Cult and Ritual Abuse: Its History, Anthropology, and Recent Discovery in Contemporary America is a book written by James Randall Noblitt and Pamela Sue Perskin exploring the phenomenon of satanic ritual abuse. Noblitt, a clinical psychologist, is Director of the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services in Dallas, Texas. Perskin is the Executive Director of the International Council on Cultism and Ritual Trauma and a lecturer on child abuse.

Cult and Ritual Abuse was first published in 1995; a revised edition followed in 2000. The book has been called the most reasonable review of the pro-conspiracy version of satanic ritual abuse to date, but was also criticized for being incoherent, inconsistent, uneven, filled with logical fallacies and for citing proven frauds as evidence. Satanic ritual abuse is considered a moral panic by most scholars.[1]


Both editions of the book have been reviewed several times.

First edition

Joel Best described it as having the "trappings" of a scholarly book, but as ultimately incoherent. He pointed out that even Noblitt & Perskin state their evidence is not compelling, and despite acknowledging the need for parsimony as in Occam's razor, accept the less parsimonious proposition, that multigenerational, multinational abusive entities exist and have existed for centuries without discovery, rather than the more parsimonious idea that the patients are disturbed and mistaken. Best also drew attention to special pleading used by Noblitt and Perskin to support the stories of their patients. Best concluded that in order to understand the debate regarding satanic ritual abuse one must read the sceptical literature.[2]

LeRoy Schultz, Professor Emeritus of social work at West Virginia University, described the book as a very selective review of the literature on satanic ritual abuse, citing only work that supports their point of view, and failing to address the issue of clinical versus empirical evidence.[3]

A review in the American Journal of Psychotherapy stated that the book was probably the most reasonable review of the subject to date.[4]

Second edition

Two reviews of the second addition refer to the book as an overview of the topic, and as a vehicle to advocate for the inclusion of cult and ritual trauma abuse in the DSM.[5][6]

Edward L. King reviewed the book from a Freemason's perspective. He pointed out that Noblitt and Perskin cite known frauds, including Michael Warnke's disproven involvement in satanism and the Taxil hoax, without qualification or noting that these examples were faked. King also pointed to the dubiousness of Noblitt's qualifications and certifications, concluding that he considers the book an utter fraud and that what "[Noblit and Perskin] consider "research" is merely a self-serving screed designed to enhance their so-called 'professional' status as treating "satanic ritual abuse."[7]



  1. See:
  2. Best, Joel (1996). "Book Review: Cult and Ritual Abuse: Its History, Anthropology, and Recent Discovery in Contemporary America". Criminal Justice Review 21: 103. 
  3. Schultz, L (1995). "Book Review: Cult and Ritual Abuse: Its History, Anthropology and Recent Discovery in Contemporary America". Issues in Child Abuse Accusations 7 (4). 
  4. Coomaraswamy,, R. (Summer 1996). "Cult and Ritual Abuse: Its History, Anthropology and Recent Discovery in Contemporary America". American Journal of Psychotherapy 50 (3): 383. 
  5. Fletcher, K. (July 2001). "Cult and ritual abuse: Its history, anthropology, and recent discovery in contemporary America, revised edition". Psychiatric services 52: 978–979. 
  6. Schmuttermaier, J.R. (2001). "Cult and Ritual Abuse: Sadism not Sophism". Contemporary Psychology: the APA Review of Books 46 (6): 615–617. 
  7. King, EL. "Book review: Cult & Ritual Abuse - Its History, Anthropology, and Recent Discovery in Contemporary America". Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Cult and Ritual Abuse. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.