The Invisible Web

Your Trip Into the Chapel Perilous

The Lingering Damage of the Satanic Panic Scare by Jason Pitzl-Waters

Posted by invizweb on April 2, 2009

Jason Pitzl-Waters wrote on the Wild Hunt Blog,

We’d like to think that the age of dangerous life-destroying rumors concerning “Satanic” and “occult” practitioners is long over, but a quick look at the Austin Chronicle’s recent examination of the “Satanic Panic” scare of the 1980’s and 90’s (aka “Satanic Ritual Abuse”) shows how some people are still suffering from the after-effects of this madness.

“Fran and Danny Keller were each convicted of sexually assaulting Christina Chaviers, and each was sentenced to 48 years in prison. For the Kellers, now 58 and 68, respectively, it was effectively a life sentence. They’ve since come up for parole, but neither will acknowledge the remorse that is a requirement of release – after 17 years, the Kellers still fiercely maintain their innocence. And in fact, the Chronicle’s reinvestigation of the Fran’s Day Care case has revealed serious problems with the state’s case against the Kellers – including questions about the quality and reliability of the state’s medical evidence and forensic interviews. Moreover, the sensational nature of the charges themselves, in a period of hysterical national rumors about supposed “satanic ritual abuse” at day care centers, made it virtually impossible for the Kellers to receive a fair or even rational trial.”

In addition to examining the sad lack of real justice for the Kellers, the paper has also published companion pieces on the history of the Satanic abuse scare, and issues concerning children and testimony. People like the Kellers, and the West Memphis 3, are still wasting away in jails thanks in part to a moral panic dreamt up by Christian fundamentalists, unscrupulous “therapists”, various “cult experts”, and media-fueled folk legends (supported in the past by talk-show hosts like Donahue, Geraldo Rivera, Oprah Winfrey, and Sally Jesse Raphael). Sadder still, there remains a hard-core contingent of “survivors” and true belivers who are simply waiting for the cultural winds to shift again so they can peddle their fear and spectral evidence once more. So long as people are prosecuted or remain jailed due to rumors, unfounded beliefs, or misinformation concerning new religious movements the “Satanic Panic” era will never truly end.
Original post found here.

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