Make horrid scars and gashes.

8.23.2006

Mike Warnke "A Christian Perspective On Halloween" (1979)

Here's a weird LP from the late 70's; a vinyl pressing of a syndicated Christian radio show loaded with complete & utter misinformation about the history of Halloween, as told by comedian & discredited "Ex-Satanist" Mike Warnke. If you can make it through the whole thing (there's a lengthy stretch of lame comedy thrown into the middle section) you'll find some prime material for sound bites, and a bizarre almost alternate-universe vision of American culture as seen through the eyes of the (still-active) Warnke.

If you're actually looking for a more historically accurate history of Halloween (in particular the tracing of its development as a socialized ritual in America), an unlikely source provides some of the better info I've found: Ben Truwe's "Halloween Catalog Collection" from Talky Tina Press. As you might guess it's primarily a compendium of vintage catalog pages from Halloween novelty sellers, but as Mark B. Ledenback notes on the back cover, it also "includes some ground-breaking research on the history of Halloween as observed in the United States", complete with vintage newspaper accounts of mischief & merrymaking from the first half of the 20th century. If you're looking for more detail (the history section in Truwe's book is all within the under 20 page intro), David J. Skal's "Death Makes A Holiday" or Lesley Pratt Bannatyne's "Halloween: An American Holiday, an American History" probably aren't bad places to start.


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20 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is too much! I'd actually never heard of this guy before but from reading the articles on him and listening to this album it sounds like he had quite an imagination. Your blog continues to dazzle and amaze!

Julie

8/23/2006 8:55 PM

 
Blogger Dave said...

This guy at one time was well respected by the Christian Community as someone who had lived through a lot of bad stuff. Not sure of the facts, but it seems as though it turned out that as anonymous said he had quite the imagination, and made up about 90% of his stories.
Dave

8/23/2006 9:30 PM

 
Blogger Jason said...

Yeah, his story actually sure seems to be a pretty sad one (if only for all of the people who ended up feeling so fully betrayed when they discovered that all of his initial credibility was clearly founded on total fabrication). There's also more info to be gleaned both from the full Cornsterstone issue here, and from the Amazon reviews for their expanded book here. To cut the guy some slack he does get a few historical things right on Halloween here & there, but then he mixes it all up into these far-fetched conclusions that draw all of his knowledge into suspicion.

I guess at the core of it all, the specious idea of these large networks of organized Satanists who control drug trafficking & are sacrificing people left & right IS a pretty compelling tall tale -- maybe because people really want to believe in that archetype of a highly organized evil society that secretly lurks just below the surface of their day-to-day life. Heh, I know that when *I* was a little kid in the '70's I really thought (probably thanks to what I'd seen of "Kolchak: The Night Stalker" or whatever) that on any given night at the outskirts of my, you know, tiny midwest town, I'd encounter a big ol' chanting throng of devil worshipers busily doing their evil deeds (to what particular end I guess I never really speculated on).

8/24/2006 2:54 AM

 
Blogger HarveyMidnight said...

It always amazes me, how people want to 'dump' on Halloween... I like this article here:

http://www.samizdat.com/hallow.html
"Halloween, Why Bother To Save It?"

It states the case for the positive role Halloween serves in the lives of children, and in the community. It also puts a few silly urban legends to rest.

8/24/2006 4:52 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks! This promises to be very entertaining.

And it's good to have you back... In my city the "Halloween stores" are getting their stock in, so I guess the season is rolling around again. Of course, for some of us the season lasts all year round.

8/24/2006 6:15 AM

 
Anonymous Monster Man said...

So glad to have you back!

If anyone's interested, Warnke also put out a pretty amazing live LP called "Alive" in 1975. This record has him telling all those crazy stories about Satanists ripping fingers off people, his days in the army, how he used to deal drugs, and so on.

I didn't know the whole truth about Warnke when I heard this, so I was pretty slack-jawed by the end of the second side. He is quite a captivating speaker, to be sure.

8/24/2006 12:54 PM

 
Anonymous Chris Swank said...

I haven't actually listened to it yet, but from what I've read in the comments and glancing at some of the articles, this sounds like the same stuff Bob Larson was pushing on his own show later on. He's another one who believes in the great Satanic ritual abuse network. I also have seen some stuff on the web that debunks Larson, who I guess is seen as another religious snake oil salesman. Reminds me of the quote from Terry Goodkind's books. I'm going to paraphrase, but I believe the quote is: "People will believe a lie either because they fear it is true or they wish it to be true." Earth people confuse me!

8/31/2006 5:05 AM

 
Blogger Brian said...

I actually saw Mike Warnke live in the early 1980s. I was about 15-16 at the time and went as part of a church youth group.

The venue was a 5,000+ seat theater.

What I remember was that Warnke was very theatrical. Not good enough to be an actor or anything, but good enough to probably scare your pants off with scary stories around a campfire.

He went on at length about all of the satantic rites that he had supposedly participated in/led. The Cornerstone Magazine article notes that Warnke tripped himself up because as his stories got more and more extravagant they stretched believability and he caught himself in a number of verifiable timeline lies.

My recollection is that this was definitely the case. As he got more and more into his onstage personae, he got more and more graphic with the horrors that he had supposedly participated in. I didn't find it believable at all even as a teenager. Also I thought the environment worked against him. Yes he was somewhat charismatic but these were the sort of things you could see someone falling for in a more intimate setting, but in a huge theater? It'd be like the campfire stories -- scary when told with a few people around a campfire, but not real compelling if you tell them on a large stage.

The event was actually free (required ticket, but still free), and at the end of the event he had people pass buckets for donations.

Very, very odd act.

9/05/2006 3:33 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember Warnke as well as a teenager at youth meetings. His schtick was christian comedy mixed with satanism, which even for me as a teenager seemed like an incredible combination. There was no surprise to me when it came out that he fabricated the satanism, and was divorced several times. If he had stuck to comedy he would have been ok, but he chose his hook to be his imaginary link to satanism. Pretty sad character, actually.

3/10/2007 6:51 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good ole Mikey...

I was one of those suckers who bought almost all his albums & BELIEVED the SOB was a christian. I am glad now many years later I KNOW the truth of his scam. I pitty all my fellow Chirsitans out there who belived in his lies!

3/17/2007 10:58 PM

 
Blogger The Data Jockey said...

just surfin the net for material for my halloween dj gigs and have to say this is absolutely fucking amazing stuff you got here.
thanks a million
PopNFre$h

10/08/2007 2:23 PM

 
Anonymous wendy said...

Before you cast stones, why don't you check out the words of the guy himself http://www.mikewarnke.org/packet22.html
and much more available if you are really seeking the Truth...

10/17/2007 6:23 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep! people like to gang up on Halloween. Calling it a satanic/pagan holiday. In fact it came from an ancient Celtic holiday. Nothing to do with satanism. Makes me sick when people just stereotype Halloween with the devil/satan/evil...whatever.

10/22/2007 7:07 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel bad for any kid that had their parents make them sit and listen to this piece of crap record. This album is total s++t! Leave it up to the Christians to make something fun into something evil & bad.

10/22/2007 7:13 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You all had better go to his website and read it! Mike Warnke is not only a personal friend of mine, but he is the REAL deal! It is amazing to me how ready we are to believe evil reports about people!

12/15/2007 7:23 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the prior Anonymous poster:

Haw Haw Haw!

1/25/2008 2:11 PM

 
Anonymous Chuck said...

Maybe the reason we're so "ready to believe evil reports about people" is b/c they're true...if Warnke had been telling the truth about his Satanic involvement, etc, he could've easily debunked the entire Cornertsone article, but there was nothing to debunk.

Incidentally, Warnke still performs in various churches, though he's not nearly as popular as he was 20 years ago.

8/30/2008 7:48 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are others similar to Warneke out there. The very first was John Todd a.k.a. Lance Collins. Todd/Collins was a delusional individual who went on a circuit touring churches and giving lectures about the Satanic conspiracy. He once met Warneke and the two got in a shouting match, with Todd/Collins accusing Warneke of basically stealing his act. Warneke got his revenge when Todd was exposed as a fake in the the book "The Todd Phenomenon". Warneke wrote the introduction to the book. MP3s of Todd/Collins lectures are still circulating on the 'Net. As for Collins, he's currently serving life for being a serial rapist. Warneke is still hawking his [fake] ex-Satanist shtick on a website, but he no longer rakes in the 7 figure a year salary he once did. Bill Schnobellen, unlike Warneke had some actual experience as a Wiccan and later a Satanist, but greatly exaggerates about it and distorts the truth. He's about as far out there as Warneke. Jess LaVey claims to be the son of Anton LaVey...but he isn't. Anyone who doubts his claim is of course, branded part of the conspiracy. Alberto Rivera aka Alberto Moreno was a Florida real estate scam artist and check forger who became immortalized as a [fake] ex-Jesuit priest in a series of Chick comic books.

...and the list goes on.

There are of course people who really left witchcraft and became Christians such as this one [with audio file]

http://spiritwatch.org/pagtest1.htm

and this one http://usminc.org

They don't promote all the crazy "breeder" stories, and are more down to earth.

2/28/2010 11:27 AM

 
Blogger ziggy33351 said...

I happen to know Mike Warnke personally and know hundreds of people he has brought to the lord through is ministry. If any of you are christians you know that the only being he needs to answer to is GOD himself. For all of you juding him including cornerstone prepare for gods judgement on you.

6/09/2010 5:23 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, actually ziggy33351 he will have to answer to God in due time...but he should also answer to all the innocent people that he lied to and stole money from. I was one of those children who was forced to listen to his tapes by parents who thought he was who he presented himself to be. Unfortunately he was just a liar, cheater and wife beater who made up a bunch of shit to get a few (million) dollars. Because of his uneducated opinion about the real history of Halloween I was robbed from a childhood of trick or treating and dressing up and participating in a perfectly innocent holiday!! Mike Warnke sucks!!!

10/04/2011 9:15 AM

 

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