My Satanist-on-the-Street Dreams Crushed

Ever since I heard SatanCon would be held in Boston last weekend, I eagerly anticipated a spring project: Satanist-on-the-street.

You’ve heard of man-on-the-street, where the willing passerby stumbles into an interview where he’ll likely look stupid or silly. Imagine the possibilities for comic gold on the sidewalk outside “the largest satanic gathering in history” at Marriot Copley Place.

Especially after sifting through the sold-out itinerary, I had hoped to ask the lost souls which presentation they liked best. Was it “Deconstructing Your Religious Upbringing?” Or maybe “Satanism and Self-Pleasure?” Perhaps they were simply in the mood to binge-shop at the Satanic Marketplace.

Screen capture: SatanCon 2023 itinerary from The Satanic Temple’s website

Full disclosure: I had really hoped to ask Satanists who they vote for. However, my dreams were crushed. The attendees wouldn’t talk.

I did elicit some information from a few SatanCon participants. Still, the lack of video footage disappointments me most. Not that they’re exactly hard to pick out of a crowd, but after this Sunday, I consider myself a seasoned Satanist-spotter.

From my relatively small data set, I gathered that the average Satanist tends to prefer wearing a skirt or floor-length cloak, not pants. If jeans are more that particular Satanist’s vibe, they’re skin-tight. And black—always black.

Some of the Satanists wore merchandise from their favorite demonic small business—including the “After School Satan Club,” a group for adolescents—or from a previous hellish gathering. Jewelry was almost always present in the form of unconventional piercings or loud multi-charmed necklaces.

A few sported Baphomet-reminiscent horns while others chose a more subtle headdress.

A female Satanist might choose chunky platformed heels to go with her strappy get-up on top. Come to think of it, some of the male Satanists made a similar shoe choice. Some couples selected medieval gothic footwear, like something out of The Princess Bride.

Most alarming to me was the number of upside-down cross forehead tattoos.

I caught up with most Satanists while they were on their smoke or vape break. They were surprisingly warm with each other, but they were cold with me. I was getting the notion that the crew was either extremely timid or there was an unspoken agreement not to chat it up with outsiders.

One jumpy Satanist couple asked me to flash my “press credentials” when I inquired how far they had traveled for the event. They scoffed when I couldn’t produce the level of authenticity they were looking for.

Another Satanist told me he came all the way from Tennessee.

More hostile attendees stormed past both me and a handful of men distributing copies of the Gospel of John. They rushed into their rideshare vehicles with an angry, “Hail Satan!” The drivers tried very hard to keep their cool while loading up the luggage.

One gentle Satanist finally informed me that attendees were instructed not to speak to press and that he certainly would not be speaking to me. When I asked why, he explained that the higher-ups didn’t want a false portrayal of the ideology spreading from publication to publication.

Think about that for a moment. The Satanists were worried they’d look bad.

I’ll admit I was surprised at how willing the clan was to follow orders to stay silent, considering that their personas focus so much on defiance, autonomy and personal freedom.

But they were willing to go along with the super-ultra-boosted vaccine and surgical mask requirements as well. Maybe Satanists prefer marching orders after all. It just depends on who’s giving the orders – God or Beelzebub.

I regret not being able to provide a Satanist-on-the-street to introduce you to the droves of demon-worshippers in your backyard this weekend. But you know what they say: Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t!

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