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?