The brain and heart of Vanguard

Rosales: Did Raniere Believe He Had Magical Powers?

Attorney Omar Rosales

By Omar W. Rosales, J.D.,

Author of ‘American Cult’

One of the revelations in the trial of Keith Raniere is that he insisted on his followers consuming his semen to download his energy and aura.  Did Raniere actually believe it worked?

For thousands of years, people believed that consuming human flesh and body fluids would bestow energy and power. Some groups used war captives and children of tribute areas as their source for flesh, bones, and blood. Neolithic burial sites show bones with cut marks where tendons were removed so flesh could be harvested.

The Mexica (Aztec) Empire demanded tribute from neighboring tribes in the form of children and females to harvest for sacrifice.  The Korowai tribe of Papua New Guinea cooked and consumed the flesh of people they believed were possessed. By eating the flesh of the victim, the demon, they believed, would depart and leave the community.

Crowley aka ‘The Beast of England’

Aleister Crowley was an occultist during the Victorian, Edwardian, and World War I and II eras in England.

He challenged societal norms and social practices to achieve fame, notoriety, contempt, and hate. Crowley favored Nazism and Communism because they were subversive and embraced dissident politics which provided him with publicity and attention.

Crowley claimed to be a magician and developed a movement known as Thelema. He said that Magick was a way to conform the natural world to a person’s will and that science is a follow-on manifestation of Magick. [He spelled magic as magick].  Whereas the original magic would use spells, talismans, and ceremonies to meet a goal, science could meet that same goal using physical objects and principles of Newtonian physics, electrical circuits, and matter.

In some of Crowley’s ceremonies, participants would consume cakes made of flour, semen, and menstrual fluid. The idea was a self-created human Eucharist that would harness the power of the original man or woman, to bestow an archetype of power to consumers of the cakes. Crowley included his recipes for seminal and menstrual cakes in his books.

Did Crowley actually believe it? Or were these ceremonies done for publicity and notoriety?

Maybe both. Crowley loved to shock people. He may have believed the cakes would bestow energy and power. He enjoyed the spotlight. He enjoyed being the provocateur and center of attention.

If Crowley wanted fame, he achieved it from his self-promotion as the Beast. He is not remembered for his political views, but for his occult practices. His consumption of body fluids served both of Crowley’s goals – to shock the audience and create a new religion. He has many followers today.

Then there are serial killers who recreate Satanic rituals because they believe they are worshiping Satan through murder. An example is Richard Ramirez of Los Angeles, also known as Nightstalker.

Image result for nightstalker ramirez

The Nightstalker

Ramirez carried out a series of killings in Southern California in the early 1980s. Ramirez’s first victim was a 9-year-old girl named Mei Leung. The Nightstalker would typically engage his victims via a nighttime sneak attack, a vicious beating and prolonged rape of the female victims. During the attacks, Ramirez would demand that female victims swear to Satan. At his trial, Ramirez carved a pentagram on his left hand and displayed it for cameras. Ramirez said that after his death, he would sit at Satan’s table and serve at the Devil’s left hand.

Ramirez died of cancer in June 2013. He had been on California’s death row for 23 years.

As a child, Ramirez experienced several concussions and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) events at the hands of his abusive father. This may have caused his delusions and psychosis. Did Ramirez believe he was worshipping Satan? Or were his actions a byproduct of his delusions, psychosis, and TBI?

Brain scans of serial killers show lower activity in the pre-frontal cortex – the area that manages aggression, concentration, and impulse control.  But no brain scans were ever done of the Nightstalker, so we will never be 100% percent certain.

The beastly Keith Raniere in his proper habitat

The Vanguard

What about Keith Raniere? Did he believe he had miraculous powers? The power to change the weather, to make others see blue lights, or set off radar detectors?

I don’t think so.

I believe Keith used his ‘magical abilities’ as a tool of control, a way to measure how gullible or naive his followers were. If someone accepted his teachings and the explanations of his great power – then that person was seen as an easy mark. An easy target that would yield and follow Keith to the letter. In this sense, Keith did not believe in his own abilities. Instead, he saw the con as a tool to gauge how far he could manipulate people.

If a follower believed in Vanguard’s saint-like powers, that person could be controlled.

The ingestion of his semen, slaves branded with Keith’s mark, slave armies designed in clusters of 6-6-6, signing over unborn children – I believe – were devised simply to see how far Raniere could push someone. It was his yardstick to see how far followers would go.

By breaking societal norms and challenging established religions, Raniere could gauge what boundaries his followers would break, how far an acolyte was willing to go, what they were willing to do.

Raniere’s plans included planning and staging crimes to measure followers’ devotion. These crimes would include break-ins and thefts. Would murder have been next?

Raniere relished giving himself the powers of the state. For only the state can sanction murder, robbery, and crime in a society and call it ‘Police Power’ or ‘Military Authority’.

Keith Raniere claimed to followers that his brain was so powerful that it set off radar detectors.

Oops! I seem to have caused that Thunderbolt too!

Did Keith actually believe he had superpowers?  When he fled the United States, Raniere switched to encrypted communications to mask his locations. Yet, why would he need to hide his emails if he could disrupt electronics at will? Why did he need to fear the police if he could create snowstorms?

Just conjure up a blizzard in June if you are afraid of cops coming to your estate. Instead, he hid in a closet when they came and sent Lauren Salzman to the front to protect him.

Raniere’s actions do not match his philosophy and purported abilities. Why did Vanguard leave the USA? Because he knew he broke laws, and the FBI was on his trail. The jig was up.

This is the conman. The con knows it’s a con. To them, magic is not a mystical act. Magic is the deceptive appearance, the acceptance from fools that believe anything you tell them.  That is true magic for a grifter, reiver, and con artist – such as Keith Raniere.

Raniere told women he had supernatural powers like being able to make it rain on a disobedient woman while not a drop fell on him.

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    • It was photoshopped with a brain superimposed and a tiny heart. I did this long before Raniere was arrested and first published it sometime in 2016 or so. It was supposed to suggest he had a large brain and microscopic heart – but now I have reconsidered it – and concluded his brain is rather small also.

      • Frank,

        Great composition!
        I like the perspective and the layering of the multiple images into a coherent whole.

        I thought the image was created by the female artist you sometimes post, not to be confused with mk10.

        • I don’t know if you are an amateur artist,

          so I hope I am not being offensive when I state that I thought the image was done by a real artist.

          My mom is actually an artist. I was not blessed myself with any talent, but I do appreciate good art.

          Whether or not you put much effort in you do have good perspective.

  • Very good points. On the eating of flesh we also have traditional cannibals and secondly I suppose a kind of similar thing Roman Catholics’ transubstantiation where at the Eucharist the bread literally is believed to be the body of Christ, not just a symbol of it….

    Never mind that every female animal eats the placenta after giving birth to a baby because it is full of vitamins – actually that bit is correct in terms of the health benefits not that I ever tried mine although some women do.

  • Nothing new here about such.
    Sun Yung Moon, of the Unification Church, had his blood put in goblets of wine for his followers to drink.
    PT Barnum said it best, “there’s a sucker born every minute.”
    Look, the real issue is we are not educating our young, nor our selves about cults and so much more.
    In the ignorance, of our making, we are captured by those who use it against us.
    As the Bible says “there is nothing new under the sun.”

  • Your narative Frank is super imaginative and says more about your perception of the world and has so little to do with objective truth.You cannot know his intentions, it’s nausiating . I am a reader of energy. Your energy is extremely dark and shades darker then Keiths.

  • . Would murder have been next? Murder did it happen …..he has mentioned that people has been kill by his belives

  • Oh please – that shit-brained sociopath crank has been using that “I might be a deity” crap for years and laughing at anyone fool enough to believe it. He was already testing out the “some people think I’m the anti-christ” and look how I can influence electronics garbage out in college to see if they were of use in gaining an “oh so special” aura with which to scam people.

    And swallowing his semen… what better way to force everyone to worship his spunk, This is a sexed up adolescent lizard brain here, He was laughing at everybody! This was all a fucking game to him until he got caught. It’s still a game, If he’s convicted, he’ll finally stop laughing, Me – I’ll finally give up feeling like I wanna puke at the mention of his name – take a little vacation down to Brooklyn and dance a jig in front of his temporary home before they move him along, I’d offer to dance on his grave, but I don’t want to lose the shoes – the stench would never come out.

  • “For thousands of years, people believed that consuming human flesh and body fluids would bestow energy and power” Eww, gross! Fortunately, only crazy cult members and psychopaths believe anything like that these days.

    Oh wait: “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” –John 6:54

    It’s mainstream Christianity. Normal, everyday people believe all sorts of crazy irrational stuff.

    As for Crowley the self-styled magus, he was a colorful eccentric who dabbled in alchemy, magic, assorted Eastern religions, Tarot, legends of the Knights Templar, Kabbala, and whatever oddity struck his fancy. He had great fun burning through his inheritance and then was a kind of itinerant wizard, amusing various dilettantes and annoying proper Edwardian society which desperately needed annoying. The only criminal act he committed was homosexual activity, which was illegal in England at the time. He seems to have been an entertaining weirdo and I don’t understand the animus toward him. He established a whacky religion of his own devising which can be termed a cult because any religion one does not belong to can always be called a cult; his religion is no more implausible than any other religion including the aforementioned Christianity. Crowley was a nut, he was a bad husband and a worse father. He once crucified a frog, an act of wanton cruelty that makes him despicable in my opinion, but he was mostly harmless (unless, of course, one is a frog).

    Crowley and Raniere have virtually nothing in common and neither of them were mass murderers.

    As to whether or not Raniere believed he had magical powers, who knows. The argument that had he believed he wouldn’t have feared arrest does raise an interesting parallel, and it’s one the religious minded folk aren’t going to like! If Jesus believed he was the son of God, if he had really walked on water and performed the miracle of the loaves and the fishes, why did he allow himself to get nailed up to that cross?

    • Raniere definitely took some inspiration from Crowley, through Crowley acolyte L. Ron Hubbard’s Scientology, though there would be a complex argument to be had about just what and how much.

      Crowley’s “Law of Thelema,” “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law” was adopted as the motto of Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan, and essentially describes Hubbard’s underlying philosophy in the founding of his Church of Scientology. I don’t think such egoistic utilitarianism can be brushed off as just harmless, particularly given the influence it ultimately had; and he definitely did some damage among his band of followers, perhaps particularly the children among them (who were exposed to libertine sexual practices), including several that he fathered, not entirely unlike Raniere.

    • the triangle represents the pharaoh {the elites they never left eqypt went north} isis orsiris and horus …. the square at the base of the pyramid is us the peons …..3 is always them 4 is always us ergo the 7 the G MASONIC

  • A lot of cults could be described as ‘Transgressionist.’

    Followers are led to believe that generally held moral laws don’t apply to them, or their superhuman leaders.

    “Yes, we do terrible, almost unspeakable things, but we do them for very good reasons.”

    “Don’t make waves, or we’ll do them to you.”

    • Paul,

      It’s like your describing communist revolution doctrine.

      Funny how certain social constructs within vastly different ideologies are exactly the same.

      The early Chinese revolutionaries decree was to get their peasant army to commit such atrocities that they could never be able to return to their former lives.

      The book Mao the Untold story covered the atrocities technique. It’s almost like quasi collateral.

    • That’s a good thumbnail sketch of the dynamic. And it gets to something else key – often people only finally leave some of the most extreme groups, when they themselves become the object or victim of some of the truly egregious things.

      Those “very good reasons” often involve some grandiose ideals – a new and improved mankind, the end of hunger and insanity, a new world free of war, or even something apocalyptic – that also can seem to justify lies, deception, exploitation and even crimes on a grand scale.

      It’s ends-justify-the-means thinking – technically, extreme utilitarianism.

  • It’s an interesting question as to what Raniere actually believed. It often seems to be virtually impossible to tell how much of their own koolaid cult leaders are actually drinking.

    There was certain magical thinking among his followers.

    L. Ron Hubbard had studied in one of Crowley’s OTO lodges and reportedly told his eldest son and once-presumptive heir that Thelema teachings were essential, so there’s certainly some influence of that in NXIVM by virtue of Raniere having deliberately taken inspiration from Scientology ideas and practices.

    On the subject of belief in the magic powers of human flesh, and more broadly what constitutes a cult and how widespread cult-like thinking is in society in ways that may make people susceptible to what we might consider to be obvious cults, there’s an interesting example of that in the news recently. What would people think if they were told that two factions of a group were fighting over the long-dead body of a guru, because one wanted to take possession to harvest relics from it that they wanted to worship, and believed had healing powers? And yet this was recently on the front page of the august New York Times, “the paper of record”:

    An Archbishop Could Become a Saint. But First, His Body Must Be Moved.
    “After a bitter public tussle, the body of Archbishop Fulton Sheen, which is entombed in Manhattan, will be moved to Peoria, Ill., where he is revered as a native son.”

    The full article says in part:
    “The remains of saints are holy objects of veneration in Catholicism and have been objects of intense dispute for hundreds of years. In the past, the resolution has sometimes been to divide the body. St. Catherine of Siena is enshrined in Rome, while her head is revered in a basilica in Siena, Italy. St. Francis Xavier, the 16th-century missionary, is entombed in Goa, India, but his right arm is in Rome, in a reliquary at the Church of the Gesù.

    In the battle over Archbishop Sheen, both sides considered dividing his remains but were unable to come to an agreement.”

    According to the Associated Press:

    “They [the Vatican’s new rules] … make clear that the bishops involved must agree in writing to any transfer of remains and call for absolute secrecy when a body is unearthed and a relic taken for eventual veneration.”

    • Venerating relics such as the bones of saints has a long history in Christianity. And then there is the bit from Corinthians (as well as the Gospel of Luke) about Christ instructing the disciples to eat his flesh and drink his blood. Not to mention the central symbol of Christianity being the crucifix, the image of a man-god tortured to death. This is why it may not be so difficult to understand how people can join cults. Is it insane to think the cult leader can work miracles, when saints are believed to have done so? The irrational is deeply seated in the human psyche. Once people venture down the rabbit hole, many of them never come back. People believe what they want to believe.

      I find it sad that people can cage up their minds like this, believe fantasies, and make themselves slaves to their irrational impulses.

      • And it has such a long history in Christianity, because it was incorporated from earlier pagan practices – in part as a strategy to get pagans to convert by making Christianity seem more like what they were used to.

        I think it makes sense as products of a time when life was short and brutal, death common and often random, and education rare.

  • Raniere’s style is strongly reminiscent of religious dogma. Kill, screw, do anything I say, don’t open your mouth unless asked and I will give you something really nice. But you have to be dead first!! Fortunately Raniere didn’t match that talent, else we’d have all the monkeys killing each other and the humans watching on the sidelines in disbelief!!!

  • Yes, a conman through and through. He knew very well he was speaking untruths, for the reasons you mentioned. I question how this all could have started in him at such a young age, and how he got away with it for so long.

    If he believed he was doing nothing wrong, he should have stayed put and not fled to Mexico. He was obviously afraid of having his precious comforts taken away.

    Had he not fled, and had he been honest about his substantial resources, he might have been out on bond all this time.

    But he thinks he’s smarter than everyone else – it’s the one falsehood he absolutely believes.

  • The million dollar question….

    ……..”Did Raniere Believe He Had Magical Powers?”

    My theory is that Raniere did not believe he wielded super natural powers.

    If Raniere truly believed he wielded supernatural powers….

    Why did he not have Marc Vincete make a video recording for posterity?

    Why did the world’s greatest mind imbued with supernatural powers not defend himself Pro Se?

    *******
    Rosale’s article brings up an intriguing question that we will never know the true answer to.

    If one reads everything Heidi Hutchinson has written in regards to her time spent with Raniere and her sister I think one will come to the conclusion Raniere made everything up.

    Early on he was telling Gina Hutchinson he was a reincarnated from a Buddhist priest and could see people’s past life’s.

    It’s Keith time spent with Gina that I believe he started perfecting his “higher being con”.

  • When it comes to cults and their charismatic leaders, NXIVM and ‘Vanguard’ are very small fish, indeed. Compared to the likes of Crowley, Thelma, Rajneesh, David Koresh et al, NXIVM is a micro cult, with a micro guru. Even 70 years after his death, Crowley’s books still sell. Crowley was a world-class chess player, an accomplished mountaineer, and a poet. Compared to Crowley, Raniere is a nonentity – a pipsqueak. He is a 58 year old man, without any achievements or accomplishments of any kind. He’s written no books, written no music, written no poems, given no piano recitals, and invented nothing new. Unlike Crowley, 70 years after his death, no one will remember Tubby or NXIVM.

    • I agree with you, that he has accomplished nothing (other than swindling, relentless emotional and physical abuse, and broad sexual activity), but I have a funny feeling that after conviction quite a few nasty little stories are going to come out, told by people who are no longer afraid.

      I think at the very least, KAR’s behavior will be a major topic of discussion in the world of psychology. Narcissists, Psychopaths, etc. – what makes them tick? Remember, he might not have outright (personally) killed people, but he managed to get, we are told, 17,000 people to pay for his made up B.S.

      He would be the new poster boy for the “lamb in sheep’s clothing” metaphor.

      • OCD,

        I think your right about Keith Raniere becoming a topic amongst Psychiatrists.

        Keith Raniere is a lamb in sheeps clothing not a wolf….

        He is one of the most innocuous seeming cult leaders in recent memory.

        Fortunately Keith did not last long enough to arrive at the cliché apoplectic cult ending…..

        ….All his followers dying together.

        • Unlike others, I’m convinced he was on the Jim Jones or Heaven’s Gate path – towards mass annihilation of his followers.

          There is nothing like looking into the ice cold, furious eyes of a thwarted psychopath.

          The leader of Heaven’s Gate decided his male followers should volunteer for castration; then all followers should volunteer for suicide. All in the pursuit of a fantastic scam which he created.

          Raniere had to be stopped, plain and simple. IMO, he is much more dangerous than a garden-variety sex fiend. Mark my words.

          • OCD,

            I completely agree with you Raniere was leading his followers down a pernicious path with a dark ending.

          • What I meant by “not a wolf” is that Raniere did not have fire arms, armed guards, or gallons of deadly poison around.

  • Omar:
    The late great Steve Jobs of Apple Computer and some of his most fervent employees believed Jobs had a Reality Distortion Field.
    That the power of his charisma and his brain could spur the employees at Apple to perform extraordinary feats in record time.
    Of course Steve Jobs had elements of genius in him and semen had nothing to do with it.

    Reality distortion field

    Reality distortion field is a term first used by Bud Tribble at Apple Computer in 1981, to describe company co-founder Steve Jobs’s charisma and its effects on the developers working on the Macintosh project.[1] Tribble said that the term came from Star Trek,[1] where in the Menagerie episode, it was used to describe how the aliens created their own new world through mental force. In chapter three of Steve Jobs, biographer Walter Isaacson states that around 1972, while Jobs was attending Reed College, Robert Friedland “taught Steve the reality distortion field.”

    The reality distortion field was said by Andy Hertzfeld to be Steve Jobs’s ability to convince himself and others to believe almost anything with a mix of charm, charisma, bravado, hyperbole, marketing, appeasement and persistence. It was said to distort an audience’s sense of proportion and scales of difficulties and made them believe that the task at hand was possible. Jobs could also use the reality distortion field to appropriate other’s ideas as his own, sometimes proposing an idea to its originator after dismissing it the week before.[1]

    The term has been used to refer to Jobs’s keynote speeches (“Stevenotes”) by observers and devoted users of Apple computers and products.[2], and by Apple’s competitors in criticisms of Apple. On Research In Motion’s official BlackBerry blog, Jim Balsillie introduced a blog post by saying “For those of us who live outside of Apple’s distortion field”.[3]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reality_distortion_field

About Frank Parlato

About Frank Parlato

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in major publications all over the world, including The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CNN, Fox News, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, and more.

Frank Parlato was the lead investigator and coordinating producer of Investigation Discovery's 2 hour blockbuster special 'The Lost Women of NXIVM.'

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