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Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 2:11 am
by Cesar Tort
[edited once to fix apostrophes]

Dennis, I know too well that the founders of FMSF are abusers and that they tried to cover up their abuse on their daughter. Still, I don't believe that Loftus is as mean as them.
Dennis wrote:So you agree there's ritual abuse. You agree there's ritual abuse with satanic elements, but there's no Satanic Ritual Abuse?
SRA is a code word for the craze that started with these cases:

* 1982 in Kern County, California
* 1983 McMartin preschool trial
* 1983 Jordan, Minnesota

Due to the disinformation in the media, in the 1990s the SRA craze spread like wildfire throughout the USA, for example in --:

* Edenton, NC
* Martensville, Saskatchewan

--and a few dozens more cases. Then Satan made incursions in Germany, and in your native country as well, in:

* Oude Pekela
* Emmer-Erfscheidenveen

And similar cases erupted in the UK and later in Australia.

However, Satan never visited Mexico because the Reid technique was never used here. The key problem with these cases was the methodology of questioning children. Once this mistake is acknowledged, SRA disappears.

Yes: I know there are people who use the term Satanic Ritual Abuse more loosely, for example by labeling the Matamoros drug murder case as SRA. I wouldn't classify it this way. The Cuban witchcraft known as santeria, associated with the drug lord, is something every Cuban has heard about: nothing about secret satanic societies. It's even legal. The press made a field day by dramatizing the drug wars and an horrific murder with a satanic element.
Dennis wrote:However, there's no doubt that there were tunnels
I am amazed that you take these claims at face value, Dennis. I will never believe the "evidence" presented by UFOlogists who claim that there is ample evidence of alien ships. Show the ship to the open press and TV media and I believe. I already told you that, since the tunnels claims were made also in other cases besides McMartin's and none was photographed, it stretches my credulity beyond its breaking point.

I don't believe in conspiracy theories, Dennis. I don't believe there is a gigantic government cover-up for UFOs or that there is a cover-up for these various tunnels for satanic rites. I don't believe there is a government conspiracy behind 9/11 or John F. Kennedy's assassination. Genuine conspiracies, like the Iran-Contra affair during Reagan's presidency, always make their way to the surface. UFOs, 9/11 or SRA conspiracies are concocted by crank writers for credulous people living in a mass-market economy full of trash.

You cut and pasted a book review of Daniel Ryder's Cover-Up of the Century: Satanic Ritual Crime & World Conspiracy. Less credulous books about SRA and world conspiracies are also reviewed in Amazon. Robert D. Hicks, a law-enforcement specialist and criminal analyst authored In Pursuit of Satan: The Police and the Occult. Hicks wrote:

I suggest that the news media are largely responsible [...]. The children said that adults dressed in robes preformed ceremonies involving not only rape but even murder, cannibalism and mutilation [...]. At first alarmed by what I learned at the seminars, I became progressively more skeptical, then even more alarmed by the cult experts' anti-intellectual and anti-rationalist stance [...]. Fundamentalist Christianity drives the occult model [...], many derive from Christian material.

Jeffrey S. Victor, professor of sociology and author of the article "The Spread of Satanic-Cult Rumors", agrees:

I found a thing especially disturbing. It appears that some people are going around the country making thousands of dollars from lecture fees by cultivating fear of satanic cults [...]. Until hard evidence is obtained and corroborated, the American people should not be frightened into believing that babies are being bred and eaten or that satanists are taking over America.

Satan never visited Mexico's schools for children because we don't have these scary people around.

Posted: Mon Jul 02, 2007 11:49 pm
by Dennis
Cesar, in a debate, it's probably not wise to call your opponents crank writers. Because when there comes a time you might be wrong, you'll never admit it because then you have to call yourself something worse than that.

I'm not sure why you pull in UFOs because it has nothing to do with serious child abuse.

I'm not denying that there's a lot of nonsense out there. But nonsense usually doesn't stand the test of time. The exposure of genuine conspiracies as the Iran-Contra affair (which is really a small deal about money being re-directed) and the Watergate Scandal were the result of serious investigation. If you think about the Watergate scandal, it's pretty amazing what Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein did, and how close they were of never having exposing it.

About the Kennedy assassination, even the conservative men of the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded in 1978 that there had been a conspiracy (even Wikipedia mentions this)

Loftus by her research on False Memories and by being a Board member of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, she agrees with the goals and opinions of the others. Loftus always sides with the perpetrators (she also defended serial killer Ted Bundy with expert testimony).

Now there can be people who feel they have to give understanding to perpetrators, but Loftus makes them victims and turns the victim into the perpetrator. Does that sound familiar in the dynamics of child abuse and psychiatry?

Again, there's no evidence that false memories of a whole invented childhood with (sexual) abuse can be implanted.

About the tunnels under the McMartin preschool... When I read these claims, they make sense to me because they are done by independent researchers. When I read the stuff against it, it's written by members of the FMSF who have a clear agenda. Remember that Gary Stickel originally was working for the defense of the Buckeys, when he led the digging. Either he's a crank writer who makes a lot of money or his claims are serious and at most worth of serious evaluation. To just wipe away any claim that is opposed to your own, as fantasy is poisonous pedagogy.
  • Archaeologist Gary Stickel was retained to lead the
    excavation on the re-commendation of Dr. Rainier Berger, chairman
    of UCLA's Interdisciplinary Archeology Program, by parents of
    McMartin children.


    Once the entrance was exposed, Stickel used remote
    sensing equipment to read the terrain conductivity of the empty
    lot next to the preschool. The survey was conducted by a
    respected geophysicist, Robert Beer, working with an
    electromagnetic scanner. The tunnel opening was found precisely
    where children said it would be. Stickel: "Some of the children
    had stated there had been animal cages placed along that wall and
    that they had entered a tunnel under the cages." A foreign soil
    deposit was found near the foundation. Clearing the anomaly with
    a backhoe, they found the roots of an avocado tree cut to clear a
    path for the tunnel. The roots had been cut with a hand saw and
    torn away, and shreds dangled on either wall of the tunnel.

    But the excavators cleared the foreign soil and followed
    the tunnel anyway. It "meandered under Classroom No. 4 and then
    most of Classroom No. 3.... There is no other scenario that fits
    all of the facts except that the feature was indeed a tunnel,"
    they concluded. "The date of the construction and use of the
    tunnel was not absolutely established, but an assessment of seven
    factors of data all indicate that it was probably constructed,
    used and completely filled back in sometime after 1966 (the
    construction date of the preschool).

    A total of 77 animal bones were found buried at the
    McMartin site, an assortment of the osteo-remains of domestic
    cattle, chickens, dogs and a single rabbit.
    However, Debbie Nathan, the hide-bound "skeptic" of
    ritual abuse, a scion of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation,
    told another story. The McMartin site, she insisted, had already
    been "painstakingly probed for tunnels" by the D.A.'s office.
    (Not so, as we've seen). "None were found. [The McMartin] parents
    have invested years believing in demonic conspiracies and
    underground nursery tunnels. (Until recently the parents were
    still digging. They came up with Indian artifacts)." No mention
    of Bynum's independent findings. No mention of the dig as it
    happened in the real world. She reserves much of her scorn for
    former FBI agent Ted Gunderson and Jackie MacGauley. Nathan seems
    not to realize that Gunderson and MacGauley brought in Stickel
    and his geological team to defuse accusations they were directly
    engaged in the dig. They weren't. The search for the tunnels was
    independent, and scores of volunteers pitched in.

    Nathan's refrain of "no evidence" is hollow. She has
    been known to contort around the facts of ritual abuse in a
    grotesque parody of journalism and is frequently blind to
    critical evidence. Nathan continues to find "no evidence" of
    abuse at McMartin despite the nightmares, the acting-out, medical
    molestation reports and sexual infections. The tunnel excavation,
    she assures with psychic certainty (and a sniff of
    condescension), is a "hoax." (From Alex Constantine)
Stickel's conclusion in his report:
  • The project determined the existence of two extensive tunnel complexes beneath the concrete floor of the McMartin Preschool building. One, toward the south, was consistent with the location and function described by children; it appeared to connect the interior of the preschool with the adjoining triplex structure and it had a distinct signature where it exited under the foundation of the east wall. Since it lacked dateable artifacts and a consistent demarcation of floor profile, it was classified conservatively as a "possible" tunnel.

    The feature that conforms scientifically to the predetermined attributes as a tunnel was the complex on the north. This tunnel feature was clearly distinguished from the other subsurface features encountered during our excavations at the site. The northern tunnel feature conformed to virtually all of the test expectations, as follows: 1) An identified entrance; 2) The architecture was both linear and slightly curvilinear; 3) The architecture was large enough for adult human passage; 4) There were characteristic scars indicating that it had been dug by hand; 5) The feature had a compacted dirt floor; 6) The tunnel was found not open; 7) The tunnel had been completely, artificially filled in with fill which was distinguishable on the basis of color, texture and compaction from the original soil deposit at the site; 8) The fill contained inclusions in the form of a large number of artifacts, and 9) the probabilistic dating of the tunnel can be estimated by recovered artifacts.

    The following seven factors determine probable age. First, it is unlikely that the bright, stainless steel straps had been placed on the pipe in 1966, when the structure was built. Second, the placement of the mailbox most probably dates to the time following the destruction of the neighboring house in 1972. Third, the Disney bag has a date of 1983, which indicates that the tunnel fill dates to that time or thereafter. Fourth, the arching of the foundation precisely over the tunnel was obviously a feature made to accommodate the tunnel and there is no other conceivable scenario to account for it. Fifth, the four large containers which were placed by hand into the tunnel fill indicate the use of the tunnel after the preschool was built. Given their positions under the foundation, there is no possibility that they would not have been knocked out of place and their intact glass bottle and jar contents broken when the trench was excavated in 1966 for the pouring of the concrete foundation. Sixth, the ceiling of the tunnel was simply too shallow to have withstood human foot traffic on it in an unprotected state. If the tunnel feature had existed prior to the construction of the preschool, its covering or roof would have been so shallow that a person walking on the surface would have easily caved it in, thus exposing the tunnel. Finally, the soil deposit at this part of the property had been put into place and compacted at the time of the building construction. Therefore any holes or openings found in that area extending up to or near the surface would necessarily date to a time after 1966.

    Therefore, given the evidence of the seven factors above, the time of the construction and use of the tunnel postdates 1966.
So we continue to agree that we disagree.


Posted: Tue Jul 03, 2007 2:50 am
by Cesar Tort
[edited once to fix apostrophes]
Dennis wrote:Cesar, in a debate, it's probably not wise to call your opponents crank writers. Because when there comes a time you might be wrong, you'll never admit it because then you have to call yourself something worse than that.
Nop! Thanks to rationalist writers I abandoned many faiths in the past: Christianity in the 1970s, a cult in the 1980s and parapsychology and Turin Shroud studies in the 1990s. I considered the skeptics real assholes before. But when I read them they convinced me that they, not the believers, were right (which means that I can humbly change my mind again if confronted with real evidence).

I have read much about the Kennedy assassination and even attended a conference in the US. I repeat: only crank writers or crank filmmakers like Oliver Stone believe in gigantic conspiracies (or the gullible readers who read them and watch their films, whether or not they're politicians I don't care).

You quote Constantine as a rebuttal of Nathan. If Constantine believes in huge conspiracies I'd label him a crank writer too.

I simply cannot refute what Stickel wrote right now. That would mean to purchase the books about the McMartin trial and books about SRA in general. I have no time for that. If Stickel is right, isn't it curious that the longest trial in the US, even more expensive than the O.J. Simpson's, didn't find any evidence?

We simply have different worldviews, Dennis. After I lost myself in the paranormal from 1978 to the early 1990s, and after believing in the left from 1973 thru the middle 1980s, I revalued my values 180 degrees. Very, very long story to explain in an online forum: as I told you before, I am overwhelmed by work. Suffice it to make a list of my mentors of today (not the ones that made me going astray in the past):

Political mentors:

Octavio Paz
Leszek Kolakowski
Karl Popper

About conspiracies & the paranormal:

Martin Gardner
Ray Hyman
Paul Kurtz
Gerald Posner
Philip Klass
Robert Sheaffer

Politically we think very different, Dennis. Sometimes we seem to be living on the opposite side of the world. Just one straightforward example: I remember you are fond of Michael Moore (who by the way once answered me an email). Have you read Christopher Hitchen's devastating critique of him?

At any event, I don't think it's wise to debate all of our differences in a forum, Dennis. It makes it like a full-time job. Daniel once told me he was tired of wasting time in this way. Maybe that's why he is no longer posting...

Posted: Tue Jul 03, 2007 11:54 pm
by Dennis
You make it a full-time job because you're pulling in so many other issues like Kennedy, UFOs, the paranormal and now Michael Moore. We were talking about Loftus and the False Memory Movement. But just a side-note to the column of Christopher Hitchens you referred to. Again someone who wants to point out the left-right stand-off. I had a hard time understanding what Hitchens is trying to say and I'm still not sure. He makes so many punches below the belt, it's too much to react to. Michael Moore didn't send kids to Afghanistan and Iraq to have their brains blown out. There's nothing good about war. Unless you believe that violence is the way to solve violence.

Before you can make a public statement that the tunnels under McMartin (and I'm not talking about other cases) are 'lunatic claims', you need to do research. You want photographic evidence. Here it is: McMartin_preschool_site_report_info
If Stickel is right, isn't it curious that the longest trial in the US, even more expensive than the O.J. Simpson's, didn't find any evidence?
It's not so strange if the people in charge have the same skepticism as you have. And you can do a lot by making death threats. Exposure of huge scandals always involve threats. And many have died trying to expose scandals in all sorts of situations.


Posted: Wed Jul 04, 2007 4:07 am
by Cesar Tort
[edited once to fix apostrophes]

Hi Dennis,

That photo of the McMartin article you linked doesn't look like the cavern beneath the school where rites were supposedly performed. As I said, I'd have to buy some skeptical books to evaluate those photos and claims to assess the articles you have linked. I won't do it: I don't have the time or the motivation. What you got to understand, Dennis, is that there are literally thousands upon thousands of crank books and articles making extraordinary claims about UFOs, conspiracies, the paranormal and satanism that are hardly supported by evidence. The "evidence" those books present must be measured against the books on the skeptical side. Otherwise we become consumer suckers in a free-market society that continuously sells us junk. I cannot swallow everything that the sensationalistic junk press sells us in the tabloids, Dennis. This is one of the reasons why I like Wikipedia. Just take a look at the conspiracy articles where dozens of True Believers have been refuted over and over again in the talk pages (for example in the 9/11 conspiracy theories article). If you are right about the McMartin trial, Dennis, please go ahead and edit the article from your own POV. Please do it! The guys who edit the SRA wiki articles have already read the books that I haven't read. In your forthcoming wiki debate you will find out why the McMartin case is closed and why the defendants are innocent. And if you are right and the wiki skeptics wrong, it will be easy for you to show them the evidence about secret tunnels and all the child molestation and satanic abuse that you believe are actual facts. I won't discuss anymore the McMartin case with you Dennis so that I can totally immerse myself in the writing of my 5th book. Explain your reasons to the knowledgeable wikipedians. Please!

Hitchen's point is crystal: Moore's film is a fraud since, among other things, he depicted Iraq almost as a bucolic nation before the US attack when, in fact, Hussein had perpetrated genocide against men, women and children, and not only against the Kurds.

To illustrate how vastly we differ about politics, Dennis, I will comment on some of your statements in your novel The Curse of a Third-Rate Artist. I hope you won't take offense for what I'm going to say. If I don't say it I'll hate me. I'm sorry that I have to say what I think but if I don't do it I'll feel bad or self-mutilated in my thought and integrity.

Below I will deal with the socio-political issues in your autobiographical novel The Curse of a Third-Rate Artist. More private stuff you mention there will be dealt in my private forum after I read a substantial part of it.

The MS you sent me consist of 611 pages. I will take as the first page not the title page, but the one who has the #1 number for your first chapter. On pages 49, 287f and 316 you speak of Malaysia tribes, North American Indian cultures and the people of the Oceania islands in glowing terms, basically believing in the myth of the noble savage. I hope the photo of the swaddled Indian boy I posted in another thread and the flaming debate of psychohistorian Ark in this forum have already made you think otherwise.

The tribes at the Oceania islands are the most monstrous child abusers of the entire planet. Ethnologist Geza Roheim wrote, for instance, that the Australian aborigines he observed ate every other child, out of what they called "baby hunger", and forced their other children to eat parts of their siblings. One of the reasons I believe that Daniel Mackler's philosophy of total enlightenment is rubbish --please forgive me Dan if you are reading this!-- is because it makes no sense to try to achieve a Buddhist state if one simply cannot see that heinous crimes are being committed in the lowest psychoclasses. That's no enlightenment at all! You guys better start feeling compassion (and therefore big hate toward the perps) about the crimes against third-world children, which are infinitely more serious than those of your comparatively nice countries.

On pages 109f you speak highly of Oliver Stone's JFK but you don't seem to have read any serious literature about the subject. Tons of articles were published to debunk Stone's paranoid propaganda after the film was released. Oh yes: the writers were not paid by the government (no conspiracy theory upon conspiracy theory please!).

Again, on page 153 you speak about Nietzsche and Marx as if they were smart thinkers. Nietzsche and the philosophers have been briefly but lucidly debunked in Alice Miller's The Forgotten Key; and Marx abused his daughters horribly. Karl Marx is an absolute myth and I wonder if you have read expos's of both his family behavior and his revolutionary ideology.

On page 192 you write about a "stupid embargo to Serbia" but you don't say a word about the genocide perpetrated by the Serbs in Bosnia (I guess you wrote that book in the middle 1990s; later the Serbs performed genocide in Kosovo as well).

On page 263 you mention 12,000 homeless children in Holland but in these forums you don't seem to harbor the hate I have toward the third-world peoples guilty of the homelessness of millions of children. You say I envision a fascist world with policies of population control but you fail to propose a realistic political alternative. If those who reproduce like rabbits are not stopped by the law like in China, or even by force if they persist in their fucking, they will continue to bring millions of homeless kids into the world. Honestly, I much prefer to be labeled a "fascist" than to allow this continuing crime.

Several times in your novel (e.g., on page 289) you consider yourself anti-military. What exactly do you mean? Thanks to the 1999 bombings by Bill Clinton and the NATO the genocide perpetrated by the Serbs at Kosovo was stopped. I was living that year in England and I felt really proud of Tony Blair's hawk stance against the perps.
Dennis wrote:There's nothing good about war. Unless you believe that violence is the way to solve violence.
Of course violence is the way to solve violence! Otherwise Hitler would have won the war and Holland would have become a pro-Nazi state. All the Jews in Europe would have been exterminated and we would be living in the dark ages.

On page 314 of your novel you say you were born in August 1968. Well, I was born exactly ten years before. I guess our differences may have to do with the fact that I have been doing a bit more critical readings about politics than you?

Posted: Wed Jul 04, 2007 8:42 pm
by Dennis
This is about the weirdest reply I've had. I suppose you cannot win the argument (I don't see it as a competition but apparently you do). So now you pull in my novel into the debate and mentioning one-liners I wrote 16 years ago. The book isn't about me, the main character Martin is based on me. If I knew you were only going to read parts of the book, I wouldn't have sent it. It's as if you're only wanting to analyse it.
That photo of the McMartin article you linked doesn't look like the cavern below the school where rites were supposedly performed.
Come on, Cesar. We were talking about tunnels under the school and Stickel's work isn't an imaginary work. And the funny thing is that you brought in Stickel in the first place, not knowing that he changed side. You also didn't know that the website is put together by a Board member of FMSF, which is mentioned on the first page under staff. You may be 10 years older than me but you don't read very well.

Even though it has no relevance with the thread, I'll comment shortly on your comments to things I wrote 16 years ago.

Mentioning the Malaysian tribe was in the context of lucid dreaming and this is the only thing I said about it:

(...) In 1930 people discovered a tribe in Malaysia where they taught children to take their dreams seriously and to influence the situations in their dreams, more or less. And you know what the strange part is? There was almost no anti-social behavior or mental disturbed ones in that tribe.

The tribe doesn't exist anymore and I wonder why I should have mentioned the cultural and political background of Malaysia.

I have a lot of respect for the Hopi Indians.

Martin lives in a fantasy world and dreams of having a boat and sailing in Oceania after having read Paul Theraux's The Happy Isles of Oceania: Paddling the Pacific. Nothing more to it.
Ethnologist Geza Roheim wrote, for instance, that the Australian aborigines he observed ate every other child, out of what they called "baby hunger", and forced their other children to eat parts of their siblings.
And you take such a claim at face value?
On pages 109f you speak highly of Oliver Stone's JFK but you don?t seem to have read any serious literature about the subject.
Martin simply said he enjoyed seeing this movie. I'm pretty sure I've read more on JFK than you, Cesar. If you want to discuss it, we can open a new thread or are you only ridiculing me and then point me to Wikipedia? I've read Case Closed by Gerald Posner, which was very thin because, as is common among skeptics, they ignore everything that undermines their belief. There's so much wrong with this book, I wouldn't know where to start. I've also read Oswald's Tale by Norman Mailer, a very thick book but also he leaves out everything that undermines his belief of Oswald's guilt. I've a 6 hour documentary on video called On Trial: Oswald where they had a trial in the event if Oswald was still alive. It was with real lawyers, real judge, real witnesses, etc. except the outcome wasn't official. Vincent Bugliosi was the public prosecutor and Gerry Spence the defense lawyer. I've several more documentaries and have read at least a dozen books, and hundreds of articles, thousands of pages.
Again, on page 153 you speak about Nietzsche and Marx as if they were smart thinkers.
Martin said he enjoyed reading them because he tasted some truth in it. Again, I wrote this 16 years ago, at the age of 23. Nowadays I reject any philosopher.
On page 192 you write about a "stupid embargo to Serbia" but you don't say a word about the genocide perpetrated by the Serbs in Bosnia.
Martin mentions the stupid embargo because there was the risk international mail wasn't going to be delivered. He clearly says several times that he doesn't understand the cruelty of war. Martin doesn't side with the Serbian authorities at all. I've been in Serbia twice, during the war, and I can tell you that there was a lot of ridiculous propaganda in the western press.
On page 263 you mention 12,000 homeless children in Holland but in these forums you don't seem to harbor the hate I have toward the third-world peoples guilty of the homelessness of millions of children.
Martin is on the edge of becoming homeless. Why would he care about the homeless kids on the other side of the world? How would that change his situation? That's poisonous pedagogy; saying that things are worse somewhere else. It's diminishing someone's feelings.
You say I envision a fascist world with policies of population control but you fail to propose a realistic political alternative.
I've proposed several realistic political alternatives but you're not reading well. You're projecting your own hatred towards the abstract world, Cesar. You're unsatisfied with your own life but hold every other individual responsible for your shortcomings in life.
Several times in your novel (e.g., on page 289) you consider yourself anti-military. What exactly do you mean? Thanks to the 1999 bombings by Bill Clinton and the NATO the genocide perpetrated by the Serbs at Kosovo was stopped. I was living that year in England and I felt really proud of Tony Blair's hawk stance against the perps.
Again, this book isn't about me, but hey, I'm anti-military. Do you also agree with the drop of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki because it stopped the war in Japan?
Of course violence is the way to solve violence! Otherwise Hitler would have won the war and Holland would have become a pro-Nazi state. All the Jews in Europe would have been exterminated and we would be living in the dark ages.
I don't have a problem with using violence as a last resort when you are being attacked. But also in perspective. There are many good alternatives that have worked extremely well in resolving violence. But people who enjoy using violence do it because they can project the hatred they are not allowed to feel for their parents.

I'm not born in August 1968. It's a novel!
I guess our differences may have to do with the fact that I have been doing a bit more critical readings about politics than you?
Yes, I'm a gullible crank writer. Why are you so concerned about world politics? Why do you feel a responsibility to play the policeman in the world? Abstract ideas and philosophies is an escape from feeling your pain. Attack one's ideas and you attack the (repressed) pain.


Posted: Wed Jul 04, 2007 9:45 pm
by Cesar Tort
[edited once to fix apostrophes]
Dennis wrote:This is about the weirdest reply I've had. I suppose you cannot win the argument
Is this an honest reply? I already told you that I have to immerse in my writing and that don't have time for more discussions.
Ethnologist Geza Roheim wrote, for instance, that the Australian aborigines he observed ate every other child, out of what they called "baby hunger", and forced their other children to eat parts of their siblings.
Dennis wrote:And you take such a claim at face value?
It has been witnessed by many other anthropologists. The sad truth, Dennis, is that you believe in lunatic, nonexistent SRA child abuse in the West whereas the real facts of monstrous abuse like those in the Oceania islands you seem to deny. BTW, Geza Roheim made excuses about the cannibals' behavior. Like many cultural relativists, he loved those people. He didn't deny the facts: only wanted to describe their culture without judging them.

After the Gerry Spence/Vincent Bugliosi show, which I watched, Bugliosi wrote a book debunking the JFK conspiracy myth. If you have read a lot about JFK and are quite sure that conspiracy was involved, please go on and change the wiki article on Kennedy's assassination: which is a rather neutral article on the subject. When I have read a lot about the subject, for instance cases that I have thoroughly investigated --such as the Turin Shroud and the Belmez Faces-- I edit the wiki articles and other editors cannot refute me.
Dennis wrote:You're projecting your own hatred towards the abstract world, Cesar. You're unsatisfied with your own life but hold every other individual responsible for your shortcomings in life.
This looks pretty much like a psychoanalytic "interpretation", which is in fact an act of aggression. It reminds me Freud's capricious interpretation of Dora.
Dennis wrote:Yes, I'm a gullible crank writer.
I never said you were so; only that the writers that have influenced you are cranks. Unlike you, I have read lots of skeptical writers.

Finally, if you all guys want to assess Dennis' sources against those of a skeptic, read this article by freelance journalist John Earl. Don't get intimidated by ad hominem accusations that he published it in the IPT Journal. Just study Earl's arguments and compare them with Dennis' long quotations in this thread.


It's me in 1992 at the "ghostly" House of the Faces. The most famous "wall face" appearances of that house are at my back and at my left. After their purported "apparition" the floor cement was cut out for massive public exhibition: big business. I helped to debunk the case, considered by some parapsychologists the best-documented "and without doubt the most important paranormal phenomenon in the 20th century". My publications on the subject appeared in the Skeptical Inquirer and in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research.

Well guys, I am really busy in the real world. I might see you again when I finish my books.

Good bye,

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 3:01 pm
by Dennis
Ethnologist Geza Roheim wrote, for instance, that the Australian aborigines he observed ate every other child, out of what they called "baby hunger", and forced their other children to eat parts of their siblings.

Dennis wrote:
And you take such a claim at face value?
I'm not saying it was true or untrue, but one person's subjective account isn't proof. Are there photographs? I'm not denying the abuse among the Aboriginals. They even made the news recently where the Australian government is taking tougher actions against the widespread child abuse. You've got this information from lLoyd DeMause who has shown that he's not very careful when it comes to sources.

I said your reply is weird because suddenly you insert my novel in this thread (and I overlook the fact that what I sent you in private means private), glanced at some parts in the novel, lift out sentences said by the main character, and then accuse me denying widespread abuse among tribes.

Yes, I know Vincent Bugliosi is a fan of the official Warren Report and doesn't believe in a conspiracy. Basically what people did is QUESTIONING the official report from the authorities, which is a very healthy thing to do. When people claim to be experts on controversial topics and call it 'Case Closed', the debate dies.

Now that you insert another unrelated event, of mural projections, I fail to see the connection to child abuse.
Dennis wrote:
You're projecting your own hatred towards the abstract world, Cesar. You?re unsatisfied with your own life but hold every other individual responsible for your shortcomings in life.

This looks pretty much like a psychoanalytic "interpretation", which is in fact an act of aggression. It reminds me Freud's capricious interpretation of Dora.
It's my opinion, not a psychoanalytic interpretation because: I'm not your therapist. You're not my patient.


Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 3:05 pm
by Dennis
The following article is from 1997, at the height of the False Memory Movement.

U-Turn on Memory Lane

by Mike Stanton
Stanton heads the investigative team at The Providence Journal-Bulletin, where he shared a 1994 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. He wrote a 1995 series on Professor Ross E. Cheit of Brown University, whose recovered memory of childhood abuse drew national attention. Stanton studied recovered memory last year on a John S. Knight Fellowship at Stanford University.

Pamela Freyd seems more like the mother and grandmother she is than a revolutionary. But as a founder of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, she has in fact helped revolutionize the way the press and the public view one of the angriest debates in America -- whether an adult can suddenly remember long-forgotten childhood abuse.

The subject of memory has always been a slippery one for journalists. While there is a documented body of knowledge showing that people can forget horrific events and recall them years later, memory is not an exact science like nuclear physics, but rather an emotional arena of violent disagreement.

Yet in the 1980s and early '90s, repressed memories were all the rage among reporters and talk-show hosts as the media uncritically focused on accounts of abuse so dramatic and terrible that they must have been true. Some, it eventually became clear, were exaggerations or fabrications.

Now, thanks largely to the efforts of the Philadelphia-based False Memory Syndrome Foundation, the pendulum has swung equally far in the other direction. Formed as a support group for accused parents, the foundation has sought primarily to persuade the media of the dangers of psychotherapy in creating "false memories." Indeed, today there is open skepticism and outright hostility toward the idea that lost memory can be recovered. But often there has been no more hard-news reporting than before, leaving the issue essentially unexplicated in the press.

A study published last year 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.

Pamela Freyd (rhymes with "tried") started the foundation in early 1992 with her husband, Peter, a University of Pennsylvania mathematician. He had been accused by their grown daughter Jennifer, a respected University of Oregon psychologist and memory researcher, of childhood sexual abuse, the memory of which she said she recovered as an adult. Since then, journalists across the country have felt the wrath of what Stephen Fried, a writer for Philadelphia magazine, calls "the most influentially dysfunctional family in America."

It wasn't Jennifer Freyd, but her parents, who made her allegations public. Pamela Freyd revealed the accusations, which neither she nor her daughter has ever specified publicly, along with personal details about her daughter's life, in an article that she wrote anonymously for a small journal sympathetic to accused parents. She later identified herself to reporters as the author.

The Freyds blame their daughter's therapist for her memories of abuse. But Jennifer Freyd denies that her memories surfaced, as newspaper articles and her mother have suggested, through hypnosis or any of the other therapeutic practices the FMSF attacks.

Rarely has such a strange and little-understood organization had such a profound effect on media coverage of such a controversial matter. The foundation is an aggressive, well-financed p.r. machine adept at manipulating the press, harassing its critics, and mobilizing a diverse army of psychiatrists, outspoken academics, expert defense witnesses, litigious lawyers, Freud bashers, critics of psychotherapy, and devastated parents. With a budget of $750,000 a year from members and outside supporters, the foundation's reach far exceeds its actual membership of about 3,000. The Freyds and the members know who we are, but the press knows less than it realizes about who they are, what drives them, or why they've been so successful.

Pamela Freyd, who is the foundation's executive director, wrote in its first monthly newsletter, "We had to find ways to get people to hear our story." From the beginning, she encouraged accused parents to tell their stories to reporters and to appear on talk shows, to put a human face on this "serious health crisis" and satisfy the media's "craving for human drama."

It worked. As controversial memory cases arose around the country, FMSF boosters contacted journalists to pitch the false-memory argument, more and more reporters picked up on the issue, and the foundation became an overnight media darling. The story line that had dominated the press since the 1980s -- an underreported toll of sexual abuse, including sympathetic stories of adult survivors resurrecting long-lost memories of it -- was quickly turned around. The focus shifted to new tearful victims -- respectable, elderly parents who could no longer see their children and grandchildren because of bad therapists who implanted memories not only of sexual abuse but also of such bizarre things as satanic cults, past lives, and alien abductions.

In fact, there was irresponsible therapy being practiced, people did concoct memories of things that never happened, and frightening lawsuits devastated those falsely accused. Such cases were covered with great zeal. But the reporters who rushed to explore the Freyds' juicy new angle ignored equally essential facts -- for example, that there is no way to document the prevalence of bad therapy versus good therapy, or of true memories versus false memories, and that it is nearly impossible to know whether the accused parents, the Freyds included, are telling the truth. The foundation is part of a larger movement that questions the recent increase in sexual-abuse allegations, not only by adults claiming recovered memory but also by children who, sometimes under coercive questioning, produce lurid accusations involving their parents or day-care personnel and adult "sex rings."

Within six months of the foundation's creation, so many positive stories had appeared that Pamela Freyd wrote in her newsletter: "The biggest change has come in the press. One year ago there was literally nothing written about FMSF (indeed, it did not even have a name). There are now many well-documented professional and popular articles about FMSF."

By the end of 1993, Pamela Freyd reported that media coverage had changed public attitudes toward false memory, and that news articles "are the primary vehicle for the dissemination of information." And "false memory syndrome" -- a catchy slogan invented by the Freyds but not scientifically accepted -- became implanted in our collective consciousness, complete with its own heading in the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature.

Many reporters don't realize that the FMSF's impressive array of scientific advisers represents just one part of the broad spectrum of psychological thought. The board is dominated by research psychologists and biologically oriented therapists -- inclined to seek physical reasons for problems and treat them with drugs -- along with older, psychoanalytically oriented psychiatrists. There are few younger female therapists.

The two most prominent FMSF experts, who pop up repeatedly in news articles and as consulting witnesses in lawsuits, are a University of Washington psychologist, Elizabeth Loftus, and a University of California at Berkeley sociologist and cult specialist, Richard Ofshe. While both have done work and published books that are an important part of the recovered-memory debate, too many reporters accept their theories uncritically, seemingly unaware that there are countering scientific views or that neither's expertise is in traumatic memory.

As the story unfolded in the '90s, reporters relied increasingly on FMSF experts and propaganda. A November 29, 1993 Time article by Leon Jaroff -- who calls himself Time's longtime "resident skeptic" -- quoted several foundation advisers and conveyed the impression that "literally thousands" of people were coming forward with false memories induced by therapists. Jaroff says he was introduced to the topic by another FMSF adviser, Martin Gardner, who was active in another group that Jaroff helped found, the Committee for the Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal. The committee debunks all forms of "quackery," says Jaroff, from flying saucers to recovered memory. "As a journalist you have to write a balanced story, but within reason," he says. "You have to make a judgment. I'm convinced that so-called 'recovered memory' is largely illusory." The FMSF hailed the Time piece as "a landmark in public awareness."

Even earlier, in a July 21, 1992, New York Times story, the science writer Daniel Goleman, a psychologist, became one of the first journalists to popularize the foundation's contention that accusations based on recovered memories were modern-day witch-hunts. The article opened with the question "Is it Satan or Salem?" and the witch-hunt metaphor proved irresistible for other reporters. But Goleman failed to consider that the FMSF might represent an alternative witch-hunt -- a backlash by a society fed up with celebrity incest survivors like Oprah and Roseanne and a culture of victimization. His story did not make clear the role of accused parents in starting the foundation, quoted several of its advisers without revealing their affiliation, and misidentified Pamela Freyd as a psychologist.

Major series on false memory appeared in The San Diego Union-Tribune in the fall of 1992 and the San Francisco Examiner in the spring of 1993. The San Diego series presented as typical of this new hysteria the bizarre case of a woman who claimed a memory from the womb of her mother trying to abort her. The six-day Examiner series devoted reams of copy to the emotional but unverified tales of accused parents, but quoted only one alleged victim. The series provoked an outraged response from many therapists and women's and survivors' groups. The foundation, in its next newsletter, eagerly advertised reprints of the Examiner series "that has created such a stir across the country."

Highly publicized cases provided reporters with grist for the mill. In 1991, a California wine executive, Gary Ramona, sued his daughter's therapists over her claims of recovered memory of sexual abuse and ultimately won a landmark malpractice case. (The daughter is now suing Ramona for the cost of her therapy and for punitive damages.) In 1993, Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago was accused in a lawsuit of having molested a young man some years earlier; the man later said his memories were unreliable and withdrew his suit. The incident provoked a wave of indignant columns and a move in the Illinois legislature to ban recovered-memory suits.

The recovered-memory debate sprawls into legal cases beyond sexual abuse. In 1995, the nation's only murder conviction based primarily on a recovered memory was overturned. The suspect, a former firefighter in San Mateo, California, George Franklin, was freed after evidence emerged that his daughter, who had testified against him in his 1990 trial, lied when she denied that she had remembered the murder while under hypnosis. Testimony derived from hypnosis is inadmissible under California law.

The case of Paul Ingram, a Washington state sheriff's deputy and fundamentalist Christian who confessed to recovered memories of molesting his daughters and satanic ritual abuse, became the focal point of a two-part series by Lawrence Wright in The New Yorker in the spring of 1993. The articles, which won a National Magazine Award and were published as the book "Remembering Satan," attracted widespread attention to the phenomenon of false memory while virtually ignoring the many documented instances of recovered memory.

Wright made a compelling case that Ingram confessed to many of his crimes after coercive questioning by the police and his minister. But then, relying on the controversial theories of the prominent FMSF experts Loftus and Ofshe and with no real documentation, Wright said Ingram was representative of "thousands of other people across the country who have been accused on the basis of recovered memories." He added, "Perhaps some of these memories are real; certainly many are false."

The foundation received an even bigger boost with the airing of the 1995 PBS Frontline documentary "Divided Memories," produced by Ofra Bikel. A watershed media event in the recovered-memory debate, "Divided Memories" purported to be a balanced examination of the issue and, to uninformed viewers, seemed to summarize where the matter stands today. In truth, it was a four-hour polemic, including an interview with the Freyds, that gave short shrift to confirmed cases of recovered memory. The program spent most of its time skewering fringe therapists who helped patients recover memories -- with Frontline cameras rolling -- of satanic abuse, past lives, and, in one case, being stuck in a fallopian tube. The documentary ignited an angry firestorm among therapists, medical experts, and groups representing women and survivors of sexual abuse.

Sherry Quirk, president of the American Coalition for Abuse Awareness, wrote to Frontline to express outrage "at the heavily weighted slant you have given a subject which is already sinking under the weight of confusion and misinformation." A Harvard psychiatrist, Bessel A. van der Kolk, a leading memory expert interviewed by Bikel, wrote to accuse her of glossing over the intricacies of trauma and memory and ignoring national figures documenting the magnitude of sexual abuse. The U.S. Department of Justice's bureau of justice statistics estimates that 250,000 children a year are sexually molested.

Bikel says she and her researchers looked at hundreds of cases, but could find just one corroborated instance of recovered memory, mentioned briefly near the start of the four-hour documentary. But Ross Cheit, a Brown University professor of public policy who confirmed his own recovered memories of abuse by obtaining a tape-recorded confession from the perpetrator, assigned one of his students to look through electronic databases. In just a few hours, Cheit wrote PBS, the student turned up six cases of recovered memory that were verified by confessions or testimony from other victims. Bikel and her researchers, in fact, knew about Cheit's own case, and another involving a woman who successfully sued her father based on a recovered memory, but did not include their stories. Bikel says she didn't feel their cases were relevant.

Some press critics raved about "Divided Memories." The Wall Street Journal's Dorothy Rabinowitz, a Pulitzer Prize finalist last year for her columns questioning sexual-abuse accusations by children in day-care cases, called Bikel's work "grimly captivating, occasionally hilarious, plainly masterful" -- "a killer assault" of "extraordinary texture" that "deserves all the awards around." The FMSF was pleased with the results. The documentary, says Peter Freyd, was "openly an advocate for our side."

"Divided Memories" capped a sensational run for the foundation. By the end of 1994, more than 300 articles had been published on "false memory," with headlines like "Beware the Incest-Survivor Machine" (The New York Times Book Review on several books dealing with recovered memory) and "Cry Incest" (Playboy). Even the comic strip Doonesbury joined in: Mark the disc jockey underwent "on-air repressed-memory-hypnosis therapy" by a "leading guru for the recovered-memory movement," who attempted to induce memories of space-alien abduction.

In her study of the four newsmagazines' pendulum-swing on coverage of sexual abuse, Katherine Beckett noted that the foundation has been "particularly successful" in redefining the issue of child abuse, adding, "The success stems, in part, from the fact that the FMSF identified influencing media coverage as its most important objective."

The FMSF builds much of its case against recovered memory by attacking a generally discredited Freudian concept of repression that proponents of recovered memory don't buy, either. In so doing, the foundation ignores the fifty-year-old literature on traumatic, or psychogenic, amnesia, which is an accepted diagnosis by the American Psychiatric Association. In his 1996 book "Searching for Memory," the Harvard psychologist and brain researcher Daniel L. Schachter -- who believes that both true and false memories exist -- says there is no conclusive scientific evidence that false memories can be created. The FMSF acknowledges that it's impossible to distinguish true memories from false ones, but then dismisses incontrovertible cases like Ross Cheit's as aberrations. The foundation and its backers "remind me of a high school debate team," says the Stanford psychiatrist David Spiegel, an authority on traumatic amnesia. "They go to the library, surgically extract the information convenient to them and throw out thrt."

A Harvard Law Review article in January 1996 argued that while scientific evidence proves the existence of delayed memories, biased reporting has helped create a social climate in which people, including some judges, have come to believe just the opposite."Stories highlighting dubious-sounding or clearly mistaken memories have replaced reports of more plausible recollections," two Northwestern University law professors, Cynthia Grant Brown and Elizabeth Mertz, wrote in the Review. "The abusive parents of earlier media accounts have been replaced as the villains of the story by self-serving therapists," they said, and wondered "why it is apparently so difficult to contemplate the obvious but more complicated possibility that there are both accurate and inaccurate claims of remembered sexual abuse. . . . To the degree that the media has an effect on public opinion, including legal professionals' opinions, there is cause to doubt that the public is hearing this more balanced message."

A reporter making an honest effort to tell both sides finds it difficult to penetrate a world where many victims are reluctant to surrender their privacy. Instead of digging the story out for themselves, reporters take a soft-news approach -- just as many did earlier with implausible stories of victimization -- and allow themselves to be swayed by tearful parents, leaving the FMSF to package the hard news in a slick press kit.

It's surprising how few stories explore the question whether accused parents are guilty or innocent. The foundation's own survey of member families indicated that 11 percent had been accused by more than one child and that, of a smaller sample that took a lie-detector test, 14 percent failed and another 11 percent declined to disclose the results.

Many therapists, like their patients, hesitate to speak out. Recently, though, they have begun to make a more concerted effort to mobilize a response. One of the most outspoken critics of the false-memory movement is a Seattle therapist, David Calof, editor until last year of Treating Abuse Today, a newsletter for therapists. He has identified what he calls the movement's political agenda -- lobbying for more restrictive laws governing therapy and promoting the harassment of therapists through lawsuits and even picketing of their offices and homes. Calof himself has been the target of picketing so fierce that he has been in and out of Seattle courtrooms over the last two years, obtaining restraining orders. He was spending so much time and money fighting the FMSF supporters' campaign against him, he says, that he was forced to stop publishing the newsletter last year. He recently donated the publication to a victims' rights group in Pennsylvania, which has resurrected it as Trauma. The new publisher says thatviews part of its mission as reporting on FMSF, since the mainstream media don't.

Among journalists, perhaps the most relentless critic of the foundation is Michele Landsberg, a Toronto Star columnist. In 1993, she says, an Ontario couple, claiming to have been falsely accused, contacted her and asked her to write about their case. Unconvinced, she declined, and eventually started writing instead about the foundation. She attacked its scientific claims and criticized the sensational media coverage. She described how a foundation scientific adviser, Harold Merskey, had testified that a woman accusing a doctor of sexual abuse in a civil case might in fact have been suffering from false memory syndrome. But the accused doctor himself had previously confessed to criminal charges of abusing her.

Landsberg also challenged the credentials of other foundation advisers. She noted that one founding adviser, Ralph Underwager, was forced to resign from the foundation's board after he and his wife, Hollida Wakefield, who remains an adviser, gave an interview to a Dutch pedophilia magazine in which he was quoted as describing pedophilia as "an acceptable expression of God's will for love." Landsberg also wrote that another adviser, James Randi, a magician known as "The Amazing Randi," had been involved in a lawsuit in which his opponent introduced a tape of sexually explicit telephone conversations Randi had with teenage boys. (Randi has claimed at various times, she said, that the tape was a hoax and that the police asked him to make it.)

"Why haven't reporters investigated the False Memory Syndrome Foundation?" she asks. "It's legitimate to examine their backgrounds -- here are people who really do have powerful motivation to deny the truth."

Last year, a free-lance writer, Katy Butler, learned what can happen when a journalist crosses swords with the foundation. Butler, who covered the Ramona trial for the Los Angeles Times and is a consulting editor for Family Therapy Networker magazine, was asked by Newsweek to write a story assessing the backlash against recovered memory, including the role of the FMSF. The foundation got wind of the assignment and swung into action. The Freyds, unhappy that her previous articles had challenged foundation assertions, complained to Newsweek editors that Butler was biased. Peter Freyd also enlisted Richard Ofshe and another foundation adviser, Frederick Crews, a retired professor of Eng
lish at the University of California at Berkeley.

Ofshe had been unhappy with Butler over her partly negative review in the Los Angeles Times of his book "Making Monsters." He wrote a letter to Newsweek's editor-in-chief, Richard Smith, calling Butler "a zealot masquerading as a journalist." Crews has written harsh articles for the New York Review of Books, in which he combines attacks on Freud with efforts to discredit recovered memory. He contends that there are "hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions" of questionable allegations based on recovered memory. Butler, he warned Newsweek in a letter, is "well known not only as a journalist in this area but also as a strong advocate" for recovered memory.

The FMSF correspondents say they were seeking accuracy, not censorship. A Newsweek senior editor, John Capouya, viewed their letters as "a well-organized action" to block the story or at least discredit Butler. Ultimately, the foundation's opposition helped persuade Newsweek not to do the story. Says Capouya, "We weren't too sanguine about getting into a huge pissing match with these people."

While the False Memory Syndrome Foundation and its claims warrant more press scrutiny, Philadelphia magazine's Fried argues that critics should not demonize the group for simply being effective advocates. It's the media's job, he told an Investigative Reporters and Editors conference in Providence last summer, to present a more intelligent, balanced discourse on recovered memory. As Butler, who was a panelist at the IRE session, says: "I've worked very hard to tell both sides of this story. What's interesting to me about all this is that telling both sides has started to seem like a dangerous and risky act."

The best a reporter can do in such circumstances is to be a reporter. Don't be seduced by people who cry or experts claiming to have all the answers. Resist the temptation to think you can solve the mystery of memory; embrace the virtues of subtlety and ambiguity.

This is a story with many voices beyond the False Memory Syndrome Foundation. All of them need to be heard.

Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 10:25 pm
by Dennis
The interview of Loftus by Wim Kayzer mentioned in this thread is now available for direct download, 380 mb. Send a pm to me and I'll give you the link and password. Mind you that the quality isn't great and it comes with Dutch subtitles. The bits of Dutch narration are translated by me into English and comes with an accompanying subtitle file.


Posted: Fri Sep 28, 2007 4:18 pm
by Skai
Dear all:
I'm new here and wanted to say hello to everybody.

Just finished watching the Loftus video and wanted to share a few of my observations. I haven't had the time to read everything posted in this thread - excuse me if I'm repeating something already discussed.
I'm amazed that a person who accuses therapists of implanting 'false memories' can suggest that her research into the malleability of memories can be put to 'good use' by distorting memories in a 'positive way.' Perhaps we should treat survivors by convincing them that their abuse wasn't that bad? Wow! I thought victims already do that to themselves and that's how repression happens in the first place.
I'm sorry that the interviewer didn't think of asking her to give some concrete examples of when the use of this technique might be appropriate. I also have the impression that he missed another key point (sorry Dennis, you seem to like the interviewer, and I didn't think he did such a good job). She spoke of regretting that she didn't have a closer relationship with her mother while she was still alive and at the same time that she doesn't want to feel better about it. I think I would have explored this more if I had been interviewing her. It seems strange not to want to seek some form of consolation. It's as if she's trying to punish herself for those times when she argued with her mother and didn't want to spend time with her? As much as I hate her contributions to the backlash against victims of abuse I felt bad for her. I guess she doesn't believe she should try therapy to help herself. It's unfortunate because I think there is something in the act of communicating thoughts outloud that changes the kind of impact they have on us. This really makes me wonder what is it that she wrote in the letter to her mother after she talked about her in the interview. The subtitles were screwed up in that part and I didn't get to find out.
Dennis, I was curious what exactly you were referring to when you said earlier (on the first page) that the interviewer exposed her. I also meant to ask you whether the interviewer really did introduce that married couple at the beginning as certainly falsely accused. Your subtitles said that.
Anyway, thank you again for making this interview available.

Posted: Sat Sep 29, 2007 2:20 am
by Dennis
Hi Skai and welcome to the forum. As you say, the whole movement of manipulating memories into positive ones is blaming the victim all over again but also protecting the perpetrator. In my opinion when people are stuck into thinking and cannot connect to their feelings, depression appears and repression increases. And all the symptoms that come along with it.
Some people, like Loftus, deny the existence of repression. But the interview shows how repressed she is, how she refused to feel the pain that comes to the surface every time she starts talking about her own childhood. And how she spent enormous amount of hours to build and test theories that suppose to prove the existence of false memories into long term child abuse.
The interviewer's style is non-confrontational and that way he builds trust with the interviewee and have them say things they normally wouldn't say so easily in public. But his exposure lies in the fact that he confronts her about having difficulties with her own painful memories and the refusal to integrate that. That hadn't been done before in an interview with her that I'm aware of. How tangled her own research is with her private agenda. And how he keeps emphasizing her about her own past and not that of any of her test cases, that she wants to put forward every time.

You wrote:
She spoke of regretting that she didn?t have a closer relationship with her mother while she was still alive and at the same time that she doesn?t want to feel better about it. I think I would have explored this more if I had been interviewing her. It seems strange not to want to seek some form of consolation. It?s as if she?s trying to punish herself for those times when she argued with her mother and didn?t want to spend time with her?
She regretted it because, like any other teenager, she disliked her mother, but because she died so young, she realized she needed her. She holds herself responsible for her mother's alleged suicide probably because of that. And like you said, it turns into some kind of punishment to keep it that way.

You wrote:
I also meant to ask you whether the interviewer really did introduce that married couple at the beginning as certainly falsely accused.
He's paraphrasing Loftus as he has no knowledge of the couple's background or past. They were there at Loftus' request. What the interviewer himself believes I don't know but the way it was edited, I think he wanted to show how repressed these people were.

Here are the subtitles of the last part when Loftus is reading the letter to her mother:
01:09:25,958 --> 01:09:32,239
Not long after our meeting, and as a result of it, Elizabeth Loftus will write a long letter to her mother

01:09:33,464 --> 01:09:36,314
Let me quote the ending of that letter...

01:09:36,980 --> 01:09:39,550
Why am I such a workaholic?

01:09:40,967 --> 01:09:46,130
Does this work offer me the same kind of excitement as those seemingly endless collection of teenage boys,

01:09:46,741 --> 01:09:47,509
40 years ago?

01:09:49,265 --> 01:09:51,822
Does this work offer me an escape from all too painful thoughts?

01:09:53,998 --> 01:09:57,514
Do I therefore feel a kind of importance that otherwise would lack in my life?

01:10:00,452 --> 01:10:03,159
40 years ago I stopped writing you

01:10:04,958 --> 01:10:07,320
but now that I read my past, all those diaries

01:10:08,788 --> 01:10:12,216
I see a connection between the person I was and the one I'm now

01:10:14,590 --> 01:10:15,968
Then I was busy with boys

01:10:17,479 --> 01:10:19,722
and didn't need to think about the things missing in my life

01:10:21,716 --> 01:10:23,071
Now I'm busy with work

01:10:24,183 --> 01:10:26,191
and don't need to think what's missing

01:10:28,008 --> 01:10:30,364
the love and security of a family

01:10:31,869 --> 01:10:33,918
that I miss, I miss it in you

01:10:35,551 --> 01:10:38,944
I will always love you, Beth
How Loftus' own memory can play tricks with her, was shown by screwing up her testimony in the Libby trial (the man who had leaked info from a CIA agent to the press). You can read an article on that here.


Posted: Mon Dec 10, 2007 9:31 pm
by Cesar Tort
I have now purchased a scholarly, 2006 book on Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) by religious studies professor David Frankfurter, and also the Oliver Stone/HBO DVD of the film Indictment: The McMartin Trial: both skeptical approaches. Stone’s film is highly commendable. Just get a copy from your nearest Blockbuster.


What strikes me about the SRA craze in the West such as the McMartin Kindergarten, a case cited in the above posts many times by both parties, is that parents were not accused of sexual molestation, only school teachers. One of the child "victims" who later, as an adult, recanted said that his parents were very happy to blame all the family dysfunction on the alleged Satanic abuse, so that his family be exonerated. As an adult he could finally speak out that he was never satanically abused. But he couldn't convince his mother that, as a child, he made up everything just to please the inquisitorial therapists as well as his parents, who were eager to find a convenient scapegoat. As stated almost six months ago, I believe that the McMartin trial is indeed a case of child abuse --but abuse from the parents, not from elderly women teachers and Ray (a son of one of them). If you watch the film based on a true story you will see my point.

Dennis: if the film is unavailable from your local DVD store I may lend you my copy by sending it thru regular mail.

P.S. The Wikipedia article on SRA has been taken over by pro-authenticity advocates. It has turned around 180 degrees. It's even been blocked for further editing by an admin due to the edit warring. Nowadays it does not reflect what I wrote six months above, nor I consider it a reliable source. (However, Wikipedia allows us to see the July or August incarnation of the article by clicking on the "history" button.)

Re: Elisabeth Loftus

Posted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 1:37 am
by Dennis
Hi Cesar, didn't know you had added some more here. It's intriguing that you first dish Oliver Stone on his movie JFK, but now applaud him on his Indictment from 1995. I've seen this movie some years ago and to me it didn't show anything new or controversial. The researchers for the film had only two books at hand that were written at the time about the McMartin Trial, both written by Paul and Shirley Eberle. The Eberles published child pornography in the 1970s - and I quote: "garishly packaged in an underground rag called 'Finger', featuring adults having sex with children, children with excrement smeared on them, children in lewd positions and posing provocatively. This ludicrous pedophile sheet ran stories with such unsavory testimonials as "She was Only Thirteen," "What Happens when Niggers Adopt White Children," "My First Rape," and so on."

The critique on this trial has been blown up as a weapon in other trials where children confessed horrible things. Things that couldn't have happened were put forward as 'evidence' that everything was made up. Kelly Michaels, one of the teachers that was indicted at the Wee Care Day Nursery in 1985, is another example and her case can be read here. What this site doesn't provide is thorough research into the causes. A New York Times article in May 1991 on the abuse trial contained the testimony of 4 Essex County correction officers who witnessed Miss Michaels and her father kissing and "fondling" one another during jail visitations. Jerry Vitiello, a jailer, said that "he saw Ms. Michaels use his tongue when kissing his daughter, rub her buttocks and put his hand on her breasts." These incestuous liaisons were detailed in the courtroom by 3 women working in the jail.

An interesting site called Ritual Abuse Statistics & Research presents another side to SRA.

And this website presents An Empirical Look at the Ritual Abuse Controversy, quoting: "Adapted in 2007 from a paper presented at the 40th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, Fort Worth, Texas, March 18, 1998. “Some authors argue that there is no substantial legal evidence that the ritual abuse of children actually occurs, and that most cases of ritual abuse convictions are reversed on appeal. Michael Newton (cited in Noblitt, 1998a) accumulated data on criminal convictions in the U.S. where allegations of ritual abuse of children were made. He found cases of 145 defendants who were sentenced. Seventeen (11.7%) were reversed on appeal. Newton argues that these reversals do not necessarily indicate that the defendants were innocent of the accusations. In some instances the decisions were reversed based on legal technicalities rather than factual matters as to whether the abuse occurred or not.”


Re: Elisabeth Loftus

Posted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 6:56 am
by Cesar Tort
It's curious.

The main difference is that I believe that parents are the perps in 99.99 percent of child abuse cases.

On the other hand, in SRA —and to not confuse ourselves let’s take the McMartin case as the paradigm of what is labeled as SRA—, parents are always innocent. Only the elderly women teachers were considered the “Satanic” perps.

I still think that, after reading a lot about this case, the parents and therapists used the elderly teachers (and a son on one of them) as scapegoats so that the real abuse the parents perpetrated on their children may be thus conveniently displaced. It’s no coincidence that at the end of the XVII century it was precisely the children, advised by hysterical adults, the ones who made wild claims in Salem, Massachusetts:

The Salem witch hunt victimized innocent adults (I mean: adults who were neither the parents nor the perps of the children). Nowadays, there obviously exist people skeptical of any “Satanism” involved in McMartin; people with zero ties to pedophilic editors. Professor David Frankfurter, who invested ten years of his academic career to study the SRA moral panic, is only one example.

In a real nutshell, not the so-called "nutshells" I had wrote months ago, what bothers me of SRA is that parents are always spared of any accusation of child abuse.

But this subject is huge. Maybe we better lay it to rest for a while…