Feb. 22, 2013

“The argument for an organized network of satanists is virtually irrefutable. Ritual abuse survivors’ reports contain many fantastic elements. Rather than regard the implausible  features of these accounts as grounds for skepticism, however, proponents of the satanic conspiracy theory insist that it is precisely these elements than mean the stories must be true. No one, they insist, would or could make up such bizarre, macabre stories.

“Sometimes proponents retreat to the position that satanists commit bizarre activities precisely so that victims will not be believed when they recount their experiences. This latter tack illustrates the problem of infinite regress (a sequence of reasoning or justification that can never come to an end).

“When confronted with the difficulty of concealing so many homicides, proponents explain that satanists dispose of bodies… in double-decker graves. Challenges to this argument lead to assertions that bodies are burned. The observation that bodies cannot be burned in ordinary fires leads to the assertion that they are cremated. The problems of gaining access to crematoriums lead to contentions that satanists use special portable crematoriums. Further protestation may yield the argument that child-witnesses may be mistaken about some deaths because satanists sometimes use life-like dolls rather than live humans to terrorize children into silence.

“The continual retreat from the lack of confirming evidence shifts the burden of proof from those seeking to demonstrate a satanist network to those questioning such assertions.”

– From “The Satanism Scare,” edited by David G. Bromley (1991)