Nov. 25, 2011

“In the prototypical witch hunts in Europe and in the Massachusetts colony, the accused were often scapegoats for some calamity – disease, bad harvests, the birth of a deformed child.

111125Talbot“In the witch hunts of the ’80s, there was no such injury to be avenged or repaired. There was, however, a psychological need to be fulfilled. Our willingness to believe in ritual abuse was grounded in anxiety about putting children in day care at a time when mothers were entering the work force in unprecedented numbers.

“It was as though there were some dark, self-defeating relief in trading niggling everyday doubts about our children’s care for our absolute worst fears – for a story with monsters, not just human beings who didn’t always treat our kids exactly as we would like; for a fate so horrific and bizarre that no parent, no matter how vigilant, could have ever prevented it.”

– Margaret Talbot, writing in The New York Times Magazine, Jan. 7, 2001