Great short video from Retro Report on the great Dungeons & Dragons panic of the 1980s. The direct consequences of this particular moral panic weren’t as severe as some others. It mostly involved efforts to ban the game and, of course, led to ostracizing the kids who played it. (Not a small thing, given that, as the video points out, these kids tended not to fit in to begin with.)

But it was part of a larger fear of and obsession with “Satanism” and the occult that began in the 1970s, then flourished in the 1980s and early 1990s. (This Time cover story from 1972 was one of the earliest and most amusing clips from the media’s contribution to the panic.) That larger trend did have some pretty devastating fallout, particularly within the criminal justice system. It spurred dozens, perhaps hundreds, of wrongful prosecutions of adults for alleged Satanic ritual sex abuse of children that never occurred. (For a relic from that era, check out this incredible Chicago Tribune report.) Fear of the occult was behind the prosecution of the West Memphis Three and played into the death sentence given to Cameron Todd Willingham, a man most now believe was innocent. Propagators of the panic also tied the occult and Satan worship to heavy metal music and drug use. The uniting of the three resulted in countless kids being sent to abusive “tough love” drug rehab centers around the country. Not only were many of these kids not addicts, but the abuse they endured at these facilities did far more damage than a little pot-smoking ever could. Others  developed substance abuse problems while at the centers, or as they tried to cope with what they had endured. (For an excellent history of these centers, read Maia Szalavitz’s book, “Help at Any Cost.)