‘History’ Category Archives


Cultural Two-fer: The Twilight Zone and Rorschach

by Nicholas Pell in History, Music, Television

This Rod Serling monologue was always very powerful to me. This is fitting as “Lightning Strikes Twice” is one of the most powerful Rorschach songs. I first started listening to Rorschach in the early-to-mid ’90s, at a time when the atrocities of the Yugoslav Wars were still fresh in mind.

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Maria Monk and Satanic Panic

by Nicholas Pell in History, Literature

I am currently reading The 42nd Parallel, the first part of the U.S.A. Trilogy by John Dos Pasos. Early on in the novel one of the characters talks about Maria Monk. As the character in question is a smutty book salesman, I obviously had to find out who or what Maria Monk was.

I read the Wikipedia article linked above and was surprised at how familiar the story sounded. I am referring not to the endemic child abuse by Catholic clergy that is all too familiar to my readers. Rather, I am referring to the “Satanic Ritual Abuse” scare of the 1970s – 1990s. From sex cults to the ritual sacrifice of infants, all the tropes of SRA are there, with Romish papism being the villain rather than heavy metal and Hollywood.

This interests me mostly because I can’t believe that no one (or close enough to it) drew the parallels at the time. Everything about Maria Monk’s story has a “black lodge” feel about it. The only thing missing are secret tunnels to spirit victims away from prying eyes, though that might be there too. I haven’t read the book.

History doesn’t repeat, but it rhymes as Mark Twain once famously quipped. In this case, I wonder where the next moral panic will arise and what similarities it will have with Maria Monk and / or SRA.