Colin Ross is past president of the ISSTD and author of the Dissociative Disorders Interview Scale.

Read the works of Dr. Colin Ross, they were all telling me, He has proven everything! CIA sex-slave producing mind-control programs, international conspiracies to cover-up crimes of Satanic cult activities, all proven beyond any reasonable doubt in the writings of this esteemed psychiatrist specializing in dissociation and trauma.ross_in_goggles
These served as ill endorsements for the credibility of Dr. Ross coming, as they did, from members, followers, or defenders, of a cult-like conspiracy theory-based collective known as S.M.A.R.T. (Stop Mind-control And Ritual abuse Today) [*]. Previous to these urgent entreaties that I educate myself of the Doctor’s works, I had attended – and subsequently wrote a report about – S.M.A.R.T.’s annual conference in August of 2009 where I sat dumb-struck for an entire weekend, listening, as speaker followed speaker to barrage their overly-credulous audience with impossibly absurd scenarios of occult crime, remote mind-control, and even inter-dimensional demon conjuring [1] . It was the expressions of doubt within my conference report that prompted the emails and internet message board comments suggesting that Ross might help to dispel my ignorance.
According to their website, “The purpose of S.M.A.R.T. is to help stop ritual abuse and to help those who have been ritually abused. We work toward this goal by disseminating information on the connections between secretive organizations, ritual abuse, and mind control, by encouraging healing from the damage done by ritual abuse and mind control, and by encouraging survivors to network.” As I learned at the conference, they even offer the tools to combat the sinister mind-control of these “secretive organizations”: A vendor in the lecture room was selling a slightly more elaborate version of the tin-foil hat in the form of steel mesh-lined baseball caps meant to block electromagnetic cranium-invading frequencies. It was the very stuff of paranoid delusion, the purveyors of which felt certain that Dr. Colin Ross had legitimatized it all.


So, who is Dr. Colin Ross? According to his website: “Dr. Ross is an internationally renowned clinician, researcher, author and lecturer in the field of dissociation and trauma-related disorders. He is the founder and President of the Colin A. Ross Institute for Psychological Trauma.” And, “In addition, Dr. Ross has authored over 130 professional papers, has reviewed for numerous professional journals and grant agencies and is a past President of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation.” Dr. Ross has even acted as a consultant for the Showtime television series The United States of Tara about a troubled housewife who suffers from a case of the mythic Multiple Personality Personality Disorder (MPD), now known as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID).
This all makes for an impressive sounding resume, but a Google search of “Dr. Colin Ross” readily reveals some rather questionable material as well – the most prevalent of which regards Ross’s application to the James Randi Educational Foundation’s Paranormal Challenge, which offers one million dollars “to anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event.” Ross’s paranormal claim? He claims the power to shoot electromagnetic radiation from his eyes. [2]
As far as Ross “proving” the existence of a satanic conspiracy and CIA mind-control, of course he’s done nothing of the sort. What Ross has done is collected and published a number of documents – available to anybody by way of Freedom Of Information Act request – relating to the CIA’s MK-ULTRA mind-control experiments that began in the 1950s, continuing till at least the late ’60s, in response to Cold War fears that the Soviets had perfected the same.
In the course of the project’s mind-control research, MK-ULTRA experimented with a variety of drugs – sometimes on unwitting citizens – in an effort to find the perfect truth-serum. While some drugs made most subjects more chatty, none reliably provoked the unrestrained revelation of guarded secrets that experimenters had hoped for. In fact, the potential for the subject to divulge unreliable, false, fabricated information was found to be so high that the drugs employed as truth serums were eventually disregarded as useless. [3]
Similarly, hypnosis was concluded to be worthless insofar as military applications are concerned. Ross nonetheless suggests – flaunting the existence of documents that demonstrate experiments in hypnotic mind-control were attempted – that the United States is currently engaged in the production of hypnotically brain-washed agents, “Manchurian Candidates”, to carry out Top-Secret operations and assassinations.
The irony of Ross’s self-styled expertise regarding MK-ULTRA is that knowledge of the actual results of the MK-ULTRA experiments should have served to correct him – in advance – of errors made in his clinical practice: As a therapist working with Multiple Personalities, Ross has used many of the same techniques proven unreliable during MK-ULTRA to extract information from his client’s “alters” (alternate personalities), including hypnosis and “truth serum” (sodium amytal).
The fact that Ross specializes in DID, and the fact that he is a conspiracy theorist are not at all independent of one another. The theory of DID – unsupported by science (but well-worn as a fictional plot device) – is that certain traumas, particularly that of childhood sexual abuse, can prove so incomprehensible and damaging to the victim’s psyche that, as a protective measure, the memory of this trauma is re-compartmentalized in some dark corner of the mind where it is then consciously inaccessible to the victim. The victim who represses memories thus then develops “distinct identities or personality types” of which they also aren’t consciously aware, but which “recurrently take control of the person’s behavior”. It is these alternate identities that retain the traumatic memories for the victim. Treatment for this condition often relies on the recovery of these repressed traumatic memories. The victim, it is presumed, must confront these hidden traumas so as to assimilate them into the conscious mind, thereby making the mind “whole” again.
Some therapists – in what is known as “guided imagery” sessions – actually encouraged their clients to visualize and describe what it would be like if their father, brother, or whatever chosen perpetrator had raped her. After constructing some reasonably plausible, if horribly disturbing scenario, she would then be told that this telling of events only occurred to her in this way because her unconscious mind was relaying her actual information regarding true events. [4]
It is a belief in the historical accuracy of repressed memories, and the continued encouragement of this belief within a certain fringe sub-set of the psychotherapeutic community, that allows S.M.A.R.T. to maintain their delusions. The “facts” of Satanic Ritual Abuse and Mind-Control were almost entirely revealed to them in recovered memories of abuse they believe themselves to have suffered. The reality is, “memories” that are recovered through hypnosis, sodium amytal interviews, and guided imagery sessions – indeed, recovered memories of any kind – have been shown to be nearly entirely worthless insofar as historical accuracy is concerned. The potential for outside contamination and confabulation is too great, and in the case of recovered memories of Childhood Sexual Abuse, many have come to recognize that their recovered memories were indeed False Memories: memories of events that never happened, but which they believed must have been true (most often under the influence of a therapist) because it served an explanatory function in their lives at the time.
Hypnotic regressions meant to bring forth memories of past traumas are more likely to bring forth bizarre fabrications of events that have never occurred. Worse, when the subject is aware that the point of the regression is to uncover sexual abuse, the fabrications will likely include just that.
The digging for memories of abuse, and the credulous acceptance of memories that seem to defy all reason, has led to a broader acceptance of the harmful conspiracy theories now espoused by organizations like S.M.A.R.T. among some clients and therapists in Recovered Memory Therapy.
Secret military mind-control projects and highly organized international rings of Satanic Ritual Abuse form an ever-widening circle of perpetrators that now often envelopes local police forces, the FBI, CIA, and government officials (as well as the nearly anonymous, middle-class parents of the MPD client) as believers in the pristine untainted nature of recovered memories attempt to explain away contradictory evidence that serve to disprove their fabrications of abuse. All such debunking evidence is seen as dis-information and cover-up.
Arguably, Ross did much to build the mythology of Satanic Ritual Abuse that formed the core of what sociologists now refer to as the “Satanic Panic”, a modern witch-hunt that arose in the eighties, continuing into the mid-nineties, and leading to many false convictions and fruitless investigations of unlikely crimes.
A former patient in the care of Dr. Ross, Roma Hart, described to the author how she came to be implanted with false memories of Satanic Abuse under Ross’s direct influence. Her story sheds much light on Ross’s more broad appeal to the paranoid and delusional. The following are excerpts from an interview with Roma Hart, the full transcript of which can be read here: www. Process.org

[…] How often did you see [Dr. Colin Ross], and what was the “therapy” at that point?

I saw him twice a week for an hour to two hours. It was hypnotherapy. He made some tapes for me to listen to all day. He had me do ‘dream-imaging’, where at the end of each session he’d ask me to think about whether certain things had happened to me. My homework was to go home and dream about these things. I’d come back the next session and say, I dreamed about those things, and this was what I was dreaming. And he would always say, Those dreams you had are actually flash-backs of real events in your life. So it proceeded very quickly into insanity. So about two months after I started seeing him, I was committed into the hospital’s Psych Ward.

And all the while he was telling you to recall your dreams as memories?

He would give me something to think about. I had homework to do. He would plant the thought in my head that this is what I was supposed to try to see if I could remember. Of course I would dream about it, because what else are you going to do when you’re deep in therapy? When somebody tells you to think about this, you’ll go home and you’ll dream about it, you come back and you say, I had this terrible nightmare about what you said.
Ah, well, that’s a flash-back. It really did happen.
And I would say to him, I don’t remember that happening. The first time I saw him – the first visit, I told him – he asked, were you ever abused as a child? I was raised in the sixties by military parents, because my father was an aerial cartographer. They were very strict. I said, what do you mean by abuse? I mean, they were strict, but they never abused me. I made it very clear to him that my parents never, at any time, ever sexually abused me, or anybody. But he said it was normal to deny it.

So eventually you were made to come to agree that you had been sexually abused?

I was told by Colin Ross that I fit the description of somebody who was sexually abused… Even though I swore it never happened. He said, you fit the description. All people with MPD have been sexually abused [according to Colin Ross].

I know about Colin Ross. He has written [several conspiracy theory books]. How specific was his story for you? Did he develop a specific narrative for you that fit his conspiracy theory [and explained your supposed MPD]?

Oh, absolutely. As I said, my father was in the military. This was when I was a tiny little girl, he was in the Air Force. And for Colin Ross, for anybody who’s ever been in the military, he just makes the immediate leap into CIA, for crying out loud. He asked me if the words – what was it? – ‘beta’… ‘gamma’… and, um… ‘omega’, I think it was [meant anything to me]. Those three. He said that children were put in to CIA experiments where they used goggles on [the children’s] eyes and hypnotized [them]. [The CIA programmed personalities] were either one of those: beta, omega, alpha, one of those. One [of these designations programmed the child so that they] would commit suicide, one would be given the job to dispense disinformation, the other was […] an assassin. I just thought ‘gamma’ sounds too stupid, ‘alpha’ sounds like alphabet soup, for crying out loud, I think I chose Omega, or something like that. I chose the one that sounded the least stupid to me, because I was just trying to cooperate with him. There was just no way you could argue with him. He’d always just twist things around. You couldn’t possibly argue with him. He’d always just say that you fit the description, absolutely fit the description. It has to be this.

So in his mind, you had to be Omega, or Gamma, etc. You couldn’t be None of The Above?

No. Not at all. No. He was very much involved in [the idea of] CIA mind-control nonsense. And then he would give you jobs to do, homework to do at home. You were supposed to close your eyes and you were supposed to visualize different parts of the city so that you could leave your body and travel around the city. Then you’d come back for your next appointment and he’d say, So did you go anywhere? Did you see anything for these out-of-body experiments he was putting you into? I would say, I don’t think I did. I don’t know. I tried the best I could. You’d just try to please him so much because he just had this charisma, and you’d want to please this guy. He was very affectionate with all of his patients. He would give hugs, he’d rub your back and rub your legs. In those days he was just so charismatic. He was such a good-looking young psychiatrist. All the nurses would just pander to him like puppies… So here we were: young women as MPD patients trying to please this handsome, young, charismatic guy who was giving [us] all of his affection.

Did Colin Ross encourage you to take action against your parents under the assumption that they sexually abused you?

Yes. When I was at my most insane, under the most drugs, he encouraged me to get a rifle and go up and shoot them. He also encouraged me to kill myself constantly, saying it would be quite understandable. He would phone me late at night – and he did that to other patients too, because there was an MPD support group, and we’d all talk to each other and visit each other – he’d send us home with lethal amounts of drugs, phone us up at night, and encourage us to kill ourselves. One of the reasons I figure he did that was because he had this interest in the ‘white-light’ Near Death Experience. So after we’d come out of comas, or what-not, from drug over-doses, the first thing he’d ask us was, Well, did you see the light? That’s all he was interested in. Some of the other women died though. But he really didn’t care about that. He just said it was fate.

And what exactly did he say his research was?

Multiple Personality Disorder and [that research into alleged] mind control experiments with the CIA – and Satanic Ritual Abuse, for crying out loud! He explained this to me the first month I started seeing him. There was a sign above the planetarium, and I saw it on my way to see him. It was the silliest thing. It was going toward Christmas and they were talking about the star of [Bethlehem], and that made [Colin Ross] start commenting about aliens. The star [of Bethlehem, according to Colin Ross] wasn’t really the star of Jesus – it was an alien ship that they were really seeing. So then he explained that lots of people had been abducted by aliens, and that women had been abducted by aliens and impregnated by aliens, and they have these alien babies. Now, I think I already said to you that at that time when I started seeing him I was a Pentecostal Christian Fundamentalist. I belonged to Church, was a Sunday School teacher. All I could think was, How horrible! How could God let that happen? And what about the baby? Would it have a soul? So, in my mind, I was horrified. Completely horrified. I wouldn’t even talk about it. I couldn’t even talk about it. I just didn’t want to talk with anyone. But then, a few years later – I think it was 1990, somewhere around then – he came up from a conference in Chicago. He’d seen [infamous MPD therapist] Bennett Braun and the International Association of Dissociation and MPD, and that. He came in the hospital to see me and he said, Oh, I have great news for you! He was so excited, so happy and bubbly. I looked at him and thought, Good. Great news. What is it? And he said, You know that baby that you had? The half alien baby? It didn’t die! Thinking that it had died was [according to Colin Ross] the only way that I could resolve it in my mind, so that I wouldn’t have to worry about the soul. So he thought for me, telling me that it didn’t die was going to be some good news. I looked at him absolutely horrified. I said, What are you talking about? At the conference he’d just been to, it had explained why all of the Satanic Ritual Abuse cases that they’d always talk about, where women give birth to these babies and they kill the babies – but nobody can ever find the bodies of these babies – [the conference Colin Ross attended explained that] the reason they can’t find the bodies of these babies is because the bodies of these babies are beamed up into spaceships, and they’re raised in the spaceships until they’re 18 years old. Then they’re beamed back down to earth and given jobs with the CIA. This is all to form a New World, and all that. So it’s really the aliens who are impregnating the women, while they’re CIA mind-controlled, and then they give birth at Satanic rituals. It’s a big circular thing. It’s the craziest circular thing I ever heard in my life. But I was horrified. I burst into tears. I couldn’t believe he just told me that my alien baby was alive. But he was so confused. He didn’t know why I wasn’t happy.

So – your malpractice proceedings: You didn’t end up even getting a settlement, did you?

No. Because I am on welfare disability, the only money I could raise for lawyers was just through begging people that I was given contact numbers for. [I would be told] This lawyer hates [Colin Ross], this doctor hates him. And this other man – his daughter died under Colin Ross’s care, and he helped me with some money too. So I did manage to drag it through the system for 11 years with 4 different lawyers. But, because my second to last lawyer did such an atrociously bad job – and he admitted to his negligence to the Law Society – it was dismissed due to delay. And then Colin Ross’s lawyer managed to have the costs awarded against me. So I owed Colin Ross something like 100 to 200 thousand dollars – something astronomical. So I had to appeal that. So I had to raise another 5 thousand dollars to appeal that, and then the Law Society threw in another 20 to 30 thousand dollars to pay the lawyer to help me appeal that, so I would have the costs removed. And that was Judge Sinclair’s order that I sent down to you. It says that, reason for dismissal due to delay, fault of my counsel. And the costs were taken off. I didn’t have to pay the costs.

As crazy as Roma Hart’s story may appear on the face of it, a prior knowledge of MPD therapy and Ross’s conspiracism at the very least render her narrative plausible. Corroborating court documents and sworn affidavits, as well as an eerily similar charge of malpractice brought to trial by a Ms. Tyo in Texas (where Ross relocated after leaving – perhaps involuntarily – the Manitoba hospital where Hart was treated), make Ms. Hart’s claims very difficult to dismiss.
Nonetheless, not long after posting my interview with Ms. Hart online, Ross objected publicly to the piece. Directing his comments to me he asked that I “investigate these allegations against [Ross] with the same skepticism and rules of evidence that [I] would bring to bear on a claim of the supernatural or the paranormal, or a conspiracy theory. The allegation is that the Government of Manitoba, the University of Manitoba, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba and St. Boniface Hospital conspired to cover up malpractice by [Ross] and [his] being fired.”
Ross further objected that he had not yet written about Satanic Ritual Abuse at the time of his treatment of Ms. Hart, thus, supposedly, indicating that he could have suggested no such scenario during her therapy. He cited the fact that he still holds medical license as evidence that he was unlikely to have committed such egregious malpractice.
I replied: “Certainly I am sensitive to the idea of promoting false or unfounded allegations. For this reason I am very thorough in matters such as this. If the allegation is, as you say, ‘that the Government of Manitoba, the University of Manitoba, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba and St. Boniface Hospital conspired to cover up malpractice by me and my being fired,’ then the counter-allegation must be that several individuals independently and (in the cases of Hart and Tyo) geographically unrelated, confabulated a very bizarre, unlikely, and specific narrative regarding your therapeutic practice. Further, Ms. Tyo won a rather large settlement. While Ms. Hart’s case ran over the Statute of Limitations, the Law Society of Manitoba found her case ‘winnable’ thus agreeing to pay her legal charges in compensation of Allan Baker’s incompetence. These facts remain unchanged though you still hold medical license.”
Hoping to prod Ross toward specifying his position on Satanic Ritual Abuse and other conspiracies, I continued: “I make no mystery that I feel the events we now refer to as the Satanic Panic were the workings of delusional paranoiacs and heart-less opportunists. To me, it matters little that your first publication regarding Satanic Ritual Abuse comes before or after a certain point. The fact is, your work on SRA comes highly recommended by those who still wish to keep the righteous witch-hunts of the eighties (to mid-nineties) alive. For this reason I would ask you not to be elusive: Do you find merit in the claim that there is an organized, underground society or agency systematically engaging in Ritual Abuse for the purpose of mind-control? Such a belief, in my view, is delusional. For a man in your position (most-cited among panic-mongers), I feel that not explicitly distancing yourself from those beliefs, if you don’t in fact hold them, is grossly irresponsible. As you know, claims of Satanic Ritual Abuse are nearly universally disregarded as an artifact of a hysteria by nearly all professions but for those in a certain sub-set of the psychotherapeutic world. Within this world, your work is felt to be vital in understanding the vile machinations of a global satanic mind-control plot. If you came to disregard claims of Satanic cult activity in the course of your work, you’d possibly do much good for those still afflicted with such delusions to explain how you reached your conclusions.” (The exchange can be read here)
Unfortunately, Ross refused to state what it is he actually believes, citing “various”, but unspecified reasons for reserving comment: “Your argument that geographically separated people could not have come up with the same story unless it was accurate is the same argument that therapists used in the late 80s/early 90s to ‘validate’ SRA. I have never given an estimate of the % of SRA memories that are accurate and decline to do so now for various reasons.”
And in that mystifying statement, Ross both seemed to scoffingly dismiss the question of Satanic Ritual Abuse (by referencing the flawed arguments that were used to validate SRA), and confess a belief in it at the same time (by presupposing the existence of accurate SRA memories in his decision to refrain from stating an estimate of legitimate cases… though it’s worth mentioning that I’d never asked him to do so.)
It is true though, that during the height of the Satanic Panic, therapists invested in conspiracist notions of Multiple Personality Disorder origins were quite fond of citing the consistency of Satanic Abuse tales arising from various clients across a broad range of communities as evidence of the phenomena’s basis in actual events. The difference being, of course, that we know how these geographically unrelated subjects came upon their “memories” of SRA. They were treated by therapists who felt they knew how to recognize the symptoms of SRA – therapists who drew out exactly the memories they were looking for. Therapists, I daresay, who derived much inspiration from the works of Dr. Colin Ross.
But that was that. No more clarifying comments from the esteemed dissociative disorders doctor. Being that I have witnessed first-hand at the S.M.A.R.T. conference that the myth of amok Satanic cults is still ruining lives, I couldn’t but see Dr. Ross’s avoidance of the Satanic Ritual Abuse question as a profound failure of character, or critical thinking.

Perhaps both.

Footnotes:

*) If one should need justification for the descriptor “cult-like”, in this instance I use cult-like to describe a group of people who seem to shun and insulate themselves from all contrary opinion.  In calling S.M.A.R.T. “conspiracy-theory based”, I refer to the conspiracy theory of satanic cult influence throughout the government and local communities, long ago dismissed as an artifact of sensational media and bad psychotherapy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satanic_ritual_abuse). As for “impossibly absurd scenarios”, I mean those scenarios which invoke supernaturalism (see footnote 1).

1) From a lecture given by woman called “Royal” who appeared to be about 40 years old, yet claimed to be a victim of Nazi Doctor Joseph Mengele: “My experience with Mengele involved much of the trauma-based mind control involving core programming (such as End-Time programming) that is connected to the global take over. He used the Psychic/Spiritual dimensions using, what I have come to call “demonic harmonics”, which involves using musical tones and quantum physics to open up portals into the spiritual realms.” http://www.freedomrunministries.org/articles/PostAbortiveStressRA.pdf

2) Confusingly, Ross wrote a paper for a journal, The Anthropology of Consciousness, that explains that his is not a personal power. Everybody – according to Ross – emits higher EEG from the eyes. This, he continues, may explain the myth of the Evil Eye, as well as the feeling of being stared at. Aside from the fact that ocular artifact (EEG peaks in response to minor eye movements) is a well-known phenomena to neurologists, the idea that other individuals may somehow sense the EEG of somebody staring at them is based on no credible evidence (see Skeptical Inquirer debunking of Sheldrake: http://www.csicop.org/si/show/can_we_tell_when_someone_is_staring_at_us)

3) An excellent history of MK-ULTRA mind-control/truth serum experiments is given in Dominic Streatfield’s Brainwash, 2007, St. Martin’s Press

4) A number of case studies regarding therapeutically created false memories may be found on the False Memory Syndrome Foundation website – a priceless resource for anybody interested in the topic. http://www.fmsfonline.org/retract1.html