Cult news 101 – cultnews101_ cult of the child-stealers

Australian cult-leader, who claimed to be the reincarnation of Jesus, stole children at birth, drugged them with LSD and oversaw beatings and starvation

As leader of The Family cult, she stole babies at birth, drugged children with LSD and oversaw a wicked regime in which youngsters were beaten and starved.

Claiming to be the reincarnation of Jesus, Byrne “collected” 28 children and would dress them in matching clothes and bleach their hair white.

Lex de Man, one of the senior detectives who tried to bring charges against Anne, said: “She is the most evil person with the most evil set of crimes I have ever investigated.

Benefits of bikram yoga vs regular yoga If you want to know the definition of evil, you look at Anne Hamilton-Byrne.”

So how did she get away with it? The story begins in Sixties Melbourne, Australia, where charismatic yoga teacher Anne started playing on her wealthy devotees’ desire for alternative spiritual fulfilment.

Preaching a mishmash of Christianity, Eastern mysticism and apocalyptic prophecy, she promised salvation to those who joined The Family — a doomsday cult with the motto “unseen, unknown, unheard”.

By recruiting Brit Raynor Johnson, a physicist from Leeds who was based at Melbourne University, Anne gained access to well-heeled, professional circles — and a veil of respectability.

Anne, along with third husband Bill Byrne, was able to squeeze her flock constantly for donations and membership fees, growing fabulously rich.

As well as sprawling property in Australia, she had a mansion in Langton Green, Kent, and an estate in the Catskills, US, all paid for by followers.

Ex-member Fran Parker said: “We hear about ancient enchantresses who could enslave people with one glance. My yoga works There was a glamour about Anne that meant everyone was besotted.

Her middle-class followers — who included the stepfather of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange — would have been horrified to find out the true scale of the abuse Anne was overseeing at the cult’s isolated wooden lodge at Lake Eildon, north-east of Melbourne.

From the early Seventies, Anne started to “collect” children, through bogus adoptions or “gifts” from followers, and house and school them at the lodge.

Cop Lex explained: “You had babies delivered by sect doctors, given to a sect nurse, handed to a sect social worker and then taken straight from the hospital and given to Anne Hamilton Byrne.”

An army of “Aunties” — middle-aged followers — kept the children in check by doling out vicious beatings and ­limiting food supplies to two plates of vegetables a day.

Children who broke the rules, by committing such minor offences as getting their clothes dirty or not screwing the toothpaste cap back on, would be starved for several days.

One recalled: “Denial of food was a very large component of control. Asanas de yoga para embarazadas It’s better to keep your victims weak so they have less ability to fight back.”

As if that wasn’t enough, the children were given daily doses of Mogadon — used to treat insomnia — and Valium to keep them docile. Yoga exercises for pregnant women Most disturbing of all was The Family’s ritual of giving children enormous doses of LSD when they reached the age of 14 as they underwent formal initiation into the cult. Yoga relaxation meditation Some claim to have been dosed up from age eight.

The daughter of a railway guard and a mother who spent time in a mental hospital with schizophrenia, Anne spent time in orphanages as a child.

He said: “There was only one rule: Do absolutely everything Anne said. Hot yoga studios edmonton That included what to think, what to wear, what to eat, who to marry. Basic yoga poses for beginners chart Total obedience.”

Anne’s activities continued until 1987 when the police, acting on information from two child escapees, raided the cult and freed the remaining kids.

The potential charges against Anne were severe. Yoga en casa para principiantes They included physical and emotional abuse of children, perjury, providing false birth documents and falsifying adoption documents.

However, to Lex’s immense frustration, they needed a rock solid case to extradite Anne back to Australia and the most serious charges wouldn’t stick.

The children were deemed to be too traumatised to be reliable witnesses to child abuse, and Anne’s Mafia-like hold over her adult followers meant there were no willing witnesses.

She was eventually arrested in upstate New York in 1993 on relatively minor fraud charges, involving conspiracy to falsify birth certificates. Yoga sivananda paris The court in Australia was only able to hand her a £3,000 fine.

Bill died in 2001, while Anne has advanced dementia. Yoga perth ontario She has lived in a Melbourne nursing home for the past 12 years, confined to a wheelchair.

Ben Shenton was one of the children rescued in the 1987 raid. Yoga blogs nyc He recently visited Anne at the nursing home and says he finally has closure on his horrific upbringing.

He said: “What she did was totally evil and wicked. Types of meditation But I cancelled the debt. Best yoga poses for relaxation I said, ‘Anne, you no longer owe me anything. Bikram yoga vancouver island And therefore you no longer have the power to keep me bitter and cause hate.’”