Blast from the past: Anne P recalls the early days of the cult of Raniere

Keith Raniere with three of his inner circle: Karen Unterreiner, Pam Cafritz and Barbara Jeske. {Cafrtiz and Jeske died.]
Back in 2009, AnneP wrote this about Keith Raniere. It originally appeared in Cult Education. 
By Anne P.

Yes, definitely a cult. Speaking from my own experience as being the part of then a very small inner circle – back in the early 90s.

But it’s quite simple… designed for those – mostly women – who have no self-confidence or center. They are conditioned to draw their “life energy from Keith” with quite simple but very effective techniques.

His tactics were almost too simple and yet classic for a cult leader. He stripped the women – and at times men – around him of their identity, then, their relationships, money, etc. It could be as simple as telling his women repeatedly they “could lose a couple of pounds”.

People who gave into him were a particular kind: no matter where they came from – rich and poor, powerful families and nobody – they all lacked self esteem and needed almost constant reassurance from another. Keith would pinpoint their weaknesses – which wasn’t too difficult – and begin to play on them. Self image worked great on women – doubting our self-worth is what we, women, do so well! But a lot more went into the game. A big part of it was physical fatigue. Keith kept crazy hours in his townhome in Clifton Park which he shared with Karen, Pam and Kristin at the time. They wouldn’t sleep at night until early morning hours. Then, they’d sleep until maybe 11 – Keith sometimes till 1pm. This was in no way healthy especially since the business they were running required attention in the morning as well.

Karen’s skin tone was literally grey and the texture uneven and so unhealthy. Pam and Kristin were pale, and all of them were very thin. This sleeplessness, no doubt, had a major effect on their nervous system. Physically exhausted people are easier to control. Their reaction and ability to analyze are far gone. Have you ever had so little sleep that the next day you felt like you had Styrofoam for a brain? Well, imagine that scenario for days, weeks, months…

I spent numerous weekends at their townhome just hanging out. Keith would “talk” to the women one on one sometimes. For some it involved discussing their place in the universe, their spiritual progress; for others it was a psychoanalysis session; and for some it was purely physical. But in any case, it was his time to exert his influence on an individual level. And we all waited impatiently for his time for us. And he used that as well. He’d postpone meetings with us, tell a person “it’s not time yet”, sending that person into a wild spin, trying to figure out “what am I doing wrong??”.

He would send Pam to inform me he had five minutes to talk to me and then, at the last moment, say he was too busy or I simply had to wait to practice patience… In reality it was not a patience practice but a very good way to make me even less patient and more pliable to his influence once I finally WAS alone with him, breathlessly waiting for his wisdom…

This is a classic method of control: we were like hungry mice waiting for “scraps” of his precious attention and when we were rewarded with even a passing look, touch or word, we felt as though we finally had a huge meal after months of starvation. Our time was spent searching for his attention and reveling in our happiness once we received even a minuscule amount of it. We were so involved in that process, there was little room left for anything else: his attention was our means for survival like food for conditioned lab animals.

Luckily, something in me told me to do things to “shock” him, so I did. He did not approve, then was almost frightened of me and we parted ways. He did mess me up a bit, I won’t lie. I had a series of unworthy and unsuccessful relationships after. It took me a while to heal and I wasn’t even CLOSE to lacking self-confidence the way the others did.

So, imagine how damaged they are at this point… My heart goes out to them and yet… we all make our own life choices.

 Karen Unterreiner, Keith Raniere, Pam Cafritz and Barbara Jeske.
Vanguard’s mainstays in his harem were Pam, Karen and Barb, plus any little girls they could round up for him.

These remarkable three ladies of Mr. Raniere’s harem. Barbara Jeske [l] and Pam Cafritz [r] died of cancer. Karen Unterreiner is the last standing woman of the original harem.

About the author

Frank Parlato

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Karen Unterreiner - Under the Rader
Karen Unterreiner - Under the Rader
5 years ago

Karen Unterreiner has been left alone on the Frank Report, why is that? She has been with Keith Raniere since his early years at RPI. She had just lost her father shortly before starting college there and he must of spotted her vulnerable state from a mile away.

Unterreiner has been with him ever since. Through his rise and fall of CBI, through his destruction of the company of his ex Toni Natlie and now the rise and fall of NXIVM.

Unterreiner was his first in his long string of women who has stuck with him throughout the years. She has helped the EM all those who when they find out they are not his only lover “get through their issues”.

Unterreiner has gone from hiding away in a back office to being #3 in head training for NXIVM only behind Nancy & Lauren Salzman.

Unterreiner lived with Raniere, along with Pam Cafritz and Kristin Keefe for decades.

Unterreiner is in charge of NXIVM IT department and knows all things about servers, banking, commissions, and NXIVM and their shell company’s (along with Jim Del Nigro who helped set up all the shell company’s).

Unterreiner and Del Nigro are believed to have worked with other NXIVM leaders to have asked students to set up bank accounts for shell company’s to funnel money through.

Kathy Russell, Karen Abney and Michelle Salzman who have all worked in NXIVM accounting are insiders who have information on NXIVM illegal activities.

Darth VanDouche - Chicken Shit
Darth VanDouche - Chicken Shit
5 years ago

I read this years ago.

The description given here is one of sociopathic, self-serving, manipulative douche-bag.

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083


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