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.

Part Two: Synanon: The Drug Rehab Program That Built Its Own Army

Part Two: Synanon: The Drug Rehab Program That Built Its Own Army

Thu, 24 Jun 2021 10:00

Robert is joined again by Paul F. Tompkins to continue to discuss Synanon.

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OK. God. Oh, God. I hate that Lady. I really don't like her. I'm actually starting to get attractive. She's a cop. Yeah. Yeah. See, just think we just talked to. Look, it just turned around. Yeah, just now. It's. I mean it. She is a cop. But I think we all remember the Little Wayne Classic misses officer. It's like that sort of situation, right? Like she's she's caught you, but also she's intrigued, and you can't not be yourself. And maybe you're going to **** in the back of that. Squad car like Little Wayne absolutely didn't. Never, never has a song been more clearly alive than Lil Wayne misses officer. This is behind the ******** the podcast where we talk about Lil Wayne songs with Paul F Tompkins. Paul can't believe we got this greenlit. I know it. I I I thought like first of all, this was not the original idea. This was right before the pitch. Robert turns to me and says change of plans. Just follow my lead. *** ** * *****. It worked. We got $14 million in funding, so we're going to take this to some fun places this year. This is better than the Gardening podcast we had planned. Yeah, this is this is a lot better, less Lil Wayne than the gardening podcast. I would totally listen to a gardening podcast with the two of you. Just saying. That sounds like a really good time to me. I'm getting to be, I'm getting to be a pretty good gardener. My ******* cauliflower is going off the chain this year, and my potatoes are. I would brag more about my potatoes, but they are potatoes and it's the hardest thing to **** ** in the Pacific Northwest. If you can't grow potatoes in northern Oregon, you might not be able to grow things. Huh? This is now a gardening podcast. This is now that podcast. I take that as a challenge. I have a I have a completely black thumb. I've never been able to make any keep anything alive. I will move to Northern Oregon and I will not grow potatoes. I mean. Oh, I'll try to Paul's dead potato farm. Down ohm Paul, how you feeling as we enter into Part 2? How you feeling about Synanon? I feel good. That was such a good cliffhanger last week. Yeah, that I'm, I'm, I'm, I'm dying to dive into what happens next. What's fun about this one? Part one? Kind of a slow burn, right? For a lot of the episode, broadly reasonable, you know, some problematic aspects. But like, also you compare it to, you know, it, it it slowly turns into something really toxic. At this point they've just he he just puts his foot on the gas. Like we we go very off the rails very quickly here. So by 1967, with the announcement that Synanon was no longer curing addicts, Charles Dederich was pretty much a full on cult leader. Now. This slowly became obvious to some of the people inside, but to out casual observers it still seemed to just be a drug treatment program. That said, it was a treatment program that was now bringing in the modern equivalent of 10s of millions of dollars. Year through a dizzying variety of businesses, not just gas stations, but pottery shops, apartment buildings, and a specialty branded item business that sold pins and office supplies bearing different company logos. Since the cult was technically a nonprofit, they advertised to businesses as a charity, begging Fortune 500 companies to quote buy from Synanon and Save a life now. Yeah, that's what you're not compelled by that pitch. Angle is ingenious, I have to say. It's smart to say yeah, businesses love to be able to claim they're supporting a good cause by doing a thing they would do anyway. It is just the thing that's in their best interest. If you give them a way to say that this is a charity, they love that ****. But in terms of cults, I mean, I I think that it's very rare that they, they do the move of presenting themselves as trying to help the entire community. And if you give us this money, it goes towards this, that and the other thing, you know, Scientology. I think they missed the boat on that, making it all about the individual. I mean, I guess they do their charity stuff, but nobody cares, you know, he's like, hey, thanks. Scientology charity stuff. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Like they showed up at Katrina. And gave E meter readings and **** that's like, yeah, that's what we needed. Thanks, Church of Scientology. Bazare so the reality is that Synanon had essentially used the structure of a cult to build a sizable corporation, one which did not have to pay its workers or pay taxes, which is the benefit of being a nonprofit like this. The promotional item business would expand massively until it was making more than $10 million a year in 1960s money, making branded ballpoint pens and wallets and T-shirts for corporate retreats. It was eventually the second largest firm of its kind in the United States. Wow, that's a big thing. This guy. Once that seal was broken. This guy was like, I am off to the races. Yeah, yeah. All gas, no brakes on this ************. Like, he was just, like, thinking of ****. Like just inventing ****. Like, how about this? I mean, no one stopped me yet. I'll just keep going. It stopped me. That is you put upon. That's always what's going on with these guys. Is it just is anyone gonna stop me? No. I guess I'll run. Hubbard, is anyone gonna stop me? I'm having my own Navy and searching for gold in the Bahamas. Nope. OK yeah, guess that's my life now. Umm. Now, Synanon also made a lot of money from the game, which when they open up the cult outside members, you know, when they open up the program to people who are not addicts, they start offering the game as like a general self-help thing. So you can just drop in and do a session of the game in the 1970s. And it's, you know, they make like a lot of money doing this, uh, from LA Magazine quote. Synanon rebranded itself in the 1970s from a drug treatment program to a psychotherapy program and started attracting middle class people through the Synanon game, says sociologist Richard Ofshe, who spent time in the organization studying it as a non resident. By the early 1970s, some 3400 squares in California, New York and Detroit were paying cash to participate in games. It was the heyday of the human potential movement when Americans. We're rushing off to therapist couches, new age movements like EST, religions like the Divine light mission, alternative communities like esylum, and cults like the People's Temple and Synanon, many of which began in California, you know? That is that that this, the West Coast, is where this **** always happens. Because, man, if you if you're going to get thousands of people together and try to start your own civilization, you're going to do it in California, like, or can't do it. You can't do it where there's snow, you know you need. You need a temperate climate to start a you want a temperate climate. You also want a lot of wilderness, and you want, you know you want to. Place where everybody is a little bit off their rocker, which is the entirety of the West Coast. It's just the perfect place to have a cold. It's like, you know, yeah, it's just great. So all of this money had to go somewhere, right? They're taking in way more money than it costs to operate this ************ and most of the money goes to real estate. In 1967, the colt purchased the club Casa Del Mar, a massive beachside hotel in Santa Monica, and turned it into a dormitory for their members. Now, when they bought the Casa, it was still in use as a club and still had members who the cult pressured to resign their memberships. And this is one of those. You know you live in LA, right? Absolutely, yeah. These, you see, you know, they have these big beach clubs that will be like, some of them are just restaurants, some of them have like rooms and they also have like a chunk of beach that is theirs and they'll have like, you know, cabanas and bars and stuff. That's what this is, right? So the cult forces, the people who had been members to resign and a lot of these people complain. And the city of Santa Monica gets involved and Santa Monica, I'm sorry, just, I'm just unclear. He buys this property, but the, the, the, the members of the. Club are still like, I don't care. We have a club. We have a club. I mean, I want my beachside cabana, right? Like, why? I don't want to give that up. I don't want to find another one. And he's like, no, this is for my weird cult. Now you have to leave. We're going to make it weird for you. Also, you can't buy liquor on the beach now. And why even go to the beach? Why? Like, you're not going to be a member of a beach club and not order drinks on the beach. What are you talking about? So yeah, these people complain and the city of Santa Monica gets involved and. Being the city of Santa Monica, they immediately go *** **** in a way that they don't have a right to do. They order like they basically say, hey, the beachfront property that this club owns, you don't actually own that. That's property of the city. Which was ******** right? Like they did own the property. The city is breaking the law here, but they send in armored, armed police officers and bulldozers and destroy the cabanas and pave the courts and or destroy the paved courts in front of the club, which is like, so the city. Is in the wrong here. Legally, they didn't have the right to do that. And they knew they were, they were. This is just like a massive, like fake out. Like, yeah, it's just, yeah, it's the city, but it's the city. Be in the city. You know, it's assuming like, what are they gonna do, right? What are they going to do? Well. It turns out they had 10s of millions of dollars, and a lot of Synanon members were like Harvard educated lawyers. So this doesn't go well. Yeah. So part of what goes wrong is that a bunch of Synanon members protest and they're arrested in mass by the cops. Chuck Deaderick holds a press conference to claim that the city had fallen into the hands of Mad Dogs. And of course, he promises to sue them all. We don't know precisely what legal threats they sent the city of Santa Monica, but the city surrenders immediately, and the result of this is that. More like a decade. Synanon is untouchable. No city or zoning Commission in California is willing to stand in their way. They just don't have to obey zoning laws for a decade now. Because of this, everyone's scared of them. You know, there's a lot of people talking about armed self-defense these days, but nothing will protect you from the government as well as a bunch of frightening *** lawyers like that's. See your point so. In a matter of years, Synanon became the largest landowner in Santa Monica. The cold bought a massive industrial building in Oakland, too, which they turned into a dormitory in a showroom where random people off the street could show up to participate in the game. The state of California even gifted the cult an entire building in San Francisco and, you know, San Francisco law. Real estate's not as expensive then, but, like, that's a big gift. There was no it was never cheap to own buildings in San Francisco through the end of the 1960s. In and on and Chuck Dederich began to exhibit weirder and weirder behavior. He issued a policy of containment, which ordered that his members ought to separate themselves from the world outside of the cult. This of course cut them off from their families and friends, but also from hobbies or jobs that were not directly related to Synanon. Deaderick justified this by claiming that Sinon had a duty to lead the world into the 21st century. Doing this was going to take everyone's full effort and quote anything less than. Changing the world is Mickey Mouse. What now? OK, so at this point, how many people are in this cult? It's hard to say, but it probably somewhere around 2 to 3000 full-time members, but then thousands of people who are taking part in it to a lesser extent, you know, right, but just a couple of 1000 full-time members right now, but a lot of, you know one of the things. Because this is an organization of people who are addicted to hard drugs, there's a lot of hard drug addicts that have little in the way of resources. A lot of the most powerful, talented people in the world are also heavily addicted to drugs. So if you can get those people in your cult, again, somewhat like some of his lawyers that were like cult members had been top of their class at Harvard, like, which is why they're like, you see what they did? They frightened the city of Santa Monica into saying no more zoning laws for this cult. Yeah, which is not easy. And they clearly have connections to the government in California. But still it it's worth noting, while all this is happening in the late 1960s, the end of the 1960s, sixty nine, Synanon is still broadly respected, right judges increasingly rescinding children there when they were caught with drugs. And many addicts still claim to gain benefits from Synanon, even if they didn't buy the whole. You never get to leave aspect art. Pepper is a was a famous jazz saxophonist. He was one of the biggest jazz players of his day. He checked himself into Synanon in 1969. And the weird **** was in full swing. He was immediately suspicious of the self policing and the weird limitations to individual liberty. He also didn't trust Dederick, who he called the old Wino, but he still found value in the program. What he found really valuable in the program was, oddly enough, you know, I mentioned that like 1224 hour day thing where like half the cult is 12 hours awake during the day, half the cult and not during the night. Yeah, he actually found that valuable. He said quote dophins and nuts can't stand routine and when they get bored they have to do something crazy. So send Anon made the insanity themselves. The people that ran it caused the insanity, which allows he's arguing if you're mentally ill, if the organization you're in is is crazy. It helps you actually be on a more even keel, right? I guess that's his argument, like, I don't know. Sure. It's like if you get if you get hit on the head with a coconut, you will get amnesia, but if you get hit with a coconut again, you you don't have amnesia anymore. You know what? It is? I think a little bit like, we talked about this in my podcast about like, a second American Civil War. It could happen here, but during the blitz in World War Two, before, because everyone knew there were going to be cities bombed in the next big war, they didn't know how people would react. And there was this white, like, they they youthanize all of the pets in London because they were sure that animals would, like, go crazy and become dangerous. Like, yeah, that's the thing we don't talk about much. They like all the cats and dogs they could. They also assumed that people were going to lose. Their minds and start committing crimes and mass and just like be completely uncontrolled. But just because the being bombed would shatter their minds, the opposite happened. And one of the things they noticed is that people who had required regular therapy, who had required regular psychiatric treatment, stopped receiving it at all and were suddenly like working as ambulance drivers. Because when the world fell apart around them, something it made they they were able to function more effectively. And there there's a variety of. Of. Theories as to why that is, it's been observed in a lot of different disaster scenarios, and so maybe that's something of what he's talking about, right? If you and part of it is like, you're dysfunctional in the regular world, you get put in something that is very much not the regular world, and maybe you're able to be more functional. I don't know. There's a lot to to to dig into in that statement by art pepper, but by the 1970s, Synanon was fully off the rocker. As in whatever individual benefits some people may have gathered, it's no longer. About treating addiction when health problems forced Chuck to give up sugar and refined grains, he banned them for all of his followers. No more peanut butter sandwiches when he started running in place to lose weight. Running in place became mandatory for everyone, and when he shaved his head, everyone was pressured to shave their heads as a sign of solidarity. People who refused would have their heads forcibly shaved for infractions against the rules. Chuck's most controversial rule change came when his doctors told him to give up smoking. He banned cigarettes. Which led 150 members to quit on the spot. People are like, no more sandwiches. You gotta run in place at random. And they're like, alright, alright, Oh yeah, and you can't smoke. You know what? This is a bridge too far. Like it is 1970. Yeah. Do you understand what 1970 is? There's only two things to do, cocaine and cigarettes. And I can't do coke anymore. You're not taking this from me. One rule too far, dude. Cigarettes save lives. This is what I've been arguing for years. So by that point, the early 70s, when you know he banned cigarettes, Synanon could afford to lose people. By 1972 the colt had more than 1700 live in residence. These are permanent members, some of which paid not monthly dues because they were squares, some of whom labored for free. In one of the Colts businesses, rich people had also started handing over fortunes to Dederick, including some old lady who gave him $1,000,000 and some idiot who gave him gave him a mortgage company. They operate a mortgage company because some guy. This gives it to them. It's ******* great. So yeah, slowly, Chuck assembled an entire town of his own at Tomales Bay, complete with a fleet of ships, hundreds of motorbikes, an airstrip with a private plane, hot tubs and riding stables. This was his his perfect city. He called it home place, and it was only open to the top members of the cult and of course, to Chuck and his wife, Betty. So is them and their friends, basically. And the other cult leader cult members are like, I mean, actually, it's not all bad, right? Like if you're living on the beach. Santa Monica's worst ******* living arrangements. On God's green Earth you got a hot tub? That's not so bad. Well, homeplace has. I don't know if they have the hot tub at Casa Del Mar. Oh, I see. I see. Yeah. But it is. It seems like almost all of their real estate was pretty nice places, right? You know, you know, Santa Monica, they actually become the largest land owners in Santa Monica for like 10 years. I know. And that's like that. Wasn't that cheaper real estate then? Yeah, that's a big deal. In the Casa Del Mar, the thing that was like their massive dormitory in the beach is still a hotel today like it's been. You can go to that place like it's it's still an operation, not as part of the cult, obviously, because I guess it was just a good building. But you know what is still in operation as part of a cult, Paul? Hmm? I I have an idea. But why don't you tell me? The sponsors of this podcast are all cults? That's the only guarantee we make it behind the ********. My suspicions are confirmed. Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, buy some products, purge an unbeliever, coach it, go do some cult **** and listen to these ads. And while you're buying these products. Run and place. Oh yeah, yeah. Run in place. But you can smoke in all of our cults. That's the that's the promise that I'm not monsters. In fact, smoking is mandatory. It's mandatory. That's right, it's mandatory. Puffing away on a camel while you're running in place? Yeah, yeah, Yep. Seems you know they can't. Counterproductive, but OK. I did I I when I was hiking volcanoes in Guatemala. The guy who was by far the best at it because he's a, I mean, he now makes like. Authentic Viking equipment for The History Channel and stuff using original methods, but this is the guy that I would would I would hike volcanoes with and he would chain smoke the whole way up. 15,000 feet elevation, you know? *** ****. Yeah, just just just burning them down was amazing. All right, here's ads. We're back. Ah. We're back, and we're talking about Synanon. Now, in 1972, the San Francisco Examiner decided to take a deeper, more critical look at this drug rehab program that suddenly owned, like, all of California, they're like rehab. But the whole state? They have their own cops. Perhaps a journalist ought to look into this. They published a series of critical articles focused mainly on Charles Dederick. His weird policy of separating people from their families and the fact that he had gotten rich operating a series of tax free businesses under the guise of therapy they're reporting was solid. But what was more solid was deaderick's lawyers. By this point, 48 drug addicted legal professionals had joined the cult, and Chuck set them all against the Examiner. And when you have high grade office lawyers who don't bill you, you can do. Anything you could do. Anything in the world. I mean, look, that's the dream, right? That is the dream. Just a squadron of frightening lawyers. We don't charge you. Good God. Yeah. So Chuck sets all of his lawyers against the Examiner and Hearst newspapers, who own the paper, has to settle out of court for, I think, 2.6 million. I've heard a couple of different numbers, but like, it hurts. You know, this was the day when newspapers had millions of dollars as opposed to today where, like if you could, if you give a newspaper a parking ticket, that that's it. They're out of business, right? Like, sorry, we can't keep doing this anymore. And I mean did he have any idea that this that this story was coming or was it a surprise to him? And then he it was a couple of stories, so they were they launched like a series and he sued. So he doesn't know, he doesn't have intelligence inside. I think it surprises and he gets angry and he's 6 his his log ghouls on them. The examiner suit scared most newspapers away from investigating the cult, so they frightened all of the local governments in California away from enforcing zoning laws. And now they frighten newspapers away from reporting on them. Which is, again, not dumb. The cult like this is so far this is the game plan, right? If you're listening and you're going to start a cult, I'm planning to start a cult. So far so good, except for the banning cigarettes part. So. It's unfortunate that the early 70s are when newspapers got scared away for reporting on Synanon, because the early 70s were also the time that Chuck Dederich decided it was a bad idea for children to be raised by parents. So. It was a bad idea to what for? For for parents. For children to be raised by parents. Oh, sure, yeah, sure. Yeah, yeah. You know, the thing that human beings have been doing for forever? We should just stop that and immediately try anything. Just because we've been doing it for long time doesn't mean that it's perfect. I was raised by parents and let me tell you, it was not all smooth sailing. It was not all. Salem side so some Scientology level ****? Oh no, this is way more intense than what Scientology does. So. Phrase I don't hear often. Let's hear that. Let's go. Chuck justified this by saying, basically, junkies are too much are children, right? And kids can't raise kids. So he started sending newborn babies and young children of his members away to be raised in a central facility he called the hatchery. Oh, he's not like this is. At this point, at this point, he's like, why should I hide anything? Yeah, I'll call it the hatchery. **** it. I know what that sounds. No, I know what that sounds like. I don't give a ****. Yeah, yeah. Hatchery. No one stopped me yet. Make make the sign. Make the sign. I don't have time. I bought Santa Monica and Marin County. I can do whatever I want. So children were to be reared communally by teachers. In the Synanon school, Charles Dederich called Mothers who wanted to see their own children. Too much head suckers. I wanted to see your own kids. That seems like abusive behavior. It sucker. Children were not allowed toys to own toys or anything else of their own. They slept in large rooms with many beds. There were only allowed occasional visitation from their parents. Now I actually found a book, a memoir, by a man who was raised as a child. Anna Synon School, most of the book is not about that, but that's how it starts and it obviously it has a profound impact on him. This guy, Mikel Jollett, writes that he was raised to believe he was a drug addict because his father had been one quote. He's like 6 quote. We never used the words drug addict. We would just say someone was a dope fiend. People said this with pride and I'm pretty sure that's what we are. If someone were to ask us whether we are white or black or Dutch or Italian, I'm not really sure, but I know we're all dope friends because that's all anyone ever. Talks about the book is written kind of in a present tense right when he's writing about his challenge. But Michael was very young. Mikel was very young when he left the cult. Uh, I think again, I think he was like 5 or 6. I'm not exactly sure. He was a little kid, but he reported not fully as like, I don't know, six like as like a first grader or so. He didn't understand what a mother or a father was really. Like he he he would meet his mom occasionally, but he didn't really get what she was or what his dad was, and he had to be one of the when his his mom leaves the cult, their grandpa is who, like, rescues them, and he didn't know what a grandfather was. He'd never heard the word before Lee. Like, that's the level of like, hiding from children, the concept of grandparents. Jesus. But it is again, and and Michael's book Hollywood Park deals with his life after the cult. But it it talks a bit about what it was like there. And there are some heartrending passages about Synanon school quote the school is where they put the kids when they took us from our parents. It's where we all lived from the time we were six months old since Chuck the old man said that dope friends would just mess up their kids anyway. We were all put in a building together to become children of the universe. You had to listen to Chuck. We had demonstrators who were like teachers and. Classes and songs and I was lucky because I had a Bonnie. She would hug me every day and sing songs with me and call me son and ask me what I want for a snack. Most of the other kids didn't have a Bonnie, though, and some never even saw their moms or dads. They just never came to visit. Dmitry said he doesn't remember his mom's face. She was somewhere else. He didn't know where his dad was. The demonstrators say we don't need our parents because we have each other, but we don't like sharing our toys and I don't know who to talk to when I woke up with a bad dream or fell off of the monkey bars. Ohh. Yeah, really is. That's bad. Yeah, it's a bummer. Yeah. Here's another into now we're into more than more than just greed or megalomania. Now it's like it's truly like, devious. Like, this is well, this is ****** **. With the other things that are even abusive in the cult, there's still an element of consent, right? Because you chose to do this, you choose to stay right? Not that cold, stone abuse consent and whatnot, but these are it's one thing when it's a bunch of adults who are choosing a lifestyle that may have abusive elements. These kids have no choice at any point, and they are being ****** **. I'm going to read one more quote from Michelle's book. Some of the kids were very sad. Tony, his brother, used to sit alone at the edge of the playground all day, and his brother was a little older than him. He would turn away when one of the demonstrators tried to hug him. He doesn't trust the adults, and he doesn't play with other kids that much. When Mom came to visit, she would say he's just like that and he needs to learn how to deal with his anger. But maybe it's because someone did bad things to him. That happened sometimes. The kids would get hit really hard or locked in a closet, and there was no mom or dad to tell because they lived. Somewhere else and you couldn't even remember their faces. Yeah. I mean how many kids didn't never recovered from that experience and are like ****** ** to this day? There's an element of it that is, I don't know, worse. I don't want to use worse or better, but it's a different kind of like from a kid who sexually abused but still understands, broadly speaking, what a what a family is, what grandparents are like. The the the basics of life and society. These kids have to learn everything when they get. That's what Michael's book is about, is like realizing that hotels exist, right? Realizing that fast food, like, all of this stuff, like, because you're just in this separate world. That's all the dream of this weird guy. Who, by his own admission, can't connect with children anyway, who's just deciding how these infants are raised from six months on. It's pretty bad, Paul. It's it's it's real bad. Hey, no argument here, Robert. In the 1970s, Chuck decided to launch a new version of the game, this one geared towards provoking the same sort of psychedelic experience he'd had on LSD, but without using drugs. He called this the trip, and it was initially offered to a select few. The elite Deaderick told them. At the end of this rainbow there will be a pot of gold. Through dissipation or long hours of activity without very much sleep, we hope to bring about a new a conscious state of inebriation. We want to get you loaded without acid. Now. There's ways to do that. For my book, A brief history of ICE, which was like, I was experimenting with weird drugs, one of the things I would do, I tried to recreate this ancient Greek ritual where they had this weird wine that was by some accounts like a mix of grains and like cheese and stuff and wine that was like psychedelic, but they would not eat for a week before they took it, right? And and I could and I I only, I only. I think I went four or five days without eating, but it was like the first thing you put on your stomach, especially. I like you do you hike up a mountain like before you take it. And like that first, putting something in your body especially, it's like it hits real hard, you know, and say, in the same way, like if you don't let people sleep for days, they'll start to trip. Like you will hallucinate. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. And the key to this insight producing experience was to keep people awake for days on end until they were delirious and started to lose to. And you get really suggestible, right, if you've ever been gone days without sleeping. Your willpower isn't the same, you know. Yes, you're damaging your body and brain because it's very bad for you. People who took the trip were initially told that this was an honor meant to expand their consciousness and capabilities. Quote This is from Charles. You will learn more about yourself, your fellow man, the world, the nature of reality in one weekend than you would in four years. Let your ego go. Let things happen to you. It's a feeling of closeness to each other that we are after the death of the ego, a reference point for the rest of your life. You may change your value system, notions about life, and viewpoints about people. It will produce a new breed of human beings with greatly expanded potentials. If you do your best, you can't fail. So that sounds positive, but once the actual trip started, a different reality was revealed. O the whole experience started when a group, an individual called a shepherd, led the group, which usually numbered about 50, through the lobby of the Casa Del Mar. They were ordered to strip out of their clothes and put on white robes. Watches were taken as time did not matter anymore. Women were told to remove makeup and jewelry in order to symbolically strip away their past selves. And then, according to a write up by Tony Morantz, the guides. Well experienced game players turned each group from enthusiasm to a depression and defeat, wallowing in its collective shame. Sitting in comfortable green armchairs, they made the dope friends tell their tales of drugs, rape, crime and beatings. The squares were pushed to confess their prior loneliness and despair. The games turned on one and then another. Disoriented by lack of sleep, each was moved to the point of intense disillusionment. Aides who did their homework provided ammunition to the conductors. On each stripper, everyone was ordered to cop out, confess to past sins. The result was implantation of a common. Bond and sense of ideals all identified with Synanon. Each tripper was to write on a paper or on some feeling or admission. A big shot would advise the trippers. They were not really chosen as an honour, but each was really selected because each was a resistor thinking he or she knew better the direction Synanon should go part of the dummies that hold Synanon back. Maybe, Deaderick said, one day we will just put the dingbats like you against the wall and wash them off and bring them back into the human race. So it starts like, this is a a thing. You've been selected because you're special and we're all going to grow. And then it becomes days of not sleeping and being psychologically abused and being told you're here because you're resisting the cult, you're resisting the teachings, and you have to be punished and realize your errors. Now, there were other stages of the trip, too. It would veer between. You would have these sessions of, like, profound emotional abuse, and then all of these exhausted, weeping people would be taken into a room filled with, like other members of the cult who were well rested, who would start. Cheering and clapping and hug them and love bomb them. And it was this exact yeah, you you get what this is doing, right? Damn, this is like, yeah, so insidious, this guy. Yeah, it's. You gotta get look, you have to hand it to Chuck Dederich. He knew how to **** ** people he truly, truly did. You can't take that away from the man, all with the lessons he he learned from AA. This is his improvement. This is all his improvement on Alcoholics Anonymous, AA and and and one Emerson essay. Oh my God, so. Yeah, it's a it's pretty great now, and it would go on as long as like 3, I think sometimes four days without sleep. And by the end of it pretty much everyone was hallucinating and traumatized, but of course also bonded with the people they'd gone through the experience with, and the trip was a massive success. In its second year, sitting on was making. Yeah, I mean, it's one of those things I can tell you I've had a number of like, like, there was a festival I went to one year that got like horribly, horribly rained out to the point where it was like it was. It became a danger. And like, dealing with it was actually one of the most fun things that I've ever done with a group of people. And everybody kind of came away like a degree of bonding. The same thing was true last year during the riots. Like, you do a terrible thing with a group of people and you all. And some of it's that, you know, if it's an actual dangerous situation, you learn to trust people in ways that you don't normally learn trust. I think in this what it is, is that this breaks your ability to interact with the rest of the world, which is something all trauma can do. And so that's, I think consciously what he's doing is making it so that people can connect less with the the world, but it it also draws them in more to the cult because they're the only other people who understand this thing. So in its second year, Synanon was making half, $1,000,000 a year, selling access to the trip, or selling sessions, or whatever you wanna call them selling trips. In the mid 1970s, the cults repression of its own members ramped up in ways that were even more intense and eventually violent. Most histories of the cult will trace the tipping point to one specific moment in the summer of 1973 from Cabinet magazine quote. Dedrick himself was taking part in a game, but one female member was showing him no respect and kept interrupting his gnomic utterances. Infuriated, Detterich stood up, walked over to the woman, and poured a can of root beer over her head. It was a small gesture of frustration, but the effect within Synanon was earth shattering. No matter the other changes that had taken place, the rules of the game had always been sacrosanct. No drugs, no violence. Now Deaderick himself had broken one of them. Some wondered whether he'd gone crazy. But his more devoted followers preferred to see it as a sign, a call to arms. Yeah. I mean that, yeah. Yeah, that's when you know your cult is firing on all cylinders when you change the rules and people are like, yes, yes, yeah, when you change, when you when you commit a, what I would call the most minor act of violence imaginable, which is pouring root beer on someone and you're like, this is a sign that we should attempt to murder our enemies. You have you have done it as a cult leader when you hit that moment, yeah, yeah, but you know who will murder your enemies, Paul? I have a guess, but you go first. The products and services, that's what this podcast. Yeah that that's that's really what we're selling with all of our products is someone who will murder your enemies. So. Which is all these products, yeah. Which is a service. Yeah, this is this is this podcast is entirely supported by various death squads. So. Check it out. Ah, we're back. And talking about the introduction of violence to synagogue now. I think for reasons that are heartbreaking but not at all surprising. The first violent, serious violence within Synanon was done to children, specifically the dozens of juvenile drug addicts. Well, I don't know. They weren't all even drug addicts, obviously. Like, sometimes kids just getting some kids smoking pot, right? You get sent to. Yeah. The judge sends you to send it on because you had, like, a joint on you, right. Drug kids who the court system had sent to Synanon, right. Teenagers. And these kids were not voluntary members of the cult. They didn't want to. Be there they didn't abide by the rules. These kids had zero time for Chuck's ******** and no desire to fit in with these weird adults doing **** ****. Yeah, so Deaderick couldn't handle that. These kids weren't willing to like, listen to him or follow the cult, so he put them into what he called his punk squad, which was a militaristic, boot camp style unit dedicated to scaring children straight through harsh discipline and horrific physical abuse. Children in the punk squad could be hit in the face, knocked down. Were beaten with objects and then run through the game so they would beat the **** out of kids for misbehaving and then immediately put them in a session of the game where they would be mentally abused. Yeah. And that was became, if you broke any of the rules as a child as remember the punk squad, you just get the **** kicked out of you. Yeah. There's no haircuts. There's just you wail on them. Now, some older members of the cult refuse to accept this, right? This is their cigarette. They're like, this is this is too far, right. They had joined an organization defined in part by its commitment to nonviolence. And so some people leave at this, and the arguments over this lead to a series of purges by dederick to remove all who complained. Betty, the cult leader's wife, claimed we're beginning to find some creeps amongst the squares. The punk squad was markedly ineffective at stopping children from using drugs or otherwise breaking the law, but it was extremely good at maintaining synonms tax-exempt status. That's why they take these kids, is that you don't have to pay taxes as long as when the government sends you juvenile delinquents, you take them in and beat the **** out of them. And because it's already been established that journalists and the local and the government are not looking into Synanon at all, because they're scared. These kids have no one. Well, not quite. No one. We'll get to that in a little bit. In 1974, Deaderick decided it was time for Synanon to become a religion. For years, he told his father. Yeah, here we go, baby. Here we go. Yeah. You know, I thought it over. Whole bingo cards thought it over. I think this is going great, but I think if there's one thing that could really take us into the stratosphere, we should be a religion. And this is, you know, LRH's friend of the pod. Made this same call for a different reason. I think he was really the driver of that call. Chuck is not the initial driver of this. So for years Chuck had told his followers that the cult was an experimental society and an he would call it quote, an ever changing group of people with ever changing goals, thrusts, directions and so on. Which means nothing. And yeah, he was not. So he was he was going definitely in weird directions. He didn't initiate the push to religious Y, Synanon, it came because he was an atheist. Still, yeah, he was an atheist. That was not what it was about to him. But his lawyer, Dan Garrett, had an idea. He pointed out that religions don't have to get licenses for treating medical issues or for educating children, right. You don't have to get any kind of licensing if you're a ******* religion. You can do anything without licenses if you're a religion. That's what he says. And he also notes that becoming a religion would, quote, eliminate a number of silly questions, such as, when do they graduate and why do they have to obey? Nobody graduates from a religion. Good ****. So Garrett pitched his boss guru this idea at a board meeting, and dederick loved it. The board unanimously approved the plan. Yeah, yeah. Bored, man. I think we should become our religion. Like that's going to happen to ******* Amazon or Apple at some point. Some. Well, it's for sure. Why don't we just become a religion? We have to pay taxes if our religion is making these phones. Maybe that will be Jeff's revelation from space when he gets back to Earth. He's like. I spoke to him. Yeah, I saw the planet as one Big Blue marble, and it was smaller than I was. And I realized I'm God now. Yeah. And by the way, warehouse workers don't get paid anymore. It's a sacrament to work in our workshops. Yeah. So the board unanimously approves this plan, although one person we don't know who wrote on a copy of the proposal, who would be God, which is a good question to ask when you're when you're again, drug abuse treatment program becomes a religious issue because you know it's going to come up later. So you should have an answer come up. Yeah, you got to ask the questions. Yeah, yeah. So. The switch to a religion came right alongside a major expansion in synonms appreciation of violence after children. The first group to have violence okayed against them were split Tees, suspected thieves, spies, and enemies of the cult. People who were thought they were going to be leaving. Basically, if you're leaving, you're a thief, you're splitty violence can be used against you. Now, there May 1st Major Group of outside Enemies. People outside the cult that they go after were local ranchers in Marin County, and this is because the only group of people who cared about these. Abuse teens were like local farmers because a bunch of these kids would escape, and they would show up in the night at the houses of these ranchers, and eventually the ranchers start talking. Like, there's a lot of kids talking about, like, horrible, abusive **** going on at this weird cult. And they started their own Underground Railroad to help kids in the punk squad escape and get out, get away from Synanon, and, like, get to somewhere they couldn't be taken back to the code. Which is ******* rad, right? Good on. Good on those people. Yeah. That's great, but Dederick eventually found out that this Underground Railroad was operating, and he started seeking his followers on ranchers. In 1975, three Synanon members were charged with assaulting a Marin County rancher. Dederick called them heroes. Shortly thereafter, another rancher was pistol whipped by a cyanide while his family watched. Like, they attack him in front of his house and, like, beat the hell out of him. And these are they they do. They not necessarily know that these particular ranchers had anything to do with this. They're just. They're these. Do these. Do they do OK, OK yeah. Yeah. And you know, this guy gets pistol whip and the local sheriff does nothing because Detterich is bribing him and both of his deputies were members of the cult. Like, he's got like 2 deputies, I guess, in that part of the county at that point. And they're both cult members. Yeah. So again, every part of society has failed the kids in this program, except for random Marin County ranchers who who are are definitely the heroes of this podcast, along with a lawyer we're going to talk about in a bit. So Umm, in Santa Monica, cyanides mobbed and beat 2 black couples who had parked their cars at a Synanon owned apartment building. And this is just because like, they've gotten close to the offices. Like, I don't know if it was a racist thing or not. They were both black couples. It might have been like, I don't know why, but they it seems to have been like a property dispute. Like you're parked on our property, so we're just going to assault you as a group, right? Because now, like a real, there's like a real paranoia that that exists in this group and that they everyone has to be able to look out for enemies. Yeah, and also you're a hero if you do violence on behalf of the cult, so a lot of people just make sure and excuse, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, non violence, dederick bragged at a press conference was quote. Just a position. We can change positions anytime we want to, so that's good. Now, the violence of cyanides was ginned up and encouraged by the wire, an internal broadcasting system installed in all Colt facilities around the country. 24 hours a day, the wire broadcast messages from deaderick and from Colt leadership. Yes. Yeah, he really goes, I got away. I have to say, like he is. It's like when you when when you can, like, there's a musician that you like, and then you can sort of see all their different influences and it makes them into what? They are this guy's just like, I'll take this from here and this from here and I'm just. I I can't. I I am trying to predict how this eventually all falls apart, and I honestly can't because this guy seems to be like really just rolling with every punch. He's adding **** like crazy. Like I I'm I'm dying to see what is the thing that happens. Yeah, it's it's coming. Yeah, I know. I'm not trying. I will say this. You're not gonna call it. Know what? Like you can't call this specific twist Phantom. Yeah. So many of the messages that went out through the wire were just Chuck ranting nonstop about enemies. He started pulling out a call for volunteers young Toughman who were willing to fight. He called them the Imperial Marines and had them trained in a special form of karate named named Sino Doe. So now the cold has its own karate and its own Marine Corps. I mean, it's so good. This is Hall of Fame stuff. I know he's really hitting all of them out of the park. This is the first cult leader who I'm willing to like. This guy can sit in a room with L Ron Hubbard, you know, like that? Yeah. Yeah. You gotta damn. Now, the major organizer of the Imperial Marines in their early days was Chuck's wife, Betty. She attended their training sessions. She gave ranting speeches about the need for a militant. Synanon, or narcotics abuse program, needs to be a militant wing. Deaderick, as a result of his wife's dedication, started calling them Her Majesty's Imperial Marines. So things have gone a little off the rails at this point. Now, while this **** was going on, synanon's various corporate entities were still extremely profitable. The cult adopted the slogan The People business, and by 1976 it had assets. It had property assets of more than $22 million, which is around $100 million in real estate today. Now, it is a misconception to say that the IRS granted Synanon tax-exempt status as a religion. You'll see that a lot in articles. That's not true. the US government never recognized it as a religion. It was tax free because it was an addiction recovery charity. It was tax free. But not now. They filed, they tried to become a religion, but they don't ever like. Like Scientology didn't get that done until the 90s. OK, yeah, the main effect of Synanon declaring itself a religion seems to be that it drew a third wave of media attention to the cult. Much of the scrutiny was focused on the millions of dollars Dedrick himself was making, LA Magazine notes. And this is sorry, this is LA magazine interviewing dederick. So this is Dedrick here. A lot of guys could do this thing from an old Ford Roadster and sit on an orange crate. They're holy men. I'm not. I need a $17,000 Cadillac, he told Time magazine that year. Did you ever play King of the mountain when you were a kid? I liked King of the mountain. I won, I won. I was there firstest with the mostest. I was the smartest. I was older than the rest of the guys. I won. I won. The gang does not expect me to. Well, let me say, let me say this terribly. Forgiving thing that is true of all people in position. I am not bound by the rules. I make the rules in very peculiar ways. I am adorable. I I'm capricious saying that to time. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm one of my favorite cult recurring cult things is when the leader has to justify their expensive car. It comes up again and again. Yeah, it's always a thing and I love because even LRH would be like, well, you know, let me explain using words I invented, why this is positive for the human mind or how we're expanding consciousness. Chuck. Just like I don't have to play by the rules. **** you. I'm. I'm a God to Time magazine. So Charles kept sticking his legal team on journalists who crossed him. He sued a local ABC outlet, and they settled for a lot of money, probably. But when time called Synanon a kooky cult in the article we just quoted from, Deaderick decided something rather more serious was an order. Multiple reporters from the magazine received death threats, and times editor in chief was stopped outside his apartment by two Imperial Marines with shaved heads. Who told him, we are going to ruin your life now. So where were these? Were these her Majesties Imperial Marines? Yeah. Her Majesties Imperial Marines. Yeah. Yeah. Yes, yes. Sorry. I I get, you know, I just wanted to make sure. Hmm. Now, like all good cult leaders whose members start to commit crimes in their name, Chuck claimed not to aborted the harassment campaign, but he also was too much of a narcissist to fully deny being involved in this. And in a TV interview, he used his denial of responsibility to further threaten Time magazine. Quote. I don't know what these people might do. I don't know what action they might take against the people responsible. Their wives, their children. Bombs could be thrown in odd places into the homes of some of the clowns who occupy high places in the time organization. I don't know why they're doing this, but they might bomb your kids again. Amazing **** to just say on TV. Wow. Like and and this is a guy who up till now, every time he's pushed back powerful organizations. The ******* cops, the local governments? Yeah. Newspapers have been like, OK, we're just not going to get involved. So he's just, he thinks there's no consequences. He thinks he's ******* God. So he's just saying like, yeah, you know, I I didn't order them too, but I wouldn't be surprised if my guys bombed your children to death. Might happen. And they might not. Do you know who they might not, I said might. Not a threat. If you say might, it's the first in Minecraft. Over its first few years, Imperial Marines and other symeonides would be sent to carry out attacks on more than 40 people. Enemies were often assaulted and beaten in public so that everyone would know the hit had been carried out. For Synanon, Deaderick council members that if they were caught, they should admit everything and go to jail and deny Synanon had anything to do with it. The group began stockpiling hundreds of firearms. By 1978, they had more than $200,000 in guns. One cult newsletter explained. We're concerned about the rising crime rate. Look, with crime the way it is, can you afford not to have a Marine Corps, right? You would do it if you could, yeah. I mean, who wouldn't exactly? Who amongst us? Who amongst us? In 1978, angry at a spate of negative news broadcast by ABC affiliates, a number of SINITES bought stock and ABC and attended a stockholders meeting. They read out the names of other ABC stockholders and identified themselves as members of a group called Murder Incorporated. Then they asked the board members if their wives had bodyguards. So. Normal **** Paul. Just doing normal drug abuse rehab program ****. This is just wow. Wow, this is the boldest. Yeah, I just. I don't have any ***** to give. I have never heard of **** like this before. I mean, like, it's it's it's the first time I've been impressed since Scientology. A cult. Like, just absolutely good. God. Yeah. Scientology is very tame by comparison. Like this? Yeah, this is my God. Yeah, well, his followers engaged in mass violence. Chuck. Rhetoric devoted himself to bettering his cult. It had become clear to him, with all of synanon's issues with troubled teens, that kids were problematic. Teenaged addicts were at least profitable, though, right? The children of cult leaders, though, were just a drain on resources until they were old enough to become unpaid labor. So he had to get rid of children from Cabinet magazine quote. In a speech he gave on the wire, he announced there's no profit to this community in raising our own children. Every baby that we indulge a Synanon female with takes up a bed and somewhere between $102,000 worth of energy to those who claimed they wanted to have a baby, he explained. The inside the experience was greatly overrated. I understand it's more like crapping a football than anything else. I. Amazing, dude. I mean, look, it was men referring to women as females. A problem then and a problem now. Yeah. It wasn't long before Deaderick came up with a practicable solution. All male members would receive vasectomies. Pregnant females were ordered to have abortions, so mandatory vasectomies and abortions. Some agreed immediately, rushing to Synanon's hospital. Oh, they had a hospital, others that needed to be gained. Others needed to be gamed into it. We're talking about the game here regarding the baby band, Dederick opined. Nothing is sacred just because it's been done for a million years. Curiously enough, only Dederick himself failed to receive the snip. But then he was having his own problems. In 1977, Betty died, and Deaderick found himself alone. He immediately announced that he would accept applications from any woman who wanted to marry him. Six applied, and he eventually chose a 31 year old. He was so delighted with the experiment that he ordered all married couples to take separation vows and pick a new mate every three years. His wife dies, he gets married to someone half his age and then he's like, this is great, everyone has to get divorced immediately and marry someone new every three years now. ******* amazing. Now, all these shifts in policy, like the banning of cigarettes caused some members to leave the cult, but new people kept joining, and the more ridiculous rules Charles put in place, the more devoted and unhinged those who remained became as the 1970s ruled to. Yeah. Question. Is there any type of Fair game when these people leave, like in Scientology? Or are they, are they just like we're about to talk to that? No. Great. Again, people who are feared. The the second group of people after teenagers that they use violence on is split Tees, which are people who try to leave because they're stealing from the cult. This is like the really this is getting down into the real depths of of the sadness here of like the people that are attracted to this kind of thing, like truly broken people and having them. This is, this is always, always, always at the core of these, these ******* cults is the praying on people who are having a hard time. It's so every time I think about it, it's so like, you are a truly depraved human being if you're if you're doing this. And it's it's it's interesting because you know that that book with the, the kid who grew up in Synanon, his memoir, he talks about his mom and his dad. He barely knew his dad, but his dad was a heroin addict and his mom said he would have died from addiction if he hadn't found the cult. His mom, though, was a square, and she got into it. She had been, she went to Berkeley. She was an activist at Berkeley. The whole of like, the raging 60s. She was like. Activist against the guy. She got tear gassed a bunch of times. She gets traumatized as an activist. She falls in love with this guy who has an addiction and they get into the cult to save him and Bush because she's so frightened and like angry at the world and so, so disgusted with regular society and it is like these people. Yeah, that that's what you said. So. It does. It's I mean the human. The human shrapnel caused by this organization is Titanic. As the 1970s rolled to a close, the former drug addiction self-help group started to morph into a doomsday cult. This was partly the natural extension of Dedrick's policy of having members separate their lives entirely from family and friends and work outside the cult a we they attitude formed people grew paranoid and increasingly assaulted outsiders near Synanon property. That's why they started attacking people like Park nearby. It's like any outsider who comes near as a danger. This attitude was reinforced by the fact that in 1977, the church picked up its most dedicated enemy, the man who would eventually kill it, Paul Morantz. Like most people in La, Paul had held a meandering career as a screenwriter and a journalist while paying the bills. His main job was an attorney. He was first hired by a former member who claimed the colt had abducted and brainwashed her. When she tried to leave, he won a $300,000 judgment in this case, which sent Dederick into a rage. So Chuck, start or Paul? Sure. It's taking other clients who have, like, who are people who tried to leave, who've been abused by the church and like, kind of going to war against the church. So Chuck gets on the wire and he announces to every Synanon member that the organization had what he called a new religious posture quote, we're not going to mess with the old time. Turn the other cheek. Religious postures, our religious posture is don't mess with us. You can get killed, dead, literally dead. I am quite willing to break some lawyer's legs and next break his wife's legs and threatened to cut their child's arm off. That is the end of that. Lawyer. That is a very satisfactory, humane way of transmitting information. I really do want an ear and a glass of alcohol on my desk. Yes, indeed. Bring me an ear. Cheesus, Christ, man, and again, this is all recorded. Chris, is this is all recorded going out to places around the country, yeah this is, this is the Chuck program. Paul I'm not a lawnmower, but it seems like that might cross the legal boundary over to incitement. A case could be made, a case could be made. Paul was certainly worried, and he had reason to be. A few weeks earlier, the Imperial Marines had gone after an apostate named Phil who had fled the cult, along with a female cult member and her two children, now Mikel Jollett. The kid we heard from earlier was one of those two children Phil had become in, like, the months after they leave the cult, and he's like. Learning about the world Phil had been almost like a surrogate dad to him, and when he was at home with his brother, Synanon came for Phil because he was an apostate. And this is what how Michael recalled what happened next. They, being the Synanon assault team, are holding skinny black clubs that look a little like baseball bats. 1 Carries his low in his hand, and the other taps his softly on the ground as they walk up behind Phil. At first, I think maybe they're playing a joke on him, because I've heard people play dress up on Halloween, even though we never did it in Synanon. Why else would they have those masks over their faces? Why else would they hide behind the orange camper van where Phil can't see them? Phil looks up at me and smiles when he gets out. Before I can say anything, one of the men runs up behind and hits him over the head. Phil falls onto the ground. It's weird how he falls like a stack of Lincoln logs that's been tipped tipped over, his body folds into a weird shape with his legs sticking out under him. I jumped back and look around the doorway to see if anyone else saw it. I don't know if I'm supposed to scream or run or yell, but I don't want the men to see me. The 2nd man hits Phil's legs. Which seemed to bounce around like rubber. One of his grey sneakers flies off. Phil puts his head between his arms and his face down and starts to scream. They nearly kill Phil. He's in the. He's in a coma for a week. Yeah, like he he comes very close to that. He does survive. He does get better. But he could well have died, and they clearly were willing to kill him. You know, you're hitting people in the head with a bat. You're accepting, yeah, we might kill this ************. So Phil's story was fresh in Paul's Paul Morantz's mind when he learns that he's made Chuck Dederich's ********. So First off, Paul buys a gun to protect himself. He checks under his car for bombs before starting it. But when Synon eventually makes their move against Paul, it is in a way that he could not have expected and that no one could have expected. Because I've never heard of anyone outside of a James Bond movie doing this ****. I'm going to quote from LA magazine here. As migrants returned to his small home in the Pacific Palisades the evening of October 11th, 1977, he was eager to turn on the TV and relax over game one of the World Series, the Dodgers versus the Yankees, for one moment. I'm not going to think about Synanon, he told himself. I'm just going to watch the baseball game. Morantz placed his notebooks on the kitchen table and walked to the mail slot by his front door. Through the grill of the mailbox, he could see the outline of an unusually shaped package. A scarf, perhaps. It was hard to tell without his glasses, Morantz remembers. Not so much. The pain as the rattlesnake sank his fangs into his outstretched hand. How are you? Are you ******* kidding me? Rattlesnake him? Ohh my rattlesnake, Ohio. Yeah, wow. He remembers not so much the pain, but the regret. They don't get me with this. I'm not that stupid, he was thinking. Then he heard a scream and realized it was his own. The 4 1/2 foot foot reptile. It's rattler removed to keep it quiet, dropped to the floor and recoiled. Marantz dashed out the back door, yelling. Call the police, call an ambulance. I've been bitten by a rattlesnake. It's synanon. Synanon got me. They cut off a rattlesnakes ******* tail and put it in the mail. Box that's out of its *** **** mind. They even hurt a snake. The snake didn't do anything wrong. It's a snake. Yeah, exactly. Poem nearly died. He was in the hospital for 11 days. The attack was so bizarre and extreme that it went 1970s viral at once. And this was wow, synanon's big **** **. You can't ignore a rattlesnake assassination of a lawyer. News anchor Walter Cronkite called it bizarre, even by Colt standards. Which is a good tagline for the whole Synanon story. So she's weird for cults. Yeah, yeah. Now there were criminal trials, of course, for conspiracy to commit murder. When he was deposed, Chuck Deaderick claimed to only have a quote very dim memory of 1977 due to a series of strokes. Even so, his ego was too great for him to claim total ignorance of crimes committed by his followers. He told the court this most of what sending on did in 1977. At least what I knew about, I approved of. Because as I pointed out before over and over again, I'm one hell of a good executive and not too much ever went on in the organization that I ran that I didn't approve of. I don't know everything that went on, of course. Like, dude, you can't. He's too much of an egomaniac to fully deny an assassination attempt with a rattlesnake. He can't help it. It's amazing. Oh my God. God he's the best. Ohh ****. I want a statue of this guy next to my Hubbard statue in my eventual compound. God, this dude, honestly, like he he's taking all comers. He is like he's going for it. Why is he not a household name? I don't understand. It's a well, because he gets stopped, I guess because LRH, who is at, never gets stopped. You know, that's kind of the thing. Yeah. Yeah. Now. There is still some debate as to whether or not Charles Dederick explicitly ordered a rattlesnake assassination or just told people he wanted this guy dead and somebody independently was like rattlesnake. I mean this is the ear in the jar guy. I think the word I feel like the word rattlesnake passed his lips. I think he said it's so weird and specific. It has to be Charles Dederick. You know what you should do? Snakes tail off? Yeah, that's at the very least the cutting off the tail with his suggestion. Hmm. It might have been a pitch meeting. Someone says rattlesnake. He's like, we're gonna have to deal with the rattle. Yeah, that's an idea, man. Sort of. I didn't. I didn't hear that. But if I were you, I would cut off the Wi-Fi in Minecraft, were mailing a rattlesnake to a lawyer, I would cut its rattler off. So multiple members of the cult were eventually arrested and sentenced for planning and executing a murder attempt. And the law did come for Deaderick himself for conspiracy to commit murder. 30 police officers were sent to arrest him once the charges dropped. The prosecutor, John Watson, was there when Deaderick was arrested in his compound in Lake Havasu. They found him, quote, in a stupor, staring straight ahead an empty bottle of Chivas regal in front of him. Oh no, he relapsed. He relapsed. Shut the king of Ohh Chuck, we were so proud of you up till now. He was so drunk he had to be carried to jail in a stretcher. This is the one time it's OK to laugh at a relapse. I feel like this guy. Yeah, he earned it for sure. In 1980, Dederick pleaded no contest to conspiracy to commit murder. He was fined $10,000 and sentenced to five years probation. Morantz himself agreed to let the cult leader avoid prison time due to the older man's poor health. Chuck was, however, barred from having any further contact with the cold he'd founded. And without him, Synanon slowly collapsed. The IRS revoked its tax-exempt status because it was found that they owed the IRS $717,000,000 in back taxes. A series of court battles ensued, organized by Dederick successors. But in 1984, a California court ruled that Synanon quote had a policy of terror and violence and a practice of quote diverting corporate resources for the enrichment of individuals. Synanon declared bankruptcy and in 1991 dissolved entirely. I think there's one branch in Germany still. Yeah, 91 is when they find they're still. At least according to one article, there's still a branch in Germany. I don't think it's affiliated with, like, the weirdest. I don't know, though. Maybe look into that. Maybe. Maybe look into that. Yeah, hey, look the the the basic ideas are sound. You send circle, yell at each other. Yeah, but it's like having a family. Yeah. After being convicted, Deaderick moved with his new wife to a double wide trailer in Visalia, CA. Which some might argue is a fate worse than prison. Everyone I know who grew up in Visalia will argue that. For sure he doesn't. Yeah, he died in 1997, almost 84 years old. Despite all that had happened, he still held the respect of some influential people. He was mourned openly on the floor of the House of Representatives by California Congressman and future Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums. Ron said quote Deaderick distinguished himself in the area of drug rehabilitation and amassed great wealth before his organization was associated with violence and tax problems, which is a hell of a way to summarize. Tried to rattle snake, murder a lawyer. His approach to rehabilitating drug addicts has become a major paradigm for drug recovery and therapeutic communities the world over. And here's the most ****** ** part of the whole story. That's not an accurate it's not a good thing, like Ron Dellums thinks. But it's not an accurate Synanon remains maybe the most influential drug abuse treatment program of all time. You remember the punk squad, Paul? But what? What? What do you ask me? Do you remember the punk squad? Right? I do remember the punk squad. They're never far from my thoughts. Yeah, never far from your thoughts. Have you heard of the troubled teen industry? No, I have not. You know those camps where they send teenagers who are delinquents and like a lot of them get like beaten and molested and murdered Paris Hilton's doing a documentary about them. Doctor Phil was involved with them. These like ranches, these kids. It starts because of Synanon. The first variance of that is the punk squad, and I'm going to quote from Mother Jones here. No fewer than 50 programs can trace their treatment philosophy, directly or indirectly to an anti drug cult called Synanon. Founded in 1958, Synanon sold itself as a cure for heroin, ******** heroin addicts who could help each other by breaking new initiates with isolation, humiliation, hard labor, and sleep deprivation. Studies found that synonms and counter groups could produce lasting psychological harm, and that only 10 to 15% of the addicts who participated in them recovered. But. Despite not working, and despite the guy who dreamed up synonyms treatments you know had also tried to murder a lawyer with a rattlesnake. They remained the basis for the multimillion dollar teen, troubled teen industry to this day. In 1971, the federal government gave a grant to a group called the Seed, which applied Synanon tactics to troubled teens, many of whom were only suspected of having tried drugs. In 1974, Congress opened an investigation into the seed, finding it had used methods, quote similar to highly refined brainwashing. Techniques employed by the North Koreans. The whole fearful of bad PR supporters of the seeds spun off a copycat group called Straight Inc. This is where a scared straight comes from. OK, wait, so this goes back to. Synanon back. How far does this go? But I mean, but I mean, this is this is the 70s. This is when Senones at its peak is people are spinning off from it. So people picked up the punk squad and ran with it. With these other. Yeah. And ran with it, yes. And this I think in the 80s when. Well, no, this is in the 70s still when I'm straight ink is found. And the the guy who found straight ink is a fellow named Mel Sembler, who is a close friend of the Bush family and became the GOP's 2000 finance chair. He also headed scooter Libby's Legal Defense Fund now. Mel's abuse, teens away from drugs Group, was a hit by the mid 1980s with cinnamon and shambles. Straight Ink was operating in seven states. Nancy Reagan declared it her favorite anti drug program. Of course, straight Ink was a was a factory for child molestation and physical abuse. The group was so inundated with millions of dollars in legal judgments that it had to close in 1993. But because the premise of Straight Inc was so replicable and profitable, and because the Republican Party was now in bed with this whole growing industry. And drugs that were such a boogeyman of Republicans in this. State after state, carved exemptions into state laws that allowed programs shut down for mass child abuse to reopen under different names with the same staff. As troubled teen and straight scared, straight programs made hundreds of millions of dollars, they spread beyond the borders of the United States from Mother Jones. Confrontation and humiliation are also used by religious programs such as Escuela Caribe in the Dominican Republic and myriad emotional growth boarding schools affiliated with the Worldwide Association of specialty programs WASP, such as Tranquility Bay in Jamaica. Wasp's president told me that the organization took a little bit of what Synanon did lobbying by well connected supporters. Which is WASP founder Robert Lichfield, who, like simpler, is a fundraiser for Republican presidential aspirant Mitt Romney, has kept state regulators at Bay and bought blocked federal regulation entirely. Utah is where a lot of these are based. By the 90s, tough law had tough love had spawned military style boot camps and wilderness programs that thrust kids into extreme survival scenarios. At least three dozen teens have died in these programs, often because staff see medical complaints as malingering. This may, a 15 year old boy died from a staph infection at a Colorado wilderness. Program his family claims his pleas for help were ignored in his final letter to his mother, he wrote. They found my weakness and I want to go home. Oh, God yeah. Damn. Yeah. Like the idea of of first of all, stay away from any organization called WASP like that. Yeah. Yeah. That's terrifying to be honest. Straight. To be honest. Straight ink. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. We'll get right away from straight incorporated. Nothing's gonna come there. I mean, you know, the idea of of, like, when I was a kid, it was this was never a threat for me, but the threat you would always hear was military school. Yeah. If you ****** ** that's where you were gonna end up going. But. You know, there's there's a certain amount of of leeway, I guess we give the military for completely breaking someone down, but just to send them to some weird camp where, I mean, of course I never thought about it, but of course there were molesting kids. Of course kids are being used, like, all. Of course it wasn't just like drill sergeants yelling at them. Of course there was this horrible **** going on. Yeah, when they weren't molesting that, they were letting them die of exposure in the wilderness of Utah, like. I had a friend growing up, got that, got sent to a ranch in Utah and they left her outside for a week with no food, no water, and she had to fend for herself and definitely could have died. That's just like, not a thing that most people need to know. You know what I mean? Yeah, I don't think that's going to help you avoid crimes. Most people are not adventurers, and they don't know. They don't need to know how to survive in the ******* wilderness. Well, and adventurers learn how to survive in the wilderness, yeah, not by being left to die of exposure with small children, generally by training and how to make that experience not be dangerous or as dangerous, right? That's like. Yeah, it's good. It's ******* rad. It's a situation that just gets a little worse every year. And because the entire Republican Party is heavily invested in the troubled teen industry, every time there are attempts to regulate it, they get shot down. And because the Democratic Party is invested in continuing the criminalization of substances, kids keep getting sent to horribly abusive programs. They have no choice to be in where they are then. Molested in mass? Or murdered? Now that's what I call bipartisanship. Hmm. Thanks, Chuck dederich. You made it possible for everybody. You United a nation. We couldn't have done it without you, buddy. Ah, man. Whoo boy. God, what a guy. What a dude, what a fellow. Just. Flabbergasted like he from the, the, the, the, just, the sheer. The sheer. Enormity of the moves from one thing to another as you went along is. Yeah, I mean, this dude everyone should know about him and I I yeah. Robert, I salute you. I salute you. Thank you. Good work. Thank you. I have to say, you know, most of the ******** we talk about don't get any kind of comeuppance. And I would have to say that, like, you know, he's right up there like Saddam Hussein. You know, getting, getting hung in public. I would say having to live in Visalia is, is definitely a public execution level. Level. Punishment. So at least there's, I mean, the, the, the, the shivas regal relapse is like, yeah, it's like it's scripted, like it's it's it. There is there no movie about this guy other than the one with Earth? There is. There is some movie with Eartha Kitt about this guy. I don't think there's been one. I know there's been, I think there's a couple of documentaries. I'm sure there's been a couple of documentaries. I believe I heard about at least one, but I don't think there's another like fictional movie about it where Eartha Kitt plays his wife. Wonder what she felt about that when you know the rattlesnake thing happened, you know what? Take taking this one off my reel. Please have that struck from my resume. It was a good Earth kit, thank you. Well, Paul, that's going to do it from behind the ******** this week. Well, thank you for having me. And honestly, like, I I'm so I'm glad I didn't know anything about this guy. I was thrilled to learn about him from you. What a story. It's really insane. Jesus, just man, oh, man, I didn't. This was one that, like, someone on Reddit was like, hey, you should check out this story to do an episode. And like, I read halfway through one article and I was like, well, I gotta, I gotta reach out to Paul. I'm gonna tell him about this rattlesnake ****. That you thought of me. Thank you very much. Oh, he's gonna love that. And I did, man. Well, all right, we did plug holes, right? Plegables if we plugged, my memory is broken. We did not last time we did them in part. OK, plug again to it. Plug, plug, plug. Come on. Hey everybody, I'm at PF Tompkins on Twitter and Instagram. I will always be talking about myself. Always self promoting. That's where. If you want to find out who the **** I am, go there and you'll find out. I promise. And you can also find out his enemies. If you have a rattlesnake, you're willing to send them. That's. That's true. I'm not saying that that's going to happen. It's something that, yeah, could happen. It's something that could happen, right. You can't vouch for all of the people who who are fans of you. They might say, right, snake, you know, probably not reading anything could happen. Yeah, absolutely. Well, you can find me on this podcast, which you know how to find because you just listened to it for three hours. You can also find my book. After the revolution in audio form, it's podcast. Just look for after the revolution. You can also find the epub of the book at That's a Check it out. Go with God and figure out who he wants you to rattlesnake to death.