A Guest Post by David Aaronovitch

David Aaronovitch
David Aaronovitch


Earlier this year BBC Radio 4 broadcast two programmes in the Analysis strand, which I made together with a BBC producer, Hannah Barnes. Ritual Sexual Abuse: the Anatomy of a Panic part one was broadcast on the 25th May and part two went out a week later.

I was asked to make these programmes because I had expressed a concern in various writings that some of the new accusations of historic VIP abuse of children, and the way in which sections of the media were handling them, were reminiscent of the “Satanic Panic” of the 80s and early 90s. During that time it was widely alleged and believed that a substantial number of Satanists and other cultists were or had been involved in complex rituals –involving child sexual abuse and even child sacrifice. Then, by the mid-90s the panic subsided. I felt that by analyzing that past panic we might better understand some aspects of the present.

As I said in programme one, I was most concerned to trace the spread of an idea from small beginnings on therapists’ couches in the US and Canada to a full-blown cause celebre in which the press, intellectuals and professionals in the UK participated – and which abruptly subsided in the mid-90s.

Broadly (but not exclusively) the line of travel ran from the publication of the book Sibyl in 1973, which (especially after its adaptation for television) popularised the idea of multiple personality disorder (or MPD). After Sibyl the number of diagnoses of MPD multiplied, and were very often ascribed to repressed memories of childhood sexual trauma which could only be expressed in the extreme form of alternative personalities (or “alters”) of which the patient was consciously unaware. These alters could only be coaxed into the open by hypnotism, drug treatment and, of course, amazingly intuitive therapy. (In fact Sibyl was a mixture of hoax and confabulation as Debbie Nathan’s excellent book proves beyond any argument.

The therapeutic fashion for “recovered memory” allowed credulity to be lent to the extraordinary and semi-pornographic account of therapy sessions between a Canadian psychotherapist Lawrence Pazder and his patient (and later wife) Michelle Smith. Their book Michelle Remembers purported to uncover the truth that the patient had been abused as part of a series of Satanic rituals in a ring of devil-worshippers in the 1950s. The book became a best-seller.

When, in the mid-80s, a brief spate of extraordinary accusations about ritual abuse at American preschool establishments erupted, supposedly involving numerous adults and dozens of children, Pazder was one of those consulted for his expertise in matters occult. The cases, his book and the atmosphere they created constructed a professional milieu in America for the acceptance of a belief both in repressed memory and widespread ritual abuse.

It wasn’t long before these ideas crossed the Atlantic and began to feature in conferences and articles in specialist journals organized and written for child-care professionals. One aspect of these conferences was the enthusiastic involvement of evangelical Christians some of who believed not just in devil worship, but in the existence of the devil.

From 1988 to 1992 there were numerous cases where satanic abuse was claimed in Britain, but the ones which occupied most attention were those in Nottingham (the Broxstowe case), Orkney and Rochdale. The Analysis progammes looked mostly at Nottingham as, in many ways, it was the motherlode of claims of satanic abuse and the social workers in Nottingham became arguably the most important professional exponents of the idea of widespread satanic child sexual abuse. Their cause was given considerable strength by the energetic acceptance of the notion of ritual abuse in part of the therapeutic world.

Programme two showed how, though there had been terrible abuse in Nottingham and a kernel of abuse in Orkney (there was never found to be any in Rochdale) , nevertheless the idea of ritual abuse had foundered completely in the absence of any corroborating forensic evidence whatsoever for practices which – to say the least – would have left plenty of tracks. It considered the role of therapists, some childcare professionals and others in the contamination of childhood evidence and the construction of “recovered” memories. It criticized the idea that trauma can be utterly repressed. And then, finally, it revealed how widespread certain diagnoses and therapeutic practices which lead to confabulation still are in Britain today, including the use as a work of reference of The Courage to Heal, a survivor’s handbook which encourages the ideas of ritual abuse and of repressed memory.

At no stage did the programmes seek to minimize the reality of child sexual abuse, either historic or present. In fact one of my motivations for making the programmes was a concern that police time and effort is currently being squandered on what are almost certainly fictitious cases hyped by unscrupulous attention-seekers, when inquiries into real and current cases of child sexual abuse are under-resourced. I anticipate – without any particular pleasure – this view being vindicated in the months ahead.


Following transmission three substantial complaints were made online by people either interviewed for the programme or featured in it. Once those were published I either had a choice of letting them be, or of replying in full. Probably foolishly I’ve chosen the latter, and am very grateful to Matthew Scott for allowing me to use his consistently excellent blog for the purpose of rebuttal.

The two complaints from interviewees were both hosted by the Needleblog, a private blog devoted to the issue of child sexual abuse. The first was made by Tim Tate, author – among many other works – of Children for the Devil: Ritual Abuse and Satanic Crime, published in 1991 (but subsequently withdrawn after legal action). Tate was also co-producer of a 1989 edition of ITV’s prime-time programme The Cook Report entitled The Devil’s Work.

The second complaint came from Dr Sarah Nelson, a sociologist at Edinburgh University and former journalist. Dr Nelson describes herself as a specialist writer and researcher on child sexual abuse.

The third complaint came in two articles by the journalist and campaigner Beatrix Campbell, hosted by the Open Democracy website, the first being entitled “Analysing Aaronovitch: has the scourge of ‘conspiracists’ become one himself?” And the second “Analysing Aaronovitch: a skeptical narrative.”

Tate, Nelson and Campbell have all either given notice of an intention to make formal complaints to the BBC, or have already complained. I am not here formally (or indeed, informally) responding to these BBC complaints, which I haven’t yet seen. Nor will I be taking up the questions of the circumstances under which Tate and Nelson were interviewed. I will simply say that I have worked with many BBC producers and Hannah Barnes, who arranged the interviews, is one of the best and most conscientious.

To an extent the complaints overlap but I have tried, where possible to keep them separate.


The following two sentences are Tate’s own summary of his complaint.

Aaronovich [sic] – without troubling to present any evidence – put forward his own conspiracy theory: one in which satanic ritual abuse is a no more than a fantasy created by social workers taken in by the claims of improperly-motivated North American psychiatrists and psychotherapists. In doing so he deliberately ignored solid and unequivocal evidence which counters his thesis. And the BBC allowed him to broadcast two high profile programmes which were at best misleading and sometimes deeply deceitful.”

This boils down to essentially three claims: one of mistaken over-simplification, one of a failure to produce evidence and one of willfully ignoring available evidence – in particular (as we shall see) evidence supplied by Tate himself.

But before taking on these claims I should mention that the producer Hannah Barnes and I had faced a slightly unusual problem in the case of both Tate and Campbell. Both had written books on satanic abuse or touching on it in the 90s. And both books had been withdrawn by their publishers for legal reasons and the books had never been republished.

In his complaint, for reasons that I will come to later, Tate expresses anger at the fact that we had not procured a copy of his withdrawn book. He says of me:

“Nor did he or Hannah Barnes bother to get hold of a copy of my book…..When challenged about this, the editor of Analysis e-mailed me to say that:

Hannah understood that the book had been withdrawn from publication following a libel action and therefore assumed that it was therefore not available.”

“One of the fundamental rules of journalism is not to “assume”. Even the most cursory of checks would have found the book for sale on Amazon. And as every journalist knows, the British library holds a copy of every book published.

In fact as of today (the last Sunday in June) Amazon UK states that the book is “currently unavailable” (not, note, “out of stock”). Nor, as far as I am aware, did Tate offer to send us a copy – perhaps because this might have constituted a repetition of the original libel. Instead Tate sent us some pages from one chapter dealing with prosecuted cases that he argued amounted to ritual abuse.

Subsequently I did manage to get hold of the book. It was a secondhand copy marked with the library imprint of Moorlands College, which turned out to be an Evangelical Christian training college in Dorset. And I must admit that I wished I had read it before embarking on my interview with Tate, but not for any of the reasons he suggests. Readers will see why.

Over-simplification – the question of transmission.

Tate argues with what, in his view, amounted to the programme’s massively oversimplified account (“a conspiracy theory”) of how Satanic or ritual abuse came to be a preoccupation first in the United States and then in Britain.

“Aaronovich’s [sic] thesis for the programmes was that all satanic ritual abuse allegations trace back to a 1980 book called Michelle Remembers by a Canadian psychiatrist called Lawrence Pazder with his patient (and later wife), Michelle Smith. These claims then spread out through the North American psychiatric and therapeutic community and were accepted as evidence of the factual existence of satanic cults ritually abusing children. Aaronovich provided no actual evidence for his assertion, relying instead (as he would throughout the programmes) on a post hoc, proper hoc [sic] argument that simply because the book was widely publicised it therefore must have been the root for all subsequent allegations. This is factually wrong.”

I did no such thing. But I did argue that Michelle Remembers was an important part of the development of the idea, linking the growingly fashionable notion of recovered memory with satanic abuse. And strangely enough, in his book at least, Tate appears to agree.

On page 2 we discover that “the term ritual abuse was first coined by Canadian psychiatrist, Lawrence Pazder in 1980….” And on page 44 he directly links the book to the acceptance of the “reality” of satanic abuse in Canada, arguing that:

“…perhaps by 1987 it was easier for Canadian professionals to listen to that evidence [ie that for ritual abuse] than for law-enforcement officers, therapists and judge in most other countries where children were disclosing identical details.”

Seven years previously Dr Lawrence Pazder had published a book containing detailed descriptions of therapy sessions with a young woman called Michelle Smith.

In fact Michelle Remembers played a key part in his own awakening. In his introduction to his book Tate, having been alerted in August 1987 by a British psychiatrist called Joan Coleman to a patient who is now “remembering” ritual abuse, calls an acquaintance in US Customs. This contact sends him an eight-page “briefing note”.

It sounds like the person you are working with may have suffered abuse similar to a Canadian woman who was supposedly abused by satanists in Vancouver, British Columbia…. I have done some research in the area of satanic cults and abuse. I think it is important that our agents are able to recognize evidence of cult involvement if and when they see it.” (pxii)

Michelle Smith was from Vancouver. 21 months after this exchange Smith, together with another satanic abuse “rememberer”, Lauren Stratford appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Both were interviewed uncritically. Stratford, under the name “Laura Grabowski” also later pretended to be a survivor of Auschwitz where she claimed to have befriended the fake Holocaust survivor and author, Binjamin Wilkomirski (aka Bruno Grosjean). Somewhere there will be a professional, or several, who once thought that Stratford was the real thing.

If I hadn’t understood why Tate was so resistant to the notion of the importance of Michelle (even if he does invent a claim I never made) then his book at least explains it. On pages 118-119 he asks, rhetorically, “Which came first, the testimony of Michelle Smith in Canada, or the worldwide resurgence of medieval ritual child abuse?” And that is really the point. If you believe that satanic abuse was above all an idea, then Michelle is an important part of its popular transmission. But if, like Tate did (at least in 1991) you believe that there was a real life “worldwide resurgence of medieval ritual child abuse”, then Michelle is just one iteration of a terrible, universal truth.

At any rate, Tate finds out about Michelle from an American source in the summer of 1987. And he notes that, at that stage, professionals were much more advanced in the US in their thinking about ritual abuse.

In America work had begun on the problem in the early 1980s. By 1987 therapists and law enforcement officers were beyond the stage of attempting to deny the phenomenon and were actively seeking out training through multi-disciplinary seminars. (xiii-xiv)

So much so that Tate’s next port-of-call was, according to the transcript of our interview with him, a contact passed on to him by the US Customs.

“The customs put me in touch with a psychiatric social worker who was doing research into this in the States. She sent me her research… (what) the psychiatric social worker had highlighted was that there was no real research other than hers going on into how this problem could be safely addressed. There was no protocol for law enforcement or for social workers to handle what is a fundamental problem.”

My assumption is that that this person was Pamela L Hudson of the University of California, whose “satanic indicators”(dated April 1988) form Appendix One of Tate’s book. Entitled “Survey of ritual child abuse symptoms and allegations”, the indicators look at two groupings of reports: “symptom clusters” and “allegations”. The eight clusters include such symptoms as “a sudden extreme fear of the bathroom, bathing, washing, rain”, “Sudden eating disorder; refuses meat, spaghetti, tomatoes” and “Fearful of going to bed, the dark, resists bed-time, will not sleep alone.” Allegation number 16 reads, “Children described small children and babies being killed, carved up and eaten by participants. Sometimes including themselves.” Eating, that is. Not being eaten.

But Hudson, contrary to Tate’s apparent assumption, was not the only satanic indicator provider around. At an international conference on Multiple Personality/Dissociative States in the US in mid-1987, Maribeth Kaye and Lawrence Klein presented a paper entitled “Clinical Indicators of satanic Cult Victimisation”. And there are several references in the literature (which I have not been able to check out) to Pamela Klein, a rape crisis advisor from Illinois who came from the US to Britain in 1985 and drew up her own set of indicators. One source credits this second Klein with being the origin of the satanic indicators given first to paedophilia expert Ray Wyre, and subsequently to the social workers in Nottingham. These were the workers then confronting an appalling case of intergenerational child sexual abuse (as well as physical abuse and gross neglect) on the Broxtowe estate in Nottingham.

Tate: matters of fact

I intend to deal with the Broxtowe case more thoroughly in my reply to Beatrix Campbell, but there are a couple of matters of fact which belong in the reply to Tate. One of Tate’s most ostensibly damaging claims relates to the undisputed fact of abuse in the Broxtowe case. Tate says:

“In 1989 10 adults were jailed for a total of 150 years for abusing these children….Strangely, David Aaronovich [sic] failed to mention these convictions when dealing extensively with the case in his second programme. Listeners who did not know the facts would never had realised that the case resulted in successful prosecutions.”

But listeners to the programmes will have heard me say the following:

The Nottingham case became crucial. In October 1987 several children of an extended family in Nottinghamshire had been removed from their home on the Broxtowe council estate on suspicion that they’d been sexually abused by their parents and other relatives.

The children had certainly been the victims of appalling sexual abuse and in February 1989 10 adults were jailed, found guilty of  53 offences of incest, indecent assault and cruelty.

 I don’t understand how Tate missed this. Tate further claims, with regard to the supposed passage of time between the Broxtowe children telling stories of ritual abuse and the first appearance of the satanic indicators in the area that:

“Aaronovich [sic] knows this. I specifically gave him precise details of the dates during the recorded interview he asked for. He chose to ignore this.”

As I’ll make clear later, Tate’s (and Campbell’s) idea that there was plenty of verbal testimony about ritual abuse before the indicators turned up is contradicted by the most substantial enquiry made into the Broxtowe case – that of the police/social worker Joint Enquiry Team, or JET. But even so Tate’s claim is wrong. In the full transcript of his interview there are no “details of the dates” whatsoever, just the repeated phrase “long before”.

Tate’s memory also lets him down when it comes to his claim that had I or Hannah Barnes “bothered to get hold of a copy of my book”:

“They would have found the transcripts [of the conversations between some of the Broxtowe children and their foster parents] and seen that there were no leading questions.”

As it happens we wouldn’t. Between Pages 19 and 27 we would have seen seven short excerpts from conversations with various children supposedly recorded or noted over the course of two years. We would also have seen summary claims of ritual abuse on the part of foster carers that are not represented at all in the excerpts. So the argument that the excerpts prove that no leading questions were asked in that time is quite ludicrous. For that we have only Tate’s word.

Tate: what is ritual abuse?

Arguably Tate’s central complaint, however, centres on what he sees as our failure to cite a series of cases where, in his view, satanic or ritual abuse was proved to have taken place.

“They [Hannah Barnes and I] were also given details of a number of successful British prosecutions in which adults were variously convicted or admitted the sexual abuse of children in what the courts were explicitly told were satanic rituals. I also detailed them during the recorded interview I gave to Aaronovich [sic]. As a result, he knows that there is unequivocal proof that ritual abuse does – occasionally – happen.”

This, in my opinion, goes to the heart of Tate’s ambivalence and may explain his anger. To put it bluntly the cases he cited (they come from his book) did not, in our opinion, add up to the kind of satanic ritual abuse that had been claimed from the time of the publication of Michelle Remembers, through the US preschool fiascos, during the Nottingham, Orkney and Rochdale imbroglios, in a thousand therapy rooms, a score of documentaries and dozens of books and publications.

Jean la Fontaine, the professor of anthropology, who examined over 80 claimed cases of ritual abuse, and whose 1994 report effectively ended the Satanic panic in Britain, wrote of Tate’s examples that:

Tate cites seven cases which he refers to as successful prosecutions of satanists. I have seen files on the cases: four involved abuse by men acting alone who used pretended evil mystical powers (not usually referred to as satanic) to intimidate their victims. In another one the participants had been using a Ouija board before interrogating the victim sadistically about some missing money, using actual violence as well as threats…. only two of the seven involved abuse during rituals. Speak of the Devil: tales of satanic abuse in contemporary England. LaFontaine. P197.

In other words La Fontaine does not accept that some very unpleasant and abusive individuals or couples invoking the occult in a desultory way in the course of abuse constitutes evidence for widespread group ritual abuse. I agree with her. It was NOT what the Satanic Abuse scare was about.

And this, I admit, is where I have come to wish I had read Tate’s book before making the programmes. If I had done so I would have been confronted with the fact of Tate’s apparent belief in satanic rites so widespread, so murderous and involving so many people that his seven cases seem to be (and are) entirely beside the point.

Chapter two of Children for the Devil, entitled “Children’s stories” starts with a “Poem by Natalie, thirteen, victim”. Indeed the entire book is co-dedicated to a Natalie of whom Tate says, “I have been privileged to know you.” So no-one should have any doubt about the sincerity of Tate’s feelings on the subject of Natalie. But who is she?

Those who watched The Cook Report of 1989, The Devil’s Work, also met a Natalie, in silhouette, who had “endured ten years of three Satanic rituals every week”. But Tate’s book makes it clear – between the lines – that Natalie was something he brought to the Cook Report, and between pages 52 and 56 he allows her and her mother to tell the utterly horrifying and completely incredible story of her abuse at the hands of a large circle of mass-murdering British Satanists. I will quote at length so that the reader has a good idea of what it was that, back in 1991, Tate was talking about when he referred to that “worldwide resurgence of medieval ritual child abuse”.

The conversations with Natalie are prefixed with the place, Sussex, and the date January 1988. Sometimes the speaker is Natalie herself, (then a child in her teens), and sometimes her mother. When she was 4, we are told, her mother abandoned Natalie and her father. The two then went to live with Natalie’s paternal grandmother where:

Right from that day…..Nan, my uncles, strangers – they all touched and raped me, I suppose. It became part of my life.

Her father, she said, knew nothing about the abuse and in any case he himself soon moved out. At this point the infant Natalie began to be taken by her grandmother to “parties”, many of them in “a big house in the country”. In this house was a basement with symbols painted on the walls, such as a pentagram and a goat’s head. There was an altar. People would come into the room in black robes, chanting, and then stand in a circle.

Later on Natalie told her mother (now back in her life) who told Tate that:

“There were sacrifices of animals and people – children mainly – to Lucifer. The rituals involved the eating and drinking of human excrement, drinking blood and eating flesh after the person had been sacrificed. All this was done in Lucifer’s name.”

Children were kept in in cages and then taken out and killed on the altar. For some reason the satanists seemed busier with other things on Saturdays and Sundays because:

“If this happened at the weekend it would last for a couple of hours, but if it was during the week it would go on longer.”

Things got worse, according to Natalie:

People used to get killed in the courtyard as well. Some of them were hung and cut up so that their insides came out. Others were pushed under water and drowned… Downstairs in the basement there were ovens, sort of like potters’ kilns. Some children were burned in there alive as a punishment, but mostly they were used to burn away the bodies.”

And worse still. Natalie was made pregnant. She carried the child inside for a few months. One day, “about thirteen” people came and took her to a room where she was put on a table with place-settings and cups. The foetus was then aborted by her grandmother. It was still alive. “It sort of tried to cry…but they took and carved it like a roast” and Natalie was “made to swallow some of it.”

Does Tate circa 1991 find this story incredible? Or the product of an illusion? Certainly not. He refers to unspecified “medical evidence which tended to corroborate her testimony…” But what medical evidence? Which part of the testimony did it corroborate? A pregnancy almost brought to term and then violently aborted? Tate doesn’t say.

But to ensure that the reader knows that Tate believes that Natalie’s account is true, he continues:

“One aspect of Natalie’s disclosure made it more likely that her experience was genuine. Until the point at which we met and talked she had clearly never considered the idea that “Lucifer” might not have been real: that he might have been either a drug-induced hallucination or an adult man dressed up.”

Really? You will recall that, by Tate’s account, he was introduced to the issue of ritual abuse by a psychiatrist called Joan Coleman. In the first chapter of a book called Forensic Aspects of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID being the new name for MPD)published as recently as 2008 and entitled Satanist ritual abuse and the problem of credibility, Coleman relates the case of “Theresa”, whose story closely follows that of “Natalie”. If it is indeed Natalie then Coleman (not Tate) adds the detail that the police could find no forensic evidence supporting Theresa/Natalie’s story – no house, basement, corpses, cages, ovens, remains of cannibal feasts, robes, nothing. All of which Coleman appears to regard as an unfortunate impediment to a full recognition of the terrible truth that they all existed. The alternatives, of course, being that Coleman has been hoaxed, or has confused psychosis with reality, or has taken part in a well-meaning confabulation. Or a not well-meaning confabulation.

Since I have been so full in replying to Tate’s angry and rather intemperate criticisms he may like to respond by telling me whether – in 2015 – he still regards Natalie’s account as credible?

If so can he tell us what the medical confirmation of her pregnancy and traumatic abortion consisted of, and what physical evidence of any kind turned up to corroborate a decade of three times-a-week satanic ceremonies with attendant courtyard gibbeting, child cremations and animal sacrifices? And if not, when did he change his mind, and why? That, to my mind, would be far more to the point than his getting cross that I did not find his definition of ritual abuse particularly illuminating.

But he may not know himself what he thinks. One of the problems I experienced in dealing with Tate was his habit of appearing to run with the fox and hunt with the hounds. If he believed in Natalie’s story and others like it, and in the “resurgence”, why would he write that, “Nottingham, Rochdale, Orkney and (recently) Hampstead. Four cases in almost 30 years do not a panic make”? And if he didn’t, why would he condemn “the rabid and loudly-trumpeted claims of self-proclaimed great thinkers like David Aaronovich [sic] that ritual abuse is a myth”?

In the context of the above he may also care to revisit his claim to a questioner in the below the line discussion of his complaint that “I cannot comment on Rochdale and Orkneys cases since I have never investigated them”. In both cases, after the removal of children from their families on the basis of allegations of ritual abuse, the children were returned and apologies given. And in fact in his book (pp 331-338) Tate does indeed comment on the 1991 Rochdale case and makes it clear that he thinks the Rochdale social workers were the victims of an ignorant press backlash. At one point he complains about the naivete of other reporters covering the case in their writing about how parents of children removed by social workers were not even allowed to send birthday cards to them. Because:

Offenders in such cases attempt to silence their victims by sending or delivering little reminders of what went on in the rituals. Often [Tim Tate might like put a more solid number or range to that word ‘often’] these have taken the form of birthday or greetings cards with an animal featured prominently on the front. To the untrained eye they look as innocent as their manufacturers intended: for the ritual abuse victim they can act as a subliminal trigger to revive past warnings about keeping quiet.

Given the above the reader may imagine how I feel about Tate’s peroration that this dreadful “Aaronovich” person is:

“….entitled, of course, to his opinions. He is entitled to ignore evidence which undermines or even shatters his prejudices. He is entitled to think what he likes – in private.

“What he is not entitled to do is to lie in public. He is not entitled to withhold that evidence just because he doesn’t like it. That is dishonest.”

At the end of the 1989 Cook Report on which Tate was co-producer and where we were introduced to Natalie and signed off with a televised vicar intoning “deliver us from evil”, a voice and a caption came up. “If you have been involved in Satanism and need counselling or advice,” said the voice and read the caption “a confidential helpline manned by specialist counselors is open till midnight. The number is 021 631 3080.” Who were these counselors and what did they say? The mind boggles.

By now the reader may be forming an impression about my honesty – so traduced by Tate – in this matter. And they may also be reflecting that the problem here is not honesty but some people’s almost unfathomable stupidity.


It is simpler to reply to Dr Sarah Nelson because her complaints concerning content more or less amount to “I disagree with the programmes”.

Listeners can hear that she and Sue Hampson, expressing a similar point of view, were given as much time any other contributors, in fact more than most. So much so that in the comments below her complaint on the Needleblog are contributions from Beatrix Campbell and another satanic abuse “believer” Sue Richardson, complimenting her on her performance. Campbell wrote that Nelson was “the voice of reason” on the programmes and Richardson wrote that she shared that view. They at least, seem to think Nelson was allowed to get her point across and I agree.

Nelson’s overall contention is that the Analysis programmes were pernicious because they:

“….actively encouraged disbelief of current disclosures, at a time when a tsunami of allegations, investigations and prosecutions of sexual abuse (especially involving powerful and influential people) is taking place following the Savile revelations.”

I cannot see how this is so. What the programmes were doing was discouraging a stance of automatic belief or credulity – especially important in conditions of a “tsunami”. It was and is my contention that the inevitable discovery that perfectly avoidable injustices have been committed as a result of automatic belief, may well damage the prospects of genuine cases being properly investigated.

I should note in passing Nelson’s agreement that:

“A small minority of recent allegations will indeed be false, mistaken, confused or fanciful – and (an important point) will be identified as such. To try publicly to discredit the great majority is different entirely.”

I have no idea how she knows that it will be a “small minority”, how many cases she thinks that constitutes and whether she thinks the mistakes, confusions and fancies will be discovered before or after peoples’ reputations have been irretrievably trashed. My impression- perhaps mistaken – was that she believed that such trashing was, to use a hackneyed phrase, a price worth paying.

Was there a panic?

Nelson selects two points of difference “for now” with the programmes: “the ‘satanic panic’ and amnesia following serious trauma”. On the first she argues simultaneously that:

There was no widespread panic; only a small minority of child protection and mental health staff ever encountered these disclosures.

But then allows that:

“Professionals all came to believe ritual abuse existed after hearing disturbing disclosures of sadistic organised abuse, (within and beyond quasi-religious or occult rituals) from children and adults.”

It is not, of course, Nelson’s job to reconcile her idea of the scale of satanic abuse with, say Tate’s almost Gothic “resurgence”. In the absence of any quantitative research I am not in a position to say what proportion of British professionals encountered allegations of ritual abuse (as opposed to believed that such a problem existed). In the US, however, a full study was undertaken and published in 1994. Commissioned by the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect, a survey was made of nearly 7000 professionals (psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers etc) and 4,600 national and local agencies. These reported between them over 12000 cases of possible satanic ritual sexual abuse of children. This seems substantial to me.

It is also simply a fact that in a Press Report in July 1989 the NSPCC, the primary voluntary agency dealing with damaged or threatened children, caused a sensation by agreeing that the agency had firm evidence from their workers that satanic ritual abuse existed. This Report was itself in part a reaction to the edition of the Cook Report on which Tate was the co-producer. Five years later the agency backtracked, with its Policy Director quoted as saying of ritual abuse that:

“We are not saying it doesn’t exist, we’re saying we don’t have evidence of it from our workers and the families we’ve worked with.” 

In the intervening period there were numerous alarming (and often sensational) newspaper and television reports of satanic abuse, there were numerous books and professional conferences devoted to the subject and there were counseling organisations set up specifically to deal with it. One of these was (and still is) the Ritual Abuse Information Network and Support (RAINS) – founded as the idea of Satanic abuse became prominent in 1989. According to Dr Sandra Buck, a leading RAINS member, the organisation came about when:

“Two social workers, a psychiatrist, a psychiatric nurse and a lecturer in social work met to discuss how to respond to the needs of people like themselves, who were coming across ‘ritual abuse’ for the first time. The social workers were Judith Dawson (Child Abuse Consultant for Nottingham Social Services) and Chris Johnston (Leader of Team 4, a specialist team set up in 1987 to work with children and families in a complex multi-generational child abuse case in Broxtowe, Nottingham). Dr. Joan Coleman was the psychiatrist and Eileen Revvens the psychiatric nurse. In 1989, Joan and Eileen worked in Surrey, and had supported two adult survivors since 1987.” [DA Note: It would be interesting to know whether “Natalie” was one of these]

Joan Coleman herself recalled that:

Ritual abuse evoked considerable interest in Britain between 1987 and 1994.  The subject was taken up by many professionals, mainly psychologists, counsellors, and social workers; numerous children thought to be at risk were taken into care [my italics]. In 1989, some of us who had encountered it formed an organisation called RAINS (Ritual Abuse Information Network & Support), with the aim of sharing information and supporting each other.

Since then RAINS itself claims that it has:

supported more than 500 professionals and survivor supporters, including psychologists, psychiatrists,  paediatricians,  GPs,  social workers,  NSPCC, counsellors, rape crisis  workers,  psychotherapists,  psychiatric  nurses,  probation officers,  prison  officers,  solicitors, barristers, police, teachers, clerics, carers, foster carers and supportive journalists.

Quite apart from organisations like RAINS, one of the best known psychotherapists in Britain over the last 25 years has made a living out of diagnoses of Dissociative Identity Disorder and from recovering memories of sexual abuse, including satanic abuse. Valerie Sinason’s website details her many and various posts and publications. The most recent listed was a chapter entitled

What has changed in twenty years? in a book called Ritual Abuse and Mind Control: The Manipulation of Attachment Needs.

Sinason has often been a guest on TV and radio programmes and sometime before 2000 even received £22,000 from the Department of Health to produce a report into ritual abuse. This report, according to The Guardian, claimed that Sinason alone had had by that stage counselled 46 patients who had all claimed to have witnessed murder during ritual ceremonies, some involving up to 300 participants.

If you think that all this satanising is true – and Dr Nelson does – then it seems perverse to me to suggest that its effective discovery in the late 80s was not a significant moment. On the other hand if you think it was a myth which came to strange prominence in that period, then again it requires some explanation.

This explanation, of course, was what the programmes sought to provide, through looking at the related evolution of the recovered memory movement, multiple personality disorder and Satanic Ritual Abuse. This attempt as explanation is characterized and then rebutted by Nelson like this:

I never met nor heard of any professional who concluded that ritual abuse existed, as Analysis claimed, through reading Sybil, Michelle Remembers or the Courage to Heal.

And like this:

“The public are simultaneously expected to believe satanic abuse revelations were incredible, ludicrous and unbelievable, lacking in any evidence, and would be to any normal person; and that intelligent educated professionals swallowed the whole lot after reading one book, or attending a single conference!”

This is an intriguing mixture of Aunt Sally and diversion. The programmes never claimed that any professional had concluded that satanic abuse existed from these books alone or even mainly from them. Rather they helped form the intellectual background against which a temporary but significant boom in belief in satanic abuse took place. The conferences are a slightly different matter. Plenty of testimony exists to verify the impact on social workers and others of attending conferences at which respected colleagues revealed the terrible truth about what was happening. Jean La Fontaine, the anthropologist, for example, recalled for the programme sitting at a presentation given by Judith Dawson and Christine Johnstone from Nottingham and being struck by the credulity of those around her. “Other people were asking, ‘why Nottingham?’”, she recalled, “I was asking, ‘why witchcraft?’”

If Dr Nelson’s argument is to suggest that it is most unlikely that professional people could be persuaded to believe absolute nonsense, then I am bound, sadly, to reply “it happens”.

Recovered memory

On “amnesia following trauma”, I have to say this is a mischaracterisation of what those who believe in recovered memory suggest and of what the programme was covering. Specifically we took issue with the contention that a traumatic experience could be “buried” altogether, only to surface during therapy (often involving the use of hypnosis and/or sodium amytal) or in the form of entirely separated “alters” – or personalities of which the “main” personality was unaware.

Not only is there little good evidence that trauma is buried (though people can be very reluctant to talk about it or recall such events) but there is plenty of good evidence for the idea that recollections under therapy can be iatrogenic – caused, in effect, by the over-suggestive therapist and sometimes endorsed by an anxious-to-please patient. The programme went to Professor Richard J McNally, the US trauma specialist, for an account of his research on this subject precisely because he is probably the world’s leading authority on it. McNally said that in his experience a traumatic event was most unlikely to be forgotten, however much its survivor wanted to forget. This is in line with majority thinking in the field. And, indeed, in his book Remembering Trauma McNally has clearly demonstrated why the conclusions drawn by the psychiatrist Charles Whitfield (cited by Nelson) were probably faulty.

If there were, as Nelson asserts, “a large and reputable literature demonstrating that these things [buried memories] are indeed possible, supported by the frequent experience of practitioners and abuse survivors themselves”, this would have to be supported by sufficient corroboration that the repressed events had taken place. In the case of Satanic abuse, at any rate, there never has been. If Nelson knows differently then she will be able to cite the circumstances. By the way, I have yet to hear of a concentration camp survivor who forgot that they’d been in a concentration camp.

But Nelson and Tate (and Campbell indeed) face a problem with the logic of their argument. If we must believe the accounts of victims of wildly implausible accounts of satanic ritual abuse, including those “recovered” in therapy, then why should we not give equal credence to accounts,say, of alien abduction or “past lives”? There are just as many of them and they are just as convinced of their case. If any of the trio can give me a good reason for making a distinction, I’d be happy to hear it.

Meanwhile, for a history of what can happen when a terrible therapist/counsellor – even one with a highly respectable pedigree – comes into contact with a distressed person, readers should go no further than the notorious case of Carole Felstead/Myers. They can note here and here the walk-on role played in the tragedy by Valerie Sinason.

But the other aspect the programmes covered was the claims made, not by those experiencing “recovered”memory, but by children. The third such major case in Britain, that on Orkney, was covered by Dr Nelson when she was a journalist in Scotland. My understanding is that now, as then, she believes that there was indeed a satanic ring operating on South Ronaldsay, as “revealed” in February 1991 first by the children of a family where the father had been gaoled for sexual abuse, and subsequently, after persistent questioning, by some of the other children taken into care.

I am absolutely certain that Nelson is sincere and cares deeply about child sexual abuse and its victims. But it is also quite clear, if you read the very lengthy Clyde Report into the Orkney events (published in 1992), that what happened there was that a combination of prejudices and one child’s confabulation, sent social and childcare workers into something close to a frenzy of confirmation bias.

Interviews had been poorly conducted, improperly recorded and – above all – had failed to make what Clyde called a “vital distinction” between taking an allegation seriously and believing it. “Not all of the witnesses”, he said drily, “appreciated it, nor did those most closely involved, including members of the RSSPCC (Royal Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) staff always respect it”.

In fact, rereading the evidence in the case – the evidence on the basis of which reputations were destroyed and children taken from their families without even enough time to pack a case – it is horribly clear just how determined the workers were to stand up the idea of ritual abuse. The role of the RSSPCC’s key worker, a Mrs Liz McLean, in particular jumps out at the reader. Subsequently some of the children involved gave their own accounts of what had happened to them at the hands of the authorities. I wonder what Nelson makes of this testimony.


And finally to Beatrix Campbell.

Bea Campbell
Beatrix Campbell

It was at first a tricky enterprise to separate her various insinuations, semi suggestions concerning motive and commentaries from the substance of her complaint. Nor was the complaint always consistent.

How, for example, does one square:

But when we journalists venture into great debates and scientific battlefields where the stakes are high, not only for the mental health of those making allegations of abuse, but also the livelihoods of those tasked by the health service police and local authorities to work with them, shouldn’t we try to follow the evidence and give the adversaries airtime?


“I was asked to contribute to Aaronovitch’s programme and after questions about what I would be participating in, declined. Why? Because its thin line needed a bit of balance. I wasn’t minded to oblige. This was his thing, his argument, not mine.”

Valerie Sinason also declined to appear. As we’ve seen Sarah Nelson did agree and was hailed by Campbell as “the voice of reason” on the programme.

Nevertheless Campbell has a point to this extent – it was extraordinarily unlikely that anyone I was interviewing would provide me with what I would regard as irrefutable evidence that murderous Satanic Ritual Abuse had ever been the problem that Campbell herself (as we shall see) claimed that it was. Had Campbell appeared I could and might well have have pressed her on some of the details of that belief. Perhaps if we have the debate she seems to be suggesting (and I certainly know of organisations who would love to host it), we can cover that ground.

A second observation here is that Campbell takes what can only be described as a “high moral tone” about what she conceives the job of a journalist to be and how balanced and evidence-based that job is. Well, I have the advantage of having paid quite a lot of money to get hold of the book she co-wrote with Judith Dawson (by then Judith Jones) and published in 1999 under the title of Stolen Voices: an Exposure of the campaign to Discredit Childhood Testimony. The publishers, The Women’s Press, withdrew the title before distribution on the basis of threats of legal action to which they must have considered that they would be vulnerable. I imagine that the danger was spotted by the publisher’s legal advisers, but what the problem was and why the offending material could not have been excised, I do not know. But what I do know is that the book is a 226 page hatchet job, which seems, among other things, to be paying off old scores against critics of Dawson and other social workers and which deploys guilt-by-association on an industrial scale. I will return to a troubling aspect of this later.

For the moment, insofar as Campbell’s complaints cover the same ground as Tate’s and Nelson’s I will refer her the replies I gave earlier. For now I’ll concentrate on the points of fact (as opposed to her many colourful diversions) she raises that they do not.

The Broxtowe Case

The best place to start is Nottingham. Put simply Campbell’s account of events in the Broxtowe case is partial in both senses of the word. There is no dispute that there was appalling and intergenerational sexual abuse in an extended family that lived on the Broxtowe estate, and that this abuse culminated in the trial and sentences mentioned earlier.

But at some point in the development of the case a split developed between the Team 4 group of social workers, led by Judith Dawson, and firstly the police, and subsequently a joint enquiry team (or JET) equally composed of social workers and police officers. With regard to the police, as accusations suggesting a ritual sexual abuse element involving adults and children beyond the family appeared, they were forced to investigate to find corroboration for the claims. When it was claimed, for example, that ritual abuse had taken place in large houses with swimming pools and involving third parties, the police had little option but to try and discover these places and these people. Their enquiry was called the Gollom Enquiry and, in essence, it discovered that almost every one of the claims made was, on investigation, either impossible or could not be verified.

Meanwhile Team 4 held to its essential stance that the children, in their various accounts recorded mostly by their foster parents, could not be lying. And in addition they had received corroboration, they thought, from some of the adults in the abusive family. When the wardship proceedings were brought before Mrs Justice Booth and then to the Appeal Court in July 1988, as triumphantly cited by Campbell, judgment was given in the belief that there was corroboration. Indeed the JET team later established that one of the adults lied to Justice Booth. But Campbell omits this timeline giving the clear impression that the judiciary had had the opportunity to scrutinise both the police evidence and the JET report and had rejected their conclusions. It hadn’t. The JET enquiry did not begin until July 1989 and did not report until early 1990. We can only speculate what the judges might have said had the 600 pages of the JET report been available to them. Campbell’s ace turns out to be a knave.

A summary of the JET report made by the team itself is available online, despite several years in which Nottinghamshire County Council, whose Team 4 was so badly mauled in its pages, attempted to suppress it -variously arguing that it was an internal document, that it might be libelous or that the council owned the copyright.

So we did not, as Campbell asserts, rely on Debbie Nathan’s book for our understanding of the JET report, but on the summary itself. Despite the various attempts that Campbell and others have made to discredit the report it remains the case that undisputed facts, such as the discovery that the adult corroboration was (a) utterly flawed and (b) subsequently retracted, arose from the JET enquiry.

Readers can see that the JET enquiry team concluded that almost every single assertion that suggested ritual abuse and that could be tested, was found to be impossible. It is as damning a document as I think I have ever seen and, though there have been quibbles raised by Campbell and others (including her unintentionally hilarious televised encounter with a dildo in the drawer of the office at a cemetery), the mass of detail in the Report has never been countered.

But if there was no corroborative forensic or reliable adult evidence for the supposed ritual abuse claims of the children (some of whom were describing things that had supposedly happened when they were as young as 18 months old) then where on earth had the accusations come from?

The JET team could only speculate. But as readers can see their examination of the diaries kept by the foster carers suggested to them that, before early 1988:

“All four children were talking entirely about their family, of which seven are ESN, being involved in sexual abuse and what they call witch parties. There are only vague references to strangers.

“The second, even more pertinent fact, is that until Mr. W.’s [Ray Wyre’s] presentation of the Satanic indicators all the children are talking about sexual abuse and the witches parties at their homes. It is not until the 5.3.88 that they start to talk about a big house with a swimming pool and even then, only with reference to sexual abuse and nothing ‘Satanic’. They only start to identify other locations in the context of witch parties in July 1988 when the foster parents had been asked to take the children around to identify locations.”

What the JET team was suggesting was that, at first, the social workers and foster carers had been struggling to make sense of some of the things said by the abused children they were involved with. But that, in early February 1988 the social workers met with Ray Wyre, who discussed with them the “satanic indicators”. There is, incidentally, no controversy about whether such a meeting took place and whether the “indicators” were passed on. After that, the JET team believed, the workers and carers “saw” patterns, interpreted them and encouraged the children in the direction of those perceptions. The JET report further queries the contention, which we heard from Tim Tate, that the fostered children were kept totally apart during this period. It believes that there was contact and that there was contamination of accounts as a result.

That, in late 1990, the Director of Social Services of Nottinghamshire appeared – if only by omission – to disown the Report that he would not publish even in summary form, may say more about the state of that Department than about the Report. To Campbell’s clear annoyance a few months later a fellow guest on Channel 4’s March 1991 After Dark programme dealing with the aftermath of the Rochdale affair was the Nottinghamshire assistant Director of Social Services, Andy Croall. Agreeing with Campbell about the existence of satanic abuse and not correcting her on her entirely spurious accusation that the JET report had been discredited, Croall then said that, “as a Christian I believe it’s God time for it [satanic abuse] to be revealed….. it’s a time when, in God’s plan, it’s going to be revealed.”

Croall was subsequently suspended for four months. But to have someone who had overt religious reasons for believing, a priori, in accusations of satanic abuse, in a very senior position in the social services department at that time, is not reassuring. Though, of course, neither is it evidence in itself that satanic abuse did not exist.

During that programme Campbell laid out exactly what it was the social workers on Team 4 thought that their archive of interviews and conversations revealed. The children had:

“…tried to share with their carers a sense of something that was much bigger, much more dangerous, highly organized and involved, it would seem, a number of different systems… In this archive it’s absolutely clear that the children felt they were being subject to ceremonies, in which there were very sadistic practices, very elaborate ritualised forms of sexual abuse, sacrifices, horrible things happening to animals….

QUESTIONER What is sacrificed?

BC: Animals, they described being cut open, bled, children having to drink the blood, drinking substances that they described as being orangey-red, they described being required to do things that hurt other people, they described killings of animals and other children.

And what had happened in Nottingham, she said, seemed to be happening on a nationwide scale:

“We have groups of children in many cities now in Britain who are describing certain practices which come together around certain families or certain groups, the groups that are into satanic cults, and what they’re interested in is subjecting children to rituals that invert Christian belief…”

This idea of Satanists inverting Christianity was one espoused a year or so earlier by Judith Dawson, appearing on an evangelical Christian video Doorways to Danger, which was warning about the perils of the occult. Jesus had valued the innocence of little children, said Dawson, and so Satanists sought to destroy that innocence through defilation.

Also in an article entitled When the Truth Hurts in the March 1989 edition of Community Care magazine the Nottingham social workers, Chris Johnston and Judith Dawson specifically endorsed the idea of abuse for the sake of religion. “Children were fodder for for the gratification of those not interested in sex itself,” they wrote, “but in its use as a tool for the promotion of ritualistic acts that could only be described as satanic.”

Yet, somehow, in Campbell’s complaint her own (and Dawson’s) suggestion that Satanists used children for religious reasons – to “invert” Christianity, is replaced by this:

“The Director (of Nottinghamshire Social Services) agreed with the workers directly involved  that ‘the significance of ritual overtones is not necessarily linked to a belief system but that it provided a mechanism for manipulating vulnerable children.’ His report accepted the social workers’ definition of ritual abuse as activities and symbols ‘used to frighten, intimidate and confuse the children.”

I think we can read that as meaning “evangelical Christian nutters? Where did you get that idea from?”

Readers will notice that Campbell does not in her complaint attempt to deal with the matters of fact raised by the JET report: the non-existent locations, the entire absence of forensic evidence, the utter physical implausibility of such acts as live animal sacrifice going on unnoticed on a council estate. Instead she relates how one of JET’s expert witnesses, John Newson, had given his views on the possibility of contamination and confabulation without “actually talking to the foster carers and social workers”. What she didn’t say was that he expressly – like the rest of the JET team – was not allowed under the terms upon which the Enquiry was set up to have contact with the social workers. Whether Newson, who was talking about what he concluded from his own experiences in the field, needed to talk directly to the social workers is another matter.

In hers and Dawson’s book Stolen Voices, there are desultory attempts to question some of the facts in the JET report – and in 600 pages one can imagine that there are the occasional errors. In Stolen Voices police are characterized, essentially, as clodhopping males who distrust the women social workers and who semi-deliberately set out not to find the physical evidence that will vindicate the Erin Brockoviches of Nottinghamshire. The dangers of such a denialist approach for the police (one can imagine what would have happened to the denying cops if a video of the rituals, the remains of babies or, say, a blood-stained altar had been found by journalists) is not something Campbell or Dawson consider.

But by far and away the preferred method for dealing with JET, and casting it as part of a concerted “backlash” against social workers and abused children, is guilt-by-association. Campbell may like to tell us how many times in the last 25 years she thinks she has written an article or a chapter or a blogpost blackening the record of John Gwatkin, the senior social worker on the JET team. Readers will find her at it here in 1993, again in the Guardian in 1995, and in Stolen Voices (1999). In each of these she relates how Gwatkin – as social services director in Newark – was deficient in his handling of two cases completely unrelated to the handling of the JET report. In Stolen Voices the clear implication is that Gwatkin’s record suggests that he was unsuitable for the task and inferring that the case made by the JET report is therefore weakened because of his involvement in it.

In the December 1993 article for the Independent Campbell opens thus:

“That something is badly wrong with Nottinghamshire’s social services is confirmed in a recently leaked confidential document, dating from early 1992 and written by Judith Dawson, an independent child abuse consultant employed by the department.”

And later she makes the link:

“The connection between the Broxtowe controversy and the county’s current crisis is John Gwatkin, Newark area director. Gwatkin’s work has surprised and alarmed colleagues for some time. He had been criticised by police in 1988 for refusing to put a two- year-old boy on the at-risk register after his mother had rolled around laughing when she sent him spinning in the tumble drier. She had also beaten and scalded him on his genitals. She was jailed for 18 months. Gwatkin was pilloried by the judge, and subsequently called to an internal inquiry.”

In 1995 in the Guardian she made the same link after a Nottinghamshire woman killed one of her daughters and injured the other two. This had taken place on Gwatkin’s watch and Campbell added:

“Despite his reputation as an old-fashioned and autocratic traditionalist, John Gwatkin, Newark’s social services chief, had been appointed ….. to head a joint inquiry with the police into the county’s most controversial child protection case….”

What did any of this have to do with the contents or accuracy of the JET report? Campbell doesn’t say.

Guilt by association

But now here she is, this time dealing with the problem of the 1994 La Fontaine report into the existence of satanic and ritual abuse. Specifically she is taking a fellow writer, Bryan Appleyard, to task for approving of La Fontaine’s conclusions:

“Appleyard and Professor La Fontaine prefer notions that videos, social workers and foster carers are the new devils to the other possibility that children might be recounting real events through their tormented behaviour and their stories of satanist experiences.”

I am unaware of anything that Appleyard or LaFontaine had said or written that could possibly bear the construction concerning social workers as “devils” that Campbell allocates to them. But to her, in 1994, there was a “crusade”, a “campaign” to “discredit the children and their advocates. And this campaign somehow united academics with paedophiles. Who told her so?

“Judith Dawson is the child protection consultant who was involved in Britain’s first satanic abuse case in Nottingham, which, despite its success in the courts in 1989, has been the object of a critical crusade. She says: ‘Never in my career have I been subjected to such an organised and personal campaign of disinformation and discrediting, by occult groups, supported by advocates of paedophilia, and given authority by academics who are so disrespectful of carers and specialists struggling with this problem.

“What matters now is that Professor La Fontaine doesn’t appear to address why people organised a campaign against the children’s evidence.”

In other words, don’t look over here at the evidence, look over here at the associations. In her complaint Campbell links the American journalist and satano-sceptic Debbie Nathan and a man called Ralph Underwager who Campbell describes as having “founded” the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, whose work in turn Nathan endorses. She writes, correctly, that Underwager was interviewed in 1991 by a paedophile-friendly magazine and in the interview suggested that not all paedophilia was harmful.

In fact Underwager did NOT found the FMSF, though he did advise it, and his comments though embarrassing to the FMSF did not in themselves constitute an argument against its basic premise – that some people were becoming victims of false accusations of sexual abuse, supposedly retrieved through “recovered memory”. (Incidentally if Campbell has ever said or written anything that suggests that she acknowledges the possibility of such injustices or that she understands how people might react if falsely accused, I seem to have missed it.)

Back in 1994 such associative thinking next led Campbell to take what I consider to be an utterly disgraceful logical jump:

“Professor La Fontaine’s orthodoxy on this issue echoes the views of well-known promoters of paedophilia. [my italics] Although not relying on his work in her recent findings, she recommended writing by Benjamin Rossen, among others, in a letter to the leading professional journal, Child Abuse Review, this year.”

Rossen was a young Dutch academic who played a role in debunking a major satanic abuse claim about the Netherlands town of Oude Pekala and concerning events supposed to happened between 1987 and 1988. Campbell reveals that Rossen was on the board of a paedophile-supporting Dutch magazine. LaFontaine had referred to Rossen’s work on Oude Pekala, which was factual in nature and was shown to be correct. But the association alone is enough to dam LaFontaine’s entire report because:

“Child protection professionals are warning the Department of Health and the Home Office that, if the professor is lending support to Rossen, her entire report needs to be put under scrutiny.

“‘I don’t want to make a fool of the woman,’ says Judith Dawson, ‘but everybody working for child protection knows about Rossen’s advocacy of paedophilia. That calls into question La Fontaine’s whole attitude to adults’ sexual interest in children. [my italics] Anyone who regards Rossen as helpful on these issues cannot have any credibility in this debate.'”

That calls into question La Fontaine’s whole attitude to adults’ sexual interest in children.” Says Judith Dawson, the constant companion to almost any article on the subject by Beatrix Campbell. Does it really? And what does Dawson (and, by extension, Campbell) imagine that attitude to be? We get it, though, don’t we? What is being implied is that LaFontaine is somehow “soft” on paedophilia. Perhaps, even, mildly tolerant of it. It is a technique repeated over and over again by Campbell. In 2013, for example, taking issue with something I had written in the wake of the McAlpine/Newsnight debacle she wrote in her blog:

“Where would Savile have been without the counter-revolution from the late ’80s (apparently endorsed by Aaronivitch) (sic) against evidence of sexual crimes against children?”

See how easily that’s done? I endorsed no counter-revolution that I can recall. No matter. Campbell is winking at her readers, “Aaronovitch? Never mind his arguments, he’s objectively on the side of the paedophiles”.

The Shieldfield Affair

But if we’re really in the business of suggesting that a person’s record should be regarded as decisive when judging their arguments, what then does Beatrix Campbell have to say about the Shieldfield affair?

In 1993 accusations were made of the sexual abuse of dozens of children at the Shieldfield nursery in Newcastle. Under questioning very young children appeared to be saying that they had been appallingly abused by two young nursery workers, Christopher Lillie and Dawn Reed. In 1994 the case came to court and was thrown out by the judge for being too weak to even put the evidence to the jury. The story from the perspective of two campaigning journalists can be found here.

But the outside world would not accept the case’s dismissal. Reed and Lillie were vilified in the press, sacked from their jobs, and forced underground. A disgruntled Newcastle city council almost immediately announced its own enquiry into the Shieldfield case. The review team of four included Judith Jones, formerly Judith Dawson. The team reported in November 1998 and concluded, more or less, that Reed and Lillie had indeed been massive abusers, abusing (estimated Beatrix Campbell in the Daily Express at the time) as many as 350 children. They were as guilty as hell.

At this point Reed and Lillie, encouraged by the journalist Bob Woffinden, decided to sue the review team for libel. The case was heard in front of Justice Eady and in July 2002, nine years after the accusations were first made, he handed out possibly the most withering judgment I have ever read.

You can read it in full here. It is a warning against group-think, confirmation bias, unconscious distortion and – I think – against an almost Stalinist approach to questions of guilt. It is a dissection of how people cut the facts to fit the shape they have already created.

This paragraph from Mr Justice Eady about the small team of which Judith Dawson was a member is quite remarkable:

“I am in the end left in no doubt that the qualified privilege to which the Team would otherwise be entitled is vitiated by express malice. They abused the occasion for which they had striven so hard to ensure that blanket protection. Its four members consciously, after a detailed consideration of the material assembled before them, set out to misrepresent the state of the evidence available to support their joint belief that Mr Lillie and Miss Reed and other local residents were child abusers (and indeed abusers on a massive scale) and to give readers the impression that statements by parents and/or children had been corroborated by police inquiries.”

I would suggest to Beatrix Campbell (and anyone else) that this judgment by Mr Justice Eady casts far more relevant light on Judith Dawson and her work in Nottingham than the failures of John Gwatkin do on the JET report. Or than the citing of Benjamin Rossen does on LaFontaine’s work. Or than the acknowledgement of Ralph Underwager does on Debbie Nathan’s investigations.

And yet I cannot find a single mention of the Shieldfield libel case by Campbell. I may have overlooked one, and I apologise if that is so. It will be a small matter for Campbell to put me right and steer me towards the article or articles she has written that deal with that remarkable case.

A declaration of interest

And here I feel the need to do something that I really do not want to do, but that cannot – in the context of this debate – be avoided. I have no idea at what point following Campbell’s trip to Nottingham in 1990 to make her Dispatches programme she and Judith Dawson fell in love. I don’t presume to guess. But any reader of any piece by Campbell on the satanic abuse question needs to know – especially in light of her claims to objectivity and evidence-based journalism – that her long term partner is one of the two or three principal protagonists in this dispute. Yet Campbell, when writing on this issue, never seems to disclose this fact. When I raised this with her on Twitter recently she said, in effect, that it wasn’t important and that, in any case, everyone knows.

Everyone doesn’t know. The readers of some fairly arcane websites may know, but not the readers of Open Democracy or the people who found their way to her complaint via social media. It is as though I had written this great screed and never once thought to reveal that John Gwatkin was my uncle (he isn’t) or that my sister was a leading British Satanist (no, she isn’t either. Sorry, Sabrina). It is that most basic bit of information for the reader – a declaration of interest.

Some questions answered

I apologise for the extreme length of this reply, but I want it to be complete and so not to have to do any of this again. Let me begin to wind up by answering the series of rhetorical questions posed to me by Campbell in her complaint.

“BC: Celebrity abuse cases have been investigated, resulting in convictions and acquittals. Is Aaronovitch suggesting that they should not have been investigated?

DA: Actually there haven’t just been convictions and acquittals, as Paul Gambaccini for one can attest. There is also the third category of people arrested, investigated, held out to dry publicly, and never charged. And a fourth, of dead people who – guilty or innocent – cannot be tried. And no, of course I am not suggesting that such cases should not have been investigated. I have written to that effect and there is nothing in the programmes that warrants such a question.

BC: Aaronovitch doesn’t mention perhaps the most significant context of institutional abuse: the church. Is he interested?

DA: Actually I did mention the church, right at the top of the programmes. As a columnist I have written about the churches and sexual abuse, just as I have about grooming, about the widespread sexual molestation of young women and girls and indeed, about Savile and the BBC. Is that OK, or do you want some more church?

BC: If he cares about ‘genuine abuse’ why isn’t this what worries Aaronovitch?

DA: And there it is. “If you were really worried about children being raped, you wouldn’t make programmes like this, you’d write articles like mine. But you don’t, so you aren’t.” This one doesn’t deserve a reply.”

A reminder of what this was all about

Well never mind all that. Such squalid little storms can be weathered. I return to what got me into all this – the belief that that the most lurid of the current Westminster/VIP paedophile ring accusations, including child murders in front of of witnesses, seem to me to be replicating the earlier Satanic panic. I have watched as tabloid newspapers have printed uncorroborated nonsense from known fantasists as fact, as single accusers with uncorroborated stories of killings have been given credence by BBC reporters on the basis of “believing the survivors” for all the world, as though Lord Clyde had never reported and Orkney and Rochdale had never happened. As journalistic agencies have turned a buck by ramping up and selling stories that I confidently predict will fail to stand up.

But what contortions people will adopt to try and convince you and themselves that the devil exists! It must have been with some trepidation that – back in November 1990 – Beatrix Campbell wrote a lengthy piece for the sceptical Eurocommunists at the magazine Marxism Today. “Ritual abuse of children”, she quickly agreed, “pushes the boundaries of all our beliefs”. She then fell to softening up her readers with some placatory Marxian passages about power and structures. The words “resistance”, “community” and “mobilise” were deployed.

And then, having prepared the ground a little, Campbell leapt. And what a leap!

Behind the Nottingham case is an inability to imagine that ‘satanic’ practices actually happen. But why? The secularism of our society is infused by ambiguous tendencies toward transcendental powers which ought to help us think afresh. Hands up all those who never look for their horoscope when they find Woman’s Own at the doctor’s.

Yes. That’s it all right. There in the reassuring setting of the doctor’s surgery, the first teeny-tiny step towards… Towards what?

“Don’t most sizeable towns have New Age shops and alternative networks which inhabit the boundary between the material and the mystical? Search any record shop and won’t you find pseudo-satanic heavy metallers?”

You nod. You will indeed find these things. That store which sells tarot cards! Wasn’t the Edgar Broughton Band’s greatest hit Out, Demons, Out? Didn’t Crazy Arthur Brown enjoin you to “burn”, while wearing a head-dress of fire? Even so, surely it’s quite a stretch from there to cooking babies. Wait, though.

“All this stuff is inside our society. And should we be surprised? Isn’t politics itself a wish to transcend the limits of the self by the strength not of the cosmic but by civic collectivity?”

Hmm. That’s an intriguing thought. A new thought. A radical thought that could only really be thought by a radical like Beatrix Campbell. It’s linking the world I know to one I don’t know. Or do I?

And then follows this sublime passage. It is unimproveable. No satirist could invent it. In my debate with Beatrix Campbell, should she wish to follow up on her suggestion, I may simply quote this in full and sit down again:

“After all, people pray in front of grown men wearing frocks, and presumably to find both peace and power, they consume, metaphorically, the body of a man. So is it so difficult to believe that inversions of that established religion are to be found at large? If grown men are capable of dressing up in pinnies and sharing secret signs with each other in masonic lodges up and down the country, what is so hard about contemplating the prospect of grown men dressing up in daft costumes to invert the meanings of the dominant faith; organising rituals to penetrate any orifice available in troops of little children; to cut open rabbits, or cats, or people, and drink their blood; to shit on silver trays and make the children eat it? Is the problem really implausibility, or is it that the consequences of these practices are unbearable?”

I’d say that, in the absence of any bodies of any cats and rabbits, of any sacrificed people, of any eye-witnesses seeing troops of little children being led off for abuse, of any silver trays discovered with faecal traces upon them; or in the absence of any evidence whatsoever of an evolutionary tendency from the Rotary Club to cannibalism, I’d say that in the absence of all that, that the problem Beatrix, is indeed implausibility. But it’s not a “shiver of doubt” implausibility that shakes my intellectual world, but a “how could a grown and intelligent woman believe such epic garbage and then move heaven and earth to try and foist it on everyone else” implausibility.

And the moral is, let’s not go there again.

Author: Matthew

I have been a barrister for over 25 years, specialising in crime. You may also have come across some of my articles I have written on legal issues for The Times, Standpoint, Daily Telegraph or Criminal Law & Justice Weekly


  1. Thank you, David, and Matthew.

    I’ve been watching from afar as all this has unfolded, and it means a great deal to me that the two of you have spoken so eloquently on the subject. It troubles deeply me to see the credulous cynicism of my countrymen; the attitude of ‘oh, yeah, they’re all at it’, seems to lead to an amazing willingness to believe that even the most implausible actions, if they’re awful enough, must be true.

    Common decency seems to require a willingness to suspend judgement, to listen, and then to pause, think, and accept that, perhaps, decisive evidence might not be immediately forthcoming, indeed may never emerge. It also requires an understanding that making an accusation against somebody is a serious matter.

    I was surprised at the mention of a ‘resurgence of medieval ritual child abuse’. Is medieval ritual child abuse a well (or even badly) documented phenomenon?

    1. England London….a long time ago when i was child i went on a trip ….i remember everything ..tried to tell the authorities ….they say it is just a nightmare ..not true , a delusional..they locked me up …labotomized me …….Took my children away from me ….. that is it …. I am not dead ……they are powerful people and you can never stop them ..never

      1. Yes we can. Be stronger. Thank you. Exposing!! Love healing 🙂

        [I have deleted your link to a site which shows the police interviews of the Hampstead children]

  2. That’s a good point Misa, and one I had completely missed. I cannot recall ever hearing of medieval ritual sexual abuse of children. Unless these people actually think the old ‘blood libel’ against the Jews was true? Astonishing, if so.

    1. No, the Jews were just accused of the same thing over and over and over in dozens of far flung places and it never, ever happened. And just forget that Jews are astoundingly over-represented among serial killers and child molesters. They’re innocent, they’ve always been innocent, anyone bringing credible allegations is a racist!

      1. ” And just forget that Jews are astoundingly over-represented among serial killers and child molesters.”

        PROVE, not with anecdotal “evidence” but with reliably-documented statistics from credible sources.

      2. No one in his right mind would claim that Jews are “stoundingly over-represented among serial killers and child molesters.” If you have statistical evidence, present it.

  3. Ritual child abuse is a medieval *myth* – think of Hugh of Lincoln (the story’s preserved in the folk song Little Sir Hugh). It had appalling real-world consequences for those accused – viz. Jews – despite there being little or no evidence it had actually happened. So a resurgence of “medieval ritual child abuse” in quotes may be *precisely* what we saw in the 90s.

    Thanks for writing this & putting the work in, David.

    1. Oh boy, sorry only to have seen this now. Martin was quite a character but is not to be trusted, and certainly not when it comes to this silly book. See the informed discussion of Martin and his work in the National Catholic Reporter by a distinguished professor of theology at Dominican University, Chicago, Fr. Richard Woods OP, in the edition of April 29th, 2005. Here’s a selection of comments from that piece:-

      Back in the 1970s, when possession and exorcism were the cinematic and fictional flavor of the era–one that historian Martin Marty appropriately called “the silly season”–it fell to my lot to conduct a pre-publication review of Malachi Martin’s sensational book Hostage to the Devil. I was allied in this with an internationally celebrated clinical psychologist. Working independently, our conclusion was the same: Martin’s five “cases” were fabrications of an inventive but disturbed mind, lacking all psychological, historical, theological and pastoral credibility.
      Some time later, I interviewed Malachi Martin on television. A former priest, Martin had left the Jesuit order under cloudy conditions, to say the least. (The sordid details were described in Robert Blair Kaiser’s agonized 2002 memoir, Clerical Error: A True Story.) In person, I found Martin to be a clever, charming, engaging Irish rogue who evaded every effort to document the instances of possession he so graphically described. In the end, my earlier suspicion that Martin was a deeply disturbed individual was strongly reinforced. A decade later, when M. Scott Peck’s second book, People of the Lie, was published, I was appalled to find that he, a newly committed Christian of a vaguely evangelical stripe, had accepted and endorsed Martin’s fictional ravings as accurate and instructive case studies…
      …Insouciant in his ignorance of the real history of and the extensive literature on possession phenomena, Dr. Peck hails Martin as “the greatest expert on the subject of possession and exorcism in the English-speaking world” and “brilliant,” despite his own misgivings and warnings from colleagues that Martin was a sociopath. The psychiatrist’s resolute adulation of Martin is thus both disturbing and misleading. Despite Dr. Peck’s claim that he was the most famous exorcist in the world, Malachi Martin had no discernible training, expertise or even adequate knowledge of the history or ministry of exorcism in–or out of–the Catholic faith he once professed but which he bitterly turned against at the end of his unhappy life. Moreover, by Dr. Peck’s own frequent admission, Martin was a liar and manipulator.

  4. The Pendle witches were tried and hanged in 1612. The country was outraged not at the hangings but at what the witches were supposed to have done. Satanic abuse is the common theme. Maybe we don’t use the term witchcraft nowadays, but there is a horrible similarity.

  5. Agree these are excellent articles.

    But on the “medieval ritual sexual abuse of children” I think there are two things worth bearing in mind. tThe first would be the general point that the definition of a “child” was somewhat different (under 12, if not younger, rather than the more modern under 18).

    Secondly I am reminded of the tale of Little St Hugh of Lincoln, a nine year old found dumped in a well in 1255. The murder was used as an excuse to attack the Jews as part of ongoing anti-semitic persecutions of the time. 18 Jews were apparently hanged for his ritual murder.

    Interestingly I remember reading (but cannot find now) that he was found dead in the well with his lower garments missing. What would seem to be an open-and-shut case of child abuse was used to stoke up feelings against Jews (for largely political reasons).

    So the idea of ritual abuse of children existed in medieval times, and was used for political purposes. Whether it was real is another matter entirely. Ordinary child abuse obviously did exist, then as today.

    1. When Jews are consistently and repeatedly accused of similar crimes across dozens of European countries for centuries, it has nothing to do with the Jews and everything to do with the accusers! Jews are never guilty of anything, you racist goyim!

      1. Jon, I hope you’re not using the argument that “if lots of zealous Christians accuse the Jews (or anyone) then the targets of the accusations must be guilty.” Only a moron would use such false logic. And let’s not forget that the accusers of the Jews came from the ranks of the same belief system that gave us the Crusades, the Conquistadors, the Spanish Inquisition, the Salem Witch trials, and in an alternative variant, the Ku Klux Klan. Not exactly a reliable source of evidence for judging ones fellow men.

  6. Despite extensive Googling, I can find no reference to ritual child abuse in medieval times other than the crimes of Gilles de Rais,one of Joan of Arc’s military commanders and a serial rapist and murderer. But even his trial looks shaky in close up, with evidence extracted under torture and his own confession made under the then dread threat of excommunication. I wonder if Tim Tate could enlighten us as to what, exactly, he thought was resurgent?

    1. I’ve searched for more on this too, and it all looks a little implausible…blood libel, black masses and the like. It’s perhaps a little unfair to Mr Tate, who may well have changed his view on the subject since 1991, to dwell on this aspect. I hope I didn’t derail the discussion.

    2. The servants of Gilles de Rais/Retz testified against him, as did the parents of the many children who had been abducted by him and then disappeared. That evidence was not obtained by torture or threat of any kind. Be sceptical, be very sceptical, of the modern attempt to re-invent this nasty bully as a “gay” martyr.

      1. Utter tripe from Claire Thinker and very typical of the obfuscation used by supporters of the idea of Satanic Ritual Abuse.

        Any historian who has seen the original documents of Giles De Rais’ trial can confirm that it was a political show-trial. A put up job to strip a man so rich and powerful that he became a threat to the King of France. Two of Rais’ servants gave first-hand evidence of their complicity in helping Rais murder a thousand children and were let off! This is because their evidence was false and used solely to incriminate Rais. Shades of the current witch-hunt.

        A full account of the persecution of Rais (which left Joan of Arc defenceless so she could be burned at the stake some time later) is contained here:

        Our 1991 review of Tate’s book in relation to his ridiculous belief that Rais actually DID kill 1,000 children can be seen here:

        and just to make sure Claire reads it because it has nothing whatsoever to do with promoting Rais as a gay icon (be careful Claire, your prejudices are showing), I’ve appended that section here:

        GILES DE RAIS:

        Giles de Rais did not admit to the slaughter of a thousand children as Tate insists. History clearly shows that he was the richest man in France at the time with extensive lands in his possession. He was framed for political reasons and tried for heresy on the pretext that he had struck a priest, not because he killed children. His supposed child murders were a corollary charge. His Inquisitors selected two of Rais’ 500 servants and tortured them until they confessed all manner of atrocities which Rais had supposedly committed – hence the incredible number of claimed child murders. These two servants claimed to be involved in the carrying out of the crimes and Tate uses their testimony as trustworthy, but he does not mention that after testifying against their master they were both set free; a strange occurrence for two miscreants who confessed to helping kill thousands of kids!

        Tate does not appear to have access to the source-works of proper scholars such as Ernest Alfred Vizetelly whose monumental “Commore the Cursed and Giles de Rais” was first published in English in 1902 and proved conclusively that the idea of a child-killing blue-beard sacrificing thousands of children, which was projected onto Giles de Rais at his trial, was in fact a development of a very ancient pre-Roman Bretton pagan legend and had no basis whatsoever in reality!

        The facts are that there was no concrete evidence of any crimes given against Giles de Rais at the hearing. No bodies or bones were ever produced. The ‘confession’ by his servants made it inevitable that Rais would be burned alive at the stake. His Inquisitors offered Rais death by burning alive or, if he confessed to the put up crimes, the ‘mercy’ of being strangled beforehand which, faced with the inevitability of it all Rais is supposed to have accepted. The put up nature of the confession was evident in the fact that included in it was a plea that the court records be published in the vernacular. A strategic move by his Inquisitors to gain public condemnation whilst they stripped him of his land and possessions behind the scenes.”

        It is testimony to the pervasiveness of this evil SRA myth that we are again having to rehearse the same arguments from opinionated newcomers which the SAFF had already scotched over twenty years ago!

        Tony Rhodes

    3. The subject is far more complex than allowed for in the article, and the comments are frankly risible for the most part.

      A random sampling of sources:
      Professor Ariel Toaff’s (redacted) book.

      Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales: The Prioress’ Tale.
      Oprah Winfrey 1989 Zionist Satanic Baby Sacrifice

      No smoke without fire!

      But doing their lust of murder is not limited to one desert caste.

      1. You can always tell when a blogger’s truth begins to affect the world-view of the pro-SRAMists – they respond with bare-faced anti-semitism and the kind of reformed mediaevalism which has driven the Satanic Ritual Abuse Myth since its inception in 1988.

        The SAFF has consistently warned society of the dangers of Conspiracy Theory and that behind the compelling ‘what-ifs’ which have become common-currency in our tabloid media there is an extreme right-wing protestant ideology which aims to create discord and wars in an aeonic battle against Catholics, Jews, Islam and ‘Satan’. Ouses1988 is a prime example of their wish to spread hatred and a good illustration of how strong they feel their position is try blatent Jew-hating in this blog.

        It is interesting that Ouses1988 should pop up with his deceit in Aaronovitch’s article, for David was one of the first to recognise and identify the Islamic/Protestant axis in his book Voodoo Histories noting that Hamas’ educational arm teaches young palestinians that the forged Protocols of the Elders of Zion which ideologically coalesced the Nazi takeover of Germany in 1933 is in fact truth, thereby poisoning the minds of new generations of Arabs who have subsequently become students and infected universities with it.

        The recent hounding out and jeering of a Holocaust survivor from his stall at this year’s Tollpuddle Martyrs Festival by union-aligned leftists and Arab sympathisers is another pointer to how the New World Order Lies have gained prominence in universities across our country. It’s neo-nazism of the left and because of that hardly anyone is complaining.

        The expansion of Islam is causing religious polarisation right across the world but nowhere more crucially than in the Balkans where there is already a tacit holy war between Christianity and Islam in place. People there remember what happened last time.

        Our politicians are failing us badly.
        The Satan Myth has been allowed to fester by successive UK governments. The British Media have played their opportunist and self-serving part in creating a climate where Middle East Neo-Nazism can flourish.

        Under the guise of protecting children selfish and irresponsible people have put their own careers and lust of recognition before the best interests of society at large. The pot is now simmering. When it boils over millions are likely to die unnecessarily because most commentators were not visionary enough to see what has been happening since 1988. Politicians and opinion formers could attenuate this danger and instead give the troublemakers space to do their worst but as the eponymous Allen Bennett always says “they won’t will they.”

        John Freedom

      2. “No smoke without fire!”
        Usually it’s the man who shouts “fire” who has the box of matches in his pocket. I suspect that this is yet another example of that.

  7. John, that’s my point. The case you cite is one of a large number widely believed in medieval times (first English appearance thought to be the legend of St William in Norwich in the early 12th century) and used specifically to persecute Jewish communities. They were the basis of the ‘blood libel’ revived by Nazi propagandists. But no educated person gives them credence these days. Is this really what Tate was referring to?

    1. Wrong, the accusation that Jewish people took and killed Christian children had nothing at all to do with any sort of Satanism or sexual abuse.

      1. Matthew, I know you want a good cross section of commentators but Claire Thinker is clearly a troll put here by the pro-SRA lobby as a spoiler.

        Her despicable assertion that;

        “the accusation that Jewish people took and killed Christian children had nothing at all to do with any sort of Satanism or sexual abuse.”

        is so factually incorrect that it is not simply error but wicked disinformation.

        A full and detailed exposition of the way that Jews have been historically portrayed as Devils in league with Satan can be seen here:

        and there is NOTHING that ClaireThinker can say to refute it.

        Anti-semitism is a KEY aspect of the allegations of Satanic Ritual Abuse. Many of the believers in SRA are actually neo-fascists reviving ancient blood-libels – that is why they rounded so vehemently on Jenner who has done sterling work for the interests of Judaism.

        The New World Order Myth which underpins the ‘child abuse by people in high places’ allegations is clearly anti-semitic in context as can be seen by anyone who surfs the internet on these issues.

        If she can’t behave herself and join in with a genuine discussion I hope you will consider cutting any specious comments like hers so as not to foster unconscious anti-semitism.

        Tony Rhodes
        p.s. I am not a Jew.

  8. The first thing to get clear with any SRA investigation is that it is not about what you or I may, or may not, believe about the devil or satanic practices. It’s about what the ‘survivor’ believes, and what her alleged abusers believe, or purport to believe.
    Children are often told that they should always report abuse and that they will be believed. This misses out two important qualifications. One, that their story will be assessed for misunderstanding, fantasising, psychotic thought forms and for blatant lying. Two, that if their story is ’beyond belief’, then it will not be believed.
    Some things ‘beyond belief’ in my childhood, the 1940’s and 50’s are now within today’s ‘believable’ categories. We recognise today that child sexual abuse is no longer the exclusive prerogative of the weird and lonely pervert. We recognise that parents, social workers and especially clergy can be abusers. We have come to believe that celebrities can be abusers, that even gangs of Asian young men can engage in systematic and collective sexual abuse. But rather oddly, we find it difficult to believe that people who hold Satanist views, or some versions of witchcraft, or views of radical ‘free love’, could possibly want to abuse children. And this, despite the implied philosophy of such groups, that children and adults should engage together in sexual activity.
    In listening to children, and to ‘adult survivors’, we need to lay aside our prejudices and give them a fair hearing. The fact that some appear to suffer from a personality disorder, or are psychotic, or are blatant attention seekers, does not mean that they have not suffered at the hands of those who peddle a perverted love. The reverse is more likely the case. But separating truth from fiction is a highly sophisticated process, and few of us should dare to claim that we have mastered the art.

  9. Peter Goodlad

    You miss the point.

    “We recognise that parents, social workers and especially clergy can be abusers. We have come to believe that celebrities can be abusers, that even gangs of Asian young men can engage in systematic and collective sexual abuse. But rather oddly, we find it difficult to believe that people who hold Satanist views, or some versions of witchcraft, or views of radical ‘free love’, could possibly want to abuse children.”

    There is evidence of child abuse by a tiny minority of parents taxi drivers etc. And the abuse is often simple and believable. The level of complexity of the SRA claims makes it highly likely that lots of physical evidence will exist, yet where is it? As pointed out above often the stimulus that started the mind down this particular track can be seen. Amount those committing abuse there is likely to be some who match your description of their views but where is the evidence of the ritual.

    1. Oh they have that one covered : portable crematoriums according to a psychologist in Australia who claims she was part of a Satanic Ring that sacrificed children when she was a child, babies eaten etc.
      Even more alarming this ring was run by one of the countries most respected Labor politicians (deceased) and more recently the deceased father (a respected psychiatrist) himself the father of one of Oz’s most famous Hollywood celebrities.
      What piqued me was that her claims were drip fed to a well know news website to which had numerous contributors who are respected writers.

      When I approached the editor about her bizarre fantastical claims he simply said I lacked “self awareness” and when I asked each of the well known writers their thoughts they, to a man & woman professed not to have read or have knowledge of her articles(and then blocked me on twitter)

      And there is the real problem with these Satanic Fanatics : every demand for at least the smallest proof can be explained away (those portable crematoriums) : why had no-one reported missing children – babies are specifically bred for sacrifice and so on.
      And the total lack of real evidence bar “recovered memories” is even more proof that it really does happen in this Alice Looking Glass scenario.

  10. Thank you for that excellent article on a dreadful subject. The story of the two nursery carers in Newcastle is an extreme one, however their experiences as victims of false accusations are mirrored by the experiences of hundreds of others every year. It is unpleasant to say the least and even if no charges are brought by the CPS it does, as Lord MacAlpine said “stain your soul”.

    I can assure you that it is a very traumatic thing to have to recover from and the victims of false accusations rarely if ever receive support. If the victim of the false accusation had children or grandchildren of their own, the period of investigation (and pre-trial if there are charges) is especially traumatic since Social Workers are invariably involved and accept each and every allegation as true because they have to base their decision about residence and access on “probabilities”

    The current climate (and it is very much a witch hunt) is leading to juries convicting without evidence – with just a credible story. The abolition of the ‘like for like’ rule within Legal Aid means that the prosecution are putting up QCs who specialise in this and the defendants are represented by junior barristers more used to entering pleas in mitigation for burglars.

    We now have a situation in which, stoked by the media, certain politicians, the police and various advocacy groups, allegations however false are uncritically accepted with devastating effects on the falsely accused person. Prosecutions of false accusers for intending to pervert the course of justice.are extremely rare.

    Some day, perhaps after the next celebrity acquittal, the public will start to question the situation – objective articles like this are paving the way – all that is needed is a member of parliament willing to stick their head above the parapet and raise (and keep raising) this.

    Meanwhile, lives are being destroyed (figuratively, not just literally – the suicide rate is high) and police resources are being diverted from genuine cases. And yes, the narrative is currently controlled by ‘true believers’, often religious, who are metaphorically gathering wood for the pyre and stake…

  11. All that careful and impressive research, and then this:”In fact one of my motivations for making the programmes was a concern that police time and effort is currently being squandered on what are almost certainly fictitious cases hyped by unscrupulous attention-seekers, when inquiries into real and current cases of child sexual abuse are under-resourced. I anticipate – without any particular pleasure – this view being vindicated in the months ahead.”

    So, you “just know”? Well, we shall see.

    1. Lucy, you’ve put in quotes something I didn’t say. In the first place I have provided examples in other things I’ve written of known fabulists sparking newspaper front pages with VIP/politician historic abuse claims. Just google “Gilberthorpe”. There are other examples where I am reasonably confident – for reasons I can’t divulge for the moment – that some of the more lurid claims will turn out to be unreliable to say the least. But we’ll have to wait on some of those.
      Finally you might consider, after nearly three years of this (and excepting the Janner case) how little solid evidence has turned up, for all the police effort.

      1. First of all, congratulations on a wonderfully thorough & authoritative piece. Parenthetically, I’d keep an open mind on what the evidence against Janner may be. It would be interesting to know how many spontaneous complaints there have been against him – that is, not prompted by Frank Beck or by Operation Enamel determinedly trawling for accusers. No doubt more will emerge at the trial, though after the media coverage I suspect the verdict is a foregone conclusion in any case.

  12. Many thanks for this exhaustive – and exhausting! – rebuttal.

    On a personal note, Tim Tate’s claim that I was libelling him over Rochdale – expressed in the comments below his response to the Analysis programme – now looks pretty silly given the information above & I’m especially grateful for this.

    (“I did not investigate Rochdale. Ever. Full stop. If you have any evidence to the contrary you should produce it. You won’t – you can’t – because I didn’t and therefore there is none.” Er… please see above, Mr Tate!).

    I do have one minor quibble, though, and it is this: the totally un-necessary – in my opinion – walking-on-eggshells around the subject of the relationship between Campbell & Dawson/Jones.

    A perfectly reasonable comment of mine beneath the OpenDemocracy article highlighting this was removed – twice. I know not why, nor at whose behest.

    I wasted time responding to one of the mushroom-articles that sprang up (and was tweeted by Campbell) that made such stupid claims against David Aaronovitch as that he was “claiming that the only reason women disagree with [him] is because [he has] a penis” only to later discover that my comment could never appear as I, too, am the owner of a penis, and the site in question does not accept ANY comment from men! Truly incredible.

    Another article popped-up, supported by both the aforementioned & Campbell. This time, it was claimed that Aaronovitch’s “response is to suggest that Campbell’s relationship with Jones is a shameful fact” & “the obvious explanation is the [sic] Aaronovitch thinks that a lesbian relationship is a source of shame”. What utter, utter rubbish.

    If Dawson/Jones had been the brother, sister, parent, cousin, child, or even just a close friend of Campbell’s then no one would have felt the slightest wariness in pointing out the obvious failure to declare an interest. Their sexuality has nothing to do with anything, and holds absolutely no interest for me.

    I’m tempted to use an expression I’ve never once in my life had cause to mutter – that we all need to “grow a pair” when being shouted-down by these cowardly & completely confused snipers; I imagine such a male-based phrase will be less than warmly received by the lunatics, and so I will!

    Thanks again.

  13. To believe the allegations of victims or at least some of them does not imply that we believe in Satan or in the superstitious side of any such activities – as this article seems to imply. It merely acknowledges that there are people who engage in such activities for a thrill. It is something that makes group sex more exciting, and more forbidden. You don’t need a conspiracy to explain that. The memories of the children are often confused as they are usually given some sort of drugs.

    1. Isn’t this trying to have it both ways? We must believe all the allegations of victims (no matter how led on the poor souls have been) but at the same time acknowledge that their memories are often confused by forced drug-taking?

      1. I’m not “having it” either way. I am just passing on the information I have read that people who engage in such activities often give the children drugs and use drugs themselves. I have not said anywhere “We must believe all the allegations of victims” but if you don’t believe them why do you refer to the children as “victims”? And why would anybody want to lead the “poor souls” on? It makes sense to believe that adults would engage in something for a thrill, a type of fetishism. It makes no sense that they would “lead poor souls on” tricking them into thinking they were raped when they weren’t.

        1. Thank you so much.

          [I have deleted the link you posted to a site which shows police interviews with the Hampstead children]

        2. >> ‘It makes sense to believe that adults would engage in something for a thrill, a type of fetishism. It makes no sense that they would “lead poor souls on” tricking them into thinking they were raped when they weren’t.’

          What if ‘ “lead[ing] poor souls on” tricking them into thinking they were raped when they weren’t.’ IS someone’s fetish?!

  14. Well done that man!

    At last someone with the brains and the balls to challenge the moral blackmailers in the SRA arena.

    David may be interested to hear that since 1989 the SAFF has been highlighting the flights of fancy of satan-hunter extraordinaire Tim Tate and have marvelled at the way he has dodged responsibility for his actions over the years. His gang of pro-SRA believers have a well-honed method of traducing the reputation of anyone who dares object to their despicable and unfounded assertions which David is now experiencing but it would appear that they have bitten off more than they can chew in this case.

    Professional character assassination is par for the course. The stuff they said about some who resisted their machinations in the past is frankly irrepeatable.

    I have attached some research links below for those who want to catch up with Tate’s ducking and diving on this issue. Please note that although Tate often says he wants to reach the truth of this matter he swiftly blocked correspondence with the SAFF when we challenged his conclusions, calling me a ‘twat’ before he signed off!

    By the way, David asks who the ‘helplines’ after the Cook report were handled by. It was largely done by a fundamentalist group called The Reachout Trust which originally was set up to accuse and discredit Jehovah’s Witnesses but which fell into the opportunities provided by the Satanic Ritual Abuse Myth and during 1988 to 1994 were the first port of call for ‘professionals’ in social work and therapy movement on this issue. This is how the sectarian poison of SRA was imported into the U.K. from fundie-activists in the U.S. Maureen Davies, a mousey dentist’s assistant from Rhyl headed up the Reachout SRA department and was actually shown on Tate’s Cook Report handling the telephone enquiries that came in. Some time later she refused to be interviewed by BBC Wales on the tragic death of Caroline Merchant who had feigned to be an SRA ‘victim’ to get attention and killed herself whilst under the care of Maureen’s colleague Reverend Kevin Logan who also appeared in the Cook Report (‘Deliver us from Evil’ piece) and worked with Reachout to spread the SRA poison. The SAFF believes that Marchant came to the Cook Report helpline team following the programme. More on this here:

    More on the main players like Davies and Logan etc who had influence over Tate’s Cook Report here:

    Recently in correspondence with us Tate denied having anything at all to do with Marchant’s death but as we pointed out to him, his programme did promote and project these sectarian troublemakers into the national media spotlight and the recruitment of ‘victims’, went through the roof; though in the finality all were found to be false.

    When the Broadcasting Complaints Commission accepted a complaint against the Cook Report about Tate’s ‘The Devil’s Work’ from a man who was victimised by it and wrongly labelled a promoter of Satanic Abuse (outright lie) the BCC found in his favour and said that ‘Cook had not made clear that the man was not personally involved in any form of abuse’. Because of the witch-hunt tactics of Tate’s Cook Report this man’s bookshop was firebombed by fundamentalists after broadcast. The man’s BCC statement which gives lots of information about the behind the scenes machinations of the pro-SRA lobby and Tate, who attended the BCC hearing to try to ram home his prejudice against the man, can be seen in full here:

    Here’s that list of sources I promised you:

    Tate backtracking on Radio Leeds in a head-to-head with the bookshop owner:

    Tate’s book Children for the Devil taken to task for it’s factual inaccuracies: ‘What a Load of Codswallop’

    The SAFF does have a quarter of a century of archived material on the Satanic Ritual Abuse Myth, much of which peripherally involves Tate, Nelson and in particular his colleague the Marxist Feminist Beatrix Campbell, see here:

    but our website represents only a fraction of what we have so if David or anyone else wants to access this gold-mine of documentation we would be delighted to help, without charge to ensure nobody else has to suffer from this twenty year witch-hunt.

    Tony Rhodes

  15. As regards ‘mediaeval child abuse’- sounds like he means he thinks all the stuff in the malleus maleficarum, or Salem witch trials,was true!

    And yes, I’d see the satanic panic as identical to such trials. Mass hysteria etc.

    1. Well Tate did get a first in theology at St Andrews!

      Though he has always denied any sectarian connection his mind does appear to work like that of a fundie. For instance, in his book Children for The Devil (pulped for libelous inaccuracy) Tate makes a list of what he says are ‘historic cases’ of SRA and accuses the 17c priest Urban Grandier of being a Satanic Abuser.

      On 18th August 1634 Grandier was sentenced by the French ecclesiastical court to torture of the 2nd degree and burning alive. Even under torture so severe that the marrow of his bones actually oozed out of his broken limbs Grandier maintained his innocence and refused to bear false witness
      by naming imaginary accomplices (the sole purpose of 2nd degree torture). Grandier’s dignity and honour under such terrible institutionalised violence make him a giant amongst martyrs to the cause of human

      Grandier was sadly actually burned alive and not strangled at the stake beforehand ( a small mercy, usually employed by the church to elicit a last minute confession to justify their inhuman persecution) This man took as much of his dignity and honour to the grave with him as he could in what was clear to anyone else but Tate, a politically motivated show-trial.

      It makes Tim Tate’s portrayal of Grandier as a satanist more than repugnant. It makes it despicable.

      Proof of Satanic Ritualised Abuse I think not!

      Full story:

      Tony Rhodes

  16. There is no doubt that child sex abuse is endemic at all levels of society, but I think the continuous obsession that child sex abuse has to be connected to Satanism is both delusional and undermines the investigations into real child sex abuse. The police and other professionals only have a finite pool of resources to investigate current and historic child sex abuse, so to follow up hysterical claims of ritualistic sexual abuse based on unscientific and unsubstantiated claims by a small minority of so-called experts is letting many real child abusers get away with their crimes.

    I find the constant attempts to defame Satanism with these false child sex allegations as insulting and irritating. If people wish to continue to speak of the devil with their false claims of Satanic ritual abuse then there will come a time that the devil will manifest into a UK version of the US Satanic Temple to oppose them, if they continue to do so.

  17. I wonder why the likes of Tim Tate and Beatrix Campbell work so hard to perpetuate the myth of widespread Satanic Ritual Abuse. In reality any evidence of child sexual abuse related to Satanism is incredibly rare. The vast majority of reported sexual abuse cases involving religious groups come from Christianity and Islam.

  18. David – because so much you have done I agree with I didn’t want to pick you up on points as to be seen as ‘nitpicking’. But now there’s a similar pattern on Twitter re Savile.

    The Broxtowe case was not – prior to he ‘Satanic’ interjection a great ‘discovery’ of appalling this and that- it was the re-presentation of a mentally sub-normal family with a long history of incest and neglect that the social workers had known about and condoned with a shrug. They were used and manipulated to fit a ‘narrative’ yes – even to suit the conviction.

    Before the SRA take off the kids had been through suggestive therapy at the NSPCC – as was the norm – except that the NSPCC used all the ‘play therapy’ tricks warned about in the Cleveland report and more.

    So the kids were, as they say ‘primed’ as were the foster carers before Satan ever reared his head – it was an ‘ah ha ‘ moment – just as it was in the Pembroke case foster parents (but you won’t read about that either).

    The reason the police rift occurred was because they realised the satanic stuff in the ‘diaries’ might ruin their case.

    Before that they were happy to accept whatever. So they did a damage limitation exercise. And then the research – thorough – but like you, they stopped short.

    Now you are repeating the same mistake with Savile assumptions.
    You may be a journalists but please think logically.

  19. Interestingly, “Theresa” was interviewed (in plain light) in 1989 for the Australian version of The Cook Report: 60 minutes. The footage is on You Tube

    By a remarkable coincidence, not only does Theresa’s story mirror Natalie’s, but it turns out she is another poet.

    It’s a must-watch, particularly for those intent of perpetuating the Hoaxstead fiasco…

    1. Excellent link Will.

      The girl is lying out of her back teeth.
      Here’s a diagram of how to spot a victim imposter.

      Watch Audrey Harper’s eyes when she is interviewed later in the video, down and right,down and right. But we don’t need to watch the eyes. She is a fundamentalist agent provocateur for the Christian group REACHOUT which was behind much of the lies surrounding the 1989 SRA myth. She is a victim imposter who travels around the U.K. and overseas speaking at Tent Crusades to bring people to Jesus. The Surrey police have TWICE investigated her allegations that she was present at the killing of a baby and found no case to answer. Harper was also used by Tim Tate in his Cook Report special ‘The Devil’s Work’ where she made similar unfounded allegations and her word was accepted as fact. Other members of Reachout Trust were involved in the Cook Report behind the scenes and handled the ‘help lines’. The influence of the Reachout Trust in hyping and promoting the SRA myth has been much under-rated. Lying for god is okay. Here’s some more background on her gang:

      The smarmy Ray Wyre, used extensively in the programme as an authority figure on SRA was a failed minister, who specialised in working with abusers to cover the tracks of child-abusing priests for the church. That is: Wyre’s Gracewell Clinic’s methods were supposed to rehabilitate priests so the Church could accept them back into the fold without the police having to be involved; thereby sidestepping prosecution and neatly minimising the publics’ perception of the extent of priestly abuse in the U.K. Wyre was instrumental in pushing the first-wave SRA myth and we always saw it as a kind of smokescreen to cover up the horrendous amount of priestly abuse going on. which we exposed here:

      This 60 minutes program was made for Australian TV so Wyre was much more bullish in his remarks about the existence of SRA than he was in his more reserved comments with the British Media.

      The following extract on Wyre comes from the Independent 8th December 1990.

      “According to Christine Johnston, a senior social worker, and Judith Dawson, the team leader, the children began telling bizarre stories which they could not understand. They called in Ray Wyre, a former probation officer who runs a clinic in Birmingham for sex offenders.

      He gave them a list of “Satanic indicators”, a profile of signs and symptoms used by American police officers which he told the Independent on Sunday he was given by Pamela Klein, a Chicago social worker who lectures on Satanic abuse.

      Wyre had other literature on Satanic abuse from the United States, where he had first studied child abuse in 1984. He had picked up some of the material himself on a visit in 1988; other information he had been sent.

      Mr Wyre says the social workers initially asked him if he knew anything about witchcraft because the children were writing strange things in their diaries. he said he told the social workers and foster parents the sort of things said by children who had been ritually abused.

      Mr Wyre studied for three years in the early 1970s at a Baptist bible college in Birmingham to become ordained as a minister, but chose probation work instead. He said his former beliefs were not relevant to his work with sex offenders.”

      But Wyre was one of the advisors on the Cook Report and worked with Tim Tate.

      In his interview for 60 minutes Wyre talks at length of one family involved in multi-generational abuse and posits this as proof of SRA. He was referring to the key 1987 Nottingham Broxtowe case which after an extensive enquiry (JET report) was found to have no Satanic connections whatsoever.

      Note that the opportunist hack who fronted this 60 minutes programme says, without any evidence, that ‘DOZENS’ of cases of SRA had occurred in the U.K. In fact NOT ONE of the cases he was referring to was real. The ‘dozens’ of cases were simply indications given in an NSPCC round-robin questionnaire to their branches about whether local activists THOUGHT any of their cases had some Satanic Content. With the passage of time there were absolutely NO cases at all!

      Check out more of this background on

      1. Thanks for the response, John.

        No non-verbal are cues needed for me to suss that “Theresa” isn’t telling the truth: the verbal cues are more than enough. (“She’d be about four now…” *About* four? Her own daughter? I mean, if she’d had a sibling born when she was 11, wouldn’t she remember how old (s)he was? I could go on for pages but there’s no point.)

        The girl’s story was also beyond belief. Almost as beyond belief as McDonald’s on Hampstead High Street selling fillet-o-baby or the cobbler’s by the tube station selling baby-skin sandals. But people who should know better believe the ludicrous fantasies of these disturbed youngsters.

        Of course the Australian Cook-clone believed it because that made a better story than “Sussex schoolgirl’s unbelievable false allegations.”

        I’d best make my position clear here: I have no doubt that Theresa/Natalie *was* abused; that she may well have been raped; that she may well have been impregnated by a grown man. Similarly, I have no doubt that the Hampstead “whistleblower kids” were abused too — and not just by having their pornographic accounts of sexual horror plastered all over the www. But it certainly wasn’t in the way they were saying, and by believing any of their more outlandish cries for help we are doing them and kids like them a gross disservice.

        I suspect the trouble is that, having evolved from a society in which no-one believed that an adult could abuse a child, we have moved on (via Esther and her ilk) to be conditioned to believe everything they say. I mean, Pardon? Any parent will tell you that kids tell porkies. Hell, they tell whoppers for breakfast.

        Sure, they’re unlikely to be (though not immune from) making up stories of sexual abuse: it’s just too stigmatizing and embarrassing. But if you’ve been raped by an adult anyway, what kid cares about the minutiae of the detail?

        I surmise that making the whole thing into a fairytale can be a perfectly rational way for a child to deal with the pain and trauma of abuse.

        And then the adult believes the fairytale. Jesus shit! What does a kid do?

        Ray Wyre was a nice guy until you crossed him. But professionally, I agree, he was a buffoon. I met him a few times in the early 90s. I also attended a couple of professional training courses at the Faithful Foundation (spawn of Gracewell) where I became deeply concerned about the stuff they were espousing. I guess I became a minor whistleblower myself in counter-opining that their techniques were not only abusive to their clients but based on behavioural theories that had long-since been deprecated or debunked. However, Wyre and his cronies were the treatment gurus of the day. They were untouchable. Anyone who tried touching them was probably a pederast. They themselves were abusers of power and adept at counter-transference onto their clients.

        Ray wasn’t so pally with me after that. He told me that he was a lay preacher but I didn’t know he’d trained for the ministry until now.

        Do you have a copy of the Cook Report in question? I didn’t see it at the time and I’d be interested in watching it now but I can only find fragments online.

        1. Hi Will,

          We are in accord. There’s a triumvirate of lobbies who’ve been pushing SRA for 30 years.

          (1) The Radical Feminists (using it for gender war and Marxist revolutionary purposes) who are the driving force behind the Child Scare Industry (post Rantzen) which has gobbled up billions of GDP with little or nothing actually going to protect any children at risk. Concomitant with (1) is the world-wide industry of therapists and mind-benders who parasitically suck-in mentally unstable patients and put them on the perpetual treadmill of ‘victimhood’.

          (2) Sectarians who, finding their grip on the Establishment weakening due to the rise of scientific materialism set themselves the task of re-inventing the Devil to bring unenlightened people back into the fold. These fundie activists and groups CONSISTENTLY work in all corners of society to hype, misrepresent, and inject fear and superstition into the SRA myth. One dangerous facet of is the extreme right wing neo-nazi protestants who blame modern history on a supposed Jewish Banker hegemony backed by the falacious New World Order Myth. Most victim-imposters come from this lobby because they are dumb and believe in hellfire and damnation so are from birth indoctrinated with the acceptance of the Devil and are therefore conditioned to see him as a reflex.

          (3) The Media, whose job it is to vandalistically exacerbate superstition in the populace, inject fear and loathing and generally increase anxiety levels to ensure that the population is predictable and therefore manageable to the Politicians and Inteligentsia which has always controlled this country. Fear and dissatisfaction at home with a perpetual ‘enemy close at hand’ (satan) puts the population in a constant state of anxiety making them more ready to go to war or accept extreme conditions or restrictions on their own freedom to ‘combat evil’. It is no coincidence that the rise of the Satanic Ritual Abuse myth co-incided with the death of paper news as circulations plummeted when the IT revolution took hold and crazed news editors panicked for the ‘gold’ standard headline to out-sensationalise every other paper to increase pick-up rates at news-stalls.

          Of course each of this triumvirate dovetails into the other, supporting and embellishing the phantasm of SRA over the years until a fiction has become reality in the minds of literally millions.

          All this can be tracked on the SAFF website and of course we provide quality research on this issue to ANYONE with a serious interest or application for truth.

          We have a library VHS copy of Tim Tate’s Cook Report ‘The Devil’s Work’. Email me on and we will see what we can arrange.

          The reason why full copies are rare is that, interestingly, as if by some supernatural hand all of Cook’s programmes went up in flames in the Iron Mountain security archive fire in London in 2006, disabling him from organising any re-runs or composite programs. This was somewhat ironic as they were put into the Iron Mountain repository precisely to safeguard them for the future.

          Remember that amazing final image in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark where at the end of the film the crated Ark is wheeled into a secret government repository and placed amongst millions of other crates safely out of the gaze of the public – then a close up shows the side of the crate beginning to burn and smoulder as the supernatural power cannot be contained and begins to make its escape, easily overcoming the puny restrictions of man. Could something of that ilk have happened to Tate’s ‘Devil’s Work’ master tape. Did it self-destruct? Did the gods eventually wreak their revenge for an aeonic lie and blood libel?

          Codswallop of course – but exactly what some SRA supporters are suggesting happened – interference by satanic hands. You can’t win with these idiots. 😉


      2. WARNING Re:

        >> Here’s a diagram of how to spot a victim imposter.

        Anyone skimming the article or just looking at the bold headings beware:

        The references to looking left and right are as viewed by the observer.

        If the interviewee looks right (described as “to the left” in some headings) then it “reveals a creative process — when someone is “making up” facts or lying”, and vice versa.

        Unfortunately the bold headings are under opposing pairs of images so it isn’t always clear in the main body of the article, although it is explained in an early paragraph and made clear in each later reference.

        Also note:

        >> “A word of caution: this method may be reversed in left-handed people. It also may not apply to people who have rehearsed their answers or who have taken drugs or consumed alcohol.”

        Another couple of interesting points:

        >> “Sometimes they touch their mouth or nose alot.”

        This is usually explained as people trying to cover their mouths/hide their lies, however:

        >> “Update: Blood in cheeks reveals liars”
        “Many people blush when they are telling a lie. It’s a very subtle phenomenon but this slight increase of blood flow to the cheeks can be detected. A camera that detects liars by monitoring the temperature of their face could lead to more acurate detection of terrorists and illegals at airports and border crossings.”

        This is also an indicator of stress/mental overload, and it’s now being used to eg detect if air traffic controllers are getting into difficulty: the camera will know before they accept it and ask for help.

        But the camera will also show that the nose gets cold!

        My own theory is that the touching/ rubbing of the nose when lying has nothing to do with covering the mouth and everything to do with the nose feeling cold when the brain is overloaded constructing lies©!

        I’m a layman, but as far as i’m aware, no one has come up with this link before, so if you see it published in the future, remember you heard it here first!;-)

  20. You know, of course, that the Great Fire was started by the Illuminati to eradicate evidence of Jimmy Savile’s bestial activities and destroy his love letters to Ted Heath written while he was staying at the Elm Guest House?

    Thanks, John. I’ll be in touch.


  21. The site mentioned above (Needleblog) which now works with Tim Tate (having previously worked with Chris Fay & Clive Godden to spread all of that ‘guest-list’ rubbish, rubbish which they now have the nerve to criticise Exaro for promoting) refused to publish my comment below, but I’ll leave it here & recommend a viewing of the video for anyone interested (or who just needs a good laugh, as it really is amusing – and well done to the SAFF):

    The famed Channel 4 ‘Despatches’ from Beatrix Campbell has been uploaded to YouTube!

    I’ve been waiting to see this, and the wait was truly worth it!
    All the names we’ve seen discussed here pop up:

    11’30” – Judith Jones/Dawson
    13’40” – Chris Johnston: “They’d seen the ‘indicators’ that we’d missed as well…” (Would those be the ‘Satanic Indicators’ that Tabloid Tim had imported? We could ask him, but he seems keener on demanding responses to HIS questions rather than answering anyone else’s!)
    16′ – The babies’ bodies! In black bin-bags!! Buried in the bloomin’ graveyard!!!
    18′ – Dear reader, prepare yourself for several minutes of hilarity as Campbell descends into a Scooby Do-style mystery:
    She’s found some Satanic tunnels! She’s carrying a particularly crap torch!
    19′ – What’s this? “Ceremonies… … sacrifices… an altar [or ‘alter’?!?]… Satanic hieroglyphics”! Ho ho ho!
    “Oh my goodness me!”, she says. Indeed!
    (She manages not to see any empty bottles of cider that I’m sure some meddling kids must have left behind, but onwards!)
    20’40” – “The cemetery lodge” – yoiks! She’s breaking in! With her torch!! Wearing gloves!!!
    And, finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting to see:
    21’30” – “Eeuuchh!!!” I swear the screen shivered along with her, feeling her revulsion as she non-denominationally-handles a pink plastic penis! Thank God/Satan for those gloves!

    Fantastic stuff. How this ever came to be broadcast is anyone’s guess, but more interesting is how those involved have been able to continue with their lunacy. Shame on them all.

    1. Thank you Bandini. There are three little known things the SAFF would like to say about C4: Despatches and Beatrix Campbell’s ‘Listen To The Children’

      (1) Needleblog regularly censors input to its comments section – SAFF comments have been deleted / refused so many times we have given up trying. We even asked several SAFF volunteers to comment from their own email addresses but any mention of ‘SAFF’ appears to be immediately deleted. The Needleblog therefore is utterly partial and simply propaganda for hardcore ‘believers’ in SRA. Perhaps other genuine commentators have also been ‘blackballed’ from contributing evidence to counter the Needleblog propaganda and will make that censorship public after reading this?

      (2) The Despatches commissioning editor (at the time ‘Listen to the Children’ was given the go-ahead) REJECTED a proper and accurate documentary by two award winning journalists on the SRA myth BECAUSE HE HAD RECENTLY DISCOVERED HIS ADOLESCENT SON PLAYING WITH A OUIJA-BOARD AND BELIEVED SRA EXISTED. This reasoning was given to us by the two documentary makers after face-to-face discussions with him had failed. So instead of fact about SRA the world got Beatrix’s Bizarro world version of things.

      The SAFF officially complained to the commissioning editor personally. He would not be moved so we then complained direct to Michael Grade about this imposition of personal prejudice onto C4 documentary programmes . In his letter of reply Grade refused to sanction the commissioning editor or, indeed offer to run a counter-documentary to Beatrix’s. Result: pap like ‘Listen to the Children’ occluded real documentary work and convinced the gullible masses of the SRA hunters’ views. “The British Media – leading cause of truth decay.”

      (2) The uneasy truce between Radical Feminists and Christian Fundamentalism when on the common ground of SRA was never more illustrated than during a now notorious ‘Channel 4’s After Dark programme (March 1991) where Beatrix appears alongside Andy Croall, the then Assistant Director of Nottinghamshire Social Services.

      Croall, a fundamentalist Christian and a confirmed believer in SRA who later resigned and took a high-level job with a fundamentalist group travelling the UK to hold seminars and lectures to convince other Christians that Satanic Abuse existed, was a main pillar in the cadre of ‘believers’ in the Broxtowe controversy.

      During the programme Croall got excited and made the infamous statement that abortion was a form of child abuse. Campbell visibly gagged at this but remained ‘on message’ with Croall about SRA when clearly any regular radfem would have scratched his eyes out on the spot.

      After the programme Croall was subjected to official complaints about his statements on abortion by Notts. Unison to which many of his SS employees belonged, and an internal inquiry commenced. The controversy was widely reported and many people commented. He resigned his position shortly afterwards and went bible-thumping instead. The point is that we can’t find any evidence of the highly voluble Beatrix commenting on Croall. Strange bedfellows indeed.

      We have a video-tape of After Dark in our research library and may soon upload extracts from it – watch this space!

      Tony Rhodes

  22. Some time ago I heard the following documentary and later found its transcript online (

    “Restraining Patients in Intensive Care”
    “Inside the Ethics Committee”, Series 8 Episode 1 of 4
    First broadcast R4 Thu 19 Jul 2012 21:00?

    In which it was said (around 7:30 to 8:40 minutes in) that half of patients who had been sedated suffered from delirium producing hallucinations so lifelike that they could not be convinced they weren’t real, and I’m sure it was mentioned that half of those were of a sexual nature, but that does not appear in the transcript.

    Recently in “Inside Health” (
    Last on Wed 19 Oct 2016 15:30
    BBC Radio 4
    “Dying at Home, Familial Hypercholesterolaemia FH, Delirium”:

    Where, in the last section, the large number of patients suffering from delirium as a result of their illness and, again, being unable to distinguish the fantasy from reality, was discussed.

    Given the large number of, often bizarre, sexual abuse claims that have been in the news in recent years, often linked to hospital patients or anaesthetised dental patients, many subsequently proved to be false, is it possible that these (like alien abduction claims?) are actually the result of these two phenomena, individually, or acting together, and not real abuse?

    1. You obfuscate a straightforward issue by trying to find a complicated rationale for hundreds, indeed thousands, of false accusations of sex-abuse.

      The fact is that there is an industry of therapeutic voodoo in NHS land which grew out of the 1990 Satanic Panic and was coincidental with the emergence of ‘counseling’ which was itself rubber-stamped by government as a free way of alleviating pressure on the NHS. Do-gooder nosey-parkers, usually of a Christian persuasion, were casually trained up over a weekend to give a listening ear to people traumatised by various experiences and in the process recruit them for the phalanx of lunatic fundamentalist Satanic Ritual Abuse hunters. Once identified as ‘suitable’ candidates they were then passed over to fully trained witch-doctors in the feminist therapy movement who quickly reprogrammed their minds to believe that mum and dad had satanically abused them throughout their childhood.

      So effective was this production-line of ‘survivors’ that the only way that they could deal with the sheer number of people falling over themselves to get themselves an ‘ism’ was to sanctify ‘DIY sex abuse support groups’ which became the ‘Victim and survivor groups’ which the government and police are dutifully listening to today.

      You can see EXACTLY how this worked by perusing
      Particularly under the heading. “Banned Doctor Vows to Continue War on Satanism”.

      In 1891 Anton Delbrueck coined the term Pathological Lying for a well-attested psychiatric syndrome latterly known as Compulsive Lying. Some people simply can’t help it to the extent that the police are aware that completely innocent people often give them self up and actually confess to murders!

      Combine that with the technique of so-called ‘recovered memories’ which is a hypnotic method of implanting false memories created by the confabulation of the patient with the prejudices of the therapist, and mix these in with the other section of this group who are dysfunctional people who have often been in and out of care throughout their lives and whose moral compass is abnormal, leading to a wish to gain revenge on society and those in authority, and you have more than sufficient motive and a ready-made pool of thousands upon thousands of people willing to jump on a bandwagon and support, exaggerate, or magnify the gravity of any existing normal claim of abuse.

      The Savile Panic was a classic example of that. Over 450 people claimed to have been abused by Savile. By a simple selection process this was cut down to 211. 250 were found to be liars almost immediately. Had Savile been alive police investigations would have probably discounted most of the 211 left. In the Jersey Satanic Abuse case (Haute de La Garonne) the system worked-up by an over-eager child-protection industry working in unison with the police advertised for people who had been abused. This resulted in 192 ‘victims’ coming forward. In the end, after millions was wasted, only one perpetrator was found and prosecuted for ‘fiddling’ with a child decades before.

      It is quite possible that some medication, ECT or other psychiatric ‘treatment’ might have knocked the judgement of a minority of patients out but to ignore the truth of the matter, which is that the VAST majority of people complaining of sensational abuse of this kind are just liars, gives credence to these anti-social myths which have ruined the lives of many hundreds of completely innocent people.

      Tony Rhodes

      1. Eh?

        Did you actually read what I said?

        Or what you wrote?!

        The fact that some people, or even many, are liars, doesn’t alter the fact that some people, or even many, suffer delusions in hospitals either due to sedation, or illness, that they can’t distinguish from reality.

        The fact that some people, or even many, are liars, doesn’t alter the fact that some people, or even many, aren’t capable of concocting their own bizarre fantasies and might need to borrow the medical delusions.

        You speak of people “traumatised by various experiences”. Guess what, one would be the hallucinations under sedation. Another the delirium fantasies,

        And where would be a good place to “identify” lots of “suitable’ candidates”?!

        As for innocents confessing to murder, are you sure you didn’t get that from something I’d written?!

        And you accuse me of obfuscating “a straightforward issue by trying to find a complicated rationale”?!

        1. Hi,
          You are confusing two separate issues.
          The fact that some people lose their self-possession under drugs is not the same as people like ‘Nick’ who confabulate stories to suit their own psychological requirements. You seem to be working from the idea that these people are deluded. They are not. Their stories are exceedingly clever, complex and cunning narratives mixing people and places which they calculate almost everyone will know interlaced with invented scenarios of shocking and horrific content which are completely fictional.

          Their Big Sell is that in order to challenge what they are saying we sympathetic onlookers are put in the uncomfortable position of appearing to be care-less and unsympathetic to the extreme emotional turmoil the narrator is espousing. Most people are naturally empathic and find it impossible to do this. It is a kind of verbal restraint. We are forced to choose between uncomfortable challenges to an emotional distraught person, or just accepting what they say at face value. Most people choose the latter. Thus the narrative of people like ‘Nick’ is simply a form of reverse brainwashing where he gets to control listeners and have them do what he wants by proxy. Whether or not he was at one time or another given drugs which caused hallucinations or delusions is completely irrelevant.

          I have gone into this difference at length in my reply to Misa below but to expand on that a little I refer you to the work of C Joad in reviewing Freud’s book ‘Civilisation and it’s Discontents’ which explains how that which is most powerful in the unconscious produces its projected opposite in the consciousness of people who are hiding their instincts.

          “Unconscious desires which try to arise suffer from continuous repression by the Psychic Censor, and finding their natural channel of expression in the conscious obstructed, are turned back upon themselves. Like a river which has been dammed, they form a kind of swamp in the unconscious which is called a Complex. This Complex gives rise to hysteria, nervousness and in extreme cases to obsessions and neuroses….”

          “Conscience is in fact society’s policeman implanted in the individual. Hence our beliefs about what is right and good are dertermined by the nature of the instincts which society feels to be most dangerous to it…” [e.g. Dangerous Strangers, Foreign enemies, Spies, Imigrants, Satanists, child abusers, corrupt politicians, policemen and servants of the state {e.g. conspiracies }]

          “As with ethics and with art, so with science; so too with intellectual activity in general. We indulge in intellectual activity as a compensation for thwarted instinctive activity [caused by the conflict between the self-centred hatreds of our subconscious trying to bypass the conventions which spawn conscience]. What is more, the views we hold on apparently abstract questions are determined by the nature of the particular instincts whose substitute gratification is being sought in the intellectual activity which leads to their formation. Our instinctive desires, in fact, determine what we think true just as much as they determine what we think right and the reasoning activity which proceeds to provide us with arguments for reaching the conclusions which our instincts have already performed, is a sublimation of those same instincts. “

          Extract from a review of ‘Civilisation and its Discontents’ (Freud) by C.E. M. Joad in his ‘Guide to Modern thought’ 1933.

          Tony Rhodes

          1. As I said, did you read what I wrote, did you even read what you wrote?!

            It is you who are doing the confusing. You seem to be obsessed with the idea that every “survivor” is a Nick (while your opponents have endless “proof” that they aren’t).

            Now you have given them endless proof that you are wrong.

            They (or more deviously an unconnected, “independent”, third party – it could be me for all you know) just have to find one single scientifically documented case of a delirium sufferer, either due to sedation, trauma, or disease, who believes, due to their hallucinations, they were sexually abused, to “prove” your allegations don’t hold water.

            You might think that would damage their cause too.

            But I doubt they’ve been so stupid as to insist that every single person who has ever claimed to have been abused has really been the victim of ritual satanic abuse.

            I however, can demonstrate that half of people who have been in hospital have suffered delirium induced hallucinations, many of which are of sexual “abuse”.

            It would then be a small step to argue some of those went on to try to claim compensation from those they imagined had attacked them.

            And others had given the idea to people who had never been attacked, or ever bee in hospital.

            You’ve just shot yourself in the foot!

          2. If anyone is not listening it is you.

            Your position and my own are so close as to be nearly the same and as we both decry false allegations we are really on the same side. However It appears you have some academic position to protect and must fight to the death over the minutiae; so I’ll see if I can distill the arguments and bring it all to a close without disturbing you much more.

            This important blog by David Aaronovitch is about SATANIC RITUAL ABUSE claims.

            Your intention appears to be to bring in the problem of false ‘ accusations of ‘conventional’ abuse. You quote, for instance, the case of Savile. You obviously don’t realise that Savilemonster was born from the ashes of the 1990 Satanic Panic and that many key players in the Child-Scare-Industry who created and promoted SRA are also involved in the Savilemonster scare. There are links back to the 1990 panic in every single mass-accusation case. It is really annoying have to rehearse all this mind-numbing material every time some ‘expert’ comes along thinking he’s found ‘the reason’ why millions of people live in a make-believe world of Satanic Abuse. It is a complex issue and you should learn from those who know.

            Your hypothesis is that chemical poisoning thru orthodox medical treatment can result in delusions of abuse and this is why there has been an upsurge of claims of historic sexual abuse. Our position is that whereas chemically induced delusions do occur that is not the source of the vast majority of the current spate of Historic Abuse allegations. And this is why:

            Anyone even slightly familiar with the work of Freud knows that sexual repression is one of the most important, if not THE most important formers of complexes within the individual. You don’t need drugs to bring it out. Word-association analysis is quite sufficient.

            It is not unusual for people at crisis points in their lives to be stressed (chemically or psychologically) so greatly that repressed sexual fantasies try to break through the psychic censor and must be quickly modified to become morally acceptable to the conscious mind of the subject. Positing oneself as a victim of abuse is a surefire way of doing this. As we point out in

            “There is a big difference between sympathetically listening to someone who is outpouring their hearts in order to unearth the root of their problems – and believing everything that falls out of their mouths. The former is proper psychiatry the latter is a shiboleth of the New Age self-analysis movement pushed by feminerapists who have since the 1960s commandeered debate in the ‘West Coast’ therapeutic industry. IN PROPER PSYCHIATRY ONE LOOKS NOT AT WHAT THE PATIENT IS SAYING BUT WHY THE PATIENT IS SAYING IT. It is a given that people who are emotionally disturbed cannot interpret their experiences within the norm and will often use allegory to explain their feelings. It is vitally important that the psychiatrist listens but in the patient’s sensitive state NOT reinforce inadequacies or persecution complexes or any other neuroses. Satan Hunter therapists do exactly the reverse and this has got to be ultimately bad for the patient.”

            The REAL negative change responsible for the upsurge in false allegations of Abuse, satanic or otherwise, is the purveyors of Victimhood in the burgeoning therapy movement which is entirely predicated on the idea of a society where the majority of people are sexually abused as children. In order to get this Victimhood movement going they first used the fantasies of sectarian victim impostors from the fundamentalist churches who had for decades earlier toured the tent-crusades ‘witnessing’ to a sold-audience that the devil was alive and well on planet earth, but were ignored by mainstream society as loonies. Once these victim-impostors were injected into the SRA circus and given credibility by the disreputable media of the U.K. it created a climate of shock-horror belief amongst ordinary people that SRA was possible. Once this credulity was established, through an unholy alliance of the media, the fundies and the feminerapists, mentally susceptible people (that is people with intractable mental problems who had not responded to orthodox medical help) were recruited and using ‘recovered memory therapy’ false memories of Satanic Abuse were implanted. This is where ALL the Satanic Ritual Abuse victim impostors were created. The spin-off was that techniques of implanting false memories and the methods of recruiting were adopted by other therapists because it panders to the needs of the intractable long-term mentally ill and seems to give them what they seek.

            Because sensible people don’t believe this rot, those who claimed to be victims began to ‘missionise’ to others on the web and there was an explosion of self-help activity on the internet. The constant promotion of the ‘threat’ of sexual abuse by the radical feminist movement in conjunction with avaricious child-protection charities willing to say anything to get more funding, has created a situation where today almost every member of the public actually believes, actually expects, that when four people get together at least one of them will have been sexually abused in some way as a child but doesn’t yet know it because the memories are being ‘repressed’. The final piece of the jigsaw was the creation of the Victim’s Fund and the relaxing of rules to allow compensation lawyers to advertise on mass media. Thus a completely fictitious ‘threat’ had become institutionalised and the Victimhood-Industry was born to damage and decimate society. See

            There is no point in you trying to insist that all of this was caused by chemical poisoning in orthodox healthcare. It is quite possible that some people underwent treatment which included drugs which released sexual fantasies which drew them into feminerapy and who eventually became SRA victim impostors, but the key thing is the feminerapy NOT the drugs. Most of the drugs you are referring to were used for many years prior to the start of SRA claims in 1988 yet there were no mass accusations of ‘conventional’ abuse then.

            Also, as I’ve pointed out earlier. Those Satanic Abuse Victim Impostors who were ‘star’ players in the myth (like Nick) all have a long history of mental instability and have often been under psychiatric care for years before they began to claim themselves Satanic Ritual Abuse victims. Thus SRA victim-impostors are CREATED first and foremost by the Child-Scare-Industry, not by medication.

            Trying to blame drugs for today’s mass allegations of abuse doesn’t stop the hysteria, it lets the Child-Abuse-Industry off the hook. Politicians, police and Academics look for neat and precise conclusions. You are providing them with one (‘mass medication defects’) which will not help a true understanding of this sociological phenomenon.

            We’ve been tracking and research this myth for thirty years. The SAFF were the first to call it a myth long before ‘experts’ and ‘academics’ who derided us, switched boats and saw they’d been had. We don’t make statements we can’t prove. If we had done so we would have been silenced long before now.


          3. Now you’re reading much too much into my posts.

            I’m merely illustrating, for the benefit of those who can’t imagine people could, or would, imagine, or maker up, such things, that not only is it possible for the mind to do such things, it is, in fact, incredibly common.

            So, for example, in the case of Savile, monster or not, it’s not incredible that so many could come up with the same tales, stories, rumours, if it wasn’t true.

            What’s actually incredible, considering his fame, and the time he spent on trauma wards and in recovery rooms, is that there were so relatively FEW allegations.

            How many THOUSANDS of people must have seen his face over their beds or trolleys while in a delirium?!

            Whether these memories were then recovered, recovered by SRA hunters, remembered by disturbed people, remembered by otherwise sane ordinary people, adopted by disturbed people, borrowed by con men, or a mixture, is irrelevant.

            It doesn’t detract from your campaign, it just proves it can happen, which the public, and MSM, find hard to grasp.

      2. Tony,
        I always appreciate your input on these matters, but I’m not sure that you should dismiss Mr Mann’s point quite so abruptly. In a way, it nicely butresses your own argument – people can come to believe the most extraordinary things. Surely, if it had taken family, nurses and counsellors, hours to convince a patient that they had not suffered the extraordinary things they had hallucinated, such former patients might well be left with burried memories which could be awakened by the probing of the kind of therapists you describe. Some might not even need therapy – the media’s confirmation, that such things as one imagined were indeed happeneing to some people, might just lead to the former patient becoming convinced of what had happened to them, without the need for counselling.

        Rational people find it hard to accept that they (or indeed most people) could be persuaded to believe they had done (or had done to them) serious things which they had not really happened. And when confronted with a witness who appears in most respects sane and rational, but who appears to be genuinely upset and sincere in their explanation of harrowing events, even hardened journalists may be reluctant to dismiss the events described as fantasy.

        Mr Mann provides comeplementary evidence of how some people *may* come to believe extraordinary things. Surely, that’s helpful, isn’t it?

        1. Hi Misa,

          We here at the SAFF have been dealing with the insidious and evil effects of false memory syndrome for three decades. We have watched the continuous intellectual ping-pong between scientists, anthropologists and psychiatrists which tries to polarise the discussion into a debate between people who are self-possessed ‘like us’ who don’t suffer from false memories and those ‘like them’ who do. This completely ignores the fact that there are many doctors, scientists, academics and psychiatrists who have experienced their own false memories of abuse.

          We have seen this debate run so many times and fail that you will have to forgive us for giving short-shrift to people who attempt to start the cycle again with a new theory of why some people might do it. No matter how well meaning it might be.

          There are a myriad of ways that a person’s mind can be changed, from within and from without. I was simply pointing out that MAIN reason for false-memories of abuse, is the therapeutic industry which sets out to implant them. This should never be forgotten.

          SAFF research shows that those ‘victims’ who create the most trouble for society (such as Nick) are not blank canvases and there is always an underlying human agenda. It does not take ‘hours’ to ‘brainwash’ a patient. It can be done in 10 minutes. All it takes is to pander to the subconscious of the patient in such a way that he is able to confabulate excuses for the dysfunction in his own life by finding someone else to blame. The bigger the monster who is to blame, the more relief from his own responsibilities does the patient gain.

          People who ‘think’ they might have been abused because their mind is confused by recovered memory therapists on the make; are different to the majority of ‘survivor’s, like Nick who confabulate or invent narratives of abuse which are astonishingly detailed in emotional content whilst having a total lack of any factual or forensic evidence to back up any of their allegations.

          If we are to stem this tide of irrationality it is important that experts and intellectuals do not provide another framework of justification to excuse the confabulations of patients on the assumption that the poor things don’t really know what they are doing. Those who are truly confused don’t make the kind of damaging, life-destroying allegations that ‘Nick’ and his type do. Remember that it was the invention of a false ‘ism’ Dissociative Identity Disorder, which has driven the idea of recovered memory in therapeutic circles. Widening the excuses for liars is not acceptable.

          You see, there is a difference between those who are perturbed by false memories (for whom sympathy and understanding may be valuable), and those who trade in them; for whom it amounts to letting them off the hook.

          In his seminal ‘Battle for the Mind’, William Sargant proved that brainwashing was no more than what has been latterly popularised as ‘Stockholm syndrome’. This is where a subject’s value-set is re-set by exposure to opposing beliefs the resistance to which disappears after the subject runs out of rational objections to it. The mind flip-flops. Pavlov’s experiments proved that a reflex (the flip-flop) can be conditioned and de-conditioned ad infinitum depending on the saturation level of the conditioning.

          We are ALL subject to having our minds changed on a daily basis. We think it is with our agreement. We don’t notice the ones which occur without our agreement. It doesn’t take mind-altering drugs, the idea that it does just mystifies what is essentially a simple mind mechanism.



          1. You still don’t get it, do you?!

            By your own admission there are, at most, a few hundred people who try to make a “Nick” like claim, most of whom are caught out, but the rest of whom are believed, despite the ones who are seen through, because there’s no smoke without fire, hundreds of people can’t all be lying, look at how many people had heard about it………

            Look at Savile. As far as I know there is no evidence he did anything, but thousands of people had heard he’d done something, mainly in hospital, usually where there is a lot of sedation and/or trauma), so it must be true.

            What I had tried to do is not just show that not just hundreds, but thousands, of people can be deluded, mistaken, lying, but that there is hard scientific evidence that lots of people claiming the same thing doesn’t make it true.

            That doesn’t say anything about why people are claiming anything in particular:

            It just proves people shouldn’t accept a claim because lots of people make the same, or similar claims, and lots more had heard rumours, or even received reports or official claims.

          2. Oooops, apologies, missed this:

            “There are a myriad of ways that a person’s mind can be changed, from within and from without. I was simply pointing out that MAIN reason for false-memories of abuse, is the therapeutic industry which sets out to implant them. This should never be forgotten.”

            A myriad ways, one of which is sedation related delirium and another is illness/trauma related delirium, which, between them, produce hallucinations in half of all hospital patients that are so life-like they cannot distinguish them from reality, and I’m sure I heard somewhere that half of those are of a sexual nature.

            Are you really saying that substantially more people visit your false-memories of abuse implanting therapeutic industry than are treated in a quarter of the hospitals in the UK?!

            Do you have any figures to back that up?

            Perhaps when you have finished digging that hole you could share them?!

        1. The SAFF have been reading conspiracy theories like Pizzagate for thirty years. They are ALL a development of the Satanic Ritual Abuse Myth which Christian fundamentalists started in the 1980s. We can trace the memes easily. We don’t need Scott Adams’ blog to replay Rolf Dobelli’s 2013 ‘Confirmation Bias’ theory to us to explain the inner mental process. Dobelli wrote:

          “We deal mostly with assumptions and the more nebulous these are the stronger the Confirmation Bias . Whether you go through believing that ‘people are inherently good’ or ‘people are inherently bad’ you will find daily proof to support your case…… For example, worshipers always find evidence of God’s existence even though he never shows himself overtly..”
          ‘Art of Thinking Clearly’, Sceptre publishers.

          Dobelli’s book, originally written to cause the masses to wake up and stop relying on experts, contains dozens of other Truths about the way humans think and compute information incorrectly and so should be read by anyone wanting to understand the sex abuse hysteria.

          However, knowing about Confirmation Bias adds little to the research and conclusions the SAFF has been publishing for the last thirty years. One day some enterprising ‘expert’ will actually READ our website and stop trying to reinvent the wheel.

          The cause of the millions of people across the globe who are pushing satanic conspiracies about threats to children to regain control of society are the thousands of Christian evangelists and fundamentalists who have always historically done so, backed by a ready-made population of billions who have from birth been pre-sold on the idea of a pan-global conspiracy by the devil to usurp god; (i.e. other Christians). It is no coincidence that the rise of the pluralist right coincided with the burgeoning of evangelical Christianity and the political success of Trump is the latest symptom of it.

          The reason why these psychopathic types are so successful in wheedling their sectarian demands into a supposedly secular society is because most ‘intellectuals’ have a Christian blind-spot which disables them from considering these people’s actions as socially destructive. Such ‘intellectuals’ are willing to enter into a consideration of what is basically Christian agit-prop against satanists today, whilst quickly condemning puritan witch-hunts of the past for being a form of genocide! The phrase ‘ putting two and two together ‘ comes to mind.

          Any moderate/nominal Christian who finds this truth unacceptable or unpalatable is grist to their mill and would do well to read
          ‘So you Think You Know Who the Satanists Are Huh?’ here:

          to see what crimes have been perpetrated by evil people mis-using the name of their savior for hundreds of years and how it dovetails into the 1990 satan scare and has created all other sex-abuse scares since.

          Christian Cult Crime Impact Network 1989:
          ‘A complete absence of forensic evidence is unheard of and is evidence in itself’

          “Witches work at night and in secret AND CLEAR PROOF OF SUCH DEEDS IS IMPOSSIBLE”. Professor Jean Bodin, leading prosecutor in the 1580 witch-trials in France.

          There are no Buddhist sexual abuse victim impostors.


          1. The SAFF have been reading conspiracy theories…… for thirty years.

            They are ALL a development of……..

            We don’t need……

            “We deal mostly with assumptions and the more nebulous these are the stronger the Confirmation Bias.

            ……will find daily proof to support your case…… For example….. always find evidence……

            ……..wake up and stop relying on experts

            ……….humans think and compute information incorrectly…..

            One day some enterprising ‘expert’ will actually READ…….

            …..most ‘intellectuals’ have a….. blind-spot which disables them from considering……

            Such ‘intellectuals’ are willing to enter into a consideration of what is basically….. agit-prop

            whilst quickly condemning……..

            The phrase ‘ putting two and two together ‘ comes to mind.

            Any moderate/nominal who finds this truth unacceptable or unpalatable is grist to their mill and would do well to read

            ‘So you Think You Know……. Huh?’

            There are no Buddhist sexual abuse victim impostors.

        2. Oh, hell. I’ve just had to go and find out about pizzagate. What a mess!
          Thanks, anyway. Dilbert seems to understand.

          “So let me tell you what a mountain of evidence is worth.

          “Mountain of Evidence Value = zero.”

  23. Another lying Jew trying to cover up their disgusting ritual practices. This is why your filthy people were expelled from country after country for centuries: the “blood libel” wasn’t libel.

  24. Excellent article and great testimonies by the panel. Interestingly, most people remain unaware that over 3,000 children are yearly missing in LA, CA as a direct result of Cult related abductions for human sacrifices, combined with the on-going demand for sex-trade and human trafficking. Unfortunately, the mainstream news media refuses to announce such epidemic of horrors in order not to create a possible social pandemonium.

    Nonetheless, the bizarre facts remains that the clandestine and underground group of the Mexican Covenant known as “LA SANTA MUERTE”, is to also be directly link to such gruesome and malicious tragedies, since their ritual involves the drinking of human blood (from which they claim that it provides them with supernatural powers) combined with the gruesome slaughtering of their captives bodies! Ask any psychologist and they will tell you that clearly some of these people suffer from some serious mental illnesses, combined with other undiagnosed disorders, or just being dedicated evil worshippers!

    As such, the necessities for human-bodies are as a result of the atrocities of the drug Cartels of Juarez-Mexico across El Paso, Texas, which requires human sacrifices to satisfy their Black Sabbath rituals (demonology). Amazingly, the border crossing traveling into Juarez, Mexico from El Paso, Texas is notorious for contraband, since no one inspects any of the in-coming cargo from USA! With such brewing, people are still gullible and thinking that the Church Of Satan in Ca actually just lights up black candles and dress in black satin ropes for fun while chanting Hell Satan? Priceless…

    In contrast, we also need to properly identify hundreds of malevolent and vogue organizations that are maliciously profiting from these cult crimes by requesting funds from gullible concern citizens in order to finance search-rescue-extractions; which they obviously don’t! Some even claim to be former Navy Seals, FBI and CIA operatives, while marketing and selling you “fairy tales” themes of cult crimes. These unscrupulous foundations profit from the suffering and misery of others like vultures and carnivorous Hyenas!!!

    Sadly, as an expert Cult Investigator, I see many of these unfortunate cases go unfounded; since Law Enforcement is quite restricted in infiltrating as under-covers into such surreptitious evil worshiping groups. In statistical comparison, in the State of Florida alone, there are over (30) thousand registered pedophiles which are not monitored, therefore this can also attribute to the sexual exploits of such perverts who later commit murder of their victims in order to conceal the abduction(s) (evidence).

    On another note, the lack of emotional closure and psychological suffering of the victims’ families is beyond description, while simultaneously the lack of Law Enforcement funds to investigate these felony crimes; does actually contributes indirectly to these disappearances which are a nightmare to the victim’s family group. As an Author and Private Detective who specializes in Cults, it doesn’t take a criminologist or an academic anthropologist to figure out what is actually going on here!

    Also, I clearly understand that we must create awareness and provide better safeguard measures to parents, contrary to the censorship of broadcasting these events for fear of causing a tabloid media frenzy. Like so, sometimes the struggle for the truths converts into a paradox, since in these malevolent circumstances many times reality becomes stranger than fiction.

    1. Hi Matthew, I hope you will disallow the above comment, designed by the conspiracyloon contingent, to drive a wedge between floating-voters on the SRA issue and those who know it is all bunkum. The SAFF identified the ‘creeping reasonableness’ gambit 27 years ago. It is very much used by fundies trying to pass themselves off as ‘normal people just like you who have the benefit of other evidence and a different perspective and I would be really grateful if you’d just look at what I’ve got to say and really, really, think about the horrors of the poor victims’ but in reality it’s just a form of mind control using advocacy.

      All the SRA motifs in the above comment are predicated on events disproved by the SAFF and other observers over the years. I will give just one example. Campo’s assertion that ritual satanic human sacrifices and the killing of ‘missing’ persons on the Mexico border is ‘proof’ that ‘something is going on’ can be sourced to the Matamoros Killings in 1989 when the SRA myth was at it’s peak in the U.S. A mass grave of horribly killed victims was unearthed and attributed to Satanic activity by the media using splash headlines. Since then it has become folklore. The truth is that Adolpho Constanzo a superstitious (who in Mexico is NOT superstitious) drug lord using home-made rituals of the Palo Mayombe Mexican religious cult (nothing to do with satanism but a sub-set of catholicism – Constanzo’s middle name was Jesus! ) to control his drug cartel, had begun a campaign to assassinate his rivals. There was NO direct connection with Neo-Satanism or any claimed ancient liturgy of satanism. Constanzo’s victims were not killed in ‘rituals’, just in horrific ways which fed the SRAmyth. One could equally say that the SRA scare which was current at the time in the U.S. and along the border actually fed the format of these grisly killings and may have put the idea into Constanzo’s head. Drug related violence on the border has been and is still a massive ongoing and highly frequent occurrence to this day, so a situation caused by criminal gangs is rolled into the SRAmyth to ‘prove’ that thousands of people are abducted and killed by Satanists in human sacrifices ever year. It’s Bullshit! Don’t even consider the platitudes from this person – his intention is to make you waiver and wonder, and discount assertions that SRA does not exist. His involvement here, at such length, is an indication of how important this blog which is now becoming a source for many unbiased researchers, has become, and how threatened the pro-SRA believers are by it.
      John Freedom

      1. Thanks for your comment John, but on the whole I tend to allow a very wide range of comments. Generally speaking the silly ones are dealt with effectively, by replies like yours!

      2. “The SAFF identified the ‘creeping reasonableness’ gambit 27 years ago. It is very much used by fundies trying to pass themselves off as ‘normal people just like you who have the benefit of other evidence and a different perspective and I would be really grateful if you’d just look at what I’ve got to say and really, really, think about the horrors of the poor victims’ but in reality it’s just a form of mind control using advocacy.”

        John’s comments are spot on. Extremists do like to portray themselves as ‘reasonable’ and that is a solid danger herein. SAFF has been tracking this axis for decades and they do know what they are talking about.

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