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Presentation of HumanUrbanNet
Psychosocial ISSUE





Mind control is the cornerstone of ritual abuse, the key element in the subjugation and silencing of its victims. Victims of ritual abuse are subjected to a rigorously applied system of mind control designed to rob them of their sense of free will and to impose upon them the will of the cult and its leaders. Most often these ritually abusive cults are motivated by a satanic belief system. The mind control is achieved through an elaborate system of brainwashing, programming, indoctrination, hypnosis, and the use of various mind-altering drugs. The purpose of the mind control is to compel ritual abuse victims to keep the secret of their abuse, to conform to the beliefs and behaviors of the cult, and to become functioning members who serve the cult by carrying out the directives of its leaders without being detected within society at large.

The information available about how ritually abusive cults indoctrinate young children comes primarily from child and adult survivors who have been able to remember how the cult achieved mind control over them and others in the cult. Therapists who have worked extensively with ritual abuse victims have gleaned a significant, although still incomplete, degree of understanding of the process by which the mind control is achieved. A key element of the victim’s recovery from ritual abuse consists of understanding, unraveling, and undoing the mind control which usually persists for a long time, even in victims who no longer participate in the cult. Undoing these controls is critical, for victims may remain unable to disclose their abuse, or vulnerable to cult manipulation if the systematic programming is not dismantled. As more ritual abuse victims are helped to free themselves from cult mind control, the body of information about this important aspect of ritual abuse continues to grow.

Satanic cults focus their initial efforts to achieve mind control mast frequently and strenuously with children under the age of six. Like developmental psychologists, satanists understand that people are most susceptible to having their character, beliefs, and behavior molded during this early period of development. This review of the mind control techniques utilized by satanic cults will focus primarily on the techniques used on very young children, both those in ritually abusive families, and those in extrafamilial settings, such as day-care and preschools. Children who are abused in intrafamilial settings are subjected to ongoing mind control that is often sustained in extreme forms throughout their childhood and adolescence.

There is a growing body of research into the indoctrination techniques which are used by a wide range of destructive cults. It is helpful to consider how satanic cults make use of these and other techniques to control their victims.


In Cults, Quacks and Non-Professional Psychotherapists, West and Singer have described elements of cult indoctrination as follows:

      1.      Isolation of the recruit and manipulation of his environment.

      2.      Control over channels of communication and information.

      3.      Debilitation through inadequate diet and fatigue.

      4.      Degradation or diminution of the self.

      5.      Induction of uncertainty, fear, and confusion, with joy and certainty  through surrender to the group as a goal.

     6.      Alternation of harshness and leniency in a context of discipline.

      7.      Peer pressure generating guilt and requiring open confessions.

      8.      Insistence by seemingly all-powerful hosts that the recruit’s survival—physical or spiritual—depends on identifying with the group.

      9.      Assignment of monotonous or repetitive tasks such as chanting or copying written materials.

   10.  Acts of symbolic betrayal or renunciation of self, family, and previously held values, designed to increase the psychological distance between the recruit and his previous way of life.


Satanic cults use many of the same techniques, but apply them in unique ways to indoctrinate and control very young children. To begin with, they impose a variety of PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL, and COGNITIVE CONDITIONS which are conducive to indoctrination.




              1. HUNGER AND THIRST

Ritually abused children are often deprived of food and water for extended periods of time, and are told they will be left to die of hunger and thirst. Their deprivation and fear of dying make them willing to comply with virtually any behavior or belief necessary to be given food or water again. The cult member who finally does feed the child is perceived as an ally and benefactor. The child feels deeply grateful and is thus susceptible to bonding with that cult member, thereby increasing the child’s vulnerability to identifying with the cult and its beliefs and practices.


                         2. PAIN

Ritually abused children are physically tormented and sexually abused in very painful ways. The pain can cause them to  dissociate and, like prisoners of war subjected to torture, they become willing to do whatever is demanded of them in order to make the pain stop. For a young child who is ritually abused in an out-of-home care setting, even a brief encounter with intense pain profoundly impacts that child’s susceptibility to cult mind control. For those children raised in cults, the use of pain and the threat of pain continues for as long as they are submitted to the cult, causing an ongoing and deepening degree of subservience to the cult.


                   3. DRUGS

Both child and adult victims of ritual abuse have described being abused with mind-altering drugs. Some drugs are injected or administered in suppositories. Others are hidden in food or drink, or simply swallowed under duress.

The drug effects include hypnotic and paralytic effects, causing victims to experience mental and emotional states ranging from confusion and drowsiness, to passivity and helplessness. Memory distortions occur as well. Victims tend to recall very real and painful experiences only with difficulty as though they were unreal or even just dreams. Additionally, in such drug-induced states, young children are even more pliable than they would otherwise be, and more open to the belief system into which the cult is attempting to indoctrinate them. Cult leaders capitalize on drug-induced reality distortions to create the illusion that they have absolute power to which the child must submit.


                         4. EXHAUSTION

Ritually abused children are often deprived of rest and sleep. In the extrafamilial settings in which ritual abuse occurs, children are frequently deprived of needed nap and rest periods. In ritually abusive family settings, children may be deprived of sleep for extended periods of time. The influence of repeated drugging further deepens their sense of exhaustion. People in a state of exhaustion are more open to mind control because fatigue saps their normal coping capacities. This effect is especially pronounced in young children.


                          5. ISOLATION

Ritually abused children are put into closets, holes, cages, coffins, and other confined, usually dark, spaces. The children are often isolated there and told they will be left to die. The sensory deprivation that may result can cause some degree of disorientation. The isolation causes the child to feel desperate and overwhelmed with fear and dread. An abusive adult who subsequently releases the child from confinement is perceived by the child as a rescuer, often causing the young child to bond to that cult member. The child’s bonding with one or more cult members increases the degree of the child’s identification with the values and beliefs of the cult. In other words, both the isolation and the rescue make the child more susceptible to indoctrination into the destructive beliefs and practices of the cult.



                         6. SEXUAL ABUSE

Ritually abused children are subjected to brutal sexual abuse which involves severe pain and may involve sexual arousal with which the children are neither physically nor emotionally prepared to cope. Sometimes the sexual abuse is performed with symbolic instruments (e.g., penetration with a crucifix or wand) which reinforces the satanic belief system of the cult. The pain, especially if in combination with arousal, is extremely disorienting and overwhelming, again making the child willing to comply with the demands of the cult members in order to make the feelings stop. The sexual arousal can contribute to the formation of distorted bonds with the abusers, leading to identification with the abusive cult.


                        7. BRIGHT LIGHTS

Adult and child victims of ritual abuse describe having harsh, intensely bright lights shined in their eyes immediately before and during indoctrination. The lights appear to disorient them and to induce a state of trance which lowers the victim’s resistance and heightens the susceptibility to indoctrination.


Salvador Dali
Pogled Sa Nebesa