Recently in Satanic Abuse Myth Category

August 14, 2012

They're at it again, perhaps.

England: The headline of an article on the BBC News website today caused a raised eyebrow at Prattle Towers: Witchcraft-based child abuse: Action plan launched. The start of the article was even more worrying. Had they taken on a redundant News of the World writer?

The government has launched an action plan to tackle child abuse linked to witchcraft or religion in England.

So, who is to be the victim of a moral panic this time? Are the fundies attacking Neopagans again? No, but the potential for vilification of an entire minority group is clear. This time, I fear what will happen when the Daily Mail picks up the story, which is about a tiny number of cases among communities of more recent African origin than the majority:

Scotland Yard says it has conducted 83 investigations into faith-based child abuse in the past decade - among them Kristy Bamu, who was murdered aged 15 in 2010, Victoria Climbie who was eight when she was murdered in 2000 and the headless torso of "Adam", a five or six-year-old boy, which was found in the Thames in 2001.

Ministers are concerned that although the investigations number just a few dozen, other abuse is going on, "under-reported and misunderstood".

Fortunately, the government's "plan" seems to involve recognition of the efforts already being made by community groups and religious leaders, rather than the simultaneous nagging of the affected communities into apathy, and vilification of same as we've seen in the approach to extremist Islamist bampots.

These efforts included Channel 4 documentaries highlighting the problem, most recently in 2010.

The programme explores several churches where child “deliverance” takes place, using undercover footage. A young journalist named Juliana Oladipo agreed to pose as a difficult teenager being brought to church by her mother; in each case witchcraft is diagnosed as the problem, and aggressive exorcism prescribed as the cure.

Some of the fraudulent preachers were after more than just money. One of them demanded sex from a young woman, 21 times, to "cure" her of her witchcraft.

Witchcraft-based child abuse: Action plan launchedBBC News, 14 August 2012; Documentary Shows Child-Witch Stigmatisation Still Occurring in UK Churches, Bartholomew's Notes on Religion, 26 July 2010.

July 26, 2012

Pratlets for 26th July 2012

January 11, 2012

Chestnut continues to be hairy

England: Some myths never die. Indeed, the internet seems to enable them to spread far more quickly than before. That some people are simply violent cunts who need to be locked up never occurs to most. It's either space aliens, the Beast of Bodmin or, as in this case, some kind of imaginary Satanist.

Satanic link to Cornwall horse mutilation investigatedBBC News, 11th January 2012.

May 26, 2010

Fundie Tory digs herself deeper

United Kingdom: a little over three weeks ago, The Observer posted a story about a prominent Tory, Philippa Stroud, alleging that she was involved in attempts to "cure" LGBT people. She has disputed this allegation, and the paper has appended her complaint to the article. Part of the summary of this complaint jumped out, as it makes her look as if she's a believer in the Satanic abuse myth:

In addition, the reference to demonic activity in her book "God's help for the poor' does not relate to sexual orientation but to those who have been involved in occult practices, including violence and sexual abuse.

That last comma is in a particularly interesting place...

Rising Tory star Philippa Stroud ran prayer sessions to 'cure' gay peopleThe Observer, 2nd May 2010.

September 9, 2009

Classic Prattle headline recycling: They're at it again!

United Kingdom: I'm still busy dinking with the back-end, so I leave it to Richard Bartholomew to observe that the Satanic abuse myth "true believers" didn't go away when their ridiculous allegations were proved to be hate-driven lies, they just evolved: Satanic Panic Rides Again.

July 17, 2009

A quick round-up

Well, the comments might be working, or they might not be (previewing first definitely does work), and regardless, they look odd. Search definitely isn't working, but here are a few stories to keep you occupied while I try and fix things:

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.

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. Many things didn't add up. He initially claimed he attacked the children at a time they were known to be in school, then came up with four other alternatives after prompting from the police. He got the colour and type of cord used to tie the children up dramatically wrong.

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, questionable witnesses and prejudicial closing arguments. The main expert witness was a self-styled occult expert with degrees that did not 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.

More information on this miscarriage of justice can be found at Free West Memphis 3.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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