Lance Mannion has a good post on the Conservative War on Halloween, which reminded me of a story of my younger days in church.
The year is 1988, late October. I was thirteen years old. A speaker came to our youth group to teach us about the evils of Halloween, its roots in paganism and Satanism and witchcraft, and also that heavy metal music was a gateway to devil worship. Throughout his presentation, the speaker used materials and recordings from Mike Warnke.
Who is Mike Warnke? Mike Warnke is one of the great bullshit artists of American Christianity, and you know that's saying something. In 1973 Warnke published a book called the Satan Seller, in which he told of his experiences as a Satanic high priest and his eventual conversion to Christianity. For almost two decades after, Warnke made a great living as a speaker in churches and conventions as an "expert" on Satanism and the occult.
In 1990, the Christian magazine Cornerstone published an expose which showed Warnke's story to be a complete, utter fabrication. True to what Twain said, Warnke's lies had gotten halfway around the world before the truth had gotten its shoes on, and today a large portion of what conservative evangelicals believe about Halloween and Satanic practices is derived from Warnke's fabrications.
The book is worth checking out, it's absolutely hilarious. It reads precisely how you'd think a too-late-to-the-party square would imagine Satanism to be, the topper being the swinging bachelor pad, complete with two blonde love-slaves, that his congregation provides for him.
P.S. After the presentation, I totally got into heavy metal (shows devil sign, makes metal face).