurred to you because of the operation of a church doctrine, mainly the delivery over to Satan in the same ceremony in May of 1983, correct?

 

              BERRY

         (carefully)

You’re talking about a fine line here.  It’s hard to know when you cross it.

 

EXT. STREET NEAR COLLEGE - DAY

 

Berry narration.

 

              BERRY

I decided to pursue a pro se lawsuit against Morris Conklin.  I received a letter from Morris Conklin’s attorney...

 

INSERT - LETTER 

 

This letter is from ALLEN NELSON, a partner of the Rapid City law firm of Bangs, McCullen, Butler, Foye & Simmons.  ANGLE ON letterhead, date, salutation, quote, and signature.

 

              NELSON (V.O.)

“...I am enclosing a copy of the Order I received from Judge Battey requiring counsel to jointly prepare and file with the Clerk of Courts a complete written report of a Rule 26(f) meeting as described in this Order...”

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

...The date on the letter was February 1st, 1996, Imbolc, a satanic feast day...

 

INSERT - DEMON

 

A little demon dances for a moment.

 

              BERRY (V.O. cont’d)

         (calmly)

...and I mean you’re seeing the satanic feast days begin to pile up.

 

EXT. STREET NEAR COLLEGE – DAY

 

Berry narration.

 

              BERRY

After the lawsuit was filed, the lug nuts on the left, front wheel of a 1977 Ford T-bird I owned, began to come loose.  They were tightened down with a lug wrench and came loose again.  This happened four or five times, near Hereford, South Dakota.

 

EXT. RANCH – DAY

 

This is the same ranch as the previous ranch when Berry spoke with Williamson, that was inserted during the excommunication.  The owner, DUANE REICHERT, and Berry load various animals into trailer for Reichert’s school shows, hooked to an RV.  Some snow on the ground.  ANGLE ON a black, pot-bellied PIG in particular being loaded.   

 

SUPER: Ranch near Hereford - spring 1996

 

              REICHERT

         (enthusiastically)

Well, I’m off for my school tour.  So, you’re in charge of the ranch.  

 

              BERRY

When will you be back?

 

              REICHERT

Not for quite a while.

 

Reichert was gone for most of the year, although he had phone contact with Berry to “check up” on things, as Berry was responsible for the 4400 acre ranch.

 

EXT. RANCH HOUSE – DAY

 

A well-built ‘60s house with some snow on it.

 

INT. RANCH HOUSE BASEMENT - DAY

 

Berry is on phone in laundry room of finished basement with bedroom and bathroom in well-furnished, modern ranch home aforementioned.  Small, flat cassette tape recorder is connected to device that permits the recording of a phone conversation.  Tape recorder is running.  He talks to MARK HOTCHKISS in Newell, who was at May l, 1983.  Berry was, obviously, somewhat afraid of these people.  He chose to phone them. 

 

SUPER: Mark Hotchkiss (a member of the Newell Assembly of God who was at the ceremony May 1, 1983) on phone - spring 1996

 

              BERRY

         (into phone)

There’s nothing ridiculous about satanic power.

 

              HOTCHKISS (V.O.)

No, there isn’t about satanic power, but there is about accusing people of using it -- misplacing ideas...

         (laughing)

You even had some problems in the Pen. from what I understand.

 

              BERRY

         (into phone)

That’s all connected to this little satanic curse your beloved pastor put on me -- it’s right there in the synopsis if you read it.

 

              HOTCHKISS (V.O.)

That’s what you put in there.

 

              BERRY

         (into phone)

What do you mean that’s what I put in there?

 

              HOTCHKISS (V.O.)

How come the suit was dropped, how come...

 

              BERRY

         (into phone)

You want to know why the suit was dropped?

 

              HOTCHKISS (V.O.)

         (questioning)

I’m wondering a lot of things.

 

              BERRY

         (into phone, high-pitched)

Would you like to know why it was dropped?

 

              HOTCHKISS (V.O.)

Sure.

 

              BERRY

         (into phone, matter-of-                     

          factly)

‘Cause the wheel almost fell off my car twice, and I saw the handwriting on the wall, and I dropped it. 

 

              HOTCHKISS (V.O.)

         (laughing)

 

              BERRY

         (into phone)

You think that’s kind of funny, don’t you.

 

              HOTCHKISS (V.O.)

         (hardball)

Well, what I feel is funny is that you keep trying to push a lot of this stuff, and that every corner, or avenue, that you try to take to antagonize, or blow it up, you get stopped.                                                   

 

The church is the law.  Hotchkiss was a key member of the Newell Assembly of God, having grown up in that church. 

 

INT. BASEMENT – DAY

 

Berry tapes conversation with KIERAN HUBER in Rapid City.

 

SUPER: Kieran Huber (present at the ceremony May 1, 1983) on phone – spring 1996

 

              BERRY

Let me ask you something.  Do you believe that Satan exists?

 

              HUBER

Definitely.

 

              BERRY

Do you believe he has power to harm?

 

              HUBER

Sure.

 

              BERRY

Why would Conklin either call on, loose or deliver myself to Satan?

 

              HUBER

I don’t recall him doin’ that.

 

              BERRY

He’s already admitted to it in writing. 

 

              HUBER

I guess, what are you trying to do then?

 

              BERRY

Get this straightened out.  Witchcraft in the church is pretty serious.

 

              HUBER

Well, I mean, you’re right.  Who’s ever into that kind of stuff, it is a very serious thing, you’re right.

 

He knows witchcraft is wrong.

 

INT. BASEMENT – DAY

 

Berry tapes conversation with NATHAN JOHNSON in Newell.

 

SUPER: Nathan Johnson (pastor of the Newell Assembly of God) on phone - spring 1996

 

              BERRY

When you call on Satan to destroy somebody, and you have, apparently have a certain amount of power, and you use that, and of course people are sitting there...

 

              JOHNSON

Umhmm.

 

              BERRY

You understand?  It’s like a girl that’s raped, and you tell her, “Why don’t you go talk to your raptist” - that’s crazy.

 

              JOHNSON

What are you after then?

 

              BERRY

Justice, in a sense.  The church dealing with the situation.  What’s I Corinthians 5:12-13 say out of your Living Bible?  It says, those who are without God will judge.  Somebody does something to you that is evil that’s without the church, God will take care of it...

 

              JOHNSON

Why don’t you just let God...

 

              BERRY

No, no, without the church.  Within the church, the Bible says you are to judge and to deal.  Read that sometime. 

 

              JOHNSON

Umhmm.

 

              BERRY

 

So, spiritual leaders are to judge and deal, not me.  And that’s basically what I am concerned about.

 

              JOHNSON

So, what are you after?

 

              BERRY

I’m after the proper dealing according to scriptural guidelines.

 

              JOHNSON

Which would be?

 

              BERRY

He should be expelled.

 

              JOHNSON

Who should be expelled?

 

              BERRY

Morris.

 

              JOHNSON

O.K.

 

              BERRY

You don’t deal with Satan, you know better. 

 

LATER IN CONVERSATION

 

              BERRY

You never expected Jimmy Swaggart to be messing around with a whore, did you?

 

              JOHNSON

But he did.

 

              BERRY

He was a fine preacher, with an excellent character, O.K.?

 

              JOHNSON

Sure.

 

              BERRY

It’s the same thing with Morris Conklin.  If you like him as a person, it means nothing.  We are not reflecting on his character.  When I was in Sioux Falls, a lot of people are in there for life, and they have fine characters, very kind hearted people.  But they committed an act, whatever the reason was, and they’re in there for life.  They still did whatever they did, whether it be killing somebody or raping or whatever, under a certain amount of duress, somebody was pressuring them, like myself, calling former members of the church, asking why they left, and, he couldn’t take it.  So he did what he did.  It’s no reflection on his character, just like Jimmy Swaggart.

 

LATER IN CONVERSATION 

 

              JOHNSON

What are you trying to do by going to all the other churches trying to solicit support?

 

              BERRY

I don’t solicit support, the Bible says we’re to expose hidden deeds of darkness.

 

              JOHNSON

Why do you write letters to the papers?

 

              BERRY

Because we’re to expose deeds of darkness.

 

              JOHNSON

Huh.

 

              BERRY

The Bible mandates it.  That’s out of Ephesians 5.  It’s to be brought to light.

 

              JOHNSON

Well, Jacob, I guess I’m not going to do anything about it.

 

Johnson shut off the problem from exposure...the verb definition of “occult”.

 

EXT. RANCH - DAY

 

A BLIZZARD.  Berry is out on the prairie with 4 x 4 tractor trying to find cattle.  He cannot see the hand in front of his face.  He finally finds the cows hiding in a draw.  He proceeds to roll round bales down to cows, first cutting strings.

 

INT. BASEMENT - DAY

 

Berry tapes conversation with Conklin somewhere in North Dakota. 

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

I spoke to Morris Conklin on the phone, trying to get him to admit, at least in part, to the delivering to Satan...

 

As Conklin speaks on phone, lights in room go OFF.

 

              CONKLIN (V.O.)

We read the scripture from I Corinthians 5:5 over you and prayed exactly like that.

 

The call continues in the DARK.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

...and the electricity in that part of the house went off. 

 

In another room at circuit breaker, Berry attempts to get lights turned on in laundry room, without success.

 

              BERRY (V.O. cont’d)

Playing with the circuit breaker couldn’t bring it back on.  It was a welder outside the house, but again why at that particular time.

 

Causing satanic activity as usual.

 

INT. BASEMENT - DAY

 

Berry tapes conversation with Bakke in Bismarck, North Dakota.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

I talked to Marcus Bakke on the phone, he was strong-arming and smoke-screening to keep it quiet...

 

              BAKKE (V.O.)

I don’t believe you can be touched, really I’ll be honest with you, if you were in Jesus, unless you got outside of your own safety net, then you’re in trouble, see, that I will accept.

 

              BERRY

O.K.

 

LATER IN THE CONVERSATION

 

              BAKKE (V.O.)

         (huffy)

I wouldn’t even spend any more time thinking about it.  You’ve had some problems and they aren’t all Morris Conklin’s fault. 

 

              BERRY

         (into phone, defensive)

Well a lot of those things happened on satanic feast days.  I’m not going to get into that, but...

 

              BAKKE (V.O.)

         (irritated)

 

Well...

 

              BERRY   

You know, I mean it was like Satan was leaving his calling card every time something happened, on a satanic feast day.  It’s like he was leaving his calling card saying I did this, I did that.

 

              BAKKE (V.O.)

         (triumphant)

Have you read the book of Job?

 

He doesn’t care.

 

SUPER: Marcus Bakke was the North Dakota District Council Assembly of God chairman in 1996

 

EXT. RANCH - DAY

 

Berry fixes fence somewhere on 4400 acre ranch.  He cuts back broken barbwire, splices in good barbwire, stretches it with fence-stretcher, gets in 1968 maroon Chevy pickup and moves to next broken wire. 

 

INT. BASEMENT - DAY

 

Berry tapes conversation with DON WILEMAN somewhere in North Dakota.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

I talked to Reverend Don Wileman, who was the pastor who replaced Morris Conklin in 1984...

 

              WILEMAN (V.O.)

Hello.

 

              BERRY

         (into phone)

Don, Jacob Berry.  Did you get a chance to read the story I sent you?

 

              WILEMAN (V.O.)

Yeah, I read that.

 

              BERRY

         (into phone)

Did you have any comments, would you like me to elaborate on anything?

 

              WILEMAN (V.O.)

No, it sounded like a pretty good story.  I put it away now, I can’t remember all of it –- it’s been a month ago, hasn’t it.

 

              BERRY

         (into phone)

Yeah, a couple, three weeks at least.

 

              WILEMAN (V.O.)

It’s about your life.

 

              BERRY

         (into phone)

Basically, this individual called on Satan and there were some pretty dire consequences to it -– pretty bad things happened.  I know in historical Christianity, people who were in authority said that anytime anyone would call to an evil spirit, or Satan, and wonders would occur, they called that witchcraft.  What’s your feeling?

 

              WILEMAN (V.O.)

My understanding of witchcraft is that you use Satan as an image of worship.

 

              BERRY

         (into phone)

But you can use Satan to harm someone too, black magic –- that’s basically what happened to me, in this situation.  And do you agree with that then?

 

              WILEMAN (V.O.)

Yeah, I agree with that, maybe not all the ins and outs of it -– there’s a point there. 

 

Wileman admits to the possibility of black witchcraft done in church.

 

EXT. STREET NEAR COLLEGE - DAY

 

Berry narration.

 

              BERRY

I went after the General Council.  I wrote them repeatedly...

 

INSERT - LETTER 

 

This is a letter from THOMAS TRASK (General Council Assembly of God Superintendent) dated January 29, 1996.  ANGLE ON letterhead, salutation, quote, and signature.

                                                   

              TRASK (V.O.)

“Thank you for your recent letter expressing concerns you have relative to Morris Conklin.  It is with deep sorrow that I receive letters such as yours and hear of such concerns.  As you can appreciate, it becomes most difficult, from our vantage point, to make any kind of judgment not knowing all the facts.  With more than ll,000 churches across the nation, we must delegate the oversight of these churches and ministers to the districts.  We correspond with the district superintendents and request that they look into such matters.  We are, therefore, forwarding your letter to the district so that they can hear of your concern.  Please be assured that we have a great concern for our pastors and churches.” 

 

The reason the district superintendents wouldn’t do anything was that the Newell Assembly of God shielded Conklin.

 

EXT. STREET NEAR COLLEGE - DAY

 

Berry narration.

 

              BERRY

I had spoken to them on the phone, and they wouldn’t do anything about it. 

 

INT. BASEMENT – DAY

 

Berry tapes conversation with Trask in Springfield, Mo.

 

SUPER: Thomas Trask (General Superintendent of General Council Assembly of God) on phone - spring 1996

 

              BERRY

         (into phone)

The reason I’m making an issue out it, sir, is that in my particular case it was done for my calling former members of the church, asking why they left, and that is no justification to deliver someone to Satan and literally rip their lives to shreds, and that’s basically where I’m coming from.

 

              TRASK (V.O.)

I understand.

 

              BERRY

         (into phone)

Do you recall what I wrote?

 

              TRASK (V.O.)

Yes.

 

              BERRY

         (into phone)

Then you know what happened, the loss of property, the destruction of livestock, the legal problems...

 

              TRASK (V.O.)

         (sighing)

Right. 

 

INT. BASEMENT – DAY

 

Berry tapes conversation with WADE GOODALL in Springfield, Mo.

 

SUPER: Wade Goodall (General Council Assembly of God Coordinator of the Ministerial Enrichment Office) on phone - spring 1996

 

              BERRY

         (into phone)

What is the church dogma on I Corinthians 5:5 -– to deliver such a one unto Satan?  Can you tell me what that scripture means to you, please.

 

              GOODALL (V.O.)

Can you give me any background as to why you are asking the question?

 

              BERRY

         (into phone)

I had an ex-pastor use that scripture and I was wondering what the meaning of it was, I’d prefer not going into the details of it.

 

              GOODALL (V.O.)

         (confidently)

Well, the delivering someone over to Satan –- the enemy can have a heyday on someone, he can just beat the tar out of ‘em emotionally, can attack ‘em mentally.  When the enemy attacks a person –- he has tremendous power and authority to bring injury to a person, the devil does. 

 

Berry’s trust in the church continues to die.

 

EXT. NEAR RAPID CITY – NIGHT

 

On rural asphalt road ten miles north of town, 1972 light blue Ford Van has major BLOW-OUT near sign saying “Why die”.  Berry travels at approximately 45 MPH and has a difficult time controlling the van.  Van is brought to stop, right rear tire in SHREDS.  Berry gets out of van, looks at tire, and shakes his head.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

So, I decided to see what would happen if I sued them as far as getting some of the facts out in the open.  When I finished my Complaint against them July 28th, 1996, I went out in an old 1972 Ford Van that I owned.  Near Rapid City, the right, rear tire exploded near a sign saying “Why die”.  They put these signs up in South Dakota whenever there is a traffic fatality.

 

Berry was not seeking revenge, just fighting a war on psychic terror. 

 

EXT. STREET NEAR COLLEGE - DAY

 

Berry narration.

 

              BERRY

I filed a lawsuit pro se, received a response from the General Council Assembly of God for a Motion for Summary Judgment on October 31, 1996 which is Samhain.

 

EXT. MAILBOX FOR RANCH – DAY

 

Berry picks up mail, some of it for Reichert and some for Berry.  He sees letter from Helmers.  LETTER is postmarked October 30, 1996.

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

That is considered to be the worst satanic feast day...

 

This is the bad one.

 

INSERT - DEMON

 

A BIG DEMON dances for a moment.  This demon is not a midget, but full-sized.  It is similar to the previous demon, but it is black, not gray, it has fire coming out of its eyes, its body is like a rubbery substance that glows (with horns, bald head, scales, claws, bat wings, pointed ears, sinister smile, fangs).

 

              BERRY (V.O. cont’d)

...a feast of fire and of the dead.

 

INSERT - DEFENDANT’S MEMORANDUM

 

This is a court document that Helmers, Assembly of God attorney, wrote to defend the church.  ANGLE ON most of first page.

 

SUPER: Defendant’s Memorandum of Law in Support of its Motion for Summary Judgment - October 30, 1996

                                    

              HELMERS (V.O.)

“Defendant ASSEMBLY OF GOD, through its attorney of record, moves this Court for an Order granting Summary Judgment in Defendant’s favor, dismissing Plaintiff’s Complaint.  Plaintiff’s cause of action derives from his dismissal from membership in the Newell Assembly of God church.  He asserts the dismissal was “unjustified,” and that he suffered injuries through the operation of an alleged church doctrine (delivery to Satan)...”

 

INSERT – SATAN

 

The face of Satan in a cloud GLARES for a moment, as has been photographed in natural disasters.

 

MOTLEY CRUE song “Shout at the Devil” in b.g. (chorus only):  “Shout-shout-shout, shout at the Devil.”

 

              HELMERS (V.O. cont’d)

“...which was supposedly invoked at a dismissal meeting in May 1983.  Defendant is the General Council of the Assemblies of God.  Defendant disputes that such a church doctrine exists, and that any doctrinal practice was responsible for the claimed injuries beginning more than a decade ago.”

 

They are arrogant.

 

INSERT - PLAINTIFF’S STATEMENT

 

This is Berry’s response, a court document, to the Assembly of God’s defense.  In this document is a conversation between Berry and Goodall concerning the doctrine of I Corinthians 5:5.  ANGLE ON parts of page 3.

 

SUPER: Plaintiff’s Statement of Material Facts - November 12, 1996

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

“Well, let me read you something out of the Ryrie Study Bible, R-Y-R-I-E Study Bible.  Let me see if you agree with it.  ‘This evidently means that the church was to discipline this sinning brother by committing him to Satan’s domain, to Satan’s chastisement, the destruction or ruin of his body...”

 

INSERT – SATAN

 

Face of Satan in cloud glares for a moment.

 

Motley Crue song in b.g.:  “Shout-shout-shout, shout at the Devil.”

 

              GOODALL (V.O.)

“Right.”

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

“...through sickness or even death...”

 

              GOODALL (V.O.)

     “Right.”

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

“...Destruction does not mean annihilation, but ruin.’”

 

              GOODALL (V.O.)

     “Right.”

 

              BERRY (V.O.)

“This is the, how do you pronounce that, Ryrie...”

 

              GOODALL (V.O.)

     “Right, Ryrie Study Bible.”

 

Concerning the doctrine of I Corinthians 5:5, Goodall, Assembly of God official, admits that it does in fact exist.

 

INSERT - PLAINTIFF’S ANSWER  

 

In this court document is a conversation between Berry and Helmer