Practice safe sects
Oct. 19, 2021

Saul Newton and The Sullivan Institute

Saul Newton and The Sullivan Institute

After graduating from Harvard University in the early 1970s, Paul Sprecher decided to head to the Big Apple, in search of exciting opportunities.

Instead, he stumbled upon a group led by an increasingly erratic authoritarian, who sought to impose his views about sex and the nuclear family on his hundreds of devotees.

Surprisingly enough, its ranks included prominent celebrities from that decade, as well as other high-profile figures, most of whom were only too happy to give up their salaries to fund their leader’s various whims.


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Sources for this episode include Ranker, The Journal News, The New York Post, Gothamist, Penn State University, and the website “I Love the Upper West Side.”



This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis:

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Transcript
Josh:

Hi Fred. My name is Josh Schell host of the let's start a cult podcast, the only podcast or who receives messages from God. Oh, and I think I actually hear something now he's saying the double-down is back at KFC for a limited time. Get one today. Hmm. I might be getting my frequencies mixed up, but now that we're all hungry for greasy chicken, it's time for me to introduce my guests. This episode, they are from the incredibly funny and informative podcast. Mr. Bunkers, conspiracy time podcast, where two skeptics and comedians have been kidnapped by a mastermind known as Mr. Bunker and are forced to podcast his conspiracy theories and paranormal phenomenon the death of John Lennon to the ax, men of new Orleans. They cover it all. Please welcome art. And Andy, how are you guys doing?

Art:

Hey,

Andy:

Josh.

Art:

Hey Josh. We're doing great.

Andy:

Thank you for having us, uh,

Art:

for having

Andy:

and thank you to your listeners for putting up with us,

Art:

Yes,

Andy:

our apologies. And all sorts

Art:

thanks.

Josh:

No, no, you guys, you guys are great. My listeners will love you. Fred will become a bunkers. What do you guys call your audience?

Andy:

Bonkers

Josh:

I think fuckers. Okay. I do like that.

Andy:

have misconstrued it as book fuckers, but it is bunk bunkers. That's true.

Josh:

All right. All right. I appreciate that. So Fred's will be bunkers and, and they will like it. So,

Art:

Wow.

Andy:

Yeah.

Art:

Some, some aggressive cross-pollination going on here.

Andy:

forced conversion.

Josh:

Well guys, in today's episode of let's start a call, we will be talking about the story of the Sullivan Institute and infamous sex cult based in New York city. That existed from the late 1950s to the early 1990s. by a psychotherapist who aim to promote his mentor's teaching instead became a group that forced members to give up their children in favor of sexually liberated lifestyle. so what are your guys' thoughts on a promiscuous lifestyle with no kids,

Andy:

Wow. I mean, that sounds like a dream come true. I mean, every night down at the Applebee's hunting for strange

Josh:

the Applebee's

Andy:

that's the life for me. Yeah,

Art:

that's right. Well, where

Andy:

else would you rather be on a Friday night? No kids. Nobody had answered to

Art:

nobody,

Andy:

you and

Art:

the bartender. Jeff

Josh:

or you can just relate all your problems to,

Andy:

lay him at his feet because

Art:

he's

Andy:

here to serve you.

Josh:

well, that's, that is a very interesting take on, on this cult, but, you guys might fit right in by the sounds of it.

Andy:

Wow. We've

Art:

fit in anywhere. Yeah.

Andy:

Usually

Art:

people tell us we're Everett for cold.

Josh:

they were like, you guys are way too much. We can't have this too much personality.

Art:

Yeah, We

Andy:

Listen to this guy. His name was Charles Manson. He was like, I, listened. I gotta kick you guys out.

Art:

So it's not really working out

Andy:

Look, your personalities are a little aggressive for me.

Josh:

The drugs are not working on you guys.

Andy:

And you're harshing my buzz too. So take a hike.

Art:

Oh

Josh:

right. Well, let's into the early years of the leader. Saul Newton. not much has actually known, about the early years of solid Bernard Cohen, who would later go by the name? Saul Newton. What is known though is that he was born on June 25th, 1906 in the city of St. John in new Brunswick, Canada. So he's Canadian. We claim him

Andy:

Oh,

Art:

wow. Yeah,

Andy:

another rotten Canadian immigrant coming to the United States and It's starting something weird.

Josh:

first him than Drake than Justin Bieber.

Andy:

Yeah, it doesn't ever end.

Josh:

I apologize. after attending the university of Wisconsin, he went on to study at the university of Chicago, he ran in social circles that ultimately resulted in him becoming communists. And anti-fat. These ideologies led him to serve in the Spanish civil war, which lasted from 1936 until 1939, which is super weird that he was like, I'm going to go fight in another country, civil war. Does that, does that not seem odd to you?

Andy:

This is already what a life story. Even already. He immigrated from Canada, went to school in the United States and then fought in the Spanish, civil war. It's a tale as old as time.

Josh:

What a life he could wrap it up there and he could write so many books.

Andy:

it. Yeah. But wait, there's more. Oh,

Josh:

there's so, so much more. afterwards he was drafted into the United States army to fight against the axis powers during world war two, the post-war years saw Newton's studying to become a psychotherapist, although he maintained a keen interest in politics and psychology. Around this time, he married Dr. Jane Pierce, a taught Marxist therapist whom he had met while working at William Alison's white Institute in New York city, co founded in 1943 by the renowned psychiatrist, Harry stack Sullivan, the William Alanson white Institute promised to train students in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. It was widely regarded as revolutionary since its teaching steered clear of conservative mainstream ideas in favor of ones that were newer, less explored and perceived as more. you know, radical, like not lobotomizing people.

Andy:

It's about to say radical, like radical, like riding a skateboard while,

Art:

doing a dunk.

Josh:

It's cool, mom, all the other kids are doing it.

Andy:

psychology is cool, mom.

Josh:

shortly after Harry stack Sullivan, his death in January, 1949, Newton Pierce left the William Alanson white Institute to start their own. They called it the Sullivan Institute for research in psychoanalysis, just quite a matte mouthful. but you can see they named it after the man they admired the man who just passed away. so they got, they did, they did learn a lot from them. but clearly not enough.

Art:

Yeah. they might've

Andy:

missed a couple chapters.

Josh:

Yeah, they skipped a few classes, you know,

Art:

Uh,

Josh:

Newton Pearson vision, their Institute to provide students with an unadulterated version of his namesakes teachings, but it didn't take long for this to be distorted and ruined. Thanks in part to the couples, political ideologies, kind of like how the idea of this podcast started off with great intentions, but my fascist ideologies have ruined it.

Andy:

Uh, and,

Art:

yeah. I

Andy:

whatever our political ideologies are,

Art:

have also contributed to the decline of this episode.

Josh:

You guys, you guys just believe in, uh, alien pyramids, right?

Art:

Yes, that's right. That's true.

Andy:

We love, we love to see extra

Art:

terrestrials

Andy:

arranging themselves In the shape of a pyramid and cheering for the home team.

Josh:

In the shape of a Ryan's belt. That is. So the Sullivan Institute opened its doors in 1957, attracting many artists and intellectuals, all of whom were taught that mental illnesses and social anxiety were caused by the traditional nuclear family unit, which consisted of parents and their children because of this, they were prohibited from engaging in exclusive committed relationships with Newton and Pierce, encouraging everyone to have regular sex with each other. Yeah.

Art:

All right.

Josh:

have, have sex with whoever you want.

Art:

Would it be over with this philosophy. I'm through the door. Am I nuts?

Andy:

I have a pamphlet in hand. my hat is turned it backwards. I'm ready to listen.

Josh:

my skateboard. In the other hand,

Art:

Yup. Let's get radical.

Josh:

members of the Sullivan Institute were forced to cut ties with their biological family members,

Art:

boy.

Josh:

although they were allowed to contact them whenever they needed financial assistance.

Andy:

Nice. Josh. Is this the first major red flag? You've covered

Art:

lot of different Colts. I mean, is that like the first one? You're like, oh, okay.

Andy:

No longer allowed to contact family.

Josh:

yeah. I mean, they're pretty progressive in the fact that they're like, wow, if you need money, you can contact them. But, uh, uh, yeah, D definitely a red flag, but if you really think about it, isn't this just really the college university experience, you know, have sex with everyone you meet and ignore your mom's text until you need money.

Art:

Yeah.

Andy:

definitely. That was totally my college experience.

Art:

A hundred percent. So definitely.

Andy:

I was in college, I was having sex a lot with humans and I got invited to a lot of parties, Josh, so

Art:

definitely not,

Andy:

Yeah, definitely more than I can count on like one or two hands. a day.

Art:

So

Josh:

you, you don't know the parties. They were at different schools. I got.

Andy:

yeah, we were pretty close to another college. I went to a lot of parties at The other college.

Josh:

The more radical colleges,

Art:

Yeah.

Andy:

wouldn't, you didn't know you weren't there.

Art:

where'd you,

Andy:

that guy was always

Art:

in the, mashed potatoes that the lunch in the lunch room? no, I was eating and sobbing. It was unrelated reasons

Josh:

they were dry. I was trying to moisten them up. Okay.

Andy:

they're made from

Art:

container flakes.

Josh:

as extreme as these teachings were, they attracted many of the decades, most well-known figures, such as the writer, Richard Price and singer Judy Collins, even the famous American painter Jackson Pollock was said to be a believer as his therapist was Ralph Klein. one of the group's leaders. a fun fact, Jackson, Pollock, loved sex and not talking to his parents.

Andy:

I explained those paintings. Yeah. I guess at least the, the Institute had some good artwork on the walls then

Josh:

well, good is a relative term.

Andy:

Yeah. But don't worry. I'm an art connoisseur. so Wow.

Josh:

oh, okay.

Andy:

of a, Italian futurist or maybe

Art:

a, a

Andy:

post-modern impressionist. I don't know. not, not, not very much into the abstract work

Art:

of Jackson Pollock.

Josh:

No, no. I prefer straight lines and I know what I'm looking at.

Art:

Oh, all right.

Andy:

Okay. I can understand that.

Josh:

besides its slew of influential members, the Sullivan Institute was also regarded as appealing due to the strategies that it used to recruit people in particular devotees would pitch it as an organization that aim to expand the revolutionary promise of the 1960. a form of psychotherapy that incorporated radical politics and sexual liberation. so there's that radical again?

Andy:

Yeah, God, this place is so frigging cool.

Josh:

so sick. they would also enthusiastically talk about their fellow members whom they would claim were mostly well-educated secular, leftist, and Jewish. unlike other cults, the recruitment strategies used by the Sullivan Institute were neither aggressive nor manipulative rather relied on word of mouth with members, singing praises that appealed to those who came from broken homes and difficult situations.

Andy:

Big red flag.

Josh:

yeah, that's, that's a definitely a big red flag preying on people who, uh, don't have a better situation. yeah, not great. I mean, to be fair, the people would never be like, yeah, you can have sex with whoever you want. It's awesome.

Andy:

That's a good elevator pitch. It's a good elevator pitch. It's

Josh:

It's a give and take.

Andy:

It's a good way to prey on people without it seeming like you're preying on them that

Art:

much,

Josh:

Exactly.

Andy:

yeah. We're like we're, we're pro like equality,

Art:

communism

Andy:

free love sex all the time. Come and join.

Josh:

And, uh, we don't talk to her parents,

Andy:

Yeah.

Josh:

for instance, uteri and minister named Paul's, spreadsheet who had been a member for nearly a decade remembered that quote, I found this group and it just so happened that all of them were in Sullivan therapy. It was this incredibly neat experience for a newcomer in New York city. Suddenly I had a social life. There were women who wanted to date me. spent summers in, a manga set. It was very loose in those days. Just people hanging out in apartments and quote,

Art:

Wow.

Josh:

a very chill dude.

Andy:

Yeah, I guess he was a real newcomer

Josh:

Uh, you would get along with John from my other podcast. He too enjoys terrible puns.

Andy:

He's going to love that one.

Josh:

oh yeah. Yeah. another former member Dr. Michael braid joined the Sullivan Institute in 1972, after finding out about it from one of his classmates in Ford, ham universities, clinical psychology, pro. In the span of two years, he divorced his wife cut off contact with his parents, moved into an apartment unit that the group owned where he would stay until 1985. Almost 13 years.

Art:

Wow. Wow.

Andy:

a lot of change in two

Art:

years.

Josh:

Yeah. Yeah. That is a midlife crisis. If I've ever heard one.

Andy:

Yeah, for sure. The only thing you needed to do was buy a bitching Camaro. Yeah. And get a sick tattoo.

Josh:

there's better things to do than join a call, you know?

Art:

There are, there are better ways to carry out your midlife crisis than join a cold. That is correct. Or saying I don't need to join a call. Josh,

Andy:

you for real right now?

Josh:

Don't need to, but you should join this one.

Andy:

Ah, okay.

Josh:

W,

Andy:

at least do one for the experience.

Josh:

yeah, you can, you can talk to your dad in my cult, not your mom. the line I draw.

Art:

Okay. that's fair. One. Parent is good enough.

Josh:

You only need one. Uh, the Sullivan Institute was scattered among three different buildings in the upper west side of New York city. Although members mainly lived in the seventh story, co-op 2, 6 43 Broadway there. They established a tight knit community for themselves. With spreadsheets later, calling that quote, we created the living context, like a tiny village that was mostly cut off from the world. The bizarre thing of course was that you're in the middle of New York city, but the dynamics of control and so on are like a village end quote. So that's kind of, they they've created such a tight knit community that it just felt like a small village in the middle of the busiest city in the marriage.

Andy:

Yeah, that's really,

Art:

uh, that's really kind of an interesting perspective on it.

Andy:

I mean, you think

Art:

like, the people's temple or Waco,

Andy:

or like some

Art:

other, uh, most, most cults or they,

Andy:

they want to like, you know, bring you out to the middle of nowhere, where you just

Art:

truly are totally dependent on them, but they're like, no, you're in here in the city. That's almost like

Andy:

a, like a

Art:

a cult flex.

Andy:

Yeah. That's like an impressive feat in a disturbing way.

Josh:

they have so much control over you. They don't need to take you out in the middle of nowhere.

Andy:

Yeah. That's kind of, it's kind of crazy that you could like, cause you know, you expect with all these people around.

Art:

Yeah. people are gonna put

Andy:

in check the same time. Like,

Art:

know, you've got. That phenomenon. I think

Andy:

it's the, like the kit, is it the kitty Jenna VCs story or something? Something like that. It's that story of where

Art:

somebody was being murdered

Andy:

in a courtyard, in the apartment

Art:

and like, Everyone else. People just watched it happen, but they just assume everyone else is, going to do something about it. It's called

Andy:

bystander syndrome or effect. Yeah.

Art:

Right. Yeah. It's where people, people don't

Andy:

what to do exactly. Right.

Art:

so they don't do anything in the

Andy:

that somebody else will know what to do. And we'll do that. And then, so just things end up happening. And even though people know what's going

Art:

on,

Andy:

they don't do anything.

Josh:

That is true. I think I've heard about that one. I'm not sure. I don't want to poke holes in it. Cause that was a great argument. I think it was disproven, but I'm not a hundred percent sure. Um, you guys should do an episode on that. That'd be good. Weather. Bystander effect is a conspiracy or real. That'd be. there you go.

Andy:

there you go.

Art:

go. A little psychology action

Andy:

Perfect. For art, our resident armchair

Art:

psychology. That's true. Josh. I am the resident armchair psychologist because

Andy:

I got a degree in

Josh:

Oh, well you're perfect for this episode then.

Andy:

That's right. Oh, he's he's he's salivating over here.

Josh:

He's taking notes. Oh, so that's how you do it. so yeah, so they're, they're in like a, community within New York city, which is really cool. and Newton ran a tight ship, imposing strict rules on his devotees or the Sullivans as they began referring to themselves as Second red flag. Um,

Andy:

really, really missed the opportunity to call them fig Newtons

Art:

Yeah, I know

Josh:

damn it, some of them are still alive. We can talk to them, we can convince them

Andy:

there a chance to right this wrong? Wow. To think that that cookie has

Art:

a disgusting past,

Andy:

Their cookies basically made through sex.

Josh:

Geez. Now I'm going to think of nothing when I, nothing but that when I eat them.

Andy:

When's the last time you hit a fig Newton,

Josh:

Oh, hi. I definitely had them this year,

Art:

Wow.

Josh:

it's not often I'll give you that.

Andy:

I love a fake news. I think it's a good cookie. It's

Josh:

Yeah, it is. And you feel healthy because you're like, oh, there's no chocolate in it. so it's fine.

Andy:

It's

Art:

go.

Josh:

It's good. It's got vitamin C or whatever. I don't know.

Andy:

These fig

Josh:

Uh,

Andy:

vitamin D

Josh:

we're we're we're gonna, we're gonna move on

Andy:

boy. I hear that a lot.

Josh:

besides prohibiting them from engaging in exclusive relationships with each other, he also forced parents to give up their child. Shipping them off to either boarding school or to caretakers members were required to attend weekly therapy sessions as well, where they underwent further indoctrination. I think you can call that red flag three and four.

Andy:

Oh, Yeah. this is like, this is like Semafore at this point, there's so many red flags. I mean,

Josh:

It's like Twitter right now.

Andy:

I mean, not like

Art:

using

Andy:

as a, it's very, uh, what dare I say it, Scientology. ESC.

Josh:

Oh Yeah.

Andy:

Don't know if I want to open that can right now, but that's what it sounds like to me.

Josh:

They're going to be after you guys.

Art:

I know

Andy:

we just re I just ruined both of our podcasts.

Josh:

That's okay. They've been mentioned many times and not great faith on this podcast. So come at, come after me. I'm in Canada. They can't find. I doubt Tom cruise could point to it on a maps.

Andy:

Whew. Wow. Shots fired.

Josh:

that's fine. He'll never hear this.

Andy:

Please. Welcome Tom cruise. We have him here. Surprise.

Josh:

would both love and fear that, but God, my numbers would pop off.

Art:

Yeah.

Josh:

to add to that Newton instructed the Sullivans as to which jobs they were allowed to take. They were unable to enjoy the money that they earned though, as this not only went to the institution, but was used to pay for their children's babysitters and boarding schools too. I'm sure these children grew up to be completely normal people.

Andy:

Oh, I'm sure they were

Josh:

They'd probably be, you know, thirties, forties now, maybe,

Art:

Hmm.

Andy:

Yeah, I mean, I guess at least in one sense,

Art:

they provided for the kids in a way,

Andy:

you know, by, through,

Art:

you know, financially

Andy:

them to stay someplace without their parents for their

Art:

entire childhood.

Andy:

I mean,

Art:

not exactly,

Andy:

wouldn't, I don't know that it's necessarily healthy, but you know, they could've just said ship them off and then let them become wards of the state or, something.

Josh:

or or abuse them as many cults do. Yeah, you're right. It is the lesser of many evils, but it is still, probably on that scale of not great for their psyche being away from their pay.

Andy:

Although I guess there's a good question. What's worse having them stay with the cold and get indoctrinated. shipping them off and they just don't have any relationship

Art:

their parents Ignorance is bliss.

Josh:

you know what you might be right. In some cases. Yeah. This is a, that's a very true, Yeah, definitely. There's a few other calls set. It would have benefited the kids to not be there.

Andy:

Yeah.

Josh:

so

Andy:

Jonestown, cough, Jonestown. Oh, I should've

Art:

copped around

Andy:

Jonestown instead of using Jonestown, like cough

Josh:

however, these salaries weren't the institutes only source of revenue for one thing, hefty fines were levied against members whenever they violated one of the Newton's many, lot, many rules, uh, loons laws. I said, Newton's laws. It doesn't say that.

Art:

man.

Andy:

were violating Newton's laws. All right. Deal. You know what you did, you were, she were floating up not being tethered to the gravitational. Pull of the earth. Look,

Josh:

off the ceiling. God dammit.

Andy:

Charlene. I saw you make a perpetual motion machine. dammit. Do

Josh:

your room. That'll be $10,000. God, that's funny. That was a, that was a Freudian slip. Have I ever seen where it says rules here? I did say loss. Um,

Andy:

did.

Art:

laws.

Josh:

that'll be the funniest thing I come up with on this podcast and I've written out many jokes for this episode.

Andy:

Ah, I love, that. I love that bill Maher segment though. Newton rule.

Art:

that's a, stretch boy.

Josh:

we'll blaze past that one too. so if a member violated, one of the many rules, the parents were required to pay $10,000 if they were perceived as showing too much interest in their biological children. taking it one step further, they weren't even allowed to even express interest in their children, which that's probably where it, yeah. That's, that's where it takes it to another level, I think.

Andy:

we're passed the red flag part on that one.

Josh:

Oh yeah.

Andy:

This is a real intense shift from like free love, living out the sixties, his dream to like, you know, wonder how our son's doing $10,000 right now.

Art:

know.

Andy:

So that's a, that's a, that's a, big leap.

Josh:

well, what was his name? Brandon? that's $10,000. You.

Andy:

are you talking about? Give me

Art:

$10,000.

Josh:

Yeah. What did they think was going to happen with all this free love? Like there had to be children coming out that they not expect that

Art:

It's true.

Andy:

you know,

Josh:

It was the seventies and eighties. They were definitely weren't using condoms.

Art:

well, there's

Andy:

such thing as

Art:

free. love.

Josh:

true. We're $10,000 each time.

Art:

That's the price.

Josh:

the Sullivan's often received requests to provide the Institute with hundreds of thousands of dollars when asked, but this money would be used for Newton assured them that it would assist their personal growth, is very vague. And

Andy:

It's kind of a good line though.

Josh:

Yeah. It's a good,

Andy:

for money. Well, what are you going to do with it? It's for your personal growth,

Josh:

Don't you want to grow as a person? Like, I guess. So,

Andy:

It'll help you grow as a person.

Josh:

despite these strict and rather unfair rules, the Sullivan Institute became increasingly popular throughout the years. By the 1970s, its ranks had swelled to several hundred. Most of whom lived in the compound, scattered across the upper west side. During this time though, it became more and more authoritarian, this nature, which was, attributed to the arrival of Newton's second wife, Joanne Harvey, a soap opera actor who inspired to be a stage director. one of the ventures that Harvey introduced was a politically progressive theater, collectively known as the fourth wall, which she merged with the Sullivan Institute therapy group. In 1978, the newly combined group signed a lease to rent a facility called the truck and warehouse theater, which is located in New York. City's east village. Unfortunately, this venture wasn't without its fair share of violence. When, When, the collective who had been renting the truck and warehouse theater, before them refuse to evacuate the premises, they were forced out by hundreds of Sullivans who destroyed their set and took over the space. This got so out of hand that the police were eventually called leading them to making three arrests.

Andy:

Jeez. I'm imagining

Art:

you know, lots of snap snap fighting.

Andy:

yeah, this is,

Art:

this is a real upper west side story.

Josh:

it says, is exactly what it's based on.

Andy:

Yeah, That was a good pun. Huh?

Art:

was a

Andy:

There got one.

Art:

liked

Josh:

liked that aggression was encouraged by both Newton and Harvey, according to the, yeah, they were like, this is great. Keep going guys.

Art:

Yeah. I get that

Andy:

theater, collective

Art:

There's nothing darker

Andy:

then theater nerds, arguing over theaters basis.

Art:

Am I

Andy:

We're going to break their stage.

Josh:

We can do improv better than you.

Andy:

Oh my God. You sound like us.

Josh:

according to the Sullivan, Paul spreadsheet quote, all of the members were invited to come down and occupy the theater. The cops came in in the middle of the night and we had barricaded the doors. It was very exciting. Saul wanted to teach people how to stand up to the cops. liked that kind of confrontation end quote, which I mean, fuck cops, I guess. You know what I mean? Like, but this is an extreme where I think the cops might have been in the right to attack them.

Art:

Yeah.

Andy:

I mean, this was like, uh, this was, would have been like 1970s, New York too. So

Josh:

Yeah, Yeah, they weren't great.

Art:

were pretty wild back

Andy:

then. It was kind of a,

Art:

like

Andy:

the warriors

Art:

right?

Andy:

yeah,

Art:

This

Andy:

probably like before there was any amount of oversight of policing.

Josh:

exactly. this disturbing nature of the Sullivan Institute would only escalate from there on March 28th, 1979, a reactor at a nuclear generating station in Dauphin county, Pennsylvania, melted resulting in a radiation leak that many feared would the local popular. The three mile island accident as it was referred to afterwards is now known as the most significant nuclear power plant accident in American history, a five out of seven rating on the international nuclear event scale pretty high.

Art:

Yeah.

Josh:

why it's at a seven. It seems like that could be at a five or 10, you know?

Andy:

Yeah. this was, this was a good

Art:

nuclear event, but not a perfect one.

Josh:

yeah, yeah. It didn't kill enough people. Um, five out of seven.

Art:

try harder. Next time.

Andy:

tough judges. I love

Art:

that. There's

Andy:

a rotten tomatoes style, uh, service for nuclear

Art:

disasters, five out of seven from critics, but it's a seven out of seven. As far as the audience is concerned, they call it? radiating tomatoes. yeah, maybe.

Josh:

that's true. There we go. That's what it is. Besides causing widespread panic about the potential negative effects of nuclear power. The three mile island accident also drove the Sullivans to relocate to Orlando, Florida, in a bid to avoid escape, the imminent destruction of New York city. When this failed to happen, they returned to the upper west side where those who had declined to make the move were ostracized by Newton and the rest of the institutes appointed leaders.

Andy:

Wow. That's

Josh:

Yeah. Yeah. it causes like a divide between the haves and the have-nots. It's like, we've been to Florida. We know what true freedom is.

Andy:

You don't, you haven't lived

Art:

until you've been to Orlando.

Josh:

It's like a, it's like COVID when all the new Yorkers moved to Florida when to get free, no mask mandate.

Andy:

No more mandates.

Josh:

Yeah. much the same. It all. It's all exactly the same.

Andy:

Yeah. Even at the time, Florida didn't mandate anything. That's why the Sullivans loved it.

Josh:

Yeah, they were like a cult. Welcome in. You can he'll fit right in with the other ones.

Andy:

Yeah. We've got plenty of Colts.

Josh:

You got a spot on the, by you for you.

Andy:

I have some oranges.

Josh:

the three mile island accident proved to be a turning point for the Sullivan Institute. It changed dynamics among members with Newton behaving more and more radically as the months passed. For instance, he believed that the CIA was interfering with Joanne Harvey's work. And so he had a room built with steel plated walls so that she could edit her films in peace.

Andy:

I never, I never considered that. That's actually a pretty good idea.

Josh:

you guys should think about that, you know,

Art:

yeah.

Andy:

If, if our creative pursuits don't do well, just blame it on the government, interfering with them. That the output wasn't what we intended.

Josh:

I think, I think with your line of work, they might already be watching you guys

Andy:

that might, might be well-received.

Josh:

they're most of your listeners actually the CA

Andy:

Hey,

Art:

FBI.

Andy:

take it. Whatever it takes.

Josh:

yeah, please subscribe. And so he also began seeing enemies everywhere, which led him to, intimidate and abuse his followers in a misguided attempt to protect himself. and this is the classic cult leader trope, and they all go down this where they think everyone's after them and out to get them. psychology guy. Why would that be

Art:

I don't know, probably

Andy:

like a little bit

Art:

narcissism. where they, they definitely

Andy:

think that like, you know, they're like paranoid and anxious about, anybody doing anything that isn't them in control of. It. It's like probably a control thing too. Right? Like, you know, spend so much time telling other people that, you know, what's best that eventually you start to believe it.

Josh:

That's true.

Andy:

you know, but you're, you're still enough to understand that not everybody thinks that you do know best. And so I think that's very undercutting to a person with ego that it takes to be a cult leader.

Josh:

Wow.

Art:

A hundred percent.

Josh:

You guys are good.

Andy:

Wow.

Josh:

Are you, are

Andy:

idiots.

Josh:

you guys charging me for the hour?

Andy:

No, this is on the

Art:

house.

Josh:

Perfect. First one's free. So what it is,

Andy:

We do it for our own narcissism. Just to hear you say, you guys are good.

Josh:

but you're not with the CIA. Are you.

Andy:

on.

Josh:

Later Amy Siskind, who had been a member of the Sullivan Institute for more than two decades, recalled that quote Newton had this idea on how to deal with people who were against you. And his idea was basically intimidation and violence. There were many incidents throughout the history of the group of intimidation quote,

Art:

Wow. I love

Andy:

He's like I got

Art:

this new idea. I got this

Andy:

idea.

Art:

What if I intimidate and abused people?

Andy:

like,

Art:

That's an original one.

Josh:

I've

Art:

Nobody's ever seen that before.

Andy:

I don't think another person's ever tried to intimidate or abuse the people around them to get them to do what they want.

Josh:

Anyway, I fought Hitler 20 years ago. yeah.

Andy:

it.

Art:

I

Andy:

a finger too, cause I seen a thing or two.

Josh:

Uh, yeah, he's a great guy. He also, encourage this behavior among the Sullivans, to which resulted in the institutes therapists, using fear tactics to manipulate their patients in order to get them to act. As they wished, according to test K ho of Penn state university quote, they desired to control who had kids and how many and who with one account of when a member tried to leave to Sullivan's track the man down to a subway and dangled them over the tracks, threatening him to kill him. If he left the movement, one of those men was Newton's son and quote.

Andy:

Wait a minute. So Saul Newton's kids get to hang around.

Josh:

yeah. Oh, the rules don't apply to Newton. Okay. Uh, like

Art:

okay. It's not just wives he gets to have the whole family.

Andy:

He gets to have

Art:

multiple families,

Andy:

right? Yeah. Classic.

Josh:

Newton's also didn't abide by his own laws.

Andy:

Yeah.

Art:

I guess it's his, son's doing this,

Andy:

I guess you could say the apple didn't fall far from the tree. Thank you. I'll give you that one.

Josh:

All right. We'll start running a counter on puns. In this

Andy:

Yeah, there we go.

Josh:

if you hit five, you're allowed back,

Andy:

Oh, maybe no problem.

Josh:

to add to that Newton also acquired a fleet of school buses and motorcycles claiming that it was necessary in case of an emergency former Sullivan, Dr. Michael Bray was put in charge of this and he later recalled that quote. we'd have very planned out escape route that involved walking to George Washington bridge terms of the leadership's children. It meant putting them in backpacks then writing the. In an off-road motorcycles, which we had about six of end quote, by the time the Sullivan Institute had managed to amass, approximately $12 million in property assets. Apart from the several apartment buildings in the upper west side, they also owned a resort in the Catskills and a house in Vermont. All of these were funded by members who had been voluntarily giving up the majority of their salaries the purpose betterment of the group.

Andy:

Oh wow.

Josh:

And, uh, Andy art, do you know who will also demand that you give them their money?

Andy:

Uh, the mafia, mafia.

Josh:

Well, both, both are probably true. Um,

Andy:

Yeah, we did it.

Josh:

But,

Andy:

right.

Josh:

I specifically meant the products and services that support this show.

Andy:

Oh.

Josh:

Now usually they will give you something for the money, but I cannot personally guarantee that. So, uh, in enjoy these ads,

Andy:

we will.

Josh:

Despite the wealth, power and influence that the group's leadership wielded, the Sullivan Institute began to deteriorate during the late 1980s. Thanks in part to custody suits filed by the former members, Dr. Michael Bray and Paul stretcher, both of whom left the group in 1988. And you might remember them. I had quoted them a few times. they came out very publicly against this, group, Bray and Spreadshirt demanded custody of their children from their biological mothers who had remained with the Sullivan Institute. This brought to light the groups, violent tendencies and sketchy dynamics, including their child-rearing practices, which the public regarded as controversial industry.

Andy:

Okay. That's a fair assessment.

Art:

Great, good assessment to the

Andy:

public Great job

Art:

public. You got it right.

Josh:

Finally, you guys did something correct?

Andy:

We've been waiting for you to do it right. Public.

Art:

And you finally got

Andy:

one.

Josh:

they heard, they heard about it, this in the newspapers and they're like, I don't like that. I don't like

Andy:

Nope. Doesn't that? I don't care for that.

Josh:

Well, Bray and spreadsheet were successful in exposing the Sullivan Institute. They never managed to obtain the justice that they desperately sought on December 21st, 1991, 80 five-year-old Saul Newton passed away at the Methodist hospital in Brooklyn, New York, after battling Alzheimer's disease and SEPTA Mia his death combined with the negative publicity and the controversial lawsuits, mark, the end of the Sullivan. Institute, which had already been on a downward slide. With that member's fled the crumbling group in droves, forced to reintegrate back into family units that they had abandoned long ago.

Art:

Yeah.

Andy:

whoa boy,

Josh:

Yeah. That's

Andy:

cringe here.

Josh:

that's the weird cousin that went off

Art:

Uh

Josh:

and uh,

Art:

back.

Josh:

Hey.

Art:

Hey uncle Mario. Are you doing

Andy:

I'm back?

Josh:

Oh, they definitely had New York accents. You're right. Oh God,

Andy:

Oh, I'm the guy from long island.

Art:

Yo,

Andy:

I'm your biological family? Disowns you said you're bored in school.

Art:

Oh,

Josh:

come give you a pops, a hug.

Andy:

I don't have any money. I gave all my salary to the Sullivan. Oh, Oh, that's bad.

Josh:

Uh, yeah, so it was definitely, probably not a good time, not a good time. sadly not everyone was lucky enough to escape unscathed. For instance, Helen Fogarty, one of Newton's ex wives had her license to practice psychology revoked by the state of New York in 1997, roughly.

Andy:

come on New York with a bunch of bullshit.

Josh:

Let her do her thing. And to be fair, they did let her practice for six years afterwards.

Andy:

True.

Josh:

And then they were like, ah, maybe we should look into this, you know? Um,

Andy:

thorough investigation and then found out might not be fully qualified to hold a license.

Josh:

yeah, she had a few things were definitely wrong with her.

Andy:

So we found a couple of inconsistencies in your past. Just want to clear those up with you real quick.

Josh:

a couple of small things, please check the boxes that, that are accurate, where you grossly negligent with your practice. Um,

Andy:

you checked the box for yes. And circled it a bunch and then run a big arrow with the words yes.

Art:

to it.

Josh:

and then, something about you need money here. Uh, this is not a bank. so she was made to go through a hearing where a panel consisting of members of the board of psychology found her guilty of quote, practicing the profession fraudulently with gross negligence, with gross incompetence, with negligent on more than one occasion and within competence on more than one occasion

Art:

Wow.

Josh:

uh,

Andy:

like my last

Art:

job review.

Andy:

My ex away.

Josh:

her review of you

Andy:

So sounds like your ex-wife. I wouldn't Fogarty

Art:

that's

Andy:

right after she divorced Saul Newton, I was

Art:

to Helen foggerty for a little while.

Josh:

you're like, but only until 2006 after

Art:

true. When he

Josh:

I,

Art:

to marriage.

Josh:

Yeah, I've revoked. It you're grossly negligent, to, to support the verdict. The panel cited several incidents, including one, in which Fogarty in babysitter. It was also her patient into

Andy:

Um,

Josh:

with Newton who was pushing 70 at the time while the babysitter ultimately agreed to do so. She later filed a complaint with the state claiming that she only complied with the request because she feared losing her job and the therapy sessions that she had been receiving. So that.

Andy:

I'm not sure she should have been

Art:

so upset about,

Andy:

you know, losing the therapy sessions,

Art:

but

Andy:

I could see why you would the income still.

Josh:

Yeah. I guess if someone's offering you free therapy, you don't, you should question that at least at the minimum you should be like, ah, I don't, I don't know.

Andy:

I'm still pretty unsavory situation.

Josh:

Yeah, definitely not. Great. I feel, I do feel bad for this person. well Fogarty admitted that she had been wrong and having her patient work as her living babysitter, she denied allegations of sexual coercion

Andy:

Hmm.

Josh:

with the journal news she's she was cited as saying, quote, the babysitter made this all up that I told her to have sex with my husband. Do I dispute it? I totally disputed that's unthinkable. I was a therapist. She worked for me. was the whole issue. was babysitting one of my kids and asked if she could be in therapy with me and quote. Probably not going to take her word for it if I'm being brutally honest, but, that was her. That was her take on the situation.

Andy:

Yeah. I don't know that Helen's earned the

Art:

benefit of the doubt,

Josh:

no, since she's grossly incompetent on more than one occasion,

Andy:

That's Yeah. Yeah. I've documented history of gross and competence.

Josh:

it's written on a permanent record. In conclusion, the Sullivan Institute may have ended in 1991. However, former members remain unwilling to go public about their time in it Well, many have horror stories. Others only have positive memories. For instance, Eric Grunin who spent more than a decade in the group continues to defend it, even going so far as to criticize those who refer to it as a cult. He is also, which is something, someone in a cult would say.

Andy:

Yeah, yeah. Very

Art:

cult-like

Josh:

Yeah, yeah. You're fit in that niche for sure. he has also made harsh comments about former members who spoke out against Newton, claiming in an interview with Gothamist that Dr. Britt Michael Bray had gone over to the dark side. Well, Bray and Paul spreadsheet, our content on leaving the Institute firmly in the past former members like Grunin are hopeful that something similar to Sullivan Institute would be established. Again, according to him, the group's value and doctrine are exactly what people need nowadays. And that is Saul Newton and the Sullivan Institute.

Andy:

Wow.

Josh:

What are your guys' thoughts?

Andy:

I mean, really this the Sullivan Institute. It, it has like all of these classic cult elements. I mean, it's sad. There's Saul Newton. He becomes like a, a Jim Jones type of character. They give all their money to the, the group. That's very like people's temple ish. heaven's gate ask.

Art:

Yeah, they kind of take a, a kind

Andy:

of a higher moral stance of like, well, you know, we believe in like free love and like therapy and all this stuff and it's, it's almost like a calm, you, it's almost like a merging of the people's temple and Scientology a little bit. yeah,

Josh:

yeah,

Andy:

yeah,

Josh:

yeah, you're right. And you know what? They were so close to being like decent people, you know?

Art:

Yeah.

Andy:

Yeah. It's like teetering on the edge. We're certain that the therapy probably felt, I mean, obviously I don't know, a hundred percent their therapy sessions or their practices, but like

Art:

that's how you bring

Andy:

people in, right? It's like you give them, you give these, these people

Art:

have, you know, no, no connection and

Andy:

no outlet. You give them an outlet. You give them your to listen to. And that feels pretty good to get that stuff off your chest.

Josh:

Yeah, Yeah, for sure.

Andy:

all of a sudden it's like the, it just starts

Art:

and all of a sudden you're disowning your son. What's kind of like they poison the well, cause it's like, oh yeah, come tell me all your problems. And then it's like, I'm a sympathetic ear. tell me anything, but then I'm going to feed like propaganda in the other ear right. to fill up the stuff you just got rid of.

Josh:

That's true. yeah, like a Netflix subscription. They give you that free month and then you're, you're hooked for life and I've hope God, I might have to do an episode on that.

Andy:

there you

Josh:

Amazon

Art:

Netflix and Colt, Amazon, for sure. Yeah. There's no questions. I mean, episode over it is,

Josh:

yeah. You guys can come on for that one. We can talk smack about Jeff Bezos and probably get on his hit list somewhere.

Andy:

we've made enough Bezos jokes on our show. We're probably already on his hit list. Also. We are on the list to go to space. So

Art:

yeah,

Andy:

we're not on the list to come back.

Josh:

that was my biggest worry about William Shatner going up as I was afraid. Bayzos is going to leave him up there.

Andy:

incredible. wow. This is amazing.

Art:

Yeah. He was a very, I

Andy:

wow.

Josh:

How,

Andy:

stop saying, oh, wow.

Josh:

how much LSD do you think he took before he went up?

Art:

Yeah. I was like really thinking when I went to that video, I'm like, I think he might be lightheaded. Like he seems everyone else is like, this is crazy. like, everyone else is having fun seeing themselves that he's just like looking out the window. Wow.

Josh:

He's having a breakdown,

Art:

yeah.

Josh:

which I don't get. Cause he's been up there many times. I've seen, I've seen video of it.

Art:

It's true. In that documentary that he was, He was in that famous one star

Josh:

Yeah, Captain. He was a captain. He had his own ship. God

Art:

true. I saw him save the whales.

Josh:

well guys, before we finish up today, it is time for cult critique. This is yeah. The a, which actually we should, we should call it a what'd you call it radioactive tomato. We should call that that today.

Art:

that's right.

Josh:

so this is the part of the episode where my guests and I talk about the call. We just covered and give it a rating out of five stars We're going to do it at a seven.

Andy:

Great.

Josh:

on how well it did as a cult. there's no hard and fast rules about how we do the ratings. You could give it a one star and say it was great, or you could give it a five star and say it was great, up to you. So, Andy, why don't you start, what would you rate the Sullivan Institute of seven stars.

Art:

Oh

Andy:

boy. you know, honestly, I think that, think that I will give the Sullivan Institute going to say five out of seven stars. as a cult.

Josh:

Okay.

Andy:

and Josh, here's the reason for, for that, that rating? I think in terms of a cult,

Art:

it, it, draws a lot of the classic cold tropes. there are a lot of cult classic elements to uh, the Sullivan Institute.

Andy:

it had a fun, it's got a fun twist,

Art:

in

Andy:

the way that it starts, you know,

Art:

for you

Andy:

and therapy and, low pressure,

Art:

indoctrination methods, guess.

Andy:

so it's kind of, it's kind of unique in that. I'll also

Art:

give it credit for

Andy:

a little bit of staying power

Josh:

Yeah.

Andy:

Colts go. I mean, you know, when you think about it, most Colts have a very, a pretty short lifespan because things like get out of control. So a couple of decades is a pretty long life for a cult. I think.

Josh:

Very long. I'd say the only one beating it is the Scientology.

Andy:

yeah. I don't think that's probably a record. That'll never be broken.

Josh:

Yeah.

Andy:

but I, you know, so I gotta give it a decent score. it's probably not the greatest cult, uh, that ever lived. but I think it's a pretty good Colt,

Josh:

Yeah.

Andy:

uh, as far as cults go.

Josh:

Not flashy, but reliable, you would say.

Andy:

right? Yeah. This is the, this is the Ford focus of Colts.

Josh:

that was a great comparison. all right. And, Andy w what, uh, what is your rating out of seven? Oh, sorry. Sorry. Yeah, I had Andy, uh, written second. I don't know why I said your name first, but, uh,

Andy:

um,

Art:

Wow.

Josh:

about that.

Andy:

I know you couldn't wait to hear from me, Josh and that's okay. Because actually Andy stole the words right out

Art:

my mouth. Uh, I, I too, I was, Andy gave

Andy:

me those words back.

Art:

No,

Andy:

I to, I think, yeah, I think a five is a really is yeah. The score. I would also bestow the, a, this cult and, I think for very similar reasons, I think, you know, if let's say, you know, we've covered heaven's Gabe, you've covered, Jim Jones. Like, I feel like those are like, those are sevens in my

Josh:

Oh, yeah.

Andy:

like, you can say those to any

Art:

person

Andy:

and they probably have, they probably know what, you're talking

Josh:

Yep. They have the name recognition.

Andy:

people gotta know what that is Probably not. So I think you got to dock a point for that. And then,

Art:

I

Andy:

mean, a lot of the, a lot of the things that you said Andy. I think we're a hundred percent, yeah.

Josh:

Awesome. Well, the, those, these are great reviews. I think I'm also going to give it five out of seven, um, for,

Andy:

A perfect five out of seven.

Josh:

for all of the same, same things you guys said, but also because that was the same rating they gave the nuclear power plant destroying. So I think that's funny.

Art:

Yeah,

Andy:

was, I was really tempted to give it a 5.7 stars out of seven, but

Josh:

I like that. Well, thank you guys for joining me. if you guys don't mind, please, tell my audience where they can, where they can find Mr. Bunkers conspiracy podcast and, tell them a little bit about it.

Andy:

you can find all of our links, at Mr. Booker's conspiracy. time.com. we have new episodes every Wednesday. There's, you know, we're on Instagram at Mr. Bunker pod and Twitter at Mr. Bunker pod. And how would you describe, I guess our show is, you know, it's a little, it's, a it's, it's in a similar vein to, to maybe some other guests you've had, but, Andy and I were two comedians skeptics to friends and we've, we get kidnapped every week by the titular, Mr. Bunker, who a conspiracy, just nod. he's a,

Art:

he's

Andy:

illusionary mastermind. And he forces us to podcast about these topics in the hopes that he can convince us

Art:

or

Andy:

listeners, the bunk bunkers, and, uh, very similar to you. We always wrote, the, topics at the end of the episode on a scale of how plausible,

Art:

think they are.

Josh:

Oh, perfect.

Andy:

bunker scale of plausibility. Right. and, and Josh there's, I mean, for the benefit of, of all your audience, I mean, Our story is very complicated, with Mr. Bunker. we've been at this for a couple of years and there's quite an extensive backstory and lore, involving our relationship with Mr. Bunker. So, there's a lot to unpack there. Yeah, there's a, there's an extensive intro lore.

Josh:

you guys should do a whole episode breaking down the extensive lore. of, of your own podcasts in the ultimate meta episode.

Andy:

Wow. That would be a wild ride of an episode.

Josh:

Just a recap, you know, like every, every few years you just, although I guess it does get people to go back to episode one and then listen through so that they understand it.

Andy:

I mean, Hey, if you can stomach the sound of our voices for that long it's. I mean, it's, it's a journey you can go on for sure. That's true.

Art:

You are

Andy:

Actually, it's, it's a really nice way to prove yourself that you are mentally tough and you can take on challenge in your life. Can You be like, I listened to the whole back catalog of Mr. Booker's conspiracy about, I can do nanny. There should be some sort of award for people that have done that.

Josh:

at the same time, it also proves mental instability.

Andy:

Right. it's simultaneously proving you're exceptionally stable and exceptionally unstable.

Josh:

So it's a weird, it's a weird, balance

Andy:

Yeah.

Josh:

your audience has. Yeah.

Andy:

There. Yeah.

Josh:

well, yeah, definitely go check them out. it's a, it's an amazingly funny podcast. and, and very informative. Like I definitely come away from, some of the episodes that I'm like, wow. I had no idea about that. definitely go check it out if you love listening, about conspiracy theories and, just an all their own good time. finally, if, you want to support this show, you can do so by rating reviewing and sharing the podcast on apple pod chaser, or good pods. If you want to support the show financially, you can do so@buymeacoffee.com slash let's start a cult. And if you really can't get enough of my voice, you can also hear me on my other podcast, read it on Wiki every Monday. but as for, let's start a call that is it for this week. Thank you Fred for listening and thank you, art Nandy for coming on today, you guys were awesome and, we will see everyone next.

Art:

Buh-bye