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A podcast about cults, extreme belief, and manipulation – from two hosts who’ve actually lived it. Hosted by Lola Blanc and Meagan Elizabeth. If you have your own story about cults, high control groups, manipulation, or abuse of power - leave us a voicemail at 513.900.2955 OR shoot us an email at TrustMePod@gmail.com. FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM: @trustmepod @oohlalola @vibehigherbitch OR TWITTER: @trustmecultpod @ohlaloka
 
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show series
 
You're a child living on a remote compound in West Texas. One day authorities show up at your front door and an exchange of gunfire breaks out. Just as you expected would happen. Survivor of the Branch Davidians and the Waco massacre, Joann Vaega, discusses her earliest memories of living on the compound, what cult leader David Koresh was like in p…
 
Can you keep a secret? Lawyer and author of Manhattan Cult Story: My Unbelievable True Story of Sex, Crimes, Chaos, and Survival discusses his attraction to esoteric philosophy, how he joined Sharon Gans' secretive group School, the strict social rules members had to follow and the similarities it shared with Fight Club, the financial and psycholog…
 
Jesus bootcamp, anyone? Musician Luis Favela shares what it was like attending the Christian youth training camp Honor Academy, part of an evangelical youth organization called Teen Mania Ministries. Luis shares his story about growing up as a religious youth leader, attending Honor Academy only for it to turn into a military style bootcamp, the ph…
 
Writer and author of several books including Hazing: Destroying Young Lives, Hank Nuwer, discusses the various forms that hazing can take, why he started tracking data of deaths and injuries, a history of tragic incidents, the functions and alternatives of hazing, how it varies between fraternities and sororities, and general discussions of group d…
 
Filmmaker Evan McNary discusses his childhood in an exorcism focused church, believing in demons, helping with church exorcisms, having "possessed" people living in his home, and attending a Pentecostal church where members would laugh and scream for hours on end. PLUS: an interesting conversation about how a world with less religion is a double-ed…
 
Casting director and former Christian G Charles Wright talks about growing up Christian and struggling with his sexuality, a natural disaster he was caught in the middle of, why he calls his mom a psychopath, and how he shed the influence of his upbringing and finally accepted himself and his sexuality. Got your own story about cults, extreme belie…
 
Sara & Danny, hosts of Not Another True Crime Podcast, join Lola and Meagan to discuss the tragic cases of Matthew Coleman and Anthony Todt and delusional conspiracy theories that they believed, the recent wave of con men documentaries, the cults of Reddit and SoulCycle, the link between Mormonism and MLMs, and Meagan's family connection to the BTK…
 
Former One Direction stan Monia Ali shares her involvement in various fandoms throughout her life, how old she was when she became a One Direction stan, the conspiracy theory she became wrapped up in, the online bullying she experienced when she left the fandom, and the role of identity and community in these groups. If you have your own story abou…
 
Want to learn how to levitate? Cult Interventionists and Founders of Cult News 101, Patrick Ryan and Joe Kelly, talk about their work with ICSA (the International Cultic Studies Association), how levitation played into their experiences with Transcendental Meditation, early cult deprogramming and why it was problematic, how most people leave cults …
 
UK consultant clinical psychologist and one of the authors of the power threat meaning framework Lucy Johnstone shares how her work is meant to re-conceive how we think of mental illness, why the DSM is flawed, the position of why labels are problematic, how "ideological power" factors in, how "mental illnesses" can be adaptive, and the importance …
 
UNC Charlotte professor and psychology researcher Dr Richard Tedeschi discusses his pioneering work on post-traumatic growth, how his field is different from resilience, how core beliefs are involved in our trauma, what "integration" means, and the value of an "expert companion," having a mission, and sharing your story. Learn more about Richard's …
 
How do we self-regulate when faced with triggers? CEO of the Arizona Trauma Institute and President at the Trauma Institute International Dr Robert Rhoton digs into the physiology of trauma, why the particular therapeutic model isn’t THAT important (as long as our therapists are trauma-informed), how being dysregulated is akin to a certain Marvel c…
 
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we're taking May to dive into trauma: how we think about it, how it works, and what we can actually DO about it if we're struggling. How can we live our best lives, even if we've had difficult or terrifying experiences? In part 1 of the Rethinking Trauma series, Lola and Meagan chat with Columbia professor…
 
Podcast veteran Jordan Harbinger joins Lola and Meagan to talk magical thinking, the law of attraction, influence vs manipulation, how to be an ethical leader, how he himself has been scammed, and what makes people susceptible to scams! If you have your own story about cults, high-control groups, manipulation, or abuse of power, shoot us an email a…
 
A little meditation never hurt anyone... right? Lola and Meagan chat with former Hare Krishna monk Nitai Joseph about meditation and how it isn't necessarily always the cure-all it's cracked up to be. They discuss Sam Harris, whether you can divorce meditation from its religious roots, and the work Nitai does with Cheetah House to help those with a…
 
Nitai Joseph, talks about being a former Hare Krishna Monk, what the general beliefs are, going to California to learn from a seemingly cooler guru, devoting his life to the group, the labor exploitation he experienced, and the dangers of the guru structure. SUPPORT LOLA'S FILM: bit.ly/pruningfilm If you have your own story about cults, high-contro…
 
Episode 72: Lynn Short, former member of the Armageddon cult the New Gnostic Society, shares how her relationship drew her to the group, the belief that their original guru was resurrected, working as a missionary, doomsday predictions, their use of lucid dreaming and withholding orgasms, what Lynn describes as "spiritualized depression," and the n…
 
Episode 71: Anne Speckhard, Director of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism and Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown, discusses her interviews with members of Al-Qaeda, ISIS, and white supremacist groups, how she gets people to open up, the factors that drive people to terrorism, and what to do if someone …
 
Episode 70: Terra Newell shares why her mom took John back after they broke up (despite his criminal history), not being able to file a restraining order, how John started to stalk the family, how Terra was able to defend herself and kill John when he attacked her, and what the recovery process has been like. If you have your own story about cults,…
 
Episode 69: Terra Newell, life coach and animal lover who survived an attack from the now-infamous con man and manipulator Dirty John, shares how her mom met John on a dating app. In part one, they discuss how he claimed to be a doctor, some of his bizarre behaviors, and how he isolated her mom from the family. Plus: the grey rock method of communi…
 
Episode 68: In part two of their conversation with Sinasta Colucci, Lola and Meagan dive into the dramatic forbidden romances he experienced while in Twelve Tribes, the racist doctrines that were kept from him until he was already committed to the group, and a big secret that the community leaders covered up. If you have your own story about cults,…
 
Episode 67: In part one of his conversation with Lola & Meagan, Better Than a Turkish Prison: What I Learned From Life in a Religious Cult author Sinasta Colucci shares his experience living in the Twelve Tribes communities. He talks about growing up poor in Detroit, living on a hippie Christian fundamentalist commune, the practice of giving up you…
 
Episode 66: Rockstar and Hollywood Park author Mikel Jollett shares how he spent his childhood in the drug rehab cult Synanon, how it impacted his family relationships from a young age, leaving the group only to live in poverty, incidents of violence committed by Synanon, and the residual impact on his adult life. If you have your own story about c…
 
Episode 65: Author Jillian Lauren shares what brought her back to Brunei after leaving the first time, her relationship with the Prince, meeting the Sultan, smuggling money out of the country, and how she became acquainted with the most prolific serial killer in American History. If you have your own story about cults, high-control groups, manipula…
 
Episode 64: You're young and struggling to make ends meet. Then you get invited to live in the lap of luxury in a place far away... with no guarantee of your safety. Writer Jillian Lauren recounts the events from her book Some Girls: My Life in a Harem as the guest of the Prince of Brunei, including how she was first recruited, how what she went th…
 
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