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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

cryptomnesia A psychological phenomenon (“hidden memory”) in which the subject unconsciously recalls seemingly forgotten memories and incorporates them into the present as if they are new and original thoughts and impressions. Related to the déjà vu phenomenon.
      There is an alarming derivation of this genuine phenomenon which is known as “false memory syndrome.” By means of prolonged and insistent questioning, coaching, and leading of the subject, an operator can elicit almost any “memory” required, and that becomes a firm part of the subject's experience, regarded as representing an actuality. It has given rise to extensive belief in Satanist rituals and horrid sexual abuses performed upon children, who appear to recall these events only decades later. So strong is the belief in the inanity that laws have been written to accommodate this newest form of witch-hunt.
      See also Bridey Murphy.

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