130422JenkinsApril 22, 2013

“Lecturing recently, I mentioned the American witch-hunts of the 1980s and 1990s. When the audience looked puzzled, I explained that I was referring to the Satanic Panic of those years, the wave of false charges concerning ritual child abuse and devil cults that made regular headlines in the decade after 1984. The explanation helped little.

“Even people who had lived through those years, who had been following the media closely, had precisely no recollection. Lost in memory it may be, but the Satanic Panic needs to be remembered, if only to prevent a renewed outbreak of this horrible farrago. And when better than in the 30th anniversary of the affair’s beginning?

“It all started in southern California, in Manhattan Beach, in the Fall of 1983….”

– From “Remember the Satanic Panic” (Jan. 9, 2013) by Philip Jenkins, Distinguished Professor of History at Baylor University, on Real Clear Religion

I share Dr. Jenkins’ concern about public memory, of course.

Which are more worrisome – those who have no recollection at all of cases such as McMartin and Little Rascals, or those who have forgotten they all were hoaxes?