Stories about vast unknown conspiracies that involve CIA operatives and criminal underground societies, seem more like tired themes for formula films, rather than a subject for serious discussion.

However, as summer ended in New England such subjects became the focus of a conference staged by “abuse survivors” at a hotel in Hartford, Connecticut.

Narratives about secretive Satanists were everywhere at the gathering sponsored by S.M.A.R.T. (Stop Mind-Control and Ritual Torture).

Maybe Scott Peterson’s lawyers should have attended to take notes, which might help fuel their speculation concerning the alleged “cult” they say may have taken the life of Laci Peterson and her unborn child.

Anecdotal stories abounded everywhere at the conference with various villains. Besides the usual Satanic suspects there were accusations against Freemasons, secret CIA programs and the so-called “Illuminati.”

This event was reported with a dose of much needed skepticism by the Hartford Advocate.

“I was going to be part of their satanic world-domination plan,” said one self-proclaimed “survivor.”

“My father handed me over to the cult; I was like his gift,” explained an attendee.

“We were brainwashed by the cult and made to kill firstborn children,” claimed another.

Why were all these victims together in Hartford rather than within a witness protection program?

“Sharing like this is the best way to rid ourselves of…toxic memories,” stated the conference organizer. And of course there are always conference fees, not to mention books and tapes for sale at such events.

Being a “survivor” can become a kind of cottage industry for some.

And for those that think this is funny and comparable to a group of UFO believers waiting for their next “abduction,” think again.

People have suffered, but not from supposed “satanic ritual abuse.” Some stories told by “survivors” have led to false charges and criminal prosecutions that destroyed lives.

This includes witch-hunts like the McMartin pre-school case in California. Taxpayers spent $15 million dollars to find out there was no Satanic abuse at the school, but it ruined the McMartin family.

And there was an alleged “sex ring” in Wenatchee, Washington that was ultimately proven to be bogus after multiple arrests of innocent residents.

Even a police officer was falsely accused in Canada. He was eventually cleared and paid a large settlement for his suffering.

These are the real survivors, falsely accused and damaged by spurious charges and prosecutions.

The FBI once investigated claims of human sacrifice and a network of criminal Satanists. But a report concluded there was no objective physical evidence to substantiate anything.

So why do people want to believe such nonsense and play the role of “survivors”?

According to respected researcher Elizabeth Loftus it’s an “explanation for everything wrong in their lives.”

The noted psychologist sees conferences like the one SMART recently convened as an opportunity to “get together…reinforce each other…give each other a sense of importance.”

And the stories of “survivors” appear to confirm this.

Often their tales put them at the center of some vast and evil conspiracy; its central character, hero or heroine, somehow essential to the plot.

But in the end even those that spin such stories fail to see their own authentic suffering and real situation.

Obviously they are in need of ethical and constructive counseling from objective mental health professionals. But many instead rely upon “repressed” or “recovered” memory therapy and are often estranged from their families.

They “stay unwell and never get help” lamented Loftus.


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