121207FewsterDec. 7, 2012

Following up on Wednesday’s post:

Here’s how editor Gerry Fewster began his introduction to “In the Shadow of Satan: The Ritual Abuse of Children,” the still-unretracted 1990 special issue of the Journal of Child and Youth Care:

“Putting this issue together has been my most difficult Journal assignment…. It began as a fascinating prospect with little or no supportive documentation. As I discussed the concept with colleagues and friends the most unlikely doors began to open. Fragments of information – odd papers, crude and unfinished manuscripts, unsolicited telephone calls, personal revelations, and even photographs – began to appear….”

Dr. Fewster’s professional skepticism seems to have quickly yielded to those phantasmagoric “fragments of information.” He details an investigative process that….well, evaluate for yourself:

“Many times during the course of reading the material, I decided to quit. I found that I had neither the head nor the stomach for the task…. After spending many hours reading from the protective armor of the editorial role, I would feel physically ill. At first I attributed all of this to my reluctance to examine the depths of my own ‘shadow’ and urged myself on. Then, as my curiosity rekindled, I would shrink back in horror from the spectres of my own hidden motives and intentions….”

Dr. Fewster goes on to introduce his fellow contributors to “In the Shadow of Satan.”

Pamela S. Hudson, for instance, “provides an authoritative wide-angle perspective. Based upon clinical experience and the results of her own survey, the author identifies and discusses the most frequently reported symptoms and allegations surrounding ritual child abuse. Beyond the grisly nature of the content, this seasoned practitioner offers a wealth of insight for those who wish to know about satanic practices and better understand the terrifying experiences of children caught up in this vicious network.”

Hudson’s article isn’t available online, but fortunately is preserved in her subsequent book “Ritual Child Abuse: Discovery, Diagnosis and Treatment.” Here’s an example of the “wealth of insight” provided by “this seasoned practitioner”:

“The exceptional symptom in ritual abuse cases is the sudden eating disorder
demonstrated by these children. Besides being revolted by meat, catsup, spaghetti and tomatoes (which resemble organs), (cf., Catherine Gould) I had a case of a 20-month-old girl suddenly start to throw away her baby bottle. When she was older she said the perpetrator urinated into her baby bottle during his visits with her. Later, she spoke of witnessing the death of a baby girl….”

All this impressionistic pseudoscience could be written off as overreaching silliness, had it not contributed to the moral panic that swept up innocent victims such as the Edenton Seven. Isn’t it time for the editors at those professional journals that enabled the reign of error to at last set the record straight?