Festinger: Understanding how people blindly followed KAR into ruin

MK10ART - a cold Raniere.

By Leon Festinger

It’s hard for people with confidence and the strength of their own convictions to imagine doing what these people have allegedly done. I think the ESP courses was the entry level and the methods used in those courses could pinpoint those who are most likely to fit into his plan.

If you have listened to Sarah Edmondson’s interviews on CBC, she talks of starting ESP in search of bettering her life and she felt she had found a home there. She rose up the ranks and was made to feel important. She has said she liked the NXIVM handshake that showed she ranked higher than others. She was being groomed over a long period of time and she trusted Lauren Salzman when she was ‘invited’ to join DOS and began being a slave to her mistress; doing as Heidi outlines, such as being always ready for that call in the middle of the night and having her day-to-day ruled by another.

Who allows that to happen? Why submit yourself to someone else if you don’t believe there is going to be something in it for you? They must have bought into it and must all have similar personalities that allow them to want power over others but are also willing to give up their own power to someone higher up the food chain.

And KAR was at the very top with the others who will be sitting at the defendants table when the case goes to trial. These people created the system and chose the people to recruit and then started pulling the strings for their own financial gain and entertainment.

Heidi could be right that he was creating some kind of army willing to do whatever he asked; whenever he asked.

About the author

Frank Parlato


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  • G,

    Obviously the individual using the alias of a famous Psychologist such as Leon Festinger fully realizes how anyone can look him up and uncover his reuse.

    It’s like if I had used Dr. Freud as my alias or Einstein or professor Heisenberg……

    Clearly Leone is intelligent and articulate as well as educated. Why pick the name of a semi famous psychologist such as Leon Festinger?

    I bet Mr. Festinger is having good chuckle in regards to your sleuthing. I know I am.

    • I never intended for people to believe I am Dr Leon Festinger but use it only as a posting name. My first post spoke about cognitive dissonance so I thought it appropriate.

    • G,
      I am very sorry I made fun of your Leon Festinger post.

      I post a lot of crazy foolish “shit” so I should not been making fun of you for doing the same.

      I am actually very sorry.

      I will try to live up to my Alias ‘NiceGuy’ in the future.

      You probably do not care about my comment or apology; however, I wanted to apologize just the same. I actually am a nice person.

      I am sorry.

  • This is so wrong. People self-select themselves to stay in or leave. Also, it’s a slow boil. People don’t show up and then on day 1 are asked to have their pubic area cauterized. It’s the same thing as Scientology, Amway, and other MLM scams. If you’ve never been in one, you have no idea what you’re talking about.

    • Scott have you given any thought to the fact you and Ms Edmondson share some common traits. You both remained a part of an organization that was hurting people for a period of time and then chose the path of whistleblower.

        • Scott, Leon’s point is your no different.

          I think you are different. There is a big question mark I feel as to what went down before the branding and after.

          I think Edmonson is basically telling the truth I just think there is more to the story she disseminates.

    • That last sentence is sweeping and nullifies opinions on just about anything.

      Never having been a leader of a cult I don’t know what I’m talking about.

  • This technique is similar to Scientology, where the celebrities, such as Tom Cruise and John Travola, see a very different scenario than the worker bees, as shown in Leah Remini’s series. Raniere’s fatal error was he allowed the celebrities to be cauterized with the non-celebrities, and the celebrities are too pampered to put up with that crap. Imagine if Tom Cruise were put in The Hole (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hole_(Scientology)) for a year or two, or even a day or two. It would be the end of Scientology.

  • Exactly! They quickly sorted out the non-compliants like myself and ignored them while love bombing the wealthy unsuspecting sheep.

    • I am very glad you were a non-compliant, Anonymous. I believe you are right that the ‘coaches’ were trained to spot the ones with the most potential from the beginning and lean on them to continue their studies and open their wallets. It’s not unlike a con choosing their mark.

      • Too bad “Anonymous” didn’t warn others. But that would have been the right thing to do, and we know that isn’t a very popular idea on this website.

        • Scott,

          Not everyone wants to go head to head with a cult that destroys people by filling false criminal charges and civil suits.
          How many years did it take Frank Parlato and Toni to defend themselves against Raniere? How much money?

          I would have walked away myself unless I was single. Parlato and yourself took on Herculean battle alone . Most people are not so brave.

        • Scott,
          I do consider you brave for standing up to Amway. Going up against a multi billion dollar conglomerate MLM takes a big set of brass balls. You and Parlato probably both need wheelbarrows to carry your balls around .

          • Scott, Amway could have bankrupted you.

            Not everyone is cut out to stand up for themselves.

            It is my fundamental belief that the strong should protect the weak.

            By the way I was just trying to give you compliment.

            Scott you have a phd in being an asshole. 🙂

          • niceguy, I too hold to the theory the strong should protect the weak as best they can. Anonymous was not taken in through the ESP courses and, most likely, had no idea what the organization was doing. Anonymous just knew it wasn’t for them. There was nothing to report to authorities. I’m sure many people sat through those first sessions and never darkened the doors again. These people had no responsibility to report. This superseding indictment that is on its way should prove very interesting.

    • I wish they would have left me alone when I refused to go on past the 5 day intensive. Refusing to go and having a private chat with Raniere only intensified the “invitations”.

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
Email: frankparlato@gmail.com