I have watched your program regularly and am always impressed by the depth of detail of the issues covered. This is my first attempt at a request for feedback but after last nights program I feel the need to say something.
I could not believe the incredible amount of human suffering, pain, money and obsurdity surrounding the study of PMD. Granted, there may be some validity to the study of PMD but relating every case to century old satanic cults is just preposterous enough to fool the most ardent sinic. In further thought what is more ironic is that the one doctor was lecturing about mind control and relating it to a Jewish doctor in the Holocaust. When in reality he and his associates are the ones practicing and guilty of distructive mind control forty years later.
What a timely issue when the debate over cost control in health care continues...and right before our eyes are doctors practicing snake oil medicing and builking the insurance companies out of millions. If I were a judge ruling on one of the many suits against those Medically Deficients, I would make them pay for all there patients hospital bills and subject them to the types of therapy they prescribed.
The most tragic part of the story was the human loss. I don't know how the husband/father of the two young boys could live knowing those doctors had stolen his sons away from him and changed them forever. And what a relief to see the mother/teacher get herself out of there and get back to normal. It is said that most true cults prey on the weak minded people of our culture, it seems that instead of fallinf victum to a true cult, these people fell victum to a medical system that was willing and eager to expliot them, torture them, and use them in the same way a true cult would have. It is unfortunate, scary and tragic but I am glad I had the opportunity to watch. It further reinforces the notion that you cannot always believe what your doctor tells you. Thank you.
From: Kevin Foster
I really enjoyed your episode titled `In Search of Satan.' It was another well prepared and balanced piece from Frontline. I believe what the FBI says that there is little or no evidence of a nationwide network of Satanic worshippers but it does seem that Beezlebub was a work in the hearts and minds of those doctors, nurses and hospital administrators that perpurtrated this horrible get rich quick scheme. They should lose their medical licenses for their actions. Keep up the good work Frontline
Congratulations on a fine show. My mother is a mental health professional in Chicago, and has attended several workshops on ritual satanic abuse. I have been trying to convince her for years that since there is no hard evidence for these cults, such as dead bodies, nor any scientific evidence that people can be "programmed" to be multiple personalities, all such accounts should be doubted. She still believes there are thousands of people around the country involved in satanic cults.
Why are people so gullible? Why do thousands fall for slick sales pitches, con artists, or a doctor telling you that although you don't remember, you were ritually abused? Because critical thinking skills must be learned. Children must be taught to question what authority figures tell them is true. When we raise children to accept without question what teachers, preachers or doctors say, we are teaching them to be gullible. Making up your own mind is hard. Letting someone else make decisions for you is easy.
This story should surprise no one considering the millions who call psychic hotlines, attend healing prayer services, and run out to purchase the latest miracle diet. Learning to be skeptical should be taught starting in grade school. A little skepticism practiced by any of these mental health professionals or patients could have prevented the needless suffering of these families. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. The burden of proof always falls on the persons making the claim. It is not up to the rest of us to disprove their wild stories. There is no proof of any kind for these cults, and I am glad your show helped get this information out.
Purcell, Washington State
Thank you for a chilling and powerful presentation on the supposed treatment of ritualistic satanic abuse. It was excellently done, and should be required viewing for nurses, physicians, and psychologists -- practicing and in training.
Would it be too much to hope for a follow-up story, so we can see (1) who wins the lawsuits, (2) how the families you pictured fare, (3) how long the Dissociative Disorders clinic stays open in Chicago, and (4) how long it takes Gloria Steinem to distance herself from these people? (She seemed like an innocent, merely asked to be their dinner speaker, and caught by association.)
That's probably too much to hope for, but thanks for a great job anyway.
Janet Brigham, Ph.d.
Keep up the great work. I didn't see the show because of a conflict, but I pretty much know all about it from research for a book. I interviewed Pat Burgus along with about half a dozen other women with generally similar stories. Their stories fit the transcript, which I've just read.
You've done a _great_ public service. In person, Bennet Braun comes off as a caring, thoughtful individual. But what he's doing is evil. You have taken a giant stride in the fight to shut him down, along with his cohorts.
New York, NY
Regarding your recent expose of the abuses perpetrated by so-called mental health "experts" on patients who supposedly have "multiple personality disorder" and were told they had been "programmed" by "santanic cults," please accept the appreciation and commendation of the New York Area Skeptics (NYASk). If there is any "cult" involved here at all, it is that of the professionals who see MPD/satanic cults everywhere and then brainwash vulnerable patients into agreeing with them.
NYASk is a non-profit, educational organization, made up of scientists, magicians and critical-thinking laymen, who demand that extraordinary evidence be produced when extraordinary claims are made. I myself am a psychologist and can tell you that the very existence of "multiple personality disorder" is a matter of dispute in my profession, which is replete with nonsense. Certainly, the claim of "programming by satanic cults" is an EXTRAORDINARY claim, especially when no real evidence is offered to support it. The pain and suffering experienced by the patients you interviewed is the prime reason why critical thinking is so necessary, even when the extraordinary claims are made by licensed professionals.
If you are looking for other psychological topics to investigate, may I suggest "sand tray therapy" (an offshoot of Jungian psychology, practiced mostly on the West Coast) and Eye Movement Desensitization Therapy or EMDR (endorsed, I must say with embarrassment by the American Psychological Association).
For information on any type of pseudoscience, paranormal or psychological
claim, may I refer you to the "Skeptical Inquirer," a journal put out by the
Committee for the
Also, the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the
Paranormal (CSICOP) in Buffalo, NY. CSICOP and NYASk would be glad to serve
as sources of legitimate information and consultants for any future exposes
you may produce.
Once again, kudos for a fine piece of journalism!
Sincerely, Nada Mangialetti, Ph.D.
Vice President NYASk
Date: 10/27/95 3:56 PM
From: Priscilla H. Ballou
I am writing about your recent show titled, Search for Satan. I am discouraged by this apparent next step in Frontline's crusade against those who are recovering from sexual and ritual abuse.
You select the minority to represent in your slanted exposes -- members of the small percent of those in treatment for multiple personality (or other difficulties which can result from childhood sexual and/or ritual abuse) who may have been misdiagnosed or may have received inappropriate treatment.
When will you do an honest, in-depth, treatment of members of the much larger group -- those who stand by their truth of what was done to them and resist the lies of those who would label recollection of evils done as False Memory?
Date: 10/30/95 9:01 PM
From: Debbie L Junejo
Although your recent program on "The Search for Satan" was interesting and no doubt reflected the experience of a few unfortunate people who had extremely negative experiences in therapy, the episode left the viewer with the misguided impression that all therapists specializing in MPD/DID are crazed witch hunters. Contrary to the message of the episode, MPD (or Dissociative Identity Disorder [DSM IV]) is quite real and quite treatable, and there exist a number of competent, caring professionals capable of identifying and treating it. I wish you would have pointed out that the cases that you represented were atypical and were in no way indicative of the experiences of most dissociative clients in therapy.
From: Nostromo (10/25/95)
To: frontline@ wgbh.org
In Search of Satan
I found it both scary and saddening that so called health care professionals, entrusted with the mental well being of obviously fragile people, should so clearly violate their professional duties and obligations. It seems no little irony that the people who are charging others, literally and figuratively, with being satanists,should appear themselves to be instruments of the devil.
George W. Mead
Date: 10/25/95 10:13 PM
I found your story, "The Search for Satan", to be very interesting and informative. It is sad to see these professionals taking advantage of their patients and the insurance industry. This type of brainwashing must not continue. I hope your story opens eyes that will make an effort to see that this type of abuse is stopped. It would seem that the only cult that exists is the one these doctors belong to.
Date: 10/24/95 11:29 PM
As a member of the medical profession i am aghast and deeply troubled by the allegations made by the unfortunate victims about their 'Dr's.' It is very clearly insurance fraud, but how sinister-and evil. Though there is enough blame to go around, central to all of the 'nonsense' diagnosis one hears about such as repressed sexual abuse, satanic abuse etc. lies in graduating lots of PhD's in psychology and sociology, giving them licenses to practice on the public (with or without restrictions such an an overseer with an MD) but most important, giving them access to the insurance carrier. I do not for one minute excuse the unscrupulous and damaging behavior of many of my psychiatrist MD brethren. It is a fair bet to say that instead of real texts and serious journals, they get their education from the national enquirer and like ilk. How is it possible that a time honored & recognized teaching institution such as Rush permits this cruel farce to continue ?? Where is the illinois board of registration in medicine in this saga ? Better yet, where is the atty. general of the state if illinois? These so called professionals are clearly stalking and abusing their victims (I'll wager only provided the Ins. carrier is correct).
I cannot believe that there exists even one iota of sincerity on their part. They need to feel the full weight of an angry justice system, prodded by an outraged public. matthew j. hayes, m.d., ph.d., facep
Date: 10/24/95 11:32 PM
With regard to the airing of the Frontline program, "Search for Satan" on October 24, 1995, I was struck by the frightening parallels between the treating psychiatrists and psychologists and the Salem witch trials. In both instances, specialists claimed access to knowledge and understanding that moved beyond any actual evidence, and in so doing, created the very "clinical" hysteria which drives these diagnoses and treatments. Sounds like delusional thinking on behalf of the therapists and not the clients, and that successful treatment ultimately rested in finding an impartial and ethical therapist and then a damned good lawyer.
Date: 10/24/95 11:30 PM
From: Jim Wittlich
After viewing your October 24th program "The Search For Satan," I am not frightened that there may be a ritualistic satanic cult victimizing persons here in America today.
What frightens me most is that there are so-called "mental health professionals"
victimizing hundreds or perhaps thousands of innocent patients nationwide, while
the insurance industry pads their lifestyles and their colleagues
smile knowingly and applaud their efforts.