Victor - Satanic Panic Cover

Satanic Panic

The Creation of a Contemporary Legend

Jeffrey S. Victor

Open Court, 1993, 310 pp, appendices, notes, index, ISBN 0-8126-9191-1. Counter page views.

This important book drives a stake through the heart of the satanic panic, probably the most dangerous urban legend of our time. In clear, non-technical language, and drawing upon a wealth of solid data and reliable research, Victor's groundbreaking book dissects the current moral crusade against supposed "satanism", and finds it to be a witch-hunt based on an urban legend script.

Jan Harold Brunvand
Author of The Vanishing Hitchhiker

Satanic Panic should be required reading for anyone who has yet to grasp the vast scope of this still burgeoning epidemic of paranoia that is draining precious human and financial resources at all levels of government, while leaving thousands of vulnerable minds tragically scarred and families irreparably shattered in its wake.

George K. Ganaway, M.D.
Director, The Ridgeview Center for Dissociative Disorders

It is a valuable contribution to the scholarly literature in rumours, panics and contemporary legends. It should also be required reading for officials in the police or other government agencies who are tempted to take seriously the whole farrago of unsupported charges aout human sacrifice, ritual abuse, cult survivors and teenage devil-worship. While convincingly debunking charges about a satanic threat, the book also makes clear that such stories have done real social damage, with the network of anti-cult "experts" as the major culprits.

Philip Jenkins
Professor fo Criminal Justice, Penn State University

His analysis of the spread of rumors and the communication networks that support the dissemination of the stanic stories provides the first opening to ways of stopping the terrible havoc these myths are causing.

Pamela Freyd
False Memory Syndrome Foundation

The only persons with anything to lose from reading "Satanic Panic" are those who cling to irrationalism, while those who have any sense of sweet reason will benefit greatly. A necessary contemporary capacity in an age of information is a balderdash (b.s.) detector. "Satanic Panic" gives to the reader the ability to pierce through media hype and mass hysteria to the underlying reality of vacuous pandering to the worst of human nature.

Ralph Underwager
Director, Institute for Psychological Therapies

A fascinating introduction to an increasingly influential social movement and the anxieties which fuel it. This book contains information which can help halt the hysteria.

Joel Best
Professor of Sociology, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

A wise and knowing book about a subject that is all too often presented in a hysterical or careless fashion. I heartily recommend this book to all those concerned about the rise of teenage evil in our society and the social movements that accompany it. They will sleep better after reading Victor's balanced treatment.

Gary Alan Fine
Professor of Sociology, Universtiy of Georgia

About the Book

Again and again we are told - by journalists, police and fundamentalists - that there exists a secret network of criminal fanatics, worshippers of Satan, who are responsible for kidnapping, human sacrifice, sexual abuse and torture of children, drug-dealing, mutilation of animals, desecration of churches and cemetries, pornography, heavy metal lyrics and cannibalism.

This popular tales is almost entirely without foundation, but the legend continues to gather momentum, in the teeth of evidence and good sense. Networks of "child advocates", credulous or self-serving social workers, instant-expert police officers and unscrupulous ministers of religion help to spread the panic, along with fabricated survivors' memoirs passed off as true accounts and irresponsible broadcast "investigations". A classic witch-hunt, comparable to those of medieval Europe, is under way. Innocent victims are smeared and railroaded.

Satanic Panic uncovers the truth behind the satanic cult hysteria and exposes the roots of this malignant mythology, showing in detail how unsubstantiated rumor becomes transformed into publicly-accepted "fact".

About the Author

Jeffrey S. Victor is a professor of sociology at a branch of SUNY. He has published a book on human sexuality and many articles on rumor-panics and other sociological topics in scholarly and popular journals.


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