Witchcraft, Elections, and Royale High
The founder of the Church of Satan Anton LaVey is reputed to once have said of Halloween, “I’m glad Christians let their kids worship the Devil at least one night out of the year.” This year’s Halloween comes at an unprecedented time in our nation’s history. Lockdowns implemented from March to June prevented the majority of churches across the nation from physically gathering during that time, and many aspects of church life such as Bible study, youth groups, church retreats, and other means of congregating crucial to Christian life have been curtailed or even shut down indefinitely since the pandemic’s onset in March.
At the same time, we have seen a growth in open witchcraft, galvanized by multiple factors. Many conservative commentators have noted the religious nature of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. They observed the kneeling, the chanting of the names of the dead, the black attire worn by many of the protestors. An interview conducted in June between BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors and the cofounder of the Los Angeles chapter of BLM, Professor Melina Abdullah (department chair of the Pan-African studies department at California State University, Los Angeles) confirms some of these suspicions about BLM having a spiritual agenda that trumps social justice. In this conversation between Abdullah and Cullors, the two activists openly discuss their practice of summoning spirits:
Abdullah states matter-of-factly, “We become very intimate with the spirits we call on.”
Cullors explains that when BLM asks others to “say their name,” they are summoning these spirits from death. Cullors also clarifies that using the BLM hashtag is another way to call upon the dead:
“The hashtag is way more than a hashtag. It is literally almost resurrecting a spirit, so they can work through us.” (30:00)
(This interview is available on the Facebook page of the Fowler Museum. Their open advocacy of witchcraft begins around 24 minutes into the program.)
An article published a few days before this interview in Berkley Forum of Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs describes a conjuring session at a Defund the Police rally in front of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s house in Los Angeles in June. In this article, the author explains how Prof. Melina Abdullah pours a libation as a group of over one hundred chant George Floyd and other names and also chant “Ase,” a Yoruba term used by practitioners of Ifa witchcraft. Dr. Abdullah calls this libation pouring “a form of worship.”
This increase in the occult in the last four months follows on the heels of a general national trend of more Americans identifying as either pagan or witches. For example, from 1990 to 2008, Trinity College in Connecticut ran three detailed large religion surveys that showed that the number of Wiccans grew from 8,000 to 340,000 practitioners from 1990 to 2008. Just six years later, in 2014, Pew Research Center conducted a survey that found that 0.4% of Americans or around 1 to 1.5 million Americans identified as Wicca or Pagan.
There is now also open advocacy of witchcraft in the popular online game Royale High within the Roblox gaming platform. First released in November 2017, Royale High is currently one of the most popular games in Roblox, and Roblox recently claimed in Bloomberg that two-thirds of all U.S. kids between 9 and 12 use Roblox, and the gaming platform is used by one-third of all Americans under the age of 16.
Anton LaVey would be pleased because this season’s Royale High Halloween updates will last more than a month, and these updates are jarringly pro-Satan. For example, in the accessories section of the game, Royale High creators sell Pentagram Hoop earrings with the tag line, “Summon all thing supernatural with these fashionable earrings.” Kawaii Demon Horns with a pentagram attached to the right horn are promoted with the words, “Join the demons’ plight against the angels.” A Shadow Empress Jeweled Skirt asks girls to “Get in touch with your darkest self in this gorgeous jeweled skirt featuring crinoline and bow accents.” The Shadow Empress Fallen Angel Sleeves feature a manicured avatar and fishnet lining, and the Shadow Empress Chained Bodice is “topped with eye catching chain and ball details.”
The Royale High Halloween version of the game demands that its players, mostly girls between the ages of 9 and 12, spawn at the latest update, so they have no choice but to begin the game at Autumn Town on a full moon late at night. First, the player flies over a cemetery until eventually reaching a tombstone with her username engraved on it. Then, her avatar spawns in Autumn Town, and in the town center, a female statue, who bears a distinct resemblance to our Lady Liberty, stands holding an unlit torch, and she has beautiful regal wings, yet every four seconds she elongates, and her nails grow long and pointed, and her head goes bald, and she becomes demonic.
Above the town is a large cross that is slightly tilting, and lest any believers be comforted by it, it is hard to ignore that the large cross above Autumn Town is below avatars of young girls, the majority of whom are wearing exceedingly short skirts, bending over in a robotic way in order to bob for apples. The game controls much of what happens to the player’s avatar. For example, I just wanted to walk through the site on my way to the houses away from the town center and before I knew it, I too was leaning over and bobbing for apples against my will.
Players also have little control over what their avatar says after clicking on doorbells. For example, mine said: “Candy or DIE!” “GIVE ME ALL YOUR CANDY!” “I hope these are full-sized bars” and “Boo! *steals all the candy*”
Over the last three years, Royale High has enjoyed more than 4.5 billion visits from girls eager to role play, create their own individualized wardrobes, and collect virtual diamonds and accessories for fun. What is less well-known is the introduction of occult themes through the game itself. Anton LaVey would be pleased to know that girls as young as nine are being presented with clothing and other accessories that champion witchcraft through updates like Royale High’s not just for a day but for one month out of the year. As Prof. Abdullah stated in the Fowler Museum interview, “Look at the way the invocation of George Floyd’s name cracked the entire world open” (31:20). Professor Abdullah is right. The libations being poured can conjure spirits, just as these games being played have implications in the spiritual realms, yet it seems that the only ones who realize this are the occult members themselves rather than the lemmings looking for the newest gaming update.