<In 1983, Judy Johnson, a mother in the middle class suburb of Manhattan Beach
California, accused her husband and a teacher at the McMartin Pre-school of molesting her son.
<The mother, who was later found to be schizophrenic17, also accused workers at the preschool of bizarre crimes and witchcraft.
<Regardless, the local chief of police sent a letter to the parents of children at the preschool letting them know about the allegations and asked that they questiontheir children to see if they might also be victims.
<Several hundred children from the school would be questioned by therapists from the Children’s Institute International, using methods that are now widely discredited.
<The children were asked leading questions, repeatedly. Many were coerced into testimony, and seem to be telling their therapists what they had wanted to hear. All children had their testimony taken at face value, even ones who are clearly too young to tell the difference between fantasy and reality. Watching interviews that aired on television, or reading “warning signs of Satanic abuse” that appear in therapist and parental guides, one gets the impression these therapists have never actually been around children. That excited, reality blurring way in which small children talk about media they enjoy is taken not as the fanciful imagination of a child, but as reality. The grounds of the preschool were dug up in search of tunnels after one child testified he’d “been flushed down a toilet to a dungeon.” <But to someone with experience with children, this sounds like a small child describing a level of Super Mario.
<This sort of evidence would appear again and again in Satanic abuse cases. Children at the McMartin school testified that not only were they sexually abused (sometimes with knives and swords), they saw their teachers fly, murdered animals, and a sacrificed a baby to Satan at a
<They also claimed to have been filmed. Despite the lack of evidence, the owners and
several teachers at the school were arrested and charged with three hundred and twenty one
counts of child abuse on forty-eight children. No evidence of tunnels, child molestation, pornography or sacrifice have ever been found. The trial lasted for three years and was the mostexpensive in American history. All defendants were found not guilty or had charges dropped due to a lack of evidence. Sadly, they were the lucky ones.
<News of the McMartin Preschool accusations and the lengthy trial were widely covered in the media, which lead to countless other allegations around the country. Most famously a babysitter in Florida, a daycare in Texas (also instigated by a mentally ill mother with similarly
wild claims), and in Arkansas, where three teenage metal heads were accused of the Satanic murders of three children. These people, and countless others who’s crimes only made local news, spent decades in prison for impossible crimes. Those who raised doubts, whether in the media or the general public, were thought to be hiding something and in some cases brought investigations on themselves, in classic witch hunt form. https://dc.uwm.edu/rsso/2019/panel2A/2/