This document is truthful to the best of my knowledge and my memory. It's likely to jump around a lot chronologically; it's more of an attempt to tell of my experiences as coherently and candidly as possible while establishing and corroborating the patterns of aberrant and abusive behavior, and creation of harmful group dynamics that Ms. Toth/Kramer is known throughout several spiritual communities for. There's likely to be deeply personal and potentially 'squicky' stuff in here from time to time; you have been warned. There's also things in here that might well cause one to question my personal integrity as well; for that I could not blame anyone either. I make no excuses for my behavior at the time; I am working on becoming a better, saner person at present.
Despite her slew of psuedonyms I will refer to her as "Mad" throughout the essay for the sake of clarity.
I first encountered the person now calling themselves Lulu White when she was still calling herself by the nickname "Miz Mad" back in the late eighties, roughly about '88 or '89, when I was introduced to her by mutual acquaintances at a Creation Science Fiction convention. She was accompanied by her then-proclaimed "best friend", a Mr. Martin Salberg. She and I shared several interests in the areas of Science Fiction, Comics, and RPGs, and hit it off rather well, despite her rather quick confession that she was a) a lesbian with bisexual tendencies and b) attracted to me--which was initially not reciprocated, as I was still exploring a number of sides to my personal identity, and my preferences had at that time been relatively unexplored. We did start off an initially casual friendship based on mutual interests.
Fairly early on "Mad" began sharing with me what I considered at the time some rather tall orders insofar as her life, both mundane and metaphysical--she claimed to have been both a 'roadie' and a 'groupie' for Culture Club and Boy George, in addition to having social interaction with Duran Duran and a couple of other New Wave bands of the day. She seemed awfully young at the time to have done any of this (I believe that she was 16 or 17 to my 20 or 21), but her anecdotes in regards to this seemed detailed and colorful enough to have been partially convincing, and I at the time had no reason to not take her at her word. (This becomes significant later on with her pattern of 'embellishing' and embroidering the truth, if not actively re-inventing or fabricating such things entirely.)
She gave vivid and detailed descriptions of events she purported to be common in her 'secret life'. They appeared to be a much more disturbing, and much taller a tale, even in light of my long-time interest in the paranormal and the supernatural.
After first making vague, yet intriguing allusions to such interests and encounters, including involvement in a kind of group of magickal practitioners, she gradually revealed a tale of extensive metaphysics-and-religiously-based conspiracies; that she was a (then skeptical and unwilling) member of a nameless 'secret society' sort of group that was deeply involved in heavy metaphysical and real-life conflict with a similar 'society' that opposed them.
This included descriptions of intimidation, torture, and murder on both sides, by both physical means and magicks. It was then that she first alluded to having psychic abilities in the area of divination, prophecy and clairvoyance that she claimed were valued and sought out by both sides of this alleged conflict. This at least this was one of the few things that seem to have a grain of truth in it, insofar as she seemed to me to be more than above-average decent in the area of reading Tarot cards and crystal gazing.
(At this time it is my belief that whatever talents she may have had, have either fallen dormant or 'died out', if such a thing can happen, as toward the end of my association her abilities to divine had declined to almost nil and also degenerated into the embellishment and embroidery that threads through much of her modus operandi.)
On several occasions she described one situation in which, at the age of 10 or 12. she had been abducted by members of 'the opposition' and attempts were made to coerce her to use her abilities for them. When she refused, she was subjected to torture in which her foot had been scalded repeatedly with hot coffee. When I inquired as to why she bore no scars of this frightening incident, she praised the virtuosity of the doctors who subsequently treated her.
Her claims led me to my initial accessment, which was, bluntly, that she seemed a nice, bright, entertaining girl with a more-than-slightly overactive imagination; it would not be out of line for me to say that I thought that she was more than a little bit disturbed for what she seemed to believe, and claimed to be involved in. Initially I kept my opinions in abeyance, insofar as I didn't give a hell of a lot of credence to allegations without proof; however, in my studies of the paranormal and the supernatural, one thing that my then-admittedly limited experience had taught me was that there were a lot of crazy people in the world who believed a lot of crazy things; whether or not they were actually right about being able to throw fireballs and cast spells at one another, the belief that they could could make them very dangerous people. (Some of what "Miz Mad" described put me in mind of the 'magickal wars' alleged to have raged between Aliester Crowley and S.L. MacGregor Mathers.)
The information on the 'secret society' syndrome was not something she blithely or even initially volunteered; she, though speech and action, alluded to the concept that she had a secret that endangered and tormented her (This is an initial indicator of the patterns of social and emotional manipulation that she engaged in regularly over time). She made an extreme effort to appear as if she were 'keeping her secret' in order to live a normal life, and to lead one into areas of personal concern for her safety, in order to convince those she manipulated that they were 'prying it out of her'. I was convinced enough for it to appear obvious that *she* wholeheartedly believed these things. By extrapolation, to me it seemed indeed possible that there were others who believed the same, and were willing to do, not to put too fine a point on it, some pretty crazy shit to one another in regards to those beliefs.
The basic cosmology to these beliefs was a not-always consistent munge of Celtic/Arthurian and pseudo-Christian beliefs (the lack of consistency did not initially alert me to anything, as I had found similar inconsistencies in the belief systems of other faiths that I had studied in my mode of armchair theologian) which involved "Her side" (ostensibly the good guys, though she presented a jaundiced eye insofar as the methods of her 'own people', judging neither side to be better than the other in lip service; sometimes, though not always, she referred to them under the name "Posse Comitias") believing that they were the descendents of what is now regarded in popular thought as Demons, and crusading to give Humanity as a whole the option of Free Will; the "Opposition" (Which did not gain an actual name until many years later--the name was later found to be the title of a fairly obscure novel) believed themselves to be the descendants of Divinity or Angels variably, and were crusading to "save Humanity from itself". The leaders of these organizations were two men named Bran Davies (whom she claimed held the office of "Once And Future King") and an Alzee Hastings (whose office within the 'opposition' appeared to have no title attached to it).
She claimed to be the daughter of a man who held the office of "Merlin" (I also did not see this as completely impossible in a belief system as Arthurian mythos makes frequent allusions to the original Merlin having Demonic or otherwise inhuman ancestry. Also, in several of the NeoPagan Arthurian 'traditions' the position of Merlin was frequently referred to as a title and not an actual person.) named Merriman Lyon, and was being groomed as a Soothsayer/Seer, mostly against her wishes, though she made a great show of hero-worship of her father, and subsequently submitted to a great deal of his beliefs as a result. (One of her seemingly endless lists of public psuedonyms was at one time "Madison Lyon" later on.)
She also alleged that she had associations with other persons who 'held offices' that were styled after the Court of King Arthur and the knights of the Round (some of these people I never met, and now assume to be fictitious inventions, due to later revelations). It included a quest for a "Six Objects Of Power", of which she claimed, variably, to be a guardian of one of the items, or to actually *be* that item. The office of Merlin was also variably claimed to be held by a man named 'Alaric Black', who was completely blind. She claimed to regularly be used in Tantric rituals with him.
(To this day I believe that there is at least some partial truth to this situation, insofar as there being some loosely-organized groups of people who hold the above, extremely strange, beliefs; I *did* meet enough people through her who at least claimed to be part of this situation, though her claims of a 'worldwide conspiracy' involving hundreds and possibly thousands of people is unlikely at best. Whether or not one accepts the cosmology as fact, as they appeared to do, there certainly were people willing to do some pretty serious things to each other over it that I had physical contact with over the years, not all of it friendly or pleasant. This served to further convince me that, whatever else was going on, there were some pretty disturbed and disturbing people out there who at least believed that these things were true.)
The first efforts to draw me into this situation occurred when "Mad" got back in touch with me after a moderate period in which I had not heard from her. She was at the time in the process of having a huge and apparently disastrous falling-out with the previously-proclaimed best friend Mr. Salberg; she explained that he had become inordinately romantically attached to her, and that he had therefore begun overstepping his bounds as a friend within her life. She claimed by turns that he had been attempting to 'run her life and keep her from her other friends'; and, as a result of her disinterest in anything other than a friendship, that he and his family had taken to stalking her. Not surprisingly I found this an unfortunate and unacceptable turn of events, and sympathized with her; I did not know any of the alleged 'stalkers' very well, and took her at her word.
She claimed she was recovering from recently having been hospitalized for a liver ailment (at the time she looked frail and thin so this also did not seem unreasonable to me) and she presented a convincing picture of a person in need of a sympathetic ear. Later she would claim that 'being on medication' for this unnamed ailment had left her mentally confused and pliant, leading to her being 'controlled' by Mr. Salberg, and coming off this period of medication 'woke her up' to his negative nature, spurring her to end the friendship.
(This establishes early on the pattern of inveigling herself into the lives of people, sponging money, and then demonizing them as stalkers or emotionally unbalanced when restitution either monetary or emotional is demanded, to obfuscate her own actions. A common and repeated claim is implication of unrequited sexual interest--that is, she has rejected the attention of someone who is interested in her romantically and/or sexually, and the rejection has driven them to irrational and unacceptable acts. This also establishes the concurrent pattern of recruiting others unaware of the situation through these claims and attempting to inflame them against those she is demonizing. Though a moderately attractive woman, the sheer number of the claims she has made regarding those 'driven to irrational acts'--directly concurrent with their either spurning her attentions and/or expressing skepticism of her metaphysical practices and/or worldview-- through irresistible attraction to her would seem to make many of those claims improbable at best.)
Discussing the matter at length to Mr. Salberg and his family, they asserted that " Mad" (at this time I learned her legal name to be Rebecca Kramer), had in fact freeloaded money and goods from them repeatedly and for an extensive period of time; she indeed owed them a not-insignificant quantity of money, as well as items of sentimental value that she refused to return. (She does in fact still have several personal items of mine which are of some monetary as well as sentimental value.) Mr. Salberg and his family appeared to me to be, for reasons I won't get into large amounts of detail here, odd enough in their own right for me to initially discount their claims as somewhat overblown and inconclusive; in retrospect, and concurrent with the pattern that emerges, I believe it is worthy of note.
Mr. Salberg also had, both during and after his association, expressed a deep skepticism of "Miz Mad's" metaphysical claims, and early on considered her to be somewhat deluded; he also related that she often slipped into what he described as other personalities (complete with accents) when I later discussed the matter with him. (I have also seen her exhibit these behaviors on a fairly regular basis; she claimed it later to be a form of 'channeling' but this was inconsistent as many of those she claimed to have 'channeled' she alternately claimed to be beings of flesh and blood in the 'real world' and not spiritual or discarnate entities.)
He also attempted to debunk her claims, which I also find worthy of note insofar as continuing to establish the pattern of slandering detractors.
Another interesting note shared with me by Mr. Salberg was that he believed the alleged personage 'Alaric Black' to at least be in part based on his own father, who had been blind for many years; according to him, "Miz Mad's" mention of the blind 'Alaric Black' had not arisen until she had met tbe senior Mr. Salberg.
It was also from Mr. Salberg that I got the first clues about what could only be described as a severe addiction to RPGs (even insisting on gaming on the anniversary of his younger brother's death, and becoming verbally and emotionally abusive when he quite reasonably refused. My later experiences also concur with this behavior.)
"Mad" insisted on RPGing as the major social activity at almost any given opportunity, becoming sullen and intractable--and frequently verbally and emotionally abusive--when those around her proposed or suggested alternate activities. She learned to be better about this later on--though was never entirely successful--at both concealing her insistence and finding subtler ways of bringing people around to her way of thinking, even going so far as to later insist that RPGing was an integral and valuable method of working magickally (which she now denies. I was directly involved in at least three of these 'RPG workings', possibly more).
Lara Lasner (at that time known by the nickname "Electra", which "Mad" had given her), was one of her frequent RPG partners at the time (later to become Mrs. Jonathan Frater when she introduced them).
My initial involvement with the 'group' was minimal; she described to me a number of improbable scenarios and incidents that she alleged hampered and plagued her life, but she also specified that she did not want me to be in any way directly involved. I encouraged her at many turns to report many of these things to the police or other authorities as, by her accounts, they included forced abduction, physical, and sexual abuse in some cases, but I was assured that the intervention would be useless or even dangerous. (This increased my concern for her and her safety; I have subsequently concluded, having observed her repeat nearly identical patterns with others, that it was and is deliberately designed to do so.)
In fact, much of her later alleged 'magickal expertise' was concurrent with my own metaphysical studies, contradictorily subsequent to her insistence that 'traditional tools and methods' were neither necessary or desirable. When I began studying herbalism, incense, and oil making, she coincidentally began 'being taught' these techniques by an unseen teacher who no one ever met. This was interchangeable with claims that she had been taught such techniques by her father, her description of whom varied between a druidic priest, a practitioner of New Orleans Voudon, and an archaeologist--or improbable combinations of all three of these claims, which were other blatant inconsistencies.
Her quite lurid descriptions of her more disturbing experiences did indeed further spur my interest in metaphysical matters, as I was at the time becoming much more involved with Gardenerian-style Wicca and Ceremonial Magick simultaneously, especially in the areas of protective and combative magick.
It would be dishonest to deny that a certain amount of caution and 'contact paranoia' influenced some of my studies; if I were to be friends with someone who appeared to be involved in some kind of 'magickal mafia', it would not be a bad idea to know how to protect and defend oneself on both physical and metaphysical accounts. Around then also began my interest in the sword as a weapon (though it was initially an interest in in European style swords, today it is the katana and Japanese weaponry and MA).
Not too long thereafter I would be encouraged, and then practically required, to limit my studies to these areas within the group (which I did not accede to).
I functioned primarily a 'consultant' one could say to the core group which tended to involve five or six 'regulars' with several people who showed up from time to time on a less regular basis. Many of these people's identities are recorded in Cliff Low's essays.
There was an additional, unseen cast of characters that seemed extensive, and she claimed to be sexually involved with many of them, while a few of them were in an 'unrequited love' situation with her. (I found it very odd at the time that she had so many male lovers when she claimed to regard men's bodies as 'furniture'.) I very much served as a 'research hound'; she often came to me with questions about various traditions and spells, as she continued her claim to be an unwilling participant in the activities, and to not have an extensive paranormal education.
The bulk of her ideas, concepts, and practices in regards to metaphysics were obviously derivative of popular fiction; she went so far as to describe Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising cycle of books as a loosely fictionalized account of events in her life. She alleged that Ms. Cooper had been a "friend of the family", especially the Druid/Voudon/Archaeologist father (The name 'Merriman' is actually taken directly from these books, as is the name 'Bran') and had fictionalized the exploits of her and their lives accordingly, occasionally swapping the genders of characters (which was her justification for the lead character in the series's being male).
She did not claim that I was a reincarnate of an obscure figure with a somewhat tangential connection to Arthurian mythology (Gwion Bach) until some time later.
She claimed by turns to be in AA because of the strain of her metaphysical life; at another time she claimed to have been addicted to speed. Much of this was likely sympathy-fabrication as well, though she now denies all of this; these claims however were made before many witnesses, including her ex-husband. Despite her claims to the contrary, I have never claimed that she used, sold, or otherwise interacted with any hard drugs, I have simply gone by her own claims.
Another commonly-employed tactic of defamation was and is alluding to one's ability (or inability) to hold down a job as a yardstick for personal viability; if this is indeed the case she does not meet her own criteria. During the entire time I have known her, she was unable to hold down a job for more than a few months at a time; her metaphysical life was frequently used as an explanation for this inability to maintain gainful employment. She almost never had any money and largely depended on handouts and support from family, sympathetic friends, and lovers. The only time during which she was ever self-supporting was during her stint as a stripper/booth girl on 42nd St. . She claimed later to have been a prostitute as well as a professional dominatrix; this may or may not have been true. Later on she was supported by Mr. Toth when they married. Claims that she was considered 'invaluable' and recieved glowing praise from employers--improbable in the face of her taking days off from jobs at a time (she regularly lied to employers about being ill, sometimes right in front of me, in order to go off on a search for metaphysical tools, or just to play RPGs)--were followed by her dismissal; usually a tale of 'disgruntled, jealous' fellow employees and/or managers accompanied these dismissals.
"Mad"'s allegations that I am unable to/unwilling to hold down a job are provably false as to be laughable; I have over 10 years of retail experience, as well as 3-5 years of clerical experience; 7 of those 10 years of retail experience have been in the area of management and buyer. During much of that time I worked 50-60 hour weeks. My employment records speak for themselves, as do hers.
She regularly claimed to be physically tortured and sexually abused by several of the 'unseen combatants', as well as claiming the same of alleged detractors; if they had not successfully abused her, they had expressed desire to. (This pattern of claiming sexual abuse and/or harassment, especially against those who have rejected her sexual attentions, is a much more evident pattern during the second half of my association with her.) She never showed any physical effects of these assaults that I saw.
These situations were also used as explanations for not being able to show up on time for various appointments, for not being able to complete schooling (she claims to have attended John Jay University; there is no record of this, and is likely fabricated from classes that she had sit in on from time to time with Mr. Salberg, who graduated from same), nor hold down a job.
Again, the sheer number and frequency of these claims of physical and sexual abuse by both fabricated abusers and detractors alike would seem to render the claims improbable.
"Mad" also claimed to be a published author (conveniently in other countries such as Germany) and to have co-authored several RPG modules under a pseudonym (sometimes, but not always, that of "Rhoney Kaye"). I believe the inspirations for these 'claims' in part to be Mr. Frater's *real* work in the area of RPGs and sci-fi authorship; he has had published a small series of "Robotech"-based novels under the pseudonym Jack Trainman. If "Mad" has indeed been published it is nowhere as extensively as she has frequently claimed.
At one time or another, almost every person in the group was either emotionally and/or sexually involved with her, 'had a crush on her', or the promise that it might happen was held out by her as emotional 'bait'. I know of at least 3 people whom were the recipients of such behavior (Ms. O'Neill and myself not included in this; I won't use the legal names of others unless they decide to come forward).
"Mad" made a point of extending at least the veiled promise of emotional and/or sexual involvement toward those in the group that were especially socially awkward, in a frequently successful bid to make them feel attractive and special; if she did become actually involved with them, these favors were used to control their behaviors within the group, and withdrawn from said person if they did not stick to the prescribed program. If they did not respond to this form of control, they were (as Mr. Salberg, Ms. O'Neill, and Mr. Bode were) actively demonized and ostracized from the group. This happened to no less than three other people during the time I was with the group; further investigation has yielded many more victims of this treatment. I am actually a prime example of this--at the time a social misfit, overweight, questioning of my sexuality and gender identity, and with extreme self-esteem issues, I fit the criteria quite nicely. Ms. O'Neill makes her case in her own essay, in which she candidly explains her victimization and treatment.
Additionally, I also have confirmation and corroboration that "Mad" has on more than one occasion outright lied and fabricated emotional and/or sexual involvement with people both in and outside of the group; she used these fabrications to engender jealousy and mistrust between those who she was involved with or implied that she could be.
The active position of mudslinging toward anyone who questioned "Mad's" abilities, claims, or metaphysical qualifications remained extant; "Mad" again made a point of filtering most or all of the information on these situations through herself, and both depended on, and deliberately engineered, situations of miscommunication to portray herself as the victim of unfair detractors. (The defamation campaign against Kevin Filan, Clifford Low, and Mambo Racine on Usenet is one of the strongest and most easy to confirm examples of this; the finer details of same are recorded again in Mr. Low's website to much better effect than I can provide here; further details of this are also readily available in the Usenet archives.)
Many of us, as we considered this person our friend (some of us their lover or potential lover) had no idea of the extent of what was going on. I, for example, was completely unfamiliar with the on line community and indeed home computers until the late 90's--though I would later find that a 'Rodger Mathews Dragonstorm' had been posting to Usenet, not surprisingly, through the accounts of Ms. Toth and Mr. Frater, long before I had ever owned or operated one--in effect, a clumsy attempt at impersonation on her part to give the appearance of supporters in her defamation campaign against Mr. Filan, Mr. Low, and Mambo Racine. We took her at her word that she was the victim of unfair gossip.
In fact, to this day, the terminology "vicious gossip" is one of her favorites when she attempts to defame those who dispute her claims or bring attention to her behaviors, despite an extensive record of these activities and many reliable testimonies.
Though she and the group paid a great deal of public lip service to the concept of nonviolence both physical and metaphysical, if someone allegedly victimized her, or attacked the group, a convenient excuse to bypass this public policy usually appeared. Collusion with 'the enemy' was used more than once, though infrequently (Megan O'Neill and Skyler Bode's ostraciziation from the group had this basis, the purpose of which was twofold; Megan was resisting "Mad"'s insistences as to how she develop metaphysically, and was in danger of exposing the fact that she had been/was actively sexually involved with her, which she was keeping from Mr. Christian Toth. Additionally Mr. Bode expressed deep and abiding skepticism toward much of "Mad's" claims, and found her treatment of Ms. O'Neill untenable). "Possession" by demons, evil spirits, and other malevolent entities was another common reason.
More than once, we were encouraged to engage in both physical and metaphysical retribution against detractors. (This is a tactic that she continues presently as well.) I also observed "Mad" to engage in some ground-level curses against those she had designated a threat, always with a convenient justification that they were 'dangerous' and 'there was no other choice'. (She alleged to me, later on, that she had put a Santerian-style curse upon Mr. Filan in which 'centipedes and scorpions would grow inside his body', and he would die of them; she used the self-fabricated threat against the life of her daughter as justification. One will recognize the 'centipedes and scorpions' curse as almost directly lifted from the movie "The Believers" upon close examination. Mr. Filan remains most vitally alive.) Intimidation was also considered quite acceptable in discouraging detractors; anonymous threats were not uncommon.
The threatening phone call that Mr. Low received is now confirmed; I, I am ashamed to say, was the one who made it. "Mad" had successfully convinced me at the time that the New Age Store that she had opened with Mr. Frater (notably exhausting a great deal of his savings at no expense to herself when it failed) was being unfairly persecuted and slandered by him.
The encouragement to physical threats and violence was subtler, usually through allegations of threats toward the group and/or herself, most of which were pure fabrication (Again, Kevin Filan's 'threatening letters' toward "Mad's" daughter, which were proved forgeries are a really good example of this). Though I have no idea if anyone actually acted on this encouragement--it did not happen within my line of sight--there was a blatant attitude on her part that consisted of "I would never think of doing (fill in the blank) any physical harm, but if *you* beat (them) up, I wouldn't blame you....".
I was also actively encouraged to search for other 'reincarnates' among the Pagan communities and groups of friends; to my shame I did indeed draw a number of people into the group. I'm happy to say that most of them wised up and got out of dodge long before I did, though not all of them escaped wholly unscathed. ("Mad" now actively derides reincarnates of any stripe, presumably to disassociate herself from these activities; however, there are again available corroborating witnesses to confirm that this was indeed the case.)
Despite popular belief (and no doubt somewhat engendered by "Mad's" tendency to claim sexual involvement with those she was not), I was one of the people most reluctant to become sexually involved with "Mad", as her promiscuity was frankly not something I wanted as a part of my lifestyle. It was some time before we became an 'item' (which, like her affair with Megan O'Neill, she later flatly denied).
Discovery of my trans-sexuality left me the most vulnerable to her long-time and repeated attentions (she had, in fact, been actively flirting with me and lamenting a long-term relationship of mine for several years); she made a point of being extremely accepting of a life-choice that actually ended a few of my friendships and was exceedingly insistent on its acceptance among our circle.
Mr. Low is mistaken, certainly unintentionally so, insofar as my discoveries of my gender dysphoria at the time; these decisions and discoveries were neither encouraged nor created by "Mad". Though she later made a great show of being unremittingly supportive of my decision, she was initially extremely resistant to it.
During the period of time described she alternated between myself, Ms. O'Neill, Mr. Robert Toth (the details of which are also recorded in Mr. Low's essays) and another gentleman named Christian, ironically with the same surname, in both emotional and material arenas. There may well have been others that none of the above knew of as well.
It was Christian Toth that she later married and had two children by (though she would later claim that her son was fathered by an "Arthur Chee", the replacement for "Bran Davies" upon his "death", both of whom would later prove to be a complete fabrication). During our involvement I was encouraged to keep it a secret due to her engagement to Mr. Toth; I admit to a certain amount of moral turpitude on my part to preserve the relationship which is my own fault. It did make it easier for her to deny our involvement later on.
Our intimate relationship consisted mostly of Role-Play and 'scening' in scenarios she created in, again, RPG-style frameworks; she almost unilaterally insisted that we be role-playing as various characters and people during intimacy. I initially regarded this as an interesting 'kink' but it wore thin after a short while. When I expressed a desire and need to have an additional, conventional intimate life, one that included not effectively pretending that I was some other person or 'character' whenever we were involved, she insisted that she was not able to achieve satisfaction in any other framework; indeed, she insisted that I was unreasonable and selfish for making such a 'demand'. Needless to say I found this emotionally and physically demeaning, and our relationship, as well as my personal emotional state, went into a steady decline. The insistence eventually became unilateral, and appeared to be an extension of both her obsession with RPGs and her personal fantasy life.
"Mad" attempted to be physically abusive toward me twice during the first course of our relationship; I say 'attempted' because she is an extremely petite person and I am not; as such she was not capable of doing much besides inflicting surface bruises or scratches. One of these instances resulted in physical retaliation on my part that injured her enough that I refrained from doing so again from fear of doing real damage. (She will likely deny this, but there were several witnesses to this event that I'm sure would have no problem corroborating it; she was subsequently compelled to see a chiropractor due to resultant injury. Shortly afterward she fabricated a story of 'attack by a member of the opposition' to explain away the injuries and the doctor's visits.)
During this time I met my future spouse Jayme Ghost (aka Altriequ Berry). Jayme also proved to be extremely skeptical of "Mad"'s claims, especially those of a metaphysical nature; his constant questions and demands for evidence earned him isolation from participation with the 'group' which by then had acquired a name-- "The Company" (See Mr. Low's essays for details)--as had the 'enemy' which gained the name "The Gabriel Hounds". Though nominally under my leadership, the group was, for the most part, controlled by "Mad" behind the scenes through a number of the means already listed here, as well as garden-variety methods of social manipulation.
She was also the main force behind the structure of the group, which was again heavily influenced by the structure of RPG-style 'adventure parties' (I repeatedly insisted that this be abandoned; she adamantly maintained that there was a much finer line between the RPGs that she/we played, and reality, than most people thought. She also insisted that fictional representations in popular books and movies were more useful as metaphysical education than that of established traditions. During the second half of our association, her insistence that White Wolf's "Kindred Of The East" source-books were based on fact, as well as the books of Tim Powers--going so far as to designate one of our 'magickal operations' around a plot-line lifted directly from them--proved to be a breaking point for numerous people.)
It was also during that time that Jonathan Frater first made the scene (ironically also met by "Mad" at a science-fiction convention; she seems to comb such gatherings for likely candidates, as she does now with the fringes of the Otherkin community, and the Furry Fandom) and that she began focusing a great deal of attention upon him, drawing him into the group. Ironically Mr. Frater started out as a serious skeptic, but he soon abandoned his more rational accessments as she went out of her way to create an attractive and metaphysically powerful persona for him. It became readily obvious that Mr. Frater was being groomed as a sort of sidekick or 'right hand man', as he proved especially pliant and eager to accept the persona. Soon Mr. Frater was being used almost exclusively as a buffer both in and out of the group against the considerable amount of flak that was starting to come in. Ms. Lasner also acted in the same capacity, notably in the Usenet incident. Ms. Lasner also engaged in several acts of petty internet harassment during the Usenet incidents.
Mr. Frater, along with his wife, Lara, are now both centrally involved with "Mad", as well as becoming sexually involved shortly after my and numerous others recent and permanent departure from the group. This would appear to be a powerful indicator of continuation of the group's trends of emotional and sexual manipulation.
The use of Mr. Frater in this regard was most likely due to my (and others) increasing frustration with the demands that the group put on my (and their) personal life. Due to constant and spurious crises, I barely had one, and my friendships were pretty much being dictated by who could and could not be "trusted" by the group.
At times I was encouraged to quit jobs because working full-time interfered with both my social time with her, and time with the group; she would repeatedly phone me at my job despite the objections of employers and demand that I speak with her about 'magickal emergencies' for extended periods of time that violated company policy and endangered my employment status more than once. Three- and four o'clock "emergency" phone calls, meetings, and rituals became frequent as to be considered commonplace, and with very little explanation or indicator that there was any kind of drastic action needed.
Exacerbating the situation was my increasing insistence upon quantifiable evidence for her claims (her insistences became more and more contradictory, and erratic; she claimed at turns to be 'infallibly psychic', to be a 'family trad' Druidic Priestess or a 'Priestess of Atho'; to be of demonic descent, complete with ram-horned, bat-winged, hooved 'True Form'; then to be of Celestial or Angelic Descent; then to be a hybrid of both; that huge "astral battles" were being waged without the slightest hint of effect, other than psychosomatic on the part of many, on the Real World; the 'unseen cast' expanded to include a half-aborigine (!) half-brother who no one ever laid eyes on, or met; and so on), which was never forthcoming, and my refusal to part company with a few people who were also questioning just what the hell was going on, especially Jayme.
In addition, through introduction to Eastern paths, I was in a period of spiritual discovery that had quantifiable effects and determination in my life which directly conflicted with the role within the group that had been decided for me. I was also becoming emotionally involved with someone (Jayme) who was respectful of and compatible with my relationship needs. There is nothing quite like real external confirmation to show how invented fantasy pales beside it. My involvement with Jayme, though initially encouraged by her, ultimately especially threatened her, and he was more than once implicated as 'unsafe' or 'unstable' metaphysically in attempts to drive wedges between myself and him.
She additionally claimed to experience a phenomenon that she called 'co-walking' (which was a term that I later found her to have appropriated from "The Aquarian Guide To British and Irish Mythology" by John and Caitlin Matthews; her usage of it bears almost no resemblance to the meaning given in the book), in which she experienced multiple, parallel lives that left her with the intellectual, mental, and metaphysical experience of someone who was several hundred years old, and demanded that she be treated accordingly; my flat refusal to treat her in 'aged sage' fashion brought more emotional and verbal abuse. (She also I believe made these claims to Ms. O'Neill, though I don't know if she made them to anyone else.)
A good deal of the names of her later 'oils and potions' were found to be appropriated from this same book, in fact, which conflicts radically with her claims that they were secret recipes given to her by some unseen teacher. (This was when she was in her 'Druidic' phase of claims; later her 'concoctions' would take on a more Afro-Caribbean tone during her claims to being a 'Gris Gris Lady', a Voudon Priestess, etc.)
Due to my refusal to abandon my relationship and my studies I was eventually drummed out of the group, immediately classed as 'having been driven insane' by contact with an obscure metaphysical artifact, and my entire sexual involvement with her was summarily denied as a 'lovesick delusion' (a repeat of the patterns exhibited with Mr. Salberg, Ms. O'Neill, and Mr. Robert Toth; there may well be others). "Mad" was marrying Mr. Christian Toth, so, in spite of her intial willingness to continue a relationship 'on the side', i found dissolution of any further involvement just as well. At the time I highly disapproved of any union with Mr. Toth due to her descriptions of him as being incapable of fidelity, emotionally selfish, and a dozen other relationship faults (I now believe these to also be fabrications, likely to engender sympathy and jealousy; I am certain that Mr. Toth was certainly not the monster that she made him out to be, whatever his faults; he suffered greatly during his marriage to her, some of it under my direct view, and continues to be the brunt of libelous accusations, emotional and verbal abuse from her now that they are divorced).
My departure took place under heavy implication that I should lay low and 'not make any trouble' for them; after seeing what they were happy to subject others who had disagreed with them to, I logically concluded that I would be the next victim of more than just the spread of rumors. I had been encouraged by "Mad" and the group to do violence, both physical and metaphysical, to people who either had left the group or had questioned their validity and practices; it was not a long walk to the concept that I would be the next recipient. I broke all contact with the group and moved out of New York City for good measure at Jayme's behest, who had become concerned upon observing the increasingly erratic behaviors. With Jayme's encouragement we moved to Jersey City, New Jersey, and pursued our spiritual studies together. We did not hear from anyone in the group for almost three years.
I realize that a person reading all of this might well have the reaction "What the hell was wrong with you, were you on crack?", and I do understand a large part of this sentiment, now being able to view the situation from the outside. From the inside of a situation that is constantly being engineered to engender sympathy and an emotionally charged atmosphere, it's harder to tell, even when things are as strange and hard-to-swallow as I describe. Mad's histrionics, 'psychic seizures', and emotional difficulties were at least compelling insofar as painting a portrait of someone who was in trouble and needed help from those around her. Initially that help did not seem too much to ask.
I *am* still of the opinion (and in many ways in direct conflict with others who have shed the mantle of of the frequently-renamed group) that not everything "Mad" described was wholly smoke and mirrors; I feel that I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had at times more than a little external confirmation that there was both political and metaphysical 'bad news' afoot; I made a point of looking for external confirmation of it. I chalk much of the hogwash up to "Mad's" talent and insistence upon interweaving small kernels of truth with elaborate constructs of psychodramatic nature, designed to inflate and support a diseased self-image and direct attention back to herself. The groups that she forms around herself are merely a support structure of this elaborate LARP of which she is the central character; much of her RPGing was structured in very similar fashion.
In fact, that constant search for external confirmation in other events, people, and things was a consistent point of contention between "Mad" and myself, as my insistence upon doing so invariably engendered offense from her; she was by turns disappointed, angry, and resentful that I, or anyone within the group, would 'doubt her word' and 'lack faith' in her, and seek additional confirmation elsewhere.
It was, in fact, when that external confirmation broke down--as in, the search for it was actively discouraged, and/or nowhere to be found--which precipitated both times that I parted ways. Even if those involved were at times creating their own internal and external metaphysical crises, a phenomenon I later learned even has its own acronym and term, PWS or Psychic Wars Syndrome"--"Mad" was adept at interweaving actual facts and events with the 'plot lines' of her, and her group's, inventions. She consistently augmented this by that insistence that seeking information alternate to that which she gave was a 'violation of trust' and 'lack of faith' in her, and her abilities. Most people eventually agreed, albeit grudgingly, to this, and she controlled the information they received accordingly.
It should also be noted that, then and now,"Mad" actively and repeatedly made a point of gaining the sympathies of people who had violent tendencies and/or emotional disturbances (and I include myself in that number, though I would like to think that I am more mentally stable than many of those she has and has had around her for those purposes; more on this later on) who might well be able to be convinced to take action against her "abusers" on her behalf; in essence, making a point of recruiting 'bulldogs' as well as people much more knowledgeable than herself. If nothing else, she is as adept at lying, likely pathologically so, in order to warp the meager facts she can acquire to her own use, as she is at her elaborate fantasies.
She has done this many times, with many people, and done more than a little damage to their spiritual development this way, by many methods--the most common being emotional and/or sexual manipulation. This continuous emotional and spiritual abuse resulted in quantifiable emotional and mental damage to a number of people, resulting in at least one suicide attempt on the part of one of the abused. The conceit that all involved were hopelessly gullible or unintelligent is common but inaccurate.
It has been explained to me that I came, what has been termed "pre-excised"--with little to no family or social attachments, and a history of physical and emotional abuse from both my biological mother and subsequent foster families, I was in most ways an ideal candidate for recruitment into a 'cult of personality', which I believe the record shows "Mad" as repeatedly attempting to build around herself, and being successful to varying degrees.