Dispelling the myths of Satanic Cults
The most common myth is that people who claim to be in a Satanic cult participate in unlawful acts. This denies those who take Satanism as a serious path the respect they deserve. There have been many fake cults which use Satanism as a front to disguise their personal agenda. One thing you will find in common with these type of groups, is that the leader really has no background in Satanism, mostly based on Christian myth. Some have never even heard of LaVey or the Church of Satan, or even the Satanic Bible.
Placing the Blame
Most often they are self-proclaimed devil worshipers, which shows their ignorance. "Devil Worship" is a derogatory term used by Christians to describe people who they accuse of any type of non Christian belief or worship. However the Christian religion is not the authority on Satanism, and in fact has nothing to do with Satanism in general. A Satanist who actually has a background in (historical, LaVeyan) Satanism would be offended at this term, and being called a "devil worshiper" is an insult to a Satanist's intelligence and personal heritage.
The Satanic magician is cautious to a degree. It would do the magician no good to do activities that would lead to incrimination or arrest. There is no need to harm animals or children or perform sacrifices to gain access to magic or energies. There are many, infinite sources of (metaphysical)energy to be had, all around us at all times. Killing and abuse is a crime, punishable by the law, in (almost) any part of the world.
Talk Show Host Geraldo and the Satanic Panic
In the early 80's the Talk-show host Geraldo, interviewed people who underwent regressive, hypnotic therapy. Regardless of the validity and non scientific technique of this type of therapy, people believed that it worked. During this therapy, false memories of ritualistic satanic abuse during their childhood created the "Satanic Panic".
Geraldo Rivera had this to say about the Satanic Panic in the 1980s:
"Estimates are that there are over 1 million Satanists in this country...The majority of them are linked in a highly organized, very secretive network. From small towns to large cities, they have attracted police and FBI attention to their satanic ritual child abuse, child pornography and grisly satanic murders. The odds are that this is happening in your town.1"
After this, rumors spread of Satanic ritual activity, and animal sacrifice. However, upon the FBI's investigation of these claims, no evidence of abuse was uncovered. On Halloween,(no less) in 1988, Geraldo hosted a prime-time special which spotlighted this supposed "Satanic "underground". This television broadcast was based on the book by the same title which claimed that there was an extensive underground network of covens and grottos. It seemed like a perfect opportunity to cash in on people's fears. Later on, the book was exposed as a fraud, both by Neo-pagan and Christian organizations alike.2
Exposing the Blatant Lies
Three women were interviewed during the show, and they spoke about a type of therapy that was used to bring out memories that were supposed to be suppressed or forgotten since childhood. This technique, called "Recovered Memory Therapy" has since been debunked as a false science. It has been proven that "false memories can be planted through tone of voice or the phrasing of a question"3. These false memories are the result of a person's need to place blame for emotional issues in their life. One of the women who underwent therapy, claimed that she abused many children and even killed up to 40 children in the presence of her family. Other patients described ritualistic murder, sacrifice of animals and children and other horrible acts.
When the FBI investigated these incredible claims, and absolutely no evidence was found, the cases were eventually dropped. During these interviews, nothing was mentioned about the reality of Satanism. Not even the Church of Satan was mentioned, and the (COS) Church of Satanism does not advocate ritualistic abuse. It is a shame that people have used Satanism in a sensational way to make money off people's fears.
© Venus Satanas
REFERENCES: 1. Geraldo's influence on the Satanic Panic
http://www.religioustolerance.org/geraldo.htm [accessed 9/17/08]