COLUMBIA, 4/12/13 (Op Ed) --
All was not well at 2416 Cimarron Drive for a year preceding the murder of Brian Daniels
Columbia police had been called to his home 17 times since last May
. Harassment, larceny, sounding alarms, suspicious incidents. Something was up in the normally halcyon south Columbia neighborhood east of Forum and Chapel Hill. Wednesday, that something became Daniels death at the hands of an assailant or assailants unknown.
Immediately following reports of the homicide, I received comments and questions from the concerned. I started wondering, Who was the man with the lonely eyes and shadowy friends who dealt in Egyptian antiquities and wrote about indecipherable rituals?
The answer's simplicity would surprise me. D
a crew of Facebook friends
who give new meaning to the phrase, Through a glass, darkly --
very darkly. He also wrote extensively about his own take on ancient rituals. Part Egyptology, part Satanism, part Wiccan, and wholly out of this world, his philosophy is as hard to figure as the jargon he used to describe it on social media.
One has to wade through an ocean of archaic verbiage to get a look at the man within. "I hate violence," Daniels writes, but submerged in terminology -- "Thelemite, Sacerdoto, Primus" -- that blends together like gibberish.
"I believe in global de-militarization. I believe in the U.S. Constitution. The Founding Fathers were enlightened men."
Hmm. Sounds like some people I know. Sounds like things I believe, or with "global de-militarization," would like to believe in a perfect world.
But as I dived further into Daniels' otherworldly Facebook page, the hairs stood on my neck. Most of his friends are not
-- I repeat, NOT -- for the faint of heart. If you're judged by the company you keep, Brian Daniels was like no one I've ever met, no friend I've ever had.
Just as I was losing hope the man I was reading and hearing so much about was even remotely relatable (writers seek relatability above all), I picked up on a phrase so unusual, it only appears half dozen times on Google, all connected to Daniels.
Amid the descriptions -- "stone shamanism, ceremonial magick, templarism" -- I was sure it was just another page devoted to dark doings that would shroud any insight into the man.
I scrolled down, to the Guiding Force of eBay. The sacred texts behind the world's largest online auctioneer: Buyer and Seller Feedback.
I got my insight in a surprise bit of light.
"Quick response, fast payment a perfect ebayer! A valued customer. A+"
"A pleasure to do business with. Thank you. Excellent buyer A+++++"
"Thank you for an easy, pleasant transaction."
"No words express our gratitude for an honest and perfect buyer!!!! Thanks."
"Quick response and fast payment. THANKS!!"
The comments scrolled and scrolled, from customers and repeat customers and repeat repeat customers of Brian Daniels, aka Belos Sanctor.
So who was the man with the lonely eyes and shadowy friends who dealt in Egyptian antiquities and wrote about indecipherable rituals?
If hundreds of the toughest customers in the world are any guide, the answer is simple.
Brian Daniels was an honest man.
-- Mike Martin for the Columbia Heart Beat