Report from the S.M.A.R.T. Ritual Abuse/Mind-Control Conference 2009, Part 2

by  —  August 31, 2009
On the weekend of August 15-16, Douglas Mesner attended a conference for alleged victims of Satanic Ritual Abuse and Mind-Control in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. This is the second part of his 2-part report:

As a “victorious survivor of incest, RA [Ritual Abuse], and Govt. MC [Mind Control]”, the aged and infirm “Julaine” understands how it is that They break into our minds.  “Moriah, Illuminati… whatever you want to call it”, this collective Satan “oversees information” through mass media, and it is a scientific certainty that while watching television “the cognitive part of the mind goes dead”.

Julaine addresses the conference from a seat behind a folding table at the front of the room.  Diabetic and suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, the 78 year old conference speaker is unwell both physically and mentally.  Both dysfunctional states, she believes, are attributable to a conspiracy of evil.  Rheumatoid arthritis and Satanic Ritual Abuse, Julaine posits, are “almost partners”.

“My sister thinks I’m bi-polar”, she admits.  “She won’t talk to me.”  This refusal of Julaine’s sister’s to recognise that their family is a multi-generational satanic cult is seen as mere denial.  “She is lost”, Julaine explains.

(As Juliane begins to describe her own history as a mind-controlled military sex-slave, a slight, fragile, middle-aged woman directly in front of me pulls her knees up to her chest, buries her face in her hands, and quietly begins to weep.  Her “support person” reaches out, gently touches her back, trying to comfort her.  Soon, the scarred emotions of the woman are soothed and she reciprocates the affectionate caresses of her guardian.  The woman turns in her seat and slips one bared foot under the man’s bottom while deftly rubbing his thigh with the other.  The man is flushed with arousal…)

Juliane expresses gratitude to former S.M.A.R.T. conference speaker Brice Taylor (after expressing disdain for “The Media”, and the requisite loathing of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation [FMSF]).  I can’t help but involuntarily raise my eyebrows as I look around the room to determine if the attendees are generally comfortable with the association.

Brice Taylor’s book “Thanks for The Memories” details her personal recovered memories of satanic sexual abuse within the highest levels of the United States government – from John F. Kennedy to Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, To Ronald Reagan.  Claiming to have been owned as a mind-controlled sex slave by late comedian Bob Hope – who later passed her off to Henry Kissinger – Taylor is a favourite in the mentally fractured fringe, her book a classic in the folk genre of delusional conspiracy theory literature.  A twistedly prurient work describing outrageous paedophilic orgies among the famous and affluent, Taylor’s work has been described as “porno for paranoids” – its claims so far-flung and unlikely that, as far as I know, nobody has seen the need to disprove it.  But then, this lack of a definitive debunking puts Taylor’s book in a class above several of the RA/Satanic Panic movement’s foundational texts.

First among the Satanic-Ritual-Abuse-concealed-by-Multiple-Personality-Disorder books was Michelle Remembers, published in 1980.  Though not much less apparently absurd on its face than Taylor’s “Thanks For The Memories” (Satan and Jesus themselves make guest appearances in the book, The Lord conveniently removing Michelle’s accumulation of physical scars), Michelle Remembers was an international best-seller, prompting the journalistic investigations that would ultimately debunk it in every major detail.

Satan’s Underground by Lauren Stratford similarly described the recovered memories of a victim of Satanic Ritual Abuse, in this case those of a “breeder” – a woman used to produce infants for use in sacrificial ceremonies.  An investigation by the Christian magazine, Cornerstone, debunked the story, finding that Lauren Stratford was, in reality, Laurel Rose Willson, a mentally disturbed woman with a history of making false abuse allegations.

Willson would later abandon her claim to satanic victimization, but not her claim to victimhood, moving on to an identity as a jewish survivor of a nazi concentration camp under the alias of Laura Grabowski.

Even the foundational text for the Multi-Personality Disorder (MPD) craze, Sybil, turns out to have been a work of fiction.  Dr. Herb Spiegel, a psychiatrist specializing in hypnosis, was consulted during the treatment of the patient who would come to be known as Sybil.  Spiegel diagnosed Sybil as “a wonderful hysterical patient with role confusion, which is typical of high hysterics.”  According to Spiegel, MPD therapists were “taking highly malleable, suggestible persons and molding them into acting out a thesis that they are putting upon them.”  Nonetheless, Sybil’s therapist, under whose care Sybil had come to reveal sixteen identies, insisted upon MPD.  “If we don’t call [her] a multiple personality, we don’t have a book!  The publishers want it to be that, otherwise it won’t sell!”

But perhaps the greatest blow to the SRA/MPD movement was the investigation into the irresponsible quack antics of an MPD therapist from Rush University Medical Center by the name of Bennett Braun.  As the head of a “Dissociative Disorders” Unit, Braun took one Patty Burgus under his care treating her for severe and prolonged depression, the resistance to treatment of which was quite enough to convince Braun that a satanic cult was somehow involved.  Burgus would suffer continuous treatment at the hands of Braun and his troop of clowns for two years.  Hypnotized, sedated, and reminded that the only way to achieve healing was to recall the memories of satanic ritual abuse that were surely hidden in the compartmentalized recesses of her mind, Burgus would come to believe that she contained over three hundred personalities, had been involved in cannibalism, infanticide… all the standard satanic unpleasantness.

Eventually, Burgus herself began to doubt her own “recovered memories” and began seeking corroborative evidence for the cult activity that her therapists had lead her to believe existed.  As the drugs and hypnotherapy wore off, Burgus came to recognize that it was all a sham.  Seeking legal remediation for the malpractice she suffered, Burgus was eventually paid a settlement of $10.6 million, and Braun – perhaps the most widely recognized expert in MPD at the time – had his medical license suspended.

Soon, plainly false convictions that had been obtained on the evidence of recovered memories began to be over-turned, and retractor stories from patients who began to recognize their recovered memories as false memories began to accumulate.

A particularly disturbing tale of false conviction was that of daycare operator Gerald Amirault, a man convicted of twenty-six counts of child abuse which included, according to an article published by The Nation in 2002, following Amirault’s denial of parole, “accusations of extravagant and flamboyant sadistic behavior: children being anally raped with butcher knives (which left no wounds), tied to trees on the front lawn while other teachers watched, forced to drink urine, thrown about by robots, tortured in a magic room by an evil clown. One child claimed sixteen children had been killed at the center. Obvious questions went unasked: How come no kids who went to Fells Acre in previous years had these alarming experiences? Why was an expert witness permitted to testify about a child-pornography ring when no pornographic photos of the Fells Acre kids were ever found?”  The article ended with a damning comment against the politics of the state that, at the time, still incarcerated Amirault: “…Massachusett…is the only state in which people convicted in the 1980s wave of ritual child abuse cases are still in prison”, “…Will it take another 300 years for the state to acknowledge that Salem was not its last miscarriage of justice?”  Ultimately, Amirault wasted eighteen years of his life in prison.

Eighteen years.

I only find one mention of the Amirault case on the S.M.A.R.T. website.  From issue 79 of the S.M.A.R.T. newsletter dated March 2008: Commonwealth vs. Gerald Amirault. – October 9, 1996 – March 24, 1997 “All nine children testified in a broadly consistent way…The children testified to numerous instances of sexual abuse. Some of the children testified that they were photographed during this abuse, describing a big camera with wires, a red button, and pictures which came out of the camera. The children testified that the defendant threatened them and told them that their families would be harmed if they told anyone about the abuse….The Commonwealth also presented a pediatric gynecologist and pediatrician who examined five of the girls who testified…She made findings consistent with abuse in four of the girls.”

No mention from S.M.A.R.T. of any of the counter-evidence or actual details of the bizarre testimony given by the pediatric gynecologist.  As the Wall Street Journal reported, “Testifying with regard to a child who claimed that Gerald had penetrated her anally with a knife, Dr. Jean Emans offered a supporting statement–namely that an object could “touch the hymen on the way to trying to find the anus” without penetrating the vagina. The object in this instance was a butcher knife.”

But what’s eighteen years, or even a life-time, more-or-less when Neil Brick and his self-sympathizing followers have their victim identities, their sense of purpose, to defend?  As Brick wrote in an angry comment upon my first half of this article, “who are you to decide what people remember?”

Indeed, who am I?  As Lauren Stratford said of the decision to become a holocaust survivor without having actually suffered the holocaust, “I think only the individual can decide if he/she is a survivor.”  And as the co-author of Michelle Remembers, therapist Lawrence Pazder said of his patient’s (and later wife’s) unlikely “memories”: “For her it was very real. Every case I hear I have skepticism. You have to complete a long course of therapy before you can come to conclusions. We are all eager to prove or disprove what happened, but in the end it doesn’t matter”  [italics added].  By these standards, self professed victims are given a carte blanche to re-write their biographies at will.  Thus, Neil Brick may re-imagine – as he does – a past in which he was a top secret Cold War assassin, and sexually repressed housewives may place themselves in the midst of deviant orgies in which they had no choice but to participate. In this context, it is bad form, even pointless, to question the validity of the claims put forward by the conference speakers.

Julaine gives evidence anyway.  In a slide-show presentation we see pictures of her father in military uniform looking surly.  “There’s no love in his eyes.”  We are shown a picture of Julaine as a little girl holding a doll.  “I hated dolls,” she explains to us, “So I always got a doll.”  Julaine assures us that she could continue to present us with “evidence” for hours on end, but time constraints demand that she limit her presentation.

Evidence may not be necessary, but it is certainly appreciated.  For this reason, Anne Johnson Davis is the silently recognised headlining act.  Davis, it turns out, has one thing that none of the others have: corroboration… Signed confessions from her stepfather and mother.  Unfortunately for Davis, once one looks beyond just this bare-bones description, her story raises more questions than it answers.  Like the others, Davis recovered her memories during therapy, coming to accuse her parents of subjecting her to satanic abuse.  At first they denied everything.  Deeply religious, Davis’s parents went to their minister claiming that Anne was “hallucinating and possessed.”

The Church, it seems, preferred Anne’s story to that of her parents, sending three members of the clergy three separate times to Anne’s parent’s house in an attempt to extract confessions.  On the third attempt, Davis relates in astonishment, “they confessed everything!”  Recognizing that a confession from her parents made little sense on their part, innocent or guilty, Davis can only imagine that they did so because they were “stupid”.

Despite these confessions, Davis decided not to press charges.  Deciding that between Media slander and the FMSF, she’d “never get a fair judge and jury”, Davis opted “just to get on with my life” by doing talk tours promoting her book.  Davis relays some valuable lessons learned during her speaking arrangements to the conference attendees.  “If we assume that [people] are going to believe us, a lot of times they do!”, adding, “Sometimes I’m surprised at how many people believe me!”

The attendees at the conference, whether out of politeness or sheer credulity, seem prepared to believe anything.  Nobody shows a hint of doubt when a speaker by the name of “Royal”, at all of about forty years of age, stands before us to claim that she was a personal slave to nazi doctor Josef Mengele.

Four practising mental health professionals give speeches during the course of this conference, each praising the “courage” of the “victims”, asserting the validity of recovered memories, and even sharing their own stories of encounters with the sinister Them.  Adah Sachs, Lowell Routley, Shamai Currim (or Shamai Currim PhD as she likes to refer to herself, apparently believing – judging by comments she submitted to me regarding my first half of this report – that her academic credentials, such as they are, allow her to create truth in the absence of facts), and Eileen Schrader.

And the litany of absurdity continues.

The lachrymose Schrader closes the conference with a turgid, drawn-own speech regarding “Programming and Relationships – The Mind Control of Shame”.  Wrapping up her talk, and choking back tears precisely on cue, Schrader reminds us all, “You… are worthy of being loved!”

The conference is so self-evidently full of bullshit that exposing it may seem no more productive than pulling the false beard from a shopping mall Santa Claus.  But, absurd as the premise of the S.M.A.R.T. conference is, and deranged as the speaker’s tales clearly are, there are practising, licensed therapists who, to this day, will defend the legitimacy of the “recovered memories” that have revealed the machinations of the Satanic Conspiracy discussed here.  These therapists will be the first to cry out that Multiple Personality Disorder, now re-branded as Dissociative Identity Disorder, is listed in the official Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), thus it must be entirely legitimate.  But as Johns Hopkins University professor of psychiatry, Dr. Paul McHugh notes, “symptoms alone are [the DSM’s] diagnostic criteria”, so while symptoms of MPD may be categorically defined in the DSM, the condition itself “exists in relationship to the generative powers of the therapist that produced it. It exists just the same way as the Salem witches existed. It does not exist in nature.”

Indeed.  Multiple Personality Disorder and the Salem witches:  Where you find either, you’ll also find witch-hunters.  Let us hope, with the APA now planning to release a new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V) in 2012, that this mistake is soon corrected…

Marked as: Abnormal SociologyBelief SystemsBuncoLaw  —  8 comments   (RSS)

8 Comments so far
  1. rosetta June 2, 2010 12:45 pm

    Thank you for throwing some light into this dark corner. I hope you will continue to examine this strange little “survivor cult”.

  2. vindalf December 4, 2010 3:57 pm


    I hope you’ll find time to have a look at this posting on DFQ2:

    and my comments to it.

  3. doug December 6, 2010 6:43 pm

    vindalf –
    thank you so much for this. this is incredibly interesting. i’ll summarize here, for the benefit of those who may drop in:
    you point out that there is a known criminal organization known as ‘children of the underground’, run by a woman named faye yager, which claims to help abused children disappear from their parents when the court’s response is unsatisfactory. i’ve looked up a few articles related to this network, and it seems that the question of whether or not yager is qualified, or uses sufficient standards of evidence, to determine whether or not actual abuse is taking place — or her organization is (at least partially) being used to merely kidnap children on behalf of parents who would otherwise lose custody, or are otherwise being untruthful — is an item of general concern. In your blog post you state that faye yager is in fact a friend to satanic-illuminati bat-shit conspiracy-monger, ted gunderson. i know first-hand from speaking to him what gunderson’s standards of evidence are. i contacted gunderson during my research into the process church of the final judgement. gunderson was listed in the acknowledgements of a book entitled ‘the ultimate evil’ by some hack named maury terry. ‘the ultimate evil’ makes the unsupported, even idiotic, assertion that the process was responsible for the son of sam murders. (to qualify the ‘idiotic’, just think about the case: you have a man hearing voices, going around shooting women with long brown hair in the face with a .44. this satisfies the ritual requirements of a well-financed, international satanic underground? this violent, ostentatious, brutal buffoonery is the act of a silent and sinister underground?) i asked ted what role he played in terry’s book. he said that he accompanied terry to either a crime scene or criminal dwelling related to the son of sam case, wherein a bible was opened to one of its many bloody passages, some gratutious biblical murder. there was a small pause after he told me this.
    ‘but ted…’ i said, ‘this is the HOLY bible!’
    ted explained that this is how satanists operate. they leave subtle clues laying about. you need to know how to look.
    i asked ted if he knew that former members of the process are now running a large no-kill animal shelter.
    ted didn’t miss a beat. he explained that this was just a cover. they were using the animals for sacrifices in their rituals.
    really? and how did ted know this?
    he admitted that he hadn’t known of the animal shelter till i told him. he just knows how these satanists work. he’s been in the business for a long time now, after all.
    i was amazed. i had always seen gunderson referred to as a former FBI man, but i simply couldn’t believe it. was it possible, i wondered, that no other journalist verified his credentials? i checked with the FBI. it is, unfortunately, true. ted is a retired FBI man. and if yager has dealings with him, no doubt, delusional conspiracy theories play a role in her kidnapping ring’s activities.
    it certainly isn’t impossible to imagine cases where the legal system could fail a legitimately abused child, but the idea of witch-hunters taking the law into their own hands, based on whatever testimony they chose to believe… it’s terrifying.
    further, bringing it back to this article, you show that yager is associated with hal pepinsky, who spoke at every S.M.A.R.T. conference every year, until after i wrote my report.
    this post from pepinsky’s blog that you dug out, which shows pepinsky’s letter-to-the-editor that he penned for time magazine following their piece about yager and operation, is one of the most damning pieces of evidence anybody should possibly need to convince them that yager’s operation is very irresponsible, and terribly dangerous (for the mere fact that pepinsky wrote it, and claims a close enough relationship to the yagers that they placed a personal call to him in the aftermath of the time piece). who knows how many women yager has helped to disappear underground with their stolen children based upon recovered memories of abuse or conspiracist delusions?

    Fri, 8 May 1998 11:04:42 -0500 (EST)
    harold e. pepinsky (

    Faye Yager’s husband Howard called me a couple of nights ago to point out the Time story and to ask for some moral support. It seems that the Yagers have recently been subjected to a wave of threats and vandalism. I’m so sorry. At the risk of encouraging people to read a story which I think represents a very distorted caricature of Faye and how she does her work, here is a copy of the response I just e-mailed to the editor at Time.

    1412 Nancy St.
    Bloomington, IN 47401-6052
    May 8, 1998
    Time Magazine

    To the Editor,

    I have known Children of the Underground founder Faye Yager (“Hide and Seek,” May 11) and closely followed her work for five years. She has been a guest in my seminar on children’s rights and safety nine times since the fall of 1993. I in turn have visited and stayed with her in Atlanta, and reviewed files of evidence which I believe to be the largest and best archives of parental violence against children.

    Faye is meticulous about requiring and examining documentation of violence before she helps anyone. I happen to have reviewed the notebook she put together for the case you feature in your cover story, where as I recall the evidence supported a whole series of court orders and an arrest in vain attempts to stop violence and threats to the mother, including in front of the children.

    Southern Illinois University sociologist Joel Best has recently published a very careful examination of estimates of intra-familial child abduction, and has concluded that the true annual number of such abductions in the U.S. is closer to 8,000 than to the National Center on Missing and Exploited Children’s figure of 350,000. I don’t look on Faye as the one who is exaggerating and distorting facts here. She has become one of my most experienced, insightful, reliable teachers about violence against children and how we respond. I join many activists and professionals in honoring Faye’s painstaking attempts to show us violence others hide from and deny, and in gratitude for the countless numbers of children she has helped escape horrific, often court-supported, parental violence.


    Hal Pepinsky
    Professor of Criminal Justice
    Indiana University

  4. vindalf December 7, 2010 7:34 pm

    There is another area for concern, which I raised in the comments to that DFQ2 posting, and another reason for choosing to post the link under your SMART conference expose.

    I invested a lot of time into reading everything I could find, that was either authored by Hal Pepinsky or about him. I even bought copies of Pepinsky articles from Journal archive sites, so that I could see exactly what he had said in the ‘original’ articles from which his books are largely derived. Ultimately, I came to understand that life experiences he credits as having the greatest influence on the development of his ‘peacemaking’ theories, actually directly contradict those theories.

    This startling fact cast a new light on everything he has been working on since the mid 1980s. I don’t believe the meaning & purpose of that work is really what he states it to be.

    Pepinsky has been a tireless advocate of justice system reform movements such as Reparative Justice, “healing circles”, Truth Commissions and so on. Actually, he is quite open about wanting to see the entire “adverserial” justice system as we know it wiped away including the associated professions of law enforcement, lawyers, judges, mainstream criminology, etc., to be replaced by models in which non-politician (unelected) “community leaders” convene tribunals, commissions, and other currently ‘extra-legal’ forms of inquiry. In these models, everyone has the right to be heard but none can be compelled to participate, there is no effort to evaluate the factual validity of any ‘testimony’, victim claimant narrative cannot be questioned and is assumed on principle to represent reality.

    Several of these reform movements and alternate “justice” models have genuine merit and potential benefits to our society, but I don’t believe Pepinsky or other members of the RA-MC true believer community are sincerely interested in those things. I believe they see, in these reform movements, a means to pursue their witchhunting agendas without the obstacle of traditional, “professional” justice system standards of evidence – which they cannot pass.

    Is the case of Anne Johnson Davis, her parents, and the informal, “alternate justice process” which generated their “confessions”, an example of how they intend to pursue their witchhunting in the future? They are already hard at work on a test-run of their own commission/tribunal:

    Pepinsky is also obsessed with SRA victim claimant Jeanette Westbrook. In a transcript from the August 14 – 15, 1999 SMART conference, Westbrook brazenly advocates the use of BLACKMAIL to obtain their goals. She brags about having employed BLACKMAIL to force an indictment against her allegedly abusive father.

    Since the majority of these con-artists, frauds & liars don’t actually possess any secret knowledge of real criminal activity, what else could they use to blackmail people with – perhaps to extort participation in their commission and shocking (false) confessions of guilt? Well…how about knowledge of where a target person’s spouse & children have been hidden? Or knowledge of where their intended scapegoat’s adult child and minor grandchildren are being hidden?

  5. qawsedr December 27, 2010 1:16 pm

    I grew up in a religious environment where the things I have been reading about here were just a part of everyday life. It was common knowledge that 1 out of every 5 children are murdered by Satanists and the liberal media doesn’t report on it because they are in cahoots with the Devil. (The two newspapers in our city are both owned by the church… so I’m not sure what they meant by “liberal media”.) For the children that managed to survive into their teenage years, demonic possession was the big threat – it usually manifested as surliness, laziness, acting out, dressing strange, questioning authority, hanging out with sinners, and listening to “devil music”.

    I’ve spent most of my life trying to understand why people believe these things. Part of it is covered in your articles – some people can’t (or perhaps just don’t want to) tell the difference between dreams, fears, thoughts, memories, and actual events. Some people actively cultivate a sort of postmodern view of the world, where believing in a thing makes it so.

    In the case of my town, there was another factor at work: they wanted to be righteous and good and honorable, but that was a lot of work and not very rewarding; contending with the very heart of evil on a daily basis, however, added a mystical dimension to their struggle. Aside from just making them feel better knowing they were fighting the good fight against evil, the sheer nastiness of that evil, which our church leaders would describe to us in almost pornographic detail every week, moved the lines of demarcation between good and evil – the whole thing shifted so far toward evil, that the people of my church could appear to be actively righteous by merely standing still. It’s like when the CO asks for volunteers and everyone but you takes a step backwards. In this way the church is very effective at making people feel good, when it is supposed to make them feel like *doing* good. Since they already feel good, they can sit back and imagine, for instance, the horrible things the devil is turning their teenage children into.

    With stakes like those, it’s easy to imagine why people fight so hard to defend beliefs that sound ludicrous to outsiders. They are, to some extent, bad people pretending to be good, so they conjure up an adversary that is very bad but trying to pretend he is good, by making all of those temptations so… tempting. They are playing the same game they accuse their tormentors of, but from a position where they have pre-absolved themselves and redefined their actions to appear righteous.

    Sadly, this sort of thought process seems to be gaining in popularity… we’ve even had a president who believed that anything he believed must be true, or he wouldn’t believe it. I don’t know what it is going to take to restore sanity… I’m not even sure it can be done. But it is my hope that as people like you present the case for sanity, one person here or there might learn how to think more critically; after that, I’m just hoping for the Hundredth Monkey thing to happen, because I don’t see any way to directly engage with people for whom evidence in favor of their beliefs, evidence against their beliefs, evidence completely unrelated to their beliefs, and the complete lack of evidence ALL validate their beliefs.

  6. doug January 3, 2011 3:14 pm

    qawsedr –
    it seems you might have a fairly strong charismatic movement presence in your community? where there is a fear of demonic possession, there are usually exorcists willing to act. few people seem to recognise how similar both the idea, alleged manifestations, and treatment, of demonic possession are to multiple personality disorder. the 2 have over-lapped frequently (as one can find if one researches the cases of nadine cool and martha tyo).
    you mention the motivating factor of a clear demarcation between good & evil that helped drive these insane beliefs that took hold during the satanic panic and still linger in groups like S.M.A.R.T. — often, advocates for the position that there is a conspiracy of satanists practising ritual abuse will claim that most of society is merely in denial about these things happening in their communities, that they simply can not conceive of such wicked things taking place in the real world. but, as you point out, there is a comfort in the idea of a cetralised evil that can be confronted, denied, and one day defeated. there is an infantile security in the delusion that all evil things can be attributed to a maleficent entity. how much easier it is to blame the devil, to attribute one’s personal failings to found autobiographical memories which lend these failings the grandeur of but symptoms proving one’s unique role in the ultimate combat against evil, against the illuminati, the CIA, the freemasons, satan and his helpers.
    you say, “But it is my hope that as people like you present the case for sanity, one person here or there might learn how to think more critically”
    the fact that you feel my writing might do that is something i take as high praise. i hope, like you, other people can read this report and recognise the sometimes insidious group delusions that manifest themselves in more mainstream groups outside of the extreme case of S.M.A.R.T.

  7. emmablue January 3, 2011 5:22 pm

    I think qawseder is right about the value of writing: one sane voice can assist many confused -yet-still-sane ears! He is also onto something about the correlation between charismatic or pentecostal circles (psst: qawseder must be Catholic! the charismatics are Catholic pentecostals *LOL* ) and the willingness to give someone like Brick credibility. Massachusetts went through something that was incredibly culture-changing, but invisible to the outer world, back in the 1970’s. The Catholic church collapsed under pressure from the secular world and also under a peculiar inside-job style conflict between the Irish Catholics and the other ethnicities. The French in Massachusetts probably embraced charismatic trends ten times as much as any other ethnicity, and because of the fight with the Irish bishops and also the external secularism and the collapse of Vatican authority, there was suddenly no restraining factor. Charismatics invaded the French community, and the preponderance of French names in these major cases is noticeable. It was a kind of “perfect storm” of cultural events, I think, that is still causing ripples and waves to radiate.

    There is a third element that I think leads from fringe-crazies to group-credibility and that is calvinism. I was just talking about that with someone else, and it hit me: there is even a kind of calvinist atheism that is causing this wave of mental-illness labels, because the atheists who are affected by the same cultural events dare not speak of demons or of fabulous spiritual apparitions, but they are comfortable with psychiatric phenomena: thus an even more perfect storm of social insanity.


  8. vindalf January 4, 2011 2:32 am

    David Frankfurter, in his comprehensive book “Evil Incarnate”, does an admirable job of documenting and explaining root psychological & social forces which drive groups of people to invent elaborate models of Evil, to pretend to ‘uncover’-‘discover’ their fictitious model at work in their community, and then to run amok attempting to root out & destroy a threat that never existed in the first place:

    “In Evil Incarnate, Frankfurter deepens historical awareness that stories of Satanic atrocities are both inventions of the mind and perennial phenomena, not authentic criminal events. True evil, as he so artfully demonstrates, is not something organized and corrupting, but rather a social construction that inspires people to brutal acts in the name of moral order”.

    Emma –
    I’ve never been to Massachusetts and can’t claim to know much about it’s social/cultural history. I have been very positively impressed by a community of young men & women who live there – by their intelligence, insight, talent, humor & compassion:

    Perhaps this younger generation will be a corrective to the ills you have described.

Leave a Comment

If you would like to make a comment, please fill out the form below.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

© 2007-2015 Process Media Labs and the respective authors. This WordPress theme began as a public work by Speckyboy.