The Myth of Satanic Ritual Abuse
Anyone with a healthy sense of skepticism should find the claims of large, organized, transgenerational satanic cults hard to believe. Those who believe the claims say the following:
As a result, the believers are trying to "respin" their stories. Aware
of the ridicule that has been heaped upon claims of satanic cults and the
failure of investigations to find any evidence, they are changing the name
but keeping the claims. Instead of "satanic ritual abuse," they keep the
SRA acronym but say it stands for "sadistic ritual abuse." Bass and
Davis use this approach in the most recent edition of The Courage to
If satanic cults are as numerous as claimed and meeting as frequently as claimed and sacrificing as many children per ritual as claimed, we're talking about mass murder on an industrial scale. Even a single believer like my sister will make claims of the murder of hundreds at a single ritual site, and there are thousands of people making these claims. But where are all these sacrificial babies and children coming from? All of us know how much media and law enforcement attention is given to even a single missing child. Are we expected to believe that thousands of children disappear and are murdered each year and that no one is noticing? Think of how much media attention is given to a single child who disappears! (Note: actual abduction of children is a very real problem; for more information see http://www.missingkids.com/. But the number of these all-to-real and well-documented cases is nowhere near sufficient to substantiate the claims being made by believers in satanic cults.)
Similarly, if satanic cults are as numerous as claimed and meeting as frequently as claimed and sacrificing as many people per ritual as claimed, they have a body disposal problem to rival the worst despots of recorded history. Where have all these bodies gone? Are they buried? If so, where? Are they being burned? If so, where?
As described, the alleged rituals involve elaborate ceremonies in which groups of people don robes, chant, perform human and animal sacrifices at altars, etc. Obviously, this requires highly secret locations, as law enforcement personnel tend to take a dim view of human sacrifice. But the accused "cult members" are often people who live in major urban areas and lead busy, normal lives in which any prolonged or repeated absences would be noticed. (For example, it would be difficult for a doctor to be on call while at a satanic cult meeting sacrificing babies.) So where are these cult ritual sites that must be right under our collective noses? Where are the altars?
Satanic cult believers have done the math and know that they have a credibility problem on the issue of the baby body count. So they have a ready backup story: supposedly, brainwashed adolescent female victims are impregnated by members of the cult and used as "breeders" to bear children for sacrifice. Unfortunately for the credibility of these self-proclaimed "breeders," many turn out upon medical examination to have never have been pregnant, many had regular medical checkups throughout childhood and adolescence at which pregnancy would have been noted, and some are determined to still be virgins!
Similarly, the people who claim to have been victims of satanic ritual abuse describe violent, repeated physical abuse throughout their childhoods, abuse which would have left bruises, cuts, scars and other physical signs which would have been noticed at school and during medical checkups.
Because of these inconsistencies and many others and the complete lack of substantiating evidence in every case that has been investigated, the FBI's expert on cult crimes, Kenneth Lanning, has concluded that
The most significant crimes being alleged that do not seem to be true are the human sacrifice and cannibalism by organized satanic cults.
In his FBI report entitled Investigator's Guide to Allegations of Ritual Child Abuse, Lanning continues:
Until hard evidence is obtained and corroborated, the public should not be frightened into believing that babies are being bred and eaten, that 50,000 missing children are being murdered in human sacrifices, or that satanists are taking over America's day care centers or institutions. No one can prove with absolute certainty that such activity has NOT occurred. The burden of proof, however, as it would be in a criminal prosecution, is on those who claim that it has occurred. The explanation that the satanists are too organized and law enforcement is too incompetent only goes so far in explaining the lack of evidence. For at least eight years American law enforcement has been aggressively investigating the allegations of victims of ritual abuse. There is little or no evidence for the portion of their allegations that deals with large-scale baby breeding, human sacrifice, and organized satanic conspiracies. Now it is up to mental health professionals, not law enforcement, to explain why victims are alleging things that don't seem to have happened.
It's no secret why so many therapists have been interested in promoting the myth of satanic ritual abuse. Lanning adds that:
Satanic and occult crime and ritual abuse of children has become a growth industry. Speaking fees, books, video and audio tapes, prevention material, television and radio appearances all bring egoistic and financial rewards.
Financial gain aside, why do believers in repressed memories cling so fiercely to these bizarre, unsubstantiated claims of satanic ritual abuse? Because "recovered memories" of satanic ritual abuse are the Achilles's Heel of the entire memory recovery movement.
Claims of satanic ritual abuse are common among people who claim to have "recovered memories." Claims of satanic ritual abuse are involved in 18% of the reports filed with the False Memory Syndrome.
So, as many as one in five people who "recover memories" have "memories" of satanic ritual abuse--often elaborate ones involving all of the elements above. As we've seen already, all the evidence indicates that organized, transgenerational satanic cults simply do not exist, so these "memories" are clearly false. Therefore, the techniques used to "recover repressed memories" of satanic ritual abuse are clearly unsafe and unreliable. These techniques are causing people to believe they have memories of events which never occurred.
But the techniques used to "recover repressed memories" of satanic ritual abuse are the same techniques used to "recover repressed memories" of incest and childhood sexual abuse. If the techniques themselves are called into question, then all the other "memories" of incest and childhood sexual abuse which have been "recovered" are also called into question, as are the judgement and qualifications of the therapists who ran these sessions. And when the clients realize that their "memories" are false and they have been misled by ignorant, incompetent, or downright fraudulent therapists, the clients are going to be understandably upset that they paid money to be duped, in many cases to the point that they divorced, accused innocent parents of sex crimes, filed lawsuits or arranged for criminal prosecution, cut off all contact with their own families, and destroyed their own lives and those of everyone they loved. The clients are going to sue.
So we see the fundamental dilemma confronting "memory recovery therapists":
If therapists admit that satanic cults don't exist, they have to admit that the therapeutic techniques they have been using are unsafe, unreliable, known to produce strong belief in false memories of events that never occured, and totally inappropriate for use in mental therapy. Many have to admit that they are "serial therapists" who have shattered dozens or hundreds of innocent families over years of ignorant, incompetent malpractice.
Of course, it's much easier to pretend that satanic cults exist than to accept that you are an incompetent perpetrator responsible for untold suffering and injustice and to lose your home and your job and your savings. Hence, the therapists take the easy way out and weakly attempt to defend the myth of satanic ritual abuse. It's much less painful to promote a myth and destroy someone else's family than to impoverish your own. Unless, of course, you happen to be the unlucky family that becomes the target of this "therapy."
Protect yourself and your family by arming yourself with knowledge. Read Characteristics and Sources of Allegations of Ritualistic Child Abuse and Kenneth Lanning's full report.
Remember, your family may be next.