There was a scare in the 80s and less so the 90s surrounding things like the tabletop role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) or other media that depicts magic as a narrative element and a neutral part of the fictional world. The scare surrounding this is that it was/is seen by some as gateway into real-life magic and/or devil worship. Magic had been depicted before, but D&D introduced a role-play aspect, which is what I guess sparked this scare(?!)

I found explanations of the scare, for example here, but apart from what caused it, it doesn't tell me whether during that time there was actually increased occult practices.

Did D&D and similar media which depict magic neutrally in a fantasy/narrative setting actually lead to an increased interest in the occult though? Causation might be hard to determine, as well as belief of the individuals, so I will settle with:

Was there, during the 1980s, increased interest in the occult, in the sense of people buying occult books and trying magic? I imagine there are, somewhere, statistics which could answer whether more books were sold that treat magic spells or similar practices.

  • Interest in or active belief in?
    – Steve Bird
    Oct 8 '21 at 15:21
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    Hmm. There might be ways to objectively measure this (like with ngrams?), and its not a bad thing for someone to look into.
    – T.E.D.
    Oct 8 '21 at 15:48
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    Even though D&D and the like may have increased the general awareness, there was a long tradition of F&SF literature, from comic books through "Lord of the Rings" (which was VERY popular in the 1960s). Then we have the general spiritualism & occultism prevalent around the late 19th & early 20th centuries...
    – jamesqf
    Oct 8 '21 at 16:48
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    wikipedia itself says, "The controversy over the game led to a major boost in sales from 2.3 million dollars in 1979, to 8.7 million by the end of 1980 in a Streisand effect with the publicity" so the controversy led to a 4x increase in interest in D&D, now you just have to find the answer if D&D actually leads to an increase interest in the occult. If by occult you mean satanism, i am not so sure, if you mean a general interest in things like tarot, magic, etc, then I would think yes there was probably an increase in reading about these things but reading != believing.
    – ed.hank
    Oct 8 '21 at 17:30
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    I think this could be somewhat objectively answered by looking at sales statistics of books about occult topics. I doubt there is a way to judge what people believed.
    – kutschkem
    Oct 9 '21 at 15:04

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