“Beware of organizations that proclaim their devotion to the light without embracing, bowing to the dark; for when they idealize half the world they must devalue the rest.”

- Starhawk
Dreaming the Dark : Magic, Sex, and Politics

Image Credit: Paolo Franco Orlando


Roch Thériault was a self-styled prophet and cult leader.   At its peak, the cult numbered three men, nine women, and twenty-six children (mostly fathered by Thériault) and resided on an isolated commune 100 km northeast of Toronto.  All of them- men, women and children, suffered bizarre physical torture at Thériault’s hands.

Roch Thériault’s cult did not start from a religious agenda.  He got his start as a leader by creating holistic detox seminars aimed at helping smokers and the like kick their habits.  Many of the members were drawn to Roch’s larger-than-life personality, so much so, a group of detoxifying acolytes left their jobs and homes to join him with his charitable initiatives.  Roch ended up moving his followers out into the wilderness as a means to keep them safe as he prophesized that the world would end in 1979.  As I’m sure you’re aware, the world did not end in 1979, but for whatever reason, Roch’s cult stuck with him.  In fact, they ended up becoming  prisoners, slaving to support him, bearing him children, watching him abuse those children sexually and physically, then losing those children to child protection services.  

On his good days, Thériault was the kindest and most caring cult leader you’d ever come across, but his moods would change drastically and  seemingly out of the blue.   A crying baby, not liking the way his food was prepared or failure to respond to sex enthusiastically and everyone would have to deal with his terror. None of that could compare to when Thériault started drinking though, as it was then that he would decide to play surgeon on his cult members. Victims would be fully conscious and held down by other members.  Using kitchen utensils and sometimes pliers and a blowtorch,  the  “healer” would go to work.  Several  followers lost limbs, fingers, toes, teeth and testicles.  Surprisingly enough,  the only fatalities until close to the end were two babies; one baby whom Thériault  circumcised, and another who was deliberately left outside in a wheelbarrow during subzero temperatures and froze to death.  Thériault and a few of his followers served time in jail for the first child’s death, but the cult carried on and so did his abuse once released from jail.  

One afternoon after spending the morning drinking and getting into arguments with his followers,  Roch asked whether any of his disciples required medical treatment.  Within minutes, 32-year-old Solange Boilard, who complained of stomach problems, lay naked on a wooden table in one of the commune’s log cabins. Theriault punched Boilard in the stomach and then proceeded to slice open her stomach with a freshly sharpened knife and rip off a piece of her intestines with his bare hands. He then had another follower, Gabrielle Lavallee stitch up the gaping wound with a needle and thread. The next day Boilard died.  

A year later, Gabrielle decided to leave the cult and go to the authorities concerning the deaths.  With only one arm, (Thériault had amputated one of her arm’s with a meat cleaver) Gabrielle told of the horrors she had endured while living with Roch Thériault. Thériault was eventually tried for Boilard’s murder and sentenced in 1990 to twenty-five years in prison.  During his prison stay, his faithful followers were allowed conjugal visits with Roch and he ended up with even more children.  On February 26, 2011, Roch Thériault was found dead in his prison cell.  Roch’s cell mate, Matthew Gerrard MacDonald, stabbed Thériault in the neck with a homemade knife. Afterwards, he walked to the guards’ station, handed them the knife and proclaimed, “That piece of shit is down on the range. Here’s the knife, I’ve sliced him up.”

EXCLUSIVE: The actor is going from the supernatural on the small screen to the controversial world of cults on the big screen. Orlando Jones and his Drive-By Entertainment partner Noam Dromi have optioned the rights to cult deprogrammer Ted Patrick’s story.

Excited to share info on one of my new projects which I will be co-writing, producing and starring in.

If you’ve never heard of Ted Patrick I highly encourage you to look him up. He’s a fascinating and complex figure who I am privileged to have the opportunity to portray.

Why Does Los Angeles Attract So Many Cults?

“We went deep on the Los Angeles obsession with cults, cultists, cult-like groups, organizations we’d never refer to as cults for legal reasons, organizations that are definitely not cults but are kinda weird, and other related subjects. You don’t have to go into a trance or commune with any ancients to relive it—here it is, in all its alien superbeing glory:

An introduction:

· An Introduction to the Long History of Los Angeles Cults
· Ask the Experts: Why Does Los Angeles Attract So Many Cults?
· How to Start Your Own Los Angeles Cult in 14 Easy Steps

The buildings:
· 8 Notorious Los Angeles Cult Locations: Then and Now
· 7 of LA’s Most Magnificent Examples of Masonic Architecture

The juicy stories:
· The Pasadena Haunts of the Occultist Who Cofounded JPL
· The Earliest and Weirdest LA Cult Stories: 1700s to 1940s

The Manson Family:
· The Story of the Abandoned Movie Ranch Where the Manson Family Launched Helter Skelter
· Mapping 13 Key Locations in the 1969 Manson Family Murders

The health-obsessed:
· How Cultists, Quacks, and Naturemenschen Made Los Angeles Obsessed With Healthy Living
· The Respectable LA Houses of 1970s Hippie Cult The Source
· Café Gratitude and the Cult of Commerce

- Curbed LA's Cults Week