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In the context of the recent rise in historical sexual abuse allegations, it is helpful to consider the “Satanic Panic” that occurred in the 1980s and 1990s.
Many of the beliefs that fuelled those waves of hysteria, where children were taken from their innocent parents and nursery schools were excavated in the search for fantastical underground altars, are not supported by any convincing empirical evidence.
The evidence put forward to support the claim that Satanic abuse was real and widespread, came from dubious sources: children interrogated using inappropriate highly suggestive questioning and memories ostensibly “recovered” from adults during therapy.
A generation after the “Satanic Panic”, the world is confronted with a new era featuring the internet, social media and “fake” news. The same principles that fed the fear factory and insanity 30 years ago rolls on into new territories such as the rise of the White Supremacists.
Come and hear Professor Chris French of Goldsmiths explain what happened, how it happened, why it happened……and why it can be seen as happening again in a new form.
Professor Chris French is the Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit in the Psychology Department at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and a Patron of the British Humanist Association. He has published over 150 articles and chapters covering a wide range of topics. His main current area of research is the psychology of paranormal beliefs and anomalous experiences. He frequently appears on radio and television casting a sceptical eye over paranormal claims. His most recent book is Anomalistic Psychology: Exploring Paranormal Belief and Experience.
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** This talk will be held online using the Zoom application (available for PC, Mac, iOS and Android). A link to join the talk will be sent to ticketholders on the day of the event. **