What is Grey Faction?

Grey Faction is an initiative of The Satanic Temple which documents, exposes, and aggressively seeks to bring to an end pseudoscientific mental health care practices that contribute to harmful conspiracist Satanic Panic delusions.

What is the Satanic Panic?

The Satanic Panic is a moral panic that took root in the United States, and spread internationally, characterized by a widespread fear of a Satanic cult conspiracy alleged to be committing secretive acts of ritualized murder, kidnapping, human trafficking, ritual abuse, “trauma-based mind-control,” and other criminal activities meant to demolish the moral order of civilization. A book titled Michelle Remembers, published in 1980, co-authored by Michelle Smith and her psychiatrist-turned-husband, Lawrence Pazder, established the notion that memories of Satanic Ritual Abuse were so unusually traumatic that victims of this extreme and invisible sadism were likely to repress their memories of it, which could only then be drawn forth by use of hypnotic regression, guided imagery sessions, dream interpretation, or other “memory recovery” techniques. As is easily demonstrated by the prevalence of past-life “memories,” alien abduction reports, and a multitude of provably impossible “recovered memory” claims, memory recovery tactics tend to produce bizarre confabulations with no basis in reality, though these “memories” can come to be truly believed as factual reports by those who cultivate them. A subculture of therapists, persuaded by Pazder’s claims of a Satanic conspiracy began digging for “repressed memories” of Satanic abuse in their clients, creating a community of “survivors” living with delusional “recall” of horrific cult crimes.

Sociologists tend to date the Satanic as beginning with the publication of Michelle Remembers in 1980 and ending around 1995, when mainstream media began approaching claims of Satanic cult crimes more skeptically in light of relentless debunkings of Satanic Panic claims.     

The Satanic Panic ended in the 1990s. Why is this relevant today?

Through investigative research Grey Faction has discovered that the most harmful aspects of the Satanic Panic still persist today. Memory recovery techniques are still employed by irresponsible licensed mental health professionals leading to confabulatory claims of Satanic cult crimes. Self-appointed “occult crime investigators” are still, at times, consulted by law enforcement, despite their propagation of thoroughly discredited claims. While mainstream media outlets learned to exercise slightly more discretion in reporting upon Satanic Ritual Abuse claims after the 90s, mental health licensing oversight boards have done nothing to censure the practices of those credentialed professionals who continue to make conspiracist claims of a Satanic cult conspiracy and instill these paranoid delusions in their clientele.

How does it harm me if some conspiracy theorists believe in a Satanic cult conspiracy?

This isn’t a matter of merely criticizing the misguided beliefs of random and unorganized individuals with a tendency toward paranoid conspiracism. This is a matter of delusional conspiracy theories being propagated to the mentally vulnerable in the context of sanctioned therapeutic care. These beliefs can place the individuals who hold them in a subjective world of crippling fear and suspicion, and it is not uncommon for victims of these delusions to isolate themselves from family and friends, as ritual abuse conspiracies often absorb family and friends into the role of a perpetrator network designed to conceal the truth and further abuse the “survivor.” Thus, these delusions are not only harmful to those who hold them, but to those around them who suffer, at the least, the loss of a loved one’s trust, or worse, are themselves accused of heinous acts they have never committed. The spurious “evidence” of Satanic cult crimes derived from recovered memory narratives still act to justify ludicrous episodes of panic, such as “PizzaGate,” which resulted in a gunman threatening the lives of innocent employees at a Washington, DC pizza parlor. A Grey Faction investigation revealed how Satanic cult conspiracy fears, cultivated by licensed mental health professionals, inspired a mother to kill her own 8-year old son, for which she was sentenced to 18 years in prison in 2015. Mental health care consumers and the public at large deserve better than to have licensed professionals propagating harmful conspiracy theories in the name of therapeutic care. Finally, blood libels against Satanists create an environment of distrust, hostility, and danger for those who identify with the non-criminal, rationalist tenets of Satanic doctrine.  

What actions does the Grey Faction do to fulfill their mission?

Grey Faction seeks to bring an end to the sanctioned practices of modern witch-hunters, propagators of harmful superstitions, and practitioners of pseudoscience.

We do this by:

Filing Freedom of Information Act Requisitions on legal cases, professional malpractices, and treatment practices.

Filing complaints to licensing boards based on violations by professionals

Attending mental health conferences known to cultivate conspiracy theories in order to expose a sanctioned network of deleterious “therapeutic practice.”

Bringing public awareness through active dissent, such as:

  • Protesting conspiracist mental health conferences
  • Publishing investigative reports of questionable mental health professionals/organizations linked to malpractice, fraud, connections to criminal activities.
  • Hosting conferences, seminars, and public lectures

And, ultimately, we are working toward creating model legislation to impose new oversight standards in the field of mental health care, so that debunked and provably harmful “therapeutic” techniques, such as those designed to draw forth “recovered memories” are banned from practice.

Are you anti-therapy?

Of course not. Seeing a qualified therapist who implements empirically proven practices is often a critical component to recovery from mental illness and/or trauma. What we are opposed to is the use of debunked, conspiracist, and outdated theories and techniques that cause harm to those who seek help.

Are you saying ritual abuse never happens?

First and foremost, it is important to note that this dispute regarding the legitimacy of claims regarding a Satanic cult conspiracy and/or the legitimacy of memory recovery techniques can in no way be contextualized as a dispute between defenders of victims rights and those who deny that abuse takes place. Casting critical inquiry upon claims related to a Satanic cult crime network, Illuminati mind-control plots, and other disproven or highly implausible narratives isn’t remotely similar to casting doubts or aspersions upon the victims of the types of horrific abuses that happen all too often in the real world.

It is a common ploy of the Satanic Ritual Abuse conspiracist to insist that any skepticism directed toward their ludicrous claims constitutes denial of sexual abuse in general, or is indicative of an “agenda” to protect perpetrators. In reality, it is out of concern for victims of abuse that Grey Faction fights against conspiracist delusions being imposed upon them during “therapy.” Further, pursuing imaginary cults distracts from efforts to isolate and prosecute real perpetrators.

Among those who perpetuate the Satanic Panic narrative, Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) has come to refer to an alleged network of Satanists inflicting harm as part of a system of rites. In accordance with all mainstream scholarship on the Satanic Panic and the outcomes of criminal investigations into the allegations regarding a Satanic cult conspiracy, Grey Faction holds the uncontroversial position that no such networks exist. Furthermore, the assertion that long-term episodic traumatic assaults can be intentionally utilized to create mind-controlled victims of Dissociative Identity Disorder whose various personalities are “programmed” to perform unique functions, for which the victim is entirely amnesiac, is an absurdity that runs contrary to everything empirically established by cognitive research.

Propagators of the Ritual Abuse narrative, when criticized for the implausibility of their specific claims, like to defensively broaden the definition of “ritual abuse” to mean repeated abuse and/or any abuse occurring in an institutional environment. Insofar as claims of secretive groups adhering to a doctrine of systemized abuse in order to subjugate their initiates through trauma-based mind-control are concerned, we can state confidently that there is no credible evidence.

Repressed memories – how can Satanic Ritual Abuse “survivors” remember these horrific things if they didn’t happen?

The fallibility of memory is well documented as is its high amenability to suggestion. Very often transcripts of sessions with those who claim to be victims of Satanic Ritual Abuse reveal that the testimony is coerced or directed. Such was found to be the case with testimony gathered from children during the McMartin preschool investigation. It is no coincidence that testimony gathered from so-called recovered memories usually vindicates the pre-existing presumptions of the therapists; this is also seen when similar techniques are used to “recover” memories of alien abduction: the intentions of the aliens who are alleged to have abducted the client match the therapist’s pre-existing views of why aliens abduct individuals. While some defenders of therapeutic techniques aimed at the recovery of memories insist that traumatic memories are difficult or impossible to create by way of coercive “therapy,” research has proven that traumatic false memories are a reality.

So you’re saying people can “recover” false, delusional “memories” of things that never occurred, but does that mean that traumatic memories can’t be repressed?

We’re saying that no amount of uncertainty regarding the nature of trauma and memory can be invoked to justify the absurd and discredited conspiracy theories that are said to be supported by recovered memory accounts.

What about the decades of peer-reviewed research supporting Dissociative Identity Disorder?

Those publishing peer-reviewed research on Dissociative Identity Disorder represent the fringe of psychological research. This community of researchers publish in journals that are enclaves for such marginal science. The papers are rife with self-citation and mutual citation. That the community of these individuals is so small and the journals who publish their work are so few, it is a practical certainty that they are also “blindly” reviewing one another’s work and have a vested personal interest in maintaining a veneer of scientific legitimacy by seeing to it that this work sees the light of day.

Are you saying Multiple Personality Disorder/Dissociative Identity Disorder doesn’t exist?

MPD/DID is a very real experience for individuals however, we presume the disorder most commonly originates iatrogenically from trauma perpetrated by mental health professionals.

MPD-DID is at best a highly controversial diagnosis whose validity is accepted only by a small cottage industry of researchers . The possibility of malingering cannot be ruled out, especially given that there are no documented cases of bona fide MPD/DID that pass scientific muster i.e., individuals who possess discrete personalities that are not simply facets of a single personality.