Satan in Poughkeepsie

In 1966, Anton LaVey introduced the world to the Church of Satan. The 1980s saw a “Satanic Panic” in the form of abuse charges brought against child-care workers and suburban parents. Today, the author joins a group of Satanists for afternoon tea at the church’s global headquarters in a “bland New York college town.”

Fiction Pick of the Week: "Other Gods"

A tornado causes physical and psychological turmoil in a religious community.

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"The next morning, I ran through the streets in my pajamas, screaming for somebody, anybody. I finally found Daddy standing at the edge of the detention pond behind the church. It was full of all sorts of stuff: cars, tree trunks, gas grills, hot water heaters, and two bodies. The bodies were naked, and I didn’t recognize them at first. But then I saw their faces. It was Brother Mack and the second Hillyer girl. They were facing each other, impaled by a metal post from the chain link fence, pushed together like two pieces of chicken on a kebab."

Fiction Pick of the Week: "The Sinner and the Saint"

A newfound faith wreaks havoc on a relationship.

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"I broke commandments left and right, several more than once. Coveting neighbor’s wife (well, neighbor’s husband)? Check. Taking the Lord’s name in vain? Big fat check. Lying? Too many times to count. But that was before I met Augustine. He’d made me better. Almost good (I still had a filthy mouth). That’s how I defined Love now. How could I ever see it another way? How could I ever see it with anyone else?"

Raëlism

Founded in 1974, the Raëlian Movement teaches that life on Earth was scientifically created by a species of extraterrestrials. Raëlians claim to have cloned the first human being and extol sensuality and pleasure as a path to peace.