Synanon began as an addiction support group that gathered in a grimy Californian flat in the late 1950s. It would grow to become a well-funded utopian society throughout the late ’60s and early ’70s, before declaring itself a religion in 1974. This organisation would attract Hollywood stars like Leonard Nimoy and Jane Fonda to participate in its so-called “Game”, and eventually break up married couples, force men to have vasectomies and women to have abortions, amass assets worth tens of millions of dollars, and become entangled in a web of violence.
Synanon’s leader Charles Dederich is often credited with coining the phrase “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”
Full research sources listed on each episode page at www.ltaspod.com.
If you have been personally affected by involvement in a cult, or would like to support those who have been, you can find support or donate to Cult Information and Family Support if you’re in Australia (via www.cifs.org.au), and you can find resources outside of Australia with the International Cultic Studies Association (via www.icsahome.com).
If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs support right now, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 in Australia, or find your local crisis centre via the International Association for Suicide Prevention website at www.iasp.info.
- American National Biography: Supplement — Oxford University Press, 2002
- Self-Reliance — by Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1847 edition, Wikisource full text
- Estimating Emerson: An Anthology of Criticism from Carlyle to Cavell — edited by David LaRocca, A&C Black, 1 January 2013
- Charles Dederich, 83, Synanon Founder, Dies — by Lawrence van Gelder, The New York Times, 4 March 1997
- Synanon: Toward Building a Humanistic Organization — by Steven Simon, Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Vol. 18, No. 3, Summer 1978
- Paul Morantz's website — with extensive writings by the attorney and investigative journalist about Synanon
- The Man Who Fought the Synanon Cult and Won — by Matt Novak, Gizmodo, 27 August 2014
- Synanon's Sober Utopia: How A Drug Rehab Program Became A Violent Cult — by Matt Novak, Gizmodo, 20 April 2014
- The Rise and Fall of Synanon: A California Utopia — by Rod A. Janzen, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001
- 2-year forced stay in drug rehab home inspires art exhibition — by Sam Whiting, San Francisco Chronicle, 22 January 2018
- SYNONYM — Ongoing art/research project by Phillip Andrew Lewis
- From the Jaws of Victory: The Triumph and Tragedy of Cesar...
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