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A Bedeviled History of Satanic Panic

Alvin Ward
Nothing was spared from Satanic Panic in the 1980s. Not even Papa Smurf.
Nothing was spared from Satanic Panic in the 1980s. Not even Papa Smurf. / BrendanHunter/iStock via Getty Images
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Papa Smurf: Affable garden gnome or undead minion of hell? That was open for discussion in the 1980s, when America was gripped by a phenomenon known as Satanic Panic. Everything from cartoons to music to daycare centers were thought to be under the influence of the devil.

Join Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy as she explores the origins and controversies of this sensational period of pentagram paranoia on the newest episode of Throwback.

Don’t forget to check out our YouTube channel for more episodes of Throwback, plus Misconceptions, The List Show, and other video series guaranteed to pique your curiosity.

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