Nxivm President Nancy Salzman Is a Hypnotist and a Disorganized Criminal

Prefect and the Dentist

By AnonyMaker

I recently found out that a couple of people in my extended family had some dealings with Nancy Salzman about 20 years ago. I can’t pin down the precise time frame, but Nancy was then giving Ericksonian hypnosis classes – and telling people that she’d just gotten away from a manipulative teacher.

I suspect that she is referring to an NLP trainer who I know she worked with, who I think has a particularly manipulative take on NLP (which Salzman seems to have picked up a lot of, regardless) but I can’t rule out that it represents some early misgivings and a falling-out that she had with Keith Raniere.

It does seem that, like Allison Mack, she was prone to falling under the sway of the wrong sort of men.

More key, I’ve seen reference to Salzman as a therapist and think she was working as such prior to NXIVM, and we also now know that she considered herself a teacher outside of NXIVM.

I think that to understand her role in Nxivm it’s important to realize that she she came to NXIVM as a trained counselor of sorts. I suspect she has always seen herself as a counselor and teacher, and came to regard NXIVM and Raniere in particular as sort of necessarily evils in order for her to try to do work with a broader reach.

The way in which EMs [Exploration of Meaning – a Nxivm therapy] were used to essentially apply thought reform to people having issues with how NXIVM was run and Raniere behaved, reminds me of how “auditing” is similarly used in Scientology in some cases.

Most famously, auditing was reportedly used to try and manipulate Tom Cruise, and his relationships, in order to keep him a loyal and involved member at times when he had backed off on his involvement with the group; it is also used to try to sew discord and break up couples when one objects to the other’s participation and spending.

Also, the cash sloppily strewn around Salzman’s house [$520,000 seized by the feds] I think pegs her as what is called a disorganized criminal.

History also shows that people who perpetrate frauds and scams rarely plan for what to do if and when they collapse or are busted – I don’t think there’s been one since Robert Vesco going on half a century ago (and he just miscalculated and ended up in a Cuban jail). I doubt that Salzman has any significant cash left; the FBI and other agencies would have looked hard, and plus she’d be under threat of other criminal charges (and/or a harsher sentence) if it turned out she was living off illicit cash.


Nxivm was always a cult

Was it ever not a cult and a dictatorship – just less so, or less obviously so, early on?

It seems to me that it was always Raniere, a couple of his lifetime bisexual pedophilia-friendly sister wives and enablers, and then a larger harem of similar women that evolved over time, including some polyamory-tolerant ‘girlfriends’ who came and went, engaged in deceptive recruiting, and fraudulent and criminal activity of one type or another.

Nxivm in a sense became toast after the Forbes article of 2003 in which Edgar Bronfman called it “a cult,” following on earlier pieces by Rick Ross’ Cult Education Institute.

After that ESP could no longer actually recruit successful executives, and it was rebranded as NXIVM in Raniere’s sly reference to an ancient type of debt bondage so prone to abuse – particularly sexual – that the Romans abolished it, increasingly relying on offering more levels of courses to a shrinking number of dedicated followers.

I want to note that it’s a common phenomenon that people who join high control groups or cults are often left with the impression that things went after they joined or after they left, when the dysfunction and abuse can typically be traced to the group’s beginnings and the leaders’ origins.

That’s similar to the phenomenon in which former participants imagine the “good” in the group when they were in.

What perhaps matters most is that no real celebrity ever got enough further than introductory courses, or enamored enough of the group, to want to publicly promote it – there are always a couple of Hollywood types who will dabble in almost anything new (a few hung around Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan in the 1960s, for instance), and whoever they did get probably had a history of group-hopping.

That left NXIVM with Mark Vicente (a cult-hopper himself) and the Vancouver crowd of TV actors.

Groups like this thrive on the affiliation of any known figures they can manage to snag, or a rumor mill fed with claims that supposedly prominent people are involved, in order to try to bolster their credibility. Sarah Edmondson’s innuendo [about the good in Nxivm] sounds to me like the same sort of breathy gossip that she probably used to recruit people when she was in.


Sarah Edmondson said in an interview, “The initial [Nxivm] seminars help with a lot of the issues actors struggle with in terms of having confidence and needing to be validated. I can say from my own experience that after those early ESP seminars [Nxivm lingo that stands for Executive Success Program], I felt like things were going really well for me. I went to more auditions, I got off my sleeping pills, I felt like I was a causing agent in my life rather than just being at the whim of the world.”
There are several minor categories of independent films where the Oscar is considered to go to the director. At least in the past they have sometimes gone to rich heirs with the wherewithal to fund lavish projects to put their name on.

My guess is that Edmondson’s claims would turn out to be much less substantial than she implies.

What is NLP – which Salzman taught?

NLP is particularly rooted in Ericksonian hypnosis (Nancy Salzman studied both).

It does advance the use of suggestion, and covert or conversational hypnosis, in ways that can be surprisingly effective on susceptible individuals, particularly when amplified with other social influence techniques.

Suggestion and covert hypnosis are used in Scientology, possibly due to its founder L. Ron Hubbard having had early connections to Erickson, and the use of those techniques in conjunction with socio-psychological manipulation is one of the reasons that is is possibly the mostly highly controlling group that exists, doing enormous damage to members and frequently getting them to behave in contravention to their best interests.

Just because NLP has turned out not to be an effective therapy, the prime aspect that has been researched, does not mean that it is a technique completely without some potential power.

Here is an example that is sensational but illustrative:

Derren Tricks Shop Keepers To Let Him Pay With Paper

That’s real, not just a setup with plants, involving actual phenomenon that criminals sometimes exploit:


The whole subject of suggestion and hypnosis is fraught and complex, particularly when it comes to its use in high control groups or cults (though it’s worth noting that medical hypnosis is a real thing, and it can be as effective as drugs in alleviating pain, see for instance https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/hypnosis/about/pac-20394405 and https://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/01/hypnosis).

Here’s a bit more of a nuanced perspective on NLP and the state of research:

“Determining the effectiveness of NLP is challenging for several reasons.

“NLP has not been subject to the same standard of scientific rigor as more established therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT.

“The lack of formal regulation and NLP’s commercial value mean that claims of its effectiveness can be anecdotal or supplied by an NLP provider. NLP providers will have a financial interest in the success of NLP, so their evidence is difficult to use.

“Furthermore, scientific research on NLP has produced mixed results.

“Some studies have found benefits associated with NLP. For example, a study published in the journal Counselling and Psychotherapy Research found psychotherapy patients had improved psychological symptoms and life quality after having NLP compared to a control group.

“However, a review published in The British Journal of General Practice of 10 available studies on NLP was less favorable.

“It concluded there was little evidence for the effectiveness of NLP in treating health-related conditions, including anxiety disorders, weight management, and substance misuse. This was due to the limited amount and quality of the research studies that were available, rather than evidence that showed NLP did not work.

“In 2014, a report by the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technology in Health found no clinical evidence for the effectiveness of NLP in the treatment of PTSD, GAD, or depression.

“However, a further research review published in 2015 did find NLP therapy to have a positive impact on individuals with social or psychological problems, although the authors said more investigation was needed.”


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  • “The whole subject of suggestion and hypnosis is fraught and complex, particularly when it comes to its use in high control groups or cults (though it’s worth noting that medical hypnosis is a real thing, and it can be as effective as drugs in alleviating pain”

    Problem with your analysis (which is true, Hypnosis is medically used to help accelerate the healing (especially after surgery). Is that you like to pretend that Nothing could have pushed Allison to do anything against her will but this would have to be Added to the list,so not good for you…

    Sleep deprivated and
    Hypnotized…Something that many around her Believe to be possible but none use because it’s rarely take seriously (as not completly provable (it’s based on each individual response to the hypnose)

    If we had the potential drugging (as No one is talking about the powder found in Raniere’s lair and seen used by some of the victim as complement in their water…

    But thanks for it, i’ll gladly use this against your next accusation!

    • First, no, hypnosis is not used “to help accelerate the [sic] healing” – there was one smaller old study I’m aware of that indicated some possible usefulness for that, but the most recent research (Chester et al, 2018) found no efficacy. Only its medical use in pain relief is proven, accepted, and practiced.

      Once again, you’re caught out posing yourself as being on top of the facts, when actually you’re completely mistaken.

      And Mack had multiple breaks away from Raniere’s environment of control in Albany – including several months at the beginning of 2017, to do a theatrical production in Southern California. That proves that the sort of factors you cite are not key in explaining her behavior, and particularly not why she stayed and repeatedly offended against others.

  • “Furthermore, scientific research on NLP has produced mixed results”

    Not really. “the consensus scientific opinion is that NLP is pseudoscience”
    “Medical anthropologist Jean M. Langford categorizes NLP as a form of folk magic; that is to say, a practice with symbolic efficacy—as opposed to physical efficacy—that is able to effect change through nonspecific effects (e.g., placebo). ”

    –https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuro-linguistic_programming#Scientific_criticism The Wikipedia article is chock full of footnoted references in the scientific literature proving that neurolinguistic programming is junk science.

    To put it succinctly, “The last thirty years of research have simply shown that NLP is bunk.” –Steven Novella, M.D.

    NLP is sold these days in seminars as a business tool, but it’s pure snake oil. Like snake oil medicine, it doesn’t work– no matter how many “personal testimonials” claim the contrary.

    As for hypnotism, Eriksonian or otherwise, it is of dubious effectiveness at best, and has been compared in the scientific literature to a placebo. Placebos “work” also; that is, give a group of people suffering from lower back pain a sugar pill, telling them it’s a new cutting edge pain reliever being studied, and a certain number will report relief. It’s illusory.

  • It will come down to the year your extended family took the course. If it was 1998, she’s talking about Keith. If not, probably not Keith. Interesting pattern you may have found. What NLP trainer are you thinking of? For a couple of reasons, you’re off base if thinking Bandler.

    • I’m not sure I can narrow it down any closer than circa 2000, leaving some question as to whether she was referring to an earlier teacher, or an early falling out with Raniere that she patched up.

      I’m thinking Joseph Yeager in Pennsylvania, who I found she’d studied with, and who co-authored with Dilts the to me ominously titled work Overcoming Resistance to Persuasion with Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Interestingly, Yeager has now hides his connection to NLP on his site apparently aimed at the business personnel management market, claiming just to be an “expert on persuasion and behavior change.” But I don’t know anything more about him than what what might be inferred.

  • The Church of Satan is mentioned– I’d like to point out that it is in no way a cult. They don’t recruit, they lack a compound or any real physical property for that matter. They do have a hilarious twitter account and a wicked sense of humor.

    They don’t believe in an actual Satan. They’re not devil worshipers. They don’t worship kind of supernatural entity. They are a real religion nonetheless. How? In the same way there are secular Jews. To the CoS, Satan is a cultural and literary manifestation representing rebellion and individuality. They’re very knowledgable about the history of Satan (a history which goes way, way, way back, predating Christianity by far).

    There is a Satanic Bible. They have a few publications, a podcast, a website. I seriously doubt there’s any way this skeletal presence could make them a high control group, let alone a cult. There’s no party line to follow, no indoctrination. Unlike some major religions I could mention.

    I’m not a member but I do find them interesting. They have an interesting history and their website is worth checking out. Their ideology is basically one of individuality, of self-respect and honorable behavior. Plus they have a sense of humor– something seriously lacking in all mainstream religions AFAIK.

  • Question about the avatar babies. Did Keith verbatim say that he’d give these girls avatar babies? If so what exactly does that mean? The word avatar seems new age. For instance did he believe he would have intergalactic babies that would be blue in color. I can’t believe that’s an actual pick up line.

    • ” did he believe he would have intergalactic babies that would be blue in color. I can’t believe that’s an actual pick up line.”

      With so many crazy members in NXIVM that is a great pick up line.

    • I’m saying that suggestion, and conversational and covert hypnosis, along with various techniques of psychological and social manipulation, help explain the behaviors where members both compromised their personal best interests and did thing that harmed others – including crimes. It’s a complex subject area that we still don’t fully understand, and haven’t come to terms with how to deal with either legally or societally.

      I still think people should be held criminally and civilly liable for their behavior under their circumstances, particularly when they continued doing things over an extended period of time. But even the law recognizes undue influence, and ethically and even philosophically I think it’s a bit of a quandry as to whether people being manipulated, and perhaps particularly susceptible to manipulation, can necessarily be held full to blame for their actions; if for instance we recognized them as being too young or to aged to fully comprehend their implications of their actions, or too compromised by intellectual deficits or mental illness, we probably would judge them by different standards.

      Defining Undue Influence – American Bar Asssociation

      The Cult: the Meaning of Undue Influence

  • Small world! Sultan Of Six has a connection to Nancy Salzman from years before he started stroking it to Kristin Kook. Or does he…?

  • Did Nancy use NLP in the EMs to gain info on members to manipulate them?

    And since Nancy acted as a mother-hen and mentor of some of the women (like the Vancouver actresses) did she use NLP to influence them—to agree to do nefarious things or just to ignore the red flags of the sex cult?

    I don’t think NLP or hypnosis can make one do something dangerous (like touch a hot stove) but I believe it can muddle your thinking enough so that you might consider acts that are less moral or ethical than you would have normally done if your mind wasn’t fucked up.

    • The EMs were definitely used in ways to manipulate people – probably including, as has been mentioned, to gather information then leveraged to advantage. That’s a whole complex subject of its own. The similar Scientology auditing process is probably the closest thing that exists to brainwashing, in part because it used to plant false memories of previous past lives (false memories of various sorts are a significant problem in hypnosis), which are then leveraged to get the subject to act in specific ways harmful to their personal interests but benefit the group and its leaders.

      Actually, it probably would be possible to hypnotize a susceptible individual to not feel pain – medical hypnosis has long been in use, and is well documented in accepted research – and then get them to put their hand on a hot stove long enough to cause severe burns. It probably wouldn’t be possible to give someone a command to go over to a stove and burn themselves – though there is currently some controversy over the conventional wisdom that hypnotized subjects won’t do anything they think is wrong. That sort of demonstrates the nuances involved, and how manipulation typically has to including misdirecting or confusing the subject.

    • It was sort of her job? Nancy seemed to love (and use) information for its own sake. You hate it, but she went to the “darjish side.”

      Nonetheless, it is clear that Silly, hapless, “supposedly Clare beholden” Prefect was down with the whole scheme to keep the deal going. Hidden. So much to lose. And really, this upper Middle-class, “we are so down with cashmere.”

      Keith was holding this thing down, with Janus. Not Jness, and the ladies auxiliary just wanted their sort of sexual lives. It had to be weird with the older women, the shunned, the dead Pam. The Mexican contingent.

      Yo. I cannot imagine the conversations between Nan and Lauren

    • It does seem that Nan was in it. Sort of beyond belief. Bottom line is that the Prefect knew.

      How she compartmentalized it is clearly up for discussion.

      But she’s not really sorry. I def get the impression that Frank has to admire Nancy Salzman. The jab at her fancy Saratoga birthday notwithstanding.
      It is all about Nan. She could not give it up.

      But yeah, Keith was a total creeper. It became so obvious.

      And Nancy seems to have known. So much about Nan, her psychology. I just cannot trust Prefect.

      The ppl in Rome Plaza were Mack and the rest of the bicycle riders, Honestly? They looked like an AA group after their meetings at Apropos, hanging out in the parking lot, a few men heading back to Knox Woods on bikes. I guess the insular nature of that Nxivm/jness/Janus (look it up) /SOP group just flew forward, meeting at Apropos You had to see how the influx of C-list actors and how, out front of Apropos, they would park their luxury cars in front.

      Seriously. You would ask around. The acting c-list actors had all the law enforcement heads turned.

      All I can report is that the Halfmoon ppl were stymied.

      Frank, let’s hear more about the Mex contingent.

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.

IMDb — Frank Parlato


Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083
Email: frankparlato@gmail.com