Strangulation Swami Can’t Get Hard Without It

The strangulation Swami- J. Michael Shoemaker.

This is the first in a series on that inestimable guru, J. Michael Shoemaker, AKA Swami Chetanananda, 74, a man who women allege likes to strangle them to get his old flaccid member erect.

“It’s the only way he can get an erection,” one of his students told FR.

Twenty years ago, Richard Read, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, wrote a five-part series on old Swamiji Shoemaker.  His articles were published in the Oregonian and can still be read on Rick Ross’ Cult Education Institute website — In the Grip of the Guru.

Read spent three years tracking Shoemaker, investigating alleged financial scams, interviewing members who claimed abuse, and investigating followers’ lives to portray the guru-disciple-like activities that Shoemaker and his followers were living.

Read never made a final judgment about the morality or legality of the Shoemaker group.  But we live in different times.

Shoemaker is alive and well and still strangling women to get off. Some of them are traumatized, and some of them are hospitalized. But Shoemaker keeps on.

So how will his activities be looked at now in the post-NXIVM world, the world of Larry Ray of the Sarah Lawrence sex cult fame, or R. Kelly, and others?

These like Keith Raniere all came to a bad end.

Will there be a documentary like Wild, Wild Country, Bad Vegan, Dirty John, Seduced of the Vow?

The new day dawns and suggests that coercive control can bring bad results not only for those gullible enough to come under the sway of leaders such as Shoemaker but also a bad end for the assholes like him who do it to others.

The question is:  Has Shoemaker, and his group stopped abusing and exploiting people?

In Swami’s words, “the body is the body of God, His temple, so to speak, and the Chakras are His angels. Love God, love each other, love yourself. Everything else is everything else,”


Today Michael Shoemaker is a bald, chubby, orange-clad septuagenarian swami, living in a luxury mansion surrounded by Asian art and doting disciples, in Gold Beach, Oregon.

He has come a long way since he was born to a nurse and pharmacist and raised Catholic in Indiana. He dropped out of an Indiana university to become a spiritual seeker at 22 and never completed his undergraduate degree.

According to his website:  Shoemaker began studying and teaching yoga asana practice in 1969. In 1971, he established a yoga-based community in Bloomington, Indiana.

Around the same time, he established a vegetarian restaurant and found that using his community members to provide labor increased profits.  Accusations later surfaced of forced labor and sexual abuse at his Indiana ashram.

One woman wrote:

I was a member of the Rudrananda Yogashram in the early ’70s when Rudi [Swami Rudrananda] was still alive. Michael Shoemaker was Rudi’s lead teacher in Bloomington, Indiana.

Rudi lived in NY. I was the 37th devotee to move into the house.

I am female. I worked at both the Tao Restaurant and the Ashram Bakery. I also was the bookkeeper for the businesses…

Michael Shoemaker had a “special meditation” for me within a week of my moving in. That was forcing me to fuck him in the meditation room, after which he told me if I let anyone else know, my spiritual gift from him would be taken away.


I was an immature, leftover hippie seeking guidance for a spiritual life.

I was too scared and weak to tell anyone.

However, since I lived in the house with the other members… girls in a room with four sets of bunk beds, and some slept on the floor; I soon found out Michael had his pick of whomever he wanted to fuck every night.

We all worked about 80 hours a week and received $35 for it (karma yoga). From that, we all were given $8/week to spend.

I know… I did the payroll.

I also watched Shoemaker take blank checks and write them to himself for $1000 at a time. That was a lot of money back then. Of course, I was disillusioned and became rebellious.

Michael paired me up with a guy I barely knew and kept tabs on me. I got a boyfriend in “skag,” as he used to say (the outside), who probably inspired me to get the hell out of that place. I walked (literally) away in the night and never went back.

Michael had said I would surely end up in a mental institution if I left when I expressed my desire to leave.

Going backward a bit…when Rudi came to town, it was “men only time.” I later found out the reason was that Rudi was homosexual. It was a gay orgy.

On other occasions, the other men teachers who were married shared their wives who were willing to participate in sex for enlightenment. I hoped this man would spontaneously burst into flames for all the things he did to wide-eyed kids seeking a teacher.

And yet I read he is still at it only on a much bigger level.

How can he be a teacher of the truth when he will not cop to his own truth? He is a liar, a rapist, a thief, and a charlatan; he is still at it. It’s a shame people are so desperately seeking spiritual guidance that they would be hoodwinked by Michael Shoemaker. Swami, my ass.

Shoemaker’s Guru — the Great Rudi

Swami Rudrananada AKA Rudi

Shoemaker was a disciple of “Swami Rudrananda (Rudi)” AKA Rudolph Albert of New York City.

Rudi was for a time the disciple of the charlatan Swami Muktananda.

Both Rudi and Muktananda have accusations of sexual impropriety swirling around their vaunted Shiva lingams.

Muktananda with underage girls and fat Rudi with boys and men.

Shoemaker learned a great deal from his teachers.

Rudi and young Shoemaker

“Rudi,” aka Albert Rudolf, was a disciple of Muktananda, then he switched to a dead guru, Bhagavan Nityananda, who rose from the grave to teach him, he says.

Nityananda rose out of his tomb to speak with Rudi, he claims.

Rudi has his fair share of allegations of improper conduct.

But everything Rudi says sounds legit: For instance, Rudi claims that when he was six years old, two Tibetan Buddhist lamas materialized in a park in Brooklyn and placed clay jars inside his solar plexus, which contained the energy and wisdom of all Tibetan Buddhism.  Rudi claimed the jars stayed inside him and began to open at age 31.

Rudi went to India in 1958 (or 1960) and met Nityananda (c.1896 – 1961), the obese, loincloth-wearing guru of Ganeshpuri, and became “awakened!”

The disciplic succession — Nityananda – Rudi -Shoemaker.

Rudi claimed that, after Nityananda’s death, “I returned several dozen times to the village temple where he was buried and would receive great guidance from him. He would step out of his tomb, and I would see him as clearly as any physical person can see any other physical person. This is the way my spiritual voyage began.”

Rudi financed the pedophile guru Swami Muktananda’s trip from India to America in 1970. Muktananda’s success overshadowed Rudolph. Jealousy ensued.

Rudi said, “I found that the person with whom I had studied was so obsessed with his being God, or more than God, that I could not respect and sustain the relationship.”

Shoemaker and Rudi

This brings us back to Shoemaker, AKA Swami Chetanananda, Rudi’s foremost disciple.

Shoemaker said, “Rudi himself fulfilled the ideal of a mahasiddha, great yogi. He was at once the expression and the contradiction of every image we might have of a realized human being. He could be sweet and terrifying, divine and incredibly human, all at the same time.”

Rudi died in an airplane crash in 1973. Shoemaker became his successor.

Shoemaker established the Nityananda Institute to develop and promote yoga-related studies and poontang for himself.

For over 50 years, Shoemaker has been the abbot of various ashrams in Bloomington, Cambridge, Portland, Oregon, and  Gold Beach, Oregon.  Shoemaker had meditation centers in Santa Monica, California, Boston; Seattle; and New York City.

In Bloomington, Cambridge, and Portland, accusations of abuse and exploitation emerged.

Shoemaker used the wealth he got from devotees who donated to receive his blessings and free labor of “students” to create for him and his inner circle a comfortable life on the beautiful coast of Oregon, with plenty of poontang.

Spiritual poontang, that is.

So say hello to the guru for now, and stay tuned for more as we get to know the poontang swami– as allegations that this poor, over-sexed horndog Swami can no longer get an erection without strangling a woman until she passes out.

Something that sent several women to hospitals.  FR is in contact with eyewitnesses and alleged victims of the man whose cock levitates only when women stop breathing through strangulation – but they do not die – except maybe one woman. We will get to that down the road.

Known to sue his enemies, the subsequent articles will examine some of the scams and scandals plaguing old Shoemaker and his divine group as we try to avoid him getting a hard-on for us here at FR.

Stay well.


See also our story about Shoemaker’s cohort, Russell Kruckman AKA Swami Shankarananda,:

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Frank Parlato


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  • An amended Oregon law that took effect Jan. 1, 2019 to increase the crime of strangulation during domestic violence to a felony. The crime of strangulation is generally a misdemeanor in Oregon and is only a felony under specific circumstances.

    Clackamas County’s leaders, lawmakers and advocates see this change as long overdue.

    “Domestic violence involving strangulation is always life-threatening and when a victim survives forever life-altering,” said Clackamas County Commissioner Sonya Fischer. “This important law change elevates strangulation to dangerous assault against those whose physical and emotional health are forever affected by someone they live with and once trusted.”

  • I don’t understand how these fake gurus continue to exploit women. It is imperative to stop them.

  • What does it take to bring this situation to light? What does it take to get law enforcement involved?

    What does it take to end the sexual and emotional abuse this predator has perpetrated on unsuspecting “devotees” for 50 years?

    The list of unlawful activities in this cult is worthy of police intervention and prosecution of the man heading it up.

    There is documentation of physical injuries requiring hospitalization inflicted in sex rituals. There is also documentation of self harm due to the emotional devastation after realizing the truth about the Swami.

    The results of Shoemaker’s “spiritual cannibalism” and insatiable deviant sexual desires are far reaching and create deep scars that last a life time in people who become his victims.

    Many people around Shoemaker participated and/or are aware of his abuses.

    To be complicit is despicable. And these are people seeking spiritual growth? How does harming people fit in that picture? How do you rationalize allowing it to continue?

    If you know something, say something. Please contact Frank Parlato right here.

  • It is outrageous that this person is still allowed to sexually and emotionally abuse women on a regular basis. It is also outrageous to blame his victims, just as nowadays we no longer blame rape victims or at least we should not do so. It is time this so called swami is investigated and brought to justice. No excuses any more.

  • This article is very important but needs to go deeper into the abuse Shoemaker continues to impose on his victims. I know the mother of one of his victims. The damage and suffering he has caused is devastating. And yet he continues to live in luxury and entice more victims into his circle of influence. Please write more about him so the world is warned and he is finally brought to justice.

  • Aside from rape, it seems Shoemaker blew the sex part when he introduced the BDSM stuff and drugs that landed his “partners” in the hospital, or WORSE. Seems there are plenty of people who would gladly give it up without the bells & whistles. Why all the lies? Would he be a sexual deviant outside the ashram? Im betting so. Why is this so common with these narcissistic psychopaths?

  • “Consenting adults” is the company line fed to anyone who questions their suspicions. If you try to question/help any of the women, you’re harsh exit, erasing is eminent. Your name will be slandered & he will make your friends chose him or stay friends with you.

  • I lived at the movement center in Portland under SC’s tutelage for three years. I can confirm these bad behaviors. He did it to several women there I knew personally and attempted to do the same to my wife.

    When he started to try to sleep with my wife that’s when we left. We were shunned by the entire community. Made to look like bad people. Many of our friends left a year or two after us once they had their own terrible experience. SC is a liar and a coward. I for one hope he dies in prison..

    • Dan, Please help us get this criminal behind bars.

      Please make a statement to law enforcement who are aware of this situation and accumulating evidence.

      This can be reported to Nathan Wollstein, Badge #39011, 503-545-3482, Portland Detective Force, Sex Crimes Unit

  • Where is Alonzo? I thought for sure he’d be defending The Three Swamis after all he’s as egocentric as they’re.

  • Dear Frank, thank you for focusing on this important issue of abuse. Looking at the photo of Shoemaker, I see a broken man in pain. He has accumulated a lot of bad karma for himself. I feel for his victims and the women deserve justice and healing.

    I support your exposé but I’m feeling somewhat uncomfortable with your journalistic style that, in my opinion, doesn’t serve the message. Writing things like: “the obese, loincloth-wearing guru of Ganeshpuri” is a distracting judgement call implying that, if Nityananda wasn’t “obese” but thin, he would be more legitimate and credible. I would like you to focus on the facts about the man (Shoemaker) and what he’s done. That way, your article will be more potent and won’t be potentially discredited as a tabloid journalism.

    Thank you for your work!

    • I see the skin tags on his eyelids and believe he would benefit from taking iodine.

      I also see the unflattering judgement as accurate and also effective at clearing the power of the thrall his targets are caught up in.

      Under the lies and fiction, the reality reveals nothing more than the racketeering of a somewhat frail and ugly human. Spell broken.

      Well done, Frank.

    • Agreed. The author starts to lose me with the physical appearance stuff. Not pertinent to the story. Do better.

      • His appearance IS pertinent. Look how ugly Shoemaker has become over the years. The evil has absolutely manifested in his appearance.

    • Personally I applaud Frank’s journalistic style. It is evident this charlatan (Michael Shoemaker) has parasitized, abused and assaulted people for over 50 years, using them for his personal gain and satisfaction in the shadows and without consequence. It is apparent the story and facts need to be revealed in a sensational manner in order to garner the attention needed to bring it to light and to encourage more victims to come forward so that law enforcement can get the Salami Swami in a cell away from society. NO MORE VICTIMS!
      Thank you, Mr. Parlato

  • Frank,

    I hope you get the metaphorical ball rolling, and the mainstream press picks up the story….And the DOJ takes action.

    You didn’t before, we all know you can do it again!

  • Dear Frank,
    Your scathing commentary about an actual spiritual / lineage practice that is very powerful and very liberating if quite oversimplified.

    I have been a Kundalini Sadika for about 20 years. I am a woman with a job, in the real world – I have never had sex with any of my teachers . I was a student of Shoemaker for years, and was never pressured to have sex with him.

    I guess I’m compelled to write to you as someone who has been around some “strangeness “, yes – in this spiritual community. But what aspect of life doesn’t have this kind of strangeness as an option?!

    Whether that be the workplace…politics , the classroom, ALL wrought with the kind of corruption you point out.

    There is more to the picture . I do the meditation practice every day of my life – and it has saved my life – and given me nothing but love and compassion for the people I serve everyday . I am deeply grateful for this particular practice.

    I’m only sharing so that you might consider

    A deeper meaning than the simple tabloid-take on very, very ancient life-giving practice .

    I wish you the best ,

    Jamie Currin

    • Jamie, I appreciate what you’re saying. And I think that it is 100 percent true. However, if this Swami preys on some and helps many it is still predatory.

      As for Rudi’s BS claims I have to admit I enjoyed him, he was a BS/er par execellence.

      • I guess I’m compelled to write to you as someone who has been around some “strangeness “, yes – in this spiritual community. But what aspect of life doesn’t have this kind of strangeness as an option?!

        Jamie… this is where you lost all credibility.

        I’m only sharing so that you might consider.

    • What does having a job in the real world have to do with this? MANY women there are as accomplished and educated as it gets. His crop is cream as noted by the opulence in which he lives. Per “He never did that to me”. So what and lucky you.

      Abusers don’t abuse everyone and they don’t do it in public… they would cease to have a following. Your comment is a huge part of the problem. You feel threatened because you base the accomplishment of your practice on your human teachers instead of your human spirit. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. You are willing to overlook someone else being destroyed in the most degrading and nasty way possible as long as you benefit. At what point do women like you who are supposed to be in line with “the goddess” stop watching the feminine desecrated to feed the gluttonous and depraved appetites of a rotten spoiled misogynist? About as anti-feminist as it gets, in my opinion. Life force energy (as we are taught ) is sacred.

      There is nothing sacred about throttling a woman until she loses her life breath and hits the floor or gaslighting people into psychosis. We are talking about long term torture here. Maybe it’s time to extend your “practice” to being a decent woman among women. None of you even love your teacher enough to be honest with him that he needs some help because you are too afraid to be cut off from your shakti crack from your spirit dealer. You all need as much help as he does. He “never did anything to me”. As though you are the single point for which all things can be measured, woman in the world.

      • AMEN to No. Devotees are allowing it to happen. They may even be participating. They are GUILTY and complicit in the crimes here. And they are COWARDS.

      • Powerful, and my thoughts exactly. I taught Yoga at TMC for 3 years. What a huge mistake. I saw one of my friends and peers, one who was intimate with him, completely come unhinged and almost die from suicide. After that a lot of teachers quit at once, never to return. I had a meeting with someone who has followed him for decades who helps run his center. I wanted to share how disturbed I was by what was happening at the ashram. She assured me that all relations were consensual and that she had never had sex with Shoemaker (as if that was proof that everything was fine) and that any mental health issues had by students were entirely their own and had nothing to do with Shoemaker.

        I was once invited to a teacher dinner at his very lavish penthouse at the ashram. He sat on a throne atop a tiger skin rug while teachers sat on the floor. This man is clearly suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), and potentially (and likely) other personality disorders as well, such as Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD). The harm he has caused, and its echos, are immeasurable.

        Every time I walked into TMC, long before I sat in meditation with Shoemaker, I felt that something was wrong. I was encouraged to be more involved there, outside of the classes I taught, and I am so glad I did not. I am very sad that amazing instructors, like the feldenkrais teachers such as Linda Lack, are willing to host workshops there. These wonderful workshops draw people into Shoemaker’s grasp. I have confronted Linda Lack about this and she refuses to change course because these allegations have not been taken to judgement.

        Since I taught at TMC for three years, I want to take responsibility for the students I may have drawn into TMC, putting them at risk of harm by Shoemaker. It is one of my life’s greatest regrets. I wish that I had listened to that tiny voice that was telling me, from the start, that something wasn’t right. I have known many wonderful, loving, wise, and caring people who have taught there and helped support TMC’s functioning.

        May we strive to create a world where as little harm is done as possible to all beings, everywhere. I wish healing and blessings on everyone who has been negatively impacted by Shoemaker and his unfortunate patterns. I urge anyone supporting him, his wealth, his power, his institutions, to shift their course.

        Warmth to all

    • I lived at the movement center for years. If SC didn’t try to lure you in then you weren’t his type. He liked very specific women.nmostly younger. Trust me. I was there. I’ve seen it all.

      • Thank you, Frank. Truly appreciate you taking the time to write about this. I lived there once upon a time. I still these years later miss the family I made there. I will give him this much, he has a knack for procuring beauty and that extends to people.

        It makes me so sad he’s still doing this to women. So little regard for the reputations, feelings, and health of every person who has ever believed in him or his work.

        At the same time his followers have culpability in all of this too. Four decades of this is called a pattern. When you don’t care what he does to other people as long as you don’t fall out of favor, you are as selfish, sick and arrogant as he is.

        Love calls out dysfunction. Love tells the truth. Love doesn’t turn their eyes from their own being destroyed mentally, physically, spiritually. Time to get right with yourselves, people. He wouldn’t be able to do any of this without the people who support him, not unlike every other toxic predatory cult leader.

        • Yes, I believe his “followers” are as guilty as he is by not making any effort to stop him or come forward. Absolutely.

          • Jamie has no time to stop him or come forward: “I am a woman with a job, in the real world.” What world are you living in to suggest such a thing? Jamie is too busy for such things.

  • Ok, I must confess I’m into being strangulated by a limp dick old Swami for his erotic pleasure. And he says it will relieve me of bad karma too. Good deal

  • How do these people get away with this? It’s unreal that it’s been reported by many women, and still this guy is making money and living large.

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.” He also appeared in "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM, and was 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 premieres on May 22, 2022.

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Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083