Conspiracies 16 Moral Panics That Are Keeping Your Parents Up At Night  

Mike Rothschild
759 votes 278 voters 83.8k views 16 items

List Rules Vote up the most ridiculous moral panics that you hope aren't actually a thing.

A moral panic is defined as an intense feeling of fear over an issue affecting the population. The phrase was first used in 1830, and since then, moral panics have cropped up every year, scaring people for no reason, usually over something that's either been overblown by the media or invented out of thin air. From the latest new drugs (that no one is actually using) how to get killed by a gang (except not really), these crazy moral panics are scaring everyone, but is there any truth to them?

These moral panic examples aren't just old fashioned worries - they're all from the last century. Some burned out quickly, others are still with us, cropping up on an annual basis around events that take place every year. Most have little or no evidence supporting their existence - but this doesn't the media from hyping them and people from fearing them.

Which of these panics do you think are most absurd? Vote up the craziest theories below... the ones you hope are just crazy people being crazy.
1 87 VOTES

Satanic Ritual Abuse

Satanic Ritual Abuse is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 16 Moral Panics That Are Keeping Your Parents Up At Night
Photo: via Reddit

In the 1980s, parents around the country were gripped by an overpowering fear that their local preschool was actually a haven for vicious sexual abuse, driven by a Satanist agenda and brought to light only when children's memories were "recovered."

Not a word of it. The "Satanic Panic" of the '80s was a baseless fear of devil worship and Occult rituals, sparked almost entirely by ratings-hungry media and well-intentioned, but totally misguided parents. The allegations made by children involved in the "sex abuse" were absurd, and usually fueled by leading questions, while based on bogus scientific notions of "recovered memories" and logic-defying claims like teachers flying through the air. There was no compelling evidence to support any of them.

The major focal point of the Satanic Ritual Abuse panic was the McMartin Preschool in California, where a years-long trial spent millions of dollars to obtain no convictions. Thirty years later, the McMartin trial is generally regarded as a farce driven by moral panic and the allegations of one mentally unstable parent.
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2 69 VOTES

Flashing Your Lights Will Get You Killed By a Gang

Flashing Your Lights Will Get ... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 16 Moral Panics That Are Keeping Your Parents Up At Night
Photo: via Pinterest

As part of a gang initiation, prospective members are instructed to drive with their lights off, then follow the first person who flashes their lights (to indicate their lights are off), stalk them, and murder them.

No. The light flashing rumor began in the early '90s as whispers about the Hell’s Angels in Montana. Then it mutated into a rumor about “ethnic” LA street gangs targeting white people for death, and took hold across the country from there. Every few years would see a new outbreak of supposed terror, spread first by junk fax, then chain emails, and now social media. But in 30 years, no police department has recorded a single gang-related murder due to flashing headlights.

It wasn't in 1993, when this article was written. And it's not now.

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3 43 VOTES

Gay Recruitment

Gay Recruitment is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 16 Moral Panics That Are Keeping Your Parents Up At Night
Photo: via Imgur

The organized effort by the LGBT community to bring in new members through coercion and indoctrination. It became a moral panic in the late '70s, after popular singer Anita Bryant campaigned against a Florida anti-discrimination law by declaring that "homosexuals cannot biologically reproduce children; therefore, they must recruit our children."

No credible evidence has backed up any kind of "gay recruitment" drive, and most gay people think of the panic about it as anywhere between laughable and insulting.

Billy Graham's son Franklin thinks so - with adoption replacing indoctrination as the method of recruitment.
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4 69 VOTES

Ebola is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 16 Moral Panics That Are Keeping Your Parents Up At Night
Photo: Metaweb (FB)/Public domain

The intentional transmission of the deadly Ebola virus from the dark continent of Africa to unsuspecting white people.

Obviously, the 2014 Ebola panic is all too real, with nearly 12,000 victims and over 4,000 dead in Africa. But the western response to Ebola in Africa has carried an unfortunate strain of racism, xenophobia, and centuries old panics about "folk devils."

Many conservative pundits still demand the banning of flights and blocking Africans from entering the US. However most epidemiologists agree that banning flights to and from West Africa will not only not keep Ebola out of the US, but will keep vital aid from getting to the hottest spots of the outbreak.
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