Psych Sleuth - Margaret Singer has made history delving into the psychology of brainwashing - 2002-05-26
Name any major cult or near-cult in America in the last half of the 20th century, and this teacher and author of "Cults in Our Midst" has probably researched it, debriefed its victims, or helped the cops nail its leaders.
The Symbionese Liberation Army, Charles Manson's freakish "Family," Jim Jones' Jonestown followers, the Heaven's Gate UFO wackos, David Koresh's Waco cluster, the paramilitary Synanon, even "The Family" arrested in Marin in February after a rickets-riddled baby allegedly starved to death - the list of those who have drawn her incisive gaze stretches on. And on - into cults nobody has ever heard of, bizarre little numbers centered around horses, flying saucers, giant reptiles, weight lifting, music camps, get-rich schemes. You name it.
She's also given expert testimony to help jail dozens of bunko artists who bilked oldsters of their money, done ground-breaking research on the brainwashing of Korean and Vietnam war prisoners, counseled more than 4,000 current and former cult members, and advised the military and FBI on everything from the Oklahoma City bombing to how to pick fighters who best withstand pressure. Along the way she has been hassled or fought by cults, nontraditional religions and even academics who simply disagree with her.