The Crazy Real-Life Story Of The Satanic Panic

With Sam Smith’s…demonic performance at the 2023   Grammy Awards, all things Satanic  Panic seem to be back in the news.   But this recent trend actually has a long history  that stretches back to the Reagan administration. Satanic Panic was preceded by the  rise of evangelical Christianity that,  

In some opinions, cultivated a paranoid fear  of supernatural evil. This is exemplified by   the “evil empire” speech delivered by  President Ronald Reagan on March 8,   1983. The speech was delivered to the  National Association of Evangelicals,   shortly before Reagan was re-elected to a  second term. Though Reagan was talking about  

The Soviet Union, his use of concepts like good  versus evil spoke to a sea change in Americans’   relationship with religion, especially as many  joined the evangelical Christian movement. “We will never abandon our belief in God.” Because of this change, Reagan courted  the favor of the Moral Majority. The Moral  

Majority was a political action group formed  in 1979 by Baptist minister Jerry Falwell,   Sr. It successfully aligned itself with  conservative values and the political right,   setting the stage for the conservative  Republican politics that are still active in   the U.S. government. After Reagan’s election in  1980, his ties to the Moral Majority continued.

A growing number of Americans were taking part  in conservative Christianity that pushed back   against the more liberal cultural changes of the  1960s and 1970s and new religious practices like   the Church of Satan. Though the Church of  Satan was actually atheism dressed up like  

A carnival sideshow, from the outside it was  terrifying to Bible-believing evangelicals. As the 1980s progressed, it was clear  that mental health services were going   to be a more prominent part of American life.  However, the rise of legitimate psychologists,   psychiatrists, counselors, and other health  professionals was mirrored by the rise of  

Quack practitioners as well. Dubious  therapies like hypnotic regression also   helped to set the stage for a Satanic Panic  based on concepts like “recovered memories.” According to the British Psychological Society,  recovered memories are especially controversial   because they are often difficult to prove.  Additionally, they may be generated whole-cloth  

As patients ruminate on their experiences with  the help of over-eager therapists. Adding to   the confusion was the desire for fame and fortune,  which seemed to push many professionals to ignore   concerns as they gained renown for fighting  back against evil but unseen Satanists.

The proliferation of mandatory reporting laws  and strengthened child protection services over   the course of the latter 20th century is  also tied into the story. Unfortunately,   there’s no doubt that child abuse was a  persistent problem long before the 1980s. But,  

The growing attention towards abuse, paired with  rising concerns about the very soul of the nation,   primed a powder keg. With so many Americans  worried about evil in both its temporal and   supernatural forms, it now seems that  something explosive was bound to happen.

“Michelle Remembers,” published in 1980,  was the first work to claim that Satanic   practitioners were ritually abusing children.  Written by Michelle Smith and psychiatrist   Lawrence Pazder, the book contained lurid  stories of abuse uncovered during Smith’s   therapy sessions. It was during those sessions  that Pazder began to use hypnotic regression.

At first, these were worldly horrors  like purportedly witnessing a murder,   but as the sessions continued, the  recollections took on a paranormal tinge,   with graveyard rituals, consumption of human  remains, and even the Devil himself. At one point,   Michelle claims, occultists installed  horns and a tail into her own body.

“Michelle Remembers” has now been thoroughly  debunked, both because Pazder used unproven   methods and because no corroborating evidence  was uncovered. For those who believed that   well-organized Satanists were wreaking  havoc in the world, this was a stark,   terrifying confirmation. For others, it was  a graphic, compelling story that took hold of  

Their imaginations and made the changing world  all the more terrifying. For Smith and Pazder,   it was the ticket to a highly public and  lucrative career as speakers and consultants. “The book’s already a big bestseller!” “Did you realize that?” Though the writers of “Michelle Remembers” claimed  that a well-organized Satanic cult was operating  

In Canada, it wasn’t long before the Satanic Panic  hit the U.S. In California, the McMartin preschool   case proved to be one of the most expensive and  traumatic legal affairs to stem from the panic. It began with a call made in August 1983.  Judy Johnson, whose son went to the McMartin  

Preschool in Manhattan Beach, California, told  the police that her son had been abused by a   teacher. In a letter, she also said that her  son witnessed the teacher, Raymond Buckey,   flying through the air. His mother and school  administrator Peggy McMartin Buckey supposedly  

Took Johnson’s son to an armory where a “goatman”  was present in a “ritual-type atmosphere.” “Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?” During the investigation, police sent a  letter to the parents that graphically   referred to “possible criminal  acts” and named Raymond Buckey.  

This set off a panic. When interviewed, most  children at first denied that anything happened   but questionable interview techniques  pushed them to make lurid confessions. The court case that followed dragged  on for years and cost $15 million. It   fizzled into nothing after investigators found  no evidence to support the claims. Eventually,  

Judy Johnson’s initial testimony was  brought into question. After her death,   it was revealed that she had been  diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Many of the children interviewed for the McMartin  preschool investigation spoke with Kee MacFarlane.   MacFarlane and her team, none of whom were  licensed, spoke to hundreds of children.

MacFarlane employed controversial techniques. One  assistant told children that others had already   divulged their “yucky secrets” in an effort  to defeat the teachers who were “sick in the   head.” The investigator even directly asked at  least one girl if “Mr. Ray” did the touching.  

When the girl denied this, the investigator  repeatedly asked how Mr. Ray “would have”   touched someone until the girl pointed to an  anatomically correct doll’s private parts. Could young children, who spoke of  secret tunnels beneath the school,   goatmen, and flying teachers, be trusted  when investigators like MacFarlane goaded  

Them on? In at least one exchange, quoted  by The New York Times, she told a child, “You’re just a scaredy cat.  How come you won’t tell me?” These and other dubious techniques spread  throughout the Satanic Panic. Investigators,   some of whom helped to imprison  accused people for years,  

Relied on unproven techniques like  the analysis of children’s drawings,   how they played with toys, and interviews  packed full of leading questions. As the panic grew, police departments began to  train officers for what seemed to be a rising   tide of Satanism. At least, that’s what people  like Kee MacFarlane believed. MacFarlane, the  

Unlicensed investigator who worked on the McMartin  preschool case, told California legislators that, “Preschools in this country in some  instances I think we must realize have   become a ruse of larger unthinkable  networks of crimes against children.” Police training for the Satanic Panic has  come into question. The training taught  

Police investigators to treat everything  from graffitied pentagrams to heavy metal   music as evidence of occult activity. One  document from the Chicago Police Department,   assembled by a “gang crimes and  ritual abuse specialist” in 1989,   alleged that even the innocuous peace symbol  was really an occultic “Cross of Nero.”

While paranoia grew within police departments,  practically no evidence uncovered a vast,   satanic conspiracy. Yet, people like Lawrence  Pazder, who co-wrote “Michelle Remembers” and   helped to set off the panic, remained in  high demand as a paid “expert” consultant.

As part of the Satanic Panic, people began to  grow wary of the imagery and culture of heavy   metal music. Tipper Gore, wife of then-Senator Al  Gore, helped to form the Parents Music Resource   Center in 1985. The PMRC was founded with  the intent to give parents greater control  

Over children’s access to music with violent  or sexual imagery, including occult themes.   It was tied to the same moral fears that gave  rise to the Satanic Panic. At the same time,   police departments and investigators were told  to be especially wary of metal music, which  

They were told contained hidden occult messages  that led teens along a dark, otherworldly path. “Well I know he and his friends  listened to devil music.” “The night Chicago died?” The paranoia surrounding the  look and sound of metal music   very nearly killed Damien Echols. Along  with Jessie Miskelley and Jason Baldwin,  

Echols was convicted of the 1993 assault  and murder of three boys in West Memphis,   Arkansas. The three young men were eventually  called the “West Memphis Three.” The evidence   linking the trio to the murder was scant and  largely circumstantial. The convictions were  

Based in part on their goth aesthetic and love of  metal music, which investigators linked to occult   elements that were supposedly identified  at the crime scene, but never confirmed. Though Echols was initially sentenced to death,   all three have now been released from prison. The  true killer of the boys has never been identified.

While people grew frantic at the prospect of  satanic groups abusing children, real people   were being convicted on little evidence. Some,  like Damien Echols of the West Memphis Three,   just barely escaped execution. Others  were imprisoned for many years,   only to be released when people questioned the  evidence presented. A few remain in prison today.

Frank and Ileana Fuster were arrested in August  1984. They were charged with committing abuse at   their home daycare in Miami, Florida. Janet Reno,  then serving as the Dade County state attorney,   prosecuted the couple based on child  testimony, a single medical test,  

And Ileana Fuster’s confession. Some argued  that the children were pushed to confess,   much like the minors in the McMartin preschool  case. Furthermore, Ileana eventually recanted,   maintaining her innocence while saying she  simply wanted the ordeal to be over. She   was imprisoned for three years and  then deported to Honduras in 1989.

A 1990 made-for-TV movie, “Unspeakable Acts,”  may have influenced public perception of the   case. Frank is still in prison today. Though the  evidence presented at the Fuster’s investigation   and trial was shaky, the truth remains that  Frank had prior convictions. This points to the  

Distinct possibility that some children, both  in the Fuster case and beyond, may be genuine   abuse victims whose stories are overshadowed  by claims of conspiracies and the supernatural. Though the U.S. seemed to be the heart of  a mysterious network of Satanic abusers,  

The panic spread outwards into other countries.  In 1992, it struck Martensville, Saskatchewan. A   local daycare was targeted after children claimed  to have been abused by the people working there.   Some claimed to have been taken to a blue shed  outside of town, which they called the “Devil  

Church.” It was there that they were supposedly  trapped in cages and made to participate in blood   rituals. The accusations went to trial  in 1993, but further scrutiny brought   police investigation techniques into question.  Though some of the accused were convicted, the  

Vast majority of their sentences were overturned  after authorities failed to produce any evidence. In 1997, Italy experienced its own Satanic Panic  with the “Devils of Lower Modena.” After a local   parent referred her child to a psychologist to  counter possible abuse, it spun into a widespread  

And paranoid investigation. Children claimed  that they were made to participate in murders,   blasphemies, and gory nighttime rituals held in  cemeteries. Sixteen children were removed from   their families and six people were convicted.  As in so many other cases of Satanic Panic,  

No one ever uncovered proof that satanic  ritual abuse or murder had taken place. Media outlets began to grow skeptical of the  moral panic beginning in the late 1980s. In 1992,   the U.S. Department of Justice published a study  written by Special Agent Kenneth Lanning that  

Debunked the whole affair. Lanning, who was a  consultant on hundreds of Satanic Panic cases,   criticized the mutable definitions  of Satanism used by law enforcement   agencies. He also noted that some of the  alarming symbols used by “Satanists” were   ultimately innocuous things like heavy  metal music and role-playing games.

By 1995, a television film  produced by HBO, “Indictment:   The McMartin Trial,” marked the  growing disbelief surrounding the   specter of satanic ritual abuse.  The movie portrayed Ray Buckey,   the accused man at the center of the McMartin  preschool trial, as a victim of moral panic.

That doesn’t mean the Satanic Panic was  entirely over. A training film called the   “Law Enforcement Guide to Satanic Cults” was  produced in 1994. Cases bearing the marks of   the panic are still in the court system. The  “Devils of Lower Modena” case that supposedly  

Centered on satanic ritual abuse in Italy was  still being argued in court as recently as 2019. Though it’s now largely derided by mental health  professionals, belief in ritual abuse committed   by a highly organized and efficient underground  group of devil worshippers is still out there. One  

Therapist practicing in Salt Lake City, Barbara  Snow, was put on probation for reportedly planting   memories of satanic ritual abuse in her patients.  Snow, who is still a practicing therapist,   at one time treated Teal Swan, a controversial  spiritual leader. Swan maintained that she had  

Been the victim of Satanists. The investigation  on her behalf stalled when Snow came under fire.

#Crazy #RealLife #Story #Satanic #Panic

Are Satan Worshippers Real?

– Hail oh deathless one. Who calls me from out of the pits? – [Voiceover] You can turn back now or learn the stuff they don’t want you to know. Here are the facts. In the 1980’s and 90’s people across the united states were convinced that satan worshippers worked in secret across the country. Stealing children for dark rights. Sacrificing animals and innocents and practicing sorcery.

In what became known as, “The Satanic Panic.” Numerous people alleged that they had been ritually abused during their childhood. They claimed that hypnosis and regression therapy revealed these long suppressed memories. Yet, when authorities investigated they ultimately found no proof to back up the accusations. Today the deluge of reports is considered part of

A moral panic. Like McCarthyism or witch hunts. Many people wondered if actual theistic satan worshippers existed at all. So, are there any real devil worshippers? Here’s where it gets crazy. Yes, though perhaps not the way you’d assume. Before we find devil worshippers we have to define the devil itself.

That’s tougher than it sounds. Afterall, one religion’s god may often be another group’s satan. Consider the Yazidis ethnic group. Often called devil worshippers by the nearby Muslim majority. The Yazidis worship an angel called, “Melek Taus.” Who in their religion refused God’s command to bow to Adam.

This bears great resemblance to stories of Shatam and Muslim lore. But the Yazidis don’t consider Melek Taus an evil deity. A similar disconnect occurs between gnostics and mainstream Christians. There are generally two broad camps in the world of genuine satan worship. Symbolic and theistic. The symbolic satan worshippers

Believe in philosophical aspects of satan as a concept. Or satan as an ideology. The theistic satan worshippers believe in a supernatural entity that can interact with the mortal world. Of these theistic satanists, many follow a Lucifer erratically different from the common Christian depiction.

Not an evil force, so much as a disruptive innovative one. Are there really any theistic satanists who genuinely believe they worship an inferno evil deity? While the tales of massive satanic conspiracies don’t seem to bear any fruit. There have been isolated cases of violent criminal acts

Carried out by people claiming to worship satan. And not just any ancient past either. In 2005, Louisiana pastor Louis Lamonica turned himself into the Livingston detective, Stan Carpenter. Lamonica listed in detail, ritualized child abuse that he and other members of his congregation participated in for a number of years.

This included things like animal sacrifice, ritual masks, and dedication of a child to satan. In 2011, Moises Maraza Espinoza confessed to killing his mother as part of satanic right. And there are a number of other proving crimes involving the use of satanic symbols and purported rituals. However, these crimes are not all representative

Of the satanic community. The majority of which, is law abiding. Despite these cyclical allegations of widespread, large scale of networks of devil worshippers, there simply hasn’t been any solid universally acknowledged proof. Those who believe in the conspiracies say the powerful groups have too much control to be reported.

And they point to other supposedly buried reports of abuse. Such as the infamous Franklin Case. Instead it seems that the only individuals or groups actually doing all of those sterotypical satanic things from Hollywood horror films are isolated and quite possibly, insane. Unless of course, there’s something more to the story.

Something they don’t want you to know. – So here comes satanism. Most of us would like to write off as harmless antics by some lunatic fringe. A few years ago maybe, but not now. We have seen that satanism can be linked to child abuse and murder. It has lead seemingly normal teenagers into monstrous behavior. They preach mysticism.

Other people, however, practice evil. And that is why we brought you this report tonight.

#Satan #Worshippers #Real

Satanic Panic & The Dangers of Cultural Hysteria

When you think about activities commonly seen at  a preschool, things like naps, games, and Play-Doh   sculptures probably come to mind. One thing that  definitely would not is boiling and eating babies.   At least, not unless you grew up in the 1980s,  when reports of daycare centers engaging in  

Satanic rituals were widely circulated and readily  believed. People went to jail for years based on   little more than a widespread conviction that  the devil’s minions were corrupting—and sometimes   devouring—our children. It was a mass hysteria  that grew to include Oprah, the Smurfs, and  

Even McDonald’s. It’s the story of satanic panic,  and it’s next on this installment of Throwback.   Welcome back to the series where we take a  deep dive into some of the most fascinating   pop culture stories and events you  might remember from your childhood.  

I’m your host, Erin McCarthy, and this  episode is a bit of a departure from   the fun stories we’ve been telling you about  how your favorite toys and games came to be. Satanic panic was a phenomenon that swept  North America, and at the height of the craze,  

You basically couldn’t open up the newspaper or  turn on the news without hearing about subliminal   messages hidden in rock music, pagan symbols in  cartoons, or criminal trials involving teachers   engaging in human sacrifice. As outlandish as  all of this seems now, it was a very real concern  

Back then thanks to a mixture of urban legends,  unqualified experts, and an overzealous media.   And while no babies were actually eaten, the whole  ordeal still managed to ruin a lot of lives.   If there was any biggest cause of satanic panic,  

It may have been a book that came out of the  otherwise eminently rational country of Canada.   That’s right: the same place that gave  us international treasures Michael J.   Fox and Celine Dion also opened the door to a  decade of demonic conspiracies. Here’s how.  

It’s fair to say that Satan was kind of a big deal  in the 1970s. Novelist William Peter Blatty scored   a huge hit in 1971 with The Exorcist, a story  of demonic possession that Blatty claimed was   loosely inspired by a real exorcism performed  by the Catholic Church. The book was followed  

By a film adaptation in 1973 that continued those  claims and was so shocking that there were reports   of people fainting during screenings. Films like  The Omen and The Amityville Horror followed,   placing the focus squarely on paranormal  events that used religious iconography  

To make their stories more believable. Thanks to figures like Charles Manson, ritualized   evil didn’t seem that far-fetched. And with the  general public having some idea of the occult,   it wasn’t hard for them to believe in a story  involving satanism and abuse. That set the stage  

For the 1980 book Michelle Remembers, where a  psychiatrist named Lawrence Pazder detailed what   he claimed was the true story of patient Michelle  Smith, an adult who underwent over 600 hours of   hypnosis to recall long-repressed memories of  being involved in a satanic cult as a child.  

With shocking stories of abuse, sacrifice,  and demonic rituals, Michelle Remembers   caused a stir and was widely seen as a legitimate  chronicle of a horrific underground movement.   But there was a problem. While Pazder insisted  Michelle Smith’s memories were genuine,  

They didn’t stand up to closer scrutiny. She said  rituals took place in a cemetery in Victoria,   Canada, in the 1950s. But no residents ever  reported anything strange happening there.   She also said priests in this  cult had to lop off a finger,  

But no one in Victoria remembered  anyone walking around missing a digit.   Even though reporters expressed some doubts  about Pazder’s book, it went on to become a   huge success and may have made subsequent  reports of satanic activity more plausible  

In the eyes of the public. And there would be  a lot of those reports in the years to come.   One of the most common myths during  the height of satanic panic was the   idea that family-friendly corporations  were secretly in league with the devil.  

These urban legends actually predate Michelle  Remembers in some cases, and the earliest victim   may have been Ronald McDonald. In October  1978, McDonald’s felt compelled to publicly   announce that franchise founder Ray Kroc was not  a financial supporter of the Church of Satan.  

The story started when McDonald’s got a letter  from a woman in Ohio asking why Kroc donated   20 percent of the company’s profits to a satanic  cause. McDonald’s dismissed the question as silly   until more letters started coming in along the  same lines. Before long, bags of letters demanding  

To know why the Golden Arches were part of a  demonic cabal were arriving, and the company was   forced to comment on what was probably their worst  PR problem until the arrival of the McPizza.   According to the Reverend John McFarland of  the Kenmore Church of God in Akron, Ohio,  

A parishioner told him that she saw Ray Kroc admit  to being a supporter of the Church of Satan on   The Phil Donahue Show. McFarland was shocked. He  hadn’t seen the show for himself, but he took her   at her word and published details in the church’s  newsletter, Moments of Sunshine. Pretty soon,  

The story was in other church newsletters. Like  a game of telephone, it spiraled out of control,   with some believing that Kroc gave the Church  of Satan 50 percent of the company’s profits.   Because people were opposed to the idea of  buying Happy Meals if part of the proceeds  

Went to the Church of Satan, McDonald’s sent  executives out to churches with sworn statements   from television executives insisting Kroc never  said those things. He actually was on The Phil   Donahue Show in May 1977, and the episode was  repeated in June 1978, but at no point did he  

Express a desire to financially support devil  worship. McFarland published a retraction in   his newsletter, but that didn’t get nearly  as much attention as the original rumor.   Another major company to suffer  from hearsay was Procter & Gamble,  

The famous household products corporation. Take  a look at their old logo and you’ll see 13 stars.   Starting in 1980, word began to spread that  the stars were secretly the mark of the devil.   So many people believed this that Procter & Gamble  actually set up a toll-free number for consumers  

To call and hear a recording reassuring them that  their laundry soap was not being used to support   Satan. The stars were actually chosen back in  1882 to represent the country’s original 13   colonies. Thanks to the rumor, however, Procter  & Gamble soon got rid of the century-old logo.  

Throughout the 1980s, a number of children’s  characters were accused of being in league   with the devil, or at least with what some called  heathen gods. ThunderCats was purportedly intended   to promote Eastern mysticism; the He-Man and  Snake Mountain playset supposedly invoked demonic  

Imagery because kids could use a microphone  to deepen their voices and pretend to be evil;   the Smurfs were blue and had black lips.  That could be construed as being corpse-like,   making the Smurfs members of the  undead. Or, I guess, to be technical,  

Members of the smurf-dead. Not even Rainbow Brite was safe.   According to some interpretations, the beauty  mark on her cheek was actually a pentagram.   But no toy or game took more of a beating than  Dungeons and Dragons. First released in 1974, the  

Tabletop game put players in the roles of heroes  and sorcerers using magic spells to face off   against various monsters. For those who believed  popular culture was steeped in satanic messaging,   this was all the proof they needed. The  controversy grew even stronger in 1979,  

When a 16-year-old Michigan State University  college student named James Egbert disappeared.   Friends told authorities he was a fan of Dungeons  and Dragons, which somehow led to investigators   becoming convinced he had gotten lost in the  underground steam tunnels near the college after  

Getting too immersed in a gaming session. The truth wasn’t quite so sensational,   but it was tragic. Among other things, Egbert was  apparently stressed over having advanced so far   in school at such a young age. He was dealing with  personal problems and had decided to run away.  

Sadly, he died by suicide not long after. But  the story of his becoming obsessed with the   game persisted, and a made-for-television movie  called Mazes and Monsters was produced in 1982   that kept the narrative alive. Inspired by the  Egbert case, it was one of the first starring  

Roles for an aspiring actor named Tom Hanks. Parents grew so concerned over Dungeons and   Dragons that one even formed a group called  BADD, or Bothered About Dungeons and Dragons. The   controversy hardly dissuaded people from playing  the game, though. In 1982, TSR, which manufactured  

The game and its accessories, sold $16 million  in rulebooks. For some, panic meant profit.   Even if you’re not familiar with satanic  panic, you’ve probably heard of the idea   that certain songs played backward in  a technique known as backmasking reveal   subliminal messages. Rock music was especially  susceptible to those accusations in the 1980s,  

When bands like Led Zeppelin and The  Rolling Stones were charged with hiding   their support of the devil in their records. The whole concept of satanic messages being   audible when music is played backward probably  has roots in the work of Aleister Crowley. The  

Infamous early 20th century occultist advised that  you could train yourself to think backwards by,   among other things, learning  to speak backwards and even   listening to phonograph records in reverse. In the case of one band, the possibility of   hidden lyrics led to a lawsuit. In December  1985, two friends, 18-year-old Raymond Belknap  

And 20-year-old James Vance, ended a night  of drinking by agreeing to a suicide pact.   Belknap died, while Vance was left with severe  injuries. Vance’s parents sued the band Judas   Priest for $6.2 million because both young men  had been fans of their music and rumors persisted  

That hidden messages like “do it” and “let’s be  dead” were buried in songs like “Better by You,   Better Than Me.” The civil case went to court  in 1990, with audio experts playing the songs   backward and forward at different speeds.  Ultimately, a judge ruled that the plaintiffs  

Didn’t prove subliminal messages were deliberately  placed on the album and the band wasn’t liable.   In fact, it’s not really possible to write lyrics  that can make sense when played both normally and   backwards. When words or phrases are apparently  discernible when something’s played in reverse,  

It’s really just the brain trying to make sense of  gibberish. That might be why when two evangelists   from Ohio insisted in 1986 that the theme  song to the 1960s television sitcom Mr. Ed   contained demonic messages like “the source is  Satan” and “someone heard this song for Satan,”  

Even they admitted it probably wasn’t  done by the producers on purpose.   As silly as some of these examples are,   satanic panic also led to some very  serious and life-altering consequences.   In 1983, one mother accused an employee of  the McMartin preschool in Manhattan Beach,  

California, of molesting her child,  triggering a massive investigation   that went back two decades and eventually grew  to include seven employees of the preschool   and 360 children who said they had been abused. As the investigation continued, the claims of   the children grew increasingly bizarre.  Some said a teacher flew through the air.  

Others claimed they were forced to  witness the sacrifice of other children.   At the heart of this sensational story  was Children’s Institute International,   a child advocacy group that was responsible  for interviewing kids about their traumatic   experiences. While their approach to interviewing  the children was not ostensibly intended to be  

Coercive, many of the kids heard declarative  statements like “we know what happened,   just tell us,” and felt compelled to repeat or  make up stories of abuse, including details of   satanic worship. If they refuted allegations,  they might be told they were too scared to talk.  

In an interview with The Los Angeles Times in  2005, one man, now an adult, reflected back on   his experience with investigators as a child.  He said that he would be asked questions over   and over again until he learned to give them the  answer they wanted. And because he had siblings in  

The McMartin school, he wanted them to be safe.  To a kid, it felt like doing the right thing.   Many of these interviewing  techniques were later discredited.   No physical evidence was ever produced to  support the kids’ claims, and some later  

Admitted to lying in order to tell authorities  what they thought they wanted to hear.   But at the time, the McMartin case was being used  as a template. Other places, like Rogers Park Day   Care, had employees arrested over accusations  that they boiled and ate infants. Social workers  

Involved in the McMartin case were cited as  experts in such cases, lending them credibility.   At least one police department even had a pamphlet  for law enforcement to use when investigating   suspected ritualistic criminal activity. The McMartin case lasted six years,  

The longest and most expensive trial in the  history of California up to that time. One   of the “experts” consulted on the case was  actually Lawrence Pazder, author of Michelle   Remembers. In the end, the defendants were all  exonerated, but one, an employee named Ray Buckey,  

Served five years in prison before the  charges against him were dismissed. In a separate case with even  more disastrous consequences,   Dan and Fran Keller of Texas served nearly  22 years following convictions in a case that   included accusations they served blood to children  in their daycare, among other horrible acts. They  

Were eventually released and declared innocent. The fallout doesn’t end there. There’s also been   an untold mental toll on the children who  were forced to discuss these gruesome scenes,   as well as parents who spent years believing their  children had been assaulted. All of it was due to  

A strong belief that kids were being subjected to  horrible atrocities that didn’t actually exist.   Satanic panic persisted through the end of  the 1980s, with television personalities   like Oprah Winfrey and Geraldo Rivera devoting  air time to the topic. Always one for subtlety,  

Geraldo estimated that over one million Satanists  were lurking in communities across the country,   perpetuating the fear of the devil being just  around the corner. But after the McMartin case was   debunked and the Department of Justice stated that  there’s never been any evidence of any ritualistic  

Satanic sex abuse cults, the idea seemed to  evaporate. Concerned parents went on to worry   about other things, like violent video games. So why did satanic panic endure for as long as it   did? Some people believe it was a textbook case of  mass hysteria, not unlike the Salem witch trials.  

Urban legends were able to take on a new strength  because children were seemingly in danger.   Other times, a lack of evidence meant  people could believe what they wanted.   After all, there was no proof Ray Kroc  didn’t donate to the Church of Satan.  

And while it might sound odd now, we’re still  telling a lot of the same stories today, from   killer clowns to strangers lurking in backseats. Our next episode will be about a much more fun   topic, I promise. And if you have an  idea for a future episode of Throwback,  

Pop it in the comments below. I’m  Erin McCarthy. Thanks for watching.

#Satanic #Panic #Dangers #Cultural #Hysteria

What was the Satanic Panic?

– Back in the ’80s and early ’90s, a wave of troubling accusations swept across North America. – New and intense scrutiny on the activities of Satanic cults. – [Reporter] Stories of devil worship and Satanic cults corrupting young minds– – Unbelievable crime at the hands of Satanic cults.

– There were terrifying tales of secret Satanic cults bent on tormenting and corrupting the young. Heavy metal music had hidden Satanic messages. – Possibly Satanic messages on some rock music recordings. – Games like Dungeons and Dragons were luring kids to devil worship, and it got even stranger.

– The allegations of physical and sexual abuse of children at a babysitting service. – The dark world of ritualistic child abuse. – [Reporter] There’s a widely held opinion that what happened at the daycare was the devil’s handiwork. – Underground networks of Satanists were infiltrating daycares and preschools

To physical and sexually abuse children in occult rituals. Much of what fueled the panic was not real, but these claims led to a wave of high-profile criminal trials in the US, Canada, and beyond. The cases often followed a similar pattern, an initial report of physical or sexual abuse at a daycare would snowball, taking on a life of its own. Overzealous interveners, everyone from parents to police to counselors would question children, some as young as two years old, in ways now known to produce false allegations.

Children began to talk about animal sacrifices, blood rituals, secret tunnels, even cannibalism. Police would lay charges, prosecutors would take them to court, and the media would report uncritically on what seemed to be a growing threat. – [Reporter] Authorities searched frantically for evidence of an apparent ritual abuse epidemic across North America.

– Some cases would fall apart at trial or during appeal. Others resulted in wrongful convictions. Many of the accused spent years in prison, while others faced financial ruin and damaged reputations. As it turns out, the Satanic Panic may have its origins in Canada. When asked about the spark that set off the hellfire,

Many experts point to this book, “Michelle Remembers”, published in 1980, written by Canadian Psychiatrist Lawrence Pazder, and his former patient Michelle Smith. The book provided a template for the allegations of Satanic ritual abuse that followed. Pazder claimed he helped Smith recover repressed memories from her early childhood of a terrifying initiation

Into a secret cabal of Satanists operating near Victoria, British Columbia. – They would put me in cages. They would sacrifice animals. They would have a lot of candles, and chanting, and bizarre things I had never seen. – Did people think this was a fantasy? That you made this all up?

It was such hocus pocus that it couldn’t possibly have happened? – Well, I was one of the first to stand up and start to recount these kinds of things to bring it publicly. – There was no evidence or witnesses to Smith’s account, yet Pazder presented the book as a true story.

– The hard evidence is difficult to find, because if a child is sacrificed, that child’s body isn’t gonna be left. If it’s an Orthodox Satanic cult they’re going to burn the body and they’re going to eat it during ceremony so they’ll leave no evidence around.

– “Michelle Remembers” is also one of the first books to suggest that underground Satanic networks were not only real, but were infiltrating communities in and organized effort. Anyone could be a Satanist, your nextdoor neighbor, your dentist, or your daycare provider. It was an idea that stuck with many readers.

– The book is called “Michelle Remembers”. – The book became an overnight sensation, and Pazder and Smith received a lucrative publishing deal, about $1.2 million in today’s dollars. It also established Pazder as a sought-after expert on the burgeoning phenomenon of ritual abuse, a term he coined himself.

There was even talk of a movie deal with Dustin Hoffman playing Pazder. For the McMartin Pre-School trial in Manhattan Beach, California where seven daycare workers were accused of ritually abusing children, Pazder was flown down to be an expert consultant in Satanic cults for the prosecution. In another ritual abuse case in Bakersfield, California,

“Michelle Remembers” was used as training material by social workers who believed they had uncovered an extensive Satanic pedophile ring. Specialists in Satanic ideology were suddenly in high demand as more and more ritual abuse cases went to trial. In Austin, Texas, another self-styled Satanic cult expert was used to secure the convictions

Of daycare owners Dan and Fran Keller, who spent decades in prison before being exonerated. It became increasingly common to see ritual crime training seminars led by psychologists, church groups, and even the police. This is former FBI agent Ken Lanning, who studied the spread of the panic in the ’80s.

– [Ken] All the people network with each other, and they’d all get together and goes to seminars and discussions, and they’d be told, “This is what Satanists do and this is how they do it.” And so all that is planted through the use of these kinds of techniques, hypnosis and other ways,

That cause the spread of this kind of stuff. So many people say, “Well, you can’t identify these cases “unless you’ve been trained to learn about them.” And some of that training becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. – The commercial success of “Michelle Remembers” inspired dozens of copy-cat memoirs, which further amplified the perception

That Satanic ritual abuse was widespread, but there was never any evidence of a Satanic conspiracy. In 1994, a psychologist from the University of California researched over 12,000 accusations of ritual abuse, but found no substantiated reports of organzied Satanic groups who sexually abused children. In later years, as the panic died down,

Pazder tried to distance himself from the claims he made in “Michelle Remembers”. – I’m not there to believe or not believe, I’m there to try and understand what they’re trying to tell me of an experience. Whether that has actually happened to them or that is their way of trying to express

A profound pain that they’ve experienced. – But neither he nor Smith ever publicly renounced the book’s allegations. This strange period of moral hysteria serves as a reminder of what can happen when we abandon the pursuit of facts for a more sensational fiction. The question is have we learned our lesson?

I’m Lisa Bryn Rundle, host of “Uncover Satanic Panic”. You can listen to the series now on the CBC Listen App or wherever you get your podcasts. – Is there a well-organized plot, an insidious design right now to program and influence the minds of our children towards the occult and witchcraft?

#Satanic #Panic