As Abraham Christie and Ella Draper’s renewed onslaught of videos hit YouTube last week, thousands of new-to-Hoaxtead conspirasheep were introduced to the Hampstead SRA hoax. Listening to Ella’s highly embellished retelling of the story she and Abe concocted, it was relatively easy for us to pick out the lies and inconsistencies, but we recognise that for newbies, the story can seem quite compelling.
To help newcomers better understand what they were hearing, we decided to go through the video transcripts that Abe and Ella coerced the children into making. When these are read as a whole, it becomes much easier to develop the critical detachment that enables one to see the videos for what they are: two children being taught to memorise a catechism and recite it back to their “teachers”.
Many first-time viewers will claim that “no children of that age would know that much about sex, so they can only be speaking from their own experience”.
However, we would suggest that it’s very possible to teach children—even children as young as three years of age—to recite back seemingly meaningful answers about things they don’t understand. For example, in this video, a three-year-old answers the first 15 questions of the Christian catechism. His answers are word-perfect, but does he actually understand what he’s saying?
Prompting and coaching
One of the first things we noticed on listening to the videos made en route from Morocco is that the children were constantly being prompted and coached, either by their mother or by Abe.
For example, this exchange between Ella and Child P:
Ella: What is decided?
P: We decided that we shall stop killing babies and we shall stop doing sex. It’s just going to be pointless and it’s just going to have to be going to jail and go back.
Ella: So what are we going to do? We are going to protect other babies and children, huh? And save all the children that are involved.
P: Yes. And [name omitted] was in it.
This isn’t P telling a story; she’s just agreeing with her mother. The sentence “It’s just going to be pointless and it’s just going to have to be going to jail and go back” is virtually meaningless, so Ella redirects her, literally spelling out what she is to say next. P is puzzled, though, and after agreeing, offers, “And [name omitted] was in it”.
In the following exchange, involving Ella, Abe, and P, Abe and Ella do most of the talking; for the most part, P simply nods and agrees with them:
P: Ritchie, Ella…
Abe: Ritchie who, Ritchie who..?
P: Ritchie, I don’t know his surname, but it’s Ritchie, his name is…
Ella: …the one who came to our home…
Ella: And he’s..(unintelligible)
Abe: He’s your particular, he’s your Social Services, he’s a worker there…
P: Yes. And Ella there the lady who…
E: Polish one. Polish…
P: Yes (nodding) She came to our house in 47, 47 ( unintelligible).
In the following section, you can see how both Abe directs the children’s answers, some of which sound very rehearsed:
Q: We decided to stop touching other children…P & Q: …stop touching each other…Q: …and stop touching ourselves.P: …and face our urge.
Abe: What else are you going to stop doing?P & Q: We’re going to stop touching ourselves.Abe: What else are you going to stop?Q: We’re going to stop killing babies.P: Stop killing babies. And we’re going to face our fear and face our urge.Abe: You’re going to face your fear, because fear is what?P: Fear is the mind killer.Abe: And who are you going to help us to catch?P & Q: All the paedophiles.
The expression “Fear is the mind killer” comes from Dune, a novel by Frank Herbert—not exactly a work of fiction that one would expect a school-aged child to read, let alone understand or quote knowledgeably. However, Child P claims otherwise.
P: And our decision we had still a lot of fear in our head but then when we read a book called Dune it said fear is the mind killer. So when we heard that we thought that it was true. It was not really true. But then after there was a man Abraham knew came to help us he said that it is true. That fear is the mind killer. And then after we, he said we had to face our fear. After we faced our fear ….
Does this sound like a child who has actually understood the book? She sounds to us as though she is confused by the words she’s been told to say, but is trying her best to present a coherent narrative.
Once one begins to notice evidence of coaching—the leading questions, the prompts—it becomes impossible to un-see it. It permeates the videos, and demonstrates very clearly what Abe and Ella’s goal was: to create a set of videos they could use to “sell” the idea that children were being sexually abused en masse in a posh London suburb.