Welcome to the Twenty-First Century Satanic Panic

Welcome to the Twenty-First Century Satanic Panic March 18, 2014

Satanic Ritual Abuse. Hey, didn’t we figure out more than a few years ago what a crock it was? Didn’t the West Memphis Three case and the Lanning Report and those ridiculous episodes of Oprah! and Geraldo! make it clear that it was a crazy decade-long episode of hysteria?

Well, unfortunately there’s a whole new generation of gullible people who haven’t been exposed to the debunking, and a whole bunch of trouble-makers who want to spread these insane rumors all over again. Welcome to the Twenty-First Century Satanic Panic.

The excellent Dangerous Minds website posted a piece today about this odd and potentially terrifying children’s picture book, designed to “inform” parents (and apparently kids, too, given the colored pencil drawings) about Satanic Ritual Abuse. I had already known about Don’t Make Me Go Back, Mommy when a friend shared it online a few weeks ago, and checked out the Amazon link for it.  Of course many well-read pagans like myself would like to own a copy, but the cheapest one available is $155.

The customer reviews section is wonderful, as always, with some clever customers posting hilarious digs; the “most helpful favorable review” begins:

         “This book cleared up all those dreams I had and the vague childhood memories of going over to Old Scratch’s house. Uncle Nick always was a beelzebub keeper and sold the honey under the twilight moon in summer. I’ll never forget those autumn bonfires over at Old Hob’s house. Oh the songs we used to sing!”

Of course, we want to think we are too savvy and sophisticated to see this as anything other than manipulative claptrap. But for those who have not already been exposed to the nightmarish accusations, legal proceedings and stories of ruined lives, this just seems like a horrific problem to be dealt with. Won’t someone think of the children?

Hell with the children, won’t someone please think of the adults who are promulgating this idiocy? How can we expect the world to remain safe for children when those charged with their protection are too dumb to recognize what nonsense this is?




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  • JasonMankey

    “Satanic Panic” has never really gone away, it just went underground. There are still lots of people in Pentecostal and Evangelical circles who are “true believers” in the idea, and there’s still a lucrative circuit for “occult experts” to go around and share their nonsense.

    It’s not in the media so much anymore, but it’s still out there on the fringes, just waiting for someone to bring it back to prominence.

  • PegAloi

    Oh, I understand it never went away; but I think the educated general public gradually came to understand that the most dramatic permutation of it in the late 1980s-90s was largely hysterical claptrap. I fear those days of reason have been forgotten and will soon be eclipsed by a more willful promulgation; the internet and social media will continue to aid this phenomenon.