Retired therapist invents 22 ways to make money, and all of them involve “Satanic ritual abuse”

Judy Byington’s book, Twenty-Two Faces, resurrects the disproven ideas of multiple personality disorder and Satanic ritual abuse.

Just when you thought we were safe from the “Satanic ritual abuse” moral panic, along comes retired therapist Judy Byington with a new book detailing the supposed case study of Jenny Hill. According to Byington, Hill is “one of few surviving chosen sacrifices from a Black Temple ceremony.” Given the title of the book, we can presume that Hill coped with the alleged experience by splitting into 22 personalities — a syndrome many believe is actually the result of brainwashing by therapists.

Here’s a snippet from the book:

Secret ceremonies in which malevolent men and women cloaked in hooded robes, hiding behind painted faces and chanting demonic incantations while inflicting sadistic wounds on innocent children lying on makeshift altars, or tied to inverted crosses, sounds like the stuff of which B-grade horror movies are made,” Byington writes in closing her 428-page work. “Some think amoral religious cults only populate the world of ‘Rosemary’s Baby,’ but don’t exist in real life. Or do they? Ask Jenny Hill.”

It’s notable that most cases of multiple personality disorder not only emerged in therapy, but emerged at the same time as mysteriously “remembered” memories of Satanic abuse. Most of these memories are “recovered” during hypnosis — a state in which people are also highly suggestible. Speaking of suggestible, in the 1980s, 58% of the SRA claims gathered in a study of 12,000 appeared in the years following the Geraldo Rivera special on SRA and a further 34% following a workshop on SRA. Many believe that these false memories are then exploited by therapists, who claim it will take many years of treatment for people to heal — thus ensuring a steady, paying client base for the therapist.

Instead, Byington claims, according to the reporter, that “Satanic mind control programming helped create 22 personalities … in Hill as a young child.”

Well, at least she’s right about the “mind control” part.

The author is also the founder of the Trauma Research Center. There, she sells copies of her books and offers for-pay “webinars” on dissociative identity disorder/multiple personality disorder and other topics. And, according to a guest post over on She Writes, she has another book on the way, Saints, Sinners and Satan, “a first person account of her own experiences with multiple personality survivors and Occult crime.”

Sounds to me like she’s resurrecting some old (and debunked) ghosts to make a living. Don’t get me wrong; we do need outlets for legitimate sufferers of trauma. But does Byington think she can really sell this idea in 2012, when most people are pretty skeptical of Satanic-abuse claims — and with good reason? Is society tipping back to a place of superstition and fear?


23 responses to “Retired therapist invents 22 ways to make money, and all of them involve “Satanic ritual abuse”

  1. You’d think that by the middle of the 70s that most Satanic Cults would have known to ditch the robes. Why can’t we just have a satanic ritual at the coffee house sitting around enjoying espresso and mumble our chants under our breathes?

    Beth, what is the history of that particular cultural image of satanic gatherings? It seems that filmmakers clearly pulled it from somewhere and propagated the meme in the 60s and 70s.

  2. I always thought the stereotype came from Anton LaVey. His Church of Satan was increasingly active in the late 60s and 70s and he was known to associate with actors and entertainers of the day. I heard he consulted on a few movies as a satanism expert, too, but I can’t verify that part.

  3. This stuff has not gone away. The ISSTD (International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation) where a lot of these therapists hail from is branching out across the globe. The founder of the ISSTD Bennett Braun lost his license in IL
    but just set up shop elsewhere. Colin Ross is still very active in ISSTD and he wrote a forward to this book. It’s sad that our mental health system lets people like Judy and Colin not only bilk people but ruin their lives.

    Since “multiple personalities” has become controversial ISSTD is trying to link “trauma” with “dissociation”….new term for multiple personalities. Their research is lacking to say the least.

    Here’s another ISSTD member (he has lectured at their conferences) Mark Schwartz pulling this stuff in 90s

    And now he is at the center of several lawsuits for the same thing.

    Yet CA had no problem giving him a license.

    There’s tons of money to be made “treating”/encouraging/manufacturing multiple personalities/dissociation.When will the APA and insurance companies clamp down on these charlatans?

    • Altus, thanks for such a great comment. It’s really a shame that these psychologists aren’t discredited/stripped of their licenses, because allowing them to continue to practice dilutes the quality and reputation of those psychologists who do legitimate work.

  4. You are most certainly correct in that Byington is resurrecting debunked theories and therapy from 25+ years ago.

    Not only should “therapists” like this be stripped of licenses as Beth suggests, they need to be doing time in prison. I see no other way to stop them.

    Connell Watkins and Julie Ponder, the therapists that killed little Candace Newmaker during rebirthing therapy were sentenced to 16 years in jail. It helped.

  5. Mercy Ministries (a residential treatment center with several homes in the U.S. that treats such afflictions as anorexia/bulimia and other life controlling issues) uses “recovered memory” therapy/mind regression therapy, and has caused many patients to have false memories of sexual abuse. They need to be held accountable as well.

  6. Well, I found my way here in google where the picture you included at the top of this post is feeding. So, I read what the focus of you blog is about – quickly, I do admit. Parenting? A great focus. Ironically, you include this book, but don’t tell us how it pertains to parenting? And, you contend that these types of child abuse are not happening in our world? And…….. comments to this post seem to be contending that dissociation and childhood trauma are also a ridiculous notion.

    Of course, dissociation is a common reaction to any stress – especially for children who experience trauma. It is their way of ‘getting away’ from, rather than processing trauma that is too extensive. Dissociative Identity Disorder is a valid disorder and well-researched. It is in the DSM-IV and will remain in the DSM-V – for good reason.

    Here, I find the same folks here who wander from blog to blog, site to site – wherever they can – spending hours everyday talking the same agenda that the false memory syndrome foundation have spouted out for years. We can call them ‘true believers’ with their own agendas.

    Do you really contend that child abuse is nil in this world. That there is ‘no such thing’ as satanic ritual abuse anywhere? Really? That no children are being ‘used’, sold, experiencing trauma at the hands of their caretakers? Wow – that is simply ridiculous and unfair to those who want/need to tell their stories.

    Let me quickly tell you a truth. I was recently in a used book store. A group of young adults came into the store requesting anything they could find on the worship of Satan – including rituals. They had many young children with them. The adults were dressed in black – and their children dressed in red and black. They were very serious about their cult activities. Possibly, a bunch of ‘kids’ playing out their strange ideas – but, still – creepy and scary. Don’t you think? This happened in my small town – and, I don’t regularly go to used book stores. I asked the clerk how many times a day she gets such requests. She showed me the ‘Satanic’ section of the store – quite a few such books there. She said it is one of their most popular section of the store.

    I have to ask why certain folks – who have posted here – want to keep these activities a ‘secret’, who don’t follow the ‘scientific research’ concerning trauma and dissociation, but continually cite the same old stuff put out by fmsf folks – not ‘scientific research’, but rhetoric. They rush after any book where someone reveals their experiences – as if they ‘know’ better than the person who was actually there. They stick with the old ‘implanted memories’, ‘false memory’ stuff that is so old and, debunked years ago. Reality – therapists cannot implant memories. Satanic ritual abuse is alive and well across the world.

    Let’s ask ourself who benefits financially from the abuse of children?

    This is a blog about parenting – do you not see that you could make a difference here? Stop child abuse. Do not play into giving them more access to children by promoting childhood trauma.

    Say horray to anyone strong enough to stand up and tell their truths. Don’t help these folks attack and silence victims.

    I am sorry – reading these posts sickened me – I hope that my alternative thoughts are respected.

    • Hi Felicity, thanks for commenting.

      Of COURSE childhood abuse occurs. It occurs more often than it ever should, and it goes distressingly underreported. And yes, some of the victims do disassociate when they are abused.

      But I — and police and health experts — have seen no evidence that the abuse is caused by Satanists. It’s most often perpetrated by an adult in the child’s life: a parent or step-parent, an uncle or other relative, a family friend, a teacher, a trusted clergy person and, as the LA Times just discovered, Boy Scout leaders.

      I’m suspicious of your bookstore story, for a couple of reasons: Why would an organized group of any faith, including Satanists, need to go to a bookstore to look up books on the faith they supposedly already know well? And if they were trying to keep their activities a secret, why would they dress suspiciously, bring a bunch of children with them, and ask for something so obvious? And, most important, if your friend thought they were doing something wrong, why didn’t she report it to the authorities?

      When I say my site is for parents, what I mean is this: it’s here to help parents understand how some of the most controversial teen interests, including occultism and Satanism, are NOT the harmful poison they’re so frequently made out to be. These faiths and practices are legitimate, generally do not involve hurting anyone, and are a path many teens choose for self-reflection and self-understanding as they’re getting to know themselves. In addition, the vast majority of adults who practice them are law-abiding, everyday folks. That’s my mission here.

  7. Yes, that is also true – I am making a point also. Cultism/Satanism is a lure for some teens and young adults, as is vampirism, sadism, etc. – Many young adults do have children – and, some are not so stable. I could not be sure how far these bookstore folks went with their interest. I didn’t follow them to see if they carried out the rituals that were in the books they bought. My point is that the ‘interest’ is there, generally small groups of people (not organized) that reenact what they read in readily available books on the subject – or check out the internet. There are sites that tell folks ‘how to’.

    It is rarely mentioned that though therapists cannot ‘implant memories’ in adult survivors, this is not true of children. So, imagine this. Groups of adults reenact these rituals using fake blood – or even real blood, dolls, etc. to make it all ‘look’ real to a child. They dance around in their robes, drunk, stoned – whatever. This sort of thing would terrify any child, and they would in time remember it all as ‘real’. And, they are very damaged by such memories. Common sense tells us that this happens and more often than the ordinary person could imagine.

    The point being that we can’t make global statements on this topic. Doing so creates a situation where no one is believed, and those who follow this lure are free to act without consequence.

    Does that make sense?

    • Felicity, I’m not sure I’m following you. There are no legitimate “how to” books or Web sites that tell people to abuse children or even to dance around with dolls. I suggest you actually read some books (I’d be happy to recommend you some) so you can stop being frightened by these ideas, and see that they’re not representative of how these faiths function.

      Sure, there are wackos who might pretend at Devil worship — but the key word here is wackos. They’re making stuff up based on their own delusions and fantasies. This should not be confused with real practitioners, any more than someone who dresses up as a priest on Halloween should be mistaken for a dedicated clergyperson.

      Also, where is your evidence that memories can’t be implanted in adults? I suggest reading Richard Ofshe’s book “Making Monsters.”

      • Really? Google “Satan”, “worship”, and you get some 22,000,000 hits. Satanic Bible by Anton Szandor LA Vey is a best seller. Do you need more – my gosh – I don’t have time to research ‘for’ you all.

        Of course the fmsf folks have published articles and books – but, I have never seen physical, scientific evidence of any therapist being able to actually ‘implant memories’ into an adult mind. I have never come across one who would ‘want’ to – the notion is ridiculous.

        Another ridiculous notion – that anyone would be motivated to write a book such as this for money or to exploit anyone’s experiences. It is a nice try to sway folks opinions. After all, no one wants to believe that this stuff does happen.

        Like I said ‘denial’ is a strong motivator of rhetoric. There are a lot of emotions that come with denial. Jeannette spends much of her time whining about how hurt she was by ‘her’ therapist – scared to try again – spending an entire lifetime pushing her notions and ideas onto everyone else – hateful and vindictive. How many of the fmsf folks are abuse survivors who are so in denial they don’t realize that they have always been used by others.

        I am just saying that you don’t ‘have’ to be a puppet, but can open your eyes and ‘help’ children – well – I am wasting my time here with you all. Have your little fmsf party – I don’t think many read here anyhow. This fmsf idea is slowly fading – what will they do now with themselves?

  8. Felicity’s demeanor comes off as twisted, knotted, snide and sinister. I bet she skulks around the “Sour Grapes” section of the Piggly Wiggly’s produce department when not busy with her hyperbole. Yikes.

  9. I understand what Felicity is trying to say. And that is that we should not outrightly dismiss and try to debunk the whole notion of ritual abuse, because it sets up a situation where people are automatically not believed. I have no doubt that some people try to make money or get attention through making up stories of ritual abuse, and they do a lot of harm to those who’s stories may be legitimate. Not so long ago, no ordinary person would believe that incestuous pedophilia was happening, but now we know different. To close our minds to certain types of abuses is to further hurt and traumatise those who may need our help.

  10. Also, how can you make the claim that DID (or ‘mulitple personality disorder, as you call it) has been disproven when it is a recognised psychological disorder in the DSM1V?

  11. Felicity Lee (same person) is notorious for attacking anyone who expresses skepticism of this “satanic” conspiracy junk (while maintaining that she doesn’t believe in conspiracy theories). Her favorite tactic is to insinuate that you are a “satanist” with an “agenda”, and failing to mention that she sells this book from her own website even though I think that’s the textbook definition of “agenda”. Check out her antics on the reviews for this book on Amazon, this woman’s a nut. And the closest thing to a fangirl Byington is likely to get.

  12. Lois Maillet Lynn. Stouffville Ontario

    I can understand that people that haven’t experienced it would have a hard time believing it could be true. But it is pretty small minded to denounce it as a lie, just because it hasn’t been your experience

    • Yeah, you’re Felicity, too, aren’t you? She does love to go on about subjective experience and how that is so much more credible than silly little things like corroboratory evidence. Even though this involves someone who everyone agrees is mentally disturbed.

  13. It’s amazing how little has changed since last September when “Felicity” posted here, complaining that she didn’t “have time to research” for “you all”. She’s doing her pearl-clutching on Amazon now, hysterical as ever.

  14. It appears “Felicity Lee’s” actions have taken a bad turn. She’s gone from just posting silly stuff here and on Amazon to….well, I’ll let you read. The strange thing is, this woman claims to be putting on a “mental health” conference in the Fall.

    Oh, by the way, this all came after Judy Byington was apparently warned by Utah authorities that she’d be slapped with a restraining order if she did not leave the woman in the book alone. Sad stuff, really. This is from Jenny Hill’s son.

    “Judy has been informed by the authorities that any further harassing contact between her and my mom will be grounds for Criminal Harassment charges, and a restraining order. Judy and my mom haven’t spoken in months, and Judy’s hold over my mom seems to be broken.

    After the show, local law enforcement, Adult Protective Services, and the State Licensing board were contacted anonymously (and not by me), and each initiated an investigation. One of the revelations of these investigations has been my Mom’s assertion that Judy withheld her medication during the weekend they were out there for taping the DP show. Given my mom’s mental health status, this would constitute a felony in Utah, as withholding medication from someone in need is an egregious form of abuse.”

  15. I was duped by therapy and held exactly the same beliefs that the believers in SRA do. I can pull any of my journals from that time and recite any of the narrative that is posted here.

    I find it interesting that those who question this nonsense are asked not to make global remarks, yet we are asked to disbelieve that false memories never occur. Can’t have it both ways.

    SRA is confabulated. So are memories, in general. Time to read and understand the science behind human memory. Sticking with scientific notions 50 years old is ridiculous. Science may not be perfect, but there’s plenty there to learn about and discredit if you can.

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  17. I normally would never write back to something Felicity Lee (obviously not her real name) has written to. She is most of the stuff everyone has said she is. I know because she has been harassing me for 5 years now all because I left one of her forums. If you want to see how badly I’m being harassed here is a link to something she openly posted on Google about me Aug. 29, 2014. She’s done that because I have a support forum and some of her members found out what she really is and came to mine since they figured out her lies and decided her attack against me was probably filled with lies too. Here’s the link if you care to read the vitriol she has written publicly about me. I haven’t a clue that I can do anything to get it taken down. . I only found out about this link today after 3 of my forum members were recontacted by her trying to woo them back to her forum. They felt attacked and unsafe after that and one of them forwarded the link to me. She often gets others there to do her dirty work so she can appear “innocent”. I know it as fact since I was staff there and she tried to get me to do it and I refused. I didn’t “hack” her forum. I was invited there. I didn’t steal anything from her. She even talked me into starting my own forum and then kept telling me to go run my forum. It’s why I left. I have ethics I won’t break. And I don’t lie or make things up or publicly put up things like what she has done about me. This is it and only because of the work I’m having to do today to ban yet another of her oh so many fake IDs from my forum.

    For 5 years? Give me a break. I’m only offering support to others like me. That said, the thing she is correct about is that DID is a proven mental disorder. I had memories before I ever saw any type of mental health professional. I rarely even went to the doctor as my health was good. I have never been able to watch any type of horror show or read books like that so I sure didn’t pick it up from that. I only went to therapy after becoming a danger to myself BECAUSE of what I was remembering.

    It’s been scientifically proven trauma memories can be stored in a different area of the brain. Brain wave patterns are different depending on which alter is out. That’s scientific and medical proof. Not only that, my memories are vivid and I don’t want them to be real and never have. Yet every time I try to prove something couldn’t have happened I end up finding the evidence it could and did. I have never had hypnosis be attempted on my by any therapist. The only people who did that were the people who used me in the cult for whatever reasons. You most likely wouldn’t believe them anyway so I’ll not bore you with them. My siblings didn’t dissociate the memories away yet they also weren’t used in the way I was. They were badly beaten and the emotional damage alone done by the father of us all was enough that each was damaged in their own way.

    So, as you, I don’t believe the vast majority of what Felicity Lee says, especially if it’s about someone or some place, because I know her for who she is, have talked to her on the phone for hours thinking I knew and even know her actual name. But I also know she is the one who does the things she accuses me of in things like the link I included. I wouldn’t wish this disorder on anyone. If anyone says they want to be multiple they most likely aren’t. Choosing not to work toward integration isn’t what I’m talking about there. Frankly, I don’t think any can choose…it either happens or doesn’t depending on what each part wants or needs. DID is real. It is not made up. That doesn’t mean there aren’t those out there who are pretending it. It doesn’t mean there aren’t unethical therapists or psychiatrists who have manipulated patients into believing something false. But don’t judge that anything is black/white like it’s 100%.

    I actually received information in the mail from the FMSF unsolicited. Where did they get the information to contact me that way and what right did they have to do it? They got the information from the father of us who sold me to so many for so long I can’t even count them, let alone what he did himself. He was the epitome of evil. Even my brother who didn’t dissociate it away knows that.

    I’m only asking you to consider others. What you say can be said without saying such black and white 100% statements as I have read here about DID/MPD. Yes, abuse happens to children and they don’t become DID. Not all do. Everyone dissociates to some degree…like the term highway hypnosis? That’s a form of dissociation. So is daydreaming or getting lost in a TV show or movie or book where you don’t notice things going on around you. I’ll leave it at that and thank you if you took the time to read this and check out the link. I won’t respond to negative comments back to me. I’m not Felicity. I don’t do that. I’m not who she says I am. I’ve got better things to do with my life. Everyday living type things in addition to recovering from back surgery as well as my own therapeutic work to help me heal. And it is work.

    Sincerely, Kate (real name by the way)

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