"Never attribute to Devil-worshipping conspiracies what
opportunism, emotional instability, and religious bigotry are sufficient
Shawn Carlson, Ph.D
"...secret societies like Freemasonry, the Illuminati, the
Golden Dawn, Rosicrucianism, the Khabbalah, and Jesuits are all
involved in plans by which they intend to control the general
populace....Through SRA they have been able to apply Mind Control
practices with will eventually be used in a broad spectrum by the
various organizations and political machines of the world in order to
bring about the goals of the Illuminist or Enlightened New World
"I have observed that there were neither witches nor bewitched in a village
until they were talked and written about." Alonso de Salazar. 2
"Trouble is, the satan-chasers' incredible claims are
distinguished by an utter lack of evidence, except for the rantings elicited from
dubious psychotherapists and church counselors." Mark Sauer,
from a movie review of "By Satan Possessed." 3
"When anyone deviates from reality, people get harmed." (That is this website's motto).
Many in the social worker, therapist, conservative Christian and police
communities experienced a "Satanic Panic," starting about 1980. They,
and much of the rest of the public, believed that a widespread, underground,
secret network of Satanic cults were kidnapping, sexually and physically abusing
infants and children, murdering them, and sometimes even eating them. In the United States and Canada, the scare
reached a peak in the very early 1990's. It spread from the U.S. to other English speaking
countries, particularly Canada, Britain, and Australia. The panic gradually declined because of the lack of hard
evidence. Almost all mental health professionals, police officers, etc now believe
that SRA was primarily based on:
False memories by adults of childhood ritual abuse, induced by faulty recovered memory therapy
-- a suggestive counseling method that became popular in the 1980s and is now largely discredited.
Memories of non-existent abuse that were implanted in young children
as a result of suggestive child
investigative techniques. These interview techniques have since been
replaced by methods that are much less likely to produce false disclosures by children.
Stories from 19th century anti-Roman Catholic novels which were
presented as documentaries.
Damian Thomson of The Daily Telegraph, a UK newspaper, wrote:
"As Prof[essor Jean] La Fontaine points out, paedophilia is the most
potent representation of evil in modern society; it is not surprising that it
should become conflated with older folk devils, or that groups with a distrust
of the Establishment - fundamentalists, feminists, social workers - should prove
receptive to such a myth." 4
By the year 2002, SRA lives on mainly in court cases, in an inverted form. Victims of
experimental, suggestive counseling techniques started suing their therapists for having induced false memories of
SRA. Multi-million dollar settlements have been reached in some cases.
concept of Multiple Personality Disorder (now called
Dissociative Identity Disorder) has been associated with from
Recovered Memory Therapy and
SRA. It asserts that some people's minds consist of a number of separate personalities. Belief in MPD/DID is also in decline and largely disappeared by the year 2010.
Most therapists now believe that MPD/DID is an iatrogenic disorder -- one that
does not appear in nature and has to be artificially generated by the
interaction of a therapist and patient. Normally, if the patient is separated
from a MPD/DID therapist and support groups, the alters (alternative
personalities) fade and finally disappear.
There remain a few individuals and groups who still attempt to raise public awareness of SRA
through seminars, web pages, articles, books, etc. They often teach that many benign,
gentle religious groups are abusing, mutilating, programming, and killing children and
adults. SRA is thus a religious tolerance concern, because so much hatred and
misinformation is directed by the SRA movement at small religious groups.
Hundreds of adults who were convicted of crimes and jailed for which they
were innocent; in most cases, they were imprisoned for crimes that never happened.
Most have now been released.
An unknown number of adults who were victimized by Recovered Memory
Therapy and Multiple Personality Disorder, who came to believe that they
were Satanic abuse survivors, became emotionally and mentally disabled, and in
some cases, committed
Followers of many benign faith groups who were targeted by the SRA movement
and labeled as child abuse perpetrators.
Belief in Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) had been present at a low level for decades in many Christian countries
among conservative Christians. The latter generally believe in the inerrancy
of the Bible. They often attribute mental illness to
indwelling demons. Many passages in the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) describe
Satan as a living, all-evil quasi-deity. Conservative Christians thus generally believe in the
existence of Satan, and demon possession. Since God founded the church to spread
Christian belief, it appeared logical to some that Satan would have a
corresponding organization of individuals dedicated to performing evil.
Belief in SRA burst into prominence in North American in 1980 with the first major SRA survivor book,
Remembers. 5It described horrendous sexual and physical abuse allegedly suffered by the
co-author, Michelle Smith, as a child over a 5 year interval. She described perpetrators as Satanists who felt that the pain
inflicted upon their victims increased their black magical powers. The group also
allegedly engaged in human sacrifice and cannibalism. "Michelle" was
presented as a documentary -- a record of real events. It was followed by a number of
"...there has been no verification of these events, and it has been
discovered that the alleged victim was attending school regularly, and was even
photographed for the school yearbook, at a time when she was supposedly locked
in a basement for months." 6
There were no documented cases of SRA survivors prior to 1980. However, many such cases
followed the publication of Michelle Remembers in that year. Court cases in the early
1980s revealed abuse which
were precisely like (or almost identical to) Michelle's. Investigations by the Wiccan
Information Network concluded that the book is a hoax. 7This was confirmed by a separate
investigation conducted by the authors of the book Satan's Silence. 8The rituals
described by the co-author Dr. Lawrence Pazder (1936 - 2004) appeared to be linked to his
earlier studies of African
A number of other survivor books were later published by conservative Christian authors. The most influential were Satan's Underground9 and
He Came to Set the Captives Free. 10These have since been analyzed by Evangelical
groups who also concluded that they were frauds.
A industry developed to promote SRA awareness. Many Evangelical or Fundamentalist
Christians joined the seminar/lecture/book circuit to promote the "Satanic
Panic". The most influential among these was Mike Warnke. He "maintained that satanists carried out
2 million human sacrifices a year in the US alone. After telling the tragic
story of a little boy named Jeffy, Warnke would hand out envelopes to collect
money "for all the children like Jeffy", which brought in about $800,000
in 1991. 11 These authors and speakers often define the term Satanism to include many benign religious faiths, such as Goddess Worship, New Age Spirituality, Santeria, Wicca (Witchcraft), etc. Each
seminar leader can spread religious suspicion, misinformation and intolerance in each city
that he/she visits. It can last for years.
Among those promoting the existance of SRA during the early 1980's were many police officers. They were
concerned that Satanists were literally getting away with murder. It soon became obvious
to them that no hard evidence had ever been found which pointed to a Satanic
conspiracy. There were "no bodies, no bones, no bloodstains, nothing"
12 The police reasoned that if survivors' testimony was true, then certain hard evidence would have
been readily detectable. It wasn't. The most famous example are the non-existent tunnels
under the McMartin Preschool center in California.
plenty of soft evidence of SRA in the memories of hundreds of child survivors and tens of
thousands of adult survivors. Many experts believe that these are false memories;
children's memories having been created by improper interview methods,
and adult's memories generated by a variety of suggestive therapeutic
techniques. Everyone is in agreement that the survivors very rarely lie; they are
telling the truth as they remember it to be. However, there is a growing belief that those
memories are not of real events. Most police officers are now highly skeptical about the
existence of SRA. Almost four decades have now passed since "Michelle Remembers" was published. In
spite of hundreds of rigorous police investigations, hard evidence of SRA has not
"By Satan possessed: The search for the Devil," a HBO
movie by Antony Thomas. It was aired on 1993-SEP-7. The movie describes in
detail the 1991 abuse by the police and child protection officers of the
Wallis family in Escondido CA. Their children were taken into care for 68
days. The only hard evidence against the parents was that the father had
named his sailboat "Witch
Way." A movie review by the San Diego Union-Tribune is at:
Damian Thomson, "The people who believe that Satanists might eat your
baby," The Daily Telegraph, London, UK, 2002-MAR-22, Page 28.
Michelle Smith & Lawrence Pazder, "Michelle Remembers,"
(Reissued 1989), Pocket Books. This is the novel that started the Satanic
panic; three independent investigations have shown it to be a work of
Various authors, "Journal of Psychohistory", vol. 24, #4,
(1994-Spring). The journal has one skeptical article followed by a series of
articles by believers in SRA.
Wiccan Information Network, WIN INTELLIGENCE REPORT, SAMHAIN 1993
Wiccan Information Network, PO Box 2422, Main Post Office, Vancouver BC, V6B
Debbie Nathan & Michael Snedeker, "Satan's Silence: Ritual Abuse and the
Making of a Modern American Witch Hunt," Iuniverse, (2001).
Lauren Stratford & Johanna Michaelson,
"Satan's Underground: The extraordinary story of one woman's escape,"
Pelical Publ. (Reissued 1991) Review/order
Rebecca Brown: "He came to set the captives free,"
Whitaker House, (1993). This is an immensely popular book that she promotes as a
documentary. However, it appears to be a work of fiction. It was once In the top 7,500
of all books sold by Amazon.com, and -- as of 2009-JAN -- is still the
second most popular book on the topic of Satanism. Read
228 reviews/order this book Almost all reviewers give the book either 0
or 5 stars out of a maximum of 5 stars.
Phil Baker, "A walk on the dark side: Think satanism isn't serious?
Phil Baker finds out the awful truth," The Guardian (London), 2001-OCT-6,
Saturday pages, P. 10.
J.M Feldman, et al., "Stranger Than Fiction: When Our Minds Betray
Us," American Psychiatric Press, Washington DC, (1998). Review/order
this book Discusses false memories.