1994 LHS letter to Martin Orne. Admixture of facts and fantasy

From a letter to Martin T Orne, MD. PhD, Professor written by Lena Hellblom Sjögren  June 11 1994

 

”Dear Professor Orne,

How very kind and thoughtful of you to send me all these interesting articles and references you did. THANK YOU! I cannot tell you how thankful I am. Forgive me for not having answered until now. With two small children (2 and 4 ), travelling, and a big investigation going on to be finished I have not had time to read all the material you sent me.

The first thing I did was to go through it and pick out and read what I thought could be good to send to the Swedish Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. Together with a letter where I quoted the wise words from you and Brad L Bates about not viewing remote memories as accurate history but as an admixture of fact and fantasy ( a copy of the letter enclosed). I sent the material you can see listed last in my letter. The extracts I made from your letter is enclosed here as well.

The translation of your guidelines that I made in the criminal case I told you about is enclosed as well as a copy of the verdict. Campbell Perry has asked me to write about this particular case and I´ll hopefully do that this summer. On my suggestion the defence called in Lars-Eric Uneståhl as an expert witness to tell what he knew in general about forensic hypnosis. In his book about hypnosis he has summarized your guidelines – short but good. My impression was that he was very strict and gave grounded information.

The hypnosis expert appointed by the court , dr Ture Arvidssson, on the other hand was allowed to make statements about the concret hypnosis all along the court sessions. He repeated what he had written in a written statement where he had declared that the hypnosis in this case fullfilled all reasonable recommendations. I do not think that would have been your conclusion. The tampering with evidence/memory is obvious in this case. There was no physical evidence or corroboration of any kind for the alleged rapes and other abuses from the father .

The hypno therapeut in this case seems obsessed by the thought of her clients having been orally sexually abused and one proof of it – among others – is that the girls don´t want to eat yoghurt! She has developed a hypnosis method of her own for incest victims.

Since this case I haven´t heard of any more criminal cases where hypnosis has been involved, but there are two actual cases where young women have accused their fathers (and in one case the mother) for horrible ritual abuses – things they have started to remember after having come to foster mothers or experts who are members in the informal network of people who exaggerate the frequency of child sexual abuse and claim that they work for the best of the children by believing them. They often believe that the children have been abused – although they haven´t.

In one case the father who had been condemned to 10 years in prison was recently acquitted, the other father just got his sentence shortened from 10 years to 5 years and the mother who had got 5 years was acquitted. Hopefully the Supreme Court will allow a new trial for this last father.

Also very much thank you for the FMS-material which I can distribute as I have recently got another set from Pamela Freyd whom I met in Washington DC in April on a very interesting seminar for defense lawyers (”Incest – the deadliest accusation”). There are adult children here in Sweden also who accuse their parents for having sexually abused them in their childhood. I have got some letters from desperate parents who tell about such allegations – often after their daughters have been in therapy. There have been no trials as far as I know but biographic books and other testimonies that also contribute to the ”incredible contagion” you write about.

A book which describes and analyzes this contagion as a result of an effective networking is First do no harm. The child sexual abuse industry. (Benton-Guy Publishing Box 46-018, Auckland, New Zealand). The author, Felicity Goodyear – Smith, has unique experiences as a medical doctor working for the police with child sexual abuse and after that as a close relative to three inprisoned alleged ”perpetrators”.

Doctors and therapists ought to be legally responsible for their – I´d say – criminal acts. The consequences of their acting is often irreparable damages to children and families. One example from one case I investigated recently is a psychiatrist who meets a young newly separated mother for the first time. The mother says that she the last couple of days has started suspecting her husband of having sexually abused their two preschool daughters. The doctor tells the mother to keep the children away from their ”bio-father” and to start a law suit. After more than 2 1/2 years now the girls have not seen their father – although he has been acquitted as not guilty since more than half a year.

It seems as though many professionals are highly suggestible and have become believers in the desinformation that is spread world wide. One is the misconception of high frequency of child sexual abuse. When I have studied the investigations and statistics my conclusion is that 2-7 of 1000 children under the age of 15 can be estimated to have been sexually abused.

Once more thank you. Yours sincerely

Lena”

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