Patricia Pulling

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Patricia A. Pulling
Patricia Ann Showker

(1948-06-30)June 30, 1948
Richmond, Virginia
DiedSeptember 18, 1997(1997-09-18) (aged 49)
OccupationAuthor Activist
SpouseIrving Lee Pulling

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.


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 active in role-playing games, and she believed his suicide was directly related to the Dungeons & Dragons 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.


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 which lost in court.[6] She became a director of the National Coalition on TV Violence in 1984.[7]

Pulling co-authored a book, The Devil's Web: Who Is Stalking Your Children For Satan? published in August 1989.[8] The book makes no distinction between H. P. Lovecraft's fictional Necronomicon and the Simon Necronomicon, a realization of the book. 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?"[9]

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 the adult population and four percent of the teenage population 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.[10]


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 (such as calling her practice of including newspaper articles in her own documents 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."[11][12] 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.[9] Stackpole found that Pulling had given a misleading account regarding her qualifications, and after he published his report in 1990, Pulling quit B.A.D.D.[13]


By 1991 the American Association of Suicidology, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, and Health and Welfare Canada all concluded that there was no causal link between fantasy gaming and suicide.[14]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "United States Social Security Death Index," index, FamilySearch ( : 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 September 20, 2008. Retrieved December 25, 2008.
  4. ^ Kushner, David (March 10, 2008). "Dungeon Master: The Life and Legacy of Gary Gygax". Archived from the original on November 13, 2012. Retrieved March 16, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
  6. ^ a b Waldron, David. "Role-Playing Games and the Christian Right: Community Formation in Response to a Moral Panic". Journal of Religion and Popular Culture. Archived from the original on January 4, 2013.
  7. ^ "Dr. Thomas Radecki". Archived from the original on February 13, 2011. Retrieved May 17, 2012.
  8. ^ Pulling, Patricia; Cawthon, Kathy (August 1, 1989). The Devil's Web: Who Is Stalking Your Children For Satan?. Vital Issues Press. ISBN 0-910311-59-5.
  9. ^ a b Stackpole, Michael A. (1990). "The Pulling Report". Retrieved June 10, 2015.
  10. ^ Springston, Rex (April 7, 1989). "Local Believers Short on Evidence". The Richmond News Leader. Richmond, Virginia.
  11. ^ Game Hysteria and the Truth
  12. ^ Hicks, Robert D. (1991) In pursuit of Satan: the police and the occult p. 291
  13. ^ Tresca, Michael J. (2010), The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, McFarland, p. 64, ISBN 978-0786458950
  14. ^ Wiseman, Loren K.; Stackpole, Michael A. (1991), QUESTIONS & ANSWERS ABOUT ROLE-PLAYING GAMES, Game Manufacturers Association, archived from the original on June 1, 2016

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