Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Committee Chair

Scott Marler

Committee Member

Sarah Potter

Committee Member

Aram Goudsouzian


The Satanic Panic was a period lasting from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s characterized by a series of modern-day witch trials. “Satan hunters,” emboldened by the rise of the New Right in 1980, persecuted hundreds of day care operators. Their actions propelled a Satanic conspiracy theory into the cultural mainstream and has had a lasting impact on conservative politics. This project explores how the Satanic Panic came to be, how it advanced and functioned, and how it ended. It also examines question and information often left out of Satanic Panic historiography, such as what Satanism actually is and the roles of class, gender, and race play. This project argues that Satanic conspiracism created a type of political capital that the New Right exploited to other its enemies and advance its causes. As the United States enters a new period of Satanic paranoia in the form of QAnon, understanding the most recent moral panic over Satanism and how it was used for political gain has taken on a new and urgent importance. What can we learn from The Satanic Panic to help address the problems of today?


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest.


Open Access