Raising the Devil: Satanism, New Religions and the Media (Hardback)
  • Raising the Devil: Satanism, New Religions and the Media (Hardback)

Raising the Devil: Satanism, New Religions and the Media (Hardback)

Hardback 352 Pages / Published: 31/10/2000
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This work reveals how the Christian Pentecostal movement, right-wing conspiracy theorists, and an opportunistic media turned grassroots folk traditions into the Satanism scare of the 1980s. During the mid-20th century, devil worship was seen as merely an isolated survivor of medieval times. But by the early 1980s, many influential experts in clinical medicine and in law enforcement were proclaiming that satanic cults were widespread and dangerous. By examining the broader context for alledged ""cult"" activity, The author demonstrates how the image of contemporary Satanism emerged during the 1970s. In some of the cases considered, common folk beliefs and rituals were misunderstood as evidence of devil worship. In others, narratives and rituals theselves were used to combat Satanic forces. As the media found such stories more and more attractive, any activity with even remotely occult overtones was demonized in order to fit a model of good confronting absolute evil. The author's wide-ranging investigation covers ouija boards, cattle mutilation, graveyard desecration, and ""diabolical medicine"" - the psychiatric community's response to the Satanism scares. He aims to offer a balanced view of contentious issues such as demonic possession, satanic ritual abuse, and the testimonies of confessing ""ex-Satanists"".

Publisher: The University Press of Kentucky
ISBN: 9780813121703
Number of pages: 352
Weight: 689 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 23 mm


"The strengths of Raising the Devil lie in its meticulous research (in many cases, uncovering a wealth of obscure materials), close attention to detail, and broad view of the subject.... An insightful contribution to a vital topic that refuses to give up and die." -- American Studies International

"An interesting analysis of satanic folklore and organized antisatanism in the US and UK." -- Choice

"Highly valuable to scholars interested in the Satanic panics, in rumour panics in general, in the ways in which institutions draw on folklore for their own purposes, or in belief." -- Culture & Tradition

"A fascinating study that should become a classic." -- Daniel Wojcik, University of Oregon

"A fascinating study. It also has a message that, if heeded, will remove a potent source of grief and fear." -- Folklore

"If you read one book on the latter-day Satan revival, this is the one you want." -- Fortean Times

"Never again shall I see 'Satan and all his works' in the same light. Such is the effect of reading a good book." -- Lexington Herald-Leader

"Highly recommended as a lucid and well-documented account of a subject that is not always given thoughtful treatment." -- Library Journal

"Shows how ancient bogeyman beliefs became aligned with politics and the criminal justice system to produce witch-hunts like the infamous McMartin Preschool case." -- Mother Jones

"Takes an important and newsworthy topic and provides a very different slant upon it. The diversity of his approaches will make it important to several different fields." -- Philip Jenkins, Penn State University

"Very few scholars have attempted what Bill Ellis does in the book: a careful, methodical study of a legend complex and its interaction with the surrounding context -- social, historical, and global." -- Journal of American Folklore Research

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