|Satanic Ritual Abuse: A Second Look
By Gregory R. Reid
In the last ten years, the issue of Satanic ritual abuse has
gone from being what some investigators called "the crime
of the decade" to being the butt of every media joke and
the target of Christian "investigative journalists".
The reasons for this turnaround, and whether it's safe to
breathe easily knowing it was all "Satanic panic" and
doesn't really exist, warrants serious consideration. If it
doesn't exist, then obviously it was much ado about nothing.
Certainly several major Christian ministries, journalists and
publications have stuck their neck out on that assumption.
However, if Satanic ritual abuse does in fact exist, no matter
to what degree, then we have a responsibility to find out the
truth of the matter. That, of course, is easier said than
done. The "investigative report" on Mike Warnke,
as well as subsequent articles seeking to "debunk"
ritual abuse stories, devastated people and ministries and
caused thousands of alleged survivors and cult victims to
retreat, doubt, bleed. Certainly Mike Warnke's situation
warranted correction. One seriously doubts that it was handled
in a Biblical, Christ-like way. They authors claimed to have
wanted to expose it to the church before the secular press go
hold of the facts. Then, they went and leaked it to the secular
press. Would Christ, or even Paul, spend or sanction spending
multiple thousands of dollars investigating, then publicly
exposing a Christian brother without warning? "I rejoice,
that whether in pretense or sincerity, Christ is preached."
That would be, and was, Paul's stand. None of these
"investigators" or magazines that published them gave
any thought to the damage it would do to the scores of kids
Warnke brought to Christ. Lauren Stratford, author of the best -
seller Satan's Underground, in other "investigative
reports", was drawn, quartered, and crucified unmercifully
without any opportunity to defend herself . For the record,
despite the humiliation and ridicule, Ms. Stratford*
is alive and well, and reaching out to scores of survivors in
the name of Jesus. In addition, Satan's Underground, (picked up
by another publisher after Harvest House pulled it in hopes of
ending the controversy it created) is still available and
selling well, as well as her other two subsequent books that
deliver a message of hope and encouragement to survivors. And,
despite reports to the contrary, she has not recanted one word
of her testimony as written in Satan's Underground. It should be
noted that 99% of Ms. Stratford's allegations are based on real
experiences and not "recovered memories." These
Christian denials of Satanic ritual abuse, set forth in numerous
writings by such notables as Bob and Gretchen Passantino, Jon
Trott from Cornerstone Magazine, and Christian Research
Institute, paralleled in time, sources and theories the secular
world's move to disprove ritual abuse. In fact, the same sources
are repeatedly used: The False Memory Syndrome Foundation (whose
founders were accused of abuse by their own daughter who is a
respected academic who stands by her claims and never spoke
about her parents until they publicly tried to discredit her):
Special Agent Kenneth V. Lanning of the F.B.I. , who claims he
has never seen any evidence of ritual crime; and Ralph
Underwager, a paid court "expert" who says children
always lie about abuse (and who is on public record as
supporting the pedophile's God-given right to find an expression
for their attraction to children). Because of the caliber of the
experts quoted, nearly the entire Christian community accepted
their expertise - without reservation, without discrimination,
without question. In the aftermath of this pendulum swing, there
has not been one fair, factual hearing of the evidence published
in the Christian press. This article is an attempt to rectify
that imbalance - on behalf of the victims. Because, in the end,
that is what is at issue: What about the victims? In order to
take this second look, certain untruths need to be undone,
untruths that have been assumed to be right but never properly
supported by facts.
UNTRUTH: There is no evidence of ritual abuse.
TRUTH: There are multiple thousands of victims of
ritual abuse. Among those thousands, there are multiple hundreds
of children who have been fully examined and have documentation
of the sexual abuse they allege, as well as volumes of
therapeutic evaluations and case files detailing the most
graphic, horrific, ugly, frightening abuse anyone could imagine,
except, perhaps, the adult survivors, whose allegations fairly
duplicate to the detail the children's stories. These details,
incidentally, are so intricate and "adult", that it is
insanity to suggest the children "got it from watching too
much TV" Not even Stephen King could contrive details this
sickening. Those who suggest these children "made it
up" show their ignorance of the incapability of children to
make up such exacting details, nor can they explain why in most
cases there is corresponding, medically documented proof of
sexual violation. Few if any of them have even bothered to read
these evaluations or talk to a single child. Regardless, even
many of those who may find it difficult to believe that such
horrible ritual abuse took place, nonetheless come away from a
thorough look at the evidence saying, "Something happened
to these kids. Someone abused them." To suggest, as so many
"debunkers" have out of hand, that it's just
"Satanic panic" is not just an insult but a deep and
undeserved injury to the little ones who have been so abused.
It is necessary at this point to address the most
often-quoted statement from the F.B.I.'s "expert" Ken
Lanning: "There is no evidence of Satanic crime." That
statement is patently false. If you have a strong stomach, and
don't have any conflict reading a secular book, Michael Newton's
Raising Hell fully documents the reality of Satanic crime. Not
only does it give hundreds of examples of modern Satanic crime,
it also gives overwhelming historical evidence that widespread
Satanic rituals and sacrifice of children and infants is
documentable as far back as the 16th century, exposing as untrue
the skeptic's view that all of it is just "folklore."
Satanic mass murdering socialites Gilles de Rais and Catherine
Deshayes, both executed for the mass slaughter of children, were
no "urban myths". And, they were Satanists.
Although some would point to the survey of 11,000
professionals and their responses as proof of no evidence, I
understand only a fraction of those solicited for response even
responded at all, making it an unfair analysis to begin with.
UNTRUTH: All Satanic ritual abuse memories are the
result of "false memories".
TRUTH: First of all, the "False Memory
Syndrome" explanation is just a theory and not recognized
as a scientific or even psychological diagnosis. Secondly, It is
impossible for thousands of children and adults, as young as
three and as old as seventy, most having never met nor
communicated nor had access to any "shared network"
information concerning ritual abuse, to be telling the same
stories down to miniscule details, dates, intricate ritual
setups and in some cases, the same perpetrators. Yes, there can
be some incidences of false memories, but the incidents are not
as widespread as the False Memory Syndrome Foundation and
"investigative journalists" want us to believe. For
Christians, there are only three explanations for such
widespread and intricate testimony: One, it's a mass psychic
phenomenon, mass mental transference of information. And I don't
know many Christians who are inclined to accept that theory.
Two, it's mass demonic deception. However, a full 80% or more of
all the victims I have worked with, children, adults and
families, are Christians or from a Christian home, people
dedicated to God's Word and God's truth. The third option is to
accept that they are telling the truth. No, we may not
understand everything they have been through or sorted out all
the details, but to dismiss out of hand these numerous
allegations as "false memories" is simplistic, not to
mention insensitive to the complex issues of the survivors.
One big question has been posed by skeptics that needs to be
addressed: If there is an organized Satanic conspiracy, where is
the evidence? Where are the bodies?
As a private investigator and law enforcement trainer on cult
related crimes, I have worked for ten grueling years on actual,
flesh and blood ritual abuse cases, murder cases and criminal
investigations of every sort. Numerous professionals, from
judges to EMS workers after seeing our workshops, have told us
that they have been seeing evidence of serious ritual crime
including Satanic mutilated corpses for years but simply hadn't
had the tools then to identify it.
The evidence is there - buried in nearly every police
department file around the country - marked "unknown".
If Satanic crime is widespread, the skeptics say, why can't
current evidence be found? First of all, it gets found all the
time, but chances are you won't hear about it. Many times it is
kept from the public to avoid a so-called "Satanic
panic." I spoke with a registered nurse some years ago who
had been walking to work and saw an ambulance and several police
cars. She went to see if she could be of assistance, and came
upon the decapitated body of a woman who had black candles
surrounding her body. It never made the paper. It never will.
This is one of dozens of incidences I know of where the public
never was privy to such crimes. I have seen the murder slides of
several of these nondisclosed murders.
Secondly, these groups have been doing this for centuries.
They have perfected the art of secrecy, covering abuse and
burying evidence. Of course, the FBI says that's not possible -
despite the fact that they still have no idea what happened to
Jimmy Hoffa. Children describe babies being cremated. Where's
the evidence? Did you know you can buy a portable crematorium at
a reasonable cost? Or dispose of bodies in trucker's lime pits
designed to dispose of cattle carcasses?
But where do they get the victims? While the 5 million a year
abducted child statistic is clearly over-inflated, it is also
much higher than the FBI's estimated "50 people" a
year number. Babies do disappear. Children are abducted. Some
neglectful and abusive parents never even report their child as
missing, living a transient life and moving from state to state
undetected. You can buy a child in Mexico for $10, an infant for
$5. Runaway teens, not considered a major priority by law
enforcement, are the easiest targets of all. They are already
missing and off the list of active investigations. They can be
slaughtered and made to disappear without a trace - who would
know? People with money - large sums acquired through drugs,
child pornography and child selling, can pretty much cover up
anything, especially since the country's top investigating
agency denies the problem exists altogether. Child porn and
child trading is estimated to be an eight billion dollar a year
industry. Satanic groups work very well with them, and with that
kind of money, there's not much you can't get rid of.
One last thing needs to be understood. Granted, it is only a
rhetorical question, but it's a crucial one. If there is no
problem and no organized threat, why, since the beginning of an
organized effort to investigate and stop Satanic crime, has this
- Numerous authorities have received death threats to back
off investigations. (One private investigator and his son
died in a light plane crash of suspicious causes on the way
to break a serious case of child trading and Satanic crime.)
- Numerous investigators of Satanic crime have been
fired, demoted or replaced.
- A widespread campaign of vicious, malicious and
devastating slander has been launched against some of the
best Christian investigators and ministries, causing many to
quit from discouragement or burnout.
- Dozens of serious investigations have been shut down at
the moment the case was about to break, halted by high level
officials, and in one case a congressman, without
- This author has received numerous death threats, computer
sabotage, break-ins, robberies, and even a public threat by
a military officer to keep my mouth shut about what I know
about military Satanists.
In short, if Satanic crime isn't real, why the threats? Why
the interference? Why the attacks?
After ten years of work, I do not have the luxury of denial
and skepticism. I am a veteran of a very real, very brutal war.
I can't sit on the sidelines and pontificate about false
memories. Like John, I am speaking of things I have seen and
touched with my hands. It is no fantasy at all. The Christian
media has chosen to tackle the very "secular" issue of
ritual abuse. Left out of most debate, and most debunking, has
been any answers. Left out has been compassion or understanding
for the victims, help for the abused and no answer to the larger
questions I have raised. Sure, many issues were raised by the
skeptics. But they are answerable. As of yet, no one has asked
to have them answered by those of us who have first hand
knowledge of ritual crime and abuse.
Since we've tackled the surface issues, now let's get to the
heart of the matter: What should we as a Christian community do?
- We need to acknowledge the damage done by only presenting
one side of the story. For every "story" the
skeptics have "debunked" there are another ten
with evidence, and in some cases convictions on the
perpetrators. Their story has never been told. As a result,
thousands of victims have been disbelieved out of hand, been
hurt and humiliated and gone into hiding without hope. We
must judge a tree by its fruits, and so far the only fruit
that has come from the investigative pieces debunking
Satanic abuse has been the wholesale cutting off of
survivors from the hope of Jesus Christ through the church.
We need to ask forgiveness - of God, and of the victims.
- We need to acknowledge that, although we may not
understand everything regarding Satanic crime and ritual
abuse, the full facts have not been set forth in the few
biased articles published previously. We need to acknowledge
that any issue that is a threat to children, especially,
warrants a serious investigation of all sides of the issue.
- We need to ask ourselves, "What would Jesus do?"
The Word tells us He would, and so we should, bind the
broken hearted, set the captives free. The Word also tells
us we are to "do justly" - to believe in and fight
for justice on behalf of the helpless, the defenseless, the
orphans and widows and all those whose lives have been
shattered by evil. Jesus would tell us, I believe, to defend
the children. He would tell us to be the Good Samaritan -
not the Pharisee that said, "I don't want to get
involved so I'll just keep walking" - nor the priest,
who if he were here today, might likely say to the wounded,
"It's all false memories. We don't have robbers in
Jericho. God bless you!", but rather the one who cared
for the wounded victim.
We're not required to know it all, nor understand it all, nor
believe it all without question. We are required to
"receive those whose faith is weak, without passing
judgment on disputable matters." (Romans 14:1)
Certainly ritual abuse could be considered a "disputable
matter." It does not excuse our failure to receive those
who allege such abuse. If we don't, we run the serious risk of
standing before God one day and hearing him say, "Inasmuch
as you have done it to the least of these...you have done it to
Used by permission Copyright Gregory
* Lauren Stratford went to be with the Lord
in the springtime of 2002.
you are going to work with ritual abuse survivors, you
must also get educated if you want to be effective. And
you must learn to be humble. Trauma survivors do not need
to be around ignorant, modern-day Pharisees. Survivors in
pain need people who will connect with them on an
emotional level, get right down in there where they are,
and listen. --Kathleen Sullivan