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Satanic Panic: The Creation of a Contemporary Legend Paperback – April 19, 1993

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Victor relies heavily upon the theories of social behavior and urban legends to explore and explain the "rumors, claims, and allegations" about Satanic cult crime in American society. Helpfully, he uses a language that renders the theories understandable to the lay reader, thus clearing away the psychological and linguistic smoke screen that usually accompanies the idea of Satanism. Along with his clear, well-researched analysis, Victor ( Human Sexuality , 1980) provides the reader with several appendixes, including an excellent bibliography and names and addresses of professionals who can be contacted for help. Parents, school administrators, police, and psychotherapists will find this a valuable tool as they investigate the underlying motivations of the Satanic panic in America. It should be made available to balance the one-sided, hysteria-driven production of books created by Satanic "experts" and "survivors."-- John B. Wright, Brigham Young Univ. , Provo, Utah
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 436 pages
  • Publisher: Open Court Publishing Company (April 19, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081269192X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812691924
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #871,962 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 47 people found the following review helpful By "bryan_benway" on April 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading this fascinating book and highly recommend it. Everyone should be aware of these FACTS which debunk the whole Christian "Satanic Ritual Abuse" scare campaign. Very thorough and well-researched, this book is a much-needed rational antidote to the current poisonous false accusations against innocent people. Its hard to believe that huge numbers of people will believe such far-out allegations as those of the so-called "experts" (many of which have already been shown to be total frauds) without any evidence except the fantasies of mentally-ill people & small children manipulated into telling tall tales. I became interested in this book from reading about the "West Memphis 3" case, in which 3 youths were convicted of murder (one is on Death Row) without any hard evidence, just the "Satanic Panic" accusations. You think such insane things as the Salem Witch Trials are a thing of the past? Think again! A great non-fiction read---FIVE STARS!
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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Ima Pseudonym on July 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author does a wonderful job of dissecting the nature of the "panic" that had many Americans believing in the existence of a Satanic "underground" movement in the eighties and early nineties. Extremely readable and not couched in overly academic language, the book is useful for anyone who needs solid, reasonable information on the subject--the lay public, academics, the clergy, or police officers will all benefit from reading this work and keeping an open mind.
Victor follows the panic from a number of angles; religious, sociologic, folkloric, and so on. For each he presents a balanced case that seeks not to ridicule anyone who "bought into" the stories of widespread Satanism, but simply to understand why they did so. He also shows how some people (psychologists, police, and so on) actually thrived on the notoriety they achieved in their capacity as "witch hunter" and sought to keep the panic alive in order to further their own agendas.
Excellent reading, and a book that shows the danger of blindly believing rumors and unverified conspiracy tales.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
Jeffrey Victor has given form to the nervous dismissal most of us might feel when faced with claims of a massive Satanist conspiracy. He's done fantastic amounts of research and weaves between courtrooms and sociologist themes with a well-tempered ear for detail. In times where we learn to assume that the worst is possible, I'm thrilled to see someone debunk an extreme end of the "regress and confess" school of accusational therapy -- because nobody will take actual abuse as seriously while this Satanic nonsense distracts. Plus, it's a fun read for anyone who digs crime lit or Oliver Sacks books... fine work.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Eimers on June 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
I was at SUNY JCC in 1996 and regret not taking Victor's sociology class. I refused to take this because I thought "Satanic Panic" was an attack on Christians. "Satanic Panic" should be required reading for Christians, and should serve as a wake up call. Christians need to refuse feeding the crazy rumors that often infect our circles. (M.M O'Hare and the FCC) I grew up believing in SRA and it was not until I read things from Christian Research Institute and Bob & Gretchen Pasatino and continued to see Dr. Victor being cited. Please accept my apology for refusing to think and refusing to take your class.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Master of Cats on July 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
I lived in Jamestown at the time. Took classes (Human Sexuality) from Jeffrey Victor at Jamestown Community College. Good guy, good teacher, but he doesn't have all the facts in this book on the Jamestown events. Not many do, actually. Though it is a good general study on the manifestations of crowd hysteria. We do need to thank Jeffery for making a decent start at bringing calm to a county (and country) that still shivers over this stuff. It's an impossible task, but ya gotta start somewhere.

As for the facts, for one, the cat impaled on the stake was a prank by some stupid rich kids who were not satanists. And they didn't kill it. It was found road kill.

The "Jamestown Satanists" were not the Manson Family. The "Jamestown Satanists" were bored wannabe punk rockers on welfare passing the time in a very very boring town....People who didn't have the life skills to move elsewhere. They still live there. And several of them took classes from Jeffrey Victor, before dropping out of JCC.

I hung out with those people. I left the state because even those people bored me, and they were slightly more entertaining than most other people in Chautauqua County. If Dungeons and Dragons had been invented then, they would have played that instead of playing Satanists. There was no true satanic scene in Jamestown.

Most "satanists" are just Catholics with poor potty training who want to shock their parents.

"Chautauqua" is said to be Native American for either "bag tied in the middle" (the shape of the lake) or "place where one was lost" or "place of death". These all fit. The whole county probably IS a cursed Indian burial ground. But breeding ground for Satanists? Nope.
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