Ritual Abuse/Mind Control Conference Report 2009

On the weekend of August 15-16 2009, Lucien Greaves attended a conference for alleged victims of Satanic Ritual Abuse and Mind-Control in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.

The crude sales booth at the far end of the conference room marketing a more advanced species of tin-foil hat does nothing to allay the suspicion that this is to be a congregation of raving delusional paranoiacs.  The hats – an aged, slightly hunched, and shifty-eyed woman quietly explains – are made from a type of metallic fiber weave.  They are effective in blocking the transmissions that They use to get inside your mind.

…And the attendees of S.M.A.R.T’s (Stop Mind control And Ritual abuse Today) twelfth annual  Ritual Abuse, Secretive Organizations and Mind Control conference are all too aware of exactly who “They” are.  They may be your neighbors, minister, parents, or co-workers.  They might be known as Freemasons, the Illuminati, or Rosicrucians… but they are all Satanists.  They covertly trade slaves, organize secret sex rings, brainwash victims, and work insidiously toward a one-world Luciferian empire.

The S.M.A.R.T conferences are an opportunity for the victims of the satanic conspiracy to exchange their horrific tales, offer support to one another and, most importantly “just be believed”.   Victims are encouraged to bring an accompanying “support person”, as much of the material covered in the 2-day series of talks is considered to be “triggering” (that is to say, it may cause flashbacks in the similarly traumatized).

The organizer of the conference, Neil Brick, stands about 5’6″ with a greasy dark curly comb-over, large-thick glasses, and a voice that sounds exacly like Elmer Fudd (without the impediment of pronouncing his Rs as Ws).  He describes himself as a “survivor of alleged Masonic Ritual Abuse and MK-ULTRA [the CIA’s covert mind-control and chemical interrogation project of 1950s – 60s]”.  The disclaimer of the word “alleged” in his own biographical description indicates a type of half-belief that was conveyed from most speakers at the conference, some of whose lectures were startlingly candid accounts of how and why they came to manufacture their paranoid fictions.

Most striking among these was a woman known as deJoly LaBrier, who claims to have learned – through recovered memory therapy – that she suffered childhood abuse at the hands of a cult of satanists in a “military sex ring”.  Remarkably, she also learned, after attending an Al-Anon meeting[an organization that offers “strength and hope for friends and families of problem drinkers”], that her father was an alcoholic, though she “never saw him take a drink”.  But her speech rather glossed over these amazing facts, concentrating instead on her “spiritual evolution”, and standing out within the lectures as among the more revealing of inadvertent confessions.

“We could all decide [Satanic Ritual Abuse] isn’t really true”, LaBrier announced, provoking no real discernible response from the crowd.  She admits that she could pass off her “recovered memories” as “hallucinations”.  But then, “the events [of the past] are not important to me anymore”.  Their only significance is in “what they mean to me in my evolution as a human being.”  Indeed, she will conform reality to her beliefs rather than the other way round.  As she recalls warning possible skeptics at a talk she delivered to an Indiana University class, “Don’t you ever question my reality!

This rather postmodern perspective suggests a near total disregard for Objective Truth, and its conciliatory effect on LaBrier can’t be expected to offer any comfort to her family, who LaBrier has implicated in her accusations of heinous crimes committed in the name of Satan.  Whether Labrier’s parents are still alive or not is unknown to me, but the question of whether or not her parents actually sexually abused and prostituted her is one that ultimately has an absolute and objective answer.  When LaBrier declares during her speech, “I can talk about the memory of my truth, and it doesn’t matter if you believe it”, she suggests that she can have her own personal “truth”, regardless of what the reality is.

Almost all of the self-proclaimed victims of Satanic Ritual Abuse, like Labrier, have “recovered” their “memories” of these alleged early traumas while undergoing psychiatric therapy.  Though common sense and research both indicate that traumatic events are less easily forgotten than mundane or non-traumatic events, a certain school of psychotherapy still maintains that extreme trauma can lead subjects to so rigidly compartmentalize their memories that they develop multiple personalities.  These personalities (known as “alters”) operate independently of each other and fail to retain any knowledge of what the others are up to; thus the gaps in memory – repressed in buried personalities – that are necessary for a therapist to draw out by achieving contact with the various alters.  Following the popularity of the 1976 television movie, Sybil, a so-called true story about a woman with sixteen personalities created as a result of savage childhood abuse, Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) became a rather fashionable diagnosis.  The number of diagnosed MPD cases went from about 75 before Sybil to 40,000 after Sybil.

During the MPD craze, therapists are reported to have often diagnosed patients with symptoms no more outrageous than depression or anxiety with repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse.  They would then set about seeking the alters they knew to be present in the subject.  Patients who refused to play the role of a “multiple” were accused of being difficult, or resisting treatment.  Eventually, many patients would begin to subscribe to the belief that they had been abused, and work to recall the memories of these events that they had been convinced must have happened.  The patients learned to become multiple under the coercion of therapists who would continually ask to speak to the personality that maintained the memory of the trauma.  Thus, as Psychologist Nicholas P. Spanos explained, “patients learn to construe themselves as possessing multiple selves, learn to present themselves in terms of this construal, and learn to reorganize and elaborate on their personal biography so as to make it congruent with their understanding of what it means to be a multiple.”

Recovered memories of abuse and torture, cannibalism, necrophilia, and infanticide at the hands of satanic cults grew to such a level during the 1980s to early ’90s, that it sparked a minor modern witch-hunt, referred to by some sociologists today as the Satanic Panic.  Irresponsible hack reporters like Geraldo Rivera and Sally Jesse Raphael fueled the phenomena with sensationalist “exposes”, tittilating to the midwest masses for their implicit appeal to the righteousness of true bible-believing Christians, and for the salaciousness of the God-less, savage acts they described.  The whole thing began to come undone when serious investigations concluded that their was no evidence to support the claims of massive satanic cult activity.  More and more, the reliability of recovered memories was shown to be nil, and it came to be recognized that some innocent parents had been imprisoned for crimes only imagined.  Instrumental in demonstrating the role of fantasy in recovered memory was the work of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF), an organization comprised of “families and professionals affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and the Johns Hopkins Medical Institution in Baltimore” that was founded “in 1992 because they saw a need for an organization that could document and study the problem of families that were being shattered when adult children suddenly claimed to have recovered repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse.”

To Neil Brick, the the FMSF is nothing more than a group of “pedophile sympathizers”, the executive director of which – Pamela Freyd – serves as the oft-cited arch-villian of the conference.  There is Satan, and there is Pamela Freyd.  Without them, the world would be okay, and no children would ever get hurt…

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…