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

By Moira Johnston | Go to book overview

PROLOGUE
The Memory Wars

In Salem, Massachusetts, the locust trees were still bare in the bleak memorial park that honors those killed by the witch trials of 1692 -- the twenty-five women, men, and a newborn hung, crushed, or dead in prison on accusations that they were inhabited by spirits of the devil. Innocents dead, at the hands of hysterical young girls, on the strength of spectral evidence, "that poisoned cloud of fantasy" that had stood as proof in court. This small yard of granite and worn grass challenged the human indifference that had permitted Salem's shame. The dead confronted you. You were forced to step on their cries, carved into flagstones, as you stepped into the walled space: "God knows I am innocent . . . Oh, Lord, help me! . . . I am no witch." On each crude stone bench that extruded from the rough granite walls was carved a name and date of death. John Proctor. Sarah Good. Rebecca Nurse. July 19, 1692. It was like sitting on their graves.

March 24, 1994. In California, Napa Valley girded for the courtroom battle that could change the course of the recovered memory wars, a baffling war that looked, to some, like that poisoned cloud at Salem. It was an unlikely field of battle, for this was paradise, after all, a place of feasts and vineyards, not lurid incest trials. But the network TV trucks gathering outside downtown Napa's hundred-year-old white frame courthouse betrayed the importance of the events unfolding that spring morning. As the pale celadon leaves unfurled on the vines that have made this one of the world's most celebrated and wealthy wine valleys, reporters from People magazine, the

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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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