Ritual Abuse has been defined as psychological, sexual, spiritual and/or physical assault on an
unwilling human victim, committed by one or more people whose primary motive is to fulfill
a prescribed ritual in order to achieve a specific goal or satisfy the perceived needs of
Children are most frequently the victims of all types of ritual abuse, largely because
of their vulnerability and lack of power.
What does this have to do with religious tolerance?
The general topic of this web site is religious
tolerance. At first glance, there may be no obvious connection between that
topic and ritual abuse. However, many ritual abuse seminar leaders, lecturers, authors
accuse an enormous variety of
groups who engage in ritual abuse. Some blame well known religious faiths, such
as Buddhism, Hinduism, New
Age, Quakers, Santeria, Satanism, Wicca, etc. They sometimes blame benign,
spiritually oriented groups such as the Masonic Order, other fraternal organizations, self-help groups, 12
step groups, etc.
The result is that some seminars and books create public panic, hatred and fear, and
victimize many innocent people in the community.
We have seen eight forms of ritual abuse referred to in the literature:
Some conservative Christians believe that individuals can be "possessed" by
devils. They sometimes conduct exorcisms to drive out the demons. This often involves physical and
emotional abuse. Two victims died in 1995 during exorcisms: a woman in California and an
infant in Ontario, Canada. About one additional death is reported each year.
In early 2002, widespread accusations surfaced about Roman Catholic clergy
sexually abusing children. Although most of the public perceived this as
priests sexually molesting young children, most charges were actually related
to post-pubertal youth. Ritual abuse by priests has occasionally been
mentioned. However, it appears that all or almost all of the abuse did not
Other devoutly religious folks sometimes withhold needed medical attention from their
children in favor of seeking a cure through intensive prayer sessions. This
is considered by some as a form of ritual abuse.
Some parents follow the "spare the rod, spoil the child" rule and abuse
their child physically, often in a type of ritual. This often consists of physical abuse,
religious motivation and ritual. Whether it is ritual abuse depends upon your precise
definition of the term.
Some religious rituals involve sexual activity. This is normally
done in private between committed, consenting adult couples. In very rare instances, children are included,
as victims, perpetrators and/or observers. This constitutes abuse, because of the
children's age. A recent US Government study of
thousands of therapists uncovered one case of childhood
ritual abuse of this type in the United States.
A few child molesters use a Satanic motif during abuse. They may buy book on Satanic
ritual, an altar, some candles etc. and pretend to conduct a Satanic ritual while abusing
the child. The perpetrator is not a Satanist, but finds the ritual useful as a control
technique. Three cases of this type were uncovered during a major study into ritual abuse
in Great Britain.
When people think of ritual abuse, they usually refer to Satanic
Ritual abuse (SRA). A goal of SRA would be to satisfy the perceived needs of the
Christian devil, or to use "black" magic to achieve certain ends. This type of
abuse is in a class by itself, and is said to involve a highly organized, secret, often
multi-generational group who engage in mutilation, ritual killing, cannibalism, drinking
of blood, systematic torture to produce robot-like, programmed, children, etc. Some people
use the term Sadistic Ritual Abuse to describe similar forms of abuse done by
non-Satanists (e.g. by men's fraternal organizations). Over twenty years of
investigations by dedicated police officers has failed to uncover any hard
evidence that such groups and activities exist.
Between 1980 and 1995, dozens of accusations of Multi-Victim,
Multi-Offender (MVMO) abuse were made against teachers in pre-schools,
nursery schools, Sunday schools, etc. Similar accusations were made against
adults organized in alleged sex-rings. In both cases, adults were believed
by the public to have engaged in massive amounts of ritual abuse of young
children. Hundreds of adults were convicted and incarcerated before it was
found that the charges were false. Incompetent child
interview techniques had implanted false memories of abuse in their minds.
All ritual abuse is criminal; most victimizes children; none is done in public. Thus,
there are no accurate estimates of its incidence in society. We have listed a number of cases where some form of ritual abuse actually occurred
or was suspected.
Although there is general agreement that the first five forms of ritual abuse (listed
above) exist, there is much controversy over the existence of MVMO abuse and Satanic or Sadistic Ritual
Is there any evidence of Satanic/Sadistic Ritual Abuse?
There are many self-help, Christian and other groups who are divided on
the frequency of such abuse:
One group believes ritual abuse to be widespread and attributes
the abuse to Christians, Neo-Nazis, Neo-Pagans, Santerian, Satanists, white supremacists
and Vodun (Voodoo) organizations. 5
Another group accuses Freemasonry, the Illuminati, the Golden Dawn,
Rosicrucianism, the Khabbalah, and Jesuits as perpetrators of
Another page promotes the idea that Satanic Ritual Abuse exists, but is not
Answers in Action, a Christian web site, concluded that SRA
stories is unsupported by any evidence. 8
There are many reporters, psychologists, and others who suspect that
Satanic Ritual Abuse either does not exist or is extremely rare.
The US government tried to obtain reliable information by funding a massive study of childhood ritual abuse. They obtained data from over
10,000 psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, as well as from police offices,
district attorneys' offices and social service departments. They found
An alarming incidence of child ritual and non-ritual abuse by
parents victimizing their children during exorcisms, by
withholding vital medical attention, and beating children
One case of incest within a family during Satanic rituals.
No unequivocal evidence of:
bizarre and horrible satanic ritual abuse scenarios or of
large scale, organized Satanic cults.
Investigations into non-Christian ritual abuse were conducted by the governments of the
State of Virginia and the Netherlands between 1991 and 1994. They concluded that it simply
does not exist. A similar study in England uncovered a few cases. Each involved a lone
child molester who was pretending to be a Satanist in order to better control his victims.
We have been unable to find any hard evidence of this form of ritual abuse by organized Satanic,
Pagan, or other non-Christian groups. Typical types of hard evidence would have been human
blood at a ritual site, dead bodies, underground tunnels where children said they were
taken (as in the famous McMartin Day Preschool
California 1), etc.
There is a truly enormous amount of soft evidence:
Many books have been written since 1980 by women alleging to be abuse survivors and by
at least one man alleging to have once been a Satanist and engaged in ritual abuse: Michelle
Remembers, Satan's Underground, Satan Seller and He Came to Set the Captives Free
Many dozens of children have memories of being victimized during Satanic rituals. Their
memories often include being lowered into graves, very scary experiences with rats, snakes
and spiders, and with urine and feces. These beliefs often materialize after an investigation into suspected widespread sexual abuse at a day care
center or baby-sitting service.
Tens or hundreds of thousands of adults have recovered memories of horrendous abuse.
Their memories often include ritual torture, mutilation, rape, killing, cannibalism,
drinking of human blood, etc. (Recovered memories are recollections uncovered for the
first time during recovered memory therapy which typically involves
hypnotism, guided imagery or age regression).
The soft evidence tends to disappear like a mouthful of floss candy, when it is
One wonders why no survivor came forward prior to 1980 when the first of the
"survivor books" (Michelle Remembers) was published.
The survivor books mentioned above have all been exposed as hoaxes.
Many believe that children's memories of ritual abuse were implanted during incompetent
questioning by police officers, social workers or child psychologists during intensive
investigations into abuse at day care centers.
Many therapists and memory researchers believe that therapeutically recovered memories
are usually of events that never happened. They were created as an unexpected byproduct of
questionable techniques during therapy (hypnotism, guided imagery, age regression, etc.).
There are many indicators that ritual abuse by underground,
evil groups does not exist in North America.
There is growing evidence that most therapeutically recovered memories from
of abuses during "previous lifetimes,"
of medical experiments on board UFO's,
sexual abuse and incest during childhood, and
ritual abuse during childhood
are false memories. Therapeutically Recovered memories are recollections
uncovered during therapy which were not present when the therapy
began. False memories feel very real; however, they are of events that never
However, adults who have had continuous memories of non-ritual incest or other sexual abuse,
with no amnesia between childhood to the present time, are almost certainly
survivors of abuse.
So are others who recollect dormant memories. As
adults, they had no longer remembered the abuse events; they had lost the
memories through the normal processes of forgetting. Some trigger (e.g. reading
an newspaper account involving the perpetrator, seeing a picture of the abuser,
visiting an abuse location, etc.) can sometimes cause a rush of long-forgotten
memories of the abuse back into consciousness. These are evidence of very real, non-ritual, abuse which is probably our
most serious social problem.
A series of over two dozen MVMO cases surfaced in
the U.S. and Canada between the early 1980's and mid 1990's. They started with a
case in Kern County, CA, with allegations of a sex ring in which adults abused
children. They seem seem to have ended with allegations of a network of sex
rings in Wenatchee, WA. In between were numerous accusations of MVMO cases
involving teachers at nursery schools, pre-schools and Sunday schools.
The evidence for these cases were based on improper child interview
techniques which were common during that era. Children were asked repeated,
direct questions about abuse. Some were provided with anatomically correct
dolls. Such interview methods have been discredited in recent years. Supporting
the children's testimony were defective medical examinations and lab tests, both
of which implied sexual abuse where none had happened.
Why do people believe that ritual abuse is common?
Most people believe that there are very evil people following a very evil religion, who
kill babies, drink their blood, eat their flesh, and who engage in degenerate sexual
practices. This belief system has existed for decades without any hard evidence. Many
reasons have been cited for this belief:
There are many people who believe themselves to be ritual abuse survivors who deliver
seminars and write books which promote the concept.
Some Evangelical Christians and feminist therapists deliver lectures, conduct seminars
and write books promoting it.
The belief system was started by the Roman Empire in the second century when they were
persecuting Christians. It was reused by the Christian Church against the Witches
(Wiccans). It was used by the Nazis against the Jews. It is being used today against some
therapy, religious or spiritual individuals and groups. Whenever the rumor was active in
the past, most ordinary citizens believed it to be true. They do so today also.
Now that Communism is no longer a menace, we need an internal "evil empire" to
John Earl, article in Issues in Child Abuse Accusations, Volume 7, # 2, published
1995-Spring, Institute for Psychological Therapies, 13200 Cannon City Blvd., Northfield,
MN 55057, $15 USF; $20 USF (foreign)
Church of all Worlds staff, "Witchcraft, Satanism & Occult Crime:
Who's Who & What's What, a Manual of Reference Materials for the Professional
Investigator," Phoenix Publ., (1994) Review/order
this book. This book is an excellent antidote for the type of
misinformation taught to law enforcement personnel at "Satanic Ritual
Kerr Cuhulain, "The Law Enforcement Guide to Wicca,"
Horned Owl Publ., (1997). Review/order
this book. A very useful book, written by a law enforcement officer who
is also a Wiccan. Again, a useful antidote to SRA seminars.