If you’ve been involved in the world of magick and the occult for some time, you may remember the anti-occult disaster in the 1980s and 1990s that has been called “The Satanic Panic.” For those unfamiliar with what happened, a few nurses and sympathetic practicing mental health “professionals,” along with various religious “leaders” and governmental officials who couldn’t separate their spiritual beliefs from their professional duties, began supporting the bizarre mental musings of some troubled women. This carried over to the manipulation of children resulting in wild claims of “SRA” or Satanic Ritual Abuse. The claims are so bizarre and so impossible that I won’t repeat them here. But numerous lives were ruined, families torn apart, and innocent people imprisoned. The fantasies and false claims were popularized by TV personalities ranging from Geraldo Rivera to Oprah.
Once case became the most expensive case in California history, ruined a business, ruined families, kept innocent people in jail for years, and resulted in nothing. In fact according to the FBI, there is no evidence to support the existence of such ritual abuse. The real perpetratorsâ€”the officials, therapists, nurses, ministers, etc.â€”have never recanted nor apologized. They certainly have never been punished for the people whom they ruined. The panic started in the U.S. and spread to other countries, especially Great Britain.
But a good myth is hard to keep down. Return of the Furies is the name of a book about the Satanic Panic, but it might also be a good description of what may be happening. According to British magazineÂ Private Eye, the supporters of this fantasy may be returning. It would seem that believers in this myth have been trying to promote it under various pseudo-scientific terms. Slowly, new books are beginning to appear and conventions are starting to be held. One book has a professional title, Forensic Aspects of Dissociative Identity Disorder, but ends up with a typical satanic panic screed.
Think this doesn’t apply to you? According to a post in Jason Pitzi-Waters’ blog,Â The Wild Hunt, Max Blumenthal (a well-known liberal author and blogger) has a new book entitled Republican Gommorah. In this book Blumenthal describes a deeply disturbed young man who eventually killed several people including himself. BlumenthalÂ begins by describing the boy’s horrible, abusive upbringing at the hands of ultra-fundamentalist Christian parents, and then goes on to tell how the boy tried to break free of them, eventually finding the teachings of Aleister Crowley. The book goes on to make false allegations against Crowley and the actions of Crowley’s followers, implying that the boy’s interest in Crowley led to his inevitable demise.
This re-interest in the myth of SRA, combined with the freedom to publish wild and wacky allegations against occultism, could lead to a 21st century Witch hunt, a second Satanic Panic, another return of the Furies. I suggest two potential actions:
1) Be aware that this could happen again. Watch and listen to the media around you.
2) Although many people will not be able to respond, those who do should not respond with anger or rage (it turns people off). By all means show passion, but keep it positive, not negative. Support your position with facts and knowledge. Stand your ground, but do it with love. The more people talk about SRA, the wilder and more unbelievable their claims become. You don’t need to throw rocks at people when they’re busy digging a hole for themselves.