I just heard this one this week’s Cracked podcast and I like YES, HELL YEAH IT IS. People sometimes comment on my monicker- I worship the devil or something. For the record, I do not worship the devil.
I came up with this monicker in 2006 when I first used it over at Huffington Post. Here’s my profile– August 2006. I don’t really go there anymore unless I happen upon a link to there from somewhere else. I can think of other things I would rather read about than celebrities’ nipples or about how vaccines are bad for you. But I’ve been using it ever since. I use it all over the internet, so likely if you see SatanicPanic, it’s me, except in those places where I am TheRealSatanicPanic (notably Youtube) because some copycat used it first.
I chose the name because it rhymes and because when I came back to the USA around 2006 I thought certain aspects of the War on Terror reminded me of the great moral panic of the 80s. The one where everyone thought there was a Satanic cult operating in every town, except in this case it was Muslim terrorists.
Obviously there are actually were (and maybe are) Muslim terrorists operating in the USA, where the evidence for Satanic cults was pretty near zero, but I thought stories about schools cancelling their field trips to pumpkin patches were a sign that people were going a little overboard. OK I was being a little flippant, but this is the internet we’re talking about and I tend to be flippant here. The other thing is that moral panics do have costs, which I was just reminded of this week:
The Real Victims of Satanic Ritual Abuse
Among the atrocities that Frances and Dan Keller were supposed to have committed while running a day care center out of their Texas home: drowning and dismembering babies in front of the children; killing dogs and cats in front of the children; transporting the children to Mexico to be sexually abused by soldiers in the Mexican army; dressing as pumpkins and shooting children in the arms and legs; putting the children into a pool with sharks that ate babies; putting blood in the children’s Kool-Aid; cutting the arm or a finger off a gorilla at a local park; and exhuming bodies at a cemetery, forcing children to carry the bones.
After multiple appeal efforts and 21 years in prison, the Kellers are finally free. Fran Keller, 63, was released from prison on Nov. 26 on a personal bond, just in time for Thanksgiving. Her daughter was waiting for her with a bag full of the first clothes that weren’t prison-issued that Keller had seen in years. Dan, who turned 72 in prison and now walks with a cane, was released on Dec. 5; this time, Fran was there to greet him. (The Kellers divorced while in prison yet remain close, as close as two people locked up in separate prisons for crimes they say they didn’t commit can be.)
This was a story I remember reading about a long, long time ago and thinking- wow, that’s far-fetched. Putting children into pools with sharks? How in the fuck did they get sharks to Austin Texas anyway? Did the prosecution produce an armless gorilla? Were all these people HIGH?
I’m ashamed I never followed up on this story and sent some money to a defense fund for these people, because they got railroaded. What a joke.
Anyway, that’s where my monicker comes from.