Even supposing that everything Raniere intended Nxivm to be was meant to destroy people or control them and Raniere is, as Mark Vicente said, “a malicious, petty, evil and dangerously vengeful sociopath who thrills at our pain,” if he found a method that could cure Tourette’s, that method should be used.
One could argue perhaps that there was no better way for Raniere to control people than to have some very good things sprinkled in with the real evil of his design to keep people hooked.
Much was made by the lawyers for Raniere that he was the inspiration [Clare Bronfman funded it] for a documentary about curing Tourette’s Syndrome called “My Tourette’s”. In addition to Isabella and Marc, three others claim similar cures.
The film was released in 2018, the year Raniere was arrested. It was ignored by the media and the prosecution because of the odious nature of Raniere’s crimes.
The description for the film on IMDb reads: “Five young Americans with severe Tourette’s Syndrome take part in an experimental case study that transforms their lives and raises questions about our perception of the neurological disorder.”
The film won some awards and mentions at various film festivals where it was shown.
Harlem International Film Festival 2018
Milano International Film Festival Awards (MIFF Awards) 2018
WorldFest Houston 2018
Yosemite International Film Festival 2018
Which brings us now to a letter of support for Keith Raniere written to Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis, by someone whose name is redacted. The name is known to the judge and the lawyers on both sides. And Raniere, of course.
The writer claims that Tourette Syndrome was cured in a single day thanks to what she learned at Nxivm.
Here is the letter:
Honorable Nicholas G. Garaufis
United States District Judge
Eastern District of New York
225 Cadman Plaza East Brooklyn, New York 11201
Re: United States v. Keith Raniere, 18 Cr. 204 (NGG)
Dear your honor,
Before I get into my story, here is a little background about me. I am currently twenty-two years old. I have just recently graduated from CU Boulder as part of the class of COVID. I graduated with a degree in business (entrepreneurship). I grew up in Southern California and have spent my life focusing on my academics, hobbies, relationships, and self-development.
I learned about Keith from a friend who was able to overcome his challenge of Tourette’s Syndrome with Executive Success Programs. I had severe Tourette’s starting in first grade and all the way through high school. I had an opportunity to go work with NXIVM the summer of my freshman year in college to see if I could overcome my personal issues with Tourette’s.
I was very skeptical of Keith and his organization’s ability to help me at first. The best medical professionals I ever received treatment from had felt like medical rookies on the topic of Tourette’s.
Treatment had helped me to deal/cope with my Tourette’s but never could help me conquer it. I decided that I would be willing to take a risk and commit to going to NY if it meant a chance at no Tourette’s.
Since NXIVM was doing a study on Tourette’s Syndrome, the whole experience was free of charge for me. I was able to spend a few weeks, attachment free, getting to know NXIVM, the customers, and many of the members.
Many people had heard about NXIVM’s courses and the high premiums that people would pay to enroll. Now, most people know about NXIVM as the sex cult created by the Vanguard Keith Raniere.
I know that based on my experiences, I have a unique perspective on NXIVM. This is why I want to share my experience with Executive Success Programs (ESP) from my time in NY.
During my three weeks in Albany, I witnessed an organization where reasonable and sane individuals went.
ESP paved a path for extreme personal growth. A place where everyone could discuss and strengthen their beliefs and those around them. I believe that at the core, this was a design to help people.
While in Albany, I witnessed many individuals from all walks of life come together and make huge improvements in their happiness through the Executive Success Programs’ curriculum. The tools Keith created and shared have the power to help individuals re-analyze and be greater than their own personal limitations and fears.
The power of Keith’s tools and community were so strong that my Tourette’s was fully cured within one day of using them. Literally, in a single moment of realization, my Tourette’s crumbled in my head.
A card tower of misleading beliefs I had built up in my mind collapsed. When I had Tourette’s, I used to violently shake my head in multiple directions and also jerk my neck, blink obsessively, make squeaking sounds until I hit the right pitch, kick my own butt with my heels, squeeze together my butt cheeks super tight, and bang my elbows on a desk. These were just a few main tics of the many that I dealt with during my life with Tourette’s.
During a conversation with Nancy Salzman and Lauren Salzman as part of the study, I was able to remember an experience that I had on the first day of first grade. The memory was of a time that I had broken my arm on the playground right before class started. I was playing on the monkey bars when I fell to the ground and broke my arm.
Right after this, the bell rang for class to start, I hobbled off to find my teacher. After telling her my arm hurt (not knowing at the time I broke my arm), she challenged me to sit down and not speak. My teacher hadn’t understood the situation at hand and misjudged my intention of telling her my arm was hurt.
After sharing this memory with Nancy, Nancy asked me, “What was the worst part of your teacher not believing you that your arm was hurting.”
I replied, “It meant that I was not credible!”
It was at this moment where that card tower of beliefs I mentioned crumbled. Me realizing that I created a belief that I was not credible back in first grade helped me realize this was not true. And just like that, in a single moment, the majority of my tics were cured.
Looking back on that memory of first grade, I do remember that later that day I had my first tic which was shaking my head back and forth (so wild!).
Having such a profound realization was only possible with empathy, love, and guidance from the people in NXIVM and the method Keith created. Because of NXIVM, I was able to understand my Tourette’s and to have the courage to face the root of my condition in order to be healed.
Today, I walk around with my same body and not a sign of Tourette’s. Every once in a while, when I’m telling people my story, I may feel the urge to tic once or twice but that’s all that’s left.
I didn’t spend a ton of time working directly with Keith. The only time I did spend with Keith was at a pick-up volleyball game within the organization. I thought he was quite quirky and weird, but seemed passionate and friendly. One of the things I noticed while playing pick-up was the guy had a sense of humor that sometimes revolved around sex jokes.
While his humor was sometimes dirty it didn’t seem to be a problem or take away from the vibe. I was surprised at the time that he was comfortable making these jokes out loud in front of so many people. To me, it seemed like he wasn’t worried about being judged and was open.
During the time playing volleyball, he was very attentive to those around him and cared that everyone was involved and having fun. For the game itself, he had created a system of rules that were unlike any I had experienced in my years of playing volleyball prior. While some of the rules seemed strange and unnecessary, such as (if the ball spins at all when set, it is an invalid set), it didn’t seem to take away from the overall fun of the game.
Based on my impression of Keith at the time, he didn’t seem like someone I would choose to be close friends with. I did, however, maintain a sense of respect for the guy and his work. Personally, I felt that he treated me with respect in all of the few interactions we had.
He seemed to appreciate anything that I had to say. I observed that he acted this way with other people as well. His character was warm and inviting. In all honesty, I didn’t feel threatened by the guy but still couldn’t help but laugh inside my head about the person he was. His character was just one of a kind.
Sometimes, I even would make fun of him to the new friends that I made during the courses. This is not something I am proud about, but it was my honest reaction to meeting Keith. Overall, he was entertaining to be around and I enjoyed the company.
I never worked one-on-one with Keith during the actual process of overcoming my Tourette’s. Keith did, however, invent a conversational method that did greatly impact my life in a positive way. I overcame a few of my greatest personal challenges in a matter of hours. It is hard to put into words the feeling of this type of healing. It is no shock to me that he was able to influence so many people so strongly.
I understand the severity of the actions that took place by Keith under NXIVM’s roof and in no way condone or excuse his actions. All I have shared about Keith for this letter is based on what I have personally experienced through my lens. It is so sad hearing the stories of the many people whose lives were so greatly affected by Keith.
It hurts my heart to learn what has become of NXIVM and the organization that had helped me so much. I believe that Keith deserves justice. I hope it helps to share my story as well as some of my experiences of Keith and NXIVM.
END OF LETTER
Of course, none of this means that the cure of this person or any of the others was anything more than a fluke.
Maybe it is nothing more than the placebo effect – thinking Nxivm and Keith and Nancy are so great that they can cure anything and the believer is cured. Maybe it can’t be replicated ever again.
On the other hand, perhaps this is something that should be studied, seriously, by competent medical experts, experts in the mind and body – to see if there is something that could be replicated.
If Keith is a devil and we ignore this possibility only for that reason – because it might make him look good, when there is a possible chance that afflicted people could be helped, then we are also devils ourselves.
The methods used to cure, or make people think they were cured of Tourette’s Syndrome need to be studied.
Affirmed or debunked. Without regard of who came up with the technique or tools.
It either works or it doesn’t. It is fair and rational for us to find out.
Check out the trailer to the film:
Screenshots from the trailer