The Satanism hysteria, called the “Satanic panic” in the popular press, found Lucifer seemingly everywhere. Here is the New York Times looking back at fears the roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons conjured the Dark Lord. And, of course, bands like Motley Crue, Kiss and others were considered by some to be the ambassadors of Hell.
Christians claimed metal and rock bands were hiding messages intended to brainwash young people into becoming Devil worshippers. These messages, they argued, could be heard by playing recordings backwards, or backward masking.
Today, such a claim sounds Alex-Jones-turn-the-frogs-gay laughable, but 30 years ago, politicians and law enforcement took such proposals seriously, in a bid to halt murders, sexual assault and other crimes credited to Satanists. Everyone from Iron Maiden to Abba was a suspect.
The Satanic panic peaked with the McMartin preschool trial, and soon dissipated as miscarriages of justice were uncovered. The viral documents revealed this week give a fascinating look at the impact that unsubstantiated beliefs can have on everyone.
In honor of the great conspiracy, this week’s track is The Alex Jones Prison Planet, a project that intersperses death/grindcore riffs with commentaries from the erudite thinker himself. Make no mistake that “Get Behind Me, Satan” is a rebuke of Lucifer, but it is over-the-top enough that even Beelzebub would approve. You can find the group’s albums on Bandcamp for just $1.