For a stretch in the mid- to late 1980s, Satanism was almost an everyday topic in the media. Future “Second Lady” Tipper Gore founded a group called the Parents Music Resource Center (shudder), which spent its days lobbying Congress for increased censorship of rock albums—two groups that attracted its scrutiny for its “occult” content were Venom and Mercyful Fate.
In 1989 Dr. Jerry Johnston published a book called Edge of Evil: The Rise of Satanism in North America, and this video—also with Johnston, I believe—must date from about the same time. (in this video he is unidentified; I’ve consulted pictures and videos of Dr. Johnston from more recent years—it’s probably same guy but he’s softened his preacherly accent quite a bit.)
Today Johnston’s focus is on more mainstream subjects like teenage suicide, and the tone is a lot less doomy. I would venture that he’s been influenced by someone like Rick Warren, who (like him or not) has given evangelism a more compassionate face. Anyway, in this clip the preacher is in full Satanic alarmist mode, speaking with such great understanding about the presumably hundreds, if not thousands, of teenage Satanists he’s met—“some of them, I noticed, on the little web between the thumb and right index finger was a Satanic emblem…. They had the pentagram tattoo and some of the girls were dressed in black. Closer looking at their fingers, I noticed they had skull rings.” In a troubled teen’s bedroom he spies “the decorative heavy metal rock posters of Venom and Slayer and Ozzy and a few others.” (His account of the Satanists he’s met for all the world sounds like something he read in a book or just made up.)
And I haven’t even gotten to the part with his impression of a teenage Satanist luring his would-be victims into undertaking human sacrifice with promises of drugs and easy sex…...
At the end of the video a number is given to call if you think you know of a teen who has fallen or is on the verge of succumbing to the allure of Satan—it’s 1-800-SV-A-TEEN. I called it the line is dead.
via William Caxton Fan Club (a.k.a. John Darnielle’s Tumblr)
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Is Barry Manilow a tool of Satan?
1982 news special on Satan-worshiping rockers Kiss