We live in a strange and precarious time that resembles at its heart the hysteria and superstitious fervor of the witch trials of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Men and women are being accused, tried, and convicted with no proof or evidence of guilt other than the word of the accuser. Even when the accusations involve numerous perpetrators, inflicting grievous wounds over many years, even decades, the accuser's pointing finger of blame is enough to make believers of judges and juries. (p. 20)
Sometimes [Neimark states, summarizing Loftus] the memories become so seemingly fantastical that they lead to court cases and ruined lives. [Quoting Loftus] "I testified in a case recently in a small town in the State of Washington," Loftus recalls, "where the memories went from 'Daddy made me play with his penis in the shower' to 'Daddy made me stick my fist up the anus of a horse,' and they were bringing in a veterinarian to talk about just what a horse would do in that circumstance. The father is ill and will be spending close to $100,000 to defend himself." (Neimark, 1995, p. 80)
Finally, Dr. Ofshe characterizes plaintiff's memories as a progress toward ritual, satanic cult images, which he states fits a pattern he has observed of false memories. It appears to the Court, however, that in this regard, he is engaging in the same exercise for which he criticizes therapists dealing with repressed memory. Just as he accuses them of resolving at the outset to find repressed memories of abuse and then constructing them, he has resolved at the outset to find a macabre scheme of memories progressing toward satanic cult ritual and then creates them. (Lynn Crook v. Bruce Murphy and Lucille Murphy, Superior Court of the State of Washington In and For the County of Benton, #91-2-0011-2-5)
The RMT ["recovered memory therapy"] people certainly go in for believing whatever rumors they like. For the record: there are no ethics complaints against Elizabeth Loftus. She resigned from the APA because it has moved too far from science.
- American Psychological Association. (1995). INFORMATION FOR INDIVIDUALS FILING APA ETHICS COMPLAINTS [Brochure]. Washington, DC: Author.
- American Psychological Association. (1992). Rules and procedures. AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGIST, 47, 1612-1628.
- Loftus, E. (1995, March/April). Remembering dangerously. SKEPTICAL INQUIRER, 19, 20-29.
- Neimark, J. (1995, January/February). It's magical. It's mystical. It's . . . memory. PSYCHOLOGY TODAY, 28, p. 44-85.