Geoffrey Dickens: Child Abuse Claims and Satanic Panic

The BBC reports:

The Home Office is facing calls to explain why a 1980s dossier about alleged paedophiles at Westminster was “not retained or destroyed”.

The document was handed to then Home Secretary Leon Brittan by Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens.

Lord Brittan passed concerns in it to the relevant authorities, but the file itself was not kept.

…The Home Office said a 2013 review found the “credible” elements of the dossier which had “realistic potential” for further investigation were sent to police and prosecutors while other elements were either “not retained or destroyed”.

The fact that Dickens gave a dossier to Brittan is old news; in 1983 Dickens announced his intention to give him “a glimpse inside my private files, where people have written to me with information”. Elements of the dossier may indeed have been “credible”, but it’s likely that anything valuable was hidden among dross: most of the news reports on the subject out today appear to have overlooked the important detail that Dickens was an extravagant conspiracy theorist who helped to contribute to the “Satanic panics” that emerged in the UK just a few years later.

Here’s one report, from 1988:

Young people are in danger from the effects of witchcraft which is “sweeping the country,” Mr Geoffrey Dickens, the Tory campaigner against child abuse, warned in the Commons yesterday… Mr Dickens said outside the Commons that now he would be pressing for – or possibly himself introducing – a Bill to make to make it illegal to practise witchcraft, and empowering courts to pass heavy custodial sentences…. “If we are to protect children from their sordid, sexual and diabolical grasp, we must bring in new laws to wipe witches off the face of the earth”.

And from later the same year:

Babies and young children were being sacrified to the Devil in witchcraft rituals all over Britain, according to Tory MP Mr Geoffrey Dickens….

“Six hundred children go missing every year. At least 50 of these children are simply never found again…. With witchcraft sacrifice nothing is ever found”

Dickens also wrote the foreword to a bogus ex-Satanist memoir by a woman named Audrey Harper, called Dance with the Devil. Harper claimed to have been inducted into a Satanic coven in Virginia Water, in a ceremony which involved being smeared with blood; in her original version of the story the blood had come from a sacrificed cockerel, although she later substituted the dead bird in the story with a murdered baby. There’s a good account of the context of Dickens’ endorsement on a website called Swallowing the Camel:

Geoffrey Dickens latched on to Audrey Harper immediately, supporting her and helping her spread the news that, to her knowledge, English Satanists were still sacrificing children… Complaining that “perverted cults which worship the devil can freely publish guides on how to dabble in the occult,” he opined, “The Home Office must act.” He worked closely with Childwatch, a Hull-based organization that used every opportunity to warn the public about Satanic ritual abuse in England. Its founder, Diane Core, declared that up to 4000 English children were being sacrificed by Satanists annually. She publicly aired bizarre stories from alleged SRA survivors, like the “breeder” who claimed her cult froze sacrificed babies so members could defrost and eat them later.

A full account of Dickens’ antics is available from Chris Bray on The Pagan Library, including details of another “dossier”:

AUGUST 17 1988: The Sport has two page article ‘SAVE MY BABY FROM SATAN’ and includes what are to become familiar quotes from Dianne Core and Geoffrey Dickens… Dickens announces that his ‘dossier’ naming ‘perverted members of a sinister Satan Cult’ HAS GONE MISSING ON ITS WAY TO THE HOUSE OF COMMONS. “The sensational Document was passed to CHILDWATCH supremo Dianne Core by a terrified defector from the mysterious O.T.O. whose depraved rituals end in unbridled black magic orgies of sex and violence”. Core sent the dossier to Dickens but ‘ the package whose full contents could have blown British society apart’ – never arrived. Not only are we supposed to believe that such valuable information was sent through the post without registering or recording the package but that Dicken’s Dossier became iretrievably lost in the post. We are expected to believe that no-one thought of making a copy of any part of such valuable information before it was sent as a safeguard against loss and that the people who originally donated the information had also not kept copies and are, furthermore, completely unable to re-construct the data…

AUGUST 24 1988: Hull Daily Mail reports that Dickens’ claims his life is being threatened by vengeful satanists but that he pledges to carry on the fight against black magic rituals and is building up yet another file to present to the Home Secretary. “Evidence is growing of witchcraft & crimes against children” Dickens says but has in 13 months NEVER presented any evidence.

This sort of thing suggests that Dickens’ earlier dossier on child abuse is likely to have been a rather problematic collection of documents.

For all his many faults, Dickens was an energetic campaigner against child sex abuse, and it’s actually rather sad that his efforts became so misdirected  He vociferously opposed the Paedophile Information Exchange, a lobby group that attached itself to gay rights campaigns in the 1970s; the Labour Party and the left’s complacency about and collusion with the organisation has recently come back to haunt it. We also now know that some prominent individuals in British public life were indeed allowed to get away with abusing children to an astonishing extent; in some cases due to extraordinary police negligence, and in other instances for murkier reasons (the politician Cyril Smith appears to have been “protected” by the security services, who would have expected Smith to assist them politically in return).

But Dickens ended up wasting his energy, diminishing his credibility, and causing real harm to innocent people, through a lurid obsession with the occult.

Excursus

Might renewed interest in Dickens’ dossier lead to a new “Satanic panic”? I’m doubtful: although people are willing to seize on ill-founded accusations (as I discussed here) and indulge in the most absurd conspiracy-mongering, there’s now so much material in the news about real paedophiles to work with that the notion of Satanic cults is actually superfluous.

But there are signs of some renewed interest in Satanic ritual abuse; RT (formerly Russia Today) has recently published an article by the 9/11 Truther Tony Gosling alleging that it is being covered up by… erm, Private Eye magazine:

On the really big international scandals, Private Eye cover up for the establishment…In the Jimmy Savile story, despite testimony of ritual abuse ‘The Eye’ mocked psychotherapist Valerie Sinason and other professionals who supported the victims.

…Psychotherapist Valerie Sinason had been talking for years, to anyone who would listen, about Savile. She personally interviewed two of his victims in her London based ‘Clinic for Dissociative Studies’ who told her at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire that they had been repeatedly sexually abused in horrific rituals they described as ‘satanic.’

This refers to a story that appeared in the Sunday Express at the start of 2013, headlined “Jimmy Savile Was Part of Satanic Ring”. According to the report, Sinason had two patients in the early 1990s who told her that they had been abused by Savile during Satanic rituals. The Express article is based entirely on Sinason’s testimony, and it’s significant that none of Savile’s victims who have gone on record have claimed there was a Satanic ritual element to their abuse.

One possibility, it seems to me, is that genuine Savile victims may have had the notion of a Satanic element suggested to them by a psychotherapist obsessed with the subject. Sinason says she doesn’t use “recovered memory” techniques, but one can see how vulnerable adults may have sinister ideas planted in their heads. Here she is in 2011, interviewed by Will Storr for the Guardian:

“I’m an analytic therapist,” she says. “The idea of that is someone showing, through their behaviour, that all sorts of things might have happened to them.” Signs that a patient has suffered satanically include flinching at green or purple objects, the colours of the high priest and priestess’s robes. “And if someone shudders when they enter a room, you know it’s not ordinary incest.”

Another warning, she says, is the patient saying: “I don’t know.” “What they really mean is: ‘I can’t bear to say.'” A patient who “overpraises” their family is also suspicious. “The more insecure you are, the more you praise. ‘Oh my family was wonderful! I can’t remember any of it!'”

Private Eye has been raising concerns about Sinason’s methods for some time.

All this is apparently of interest to Gosling because Private Eye refused to consider his evidence that Israel was responsible for the 7/7 bombings.

3 Responses

  1. […] Richard Bartholomew provides some important but widely ignored background to the apparently missing …, drawing attention to Dickens’s belief in Satanic Ritual Abuse. Time a few journalists and media pundits took heed of Stanley Cohen’s research, or if that’s too much like hard work, try Paedogeddon. […]

  2. […] Bartholomew, “Geoffrey Dickens: Child Abuse Claims and Satanic Panic” […]

  3. Great article – Dickens even spoke in parliament about alleged satanic practices and (perhaps more pertinently) also claimed to hold ‘a dossier’ about witches and satanism which he intended to ‘hand to the Home Office’. You can search Hansard for the relevant passages, but I’ve collated a few of them on my own site
    http://www.weirdisland.co.uk/behaviour/conspiracy/the-dickens-dossier.html

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