In May, a group of Satanists infiltrated a conference for people who believe they’re the victims of a Satanic conspiracy.
RD contributor Joseph Laycock has answers to all of your burning questions.
Wait, enough people believe that they’re victims of a Satanic conspiracy to fill an entire conference?
Yes. In May, the Ritual Abuse and Child Abuse 2016 Conference was held in Oakland. The theme was overcoming mind control and subliminal programming.
Who goes to an event like this?
Some people believe they have suffered abuse they cannot remember, have alternate personalities of which they are unaware, or have even committed crimes they cannot recall, all because of sadistic rituals inflicted on them as a form of mind control. Who do they think is responsible for this psychological abuse? The usual suspects include unnamed “cults,” the CIA, and an alleged conspiracy of organized criminal Satanists.
These techniques of mind control are believed to be so insidious that conference attendees were apparently forbidden from touching their faces, for fear that any subtle hand gesture could be a cue that triggers a victim’s subliminal programming.
And then actual Satanists showed up?
They did. Amidst all this paranoia, Satanists actually had infiltrated the conference, and they recently went public with the reason why. In a twist worthy of a bad M. Night Shyamalan film, the Satanists claim that they are the ones exposing a dangerous cabal and that it is the conference organizers who are abusing their patients.
Who are these Satanists?
The Grey Faction of The Satanic Temple (TST). TST are atheists, and they do not believe in the supernatural. But they insist that they are an actual religion because they are a community with a shared body of symbols, rituals, and ethics. The group’s first tenet is to “act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.”
The Grey Faction is a division of TST that seeks to raise awareness about medical professionals who continue to promote conspiracy theories about Satanism. The Grey Faction protested a similar conference in April.
So they don’t draw pentagrams and slaughter chickens?
Like the French Situationists of the 1960s, TST believes that shock value can be a useful tool for reframing the political conversation. In April, for example, the Detroit chapter countered a Christian protest of an abortion clinic by dressing as sado-masochistic babies and accusing the protestors of “fetal idolatry.” While many find their antics offensive, their group has never performed sacrifices or physically harmed anyone.
Do Satanists really brainwash people?
No. Nobody brainwashes people, actually, because brainwashing isn’t real.
Psychological manipulation is real, and takes many forms, but “brainwashing” is a made up concept that originated in American propaganda during the Korean War. In 1950, Edward Hunter, a journalist with ties to the CIA, ran a story with the headline, “Brain-Washing Tactics Force Chinese into Ranks of Communist Party” in the Miami News. That article introduced “brainwashing” to the American vocabulary.