“Unsubstantiated claims of bizarre behavior that are difficult to prove or disprove” - Kenneth V Lanning, Special Agent for the FBI Behavioral Science Unit (1992)
Intense feelings erupted all over North America in the early 1980s that continued well into the late 1990s over an issue that was said to threaten the very social order of modern society. It was believed that over centuries, Satanists had organized complex societies all over the world and had been performing Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) on unsuspecting victims regularly. The initial investigations into SRA were conducted by anthropologists and sociologists, who failed to find evidence of SRA actually occurring; instead they concluded that SRA was a result of rumors and folk legends that were spread by “media hype, Christian fundamentalism, mental health and law enforcement professionals and child abuse advocates” (The Dilemma of Ritual Abuse: Cautions and Guides for Therapists. Fraser, GA - 1997). Nonetheless Satanic Ritual Abuse became a moral panic that seemed to distort normal childhood fears and fantasies into a so-called crime epidemic that was never able to produce evidence of criminal activity.
A confused person is invited to believe the age-old battle of good versus evil is still being fought in modern communities, and that the devil could be the reason for all these unexplainable events. By tempting our initial sense of wonderment into a familiar state of delusion a person can feel more comfortable accepting a fantastic series of baffling events. Using bizarre and unusual imagery to visually suggest an eccentric world that seems to defy possibility or suggest a larger mystery Satanic Panic is a mass hallucination of emotional recognition. Placing importance on what could be real each image presents an innocent form of stimulation luring the viewer into a fantasy that will arouse a childish sense of wonder.
“Imagination is absolutely vital for contemplating reality” - Paul Harris, Developmental Psychologist & Professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education