Repressed-Memory Therapist Recovers Rockford Files Episode

Top Headlines


Roommate Skulking Around Edge Of Party Like Victorian Ghost Child

SEATTLE—Appearing initially in the far corner of the living room and then several minutes later on the threshold between the kitchen and the hallway, local roommate Kelsey Stahl was, by multiple accounts, seen skulking around the edge of a house party Friday like a Victorian ghost child.

Man Praying Interviewer Doesn’t Ask Any Questions

MINNEAPOLIS—His mouth going dry and his palms growing sweaty as he arrived at the offices of Regent Advertising Partners to interview for an open account manager position, local man Devin McKee reportedly prayed Thursday that the hiring manager wouldn’t ask him any questions during their meeting.

Man Had No Idea Cough Was Going To Be Wet One

MUSKEGON, MI—Caught completely off guard by the viscous lump of sputum that was dislodged and sent rocketing upward from his lower respiratory tract, area man Luke Reese confirmed Wednesday he had no idea his impending cough was going to be a wet one.

Area Man A Staunch Single-Gender Voter

JOHNSTOWN, PA—Saying it was the only factor he considered when deciding who to cast his ballot for, local man William Swanson, 44, told reporters Thursday he is strictly a single-gender voter.

Weird Relative At Family Reunion Knows How Everyone Related To Each Other

WELDON SPRING, MO—Saying she possessed a seemingly limitless wealth of information on various cousins, step-siblings, and in-laws, sources at the 2016 Webb family reunion this past weekend confirmed that weird relative Susan Amos, 73, exhibited a strikingly intricate knowledge of how everyone was related to each other.

Woman Worried She Doing Bad Job Enjoying Massage

MALVERN, PA—Silently wondering throughout the hour-long appointment if there was anything she could be doing to enhance the experience, local woman Caitlyn Leigh reportedly worried Wednesday that she was doing a bad job enjoying the full-body massage she was receiving.

Cyclist Clearly Loves Signaling Turns

MILWAUKEE—Judging by the firm outward thrust of the woman’s arm and the length of times she held the gestures, witnesses confirmed Wednesday that a local bicycle rider clearly loves signaling turns.

Mom On Vacation Marveling At Time Difference Compared To Home

SAN DIEGO—Having already pointed out when everyone back home was getting off work and when the local nightly news was starting, area mother Pam Westin spent much of the first day of her family’s week-long California vacation marveling at the time difference compared to where they lived, sources confirmed Tuesday.

Relaxing Tea Better Fucking Work

SMYRNA, DE—Saying he needed to be transported to a tranquil, untroubled state of calmness pronto, local man Pete McCartin, 29, told reporters Thursday that a fresh-brewed mug of purportedly relaxation-promoting tea had better fucking work.

Parents Into New Snack Now

BALLSTON, NY—Noticing they had both a Lightly Salted and a Tomato Basil version of the previously unknown product in their cupboard upon arriving for a visit home this past weekend, Jared Randall, 26, confirmed Wednesday that his parents are into a new snack now.
End Of Section
  • More News
Up Next

Repressed-Memory Therapist Recovers Rockford Files Episode

OTTUMWA, IA—After months of hypnotherapy, local repressed-memory therapist Brian Marnard has helped Joan Spees, a 37-year-old farm-equipment sales consultant, recover an entire Rockford Files episode from the darkest reaches of her subconscious mind.

"Joan, who had suffered from seemingly inexplicable anxiety attacks her entire adult life, was the perfect candidate for repressed-memory therapy," Marnard said Monday. "Under my care, she began recovering vivid memory flashes from what seemed to be a single, distinct episode from her past. The images included an old-fashioned answering machine turning on in an empty room, a gold Firebird experiencing a sudden, violent change in direction, and a dark-haired man walking on the beach. In spite of the memory's persistent nature, Joan could not see how the fragments were related."

Spees said that, although the flashbacks would intrude upon her waking hours accompanied by the same "catchy snippet" of music, they did little to disrupt her personal life. Nonetheless, Marnard was concerned about what the memories might signify.

"Repressed memories, which are stored outside the awareness of the conscious mind, can usually be traced back to a traumatic event," Marnard said. "What if Joan had been the victim of childhood sexual abuse by the dark-haired man she felt was named James, Jim, Garner, or Rockford? If so, she needed to bring these memories to the fore and confront them."

For two months, Marnard engaged Spees in an exhaustive, expensive course of drug-mediated interviews, hypnosis, regression therapy, and literal dream interpretation.

"Brian said my scraps of recollection were probably part of something bigger, an incident at least 44 minutes long—one that might be part of a larger chain of similar events from my adolescence," Spees said. "Brian kept encouraging me to pursue my vague feeling that the man I was seeing was a criminal, even though I felt even more strongly that the mysterious figure could be trusted."

According to Marnard, Spees' first few sessions progressed little beyond her strong memory of lying on her family's living room floor.

Marnard, who used hypnosis to recover details of a critically acclaimed '70s detective show (above).

"I'm 8... I'm wearing my Pooh pajamas... wrapped in an olive-green blanket..." a transcript of Spees' first session read. "A phone's ringing, but it's not mine... I'm waiting for someone to answer the phone... There's a message.... An important message about someone picking up the car from the garage? No, it's a woman saying she's lonely... no, it's a pizza shop. I'm not sure..."

At that point in the session, Spees would usually whistle a distinctive melody.

"It was a long time before I got any more out of her," Marnard said. "But finally, Joan was able to recover some very strong memories, like the image of a murder suspect who supposedly died in a car accident. And something about an angel trying to get his money back from a swindler who was on the run from the mob. And then, there was a garbage disposal jammed by a missing bullet."

"Still," Marnard added. "She was never able to fully understand what was going on."

Finally, near the end of a one-hour 'deep therapy' session, Spees had a breakthrough.

"I was about to bring Joan out of it, when she started talking in a deep voice, like that of a father figure," Marnard said. "I could feel we were reaching a climax. That's when she said, 'Honey, we're all scared to death. I guess that's the price we pay for living in a world where we sell cemetery plots on billboards by the freeway and all the prices end in 99 cents. What you gotta do is just keep laughing.'"

Marnard said it wasn't until Spees paused and said, "Later tonight on NBC..." that he recognized the quote as coming from Jim Rockford, the laid-back ex-con-turned-detective played by James Garner on the popular '70s TV show, The Rockford Files.

In spite of the breakthrough, Dr. Klaus Stenner of the Iowa Psychological Association criticized Marnard's methods, and those of all repressed-memory therapists, calling them unprofessional.

"There is no real evidence that childhood memories are ever unconsciously repressed," Stenner said. "In addition, recovering these supposedly repressed memories, whether of sexual abuse or the plots of popular television series, has never led to significant improvement in a patient's psychological health and stability. Luckily, Spees was spared any lasting harm—probably because her memories were innocuous and generally positive, thanks to The Rockford Files' high production values and taut writing."

Immediately after the breakthrough, Spees discontinued her twice-weekly visits and refused to pay her outstanding bill, calling Marnard "a quack." Marnard, however, adamantly insists that Spees should return to therapy.

"Joan can run from her problems all she wants, but the haunting, sinister image of the gun in the cookie jar will be with her forever," Marnard said. "And even if she has discovered the source of the mysterious answering-machine messages, it doesn't explain Joan's recurring memories of a shadowy, mustachioed figure known only as 'Higgins.'"


Sign up For The Onion's Newsletter

Give your spam filter something to do.

X Close