Ana Lea de la Fuente had long dark hair. She was slender. She ate meat. She ate garlic. She spoke English and Spanish. She was from Mexico.
She came to Clifton Park for an “Intensive”. An Intensive is a course offered by Executive Success Programs.
The course was created by Keith Raniere. He prefers to be called by his self-given title of Vanguard because he thinks that he’s the leader of a new way of thinking.
Ana Lea went to class. She was taught about Vanguard. She was taught to pay tribute to Vanguard. She was taught to praise Vanguard. She was taught to bow before the picture of Vanguard. She was taught that Vanguard is “the smartest man in the world”.
She was taught about Vanguard in and out of class. During breaks. At meals. On and on, the teacher and students spoke of Vanguard.
Some students had met Vanguard. Some students had taken many intensives. Ana Lea may have been the only one who was taking an intensive for the first time. Many of them focused on her. On telling her about Vanguard.
They were edifying Vanguard almost as if it was staged and rehearsed. Every women in the class edified Vanguard to the new woman in the class.
She spent a lot of money to come here and take the class. This was meant to help her. She wanted the course to change her life.
They only wanted to tell her: Vanguard is sublime.
They told her: Vanguard lived like a hermit. He slept hardly at all. He was so smart he set off radar detectors with his brain power. He had the highest IQ in the world.
He spoke like an adult when he was one year old. He read books when he was two.
He designed computers when he was four.
He was so strong, by age 11, he became judo champion of the whole east coast.
He ran the fastest 100 yards of anyone in New York State.
He was a musical genius. He played 50 instruments when he was 12. When he went to college, he was so smart the professors learned from him. They gave him more degrees than anyone ever got before.
He went into business. He became a millionaire in two years. He retired with 50 million dollars. Now, he worked to make humanity ethical. He created ESP to make a more noble civilization.
The classes went from morning until night. Day after day.
Sometimes, she felt sleepy. She thought she heard whispering, Vanguard. He knows everything, you know not.
At first Ana Lea was simply fascinated. Everything taught in the intensive was imbued with the magic of its creator.
When something sounded wrong, she was confused. She questioned it.
Vanguard created this. Do you think you know more than him?
Ana Lea was silent.
Then she found something in a module that truly bothered her. She disputed.
Vanguard created this, the teacher said snappishly. Who are you compared to Vanguard?
Ana Lea thought about it. This was true. She did not have the world’s highest IQ. She did not make $50 million in two years. She could not read when she was two.
When more of the modules made no sense – and many seemed outright wrong – she began to think: “Who am I to question Vanguard”?
Sometimes, she was tired in class. Once she fell asleep. She dreamed someone was whispering, Vanguard. Just under the surface of her conscious mind: Vanguard. You owe everything to Vanguard.
She woke up with a start. She was learning while asleep.
As the days went on, she learned module after module. She often thought she heard a faint whispering: Vanguard, Vanguard.
She no longer judged modules by her previous standards of judgment. She tried to absorb. Whatever she was being taught, Vanguard had created it.
She realized how much she owed Vanguard. You will do anything for Vanguard, she caught herself saying to herself.
She realized these were the exact words she thought she heard whispered below the surface of her mind. She was getting a signal or message: It seemed as if it passed beyond the normal limits of perception. Inaudible to her conscious mind, but audible to the unconscious or deeper mind: Trust Vanguard. You must obey him.
Once she thought she saw an image, transmitted briefly, unperceived consciously, yet perceived unconsciously – on a video in class. It was Vanguard. He was coming to help her. Overjoyed, she thought, Vanguard was the one she could trust.
But the subliminal image disappeared. Vanguard was gone,. She did not know why, but she felt like crying.
One day, she went to the teacher. She told her she wanted to meet Vanguard.
The teacher responded [defensively] “Nobody gets to see the great Vanguard. Nobody. Unless of course he decides to meet you.”