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[This excerpt is from Suggestions of Abuse: True and False Memories of Childhood Sexual Trauma , pp. 159, by Michael Yapko, Ph.D. Simon and Schuster, New York. Copyright (c) 1994. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. Read our review or order it from]

A family haunted by demons:

On March 24,1993, the Sally Jessy Raphael show featured a family with a unique problem-they claimed their house was haunted by sexually abusive demons. Margaret, the mother (a former therapist, incidentally) claimed there were demons who sexually abused her and her children on an unpredictable but regular basis. Each "victim" claimed to have been sexually assaulted while lying in bed, taking a shower, or just going about ordinary business. The family reported that the demons even followed them to other locations, so the possibility of escaping them seemed remote.

It's a strange story, isn't it? But if you listened to their accounts, as I did, you might have been impressed by their calm demeanor, the abundance of detail, their intelligent and articulate presentation. They openly acknowledged their stories as implausible, and in so doing, they became even more convincing. Much of the audience seemed persuaded, as evidenced by their comments and questions. How many more would have been convinced if the accused were not demons, but some relative or stranger?

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