The following is a creepy story about religion and implanted memories. It makes me shudder because I used to be in a fundamentalist church that did not do anything like this, but could have. I cringe to think how close I came to a fundamentalist psychological hell, the way Paul Ingram did.
In 1988, Paul Ingram, a local Republican leader in Washington state, was accused by his daughters of sexual abuse, including ritual satanic abuse, over the course of several years. No evidence has ever been found that these acts of abuse ever happened. Despite this, the daughters’ testimony was accepted as evidence, and Ingram was convicted and given a twenty-year sentence. Ingram pled guilty to the charges. Subsequent research makes it clear that these events never occurred. The memories were implanted, through deliberate or inadvertent hypnotism, by the fundamentalist church to which the family belonged. An implanted memory can seem just as real as a true memory. A church seminar leader apparently asked one daughter, Ericka, to try to remember if she had been abused. This was enough for her to “remember” that it had happened. Then the memory was implanted in Paul.
This is what religion can do, especially the fundamentalist variety that believes that Satan is everywhere and can trick you into doing things that you would normally not even want to do—that is, unless you join and give money to a fundamentalist church. The Satan hypothesis was enough to send an accusation that would have gone nowhere in a mainstream church over the edge into an ever growing series of accusations in a fundamentalist church.
It kept growing. Paul Ingram was accused of killing 65 babies in satanic rituals. And he believed that he had done so. Needless to say, no evidence was ever found. No graves. Of course, the fundamentalist church could always claim that Satan had erased the evidence. By the time Ingram was released from prison, before the end of his term, he may not have been entirely convinced of his own innocence.
Fundamentalist churches use psychological manipulation which can go to absurd lengths and destroy people’s lives. They can do this because the churches believe in a Satan who can manufacture or erase evidence. This is another example of trance logic, which is a characteristic (as explained in the previous essay) of hypnotism.
In addition, psychoanalysts were happy to use three-quarters of a million dollars of taxpayer money to “recover” these “hidden” memories. Fundamentalism uses psychological manipulation and implanted memories to oppress people and destroy their lives, and some unethical psychologists are willing to make money off of this phenomenon.