Updates: UK’s Filters, Satanic Panics, Marie Laveau’s Tomb, and More!

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  January 9, 2014 — 5 Comments

Here are some quick updates on stories previously reported on at The Wild Hunt.

Shield_230x140.jpg_1951677811In July of last year, I reported on rumblings in the UK over the possibility that new governmental policies over filtering obscene adult content on the Internet would affect non-obscene sites, including occult-oriented pages. Now, these parental controls are indeed being shown to over-block sites that having nothing to do with porn, including a news site that deals with the world of torrenting and piracy. Quote: “What happened? The broader context is that the UK government’s launched a war on internet porn, with ISPs blocking porn sites unless users specifically opt-in to access them. but TorrentFreak says that lots of other sites are getting caught in the censorship net – ‘hate sites,’ gore, dating sites, and TorrentFreak itself.” TorrentFreak was officially un-blocked by the ISP, though that hasn’t stopped the site from calling these filters a “blunt instrument that is prone to causing collateral damage and known for failing to achieve its stated aims.” So far, from what I can tell, it doesn’t seem like Pagan or occult sites are being filtered (though this should be monitored by folks in the UK who use various ISPs), but these stories do point to the fact that initial concerns were not unfounded. We’ll keep an eye out for further developments.

Fran and Dan Keller — photo by Debbie Nathan

Fran and Dan Keller — photo by Debbie Nathan

Back in December I wrote about the release of several incarcerated victims accused of “Satanic” ritual abuse, and the ongoing, ugly, legacy of the Satanic Panics. Now, Slate has published an excellent, in-depth article about Fran and Dan Keller, recently freed after 20 years in prison, and moral panics that ruined hundreds of lives. Quote: “The seeds of the panic were planted with the 1980 publication of Michelle Remembers, the best-selling account of a Canadian psychotherapist’s work with a woman named Michelle Smith, who, under his care, began recalling forgotten memories of horrific childhood sexual abuse at the hands of her mother and others who were part of a devil-worshipping cult. The book, though riddled with fantastical claims (for example, Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and the Archangel Michael healed Smith’s physical scars), launched a cottage industry in recovering memories of satanic ritual abuse. (The psychotherapist and Smith later married.)” As the article mentions, the problem with panics is that most never realize they were in one until after the fact. Let’s hope that this particular panic has finally run its course in our society. You can read many of my thoughts, and reporting, on this topic, here.

-7e3949c270db2aa2I’ve recently highlighted, on a couple different occasions, that the famous tomb of Vodou/Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau in New Orelans was painted pink by an unknown person (though there are theories). Now, preservationists are unhappy with the restoration work being undertaken by the Archdiocese of New Orleans, alleging that the pressure washing techniques are causing damage. Quote: “Angie Green, executive director of Save Our Cemeteries, a nonprofit group that works to preserve historic cemeteries throughout the city, saw someone blasting Laveau’s tomb with a high-pressure water gun she said she immediately called the Archdiocese. ‘Pressure washing is terrible for any old building,’ Green said. [...] Green is also concerned that once the pink paint is removed, the Archdiocese will cover Laveau’s tomb in Portland cement, the most common kind of cement used around the world. The most effect technique used to repair tombs and preserve their historic look is by using lime-based mortar and plaster and then coating the tomb in a lime wash, Green said.” Laveau’s tomb is a tourist icon and place of religious pilgrimage in New Orleans, and that is making this process, no doubt, a more sensitive ordeal than a normal restoration job. As for the press attention, no doubt Marie Laveau’s recent pop-culture resurgence has made press outside of New Orleans take notice.

1979 re-release era poster.

1979 re-release era poster.

I just want to quickly mention that January 7th finally saw the U.S. blu-ray release of the restored “Final Cut” of 1973 cult cinema masterpiece “The Wicker Man.” This new, restored, version was announced back in July of 2013, and a special 3-disc edition was released at the end of 2013 in the U.K. (the lucky beggars). I’ve written about this film so often, that you could spend a good day going through the Wicker Man tag here at The Wild Hunt, so I’ll be brief. The new blu-ray is essentially the “middle” length version that played in art houses during the late 1970s and 1980s in America, it lacks the extended mainland sequence at the beginning, but does have scenes the “extended” version doesn’t have. The picture quality is superb (for a film of this era), and you’ll not get anything better in HD so long as the original masters remain lost to legend and rumor. I’m hoping that we Americans will see a multi-disc set eventually, so we can have a “branching” version that incorporates the lesser quality extended cut sequences, as the UK set includes. For now, however, this is well worth any fan of this film picking up and re-enjoying. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have an appointment to keep…

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • PegAloi

    Great post, Jason. I have indeed spent many a happy hour reading all your Wicker man posts! I must order that DVD now!!!

    Oh, and re: the internet software blocking in the UK, I just wrote an article on this and one huge problem is that any and all sites offering sex-related education (including birth control, STD prevention, and access to help for domestic abuse victims) are also effectively blocked by these filters…it is a really big public health problem in this regard.

  • Ursyl

    Funny that this topic of filtering censorship should come up today, when I had to take my car in for an oil change and ran smack into the dealership’s lazy IT department’s of bigoted filtering software that blocks any “untraditional” religious content.

    Knowing my previous complaints about this, sent when they ask about how the service was, have clearly fallen on blind eyes/deaf ears, I don’t know if it’s worthwhile to bother. I probably will though. You’d think that the “this makes us less likely to consider you for our next vehicle purchase” would get some attention. All else being equal, it does.

    • http://www.cernowain.com/ cernowain greenman

      I had my car serviced at a dealers last year where the large flatscreen TV on the wall was blasting FOX news. I asked to change the channel and they refused, saying the majority of their customers prefer FOX news. I asked for the manager and he said he wouldn’t change it because that was their policy. I at least got him to turn it off– but he said he would have to turn FOX news back on if anyone asked for the TV to be on. Fortunately no one did and others who were waiting there said they didn’t like FOX. Needless to say, I am not one of their preferred customers and have never and will never go back.

  • Cherlafeme

    Marie Laveau’s real resting place is around the corner from this official site. We were told this by a resident of the city who’s family has lived there for many generations. He was a student at Tulane, finishing his grad work in history.I found him credible. Further, if you have ever really walked this Lafayette cemetery, you would find many worn down, colored, decorated and defaced resting tombs.

  • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

    Here’s another update:

    Visitors to the New Stonehenge Centre are not impressed with the experience:

    http://www.westerndailypress.co.uk/Stonehenge-centre-flop-visitors-say/story-20428328-detail/story.html

    What many people tend to forget is that Stonehenge is really quite a small monument and pretty much the only stone circle that is paid admission (which you then do not actually get entrance to).

    The vast majority of the visitors will be tourists who do not have any spiritual investment with the place, they just want to see a famous pile of stones.

    It seems that the new centre will very much remove any sense of spirituality that the place could have and, by making it into a theme park, they increase the queues, but do very little in the way of adding to the attraction.

    All this, without anyone even mentioning the remains…