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MindNet Journal - Vol. 1, No. 54
V E R I C O M M / MindNet "Quid veritas est?"
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Editor: Mike Coyle
Assistant Editor: Rick Lawler
Research: Darrell Bross
THE GREAT DEBATE
By Anne Hart
There has been a Great Debate recently between those who
believe memories of trauma can be repressed and return later, and
those who don't. On November 29, 1993, articles appeared in both
U.S. News and World Report ("Unlocking Hidden Memories") and Time
Magazine ("Lies of the Mind"). As indicated by the titles, they
presented diametrically opposite views of this issue. Two
national organizations, Believe the Children and False Memory
Syndrome Foundation, lead the way in mirroring these polarities,
one side championing damaged children, and the other, accused
I would like to comment further on some of the background of
the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, since this information
rarely finds its way to the public.
The FMSF was founded by Peter and Pamela Freyd in 1992, a year
after their daughter Jennifer Freyd, a university professor and
researcher, began therapy ("Theoretical and Personal Perspectives
on the Debate" presented by Jennifer Freyd to Foote Hospital, Ann
Arbor, Michigan, 1993.) Strangely, this Philadelphia foundation
sprang into being long before any public allegations of sexual
abuse were made by Dr. Freyd against her father. It was evidently
designed in advance for the defense of an alcoholic man and his
wife who felt the need for such a posture.
There is no diagnosis of false memory syndrome in the
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. It is the term created by
those who needed the concept of self-defense. A video entitled
"False Prophets of the False Memory Syndrome" clearly portrays
the protagonists of this family drama in their respective roles.
It can be ordered from Nancy Steck, 16 Kingwood Villas, Kingwood,
Texas 77339 for $7.00 plus shipping, prepaid.
The FMSF caught on. With an extensive media campaign, it has
filled a great need as an advocacy group for accused pedophiles.
It is difficult to discern those who are incorrectly accused from
those who are genuine molesters desperately seeking escape from
criminal and civil action, or from their own pain and guilt. The
distinction becomes blurred in this self-serving organization. To
deny being a perpetrator is a natural response of the
Two of the early FMSF Advisory Board members, Ralph Underwager
and his wife, Hollida Wakefield, were interviewed by "Paidike,
Journal of Pedophilia", Vol. 3, No. 1, 1993. When asked if
choosing pedophilia (sexual perversion in which children are the
preferred sexual object) is a responsible choice for the
individual, Underwager, a former Lutheran minister, replied,
"Certainly it is responsible." He went on to assert,
"Pedophiles are too defensive... What I think is that
paedophiles can make the assertion that the pursuit of intimacy
and love is what they choose. With boldness they can say, `I
believe that is part of God's will.'"
Other members of the FMSF Advisory Board such as Elizabeth
Loftus and Richard Ofshe have tirelessly promoted the denial of
the epidemic of childhood sexual abuse that is becoming evident
in our culture. Dr. Ofshe is quoted frequently, encouraging
people to view their therapists as "as a new kind of sexual
predator" rather than entertain the possibility that these
children and adult survivors are telling the truth about their
families. (Davis Enterprise, "Childhood abuse victims now
question: did it really happen?", December 21, 1993).
Most survivors have a great deal of trouble facing the
terrible knowledge of sexual abuse, and the inevitable rift it
causes in personal relationships. It is understandable that some
would choose to deny their memories, preferring to endure the
symptoms rather than the anguish of the remembering process.
The False Memory Syndrome Foundation attempts to have us
believe that delayed memories of trauma are untrue. This flies in
the face of extensive scientific literature, research by the
respected brain surgeon Wilder Penfield, and experiences of
traumas survivors such as the Vietnam veterans who suffer from
amnesia and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Certainly some memories can be false. Our mind can play tricks
on us, and we find it hard to remember correctly what we ate for
breakfast, or the name of a business associate. But there is a
tremendous difference between regular, declarative memory which
Elizabeth Loftus studies and memory produced by trauma.
Bessel van der Kolk, M.D., Chief of Trauma Clinic at Harvard
Medical School charts the evolving psychobiology of post
traumatic stress in his updated paper titled "The Body Keeps the
Score." He writes: "While memory ordinarily is an active
constructive process, the PTSD, failure of declarative memory may
lead to organization of trauma on a somatosensory level..."
That is, the body remembers what the mind cannot. Complex
biochemical changes take place, symptoms begin and often
psychogenic amnesia of the event occurs. These are cases of
Vietnam veterans being completely amnestic for their entire time
in the military, despite the record of their time at war.
Ivor Browne, M.D., professor of psychiatry at University
College, Dublin and chief psychiatrist at Eastern Health Board,
Dublin, concurs in his paper "Psychological Trauma, or
Unexperienced Experience", ReVISION, Spring '90. He indicates
that when memories return, they are remarkably intact and
completely experienced, as if they were happening at the moment,
rather than re-experienced.
A person who has endured on-going child sexual abuse "suspends
or inhibits one traumatic insult after another until with the
holding back of the final trauma, the nervous system is literally
exploding." The painful memories come out, one by miserable one,
felt FOR THE FIRST TIME in abreaction. It is kind of "virtual
reality" or instant replay in the affective realm. This emotion
makes the reality of the remembered quite hard to deny.
A computer can store information in its deep recesses for
safekeeping if the delete key is pressed. It is unseen, not
immediately accessible. Later the material can be downloaded in a
form that can be viewed. The analogy with traumatic events stop
there. Trauma recovery is not such a tidy process. Since a child
cannot cope with the pain of severe abuse, the information is
stored until there is a supportive environment. Then it sometimes
bursts forth in a matter of shocks and overwhelms the recipient.
This may explain why many substance abusers go into a
treatment facility and suddenly begin having flashbacks of
childhood abuse. The drugs that blocked the internal pain are
gone, the environment is safe, and the "downloading" of stored
information begins. Welcome to sobriety. Excruciating emotions
become conscious and cause many to return to the drugs and
alcohol they used originally to numb this very pain. However,
after the information is made conscious, it can enter into
normal, declarative memory and fade into the past, rather that
being stored as symptoms. Pain without memory is replaced by
memory without pain.
Some people have blank spots in their memory: for example they
cannot remember their second grade teacher or any birthday until
teen years. Some can't recall anything before age twelve. Others
have nightmares of decapitated bodies and wake in horror, unable
to sleep in their beds any longer. Others have stabbing rectal
pains with no medical explanations, searing phantom burns on the
bottoms of their feet, scars they cannot recall having received.
The body stores the information in a disguised way.
No one wants to believe that terrible things happened to
create those empty places in the mind. How wonderful to have a
way out described by Dr. Ofshe: decide it never happened and
blame the therapist, to whom the person turns for relief from the
symptoms, only to have the memories return because of the
The flaw in that reasoning is that most therapists sit quietly
and listen, rather than brainwash a client. Deliberate mind
control techniques occur in quite another arena during childhood,
as many ritual child abuse survivors have pointed out. Many have
developed multiple personalities due to the severity of the
trauma. Steven Ray and Pamela Reagor, two therapists who treat
persons with multiple personalities in California, have uncovered
a "sophisticated external implantation, by someone other than the
subject, of hundreds of complex personality fragments." There
are even special personalities designed to commit suicide.
"First, a structured multiple's internal structure and compliment
of personalities is engineered largely by an external abuser or
'programmer,' who may or may not participate in a satanic or
other cult." (_Other Altars_ by Craig Lockwood, Compcare, 1993,
pages 19 and 19.)
Survivors report that standard brainwashing techniques are
used on them during childhood. These include electroshock and
hypnosis, along with drugs, torture and sexual abuse to create
strong attachments to encouraged activities, and equal strong
prohibitions against others. How convenient to create, for
example, a phobia against disclosing, or even remembering, the
abuse. Since many abuse survivors excel in order to cover up the
awful feelings of shame and guilt, and frequently become very
good students, it might explain the sudden suicide of an honors
student in high school, or otherwise inexplicable
life-threatening behavior such as severe anorexia/bulimia or
crack cocaine use.
The media has recently described the MKULTRA CIA experiments
which attempted to create the perfect "guided animal" through
torture masquerading as behavioral conditioning. ("Sins of a
Paranoid Age", Newsweek Magazine, Dec. 27, 1993.) Rather than
using animals or adults, perpetrators of ritual abuse appear to
work hard to create the perfect guided toddler.
Most therapists are appalled at the horrors they hear, and
sometimes develop a type of secondary PTSD themselves from
hearing about man's inhumanity to children. (_Lessons in Evil,
Lessons from the Light_ by Gail Carr Feldman, Ph.D, Crown
Publishers, Inc., 1993.) Frequently they find that the survivor
has tried to fill the empty places in the mind with the pretense
of a happy childhood. A false memory, if you will. Many
therapists go home and weep at night. And so do the survivors.
"There are," understates one therapist, who wishes to remain
anonymous, "easier ways to take a person's money." Most trauma
specialists receive reduced fees from clients who are in
financial distress due to inability to work caused by nightmares,
insomnia, phobias, anxieties, suicide attempts, depression, mood
swings, eating disorders, compulsive behaviors and addiction
stemming from early childhood trauma. Furthermore, therapists who
work with trauma survivors donate many hours of telephone support
at no cost, since crisis occur at any hour of the day.
And the good news is that most therapists see their clients
slowly improve in all areas of their lives as they unburden
themselves of dreadful secrets. Nightmares diminish. Phobias
disappear permanently. Flashbacks are limited to acceptable times
and locations, and eventually cease. Addictions are no longer
needed to block the pain. Depression lifts.
The most difficult repressed memories for the client, the
therapists and the general public to cope with are those
involving clandestine groups of U.S. citizens who abuse children
and commit homicide as part of a religious rite. But don't we
have ample historical evidence of this type of activity? Many
religions, including Mayan (and Aztec, Hawaiian, Iroquois, etc.)
used human sacrifices as a necessary mainstay of their faith.
("Lost Secrets of the Maya," Time Magazine, August 9, 1993.)
The adults who performed these culturally condoned ceremonies
of the past where pillars of their respective communities. In
fact they were military men, the clergy, the government and the
community leaders of their time. Today, according to research
done by Caren Cook at the University of Colorado in 1991, "Most
perpetrators noted by survivors (of ritual abuse) appear to be
'well functioning' individuals in positions of authority."
Physicians, ministers and teachers were the most frequently named
In the Old Testament there are countless references to the
sacrifice of children to idols. Deliberate murder of innocent
babies has occurred from early times. King Herod had every male
under two years of age killed for political reasons. Ancient
rituals that included infanticide, cannibalism and sexual abuse
were documented by the Romans in the second century A.D.,
Egyptian monks in the fourth century, secret societies and
religions in the "civilized" and uncivilized world throughout
"During the 1920's and 1930's, (W.B. Seabrook) attended Black
Masses in Paris, Lyons, London, and New York and lived to write
about it... Are such things occurring today? That they do is
certain; when, where, how often, and for what reason is
uncertain." (_Other Altars_, page 180.)
Children and adults have been sold and raped, tortured in
nearly all cultures, including our own, in far less exotic
settings. Less than 150 years ago, in this country, humans were
sold and tormented at will. In many homes all over our country
today, women and children are treated in a very similar manner,
and the legal system turns away.
New, more humane laws replaced old rules, and the practice of
barbarism has simply became more circumspect. In some areas,
there has not been not much need of secrecy. In our country,
grown men in robes have murdered at night, often with
extraordinary impunity, in the southern states. And the Nazis,
who often practiced Satanism, according to the PBS documentary
"The Occult History of the Third Reich," made a slaughter house
out of their country earlier this century. Cults in Jonestown and
Waco, Texas demonstrate that children are being subjected to
religious horrors in the present day. Recent convictions of day
care operations that have ritual allegations are documented here
and in other countries on an ongoing basis. This is not a small
We have, on one hand, thousands of missing children (and
adults), kidnapped, a few found dead, quite often around holiday
dates of the grisly religions. Some bodies are found, missing
fingers or decapitated. Randy Cerny of the Ritual Crimes
Investigators, Central Valley Consultants has photographs of a
child's decapitated head, skinned. Ritual abuse crimes have been
reported to the Davis, Woodland, West Sacramento police
departments by several different families. In the past few years
the Davis Enterprise has reported the finding of a decapitated
animal head on one occasion, and a bag of human genitals on
another occasion right in Davis.
On the other hand, we hear adult survivors saying that there
are children and adults tortured and killed in rituals,
decapitated, skinned, with various body parts removed. It doesn't
much of a leap of cognition to put two events logically together.
In the video "Children at Risk" from Calvacade Productions,
investigator Bill Carmody talks solemnly, eloquently, about
infiltrating a satanic cult. This and other films on ritual abuse
can be ordered by calling 707-734-1168. In Vallejo, a decapitated
body was found and the lesbian lover confessed to a friend that
she killed the woman during what was described as a satanic
ritual (San Francisco Chronicle, Dec. 22, 1993). We read about
Jeffery Dahmers raping, torturing, killing, dismembering and
refrigerating children and adults, and we wonder if these were
things he learned as a child, repressed and acted out in
adulthood. The media, from all over the world, is reporting
The mafia murdered at will for over a half a century before
the FBI noticed its existence. So there is certainly precedence
for law enforcement, for reasons of its own, turning a blind eye
and finding "not a shred of evidence" of satanic cult crimes of
this nature, in the words of Ken Lanning, FBI investigator.
_The Franklin Cover-up: Child Abuse, Satanism, Murder in
Nebraska_ by Nebraska Senator John De Camp, AWT, Inc, 1992,
describes a nationwide pedophile organization that includes
Satanic human sacrifices. DeCamp documents the chilling
activities apparently protected by the FBI, and names high-level
perpetrators from Nebraska to Washington D.C. This excellent book
can be purchased from EIR News Service, Inc. P.O. Box 17390,
Washington D.C. 20041- 0390 for $9.95. If ours were a third world
country, we would watch the television cameras play on the
mothers of the disappeared. We would assume the police were
involved, the judges corrupt, the clergy blind. But it is our
community. And we choose to close our eyes.
Most horrifying of all, child and adult survivors of cult
abuse tell of being currently abducted from their homes, sedated
and forced to attend terrible events on an on-going basis. They
go to the police and clergy and are turned away for various
reasons. What police set up a clever stake-out to find evidence,
or follow a named perpetrator to see where he goes on high
Satanic holidays? Instead, the overwhelmed legal and child
protection systems turn away and leave the children unprotected,
allowing the abusers to continue these practically perfect
What pastor unites his congregation in prayer at specific
ritual times to ask for divine help in protecting the innocent
victims? What good people unite to shelter the victims? How many
of us donate therapy funds to help with treatment for victims?
What community organizes an investigation into these matters? We
seem as a nation to focus on problems in far away places, rather
on crimes that are being committed right under our noses.
The therapists listen and believe. They sometimes receive, for
their trouble, threats and lawsuits. What therapist knows how to
even to begin to cope with such trauma and danger? These are the
unsung heros, who persist in treating survivors of human-induced
trauma, despite the difficulties. And more and more survivors are
presenting themselves for treatment each day.
Therapists are educating themselves, as must we all, on this
subject. "As we begin to understand the etiologies of many
diagnostic syndromes are based in defense against trauma (PTSD,
borderline personality disorder, the dissociative disorders,
adjustment disorders, and as well as some brief psychotic
reactions, anxiety disorders, and paraphilias), we gain insight
for the therapy of ritually abused persons that is tremendously
helpful." (David Sakheim, Ph.D. and Susan Devine, R.N., _Out of
Darkness, Exploring Satanism and Ritual Abuse_, Lexington Books,
1992) The field of treatment of severe trauma is still in its
infancy and there is much to learn.
As a culture, we have searched diligently for the root cause
of social ills. Now that research has found clear evidence that
childhood sexual and ritual trauma leads to mental, physical and
behavioral symptoms of distress, there is an outcry against
findings by those who have the most to lose. We have seen this
throughout history. Underneath the modern psychological jargon,
the ancient cry is the same:
"Kill the messenger."
For information on political action that can be taken, The
American Coalition for Abuse Awareness is beginning a broad based
alliance to support national legislation to protect children.
They can be reached at 202-426-4688. Believe the Children can be
contacted at 708-515-5432 for information about ritual and sexual
abuse of children. The American Prosecutors Research Institute's
National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse in Alexandria,
Virginia can be reached at 703-739-0321 for further legal
information on this issue.
California State Senator Newton Russell from Glendale has
worked long and hard to develop a Ritual Abuse Task Force in
California that will be based out of the Attorney General's
office. He recently addressed The National Conference on Crimes
Against Children in Washington, D.C. which included law
enforcement and medical speakers from around the United States.
This conference addressed ritual abuse directly, and will
hopefully begin the slow, tedious process of acknowledging and
halting these crimes against humanity. But they can't do it
alone. We must all help.
To quote Edmund Burke, "All that is necessary for the triumph
of evil is that good men do nothing." Perhaps a Task Force in
our country would help to respond to the needs that are being
addressed primarily by therapists. It is one thing to help
survivors after the abuse has occurred. Would it not make more
sense to find out where the attacks are occurring and identify
the problem at its origin?
Perhaps we could send this article to out mayor and council
members to ask for an investigation into the ritual abuse that is
occurring in our town.
As for the survivors, the truth that they have finally and
painfully found is often thrown back upon them, as the messengers
are denied, reviled, ridiculed, disbelieved. In Scott Peck's
words, "The truth will make you free, but first it will make you
The witnesses speak out, and like the mythological Cassandra,
are not heard. And seated in comfortable armchairs, our
collective society continues to fiddle the Great Debate, while we
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