Witness Gives Glimpse of When Nancy Salzman First Met Raniere and Thought He Was a Psychopath

Vanguard [Keith Raniere] and Prefect [Nancy Salzman] during a happier time, when the two were working in tandem to teach the world a new visionary method of critical thinking they called Rational Inquiry. But for the irrational pecker of the founder, and a cauterizing pen, they might be still doing so today,

While this is a short post, and was originally posted as a comment for Heidi Hutchinson’s story, Heidi: Nancy and Lauren Salzman Knew Day of Reckoning Would Come and Prepared for It, there is a gem of new information and it deserves to be shared with readers.

By Nutjob

Heidi – Nothing would shock me with any of these NXIVM players, but a couple of things would surprise me.

It would surprise me if any of the evil deeds did not originate with Keith.

It would surprise me if Nancy or Lauren had any real say in the nefarious activities.

It would not surprise me if they helped Keith pull stuff off.

It would surprise me if they were not involved in cover-ups.

I like reading your points and information regarding Lauren and Nancy. You notice I don’t push back on much of what you write, because I don’t know for sure about much. The more you share, the more of the puzzle we see.

I don’t think I ever met Gina. I wish I did.

Here’s the timeframe I remember:

One month around May/Junishish 1998, Nancy Salzman was talking about meeting and spending time with this psychopath guy who wanted to go into business with her. She said she was scared of him and wasn’t going to have anything to do with him.

She talked about the situation a lot and you could tell it was weighing on her mind.

A month later, she glowed when talking about him and was all giddy about going into business with him. It was bizarre and a little creepy.

It was also weird because she openly said this in front of Toni Natalie, and Toni didn’t disagree. That’s why I remember this. A month or two later, ESP had started. Lauren had just graduated college and was a part of ESP from the beginning.


End of Nutjob’s comment.

By Frank Parlato

This is fascinating.

Nancy’s first instincts were right. Keith is a psychopath. And Nancy said it right in front of Keith’s purported girlfriend at the time, Toni Natalie and she did not apparently disagree. Toni would soon leave Keith, [they were both cheating on each other] but not before joining Nancy and Keith in their ESP business for a short while.

Within a month, Keith, meeting with Nancy, at least some of the time, at Toni’s health food store/restaurant, evidently persuaded Nancy that he was not a psychopath and that they could successfully go into business together. Her fear left her and they had a 20-year run – until the law caught up with both of them.

The very early days of Executive Success Programs with l-r Keith Raniere, Nancy Salzman, and Toni Natalie.

Nancy was intuitive or prescient. Perhaps she saw ahead in time some 20 years, to where the road ended for them, but perhaps greed got the better of her. Or perhaps Raniere hypnotized her.

She went from having natural fear and wise caution to become his slavish follower. For 20 years, she was the face of the operation, doing his bidding and harming innumerable people for him. She was the ostensible number two person in the organization. She was given the title of Prefect.

Did he convert her to a psychopath? Was this his greatest talent?

The early days of Nxivm. L-R Barbara Bouchey, Keith Alan Raniere and Nancy Salzman.

Or was Nancy always a selfish, sociopathic monster just waiting for the right leader to unleash the fullness of her evil?

It is also interesting to understand that Lauren, Nancy’s daughter, joined in from the start, thanks to Nancy – and, thus, lost the best years of her life dedicated to being his slavish follower as well.

I always thought it was fascinating that Lauren would abandon her own father for Keith, at Keith’s command.

The Salzmans ran ESP [under Keith’s command] for most of its run, with one important proviso:  After Barbara Bouchey began to distance herself from NXIVM and ultimately left, a certain degree of decency left with her. It was 2009, and this opened the door for Clare Bronfman to assume more power.

It is arguable that Clare, starting around 2009, with the departure of Bouchey, and the other eight women known as the Nxivm 9, had more authority than Salzman. Clare basically became the number two person in Nxivm, at least behind the scenes.

Keith Raniere gives a loving hug to his inner circle member Barbara Jeske. shortly before her death.

When Barbara Jeske died in 2013, he lost one of the more gentle, kinder voices, who sometimes dampened his harsher nature.

When Kristin Keeffe left in 2014, it became worse. Keeffe was one of the few who could tell Raniere that his plans were too wild. With her departure, along with their son, Keith had fewer filters than ever before.

When Pam Cafrtiz died in 2016, after a long illness, it seems all the filters were gone.

Cafritz was far and away his best pimp woman. She got him young women and sometimes girls and when she got ill and died, Raniere realized that no one could get him young women like Pam did.

He went utterly wild, and with Clare always ready to do sadistic things for him, and with Nancy always believing blindly in him, and with Lauren wanting to have a child with him so badly that she would follow his most diabolical plans  – he cut loose from all bounds of rationality.

Pam Cafritz was always willing to pimp for Raniere.

DOS First-Line Slaves

With the help of Allison Mack, Nicki Clyne, Rosa Laura Junco, Loreta Garza, Daniela Padilla, Camila Fernandez, Monica Duran, and Lauren Salzman, he created the most bizarre and insane operation he ever devised – a blackmail and branding, sex slavery, multilevel marketing scheme. It was called DOS.

It was what sent him to prison and will likely send the other defendants there as well.

Yes, he was a psychopath and the result was that he was caught in time. Nancy was caught with him, and so was Lauren. [And Clare, Allison, and hapless Kathy Russell, their foolish bookkeeper and pawn].

During that fateful month, when he plied his charms and made his promises of her fortune, Nancy smelled a rat and did not run, and led her daughter to ruination also.

I wonder if she could go back in time and reconsider, would she run from the monster?





About the author

Frank Parlato


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  • Nancy said something similar to Gina, in fact Gina quoted it in her journal at around the same time. She wrote about ESP, she called it “the business” Keith, Nancy ET AL were starting saying that “it all seems so delusional.”

    I remember Nancy’s sudden “turnaround,” too. Gina was a bit shocked at it but thought Nancy would even it out, make it a good thing. Then, however, Gina felt she was being excluded — except by Kristin Keeffe whom she always wanted and did try to help work through their mutual issues.

    What do you think accounts for Nancy’s flip-flop, Nutjob?

    • Amway calls it “the business,” too – anything but the A-word. LOL

      Movie stars call it “the business” as well. LOL

      All three, Amway, NXIVM, and Hollyweird are f*cked up. LOL

    • Why did Nancy flip-flop? Most of my answer is spitballing, but it’s a question I’ve thought a lot about. The easy answer would be that Keith started sleeping with her. But, I don’t think that’s correct. Nancy was dating an exec from Con Ed in the fall of 1998 – Mark, maybe was his name? (I’ve wished for a long time that Mark would give Frank a call because he could fill in a lot of blanks) I don’t think Keith would have allowed Nancy to have a boyfriend if Keith was already sleeping with Nancy. Mark was really cool and was great for Nancy. They seemed to have a real connection. Then, one day out of the blue, Nancy dumped him and Mark was gone forever. She said it was because Mark was a leveler or a parasite or a shifter or something – one of Keith’s words that he used to cut people off at the knee. It was obvious to me that Keith had told Nancy to dump him. The other thing we know about Keith is that he played the long game with his women. I think part of the flip flop had to do with Nancy starting to like/have a crush on Keith. His long game was starting to work. I think Nancy dumped Mark because she thought it would help her get Keith. I’d guess that Nancy started sleeping with Keith at the time she dumped Mark. I’m telling you, this guy Mark was a keeper for Nancy. There must have been something starting up with Keith in order for her to so flippantly move on from Mark. My point from all this babble – Keith’s long-game kicked in, and Nancy started to have romantic feelings for Keith during the time she flip-flopped. This played a part in her decision to start “the business”.

      People assume that Nancy started the business with Keith because of money. Who doesn’t want to be at the top of a pyramid scheme? But, I think money was a reason she almost didn’t start up ESP. Nancy was killing it as a consultant and had her own private counseling practice. Her starting ESP was a risky financial decision because she was already hooked up with great income/jobs. ESP would take her away from this certainty and this thriving part of her life.

      I think the biggest reason for the flip flop is the obvious answer. Keith sold Nancy on the idea. Keith had his women all sell Nancy on the idea. Pam, Kristin, Barbara, Toni, Karen, Gina (?) were all entering Nancy’s life and becoming quick friends with her. I think everyone ganged up on Nancy and sold her on the idea. Starting with his past life crap that he knew Nancy would believe, Keith probably used every trick in his book. Hypnosis, NLP, sales tricks, seduction, peer pressure, etc.

      One last thing about this. Prior to the flip flop, Nancy was talking about Keith a heck of a lot. In retrospect, it was obvious that she hadn’t made up her mind, and she was looking for people to tell her that she was making the correct decision. Why keep meeting with him and keep talking about him if she had 100% made up her mind?

  • As Raniere’s original co-conspirator, and co-creator of the Vanguard myth, I suspect that Nancy saw in him a golden opportunity to make money.

    He had the weird charisma, she had the NLP mind control and covert hypnosis tech.

    And the money began to come in.

    How could it possibly go wrong?

  • This story reads a lot like an adult version of a real-life Harry Potter story, complete with Raniere who looks like Harry Potter himself. LOL

  • Nancy is a disgusting soul. To set up her daughter to bang her boss, who she was banging and knew was having numerous relations with other women is SO reprehensible as a mother. Laurens’s biological father being superseded and position transitioned to KAR is just a downstream ripple. Special needs people who are intellectually incapable to care for their children need to be placed in an institution. A correctional institution. For a long long time.

    • Then perhaps the answer to the question posed at the end, “I wonder if she [Nancy] could go back in time and reconsider, would she run from the monster?” is “No.” LOL

  • While this story seem plausible, why should we believe it’s 100% true, how could the author know the feeling of Nancy?
    I have huge doubt about this.

    “With the help of Allison Mack, Nicki Clyne, Rosa Laura Junco, Loreta Garza, Daniela Padilla, Camila Fernandez, Monica Duran, and Lauren Salzman, he created the most bizarre and insane operation he ever devised – a blackmail and branding, sex slavery, multilevel marketing scheme. It was called DOS.”
    Come on frank, you know it’s not true…trial showed this.
    Only raniere was involved and you point “victim” to Allison then accuse her of helping?

    Then all the victim helped too, i remind you that Jayes almost recruited someone, India recruited Jayes, Sylvie recruited too…
    Heck , i don’t even see you talking about india’s implication which was HEAVY too…yet everyone see her as a victim.

    Better yet, her mom excuses her daughter by the abuses she was victim of…Abuses that Allison was victim to a higher rate!

    India was also indicted until they shifted the blame on Allison and made up a nice story to fit with it.

    Most people wouldn’t know it if they didn’t followed the story since the beginning and you chooses to mute this fact.

    Stop saying that Allison helped when the court showed that she wasn’t. The recording showed that she didn’t say anything but “hum”, “yeah”, “ok ok”…that’s quite helpful!

    Something tells me you are going to flip flop soon…because doing the right thing doesn’t fit you apparently.

    3 Posts that accuses Allison while a few days ago you pointed “she is a victim”.

    Ah crap, i don’t even know why i’m losing my time here…it’s the same story every while…you pretend to open your eyes but then.

    • NutJob was there from the beginning.

      Anonymous, some people, definitely not NutJob, have a thing for blonds.

      “Women don’t understand, when it comes to available attractive women, a man is sitting in the back of the bus and someone else is driving.”

      • Not exactly, at least not around June 17…and it still doesn’t mean the author knows anything about Nancy’s feeling…
        You missed the point.

        What I see often around here is people trying to find justification for Nancy and her daughter’s behavior…
        Money is a powerful motivator.

        As for the second part, it’s not for Nutjob…if you read, what I quoted is said by Frank, not Nutjob…Nutjob isn’t even talking about Allison or the others.
        So your point, once again, is irrelevant.

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