Vox Conversations

Vox Conversations brings you discussions between the brightest minds and the deepest thinkers; conversations that will cause you to question old assumptions and think about the world and our role in it in a new light. Join Sean Illing, Jamil Smith, and their colleagues across the Vox newsroom for new episodes every Monday and Thursday.



Why are we so worried about Satan?

Vox's Sean Illing talks with Sarah Marshall, co-host of the You're Wrong About podcast, about the Satanic Panic of the early 1980s. They discuss America's penchant for moral panics, why the country latches onto outlandish stories, and what the Satanic panic and its echoes today say about America's collective psyche.

Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling) Interviews Writer, Vox

Guest: Sarah Marshall (@Remember_Sarah) Author; host of the You're Wrong About podcast


  • You’re Wrong About, “The Satanic Panic” (May 2018)
  • “Why Satanic Panic never really ended” by Aja Romano (Vox, March 31)
  • “Michelle Remembers and the Satanic Panic” by Megan Goodwin (The Revealer, Feb. 4)
  • “There’s a bear in the woods” (Ronald Reagan campaign ad, 1984)
  • The McMartin preschool trial
  • “Baseless Wayfair child-trafficking theory spreads online” by Amanda Seitz and Ali Swenson (AP, July 2020)
  • The Mann Act (a.k.a. “White-Slave Traffic Act of 1910”)

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This episode was made by: 

  • Producer: Erikk Geannikis
  • Editor: Amy Drozdowska
  • Engineer: Paul Mounsey
  • VP, Vox Audio: Liz Kelly Nelson

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 2021-05-06  1h4m