By: David Bloomberg Re: Seattle Article, 1/3 (File: RECSEATT.ZIP) Date: Fri Feb 17 1995 23

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By: David Bloomberg Re: Seattle Article, 1/3 (File: RECSEATT.ZIP) Date: Fri Feb 17 1995 23:24:22 From: Sheppard Gordon Subj: Recovered Quackery UFO ------------------------------- RECOVERED MEMORIES: TRUE OR FALSE? 2/05/95 SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER The 90s promised to be the decade of recovered memory. Women all over North America - Roseanne Arnold prominent among them - were emerging from psychological therapy accusing their fathers of sexually molesting them years before. A few men told similar tales. They had repressed the memories completely, their therapists said, and only in professional care had the images come popping back, like ghoulish jacks-in-the-box. These "survivors" accused their parents of heinous crimes. Some took parents to court, and forced them to pay tens of thousands of dollars. A few sent fathers to jail. The accusers also told lurid tales in mass-marketed books and on TV talk shows. The media ate it up: The stories were graphic, the emotions compelling. The victims believed their stories with vehemence. Their intense emotional pain proved, their therapists said, that their stories were real. For a skeptic to label that reasoning circular was to be ill-mannered if not anti- feminist. To say that the "recovered memory movement" looked more like a cult than science was to risk appearing as a defender of perverts. Three things have happened to change that. First, the recovered memories got unbelievably weird. They escalated from scenes of abuse to years of rape and sodomy, and finally to satanic rituals of drinking blood, sex with animals and killing and eating human babies. Second, many of these alleged abuse victims have recanted their tales, and some have sued their therapists. Third, the whole movement has been called into question by academic experts. Two such experts have just published damning books: Elizabeth Loftus's The Myth of Repressed Memory (St. Martin's Press, 290 pages, $22.95), and Richard Ofshe's Making Monsters (Scribners, 340 pages, $23). Loftus is a professor of psychology at the University of Washington, where she has gained national attention for her experiments about human memory. Ofshe is a professor of social psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and is an expert on cults. In 1979, he shared a Pulitzer Prize for an investigation of Synanon, a drug-recovery cult in California. Both attack the idea that we naturally repress memories of horrible things done to us when we were kids. Unlike victims of amnesia - a rare disorder - the recovered-memory patients supposedly lost all awareness that a hole had been ripped from the fabric of their memories. They had remembered childhoods free of violence until visions emerged in therapy of being abused for years. Ofshe argues that if the human mind was capable of such massive repression, the fact would have been discovered centuries ago. He writes, "Why are we the first generation to notice that people can repress oft-repeated trauma so completely as to have no knowledge that they experienced a life filled with horror and brutality?" The victims of Hitler, Stalin and Mao did not repress what had happened to them. Nor are the people who suffered genuine child abuse likely ever to forget it. The "recovered memories," these authors argue, are created in therapy by the patient trying to please the therapist. The patient is encouraged to believe that her psychological problems are symptoms of early childhood abuse. The lack of any memory of abuse is itself a symptom. Does the patient insist that abuse never happened? Then she is "in denial" - also a symptom. It is a neat piece of circular reasoning. "A scientific theory has to be falsifiable," Loftus reminds her readers. This one is not. Arguing the repressed-memory concept with believers, Loftus writes, is like "arguing with the minister about the existence of God." Those who accept the concept are disinclined to challenge anything dragged out of the subconscious. Any strange image can be interpreted as a sign - a memory - of abuse. The patient may doubt it, but is encouraged to recall the image, retell it, embellish it, believe it. The memory of the image becomes indistinguishable from a memory of the event. Once the patient accepts one "recovered memory" as true, she has stepped into a fantasy land filled with the most awful things a Christian could imagine. cont... --- msgedsq 2.0.5 * Origin: The Temples of Syrinx! (1:2430/2112) SEEN-BY: 11/157 13/13 102/2 850 851 890 104/821 105/69 153/920 170/400 SEEN-BY: 209/720 261/1023 270/101 102 103 280/1 282/1 396/1 640/75 2614/706 SEEN-BY: 3615/50 3619/25 @PATH: 2430/1 23 3615/50 396/1 270/101 209/720 102/2 851 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ (15) Sat 18 Feb 95 16:31 By: David Bloomberg To: All Re: Seattle, 2/3 St: ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ @EID:4747 1e5283e0 @MSGID: 1:2430/2112 4f30086b cont... Consider the case of Paul Ingram. He was the chief civil deputy of the Thurston County Sheriff's Department, the chairman of the local Republican Party, and the father of five children. In a lurid and shocking case in 1991, this picture of respectability confessed that he was a high priest in a satanic cult that included cannibalism and the sodomizing of children. The Ingrams were members of the Church of the Living Water, an affiliate of the fundamentalist sect founded by Los Angeles radio evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson in 1927. Repression theory, writes Loftus, "made sense to Ingram. It was simply a secular version of the church's doctrine of Satanic deception: Satan attempts to destroy our memories of evil deeds." Ingram's belief in Satanic influence became crucial when his daughter Ericka came back from a church retreat with a "recovered memory" that she had been molested by her father. Another sister, Julie, began making similar accusations. Ingram was put under arrest. He had no memory of the events. But the stories must be true, he said, because his daughters would not lie. Ingram's minister urged him to expel Satan from his soul. A police psychologist put him into a hypnotic trance. Ingram was told to visualize the scenes of abuse. At first he could not, but by and by he did visualize them. It was like watching a movie, he said. The psychologist would ask him to focus on a picture, and describe who was in it. Was the person wearing a watch? What was the time on the watch? Ingram could roll his "memory" like a video. The daughters' stories grew more and more horrifying. Ingram had raped his children, daughters and sons alike, for many years. He had invited his work buddies in to participate. Ericka said he was the leader of a Satanic cult that had killed more than 25 babies, burying their bones in the woods behind the Ingram house. Ingram was confronted with these stories, searched in his subconscious, and began confirming them. Ericka said her body bore the scars of repeated injuries. Under a court order, she was examined. The doctor found no scars. Police searched the woods around the Ingram house. They found no bones, or any other evidence of satanic rituals. Nor were any reports of 25 babies missing in Olympia. Prosecutors called in Ofshe, an expert in cults. When he was interviewing Ingram, he suggested that Ingram had forced a son and a daughter to have sex together. A daughter had remembered it, Ofshe said, challenging Ingram to remember it himself. Ingram could not. But he went away trying to remember it, and the next day he did. He came back with a detailed confession. When Ofshe told him that the story was a lie he had made up as a test, Ingram hung on to his "memory." The images were just the same as the other memories, he insisted. They were real. The Thurston County Prosecutor's Office thought so, too. Though they dropped the charges against Ingram's two friends from work, and dropped all investigation of satanic rites, they went ahead with charges of rape. They told Ingram he'd better plead guilty to spare his daughters the psychological damage of testifying. Ingram, who believed the charges true, pleaded guilty to six counts of third-degree rape and was sentenced to 20 years. Later he decided his "memories" were not real. To Ofshe, the question is answered by his experiment. He is bitter at what he sees as the cowardice of Thurston County prosecutors. Speaking earlier this year in Seattle, he said "The people who ran this investigation should have known it was all nonsense. Their attitude was that it was better to suffer the sacrifice of an innocent man than the consequences of their incompetence." Loftus calls the Ingram case "a modern-day Salem witch trial," and has written Gov. Mike Lowry requesting clemency for Paul Ingram. The case was the subject in 1993 of a series in "The New Yorker" by Lawrence Wright, who detailed how Ingram became a victim of false memories. Wright's essay became the 1994 book, "Remembering Satan." But convicted rapists don't get out of prison just because somebody writes a book arguing that they are innocent. On Dec. 2, Ingram's request for a review was rejected by the state Clemency and Pardons Board because his case is under appeal. He remains in prison. cont... --- msgedsq 2.0.5 * Origin: The Temples of Syrinx! (1:2430/2112) SEEN-BY: 11/157 13/13 102/2 850 851 890 104/821 105/69 153/920 170/400 SEEN-BY: 209/720 261/1023 270/101 102 103 280/1 282/1 396/1 640/75 2614/706 SEEN-BY: 3615/50 3619/25 @PATH: 2430/1 23 3615/50 396/1 270/101 209/720 102/2 851 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ (16) Sat 18 Feb 95 16:31 By: David Bloomberg To: All Re: Seattle, 3/3 St: ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ @EID:8716 1e5283e0 @MSGID: 1:2430/2112 4f300946 cont... The tales of Satanic cults are the unmistakable signs of the absurd. So are outlandish accounts of earlier incarnations, or of being captured by aliens and taken for rides in UFOs. All are justified by recovered memories. No one has proved reincarnation, or produced an alien or a UFO. And no one has yet uncovered a cult of child-rapers and baby-eaters in modern America, let alone whole networks of them. There have been some strange groups, all right - one is reminded of Jonestown, or the Charles Manson cabal, or the killings at Matamoros. But all were found out. "None of these groups were able to kill without leaving physical evidence," writes Ofshe, "nor were they able to select victims who were not missed by family and friends." Cults do exist. A central feature of them is people disowning their families and their beliefs for a new "family" and new beliefs, and giving up control to a guru. Something very much like this has been happening with recovered memories. Erstwhile rational people disowning their real memories and participating in self-brainwashing. They discard their old identities as parents and professionals, and redefine themselves as abuse victims. They turn cold to their parents, often denouncing them in Mao-like struggle sessions. They are adopted into a surrogate family of "survivors." Their pain and anger is good, the therapists say: The treatment is working. No pain, no gain. Patients congratulate themselves on their courage; therapists, on their skill. Therapists dig deeper, and unearth more memories. The pain gets worse. Some patients lose their jobs, abandon their spouse and children, and check into the hospital. Some even attempt suicide, and a few succeed. And yes, the therapists and hospitals get paid. Memory recovery is a business. Hundreds of millions of dollars has been paid out over the last dozen years, Ofshe writes, half to three-quarters of it by insurance companies and the government. Patients have paid out tens of thousands, and some have had to sell their homes. Ofshe tells the story of a woman who goes through the whole process, exhausts her ability to pay, and is dumped by her therapist into the hands of a state psychiatrist. He determines that she is not sick at all, and tells her to go home. Separated from her therapist, she begins to get well. Loftus and Ofshe seem to agree fully on the facts, but part company when it comes to drawing conclusions. After forcefully arguing that recovered memory is a myth - the title of her book - Loftus draws back from judgment. She tells of meeting the author of one of the recovered-memory books at a hotel in Bellevue, disagreeing fundamentally with her, but accepting her sincerity and parting with a big hug. She writes, "I refuse to stand in judgment over anyone." Then why bother to write the book? Ofshe does not hang back. Recovered memory, he says in an interview, is quackery. It is comparable to the lobotomy fad of 50 years ago, when doctors scrambled the brains of mental patients with icepicks. Now therapists are doing it with talk therapy and hypnosis. "We're talking about a fraction of the mental health professionals who have done something inexcusable," Ofshe says. "They have committed terrible, unnecessary harm on their patients." If the good psychologists don't drive them out of the profession, he says, the recovered-memory therapists will be buried in "the coming blizzard of malpractice suits." And Paul Ingram? Will he be filing a malpractice suit? "No," says Ofshe. "You cannot sue a police interrogator for malpractice."


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