What is Hypnosis? Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)?  Scientology and more!

In the past months, I have been working on two chapters on “The Dark Side of Hypnosis” for a forthcoming International Handbook of Clinical Hypnosis. I asked law professor emeritus Alan Scheflin to work with me as well as Jon Atack. Scheflin focused on one chapter on the U.S. government mind control program MKUltra and George Estabrooks. I focused on authoritarian cult leaders like Ron Hubbard of Scientology infamy and others. For anyone interested in Scientology or the topic of cults, I recommend Atack’s paper Never Believe a Hypnotist. It is of interest that Hubbard used those very words. Hubbard was a hypnotist. 

How Online Spaces And Communities Are Indoctrinating Gen Z And Gen A With Chloe Combi 

The digital age has brought about a massive change in the way we think, feel, communicate, and behave. For young people born and raised in a digital world, being online for an average of eleven hours a day affects not only their brain development, such as shortened attention span, ability to concentrate, social skills, and mental well-being. As well as this, young people’s need for connection and belonging is being exploited by unhealthy ‘influencers’ online, who are using the internet to indoctrinate and radicalize them.

Born Into And Married In The Moon Cult With Elgen Strait

Elgen Strait was not only born into the Moonies but participated in an arranged mass marriage ceremony (the so-called “blessing”). His parents were active members when I was in the cult in the 1970s.  He’s a fellow survivor. Strait hosts Falling Out with Elgen Strait, a podcast focused on the experiences of second-generation survivors of the Moonies. Strait’s work on the podcast aims to expose the abuse, manipulation, and hypocrisy of the Moon cult. He provides a forum for ex-second-generation members to share resources that can aid them in their journeys out of the cult and through the transition into living in the “outside world.” Listening to Falling Out has been a catalyst for many members to wake up and exit the cult. Many who left the cult continue to have difficulty staying connected and accepted by their parents, who remain in the cult. 

Recruited at Sarah Lawrence College Into The Larry Ray Cult With Daniel Barban Levin 

On January 20th, 2023, Larry Ray was sentenced to 60 years in prison for racketeering conspiracy, violent crime in aid of racketeering, extortion, sex trafficking, forced labor, tax evasion, and money laundering offenses. Daniel Barban Levin escaped the cult and used writing to process his mind control experience. He also wanted to do something to help his friends, who were still psychologically imprisoned. His memoir, Slonim Woods 9, published in 2021, was a revealing and poetic description of his time in a mind control cult. Former members sometimes utilize writing as a device to release painful experiences through journaling, poetry, and novels. I loved listening to this book.

Lone-Actor Terrorism: An Integrated Framework 

Public attention to the phenomenon of lone-actor terrorism has seemed to rise in recent decades. Tragic shootings in just the last two months have brought this phenomenon into even sharper relief: a school shooting in Uvalde, which prompted outrage over law enforcement and U.S. gun control policies; the July 4th Highland Park shooting in Chicago, which again led to an interrogation of the internet’s role in motivating lone-actor terrorists; and, most recently, the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which brought to light how the Unification Church’s predatory financial tactics factored into the shooter’s motivations. We also know mass shootings occur on a larger scale than just those involving high-profile, lone-actor terrorist cases; in fact, over 300 have occurred in the U.S. in 2022 alone.  

The Moon Cult: An Interview with former top American leader Allen Tate Wood

With the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe by Tetsuya Yamagami, the Moon cult is back in the news. Abe became a target, reportedly because he and his father publicly supported the Moon cult. The assassin was reportedly furious because his mother had given away all the family money to the cult. I interviewed former top American political leader of Unification Church, Allen Tate Wood, and wish to expose the mindset of cult psychology.

How Colonizers Use Mind Control: A Conversation with Cindy Blackstock

The “merciless Indian savages…” Those words in the United States Declaration of Independence entrenched the way colonial states defined Indigenous peoples as “savage” and their relationship with the “civilized Americans” as represented by federal and state governments. This dehumanizing propaganda was the pen of history, of social norms and laws writing on our societal manuscript about what the United States is and who we are as Americans. It served to normalize and even legitimize the wrongful dispossession of land, resources and even the children from Indigenous peoples.