Rumors that Devil worshipers were searching for young victims for their sacrifical rites have swept the mountainous regions of eastern Kentucky and West Virginia in recent months.
So when a mysterious stranger started taking photographs at the Estill County High School in Irvine, Ky., last month, imaginations began to run wild. And school administrators soon found themselves working overtime to placate the fears of teachers, students, and parents.
As far as anyone can tell, the supposed satanic cult has yet to claim its first victim in the area. But Janice Braverman, a photographer from Cincinnati, has had her plans dashed by whispers that she was an advance scout for Beelzebub's minions.
In town to start a one-year photogra6phy project with a grant from the Kentucky Arts Council, Ms. Braverman happened to photograph a group of girls in the restroom during a visit to the high school. Shortly thereafter, rumors circulated of a woman taking pictures of blonde, blue-eyed girls who could serve as potential sacrifices.
"No one knows how the rumors began," said William Alexander, the district superintendent.
Although school attendance did not suffer, hysteria generated by the rumors caused Ms. Braverman to pack her bags and abandon her project.
In the meantime, the rumors have run their course and "gone from whence they came," said Mr. Alexander. But the superintendent hastened to add that he doesn't "want to do anything to trigger their return."--jw