Study Links Devil Worship to Enhanced Creativity

Satanic priest Anton LaVey gets creative, 1970. © Bettmann/CORBIS

If you've ever considered a pact with the Devil, then it's high time you went ahead and sold that pesky soul of yours.

Or at least that's the consensus from a new study out of Massachusetts. The team of researchers led by cognitive psychologist Dr. DorothyArmitage found higher levels of divergent thinking among "devil-worshipers" versus self-identifying agnostics, atheists and adherents of major world religions.

The Study

The team applied the standard Alternative Uses Task and the Remote Associates Test to 80 test subjects over the course of a year. They found that while divergent (creative) and convergent (non-creative) thinking leveled out among the vast majority of test subjects, those claiming to worship Satan, the Devil or various extra-dimensional malign entities scored between 60 and 70 percent higher on both creativity tests.

Comparative brain scans of (clockwise) an agnostic, Buddhist, Satanic and occultist .
Courtesy Dorothy Armitage

"We were shocked," said Armitage, director of Behavioral Studies at Miskatonic University. "We expected a certain amount of outside-the-box thinking from self-identified demon worshipers, but the percentages really do suggest heightened free-associative cognitive abilities due to interventions from infernal or cosmic beings.

If true, the study casts new light on the alleged Faustian pacts of blues singer Robert Johnson and Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page -- to say nothing of Lana Del Rey's rumored tryst with a goat-legged yellow man who manifested on her tour bus during a thunder storm.

Second Study

In a followup study, the researchers administered creativity tests and fMRI scans to musicians both before and after taking the third oath in the Esoteric Order of Dagon.

Faustian Bargin.
Jeremy Stroup

Not only did the subjects score higher following further initiation into the regional Innsmouth, Mass. cult, but their brains experienced pronounced physical and neurological changes as well.

"It really turned me around on the power of religious faith," Armitage said. "That's why I now devote my life to Yog-Sothoth. Yog-Sothoth knows the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the key and guardian of the gate. Past, present, future, all are one in Yog-Sothoth. He knows where the Old Ones broke through of old, and where They shall break through again. He knows where They have trod earth's fields, and where They still tread them, and why no one can behold Them as They tread."

For more information on the science behind this April Fools article, listen to our podcast episodes on creativity: The Dark Side of Creativity, The War on Creativity and Attack of the Creative Brain. Naturally, you should also explore the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft to learn more about Yog-Sothoth and the Esoteric Order of Dagon.

About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.