Shivani: A Great Similarity Between Keith Raniere and Charles Manson


Charlies Manson gathered young people, mostly female, around him by paying attention to them, providing a sense of identity and of belonging to a group which became an all-encompassing substitute family.

“Come follow me.”

And so a little troupe was woven together, a commune of lost and found “lonely hearts” for Charles Manson to use according to his own extremely disorganized mind, to feed his fantasies and to uphold (at last!) his power-starved ego.

Manson made his followers feel like an “us” and encouraged his people to see everyone else as “them.” This is habitual cult inculcation, to build an “us” and a big bad “them.”

Implement a delusionary sense of separatism, specialness, even elitism within the very fiber of the group.

Explain that the group’s higher cause (what sucker doesn’t want a fucking “higher” cause?) makes it above all laws. Meanwhile enforce ever-increasing, radical requirements for group loyalty.

Beneath it all, this “THEM” of Manson’s was his own personally conceptualized enemy. The enemy which “would be” eliminated was Manson’s ideation of the establishment, the unjust rulers of the world.

Manson fantasized that he would be the leader of a revolution. That is, unless he was too busy taking acid and getting sexual action. Then the revolution would just have to wait for him to come down, maybe have a few cigarettes. Manson never had a clue that he was making an uneducated overestimation of his own intelligence.

Like Keith Raniere’s clique, Manson’s group lied and stole for him, pimped and whored for him and adulated him as their leader.

Back when Jimi Hendrix was a big star, one of his groupies tried to recruit me (still a kid) with mystical babble and sexual innuendo to get me to meet Jimi. She acted loony, obsessed, superior and vulgar, as if she had the prize bull and just had to share him. That’s how classy the groupies surrounding Raniere were too. Lying, stealing, pimping, whoring and whatever else their tricky Dickie advised.

These fearless leaders, Raniere and Manson. One hid in a closet during his arrest, and the other hid in a cabinet underneath a bathroom sink. Neither had a single shred of common sense, these two madhatters. Yet each Creepboy gathered a groupie crew of blind worshippers and amongst the crew, the closer the relationship with the leader became, the more criminal the behavior became, whether tangentially or deliberately.

Allison Mack was well on her way to being a violent sidekick à la Susan Atkins. Now she has conspicuous infamy and awaits sentencing in a notorious crime case. Nancy Salzman could’ve driven the getaway car for her Vanguard as he wet his pants in the trunk. She never looked happier than when plastered to his side like a dowager frump with fictitious credentials. Grinning like a besotted jackass. Clare Bronfman could’ve given the uncouth Patricia Krenwinkle instructions on how to be more viciously successful.

Manson was the undisputed leader of his commune and was sexually involved with many of the group’s young women. Manson was crude and without education but was adept at manipulating emotions and influencing his group’s ideas and concepts, both personally and socially. These weren’t business people or college graduates but sixties dropout, young hippie freaks who lived on the outskirts of more conventional society, and the group was poor, very poor, financially. There was lots of petty theft and vehicles were stolen, just to get enough food for any given week. There were also “suspicious deaths” within and around the group before they started their major murder sprees. Some of these other crimes were prosecuted and some have remained unprosecuted.

With Raniere, we see more of a schoolboy businessy nerd than a hippie freak like Manson, who learned the ropes in juvenile detention and in prison. Raniere was able to receive more education than Manson and to fabricate a more socially “acceptable” self-help front, with more status, more commodious surroundings and thus, a better exterior image than Manson’s small, raggle-taggle commune.

Nevertheless, Manson’s group did recruit for more members, especially when anyone came along who had a fat wallet. Manson wrote songs and had no business acumen beyond a hokey, bottomfeeding range of criminality. Raniere just had better looking frosting atop his shitcake. But behind closed doors, the group dynamics are much alike, with one very lost and foul man getting exactly what he thought that he wanted from being a pied piper, offering unity but delivering a crazed dictatorship with tragic results.

Where there is great similarity between Raniere and Manson is that both men were able to attract loyal, awestruck devotees who were receptively vulnerable to a finding a new sense of belonging, people who were willing to become increasingly enmeshed and even to obey commands. And each group was entangled sexually. After awhile the main group around Raniere formed a few secretive little suballiances and bubbles around themselves, at Raniere’s direction. It is much easier to deftly pluck away at peoples’ consciences inside isolated bubbles.

Raniere began his own Swan Song by spreading himself out too insistently, for too long and amongst too many. He achieved no unity though, and none of his mules ever got their promised carrot. Instead they got misery, splintered and competitive sexual displays and criminal dissolution.

Raniere is more fanatical than Manson, who was a snaggle-toothed hobo ex-con with far flimsier expectations. Raniere’s need for control has had much wider intellectual borders, embellishments. He repopped a lot of Scientology’s slicker grade of horseshit dipped in fool’s gold. Manson only had soggy chewin’ tobaccy and he scrounged for LSD. Therefore Raniere’s audience has been wider and more receptive to Nxivm’s attractive outer fringes of altruism and prosperity. No one would look at Manson when he was living and think ”executive success.”

Now Raniere is stuck, but his inner Manson is not ready or fit for prison life. Raniere is locked up like a rat in a series of cages. He gets escorted around looking scruffier and more frantic each time he appears in court. His glasses don’t fit and he isn’t allowed to sharpen pencils. Right on his couch he used to be able to take out his schlong during a business meeting and get a nice blowjob or two while he grunted like a pig at anyone who approached the fridge. He used to be able to multi-task. Now he gets reprimanded for whispering too loudly.

Both Manson and Raniere used the ancient weapon of psycho-sexual terrorism to influence, to control, to punish, to reward, to attract, to create a climate of distraction and emotional chaos, to enslave and to blackmail the ones reluctant to be commanded.

The outer shell is, “I’m all about love and your awakening.” Later you get to the inner shell of the flimflam. Your Great One, perhaps anointed with commingled, now-sacred and Avatarish jizzum, tells you “everything that bothers you is all your fault.” Om, peace and bloody fucking amen. There have been fake female guru-types, too. I’ve known two personally, and they were every bit as adored, predatorial and dictatorial as Nxivm’s very own Chuckie.

You know, “Officer Krupke, we’re very upset. We never had the love that every child oughta get. We ain’t no delinquents. We’re misunderstood. Deep down inside us there is good.” What other defense is there besides begging with the”we are misunderstood victims” card?

When I was a teenager, my future father-in-law had an office in the L.A. County Courthouse, and his son and I went to meet him there for lunch often. One unforgettable day we saw the Manson girls sitting outside the courthouse as the big trial was ongoing inside. These women were noisy and spaced-out and vulgar but probably didn’t know it. They sported new freshly-hewn third-eye tattoos and sat in the courtyard, one with a guitar. After a few days of the Manson girls there singing and acting blissed-out, preaching to passers-by, the girls were forbidden to be loiter there anymore. They were seriously euphoric, lovey-dovey, trying to be kind of whorishly inviting. You’d never have dreamed there had been any murder scenes at Cielo Drive or over in Los Feliz. Just one big happy family.


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Frank Parlato


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  • I still see many more similarities between Raniere and Jim Jones. If you read the book, “Raven” it will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

  • “Allison Mack was well on her way to being a violent sidekick à la Susan Atkins. Now she has conspicuous infamy and awaits sentencing in a notorious crime case”

    What a ridiculous comparison and even more ridiculous analysis…

    You are saying that Allison, the same Allison seen as someone Raniere tried to break and destroy, the same Allison that everyone seem to fail to connect to any crimes but the one she accepted to plea , Without any violence, was on her way on being a violent sidekick…

    You do know that up until now, we heard a lot about Allison receiving the beating but not much about her giving it…But Suuuuuure, violent sidekick in action!

    As for conspicuous infamy, it’s working for those who stupidly Believe some of the BS that were seen here and there but the trial depict her more as a victims (like the others who committed crimes (like Dani or Marianna or…India)

    Lots of people will not look her high but will be way more keen to have some compassion after reading about the psycho violence that Raniere was giving each of them…
    Even Lauren manage to get the “sympathy” of the judge and that is despite the fact she was cited in tons of crimes (contrary to Allison).

    Oh and before you come with the “she was branding, it is violence”, No , she wasn’t…Read the court information!

    Even Lauren said it wasn’t, and the recording clearly demonstrate who was behind the branding!

  • If KR could have kept sex out of it (if he had stuck to his own public message – renunciate, no sex etc) probably none of this would have happened – he would have been just another scammer salesman reselling the usual snake oil stuff to gullible people looking for “meaning” in their life.

      • Dear Scott Johnson, that may be the greatest analogy I’ve ever read in my entire life.

        You are a wise and profound being of higher intelligence.

  • Shivani,

    Yet another rancid post that reeks of bullshit.

    If you equate Keith with Manson then you’re also equating every religious leader with Manson. They all suck people into their flock as sheep.

    Just ask Flowers. She was gaslighted.

    As for Manson, he was an evil fucker for sure. But some of his victims probably had it coming for living like such arrogant and entitled snobs. 🙂

    • Oh dearest BangCuckle,

      It’s comments like……

      “some of his victims probably had it coming for living like such arrogant and entitled snobs.”

      ……That make me so happy that Frank Parlato let you post again.

      BangSpankle your like a breath fresh air or seamen filled burrito…. 😉

    • Bangkook
      You’re the biggest gaslighter here (and you know exactly what I’m talking about).
      As I mentioned previously, I was never involved with NXIVM or any cult, but I was harassed by group of people who I believe belong to a type of cult.

      What type of person believes that the victims of murder or of other heinous crimes DESERVED to have had these crimes committed against them?…Wow

  • Great piece.

    I’ve spent some time looking at Manson as a relevant example, and there are just a couple of additional points I’d make:

    – He and Raniere were both predicting an imminent apocalypse – a typical feature of cults – and using their conception of it to manipulate their followers.

    – Manson and at least one of his key henchman had undergone extensive Scientology training, more than the average member of that organization would get even today.

    Also, Atkins, like a number of followers, had grown up in somewhat disadvantaged circumstances, and was probably already involved in some petty crime before meeting Manson. A few of them had been solidly middle-class, but not all. Several parents turned their teenage daughters over to Manson, including one couple who had been living in a commune where the girl had been getting in trouble for being sexually precocious.

    It will be interesting to see if any of Raniere’s followers who testify at the trial remain loyal at all to him. Nancy Salzman apparently didn’t make a deal to cooperate with the prosecution. They really haven’t had all that much time to separate themselves from NXIVM, though in the Manson case the girls seem to have been able to keep up their bonds even while awaiting trial.

  • Manson was nothing compared to Vanguard. Vanguard created a system of rational science-based techniques to help us better understand ourselves. Did Manson do that?

    • Raniere produced nothing original. His methods were nothing more than regurgitated Scientology, and the utterly discredited manipulation techniques of NLP.

    • YO- YO_LAN_DA!!. No Fan of Charlie myself but at least Charlie was a semi-competent musician who wrote ORIGINAL music. You can’t say the same for Keith who stole, borrowed, plagiarized, etc from Scientology, Amway, EST and Ayn Randian objectivism. Not an original idea in the head of that pathological lying SOB you call Vanguard and we call Vanfraud, Vanturd, Vandouche, etc.

      Now go and rearrange some refrigerator magnets and leave the comments for the big boys and gals.

    • Raniere was nothing compared to Manson. Raniere boasted he had people killed, while Manson actually did it. Manson was evil, a monster, and the song “Helter Skelter” that he inspired will be enough by itself to ensure his name lives in infamy. Raniere was a pathetic nonentity, a poser, whose ambition went no further than pussy and pizza. This clown will be forgotten on the day his guilty sentence is pronounced and his death in prison will go unnoticed.

      • Raniere didn’t say he had other people killed, he said that his followers and people who cooperated with his ideas were killed by others, probably drug cartel types.

      • Coming out of lurking to say that “Helter Skelter” was not inspired by Charles Manson, it was the reverse. For whatever crazy reason Manson thought the Beatles were sending him messages to start a “race war”.

    • VanFakeAss can’t even understand how much of a moral imbecile he is, so how can he understand someone else? All he does is find out what a person’s vulnerability/vulnerabilities is/are or what they really want – either directly or through his enabling minions – and then manipulates the hell out of them by negatively overemphasizing what the person sees as a fault, or throws salt in the wound of some self-esteem issue, to control the person to get what he wants.

      He’s trash.

    • Yolanda,
      I understand that your friend Nicki Clyne, when she was 19 years old, traveled through Central America all by herself without accompaniment.
      That is very impressive.
      It shows that Nicki is a brave and gutsy young woman.
      Nicki did not need the Vanguard to overcome her fears.
      Every good trait Nicki needs is already within her.
      And every good trait that you need is already within you.
      Have you ever seen the closing scene of the Wizard of Oz where the Wizard gives the Cowardly Lion the courage he already has?
      Yolanda, you and Nicki can be your own Vanguards.

          • Why would you say that? All the posts are exactly like Pean Onyu’s – a person who offers no new insights and never answers questions of any kind.

            I think you are wasting your time and energy but that’s up to you.

          • To orangecountydreams – OCD

            “All the posts are exactly like Pean Onyu’s – a person who offers no new insights and never answers questions of any kind.”

            Yolanda Cortez sounds like Pea Onyu because she is Pea Onyu.
            And Pea Onyu is Nicki Clyne.

            One of the first times Pea Onyu showed up on the Frank Report she all but admitted to being Nicki Clyne.

            Pea Onyu
            October 10, 2017 at 7:58 pm
            Nicki is still one hot sexy woman. Your comments Van Douche are unwarranted and unwelcome please apologize.

            Pea Onyu says that Nicki is one hot sexy woman because Pea Onyu is Nicki Clyne.

    • And Squeaky Fromme attempted to murder President Gerald Ford in Sacramento only her gun had no round in the chamber.
      Squeaky was finally released in 2009 and she lives in Marcy, New York near Utica in a house decorated with skulls with her boyfriend who was convicted of manslaughter.
      Sounds like a perfect recruit for NXIVM.

      “She was released on parole from Federal Medical Center Carswell on August 14, 2009,[20][21] and moved to Marcy, New York,[22][23] where she lives in a house decorated with skulls with her boyfriend Robert Valdner, who pleaded guilty to a manslaughter charge in 1988.”[24]

  • And just like Charles Manson, Raniere had people killed.

    He admitted it on camera, in front of witnesses.

    • It has always blown my mind that Raniere admitted to having people killed on camera. I watched it. Anyone can on YouTube. And yet, he is still not investigated for murder. It baffles me.

    • He claimed it. But Manson did the same thing, before the actual killings began – and it’s not clear whether or not he really had killed anyone.

      • He did kill one person with his own hand, but he was never prosecuted for it. Manson killed Bernard Crowe when he threatened to wipe out the Manson Family in May 1969.

        • Crow survived, even though Manson left him for dead. But Manson only shot him, because his accomplice failed to carry out the original plan. Manson let others do the real dirty work – either out of cunning out out of cowardice.

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.

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