California attorney Richard Hamlin believes his wife is under the control of her father's Satanic cult; conspirologists support him.
Until February 2004, California attorney Richard Hamilton led an outwardly idyllic existence. He was a former Sacramento County deputy prosecutor with a successful Sacramento practice, a $1 million mansion in posh El Dorado Hills, and four children by his wife of 20 years. Susan Hamlin, 46, was also an attorney. The only obvious wrench in the works was Hamilton's elderly father-in-law, a respected Fresno biochemist named Sydney Siemer.
In 1999, following a period of hospitalization for depression, Susan Hamlin had begun to recover repressed memories of childhood rape and torture at the hands of her father. She shared these horrific memories with her husband in 2002, and he responded by traveling to Fresno and publicly distributing fliers with damning information about Dr. Siemer.
Dr. Siemer hired a lawyer and denied that he had ever abused Susan or her three siblings, filing a restraining order against the Hamlins. He offered to attend therapy with his daughter to help her realize that her memories of incest and violence were false, but Mrs. Hamlin declined. Mrs. Hamlin's sister couldn't recall any abuse in the Siemer home, so she entered therapy to try to recover memories of her own. To date, she has not come forward with any allegations.
February 22, 2004: Susan Hamlin returned home from a Starbuck's in Granite Bay covered in bruises, her nose broken and some ribs fractured. Her husband demanded to know what happened. Mrs. Hamlin confessed that for the past two years, members of a Satanic cult to which she and her father belonged had been plotting to ritually murder Richard Hamlin as a "trophy Christian", a fitting sacrifice to Satan. Susan was promised she would be made high priestess of the cult if she went along with the plan. The murder was scheduled for March 1, at midnight. When she tried to extricate herself from the plot, she explained, she was summoned to meet with a fellow Satanist named Lisa Clum at the Granite Bay Starbuck's. (Apparently, the women were going to chat about Satanic ritual sacrifice over venti lattes and blueberry scones.) As soon as she stepped out of her car, Lisa's 47-year-old husband, Rock Clum, allegedly beat Mrs. Hamilton to a bloody pulp right in the parking lot and warned her to "stick with the plan".
Susan Hamlin had even more chilling revelations. Her father continued to exert sexual and emotional control over her to such an extent that she was still having incestuous sexual relations with him. He and his friend Howard Mily, the high priest of the cult, had been sexually exploiting her since she was a young teenager. They had prostituted her, used her to procure other young victims, and ritually tortured her in the most sadistic ways imaginable. She admitted that she had molested 3 of the couple's 4 children from 1996 to 2002, under her father's instruction. He taught her how to hypnotize her kids and sexually abuse them as any "good Satanist mom" should, she said. At the time the abuse began, the kids were ages 6, 8, and 12. Dr. Siemer, his wife (Susan's stepmom), and Susan's sister all molested the Hamlin children as well.
There was more. In 1982, Howard Mily and others in the cult tortured Susan for a 3-week period by stringing her up on a pegboard and confining her in cold storage. Twice she was forced to witness the torture of a dark-haired 9- or 10-year-old girl they had abducted; they broke the girl's bones and tied her body into strange positions, then murdered her. This was filmed.
Dr. Siemer had a stash of child pornography and snuff films in his Fresno home, according to Mrs. Hamlin. Aghast, Richard Hamlin urged his wife to report everything to the police. On February 26, four days after the Starbuck's beating, he accompanied her to the El Dorado Sheriff's office, where she confessed to molesting her kids and plotting to kill her husband. She explained that the sexual abuse was not for her own sexual gratification, but an effort to accustom the children to touching and to "keep [them] from thinking their sexuality was their own." She also described the murder she witnessed in 1982, not specifying if this was a recovered memory or not.
Several detectives interviewed Mrs. Hamlin on tape and had her sign a statement. The Hamlin children were immediately removed from the home by Child Protective Services for their own safety, but the detectives decided not to arrest Mrs. Hamilton until an investigation into her claims had been conducted.
Two days later, Susan Hamlin returned to the Sheriff's office and recanted every word of her elaborate signed confession. It was a lie, she said; neither she nor anyone in her family ever molested the kids. Her father had never sexually abused her. It was Richard Hamlin, not Rock Clum, who beat her up the previous week and forced her to implicate her father in a murder plot that was all in his head. After the beating, he had threatened her at gunpoint and swordpoint.
The detectives had been reluctant to accept Mrs. Hamlin's original claims, but they pounced on her retraction. Richard Hamlin was immediately arrested and eventually charged with 18 felony counts of spousal abuse, torture, death threats, negligent discharge of a handgun, and child endangerment. His trial began on October 11, '05. His 18-year-old son Ryan took the stand and testified that Mr. Hamlin had been beating his wife up to 5 times per week since 2002. The day of the Starbuck's beating, believing there really was a Satanic plot against his life, he had forced the whole family into the van and driven to Granite Bay with a sword, a Derringer, and a paintball gun full of frozen paintballs. The two Hamlin girls were dropped off somewhere, but Ryan and his younger brother were forced to stay in the vehicle and train the paintball gun on their mother while she gave directions to the Clum house. Richard Hamlin intended to murder Lisa Clum and Dr. Siemer, Ryan told the court. (1)
Mr. Hamlin is defending himself in the trial. You might wonder how he could possibly stand a chance against the incredibly damaging testimony of his own son and ex-wife. It's easier than it looks. First of all, Hamlin was able to acquire Susan's journals from 1999-2002. They are chock-full of recovered memories of incest, Satanic ceremonies, and torture, undermining her claim that Dr. Siemer and his alleged accomplices never laid a hand on anyone. To complicate matters, Susan's court testimony at times directly contradicts her father's. She insists he never worked in Indio, California (home of the notorious Cabazon Indian Reservation, supposed site of illegal weapons experiments and gun-dealing throughout the 1980s) - but Dr. Siemer admits he did. (3)
Naturally, conspirologists have pounced on the Hamlin case. The Indio link "confirms" the findings of investigative journalist Danny Casolaro of Virginia, who in the late '80s uncovered connections among pirated PROMIS software, the October Surprise that allegedly cost Jimmy Carter the 1980 election, the Beirut bombing, fuel-air explosives developed on the Cabazon Reservation by Wackenhut and other CIA fronts, and dozens of other shady doings that he attributed to a power cabal called "The Octopus". Casalaro's Octopus theories are too complex to examine here, but I will note that Casalaro was found dead in a West Virginia hotel room in 1991, an apparent suicide. Supporters declare he was murdered for being a Man Who Knew Too Much. (see Kenn Thomas and Jim Keith's book The Octopus: Secret Government and the Death of Danny Casolaro for a detailed study of this, or save yourself some trouble and check out Kenn Thomas's chapter "Behold a Pale Horse" in Jim Keith's Secret and Suppressed, Feral House, 1993)
One of Casalaro's primary sources was a man named Michael Riconosciuto, who claimed he personally modified stolen PROMIS software for the U.S. government (so it could be used to "spy" on foreign computers). He also made a lot of other claims regarding the CIA, NSA, the October Surprise, etc. Hereafter I'll refer to Riconosciuto as "Tater", since he looks like Mr. Potatohead with a Mo haircut.
After Richard Hamlin's arrest, Tater informed him that he had important information about his father-in-law's activites. On March 30 of this year, Tater penned a letter of Judicial Notification to the Chief Judge of the Superior Court in El Dorado, claiming he has proof that Dr. Sydney Siemer worked on illegal biowarfare research for the CIA in Indio in 1982. I don't believe this information is even remotely relevant to the Hamlin case, which is a domestic violence case. What does biowarfare research have to do with incest, death threats, and spousal abuse? This is how the judge, Edward Keller, responded as well.
Tater is currently incarcerated on unrelated charges and will not be allowed to testify in the Hamlin trial. Unfortunately, Richard Hamlin firmly believes that Tater is a credible witness who could aid his defense. From Hamlin's open letter, posted on his website: "Michael Riconosciuto is in jail. He has fought the government over and over again. He could have seen my plight and said, 'It’s not my fight,' yet he won’t. With nothing to gain—except a sense of justice and truth—he volunteered his information about Dr. Sidney Siemer."Why is Tater even involved? Well, his letter of Judicial Notification speaks for itself..."My legal defense team has in their possession documents obtained after my trial that clearly can be used to support the defense of Richard Hamlin, and prove the direct knowledge I possess...is true and correct...There is the additional matter of the prosecution of Philip Arthur Thompson who is presently charged with murder and rape in the same jurisdiction as the Richard Hamlin case. The above mentioned government documents will show Thompson was actively working as an FBI informant against me at the time he committed numerous rapes and murders. Many...orchestrated by the real perpetrator in the Hamlin case." Tater continues, "Eldorado County [sic] has demonstrated a conflict of interest between the Thompson case and the Hamlin case...impeach[ing] my credibility in the Hamlin case serves to obstruct my being an effective witness in the Thompson case.." Furthermore, Tater states he's been threatened by the "real perpetrator" in the Hamlin case, causing him to be transferred to a medical facility where his prostate canser isn't being treated properly. You decide: Does this sound like a man with "nothing to gain"?
Richard Hamlin's open letter makes clear his position on his ex-wife's original claims of being a Satanic pawn. He believes them. Yet he is quick to point out that the case is about incest and psychological abuse, not occult beliefs and practices. He writes, "The traditional media has focused almost exclusively on the 'Satanic' angle of this case. Such reporting is a miscarriage of justice to the real overriding issue of incest and molest and the methods child molesters use to enforce and perpetrate their ongoing abuse.This case is about incest." Hamlin believes that Dr. Siemer raped and terrorized his 4 children, continuing to have relations with Suan even after she married. He had sex with her the night before her wedding. The kids were "swapped" with other incestuous families and prostituted. Susan helped her dad gain access to other victims, including her own kids. Dr. Siemer wanted Richard Hamlin dead to shut him up and get him out of the way, so he could continue to exert sexual and emotional control over his family.
Based on the findings of Virginia McCullough of the conspiracy-oriented website http://www.newsmakingnews.com/ and the private investigation of the rather sinister Ted Gunderson (who insinuated himself into the case alongside Tater), Richard Hamlin also believes his father-in-law was a part of MKULTRA, the government's secret mind-control program. "So, we have a man that usd mind control, learned from our own government, to create the perfect incestuous family". McCullough has written a series of articles in defense of Richard Hamlin and buys the Satanic ritual abuse stories hook-line-and-sinker. She clearly relishes the case, calling it "the best conspiracy case in recent California history". She claims two anonymous sources have linked Dr. Siemer to a CIA child kidnapping/prostitution ring called The Finders, and revealed that he's a "senior member" of the Temple of Set's Order of the Trapezoid. There is no evidence to support either claim.
Richard Hamlin and his conspiracy-minded supporters aren't acknowledging the possibilities that Susan Hamlin could be a compulsive liar, an hysteric, and/or mentally ill. They uncritically accept the basic truth of her original claims and have fit them into a standard conspiracy framework. According to Mr. Hamlin, Dr. Siemer escaped detection for so many years by using trauma-based mind control and the resultant Multiple Personality Disorder to create amnesia in Susan and her siblings, then adding intimidation of an occult nature. He also has friends in high places. All of these conclusions are derived from Susan Hamlin's descriptions of conditioning, hypnosis, electroshock, and sensory deprivation used by her dad to control her. Hamlin makes much of the fact that Dr. Siemer reportedly worked with Army Intelligence and had a high security clearance. He and McCullough believe he was engaged in covert operations, radiation experiments, and illegal biowarfare research. Again, I don't know what any of this has to do with domestic abuse and death threats.
Worst of all, Hamlin blames himself for much of what has occurred. He expresses deep guilt for not having realized that his "babies were being hurt...I cared about me, material things, and my career." (2)
The bottom line: The Hamlin case is the result of incredibly complex intrafamily issues that could never be fully resolved in a courtroom. The principal players themselves don't appear to know what is true, what is imagined, and what is an inextricable combination of truth and imagination.
1. Sacramento Bee, Oct. 26/05, "Teen: Father feared a plot" by Ramon Coronado
2. Official site for the Richard Hamlin defense (www.geocities.com/richardwhamlin/)
3. Virginia McCullough articles at www.newsmakingnews.com