In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes... and Satanic Panic. Yes, it seems that every few decades a new moral panic arises, with the “holier-than-thou” crowd clutching their pearls over the controversy du jour, and you can bet nine times out of ten they will bring up Satan. If you think Godwin's Law is bad (as an online discussion goes on, there will inevitably be a comparison to Nazis or Hitler) it has nothing on using Satan as a catch-all for anything you disagree with. Throughout history there have been several Satanic Panics, most notably the Salem Witch Trials, the period actually labeled “The Satanic Panic” in the 70s 80s and 90s, and the current period we are going through now.
I won't really dive into the Witch Trials, as they are pretty well known – and if you don't know much about them, I would highly recommend visiting Salem and going to one of their numerous museums... after the pandemic is over, of course. As for the era of Satanic Panic, also referred to as Satanic Ritual Abuse, I will briefly discuss the topic as many people aren't aware of the actual facts surrounding the time. This was partly brought on as the result of McCarthyism and the campaign against “godless Communism” in the 50s, when “God” was added to the Pledge of Allegiance and currency, the publishing of The Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey, and the string of occult-like Manson murders and other occult-like serial murderers such as the Zodiac Killer and David Berkowitz. The main controversy during this time had to do with emerging claims of recovered memories from childhood depicting Satanic rituals where children were involved in sexual abuse, cannibalism, and human sacrifice; of course, none of this actually happened, and all prominent cases have been thoroughly debunked. I could devote pages and pages to this topic, but I will try and keep it short and sweet and just provide the highlights.
One of the first famous examples of SRA (Satanic Ritual Abuse) claims was depicted in a book entitled Michelle Remembers, published in 1980. The book details the case of Michelle Smith, a woman being treated for depression by psychiatrist Lawrence Pazder; Pazder used hypnosis on Michelle to supposedly unlock hidden memories of being abused by her mother's Satanic cult when she was a child. The book was easily debunked as there was literally no evidence for any of the claims, and many of the examples of Michelle's experiences were lifted straight from popular books and movies of the time; it was also pretty telling that both Lawrence and Michelle cheated on and subsequently divorced their current partners and married each other after the book was published. Despite the dubious nature of the book, the media and general public ate it up and Lawrence and Michelle gained fame and fortune through promoting their story; Pazder even became a so-called “expert” on Satanic abuse, making multiple appearances on the news and consulting on hundreds of cases. It wasn't long before other people started crawling out of the woodwork looking for their fifteen minutes, and suddenly there was a surge of Satanic Ritual Abuse cases across the country. One of the new experts to emerge afterward was Mike Warnke, who claimed to be a former “high priest” of Satanism who was involved in rape and murder, before finding Jesus and dedicating his life to taking down Satanic cults. All of Warnke's claims and phony credentials were eventually debunked, a notable example being from an investigation by the Christian magazine Cornerstone. Another of the popular “experts” was John Todd, who lied about being a former Green Beret in Vietnam, and also claimed to be a former Wiccan who eventually gave his life to Jesus and was also committed to fighting against Satanism. Todd peddled numerous conspiracy theories, including ones about the Illuminati and a global Satanic cabal, “Christian Rock” music being a Satanic device to ensnare youth, and he even accused Jimmy Carter of being the Antichrist; Todd also accused several famous Christian organizations and televangelists of being in on the conspiracies. Todd was of course discredited, much like Warnke, and he was even arrested for rape and eventually committed to a mental institution. Both Warnke and Todd were eventually linked to Jack Chick, of the infamous “Chick Tracts” propaganda, who continued to promote and defend them even after they were disgraced.
Not only did the rise in Satanic Panic produce opportunists looking for fame, but it also resulted in a high degree of paranoia where everyone was quick to use the popular scapegoat. A prominent example of this is the McMartin trial, where employees of a pre-school in California were accused of sexually abusing the children in Satanic rituals, trafficking children through secret tunnels under the school, and even sacrificing the children and burying them on the grounds. When the police investigated these claims, they brought on three unlicensed therapists (as well as Pazder) to interview the children and produce testimonies which fit their narrative. Despite years of investigations and trials, there was never any evidence to support the accusations, and it has been well documented that the investigators used predatory tactics to coax children into producing false memories, which those kids recanted later in life. Eventually all charged were dropped, and the parent who originally surfaced these accusations was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Another famous case was the criminal trial of the West Memphis Three, where three teenagers were accused of murdering three young boys in a sexual Satanic ritual - as was common at the time, the Satanic scapegoat was thrust upon them because of their goth aesthetic. Despite the defendants pleading not-guilty, accusations of police coercion, mishandling of evidence by investigators, and lack of follow-through into witness testimony, the three teens were convicted and sentenced to prison. After countless failed appeals, eventually new evidence came to light, including DNA testing, which exonerated the Three, and they were released from prison after 18 years. Finally there are all of the other examples of people overreacting when it came to anything they could accuse of as being Satanic, many of which I am sure reasonable people today will laugh at the absurdity of it all. Remember the times when “experts” believed there was subliminal back-masking in popular music, such as The Beatles, where playing the records backwards would read a prayer to Satan? Remember the conniption people had over rock music, such as with Led Zeppelin or Marilyn Manson? How about when board games were accused of Satanism, like Dungeons & Dragons, which conservative Christian Patricia Pulling believed brought about her son's suicide, causing her to form an advocacy group to combat them? You can even see more modern examples, such as outcry over Harry Potter books due to witchcraft.
I do not claim to be an expert on the subject of Satanic Panic / Satanic Ritual Abuse by any means, so I would like to point you to the actual experts. Go research the topics I have already brought up. Look into other cases, such as the Martensville Nightmare, which was masterfully covered in a recent season of the podcast Uncover. Watch some of the super-informative presentations on the subject by Lucien Greaves. Look into the organization Gray Faction, which dedicates itself toward debunking the wild claims of the Satanic Panic and fighting against predatory “Recovered Memory Therapy” tactics still used today. Read the book Satanic Panic by Jeffrey Victor, or the book Satan's Silence by Debbie Nathan and Michael Snedeker.
The main point of this article is to discuss the new phase of Satanic Panic which has been emerging the past few years, and that has to do with the growing popularity of Q Anon theories. Q Anon is a popular conspiracy among far-right fringe groups, one which believes there is a secret government agent with top-level access who goes by the pseudonym “Q”; the theory is that they are working with President Donald Trump to combat the “deep state” and take down cabals of Satanic cannibalistic pedophiles existing within Hollywood, the Democratic party, and other liberal elites. Q emerged when an anonymous user on the website 4chan – an Internet forum full of memes, death threats, doxxing, and even child pornography – started posting as “Q” and made wild claims about their secret government work, trying to get the community excited about their efforts and believing that Trump was just the man needed to save the world. Q came out around the same time as “Pizza-gate”, when Hillary Clinton's campaign chair John Podesta's emails were hacked, leading some to believe there were coded messages revealing a secret Satanic pedophile ring being operated out of the basement of a small pizza restaurant in D.C. The Q identity has grown since, with many people taking on the role and posting cryptic messages across the Internet for people to decode and become aware of a vast globalist conspiracy. At the core of these Q conspiracies is the belief in a vast globalist liberal Satanic cannibalistic pedophile cabal, and the claim that anything President Trump does which potentially paints him in a negative light – whether it is simply mispronouncing words, going on incoherent Twitter rants, or even appearances of full on corruption – is actually a masterfully executed long-game to throw off the “deep state” and root out these Satanists; there is even a claim that “Russia-gate” was started as a cover-story to recruit Robert Mueller into Trump and Q's noble fight. Another common theme of the followers of Q is the expression “do your own research” – a tactic used to shift the burden of proof, and enable followers to make dubious claims without presenting any evidence. Q Anon is no different than those apocalypse preachers – much like Harold Camping in 2011 – who announce the end of the world is coming on a specific date, and everyone needs to repent and spend their life savings to get the message across, and their flock are so sure of it and don't even question it... and then when that date comes and goes, and the world is still fine, they will say humanity was given a reprieve, or they messed up a translation and the new end of the world is a different date, which also comes and goes with no event. Claims attributed to "Q" continuously allude to massive arrests and Earth-shattering revelations, including the imminent arrest of Hillary Clinton, and none of it every comes to pass. I keep seeing Q supporters throw out dates getting all giddy about a day of reckoning, but then I never hear anything after the date has passed with no big reveals. Whenever a failed Q prediction is brought up, supporters will excuse it away as “willful misinformation”.
Q is a massive fraud, just another cycle of Satanic Panic with accusations of Satanic forces working to destroy America and the world. These theories are rampant, some popular examples being:
One of the weirdest things about all the Q stuff is the deification of Trump as some god-ordained mastermind trying to end corruption from within, when he is in fact more corrupt than the lot of them. Do you really think Trump wants to combat pedophilia, after he admitted on a radio show that he would intentionally walk in on underage women in their changing rooms? Do you think he wants to punish his wealthy brethren for their heinous crimes, even though he was friendly with Epstein and spoke highly of him, women were recruited from Mar-a-lago for sex trafficking, and he just recently wished Ghislaine Maxwell well? Do you think Trump wants to drain the swamp, when he is actively filling it and engaging in his own misdeeds to benefit and enwealthen himself? You rarely see these Q cabal nonsense theories being thrown Trump's way; instead, Q theories rile up Trump supporters to get them to believe in ludicrous conspiracy theories, and possibly try and excuse any and all of Trump's actions as secret skunkworks to try and take down a corrupt shadow government.
At first the Q theories were to be laughed at and ignored, much like Flat-Earth theory or Alex Jones' belief that the government puts chemicals in the water to turn “frogs gay” – however, the Q following has grown exponentially since its emergence, and is starting to become dangerous. Just last week President Trump publicly embraced the conspiracy, refusing to disavow the unbelievable leaps in logic, and called Q followers “people who love our country.” Several Q Anon followers running for Congressional office have won their primaries and will be on the ballot in November, including Q super-fan Marjorie Taylor Greene, who received congratulations from Trump in a Tweet. There have been several cases in the news the past few years of kidnappings, murders, and other acts of terrorism by Q supporters, acting on their belief that they are taking down “the cabal” – the original “Pizza-gate” conspiracy resulted in a man walking into the accused restaurant and firing an assault rifle. It is also being reported by several prominent organizations which combat human trafficking, such as The Polaris Project, that these unsubstantiated Q theories are actually hurting their efforts by pulling away resources and distracting from real cases of trafficking and abuse. Q Anon is nothing more than a new era of Satanic Panic, and it won't stop until innocent lives are destroyed from baseless accusations, and the country backslides into religious authoritarianism.
There are so many ludicrous conspiracy theories out there regarding "evil Satanic groups" that you don't even have to put in any effort anymore in trying to gather evidence or using logic – you can just throw out a "Satanic" accusation and people will gobble it up and take it as verifiable fact. For a long time prudish conservatives freaked out about anything and everything that challenged their extremely narrow world-view, and cried out Satanism to try and shut it down. It's really just the same "boy who cried wolf" pattern over and over again. It is an attempt to demonize your opponent and try to label them as the absolute epitome of evil in order to gain the upper hand, no different than than the Salem Witch Trials. Notice how you always see this new "secret Satanic cabal" accusation against Hollywood and Democrats - you rarely if ever see it thrown against prominent Republicans, conservatives, or religious leaders. Why is child trafficking / abuse always automatically labeled Satanic? The largest conspiracy of sexual offenders is the Catholic Church, which shuffles around their abusers after they are outed and blocks any attempt at investigation. Why do we keep seeing accusations of cannibalism as overtly Satanic? The Catholic Church believes in transubstantiation, in which they literally believe they are engaging in cannibalism and eating and drinking the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ. Why don't we start calling it Catholic Ritual Abuse, or claim there are secret Catholic cabals engaged in cannibalism? Of course, like I said, it's because many people (especially in the United States) associate Catholicism and Christianity with goodness and purity, and it wouldn't have the same effect to label your opponents that way.
Are there terrible things being done among the wealthy elite? Probably. Is it limited to Hollywood and Democrats, with no Republicans or Conservatives involved? Absolutely not. Is it some secret Satanic cabal trying to harvest chemicals from babies to prevent aging? Also completely ludicrous. Could some people claim to be Satanists and be involved in criminal conspiracies? Sure, but that doesn't represent Satanism or automatically make it Satanic any more than someone claiming to be a Christian and being involved in criminal conspiracies represents Christianity or makes it Christian. Perhaps people should stop blaming pretend “evil Satanic forces” and start taking responsibility for their own actions, and perhaps people should look at real documented research rather than trusting so-called “experts” who make inane posts on YouTube and Internet forums.