The other day one of our regular readers shared an amazing experience: Justin was among those present when the term ‘Satanic ritual abuse’ was introduced to the lexicon. It’s a fascinating story, that contains some really valuable insights into the present-day witch-hunts, and the motives that drive those who start them.
Do you know the story behind Dr Lawrence Pazder – [the man who invented the terms “satanic ritual abuse” and “ritualized abuse” in the late 1970’s] – and his patient-wife Michelle – [the woman whose alleged life story as a satanic abuse cult victim was related in their book Michelle Remembers] – ?
A young woman named Michelle Smith was a patient of distinguished psychiatrist Dr Lawrence Pazder, in Victoria, Canada, late 1970s. I can’t remember what she went to him for originally, something routine like depression. Pazder was married, a devout traditional Catholic family man. Michelle was also married but perhaps not so happily.
Pazder suspected child abuse might be a factor in Michelle’s psychological problems, but she had no memories of such, so Pazder started probing her subconscious memory through hypnosis. These hypnotherapy sessions became more and more frequent, sometimes lasting half a day or longer. Sometimes they were conducted in settings beyond Pazder’s office, including in hotel rooms located in quiet tourist retreats towns. Sometimes Pazder would receive calls at home from Michelle, and abruptly rush off to administer an “emergency” session. This might happen at any hour of the day or night, apparently.
After several years of treating Michelle, Pazder divorced his wife, Michelle divorced her husband, and Lawrence and Michelle got married to each other and published Michelle Remembers.
Michelle Remembers detailed the horrific sexual abuse and torture that Michelle supposedly suffered at the hands of a sadistic satanic abuse cult, as a very young girl – like, aged 4-6 or something like that.
Some of us who were involved in the original skeptical investigation into the truthfulness of the allegations made in that book, became convinced of the following scenario:
During the hypnotherapy sessions, Pazder would suggest a cult sex abuse scenario to Michelle and she would respond by recounting a graphic, lurid, detailed tale of an episode of severe sadistic rape & torture of herself as a VERY LITTLE girl, which Pazder would record. After she came out of trance, they would listen to the tape together and become SO AROUSED by it—because they were both secretly very deranged sexual perverts—that they would immediately thereafter ACT IT OUT with Lawrence playing the role of sadistic satanic abuser and Michelle the role of a pure, innocent, holy little child of 5 or 6 years. These role-playing sessions were probably both the origin of, and the focus of, the romantic-sexual affair that they admittedly conducted throughout the course of her years of “treatment”, behind their spouses’ backs.
SRA abuse scenarios ARE pornography for some people. There’s just no question about that.
We found this account fascinating, and asked Justin to elaborate, which he kindly did:
References…for the role-playing? Do you mean, like, transcripts of the porn videos they made of themselves as they acted out her fantasies?
Hahahahahahaha – CLUNK! [fell out of chair laughing]
Surely, you jest? 🙂
No, not exactly. The scenario I described was a logical deduction based on all of the information available to us at that time.
From 1987-1992, I was a volunteer community advisor to a joint national police & civic police intelligence unit (IIU), assisting detectives researching “cult and occult crime”. I was connected up-the-wazoo with info networks at that time; religious/spiritual, counterculture/subculture, academics, social work & child-care professionals, and of course law enforcement. This included Kerr Cuhulain, who was a serving police officer in the Vancouver-Victoria area at that time, and his WIN network. Together we had access to so much info, from so many sources, including proverbial “off the record” statements from the IIU guys’ “confidential informants”, just like in the TV cop drama shows. Some information on these subjects was never formally documented, much more information never made into the digital age – as far as I can tell. We had seasoned, trained investigators “on the ground”, literally in the Pazder’s own community, capable of hunting down every conceivable source of relevant information. I can’t reproduce that experience for you, I’m afraid.
But, I will summarize the logic-chain and provide links to a few relevant sources so you can explore the subject for yourself.’
From Wikipedia: “Pazder and his first wife Marylyn had four children together and were married for many years until he developed a relationship with his patient Michelle Smith. Court documents filed in the divorce proceedings indicated that between March 1977 and June 1979 Pazder disappeared with Smith (co-author of Michelle Remembers) for lengthy periods of time. In 1979 after a rejected attempt at annulment, Pazder divorced his first wife and later married his former patient and co-author, Smith”.
1) Pazder disappeared with Smith for lengthy periods of time. The implied “romantic” relationship between them during the period cited is the adultery upon which the divorce was granted. It took place within the period of time when Michelle Smith was officially a patient of Pazder. “Romantic” relationships between doctor and patient are forbidden under psychiatric professional regulations and can even constitute a criminal offense. By engaging in this long-term affair with his patient, Pazder was not only risking loss of his family relationships but also loss of his license to practice and possibly even criminal prosecution. There must have been something so special and intoxicating about “being with” Michelle that he just couldn’t resist the temptation (and neither could she!).
Again from Wikipedia: “In 1976 when Pazder was treating Smith for depression (related to her having had a miscarriage), Smith confided she felt that she had something important to tell him, but could not remember what it was. Shortly thereafter, Pazder and Smith had a session where Smith screamed for 25 minutes non-stop and eventually started speaking in the voice of a five-year-old. Over the next 14 months Pazder spent over 600 hours using hypnosis to help Smith recover alleged memories of Satanic ritual abuse that occurred when she was five…”
2) The period of time during which Pazder conducted intensive – bordering on obsessive – hypnotherapy sessions with Michelle, overlaps with when they would disappear together for long periods. The overlap is likely greater than suggested by these wiki entries, the disappearing likely began before the earliest date admitted to in the divorce, and the hypnotherapy likely continued much longer than Pazder’s account of it in Michelle Remembers, but the adultery begins AFTER the hypnotherapy got going, NOT before the hypnotherapy – although she had been his patient for 3 years before the hypnotherapy started.
3) The basis of their adulterous relations therefore has something to do with the hypnotherapy. They really had nothing else “in common”, no discernible basis even for a friendship let alone a passionate adulterous secret romance over several years.
4) The hypnotherapy is all about the satanic ritual abuse cult “memories” fantasy, which they were co-concocting during this time and eventually published in Michelle Remembers.
5) Pazder’s lecture presentations on the subject of “satanic/occult/ritualistic” crime were derived from his SRA sex fantasies. In fact, they were little more than RECITATIONS of his SRA sex fantasies. (I will provide a link to a transcript of one, so you can verify this for yourself). In these lectures, Pazder describes sadistic “ritual” abuse of very young children, at the hands of their families and other members of alleged SRA cults. The horrific sexual violations and torture of these little children described by Pazder are NOT taken from any media accounts or criminal case references or court proceedings. Pazder provides no citation of any kind, for anything in his lecture, other than Michelle Remembers itself. Actual law enforcement personnel ALWAYS take their lecture’s criminal behaviour examples from case citations. The guys from IIU attended one of his lectures and remarked on the lack of case references. “Those were just fantasies”, said one of them. His partner snorted: “Yea, SEXUAL ABUSE fantasies!”
Pazder’s SRA stories were sexual abuse fantasies. They were “sex fantasies”. They were unique to him. They were Pazder’s own “sex fantasies”.
ritualistic crime seminar 1986
Michelle Remembers- False “Survivor” Story of Satanic Abuse
Mail on Sunday: the debunking of a myth
This article was first published on 18 September 2015.