Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Two More "Satanic Panic" Victims Released

No occultist should ever forget the "Satanic Panic" of the late 1980's and early 1990's, when far too many innocent people were sent to prison after being accused of "Satanic Ritual Abuse." The roots of these accusations go all the way back to Freud's psychoanalytic model, which contends that traumatic memories are "repressed" and therefore can be "recovered" by therapists, even if no memory existed of them prior to treatment. Unfortunately back then the neuroscience revolution was in its infancy, and the understanding of memory we have obtained over the course of the last decade was yet to be discovered.

Furthermore, at that time fundamentalist Christians were a rising force in American politics. It is perhaps a bit of a stretch to assert that the "Satanic Panic" was an organized movement specifically designed to criminalize alternative religions by equating them with "Satanism" and linking them to child abuse, but the evidence suggests it as a possibility. Not only did fundamentalists vigorously pursue these allegations all over the country, they cultivated a network of therapists trained to induce memories in children at seminars funded by churches and other religious organizations.

Evidence that these accusations were essentially fabricated keeps emerging, albeit slowly. Recently Dan and Fran Keller, who were convicted back in 1992, were released from prison after serving 21 years for committing imaginary crimes at the daycare center the two of them ran.

The Kellers were found guilty of aggravated sexual assault of a child, even though the three-year-old girl at the centre of the case recanted her claims in court.

The only physical evidence against the Kellers was the testimony of Dr Michael Mouw, who examined the girl in the emergency room of a local hospital after the therapy session and said he found tears in her hymen that potentially indicated that she was molested.

Mouw signed an affidavit last January in which he affirms that he now realises his inexperience led him to a conclusion that "is not scientifically or medically valid, and that I was mistaken."

In an appeal filed on behalf of Fran Keller earlier this year, her lawyer, Keith Hampton, also argued that the state presented misleading evidence about the cemetery, relied on a false witness confession and the testimony of a "quack" satanic abuse "expert", and that suggestive interview techniques had encouraged the children to make "fantastical false statements".

According to police reports and trial records, the children said that Dan Keller killed his dog and made children cut it up and eat it, "baptised" kids with blood and disembowelled pets, forcing children to drink the blood. The Kellers were also said to have decapitated and chopped up a baby, put the remains in a swimming pool and made the children jump in.

In one account, the Kellers were said to have stolen a baby gorilla from a park and Frances cut off one of its fingers. The pair, who apparently liked to wear robes, were said to have dug graves in a cemetery to hide dead animals and a passer-by who was shot and carved up with a chain saw.

The children were supposedly taken to military bases and on secret aeroplane trips, including to Mexico, where they were abused and returned to the centre in time for their parents to pick them up as normal. They said they were coerced into videotaped sex acts and drugged so they would forget what they had seen.

I suspect that the fundamentalist false memory factory failed to take greater hold in the culture at large because it created allegations that were simply too outlandish for most people to believe. In the world of Satanic Ritual Abuse, no motives were ever needed besides "Satanism" - that is, evil for the sake of evil. This meant even though the sheer level of resources required to pull these acts off at all would have been ridiculous, it was apparently fueled by the flip side of fundamentalist belief, faithful adherence to the Dark Lord.

I don't know how many others are still in prison from this bizarre period in American jurisprudence. The panic was eventually put to rest by an extensive investigation by the FBI that found no evidence of the network of Satanic cults supposedly responsible, or even individual abusers motivated by "Satanism." The fact is that while some abusers may reference occult themes in order to further frighten their victims, such cases are quite rare and are unconnected. Furthermore, any link between such sick individuals and genuine, practicing occultists is tenuous at best.

It's about time a formal inquiry was made into the cases of any remaining individuals like the Kellers still incarcerated for "Satanic Ritual Abuse" offenses. The evidence against them must be reconsidered in the light of the most recent scientific discoveries about memory and the findings of the FBI investigation. There may still be a few victims of the panic serving time, and that needs to end as soon as possible.

UPDATE: There's a great article up today on Slate that goes through just how ridiculous the case against the Kellers was and how the children were manipulated during interviews to produce the results prosecutors wanted. From the transcripts, you can see than even when children would report that nothing happened, the investigators would refuse to believe them and insist that they had "forgotten" - which is in fact now known to be nearly impossible with actual post-traumatic stress. It's those investigators who should be in jail, not the Kellers.

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Nerd said...

I do believe this sort of ritualistic abuse goes on, but it's not occultists or fringe religious people doing it.

I look mainly at the Catholic Church, the Mormons and the Jehovah's Witnesses. Groups like that, who have money and power.

Scott Stenwick said...

There certainly are plenty of religious groups out there practicing abuse that could be described in some fashion as ritualistic. It's just nowhere near the magnitude of what was supposedly going on with SRA, and there's rarely anything explicitly "Satanic" about it - at least according to the members of the group in question.

Unknown said...

This story is full of holes and lies. This was proven by Ted Gunderson- a 50 year CIA veteran. Who are you going to believe a Satanist kid like this author or an old man who died from whistleblowing on organizations like the CIA he used to work for?

Unknown said...

Who will you believe - this story written by a Satanist or Ted Gunderson 50 year service veteran whistleblower?

Scott Stenwick said...

In the end I suppose readers will simply have to make up their own minds. Does it sound more believable that, as neuroscience has now conclusively shown, memory is easy to fabricate? Or that,as the comprehensive FBI report showed in 1992, there was no widespread network or conspiracy of Satanists as SRA proponents claimed? Or this:

"In a 1995 conference in Dallas, Gunderson warned about the proliferation of secret Satanic groups, and the danger posed by the New World Order, a shadow government that would be controlling the US government. He also claimed that a "slave auction" in which children were sold to men in turbans had been held in Las Vegas, that four thousand ritual human sacrifices are performed in New York City every year, and that the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was carried out by the US government. Gunderson believed that in the US there is a secret widespread network of groups who kidnap children and infants, and subject them to Satanic ritual abuse and subsequent human sacrifice."

Here's why I think listening to a "Satanist" like me might be worthwhile. I know a lot about the occult, and a lot about magick. And the supposed infant sacrifices and so forth, even if real, involve big risks and serve no magical function whatsoever. It's never been clear to me what the motivation is behind these supposed incidents aside from "evil for evil's sake" which is actually quite rare in the context of human behavior.

Of course, though, if I were a pawn for America's Satanist overlords, that's what I would say, right? As always, I invite readers to weigh the evidence and make up their own minds.