“Some telltale sings of youthful involvement in Satanism are
- An unhealthy preoccupation with fantasy role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons (D&D).
- An interest in Ouija boards and other occult games.
- A preoccupation with psychic phenomena like telepathy, astral projection, Tarot cards, I Ching and parapsychology.
- An addiction to horror movies like the “Friday the 13th” and “Nightmare on Elm Street” series, whose main characters kill and maim.
- An obsession with heavy metal music, particularly black metal bands like Slayer, Venom, Ozzy, Metallica, King Diamond, and other groups that evoke satanic symbolism.
- An affinity for satanic paraphernalia, including posters of black metal bands, skulls, knives, chalices, black candles and robes.
- An inclination to write poems or letters about Satanism or to sketch designs of upside-down crosses, pentagrams, the number 666, names of the devil, or skulls and other symbols of death.
- An attraction to satanic literature and such books as THE SATANIC BIBLE, the NECRONOMICON, the writings of Aleister Crowley, or keeping a privatejournal such as a BOOK OF SHADOWS (a self-designed secret chronicle of satanic activities and ideas).
- An involvement with friends who dress in black, greet each other with the satanic salute (index and pinkie finger extended, palm facing inward), speak and write backwards, or organise secret meetings.”
—– Bob Larson, “Satanism – the Seduction of America’s Youth”.
How did YOU score? As the rest of the book makes clear, for “unhealthy preoccupation”, “addiction” and “obsession”, you can read “mild interest” – I’ll admit six of the nine above could apply to me (as I write this, there’s a plaster skull, bought on a whim in Camden Town, lying in the bottom drawer of the desk, and I’ve also read ‘The Necronomicon’. It was DULL).
Recently, on both sides of the Atlantic, there’s been an upsurge in paranoia about witchcraft, devil-worship and Satanism. This is worrying, because there is a severe danger that it’s going to divert people from REAL problems. The worst example was the recent TV programme that tried to link Satanism and child sex abuse. Several people I know found the programme disturbing, yet no first- or even second-hand accounts were produced and the programme admitted police had totally failed to find evidence at all anything was happening. Yet the reaction of one social worker interviewed, astonishingly, was “Just because there isn’t any evidence, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening”!!!! I’ll restrain myself from commenting on this, beyond saying that a lack of evidence certainly doesn’t mean it IS happening.
Meanwhile, back in America, Bob Larson, radio talk-show host, continues his crusade to save America’s youth from the Devil. Let’s see what he has to say on horror films:
“The often chaotic plot lines and disjointed camera sequences of many horror films are randomly based. Instead of fostering mental stability, the cinematic techniques leave movie-goers wondering what will happen next. Such unpredictability enforces morbid fears that young minds cannot process. Tell the teen who wants to watch horror movies that the human mind can handle only so much stress before it becomes overburdened and desensitised. Scenes of gore galore can become so indelibly imbedded that the film becomes a living nightmare, triggering neuroses, trauma and ongoing phobias. Don’t hesitate to declare something is tragically wrong with anyone who watches a movie for the thrill of watching blood flow”.
Wow! A living nightmare! Neuroses! Trauma! Sounds like my sort of film. But is the ‘thrill of watching ARTIFICIAL blood flow’ any different from the thrill of the (car) chase, the thrill of a fight sequence or even the thrill of a well-staged, tense piece of dialogue? The man has also completely forgotten that horror films are MEANT to be unsettling but that, almost by definition, a sane individual can distinguish reality from celluloid fantasy and keep them apart. On reading the following paragraph, you begin to wonder whether Bob’s grip on reality isn’t a little shaky:
“The worst part was audience reaction as bodies were disembowelled and limbs amputated. Instead of hung heads and disapproving groans, the murderous mayhem met with cheers, laughter and indifference”
No, Bob! FAKE bodies, LATEX limbs. THIS IS NOT REALITY. Show those teenagers footage of open-heart surgery and you would GET the hung heads and disapproving groans you want. And this inability to tell the difference appears in all the other areas he ‘investigates’. His chapter on role-playing games (which contains several blatant errors, such as claiming the spell Slow Poison is used to kill, when it’s actually a healing spell) makes the same mistake of assuming that because devil-worship and magic are part of the mythos, this will lead the participants to use them in real life.
Admittedly, the only Satanist I ever knew DID play D&D. However, his influence on the rest of us was highly POSITIVE, encouraging mutual collaboration and other ‘good’ deeds. The guy was a 100% sh*t and whenever he played, the rest of us (including the referee) would instantly forget all differences and work together towards the common goal of killing the mother as fast as possible. The record was just over 35 seconds. He wasn’t a great advert for Satanism, but it does show that D&D can just as easily promote positive traits!
Now, I hold no candle, black or otherwise, for Satanism, and I freely admit there are some highly dubious things going on ‘in the name of Satan’ but claiming that rock music, films or fantasy games will cause sane, stable people to commit murder is just not on. Neither is trying to link the completely separate problem of child abuse – we’ll get nowhere if we ignore the atrocities committed by Christian families…