con-sara-cy theories

Episode 13: "Satan Wants You"

April 17, 2024 Episode 13
Episode 13: "Satan Wants You"
con-sara-cy theories
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con-sara-cy theories
Episode 13: "Satan Wants You"
Apr 17, 2024 Episode 13

Michelle Remembers was published in 1980 and it lit the spark of what became the 1980s Satanic Panic. It's easy for us to look back on this period with laughter, but the truth is: there were people whose lives were destroyed due to this insanity of picturing the Devil around every corner.

Links:

https://www.satanwantsyoufilm.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satan_Wants_You

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michelle_Remembers

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McMartin_preschool_trial

Need more? You can visit the website at: https://consaracytheories.com/ or my own site at: https://saracausey.com/. Don't forget to check out the blog at: https://consaracytheories.com/blog

Show Notes Transcript

Michelle Remembers was published in 1980 and it lit the spark of what became the 1980s Satanic Panic. It's easy for us to look back on this period with laughter, but the truth is: there were people whose lives were destroyed due to this insanity of picturing the Devil around every corner.

Links:

https://www.satanwantsyoufilm.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satan_Wants_You

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michelle_Remembers

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McMartin_preschool_trial

Need more? You can visit the website at: https://consaracytheories.com/ or my own site at: https://saracausey.com/. Don't forget to check out the blog at: https://consaracytheories.com/blog

Transcription by Otter.ai.  Please forgive any typos!

 

Welcome to con-sara-cy theories. Are you ready to ask questions you shouldn't and find information you're not supposed to know? Well, you're in the right place. Here is your host, Sara Causey. 

Hello, Hello, and thanks for tuning in. In tonight's episode, I will be talking about the documentary, Satan wants you. As of this recording, it's available to watch free of charge on Tubi. Of course, as we know that subject to change, it seems like what to be, things will be here today gone tomorrow, you don't always know what they're keeping as regular viewing versus what's going to be in the leaving soon column. So I can't make any promises. All I can say is that as of this recording, it's free of charge on Tubi. If it winds up somewhere else, and you have to pay $1 or two to see it, in my opinion, it's time well spent in a crack open a cold wind. And we will take this ride. The documentary Satan wants you talk specifically about the book Michelle remembers. But more broadly, it also talks about the Satanic Panic that happened back in the 80s. We're into my lifetime. Now. I remember this well. I remember back in the late 80s getting taken to like a community meeting that was being held at a church Cal Sopris given the subject matter. And the minister only, like stood up and spoke a little bit. For the most part. We were in this room watching videos. And it was here's how rock music here's how heavy metal lowers your children into Satanism. Law enforcement officers talking about here are the signs of Satanism. We've found burned carcasses and mutilated dogs and cats which, you know, if you're a kid or a teenager, it's like I don't really even want to think about this stuff. It's gross. And some of it by today's standards, obviously very laughable. Billy likes to wear black clothing. All of a sudden he must be a devil worshiper. Susie likes to burn candles. She must be a devil worshiper. Tommy is suddenly rebellious and likes to backtalk mom and dad he was be a devil worshiper is laughable to us now that you back in the day people took that crap seriously, like super seriously. In some cases, as the documentary points out, there are people that lost their freedom. There are people that went to jail that had their reputation obliterated by the Satanic Panic. So while it's laughable to us now, at the time, it was not a laughing matter. And it's certainly not a laughing matter when we think about people who were steamrolled by what happened. But of course, somebody's deciding to wear black clothing or kind of get into the goth subculture. Not necessarily a devil worshiper. Little Tommy is back talking and having a rebellious streak will what teenage kid doesn't. At some point, even the most compliant nerdy kid is going to decide that they know better than their parents. It's just part of the maturation process. But just like what we saw with the Salem witch trials, if somebody disagreed with somebody else, if somebody felt that a woman didn't know her place, well, she must be a witch, yet even really came down to you just don't fit the mold. You don't fit in around here, you don't believe the same way that we do, therefore, which therefore put you to death. And we saw the same kind of panic during the Satanic Panic. I mean, you could not turn on a daytime TV talk show in the 80s without seeing it at some point. And it really span the gamut. It didn't matter if you were talking about like Sally, Jessy, or Donahue or Geraldo, or even Oprah. I mean, it was like everybody wanted a piece of this pie to talk about Satanism and people being devil worshippers, but you might not know it. They might look totally normal. They could be at your child's daycare. They could be your neighbors. They could even meet people at your church, who seems super nice but secretly at night there mutilating babies and cutting up cats and drinking blood and doing cannibalism. It's like, Oh my God. That's that's rather a lot to take in. I think also of Bill Hicks, a stand up routine about backmasking because that became popular around the same time to to play a record album backwards and listen for messages, promoting drug use promoting Satanism, promoting worshipping the devil or giving offerings to the devil through this record. And I remember a Bill Hicks stand up routine where he's like, if you went home at night and played your records backwards, you don't need to look for the devil. You are the devil because who does that? Exactly like why So the the premise of this documentary and I'm going to read now from the Wikipedia page because they have such a great summary here. South by Southwest describes the film as telling the untold story of how the Satanic Panic of the 1980s was ignited by Michelle remembers a lurid memoir by psychiatrists Larry pasture and his patient, Michelle Smith. The best selling book relied on recovered memory therapy to uncover Michelle's childhood abduction by baby stealing Satanists, amplified by law enforcement and America's daytime TV boom, satanic rumors spread through panic stricken communities around the world, leaving a wave of destruction and wrongful convictions in their wake. The film digs deep into the roots of moral panics and cult conspiracies, showing how these events still affect and distort our reality today and quote, and I really, I feel like it can't be overstated. If you were living in a different place, maybe the Satanic Panic didn't reach you or you're not alive in the 1980s. It's hard for me to really overstate that people did take this crap seriously. I mean, it's sort of easy for us in hindsight to go really, I mean, come on, that everybody behind every bush is the devil. Every person you know, is a devil worshiper and secret Come on. That sounds bizarre. That's ludicrous. But people were taking it seriously. the only the only like weird memory that I have from actual childhood, where I think something nefarious was legitimately at foot, not saying it was devil worshippers to be clear, but a memory that I have. And to this day, it gives me the willies. I might my mom and I had gone to visit my grandparents. I'm not going to say what town it was in. I don't want a bunch of people getting on my case about that. But we can go and visit my grandparents in another town and another state. And there was a park there, there was really not much of anything ever to do at my grandparents house. And they never wanted to make any effort to entertain the grandkids either. I mean, it was just basically like when we would get over there. We were all just supposed to stare at each other was weird. So I started, like poking at my mom about wanting to go to that park and she took me the park was empty. I had the whole place to myself, I was kind of bummed out that there weren't any other kids there to play with. But it was okay because I could whatever I wanted to do, I could swing I could slide I could play on the jungle gym, and I was just unimpeded, We'd only been there for maybe 10 to 15 minutes tops. I had just barely even started making a dent and all that youthful energy that you have when you're five or six. And this truck pulls up. And I remember it was it was a truck that had a camper shell on the back. And this older couple was inside of it. And they parked directly next to my mom's car just weird. So it's an empty park. There are plenty of parking spaces and you decide to park directly next to us. And in fact, they parked directly next to the passenger side, not the driver side but the passenger side and they didn't leave a whole lot of space. They did a pretty tight parking job. Also, that's weird. No kids grandkids. Nobody ever gets out of the truck. Just this old couple sitting there staring at myself and my mom. So my mom gets unnerved by it rightfully so I would do the same thing. And she gets a hold of me is like we need to go we need to go now. And I knew like this is the don't mess with me. We're going now. I also think on some level. my spidey senses told me that something was wrong with this situation. I didn't argue there was no fussing whatsoever. I went right with her. And she kept hold of me tightly and told me you get into the driver's side. I didn't question I didn't argue I just went and did it. And then we very quickly started the car and pulled off and left. And as we were leaving as we got to like the little driveway exit point of this park there, their lights came on the reverse lights, and they backed out and started to leave. To this day that unnerves me, because I'm like, what were they actually doing? It doesn't seem like they could have been up to anything positive up to anything good. Because why would they want to just stare at a mom and daughter in the park? They didn't have any kids there. They didn't let anybody out of the truck. Why did they park so close to us? And then when we left so did they? I find that weird. Again, not saying that they were devil worshippers on the sly and they were going to cut me into a million pieces and drink my blood. You just never know. The thing is there are people out there that do horrific things. I mean, look at all the things that have come to light about Epstein, for example. I mean, we know that he was trafficking young girls and even called that plane the Lolita Express. So I think one of the dangers is that we we might knee jerk back to the opposite direction. Yes, it's silly to say that if Billy is wearing a black T shirt, he's listening to heavy metal music. He must be a devil worshiper. If Tommy Babcock's you at dinner he must be a duck devil worshiper, we can very easily laugh that stuff off. But it's worth noting, I think that yes, there are nefarious people that do evil things, not necessarily that they're devil worshipers or that they even believe in this character of the Christian devil. But there are people out there that do really vile and terrible things. So we don't want to throw the whole idea out the window that yes, there are criminal elements that abused children. I wish we lived in a world where those people didn't exist, but unfortunately, they do. This book, Michelle remembers, and the two co authors Michelle Smith, and then Lawrence pastor, they feature prominently in this film, again, in a lot of ways, it's really about this book, but it's about how this book touched off the entire Satanic Panic. It's like, in some respects, really crazy how one story can ignite this entire movement. Now, I'll read from the Michelle remembers Wikipedia page, because again, they're giving us a really good synopsis. If you're not familiar with the book. If you've never heard of these people, this is a really handy synopsis. Michelle remembers is a discredited 1980 book co written by Canadian psychiatrist Lawrence Pasteur and his psychiatric patient and eventual life bump up. Michelle Smith, a best seller, Michelle remembers relied on the discredited practice of recovered memory therapy to make sweeping lurid claims about satanic ritual abuse involving Smith, which contributed to the rise of the Satanic Panic in the 1980s. While the book presents its claims as fact, and was extensively marketed on that basis at the time, no evidence was provided. All investigations into the book failed to corroborate any of its claims, with investigators describing its content as being primarily based on elements of popular culture and fiction that were popular at the time when it was written in quote. So we we have this, you know, sad story of Michelle Smith having had a miscarriage, and she goes to pasture for treatment for depression. And, obviously, that's something you beat being grief stricken and having depression after miscarriage. It's a very natural thing. Over the course of their therapy, however, she begins to scream and start speaking in the voice of a small child. And over the course of I think more than a year, they log hours and hours and hours of hypnosis, so that she can remember this buried trauma. And, allegedly, she was put into a satanic cult, so long about 1954 1955 When she's a small child, five or six, I think her mother, allegedly, according to her, allegedly turns her over to members of a satanic cult. And they're all of these horrific stories that she tells about torture and being locked up, being assaulted sexually and physically, being made to participate in various occult rituals, seeing animal sacrifices and human sacrifices and having people rub blood all over her. And this when this book is published, it takes off. According to the documentary, pastor and Smith do one hell of a good PR campaign. I'm thinking now of The Exorcist, because I remember seeing an interview where Linda Blair was talking about how there really wasn't the expectation that the film was going to perform very well. In fact, they thought it might be a box office stinker, but the PR the fear factor, putting out marketing, like there's going to be an ambulance waiting outside. We'll have a priest here, we'll have EMTs hear, you might have a heart attack, you might want to come to Jesus after you see this. So we're gonna have staff ready in case you have a poor reaction to this film. That's all you have to tell people. Don't go there. There is forbidden fruit. Don't go there. Don't watch that. Don't watch that movie. There's a demon that lives inside the film and you will get possessed. Your house will come home and your life will become ruined. If you watch this movie. Don't do it. Don't y'all do it? Well, people are gonna beat the door down trying to get there. My grandpa used to tell the story about how they were going to show a hygiene film in town. I'm going to say this was the 1940s Yeah, okay. I just looked it up 1945 that gives you some context. So they were going They show this hygiene film in town and a bunch of people were like, You should not go there. They're going to show stuff. That's nasty stuff that's pornographic. They're saying that it's to prevent STDs. But you know, this is really just pornography and you shouldn't go there. If you're a moral person don't go there. And he would talk about the line of people, and people actually shoving, pushing and shoving to get in to see this grotesque hygiene film because there had been this hype of good people don't go there. That's nasty stuff. Don't watch that. So apparently, Pasteur and Smith launched this really good PR campaign about, like, this is the story of this woman having to do battle with the devil, the devil himself. And there's the story where that this complicated ritual culminates in actually summoning the devil himself. And this story is not for the faint of heart. You know, don't don't read this. If you're sensitive. It's an important story, but you know, it's going to be tough to digest. Well, of course, people are going to beat the door down trying to get to it. And the cover art of some of the copies, there's one cover art where it's like, I guess Lawrence is facing away from the camera. And then Michelle is facing towards the camera and almost looks like something from a romance novel. I'm not gonna lie. There are other pieces of cover art, though, that remind me a lot of the VC Andrews books. And that's overall what this story reminds me of is something that VC Andrews would have written because she has a lot of those same sort of Gothic Horror themes. In her stories, a kid comes from a wealthy family, but is then put into a horrible situation where they're beaten, they're not treated well. And maybe they get impregnated at a young age, and they have to figure it out. But then they come back to their money and they inherit a mansion. I mean, we see these kinds of stories all through the VC Andrews novels. So that's what this kind of reminds me of. When you tell people which we're going to talk about the topic that that you're not supposed to talk about the granddaddy of all forbidden fruits, the devil, the Christian devil. Yeah, people have come of course, people are gonna go mad for it. One of the things that we learned is that they're they're paid quite well. Quite well for this. Again, from Wikipedia, we read during 1980 pasture and Smith toured the United States to promote the book, ultimately, a publishing success. The book earned pastor and Smith a $100,000, hardcover advance $242,000 For paperback rights, royalties and a potential movie deal. In 1989, almost 10 years after the publication of Michelle remembers Oprah Winfrey, Oprah Winfrey, featured Smith as a guest on her show alongside Laurel rose Wilson, author of the equally fictitious satanic ritual abuse survivor memoir, Satan's underground, which was published using the pseudonym Lauren Stratford in quote. So, I mean, look, that's, that's not a small amount of money, especially you go back, what years and now 44 years, think about adjusting that for inflation, how much money that would be today. So it's not as though they wrote this book, made 20 bucks off of it. And that was that this became a very popular book. And as they're saying, Here, it gave them the opportunity to go around on this publicity tour and to become thought of as experts in this field. It's interesting too, because the documentary interviews, pastor's family, his ex wife, and I know people can say but if if someone has an ex, they've gone through a divorce, that was not happy. Maybe they have an axe to grind. I get that. To me. She doesn't seem like she's not credible to me. She seems like she's just telling the truth as she saw it, which was, this was a concoction. She tells the story that allegedly she and Larry were familiar with the the novel and the film Sybil, which that was another like psychological torture. Crazy story that got a lot of publicity back in the 70s. Sybil comes out in 1976 and is a made for TV like mini series that starred Sally Field and Joanne Woodward said to legitimate known actresses based on the book of the same name. And in the story, Sybil has like dissociative identity disorder, aka multiple personalities. And she alleges that her mother had abused her horribly and just done these absolutely despicable things to her and a According to Larry's ex wife, he allegedly says to her, like, that's what I want. I don't want to be a nobody. I don't want to be a psychiatrist that nobody's ever heard of, I want to be famous, I want to have a case like that. Well, if that's true, that immediately makes the whole situation suspect, because you have somebody going into a situation, years beforehand, they've said, I want to be famous, I want a case like that. Well, and then suddenly, this apparently drops into his lap. As Michelle is regressing into this dark space, and having these terrible memories about torture and animal sacrifice, and human sacrifice, and screaming, there comes a point where she wants to be comforted, in a more physical way. And according to the documentary, there were points in time where they go from the couch, to some sort of rubber mat that he has on the floor. And the comforting becomes physical, I guess it starts with hand holding, and then it escalates to body to body contact, which I mean, again, when, you know, when we're thinking about propriety, a doctor and a patient laying side by side on a rubber mat together in the floor. Oh, and then you also learn according to the documentary that she takes her shirt off at some point, and it's just there was a brawn? Probably not the most appropriate behavior between a doctor and a patient, let alone you add to that to people who are married to others. You're like, what would somebody's husband? What would somebody's wife think about that kind of behavior going on? But they're spending all of these hours together? Over and over again, digging and probing for this story? Well, I mean, sometimes when people do that, when they spend a lot of time together, you have two people, the opposite sex that are both heterosexual. They're spending a lot of time together. They're there. They're probing Well, I mean, maybe the probing turns into a different kind of probing. According to the documentary, Michelle had a thing for Larry. And it was like she had made up her mind that she wanted to be with him. She wanted to please Him. And so it strikes me that if these assertions are true, you had two people using one another, for their own means. You had him wanting to become famous, wanting to become well known to be like a preeminent psychiatrist with some expertise, all the psychiatrist, your treat Sybil. And then you had Michelle, who wanted to be with Larry, maybe she wanted to be famous. Maybe she didn't, maybe the whole goal was to please Him and to lure him away from his wife, I don't know. But indeed, the wife Larry's wife, first wife filed files for divorce and leaves the situation. And the wife and one of his kids who participate in the documentary, really talk about his absence, like they can mark a period of family life, what it was like with Larry before the book and what it was like, with Larry afterwards, once he devotes himself to this book and devotes himself to the care of Michelle, it's like, that's it. She calls constantly, her presence is felt in the house constantly. It's just like, they're under this cloud of Michelle. And the wife gets tired of this files for divorce. Well, then, you know, Larry, and Michelle, she also apparently must have filed for divorce because she and Larry get married. One of the law enforcement officers who's interviewed in the documentary talks about how he went to this conference where they were speaking and as he's taking notes, as the conference goes on, he just sets his pin down, and he's taking fewer and fewer notes, because he's just not quite finding their stories credible. He would try to ask a question to Michelle, but instead of Michelle answering it, according to this law enforcement officer, it will always be Larry, Larry would just like jump in and answer the questions for Michelle. And then he found out that Larry and Michelle were now married. And he's like, Well, this is also really suspect. Like, what what is what's actually going on here? So you have this story. That sounds pretty incredible. And it's not just that the story itself is is incredible and is cuckoo, it's that it touches off this Satanic Panic that leads to some very real disturbing consequences for people. I remember when I was in high school, I know people will be like, you have to be shitting us this can't be real. No, it did. You can talk to other people. I went to school with this happen. I remember being made to watch the TV movie. Do you know the muffin man in a high school? class and it was presented to us as reality that the teacher did not show it to us and say this is Satanic Panic. This is how bad things got No, his viewpoint was this is a legitimate movie about kids being abused in a daycare facility. So we think about the legacy of Michelle remembers as touching off this scare where the devil was around every corner. Additionally, in the documentary, they go into the financing and the support that this book had from the Catholic Church. So I think again, we're getting into the territory of The Exorcist. Like the idea that if you're scared of the devil, if you think that Satan is everywhere, and anybody you meet can be a devil worshiper and we're How are you going to cope with that? Well, for one thing, you're gonna get your butt back in a church. According to the documentary, the insurance companies finally when we start getting into the early part of the 90s, the insurance companies want to put the kibosh on all of this therapy, because you have people going into therapy for hours every single week, some of them going to therapy every single day Monday through Friday for these regression sessions where they can try to retrieve repressed memories. You have people also coming forward saying I don't believe any of these things actually happened to me. I think they were planted in my head. In the documentary they touch on the McMartin preschool debacle, I will again go to Wikipedia just because they have such good blurbs here for us to rely on the McMartin preschool trial was a daycare sexual abuse case in the 1980s. prosecuted by the Los Angeles District Attorney Ira Reiner. Members of the McMartin family who operated a preschool in Manhattan Beach, California were charged with hundreds of acts of sexual abuse of children in their care accusations were made in 1983. Nevertheless, arrest and the pre trial pre trial investigation took place from 1984 to 1987. And the trials ran from 1987 to 1990. The case lasted seven years, but resulted in no convictions and all charges were dropped in 1990. By the cases in it had become the longest and most expensive series of criminal trials in American history. The case was part of the daycare, sex abuse, hysteria, a moral panic over alleged satanic ritual abuse in the 1980s and early 1990s. Unquote. And there were some pretty horrific accusations there that supposedly kids were touched sexually and were made to kill animals that animals were bred specifically for slaughter, you have to go through the process of getting attached to the animal and loving it and taking care of it only for it to be slaughtered in front of you. I mean, we're just horrible things.

And we another thing that we find in this Wikipedia site is also a reference to Michelle remembers. Let's read this for a second. On March 2219 84, Virginia McMartin her daughter, Peggy McMartin, Bucky, her grandchildren, Ray and Peggy and Bucky and teachers Mary Ann Jackson, Betty Reiter and Babette Spitler were charged with 115 counts of child abuse later expanded to 321 counts of child abuse involving 48 children. In the 20 months of preliminary hearings, the prosecution, led by Attorney Reuben presented their theory of sexual abuse. The Children's testimony during the preliminary hearings was inconsistent. Michelle Smith and Lawrence Pasteur co authors of the now discredited satanic ritual abuse autobiography, Michel remembers met with the parents and children involved in the case and were believed by the initial prosecutor Glenn Stevens to have influenced the children's testimony in quote. Wow, wow. There were other people who were convicted, though there were people who went to jail over this who lost their livelihoods over the accusation of being some kind of bloodthirsty devil worshiper. I mean, this is this is just crazy and to think about this book, igniting that fuse. So what do you think? The one of the interviewees in this documentary Who says that she was friends with both Larry and with Michelle? She was one of the typists because, you know, they were putting all of these sessions on tape. She was one of the typists that had to transcribe what was on the tape and try to make sense of it so they could turn it into this book. So she was friends with both of them and continues to be friends with Michelle now and feels protective of Michelle. She liked Larry. And according to her, she believes that at least some part of it had to be true. She does not think that Michelle made the whole thing up or was coached to do the whole thing. She she thinks that Michelle must have been taken somewhere and these things must have been done to her at least some of them. You have other people in this documentary who have done the groundwork, okay, at this period of time when Michelle was disappeared and was in the 24/7 clutches of this cult, what's the evidence of it? But yet they have school photographs of her at that time. So it's like, well, wait a minute, if you were disappeared, and you were living full time with this satanic Colt, why do you have a school photograph at the same time? Like, something's not adding up here. One of Michelle's own sisters, participates in the documentary and is very offended by the accusations about their late mother. And she feels like there's a lot of dishonesty in the story. For me, I think you have to follow the money. Money is a huge motivator for people. But then also think about fame. You know, we have the story from Larry's ex wife that he read the book and saw the movie Sybil and saw the hoo ha, that happened around it and thought I want some of that. That is the kind of career that I want to have. So do you have a woman who's in love with this man, and he wants to do anything to please him and get a hold of him? Make him belong to her, along with a guy that's fame chasing. And then there's so much money involved, and there's so much publicity that they can't get out of it. One of Larry's kids says that allegedly, the question was asked like, well, what if it was false? Like what if we did make it up? What then? But then shortly thereafter, Larry dyes things that make you go hmm, I wonder what happened. That's kind of weird. The whole thing is weird. If you ask me the whole damn. kit and caboodle is a weird story. But what do you think? Do you think that Michelle really was remembering legitimate abuse? Do you think that she was sold off to a cult or do you think that the whole thing was a bunch of bunk made up for money and Felicity? Stay a little crazy, but not satanically panic? And don't go back mask your records, and I will see you in the next episode. 

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