In 1988 Ericka and Julie Ingram began making a series of accusations of sexual abuse against their father, Paul Ingram, who was a respected deputy sheriff in Olympia, Washington. At first the accusations were confined to molestations in their childhood, but they grew to include torture and rape as recently as the month before. At a time when reported incidents of "recovered memories" had become widespread, these accusations were not unusual. What captured national attention in this case is that, under questioning, Ingram appeared to remember participating in bizarre satanic rites involving his whole family and other members of the sheriff's department.
Remembering Satan is a lucid, measured, yet absolutely riveting inquest into a case that destroyed a family, engulfed a small town, and captivated an America obsessed by rumors of a satanic underground. As it follows the increasingly bizarre accusations and confessions, the claims and counterclaims of police, FBI investigators, and mental health professionals. Remembering Satan gives us what is at once a psychological detective story and a domestic tragedy about what happens when modern science is subsumed by our most archaic fears.
This shocking cautionary tale focuses on the bizarre case of Paul Ingram, a Washington State deputy sheriff, Republican county leader and Pentecostal who was accused by his daughters Ericka and Julie of sexual abuse and of belonging to a satanic cult that allegedly included other sheriff's department members and that engaged in orgies and ritual sadistic abuse. Ingram confessed to having repeated sex with both daughters, and also to impregnating Julie at 15 and taking her to have an abortion. He subsequently retracted these statements, maintaining that all of his ``recovered memories'' were fantasies produced under pressure. Because he pleaded guilty to rape charges in 1989, he is serving a 20-year prison sentence. Yet months of investigation produced no physical evidence that any sex crimes or satanic practices ever took place, reports Wright, who leans strongly to the view that Ericka and Julie's own ``recovered memories'' were sheer fantasy. This suspenseful account of a controversial case, most of which appeared in the New Yorker , pleads for greater skepticism and caution in dealing with sex-abuse charges based on recovered memories.