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Satanic Panic: The Creation of a Contemporary Legend Paperback – April 19, 1993
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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.
From the Back Cover
Again and again we are told - by journalists, police, and fundamentalists - that there exists a secret network of criminal fanatics, worshippers of Satan, who are responsible for kidnapping, human sacrifice, sexual abuse and torture of children, drug-dealing, mutilation of animals, desecration of churches and cemeteries, pornography, heavy metal lyrics, and cannibalism. This popular tale is almost entirely without foundation, but the legend continues to gather momentum, in the teeth of evidence and good sense. Networks of 'child advocates', credulous or self-serving social workers, instant-expert police officers, and unscrupulous ministers of religion help to spread the panic, along with fabricated survivors' memoirs passed off as true accounts, and irresponsible broadcast 'investigations'. A classic witch-hunt, comparable to those of medieval Europe, is under way. Innocent victims are smeared and railroaded. Satanic Panic uncovers the truth behind the satanic cult hysteria, and exposes the roots of this malignant mythology, showing in detail how unsubstantiated rumor becomes transformed into publicly-accepted 'fact'. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
Victor has written a compelling read for something based on entirely second- and third-hand research. But if you weren't at that keg party on the broken-down flatbed truck in Panama, New York, you don't have all the facts. If you never hung out at a rehearsal of the punk/death metal bands Flat Head Dog, The Accused, Mutanis, or the Ice Cream Demigods [sic], you don't REALLY have the whole story.
And the real danger wasn't the "satanists" in their silly purple capes, but the rednecks showing up everywhere with shotguns saying "Where the satanists at?" The only murder in the 80s in Chautauqua County even remotely connected with Satanism was the redneck who murdered a self-professed Satanist punk rocker because the redneck was in a panic about the Satan talk. And if it's really true what they say that the killer did write "666" on the wall with blood, it wasn't because he was a Satanist, but probably because he wanted people to know his victims were Satanists. He was terrified of that sort of talk. And so sure of what he did that he turned himself in that night, but only after stopping off for a hot chocolate. (It's been 24 years, is that guy out of prison yet? I'd recommend you interview him for an appendix in the second printing. It would prove your whole thesis.)
-- Two recovering metalheads who were there.
p.s. The "punk rockers" were rednecks too, albeit rednecks with funny haircuts and clothes.