SATAN WANTS YOU: The Cult of Devil Worship in America by Arthur Lyons

SATAN WANTS YOU: The Cult of Devil Worship in America

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A compact and sensible survey of Satanism in the US--and, belying the subtitle, in Europe as well--by the talented author of the Jacob Asch detective series (Castles Burning, Hard Trade, etc.). Lyons begins his second book on Satanism (The Second Coming.' Satanism in America, 1970) by questioning the recent flurry of media reports on Satanic activities in America. Are atrocities such as cattle mutilations, mass murders, and alleged Satanic child abuse evidence, as some claim, of a Satanist conspiracy? To find out, Lyons draws a distinction between solo Satanists like Southern California's ""Night Stalker,"" outlaw Satanist groups (whose rituals ""tend to be slapped together from movies and books on black magic""), and neo-Satanic churches such as Anton LaVey's Church of Satan (which in the 60's attracted such celebs as Sammy Davis, Jr., and Jayne Mansfield). Groups and churches form the focus of his subsequent cogent history of Satanism from its roots in Zoroastrianism through medieval groups, the evolution of the Black Mass, and first American surfacings in Salem. He follows the line of modern, organized Satanism up through Aleister Crowley into LaVey's Church and its varied offshoots, offering along the way rare solid material on the shadowy, now-disbanded ""Process"" group--the only Satanic ""church"" for which Lyons find strong possibility of murderous activity. He goes on to debunk--for lack of hard evidence--""urban legends"" such as organized Satanic child abuse, and then explores the oft--vaunted but in fact minor effect of heavy-metal rock music on bringing teens to Satan (""The fact is that ever since Elvis Presley's pelvis-pumping antics. . .rock-and-roll has been deemed the Devil's music""). In conclusion, Lyons finds that--though scattered solo Satanists and even fly-by-night Satanic bands do operate in the US today, mostly as ""a response to social tensions""--the notion of a Satanic conspiracy is, simply, a myth. With its four-page bibliography and 16 pages of photos, Lyons' is both an informed--if not profound--history of Satanism, and a breath of sweet reason in a field often fouled by hysteria and sensationalism.

Pub Date: June 16th, 1988
Publisher: Mysterious Press--dist. by Ballantine