Joan Coleman PhD

Retired/ Deceased 2018


Along with her colleague, Valerie Sinason, Joan Coleman was one of the foundational conspiracy therapists in the United Kingdom, claiming that a vast cabal of multi-generational Satanic cults had a stranglehold on the country.

Though a 1994 report commissioned by the UK government found no evidence of Satanic Ritual Abuse among reported cases in England and Wales, proponents doubled down, with Joan Coleman contributing an essay to Valerie Sinason’s book and another to the journal Child Abuse Review the same year.

One of Coleman’s most notable and lasting contributions to the conspiracy theorist milieu was the RAINS List, compiled by Coleman, client “Helen G,” and Helen G’s “alters,” beginning in 1997. The list contains more than 200 names, purporting to document Satanic ritual abusers, often providing specific personal information including home addresses and telephone numbers. Though the list is often described as a directory of Satanic pedophiles in the UK, some parts of it read more like a middle school slambook, listing people who have publicly expressed skepticism or disbelief of Coleman’s claims in the same document as accused rapists and murderers. Her entry on Dr. Tony Baker states, “His conclusion was that I had invented the entire story and suggested it all to her, causing [a patient] to believe all the elaborate detail she had given us.” Another of the names on the list is Jean La Fontaine, the author of the 1994 report previously mentioned. Given the wide distribution of the list, it is not difficult to imagine the effect it had on dissenters. This list was revised in 2018 and is frequently referenced on social media. 

Coleman’s other often-cited work is the essay she wrote in Sinason’s Treating Survivors of Satanist Abuse, titled Satanic Cult Practices. The essay attempts to portray the “way of life” of intergenerational Satanic cultists, stating that the details are a “composite of descriptions” largely from her patients. Graphic, highly sensational and even ghoulish details dominate the writing, including routine human sacrifices, cannibalism, bestiality, necrophilia, and all forms of extreme sexual abuse of children. In the appendix, she includes a list of dates for around a dozen Satanic festivals and celebrations, a list that has since been expanded by other groups to encompass much of the calendar.

Note: Throughout her work, Coleman often uses the word “Satanist” to describe abuse, preferring it over the more commonly used “Satanic.” In Presenting Features in Adult Victims of Satanist Ritual Abuse, she explains, “The term Satanist, rather than Satanic, is used to clarify that the abusers are always people (Satanists) rather than demons or evil spirits, as is believed by some victims and religious extremists.” This preference is shared by her close associate Valerie Sinason, who titled a collection of essays Treating Survivors of Satanist Abuse.

In Her Own Words:

From her essay, Dissociative Disorders: Recognition within psychiatry and RAINS

"I now find myself surprised when generational ritual abuse survivors do not show any sign of DID."

From Presenting Features in Adult Victims of Satanist Ritual Abuse

"This paper deals mainly with the presenting features in a small sample of adult victims of multi-generational Satanic cults. As the cult activities were revealed, the rationale behind the symptoms became clearer. With the establishment of trust and the uncovering of ever more complex memories, the emphasis of the features changed. The more somatic symptoms tended to recede, but behaviour, for a while, often became even more disturbed; in several patients there was an increase in dissociation and in those with MPD many more alters appeared. Guilt and depression were sometimes overwhelming. Clinical features thus vary throughout disclosure; not all are apparent at the outset. However, even the earlier features should arouse suspicion of SRA if awareness is present."

From Satanic Cult Practices:

“The paraphernalia used in ceremonies is placed in the charge of different cult members who are each responsible for cleaning and safeguarding that piece of equipment. These articles which are too large to conceal easily may be hidden in lock-up garages. Some, such as stuffed goats’ heads, swords and daggers, may simply be placed where they will not be noticed, for example, in shops selling military memorabilia or antiques. The books are kept in a safe. Any equipment in members’ houses will rapidly be removed at the first whisper of any police or social work interest in their children. 

Prior to a ceremony, the ground is prepared with a tarpaulin or a large sheet of polythene, in order that no traces of blood or other body substances will be left. We have heard too, of devices for rapid concealment of incriminating material in the event of interruption. It is, after all, legal to hold witchcraft and even satanic ceremonies. It is only for the accompanying crimes that satanists can be convicted.”

“It is correctly assumed by the cult that any disclosures from very young children will be confused and inconsistent; they will therefore be attributed to nightmares, fantasies, and storybooks or, more recently, as in Rochdale in 1990, watching horror videos.”

Note: Coleman is referring to the Rochdale child abuse case in which nineteen children were removed from their homes by social workers after a seven-year-old told his teacher he was dreaming of ghosts. The children were put into children’s homes for several months, some as long as a decade. As adults, twelve of the nineteen filed suit against the Rochdale council. No credible evidence of Satanic ritual abuse was ever found.

“Both children and adults are given tasks to perform, and failure to complete them results in punishment. This may be fairly mild, but the punishments for suspected treachery include being gang raped; immersed to near drowning in baths; suspended, manacled, from a bridge or boat; given electric shocks; tied to the wheel and lashed; being subjected to a mock trial in a foreign country; worst of all, being forced to watch or assist in the killing and mutilation of other adults who have betrayed the cult.”