Jeffrey S. Victor
"Sociologist Victor began his involvement with satanic-cult phenomena by investigating a local panic centered in southwestern New York state. After an introductory section, his book begins with a description of this research, then proceeds with an excellent general review of recent fear about satanic cults in the U.S. He concludes that there is no evidence for the actual existence of organized satanic cults". -- Choice
We are informed by many sources - particularly journalists, police, and fundamentalists - that there exists a secret network of criminal fanatics who worship Satan and who are behind pornography, forced prostitution, and drug-dealing. Satanists engage in the sexual abuse and torture of children, human sacrifice, cannibalism, kidnapping, random murders, mutilation of pets and farm animals, desecration of churches, and vandalisation of cemeteries. This popular tale is almost entirely without foundation, and investigation has often uncovered the less colourful truth. But the legend continues to gather force, in the teeth of evidence and sense. Networks of "child advocates", credulous or self-serving social workers, instant-expert police officers, and alarmist preachers help to spread the panic, along with largely fictional survivors' accounts and sensational broadcast documentaries.
Dr Victor has researched the dynamics, the background and the causes of this contemporary witch-scare, showing in detail how unsubstantiated rumour can be turned into "fact", and exploring the social and psychological causes of the scare, which include the perceived moral crisis in American society, the money and power gained by groups combatting imaginary Satanism, and the continuing reverberations of medieval folklore.