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October 4, 1995

Making Monsters: False Memory, Psychotherapy and Sexual Hysteria

Author Affiliations

Southwestern Medical Center University of Texas Health Sciences Center Dallas, Tex New York University Medical Center New York, NY

 

by Richard Ofshe and Ethan Watters, 340 pp, $23, ISBN 0-684-19698-0, New York, NY, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1994.

JAMA. 1995;274(13):1089-1090. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530130095042

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Abstract

Recovered memories of early sexual trauma, satanic ritual reconstructions, and the development of multiple personalities satisfy the wish of both patient and therapist to understand a bewildering array of symptoms that plead cautious study. Until the 1970s, multiple personalities were considered extremely rare. Although almost entirely absent from the European and Japanese literature, more cases of multiple personality have been described in the past five years than collectively in the past hundreds of years. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has not found one single case of satanic cult ritual burial remains, although tens of thousands of individuals every year are purported to have been victims.

Making Monsters is an overdue book in which Richard Ofshe, a Pulitzer Prize— winning social psychologist, and writer Ethan Watters sensitively and scientifically dissect an epidemic. They acknowledge that there is no excusing of incest and that sexual abuse is a practice condemned by essentially

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