Exposing Satanic Panic Frauds and Con-artists in the 1980’s

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False histories and self-serving mythologies -

Fraudulent ritual abuse & mind control victim claimants, therapists professing to specialize in treating such persons, and their pseudo-academic allies, have been writing-compiling & promulgating blatantly self-serving mythologies and false history for many decades.

One of the more widely disseminated of these false histories, concerns very distorted  interpretations of events during the satanic panic period, and the motivations of persons and organizations involved in exposing fraudulent testimonialists and victim claimants during that time.

They are particularly fixated with the false notion that opposition to the promoters of Satanic Panic begins and ends with the False Memory Syndrome Foundation – founded in 1992. You can find the following statement (with the exact same wording in most cases) on many of their websites:

An American study found that between 1992 and 1994, following the founding of the FMSF, 85% of articles on child sexual abuse in leading magazines focused on false memories and false accusations. This contrasts with only 7% of articles during 1982-4”.

Sometimes they will mention that a University of Michigan sociologist named Katherine Beckett is alleged to be the author of this study, although they never quote from or cite the study itself – they are mis-quoting a journalist referencing the study in an article of his, and not attributing the quote.

Here’s another version:

A study published last year [1996] by a University of Michigan sociologist, Katherine Beckett, found a sharp shift in how four leading magazines – Time, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, and People – treated sexual abuse. In 1991, more than 80 percent of the coverage was weighted toward stories of survivors, with recovered memory taken for granted and questionable therapy virtually ignored. By 1994, more than 80 percent of the coverage focused on false accusations, often involving supposedly false memory. Beckett credited the False Memory Syndrome Foundation with a major role in the change”.

In the paranoid fantasy that SRA evangelists try to pass off as “history”, there were no SRA debunkers prior to the founding of FMSF and FMSF was solely and directly responsible for any/all changes in media coverage & perspective during that time. Those ideas are demonstrably false.

A blatant fantasy, by a lying fraud
A blatant fantasy, by a lying fraud

More than anything else, changes in media perspective resulted from the fact that so many major media organizations had allowed themselves to be conned by fraudulent testimonialists such as Mike Warnke and fraudulent victim claimants such as Lauren Stratford (or both together, such as Ruth Bailey and Edna Moses). Media had invested faith & trust in these and many other satanic panic promoters, and came to realize how badly they were ‘burned’ & betrayed by these frauds after the truth about them started breaking into mainstream news. Major media had been betrayed and made to look naive, gullible, stupid and unprofessional. Naturally, they attempted to “save face” by belatedly focusing on the falsity of various claims and allegations. The process of exposing the frauds did not begin in 1992 with FMSF, however. It began a decade or more earlier, carried out by researchers both professional & ‘amateur’, in many cases very ordinary people from various ‘walks of life’.

Another agressively disseminated distortion of history from these SRA evangelists, is the idea that the exposure of these frauds & con-artists was part of a ‘backlash’ against social acceptance of the reality that child sexual abuse is a serious and widespread problem in our society. That self-serving falsehood intends to associate skeptical analysis of SRA testimonialist’s fantasies with a supposedly intrenched & intractable societal inability to accept that child sexual abuse exists at all, in the minds of people who did not live through the Satanic Panic or who were never impacted by it. In reality, the debunking of SRA testimonialists has no relationship to any generalized skepticism about child abuse or sexual violence in our society.

The idea of a “backlash” against the reality of child abuse is part of a paranoid and fanciful narrative, one which postulates that social belief in the reality of children’s abuse claims, social belief in the harmfulness of child sexual exploitation, and social disdain for child sex abusers, is all very fragile and could collapse into widespread social acceptance of child rape and child sex- slavery at any moment. Fortunately, the truth is that public awareness of and concern about child sexual abuse has been steadily rising since the 1970’s. Improvements to child protection legislation, reforms to reduce the trauma of child witness testimony, improved support services for sexual abuse victims and longer sentences for repeat abusers have all moved forward throughout this period – without the slightest ‘setback’ from the exposure of fraudulent satanic cult victim claimants.

There was a “backlash” taking place, circa 1985-1995, which I was a participant in – but it had nothing to do with the reality of child sexual abuse.

more paranoia and lies
more paranoia and lies

A culture under seige -

In the 1980’s, militant political-Evangelical movements exploded across North America and the UK –  “the rise of the religious right”, it has been called. Abundantly well-funded, socially and politically aggressive organizations like; Focus On The Family, the Moral Majority and the Christian Coalition, wielded serious political power and social influence that was amplified by their symbiotic relationship to the obscenely wealthy, massive, Televangelical empires which were at their peak during this time.

Spinning off from this frenzy of newly sanctified religious-political activism, were a multitude of Fundamentalist-Evangelical organizations and networks with a threateningly aggressive interest in “reforming” mainstream and pop culture…a fantatical determination to save “all the rest of us” from the diabolical seductions of Satan, through social campaigns driven primarily by ignorance, superstition, urban myth and paranoid fantasies. 

A persistent theme which came through loud & clear from the founders and spokespersons for many of these campaigns, was their desire to label all non-christian religious or spiritual practices, and all fantasy, science fiction or supernatural themed entertainments, as necessarily SATANIC and EVIL. In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, “satanic” labelling seemed merely an annoying background ‘static’ in our society…like Jack Chick literature randomly strewn throughout every public, civic venue. By the mid 1980’s, however, these relentless, slanderous attacks on popular culture, on our culture, on the books we liked to read, the movies we liked to watch, the games we liked to play and the music we liked to listen to, were no longer something that could just be laughed off, for many people.

APOCALYPSE! END OF DAYS! ARMAGEDDON! ACK! BLORT! YEAAAAARG!
APOCALYPSE! END OF DAYS! ARMAGEDDON! ACK! BLORT! YEAAAAARG!

Schools were under pressure to ban fantasy books and games, heavy metal and punk music & gear, even after-school meditation classes for adults, from their grounds.  Psychic fairs and New Age booksellers were being picketed by Fundamentalist “anti-witchcraft” rallies.  Outdoor wiccan, neo-pagan, women’s spirituality and First Nations ceremonies were being crashed by paranoid Fundamentalist police or park attendants convinced that they’d stumbled onto some secret satanic cult meeting. Indoor worship spaces for these spiritual subcultures were being vandalized and receiving anonymous threats. Musicians, artists and film-makers were being threatened with legislated censorship of their work. All of this and more, and every week the Televangelist superstars would come up with something else about our way of life to exhort their millions of followers to publicly condemn as EVIL and SATANIC, it seemed.

The fraudulent “anti-occult” or “anti-witchcraft” Evangelical testimonialists, however, clearly posed the greatest danger to the social stability and harmony of our communities.  Persons who were willing – actually eager – to publicly lie about having belonged to criminal, murderous satanic/ witchcraft cults, willing to publicly lie about recruiting-seducing children into satan worship through seemingly innocent Dungeons & Dragons groups, or eastern meditation classes, or heavy metal band fan clubs, during guest appearances on Televangelist broadcasts going out to millions of their followers. Lying frauds of this nature seemed a danger of a much higher order – portraying themselves to be a type of ‘whistleblower’, as not only a living witness to secret satanic evils lurking in our communities but also as having once been an active participant, as having been a cult “insider” and thus possessing secret knowledge that even the police or the FBI could not gain access to. Ooo-eee-ooo! This type of lying fraud has the potential to inspire hoards of Righteous Vigilantes, who believe they are following orders directly “from God”.

And so it was these fraudulent testimonialists that were targeted for debunking and public exposure, by the rationalist-atheists, the musicians and artists, the anti-racist & anti-defamation activists, the members of minority faith communities, the public school parents & teachers, the college students, and everyone else who participated in the networking community that I belonged to at that time – one of many similar networks in communities across North America and the UK – circa 1987 or so.

That was the backlash I participated in – a backlash of ordinary folk with little social-political influence, no funding and no mass media machinery under our control – a backlash against incessant, socially pervasive, irrational religious attacks upon our common, popular culture.

Muahaha !!
Muahaha !!
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