Satan in Northern Ireland

Dennis Wheatley (1897–1977),  British military intelligence operative and author of occult-horror novels, is supposed to have left the “strategic military deception” trade after World War II, but his spirit evidently lived on.

According to a recent article in The Guardian newspaper, during “the Troubles” — the period of conflict between versions of the Irish Republican Army and their Unionist [loyalist] opponents that peaked during the late 1960s and 1970s — British intelligence operatives tried to create a “Satanic panic” that would hinder all the so-called paramilitary groups.

Many Irish nationalists were strong Catholics, while many Unionists were followers of the “Free Presbyterian” minister/politician Ian Paisley. Both were likely to accept the idea of Wheatley-style Satanists among them:

The head of the army’s “black operations” in Northern Ireland, Captain Colin Wallace [said] that they deliberately stoked up a satanic panic from 1972 to 1974, even placing black candles and upside-down crucifixes in derelict buildings in some of Belfast’s war zones.

Then, army press officers leaked stories to newspapers about black masses and satanic rituals taking place from republican Ardoyne in north Belfast to the loyalist-dominated east of the city.

If nothing else, it kept gullible teenagers off the street late at night, maybe.