Unfortunately this seems not to be the case. the latest issue of Private Eye magazine (no. 1244, 4-17 September 2009, p.28) reveals that the Satan-hunters are still very active. We are not entirely surprised by this as our correspondent Basil Humphreys reported on a seminar he attended in September 1996, which showed that groups like RAINS (Ritual Abuse Information Network and Support) were still very much around spreading their ideas through the social work network.
Political and current affairs magazine Private Eye explains that the believers are becoming active again, following a period when they went to ground after million-dollar compensation claims were awarded against therapists who implanted false memories of abuse. The S-word was quietly dropped for talk of 'organised' or 'extreme' abuse.
But books and conferences are again full of discussion of 'ritual abuse'. This is now seen in terms of 'Dissociative Identity Disorder', formerly know as 'Multiple Personality Disorder'. The believers claim that abusers use the 'alters' (alternative personalities) to control the victim and make them forget the abuse.
Some of the people associated with the first SRA campaign are active in this revival, including Joan Coleman and Valerie Sinason. Sinason is co-organising a conference on 'Ritual Abuse and Mind Control' in London on 25th and 26th September.
She has a chapter in a new book, Forensic Aspects of Dissociative Identity Syndrome, entitled 'Satanic Ritual Abuse and the Problem of Credibility', although a psychotherapist working at her Harley Street clinic is making a contribution to the London conference entitled 'Just Leave out the Word Ritual'!
Private Eye notes that: "Bizarrely [the book] includes an interview which spells out emphatically [the] total lack of evidence. Chris Healey, a retired head of CID in Portsmouth, described his investigations into five cases of alleged ritual abuse:
"I've never come across a case of ritual abuse that was proven. I've been looking for 15 years, and I've tried very hard to find proof. I've dug up fields, set up cameras, and looked down wells where bones where supposed to have been thrown and I've found nothing that can be independently linked to the allegations. In my experience these allegations have always ended in a dead end".