Nutjob, one of our most dignified commenters, met the principles of the early cast of Nxivm. He recently wrote an intriguing comment about the days when Nancy Salzman first met Keith Alan Raniere. I decided to make it into a post: Witness Gives Glimpse of When Nancy Salzman First Met Raniere and Thought He Was a Psychopath.
The gist of the story is that Nancy seemed to know at first that Raniere was a psychopath, and seemed to want to run from him when they first met in 1998. She went through a period of doubt, followed by certainty. Within a month, somehow she changed her view and found him to be the best and greatest man she ever met.
Nutjob, who knew them both back then, has some further thinking on the subject of Nancy’s sudden change, with some new never before published details. For those who study the cult of Nxivm, I think this is well worth reading. Even for those who study cults in general this is an important post, for it speaks to the very genesis of a dangerous cult,-the merging of two forces, Raniere, the founder and leader, the thinker and his prey, Nancy Salzman, the eager executor of his nefarious plot.
Why did Nancy Salzman 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 Executive Success Programs [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 Cafritz, Kristin Keeffe, Barbara Jeske, Toni Natalie, 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?