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Every Johnny Depp Movie Ranked From Worst to Best | Screen Rant – Screen Rant

Posted: February 14, 2021 at 1:49 pm

Johnny Depp has had a long and varied career of ups and downs, hits and misses, but how do his movies rank from worst to best? Beginning his career as a teen heartthrob in films likeA Nightmare on Elm Streetand the hit TV show21 Jump Street, Depp quickly graduated to leading roles, eventually fostering a relationship with director Tim Burton.

It's with Burton that he developed a movie star persona that would become uniquely his, a mix of eccentric oddities and deeply-felt soulfulness. This peculiar presence would go on to shine in films likeEdward Scissorhands andWhat's Eating Gilbert Grape, leading inevitably to his instantly-iconic turn as Captain Jack Sparrow.Currently, he's become embroiled in controversy, dropped from his role as the main villain in Warner Bros'Fantastic Beasts franchise.

Related: Johnny Depp's Rejected Jack Sparrow Idea Made Him Like Tyrion Lannister

Though his future acting prospects look dire at the moment, Depp's filmography remains a vast and varied collection, overflowing with lonesome outsiders, grim-faced gangsters, and pounds upon pounds of white makeup.A note for completionists,Minamata has not been included, as it's currently only in theaters with no streaming options announced. Also missing isCity of Lies,which due to a lawsuit was pulled from its 2018 release date with no replacement announced.That said, here are theJohnny Depp'smajor films, ranked from worst to best.

Misguided from conception to execution, Mortdecaiisone of the most torturously unfunny movies one could possibly sit through. An action comedy without thrills or laughs, this Wes Anderson-wannabe is an extreme low point in the actor's career.

Johnny Depp playing the Lone Ranger's Native American sidekick Tonto is a piece of casting that feels more and more tone-deaf by the hour. Even despite that, this 2013 update fromPirates director Gore Verbinski and co-starring Armie Hammer is a fairly rote, uninspired piece of blockbuster filmmaking.

Depp's second film is a sophomoric sex comedy about two boys in Miami prowling for women when they encounter a jewel heist. It's an incredibly crass and laugh-deficient film that gives a peek at the wrong turn the actor's career could've taken had things not gotten more interesting.

Related: Why Pirates of the Caribbean Can't Work Without Johnny Depp

Still one of the most bizarre films to be able to claim "multiple Golden Globe nominee" status, this barely-burningsizzleris a magic trick that transforms two of the most charismatic movie stars of their day into a screen couple with zero chemistry. The plot attempts to be a Hitchcockian game of cat and mouse. However, an overall lack of suspense or pace renders the whole film as mostly a banal exercise inwatching attractive people in beautiful settings and little else.

Sherlock Gnomes is the 2018 follow-up toGnomeo and Juliet. As one can imagine, it's aToy Story-esque twist on literary characters where instead of toys, the protagonists aregarden gnomes. In this one, Depp voices a statuary version of Sherlock Holmes solving a missing persons case. This is squarely aimed at kids, with not much generation-crossing charm. Colorful but trite, no one is hailing this as an animated classic.

Johnny Depp's first trip to Wonderland was already a muddled, Tim Burton-directed eyesore. This sequel makes the original look masterful by comparison. Swapping out Burton for James Bobin, this paint-by-numbers follow-up to the live-action remake ticks along on auto-pilot, with generic characterizations by Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, bland visual effects sequences, and a seemingly-checked-out Mia Wasikowska asAlice.

This overwrought drama about a Russian Jewish girl in 1927 who escapes to England and meets a handsome horseman wavers dangerously close to self-parody. With a soapy plot, flat characters, and wooden dialogue, not even Christina Ricci and Johnny Depp can save this movie from itself.

Related: Walking Dead's Johnny Depp "Cameo" Explained (What Happened to His Head?)

Depp and Charlize Theron give fine performances in this box office bomb. However, its story of an astronaut who returns from space a changed man has undoubtedly been done before and after with far more interesting and engaging results. Boring and derivative, this melodramatic slog never even remotely blasts off.

If one is looking for the point at which Johnny Depp's "I play pale weirdos" vibe crossed over into total tedium, his Futterwacken-ing turn as the Mad Hatter is definitely Exhibit A. While the prospect of Burton taking on Lewis Carroll's surreal classic at first seemed potentially tantalizing, the result sacrifices the original text's charm for a CGI-ridden "chosen one" narrative. While the film was a huge box office success, eventually picking up Oscar wins for Costume and Production Design, this is mostly the Burton-Depp collaboration at its most indulgent.

Wally Pfister, cinematographer ofThe Dark KnightandInception, tried his hand at directing with this 2014 sci-fi film about a genius whose consciousness is uploaded to the Internet. It's agood-looking movie, but its intellectual depth is fairly shallow, and any attempts at emotional intimacy are impeded by thinly-drawn characters and generic performances. Overall, it falls far short of its titular goal.

Take a long last look, for Grindelwald will bear Johnny Depp's face no more. Appearing briefly at the end of this series' first installment, Depp's villainous wizard came into full authoritarian power in this sequel. The irony of ironies is that he and Jude Law may be the best partsof a film so frustratingly cluttered and wildly incomprehensible one wonderswhere the magicwent.

Related: Every Major Movie Role Johnny Depp Turned Down

The good news is, more Captain Jack Sparrow. The bad news? Well, this was all getting a bit tired even nearing the end of the original trilogy. The fifth installment casts Javier Bardem as yet another barnacle-esque baddie with yet another army of dead pirates. Evenwith a random Paul McCartney cameo, one can't help but feeling like Johnny Depp is the last one at a party that ended a long, long time ago.

This fourth installment sees the reins handed from Gore Verbinski toChicago director Rob Marshall. It's less cluttered and noisy than its predecessor,At World's End, but in the process a lot duller, with a barely presentDepp. A lumbering plot that trades in Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom for an undercooked mermaid romance doesn't help matters.

More than 30 years after Rosemary's Baby,Roman Polanski returned to the subject of Satanism with this Depp-led chiller. It'sa typical display of the director's style and visual panache, but the scares are limited and Depp is left playing a fairly one-note character. More forgiving audiences may make it through the first and second acts intrigued, but the film ultimately goes off the rails in a climax that verges on the ludicrous.

Johnny Depp is actually quite dazzling as the Earl of Rochester, in a performance that fully embraces the downward spiral of a life spent reveling in debauchery. It's a shame the surrounding film can't quite hold a candle, at times lit so darkly one can scarcely see what's happening in the frame. As far as period dramas go, this one winds up a bit of a drag.

Related: No More Jack Sparrow? Johnny Depp's Pirates of the Caribbean Future Explained

Burton's 12-years-later spiritualsequel toThe Nightmare Before Christmas lacks pretty much everything that makes that film so eminently charming. Depp's vocal performance feels entirely tossed off, as do the rest of the cast's. Danny Elfman songs and almost expressionless facial animation round out a film that, while praised at the time, holds up unforgivingly to second viewings.

A Johnny Depp and Christopher Walken screen pairing seems like a good time, and the prospect of Depp playing an action hero who has 75 minutes to kill the governor of L.A. is admittedly intriguing.The resulting film is by no means a total disappointment, a fairly rote '90s action thriller with a bonkers plot but solid pace. However, with actors as unique and admirably odd as Depp and Walken, this can't help but feel like a bit of a disappointment.

After the surprise sensation of the original and a sequel which deepened the mythology but maintained most of the buoyancy of its predecessor,the third entry in thePirates franchise makes the bizarre choice to drown its audience in a muddy mess of side characters, subplots, and set pieces for nearly three hours. Its main appeal is a Lynchian interlude with multiple Depps, crabs, and a peanut.

Aside from the cringey context of beingthe film where Depp and Amber Heard met, this ode to Hunter S. Thompson is a fairly sweet offering. A spiritual sequel toFear and Loathing in Las Vegas,The Rum Diaryeschews that film's surreal Gilliam-isms for a more reserved sense of whimsy. The result is a film that's inherently more forgettable, but still far from the actor's worst work.

Related: SpongeBob SquarePants: The True Story Behind Johnny Depp's Cameo

Based on a graphic novel long before comic book movies becamede rigeur,From Hellis a spin on the legend of Jack the Ripper. Depp plays Scotland Yard detective Fred Abberline in a delightful performance that mildly foreshadows the full-blast whimsy he'd embrace two years later as Captain Jack Sparrow. It's not a particularly frightening film, but there's a cleverness bubbling under this gruesome procedural that makes it solid midnight fare.

This 2015 crime drama was definitely pitched as an Oscar-play comeback for the actor,but it has a hard time forging its own path in the oft-treaded footfalls of the gangster genre.Depp's performance isn't bad, but his makeup-caked, thinned-hair look verges a bit on caricature. Beneath those added layers of artifice, there's something interesting going on, arguably one of his most dropped-in and committed performances in the latter portion of his career.

Blow wants desperately to be as gripping a rise-and-fall story asGoodFellasorBoogie Nights. Depp is in fine form as George Jung, the high-school football star turned premiere cocaine importer, and the initial parts of the film concerning his rise are a fun enough ride. Alas, when the inevitable fall sets in, the film becomes overly-sentimental, ultimately revealing thatBlow doesn't have much new to say.

The first 30 minutes of Tim Burton's controversial remake of the 1971 classic are so jam-packed with witty sight gags and Dahlian cheekiness that one might actually think he's gone and made a film that surpasses the original. Alas, it all comes to a crashing halt once the gang steps foot into the factory. Johnny Depp certainly deserves credit for not imitating the brilliance of Gene Wilder's iconic performance as Willy Wonka, but his intellectually-interesting choice of playing the amazing chocolatier as a grown man in a state of arrested development comes off mostly as obnoxiously unfunny. It may start strong, but it winds up as anything but the golden ticket.

Related: Pirates of the Caribbean Should Ditch Johnny Depp

Kenneth Branagh's 2017 update of the Agatha Christie story doesn't match up to the fun of the Sidney Lumet original,but Depp is one of the more watchable parts. Branagh himself gives a giant performance, with an equally-giant mustache as detective Hercule Poirot. The rest of the cast, which includes Michelle Pfeiffer, Penelope Cruz, and Judi Dench, is hit-or-miss, but Deppsketches in all the right shades for gangster Edward Ratchett.

This long-awaited screen adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim tuner is hardly Rob Marshall's finest. While it runs into trouble by softening the dark second act of its source material, there are plenty of solid performances, including Depp's underrated turn as the Big Bad Wolf. His earthy vocals are a nice match for the jaunty "Hello, Little Girl," even if his costume jars stylistically with the surrounding film.

A gorgeously-shot, beautifully-realized look at the life and writings of Cuban author Reinaldo Arenas,Before Night Falls is a brilliant performance showcase for a pre-No Country For Old MenJavier Bardem. Depp's twin performances as the flamboyant Bon Bon and a sadistic prison warden may come off as a bit problematic nowadays. Nonetheless, the actor makes the most of his five minutes of screen time, adding his distinct flavor to Julian Schnabel's stunning film.

Chocolatis the kind of multiple Oscar nominee that might have audiences rolling their eyes nowadays, but it's light and frothy enough, with atypically entrancing performance from Juliette Binoche. The title is apt, as there's something almost dessert-like about this film's graceful style and old-fashioned romanticism. It goes down smooth, but may leave one wondering if it ultimately wasn't a bit disappointingly slight.

Related: Johnny Depp's Nightmare On Elm Street Role Explained

After Depp'sPirates of the Caribbeancomeback, it seemed like there was nothing more fun than going to the movies and seeing Johnny Depp have a ball piling on the quirks.Secret Window is definitely bargain-bin Stephen King, but the actor's rapidly unraveling performance is still great fun.

By the timeDark Shadows rolled around, the Burton-Depp collaboration had almost become a parody of itself. Depp would don another dousing of white-cake makeup, and Burton would continue to endlessly copy his original films, with rapidly diminishing returns. It's a bit surprising, then, that this is actually one of their best offeringsin years, with Depp giving a wonderfully funny performance and Burton reveling in the sort of deviant humor that made his early work so engaging.

Robert Rodriguez's loopy and nonsensical spaghetti Western isgood campy fun. Taking a cue from his future Grindhousecollaboator Quentin Tarantino, the film gleefully abandons plot and embraces a wild succession of over-the-top violence underscored with lots and lots of guitar-strumming. It's all quite fun, albeit a bit one-note, butDepp undoubtedly steals the whole show with a hysterically ridiculous performance as a rogue C.I.A. agent in Mexico.

After Heath Ledger's death, his final rolein Terry Gilliam's 2009 fantasy film was re-conceived as a series of transformations between Jude Law, Colin Farrell, and Depp himself. After a slew of disappointing failures, Gilliam got close hereto recapturing the magic of his early career masterpieces BrazilandTime Bandits.While it's not a top-tier entry in the director's filmography, its typically imaginative visuals are underscored with a somber memorial to Ledger's undeniable talent.

Related: Fantastic Beasts Should Recast Johnny Depp

Depp voices the title character in this Oscar winner for Best Animated Feature. A coming of age story about a chameleon taking on the responsibilities of town sheriff, this oft-forgotten oddity also features vocal performances by Isla Fisher and Abigail Breslin. It's a wonderfully weird surpriseof a film, with plenty of nods to the Western genre and a richly-detailed style of animation that isn't quite like anything else out there.

Johnny Depp stars opposite Faye Dunaway in this bizarrely charming film about a young man named Axel who strikes up a relationship with an eccentric older woman and her stepdaughter. Thoroughly unpredictable and wonderfully absurd, the film finds Bosnian-born director Emir Kusturica focusing on America with surreal results. It's an early film that confirmed Depp as one of the most tender heartthrobs in cinema.

This goofy comedy is admittedly plenty slight, but it's bolstered considerably by Depp's performance. A bit of a genius blending of his sexy swagger and inherent goofiness,Don Juan DeMarco sees him playing a delusional man who believes he is the world's greatest lover. Marlon Brando's turn as his psychiatrist feels checked out,but Depp is always delightfullycommitted.

This up-scaled second installment is something of a victory lap for Depp. The Looney Tunes antics of the character are turned up to 11, and the actor is clearly having a ball revisiting a character now christened a cinema icon.Some of the surrounding mythology becomes ponderous and the bloated length is questionable, but this sequel also features a veritable tidal waveof richly-imaginedaction set pieces and Bill Nighy as Davy Jones, one of the best performances by a CGI character this side of Gollum.

Related: Public Enemies True Story: What Johnny Depp's Dillinger Movie Changes

The one that started it all may only let then-teenager Johnny lounge around in a crop-top jersey before sucking him into a bed and spitting out a tsunami of blood, but it's still a totally iconic funhouse of a movie, filled with inventivepractical effects and a wicked sense of humor. Frightening, disturbing, and pretty funny, this is Wes Craven at his absolute best.

The only Best Picture winner on the list,Platoon was the first Hollywood film to be written and directed by a Vietnam veteran. Although Depp only plays a small role, its immersive depictions of battle and bloodshed clash admirably with the God's eye view ofFull Metal Jacket or the psychological odyssey ofApocalypse Now.Anchored by two dynamite performances from Willem Dafoe and Tom Berenger, it's a haunting meditation on man's duality and the ultimate cost of war.

Diehard fans of the stage musical may decry it for its bountifulcuts or for the lack of singing chops in the principal cast, but Burton's take onSweeneyis its own, wonderful beast. Depp acquits himself well in a heavy-singing role, but his moody, staring-out-of-windows performance pales in comparison (forgive the pun) todelightful turns byHelena Bonham Carter and Alan Rickman. The surrounding production is top-notch, a Hammer horror throwback awash inshowers of crimson blood, and one of the best movie musicals of the 21st century.

Tim Burton's spin on Washington Irving's short story is maybe his best-looking movie to date, thanks largely in part to his collaboration with three-time Oscar-winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. It's also just such a blood-soaked romp, as the director gleefully beheads seemingly every British character actor over the age of 50, and Depp serves a delicious rack of ham as Ichabod Crane, in a performance he reportedly based off Angela Lansbury inMurder, She Wrote.

Related:Sleepy Hollow's Season 4 Ending Explained

Marc Forster's take on J.M. Barrie, the man behindPeter Pan, often gets a bad rap for being overly-sentimental. While it's true the film could probably further explore the shadows of its subject, what's on display is incredibly heartfelt, with a three-hanky weeper of a finale and a graceful, restrained performance from Depp.

This rockin' rollercoaster from king of camp John Waters is a wonderfully loopyRomeo and Juliet-with-greasersromp. Somewhere between the cuddliness of Hairspray and the full-on raunch ofPink Flamingos, Cry-Baby ispacked with campy musical numbers and spoofs on the overwrought drama of films likeRebel Without a Cause.His first mainstream lead role, this motorcyle-riding juvenile delinquent would foreshadow Depp's mix of good looks and quirky weirdness to come.

As if aprematureatonement forThe Lone Ranger, Jim Jarmusch'sDead to Me is a haunting reckoning of American violence and racism. Depp plays an accountant named William Blake, who goes on a bizarre odyssey of self-discovery while on the run after murdering a man. Its surreal sensibility may not be for all tastes, but it's a must-see for Depp completionists.

This remarkably touching comedy about two eccentrics who find love features anastonishing physical performance by Depp at its center. It's a star-making turn that elevates a potentially-slight "normals vs. weirdos" story into something truly winning. His delightfully-performed routines summon the ghost of legendary silent movie star Buster Keaton, all the while radiating an effervescent sweetness that's irresistible.

Related:Johnny Depp's Fall From Grace Is Confirmed In Minamata Release

Terry Gilliam said of this film, "I want it to be seen as one of the greatest movies of all time, and one of the most hated movies of all time." With a 49% on Rotten Tomatoes, he certainly got his wish. That said, there's no denying this adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's "savage journey to the heart of the American Dream"isn't an accurate adaptation of the acid-trip prose of the book, with wild visuals both intoxicating and infuriating. Depp matches the gonzo style beat-for-beat, cementing the film as an undeniable cult classic.

Michael Mann's 2009 crime drama is exactly the kind of project Depp fans would love to see the actor sinking his teeth into again. It's a long, meaty epic drama calling to mind the masterpieces of Scorsese, with a phenomenal turn by Depp as Depression-era bank robber John Dillinger. Stripping himself of all quirks, heholds the screen with a steely watchability, cutting a dashing but troubling figure into the gorgeous, high-definition cinematography of this underrated gem.

What's Eating Gilbert Grape is a wonderfully-enchanting film featuring anOscar-nominated supporting turn by Leonardo DiCaprio. Playing the mentally-impaired Arnie Grape, it's a performance that would be hard to upstage. Thankfully, Depp doesn't. After playing a slew of eccentric outsiders, the actorfunctions this time more as the grounded force at the center, without losing any of the soulfulness.

It's quite admirable the way Johnny Depp was able to cobble together a movie-star presence through a succession of quirky character parts. That newfound stardom pays out in full in this crime drama, superbly directed by Mike Newell.It's an intense performance as far away from Edward Scissorhands as can be. Still, there's a sensitive underbelly at play here, giving a signature spin to the traditional gangsterthat clashes and jives with Al Pacino with firecracker results.

Related:Pirates of the Caribbean is Better Without Johnny Depp

In the summer of 2003, the prospect of a major Hollywood film centered on pirates wasn't exactly a hole in one, yet when the Black Pearl hoisted its colors for the first time, there was no going back. A total box office smash,the firstPirates is the kind of gloriously old-fashioned blockbuster that just doesn't seem to come around much anymore. Of course, the Academy Award-nominated Depp performance at its center steals the whole show, a loopy trickster mix of Bugs Bunny and Keith Richards.

After an early career playing handsome pretty-boys, Depp's first collaboration with Tim Burton would be a total game changer. Playing the lonesome Edward, the actor is achingly tender and wholly lovable, despite sporting an iconic look that is one of the most arrestingly disturbing in cinema. This is peak Burton, a dark, whimsical modern fairy tale with a wounded soul at its center.

When all is said and done, Johnny Depp's career begins and ends with Tim Burton, and this is the finest filmthey've yet made.Together, they transform a biopic about the worst director in the history of Hollywood into a love letter to the art of creation. InEd Wood, a bunch of passionate weirdos get together to put on a show, arguably the perfect metaphor for this maddeningly beautiful collaboration.

Next: Gellert Grindelwald's Greatest Crime is Resurrecting Johnny Depp's Career

Godzilla's Best Advantage Over Kong (Not The Atomic Breath)

Kyle Wilson is a writer for Screen Rant. Originally from Pennsylvania, he graduated Carnegie Mellon University in 2014 and since then has been based in Brooklyn, NY. He is a big fan of Paddington and Joe Pesci's performance in "The Irishman."

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Far-right conspiracy QAnon surging in Europe as fanatics plot return of Nazi Reich and link Satanists to – The Sun

Posted: February 2, 2021 at 7:56 pm

QANON is surging across Europe as the US conspiracy theory finds new ground to flourish in nations such as Britain, Germany and France, experts have warned.

The dangerous belief is being adapted by far right groups who are mixing it with other warped theories - such as about BBC paedophile Jimmy Savile in the UK and the efforts to restore the Nazi Reich in Germany.



QAnon adherents use its symbolism to push their own agendas as part of what experts have warned is a wider problem of disinformation and conspiracy theories worldwide.

European security services have been urged to take the potential threat of QAnon seriously amid ongoing efforts to purge the content from Twitter and Facebook.

Experts told The Sun Online rising far right agendas across the continent, the pandemic, lockdowns, and growing nationalism are all helping the fuel the rise of the cult-like phenomenon.

A recent report by Get The Trolls Out! (GTTO!) found Germany, Britain, the Netherlands, France, Italy and Spain are all becoming hotspots for QAnon - based on analysis of hashtags on Twitter.

And fake news monitoring group NewsGuard provided The Sun Online with a slew of online activity which shows how Q is thriving in Europe.

The core tenant of QAnon is the baseless belief that Donald Trump is waging secret war against Satanic cabal of child-eating paedophiles who run the world.

QAnon burst into the mainstream again this month as Jake Angeli - an out of work actor known as "QAnon Shaman" - led the charge as pro-Trump rioters stormed the US Capitol.

Angeli was pictured with a horned headdress and American flag facepaint as the mob rampaged through the building's halls and overran the police.

And he immediately became the face of the disturbing and twisted movement which has been infiltrating social media and the public consciousness in the US since 2017.

Q spreaders however are to be adapting their beliefs to better connect with audiences in Europe.

It is becoming an increasingly broadchurch of ideas - also swallowing up false beliefs that Covid-19 is a hoax and nonsense antivaxx theories under the umbrella of Q.

Idle minds are the devil's workshop and this is the problem

Germany has seen the conspiracy mixed with the so-called Neo-Nazi "Reichsburger" movement, a far-right group who claim the pre-World War 2 Reich still exists and deny the authority of the modern state.

And in Britain Q fanatics have embraced long-enduring conspiracy theories about elite paedophile rings, fed by scandals such as child sex abuse by Savile and the "witch hunt" allegations by VIP sex ring fantasist Carl Beech.

The uniting factor between these ideas seems to be some kind of belief in a shadowy force - often made up of powerful paedophiles - are attempting to establish a New World Order.

Dr Rakib Ehsan, a researcher at the Henry Jackson Society's Centre of Radicalisation & Terrorism, warned of the dangers posed by Q extremists post-pandemic when speaking to The Sun Online.

He pointed to the Capitol riot as an example of how a small number of hardline fanatics can cause chaos.



QANON is one of the world's most dangerous conspiracy theories.

It alleges a worldwide network of celebrities and politicians are part of a child sex-trafficking ring which is doing battle with Donald Trump.

The cult-like belief spawned out similar viral conspiracy theories such as Pizzagate and historic hoaxes about cabals linked to Satanism.

Q is the central anonymous figure of the theory, who was claimed be a high-ranking government official inside the Trump adminstration.

Posts began to appear on internet forum 4Chan in June, 2017, before starting spread across social media.

Q would drip feed various pieces of information detailing a grand plan in which Trump would defeat the Satanists in an event called The Storm.

It was claimed thousands of suspects would be rounded up and arrested before being executed.

Q created an alternative reality as supporters shunned mainstream news outlets, instead feeding entirely of false information and bogus predictions.

It is frequently spread with the abbreviated slogan "WWG1WGA" - meaning "where we go one, we go all".

The conspiracy theory began to gain more mainstream steam and QAnon supporters began appearing at the Trump rallies.

QAnon activity exploded during the coronavirus pandemic, with reports of posts tripling on Facebook and Twitter.

Both social media giants tried to take action, but struggled to police the spread of misinformation.

The GTTO! report found that Europe was the second most prevalent place for the theory outside of North America.

It found Germany had the most activity on Twitter, followed by the United Kingdom, then the Netherlands and France, and then Italy and Spain.

French and German media have also reported on the spread of Q within their borders.

Die Welt recently tracked a German-language Telegram channel that celebrated the storming of the Capitol as an act "for all of us".

Le Parisien also reported on the on French Qanon supporters - finding one group with 30,000 members on Facebook.

Milica Pesic, executive director of the Media Diversity Institute (MDI), a charity behind the GTTO! report, told The Sun Online there is "fruitful ground" for these types of conspiracies to grow and be exploited by political actors.

Anna-Sophie Harling, managing director of NewsGuard in Europe, warned QAnon will continue to "flourish" unless further action is taken by tech firms to crackdown.


NewsGuard provided The Sun Online with numerous examples of recent QAnon activity across Europe.

It included an 18,000 strong Donald Trump-themed UK Facebook group which remains live and awash with Q-linked conspiracy theories.

Posters often talk about "the plan" - the central QAnon belief that Trump is executing a complex and longwinded play to depose the non-existent paedophile cult.

The Sun Online also found numerous hashtags on Twitter - which remain live despite the tech giant's crackdown - tying the baseless conspiracy theory to known sex abuser Savile and other high profile UK figures they allege are paedophiles.

Britain saw a surge in QAnon content last year which was packaged as the #SaveTheChildren movement - which even ended with protesters chanting "paedophile" outside Buckingham Palace.

German language websites have daily lengthy updates detailing Trump's ongoing battle against the "deep state" - connecting the dots between recent events and historic posts by the anonymous Q.

And another site links Q to the so-called Reichsburger movement which claims Germany is "still occupied" and there was "no peace" following World War 2.

Many German Q fanatics think the Reich will be somehow liberated and reinstalled by Trump.

Italy has seen the growth of hashtag #ItalyDidIt which claims its leader, Giuseppe Conte, was actually behind the "fraud" which Trump claims stole the US election from him.

French language Q content focuses on President Emmanuel Macron - who they often claim is a puppet of China - and has produced lists of alleged members of "French paedophile networks".




Newsguard director Ms Harling told The Sun Online: "It's difficult to say exactly in what form QAnon will exist as we move past the events of January 6, but one thing is certain - large numbers of Q followers will continue their efforts to erode trust in democratic institutions.

"Its adherents are angry, frustrated, and desperate for answers. Social media is giving it to them."

"As long as social media platforms prioritise engagement and velocity of content over user safety and credible information, conspiracy theories in the form of QAnon will continue to flourish."

"American conspiracy theories that seek to undermine democracy spread online to the UK, and beyond.

"Governments should not underestimate the power of US tech firms to influence global far-right discourse."





Dr Ehsan attributed Q's transatlantic spread to the worldwide anxiety being faced by millions during the pandemic and the globalised nature of the English language.

He described there being a "strong overlap" between old conspiracy theories - especially anti-Semitic ones - with QAnon.

The expert added there is "fertile ground" for it take took root in Europe as extremist groups have seized on the pandemic to spread their lies - especially in Germany.

Dr Ehsan told The Sun Online: "Idle minds are the devil's workshop and this is the problem."

He went on: "Once we get a hold of the pandemic, some individuals are going to re-enter society with completely new lines of thinking and different views of the world.

This needs to be taken seriously by the security services, and I am sure they are taking it seriously."

He however warned censorship may not be the answer as it merely forces these ideas underground - and said crackdowns by Big Tech companies are already being exploited by QAnon.





MDI executive director Ms Pesic explained to The Sun Online that QAnon is symptomatic of deeper problems with distrust in the media, rising far-right sentiments and the normalisation of the spread of conspiracy theories

She said Europe is providing to be "perfect soil" for QAnon due to a new post-truth era - where facts are less important in public discourse.

And she added that Q is "not inventing many new ideas" as many of its core beliefs are simply reheated versions of older - and again often anti-Semitic - ideas.

"You have a new generation and lots of discontent around, and when you have discontent its very easy to use those concerns for political gains," Ms Pesic told The Sun Online.

She described political movements using and promoting conspiracy theories as an example of when "evil meets evil".

The future of the Q movement in particular is likely tied to Trump, the expert explained - so the world will have to see what the former-president does next as he faces a second impeachment trial.


Violence and incidents linked to QAnon

NUMEROUS often violent incidents have been linked to QAnon.

May 2018 - Michael Lewis Arthur Meyer claimed to have uncovered a child sex trafficking camp at a cement plant in Tucson, Arizona.

He occupied a tower on the property for nine days and was later arrested for trespassing. QAnon supporter Meyer was arrested again in 2019 after tampering with water barrels meant for migrants.

June 2018 - Matthew Philip Wright blocked the Hoover Dam with armoured truck while armed with an AR-15 rifle. He claimed he was on a mission from QAnon.

Wright was demanding the Justice Department release a report into Hillary Clinton's emails, and he urged Trump "lock certain people up". He was jailed for seven years.

March 2019 - Mob boss Frank Cali was allegedly murdered by QAnon conspiracy theorist Anthony Comello. Comello is alleged to have believed Cali was a member of the "deep state".

The suspected killer also believed himself to be under Trump's personal protection and displayed the phrase "MAGA forever" on his hand during a court appearance.

April 2020 - Jessica Prim livestreamed her attempt to "take out" Joe Biden in New York City. Armed with knives she travelled to US Navy hospital ship Comfort - which she claimed was being used by paedophiles.

She was avid QAnon believer and shared numerous posts on Facebook urging for high profile Democrats to be taken down.

January 2021 - Trump fans and QAnon believers storm the US Capitol in a violent riot that leaves five dead, including a cop. Numerous rioters are linked to Q, including Ashli Babbitt - who was shot and killed by police.

The riot is used to impeach Trump for a second time as he is accused of actively inciting the insurrection.

QAnon has been previously labelled a domestic terror threat by the FBI over its tendency the inspire violence.

Trump never explicitly endorsed the conspiracy theory, but was repeatedly accused of spreading it via his Twitter.

He often retweeted messages from accounts linked to QAnon including while spreading false claims of voter fraud.

The former President refused to condemn it during an NBC town hall on the campaign trail, saying I dont know about QAnon.

PRIME CUTWorld's second richest man Jeff Bezos to step down as Amazon CEO later this year

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Far-right conspiracy QAnon surging in Europe as fanatics plot return of Nazi Reich and link Satanists to - The Sun

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Satanic Temple Abortion Ritual Advertised on Miami Billboard – Miami New Times

Posted: January 1, 2021 at 9:45 am


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On a billboard off of I-95, two 1950s-looking gals are depicted drinking Cokes and shooting the breeze about abortion.

"Susan, you're telling me I do not have to endure a waiting period when I have an abortion?" one of the women says.

"That's true if you're a SATANIST!" the other replies.

Next to the ladies is a symbol of a goat head in a pentagram and a message about an abortion ritual.

The Satanic Temple of Salem in Massachusetts bought the billboard space in North Miami Beach, visible from the northbound lane of Interstate 95, to display a quirky new ad about the temple's "religious abortion ritual," which allows members of the religious organization to circumvent state restrictions on abortions. In Florida, anyone seeking to terminate a pregnancyis required to have an ultrasound and go through pre-procedure counseling, but the Satanists believe a religious exemption can be cited to get around that.

A billboard in North Miami paid for by The Satanic Temple advertises the organization's religious abortion ritual.

Sydney Goodwin, a spokesperson for the Satanic Temple, tells New Times the group launched the ad campaign in August. The idea of the "ritual" was crafted by a Satanist who had gone through an abortion and thought it would be a helpful device for others making the decision to terminate a pregnancy.

"The goal is to provide feelings of comfort in a trying time," says Goodwin.

The Satanic Temple believes in seven fundamental tenets that govern how members should act and what they believe. Tenet Three says that a person's body is subject only to their own will, and Tenet Six states that a Satanist's beliefs should conform to their best scientific understanding of the world.The abortion ritual involves reciting those two tenets and a personal affirmation of one's self as a Satanist.

Goodwin says that by performing the ritual, Satanists can proclaim their right to have a medically safe abortion without restriction underthe federal Religious Freedoms Restoration Act, which prohibits any government agency from infringing on someone practicing their religion. That means that in states such as Florida,a Satanist can claim religious privilege and be exempt from those requirements, according to the Satanic Temple.

"Many abortion regulations have no scientific purpose or are unnecessary. They only instill guilt and shame in someone having an abortion," Goodwin argues.

Miami is no stranger to religious exemptions for non-mainstream religions. Practitioners of Santeria were famously exempt from laws prohibiting animal sacrificeafterciting religious privilege.

If a Satanist performs the ritual and is denied an abortion without the regulatory steps, Goodwin says the Satanic Temple would take the state to court on behalf of that member.

If someone wanted to become a Satanist and perform the ritual, Goodwin says there are no bars to entry or rites of passage. A person doesn't even need to belong to a local chapter of the Satanic Temple.

"As far as sincerity is concerned, asserting that you're a member of the Temple and that the seven tenets is your belief is sufficient enough, and the court should respect that," Goodwin says.

Modern Satanism, popularized by the Church of Satan after its founding in 1966, is not so much a religion based on worship as it is a philosophy based on secularism and a rejection of Christianity, spiritualism, and superstition. The Satanic Temple, founded in 2013, does not actually venerate Satan as a god its members don't even believe Satan is real.Instead, members of the temple think of Satan as a literary figure who represents rebellion and independence, and they act as social advocates for causes such as reproductive rights.

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

Joshua Ceballos is staff writerfor Miami New Times. He is a FloridaInternational University alum and a born-and-bred Miami boy.

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The Boomer Rock Renaissance 2020 Never Saw Coming – Vulture

Posted: December 26, 2020 at 12:59 am

New releases from Ozzy Osbourne, Paul McCartney, AC/DC, Bruce Springsteen, and others confronted the veteran rockers mortality and often touched on the pulse of what motivates us all these days. Photo-Illustration: Vulture and Getty Images

Death was the main character of 2020, and like knife fodder in a slasher film, we ran, hid, and isolated in hopes of clenching the crown of final girl, the one who survives the barrage. We woke up every day and read, fretted, and argued about death. We obsessed over mortality rates. We mourned personal friends and public figures. We united, to the extent that such a thing remains possible in a society splintering into fiefdoms of accepted and unaccepted truth, around the question of how to carry ourselves in the shadow of certain doom. Revelers partied in defiant spite of it; distancing flourished because of it. Auteurs made art that, to use one of the years favored turns of phrase, hit differently because of our circumstances. In any other year, the steady stream of new releases from classic rock legends staring down the barrel of the afterlife might scan as business as usual; one thing old timers are gonna do is worry that the best of life is in the rear view. But this year, new releases from Ozzy Osbourne, Paul McCartney, AC/DC, Bruce Springsteen, and others confronted the veteran rockers mortality, each in their own way, and, by force of the unusual circumstances of the year, often touched on the pulse of what motivates us all these days.

Ozzy Osbourne has been threatening to retire for decades; his first farewell tour, cheekily dubbed the No More Tours Tour, happened in 1992, four years before the debut of Ozzfest, the traveling metal show that would carry him around the world into the 2010s. But the cancellation of last years No More Tours 2 Tour in the wake of a hospitalization for a respiratory infection and the subsequent revelation that he had been diagnosed with Parkinsons disease scared fans of the once seemingly unsinkable Black Sabbath front man. Last falls crushing ballad Under the Graveyard cast Ozzy as an undying figure stalking the earth in search of final rest, noting glumly that, Everything you are / Cant take it when you go. Ordinary Man, the British singers first solo album in a decade, is both a love letter to his own elaborate catalog of hard rock and early metal staples, and a chilling bout of septuagenarian reflection, because, as is often the case with a man whose message songs about occult matters were routinely mistaken for Satanism, it is hard to tell where truth ends and fiction begins. Ordinary Mans story songs about prideful men eager to shake the hand of doom offers a word about dignity in death. The music care of Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, Guns N Roses bassist Duff McKagan, and producer Andrew Watt with help from Slash, Tom Morello, Elton John, Travis Scott, and Post Malone is as darkly psychedelic as anything in Ozzys illustrious catalog of classics. He couldnt have known what was coming after Ordinarys February 2020 release when he stressed over long and lonely nights in Holy for Tonight, but he sounded ready.

AC/DC got an inkling that its classic lineup ratified in 1980, when vocalist Brian Johnson stepped into the space left by the passing of original lead singer Bon Scott with the breathtaking Back in Black was not long for the earth in 2014, when rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young was diagnosed with dementia, and longtime drummer Phil Rudd was arrested for drug possession and death threats. Bad news piled up. In 2016, bassist Cliff Williams quit. The band soldiered on, as hard-rock lifers do, with skilled replacements even as problems with Johnsons hearing necessitated time off the road (he was replaced for a bit, quite scandalously, by Axl Rose). Young passed away in 2017, but Williams, Rudd, and Johnson rejoined the band the following year, and AC/DC set about digging through the trove of unused Angus and Malcolm Young riffs, coming out with last months Power Up, the Australian quintets best album since the 90s at least. Power Up hits all the highlights songs about fucking, songs about persevering, Rudd and Williamss inimitable strut, the mix of blues and brutality driving the Young brothers fretwork youd expect from a great AC/DC album. The effortless glide from shit-kicking stomp to blissful chorus in the lead single Shot in the Dark is testament to the enduring power of rock and roll. If Power Up is the final exit on the highway for these road-tested hellions, theyve gone out with all the lascivious brilliance they had when they came in.

Like Power Up, both an act of iron resolve and a monument to loss, Bruce Springsteens Letter to You pines for a missing friend as well, but, where the former album concerns itself with pushing through the hurt, Letter stews in it. The death of George Theiss, who played with Springsteen in the Castiles in the 60s, is the spark for the new albums meditations on aging and the ability of music to both comfort and conjure memories of people weve lost. In Last Man Standing, the Asbury Park legend realizes that he is the last living member of his first band. What he does with this newfound understanding throughout the course of the album is to get with his E Street Band and commune on friendship, bereavement, and the finer points of a deep back catalog, seating songs left over from the early 70s alongside modern-day reflections on his glory days. Letter is not only a remembrance of the dead but also a kind of conversation with himself across his over 50 year career, in the same way that Bob Dylans spring release A Murder Most Foul parcels out memories of the 60s in a lyric about seeking out and clinging to what provides us solace, that Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nickss brilliant October single Show Them the Way prays aloud for this generation to find a song that galvanizes its politics as the protest music of her own formative years did. Airtight live playing and a relative lack of overdubs detailed in Letters Apple TV+ film of the same name, which follows the recording of the album reinforce the underlying point: Our loved ones and favorite songs are life lines in dire times.

This months McCartney III, sequel to Paul McCartneys 1970 and 1980 self-titled solo albums, and recorded in isolation at his home studio in Sussex in the quiet of quarantine this year, mirrors Letters message. As with McCartney and McCartney II the first, a reaction to the breakup of the Beatles and the second, an electronic excursion following a 1979 pot bust that ultimately spelled the end of Wings III is both a reminder that Sir Paul works as well without a band as he does with one and an excavation of the weird feelings that surface in a time of inertia. Songs like the winsome piano balled Women and Wives and Seize the Day offer advice to the masses on weathering rough patches and looking after one another, while Slidin and Winter Bird/When Winter Comes dream of prosperity at the other end of all this. Throughout III, McCartney stands in his commendable chops as a blues rocker; Slidin and Lavatory Lil are cut from the same cloth of sharp, sinister guitar work as I Want You (Shes So Heavy) (even as the latter seems to nod to John Lennons Abbey Road proto-punk jam Polythene Pam). The Kiss of Venus is proof the man who wrote Blackbird can still pack a punch with an acoustic guitar. The eight-minute epic Deep Deep Feeling calls to mind the more progressive stretches of 2007s Memory Almost Full. This is all in service to McCartney hammering home the same sentiments of love hes been relaying to us since the early days: When times are hard, love harder.

2020 sparked a touch of boomer nostalgia for better and brighter days in all of us, and that yearning made their music much more prescient. But it must be noted that for every tasteful, inspirational, self-referential moment like Ozzys Ordinary Man, the Bosss Ghosts, or Stevies Show Them the Way, theres well-meaning if unnecessary message music like Bon Jovis American Reckoning, a song where Jon Bon Jovi does a play-by-play of the scene of George Floyds death and the protests afterward, then drowns the potency of the lyric in motivational pap, and others ruining their legacies with fetid, wrong-headed anti-establishment bluster, like Van Morrison and Eric Clapton, whose collaborative single Stand and Deliver foolishly likens lockdown to slavery. (See also: Morrissey lashing out at diversity and Oasiss Noel Gallagher espousing anti-masker rhetoric, to name just a few rock legends who chose crankery in this era.) The ease of sliding into a politics of selfishness and a vapid worldview and a musicianship that doesnt honor the gift makes it all the more special when vital, compassionate music comes through 70-year-old vessels. In a year as grisly as this, a word of encouragement from someone whos bucked a few sea changes felt essential.

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Modern Satanism | Spiral Nature Magazine

Posted: December 6, 2020 at 10:39 am

Modern Satanism is probably the widest-spread of the Satanic denominations, and also the biggest bone of contention amongst the others. Modernists do not worship Satan as a god or deity; theistically, they are atheists. They believe in neither a god nor a devil, nor spirits and supernatural beings. Needless to say, it is usually not the Modernists who appear on Jerry Springer or get featured in the headlines of the local newspapers. The main argument over the Modernists is that, if they are in truth atheistic, why even bother using the name Satan? Why not just call yourself atheists or humanists or secular humanists, et al., instead of dragging in the name of a Christian boogeyman? Obviously I cant answer this for them, but the section Why Satan? on the Foundations page may shed some light on the various reasons which exist.

There are, as I see it, primarily three flavours of Modern Satanism: Naturalist, Psychologic, and Symbolic. They are not necessarily mutually exclusive:

The Naturalists view Satan as the natural force of the universe, the underlying current of nature. The power which makes trees grow, earthquakes shatter, stars form and die.all these, the raw energy of What Is, is Satan. As such it has no good or bad side in and of itself; it is everything. But, it is not intelligent or self-aware. Just like electricity or wind power, it exists without consciousness, but may be tapped by the conscious user (magician). This is the basis of Modern Satanic magick: that by training oneself to tap into this force Satan one may subtly warp reality into a form more advantageous to ones desires. However, it is not an external godhead or force which enables you to accomplish this; it is the force of your own willpower and emotions, exerting a draw on the Satan, attracting it to you so that you can mold it into a more suitable shape.

The Psychologic viewpoint centres around Satan as being the primordial side of the human psyche which the majority of humanity seeks to control and eliminate, instead of accepting and utilizing. The Freudian id, the Jungian shadow, the animal within these are perhaps the best parallels to the Satanic self which the Psychological view of Modern Satanism desires to seek out and liberate.

There is a great tendency by non-Satanists to reflect on this particular viewpoint and come to a conclusion that developing ones Satanic self is tantamount to reverting to childhood akin to an infants gimme gimme gimme mine mine mine outlook on life. While some may think this, it is my personal belief and the belief of most Satanists I have met that truly coming to terms with ones inner self, coming to terms with both the proper civilized part and the unruly animal part, is infinitely harder than shoving a piece of yourself in a closet and pretending that it does not exist.

The Symbolists view Satan as a mental/mythic archetype, as the Adversary or the Light-bringer. As such, the figure of Satan as an anthropomorphic being is completely fictional: he does not exist as such. However, the mental conception of the figure draws us to him. We identify with him, respect him, admire him, even as a fictional character. The archetype or mythic figure embodies a lot of what Symbolists consider important and good qualities. Some of them may include pride, independence, free-will, intelligence, knowledge, truthfulness, and ambition. The exact list will vary on who you ask. The qualities of the archetype may be draw from various sources, such as the Christian Bible, Miltons Paradise Lost, the Apocrypha, The Satanic Bible, and personal experience or thought. For some, the admirable qualities may include destruction, cruelty, hatred it truly depends on what the individual Satanist sees as desirable and undesirable, or as admirable and inadmirable. Again, he Symbolists do not worship Satan-Lucifer, or acknowledge his literal existence, but view him as a mythic figure much like Peter Pan, Uncle Sam, Zeus, or King Midas.

Finally, no discussion of Modern Satanism would be complete without discussing the LaVeyan Satanists (Church of Satan).

LaVeyan Satanism was founded in the 1960s by Anton Szandor LaVey. It is without a doubt the most well-known of the Satanic denominations, and is the only one (as far as I am aware) with federally recognized religious status. Officially, it is known as the Church of Satan, and is head quartered in San Francisco. Anton LaVey passed away in late October of 1997, at which time leadership of the Church passed into the hands of Blanche Barton (a long-time associate of LaVey). Although at one time Karla LaVey (LaVeys daughter) was participating as a co-High-Priestess, she has since split from the Church of Satan over ideological differences. She is now the acting High Priestess of the First Satanic Church (founded Oct 31st, 1999), which claims to be a resurgence of Satanic ideals closer to the spirit of her fathers original teachings.

Although it is true that Satanism existed before him, LaVey can be said to be (with relative authority) the father of Modern Satanism. Before LaVey went public with his new Church, and with his many works on Satanic philosophy (The Satanic Bible, The Satanic Rituals, The Devils Notebook), Satanism was an underground, disorganized, and chaotic religion. Since the formation of the Church of Satan, information has become much more readily available and people had, for the first time, a sense of Satanic identity and organization.

The core philosophy of the Church of Satan is that of indulgence; of living ones life to the utmost of intellectual and material/carnal fulfilment. This includes fulfilling all of ones desires, so long as it does not involve the unwilling (children and animals are classed as unwilling). If fulfilment of these desires comes from illegal actions, so be it but the Satanist must be prepared to pay for any actions which he or she performs (the doctrine of personal responsibility).

Lastly, we come to the point of semantics. LaVeyan Satanists generally contend that they are the real Satanists, and that without LaVey none of Modern Satanism would be possible, as it was LaVey who opened up the doors to Satanism in the 1960s. Satan-worshippers or Devil-worshippers, they tend to regard as foolish and trapped in Christian behavioural patterns (turning to a god or otherworldly force). Similarly, Traditionalists (those who worship Satan as a spiritual or divine being), tend to call the LaVeyans pseudo-Satanists or pretenders, claiming that they are just atheists who use the name Satanist for shock value and capitalistic gain.



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The Evolution of Modern Satanism in the United States

Posted: at 10:39 am

This weekend, hundreds of adherents and observers flocked to a Detroit warehouse to witness the unveiling of a statue erected on behalf of the Satanic Temple. As organizer Jex Blackmore told TIME, the Satanic Temple isnt quite a religious organization, but rather a group of people who prioritize human logic. One of the meanings of the monument, Blackmore added, is to celebrate a reconciliation of oppositesparticularly in relation to the public display of monuments of other faiths.

But, though the new statue has earned the Satanic Temple a fresh round of attention, Satanism has a long tradition.

In the early 1970s, interest in the occult in American culture was so high that TIME devoted a cover story to the topic, and a large portion of it was focused on Satanism. As the story pointed out, the idea of the Devil is an ancient one, predating the Old Testaments coinage of Satan. The early days of Christianity saw the development of a theology about Satan, and an increase of his agency and power in religious stories. Narratives outside the biblical canon expanded that characterization; by the 13th century, Satan was seen to be mighty (and popular) enough to be worthy of condemnation.

Some of the confessions [in the Inquisition age] must have been sheer defiance: faced with a ruling establishment that was sanctified by the church, a resentful peasantry followed the only image of rebellion they knewSatan, TIME posited. The satanic messiah became especially appealing in times of despair, such as the era of the plague known as the Black Death. Real or imagined, the pact with the Devil may have been the last bad hope for safety in a world fallen out of joint.

Perhaps for that reason, the Christian Churchs efforts to root out Satanism were not entirely successful. The French aristocracy under Louis XIV was titillated by tales of nude demonic ritual, and the prim and proper Victorian period saw a spike in interest too.

But the existence of Satanists as an organized, public group in the United States is a much newer phenomenon, much of which can be largely traced to one man: Anton Szandor La Vey, author of 1969s The Satanic Bible. La Vey founded the Church of Satan in 1966 in San Francisco. As TIME explained in 1972, La Veys organization was not the scary Satanism of religious imagination:

La Veys church and its branches might well be called the unitarian wing of the occult. The members invest themselves with some of the most flamboyant trappings of occultism, but magic for them is mostly psychodrama or plain old carnival hokum. They invoke Satan not as a supernatural being, but as a symbol of mans self-gratifying ego, which is what they really worship. They look down on those who actually believe in the supernatural, evil or otherwise.

La Veys church is organized, incorporated and protected under the laws of California. La Vey, 42, stopped giving out membership figures when his followers, who are grouped in local grottoes, reached a total of 10,000. The most striking thing about the members of the Church of Satan (one of whom is shown on TIMES cover) is that instead of being exotic, they are almost banal in their normality. Their most insidious contribution to evil is their resolute commitment to mans animal nature, stripped of any spiritual dimension or thought of self-sacrifice. There is no reach, in Brownings famous terms only grasp. Under the guise of eschewing hypocrisy, they actively pursue the materialistic values of the affluent societywithout any twinge of conscience to suggest there might be something more.

Though the 1960s and 70s saw the introduction of several other concepts called Satanismfrom actual religious belief, to a credo used to justify criminalitythe Church of Satan did not fade away. In 1978, the U.S. Army even included the group in the manual of Religious Requirements and Practices delivered to its hundreds of chaplains. (TIME mentioned that the manual explained that Church of Satan devotees might need candles, a bell, a chalice, elixir, a sword, a gong, parchment and a model phallus,' but that chaplains would not be expected to supply those materials.) Though La Vey died in 1997, the organization he founded continues without him.

The brand of Satanism on display in Detroit was of a different sort: political Satanism, a more recent innovation. Those activists are associated with the Satanic Temple, a New York-based group that has spent the last few years publicly offering alternatives to more mainstream displays of religiosity. The Satanic Temple sees Satan as a Paradise Lost-inflected metaphor who represents skepticism and the ability to challenge authority. A spokesperson for the Church of Satan told TIME in 2013, for a story highlighting the differences between the two groups, that the newer organization was focused on politically oriented stunts that had cribbed their philosophy from the more established group. Meanwhile, the Satanic Temple said that its aim was, in cases where religion had been inserted into the public sphere, to ensure that its view of the world is included. If the Detroit attendance figures are any indication, theyve succeeded.

The continued existence of two organizations that claim Satanism for two different functions highlights a point made by John M. Kincaid, the Church of Satans minister of information in the mid-1970s: though it may take a variety of forms, interest in mystery and rebellion is timeless. The need to believe, he wrote to TIME in 1974, is as dominant a factor in this so-called enlightened age of ours as it has ever beenwhich means those who are skeptical are present and accounted for too.

Read the full story from 1972, here in the TIME Vault: A Substitute Religion

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The Evolution of Modern Satanism in the United States

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The Story Of Black Metal In 14 Songs Kerrang! – Kerrang!

Posted: at 10:39 am

Perhaps more than any other genre, black metal has been defined and redefined to apoint where it is in some ways difficult to square the umbrella with some of the music that falls under it. Even the definition of satanism, that most closely-aligned philosophy, has been read and expressed in so many different and occasionally contradictory ways that its reached apoint where it could mean anything. To some, this is the whole point, the ultimatefreedom.

Over the past four decades, black metal has both grown and worn many hats, from the wild-eyed NWOBHM of Venom, to Mayhems darkness, through the primitiveness of Darkthrone, the majesty of Emperor, and beyond into rewriting rules and reestablishing old, traditionalones.

It would be impossible to truly tell the story of black metal without getting into hundreds of tracks and artists all of whom have done something special. But as key turning points for metals darkest genre, here is the story of the evolution of black metal in 14songs

1. Venom Black Metal

Whats in aname? When Geordie trio Venom coined the term black metal for the title of their 1982second album, it was away of marking themselves out as one louder than the rest of the rising wave of metal bands going faster, harder and noisier. With more volume than Motrhead, more speed than Priest, and more diabolic imagery than Black Sabbath visiting aHammer Horror set, theyd already set up business to the horned one with their 1981 debut Welcome To Hell. But with their second album without having yet played agig, claiming most venues couldnt handle the intensity of their shows it was made even clearer where their allegiances lay. The title-track is worthy of its name, beginning with the sound of astudio door being chainsawed through, and featuring asuperbly bullish riff, proud lyrics about going wild in aSatanic frenzy, and atruly demonic performance from frontman Cronos. Almost 40years on, black metal as agenre may be at times unrecognisable, but this remains the powerful seed from which all of itgrew.

2. Bathory Sacrifice

If Venom gave back metal its name, aclattering sonic starting point and aproud partnership with The Great Horned One in atime when bands were still trying to distance themselves from him (cowards), Swedens Bathory planed off Venoms occasional laddy banter (see: Teachers Pet, Poisoned) and added alayer of cold, serious harshness. With the darkness of Sabbath attached to the filthy roar of British punk bands like Discharge and GBH, demo versions of The Return Of Darkness And Evil and Sacrifice found their way onto the 1984 Scandinavian Metal Attack compilation, being put together by the label where ateenaged Thomas Quorthon Forsberg was doing work experience. It was through this bit of timely blagging that abody of work even more important than Venoms began, after the label responded to excitement over Bathorys tracks by telling Quorthon to write more songs for an album. Sacrifice would be redone for the bands self-titled 1984 debut, while The Return Of Darkness And Evil appeared on the following years The Return. Even containing the line Come on, baby, it was pure evil, being followed by Raise your knife, welcome darling to my sacrifice. And yes, Jonas kerlund would go on to show hes much better at making music videos for Madonna and Lady Gaga than he was at drumming, but even this roughness adds to the legitimacy of illegitimacy, and helped create an atmosphere of absolutediabolism.

3. Celtic Frost Into The Crypts Of Rays

Celtic Frost are simply one of the greatest bands ever to walk the Earth. Emerging from rural Switzerland in the early 80s, the partnership of Tom GWarrior and Martin Ain first bubbled up as Hellhammer, who themselves were to be massively influential after their time, but split to become Celtic Frost partly because of bad reception, but also because Frosties grander vision was far more than that of Hellhammer. This opener from 1984s excellent Morbid Tales EP may have the same full-throttle speed as some of their previous bands work, but the more confident songwriting and better handle on the darkness and morbidity also showed that this was something new, something far greater. Across their amazing To Mega Therion and Into The Pandemonium albums, the band would push what could be done as adark metal band immeasurably, bringing in keyboards, female vocals, and influences of bands like Joy Division and Killing Joke at atime when such things werent really countenanced. Here was the starting pistol on one of the greatest legacies in metal, black orotherwise.

4. Mayhem Deathcrush

The arrival of Mayhem draws, for many people, ahistorical line in the sand for black metal. As arguably the first band of the genres second wave, here was an outfit who saw black metal as agenre in itself. Where forebears like Bathory, Venom, Hellhammer and Celtic Frost were separate bands doing their thing with very little contact or common ground (indeed, Quorthon once said, I have heard Slayers first and afew from bands such as Sodom, Destruction, Wimphammer / Celtic Compost, and Ithink they all suck. Idont even listen to black metal, death metal, satanic metal, or thrash metal at all. Its mostly crap,) Mayhem pulled all these parts together to create something whole. Put out by guitarist and leader Euronymous on his own Deathlike Silence label, the Deathcrush EP was far more extreme than any of their influences, unlistenable to some (who also mocked that what was meant to be asinister red sleeve actually came out pink), but setting anew frontier in the underground they were trying to marshal. The rocknroll element was all but gone, in its place aharsh form of battery that came about by design, far more than byaccident.

5. Bathory A Fine Day To Die

As Bathory continued, Quorthon moved in amore ambitious direction, easing off the speed and introducing the grandeur of Swedens Viking heritage. His first full album of it would be 1990s exceptional Hammerheart, but he laid the groundwork for it perfectly with the opener to Blood, Fire, Death two years earlier. With astately folk intro complete with battle sounds and neighing horses, AFine Day To Die immediately evoked misty mountains and cold, wild nature, while its lyrical story of ancient war and Norse mythology harked back to an age lost under industry. It didnt just begin Bathorys second chapter, but opened adoor to ageneration of bands to follow like Emperor, Enslaved, and anyone whos ever looked to the fires of the ancients forinspiration.

6. Darkthrone Kathaarian Life Code

One can only imagine the look on the faces of Peaceville Records staff as they hit play on Darkthrones ABlaze In The Northern Sky album for the first time and the razorblade riff that opens Kathaarian Life Code bled out. They had signed the Norwegian band as adeath metal outfit, and their Soulside Journey debut had seen them doing decent numbers and gathering agood level of respect for their technical heaviness. And then, drummer Fenriz recalled later, They called me up and said, What the fuck is this? And Isaid, Thats fuckin black metal, man. Harsh, dark, cold and primitive, it was unexpected. More to the point, it was unlike anything else you could hear at the time. Fenriz will split hairs that theres still death metal riffs in there, but its like saying theres chicken in anugget its there somewhere, but only nominally. It has the distinction of being the first true Norwegian black metal album from the countrys notorious Black Circle, and this song remains the absolute jewel in itscrown.

7. Emperor Into The Infinity Of Thoughts

As the darkness creeps over the Northern mountains of Norway and the silence reach the woods, Iawake and rise. Just reading Into The Infinity Of Thoughts opening line, theres asense of something dark and foreboding, something majestic, something imposing but natural in beauty. When you put them to the staggering music the words accompany, its almost like summing up early 90s Norwegian black metal in one song. Emperor were literally teenagers when they wrote and recorded this indeed, part of the reason mainman Ihsahn kept his nose clean while his mates were out committing murder (drummer Faust) and burning churches (guitarist Samoth) was because he was not of an age where he could go out to the pub but you could live to be 100 and still not manage five seconds of the genius they put across here. Proving that it wasnt all about primitivism, instead the composition here is technically and creatively staggering, with ethereal keyboards adding afreezing atmosphere. Of all the bands from the Norwegian scene, it was Emperor who would have something approaching anormal career, but they were also the band who, in atime when black metal was often athing to be mocked, earned adeal of respect and credibility for their self-evidentexcellence.

8. Mayhem Freezing Moon

Its difficult to name the definitive version of Freezing Moon, but this is something that speaks to the songs demented genius, in that its menace almost transcends whos playing it, while also gaining from the individual circumstances of different versions. For many, it will be the version captured on the bands masterful De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas album, on which the sound of Euronymous guitar is like frozen barbed wire during its minor-key opening, and Attila Csihars vocals are truly twisted. It also features Varg Vikernes on bass, whose parts Euronymous parents asked to be removed following their sons murder in 1993, but were instead simply made lower in the mix by drummer Hellhammer. But equally macabre is the version on the Live In Leipzig live album from 1993, featuring original singer Dead on vocals before he died by suicide. Even his introduction When its cold! And when its dark! The Freezing Moon can obsess you carried with it something that leaves amark. Or how about the Dawn Of The Black Hearts bootleg, or the studio version with Dead done as the 1990 Studio Tracks tape in very low number, and reissued several times as the only studio recording of Dead? Whichever, Freezing Moon is possibly the greatest black metal song everwritten.

9. Beherit The Gate Of Nanna

Finlands Beherit could be both fiercely barbaric and mysteriously atmospheric as the muse took them. Their first album, The Oath Of Black Blood, was actually acompilation of their two demos, after the teenaged band supposedly spent their label advance on booze without actually doing any work. It was ahappy accident that resulted in an essential document of bestial black metal violence. But it was on their Drawing Down The Moon album that Beherits black magic became truly apparent, particularly on the slow, moody The Gate Of Nanna. With aheavy influence of doom bands like Saint Vitus (notably, the song would later be covered by Finnish doom legends Reverend Bizarre), it showed further that black metal was as much about the atmosphere that could be created as speed and violence. That later Beherit mainman Nuclear Holocausto Vengeance would release albums of dark synth music under the Beherit banner should not have become asurprise afterthis.

10. Cradle Of Filth Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids

When Cradle Of Filth grew quickly from the underground in the mid-90s, some began to cry sell-out before theyd actually got much to sell out with. Bigger they may have become by the time of 1998s Cruelty And The Beast, but they were also increasingly bold, the album forming aconcept story about infamous Countess Elizabeth Bathory, who supposedly bathed in virgins blood to retain her beauty. This song proved something of astand out, with its declaration of sin at the start and its massive riff. Not a hit in the traditional sense, it was nevertheless part of Cradle Of Filths increasing profile (the band would feature on the cover of K! at least 10 times), and with it, dropping the seeds for anew generation of black metal fans and bands togrow.

11. Ulver Porn Piece Or The Scars Of Cold Kisses

Black metals ideals of traditions are just as keenly observed as its insistence on forging ones own path and breaking whatever creative chains you may find in search of expression. The purity, it is often said, is just as much about intent as sound. For Norwegian outfit Ulver, this artistic freedom has always been paramount to them, often challenging to the listener, but always stunning in its execution. As early as their second album, 1996s Kveldssanger, they were breaking the rules, making arecord entirely on acoustic instruments. But even this was nothing next to the shift on 2000s Perdition City. Owing more to Portishead, Massive Attack and Bjrk than Mayhem or Bathory, on the surface Porn Piece with its beats, piano and talk of Streetlights and the grating of gravel in pedestrian subways, the connection to traditional black metal is vanishingly small. But then, such is the point. At the time, main brain Kris Garm Rygg told K! that, Things turn grey on me alot quicker than they do on other people, and made the point that such an intent to shake things up has always informed him as an artist. Thus, in some ways here he proved that black metal is only amatter of tagging and context so long as you continue to do what thouwilt.

12. Satyricon Fuel For Hatred

Like Cradle Of Filth, Satyricons huge profile would go on to help usher in anew legion of young black metal fans to the cause. And as apeak of this, Fuel For Hatred was more palatable than earlier works in some sense, with its almost garage-rock riff and semi-industrial stomp, it also retained an uncompromising fist, thanks to its controversial video, shot by Jonas kerlund which was slick, but also featured abruised naked woman with asnake. Satyricon undoubtedly had better songs, and definitely more traditionally black metal ones (Fenriz once called Mother North from 1996s perfect Nemesis Divina album as a black metal national anthem), but as an illustration of black metals rise into the mainstream, there are no better examples thanthis.

13. Watain Devils Blood

As the key players of black metals second wave either split (Emperor), became as comfortably dependable as Motrhead (Darkthrone), played keyboard in prison (Burzum), went acomplicated way round to not live on past glory (Mayhem), abandoned the form completely, or drifted too far from the underground to be part of it, so anew clutch of bands began to rise. With areturn to traditional values and sound, as well as arenewed affection for Satan that had started to go wayward, at the front of this new wave stood Swedens Watain. This opening track from their landmark second album Casus Luciferi outlined their intentions clearly: orthodoxy, dedication, Satan. From stigmatised wounds now the river of gnosis runs free in the glorious light of the five point star, declared Erik Danielsson, as if to underline the point. While some showed that black metals fire could reach artistically into myriad sounds, Watain were going back to the source to stoke the flames and see how far they wouldgo.

14. Deathspell Omega Sola Fide I

Mysterious even by the standards of French black metal, Deathspell Omega are also masters of the modern(ish) genre. Maintaining asimilarly dedicated, orthodox outlook to Watain, they also refuse to be constrained by convention, with agenuinely artistic brilliance that puts them on aplinth entirely of their own. With this new third wave, agreat deal of pride has been placed on such abalance of tradition and making your own mark (as was the case in the early 90s), and Sola Fide Iis ashining, brilliant example of just how far its possible to go with both without sounding stretched or strained aguiding light for others along their ownpath.

Posted on December 3rd 2020, 6:13p.m.

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Fact check: There is no evidence to support claims that Lady Gaga is a witch – USA TODAY

Posted: November 7, 2020 at 9:02 pm

While Lady Gaga and John Legend campaigned for the Biden-Harris ticket in Pennsylvania, rapper Lil Pump joined President Trump in Michigan. USA TODAY

On the eve of the 2020 election several artists took the Biden-Harris campaign stage in a final plea for support from their fan bases. The next morning adversaries rekindledold, QAnon-adjacent conspiracy theories to discredit Lady Gaga's political outcry. The common theme: Gaga is a witch.

More: Fact check: Pennsylvania voters exposed to COVID-19 can still vote

One Facebook user called Gaga a high ranking witch in the music industry, referencing her relationship with Serbian performance artist Marina Abramovic.

The same post highlighted the slogan Battle for the soul of the nation as evidence that Gaga was involved in something sinister. The Biden-Harris claim has been using that slogansince August. The slogan is not specific to Gaga, who only joined in campaign efforts on Nov. 2, andcannot prove that the star is a involved with satanism.


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These demonic spirits of witchcraft, sexual perversion, and child sacrifice are seducing too many Christians at an alarming rate, Jeremiah Johnson Ministries posted on Facebook about Biden and Gaga on Nov. 3. Thatpost was later deleted.

USA TODAY reached out to both posters for comments and has not received a response.

Abramovic has been the subjectof conspiracy theories surrounding witchcraft dating back to PizzaGate in October 2016. When Hillary Clintons campaign chairman John Podestas emails were released on WikiLeaks, an email between Abramovic and Podestas brother Tony Podesta sparked speculation.

Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Marina Abramovic(Photo: Donna Ward, FilmMagic)

I am so looking forward to the Spirit Cooking dinner at my place. Do you think you will be able to let me know if your brother is joining? Abramovic wrote in the email.

Proponents of the conspiracy theory argued the email was evidence that she and the Clinton campaign we involved in witchcraft and satanism.

Abramovic later said Spirit Cooking referred to a dinner she hosted for a group of benefactors to her art institute.

More: Fact check: False claim linking Paul Pelosi Jr., Hunter Biden and Burisma

The dinner shared the name with a 1996 book and 1997 performance piece shed previously worked on. The Museum of Modern Art described the cookbook as a series of 'aphrodisiac recipes'that serve as evocative instructions for actions or thoughts.

Abramovics performance involved her painting strange recipes in blood on a gallerys walls. We had lots of fun, she told the New York Times about the dinner. There was no human blood, or baby serving, or sex orgies.

Marina Abramovi's emotionally harrowing journey through Brazil is documented in her new film.(Photo: Courtesy of Cau Ito)

I really want to ask these people, Can you stop with this? Can you stop harassing me? Cant you see that this is just the art Ive been doing for 50 years of my life? Abramovic said of the conspiracy theories that have caused to her and her coworkers to receive death threats.

Lady Gaga became entangled in the conspiracy theory when social media users began sharing a photo of the singer with Abramovic and a body-painted model. Several posts falsely claimed the model was Ryan Singleton, an aspiring model whose body was found in Baker, California, on Sept. 21, 2013. Posters arguedGaga and Abramovic were involved in an illegal satanic spirit cooking hunt and party just days after Singleton went missing.

A July fact-check by Reuters found that the photo was taken at a July 2013 art show and the model involved was not Singleton. Trina Merry, the body paint artist featured in the show, dispelledthe claimmultiple times on Twitter.

Other social media users shared photos of Gaga atthe event, claiming she was involved in a "sickening" ritual pertaining to "Satanic Democrat Pedophile Cannibals."

The photo featured Gaga and Abramovic eating something off what looked like a bloody body. Lead Stories reported in May that the two "good friends" were not drinking blood, butengagingin performance art.

Lady Gaga in a scene from her Abramovic Method video.(Photo: Vimeo)

Despite these efforts by fact-checkers and artists to debunk these claims, some continue to argue Gaga is a witch. USA TODAY could find no evidence to support that theory.

Neither Abramovic nor Gagas representation has responded to USA TODAYs emails.

More: Fact check: Joe Biden 'chumps' quote at Pennsylvania rally taken out of context

We rate the claim that Lady Gagais involved in witchcraft or satanism FALSE because it is not supported by our research. Claims that Gaga is a witch stem from misrepresentations ofa 2013 art event and her relationship with performance artist Marina Abramovic, whose own false accusations of witchcraft tie back to the PizzaGate conspiracy theory. The resurgence of this claim comes directly after Gaga expressed support for the Biden-Harris campaign.

Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here.

Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

This fact check is available at IFCNs 2020 US Elections FactChat #Chatbot on WhatsApp. Click here, for more.


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BERNSTEIN: We live in two different Americas – RU Daily Targum

Posted: at 9:02 pm

As I write this piece, the United States has still not declared a victor for the 2020 presidential election. By the time this piece is published, a winner will likely have been declared, legal struggles and recounts could delay a definitive verdict for months.

Likewise, the painfully close nature of this race, close both for Democrats assured of a former Vice President Joe Biden landslide and President Donald J. Trump supporters who anticipated a sweeping victory, means that those hoping to come away from the election with a clear picture of the character and values of America will be left with more questions than answers.

But perhaps therein lies the point. To call America a divided country in modern times would be an understatement: Across both state and party lines, Americans are living under significantly different systems of law, subscribing to radically different accounts of reality and engaging in exceedingly varied walks of life.

Consider, for example, the referendum passed in Oregon this week to decriminalize illegal drugs, in addition to the legalization (with restrictions) of psilocybin, a psychedelic substance commonly referred to as "magic mushrooms."

We now live in a country where an individual can face criminal charges for marijuana possession in many states, while incurring no criminal penalty for the possession of heroin in at least one. Of course, the legality of drug use is only one out of many examples where the law differs across state lines: Gun control, public education standards and the death penalty figure among other conspicuous examples.

While the right to an abortion is federally legal under Roe v. Wade, access to abortion clinics varies across the country. Furthermore, should Roe v. Wade be overturned by the current Supreme Court, a concern for Democrats now that conservative justices hold a 6-3 majority, the bodily rights of women will become even more disparate across state lines.

Even if we ignore the heterogeneity of state governments, terms such as "American life" and "American culture" prove especially slippery and difficult to define. How many similarities can we really draw between the lives of rural Americans and the lives of city-dwellers?

And among these similarities, how many of them can we call universally American as opposed to universally human? The socio-economic realities facing American citizens quite regularly vary from neighborhood to neighborhood, let alone state to state.

A still more intractable question presents itself when we investigate the differences between the worldviews of Americans with differing political opinions. We no longer argue only over what is right, but also over what is real. The widespread availability of information in the digital age has ensured the widespread availability of misinformation as well.

How can we talk of universal American ideals when we cannot even agree, at a basic level, on what is happening in America? When an online conspiracy theory such as QAnon, which accuses Democratic "elites" of "Satanism" (among other, even more untoward charges) has achieved enough mainstream success that those who support it have won congressional seats this year?

No, none of this disparity is necessarily new in the United States, nor is it necessarily a bad thing on principle that Americans are not tied together by a unifying experience. The problem arises when we ignore the inherent lack of unity in our country. It arises when we talk broadly about "national" issues in a country as large and heterogeneous as America, and then we wonder why nobody can agree on these issues.

But above all else, the problem arises due to our clumsiness in adapting to the digital age. Social media harbors the potential to meaningfully connect people who would never cross paths in a world without modern technology. But so far it has spread more ill-will between strangers than amity. In an ideal society, online news sources could beget a political renaissance of well-informed citizens and easier, quicker access to the going-ons of the world.

But in practice, skepticism of the news has flourished in the digital age like never before, and a greater emphasis on national politics, at the expense of local news sources, threatens to alienate readers, who rarely see a straight line between the content of headlines and the struggles of their daily life.

Although I admire my country and the political philosophy upon which it was founded, a deep problem presents itself in the way we structure our national identity, a problem that will continue to fester if left untreated.

The soul of the United States is not singular. If we want our nation to thrive, we need to start having multifaceted conversations instead of one-dimensional arguments. We need to address a larger scope of issues in politics than the few, somewhat arbitrary ones we find ourselves incessantly revisiting.

We need to look toward a political system that accounts for a great diversity of thought instead of a system that tries to express the vast complexity of American experience in a binary fashion. The sooner we accept these realities, the sooner we can move beyond these last four years of division, confusion and anger.

Daniel Bernstein is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore looking to major in cell biology and neuroscience and mathematics. His column, "Mind You," runs on alternate Fridays.

*Columns,cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.

YOUR VOICE|The Daily Targum welcomes submissions from all readers. Due to space limitations in our printnewspaper, letters to the editor must not exceed 900 words. Guest columns and commentaries must be between 700 and 900 words. All authors must include their name, phone number, class year and collegeaffiliation or department to be considered for publication.Please submit via email too[emailprotected] by 4 p.m. to be consideredforthe following days publication. Columns, cartoons and letters donot necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.

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The History Behind the Ouija Board is Both Pure and Evil – Nerdist

Posted: October 27, 2020 at 10:59 pm

There is perhaps no game that sparks as much curiosity and fear as a Ouija board. The flat board with numbers, letters, a few words, and a planchette (aka the boards moving device) is generally synonymous with breaking the veil between the living and dead realms. Many see it as a tool to open horrifying portals while others use it to curiously commune with the other side.

It is also a staple in horror stories, pop culture, entertainment, and certain spiritual practices for many decades. But, despite being such a looming part of our culture, most people dont know the complex history behind Ouija boards.

According to Smithsonian Magazine, the Ouija board stems from Spiritualism, a belief that the dead can communicate with the living. Of course, this idea is something that has existed on a global scale for thousands of years. But, it became quite prominent in the United States during the 19th century when childbirth, war, and disease among other things led to shorter life spans and frequent deaths. Many people desired a pathway to connect with lost loved ones and get answers to unresolved issues and questions.

The concept of contacting the dead was seen as socially acceptable and even wholesome in many circles. Of course, this is likely because the faces of Spiritualism were white people. For example, in 1848, people became enraptured by Maggie and Kate Fox, two young sisters who claimed to get messages from spirits through taps on their walls. Their abilities made them household names and further sparked public interest in reaching out to deceased people.

This lead to the birth of talking boards, the precursor to the Ouija board, in the late 1880s. It had letters, numbers, and a small cursor to point towards its script. Its not clear who came up with the first talking board. But technically that person should get credit for laying the groundwork for Ouija boards. Today, Ouija board, talking board, and spirit board are all interchangeable terms to describe the same tool.

It wouldnt be the American way if someone didnt try to further capitalize on the popularity of sances and personal pain, right? And, like most American origin stories, there is a lot of messiness behind the Ouija boards beginnings. Charles Kennard of Baltimore, Maryland didnt care about the spiritualism movement but he did see a profitable business opportunity. The (allegedly) shady businessman teamed up with coffin maker/undertaker E.C. Reiche, a Prussian immigrant, to start producing their own wooden boards. But, when Kennard starting looking for investors, he took credit for the invention.

Theres some debate over Reiches actual involvement. As reported by MyEasternShoreMD, information about Reiches life is spotty at best with little official records and no real credit to him being the Ouija board creator. This makes sense if Kennard simply took credit for Reiches handiwork. But, if that is the case, then why didnt Reiche at least try to put up a legal or verbal fight for his creation? However, leading talking board expert Robert Murch told Baltimore Magazine that Reiche was indeed involved with early productions only to be cut out by Kennard. Ouch.

After Kennards many failed attempts to secure funding, attorney Elijah Bond became interested. They formed Kennard Novelty Company in 1890 along with other investors like William H.A. Maupin, Colonel Washington Bowie, and John F. Green. Bonds sister-in-law Helen Peters also played a key role in creating its handle and possibly the name. Kennard and his colleagues claimed that the board named itself after they asked it. The board said Ouija is an ancient Egyptian phrase which means good luck.


Theres also a popular albeit nonsensical belief that Ouija is a combination of the French and German words for yes (oui + ja). Peters later said she wore a locket with a picture of a woman with the word Ouija over it. It is also possible that the name on the locket may have been misread, especially considering there was a prominent author and activist named Ouida at that time. So, even the name itself boasts a history of (possible) magic and mystery.

However, Peters did convince the patent office to approve the Ouija boards application. She did this through a demonstration that spelled out the officers supposedly unknown name. Its unlikely that they wouldnt already know the officers name but its another interesting addition to the origin story. A patent file confirms she did a demonstration and the patent was issued on February 10th 1891.

The company soon brought Bonds employee William Fuld into the fold, they began to produce boards. They became a hit, quickly opening additional factories before Kennard and Bonds unceremonious booting out of the business. Fuld took over but he strangely died in 1927 after falling from the roof of a new factory one he claimed a Ouija board told him to build.

The Ouija, the Wonderful Talking Board game became a cultural staple when it hit shelves for $1.50 in 1891. It was a direct path to ancestors but also a bit of intriguing and escapist Friday night fun amid a tumultuous world. People would gather with family or friends and experience the rush of asking questions as the (then) wooden planchette jumps around to provide an otherworldly answer. Their intentions were by all accounts what many would consider pure. The Ouija board began to appear in sketches for major newspapers and grew in popularity through the disparity of the Great Depression.

Saturday Evening Post/Norman Rockwell

Writers like Pearl Curran and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet James Merrill all began to use the board for creative inspiration. There were people from certain religious and spiritual backgrounds who saw the board as a form of divination (seeking information from spiritual forces,) which their beliefs condemn. It fell under the umbrella term of witchcraft, which they associated with ungodly deeds.

TV shows took a jovial approach to using a Ouija board. I Love Lucy episode The Sance depicts Lucy faking a sance to find favor with a businessman. However, several stories began to surface about Ouija boards and murder.

In 1930, Clothilde Marchand was killed by Lila Jimerson, who was having an affair with Marchands husband. Jimerson used a Ouija board to convince an associate, Nancy Bowen, that Marchand was a witch who caused Bowens husbands death. Jimerson and Bowen later pled guilty to manslaughter. Despite dark stories involving the Ouija board, many people did not see it as an inherent void of evil. In fact, forty years after Fulds death, Ouija boards outsold than Monopoly games.

Interestingly, the change in attitudes towards the Ouija board stems from none other than The Exorcistin 1973.

The supposedly based on a true story (which has its share of debatable and murky details) seminal horror flick about a girl who is possessed by a demon after playing with a Ouija board scared the fear of Hell into people. It also didnt help that The Exorcists release came at an already uneasy time in America. People were still reeling from the Manson cult murders of the late 1960s and the rise of serial killing sprees by culprits like the Zodiac and Alphabet killers who seemed to use ritual patterns in their murders.

There was also the beginnings of modern Satanism through Anton LaVey, who wrote The Satanic Bible and founded the Church of Satan in 1966. People like John Todd and David Hanson began to plant ideas that evil witchy cults run the world. So, a film with spiritual possession and green vomit spewing all over the place absolutely played further into those fears.

But The Exorcist isnt the first film depiction of a Ouija board as a gateway to possession. The Uninvited (1944) features siblings who host a sance to find out the truth behind a death in the home. It apparently isnt same level the scare fest of The Exorcist.

Suddenly, the Ouija board became an evil and demonic tool. Americans became more consumed by Satanic Panic in the 1980s after a group of Californian kids told their community that their school was a location for rape, prostitution, and satanic activities. These unproven allegations led to a wave of fear among the American public.

So, anything that could be even remotely associated with evil or the occult like the Ouija board, Dungeons & Dragons, and certain types of music became evil. It became even more interesting to rebellious youth who would use them in secret for some possible thrills and scares. Parker Brothers later became acquired by Hasbro, which still continued to sell thousands of boards. Hasbro still sells Ouija boards and owns the trademark for the name.

Ouija boards remain in our current public consciousness as stories about demonic possession continue the thrive. In November 2014, 35 Bolivian students were hospitalized because of trances, sweating, and rapid heartbeats after playing with a Ouija board. There have been stories of mass fainting and spirit possession in Mexico, hysteria, and even the rise of a 2015 viral game called Charlie Charlie. Players would create a make shift version of a Ouija board with yes and no on a piece of paper. The game uses two pencils to supposedly chat with a demonic spirit.

Meanwhile, the Ouija boards new notoriety as a symbol of evil took over the horror genre. In 1986, the first movie in the Witchboard franchise hit theaters. The story follows Linda and Jim, who become haunted by a ghost after a Ouija board session with Jims friend/Lindas ex Brandon. Linda begins to act unusual and people predictably start to die.

Sorority House Massacre II (1990) taps into the Ouija board as sleepover entertainment trope with a group of sorority sisters who use the board to contact a deceased murderer. What Lies Beneath (2000) shows the main character, Claire, using one to contact a missing/possibly dead neighbor. In 2007, Paranormal Activity took Ouija boards to found-footage territory with a paranormal houseguest gaining power from the board.


That same year, the board finally got a film bearing its name. Ouija shows a group of kids who use a board and end up dealing with a stalkerish (and murderous) spirit. The film became a franchise with its latest installment releasing in 2016. And, in 2020, the Ouija board continues to make appearances in film and TV.

Its most recent sighting is in Lovecraft Country, which takes place back in 1955 during pre-Satanic Panic and Exorcist times. A group of teens (including Emmitt Till) get some sinister foreshadowing while playing with the board in a basement. Its a small scene that speaks to the Ouija boards current pop culture place as a vehicle for spooky and sinister happenings.

The Ouija board is still an available and mysterious game. But there are still people who use it for their own spiritual work and/or to guide others. Popular astrologer, witch, and apothecary owner, and YouTuber BehatiLife made an in-depth video about using a Ouija board safely. She says she doesnt use it for connecting with spirits but rather leans into her abilities for spiritual connection.

She warns against using it if a user is afraid of the Ouija or lacks grounding and personal protection. BehatiLife says that mainstream media and YouTube feeds into the idea of demonic possessions through using one. A quick search of the website proves her point with countless videos about people sharing their Ouija board horror stories.

In fact, the general attitude among people who identify as occultists and/or witches is that a person who uses a Ouija board should be cautious, respectful, and use common sense. This is a sentiment in the boards official description: Handle the Ouija board with respect and it wont disappoint you! Some believe it can be a source of connection and enlightenment but can perhaps become dangerous with the wrong intention. Some people do use it to connect with their ancestors or find answers from the other side.

Of course, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that Ouija boards can contact the spirit world. Scientists have attributed the planchettes movement to the ideomotor effect: the unconscious minds ability to direct motor activity. But, science certainly cant and doesnt explain every single phenomena on Earth, so perhaps there is something taking place. Its all rather subjective depending on the users beliefs about spirit world, the afterlife, and demons.

The Ouija board continues to survive and thrive even after public panic, technological advances, and several generations of users who claim its everything from a connection tool for good to the work of a devil. It sits in the upper echelon of horror plot devices to tap into our deepest fears of losing control over our bodies or allowing an evil entity to slide its way into our space. And, whether its Halloween night, a girls sleepover, or a quite sance searching for answers, this iconic tool will likely remain a staple existing on societys fringes.

Featured Image: Hasbro

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