Satanic Panic Mini-Gallery

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In our podcast episode "Satanic Panic," Christian and I explore the moral panic that gripped American culture in the 1980s and early 90s. We're talking about a time in which the existence of a vast, underground organization of Satan-worshiping deviants seemed entirely possible. They were out there, in every level of society, and they posed a clear and present danger to our children.

A media-fueled witch hunt ensued, focusing in large part on the alleged widespread sexual ritual abuse (SRA) of children. Not only did this concern the children at large, but it also impacted the children we once were. Therapists worked to unearth buried memories of SRA from the minds of troubled adults. Soon, the doctrine of Satanic Panic had gone international; spreading everywhere that American therapeutic and criminological literature was read.

And then, in the early 90s, the flames of Satanic Panic died away. Criminal investigations that hinged on the existence of Satanic cults fell to pieces. Experts moved into dispel the bogus statistics, accounts and memories that underpinned the entire fiasco. The media changed its tune and the world found other things to fear beside nonexistent cultists in the dark.

Our podcast episode explores the phenomenon in depth, but I thought we'd take a visual journey through the culture of Satanic Panic.

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.