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     MindNet Journal - Vol. 1, No. 55
     V E R I C O M M / MindNet         "Quid veritas est?"

The views and opinions expressed below are not necessarily the
views and opinions of VERICOMM, MindNet, or the editors unless
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The following is reproduced here with the express permission of
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Permission is given to reproduce and redistribute, for
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Editor: Mike Coyle 

Assistant Editor: Rick Lawler

Research: Darrell Bross

Editor's Note:

The following article originally appeared in _True Stories of
False Memories_ by Eleanor Goldstein and Kevin Farmer, 1993.
The introduction is by the authors of the book. The author
of the letters wishes to remain anonymous.



By Anonymous



   The following three letters were written by the brother of a
woman who recalled grotesque "memories" of satanic ritual abuse
during several years of therapy with Mr. Carleton. Initially,
she claimed to remember her father molesting her between the
ages of four and seven. As time passed, memories began to emerge
in therapy of her being ritually abused during elaborate satanic
ceremonies attended by several men and women. Among other things,
she claims she was raped by her grandfather, using the body parts
of murdered women, and she believes she was forced to murder and
eat babies.
   She was later evaluated by a psychologist, Dr. Taylor, because
of a custody battle for her children. Dr. Taylor concurred with
Carleton's diagnosis and agreed with the treatment she was
receiving. Her family later convinced her to see a psychiatrist
for another opinion. She was referred to Dr. Hoffmann who also
validated her bizarre memories of mass murder, cannibalism and
the most perverted sexual abuse imaginable.
   As these letters demonstrate, none of the three therapists
attempted to corroborate the woman's memories or were even
willing to consider listening to the pleas and rational
explanations presented by her brother and the rest of the family.
All three therapists apparently believe that their roles were to
validate memories no matter how they were retrieved or how
unlikely they were to be true.

August 19, 1992

Dear Mr. Carleton,

   I'm writing to clarify some of the things we touched on in
our phone conversation August 4. I recall you saying that as a
therapist, you believe your patients in the context of the
therapeutic session, regardless of whether their story
corresponds with external reality. You also stated that your
specialized training enables you to distinguish between a false
reporting of sexual abuse and a true one. In fact in one meeting
you frankly told me you believe my sisters allegations. At that
time these were limited to sexual molestation by my father from
an early age through puberty. Since then those allegations have
expanded to include multiple homicide, vampirism, cannibalism,
and membership in a vast conspiracy dedicated to the overthrow
of Christ's benevolent influence on Earth. I assume you are
familiar with the details of her memories, which she says
have been recovered through your help and that of group sessions
with others similarly victimized.
   As I told my sister in a phone conversation on August 6, I
have pored over her statements, numerous similar statements by
ritual abuse survivors, read and re-read Michelle Remembers, the
writings of Catherine Gould, RoGand Summit and other specialists
in the field. I have also studied cases that have come to court
based on similar allegations: the McMartin Day Care Center, the
case in Lido, Utah, the case of Paul Ingram in Washington.
State, the Orkney islands in Great Britain and numerous others.
   I have consulted three different therapists; one a specialist
in hypnotism, one a specialist in sexual abuse and one a former
lawyer. I have read two tomes on trance and hypnotism by Spiegel
and Bliss. I have studied papers on brainwashing by J.F. Dulles
and others. I've also read some of the works of David Finkelhor,
Alice Miller, Bass and Davis' The Courage to Heal articles by
Jeffery Masson and other authors of like persuasion. I have
reviewed proposals to State and Federal legislatures concerning
Ritual Abuse and reports from State and Federal justice
departments on the subject. I mention all this to assure you that
I do not take any of this lightly. Nor have I instantly drawn a
conclusion as to the reality or falsehood of my sisters
allegations. I comprehend what they imply about the condition of
this world, our society, my extended family, myself and most
importantly, my unborn child. As I told you, her accusations,
and the vast conspiracy theory that lends them context, have not
triggered any spontaneous inward belief in me.
   As I said, I do feel and believe my sisters pain. You asked me
how else I account for that pain. I'm not sure if the question
was rhetorical, but an abundance of alternative explanations
have come to mind. Before I go into them, I'd like  to state
that I'm not certain you were entirely candid with me when you
implied that you come to therapeutic sessions with an objective
and unbiased frame of mind. For my own self I must accept that I
am trapped in a bias toward disbelief. I factor that bias into my
considerations as best I can. Can I assume you recognize a
similarly powerful, though contrary, bias in your own being?
Could your own faith in your religion color the impressions you
receive from clients? If your faith is such that you see it not
as coloring, but as casting on your observation the pure white
light of truth, what more can I say? If on the other hand, you
hold that portion of doubt that any objective mind must contain,
I contend it is worth our time to continue discussing my sister's
   Concerning faith, I agree with St. Paul that it has the power
to move mountains. Against such power how can my arguments
prevail? But Paul goes on to state that without love, you are
nothing. The point is that I love my sister. It is that love that
motivates this appeal to you despite your apparent writing me off
as being "in denial." Sally Jean is my sister, my flesh and
blood. She is your patient, or client; at best a soul to be saved
or a mind cured, at worst a lucrative business opportunity. I
have long maintained to the rest of my family that your
intentions in treating her are, in fact, noble. But I also
maintain that the course of advice and treatment you have taken
victimizes her and my family and, of even larger consequence,
will help perpetuate sexual victimization of innocent children
for a long time to come.
   As to the goodness of your intentions, it is my opinion that
equally good intentions motivated inquisitors and witch trial
judges throughout history to send untold thousands of wrongly
accused men and women to torture and execution. It strikes me
that this era of history is being repeated. I feel that the
imagery of satanic ritual abuse arising within therapy and
amplified throughout the world in seminars, courtrooms and the
media is the stuff of phantasm and hysteria today as it was in
the past. I believe that today innocent people are accused,
suffer the forced removal of their children, and are prosecuted
by the same spectral evidence that sent so many to the rack and
stake in the not so distant past. And I think that the
psychological engine behind that slaughter was driven by the
same noble intentions that guide your treatment of my sister.
   I don't expect any sympathy from you for the anguish that
Sally's accusations against my parents and grandparents have on
me or the rest of my family. I do expect you to take seriously
the effect on genuine victims of abuse when their voices are
drowned in this torrent of false and fantastic accusation. The
responsibility for that predictable tragedy will be on those of
your profession who have nourished a chorus of "Wolf-crying" in
their patients and clients. As I said to you, because those
crying "Wolf" describe in vivid detail the yellow eyes, dripping
fangs, foul breath and even the fleas, the cry is, in my
considered opinion, no less a false alarm. If nothing else, the
probable consequences are of such gravity that I must continue to
urge you to consider carefully alternative explanations for my
sister's and other people's pain and therapeutically induced
   To repeat myself, I admit a bias to disbelieve the scenario
described by my sister. It is utterly contrary to my own memories
and to the fruit of my observation, experience and reflection.
Although I trust my own judgement, I recognize that I can
fervently believe what proves untrue and likewise find false
what I subsequently come to believe. Knowing this, I am slow and
careful to draw conclusions. I remain open to argument and
evidence intended to compel my belief or dispel it. I beg you to
do the same. Please look at and consider the following sources I
offer from professionals and concerned individuals which support
my position. One article is by Kenneth Lanning of the F.B.I., who
has investigated numerous similar cases. The others are from a
Christian magazine, Cornerstone, which I include in hopes that
you may attend more carefully to fellow Christians. I have left
out the bulk of my research material because it is plainly less
even-handed or sympathetic. If you are interested I recommend
the book In Search of Satan by Robert Hicks, The Institute for
Psychological Therapies in Northfield, Minnesota, and the False
Memory Syndrome Foundation in Pennsylvania.
   To return to your question: how do you account for my sisters
pain? I stand by what I told you. Much of her condition is
"iatrogenic." The process she has over the years described by
analogy as removing a splinter from a festering wound--a process
she credits you primarily with assisting-appears to me as
worrying a minor sore into a full-blown infection or a major
tumor. She recently told me that she now recalls over, 35
homicides she witnessed my parents committing throughout America.
She also said that she must continue to retrieve such memories
from her unconscious to complete her cure. "I have come to
believe that it is within her ability to enter a state of trance
allowing her to invent vivid "memory." I believe that the
content of that memory is assisted by a system of belief brought
to her therapeutic sessions and by her exposure to material
engendered by that same paradigm. I feel that this paradigm
constitutes an assault, not so much on the truth, but on the
means that truth can be arrived at. I am not alone in the opinion
that the truth cannot be discovered without debating
contradictory conclusions from the same observations.
   It was in the spirit of such debate that I sought to meet with
you and Sally. I felt compelled to inform her that I was unable
to resolve all I had learned about the phenomenon of satanic
ritual abuse in favor of her assertions. I wanted to do so in
an environment she would feel protected in, namely your office. I
have found that professionals of your persuasion regarding this
subject tend to shield themselves as well as their clients from
contrary opinion. Unfortunately the cancellation of our meeting
of August 11 tends to confirm my expectation. It is a shame that
I now feel driven into an opposing camp because we do share a
fundamental concern: that the sexual abuse of children must be
   Do not think that because your camp bears this as a standard,
that myself my family, or others who similarly disagree with you
can be branded as approving of sexual abuse of any nature. Nor
should you rely on the concept of "denial" to neatly categorize
and dismiss those of us who doubt your version of reality. I
appreciate that you have staked your professional reputation on
your interpretation of my sister's condition. I also realize
that you are not alone in that interpretation. In fact yourself
and like-minded colleagues, as well as members of law
enforcement and a growing body of elected officials, have arrived
at the conclusion that satanism is rampant. Many regard such
memories as my sister's as proof. It is apparent to me that the
numbers of professionals and individuals of your persuasion
constitute a powerful force, I'm not sure you appreciate that
power. When I spoke to you of an impending backlash you
responded in tones of one already facing overwhelming odds. I
feel, however, that the greater risk is to those who would oppose
your assumptions. It frightens me to do so. I hope you will
understand that it is your assumptions and not your character
that I oppose and that my opposition to them is motivated by
concern for my sister and my family.
   This has been a difficult letter to write and doubtless
unpleasant for you to read. I don't consider it a strictly
private correspondence and you are welcome to show it to whoever
you please. I will include a copy to my sister and the rest of
my family.

August 26, 1992

Dear Dr. Taylor,

   I'm writing to you in keeping with a practice of clarifying
and documenting discussions I have with professionals regarding
my sisters case. Thank you for considering the materials I left
behind; transcripts of my sisters correspondence with family
members, my letter to her therapist and the Kenneth Lanning
   I was flattered that you found me bright and well-informed.
Indeed I regard you with respect for your sincerity and
intelligence. However I did understand your statement to imply I
had merely armored myself in my convictions. In turn I must admit
that I question your own conviction that you can flawlessly
distinguish testimony that corresponds with external reality
from that which does not. So stripped of the mutual eloquence of
our conversation it is possible we spent an hour calling one
another fools. If so, I am the greater fool for I left  a hundred
dollars behind.
   I did take with me your suggestion that I hypothetically
suspend my doubt and look at those things within me that satanic
ritual abuse may account for. One value of the exercise was that
it made me appreciate how much that hypothetical model of reality
can release one from personal responsibility for shortcomings,
sins and failure. Another result was unexpected: I realized
that I rather like the person I am. I rarely meditate on this,
but I do see myself as a loyal and trustworthy friend and mate.
I cleave closely to the rule of doing to others as I would have
them do to me. I feel exuberance and pleasure at beauties of
life: music, art, the natural world. I participate in them
enthusiastically. I feel spontaneous love and appreciation for
fellow occupants of this planet. I endeavor to help those I can
and seek help from those who will offer it. I have developed a
refined curiosity and a kind of gourmet hunger for knowledge. Nor
do I think I mistake the accumulation of information for
knowledge or the accumulation of knowledge for wisdom. As I said
to Jack Carleton, I am slow to leap to conclusions and to fly
from particulars to generalities. This was not actually an
epiphany, and it did present at least one troubling thought; if
I like the person I am, and that person is the result of a
satanic upbringing, should I positively credit that upbringing?
   When I have thought at all about Satan, I've regarded that
being as a metaphor, one that conveniently embodies all the
misfortunes of life from spoiled milk to war and world famine.
But that being never seems to take personal credit for his deeds.
On the other hand the historical record details extraordinary
torture and execution practiced by proud and righteous
Christians on human beings suspected of associating with Satan.
Does the fact that I find such behavior by Christians repulsive
lead me to have sympathy for the devil? I bring this up because I
genuinely fear the power embodied in the convictions you
apparently share with  my sister, her own and other therapists,
and the politically entrenched Christian right.
   I fear the effect that power can have on those who would
disagree with your shared convictions. For the record, I have no
interest in Satan or Satanism other than how it seems the focus
of all my sister's energy.
   In order to stay in contact with my sister she has required I
take a daunting leap of faith, and I imagine she referred me to
you to assist that leap. Your own experience with your son's
ritual abuse and the stretch of rational faculties that event
required of you, and your stature as doctor of psychology no
doubt qualifies you for such assistance. I would like to outline
the mental steps I must take: 1) Disregard my memories which are
typified by feelings of love, care and protection, are vivid,
spontaneous, detailed and chronologically consistent. If I
understand correctly, I must consider them to be manipulated
and tailored by satanic experts. 2) Likewise disregard my sense
impressions of the character of my parents and their parents.
The feelings I have of their essential humaneness, protection
and concern I must dismiss as a product of denial and fantasy. I
must substitute those feelings with the hatred and vengefulness
my sister embraces. 3) Accept as fact that my parents and
grandparents belonged to a vast and ancient cult. That this cult
required its members to regularly engage in prescribed ritual
accompanied by elaborate accoutrements,  featuring
decapitation, cannibalism, and every manner of rape and sexual
abuse of my sister and other victims. 4) Accept that this cult
practiced these rituals undetected among an isolated rural
population consisting largely of relatives and devout
Christians. Accept that these rituals and their attendant murders
either escaped detection by law enforcement in specific and
varied locations throughout America, or that upper echelons of
the law participated in and covered up these crimes. Accept that
no disaffected members of this cult were able to escape its
domain and reveal its existence to authorities. Accept that those
authorities were in fact so well controlled by fraternal
members that even non-participating and in formed underlings
produced not a peep. That no gossip circulated regarding these
activities and no rumors surfaced until recently. 5) Accept
that the majority of institutions, financial, religious,
fraternal, military and political in this country and abroad are
controlled by this cult. That its members include experts in
evidence disposal far too sophisticated for detection
capabilities of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or that the
F.B.I. conspires with the criminals. 6) That this arch-conspiracy
entails more than mere human agency, but is guided by the
manifest hand of a supernatural being, namely Satan and his
demonic cohorts.
   Its a big leap. If I'm correct that my sister expects you to
assist me in that leap, it will require more than your assurance
of professional acumen in deciphering reality, or even your
obvious intelligence, kindness and sincerity. I hope you can
come to accept that my assertions and arguments in your office
were neither intellectual fencing nor thoughtless protection of
a self-imposed or externally programmed world view. I was
expressing my thoughts and feelings. An alternative to this leap
of faith I understand my sister to require, is the opinion that
her world view is in fact delusional; and that her delusion is
buoyed up by the profession of psychology. Such an opinion
would imply that the profession has lost its intellectual and
philosophical moorings, and its rational and scientific rudder,
is adrift and infested with verminous catch-phrases, buzzwords
and checklists in the place of serious research or cogent
analysis. That would be a mournful opinion to arrive at, but
maybe you can see why I tend toward it.
   You offered me a pair of guidelines in accepting testimony as
fact. One was the affect of an adult patient in recall, the
vividness and detail of their memory, and the assumption that
these things could not be imagined or acquired from any source
but actual experience. The other is the testimony of children,
how their natural innocence should dispel all doubt in the
listener. You referred to the statements by my nephew, and to
those of your own son. In fact I accept that your son's memory
and experience was a real and terrible thing. I do not deny that
not only sexual abuse, but abuse involving ritual, does exist. In
my nephew's case I would like for you to consider a few things.
He has been constantly exposed to his mother's process of recall
over many years. Unlike yourself my sister is a crusader on this
subject. Her belief leads her to suspect that her children were
abused as she remembers her abuse. She has taken him to
psychologists to probe this suspicion. Unlike you, a great number
of therapists are not reticent about asking leading questions and
rewarding expected answers. I recall your condemning this type of
questioning in the McMartin case. My sister also believes in the
principle that only a specialist, such as yourself with a full
understanding and belief in the existence of satanic ritual
abuse, can properly treat a supposed victim. From this
predisposition I would imagine that the therapists she selected
for her son would be of this type. I also would understand that
my nephew is in a double-bind regarding his mother. What would
you do if given the choice of finding your primary care giver
delusional and unstable, or joining with her against an insidious
   Unfortunately you and I don't share your opinion of your
ability to objectively determine reality from  a victims
statements. Also, unfortunately, it is obvious that my
involvement disqualifies me from objectivity. So I am left to
persuade with only the power of my opinion and what authoritative
sources support it.
   I think that the ability to be coerced to believe varies in
individuals and their situation, something along the lines of
Spiegel's Induction Profile I described. My nephew's family
situation and perhaps a hypnotic gift I venture he, my sister and
myself share, would readily explain the memories unveiled in your
   But we come back to what divides us. Why should I think my
memory is real and my sisters is not? All I can offer is that I
have been only minimally exposed to therapy and trance induction.
That unlike my sister, my memories are not fantastic or
bizarre. I do not subscribe, on a weekly or daily basis, to the
influence of groups and individuals devoutly committed to and
focused on a specific version of reality. And most distinctively,
I do not isolate myself from contrary opinion.
   Your personal experience and professional commitment to the
satanic paradigm not withstanding, I expect you to seriously
consider my interpretation. If you've gotten this far in this
letter, I can hope that your own mind is actually open enough to
provide a truly mediative role in future contact with my
sister, for myself and possibly the rest of my family.

September 24, 1992

Dr. Hoffmann,

   You have played a brief but significant role in shattering my
family and breaking my heart. Neither the ethical concept of
confidentiality nor the legal one of privilege that you cited in
cutting off my entreaty cast month forbid you from reading this.
I sincerely hope that you do.
   I called you on August 20th because my sister suggested I do
so and I assumed that she had granted permission to discuss her
case. You have served as a signal beacon in a therapeutic journey
which has led her by steps to declare my parents and grandparents
rapists, murderers and cannibals. In the course of this journey
doubtful family members begged her to seek the opinion of a
professional psychiatrist unallied with her own therapist,
Jack Carleton. She was referred to you by Sutton Hospital. Your
advice, according to her, was to stay the therapeutic course and
avoid those "in denial."
   Whether or not I am "in denial" I am a member of her family; a
brother who loves her and has stayed in close contact with her
over the past 12 years. When I revealed that I doubted the
reality of my sister's therapeutically recovered memories, I felt
your tone turn defensive and your manner become abrupt.
   I think it is possible that my sister's recollections stem from
a source altogether different than actual experience. I am not
alone in that opinion. I am including in this letter articles
citing such authorities in case their views have escaped your
   I think it reasonable that a professional conclusion as to the
reality of allegations of such grave implication--psychological,
social, spiritual, not to mention legal--would reflect
familiarity with thoughts and feelings of the victim's family. It
disappoints me that my offer of such a perspective was so curtly
dismissed. It offends me to have my own memories, thoughts and
feelings summed up as "denial." It frightens me that this
summation from a man of your profession carries with it the
authority of diagnosis.
   But what most hurts and confuses me is your seeming lack  of
concern for the consequences of your assessments, to myself
and my family, if you are wrong. In fact if you are correct and
all my sister describes is true, your response seems even more
disheartening. Is it not worth your time to illuminate and help
protect a person who your patient contends was similarly
   My exchange with you and my understanding of your role in my
sister's current condition leaves me angry and frustrated.
Knowing that you may represent a significant trend of thought
and behavior among those of your profession makes me weep for the
poor souls seeking help from psychotherapy.
   Beyond the ethical guidelines you advised me of in our
conversation stands that fundamental axiom "first do no harm." A
dreadful harm has been done, Dr. Hoffmann, and I directly suffer
it. I beg you from my heart to at least consider and investigate
that harm as a human being, if not a man whose business it is to
heal and protect.

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