Wonkette At The 'Movies': The Wonderful World Of Satanic Panic Propaganda
As much as we all laugh about all of the QAnon people and their nonsense now, there was a time when belief in murderous Satanic Cults doing all kinds of bizarre and abusive things to people (especially children) was relatively mainstream. In the 1980s and ‘90s, as you probably all know, the Satanic Panic swept America and people were very inclined to believe some very impossible things.
While the FBI came out with a report in 1992 explaining that Satanic Ritual Abuse was definitely not a real thing and that there were not, in fact, legions of underground Satanic cults eating babies and programming women to be sex slaves, it did take a while for it to fully sink in.
In the meantime, there was a whole bunch of super strange Satanic Panic propaganda — much of which is now available for your viewing pleasure on YouTube.
Now, right here, we've got a real classic — Geraldo Rivera's special, "Devil Worship: Exposing Satan's Underground." Obligatory MUAHAHAHAHAHA!
The special was a massive ratings success, and while it featured "actual Satanists" who tried to convince Geraldo that they were not going around murdering anyone, it also featured a lot of people who claimed to have been in Satanic cults themselves. This included one Lauren Stratford — aka Laurel Rose Wilson who later also pretended to be a Holocaust survivor named Laura Grabowski.
Laurel Rose Wilson AKA Lauren Stratford AKA Laura Grabowski
There is nowhere near enough information available on Laurel Rose Wilson. Weirdly, Wilson's ruse, as well as a lot of the other Satanic Panic bullshit, was exposed by Cornerstone Magazine, the official publication of Jesus People USA — a group that has actually come under scrutiny itself for cult-like practices.
Next up, we have a thing I actually have not seen! I found it today on Reddit's Obscure Media forum, and am very excited to get started watching it as soon as I am done here today. It is a video about supposed Satanic cults that was meant to aid law enforcement. It is from 1994, which you will note is two years after the FBI said there was no such thing.
Next up, we've got a little dose of reality with what is actually one of my favorite documentaries of all time (in fact I've almost definitely recommended it here before), a “Frontline” special on how shitty, fame-hungry psychologists were abusing vulnerable women by giving them a lot of drugs and convincing them that they had repressed memories of being abused in Satanic cults. It is so good, but also so enraging. Especially because two of the psychologists who were doing this are still actually practicing, and because Gloria Steinem was going around promoting the work they were doing. She has not, for the record, ever apologized for that.
I really, really cannot recommend this one enough. It's so good and so sad and so rage inducing and everyone in the whole world should watch it.
Welp! That is it for today! Enjoy these movies, enjoy your Sunday and enjoy your open thread!
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. In addition to her work at Wonkette, she also has a biweekly column at Dame. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse