Frequently Asked Questions
Part 1. Ritual Abuse
- What is a ritual?
- What is ritual abuse? (broad definition)
- What is ritual abuse? (narrow definition)
- What ideologies are used to justify ritual abuse?
- Who perpetrates ritual abuse?
- What kinds of abuse occur?
- What are the main “holidays&rsduo; when ritual abuse occurs?
- Why do so few people believe ritual abuse survivors?
- Are there any laws against ritual abuse?
- With these laws, why aren’t there more convictions?
- What are the symptoms of ritual abuse in children and adults?
- Could you say something about recovery from ritual abuse?
- Do you have any advice for other survivors trying to heal?
- How can I be sure my memories are of real events?
Part 2. Multiplicity
- What is dissociation?
- What causes dissociation?
- What is a flashback?
- What is multiplicity?
- What is an alter?
- What is co-consciousness?
- What is integration?
Part 3. Mind Control
- What is mind control?
- What is programming?
- Why would anybody want to control another’s mind?
- Who practices mind control?
- Has this been documented?
- How many people are controlled in this way?
- How is multiplicity used?
- What are triggers and cues?
- What is a screen memory?
- Are there different systems in use?
- What are some programming techniques?
- Can people be controlled mechanically?
- How do you “deprogram” somebody who has been programmed?
- Is it necessary to integrate all alters to be deprogrammed?
- Is it possible to live a “normal” life after having been programmed?
Part 1. Ritual Abuse
A ritual is an action that has symbolic meaning. It may be private, like taking a good luck charm to an exam, or public (socially shared), like saluting the flag.
Rituals may be reserved for rare occasions such as births, unions, deaths, changes of social status or may be used daily; saying grace or gesundheit,for example, or kissing a child goodnight.
Ritual abuse is the abuse of a child, weaker adult, or animal in a ritual setting or manner. In a broad sense, some of our overtly or covertly socially sanctioned actions can be seen as ritual abuse, such as military basic training, hazing, racism, spanking children, and partner-battering. Some abuse is private and some public. Public ritual abuse may be either open or secret.
The term ritual abuse is generally used to mean prolonged, extreme, sadistic abuse, especially of children, within a group setting. The group’s ideology is used to justify the abuse, and abuse is used to teach the group’s ideology. The activities are kept secret from society at large, as they violate norms and laws.
Any ideology can be twisted or adapted to abusive ends. In the United States, Canada, and Europe, people have reported being ritually abused under the banner of satanism, Christianity, various pagan and pantheistic belief systems, white supremacy movements, nazism, Santeria, voodoo, etc. At the present time, satanism is either the most common ideology under which ritual abuse is practiced, or it is receiving the most attention.
Ritual abuse is perpetrated by men and women from all walks of life and geographical areas, both rural and urban. The percent of the population that perpetrates or that is victimized is unknown.
Perpetrators have been classified as:
- Family or Transgenerational: Adults, who were abused as children, in turn abuse and indoctrinate their own children. The tradition can go back for generations.
- Extra-familiar: Adults abuse non-related children. Children can be accessed at day care, schools, church, or through social groups.
- Ad hoc groups: Adults, who may or may not have had abusive childhoods, come together and form a new group with its own ideology and rituals. Teens are thought to comprise many such ad hoc groups.
Physical, emotional, sexual, and spiritual abuse can all occur. Physical abuse can occur as beatings, electroshock, torture, confinement, and/or forced ingestion of drugs, blood, and feces. Emotional abuse involves trickery, deceit, and blaming the victim. Sadistic sex with children and non-consenting adults and forced perpetration of sexual abuse are forms that sexual abuse can take. Spiritual abuse can manifest itself as reversal of good and evil, a destruction-based morality, and the denial of freedom of thought.
Please remember that abusive groups steal, pervert and mock the holidays of legitimate religions. This does not mean that all people who observe these holidays are abusive.
Pagans, in particular, are subject to prejudice, and it is important to realize that the vast majority of modern pagans are loving and non-abusive. It is not their fault that abusive groups choose to defile their sacred days.
In Christian cultures, abusive groups pervert the major Christian holidays – Christmas, Lent, Easter, etc. The Jewish holidays may also be observed in an abusive manner, especially by neo-nazi groups..
Similarly, the pre-Christian pagan holidays have been stolen and perverted. Abusive groups originating in northern and western Europe observe the winter and summer solstice (12/21 and 6/21) and the spring and fall equinox (3/21 and 9/21). A major holiday falls between each solstice and equinox. They are: Candlemas (2/2), Beltane (5/1), Lammas (8/2) and Samhain, or Halloween (10/31). The full moon is often observed as well.
(The solstices and equinoxes do not always fall exactly on the 21st of the month. Some holidays, especially Beltane and Samhain, are often observed for more than one day.)
Many groups blend traditions. Santeria and Palo Mayombe are a blend of African traditions and Catholicism. Satanism is a blend of paganism and Christian traditions. Groups with blended traditions often celebrate two or three sets of holidays
In addition, secular holidays, such as members’ birthdays, Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, and Independence Day (in the United States) are often marked.
Some groups mark dates that are symbolically significant to that particular group, such as a leader’s birthday, the anniversary of some achievement, or a particular year with numerical significance to the group. There is a fair amount of variation among similar groups.
First, abusive groups have a very large stake in remaining undetected, and they keep their secrets well. Second, abusive groups terrorize their victims into silence. And third, society as a whole does not want to believe that its norms and laws have been so blatantly and extremely violated, so society turns its back in denial.
In all States and Canadian provinces, there are laws against particular physical acts committed during ritual abuse. These include murder, rape, sexual contact with children, kidnapping, assault and battery, cruelty to animals, vandalism, and defilement of corpses. Other countries have laws against most, if not all, of these actions. In some States, additional penalties can be imposed if it can be proved that the criminal act was motivated by hate of a particular group.
Ritual abuse can also lead to secondary crimes, such as income tax evasion,
crossing state boundaries to commit a crime, using the mail to commit a crime, money laundering,
prostitution, pimping and pandering, creation, distribution and possession
of child pornography, selling and possession of illegal drugs, and conspiracy
to commit crimes.
In addition, some states have passed laws against the ritual abuse of children,
specifying particular acts or simulations of acts that are common in ritual abuse.
They are written in such a way that no group’s freedom of religion is attacked.
WITH THESE LAWS, WHY AREN’T THERE MORE CONVICTIONS?
The problem is not one of lack of laws; it is one of credibility. Police and prosecutors often believe that these cases cannot be successfully prosecuted, because juries will discount all evidence once any testimony about religion, ideology, or conspiracy has been introduced. In fact, many juries have found defendants not guilty on the basis of witnesses not being “credible.”
Many people believe that there have been no convictions for abuse involving rituals This is not true: convictions have been obtained in many states (OR, NC, TX, NV, FL, IA, NJ) and countries other than the United States. Statements that no convictions have been obtained, or that convictions are based on hysteria and a“witch hunt mentality”are disinformation tactics.
Most symptoms are non-specific to ritual abuse. Trauma is trauma, and physical and sexual abuse are physical and sexual abuse. Because the abuse is so severe, however, the symptoms may be especially severe and recalcitrant.
Symptoms that are suggestive of ritual abuse include either a fascination with or a phobia of objects, events, or symbols specific to ritual abuse and not generally encountered in other types of physical and sexual abuse. Examples of symbols include crosses, crucifixes, pentagrams (stars), eyes, “magick” and “occult” symbols, certain numbers, and certain colors. Objects provoking fascination or phobia can include blood, knives, electricity, coffins, dolls, babies, and certain animals.
Events similar to abusive events may also provoke extreme reactions. These include the holidays observed by the cult, medical and dental procedures, and childbirth or abortion.
Recovery and healing requires living with the past in a different way, examining the relationship with extreme evil, the concepts of free will and coercion, the structure of the mind, the nature of connectedness with life and with other humans. Goals would be to increase knowledge of the past and of our internal structure, increased flexibility of thought, and increased control over our own behavior.
Many ritual abuse survivors passionately declare that they have an individual path that they must follow. Others are able to grasp the guidance of religion, twelve-step movements, or therapy and to adopt these concepts as their own. Every person's path is unique, just as every person is unique.
In general, there are several factors that aid in living with the reality of this extreme kind of abuse. First is a willingness, conscious or unconscious, to break the ties that bind us to violence. Second is the strength and luck to get away physically. And then there are qualities, such as soul, or love, or guiding spirit, that are hard to define but which shape our stance to ourselves and to the world.
Trust yourself, whether you think you matter or not. Learn all you can, at your own pace. Discard ideas and people that feel demeaning or violent. Try and remember that, given your past experiences, every day that you do not kill, rape, or maim another person (and that includes yourself!) or an animal is a triumph. And your triumph, added to others, is the only hope we have of stopping the carnage.
If you have outside confirmation, like photographs or somebody else’s diary, or if another survivor independently remembers the same event, you can be pretty sure the events actually happened. It’s harder to decide without outside evidence.
What you remember is a terrified child’s best guess at what was happening at the time. The accuracy of your assessment of the situation at the time depended on how frightened you were, how old you were, how drugged, how deeply hypnotized, how sleep deprived. It also depended on whether the perpetrators were trying to trick you and how skillful they were at deception.
While any one particular feature of a memory may not be historically accurate, you would not be having ritual abuse memories unless something really did happen to you. Non-abused people do not have flashbacks or memories of ritual abuse events. They may have a nightmare after a horror film, or an image they read about or saw may haunt them for a while, but they do not suffer from persistent images with ritual abuse content.
Part 2. Dissociation and Multiplicity
Dissociation means the separation of things that were, or usually are, together (e.g., associated). In their minds, people usually remember a whole event, including sights, sounds, feelings, and meaning. When dissociation occurs, the remembered event may be devoid of meaning or feelings, which are separated and stored in another part of the mind. In other words, the different parts of the memory are recalled separately, not as a congruent whole.
Strictly speaking, dissociation is a mental process, a way of recording and storing information. It is one of the mind’s ways of operating. Some information may be dissociated, while other information is stored as a whole.
Sometimes you hear “So-and-so is dissociated.”This is shorthand for saying that their mind uses dissociation. A person is always a whole person regardless of how their mind works. Nobody stores their feet in one place, their nose in another, and their mind someplace else, even though some days it may feel that way.
Dissociation occurs when a person experiences extreme stress or stimulation. Under these conditions, life is experienced differently, and the memory of an event is stored differently in the mind. Research suggests that the brain operates differently when experiencing or recalling stressful and non-stressful events.
Here is an example that many people may be able to relate to.
"I remember skidding badly on an icy street. As the car skidded, colors seemed brighter and time passed very slowly, I was enveloped in total silence even though the radio was on and I experienced no thoughts or feelings whatsoever. I was aware of only the visual part of this experience as it happened. Later, the emotions hit. I was so frightened that my heart pounded and my legs shook, but I could no longer call up the visual memory."
When a child is severely abused, extreme stress occurs repeatedly. Many events are experienced in a state of shock, stored in a dissociative state, and recalled in fragments.
If a child dissociates extensively, even memories of less stressful events can be dissociated. Perhaps the child is still in shock, perhaps the child’s sensitivity to stress is raised, perhaps the mind comes to store all material in a familiar way.
There are innate temperamental differences between people. Some people probably dissociate more easily than others or require less stress to change over into dissociative mode.
A flashback is a dissociated memory that returns to consciousness. It can be a smell, a taste, a sound, a picture, an emotion, or all these things together. It can last a moment, or linger on for weeks.
People describe smelling alcohol or perfume when none is present, hearing a phrase over and over again in their heads, feeling panic or dread for no logical reason, or seeing pictures, like snapshots or movies behind their eyes. All these are fragmented memories rising up into consciousness. They can be extremely vivid and can appear to be happening in the present. The more fragments come together at the same time, the more intense the flashback.
Flashbacks are terrifying if you don’t know what they are, and if you don’t realize they will eventually stop. Experiencing flashbacks doesn’t mean you are going crazy – it means that you are at a point in your life when you are able to deal with things that you couldn’t cope with earlier. They tend to lose their intensity when you have assembled the fragments into a coherent memory, talked about it, cried about it, and absorbed the memory into your life.
In some children, the mental fragments are organized or arranged into personalitie which seem to have a history and a life of their own. Often the personalities are so separated that they are not aware of each other's existence. This is called an amnestic barrier.
Imagine a child with a mother who is loving one moment and cruel and sadistic the next. The child will obviously react differently, depending on the mother’s mood. The child will learn different ways of responding to the “good” mother and the “bad” mother. All children do this, to some extent, because no adult is perfectly consistent.
Now imagine that the child is so stressed out that memories of interactions with the “bad” mother are dissociated. When the “good” mother is around, the child has no knowledge of the “bad” mother, or of the “bad” child. But as soon as the mother turns nasty, the child switches, and knows exactly how to react. That’s multiplicity.
An alter is one personality of a person with multiplicity. The personality who is out most of the time is often called the host personality, and personalities seen less frequently are called alternative personalities, or alters. Some people have only one or two alters, others have hundreds or even thousands.
Some people with multiplicity experience each alter as a separate person. Others experience them as different from their usual self, but not as different people. Multiplicity is not exactly the same from person to person and each person’s experience of their inner reality is unique.
Often alters have names, have a distinct age, and have specific jobs to do. One may be in charge of feeling anger, another of going to school or work, another may be the one who decides which alter gets to be in control of the body at any given time. Alters may have a different gender from the body or a different sexual orientation from the host. There may even be alters who are animals, objects, or abstract ideas. Sometimes people have alters who are experienced as being dead or immortal.
The formation of alters is a natural psychological process, given extreme early childhood stress. Abusive adults who are aware of the process can manipulate and train the emerging personalities to their own ends. Some survivors of ritual abuse have alters trained by their abusers to do certain tasks and to behave in ways desired by the abusers. And some survivors have alters organized in elaborate patterns designed by the perpetrators, with strict rules about how the alters communicate with each other.
When two or more alters are aware of what is happening in the present, they are said to be co-conscious. When two or more alters share control over the body’s actions, they are said to be co-present.
A person may have alters who are unaware of each other, alters who are always mutually aware of each other, and alters who are aware at some times but not others. Alters who are aware of the presence of other personalities know they are multiple, while alters who aren’t in contact with other personalities firmly believe they are “the only one there.” An alter may even be multiple.
Integration is used to describe two different processes. One is the process of alters learning to communicate and cooperate and sharing their memories with each other. The other sense of the word is the actual merging (or fusion) of two or more alters to become one. Nothing is lost: all memories, talents, and personality traits are preserved, but organized in a different way. One survivor described integration as “falling in love with myself” rather than as the death of part of herself, as she had feared.
Some people do not fuse and find that their lives are perfectly satisfactory as long as their alters are communicating well. Others fuse partially, reducing the number of alters. Most people with many alters do this in stages, allowing for time for the system to stabilize and get used to the new internal organization. Some people “become one” for a period of time, and then either new alters are formed to deal with new life circumstances, or the former alters split off and become themselves again.
Living with being multiple is an on-going process, just like living with not being multiple is. There are choices to be made, decisions that make life easier or harder. There is no hard and fast rule about what the “best” way is – each person’s path in life is unique.
Part 3. Mind Control
Mind control, like ritual abuse, has both a broad and narrow definition. In a sense, all advertising is an attempt at mind control, an attempt to make people buy certain brands or objects. Propaganda (my country is right and good and the other country is wrong and bad) is also an example of attempted mind control.
In the survivor community, however, the definition is much narrower and more sinister. It means that part of a person’s mind has been programmed (that is, trained) to obey another person without question, while other parts of the mind are unaware of this situation.
Programming refers both to the process of teaching part of the mind unquestioned obedience and to the content of what is taught. Thus you can say that a person has been programmed to suicide under certain conditions, or you can talk about a suicide program that is triggered (activated) by certain words or conditions.
The word programming has a heaviness to it, an aura of machine-like inevitability. It is helpful to remember that programming is something that is done to a human being by another human being, for a specific reason, using certain time-tested techniques, at a certain time and place. If you think of programming as training, some of the heaviness and mystery lifts.
A person who is programmed, but unaware of this fact, can be made to do many dangerous or illegal things. Such people make perfect spies, for example, because they are unable to reveal their mission if captured. They simply don’t know what they did, or were supposed to do, and cannot give any information. They would also make good assassins, drug runners, money launderers, sexual slaves for prostitution, pornography, or blackmail, etc. – anything that requires secrecy.
Many cults that practice ritual abuse use mind control, in that their members are not aware, most of the time, that they are participating in the cult or in abusive acts or ceremonies. Governments also have experimented extensively with mind control, primarily through federally funded intelligence agencies and military research projects.
Government involvement has been documented in Nazi Germany, Canada, and the United States. Some US documents, all of which were originally classified, have been declassified. Some papers were published in academic journals, and some private correspondence has become public. And of course, there is also the testimony of survivors who have become conscious of what was done to them. Due to the absence of access to mainstream publishing companies, self-published books are a valuable source of information. (Members of the military who were subjected to mind control experimentation and procedures are legally bound to secrecy.)
There is no parallel documentation for the use of mind control in cults, since cults do not keep records the way governments do. If there is a cult paper trail, it has not yet come to light. But we can surmise from ritual abuse survivors’ accounts and behaviors that mind control is widely used in abusive cults and that the cults and government network to perfect techniques.
It is impossible to say, because many are totally unaware that they have been programmed and are being used. There is no central registry of survivors who remember, and the powers that be seem to have much more interest in hushing up the situation than in doing sound research. The testimony of fifty-two adult survivors of CIA mind control experimentation on children is on record through the Presidential Advisory Committee on Radiation Experiments. An estimate of two million individuals in the U.S.A. was made in 1997 by a therapist who has been working with mind control victims for over fifteen years.
People who say they are mind-control survivors can be found in every continent. Currently, more people are coming forward as survivors in the United States of America, Canada, certain European countries, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa than elsewhere. It is starting to appear that survivors are clustered more densely in certain parts of a country than others and some locations appear to be centers for mind control activity (e.g. near military bases and research centers).
It is easy to imagine that one alter could be programmed to do a certain task and other alters kept unaware of the programming or of the existence of the programmed alter. Different alters can be programmed in different ways, either for different jobs or as a back-up. Multiplicity, dissociation, and amnesia are key elements of mind control.
Not all people who have been programmed act like multiples. Some do not even suspect that have alters. In the absence of an order, cue, or trigger from a superior, they may lead perfectly ordinary lives.
Triggers are situations, actions, or words that bring a memory or feeling to consciousness or which activate a program. They are catalysts, so to speak. Some common devices used to activate programs are telephone calls, letters or greeting cards, and meaning-laden objects sent as “gifts.”
The word trigger is used in a very broad sense, and may mean anything from following a command after seeing a hand signal to having a flashback after a dental procedure to getting upset when a friend, co-worker, or supervisor is rude or thoughtless. For clarity, it is a good idea to always specific exactly what was triggered (program, action, emotion, memory, etc.)
The word cue is usually used more narrowly and refers specifically to a trigger that activates a program, although it too is starting to be used in a broader sense. Both trigger and cue can be either nouns or verbs.
For many years, screen memory meant a sensory memory fragment that carried the emotion of the entire event. Thus a child who was staring down while being scolded might later only remember his or her shoes, along with a vivid sense of shame and anger. Or a whiff of cinnamon might evoke all the feelings of watching grandmother cook.
In mind control terms, and more increasingly in general usage, a screen memory is a memory that hides, or screens, another memory. The screen memory may be of a real event or may be implanted by the programmer through hypnosis, staged scenes with appropriate costumes and props, movies, cartoons, or “virtual reality.” Some people believe that memories of past lives, satanic ritual abuse, and alien aductions are examples of screen memories. The screen memory is designed to provoke disbelief and serves to protect a programming session or medical or psychological experiment.
Yes. Alters may be taught to group themselves in different patterns at different times, or two or more groups of alters may be used to form different patterns. “Back-up” programs are common, and much redundancy is built in. Alters may be programmed to self-replicate, or may be created by other alters. Not all alters have names; some are numbered, some exist only as fragments. Traditional methods of working with multiplicity are not always successful at recognizing the un-named alter systems.
Sometimes many alters are created and arranged in elaborate hierarchical patterns. There are people whose systems resemble a medieval feudal village, with nobility, peons, knights, and scribes. Other patterns resemble a corporate structure, with a CEO and council of advisors guiding the operation of different departments. Some patterns are more abstract and may resemble an occult symbol, like the pentagram or the Tree of Life, a geometric form, mathematical formula, the double helix of DNA, a computer program, or an elaborate video game.
Comparisons to computer programming such as UNIX are sometimes found among mind control victims. There is a linear progression with on/off in/out switching that deflects the efforts of therapists to grasp the entirety of the alter systems. It would be useful to become familiar with a basic understanding of computer programming.
Any technique which induces a deep trance can be used. In practical terms, this usually means torture, extreme pain, sexual arousal, drugs, and/or electroshock. Also deprivation of sleep, food, and water, extremes of temperatures, loud noise, or strobing lights. Techniques of interrogation of prisoners of war are used: both torture techniques and psychological ones, including induction of helplessness and hopelessness, trickery and deceit, sudden role reversals (the good cop/bad cop technique). None of the methods are humane.
There is plenty of documentation that government-sponsored research has been done on mechanical methods of mind control. Experiments have been done on control of emotion and behavior by electrodes implanted in the brains of humans as well as animals. Commercially available implantable microchips allow the tracking of pets, and, by extension, people. Experiments consisting of giving unsuspecting people LSD or other psychoactive drugs have been done and there is literature on using microwaves to eavesdrop or send messages to people from a distance.
Forcing another belief system on somebody who has been programmed is not really “deprogramming.” It is further programming. True “deprogramming” involves consent, respect, patience, creativity, and kindness. Within this framework, there is a reconstructive and a technical approach. These approaches may be blended together judiciously.
A. Reconstructive: Giving alters more knowledge
A humane and effective approach involves broadening alters’ knowledge of both the past and the outside world. You can “talk through” to hidden alters by saying, “Those listening inside are welcome to repeat this to others who aren’t here right now. No questions are going to be asked, and if someone doesn’t want to listen, they don’t have to,” and then describing the present in simple terms. Describe flashbacks, explain dissociation, describe the kinds of food in the refrigerator, describe day-to-day activities, explain what a choice is, and demonstrate making choices in every-day life.
Basically, you are educating alters about the rules of a world they have never known. Gradually, their interest may be sparked and they may grow enough to choose, on their own, to act differently. It’s important, though, not to get into an argument but simply to offer more knowledge and options.
Remembering or reliving the past is also effective. If all alters involved can remember and share among themselves what it was like to be programmed, including the sensations and emotions, lasting change can take place. When they see exactly what was done, by what means, by whom, the compulsion to follow the program will make sense. “Aha! That’s how they did it” The mystery is gone, and the hold of the program is lessened.
Once a programming session is remembered and worked through, physical symptoms can disappear, emotions are redirected more appropriately, and the person can consciously choose whether or not to follow instructions rather than having to blindly obey, not knowing why. It is important to remember that this re-learning is a continual process that has to be repeated over and over again as new alter systems gain enough trust to come forward and display or disclose their experiences.
B. Technical: Modifying the program
Here one leaves the structure alone and assigns the alters a new or modified job. For example, an alter whose job is to answer the phone and get instructions may be re-programmed to answer only after fifty rings. Nothing really changes, but such a temporary measure can be very useful.
If you think in terms of computers, the internal “programmer” alter can be asked to de-activate programs, to de-install them, erase them, or put them in the trash. This can be tricky; some programs are designed to recreate themselves if they are erased and erasing a program can have unforeseen consequences. You don’t want to erase a suicide program, for example, if erasing the suicide program is the access cue to activate a homicide program!
No. Integration and deprogramming are two separate processes. Integration is the blending together of two or more alters. Deprogramming is simply learning more: learning that you were programmed, how you were programmed, that not everybody in the world has been programmed, that you don’t have to act on programming. It’s learning to make choices, learning what freedom is. Of course, somebody may use that freedom to integrate, if they wish, but they may also use it to try a different flavor of ice cream for the first time, write a book, do all sorts of things that many people take for granted.
Well, being programmed is not normal. It’s a series of deliberately executed painful experiences involving forms of torture and coercion that were forced upon you without your consent or knowledge. Each human being is unique with different life experiences, and you will define “normal” according to your evolving sense of healing and regained control over your life. It is perfectly possible to live a satisfying, even a happy life, and to be content with quite ordinary circumstances and activities.
You can live without losing time, without being involved in events you
want no part of, without being somebody’s puppet. You can chose to be an
activist or to raise sheep in some remote place. You can have strong and
weak points, satisfactions and disappointments, just like everybody else.
But you will always know that your past has included something which, fortunately,
does not happen to most people. You will be a survivor, healed and healing,
all your life.