A handful of seasonally-appropriate tales:
A seasonally appropriate list of creepyscarry links:
- Teddy Has an Operation (short film)
- A Researcher’s Descent into Madness (short film)
- Actual pages from an actual children’s book from the American “Satanic Panic” of the 1980s (absolutely factual historical info; not fictional in any way, except for in that thoroughly un-fun mass-hysteria-and-the-delusions-of-crowds way)
- “The Slender Men” audiobook (fun horror fiction dedicated to all those adjunct professors out there)
- “Whatever Comes After Calcutta” audiobook (this one wigs me out a little because when I wrote it I was exaggerating about “red” America, and now it sorta reads as almost documentary)
The images below are taken from Don’t Make Me Go Back, Mommy: A Child’s Book About Satanic Ritual Abuse. This is a real book that was earnestly written and actually published, then presumably read to actual children (who, one presumes, were duly traumatized) in order to help them cope with having not endured fake things that never happened to anyone (see also “Satanic Panic”and D&D as thrill-kill gateway drug—and recall, these were current events, reported in the newspaper, recounted in measured tones on the evening news, endlessly explored on the afternoon talk shows I watched while my folks were at work. I was a fat, gullible, ill-monitored Jewish pre-teen at the time. These cases enthralled and terrified me.)
The craziest thing about all this, to me, is that the author and publisher really did have their hearts in the right place, I think. In contrast to most materials surrounding the issue of Satanic Ritual Abuse, this wasn’t an attempt to bait the hook of Fundamentalist Christian propaganda or Normative White bigotry with raw meat ripped from the tabloid headlines.
This book comes from the “Hurts of Childhood” series, which honestly and directly tries to address real burdens that many children really face: parental alcohol abuse, sexual assault, traumatic family situations, and so on. Yes, every single title in this series is just as maladroitly handled—but, jeez, at least they were trying.
Let me stress: This stuff looks silly and ghoulish and comically naive now, but we actually believed these things were happening back in the 1980s. Real people really went to prison—and stayed there for years—having been accused of heinous abominations and convicted of committing a type of crime that hasn’t ever happened:
The survey included 6,910 psychiatrists, psychologists and clinical social workers, and 4,655 district attorneys, police departments and social service agencies. They reported 12,264 accusations of ritual abuse that they had investigated.
The survey found that there was not a single case where there was clear corroborating evidence for the most common accusation, that there was “a well-organized intergenerational satanic cult, who sexually molested and tortured children in their homes or schools for years and committed a series of murders,” Dr. Goodman said.
Many psychotherapists who have been vocal about a supposed epidemic of sexual abuse by well-organized satanic rings have grown more cautious of late. “There’s clearly been a contagion, a contamination of what people say in therapy because of what they see on TV or read about satanic ritual abuse,” said Dr. Bennet Braun, a psychiatrist who heads the Dissociative Disorders Unit at Rush-North Shore Medical Center in Chicago.
Too many gems here not to share. Happy SatanTerrorGhostlyDemonoGentiles Eve, all! 👻💀🎃
Been casting around for a short-n-sweet Halloween read? The Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine has just released their audiobook of my story “The Slender Men”—free download awaits!
(here’s a direct download of the MP3, if you prefer)
Rish Outfield—who produced this audio—was also the voice actor for the last story I sold to PseudoPod, “Whatever Comes After Calcutta.” I love what Rish does for horror stories; it’s just so spot on. This is basically as close as you can expect to get to what I hear in my head when I revisit “The Slender Men.”