counter create hit The Cult Next Door: A Manhattan Memoir - Download Free eBook
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

The Cult Next Door: A Manhattan Memoir

Availability: Ready to download

During Thanksgiving vacation, Elizabeth, a 17-year-old Swarthmore College freshman, attended a therapy session where the practitioner regaled her with prophetic visions of a glorious future, hers to claim beside him. Over the decades that followed, this master at manipulating metaphysical concepts organized a small dedicated band. Among brainwashed minds fused with New Age During Thanksgiving vacation, Elizabeth, a 17-year-old Swarthmore College freshman, attended a therapy session where the practitioner regaled her with prophetic visions of a glorious future, hers to claim beside him. Over the decades that followed, this master at manipulating metaphysical concepts organized a small dedicated band. Among brainwashed minds fused with New Age doctrine, Elizabeth sank into despair. From the gullibility that led her astray, to the enlightenment that freed her, you will travel an incredible journey. For anyone who has ever been trapped by a person who would not let them go, within this book lies a message of hope.


Compare
Ads Banner

During Thanksgiving vacation, Elizabeth, a 17-year-old Swarthmore College freshman, attended a therapy session where the practitioner regaled her with prophetic visions of a glorious future, hers to claim beside him. Over the decades that followed, this master at manipulating metaphysical concepts organized a small dedicated band. Among brainwashed minds fused with New Age During Thanksgiving vacation, Elizabeth, a 17-year-old Swarthmore College freshman, attended a therapy session where the practitioner regaled her with prophetic visions of a glorious future, hers to claim beside him. Over the decades that followed, this master at manipulating metaphysical concepts organized a small dedicated band. Among brainwashed minds fused with New Age doctrine, Elizabeth sank into despair. From the gullibility that led her astray, to the enlightenment that freed her, you will travel an incredible journey. For anyone who has ever been trapped by a person who would not let them go, within this book lies a message of hope.

30 review for The Cult Next Door: A Manhattan Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Eleanor Frances

    The Cult Next Door by Elizabeth R. Burchard and Judith L. Carlone is a memoir about one woman’s descent into a mind-controlling cult and another woman’s determination and friendship that helped her escape. The authors share their personal stories with a consistent structure that is easy to read. In the Foreword, they include a clarification of the myths surrounding the people who join a cult. The chronological order of the chapters discloses Elizabeth R. Burchard’s life with clarity and allows t The Cult Next Door by Elizabeth R. Burchard and Judith L. Carlone is a memoir about one woman’s descent into a mind-controlling cult and another woman’s determination and friendship that helped her escape. The authors share their personal stories with a consistent structure that is easy to read. In the Foreword, they include a clarification of the myths surrounding the people who join a cult. The chronological order of the chapters discloses Elizabeth R. Burchard’s life with clarity and allows the reader to grasp the circumstances that led her to George Sharkman, the leader of her cult. She holds nothing back even when she divulges her intimate relationship with Sharkman. While reading Judith L. Carlone’s story, the reader learns how her kindness and rational approach persuaded Elizabeth to leave the cult. This memoir is an excellent study of human nature and examines the areas of emotional weakness and emotional strength. This story provides insights into the cult world, and it exposes its unfortunate, co-dependent lifestyle. Those who have not fallen victim to a mind-controlling narcissist should realize that people caught in this vicious cycle can be highly-educated and intelligent. I recognized in Elizabeth certain qualities that I have seen in many people, including myself. It is frightening that this cult leader was parading as a health professional and slowly deceiving the patients with his mind-control. Elizabeth remained with Sharkman due to her need for acceptance and parental approval. What individual can say that these two conditions are not paramount to the well-being of a person? Yet some people are not satiated with these two conditions in their childhood, so they seek to find acceptance elsewhere, and sometimes they become prime fodder for a cult leader. However, after reading this book, I believe anyone can fall prey to a cult at any time during their life. The book was well-edited, and I found no errors. I liked the formatting of the chapters, especially the headings that labeled when Judith was giving her account. The chronological order of events helped me to understand why Elizabeth's involvement with Sharkman was so intense. There was nothing I disliked about this book, and I eagerly turned pages to the end. The tone of the book was tranquil which added authenticity to the account since it suggests Elizabeth’s transformation from her ordeal. I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars. I see no reason to give it a lower rating. I recommend this book for an adult audience, especially those who had a toxic childhood. Although most of the subject matter is suitable for young adults, there is some non-graphic sexual content. I enjoy books that take me “down the rabbit hole” to a place I have never been, and although this story takes the reader to a place of evil, in the end, the reader is equipped with the knowledge to avoid the pitfalls of that evil. I am grateful the authors decided to write this book; it just might save people.

  2. 4 out of 5

    BreeAnn (She Just Loves Books)

    This was such an emotional story! The view of how a person can be sucked into a cult was eye-opening. Elizabeth talks about her relationship with the leader of the cult and how she became a member of the group. This book had great writing that really brought me into the story. Part of the story is written by Elizabeth's friend, an outsider from the group, who helped Elizabeth eventually leave the cult. Her portion of the story added a nice external perspective. Content warning: mental/physical ab This was such an emotional story! The view of how a person can be sucked into a cult was eye-opening. Elizabeth talks about her relationship with the leader of the cult and how she became a member of the group. This book had great writing that really brought me into the story. Part of the story is written by Elizabeth's friend, an outsider from the group, who helped Elizabeth eventually leave the cult. Her portion of the story added a nice external perspective. Content warning: mental/physical abuse, brainwashing, inappropriate doctor-to-patient relationship. Overall, this was a great memoir and one I would recommend. I was provided a free copy of this book. I am leaving my review voluntarily. My full review is available at https://forums.onlinebookclub.org/vie...

  3. 4 out of 5

    jessica

    3.5 stars full review can be viewed here: https://forums.onlinebookclub.org/vie... 3.5 stars full review can be viewed here: https://forums.onlinebookclub.org/vie...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mary Jones

    An interesting story, but really hard for me to identify with. The part that bothered me most, I think, was at the point where she realizes what a fraud he is, and how much she resents and despises him, but she's still trying to recruit others.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    Meh. This book wasn't bad but it wasn't good either. It could have been way better but the chapters were so short and the author shares her experience in these very broad and generalized ways. I wanted more details and richer descriptions of everything she went through. Sure, it's sad that she ever experienced this in her life especially during what should have been such a young and fun time but she never went deep enough into the details to truly help me connect. My reactions were more "well, th Meh. This book wasn't bad but it wasn't good either. It could have been way better but the chapters were so short and the author shares her experience in these very broad and generalized ways. I wanted more details and richer descriptions of everything she went through. Sure, it's sad that she ever experienced this in her life especially during what should have been such a young and fun time but she never went deep enough into the details to truly help me connect. My reactions were more "well, that sucks" than "Omgosh, you poor thing! How traumatic. I can't believe she had to go through that." It could have been an incredible tale and instead it's another story I'll forget about in a month or two.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Janalyn

    Obsessed with and without him! In this book, Elizabeth tells us of her journey with George sharkmen. Hey charismatic, 38-year-old biofeedback counselor. He works in the office with a legitimate doctor; while doing illegitimate practices to help stress reduction and his clients listen to their bodies. That is until the medical doctor catches him naked, with one of his clients. Undaunted George starts having sessions with Elizabeth, her mother and a few other women at Elizabeth and her mothers hous Obsessed with and without him! In this book, Elizabeth tells us of her journey with George sharkmen. Hey charismatic, 38-year-old biofeedback counselor. He works in the office with a legitimate doctor; while doing illegitimate practices to help stress reduction and his clients listen to their bodies. That is until the medical doctor catches him naked, with one of his clients. Undaunted George starts having sessions with Elizabeth, her mother and a few other women at Elizabeth and her mothers house every Thursday.. After a Stabley Shing a cult following, Elizabeth and other members from the group; cannot help but to invite close friends to witness the Entergy George gives off, as he sits in a chair shaking moving in a circle and just plain gyrating. The devotees claim to feel his energy source and furthermore they believe everything he says. Elizabeth spends 22 years believing everything George spews out of his mouth. Including that if people die it is because they didn’t let the universe know they wanted to live and that when he is physically abusive to someone in the group it is their fault. The BS goes on and on. When she finally meets a true friend Who is willing to loan her some of their common sense. She starts to see George and the rest of the zombie group for what they are. Her new friend Judy and her husband help her to peel herself away from this man, not to mention his daughter who is very involved in her life and eventually with no money put in becomes a partner in Elizabeth’s business both of them! There is some(both of the businesses I mean.) I couldn’t put this book down, not only because it gave me the opportunity to sit and say oh I would never do that. Although Elizabeth says anyone could be swept up in the group, she tells us many instances when people met George and he spilled his nonsense and all they felt from him was evil or thought he was ridiculous. I could not put this book down and I didn’t until I was finished reading it it is really, Really good! I recommend this book to anyone who likes autobiographies and memoirs about dramatic situations, I would say that they successfully get out of. I don’t know if I can save that because this is the revised edition and all the way till the end all she talked about is closure. When you were looking for closure you were giving the person that hurt you the same power they had before you thought you needed Closure is just made up and for those who think they need it or just re-victimizing that self until they see the person they claim they need closure from. Don’t give anyone that kind of power. In any event this is a good book, very good. I know I said that already I really highly recommend this book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Clint

    I enjoyed this book. It was a page turner. There were three things though that in my mind kept it from being a truly great book: 1. Too Vague. Especially early on, the book seemed very vague about certain situations. It also seemed to jump around a lot. Maybe this was due to the author’s memory. But in a lot of the more than interesting and crazy situations - the sexual parts especially - with few exceptions the author seemed to skim over it, preferring to imply rather than describe. Not that I’m I enjoyed this book. It was a page turner. There were three things though that in my mind kept it from being a truly great book: 1. Too Vague. Especially early on, the book seemed very vague about certain situations. It also seemed to jump around a lot. Maybe this was due to the author’s memory. But in a lot of the more than interesting and crazy situations - the sexual parts especially - with few exceptions the author seemed to skim over it, preferring to imply rather than describe. Not that I’m looking for the seediest details, but when all you have to go on is an implication, then you really don’t know what happened. All you are left with is an impression of what the author intended that may or may not be correct. 2. Little Introspection. This would make sense while the author was in the cult, but doesn’t make a lot of sense for afterward. She doesn’t really say much about how she thinks about the situation, or how she thinks about her mother. It’s just kind of, “This happened, then this happened, and that made me mad”. It just came off as kind of shallow in the end, like the author didn’t really learn much other than “that guy was bad and I shouldn’t have given him my time and money”. She still chats with the guy’s daughter like everything is normal, still hugs her. That in particular just seems bizarre. 3. Use of Pseudonyms. “George Sharkman” is obviously not the guy’s real name. And he is dead now anyway, so why use a pseudonym? Who is that supposed to protect, exactly? I read memoirs with a grain of salt, and don’t believe everything I read. With no collaborating info on this guy, I would have shrugged this one off as fiction. But I did finally find a short clip on YouTube of the show “Strange Universe”, and it showed about 3 seconds of a guy holding a rock on his head and shaking it. That tiny clip of “George Sharkman” is the one thing that convinced me that this memoir is likely true. Anyway, kind of an interesting book. But disappointing overall.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kilian Metcalf

    I first heard of the Black Dog Cult on a podcast called The Grift. Elizabeth Burchard talked about how for years the leader of this cult dominated her life. She gave him all of her time and attention and thousands of dollars. Every decision was subject to his approval. It's was easy for me to look down on Burchard, until I remembered some of my own insecurities and bad decisions I made when I was young. Then I realized that it was luck, not my own good sense that preserved me from falling into a I first heard of the Black Dog Cult on a podcast called The Grift. Elizabeth Burchard talked about how for years the leader of this cult dominated her life. She gave him all of her time and attention and thousands of dollars. Every decision was subject to his approval. It's was easy for me to look down on Burchard, until I remembered some of my own insecurities and bad decisions I made when I was young. Then I realized that it was luck, not my own good sense that preserved me from falling into a situation like Burchard, who was only 17 when she joined. When one is young and vulnerable, some bad decisions lead to lifelong situations that are very difficult to get out of. Some get married to a person that is wrong for them. Some get religion. Some join a cult, not realizing what they are getting into. That was the case for Burchard. The leader of the cult was everything she was not: strong, decisive, and self-assured. She accepted his leadership blindly and followed him for years, until a friend helped her to see the absurdity of his teaching and the bad effect it was having on her life and her bankbook. He took and took and never gave back. Finally, she was able to break free of his influence. This book is a result of her looking back on her life, in and out of the cult. Thanks to NetGalley for ARC. My blog: The Interstitial Reader https://theinterstitialreader//wordpr...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tim Terry

    The Chilling Truth of Cults Told from her own perspective, as well as chapters written by her friend, the author recounts the story of her life and her involvement in a cult. Written in a brutally manner, it is fascinating to read the details and the nefarious mechanisms used by the cult leader to ensnare and maintain his hold over his subjects. Even more alarming is the account written by her friend who was instrumental in helping her free herself from this destructive relationship. Darkly enter The Chilling Truth of Cults Told from her own perspective, as well as chapters written by her friend, the author recounts the story of her life and her involvement in a cult. Written in a brutally manner, it is fascinating to read the details and the nefarious mechanisms used by the cult leader to ensnare and maintain his hold over his subjects. Even more alarming is the account written by her friend who was instrumental in helping her free herself from this destructive relationship. Darkly entertaining, this book is also recommended for people who are themselves trapped in such a situation, or who have a friend or a loved one in such a situation.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Christine Marshall

    This book I believe is non-fiction, it was a really great book, I didn't finish it. I only got 100 pages in and got triggered too much to finish... anyone who has been tricked by a pedophile and then even worse made to feel ashamed for it or not have been able to have someone to talk about the abuse with stay away from this book it will be very triggering.... impossibly triggering. the whole thing reeks of manipulation and abuse as all cults do... if not it wouldn't be a true story.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Karen Kasson

    I feel that I really got to know Elizabeth through this book and I give it a rating of 5 out of 5 stars. There are discussion questions in the back of the book that would make it great for book clubs to read and discuss. Even a fiction reader might like this book because of the excellent way the story is told. I would not however, recommend it to anyone who has been subject to, or is sensitive to reading about abuse as they may find parts of it disturbing to read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mukta

    A poignant memoir about being brainwashed I found it to be an amazingly insightful read on cult culture, and was horrified at the detriment such cults can bring to their members, secluding them from society and milking them till they are financially inept.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Chasity Douglas

    Great book that makes you think about how we think about society. This book is very interesting, it shows the re-adjusting to normal society after being brain washed after 20+ years . I acknowledge that many people can be sucked into this type of thinking, if you aren't mentally resilient. The author is outstanding with their vocabulary, and really paints you a picture of the frustration and uncertainty that our main character faces. All and all I would recommend this book to anyone who may be in Great book that makes you think about how we think about society. This book is very interesting, it shows the re-adjusting to normal society after being brain washed after 20+ years . I acknowledge that many people can be sucked into this type of thinking, if you aren't mentally resilient. The author is outstanding with their vocabulary, and really paints you a picture of the frustration and uncertainty that our main character faces. All and all I would recommend this book to anyone who may be interested in the crazy world of cult living.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Echo Haapala

    Eye-opening read I really enjoyed this book. It was fascinating to read of Liz's experiences and to be a part of her bravery when she left the cult.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Colleen Murphy

    This tale was a fascinating first hand account of the psychology of someone who has entered into a cult. At times it was frustrating that the people involved never revolted against their crooked leader, although I am aware of the distress they were all under and how difficult that would have actually been. This memoir reminded me that not all triumphant tales play out like the plot of a movie. I was disappointed that the author didn't leave on her own accord. She was kicked out by the cult leade This tale was a fascinating first hand account of the psychology of someone who has entered into a cult. At times it was frustrating that the people involved never revolted against their crooked leader, although I am aware of the distress they were all under and how difficult that would have actually been. This memoir reminded me that not all triumphant tales play out like the plot of a movie. I was disappointed that the author didn't leave on her own accord. She was kicked out by the cult leader and was forced to discover her own freedom. As a reader it would have been such a satisfying moment to have a face-off between the author and Sharkman, but that isn't how every situation plays itself out. I still ended the novel feeling very satisfied that she turned her life around and made a mends with her mother. My biggest criticism of this book is that I felt that Judy's contribution wasn't necessary. We didn't need her to psychoanalyze the author-we, as readers- are already doing that. Judy's voice seemed overly motherly and contained too much hindsight with far too much judgement and catholic overtones. I didn't feel that her input added a new perspective or value to someone else's story. This could have been accomplished by an introduction from Judy to underscore her importance in the metamorphosis of Elizabeth.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Erik Sapp

    This book could have been a list of "poor me," with the author listing over and over the way she was trapped by George Sharkman. It could have been an endless rant at Sharkman, laying out all the anger and frustration she feels over the lost years. It is neither of those things. Instead, the author writes from the perspective of how she thought and felt at the time, with bits of hindsight thrown in. The reader may not be able to understand how she got wrapped up in the cult and why she stayed (s This book could have been a list of "poor me," with the author listing over and over the way she was trapped by George Sharkman. It could have been an endless rant at Sharkman, laying out all the anger and frustration she feels over the lost years. It is neither of those things. Instead, the author writes from the perspective of how she thought and felt at the time, with bits of hindsight thrown in. The reader may not be able to understand how she got wrapped up in the cult and why she stayed (since most of us have never been in that situation), but we can see the author's point of view, and why everything made sense to her at the time. The additions (halfway through) of the co-author's outsider view add a nice overtone to the book. We still see the primary author's viewpoint, but the co-author serves to ground the book and bring it back to (what the reader would consider) reality. Overall a really good book. I marked a star off for two reasons. First, because it did eventually get repetitive, with the constant refrain of "George said this, and we all went along with it." Second, because I did not really feel the passage of years. I felt like the whole book could have been a year in George's living room. (The book tours, craft products, and aging of George's kids showed the passage of time, but it didn't feel like time was passing.)

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    We typically think of cults as living on a remote compound somewhere, but in this true story we see that a cult can form anywhere, even in the house next door. Elizabeth Burchard’s mother invites a biofeedback therapist she sees and some of her friends to gather at her apartment every week. They seek wisdom and direction for their lives. This man says all the right things and claims to speak the truth of the universe. Over the course of 30 years he subtly manipulates these men and women to do hi We typically think of cults as living on a remote compound somewhere, but in this true story we see that a cult can form anywhere, even in the house next door. Elizabeth Burchard’s mother invites a biofeedback therapist she sees and some of her friends to gather at her apartment every week. They seek wisdom and direction for their lives. This man says all the right things and claims to speak the truth of the universe. Over the course of 30 years he subtly manipulates these men and women to do his bidding. After 20 years Elizabeth meets Judith and their friendship starts to change her perspective of her guru. Gradually she is able to disentangle her life from the effect the The Group. This is a heart-wrenching story as you see Elizabeth being brainwashed by this charlatan. It’s a very eye-opening story. These people were educated, holding down good jobs, but their emotional vulnerabilities make them the perfect victims. The fact that Elizabeth is able to eventually extricate herself is a testimony to her fighting spirit and the support she receives from Judith. The story is told in a way that reads like a novel, taking you step by step through her journey. I really enjoyed this book and found it easy to read. This is a great book for anyone who’s interested in a look behind the scenes of a cult.

  18. 5 out of 5

    brandi

    Interesting to see... It was written in a very innocent child-like way. But by the time I got into the book, I could see why. This poor woman! She literally waisted her best years on this weirdo! It gave me a glimpse into mind control. I had no idea it could last for decades with a man who becomes your entire world and you literally get nothing back from him. And you also have to pay him for his time, which he forces you to spend with him! It's incredulous! Eye opening story. Kinda boring through Interesting to see... It was written in a very innocent child-like way. But by the time I got into the book, I could see why. This poor woman! She literally waisted her best years on this weirdo! It gave me a glimpse into mind control. I had no idea it could last for decades with a man who becomes your entire world and you literally get nothing back from him. And you also have to pay him for his time, which he forces you to spend with him! It's incredulous! Eye opening story. Kinda boring through some parts though. Could have been written better.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Susan Mills

    SHOCKING STORY This true story of a small cult reads like FICTION. How people can have their minds quite easily manipulated is frightening. Everyone should be aware of devious, SIMPLE techniques that a charismatic person can use to deceive trusting, average people. I loved this book for its honesty and excellent writing.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Brooke Williams

    Wild read It took a while for this book to sink into its topic but once it got going on the true cultic nature it was fascinating and even scary. To think there are plenty of people out there that buy into this stuff and become entrenched. Wow. The story is jaw dropping. The timeline lacked in some areas. Hard to explain

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kim Ess

    This book blew my mind. It was a very interesting look into the mind of a person likely to be lured into a cult. It's very sad but also so fascinating how some people become so vulnerable to following these charismatic, mentally ill leaders. I couldn't put it down.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Cassie_Reads_Books

    This book was a good read overall, but it felt like it lingered on and on in some places. There were a few chapters and sections toward the end of the book that could have been eliminated without messing with the plot. Overall, not a bad book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    susannah

    Great story, terrible book

  24. 4 out of 5

    Maddy Shumate

  25. 5 out of 5

    Teri M. Harris

  26. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jadelynn

  28. 4 out of 5

    Molly

  29. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Saunders

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ruth

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.