Whilst watching another shamelessly disingenuous documentary from the 80s just now, in which a girl was explaining how her grandma was the head of a satanic cult that was forcing her to have sex with goats and donkeys and eat her own aborted foetuses, a thought occurred to me: what becomes of the children who (either voluntarily or under duress) make up this stuff ? When they grow up, do any of them get pangs of conscience and end up bursting to tell the World the truth? Well, thanks to a bit of digging by El Coyote, it turns out that they do!
This article relates to the famous McMartin Pre-School hoax of 1983, which involved claims of flying witches, hot air balloon flights, sex in underground tunnels, orgies at car washes and airports and children being flushed down giant toilets into secret rooms where they were abused…
Yet despite the startlingly unfeasible nature of these clearly false allegations, they managed to wreck a school and its surrounding community (à la Hampstead) and led to the longest and most expensive criminal trial in American history:
A long-delayed apology from one of the accusers in the notorious McMartin Pre-School molestation case
…Kyle Sapp told police that he had been the victim of sexual abuse…He and hundreds of other South Bay children made allegations against the family who ran McMartin and against the employees who worked there. School administrator Peggy McMartin Buckey, her son Ray, daughter Peggy Ann, mother Virginia McMartin and three female teachers were accused of fondling and raping youngsters over a period of years, and of threatening them with death if they told. The scandal eventually resulted in criminal trials against Ray and his mother. By the time the trials came to an end in 1990–with acquittals and hung juries–“McMartin” was a household word. The case had turned into one of the longest and costliest criminal proceedings in U.S. history.
By the spring of 1984, Kyle and scores of other children were talking about school employees who had drugged them and touched their genitals, made them play sex games in the nude, used them as models in kiddie porn, and forced them to watch pet rabbits, mice and turtles being killed. By the time the trials began more than three years later, many of these children’s stories had grown even more bizarre–they now included being taken to local businesses or flown to faraway places to be molested in satanic rituals. Prosecutors feared that their case would be hurt by such testimony, and they dropped many children from the witness list. Others were pulled from the witness list by parents who worried about causing further psychological trauma…
…In the decade and a half since the defendants were set free, research psychologists have shown that it’s easy to pressure children to describe bad things that never happened. False memories can feel real, though, not just for preschoolers but for older children as well. But Sapp, now known as Kyle Zirpolo, says he never had false memories: He always knew his stories of abuse were made up. The adults at the McMartin Pre-School “never did anything to me, and I never saw them doing anything,” he says today. “I said a lot of things that didn’t happen. I lied.” Why? Now married and with young children of his own, he feels the need to explain publicly…
From the Los Angeles Times, 30.10.05
More on satanic panic hoaxes: