FMSF NEWSLETTER ARCHIVE - November 3, 1993 - Vol. 2, No. 10, HTML version

Return to FMSF Home Page

3401 Market Street suite 130,  Philadelphia, PA 19104,  (215-387-1865)

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

Dear Friends,

  "Do you believe that sexual abuse exists?" a therapist asked
Berkeley professor of sociology, Dr. Richard Ofshe during a workshop
at Marywood College in Pennsylvania this month. Why did she ask this
question? Did she really think that the existence of sexual abuse is
an issue of "belief" rather than a widespread problem supported by
"empirical data"? Had she missed what Ofshe said about the prevelance
of sexual abuse? Was this her way of showing disrespect?
  FMSF has raised questions about the scientific evidence for issues
of memory.  Unfortunately, most of our critics have responded by
trying to deflect the focal issues with rumor, rudeness, and personal
  In our country everyone is entitled to a defense, even the lowliest.
The more serious the crime, the more important the defense and the
more important the processes that are followed. Witch hunts happen
when people are accused and not allowed to defend themselves in a fair
manner. In this newsletter we will describe how some institutions
condone a climate in which people can be accused and not allowed to
defend themselves.
  Families have been accused of criminal acts (incest) and told that
the proof that they are guilty is that no one remembered the crimes.
The accusers, we were told, repressed it while the accused are in
denial. "What is the scientific evidence?" we have asked over and
  We were told that articles by Herman and Schatzow, 1987, Briere and
Conte 1989, and Williams 1992 were the evidence. The first two papers
do not adequately address the question of historical documentation and
are therefore not relevant to the issues we raise. The Williams
research may well be relevant.  We assume that it will achieve peer
review and that the evidence will be brought out more clearly in a
formal publication than in the notice currently available.  Even so,
none of this research alters our understanding that memories of events
may be true, a mixture of fact and fantasy, or false. They do not
alter the scientific evidence that memories of events are
reconstructed and reinterpreted.  They do not alter the scientific
data that people misremember.
  We were then told that the issue was not "repression" but rather
"traumatic amnesia" and that we should read the studies on trauma. We
looked at documented traumatic situations such as Lenore Terr's
description of the "Children of Chowchilla" who endured terrible
trauma and who remembered most of it. Then we were told that people
could remember one traumatic incident but they would forget many
traumatic incidents. We tried to find reports of people who had
experienced documented long-term trauma but who had forgotten it. We
looked for evidence from people who were in concentration camps who
had "recovered repressed memories" of their experiences. We looked for
examples from other cultures who had undergone sexual mutilation as a
part of initiation rites who recovered repressed memories. To the
shame of humanity, there are hundreds of thousands of people who have
experienced documented cruelty, torture, and terrible trauma,
including sexual trauma. It is reasonable to expect many clinical case
studies of recovered repressed memories from these documented events.
  We were told that the examples to look at were Vietnam veterans. In
that literature we found descriptions of people who suffered "Post
Traumatic Stress" from the time of the documented trauma. That does
not seem to be the same experience that the people with memories have
reported in the many first hand published accounts. The majority of
people in these reports describe normal childhoods. They do not claim
medical reports of Post Traumatic Stress while children or teens.
Indeed, they describe themselves as successful, achieving, loving,
trusting people for twenty or thirty or forty years until they entered
therapy. Vietnam veterans did not generally "forget" that they had
been in Vietnam. The people in the reports tell us that they never had
any idea that they were abused until they recovered repressed memories
in therapy.
  We were told that the proof that some terrible sexual abuse had
happened and been repressed was the fact that our children had
"flashbacks," visions of terrible scenes of abuse. When we consulted
the literature, we found that flashbacks are a "worst case scenario"
experienced by many people in a state of anxiety. After a
fender-bender, for example, people commonly have a flashback of a much
worse accident.
  We were told that the proof that something terrible had happened and
been repressed was the fact that our children experienced "body
memories." "What the mind forgets, the body remembers," we were told.
When we tried to find out about body memories we encountered the
literature on "stigmata." It is the brain that controls the bodily
marks and pains, not the other way around we found.
  We have been told that the proof that something terrible happened
(sexual abuse) is the fact that our children forgot (repressed) it. We
have asked in return for the scientific evidence that this could
happen. We have been told that our children became "day people" and
"night people." The explanation, we are told, is that our now-adult
children have Multiple Personality Disorder. MPD is a highly
controversial diagnosis. In this newsletter, we will report what we
have been learning about it.
  Parents are waiting. Parents are dying. When people in their 70's
and 80's are accused of sexual abuse that they allegedly committed 20
or 30 or 40 years ago, it is close to being a death sentence. The loss
of a child is traumatic at any age. Believing that you have been
falsely accused is traumatic at any age. How many in their 70's and
80's can survive this kind of stress and the heartache?  How many have
the emotional, physical or financial resources to defend themselves?
We were informed of another six deaths of parents this month, one
probably a suicide.
  The code of ethics says, "First, do not harm." 

  Good News -- "My daughter is back. She is the same wonderful loving
  person she was before she "recovered memories." Her brother is upset
  because she has not apologized but I don't need an apology. It is
  enough to know that she is safe and to have her love,"
                                                           A Dad

  We receive reports daily about children who have resumed some level
of contact with their families. We are now aware of hundreds of
families in which this has happened. Not all families, however, are
willing to resume a relationship without some explanation from their
child. "I love my child but I don't trust her," they say. The hurts
are deep.
  We are aware of approximately 140 retractors. We are in direct
contact with some and in contact with the families of others. Last
week we received reports from two families in which an accuser who had
resumed contact several months ago had first "reduced charges"
(i.e. going from accusations of sexual abuse to dysfunctional family)
and then completely retracted and apologized. Will this be a pattern?
We don't know. We had one report of an accuser who invited her family
to a party expressing warmth and love for the first time in several
years only to file a lawsuit a month later. Love and lawsuits. It is
  We are currently entering data from the retractor survey and making
plans with independent professionals for follow up clinical
interviews. At this time we note that the retractions taking place in
the families that have contacted us are primarily with the younger and
unmarried children. The retractors who themselves contacted the
Foundation generally are older and experienced hospitalizations. In a
large percent of all the cases, a "life event" seems to be a trigger.
These can be death, serious illness, birth or wedding. In all
retractions there is a change in the therapy situation.
  "I want to know the truth," a young woman who seems to have begun to
question said to her stepmother this month. She had been in therapy
for more than five years becoming more and more dependent on her
therapist for every decision. Her mother had just died.
  "The truth is the loving relationship you had, the feelings you had
before you suddenly recovered memories while in hypnosis," the
stepmother replied.
  MEDIA: Many outstanding articles and documentaries have appeared
this month.  "Facilitated Communication" is a method for helping
autistic children communicate using a keyboard with the direct support
of a therapist. In a documentary produced by Frontline, we saw how
"belief" could hold strong in the face of contradictory evidence. On
film are children whose eyes wandered around the room while the
therapists whose eyes were intent upon the keyboard produced stories
of childhood abuse that they attributed to the children. It is always
difficult for us to see ourselves, but when people become zealous in
their pursuit, it is almost impossible.
  The television program "20/20" presented the recent research of
Cornell psychology professor Steven Ceci on children's memory.
Documented on video is the development of a child's elaborate
narrative created from simple questions asked over a period of time.
The child created a story that never happened. It did not require
threats or intimidation or any of the aggressive methods we usually
think must be necessary for persuasion. All it took was a trusting
imaginative child who wanted to satisfy the researcher. Also on this
program were Kelly Michaels, the nursery-school teacher who spent five
years in prison and, who is to be tried again for impossible things
and Shirley and Ray Souza, grandparents who have been found guilty of
abusing their grandchildren with a "machine as big as a house" by
people who never saw their house.
  "20/20" also produced a segment on past-lives therapy. They noted
that the professional organizations have nothing to say about this
type of therapy. Why not, we wonder? For those of us who lived through
the 50's, past lives therapy is "deja vu." We have gone through all
this before with Bridey Murphy and the fallacy of age regression
hypnosis as a time machine. A short review of Bridey Murphy appears
later in this newsletter.
  Newspapers in Maine and Minnesota, Toronto and New York, were among
the many that published stories this month. Our debt and our thanks to
the families who have told their stories so that others don't have to
feel that they are the only ones. Over fifty new families identified
themselves in Minnesota alone because one family spoke up.
  If the newsletter is a few days late this month, it's because of the
avalanche of calls resulting from a moving Donahue show this week
featuring three retractors and two of their mothers. One person on the
staff burst into tears from the pain expressed in these calls,
especially the ones from elderly people.  "How can this be happening
in our country?" she asked.
/                                                                    \
|   "The Salem witch trials are viewed by many as our country's most |
| famous episode of mass hysteria. The trials lasted less than five  |
| months. During this period 27 people were convicted of witchcraft. |
| Nineteen were hanged, one man (who refused trial by jury) was      |
| executed by being pressed to death with heavy stones (he took two  |
| days to die), and four died in prison. The remainder are           |
| unaccounted for. In October 1692, Massachusetts Governor Phips,    |
| recognizing that what was going on in Salem was "mishegaas" (I     |
| quote him verbatim), dismissed the court. This basically brought   |
| an end to the trials.                                              |
|   "Probably the next most well-known example of mass hysteria in   |
| the United States were the McCarthy hearings in the 1950s. In the  |
| course of this wave of hysteria, threats of Communist infiltration |
| and takeover of our government were exaggerated enormously, and    |
| Draconian punishments were administered to those who had any       |
| sympathies for the movement. Even those who had involved           |
| themselves in the Communist party earlier in life did not escape.  |
| Although thousands certainly suffered during the hysteria of that  |
| era, I believe that their numbers are small compared to those      |
| whose lives have been destroyed by the sexual abuse hysteria that  |
| has been prevalent in the United States since the early 1980s.     |
| Accordingly, I consider the sexual abuse hysteria that we have     |
| been witnessing since that time to be the third and most severe    |
| episode that we have ever witnessed in the history of our          |
| country."                                                          |
|                                         Sexual Abuse Hysteria:     |
|                Diagnosis, Etiology, Pathogenesis, and Treatment.   |
|                                              Richard Gardner, MD   |
|                                  Academy Forum, 37 (3) Fall 1993   |

/                                                                    \
|   "What a tragedy and mockery of true human nature. What a         |
| paranoid society we have now become, thanks to -- and NO thanks to |
| -- a bunch of people to whom at least One would have said: "Lord,  |
| forgive them -- as they don't know what they do..."                |
|   "All things considered, I find myself returning -- more and      |
| more, again and again -- to the comment of an old, 1940-vintage    |
| Jew, standing at the corner of a Brooklyn street, talking to a     |
| foreign visitor, saying, "America is know."        |
|    "Yes. Meshuggah* (Yiddish).  That's what it is, I'm afraid."    |
|                               Paul Kosbad, M.D.Tulsa,OK, Oct2,'93  |
|              * crazy                                               |

/                                                                    \
|   In recent years, we have become increasingly aware of the extent |
| of child sexual abuse in our society and have come to appreciate   |
| that there had existed enormous denial of this phenomenon. However |
| we have also witnessed an exaggerated reaction to sexual abuse, so |
| much so that the term hysteria is often warranted.  The classical  |
| symptoms of hysteria are present: overreaction, dramatization,     |
| emotional instability, impaired judgment, and attention seeking    |
| behavior. The contagious spread of these symptoms warrants the     |
| conclusion that we are dealing with mass hysteria.                 |
|                                         Sexual Abuse Hysteria:     |
|                Diagnosis, Etiology, Pathogenesis, and Treatment.   |
|                                              Richard Gardner, MD   |
|                                  Academy Forum, 37 (3) Fall 1993   |

                            MIND CONTROL?

  That question haunts families, especially those in which the person
with memories was trained in science and critical thinking. How could
this happen in families seemingly so close? As we have noted
previously, families report that their children were "brainwashed."
What does this mean? One of the outcomes that is emerging from the FMS
phenomenon is an increased understanding and appreciation by
professionals and families of the tremendous power in the therapist-
client relationship. While Orwell's 1984 popularized and alerted us to
issues of mind control, it was not until the studies by Edgar Schein
(1961) and Robert Lifton (1961) of thought reform programs in China
and by the renewed interest in cultic thinking after the Jonestown
disaster that scholarly studies have begun to dispel myths of mind
control and provide frameworks for study and understanding of the
  Coercive persuasion, brainwashing, thought reform are all terms that
refer to organized and systematic attempts to produce major belief
changes. They involve authority, peer pressure and other
techniques. Brainwashing in China sometimes involved incarceration and
sometimes did not. The version studied in China is just one system.
  What we are seeing in the recovered memory phenomenon is another
system. It is a system in which authority and expertise is far more
important. It utilizes many techniques that were absent in China. In
China, for example, hypnosis was never used. This difference is
significant because hypnosis is a very powerful technique for changing
beliefs and attitudes.
  One of the myths dispelled by both Schein and Lifton is that
physical abuse is required for thought reform. Physical abuse was a
minor element in thought reform programs in China.
  The second myth is that thought reform strips a person of the will
to resist and that the person's psychiatric status goes from normal to
pathological. No evidence supports this. So what, then, is going on?
  The Encyclopedia of Sociology Volume 1, 1992 (E. Borgatta &
M. Borgatta, Eds.)  contains an extremely informative overview of
"coercive persuasion and attitude change." The research in thought
reform processes "demonstrates that it is no more or less difficult to
understand than any other complex social process and produces no
results to suggest that something new has been discovered. The only
aspect of the reform process that one might suggest is new, is the
order in which the influence procedures are assembled and the degree
to which the target's environment is manipulated in the service of
social control." The elements of thought control are commonplace.
  "Virtually any acknowledged expertise or authority can serve as a
power base to develop the social structure necessary to carry out
thought reform. In the course of developing a new form of
rehabilitation, psychotherapy, religious organization, utopian
community, school, or sales organization it is not difficult to
justify the introduction of thought-reform procedures." We described
these procedures in the October newsletter: the unfreezing phase which
creates the willingness to change, the changing phase in which the
change takes place, and the re-freezing phase in which the change is
  We learn from this that the conditions for unfreezing are underway
when a client enters therapy asking to change. The conditions for
change are present in the therapist's assumptions about sexual abuse
and the need to validate them.  The client is told that her past is
not what she thought it was. She is in a no-win position: she was
either abused or she is in denial. In either case there is something
wrong with her. Formal induction into hypnosis or guided imagery or
assigning highly suggestive reading or participation in survivor
groups are not even necessary given such confusion. If a patient is
resistent to suggestion, these techniques are simply more powerful
tools to use. When a distressed client enters therapy, that person is
almost by definition "highly suggestible." The therapist is clearly an
authority since he or she is paid for the services.
  In the past, therapists tell us that they worked with the feelings
and beliefs of clients with little concern for the historic reality of
what transpired. The role of therapists has changed in the past
decade. "We became advocates," a psychiatrist told us.
  Psychotherapy is a culturally accepted thought-reform process. At
the same time, our culture has not adequately prepared the
participants to understand the process from this perspective. The
pieces begin to fit together. Although we cannot explain yet why some
people do not act on the suggestion of therapists when abuse is
suggested, we have a good idea of what has happened to those who have.
  It is simple, ordinary. A distressed person enters therapy asking to
change.  Because this is a culturally sanctioned process, the client
is fully trusting.  Because therapists have had more than a decade of
continuing education workshops designed to sensitize them to issues of
child sexual abuse and women's problems, and because mandatory
reporting laws have placed them at risk for overlooking abuse, many
have become overzealous. This zeal and altruistic dedication have
impaired the judgment of many therapists -- they cannot see that they
are producing what they expect to find.
  When the therapy process is set in a social climate that idealizes
victims, when the media report unsubstantiated statistics on the rate
of abuse, when insurance covers it, and when the therapy industry
continues to focus on the notion that it is in the past rather than in
the present that we find the source of our problems, we have all the
ingredients for the terrible disaster that has occurred.
  Within this therapy-culture context we will likely find many
individual variants in terms of personalities and imperfections of
therapists and family members. Dr. Ganaway's suggestion that for many
of the adult children the memories solve separation issues seems to
many parents right on target. For other parents, the memories appear
to resolve marital issues for the children and their spouses. Some
parents say that the memories provide their children with a reason for
their lack of success. And some families tell us that they did indeed
have serious problems with family dynamics. Dr Ofshe, on the other
hand, has suggested that dissection of the families in this manner
makes no difference. All people and all families have
imperfections. Recovered memory therapy solves the problem for the
therapist of what to do during therapy.
  Recovery of repressed memories externalizes problems. Since Freud,
it seems, the fault is not in our stars, it is in our parents. The
increasingly popular therapies of space alien abduction and past lives
do the same therapy job. To date, however, the Foundation has received
no calls from the dead or from space aliens reporting that they have
been falsely accused. We have, however, started getting calls from
clients concerned about this kind of therapy.
/                                                                    \
|                     Witch Hunts And Due Process                    |
|          Editorial by Peter Cox.  Reprinted with permission        |
|                   Maine Times,  October 1, 1993                    |
|                                                                    |
|   A witch hunt disregards an assumption of innocence and the due   |
| process of law that accompanies that assumption. While many times  |
| witch hunts have involved dubious political ambitions rather than  |
| real dangers, even to have a worthy goal does not change the fact  |
| that a witch hunt is occurring.                                    |
|   The suggestion by therapists that their patients' problems have  |
| invariably been caused by forgotten sexual abuse and the           |
| subsequent prosecution of parents for alleged sexual abuse based   |
| on recovered memory has all the signs of a witch hunt.             |
|   Champions of recovered memory argue that sexual abuse is endemic |
| and that questioning recovered memory is a backlash against the    |
| empowerment of women (those most likely to be abused). They say it |
| is part of a backlash against feminism, making anyone who treats   |
| it as a valid question open to condemnation.                       |
|   By not admitting any doubt about the reliability of recovered    |
| memories or about their relevance, those who label legitimate      |
| questions "backlash" are implying it is so important to punish the |
| guilty that it does not matter if some innocent parents suffer as  |
| a result.                                                          |
|   The corollary, of course, is that by casting doubt on recovered  |
| memory, some of the guilty may escape punishment along with the    |
| innocent. That is the dilemma of due process and the assumption of |
| innocence.                                                         |
|   In these cases, we are talking about retribution alone.          |
| Regarding the people Maine Times interviewed, there is no claim    |
| the alleged perpetrator is continuing to abuse children.           |
|   We are talking about people first attributing their adult        |
| problems to childhood abuse and then punishing their parents with  |
| public and/or legal claims. Perhaps therapists think that this is  |
| the only way for abused children to heal themselves and break what |
| is perceived as a cycle of abuse -- the formerly abused becomes    |
| the future abuser. But misguided accusations can destroy lives.    |
|   It is misleading to suggest that those who raise questions about |
| the reliability of recovered memory are merely against women and   |
| children.                                                          |
|   Such an accusation is tantamount to saying one could never be    |
| wrong, and there is no society scarier than one controlled by      |
| those with the arrogance to believe they are infallible.           |

                         NO DEFENSE ALLOWED!
  There is much that is deeply troubling by the processes that are
being used by some people who call themselves "survivors," and by some
people and institutions who claim to support survivors. This month we
received a notice in a survivor newsletter informing us that if we
send $10.00 cash and the name of the "perp," an organization called
S.O.U.P.! would inform the neighbors, schools, employers and others of
the accusation. The name of the person buying this service is not
required unless he or she wants a copy of the quarterly list of
perpetrators published by S.O.U.P.!

  This month we learned that the Ethics Committee of the Michigan
Psychological Association considers it ethical for a psychologist to
organize a meeting advertised as "professional" at which a speaker can
be scheduled to present a personal vilification of her parents and to
prevent the parents (professionally qualified) not only from
responding but even from attending. The Ethics Committe does not feel
that a psychologist who organizes such a meeting has any
responsibility for investigating the truth or falsity of the
accusations of abuse claimed to have been repressed for decades.
  The Michigan Psychological Association was a cosponsor of a meeting
at which two hundred attendees, alleged professionals, stood and
cheered such a vilification. The decision by the Ethics Committee of
the Michigan Psychological Association raises fundamental questions of
what psychologists consider "professional" and "ethical" behavior.
There appears to be a gap in understanding between what psychologists
think is ethical and what the public thinks is ethical. Society has
granted psychologists privileges, but those privileges do not include
slander, setting up forums for slander, nor interfering in family
matters when they are not hired to do so. The public granted
psychologists privileges because they believed that psychologists
would follow that part of their code of ethics which says, "Do no
harm." By their decision, the Ethics Committee of the Michigan
Psychological Association has declared it ethical for psychologists in
Michigan to harm with impunity. When institutions such as the Michigan
Psychological Association sanction the organizing of a conference to
include the public vilification of people who are not allowed to
devend themselves, we have evidence that we are dealing with a

  Last month we received a letter from Dr. Jim Campbell at the
University of Wisconsin, telling us that the university had cancelled
all vendors at the Midwest Sexual Abuse Conference in response to our
queries about the criteria used to exclude FMSF. The conference
sponsors, the University of Wisconsin and a private clinic, stated
that they would return the exhibitors fees and cover other expenses
incurred by vendors. Given the letter that we were sent, we don't
understand, therefore, why they didn't cancel all the vendors.  Jill
Cohen Kolb of Family Sexual Abuse Treatment Inc., one of the
conference organizers, was permitted to sell material at the
meeting. Ms. Kolb, a social worker, was quoted in the Isthmus
Chronicle on October 8, 1993 as stating that the reason the False
Memory Syndrome Foundation was not permitted to have a vendor table
was, "This group is made up of people who are accused of a crime."
If people accused of a crime are treated as convicted of a crime, we
have a problem. When rules are set by public institutions that apply
only to some people, we have a problem. When institutions such as the
University of Wisconsin sanction this kind of behavior, we have
additional evidence that we are dealing with a witch-hunt.
  Last year The Institute of Pennsylvania Hospital published a
newsletter which stated:

  But over the last decade, scores of adults -- celebrities Roseanne
  Arnold, La Toya Jackson and Oprah Winfrey among them -- began going
  public with long-buried accounts of sexual molestation by parents,
  siblings, step-parents or grandparents. Many had repressed these
  memories for years, their experiences too painful or terrifying to

We wrote a letter of complaint. A year later we have received a reply
from Patricia M. Usner, their Vice President for Marketing.

  We did not print a retraction because we are not in the position to
  judge whether the allegations of celebrities mentioned are provable
  or not. However, the fact that they went public with their
  assertions is accurate.

The logic of this response is amazing. Ms Usner gives just one reason
for not printing a retraction: to wit, The Institute of Pennsylvania
Hospital is not in the position to judge whether the allegations are
provable. Amazing. If that position were to change, she seems to be
telling us, then they would print a retraction. In other words, in
order to print a retraction they must first be in a position to judge
whether the allegations are provable or not.

Ms Usner goes on to write about assertions. Yes, the fact that they
went public with their assertions is accurate. But what The Institute
of Pennsylvania Hospital printed was about their going public not with
assertions but with long-buried accounts and the next sentence refers
to these long-buried accounts as memories. When a mental health
newsletter elevates accusations to long buried accounts and memories,
it loses impartiality and becomes an advocate.

It is sad that the Nation's First Hospital (as it says on their
letterhead) has been reduced to such nonsense. It is the sort of
nonsense we have grown accustomed to when ordinary people hear
allegations of incest. We expect more from the health profession. Ms
Usner tips her hand when she writes about her inability to judge
whether the allegations are provable. We would have hoped that an
officer of a hospital would instead try to maintain some appearance of
neutrality by writing about the inability of anyone to judge whether
the allegations were true or not. But as happens all too often,
allegations of incest are automatically assumed to be true because the
popular logic goes, the accusation is so horrible, "Why would anyone
make it up if it was not true?"

In her reply to us, Ms Usner makes no mention of her newsletter's
total misquote from the National Committee for Prevention of Child
Abuse. The newsletter had said "According to the organization, one in
four girls and one in seven boys are sexually abused by the age of
18." We pointed out a year ago that the Committee disavows that
estimate and says that it is a figure which has acquired authority
only because it has been repeated so often. What are we to think of a
hospital that totally misquotes and then refuses to correct the
/                                                                    \
|   Dr. Peter AuBuchon in the Newsletter of The Institute of         |
| Pennsylvania Hospital, Winter, 1992 says that the difficult task   |
| of the psychotherapist is to "believe the unbelievable."           |
|   He goes on to explain,"A lot of these stories are literally      |
| fantastic -- so horrible that they seem unbelievable. But most     |
| adult survivors are struggling with denial themselves. It does not |
| help when a therapist reinforces any disbelief,"                   |
|                                                                    |
|   This is the way Lewis Carroll said it 120 years earlier in       |
| Through the Looking Glass:                                         |
|                                                                    |
|  "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 dare say you haven't 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."                                                        |


Donald S. Connery is an author and former Time-Life foreign
corespondent. His long involvement in FMS issues began with Guilty
Until Proven Innocent, the story of a Connecticut youth, Peter Reilly,
who was held by police interrogators in 1973 to falsely confess to the
murder of his mother.

  "Imagination and memory," wrote Thomas Hobbes in 1681, "are but one
thing, which for diverse considerations hath diverse names."
  The interplay of imagination and memory seldom has been more vividly
illustrated or more widely publicized than in the strange story of an
American housewife's earlier existence in 19th century Ireland.
  The Search for Bridey Murphy by Morey Bernstein became an instant
bestseller and a national craze when it was published in January 1956.
Soon there were songs (e.g., "The Ballad of Bridey Murphy"), "come-as-
you-were" parties, and an eminently forgettable movie.
  The public was intoxicated by the idea of prior lives. The earnest,
almost scholarly style of the book (with its inquiries into
clairvoyance, telepathy and extrasensory perception) gave it a patina
of respectability missing from a controversial work published just
four years earlier, I Rode in a Flying Saucer.

  Bridey Murphy set the stage for the widespread fascination with
reincarnation in the 1960s and the blossoming of Past Lives Therapy in
the 1970s.
  Bernstein was a Pueblo, Colorado, businessman whose interest in
hypnosis had progressed to age-regression experiments. He had found an
ideal subject in a local woman, Virginia Tighe, whom he identified as
"Ruth Simmons" in the book.  She had the capacity, he said, "for
entering immediately into a deep trance."
  In the course of numerous tape-recorded hypnotic sessions, Bernstein
first regressed Mrs. Tighe to earlier times in her life. Then he led
her "over the hump" to a previous existence.
  Asked to describe herself in a distant time and place, Mrs. Tighe
began to speak in an Irish brogue. She gave a graphic description of
her life as Bridey Murphy, a woman born in 1798 and brought up as a
barrister's daughter in a house called "The Meadows" just outside of
Cork, Ireland.
  She went on to provide detailed if rather scrambled recollections of
her Irish experience and surroundings. She told of her marriage at age
20, her years as a childless Belfast housewife, and her death in 1864
after a fall down some stairs. She even recalled her own burial: "I
watched them ditch my body."

  Virginia Tighe had never been to Ireland. She seemed innocent of any
special knowledge of Irish history or any desire to deceive. Yet her
trance-state responses to Bernstein's questions, as set forth in the
book (and on a long-playing record produced by the author), seemed to
have the ring of truth.
  Skeptics who rushed to Ireland for Bridey Murphy evidence came up
with more questions than answers. Life magazine attacked Bernstein's
book because it could not corroborate the past-life claim. Then a
group of mind experts attempted to explain things in A Scientific
Report on "The Search for Bridey Murphy."
  Their essential message was that the solution to Virginia Tighe's
recall of a prior life would be found in her own early life and her
extreme suggestibility.  It appeared, as Time reported, that she " has
simply woven the story out of odds and ends that lay in her
subconscious mind from childhood."
  And so it came to pass: A team of investigators for Hearst's Chicago
American reported that Mrs. Tighe had spent her impressionable
adolescent years in a Chicago neighborhood. Although she would later
discount the influence, it appeared that she had picked up lots of
Irish lore (and her ability to dance an Irish jig) from the nice Irish
lady who lived just across the street, and who was still living there.
  The woman was Mrs. Anthony Corkell -- nee Bridie Murphy. She
remembered the lonely little girl who had such a lively curiosity
about the old days in the old country. And a friend from the
neighborhood recalled Virginia's active imagination.
  As a highly-hypnotizable personality, Mrs. Tighe was bound to be
extraordinarily good at stitching fragments of memory into a
compelling account of an earlier life. Like an actress who "becomes"
the part she is asked to play, she was, in Dr. Herbert Spiegel's
phrase, "an honest liar."
  The furor about the book lasted hardly more than a year. The
housewife and the hypnotist returned to obscurity. But the name Bridey
Murphy lives on as an exquisite example of the mind's ability to
remember a life that never was and things that never happened.

                          RECTRACTOR NOTICES

At the request of many parents, Janet Puhr has prepared a tape that
could be sent to "lost" children. For details about "One Daughter to
Another" write to Janet Phur, P.O. Box 293, Chicago Ridge, IL 60415.

Elizabeth Carlson has prepared yellow ribbons for family and friends
to wear until the children lost to false memories return. The funds
will be used to support the efforts of the retractors through the
National Association Against Fraud In Psychotherapy (NAAFIP). Ribbons
are $2.00 each or $3.50 with a guardian angel. She asks that you
enclose $2.00 to cover shipping and handling (and in MN, 7% tax).
Make check to Elizabeth Carlson, 7060 Valley Creek Plaza, Suite
115-111, Woodbury, MN 55125.

Retractor newsletter 4 issues are $12.00 Contact Melody Gavigan, Box
5012, Reno, NV, 89513.
/                                                                    \
|    Frederick Crews in The New York Review of Books, Nov 18, 1993   |
|                                                                    |
| It may seem calumnious to associate the skeptical, thoroughly      |
| secular founder of psychoanalysis with the practice of Bible-      |
| thumping incest counselors who typically get their patient-victims |
| to produce images of revolting satanic rituals. Yet Freud wrote a  |
| stunning letter in 1897 reporting that he had obtained from his    |
| patient "a scene about the circumcision of a girl. The cutting off |
| of a piece of labium minor,...sucking up the blood, after which    |
| the child was given a piece of the skin to eat.... I dream,        |
| therefore, of a primeval devil religion with rites that are        |
| carried on secretly, and understand the harsh therapy of the       |
| witches' judges"... The principle of internal psychic determinism  |
| was so fixedly rooted in Freud's mind that he discounted not only  |
| the influence of his own insistent coaching but even that of       |
| theologically crazed interrogators, centuries earlier, who were    |
| extracting information by means of the rack and thumbscrew.        |

                         A RETRACTOR'S STORY

  I'm writing my story so that perhaps it might help one of the
families to have some hope or encourage a retractor to come forward.
Telling my story to others is also a way for me to heal myself and to
make some amends to my family, especially my mother.
  I entered therapy in the late fall of 1985 because I was unhappy at
the way I was dealing with my son, age 9. I thought he might need some
counseling because he had seemed very angry for a young child. I
wanted a therapist who could work with both of us. At the same time
that I began therapy, I also became aware that I was an Adult Child of
an Alcoholic. My therapist was a real leader of this movement
attending national conferences and beginning meetings in this area.
  Soon the therapy began to focus only on my adult child issues and we
did no work with my son. As I described my childhood, my therapist
would say things like "being a adult child is like growing up in a
concentration camp."
  I will agree that my home was quite dysfunctional because in fact my
dad was an active alcoholic throughout my childhood. I did indeed have
some real memories of some pretty chaotic and scary times, As this
"therapy" proceeded to dredge up everything negative about my
childhood I began to get very depressed.  Clinical depression
unfortunately runs in my family and I had previously been treated for
it. I began treating my depression with alcohol until I realized that
I was drinking every night. I entered a rehab and got sober and have
never had a drink since.
  My therapist, however, kept me involved in digging up my past. He
kept looking for more, more, more! He kept asking me if I had any
memories of being sexually abused and I kept saying no. He then began
telling me that I had all the symptoms of an incest victim and that
the only way out for me was to "recover a memory, relive it and heal
from it." I was so depressed and I desperately wanted to feel better.
I began to have a series of hospitalizations as I grew more depressed
and suicidal. I asked a psychiatrist at one hospital if my
psychological testing showed any indication of sexual abuse and he
said no. He thought my main issue was my marriage. My outside
therapist disagreed and kept pushing. I was finally hospitalized in a
women's program whose main focus was on sexual abuse issues. I still
continued not to have memories. I felt like I was flunking therapy. At
the hospital, I watched real victims really struggle with their
issues. As I look back now I am convinced that there was another woman
whose memories were false. I didn't believe her even then. I began to
have periods of severe anxiety and I was told these were probably
"body memories" and "flashbacks." I thought this is what I had to do
to get better. By now I was diagnosed with PTSD and MPD. The hospital
was trying to teach me how to "manage the flashbacks."
   When I left the hospital in March of 1989, I still had no memories
and I was obsessed with finding one. All my energy was focused on
journals, therapy etc. I had to get help taking care of my children
and my house. My therapy was my life.  When I was not in the
therapist's office, I was thinking about all the time of talking to
him. I spoke with him on the phone every night for about 20 minutes.
  Finally, I recalled having been given an enema as a child. The
therapy became focused on regressing me to an early age around five
and reliving the enema over and over again. He tried to convince me
that my mother took great pleasure in inflicting this kind of pain on
me. He called her a sex addict and sexual pervert. He said my parents
were toxic for me and that I should screen all my phone calls and not
see them.
  This was so painful for me because I really did love my parents. I
was incredibly torn between my loyalties to my family and the clutches
of this therapist. He had created such a sick dependency that I
thought I had to let him know my every move. He also was trying to
convince me that an older uncle and my older brother had also molested
  Twice a week, I would go to therapy and be told the only way to feel
better was to relive these memories. He would sit next to me on his
couch covering me with a blanket while I, in a regressed, hypnotic
state would start to have these "body memories." This therapy
continued and I had to be hospitalized six or seven weeks at a time.
I'm now convinced that my depression and suicidal were mainly caused
by the incredible conflict between wanting to be with my parents and
pleasing my therapist.
  He had never done this kind of therapy before and he kept telling me
how much he was learning from me. By now I knew that I was very
special to him especially when he told my "inner child" that she could
be his little girl. I would do anything that he wanted me to do to
please him and to keep this "nurturing" relationship going.
  Everyone around me saw me going "down the tubes" and were really
concerned. My brothers actually found out the home address of the
therapist and were very tempted to hurt him physically. They were
tired of watching me destroy the family. I couldn't listen to
anyone. I was totally "owned" by the therapist.
  In the meantime, my mother's health was deteriorating mainly due to
stress.  She had idolized me, her only daughter and the pain she was
in over this was incredible. I saw my mother in September of 1990 and
was shocked at her appearance. I then became acutely aware that I
wanted again to be close to her.  I started to ask my therapist to
help me heal the relationship. It never happened because his own
issues got in the way. My mother died in January, 1992 and I never had
a chance to tell her how sorry I was. I now have to make my apologies
at her grave. You cannot imagine how painful this is.
  After her death, I stopped working on my earlier issues and began
dealing with my loss and my marriage which was falling apart. I began
to slowly wean myself from the therapist. My husband and I had started
marriage counseling with another therapist who I began slowly to
trust. In the meantime I had been reading the case of Dr. Bean-Bayog
and Paul Lozano and heard about FMS. It took me eight more months to
finally get clear. I went to see the marriage counselor and sobbed my
way through an hour session telling her what I believed now to be the
  I then typed my therapist a four-page letter stating what I thought
had really happened in our relationship. I also told him I was not
going to pay him any more money, although he was claiming that I owed
him $3,800. As it was I had paid him out of pocket around $10,000 and
I am not a rich woman.
  In the meantime I contacted a lawyer who sent him a request for my
records. He didn't reply to either of us for about two months when he
sent me a brief note congratulating me for making so much progress in
therapy with him and asking for payment.
  This past year has been very painful to me as I've really begun to
acknowledge what I lost as a result of this therapy. I went from being
a very productive woman who was raising three children and was serving
on a school committee, (I had formed a parent-teacher organization and
was quite known and respected in my community) to a dependent
depressed, regressed, and suicidal woman.
  I've lost 6-1/2 years of my life, a chance to have an intimate
relationship with my mother, time with my three young children, and my
marriage of 21 years.  I also was forced to drop out of a graduate
program which had only accepted 49 students out of 750 applicants. I
have lost so much in terms of self-esteem and confidence. It is
amazing to me that this situation could have occurred and wrecked such
havoc in my life. I will forever carry the burden of probably
hastening my mother's death and for the grief that I had caused my
  I hope so much that telling my story will save at least one
child-parent relationship. I strongly believe that these stories must
be told because I suspect that similar situations have occurred all
across the country.
  You are welcome to use this letter in your newsletter if you think
it will help someone, but please do not use my last name as I am
contemplating legal action.

  My husband died last January after having suffered a massive stroke.
He and I began to have high blood pressure at about the time of our
daughter's accusations. This stress had been going on for several
years and we'd both been put on medication for that condition. He was
depressed. He sighed and said, "Well, I guess there's nothing more I
can do. Our daughter had returned his last letter to her unopened,
writing on the envelope, "Unacceptable mail; return to sender."
  There is no doubt in my mind that the stress he had suffered from
her false accusations was at least partially responsible for his
untimely death. He was a vigorous, healthy, sixty-six year old man.
Now I am trying to cope with the loss of my dear, loving husband of
almost 46 years while, at the same time, struggling to overcome the
bitterness I feel toward my daughter and her therapist. The tragedy of
this almost overwhelms me. In my opinion, the therapists who are
promoting these False memories are guilty of murder!
                                                       A Widow
  Thankfully, we no longer need the literature you sent but we have
passed it on to someone who does. Out daughter came to us asking for
our forgiveness. She said that even when she was making her
accusations she knew they were not so, but she had become so desperate
to please her therapist that she said whatever she felt the therapist
wanted to hear. It was exactly as your wonderful phone volunteer had
told me. When our daughter went with totally unrelated problems she
was told they had to be caused by abuse even if she could not remember
it.  We will always be grateful for your help.
                                                  A Mom and Dad
  I am a sixty-nine year old parent and my husband and I have both
been accused by our thirty-eight year old daughter.
  My husband and I have been so impressed with the information that we
have received from the FMS Foundation. We know it takes a lot of time
and money for this great foundation. We have more time (and flight
privileges) than money so I came by myself to Philadelphia from Salt
Lake City, Utah to work in the FMSF office. I spent three days working
as a volunteer here, staying in a hotel one block from the office.
  I really enjoyed being in Philadelphia and was really been impressed
with the amount of mailings that go out every day. Everyone in the
office, employees and volunteers alike, have been very friendly and
helpful. It feels good to help in this special project. When I can,
I'm going to come again and my husband will come with me.
                                                             A Mom
  My daughter was married in June. Her brothers and i were invoted.
She was warm, friendly. I like my new son-in-law very much. The past
five years of estrangement were not mentioned. I am bewildered. She
seems genuinely happy and I don't want to interfere with that. Should
I do anything to resolve the long estrangement? Does she need to talk
about it? Do I pretend nothing happened? How do other families deal
with such questions?
                                              A Mom
/                                                                    \
|            Where do 5,514 families live?  Oct 29, '93              |
|      not including 520 Potential families and 85 retractors        |
|   AK(10)  AL(19)  AR(18)  AZ(160) CA(876) CO(93)  CT(53)  DE(20)   |
|   FL(232) GA(63)  HI(9)   IA(40)  ID(29)  IL(228) IN(64)  KS(49)   |
|   KY(21)  LA(22)  MA(138) MD(92)  ME(26)  MI(172) MN(145) MO(101)  |
|   MS(6)   MT(33)  NC(71)  ND(6)   NE(26)  NH(25)  NJ(128) NM(39)   |
|   NV(22)  NY(250) OH(196) OK(52)  OR(136) PA(284) RI(17)  SC(27)   |
|   SD(13)  TN(40)  TX(216) UT(164) VA(85)  VT(24)  WA(251) WI(164)  |
|   WV(12)  WY(11)  DC(7)   VI(3)   PR(1)  Canada:  AB(19)  BC(62)   |
|   MB(40)  NS(11)  ON(161) PQ(8)   SK(7)   PE(1)    Australia(7)    |
|     England(200)  France(2)  Germany(2)  Ireland(1)  Israel(2)     |
|     Netherlands(1)   NZ(1)                                         |
|                Each family represents many people.                 |

                             LEGAL ISSUES

FMSF Legal Research Project

     A Legal Resource Kit has been available from the foundation since
August.  It includes discussion of specific issues which often arise
in repressed memory cases and case cites and bibliographic references
on topics such as application of Statute of Limitations, Admissibility
of Expert Opinion, Admissibility of Hypnotically Enhanced Testimony,
Access to Records and other Evidentiary questions. The Kit also
includes sample filings from a third party suit against
therapists/clinics and a declaration by a clinical and forensic
psychologist who reviewed the literature on repression.
  The number of people involved in legal actions is increasing in
relation the the number of families who contact the foundation. We are
currently updating our legal survey and thank the families who are
helping in this effort.  The surveys attest to the economic
destruction, the emotional devastation, the havoc to lives, and the
draining of social resources that these cases bring. Victims of sexual
abuse deserve our concern, our compassion and the right to bring suit.
It is important that we care enough about issues of child sexual to be

  The following statement by a judge in Canada is an example of the
type of cases that are being dismissed after thousands and thousands
of dollars have been spent.

MONDAY, JULY 12, 1993

  The issue in this case is whether the evidence is sufficient to
warrant a committal for trial on the charges against Mr. N. The test
at this stage of the proceedings is not whether I believe the
witnesses or not. The test is rather is there evidence upon which a
jury, properly instructed could convict the accused in this case.
  The three main witnesses for the Crown give evidence to the effect
that they were sexually assaulted by Mr. N. as indicated on the
information. On its face there is no issue as to committal. The
problem with this case is that each of the complaints at one point,
and indeed for a long time, had no memory of the alleged interference.
  Now, G. N. has a psychotic episode and thereafter claimed memories
of very horrific abuse. C. N. had no memory of abuse and following
therapy claims today to remember a very different type of abuse from
that remembered by G. and does not appear to remember episodes that
G. claimed involved both of them. L. R. did not claim to have any
memory of these allegations until her mother told her it was okay not
to remember and then to remember.
  In this type of memory evidence on which a jury could act? Does it
require a voir dire in which the Crown would have to meet a test
establishing integrity of the process by which the memory is
retrieved? Can this memory be acted upon in the absence of expert
evidence to assist the finder of facts with this phenomena, which is
clearly outside day-to-day experience? Dr. Long says this is not
memory as we understand it. Mr. Gold says this takes us into new
territory where memory no longer serves the function it has
traditionally be understood to do.
  It may be preferable to have a voir dire to file out evidence
compromised by suggestion or bias. The Crown may prefer to call an
expert at trial. There is not, as far as I know, any law in Canada
which requires this, and I am loathe to make one now. I have three
reasons for not doing so. The first is that sexual abuse of children
now appears to be much more widespread than was generally thought and
the courts ought not be stampeded into making new law one way or the
other as we deal with the flood of complaints.
  The second is that evidence which is tainted by suggestion or bias
is exactly what triers of fact are supposed to deal with. It is a
question of weight and not admissibility. Evidence generated by astral
traveling is no evidence, but this evidence is not quite that bad.
  The final reason I decline to make new law in this case is that I
would suspect my own motives. I am so unimpressed by the quality of
testimony in this case that I am almost overwhelmed by my desire to
stop the prosecution. The so-called victims in this case are
unreliable. G's evidence is outlandish from the start and the product
of near or complete insanity. C's is a product of unrelenting
suggestion, in my view. L's evidence is among the least reliable I
have seen in a child and in my view is nothing but an effort to please
her mother.
  If I could stop this prosecution, I would. I hope the Crown has the
courage to do so. This prosecution is not only unfair to Mr. N., it is
unfair to other complainants who may be identified with this sort of
evidence. We must, however, constantly remind ourselves the integrity
of the legal system is more important than any individual case.
Usually this means acquitting someone who ought not to go free. Today
it means committing a man for trial when I believe the should go
further. So, I regret to say, Mr. N., you will be required to attend
at 7755 Hurontario Street, the 30th of July, ten o'clock in the
morning, to set a trial, unless the Crown decides otherwise, and I
strongly recommend the Crown should decide otherwise. It is not my
decision to make at this point.

                     THE CROWN DROPPED THIS CASE.
/                                                                    \
|   Frederick Crews in The New York Review of Books,  Nov 18, 1993   |
|                                                                    |
| Incorrect but widely dispersed ideas about the mind inevitably end |
| by causing social damage...As I write, a number of parents and     |
| child-care providers are serving long prison terms, and others are |
| awaiting trial on the basis of therapeutically induced "memories"  |
| of child sexual abuse that never in fact occurred. Although the    |
| therapists in question are hardly Park Avenue psychoanalysts, the  |
| tradition of Freudian theory and practice unmistakably lies behind |
| their tragic deception of both patients and jurors...By virtue of  |
| his prodding, both before and after he devised psychoanalytic      |
| theory, to get his patients to "recall" nonexistent sexual events, |
| Freud is the true historical sponsor of "false memory syndrome."   |


  "The Three Faces of Eve" and "Sybil" have become as much a part of
our culture as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Indeed, in suburban
Philadelphia, Sybil is studied as part of the 8th grade health 
curriculum. The many facets to any person's personality are not an
issue. The issue that arouses extreme passion is the diagnosis of
Multiple Personality Disorder. Why?
  "Do you believe in Multiple Personality Disorder?" we have been
asked on countless occasions by reporters and critics. We think this
is a peculiar question. Do you believe in broken legs? Do you believe
in depression? We have never been asked these questions. Is MPD a
matter of faith or of fact?
  We really didn't think much about this controversial diagnosis until
we were told that it is proof of repressed memories of child-abuse.
MPD only entered the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual (DSM) in 1980 (it
is soon to be replaced in DSM-IV by Dissociative Identity Disorder).
When we first heard claims that someone had 200 personalities, we
laughed, an admission certain to make some people very angry. Indeed
when we first received reports from callers who said that the person
they were worried about had hundreds of personalities, we tell you
honestly that we put the information to one side and did not include
it because we thought there must be something wrong with the caller.
  The problem, of course, is that we were out of touch with
developments in the mental health field in the area of dissociative
studies. Until 1980, MPD was an extremely rare diagnosis with only 200
cases in the world literature, but in the past decade is seems to have
become the mental illness of choice, replacing others that had
negative stigma. We don't have accurate data on the actual number of
cases diagnosed since that time (numbers range from 4,000 to 25,000).
Since people diagnosed with MPD spend a lot of time in the hospital, a
count of the beds in the many dissociative units that have opened in
the past decade might provide some clue. A study of insurance records
might provide another clue.
  "My daughter was led to believe she had MPD long before her memories
of abuse were recalled. She felt that it was very special to have
different personalities, rather exotic and intriguing," was the
description that crossed my desk this week, a description similar to
hundreds we have received. Last year we noted from a survivor
newsletter that one person referred to his diagnosis of MPD as "the
gift of MPD." Mental illness as a gift?  If a person has a diagnosis
of MPD, he or she has it because he or she was a victim. The person
with the MPD diagnosis is not diagnosed as a victim of an organic or
behavior disorder but as a special kind of victim who had a talent to
dissociate and thus survive. The alleged abuse was so terrible, so
traumatic, that the only way the person stayed alive was to assume
another personality. The person with MPD is diagnosed as a kind of
hero. It is a diagnosis that brilliantly reflects the values of a
culture that places victimhood on a pedestal, a culture with
celebrities who wait in line to tell how they were abused.
  We do not nor have we ever questioned the reality of MPD. We do not
doubt that what clinicians report is there, whatever the clinicians
may believe about the origin of MPD. We do, however, question the
question, "Do you believe in MPD?"  There is much information in that
question. The assumption in the question is that some people do not
believe in MPD. How could a medical diagnosis be a matter of belief?
During the next few months, we will try to present some of the issues
that surround MPD and why it is framed as an issue of belief rather
than fact by some people
  Overdiagnosis? The field is split on whether MPD is overdiagnosed or
under-diagnosed. We are aware of lawsuits brought by people who claim
that doctors failed to diagnosis it and lawsuits brought by people who
say they had this diagnosis and it was incorrect. One very telling
report is from Thigpen and Cleckley (1984) who wrote The Three Faces
of Eve in which they note that hundreds of patients who were thought
to have MPD were referred to them but they saw only one case that
appeared to them to be genuine.
  "The diagnosis of MPD has become, within a particular psychiatric
lobby, a diagnostic fad. Although the existence of the clinical
syndrome is now beyond dispute, there is as yet no certainty as to how
much of the multiplicity currently being reported has existed prior to
therapeutic intervention."  (Humphrey, Nicholas and Dennett, Daniel,
1989. Speaking for ourselves: An assessment of Multiple Personality
Disorder. Raritan.)
  One problem seems to be that the criteria for MPD are imprecise and
over inclusive. Piper (in press) makes a telling point when he asks
for criteria to determine if a diagnosis of MPD could ever be proved
false. If a person does not show signs of alternate personalities, the
doctor can claim that the alters are secret. According to Kluft
(1987), many MPD patients experience long periods of time when the
alters do not appear. According to others (Putnam, 1989; Lowenstein,
1991) it is not unusual for patients to deny having MPD. If a person
shows signs of MPD they have it. If they don't show signs of MPD they
still have it. One area in which we can expect to see much
professional discussion is the area of diagnostic criteria for MPD.
  There is little doubt that MPD is a real condition. The question is,
how many hours of "therapy" does it take to bring it about? One of the
most troubling aspects is the use of hypnosis: easily hypnotized
people are suggestible people.  Some hypnotists ask their subjects to
remember a life before birth and their subjects do just that. Some ask
their subjects to remember space-alien abductions and their subjects
do that. What are we to think, then, of "alternate personalities"
particularly when they emerge only after many hours of "interviews"?
  These thoughts are engendered by a famous paper by Dr. Richard
P. Kluft entitled The Simulation and Dissimulation of Multiple
Personality Disorder (American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, vol 30,
no 2, Oct 87). The word dissimulation refers to the process that MPD
sufferers use to keep their condition from being noticed before they
come into contact with a Dr. Kluft. On p.113 he writes

  The dissimulation of MPD is more common than its simulation. In
  fact, it is a common adaptation for approximately 90% of MPD
  patients. Most studies of the diagnosis of MPD may be read as
  treatises on the detection of dissimulation. If dissimulation is the
  goal of all alters working in concert, it is likely to succeed
  because suspicion of MPD may never be raised. If the alters are in
  conflict or disagreement over how to dissimulate, however, tell-tale
  signs of covert boundary incursion may be detectable by inquiry
  about first-rank symptoms, which are not generally recognized as
  indicators of MPD. Ancillary sources may or may not be useful. Such
  cases are generally triggered to reveal themselves by painstaking
  history-taking techniques that indirectly challenge all forms of
  repression and suppression.

  Bear in mind that Dr. Kluft is not a skeptic about MPD. Indeed, he
is perhaps the single best known advocate of the view that MPD is
widespread. He tells us in this famous paper that the diagnosis of MPD
requires "detection." And he tells us that if "all alters are working
in concert" the suspicion of MPD may never be raised.
  Does he sound a cautionary note with respect to hypnosis? Indeed he
does, but not for the reasons one might suspect:

  The status of hypnosis in the forensic assessment of MPD is clouded
  by the controversy surrounding the "Hillside Strangler" case.
  Despite its profound usefulness in clinical work with MPD, it is
  best avoided in forensic circumstances until the relevant problems
  are fully resolved. When it is used as a last resort, it must be
  understood that it and its findings are likely to be challenged
  quite vigorously. Strict forensic guidelines should be followed
  scrupulously. (p 114)

  The cautionary note is only for "forensic assessment." If free of
that restriction, hypnosis is of "profound usefulness."
  But what makes the paper famous is the following passage on page

  It is useful to extend interviews. My experience is that unforced
  dissociation often occurs sometime between 2 1/2 and 4 hours of
  continuous interviewing.  Interviewees must be prevented from taking
  breaks to regain composure, averting their faces to avoid self-
  relevation, etc. In one recent case of singular difficulty, the
  first sign of dissociation was noted in the 6th hour, and a
  definitive spontaneous switching of personalities occurred in the
  8th hour.

  We must admire Dr. Kluft's persistence: not even a sign of
dissociation until the 6th hour! 

The different views of Dr. McHugh and Dr. Kluft have been presented in
The Harvard Mental Health Letter.

by Paul R. McHugh,  September, 1993
Reprinted with permission,The Harvard Mental Health Review 

  Prompted by the unexpected flourishing of this extraordinary
diagnosis, students often ask me whether multiple personality disorder
(MPD) really exists.  I usually reply that the symptoms attributed to
it are as genuine as hysterical paralysis and seizures and teach us
lessons already learned by psychiatrists more than a hundred years
  Consider the dramatic events that occurred at the Salpetriere
Hospital in Paris in the 1880's. For a time the chief physician,
Jean-Martin Charcot, thought he had discovered a new disease he called
"hystero-epilepsy," a disorder of mind and brain combining features of
hysteria and epilepsy. The patients displayed a variety of symptoms,
including convulsions, contortions, fainting, and transient impairment
of consciousness. Charcot, the acknowledged master of Parisian
neurologists, demonstrated the condition by presenting patients to his
staff during teaching rounds in the hospital auditorium.
  A skeptical student, Joseph Babinski, decided that Charcot had
invented rather than discovered hystero-epilepsy. The patients had
come to the hospital with vague complaints of distress and
demoralization. Charcot had persuaded them that they were victims of
hystero-epilepsy and should join the others under his care.  Charcot's
interest in their problems, the encouragement of attendants, and the
example of others on the same ward prompted patients to accept
Charcot's view of them and eventually to display the expected
  These symptoms resembled epilepsy, Babinski believed, because of a
municipal decision to house epileptic and hysterical patients together
(both having "episodic" conditions). The hysterical patients, already
vulnerable to suggestion and persuasion, were continually subjected to
life on the ward and to Charcot's neuropsychiatric examinations. They
began to imitate the epileptic attacks they repeatedly witnessed.
  Babinski eventually won the argument. In fact, he persuaded Charcot
that doctors can induce a variety of physical and mental disorders,
especially in young, inexperienced, emotionally troubled women. There
was no "hystero-epilepsy." These patients were afflicted not by a
disease but by an idea.
  With this understanding, Charcot and Babinski devised a two-stage
treatment consisting of isolation and countersuggestion. First,
"hystero-epileptic" patients were transferred to the general wards of
the hospital and kept apart from one another. Thus they were separated
from everyone else who was behaving in the same way and also from
staff members who had been induced by sympathy or investigatory zeal
to show great interest in the symptoms. The success of this first step
was remarkable. Babinski and Charcot were reminded of the rare but
impressive epidemic of fainting, convulsions, and wild screaming in
convents and boarding schools that ended when the group of afflicted
persons was broken up and scattered.

  The second step, countersuggestion, was designed to give the
patients a view of themselves that would persuade them to abandon
their symptoms. Dramatic countersuggestions, such as electrical
stimulation of "paralyzed" muscles, proved to be unreliable. The most
effective technique was simply ignoring the hysterical behavior and
concentrating on the present circumstances of these patients. They
were suffering from many forms of stress, including sexual feelings
and traumas, economic fears, religious conflicts, and a conviction
(perhaps correct) that they were being exploited or neglected by their
families.  In some cases their distress had been provoked by a mental
or physical illness.  The hysterical symptoms obscured the underlying
emotional conflicts and traumas.  How trivial a sexual fear seemed to
a patient in whom convulsive attacks produced paralysis and temporary
blindness every day!
  Staff members expressed their withdrawal of interest in hysterical
behavior subtly, in such words as, "You're in recovery now and we will
give you some physiotherapy, but let us concentrate on the home
situation that may have brought this on." These face-saving
countersuggestions reduced a patient's need to go on producing
hysteroepileptic symptoms in order to certify that her problems were
real. The symptoms then gradually withered from lack of nourishing
attention. Patients began to take a more coherent and disciplined
approach to their problems and found a resolution more appropriate
than hysterical displays.
  The rules discovered by Babinski and Charcot, now embedded in
psychiatric textbooks and confirmed by decades of research in social
psychology, are being overlooked in the midst of a nationwide epidemic
of alleged MPD that is wreaking havoc on both patients and therapists.
MPD is an iatrogenic behavioral syndrome, promoted by suggestion,
social consequences, and group loyalties. It rests on ideas about the
self that obscure reality, and it responds to standard treatments.
  To begin with the first point: MPD, like hystero-epilepsy, is
created by therapists. This formerly rare and disputed diagnosis
became popular after the appearance of several best-selling books and
movies. It is often based on the crudest form of suggestion. Here, for
example, is some advice on how to elicit alternative personalities
(alters, as they have come to be called), from an introduction to MPD
by Stephen E. Buie, M.D., who is director of the Dissociative
Disorders Treatment Program at a North Carolina hospital.

It may happen that an alter personality will reveal itself to you
during this [assessment] process, but more likely it will not. So you
may have to elicit an alter... You can begin by indirect [sic]
questioning such as, "Have you ever felt like another part of you does
things that you can't control?" If she gives positive or ambiguous
responses ask for specific examples. You are trying to develop a
picture of what the alter personality is like...At this point you may
ask the host personality, "Does this set of feelings have a name?"...
Often the host personality will not know. You can then focus upon a
particular event or set of behaviors. "Can I talk to the part of you
that is taking those long drives in the country?"

  Once patients have permitted a psychiatrist to "talk to the part...
that is taking these long drives," they are committed to the idea that
they have MPD and must act in ways consistent with this self-image.
The patient may be placed on a hospital service (often called the
dissociative service) with others who have given the same compliant
responses. The emergence of the first alter breaches the barrier of
reality, and fantasy is allowed free rein. The patient and staff now
begin a search for further alters surrounding the so-called host
personality. The original two or three personalities proliferate into
90 or 100.  A lore evolves. At least one alter must be of the opposite
sex (Patricia may have Penny but also must have Patrick). Sometimes it
is even suggested that one alter is an animal. A dog, cat, or cow must
be found and made to speak!  Individual alters are followed in special
notes for the hospital record. Every time an alter emerges, the
hospital staff shows great interest. The search for fresh symptoms
sustains the original commitment while cultivating and embellishing
the suggestion. It becomes harder and harder for a patient to say to
the psychiatrist or to anyone else, "Oh, let's stop this. It's just me
taking those long drives in the country."
  The cause of MPD is supposed to be childhood sexual trauma so
horrible that it has to be split off (dissociated) from the host
consciousness and lodged in the alters. Patient and therapist begin a
search for alters who remember the trauma and can identify the
abusers. Thus commitment to the diagnosis of MPD is enhanced by the
sense that a crime is being exposed and justice is being done.  The
patient now has such a powerful vested interest in sustaining the MPD
enterprise that it almost becomes an end in itself.
  Certainly these patients, like Charcot's, have many emotional
conflicts and have often suffered traumatic experiences. But everyone
is distracted from the patient's main problems by a preoccupation with
dramatic symptoms, and perhaps by a commitment to a single kind of
psychological trauma. Furthermore, given that treatment may become
interminable when therapists concentrate on fascinating symptoms, it
is no wonder that MPD is regarded as a chronic disorder that often
requires long stretches of time on dissociative units.
  Charcot removed his patients from the special wards when he realized
what he had been inventing. We can do the same. These patients should
be treated by the same methods Charcot used -- isolation and
countersuggestion. Close the dissociation services and disperse the
patients to general psychiatric units.  Ignore the alters. Stop
talking to them, taking notes on them, and discussing them in staff
conferences. Pay attention to real present problems and conflicts
rather than fantasy. If these simple, familiar rules are followed,
multiple personalities will soon wither away and psychotherapy can

  Paul R. McHugh, M.D. is Henry Phipps Professor of Psychiatry and
  Director of the Dept of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at the
  Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD.

                            FMSF MEETINGS
              Families & Professionals Working Together

   Notices for meetings scheduled between mid-December through January
1994 must reach FMSF no later than November 25th to be included in the
December newsletter.  Please mail or fax your announcement to Nancy's
attention. Thank you.


Greater LA Area, Upland
1st and 3rd Mondays, 7:30 pm
Call Marilyn (909) 985-7980

North County Escondido
Contact Joe or Marlene
(619) 466-5415

Central Coast Meeting
Call Carole (805) 967-8058

4th Saturday each month - 1:00 pm
Cherry Creek Branch, Denver Public Library
3rd & Milwaukee
Contact Roy (303) 221-4816


Illinois Area Fall Meeting
Sat., Nov. 13, 1993 - 9 am to 6 pm
Prairie Lakes Community Center
515 E Thacker St, Des Plaines, IL
Call Liz /Roger (708) 827-1056

Kansas City
2nd Sunday each month
"We need your help to educate professionals"
Contact Pat (913) 238-2447 
or Jan (816) 276-8964

Dixie (606) 356-9309

Grand Rapids Area - Jenison
2nd Monday each month
Call Catharine (606) 363-1354

St. Paul
Contact Terry/Collette 
(507) 642-3630

Cincinnati Area
Contact Bob (502) 957-2378


Wayne, PA
2nd Saturday  each month - 1 pm
please note: 
no december meeting
Call  Jim or  Jo  (215) 387-1865 

Sun., Dec. 5 - 1:00 pm
West Side Jewish Center
347 West 34th St, New York City
"The Road Back to Reality"
Speakers: Pamela Freyd with 
Maura & Laura
Call for reservations:
Renee  (718) 428-8583    
Grace (201) 337-4278
Barbara (914) 761-3627   
 Earl (203) 329-8365

3rd Sunday each month
call Wally (207) 865-4044


The Michigan Information Newsletter
P O Box 15044, Ann Arbor,
 MI 48106
(313) 461-6213
Notices of state  meetings & topics 

Attention Wisconsin!
If you wish to participate in a phone tree,
 please call Katie or Leo (404) 476-0285.
Adult Children Accusing Parents
Parents with relatives in the UK can contact Roger Scotford at ACAP on
(0) 225 868682

Vancouver and Mainland
 For information, call 
Ruth (604) 925-1539

Victoria & Vancouver Island
Tuesday, November 16, 1993 - 
7:30 pm
(3rd Tuesday each month)
Contact John (604) 721-3219

Sunday, November 21, 1993 - 1 pm
Holiday Inn in Scarborough, 
Metropolitan Road
(Exit Warden South, off 401)
Hotel Reservations (416) 293-8171
FMSF Toronto (416) 249-1799

  The Dutch minister of justice has appointed a taskforce to study
ritual sexual abuse allegations.
  We have heard nothing about the progress of any of the task forces
established by the major professional organizations to study the
problem of false memories.  We did receive a phone call from the staff
at the American Psychiatric Association in response to your
letters. They had not been aware of the foundation. Your letters are
very important. People, even doctors and psychologists, will not be
aware of the devastation this has brought to our lives unless you tell

American  Psychological Association
Frank Farley, Ph.D. (President)
4222 Yuma Drive
Madison, WI  53711

American Psychiatric Association
John S. McIntyre, M.D. (President)
1400 K. Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20005

American Medical Association
Joseph T. Painter, M.D. (President)
515 N. State Street
Chicago, IL  60610

Elizabeth Loftus, Ph.D. has received the "In Praise of Reason" award
from the Committee for the Scientific Investigation for Claims of the
Paranormal for her rational. Past winners: Gould, Johanson, Sagan,
Piel, Hofstader, and Gell-Mann.

                            PLEASE  HELP!

  You are the FMS Foundation. We desperately need the help, large or
small, of every family and professional. The mental health field has
created a mess and we are trying to "pick up the pieces" of people's
devastated lives. Sometimes it seems as thought we have been asked to
till one hundred acres and handed a fork to do it.
  We are families describing what has happened to our children and
trying to help each other with the loss and the pain. FMSF is not some
big rich "they;" we are "us."
  The Holidays are Approaching! This is a time of year when we recall
with gratitude the good that has come into our experience in the past
year and consider ways of sharing with institutions and individuals
deal to us.
  For you to be reading our newsletter suggests that you share our
concerns and goals. If you do, please help us continue our work by
making a special contribution at this season. As you know,
contributions to FMS Foundation are tax deductible.
  Many people have found that due to the tremendous rise in the stock
market over the past several years, their portfolios have become
unbalanced. A great way to solve that problem is to contribute highly
appreciated stock, which will create a tax deductible contribution --
not at your cost but current market value. Call Lisa for information
of how to do this. 215-387-1865.
  Here is a further thought. One of our members asked us to mention
that a nice alternative to exchanging gifts with some family members
or friends is to make contributions to a favorite charity in their
name. Need we tell you that we welcome such gifts.
                                                  Charles Caviness

(As of September, 1993, when people first contact the FMS Foundation
we send them an article order form listing the materials that we have
available. Each month we will update this list in the newsletter. If
you wish to obtain the full list, send us a stamped self addressed

(effective November 1, 1993)

___175  "Head Hunt," by Jeff Blyskal. New York  magazine, 
  January 11, 1993.  [$2.00]
___275  "No Thanks for the Memories": 6-part series  by 
    Norbert Cunningham.
  1.  'Recovery movement': a modern-day Frankenstein story?
  2.  Repressed memory really 'false memories': critics
  3.  Confrontation: denial proof of guilt 4.  Books on subject a
      growth industry
  5.  Roadmap to harmful destination?
  6.  What's to be done about RMR therapy?  The Times-Transcript
      (Moncton, NB, Canada)  June 21-26, 1993.  [$3.00]
___280  "Memories of Abuse: Real or Imagined?" by Kirk
   Makin. The Globe and Mail, (Toronto,) June 3, 1993.  [$2.00]
___290  "Children Accusing Their Parents," by Andrew K. 
  Weegar. Maine Times,  October 1, 1993.  [$2.00]
___495  Campbell, T.W. (1992) "Therapeutic Relationships and 
  Iatrogenic Outcomes: The Blame-and-Change Maneuver
   in Psychotherapy." 
  Psychotherapy, Vol. 29/  Fall 1992/No. 3.  [$2.00]
___541  Gardner, R. A. (1993) "Sexual Abuse Hysteria: 
  Diagnosis, Etiology, Pathogenesis, and Treatment." 
  Academy Forum, Vol. 37, No. 3, Fall 1993.  [$1.00]
___543  Gutheil, T.G. (1993) "True or False Memories of
   Sexual Abuse? A Forensic  Psychiatric View. " 
  Psychiatric Annals 23:9/September 1993  [$2.00]
___544  Herman, J. L. & Harvey, M. R. (1993) "The False 
  Memory Debate: Social  Science or Social Backlash?" 
  Harvard Mental Health Letter, April 1993.       [$1.00]
___566  McHugh, P. (1993) "Multiple Personality Disorder." 
  Harvard Mental Health Letter,  September 1993.             [$1.00]
___568  Mulhern, S. (1991) "Satanism and Psychotherapy: A 
  Rumor in Search of an Inquisition," The Satanism
  Scare, Richardson,  Bromely & Best (Eds.) 
  Aldine de Gruyter, Hawthorne, NY. pp.145-172.  [$5.00]

___575  Passantino, R. & Passantino, G. (1992) "Hard Facts 
  About Satanic Ritual  Abuse."Christian Research 
  Journal, Winter 1992.  [$2.00]
_PLEASE NOTE - following articles have new order numbers:
__190 has been changed to
___561  "Repressed Memories of Childhood Trauma: Are They 
  Genuine?"  by Elizabeth F. Loftus. Harvard Mental 
  Health Letter,  February 1993.   [$1.00]
__80 has been changed to
____542  Gardner, M. (1993) "Notes of a Fringe-Watcher, 
  The False Memory Syndrome." Skeptical Inquirer, 
  Summer 1993.   [$2.00]
Available through FMSF, price included 1st class postage
Hidden Memories by Robert Baker, 1992, Prometheus  [$30.00]
  (This book is recommended to families and professionals
   who would like an overview of the history and processes
    of "confabulations.") 
Total ___________
To order:
Name _____________________________________________________
Address ___________________________________________________
City, State, ZIP______________________________________________
Phone (in case there is a question about your order) ________________

For orders under $20, please send check. For orders greater than $20, a credit 
card is accepted
Credit card:  Visa __,  Mastercard __   
       # _________________________ Exp date ____________ Mail to FMS
Foundation, Suite 130, 3401 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 or

This address and the phone numbers have changed as of July 15, 2000
FAX order to (215) 387-1917 with credit information.
Other books of special interest - order direct from the publisher

True Stories of False Memories by Goldstein & Farmer
   (first hand reports from retractors), 517 p, $16.95 SIRS, phone
800-232-7477, fax 407-994-4704. Mention FMSF and the Foundation
receives 40%.  Highly recommended.

Selling Satan published by Cornerstone Press, 939 W. Wilson Avenue,
Suite 202C, Chicago, IL 60640, phone (312) 989-6361, fax (312)
989-2076. (This book has expanded on the excellent articles published
previously by Cornerstone magazine.  Highly Recommended.
FMS Foundation
3401 Market Street, Suite 130

This address and the phone numbers have changed as of July 15, 2000
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3315
Phone 215-387-1865
ISSN # 1069-0484

Pamela Freyd, Ph.D., 
Executive Director

           FMSF Scientific and Professional Advisory Board

November 1, 1993
Terence W. Campbell, Ph.D., Clinical and Forensic Psychology, Sterling
Heights, MI; Rosalind Cartwright, Rush Presbyterian St. Lukes Medical
Center, Chicago, IL;Jean Chapman, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin,
Madison, WI; Loren Chapman, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison,
WI; Robyn M. Dawes, Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA;
David F. Dinges, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, The Institute of
Pennsylvania Hospital, Philadelphia, PA; Fred Frankel, M.B.Ch.B.,
D.P.M., Beth Israel Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA;
George K. Ganaway, M.D., Emory University of Medicine, Atlanta, GA;
Martin Gardner, Author, Hendersonville, NC; Rochel Gelman, Ph.D.,
University of California, Los Angeles, CA; Henry Gleitman, Ph.D.,
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; Lila Gleitman, Ph.D.,
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; Richard Green, M.D.,
J.D., UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA; David A. Halperin,
M.D., Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY; Ernest Hilgard,
Ph.D., Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA; John Hochman, M.D., UCLA
Medical School, Los Angeles, CA; David S. Holmes, Ph.D., University of
Kansas, Lawrence, KS; Philip S. Holzman, Ph.D., Harvard University,
Cambridge, MA; John Kihlstrom, Ph.D., University of Arizona, Tucson,
AZ; Harold Lief, M.D., University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA;
Elizabeth Loftus, Ph.D., University of Washington, Seattle, WA; Paul
McHugh, M.D., Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD; Harold Merskey,
D.M., University of Western Ontario, London, Canada; Ulric Neisser,
Ph.D., Emory University, Atlanta, GA; Richard Ofshe, Ph.D., University
of California, Berkeley, CA; Martin Orne, M.D., Ph.D., University of
Pennsylvania, The Institute of Pennsylvania Hospital, Philadelphia,
PA; Loren Pankratz, Ph.D., Oregon Health Sciences University,
Portland, OR; Campbell Perry, Ph.D., Concordia University, Montreal,
Canada; Michael A. Persinger, Ph.D., Laurentian University, Ontario,
Canada; Harrison Pope, Jr., M.D., Harvard Medical School, Cambridge,
MA; James Randi, Author and Magician, Plantation, FL; Carolyn Saari,
Ph.D., Loyola University, Chicago, IL; Theodore Sarbin, Ph.D.,
University of California, Santa Cruz, CA; Thomas A.  Sebeok, Ph.D.,
Professor Emeritus of Linguistics & Semiotics, Indiana Univeristy,
Bloomington, IN; Louise Shoemaker, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania,
Philadelphia, PA; Margaret Singer, Ph.D., University of California,
Berkeley, CA; Ralph Slovenko, J.D., Ph.D., Wayne State University Law
School, Detroit, MI; Donald Spence , Ph.D., Robert Wood Johnson
Medical Center, Princeton, NJ; Jeffrey Victor, Ph.D., Jamestown
Community College, Jamestown, NY; Hollida Wakefield, M.A., Institute
of Psychological Therapies, Northfield, MN; Louis Jolyon West, M.D.,
UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA.

We are honored to add six new members to our stellar Scientific and
Professional Advisory Board.

The FMSF Newsletter is published 10 times a year by the False Memory
Syndrome Foundation. A subscription is included in membership fees.
Others may subscribe by sending a check or money order, payable to FMS
Foundation, to the address below. 1993 subscription rates: USA: 1 year
$20, Student $10; Canada: 1 year $25; (in U.S. dollars); Foreign: 1
year $35. Single issue price: $3