Thursday, May 26, 2011


CEDU / Rocky Mountain Academy Part 2

CEDU / Rocky Mountain Academy. A Wilderness Camp that was for Behavioral Modification, and for lack of any other words an American Cult for children. As I know some folks now that were part of this organization and they are just beginning to come forward the next few blogposts are dedicated to the children that survived CEDU. 

John Denver vs. Jimi Hendrix at Teen Mind Control Camp

Chris Simsby Chris Sims on Sunday, November 7, 2010 at 10:14am

I woke up this morning thinking about the "I Want to Live" Propheet (Propheets were marathon sleep deprivation behavior modification sessions visited upon children in California and Idaho at CEDU and RMA.) My first thought had to do with John Denver and how much I hated his Muppet-like, happy-go-lucky, John Lennon spectacle-adorned persona. His stupid blond, shoulder length hair and user friendly Roy Rogers face somehow disturbs my aesthetic sensibilities beyond reason. The fucked-up thing is the fact that John Denver has any sort of influence in my life at all. He was loved by millions precisely because of his non-intrusive image: seeming somewhere between a Muppet and a man, much the same as a fish seems halfway between a plant and a pet He was completely forgettable to the public at large, and that is what made him lovable to America. But due to my experieces at CEDU/RMA I'm not normal. Thanks to Mel's [Mel Wasserman founder of CEDU/RMA] robotic schlock masters implanting permanent seeds of schmaltz, I have an unreasonable amount of disdain for this chortling, eco-friendly bard of the touchy-feely. Instead of waking up and hearing the birds and seeing the sunshine and the blue sky out of my window and feeling blessed to be alive and experiencing the glory of life I'm thinking about John Denver and his song and an experience I had 27 years ago. My soul is programmed and imprinted with the stamp of CEDU/RMA's Birkenstock boot stomp. The experiences they imposed have flowered into a constant source of reflection.

Of course music in general was important at CEDU/RMA. Those in charge were very aware of its power. They banned it and controlled it to such a degree that most of it was considered unacceptable. Ultimately it was a powerful therapeutic tool used to subjugate us to their rule. The staff seemed hellbent on destroying any taste or love for music we had as students.

Their taste in music was dated even in 1982. It seemed hopelessly lost in the early to mid-70's. John Lennon, Neil Diamond, and John Denver all had Propheets named after and themed around their turgid hits: "Imagine," "He Aint Heavy (He's My Brother)," and "I Want to Live." It was a Logins and Messina nightmare, laced with seeds of Joni Mitchell and Kenny Rodgers, and the music was used to reduce us to gibbering sobbing fools, then conversely it was used to put us back together again and inspire confidence. In fact Mel and company used music much the same way the FBI used it to torture the Branch Dividians in Waco before they burned them alive. I remember every Propheet, they had a stereo in place and there was a casette tape suitcase filled with tapes that had the same song recorded over and over on them to provide a soundtrack to the therapuetic nighmare as it unfolded.

But thoughts of John Denver and the Propheet I Want to Live always lead to yet another artist Jimi Hendrix. Jimi Hendrix was not even in the same realm as John Denver. He was perhaps the most interesting electric guitarist to have ever lived. His death at the age of 27 was truly tragic (interestingly John Denver's death at the age of 47 in a plane crash off the coast of Carmel, California barely registered as a blip on the radar of cultural significance). When Jimi Hendrix died the world truly lost a unique voice. Even mentioning him in the same sentance with John Denver is almost criminal, yet the program at CEDU/RMA made such vapid comparisons possible.

Deprived of sleep and crying over our total failings as human beings, as the sun came in through the windows in the early morning hours, I remember Carmine and Dan Earle [employee tools of Mel Wasserman] telling us they were going to take us back to the streets. They said they were going to let us know how low we had sunk before arriving at CEDU. They said, "Look at the crap you put in your heads! Look at the shit you thought was cool! Listen to the confusion and negativity and see where it takes you. See where it leads you back to. Remember how it faced you in the direction of death instead of life." Then they played it: "Purple Haze" by Jimi Hendrix. I remember it was the first real music I had heard in six months. But in the world of CEDU Jimi Hendrix was so bad that his whole discography was completey unacceptable. In fact even talking about it would wind you up on a fulltime throwing rocks from one pile into another or digging holes and filling them up for at least a week.

"Purple haze all through my brain/ Lately days don't seem the same." Some of my fellow students in my peer group seemed to go with it. Their sobbing increased exponentially while Dan and Carmine continued to point out that it had been a soundtrack to our own slow suicides prior to our arivals at CEDU/RMA.

But it had an opposite effect on me and some of the other students. We actually liked the song and my bestfriend actually became very angry. When they finished playing the song and asked him where he was at. He said he resented Dan and Carmine for playing the song of an artist he loved and respected. He said, "What am I supposed to do, drool like one of Pavlov's dogs whenever I hear this song in the future?" "Look at how you still cling to negative thinking and the garbage of the past," was Dan Earle's response. There was no room for discourse that was of a contrary opinion.

I think John Denver, the good one, and Jimi Hendrix, his evil nemisis, clearly illustrates the mindset of those in charge. On the one hand you had dated kitsch and on the other total genius. We were expected to embrace the inferior artistic achievements of John Denver over the creative angst of a truly compelling artist like Jimi Hendrix.

 Grandpa Tries to Break Me Out of Teenage Mind Control Camp by Chris Sims on Monday, November 1, 2010 at 10:12pm

In the fall of 1982 during the one impromptu propheet, all night stay awake brainwash sessions, that Mel Wasserman, director and founder of the fucked off for pay cult, facilitated, along with Dan and Carmen Earle, an interesting incident involving my grandfather occurred. I didn't find this out until after the Mel Wasserman propheet, but I wondered why, as all of us did, the Bonners Ferry police department had arrived in the early afternoon in the middle of the propheet and were snooping around the property. Apparently, at some time before noon while we were being yelled at, and were being encouraged to yell at empty chairs of our parents to let the invisible specter of our parents know how much we hated them, my grandfather from Baton Rouge, Louisiana arrived in his truck to visit me. He was very into hunting and he had lived in Alberta, Canada for a number of years in the 70's after retiring.
My grandfather was perhaps the only person who ever stood up to the RMA/CEDU double speak while I was in attendance at the school. He was a no nonsense person. From a different generation. Not hip or even remotely confused by the hollow lingo of California pop psychology.
He related to me years later, he passed away a few years ago, that he arrived at the gates of the property to RMA in his truck in the early afternoon. ( He had been in Canada for two months hunting moose and he had their carcasses strapped over the roof of his camper shell wrapped in packing to prevent the meat from spoiling.)
He said upon arriving at the gate of the school he found the gate shut and blocked with big rocks so that no one could enter the property. He said he rolled some of the rocks away and nudged the gate open with the bumper of the truck.
But I had no idea that my grandfather was on the property.
The staff noticed the intruding vehicle driving up the long road to the lodge and sent down 450-pound Neal Wesson, who had been one of the Little Rascals back in the early to mid 30's and had worked for Mel since the early 70's, to deal with the situation.
My grandfather told me, years after the incident, "Some big fat guy came down and told me that you were in a very special experience and that if I bothered you right then it would disturb the growth you were experiencing and might negatively impact the very special experience you were having. He told me I could come back the next day and see you. I said, 'That's my grandson in there, and I just came all the way from Louisiana and I've got moose on the truck that are going to go bad. I came way out of my way to see my grandson and you better let me see him.'"
My grandfather told me that the fat man then told him that it was impossible, so my grandfather told him that he had a shotgun in the truck and that if they harmed one hair on my head he would blow his head off.
At this point, still unbeknown to me, Neal went upstairs where we were engaged in our propheet and pulled Dan Earle and Mel Wasserman to the side and explained to them the situation.
The way my grandfather told it, "The first one didn't work, so after I scared him, he went inside and got this real slick talking fellow [Dan Earle]. He thought he was real smooth and was a little more convincing. He told me I could come back tomorrow, said something again about a real special experience. I, once again, told him that I had only a short amount of time, that I couldn't wait until the next day. But he refused to let me see you.
"I didn't know what to do. I'd never heard of a place that would deny a family member access to their grandchild. So I drove into Bonners Ferry and went directly to the sheriffs and explained to them that there was this place in the woods, not far from town, that was keeping my grandson from seeing me. I told them they were doing something strange and I could hear loud music coming out of the building and the sound of people crying. I told them that I was worried about the welfare of my grandson and I asked them if they had any information about this place Rocky Mountain Academy.
"They told me that they had never heard of it before. They said they had no idea that there was a boarding school for troubled children operating near Bonners Ferry. They said this was the first they had been told of its existence."
My grandfather said he gave them the location and told them he thought it was some kind of a cult. The sheriffs promised they would immediately go and check into the place.
I could see through the large windows that overlooked the main lodge when multiple police cars arrived on the property. Mel called Dan over and in hushed tones said something. Dan and Carmen went downstairs and talked with the police.
We were told that we could take a two hour brake and were instructed to be polite to the police if they said anything to us and told to remember we weren't allowed to discuss the experience we were going through with anyone who had not sat in it with us. Mel quickly ran through a generalized speech about the police and how some of us had old tapes regarding our dealings with them and that we needed to refrain from any conversation with them that was anything other than polite because the police were no longer our enemies. Then Mel disappeared through the back door down to his residence not to reappear again until some four hours later when the propheet was over and the cops were gone.
In the meantime, the deputy sheriffs made their way all over campus accompanied by a very congenial Dan and Carmen Earle (everywhere, that is, except for Mel's residence).
I was smoking a cigarette on the porch and at one point they passed me and Dan said, "Here's one of our students" and I smiled and introduced myself. I was a bit taken aback by the police's suspicious demeanor, but I figured it didn't have anything to do with me.
In fact the tour took so long, the smoothing over of the edges, that the propheet was cut short. That day we were never told why the police were there.
It wasn't until the next day that I was informed by Dan Earle that my grandfather had been on the campus the previous day and had been the cause of all the police activity due to his complaint at the sheriffs department. Dan made it seem as though it was really no big deal, and told me that my grandfather was just older and his generation just didn't understand the kind of beautiful experience we were going through.
I was shocked and sad. I couldn't believe I missed my grandfather, that he had been tricked by the spin doctors at RMA. I secretly wondered what would have happened if he would have seen me, and, sadly, I fantasized for many months after that he might return and take me away from that horrible place.
But it didn't stop there.
The sheriffs department must have felt something strange was happening in the woods near Bonners Ferry, Idaho. They returned the next evening and had a look around the school again.
In fact they returned nearly every week for a month, and even ate dinner with us on several occasions, until Dan and Carmen finally convinced them that what was happening was not odd or out of the ordinary.
After that, the staff always laughed and told the house the funny story of when my grandfather had gotten them in hot water with the local authorities. Dan Earle said my grandfather was responsible for initiating there public relations campaign with the Bonners Ferry Sheriffs Department.
For years after I graduated from RMA my grandfather would have me tell the story to family members, many of whom felt he had overstepped his bounds. He would say, "You know your grandfather loves you. I went right to the sheriffs and told them those people wouldn't let me see my grandson and something wasn't right and they had never even heard of that place before."
This was in the fall of 1982 during the first few months of RMA's opening.
It sure would be interesting to see that police report.


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