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ISSN 0840-982X


In the Shadow of Satan: The Ritual Abuse of Children


1 A Case of Multiple Life-Threatening Illnesses Related to Early Ritual Abuse
Rennet Wong and Jock McKeen

27 Ritual Child Abuse: A Survey of Symptoms and Allegations
Pamela S. Hudson

55 Satanic Ritual Abuse: A Cause of Multiple Personality Disorder
George A. Fraser

67 Differentiating Between Ritual Assault and Sexual Abuse
Louise M. Edwards

91 The Choice
Gerry Fewster


"But tell me, Circe, who is to guide me on the way? No one has ever sailed a black ship to Hell." "�Odysseus�, the goddess answered me, �don�t think of lingering on the shore for lack of a pilot. Set up your mast, spread the white sail and sit down in the ship..."�

E.V. Rieu�s translation of Odyssey, X, 501-7

Putting this issue together has been my most difficult Journal assignment since our publication first came into being. It began as a fascinating prospect with little or no supportive documentation. As I discussed the concept with colleagues and friends the most unlikely doors began to open. Fragments of information� odd papers, crude and unfinished manuscripts, unsolicited telephone calls, personal revelations, and even photographs�began to appear. As a cautious "student" of the occult and no stranger to the clinical realm of child abuse, I considered myself both suited and prepared for the challenge. Suffice to say that these qualifications turned out to be hopelessly inadequate.

Many times during the course of reading the material, I decided to quit. I found that I had neither the head nor the stomach for the task. Time and time again I found compelling practical reasons for putting the project on the back burner. There were times when, after spending many hours reading from the protective armor of the editorial role, I would feel physically ill. At first I attributed all of this to my reluctance to examine the depths of my own �shadow� and urged myself on. Then, as my curiosity rekindled, I would shrink back in horror from the spectres of my own hidden motives and intentions. People who normally would show little or no interest in the Journal of Child and Youth Care were making inquiries and requesting reserved copies of the issue...and I asked myself why?

Some months before she died, Virginia Satir observed that the forces of evil will dissipate only when they are brought out into the light. The power of evil can only be nurtured and maintained as long as we refuse to draw back the shroud. In a similar vein Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the theologian and Protestant minister who gave up his life confronting the horrors of Nazi Germany, concluded; "The power of some needs the folly of the others." From these thoughts I took the position that turning away from the malevolence of ritual child abuse is, in itself, a simple act of collusion.

Still, I wanted to hide behind the indignant righteousness of my own forsaken morality. But morality is no more than an arbitrary screen, flashing to us what "should be" while blinding us to what "is." And it is in this pathological medium of ignorance that the unknown demons of our darkness are cultured beyond our consciousness. Such demons are not external fiends lurking in the world around us, they are the denied offspring of our own psyches. If we dare not look into the blackness of our own shadows, there can be no enlightenment. If, then, there exists an external force that can survive only in the unhallowed slime of the cast-off spirit, then our terrors may be born of a different place. To the degree that we refuse to inhabit ourselves, to deny that which our morality condemns, we vacate the spaces in our "temple" while leaving the doors wide open. Perhaps it is so that the unknown and fearful recesses of our innermost being can indeed become the damnable hideouts for the despicable serpents of another will.

In reviewing the material on ritual child abuse it was difficult for me to maintain the belief that such repulsive acts spring from the primordial urges that play upon the human psyche, however frustrated or distorted this process might become. I became convinced that, whatever forces operate to generate such behavior, exist beyond the limits of the human shadow. My own views on such matters are irrelevant here but it is important for me to make one aspect of my position clear. I firmly believe that, whatever the "power" in question, it can only thrive through the active collusion of those who express its will. To think otherwise would be to remove all responsibility from the perpetrators. I am similarly convinced that those who choose to celebrate rather than degrade their own humanity are better served by enlightenment than by ignorance. The paradox is that we must step into the shadow of our own darkness to know that we are truly the masters in our own temple. This is not to open ourselves up to the insidious forces of evil, but to reclaim the strength of our own dammed-up instincts.

But anyone who chooses to explore the pathway of enlightenment by stepping into the shadows might take heed of Zarathustra�s observation; "They will call you the destroyers of morality, but you are only the discoverers of yourself." As a child I was urged constantly to ignore or avoid feelings, thoughts or impulses that were "not nice." In more recent years acquaintances, friends and members of my family have responded to my curiosity about the Occult with the simple exhortation, "Don�t meddle in that stuff." Over the past few months many colleagues have told me that they will never read this special Journal issue because it�s better not to know about such things. Ironically, the moralistic belief that stepping into the darkness is setting out on the road to Hell provides the assurance that Hades will forever be protected. Ignorance, then, becomes the "folly" through which the forces of malevolence exercise their power.

The articles presented in this issue have been selected from a considerable quantity of diverse material. They were chosen on the basis of their relevance to practitioners working with young people who may have been involved in some form of ritual abuse. While the pictures may be ugly, the intention is to inform the reader rather than to shock the senses. To this end, graphic material that seemed to add little or no new information was excluded from the outset.

We begin with a case study in which the recurring elements of ritual abuse are identified through the experiences of a young woman, as described by Drs. Bennet Wong and Jock McKeen. The psychological, emotional, physiological and interpersonal issues are powerfully documented with personal and clinical observations provided by the authors. Throughout this account, the reader is constantly reminded of the insidious conspiracy of silence that shrouds the activities of the cult and continues to threaten those who know the "secret." In making recommendations to practitioners, the authors stress the importance of establishing a "personal" relationship with the client in which honest, caring, warmth and love can be nurtured to replace the soul-chilling encounters of abuse. In her own response to the account of the authors, the young woman herself underscores this point. Her comments on her own experience of dealing with professionals offer a unique and profound gift for those of us who are ready to hear and accept the challenge.

In the next article, Pamela Hudson provides an authoritative wide-angle perspective. Based upon clinical experience and the results of her own survey, the author identifies and discusses the most frequently reported symptoms and allegations surrounding ritual child abuse. Beyond the grisly nature of the content, this seasoned practitioner offers a wealth of insight for those who wish to know about satanic practices and better understand the terrifying experiences of children caught up in this vicious network.

Satanic ritual abuse has been identified within the etiology of multiple personality disorder (MPD). Drawing directly from case material, George Fraser offers compelling clinical evidence of how such childhood experiences may lead to dissociation and personality disintegration. In his conclusions Dr. Fraser raises the interesting, though horrifying, possibility that Multiple Personality Disorder may actually contribute to the abuse cycle as individuals become perpetrators without the knowledge of their" primary" personality.

The article by Louise Edwards offers one of the most informative and definitive analyses available on the topic of ritual abuse. The writing of this paper commenced in 1981 and was revised constantly over a seven-year period in the light of the author�s experience and insights. The result is a piece of work that, in our opinion, should be read by all practitioners � even if they choose to avoid the rest of the literature. At the very least, all those who work with abused children and adults should be able to differentiate between the symptomology of sexual assault and ritual assault. Then, if they wish, cases that fall into the second category may be referred on to therapists specializing in that area.

As the horrors of satanic ritual abuse become more widely known, people begin to ask the question: "How can anybody be drawn into committing such hideous atrocities?" While it is true that many of the abused take their place as abusers, the cults do manage to attract new members. The final piece in this special issue of the Journal of Child and Youth Care attempts, in part, to address this matter. Based upon an actual case study, the author has taken some liberties in putting his own words around the events and images supplied by the subject of the "story." The intent of taking this license was to illuminate, rather than dramatize or distort the material.

Gerry Fewster is Executive Director of William Roper Hull Child and Family Services, Calgary, Canada. He is Adjunct Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Calgary and Editor, Journal of Child and Youth Care. Dr. Fewster has been involved in children�s services at many different levels for over thirty years and has contributed widely as a writer, facilitator and speaker. His latest book, �Being� in Child Care has just been released by Haworth Press, New York.