Just finish those questions in the file. There are some information you can use. Penn & Teller: Bullshit! “Exorcism,” Season 5, Episode 5 New York Times RetroReport McMartin School: Anatomy of a [Satanic] Panic READFrom course website: Exorcism! Driving Out the Nonsense“The Exorcist”: The Real-Life Story Behind the 40-Year-Old Horror ClassicA Brief History of Satanic Panic in the 1980sThe history of Satanic Panic in the US — and why it’s not over yetThe Real Victims of Satanic Ritual AbuseBabysitters Accused of Satanic Crimes Exonerated After 25 YearsA Skeptical Look at “The Conjuring 2”’Annabelle: Creation’: The ‘true’ story of the evil doll star
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Exorcism & Satanic Panic: A Skeptical Analysis
WATCH IN CLASS:
Penn & Teller: Bullshit!
• “Exorcism,” Season 5, Episode 5
New York Times RetroReport
• McMartin School: Anatomy of a [Satanic] Panic
READ
From course website:
Exorcism! Driving Out the Nonsense
“The Exorcist”: The Real-Life Story Behind the 40-Year-Old Horror Classic
A Brief History of Satanic Panic in the 1980s
The history of Satanic Panic in the US — and why it’s not over yet
The Real Victims of Satanic Ritual Abuse
Babysitters Accused of Satanic Crimes Exonerated After 25 Years
A Skeptical Look at “The Conjuring 2”
‘Annabelle: Creation’: The ‘true’ story of the evil doll star
WRITE
If people are not actually being possessed by demons, what are some ordinary, down-to-earth
explanations for what’s going on during an exorcism?
The movies, popular culture, and religions portray “demonic possession” as a horrendous
experience you wouldn’t wish upon your worst enemy. However, in the real world, there are a
number of advantages both to claiming you are possessed by a demon or to claiming you can
exorcise (remove) a demon.
Put on your skeptics hat, write at least one 4-5 sentence paragraph in response to each prompt
and upload to the appropriate folder on turnitin.com:
1. People who claim to be demonically possessed are often extremely religious. People who
perform exorcisms are usually priests or other religious authorities. How might belief in
demonic possession help explain “the problem of evil” and reinforce the faith of both the
“possessed” and the “exorcist”?
2. How might “demonic possession” reduce personal responsibility for one’s actions?
3. What role might desire for attention play in the appearance of demonic possession?
4. Briefly explain how Occam’s razor suggests that demons do not exist and so-called
demonic possession is psychological. What are some extraordinary assumptions that
would have to be true if exorcism could cast out demons from the genuinely possessed?
5. Belief in extraordinary claims such as the existence of demons and other satanic forces
can do extraordinary harm. In the 1980s, Satanic Panic swept the nation. Many
mainstream media outlets, police departments, and parents claimed that satanic cults had
infiltrated daycare and pre-school centers across the nation and were secretly subjecting
the children in their charge to ritual satanic sexual abuse. The McMartin Pre-School trial
accused most of the employees of the school of participating in sexual abuse of the
children as part of a satanic ritual.
a. Child psychologists interviewed many of the children who attended the McMartin
school. Explain the flaw in the interviewing process that led to the extraordinary
accusations of ritual satanic sexual abuse.
b. How might so-called “repressed memory therapy” lead to an individual falsely
believing they’ve been sexually abused?
c. As women began to routinely enter the work force in the 1980s, many families
began using daycare and pre-school for the first time. How might this fact have
contributed to Satanic Panic?

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