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  1. #1
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    Synanon-The People Business


  2. #2
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  3. #3
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    Escape from Utopia: My ten years in Synanon (Unknown Binding)
    by William F Olin

    For Sale at amazon.com

    The Light on Synanon: How a country weekly exposed a corporate cult--and won the Pulitzer Prize (Unknown Binding)
    by Dave Mitchell

    Availability: Available from these sellers.


    10 used & new available from $1.90

    (From Shadow's post # 32, Thread # 1)

  4. #4
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    She visited a ranch in Tomales Bay. She describes the place as beautiful and peaceful. She also called it a Boot Camp. She was interviewed to be sent to live there but only wanted to visit. She lived at the Center.

    Rose and a girl named Ruth were the youngest ones in Oct 15, 1972. They visited the ranch together.

    Fall of 1972. William "Buckwheat" Thomas from the Little Rascals visited the Center. She makes reference to this in another letter. Buckwheat dedicated most of his life to help kids on drugs around the CA area.

    Heart of TX, post # 64, Thread #1

  5. #5
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    HeartofTexas


    Quote:
    The treatment efforts provided legitimacy, and juveniles were often sent to Synanon by the courts.

    Unbelievable that Judges would send juveniles to a place they knew so little about.

    http://synanon.biography.ms/

  6. #6
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    I know it has been mentioned that there are boxes of records about, or from, Synanon at a library?

    Has anyone had time to take a look at those??

    I would think there would be fairly detailed records of who was living there... and so forth.

    I'm in WV and a little out of pocket for this chore, but it would be interesting to do.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by christine2448 View Post
    Unbelievable that Judges would send juveniles to a place they knew so little about.
    They don't do it anymore but for judges who had been raised in pre-1960 decades the notion that organizations whose stated purpose was to treat substance abuse problems could be abusive cult-like groups whose real reason for existing was to fulfill the megalomaniac yearnings of mentally disturbed individuals was unthinkable. Now they know that lifetime enslavement in insane cults is no way to treat addicts and they also know that it takes more than a teen being caught drinking a beer or toking a reefer to make a junkie. Parents are catching up as well, I guess because many of them belong to a generation that was victimized by these idiocies. Also, government agencies now audit treatment facilities more thoroughly before licensing them and even though a few of the freakazoid groups still exist courts tend to send youths to regulated facilities.

  8. #8
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    Found a great article on Synanon:

    http://www.ptreyeslight.com/stories/...non_story.html

    Point Reyes Light - April 15, 2004
    Light to celebrate 25th anniversary of its Pulitzer
    By Dave Mitchell
    This Friday, April 16, will be the 25th anniversary of The Point Reyes Light’s winning a Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service. It was the fourth time in the 61-year history of the Pulitzers that a prize in any division had gone to a weekly newspaper instead of a daily.
    The prize was for an expose of the Synanon cult, which was then headquartered in Marshall. A reformed alcoholic, Charles Dederich, started the group in Santa Monica during 1958. Dederich had learned to hold an audience as a speaker for Alcoholics Anonymous, warning about Demon rum.
    Dederich, who was living on unemployment benefits, allowed his apartment to become a crash pad for a number of derelicts, but while they were under his roof, they had to obey his directives. For their meals, he scrounged old food from grocers.
    The group contained several drug addicts, who were not welcome at AA meetings, so Dederich pulled his faction out and started his own organization, Synanon. A master of self-promotion, Dederich managed to convince the public he was doing something no one else could do: cure drug addicts. In fact, 90 percent of those he admitted left before receiving rehabilitation, and of those who completed rehabilitation, only 10 percent demonstrated long-term abstention from drugs.
    In 1968, Dederich abolished the idea of residents ever "graduating" to the outside world. Synanon then became an "alternative-lifestyle community," with former addicts providing a low-paid workforce for the Synanon corporation, which ultimately was focused on a $10 million per year Advertising Gifts and Premiums business. Synanon members simply acted as middlemen between manufacturer and retailers who wanted their logos on promotional knickknacks.
    Synanon remained minimally in the treatment business, in part by providing juvenile authorities with a cheap place for dumping troubled kids, but the targets for its recruitment became members of the middleclass, such as doctors, lawyers, and architects. Most turned over all their wealth when they joined Synanon, believing they would be taken care of forever.

    Entire article here:

    http://www.ptreyeslight.com/stories/...non_story.html

  9. #9
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    Have been reading about Rose Cole for a number of years now... through the Synanon website and elsewhere. I was a young person at Synanon (Santa Monica) from 1969-1974 and then moved in through the Oakland facility in 1974. I did not know Rose Cole, but I can tell you that during that time period, Synanon was a peaceful place and would NOT have harmed her. Many people came and left of their own volition. Hundreds, thousands. The catch phrase was: "If you don't like it, LEAVE!"

    I was reading through my journals the other day from back then, and I thought this was worth mentioning: I was getting ready to move to Oakland in 1974, and I observed in my journal that there were a number of murders being reported from the City of Oakland -- there was possibly a serial killer, and Oakland was an *extremely* dangerous place then. Some hacked-up bodies had been found. I don't know details of any; it was just a mention in my journal, like: "...and I'm moving to Oakland why???"

    Just thought you should know. As I said, I was involved with Synanon from 1969 through 1985 -- through the good, the bad and the ugly. I am positive that Synanon had nothing to do with Rose Cole's disappearance, and no amount of investigating into Synanon is going to prove anything else.
    Last edited by PrivateEye56; 01-15-2010 at 04:00 PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by PrivateEye56 View Post
    Have been reading about Rose Cole for a number of years now... through the Synanon website and elsewhere. I was a young person at Synanon (Santa Monica) from 1969-1974 and then moved in through the Oakland facility in 1974. I did not know Rose Cole, but I can tell you that during that time period, Synanon was a peaceful place and would NOT have harmed her. Many people came and left of their own volition. Hundreds, thousands. The catch phrase was: "If you don't like it, LEAVE!"

    I was reading through my journals the other day from back then, and I thought this was worth mentioning: I was getting ready to move to Oakland in 1974, and I observed in my journal that there were a number of murders being reported from the City of Oakland -- there was possibly a serial killer, and Oakland was an *extremely* dangerous place then. Some hacked-up bodies had been found. I don't know details of any; it was just a mention in my journal, like: "...and I'm moving to Oakland why???"

    Just thought you should know. As I said, I was involved with Synanon from 1969 through 1985 -- through the good, the bad and the ugly. I am positive that Synanon had nothing to do with Rose Cole's disappearance, and no amount of investigating into Synanon is going to prove anything else.
    I appreciate your input on your views of Synanon. I don't understand your comment about "If you don't like it leave." We have found information stating that people who left were tracked down and brought back. Rose was a juvenile and was placed there by the court sytstem. I feel that they had an obligation to monitor her progress and her location. I don't think under those circumstances that she should have just been able to leave. According to her letters she wanted to leave. I f she did run away from Synanon, then I think that it would have been their responsibility to file a police report listing her as a missing or runawy juvenile. It does not seem that was done. Can you think of any explanation for that? Your information about the serial killer in Oakland certainly is a possibilty. One more question, if you don't mind, why was there an "underground railroad" if leaving was so easy?
    Retired 08/03/03


  11. #11
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    Thanks Shadow for your questions. Respectfully Private Eye there is a ton of data out there, with documented criminal activity that took part at Synanon. Perhaps life was ideal for you, but it has been well documented that it was not the case for many others. As Shadow stated, Synanon was Rose's last known residence. It was the responsibility of Synanon to keep Rose, a juvenile safe. If she ran away, it was their obligation to report her missing.
    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow205 View Post
    I appreciate your input on your views of Synanon. I don't understand your comment about "If you don't like it leave." We have found information stating that people who left were tracked down and brought back. Rose was a juvenile and was placed there by the court sytstem. I feel that they had an obligation to monitor her progress and her location. I don't think under those circumstances that she should have just been able to leave. According to her letters she wanted to leave. I f she did run away from Synanon, then I think that it would have been their responsibility to file a police report listing her as a missing or runawy juvenile. It does not seem that was done. Can you think of any explanation for that? Your information about the serial killer in Oakland certainly is a possibilty. One more question, if you don't mind, why was there an "underground railroad" if leaving was so easy?

  12. #12
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    I don't believe it was Synanon's policy to report runaways to the police. But I was not involved in that aspect of the community. For juveniles, it is possible that her running away would have been reported to the agency that sent her there? Thousands of people came through Synanon -- I don't recall the police ever being notified when anyone left. When someone left, they were gone. How could a rehab facility possibly track the thousands of people who came through it? There were several women whose job was "Agency Liaison"... perhaps?

    The "underground railroad", to my knowledge, was mostly ex-Synanon people who helped other people who wanted to leave, with a meal and a few bucks to get started on the "outside". Nothing sexier than that. It actually made leaving easier because it was a known support system -- everyone in Synanon knew it existed. Synanon was definitely NOT in the practice of going out and fetching people and bringing them back. I guess if the child's parents lived in Synanon, it's possible that the parents would have the kid returned. I'm not personally aware of this actually happening; I am just agreeing that it's possible...

    In 1972, when Rose left, Synanon had thousands of people coming and going. Synanon at that time was the most popular and well-known rehab facility in the country. No one would have paid much attention to one young girl's leaving -- certainly not enough to cause her harm. Particularly in the Oakland facility. When I lived there in 1974-1975, it was common for 5-10 people to arrive or split DAILY.

    I am happy to answer your questions, but what I am trying to tell you is: I don't think her connection to Synanon caused her disappearance. I believe her running away via Oakland is what caused her harm. Either that, or the kidney infection she wrote her family about.

    A side note: I do not wish to engage in a debate about what went on at Synanon. Some of the documentation is true; much of it is hype. I was there, and I wanted to tell you what I know, so that it might help you find Rose Cole. As wierd as it got (in the late '70's and early '80's), Synanon did not track people down and kill them for leaving. Looking to Synanon, you are barking up the wrong tree and wasting a lot of time. We can debate this, but it seems counter-productive to what you're trying to do here.

    From what I read, Rose Cole wrote to her family several times AFTER she left Synanon -- once advising that she was in S.F., sick with a kidney infection. Despite her paranoia that someone would fetch her and return her to Synanon before she turned 18, that would NOT have been Synanon's practice. That's all I'm trying to tell you. More likely what her family would've liked to do knowing that she was a runaway in the Bay Area.
    Last edited by PrivateEye56; 01-21-2010 at 06:58 PM.



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