The Heaven’s Gate Podcast …

Hey Everyone – This is a great podcast that tells the story of Heaven’s Gate, an end-days cult that culminated in a mass suicide in 1997. Those of us who traversed the Hollow Halls for any length of time will, most likely,  draw parallels. For example, the two leaders referred to themselves as Si & Do. La, la, la … The host, Glynn Washington, grew up in an end-days cult. I recommend giving it a listen: Heaven’s Gate. 

That’s all for now… hope you’re having a good weekend! GSR


About “school” dreams …

Fairly recently, a commenter, who traversed the hollow halls in the 80s, provided some “school” information that was new to me. I plan on elevating her comments to blog prominence in the near future — so folks can glean as much illustrious context as possible.

Today, I wanted to address her mention of “school” dreams: “I still have these memories that just fly into my head, sometimes dreams haunted by Sharon or Bob, or where I’m trying to attend a meeting without making a commitment.”

I’ve heard others talk about “school” dreams: sinister, or anxiety-ladden, accounts of nightmares in which they are back in the group and trying to escape. I’ve had a few myself, over the years. It seems poignant that “school” haunts ex-members in their sleep for years after departure.

Some of you might appreciate my most recent “school” dream; it was — if you can believe it — satisfying! I was back in the “classroom” listening to Robert ream out & humiliate a fellow student. I witnessed quietly until he kicked her out. At which point, I stood up, announced that I would also be taking my leave and then turned, looked straight at him, and said, “Fuck you.”

Ahhhhh, that was sooooo cathartic! Maybe I was dreaming about the courage that I wish I’d had.  Even so, dream, or reality, it felt great! And I guess it’s not too late. Blog Monitor, if you’re out there, feel free to pass on the message. Send Bobert a link to this particular post.

More importantly, lately, I’ve also been hearing from ex-members of different cults. I started wonder if all ex-cult members have such dreams. I’d like to know if this phenomenon is a shared experience. I’d love to hear from you, whether an ex-“school” mate, or experienced another cult.

Thanks for reading and happy Cult-free holidays!

Gratitude: Freedom and Simplicity

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

First, let me thank those who made it out to Club Passim last night! We had lots of fun!

Secondly, an ode to the holidays: this is my 6th “school”-free Christmas season. For 5 years, I allowed “school” to hijack my holidays. My first post-school November-January felt strange, but wonderfully free. I was constantly comparing and contrasting the pre and post. Each realization, that I wouldn’t be scamming Christmas trees for the big Christmas Party, or lying to friends and family about why I was so unavailable, or I was not going to go through the season sleep-deprived and stressed out about the “fineness” of the party … etc. etc. etc. … brought on more and more gratitude.

I’m happy to report that every year that followed, I compared and contrasted less. This year, I thought so little about the “school” party, that it only occurred to me to acknowledge it today. So far, Thanksgiving, 2017 has consisted of walking the Feaster Five, a 5k in Andover, with a dear friend. And cleaning out my closets. Tomorrow, I’ll eat T-Day dinner with my husband, stepson and his girlfriend. We’re simplifying and minimizing stress and that’s fine by me, great in fact!

Yep, life does go on without “school”. I have NEVER regretted leaving “the source”. If anything, I now have ever-growing gratitude to have my freedom, energy, focus, self and – yes – holidays, back.

So, Happy Thanksgiving, All and cheers to your “school” free holiday season!


Trotting out Cult Confessions, the CD, at Club Passim

Hey Folks – Cult Confessions, the CD is almost complete! If you’re in town the night before Thanksgiving, come to Club Passim for a sneak peak and get a few fun things:
1) Experience the hilarity and brilliance of my dear friend and fellow songwriter, Mark Stepakoff. We’re splitting the night. He’s releasing a new CD, Any Port in a Storm — it just got a great review from The Noise!

2) Get your free, 2-song, pre-release, Cult Confessions, CD! Think of it as an appetizer before the entree … I admit the entree has been in the slow cooker for a while … but we’re almost done!

3) Meet the producer, Doug Kwartler! Mark and I both recorded with Doug at Hollow Body Studios and the Kwartler Magic works! When Mr. Kwartler’s in the house, suddenly my guitar becomes significantly easier to play 😉 I don’t know how it happens, it just does. Magic! Doug is a fine singer/songwriter/performer in his own right and is one half of the duo, The Lied To’s, whose first CD got lots of praise, and are heading towards releasing their second CD this winter!

4) Meet and hear the other Lied To, the brilliant and talented Ms. Susan Levine. Susan is a dear friend, a talented singer and songwriter and I’m recruiting her talents for this show … which might include a co-rant with a few choice words for our current narcissist-in-chief … we are still deciding …

5) If you are wondering how my dear husband possibly stuck with me through five years of cultic fun, he will be in the house. I can’t promise that he’ll answer “school”-related questions — given a choice between talking cults and getting a root canal, he’d take the root canal. But he will be there and you can ask.

Come and find out. 🙂  Click here for details and tix! 

Hope you can join us!

Why speak out? Because of this shit …

Cults are all the same, with slight variations on a theme: manipulating belief for control, with some employing more extreme practices than others. I was fortunate enough to happen upon cult lite. Here’s a New York Times article about one such not-so-lite parasitic group.

Nope, this is not the Post. Really: Inside a Secretive Group Where Women Are Branded

This here is why ex-members need to speak out.

Research Project Seeking Interviewees

If you are obsessed about researching cults, like I am, you probably know the phrase second-generation members. If not, second generation members are the children  – the people born into cults. People who became members by default, not by an unintentional bumbling in a vulnerable moment.

As you can imagine, the “Second-Generation Adults” have to do some reflection on childhood experiences. If your early years included any “school” influence, the world must be relatively confounding, depending on the extent of damage wrought.

Recently a 2nd-Genr, child of ex-“school” members, contacted me about a research project he’s conducting. He’s seeking interviewees, so if you’re interested in learning more, I can put you in touch with him.

You can contact me through comments, or sending an email to

Interview with author of The Confidence Game

Interested in why some people con and many people fall for cons? In this excerpt from the radio show, Innovation Hub,  Author Maria Konnikova talks about why: we’re wired to trust,  be optimistic, & want to believe in “good things” when they happen.

She says, “When ‘good things’ happen, we don’t ask questions.”

That leaves us vulnerable to nefarious players who know how to flatter and make us feel good. Next thing you know, your  money becomes their money. She also says that the same thing that makes us vulnerable to cons — trusting, open and social — is what makes us human. So, the question is how to stay human when cons are so prevalent that we have a “president” who conned his way into the White House (with a little help from his Daddy, Vladdy Putin) …. listening to this is a good place to start:

“School” — The Sound Track!

If you’ve been following this blog for a bit, you know that exposing cults has become my raison d’etre and I’ve a number of related projects brewing … a book is in process, a one-woman show, a CD project that’s nearing completion. I’m hoping to roll these separate but related projects out in the not-to-distant future. In the meantime, though, here are some creative works inspired (so to speak) by “school” memberships! I do hope that you enjoy:

  1. Oh So Good, or the OSG Song: I wish I could take credit for this work of auditory brilliance. It was penned, produced and performed by a fellow “disgruntled”. It’s the type of song I wish I could write and perform, but know that I can’t. I’m glad that he can, though 🙂 For those of us who endured the hollow halls, the Oh So Good song is Oh So Cathartic to hear! Enjoy 🙂


2) This little number came to me, I believe, as a download from the late, great Hank Williams. Maybe his spirit wants to support the cause:

3) This ditty is all about recruitment – Lisa, are you listening? This one’s for you:

That’s all for now – shared in celebration of my six “school”-free years!