how to create a satanic panic – in northern ireland

Psychological warfare has been defined as:-

“action which is practiced mainly by psychological methods with the aim of evoking a planned psychological reaction in other people.”

Psychological warfare and the concept of Satan was used in Northern Ireland by the British Armed Forces. This has been documented by Richard Jenkins in the book called Black Magic and the Bogeyman.

Jenkins shows how this psychological warfare was connected to a racist ideolology that the “irish” were more stuperstitous than the “british”.

black magic and bogeymen

The Guardian cited Jenkin’s book in an article from late 2014. Here are some quotes from the article.

“British Intelligence …. deliberately stoked up a satanic panic from 1972 to 1974, even placing black candles and upside-down crucifixes in derelict buildings in some of Belfast’s war zones.”

“army press officers leaked stories to newspapers about black masses and satanic rituals taking place from republican Ardoyne in north Belfast to the loyalist-dominated east of the city…..”

“By whipping up devil-worshipping paranoia, they created the idea that the emerging paramilitary movements and the murder campaigns they were engaged in had unleashed evil forces across Northern Irish society…”

“(The) Information Policy group, based at military headquarters in Thiepval barracks, Lisburn, hit upon the idea of summoning the devil as a way to discredit paramilitary organisations.”

“The manufactured hysteria was also useful in keeping younger children in at night and away from buildings that the military and police might have used for undercover surveillance.”

“military intelligence sought to create a “subtle” link in the public’s minds between …. true-to-life horrors of the Troubles and something more supernaturally evil”

Jenkins suggests that in order to understand the different ways in which the concept of “black magic” is used in comtemporary society one needs to take a multidisciplinary approach and compare evidence from anthroplogy, sociology, folklore and media studies.