Tag Archives: satanism

“Look What They’re Doing to My Children!”: Like Lambs to the Slaughter

"Look at what they're doing to my children!"The above is Johanna Michaelsen’s introduction to her bestselling 1989 book, Like Lambs to the Slaughter, a classic of the “fundamentalist moral panic” genre. That’s a bit like calling an inguinal hernia a classic groin injury, but never mind–if you’re in the mood for Reagan-era anti-educational hand-wringing or gruesome tales of babies getting scarfed down by Satanic daycare workers, this is the book for you!

Johanna Michaelsen


It’s hard to know if Michaelsen is insane or extremely credulous: in all likelihood, she’s both. A former New Ager, she saw the light and became a born-again Christian some time in the late 1970’s. Unlike other lapsed fundies, however, Michaelsen has never straight-up repudiated her old beliefs. Ouija, spirit guides, ESP, numerology,  ghosts, parapsychology–according to her, that stuff’s all real. And it’s all the work of Satan.

Michaelsen’s first book, The Beautiful Side of Evil, was a memoir of her time as a spiritualist and was fairly well-read at the time. But her influence exploded when she became one of the loudest voices in the fight against Satanic ritual abuse. If you’re old enough, you probably remember SRA. Its legacy includes Michelle Remembers, the concept of false memories, and the realization that kids will say just about anything to win the approval of authority figures. At her height, Michaelsen was traveling the country, waxing hysterical about sex cults and babies being butchered in basements. She even got involved with Laurel Rose Wilson, alias Lauren Stratford, a con artist whose three alleged children were victims of snuff films and ritual sacrifice. Laurel Rose lived with Michaelsen until her claims were debunked, then skipped town and re-emerged as Laura Grabowski, a Holocaust survivor. Michaelsen doesn’t seem to have had much to say about this–she was probably too busy throwing up after touching cold spaghetti.

I promise that statement will make sense in due time.

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There is more to Halloween...much more!Great news, everyone: my box of stupid books arrived yesterday! That means the next few weeks will be an orgy of bad writing, insane screes, and my attempts to summarize it all in a comprehensible manner. I thought we’d kick things off with this book, which hails from the late 1980’s and really looks it.


Don’t worry, I didn’t actually pay ten dollars for this.

HALLOWEEN AND SATANISM–a fitting title for a jaunty romp through the annals of late-twentieth-century evangelical fear mongering! If you were alive during the late 80’s and early 90’s, you may remember the media waxing horrified about Ouija boards, D&D, and Satanic sex cults that upholstered their altars with flayed baby flesh. If you’re too young to have experienced those days, or have spent too much time drinking to forget them, this post ought to refresh your memory.

The co-authors of HALLOWEEN AND SATANISM are Joan Hake Robie, president of the publishing company that released the book, and Phil Phillips, a guy who once had a bad time at a haunted house and now wants to ruin Halloween for everybody. If you think I’m misrepresenting his motivations, that’s only because you haven’t read the first chapter of HALLOWEEN AND SATANISM.

If this is Halloween, who needs it?

“Wow,” you might be thinking. “Phil Phillips is a baby.”

And you’re absolutely right. He is a baby. A giant baby. If he were any more of a baby, a Satanic cult would baptize him, cut his head off, stick it on a black wafer, and ask it spiritual questions. (More on that later!) Phil Phillips is such a sucky infant that he felt the need to pathologize fear itself. Hence the central message of the book:

Fear Is Not of God

You read that right. Fear isn’t godly. Despite its seeming naturalness and obvious evolutionary utility, fear is a manifestation of Satan himself. If you ever feel fear, you’re giving in to Satan. If you purposely seek fear out–say, by visiting a haunted house–then congratulations! You’ve basically just thrown yourself on the devil’s sweaty loins. Let’s hope he’s a gentle lover.

Halloween is all about being scared, which makes it the ultimate Satanic holiday. How did we wind up enthralled to such a dark-sided tradition? Phillips and Hake Robie are here to give you the low-down.

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