Satanic Panic in Missouri: It never really left

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ST. LOUIS – The 1980s and 1990s mark an era of “Satanic Panic” in American history.

This article defines “Satanic Panic” as a phenomena that overtook society when satanic abuse against children and other members of society was introduced.

Teachers, government officials, and therapists were implanting false memories while attempting to protect these victims. These “recovered” memories were usually the result of hours of counseling. The restored memories were frequently graphic accounts of ritual Satanic abuse.

Missouri was not immune to the panic. Satanic Panic, on the other hand, has never fully recovered.

One of the first claims of Satanic ritual abuse can be traced to the publication in 1980 of “Michelle Remembers” by Michelle Smith and Lawrence Pazder.

This is allegedly Smith’s true’survivor’ narrative, in which she retrieved previously forgotten memories of being tormented as a kid by nightmarish, perverted sexual assault by a Satanic sect, which imprisoned her for many months in 1955, when she was five years old.

She said she had forgotten about the incidents for more than 20 years until she went to therapy with Pazder, whom she eventually married and with whom she co-wrote the book.

The book became a worldwide best-seller but was later severely debunked.

In Missouri people believed that during the Satanic Panic, people from outside the country would steal numerous children and sexually abuse or kill them as part of a demon worship practice.

In 1987, James M. Hardy, a troubled 17-year-old student from Carl Junction, a Joplin suburb, was accused of the murder of Steven Newberry, a fellow student. This was a major story that drew the attention of the entire country.

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  1. Lives and careers were destroyed and people falsely imprisoned over false claims of “Satanic ritual abuse,” based upon supposedly “recovered memories.”

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