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Choronzon - Ritual (Michelle remembers)

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Published on May 22, 2007

Michelle Remembers was the first book written on the subject of Satanic ritual abuse and is an important part of the controversies beginning in the 1980s regarding Satanic ritual abuse and repressed memory.

Published as non-fiction in 1977, Michelle Remembers became an international sensation, achieving bestseller status and arguably doing more than any other publication to incite the Satanic Panic of the 1980s and 1990s, a twentieth-century witchhunt in which a great many people faced trial and even imprisonment for crimes they did not commit: in many cases, for crimes that did not even happen. The popularity of the book was such that the Vatican launched an official investigation, and Hollywood studios approached the authors about movie rights. Those authors-- Michelle Smith, the self-proclaimed former object of the cult's attention, and Lawrence Pazder, her therapist-- responded enthusiastically.

The story, in fact, prompted multiple investigations. The various findings should have calmed concerns that her claims were anything but the product of imagination. Sadly, however, many years passed before people stopped taking the book seriously; in some circles, people still regard the authors as brave mavericks in the fight against an imagined international satanic conspiracy.

Smith claims that the cult met in Ross Bay cemetery in Victoria, British Columbia. The problem is that this old graveyard faces the bay, with houses surrounding it on the remaining three sides. Much of the grounds, including the mausoleum where key events took place, are clearly visible from the neighborhood; it would make a very poor place to hold secret, illegal rituals-- particularly in the conformist, law-abiding 1950s. Other events simply could not have occurred. Smith claims a woman lifted the plaque covering one of the graves so that she could be placed within. None of these plaques work as lids, and all are too heavy for even a very strong person to lift unassisted.

She gives details of a complex car crash staged by the cult; a thorough check by reporters Debbie Nathan and Michael Snedeker failed to find any record of an accident resembling the one described within the given time-frame.

She claims the Satanists cut off the middle fingers of their left hands, and that despite this conspicuous mark, they remained unidentified in their community, and remain at large, even now.

Several of the rituals resemble distorted versions of certain traditional African rituals-- rituals which therapist Pazder had earlier studied.

The Roman Catholic Church concluded that Michelle believed in the reality of her claims, but that they most likely originated in her mind.

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