Written by JASON LOUV
In “The Sussex Devils,” musician and author Marc Heal investigates the Satanic Ritual Abuse panic that swept the UK in the 1980s, the trial of Derry Mainwaring Knight, and his own childhood memories
Ultraculture friends Grant & Kristan Morrison sent along information about Marc Heal’s new book “The Sussex Devils,” a personal investigation of the “Satanic ritual abuse” hysteria that swept the UK (and America) in the 1980s. It’s a harrowing investigation of how much the boogeyman of Satanic ritual abuse gripped the minds of a nation, interwoven with the author’s own childhood memories. The book centers around the trial of Derry Mainwaring Knight, a man who publicly claimed that he was a high-ranking member of a “Satanic cult” that was operating at the highest levels of British society, allegedly engaged in covert, Satanic ritual abuse with heads of state.
I won’t mention the group that Knight attacked, but I assure you, it’s one that will likely be quite familiar to readers of Ultraculture. Knight raised over $1.5 million (adjusted for USD and today’s rates) from local gentry to subvert the group from within and destroy their regalia. Knight was later pilloried as a con-man, including by publications like People (link here).
In The Sussex Devils, Heal (a musician and DJ whose confrontational band Cubanate toured with Gary Numan, The Sisters of Mercy and Front 242) revisits this dark period of history and the Satanic ritual abuse panic, investigating the psychic undercurrents of society, the mass hysteria of crowds, and how the case overlapped with his own childhood.