The Cave Conspiracy: Murder and Satanism in Somerset, KY

Jeanmarie Rouhier-Willoughby (University of Kentucky)

This paper will study legends about Satanic cults, including sexual abuse of minors and human sacrifice, in the caves near Somerset, Kentucky. Fueled by an unsolved 1994 murder and a recent mysterious death in the caves, these legends help to make sense of both a mysterious natural environment and an unsettled social context. They have been fostered not only by print journalism, but by a local museum and the documentary television series Hellier, which features a search for evidence of “goblins” in Kentucky caves. The show highlights Somerset in several episodes, calling it the epicenter of the paranormal phenomenon.

Part of 51-02 Orality and Literacy in Legend, Rumor, and Conspiracy Theory, Friday, October 22, 8:30 am–10:00 am