FMSF NEWSLETTER ARCHIVE - May/June 2002 - Vol. 11, No. 3, HTML version

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F M S   F O U N D A T I O N   N E W S L E T T E R     (e-mail edition)
May/June 2002 Vol. 11  No. 3
ISSN #1069-0484.           Copyright (c) 2002  by  the  FMS Foundation
        The FMSF Newsletter is published 6 times a year by  the
        False  Memory  Syndrome  Foundation.  The newsletter is 
        mailed to anyone  who contributes at least $30.00. Also
              available at no cost on
           1955 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-5766
                 Phone 215-940-1040, Fax 215-940-1042
      Advisory Board Statement
        Pendergrast                The next issue will be combined
          Feld                              July/August
            Legal Update
                From Our Readers
                  Bulletin Board

Dear Friends,

   "Because exactly what is meant by the terms of 'repression' 
   and 'dissociation' is far from clear, their use has become
   idiosyncratic, metaphoric, and arbitrary."
                  Scientific Advisory Board of the FMS Foundation
                            Statement on Recovered Memories, 1998

At the beginning of the Foundation's second decade in the year 2002 we
find accurate information about memory and suggestibility across the
continuum. Accurate understanding, however, appears to be concentrated
in the national rather than the local media, as least as measured by
the articles that arrive at the Foundation office.
    There has been an explosion of articles relating to clergy abuse
in the past few weeks and many, alas, provide all too ample evidence
of the confusion over the terms "repression" and "dissociation." This,
in spite of the fact that in almost all of the clergy cases the abuse
was known and reported at the time but then covered up. We have
received letters, phone calls and email from members who are worried
that there has been a return to the "recovered-memory dark ages" of
the early 90s. We don't think so. For every article in which
misinformation about memory has appeared, there has been at least
another with accurate information. That was not the case a decade ago.
    The current displays of ignorance about how memory works are
serious enough that every reader of this newsletter should take pen in
hand and write to reporters who could benefit from a crash course in
the issues surrounding the reliability of recovered memories. We have
reprinted the Statement on Recovered Memories from the FMSF Advisory
Board as a reminder of the educational mission of the Foundation.
That mission should involve each of us, and the Foundation has free
copies of the brochure, "Recovered Memories: Are They Reliable?" to
    Michael Donnelly, an FMSF member, sent us his thoughts on the
current crisis in the Catholic Church:

  "I think that this is an excellent opportunity to argue that
  openness, examination, inquiry, and honesty are the cures to 
  both cover-ups of actual abuse and cover-ups of bad therapy 
  and constructed memories. Both exist in the shadows and 
  thrive on darkness.

  "The recovered memory movement's fear of open discussion (one 
  of its basic tenets is no contact) more closely resembles the 
  behavior of actual perpetrators than actual victims."

    Author of Victims of Memory, Mark Pendergrast, is pessimistic
because of the signs he has observed of the ongoing practices related
to therapy focused on recovering memories. He is an astute observer.
Adriaan Mak , on the other hand, writes about some extremely positive
developments taking place in the Netherlands.
    Sometimes, taking a step back and taking a big breath helps to
give some perspective on a subject. Mark Pendergrast's review of Blake
Eskin's new book about Binjamin Wilkomirski provides some perspective
on the FMS issues because the Wilkomirski story is not about sexual
abuse. Wilkomirski wrote a memoir, later found to be false, about his
early childhood years spent in concentration camps during World War
II. The questions this episode raises are many: Why would someone
claim such a terrible past if it were not true? Why would almost every
literary critic fail to see some of the obvious impossibilities in
what was written? How could the world have missed the fact that these
memories arose in the context of therapy?
    The same questions, of course, arise about the FMS phenomenon. How
could so many otherwise sensible people have overlooked the
impossibility of most of the accusations against parents? Memories
from the period of childhood amnesia, memories that arose with the use
of memory recovery techniques such as hypnosis, memories of satanic
ritual abuse, memories for which there was never any evidence. Equally
disturbing was the fact that the demographic information about
accusers and accused did not match what is known about real abuse. In
the legal column this month are descriptions of people who remained
under arrest for years for putting children in ovens, keeping children
in cages and other bizarre acts -- none of which had any
corroboration. How could this have happened? Answering these questions
will keep historians employed for years.
    In his column this month, Allen Feld introduces the idea that
therapists might consider applying the management notions of
"responsibility to" and "responsibility for" in their work. It is a
fresh way to look at the responsibilities of mental health
    If professionals followed the many points Feld has made over the
years, we probably would nave no need for the "From Our Readers"
section of this newsletter. But that section does exist and in it are
always the most personal and poignant messages about the consequences
of the FMS tragedy. The letters from two retractors this month are
especially moving. Gail MacDonald writes about how important the
welcome by her family was in her reconciliation. Carol Diament writes
about being in the middle of the FMS problem. She accused her parents
and later reconciled with them, but her own children continue to be
"believers" and are estranged from her still.
    Families will be sweeping away the detritus of the false memory
phenomenon for many years. It is our hope that the October conference
about reconciliation will expedite that process by providing data on
what has been observed and by setting a conceptual framework that will
help both families and professionals who work with families. As
always, we thank you for your support, and we look forward to seeing
you in October.
   /                                                              \
   |                       SAVE THESE DATES                       |
   |                                                              |
   |    When?   SAT. OCTOBER 5 and SUN. OCTOBER 6, 2002           |
   |    Why?    A National Conference on Family Reconciliation    |
   |    Where?  Glenview, Illinois (Chicago suburb)               |
   |    Who?    Cosponsored by the FMS Foundation and the         |
   |            Illinois-Wisconsin False Memory Society           |
/                                                                    \
|                          SAVE THESE DATES                          |
|                                                                    |
|      When?   SAT. OCTOBER 5 and SUN. OCTOBER 6, 2002               |
|      Why?    A National Conference on Family Reconciliation        |
|      Where?  Glenview, Illinois (Chicago suburb)                   |
|              Double Tree Hotel in Glenview (847-803-9800)          |
|              Ask for special conference rate.                      |
|      Who?    Cosponsored by the FMS Foundation and the             |
|              Illinois-Wisconsin False Memory Society               |
|      What?   Presentations will focus on Reconciliation.           |
|              Speakers will include: Harold Lief,M.D.,              |
|              Elizabeth Loftus, Ph.D., Paul McHugh, M.D.,           |
|              William Smoler, Esq., Herzl Spiro, M.D., Ph.D.        |
|              There will be several panels, and, of course,         |
|              Round Tables for discussion of topics of              |
|              special interest to families.                         |
|                                                                    |
|       Registration material will appear in the July/August         |
|       newsletter and will also be sent in a separate mailing.      |
|                                                                    |
| Featured speakers ELIZABETH LOFTUS, Ph.D. and PAUL MCHUGH, M.D.    |
| are probably well-known to most of you from their appearances at   |
| previous national conferences and their prominent role as FMSF     |
| Advisory Board Members. Loftus, a faculty member of the University |
| of Washington Psychology Department, is one of the nation's        |
| leading memory researchers and McHugh recently retired after 27    |
| years as chairman of the Psychiatry Department of Johns Hopkins    |
| Medical Institutions.                                              |
|                                                                    |
| HERZL SPIRO, M.D., Ph.D. is a prolific researcher and author who   |
| totally reorganized the giant Milwaukee County Mental Health       |
| Complex. He is a clinical professor at the Medical College of      |
| Wisconsin. Loftus, McHugh and Spiro have served as expert          |
| witnesses in many high-profile FMS cases.                          |
|                                                                    |
| HAROLD LIEF, M.D. is a noted Philadelphia psychiatrist who was on  |
| the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania Department of        |
| Psychiatry for many years. He has been instrumental in bridging    |
| the gap between the recent FMSF survey results and what they mean  |
| to families.                                                       |
|                                                                    |
| WILLIAM SMOLER, Esq, is the attorney who represented Joan Hess and |
| Nadean Cool, retractors who received substantial awards. In his    |
| work with the Sawyer and Johnson cases, he has been instrumental   |
| in changing Wisconsin judicial precedent so that third-parties     |
| have standing to hold therapists accountable for the destruction   |
| of families.                                                       |
|                                                                    |
| There will be three exciting panels: Retractors will discuss and   |
| answer questions about their own paths to reconciliation;          |
| Therapists will explain how they can be part of the solution for   |
| families; and professionals will discuss how they and families can |
| work with professional organizations and religious-affiliated      |
| counselors.                                                        |
|                                                                    |
|                        SEE YOU IN OCTOBER                          |
                             Adriaan Mak

Five years ago the world seemed to have come to an end for an elderly
couple in the small town of Druten in the Netherlands. For nineteen
days they had been interrogated by the police as result of charges of
abuse brought by an adult daughter. The daughter's social worker
therapist dabbling in guided imagery had stimulated the daughter to
believe that she had been a childhood victim of the most gruesome of
abuses, which included incest, followed by pregnancy and the forced
eating of fetuses.
    Fortunately, by court order, prosecution against the parents was
soon halted and all criminal charges were eventually dropped. However,
the daughter, on the advice of the therapist, had launched a civil
suit asking compensation for the imagined abuses.
    On February 6, 2002 an Arnhem court not only rejected that claim,
but fully sided with expert witness Dr. R. Bullens of Amsterdam,
professor of child and adolescent psychology, whose investigation
indicated that the client's incredible confabulations had been
encouraged by the therapist.
    The parents' attorney, F. van Veghel, considered that
pronouncement a landmark decision and predicted that this could well
lead to a verdict in a concurrent malpractice suit against the
    Indeed, on March 3, in a decision, another first of its kind in
the Netherlands, an Arnhem court ordered the therapist to make
reparation payments of 19000 Euro to the falsely accused parents. This
judgment has now established the principle that therapists owe a duty
of care not only to their clients, but also to third parties.
    Mr. Jan Buijs, spokesperson for the Workgroup Fictive Memories,
who knows of over 90 similar cases where false charges have been
brought to the police, mentioned that the verdicts are a warning to
therapists, not only unregulated ones using "alternative" methods, but
also those within the regulated professions, who uncritically accept
the stories of their clients.
    A prominent attorney, C. Veraart, who has experience with similar
false claims of incest, agrees. He has seen many falsely accused
people experience a living hell as a result. Recently, following a
report by noted memory researcher Dr. Willem Wagenaar, who strongly
criticized the suggestive methods of a hypno-therapist, the charges
against one of Veraart's clients were also dropped. With the Arnhem
verdict, Veraart now sees the way clear to serve the therapist with a
hefty claim.
  Adriaan Mak is a prolific letter writer and for many years was the
  publisher of the Canadian FMS newsletter. He lives in London,

|                  FMSF 800 Number To Be Phased Out                  |
|                                                                    |
| Times change and needs change. As the use of the web and the       |
| internet has expanded, most people now use them to contact the     |
| Foundation for help. The 800 number seems to be redundant, and we  |
| plan to phase it out during the summer of 2002. Of course, people  |
| can still reach us at 215-940-1042.                                |

                          THE BLOATED CORPSE
                           Mark Pendergrast

In Victims of Memory (1995, 1996), I wrote: "I doubt it [recovered
memory therapy] will die out completely. Once an idea enters the
cultural mainstream, it has a way of resurfacing like a bloated corpse
every few years." I am afraid that the corpse is rising again, if it
ever truly sank. Recovered memories are coming back into style with
the mounting hysteria over accusations of sexual abuse by priests,
with new cases involving recovered memories proliferating. It is
frightening that media coverage, in general, has reverted to
uncritical belief in recovered memory claims. Perhaps we have a new
generation of young journalists who don't recall what happened when
The Courage to Heal was a bestseller.
    Although the active practice of recovered memory therapy has
subsided, I do not think that the mindset behind it has ever
disappeared. Many therapists still believe in this pseudoscience; they
are just afraid to espouse it publicly. Theophostic counseling, a
currently popular so-called Christian form of therapy, tells people
that Jesus will reveal their repressed traumatic memories to
them. Last year, a New York psychiatrist killed his 38-year-old
patient while giving her a bizarre gas treatment to help her recover
memories. A Colorado child psychologist who uses dildos in leading
interviews with children stated a few weeks ago, "If people would just
open their eyes to it [his dildo therapy], it could be as effective as
EMDR and hypnosis." No doubt.
    Last month I got an email from a woman who has completed all but
her dissertation for a degree in clinical psychology from a well-known
university. She prefers to remain anonymous. "I have been shaken by
the lack of awareness of this problem [recovered memory therapy/false
memories] at the centers where I have been trained. Most of the
therapists I know claim to maintain neutrality regarding memories, but
they also believe that massive repression exists in some or many
cases. In addition, there are still so many young women and men who
continue to come to therapy looking for reasons for their pain, and my
experience is that some of them will go the way of abuse memories even
if the therapist does not. In my short time as a student therapist at
this university's student health center, I was asked by clients more
times than I would have ever expected if forgotten abuse might be a
cause of their unhappiness. I still see copies of The Courage to Heal
on my colleagues' bookcases."
    She didn't learn much about this issue in grad school. "Honestly,
I don't remember much instruction about recovered memories at all,
except for a brief mention during a psychopathology class that the
diagnosis of DID is controversial." One of the social workers with
whom she works believes in recovered memories and "stressed to me that
she feels it is important to remain open to what the client brings."
At another walk-in clinic, there is a social work student who "spoke
openly about the memories her clients were uncovering, and spoke
proudly about having helped a client realize that what she'd
interpreted as a physical problem was actually a body memory."
    In my own local Unitarian Universalist church, a minister recently
gave a sermon based on Proverbs of Ashes, by Rita Nakashima Brock and
Rebecca Ann Parker (Beacon Press, 2001), and the book was excerpted in
UU World, the national church publication. There is a chapter in the
book in which Parker explains how she recovered memories of being
sexually abused by a neighbor. It is classic recovered memory therapy,
and no one at the publishers questioned it, nor has anyone else that I
know of.
    Alarmed by all of this, I called "Robin Newsome," the retractor
Christian therapist in the second edition of Victims of Memory. "It
seems to me," she said, "that the idea of recovered memories is still
completely accepted across the United States and Canada." She confirms
that "Theophostic counseling is one place I'm very aware that
recovered memory therapy is alive and well. A woman I know asked me to
look at the material, and it has a great deal about repressed memories
and MPD. Lay people are being trained to be sensitive to work with
patients to help them recover these memories. I told her to be really
careful, but it's highly unlikely that she took any counsel from me."
    A year ago, Newsome had a client who had just moved to her area
and who was looking for a new therapist to continue to work on her
satanic ritual abuse memories. "I told her I had some experience that
left me with real concerns about this kind of therapy, and at that
point, she became extremely angry at me and was just incredulous that
a therapist would even suggest that what she was saying was not the
absolute truth. I didn't have the impression that anyone had ever
talked to her about the possibility of false memories. This was
2001. That's frightening."
    Indeed it is. One of Newsome's colleagues has fallen in love with
another therapist who does MPD therapy with children. Newsome recently
had a second-generation MPD client. Her mother thinks she has alters,
and so does the adult daughter. "I only discovered this in the fourth
session, after we'd been dealing with marriage stressors. She asked if
I worked with MPD, and she was floored when I said, 'No,' and told her
that this is a controversial theory. She just didn't understand that.
She talked to her mother about it and then asked if I would be willing
to pray about this, and I said, 'No, I've done my praying about it.' "
    Newsome is particularly alarmed that MPD in the guise of DID is
still in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. "I have a friend who
works in a mental health association, and she says that many people
come through their doors claiming to have MPD." Thank goodness, they
ignore it, dealing with the here-and-now, and the MPD wannabes tend to
get better.
    Most therapists and ministers are still afraid to cast doubt on
recovered memories, Newsome says. "If someone came to their pastor
saying that they thought they had been a horse thief in a former life,
the pastor would have said, 'As Christians, we don't believe in
reincarnation.' And the same thing would happen if they remembered
being abducted by aliens. But if they said they went to a therapist
and had begun to recover memories, the pastor will say, 'Really? Can
we pray for you?' They would completely believe it."
    So I am sounding a warning. We may have won the battle but lost
the war. Indeed, we may not even have won the battle. I am going to
speak at a conference about true and false accusations of sexual abuse
at the University of Western Ontario in May. The head of the
Department of Psychiatry, Dr. Sandra Fisman, refused to support the
conference or give it CEU credits because it was "too controversial"
and "outside the mainstream" of psychiatric issues. It turns out that
Fisman has published several items indicating her belief in recovered
    In Victims of Memory, I estimated that there were several million
cases of recovered memories in the United States. Some have scoffed at
this outlandish figure, asking for proof. I based the estimate on
surveys that indicated some 25% of American counselors specialized in
recovered memory therapy at its height in the early 1990s. I also
based it on anecdotal evidence. It is amazing how frequently I run
into FMS stories. Recovered memories have affected the families of one
out of every ten people I talk to at random -- on airplanes, for
instance. But you have to bring up the subject, because people don't
voluntarily talk about it. I wish someone would pay for a random
Gallup or Roper survey that might give us a more scientific figure,
since the number of families who have contacted the FMS Foundation is
just the tip of the iceberg -- but such a survey would cost a huge
amount of money.
    What is the solution? Keep everlastingly at it. Educate. Write
letters. Protest. Never give up. We are talking about the lives and
minds of our children and friends, and they are worth fighting for.

  Mark Pendergrast is the author of Victims of Memory, Uncommon
  Grounds and For God, Country and Coca Cola. He can be reached at

        |                   SPECIAL THANKS                   |
        |                                                    |
        |   We extend a very special `Thank you' to all of   |
        |  the people who help prepare the FMSF Newsletter.  |  
        |                                                    |
        |  EDITORIAL SUPPORT: Toby Feld, Allen Feld, Janet   |
        |           Fetkewicz, Howard Fishman, Peter Freyd   |
        |  COLUMNISTS: August Piper, Jr. and members         |
        |           of the FMSF Scientific Advisory Board    |
        |  LETTERS and INFORMATION: Our Readers              |


          Disturbing                            Accurate

"Busa said a base psychiatrist     "Memories formed during stress are
diagnosed him with post-traumatic  more intense and longer-lasting,
stress disorder and explained how  and it is this phenomenon that
his memories may have been         scientists are trying to
repressed. He became suicidal,     understand." "Each time a memory is
then checked into a private        retrieved, according to [Ledoux's]
hospital."                         studies in animals, the information
                       Good, O.S.  is put into a new context, updated
     "Controversy sparks airman's  and then restored."
 memory; Man to quit the military                          Jamie Talan
after recalling alleged childhood          "Targeting the Structure of
   abuse at hand of Massachusetts                   Horrific Memories"
                         priest."                     New York Newsday
              Rocky Mountain News                     January 29, 2002
                   April 15, 2002  

"Repressed memories are a common   "It is no accident that the 
result of sexual abuse of          memories associated with a
children. The abused child's       traumatic event can be summoned so
brain blocks out a memory of a     vividly. Strong emotions release a
painful or difficult event until   flood of stress hormones in the
the child's intelligence and       body, including adrenaline and
maturity can better handle the     cortisol... The presence of high
stress of the event."              levels of stress hormones promotes
                    Finney, D. P.  the formation of memories that are
    "Breaking the silence: Sexual  long-lasting and easily recalled in
      abuse of kids causes untold  the amygdala, a brain structure
                          misery"  centrally involved in emotional
               Omaha World-Herald  response.
                    April 7, 2002               '            Goode, E.
                                       "Traumatic moments end, but the
"Some victims are so traumatized                     reminders linger"
that they repress memories of the                   The New York Times
events.                                               November 6, 2001
                       Dion, J.R.     (describing research of James L.
      "More days before deadline"                      McGaugh, Ph.D.)
                September 1, 2002  
"His is a case of repressed        "The theory of repressed memory --
memory, a controversial diagnosis  horrible event and recalls it only
since its treatment exploded in    years later -- is generally
the 1980s, increasingly            unsupported by science. The more
challenged in the psychological    horrifying, the more emotionally
community. More specifically,      powerful it is, the more likely
he's been diagnosed with           you're going to remember it, What
dissociative disorder, thought to  is possible, though, is that a
be a common childhood coping       child may find being sexually
response to abuse, in which the    abused to be an uncomfortable and
young victim dissociates, or       confusing ordeal, especially if the
'psychologically flees,' from the  person is too young to understand
encounter."                        what has happened. Unable to
                       Wilson, M.  process the abuse, the child may
    "Suit accuses two Mount Angel  try to put it out of his or her
            priests of sex-abuse"  mind."
                    The Oregonian                      Richard McNally
                   April 14, 2002              quoted in Rothstein, K.
                                              "Expert says memories of
                                                abuse can be recalled"
                                                    The Patriot Ledger
                                                        March 12, 2002

"What distinguishes repressed      "You have to distinguish between
memory is the emotional context    the scientific definition of
in which it occurs," said Richard  repressed memory and the sort of
Treon, Watson's attorney. "A kid   thing that attorneys turn it into
who comes from a family that is    in the courtroom. What tends to get
Catholic, so tied to the church    introduced (as evidence) is normal
and so imbued with the idea that   forgetting. For example, a person
whatever a priest does is          who has had a traumatic experience
sacrosanct, this kid is put into   may choose not to think about the
a terrible dilemma."               incident. Or, that person may
                        Baker, N.  forget the details but never forget
    "Courts back repressed-memory  the gist. Neither of these
    claims in church abuse cases"  circumstances constitute repressed
             The Arizona Republic  memory,"
                    April 1, 2002                     Charles Brainerd
                                                   quoted in Baker, N.
                                         "Courts back repressed-memory
                                         claims in church abuse cases"
                                                  The Arizona Republic
                                                         April 1, 2002

/                                                                    \
| "Every journey into the past is complicated by delusions, false    |
| memories, and false namings of real events."                       |
|                                                      Adrienne Rich |
|                                          Poet of Woman Born (1976) |

                      PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA
                             May 17, 1998


Because of the continuing misuse of trust, power, and authority in
some forms of mental health treatment, and because of our sense of
social responsibility to the victims of these treatments, we, the
assembled members of the Scientific and Professional Advisory Board of
the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, unanimously agree to the

  1. We endorse the major conclusions of the Working Group on Reported
  Recovered Memories of Child Sexual Abuse of the Royal College of
  Psychiatrists that "there is no reliable means of distinguishing a
  true memory from an illusory one other than by external
  confirmation. There are, of course, some memories so bizarre or
  impossible that they are not credible. If something could not
  happen, it did not happen." (British Journal of Psychiatry, 1998,
  172, p. 304)

  2. We also endorse their conclusion that "Evidence does not support
  the existence of robust repression." We would add that because
  exactly what is meant by the terms "repression" and "dissociation"
  is far from clear, their use has become idiosyncratic, metaphoric,
  and arbitrary.

  3. Moreover, we find no credible evidence that procedures based on
  assumptions of the historic accuracy of "recovered memories" of
  childhood sexual abuse benefit distressed individuals.

  4. In contrast, we find increasing evidence that such procedures can
  severely harm patients and their families.

  5. Despite growing awareness of these concerns in public and
  professional circles, no major United States mental health
  professional association has acted decisively to prevent its members
  from contributing to this public health problem.

Therefore, we recommend the following goals for the Foundation:

  a. The Foundation should continue its mission of assisting patients
  and families, providing scientific and legal information, and
  educating the community.

  b. The Foundation should seek to dissuade mental health
  professionals and the public from the practices and beliefs that
  promote false allegations and ineffective and potentially harmful

  c. The Foundation s activities should include education of mental
  health professionals in all disciplines, their respective
  professional organizations, and the private and public institutions
  supporting their work.

  d. The Foundation should also direct its educational efforts toward
  related professionals, such as judges and attorneys, and those in
  social services and law enforcement.

  e. Finally, the Foundation should strongly encourage further
  rigorous scientific research in all those disciplines bearing on
  these issues.

                        B O O K   R E V I E W

                          A Life in Pieces:
           The Making and Unmaking of Binjamin Wilkomirski
      by Blake Eskin.  W. W. Norton, Feb. 18, 2002.  Hard cover.
                ISBN 0393948713.  251 pages.  $25.95.
                      REVIEWER: Mark Pendergrast

"Reportage, like testimony, requires trust," Blake Eskin observes in
this fascinating exploration into how a Swiss-born child named Bruno
Grosjean turned himself into a fake Holocaust survivor named Binjamin
Wilkomirski, hailed for his supposedly autobiographical 1995 book,
Fragments: A Life in Pieces, Eskin's balanced voice earns our trust,
and in the process we follow him as he tries to answer multiple
questions. Why and how would someone want to make up such a terrible
history?  Why would many publishers, critics, readers,
psychotherapists, and real Holocaust survivors be so eager to embrace
    When Wilkomirski's history was definitively debunked, why did many
supporters refuse to face the facts?
    Eskin provides tantalizing leads but few solid answers. He tells
the story as a personal essay in which he is (in part) searching for
his own past. His great-grandmother was born Anna Wilkomirski of
Riga, though the family anglicized it to Wilbur when they arrived in
the United States in the 1930s. Had the Jewish Wilkomirskis not
departed, Blake Eskin might not exist, since they probably would have
perished in the concentration camps.
    Thus, when Eskin, a young journalist, learned that Binjamin
Wilkomirski was coming to the United States in 1997 to speak at the
Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, he arranged an assignment to
interview him, and he also brought together the Wilbur clan to meet
him. Eskin told Wilkomirski that his visit might give the Wilburs a
piece of their own identity. "Everything new you get into your mind,
it changes you," Wilkomirski replied. "You're not the same anymore as
    Indeed. And here this reviewer must reveal his own involvement.
Eskin quotes from a letter I wrote to three prominent Holocaust
scholars in April 1998, asking them to examine Fragments. Roger
Scotford, the founder of the British False Memory Society, had sent me
the book, asking my opinion. I had written a book critical of
recovered memory therapy, and I was struck here by the same fragmented
horror-story quality, with implausible, stereotypical plot elements,
supposedly recalled from infancy, when people cannot record such
memories. I suspected that Wilkomirski had been in therapy to help him
revise his personal history.
    I was right. A few months later, Swiss journalist Daniel Ganzfried
thoroughly documented that Wilkomirski was born Bruno Grosjean, then
adopted by the Doessekkers. He had never been in a concentration camp.
He was not even Jewish. Subsequent investigators, including Stefan
Maechler, the historian hired by the German publisher to look into
Wilkomirski's claims, further discredited the Holocaust story.
Maechler produced his own detailed book, The Wilkomirski Affair: A
Study in Biographical Truth (Schocken, 2001).
    For quite a while, Eskin didn't want to believe the truth. "I feel
terrible for Binjamin and what he must be going through," he writes.
Eskin would hate to throw in his lot with right-wing Holocaust
deniers. He documents the very real traumas suffered by children in
the Holocaust, as well as the revelations that the "neutral" Swiss
government was anti-semitic during the war.
    Gradually, however, Eskin came to realize that Wilkomirski was a
fraud, not a cousin. He was particularly shaken when he discovered
that Lauren Grabowski, another fake child Holocaust survivor who
"remembered" Wilkomirski from the camps, was none other than Lauren
Stratford, the author of Satan's Underground, a horrendous 1988
recovered memory book about mythical satanic ritual abuse cults.
    And here is an answer to Eskin's question. Many people will indeed
create horrendous memories of sexual abuse, violence, and persecution
because they explain everything that has gone wrong in their lives,
from failed relationships to medical problems, and because they garner
a great deal of sympathy and attention. Yes, Wilkomirski was in
therapy to help him reconstruct and solidify his memories, and it was
psychotherapists who continued to champion his cause, declaring the
book's factual content irrelevant -- it is the emotional truth that
    This kind of nonsense will be all too familiar to readers of the
FMS Foundation Newsletter, as will Wilkomirski's inane prattle about
preverbal memories, body memories, and visualization techniques. What
is strange is that neither Eskin nor any other writers about the
Wilkomirski mess seem to really get it. They refer only in passing to
the "hot debate in the United States over recovered memories" but do
not make the connection that Wilkomirski's therapist, Monika Matta,
was the crucial factor in helping him to invent his memories and write
his book, with help from Israeli therapist Elitsur Bernstein. True,
Wilkomirski had been building his Holocaust persona for years, but it
was only when he entered therapy in 1992 and began to "visualize,"
turning his story into a coherent narrative, that he really blossomed
as a fake survivor. Just as MPDs routinely incorporate stereotypical
scenes from Sybil into their own "memories," Wilkomirski snipped
pieces (perhaps without consciously doing so) from The Painted Bird,
by Jerzy Kosinsky, and his extensive research into the Holocaust. Just
as those who suspected they had repressed memories of sexual abuse
went back to childhood homes, filled with expectations that
"triggered" supposed memories of abuse, Wilkomirski visited
concentration camps to refresh his "memory," convincing himself that
his emotional reaction meant that he had been there as a child.
    As with the initial cases of false "incest survivors" who
recovered memories, few people were willing to cast doubt on anyone
who claimed to be a Holocaust survivor, even if his story was highly
implausible. There is certainly a lesson here. We should all be
sympathetic to true victims, but editors and literary agents should
also insist on thorough fact-checking before publishing sensational
stories of victims claiming horrendous abuse. Let us not allow empathy
to blind us to truth.
    Eskin ends his book with an ironic twist. In pursuing the fake
Wilkomirski, he finds a real lost cousin in Israel. Wilkomirski, he
concludes, was attractive as "a symbol for all sorts of irreversible
losses, individual and collective." Now, perhaps, the Wilburs will be
able to embrace a real relative and forget the false claimant.

  Mark Pendergrast is the author of Victims of Memory and other books.

/                                                                    \
| "Some memories are interesting, significant, only if they are      |
| strictly true. 'Nonfiction' narratives of childhood trauma and     |
| holocaust are surely of this nature. For every time 'true' stories |
| in these genres are exposed as bogus, the phenomenon of child      |
| abuse and the history of the Shoah are eroded and relegated to the |
| revisionary realms of myth and legend."                            |
|                                                      John Cornwell |
|      "This boy's account of childhood abuse and his fight for life |
|      shocked America and became a bestseller. But is he for real?" |
|                            The Weekend Australian,  April 20, 2002 |

                              Allen Feld

At times, therapists have put aside the notion that their patients are
accountable for their actions. An example of this inclination to
reduce or eliminate responsibility is the increasing reference to
patients as victims. We also find an increased use of the word in the
media, as well as in the public at large. Certainly, there are
victims. There are people who, through no fault of their own, have
been harmed and are not in any way responsible for the harm that has
befallen them. I believe that the expanded use of the victim status
has lessened the expectation of personal responsibility.
    Management texts often discuss the dual aspect of managerial
seems to be an application of this dual perspective for therapists.
    I believe that there is a general acceptance of what therapists
are RESPONSIBLE FOR. Some of these responsibilities, both explicit and
implicit, include:

 * Providing competent service to patients
 * Keeping current and informed on the evolving knowledge in their
 * Being knowledgeable about the problems the patient wishes to
 * Trying to prevent harm to the patients
 * Trying to prevent the patient from harming others
 * Avoiding personal involvement with patients
 * Protecting patient's confidentiality
 * Maintaining appropriate records

    The RESPONSIBLE TO aspect may be more controversial. I am not
aware of any disagreement about therapists being RESPONSIBLE TO their
adult patients. However, this responsibility is compromised when
therapists create the circumstances that lead a patient to develop
false beliefs ("memories").
    While the legal implications of this responsibility may be
somewhat fuzzy, I believe, without qualification, that there are moral
implications. The admonishment "Do No Harm" requires therapists, when
dealing with uncorroborated beliefs that are purely an outgrowth of
their therapy, to be RESPONSIBLE TO those people a patient might come
to believe had abused them. Therapists who engage in recovered memory
therapy insist that they have no responsibility to those who are
accused, even if there is no corroboration of the abuse.
    Unfortunately, dodging RESPONSIBILITY TO the accused and others
has broad support in the professional community, particularly when
enmeshed with the claim of protecting patient confidentiality. The
political climate and the belated recognition of the extent of child
abuse also contribute to avoiding RESPONSIBILITY TO others.
    Reconciling competing values is something therapists must often
do. In the case of recovered memories, the therapist has a vested
interest in maintaining his or her belief, and the boundaries of
objectivity are blurred.
    At this time there is little recourse for accused families in this
situation. Because it is difficult and frustrating to get licensing
boards and professional organizations to deal with grievances, the
courts continue to be the obvious path to take to hold therapists
    Public policy should reflect therapists' responsibility to all
parties affected by their therapy. After all, unlike the beliefs that
many of their patients develop, therapists have greater freedom to
choose and implement the therapy they will use and how to practice it.
They should bear the responsibility for their choices.

/                                                                    \
| "Given this level of prejudice and ignorance, it is hardly         |
| surprising that many people falsely accused of such crimes have    |
| committed suicide. Yet these tragedies have failed to curb the     |
| hysteria. Nor have the gaping holes that have appeared in basic    |
| tenets promoted by true believers - such as the infallibility of   |
| recovered memories and of diagnosis using genitally correct        |
| dolls."                                                            |
|                                                          Arndt, B. |
|      "Decades of sexual hysteria come home to roost in the senate" |
|                                 The Age (Melbourne) March 19, 2002 |

                      L E G A L   U P D A T E S
                              FMSF Staff

                     Tobin v. Estate of Ben Tobin
                 No. 4D98-3229. Dist. Ct. Ap. Fla. d4
                  Aug 2, 2000 Affirmed  772 So.2d 13
In December 1996, thirty-six-year-old Benita Tobin sued her father's
estate, claiming she had been battered and sexually assaulted by her
father from the age of five to the age of thirty-one. Her father, Ben
Tobin was a wealthy real estate developer who died in June of 1996.
Ms. Tobin claimed he molested her once or twice a year except for the
one year she lived with him as a teenager, during which she claimed he
regularly abused her. She claimed that after her marriage in 1981, her
father continued his abuse when she traveled from her home in
California to visit him in New York. She also alleged that he abused
her when she vacationed with him on two occasions.
    The defendants filed motions for summary judgment, arguing that
the claims were barred by the Florida statute of limitations. In 1992,
Florida law extended the statute from four years after the abuse
occurred to four years after the injured party discovered the injury
or the causal relationship between the injury and the abuse. The
appellant testified that she discovered the relationship between her
psychological injuries and the prior sexual abuse in the summer of
1996 when she was in counseling. She had never discussed this with any
prior therapist.
    The appellant testified that she was fully aware of the fact that
she was engaging in sexual relations with her father, even as a minor.
However, the court noted that she failed to file suit within four
years of the last sexual contact, which allegedly occurred during
September 1991.
    The appeals court affirmed the trial court's orders granting
summary judgment.


AMIRAULT: Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift rejected the
recommendation of the state parole board and did not commute Gerald
Amirault's sentence. Gerald Amirault then applied for early
parole. However, a three-member panel of the Massachusetts Department
of Corrections decided that since Gerald Amirault had refused to
participate in a treatment program for sex offenders, he was therefore
considered to be "in denial." He was denied permission for early
parole. Amirault has served nearly 16 years after his conviction in
the Fells Acre day care case, one of the most sensational mass
child-abuse cases of the 1980s. His mother, Violet Amirault, and
sister, Cheryl LeFave who were also convicted, were freed in 1995
after serving 8 years.

HAMILTON: Ted Hamilton, a Canadian who spent six years in prison for
abusing his daughter, was released last year and is currently working
to have his name cleared. The Courage to Heal figured prominently in
the accusations against him. His daughter testified to such bizarre
things as being put in the electric kitchen stove when she was three,
along with her younger brother. There was no corroborating evidence
for any of the charges against him.

INGRAM: Paul Ingram, the Washington state law enforcement official who
pleaded guilty to molesting his daughters and to holding satanic
rituals at his house, is eligible for release from prison after
serving 13 years. Ingram gained national attention after Larry Wright
wrote about him in a New Yorker article that became the book
Remembering Satan. Of particular interest was the role played by
Richard Ofshe, Ph.D., who showed that Ingram's guilty plea was based
on a false memory encouraged by Ingram's pastor and others. Ofshe
showed that Ingram would confess when his interrogators told him he
would be able to remember the incidents after he confessed.

SOUZA: Shirley and Ray Souza, who have been under house arrest in
Massachusetts since 1993, are to be released on May 10, having
completed their sentence. Found guilty by the same judge who presided
in the Amirault case, the Souzas were accused of sexually abusing
their grandchildren and of keeping them in a cage in their basement
and giving them a green potion. This happened after their daughter had
a dream and recovered memories that she had been abused by her parents
and that her mother had a penis.

/                                                                    \
| "Without therapy [Wilkomirski's] manuscript would not have         |
| materialized.  Ever since Donald P. Spence's brilliant essay       |
| appeared in 1982 on narrative and historical truth in              |
| psychoanalysis, we know how profoundly the interchange between     |
| client and therapist can influence memories. Spence shows with     |
| authority that only narrative truth can emerge in a therapeutic    |
| setting. He understands narrative truth to mean an aesthetically   |
| successful, fully developed account, which gives a satisfying      |
| rendition of suffering and creates its own reality in the          |
| therapy. Historic truth, however, which is characterized by        |
| referential links to the past, remains elusive. Wilkomirski's      |
| psychologist had a different viewpoint -- she explained ...that,   |
| based on twenty years experience of treating childhood traumas,    |
| she could clearly distinguish between authentic and apparently     |
| real experiences."                                                 |
|                           Stefan Maechler "Wilkomirski the Victim" |
|                History & Memory, Vol 13, No 2 Fall/Winter 2001 |

                            Carol Diament

In my wildest imagination I could have never believed that seeking
help for marital problems from two licensed therapists would cause me
to loose my marriage, my children, my extended family and most of my
friends, my home, my community, my pets, my financial security, and,
for a time, my mind.
    Due to the phenomenon most of us who read this newsletter know all
too well -- the false memory syndrome -- my life careened completely
out of control and brought me to the brink of suicide.
    I think back to my pre-therapy self as someone who had a pretty
good handle on life. I grew up in household in suburban Philadelphia
with two parents and three sisters, did well in school, and always had
plenty of friends. No one's life is perfect but mine was good
enough. I prided myself for being practical, rational, and someone
people could count on.
    I married a man I'd known in high school and, after I worked a
successful career in real estate, I stayed home to raise our two
beautiful children while my husband ran a thriving business.
    By 1989, after nine years of marriage, things had soured between
us. I was 37 years old. My children were five and seven. For the first
time I thought our problems were serious enough for us to seek
professional help. Maybe because I had never been dramatically
challenged in my life until then, the thought that I could end up
divorced and a single parent if the problems didn't resolve themselves
threw me into a state of panic. I'd never thought of divorce as even a
remote possibility. Now it was looming.
    I was the one who dragged my husband into therapy, and I was the
one who chose the therapists. Little did I know that a casual question
to a friend, "Do you know anyone who does marriage counseling?" would
change my life forever. The friend didn't really know the two women
therapists who called themselves Genesis Associates, but had heard of
them. They were located in Exton, Pa., a twenty minutes car ride from
our home. The next day our local newspaper ran a feature article about
them. They sounded ideal.
    Because of my feelings of desperation about my marriage, my
critical thinking skills were already compromised before I walked in
for our first session with Patricia Mansmann. I saw her arrogance as
confidence and her approach to therapy as cutting edge instead of
unproven and unethical. My husband, who had always expressed an
aversion to therapy, actually clicked with her at that first
session. That blinded me further.
    Mansmann's office was neat, her demeanor jolly, and she had an
uncanny ability to tell her clients just what they needed to hear. In
my case she offered the sweet words of hope that our marriage could be
    How I went from seeking marriage counseling to ultimately
believing I had been incested by my father from birth and had grown up
in a family who had practiced multi-generational satanic ritual abuse
is a long and complicated story. But the simple version is that Pat
Mansmann first gained my trust by offering suggestions that did, in
fact, improve my marriage. She had delivered.
    What I didn't see was that she was making me dependent on her.
She solved problems that I hadn't been able to figure out. She told me
what to do and sometimes even what to say -- and it worked. I came
away from my sessions with her feeling like she knew more about me
than I knew about myself. Asking her what I should do became a
habit. I put her on a pedestal.
    When she suggested I go to a five-day live-in workshop with thirty
of her clients whom I didn't know, I jumped at the chance. She
explained that we would all be examining issues from our childhoods
and that the workshop would be the equivalent of a year in therapy.
    The five-day workshop was the real descent into therapy hell.
When I got there I found out no one was allowed to leave or make phone
calls. I was completely over-stimulated by group therapy and
therapeutic exercises that went on from early morning until late at
night. I barely slept and barely ate. Most of the other clients there
were working on memories of sexual and satanic ritual abuse. About
three days into the workshop something in my brain snapped; I, too,
"remembered" that I was a victim of horrific abuse. I had no idea that
I was really a victim of false memory therapy.
    It made perfect sense when the therapists suggested after the
workshop that I detach from my parents whom I believed to be the
perpetrators. I threw myself into intensive therapy to "heal" from my
"abuse." I devoured what I now think is one of the most harmful books
ever written, The Courage to Heal.
    But I never felt healed even after three years of therapy.
Mansmann had convinced me I had multiple personalities and eventually
ordered me to leave my husband and my children, convincing me I was a
danger to them. She said over and over, "If you really love them you
will leave." I was to live in isolation and try to figure out why I
didn't seem to want to heal from my abuse. I did leave and lived a
year of hell missing them desperately every minute, but believing
Mansmann that my very life was at stake if I didn't follow her
directive to stay away.
    My mental health, already very shaky, finally deteriorated to the
point that I checked myself into a mental hospital and had a nervous
breakdown. Ultimately that was just the beginning of my getting away
from Genesis. It took another year for enough light bulbs to go off to
really understand the level of harm that had been done to me.
Eventually I sued the therapists and the case settled out of court.
    The Genesis therapists were not only out to implant memories --
they were out to destroy families and lives. But I don't believe that
all therapists who practice recovered memory therapy are evil. Some
have good intentions but are terribly misguided or they simply got
caught up in the wave for a time.
    I do believe that those of us who have been subjected to this type
of therapy are victims, and that we are no more accountable for our
behavior than rape victims. We didn't choose to have false memories
and although our behaviors may seem incredibly cruel and stupid, we
are not acting in our right minds while under the spell of these
    I was very fortunate that my parents forgave me for accusing them
of such heinous crimes and for refusing to have any contact with them
for seven years. They knew I was brainwashed. They waited patiently
for me to make the first moves at reconciliation and welcomed me back
with open arms. They never expected me to take responsibility for what
happened to them. Of course I told them I was terribly sorry that they
had suffered so much. Even though I knew it wasn't my fault, I still
felt horrible about how badly they were hurt.
    Today, my parents and I have a better relationship than ever. They
are well into their eighties and I shudder to think about what would
have happened if they had died while I was still in therapy and then
figured out all of the memories were false.
    Unfortunately things have not gone so well with my now ex-husband
and my children. At the behest of the Genesis therapists, they
continue to believe that my memories were real, that I'm in some
terrible kind of denial, and that I'm crazy. Despite a three-year
custody battle, I have been unable to break through the wall that
surrounds my children. I have not had a relationship with them for
almost nine years.
    Now I'm the one trying to wait patiently for my son and daughter,
now 20 and 18 years old, to contact me. At least I have the luxury of
understanding their entrenchment better than most. I know that
pressuring them doesn't work (believe me, I tried it anyway) and that
they must somehow find their own way out of the maze.
    I write to them on holidays and their birthdays and hang on to the
belief that someday they will come back to me just as I did to my
parents. When they do there will be no apologies necessary. In the
meantime all I can do is hope and pray, rebuild my life and try to
help others avoid the utter devastation caused by recovered memory

  Carol Diament is now a journalism student, and her full story
  appears in Philadelphia Magazine, February, 2002, 73-83.

/                                                                    \
| "There is a consensus among memory researchers and clinicians that |
| most people who were sexually abused as children remember all or   |
| part of what happened to them although they may not fully          |
| understand or disclose it. Concerning the issue of a recovered     |
| vs. a pseudo-memory, like many questions in science, the final     |
| answer is yet to be known. But most leaders in the field agree     |
| that although it is a rare occurrence, a memory of early childhood |
| abuse that has been forgotten can be remembered later. However,    |
| these leaders also agree that it is possible to construct          |
| convincing pseudo-memories for events that never took place."      |
|                            American Psychological Association 1996 |

                   F R O M   O U R   R E A D E R S

                  Won Lawsuit but Still No Daughter
This is an update on my FMS daughter who estranged herself completely
in 1989 at age 29, after being a close and beloved family member.
    Three years ago my lawsuit against her psychologist-therapist was
settled with sufficient $$ damages to affirm his wrongdoing. But still
she didn't "come home." This Christmas I learned from her sister that
my accusing daughter had sought help from domestic violence folk and
divorced her lawyer-husband who has been psychologically, emotionally,
and physically abusing her and her two children, now ages 7 and 12,
for years. One child is in therapy and my daughter is hanging on by a
thread emotionally and physically.
    This is exactly what I have feared for a dozen years. I believe
that the person she married was a control freak and that I was kept
out of her life because I would not have allowed my daughter to be
harmed. But I was constantly told that I was imagining things and that
she simply needed distance from me because I was the abuser. (I never
even spanked my children.)
    I hoped that freeing herself from this abusive husband and my
winning my lawsuit against her therapist would cause my daughter to
heal her relationship with me. But according to her sisters, she is
still adamant that I am "dangerous" and she must protect herself and
her children from me. Her children say they can't know their grandma
because "mama says she is crazy."
    At least now I have a photo of her and her two children so I can
see what they look like. I pray that time will heal and that she will
reach out to know me again so I can give love and attention to my
                                                              A mother
                     A Letter Sent to FMSF Staff:
Thank you so much for your recent call. It's such a real encouragement
to hear your voice.
    The birthday dinner turned out very well. My daughter, who
recently turned 59, was polite and smiling. This was the first time
she had come here since asking my forgiveness for "staying away so
long." It was a step in the right direction. We had shrimp, her
favorite, and lots of special treats. My son was agreeable but with
    I am most grateful and I am thinking of all the many families who
have not had even this much encouragement. Oh, if only our prayers are
answered to make therapists and counselors forced to be better
    I am enclosing a small check and wish I could do more. I try to
picture your face. Your voice is so comforting.
                                                  An 87-year-old widow
                          Gut-Wrenching Pain
This past weekend I was enjoying the company of my daughter and my two
beautiful grandchildren -- a pleasure that was denied to me for over a
year. I told my daughter that it would be hard for me to bear malice
against her therapist because I was so happy since her retraction. I
wondered if I would make a convincing courtroom witness in light of my
forgiving attitude. Then the FMS Foundation Newsletter came in the
mail and I sat down to browse. By the time I read the first page I was
in a state of agitation and frustration that made me understand that
nothing will ever erase the gut-wrenching pain and anxiety I
experienced when I stood accused of a crime worse (to me) than
murder. I recall the abuse hurled at me by my daughter's therapist
before I knew what the problem was. I remembered the police coming to
my home to arrest me for violating a restraining order that was never
served. I recall gathering bits of information from friends and family
concerning the welfare of my child and grandchild. A patient of mine,
who works in our delivery room, told me I had a new grandson, offered
to sneak me into the nursery for a look at him. I didn't go for fear
of imprisonment.
    My daughter has been back for over a year, my grandchildren are an
everyday part of my life now; still I sit here and write this with
tears in my eyes recalling all the negative emotions and uncertainties
of that experience.
    I am grateful to the newsletter for not letting me forget. Because
of pending litigation against the therapist and her associates, it
would be prudent not to publish my name.
                                                                 A dad
                  We Don't Want to Hear "I'm sorry"
It has been eleven years since I saw my daughter's sweet face. When I
look at her pictures, I wonder how much she has changed. I wonder what
our two grandchildren, one of whom we have never seen, are like.
    To save ourselves more grief, however, we have decided to go on
with our lives and try to keep just the good memories of her (and
there are many). If she ever wants to come back to all of us, we don't
want to hear "I'm sorry." We want to hear "it never happened." We
shall see!
                                                         A Mom and Dad
                        Why Would She Say It?
My heart goes out to both my daughter and my husband. I'm put right in
the middle of this. I do not believe my husband of 25 years ever
abused our daughter.
    Our daughter lived in our house for 22 years and there was not one
word about any abuse. She began to see an MSW. Then, on our 23rd
wedding anniversary, she seemed to go crazy, made the accusations, ran
out of the house, and has not been back since. She will still talk to
me when I telephone but will not say a word about her dad. She was
married last year and did not invite us to her wedding.
    This has torn our whole family apart. Some in my family can't
understand why I am staying with my husband. They ask "Why would she
say such a thing if it were not true?" I pray to God to please mend my
                                                     A heartbroken mom
                          One Day at A Time
We lost our daughter when we sent her to a drug rehab to try to save
her life after a four-year drug addiction. When she left, she loved
us. I remember the day that we hugged her good-bye and committed our
precious child into the hands of counselors and strangers.
    Last Christmas was the second holiday that our accusing daughter
would not spend with us. Before the holiday came, I was angry about
our situation that had resulted in all of our three children turning
against each other. I wrote one letter to all of them, expressing rage
and blame. I took it to a counselor before mailing it. The counselor
advised me to tear it up and throw it away.
    I took that advice, went home, and re-evaluated who I wanted to be
and how I wanted to handle my fate. Together with my husband, we
decided to forgive all and keep our home and hearts open despite the
challenges that might be ahead. We drafter the following letter of
love to our estranged daughter:

  Dear "Daughter,"

  Soon it will be Christmas. We anticipate that again you will decide
  not to be with us to celebrate this holiday.

  Although you have chosen to separate from this family, we want you
  to know that we will never abandon you. As time passes, we hope you
  will come to understand that we are not what those others have said.

  Today, we placed a red ribbon on the tree in our front lawn as a
  symbol of the loving hope in our hearts that someday you will
  return. This beckoning ribbon will keep vigil as the days, weeks,
  months, or years pass, while we wait for you to renew the love you
  once felt for us both. It will withstand wind, rain, storms, ice,
  and intervals of bitter cold and isolation -- as will our commitment
  to you.
                                                   Mom and Dad

It is now almost Christmas one year later. Our ribbon still stands
firm and strong, and we still wait. But meanwhile, we live our lives
one day at a time, finding the love in others that we can, and
thanking God for the numerous other blessings that have been offered
to us to enjoy.
                                                       Waiting parents
                    My Family Made the Difference
As a parent of adult children now myself, I could not imagine losing
them with an accusation such as I made. For the most part after I
recanted, I threw myself into trying to understand how this crazy
nightmare began in the first place. I read everything.
    When I started therapy, I never asked the questions that might
have spared me my crazy journey. I believed that my therapist was a
professional -- someone who was trained and qualified in his field. I
knew nothing about memory or the therapy process.
    When I returned to my family, a big key for me was taking
responsibility for my actions. I needed to apologize in order to leave
the "victim place." I might have been duped, but I was still the key
player in hurting my parents.
    I have talked about this process with other recanters and it takes
time. The shame we take on after therapy is something we each have to
deal with.
    My family received me back with open arms. For this I am
grateful. My life is now productive, full and without shame or guilt.
Just as parents cannot fix feelings that their adult children deal
with after recanting, children cannot fix what their parents are
feeling. Both sides need compassion and forgiveness.
    My own children are young adults today; their lives are just
beginning. Many times they have hurt me with young people's mistakes
and words. But, it's a process. I love them unconditionally because I
have learned so much from my own mistakes.
    Don't give up on each other is the message I want to relay. As I
age, I see so many of my parents' traits in me -- both good and
bad. While I hope to pass on only good lessons to my own children, I
know that I mess up sometimes. But I forgive myself and move on.
    I hope this nonsense ends soon. With gratitude always to the FMS
                                                        Gail MacDonald
                          The FMSF Was There
It's been a while since I became a member of the FMSF in 1992. Those
were trying times for me after the dilemma so shockingly appeared on
my horizon. Then, one day in 1994 the problem disappeared with a phone
call -- as if nothing had happened. Life has been beautiful ever
    I know that my prayers helped. But I will never forget those bleak
days when my only sustenance was my faith in God and the fact that you
and the FMSF were there with the force of logic, understanding and the
clear determination to answer unwarranted accusations.
    I again want to thank you for your foresight in establishing the
Foundation that enabled me and other thousands of parents to get
through the ordeal of a lifetime.
                                                           A happy dad

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    | Call or write the FMS Foundation for pamphlets. Be sure to |
    | include your address and the number of pamphlets you need. |

/                                                                    \
|                       FROM RUMOR TO REASON:                        |
|                 ACCUSATIONS OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE:                 |
|                                                                    |
|         A One-day Conference for Psychologists, Attorneys,         |
|           Social Workers, and Law Enforcement Personnel            |
|                                                                    |
|                       THURSDAY, MAY 16, 2002                       |
| Faculty of Law Building, University of Western Ontario, London, ON |
|                                                                    |
|           Sponsored by Professors Emeritus of Psychiatry           |
|                                and                                 |
|                         the Faculty of Law                         |
|                                                                    |
|                          MARK PENDERGRAST                          |
|                    Memory Creation and Science                     |
|                     TERENCE W. CAMPBELL, Ph.D.                     |
|        Children, Suggestibility and Autobiographical Memory        |
|                        TIMOTHY MOORE, Ph.D.                        |
|                  Problems of Children's Testimony                  |
|                        NORMAL A. PEEL, Q.C.                        |
|      The Defense Against False Accusations in Canadian Courts      |
|                            ALFRED MAMO                             |
|                   The Interests of the Children                    |
|                       JACK QUATTROCCHI, Esq.                       |
|             The Roles of the Legal System and Experts              |
|           ALAN J. COOPER, M.B., BENJAMIN GOLDBERG, M.D.,           |
|               MICHAEL McARTHUR, HAROLD MERSKEY, D.M.               |
|                              Chairs.                               |
|                                                                    |
|       Students and interested non-professionals are welcome.       |
|                                                                    |
|                        FOR MORE INFORMATION                        |
|                    Harold Merskey, DM, FRCP(C)                     |
|               Tel: 519-434-8333, Fax: 519-434-8880,                |
|                                       |

                F M S    B U L L E T I N    B O A R D

Contacts & Meetings:

  See Georgia
  Kathleen 907-333-5248
        Pat 480-396-9420
  Little Rock
        Al & Lela 870-363-4368
        Joanne & Gerald 916-933-3655
        Jocelyn 530-873-0919
  San Francisco & North Bay - (bi-MO)
        Gideon 415-389-0254 or
        Charles 415-984-6626 (am); 415-435-9618 (pm)
  San Francisco & South Bay
        Eric 408-245-4493
  East Bay Area - (bi-MO)
        Judy 925-376-8221
  Central Coast
        Carole 805-967-8058
  Palm Desert
        Eileen and Jerry 909-659-9636
  Central Orange County - 1st Fri. (MO) @ 7pm
        Chris & Alan 714-733-2925
  Covina Area - 1st Mon. (MO) @7:30pm
        Floyd & Libby 626-330-2321
  San Diego Area 
        Dee 760-439-4630
  Colorado Springs
        Doris 719-488-9738
  S. New England
        Earl 203-329-8365 or
        Paul 203-458-9173
  Central Florida - Please call for mtg. time
        John & Nancy 352-750-5446
        Francis & Sally 941-342-8310
  Tampa Bay Area
        Bob & Janet 813-856-7091
        Wallie & Jill 770-971-8917
  Carolyn 808-261-5716
  Chicago & Suburbs - 1st Sun. (MO)
        Eileen 847-985-7693 or
        Liz & Roger 847-827-1056
        Bryant & Lynn 309-674-2767
  Indiana Assn. for Responsible Mental Health Practices
        Pat 260-489-9987
        Helen 574-753-2779
  Des Moines - 1st Sat. (MO) @11:30 am Lunch
        Betty & Gayle 515-270-6976
  Wichita - Meeting as called
        Pat 785-738-4840
  Louisville- Last Sun. (MO) @ 2pm
        Bob 502-367-1838
        Carolyn 207-942-8473
  Protland - 4th Sun.(MO)
        Wally & Boby 207-878-9812
   Andover - 2nd Sun. (MO) @ 1pm
        Frank 978-263-9795
  Grand Rapids Area-Jenison - 1st Mon. (MO)
        Bill & Marge 616-383-0382
  Greater Detroit Area
        Nancy 248-642-8077
  Ann Arbor
        Martha 734-439-4055
        Terry & Collette 507-642-3630
        Dan & Joan 651-631-2247
  Kansas City  -  Meeting as called
        Pat 785-738-4840
  St. Louis Area  -  call for meeting time
        Karen 314-432-8789
  Springfield - 4th Sat. Apr,Jul,Oct @12:30pm
        Tom 417-753-4878
        Roxie 417-781-2058
  Lee & Avone 406-443-3189
  Mark 802-872-8439
        Sally 609-927-5343
        Nancy 973-729-1433 
  Albuquerque  -2nd Sat. (bi-MO) @1 pm
  Southwest Room - Presbyterian Hospital
        Maggie 505-662-7521 (after 6:30 pm)
        Sy 505-758-0726
        Michael 212-481-6655
  Westchester, Rockland, etc.
        Barbara 914-761-3627
  Upstate/Albany Area
        Elaine 518-399-5749
  Susan 704-538-7202
        Bob 513-541-0816 or 513-541-5272
        Bob & Carole 440-356-4544
  Oklahoma City
        Dee 405-942-0531
        Jim 918-297-7719
  Portland area
        Kathy 503-557-7118
        Paul & Betty 717-691-7660
        Rick & Renee 412-563-5509
        John 717-278-2040
  Wayne (includes S. NJ) - 2nd Sat. (MO)
        Jim & Jo 610-783-0396
  Nashville - Wed. (MO) @1pm
        Kate 615-665-1160
        Jo or Beverly 713-464-8970
   El Paso
        Mary Lou 915-591-0271
        Keith 801-467-0669
        Mark 802-872-8439
        Sue 703-273-2343
        Katie & Leo 414-476-0285 or
        Susanne & John 608-427-3686

  Vancouver & Mainland 
        Ruth 604-925-1539
  Victoria & Vancouver Island - 3rd Tues. (MO) @7:30pm
        John 250-721-3219
        Roma 240-275-5723
  London -2nd Sun (bi-MO)
        Adriaan 519-471-6338
        Eileen 613-836-3294
        Ethel 705-924-2546
        Ken & Marina 905-637-6030
        Paula 705-543-0318
  St. Andre Est.
        Mavis 450-537-8187
  Roger: Phone & Fax 352-897-9282
  FMS ASSOCIATION fax-(972) 2-625-9282 
  Task Force FMS of Werkgroep Fictieve 
        Anna (31) 20-693-5692
        Colleen (09) 416-7443
        Ake Moller FAX (48) 431-217-90
  The British False Memory Society
        Madeline (44) 1225 868-682

          Deadline for the July/August Newsletter is June 15
                  Meeting notices MUST be in writing
    and should be sent no later than TWO MONTHS PRIOR TO MEETING.

|          Do you have access to e-mail?  Send a message to          |
|                                         |
| if  you wish to receive electronic versions of this newsletter and |
| notices of radio and television  broadcasts  about  FMS.  All  the |
| message need say is "add to the FMS-News". It would be useful, but |
| not necessary,  if you add your full name (all addresses and names |
| will remain strictly confidential).                                |
  The False Memory Syndrome Foundation is a qualified 501(c)3 corpora-
tion  with  its  principal offices in Philadelphia and governed by its
Board of Directors.  While it encourages participation by its  members
in  its  activities,  it must be understood that the Foundation has no
affiliates and that no other organization or person is  authorized  to
speak for the Foundation without the prior written approval of the Ex-
ecutive Director. All membership dues and contributions to the Founda-
tion must be forwarded to the Foundation for its disposition.

Pamela Freyd, Ph.D.,  Executive Director

FMSF Scientific and Professional Advisory Board,           May 1, 2002

AARON T. BECK, M.D., D.M.S., U of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA;
TERENCE W. CAMPBELL, Ph.D., Clinical and Forensic Psychology, 
    Sterling Heights, MI;
ROSALIND CARTWRIGHT, Ph.D., Rush Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical
    Center, Chicago, IL;
JEAN CHAPMAN, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI;
LOREN CHAPMAN, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI;
FREDERICK C. CREWS, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, CA;
ROBYN M. DAWES, Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA;
DAVID F. DINGES, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA;
HENRY C. ELLIS, Ph.D., University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM;
FRED H. FRANKEL, MBChB, DPM, Harvard University Medical School;
GEORGE K. GANAWAY, M.D., Emory University of Medicine, Atlanta, GA;
MARTIN GARDNER, Author, Hendersonville, NC;
ROCHEL GELMAN, Ph.D., Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ;
HENRY GLEITMAN, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA;
LILA GLEITMAN, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA;
RICHARD GREEN, M.D., J.D., Charing Cross Hospital, London;
DAVID A. HALPERIN, M.D., Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY;
ERNEST HILGARD, Ph.D., (deceased) 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;
ROBERT A. KARLIN, Ph.D. , Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ;
HAROLD LIEF, M.D., University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA;
ELIZABETH LOFTUS, Ph.D., University of Washington, Seattle, WA;
SUSAN L. McELROY, M.D., University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH;
PAUL McHUGH, M.D., Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD;
HAROLD MERSKEY, D.M., University of Western Ontario, London, Canada;
ULRIC NEISSER, Ph.D., Cornell University, Ithaca, NY;
RICHARD OFSHE, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, CA;
EMILY CAROTA ORNE, B.A., University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA;
MARTIN ORNE, M.D., Ph.D., (deceased) U of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
LOREN PANKRATZ, Ph.D., Oregon Health Sciences Univ., Portland, OR;
CAMPBELL PERRY, Ph.D., Concordia University, Montreal, Canada;
MICHAEL A. PERSINGER, Ph.D., Laurentian University, Ontario, Canada;
AUGUST T. PIPER, Jr., M.D., Seattle, WA;
HARRISON POPE, Jr., M.D., Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA;
JAMES RANDI, Author and Magician, Plantation, FL;
HENRY L. ROEDIGER, III, Ph.D. ,Washington University, St. Louis, MO;
CAROLYN SAARI, Ph.D., Loyola University, Chicago, IL;
THEODORE SARBIN, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Cruz, CA;
THOMAS A. SEBEOK, Ph.D., (deceased) U of Indiana, Bloomington, IN;
MICHAEL A. SIMPSON, M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., M.R.C, D.O.M., Center for
    Psychosocial & Traumatic Stress, Pretoria, South Africa;
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 Ctr, Piscataway, NJ;
JEFFREY VICTOR, Ph.D., Jamestown Community College, Jamestown, NY;
HOLLIDA WAKEFIELD, M.A., Institute of Psychological Therapies,
    Northfield, MN;
CHARLES A. WEAVER, III, Ph.D. Baylor University, Waco, TX

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