Sunday, December 31, 2006

Two Fiction Writers Who Started Cults

It recently occurred to me that two well-known shysters, fantasy writer Carlos Castaneda and pulp-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, were, in many respects, remarkably similar to each other.

They both were pathological liars who weren't even honest about where they were born. They both constantly fabricated fictional accounts of their lives, passing them off as real, and fooled many many gullible people. They both created cults and ideologies around their fiction.

One reviewer's summary of a woman's experiences with con-artist and fantasy writer Carlos Castaneda after she became one of his lovers sounds similar to the harrowing experiences of any number of cult-survivors:

"Wallace came to accept this, falling deeply in love with Castaneda. Eventually, she also fell under the spell of this brilliant, domineering man, becoming a member of his devoted following. Sorcerer's Apprentice examines Wallace's life within the group and her dependence on its leader, with his dangerous combination of charisma and cruelty."

Here is an excerpt from an account of L. Ron Hubbard's own son's horrific experiences with his father, a pulp fiction writer and founder of snake-oil cult Scientology:

"Other factors also caused Ron Jr. to think about breaking away from the cult that was dominating his life. His father's autocratic and arbitrary control of Scientology often led to violence, and the young Hubbard began to be disturbed by his own participation."

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