Actaeon: The Fools Who Follow Are the Muscle Behind the Cult Leader

Keith Alan Raniere AKA Vanguard on stage at V-Week talking to his mostly female followers.

By Actaeon

Interesting thing about indoctrination.

Why is it that some people are able to see through the nonsense in childhood? I saw through Catholicism at about the same age I stopped believing in ghosts, monsters, and the Easter Bunny.

Couldn’t understand how adults actually believed these fairy tales of Christianity.

“He who can make you believe in absurdities, can make you commit atrocities”- Voltaire.

Image result for sarin gas in the Tokyo subway

Believing this stuff is harmful. At best it rots your brain, at worst it leads to Nxivm. Scratch that, at worst it leads to releasing sarin gas in the Tokyo subway, the shootout in Waco, TX and flying jetliners into the Twin Towers. So, yeah, it’s “easy to shit on cult members”, moreover it’s sometimes necessary to do so, because they’re not just victims. They’re the muscle behind the cult leader. Without them, without the gullible followers, he’s just some lonely loser with a tenuous grasp on reality.

Rainiere is nothing by himself. Zero.

So I puzzle over why people join cults. I’ve read the opinions of some of the experts (most of whom seem self-appointed) and I’ve read some tales told by ex-members. The psychological theorizing seems to lack any real academic rigor, it’s really just supposition. Or tautology. Unhappy childhoods are a dime a dozen, and growing up in a cult doesn’t explain why the cult member doesn’t leave when he reaches the age of reason.

Kids hit a certain age and they rebel. And nobody lives in isolation, not in this day and age. Parents have limited ability to mold their kids, and always have. We’re not the products of our upbringing; if we were, nothing would ever change. Think about it. We don’t listen to our parent’s music, we don’t dress like them. We grow up and become our own persons.

Very few people join cults. What’s wrong with them? Nothing, really. It’s not some kind of psychological pathology. It’s not upbringing: the Nxivm clowns grew up for the most part in prosperous, non-loony families. So what is it? Seems to me the people who joined Nxivm are weak-willed, gullible, and ambitious. They lack simple common sense. They want someone to tell them how to live their lives – how pathetic is that?

They lack what the ancient Romans called virtue: that combination of wisdom, justice, civic responsibility, integrity, and strength that was the ideal of the Republic, and of this nation’s founding fathers. In place of virtue, Nxivm embodied blind ambition, thoughtless selfishness, childish desire for the quick fix and the easy answer, slavish loyalty to their clownish leader.

People who join cults are weak, and lack integrity. They are thoughtless (in both senses of the word).

Being a decent human being isn’t all that hard. Cult members fail that test. Yes, a lot can be blamed on the leaders. But they wouldn’t be cult leaders without cult members. Without the fools who follow them.

Keith Raniere with followers in the heyday of Nxivm. [Photo courtersy Barbara Bouchey].

Who can Keith Raniere blame his legal troubles on?
Keith Raniere speaks to Nancy Salzman, Clare Bronfman and others.

About the author

Frank Parlato


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  • I’ll never forget my first threesome with Allison and India. India did me from behind with a strap on as I simultaneously performed cunnilingus on Allison. India got rough and pulled my hair and slapped me many times. She’s far more violent than Allison if you ask me. Not that I’m complaining.

    • Poor ‘Yolanda Cortez’ in a few weeks there will be nothing significant left of your gang. Just your stupid voice trotting out inanities into the void.

    • Yolanda,

      You wicked troll. I had a 3-some with Maddona and Lady Ga-Ga.

      Yolanda are you soccerMilfs1346 alter ego?

  • Actaeon,

    Great point, “Rainiere is nothing by himself. Zero.”

    Convential wisdom at its best…..

    ……..”People who join cults are weak, and lack integrity. They are thoughtless (in both senses of the word).”

    Acteon when I use the words “convential wisdom”, I use them with the same meaning that John Kenneth Galbraith did when he coined the phrase “conventional wisdom”.

    I believe Acteon you may be something of a Sophist.

    All human beings are flawed.

    The fact that our dear friend Shadowstate agrees with you , whole heartedly, should be quite sobering.

    • “The fact that our dear friend Shadowstate agrees with you , whole heartedly, should be quite sobering.”

      The fact that you still don’t fully understand that what Allison Mack did is ILLEGAL should be even more sobering.

      • No, the sad fact is that even when she recognized the real crimes, she is guilty of (Under coercion herself), you still try to pretend she did more…Even when no one in the cult talks about her involvement in any other crime.

        That is sad. Pathetic, actually

      • That Raniere Is zero by himself, that is true but the rest…

        You obviously know nothing about how cults work…

      • Shadowstate,

        I added that jab to pull your chain.

        Shadowstate I think Allison Mack should pay for her crimes.

        I do not believe that Allison Mack is a threat or a danger to the public at large.

        BTW Yolanda is a troll. I think you wasting your time with Yolanda, however if you find it entertaining please continue.

  • I note an attack on Catholicism and Christisnity right off thr bat but absolutely about the other unnamed religion which has one billion adherents.
    Once again, Frank, why allow this at all.
    It has nothing to do with the trial at all. Just a mouthpiece to damn Christians and also a gross musrepresentation of the process of conversion to an ideology.
    This piece has no place in this blog at all.

  • Some good points as I read on, but don’t lump Christianity or religion into destructive cults. There are a lot of good Christians and other religious people that hold to their values and do a lot of good in this world. A select few among these groups cross over into committing the atrocities you mentioned.

  • I see that the first image in this post has a triangle in the center as if it’s a screenshot from a video- and I’m wondering if anyone knows where I can find any old NXIVM/ESP videos like this to watch? The only video I’ve been able to find on youtube was the Dalai Lama talk in Albany.

  • More Christian bashing from a vacuous atheist blowhard. Funny how the cowardly wonder won’t mention the cult of Islam

    • Islam is fairy tales too. They’ve even got one about the prophet flying to heaven on his winged horse. Seriously.

  • You don’t know that Jesus doesn’t exist. You haven’t proven jack shit, in that regard.

    I believe in Jesus Christ.

    I have taken Jesus into my heart.

    I am saved. I will get admission thru the Pearly Gates.

    My sins are forgiven.

    And believe me, I fucken love to sin.

    It’s so cool cuz I can partake in poontang, swearing and boozing, while still being forgiven.

    Christianity is awesome.

    Fuck yeah. 🙂

    You’re a lonely soul who’s gonna have a pitch fork shoved up your butt by Satan, when Jesus turns you away.

    I hope you get ass cancer too, for your non-belief of the Lord.

    • You sound like such a great Christian. Definitely convinced me to join the ranks of the non accountable.

  • Mr Parleto,
    When you allow articules or esays like this one, and decide to publish this bullshit, the credibility of your blog going down. In escence you look for justice insulting, abusing, being unresponsible about the content. More than 16000 people took the tools, most of them did with the intent of be better person in ourselves, some go beyond and trying to change the world, help other people, others go futher in a hidden intent or practices. So respect your audience mr parleto, you are selling ads based on them, making business with this gossip or fundamented case

    A former esp member

  • Sounds like Actaeon is lobbying to build his own cult with his “everyone who goes to church on Sunday is stupid and lack virtue, responsibility, and knowledge…but trust me, I am smarter than that” routine.

    So please, everyone who wants to join with Actaeon, who apparently is far more intelligent than everyone else because he doesn’t believe in anything; contact him asap! The world would be a better place if everyone would do Actaeons bidding. I am sure that he is also handsome, and likely has a much bigger penis than all other men too. So he has that going for him.

    Ironically, the more Actaeon writes and reveals his ideas with us; the more he seems to be like Raniere! He tries to gain credibility by making himself superior to most others in his discernment of scientific knowledge over faith. I suspect that he may even be a bit jealous of Raniere. Based on his incessant anger towards Christianity, I wouldn’t be surprised that he may have been molested as a child by a priest, perhaps. I’ve known many people who have left the faith, but they weren’t angry. Your anger and superior moral aggrandizement reveal some deep seated hostility, as I have never seen you post anything without first making critical comments on religion. But not only are they critical, but you always place yourself in the higher moral high ground.

    So Actaeon, please keep writing as we are learning a lot about you! And as we learn about you, we get a little glimpse into the mind of Keith Raniere as you seem to be very similar to him. Raniere doesn’t believe in God, neither does Actaeon. Raniere abided by his own ethical barometer, and evidently so does Actaeon. Raniere was one of the smartest men on Earth, and so is Actaeon per his own admission.

    Perhaps at some level, it will be therapeutic for you! And maybe some people may actually contact you about starting your own cult! Maybe they’ll even allow you to have sex with their little girls (or boys, whichever you prefer). After all, since you are intellectually superior, it is only fitting that the commoners should make offerings to you, right?

  • You’re hilarious, Actaeon!

    Insert any other word for “cult member”:

    “Yes, a lot can be blamed on McDonald’s. But they wouldn’t be McDonald’s without McDonald’s eaters. Without the fools who follow them.”

    And certainly you’re not suggesting that only cult members are “weak-willed, gullible, and ambitious.” Or that only cult members “lack common sense…are weak, and lack integrity.”

    Sure, I was thoughtless. How may I remedy that? Hmmmm? Perhaps by reading about other cults and trying to make sense of my own life? Are parts of the story sad? Yes. But I am getting over it. It takes time and effort to combat the control measures that were imposed or even self-imposed.

    I challenge you about one thing. Do you really see cult “kids hit a certain age and they rebel.” Which ones? Do you see the Duggar children, or any Quiverfull teen dressing differently than their parents or listening to different music? Could “Blanket Training” have anything to do with that? Where are the JW teens acting like regular teens? I don’t see Apostolic young women cutting their hair or wearing pants. I don’t see SDA teens eating bacon or going out on Friday Nights. The La Luz del Mundo teens certainly aren’t acting like normal adolescents. Mormon girls aren’t wearing sleeveless tops or short shorts. Sea Org cadets aren’t out having ice cream with their friends. If they are, they they’re not really “in” the group.

    Why else would the success stories like Rachel Jeff’s or Tara Westover’s be so rare?

    • The neon Spectrum colors are all over McDonalds billboard ads 🏳️‍🌈 🌈 that tote “JOY” in big bold letters. They’re all over the Disney logo as well. NXIANS wear them around their necks.

      Brittany Spears head shaving routine when she was being burned at the stake during her divorce. Was that intentional or a cry for help? Before she went back to strip shows in pigtails and plaid schoolgirl skirts we wore in Catholic School?

      He who dies with the most (fuck) toys wins. But I still say she who has the most Joy wins. Just like I told KAR long ago. That ain’t smug that’s real and, btw, hetero girls are allowed to have pride too.

      Right Tones?

      Our kids are too busy sexting to look up and C what’s up much less cross the street w/o getting hit by a truck. We are ALL being subliminally inducted by extremists.

      While the middle class parents are too preoccupied to noice either.

  • Are you trying to equate any legitimate religion to a cult? Christianity at no point expects their followers to do any of the grossly criminal and immoral acts that Raniere expected the NXIVM followers to do. Saying that followers of an actual religion are like cult members is deeply offensive and just shows how narrow-minded you actually are.

  • An Excellent post by Actaeon!
    I have a difficult time processing this story because I come from a non-religious nominally Protestant family, although a maternal uncle married a Catholic and converted to that faith.
    I got into some hot and heavy discussions thirty years ago when I discussed with Catholics the looming problem with pedophilia in the priesthood.
    The ossified Catholic hierarchy is still trying to figure out why their faith is collapsing after the pedophilia revelations.
    On top of that most of my family graduated from college with degrees in the Sciences.
    None believe that Moses parted the Red Sea or Jesus walked on the water or that Mohammed flew to the moon on the back of a winged horse.

    I believe that some of the answer lies in the fact that many of the cult followers in NXIVM lack a good education and have no love of learning.
    Real learning.
    Book learning.
    Anyone with even a halfway decent education can see these cult leaders for the frauds they are.
    Gurus like Keith Raniere and JZ Knight are really hucksters and flimflam artists in the same class as the Wizard of Oz and the Music Man’s Professor Harold Hill.

    And the cult followers have too much time on their hands and are somewhat bored with life.
    People who have to punch the clock for a living don’t have the time to slobber over the musings of a cult guru.
    They have to work for a living.
    And these cult followers are almost universally childless.
    If you are the parents of little Johnny and Mary you don’t have time to deal with the temper tantrums of a spoiled brat like Keith Raniere.

    I believe another factor with both NXIVM and JZ Knight’s Ramtha cult is that many of the followers are actors and actresses.
    People who believe in fantasy and themselves lack a firm grasp of reality.
    In a pejorative sense they are Drama Queens.
    And the Biggest Drama Queen of them all is Keith Raniere who told one of his lovers that he almost died because she wasn’t with him the night before.
    NXIVM and Ramtha have few blue collar heterosexual males in them and no real scientists and engineers.

    And a critical point that Actaeon makes is that America’s Founding Fathers were intellectuals of the highest rank.
    Men like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, although personally flawed, had first rate minds.
    Franklin was a world famous scientist and inventor.
    Jefferson in his spare time was constantly looking for new crops to introduce to American agriculture.
    Abraham Lincoln earned a patent for inventing a means of lifting riverboats off of sand bars.
    And Theodore Roosevelt was a first rate historian who wrote books about the American West and Naval History.
    Is there any politician in either party in today’s America who has one tenth the intellectual heft of these Founders?

    And these Founders imbued in Americans of their time a love of learning and a sense of moral values that made great deeds doable.
    Today’s politicians are more like smarmy talk show hosts.

    Lastly these cult followers lack a moral compass.
    A sense of right and wrong.
    Sometimes this sense can be imparted by religion but as Actaeon said many people without religion understand right and wrong.

  • “Rainiere is nothing by himself. Zero.” Absolutely correct . He would not be able even to hold a job or support himself. He consistently ropes others into paying the bills and doing the work. Couldn’t any in NXIVM see that? From the outside, it seems so obvious.

    Or maybe I was especially jaded about the world of MLM “get rich quick with little to no effort”, from which he came.

    • Orange, things got much worse after CBI.
      When Salzman and the Clinton Foundation — I’m confident that’s a fact — AND Ana Fox, President Vicente Fox’s daughter, and the PRI Drug Cartel Elites that followed invaded it was and is, to quote Ayn Rand, “only a matter of time…”

      You’re lucky you didn’t stick around.

      You probably weren’t being brainwashed for sex trafficking to India, or virtually so, or groomed to be “suicided” or “criminalized,” or virtually so.

      Did you notice the Monarch butterflies and flowers amid the pics of a dead body lying in a pool of blood on that alleged Kristin Kruek fan’s home page?

      FANBOYS, listen up PLEASE. Do not go to those sites linked on here. And careful on their Twitter sites. Do not follow Sultan on Twitter not bc he’s Muslim, which he is NOT as FR reported, but bc they want to elicit a response and distract us. So please stop bashing on him. (Why do you think the jury is Muslim?)

      And, btw, Johnson I returned your fire ONLY to protect Frank, FR and myself. But I’ll prolly see a print out of it in conservatorship court next.

      We need a link-tester.

      If this blog makes it past the next holocaust it’ll be a nice “black box” for the psychos left in the tunnel under the WHITE house to amuse themselves with.

      Won’t they be proud of Schlock’s Trumpability then? Mebbe they’ll even hire you on and you can make it to the tunnel with the sociopaths they’ll kill and eat when the food supply runs low.

      • I have no doubt how much worse things got after CBI. (I was not in – merely an observer from an outside perspective.) Maybe it boils down to the Bronfman money enabling him to act on his most sickening schemes and desires – with zero consequences or accountability.

        You have to wonder, though, how did NXIVM-ers explain to themselves the video of a geeky, stilted, awkward fat boy going ga-ga over Eddie Albert in the CBI promo, hawking washing machines and cents-off grocery coupons?

        More like “the World’s Biggest Jerk.” He couldn’t even manage to run CBI successfully.

        OK, he managed to get access to money, power and sex – all he could desire. But he also managed to flush everything down the toilet by the age of 58. Why am I not surprised?

  • NXIVM won’t die because Raniere and a few others do some jail time. It will become a much reduced version of itself, kept alive by the few remaining fanatics who will follow Raniere no matter what. The likes of Nickvi Clyne just can’t see beyond the cult, and don’t want to. They think Raniere’s thoughts instead of their own. They see the world through his eyes instead of their own. I don’t think any of them will come to their senses. They will always love their Vanguard.

    • “NXIVM won’t die”

      I fear that you are right.
      And I believe there is the frightening potential for NXIVM to revive and come back stronger than ever.
      If Raniere and his co-defendants are somehow painted as martyrs the cult will not be wiped out.

      • They will make Mexico their new centre of operations, and go underground in the US. I don’t think they expected the Salzmans, Bronfman and Russell to be arrested. That probably sunk any previously made continuation plans they had in the US.

          • Nicki has probably been covertly cooperating with the US government in return for legal immigration status.

            Shadow: Is Nicki Clyne very dumb or very devious?

            [Editor’s Note: A source told Frank Report that Nicki Clyne is likely cooperating with the Feds. Sometime before Allison Mack pleaded guilty, the Feds noted that Allison Mack and Nicki Clyne had “a sham marriage” which suggests they may have learned that based on Clyne informing them. Clyne and Mack married, it is widely assumed, in order for the Canadian Clyne to remain in the USA to be nearer to Keith Raniere. It was her fast track to permanent US residency.]

            It is not unusual for people in criminal organizations to secretly cooperate with the government and still work for the criminal gang.
            Example Whitey Bulger

    • Paul, why are you trying to make all these chicks out to be Squeaky Fromm? I’ll bet the “girls” allegedly visiting Raniere in prison was staged by NX & Aggie, ET AL, too.

      I’m disturbed by the implications on the reputations of the “slaves” insofar as their ability to renew their lives once they’ve been pigeonholed as nutcases for life by these crooked clowns.

      Not all of the slaves are making a movie although some could be virtually cast in one or even in an actual crime scene or in a porn film to spare their families’ lives. Or be pigeonholed as the kiddie porno filmmaker behind the camera.

      There are people who can and do this seemlessly. It was done first by my ex for the film, “In the Line of Fire,” to which I contributed without pay of my own. The old-fashioned way.

    • Not so sure about “much reduced,” Pal, with all the true leadership in cells around the globe and I don’t mean prison cells where they should have spent their miserable lives instead of being allowed to help induce billionaires to start (or take the fall) for rogue revolutions Narcissistic psychos like Raniere attempted in Libya and Mexico.

      These “types” need to be stopped and fixed the second they shoot a 12-year-old maid at the age of 4 as Carlos Salinas is rumored to have done in Mexico at the start of his criminal career.

    • The Catholics collated the first Christian Bible.

      Historical Fact: King James or whatever ever you read came hundreds of years later. Sorry.

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.” In addition, he was credited in the Starz docuseries 'Seduced' for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

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 premieres on May 22, 2022.

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