In the wake of the horrifying events unfolding in London, another, much smaller news story which had been getting significant news coverage globally has slipped quietly away. No, not the G8 summit or the Make Poverty History campaign. Rather, the story that has come to be known as the ‘Dalkey baby’ story.
For those of you not in the loop on this, the following extract (taken from the Irish Independent breaking news site) says:
The Garda (Police) dig in at at the back of a house in Dalkey (Dublin, Ireland) where they were searching for the body of a baby boy concluded today.
Investigating officers stated that nothing of apparent evidential value had been found, but they stressed that all aspects of the investigation were still being pursued and progressed.
The search at White’s Villas began 10 days ago after a 43-year-old woman told Gardai that she believed a boy she gave birth to in 1976 was buried there.
The woman, who was allegedly raped by her father, had previously admitted being the mother of a baby found dead in Dun Laoghaire in 1973, when she was just 11 years old.
She said counselling in Britain had helped her remember giving birth to a second child a number of years later and that the remains of that child were buried in the garden of the family home.
Now. So far so horrid. But what makes this a story worth paying some attention to, is the fact that the woman in question, who is claiming to have been the mother of these two infants, says that her memories of these horrific events came back to her during ‘regression therapy’. So, what does that mean?
Well, regression therapy is a difficult discipline to define, but essentially involves the patient being placed under a form of hypnosis and then being led to uncover buried or repressed memories.
And not just memories of events within your own life. No, events within, wait for it, past lives. The International Board for Regression Therapy says that they are “an independent examining and certifying board for past life therapists, researchers, and training programs”. And they aren’t alone. A quick google search on this topic provides a frightening amount of data, relating to pseudo-scientific organisations who claim to be experts in the field of regression therapy.
Regression therapy, to get to the point, is one of the most dangerous, damaging, invasive, insidious pseudo-sciences ever to pollute the world of mental health treatment. Don’t believe me? Check that google link above and have a quick perusal of some the searches returned. You’ll see what I mean.
Reputable therapists dealing with the highly charged area of sexual abuse have soundly rubbished Regression therapy – acknowledging as they do that it is perilosuly close to mind control, where the subject/patient is in a position of extreme vulnerability and open to suggestion of any kind.
The same nonsense has been peddled by so-called UFOlogists who claim to have worked with abductees in recovering ‘lost memories’, including memories of sexual abuse. And again, the narrative structure is all too worryingly familiar. The issue is explored with great sensitivity and brilliance by Dr. Paul Chambers in his book Sex and the Paranormal.
So, did the media check on what regression therapy was? Did they examine the authenticity of the claims?
Well, consider the following extracts from Irish media reports:
The woman, who had emigrated to north Yorkshire where she married and has since separated, began undergoing counselling and regression therapy.
The woman whose stillborn child is possibly buried in the back garden of the house says she was raped as a child by a circle of at least nine men, some of them visitors to the family home.
With the support of the girl’s mother, a man unrelated to the family was invited into the house to abuse the then eight-year-old schoolgirl, bringing with him cartons of cigarettes and drink as payment in kind for her parents.
In 1995, the woman told garda that she remembered being pregnant at the age of 11, but she had no recollection of the birth or the events that led to the discovery of the dead child. The woman, who has a family of her own, apparently decided to come forward following counselling sessions in Britain, where she lived for several years.
Now, what do all these reports have in common? Fundamentally, they all repeat the same ‘facts’ which state that a woman in her 40’s is claiming to have given birth to two children (one of whom was stabbed to death with a knitting needle before her eyes) and to have had no memory of the events until recieving therapy in the United Kindgom.
The reason that this gives me pause, is due to the alarming similarity between this story and the narrative structure to the horrifying cases of false allegations of Satanism, brood mares and child abuse which were levelled at hundreds of law-abiding citizens throughout the United States and the United Kingdom, stemming from ‘recovered memories’ during regression therapy.
I’m not denying that there was a murder of a child in 1973. There was. I’m not denying that the woman at the centre of this story needs to be listened to and shown compassion. She does. But did anybody, at any stage, stop to ask themselves about the scientific validity of the sources of these claims? It would appear not.
And it would now appear that it is time to do so. Her parents have vehemently denied the allegations, but aside from that no-one at any point has questioned the validity of the claims.
If the story of ‘Niamh’ proves to be true (which could be settled by the exhumation of the child buried in 1973) then this should be treated with all the gravity that the state and society can muster. If it is not, then the British and Irish Police, the press and the so-called ‘regression therapists’ must be held to account for being duped by a fantastical, horrific tale which pandered to all of our worst suburban fears: abortion, rape, incest and satanic cabals of child abusers.
We’ll be watching this one closely…
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