All day today, the Two Rivers Behavioral Health System in Kansas City, Missouri, will host their 2013 Trauma Symposium.
The conference is intended as a gathering of knowledgeable experts in mental health willing to share new tools and strategies to help victims of trauma. Its speakers will include trained Two Rivers staff and psychiatrist Chris Trueblood.
And oh yeah, it’ll also feature a man who believes he was abused by a government-sanctioned cult of Satanists who raised him to become the Antichrist.
David Shurter is a man of many stories. Chief among them is the tale that he, among others, was prey to a group of politically powerful cultists who brainwashed him into acts of cannibalism, murder and deviant acts of sex. To drop the hammer further, his own parents were high-ranking members of the cult. They in turn held close ties to the CIA’s clandestine MKUltra program, a program that was – depending on who you ask – either a spectacular failure by the government to prove claims of psychic ability, or the very successful indoctrination of young men and women programmed to activate later as sleeper agents.
To read Shutter’s descriptions of his life, either on his blog or through his autobiography, Rabbit Hole – a Satanic Ritual Abuse Survivor’s Story (Now available on Amazon!), is to stare deeply into the heart of delusion. And it’s not an experience I wholeheartedly recommend.
Suffice to say, Shurter considers himself and a few select others to be the flagbearers of an unspoken truth: the rampant victimization of young children by a underground network of Satanists versed in cruelty, sadism, and most importantly, mind control. Mind control that enabled Satanic abusers to repress the heinous acts done to their victims, at least until later on in life.
For those of us tuned in, this might sound remarkably similar to claims made in the 80′s and 90′s by concerned parents, law enforcement officials and therapists. And that’s because it is.
The so-called “Satanic Panic” took hold of the public imagination for the better part of a decade as criminal prosecutions, heartbreaking TV specials and autobiographic novels all held fast the idea that Satanists were destroying young children across the nation. Eventually, as later investigations found nothing but the incompetence of law officials and unreliable testimonies, the movement to expose the hidden underbelly of cult activity mostly came to an embarrassing end by the early part of the 90′s. Obviously, some folks stuck around.
Nowadays, Shurter and his ilk receive most of their attention from a fringe and entirely online network of conspiracy theorists, labeling themselves as survivors of Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA). While you could spend entire books trying to decipher the mentality of these community members (Lord knows people have), the most honest thing to say about them is that the experiences they collectively describe are no less painful or traumatic than anyone else’s. That doesn’t make their claims any more real, mind you.
And were it to remain within the community, there probably wouldn’t be a need to write about them, or Shurter, at all, except perhaps as intellectual curiosity.*
But the Two Rivers Behavioral Health Systems isn’t an online forum of SRA survivors, now is it? It’s a long-standing mental health facility in the heartland of the country, with trained professionals and an obligation to provide the best possible care to its patients. An obligation I can’t see fulfilled by hosting an academic conference and handing off the stage to a man who believes he was brainwashed to become the world’s finest Satanic assassin.
Given that Two Rivers is specifically presenting Shurter as a ritual abuse survivor, it would appear they’re fully aware of and endorse his claims, and that is positively frightening in its implications. The SRA movement would have never reached the apex it did without the continued prodding by mental health professionals who recovered memories of Satanic abuse and went on to defend their tactics in courtrooms, books and in the media. To see this continue in 2013 is beyond appalling.
Adding salt to the wound, the conference will provide five shiny Continuing Education credits to all its attendees. Just in case you were worried about people not being motivated to show up.
The story sadly doesn’t end here.
See, once upon a time, Two Rivers Behavioral Health System was called Two Rivers Psychiatric Hospital. And for the better part of the 90′s, it played host to the Masters & Johnson Trauma Unit, founded and ran by a psychologist named Mark F. Schwartz. The same Mark F. Schwartz who would go on to build the Castlewood Treatment Center in St. Louis alongside spouse Lori Galperin. Schwartz is currently facing civil litigation over claims that he personally coerced at least two women into believing…wait for it…that they were victimized by Satanic cultists.**
*Writing about Shurter is something I’m wary about in general as he is known to obsess over and harass anyone critical of his views, painting them as accomplices to the Satanic conspiracy.
**During my investigation of Castlewood this time last year, I personally reached out to the HR department of Two Rivers. They assured me that while they were aware of Schwartz’s previous tenure there, Two Rivers had no affilation with either him or Castlewood. Hmm.