Halloween Origins and Satanic Panic
[00:00:00] Jeremiah: Hello, my fellow Terrestrials coming to you from an RV deep in the Carolina Mountains. Welcome to the What If They Wrong podcast. The podcast that wants you to question everything. Your reality is about to be shattered.
Hello and welcome to the What If the Wrong Podcast. I’m your host, Jeremiah joined today by Al. He’s here to talk to us about folklore things behind Halloween and other fringe topics that we can touch on. And, uh, I’ll introduce him now. Hello Al. Hello. Thank
you for having.
Yeah, thanks for coming on and speaking with us.
It is Halloween month. So, when this well at least when this airs, it’ll be Halloween month. I want to talk to you and hear what you have about Halloween. What’s some of the hidden things behind it. And a lot of people probably don’t. You know, a lot of hitting hidden stuff behind it.
A lot of people just think it’s a time to go out and party in costume. Trick or treat. So yeah, we’ll get into that.
[00:01:32] Al: Yeah. And unfortunately with Halloween there is, uh, a lot of misinformation out there. And I should preference this by saying I don’t consider myself an expert on the subject by any means.
Um, I mean, I do have a degree in world religions. But, I’m not like a folklorist. Or, you know, of college professor, anything like that. I’m just a guy who. Finds this stuff interesting and I try to read up on it when I can. So, um, like I said, I know there is a lot of misconceptions out there. Some of it’s spread intentionally, some of it, um, in entirely spread by accident.
And then there’s other stuff that, uh, since the records about the, some of their early. Origins of the holiday we now call Halloween are so sparse. There’s, I think there’s been a lot of misrepresentation or misinterpretation. Which, you know, not necessarily intentional. But um, when we’re looking at, in some of these older cultures where they didn’t have a written record or their written records are very limited. It does become harder to shift through the.
The fact in the fiction and try to find the stuff that’s genuine and the stuff that was made up later. Or, maybe even outright lies. Um, cuz in the case of Halloween, some of the records we have about the kts came from the Greeks and the Romans. Who were usually at war with these people. So unfortunately there is a tendency to.
Make up stories in order to make them sound a lot more barbaric than they may have actually been. Um, and Julius Caesar for example. He made a lot of, uh, he wrote a book and he had some writings about the Celtic people. And have you ever seen the movie The Wickerman? .
[00:03:35] Jeremiah: Yeah, I have actually that’s, um, I forget who’s in that.
Is it Kevin Bacon or something?
[00:03:41] Al: Uh, no. The, well there’s the, the remake they made with Nicholas Cage. That’s Nicholas’s Chip. Yep. And then there’s the original version. I don’t remember the name of the guy who played the main character, but it had Christopher Lee in it. Um, So the original one is much, much better than the remake.
Um, so like one of the things there, the whole idea of the Wicker Man and how Kelts would, uh, put people, you know, in these giant wicker statues and burn them alive, That I believe came from Julius Caesar if my memory serves me correctly. So there is some debate as to whether that was something that really happened.
Or if it was something that was just, you know, again, made up as a way to justify why they needed to conquer these people.
[00:04:34] Jeremiah: Yeah. It’s like they, um, it’s like the saying. If you break it up, history, like his, his story. So, it’s like the victor gets the, the writing. Cuz a lot of, uh, history is written by the victors, unfortunately.
Yep. And you lose the other side of the
[00:04:55] Al: story, . So that’s, I know. Um, so I’m not sure where you want me to begin, just with like a general history of Halloween.
[00:05:04] Jeremiah: Yeah, give us the, um, like what was the origin of it? Like, how did it become, you know, such a national like holiday?
[00:05:14] Al: Well, the, uh, earliest roots for Halloween are believed to be a mixture of Celtic Pagan customs, as well as some early Catholic customs that eventually started to go through various changes through the year.
Now, the original name. It looks like it’s pronounced Sam Hane, and there is the punk band that, uh, I believe Glen Danza used to be in. So a lot of, they pronounced it Sam Hane. So a lot of people pronounce it like that, but I’ve heard it is more correctly pronounced either soen or saan. The term I usually, the way I usually hear pronounced is so, And it was a Celtic Fire Festival.
It was believed to have more to do with preparing for the end of summer, the harvest season and the coming winter, as opposed to, you know, a lot of the focus on, um, You know, death and, and spirits, but there was some of that in there. Now, the, I know one of the things you hear people say about, um, Halloween, it’s the time when the, you know, the veil between the worlds is thin and weak, and that I’m, that I’ve gotten mixed messages on.
I’ve heard some people say that it is authentic. That is something that the Celtics, the Celtic people did actually believe. And then I’ve heard other people say that it’s actually much later. And that whole veil between the worlds didn’t come about until, uh, much later. Like maybe even as late as the Victorian era.
Now, the Celts did believe that it was possible for creatures from the Fay world. To pass over into our world. Not necessarily just during Halloween though, but other times in the year. And with some of these old, uh, folk tales from the British aisles, fairies were not the short little cute creatures that we are used to seeing them as in, uh, in, in popular culture.
They could be monstrous, they could be they just as tall as humans and they could even be violent and. Sometimes we try to to hurt people. So there’s a couple of stories I know that, uh, take place around this time. One of ’em is the legend of Finn Maul. It was said that he was, um, a warrior who was trying to join a group of elite warriors called the fi.
And in order to do this, he had to stop the, this demonn named Eileen. I think that’s how it’s pronounced. But he had to stop this demonn from, uh, destroying the city of Tara. In order to do this, he gets a magical spear from one of his father’s old allies. . Now with Fin Maul, he, before the events of this story, he had spent some time with a, a sage, and he caught something called the salmon of all knowledge.
And it said, when you eat the salmon, you gain the knowledge of the universe. So he, since he has all this knowledge, he knows where this demon is gonna come from, and he goes and confronts him. Uh, the Demonn tries to cast a spelled. Set him to sleep. But, uh, the, the magic of Finn Spear protects him and keeps him awake.
The Demonn tries to set it. The city on fire, but because of Fin’s knowledge, he’s able to counter that spell and then the Demonn tries to run away, but he ends up killing him, and that’s only one part of the cycle. That’s the only part I’m familiar with, unfortunately. Um, another one is the Ball of Tam Lynn.
It’s a story about a woman named Janet. She’s wandering in the forest and she encounters a handsome young. Who introduces himself as Ta Lynn, and she finds out that he is destined to be sacrificed to the spirits of darkness by the FA folk. And in order to save him, someone had to hold onto him for 21 heartbeats.
So he tells her where the fairies are gonna take him. So she goes there on Halloween night, she hides, and then. She sees the, this procession of fairies leading Tam Lynn to his fate. She comes out and, you know, hugs him and the fairies using their magic to turn Tam Lynn into a variety of unpleasant things like a hot iron statue, a block of ice, a bat, a worm.
But she manages to, uh, hold onto him and break the spell. And, you know, of course they get married and live happily ever after. I, I apologize for the tangent there, but just to show you that fairies and Irish mythology weren’t always these sweet little creatures that we sometimes view them as .
[00:10:16] Jeremiah: Yeah. Yeah.
I don’t know if you’ve ever seen The Labyrinth, the movie and
[00:10:20] Al: Oh, yeah. With, uh, David Bowie.
[00:10:23] Jeremiah: Yeah. In the beginning that little hoggle guy is, um, squirting the fairies . Then she’s like, she picks one up and she’s like, Oh, why are you hurting the fairies? The fairy bites are . Yeah. And he’s like, What do you expect them to
[00:10:39] Al: do?
Yep. So the, some of the popular conceptions about Halloween is it was believed that there would be spirits that would roam the, the land that night, and they would build these fires to, uh, keep the evil spirits away. One of the stories I heard is that supposedly the reason that people dressed up in costume was to disguise yourself in case a vengeful ghost came along, or to hopefully scare away.
Hostile spirits that happened across your path that night, though. I, again, I think those are a couple of the aspects that are a bit more in question. Um, there. Now, if you’ve ever been to a state fair or a county fair in the, during the eighties, in into the nineties, did you ever get a chick track from someone?
[00:11:32] Jeremiah: I’m not sure what that
[00:11:33] Al: is. . Okay. Have you ever heard of the, uh, cartoonist jack chick?
[00:11:38] Jeremiah: Uh,
[00:11:40] Al: Well, these were common in the eighties and again, the early nineties. Cause I remember you’d go to state fairs and there’d be people passing these out. Uh, Jack Checked was a Christian cartoonist who would make these tracks that people would pass out.
And it would be a story about someone engaging in something that they saw as bad or sinful and. then, you know, at the end of the story, they would either go to hell or sometimes they might get saved. Well, they had one going around about Halloween where they claimed that, you know, the Drews would, um, you know, would wa would travel the land asking for a, uh, you know, a sacrifice.
And if you gave them a sacrifice. They would put a, a jack of lantern carved into a pumpkin outside your house as a way to protect your house from the spirits that night, um, to end to show that you complied with their demands. Now, of course, the problem with this is first they have a picture of a drew it holding an onk, which is an Egyptian symbol, not a Celtic one, but another one of the misconceptions is they say that’s how trick or treating originated.
When it actually has more Christian roots, which came a lot later. Um, also pumpkins. The tradition of carving pumpkins in jack or lanterns or carving jack lanterns in pumpkins, uh, actually didn’t start to become common until it was like either the late 18 hundreds, early 19 hundreds, because while pumpkins are a new world, and the due religion started to decline around the seventh century, and pumpkins were not introduced to the British aisles until it was like either the 16 or 17 hundreds, so they would not have been able to carve jackal lanterns into pumpkins.
And actually jackal lanterns were originally carved in, usually turnups or other root type vegetable. . But, uh, the actual origin of tricker treating is believed to come from a couple other practices that originated in the Middle ages. One of ’em was called, uh, Mummer’s Plays, where you had groups of actors that would perform these different plays in the streets in exchange for food, money, or other gifts.
It’s also believed another possible inspiration for trick or treating. Came from a practice called Souling, where there’s the Catholic belief in purgatory, and it’s believed that if you weren’t quite bad enough to deserve hell, but you weren’t quite good enough to go into heaven, you would go to purgatory.
And it was believed that you had to pray for the souls in there. And if enough people prayed for you, you would eventually be able to leave Purg. , Well, the practice of Souling people would, uh, travel the neighborhood and they would, uh, sometimes dress as ghosts or in costumes and they would offer to pray for your dead relatives in exchange for something called a soul cake, which was a little biscuit like thing that had raisins and, and spices in it.
So that’s probably the more, um, probably the more accurate. Uh, trying to think of the best way to say it. That’s probably the more likely origin for trick or trading. Um, the, and then a lot of the customs we associate with Halloween started to actually come into common use during the early 19 hundreds when you had Irish and Scottish immigrants come over to America.
They brought some of these traditions with them. Now, in the case of Halloween, Um, first the phrase Happy Halloween doesn’t, or trick or treat, rather, doesn’t actually appear until, I think like the 1930s, but one of the traditions that these immigrants brought with them was mischief. So it was popular to perform acts of mischief on Halloween night.
Some of these acts of mischief might be just mostly harmless pranks. Others were. want acts of vandalism. Uh, like for example, one, they might disassemble someone’s wagon and then reassemble it on top of their roof. Or another one they would do is they would remove the gate to a farmer’s field, which meant, you know, all their animals would run out and they’d have to go try to, to try to, to stop them.
And then others would like throw stones through people’s windows. So it, it could get pretty bad. So what community organizations started to do is they started to arrange these parties in order to provide entertainment for these urban youth as a way to get them to behave and reward them for. Not going out and committing acts of vandalism
So they would arrange these parties where they could play games. Uh, Bob for apples, another thing they would do is they would have these costume contests or these parades, and for the most part it seemed to work. So the, that’s probably what really started to make Halloween more popular, uh, in. In America.
[00:17:17] Jeremiah: definitely remember like mischief night was like the night before Halloween. And like people would always do things like egg people’s windows or throw toilet, toilet paper. Toilet paper over their trees and stuff like that, or their house. And uh, so it is interesting.
[00:17:35] Al: Yeah, I remember there was one year where, I heard some of my classmates, they TPD one of the teachers houses.
And I know one time my old high school was tpd, but I don’t remember if it was Halloween or if it was another time of the year. It may have actually been near the end of the school year because you know, there’s the tradition of the senior prank where, which I never did cuz it’s like, well why bother? Um, but people would do some act of, you know, goofiness.
Because, hey, I’m gonna be out of this school in a couple weeks, so what are they gonna do to me? ?
[00:18:10] Jeremiah: Yeah. Yeah. I remember senior prank. So, Cause it gets tied into Halloween a lot. How does the whole, like Salem Witch trials and all that stuff tie into it, if you know?
[00:18:22] Al: As far as I know, the Salem Witch trials don’t really have too much of a, a connection to Halloween.
The, the Puritans, of course, they did believe in witchcraft. They were against the pr, the people celebrating Halloween. But at least from my understanding, the Salem witch trials were more based on, you know, there’s a person who’s an outcast. We don’t like them, so someone’s going to accuse them of witchcraft because they know that.
They probably get killed, uh, whether they were actually aware, you know, whether they were innocent or actually guilty of something. Like, I mean, some of the stuff they would do would be crazy. Like the whole, you know, tie them up because the belief was that. Since witches rejected God, that meant that the waters of baptism no longer had an effect on them.
So if you threw them in the water, the water would reject them. So, you know, there’s the whole thing about, you tie up someone who’s a suspected witch, you throw them in the water. If they float, that means they’re a witch and you kill them. If they sink, well, they’re probably gonna drown, but at least they were.
[00:19:34] Jeremiah: Yeah, they did have some barbaric practices back then too. Yes. . So, yeah. Cuz I think a lot of people try to tie the witch trials in with Halloween thinking it’s part of it, myself included. Yeah. So, So to kind of get an idea that it’s really not connected,
[00:19:56] Al: Yes, as far as I know, at least from everything I’ve, uh, learned when I’ve read up on Halloween and what I know do, know about the Salem Witch trials, as far as I know that that didn’t really have any bearing on Halloween.
Uh, it was just more something of people getting accused over of doing something bad with little to no evidence. Yeah, that
[00:20:22] Jeremiah: makes sense, I guess, cuz uh, yeah, I don’t know how you could tie that in, but I know that period of time was pretty, pretty ridiculous. Pretty wild that yeah, they could just pick someone out and be like, she’s a witch, and then do these trials that don’t really have a winner or whatever.
[00:20:42] Al: it’s like, have, have you ever seen a Monty Python in the holy. Yeah. You know that scene? She’s a witch. How do you know she’s a witch? She turned me into a nt . I got better . It’s like then the cross. What floats a
[00:20:59] Jeremiah: duck? . Yeah. So it’s, it’s very interesting. So, um, so Halloween basically is from like Celtic and like middle aged roots.
Yeah. At least it’s not too much American roots, it’s just kind of taken over by American
[00:21:18] Al: culture. Yeah, pretty much. Uh, the, and I think in Europe they do, or in England it’s a little bit different where they have the bonfires, which, you know, that’s tied into Guy Fox Day. But yeah, I mean, a lot of it just comes from these old practices that went through different changes and as they started to encounter different cultures like the.
You know, turn ups are smaller and harder to carve something into. So that’s why the pumpkin was so great for them, because pumpkins are bigger, a lot easier to carve, and a lot easier to work with. So it’s, I, I know to some extent it’s almost become more of an adult holiday again, because you go to these, uh, you know, you go to the Halloween stores and it’s, it’s not just costumes for kids who wanna dress up like Spider-Man or Batman.
Of course the adult costumes, you know, the sexy nurse, the sexy pirate, the, you know, sexy cowboy, whatever.
[00:22:18] Jeremiah: Yeah. They, uh, put an adult twist on the, uh, costumes. , Yes, . And a lot of adults, you know, they’ll have like Halloween theme bar night or like house party people. Someone will throw like a costume party and you know, everyone shows up in costume.
[00:22:38] Al: Yeah. And I used to look at a, so yeah, go ahead. Okay. Yeah. And I actually used to work at a planetarium, um, back when I was younger and we actually did a Halloween show where we discussed some of the changes in the sky around this time of year, we went into some of the origins of Halloween, and we tried to do different things with it.
Like one of the things we did for several years is we made it into a murder mystery where halfway through the show, one of the planetarium staff members gets killed. And, you know, the audience has to use the planetariums interactive voting system to try to guess who killed the, the person who, um, you know, who killed the other staff member.
So that was fun. There was one year where I was actually the victim, and there was another year where I was actually the murderer. So I’ve been on both, I’ve been on both sides of that. Both sides of that game. .
[00:23:30] Jeremiah: Yeah, that does sound fun. A little murder mystery. And what do you think about like the, I don’t know how to word this, like Halloween’s presentation in like movies, like horror movies and
[00:23:45] Al: Well, I’m, I mean, it really kind of depends on what horror movie I do. Kind of, It just bug me how they, a lot of times when. They do present Halloween in the horror movies. It’s generally more inspired by urban legends or the whole idea of, you know, Halloween being this dark Satanic holiday, which it, it’s not, it really doesn’t have anything to do with Satan.
Um, so that usually bothers me. Um, I mean, it doesn’t really bother me, like offend me. It’s just, it’s not something that’s really gonna draw my attention, um, though I have to admit. With the Halloween movies, I do have to say that of the one, the couple I’ve seen, I actually liked the third one, Season of the Witch, despite its historical inaccuracies.
Um, and I know that’s actually the one that a lot of people don’t seem to like because it doesn’t have Michael Meyers in it. And. Honestly, I’m not a fan of the ones with Michael Myers because the whole idea of the nearly invincible serial killer slowly walking around and killing people just never really appealed to me.
I just think it, I think after a while becomes kind of old hat, uh, kind of cliche, but season of the Witch was interesting because first they killed children in that movie. And you know, usually in horror movies, children are. . So the fact that they have a child die, a very gruesome death on screen, I thought showed that movie had balls.
And I also, another thing I liked about the movie is how the end was left, very ambiguous. Now, if, uh, for anyone who might not be familiar with the plot of that movie, It revolves around this, this company that makes these masks, uh, Silver Shamrock, I think is the name of the company, and the masks supposedly have a small stone in it that comes from one of the standing stones from Ireland.
And the plan is the person who runs this company is like a, a Satan worshiper or something like that. And you know, it’s talking about returning Halloween to, its its roots where. The blood, you know, the hills flowed with the blood of animals and children. And, um, the, there was a TV commercial they were gonna show, and they were promising that if you were wearing one of these masks, you’d see something special happen during this commercial.
But the commercial actually brought, broadcasted a signal, which caused the mask to activate. And, um, the kids like the kid would die a horrible, painful death is, you know, like bugs and snakes and stuff were crawling out of. You know, the mask and the guy who figures out what’s going on. At the end of the movie, he escapes the factory and he calls the TV stations telling him to cancel the commercial, and the, the movie ends with him screaming like a madman into the.
uh, into the phone while the last commercial is showing, um, or while this commercial is beginning. So it really leaves it up to your own personal interpretation. Does he manage to stop the commercial and save all these children’s lives, or does he fail and do ki people still die anyway?
[00:27:11] Jeremiah: Yeah, it’s definitely interesting.
I don’t think I’ve seen that one, but now I want to go check it out. . Yeah,
[00:27:19] Al: it is, like I said, it is actually a, a, a good movie. I mean, I actually really liked it and um, unfortunately a lot of people trash it because it doesn’t have Michael Myers. And I think the, the story I heard behind the Halloween series is that, uh, the original and was it John Carpenter was the one who directed it, I think, but I think so.
Yeah. His original vision for the Halloween series is that it would be an anthology series where each one of the Halloween movies would be a different movie, a different story. All of them just with Halloween as the. The central focus, but it came to all be just about Michael Meyers. Yeah.
[00:28:06] Jeremiah: I guess he just appealed to people, like some, like, you don’t enjoy that, but I think a lot of people like that, like almost invincible killer that can’t be stopped and just like doesn’t seem to die
[00:28:20] Al: Yeah. It’s just, I, I understand the reason why that that trope can be popular. Because what’s scarier than something that you can’t. You know, especially if that thing you can’t kill is walking towards you slowly with a, you know, a huge butcher knife in its hand. .
[00:28:36] Jeremiah: Definitely. And I, like you said, um, a lot of the, like, misconception, a lot of people place Halloween as like satanic or like evil background, but as you said, it’s, it’s a little bit deeper than that.
[00:28:54] Al: Yeah. And I, I. I’m not exactly sure where all the connotations came from or where all the Satanic connections came from. I think part of it just goes back to the early, the Middle Ages and such when anything that wasn’t Christianity was considered Satanic. Uh, regardless of whether. You know, it made whether it was an accurate comparison or not.
And, uh, one of the, and then you get to, when you start to, uh, get into like the, the sixties and seventies and eighties, and we start to see a lot more of the urban legends about Halloween arise, and these are things that I’ve always found really fascinating. Probably one of the most common urban legends about Halloween is that there’s people who are putting.
Poison needles or razor blades in candy or the other treats that they’re giving out. So that actually might have its roots as far back as the late fifties. Cause I remember hearing one story about a dentist in California who was handing out laxative to the, the tricker treaters. Oh geez. Yeah. . And he eventually was found out and he was, um, I think it was fine.
Illegally distributing Dr. Uh, drugs in the sixties. There was a woman in from Long Island who would give out inedible things to kids she thought were, were too old to trick or treat, uh, things like steel woo dog treats, and they called them ant buttons. There are, they would be like the raid roach hotels, you know, So they’re clearly.
You know, she’s not hiding the fact that these are poisonous, but, uh, she got in trouble for that. The main one that a lot of people will, uh, th will think about is the case of Ronald Clark o Brian, and he’s the one who is sometimes called the man who killed Halloween in 1970. he gave his son as well as a few other kids, pixie sticks that were laced with cyanide.
And the main thing is he wanted to kill his son to get insurance money from it. But he was, unfortunately, his son died, but it was found out. Uh, that he did this. Fortunately, the other kids that he gave the pixie sticks to didn’t eat them. So his son was the only one who died. Uh, he was found out. He was convicted in 1975, and then in 1984 he was finally put to death.
So that’s one of the things that I think really. Uh, started to make people think that, okay, can you really trust your neighbors? And maybe that’s one of the things that caused, uh, Halloween to become viewed as this more darker, sinister holiday. Uh, and then when we start to get into the eighties, uh, that’s when we start to see the origins of the Satanic panic.
Now, the Satanic panic is believed to have originated in 19. Uh, there was a psychiatrist, uh, Dr. Lawrence Pank. He had released a book called Michelle Remembers. He had been treating a woman named Michelle Smith for postpartum depression, and she, he wrote in this book that she always felt like she had something important to tell him, but couldn’t quite remember what it was.
So he used a therapy called, Recovered memory therapy and hypnosis, which has, uh, which now is debunked, but supposedly while going this, under this therapy, Michelle. Recalled that her mother had been abusing her and that she was, uh, taken to satanic rituals and she was forced to watch people and animal get animals get sacrificed.
And she even had one story about, and, and how people bought this, I don’t know, but supposedly she witnessed a satanic ritual. Supposedly involved. Hundreds of people lasted 81 days straight and took place in a cemetery not far from a residential area. And you know, you look when people started to question this and they looked back at, uh, well first she had no noticeable absences from school during that time.
So it’s like, okay, why if she witnessed this, that you would expect to see more absences. There’s also no police reports from the uh, as well. Cause you would think that if people were conducting this huge satanic ritual in a cemetery for that long, someone would notice and someone would call the police.
Uh, and then there were also, I mean, even Michelle’s father, Claimed he could dispute her. Cha her, um, her claims that, you know, she had two sisters and they weren’t mentioned in the book at all. Um, and there’s also no records of pastor contacting the police to verify her story. So while there were some people that challenged, uh, the book, for the most part, it went challenged.
Uh, Pastor, he would eventually go on to get guest appearances on various talk shows. He declared himself an expert witness on something called Satanic Ritual Abuse. Uh, he also would eventually, both him and Michelle Smith divorced their spouses and got married to each other. So a lot of people find that kind of suspicious as well.
[00:34:51] Jeremiah: I remember. I think it was in the eighties too. A lot of stuff with, um, panic, I guess you could say about Satanic stuff. Like Dungeons and Dragons was one. Oh yeah. That got attacked. And, uh, Magic, the gathering, the car game also, people were saying that it was all Satanic and stuff and it seemed like there was a big push for, for banning things that were deemed Satanic.
[00:35:17] Al: Yeah, I was, uh, I mean, I, I was and still am a, both a Dungeons and Dragons fan and a heavy metal fan. So I was there during the Satanic panic, so I should get a shirt made up. I survived the Satanic Panic . So yes, I actually remember some of this stuff and it was crazy. Um, if you, Have you ever, did you ever watch Strange Things or Stranger Things?
Yes, yes. Season four draws heavily on the Satanic panic. And there’s a scene in there where Jason Carver, you know, one of the star athletes at the high school is addressing the town hall, claiming that you know, the recent murder of his girlfriend. And, you know, all these other murders we’re all due to Satanic.
Uh, Rituals caught done by d and d players and you know, everyone just believes him as soon as he starts quoting the Bible and it’s like, honestly, that’s pretty much a good accurate, that’s actually a pretty accurate representation of the Satanic panic. People would just believe this stuff. Without really any solid evidence.
If someone said, You know, I saw this Satanic ritual, there was a tendency for some people to just believe it, even if they could provide no evidence. And I think that’s one of the things that actually did start to cause the Satanic panic to subside. , it started to lose steam towards the end of the eighties and in the early nineties it was pretty much, you know, died down.
It’s flared up occasionally. Uh, the Harry Potter books are, are a good example. You mentioned Magic, The Gathering. I’ve even heard Pokemon be claimed as Satanic. Uh, the, and then of course you have the current conspiracy theory of QAN on which. Lot of people’s opinion, mind included. It’s just the, the latest, uh, it’s just the latest edition of the Satanic Panic
[00:37:23] Jeremiah: Yeah. I don’t know a whole ton about the q Andon thing, but I know they try to like, I guess, make predictions, but. I haven’t seen their predictions come true yet.
[00:37:33] Al: Yeah, they’ve got, uh, they’re a lot like doomsday cults. They’ve got a pretty poor track record of their, uh, predictions coming. True. And I mean, since we’re sitting here talking right now, I have a, I think that’s, it’s safe to assume a lot of the doomsday cults, uh, if probably were pretty inaccurate with third predictions.
[00:37:54] Jeremiah: Yeah, I think so. And, uh, They might use Halloween to perform rituals for all I know .
[00:38:02] Al: Yeah, there’s um, I know there’s a few Rich Satanic ritual or satanic, uh, urban legends I’ve heard about Halloween. One of ’em is that animal shelters would not adopt out black cats or black dogs. With the week of Halloween because the belief was that Satanists would adopt these black animals and then use ’em for a sacrifice.
When I was in college, I did volunteer at an animal shelter, and I did ask one of the people who worked there if they were familiar with this, and they, they actually heard a different variation. that the reason that some places wouldn’t adopt black cats around Halloween is because people would get them to use them as a living prop for like a Halloween party or a haunted house attraction.
And then once it, the cat served its purpose, they would either return it to the shelter or just set it out on the streets. So again, whether that was a widespread. That, I’m not sure. Uh, another urban legend I remember hearing, and this was from a, uh, back when I used to live in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area.
Uh, there was a local Chan Christian channel I watched for entertainment value. There was this guy, Jeff Godwin, and again, I watched it just to laugh at him. He always claimed that roving bands of Satanists would wander around on Halloween in order to kidnap homeless people, to sacrifice them to the devil.
And he was always talking about how they were always homeless people or social outcasts who wouldn’t be missed. And it’s like, You take a second to think about that rationally first, If these are people who wouldn’t be missed, how do we know this is going on? . Um, especially if you’re talking about homeless people who can be hard to keep track of.
So it becomes kind of like the, a situation where no, in their eyes, no evidence is the best evidence. Because when you start looking at a claim like that, you’re like, okay. If roving bands of Satanists are kidnapping people on Halloween, then where are the bodies? Where are the police reports? And most of the.
generally, they can’t produce these results because, well, they never really happened .
[00:40:35] Jeremiah: Yeah. It’s, uh, there is a lot of speculation out there and, you know, a lot of unknowns and people like to chalk unknowns up to something mysterious when a lot of cases there’s really nothing going on, but
[00:40:51] Al: Yeah. And, and it’s unfortunate because unfortu what, at least when you look.
How the mass media sometimes treats these stories. Sometimes the, the good story is the one that’s fake. One of the things that may have caused the decline of the Satanic panic is Geraldo Rivera in it was either 88 or 89. Released a, a special called Devil Worship exposing Satan’s underground, where he was claim he had guests on that claimed that there was this underground network of Satanists in the United States that could number in the hundreds of thousands, or maybe even as many as a million.
And you know, they would engage in human trafficking and all these other horrible things and. The show was criticized because it focused more on sensationalism than providing actual evidence. And Heraldo would eventually, uh, in 1996, I believe he did actually recant what he said and apologized for that special because again, he realized he was focusing more on what would make entertaining television than making something that was, that was accurate.
[00:42:10] Jeremiah: Yeah. And unfortunately that happens sometimes. Yeah. And um, yeah, there’s definitely claims for a lot of stuff, but So what about, um, because where my fiance lived before, well, across the street, but it was like a big field. There was like, um, a witches, bunch of witches like congregated over there and like did whatever rituals and stuff.
what do you think? How the witches tie into, like Halloween and stuff? Or do they just, are they just happenstance for everything else?
[00:42:48] Al: Well, well that depends. Are we talking about witches, like your stereotypical witch, Wicked witch of the west, or are we talking about Wickens? Um, cuz I’ve had a lot of friends over the years who are wiccans, so I am familiar with, you know, the practice of sewn.
Um, and in that case it’s more or less just used as the. Uh, just a day to remember the dead. So, and I’ve been to a couple of sewn rituals and there’s, there’s nothing really sinister about them, um, at least the ones that I’ve been to. And I’m pretty sure you’ll find that with a lot of the wick and covens that do host these rituals.
They’re meant more to remember those who have passed on as opposed to doing anything evil or, and of course Wickens are not, Satan, are not satanist, despite what some televangelist will tell you. . .
[00:43:46] Jeremiah: Yeah. But you do have actual satanist to like, uh, what’s his name? The famous one? Anton. Oh, Anton Lobe. Yeah.
Yeah. And his whole thing.
[00:43:57] Al: Yeah, the, I’m not sure, cause I’ve only known a couple of Satanists in my life and I’m not sure how they really practiced Halloween, so I, I can’t really speak to personal experience on that. Yeah. But whether there’s Satan Satanists that actually do this kind of stuff, I highly doubt it.
Um, most likely. There because there is something called pseudo satanism, and you saw a lot of that in the, When the Satanic ritual abuse hysteria started to really take off where there were people who would use the trappings of satanism when they were committing their crimes, but they were doing it more for that shock value as opposed to any actual, you know, any actual allegiance to the devil.
And unfortunately when you had these people who claimed to be these expert witnesses, and when they were advising law enforcement, the information they were giving them was just bad. They would also say, Oh, if you see graffiti with a, a pentagram, you know, or an inverted cross, that must mean they’re satanist in the area.
Maybe, or maybe some kids putting it on there because they know what’s gonna scare someone and they’re doing it for shock value. .
[00:45:17] Jeremiah: Yeah. Yeah, definitely . But yeah, I’m sure there are. Um, but my thing is like if there are saints, like true saints and stuff mm-hmm. , I don’t think they need a specific day to practice whatever they’re, Yeah.
[00:45:36] Al: that is true. At least from my limited exposure to, uh, Satanists and my limited knowledge of that particular belief system. It’s actually more a religion about yourself than. It’s more about worshiping yourself as opposed to worshiping in other, I don’t know if that makes any sense or not. Yeah, it’s
[00:45:57] Jeremiah: not like worshiping a deity or whatever.
[00:46:00] Al: Mm-hmm. , and of course there are gonna be, as with any religion, there’s gonna be a great, there’s gonna be variations. So that might not be what all satanists believe. That’s just, like I said, my limited experience dealing with people who told me that they were, they were satanists.
[00:46:17] Jeremiah: So are there any other.
like legends or stories around Halloween we can cover before the end of this .
[00:46:27] Al: Yeah, my probably my favorite, uh, my favorite urban legend about Halloween. And this one is actually more of a, a lighthearted one cause I know I’ve talked about, you know, double worshipers and human sacrifice and you know, things that are kind of dark in nature.
The story of the haunted house. That’s so scary. No one has ever finished it. I remember first hearing this story back in, I think it was 1992, uh, back when I was in high school. And the story goes that somewhere in the Milwaukee area, someone or a group put on this haunted house, and there were five floors and it cost $50 to get.
And I’m not sure offhand how I should have did an inflation calculator. I’m not sure how much $50 then would be today, but it costs $50 to enter this attraction. And for every floor that you managed to get by, you got $10 back. So if you could complete all five floors, You got your money back, you got a full refund.
But supposedly it’s so scary. No one could ever make it to the end. And over the years I would hear different variations of the story. There’s some versions that say that the house had 13 floors. There’s some stories that say you, you don’t get your money back unless you make it to the very end. Uh, some variations of the legend claim that.
the final exit. In order to get to it, you’d have to like, you know, walk on this, you know, very narrow strip of wood over. You know, a 20 foot drop and below there’s like broken glass and, you know, rocks and stuff. So it’s, it’s not worth it. Or maybe when you’re about to, uh, get to the door, there’s a trap door that opens and makes you slide back to the beginning.
So I always thought that one was cute. And it did actually go on to inspire a creepy pasta called the No End House, which is a story about a guy who hears how, if. Uh, you go through this haunted attraction, you get $500, I think it’s $500, but you get some money for completing this, uh, going through this house and there’s nine rooms.
The first two rooms are just decorated with the kind of decorations you would see in a, uh, in a department store. But then things started to get weirder and weirder. Eventually the guy, he’s about to lose his mind, but he makes it through. And then when he gets back to his home, he sees there’s a number 10 on his door, implying that when someone does make it through, all nine of these or all of the rooms, wherever they go, is then added onto the, the no end
[00:49:24] Jeremiah: house.
I like that kind of stuff. Like, um, there was a movie I watched recently. I think it was like escape room or something, and like a group of people had to get through all these like challenges I guess in this escape room. And it was, I mean, it’s cheesy, but it was entertaining. . Yeah. And I was like, Oh, it’s pretty cool.
[00:49:47] Al: haven’t, uh, I haven’t heard of that movie. I mean, I don’t know if it’s like a, a national chain, but I know that there are these attractions called escape rooms where you know, you pay your admission and then you’re put in this room. Then there’s a person that describes what’s going on, and you have to.
try to solve puzzles in order to exit the room. So I know we’ve got one of those in our, my area here, but I’ve never actually been there, so I can’t, I, I don’t know what it’s like actually inside.
[00:50:18] Jeremiah: Yeah. I want to give one of those a try sometime. I’ve never done it myself, but yeah, they seem to be popping up everywhere.
[00:50:25] Al: It’s not an escape room really, but there’s an attraction called Wizard Quest. I know that. There was one, I’m not sure if it’s still there, but there was one we visited in Wisconsin Dells, which is basically the tourist trap capital of the state of Wisconsin. Um, it was actually really cool. Uh, what you did is you go in and you have to, uh, you have to free four different wizard.
And they’ve got this large room that’s divided into sections. There’s like a, an earth section, an air section, a water section in a fire section. You do things like crawl through ball pits and uh, climb up, you know, ladders. And, you have to go to these stations and answer riles. If you answer a riddle, You can, you get a clue or you eventually free the four wizards.
So my, my wife and son and I went there and it was actually a lot of fun. Again, not really in escape room, but still a lot of fun.
[00:51:29] Jeremiah: Yeah, it’s, I like that kind of stuff. I like, uh, I like things like that that make you think and puzzles and stuff like that. Riles. Stuff that like is challenging and rewarding if you complete it.
Mm-hmm. . And then you have a lot of stuff popping up with Halloween too now. Like, um, in Pennsylvania when I lived there, there was a place called Field of Screams, and basically around fall time it was like, Full force, like come to field of screams and get scared. And they had like, you know, the whole haunted hay rise and the haunted houses and all that stuff.
So there’s definitely like, uh, industry around Halloween now, and you see these Halloween stores that pop up and then they just disappear right after Halloween.
[00:52:22] Al: Yeah, We, we have similar things around here with the, you know, the haunted hay rides and the, uh, you know, the temporary haunted houses they put up.
Never really been my thing, but you know, they’re some, you know, I’ve known people like them and they can be a lot of fun.
[00:52:38] Jeremiah: Oh yeah, definitely. So in uh, closing up here, where can, uh, people find you and your works if they are interested in more folklore?
[00:52:49] Al: Well, my podcast is, On a site, it’s called Point of Insanity Network.
It’s at p o i game studio.podbean.com. So the current podcast I’m doing is called Strange and Interesting. It’s about folklore, the paranormal, and anything else that I happen to find stranger. Interesting. Uh, if you go there, you’ll also find episodes of some of my older podcasts like Creepy Pasta Theater.
Where I do narration of known, well known, or sometimes even original creepy pastas. Uh, there’s uh, several episodes in my old podcast, Geekery in general, which is about Dungeons and Dragons, video games, geek culture type things. I’m starting to get back into podcasting after taking a bit of a hiat. Um, I also self-publish role playing games.
You can find my website at p o i games studio.com. Uh, not too long ago, a friend of mine and I released a game called Caught in the Backrooms, which is based on the backroom creepy pasta. Uh, we did set up a site for that caught in the backroom.com. So if you’re into that kind of thing, please check it out.
You can follow me that actually, Yeah. And it. I mean, I think it’s interesting, and I’m actually planning on doing this as a, so as a, as a show episode that in my opinion, the bulk, the backroom have become modern folklore because with folklore it’s usually not created by a single person. It’s usually created by a group of people.
And the back rooms were, they started out as a picture on a web, on the A web forum. Then an anonymous user added the famous quote about how if, you know, clip out of reality, you’ll end up in the back rooms. Since then, people have made, uh, you know, different levels for the back rooms and stories, and there’s been a few video games made about it.
Um, music, there’s people who’ve made music inspired by the back rooms. Um, myself included, I dabble in music every now and then. So I thought, well, why not? Bring the back rooms to the world of tabletop role playing games. So a friend of my mine and I, uh, wrote this game and released it earlier this year.
[00:55:11] Jeremiah: Oh, that’s cool. Yeah, I think, um, I think my fiance’s daughter was talking about that, like, if you, you get trapped in the back rooms and you can’t. Escape or something like that?
[00:55:22] Al: Yeah, it kind of depends on what source you consult. Some of the earlier threads about the back rooms, unlike Reddit, there were people that were implying that you could learn to no clip in and out of the backroom at will.
There’s some people that like to think, Okay, it might be possible to escape, but I guess I tend to keep. More along the lines of once you’re there, you’re probably stuck there because it makes it that, it makes it that much scarier if you’re in this place that you can’t leave and it makes you want
[00:55:54] Jeremiah: to stay away from that
[00:55:56] Al: Yeah, . Well, and that’s one of the things that’s, uh, fascinating about the original backroom story is that the snow clipping phenomenon is something that can happen totally at random. You know, you might roll out of bed one morning. Fail to make con uh, fail to connect with the floor. And then the next thing you know, you’re in the back rooms with nothing but your pajamas.
[00:56:19] Jeremiah: Yeah. I’ll have to check that out cuz that, that’s interesting to me cuz I like, uh, stuff like that. Like thinking about simulation theory and glitches in the matrix and stuff like that.
[00:56:33] Al: Yeah. And there is a, Now with the, a lot of the classic backroom stuff, there’s no real set explanation for what caused it.
Uh, there is a YouTuber named Kane Pixels. He’s made several YouTube videos about the backrooms, where the way it’s done in more of a found footage type style, and in his vi his continuity or his version of the back. Uh, is actually manmade. It was created by this company called Async as a way to solve overcrowding where they’re trying to make this like extra dimensional space that you can use for storage or living quarters or residential areas.
So I thought that was an interesting take on the backroom, but again, I guess I prefer my opinion. I prefer keeping it more ambiguous because it makes, it makes it scarier that way.
[00:57:26] Jeremiah: Oh yeah, definitely more suspenseful, . Mm-hmm. . But yeah, I will, uh, link all your, uh, stuff in the description. Uh, just shoot me the links and I’ll Okay.
Put it down there. So anyone listening, you can just look in the description and get to, uh, his works fast and easy. Yep. . Um, but yeah, thank you for coming on and speaking with us and going over hollering. Thank you for having me. The backstory with it and cuz I think a lot of people get misconstrued, uh, with Halloween there’s a lot of different tales and stories and mythologies and, you know, all that stuff.
So it’s good to shed a little light on.
[00:58:08] Al: On it. Yeah. And I said I don’t consider myself an expert, but um, hopefully I gave accurate information because when I do try to research, uh, something for my podcast, I do try to do as thorough research as I can and I try to make sure I’m getting my information from good sources.
[00:58:26] Jeremiah: Thanks for coming on. Thanks for speaking with us.