During the 1980’s, the media worldwide launched a “witch hunt” which is now referred to as “The Satanic Panic.” It is usually acknowledged to have been seeded by Lawrence Pazder’s Michelle Remembers. This was a popular book which recounted the purported repressed memories of the author’s wife. Via hypnotherapy which he performed himself, the author dredges up the details of “Michelle’s” supposed experiences with a world-wide Satanic cult. Typical of the historical accusations made against the Jews by Christian zealots in earlier centuries, Michelle Remembers claims that devil-worshippers have a conspiratorial network dedicated to ritual child sacrifice and world domination, to which the author adds modern media “innovations” such as “snuff” films, drug cartels, and “kiddie porn.” A look back at this period shows how Christian evangelists jumped on the bandwagon, and Christian “therapists” began “finding” similar tales buried in the subconscious of their “patients.” The then-current talk-show/freak-show circuit found this to be a bonanza, and representatives of the Church of Satan carefully selected specific media forums to debunk the hysterical nonsense. In due course, the “Satanic Panic” was debunked like any other urban legend, but not before the most costly trial in United States history took place, persecuting several innocent individuals who ran a day school. Law enforcement agencies, skeptical societies, and sociologists subsequently examined this Christian-promulgated hoax and dissected its mechanisms. Now, courts of law are reversing decisions made against people who were accused by family and friends caught up in this Salem-like madness, and substantial financial awards are being judged against the Christian “therapists” who essentially brain-washed pliable patients into belief in false “ritual abuse.”
by Blanche Barton ©2003
(condensed from The Church of Satan and with supplemental material by Peter H. Gilmore)
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