PITTSBURGH'S TALKING is a local talk show hosted by one Ann Devlin and on February 1st I caught, for the first time, what was apparently a repeat of an earlier show devoted to satanism. Admittedly it was not as bad as most of the earlier talk show programs promoting hysteria and capitalizing upon it to boost ratings, but nevertheless it was the same old tired nonsense. John Michalec, a Mt. Lebanon police officer, director of Ritualistic Crime Specialists, Inc., displayed a table filled with what was supposed to be ritualistic paraphernalia, but was mostly occult junk including what looked like a poorly made plastic skull. (Maybe it was the skull of a deceased television executive.) Although Michaelic claimed that there is a good deal of satanism in Pittsburgh, it seems that the junk he was displaying had all been sent to him by people who claimed that it had been used by satanists in their ooky pooky rituals. Of course, we are to believe such unknown people and their claims. And to show you how Michaelec's mind works, he referred to the magical sword as the "sign of aggressiveness". To a warrior, the sword is a symbol of aggressiveness perhaps, but to a magician it is the symbol of reason and analysis which "cuts" concepts apart to discover their component parts and which is used to banish "demons", i.e. subconscious psychological complexes. One of the problems with these "experts" on the "occult" is that not only are they programmed by an irrational belief system that is downright hostile to all other belief systems, but thought processes and reasoning abilities are so stunted and immature that they seem to be incapable of anything but the most simple, superficial and barbaric conclusions.
There was also Sharon Dimaggio who claims to be a local "former satanist", an overweight lady who admits that the whole time she was involved with a satanic cult way back when (first she said on the now defunct Pittsburgh 2Day it was in Oakland on the East End and now she's claiming it was in a suburb north of Pittsburgh) she was on drugs - and now, of course, she has "accepted Jesus as [her] saviour". It was painfully obvious that Ms. Dimaggio was perhaps a member of a small commune or group of young people back in the late sixties and early seventies that played around with "free love" and drugs, and that such terms as "Satan" and "the Devil" were probably used as freely and loosely as the name "Jesus", "far out" and "bummer". It was probably not until her conversion to one fanatic pseudo-christian group or another that she suddenly "realized" that all the time she had been a satanist and did not even know it, or perhaps she came to believe she was while drugged out of her mind. Anyway, although there was a lot of talk about there being so much satanism in Pittsburgh, Ms. Devlin had to send all the way to New York for Peter Gilmore, a priest in Anton LaVey's Church of Satan. Interestingly, he never once contradicted himself whereas Ms. Dimaggio more than once contradicted herself, and yet the audience consistantly accused Gilmore of making contradictions! The worst thing about these bloody talk shows is that they virtually force me to practically defend satanists and satanism, and as readers know, I am thoroughly opposed to satanism and have been since long before this hysteria came to television. And so here we go again - Peter Gilmore presented himself well, reasonably, did not contradict himself, showed a good and relaxed sense of humour and even told everyone on the air that he was not in the least upset with programs like this one, for, after all, they did more to help satanism than anything else. And it is true since the television talk shows present to naturally rebellious adolsecents something that they may not have otherwise heard of and convinces them that satanism is a viable means of getting attention and rebelling against their parents and society. It scares people, it worries them, it gets them angry. And by telling adolescents not to do something because it is bad for them, you are absolutely guaranteed to convince them to go ahead and do it!
Another guest on the program was Dr. Carl A. Raschke, the author of the idiotic book entitled Painted Black, briefly dealt with by yours truly in the Winter Solstice 1990 E.V. Encyclical Letter.
Most disturbing of all was a girl who phoned in from Carnegie calling herself Angel. She claimed to have been a satanist, introduced to it by her stepfather, that there were the traditional thirteen in her "coven" and that human sacrifices took pace in a little town outside of MacDonald, Pennsylvania. She also claimed that she did not participate in the sacrifices, then as she rambled on she alleged that she was made to participate, and finally that several were killed, she performed the sacrifices, and that it was the six babies she had herself given birth to between the ages of twelve and sixteen that were sacrificed. Also, in her wild ramblings she mentioned that her stepfather had put her on drugs and made a vague reference to having been saved by religion. Obviously she was either lying or more likely suffering from serious delusions, and the pattern here is almost too plain to point out. But the really disturbing thing about this is that before the program was over Ms. Dimaggio was allowed to leave the stage to get on the telephone with Angel! A psychiatrist - even Officer Michalec - but the last person Angel should have been talking to was someone suffering from the same delusions or eager to capitalize upon her mental and emotional illness to back up her own wild and lurid stories. Pittsburgh's Talking should bet slapped with a law suit by Angel's parents.
Pittsburgh's Talking is no longer on the air, cancelled not too long after the Satanic Panic began to wane. The news media in general was forced by individuals such as myself to face the facts, realizing that they were promoting lies harmful to innocent people, both those within the occult community and those within the Judeo-Christian community. Rather than admit that they had made some grave mistakes, that they compromised their journalistic integrity for the sake of higher ratings and a larger circulation, i.e. a greater financial profit, they quietly ended programming focussed upon the supposed nationwide killer satanic cult conspiracy fantasy, cancelling some talk shows, no longer repeated during the season of reruns those particular programs, and instead on television and in the print media, in a subdued manner, presented stories about "False Memory Syndrome" and topics of a like nature. It was very much like the fantastic, sensational story blasted all over the front page of a newspaper, discovered to be untrue, and then almost imperceptibly corrected in a small article, on the back pages, of a later edition. However, in this case it was even worse since at least the offending newspaper usually admits to its mistake, however quietly, and apologizes, while the news media as a whole, in the case of the Satanic Panic, to the best of my knowledge, has never admitted to nor apologized for its errors in the "witchhunt" we came to call "the Satanic Panic".
Geraldo Rivera called one of the recent segments of his talk show "Geraldo's Believe It Or Not", and he virtually promoted a terribly obvious phoney yogi who considered jumping up and down while in the lotus posture "levitation" - he definitely failed to impress the audience - a spoon-bender and bullshit artist, people performing simple martial arts tricks and claiming that it all had to do with the power of the mind - right - the power of the mind to comprehend and employ the simple laws of basic physics, and so on including another bullshit artist who was also a firewalker. By the way, Geraldo made a big production of walking on the hot coals - note: covered with ash which is a poor conductor of heat, his feet no doubt sweating, and really never staying in one spot long enough to get seriously burned, neverthless it was obvious that Rivera did indeed burn his feet at least a little.
His "resident skeptics" were Bryce Bond, a "psychic investigator" who is all too willing to believe in anything "paranormal", or apparently so, and hardly a skeptic, and Ford Kross, a "psychic entertainer", who was not competant or aggressive enough to prove the charlatanism that Rivera was presenting as genuine paranormal phenomenon. I would have been more impressed if Rivera had had Kreskin or James Randi on as "resident skeptics". What is Rivera's religious affiliation these days anyway? Is he a New Ager? He seemed to be doing everything he could to promote these people. Is he trying to appease the occult and Pagan community after all of the slanders and attacks within the context of "satanism"? If so, he is an even bigger fool than I thought, because these "New Age" old tricks and chicanery are as offensive to the serious students of the esoteric as is satanism and his earlier programs on the subject. And these are the kind of people who cause more harm to society than all of the mostly imagined satanists put together, filling people's heads with idiotic notions, getting people all excited, getting them up and then after they have taken from them their life's savings and sense of self-worth, dropping them hard upon old terra firma. The spoon-bender, for instance, had everyone in the audience bending spoons - a very old and stupid trick - and later while holding a fork aloft, its tines twisted in every possible direction, implying that it had been done by the power of her mind alone, without ever actually vocalizing the claim, she asked when are people going to stop doubting and start funding research programs into the powers of the mind. I have little doubt that she would like to receive that funding, such programs already exist, and doubting, healthy skepticism, is absolutely essential for genuine and objective research. Problem is, doubting skepticism is the worst enemy of greedy charlatans eager to take your money.
And the final joke: during a commercial break towards the end of the program there was, at least here in Pittsburgh, an ad for The Tarot Line, a 900 telephone number you can call, for $2.95 a minute! to receive a "genuine" tarot reading. Oooooooh...
Geraldo, when are you going to grow up and get a real job? Oh. That's right. You have had a few in the past and been fired. How could I forget?
CHEERS for the writers and producers of The Adventures of Superboy*. In an episode entitled "Superboy ... Lost", the "Boy of Steel" loses his memory and before regaining it, comes into contact with a woman and her son who are hiding out in a small shack in the woods - they are hiding from a "cult". The commendable thing is that it was a very generic cult, with no words, terms or symbols to identify it either as, say, a "satanic" cult or a fanatic pseudo-christian cult, thus today's concerns were incorporated into a story without in any way offending anyone and without misinforming the viewing audience in any way or spreading hysteria further. On the other hand ...
JEERS for TV Guide regarding their listing of this program which read:
"SUPERBOY - Adventure / An amnesiac Superboy is befriended by a woman (Sarah Essex) who is hiding her son from a Satanic cult."
What, I wondered after seeing the episode, led them to believe it was a "Satanic" cult? The mere fact that a "cult" was portrayed and that all "cults" MUST be "Satanic"?
Yes. I watch very little commercial TV these days, but the programs I do enjoy are the really high-class ones. One day Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth on PBS and the next The Adventures of Superboy; one day The Ring of the Nibelung on PBS and the next The Flash. And The Real Ghostbusters is still my favourite cartoon! So speaketh the great Master of the Temple ... so there.
2002 E.V.: The Adventures of Superboy and The Flash, as well as The Real Ghostbusters are no more, alas, but I very much more enjoy the current Superman incarnation on television, Smallville, and I enjoyed while they aired the newer animated adventures of Batman and Superman ... just in case you were wondering.
Geraldo Rivera has another program now besides his regular talk show. It is called Now It Can Be Told and it airs here in Pittsburgh most week "nights" at 2.40 A.M.. There is a pretentious opening with Rivera posing as a serious journalist, and it generally deals with one to three stories during it's approximately 22 minutes of air time during the half hour. Last month Rivera did a four-part series on David Berkowitz and the Son of Sam murders based upon the letters Berkowitz had written to Maury Terry, author of the misbegotten The Ultimate Evil, and a woman calling herself "Lee Chase" - she is a very stony faced woman with tight old fashion curles in her grey hair, a married woman who admits that she would love to spend the rest of her life with Berkowitz, whom she is converting to her version of Christianity. Of course both "Chase" and Terry are flakes - anyone who would carry on a long correspondence with Berkowitz would have to be a flake. While Berkowitz makes up his stories about involvement in a nationwide satanic cult, most of his information coming from pamphlets sent to him not by satanists but by fundamentalist pseudo-christians, as well as "Chase" and Terry, Rivera's sideshow freaks eat it up - Terry because he can capitalize upon the sensationalistic nonsense and "Chase" because ... well ... who knows? Berkowitz is using "Chase" and Terry, and Terry and "Chase" are using Berkowitz, and Rivera is using all of them, each for their own petty, personal objectives, ignoring reason and truth, promoting hysteria for the sake of sensationalism to get attention and make money. Both Geraldo Rivera and Maury Terry pose as journalists, and yet their degree of journalistic integrity qualifies them for nothing better than supermarket tabloid writing. It is obvious that Berkowitz was not a member of a satanic cult, that at the most he was playing a sick killing game with John Carr who was later killed in an unrelated matter. For a relatively extensive review and commentary of The Ultimate Evil see TNN VI.5 [or use the links in this paragraph to view the Castle version].
While Rivera has expressed his hope that his new program might be rescheduled to air in Pittsburgh at a time when more people could find and watch it, I and a growing number of others would like to see Geraldo Rivera, king of the television freak show and pseudo-journalism, taken off the air completely. More facts were presented by the Professor and more amusement came from Gilligan's antics in Gilligan's Island than can be found in either of Rivera's programs.
Now It Can Be Told did not last long, however, like a cockroach infestation, it is difficult to get rid of Geraldo Rivera. He now has another talk show entitled The Geraldo Rivera Show, a title about as imaginative as Rivera is, and it airs here in Pittsburgh around two in the afternoon on one local channel and two in the morning on another. His opening employs pictures of him with his new child showing him as a loving father and he puts on great pretentions of being a concerned and responsible journalist, disgusted with the low-class quality of most of today's talk shows. Never mind the fact that Gerlado Rivera, almost singlehandedly, is responsible for dragging television talk shows down to the abysmal level most of them have sunk to, addicting a large portion of the viewing audience to such things as "ambush television" and the exploitation of lunatics as well as individuals and their personal problems, as if these low-brow programs were an addictive drug. One good thing is that Rivera's program seems to be pretty much toned down since the backlash of the satanic hysteria he intensified and may have even initiated, and since the failures of that program and the ones to follow it. However, he is still Geraldo Rivera, to the best of my knowledge he has never apologized for all the damage he has done, and I have seen no evidence that he has ever taken any responsibility for or admitted to the obvious wrong doing of which he is guilty. He is still and always will be the Geraldo Rivera we have come to know and hate, and so I think we should try another bug spray.
2002 E.V. NOTE
Well the times change and Geraldo's fortunes go up and down more quickly than a yo-yo in the hand of a hyperactive kid. The Geraldo Rivera Show was also cancelled after a short run, but I believe Rivera still hosts a "news program" on CNBC, or some such station, his overwhelming compulsion to sideshow sensationalism kept in check and, at least for now, under control. Still, there is no apology that I've heard from Geraldo Rivera for his major role in the last Satanic Panic to grip the nation, spreading fear and hysteria, promoting charlatans and the very thing and people that it was supposed to be warring against, undermining child custody cases, and both directly and indirectly causing more harm to our society than perhaps can ever be accurately calculated.