Okay, who lived through the 1970s and 1980s? Don’t be shy, come forward!
Now, who was anywhere between 10 and 20 years old in the 70s and 80s?
Do you remember the real-life threat of Satanism? Not just the polite members of Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan or even Michael Aquino’s Temple of Set, but a far-reaching conspiracy of international proportions. According to common knowledge, they had infiltrated nearly everything: day care centers, school systems, politics, the music and movie industries, and even some Christian Churches. They were powerful, wealthy, and controlled much of secular life behind the scenes. Satanists could be anywhere. It could be your next door neighbor, your kid’s school teacher, or the Scout Master. The Satanists had a powerful network of leaders and members. They had an agenda and they were spreading their taint throughout the USA and even the world.
I clearly remember Halloween 1987. I dressed up as Indiana Jones, and my best friend was be Rene Belloq, Indy’s arch enemy from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
My Dad accompanied us on our Trick-or-Treating that year, and for the first time, we didn’t mind. Usually, we chafed at his presence. We wanted to run wild through the neighborhood, getting candy and playing as few pranks. But not that year. That year, it was just fine to have Dad with us. Because, you see, we had already heard the rumors. The warning had been put out. The Satanists were going to kidnap a blonde, blue eyed virgin and sacrifice her to Satan that Halloween. And my best friend fit the description perfectly. We were jumping at shadows that year. And we were glad my Dad was there to keep an eye on us.
Throughout the 80s and early 90s, there was always this feeling of a low grade threat from the Satanists. You always knew they were up to something: hiding despicable backwards messages in music, skulking around bathrooms waiting to kidnap people. You knew it because the rumors were always there.
You knew it because there were so many news shows on TV that talked about it.
And, of course, you knew it because there were so many reports in the news of day care centers that were the fronts for evil, child molesting Satanic organizations. Wikipedia has a good list of all of the cases.
It was scary. It felt very real at the time. The information about these crazy Satanists was everywhere. Imagine my shock when it all turned out to be lies. None of it was true. There was no far-reaching conspiracy. There was no well-organized international group of Satanists running things behind the scenes, seducing some children away from Christ while kidnapping others to sacrifice to Satan. There was no Satanic Ritual Abuse. Not one bit. (Note here that I am not saying that no one has ever committed a crime “in the name of Satan” or as part of a sick and twisted private ritual. And I am not saying that kids never get abused at daycare centers. I am just saying that this crazy Satan conspiracy was all a bunch of lies and conjecture wrapped up in hysterical fear.)
Some major contributors to the abject fear we all felt at the time were some books targeted specifically at teens and young adults. Many of them were written by Evangelical Christians who claimed to be “recovering Satanists.” They knew what the Satanists were capable of and how things were done because they actually were there and had experienced the terrifying rituals themselves.
Doreen Irvine’s story pales in comparison to Mike Warnke’s, but it has been debunked just as neatly.
Jay’s Journal was “edited” by the same woman who “edited” the journal that Go Ask Alice was supposedly based on. However, she didn’t just edit either journal. She entirely made up events in all of the so-called true stories she “edited.” In the case of the guy that Jay’s Journal was incredibly loosely based on, she used about 21 of his actual journal entries and then made up the rest herself. She turned the real-life journal of a depressed boy who was very smart and interested in Eastern Philosophy and who sadly committed suicide into a fake tale of a boy who got embroiled in Satanism and the Occult. The truth is that Alden (the boy Jay’s Journal was based on) never experimented with the occult at all. The truth is that the fall out from publishing Jay’s Journal not only caused his parents to divorce, but forced the family to move out of their home town. Because, you see, although the editor, Beatrice Sparks, took all that time to make up the story, she didn’t take much time in changing or removing the details that made Alden and his family identifiable.
Although not targeted at young adults, the debunking of Lauren Stratford’s claims in Satan’s Undgerground are what led investigators to scrutinize Mike Warnke’s story.
Finally, I’ll leave you with this. A clip from Oprah in the bad old days. Michael Aquino attempting to use logic in the defense of his belief system.