Karen Robidoux was found not guilty of second-degree murder, in the 1999 death of her infant child this week, reported the Taunton Gazette.

The Massachusetts mother was accused of starving her baby son Samuel to death.

Robidoux’s husband Jacques was convicted for Samuel’s murder in 2002 and is now serving a life sentence.

But the mother’s attorney, Joseph Krowski, offered the defense that cult “brainwashing” coerced Karen Robidoux’s behavior

The attorney argued that his client was victimized, abused and ultimately controlled by an obscure religious sect led by her father-in-law Roland Robidoux called “The Body.”

“There were two victims here, Karen and Samuel,” Robidoux’s older sister told the press.

And after seven hours of deliberation the jury agreed with the defense and its witnesses, acquitting the “cult” mom of murder, but finding her guilty of misdemeanor assault and battery.

“Because a child died, it may be an unpopular verdict, but we felt Karen Robidoux’s intent was not to kill her baby,” the jury foreman told the Boston Herald.

He later added, “I do believe she was psychologically held prisoner,” and concluded “she has suffered enough” reported NBC News.

Private journals kept by a “cult” member were made public after the verdict and they offered further proof of Roland Robidoux’s total control over his followers reported the Boston Herald.

“Dad [Roland Robidoux] feels that the end is coming soon…Our prayers should not be for Samuel to be healed but for God’s purposes to be fulfilled…What can we do for Samuel? Nothing…God is the master. We are his servants,” wrote the “cult” member.

The mother of four was sentenced to time served and walked out of the Bristol courthouse a free woman reported the Boston Globe.

“I’m just glad the nightmare door is shut,” she told reporters on the courthouse steps.

“It was a trail-blazing case that will affect all cult cases nationally. It’s now been proven what can happen when someone is brainwashed,” said nationally known forensic pathologist Dr. Millard Bass.

In Virginia late last year another jury came to a similar conclusion regarding the sentencing of “D.C. sniper” Lee Malvo. His lawyers also claimed their client was “brainwashed.”

The teenager’s defense team contended that he was dominated and controlled by his mentor John Mohammed.

Mohammed was sentenced to death, but Malvo was sent to prison for life.

In a noteworthy child custody case in North Carolina this fall a judge ruled that the Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) exerted “complete control over the mind, body and spirit of its members, both adults and children.”

WOFF led by Jane Whaley has been called a “cult.”

The Carolina judge concluded, “The environment created at WOFF has an adverse effect on the health, safety and welfare of children,” and he subsequently ordered them to be removed from the group.

In a tacit acknowledgement of cult “brainwashing” another judge in California granted the release last year of a woman charged with the death of her small child to receive “deprogramming.”

Later that same judge sentenced the cult leader to 16 years in prison, while charges were dismissed against two of his followers.

The mother charged received an eleven-year sentence and told the court, “Mind control is a reality.”

CultNews reported that professional cult apologist Dick Anthony was involved in both the California and Carolina cases. Anthony is a psychologist and well paid for his work, but he failed his clients abysmally.

Judging from the prosecution’s arguments in the Robidoux case, they apparently were receiving input from someone like Anthony.

But the Robidoux verdict may be the most colossal setback for cults and their apologists to date. And will likely be cited in the future as proof of “brainwashing.”

Overall, 2003 was possibly the worst year ever for cults and their apologists.

They even attempted fruitlessly to dismiss the “brainwashing” of kidnap victim Elizabeth Smart.

But brainwashing has become understandable to the public after Jonestown, Waco and the “Heaven’s Gate” suicides. It is no longer the mystery it once was when Charles Manson and his followers entered the California judicial system.

Europeans likewise came to acutely understand the cult brainwashing phenomenon through the Solar Temple suicides in Switzerland. And the Japanese were forced to confront this reality by the cult Aum, when it attacked Tokyo’s subways.

Joseph Kibwetere sent shockwaves through Africa when he led hundreds of his followers to death in Uganda shortly after the Millenium, once again demonstrating the power of cult mind control.

And isn’t “brainwashing” something Osama bin Laden has used to transform his followers into tools of terror?

Cults and their apologists will have increasing difficulty convincing anyone that “brainwashing” is only a “theory.”

The Robidoux verdict is evidence of that.

CultNews reported last month that there was little chance a “brainwashing” defense would work to acquit “D.C. sniper” Lee Malvo.

A jury found Malvo guilty of murder after 13 hours of deliberation yesterday reported CNN.

Now the teenager faces the sentencing phase of his judicial journey.

The sister of one victim called the verdict a “Christmas present,” others who lost loved ones to the so-called “D.C. sniper’s” bullets expressed emotions ranging from joy to relief reported the Baltimore Sun.

But will 18-year-old Lee Malvo be sentenced to death?

“When you catch someone with blood on his hands, don’t waste our time. Get a rope,” said the mother of one of the boy’s victims.

“I want him to get life in prison where he can receive counseling…God says to forgive,” offered the husband of another one of the teenager’s fatal targets.

Many believe Malvo became the puppet of his mentor John Muhammad. A man who witnesses described as a powerful influence over the boy, with a history of dominating and controlling those around him.

Was the control Muhammad held over Malvo cult-like “brainwashing” in its depth and intensity? Experts varied in their opinions, but in the end there seems to be little doubt that the older man was the impetus behind the murder spree.

But regardless of what malevolent influence convinced Malvo to pull the trigger, he did do it. And though God may forgive him, the jury did not offer absolution.

Will the issue of undue influence ameliorate his final punishment?

Malvo’s mentor Muhammad has already been condemned to death. The teenager’s lawyers now hope that the testimony concerning the older man’s control over his protégé will mitigate the boy’s sentencing.

However, Malvo may instead follow in the footsteps of Manson Family members, who despite being “brainwashed” by their leader Charles Manson, were sentenced to death for the grizzly murders they committed.

Only the temporary cessation of the death penalty in California saved them from execution.

If Malvo is sentenced to death he will be youngest prisoner on death row in the US reported the Times Dispatch.

“Statistically, a failed insanity defense usually results in a death sentence,” one defense attorney told Associated Press.

However, that same lawyer speculated that because of the jury’s relatively lengthy deliberation Malvo might receive a life sentence.

But the “D.C. snipers” executed ten people in their murder spree without mercy.

History may repeat itself, and like the followers of Charles Manson, the follower of John Muhammad may receive the ultimate punishment.

Lee Boyd Malvo, the teenager known as the D.C. sniper is now on trial for murder.

At 17 he and his mentor/father figure John Muhammad went on a killing spree that left ten dead in its wake and terrified a nation.

Now 18 Malvo is literally fighting for his own life in a Virginia courtroom. His attorney’s hope that an “insanity” defense based upon a “brainwashing” claim will explain the boy killer’s behavior and somehow ameliorate the outcome of the trial.

John Allen Muhammad the man that allegedly “brainwashed” Malvo has already been convicted and is almost certain to receive the death penalty. If his surrogate son and accomplice is found guilty, it is likely that he will receive the same sentence.

Opinions in the press vary, but some are calling the “insanity defense” in this case “crazy” reports Slate.

And the Washington Post points out those witnesses, who observed Muhammad and Malvo together, differ in their assessment of the relationship.

Some see Muhammad as a controlling and dominant figure that molded the boy into a “killing machine.”

Others say the two appeared more like friends, without readily seen evidence of a dominant/submissive relationship.

Malvo’s taped confession is chilling. The teenager admits, “I intended to kill them all.” And when asked if he personally pulled the trigger in the shootings the boy answers, “In all of them” reports Associated Press.

With such testimony, not to mention the physical evidence piled up by the prosecution, Malvo really has no other meaningful option than to plead insanity.

But was the boy “brainwashed” by John Muhammad or is this some clever lawyer’s contrived defense?

The “brainwashing” defense did not work for Patty Hearst, who was kidnapped by a political cult in the 1970s.

Hearst an heir to a newspaper fortune was coerced into becoming the pawn of the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), but was nevertheless ultimately convicted of bank robbery and sentenced to prison.

President Jimmy Carter later commuted her sentence and Bill Clinton pardoned Hearst before leaving the White House.

Public awareness regarding “brainwashing” has evolved considerably since the Manson murders in 1969 and Patty Hearst’s conviction during 1976.

The Jonestown mass suicide/murder of 1978, which claimed the lives of almost 1,000 followers of cult leader Jim Jones in the jungles of South America, shocked the public and created an acute awareness of the power of coercive persuasion.

The image of parents giving their children cyanide was certainly compelling proof of the power of Jim Jones’ brainwashing.

After Jonestown Americans suddenly seemed to see the destructive cults that existed throughout the country and began to more readily recognize their methods of gaining undue influence. In repeated news stories cult “brainwashing” was discussed during the 1980s and 1990s.

Then came Waco in 1993, the second longest standoff in US history, between the cult known as the Branch Davidians and federal law enforcement. The end would once again be tragedy, when David Koresh and his followers chose death for themselves and their children.

In a succession of similar tragedies one cult after another would demonstrate the effectiveness of its own brand of brainwashing.

1994 the Solar Temple suicide in Switzerland.

1995 — the Aum gas attack of Tokyo subways that killed 12.

1997 — 39 members of “Heaven’s Gate” commit suicide near San Diego.

2000 — the horrific mass murder/suicide of the doomsday group known as the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments in Uganda, which may have claimed more lives than Jonestown.

9-11-2001 — the senseless murder of 3,000 people in the World Trade Center attack, once again perpetrated by the seemingly “brainwashed” followers of a madman, Osama bin Laden.

Self-proclaimed “prophet” Brian Mitchell was able to brainwash Elizabeth Smart from a dutiful family member into his seemingly willing follower in approximately 60 days. Smart subsequently denied her identity to police and did not attempt to escape the lunatic that abducted her at knifepoint.

Muhammad apparently controlled Malvo’s associations, environment and dominated his thinking in a nomadic lifestyle similar to the one Mitchell constructed around Elizabeth Smart.

How have madmen from Manson to Mitchell persuaded normal people to act insane?

The process of thought reform, commonly called “brainwashing” has probably been used in various forms throughout human history. Its mechanics have been explained in detail by psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton in his seminal book Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism.

Lifton, who once taught at Harvard Medical School, identified the features of “brainwashing” through eight specific criteria; Milieu Control, Mystical Manipulation, the Demand for Purity, the Cult of Confession, the Sacred Science, Loading the Language, Doctrine over Person and the Dispensing of Existence (see Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism).

Essentially what Lifton observed is that if an environment displays at least six of these characteristics simultaneously, it doesn’t matter what you call it, it is thought reform or “brainwashing.”

But can this work when only two people are involved?

The phenomenon of an abused spouse, often caught within what has been called a “cultic relationship,” also displays many of the same features described by Lifton. Experts have frequently labeled this the “battered woman’s syndrome.”

Was Malvo caught within the web of a “cultic relationship”?

Based upon some of the accounts that have surfaced from his family and witnesses he may have been.

But unlike Patty Hearst, who was eventually pardoned for her brainwashed behavior, Malvo’s deeds under the influence of his leader have included murder.

Perhaps the teenager was a victim of John Muhammad, but what about the victims of their rampage?

Ten people died as a direct result of Malvo’s “insanity,” and even though Muhammad may have been the master-planner of this killing spree, his puppet still pulled the trigger.

Society seems willing to forgive the misdeeds of “brainwashing” victims, but such forgiveness is far less likely if they have committed violent crimes.

The followers of Charles Manson murdered for him. Manson was later convicted like Muhammad, through a prosecution largely based upon undue influence. However, his followers were also convicted and sentenced to death.

Later the death sentences of the Manson Family were changed to life in prison. But despite their impassioned pleas that they were essentially “brainwashed,” Manson’s former followers such as Susan Atkins and Leslie Van Houten have repeatedly been denied parole.

As the Virginia jury weighs its verdict they are more likely to consider those caught within the sniper’s sights than the boy captured within the web of a madman’s undue influence.

Malvo’s only hope may come after his conviction, when his alleged “insanity” might mitigate sentencing.

At that point the claim of “brainwashing” might provide the basis for a sentence of life in prison, rather than the death penalty.

Lawyers representing “cult leader” Dwight “Malachi” York have asked that their client be evaluated regarding his competency for trial reported the Macon Telegraph.

The judge ordered the psychological evaluation Monday.

York is charged for sexually abusing 13 minor children. The “cult leader” admitted his guilt as part of a plea agreement, but the judge who wanted more time for the pedophile in prison rejected the deal.

York who once led the group known as the Nuwaubians says he is immune from prosecution due to his status as an Indian chief.

He now calls himself “Chief Black Eagle.”

York has previously assumed titles such as “The Imperial Grand Potentate” and “The Grand Al Mufti Divan.”

The judge will probably not be too surprised if the evaluation shows that the “cult leader” is deeply disturbed. Based upon York’s behavior it appears he is a psychopath, sociopath and/or at least stricken with a serious personality disorder.

But his lawyers insist, “This is not an insanity issue.”

However, “cult leaders” like York often appear to be crazy.

Shoko Asahara the bizarre leader of Aum, who is facing murder charges, mumbles to himself and won’t answer questions in court.

Marshall Applewhite of “Heaven’s Gate” spent time in a mental health facility. He checked himself in.

Joseph Kibwetere who led hundreds of Africans to death in Uganda was likewise once hospitalized.

Charles Manson has also not been described glowingly in psychiatric reports.

The problem is crazy is as crazy does.

This means that crazy cult leaders often do damage through insane acts, such as staging their own personal Armageddon, “Helter Skelter” or leading others to mass suicide as they unravel.

Some cults seem “crazy” because cult followers are most often modeling their behavior after a deeply disturbed leader and/or living out his or her delusions.

Interestingly, York’s followers now think their Indians too and have taken to wearing Native American costumes outside the courthouse during demonstrations of support for their jailed leader.

“Less than a year ago [York] was a Jewish Rabbi and today they were all dressed like Indians again,” observed an amazed Sheriff.

Sounds crazy doesn’t it?

Organizations or groups that are personality-driven and/or essentially defined by the personality of a charismatic leader, have often been called “cults.”

However, not all cults are destructive and many over the centuries have been relatively benign.

It seems some American corporations can be seen as consumer “cults,” often driven and/or defined by their founder’s personality.

The saga of the corporate Multi-media Empire wrought by Martha Stewart appears to be one example.

This commercial kingdom is so identified and defined by its creator, it is called “Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc.”

But Martha’s empire has lost half its value, since the stature of its leader began to crumble.

Would Stewart’s cult following stay loyal to the brand without the presence of her personality?

Martha Stewart is an “extreme case of this corporate cult of personality,” reports the Boston Globe.

But there are other personality-driven enterprises such as Oprah Winfey’s synergistic media holdings, which continue to thrive.

Rosie O’Donnell seemed to be embarking on the path of Oprah, until “coming out” became more important to the talk show host than being in the money.

What will be Martha Stewart’s corporate legacy if she is killed in court?

Will her magazine fold, like George did, not long after founder John F. Kennedy Jr. died?

Most cults end or slowly whither away after the leader dies or self-destructs.

There is no “Family” without Charles Manson. And groups like Synanon, Aum and the Nuwaubians faded after their leaders were prosecuted.

But it seems that if there are significant assets and an ample cash flow “cults” can continue after a founder dies.

Witness how Scientology soldiers on undaunted by L. Ron Hubbard’s death in the 80s. Its celebrity faithful like John Travolta and Tom Cruise have not lost faith and keep paying for Hubbard’s “technology.”

The die-hard followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh still watch his videos long after their leader’s demise. And they gather to honor him at the still active ashram he started in India.

But after Herbert Armstrong died his Worldwide Church of God struggled to establish a new identity. And it shrank as adherents exited. It seems without Armstrong there was no lasting loyalty.

Which historical “cult” example will Stewart’s “corporate cult of personality” parallel?

Will there be consumer fealty for “Martha Stewart Living,” if Martha is living in prison?

Her fans might move on to a less controversial and/or embattled “domestic diva.”

Martha Stewart may have taught Americans that simplicity is timeless, but it seems probable that her cult following will dwindle if she does any time.

A cult member linked to a child’s death from neglect and abuse was sentenced to a lesser prison term than the cult leader she once feared and obeyed, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

Deirdre Hart Wilson 39, was sentenced to seven years, while her former leader Winifred Wright received the maximum 11-year sentence allowed under a plea agreement.

The prosecutor said, “Mr. Wright was a bad man, but he was not the devil and he didn’t have supernatural powers. Deirdre Wilson was no more brainwashed than Patty Hearst, John Walker Lindh and the Charles Manson women.”

However, the judge clearly disagreed and stated for the record that Wright was “the dominant malevolent force.”

Dick Anthony, professional cult apologist, claimed he had advised the prosecution.

Hopefully, the taxpayers were not billed too much for Anthony’s advice, which apparently did little to help the prosecution at sentencing.

The judge previously granted Wilson time to be “deprogrammed,” another tacit acknowledgement that he saw her as a victim of cult “brainwashing.”

In her final comments before sentencing the “deprogrammed” cult member said, “I’ve been living as a psychological amputee. I was terrorized into hating my parents, trusting no one…and not respecting the rules of society.”

But as other criminal cult members have learned the hard way, the undue influence of a cult leader might mitigate sentencing, but it will not eliminate punishment.

Deirdre Wilson will have years to consider “the dominant malevolent force” that ultimately put her in prison.

David Koresh fathered most of the 25 children that died in the suicidal fire set by the Davidians ten years ago today.

But three Koresh children did not perish. All boys, they are now teenagers.

Two brothers live in Hawaii, while another resides in Southern California.

The tenth anniversary of the Waco Davidian standoff has generated some curiosity and press coverage. Reporters for interviews located the three boys and their families.

The Hawaiian boys are the sons of Dana Okimoto, who was one of Koresh’s “20 wives.” Okimoto now sees her Davidian involvement as “another life,” apart from her current existence. Her sons never knew their father, reports Hawaii Channel.com.

Koresh’s son in California was taken out of the compound as a baby before the standoff began and brought back to his mother Robyn Bunds. She still suffers psychologically from abuse experienced while a Davidian, reports the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

Bunds and her son would not speak with reporters, but her father did. He said his grandson also never knew his father. And added, “I didn’t like Koresh. He was too arrogant for me.”

This seems like an accurate appraisal of the man who once claimed he was both the savior of humanity and the “Lamb of God.”

Okimoto seems disillusioned with organized religion and says she no longer attends church. “I was young and idealistic and I had a very black-and-white view of the world,” she explained.

Some have observed that this Davidian “black-and-white” mindset was the result of “brainwashing.” Okimoto says her subsequent work as a psychiatric nurse helped her alleviate the after-effects.

Very few of Koresh’s former followers that survived the standoff remain faithful. Some still cling to the notion that the dead leader will somehow return to fulfill his failed prophecies. But only a mere handful ever meet for religious services.

Like so many cults historically, without the personality that drove and defined their group, they have fallen apart.

David Koresh’s once dreamt of re-establishing the “Throne of David” through a dynasty carried forward by his many children.

But the few that remain don’t consider that delusion seriously and have no memories of their father.

To his remaining children the cult leader’s legacy is something strange and approached with mixed emotions.

One son in Hawaii said, “Sometimes I think he’s this nice guy and sometimes I think he’s this big freak. My mind keeps shifting on images of him.”

However, history’s view of David Koresh is far less ambivalent. The apparent psychopath, who led his followers to destruction and death, carved out a distinct niche for himself historically.

But it is not amongst a pantheon biblical heroes.

Instead, it is alongside a cult villains such as Jim Jones and Charles Manson.

No doubt his progeny will struggle with that image for a lifetime.

It seems no court defeat can deter some Waco Branch-Davidians and/or surviving relatives from pursuing their cause and case against the government.

On Monday a lawyer representing the families of deceased Davidians argued that the dismissal of their civil suit in favor of the government was wrong, due to the trying judge’s supposed bias, reported Associated Press.

Again and again claims that the government was somehow responsible for the deaths of Davidians have been disproved. But this has not deterred determined conspiracy theorists that insist Vernon Howell, also known as “David Koresh,” was “persecuted” for his beliefs and that he and his followers were “murdered” by the government.

However, it has been proven that the cult leader ordered the fire that consumed his compound killing 80 men, women and children.

David Koresh’s mother was on hand at the court proceeding and admitted her son fathered 13 of the 14 children lost in that fire.

Koresh routinely exploited women in the group sexually, but insisted that others remain celibate. He also abused minor children.

After two congressional hearings, one independent investigation and a failed civil suit filed, some Davidians and surviving families remain unconvinced that Koresh was a madman and responsible for the deaths of their loved ones.

No doubt anti-government conspiracy theorists will continue to insist that the government was to blame, continuing to ignore the overwhelming physical evidence and eyewitness testimony.

A virtual cottage industry of anti-government videos, books, documentaries and lecturers sprung forth after the tragic end of the Waco Davidian standoff in 1993.

It appears that much like Koresh’s former followers, such conspiracy theory enthusiasts have largely dispensed with critical thinking and opted instead to embrace a fantasy about Waco, rather than face facts.

Perhaps this seeming subculture is now so deeply invested in its own fantastic version and/or vision of Waco, it cannot seriously consider anything else.

However, the vast majority of the public has come to conclude that David Koresh was a madman not unlike Jim Jones or Charles Manson and moved on.

Psychologists that specialize in group dynamics said that “a charismatic leader” is the key to understanding the mindset of many terrorist groups, reports Channel News Asia.

Asian experts cited the ability of such leaders “to manipulate a group, and change their attitudes and beliefs.”

And instead of the purported profile of suicide bombers as poor, ignorant and disenfranchised, psychologists were not surprised to learn that many were sophisticated, educated and quite intelligent.

Experts paralleled identified Indonesian terrorists to cult members within Aum, the group that gassed Tokyo subways and also to the followers of Osama bin-Laden.

Elizabeth Nair, Psychologist, National University of Singapore said, “The charismatic leader is effectively able to say, ‘We who are in this group are right and moral, anyone who’s not in this group is not a good person'”

This is what Robert Jay Lifton identified in his breakthrough book Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism (first published in 1961) as “The Dispensing of Existence.”

That is, members of the group and its leader are always moral, right and those who disagree are immoral, evil and therefore subseqently dispensable.

Nair added, “A skilful gifted charismatic leader with an agenda of aggression and hostility can successfully lead members to all sorts of action, suicide, homicide and unsociable behavior.”

Again, this was reminiscent of Shoko Asahara of Aum and Charles Manson.

And oaths and pledges are used to bind terrorist groups together, not unlike recognized destructive cult groups.

Once invested in the group and its ideology members seemed to possess a sense of equity and felt they were already in “too deep,” to refuse their leaders when asked to commit crimes of violence.

American psychologist Robert Cialdini has described this sense of investment in some detail in his seminal book Influence.

Cialdini defines what he calls “Commitment and Consistency.” He writes this is “a desire to look consistent through…words, beliefs, attitudes and deeds.” And that “…after making a commitment…people are more willing to agree to requests that are consistent with their prior commitment.”

As we confront the worldwide threat of growing terrorism common sense dictates drawing upon the existing and well-established body of knowledge regarding destructive cults and their patterns of indoctrination and influence.

By understanding destructive cult thought reform programswe can better understand the behavior of many existing terrorist organizations.

Claude Vorilhon now known as “Rael” has finally fulfilled his childhood fantasies and became famous, or some might observe infamous.

But whatever anyone says the “clone cult” leader now has the attention he apparently always craved.

However, a biography based upon facts rather than self-promotion and science fiction is finally emerging about Vorilhon, reports the London Mail.

Vorilhon was apparently a failure before he became “Rael.” The would-be pop star, racecar driver and magazine publisher, had what appears to be a history of unfulfilled fantasies.

The self-proclaimed prophet who says he once visited another planet is a “monster,” according to his mother. Who says, “What he is doing now is vile. I have not seen him for ten years and I’ll be happy if I never see him again.”

And isn’t it your own family that knows you best?

The facts about the Raelian leader are quite different from the myth he has spun for his fawning followers and the media. Vorilhon failed abysmally as both a father and husband. His two children reportedly even want to change their names.

Like other cult leaders such as David Koresh, Charles Manson and Jim Jones, Vorilhon seems to be driven by his own needs, appetites and personal history.

According to the aunt who raised him Vorilhon was “rejected” by his mother. And like many cult leaders with a similarly troubled childhood little Claude grew up with a “self-belief bordering on arrogance,” she said.

Charles Manson never knew his father and his single mother often abandoned him. Jim Jones was estranged from his father who was a member of the Ku Klux Klan, his parents divorced when he was 14. David Koresh was also the child of single mother who frequently left him to be raised largely by his grandparents.

Vorilhon insists his father is an alien being from outer space that artificially inseminated his mother.

Personal failures followed. Rael’s aunt says her nephew’s repeated efforts as an adult to become famous “fizzled out.”

Manson and Koresh both had histories of failure. Manson spent much of his life in reformatories as a juvenile and later served prison sentences. Koresh was a ninth grade drop out, who drifted in life and wanted to be a rock musician before joining the Branch Davidians and eventually seizing power in the group.

Vorilhon would fulfill his childhood fantasies by supposedly encountering space aliens in 1973. The aliens would tell him what he had always wanted to hear. That message would be essentially that he was special, chosen and above other men.

David Koresh received the revelation that he was “The Lamb” and saw himself as a messiah. Charles Manson and Jim Jones both believed they were chosen to play pivotal roles in history. And Koresh, Manson and Jones all used their unique position of power to exploit members sexually.

Vorilhon now has a “mission” and his belief system likewise fulfills his personal needs.

Rael’s former wife says he has “some sort of psychological grip” on people. She explains, “The whole Raelian movement was a trick to have more sex and to satisfy the enormous ego and need to be worshipped that he had always had.”

In the end it all sounds like the same old story reported so many times before. The history of the man, who would be “clone” king, is really rather typical when compared to known destructive cult leaders of the past.