Wow, I never realised this was such a big issue at the time. Perhaps it wasn't where I'm from.
It was a much bigger concern in the rural, more religious parts of the US where many evangelical Christians used it as a political tool, but it certainly had some effects on the suburbs like where I grew up. Even if most adults didn't fully buy into the panic, they were still nervous that there might be some partial truth to it.
I don't think any country experienced it quite as much as the US did during the '80s, but there were cases of satanic ritual abuse reported in the UK, Australia, and other countries. In fact, it's still a bit of an issue in some parts of Africa.
People actually believed the whole Jezus, Mary and Michael coming down to stop the summoning of Satan thing? Amazing..
The ending of Michelle Remembers
was downplayed by the media, likely because it was so hard to swallow. They mostly just focused on the fact that she was apparently subject to a year of abuse by a secret cult of satanists.
Watching the 20/20 report (only two minutes in), I think it's possible that all these 'rituals' took place but that people were inspired by the stories rather than the other way around. Kind of like crop circles..
I think a big part of the media's confusion is that there really were satanists that would get together and perform rituals. But the problem is that actual
satanists (members of Anton LeVey's Church of Satan that was founded in the '60s) are against the sacrifice of living creatures and in fact don't even believe in Satan (it's an atheistic religion that uses Satan as an icon for independence and rebellion). But they did
like to wear black robes and perform spooky ceremonies for fun.
And then you had the occasional incident of a teen murdering another teen. The media would latch on to the fact that the teens involved listened to "satanic" heavy metal music or played "occult" games like Dungeons & Dragons
and would therefor conclude that the murders must have been related to satanism. In reality, most of these murders were over things like drug disputes. The story of Ricky Kassa
is one of the most famous examples of this.