Women Claim They Were Branded by Secret Society’s Bizarre Initiation Ritual
The secret sisterhood is based in Albany, N.Y., and sells self-help seminars and videos to its 16,000 members.
A woman has come forward with disturbing claims that several women were held down and branded during a bizarre initiation into a secret sisterhood.
The brand was burned into the flesh of five women.
The brand appears to be the letters, K.R., the initials of a self-help guru named Keith Raniere.
“They were physically branded like cattle," cult expert Rick Ross told Inside Edition.
Ross says Raniere leads an Albany, N.Y.-based organization called NXIVM, which sells self-help seminars and videos to 16,000 members.
“We want to touch someone," Raniere says in one of the videos. "We want to know that other people have souls."
“He has managed to manipulate and control people with his great wealth, including heiresses, powerful people, celebrities, and he has reaped a harvest of cash — some estimate a hundred million dollars,” Ross said.
Among the women reportedly initiated into the secret sisterhood is model India Oxenberg, the 26-year-old daughter of actress Catherine Oxenberg from TV’s original Dynasty.
"I felt sick to my stomach," Catherine Oxenberg told The New York Times.
It is not known if India was branded, but The Times reports that the women were "told to undress and lie on a massage table while others restrained her legs and shoulders." They were then instructed them to say, "Master, please brand me."
Dermatologist Dr. Doris Day says the branding must have been excruciatingly painful.
"This would be unbearable," she told Inside Edition. "I would never consider doing this without an anesthetic."
NXIVM released a statement saying they firmly oppose violence and abuse, adding that the allegations are unfounded and incorrectly link the group to the secret sisterhood, which it calls a social group.
The organization says it will explore legal remedies to correct what they call "lies."
Meantime, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday that his office is planning a review of the allegations.
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