Thank the Satanic Panic for Beetlejuice, The Addams Family, and the Golden Age of Creepy Kids' Shit

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  evilgenius  •  4 months ago  •  44 comments

By:   Emily Alford

Thank the Satanic Panic for Beetlejuice, The Addams Family, and the Golden Age of Creepy Kids' Shit
Though it’s hard to pin down exactly when the Satanic Panic began and at what point it eventually petered out, the panic was at its most serious in the early-to-mid 1980s. In 1980, Michelle Remembers, written by psychiatrist Lawrence Pazer, detailed the “recovered” memories of satanic ritual abuse “uncovered” during therapy sessions with a patient, Michelle Smith...

I find it very interesting how popular culture influences people's thinking and in turn how that thinking further influences poplar culture.


S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



In the late 1980s, around the time I started kindergarten, my older sister came home from church with a list of bands that worshipped the devil, according to her youth pastor. Eight years older than me and fiercely religious, my sister secretly went through all five rooms of our shitty rented house collecting cassette tapes. Springsteen, the Eagles, Led Zepplin, all the dad rock I cherished as a five-year-old, had made the list. She took the cassettes to our tiny North Louisiana town’s biggest evangelical church to burn them in the parking lot alongside all the “satanic” materials her middle school classmates pilfered from their own homes on the advice of her youth minister, who presumably poured the kerosene and lit the match.

For kids who grew up evangelical in the ’80s, especially in the Bible Belt, this story is not at all uncommon. The Satanic Panic wasn’t the punchline it eventually became in much of the rest of the country. It was a real terror born of the belief that a network of satanic cults across America were committing ritual sex abuse and murder when they weren’t plotting to turn kids into devil worshippers through profane lyrics in rock music. In addition to these perceived threats from satanic cults, evangelical leaders and parents also worried about covert indoctrination into the occult from children’s entertainment, such as the popular cartoon He-Man, which church leaders warned might offer kids the message that Jesus probably couldn’t even take Skeletor in a fight.


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evilgenius
Professor Participates
1  seeder  evilgenius    4 months ago

I remember my parents making me watch that shitty 1982 made for TV movie Rona Jeffe's Monsters and Mazes and the lengthy conversation on the evils of Dungeons & Dragons.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
2  Trout Giggles    4 months ago

I escaped all of that because my parents were sane. We didn't attend church and so I never got mixed up with those crazy Jesus youth cults

 
 
 
evilgenius
Professor Participates
2.1  seeder  evilgenius  replied to  Trout Giggles @2    4 months ago

After my split with my ex-wife in the 90's she got uber religious and dumped all her Disney movies and books. It was ridiculous there for awhile...She's still weird, but I don't have to deal with it.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
2.2  Gordy327  replied to  Trout Giggles @2    4 months ago

You're lucky. Leave it to certain religions to suck all the fun out of everything. 

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
PhD Principal
2.3  sandy-2021492  replied to  Trout Giggles @2    4 months ago

My mom went to church.  Dad didn't.  But neither of them bought into this stuff.  Lots of my friends did, though.  They were convinced that a lot of rock or metal songs had Satanic messages if played backwards.

 
 
 
devangelical
Masters Expert
2.3.1  devangelical  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2.3    4 months ago
They were convinced that a lot of rock or metal songs had Satanic messages if played backwards.

I don't know about backwards, but as a teenager from the late 60's to the early 70's, I can assure you any subliminal messages were drink beer, smoke weed, and find the teenage girls that wanted to do the same things, and more ...

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
3  Kavika     4 months ago

I missed all that nonsense.

 
 
 
Dismayed Patriot
PhD Guide
3.1  Dismayed Patriot  replied to  Kavika @3    4 months ago

Sadly I did not, though it was a little bit pre-1980's. My Dad burned one of my first albums on our lawn after unsuccessfully trying to prove it said "My sweet Satan" if played backwards. All he got was some gargled backwards sounds and that was enough, out came the barbecue lighter fluid. My only consolation was watching him use a lighter instead of a match which caught one of his favorite dress shirts sleeves on fire when he lit it. He blamed me of course.

I was the black sheep of what I see now was a psycho evangelical Christian family till I was about fifteen and then I gave in and did everything my pastor father demanded of me. Then I was the 'golden boy', the prodigal son who had returned and was preaching what they wanted me to preach for the next fifteen years, almost had myself convinced of it. Thankfully I had a 'crisis of faith' aka insane religious zealot wife and eventually got divorced and got out and was able to breathe fresh air again and moved from Ohio to California. Then I went and bought Led Zeppelin IV on vinyl again and played it till my needle wore out. Thankfully I also bought it on cassette tape and then later on CD, though now I really only enjoy it when it pops up randomly on Pandora.

 
 
 
devangelical
Masters Expert
3.2  devangelical  replied to  Kavika @3    4 months ago

my mom snatched the big rolling paper out my cheech and chong album big bambu when I first got it and threw it away, not recognizing the humor involved. I retaliated by destroying her xmas album collection during the holidays.

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Principal
4  Krishna    4 months ago

I find it very interesting how popular culture influences people's thinking and in turn how that thinking further influences poplar culture.

And it getting worse. As the Internet has many great features, it also makes it easier for extremist nutcases to spread their vile hatred.

In fact, strange as it may seem, many of the more "intellectually challenged" types will actually believe anything . . . if its on the Internet!

 
 
 
evilgenius
Professor Participates
4.1  seeder  evilgenius  replied to  Krishna @4    4 months ago
And it getting worse.

I'll really start to worry when QAnon shows up on some weekly police procedural.

 
 
 
Ender
PhD Principal
5  Ender    4 months ago

I remember the eighties as the birth of slasher movies...

True story, when I was young my cousin Rusty (Russell, RIP) became religious. We were both living with my Grandmother at the time. I heard something like a smashing sound and went to his room. He had broken a record and was going to break more. Said they were now evil.

I stopped him and talked him into just giving all of them to me.

Ended up with a great collection, even had the one album that had Lynyrd Synyrd with them engulfed inflames, before they changed it after the accident. Almost a collection of the best of the seventies.

I forget which one he broke but it was only one before I stopped him. When I got to him the one he had in his hand, next in line was Ronnie James Dio.

I also remember all the memes about being able to play a record backwards and hear messages from the devil.

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Principal
5.1  Krishna  replied to  Ender @5    4 months ago
I also remember all the memes about being able to play a record backwards and hear messages from the devil.

I remember that! 

I think it was mostly about one particular record "Louie, Louie". (The conspiracy theory claimed if you played it backwards-- and/or perhaps at a different speed, the lyric were "obscene") Well, that a little weird in and of itself.  But what was really extremely crazy was what the FBI did in response to the rumours.

From our "Ya Cain't Make This Stuff Up" Dept:

‘Louie, Louie:’ Why the FBI spent two years (and 119 pages) investigating one song

The FBI investigation of everybody’s favourite party song, “Louie, Louie,” took two years and 119 pages of documents,   the agency reveals .

Released 50 years ago last month, “Louie, Louie” by The Kingsmen endures thanks to a catchy calypso beat and the fact that almost nobody actually knows the words beyond the first two.

But agents in five or six bureaus of J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI spent many months playing the record at every possible speed to find what vigilant parents insisted were absolutely filthy lyrics.

So supposedly crude were the words to “Louie, Louie” that the governor of Indiana had banned the record and Michigan was considering it.

You can read more about this incredible example of human stupidity HERE. (There are more sordid {or extremely hilarious?} details  . . .. . . .

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Principal
5.1.1  Krishna  replied to  Krishna @5.1    4 months ago
You can read more about this incredible example of human stupidity HERE. (There are more sordid {or extremely hilarious?} details  . . .. . . .

Here's the video. 

WARNING: Not for the faint of heart!  Watching this video is extremely dangerous! It may turn your muscles to stone, the very blood in your veins to ice, And make your brain explode!

(or...not!)

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
5.1.2  Trout Giggles  replied to  Krishna @5.1    4 months ago

All that time wasted when they could have been looking for real criminals

 
 
 
evilgenius
Professor Participates
5.2  seeder  evilgenius  replied to  Ender @5    4 months ago
I also remember all the memes about being able to play a record backwards and hear messages from the devil.

In the mid-80's I got a used tape deck that was supposed to auto play the B side at the end of the A side. At some point it just started playing the A side backwards... My roommate at the time suggested we listen to my Black Sabbath tape backwards. I had to tell her, that 1- I didn't believe there were any messages to be heard and it would be a waste of my time. AND 2- were I wrong about 1 I wasn't interested in what that message might say. 

Also in the mid-80's Frank Zappa put out an album No Not Now were the B side was the reverse of the A side. It was in protest of the moral majority trying to enact laws to ban everything they felt were wicked.

 
 
 
Ender
PhD Principal
5.2.1  Ender  replied to  evilgenius @5.2    4 months ago

Ha...I also remember the Beatles album that was supposed to say...Paul is dead...Paul is dead...

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
Professor Principal
5.3  Hal A. Lujah  replied to  Ender @5    4 months ago

I still freaking love this movie.  The Pick of Destiny.

 
 
 
Gsquared
Freshman Principal
6  Gsquared    4 months ago

This link is an interesting read about Former FBI Special Agent in Charge Ted Gunderson:  " one of the most influential propagators of the Satanic Panic throughout the 80s and 90s"

I actually knew him in the late 80s/early 90s.  He was an acquaintance of a friend, and very nice personally the few times I was around him.  He even sent me an autographed copy of his book "How to Locate Anyone Anywhere Without Leaving Home" as a promotion for his investigative services for my work.  I never hired him.  He tried to tell me about the Satanic cults, which I knew was craziness.  He told me his theory about Jeffrey McDonald, the former Green Beret Army officer convicted of killing his family, who he claimed were actually killed by Satanists.  When I saw Ted on TV with his "9/11 was caused by the government" theory, I told my friend he should probably steer clear of him.

 

 
 
 
evilgenius
Professor Participates
6.1  seeder  evilgenius  replied to  Gsquared @6    4 months ago

I read Gunderson work years ago. It was facinating.

 
 
 
Gsquared
Freshman Principal
6.1.1  Gsquared  replied to  evilgenius @6.1    4 months ago

He was pretty far out there.

 
 
 
lady in black
Professor Participates
7  lady in black    4 months ago

I was brought up in the Catholic faith.

Went to church every Sunday, even went to some where the mass was in Polish when I would spend the weekend at my grandparents house (of course I didn't speak it but I could follow what was going on)

Went to Catholic schools.

Luckily religion didn't rule our lives.  

My dad actually bought me my first Led Zep album. 

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Principal
7.1  Krishna  replied to  lady in black @7    4 months ago
My dad actually bought me my first Led Zep album. 

OMG-- don't you know that Led Zeppelin is "The Spawn of the Devil"?

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
Professor Principal
8  Hal A. Lujah    4 months ago

I was raised Presbyterian even though I was an atheist.  I went out of my way to creep out my parents with my rock and heavy metal records and album covers.  It never bothered them though ... which bothered me, lol.  I even hung my Alice Cooper double album cover on my bedroom wall and they never even mentioned it.  I guess they knew if they ignored it I would get bored trying to shock them.

384

 
 
 
Gsquared
Freshman Principal
8.1  Gsquared  replied to  Hal A. Lujah @8    4 months ago

This might sound weird, but I knew Alice Cooper, too, in 1977-1978 when I worked with his manager's office for a while.  Nice guy, smart, funny.  I overheard him say one day, talking about a potential endorsement deal:  "I would LOVE to be in a dog food commercial!"  I had to laugh.

His friends call him Vinnie, his real name.

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
Professor Principal
8.1.1  Hal A. Lujah  replied to  Gsquared @8.1    4 months ago

Cool story.  The guy is such an enigma.  Shocking, yet politically conservative and a golf nut.  I’ll admit that my heart sank a little when I learned he is a Republican.

When I was real young I loved Ted Nugent.  When I finally learned about who he is in real life I got rid of all his albums and never listened to him again.  What a gross human.  I can still appreciate this song from when he was with the Amboy Dukes though, since it’s instrumental.

 
 
 
Tessylo
PhD Principal
8.1.3  Tessylo  replied to    4 months ago

He's a no talent scumbag.  

 
 
 
Tessylo
PhD Principal
8.1.5  Tessylo  replied to    4 months ago

You think I'm jealous of a pedophile scumbag?

He's scum.  Nothing to look up to.

There's no accounting for a lack of taste or talent.

 
 
 
Gsquared
Freshman Principal
8.1.7  Gsquared  replied to  Hal A. Lujah @8.1.1    4 months ago

It's hard to believe that Alice Cooper is a Republican, isn't it?  Go figure.

Ted Nugent is more disgusting than words can describe.

 
 
 
Tessylo
PhD Principal
8.1.8  Tessylo  replied to  Gsquared @8.1.7    4 months ago

ted shits his pants pedophile nugent

Hard to believe anyone would look up to this scumbag.  

 
 
 
Gsquared
Freshman Principal
8.1.9  Gsquared  replied to  Tessylo @8.1.8    4 months ago

Worthless, disgusting POS.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
8.1.10  Trout Giggles  replied to  Tessylo @8.1.5    4 months ago

Ted Nugent? The draft-dodging asshole who shit his pants so he wouldn't have to go to Vietnam?

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
8.1.11  Trout Giggles  replied to  Gsquared @8.1.7    4 months ago

I saw Alice Cooper in a commercial where he's buying school supplies for a kid (don't know if it's supposed to be his) but anyway, they're playing "School's Out" and she looks up at him and he says "you're going to school!"

hilarious

He comes across as a nice guy. I think he DJs on a Sirius channel from time to time

 
 
 
Gsquared
Freshman Principal
8.1.13  Gsquared  replied to  Trout Giggles @8.1.11    4 months ago

He was always very nice.   His wife, Sheryl, to whom he is still married, was as nice as could be.  She was a dancer and performed in his concerts.

Here is an article from last year about the two of them: 

I was in a video with them that was played during the Alice Cooper concerts. That was before MTV.   The video is known to be lost.   I looked around the internet.  I did find one photo of me with Alice Cooper from the video shoot on the internet, which I think was between scenes.  It is really funny.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
8.2  Trout Giggles  replied to  Hal A. Lujah @8    4 months ago

You had smart parents

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
Professor Principal
8.2.1  Hal A. Lujah  replied to  Trout Giggles @8.2    4 months ago

I admit that I was kind of a shit as a kid.  I think it was a reaction to being forced to go to church as a nonbeliever.  They even made me go to a Jesuit high school, while my older brother (now an agnostic who’s father in law is a retired Presbyterian minister) got to go to the local public school.  You just can’t force faith where it can’t exist.

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
Sophomore Principal
9  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)    4 months ago

I grew up in the 80s and none of this was an issue in my home. My MOTHER was the one with all the Zepplin and Alice Cooper albums. My household was NOT a religious one though either. My mother [and her siblings] were raised Catholic, but my grandparents weren't extremists.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
9.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka) @9    4 months ago

I grew up in Western PA where there are a lot of Roman Catholics and Easter/Greek/Russian Orthodox. I don't remember any of them being extremists. They all pretty much kept their religion to themselves.

Evangelicals like to get up in your face and proselytize or look down on people where I grew up.

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
Sophomore Principal
9.1.1  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  Trout Giggles @9.1    4 months ago

Yeah. I'm glad there aren't very many Evangelicals around here. You're more likely to find temples [Islamic or Judeo] or Polish / Roman Catholic churches than an Evangelical church.

 
 
 
lady in black
Professor Participates
10  lady in black    4 months ago

Even Robin Williams made fun of this in Good Morning Vietnam:

 
 
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