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Mark Pendergrast

This is Chapter 3, pp. 119-149, excerpted with permission from Victims of Memory: Sex Abuse Accusations and Shattered Lives (640 pages, Upper Access Books, Hinesburg, VT), Copyright 1996, all rights reserved.
The book can be ordered online from Upper Access Books, or by calling 1-800-310-8320.

"I can’t believe that!" said Alice.

"Can’t you?" the Queen said in a pitying tone. "Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes."

Alice laughed. "There’s no use trying," she said. "One can’t believe impossible things."

"I daresay you haven’t had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

--Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass [1]

Given that our memories can fool us sometimes, it is still hard to understand why or how people would want to believe that their parents committed such awful acts upon them.

But it clearly isn’t a matter of wanting to believe. I have come to regard the initial incest suspicion as being a kind of mental kudzu seed-perhaps a perverse analogue to Jesus’ parable of the sower and the seed. A few decades back, some bright agronomist imported this nifty Japanese vine to my native Georgia, hoping to halt erosion and provide cheap cow fodder. The insidious kudzu, with its broad, shiny green leaves, now covers entire forests, swallowing trees whole. While cows may indeed eat the stuff, I suspect a few of them have been enveloped, too, along the way.

Repressed memories seem to grow in the same way. It doesn’t take much -- just a small seed, planted in your fertile brain by a television program, a book, a friend, or a therapist. Maybe, just maybe, all of your problems stem from childhood incest. Maybe you’ve forgotten it. Maybe that’s why you are uncomfortable at family reunions. Maybe. No, no, that’s insane! Forget it, not Dad, not Mom! You try to dismiss the idea. But it won’t go away. It takes root, sends out creepers, and grows. Soon the mental kudzu is twining out of your ears, sending roots down to your gut, taking over your life. It’s true! Your worst fears were justified! Numerous types of "evidence" are used to provoke and "prove" the reality of repressed memories. These include hypnotic regression, sodium Amytal, dreams, visualizations, bodily pangs or marks, panic attacks, or just general unhappiness. I will review each of them in turn, but it is important to understand that debunking one method or symptom really isn’t the point, because another can easily take its place. Once the seed is planted, once the idea takes hold, it doesn’t matter what method is employed. The results are almost foreordained.

Hypnosis: Memory Prod or Production?

I know of a parent who, when his children cut off contact with him, concluded that maybe he really had done something horrible to them and had repressed the memory himself. So he went to a hypnotist. Like most people, he thought that when you sank into a deep hypnotic trance, you could magically tap into your dormant subconscious, unlocking long-forgotten memories. Fortunately, he went to an ethical hypnotist who did not lead him into believing he had committed incest on his children. She failed, however, to tell him how questionable memories are when "uncovered" in hypnosis.

From its inception -- covered in Chapter 10 -- hypnosis has caused considerable controversy and spawned innumerable myths. One thing that experts agree on, however, is that memories retrieved under hypnosis are often contaminated mixtures of fantasy and truth. In many cases, outright "confabulations" -- the psychologists’ term for illusory memories -- result. Here is an unequivocal passage from the 1989 Fifth Edition of the Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry:

An overwhelming body of research indicates that hypnosis does not increase accurate memory, but does increase the person’s willingness to report previously uncertain memories with strong conviction. Furthermore, the hypnotized individual has a pronounced tendency to confabulate in those areas where there is little or no recollection; to distort memory to become more congruent with beliefs...and fantasies; and to incorporate cues from leading questions as factual memories. Finally there is a high likelihood that the beliefs of the hypnotist will somehow be communicated to the patient in hypnosis and incorporated into what the patient believes to be memories, often with strong conviction.[2]

Psychologist Robert Baker observes that "confabulation shows up without fail in nearly every context in which hypnosis is employed." No experimental study has ever provided evidence that hypnosis helps unlock real memories, although, as one researcher put it, "It is difficult to disregard totally the wealth of anecdotal reports extolling the virtues of hypnotic memory enhancement."[3] Perhaps, then, hypnosis can enhance both real memories and fantasies. Baker does not agree. "I carried out a number of laboratory studies over a period of three and a half years," he writes. "My results in all cases showed no improvement in either memory or incidental memory as a result of hypnosis." On the contrary, Baker concludes that "their hypnotist may unwittingly suggest memories and create pseudomemories, i.e., vivid recollections of events that never happened." [4]

The reason that memories retrieved under hypnosis are suspect goes to the very definition of the process, which invariably includes the concept of suggestion. Clark Hull and A.M. Weitzenhoffer defined hypnosis simply as "a state of enhanced suggestibility."[5] When a subject agrees to be hypnotized, he or she tacitly agrees to abide by the suggestions of the hypnotist. This state of heightened suggestibility can work quite well if the goal is to stop smoking, lose weight, enhance self-esteem, reduce perceived pain, or improve one’s sex life. But it is not an appropriate method for retrieving supposedly repressed memories, as psychiatrist Martin Orne and psychologist Elizabeth Loftus have repeatedly stressed in courtroom settings.

Orne asserts that hypnosis is a technique that "greatly facilitates the reconstruction of history, that allows an individual to be influenced unwittingly, and that may catalyze beliefs into ‘memories.’" He emphasizes that "we cannot distinguish between veridical [true] recall and pseudomemories elicited during hypnosis without prior knowledge or truly independent proof." Loftus has said virtually the same thing. "There’s no way even the most sophisticated hypnotist can tell the difference between a memory that is real and one that’s created. If you’ve got a person who is hypnotized and highly suggestible and false information is implanted in his mind, it may get imbedded even more strongly. One psychologist tried to use a polygraph to distinguish between real and phony memory but it didn’t work. Once someone has constructed a memory, he comes to believe it himself."[6]

Consequently, numerous psychologists have recognized that reality is routinely distorted under hypnosis. Theodore R. Sarbin and William C. Coe have referred to hypnotism as "believed-in imaginings," while Ernest R. Hilgard calls the process "imaginative involvement." J.P. Sutcliffe characterized the hypnotic subject as "deluded" in a purely descriptive sense. Jean-Roch Laurence and Campbell Perry assert: "Hypnosis is a situation in which an individual is asked to set aside critical judgment, without abandoning it completely, and is asked also to indulge in make-believe and fantasy."[7]

The hypnotized subject is not the only one who is deluded. The hypnotist who believes that he or she is delving for hidden memories takes an active part in the shared belief system. Both hypnotist and subject are engaged in a tacitly accepted mini-drama in which they act out prescribed roles. Psychiatrist Harold Merskey has defined hypnosis as "a maneuver in which the subject and hypnotist have an implicit agreement that certain events (e.g. paralyses, hallucinations, amnesias) will occur, either during the special procedure or later, in accordance with the hypnotist’s instructions. Both try hard to put this agreement into effect." He notes that "there is no trance state, no detectable cerebral physiological change, and only such peripheral physiological responses as may be produced equally by non-hypnotic suggestion or other emotional changes."[8] Laurence and Perry concur, explaining that "the EEG [brain wave] of a hypnotized person is formally indistinguishable from that of a person who is relaxed, alert, with eyes closed." [9][Footnote 1]

Eric Greenleaf observes that "the pretense of hypnotist-operator is a sort of shared delusion which both patient and therapist participate in." He states that the methods of hypnotic induction are "more like following the rules of social procedure than...chemical analysis." Robert Baker puts it more bluntly: "There is no such thing as hypnosis."[10] Numerous experiments have demonstrated that all of the mysterious hypnotic phenomena, such as pain reduction, posthypnotic amnesia, blindness, paralysis, and the like, are simply part of a subject’s belief system and, with the sanction of the authority -- the hypnotist -- they can all magically reverse themselves.[11]

I am not trying to imply that "hypnosis," whether a real state or not, does not have a profound effect, however. The human imagination is capable of incredible feats, so that subjects under hypnosis can even will away their warts.[12] And it does not have to be called "hypnosis" to have the same effect. Guided imagery, visualization, sodium Amytal interview, relaxation exercises, breathing exercises, and prayers to God to reveal abuse are all actually forms of hypnosis. When someone is relaxed, willing to suspend critical judgment, engage in fantasy, and place ultimate faith in an authority figure using ritualistic methods, deceptive scenes from the past can easily be induced.

Hypnotism entails a powerful social mythology. Just as those "possessed" by demons believed in the process of exorcism, most modern Americans believe that in a hypnotic state, they are granted magical access to the subconscious, where repressed memories lie ready to spring forward at the proper command. Hollywood movies have reinforced this mythology, beginning with a spate of amnesia-retrieval dramas, such as Hitchcock’s Spellbound, in the 1940s. A good hypnotic subject therefore responds to what psychologists call "social demand characteristics." As Baker puts it, there is a "strong desire of the subject to supply the information demanded of him by the hypnotist."[13] Psychiatrist Herbert Spiegel says it more directly: "A good hypnotic subject will vomit up just what the therapist wants to hear."[14]

The hypnotist is often completely unaware that he is influencing the inductee, but what psychologists term "inadvertent cuing" can easily occur, often through tone of voice. "It is incredible," wrote French psychologist Hippolyte Bernheim in 1888, "with what acumen certain hypnotized subjects detect, as it were, the idea which they ought to carry into execution. One word, one gesture, one intonation puts them on the track."[15] Simply urging "Go on" at a crucial point, or asking "How does that feel to you?" can cue the desired response. A person who agrees to play the role of the hypnotized subject is obviously motivated to believe in that role and act it properly. As hypnotist G. H. Estabrooks wrote in 1946, "the subject is very quick to cooperate with the operator and at times almost uncanny in his ability to figure out what the operator wishes."[16] This goes double for clients in psychotherapy who are desperately seeking to locate the source of their unhappiness. If the therapist has let them know, either subtly or directly, that they can expect to find scenes of sexual abuse while under hypnosis or through guided imagery, they are likely to do so.

In the introduction to Theories of Hypnosis: Current Models and Perspectives (1991), editors Steven Jay Lynn and Judith W. Rhue summarize the views expressed by the majority of the contributors: "Hypnotic behavior is interpersonal in nature...Subjects’ sensitivity to the hypnotist, subtle cues, and the tacit implications of hypnotic communications have a bearing on how they respond." Further, they note that "subjects may engage in self-deception, may be unaware of the intrapsychic and contextual determinants of their actions, and may engage in behaviors that fulfill suggested demands with little awareness that they are doing so."[17]

Experimental psychologists have long understood that false memories can be implanted during hypnosis. In 1891, Bernheim suggested to a hypnotized subject that his sleep had been disturbed the night before by a neighbor who "coughed, sang, and then opened the window." After the session, the patient elaborated on this illusory event, even adding how someone else had told his neighbor to close the window. Bernheim then told him that the scene had never happened, that he had dreamed it. "I didn’t dream it," the patient protested indignantly. "I was wide awake!"[18]

Laurence and Perry performed a similar experiment in 1983. Under hypnosis, subjects were asked to relive a night from the week before. During this experience, they were asked whether they had been awakened by loud noises. The majority took the hint and described the sleep interruption in some detail. After the hypnotic session, most of them continued to express a belief in the sounds. Even after they were told that the hypnotist had suggested the incident to them, they insisted on their reality. "I’m pretty certain I heard them," one subject stated. "As a matter of fact, I’m pretty damned certain. I’m positive I heard these noises."[19] The sequence of these comments is revealing. In three sentences, we hear the subject rehearsing his convictions, progressing from "pretty certain" to "positive." Similarly, those intent on recovering memories of incest are usually unsure of their newly envisioned scenes at first. It is only with rehearsal and reinforcement that the memories gradually come to seem real and convincing.

Canadian psychologist Nicholas Spanos performed an interesting extension of the above experiment, trying to show that the implanted memories weren’t "real," but were instead the result of role playing. As the authoritative hypnotist, he first got his subjects to agree to the memories, then reverse themselves, then agree again, then reverse themselves. By doing so, Spanos asserted that the pseudomemories were never truly believed, but were simply reported in compliance with role expectations. Yet by the end of the confusing process, four of his eleven subjects still insisted that they had really heard the phantom noises.[20] Here, Spanos appears to have missed the vital importance of rehearsal and reinforcement in the production of false memories. If 36 percent of his subjects still believed in the "memories" without a therapist insisting on their truth, what kind of results would you get when any doubts are dismissed as attempts to deny the awful truth?

One of the characteristics of well-rehearsed hypnotic confabulations, in fact, is the utter confidence with which they are eventually reported.[21] Such memories tend to become extraordinarily detailed and believable with repetition. "The more frequently the subject reports the event," Martin Orne has written, "the more firmly established the pseudomemory will tend to become." As a final caution, he warns that "psychologists and psychiatrists are not particularly adept at recognizing deception," adding that, as a rule, the average hotel credit manager is a far better detective.[22]

Unfortunately, clinical psychologists and other therapists appear to have little interest in playing detective, even when they realize that hypnotism often produces false memories.[Footnote 2] It is easy to see how the current disastrous situation evolved, given the attitude of psychologists such as Roy Udolf, who wrote the Handbook of Hypnosis for Professionals in 1981. "There is little support in the experimental literature," he wrote, "for many of the clinical claims made for the power of hypnosis to provide a subject with total eidetic [accurate] imagery-like recall of past events." Nonetheless, he went on to assert that "the kind of memory that hypnosis could logically be expected to enhance would be...affect-laden material that the subject has repressed...[i.e.,] traumatic early experiences." Moreover, Udolf concluded that it doesn’t matter whether such elicited memories are accurate or not. "A memory retrieved under hypnotic age regression in therapy may be quite useful to the therapeutic process even if it is distorted, inaccurate, or a total fantasy as opposed to a real memory."[23]

Age Regression: Let’s Pretend

One of the most convincing forms of hypnosis, to the observer and the subject, is age regression, in which a client is taken back in time to a sixth birthday or a traumatic incest incident at age four. During such regressions, to all appearances, the adult disappears, replaced by an innocent waif. The subject often speaks in a childish, high- pitched lisp. Handwriting becomes large and primitive. Pictures appear stick-like and lack perspective. During the reliving of a childhood trauma, a client might scream just as a toddler would and, if frightened enough, might wet her pants.

Yet there is overwhelming evidence that "age regression" is simply role playing in which an adult performs as she thinks a child would. As Robert Baker puts it, "instead of behaving like real children, [they] behave the way they believe children behave."[24] Psychologist Michael Nash has reviewed the empirical literature on age regression and has concluded that "there is no evidence for the idea that hypnosis enables subjects to accurately reexperience the events of childhood or to return to developmentally previous modes of functioning. If there is anything regressed about hypnosis, it does not seem to involve the literal return of a past psychological or physiological state." Even when hypnotically regressed subjects perform credibly, normal control subjects do just as well. As final evidence that hypnotic regression involved simple role enactment, Nash points out that "equally dramatic and subjectively compelling portrayals are given by hypnotized subjects who are told to progress to an age of 70 or 80 years."[25] Most people would agree that such age progression involves more fantasy than accurate pre-living.[26][Footnote 3]

Past Lives and Unidentified Flying Fantasies

Hypnotism has similarly proven indispensable in the search for past lives and in "remembering" UFO abductions. Although nothing is impossible -- maybe we really can remember former incarnations [Footnote 4], and perhaps aliens actually do snatch us out of our beds -- most readers will probably be more skeptical of such claims than of recovered incest memories. Yet the similarities are startling, including the reliving of sexual abuse while under hypnosis. Past-life therapists (such as Katherine Hylander, whose interview appears in Chapter 5) take people back before their births to previous centuries in which they were raped, tortured, or maimed.[27] Only by recalling and reexperiencing these terrible traumas can they be mentally healed in this life.

"It is extremely common," Jungian therapist Roger Woolger wrote in Other Lives, Other Selves (1987), "for childhood sexual traumas also to have past-life underlays. I have frequently found that the therapeutic exploration of a scene of childhood sexual abuse in this life will suddenly open up to some wretched past-life scenario such as child prostitution, ritual deflowering, brother-sister or father-daughter incest, or else child rape in any number of settings ranging from the home to the battlefield." As an example, Woolger quoted one of his clients who recalled a scene in a Russian barn during a previous life in which she was an 11-year-old peasant girl: "They’re raping me. They’re raping me. Help! Help! HELP! There are six or seven of them. They’re soldiers."[28]

Hypnotic regression to past lives has a venerable history, reaching back to 1906. Under hypnosis, Miss C., a British 26-year-old, relived the life of Blanche Poynings, a friend of Maud, Countess of Salisbury, in the late 14th century.She gave verifiable names and details. When closely analyzed, a previous source for the information was finally revealed. Miss C. had read Countess Maud, by Emily Holt, when she was 12. She had unwittingly taken virtually all of the information for her "past life" from the novel.[29]

For quite a while, the search for previous existence died down, but it received a boost in 1956 with the publication of The Search for Bridey Murphy. As with every well-documented case, it turned out that Virginia Tighe, the American woman who convincingly relived the life of the Irish Bridey -- even reproducing her brogue -- had indeed delved into her subconscious. However, what she pulled up was not a previous lifetime, but conversations with a Bridie Murphy Corkell, who had once lived across the street.

Theodore Flournoy, who debunked the earliest past-life regressions, coined the term cryptomnesia [30][Footnote 5] for this inadvertent mixing of prior knowledge with past lives. Elizabeth Loftus calls the same process "unconscious transference," while other psychologists use the term "source amnesia."[31]

Regardless of what we call the phenomenon, it offers intriguing evidence that the mind is indeed capable of storing unconscious memories that can be dredged up during hypnosis, though Virginia Tighe’s memories of her neighbor presumably weren’t "repressed," because they weren’t traumatic. Those who are recounting tales of their previous lives invariably have read a book, seen a movie, or heard a story about that era or personality. Given the expectation that they will relive another life, their fertile imaginations combine this knowledge with other mental tidbits to create a feasible story. Those who are told to expect some trauma in a previous life add an appropriate rape, suffocation, or burning at the stake to the stew. This is probably not, in most cases, a conscious process of confabulation, because the subjects insist that they have no knowledge of the particular historical period. Similarly, people who are retrieving repressed memories of abuse routinely combine reality with fantasy. They mix their own childhood photographs, stories they have heard, real memories, and stereotyped scenes from Sybil or The Courage to Heal into a satisfactory scene.

As a further indication of human credulity, among the earliest practitioners of past-life regression was Colonel Albert de Rochas, who hypnotized clients near the turn of the century. Rochas thought he could literally progress his clients into the future.[32] Perhaps if we can pre-live the traumas that will be forthcoming in our lives, we might heal ourselves properly now -- and confront the evil perpetrator before he has a chance to act!

Similarly, although I consider UFO abduction memories to be far-fetched products of hypnosis, many well-educated, otherwise rational professionals, including Temple University history professor David Jacobs and Harvard psychiatrist John Mack, believe in such events. They have proof. They have heard their clients recall the abductions while hypnotized. In his 1992 book, Secret Life: Firsthand Documented Accounts of UFO Abductions, Jacobs describes his clients in terms that should sound familiar by now:

"They were all people who had experienced great pain.They seemed to be suffering from...a combination of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and the terror that comes from being raped. Nearly all of them felt as if they had been victimized. As I listened to them, I found myself sharing in their emotionally wrenching experiences. I heard people sob with fear and anguish, and seethe with hatred of their tormentors. They had endured enormous psychological [and sometimes physical] pain and suffering. I was profoundly touched by the depth of emotion that they showed duringthe regressions."[33]

Similarly, in Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens (1994), John Mack is impressed by "the intensity of the energies and emotions involved as abductees relive their experiences," in which they report being grabbed against their will and "subjected to elaborate intrusive procedures which appeared to have a reproductive purpose." Mack acknowledges the similarity to repressed memories of sexual abuse. In one case, he says, a woman went to a therapist "for presumed sexual abuse and incest-related problems. Several hypnosis sessions failed to reveal evidence of such events." Instead, however, she recalled being abducted by aliens when she was six. Mack stresses that the UFO therapist must have "warmth and empathy, a belief in the ability of the individual to integrate these confusing experiences and make meaning of them...and a willingness to enter into the co-investigative process."[34]

For abductee therapists, that willingness leads to a memory-retrieval process that sounds awfully familiar to those who have listened to recovered-memory survivors. Here is one alien abductee’s description of the experience:

It was...common for us to seek [memories] out where they were - buried in a form of amnesia. Often we did this through hypnosis...And what mixed feelings we had as we faced those memories! Almost without exception we felt terrified as we relived these traumatic events, a sense of being overwhelmed by their impact. But there was also disbelief. This can’t be real. I must be dreaming. This isn’t happening. Thus began the vacillation and self-doubt, the alternating periods of skepticism and belief as we tried to incorporate our memories into our sense of who we are and what we know.[35]

I am sure that David Jacobs and John Mack feel real empathy for these people who truly believe that they have been taken to UFOs and forcibly subjected to bizarre sexual experimentation.[36][Footnote 6] But their findings seem only to confirm what is already known about hypnotism -- that subjects tend to "remember" whatever the hypnotist is looking for. The pain is real -- regardless of whether the memories are of past lives, UFO abductions, or incest by parents -- but it was probably prompted and encouraged through the dubious means of hypnotic "regression." Investigators such as Jacobs and Mack dupe themselves and others because they genuinely want to help people, especially if, in the process, they can feel that they are also exploring uncharted territory.

Facilitated Communication and the Human Ouija Board

That same combination -- yearning to save the helpless victim while venturing near the cutting edge of an exciting new discipline -- has resulted in the questionable practice of "facilitated communication," known familiarly as "FC," which purports to allow those afflicted with autism and cerebral palsy to write their thoughts.

In 1989, Syracuse University education professor Douglas Biklen brought the technique back from Australia, where it had been invented by Rosemary Crossley. Not surprisingly, millions of parents latched onto the hope provided by FC. In a few short years, it has become a near-religion.

In this technique, a "facilitator," usually a special education teacher, helps support the hand or arm of the autistic child. By sensing where the hand wants to go, the facilitator can help guide the finger to the appropriate letter on a keyboard. According to its advocates, this method has, miraculously, allowed those formerly locked in a silent world to communicate. Students who appeared to have IQs hovering around retarded levels could suddenly write essays on Shakespeare and learn calculus.

Unfortunately, carefully conducted, controlled experiments have shown conclusively that FC is a fraud, even though it was presumably advanced with honorable intentions.[37] It works only when the facilitator knows the answer and can see the keyboard. When an autistic child and a facilitator are shown different objects, the facilitator invariably types what she has seen. If only the child is shown an object, the correct answer is never forthcoming.[Footnote 7] These results have shocked and saddened many facilitators, who genuinely believed in the process. Others, including Biklen, refuse to give up on it, convinced that FC works only in non-stressful, non-experimental conditions, with the proper established rapport, so it can never be tested.

The flap over FC might simply be an alarming example of a human Ouija board if false allegations of sexual abuse had not sprung from the process.[38] In over 70 cases across North America, Europe, and Australia, autistic children have typed out messages that are an exact verbal analogue of the role enactments we’ve just seen in hypnotic age regression. "Dad suk my prik," a typical example reads. "He give luv to my butt." Douglas Biklen is largely responsible for such allegations, because he warns his trainees to be on the lookout for abuse. In his 1993 book, Communication Unbound, he writes that 10 out of his initial 75 students -- i.e., 13 percent -- alleged sexual abuse through FC.[39]

Biklen is mild, however, compared to some FC proponents, who have written that "there is a better than 100 percent likelihood that a disabled child will be molested before he or she is eighteen. Facilitated Communication is confirming those statistics."[40] Primed with such expectations, the facilitators suspect that the helpless, non-communicative autistic child -- a perfect victim for abuse -- is being molested at home.[41] And so the facilitated accusations pour out. In some cases, autistic girls with intact hymens have supposedly been subjected to hundreds of parental rapes. The impact of one such facilitated message on a family’s life is chronicled in Chapter 7.

The allegations generated by facilitated communication serve as a metaphor for the repressed memory search. Although the facilitator may not be consciously creating the accusations, the words are in fact coming directly from the facilitator’s mind, not the child’s. In similar fashion, therapists may have no idea that they are implanting memories of abuse.

In every introductory psychology textbook, college freshmen can read the story of Clever Hans, the ingenious horse. Using flash cards and counting frames, his owner, one Herr von Osten, had taught Hans to read, add, and subtract. By 1904, after four years of intensive tutorials, the horse could answer questions put to him about geography, history, science, literature, math, or current events. Hans tapped his hoof a certain number of times for each letter, and he tossed his head up and down for "yes" and from side to side for "no." Herr von Osten was thoroughly convinced that his horse was a genius. So were many eminent psychologists and zoologists, who walked away from demonstrations as believers. After all, Hans answered questions correctly even when his owner was nowhere near. The equable equine even got the right answers when questions were asked in languages other than his (presumably) native German. Only psychologist Oskar Pfungst remained skeptical. Like researchers on facilitated communication, he found that Hans could only answer correctly if the questioner knew the answer. He eventually discovered that Hans could not answer any question when he wore a blindfold. It turned out that the horse was picking up subtle, inadvertent cues from his audience -- a raised eyebrow or glance upward when the proper number of hoof-taps had been reached, a slight nod or shake of the head to indicate "yes" or "no." Hans was indeed a gifted horse, but not in the way Herr von Osten thought. So, too, are hypnotic subjects gifted -- with vivid imaginations and the capacity to pick up on subtle, inadvertent cues. [42]

Dream Work

Ever since Joseph saved Egypt by properly interpreting the Pharaoh’s dreams -- and probably long before that -- humans have sought deep meanings from the strange stories they picture in their sleep. In our dreams, anything is possible. We can fly, jump through time, read other people’s thoughts. Animals can talk, objects appear and disappear quickly, one thing metamorphoses quickly into something else. Sometimes our dreams are exciting, sexy, or soothing. Often, they are bizarre and frightening. What are we to make of them?

No one really knows, not even the most renowned dream researchers who shake people awake to ask what they’re experiencing when their REM (rapid eye movements) indicate that they are in an active dreaming state. Allan Hobson, a Harvard psychiatrist and dream expert, believes that dreams represent "creative confabulations." In his books, The Dreaming Brain and The Chemistry of Conscious States, Hobson explores how molecules such as amines control our waking consciousness, while acetylcholine appears to dominate our dream state. We do not remember our dreams (other than those we rehearse immediately upon awakening) because the necessary amines aren’t available. Our dreams do not represent real-life events. Rather, the chemicals in our brains apparently throw us into a dreaming state automatically every 90 minutes or so. "Every mental product (including dreams) is in some way meaningful," Hobson wrote to me in 1995, "but meanings cannot be confidently determined by either face-value reading or by complex decoding."[43]

Such cautions have not prevented various dream interpreters, including Freud, from asserting with great authority that dream ingredients symbolize certain objects, emotions or events. For example, a skyscraper represents a penis. In the second century, Artemidorus used the same kind of logic. For him, a foot meant a slave, while a head indicated a father. The kinky ancient Egyptians apparently dreamed frequently of sexual congress with various animals. One papyrus explained, "If an ass couples with her, she will be punished for a great fault. If a he-goat couple with her, she will die promptly."[44] Modern trauma therapists also use sexual dreams as a form of interpretation. They tell their clients to be particularly aware of any night visions that could be interpreted as sexual abuse. This is called "dream work." Not too surprisingly, such dreams are often forthcoming. "Oh, my God!" the woman reports in therapy. "It’s all true! In my dream last night, my Dad and uncle were taking turns having sex with me. And I was just a little kid!" Such dreams are taken as recovered memories and presumed to represent literal truth, even though some events seem unlikely -- in one well-publicized case, for instance, a daughter recalled being raped by her mother, who was equipped with a penis.[45]

But if these dreams don’t necessarily stem from repressed memories of actual events, where do they come from? From the same place that spawns hypnotically guided fantasies -- the fertile and overwhelmed imagination. Here is someone feverishly working on her memory recovery, reading books describing horrible abuse, her life consumed with the possibility that her father did something to her. As Calvin Hall noted in The Meaning of Dreams, "It has been fairly well established that some aspects of the dream are usually connected with events of the previous day or immediate past." It is not surprising that someone with an obsession about incest would dream about it. Hall also warned that "dreams should never be read for the purpose of constructing a picture of objective reality," but therapists and patients eager for repressed memories ignore such advice.[46]

The role of expectation in all aspects of memory recovery is crucial.[Footnote 8] What we expect to see, we see, as Joseph Jastrow observed in his 1935 classic, Wish and Wisdom: "Everywhere, once committed by whatever route, the prepossessed mind finds what it looks for."[47] Elizabeth Loftus tells the true story of two bear hunters at dusk, walking along a train in the woods. Tired and frustrated, they had seen no bear. As they rounded a bend in the train, they spotted a large object about 25 yards away, shaking and grunting. Simultaneously, they raised their rifles and fired. But the "bear" turned out to be a yellow tent with a man and woman making love inside. The woman was killed.[48] As psychologist Irving Kirsch notes, "response expectancy theory" explains how "when we expect to feel anxious, relaxed, joyful, or depressed, our expectations tend to produce those feelings."[49] At its extreme, such a mindset can even lead to self-induced death, as has been well-documented among tribes in which those under a powerful curse fulfill it by wasting away and dying, unless some way to reverse the curse can be found.[50]

Similarly, when we expect to have a particular type of dream, we tend to perform accordingly. As Jerome Frank notes in Persuasion and Healing, patients routinely give their therapists the dreams they want. "The dream the therapist hears is, of course, not necessarily the one the patient dreamed," Frank explains, "since considerable time has usually elapsed between the dream and its report. One study compared dreams reported immediately upon awakening with the versions unfolded before a psychiatrist in a subsequent interview. Any material the patient anticipated would not be approved was not recalled."[51] In his classic 1957 text, Battle for the Mind, psychiatrist William Sargant described an acquaintance who had entered first Freudian, then Jungian therapy. "His contemporary notes show that dreams he had under Freudian treatment varied greatly from those he had under Jungian treatment; and he denies having experienced the same dreams before or since." Sargant concluded: "The increased suggestibility of the patient may help the therapist not only to change his conscious thinking, but even to direct his dream life."[52]

Therapist Renee Fredrickson certainly believes in such directives. "You can also prime your dream pump, so to speak," she writes in Repressed Memories. "Before you got to sleep at night, visualize yourself as a little child...Then suggest that your inner child show you in a dream what you need to know about the abuse." Nor does the dream abuse have to be obvious. Fredrickson describes how Diane reported a dream in which "she was on her hands and knees in a kitchen, washing the floor. Floating in the air were green U-shaped neon objects. Her father was standing next to a large mirror over the sink, watching her." Eventually, Diane interpreted her dream as follows: "My father raped me in the evenings when I was cleaning the kitchen...He would make me crawl around naked while he watched in the mirror. I also believe the green neon things are about a time he put a cucumber in me."[53]

Sleep Paralysis

Another fascinating form of semi-dream, which typically occurs in the twilight state between waking and sleeping, accounts for many "repressed memories." The psychological term is either a "hypnogogic" or "Hypnopompic" state, respectively referring to the time just before sleep or prior to waking, but more commonly it is just called "sleep paralysis." During this curious in-between semi-conscious state, people often report chilling vision.[Footnote 9]

Robert Baker describes the phenomenon: "First, the hallucinations always occur [just] before or after falling asleep. Second, the hallucinator is paralyzed or has difficulty moving...Finally, the hallucinator is unalterably convinced of the reality of the entire event." The vision’s content is often related to the dreamer’s current concerns. In one study, as many as 67 percent of a normal sample population reported at least one experience of sleep paralysis, with its attendant hallucinations.[54] Many people experience sleep paralysis during the day, particularly if they take afternoon naps. Those with narcolepsy -- a relatively common disorder characterized by brief involuntary periods of sleep during the day, with difficulties resting at night -- are particularly prone to these frightening hallucinations.

The word "nightmare" actually stems from sleep paralysis. A "mare," or demon, was supposed to terrorize people -- mostly women -- by sitting on their breasts, making it difficult to breathe. Often, the mare was an incubus or succubus who also forced the frightened sleeper into sexual intercourse. The following is a 1763 description of the phenomenon:

The night mare generally seizes people sleeping on their backs, and often begins with frightful dreams, which are soon succeeded by a difficult respiration, a violent oppression on the breast, and a total privation of voluntary motion. In this agony they sigh, groan, utter indistinct sounds [until] they escape out of that dreadful torpid state. As soon as they shake off the vast oppression, and are able to move the body, they are affected by strong palpitation, great anxiety, languor, and uneasiness.[55]

David Hufford has written an entire book about sleep paralysis, The Terror That Comes in the Night. His 1973 interview with Caroline, a young graduate student, sounds quite similar to the reports of many "incest survivors." When Caroline woke up one day, she reports, "I felt like there was a man next to me with his arm underneath my back, and holding my left arm." His smell was quite distinct, "all sweaty and kind of dusty." When she tried to move, he gripped her arm tighter. "Now if I move again, he’s going to rape me," she thought. She tried to scream, but she could make no sound. "Then he was on top of me, and I tried to look up to see who it was or something...I could just see this -- it looked like a white mask. Like a big white mask." After several minutes of this horrible experience, Caroline "felt sort of released, you know. And I -- I could sit up, and I got the feeling there was nobody there."[56] In the 1990s, such experiences are frequently interpreted as "flashbacks" or "body memories," and women are encouraged to visualize a face to fill in the blank mask.

Other "evidence" of repressed memories also relates to sleep -- or its lack. In The Courage to Heal, Ellen Bass and Laura Davis quote one typical woman’s experience as she obsessed over possible repressed memories: "I just lost it completely. I wasn’t eating. I wasn’t sleeping."[57] Sleep deprivation is a well-established technique used in brainwashing. As sleep expert Alexander Borbely writes, chronic lack of sleep blurs the borderline between sleeping and waking, "so that the kind of hallucinations that often occur at the moment of falling asleep now begin to invade the waking state as well ...the floor appears to be covered with spider webs; faces appear and disappear. Auditory illusions also occur." In addition, "when sleep deprivation experiments last more than four days, delusions can manifest themselves, in addition to the disturbances of perception. The participants grow increasingly suspicious and begin to believe that things are going on behind their backs."[58]

Flashbacks or Visions?

It is likely, then, that many of the so-called "flashbacks" reported as repressed memories are the result of sleep deprivation, combined with expectancy. Flashbacks themselves have been widely misunderstood. Even in the case of war veterans, these very real terrors, often triggered by the sound of an explosion, are not the reliving of actual events. Rather, they are worst-fear scenarios, as John MacCurdy pointed out in his classic 1918 book, War Neuroses.[59] MacCurdy called such moments "visions," arguably a more accurate term than flashback. Similarly, psychiatrists treating World War II veterans found that leading patients to dramatically "relive" fictional events seemed to help them as much as recalling a real trauma. One man who had been in a tank regiment vividly visualized being trapped in a burning tank. "This had never actually happened, though it must have been a persistent fear of his throughout the campaign," his doctor noted.[60] Similarly, under the influence of sodium Amytal, a 35-year-old Vietnam combat veteran "lived out" a feared fantasy of having been captured and tortured by the Viet Cong, though nothing like that had actually happened to him.[61]

An even more interesting war-related case occurred recently. In a Vietnam veteran’s support group, Ed recounted how he had watched a buddy’s head explode during a firefight. He had relived this and other harrowing memories in therapy. But when one of his group members called Ed’s parents for help in staging a surprise birthday party, his mother said, "What? He’s in a veterans’ recovery group? But he was rated 4-F. He never was allowed to go to Vietnam!" Even when confronted in the group, however, Ed maintained that his story was true. He had fantasized his "flashbacks" so successfully that they had become real.[62-63][Footnote 10]

Body Memories and Panic Attacks

People who are trying to recover repressed memories are often told that "the body remembers what the mind forgets," particularly in cases of abuse suffered as a pre-verbal infant. These "body memories" can take the form of virtually any form of physical ailment, from stomach aches to stiff joints. As I document in Chapter 10, psychosomatic complaints such as these have always been common in Western culture and almost invariably accompany general unhappiness and anxiety. Add to this the "expectancy effect," and it isn’t surprising that during the "abreaction" or reliving of an event, a woman might feel terrible pelvic pain, or a man might experience a burning anus.

Those in search of memories often submit to massages by experienced "body workers," who can trigger feelings either by light touch or deeper muscle manipulation. "An area of your body may get hot or feel numb," Renee Fredrickson assures readers in Repressed Memories. "Powerful emotions may sweep over you, causing you to weep or even cry out." It is certainly true that people can experience profound, inexplicable emotions while they are being massaged, particularly if they are tense and unhappy in general. When they let down their guards and relax, allowing intimate touch by a stranger, they often do weep. Given the admonition to be on the lookout for any stray sensation, many subjects have no difficulty locating and interpreting various body memories. Fredrickson gives two examples: "She [Sarah] was undergoing a passive form of body work involving laying on of hands when she had a slowly burgeoning sense of rage at her father for abusing her." Later on, Sarah discovered that the "exquisite sensitivity" of her toes was caused by her grandfather having shoved a wood chip under her toenail.[64]

Some "body memories" take the form of rashes or welts that fit particular memory scenarios. The mind can apparently produce remarkable and sometimes quite specific effects of the body. As I already mentioned, hypnotic suggestion can actually remove warts, while some people can consciously control their pulse rates, respiration, or blood flow.[65] Some observers claim to have documented cases of "stigmata" -- replicating the wounds of Christ -- that, if true, indicate how mental concentration can even cause spontaneous bleeding. As Ian Wilson writes in All In the Mind, "the nail-wounds in the hands have varied from simple red spots in some to complete penetrations of the flesh in others, again taking every conceivable shape -- oval, round, square, oblong." These shapes usually correspond to the wounds portrayed on the crucifix before which the stigmatic worships.[66]

One such case involved Elizabeth K., who entered therapy with psychiatrist Alfred Lechler in 1928 when she was 26. Since her early teens, she had suffered from headaches, nausea, paralyses, blackouts, and bowel disorders. By the time she came to see Dr. Lechler, Elizabeth suffered from insomnia and had attempted suicide. She proved to be highly suggestible, with a tendency to take on any medical symptoms she heard about. Lechler hypnotized her, getting her to produce the classic stigmata of Christ. Later, after she had returned to normal consciousness, the psychiatrist asked her to picture bloodstained tears. Within a few hours, blood welled up inside Elizabeth’s eyelids and poured down her cheeks.[67][Footnote 11][68] In Michelle Remembers, Michelle Smith evidently possessed similar powers, producing a red rash on her neck that her psychiatrist interpreted as a welt left by the devil’s tail.[69]

Nothing so dramatic need account for most "body memories," however. One of the most common was recounted by A.G. Britton in her article, "The Terrible Truth." She experienced a choking sensation and interpreted that as evidence that her father had forced his penis into her mouth when she was a baby. It turns out, though, that a constricted throat is one nearly universal human reaction to fear and anxiety. In fact, the word "anxious" derives from the Latin word meaning "to strangle."[70] This classic symptom -- an inability to swallow and the feeling of being choked -- is now one of the diagnostic symptoms for panic disorders. For hundreds of years it was called, among other things, globus hystericus, because it felt as though a ball were rising from the abdomen and lodging in the throat.

Many people who fear that they may have been abused suffer repeated panic attacks at unexpected moments and, with their therapists’ encouragement, interpret them as repressed memories surging forth from the subconscious. Yet these little-understood episodes are extremely common. As psychologist David Barlow points out in his comprehensive text, Anxiety and Its Disorders, "Anxiety disorders represent the single largest mental health problem in the country, far outstripping depression." In Western cultures, reports of this affliction are much more common among women than among men, although that is not so in Eastern countries. Recent surveys indicate that 35 percent of Americans report having experienced panic attacks.[71] Unfortunately, those seeking help for severe anxiety disorders are frequently misdiagnosed, seeing an average of ten doctors or therapists before receiving appropriate help (See Chapter 13 for resources).[72]

As listed in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, familiarly known as the DSM-IV, the symptoms experienced during panic attacks (four or more being sufficient by the official definition) sound like a checklist for what trauma therapists interpret as body memories:[73]

(1) palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate,
(2) sweating,
(3) trembling or shaking,
(4) sensations of shortness of breath or smothering,
(5) feeling of choking,
(6) chest pain or discomfort,
(7) nausea or abdominal distress,
(8) feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint,
(9) derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself),
(10) fear of losing control or going crazy,
(11) fear of dying,
(12) paresthesias (numbness or tingling sensations),
(13) chills or hot flushes. [75]

Surprisingly, Barlow reports that "the overwhelming evidence is that many phobias and the majority of fears are not learned through a traumatic experience." Instead, panic attacks appear to stem from contemporarily stressful life situations and a fearful mindset -- though biological factors and early childhood trauma may contribute to a predisposition to anxiety disorders. Psychologists Aaron Beck and Gary Emery give an example of a typical episode involving a 40-year-old man who, while on the ski slopes, began to feel shortness of breath, profuse perspiration, and faintness. He thought he was having a heart attack. In the midst of this, he had a vivid image of himself lying in a hospital bed with an oxygen mask. It transpired that this man’s brother had just died of a heart attack, and he feared the same might happen to him.

Similarly, people who think they may have repressed memories fear that they may be like others they know (or have read about or seen on television). They, too, may be unknowing incest victims who will have flashbacks. For such people, panic attacks are often triggered when they become over-tired or over-stressed and spontaneously envision images of their worst fears, which, in turn, provoke even more anxiety. "Once the fear reaction has started," Beck and Emery write, "it tends to build on itself." These "autonomous" images then "persist without the patient’s being able to stop them," and they seem utterly real, "as though the traumatic episode were actually occurring in the present."[74]

After the first attack of this inexplicable fear, a vicious cycle can commence in which the very fear of another episode provokes it. This would be particularly likely for a woman who is extremely stressed by the idea that she might have been sexually abused and is minutely aware of every bodily and emotional twinge. As David Barlow notes, "self-focused attention greatly increases sensitivity to bodily sensations and other aspects of internal experience. Furthermore, this sensitivity...quickly spreads to other aspects of the self, such as self-evaluative concerns." Barlow calls this process a "negative feedback cycle" which leads to a chronic feeling of helplessness, dependence, and self-absorption.[75] As Ann Seagrave and Faison Covington -- two women who have overcome their panic attacks -- write in Free from Fears, "We can become frightened to such a degree that we learn to monitor every twitch, every ache, and it is in that way that we often scare ourselves needlessly."[76]

One final point related to panic attacks seems quite puzzling. Attacks are often triggered by deep relaxation exercises such as those which induce hypnosis or guided imagery sessions. In one study, 67 percent of a group of panic-disorder patients experienced three or more symptoms while listening to a relaxation tape. As David Barlow notes, "relaxation is surely the strangest of panic provocation procedures." He hypothesizes that it may be caused by fear of losing control.[77] Whatever the reason, this finding certainly relates to therapy clients who are led to a "safe place" during deep relaxation exercises. It contributes to our understanding of why they might experience panic attacks during the process.

The scope of what recovered memory therapists sometimes label "body memories" is staggering, encompassing virtually every illness or somatic complaint. If you have cancer, asthma, multiple sclerosis, or even AIDS, you may have contracted it because of your undiagnosed repressed memories of sexual abuse. The same applies to tight muscles, stuttering, facial tics, chronic headaches, or diarrhea. Some women have recovered memories (and sued for same) after being jarred in an auto accident. Or "body memories" can be extraordinarily vague, including the awkward way one moves. One woman’s dance instructor diagnosed her as having repressed memories from observing her in practice.[78]

Symptoms: Pickle Aversion and Eating Disorders

For many potential "Survivors," neither hypnotism nor panic attacks are necessary to believe the unbelievable. Belief that they must have been molested as children is sometimes enough, without specific "memories." In fact, as we have seen in Chapter 1, Ellen Bass and Laura Davis inform their readers that symptoms are sufficient to diagnose repressed memories, regardless of whether they are ever visualized. And herein lies an important point: belief always precedes memory, and is often sufficient unto itself. That is why the therapeutic or self-help process is largely a matter of re-education.

That is why recovered-memory therapist Charles Whitfield often spends over an hour carefully reviewing the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder with his clients, encouraging them to identify with the symptoms. Not only does this give him a ready-made diagnosis that an insurance company will pay for, but it labels the client a victim of PTSD who must seek memories as an explanation. "Oh, my God, is this what it is?" they exclaim. "Oh, does this explain a lot of things to me now!" It is, as Whitfield tells his audiences, "like doing a jigsaw puzzle, and you start to put the last piece of the puzzle in there, and now you can see the big picture."[79] From there, it is a small, almost inevitable step to some form of abuse memory retrieval.

As a species, human beings seem to have a natural desire for explanations. As soon as they can speak, children begin pestering their parents with "Why? Why? Why?" Often, there is no simple answer, but patients seeking therapy are highly motivated to find specific reasons for their unhappiness so that they can "fix" it. When therapists tell them that they have all the "symptoms" of an incest survivor, they can easily believe it. So that’s why my marriage is so difficult, why I yell at my children, why I can’t hold a job, why I have low self-esteem, why I feel uncomfortable at family reunions! Now everything falls into place.

It’s an answer that can be adapted to fit almost any question. Holly Ramona, a young California woman whose father successfully sued her therapists, doesn’t like pickles, whole bananas, mayonnaise, cream soups, melted cheese, or white sauce. According to Lenore Terr and Holly’s therapists, her eating habits are compelling evidence that her father forced oral sex on her as a child, because pickles and bananas are penis-shaped, and mayonnaise, creamy soups, and white sauce resemble semen.[80] Of course, this logic could be used to label most of the children in the United States as incest survivors. I don’t like bananas, either, and I don’t like cooked okra because it’s so slimy, but I do not regard these personal aversions as evidence of childhood molestation.

In addition to her distaste for pickles and bananas, Holly Ramona entered therapy with a full-blown eating disorder. She was bulimic, eating large amounts of food and then vomiting in a terrible binge/purge cycle. Both bulimia and anorexia -- self-starvation -- have become epidemic ailments, particularly among young women, in late-20th-century America. The reasons for such eating disorders are complicated, but they clearly have a great deal to do with societal pressure on women to remain abnormally thin. For quite a while, the conventional wisdom held that women with eating disorders had over-protective, over-involved mothers. In the last few years, however, the blame has been shifted from mothers to fathers. Many therapists consider eating disorders a nearly fool-proof symptom of childhood incest. Holly Ramona’s therapist told her that 80 percent of all eating-disorder patients had been sexually abused.

Dr. William C. Rader, a self-styled expert, has written that "approximately 85 percent of eating disordered patients have been sexually or physically abused."[81] He derived this statistic by surveying patients attending his own "Rader Institute," thirteen eating disorder units located in Alabama, California, Texas, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, Washington, and Massachusetts.[82] When I spoke to a psychiatric nurse at a Florida unit, she told me that 90 to 95 percent of their clients found repressed memories of sexual abuse during their stay.[83] Rader is clearly relying on a self-perpetuating set of statistics, created by his own belief system.[Footnote 12]

Indeed, many of the inpatient eating disorder units throughout the United States -- well over 200 -- are virtual memory mills, with incest survivor groups meeting daily.[84] The ads for such institutions make their assumptions clear. "Shades of Hope is an all addiction treatment center, specializing in the treatment of Eating Disorders, Co-Dependency, and Survivors of Childhood Abuse," reads one. Another promised: "At The Meadows our ’family of origin’ therapy uncovers original childhood traumas which often are at the root of eating disorders."[85]

Yet there is no scientific evidence that eating disorders stem from childhood molestation, as Harvard psychiatrists Harrison Pope and James Hudson, specialists in the field, have repeatedly stressed. "Current evidence does not support the hypothesis that childhood sexual abuse is a risk factor for bulimia nervosa," they wrote in a 1992 article in the American Journal of Psychiatry. There are "no differences in the prevalence of childhood sexual abuse between bulimic patients and the general population."[86] Despite such findings, thousands of vulnerable women desperate for help with their eating disorders continue to search for repressed memories.

This search is particularly unfortunate, since many patients with eating disorders respond to conventional medical treatment with anti-serotonin uptake drugs such as Prozac. In a 1995 article, Susan McElroy and Paul Keck describe three case studies of women with eating or obsessive-compulsive disorders, all of whom initially believed that they harbored repressed memories. All three responded quickly to medical treatment.[87]

I will end with a cautionary tale recounted by psychologist Kay Thompson. A female client sought therapy for help with a dental gag reflex which prevented dentists from working on her. Under hypnosis, she revealed that the gagging started soon after she received a tonsillectomy when she was seven years old. Having located the psychic root of the problem, the hypnotist suggested that it would no longer bother her and, indeed, the symptoms disappeared. When she told her family doctor about this miraculous cure, however, he told her she had never had her tonsils removed.[88] Similarly, several young women with intact hymens have "remembered" multiple childhood rapes.[89] The moral: it is all too easy to identify the root cause for a current symptom, even though it may be incorrect. There is no way to determine simple causality for human behavior.


In conjunction with suggestive therapy, drugs can significantly increase the likelihood of illusory incest memories. Even without such overt suggestion, physicians and therapists have long recognized that strong sedative compounds can lead to false accusations. "When my father went to medical school in the early 1930s," psychiatrist Harrison Pope says, "he was admonished never to administer nitrous oxide or other anesthetic agent without a chaperone in the room because of the risk a female patient might wake up and claim that she had been sexually abused." Recently, a number of British doctors have been accused of abuse by women given midazolam (Versed), even though there were several witnesses in the room who saw no such behavior.[90] Considering the substantial doses of mind- and mood-altering drugs that many depressed people are given nowadays, it is not surprising that they are more suggestible. Many women I interviewed reported that they were "walking zombies" because of the multiple drugs they were taking while in therapy or on a psychiatric ward.

The most widely used "memory aid" drugs intentionally used by recovered memory therapists are barbiturates, notably sodium Amytal. American psychiatrist Eric Lindemann introduced sodium pentothal and other barbiturates into psychology in the 1930s. Because Lindemann considered his patients unable to refuse to answer questions while drugged, he believed they could not lie. Hence, the drugs became known as "truth serum," and the popular press spread this misinformation quickly. "Narco-synthesis" and "narco-analysis" were the new pseudoscientific buzzwords for abreactive sessions using the drugs.[91]

In fact, Amytal interviews are even more likely than simple hypnosis to produce confabulations. The barbiturates do not magically enhance memory. Like hypnosis, they simply render the subject more relaxed and suggestible. According to psychiatrist August Piper, Jr., Amytal produces "slurred speech, drowsiness, a feeling of warmth, distorted memory, and an altered time-sense." In other words, it creates a state "similar to alcohol intoxication." Many therapists continue to tell their clients that the drugs actually do promote only true memories, however. As a consequence, a 1991 Ohio jury convicted a psychiatrist of malpractice for injecting a patient over 140 times with "truth serum" to help uncover her repressed memories.[92]

Cognitive Dissonance and Group Contagion

All of the methods discussed thus far can contribute to false belief in sexual abuse, but all of them are reinforced and amplified by the general social context. As Jerome Frank writes in the introduction to Persuasion and Healing, "man is a domestic creature, with infinite social and cultural involvements. He is continually and crucially influencing others and being influenced by others."[93] A full understanding of the memory manipulation process requires examination of such interpersonal pressures.

In 1957, Leon Festinger published A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance, which offered an intriguing explanation of how and why people can radically change their opinions. Normally, we maintain an internally consistent world-view. When we experience some kind of disequilibrium -- when one of our central beliefs is somehow challenged -- it results in an internal conflict that Festinger termed "cognitive dissonance." The more important and dramatic the conflict, the greater the magnitude of the dissonance. When we suffer such massive internal tension, we must come down on one side or the other, or go insane.

Certainly, there could be no greater cognitive dissonance than that produced by the Incest Survivor Movement. A woman is suddenly asked to believe that her father, previously regarded as someone who loved and protected her, raped her throughout her childhood. In The Courage to Heal, Ellen Bass and Laura Davis document the intolerable confusion and upheaval this causes. "The hardest thing was accepting the fact that someone I loved and cherished -- my father -- could have violated me so deeply," one woman told them. Another said, "It’s like you’re dissolving and there’s nothing to hold on to." A third confessed that "trying to fit the new reality into the shattered framework of the old was enough to catapult me into total crisis. I felt my whole foundation had been stolen from me." Recall the story of Emily, already recounted in chapter 1. "Every time Emily spoke to her parents she became ill -- the conflict between what she knew inside and what they presented was too great." Her solution was to cut off all contact with her parents and seek reassurance from her therapist.[94]

In order to produce the initial dissonance, of course, one has to accept the idea that has been seeded in one’s mind. Festinger points out that if the seed-bearer is "seen as expert or very knowledgeable about such matters, the dissonance between knowledge of his contrary opinion and one’s own opinion will be greater." Once a situation of intolerable internal conflict exists, the sufferer is under intense pressure to choose one side or the other. Something has to give.

"When dissonance is present," Festinger adds, "in addition to trying to reduce it, the person will actively avoid situation and information which would likely increase the dissonance." Simultaneously, she will seek out those who reinforce her new belief system. This insight helps to explain why people with newly found memories cut off all old friends who express even the mildest doubts. Festinger points out a paradoxical truth -- the greater the underlying dissonance, the more confidence a person must feel in the decision to opt for a new world view, and the less likely she will be to reverse that decision.[95] Once you become an Incest Survivor, in other words, it becomes unbearable to consider that you might be wrong. You are stuck with your new identity. To turn back would renew the confusion.

In his classic 1984 text, Influence, social psychologist Robert Cialdini makes a similar point. "Once we have made a choice or taken a stand, we will encounter personal and interpersonal pressures to behave consistently with that commitment. Those pressures will cause us to respond in ways that justify our earlier decision."[96] One retractor’s revealing comment in a letter to her father illustrates this principle. "Right after I brought the lie [the accusation] into the open, I began to doubt its truth. But I couldn’t believe that I would do such a thing. I couldn’t believe I was capable of making up such a lie, believing it, and then taking it to the lengths I did."[97]

"The social group is at once a major source of cognitive dissonance for the individual," Festinger wrote, "and a major vehicle for eliminating and reducing the dissonance." Bass and Davis repeatedly emphasize how important such groups are. "Being in a group with other survivors can be a powerful way to vanquish shame. When you hear other women talk about their abuse and are not disgusted, and when you see those same women listen to your story with respect, you begin to see yourself as a proud survivor."[98] This social reinforcement is key to the Incest Survivor Movement. "Social support is particularly easy to obtain when a rather large number of persons who associate together are all in the same situation," Festinger notes. "If everyone believes it, it most certainly must be true."[99]

In Motel Nirvana, her 1995 exploration of American New Age beliefs, British author Melanie McGrath makes an incisive observation of how anyone could be swayed within a restricted group setting:

I don’t think anyone is immune to implausible beliefs, however rational and willful they think themselves to be. It is an easy matter to deny everything you thought you knew and to believe its contra- diction rather than to live out your days in bottomless isolation. Only the most rare of individuals will stand up for a belief when all around are declaring its opposite, for most of us feel more anxious to be at ease with each other than we do with ourselves.[100]

It is truly remarkable how suggestible people become in groups, as Solomon Asch demonstrated in a series of 1956 experiments. Eight college students, assembled in a group were shown a simple line, then asked to specify which of three alternative lines were the same length. Although the answer was obvious, seven of the students, who were coached ahead of time, answered incorrectly. The real subject of the experiment always reported next to last. Seventy-five percent of these subjects gave an incorrect answer at least once, although when they performed the test alone, they always chose the correct response. "At first I thought I had the wrong instructions," one student said, "then that something was wrong with my eyes and my head."[101]

Near the end of his rather dry book, Festinger relates a fascinating story about a small sect of people who believed that alien "Guardians" from outer space would arrive at a specific time to whisk them off to another planet just before a huge flood. Prior to this predicted cataclysm, the sect members avoided publicity while quietly preparing for their departure. After the flying saucer and flood repeatedly failed to appear, they reacted in an unexpected manner.

"A message arrived from God which, in effect, said that he had saved the world and stayed the flood because of this group and the light and strength they had spread throughout the world that night." As a result they now became avid publicity seekers, announcing their epiphany. Festinger explains this illogical behavior as a predictable reaction to increased cognitive dissonance. To preserve their threatened belief system, the sect members became even more dogmatic and sought to proselytize.[102]

This insight may help to explain why women who have recovered repressed "memories" feel compelled to tell the world about them, while real incest victims, who have always remembered their abuse, generally do not. It also predicts that, in the fact of increased skepticism, the Survivor Movement will become more vocal and strident.

Frederic Bartlett made similar observations in 1932. "The organized group functions in a unique and unitary manner in determining and directing the lives of its individual members," he wrote, then quoted a bemused British statesman: "I may seem to know a man through and through, and still I would not dare to say the first thing about what he will do in a group." Moreover, Bartlett observed that when a social movement feels itself threatened, "social remembering is very apt to take on a constructive and inventive character, either wittingly or unwittingly. Its manner then tends to become assertive, rather dogmatic and confident, and recall will probably be accompanied by excitement and emotion."[103]

Not surprisingly, many people have their first flashbacks and abreactions in the stimulating atmosphere of the group. When one woman suddenly cries out, falls to the floor, and acts as if she is being attacked, she provides not only a role model, but a powerful stimulus to others. In many groups, members either consciously or unconsciously strive to outdo one another. The emotion is contagious, something like the atmosphere of an old-time revival meeting. Rather than crying out "Praise the Lord!" however, these women are more likely to scream "Keep away from me! I hate you! I hate you!"

The Contexts of Insanity

In conclusion: A vicious cycle of social influence, combined with a widespread belief in massive repression of sexual abuse memories, has produced an epidemic of Survivors. In the current situation, it is sometimes difficult to ascertain who is fulfilling whose expectations. A woman enters therapy, already afraid that her problems may stem from repressed memories. Her therapist plays into those fears, and between the two of them, they find "evidence" in the form of dreams, flashbacks, body memories, or eating disorders. They see dysfunction everywhere, and when the client sinks into a hypnotic trance, she pictures horrifying events from her childhood.

Once even the smallest image is visualized, the process of memory rehearsal commences, piecing the puzzle bits into a coherent narrative. As Robert Cialdini points out in Influence, getting someone to commit new beliefs to writing can be a powerful reinforcement. "As a commitment device, a written declaration has some great advantages." After all, "there it was in his own handwriting, an irrevocably documented act driving him to make his beliefs and his self-image consistent with what he had undeniably done."[104]

As we have seen, some therapists encourage clients to run mental videotapes of their new-found "memories" until they seem real. Sometimes this process can become quite literal. In one remarkable article that appeared in Child Abuse & Neglect in 1992, several therapists explained how, in 27 cases, they had made a "videotaped disclosure" of their clients who had recovered memories, to act as a reinforcement. "Several viewings of the tape may be required before the patient is able to accept the tape as accurate," they explain.[105]

Recovered-memory therapists usually cite two reasons for their belief in the process: overwhelming affect and convincingly detailed accounts. Unfortunately, powerful emotions are not a guarantee of accurate memories. Anyone who has ever become engrossed in a thriller or dramatic movie knows how easily our emotions can be aroused, even when we know intellectually that it is fiction. Similarly, detailed narratives do not necessarily translate to verity. Indeed, some memory experts doubt the accuracy of 20-year-old memories that are recalled in such detail, since they are more likely to be confabulations.[106]

The extent to which expectation and context can determine how professionals view someone was made manifest in a classic experiment conducted by Stanford psychology and law professor D. L. Rosenhan, published in 1973 in Science with the compelling title "On Being Sane in Insane Places."[107] Rosenhan sent eight subjects to 12 in-patient psychiatric wards around the United States, where, during admission, they complained of hearing voices that said "empty," "hollow," and "thud." In reality, the subjects were a graduate student in psychology, a pediatrician, a psychiatrist, a painter, a housewife, and three psychologists. Aside from making up their voices and giving false names and occupations, the subjects did not change their actual personal histories or circumstances. As soon as they were admitted, they ceased simulating any symptoms whatsoever.

"The pseudopatient spoke to patients and staff as he might ordinarily," Rosenhan noted. "Because there is uncommonly little to do on a psychiatric ward, he attempted to engage others in conversation. When asked by staff how he was feeling, he indicated that he was fine." All the subjects also wrote down their observations of the ward, patients, and staff.

None of the pseudopatients was detected. Eventually, each was released with a diagnosis of "schizophrenia in remission," having been kept anywhere from a week to nearly two months. Many of their fellow patients detected the ruse. "You’re not crazy," they would say. "You’re a journalist or a professor. You’re checking up on the hospital." The staff, however, was not so astute. "Patient engages in writing behavior" was the repeated comment on one patient’s chart. Another subject accurately recounted his life history, in which, during early childhood, he had a close relationship with his mother, but felt remote from his father. As a teenager, he had become good friends with his father, while his relationship with his mother cooled somewhat. The hospital case summary for him read, "This white 39-year-old male...manifests a long history of considerable ambivalence in close relationships."

As Rosenhan observed, "having once been labeled schizophrenic, there is nothing the pseudopatient can do to overcome the tag. The tag profoundly colors others’ perceptions of him and his behavior...A psychiatric label has a life and an influence of its own." As readers will see in the following chapter, Rosenhan’s subjects were lucky they did not enter a dissociative disorders unit at a private psychiatric hospital 20 years later. They would have been diagnosed as possessing multiple personalities and kept on the ward indefinitely, not just for two months.

Even in the milder cases of "recovered memory," however, Rosenhan’s experiment offers an instructive example. A CNN television reporter -- presumably free of childhood sexual abuse -- took a hidden camera into a 1993 counseling session with a therapist known to have convinced at least six other women that they were Survivors. The reporter said that she had been "kind of depressed" for a few months, and that her marital sex life had worsened. At the end of the first session, the therapist suggested that she might have been sexually abused as a child. When the reporter said she had no such memories, the therapist stated that many women completely forget incest. "They have no idea, in fact. I mean, what you’ve presented to me, Lee-Anne, is so classic that I’m just sitting here blown away, actually."[108][Footnote 13][109] Once a therapist labels someone as an Incest Survivor, everything the client says is perceived as evidence to validate the diagnosis. And the client, having accepted the possibility that the label might be accurate, quickly falls into the trap of seeing the same life problems as symptoms of a childhood full of sexual abuse. Once that belief system is in place, "memories" are usually not far behind.

Chapter 3 Notes

Footnote 1: Modern psychologists disagree about whether hypnotism involves a "trance state" or not. Ernest Hilgard and Herbert Spiegel are the leading proponents of the "state" theory. All agree, however, that whether hypnotic subjects enter trance or not, they are liable to create pseudo memories.

Footnote 2: Most therapists, whether trauma specialists or not, object strenuously to the notion that they should "play detective" or encourage their patients to do so, seeking external corroboration for the "narrative truth" revealed in therapy sessions. The trouble is, some therapists already are playing detective by unearthing these supposed trauma memories. They encourage a belief system that has dramatic effects in the real world and then invoke their intuitive, subjective therapy stance.

Footnote 3: In 1954, psychiatrists Robert Rubenstein and Richard Newman came to the same conclusion when they successfully "progressed" five subjects into the future under hypnosis. "We believe that each of our subjects," they wrote, "to please the hypnotist, fantasied a future as actually here and now. We suggest that many descriptions of hypnotic regression also consist of confabulations and simulated behavior." Incredibly, however, they exempted repressed memories from this logic: "We suspect, however, that our doubts do not apply to the reenactment of traumatic past experiences."

Footnote 4: The ultimate age regression in this life is, of course, to the womb. In 1981, psychiatrist Thomas Verny wrote The Secret Life of the Unborn Child, offering examples of just such a feat. Under hypnotic regression, one of his patients reported the following placental message: "I am a sphere, a ball, a balloon, I am hollow, I have no arms, no legs, no teeth...I float, I fly, I spin." Similarly, one survivor claimed in a 1993 lawsuit that her therapist had helped her remember prenatal memories. Another therapist helped her patient access a memory of being stuck in the Fallopian tube, which explained her "stuckness’ in adult life.

Footnote 5: When he was president, Ronald Reagan proved to be a master of cryptomnesia. The movies in which he had acted appeared to be irretrievably mixed in his mind with reality, so that he frequently repeated fictional stories as if they had actually occurred. At one point, he even asserted he had personally taken documentary concentration camp footage at Dachau following World War II, even though Reagan did not venture outside the United States at that time. As biographer Garry Wills noted, however, "Reagan’s war stories are real to him."

Footnote 6: John Mack’s Abduction follows the same basic pattern as that described by Jacobs. Most hypnotized subjects reveal that the aliens took sperm and egg samples and inserted probes into their vaginas, anuses, and noses. Mack’s aliens, however, are ultimately benign, trying to save humans from ecological disaster. The expectancy effect appears to be at work here: Mack has long been an activist for environmental causes. It appears that his expectations are sometimes quite overt. One reporter invented an abduction story that Mack eagerly accepted. Prior to her hypnotic sessions, he "made it obvious what he wanted to hear."

Footnote 7: In the rare cases in which FC produces a correct word or phrase, all subjects could already read and write independent of facilitation.

Footnote 8: Expectancy theory also explains so-called "automatic writing" about sex abuse. Women are told to keep journals and just write whatever comes to mind. Repressed memories are then supposed to pour out from the subconscious. Indeed, when dreadful scenes scribble themselves onto the page, they seem to come out of nowhere, but they are, in fact products of suggestion.

Footnote 9: Two interviews in this book-of Frieda Maybry in Chapter 6 and Leslie Hannegan in Chapter 8-provide classic examples of sleep paralysis, as does the experience of A.G. Britton related at the end of Chapter 1.

Footnote 10: Psychologist Michael Yapko reports a similar case in which a man convinced his wife, therapist, and apparently himself that he was experiencing excruciating flashbacks to his imprisonment in a Vietcong bamboo cage. After he committed suicide, his widow tried to locate his official military record and discovered that he had never been in Vietnam.

Footnote 11: It is possible, however, that Elizabeth somehow faked these phenomena. As a psychologist pointed out in 1946, one hypnotic subject, eager to show his abilities, "proved" that he could raise blisters under suggestion. Secret observations through a peep-hole, however, showed him "deliberately rub the bandage with all his strength so as to irritate the skin beneath. Worse still, some subjects were seen to take a needle [and] thrust it under the bandage."

Footnote 12: Dr. Rader’s explanations for why incest survivors develop eating disorders are illuminating. "For compulsive overeaters, fatty tissue becomes a protective layer." On the other hand, "anorexics may appear more like adolescent males than mature, sexually desirable women," thus avoiding their sexuality. "For bulimics, vomiting can become the mechanism of release for anger and pain. At times, they will actually shout out the name of their perpetrator as they vomit."

Footnote 13: One concerned younger sister hired a private investigator to make an appointment with her accusing sister’s therapist. Though Ruth, the investigator, told the therapist that she had been rear-ended in an auto accident, the therapist led her through guided imagery to believe she had been sexually abused and repressed the memories. At one point, Ruth asked, "How do we know, when the memories come...that it’s not our imagination or something?" The therapist answered, "Why would you image this, of all things? If it were your imagination, you’d be imaging how warm and loving he was...I have a therapist friend who says that the only proof she needs to know that something happened is if you think it might have."

[1] Carroll, Alice’s Adventures, p. 230.
[2] Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry, Part IV, v.2, p. 1516.
[3] Smith, "Hypnotic Memory Enhancement," p. 399.
[4] Baker, They Call It Hypnosis, p. 193-195; see also Smith, "Hypnotic Enhancement;" Parkin, Memory and Amnesia, p. 44-45.
[5] Baker, They Call It Hypnosis, p. 18.
[6] Orne and Loftus quoted in Baker, They Call It Hypnosis, p. 110, 195.
[7] Laurence and Perry, Hypnosis, Will, and Memory, p. xiv-xv.
[8] Merskey, Analysis, p. 165-166.
[9] Laurence & Perry, Hypnosis, p. xiii.
[10] Baker, They Call It Hypnosis, p. 17, 174.
[11] Spanos, "Hypnotic Amnesia," Spanos, "Multiple Identity Enactments."
[12] Baker, Hidden Memories, p. 148.
[13] Baker, They Call It Hypnosis, p. 109.
[14] Spiegel in Woodward, "Was It Real or Memories?" p. 55
[15] Bernheim in Ellenberger, Discovery, p. 172.
[16] Estabrooks, Hypnotism, p. 43.
[17] Lynn & Rhue in Theories of Hypnosis, p. 13; Kirsch, "Altered State."
[18] Bernheim in Laurence & Perry, Hypnotism, p. 237-238.
[19] Laurence & Perry, "Hypnotically Created," p. 524.
[20] Spanos, "Hypnotically Created," p. 155-159.
[21] Orne in Hypnosis and Memory, p. 26; Sheehan in Hypnosis and Memory, p. 95-125.
[22] Orne, "Use and Misuse," p. 323, 334.
[23] Udolf, Handbook, p. 131-133.
[24] Baker, They Call It Hypnosis, p. 130; Baker, Hidden Memories, p. 152.
[25] Nash, "What, If Anything," p. 49-50; see, also, Perry in Hypnosis and Memory, p. 128-150.
[26] Rubenstein, "Living Out," p. 473.
[27] Verny, Secret Life, p. 190; Loftus, "Therapeutic Recollection," p. 6; Bikel, "Divided Memories," Part I, p. 9.
[28] Woolger, Other Lives, p. 137-138.
[29] Baker, Hidden Memories, p. 154; Wilson, All in the Mind, 101-106.
[30] Wills, Reagan’s America, p. 162-170.
[31] Wilson, All in the Mind; Baker, Hidden Memories, p. 78-92; 153-164; Spanos, "Secondary Identity Enactments"; Loftus, Witness, p. 84; Goleman, "Miscoding Is Seen."
[32] Baker, Hidden Memories, p. 153.
[33] Jacobs, Secret Life, p. 25.
[34] Mack, Abduction, p. 3-27.
[35] Bryan, Close Encounters, p. 419.
[36] Neimark, "The Harvard Professor," p. 46-48; Orlans, "Potpourri."
[37] Trace, Robert, "Research Findings;" Green, "Quality of the Evidence" in Facilitated Communication; Howard Shane interview; Gina Green interview; Green, "Facilitated Communication," Skeptic.
[38] For background on Ouija boards, see Jastrow, Wish and Wisdom, p.129-143.
[39] Biklen, Communication Unbound, p. 132.
[40] Haskew & Donnellan, Emotional Maturity, p. 31.
[41] "Prisoners of Silence," Frontline; Chideya, "Language of Suspicion."
[42] Gray, Psychology, p. 25-27; Jastrow, Wish and Wisdom, p. 203-213.
[43] Allan Hobson, personal communication, Oct. 12, 1995; Hobson, Dreaming Brain; Hobson, Chemistry of Conscious States, p. 114-115; Dolnick, "What Dreams."
[44] Borbely, Secrets of Sleep, p. 63-64.
[45] Shapiro, "Rush to Judgment."
[46] Hall, Meaning of Dreams, p. 14, 17.
[47] Jastrow, Wish and Wisdom, p. viii.
[48] Loftus, Witness, p. 22.
[49] Kirsch in Theories of Hypnosis, p. 439. See also Reed, Psychology of Anomalous, p. 41, 58-59.
[50] Frank, Persuasion, p. 52-54; Goodman, How About Demons? p. 89-94.
[51] Frank, Persuasion, p. 212; see also Ellenberger, Discovery, p. 306.
[52] Sargant, Battle, p. 59.
[53] Fredrickson, Repressed Memories, p. 134-137.
[54] Baker, They Call It..., p. 179-182; Hufford, Terror, p. 115-170; Reed, Psychology of Anomalous, p. 37-40.
[55] J. Bond, An Essay on the incubus or Nightmare, in Robbins, Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, p. 356.
[56] Hufford, Terror, p. 40-41; see also Barlow, Anxiety, p. 73, 85-87.
[57] Bass, Courage, p. 65.
[58] Borbely, Secrets of Sleep, p. 156-157; see also "Sleep Disorders"; Hobson, Sleep.
[59] MacCurdy, War Neuroses, p. 4-7.
[60] Sargant, Battle, p. 51.
[61] Kolb in Hypnosis and Memory, p. 268-269.
[62] Yapko, "Seductions of Memory," p. 31-32.
[63] "Grade Five Syndrome," Cornerstone, p. 16.
[64] Fredrickson, Repressed Memories, p. 146-147.
[65] Baker, Hidden, p. 150-151.
[66] Wilson, All in the Mind, P. 142-145; "Stigmatics" interview with Ted Harrison; Harrison, Stigmata.
[67] Wilson, All in the Mind, p. 143-149.
[68] Estabrooks, Hypnotism, p. 44.
[69] Smith, Michelle Remembers, illustrations.
[70] Beck, Anxiety, p. 8.
[71] Barlow, Anxiety, p. 22, 28, 102-103.
[72] Foxman, Dancing with Fear, p. 3.
[73] Diagnostic, p. 395.
[74] Beck, Anxiety, p. 4-6; 90.
[75] Barlow, Anxiety, p. 226-229, 252-259.
[76] Seagrave, Free from Fears, p. 26.
[77] Barlow, Anxiety, p. 78-80, 148-151.
[78] FMSF Newsletter, March 1995, p. 7; FMSF Newsletter, Jan. 1996, p.11.
[79] Whitfield, Healing...Continued, Tape 1.
[80] Lenore Terr on Maury Povich Show, May 25, 1994; Pope, "Recovered Memories," p. 5.
[81] Rader, "Incest and Eating Disorders."
[82] Toni Luppino interview, Rader Institute, June 14, 1994.
[83] March, 1993 conversation with anonymous psychiatric nurse at Hollywood, FL, Rader Institute.
[84] June Treacy interview, June 15, 1994, National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders.
[85] Ads for Shades of Hope and The Meadows in the 1994 Gurze Eating Disorders Bookshelf catalog, Carlsbad, CA.
[86] Pope, "Is Childhood Sexual Abuse a Risk Factor?"; Pope, "Childhood Sexual Abuse."
[87] McElroy, "Misattribution."
[88] Otani, "Memory in Hypnosis."
[89] Pamela Freyd interview, May 1994.
[90] Pope, "Recovered Memories," p. 10-11.
[91] Kihlstrom, "Recovery of Memory," p. 5-6.
[92] Piper, "Truth Serum"; Loftus, "Therapeutic Recollection," p.9.
[93] Frank, Persuasion, p. xii.
[94] Bass, Courage, p. 66, 90, 146-147.
[95] Festinger, Theory, p. 3, 83, 180.
[96] Cialdini, Influence, p. 66.
[97] FMSF Newsletter, Nov./Dec. 1995, p. 15.
[98] Bass, Courage, p. 108.
[99] Festinger, Theory, p. 177, 192, 200.
[100] McGrath, Motel Nirvana, p. 52.
[101] Gray, Psychology, p. 545-546.
[102] Festinger, Theory, p. 252-259; Festinger, When Prophecy Fails.
[103] Bartlett, Remembering, p. 241, 256, 300.
[104] Cialdini, Influence, p. 82-83.
[105] Roesler, "Network Therapy."
[106] Ceci, Jeopardy, p. 208.
[107] Rosenhan, "On Being Sane."
[108] CNN Special Assignment, May 3, 1993.
[109] Loftus, "Remembering Dangerously," p. 24.

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