By: Jeff Freeman Re: Anti-Cult Candidate Chicago READER Section 1, Page 4 February 17, 199
By: Jeff Freeman
Re: Anti-Cult Candidate
Chicago READER Section 1, Page 4 February 17, 1995
"The Anti-Cult Candidate"
A mental patient who's convinced her family has belonged to a satanic cult
for 400 years talks about her case:
"As the doctors began to break the barriers of secrecy, revealed was
the history of multigenerational satanic worship. Torturous human
sacrifice, cannibalism, and brainwashing with sadistic child abuse. Before
hospitalization the mother knew nothing of her child abuse or that of her
children. She also knew nothing of the hidden terrors of her life that she
endured from infancy to adulthood to reach the rank of high priestess in
the family's nine-state region.
The mother, through alters [alternate personalities], began to
remember severely torturous human sacrifices viewed at varying ages. Such
sacrifices as cutting out the victims' tongues so they chocked in their
blood and couldn't scream while being dismembered and beheaded, torturously
skinning people alive, breaking bones one at a time, and taking a pregnant
woman and cutting out her child so they could be jointly immolated. These
killings went on with such regularity and viciousness that when this
patient would be buried alive it became a way for her to escape the
craziness that was occurring above her."
One of the doctors who helped this troubled woman "break the barriers of
secrecy" is now running for mayor of Chicago. He's Kimball Ladien, a
psychiatrist who once sat on the Illinois State Task Force on Ritualistic
Abuse. This body's efforts led to the 1993 law that made a felon of anyone
who commits any one of several grisly acts, among them placing "a living
child into a coffin or open grave containing a human corpse or remains."
Ladien complains he's been shortchanged in the coverage of this winter's
mayoral primaries. He sure has. The papers blew off Joe Gardner, the only
Democrat challenging Mayor Daley, so what hope had Ladien, a Republican?
Yet his concern for abused youth has not abated. Now he's proposing a
"bipartisan safe haven contract with Chicago." Financed by Empowerment Zone
funds, this initiative would provide for a wide range of after-school
activities, job programs reminiscent of the Depression, drug-free group
homes, and urban boot camps.
"If we could reduce gang crimes, drugs, and teen pregnancies by 10 percent
we'd be saving over $400 million annually in Illinois, most of that in
Chicago," Ladien told me. But although the safe-haven concept tops Ladien's
list of things to talk about, it was not at the top of mine. In 1987
Ladien was a medical resident in the dissociative-disorders unit of
Rush-Presbyterian-Saint Luke's Medical Center, a unit founded and run by a
Dr. Bennett Braun. In 1987 the woman we heard from above was a patient
there, a patient so celebrated for the light she threw on centuries of
satanic abominations that her taped address was played at a professional
conference Braun convened.
Want to know more about her? Pick up the new book Making Monsters: False
Memories, Psychotherapy, and Sexual Hysteria, by psychologist Richard Ofshe
and magazine writer Ethan Watters, and read "Therapy of a High Priestess."
This chapter on the pseudonymous "Anne Stone" calls her treatment at Rush
"as brutal as any that has yet been documented."
Anne did not turn to Braun thinking she was a high priestess. She'd been
devastated emotionally by the agonizing delivery of a baby born with a
crippled arm, and Braun diagnosed his specialty - multiple personality
disorder. Admitted to this unit, she remained hospitalized for 27 months.
As a product of a home that Anne says was deemed "psycho-toxic," her
five-year-old son "Mark" also was hospitalized; and several months later,
after the family's satanic history was revealed, little "Steve," not yet
four, was admitted for his own protection. Mark would spend 39 months in
the hospital, Steve 32 months, and Anne and her husband would have to go to
court to free them.
The bill for all this "therapy," says Anne, paid by the family's insurance,
exceed $2.7 million.
Even after the family was reunited, states Making Monsters, Anne continued
to believe "she was the High Priestess of an international satanic order"
until she stopped taking the various drugs Braun had prescribed for her and
her head cleared. Now she's suing the hospital, Braun, and various other
therapists. One of them is Kimball Ladien.
Anne's suit alleges that Ladien's "hypnotic sessions" helped persuade her
that "she had over 300 alternate personalities as a result of extended and
repeated sexual and other traumatic abuse as a child including the
participation in ritual murders, cannibalism, satan worship, and torture by
members of her family."
"His specific job with me was to recover child-abuse memories," she told
me. "The hypnosis sessions went on for hours. If they had to do with my
being tied to my dining-room table we would go to his apartment and sit at
his dining-room table. If the abuse memories had to do with a basement we
would go to his mother's basement."
Ladien regrets the suit. "I feel somewhat betrayed," he said. "I spent a
lot of personal time with [Anne] and the family doing my utmost to help
them." Besides, going to court is bad medicine. It's denial. "It's
absolutely contrary to the therapeutic process. Going into the legal
framework is an absolute guarantee you won't make progress in the
therapeutic sense. You have to ask, who benefits?"
Who does? I asked.
"Well, cults in general," he explained. "Again, the best defense is a good
offense. Scientology is a perfect example. They spend tons and tons of
money suing people. My point is these groups on occasion can become
extremely powerful and do unpleasant things. Hopefully we can get beyond
them, but power is as power does. The Nazis in Germany, the Khmer Rouge in
Cambodia, the drug cartels in South America, the Mafia in Italy, They like
to use power in not very pleasant ways, and they like to maintain
"Look at Chicago. Greylord. Power here is the same as anywhere else in
the world. I'll give you a perfect example. If you do a Nexis search in
the Tribune or Sun-Times what do you think you'll find out about my
safe-haven program? They have their minds made up, and who ever said it
was a democratic process? You have the illusion of the democratic process,
but the reality is it's power groups."
Satanism, said Ladien, "is just power in one more form."
This sounded like a retreat under fire from the horrific revelations that
illuminated Bennett Braun's conference in 1987, and I asked Ladien what
he'd make of Anne Stone's testimony today. "My personal feeling would be
that there are issues raised that are certainly consistent with other
stories I've heard," he said. "I think it's probably best to say it is
what it is. Like most other things it's a snapshot in time."
* Origin: The Umputer (1:124/1014.5121)
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank