Ossian, Piltdown Man, the Hitler Diaries, and “Sybil”

by Walter Olson on November 5, 2011

A concocted “multiple personalities” tale wrecked many lives by launching a thousand bogus recovered memories of abuse, not a few of which made it to court. Debbie Nathan (“Satan’s Silence”) has a new book out, “Sybil Exposed,” telling the story. [Laura Miller, Salon (link fixed now)]


1 Paul 11.05.11 at 8:56 pm

Wrong link I think :)

2 Walter Olson 11.05.11 at 11:21 pm

Thanks, fixed now.

3 ps 11.06.11 at 6:53 am

one can only wonder what proportion of the nation’s rape ‘statistics’ are based on this type of quackery.

4 Bumper 11.06.11 at 11:52 am

ps, Certainly sound like the system they use in Durham, NC; home of the Duke Blue Devil lacrosse team.

5 Melvin H. 11.07.11 at 3:55 am

PS, given how wide the definition of “rape” and “sexual assault” have become over the last two or three decades–and the lack of legitimate defenses available, how hard it is to get and use information on the accuser vs. how easy it is for the DA/accuser to use info on the accused, etc.–it makes one wonder if there really are as many rapes as some seem to believe (see what goes on with college “rape” statistics as an example).

6 Frank 11.07.11 at 1:16 pm

I think if you would talk honestly with women, you will find that rape and sexual assaults are actually still under-reported. Based on anecdotal reporting, you might find that at least half the women you know have been sexually assaulted in one form or another.

One loud example does not indicate any sort of over-arching truth. The fact that the Duke case is brought up so often in this context (‘many rape accusations are false’) should be an indicator that the argument is lacking something.

7 Patrick 11.07.11 at 5:10 pm

Frank, I’m curious about the anecdotal reporting you cite. What is the source of your anecdotes?

Do you routinely ask women whether they’ve been sexually assaulted? And do you follow up with a request for details of the assault? In order that you may discover their definition of “assault”? If so, how many women friends do you have?

Finally, should those of us who are skeptical about anecdotal reports that at least 50% of women are sexually assaulted start referring to the Strauss-Kahn case to stay current? Or is that already old hat as well?

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