Behind the Bastards

There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.

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Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams, let's break or handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's Hey there, it's Ebony Monet, your co-host for the San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we're speaking with Doctor Jane Goodall about the fascinating journey that led to her impactful behavioural discoveries on chimpanzees. It wasn't until one of the chimpanzees began to lose his fear of me, but I began to really make discoveries that actually shook the scientific world. Survive on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. In the 1980s and 90s, a psychopath terrorized the country of Belgium. A serial killer and kidnapper was abducting children in the bright light of day. From Tenderfoot TV and iHeartRadio, this is La Monstra, a story of abomination and conspiracy. The story about the man who simply become known as. Lamaster. Listen for free on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. I'm Robert Evans. This is behind the ******** a podcast. That I just started with a tonal. Yelling, I guess. Oh boy, we are already behind the 8 ball. Normally this, I mean, this is a podcast where we talk about bad people, the worst people in all of history, and the bad things that they do. One of those bad people is me for not knowing how to start my show, despite this being my only job to help pull me out. I don't think that you were bad. Why would you say you were bad? Thank you, but it's your job to to to keep me from spiraling into into. You were great at being unprofessional. Thank you. That it. You know who's great at being professional is my guest today. Mr Miles W Gray. Yeah, I see. That's how you. That's the kind of atonal shrieking that I thank you for having me. You used to start a podcast. *** **** it. Why can't I do it that way? No, you did. I mean, I I merely just did my own rendition of the sort of work which would be tonal. Though I wouldn't say this. The W in your name stand for a winner. He he he he he the W in my name. Yeah. What? Where's W come from? Well, I'm just trying to set you up for success in your future political career. Ohh. Wow. Thank you so much. I mean, look, we know I'm not gonna be. Well, I maybe, I probably eventually would it up as a politician, but first, you know, I'm gonna be motivational speaker. Ohh, we talked about this. The Trump University episode. And yeah, Umm, I will first create a ******* you know, gaggle of mindless stooges and just turn them into my political base. Well, that's very appropriate miles that you're talking about. Creating a gaggle of mindless stooges, uh, kind of a cold because we're talking about a cult today, but we're also talking about a school. We're talking about a cult. Yeah, that's a school. Miles, how do you feel about kids? Oh man, dude, last time it was so ******* brutal. I and OK, yeah, how do I feel about. I think kids are our future and we need to nurture them and protect them at all costs. Now when you say nurture and protect, **** does that mean? Jesus. Train them to operate an internal police state based on violence and sexual assault in order to control their own behavior and the behavior of their peers? What the **** did you say? What else? We have fun. We do have fun. Umm, we're not gonna have fun today. Today's a horrible episode. Have you ever heard of the Alan School? No. How do you spell it? Elan like the French word. You know, Alan. Ohh. No. I feel like it's maybe sounds familiar. Are there ones in LA at all? What? Good God, no. No. They're not any of these anywhere anymore. Oht. No. You never know existed. This was the kind of school that could only exist in the middle of nowhere. Maine. And if you've ever been to Maine, middle of Nowhere, Maine is about as middle of nowhere as you get, right? Yeah, I've been up there for hockey. Hmm. Yeah, but the middle of nowhere, yeah. Like, that's like for people that are trying to be like, dude, get the **** away from me. Yeah, and people who don't want too many prying eyes over the school that they're running because it's actually just a series of horrible crimes. Now Miles is a series of horrible crimes. I think we can all agree kids are can be problematic, right? You know, their little brains are still developing. All kids are gonna do ****** harmful things to themselves and to other people because they're just kind of learning how to be functional human beings. Pretty normal process of growing up. You're gonna say things that hurt your parents. You know you're probably going to punch your little brother or sister. You're going to do something ****** right? Every kid does just part of being a kid. And it it gets, you know, kind of taken up a level when you're a teenager, right? Teens lash out, uh, say horrible things. They they maybe get involved with substances that are, that are going to be bad form. They they, you know, uh, steal a car. The kids do **** **** right? Yeah, teenagers do. And I think any reasonable person or organization that's trying to, like, take care of teenagers in particular, we'll acknowledge that, like, they're going to make mistakes because their brains aren't finished. And so even if those mistakes are pretty serious, right, things that might normally land at adult in prison. If it's a child, you have to approach them with an added level of compassion and understanding because their brains aren't done yet. Exactly. Now, I think reasonable people can admit that some kids have behavioral issues that make them dangerous to themselves and others. I've had to work with some of those kids. I've had colleagues who got their bones broken from some of those kids. There's a necessity for specialists and even special facilities to help kids that have behavioral problems that make them a danger to be around, right? That's just a thing that is going to occur. And when you. For people in the country, yeah. Now, unfortunately, miles, this is the United States of America. And when you start with the furnace that, yeah, OK, maybe sometimes we need a special facility for troubled kids. You open the door for a whole new industry. And because capitalism is what it is when you have an industry for taking care of troubled kids, you also have an industry that has a vested financial interest in making sure as many children as possible are placed in those facilities, whether they need the help or not. So see where things get off the rails here, so when you attach the profit motive to dealing with. Absolutely. It's no problem. OK, now we need a side business mislabeling these kids so we can turn them into customers. Yeah, we're gonna start having to bribe some judges and bribe some health care workers to, to force more kids into our yeah. So the best way, if you're in the business of running a facility for troubled kids, the best way to improve your business is to convince parents, judges, the legal system in the mental health system that a wide variety of behaviors from talking back and smoking weed. Getting into fist fights at school justify incarceration and such facilities like the Kid I know who got sent to a facility and it wasn't one of these facilities because he was there was other stuff going on, but it was a facility where he was in full time residential care. He broke his his one of his parents arms. He broke one of my colleagues Jaws. He gave me a concussion. Like it was like a problem. Like the kid needed really dedicated help, right? Yeah, yeah. Yeah. You you just eventually the school was like, we cannot take care of this kid, right? It's just not like it's like he just farts at the wrong time. Exact class. Like, no, this is this is a we're talking some different. I wanna make it clear when I talk about like, yeah, I think there is a need for special facilities for certain goods. That's the kind of kids, like, so, you know, you're you're ******* stabbing people with like scissors or stuff, right? I understand. Yeah. And that has nothing to do with the thing you're telling about this new business you were opening that was like a facility for what would you think if I was gonna tell you I could turn a $10,000 investment into $100,000 of profit as long as you're able to get two or three? Judges to just to just shotgun some children my way. See my idea? Miles is what helps improve your character as an adult. Operating a rare earth magnet mineral mine. So what if we take troubled children and we force them to mine in order to produce the materials needed for our cell phones? The industry already works off of slavery. This is slightly better than slavery. Go, go on now. And how much do I need to invest now? I just need to create some compliment for these judges. Yeah. Ohh, miles. Well, well, well, I'll, I'll send you the prospectus later. I'll send you the deck later. But yeah so the problem with this is right. There's a need for some facility like this, but when it the profit motives gets attached to it. You have these people who decide who like the. There's a vested interest in convincing parents and the legal system that like, no no kids don't just need to be put in special. Facilities. If they're a danger to the life and limb of other people, if they're smoking weed, that's dangerous enough. You know, if they punched a kid in school one time, that's bad enough. Let's get him in the program. You know, that's that's how it happens with all of these troubled teen facilities. Now, at the same time, if it's your business to treat kids in this kind of a facility, the reality of capitalism means that your priority is never, ever, not one single solitary time as a business. At least not to say that every individual who works there feel this way, but as a business. Your priority is never going to be rehabilitation or education or even basic health and safety. It will always be maximizing profit. And one way to do that is to hire people who will work for less money than such a complicated job should rightly pay. And the people who are willing to take that pay cut generally find other than financial motives for the work, like the opportunity to beat and molest children. This is how the troubled teen industry works, right? This is what it's colloquially called troubled teen facilities. The troubled teen industry and these different facilities, they run the gamut. And like wilderness facilities where you're dropping kids in like the woods, basically ranch style offerings were like working on a farm military school style things and institutions that are harder to easily quantify, like the Elan School, which we'll talk about in a minute. Now, when she was a teen, Paris Hilton was sent to 1 substance such institution called Provo Canyon, which I think was more kind of on the wilderness side of things, might have been more of a ranch, but Provo Canyon is in Utah and Utah, by the way. It's like Mecca for schools that can legally abuse children. That's where most of these facilities are. Utah makes a lot of money off of systematically abusing children for profit, which is why the legal system in Utah is set up to enable these schools. So her Paris Hilton credits Provo Canyon, the school she was sent to as a teen, for quote, the most vivid and traumatizing memories I've ever experienced in my entire life. One particular memory helped fuel what has become a side career for Paris Hilton and exposing the teen treatment. Industry quote I continually experience a nightmare where two men come into my room in the middle of the night and kidnapped me. It has caused me severe trauma and I know it is a tentpole of this industry that has caused millions of survivors to suffer the same nightmares throughout their adult life. Now, that experience that she had of people coming into her house in the middle of night and kidnapping her, that's really common. It happens to, conservatively 10s of thousands of kids a year. Some numbers are 50,000. Not all of them get kidnapped, but a lot of them do. That's the standard, right? Because you decide as a parent, I'm going to send my kid to this horrible facility where they'll be isolated and, like, abused until they stop misbehaving. Well, I don't want to, like, sit down and say, because I caught you with weed, I'm sending you to the woods, right? So how do you avoid that awkward conversation? You hire men to abduct your child in the dead of night in the night? Yes, absolutely. And the night, because you're already such a good parent. I mean, I'm guessing in the cases for kids who are merely just normal nailing them. Yeah, like for the normal trouble teams, not sort of people who actually need it, like you're saying a special care facility, but like, let's say just a kid or smoking with like, that's it. We're having people disappear him in the middle of the night because we as parents aren't willing to have a conversation at all that will go through all these lengths to just avoid any form of being an adult. In this situation, like, holy **** yeah, it's it's outrageous and and and it's just horrific and. Yeah. So and there's there's companies that the, the service the company provides is like, they'll send a handful of psychopaths to kidnap your child and like, handcuff them or tie them up and throw them in the back of a van and drive those across the other, like industry where they're like, hey, you know, kids snatchers hated guys. But yes, there's companies that just ****** kids for profit and their parents, it's it's very legal. You're like as the parent, you sign away permission for this. So if they get pulled over by the cops, they can say, no, no, we're not abducting this. We are abducting. Child. But the parents said OK, Ohh. Now, here's the permission slip. Here's my badge. I'm a licensed child snatcher. No. So, yeah, I'm a professional child abductor officer. What, like and that's terrible bar chat, too, when you meet somebody. Like asking them what they're living children and the dead. There's actually a kid tied up in the back of my van right now. Yeah, he's good. I hosted him so ******* the front seat, though. Ohh that that's OK. I I was. I just need to take your order. So it is a crime, thankfully, in 20 states to send children to gay conversion therapy, but it is perfectly legal to send your child to a treatment sitter Center for anything else a parent regards as a flaw. So gay conversion therapy is illegal in a bunch of states. It's not illegal really anywhere to send your child to a treatment center. And the treatment center doesn't have to be for like an actual problem that like a, I don't know, a psychiatrist, something like, Oh yeah, this kid has this serious problem that needs. Special treatment. Anything you're not happy with that your kid does counts, right? Because as a parent you're the dictator of your child? Because children have no rights? Yeah, like, effectively not if the parent, like wants to do. Parents can do a lot of ****** ** **** to their kids perfectly legally. Yeah. There's a lot of people who will fight in Congress for their right to abuse their children systematically because this nation was, I don't know, a large chunk of the population of this country believes that parents are the biblical sovereigns of their children. Should be able to do anything they want to them. It's good ****. Now, as a parent, you have the power to sign over physical control of your child to an organization one of these teen treatment facilities, and every year parents have around 50,000 kids do so if you listen to our two parter on Synanon with American hero Paul F Tompkins, you know that the troubled teen industry got its start with that particular cult. Have you did you listen to those episodes, miles? No, I haven't heard that one. Synon was a. This will be useful for people who haven't listened to it yet. It's a pretty good two parter. Synanon was a drug, the first drug rehab program, like in the nation, like focused on like dope as opposed to alcohol. And it was based initially off Alcoholics Anonymous, like snowball, like sinning, SYN. Yeah, I thought it was like super Christian, like for Sinner, sinning, anonymous. It it wasn't, and it was. It was founded by this guy Charles Dederich, who was an alcoholic and not a drug addict himself. And he was, he became a cult leader. This this thing went from like, people. Kind of. Living together in this compound and, like, doing hard labor and, you know, they had all these different things that they thought would help keep you off drugs. One of them was called the game, which was this therapeutic tool invented by Charles Dederich, where everyone would sit around in a room, all these addicts, and they would scream abuse at each other. They would just, like, insult each other, talk about what they hated about each other. And it was this, the idea was that, like, oh, addicts need extra accountability because they're so good at lying. So you you have this, you know, this regular thing where you get to like, you get abused for like, this should have things that you do. Yeah. And it's a way to blow off steam, too. Yeah, right. It it it was Synanon was hugely popular for a while. Judges were so enthusiastic about the practice that they started sending children who've been caught with dope to Synanon. And because these kids, most of the people who can't went to Synanon and got involved, like, wanted help, like, we're addicts. But these kids didn't like it, generally weren't serious addicts, but also didn't want to be there. So they had to develop these really brutal rules for, like, punishing them and cracking down and stopping them. Of escaping and keeping them in line. And it became physically abusive, too. And mentally abusive, obviously. But that was not why Synanon got in trouble, right? Synon eventually got in trouble because they tried to assassinate a lawyer with a rattlesnake after building their own army in California. That one. Quite a story, miles. I mean, so passe that assassinating a lawyer with the arm? I mean, come on, that's so Synanon is where the troubled teen. Industry gets its start right. This is the first time that judges are like, oh, we don't have to just throw these kids in prison, which is admittedly the wrong thing to do with the kid who you've caught with weed or something, but instead, they're like, we just hand them over to this weird cult, and the cult will abuse them until they don't smoke pot anymore, and this will solve our problems forever. OK, just freaking the **** out of them, yeah? By the early 60s, Synanon was a bonafide phenomenon, and they inspired a dizzying variety of imitators who used variations of their methods. One of these imitators was the Daytop village in New York, which is actually the second ever drug rehab program in the United States. It was created in 1963, just five years after Synanon started and the Daytop village followed a what they called a therapeutic community style of treatment, which is where the actual work of rehabilitation is done by other addicts counseling and holding each other accountable. This is the same thing Synanon did, and part of what they mean by that is, again, you all sit in a room together and yell abuse at each other. Some people said this helps, but I've never gone, I've never been addicted to heroin. Maybe, maybe it helps. I mean, yeah, you know, don't knock it till you try it, I guess. Yeah. And it's worth noting, Daytop village has not been accused of the same kind of abuse is sitting on. And they never tried to build their own Marine Corps or assassinate a lawyer with a rattlesnake. So obviously, right. A lot of problematic things about daytop. They didn't go as over the *** **** top as a as Sinon did. For our purposes, Daytop village in New York is noteworthy because in the late 1960s, a troubled. 18 year old named Joe Ritchie was sent there. Joe would go on to create the Alan School, which might be the most abusive, troubled teen institution to ever exist. But to properly tell that story, we've got to go back in time again and give Joe's back story. So I had to talk about where the troubled teen industry starts. Let's talk about Joe a little bit. He was born in Port Chester, NY in 1945 to parents who were deeply troubled. They split up and we don't know why, but a hint as to why may come from the fact that his father Frank was nicknamed bamboo. Because he was so good at bouncing back after getting punched in the face during the near constant bar fights he had at local bars, right? Like his nickname in town was big. He's like that guy could get, wow, he's really good at getting the **** punched out of him. He's bamboo, bamboo, bamboo because he's so good at getting punched and what. I mean, that's a weird for those that the vibe of those people who just take shots like, and are like, yeah, kind of sad and more like bar fight Immortals. It oht. Yeah. I can only imagine the energy swirling around that kind of person. I I'm not surprised his marriage didn't last. Yeah, he's like, yeah, I don't even know how to respond to physical stimulus. No less verbal to adjust. Any kind of great emotions, guy. He was a day laborer and known locally as quote, a kingpin of bar fights. He was violent, but also charming, which is probably how he snared and Santoro, Joe Ritchie's mother. Now the SANTOROS and the Ritchies were both Italian American families, but the Santoro family hated the Ritchie family because the Ritchie family was newer to the country and didn't speak English very well. When Anne and Frank split up, she signed over custody of her son Joe to her parents. Michael and Angela and Joe was raised by his maternal grandparents and several other relatives. So from the beginning, this kid doesn't have, you know, his mom when she splits up with his husband like signs over custody to his grandparents, which is kind of an odd move as well. But this is also a period in which single motherhood is really, in some cases like even legally penalized. So, like, I guess it makes a degree of sense as to why this happened. The Santoro family where Joe was raised was? They were poor but proud, and they regularly attended mass at the Holy Rosary Church. As a young child, Joe was an altar boy. He spent time at the Community Center, where he learned to box and play basketball. One of his friends at the time, Vic Danado, remembered him this way. Quote, we called him Joe Rich. He was a good guy, but I've never seen anyone as wild. Joe was really tough. If you were nice to him, he'd be your friend. But you didn't want to mess with him. He was always looking over his shoulder, and if you did something to cross him, he'd never let you forget it. Joe Rich was Sharp, knew how to survive. I used to think he had nine. Lives. If he did something really wrong, he'd get out of it. Someone else would take the heat. He always had himself covered. It seems Joe Rich knew where to go. He was definitely ahead of his time. When we were involved in basketball games. He was thinking about stealing cars. I really figured he'd eventually be successful. Either that or dead. Wow, that's a wild thing to say. He's also got a little bamboo DNA too. To him with the 9 lives. I just like when you first said is like, well, we were playing basketball. I thought you were saying like he was like he like in the middle of the basketball game. He's like checked out. He's like. How we gonna steal these cars and then just gets hit and had the basketball? I think that's what he say. Come on. Sorry, man. You think about stealing cars again? **** dude, we're gonna lose. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Sorry. Now, miles, you know who else likes to steal cars? These advertisers? Yep. We are entirely sponsored by a ring of car thieves and shock chop shops. So if you're looking for a nice new stolen car, check out one of these papers. If you're looking for that catalytic converter that I took out, check out one of these ads. I mean, look, we're podcast host, so we're we're not recording. We're both actively out and about stealing the catalytic converters, just like Joe Ritchie when yeah, well, some people are thinking about podcasts. All you and I are thinking about is how we're getting more catalytic converters out of Hondas. Yeah, that's that's that's my whole life, man. You should have seen me man. It was the IT was the 20s. I was podcasting stealing catalytic converter converters at a Japanese imports made out of catalytic converters. 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And then we'll come to the sort of healthy world that I envision as a good future for us. And the rest of life on this planet. Listen to amazing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. So by now we imagine that you've seen the theories on Tiktok. You maybe even heard the rumors, your friends and loved ones. But are any of the stories about government conspiracies and cover ups actually true? The answer is surprisingly or unsurprisingly, yes. For more than a decade we here at stuff they don't want you to know have been seeking answers to these questions, sometimes their answers that people would rather us not explore. Now we're sharing this research with you for the first time ever in a book format, you can pre-order stuff they don't want you to know now. It's the new book from us, the creators of the podcast and video series. You can turn back now or read the stuff they don't want you to know. Available for pre-order now, it's stuff you should read or wherever you find your favorite books. Ah, we're back and we're thinking about stealing catalytic converters. The new business for the new Furby? Yeah, it's the new Furby. Look, the economy is heading for another downturn. Can you afford not to learn how to steal catalytic converters? That's all I'm thinking. Siphoning gas catalytic converters. Ohh yeah, you gotta know how to siphon. Now, the good thing about siphoning is the sucking. Skills that you use while siphoning are useful in a variety of other endeavors, especially other quasi legal endeavors you're going to have to engage in to make a living when the economy collapses. Which is unclogging toilets with a hose. I don't know what you were thinking. Folks. Get your minds out of better. Come on, don't be filthy. You, you you. Don't be filthy. Picture someone sucking **** through a hose from a toilet. Until we got. Why did you have me back? Ohh, miles, cause we gotta talk about some really profound childhood. No, that's alright. I see. I always do this. I'm like, yeah, let's have a little bit of a good time. You're like, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Now remember this? No, I had you on once to talk about the Trump University. And after that, it's just been bleaker and bleaker. Yeah. But, you know, I like it. I like, yeah, that's good. So Joe Ritchie is one of the kinds of guys we deal with from time to time on this show. He's famous enough that we have pretty good texture on his early life, but he's obscure enough that there's also a lot of unanswered questions. Because, like, you talk about a guy like Hitler, there's like a bunch of really good biographers who have all covered his child, and you can get different. You can find the answer to pretty much every factual question about his early life and one of those books, if you read enough biography. We only have one biography of Joe Ritchie, and pretty much all of my info about his early life comes from the book Duck in a raincoat by Maura Curley. And I think it's a very good book, but there are moments like the one I'm about to quote, where, you know, there's a deeper story lurking quote, Denado said. Which he dated his social science teacher in junior high. A tall, dark haired beauty just out of college. Now that sounds like statutory rape to me, right? What the ****? Junior high? Yeah, yeah. And his friends just like, Oh yeah, he was dating one of the teachers and it's like, I don't 13 year old is with someone who's 14, but yeah, that's 1314 and 2223. Like that's the youngest she could be is 22. It's like Doogie Howser. Bill. And it's like, yes. If Doogie Howser was seeing him, I guess it's fine, but I think that was the case. Jesus. And that's it. It's just merely like, hey, he was really cool. He was a ******* teacher when he was like, 14. Yeah. No, that's how it's going. Don't know. I don't know. Do you have a lot of weird abandonment issues because of the thing with his mom and older women? I don't know. I mean, we could talk about that, but it seems like one of the and it seems like his friends. It was one of the stereotypic things. Well, she's hot. It's cool, right? Like, I think that's the attitude the other kids had about it. Obviously this is rape. Even if it is something that he went to his grave thinking was like, fine, yeah, like, it's that doesn't make it. That's why it's statutory rape. That's what that is. Now, hearing that, hearing that he had this, like, relationship with the teacher much older than him, that he thought nothing of it, apparently didn't think anything about. I can't help but wonder if like, well, he's an altar boy too, did anything like, you know, like, you can't not consider that given. The prevalence of abuse in the Catholic Church. And I actually did look up a comprehensive report on sexual assault allegations against priests in the Archdiocese of New York. It's 125 pages because **** the Catholic Church. And while there are four molester priests who were stationed in Port Chester where Joe lived, the earliest left in 1944, and the others didn't start doing their thing until the late 60s, seventies and early 80s. So there's not even circumstantial evidence to suggest anything happened about this. I just wanted to let you guys know I did. ******* do it because, right. Yeah, I wanted to say no. It's where there. Who knows? Whatever the truth, Joe grew up into a troubled adolescent. He skipped school constantly. He and his friends would regularly steal pies from a neighbor for PIE fights, which is an adorable sort of child crime, right? That's like down the sill cooling. Yeah, I that's how it sounds, right? It sounds like some Andy Griffith level. It sounds like the kind of crime you'd send Barney Fife out to deal with, right? Exactly. It's like stealing pies, barn. What's that guy like a Norman? Rockwell painting of like, you know, future cult leaders stealing pies for pie fights as it unfortunately, it didn't stay cool. Cute. When he was 15, Joe went joyriding with some of his friends. You have to assume they were drunk, but we're not. We don't know that. Sure, they crashed and he was flung from the car. Seat belts were just a fevered dream in 1960, and he spent months in the hospital and then more months than physical therapy. He had to learn how to walk again, like, which is like, that's like a level of injury severity is like, you have to relearn. Gotta walk like, yeah, it's it's a bad accident. I got scrambled a little bit off of that one. Yeah. Yeah, I got. I got a little bit. Yeah. Scrambled is a good word for it. So some of Joe's family later told Mara Curley that this accident was a negative turning point in his life, possibly because he was given a lot of drugs while he was recovering and he got addicted to the drugs. There's debate over this that would make sense, right. Lot of people's painkiller addiction starts because they are in some sort of horrible accident where they get painkillers. Now, about a year after he got out of the hospital, his family sent him to a residential treatment facility for difficult boys called pins or persons in need of treatment. So, and again, we don't have a, we don't have as much texture about why as I would like to have. But it seems like he recovers from this and his parents decide he needs to go to a facility. And it may have been just because, like, oh, he's been joyriding. He was like, stealing cars or whatever with his friends. They were joyriding. This is clearly a problem. Once he recovers, let's send him to a treatment facility that may have as soon as he recovers from a horrific. Car wreck that rendered him unable to walk, that he had to relearn again. Then let's just send him away. Then let's send him which questionable parenting I would say are at that point are his parent. You're saying his parents are his maternal grandparents? Are his grandparents? Yes. Yeah. So not making sure I'm following along. Yeah, yeah. But they're they're the ones who raise him. Right. So he stays in this treatment facility for two years and then returns to high school in 1963 where he stayed until he left without graduating in 1966 at age 21. So he's in high school. Age 21, which sounds like a nightmare. He **** which also shouldn't be allowed. Wait, what's the what's the what? How? How does the time work? He was 15 when he got in the car wreck. Yeah, 15. And then he's like 17 or 18 when he gets back from the treatment program. And then he stays in high school for three more years. Oh, so he was like starting sophomore year at like 18 or something? I think so. I think he like he. What a. That's a weird vibe to yeah, that 21 year old. Five, especially since at 14 he's ******* a teacher and then at 21 he's still in the school. Like, that's real, real hungover. And then they're like, well what? It's not illegal and you're like, this is right, this is a school in the 60s, so I have to assume all of the kids were drunk 100% of the time, right? Right. As were the teachers, as were the teachers, God willing. And everyone was chain smoking. So it's less weird than it would be today, right now, the same year, the 1966 when he leaves. High school. So he leaves. He doesn't leave high school because he's like, I'm done with school. He leaves because he hijacks a mail truck. Or at least tries to rob it. The details around the crime are a little bit uncertain, but as best as I can determine, it seems like he and his lawyer decided to claim that he'd done it because he was a heroin addict and was desperate for money. Some sources, some of his friends, well, some of not his friends, some sources. Like. Usually when you find his life reported on an articles, they'll say he was a heroin addict, and that's why he robs this mail truck and gets sent to the facility he sent to. That's not what Mara Curley, his only biographer. Thinks, and that because and she doesn't think that because people she talked to who were friends of Joe Ritchie during this period of time don't think he was a heroin addict like he did a little bit of heroin, but he wasn't like a ******** addict. He wasn't like, he was robbing ****. But he wasn't robbing **** because his heroin addiction was so bad. Right. What some of his friends he he'd like the thrill of the robbery. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. He wanted ****. I don't know. I didn't know the guy, but this was a really good time in American history to try to to go to a judge and say, hey. I did it because I'm a drug addict and I need to go to a treatment facility rather than prison because as we just talked about, Synanon was at the peak of its fame in the late 60s. And so it had just become popular for judges to send people to programs like this rather than sending them to prison straight to jail. It's funny how we went first, like, full circle of being like, yeah. And like, we want to have some little bit of compassion, even though it's tied to some really ****** ** organization, to mass incarceration, that people can be like, yeah, let's do some rehabilitation before incarceration again. OK, OK, we're back there. Again, yeah. So it's not the wrong thing from the judge's point of view. I guess it's also possible that he lied about the addiction because it's a lot better to go to one of these facilities. In fact, right now, whatever the truth, Joe goes to the Daytop village in New York and he thrives there. He's really good at the game, these sessions that he participates in with other addicts, where you're, like, telling each other about your faults and flaws and stuff. He's really good. He's very good at it. Like there's like a Rico rankings. Like, have you seen Joe in the game? It's a social thing, so everyone is supposed to take turns kind of picking an individual and, like talking about the things they don't like about that person. That's like kind of how it goes. Some people are good at directing those sort of group conversations. They're good at controlling them. They're good at getting other people to gang up on someone. They're good at avoiding being the focus of negative attention themselves. And this is a thing that's been observed by psychologists and stuff about. Sociopaths in particular are very good at group therapy. Like, they they're good, they're they're good at manipulating people. It's what they do, right? And so they know how to take advantage of these places. And kind of one of the dangers, and this is we talked about this in the Synanon episode, and I found a study on this. It's been noted that a number of cults have come out of different Alcoholics Anonymous groups. And this is not like me ******** on a I I know people know, right, who swear by it, but it's a problem that has been noted with a is that sometimes these. These kind of group therapy sessions, individuals within them gain a level of mental control over other people in them, and they turn into cults. It's happened a handful of times. That's how Synanon started. So it's like it's the the, the material for star formation is present at a cult formation is present. And if with the right ingredients it may lead in the right, it can happen. Which is, yeah, it's more, this is, again, less of a flaw in A and more of just like this is how people work a right. This is one of the things they're vulnerable to because of the, you know, other. Other thing that churches are vulnerable to this thing too, right. It's not exactly on a here, but it's a known quantity in these kinds of organizations. And Joe is very good at the. That's what I mean when I say that he was good at the game. He's right. Plating people in this way. I was being stupid and acting as if they were like the game All Stars or something. And they're like, Richie is killing it. He brought up his, you know, his paternal abandonment issues. It's fantastic. He's like, I don't know, I do kind of now want like football announcers. Like covering group therapy? Ohh, we just talked about the fact that his dad used to hit him up. He went there. He went there. He didn't think he was gonna go there this early on. And I think he's going to counter with something about his mother's inability to say that ** *** loved him. Yep. OK. Yeah. But thank God he just brought up the time he left the gate open, and the dog got out and was hit by a car. Oh. Oh. She's bringing out pictures of the sister. She's bringing up pictures of the sister. We have not seen this in a long time. Richie usually doesn't use chops. Emailed me. They're giving us 42. Billion dollars to make this show great and algorithm just deemed it. So thank you, Netflix algorithm. So yeah, I guess this is what we're. This is Sophie. Let's cancel the show for the day. Yeah, well, I'm pretty sure that eventually they're gonna be like, this is what we're thinking, Robert, we're we're we're noticing how big Pokémon is and how big your podcast is. What about behind the ******** Mon, where it's you gotta catch them all, OK? And it's this anime series, and it's a little bit of everything, huh? How do what do you think about that, huh? Sold. Yeah, the algorithm says it's gonna be a ******* hit. I mean, look, I'll do anything for wonderful enough money to buy an armored vehicle. Yeah, now there's numerous for you. Gotta just all your ******* man. You gotta catch them all. Yeah, gotta catch all of the route clearance vehicles. Ohh. So he's really good. He goes to Daytop. He's really good at the game. He learns, he starts. This is really when he learns like that he has a gift for actually kind of like manipulating people and and at first he he's doing it in such a way that he's trying to like, I think, I don't know, I don't know how much he sees it this way, but other people see it as like, he's helping them deal with their addiction issues, right. Like they don't see it as like, oh, he's doing cult leadership. They see it as like, oh, this kid is charismatic. And understands people and is good at getting them to see their own flaws and their faults and like help them work through and process their intelligent right. So he he gets a lot of praise within Daytop and pretty soon he becomes like their most prominent member. He's giving speeches and raising funds for the organization and becomes their number one fundraiser. So he's like going outside of the group to like raise money for them and other and to talk about like, how good they are at like stopping people from being addicted and stuff. And he later recalled that previously quote, I'd done the therapy. It but this blew my mind. In other words, he done therapy before, but therapy didn't give him the chance to like, manipulate a bunch of people and he really likes manipulating about people. Yeah, it's taken all you can manipulate buffet in there. I can't believe that's exactly the case. So he's happy at Daytop. This is an influential moment for him, but he doesn't agree with all of their therapy. For one thing, they all had to shave their heads, which was something that Sinon did and he thought that was weird. He also butted heads with the administrators when they told him he wasn't ready to graduate and eventually he ran away from the program. I think they wanted to keep him there. You still get it raising money, right? Right. Like, yeah. What do you want to give that guy up now at the time? Like, right around when he runs away from Daytop, he starts dating a woman named Sherry in New York. Now, Sherry was working at a travel agency, and she fell for Joe in part because she was that her parents were Alcoholics and he understood the issues she faced as a child of Alcoholics. He understands abuse or not abuse, but drug abuse really well, right? He's just been counseling people he's actually able to, like, talk with. Like, obviously that's the thing that would like draw you to someone. You have this horrible. Experience. He understands. It makes sense why they why they get together. When Richie left Daytop, he moves right in with Sherry and her roommate, and at first she says things were great. He cleaned the house, he would bring her litter little gifts. He successfully wooed her so well that she cancelled her plans to move to New York City and train as a stewardess. The two were engaged to be married, but early on there were unsettling signs about the man that he might really be. Quote, and this is from duck and a raincoat. Ritchie sued Shari's Insurance company. Her injuries he said he sustained during a minor traffic accident. Sherry had run a stoplight and hadn't thought he was more and hadn't thought he was even injured, but her insurance company settled the claim. Richie used the money to buy her an engagement ring, so he shows her insurance company in order to get money to buy her a ring. Which. Wow, this guy? Yes, this this is some 4D scumbag **** for sure. That's kind of a sign. Oh, this guy might be a little bit. That's that's a little slimy. Yeah. But, hey, the ring is beautiful. I mean, it's a it's an insurance company, right? If that is the only, I wouldn't judge a guy for that necessarily. Cause, like, yeah, get whatever. Money. No, but the thinking involved is clearly that someone's, like, I find ways to extract things with very little effort, and I don't care how underhanded it is. Yeah, that's what this says about him. Now, Sherry seems to have been fined about this. But this bit of insurance fraud would prove to be the beginning of a fairly long career in insurance fraud. The two were married in December of 1969. They were both 24. Ritchie needed a job, and since his only real life experience was either crimes or manipulating institutions, he decided to get a job. Working at the kind of place he'd been sent as a kid, he heard about a pilot program being launched for drug addicts in Connecticut. It was called Bartek, and it was one of the first programs to include both medical professionals and former addicts working side by side. Council people, which seemed like a much better idea than the Synanon method of addicts mentally abusing other addicts to keep them sober. The founder of the program, Doctor Donald Pett, hired Joe Ritchie after a phone interview because he seemed persuasive. Quote, Joe had a very unusual way of getting many of the street people to follow him. He often got people to rally around him, kind of see things his way, do his bidding. Again, some cult leadership, you know, wow, the street people that they said, yeah, yeah, they're talking about homeless people there now. One of the other staff members at Dartez introduced Ritchie to a Massachusetts psychiatrist named Gerald Davidson. The two weren't coworkers long before Richie and Sherry moved again to another job at a drug counseling center called Survival, Inc. But Joe clearly made an impact on Doctor Davidson, one that was out of step with his actual skill in treating addiction. Evidence for this is that Joe brought 3D Artec staff members with him to Survival, Inc, and all three of them were fired soon after because they were caught using drugs while working as drug abuse counselors. So. He may not be good at anything but manipulating people in reality, yeah. Now Joe is the one who fired them, and he made a statement to the press saying their behavior was unacceptable, and it seems like the incident had an impact on him. Not long after that, in 1971, the couple decided to open a therapeutic community of their own. Joe reached out to Doctor Davidson, who he'd worked with briefly and, because he was a smooth *** ** * ***** convinced the older man to be their business partner in starting a new facility. Because Doctor Davidson is a psychiatrist. Andy has money, you know. Hmm. You gotta love it. And you gotta license. Probably too, right? Yeah, he's got some licenses. There's a lot of reasons it's a good call now, miles. You know what's an even better call than convincing a psychiatrist to fund your child abuse company program? That this seminar we're given on how to unload catalytic converters on Craigslist using ambiguous language. That's right. And pick up Miles and his new book The Catalytic Converter driven Life, which is all about how stealing catalytic converters called Welcome converts. What a good cult this is gonna be. Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now for the plot twist. Nope, there isn't one. Mint Mobile just has premium wireless from 15 bucks a month. There's no trapping you into a two year contract. You're opening the bill to find all these nuts fees. There's no luring you in with free subscriptions or streaming services that you'll forget to cancel and then be charged full price for none of that. 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Anything, particularly young children out into nature so that they can experience it and take time off from this virtual world of being always on your cell phones and so on. And get the feel of nature so that you come to be fascinated, then you come to want to understand it, and then you come to love it, and at that point you want to protect it. And then we'll come to the sort of healthy world that I envision as a good future for us. And the rest of life on this planet. Listen to amazing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. So by now we imagine that you've seen the theories on Tik T.O.K. You maybe even heard the rumors from your friends and loved ones. But are any of the stories about government conspiracies and cover ups actually true? The answer is surprisingly or unsurprisingly, yes. For more than a decade, we here at stuff they don't want you to know have been seeking answers to these questions. Sometimes there are answers that people would rather us not explore. Now we're sharing this research with you. For the first time ever in a book format, you can preorder stuff they don't want you to know. Now it's the new book from us, the creators of the podcast and video series. You can turn back now or read the stuff they don't want you to know. Available for pre-order now, it's stuff you should read or wherever you find your favorite books. We're back. Oh, I'm just fondling a couple of cats and catalytic converters that is, that's what we call it around here. That's, that's what we call it around here in the in the in the verter biz. So by 1971, which is when Joe decides to start his own facility, Synanon was a full on cult, but public awareness of that fact was not high. People were aware that drug abuse rehabilitation centers could save addicts, and such facilities had exploded in popularity. Now at the time, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts all had very stringent laws about what kind of professional qualifications you had to have to work in such a place, right. Those states have like you consider basically a hospital if you're trying, if you're saying I want to open a residential treatment. Facility for addicts. You have to, like have medical, serious medical credentials in order to work. What if I just really wanna do it? How about when you move to Maine? Deal with Joe, Joe Ritchie, and Sarah and Sherry do, which is you move to Maine because Maine does not give a **** about anything now. At the beginning, the program was owned by Doctor Davidson and another man, David Goldberg, who actually had the money necessary to start the business. The Richies used their money to lease a former summer camp in Naples, Maine, which they turned into their facility. From the beginning, Doctor Davidson's role in all of this was to be a doctor, right, not to actually do medicine. To be a Doctor Who was professionally associated with the organization, right, could put his name on advertising material, and they can use it to claim that their facility has a basis in clinical therapy. And since Doctor Davidson was the associate director of the drug clinic at Boston City Hospital, he had a lot of professional weight to throw around. But again, he's never there. He's not actually doing anything. It's he's giving money. He's like funding this, but like, yeah. So from the start, it was agreed that Doctor Davidson would not work on site. He would stay in Massachusetts. Working at a hospital and using his position as a psychiatrist to refer patients to the new business seeds started, which is not at all a conflict with. My God. OK. They're rad. So good. So good. You need a you need some help. You know, actually, I know this place, actually. Oh yeah, it's a it's out in Maine, you know? Yeah, it's run by this guy who has no qualifications other than being a guy. He really wants to do it. He really wants to do. Yeah, he's he's missed out. Heart, no expertise, though. All heart, no expertise. So Richie and his wife were supervisors, working for free room and board and a cut of the profits. But when one of their other partners, a guy who invested with a doctor, was caught embezzling, Richie and his wife bought their way into a full partnership by selling $8000 worth of stocks that Sherry had inherited from her grandma. So Richie becomes a partner because of money that his wife has right now. The early years of this business are hard, the richies. Very poor, and by all accounts, Joe was obsessed with getting rich from the beginning. The Allan School as they came to college was not about helping people, it was about making Joe Ritchie a fortune. Still, it does seem to have started as, I don't know, somewhat genuine. It doesn't seem to have initially been horribly toxic, at least within the standards of the industry. And I'm going to quote from Duck and a raincoat again. They lived on the top floor of the rustic building in Naples with residents on the 2nd floor. Everybody shared the ground level. They seldom had any private time, never went out to eat. Or to the movies. Every activity centered around the therapeutic community and making lots of money. Sherry said her husband would often lie awake in bed, thinking aloud about how they were going to make their first $100,000. Becoming Rich was definitely an obsession that seemed to drive, Joe recalled an early staff member at a lawn. Money was extremely important to him, and when when he was earning $10,000 a year and driving an old Oldsmobile, it represented the power to be somebody important who would be accepted by everyone around him. And that meant a lot. So from the beginning, his motivation here is to get rich. Off this not necessarily to determine any new method of actually helping people, right, right. And if even if it wasn't toxic at first, it seems like he probably felt some kind of momentum beginning with his ability to grift and manipulate. Yeah, and and when I I don't know that it was toxic at first because we don't have a lot of details about the early times of the school. Now from the at the beginning, most of the money that they made was put right back into the business, but it gradually started to make a major profit because they started drawing in and Joe would actually go out and like. Recruit people to join the facility. Particularly troubled teens from wealthy families, so they would like Joe and Doctor Davidson, would go out and like talk to rich parents whose kids had like, we're in legal trouble. Had like serious problems with addiction. Like because Davidson is a psychiatrist, he knows which rich parents have, are paying, able to pay for serious help for their kids. And Joe will go out and like because she's good at convincing people of things, will convince them to send their kid over to Allan and pay $1200 a month. For treatment in 1970s money, you know, that's a lot of cash out, yeah. So the Naples facility relocated to the former Potter Academy, a landmark in the town of Sebago, and another secondary site was a site was established in Waterford, ME. So they expand very quickly because going after rich kids is good business. Throughout the mid 1970s, Joe Ritchie expanded his methods from, you know, he started off just kind of ripping off the daytop school in Synanon, 2 two building something new. And this happens gradually. We don't know the exact time frame in which this occurs, but it happens, you know, in the early years of the. Facility, so initially all the therapy you have these group talk sessions based off the game, you have various forms of Labor. People are asked like do physical labor outdoors as part of like they're they're kind of like a punishment in a lot of cases. And Richie designed Allana's culture around a series of work crews. Each member started as a worker and was assigned a job in the kitchen, the business office, the Communications Office or on the grounds based on what was considered to be their weakest area. So you get a job doing. Grunt level labor and what everything you're worst at. In a 1979 article for Corrections magazine, Doctor Davidson claimed this was quote to teach them to function under adversity and learn to accept failure. Now from worker which everyone starts as a worker you move up to ramrod or Foreman which is like you know in charge of a small group of workers. After that you move up to department head and then up to coordinator. Joe felt that structure and communal living were both necessary in order to treat addicts, but while he was. Experimenting with new ways to counsel drug addiction, he was also experimenting with insurance fraud. So in January of 1974, a fire destroyed his Academy at Sebago. Thankfully, no one was there at the time. Davidson and Richie were in Chicago recruiting residents. The building's owner told the press that he didn't have much insurance, but Richie bragged that the Allan School itself was, quote, adequately insured due to the extensive remodeling his residence had done to the building. Now, there was no evidence that his residence had remodeled anything because the building had burned down. But he was able to successfully argue that this increased the insurance value of the property. And he makes a lot of money off of the insurance building that gets conveniently burned down. Yeah, don't worry about that. I don't worry about the no insurance, you know, because I'm looking at about probably like four or five $600,000 with the remodel work that I'd insure anyway. So it's all good. It's all the insurance covered. It's really fun. It's fine. No problem. So Sherry would later claim that the fire was a turning point for Richie and the Allan School. They purchased a new permanent location in Poland. Spring ME. With seven large buildings that would each act as separate communities within the increasingly complex society Joe Ritchie was building. Now at this point, I haven't given a lot of detail about what happened at a loan because we don't really know about the early 70s all that much. It seems fair to say that early on there was little to differentiate a loan from other programs based off of Synanon and Daytop. They practiced the game, which tended to be regularly scheduled therapy sessions. And yeah, the idea like, so it it seems like they're kind of doing the same thing 7172. 73 at some point, though, it starts to change, and it changes in part because the lawn is very centralized from the beginning. There's this strict hierarchy, these different jobs everybody has, and you move up or down if your behavior is bad. That seems to be kind of everything else is spawned from this idea. So one of the first things that Joe develops that's different from what other facilities has done is he takes the game and he changes into something different. So the game two or three times a week in these other communities, everyone sits down to play the game. Right, and that's the way the game works. Joe replaces it with something called a general meeting, and rather than being a regular scheduled part of the week, a general meeting was unpredictable. Instead of it being a thing everyone does together, it's often an unpleasant thing that everyone does it together. A general meaning is something that's done to you. If your behavior is bad, Joe or one of the other supervisors will call the general ******* meeting against you. And it's usually done because, like Joe, we're a supervisor decides this person has done something bad. So in the game, every individual pretty much is going to get called out for some sort of bad behavior, right? You go around the circle and everybody spends some time getting, you know, **** talked basically, right. A general meeting isn't like that. Only one person is getting yelled at and they're getting yelled at by everybody. Wow. So it's just like, alright, feeding frenzy, here we go. Just for this person. Yeah, the frame, the term that we use for this was get your feelings off, right? So everyone's calling is like get your feelings. Find him. Get your like, how is he hurt you? Basically, how is his behavior his? He ****** ** at this thing. Like how did it affect you negatively? And obviously you can't not say something. I found one recording of audio that is purported to have been recorded secretly during the late 1990s of a general meeting at a law school and Alan graduates have said some people argue that maybe this was staged, but either way they say this is accurate to how it sounds. So here is a general meeting at the Alan School. They're back. So the game is, it's kind of debatable as to how therapeutically useful it was. A lot of criticisms of the game. This is just abuse. Like, I mean, the game was pretty abusive in a lot of cases, but like this is just pure abuse, like just straight screaming. Yeah, yeah, you can argue even though there's abusive elements to the game going. Down in a circle, everybody like, there's elements of that that could be helpful. This is just, this is just abuse. Yeah, just a screaming meat grinder and like also the sheet that what the ****? Yeah, the person's inhalations too were like so flavored. I'm like this streets that former students will make is that you learn how to yell in a specific way unique to the Alan School because of the way in which you are trained to yell at people and abuse people. There's like a specific cadence, specific kinds of terms that you use. You know, like the exhaust on a Harley-Davidson man. Yeah. You know the sound you can tell when it's in Alan Scream. Yeah. I mean, that's yeah, that's what what former I know inmates will say. So one of the difficulties in preparing this episode is that the system of abuse that Joe Ritchie crafted for Elon was extremely complicated in a way. What he built over the first few years was like an engine designed to be self perpetuating and maintaining. We don't have a good data on the order in which it all came together, but we do have bits and pieces of that story. One of these comes from a 1971 interview with Doctor Davidson from News and World Report in which he claimed, quote, therapeutic communities largely are run by ex addicts who have become. Extremely sanctimonious. Like all converted heathens. They shave their patients heads, make them wear diapers, hang degrading signs on them, things like that. In our therapeutic community we do not do this. Our approach is to build self esteem and regard for others. Now this is a lie. At least it runs counter to what we know Alan was doing in this same period of time. But also Doctor Davidson was never there, so maybe he was just didn't know. That same year Joe Ritchie did an interview with a local TV news station where he claimed that the goal of Alan was to instill. Self-reliance, self respect and a capacity for love quote. We tailor the program to fit the individual, not the individual to fit the program. This was also not in line with what we know was going on at a loan, but it was consistent with Joe Ritchie's desire to market his school to the parents of rich kids. In the early years, he did a lot of direct sales to these parents and he would even offer to fly his private plane out to them to pick kids up. He called a lawn the Rolls Royce of adolescent treatment centers. So again, I can't tell you how this all came together. Exactly. But I can tell you that by 1979, when general when Corrections magazine did a profile on the Elon school, it had already developed a number of unsettling characteristics, including an internal secret police force quote. There are no clinical offices at a lawn. No 50 minute see you next week. Couch sessions six days and nights a week each. Elon Residence is a hotbed of raw, supercharged emotion. When the House is functioning, working at therapy, the expediters are at work keeping a written record of negative behavior. They have a lot of status, like a secret police force, says one resident. They take attendance all the time and book incidents like if you talk back or fight. Each book is a strange collection of names or narratives, attention seekers, goobers, manipulators, non relaters. At 11:10 today, Diane was called out for obnoxious behavior. Incidents are collected, reviewed and dealt with appropriately and appropriately. Usually means severely. You're not dealing with your feelings at all. Screams a diminutive girl to a massive boy in a lawn seven. He has talked back to a coordinator. Why don't you grow some guts and brains instead? Instead of just balls, you blockhead? And just as quickly as it began, the confrontation is over. Both peacefully shuffle off to work again. So you have this. You have these people keeping track of everyone writing down in a notebook every bad thing they do so that it can be. There can be a meeting at some point in the day where you yell at this person over it, like where every single piece of behavior you do is being monitored at all times. And this is true of everybody, including the people who are giving out punishment. They're also always. Being monitored. So anyone if you have status you can lose it for bad behavior. And if you don't have status you can report people who might be above you and get them in trouble. Like it's this whole, it's an assumption of abuse, right? And it's not necessarily like when you said internal police force, I thought like they're ordaining people to be these snitches, but it's just the the ecosystem operates and such that it self polices to be able to gotcha each other at the generals. That's part of it. There is these, this is a position. Expeditor is a job. There's just always kids with notebooks taking down what everyone does. But then can you can you come for an expeditor? Yeah, what you have. I mean, you would have meetings throughout, like, once a day you're gonna be, like, called into a room with kids above you and to talk about your bad behavior. And you're also generally asked if you saw anyone else doing anything. And you also have these slips of paper that you can write down a bad behavior you saw from someone else and put it in a little, like basically like a a note box. And it those get read and people get punished for that. Like a snitch suggestion box, yes yeah OK, so all of this stuff like again, the whole goal here is to create is to make the kids lock each other down so much that no one can misbehave that the program runs just based on all of these kids trying to either get back at each other or avoid punishment themselves. And the only way to do that is to punish other people like live in some like Panopticon where they always feel like there are. Also they can never hide either. Yes, that's a huge part of it. Now, in Synanon, people who broke major rules were given haircuts, which was initially just like a dressing down, but was turned into literal haircuts. Like eventually they would start shaving your head for bad behavior and Alan. The haircuts were metaphorical, but somehow much more abusive than forcibly shaving someone bald. Haircuts were basically lesser general meetings. They could take the the form of a blast where one person would scream at you for bad behavior, or a round Robin where a dozen people would do it, or a 21 gun salute, which involved two dozen people. Grading you these lesser reprimands were called for by kids against other kids rather than being doled out by any kind of administrator. In 1979, when Corrections magazine covered Elon's so-called experts touted this as one of the things that made Alan Revolutionary. That article quoted the headmaster of a Montessori school who claimed it works. The kids discipline themselves with haircuts. The result is that there are no discipline discipline problems in school. It would be more accurate to say that Alan successfully transformed. Most discipline problems into institutionally supported abuse because the only way to have any kind of control over your life at a lawn was to play along and rise through the ranks, at which point you would be able to give haircuts or eventually call general meetings. The system was built to encourage kids to join it, in order to dish out the abuse they'd had to suffer for months and to suffer less abuse themselves. Alan punishments included signs which listed the perpetrators supposed sins. And again, Davidson has said this is one of the things that makes us different from other we don't hang signs from people's necks. They totally did. Kids were forced to make signs themselves, but the wording was created by this student, students who were punishing them, and by employees of the school. I found one example online, and I'm going to. No, she went to read the sign that young woman's care is holding around her neck. OK, this is my name is Phyllis Cohen. I behave like an emotional cripple. I consistently seek people's attention and try to get them to prove they care about me. I play games and continually usurp peoples emotions in order to make myself feel special. Please confront me because if I don't change this attitude will always, I don't know, it says will always something. Be scared and lonely suddenly. Yeah. What the ****? It's pretty bad ****. This is so this is someone they're like, OK, this OK? Yeah, we figured you out. You're an emotional cripple. Who's. And that's what the that's not. You have to wear this around your neck. Yeah. Then this sign is massive. It's gotta be what, 2 1/2 three feet by three feet? And it's like a science fair poster board. It's bigger than her almost, but also like like why is it like colorful too? Like there's like the letter level of flair to it. Well, she had to make it. Somebody gave wrote that down for her. I don't think it's handwriting. I think those are like cuts, stickers or something. They're skipping. It was cut outs or stickers. Yeah, but it's like rainbow. Yeah. Unnecessary flair for such an abusive sign though. Also, yeah, they had a lot of flair. They had the whole school. One of the things you would have to do constantly is like write posters and stuff that they would put up everywhere. So there's always these posters with like. That ****. Motivational slogans over all the walls. It's just the worst place. Motional cripple. **** yeah, **** you. Kind of like a rainbow and like a pot of gold. Yeah. I kind of want one of those, actually, from my own office, so I'm going to quote from that Corrections magazine right up again. Miles, where's your sign? Get that sign on or I will break it over your head, barks mark the staff member running the general meeting at a lawn 5 or at a lawn four and pearsonville in parsonfield. Alon 4 is the residence for the toughest of the tough. It is the only locked facility. For over a week now, Alan four has been in a tight house, all privileges suspended because of a poor house attitude. Mark Zeroes in on a few offenders as 60 pairs of cold eyes. Have gone in the cafeteria. Paulson, get up here, he screams at a 13 year old with a tussle of brown hair. You know why you're up here, don't you? Well, after this morning, you're never going to not do your homework again. You're going to want to be dead. Where is your dunce cap? Get him a dunce cap that will touch the ceiling, he says. And again, they would get like, give these people like dunce caps as big as their bodies and stuff. Like they would make people wear costumes. They made one kid dress up as Jesus. I think it was like a horse. They like chained his feet to a ball and like dressed him up as an animal like it would get. ****** **. Yeah. And that's and. And you're saying this isn't Corrections magazine where they're like, yeah, look, check out the work they're doing here. It's actually pretty critical to be honest. OK. Like a spike. Sure. Like the the spotlight wasn't like, you know, like, this is just a magazine for like, sadistic teachers at school is. It should have been maybe. But it was 1979. They didn't know. I don't know. We'll see. They could have been more critical, but it's like, not positive. Like it doesn't pay to brakes. Maybe the fascists who read Corrections magazine were like, this. Sounds rad, but. Like, right. I thought it was a pretty dark portrayal of this facility. Yeah, no, for sure. You just never know. Like considering the audience. Like, Wow, did you see that right up? I looked at one point. The article discusses encounter Sessions and these are the result of one of the weird programs Joe Ritchie developed for his school over the years. And encounter sessions. Students are so students are required every day to write little fill out slips of paper admitting their guilt. Which is like every day you have to write what rules you violated during the day. You didn't get caught for and then you would have to come in and talk to a group of your fellow students and a staff member about the different things that you've done that you weren't supposed to do. ****** ** confessional. Yeah, and when I'm talking about rule breaking miles, I'm not talking about like, well, it's horrifying actually. I'm gonna read you a brief, non comprehensive list of the different guilts. And guilt is called do you have guilt? Right, like that's the term they would use it. Like have you done something bad? Talking too loudly? Talking too quietly talking to someone without authorization, talking to a non strength while being non strength. So eventually one of the this is one of the they they keep adding like different sort of rule like different sort of classification. So it's sort of like workers or ramrods and eventually they add in strength or non strength. So all of the low ranking students are non strength and all of the once you reach a certain point your strength and then there's high strength and so certain jobs only open up when she becomes strength or high strength. When you're low strength, you can't talk to anyone else who's low strength. You can only talk to high strength people or listen to high strength people. So you can get in trouble for listening to someone who's also low rank. It's this weird. There's a lot of weird **** with the system. So in these rules, like who's who's defining, like what's too quiet and what's too loud and what's too much and what's too little, like what? What are the? Is there like some kind of, like, ranking system? No, no, no, no. But subjective. Cool. Yeah. Yeah. Talking. Too much. Not talking enough. Talking about subjects that are not Alan related. This is called being loose sex. And this doesn't just mean talking about sex. This means looking at someone of the opposite gender. So they would make you write down and confess if you were attracted to anyone else in the school. And then if you did that, they would bring it up. They would call everyone together and say, hey, so and so thinks Susie is hot. Like, like Susie. You don't think he's hot, right? You think he's ******* hideous? Yeah. And like, they would do that in front of the whole school. Like, you have to admit that you have a crush on someone so they can make fun of you about it in front of everyone else. Quite literally. Like the nightmare you have as a junior high kid. Yeah, it's like you can. Yeah, that's exactly. Nightmare is the whole school comes around and goes and they and they make the person who has a crush on you tell you that they think you're disgusting. Oh my. Yeah. It's really bad, right? You could get in trouble for looking at someone of the opposite sex, but you could also get in trouble for avoiding looking at someone of the opposite sex, because that clearly means you have a crush on them. What does that matter? It's so ******* good. Yeah, you could get in trouble for basically anything, right? Yeah. My looking outside. Yeah, you can't be looking outside, but you can't all. But also, the next one is looking at the floor. Yeah, you have to be like constant state of observation. Yeah, constant state of observation. Always looking at your fellow inmates. Yeah, Robert, what does being sideways mean? OK, when you sip too much lean, that's that's what I was thinking. I think it just basically means, like not following some sort of, like, not not being on the program, right? Like the whole thing, the only thing you're supposed to talk about with each other is the program is not like either what a disaster your life would be without it, how it saved your life, or like how someone else needs to do a better job of following the program. Anything else is being loose, right? And you're not. You're not supposed to be doing that ****. Every day. God, yeah. The rest of these are. I think these are worse than the first couple ones you read, to be honest. Which ones? Having negative body language, reacting to insults, slouching or yawning looking not, not falling asleep or sleeping for too long? Yeah, so you can't be a person. No, they keep you sleep deprived and they don't feed you enough because that's a great way to have a cold work break. Somebody says it just says drawing you can't draw. Ohh, I'd I'd be done at this point. Books either. I am. I am. I am. What is my school? Yeah, how do you? OK, whatever. Yeah, go on. I mean, it's a ****** ** nightmare. What about the kind of school you do eventually, if you get to a high enough rank, there's a library and you can even read books if you get to a high enough rank, which you get to by abusing your fellow students and maintaining this, this order. So again, that's part of the like you're after a couple of months of fighting back. You're so ******* desperate to have a single like privilege that lets you feel like a person. That you will destroy the people around you to get that, right? Right, right. And yeah, you just made it a gladiator ring and yeah, exactly. For just the slightest bit of stimulation that isn't total abuse. It's cool and good, miles. Cool and good. Everyday inmates would participate in encounter groups. These were smaller, more focused versions of the game where three to four higher ranked inmates would sit down with a worker or ramrod and discuss their flaws in 1979. The author of that Corrections magazine article claims some sessions focused on building up the self esteem of inmates. And having peers discuss their good qualities. This seems to have occurred at some periods and I've even found former Elon students who will say that there were specific employees who were decent people. Most of the accounts I found do not report that building up self-esteem was as common a task for encounter groups as the opposite, which is breaking down people's self conception of themselves. This was evident even in 1979. Quote encounters can run for 10 minutes. They can also go on for half a day. There are other less frequent group. Sessions, whose purpose is to build up self-esteem rather than tear it down, tears off. Tears often flow in these sessions where residents talk about their good qualities. It is moving to watch tears flow in and counter sessions, too. You want a knife, Bruce? You want to kill yourself? Asks Alice, matter of Factly. Bruce's lower lip is quivering. Someone get me a knife. There is a rattle of a drawer and someone hands Alice a silver blade. Here, Bruce, kill yourself, Bruce whimpers. He cannot shout as the others do. No, I don't want to change. I don't know why. I just don't want to change his eyes. Red and Alice seizes the chance to toughen this newcomer. Let me rip your stomach out for a second, OK? Bruce? You don't think anyone likes you, do you? That's because you don't think you're worth being liked. She turns to the group. How many people feel that Bruce has an insatiable desire to be loved but won't let that be because he hates himself? Six hands grow up. If you're crying now, Bruce, you should be. If you weren't crying now, Bruce, you should be. He is. It's just like, what the ****? ******* mind game ****. Absolute torture. And again, Alice is just like another kid, right? Right, right. Right. To like, be yeah. Physical abuse when you just like, yeah, that's so weird. Like you're just sort of nurturing these same ****** ** skills within everyone and it's just becoming this like a Petri dish of dysfunction that you're just watching all the bacteria like replicate and grow and. I mean, it passed a certain point. All of the staff pretty much are people who went to a lawn as kids because, like, they can't do anything else. Like, you know? Physical abuse was also extremely common in a land. At its lowest levels it involved spankings administered by other students via ping pong paddle. Administrators and employees were not supposed to partake in corporal punishment, although whether or not they did is something that seems to have varied from person to person over time. During the decades the school operated now I was spanked in school and when I say students were given spankings, depending on your background they may. That may not sound too horrible. Right and Alon spankings were administered the way therapy was. In groups, sometimes as many as a dozen students would spank a single person, taking turns until the child's buttocks was bruised and often bleeding. I found one account from an Alan alumnus, Gregory Coleman, who actually gave this account during the murder trial of another former Alan student. At the time he gave the statement, Coleman was in maximum security prison for criminal trespassing, which might be a hint as to how well the program really worked. But that's a story for another day. And you're saying he was testifying at the murder trial of another? He was too sure was. Yeah. Holy ****. Now back in the 70s, Gregory had been sent to Alan for stealing a TV. He was one of many students who participated in the mass paddling of a female student. Decades later, he could not remember what she'd done to earn the punishment. Here is how his testimony on that was described in a federal court document. She was paddled so violently with open hands and a wooden mallet that she had to be taken to the hospital. Coleman nonchalantly testified that the assault was so horrific that she went into shock and lost the ability to retain her bowel movements. Pretty bad stuff, smiles. *******. In the beginning I was like, Oh yeah, man, this dude. Just a grifter shirt, insurance. And then I'm like, yeah, here we go. Now we're getting to the ******* part. I was like, turn away because I can't even focus on. Yeah, that's just so yeah. To from the it's like, it's not enough. Although the psychological ****. And now we're talking about creating, you know, generations of kids who probably needed actual, you know, professional help. That was more. Centered around their humanity rather than some dude getting off on creating like the Thunderdome of abuse. Yeah, it's a lot. Hmm. So, miles, how are you? How are you feeling today after all this? Good. I'm, I'm sweating. Sexy, yeah. Just, I'm just trying to focus on my catalytic converters. I'm not gonna lie right now, it's the only thing, the only thing I got going. It's a possibility converter. Catalytic converters don't abuse kids. You know? They would never spank a child. All they do is get stolen by us in order to make profit. And that's beautiful. I think that's beautiful, miles. We saw him for 15 roses on Craigslist. Alright, well we're going to talk more about Alan School in Part 2, including its most notorious therapy, the ring. But that's going to have to wait till Thursday. Oh miles, you are not going to have a good time. Yeah, it's real bad, buddy. I don't. I hate these ******* like WWE event names. They're like, you know, a haircut during a general. Like, yeah, like, OK, well it's alright if it helps. It's a lot worse than the WWE. No. OK. Yeah, that's that's true. I guess that doesn't help me. Yeah, well, that's the episode. Miles, you got any problems to plug? 420 day fiance. You know, I feel like, I feel like nicey nice stuff where I just get high and talk about trash reality TV. Like 90 day fiance, check out 420 day fiance also. Sophie Alexandra. Somebody you have here on the time? That's my co-host. So that's where we do that. And daily site case, check out. 420 day, check it out. Check out 420 day and check out catalytic converters by crawling up underneath a Toyota Prius with a set of bolt cutters and just start cutting. Just start cutting until you get the good ****. There you go. Cutting. Year old. Hmm. That's how it works baby. Alright. Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams, let's break her handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's Hey there, it's Ebony Monet, your co-host for the San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we're speaking with Doctor Jane Goodall about the fascinating journey that led to her social discoveries on chimpanzees. For four, oh, months, the chimps ran away from me. I mean, they take one look at this peculiar white ape and disappear into the vegetation. Listen to amazing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. In the 1980s and 90s, a psychopath terrorized the country of Belgium. A serial killer and kidnapper was abducting children in the bright light of day. From Tenderfoot TV and iHeartRadio, this is La Monstra, a story of abomination and conspiracy. The story about the man who simply become known as. La monster. Listen for free on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.