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December 18, 2008 2:32 PM   Subscribe

The town of Shawano, WI claims a local group with a history of controversy called the Samanta Roy Institute of Science & Technology (SIST) profiled in this WSAW TV investigative series (part 1, part 2, part 3 & part 4) is a murderous cult that tried to hire a hitman to assassinate 60 prominent citizens including the mayor, city administrator, city treasurer, city attorney, police chief, judges, investigators & fire commissioners. SIST returns the favor & claims it's the mayor who's running a cult (part 1, part 2 & more), calling her the Minister of Propaganda. As a CBS investigative team found out, things are tense in this sleepy town. The FBI says it's keeping an eye on the situation.
posted by scalefree (28 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's reminds me of Rajneesh back in Oregon in the 1980s. That didn't end well.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 2:43 PM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know your plan isn't going to work if it involves someone covertly "taking care of" 60 different people in a town of roughly 8000.
posted by Damn That Television at 2:48 PM on December 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


"SIST" is an unfortunate acronym.
posted by jokeefe at 2:50 PM on December 18, 2008


The German Lutherans and Catholics who settled northern Wisconsin (Shawano and Wausau) are religious descendants of Martin Luther and biological cousins of the same German Lutherans and Catholics who in World War II murdered six million Jews and millions of others who didn't fit their mold.

Is it any surprise that these people are using the same tactics today in the USA to harm and discredit those who are different from them?


Awesome. You know how I know you're in a cult? Because you think everyone who dislikes you is a Nazi. Also because you like Coldplay.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:55 PM on December 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


Yet another reason to avoid small town prominence.
posted by srboisvert at 3:01 PM on December 18, 2008


Oh yeah, well I film you!
posted by Toekneesan at 3:02 PM on December 18, 2008


"There is not and has never been a cult, anymore than CBS is a cult, although there are people who believe that CBS is a communist organization, which you deny," said Alan Eisenberg, an attorney who represents SIST.

What to say . . . .
posted by theroadahead at 3:21 PM on December 18, 2008


Heh. The two wannabe goons on the street are a real piece of work (things are tense). Keteyian's handling of it wasn't very skillful, but I suppose he was a little annoyed at being interrupted.

The evasive and defensive demeanor of these two guys doesn't win any points for SIST, in my opinion. They don't look like culties.

The rest of it remains to be seen.
posted by Xoebe at 3:27 PM on December 18, 2008


there are people who believe that CBS is a communist organization

I've also heard that it's run by a bunch of Columbians.
posted by burnmp3s at 3:30 PM on December 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


Here's the Rick Ross page on SIST. I swear, I was just working up a SIST post myself! Thanks, scalefree :)
posted by jtron at 3:33 PM on December 18, 2008


From the link above, under Best Western, the SIST owned motel: Their secret recipe meatloaf and mashed potatoes will have your mouth watering for more.

Why do I get visions of Rory Calhoun?

We hear the restaurant has a standing invitation to mayor Lorna Marquardt for the steak dinner of her choice.

I'm sure they do. There's some bedrock whacky going on here.
posted by theroadahead at 3:34 PM on December 18, 2008


It's reminds me of Rajneesh back in Oregon in the 1980s. That didn't end well.

Another stronghold was a sleepy timber town not far from here, so we used to see a lot of stories regarding Oregon. I was shocked and amused to see Oregon police wearing their rather ostentatious "Orange People" necklaces while on uniformed duty.

The Bagwan's tough-as-nails henchman secretary, Ma Sheela, famously answered a question with "tough titties" on Australian 60 Minutes. It pretty much entered the lexicon for a generation.

Oh and yeah, the crazy Japanese cult that did the sarin gas attack. Well they also bought a property not far from here to "practice". After the attack the authorities were all like "ahh so that explains all the dead sheep and explosions and strange goings on."
posted by uncanny hengeman at 3:40 PM on December 18, 2008


This reminds me of some bad b horror movie where the cultist are actually holding some Dunwich Horror type creature at bay with blood sacrifices and bizarre incantations (complete with psychedelic interposes a la drug exploitation movies), and somewhere in the mayors office is a baphomet talisman and a black robe. And it's never clear if there are any good guys, or if this is just two different sects fighting for control over the beast.

And maybe two members from opposing sects fall in love, and they get ostracized. But the girl gets pregnant with the spiritual child of the beast. And so now everyone is trying to kill her (subtle allusions to the whole shame of bearing a love child). And her boyfriend is possessed, and is going through some cleansing ritual that involves a lot of wine being poured on bare bosoms. All in the Wisconsinite accent.

And then cut to commercial for penis enlargement.
posted by quintessencesluglord at 4:41 PM on December 18, 2008


said Alan Eisenberg, an attorney who represents SIST.

Totally not surprised to find out Eisenberg is representing them. He's an interesting character, though he gets bonus points for once owning the coolest building for bands to practice at in Milwaukee.
posted by drezdn at 5:07 PM on December 18, 2008


Wow. I have friends who live in Shawno. I'll have to ask them about this.
posted by niles at 5:30 PM on December 18, 2008


drezdn, is it this guy?

The legacy of Attorney Alan D. Eisenberg has been a legacy of controversy. His case scrapbook is an eclectic mix of the Accused: The Famous, the Notorious, the Heinous, the Indigent, the Rich, Doctors, Lawyers, Merchants, Indian Chiefs, and several local prominent television broadcasters!

The man can wear a hat. And that whole bio is worth a read.
posted by theroadahead at 5:32 PM on December 18, 2008


Actually, we used to tease one of them about how tough he was for growing up in Shawno, and how he had to walk everywhere carrying a gun to stay safe - mostly because that's exactly what it's not (wasn't?) like.
posted by niles at 5:33 PM on December 18, 2008


The Dunwich Horror plot is pretty good, but you need a way to work some of this material in. The essay is, uh, interesting, but the comments are where the meat is.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 5:35 PM on December 18, 2008


Can't see the first of the SIST videos as I don't sign up at youtube, but the second one . . . , it's not just Part 2, it's Terrorist Scam Mastermind and Religious Christian Cult Leader, Shawano Mayor Lorna Marquardt, Squanders Tax Payers Dollars in Ploy to Instigate Racial Genocide, dammit.

And now I can't get the phrase "Sadistic Religious Christian cult leader Lorna Marquardt" out of my head. If you need to get drunk fast, take a shot each time some variation of that phrase is repeated in just seven and a half minutes.

I'm enjoying this too much. Thank you, scalefree.
posted by theroadahead at 6:17 PM on December 18, 2008


there are people who believe that CBS is a communist organization

I've also heard that it's run by a bunch of Columbians.


CBS is owned (and occasionally pwned) by Dave.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 6:27 PM on December 18, 2008


Another stronghold was a sleepy timber town not far from here

Snoqualamie/Twin Peaks?
posted by five fresh fish at 6:43 PM on December 18, 2008


This, too, is . . . well, see for yourself. Aside from the talk of "hostile empress Lorna Marquardt" I especially love the moment when the speaker refers to her "compound" and the video shows the pedestrian glass front of Shawano City Hall.

Perhaps I should be more concerned about the threats made by these people, but I'm just swept away by folks that are so seriously goofy.

I'll try to stop now.
posted by theroadahead at 6:50 PM on December 18, 2008


Snoqualamie/Twin Peaks?

Not sure if you're having a lend, FFF. Pemberton, WA.

No, not Washington.

[home to some seriously tall trees, not quite sequoia size, but approaching]
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:54 PM on December 18, 2008


So is this an example of those Small Town Values found only in Real America that Palin kept talking about?
posted by jokeefe at 8:51 PM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oddly, Shawano -- or rather, Gresham, the next town over, but many of the stories were filed from Shawano -- was previously best known for the Alexian Brothers novitiate standoff when the property, deemed Indian land belonging to the Menominee tribe, was taken over by a group of armed radical Menominee. The National Guard was called in to ease tensions with local non-Indians, and after a month marked by potshots but no injuries, the radicals surrendered when a deal was struck for the property. The tribe was unable to complete any plans and after the property reverted to the religious order, it was burned by arsonists.
posted by dhartung at 12:36 AM on December 19, 2008


I'm amazed that a small town news station actually does investigative reporting. All I've ever seen is kitten in tree, school kid won spelling bee, caliber stories from my stations.

I'm also reminded of the Dharma Initiative from Lost (I've only seen the first two seasons)
posted by fontophilic at 12:41 AM on December 19, 2008



Shawano is a messed up place. The last time it made the national news, there was a guy 10 years ago from there who was caught rustling pigs to buy his favorite stripper fake tits.

Then there was the father and son combo who tried to rob a bank. I don't recall the details, but they failed in a pretty funny fashion.

As a tip, if you are ever driving through that area, do not speed. The cops are nazis.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:14 AM on December 19, 2008


The legacy of Attorney Alan D. Eisenberg has been a legacy of controversy.

I amazed that he's still around. He's certainly a "character". I guess it works for him, he got a guy I know off on a murder charge stemming from a bar fight in Crivitz many years ago.
posted by MikeMc at 8:51 AM on December 19, 2008


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