From 1979 to 1987, over four hundred homicides, suicides, and assault attempts by teenagers and children across America were thought to originate from Dungeons & Dragons. This period, known as the Satanism Scare, was at the apex of radical change in media presence, family life, and social order in the United States of America. Investigating how Dungeons & Dragons was used by anti-occult activists reveals far greater concerns among the American public concerning the survivability of the American family. In Chapter One, we will see adults question the normalcy of individuals associated with Dungeons & Dragons. In Chapter Two, anti-occult activists articulate fear of economic uncertainty through a desire to return to the social roles of the idealized “Nuclear Family”. These activists promulgate Dungeons & Dragons as defying the status quo that brought Americans safety in the post-war era. In Chapter Three, television talk shows sensationalize the threat of Dungeons & Dragons, claiming it promotes nonconformity and violence among youth. This Independent Study demonstrates that the Satanism Scare was a grieving period for the collapse of the post-war American family.


Ng, Margaret




Cultural History | History of Religion | Modern Literature | Other History | Political History | Social History | United States History


Dungeons & Dragons, Patricia Pulling, Mazes & Monsters, James "Dallas" Egbert III, William C. Dear, William Dear, Irving Pulling, 60 Minutes, Geraldo, Deception of a Generation, Dungeons & Dragons panic, moral panic, Satanism Scare, Nuclear Family, Stephanie Coontz, Ronald Reagan

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2016 Nicolaus J. Hajek