Extraordinary Claims: The Satanic Ritual Abuse Claims of the 1980's

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After reading chapter 7 and the article about Paul Ingram, I started thinking about the documentaries and articles I've read about accusations of satanic ritual in the 1980's, and I wondered what sparked this bizarre and terrible trend.
Michelle Remembers.jpgMichelle Remembers is a book published in 1980 by psychiatrist Lawrence Pazder and his patient-turned-wife Michelle Smith (already, red flag). This book was the first to introduce the concept of satanic ritual abuse and in it, Smith claims that she was abused by her mother when she was five and that the abuse only ended after, "an 81-day ritual in 1955 that summoned the devil himself and involved the intervention of Jesus, the Virgin Mary and Michael the Archangel, who removed the scars received by Smith throughout the year of abuse and removed memories of the events." (Wikipedia) Smith claimed that the memories only came back to her after hypnosis.
Authorities used Michelle Remembers as a basis for investigations into similar charges and seven years after the release of the book, "Pazder reported that he was spending a third of his time consulting on satanic ritual abuse cases."
In the last two decades, numerous books and articles have been written debunking the stories told in this book, highlighting inconsistancies between Smith's claims and documented events (for example, Smith never missed a day of school during her supposed 81-day satanic ritual), the fact that neither of her siblings believe any of these events took place, and it has been shown that many of Smith's claims bare striking resemblance to popular movies of the time, such as The Exorsist, and to the stories of ritual abuse that Pazder learned about in Africa in the 1960's.
But the longterm effects of this mania are still being felt. Just this month three men, known as the West Memphis Three, were released after serving more than 18 years in prison convicted of satanic ritual murders. In this case, the evidence, viewed through a (sane) skeptic's eye, overwhelmingly supports their innocence.

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This page contains a single entry by becke356 published on October 21, 2011 12:20 PM.

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