Patricia Pulling

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Patricia A. Pulling
Born Patricia Ann Showker
(1948-06-30)June 30, 1948
Richmond, Virginia
Died September 18, 1997(1997-09-18) (aged 49)
Henrico, Virginia[1]
Nationality American
Occupation Author Activist
Religion Fundamentalist Christianity
Spouse(s) Irving Lee Pulling
Children Irving Lee "Bink" Pulling II (d.1982), four daughters

Patricia A. Pulling (June 30, 1948 – September 18, 1997)[2] was an anti-occult campaigner from Richmond, Virginia. She founded Bothered About Dungeons and Dragons (BADD), an advocacy group that was dedicated to the regulation of role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons (D&D).

Biography[edit]

Pulling formed B.A.D.D. after her son Irving committed suicide[3] by shooting himself in the chest[4] on June 9, 1982.[5]:21 Irving was an active D&D player, and she believed his suicide was directly related to the game. The grieving mother first filed a wrongful death lawsuit against her son's high school principal, Robert A. Bracey III, holding him as responsible for what she claimed was a D&D curse placed upon her son's character shortly before his death. She also filed suit against TSR, Inc., D&D's publishers. She appeared on an episode of 60 Minutes which also featured Gary Gygax,[3] creator of Dungeons & Dragons, and which aired in 1985.

B.A.D.D.[edit]

Pulling founded the public advocacy group "Bothered About Dungeons & Dragons" (B.A.D.D.) in 1983,[5]:22 after all of her lawsuits were dismissed and began publishing information circulating her belief that D&D encouraged devil worship and suicide. B.A.D.D. described D&D as "a fantasy role-playing game which uses demonology, witchcraft, voodoo, murder, rape, blasphemy, suicide, assassination, insanity, sex perversion, homosexuality, prostitution, satanic type rituals, gambling, barbarism, cannibalism, sadism, desecration, demon summoning, necromantics, divination and other teachings."[6]

B.A.D.D. achieved some success in airing its views in the press, both through conservative Christian media properties as well as mainstream outlets. The organization distributed its materials in Australia through conservative advocacy groups affiliated with the Reverend Fred Nile, such as the Australian Federation for Decency. In addition, Pulling obtained a private investigator's license, became a consultant to law enforcement, and was an expert witness in several gaming-related lawsuits. All of these suits lost in court.[6] She became a director of the National Coalition on TV Violence in 1984.[7] Mrs. Pulling was also the author of a book, The Devil's Web: Who Is Stalking Your Children For Satan? published by Vital Issues Press in August 1989 (ISBN 0-910311-59-5). The book not only treats the Necronomicon as a real publication, but refers to it as if it is widely available for reading and used regularly by teenagers; one portion of the book urges police officers to open interrogations of suspected teenage occultists with the question, "Have you read the Necronomicon, or are you familiar with it?"[8]

Views[edit]

As the popularity of Dungeons & Dragons and other role-playing games increased, Pulling's views and statements were increasingly called into question. For example, she once told a newspaper reporter that eight percent of the people living in Richmond, Virginia were Satanists. She had arrived at that figure, she explained, by estimating that four percent of adults and four percent of teenagers were involved with Satanism, and added them to get eight percent. When the reporter informed her that mathematically that was four percent, not eight percent, she claimed that it did not matter because even eight percent was a "conservative" figure.[9]

In 1989, game player and designer Michael A. Stackpole wrote Game Hysteria and the Truth which went into all the flaws, misconceptions, inaccuracies, omission of relevant details, and questionable practices (going as far as to call her editing of newspaper accounts not only illegitimate but illegal, since newspapers are copyrighted material and the owners were not contacted about the use of these articles) regarding Pulling's claims about RPGs in general and D&D in particular, concluding: "If the suicide statistics for the 14 years since D&D's introduction show anything at all, gamers kill themselves at a rate that is a fraction of that of their peers."[10] A year later the main points of Game Hysteria and the Truth regarding Pulling were reiterated by Stackpole in The Pulling Report, a review highly critical of B.A.D.D.'s methods of data collection, analysis and reporting.[8] Stackpole determined that Pulling had misrepresented her credentials, and after the report was published in 1990 she left B.A.D.D.[11]

Aftermath[edit]

The American Association of Suicidology, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, and Health and Welfare Canada all eventually concluded that there was no causal link between fantasy gaming and suicide.[12]

B.A.D.D. effectively ceased to exist when Pulling died of lung cancer[13] in 1997.

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "United States Social Security Death Index," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VMBQ-XZF : accessed November 28, 2012), Patricia A Pulling, September 18, 1997; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).
  2. ^ Social Security Death Index; Patricia A. Pulling; 223-68-4625
  3. ^ a b La Farge, Paul (September 2006). "Destroy All Monsters". The Believer Magazine. Archived from the original on October 4, 2008. 
  4. ^ Kushner, David (March 10, 2008). "Dungeon Master: The Life and Legacy of Gary Gygax". Wired.com. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  5. ^ a b Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7. 
  6. ^ a b Role-Playing Games and the Christian Right: Community Formation in Response to a Moral Panic in Journal of Religion and Popular Culture
  7. ^ "Dr. Thomas Radecki". Retrieved May 17, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Stackpole, Michael A. (1990). "The Pulling Report". Retrieved November 26, 2010. 
  9. ^ Springston, Rex (April 7, 1989). "Local Believers Short on Evidence". The Richmond News Leader (Richmond, Virginia). 
  10. ^ Hicks, Robert D. (1991) In pursuit of Satan: the police and the occult p. 291
  11. ^ Tresca, Michael J. (2010), The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, McFarland, p. 64, ISBN 078645895X 
  12. ^ QUESTIONS & ANSWERS ABOUT ROLE-PLAYING GAMES, Loren K. Wiseman and Michael A. Stackpole, ©1991 by Game Manufacturers Association
  13. ^ Buckman, Jenifer V. (September 19, 1997). "ANTI-OCCULT CRUSADER DIES AT PATRICIA PULLING WAS FOUNDER OF BADD". Richmond Times – Dispatch. p. B.3. Retrieved November 28, 2012. 

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