Spectral Evidence: The Ramona Case: Incest, Memory, and Truth on Trial in Napa Valley

By Moira Johnston | Go to book overview

9
This Thing Called Repression

The first criminal trial involving recovered memory -- the George Franklin murder case -- was about to begin in October 1990. Twenty years earlier, an intense police investigation had not found a shred of evidence tying George Franklin to the murder of eight- year-old Susan Nason. Yet a jury would find him guilty, solely on the basis of the memories his daughter had massively repressed for those twenty years, then recovered in lurid detail.

Eileen Franklin Lipsker, a red-haired Southern California mother of four, had been in her suburban family room, her five-year-old daughter, Jessica, sitting at her feet, drawing, when the memories first came.

Now. Now. Mother's and child's eyes met . . . at exactly that moment, Eileen Lipsker remembered something. She remembered it as a picture. She could see her redheaded friend Susan Nason looking up, twisting her head, and trying to catch her eye . . . She remembered Susan, just four days short of her ninth birthday, sensing George Franklin's attack and putting up her right hand to stave him off. Thwack! Eileen could hear the sound, a sound like a baseball bat swatting an egg -- the worst sound of her life. "No!" she yelled inside her head. "I have to make this memory stop." Another thwack. And then quiet. Blood. Blood everywhere on Susan's head.

Recovered memories such as Eileen's were a new phenomenon. They were a new experience for the two expert witnesses in the Franklin case, Dr. Lenore Terr, a psychiatrist and nationally respected child trauma expert in San Francisco, and Dr. Elizabeth Loftus, a University of Washington research psychologist who was famous for having in

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Spectral Evidence: The Ramona Case: Incest, Memory, and Truth on Trial in Napa Valley
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Prologue the Memory Wars 1
  • A Perfect Family 11
  • 1 - A World of Women 13
  • 2 - The Birth of a Salesman 34
  • 3 - The Family Table 51
  • 4 - Flashbacks 76
  • 5 - Confrontation 96
  • Discovery 105
  • 6 - A Family Falls Apart 107
  • 7 - A Mother Knows 122
  • 8 - The Christmas Present 141
  • 9 - This Thing Called Repression 155
  • 10 - The Gathering of Evidence 172
  • 11 - The Gathering of Witnesses 189
  • 12 - The Memory Lesson 210
  • The Trial 233
  • 13 - Courtroom B 235
  • 14 - The Great Recovered Memory Debate 256
  • 15 - The Power of Suggestion 270
  • 16 - Holly's Day in Court 290
  • 17 - The T-Graph 317
  • 18 - The Debate Continues 333
  • 19 - Verdict 351
  • Epilogue the Impact 379
  • The Process 401
  • Notes 404
  • Selected Bibliography 428
  • Acknowledgments 434
  • Index 436
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