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Video tape believed to reveal satanic arson fire

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A video tape of a burning building, narrated by a whispering person believed to be a devil-worshipping arsonist, has sparked an intensified investigation after it was shown on national television, an official said Friday.

The homemade tape shows a raging fire burning at night. An eery voice whispers, 'Ancient spirit of evil. Look at it. The fire department trying to put it out. What a laugh.'

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The chilling narrative by an unseen person is punctuated with frenzied breathing and crazed laughter.

'Look at it Omar... this is what I've been doing all week's vacation... I said I'll do it... I said I'll do it.'

Investigators were given the tape after a family whose car had broken down found it Aug. 15, 1989, beside Highway 205 near Stockton, wrapped in an old military fatigue jacket.

The stale investigation was rekindled when the television program 'Unsolved Mysteries' featured it Wednesday night and received a record-breaking 1,100 calls from viewers.

Some thought they recognized the site or offered other clues.

Until now, investigators have had little to go on. With the tape, they found a skull and a pestle -- used to crush herbs -- and other evidence suggesting satanic rituals and worship.

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They believe the voice on the tape is that of the arsonist, but they don't know the location of the fire.

'The last year or so we've been trying to trace it, unsuccessfully,' said David LeMay, chief of law enforcement for the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The broadcast resulted in calls offering tips to identify the military patch found on the fatigue jacket and information about the meaning of 'Omar.'

Some viewers thought the fire was in the Redwood City-Woodside area of San Mateo County. Other leads pointed to Stockton, the Sacramento area and Arizona.

'We've got about eight places (on the tape) where people say, 'That looks familiar to me,'' LeMay said.

A team of investigators from the state forestry department is working on the case, along with the state fire marshal and the San Joaquin County arson task force.

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