FMSF NEWSLETTER ARCHIVE - April 18, 1992 - Vol. 1, No. 3, HTML version

Return to FMSF Home Page

F M S   F O U N D A T I O N   N E W S L E T T E R
April 18, 1992 (transliterated into ASCII for record purposes)

Dear Friends,

  The Foundation has signed a six-month lease for an office. We expect
to move in on May 1.
  Suite 128 
  3508 Market Street

This address and the phone numbers have changed as of July 15, 2000
  Philadelphia, PA 19104

  The space is located in the University City Science Center, a
non-profit organization funded by 28 educational institutions to
support research organizations and companies that are developing
technologies. The space is modest but secure and in a location
convenient to Amtrak and buses. Telephones have been requested, and we
were told that we can expect to be given the following numbers on May

  Phone: 215-387-1865
  Fax: 215-387-1917 
  For help:1-800-568-8882 (just as before)

  The space is needed. It will make it possible for the many people in
Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Maryland who have volunteered
to help answer phones and prepare packets of information to do those
things efficiently. It will also give us the space to create a library
of articles, video tapes and legal material that may be helpful to
you. Your help is needed.

  Collecting a body of material to help document the extent of the
phenomenon is extremely important, and it requires the help of all of
you. The papers and articles you have already sent have been
invaluable to us in preparing material to send to the press. The legal
papers are treasures for us all. If we are to provide information, we
must have at our fingertips all relevant information. Could you please
continue to send:

* Video clips of shows relating to our subject that show all sides to
the story.

* Local news stories and magazine articles. Please be sure to include
the date and the source.

* Flyers and brochures advertising "incest survivor" meetings,
workshops and retreats.

* Ads, either paid or classified, in local newspapers. Please note the
date and location where the material is found.

* Scholarly articles that you may have come across that you think are

* Brochures and material designed for the therapists who are
specialists in "incest survivor" techniques. We are looking especially
for those that are university sponsored.


  We are honored that the following distinguished scholars have
indicated their willingness to serve as Scientific and Professional
Advisors to FMS Foundation. These advisors can speak with authority on
many of the issues of memory, repression and hypnosis that pertain to
False Memory Syndrome. Please note that this is not an official
listing. We are in the process of asking Advisors how they would like
to have their names appear and have not yet heard from everyone. We
will continue to enlist the support of Scientific and Professional
Advisors and will report additional Advisors in future newsletters.

 Robyn M. Dawes, Ph.D., George F. Ganaway, M.D., Rochel Gelman, Ph.D.,
Henry Gleitman, Ph.D., Lila Gleitman, Ph.D., Ernest Hilgard, Ph.D.,
Philip Holzman, Ph.D., Ray Hyman, Ph.D., John Kihlstrom, Ph.D., Harold
Lief, M.D., Elizabeth Loftus, Ph.D., Paul McHugh, M.D., Ulric Neisser,
Ph.D., Martin Orne, M.D., Ph.D., Margaret Singer, Ph.D.


  Several sympathetic producers of outstanding television programs
have contacted the Foundation in the last week. Although it is our
intention to send out press releases about the formation of the FMS
Foundation as soon as we are sufficiently organized to handle the many
potential phone calls that such an announcement may bring, news of our
existence seems to be spreading like a grass fire. Television news and
talk shows, however, want families to appear in person. They are
convinced that is the best way to express the emotional impact of the
phenomenon. Please contact us if you would be willing to appear:

 a) with face and voice disguised
 b) with no name or indication of city
 c) identified with your story

  This is truly a difficult decision. No families are interested in a
public fight with their children. Many have told me that they would be
pleased to come forward when their children can stand beside them. The
wish is to restore loving family relationships, to end the phenomenon
as quickly as possible and to do so in a manner as dignified as
  On the one hand, this is a very personal situation that families do
not wish to expose, but on the other hand, it is also a growing
phenomenon that families want to have exposed. It is quite remarkable
and very sad that so many ordinary families have been put in this
position. Is it realistic or even possible to expose the problem and
not the individuals who have been so devastated by it?

/                                                                    \
|                     Where do 280 families live?                    |
|    AK(1)   AR(1)   AZ(2)   CA(16)  CO(5)   DE(1)   FL(7)   GA(4)   |
|    IA(1)   IL(9)   IN(6)   LA(1)   MA(2)   MD(2)   MI(15)  MN(3)   |
|    MS(1)   MT(1)   NC(3)   NJ(18)  NY(15)  OH(25)  OR(3)   PA(96)  |
|    SC 2)   TX(8)   UT(5)   VA(2)   WA(4)   WI(17)                  |
|             DC (1)  ON (Canada) (2)   ABROAD (1)                   |

                            BODY MEMORIES

  Several of you have asked about "body memories" because your
children told you that these memories were part of the evidence of
their abuse. A person who has attended many "incest survivor" meetings
has informed me that in the sessions she attended two different types
of events were referred to as "body memories." In the first case, a
certain physical experience (e.g., being touched in a certain way or
in a certain place) may trigger a flashback or memory. This is much
like Proust's experience with the taste of the petite madeleine
bringing back a flood of memories from his childhood. Apparently the
memories so evoked are often vivid or the physical sensation is an
especially good or unique access cue.
  In the case of "recovery" memories, the reports are that when people
are "in flashback" they may develop peculiar physical symptoms that
are again interpreted as "body memories." For example, a part of their
body may hurt or even show a mark not ordinarily present in a place
where they remember being abused. In extreme cases with multiple
personalities, these physical characteristics are said to come and go
with different personalities.
  Body memories of this latter sort seem to be taken by the people who
experience them and by "recovery" therapists to be inarguable proof of
the accuracy of the associated memories.
  We are searching for credible sources that discuss "body memories." 

                          MEETINGS SCHEDULED

Saturday, April 25, 1992
1:00 P.M.
Benton Harbor, Michigan
Holiday Inn - Holidome

If you go: R.S.V.P. Liz at 708-827-1056 so that we can reserve a
meeting room that is big enough. A collection will be taken to help
offset some of the meeting expenses ($50). 2860 M 139 South (49022)
I-94 exit 28 (Participants should make own
reservations. 1-800-HOLIDAY. Ask for room in Holidome Area. AARP

 Don't miss this meeting if you are in the Midwest.

Thursday, May 7, 1992
7:00 P.M.
Contact Doug Wilson 619-943-7572
Details to follow.

Saturday, May 9, 1992
1:00 P.M.
Committee Updates
Guest Speaker

Saturday, May 16, 1992
1:00 P.M.
Contact 800-374-7477

Saturday, June 13, 1992
1:00 P.M.

/                                                                    \
|                   For help call 1-800-568-8882                     |

    The following excerpts are from an article that was mailed out
    with this Newsletter.

                    WHEN CAN MEMORIES BE TRUSTED?
                        By Anastasia Toufexis
                           October 28, 1991
                               Page 86
                       Copyright Time Inc. 1991

                                * * *
Psychologists and lawyers are finding that more and more cases turn on
the question of how reliable memory is. Last November in Redwood City,
Calif., George Franklin was convicted of killing an eight-year-old
girl in 1969; the case was based largely on the testimony of his
daughter Eileen Franklin-Lipsker, who had repressed the memory of her
playmate's murder for 20 years. This month in Pittsburgh, Steven
Slutzker is scheduled to go on trial for the 1975 fatal shooting of
John Mudd Sr. Slutzker was charged after the victim's son, who was 5
when his father died, claimed he had a flashback memory of the murder.

                                * * *
Fueling the debate over the certainty of memory has been the parade of
men and women -- among them Roseanne Arnold and former Miss America
Marilyn Van Derbur -- with newly surfaced recollections of being
sexually abused as children. Many of the victims are suing their
alleged molesters, including parents, relatives and therapists. Paula
Pfiefle of Monroe, Wash., this spring received $1.4 million from her
church-run school in settlement of her claim that a teacher repeatedly
raped and sodomized her two decades ago. As is often the case with
repressed memories, the events came flooding back during an emotional,
evocative moment. For Pfiefle, it was while making love to her husband
on their wedding night five years ago.

                                * * *
The validity of such memories has divided psychological and legal
circles.  "By and large, long-term memory is extremely credible,"
maintains Jill Otey, a Portland, Ore., attorney whose office receives
five calls a week from women saying they have suddenly remembered
childhood abuse. "I find it highly unlikely that someone who can
remember what pattern was on the wallpaper and that a duck was
quacking outside the bedroom window where she was molested by her
father when she was four years old is making it up. Why in the hell
would your mind do this?" Reflecting that faith, at least a dozen
states since 1988 have amended their statute of limitations for
bringing charges to allow for delayed discovery of childhood sexual

                                * * *
People -- not to mention juries -- place unwavering trust in the human
ability to recall events, especially those that have had a strong
emotional impact. But such confidence is often misplaced. "Our memory
is not like a camera in which we get an accurate photograph," says
psychologist Henry Ellis of the University of New Mexico.

                                * * *
Consider the Challenger explosion. As with the assassination of John
F.  Kennedy, most people claim to remember where they were when they
heard the news of the shuttle disaster. Ulric Neisser, a psychologist
at Emory University, tested that assumption. The day after the 1986
accident he asked 106 students to write down how, when and where they
learned the news. Three years later, he tracked down nearly half the
group and asked them to describe their memories of the explosion.
Though many claimed to recall it clearly, "often the memories were
completely wrong," says Neisser. Many students said they had received
the news from television, though they had actually heard it elsewhere.

                                * * *
One of the many controversies concerning memory is how far back people
can remember. TV star Roseanne Arnold, for example, claims that she
has a vivid memory of being sexually abused as an infant by her
mother. This summer Tina Ullrich, 36, a Chicago design-firm executive,
abruptly recalled images from her infancy of her grandfather sexually
molesting her while he changed her diapers. "I didn't have any words
to describe the experience, so I began drawing my feelings," says
Ullrich, who has created 35 surreal pictures. But many researchers are
skeptical of such early recall. Most people's earliest clear
recollections date back to around age 4 or 5. Before that, they
believe, the mind holds at best primitive pictures but no coherent
memory. "Under a year, a child doesn't have the mental structure to
understand how events hang together," says Neisser. "I wouldn't give
you a nickel for memory in the first year of life."

                                * * *
Memory integrates the past with the present: desires, fantasies,
fears, even mood can shade the recollection. People have a tendency to
suppress unpleasant experiences and embellish events to make
themselves feel more important or attractive. "Some of us like to see
ourselves in a rosier light," observes psychologist Elizabeth Loftus
of the University of Washington, "that we gave more to charity than we
really did, that we voted in the last election when we really didn't,
that we were nicer to our kids than we really were."

Loftus, co-author of Witness for the Defense (St. Martin's Press;
$19.95) and an expert witness on memory in the cases involving the
McMartin Preschool, Oliver North and the Hillside Strangler,
speculates that such prestige-enhancing revisionism by Thomas could be
one explanation for why his memory differs so radically from
Hill's. Thomas is a "rigid person who insisted on the prerogatives of
his position," observes Emory's Neisser; such people can be "good
repressers" of unpleasant memories. As for Hill, Loftus suggests that
it is possible she unconsciously confused some past experiences.
"Could she have gotten the information elsewhere and created this
story?" asks Loftus .

                                * * *
Alas, there is no easy way to distinguish fact and fiction in many
memories.  The best method is to find corroborating evidence, from
witnesses or written records, say, diaries or hospital charts, that
can document the event. Years from now, videotapes of the Hill-Thomas
hearings may verify the sights and sounds of their testimony, but the
heart of their dispute is likely to remain unresolved. Whose memory
told the truth?