The Yorkshire Ripper Tape Recording, 1979

By the summer of 1979, the inhabitants of the north of England were living in a state of barely suppressed terror: for the previous four years, a serial killer dubbed the Yorkshire Ripper had been attacking and murdering women in an area centering around the industrial city of Bradford in West Yorkshire…

Children of the Beast: The 1980s ‘Satanic Panic’

Of course it had to be the 1980s. We humans are prone to our periodic outbreaks of mass insanity—and there were no lack of those over the 20th century—but perhaps only the 1980s could have brought together the most garish fringes of popular culture and a repressed but growing fear of the horrors lurking beneath the increasingly preppy surface of Western society…

“Look It Up, Check It Out”: REX 84 and the History of an American Conspiracy

By Michael Grasso

On July 5, 1987, the day after Independence Day, a year and two days after President Reagan’s centennial rededication of the Statue of Liberty, and at the height of the Iran-Contra hearings, a monumental story appeared in the Miami Herald. Penned by investigative reporter Alfonso Chardy, the piece claimed to expose the workings of a “secret government” in place during the first six-and-a-half years of the Reagan Presidency…