Therapeutic and other hoaxes
10 current hoaxes -- At least, we think
they are hoaxes.
Only time will really tell.
Some of the belief and therapy systems that we suspect to be hoaxes (or partial hoaxes) are listed
below. Please read our disclaimer before going
- Satanic Ritual Abuse: (SRA) A book, Michelle
Remembers triggered a full-fledged Satanic panic in 1980. It and subsequent books of
its genre have been shown to be hoaxes. But that did not slow down the growth of a public
belief that tens of thousands of infants were being kidnapped yearly, ritually killed and
sometimes eaten by evil, Satanic cults every year. Over 90% of the adult population of at
least one state believed that SRA is real and widespread. SRA appears to be an unfounded
panic which started to wind down in the 1990s. The hoax is still being promoted by some radical
feminist and some conservative Christian groups in spite of a complete absence of hard
- Ritual Abuse in Day Care Centers: This
panic started in Bakersfield CA, spread to the McMartin Preschool in Manhattan Beach, CA,
and then expanded across North America, Europe and Australia. Improper child interview
techniques used by therapists and investigators resulted in memories of horrific ritual
abuse being implanted in the minds of young children.
According to an episode of the Turning
Point program: "Since 1980, in over 40 [US]
communities, some 200 people have been accused of these crimes... Today, 141 people, --
nearly three quarters of the accused in these cases -- have been acquitted, had their
convictions overturned or charges against them dropped." 1 Unfortunately, there
are thousands of children, many now teenagers or young adults who remain disabled by
memories of horrendous abuse that never happened. Also, the falsely accused
adults are never found to be innocent. At best, it is determined that a
conclusive case cannot be made against them.
- Mind Control Cults: The Counter-Cult
Movement (CCM) started in the early 1970's. The "mind-control"
faction within the CCM spread the belief that new religious movements were entrapping
young people, and using mind control methods to reduce them to virtual slaves without
free-will. A few mass murders by a small number of destructive
cults were described as mass-suicides, and further convinced the public that new
religious groups were a major social threat. Some conservative Christian groups have
started a "doctrinal purity" faction within the CCM. They have monopolized on
the public's fear and hatred of cults, and directed it against small benign faith groups.
The latter's sole "crime" is that they have deviated in some way from
traditional Christian doctrine. The mind-control faction within the CCM seems to be in
rapid decline, hastened by some criminal convictions. However, the "doctrinal
purity" component of the CCM seems to be growing, particularly
- Recovered Memory Therapy: (RMT) A split has
appeared between therapists and mind researchers. Some therapists believe that memories of
sexual abuse during childhood can be repressed, and later recovered through special
therapeutic techniques, like hypnotism, guided imagery, dream analysis etc. Professional organizations have realized that recovered memories
can often be false - memories of events that never happened. They urged caution.
However tens or perhaps hundreds of thousands of clients became convinced that they had
been sexually abused as children. Many destroyed their families of origin with
accusations. This hoax appears to have peaked and is now in rapid decline. Many
ex-patients are suing their former therapists for damages and winning massive settlements.
This hoax has left a major trail of devastated individuals and families.
- Abuse in Former Lifetimes: Some therapists age-regress their patients
using hypnosis, guided imagery and other recovered memory techniques to take them back in
to childhood, into the womb, and thence into a previous lifetime. Abuse during a previous
reincarnation is believed to be the cause of emotional problems among adults in their
present lives. Therapists who believe in past life regression appear to be quite
successful in finding abuse memories in their patients. This is a form of recovered memory
therapy. It is usually not as devastating to the patient as recovered memories of
childhood abuse, because the alleged perpetrators from a former lifetime are probably not
alive and thus cannot be accused.
- End of the World Scenarios: The
Research Institute of Rhinebeck, NY predicted that 1998 would be a year in which Millennium
Fever would catch on across the world and the prophecy business will boom.
They were correct. Many people
predicting that the end of the world would come at or around the end of the millennium,
which they incorrectly dated as 1999-DEC-31. The correct date for the end of
the millennium was 2000-DEC-31. They expected that Jesus would return and engage in the war of Armageddon, 2
or ETs will attack us from outer space, 3 or great natural
disasters will occur that will cause massive devastation. 4
The same fever materialized as the year 1000 CE approached.
However, because of the low educational level at that time, the panic was
quite muted. Still, it generated a
backlash against heretics and other religious non-conformists. We did not
detect any increase in the number of attacks on small religious groups at the
start of the new
millennium. By the time that 3000 CE rolls around, perhaps people will finally catch on
that years that end in three zeros are not otherwise special.
- Crop Circles: People have been observing patterns of trampled wheat and
other crops in farmers' fields in 70 countries around the world since they
first appeared in England during the late 1970's. Some have been shown to be hoaxes
generated by individuals sneaking into a field, drawing some geometric shape, and
systematically trampling down the stalks. Some believers have concluded that the
"circles" are caused by natural phenomenon - some special wind activity. But the
precision of the shapes would seem to eliminate this as a possibility. A whole industry
has sprung up to publicize the un-human origin of these strange shapes.
The Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal in Amherst, NY
has been studying crop circles since about 1985. Spokesperson Joe Nickell has
concluded that they are made by humans, and that they appeal to our sense of mystery, hope, and fear. "In those three words, you explain the human interest in most of the paranormal phenomenon. Crop circles are mysterious to people. If they are made by aliens, that's a hopeful message. And there's fear because we're not sure what the aliens are up to." Michael Shermer, author of
Why People Believe Weird Things, has said that the fascination with
circles "really is a religious belief. It's the promise of something transcendent, bigger than us, beyond us."
M. Night Shyamalan is the writer and director of the movie "Signs,"
which opened at North American movie screens in mid 2002-AUG. He is skeptical
about the circles, but is "hopeful they'll be proven true. I like believing in things and possibilities of things--so tantalizing."
- Abuse by LGM (Little Green Men) on board UFOs: Some therapists believe
that abuse on board UFOs is a widespread phenomenon. They frequently use recovered memory
techniques to uncover repressed abuse "memories" in their clients. They remember
rising from bed, passing through walls, and elevated to a UFO where they are poked and
prodded in some form of medical experiment. Some believe that implants are inserted into
their bodies. One California therapist found such memories in about 75 of his patients.
- UFO visitations: True believers in UFO visitations have convinced a
large percentage of the population that extra-terrestrial visitors have been visiting
Earth for decades. Hard evidence has not really surfaced yet. A lot of creative, fake
- Mind Control Experiments by Federal Governments: Decades ago, the CIA
performed a series of mind control experiments using various drugs, electrical shock
treatments, etc. One goal was to produce an assassin who would kill on command. The
studies were unsuccessful and were abandoned. But individuals and groups spread the belief
that these experiments continue. They believe that people are being remotely controlled by
microwave energy beams. Others are being mentally programmed to perform specific functions
when triggered by a sound, image, color, etc. Still others are being tortured by rays
transmitted from overhead spy planes. "...using the science of "bio-medical
telemetry," [their] brainwaves are instantly analyzed by computer, revealing the
person's thoughts and feelings...the brainwaves are then messed up and sent back to
overpower the original ones, totally consternating the victim as he tries to be himself
through the overlaid intrusion." 7 Their beliefs
sound most improbable for three reasons: the cost of this type of program would be
prohibitive; the technology to influence people in these ways did not exist
at the time and still does not exist; electronic
monitoring instrumentation, to our knowledge, has never detected any energy beams.
The following information sources were used to prepare the above
essay in 1997 and update it more recently. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
Point program of 1996-NOV-15, ABC-TV
- Rapture Ready anticipates the imminent arrival of Christ and the end of the
world as we know it. See: http://www.novia.net/~todd/
- "Alien Warns of Invasion From Space!," http://www.brotherblue.org/
- Potential Signs of Nostradamus' Millennium, http://www.dreamscape.com/
- S. Virato, "CROP CIRCLES
they are real! An Interview With Collette M.
Dowell" at: http://www.newfrontier.com/
- "Alien Abduction: Experience and Research," at: http://abduct.com/
- Edmund J. Light, "MCF Victims:" at the Mind Control Forum.
Copyright © 1997 to 2009 by Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Written on: 1997-SEP-05
Latest update: 2009-DEC-08
Author: B.A. Robinson