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Oh, oh, welcome, welcome, welcome to Georgia expert.


Are you going a Santa for Halloween? Do you think that was a bit of a Santa? Absolutely. I was playing out my other spooky voice and I tried to shift gears.


OK, it was a misfire. It was a Santa. OK, save it for December. Listen, we got to give a warning. We got to give a spooky alert warning, a spooky episode of Lurk. That's what Rob wrote of warning spooky episode alert. That's so funny. Today we have a very spooky professor of religious studies. His name is Joseph Laycock and he's associate professor of religious studies at Texas State University. He teaches courses on world religions, religion in America, new religious movements and the intersection of religion and popular culture.


He's got a bunch of fascinating books. His current one is called The Penguin Book of Exorcisms. So today we are going to talk about exorcisms, but he also has a bunch of other really interesting books. One I want to point out is dangerous games, because that comes up about Dungeons and Dragons, D and D, Dungeons and D also spirit possession around the world. Vampires today, the truth about modern vampirism. So please enjoy the spooky and fun Joseph Laycock.


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As a professor, tardiness must be uniquely frustrating for you. I'm required to log it by by the state purposes of financial aid.


Are you teaching right now over Zoome? No, I'm teaching math to mask.


I wear a mask, my students wear masks and they're sort of spread out like a chessboard so no one can be within six feet of anybody else. And so far it's worked.


And where is Texas State?


Texas State is in San Marcos. So if you drive from Austin to San Antonio, we're about halfway there.


Oh, my gosh. You know what? Does the river float through your campus? It does. Yeah. Our students love it.


I have floated on it tube through that campus. Oh, that's cool. I think I telling you about that, Monica.


It's like you're on this little river trip on a floating in a tube and then all of a sudden you're entering the college campus and.


Yeah, yeah, our students all jump in the river when they graduate. That's a big tradition. Oh, cool.


I was one time in Rome and I guess the Trevi Fountain has a rich history of that as well. Like students from all over Europe will go and jump in the Trevi Fountain. And we were there like 1:00 in the morning. And all these kids from Spain who had graduated, all jumped in. It was really awesome.


Cute. Yeah. OK, my first curiosity is also this is a Halloween episode, so we hope it's spooky.


If you have a spooky voice, you feel free to use that. I will use mine as often as possible. But where are you from originally?


I'm from Austin originally. Oh, we were just talking. We were just talking of it. You probably don't follow Formula One, but the reason we had to wake up so early is to interview a Formula One driver. And he said now that they go to Austin, he was in this dude lives in Monaco. So the bar is high. And he said he wants more than anything to just live in Austin. And I was like you and me both, brother.


I mean, it's the best place ever. Yeah.


I mean, my wife moved here with me and she says I'm not allowed to complain anymore about what Austin was like in the 80s and 90s. And it's still a great place to live. So I do need to knock it off. She has a good point.


Wood is the only complaint really, because I did a movie there 16 years ago and it was different 16 years ago, but it was just cheaper is all it was.


It was is that the main complaint is just it's crazy expensive.


Now, I think the biggest complaint is we still call ourselves the live music capital of the world. But if you make a living as a musician, you can't afford to live here anymore. OK, that's a fair complaint.


Yeah, maybe the city should. You've got a great tax base. You got the state capital. I think you have five colleges there. You've got a Formula One track. You know, maybe there's a collective and we supplement musical artists income the way they did in New York with the layoffs and stuff in Soho.


There's projects like that in the works. I'm not aware that any of them have actually come to fruition, but it's a good idea and there are folks working on it.


OK, so my first question is, you received a master's from the Harvard Divinity School, I guess, right out of the gates. I'm wondering what's the difference between religious studies in theology? Is there a difference?


So theology is training for the ministry to serve a religious community, OK, they're really concerned with how religion ought to be OK. So so their concern was sort of their their own values. And the academic study of religion tries as much as it can to just let go how religions ought to be and just look at what are they actually doing. Right. And I argue that this is important to understand because religion shapes the world and shapes politics. It shapes, you know, military conflicts around the planet.


And it doesn't help to say, well, these guys should really just be nice to each other. Right. Why are they doing this? Like, we have to figure out why they're they're doing this. And the Harvard Divinity School is unusual in that it combines both approaches. Oh, OK. So there were courses on sort of analyzing religious culture and then there were courses on like how to preach.


You could be in either trajectory and you were in the more. What is religion in practice. Exactly. Yeah. Even when you say that. Yeah, that brings up one of my pet peeves is like, yes, well no, Christianity is about turn the other cheek and then you just have countless crusades and you go, OK, that might be what it's about, but we certainly can't ignore this aspect of it.


That's exactly right. And we just created a new major in religious studies at Texas State. And that's what I was trying to explain, was, you know, if you want to understand a religious conflict, you need to actually study it and study it as it is, not as you wish it would be. Right.


And you grew up religious. I watched a video of you talking about your Dungeons and Dragons book, and you had said you grew up religious. Yeah, yeah.


My wife and I are Catholic and some people might call us cafeteria Catholics or something, but we still consider ourselves Catholic. It still means something to us. And we got married in the Catholic Church.


OK, I think that's relevant. What made you decide, OK, I'm religious, I'm Catholic, and I do want to devote now my college experience to that. Yeah.


You know, honestly, I've thought about this question a lot. I think it's mostly just that there happened to be good faculty in religious studies. I think so much as just you bond with a. Particular instructor, and you'd kind of sign up for four more of their classes, but I think that's kind of how I got started with this.


OK, so your newest book is called The Penguin Book of Exorcisms, which is, you know that I don't think I need any explanation. That title really tells you everything. I think now is the penguin book part to make it kind of cute and less threatening. Yeah, I get a lot of jokes about is this are these exorcisms for penguins or like to drive penguin spirits out of people? Sure, but this is Penguin Classics, right? Know, we go to a bookstore and they've got whatever Moby Dick and, you know, Jack London and all these classics.


And they have a series of sort of primary texts like The Penguin Book of Undead, The Penguin Book of Hell, The Penguin Book of Witches, and these all sell really well. So they approached me and said, Could you do Penguin Book of Exorcisms? And so I did.


And so you must have had a prior interest in it, because one of your books, Dangerous Games, is kind of about Dungeons and Dragons in the moral panic it created. So you clearly already have a kind of interest in the pop culture down river effects of religion. Yeah, yeah.


I mean, my focus as a researcher is on American religion and American Catholicism. And I had published a work on William Peter Blatty, The Exorcist, and that the kind of effect that that had on on culture and that I was tapped to do an encyclopedia called Spirit Possession around the world. Wow. OK. And if you want to learn a lot about a topic, edit an encyclopedia on it. My name's on the cover. But most of that book I did not write myself.


I tapped an entire network of anthropologists and historians and other people. So one thing kind of led to another. And I've gradually become sort of an exorcism person, sort of through no fault of my own.


Yeah. So right out of the gates, as I write about your work, I think there's a couple shocking pulls for my perspective that you could tell us about, just kind of the overall belief in demonic possession and or exorcisms in America. Could you tell us how common this belief is?


Sure. So The Exorcist came out in nineteen seventy three and the film, you know, the woman's daughter is possessed by the devil and nobody will believe her. Not even the priest will believe her. And that was probably what would have happened in nineteen seventy three in the nineteen sixties we did a poll and only about a third of Americans said they believe in a literal devil and now that number has doubled. Right.


So we're more Americans believe in a literal devil than did in nineteen seventy three. And I teach a class on demonology and exorcism and one thing I'm always pushing my students is what caused this change. Why do so many more people believe in it? Because the assumption my students have and I think a lot of people have is well people believe in demons because they're not technologically advanced and they don't understand medicine or mental illness and things like this. And the evidence just doesn't support that theory.


Right. This is the most technologically advanced we've ever been and we're way more into demons than we were 50 years ago. So it's got to be something else besides just misunderstanding illnesses and other types of misfortune.


Yeah, it's completely counterintuitive to all the predictions of early nineteen hundreds. Right. You had Freud kind of saying now all these what seem like symbols or signs of spirit's possession or just mental illness issues. Right. So he's saying that. And then you quote Max Weber, who predicted that over time science would supersede belief in mysterious forces. So the common belief over the last, you know, probably I guess since the Enlightenment has been, oh, that we will see a precipitous drop in these beliefs as we understand more and more about our physical world.


Yeah, this is called the secularization narrative. And it kind of reached its peak in the nineteen sixties right before The Exorcist came out. There was the famous Time magazine cover that said, Is God dead? And a lot of people still think that this is true. And that's partly why I had a hard time selling a religious studies major to Texas State. But I mean, if you just look at our political discourse, clearly religion still is a big deal for a lot of people, arguably more than ever before.




You know, in my liberal bubble, a lot of people want to explain voting for Trump is them being inherently racist or something. And I guess some percentage is. But I kind of reject that. And I think it's far more driven by him being the only religious option in that he's going to execute, say, abortion policy that the church would pick. Right. I feel like that's a much more plausible explanation to me. Right.


I mean, we could we could say a lot about, you know, throwing out a bunch of tear gas and going and standing in front of a church, holding up a Bible. But the important thing is he did that because he felt this would work right. If religion weren't a powerful force, he wouldn't have thought that that would work and he wouldn't have done it.


Yeah, he would have crossed the street and picked up Catcher in the Rye of, like, is truly taking hold or Nietzsche or something. Exactly. Can you tell us the history? I presume most people know that the Old Testament written a couple thousand years B.C. and then Jesus comes around. Then you have the birth of Catholicism and Christianity then. And I think where it starts getting interesting. Right is the Protestant Reformation, where now there's three options in the Western world as opposed to just Judaism and Catholicism.


Is this where a lot of this stuff gets born out of so possession and exorcism, as far as we can tell, has always existed? It's throughout all of recorded history going back to the oldest tablets we found in the Middle East and things like that. But in the Western religious tradition, if you read the Hebrew Bible known to Christians as the Old Testament, there isn't really much possession or exorcism or demons. When people are exhibiting strange behavior, it's usually described as something like an evil spirit of the Lord.


So God is making you act this way for whatever reason. And you don't really need a devil in the Hebrew Bible because God is so mean to begin with.


All right. To kill your kids and stuff. Right. Right. So it's only later when there's this idea that God is all powerful and also loves us, that there has to be something else added to explain all of the evil in the world. And there's a we're basically missing a chunk of history between the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament during that time period. You know, there was probably influence of a religion called Zoroastrianism out of Persia that has a god of good and a god of evil.


So a lot of things change in this so-called testament period so that when you read the New Testament, there's demons everywhere. People are possessed by demons everywhere. And Jesus is going around and casting out demons. And there's this idea of Satan rules the earth. Right. That's sort of weird. That's his domain to Satan. Exactly. Yeah. Rex Mundi, the Lord of the Earth. And then Christianity sort of adopts spiritual warfare. And exorcism is sort of a major feature of it.


But then, you know, we usually associate exorcism with the Dark Ages, the true Middle Ages. We didn't have a lot of witch burnings and things like that. All of that began after the Protestant Reformation and after the Protestant Reformation. You have basically two hundred years of religious war because there was no idea of religious freedom. So each kingdom is sort of duking it out to see if they're going to be Catholic or Protestant. And that's when suddenly everybody is burning, which is getting possessed by demons and just sort of exhibiting this incredible paranoia.


That's what's been called the golden age of the demoniac. And I find this interesting because now we are also going through a period of kind of great social upheaval and uncertainty. And people are saying things like Wayfair furniture, ships, children for human sacrifice. Yeah. So I find that a really interesting connection when we're looking at the history.


I'm so glad you brought that up from knowing what you're suggesting. All these parallels are, it seems quite obvious Kuhnen is quite tied to this. But just to go back for one second, you just pointed it out, which is pretty Protestant Reformation. You had the Catholic Church having great, great power in a nation state sense. Right? You had monarchs who had to consult the pope and whatnot. And then when the Protestant Reformation happens, you start having nation states dropping out of that, which creates all this warfare.


Right. And you have kings declaring, no, we're going to reject it. So I guess I would love to just paint a little more thorough picture of the stakes of that, you know, like what would change for people? Why was that so threatening?


Right. So sociologically speaking, people need to have a reason for why the government is in power and in our system. It's because we voted on it. Right. In some sense, we we all agreed to this more or less. Right. But in a free, democratic society, you know, who died and made you king is a real question. Right. So the answer to that question for much of European history was the pope the pope said it's God's will that I am king of England or I'm king of France and so forth.


And this went on all the way up until Napoleon Napoleon was supposed to be crowned by the pope and he actually snatched the crown from the pope's hand and put it on himself.


Was that seen as is arrogant and taboo and disrespectful? Exactly.


It's sort of a legend about Napoleon and what kind of figure he was. But that was in the 19th century, right? That was still sort of the order of the day.


So to question the authority of the Catholic Church really throws everything that people have ever taken for granted into chaos. Yeah. And in theory, we could say, well, we've got the Church of England, you know, and we're just like the Catholic Church. You can trust us. And some people would buy into that. And it was OK. But for other people, this was really apocalyptic, right? This was really the end of the world.


And it created a certain type of excitement. And the other way that this intersects with demonic possession is if someone is possessed by demons and they're saying things like, you know, the Catholic Church is the true church or this treaty that France signed to allow Protestants to stay here, the so-called Huguenots is part of Satan's demonic plan. That gives you a kind of leverage. If you're trying to get, you know, working class peasants and things like that to your side, so I think that exorcism, at least when it gets written down, is always a political phenomenon.


Oh, it's always there's always an angle that's being worked there to kind of get people to see the world one way or another in terms of this battle between good and evil.


And was there anything objective about it? Was there a criteria by which they labeled someone possessed? And then was there a set protocol for for exercising it? Was that one of those things universal or were they agreed upon?


Yeah, so so this is this depends on what period you're asking about. So if you read the New Testament, Jesus is exercising people and it says, well, they have a spirit of lameness that's making them crippled or they have they're possessed by a spirit that makes them blind. So these people are not, you know, projectile vomiting and spinning heads and all that. They just are sick. OK, so so possession could be the sort of full on alternate personality.


But often it was just a disease of the body, not a disease of the soul. OK. Right.


Then the Catholic Church didn't really care very much about exorcism until the Protestant Reformation. So we know that before that, if you thought you needed an exorcism, you could go to a priest and they might do a ritual over you. But you could also go to like a village wise woman and she might splash you with holy water or things like this. And it was when the Protestants said, this is all magic, right? You Catholics are doing all these weird rituals that aren't in the Bible.


Then the Catholics had to say, well, OK, I guess we need some rules. Yeah. So so the so called ritual Romanism, if you watch a lot of supernatural movies, they always bring out the ritual Roman. I mean, in Latin. Well, that wasn't published until sixteen forty one, which is pretty late in the history of the Catholic Church.


So that kind of sets down guidelines for well possessed people ought to be able to exhibit certain supernatural abilities, such as knowing things they couldn't possibly know, speaking languages they never studied. Other things that get associated with this are supernatural strength, levitation. Oh, blasphemous rage. Right. Which is where they splash holy water on you or something. And I gave my students one case from Paris and this woman basically flunked a test to see if she was possessed.


So this doctor would do things like he would read to her in Latin from the Aeneid or the Aeneid is a Roman text that has nothing to do with Christianity. And she begins thrashing around because she doesn't know Latin and thinks this is an exorcism ritual. All right. More or this doctor was saying, well, she you know, she supposedly levitated. And some of the priests who watch this said it was a levitation. But I saw her just kind of lay on her back and but flop across the church and like, she was pretty good at it.


But it wasn't supernatural.


She did the worm. She did not say exactly right. Yeah. Inverted worm. So so there was an idea that there had to be some kind of evidence. Right. On the other hand, you know, you have cases where especially in the present day, almost anything could be considered a sign of possession.


Well, I was going to say I can imagine a lot of these being grievance driven like my kids, an asshole. You know, my wife's horny for everyone. Like, I just feel like it really lends itself to just grievances being the cause. Absolutely.


There's a book called American Exorcism by Michael Cunio, and he goes and studies these Deliverance Ministries and they say, well, you might not be fully possessed, but you might have a demon of whatever demon of doubt or a demon of this or that. And one of them literally says, well, my wife had a demon of wilfulness because I told her, make me a sandwich and do. Oh, my God. So now the whole church is, you know, dumping buckets of Holywell.


This really seems like a really stark example of social control, though.


I bet she really hop to it the next time she was in the mood for a BLT, probably. Or so. Yeah.


So, you know, the flux of these nations dates and whether or not they were going to have a real divine claim to authority would create tons of anxiety, even whether you are in support of it or against what you would know is probably upheavals around the corner if we don't all agree on this person, good or bad, having the authority. So that kind of makes sense as an underpinning of this this insecurity and this anxiety, which fucking can we all right.


Now relate to. So walk me through the golden age. As you said, the 16th and 17th century, thousands of witches were killed. Right.


We don't have the actual number. I mean, some of the the numbers you can see online are in the millions. That's probably too high. But you have to remember historians, we only know about a witch trial if somebody actually recorded it and then put that in an archive and it survives to this day. So there were probably lots of people who were killed as witches by an angry mob in a village. And it just leaves. No. Historical record, but the number is certainly in the hundreds of thousands now.


And so immediately when I read that, I thought. This phenomena has to disproportionately victimized women, as all things tend to do, or minorities, so, A, is that the case? And then B, what is even the male equivalent to a witch?


I don't even know what that is, Warlock. Sure. So there are warlocks, right? Warlocks that can't be killed, can they? They do the killing. Yeah. Well, if you read the Salem witch trials, they use the word wizard. And there were some men who were killed in Salem and there were men who were killed in Europe, but it was overwhelmingly women who were getting accused. We also know that in all cultures around the world, women are more likely to get possessed.


And there are different theories of why that is. And one is called basically the social deprivation theory, which is if you are a second class citizen, the only way to get people to take you seriously or to just sort of do something that you couldn't otherwise do is to all you're possessed, right? Because then you get a free shot. You can't really be punished for something you did while you were in a state of possession. Oh, one explanation.


And one way that they could figure out who was a witch is a possessed person, says that person. As a witch, I am bewitched and it's this person's fault. So if you look at Salem, that's what happened. You have four girls who are bewitched and then they start naming names and that sort of sets off the whole process.


So it's like McCarthyism. It's just to get out. Is just throwing anyone else in there. Exactly.


Well, you know, because the first person that they accused in Salem was, of course, a slave. Tituba Tituba has less status and privilege than anybody else in the entire village. And she immediately starts throwing other people under the bus and Tituba survives. We don't know what happened to Tituba, but basically she was eventually given to another slave owner. But everyone who said I'm not a witch was executed.


So if you ever in a witch hunt start throwing other people under the bus, it makes me think of drug enforcement policy, really, which is that you're just getting like a five and dime guy with a bag and hoping he turns on his dealer, who then hopefully turns on his supplier, who then, you know, is work your way up the chain.


It sounds like it was the same method when in Salem, that's when they finally began to question what they were doing because they had reports of all there's two hundred, which is now. Right. Well, there's only so many people live in this colony. Are we going to hang everyone in the whole colony or are we going to start calling B.S. on some of these stories?


And what were some of the activities that would be evidence of being a witch, which is were imagined to engage in these horrible rituals? Right. That happened at nights where they would do things like eat babies and have sexual orgies with each other and with demons. And one of my mentors is named David Frankfurter, and he wrote a book called Evil Incarnate. And in that book, he notices the things that witches were accused of doing, especially eating babies and having incest are the same things that Christians were accused of doing by the Romans in previous centuries.


The Christians went on to accuse Jews of doing that. People in the nineteen eighties said, you know, day care providers were doing the same things that the Kuhnen accuses their enemies of doing today. Wow. And so the whole lot.


All of that. Cemre My God. Way to connect the dots, professor. Wow. Wow, that was tasty. Yeah. OK, OK. Sorry, I just want to read that.


Yeah. So so we keep getting the same story told over and over again across the centuries. And one interpretation of of this is we're hardwired for this.




We are hardwired to think there's bad people out there. We can't see them, but they're all around us and they're doing these horrible, horrible rituals. And one interpretation and one thing people have noticed is, which is do everything we do backwards. So like we protect babies, which is eat them. There's a lot of accounts from interrogations where people are made to confess about which is Sabbath's, where they say they're like eating poop or they're like kissing the devil on the butt.


Oh, something like this might be a witch. So that's the origin of the phrase Kiss my ass goes to this.


But the idea is we kiss on the face, which is kiss on the ass. So everything is backwards. There's even paintings of witches is where they appear to be like Limbe Boing. They're like bending backwards before Satan. And the idea is we go forward to show respect and which is about backwards.


I'm going to do a drawing of the urine coming out of the toilet and which is vagina. Oh, wow.


You've had lots of time. This is getting you really excited. But that's opposite of how we excrete.


So the idea is the people tell these awful stories during times of social upheaval and it's kind of a way of assuring ourselves that we're on the right team. Right. Because our enemy is so awful and they do everything that we do backwards. So therefore, the things that we're doing. Must be the right way to do things. Otherwise, why would we have this horrible enemy out there that we're trying to fight? To your point, we're very hard wired for ingroup outgroup.


We're a social animal. We did for one hundred and forty five thousand of the years we've been here have a realistic threat of another group of people coming over and taking people. So all that hardware is there. And and we don't actually have enemies like that anymore. We don't live in a state of physical insecurity in that way that we did. And it's almost like our brains going. But we we got to look out for it. And then it's like, well, where is it?


And it's not visible. It's not the Canadians aren't coming down in the town. Next year is not going to kidnap your wife. So it's almost like you got to find a boogie man. We just have too much of our brain telling us we need to be fearful of that.


Yeah, I mean, there's a lot we could say about this, which is you're basically describing evolutionary psychology, right? We evolved to be wary of strangers and to think of other groups of people as enemies. There is even a theory that the purpose of religion is that it's not natural for us to live in a group of more than a hundred people. Right. Right. And so we need some kind of ideology so that we can have some degree of trust.


Yeah, somebody we've never met before, but they seem like they're one of us, but we don't really know.


Stay tuned for more armchair expert, if you dare.


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The other thing that's interesting is in sort of the earliest accounts of demons and I mean going back to ancient Babylon and things like this, the further back you go, the veigar it is. Are we talking about some sort of supernatural being or are we talking about other people? Are we talk about like some other tribe of people that we don't like and we describe as demons and then later on they get built up into sort of literal monsters.


We do that in common day like it's not enough to describe ISIS as these fundamentalist militants. You have to say they're savages or they're monsters or they're evil. Yeah, I think that's another hiccup in our thinking is that we need an explanation for everything and we love to explain things retroactively. Right. Which is never totally true. And so there's so much behavior that boggles us and scares us that it requires something not human to explain it to us a little bit.


Yeah, right.


And so I think the problem is not that people who hold these beliefs or cultures that hold these beliefs don't understand disease or don't understand mental illness because we have some pretty good accounts of mental illness going back to about 600 B.C. or so. But what needs to be explained is why these things happened to you. Right. That's where witchcraft and demonology come in. Right. Because you can't go to a doctor and say, you know, why was my baby born with leukemia?


I mean, they can tell you, well, it's a genetic disorder and but they can't say why it happened to you.


You could go to a deliverance minister, though, and they could say things like, well, somebody put a curse on your bloodline or you be played with a Ouija board in college or whatever, but they give you an answer.


They're not just going to shrug their shoulders. Right? They're going to give you like causality. Yeah. Like some kind of moral causality. And we have all these stories that can help bind us together. And it serves such a function. And then obviously as all good things, it has a flip side, right? Yeah.


So, I mean, you could view witch hunts as a kind of demented way of binding us together as long as you're not the witch.


Yeah. If only you can stay on the nonwage side, you're even that much closer. That's right.


And then the whole group is is that much more closely bound to together. And that interpretation does explain why we see this big spike in which hunting when the normal things that bind a society together begin to weaken.


Right. Right. You look at a map online of witch hunts, you would expect, like the really Catholic countries to have lots and lots of witch hunting. You actually don't where you see the most is in the countries where you have Catholics and Protestants opposing each other. Oh, really? Places like places like Germany. So when Germany is having thousands and thousands of witch hunts, Italy and Spain and Ireland, these deeply Catholic countries are not really having that.


Are England is having more, though, because there's there's discussion about what religion is. Is this country going to be. So that's one way of explaining why we see that that pattern. I mean, in the Salem trials, I have to imagine there was no proof of missing babies. Right. So clearly, people would notice their baby was missing. But I'm imagining it's not unlike Kuhnen, which is like all celebrities are killing all these babies for the endocrine, whatever.


Yet no one's on the news with a missing baby. There's no missing babies. Yeah. So, you know, with Salem, you know, people always say, you know, there was a hallucinogenic fungus in their rye and that's why all this happened. There's no evidence for that. All of these theories fall apart pretty pretty quickly. What everybody always overlooks, though, is that recently the colony had had a military defeat by the Native Americans and their French allies.


And we're sort of questioning we were supposed to be God's great experiment. We're supposed to be a city on the hill. How can we be losing? Right. That demands an explanation.


So the evidence there for witchcraft was basically totally subjective. People were acting strangely or people were saying, well, I saw the specter of so-and-so in my bedroom and that was considered sufficient evidence right at the debate of the day went around. You know, spectral evidence is not evidence. Anybody can say, I saw somebody in my bedroom last night were willing to accept that, you know, it's their spirit leaving their body or something like this. We can't execute people based on this this type of evidence.


And some ways the Puritans are better than we are today because they admitted we made a mistake. They said we're going too fast. We're going to have a day of fasting to atone for what we did wrong. And they eventually paid some money to the victims. But we had a satanic panic in the nineteen eighties, and I think most Americans have completely forgotten about it.


Really quick, just so I can button up Salem because I don't know much about it. And it sounds like you've maybe read what was documented. Again, no one ever presented as an exhibit of evidence remains of a baby.


Did they know they were not generally accused of of killing babies the way that they were in Europe, but also in Europe? You know, nobody who was in a way. Ever claimed to have seen a witch's Sabbath, all of our testimony of Witches Sabbath was you find an accused which you torture them, and then you basically make them tell you the story about all the horrible things that that they did.


Well, and you probably planted all just like these interrogations that go awry here.


That's right. And this is probably why we have this image of witches writing broomsticks. Oh, because we said, well, where is the Sabah's? Well, it's in a forest or someplace. It's really far away. That's why we've never found any evidence. We're going to have this old lady get out there. Well, she flies on a broomstick and that's why we themselves solved. It was just a logistical explanation. Exactly. Oh, my goodness.


It's hard not I don't want to laugh too much.


It's hysterical to me. And yet I see the poll that fifty seven percent of people believe in it. So I don't want to offend anyone.


But also, you know, the right and broomsticks guys, because how else will you explain it? Talk about confirmation bias. You know, she did this. So anything you suggest you'll buy into. That's exactly right. OK, so let's talk about the 80s, because this is what I lived through. How old are you? I am 40 years old. OK, I'm five years your senior and I was eight years old at the height of Rodney James Deo Black Sabbath posters.


My my buddy Trevor Robinson, his older brother, played the drums and he lived in the basement. And I'd go down there and I was fucking terrified. There was upside down crosses everywhere. There was pentagrams. And I thought, oh my God, he worships the devil and his parents are cool with it. And, you know, that was that was just very prevalent in nineteen eighty three. Yeah.


Right now I'm working on a separate project where I'm kind of looking at some of the panic about heavy metal and that sort of stuff in the 80s. And there's a kind of symbiotic relationship where the Beatles were the first band where Christians were saying this is a communist plot and it's hypnotizing people with their music and so forth. And that kind of let bands know there's a market for this kind of behavior. And then you see this kind of arms race if we're going to accuse you of more and then we're going to double down.


You know, there was some interview with the band Slayer and someone was saying that they found all these subliminal messages. If you play Slayer backwards and Slayer was offended because they said, look, we praise Satan in the lyrics.


You think it's going to be about Jesus if we play it backwards? We are trying to freak you out. I mean, as overt as possible.


You know, one needs to go digging. We say we love. Right. So this this this exorcist named Bob Larsson had a radio show called Talk Back, and he loved to have Slayer on the show and this band name to decide.


Oh, yeah, I know this idea. And if you listen to it, these people act like they're enemies, but they really aren't. Right, because Bob Larsson gets to say, look, I am preaching God's word to these terrible satanic bands. And the bands get to be like, we freaked out that pastor so bad and everybody wins. Everybody gets exactly what they want. Without Slayer, Bob Larsson doesn't exist and without Bob and Slayer can't exist.


Right? Yeah, it's very symbiotic. Yeah. So and then in its worst case, I think that people would vaguely know about is the Memphis West, Memphis Three, West Memphis Three. And there is a great documentary called Paradise Lost. Right. And I think those are the first thing Metallica licensed their music for, but they were solely convicted because of belief of devil worshipping. Yeah. How did that case unfold?


Yeah, so that was the tail end of the satanic panic. That was in nineteen ninety three. And earlier I asked, well where are the babies. Well in West Memphis who actually had this horrible murder where three eight year olds were abducted and found naked in a swamp basically and they had been hog tied with their own shoelaces. And so there's a double tragedy here and that they blame this on the golf kids. Yeah, but also the actual murderer was never brought to justice.


I mean, somebody really did that and they got away with it. So so they all they all hone in on this guy. Damien Echols. Yeah. Damien Echols, you know, war metal t shirts and was a dropout and had depression. I think he had been busted once for shoplifting. The other two of the West Memphis Three are kind of collateral damage. They're really after Damien Echols and they're looking for people that they can interrogate who will finger Damien Echols.


And it was actually a county juvenile officer who immediately after the murders says it's going to be one of these kids. And Damien Echols was on the list and also fancied himself an expert on occult crime. And this was a big problem in the eighties was people were paid tax dollars to give these lectures to law enforcement on occult crime, which in my opinion, isn't a thing. Right? Yeah. Sometimes demented people will commit a murder and they'll leave like a weird symbol or something like that.


But this idea that if police can just learn all the symbols that they can prevent these or figure something out is wrong headed. Well, the example I love to give is more killers have publicly been found holding Catcher in the Rye than have been holding pentagrams. And we've not launched a campaign to get. Of Catcher in the Rye or maybe some knucklehead abs, but again, you're trying to retroactively explain something, there's really nothing to it. That's right.


At one level, this is all kind of government waste because, you know, the police chiefs have to give so much money to training and they're just sort of picking training courses out of a hat now. A crime that that sounds good. I'll give that person ten thousand dollars. And then the person usually has no credentials at all, but they sometimes would set up like a little fake black altar, you know, and say this is what a satanic altar looks like.


And they would always have these lists of symbols. And it would be like, here's a jinyang. You know, this is a really satanic symbol. And here's the like AC DC logo. Yeah. You know, so this guy was a product of those courses and then they're looking for evidence. And then the next thing they do is they get a woman who is in the police office because her employer has accused her of stealing from the till. And they basically say, well, let this go.


If you can seduce Damien Echols and get him on tape to say that he murdered these people. So they put a recorder in her trailer, she somehow gets Damien Echols to come over. And the police have brought all these books on like astrology and stuff and like put them all over her house.


So this is going to get him talking about the he's going to be so horny when he sees all that stuff and she says, I want to be a witch.


And he just laughs at her. And then she says, you know, people in town say that you drink human blood. And he says, I just use that as a mechanism so people will leave me alone. And she says, what's a mechanism like this is? It means leave me the fuck alone. Right.


That's why I let these rumors spread. So the police later lose the tape because there's nothing incriminating on it.


So that gets lost as evidence. And then they basically teach her to say, I went to a witch's Sabbath with Damien Echols and he bragged about doing this. And then later in 2004, this woman said that was a complete fabrication. The police told me they would take my kids away. If I say this, and she's using very specific terminology, like she says, it was an Xbox and Xbox is this term that sometimes used in Wicca to describe certain types of holidays.


And she says, well, the the juvenile detention officer taught me the word eSport. I've never heard of an eSport before. That fake story gives them the go ahead to interrogate Jessie Miskelly, who has an IQ of 74 and is a minor, and they interrogated him for 12 hours. They told him he failed a lie detector test and eventually he just told them whenever they wanted to hear. And that was the basis of the conviction of these three people.


So it's a really sad story.


We're sadly in possession now of some of these. I assume you watch the making a murderer thing on Netflix. Do you see that one? I haven't watched it yet. Well, they have footage of them doing the same thing to a kid who's probably under seventy one IQ and he wants to go home to watch Wrestle Mania. That's all he can think about. And yeah, they just plant all this info for him to regurgitate. And it's just that's what pisses me off is like you got people afraid of witches and spear possession and then you have real things happening, that kind of thing that's rare and everywhere and cruel and nefarious and evil that's going completely passed over because of these other pursuits.


Well, that's the irony is we may have caught the person who did this had we not been so preoccupied with Damien Echols. And so these accusations of Satanism and witchcraft, I think they aid and abet the very thing that they are claiming to be fighting against.


So what would be the explanation for this moral satanic panic of the eighties? What do you think caused it?


So there's a lot of theories about that. One of them is actually just the economic shift from a one income family being the norm to a two income family being the norm. And that sounds like a weird explanation. But most of the people being accused of being Satanists were daycare providers, which that's pretty weird. Like if I said there's a Satanist in your town, you'd probably be like, oh, the kid at the gas station or it's the lawyer or whatever.


You wouldn't think that the kindergarten teacher, the owner of the knife store.


Yeah. Yeah, right. So so what is it about daycare providers? And so David Bromley said, I think what was happening is that in the eighties you had these families and they both got to go to work, which means they got to give the kid to the bus driver and the bus driver takes them to school and then they have karate lessons after school. And all these other people are raising your kids. You don't want them to, but you have to do that.


And so his theory was this, this idea that there's a conspiracy to corrupt your children. It wasn't literally true, but it felt true. It was a sort of metaphor for that kind of frustration.


Yeah. Your fear, anytime you're turning your kid over to anyone, you're very fearful. Understandably so.


Well, and there's all the difference in the world between the kindergarten teacher hit me today and she took me into a secret tunnel and we all drank goat's blood and worship Satan. And we met Chuck Norris. I mean, you read the kinds of things that were.


Being reported in the McMartin preschool trial, it's amazing that this was taken seriously, but that was another factor, was paradoxically, they said, well, kids never lie. And then they would say, well, this couldn't be true, but there must be some kind of truth in it because kids never lie.


I don't know the McMartin case, what happened there. So the McMartin preschool trial basically began with a woman whose son was about three years old and was at the preschool and I think had blood in his underwear or something like that. And so she she kind of feared the worst. And so the police, their way of dealing with this was to write a letter to everyone who had ever sent a child to this preschool and say, please ask your child about the following things.


And it's like sodomy, bondage, you know, all of this stuff that you need a lot of skill to actually seriously ask a child about. And so, sure enough, they get, you know, three hundred complaints. And as they investigate this, more kids are sent to therapists who are trying to help but are doing these extremely leading interviews with puppets and getting kids to report increasingly more bizarre stories. And eventually sort of Satanism comes into the mix because everybody is afraid of Satanism.


And eventually there's this claim of, well, there's tunnels underneath the school and by pizza gate.


Yeah, exactly. It was pizza gate before pizza gate. So the whole trial lasted seven years. Oh, my God. He was exonerated. It bankrupted them. It was the most expensive trial in American history to the taxpayers until the O.J. trial.


No way. Where was it at? This was in Southern California. Oh, a feather in our cap.


It's largely forgotten. Right. So this all happened and they did eventually get archaeologists to, like, excavate under the preschool. And they didn't really find anything convincing, in my opinion. But there are still people who insist that this all really happened. The Martins were really Satanists. They were really doing all this stuff and they sort of had a slick lawyer who got them off. So it's quite disturbing and and quite dangerous, as I think Pete's a great show.


I would argue any any citizen that can be triumphant in a seven year long court battle most certainly was innocent because the lopsidedness of the funding is off the charts. Right? I mean, they're probably spending a thousand to one.


Well, and eventually the D.A. was in this position. If we've got to find something, we've been at this for years. Right. And they were saying, you know, there's got to be somewhere, some piece of evidence. And of course, there there never was right. They kept expecting we're going to find this big cache of child pornography somewhere or something like this. And they never, ever did.


Wow. All right. So that was the 80s and what happened in the 90s and what has happened now and what are our explanations?


Well, we have a lot of data that if you go in front of a jury and you just keep saying the word Satanist over and over again in front of a jury, they're going to convict. Really, it's still a very powerful word.


Is that regional or is that that's across the board? That's more or less across the board? You know, some people notice that West Memphis is a town. It's in the Bible Belt. It has a high rate of people living in poverty. It has low rates of education. And these things correlate very well with belief in the devil. Right. We know this from big national surveys, but the data that I saw at least seem to indicate if you just take a national average, claiming that someone is a Satanist is a very effective strategy to get them convicted of something.


The only difference is that law enforcement and judges are much more skeptical of these kinds of claims than they were in the eighties because they're familiar with the literature and they kind of know people tell stories like this sometimes it usually doesn't ever add up to anything. So for that reason that the panic has diminished a little bit.


What just occurred to me and I guess is implicit in what you're saying, is that what it answers, obviously, in a criminal trial is motive, which is always a very hard thing to establish. And if you're looking at somebody who gained absolutely nothing from these crimes, that's just a cure. All motive, right? I want to appease this evil force. And you're like, oh, well, now I understand. But now that I know this person believes in the devil and wants to appease the devil, now I have motive.


That's right. And I've you know, I can't say much about this, but I have been consulted in some murder cases where people have claimed satanic involvement. And that's exactly why it's a popular theory, is because it takes motive out of the question, right? Yeah. Satanas just kill people for no reason. Everybody knows that. Right. So if you have, you know, a body that's found in a park or something like this, you don't need to worry about how that body got in a park if you think Satanists did it right.


OK, so now, as you pointed out in nineteen sixty six, time puts on is God dead. And at that time there was a kind of low belief in this stuff. And in the wake of the popular book and film The Exorcist, the numbers then skyrocket. Yeah.


You know, some people talk about the. Holy Trinity of Films, which is Rosemary's Baby 1968, The Exorcist 1973 and The Omen 1976, and sort of these three films kind of form this mythology of kind of hidden cults of Satanists and the Antichrist and demons, the kind of shape a lot of modern belief about about the devil for a lot of people.


Oh, I still carry around children of the corn. I was one of the few I saw and it had some satanic underpinnings, I guess. And then to towns in my life where I'm like, it was all children of the Corney like, you know, it's in my psyche for sure. Yeah.


And you know, most of those movies, but especially The Exorcist, you know, they wanted William Friedkin to direct it because he was known for these sort of hyper realistic movies. You know, he hired actual priests. Yeah. In that film. So it is very realistic. I mean, there's a lot of special effects that maybe don't hold up as well today when I make my students watch The Exorcist. But despite all of that, it's quite realistic.


And I think it is sort of persuaded people of this. This happened in real life. This is what it would look like. Yeah. And so we know that after that film came out, lots of priests began getting inundated with calls saying, I'm possessed, my kids possessed, my dog is possessed. And they said it was never like this before.


This only happened after this movie came out so that current Catholic Church in the current pope tell us what their official stance is on demons and the devil and exorcism because they have a billion followers. Right.


So so if you want a Catholic exorcism, the procedure is a priest has to write a letter to his bishop saying, I really think this person needs an exorcism and then they are supposed to sign off on it. And these rules can be bent. There are loopholes and things that they get used. But the reason that's the rule is that the bishop basically knows the local situation and sort of how the church is perceived locally. And so they're the best person to decide, is this going to be an embarrassment to the church?


Is this going to be something that makes us look like the good guys or is this going to make us look silly? And for most of American history, Catholics have been a minority. They've been seen as an immigrant religion, so superstitious immigrants fresh off the boat. And so the American church historically didn't want to talk about exorcism at all. And then this movie came out and then it was sort of this moment of, wait, you guys like this, you guys like that, we can cast out demons.


But the other thing that happened was by nineteen seventy three, if the Catholics turned you down, you could go the Pentecostals, you could go to the charismatic evangelicals. There were all these other people who would do an exorcism. And so the Catholic Church realized if we don't do this, somebody else will and we're going to lose followers. And so there has been this huge revival of exorcism in the Catholic Church and now there are courses on it that you can go take.


It's always been the rule that every diocese is supposed to have an exorcist on staff prior to the. Yeah, someone is supposed to be The Exorcist. You're not supposed to know who it is. If you call the church and say, hey, who's the exorcist? They probably won't tell you.


But I think before this film, it was just sort of this weird formality. There wasn't really an exorcist. Now it's beginning to be more serious and it's more likely that they have someone who they've sent off for training. And Pope Francis has been encouraging this a little bit. And my theory is that Pope Francis is a pretty progressive pope on social issues. And the people who like exorcism tend to be conservative and to not like Pope Francis's leadership. So by throwing a bone to exorcism, he's kind of helping to keep conservative support for his agenda.


And they can say, well, he seems a little bit too lenient on the gays, but at least he's talking about demons. Yeah. So I guess he's OK. Yeah.


Stay tuned for more armchair expert, if you dare.


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Well, and I hate to be overly cynical, but I think you could map quite clearly the ebbs and flows in their embracing of this concept. It's pretty inconsistent unless you paired up with the threat of losing followers and stuff. It just seems pretty unavoidably true that that seems to be the motivation more than just a die hard commitment to to exorcise all demons from the get. That's just not how it's worked.


Well, this goes back to the beginning of our conversation, right? We might think we'll be nice if churches didn't worry about market competition and make their decisions based on that. But they clearly do. And it's silly to to ignore that when that's part of understanding the phenomenon.


Yeah. And then because you just mentioned that he's as pro-gay as a pope can be, but that was a very common exorcism, right. For these churches that offered. Well, I forget what they called it. They get the gay out of you. Basically forget the gay away. Yeah.


The sort of gay conversion exorcism appears to be a new phenomenon. Right. And and part of what we have to understand historically is, you know, some historians like, you know, Michelle Thoko is one of these people have to read in college, said there weren't really gay people until psychologists invented them in the eighteen hundreds.


Right. And that prior to that, if you just like to have sex with men a lot, you were just a sinner. Right. But you want a different type of person. You just need to stop doing this because it's forbidden. So once there's a concept of, well, some people are gay, then that opens it up to kind of having demon illogical explanations of why is this person like that? I had never heard of a gay exorcism until about 2010.


Then it seemed to mostly be a phenomenon of these Deliverance Ministries. And unfortunately, it was almost always teenagers who seem to have no choice in whether or not they wanted to be exercised, who were being subjected to this. And so it did seem pretty abusive and questionable. I've also seen literature with people going to a psychologist say, well, I think I have a demon. And they say, why do you think you have a demon?


I said, Well, because I keep looking at all this gay porn and I'm I'm a good straight Christian family man.


So it must be a demon making me do this. And the psychologists in the past have written that up as sexual confusion. So that comes into play as well. But certainly taking a teenager who can't decide for themselves whether they want to do an exorcism and and doing that, I think is unethical.


I guess that my question is it's something I always try to evaluate with some of our political leaders, like, oh, do they really believe that or not? And I guess that's kind of unknowable. But I am going there a little bit, which is like if we can see that a lot of these things are probably motivated out of retaining followers and or expanding the brand, then you can easily see people doing it without actually believing in it. And I guess there's probably no way to know.


Is there any metric for us to know, like how sincere are they about this when the Catholic Church says, well, let's have a whole department for it and let's have some some literature on it and let's have a formal methodology for it, is that sincere or not? And I guess can you know.


Yeah, I mean, we did get some interesting data recently from a sociologist who went to an exorcist in Rome and said, here's here's my files. I'm going to take the names out. And you can just here's all the patients that I've had in the last 10 years. And it was several thousand people who had come to him saying, I have a demon, I need an exorcism. Only five percent of them were actually given an exorcism. So a lot of them, he would just say, you need to you need to see a psychiatrist.


Right, OK. More often it was things like, you know, you need to stop cheating on your wife. Yeah, yeah. To to to go to confession or something like this. Or you need anger management. But the ones who did get exorcism, some of them, it just became a lifestyle. They would be exercise hundreds of times.


Oh, it's not a one. You know, it's not one of handby but that's rare. You know, the case that the the movie The Exorcist was based on, that exorcism lasted like five months. Oh. So it's not unusual for this to just be done over and over and over again almost. It can become a lifestyle in some cases.


You can easily imagine in an era where they did not understand, say, bipolar condition, that people do have spells of manic episodes and that they would probably return at those times for some exorcism and then it would clear up as would happen anyways. And so that seems very easy to have a spurious conclusion on its success.


You know, and one thing that my students concluded is, you know, seeing a therapist once a week is expensive. But if you can get an exorcism once a week and you feel better emotionally afterwards, you know, that's a much cheaper alternative.


Well, and then you add in a very well documented placebo of. So, yeah, whenever you're dealing with this stuff, it's you know, it's not empirical, but one of the cases I include in the book is a psychiatrist who was assigned to a Native American reservation up in the Northwest. And this Native American woman brings her teenage daughter and says, you know, my daughter is hallucinating fields of blood and ghosts are attacking her. And in the 70s, psychiatry was mostly Freudian psychoanalysis.


And so the psychiatrist like, well, probably what's happening is your daughter is coming of age and you're having sexual jealousy with her. He has this whole Freudian theory, but he doesn't tell them that. Yeah, it just says, what do you think is going on? And she says, well, I think that the ancestors want our daughter to be a shaman. And so the spirits are challenging her to see if she can control them. But we don't want her to be a shaman one or go to college.


And he says, OK, well, what do you normally do when this is a problem? I said, well, there is a ritual that we could do. We could get all the elders and just tell the spirits, you know, thanks, but no thanks. And the psychiatrist, like as your psychiatrist, I think you should go do this ritual. Aha. And then it works.


And then he says, you know, I think that their rituals are just their form of psychiatry and psychiatry is just our form of doing these kinds of ritual psychiatrists. Are our cultures exorcists? Yeah.


Yeah, absolutely. I don't think anyone's got a monopoly on any of this stuff.


That's one thing I try to do in the course is get students to kind of overcome this hubris of our ancestors and so-called primitive cultures believe in demons and exorcism. And we don't. We're enlightened and we're past that. It's simply not true.


Well, in this great article you wrote, there is also a YouTube clip attached to it. And I got to say, as someone who's lived in L.A. for twenty five years, I've never witnessed anything like this. But there is four or five men performing an exorcism at Starbucks that was in Austin. Again, shocker to me. I wouldn't have expected that. Yeah, just. Can you tell us about that? Yeah.


So I've shown that to my students. And, you know, most of them in San Marcos, Texas, said, well, why is this even a thing like you could see this in my hometown and why central Texas, you know, any any Friday night?


It's really. Yeah. So I think that's how normal it's become in some parts of the country. So I think the general public is not aware of how big the so-called Deliverance Ministry has has gotten. You know, another good index of this.


Look at Paul White, Trump's personal pastor, OK? And she does these speeches and she sounds like a kind of medieval exorcist. You know, she's saying things like, we banish all spirits of Jezebel, all spirits of Bellisle, all species rattling off all these demons to get away from her president. And this is mainstream politics. It's right in front of us. Wow.


OK, my favorite thing about the Starbucks clip, I hope people go watch it is it's not even The Exorcist, which is its own racket from my point of view. There's a woman three feet away from them that is just divided by glass. She's in the restaurant and they are outside the restaurant. She is feet away. She's closer to them than some of the people performing that. And she's completely oblivious to the whole she's like reading some papers. And this is a comedian.


Maybe that's my favorite aspect of that video, is just how she's totally missing the exorcism that's three feet away from her. Yeah.


Another thing you can see in that video is so often exorcist, they love lists. The guy's like spitting into a Starbucks cup and he's saying, you know, all your curses and poisons, all your evil spirits is like listing things. And some people have said, you know, lists give us a sense of control.


We have imposed order on the world. And but it is very telling that across cultures, exorcism always involves, you know, there's seven kinds of demons or there's 13 kinds of demons or whatever the number is. I know about all of them. And I'm doing a full expulsion of all of them.


You can see the success of that in modern publishing. Everything is eight ways to lose weight, six ways to be better parenting. Three like, oh, well, they must have figured it out because they know exactly how many.


Well, and you feel like it's easy if I do these things. Twelve steps of sobriety. I follow twelve steps like they figured it out. Eleven one of thirteen would have been too many.


So has anyone ever talked recently about I mean I guess. Q And on and the connection to all of this, how the abuse of children is a common factor. And yet really the only evidence we have of an actual pedophile ring is within the Catholic Church.


Well, yeah, one of the most profound there's certainly a way where it's like or it's a problem within the institution. Right. You know. Yeah, that's ironic.


It's so ironic. How do they talk themselves out of that? I just don't understand how they're reconciling this. Right.


I mean, so so pedophilia and child trafficking is a. Big problem, and it's a big problem in the Catholic Church, it was also, of course, Jeffrey Epstein. Yes, I also think, sadly, most large organizations that have access to children handle this the same way that the Catholic Church did. The Boy Scouts is currently being sued. I went to an Episcopalian prep school with a dormitory. Yeah, same thing happened. Priests were molesting kids and they were sent to a different district.


The attorney, the gymnastics, the young Larry Nassar and the young. That's true.


Yeah. So. So it's a real problem, right? Yeah. And one theory about what was going on in the 80s with daycare providers was they said this is a weirdly the 80s was the one where they acknowledged child abuse was a thing. Right. Right. And it really part of it was they were doing X-rays of children and they kept noticing all these kids have had broken bones. And they eventually for a while, like this is some new disease.


And they realized, no, people are really hitting their kids, like, really hard. And so there was an acknowledgement that this is going on. But nobody wanted to say who was doing it right, which is the people that we trust. Yeah. And also, they didn't want to empower the government to go and break up the family. And so the kind of compromise this is journalist Debbie Nathan's theory about this year because called sat in silence.


The compromises will admit it's happening, but we'll attribute it to this mythological group, these these Satanists.


And I think Kuhnen, it kind of does the same thing. So, you know, Kuhnen has kind of appropriated this hashtag of Save the Children. And Trump recently said, well, I don't know about them, but they're very much against pedophilia. So that's good.


As if you can find a lot of pro pedophilia people, right? Exactly. Yeah. Opposing pedophilia is the absolute bare minimum for for political discourse. So, I mean, this is again, the problem is I think that they are muddying the waters and making it harder to combat the thing that they claim that they care about and they claim that they want to want to stop what is so, so true.


And we we had a great conversation with this New Zealand journalist. But, yeah, as he points out, this movement to Save the Children movement is almost uniformly against journalism. And if you really look at who has broken up all of the pedophilia rings, it is almost been unanimously journalists. So there's a great irony there as well, right?


Yeah. This sort of slogan of journalists are the enemy of the people. I mean, you know, we also talk about if we want to talk about children being kept in cages, you know, maybe we should talk about, you know, refugees and things like that. And they say, well, that's fake news. So it's it's very, very frustrating. Yeah.


Yeah, it is. And then I'll just throw it out here because it's Halloween. But I remember learning in an anthro class and it's been substantiated by other experts we've had on. And you would know it too is just like razor blades and candy. That is never happened. It has happened a few times, but it has been the parents who did it to their children. But there's been no not a single documented case of the crazy neighbor who poisoned kids.


Well, here's what's interesting about that is in nineteen seventy four, a guy took out a huge life insurance on his son. This was in Houston and fed him a pixie stick filled with strychnine. But he did it because he thought everyone believes this urban legend, I can get away with it. And so the legend created the very event that it was describing. And folklorists call this Austenland. Attention is when a legend is transmitted by actually doing it.


Oh, yeah. So it's like a chicken or an egg thing. Now people are recreating a myth in real life.


Exactly. The myth wasn't based on a true story. The true story was based on the myth.


Oh my God, we're so fallible, myself included. A great example is like watching that Paradise Lost there ended up being three installments, as I recall, and one of the installments kind of points the telescope directly at the stepfather of Damien Echols. And I'm like, that's the guy, man. They need to put cuffs on him. It's him. And then they, you know, they have a follow up on years later and it's not him.


And then they pointed at another person, like, that's the guy. You know, we're not good at this, you know, and because we're not good at this, we need to be extra vigilant about the legal process, about evidence, about cross-examination, about all these things. Like they are there for a reason because we are so fallible.


Yeah. And this is what I tell my students all the time is critical thinking if you're doing it right, should hurt. Right.


Actual critical thinking should really make you uncomfortable and should make your head hurt. But if critical thinking is making you feel good, that probably means you're doing it wrong. Right. That probably means you are just engaging in confirmation bias and you were just ignoring anyone who disagrees with you and then patting yourself on the back for seeing through the fake news.


You're so right to be presented with proof that confirms what you already. OT is not critical thinking, finding out things are counterintuitive and completely opposite of what you assumed is that's a great way to approach it, is that it probably feels uncomfortable.


Yeah, because I think all the time people are really engaging in something like anti intellectualism. And they said, well, what is Foushee know about disease really? And like I'm a critical thinker. I ignore Dr. Foushee about coronavirus. Yeah, yeah. It can feel like critical thinking, but it isn't. Yeah.


And again, I'm a little empathetic to those people as we just listen as great Rabbit Hole podcast. I don't know if you've listened to it, but it's so worth your time. It's a New York Times one about how people get I mean, just drawn into more and more militant fringe fanatical thinking as the algorithm knows, you'll be that much more interested.


So now there's an actual supercomputer helping us believe this stuff, which is terrifying, at least the knucklehead on the corner wearing the dress from the fourteen hundreds telling me that I'm going to rot in hell. That guy is visibly nuts. You know, I have a good defense against that. But the algorithm that's just serving up more and more tasty stuff, confirming my suspicions, that's going to be hard to defeat.


Yeah, I think people who say I'm a YouTube researcher just don't think about where the information is coming from. They don't realize that this is only showing them things that it thinks that they will like to to see that it knows its way smarter than the person himself.




Yeah. Oh, my gosh. Well, what a fascinating topic. So I guess in summation, it's on the incline. Yeah.


It's increasing these kind of beliefs you have right now, sort of the theme and logical beliefs and the practice of exorcism are increasing around the world. Absolutely.


To me, it seems like there is a really nice correlation between the rise in nationalism and xenophobia that has been present for the last five years. That is international with Brexit. And then you have the refugee crisis of Syria and people thinking those people are doing things. So, I mean, do we think that's the underpinning of this current rise?


I mean, it's hard to say, but it does seem like there is a connection there. And the connection may be that both of these impulses are response to sort of feeling uncertain about the world. Right. I need something to cling to. And for some people, that could be America. First, let's get rid of the immigrants and for other people, it could be good casette, all these these demons. But they're both sort of ways of solving a kind of psychological problem, of feeling uncertain about things.


You know, when I teach religion classes, I've got students who are atheists and I've got students who just finished watching God's not dead and think I'm there to, like, destroy their their faith. And what I wish to tell them is I want you guys to all leave with the same basic worldview that you came in with. The only thing that's not OK is smugness. Right. We have to be kind of open to learning more about the world.


If we're smug. That's the only thing that that I can't really tolerate in this classroom. Oh, yeah, that's great.


And the antidote to smugness is humility. And nearly everything we're talking about is yet unknown, whether it's the fear of the people on the right or the fear of us on the left, it's all unknown. So to be so definitive about these things is to me, a lack of humility, something I suffer from greatly as Monica just experience while teaching me the game spades.


So I am. It was a rough couple hours. I am uniquely susceptible to smugness and a lack of humility. So I guess I'm lecturing myself.


But you're a rad dude.


I hope to God Monica and I are floating on some to San Marcos River and we can throw you away. We as you cross the Commons.


Well, I want to give a shout out to Kelly Gobal of Texas State because she was so excited when I was going to do this podcast. She's a huge fan. Oh, you float the river. I'll I'll let her know.


OK, so the Penguin Book of Exorcisms. I want everyone to read. Is there an audio version of it? There is, yeah.


And it's actually this really silky baritone voice, so pleased with how it came out. It's not my voice reading it.


Do you have any say and who reads it? Do they give you at least like three finalists and ask for your input?


Yeah, they gave me about six finalists and we thought about it a lot. And someone narrated horror novels, but we ended up deciding that we like the kind of Barry White sounding voice because it gives a certain gravitas to to what I wrote.


Can I audition for the next one? Right now? I'm going to read I'm going to read a couple of things from your work and just see what do you think?


OK, OK. Walburn Bolkovac sources. Oh, I loved it.


Let me hit you with one more book games. I like that one.


So you can only do like two words at a time. Well, I don't know. Written down. I didn't see you pulling up direct quotes from him. In fact, the Dangerous Games as a much longer title, but I know it's about Dungeons and Dragons and moral panic.


All right, let me take two, OK? You ready?


Do you love playing spooky games with the mind like Dungeons and Dragons? And is it induced moral panic read dangerous games.


That was pretty good.


Yeah, I'm going to make that. My ringtone definitely will probably get annoying after the first paragraph, but maybe I'll just interrupt.


You know what? I just changed it.


I'm auditioning to read the title of your book, so I will go The Penguin Book of Exorcism, Bargepole Soufflé Corke. And then the other guy will come in the sustainable voice and do the heavy lifting like a remix.


Yeah, I love is a mashup. Oh. All right.


Well, Joseph, thanks so much for taking time to talk to us. This was super fascinating and entertaining. So happy Halloween and many, many well wishes for the book. OK, thanks so much.


This has been great. All right, bye.


OK. And now my favorite part of the show, the fact check with my soul mate Monica. Welcome, welcome.


Welcome to the subject. It's such a spooky Halloween.


I've never planned so much for Halloween as I did this year. Tell everyone what you've done, OK? You can't go trick or treating in L.A. for good reason. We can't be spreading this illness everywhere. So then my thought was, what can I do? So I'm going to put out candy at my house. At your house and our old house. Yeah. And then I asked two other neighbors if I could just put buckets on their porch. Yeah.


And they said, cool. And then we're just going to have the few kids in our pod go to those houses and get some candy. And I said, that's underwhelming. So I have a trailer, I have a 14 foot trailer, open trailer not enclosed. And so I went and got eleven hay bales yesterday and they're in the trailer currently and I'm going to do a hay ride through the neighborhood. We'll be all self-contained. So Cunetio will be our are fully self-contained pod on the hayride.


Are we all going to just the kids.


We're all gonna. Oh yes. We moult I'm going to be giving these rides for hours so the yard will be a party with I don't mind I don't even think they're a sponsor anymore. But the tiki firepit, which I'm obsessed with, I'm one of my favorite products they've given us. Yeah, I ordered a bunch of new pallet bags, so I'm going to have a raging bonfire here. Yes. And then I'm going to have the hayrides go in.


And then I've also got a little projector you can plug into your phone. So I'm going to be broadcasting some spooky movie against the garage here, probably. Oh, yes.


And then lawn chairs and then you get in and out of the hayride. I'm borrowing Eric's Tesla because it's electric. So you don't have to smell my diesel exhaust on the hayride.


Well, yeah, I know you really thought of everything. I really I think I've thought of everything.


Of course, on Saturday, it occurred to me that I had the right I had a blind spot, but so are we.


Are we starting? We don't like a ten and. Yes, oh, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.


I mean, all the real heavy, heavy hitting stuff will come around nightfall. And and and, you know, we got a full moon on Saturday.


Yes. It's the spooky and that's the voice.


I'm going to get a megaphone.


And the whole time I'm driving, I'm going to go look, I'm going to use the Sonos mobile speaker and I'm going to play spooky music in the hayride.


I used to do a rich boy. I'm going to go, Hey, welcome to the Hayride.


That's good. Thank you. What are you going to be again? I'm not. I'm going to give myself a Mohawk, and that's going this season.


It's mixed messages because you're going all out, but you're not really doing a costume. I don't like doing a costume. If I've ever been in a good costume because someone else figured it out for me, I don't know what it is. I guess it's like shopping for clothes. I just don't like doing it. Then do you regret it? I don't. I don't care. Well, here's what happens. I feel guilty. I'll go over to the Hansons house in the whole damn family's in some themed costume and they all match and they put it clearly so much effort into it.


And then I'm like, what an asshole. You should have raised the bar for these folks. Look what they've done. But I think since I'm providing so many things, I won't have that guilt. OK. But again, I don't have a fucking costume. I have a I have a Mohawk and I have a hayride.


You're in or you're out. You're either for me or you're against me.


Why don't you at least wear just like some ripped jeans like me? Yeah, you could just go as punk rock. I'm going to go as punk rock. Yeah. Yeah.


And maybe I'll write, like, on a torn up T-shirt, like Athea down the establishment.


That's relevant because you're going as Damien Echols. Oh yeah.


I was trying to think of who was you know what I here's what I thought of that I'd love to do. And I know you're not a student of Road Warrior and Mad Max, but.


All right. The first movie's Mad Max. It's in black and white Australian film. Then the next one's Road Warrior. That's my favorite of all them. There's a bad guy in it with a big mohawk and he wears leather chaps and a like a thong.


There's a moment in the movie because I got it on Blu ray. You pause, you can see this ball sack that's neither here nor there. He's got like straps across his chest, all this leather stuff and some weapons and a big mohawk. And I thought I should have got some leather chaps. Oh, wow. And I could have been him.


But it's kind of a it's a kid's party.


Yeah. Kids. Hey, right.


I'm a little worried about actually the my hog fitting in the car when it's time for me to drive. That's my more functional concern. Oh, it's going to be that. Hi.


Well, I'm already six, you know, I feel six three. OK, and then the the mohawk.


Let's see. I'm just going to stand up for it. No, I'm not going to say you get it. It's about to hear.


No, it's not that high you fucking piece of shit. Let me take this fucking ponytail. Oh you. Oh fucking tall. This shit is. Let's see it's high now.


You hurt your neck. Yes. I'm not going to fit in a car. We could agree with that. What would you say. This this is like eight inches. Like, yeah, seven call today, we're going to call that puts me at six 11. Wow. Yeah, my hair is going to be taller than just your heart out, Roland.


Unless Jess wears a hockey wig, we don't know what he's going to be. He's keeping his costume under tight wraps.


Yeah, I do think he owns platform boots.


He does custom costumes. Well, it's a costume.


I want to both compliment him because he has amazing costumes and also acknowledged he recycles a lot. Of course, a lot of them are growling, but this one's new. He said, oh, OK.


OK, well, then then I got to give it up. I must give it up. This is new and he has them custom made because of his large body.


Oh yes. Enormous. He is the bar by which all tall things are measured in our household. The girls are always like, is he taller than Jess or is that higher than Jess?


So speaking of Red Devils, right, that's right, we were just speaking of Red Devils, we were just as a red devil. Oh, I guess you're right. Yeah, you're right. I'm not what I'm doing.


Ding, ding, ding. By the way. Oh, I'm sorry. Can I interrupt you? You're the fucking little Mister Texas mystery was solved, thank God, by armed sheriffs.


Yes. Shouted Greed investigators.


It actually been two folks that reached out with info about little Mister Texas. Yeah.


Let me pull this up right now. Hello, DAX and Monica and Rob. I was going to be the same one. We tried to do it in sync. OK, I just finished.


Oh, we already messed up. I was going to start over with Hello, DAX and Monika. Let's start from the top. OK, get ready. Hello, DAX and Monika and Rob. I just finished listening to the Matthew McConaughey episode. Lovely, wonderful time, by the way. My interest was piqued by the little Mr. Texas story I do Carvell response to I do archival research for documentaries. O.J. Made in America. The last pause.


Those are two. OK, you're getting so frustrated with me because you're in a hurry. I don't know. Maybe.


OK, I love both of those documents. Those are those are literally in the middle of the reading to talk about your personal thoughts.


I just want to commend this person.


Those are fantastic, obviously, because the next line is I know you're a fan, DAX, so I live for this shit. I found the San Antonio Express article from September nineteen seventy seven, which mentions McConaughey as a runner up. And drumroll, the winner is a little boy named Lance Hunter.


Clap, clap. Thank you.


Oh, I added, you take three. Thanks for your wonderful and weird podcast.


OK, how do we say this name? This is I and s INDs INDs vai drive your phone sex zevin knowing and job INDs Ferragu.


Yes, God bless you. Thank you for finding this. And somebody else has also emailed us. But this was our that was our first introduction to Lance Hunter and congratulations.


And insincerely, if anyone knows Lance Hunter in Texas, I would love to find out what the experience was like to be crowned such a prestigious title and how he believes it did or did not impact his life.


Agreed. OK, if he's even interested, if he's alive spooked, oh, he might have succumbed to the curse of little Mr. Texas.


So, OK, Joseph was awesome. Holy shit.


He was. Yes. We decided afterwards we want to go audit his class.


Once we're on our tubing trip down the San Marcos River, we're going to hop out of those tubes. We're going to put on something a little more appropriate and we're going to audit his class.


There's also a. University that has a lazy river in it, that's crazy, built in there is yes, I saw it on something else and I thought, God, would anyone get anything like I would just be in that lazy river with it? Well, the thing is, you could study on it.


The whole thing about tubing is it was my favorite activity when I drank because you get an extra tube and you put the cooler in the tube and now you've got this floating bar next to you and everyone gets just shit. House ripped. It's fun. It's so fun. And then the other great part is you can just keep peeing in the water because you already in water. So it's in down the hatch. Out the snatch.


It just made that up. That's a pretty good change.


Should be a t shirt down the hatch, out the snatch. No, I'm not a fan of this.


That term snatch. No one is. But when you force to rhyme with Hatch, what other options do you have? I guess just down the hatch.


Out the pack. If you're forced to ride with Hatch as you were, do you like Patch? Is that one? I just made it up.


It kind of makes sense. You go down the hatch. Out the patch. You mean like the patch of hair? Yeah, yeah, no good. No, it's better than that. OK, what's it mean, snatch? Where does it come from? Why? I don't know. What does it mean snatch?


Is it because it's like this like a champi mouth? Oh, man.


I don't that's a very un generous guess.


It's it's not going to be something that is flattering. I'm going to go ahead and predict that.


What have we found out that in the eighteen hundreds snatch was what you'd call a prize kitty like the kitty that would win the Westminster Kitty contest if you found out like it was some synonym for some prized pussy. You know, I'm saying, yeah, it's getting worse, I'm trying to build a case where maybe it was somehow flattering at the time. I know I know what you're doing.


It's not working, but I know what you're doing down the hatch of the mat. Out the hatch. No, no, no, I can't.


I really thought I came up with the perfect right down the hatch. Out the hatch. Boom like this. Down the hatch.


Out the ladder. OK, all right. I'm so sorry.


One last one is. It's for you.


OK, down the hatch. Out the hatch. It's gonna squirt out your boobs.


OK, I don't know much about the anatomy, but he doesn't come out your nipples so that I know of. I don't know then the babies maybe but not mine.


Well, the babies definitely suckle from the natch and urine comes out to sustain them. Like when you have to breastfeed baby, which you'll have to do eventually. The baby hasn't eaten anything.


I think the time is up for breastfeeding, baby. Oh, you do.


I mean, it's been it's been. It was all I'm worried about. Yeah. I don't know how you're going to lactate or produce so far away from it. We have to hire a witness. We're gonna have to go to the sixteen hundreds and hire a witness.


OK, Joseph, I just thought for one word what this new system where you have a notepad, you look like a detective, you went and interviewed a suspect and got a statement, and now you're trying to read it back to your commander. I do have a new system. This is called Reporter's Notebook.




You're like a gumshoe and it's convenient, very convenient, very nimble, very small piece of paper you pull out of anywhere.


So William Peter Blatty, he he kind of just like glazed over that. I didn't know he was the writer and filmmaker of The Exorcist.


Well, not the filmmaker, but the writer of the book and the screenplay in the screenplay. But William Friedkin was the director, but said he also wrote and directed the sequel The Exorcist three.


Yeah. Which is a piece of shit. To your opinion, well, I don't mean to say I'm just saying William Friedkin was an amazing director. I don't I shouldn't say was I think he's still with us, so I thought the relationship to Q and on the way he like. Yes. Tied it in that this is the same. Yeah. That we're just in this pattern over and over and over again where there's instability and then from that grows this kind of satanic fear.


Fear of the other. Yeah. I, I'll say I think this this aspect brings us closer to arm because a lot of I'm sure he's right on the comment section that their husbands or wives are so sick of them saying, oh, I heard on armchair, blank and like, OK, enough. Similarly, you and I will interview someone like him. Yeah. And then we the whole weekend, all we were talking about is all the stuff the guy said.


Yeah. And the parallels between the killing babies with the Salem witch trial and the current kuhnen accusation daycare in the eighties.


And so with your friends with us were we are annoying as well. We just go around going, well, this other guy we interviewed said this. It's true.


Yeah, down the hatch. Briar patch, so I just also want to say, because we're talking about witches in Salem and the Crucible that I think Christians Broadway debut as The Crucible.


You're right. You're absolutely right. People want to know that nugget.


So if you want to know about more about Christian, watch the curse of you can't watch it.


It was a play. I bet it's on a movie somewhere, OK. Oh, my God. So the origin of the phrase kiss my ass. No, he said there's a theory that it's because like which is a poop and kissed the devils.


But well, he said they do the opposite of whatever we do. So we kiss on the lips. So they kiss on the butt. Yeah. Yeah. Now that they eat poo you. No, that was part of it.


It was, yeah. Oh OK.


There was rumors that they would eat poop and then also that they kissed on the butt, kissed devil's butt and on the butt.


So you said but a lot of times.


Well down the hatch. Out the butthole. Out the back. Right. I look down the hatch, make a batch. Now, that sounds like you're going to poop out the batch is kind of good because that's where you, like, have your batch of ovaries for a baby.


Wow. That's a stretch, is it? Yeah, way more than one of the other ones. I said that.


I can't remember trying to remember the patch. Yeah, yeah. OK, but.


Oh, here you go again. Betty or Betty. Betty.


OK, I found out another origin of the phrase kiss my ass. A lot of people would assume that it's quite a recent expression, possibly with America as the place of origin. However, it's very clear that the phrase was actually used in Hanoverian England. There's a cartoon that portrays a politician, Charles Fox, kissing the arses of voters in the election of seventeen eighty four times.


So people are crediting that as well.


But I will argue that Kiss My Ass isn't like doesn't need much explication. It's pretty literal. It's just like it's a great insult. If you're going to say kiss the worst part of someone's body, you just say kiss my ass or kiss my ass. These things will have origins.


I bet it's forbidden many people. I agree. But like often like, you know, PennySaver, they have a real origin, whereas I bet a lot of people are just like, kiss my dick, kiss my ass. You know, I think anyone could come to kiss my ass on their own.


Does that make sense? It does, but I don't think they did.


OK, all right. I'm cutting out what you said. OK. OK.


Oh, you said that Kuhnen Oh first of all, whoa, I have to make a big grocery bill on your behalf. So Ricky Martin is not married.


You know what? I'm so glad you're bringing this up. People were upset.


I remembered it was Iglesias.


Enrique Iglesias is married to Anna Kournikova, not Ricky Martin.


We're so sorry. Both Ricky Martin, Anna Kournikova and Englezos. Dax's so sorry. Yeah. Yeah, I'm very sorry.


Oh, I feel terrible that I suggested he was married to one of the most beautiful women of all time.


Well, it's like, what if someone did a whole fat check and was like, yeah, and and that Graf's wife, Kristen Bell. Oh, yeah. Yeah, I'm OK with that.


I what I fear is I think people want to make some kind of racial assessment of it, that because they're both Latin acts that I was being raped. Like I'm just confusing all the Latin singers. Do you think you are? No, I don't think so. It's OK if you know well, first of all, it's not OK if I was.


But I don't think that's what was going on. I don't know a ton of Miami singers. Yeah. And they're there are Latin acts aspect for me. Nothing to do it. Sure.


Yeah. Livin La Vida Loca. That's Ricky upside down. Inside out now.


So you said that Kuhnen they want to kill babies for endocrine whatever.


Yeah. It's not endocrine. I know. Yeah. And I keep I say it often and I need to learn the name of the I'm going to teach you right now you. Adrianna Chrom.


Adrianna Chrom. Adrianna Chrom is in easy to come by chemical compound usually found is a light pink solution that forms by the oxidation of adrenaline, the stress hormone. It is not approved for medical use by the Food and Drug Administration. The researchers can buy twenty five milligrams of it for just fifty five dollars, but doctors in other countries prescribe a version of it to treat blood clotting.


OK, hold on a second. So if you can buy this shit for fifty five bucks, why on earth would people be kidnapping kids to get it? Oh my God. It's even the more you know about it, the more preposterous. I guess it was already preposterous on the surface.


But now to know that it's fucking they're slashing prices on a drain of Rome, there's not even a reason to do it. And everyone is doing it's rich to begin with.


There's some light. Come on, guys.


OK, Paradise Lost was the first thing Metallica licensed its music for. Oh, I got that right. You did. OK, you said more killers have publicly been seen holding Catcher in the Rye than have been holding pentagrams. I don't know how many killers have been holding pentagrams, but there is some interesting stuff on Catcher in the Rye.


Can I guess a couple of them or see if I remember a couple of John Lennon's assassin Yepp Best-Known event associated with The Catcher in the Rye is arguably Mark David Chapman shooting of John Lennon.


I also think the guy who tried to assassinate Ronnie Reagan. That's right.


John Hinckley Jr., John Hinckley Jr., also Robert John Bardo, who murdered Rebecca Schaffer, was carrying the book when he visited Schaffer's apartment in Hollywood on July 18th, 1989, and murdered her. Hmm. OK, yes.


So pretty much those I wrote the darkest thing I've ever written. And I want to say one of the best things about short stories I've ever written. I wrote it after reading Catcher in the Rye.


Oh, yeah? Really? Yeah. What was it about you?


About a guy who shot his ceiling to kill the people above him, but it starts with him loving this bird in Central Park.


Hmm. Maybe Catcher in the Rye is dangerous. The bottom line is you cannot outlaw Catcher in the Rye because wacko's respond to it in a weird way, like no one would argue to outlaw a book. That's why I use that as an example. Hmm, that's an interesting I mean, a lot of arguments on that, yeah, but I, I do think, like, I, I don't know that I think the bell curve should be a book that you can.


Well, I mean, I guess you should be able to buy it if you want it. Yeah. But I don't think it's a good book or a healthy book or a book that people should read.


Absolutely not. I just fundamentally don't believe in outlawing books.


Yeah, I guess I agree.


I guess you got you got to take some of the you know, you've got to take the mind comps of the publishing world to get the catches in the rise.


But it kind of sounds like Catcher in the Rye is a mind comp.


No, it's not. Have you ever read it? Yeah, I have. I think it's one of the best books ever written. It's in my top five books I've ever read.


But if it makes everyone kill everyone, it doesn't say it's made a few people. It made you write a killer book. I know. And it made other people kill chicken or the egg, though.


I don't know if I already knew. Who knows? Who knows. But Holden Caulfield, what a character. Yeah.


I've always been obsessed with the name Phoebe afterwards because, you know, his sister, he loved so much. I loved the book the way he's describing how uncomfortable he is on the chair.


Sitting in the dean's office is one of the best bits of writing ever read where I'm like, I'm there. I've sat on that same chair. I've been that uncomfortable. And that's all I can think about while I'm talking to somebody.


It's just so good. It's good. Don't read it.


OK, the McMartin trial, he said, is the most expensive trial to taxpayers until O.J.. There's a couple of things here. The case lasted seven years and cost 15 million, the longest and most expensive criminal case in the history of the United States legal system and ultimately resulted in no convictions. This doesn't actually say O.J..


Yeah, and then in another article, five court cases that turned out to be the most expensive in US history.


These are settlements, biggest settlements of all time.


Going to court can be rather expensive in terms of attorney fees and court costs. But you also have to consider the amount of the settlement settlements can often be in the millions of dollars, especially for class action lawsuits and other types of commercial litigation.


So, yeah, this is including that 206 billion payable over a period of twenty five years was a settlement amount for one of the largest lawsuits ever against a manufacturer. In addition to paying the medical expenses for many smokers, a settlement money was also used to establish anti-smoking campaigns.


Oh, I'm going to get can I get two more on that list? Sure. Definitely. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill. That's next. BP oil spill.


Oh, yeah. How much? That's it. That's over one hundred billion, if I remember. Forty two million payout.


Know the case involving the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and BP oil resulted in a 42 million payout. The spill occurred in 2010 and released almost five million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Much of the settlement received in this case was used for the cleanup and restoration of the environment.


Oh, I thought it was way more than that. I was very wrong.


This one's a ding, ding, ding relevant kind of the smartphone patent wars between Apple and Samsung. That's like between me and you. Yeah.


Samsung Patent Law and the resulting patent disputes are both complex and extremely costly. The case between Apple and Samsung resulted in a 40 billion settlement between 2011 and 2012. Apple and Samsung battled in court with Apple eventually winning the case. Many cases are still being heard in court. I wonder if that's a typo. And BP oil is supposed to be forty two billion.


I honestly, I think it is.


I was on 60 Minutes on it, and it's just like the rest of these are billions, so it would make sense.


Well, here we go. How much should BP BP paid around sixty three point four billion by the end of September to cover cleanup costs and legal fees linked to the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history. OK. Well, I'm getting closer, I guess, one hundred billion and I'm still way off, but I'm oh, look at this one. Five of the most expensive court. Yeah, these are I mean, these are all crossing over McMartin preschool, 15 million, Wildenstein divorce settlement, two point five billion.


That was on the other list to smartphone patent wars, 40 billion, BP oil spill. Forty two billion. On this other list, it's saying man to back. OK, this is the same list on a different reporter. Weird. This one is the right a B instead of M o on BP. But. All right.


Well, those are the father listed on a few reports. OK, OK.


What we learn is it's very costly to get into a patent war with Apple or to spill a ton of oil in the Gulf. And it's hard to make lists. Yes, that's another thing, the main thing, they get confusing.


OK, you said the Catholic Church and the pope has a billion followers, one point two billion Roman Catholics in the world, according to Vatican figures.


OK, so those are inflated. Maybe when you think there maybe. I don't know. I don't know.


I OK, very trusting. Yeah.


I read one billion in his article he had written. Oh, that's why I quoted him.


You think the point, too, is the inflated 20 percent inflation. Wow. Yeah. Yeah. And just lastly, to tie things up, not adding big name, I just love that he said and I thought about it multiple times since and I'm going to keep thinking about it when he said critical thinking, if you're doing it right, should hurt.


I like that a lot. Down the hatch, out the scratch issue.


That sounds like a scabies vagi.


I think it sounds like you mean the bite because that's where you would scratch people's. Don't you think in general people have itchy but stinky finger. That's an old one though who go to bed with itchy but wake up with stinky finger. You know that one. No, it's a proverb though who go to bed with Itchy, but wake up with stinky finger rolls though. Who fart in church, sit in on pew.


That's those stupid God.


OK, I just think that if you let's say this, us people to rank the top 10 inches things on their body. This is like the family feud. And you go give me a bottle and it goes, ding, ding, ding, going to be the first one that came up like the most Americans said, their butt itches.


I don't think that would be true. What would it be like? Maybe knows, OK.


It definitely be on the family feud list, but I think no one would be, but. Yeah, I don't enjoy my butt. Well, there is an old proverb. OK, I love you. Happy Halloween, guys. Happy Halloween Hollow. Well, all holiday eve. Happy all Halloween or.