FMSF NEWSLETTER ARCHIVE - January/February 2005 - Vol. 14, No. 1, 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)
January/February 2005 Vol. 14 No. 1
ISSN #1069-0484. Copyright (c) 2005 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
In this issue...
    From Our Readers
      Bulletin Board

Dear Friends,

We received a brief letter this month asking if the memory wars are
over. The sender explained that he was a professional writer
considering a novel about false recovered memories and wondering if
interest in the topic was over; was he too late? "Unfortunately," we
wrote back, "it's still alive." We noted that novels about recovered
abuse memories and multiple personalities are still being churned out
and that legislatures and courts in some states still consider
"repressed memory syndrome" to result from a special kind of memory.
"There is still a great need for skeptical books," we added.

As we embark on the 14th year of the FMSF newsletter, we are amazed at
our initial naivete in thinking that the recovered memory phenomenon
would be over in just a few years, as soon as people had access to
scientific information about memory. Little did we anticipate the
lengths to which some would go to avoid listening to that information.
Nevertheless, the situation now is a far cry from what it was in 1992.

One sign of climate change is the news that FMSF advisor Elizabeth
Loftus, Ph.D., has been awarded the prestigious Grawemeyer Award for
Psychology by the University of Louisville. (See below) The prize
brings with it $200,000, and its award to Dr. Loftus is especially
significant because of her outspoken position on recovered memories, a
position for which she has been attacked many times. Dr. Loftus
commented that the award is:

  "a validation of work that I have been passionate about but also had
  to do in a climate of a fair amount of hostility and difficulty. So
  there's a special sense of vindication and appreciation that the
  enemies who have been trying to do me in for at least 10 years did
  not succeed."[1]

Newsletter readers may recall that the Grawemeyer winner last year was
Aaron Beck, M.D., also an FMSF advisor. Surely the high level of
scholarship of the FMSF Scientific and Professional Advisory Board
members helped kindle the changes that we have observed.

How do others view the current climate in respect to the memory wars?
Following are comments heard in November 2004:

  "If you are not prepared, the justice system has no trouble
  accepting recovered memory nonsense. However, it is not the uphill
  battle that it used to be. Judges don't come now with a bias to
  believe recovered memories."
                                                   Alan Gold, Attorney
                                                      November 7, 2004
                                                  FMS Meeting, Toronto

  "I agree that the wars have subsided, though not ended . . . 
  Merchants of discredited memory theory prevent the memory wars from
  being completely extinguished."
                                                     Elizabeth Loftus 
                             Dispatch from the (un) civil memory wars
                                                Lancet 364.(in press)

In 1992, there were no articles, no studies, virtually nothing to help
explain why people might say they had been abused if, in fact, they
had not been. Today there is a body of information available. When
people make reference to the memory wars being over, it is generally
in that context. The scientific evidence is clear. But if that
information is not used, if people do not continue to respond to those
who are "merchants of discredited memory theory," then more families
could be hurt. And the memory wars still linger in families that have
not reconciled and for people who remain in prison.

Unchanged in the memory wars, however, are two questions that families
continue to ask: "How can people come to believe so strongly in
something that never happened that they would destroy their own
families?" and "How can people return to their families and not talk
about the tremendous explosion that they had ignited?" Research has
gone far in shedding light on the first question, but less is known
about the second. Relating the research to a personal level has been
difficult for many family members. In this issue of the newsletter we
include the first installment of "How to Believe the Unbelievable"
from Victims of Memory by Mark Pendergrast. It is an excellent
description of possible paths to belief and may help families relate
the research to their own painful experiences.

Less is known about why people would avoid talking about the beliefs
and accusations that tore their families asunder. The recent FMSF
survey shows that this is what happens in the majority of families,
but to answer the "why" we still rely on personal comments from
retractors such as the following from p. 11:

  "To realize now that it never happened is hardly a relief. You just
  do not want to face that fact; it is dreadful to have to admit that
  you adopted lies about your own life and that you ruined your
  parents in the process."
                                               Kitty Hendricks, (2004)

 From this, can we assume that people avoid the topic because it is
too painful? As a consequence of the memory wars, there remains a
tremendous need for more research on the processes, both cognitive and
social, that facilitate family reunification. In the meantime, letters
from retractors such as the one on p. 11 called "Retractor Works
Through MPD and SRA Beliefs" point to the directions for study.

Several important new papers are mentioned in this issue. For example,
on page 3 there is a report on "Forensic developmental psychology:
Unveiling four common misconceptions" by Maggie Bruck and Stephen
Ceci. This paper, certain to be widely cited, shows that research
indicates that suggestibility is not primarily a problem for
preschoolers and that suggestion can occur without multiple

"The persistence of folly: A critical examination of dissociative
identity disorder" by August Piper an, Harold Merskey is a concise
review of the research on MPD. "SRA and UFO abductions: New religious
movements?" by Christopher Bader is a fresh perspective on the
recovered memory movement.

New research continues to add to the arsenal of information needed to
quiet the memory wars. The situation is drastically improved, but we
still need your vigilance.

[1] quoted in Gottlieb, J. (2004, December 1). UCI professor wins big
    award. Los Angeles Times p. B-7.

       |                    SPECIAL THANKS                    |
       |                                                      |
       |  We extend a very special `Thank you' to all of      |
       |  the people who help prepare the FMSF Newsletter.    |  
       |                                                      |
       |  EDITORIAL SUPPORT: Janet Fetkewicz, Howard          |
       |           Fishman, Peter Freyd                       |
       |  COLUMNISTS: Members of the FMSF Scientific advisory |
       |     Board and Members who wish to remain anonymous   |
       |  LETTERS and INFORMATION: Our Readers                |

/                                                                    \
| "The vitriolic controversy over repressed memories occurred        |
| because people had trouble accepting a few important truths about  |
| memory. Just because a memory is held with confidence, contains    |
| details, and seems emotional, does not mean it is real. Without    |
| independent corroboration virtually no reliable way exists to tell |
| a true memory from a false one.  Recent work using neuroimaging    |
| has attempted to locate differences in the brain that might allow  |
| us to distinguish true from false memories.  This research, which  |
| sometimes reveals that true memories have different neural         |
| signatures from false ones, uses group averages, although it is    |
| far too primitive to be useful for judging whether a particular    |
| memory is real or not. These truths are important for society to   |
| ingest, even if they are hard to swallow."                         |
|                                                  Elizabeth Loftus  |
|                          Dispatch from the (un) civil memory wars  |
|                                             Lancet 364.(in press)  |


Last April, Elizabeth Loftus, Ph.D., Distinguished Research Professor
at the University of California at Irvine, (and a founding member of
the FMS Foundation's Scientific and Professional Board) was elected to
the National Academy of Sciences. This November, she was awarded the
prestigious Grawemeyer Award for Psychology by the University of
Louisville. The $200,000 award was given for her research on memory,
in particular, how it can be altered, work that has had an important
influence in both law and psychotherapy.

Dr. Loftus is a prolific researcher. She has written hundreds of
articles published in scientific journals and is the author of several
books, including one of the first about recovered memories, The Myth
of Repressed Memory: False Memories and Allegations of Sexual Abuse
(St. Martin's Griffin, 1996).

Chuansheng Chen, her colleague at UC-Irvine, and the person who
nominated her for the award called Loftus "one of the giants in
psychology." He said that her "work has reached not only scholars in
the fields of psychology and the law but a variety of other audiences,
including policy makers, practitioners and the general public. She has
done more than any other social scientist to educate the legal
community about the limitations and malleability of human memory."

Dr. Loftus is cherished by FMSF members for her compassion and
accessibility. She has always found the time to speak to families and
provide encouragement and support. Families hold her in the greatest
respect not only for her scholarship but also, perhaps even more, for
her courage to speak out in a hostile environment.

Victim advocates and individuals claiming to be abuse victims have
attacked her and her findings for more than a decade. And, of course,
they criticized Loftus's receipt of this award. "I am sorry if there
are people who don't want to accept that there are false memories,"
said Dr. Loftus in response to complaints from so-called survivors.

Richard Lewine, the University of Louisville professor who chairs the
psychology award told the press, "We did this strictly on the basis of
the quality of her work . . . She's really solid. One always risks
with potent ideas to have potent reaction."

Dr. Loftus said that the award was "a validation of work that I have
been passionate about but also had to do in a climate of a fair amount
of hostility and difficulty. So there's a special sense of vindication
and appreciation that the enemies who have been trying to do me in for
at least 10 years did not succeed."

The winner of last year's Grawemeyer Award, Aaron Beck, M.D., also is
a member of the FMSF Scientific and Professional Advisory Board.

  Gottlieb, J. (2004, December 1). UCI professor wins big award. Los
  Angeles Times p. B-7.

/                                                                    \
| "Sexual abuse happens in everyone's family, whether they know it   |
| or not."                                                           |
|                                              Gail Weiner quoted in |
|                                         Harril, R. (2004, June 15) |
|                                                   Building support |
|                                       Fort Pierce Tribune (FL), D1 |

                      FOUR COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS
                   Bruck, M., and Ceci, S. (2004).
                  Forensic developmental psychology:
                Unveiling four common misconceptions.
    Current Directions in Psychological Science, 13 (6), 229-232.

For anyone involved with cases of accusations of abuse made by
children, this is an invaluable paper. It is brief and clear. Bruck
and Ceci succinctly describe the most recent research and show that it
directly contradicts 4 commonly held misconceptions about disclosure
and suggestion.

Misconception 1: That Sexually Abused Children Do Not Disclose Their
Abuse -- ". . . studies of children's response patterns indicate that
if they are directly asked, they do not deny, but tell."

Misconception 2: That Suggestive Interviews Can be Indexed by the
Number of Leading Questions -- ". . . suggestiveness (and thus the
risk of eliciting false information) of an interview is not directly
reflected by the number of leading questions, but rather is indexed by
how interviewer bias plays out in the target interview, as well as in
all previous interviews."

Misconception 3: That Suggestibility is Primarily a Problem for
Preschoolers -- "Although much of the literature pays lip service to
the concept that suggestibility exists at all ages, including in
adults, the primary view is that preschool children are
disproportionately suggestible, and that there should be less concern
about the tainting effects of suggestive interviews with older school-
aged children." In fact, "susceptibility to suggestion is highly
common in middle childhood, and under some conditions there are small
to no developmental differences in suggestibility."

Misconception 4: That Multiple Suggestive Interviews are Needed to
Taint a Report -- ". . . children can incorporate suggestions about
salient events after a single interview." And there can be
"significant tainting of reports and production of false beliefs when
interviews are only very mildly suggestive."

/                                                                    \
|                    VIRTUES OF PAST LIFE THERAPY                    |
|                                                                    |
| "There are those who cite at least two attractive features of past |
| life regression. Since therapists charge by the hour, the need to  |
| explore centuries instead of years will greatly extend the length  |
| of time a patient will need to be treated, thereby increasing the  |
| cost of therapy.  Also, the therapist and patient can usually      |
| speculate wildly without much fear of being contradicted by the    |
| facts."                                                            |
|                                      Aquino, N.P. (2004, August 6) |
|                                   Weekender Lifestyle: Clairvision |
|                                      Business World. (Philippines) |

                         MULTIPLE PERSONALITY
                      The persistence of folly:
      A critical examination of dissociative identity disorder.
                 Piper, A., M.D., & Merskey, H., D.M.
              I. The excesses of an improbable concept.
              Can J Psychiatry, Vol. 49, No. 9, 592-600;
 II: The defence and decline of multiple personality or dissociative
                          identity disorder.
             Can J Psychiatry, Vol. 49, No. 10, 678-683.
                 (II at . . . 2004/october/piper.asp)

In this 2-part review of the Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)
literature, FMSF advisors, August Piper and Harold Merskey found
"logical inconsistencies...internal contradictions and [the DID
literature's] conflict with known facts and settled scientific
principles." (p. 592)

For example, DID proponents claim a causative link between DID and
extreme childhood trauma but association in itself does not
demonstrate a causal connection. Piper and Merskey point out that
further inconsistencies in this theory arise because claims of trauma
in DID cases have not been adequately documented and corroborated. In
fact, in published reports where authors claimed to have corroborated
patients' accounts of abuse, Piper and Merskey found serious
methodological flaws. They conclude that these reports do not
demonstrate a causal link between DID and childhood abuse.

Piper and Merskey point out other logical contradictions in the theory
that childhood trauma causes DID, such as the dramatic increase in the
number of DID cases in the 1980s. They argue that if trauma in
childhood were a major cause of DID, the data on childhood abuse
during that time should parallel the increase in DID cases, but it
does not. The authors also note that if the posttraumatic model were
accurate, we would have seen a much greater increase in the number of
cases of childhood DID (since dissociation is said to begin in
childhood), but we have not.

The authors conclude that "The literature shows that 1) there is no
proof for the claim that DID results from childhood trauma; 2) that
the condition cannot be reliably diagnosed; 3) contrary to theory, DID
cases in children are almost never reported; and 4) consistent
evidence of blatant iatrogenesis appears in the practices of some of
the disorder's proponents." (P.592)

Part II of Piper and Merskey's review of DID builds upon the
conclusion of Part I that DID is "a culture-bound and often iatrogenic
condition," beginning with an analysis of the role of suggestion in
the treatment of DID. Using references from the DID literature the
authors demonstrate that interventions to access alter personalities
typically encourage and reinforce behaviors associated with DID.

Given the logical inconsistencies found in the DID literature, the
factors that make reliable diagnosis impossible, and the deterioration
in patients diagnosed with DID, Piper and Merskey argue that the
courts should not accept testimony in favor of DID.

Finally, the authors offer their predictions about the future of DID.
While the trend to diagnose DID may ebb and flow several times,
ultimately DID " likely to become about as credible as spirits
are today."

                   |      Intriguing Notice       |
                   |    Burlington Free Press     |
                   |         July 6, 2004         |
                   |        Bulletin Board        |
                   |   BOOKS Book burning, free   |
                   | books, psychology, recovery, |
                   |     other misc. topics.      |
                   |       (802) XXX _XXXX        |

      Gonsalves, B., Reber, P.J., Gitelman, D.R., Parrish, T.B.,
                 Mesulam,  M.M., Paller, K.A. (2004).
 Neural evidence that vivid imagining can lead to false remembering.
               Psychological Science, 15(10). 655-660.

Memories fade and become distorted, and sometimes people think they
have remembered events that never actually happened. Gonsalves et al.
wanted to study how memories, both real and false, are stored and how
they're later retrieved. They recruited 11 volunteers from the
Northwestern University community and monitored their brain activity
using functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) during the
presentation of photos or of names of objects that they were asked to
visualize. Later the authors asked the volunteers to discriminate what
they had actually seen from what they had imagined. Many of the visual
images that the subjects were asked to imagine were later
misremembered as actually having been seen.

Ken Paller, one of the authors, said:

  "A vividly imagined event can leave a memory trace in the brain
  that's very similar to that of an experienced event. . .  Just the
  fact of looking back into you memory and thinking about whether an
  event happened is tantamount to imagining that event happening. If I
  ask you if something happened, you imagine it happening. Later on --
  a day or a year later -- if I ask about that event, you have the
  tough judgment of deciding what happened and what was imagined."

According to Paller, "The remarkable finding is that brain activity
during the study phase could predict which objects would subsequently
be falsely remembered as having been seen as a photograph."

  Tremmel, p. (2004). Researchers pinpoint false memories formation.
  (News Release, October 19). Evanston, IL: Northwestern University.

/                                                                    \
|                        Victoria, Australia,                        |
|               Requests Submissions for Inquiry into                |
|                Practice of Recovered Memory Therapy                |
|                             |
|                                                                    |
| As part of their inquiry into the practice of recovered memory     |
| therapy, the Department of Human Services in Victoria, Australia,  |
| has called for submissions from any interested persons with        |
| information about this form of therapy, including patients, their  |
| family members, practitioners, and professional and regulatory     |
| bodies. The purpose of the inquiry is to identify opportunities    |
| for improving practice and protecting the public.                  |
|                                                                    |
| The submission request states (a) that "repressed or recovered     |
| memory therapy incorporates a belief that memories can be          |
| repressed and involves clinical strategies that assist clients to  |
| recover those memories" and (b) that it "has been associated with  |
| recovery of memories of childhood sexual abuse."                   |
|                                                                    |
| A report of the inquiry will go to the Minister for Health by      |
| April 2005. Submissions may be sent to:                            |
|                                                                    |
|                                |
|   Anne-Maree Polimeni                                              |
|   Office of Health Services Commissioner                           |
|   Level 30 / 570 Bourke St.                                        |
|   Melbourne 3000                                                   |
|                                                                    |
| The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2005.                  |

                    Bader, C. D. (2003, December).
                     Supernatural support groups:
        Who are the UFO abductees and ritual-abuse survivors?
  Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 42 (4), p. 669-678.

The 1980s saw the emergence of both UFO abductee and ritual-abuse
survivor movements. These movements are similar in that they both hold
quasi-religious beliefs and use psychotherapeutic techniques. Both
movements focus on healing members from past abuse, often perpetrated
by beings with supernatural powers. Both movements use
psychotherapeutic techniques such as hypnosis, art therapy and role
playing to recover "repressed" memories of the forgotten abuse.

Baylor sociologist Christopher D. Bader is one of the first people to
study the members of these groups in a natural setting. This article
presents a demographic portrait of 55 UFO abductees and 51 ritual-
abuse survivors. Dr. Bader notes that "both groups proved very
challenging to survey." He found that many were "leery" of people "who
wish to study them." Among other things, they feared "ridicule in the
popular media." Many of the members also had "developed elaborate
conspiracy theories." Nevertheless, the author was eventually able to
attend meetings and make the case for his survey.

Bader compared the survey data to general population demographics and
found that there were some striking differences: most UFO and SRA
members were female, white, affluent, and well educated. This is
precisely the demographic pattern of people who are likely to join new
age and novel religious movements.

Authors of research in new age activities and new religious movements
have speculated on the reason for the skewed demographics. Some have
suggested that novel religious movements may offer women more
opportunities for leadership. Others have suggested that some new age
groups and movements emphasize female power or aspects of
spirituality, intuition, or emotion and, thus, attract women.

Dr. Bader notes: "The point is that a certain demographic is interested 
in things outside the mainstream."

               | There are lots of people who mistake |
               | their imagination for their memory.  |
               |                        Josh Billings |

          The following is excerpted, with permission, from:

                           Mark Pendergrast
       (640 pages, $24.95, Upper Access Books, Hinesburg, VT).
                 Copyright 1996, all rights reserved.

  The book can be ordered:, or 
  by calling 1-800-310-8320.

                        Chapter 3  pp. 119-149

  "I can't believe that!" said Alice.

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

  Alice laughed. "There's no use trying." She said. "One can't believe
  impossible things."

  "I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I
  was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes
  I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
                                                         Lewis Carroll
                                         Through the Looking-Glass [1]

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

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

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

                 Hypnosis: Memory Prod or Production?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unfortunately, clinical psychologists and other therapists appear to
have little interest in playing detective, even when they realize that
hypnotism often produces false memories.
  Footnote: Most therapists, whether trauma specialists or not,
  object strenuously to the notion that they should "play detective"
  or encourage their patients to do so, seeking external corroboration
  for the "narrative truth" revealed in therapy sessions. The trouble
  is, some therapists already are playing detective by unearthing
  these supposed trauma memories. They encourage a belief system that
  has dramatic effects in the real world and then invoke their
  intuitive, subjective therapy stance.
                                         It is easy to see how the
current disastrous situation evolved, given the attitude of
psychologists such as Roy Udolf, who wrote the Handbook of Hypnosis
for Professionals in 1981. "There is little support in the
experimental literature," he wrote, "for many of the clinical claims
made for the power of hypnosis to provide a subject with total eidetic
[accurate] imagery-like recall of past events." Nonetheless, he went
on to assert that "the kind of memory that hypnosis could logically be
expected to enhance would be . . . affect-laden material that the
subject has repressed . . . [i.e.,] traumatic early experiences."
Moreover, Udolf concluded that it doesn't matter whether such elicited
memories are accurate or not. "A memory retrieved under hypnotic age
regression in therapy may be quite useful to the therapeutic process
even if it is distorted, inaccurate, or a total fantasy as opposed to
a real memory."[23]

                    Age Regression: Let's Pretend

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

Yet there is overwhelming evidence that "age regression" is simply
role playing in which an adult performs as she thinks a child would.
As Robert Baker puts it, "instead of behaving like real children,
[they] behave the way they believe children behave."[24] Psychologist
Michael Nash has reviewed the empirical literature on age regression
and has concluded that "there is no evidence for the idea that
hypnosis enables subjects to accurately reexperience the events of
childhood or to return to developmentally previous modes of
functioning. If there is anything regressed about hypnosis, it does
not seem to involve the literal return of a past psychological or
physiological state." Even when hypnotically regressed subjects
perform credibly, normal control subjects do just as well. As final
evidence that hypnotic regression involved simple role enactment, Nash
points out that "equally dramatic and subjectively compelling
portrayals are given by hypnotized subjects who are told to progress
to an age of 70 or 80 years."[25] Most people would agree that such
age progression involves more fantasy than accurate pre-living.[26]
  Footnote: In 1954, psychiatrists Robert Rubenstein and Richard
  Newman came to the same conclusion when they successfully
  "progressed" five subjects into the future under hypnosis. "We
  believe that each of our subjects," they wrote, "to please the
  hypnotist, fantasied a future as actually here and now. We suggest
  that many descriptions of hypnotic regression also consist of
  confabulations and simulated behavior." Incredibly, however, they
  exempted repressed memories from this logic: "We suspect, however,
  that our doubts do not apply to the reenactment of traumatic past

             Past Lives and Unidentified Flying Fantasies

Hypnotism has similarly proven indispensable in the search for past
lives and in "remembering" UFO abductions. Although nothing is
impossible -- maybe we really can remember former incarnations,
[Footnote: The ultimate age regression in this life is, of course, to
the womb. In 1981, psychiatrist Thomas Verny wrote The Secret Life of
the Unborn Child, offering examples of just such a feat. Under
hypnotic regression, one of his patients reported the following
placental message: "I am a sphere, a ball, a balloon, I am hollow, I
have no arms, no legs, no teeth....  float, I fly, I spin."
Similarly, one survivor claimed in a 1993 lawsuit that her therapist
had helped her remember prenatal memories. Another therapist helped
her patient access a memory of being stuck in the Fallopian tube,
which explained her "stuckness' in adult life.
  Footnote: The ultimate age regression in this life is, of course,
  to the womb. In 1981, psychiatrist Thomas Verny wrote The Secret
  Life of the Unborn Child, offering examples of just such a feat.
  Under hypnotic regression, one of his patients reported the
  following placental message: "I am a sphere, a ball, a balloon, I am
  hollow, I have no arms, no legs, no teeth.... I float, I fly, I
  spin." Similarly, one survivor claimed in a 1993 lawsuit that her
  therapist had helped her remember prenatal memories. Another
  therapist helped her patient access a memory of being stuck in the
  Fallopian tube, which explained her "stuckness' in adult life.]
                                              and perhaps aliens
actually do snatch us out of our beds -- most readers will probably be
more skeptical of such claims than of recovered incest memories. Yet
the similarities are startling, including the reliving of sexual abuse
while under hypnosis. Past-life therapists (such as Katherine
Hylander, whose interview appears in Chapter 5) take people back
before their births to previous centuries in which they were raped,
tortured, or maimed [27] Only by recalling and reexperiencing these
terrible traumas can they be mentally healed in this life.

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

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

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

Theodore Flournoy, who debunked the earliest past-life regressions,
coined the term cryptomnesia [30]
  Footnote: When he was president, Ronald Reagan proved to be a
  master of cryptomnesia. The movies in which he had acted appeared to
  be irretrievably mixed in his mind with reality, so that he
  frequently repeated fictional stories as if they had actually
  occurred. At one point, he even asserted he had personally taken
  documentary concentration camp footage at Dachau following World War
  II, even though Reagan did not venture outside the United States at
  that time. As biographer Garry Wills noted, however, "Reagan's war
  stories are real to him."
                                    for this inadvertent mixing of
prior knowledge with past lives. Elizabeth Loftus calls the same
process "unconscious transference," while other psychologists use the
term "source amnesia."[31]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am sure that David Jacobs and John Mack feel real empathy for these
people who truly believe that they have been taken to UFOs and
forcibly subjected to bizarre sexual experimentation.[36]
  Footnote:John Mack's Abduction follows the same basic pattern as
  that described by Jacobs. Most hypnotized subjects reveal that the
  aliens took sperm and egg samples and inserted probes into their
  vaginas, anuses, and noses. Mack's aliens, however, are ultimately
  benign, trying to save humans from ecological disaster. The
  expectancy effect appears to be at work here: Mack has long been an
  activist for environmental causes. It appears that his expectations
  are sometimes quite overt. One reporter invented an abduction story
  that Mack eagerly accepted. Prior to her hypnotic sessions, he "made
  it obvious what he wanted to hear."
                                                            But their
findings seem only to confirm what is already known about hypnotism --
that subjects tend to "remember" whatever the hypnotist is looking
for. The pain is real -- regardless of whether the memories are of
past lives, UFO abductions, or incest by parents -- but it was
probably prompted and encouraged through the dubious means of hypnotic
"regression." Investigators such as Jacobs and Mack dupe themselves
and others because they genuinely want to help people, especially if,
in the process, they can feel that they are also exploring uncharted

                           Chapter 3 Notes

[1] Carroll, Alice's Adventures, p. 230.
[2] Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry, Part IV, v.2, p. 1516.
[3] Smith, "Hypnotic Memory Enhancement," p. 399.
[4] Baker, They Call It Hypnosis, p. 193-195; see also Smith,
    "Hypnotic Enhancement;" Parkin, Memory and Amnesia, p. 44-45.
[5] Baker, They Call It Hypnosis, p. 18.
[6] Orne and Loftus quoted in Baker, They Call It Hypnosis, p. 110,
[7] Laurence and Perry, Hypnosis, Will, and Memory, p. xiv-xv.
[8] Merskey, Analysis, p. 165-166.
[9] Laurence & Perry, Hypnosis, p. xiii.
[10] Baker, They Call It, p. 17, 174.
[11] Spanos, "Hypnotic Amnesia," Spanos, "Multiple Identity
[12] Baker, Hidden Memories, p. 148.
[13] Baker, They Call It, p. 109.
[14] Spiegel in Woodward, "Was It Real or Memories?" p. 55
[15] Bernheim in Ellenberger, Discovery, p. 172.
[16] Estabrooks, Hypnotism, p. 43.
[17] Lynn & Rhue in Theories of Hypnosis, p. 13; Kirsch, "Altered
[18[ Bernheim in Laurence & Perry, Hypnotism, p. 237-238.
[19] Laurence & Perry, "Hypnotically Created," p. 524.
[20] Spanos, "Hypnotically Created," p. 155-159.
[21] Orne in Hypnosis and Memory, p. 26; Sheehan in Hypnosis and
     Memory, p. 95-125.
[22] Orne, "Use and Misuse," p. 323, 334.
[23] Udolf, Handbook, p. 131-133.
[24] Baker, They Call It, p. 130; Baker, Hidden Memories, p. 152.
[25] Nash, "What, If Anything," p. 49-50; see also Perry in Hypnosis
     and Memory, p. 128-150.
[26] Rubenstein, "Living Out," p. 473.
[27] Verny, Secret Life, p. 190; Loftus, "Therapeutic Recollection,"
     p. 6; Bikel, "Divided Memories," Part I, p. 9.
[28] Woolger, Other Lives, p. 137-138.
[29] Baker, Hidden Memories, p. 154; Wilson, All in the Mind, 101-106.
[30] Wills, Reagan's America, p. 162-170.
[31] Wilson, All in the Mind; Baker, Hidden Memories, p. 78-92;
     153-164; Spanos, "Secondary Identity Enactments"; Loftus,
     Witness, p. 84; Goleman, "Miscoding Is Seen."
[32] Baker, Hidden, p. 153.
[33] Jacobs, Secret Life, p. 25.
[34] Mack, Abduction, p. 3-27.
[35] Bryan, Close Encounters, p. 419.
[36] Neimark, "The Harvard Professor," p. 46-48; Orlans, "Potpourri."

                           To Be Continued

/                                                                    \
|                     A Retractor on Retracting                      |
|                                                                    |
| "To realize now that it never happened is hardly a relief. You     |
| just do not want to face that fact; it is dreadful to have to      |
| admit that you adopted lies about your own life and that you       |
| ruined your parents in the process. How can you ever admit having  |
| made such false accusations, especially against those who were     |
| always there to support you?"                                      |
|                                                    Kitty Hendricks |
|                         Quoted in Kieskamp, W. (2004, November 20) |
|                               Worse than rape. Trouw (Netherlands) |
|                                          Translated by Adriaan Mak |

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

               We Need A United Front by Professionals

We are very grateful to the Foundation for these past 12 years. At
first we felt terribly alone until we learned about FMSF.

Our daughter, who is a psychotherapist, accused her father and
convinced her sister that she, too, was an early childhood victim.
After all these years they continue to believe this as strongly. Since
our daughter is a psychotherapist, probably the only thing that might
convince her would be a united front by the professions on the subject
of recovered memories. Please keep up the good work. We would be lost
without you.
                                                                 A mom
                          Cards But No Talk

Our daughter left 16 years ago after accusing several family members.
We do get cards for birthdays, anniversaries, and other special
occasions, but she will have no verbal exchange with us. The FMSF has
helped support us through this sad time.
                                                                 A mom
             Retractor Works Through MPD and SRA Beliefs

There were several things that made me start questioning my Multiple
Personality Disorder and Satanic Ritual Abuse beliefs. First, I was
having problems with the way the therapist who diagnosed me was
running her practice. She was co-running a therapy group that I was
in. She would not let me finish my sentences and would interrupt and
say "survivors this" and "survivors that." I didn't like that.

So I left and found a new therapist who started out believing me about
the SRA and MPD, but then became a skeptic. Meanwhile, I was reading
books about the skeptical point of view. I have a degree in library
science, and I love to read. When the believer books were in fashion
in bookstores, I read those. Later, when the skeptical books started
appearing, I read those -- not all, but a representative sample.

I found Ian Hacking's book and read that, and that started me down the
skeptical path. I worked with my new therapist and reestablished
contact with my family. I believe I have to be an adult and take
responsibility for what I believed that wasn't true. However, I think
the therapist whom I was seeing also needs to take responsibility for
treating me poorly. No one did a stellar job, that's for sure.

I read Dr. Piper's and Dr. Simpson's papers in Dissociative Identity
Disorder. I found their arguments to be very cogent and convincing. I
have read Hoax and Reality by Dr. Piper and I thought that was a very
good book.

Interestingly, I have also been misdiagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive
Disorder (OCD) and bipolar illness. A psychiatrist diagnosed me with
OCD, but I later saw an expert in the condition, and he said he'd seen
2,000 people with OCD and I did not have it. Another psychiatrist
diagnosed me as bipolar, but I am not manic so that's not an issue.

I know diagnoses are subject to fads, and I wondered if that's why
I've gotten so many wrong ones, but I've heard it's very rare for a
patient to get three completely wrong diagnoses. I've been told I'm
too passive in accepting a potential diagnosis, and I answer "yes" to
too many questions, regardless of whether they're true for me or not.
I need to take responsibility for these traits. My real problems are
depression and anxiety, both of which I remember having trouble with
when I was a child up through adulthood.

Please excuse the long email; I was happy to have a chance to tell my
                                             Thanks for your interest,
                                                           A retractor

Hacking, H. (1998). Rewriting the Soul: Multiple personality and the 
           sciences of memory. Princeton University Press.  
Piper, A. (1997). Hoax & Reality: The Bizarre World of Multiple 
           Personality Disorder. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson Inc.
Piper, A. (1995). A skeptical look at multiple personality disorder.
           In L. Cohen, J. Berzoff, and M. Elin, (Eds.), Dissociative
           Identity Disorder (pp. 135-173 ). Northvale, NJ: Jason
           Aronson Inc.
Simpson, M.A. (1995). Gullible's travels, or the importance of being 
           multiple. In L. Cohen, J.
Berzoff, and M. Elin, (Eds.), Dissociative Identity Disorder (pp. 
           87-134). Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson Inc.

                         How Long A Returner?

Our daughter returned to us in 1994 after five years of separation.
For eight years, nothing was said about the accusations. However, she
told my husband she was sorry for the grief she caused us just a few
months before he died in 2002.
                                                                 A Mom
        Accusing Daughter Returns but Brothers Still Alienated

I have been a member of FMSF since 1992. I don't really write a good
letter, but I will do the best I can.

I joined FMSF after I received a letter from my daughter in 1992 who
at the time was 34 years old. She had been in therapy for depression
since 1973 when my wife and I divorced. In the letter, she stated that
she had MPD which included four other personalities. She said this was
caused by childhood happenings. The other personalities took the pain
and she suppressed the pain. She wrote that she didn't even have a
childhood and she was very angry. She stated that she was very
confused about some things that may have happened when she was growing
up. She felt that we didn't have a good father/daughter relationship
because I wasn't there for her and the only recognition I gave her was
to complain about her being overweight. She ended her letter by saying
that she was married and that her husband loves and supports her for
who she is no matter how she looks. The letter was signed by her
husband and her three brothers.

No one in the family had told me about the wedding and would not
correspond with me for a long time after I received "the letter." They
shut me out of their lives. Finally two of my sons visited me and said
that their sister had disclosed that her uncle (my brother who had
passed away in 1982) had raped her when she was a young girl and that
I had allowed him to do it. They said that one of her alter
personalities had revealed this and that it absolutely had to be true
because an alter never lied. I, of course, knew that this was not
true, so I began to suspect that she did not have MPD, if there even
was such a thing.

My daughter and I have reconciled. I asked her if she knew why she and
I could reconcile but her brothers and I couldn't. I told her it was
because she and I knew the truth, but they didn't. They would not know
until she did the right thing and recanted. She said she could not
tell what happened because she could not remember, that only her alter
knew what had happened. My sons believe this.

I have convinced my sons that the American Medical Association and a
large percentage of the mental health community do not consider
recovered memories to be reliable. But they say that is irrelevant and
that MPD and recovered repressed memories are two different things.
What do I do now to reach my sons?
                                                          A loving dad
                          Don't Give Up Hope

We will all be together this Christmas for the first time in 11years.
Don't let anyone give up hope.
                                                                 A dad
                     Honoring Dr. Campbell Perry

This Fall I decided to honor the memory of Dr. Campbell Perry (Cam) by
making a donation to the Concordia University Library for the purchase
of new and current books in the field of memory research and memory
processes. Before his death in May 2003, Cam had been a valued member
of the FMSF Scientific and Professional Advisory Board and was a
Distinguished Professor Emeritus in Psychology at Concordia
University, Montreal, Quebec.

A dozen or so new books were carefully researched by the psychology
reference librarian at Concordia and the final selection was chosen by
Jean-Roch Laurence, Ph.D., a colleague of Cam's and mine.

The Director of the Libraries, William Curran, was most enthusiastic
as he saw this as a preferred way of making a valuable donation to an
academic library since it ensures that new publications are added to
the collection. He thought that I had chosen an excellent way to pay
homage to a scholar following his death. Mr. Curran followed this up
with a photo session and publication of this approach in campus and
alumnae newspapers.

Perhaps this is an example that some of your readers might like to
pursue to ensure that books of excellence on the false memory syndrome
and memory processes will be found on the shelves of academic
libraries of their choice.
                                                          Mavis Lipman
                              Thank You

You do and have done such an amazingly super job of this. There are no
words on this planet that would adequately describe the impact of your
excellent work.

Please publish the above paragraph in your next newsletter.
                                        A grateful but grieving father

/                                                                    \
| "If repeated trauma is easily 'repressible' why haven't I          |
| repressed memories of therapy?"                                    |
|                                         Jaye Bartha, retractor '92 |

*                           N O T I C E S                            *
*                                                                    *
*           ELIZABETH LOFTUS has moved her web site to:              *
*           UCI web:               *
*                                                                    *
*                        HUNGRY FOR MONSTERS                         *
*                       A documentary film by                        *
*                        George Paul Csicsery                        *
*                                                                    *
* When 15-year-old Nicole Althaus told a teacher that her father was *
* molesting her, the quiet affluent Pittsburgh suburb of Mt.         *
* Lebanon, Pennsylvania, was turned inside out. Nicole's father,     *
* Rick, was arrested and charged with sexually abusing Nicole amidst *
* bizarre satanic rituals.  With the support of her favorite         *
* teacher, police, therapists, social workers, and officers of the   *
* court, all of whom believed her stories, Nicole began to embellish *
* her initial accusations. As she recovered more memories of wild    *
* orgies, sacrificed babies, and murder, more people were arrested,  *
* including her mother and a pair of strangers.                      *
*                                                                    *
* A year later, all charges were dropped, and Nicole admitted that   *
* her accusations were false. After Nicole and her parents           *
* reconciled, they sued the authorities. This time, Nicole claimed   *
* she was the victim of abuse perpetrated by the very people who had *
* supported her allegations against her parents.                     *
*                                                                    *
*                        Ordering Information                        *
*                                                                    *
* The introductory VHS price is $195.00 to universities/libraries/   *
* institutions and $39.00 to individuals for home use. Add $5.00 for *
* shipping.                                                          *
*                          George Csicsery                           *
*                          P.O. Box 22833,                           *
*                      Oakland, CA 94609-9284.                       *
*                         Fax 510-429-9273.                          *
*                                     *
*                                                                    *
*                      WEB  SITES  OF  INTEREST                      *
*                                                                    *
*                         *
*            The Lampinen Lab False Memory Reading Group             *
*                       University of Arkansas                       *
*                                                                    *
*                              *
*                  The Exploratorium Memory Exhibit                  *
*                                                                    *
*                                      *
*                   Hartford Courant memory series                   *
*                                                                    *
*                                       *
*                     The Memory Debate Archives                     *
*                                                                    *
*                                         *
*                      French language website                       *
*                                                                    *
*                                    *
*               Contains phone numbers of professional               *
*                 regulatory boards in all 50 states                 *
*                                                                    *
*                                       *
*                   Illinois-Wisconsin FMS Society                   *
*                                                                    *
*                                   *
*                             Ohio Group                             *
*                                                                    *
*                                           *
*                Australian False Memory Association.                *
*                                                                    *
*                                           *
*                    British False Memory Society                    *
*                                                                    *
*                               *
*            This site is run by Laura Pasley (retractor)            *
*                                                                    *
*                          *
*             This site is run by Deb David (retractor)              *
*                                                                    *
*                         *
*                            Upton Books                             *
*                                                                    *
*                   *
*                       Locate books about FMS                       *
*                     Recovered Memory Bookstore                     *
*                                                                    *
*                        *
*               Information about Satanic Ritual Abuse               *
*                                                                    *
*                                      *
*                   Parents Against Cruel Therapy                    *
*                                                                    *
*                               *
*                       New Zealand FMS Group                        *
*                                                                    *
*                                       *
*                       Netherlands FMS Group                        *
*                                                                    *
*                                   *
*           National Child Abuse Defense & Resource Center       *
*                                                                    *
*                                  *
*                  Excerpts from Victims of Memory.                  *
*                                                                    *
*                          *
*                         Ross Institute                             *
*                                                                    *
*         *
*             Perspectives for Psychiatry by Paul McHugh             *
*                                                                    *
*                                *
*                 FMS in Scandinavia - Janet Hagbom                  *
*                                                                    *
*                                              *
*                National Center for Reason & Justice            *
*                                                                    *
*                                      *
*          Skeptical Information on Theophostic Counseling           *
*                                                                    *
*                                  *
*           English language web site of Dutch retractor.            *
*                                                                    *
*                                        *
*             This site is run by Stephen Barrett, M.D.              *
*                                                                    *
*                                        *
*                  False Memory Syndrome Foundation                  *
*                                                                    *
*                     LEGAL WEBSITES OF INTEREST                     *
*                                        *
*                                           *
*                                       *
*                                           *
*                                      *
*                                                                    *
*            The Rutherford Family Speaks to FMS Families            *
*                                                                    *
* The video made by the Rutherford family is the most popular video  *
* of FMSF families. It covers the complete story from accusation, to *
* retraction and reconciliation. Family members describe the things  *
* they did to cope and to help reunite. Of particular interest are   *
* Beth Rutherford's comments about what her family did that helped   *
* her to retract and return.                                         *
*                   Available in DVD format only:                    *
*                      To order send request to                      *
*                    FMSF Video, 1955 Locust St.                     *
*                      Philadelphia, PA  19103                       *
*    $10.00 per DVD; Canada add $4.00; other countries add $10.00    *
*               Make checks payable to FMS Foundation                *
*                                                                    *
*                         FMS Stories Wanted                         *
* Seeking FMS-related nonfiction accounts by survivors of False      *
* Memory Syndrome for collection of work to be published by DEL SOL  *
* PRESS. We define "survivors" as patients recovering from           *
* therapeutic FMS/MPD abuse. We include relatives who have not       *
* retracted but admit harm. Contact Mary O'Neal:                     *
*                                      *
*                                                                    *
*                               NOTICE                               *
*                                                                    *
* A group of individuals in southwest Virginia is drafting           *
* legislation that seeks to attack the false memory problem before   *
* it begins as well as proposing a way for families to speak out     *
* after separation from their relative has occurred. We are asking   *
* for input from other Virginians who have been affected by the      *
* false memory syndrome and who would like to join us in support of  *
* this legislative effort. Please express your interest by email to  *
* the following address: or by regular mail to    *
* Att: Lee Law, P.O. Box 231, Collinsville, VA                       *
                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
        Jocelyn 530-873-0919
  San Francisco & North Bay 
        Charles 415-984-6626 (am); 415-435-9618 (pm)
  San Francisco & South Bay
        Eric 408-738-0469
  East Bay Area
        Judy 925-952-4853
  Central Coast
        Carole 805-967-8058
  Palm Desert
        Eileen and Jerry 909-659-9636
  Central Orange County - 1st Fri. (MO) @ 7pm
        Chris & Alan 949-733-2925
  Covina Area 
        Floyd & Libby 626-357-2750
  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
        Madeline 954-966-4FMS
  Central Florida - Please call for mtg. time
        John & Nancy 352-750-5446
        Francis & Sally 941-342-8310
  Tampa Bay Area
        Bob & Janet 727-856-7091
        Wallie & Jill 770-971-8917
  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
  Wichita - Meeting as called
        Pat 785-738-4840
  Louisville- Last Sun. (MO) @ 2pm
        Bob 502-367-1838
        Sarah 337-235-7656
        Carolyn 207-364-8891
        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 - Quarterly, 4th Sat. of 
        Jan., Apr., Jul., Oct. @12:30pm
        Tom 417-753-4878
        Roxie 417-781-2058
  Lee & Avone 406-443-3189
  Mark 802-872-0847
        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 & Carole 440-356-4544
  Oklahoma City
        Dee 405-942-0531
        Jim 918-582-7363
  Portland area
        Kathy 503-655-1587
        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 915-595-3945
        Keith 801-467-0669
        Mark 802-872-0847
        Sue 703-273-2343
        Kathy 503-557-7118
        Katie & Leo 414-476-0285 or
        Susanne & John 608-427-3686
        Alan & Lorinda 307-322-4170

  Vancouver & Mainland 
        Lloyd 250-741-8941
  Victoria & Vancouver Island
        John 250-721-3219
        Roma 204-275-5723
        Adriaan 519-471-6338
        Eileen 613-836-3294
        Ethel 705-924-2546
        Ken & Marina 905-637-6030
        Paula 705-543-0318
        Mavis 450-882-1480
  FMS ASSOCIATION fax 972-2-625-9282 
        Colleen 09-416-7443
        Ake Moller FAX 48-431-217-90
  The British False Memory Society
        Madeline 44-1225 868-682

           Deadline for the Mar/Apr Newsletter is March 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,      

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., (deceased) 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., (deceased) 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 California, Irvine, CA;
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., (deceased) 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., {deceased) University of California, Berkeley,
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

                     YOUR CONTRIBUTION WILL HELP
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                    THANK YOU FOR YOUR GENEROSITY.
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