Satanic Panic: The Creation of a Contemporary Legend

Jeffrey S. Victor

A sociologist turns his trained eye on the Satan Scare of the ‘80s, which began quietly enough with rumors of cattle mutilations and the book Michelle Remembers and then seemingly peaked in the media consciousness in 1988 with those astounding Geraldo specials like “Satanic Breeders: Babies for Sacrifice.” Actually “rumor-panics” about secret Satanic cults are still sweeping through small towns across the Rustbelt as America’s economic decline fuels mass hysteria, and innocent people are being convicted of “ritual abuse” (a vaguely scientific buzzword used by those who believe in the existence of secret Satanic cabals) and locked away for their entire lives. Explore the legend of how Dr. Green, as a Hasidic death-camp teen, invented Satanic ritual abuse while collaborating with the Nazis by combining his knowledge of the Kabbalah with scientific Gestapo brainwashing techniques. Learn about an Ohio child who was proclaimed kidnapped and sacrificed by a Satanist cult only to be discovered six years later by the FBI living in Huntington Beach, Calif. with her grandfather, who had actually abducted her; backward masking teen suicide cases; and the uproar over Proctor and Gamble’s Satanic corporate logo and its “profit-sharing deal with the Devil.”
Author Jeffrey Victor sees the unconscious appeal of Satan-hunting as a metaphor for parents’ fears about the future and their children, but he also delves into groupthink among psychology professionals, giving firsthand accounts of occult psychological seminars which he attended. He provides examples of similar “rumor-panics” in other cultures, like the legend of American baby-parts importers which spread like wildfire across Latin America in the ‘80s, and the French rumor-panic in the late ‘60s about Jewish mod boutique owners abducting teenybopper babes for the White Slave Trade by employing secret trap doors in their changing rooms. He shows how belief in “Satanists” confirms in a convoluted way the existence of God for those wavering in their convictions, and reconfirms once again humanity’s propensity for justifying its evil in the name of Good. SS

Publisher: Open Court
Paperback: 408 pages

Book 4

Aleister Crowley

“Let us begin by doubting every statement. Let us find a way of subjecting every statement to the test of experiment. Is there any truth at all in the claims of various religions?” Book 4 is actually two books of which Magick in Theory and Practice was to be the concluding part of the trilogy. The first book is a pragmatic, groundbreaking manual of yoga as a physiological aspect of the mind stripped of its cosmic trappings. In the second book, all the paraphernalia of ritual magic (the circle, the altar, the scourge, the dagger, the chain, holy oil, the wand, the cup, the pentacle, the sword, the lamp, and more) are explained in both psychological and mystical terms with Crowley's unmatched candor and wit. SS

Publisher: Weiser
Paperback: 127 pages

Christianity Before Christ

John G. Jackson

A highly readable work by a leading African-American atheist academic. Following the folkoric approach of Sir James Frazer (author of The Golden Bough), Jackson has found 30 religions of antiquity that worship Savior-Gods with the following similar traits:
1) They were born on or near Christmas.
2) Their mothers were virgins.
3) They were born in a cave or stable.
4) They worked for the salvation of humanity.
5) They were called saviors, mediators, healers, etc.
6) They were overcome by evil powers.
7) They each made a descent into Hell.
8) After being slain they arose from death and ascended to Heaven at Easter.
9) They founded religious institutions.
10) They were commemorated by Eucharistic rites.
11) Many of these Savior-Gods were believed to make a second coming to the world.
Jackson cites numerous details to prove that the Christ myth was a deliberate amalgam of all the existing Savior-God cults of its time, including that Adonis had a sacred grove dedicated to Him at Bethlehem; and that followers of Mithra ate wafers marked with a cross, celebrated their sacred solar day on Sundays, and were led by a figure known as the Papa who was seated in Rome. SS

Publisher: American Atheist
Paperback: 238 pages

In Pursuit of Valis: Selections from the Exegesis

Philip K. Dick

This collection provides an unprecedented peek into the stream of consciousness of a great writer grappling with an examination of his own psyche and the enigma of his mystic/schizophrenic experience. It is part of the lore of Philip K. Dick that on the day of “2-3-74” in the Orange County suburb of Santa Ana, Calif., the science-fiction writer was contacted by a beam of pink light which he came to know as VALIS—Vast Active Living Intelligence System—which fundamentally altered his consciousness and inspired his last three novels now known as the VALIS trilogy. Dick then saw himself as a “homoplasmate” (a human host for living information), and began to be flooded with revelations, which he set down on 8,000 hand-written pages and termed the “Exegesis” (defined as an explanation or critical interpretation of a text).
Among a myriad of interconnected topics, in the Exegesis Dick explores Gnosticism, Zoroastrianism, the I Ching, Heidegger and Wittgenstein; sketches out plots for upcoming novels and looks back over his published works; deals with his feelings of being contacted from “the other side”; cites authorities from Plotinus to Hoyt Axton; and even deals with the possibility of his own mental illness in the form of a dialog with himself:
“Q: Why would I believe that my senses were enhanced, i.e., I could see for the first time?
A: Psychotomimetic drugs indicate this happens in psychosis.
Q: And Kosmos? Everything fitting together?
A: ‘Spread of meaning,’ typical of psychosis.
Q: Foreign words and terms I don’t know?
A: Long-term memory banks open. Disgorging their contents into consciousness.”
Like a psychedelic Céline, Dick plunges deep into the vortex of reality and consciousness in late 20th-century America, which he described in a remarkably lucid manner: “I, who was not a legitimate member of the ruling class (which is defined as, ‘those who get to define—control, generate—reality’) via my writing, subversively obtained a certain small but real power to control. Create & define reality; the next step is […] to enter (the ruling class) by the front door, officially welcomed. (& not infiltrate in by the back door as I did. But boy, what a good job I did; & VALIS is the best subversion so far… it deranges all (sic!) your learned preconceptions). Thus via my writing I can be said to be a revolutionary, & I carried with me into power, other people of my ilk. Many disenfranchised ‘misfits’—the quasi-insane, or pseudo (sic!) schizophrenics; ach! we are mimicking schizophrenia as a political tactic, in order to thrust the schizophrenic worldview onto the authorities as a tactic to infiltrate and vitiate them, ‘them’ being defined as those in power.”
In marked contrast to Dick’s humility and self-doubt before the mysteries of VALIS, this fascinating collection is marred by the trippier-than-thou hubris of Terence McKenna’s typically self-aggrandizing afterword, in which he proclaims himself the “PKD-inspired servant of the Logos” whose books and software (!) would have been embraced by Dick as the answer to his profound metaphysical inquiries. SS

Publisher: Miller
Paperback: 278 pages

Might Is Right

Ragnar Redbeard

A heavy-duty early-20th-century Social Darwinist anti-moralistic rant which, new evidence indicates, may have been penned by Jack London under the pseudonym Ragnar Redbeard. Some passages in The Satanic Bible were admittedly appropriated by Anton LaVey from the impassioned vitriol of Might Is Right: “No hoary falsehood shall be a truth to me—no cult or dogma shall encamp my pen./I break away from all conventions. Alone, untrammeled. I raise up in stern invasion the standard of Strong./I gaze into the glassy eye of your fearsome Jehovah, and pluck him by the beard—I uplift a broad-ax and split open his worm-eaten skull.” This new edition contains an introduction by LaVey and other rare and previously unpublished writings by Ragnar Redbeard. Now it can be told! SS

Publisher: Hunt
Paperback: 228 pages

The Satanic Witch

Anton Szandor LaVey

LaVey provides a worldy how-to manual for the swinging ‘70s succubus, based on his Satanic philosophy of “rational self-interest, sensual indulgence and the constructive use of alienation.” The arcane lore of “Bitchcraft,” “ESP: Extra Sensual Projection,” “The Secrets of Indecent Exposure” and more occult ammunition for the battle of the sexes are revealed herein. SS

Publisher: Feral House
Paperback: 300 pages

The Secret Life of a Satanist

Blanche Barton

Fascinating and picaresque biography of the infamous and now-hermetic showman-philosopher Anton Szandor LaVey. Live-in Satanic accomplice Blanche Barton tells the tale of LaVey’s checkered past—as carny, burlesque show organist, hoodlum, Zionist gunrunner, circus lion tamer, ghost hunter and crime-scene photographer for the SFPD—which set the stage for his invocation of the Church of Satan on Walpurgisnacht in 1966 and the publication of The Satanic Bible in 1969. She also relates the Black Pope’s erotic dalliances with screen sex goddesses Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield. At the same time, The Secret Life of a Satanist reveals LaVey’s demonic insight into humanity, film and all things noir, and the true Satanic music, and discusses the nature of the “Second Wave of Satanism,” which LaVey declares to have begun in 1984. SS

Publisher: Feral House
Paperback: 262 pages

Hitler: Black Magician

Gerald Suster

Originally published as Hitler: The Occult Messiah, this is a staunchly Crowleyian interpretation of the rise of National Socialism in Germany. Suster sees the Nazis and the Holocaust as prefigured in the revelation of The Book of the Law, which Crowley received from the entity Aiwass in 1904, supposedly ushering in the Age of Horus (the Egyptian god of War). Suster provides some interesting occult tangents of the Third Reich such as the alliance between the Tibetan monks and the Ahnerbe (or Nazi occult bureau), the Nazi campaign against Rudolph Steiner and his Anthroposophist followers, and Hitler’s connections with the Aryan-esoteric Thule Gesellschaft. The highlight of Suster’s spiritual version of World War II is his assertion that Ian Fleming, while serving in the British wartime Secret Service, lobbied for Aleister Crowley to interrogate Rudolph Hess about the magical strategies of the Third Reich. SS

Publisher: Skoob
Paperback: 222 pages

The Freud Journal

Lou Andreas-Salomé

Friedrich Nietzsche once said of Lou Andreas-Salomé that he had “never known a more gifted or understanding creature” and is said to have based his idea of the übermensch on her personality and their experiences and discussions together. The poet Rilke, for a time her younger lover, wrote that “she moves fearlessly among the most burning mysteries.” Andreas-Salomé and her book The Freud Journal, written during 1912 and 1913 when she was 51, are vital links between Nietzsche's philosophy and the origins of psychoanalysis: “Cruel people being always masochists also, the whole thing is inseparable from bisexuality. And that has a deep meaning. The first time I ever discussed this theme was with Nietzsche (that sadomasochist unto himself). And I know that afterward we dare not look at each other.” SS

Publisher: Quartet
Hardback: 211 pages

Opium for the Masses: A Practical Guide to Growing Poppies and Making Opium

Jim Hogshire

An eloquent, unabashed paean to the joys and healing properties of that most romantic of potions, which can be extracted from poppies (Papaver somniferum) grown right in the back yard. Covers historical use of opium; subjective and objective descriptions of its effects; opium and naturally occurring endorphins; its “bastard children” morphine, heroin and Dilaudid; brewing poppy tea (not quite the easy high the author would suggest); papaver botany; suggestions on making homemade opium; poppy politics and more. SS

Publisher: Loompanics
Paperback: 112 pages