Excerpts from VICTIMS OF MEMORY by Mark Pendergrast Second edition. Upper Access, 1996. From the chapter, "Multiple Personalities and Satanic Cults" At the 1977 annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, Cornelia Wilbur chaired the first organized panel on MPD and invited Ralph Allison to present his views. Allison brought along Henry Hawksworth -- an MPD patient who later wrote his own book -- as a surprise guest. Subsequently, Allison was asked to chair the panel the next year. Soon, however, the California psychiatrist was eased out of power by younger colleagues, including Bennett Braun and Richard Kluft, who were determined to lend an air of scientific credibility to the diagnosis. Allison, with his shamanistic belief in demons, proved to be an embarrassment and was effectively shut out of the movement. By the mid-'80s, under the influence of Kluft and company, an entire MPD industry had arisen, with its own societies, authorities, specialized journals and newsletters. Because of Eve, Sybil, Ralph Allison, and other interested therapists, multiple personality was included in 1980 in the third edition of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which meant that an MPD diagnosis could draw insurance payments. In the early 1980s, a core group of therapists -- Bennett Braun, Richard Kluft, Eugene Bliss, George Greaves, David Caul, Colin Ross, and Frank Putnam -- cranked out articles on MPD. Several prestigious psychological journals published special issues devoted to the topic. In 1984, the International Society for the Study of Multiple Personality & Dissociation was founded. In the late 1980s, more popular books and professional articles on multiplicity poured forth. ... It is not surprising, then, that Sheppard Pratt is not an isolated example. Bennett Braun's dissociative disorders unit at Rush Presbyterian-St. Luke's in Skokie, Illinois, is apparently also fertile ground for MPD contagion. Pat Burgus, once Braun's prize patient, along with several other former patients, is suing Braun and his colleague Roberta Sachs for abusive therapy. Her life was nearly destroyed by the process. She became convinced that she had been a high priestess in a satanic cult. Not only that, but her two sons, then four and five, were also diagnosed as MPD cult members and were hospitalized for nearly three years. The children were given stickers as a reward for coming up with grotesque fantasies. The Burgus family tragedy, which cost an insurance company $3 million, is told in detail in "Therapy of a High Priestess," a chapter in Richard Ofshe and Ethan Watters' compelling 1994 book, Making Monsters, and in the 1995 Frontline documentary, "The Search for Satan." Braun was clearly fascinated and moved by his clients' bizarre revelations. Sometimes he would cry along with Burgus. Other times, he apparently became sexually aroused during her lurid descriptions of sexual assaults. With the encouragement of Braun and Sachs, Burgus eventually came up with memories of lit torches being pushed inside her, being buried for days on end, and having to eat the body parts of two thousand people a year. While they ate dinner one night in the hospital, Braun asked Burgus if the cottage cheese reminded her of anything, then wondered aloud whether she had ever opened a human brain. He believed that flowers sent to patients in his unit were really dangerous triggers. "Red roses or white baby's breath means bloody suicide. Pink roses mean hanging," he told other therapists in a 1992 presentation. And Bennett Braun is not just any psychiatrist. He has been the acknowledged leader in the diagnosis of multiple personality in the United States, the expert's expert. Typical of the cutting edge MPD gurus, Braun prides himself on his courage and adventurous spirit, testing the frontiers of human experience. He enjoys skydiving, technical rock climbing, scuba diving, and horseback riding. He once tried fire walking. He appears to get a kind of paranoid thrill from his belief in widespread satanic cults. "About 20 patients have told me they were sent to kill me," he told one reporter. ... Another former patient, Mary Shanley (her real name), echoes much of Angela's experience. As a 39-year-old first grade teacher, she entered an inpatient unit under Bennett Braun's supervision in the Chicago area early in 1990. She disliked Braun intensely. "He thinks he's God," she told me, "and you'd better think so, too." But Shanley admired Roberta Sachs, her psychologist. Under Sachs's tutelage, Shanley came to believe that her mother had been the high priestess in a satanic cult, and that she, Mary, was being groomed for the position. "I remembered going to rituals and witnessing sacrifices. I had a baby at age 13, supposedly, and that child was sacrificed. I totally believed all of this. I would have spontaneous abreactions, partly because I was so heavily medicated. I was on Inderal, Xanax, Prozac, Klonopin, Halcion, and several other drugs, all at once. No wonder I was dissociating." After eleven months, Shanley finally got out of the hospital for three months. Then Roberta Sachs called her and asked if she would consult with psychologist Corydon Hammond, who was coming to town to give a workshop. After a hypnotic session during which Hammond tried to get Shanley to name Greek letters and identify a Dr. Green, he announced that she was so highly programmed and resistant that she was not treatable. Her nine-year-old son, however, might still be saved if he was treated in time. Otherwise, the cult would kill him. Shanley's husband believed Hammond, and a week or two later Mary Shanley was taken to the airport, not knowing her destination. ... There is hope, however. In 1995, Shanley's horror story was featured in a Frontline documentary, "The Search for Satan," making it painfully clear that she was a victim of terrible therapy. Two lawyers -- Zachary Bravos of Wheaton, Illinois, and Skip Simpson of Dallas, Texas -- are representing Shanley and several other patients in suits against Judith Peterson, Roberta Sachs, Bennett Braun, and others. Because of their willingness to take her case, Shanley feels some hope for the future. ... When Steck's insurance had almost run out, Bennett Braun flew in from Rush Presbyterian in Chicago to evaluate her. Braun's 500-page report, which discussed her abuse and suicide attempts in detail, allowed the doctors to declare Steck a "catastrophic case," so that a special rider on her insurance kicked in to continue to pay for treatment. Later, Richard Loewenstein came from Sheppard Pratt to confirm the diagnosis. ... In our own time, that generalization holds true. Ph.D. clinical psychologists and psychiatrists -- trained as physicians and then mind-healers -- are the primary agents to spread authoritative stories of ritualistic abuse and conspiracy. Psychiatrist Bennett Braun explains that "we are working with a national-international type organization that's got a structure somewhat similar to the communist cell structure." He asserts that cult members are "trained to self-destruct" if they remember too much. ... In the United States, however, specialists such as Bennett Braun, Corydon Hammond and Colin Ross have received enormous support from books, articles, and conferences where the myths of satanic cults are repeated and elaborated. In the final analysis, such therapists believe in the cults because they want to believe. The sessions in which menacing, evil alters appear provide the same thrill which exorcists experienced hundreds of years ago. It is challenging, exciting, frightening work -- a far cry from the humdrum existence of the routine mental health professional who listens to a boring litany of drab complaints all day long. Yes, it's difficult work -- dangerous, in fact, because the cult members may even try to assassinate the therapist. But for the intrepid mind explorer, savior of souls, healer of splintered selves, it is all worthwhile. For endnotes and footnotes, see the book.