Creepy or Funny: What’s that Behind Nancy Salzman?

by Paul Serran

It is said that tragedy plus time equals comedy, in the sense that, the farther away in time from an event that we are, the least likely we become to be touched by the tragic aspects of it, and more inclined to see the humor that lies underneath it.

This applies to the whole of the NXIVM saga, and more specifically, to the most watched documentary series about it, now in its second season. As the public becomes more and more familiar with the cast of characters of this real life drama, the more opportunities there are for turning the tragic story upside down and finding the humour that lies underneath it.

Writing for Primetimer, Joe Reid achieved this exact effect in his hilarious article Something’s Lurking in Nancy Salzman’s House in The Vow Part Two.

The reviewer focuses in a small detail in the production, ‘a version of home decor that may haunt you forever.’

The second episode of the series, writes Reid, ‘continues to track the downfall of the self-help cult NXIVM and the trial of its founder, Keith Raniere’, with a special focus on NXIVM’s co-founder Nancy Salzman.

At the time of filming, Nancy was under house arrest in Clifton Park, New York, awaiting her sentencing to one count of racketeering and conspiracy, as she tried to ‘unpack her long and complicated history with behavioral therapy and eventually, Keith Raniere.’

‘It would be great to say we were following along closely as Nancy talked about her childhood, her nursing career, and her earliest encounters with Keith, but that wouldn’t be 100% truthful. Because we were absolutely distracted by the piece of home decor that appeared at the two-minute mark of last night’s episode’.

Reid is talking about a ‘life-size, three-dimensional cutout of an old woman wearing a housecoat, resting against the wall in Nancy Salzman’s new home. Nancy doesn’t address it, doesn’t explain it, doesn’t ever ask it for advice. The production makes sure it’s visible in the background of every single interview setup she does in that house’.

‘The viewer could well be experiencing an ocular event of some kind. “Does everybody see that old lady behind Nancy Salzman?” you’ll ask with a note of panic, like there’s a chance she might just be the It Follows demon coming to claim Nancy as its next victim.’

The article examines ‘the quiet desperation of Nancy Salzman’s living situation’, as she lives in a much more modest house that is ‘a monument to beige’.

‘The only pop of color that exists in Nancy’s house-arrest world is the blue flowered housecoat worn by the ghostly matron propped against the wall in her living room.’

Incredibly enough, the reviewer is right about the hilarious compounding effect of this creepy apparition in every single shot of Salzman speaking in her home.

‘The woman and her floral housecoat appear almost impressionistic, like Van Gogh was commissioned to paint life-size cutouts of old women for customers looking to scare the hell out of their friends by sticking a random old lady in their house while they sleep.’

Reid wonder what is the meaning of this figure ‘idly scratching at her forearm; something is nagging at her soul.’

And also, the reason why ‘NO ONE MENTIONS THIS OLD LADY CUTOUT.’ It’s a bit scary, but also very funny.

After having loads of fun with this detail, the article speculates in a more serious tone if that sculpture would not be a depiction of Nancy’s mother, who suffered from chronic pain, and ‘spurred her to go into nursing as a career, and from there into pseudoscience like hypnosis and neuro-linguistic programming.’

Would that really be ‘the matriarch whose pain [Nancy Salzman] can never heal?’

If you, like me, are somewhat short in sympathy for the former ‘Prefect’ of NXIVM, Joe Reed digs deep into the tragedy of NXIVM and unearths an absolute crazy and hilarious gem of an article.

About the author

Paul Serran


Click here to post a comment

Please leave a comment: Your opinion is important to us! (Email & username are optional)

    • As DeSade observed, you are no guiltier in following the primitive impulses that govern you than is the Nile for her floods, the sea for her waves, or for how much better you’d look if God had not mistakenly placed you in the body of your birth gender.

  • “The reviewer focuses in a small detail in the production, ‘a version of home decor that may haunt you forever.’
    Reminiscent of the portrait at Epstein’s house of the picture of Clinton wearing the red shoes.

  • Nancy is a master at brainwashing and NLP. She admits and flaunts it. Her on screen persona was her trying to convince the viewers of what she wanted us to believe. Nothing more than mental witch doctor brainwashing hypnosis.

  • How in the hell does Nancy have $5,000 suits and half a million in cash squirreled away in her house but walk around with teeth like that?

    People you’ve got to fix your teeth.

    If you’ve got the money make it a priority and fix your f****** teeth.

    Especially if you’re the front facing person for a business. And your job is public speaking and making videos for people to watch. People are looking right at your mouth Nancy . For goodness sakes you put lipstick on to draw more attention to it . Fix your f****** teeth Nancy! By the way how cheesy are those freaking videos? That would have turned any rational person off of ESP. Like that’s the best you can do?

    Anyway back to the teeth. Don’t buy a fancy car, don’t get expensive clothing, don’t get your hair did, don’t bother with any of it -‘ if you’re not going to fix your teeth!

    Because you will not be sending the image that you think. Come on prefect…. fix your f****** teeth Nancy!

    • Omg…..that was LOL. Have you seen her sister? It’s a family thing! Outdated old clothing….kind of oddly weirdly eclectic. Strange styles…. but…..those teeth. Hahaha hahaha

      • Many of them have busted up teeth and hair….and poor skin. To their clothing….although their style is so odd and eccentric in a bad horrible style kind of way….the closest I can find is like the link below….but less bright and not artistic at all. Think more middle class hobo with a mix and unmatched outdated style. Just bad taste…. . They buy expensive…but weird stuff no one else buys…either general public or even artists or clearance rack that no one even buys no matter how much a discount. They simply have poor taste. Look more like the old people in charlie and the chocolate factory but with name brands…… Nancy sadly had the best looks of all of them. You can be rich and still be white trash and not classy at heart. Money doesn’t buy class.

        • That is Molly Parkin – artist, journo/writer and bon viveur. A proper hedonistic 60’s Vet. Lived in the apartment above my grandad.
          An entire world away from the thoroughly provincial nan.

    • Many people who join cults like these are at emotional lows or are emotionally unstable. They don’t care how jacked up the people look or behave. They just want friends, to be wanted by someone, and to feel a sense of uplifting from whatever emotional psychosis they have. They want gratification and attention.

    • Re Nancy’s Teeth:

      Oddly enough, Nancy was banging her dentist.

      Ask Frank! Or do a search in the Frank Report search bar.

  • I am enjoying watching the vow series 2 which is very well done and just watched ep. 3. NS is fascinating – she certainly had skills at speaking and convincing but was also put down by Keith and ultimately has been damaged by him and would have been better had she never met him in my view.

    • Nancy and her family are all narcissistic self absorbed manipulators. That wouldn’t have changed how evil she is at heart whether she met Keith or not. She would have linked up with some other similar person. Wait till she gets out of prison…she won’t have changed a bit. She might actually come out more manipulative. It’s in her genes.

    • Nancy is another narcissist. I didn’t fall for the “woe is me” crocodile tears, especially when she contradicted herself several times to make herself look innocent. She knew what was going on and she fed her own daughter to a maniac.

      Didn’t NXIVM claim, “There are no ultimate victims; therefore, I will not choose to be a victim” in the mission statement? Yet, she, and Keith Raniere are apparently victims somehow.

  • gracetopia
    just a messy bitch who is here for the drama

    NXIVM, Explained

    The Definitive Ranking of Every Single Sherlock Holmes Story
    Tag: Keith Raniere
    NXIVM Explained: Bonus Post


    NXIVM, Explained

    A 9-part series covering the ins-and-outs of the extremely complicated organization known as NXIVM.

    Originally published December 2020.

    This series is my attempt to make one semi-cohesive narrative out of the mishegas that is NXIVM/Keith Raniere. This is not intended to be a complete report – there’s just too much, and new information is coming to light every day – but I hope it provides a basic narrative for those who are interested.

    Content Warning: Please ensure you are in a good mental headspace before reading, regardless of whether you consider yourself to have any specific triggers. A lot of fucked-up shit happened in NXIVM. Topics will include: eating disorders/dangerous eating habits, sexual abuse (including rape and abuse of minors), Nazis/anti-Semitism, suicide, aggressive gender heteronormativity (I’m not really sure what to call this – Keith Raniere believes there are two genders and created whole curricula around this idea), brainwashing, and blaming victims for their own abuse.

    NXIVM, Explained: The Series
    Part 1: Introduction and Keith Raniere Before NXIVM
    Part 2: The Beginnings of NXIVM: Nancy Salzman and the Executive Success Program
    Part 3: Getting the Band Together, NXIVM Edition
    Part 4: Hollywood Connections and “The First Women’s Movement that was Created by a Man”
    Part 5: Nine Traitors, One Dalai Lama, and One Captive
    Part 6: From “Empowering” Women to Branding Them
    Part 7: The Fright Experiments and the Beginning of the End
    Part 8: On the Run and On Trial
    Bonus Post! The Story of the NXIVM Story

    If you enjoyed this series, please consider “leaving me a tip” by donating to one of the domestic violence organizations listed here or to a similar organization in your area. Thank you.

    Disclaimer: Before the remnants of NXIVM sue me, I wish to clarify that the items covered in this series are allegations. I am merely recapping and collating the reporting done over many years by other media sources, including highly credible publications and media organizations that I trust to both fact-check their work and who also ran their articles or documentaries through their legal department. That’s all that is happening here. A simple recap of allegations.

  • Another example about Nancy Salzman that should not be forgotten.

    Frank Report

    Nancy Salzman on Age of Consent – ‘Does the 12 Year-Old Understand the Choice She Is Making? – That Determines Whether It Is Abuse or Not’
    February 21, 2021

    At the trial of Keith Alan Raniere, the following document was admitted into evidence as Government Exhibit 1005T. It has not been published to date as far as I know. It is a transcript of portion of a video of Nancy Salzman teaching a class, quite possibly a Jness class.

    Her topic is the age of consent and sexual abuse of children. Her teachings mirror Keith Raniere’s on the topic. This suggests there was accord among Raniere and Salzman on the idea of sexual abuse of children and that this was taught to some students of Nxivm.

    Here are Nancy’s teachings:

    Nancy Salzman:

    [ … ]

    • “… Penza, now a partner at the firm of Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz in Manhattan, told the Times Union that some of the girls attending the so-called school took courses at Jness, a purported women’s group in NXIVM. There, they were “exposed to Raniere’s pedophilic and misogynistic teachings, and, I believe, being groomed to have sex with Raniere,” the former prosecutor explained.

      “I believe the girls from the LeBaron community were targeted specifically because, having been raised in a polygamist sect, they were more vulnerable to Raniere’s teachings on sexuality, including that it is natural for women to be monogamous and for men to have more than one partner—a philosophy that served Raniere’s own sexual preferences,” Penza said.

      At a Jness meeting in Apropos, a former Halfmoon restaurant on Route 9, NXIVM president Nancy Salzman parroted Raniere’s words that some children are “adult-like,” mentally capable of experiencing sex with adults and “perfectly happy” doing so. …”

  • No amount of skillful attempts to make Nancy Salzman look good in a television series will make the criminal, real-life image of Nancy Salzman disappear. Not even with a grotesque deco figure that distracts from what is being said and keeps one from thinking about Nancy Salzman’s actual activities.

    Frank Report
    Former Fiancée of Joe O’Hara Tells About Nancy Salzman and How Nxivm Harassed Her
    May 22, 2020

    There are some who think that Keith Raniere was the only villain of Nxivm and everyone else was a victim. It may be true. But here is an account from a woman who had an experience with Nxivm – a dark experience – and one of the main villains in her tale is the Prefect herself, Nancy Salzman.

  • Times Union

    Letter: NXIVM went unchecked under Saratoga County District Attorney

    To the editor
    Oct. 30, 2022

    I don’t subscribe to HBO, but a friend just told me about the second season of the series, “The Vow.” I was reminded of the award-winning series of articles on the same topic by the Times Union that I closely followed, from which I learned that NXIVM, a predatory cult-like operation in Halfmoon and Clifton Park, lured in women with promises of “leadership mentoring.” Instead, some of these women were sexually abused and branded with hot metal.

    During those years, Karen Heggen served in the Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office and eventually becaume its head. She made no effort to prosecute Keith Raniere, the NXIVM leader now serving 120 years in prison, nor any of his wealthy enablers.

    Local journalists and bloggers exposed this dangerous cult. But mysteriously and incomprehensibly, no charges were ever brought by Saratoga County law enforcement, and it took federal prosecutors to bring the cult leader and his accomplices to justice.

    Heggen is running for re–election as district attorney. I can’t in good conscience vote to re–elect someone who failed to protect women. Consider electing Michael Phillips as the next Saratoga County district attorney, a man who has correctly expressed his disgust and disbelief that this could have gone on for so long, and that it required outside authorities to finally protect citizens by enforcing the law.

    Max Kintner

    • As often as we can, let’s write great letters to editors just like that one.

      May such good and sensible people get involved in politics as often as possible from now on.

  • “Creepy or funny?”

    It is beyond creepy in addition to baffling. Why the hell would Nancy have that in her home? Much less while giving an interview in which she is trying to convince the viewing public that she is not a wack job.

  • New episode of Tales from the City from San Francisco.
    Inspired by the writings of Armistead Maupin.

    Who attacked Paul Pelosi?
    Pelosi claims his attacker was a “friend named Paul.”

    Police Dispatch: Paul Pelosi Said ‘He Doesn’t Know Who The Male Is But He Advised That His Name is David And He Is A Friend’
    by Chris Menahan | Information Liberation
    Chris Menahan

    The San Francisco nudist who was found by police in his underwear in Paul Pelosi’s home at 2AM while Nancy was out of town and has an LGBT flag outside his commune was described by Paul to 911 dispatch as a male “friend” whose “name is David” but whom he “doesn’t know.”

    From Breitbart, “Police Dispatch Audio: Paul Pelosi When Calling Cops Said ‘He Doesn’t Know Who the Male Is but He Advised that His Name Is David and He Is a Friend'”:
    Paul Pelosi reportedly told 911 dispatch that the individual who allegedly attacked him with a hammer in his home “is a friend,” according to a police dispatch call early Friday morning.

    The alleged intruder reportedly attacked Paul Pelosi with a hammer, which forced him to undergo emergency surgery for his injuries.

    Officers later identified 42-year-old Berkeley resident David DePape as Pelosi’s attacker. DePape was reportedly wearing only underwear when officers arrived on the scene. He was taken into custody and will be charged with multiple felonies, including attempted murder, San Francisco district attorney Brooke Jenkins announced.

    Emergency dispatch officials provided the police officers with an address on the 2600 block of Broadway street in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood, according to a dispatch call that took place around 2:28 a.m. on Friday.

    A dispatch official calls out during the call to a police car with specific instructions and an address.

    “Copy,” replied the person on the other end of the call.

    The dispatch official then said that Pelosi informed 911 that he did not know who the attacker was but gave his name and then explained that “he is a friend.”

    Police dispatch to Paul Pelosi home:

    “RP (reporting person) stated there’s a male in the home and that he’s going to wait for his wife. RP stated that he doesn’t know who the male is but he advised that his name is David and that he is a friend.”

    So Paul Pelosi claimed he did not know who attacked him but knew the attacker’s name.
    The attacker lives in Berkeley in a house with a huge gay liberation flag and his name is “David.”

    Sounds like Paul Pelosi owed David some dough for prostitution services and David came with a hammer to collect.
    Paul Pelosi Was Most Likely Attacked By a Male Prostitute

  • As bizarre as Mrs. Doubtfire — or an aging Raniere in drag–was, even more creepy was the wooden heart with a quote about love engraved in it featured prominently on her desk. She’s still clearly emotionally tied to that sociopath, heart to heart. I mean she could have slipped that in a drawer, but she allowed that out for the cameras for a reason. Sending a message to her true love should he be able to see this footage somehow in prison? She is not believable and gross.

  • There’s always been rumors about materialistic Nancy Saltzman. The way that Nancy lit up talking about expensive clothing made her materialism more obvious than $500,000 in undeclared cash stuffed into boxes in her attic.

    Nancy didn’t even show a glimmer of that joy talking about her own daughter.

    Nancy’s eyes literally glittered with avarice. The two and a half dimensional old woman behind her was creepy but Nancy’s deep lust for material things was even creepier. Also the crib was creepy. Did anyone else notice the baby crib in that one room that was only partially on camera?

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.” In addition, he was credited in the Starz docuseries 'Seduced' for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

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.

IMDb — Frank Parlato,_Jr.

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