Adapted from Satanism and Occult-Related Violence: What You Should Know, by Michael D. Langone, Ph.D. and Linda Osborne Blood, © 1990, AFF)
Satanism and Occult-Ritual Activity: Questions and Answers
How Prevalent are Satanism and other Occult-Related Activities?
No reliable scientific data can tell us how many people are involved, but a most disturbing trend has been the apparent increased interest among the young.
What are the Different Levels of Involvement?
Who Gets Involved and Why?
Dabblers are often alienated, troubled teens with low self-esteem who exhibit problems with aggressive behavior and/or suicidal tendencies, both of which can be aggravated by involvement in satanism.
Youngsters often come from dysfunctional families.
Many are bright, creative, and intellectually curious but are usually underachievers and loners who do poorly in school and/or have learning disabilities. They may be bored and rebellious, but they also feel the need to belong and may be vulnerable to influence by strong, charismatic personalities.
Teenagers often become involved with satanic cults because the rituals appear to confer magical power, provide an outlet for their religious needs, and justify the free expression of aggressive and sexual drives.
What are Some Possible Signs of Involvement?
[Please note: Many of these signs in and of themselves, have nothing to do with satanism and may be associated with other types of problems. Look at the whole picture and remember that destructive satanic involvement will often be associated with, if not in fact result from, more traditional psychological problems such as low self-esteem, depression, or alienation.]
rituals and other activities are recorded;
secretiveness about new friends and activities.
What Can Families Do?
Don’t panic, and be patient. Assess the situation thoroughly. Educate yourself. Communicate effectively. Set a hierarchy of goals. Exercise authority when appropriate. Know when—and where—to seek professional help.
What Can Educators and Mental-Health Professionals Do?
Educate yourself. Learn to spot possible signs of involvement and to assess the extent and seriousness of the involvement. Find out where to go for further information and expert assistance.