Everyone old enough remembers the moral panic during the 1980s surrounding Satanic Child Abuse--a memory refreshed most recently by HBOs hit, True Detective. The most famous case, of course, was the McMartin Preschool trial, which exemplified the panic surrounding satanic child abuse in day cares. As time passed, many felt that the allegations of abuse constituted a modern day witch-hunt. However, scholar Ross Cheit's new work (“The Witch-Hunt Narrative: Politics, Psychology, and the Sexual Abuse of Children,”) dispels many of the myths surrounding the events which still loom large in the American memory. [more inside]
"The cinema was made for horror movies. No other kind of film offers that same mysterious anticipation as you head into a dark auditorium. No other makes such powerful use of sound and image. The cinema is where we come to share a collective dream and horror films are the most dreamlike of all, perhaps because they engage with our nightmares." And so Mark Gatiss opens his three-part series, A History of Horror. "One of the great virtues of this series is that it is thoroughly subjective. Gatiss does not feel any particular obligation to give us an A to Z of horror, but instead lingers lovingly over his own favourites," taking the viewer with him from the Golden Age of Hollywood horror through the American horror movies of the 1960s and 1970s. [more inside]
"Here’s what was off-limits, according to many of the people I grew up with: books about witchcraft, the writings of Anton LaVey, Ouija boards, New Age crystals, pentagrams, albums with backward masking, and the music of most heavy-metal bands. ... Yet here’s what was okay to enjoy, according to those same chums and acquaintances: The Omen. The Amityville Horror. Rosemary’s Baby. The Exorcist. These movies passed muster because they didn’t encourage people to dabble in the dark arts; they warned people." The Exorcist And The South's Love Of Devil Movies.
The Legend of The Goatriders (Bokkenrijders): In the Limburg region at the end of the 18th century, between 300 and 600 individuals were tortured, tried and executed, accused of being members of a notorious and heretical band of robbers (who rode across the night sky on the backs of goats). But were they devil-worshipping hoodlums or the product of the economic and class pressures of their time? Regardless they have made their way into legend on TV and the printed page. (PDF link, from the European Ghost Literary Project) [more inside]
Phallic Symbols at Denver International Airport. Many of the paintings and sculptures at DIA contain hidden images of paganism... On previous videos I have pointed out that this is actually the figure of a naked woman, and the crotch is formed by a bird form. But right opposite the woman is a penguin...
Dare 2 Share Ministries offers profiles and tips on how to "share your faith" with fourteen different types of friends a teen Christian might have, such as Andy the Atheist, Marty the Mormon, Jenna the Jew, Sid the Satanist, Mo the Muslim and Willow the Wiccan. If none of those strategies work, they also offer articles on how to "use the buzz in current teen culture to initiate God-talk with your friends" by "sharing your faith" through Indiana Jones, Halo 3, Brokeback Mountain, Kung Fu Panda and The X Files.
Once Upon A Time In Norway (MLYT). An oral history of the early days of Black Metal. (via) [more inside]
The devil rides out - How Dennis Wheatley sold black magic to Britain.
Some videos: In 1985, Tipper Gore's PMRC released a list they called the "Filthy Fifteen," detailing what they believed to be the fifteen most objectionable songs of the time, and the reason they felt each song should be censored... [more inside]
Satan Rides the Media is a documentary about the Norwegian black metal scene and the notorious Varg Vikernes, founder of the one-man band, Burzum. In 1993, Vikernes was convicted for a series of church burnings and the murder of Øystein Aarseth a.k.a. Euronymous of the band Mayhem. Varg's crimes inspired both copycat arsons and the book Lords of Chaos, which led one book reviewer to make the claim that neoconservatism is totally black metal. But if that doesn't quench your thirst for demoniac documentaries, you can always check out the grindhouse flick Satanis, Anton Lavey in a kiddie promo clip to sell Satanism, and Geraldo Exploring Satan's Underground (Parts 1 and 2).
Christs, Communists, & Rock 'n' Roll is an excellent introduction to a tradition of anti-rock writings and recordings by the Religious Right. In the 1960s, there was David Noebel who wrote Communism, Hypnotism, & the Beatles and The Marxist Minstrels. In the early 1970s, Reverend Riblett constructs a seven-foot cross out of rock music records and sets it aflame with gasoline. Michael Mills finds hidden Satanic messages in Bow Wow Wow and the Grateful Dead, while Bob Larson valiantly debates Mandy, a 13-year-old fan of the Cure. The motherlode is probably the cassettes of John Todd, who traveled the fundamentalist circuit in the 1970s claiming to be a former witch and a member of the Illuminati, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. (more inside)
Why waste time on playing roleplaying games or writing pastiches when you can actually worship Cthulhu? Join an existing Cthulhu cult or form your own!. They've got a book and everything! (though it may contain big chunks of wiki-plagarism). As ever, the ability to rock a traditionalist shaved-head-and-goatee satanist look considered a plus.
Poor old Mr. Plod can do no right - Scotlan Yard report into beliefs concerning child-abuse among ethnic minorities backfires, when media build up a moral panic, reminiscent of earlier cases of Satanic ritual abuse. (previously raised here).
The Vatican's university in Rome is starting a seminar on satanism and exorcism. "The seminar will conclude with the testimony of two exorcists who will explain how to distinguish between someone who is ill and requiring medical care, and one is 'possessed by demons.'"
Who's sorry now? Artists! Have you ever felt the need to apologise for the hurt caused by your Satan promoting work? Have you ever been forced to apologise or see your public funding withheld in contravention of the European Convention on Human Rights? Have you then decided to say sorry by organising a parade, whipping yourself and leaving wreaths outside cityhall?
Devil and the deep blue sea. A devil-worshipping non-commissioned officer in the Royal Navy has become the first registered Satanist in the British Armed Forces. Chris Cranmer, a naval technician serving on the Type 22 frigate Cumberland, has been officially recognised as a Satanist by the ship's captain. That allows him to perform Satanic rituals aboard and permits him to have a funeral carried out by the Church of Satan should he be killed in action. A spokesman for the Royal Navy insisted that Mr Cranmer's unconventional beliefs would not cause problems on board ship. "We are an equal opportunities employer and we don't stop anybody from having their own religious values". Followers of the Church of Satan live by the Nine Satanic Statements, which include Satan represents vengeance instead of turning the other cheek”
School lifts dress code ban on Satanic clothing. "If people are allowed to wear bracelets that say: 'What Would Jesus Do,' they should be allowed to say: 'What would Satan do,'" 10th grader Ashley Williams said. She's got a point. Satanism as defined by the Church of Satan seems to have more in common with modern ideologies (darwinism, existentialism) than the established religions or neo-whatever movements.
I encourage all people to take a look at a few sites to learn what Satanism actually is. As a nominal Christian, I was suprised to learn that Satanism isn't anything like popular culture says it is. Actually, as a student of theology, I found it fascinating. It's based on Magick and the teachings of British poet and mystic Aleister Crowley. The Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance has a great introduction to Satanism, among 70 other faiths. The prominent Satanist 'church' is the Temple of Set. The Order of the Thelemic Golden Dawn is a notable Satanic order, but no Order compares to the Ordo Templi Orientis, an Order that Crowley himself ran. The Aleister Crowley Foundation and The Hermetic Library are two other interesting resources.