In the 1980's I lived in a small town not far from Bakersfield, which is in the San Joaquin Valley, an area that at the time was pretty foreign to
most Californians, unless they drove quickly through it up Hwy5.
Geographically, the Valley is separated from the metropolises of Los Angeles and San Francisco on the south and north by mountain ranges and hot
weather, and hemmed in from sparse populations west and east by more mountain ranges.
The sociological separation is even greater, as it is the "red" in the "blue" state. As the Valley became the overflow area for the urban north
and south, for those wishing to escape or to find a less expensive place to live, some more open minded folks moved in, but back in the 1980's the
Valley was still a place where generations of minds had been made up already in regards to old time religion and politics. (A KKK headquarters could
be found 70 miles up the road from BFL.) It's still pretty conservative today.
As American politics turned to more conservative religions as a power base in the late 1970's, conservative religious groups became more of a
sociological force. Religious conservatives could be counted on to spread the word of political voting records, but at the same time, this channel of
communication also could relay quite a bit of alarming misinformation, i.e. satanic ritual abuse, and its cousin, the sexual abuse rings. Coworkers
and friends would give me books from their churches to read on these topics.
Back in the 1980's in the Valley, it seemed that every fire ring in a river bed left by a transient was said to be the site where members of a local
satanic cult engaged in sexual abuse of children. Some law enforcement agencies had personnel devoted to rooting out these supposed local sex rings
and cults. The hunt was on to find them and bring them to justice.
Personally I don't remember the BFL trials, but I am not surprised that they happened or what local justice did. The McMartin Preschool case was all
over the headlines at the time frame, and that was in Los Angeles! It was a given in the Valley that such abuse could happen anywhere, and fear was
spread via churches to quite a few households at the time.
Here's an interesting read. followed
by part 2
Combine this fervor with criminal justice depts that relished the headlines and one has the perfect storm for a witch hunt.
From the first read
Joining the SRA movement during the early 1980's were many police officers, who were concerned that Satanists were literally
getting away with murder. It soon became obvious to them that no hard evidence had ever been found which pointed to a Satanic conspiracy. There were
"no bodies, no bones, no bloodstains, nothing" 12 The police reasoned that if survivors' testimony was true, then certain hard evidence would have
been readily detectable. It wasn't. The most famous example are the non-existent tunnels under the McMartin Preschool center in California.
Truly what happened back then in Bakersfield was a modern day witch hunt, literally.
edit for spelling
[edit on 14-6-2009 by desert]