Children once separated from their families due to false claims of “Satanic ritual abuse” are now suing Scottish social services, reports Scotland on Sunday.

During the early 90s numerous children were taken from their families by zealous social workers that falsely claimed they were abused by parents suspected as participants in “Satanic rituals.”

One judge called the treatment of the children by social services, “[A] tragedy of immense proportions.”

A plaintiff in the suit looking back on a ruined childhood said, “My education suffered badly and I became withdrawn. I still lack self-esteem. I have no confidence in anything I do.”

Her mother added, “Imagine what it would feel like to have your child taken away from you, not to see her for a year and to have only limited supervised contact for another four. This matter devastated my whole family.”

Such unproven claims of “Satanism” and supposed “ritual abuse” still often go unchallenged within the United States and networks of “survivors” support each other in such claims.

A cottage industry of “helping professionals,” related books and seminars centered on such allegations continues to thrive.

But many US mental health professionals have been virtually put out of business by lawsuits filed by victimized patients and/or their families.

Many children are the proven victims of “cults” such as the Krishna movement, Nuwaubians and Church of God Restoration.

It seems responsible professionals and public servants should focus limited resources on those proven to be victims, rather than pursuing fantastic conspiracy theories.

This past week many residents of Ohio were led to believe that “a Satanic cult [was] operating” in the area.

“Dogs” were found skinned with their “eyes painted orange,” reported News 5 a local TV station.

One resident said, “It’s a Satanic ritual — something to do with voodoo.”

Never mind.

Days later the same News 5 crew reported that these claims were completely false.

The remains were in fact not even “dogs,” but the carcasses of coyotes marked by construction workers with paint to be readily seen for disposal.

Such stories of supposed “Satanism” have become urban myths much like the tales of “UFO abductions.”

Thankfully, this Ohio yarn was put to rest quickly before it reached epoch proportions.

In Pretoria South Africa an “occult expert” testified during the trial of an alleged “Satanist,” accused of subjecting children to sexual abuse and religious rituals.

During her testimony the expert witness told the court about her own past occult involvement and experiences, which included “astral projection.” She is now a “reborn Christian.”

The expert claimed that she could “sense negative vibrations on a crime scene or when meeting someone.” And said that upon meeting the man accused she felt “a cold tingle down her spine,” reports

The expert then pointed out that a Christian parent she met connected to the case created no such response.

It seems incredible that an “expert” in a criminal trial would be allowed to provide such subjective testimony.

Rather than offering the court meaningful insights based upon an objectively established expertise, this “expert” offers the court “vibrations” and a “cold tingle” to demonstrate her points.

Hopefully the judge and/or jury will reject such nonsense, which rather than reflecting expert opinion grounded upon facts, sounds like the bias and strange imaginings of a self-styled witch-hunter or exorcist.

The defendant should be tried based upon the physical evidence and/or through eyewitness accounts that prove his crimes objectively. Likewise, any expert opinion should fact-driven and relevant.

In Martensville, Saskatchewan Canada claims of “Satanic cult” activity turned out to be nothing, reports CBC’s Fifth Estate.

Incredibly, a child’s “diaper rash” led to suspicions of “ritual abuse.” And after one constable asked children leading and manipulative questions, a bizarre “cult” conspiracy eventually emerged about a strange “devil church.”

Eventually that conspiracy would include police officers. And five Canadian cops were actually arrested.

Welcome to a reenactment of the Salem Witch Trials in Canada.

All the cases against the supposed “Satanists” “collapsed” when it was proven conclusively no physical evidence existed to support the fantastic stories of the alleged “devil church.”

Officials involved in the arrests don’t appear anxious to talk now, while some have moved on to other employment.

One falsely accused officer received more than a million Canadian dollars in a settlement. Others are still suing for malicious prosecution, but are waiting for their day in court.

Like many other cases of supposed “Satanism” this mess in Martensville illustrates the often-fanaticized existence of “Satanic cults.”

In fact, no evidence has ever supported the existence of an alleged vast underground network of Satanists, which once received sensational coverage through American talk shows and news stories.

What about the “ritual abuse” claimed by supposed “survivors”? This appears now to be nothing more than strange imaginings, most often brought about through questionable therapies that frequently included hypnosis.

Many lawsuits won against unethical therapists have helped the public better understand the nature of such false memories.

The real victims of “Satanism” have often been not only those falsely accused, such as the policemen in Saskatchewan, but also children terrorized through manipulative and coercive interrogations masquerading as criminal investigations.

The 10th U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of Amway as a defendant in Proctor & Gamble’s lawsuit, which alleged the multi level marketer and its distributors spread rumors that the products giant promoted “Satanism,” reports the Detroit Free Press.

Lawsuits in Texas against individual Amway distributors will continue, but the Amway Corp. itself is out.

Many “Diamonds,” key major distributors within Amway, are Christian fundamentalists and some seem to promote a strange mix of religion and sales that often appears to make their business seem “sanctified.” Maybe some within Amway see the competition as “Satanic”?

However, according to a Proctor & Gamble spokesperson, “Since these lawsuits were filed, the rumors have essentially stopped.”

Amway has a troubled history of lawsuits, complaints and bad press. Could this be Satan’s work?

According to some parents Harry Potter the boy wizard, encourages children to journey onto a dark path that may lead them to hell.

The Monterey Herald reports that “Harry Potter books have been banned in many school libraries across the county, as some parents have denounced the book’s content as being too similar to Satanism.”

But happily, thus far it appears that children have been able to resist the devil and merely be entertained by the Potter franchise of books and films.

There is no mention of Satan within the Potter films and the author of the books has repeatedly denied such allegations. However, some parents apparently have a more active imagination than their kids do.

Once upon a time Ozzy Osbourne was the target of such witch-hunts and accusations. Now that supposed sinister Satanic influence is an “amiable…patriarch” with his own TV show, reports the Oregonian.

The times may have changed, but for some folks conspiracy theories about Satanism seem to be a permanent state of mind, which makes you wonder whose really “possessed” after all.

Elizabeth Loftus is one of the most respected, but despised psychologists in America, reports the Orange County Journal.

Loftus’ groundbreaking work established that memory is often much less precise and reliable than we would like to believe. And that it can often be shaped, influenced and manipulated relatively easily.

What seems to anger some of her critics most, is that Elizabeth Loftus has repeatedly exposed so-called “repressed” or “recovered” memories, which are frequently the product of controversial therapy techniques.

This category of memory has largely come to be known as “false memories.”

In the late 80s there was something of a “witch hunt” concerning “Satanic ritual abuse,” that was later proven to be without any meaningful objective and factual foundation.

Much of the “evidence” cited to support claims of “Satanic ritual abuse” came from “survivors” with “repressed memories” that had supposedly been “recovered” through therapy.

The media, some professionals and experts were at times largely taken in by such sensational claims.

However, Elizabeth Loftus disputed these anecdotal stories on the scientific basis that memory really doesn’t work that way. That it cannot be “repressed” and then “recovered” as many therapists insisted. This earned her the contempt of “true believers,” active opposition and ultimately personal attacks.

However, Loftus survived and won the “memory wars,” though her opponents often appear to be sore losers. And though the courts have essentially turned the tide regarding such controversial therapies, many people who were falsely accused suffered needlessly.

A recent statement by the American Psychological Association acknowledged this saying, “Psychiatry still needs to help the main victims of RMT[Recovered Memory Therapy]: those falsely accused of heinous crimes, which never happened.”

A father and son were arrested in Newark, New Jersey for the desecration of human remains, reports Associated Press.

Three human skulls were found in caldrons within a building basement owned by the father. The skulls and other animal remains found are suspected to be the residue of cult rituals allegedly associated with the practice of “Palo Mayombe.”

Palo Mayombe is a West African religion, brought to Cuba by slaves in the 19th Century and more recently to the United States through Cuban immigration.

In the United States since the 1980s there have been often bizarre claims made about human sacrifices supposedly associated with “Satanism“. However, these claims were later proven false. At times religions such as Palo Mayombe have been falsely cited or impugned in the resulting hysteria.

But human sacrifice is not a part of Palo Mayombe. A cemetery was acknowledged by Newark police as the probable source of the body parts regarding this recent arrest, not people from the neighborhood.

It seems likely that the Newark father and son were perhaps involved in their own idiosyncratic composite religion, which included aspects of Palo Mayombe.

A 15-year-old Indian girl was slain in a ritual sacrifice as an offering to the goddess Kali, reports Time.

Two hundred years ago such murders were common, but now Indian authorities say they have dwindled to one per month in the country, which now has a population of 1 billion.

The goddess Kali has a legendary lust for blood according to Indian mythology and sacrifices to her are believed to bring power and wealth to the supplicant.

In the United States stories of cult ritual sacrifices peaked in the late 1980s. However, this was based upon an urban mythology developed around tales of babies slain for Satan.

Some “experts” claimed that there was a vast hidden network of multi-generation “Satanic cults.” Many so-called “survivors” came forward to tell horrific accounts of abuse often based upon “repressed” or “recovered” memories.

But these cult stories were proven false. Unlike the ritual murders of India, the American version lacked objective physical evidence. Now the FBI and other law-enforcement officials readily admit the stories were unfounded. It appears “the devil was given more than his due.”

A list of books that included the ever-popular Harry Potter were compared to “heroin” in Hartford by a group of irate parents, according to the Middletown Press.

The Connecticut group of concerned citizens insists that books, which include and/or mention magic and witchcraft, are a means “Satan” uses to get kids. One parent explained, “Witchcraft is of the devil, and the devil is very powerful.”

So it seems in Hartford the road to Hell has widened through children’s books.

The activist group said even books with specious titles should be banned such as “Cast no Spell,” which is actually only about spelling. Never mind they were rolling with an apparent “scorched earth” and “take no prisoners” strategy. Maybe a good old-fashioned book burning is just around the corner?