The Satanic Panic, or Why R.L. Stine is the Devil

Satanism and nostalgia. They’re a strange sort of bedfellows, but if you’re of a certain age, a child of the 80s, they do ironically enough fit together. Now people today aren’t any smarter than they were back then. I’d say the percentage of stupidity is about the same, and has probably always held steady throughout the ages. But people as a whole were less sophisticated back in the 80s. There was no Snopes to squelch the rampant urban legends, and these latter were many and not far-between. If you played a Quiet Riot record backwards the Devil would talk to you. The Smurfs were part of a satanic conspiracy to lead little kids to Hell. Proctor and Gamble and McDonald’s were owned by Satanists who sacrificed children. It was all so stupid, but people believed it, even adults who should have known better. But as I said, people today, even with the Internet and the sum total of all human knowledge right at the tips of their fingers, are still just as stupid. It’s just that now they don’t have any excuses.

With the new SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK movie in theaters, it brought back to my mind the movement by religious wackjobs and stupid people (not that the two are separate groupings) to burn the books that inspired the movie, as well as the GOOSEBUMPS series. The Satanic Panic of the 80s carried over into the 90s, and that’s primarily when the book-burning crusade took place. I remember Walmart pulling GOOSEBUMPS from its shelves after somebody complained. (Note: If you haven’t noticed, they’re back. Sorry religious wackadoos.) It’s strange that I never heard any hullaballoo from those people when Walmart started selling the TWILIGHT books. Maybe by then people had just stopped paying attention to the loons.

By TheCheezman

WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS, specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced, and directed (and occasionally acted in) over two dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and True Crime genres. He obtained a doctorate in Occult Studies from Miskatonic University and is an active paranormal investigator. Is frequently told he resembles Anton Lavey. And Ming the Merciless.

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