Tony Russo is a journalist, non-fiction author, and podcaster. In this episode, Tony and I discuss his latest book, Dragged Into The Light: Truthers, reptilians, Super Soldiers, and Death in an Online Cult. Being a human being is a strange experience where one is often looking for answers to the seemingly inexplicable oddities, challenges, and questions of life. For many, answers to life’s most difficult challenge can be found in religion, science and/or philosophy. For others, answers given by a leader who claims to know the secrets and truths of life are very enticing. But, are these beliefs based on truth? Are our beliefs about what is true that different from the conspiracy theory truths? What appeals to a person to believe that we are governed by lizard-alien overlords trying to affect a new world order? Does Orgone have special powers? Are conspiracy theories that far-fetched from reality? What is Truth? These are some of the questions we delve into in this episode. Ultimately, Tony argues that Truth is something valuable sought after by most, but if the so-called ‘truth’ is used as a commodity, it can cause major problems, ruin lives, and even lead to death.
Pencil-sharpening enthusiast, journalist, non-fictionist, author of “Dragged Into the Light: Truthers, Reptilians, Super Soldiers, and Death in an Online Cult.”
Tony coveted the chance to tell a story like Dragged Into the Light, which brings together questions about history, religion, politics, and popular culture and investigates how they played out in these real-life circumstances when two realities collide. Sherry Shriner, her cult, and the insidious and violent nature of the conspiracy theory culture showed him that while truth may have inherent value, as a commodity it’s pretty much worthless.
When Internet conspiracy theorist Sherry Shriner told one of her long-time followers, Steven Mineo, that his new girlfriend Barbara Rogers was a deadly reptilian agent, Steven broke with Shriner’s cult. Two months later, he was dead from a gunshot wound to the head, and Barbara had been charged with his murder. Shriner claimed credit for a true prophecy. But the truth was darker.
Journalist Tony Russo’s investigation of Mineo’s death, along with the earlier suicide of another cult member, led him inside an exotic new form of religion, where true believers assemble in internet chat rooms to stave off the demonic hordes of Lucifer, the New World Order, cell phone towers and reptilian shape-shifters.