Will the Sour Apple Tree Work Well for Hanging Raniere or Anyone Else?

I wrote in a post that if Raniere “espied” Camila “as a child and groomed her… to take advantage of her innocence and purity, I would hang that asshole to the sour apple tree and laugh at him dangling.”

And I wrote, “if… Raniere abused [Camila] as a child, but the FBI could not prove it, so they had to tamper with evidence, then I want to see the FBI agents who did this criminal act hung from the same sour apple tree.”

Our Frank Report trial correspondent, Dianne Lipson wrote, “There were lots of sour apple trees in upstate New York, where I grew up. Sour apple trees have relatively thin, gnarly, low-hanging branches. I don’t think they would be tall enough or strong enough to support the weight of Raniere or an FBI agent.”

A sour apple tree

My reference to the sour apple tree actually came from a song that came out when I was a boy, a song written by the late James W. Porter entitled entitled “Hang Him on the Sour Apple Tree.”

Written in the key of G, it came out in 1865.

Then there was the son, “John Brown’s a-Hanging on a Sour Apple Tree” which is sung to the same tune as the Battle Hymn of the Republic, with the part that in the latter is sung “Glory, Glory, Hallelujah” the former’s lyrics are “John Brown’s a hanging on a sour apple tree.”

It’s a very rousing song. I also remember another stirring version that goes:

John Brown’s body lies a-mouldering in the grave,
John Brown’s body lies a-mouldering in the grave,
John Brown’s body lies a-mouldering in the grave,
But his truth goes marching on.

Glory, glory, hallelujah,
Glory, glory, hallelujah,
Glory, glory, hallelujah,
His truth is marching on.

John Brown, as readers know, was an abolitionist from Kansas who led a raid on the U.S. federal armory and rifle factory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia in October 1859. He then gave the slaves in Virginia and North Carolina the rifles he stole. It was sort of an antebellum version of Fast and Furious.

The slave insurrection did not work out too well. Local farmers with guns with the help of federal troops under Lt. Colonel Robert E. Lee caught them all and Brown was charged with treason. He was the first man in America to be so charged. His treason was to try to end slavery, a federal offense to be sure.

Brown was convicted and hanged. Americans were split on his action, some were inspired and others decried it. They were about as split as we are today on vaccinations.

Some say Brown’s action contributed to the South’s decision to secede from the Union in 1860 and steeled the North’s desire to end slavery. He may or may not have sparked a civil war but he inspired a damn good song and the sour apple tree – sung mostly by folks from the south – made for mighty good imagery.

Jefferson Davis also got honors for being named in the same song to be hung on the same sour apple tree – with nice artwork to go with it too.

That said, I stand by my statement that if Raniere abused Camila when she was 15, which I think he did, he probably should have been hung. The question is would the sour apple tree be the right tree for it?

And if the FBI cheated to get him convicted – even though Raniere is despicable for what he did, I would like to see them punished too – and not just admonished. Hanging might be too good for them. Why it might even be called treason for their betrayal of the American people’s trust.

Of course, I do not know if the FBI tampered with the Camila evidence. I like to think they did not and I am having a hard time believing they did. But I am investigating it.

On the other hand, I do believe Camila was abused – because she said so. I do believe her.

But that does not mean the FBI had the evidence to convict Raniere for it.

I do not, as some suggest, think it is a trifling part of the charges against Raniere. It was a game-changer charge – and it came late and it persuaded some or perhaps all of the other defendants to take plea deals.

Allison Mack and Lauren Salzman specifically mentioned it. Clare Bronfman’s attorneys decried it in their motion to sever her trial and when that failed, Bronfman took a plea deal.

The Camila child porn photos discovery came about 10 months after the arrest – and a month before trial was scheduled. The reason it was a game-changer is that all other victims in the case were adult, intelligent women; it could be argued by the defense that they consented to the DOS slavery, the branding, giving collateral, etc.

Now for the first time, there was a victim who could not consent – a child of 15.

It changed the course of the fight – this last-minute discovery on a hard drive that had been in the possession of the FBI for almost a year.

One thing that troubled me then, as it does now — they seized this device, this hard drive, the day after Raniere’s arrest on March 27, 2018.

And even though everyone was wondering where the collateral was – the FBI did not get around to checking out the hard drive until 10 months later…. in February 2019.

It is a little troubling.

I would have thought since they were seeking to find the collateral for the poor victims to put their minds at ease – and to use as evidence – that they would have been through all the seized devices in a matter of days, or weeks, but almost a year went by before they found the photographs.

It really would have been possible to do so with a team of agents – to check it out in a few days. There were only a few devices seized from Raniere’s so-called executive library.

Instead – and in contravention to FBI protocol – the FBI agents did not turn the hard drive over to FBI evidence control for months, instead of the normal protocol of turning it over within 10 days.

That does not mean they tampered. It may be perfectly true – that they just happened to stumble on it – just a few weeks out from trial – just rummaging through the hard drive for reasons that are unclear.

For my own part, I have never attempted to hang a man on a sour apple tree. I prefer the linden or the ironwood.  Their branches never break.

Ironwood tree has super strong branches – though sometimes they are not high enough to hang someone tall.

The linden tree is good for hanging rascals.

Editor’s note: It is illegal to hang people in the USA in all 50 states. Please consult your attorney before attempting to hang anyone. 

Keith Raniere defended using his initials on the branding of women by comparing himself to Abraham Lincoln and Bill Gates, writing to a woman who found out about it from the Frank Report: “if it were Abraham Lincoln’s or Bill Gates’ initials no one would care.”

Lincoln said many wise things in his day and is oft-quoted. And likewise, we should not be too quick to believe the FBI tampered with the evidence or that Raniere is an innocent man.

About the author

Frank Parlato


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    • I agree. Ironwood is usually too short for a tall man. I recollect once hanging this one guy from an ironwood tree, and the noose was perfect and I got his neck into it and his feet touched the ground. I kept asking him to pull his legs up and he wouldn’t. He kept yelling, kind of crying like and I was afraid the neighbors would call the police so I had to let him go.

  • Hanging people is all about revenge and impotent tribalism. This is what motivates the Anti-Cultists. The best place to read about this is Alanzo’s blog. He’s doing more to expose Scientology’s lies than any of the so-called critics.


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