Utah charlatan attempts to revive Satanic panic

I recently quoted from Mere Christianity, a passage in which C.S. Lewis warns against seeking “the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible.”

That temptation, Lewis says, is “the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils.”

That’s how it works. We can seek good and seek to do good. Or instead we can seek to feel good by reassuring ourselves that at least we’re better than others. And the worse we make those others out to be, the better we can make ourselves feel. That “process” leads inexorably to pretending that those others are superlatively evil so that, by comparison, we can pretend that we are superlatively good.

Once you understand that process, you understand why so much of the rhetoric of American evangelicalism has come to be overrun with Satanazis. Those are the forms of superlative evil in our popular imagination — Satan and Nazis — and thus those are the things that this process inevitably leads us to accuse others of being.

It’s as old as the original blood libel and as contemporary as the latest radio broadcast from the American Family Association. The Satanic baby-killers may be a figment of our imagination, but that hasn’t stopped us from reshaping American Christianity in opposition to them.

All of which brings us to this story from the (Provo, Utah) Daily Herald:Surviving Satan worship: Author helps victims heal.”

It reads like a flashback to the Satanic panic of the 1980s. The delusion and paranoid fantasizing in this story might be comical, unless you remember Michelle Remembers, or the West Memphis 3, or the thousands of other lives ruined during that period of transitional mass-hysteria.

The Daily Herald — a newspaper with, apparently, no editors or ethics — tells us about Judy Byington:

Byington is an authority on Satanists, and as a clinical social worker she spent years helping others heal from wounds so deep most would shrink from the task. With the permission of her clients, she has written about one woman’s experience of growing up within a coven and surviving. The book is called “Twenty-Two Faces.”

“This is a huge breaking story validating the existence of human sacrifices of children in our society,” Byington said.

No. No it isn’t. This is a huge steaming pile of nonsense validating nothing other than that Judy Byington is a self-righteous fool seeking other self-righteous fools so that she can separate them from their money.

One of few surviving chosen sacrifices from a Black Temple ceremony, Jenny Hill is the subject of Byington’s book “Twenty-Two Faces,” published by Tate Publishing. …

“Secret ceremonies in which malevolent men and women cloaked in hooded robes, hiding behind painted faces and chanting demonic incantations while inflicting sadistic wounds on innocent children lying on makeshift altars, or tied to inverted crosses, sounds like the stuff of which B-grade horror movies are made,” Byington writes in closing her 428-page work. “Some think amoral religious cults only populate the world of ‘Rosemary’s Baby,’ but don’t exist in real life. Or do they? Ask Jenny Hill.”

The reason this “sounds like the stuff of which B-grade horror movies are made” is that those movies are the source of the evil fantasies Byington is desperately pretending to believe in. It’s the same familiar stew of blood libel, Jack Chick, Vincent Price, Alice Cooper and Mike Warnke served up yet again as “a huge breaking story.” For someone so determined to live in an imaginary world, Byington has a dreadfully unoriginal imagination.

Part of what’s most disturbing about this article is that both Byington and the Daily Herald staff are so cheerfully titillated by all of this. They know they’re just playing make-believe, so they’re able to enjoy the thrills that come from imagining such things.

Others, however, haven’t had the luxury of a life so far removed from real evil that fantasies of Satanic baby-killers seem gleefully exciting. And I should note that some of the excerpt that follows could be upsetting for those who aren’t in on the game.

… Byington claims others remain at the mercy of the dark priests of hell. Satan worshippers live in Happy Valley and elsewhere in Utah, according to the author.

They have secret combinations. They live in duplicity. They torture and sacrifice the innocent. They give birth in secret so the babies they sacrifice have no birth certificate record. They take the time to learn speaking Latin backwards from what is called the Black Bible.

… “I remember back when Jenny and I started to write her biography. At the time I had given myself a pseudonym to put as the author,” Byington said. “Then Jenny told me she wanted her real name on the book. She had pure faith that Heavenly Father wanted this story told. He would protect her and she would be exposing the truth, not hiding behind it.”

She said she decided that if Hill, who at age 5 had been forced to kill a tiny baby with a knife, raped by her father every Thursday for years, tortured, mind controlled, witnessed the murder of an unknown child, and threatened with death if she ever told anyone — she could be brave enough to use her real name on the book, too.

For Byington, this brazen bullshit is just part of the game. For her it’s nothing more than a source of self-righteous titillation and, she hopes, lucrative royalties.

But as we learned in the 1980s, this game is not harmless.

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  • Jay

    There’s  a political angle, too.  Witch hunts (which is what these are) can be used by the powerful to distract the masses.  Fox News would much rather the gullible think witches are the source of their problems than bankers.

  • Launcifer

    Fox News would much rather the gullible think witches are the source of their problems than bankers.

    You know, not to immediately derail this thread, but that doesn’t necessarily track from observing what we see of US reporting of bankers’ behaviour on my side of the Atlantic.

    There’s investigations and allegations aplenty; it’s just that they all appear to be focussing on banks with links to Great Britain – like Lloyds TSB, HSBC, Barclays and now Standard Chartered. That’s not to say there’s no truth to what’s being said – I strongly suspect that laundering money for dictatorships and drug lords while fixing international interest rates is just the tip of an enormous iceberg – but I do struggle to believe that banks in the US haven’t been actively engaged in precisely the same shady practices for years.

    A cynical man might suspect that it’s really a concerted effort to reduce British influence on the market while deflecting scrutiny away from banks in the US.

  • Jeff Weskamp

    Some folks will point to the Matamoros Killings carried by Aldolfo Constanzo and his followers as proof that Satanic mass killing can indeed occur.  But here’s the difference: we have incontrovertible *proof* that the Matamoros Killings took place.  People were reported missing in that area.  Body parts were found and identified.  Physical evidence linking the victims to Constanzo’s gang was documented.  We have names, dates, and places.  *None* of the tales told by the Satanic Panic promoters have even the *slightest* bit of documented evidence.  They’re all pretty much anecdotes.

  • aunursa

    I recently quoted from Mere Christianity, a passage in which C.S. Lewis warns against seeking “the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible.”

    My Irony Alert Meter just blew up.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

     I don’t see why.

  • aunursa

    It has trouble processing instances of extreme hypocrisy.  The last time I had to had it repaired was last year when the NFL followed the implementation of stricter penalties designed to improve player safety by considering the addition of two games to its regular season.

  • Hth

     I know, I thought it was really inappropriate how Fred accused Judy Byington of being a serial killer with absolutely no evidence whatsoever.  I mean, I read the post pretty quickly, but that’s what happened, right?

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

     What hypocrisy.  Are you suggesting that Fred thinks that other people are as worse as they can possibly be?  Quite frankly, I don’t think you give Fred enough credit in the imagination department.  I’m sure he could come up with ways in which the people he talks about could be much much worse.  I certainly can, and I have a hard time believing I’m more imaginative than Fred.

    Plus, you will note that when Fred paints people in a negative light, he does so based on what they actually do and say.  He even provides citations to base his statements on.  He does not base his claims on vague, unverifiable claims.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Huh. I assumed the aunursa was referring to C.S.Lewis, the actual source of the quote they tagged as ironic. Do you have any particular reason for believing they are referring to Fred?

    (Edit: same question to Hth)

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

    Past experiences with aunursa where many of his comments of that sort have been directed at Fred and other members of this community.

    I could be wrong in my assumption.  The good news is that we don’t have to speculate.  Aunursa can tell us to whom his comment was referring.

  • http://profiles.google.com/fader2011 Alex Harman

    Huh.  Hadn’t thought of that, but you could be right.  If the Calormenes in the Narnia chronicles are representative of Lewis’s view of Arabs, and the villains in “That Hideous Strength” are really representative of his view of secularists, then he was indeed being rather hypocritical with that comment.

  • Nequam

    It has trouble processing instances of extreme hypocrisy.

    And I bet you will never know how funny that sentence you wrote is.

  • Lori

    There, there. Go have a lie down and maybe look at some polls and I’m sure you’ll feel better.

  • aunursa

    Lori, you’re developing a sense of humor.  That’s great!

  • Lori

     You’re still not. That’s a shame.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    raped by her father every Thursday for years

    Y’know, it’s the little throw-away details like this that cause my BS alarms to go off on stories like this.  I mean, it’s obvious that fathers do sexually abuse their children, so I have no intention of being glib about it.  The problem that I have here is that the people telling the story are completely glib about it, which makes it sound like just another detail to be checked off the Satanic ceremony list.

    I mean, Tuesday night is bar trivia night for me.  Sunday is grocery shopping day.  These are the things that I glibly list as weekly events.  I have a hard time believing that someone would treat child abuse day like I treat garbage day.  I also highly, highly doubt that someone who went through that or someone who genuinely gave a shit about someone who went through that would just toss it out as, “So that was Thursday, then Friday was pizza day, then Saturday was ritual sacrifice in the woods day.”

    I don’t know these people.  I’m assuming that at least one of them is an awful liar, while the other is either in on it or being manipulated.  I’m assuming that this didn’t happen.  Yet I can’t even speak as lightly about the idea of weekly child abuse as they can.  That, right there, tells me that something is wrong with the story.

  • Magic_Cracker

    I mean, it’s obvious that fathers do sexually abuse their children, so I have no intention of being glib about it.  The problem that I have here is that the people telling the story are completely glib about it, which makes it sound like just another detail to be checked off the Satanic ceremony list.
    That’s what gets me too. What’s more, the ease with which they talk about their patients confessing to multiple homicides beggars belief. Murder isn’t covered by a therapist’s code of confidentiality and unlike murder, has no statute of limitations, yet the reporters who cover these folks never ask them if and to whom they reported the murder(s) and if they didn’t report, why did they ignore their professional and legal obligations?

  • Magic_Cracker

    Dammit. HTML fail.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

     That’s what gets me too. What’s more, the ease with which they talk
    about their patients confessing to multiple homicides beggars belief. Murder isn’t covered by a therapist’s code of confidentiality and unlike
    murder, has no statute of limitations, yet the reporters who cover
    these folks never ask them if and to whom they reported the murder(s)
    and if they didn’t report, why did they ignore their professional and
    legal obligations?

    Moreover, there has to be a way to corroborate these stories.  I mean, a story about killing a baby would leave a trail.  There was a baby somewhere and now there isn’t.

    If the baby was kidnapped there would be a glut of stories from roughly the same time about the distraught parents of little Baby Timmy and the local search for missing Baby Timmy.  If there were Satanist parents having babies just to sacrifice them there would be hospital workers and local law enforcement checking in to see why that nice couple who seem to get pregnant every year also never seem to have children around.  Think of the JonBenet Ramsay thing from a few years ago.  Or the occasional story where police discover that someone has been keeping a child in a dog crate down in the basement.

    Kidnappings get reported.  Neighbors and authorities eventually catch up to people with a history of egregious child abuse.  Yes, sometimes people get away with it, but if you’re going to have a Satanic cult built around killing people you’re also going to put yourself under heightened scrutiny.  People are going to start asking some really pointed and inconvenient questions.

    Which, I suppose, is one of those things that makes the Satanic cult stories so powerful for the people who believe in them.  The stories are impossible without a vast conspiracy — either directly referenced or winkingly implied — behind them.  So that allows the people who believe in the stories to also believe that everyone around them is engaged in unmitigated evil, either through participating, facilitating, or turning a blind eye to it.  So it’s Us v. Them, and They are all evil, which justifies Us hating Them.

    Ugh.

  • Magic_Cracker

    Yes, sometimes people get away with it, but if you’re going to have a Satanic cult built around killing people you’re also going to put yourself under heightened scrutiny.

    Exactly! Albert Fish, one of America’s most prolific serial killers, got away with it for so long because he frequently targeted African-American children whose disappearances police didn’t bother to investigate at the time, but even he got caught eventually. The idea that thousands of people are murdering tens of thousands of children with impunity requires one to believe that hundreds of thousands of people from police to teachers to social workers to judges and prosecutors to doctors and nurses to medical examiners etc. etc.  are covering up for them. It’s a veritable pyramid scheme of murder or mayhem that nobody knows about — except for America’s millions and millions of Evangelicals who apparently know all about it and yet are unable to stop it — despite the fact that thousands of them are also police and prosecutors and judges and doctors and nurses and teachers and social workers and military, not to mention MEMBERS OF CONGRESS! But some it’s been going on forever, murder without end. Amen.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    If we embrace the idea that evil is not to be prevented or fixed, but merely resisted, it seems an easy step from there to the idea that there is no evil so great or blatant that humans will, in fact, act to prevent or fix it.

    Especially when we limit that resistance to private symbolic resistance in our souls.

    In effect, when we do this, we allow ourselves to become defined by evil, and it’s easy to then assume the world is similarly so defined.

    The dynamic is not unique to evangelicals, nor even to religious folk (though the particular “Satanist” flavor of it probably is). Some of us do it in politics, or in our personal lives.

    Fortunately, some of us do in fact act in the world to seek and promote good, and serve as an inspiration to the rest of us… a demonstration of what that looks like, and an invitation to focus our attention on, and to define ourselves by, what we want rather than what we fear.

  • connorboone

    Geds, you need to brush up on your fear-mongering conspiracy theories.

    Of course people would notice missing children.  Which is why the Satanazis have captive breeders that they keep in secret locations to pump out the children they need for their regular child sacrifices.  They do secret home deliveries so that there’s no record of the children.

    No, I’m not making this up, I’ve seen these arguments before.  Personally, I think that it has something to do with the fundamentalist fascination with abortions.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

     Which is why the Satanazis have captive breeders that they keep in
    secret locations to pump out the children they need for their regular
    child sacrifices.  They do secret home deliveries so that there’s no
    record of the children.

    Why does that not surprise me?

    Also, isn’t that the real reason Abraham Lincoln started the Civil War, so that the South would be forced to shut down its captive breeding program of slaves?

  • PJ Evans

    There was a baby somewhere and now there isn’t.

    That’s why they have to say that the babies are born at home, secretly, so they don’t have birth certificates.
    Although how they think that pregnancies can be hidden for months, without any of the neighbors noticing that there’s no babies afterward, I don’t know. Babies are conspicuous, even before they’re born.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

     Incidentally, that’s how conspiracy theories work. Once they’re debunked in one way before (“You said that all these kids were just being kidnapped and sacrificed? Then how come nobody ever noticed that? No police report, no media bulletin? None of these kids had friends, ever went to day care or public school? No birth certificates or anything to prove that they ever existed or ever went missing? Puh-lease!”) they evolve to cut that off. (“The kids are raised in secret communes and raised for the slaughter. No records can be found proving that they exist!”)

    And if you find some way of discrediting that (or another aspect of their story), the story will just mutate again to make that aspect unverifiable.

  • JenL

    Although how they think that pregnancies can be hidden for months,
    without any of the neighbors noticing that there’s no babies afterward, I
    don’t know. Babies are conspicuous, even before they’re born.

    Not that I think the story is at all true, but…  If in fact there were a well-financed conspiracy, you either:
    1) have the mothers of the intended sacrifices willingly hide from the time the pregnancy starts to show (not that hard if you have enough money that she doesn’t need to work),
    2) let people know about the pregnancy but have the mother “move away” before the sacrifice and don’t move the baby into her new place (new neighbors don’t know there should be a baby, old neighbors don’t know it disappeared), or
    3) go full-out super-villain evil, kidnap girls off the streets, impregnate them, hold them hostage in some rural “no one can hear you scream” location until they’ve given birth, then either repeat the process or kill them. 

    I’m pretty sure the full-tilt SBK believers assume it’s option 3.

  • Mau de Katt

     Full-tilt SBK believers say that the “breeders” of the sacrificial infants are ritual-abuse victims themselves, who for one reason or another weren’t killed when they were pre-pubescent, and thus grew old enough to impregnate and bear the next generation of sacrificial victims.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Eeeeesh, they’ve gone beyond multiplying absurdities to exponentiating infinite epicycles.

  • JenL

    That’s what gets me too. What’s more, the ease with which they talk about their patients confessing to multiple homicides beggars belief. Murder isn’t covered by a therapist’s code of confidentiality and unlike murder, has no statute of limitations, yet the reporters who cover these folks never ask them if and to whom they reported the murder(s) and if they didn’t report, why did they ignore their professional and legal obligations?

    Wait, what?  My understanding is that therapists can’t/don’t report murders in the past, where a client says “I’ve done x, y, and z”.  They should and are required to report when a client says “I’m going to m, n, and q”.  The judgment call is whether “I feel these urges to do g, h, and j” are a discussion of feelings or a statement of intent.

    Or maybe I’m just applying too much of my legal background to what I’ve heard about medical confidentiality rules…

  • VMink

    Therapists, counselors, and psychologists/psychiatrists (and other mental health workers) (or any health worker, really) are required to go to the authorities if they feel their patient is going to or planning to harm themselves or others.  I… guess it could be kind of iffy as far as the past tense goes… but I’d be genuinely surprised that these people who are saying they were part of a megadeath cult and participated in murders did all that, confessed to participating in all sorts of horrible illegal acts (not merely acts of questionable taste,) and are still walking around free.

    The first thing that should be done when someone says something like this is for a police detective to come on-scene with handcuffs and their Miranda Rights.  They’ve admitted to being complicit in a crime that needs to be investigated.

    Of course, the fact that they haven’t committed any crime but have made this all up whole-cloth wouldn’t have anything to do with why they aren’t in jail, or aren’t cooperating with authorities in finding the other members of their cult.

    I guess the case could be made that they believe the police are corrupted/Satanic themselves.  That’s one of the beautiful things about conspiracy theories: You don’t have to prove anything.

  • GDwarf

    Not sure what it says about me, but the thing I find oddest is how late to the party this story is. I mean, the Satanic Panic was, what, two decades ago?

    The thing about mass hysteria is that if you want to cash in on it you need to do so while it’s going strong. Trying to tap into it a decade later won’t work, because people will try to forget that they were ever foolish enough to fall for it.

    So it’s just weird. It’s like talking about alien abductions or black helicopters or similar.

  • Tricksterson

    Less late to the party than trying to start a new one I would say.  These things tend to run in cycles.

  • GDwarf

    Less late to the party than trying to start a new one I would say.  These things tend to run in cycles.

    Hrm. So, should I start buying tulips in anticipation of a new bubble for them?

  • Twig

     Or Beanie Babies.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    Or jelly babies.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Probably trying to ressurect it. beat the cash cow more.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CE6FTHLHRMXUGOOGCMG3ROXBH4 David

    Does anybody know if there are any supposed SRA survivors who are atheists, agnostics, deists, or pantheists?  Are there any who are Buddhists, Taoists, or Wiccan?  I ask because in every cult or cult-like authoritarian religious group I’m aware of, there’s some degree of scattering among those who leave the group.  Some end up in more liberal Christian denominations, some are drawn to non-Christian traditions, and some reject religion altogether.  However, I am not aware of any non-religious people publicly promoting tales of SRA these days.

  • Tricksterson

    Thats because atheists, agnostic, deists,  panteists, Buddhists, Taoists and Wiccans are all actually just covers for Stanic groups.  For instance if you spell “Om” backwards it’s “Mp”, short foor Moe Howard, leader of the Three Stooges show represent the demonic trinity of Satan (Moe), Lucifer (Larry) and Beelzebub (Curly).

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    The Three Stooges as demons, why does this make sense?
    And where would that leave Shemp?

  • Mrs Grimble

     I’ve been closely following SRA Panic stories for the last two decades and I can tell you that the great majority of  “SRA survivors”  were born-again Christians proclaiming that Jesus had saved them.  The non-religious ones were victims of cult-like recovered memory therapies (an alternative form of fanatic fundamentalism). And I can’t think of any who claimed a  non-Christian faith.

  • Brad Jones

    I always hate this stuff.  I grew up in one of the (very few) towns that had an actual, documented Satanic murder.

    By which I mean a drop-out loser who thought the Satanic Bible was cool killed a young girl.

    You would not believe how much people flipped out about OMG Satanism! at that point.  We got a two-page spread in the Boston Herald with huge headline: TERROR TOWN!

    (If you want to look this particular case up: murderer was Scott Waterhouse, victim was Giselle Cody, location was Sanford, Maine.)

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    For someone so determined to live in an imaginary world, Byington has a dreadfully unoriginal imagination.

    The two seem to go hand-in-hand a lot. I don’t know why, but my theory is that a truly creative mind has to be actively and curiously engaged with the real world. Otherwise we just end up recycling the contents of our own minds over and over.

  • ConservativeWhitebread

    ‘Satan worshippers live in Happy Valley and elsewhere in Utah’

    mormons eat christian babbies yawl!

  • Jessica_R

    I want to be a wiseass and ask these people who is making all these black hooded robes, like is there a firm or something. Or if they’re hand sewn should we start doing ID checks with people buying lots of black fabric like we do with people buying Sudafed. Also black candles, so would should probably do ID checks with people buying lots of wax. Oh sure someone might say they’re using it for canning, but how do you know those aren’t Satanic Peaches hmmm? 

  • Magic_Cracker

    I don’t know who makes the black robes, but you can buy them pretty cheap down at Baal-Mart.

  • Launcifer

    There’s probably a dark, Satanic mill somewhere churning out black cotton by the mile.

  • Magic_Cracker

    A thousand likes!

  • Mrs Grimble

     “I want to be a wiseass and ask these people who is making all these black hooded robes, like is there a firm or something.”
    I want to ask these people what laundry powder they use to get those stubborn stains out of their robes and altarcloths, and how they deal with that nasty smell coming up from the cellar!

  • VMink

    ConservativeWhitebread: ” mormons eat christian babbies yawl!”
    Twig: “Or Beanie Babies.”

    The juxtaposition of these two comments, though running along different conversational rails, resulted in an explolsion for me.

    (“Jelly Baby, anyone?” /doctor)

  • AnonymousSam
  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

     I actually didn’t realize until I read this post that the beanie babies comment wasn’t in response to the christian babbies comment.

  • SisterCoyote

    Not sure what it says about me, but the thing I find oddest is how
    late to the party this story is. I mean, the Satanic Panic was, what,
    two decades ago?

    The thing about mass hysteria is that if you want to cash in on it
    you need to do so while it’s going strong. Trying to tap into it a
    decade later won’t work, because people will try to forget that they
    were ever foolish enough to fall for it.

    Depends. There are people out there who never let go of it. The only one I know of is probably in no condition to buy a book, though. The paranoid schizophrenia necessary for her to maintain belief in this kind of thing cost her most of her life – her husband, her kids, her home, her sanity. But I’m sure she still believes, wherever she’s living, that it’s because of Satan and his followers, that her husband somehow used his coven of witches to keep her from proving her case in court, that every employer who wouldn’t hire her and the judge who turned against her is in league with them, keeping her kids in some hidden basement so the demon-clones can go on roving the earth.

    It’s easier to make fun of this than to get angry. And, as Fred points out with that last link, the real victims are the ones who have been targeted by these charlatans, the ones who were under media fire and had their lives destroyed.

    But when people with mental illnesses, or tendencies to mental illness, are told every day by their pastor, the forms of media they pay attention to, and everyone involved in their culture, that this abuse is REAL and ALL AROUND THEM and EVIL SATANAZIS ARE COMING FOR YOUR CHILDREN, how are they supposed to get help? When your brain starts telling you Evil Satanazis are coming, you can hear them in the wee hours of the morning through the listening devices they put in your alarm clock, who do you trust? The people who nod gravely before sermons and talk about how society today is set up to receive the devil, or the therapist who tries to tell you medication will help it go away?

    I think people have a choice in their narratives, sometimes. Those of us with sound minds, or those of us with friends who ground us in reality, we can see the narrative of Fox News (libruls want to take yer guns and kill yer babies) and go “Hmm, no, that doesn’t match reality,” and choose to see things as they are. It’s much harder to do that when you’re immersed in an echo chamber of that, where everyone in your isolated, secluded life agrees that the Evil Satanazis are a danger we must all be on the lookout for. It’s like a horrible, sinister relative of the Fox Geezer Syndrome.

  • TheDarkArtist

    The whole Satanic Panic thing was so ridiculous and far-reaching that it affected people who weren’t even religious. For instance, when I was in fifth grade, I went to spend the night at my cousin’s house, and he put on Metallica’s black album.
    I remember seeing the cover and the names of the songs and thinking “I don’t know if I should be listening to this …” and I had never set foot in a church or had any real belief in Satan or Hell. But, I had seen news magazine shows talking about people sacrificing children and forcing them to watch brainwashing videotapes.

    The whole thing was … weird.

  • Twig

     The problem with Metallica’s black album is it permanently lowers your tolerance for bad music… which unfortunately includes 99 percent of what Metallica did after the black album

    (I liked their cover of ‘Turn the Page,’ mea culpa, mea maxima culpa)

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    What’s disturbing here is that Provo is a medium-sized college town much like my own.  This newspaper reporting Black Metal bullshit as fact has a circulation of 36’000 and is owned by the same corporation that runs my local daily.  It should by rights be more then ‘big time’ enough to have some minimal journalistic standards. 

    I mean seriously, ‘Every Thursday I rape my daughter and then we go to Applebee’s’. Hail Satan :)’.  Someone who gets paid to deliver actual facts to the public, someone who lists ‘reporter’ on their tax returns, willingly printed that.  Does BYU not have a journalism school?  Do they actually teach anything besides the west coast offense?  I thought they had some pretensions of prestige. 

  • MaryKaye

    I have to say, though, that it’s *not* impossible to both intellectually believe that something horrible is true and also treat it with the kind of titillated enthusiasm one sees in Satanic-abuse stories.

    There were fliers up in my neighborhood treating “Kony 2012” just like that–as a source of excitement and local political energy (they had a logo of an elephant and a donkey holding an olive branch with the caption “something we can all agree on”).

    All that’s necessary is not to be emotionally engaged with the reality of it, and humans are pretty good at that.  I think we have to be or we’d go mad:  there are too many horrors in the world for us to bear, if we had to be really engaged with all of them.

    (Now, a decent person tries not to indulge such titillations.  And that’s the point at which I reluctantly feel some agreement with aunursa (gosh, it’s becoming a pattern):  if there’s something we can *do* about this satanic-panic resurgance, by all means let’s identify it and do it, but otherwise are we just using it for twice-removed vicarious jollies ourselves?  I fear I may be.)

  • VMink

    While it’s a bit of a crude aphorism, the term that I’ve seen applied to this sort of confluence of almost-giddy titillation at something that by all rights should be terrifying to the observer, and very much not to be wished for and yet is anticipated with salivating giddiness, is ‘wet nightmare.’

    One example being the fantasy (and I really can’t call it anything else) Satanist Nazi Atheist United Nations Army storming in to Pleasanton, USA, where the hardcore Bircher God and Guns Folk are grimly ready and waiting.  This is what the Birchers have been waiting for, it’s their own version of CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN and yet they are oh so ready for it with all their weapons and preparations and like…. 

    Another example is The Turner Diaries.  There’s a shocker.

    This is similar.  The idea of a huge Satanist Secret Empire in the US, where human sacrifice is almost a blue-collar job done on assembly lines, where the leaders spend all their time plotting ‘How can we inconvenience/annoy/persecute/murder Christians TODAY?” and if you blink you’re likely to be eaten by a demon (don’t blink!), falls into this category of, “Oh, that would be such a horrible world to live in! and yet I am so totally ready to deal with this, RAR!  Wolverines!”

  • GDwarf

     

    This is what the Birchers have been waiting for, it’s their own version
    of CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN and yet they are oh so ready for it with all
    their weapons and preparations and like….

    Heh, save that CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN is, in-story, acknowledged to be utterly terrifying. It keeps the protagonists up at night and the knowledge that it’s on the way is why they refuse to start a family; Who could possibly force a child to live through that?

    These people relish the idea. They want to get as many people as they can to live through it so that they can be shown to be amazing prepared heroes who can save/not save the foolish sheeple at their whim.

  • VMink

    That’s a really good point.  If CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN never happened, Bob Howard et al would be drunk with happiness.  If The Turner Diaries happened, I suspect many of the people who have such fantasies would be quite happy indeed.

  • Kirala

    You know, I agree that the Satanic Panic was a load of utter bull and that this is almost certainly the same piled higher and deeper – but it bothers me that Fred asserts it (this being utter bull) as absolute fact without any supporting evidence. Repeatedly saying something is true because it’s obvious is not the best way to encourage critical thinking…

  • GDwarf

     

    You know, I agree that the Satanic Panic was a load of utter bull and
    that this is almost certainly the same piled higher and deeper – but it
    bothers me that Fred asserts it (this being utter bull) as absolute fact
    without any supporting evidence. Repeatedly saying something is true
    because it’s obvious is not the best way to encourage critical
    thinking…

    One really shouldn’t have to spend time linking to proof that the Moon Landing was real every time one talks about the space program.

    Likewise, one really shouldn’t have to link to all the studies on the Panic every time one wishes to discuss it.

    By this point in time everyone knows it was bunk, if someone wants to argue otherwise then that’s when you bring out the sources.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    one really shouldn’t have to link to all the studies on the Panic every time one wishes to discuss it.

    Absolutely agreed that it is not an obligation, certainly not in casual discussion, nor even in blog posts.

    That said, I also agree with Kirala that if I want to encourage critical thinking, one relatively easy way to do that is to demonstrate it myself. And the way critical thinking works is not, actually, “I and everyone I know and like thinks that X is wrong and stupid, plus there are books about how wrong and stupid it is, therefore X is wrong and stupid.”

    Even when X is in fact wrong and stupid, that’s not how critical thinking works.

    But we are, again agreed, not under any sort of obligation to encourage critical thinking by publicly demonstrating it… certainly not all the time.

  • Kirala

     

    One really shouldn’t have to spend time linking to proof that the Moon
    Landing was real every time one talks about the space program.

    Likewise, one really shouldn’t have to link to all the studies on the Panic every time one wishes to discuss it.

    By this point in time everyone knows it was bunk, if someone wants to
    argue otherwise then that’s when you bring out the sources.

    I agree that the 80’s panic has been thoroughly debunked, and after all, it’s not the point of this article. The point of this article is Byington’s falsehoods, which are roundly denounced without once being specifically addressed. This, to me, is more parallel to talking about the idiocy of moon landing conspiracists without linking to proof that the moon landing was real – true or not, it’s a lot of assertion without evidence. Which strikes me as exactly the sort of poor journalism Fred accuses Byington of. Being right doesn’t make it good journalism or good critique.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

     The point of this article is Byington’s falsehoods, which are roundly
    denounced without once being specifically addressed. This, to me, is
    more parallel to talking about the idiocy of moon landing conspiracists
    without linking to proof that the moon landing was real – true or not,
    it’s a lot of assertion without evidence.

    What is there to address?  Byington’s falsehoods are just as false as the falsehoods from the ’80s Satanic Panic.  The journalists in question who wrote about Byington’s falsehoods as if they weren’t didn’t do any fact-checking or are complicit in spreading Byington’s falsehoods.  That’s what Fred is talking about.

    Also, too, he did put in evidence by linking to information about past Satanic panics, so I have no idea what your beef is.

    Consider this scenario:  You’ve just come over to my house for the first time.  As we’re sitting there my neighbor walks into the house and says, “Some asshole just ran over my dog with their car!”

    You freak out, say how horrible it is, and ask if you can do anything to help.  I shrug and say, “What are you gonna do?  Get out of here, Jimmy, I’ve got company.”  (For the sake of this scenario my neighbor’s name is Jimmy.)

    Jimmy leaves.  You stare at me for a few moments, then finally say, “How can you be such a horrible person?  That man’s dog just got run over by a car!”

    I say, “No, it didn’t.  Jimmy doesn’t own a dog.   But once a week he comes over here and tells me his dog got run over by a car.”

    Now, leave Jimmy’s motivation aside.  In this scenario I don’t have to prove to you that his dog didn’t get run over.  I know that he doesn’t own a dog.  I know that he pulls this sort of thing once a week.  It doesn’t matter if it was a red car this week and a blue pickup truck last week.  It doesn’t matter if it was a distracted woman on a cell phone this time and will be a bunch of asshole teenagers next time.  The simple fact of the matter is that I don’t have to get up off my couch to look to make sure that Jimmy’s dog didn’t actually get hit by a car because the underlying truth of the situation is that Jimmy doesn’t own a dog.  He didn’t own one last week.  He won’t own one next week.  The specific details of the story, then, don’t matter in the face of the fact that the story cannot possibly be true.

    As such, since Satanic panics have all be debunked, it’s not on Fred’s head to debunk this one.  It’s an extraordinary claim and, as such, it is the responsibility of the people making the claim to offer proof.  Until they can do that the rest of us are free to roll our eyes and say, “Oh, not this shit again,” and then yell at the people who are amplifying the false story for being unwitting dupes or bad journalists or whatever.

  • Kirala

     I see it as more analogous to Jimmy, Mike, and Jack running the dog-scam years ago, then Judy comes up and tries to run it for the first time today. And it may be logical to dismiss it as “that crap again”. This isn’t what Fred does. It’s a 500-word pile of invective laced with almost as many words from her article. The reason I enjoy reading Fred is that I can come up with arguments to use against the friends I have who seriously believe this crap. I don’t think repeating “that crap again” fifty times qualifies as an analysis, discussion, or refutation worthy of an article.

    On the other hand, I don’t feel strongly enough on the issue to keep pressing it.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

     Not to mention that if you click on the image of the book that Fred has mentioned many times is an excellent resource on the whole mess, it takes you to the Amazon page to buy it.

  • Nathaniel

     If I were to ask you defend your lack of belief in Unicorn swat teams, how many studies would you link to?

  • Kirala

     

    If I were to ask you defend your lack of belief in Unicorn swat teams, how many studies would you link to?

    If I felt a need to write a lengthy article detailing my disbelief in Unicorn swat teams, I would also feel obligated to find some sort of evidence. Things which are too laughable to discuss are too laughable to discuss. Things which can be discussed at length are worth discussing seriously.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    The best way to encourage critical thinking is to openly practice it. In this case, Kirala, you don’t seem to understand the concept of “the burden of proof”, which is one of the foundations of critical thinking.

    Both in the 80’s Satanic Panic and in this current variation by Ms. Byington, extraordinary claims are being made about the existence of secret, organized groups engaging in large scale sexual abuse of minors, human sacrifice, and other illegal acts. 

    The burden of proof for these claims lies with the claimants, not with Fred or me or you. 

    If you claim that were sacrificing babies born in secret, you’d need to present evidence such as the location of the sacrifice with forensic evidence, the remains of the sacrifice, the alleged birth-mother with a medical examination showing she was pregnant along with the absence of any reported births, that sort of thing. 

    Ms. Byington has no evidence except the testimony of a  young woman with admitted psychiatric issues. As in the 80’s cases, there is no corroborating evidence. There is no physical evidence, no medical evidence, no independent testimony, nothing at all which even comes close to meeting the burden of proof. 

    Consider another claim: that a small group of religious zealots sexually abused young people, and their superiors and organizations conspired to hide the evidence of the abuse, and protect the abusers by allowing them to continue their behavior in other locations. That’s a hell of a claim, and you’d expect a lot of evidence. Victims coming forward, yes, but also the organization’s own internal documentation showing abusers being relocated to new victims, reports given to higher-ups making them aware of the issue, medical exams of victims showing actual abuse… you’d want a lot of proof before you’d be willing to believe these claims. 

    When the Satanic Panic folks have even half the evidence that’s been amassed against the Holy Roman Catholic Church, then you can crack on columnists for not showing their proof for disbelief. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    I agree completely. Good faith shouldn’t be some kind of suicide pact, and it’s perfectly rational to dismiss a claim that’s been disproved repeatedly in the past when it’s brought back from the idea graveyard for the nth time without any proof. It only becomes unfair or irrational if this time there’s hard evidence supporting the claim and Fred dismisses it just because there wasn’t evidence in favor of the first claims decades ago.

  • Guest

    Every new spam email must be an exciting adventure for Kirala. Sure, the LAST six hundred emails offering millions of dollars from Nigeria were all fakes, but THIS one could be the real deal until proven otherwise!

  • LL

    Two things. Number one, we have people actually disappearing and their often mutilated bodies showing up sometime later right now: in Mexico. Of course, it isn’t the work of Satanists, it’s the work of the Mexican government (according to people from Mexico who no longer live there for fear of ending up as one of those bodies). Don’t have to look all that far or to supernatural causes for disappearances and murders. But I guess Mexican people don’t count. Maybe if they were Mexican fetuses, more people in the U.S. would care about them. 

    And on another site, yesterday and today people are having a lengthy discussion about somebody who used to frequent the site (and Facebook, of course) who is apparently quite the fiction writer, having sold some sob story to many of them, eliciting undeserved sympathy and in some cases, money. It is amusing and kind of amazing to me how many very gullible people there are. People today (the younger ones, esp.) seem to think themselves so with it and so savvy (esp. tech savvy), but these examples (just two out of many) demonstrate that using advanced technology really doesn’t make people smarter. It apparently doesn’t make them any more liable to use logic and reason and just a little skepticism. Which is kind of depressing. People are supposed to learn from mistakes made by previous generations, not repeat all of them. 

  • Victor Savard

    (((I recently quoted from Mere Christianity, a passage in which C.S. Lewis warns against seeking “the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible.”)))

    Fred! I must agree with that above statement of C.S. Lewis and without opening up a third blog, and still trying to be myself, I will try if  “IT” is at all humanly possible to summer rize in a few sentences by simply saying that we are all made in GOD (Good Old Dad) Image. After each and every one of our cells have learned to get along with each others which will probably take an eternity to achieve. Long story short, when and if we do succeed, all our thoughts will become a very powerful loving family, in other words, just like when GOD sent HIS WORD made flesh. In the mean time and as we all know time can often be pretty mean and longer story short, let’s try and keep our Witch craft to ourself and if we must experiment in “IT” let’s try to make “IT” good thoughts. Kind of like what good Catholics do as good Christians.  http://www.asamanthinketh.net/thought-of-the-day.htm

    I hear ya sinner vic! Hey stop that Victor cause we are the gods in this temple cause we own about 92% of your cells and that makes ya almost a no body! :)

    http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/secondhandsmoke/2012/08/06/the-sub-human-temptation/

    http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=18142394&postID=5791508424983616272

    Peace

  • ConservativeWhitebread

    ‘Things which are too laughable to discuss are too laughable to discuss. Things which can be discussed at length are worth discussing seriously.’ So what are we arguing here?

  • http://twitter.com/mcclure111 mcc

    So, wait, hold up, I’m confused. Which are more eviler, Muslims or Satanists?

  • Kirala

    So, wait, hold up, I’m confused. Which are more eviler, Muslims or Satanists?

    From the Anti-Satanazi brigade perspective, I’m not sure there’s a distinction.

  • TheFaithfulStone

      Puhhhlease.   Everyone knows that Muslims really worship Satan.  It’s right there in The Last Battle.

  • MaryKaye

    I know that in Washington State a great many people, including therapists, foster parents, and almost everyone else who works professionally with children, have a legal obligation to report suspected child abuse to the authorities.  If someone came to me (as a member of the required-to-report class) and said that they had been abused, or had committed abuse, I would be legally required to report it.  I also know firsthand that at least some of the required-reporters will report even if the chance that the abuse actually occurred is pretty low (in the case I am aware of, the date cited by the person claiming to have been abused was a date during which they were incarcerated and the abuser would not have had access to them; it still generated a CPS report, which was duly investigated and determined to be unfounded).

    So, a reasonable first question (at least in Washington and other states with similar laws) would be “Have you reported this to the appropriate authorities?”

    “No, no, we can’t, the authorities are all in on it” is not a reasonable answer from someone who has just publically and openly issued a book on the topic.  If there were any personal risk to disclosure, that risk would already have been incurred.

    I wonder if a legal pathway toward shutting down spurious Satanic-panic stuff would be to prosecute people who claim they have evidence of murder and child abuse, but go to the popular press rather than the authorities.  After all, if it were true they would be guilty.  And if they defend themselves by denying it’s true, that will probably get them off, but it won’t be good publicity.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I believe some jurisdictions do have criminal offences on the books related to falsely claiming a crime has been committed.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

     That requires the person reporting to know for certain the claim is false.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=30319652 Tim Lehnerer

    The black cloth for the Satanic baby-killers’ robes is obviously woven on a rumor mill.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

     BOOM BOOM!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=30319652 Tim Lehnerer

    I made that joke specifically to remind Jessica_R of a mutual friend. I hope it worked.

  • Monala

    Uh, what is Case Nightmare Green? I Googled it and came up with a lot of sites that reference it, but none that say what it is.

  • Monala

     And sheesh, since we’re looking for accuracy and all, I looked at the sites that came up on the first page of my Google search. So it’s highly possible that it’s defined or described on a subsequent page. :)

  • reynard61

    When Google fails, TV Tropes can be a friendgood source of information: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheLaundrySeries

    Warning: Time hole. (Hope you’ve got a few hours to spare…)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=667708632 Kenneth Raymond

    CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN is from a series of modern Lovecraftian fantasy/sci-fi novels called “the Laundry” series by Charles Stross. It’s the titular organization’s code name for the end of the world, when the stars are right and the Old Ones awaken to despoil and terrorize the world as a mere side effect of existing, something which humans really can’t hope to fight. It’s been a looming threat over the series since almost from the start, and the characters live and act as if they actually are burdened with the oppressive horror of knowing the apocalypse is coming (as opposed to the “protagonists” of our host’s favorite subject of dissection here, who can quibble over car prices while the bombs are falling), but they can’t afford to let everyone know, because it would make the lead-up to the actual apocalypse worse and would most likely ruin any plans to hopefully keep a remnant of humanity alive.

  • Monala

     thanks!

  • David Milloway


    Uh, what is Case Nightmare Green? I Googled it and came up with a lot of sites that reference it, but none that say what it is.”

    Sorry. Binding spells prevent me from telling you. And if you knew, you’d have to work for us. Better off not knowing. ;)

    (Google the Atrocity Archives, by Charles Stross)

  • Monala

     Ah, that explains the lack of answers in Google-fu. :-D

  • GDwarf

     

    Uh, what is Case Nightmare Green? I Googled it and came up with a lot of sites that reference it, but none that say what it is.

    It’s from The Laundry series of books, where it’s the codename for, essentially, the end of the world.

    In The Laundry universe Lovecraftian horrors and magic exist, and the easiest way to summon either is to do math. Such as what modern computers do billions of times per second. Still, one has to do specific equations and have the right power sources, so the odds of a muggle, for lack of a better term, accidentally summoning a sanity-devouring horror from beyond time and space are pretty low.

    However, during CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN the stars will align in such a way as to weaken the edges of our universe. This means that simply thinking the wrong thoughts could be enough to call forth some nasty horrors, never mind what happens when some Comp Sci major runs a nifty new rendering algorithm. Or some insane cultists who have figured at least some of this out decide to sacrifice a bunch of souls and deliberately call one and try to get it on their side.

    So yeah. Not necessarily the end of humanity as we know it, but something pretty close. Imagine if every human was suddenly given their own kiloton-yield nuke…which they could set off just by thinking about it, and you get the idea.

  • Emcee, cubed

    I think what we have a distinction about whether Satanic Panic claims are on the level of “dandelion greens cure AIDS’ which can be dismissed out of hand as ridiculous, or on the level of “I’ve discovered the fossil of a new species of animal” which while improbable, could happen, so each case needs to be debunked (or proven true) individually.

    If you believe the first way, the only thing that needs to be said is
    “this new person claims X”, and since X is impossible, you know that
    person is lying without needing further proof.

    If you believe the second way, it is a case of “just because these other people are lying doesn’t mean this one is”, and you require proof that this new individual making this “new” claim is, in fact, lying.

    I tend to be in the first camp myself, but I can see why some people might be in the second. While people have lied about these things, there are people who were ritualistically murdered, so how can you be sure this specific person is lying? (My answer would be that the scope of what she is saying makes it impossible. She isn’t talking about one person, she is talking about some huge shadow society – ridiculous on its face.)

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    ….each case needs to be debunked (or proven true) individually.
                   

    No no no! Whatever the claim is, whatever level the claims are made on, the starting point is always the same: the person making the claim has the burden of proof. 

    “dandelion greens cure AIDS”? Provide evidence for review and testing. Show me proof, let me examine your evidence and see that it shows what you think it shows, and we’ll go from there. 

    “I’ve discovered the fossil of a new species of animal”? Show us all the evidence, and allow us to review it. Let’s see this fossil, let’s see the analysis of where it differs from existing species, and see if there are other, more plausible explanations for those divergences. 

    First the claim must have evidence to support it, and until that evidence is presented and reviewed, the presumption must be that the claim is false.  That’s how critical thinking works.  You do not  “disprove” a thing that was never proven in the first place.

  • arcseconds

     

    First the claim must have evidence to support it, and until that evidence is presented and reviewed, the presumption must be that the claim is false.

    This is only true for unlikely claims, though. 

    (although most claims people actually make are somewhat unlikely, even if they’re quite believable.   e.g.  there’d be nothing odd about someone having a hamburger for lunch, but it’s actually quite unlikely given the number of other possibilities)

    If you were really prepared to presume overwhelmingly likely claims were false until they were proved it would be easy to get you to believe I was satanically abused:  I’d just claim “I was never satanically abused, nosirreebob” and you’d go “aha! evidence please, otherwise I’m going to have to believe your claim is false, which means you were satanically abused”.

    (similarly for other overwhelmingly likely claims, like “I require oxygen to live”, etc. )

    For unlikely claims, the presumption must be that the claim is false, but that’s tautological, because that’s just what ‘unlikely’ means.

    The way I’d analyse this is not that, because they’re making the claim they have the burden of proof, but rather that, the claim is an extremely unlikely one, and as such it would require quite strong evidence (no matter who provides it) for us to even to meet the ‘on the balance of probabilities’ standard of proof.

    And it’s unlikely not just because satanic cults are that ritually abuse children either don’t exist or must be extremely rare, but also because there’s been a historic pattern of these kinds of claims extending from ancient times (Fred’s quite right – this is a venerable tradition) until the recent past, and virtually never has there been any remotely convincing evidence to suggest these claims are correct. 

    Plus, there’s a competing hypothesis involving some combination of delusion and incentives (fame and money) that seems completely plausible.

  • OriginalExtraCrispy

    Just a bit of info: Tate is an expensive vanity publisher with a bad reputation. So it’s not like that book was published by a real publisher.

    (Not saying anything changes about the post; but it’s possible she’ll never actually sell enough books to profit off her story).

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

     Just a bit of info: Tate is an expensive vanity publisher with a bad
    reputation. So it’s not like that book was published by a real
    publisher.

    Oh, good.  Those people.

    Back in the day I was trying to get some Christian fiction published.  I somehow heard about Tate and contacted them.  It took me about five seconds to realize that they were A.) a vanity publisher and B.) slimy as fuck.  I didn’t respond to any of the many emails they sent to me afterwards.  I think they even tried calling me.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    Just a bit of info: Tate is an expensive vanity publisher with a bad
    reputation. So it’s not like that book was published by a real
    publisher.

    *blink* *blink*

    THOSE people? O RLY. Well,  par for the course, ain’t it? Not that commercial publishers with real acquisitions editors and other gateway personnel are entirely immune to putting out books containing harmful nonsense while purporting to fact, but expensive vanity presses who make their bucks processing as many gullible writers as possible are going to be particularly uninterested in reasons to turn down a new author’s cash.

    Especially when this vanity press in particular is over a financial barrel this summer.

    (Warning: Links above go to an Absolute Write forum thread spanning multiple years. Bring a lunch.)

  • LL

    I agree that the best way to apply critical thinking is to take seriously every ridiculous claim from someone pimping a book or website and treat it with the seriousness of a bulletin from the CDC.

  • AnonymousSam

    The last time I saw the three stooges, they were getting chokeslammed by a pro-wrestler who claimed to be the devil’s favorite demon. So much for that!

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

     Ahh, but those were the Stooges for the new movie – clearly the Devil was punishing these impostors for usurping his chosen prophets!

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

     Also: It was KANE rather than the Undertaker who attacked the Stooges. Taker is “The Devil’s Favourite Demon”, Kane is Taker’s brother. What this means for the theory… I dunno.

  • AnonymousSam

    Not quite. Kane did indeed claim that title. The Undertaker replied, “Have you forgotten that the house the devil lives in, I built, brick by fiery brick? And when I come calling, the devil still answers to me with sir.” Did a quick search, results popped up on youtube to confirm, feel free to peruse for some decent dark machosimo acting in the quality level of your choice. ^^

    (Yes, I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to Mark Calaway. Pro-wrestling, sadly, is a venue of entertainment with almost no regard for the sheer degree of athleticism and acting skills needed to succeed. It pays well if you can do it, but it’s a thankless job outside the specific culture demographic.)

  • erikagillian

    Fred links to one of his old Satanic Baby Killers posts, he links to those two books, he links Michelle Remembers which may be the ur text for SBKs, and he links to the wikipedia article.  What more do you need?  And Fred has talked about this  a lot, and maybe he thinks he shouldn’t repeat what he already did.

    As to this particular case, the basics of what debunked all the rest of the SBKs debunks this one.  No proof, ridiculous claims.

    Oh, and I know a Jewish woman with memories of SBK abuse.  She was really abused, she has multiple personality (and yeah, it’s really obvious when you talk to her alters that it’s true).  I assume she had a therapist who planted those memories.  Or possibly an abuser did?  I wouldn’t put it past one.  They do tend to be very good manipulators.

  • douglas mesner

    I’m glad to see other people calling out this harmful idiocy for what it is. I wrote a review of 22 Faces which will appear in the next issue of Skeptical Inquirer. You may be disgusted to learn that Dr. Phil actually filmed an interview with Judy Byington (aka Judy Weindorf) that is yet to air. I wrote a long open-letter to Dr. Phil that outlines the many outrageous inconsistencies with the book and the numerous implausible supernatural claims. Since then it has come out that Byington is misrepresenting herself as a consultant for the Utah Attorney General’s office. The Utah AG is quite clear: they have no relationship with Byington whatsoever. If you want to see some masterful evasions and spectacularly ridiculous assertions made in defense of this book by the author herself, I suggest you check out the reviews and comments on the Twenty-Two Faces Amazon page. — doug mesner


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