November 12, 2008

Expensive police investigation turns up nothing

Jersey: To those familiar with the "satanic panic" of the late 1980s and early 1990s, the investigation into allegations of child murder at the Haut de la Garenne children's home on Jersey bore a stark familiarity. Today, police released a statement that there were no murders committed at the home, and that evidence they had previously released was inaccurate.

They said there was no evidence that any children had been murdered or bodies destroyed at the former home. ...

The Deputy Chief Officer, David Warcup, expressed much regret at misleading information released by his predecessor on items found at the property.

Detectives said only three of the bone fragments found could be human, and two of these were hundreds of years old.

'No child murders' in Jersey homeBBC News, 12th November 2009.

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October 30, 2007

The appliance of science

United States: Progress in forensic science has cast serious doubts on the convictions of three men for satanic murders when they are teenagers. The bodies of three 8-year-old boys, Steve Branch, Michael Moore and Chris Byers, were found hog-tied in a drainage ditch in Arkansas in 1993, and they appeared to to have been mutilated.

A young mentally reatrded man, Jessie Misskelley, made a confession to the police, implicating two of his friends. He told police the boys had been sodomised, forced to perform oral sex, and mutilated. He also mentioned occult rituals and orgies, which led to satanic cult rumours spreading round the local area. But even at the time, Misskelley's testimony was known to be suspect:

Misskelley initially said the attack took place in the morning, when the three children were known to be in school. He changed the time — four times — after prompting from detectives, the defense said.

Misskelley also described brown rope used to tie up the boys, rather than the black and white laces that came from their own shoes.

Despite the judge deeming this statement to be inadmissible as evidence, a witness made reference to it, and it was considered by the jury. And there were other problems with the evidence:

A lack of evidence with testimony from questionable witnesses. Prosecutorial misconduct in closing arguments that prejudiced the jury. The effects of pivotal, sensational testimony from a self-described occult expert whose degrees came from an out-of-state university that didn’t require class attendance.

The new forensic evidence, the work of half a dozen scientists, has failed to link DNA evidence to any of the men convicted of the murders, but it has uncovered a link with the stepfather of one of the dead boys. The scientists also came to a different conclusion about how the bodies came to be mutilated: it was clearly the work of animals and fish in the ditch where they were found.

The oldest of the men convicted was sentenced to death, but fortunately has not been ritually sacrificed yet.

New evidence arises in 1993 triple murderArkansas Democrat Gazette, 30th October 2007.

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October 23, 2007

Catching up

Some stories I missed, or didn't get round to writing about:

  • A woman who falsely accused her father of raping her as a child after undergoing recovered memory therapy on the NHS has reached an out-of-court settlement with Tayside NHS. The treatment is responsible for a number of claims of Satanic abuse, though this case had no such elements. Settlement for bogus abuse womanBBC News, 20th October 2007.
  • It seems that it's not only the Roman Catholic Church which has been covering up child sexual abuse by its clergy. The Church of England has a similar problem. C of E child abuse was ignored for decades The Daily Telegraph, 22nd October 2007. (Thank you to Andrew Ian Dodge.)
  • OMFG!!!!! A fictional character is a poof! That should upset the fundies even more. Rowling Says Dumbledore Is GayNewsweek, 19th October 2007. (My favourite quote from J.K. Rowling on the matter is in the BBC News version of the story: Oh, my god, the fan fiction.)
  • The case of a Christian magistrate who resigned because his bigotry restricted his ability to do his job has reached an industrial tribunal. Christian JP forced out over gay adoption cases, tribunal hearsThe Guardian, 22nd October 2007. See also WWJD?: Lies and Blackmail!Prattle, January 26th 2007.

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September 22, 2007

A Blast from the Past

England: Anyone old enough to have been involved in neopaganism in the UK in the 1980s will remember the Rev. Kevin Logan (a.k.a.Kev. the Rev.). The Anglican vicar spent a lot of time and effort promoting the Satanic Abuse Myth, and propogating outrageous lies about neopaganism. He fell from grace after a seriously disturbed woman, Caroline Marchant, committed suicide while in his care. R.A. Gilbert summarised the story:

Caroline Marchant professed to be a victim of satanic abuse and to have been involved in child sacrifice.... Her story, however, was utterly untrue.... Many of the 'satanic' elements in her story seem to have been derived from the work of Doreen Irivine (who counselled Miss Marchant at the Zion Christian Temple at Yate, near Bristol). What she needed most was psychiatric help, whereas what she received was spiritual counselling by fundamentalists who saw demons rather than a disturbed mind. In February 1990, while in the care of the Reverend Kevin Logan, Caroline Marchant committed suicide. (Gilbert 1993, 154).

Well, he obviously thinks no-one can remember him after 17 years, and is back having a go at Harry Potter. Nor does he seem to have spent the time learning anything about neopaganism, as he strangely seems to think that Rowling's books have something to do with it.

The Rev Kevin Logan, of Christ Church with Cannon Street, Accrington, said that JK Rowling's teenage hero has many similarities with Jesus Christ - but the author's references to paganism could lead children into danger...

The Potter epic encourages kids to be curious in an area that God forbids, he said. It is also an encouragement to the vulnerable and under-age to learn more of paganism and the occult, which have a track record of emotional and spiritual damage.

Obviously failing to look after someone in your care, and contributing to intense religious pressure on her to lie, to the point where she kills herself, does not give the Rev. Logan himself a track record of emotional and spiritual damage.

But there is a reason for his sticking his head over the parapet. In 1988, he published a book which he entitled Paganism and the Occult: A manifesto for Christian Action, in which he expounded, well, a load of complete bollocks. Gilbert (a Christian) was more restrained when he reviewed the work:

The author's aim is to provide the basis for converting occultists to Christianity, but his lack of objectivity and of factual accuracy remove credibility from his attempt. (Gilbert 1993, 177)

So, why do we think Kev. the Rev. is back to his old media-whoring ways?

Christian comment on the issue is being sought as Mr Logan prepares to update his book 'Paganism and the Occult'.

I wonder if they'll send the Prattle a review copy?

Vicar calls for Harry Potter debateThe Blackburn Citizen, 19th September 2007; Gilbert, R.A., 1993, Casting the First Stone: the Hypocrisy of Religious Fundamentalism and its Threat to Society, Shaftesbury, Element Books.

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May 1, 2007

Italy behind the times

Italy: Normally a fashion leader, Italy has waited 20 years to come up with its own version of a familiar Satanic panic. Six people associated with a kindergarten have been arrested in connection with allegations similar to those which swept America a couple of decades ago.

Some victims spoke of esoteric and satanic rituals, where adults forced them to drink human blood, exited from wounds that the same persons caused.

The pupils described the intimate parts of the body of the arrested persons and mentioned also piercing and tattoos, which a child at such a tender age wouldn't know, if he or she has not seen them before.

The little victims described the dreadful scenes saying: In the villa where they took us, a man cut his arm and coerced us to drink his own blood which he poured in a glass, with other substances. Then they made us do a series of strange games, sort of performances with masked adults and massages to female teachers with oil.

The Catholic Church has recently been whipping up hysteria about Satanism in Italy, promoting exorcism, and church representatives have been behind outrageous stories in the press.

Italy rocked by satanic, drug-induced sexual abuse in kindergartenMalta Star, 26th April 2007.

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March 9, 2007

Another miscelleny

November 27, 2006

Michaelson: no evidence, what a suprise.

Australia: The Ordo Templi Orientis has come to a settlement with a woman who accused them of ritual abuse:

In a settlement reached today, Dr Michaelson will attempt to have the offending website shut down and has acknowledged no proof has ever been produced to support the allegations, which caused serious offence to the society's members.

Groups settle row over website paedophile claimsABC News, 27th November 2006; see also Myth promoter's lies land her in courtPagan Prattle, 23rd November 2006.

November 23, 2006

Myth promoter's lies land her in court

Australia: It takes about a day to get between Prattle Towers Northern Hemisphere in Edinburgh, and Prattle Towers Southern Hemisphere near Sydney, so you have to wonder why the news that Satanic Ritual Abuse was a pernicious myth appears not to have made the journey to Australia yet.

Reina Michaelson , a psychologist, believes that the O.T.O. hosts parties where children are sexually abused, sacrificed and eaten, and published an article to that effect. But Victoria has laws against religious vilification, and they apply to all religious groups, so the O.T.O. sued.

It has complained under Victoria's religious hatred law that Dr Michaelson and her organisation vilified OTO members, causing revulsion, ridicule, hatred and contempt.

According to OTO's statement of complaint, Dr Michaelson said it was not a religion but a child pornography and pedophile ring, that its members practised trauma-based mind control, sexual abuse and satanic rituals to discourage its victims from complaining to the authorities, and that it condoned kidnapping street children and babies and children from orphanages for sex and sacrifice in religious rituals.

Much effort has been made to present Michaelson as a respectable proponent of children's rights, and she has insisted the article concerned was posted to the web without her knowledge or consent. But Red Wolf has been digging...

Continue reading "Myth promoter's lies land her in court"

September 24, 2006

Satanic abuse 'witness' forced to lie

Scotland: A woman at the centre of ritual abuse allegations on the Isle of Lewis has told the police that she was not telling the truth. Angela Stretton, 39, who has learning difficulties, said that she had been pressurised into making false allegations during a long series of interviews with police and social workers.

I had lots of meetings with police and social workers. They kept questioning me about different people. It was a different person every day. They had a list of names, including my mum and brother. They said things about taking photos and killing animals and drinking their blood, she said.

At first I said no, they wouldn't do that. But they kept on and on at me. They said I had to tell the truth for the children. I felt really under pressure, so I suppose I told them what they wanted to hear. I just agreed with what was being said.

Stretton also has a history of making hoax calls, but this did not stop the police using here as their star witness to bring rape and child abuse charges against eight people, including a 75-year-old woman.

The similarities to the earlier Orkney case are so surprising it makes you wonder if police and social services on the Isle of Lewis had actually read Lord Clyde's enquiry report. Both cases centred around families where abuse was taking place, of the sadly common sort within the family. But whereas in Orkney, the social workers were much too enthusiastic to take children into care, the Lewis ones seemed reluctant to do so, even though the children were clearly in immediate danger of continuing abuse. They and the police were more interested in uncovering an island-wide satantic abuse ring than the welfare of children.

In Orkney, the main source of evidence was a child from the family where abuse had taken place, who was badly disturbed and awaiting an appointment with a child psychologist. The social workers believed every outrageous claim she made, except when she told them she was making it all up.

Yet the Orkney events happened while the abuser of the children was in prison, having been convicted. In this case, the real child abuser is likely to have got away with their crimes because of the police and social workers' determination to chase after fantasies.

Satanic abuse key witness says: I liedThe Observer, 24th September 2006. See also: Satan-obsessed social workers probedPagan Prattle, 15th July 2004; This is importantPagan Prattle, 11th July 2004.

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September 11, 2006

The journalist's craft

United Kingdom: Someone at the Hackney Gazette is confused. They've got out the box labelled Magnetic Poetry: Bog-standard stereotypes, but they can't quite make them up into the article they want. What is a hack to do? Write it anyway, regardless of the facts, perhaps? After all, that's what the Newham Recorder did.

KIDS at risk from black magic rituals are to receive their own Hackney Town Hall officer dedicated to their protection.

Hackney Council is recruiting a community partnership officer to work with faith and community organisations across the borough as part of a new government drive...

...Three people were jailed as a result and a specialist police team was set up to combat child abuse linked to African witchcraft.

That should scare the readers. But look closely, the story is really about children who are abused, not by practitioners of magic, but by people who think the kids are witches. Not that you'd be able to tell that from the report.

Ritual protectionHackney Gazette, 11th September 2006; See also Making ConnectionsPagan Prattle, 4th September 2006.

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September 4, 2006

Making conenctions

United Kingdom: Private Eye has noticed some interesting goings on—attempts to connect 'Adam', the torso of a Black boy found in the Thames and the abuse of children believed to be possessed or witches, with the Satanic abuse myth. What's more, a familiar name has popped up: that of Valerie Sinason, who makes a living convincing screwed up women that their problems are caused by ritual abuse, of which they have no memory.

All of this coincides with a lot of publicity surrounding a government report, Child Abuse Linked to Accusations of “Possession” and “Witchcraft” (originally released in June this year), which found the phenomenon to be more widespread that you might think, not restricted to Evangelical churches serving recent African immigrants:

The belief in “possession” and “witchcraft” is widespread. The UK is not alone in seeing cases of this nature; cases have been reported worldwide. The children discussed in this report came from a variety of backgrounds including African, South Asian and European.

Bartholemew has analysed the article in depth, and SAFF has reproduced it on their web site (it's not on the Private Eye site, alas), so I will quote just a single paragraph, which sums it all up nicely:

The abusers involved (mainly carers rather than parents) were predominantly evangelical Christians—but they also included Muslims—who all believed in possession by evil spirits and exorcism. They were categorically not—and in fact were quite the opposite of—Satanists sexually abusing and sacrificing children during black magic rituals. The researchers received no evidence or even anecdotal reports of child sacrifice. They did identify a real and deeply unpleasant problem of child abuse by adults acting in the name of religion. Meanwhile the case of Adam remains unsolved. Maybe the murder involved some form of horrific ritual. Maybe the child was mutilated to disguise his identity—as has happened in rare cases elsewhere. But the simple answer, despite the attempts to use the case to defend a more general belief in satanic abuse, is that no one knows.

Satanic Abuse, Ritual Killings, and Exorcism: Private Eye Explores the ClaimsBartholomew's notes on religion, 2nd September 2006; Satanic PanicPrivate Eye (republished by SAFF with notes and additional links), 1st September 2006; Stobart, Elinor, 2006, Child Abuse Linked to Accusations of “Possession” and “Witchcraft” [PDF]. Department for Education and Skills Research Report No. 750, London.

See also: Fanning the flamesPagan Prattle, 29th June 2005; Media in moral panic shocker!Pagan Prattle, 26th June 2005; Old myth, even older clothesPagan Prattle, 11th June 2005.

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August 22, 2006

Satanic panics elsewhere

Norway: The Norwegian magazine Skepsis has a blog, mostly Norwegian-language articles about snake oil, UFOs and conspiracies. There are a couple of English items there, one of which is a thorough overview of Norway's own satanic panic, and the media's role in fanning the flames.

The promotion of stereotypical images of 'Satanism' in Norway started late. For a short time, the Norwegian press followed examples from England and the US in pressing claims of widespread Satanism involved in ritual abuse, but this unleashed few of the same reactions. At the same time as reports of "survivors" peaked, the phenomenon of black metal "Satanism" reached the public. Soon teenage arsonists and killers made new headlines, and contributed to another image being constructed.

The one Norwegian Satanic abuse panic resembled the American cases more than the British, centering on a kindergarten in Bjugn.

A postscript to the article notes that the police officer used as a Satanic abuse 'expert' has been arrested on suispicion of indecent exposure.

Media Constructions of 'Satanism' in Norway (1988-1997)Skepsis, not dated.

There were also panics in the Netherlands, notably Oude Pekela, leading the government to commission a report, which concluded it was all in the mind, emphasising the need for corroborating evidence. An unofficial English translation has been made.

Orkney kids speak out.

Scotland: Several of the children snatched from their homes by social workers convinced they were the victims of a vast Satanic conspiracy have spoken out about their experiences. Nine children were taken from their homes in South Ronaldsay, Orkney, in 1991. Now adults, they are critical of their treatment by social workers who were determined to make the children support their preconceptions.

But one of the W family, May, has said the questioning presupposed the answer; that there was abuse taking place.

She said: Eventually you would break down, after an hour or so of saying: 'no, this never happened. I don't remember it. I don't even know what you are talking about'.

I can't imagine how I got out of the room if I didn't say 'yes', but I don't remember saying 'yes' to anything.

Another victim, Alex, told the BBC about how the social workers became desperate to get the result they wanted, refusing to take no for an answer.

But at lease one of the social workers involved cannot see what she did wrong, insisting that of course both the children and their families would say that nothing happened.

A documentary, Accused: the story of the Orkney Child Abuse scandal will be shown on BBC2 Scotland tonight at 9pm.

Orkney abuse children speak outBBC News, 22nd August 2006. See also Family might sue over Satan liesPagan Prattle, 6th March 2004, for a similar criticism from the children abducted by social workers in Rochdale in 1990.

June 17, 2006

The Dalkey Baby

Ireland: Damien at Blather reports on a rather familiar looking case in the Republic of Ireland. The difference is that this story broke about a year ago, and not in 1988.

For several weeks last year, the Irish media indulged itself in a feeding frenzy of tabloid-like hysteria surounding the gruesome story of 'Niamh' (now identified as Cynthia Owen) who claimed that she had been the victim of abuse by an organised cabal of child-molesters which resulted in her becoming pregnant (note the classic 'brood-mare' motif) whilst still a child herself - all of which was faciliated by her parents. She then claimed to have watched as her new-born infant was stabbed to death with a knitting needle.

In the wake of the July bombings in London, the story dropped off the radar, the last we heard being that an excavation (looking for the remains of an infant) in a Dublin garden, revealed nothing. But, one year later, the story is back.

The article goes into considerable detail, as well as containing some of the finest ranting.

The Return of the Dalkey BabyBlather, 17th June 2006.

June 26, 2005

Media in moral panic shocker!

United Kingdom: The similarity between the current moral panic< over exorcism in evangelical churches, in particular those with African congregations, and the earlier Satanic ritual abuse panic has been noted by the Grauniad:

The front-page headline leaping from the newsstands could not have been more clear: Children sacrificed in London churches, say police. At the same moment, the BBC was reporting that detectives trying to investigate the ritual murder of children accused of witchcraft were facing a wall of silence. Lord Stevens, the recently retired commissioner of the Metropolitan police, was weighing in to damn African churches, which he said were obsessed by witchcraft, exorcism and evil spirits.

We must, Lord Stevens railed in a Sunday newspaper column, stop this madness costing children's lives.

And, just like its predecessor, the evidence is scant indeed.

The police had conducted no such investigation, have scant evidence of ritual abuse of African children and - with the important exception of the young boy known as Adam, whose torso was found floating in the Thames four years ago - have seen nothing to suggest that any child has been sacrificed.

There have been a grand total of two cases where African children have been abused, and in one case killed, because they were believed to be possessed:

To date, however, just two witchcraft abuse cases have come before the British courts. Victoria Climbié, who was brought to London from the Ivory Coast by her aunt, suffered terrible abuse before being taken to a church in south London where the pastor decided that she was possessed. The beatings continued and she died soon afterwards.

Three people are awaiting sentence after being convicted this month of the abuse of an eight-year-old Angolan orphan. They starved the child, who can be identified only as Child B, struck and cut her, and rubbed chilli in her eyes in an attempt to drive out the devil within.

Which, while this is more evidence than exists for secret gangs of Satanists raping and killing children for religious purposes, it's still nothing more than isolated cases and the demonisation of an entire religious tradition seems a little excessive. Implications that there might be ever such a slight racist motivation behind the reaction seem to carry some weight, especially when you discover that in the last two years in Haringey (the borough in which Child B lived):

Over the same period [social workers] have been alerted to about 6,000 cases of children in need, of whom about 650 were children in high need of protection, many of them suffering serious physical or sexual abuse.

How media whipped up a racist witch-hunt - The Guardian, 25th June 2005.

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June 11, 2005

Old myth, even older clothes

England: Josie Appleton has written an interesting article about the reaction to the conviction of three people for abusing a child they believed to be witch. In particular she questions the racist assumptions made by the media, social services and the police about the case. It quickly begins to sound as if something very familar indeed is going on.

The case quickly became a careering bandwagon, on to which police, social services and the media leapt. This was understood not as the criminal actions of one woman, but as a sign of the barbarity of Africans in general. Articles speculated about the dozens, even hundreds, of African children being subjected to mystical abuse behind the closed doors of north-east London. The Metropolitan Police has set up a special six-person team, 'Project Violet', to tackle ritualised child abuse in London's African communities.

MP Diane Abbott quickly established a claim to take over the ecological niche left by the late Geoffrey Dickens:

Because the defendants attended an evangelical church in Hackney, their crime apparently implicated the whole African spiritual infrastructure. 'Ban these witchcraft churches', called Diane Abbott in the London Evening Standard on 7 June. According to the Abbott, MP for Hackney North, churches should be registered, opened up for monitoring, and shut down 'the minute any child connected to their congregation is abused'.

Yet there is little hard evidence to justify these wild claims. It seems to be the accusers who are possessed with ideas of mass, ritualised child abuse—not London's immigrant communities.

Appleton then reports on some more familiar-sounding hyperbole:

Continue reading "Old myth, even older clothes"

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January 12, 2005

A solstice story we missed

England: Even though the Satanic abuse myth was thoroughly discredited in the 1990s, London's Metropolitan Police has found itself having to defend a decision to send 30 officers on a course to learn how to spot it. Professor Jean La Fontaine, who led the 1994 research, is not amused.

She told BBC News I feel quite strongly that the pursuit of exotic cases which are categorised as Satanic is actually detracting from our search of abusers of children in less exotic ways.

Ten years on, and I would expect the information and conclusions to have been assimilated into everybody's approach to solving cases of this sort.

But it appears the lessons have not yet been learnt.

The Met has recently been trying to deal with institutional racism in the force. Perhaps a closer examination of this decision will help them understand how it got that way?

Met defends satanic abuse course - BBC News, 21st December 2004.

July 15, 2004

Satan-obsessed social workers probed

Scotland: The recent shambles on the Isle of Lewis is to be investigated by the Social Work Services Inspectorate. Charges were dropped against eight people accused of abusing children in Satanic rituals, some of whom now plan to seek compensation.

Probe into collapsed abuse case - BBC News, 13th July 2004.

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July 11, 2004

This is important

Scotland: A child abuser might never be caught thanks to institutional bigotry against Pagans.

Charges have been dropped against eight people accused of abusing children on the Isle of Lewis, in a case which bore all the hallmarks of the Satanic Ritual Abuse Myth pushed by religious fundamentalists in the late 80s and early 90s. The eight, all incomers, were accused of animal sacrifices, snuff movies, devil worship and the rape of children. They were ostracised by the rest of the community, their property vandalised, their car torched, their greenhouse smashed and bleach poured round their trees, and they received threatening phone calls. The case has so far cost taxpayers over £100,000. Why?

The Sellwoods and Campbells suspect that certain small prejudices may have coloured the investigation. Penny Campbell believes that the police showed blatant religious discrimination, equating paganism with devil worshipping ... Ian and I believe that it was because he described himself as pagan and I didn't that he was charged and I was released.

Vicky Allan, of the Sunday Herald, has spent the past nine months talking to the accused families, and her shocking article was published today.

Continue reading "This is important"

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March 6, 2004

Family might sue over Satan lies

The family of four children caught up in the infamous Rochdale 'satanic abuse' case might sue Rochdale Council over the 1990 affair.

The four children, now aged between 17 and 24, say they can't forget their ordeal. The eldest daughter, now 24, said: It was a terrible ordeal, they were looking for signs of sexual abuse. We didn't know what was going on and were frightened, especially because our parents were kept from us.

We were under a lot of pressure from the council workers who kept insisting that they were bad parents and made us agree.

They shoved us in foster homes and for nine months we were not allowed to see our parents. It was a nightmare. All I wanted to do was to go home and be with my family.

It took 18 months before a judge ruled that there was absolutely no evidence to back up the bizarre claims of social workers, but the last of the care orders was not lifted for another eight years. In her official report into the panic, Professor Jean La Fontaine observed that the only thing the vast majority of accused families had done was to be poor.

Families may sue over 'Satan abuse' claimManchester Evening News, 4th March 2004; La Fontaine, Jean (1994). The Extent and Nature of Organised and Ritual Abuse. Research Findings, London, HMSO.

May 11, 2003

Social work victim sues

A woman who was taken into care as a child during the Satanic panic is suing South Ayrshire Council for compensation for her lost childhood. She never claimed to have been sexually abused, and there was no medical evidence to suggest that she was, but social workers took her from her family in 1990 convinced she was the victim of a Satanic cult. She was kept in care for five years.

The woman, who was taken into care with seven other children, all of whom were members of the same extended family, said: I spent five years in homes and with foster families who didn't care for me.

My education suffered badly and I became withdrawn. I still lack self-esteem. I have no confidence in anything I do.

Despite a complete lack of evidence, social workers kept the children in care while they went on a crusade against the imaginary Satanists.

Social workers embarked on a sustained campaign to prove not only that the children had all been sexually abused, but that the abuse might have involved up to 90 adults and contained elements of satanic ritual.

It later emerged that descriptions of a party at which adults had been dressed up in 'sinister' costumes had been a fancy dress event for Hallowe'en.

The case is believed to be the first of its kind in Britain, and has taken so long to come to court because the Scottish Legal Aid Board had, until now, refused to fund the action. Woman sues for lost childhoodScotland on Sunday, 11th May 2003. See also Familiar names resurface for a case where adults accused of Satanic abuse successfully sued a council which published a report suggesting that they really had committed the crime, even though the Criminal Court acquitted them.

June 21, 1994

News: Satanic abuse a myth—official.

United Kingdom: A three-year enquiry funded by the Department of Health has concluded that Satanic ritual abuse does not exist.

The report by Jean La Fontaine, Emeritus Professor of social anthropology at the London School of Economics and a renowned expert on cults and child abuse, was commissioned in 1991 after a number of well publicised cases where allegations had been made of child abuse and sacrifice by groups of witches. These included cases in Rochdale and the Orkney Isles, where nine children were snatched in dawn raids.

Professor La Fontaine had access to all relevant files held by those police forces and social services departments which had investigated allegations of Satanic ritual abuse. She found no evidence to substantiate any of 84 cases in the period 1988-91 where children were alleged to have been abused during black magic rites.

Continue reading "News: Satanic abuse a myth—official."

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News: shorts

United States: In September, according to prosecutors, Dan Koenigsberg schemed to harass Mel Henderson, the only black member of the Teaneck, N. J., city council, during a meeting being shown live on local TV. Koenigsberg hired a messenger to dress in a gorilla costume and to bring Henderson a bunch of bananas, a toy monkey, and two balloons with drawings of monkeys on them. Koenigsberg later apologized in a letter to a local newspaper: My intention was not to bring race into the political debate. [Newark Star-Ledger, December 1993, via News of the Weird, 18th February 1994]

Continue reading "News: shorts"

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Freedom in our skins?

This article was written by Geri Corvus. Ignore any other bylines!

For over 20 years, Genesis P. Orridge has been living out his highly original form of art. Starting out with public exhibits of used tampons, condoms and nappies and continuing with a range of 'performance art' including experimental music, films and mixed-media shows, he has never gone for the safe option of commerciality. He has explored magic, shamanism and psychedelics. His life is his work and his work lies (he considers) in extending all possible boundaries.

On 15th February 1992, his Brighton home was raided by the Obscene Publications Squad, who seized 2 tons of videos, photographs and films.

It was Orridge's entire 20-year collection, much of it valuable archive material such as unpublished work by William Burroughs. Most conveniently for the Squad, Orridge was in Nepal at the time meeting Tibetan mystics and helping out at a refugees' soup kitchen along with partner Alaura and their two young daughters.

The next day, the Observer newspaper ran a front-page story stating that a genuine satanic abuse video had been unearthed and would be screened by Channel 4 that week as undeniable evidence of bloody Satanic sacrifice. Sex and blood rituals are taking place beneath a picture of Aleister Crowley. The trappings of black magic are obvious.

Continue reading "Freedom in our skins?"

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Book Reviews: Ritual Abuse

These reviews were written by Geri Corvus. Ignore any other byline you see!

In Pursuit of Satan by Robert D Hicks
(Prometheus Books 1991 £15.50—available from Prometheus Books, 10 Crescent View, Loughton, Essex. IG10 4PZ, or online at the Prometheus Books website.)

Suffer the Little Children by Dr D.H.S. Reid
1992 (available for £15 inc p&p from MIREC, Step Rock House, St Andrews, Fife. KY16 9AT)

Amazingly there are some Pagans out there who still believe there is some truth in the Satanic Abuse Myth. They should read these two books from cover to cover—together they illustrate the growth of a social panic, its tragic consequences and how easily prejudiced preconceptions can be accepted as fact by people expected to know better.

Continue reading "Book Reviews: Ritual Abuse"

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