My Summer Lair Chapter #251: Do You Remember Michelle Remembers?
For this episode: prepare to enter the disturbing and captivating world of Satanism. That’s right; as any child of the 80s can confirm: Satanists walk among us craving your children for sacrifices, breedings and…baby wax…for their Satanic candles?
Umm yeah…baby wax is one of the eyebrow lifting explanations offered in Satan Wants You, a documentary about the origins of the Satanic Panic from the 80s…until today really. Sean Horlor and Steve J. Adams, the duo directors behind the highly anticipated documentary (currently screening at SXSW) trace Satanic Panic Ground Zero to Victoria, BC and a book Michelle Remembers published on November 1, 1980.
What Michelle Smith “remembers” is ritual Satanic abuse…oh the horror! She visits her psychiatrist, Dr. Lawrence Pazder to deal with her depression following a miscarriage. Instead her psychiatrist helps her to uncover repressed memories. Michelle spends more than 600 hours using hypnosis to help her recover memories (air quotes?) of Satanic ritual abuse that occurred when she was five years old in 1954 and 1955 at the hands of her mother and others, all of whom Michelle said were members of a “satanic cult” (so many air quotes) in Victoria, BC.
Those therapy sessions slash memories were transcribed and then published in the book Michelle Remembers which became a bestseller igniting a panic about vanishing children.
Nobody wants their children to become baby wax for candles used by Satanists. Ew.
Oh and the baby wax is the neat explanation of why you can’t find any of the missing children. If you’re searching for missing kids you’re not looking at candles, right?
Satan Wants You offers the type of candid conversations with rational experts that we didn’t have in the 80s or even 90s: insights flow from a Wiccan police detective, an FBI agent from Mindhunter (yes the same department as the Fincher TV show), a memory expert offers her analysis and even somebody from the misunderstood world of the Church of Satan speaks.
The filmmakers delve deep into the quirky beliefs, practices, and ugly misconceptions surrounding this relentless moral panic which sadly is not past tense. Satanic Panics are not something we used to do like renting videos from Blockbuster.
QAnon and the recent PizzaGate are moral panics once again rooted in the ritual sacrifice and harm of children. Even as there is no evidence for any of it.
Satan Wants You is more than just a documentary about Satanists consuming our children or using them for baby wax. It’s a fascinating exploration of human nature, spirituality, and the complex interplay between religion and society.
With Sean and Steve at the helm, this documentary challenges preconceptions especially about memory, it exposes the roots of a moral panic that has been used to harm and destroy so many lives often needlessly and leaves you with a frustrated understanding of the human experience.
We should protect children…but the thing is…if you look under their bed and in their closets and there are no monsters then maybe…there really are no monsters.
Host Sammy Younan
Recorded: Tuesday February 28, 2023 at 12:30 pm
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