Mr. Satan Head (Photo credit: Scott Beale)
Last year, at Halloween, I designed a costume and attended Kate’s annual
party. She decorated her property, starting at the curb, with blinking orange
lights, cob webs, and hidden boxes that made unpredictable sounds when I
walked by. The house was dark with intrigue. I wondered what scary characters
awaited my arrival.
After dark, her neighborhood was full of adults and children in costume. We
pretended to be witches or walking trees or scarecrows. We gave ourselves
permission to create, fantasize, and play. For one night, we became someone,
or something, other than ourselves. Mystery and intrigue are what make Kate’s
Halloween parties enticing.
Oddly, treatment for Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD), now known as Dissociative
Identity Disorder (DID), has similar enticing qualities. For example, once
labeled a “multiple,” I was often viewed as exotic and mysterious. My thought
patterns and subsequent behaviors were intriguing and bewildering to therapists.
Treatment twisted my thinking. I became a devoted student of repressed memory
therapy, believing I was raised in a Satanic cult. Therapy helped me “remember”
cult meetings with gory smoldering cauldrons of blood, dismembered animals,
the screech of tormented women, and the foul smell of burning flesh. The
Halloween season, once a time of fun and theatrics, became an annual nightmare
referred to as “The Satanic High Holidays.” Therapy transformed the play of yesteryear into terror.
The Halloween season became life-threatening. My doctor instructed me to
beware of encoded messages sent by Satanists, either by mail or by telephone,
programming me to suicide. He said I needed protection from them because I was
exposing their cult secrets. I agreed to be hospitalized, drugged and
My doctor’s thinking was not logical. In fact, it was pure nonsense. The
tricks, illusions, and deceits of treatment lured me in.
What made it impossible to distinguish fact from fancy? Prior to therapy, I
knew nothing about Satanism. While hospitalized, however, I was inundated with
information about Satanic cults from my doctor, therapists, nurses, other
patients, self- proclaimed “professionals” who survived Satanic abuse, and books.
Initially, I was a willing participant in the exchange of information. Later,
I was a captive audience and my caretakers’ professional opinions quickly
flipped my belief system upside-down.
I often proclaimed that my uncovered “memories” were fabrications, but I was
ignored. New “memories” weren’t as real as those I’d never forgotten; they
were dream-like and fuzzy. The idolatrous manner in which I related to my
doctor blinded me to the truth regarding my history. I was tricked into
believing there was Satanic abuse when, in fact, there wasn’t.
The illusive Satanists never surfaced at Halloween. Just the same, my feelings
of terror were real. Therapy created panic, insomnia, anorexia, abuse of
prescription drugs, gastrointestinal distress and fatigue. My behavior was
irrational. I hid under the bed, shrouded myself in blankets, and hugged
Leroy, my teddy bear.
Unknowingly, I was caught in the web of my doctor’s delusions. Halloween is
payday for some therapists and hospitals because clients are often in a
heightened emotional state. The fabricated Halloween horrors create chaos;
they breed confusion and anxiety. Clients seek comfort and often require extra
with therapists while needing more prescription drugs,additional phone contact, and even hospitalization.
I challenge therapists who treat clients for Satanic abuse to follow their own treatment regime this year. By mid-October, check into a hospital, stay behind locked doors, speak to no one, ingest mass quantities of narcotics, and starve yourselves — then stay awake while watching horror movies night and day.
Since leaving treatment I learned the illusive Satanists, created in therapy, don’t exist. Halloween has returned to what it’s always been — a day of fun, fantasy, and theater. I’m looking forward to Kate’s party.
Originally published in the False Memory Syndrome Foundation Newsletter,
Apologies for the formatting. The original article does not translate well.
The Illusive Satanists by Jeanette Bartha is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at www.mentalhealthmatters2.wordpress.com.
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