Satanic Panic Mini-Gallery

The Devil is Worshiped
© Bettmann/CORBIS

Here we see the 1967 "Satanic Baptism" of 3-year-old Zeena Galatea LaVey by her father Anton Szandor LaVey, founder and high priest of the Church of Satan. While LaVey and his followers had virtually nothing in common with the sort of nonexistent cultists popularized by Satanic Panic, the mere existence of such a group helped to substantiate the public's fear. LaVey and his followers eagerly accepted media attention to spread their philosophical message and freak out the squares, thus inadvertently adding kindling for the cultural fires to come.

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.