They Came For the Mayor

Ken Williams (aka Don LaRose) was the mayor of Centerton, Arkansas for 6 years until this March 5th when he resigned. His reason for resigning – 30 years ago he believes he was abducted and brainwashed by Satanists. He claims he was not aware of his tormented past until he recently was injected with a “truth serum.”

This “truth serum”, which is unnamed in the article, caused these memories to come rushing back, and he realized he had a wife and two kids in his previous life as Don LaRose. Williams said he left his wife and kids to protect them from the Satanists and changed his name and started a new life.

The ReligionNews Blog details the story further, their take is slightly different and fills in some of the back story. LaRose became Pastor of a Hessville Baptist church in 1978. At some point he told his parishioners that he was abducted by a cult in in Maine, New York back in 1975 for “blaspheming Satan”. He says they gave him multiple shock treatments to erase his memory and took him from Maine to Minneapolis and dumped him off. In 1980 he began acting strangely and telling people the Satanists were after him again for criticizing cults. He claims to have seen one of the Satanists through the window of the church while delivering a sermon, no one present at the sermon saw anyone suspicious. The next day LaRose did a runner and disappeared.

He floated around for a few years before settling in Arkansas, and ultimately wound up a multi-term mayor in Centerton under his new identity, an identity he stole from a man who died in 1958.

LaRose/Williams now claims, at least to some media, it was an underworld crime organization rather than a Satanic cult that was or is after him. He is quoted here as saying that he lived in fear of being found out ever since, and now that he’s been outed feels he may be in danger again. This suggests he didn’t need the “truth serum” to recall any of this and his Grandson isn’t buying the tale at all.

Here’s a peek at “Satanic Panic: The Creation Of A Contemporary Legend” on GoogleBooks if you are unaware of the of the Satanic Panic movement. A more concise summary can be seen here courtesy of the Skeptics Dictionary. The media space this idea consumed in the 80’s really was absurd. Geraldo Rivera pretty much built a career off of it as well as numerous moth like pop-psychologists drawn to the fictional satanic flame. There was never any evidence uncovered that organized and violent Satanic Cults existed.

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