ABOUT THIS BLOG

The Sharon Gans Cult was founded in San Francisco in the 70’s by the late Alex Horn and his wife Sharon Gans. For decades it has been secretly operating in New York City and Boston. It is known by several different names which are listed in a side-column blurb (“Ganscult Aliases”). Gans and her second, Robert Klein, are dangerous con-artists who claim to be "spiritual teachers." This cult is alleged to have been involved in rape, child abuse, physical and emotional abuse, arranged marriages and adoptions, slave labor, bilking of members' money and life savings, and money laundering.

This blog provides information for current members and others. It also provides a forum through comments and submissions. The posts are organized in reverse chronological order and can be easily located through the table of contents on the side-column as well as searched through the search tool in the side-column. Some selected foundational posts which give some background on the cult are highlighted in the side-column blurb called “Foundational Posts.” Recent favorites posts are shown in “Poopular Posts.”

Hopefully this blog, as well as the others which are listed in the side-column blurb (“Fellow Survivors”), provide current victims, as well as their friends and family, vital information to help them escape this dangerous cult. I am also hoping to one day condense these posts into a book or other publication. My name is Spencer, I am a survivor, and I can be reached directly by email.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Grooming

"Spencer, you're an intelligent fellow. How the hell did you --of all people -- get duped into a cult?" Pretty simple. I -- and all of us -- were groomed

"Grooming is the predatory act of maneuvering another individual into a position that makes them more isolated, dependent, likely to trust, and more vulnerable to abusive behavior. . . . Grooming is a[n] insidious predatory tactic, utilized by abusers. Grooming is practiced by Narcissists, Antisocial predators, con-artists and sexual aggressors, who target and manipulate vulnerable people for exploitation. . . . Grooming can feel exhilarating – at first. The predator employs attentiveness, sensitivity, (false) empathy and plenty of positive reinforcement to seduce their victim. For their part, victims can be so enthralled with, or overwhelmed by the attention they are receiving; they will often overlook or ignore red flags that might alert them that the person who is showering them with that attention is somehow “off”. Little by little, the abuser breaks through a victim’s natural defenses, gains trust, and manipulates or coerces the victim into doing his/her bidding. The victim finds themselves willingly handing over money or assets, engaging in inappropriate, illegal or morally ambiguous actives, or acting as a proxy for the abuser, fighting the abuser’s battles, and carrying out their will. The victim often feels confusion, shame, guilt, remorse and disgust at his or her own participation. Equally powerful, is the panic that comes with the threat of being exposed for engaging these activities. There may also an overwhelming fear of losing the emotional bond that has been established with an abuser. The victim becomes trapped, depressed or despondent."

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Mumbo Jumbo in the Public Domain

Back in my cult years, I often asked myself, “if this ‘system’ is so great, why do the leaders spend almost the entire meetings trying to argue, hawk and peddle its greatness?” The "work" has all the answers, Fred would maintain, for your happiness, and even mysteries of life and the universe. The claims were pretty bold. I remember reading Ouspensky in the beginning and being so put off by his unsupported assertions backed up only by his arrogance and his contempt towards any scientific or rational thought. But people come to rely upon the "work." Dissent is met with ad hominem attacks. So the result is that people eventually stop dissenting and just accept the "cosmological ideas" and/or tune out when they are discussed. Most of us tuned out.

Michael Clarage is a leader in Boston. Although he holds a PhD, he is employed as lab technician in a middle school. He has a blog and also lectures. His lectures remind me of the ones conducted back in the 2000's for recruiting before the internet became prevalent. Mr. Clarage subscribes to the "many mysteries are answered by reference to the Gurdjieff bag of nonsense" (highlighted below). For instance

And then there are the outer layers of the human brain, the cerebral cortex, which, we are told, make us unique in the animal kingdoms by allowing us to have a sense of individuality, have logical thinking, abstract concepts, etc. But then you come across these odd cases, like several I found in London medical journals from the 19th century. These were described a completely ordinary people, responsible, hard working, productive English citizens. But when they were examined after death, it was found their cerebral cortex was as thin as a sheet of paper. The bulk of the brain cavity was just filled with fluid. So, we are forced to admit that to get on in life, at least as a British man in the 19th century, you don’t actually need much of a cerebral cortex. So if this massive outer part of our brain is not necessary for the demands of ordinary life, what is it there for? It is difficult to convey how inadequate contemporary neurology is to explain this. Our brains are completely over engineered for the demands of life. It’s like someone says, here, come look at this device I built for doing simple calculations of addition and subtraction, and you look at it, and see the whole computer network used by NASA. And you would say, I think this is over engineered for addition and subtraction. Does this mean that in our past our brains were required to do much more difficult tasks?

As with all recruiting lectures, Mr. Clarage’s argument leads up to the standard imperative of the Gans cult (ala Gurdjieff/Ouspensky) -- that "man" does not live up to his full potential but used to in "our past." The argument further leads to the bizarre claim that membership in an "esoteric school" (where a sociopathic red-head abuses you and takes your money) is the only way for you to obtain the full use of your thinking abilities (e.g., cerebral cortex).  But Mr. Clarage’s logic is seriously flawed as he is struggles mightily to shoe-horn some random (incorrect) fact into his agenda (or “aim”). 

 “The cerebral cortex plays a key role in memory, attention, perception, awareness, thought, language, and consciousness. The human cerebral cortex is 2 to 4 millimetres (0.079 to 0.157 in) thick.” Contrary to Clarage’s assertion that “you don’t actually need much a of cerebral cortex,” a paper thin cerebral cortex is not healthy – its not OK. You don’t want a paper thin cerebral cortex. Period. Children with ADHD have paper thin cerebral cortexes, as do people with dementia, smokers, a low IQ,  and some very serious mental disorders, including schizophrenia. Its not inconsistent that Mr. Clarage’s unidentified so-called “responsible, hard working, productive English citizens” suffered from some of the foregoing maladies. But his assertions that “this massive outer part of our brain is not necessary for the demands of ordinary life” is the feces of a bull. Our brains are not over-engineered. Stay the fuck away from Mr. Clarage.  

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Godmother

Sharon runs her organization like a mobster family. Among other things, folks who are successful in business feel she is responsible for their success. They listen to her advice as she usually meddles and pulls strings. Members also pay her tribute



"Like an associate, a soldier is required to pay tribute to the captain for the privilege of being able to operate. However, he does not have to kick up as much money from his criminal endeavors as an associate.[2] He must have enough success in his schemes in order to remain in favor with his superiors and avoid becoming a liability. Some associates become soldiers because of their usefulness in strong arm work, but even they must demonstrate an ability to earn money. A soldier will be given profitable rackets to run by his superiors, but for the most part they must also generate money on their own."

Friday, November 25, 2016

Apeman

Being a neurotic person, Im pretty much insecure about most things. I'm particularly insecure about my looks. I consider myself odd looking. Plus, I was bullied and teased as a teen over my looks and it had a lasting impact. One of the reasons I chose to try out and remain in the cult in the first place was because I was led to believe that it would help me sort things out and get over my insecurities. Ha! Membership for 23 years in Sharon's cult seriously fucked with my self regard.

Sharon deliberately played favorites in all areas according to her highly arbitrary opinions -- who was the most intelligent, funny, clever, etc. She heaped praise during meetings on her favorites. This pitted "friends" against "friends," created jealousies and rivalries, and fostered hierarchies. Through years of her manipulation and control, we lived in a fantasy world where we consented to her favorites. 


Sharon famously played favorites in the looks department too. She favored plump women (for unknown reasons). Her prototypical male type was the apeman. Tall, heavy set fellas (like Alex, Fred, Greg) and those with neanderthal looks (Robert, Graves, Tim, JB). She singled out in "class" who she considered to be handsome. And she presented her views not as though they were a matter of taste or personal opinion, but as though they were the gospel and objective.  Almost like saying: "This is what a handsome man looks like." And it went even further: that somehow one's good looks (again, according to her own ideals and fantasies) were not the result of someone's DNA, but were based upon one's "work on oneself" -- translation -- if you followed her orders, you would become (among many other things) attractive! 


I dont fit Sharon's idealized bear or neanderthal type. Although I was overweight for many years, Im not muscular, am average height, I dont have hairy knuckles, and am bald.  But I so craved Sharon's praise and approval to validate everything in my life.  Her not saying that I was good looking reinforced my insecurity. When she steered me to women who I considered to be unattractive and away from women I found attractive, it made me feel even uglier and unattractive. 


To make matters even worse, the cult drilled home the notion that is was superficial and wrong to care about your appearance. This was in direct conflict with Sharon's obsession with her own looks and her favorites.  I was left in a very shitty predicament of feeling ugly and then feeling bad that I cared about what I looked like. 


If you are spending your evenings in Sharon's classes and feeling less than average and that something aint right about that feeling, that you're supposed to feel that way, then take a bold brave step. Call your partner or sustainer. Tell them you are taking off 2 weeks from classes. 


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Prison

Remember how it felt to have your sense of reality, your sense of your self, your sense of meaning, completely and solely dependent upon Sharon? Miss it? Happy Thanksgiving. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

We Can Be Heroes

Fred particularly obsessed about heroes. Possibly because he was the biggest coward I know. He was abusive and couldn't stand up to Sharon.  Neither can Robert.  Fred only achieved freedom by passing away at a fairly young age and I suspect Robert is headed in that direction as well.

But the real heroes are the people who leave the cult. Its extremely difficult to leave any cult, and I believe especially hard to leave Gans. There are so many emotional ties, lies, and other manipulations that keep people in against their will and desires. As Thanksgiving approaches, I remain thankful for having escaped and regaining my life and happiness and pleasure -- and freedom. Hasn't been a cake-walk. Looking back I can't believe I was in the cult at all because I just don't think in those terms anymore or live dependent or in fear or in an alternate reality. Im going to focus some posts on heroes who have left. Some folks have already talked about it. Take a look.

Monday, November 21, 2016

It Gets Worse

(continued from The Predator)

Having finished off Minerva, Sharon moves on. Devlin is so oblivious to this topsy-turvy-make-believe-Gans-world that he is always willing to stand up and speak in class. He is a closeted gay man who was married off by Sharon to a single mother, Jane. Understandably, they have an unhappy marriage. The evening isn't going well. The vibe is tense. We are all frightened and cringing. What will it be this time from Devlin: a graphic sexual grievance about his wife (who is sitting right next to him!), how he has fantasized about cheating on his wife with a man (also in front of her!), something about his childhood where he was abandoned by his parents (something which Sharon belittles), or even problems in his job (he is always rebelling against his boss.) 

To our utter horror, Sharon ignores Devlin’s question and zeroes in on Jane. Her voice filled with contempt, she snorts out to Jane, “What is your problem?” Jane jumps to her feet asking, “Me?” “Yes you, you little cunt,” returns Sharon, who continues, “Why wont you be a good wife and fuck your husband and take care of him?” This is completely out of left field. And its not an unusual exchange. Jane is under the klieg lights and responds, “My husband isn’t attracted to me.” Sharon lets out a blood curdling scream, “That’s because you're a bad wife. He’s a good man. I mean he was good enough to marry you.”  Jane is speechless. We are mortified. No one stands to her defense, including her husband (the little fucker). Sharon harangues Jane for a good 15 minutes. Its just awful. Sharon even goes so low as to blame Jane for her father’s rape of her sister. Its just beyond comprehension.  Im actually sickened as I recall and write this. Jane and Devlin by the way are still in the cult. Still married.

(to be continued.)