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Vitrius

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Jan 11, 2004
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198
I've noticed that alot of places in America have minor legends about some particular place where devil worshippers supposedly congregate. I'm wonder if this came up suddenly in the 80's with the "Satanic Panic" and SRA phenomena, or if it predates it. I know alot of same types of things I've heard in the rural and not-so-rural South are very close to local legends of phantom cults in England.

And, no, so far I haven't found any altars or scorched infant remains, but those people are crafty, don't you know.
 
It's always seemed to me to be one of those things mentioned by newspapers, but without any evidence to support it. The same sort of thing happened in the '70s here in the UK, with rumours of various satanic groups up to no good. It always seemed like some sort of backlash to the occult revival in the '60s.

So, basically, I think it's another aspect of urban legend - but this time out in the sticks ;)
 
It came up in the Son of Sam article in the FT which looked at the reports of some kind of odd rituals taking place in a nearby park.

I wouldn't be over suprised if these are places were kids go and drink and take drugs and some junior psychopath cutting up a cat, etc.

Then again who knows?

I've always been intrigued by the reports of dark hooded figures who have been sighted in areas with animal mutilation outbreaks - surely Satanists wouldn't be spotted wandering around?

Emps
 
It sounds like an offshoot of the idea in most towns of somebody outside of town who has strange beliefs... as for the "satanic cult", I wonder if that is tied in with the popularity of Rosemary's Baby... I think this is a good question.
 
People report these as "Gospel true." I think its a sort of marginal tradition in America. See Hawthorne's tales for possible early literary reference. Of course, this type of thing was central to the whitch trials in the New World.

Supposedly, there was an "investigative report" type segment on American television, possibly Date Line NBC, about a town not far from here, Steele Alabama, where a satanic cult presence was assumed. Can't find anything online though.

I know that a teenage girl's disappearance in my home town was officially attributed to "cults" in the 70's.
 
In the UK, I remember that there used to be (~late '80s, early '90s) talk of strange nocturnal goings on at Alderley Edge. Anyone else come across these stories?
 
In the UK, I remember that there used to be (~late '80s, early '90s) talk of strange nocturnal goings on at Alderley Edge. Anyone else come across these stories?

That was probably me heh

There really are a fair few actual practicing witches and magicians and other such strange people about, not to mention curious kids scaring themselves with clumsy readings from dodgy old grimoires or a bit of "reverse-christianity-satanism" : places like Alderly Edge with it's Pennine window area / conjunction of leys / mythic / literary connections attract them, as do graveyards and stone circles and hill tops and caves and so on ..... you can often find magic(k)al detritus at such places if you look .... a bit of spilled candle wax here, a little offering of woven twigs there etc.

.... you have to get up very early in the morning to catch me flouncing about in the fields and forests in a robe but it is occasionally possible ..... :eek!!!!:
 
You Could Try:

'Guide to Lovecraftian Sites in Massachusetts'

Hadley
Hadley is a small town in western Massachusetts on the Connecticut River.

Hadley Farm Museum, Cider Press
Oldest of all are the great rings of rough-hewn stone columns on the hill-tops, but these are more generally attributed to the Indians than to the settlers. Deposits of skulls and bones, found within these circles and around the sizeable table-like rock on Sentinel Hill, sustain the popular belief that such spots were once the burial-places of the Pocumtucks; even though many ethnologists, disregarding the absurd improbability of such a theory, persist in believing the remains Caucasian. (“The Dunwich Horror”)
Ostensibly, this rock is a cider press that. Some surmise that it is actually a sacrificial altar, although the need for a ‘blood-draining groove’ is unclear.
 
I remember that some years ago there was an article in one of the local newspapers here about rumours that some kind of satanic cult was located in some abandoned railway tunnel thingy close to where I live.
A friend of mine later told me that this newspaper article actually referred to him and his friends - they were doing some (not very satanic) live RPGing there :rofl:
 
Vitrius, nice to see another Alabamian, and from Tuscaloosa to boot.....

I remember in high school a classmate brought pictures taken in an abandoned house they found with all types of "satanic" grafitti painted on the walls. Could have been all a joke but when you're 15 or 16 years old it seems pretty spooky.

This was in rural Blount County, Alabama around 1984-85. I also recall rumors at another school in the county that "Satanists" would be trying to kidnap a blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl from the high school. Many people, of course, were afraid to go to school. I remember this was covered by TV news stations in Birmingham.

Looking at reports like this from an urban legend standpoint is very interesting as well as seeing how it ties into the SRA panic at the time.....

sureshot
 
sureshot said:
Vitrius, nice to see another Alabamian, and from Tuscaloosa to boot.....
I remember in high school a classmate brought pictures taken in an abandoned house they found with all types of "satanic" grafitti painted on the walls. Could have been all a joke but when you're 15 or 16 years old it seems pretty spooky. This was in rural Blount County, Alabama around 1984-85. I also recall rumors at another school in the county that "Satanists" would be trying to kidnap a blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl from the high school. Many people, of course, were afraid to go to school. I remember this was covered by TV news stations in Birmingham.

Looking at reports like this from an urban legend standpoint is very interesting as well as seeing how it ties into the SRA panic at the time.....

sureshot

The blond/blue-eyed thing is rote SRA/SP material. Usually it's an infant or young girl. It seems very bizarre to me too, because of the victims required phenotypic characteristics. Maybe a throw-back to Blood Libel myths about Jews eating German babies and such.

Nothing about Steele? I actually had some one in Jacksonville "warn" me about the place, saying something to the effect of, "If your car breaks down, just walk to the next town, especially if it's getting dark." Very melodramatic.

I've heard similar legends in Attala, Oxford, Pelham, Gadsden, and Piedmonte(Where there's apparently real danger in the form of violent methamphetamine dealers).

As an unrelated passing note, have you been behind the public library? The hill side has the remnants of an apparently ancient gateway and stairwalk leading into a wet, low place and coming out at the library. There's even a well in there somewhere. It looks older than the abandonded pool, and somewhat older. I always wondered what used to be there.
 
Strange that virtually all the Satanic Child Abuse cases have been discredited,pardoned from jail, quietly forgotten ect, not sure if there is even one concrete conviction despite all the media coverage, yet there are hundreds of Child Abuse cases committed by Chritians?.
 
Michael Watson said:
Strange that virtually all the Satanic Child Abuse cases have been discredited,pardoned from jail, quietly forgotten ect, not sure if there is even one concrete conviction despite all the media coverage, yet there are hundreds of Child Abuse cases committed by Chritians?.

I'll have to look for it, but I believe there was one confirmed case out of Utah, of all places.

Ever read about the parents who locked their kids up and subjected them to bizarre, religious torture for years? It was in the Mid West I believe, and the main thing I remember was that one kid was actually named Yahweh. There's also a recent case somewhere on these forums about another bunch of nutters killing theirt daughter Linda Blair style and then taking a birthday suit stroll in the snow.
 
This was a long time ago, and I was researching something else when I ran across this, so I'm afraid this is going to be a vague "seem-to-remember" reference. I would have been researching Amerindian folklore at the time, so most likely this article was in a folklore journal, and it could not have been more recent than 1995.

The authors of the paper researched certain specific scare stories of Satanic cults and tainted Halloween treats (fishhooks in popcorn balls, etc.) within their area of study, which was a portion of Midwestern America. I primarily remember their conclusion, which resulted not only from tracking FOAFs backwards but from consulting with the police about specific complaints. Although the stories had been floating around the area since the late 60's, *every single one* of the complaints the cops had followed up postdated the existence of the stories, and *every single one* of these complaints turned out to be a straightforwardly motivated crime inspired by the stories - kids drawn to vandalize a site because it was supposed to be a center for Satanic rituals, parents harming their own kids for insurance money and planting poisoned candy in their Halloween bags, etc.

Incidentally, in the 80s, when I was active in SCA, and more recently when LARPing in the park, I have been asked - usually politely and pleasantly, as if out of curiosity - whether I'm worshiping Satan. However, we haven't been asked that question in the park for a long time, and when we met up with another set of LARPers using that park this weekend and I inquired, I was told that these LARPers had *never* been asked. People don't even stare at us in our spiderpeople costumes and purple makeup these days. Possibly this particular public ignorance is on its way out, or is due to be transformed.
 
Peni said:
This was a long time ago, and I was researching something else when I ran across this, so I'm afraid this is going to be a vague "seem-to-remember" reference. I would have been researching Amerindian folklore at the time, so most likely this article was in a folklore journal, and it could not have been more recent than 1995.

The authors of the paper researched certain specific scare stories of Satanic cults and tainted Halloween treats (fishhooks in popcorn balls, etc.) within their area of study, which was a portion of Midwestern America. I primarily remember their conclusion, which resulted not only from tracking FOAFs backwards but from consulting with the police about specific complaints. Although the stories had been floating around the area since the late 60's, *every single one* of the complaints the cops had followed up postdated the existence of the stories, and *every single one* of these complaints turned out to be a straightforwardly motivated crime inspired by the stories - kids drawn to vandalize a site because it was supposed to be a center for Satanic rituals, parents harming their own kids for insurance money and planting poisoned candy in their Halloween bags, etc.

Here's the snopes page on poisoned Halloween candy:
http://www.snopes.com/horrors/poison/hallowee.htm

sureshot
 
Peni said:
Incidentally, in the 80s, when I was active in SCA, and more recently when LARPing in the park, I have been asked - usually politely and pleasantly, as if out of curiosity - whether I'm worshiping Satan. However, we haven't been asked that question in the park for a long time, and when we met up with another set of LARPers using that park this weekend and I inquired, I was told that these LARPers had *never* been asked. People don't even stare at us in our spiderpeople costumes and purple makeup these days. Possibly this particular public ignorance is on its way out, or is due to be transformed.

Spidersuits don't draw attention? I get questioned if I'm outside alone after 10 PM.
 
Vitrius said:
Spidersuits don't draw attention? I get questioned if I'm outside alone after 10 PM.

Well, it's in the middle of the afternoon...It's possible I just look too scary to question in the spiderperson costume. It think it's more likely that regular users of the park have just gotten used to us, and the other LARP, and the boffer weapon combat group, which all use it. As the bicyclist said when we asked him to go round our spider ambush: "It's a multi-use park."

As far as the question of the origin of Satanic cult legends, I think it goes right back to the witch craze of early modern times. The area that is now the U.S. had a number of native witch traditions, and European settlers, especailly the Calvanist but also the Catholic and Anglican populations, brought in their own sets of witch traditions and various superstitions. Modern Calvanist sects identify all magical traditions with "the devil." Read the confessions of witches from 17th century Scotland and Germany, and compare their sabbaths and esbats and pacts with the modern stories of ritual murders and orgies. The similarities are striking.
 
Peni said:
Well, it's in the middle of the afternoon...It's possible I just look too scary to question in the spiderperson costume. It think it's more likely that regular users of the park have just gotten used to us, and the other LARP, and the boffer weapon combat group, which all use it. As the bicyclist said when we asked him to go round our spider ambush: "It's a multi-use park."

As far as the question of the origin of Satanic cult legends, I think it goes right back to the witch craze of early modern times. The area that is now the U.S. had a number of native witch traditions, and European settlers, especailly the Calvanist but also the Catholic and Anglican populations, brought in their own sets of witch traditions and various superstitions. Modern Calvanist sects identify all magical traditions with "the devil." Read the confessions of witches from 17th century Scotland and Germany, and compare their sabbaths and esbats and pacts with the modern stories of ritual murders and orgies. The similarities are striking.

Yep. Goes further actually, much. Early Greeks had stories about cannibal cults who "ate babies." When anthropologists were studying the Kuru outbreak in New Guinea, the (now debunked) idea that it was spread by endocannibalism came from asking groups if cannibalism was practiced. The answer was usually along the lines of, "Not us, but those people over the hill do." I bet that's where all the blood libel, baby-eating, orgy sabbaths ultimately come from. Those OTHER people do it.

Group affiliation. Maybe the cult craze has succumb to the GAP logo.
 
quote:
_____________________________________
In the UK, I remember that there used to be (~late '80s, early '90s) talk of strange nocturnal goings on at Alderley Edge. Anyone else come across these stories?
________________________________

Stuff was certainly going on in the early eighties. It used to be a stopping off place for loads of us locals after the pubs closed - an excuse for lots of drunken shrieking, "getting off" and general horseplay (I blame that Alan Garner). A friend I met later at University, who was from the same area told me that once when doing this they had stumbled across a group of dark cloaked men in a circle under the trees, who were not amused, and she and her friends beat it soberly and sharpish. Around the same time I once found an athame (witch knife) laid out with bits and bobs in a field while walking in nearby Pott Shrigley.
 
Marianina said:
quote:
_____________________________________
In the UK, I remember that there used to be (~late '80s, early '90s) talk of strange nocturnal goings on at Alderley Edge. Anyone else come across these stories?
________________________________

The stories were around in '73-'76, one night after a trip to a pub up there we did a bit of scouting round, but never saw anything.
 
I think sometimes it is easier to blame some unknown that look for a real explanation. When I was in highschool there was a guy that killed himself and there were rumors that he was mixed up in witchcraft and satanism. (ignorance of thinking those two things have anything to do with one another) That he tried to get out and they killed him. I guess that was easier to believe than that he was just depressed and miserable and noone noticed.
 
Timble writes
The stories were around in '73-'76, one night after a trip to a pub up there we did a bit of scouting round, but never saw anything.
____________________________________________________

I'm amazed you saw anything up there at that time more strange than my dad, and uncle Tom, and various assorted local businessmen crawling out of The Wizard (This-is-not-a-pub-it-is-a-restaurant) at 10:30pm having exhausted their expense accounts.......
 
look no further than problem estates for satanists

In v problematic areas kids will kill and torture animals on an almost weekly basis ( i know this from my job). It seems to me the worry about satanists doing sacrifices in the middle of no where are a distraction to the real worrying behaviour in some majorly deprived areas a lot closer to our homes...
 
Little irish infants coven

When me and my brother were kids (seven and eight-ish), we had our own little coven - we had a playhouse at the bottom of the garden that we decorated with sigils in red paint which we found in a book ("devils, demons, death and damnation" - medieval woodcuts etc., great book!). and we used to go down there dressed up as witches and light fires, make potions, feed our younger brother dandelions etc., all good, clean wholesome fun...
:devil:
 
Ever read about the parents who locked their kids up and subjected them to bizarre, religious torture for years? It was in the Mid West I believe, and the main thing I remember was that one kid was actually named Yahweh.

I thought I had that one clipped somewhere but I can't find it right now. IIRC little Yahweh was kept chained to a bed and his sibling had died and not been burried properly.
 
The initial question is, I think, pretty interesting all around, because what if things like the modern "Satanic panics" are the norm, that societies have, depending on social conditions and political factions, felt like that the town next door was worshiping Satan, and used that as a reason to clamp down on laws, seize land and property, or even kill the outsiders... or even clamp down on rebellious social factions in their area.

Has there ever been a long stretch of time when there HASN'T been people considered as cultists or evildoers undermining society?
 
When me and my brother were kids (seven and eight-ish), we had our own little coven - we had a playhouse at the bottom of the garden that we decorated with sigils in red paint which we found in a book ("devils, demons, death and damnation" - medieval woodcuts etc., great book!). and we used to go down there dressed up as witches and light fires, make potions, feed our younger brother dandelions etc., all good, clean wholesome fun...

Me too!

My Parents thought it hillarious! Nobody I knew objected

-------

Thats my cloak, the black one with the red lining...
 
Satanic Panic in the South

I have lived in the southern US for most of my life, in both rural areas and not so rural areas. But nearly everywhere I've lived sooner or later I run across tales of satanic cults., tales spoken in hushed voices from trembling lips, the speaker wide-eyed, serious and fearful. And inevitably I end up going out trying to verify the veracity of these tales. I just can't help it - I gotta know!

Most of the time I come up empty handed, or with evidence that points more toward bored beer-drinking teens who favour heavy-metal music than it does actual satanic worship. Still I'm compelled to share a couple of my more unusual experiences (the names have been changed to protect the innocent).

I attended university in a small, progressive North Georgia town, and worked parttime as a waitress, and part-time as cartomancer/ clairvoyant/ghostbuster. I worked at the restaurant with a young man of the pentacostal faith (often termed 'holy rollers' by some) who told me of a stretch of wooded land near the river where satanists engaged in their nefarious rites and where the presence of evil twisted the trees into strange, leafless shapes. Just the sort of thing I absolutely can't resist. I asked the man to takeme there one night and he outright refused, and he was very hesitant even to give me directions. I finally managed to cajole the location from him and subsequently made plans with another 'ghostbuster' friend of mine to visit the site on our next night off. I'd already had several ghostly experiences in this town, and was looking forward to this excursion, though I seriously doubted anything would come of it. After all, most rumours of satanic activity tend to remain unsubstantiated.

When the day of our excursion arrived, I had an unexplained panic attack. I'd suffered such attacks in years previous, during the course of my father's terminal illness. But since my move to the college-town I'd not suffered any. I meditated daily, I wasn't taking drugs (though I was drinking a great deal, as do most college student) and I was maintaining a reasonably healthy lifestyle at this time. The attack really took me by surprise, and I remember phoning my boyfriend to ask to borrow his gun, though what my motivations were I can't say, other than I was terribly disoriented by my anxiety.

The anxiety subsided in time for my trip to the satanic wood, and my friend and I set off for the location we were given. Our spirits were high and we laughed and joked as we made our way to our remote destination. There was a dirt road, little more than a path really, that would lead into the wood and toward the river. The area was very dark, unadorned by streetlights, and when we turned onto the dirt road that would lead us into satanville, the engine to our vehicle failed. Suddenly, inexplicably failed. We had plenty of gas, and though the van was a bit rattletrap (a student-mobile, to say the least) it had always performed adequately and we could see no reason for it to shut off so suddenly while the engine was running and it was in motion. I almost immediately felt unwanted in that place, shut out, pushed away. I could feel that morning's panic starting to rise again. My friend Bob, who was driving, tried to start the van, again, and again, and again, with not so much as a choke or a cough from the engine. He wanted to get the van started and then go forward - I was trying to get him to leave. But he was driving and he still wanted to explore the wood near the river. It seemed crazy to me. If we were to get the van started why the fuck risk another breakdown, deeper in the woods. I finally convinced him of this fact and he said, 'Fine, if I can get the van started, we'll leave'. And the van started just as he said it. Now Bob was frightened, and he put the van into reverse and peeled out of there as quickly as he could make that van go. We were silent all the way back to town, and experienced no more problems with the van.

Of course this occurence never convinced me that there were satanists hanging out in that forest. But it did open me to the possibility that something unusual might be going on. I definitely felt like our presence wasn't wanted there, and as long as Bob intended to go forward, the van wouldn't start. The second he decided to leave, it started. Could have been coincidence, I'll allow for that, but it was a strange enough coincidence to keep us from attempting the trip again.

My second story might yeild up a few clues as to how satanic rumours get perpetuated. This happened much much earlier, when I was a teenager in highschool. My parents, in all their wisdom, decided public school (public school in the states doesn't mean the same thing it does in the UK) was a bad influence on me, and when I was fifteen they sent me to a private christian institution. As part of the curriculum we were required to take a Bible Study course. Our teacher was the Dean's wife, Mrs Andrews. Wilma Andrews. Did I say I was changing the names to protect the innocent? HA! This woman was not innocent. She managed to traumatize and warp whole classes of students for years on end. The shit she put us through still torments me in my dreams - I'll never get over it.

You see, the woman was totally obsessed with Satan. With evil, with hell, with demons. She dispensed with the prescribed Bible-study curriculum and instituted her own. We had three semesters of Bible study that we had to pass. Three courses: Life after death (where we learned all about heaven and more imporantly, Hell), the Apocalypse (yes, where we learned about what horrors awaited us at the end of the world), and finally, Demonology. Yep, demonology. We had to learn about Satan, his demons, and how to prevent them from possessing us. And believe me, just about anything could get you possessed. You wouldn't believe how many of my classmates burned their ouija boards and rock and roll records (not me buddy - I was the bad girl in high-school). The school held a big bonfire - many actually - for the sinful students to dispose of their evil. Wilma would take pictures of the fire and show us, after the pics were developed, the images of demons in the smoke. I never saw such a thing in those pictures, but perhaps my evil eyes were blinded by satan himself. We were warned against doing aerobics, the devils exercise, and also told not to watch ninja movies. Wilma related to us the story of a man who went to see a ninja movie and was possessed by the ninja demon, who caused the man to go out and steal a microwave. (I swear to the gods I'm not lying - her stories were ALWAYS this ridiculous, but she told them with such seriousness and authority that she always managed to scare a lot of people).

God spoke to this woman a lot, in person, in a voice she actually seemed to hear. And the things He said made him sound like a rather stupid god. Maybe one day I'll share a few more of Wilma's stories, if not here then on my blog. But I am reaching a sort of a point with this in my own roundabout way.

One of our assignments in our demonology course was to visit a local cemetary (and here this woman's incredible irresponsibility is revealed - to send a group of teens unchaperoned out into a graveyard in the middle of the night) to hunt for the satanists that were rumoured to lurk there, armed only with bibles and prayers. Now you tell me what the hell kind of assignment is this? And why on earth did so many parents go along with it? Mine didn't. I just snuck out of the house. Even at that age I had an insatiable curiosity about such things, and some of my classmates (and Wilma) though me satanic myself. (I had what Wilma deemed an unhealthy interest in world mythologies and comparative religion). The other members of the assignment brought their bibles. I brought half a bottle of vodka I'd stolen from my granny's pantry.

The cematary was spooky, and had a reputation for all sorts of strange goings on. Ghosts, dead celebrities, drug use, and of course satanism. I'm not exactly sure, to this day, what we were supposed to do when we actually ran into the supposed satanists (pray at them? preach to them? offer them vodka?), but there we were, a group of ten or so teens, sitting in the middle of a graveyard - mass-hysteria-bait if ever I've seen it. The inevitable happened. One boy (can't remember his name but he had blonde curls and glasses) stood up, pointed and screamed that he'd seen them, and broke into a panicked run crying mangled prayers to God and Jesus. That of course set us off. We bolted.We ran in all directions screaming and yelling. I even left my vodka behind. Damn near pissed myself, though I'll admit, I didn't see a thing.

I can't even remember how I got home, but the next day most everyone had a tale for Wilma. Nearly everyone claimed to have seen white-robed figures flitting among the trees and the gravestones. Wilma seemed quite pleased with these stories (never mind she had a bunch of terrified teens on her hands - they'd brought her proof of the existence of satanic activity in our nasty little town), and the fact that we'd all come away unharmed proved that we were right with God, protected from on high. (and some of us came away unharmed because we were minions of satan. That would be me, I guess).

The students stuck to their story of the white-robed figures, even years later as adults. I've only spoken to one person other than myself who claims to have seen nothing, though they too had been panicked by the sudden flight. I don't know where rumours of satanism in that cemetary began, but I've seen firsthand the sort of self-righteous need for an evil to fight that perpetuates such rumours. In fact that particular cemetary has become so imbued with rumours of satanism that most of the townspeople accept the satanic activity as a given. I meet very few people in that town who doubt the rumours.

I realize this has been a rather long post. Hope I haven't bored anyone to tears.
 
No, you have brought joy to a dull morning!

May the dark sun shine upon you!

Tell us more stories! I love stories!

Homo Aves (A decidedly dodgy creature, who wishes she lived in such a satanic area...the closest thing to that we have is our new vicar (Female, of all outlandish things) pushing leaflets though our letterbox asking for money for church upkeep...)
 
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