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The History of Rome / – 554 Devil in the Details

The History of Rome – 554- Devil in the Details

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In this episode of “The History of Rome” podcast titled “554- Devil in the Details,” the host explores two intriguing topics. First, he delves into the Satanic Panic of the 1980s and 1990s, examining how law enforcement and the media contributed to the spread of conspiracy theories and misinformation. Then, he shifts gears to discuss the infamous US Route 666, its association with the devil, and the efforts to change its name. Join us as we uncover the truth behind these intriguing stories.

Main Takeaways

Satanic Panic

  • Law Enforcement Guide to Satanic Cults was a one hour and 15-minute VHS tape released in 1994.
  • The video was used by police departments as official training for their officers to spot satanic crimes and put Satanists behind bars.
  • The Satanic Panic was based on conspiracy theories, misinformation, and straight-up lies.
  • The fear was that secret satanic cults were lurking everywhere, corrupting America’s youth and kidnapping children for gruesome occult sacrifices.
  • The media mostly fanned the flames of the Satanic Panic, producing dozens of documentaries and TV news specials.
  • Law enforcement played a significant role in promoting and perpetuating the panic.
  • Police departments groomed cops to become self-proclaimed experts on demonic crimes and satanism.
  • Many cops relied on sensational documentaries and newspaper clippings to teach their fellow officers.
  • A small-time filmmaker named Devon Dahavan created a training tape about satanic cults tailor-made for cops, which became popular among law enforcement.
  • The law enforcement guide to Satanic cults trained police to be on the lookout for so-called Davlers.
  • The video featured someone claiming that they were abused by Satanists as a kid, which was widely discredited by the mid-90s.
  • Law enforcement guide to Satanic cults was likely made up and criticized for coercing children into saying what adults wanted to hear.
  • The video was shot like a film with dramatic presentation to create a creepy mood and fear where there wasn’t much to be afraid of.
  • Satanic graffiti and proof of demonic rituals in the video were staged by one of the experts.
  • Cops became radicalized against Satanism and some Christian cops believed they were doing God’s work by hunting demons.
  • FBI’s number one Satanism expert, Ken Lanning, became critical of how police bought into myths and conspiracies of the Satanic panic.
  • Satanic Panic conspiracy theories were debunked by the late 1990s, causing the national panic over demonic abuse to fade away.
  • The media turned on the Satanic Panic and began to do negative stories about it.
  • Police departments quietly stopped using the law enforcement guide to satanic cult video.
  • Producer Devon DeHavn created Law Enforcement Guide to Satanic Cults to make a name for himself and has since gone on to produce and direct nearly 300 different projects.

US Route 666

  • Nick Mara: “After the satanic panic, you’d think that we’d be wiser as a culture, but then there’s PTAG and QAnon. It’s just a constant rebranding of the same bullshit to keep people scared and in prison.”
  • Austin Cope: “Sometimes associations with the devil appear in the smallest details.”
  • US Route 666 was nicknamed the highway to hell due to its association with the devil from the Bible.
  • The highway was given its number through the early days of the U.S. numbered highway system, and was connected to Route 66.
  • New Mexico state senator Shannon Pinto grew up next to the highway and experienced the stigma associated with it.
  • The highway had a reputation for being dangerous, with many collisions and fatalities.
  • The reputation of the highway was further amplified by violent movies and heavy metal music that referenced it.
  • Route 666 was known for its dangerous reputation, with references to it in violent movies and heavy metal music.
  • The highway had issues with drugs, alcohol, and violence, with high rates of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls in the area.
  • Many people in the Navajo Nation took issue with the name of the highway, feeling it was disrespectful and part of a larger pattern of disregard for their community.
  • In 2003, a measure was passed to change the name of the highway from 666 to 491, which was met with relief by many people in the area.
  • The biggest improvement to the safety of the highway was getting almost 100 miles of the route changed from two lanes to four, which had been pushed for by State Senator John Pinto.
  • It took over 20 years for a highway expansion project to start, despite legislators advocating for funding in the early 80s.
  • Collisions decreased by almost half between the 1990s and 2010s due to the expansion, which added two lanes and changed almost 100 miles from two lanes to four.
  • There has been a movement to rename the highway after State Senator John Pinto, who pushed for the expansion, but the naming hasn’t been made official.
  • The old designation of the highway, 666, has been mostly removed, with only one sign remaining, and it can only be found on some old maps.
  • The 99% Invisible podcast explores the history and impact of the highway and its changes.


The Satanic Panic

The Satanic Panic of the 1980s and 1990s was fueled by conspiracy theories, misinformation, and sensationalism. Law enforcement, influenced by documentaries and training videos, bought into the belief that secret satanic cults were rampant and engaged in gruesome occult rituals. However, these claims were largely discredited, and the panic eventually faded away as the media turned on the phenomenon. The law enforcement guide to Satanic cults, a popular training video, was criticized for its manipulation of children and staging of evidence. The FBI’s top expert on Satanism also expressed skepticism, highlighting the dangers of buying into myths and conspiracies.

US Route 666

US Route 666, nicknamed the highway to hell, gained notoriety due to its association with the devil. The highway’s dangerous reputation was amplified by references in violent movies and heavy metal music. The name of the highway was particularly offensive to the Navajo Nation, who felt it showed disregard for their community. Efforts were made to change the name to Route 491, bringing relief to many. The expansion of the highway, advocated for by State Senator John Pinto, significantly improved safety by adding lanes and reducing collisions. There has been a movement to rename the highway after Senator Pinto, but the official naming is yet to be decided.


The Satanic Panic and the association of US Route 666 with the devil highlight the power of misinformation and the impact it can have on society. These stories serve as reminders to critically evaluate claims and question the narratives presented to us. As we move forward, it is crucial to learn from the past and strive for a more informed and discerning society.

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