Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Top 5 faked memoirs

Benjamin Radford is a writer, investigator, and managing editor for Skeptical Inquirer science magazine. His Bad Science column appears regularly on LiveScience.

For LiveScience, he named his top five faked memoirs.

One book on the list:
"Satan's Underground," by Lauren Stratford

"Satan's Underground" was a 1991 book in which the author described her first-hand experience inside a Satanic cult. Stratford's book included horrific depictions of baby-killing rituals, pornography, torture, rape, and other abuse. Like Anthony Godby Johnson, Stratford claimed to have been continually physically and sexually abused by her parents and forced into prostitution. She also described being locked in a metal drum with the bodies of four babies who had been sacrificed to Satan. The book became a best-seller, helping fuel the "Satanic panic" hysteria that swept across America in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Yet skeptical investigation revealed that the story was a complete hoax. None of Stratford's claims were true; every gruesome, sensational detail was made up. Stratford later changed her name and began claiming to be a Jewish Holocaust survivor, still trying to wring sympathy from the public.
Read about all five titles on Radford's list.

Also see Iain Finlayson's critic's chart of the best faked memoirs.

--Marshal Zeringue