Shadow: Allison Mack is complex  

By Shadow State Allison Mack is a much more complex person than even I imagined. And in this context, I use “complex” in a bad sense. Recently, Actaeon wrote a post entitled Guest View: Allison Mack is not a victim – by her own admission she’s a criminal  and the post described Allison Mack’s Book Discussion […]

By Shadow State

Allison Mack is a much more complex person than even I imagined.

And in this context, I use “complex” in a bad sense.

Recently, Actaeon wrote a post entitled Guest View: Allison Mack is not a victim – by her own admission she’s a criminal  and the post described Allison Mack’s Book Discussion Group which she had online.

Tell me what books a person reads, or what music a person listens to, or what movies and TV shows a person watches and I will tell you who that person is.

Actaeon had to say about Allison Mack’s choice of reading material:

“She (Allison Mack) even did an online book club. The book was called “Shantaram” (it took me days to dredge up the title of that book from memory) and it’s godawful. I’m willing to bet it was suggested to her by [Keith] Raniere. It’s precisely the kind of book a person who would join a cult would read.”


Godawful does not begin to describe Shantaram.  I looked the book up on Wikipedia and the plot is disturbing:  “Shantaram” is about a heroin addict who goes around Australia robbing banks.

“Shantaram is a 2003 novel by Gregory David Roberts, in which a convicted Australian bank robber and heroin addict who escaped from Pentridge Prison flees to India.

Gregory David Roberts, one of Allison Mack’s favorite authors.

In 1978, Roberts was sentenced to a 19-year imprisonment in Australia after being convicted of a series of armed robberies of building society branches, credit unions, and shops. In July 1980, he escaped from Victoria’s Pentridge Prison in broad daylight, thereby becoming one of Australia’s most wanted men for the next ten years.”

What the Devil would draw Allison Mack to a novel like this? Does she identify with a heroin addict and a bank robber?

In one of Allison Mack’s NXIVM recruitment videos, she says she likes the music of a jazz musician named Chet Baker.  Baker was a heroin addict.

Image result for chet baker
Musician and heroin addict Chet Baker – one of Allison Mack’s favorites.

From Wikipedia:
“Drug addiction and decline
Baker often said he began using heroin in 1957.[14] Author Jeroen de Valk and pianist Russ Freeman say that Baker started heroin in the early 1950s.”

‘During the 1960s, he was imprisoned in Italy on drug charges and was expelled from Germany and the UK on drug-related offences. He was deported to the U.S. from Germany for getting into trouble with the law a second time. He settled in Milpitas, California, performing in San Francisco and San Jose between jail terms for prescription fraud.”

‘In 1966, Baker was beaten, allegedly while attempting to buy drugs, after performing at The Trident restaurant in Sausalito. ‘

“Early on May 13, 1988, Baker was found dead on the street below his hotel room in Amsterdam, with serious wounds to his head, apparently having fallen from the second floor window.[17] Heroin and cocaine were found in his room and in his body.
“There was no evidence of a struggle, and the death was ruled an accident. ”


A lot of people believe that creativity comes from mental illness.

“The confused beliefs and purported findings have primarily arisen because both creativity and mental illness involve deviations, sometimes fairly extreme ones, from normative modes of thought. Symptoms of mental illness differ from normal thinking and behavior, and creativity requires special or uncommon capacities.”

The dark side of creativity: Depression + anxiety x madness = genius?

Keith Raniere and Allison Mack made a video together – where Raniere expounds on the meaning of life and much else about his philosophy.

Allison Mack in her one-hour and 34-minute video with Keith Raniere talks about her interest in creativity.  Ms. Mack apparently believes that madness is a prerequisite for creativity.

About the author

Frank Parlato


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  • Shantaram, love that book. You know what that means… No, correlation does not imply causation. You must think everyone who reads Lord of the Rings identifies with walking trees. Video games, violent movies, and everything else fun, you think cause the bad decisions a person makes.

  • This article is dimwitted and insubstantial. Shantaram is an immensely popular book–I’ve seen dozens of people reading it on the London Underground for a start, never mind the hundreds of thousands of others all over the world who have enjoyed it as a notable work of modern lit. I’d venture a guess that the majority of these readers aren’t drug addicts or members of sex cults’ As for Chet Baker, he’s arguably one of the greatest jazz singers / trumpeters who ever lived, and his music is loved by people from all walks of life, me included. That doesn’t make me a junkie any more than liking Shantaram would. Also, many credible studies have been made regarding the links between mental illness and creativity; here’s one, for instance: This doesn’t mean Alison Mack considers mental illness to be an invariable prerequisite to artistic creativity. Regardless of what nefarious business she may have been party to , this inane article mistakes correlation for causality and is predicated on the kind of logic an 11 year-old kid would come up with. Do better.

  • Very biased article ! ” Very complex ” sorry ! You didn’t even get the book right

  • I can’t deal with how lame this “article” is–are you seriously suggesting that because Mack once read a book about a heroin addict that somehow proves she’s depraved? What about her loving the book “To Kill a Mockingbird?” Does that mean she’s secretly a racist or maybe she secretly wants to be a Southern lawyer or maybe she just really loves the book?

  • Shadowstate1958,

    Please for the love of God and all that is Holy no more Allison Mack articles. You sir are besmirching the good name of a good Irish lass. Allison Mack has been served Justice. Your job is done.

  • 2 things becoming ever more apparent in these never ending character assisation and deluded articles is 1) just how distrubing Shadows interest in A.M.
    2) Frank is now engaging in full on censorship!

    On several occasions now I’ve tried to point out a commenter claiming to be shadows nephew stated “your taking things too far now/because she was rude to you at comicon 2002.. if true this would mean he has had this unhealthy obsession since she was 19 and he mid 40s!

    It would seem Frank only believes in truth and transparency when it fits his agenda!

  • Has anyone commenting read Shantaram or are peoples’ assessments based upon word of mouth and/or reviews? Now “should” we revile the music, of for instance, Miles Davis, because his personal life could be said to be more than minimally messy? Picasso had numerous affairs. He could be said to be a spoiled, arrogant little prick. So what about his paintings, shall his work be assigned to some burning pyre? What about Robert Graves? What about Albert Camus, Henry Miller, Anais Nin? Let’s talk about Tolstoy. What about Freud and his addictions and complex personal life? Does his lifestyle negate his contributions to psychoanalysis?

    Shall we enter Michael Jackson territory? Does one vomit if he appears onscreen dancing, what with his exposed personal life? Each member of the audience can and will decide these questions individually. Yet everyone can at least understand that being alive is a guaranteed encounter with the good, the bad and even the ugly.

    Do I give a damn what Mack has read? No. Do I feel curiousity about how she became who she is and who she will be? Somewhat, but that curiousity is mild. Mack is in the driver’s seat of her own life, decisions and direction, now limited to some extent by her guilty plea.

    However, I am concerned about what she has chosen to do; her actions. Having never heard of her, except for her involvement with Raniere, I do feel a strong sense of distaste regarding her choices, which have been alarming, to say the least.. I question who she is to herself now. What will she allow herself? Yet it’s probable that Mack is the only one who “knows” this, and I have a guess. That guess is that she doesn’t know much yet and will need plenty of time to take all kinds of shots in the dark, (hit or miss) until or unless she decides to get real with herself. None of us can really know that. Would I hire her as a cleaner in my home or let her babysit? Hell no.

    And yes, I read Shantaram when it was published. The book went on and on and on, much too long. It was sometimes entertaining, sometimes sad, sometimes not so sad. It was a blend of nonfiction and fictionalized autobiography. A dude crying out for an editor.

  • Oh Dear. time to throw every piece of music, every work of art and every bit of literature I’ve ever read and loved on the fire, because not only could it corrupt me (too late!) but could also become evidence of that corruption to some libellous idiot. Most art, Shallowman, is produced by folk whose habits and morality would not pass muster in your one-inch hinterland. What now? indict every artist that ever lived? burn their artefacts? Fool. If Shantaram is crap it’s because it’s badly written and conceived prolix. It is no less ‘immoral’ than Dosteovsky’s Crime and Punishment or Nabakov’s Lolita, just nowhere near as brilliant IMO.

  • Interesting thoughts

    It smacks to me of the sort of bad boy story that many women seem to find strangely attractive – and has shades of Mack’s first long-term relationship with a rock musician, as addressed in another comment of mine that Frank just posted as a piece.

    I gather the book is principally about a time when the protagonist is in a fictionalized version of Mumbai, living a life of underworld crime interspersed with an odd mix of glamour and philosophizing. It sounds like it has some of the elements of women’s romance novels, but more for those who do yoga and have some interest in Eastern spirituality rather than those who would be attracted to the lurid cover of a bodice ripper in the supermarket checkout lane.

    Plus it also has the alluring element of a final redemption, according to Wikipedia:

    “Lin realizes he has become everything he grew to loathe and falls into depression after he returns to India. He decides that he must fight for what he believes is right, and build an honest life. The story ends with him planning to go to Sri Lanka, which lays the premise for the sequel to this book.”

    The problem is that the real men that women attracted to such types actually get involved with, rarely are actually redeemable. The sort of tragic end we see in Mack’s case, with Raniere incorrigible to the end and her suffering the fallout of the abusive relationship, is all too common.

    I think it’s also typical that such women give off a vibe of vulnerability that appeals to a certain type of men who want to try save them from the scoundrels – even though they tend to reject the former for the latter – and I think that’s much of Mack’s attraction to the fanboys.

  • The book has brilliant reviews and is widely read so to suggest its some obscure, weird read is erroneous

    • It certainly was a popular book, though critics didn’t take it very seriously, and the more analytical reviews note its technical flaws.

      I ran across one “alternative” view that makes the protagonist sound rather like the “world’s smartest man” and “polymath” image that Raniere and his loyalists cultivated:

      “Everybody loves Lin. Simple villagers love him, slum dwellers love him, beautiful ex-prostitutes love him, gangsters love him, Afghani drug lords love him, taxi drivers always love him at a glance and so on and so forth. As a character, he’s just unbelievable. And that’s without getting into the fact he’s absolutely The Best at Everything – from fighting to lovemaking, medicine to philosophy.”

  • Thanks for the info on her reading preferences, Shadow. I think we’ve only scratched the surface here. Here are some more questions:

    Which hand does she write with? It indicates whether she is a more analytical or more creative person.

    What is her favorite color? Can sometimes be an indicator of a weak or strong willed person.

    Which side does she part her hair to? Also an indicator of hand dominance.

    Does she prefer plays to movies? Could be an indicator of her desire for human interaction and ultimately reflect in a deep and piercing loneliness.

    I’d be interested to see if you know the answer to any of these.

    • All great questions, Max. Shadow is furiously doing research – he’s feeling a little sheepish that he doesn’t already know the answers.

    • Wouldn’t it be easier to tie her thumbs
      to her opposing big toes,
      toss her in the river
      and see if she floats – or not?

      If she does, fair play –
      burn her at the stake – but if not?
      don’t you think it would be best
      to let the witch-finding generals take a rest?

  • Have you answer my question about Allison living Under the sea after reading the “little mermaid”?
    So , freud, your analyse is really really interesting but you are still showing how idiotic you can be…

    You make a long analyze to prove she was pure evil based on 1 book she read once!?
    Wow, impressed you do not even have enough common sense to understand how stupid it is.

    Allison was reading, TONS of books, it was her thing. Whenever she had some time , instead of watching TV, she would read a book .
    Out of all the books , you see one that “sound” evil (but is not, you obviously have read this book) and judge Allison based on this.
    I wasn’t expecting more from your kind, to be honest but even for you , it’s low.

    • The novel was promoted by Mack in a sort of online book club on her blog, as reported by Acteon, who followed her somewhat sympathetically and and wrote about it in a recent piece. Were there any other books Mack promoted in the same way she did Shantaram?

      I see that a quick search shows the book listed on a number of fan sites, as one of Mack’s 3 favorites – shouldn’t you have known that?

      It seems to me that the book provides a definite bridge from Mack’s abusive and drug using first fiancee Pete, though the glamorized fictional drug addict and confidence artist of the novel, to her involvement with Raniere the abusive con man. We can see a definite pattern of behavior and psychological attraction, that helps explain how she ended up where she is now. much more so than than the simplistic notion that she was the innocent girl from Smallville who somehow fell into Raniere’s evil clutches.

      The author of this piece does not say Mack is “pure evil,” that’s a fallacious straw man argument (argument de l’homme de paille*). Could you actually address what is being revealed about Mack’s personal flaws and troubles – particularly if you have some real “inside scoop”?

      * Épouvantail (rhétorique)

      And for the MeXians, Falacia del hombre de paja:

  • Now Shadow thinks/knows that Mack liking the music of Chet Baker reveals her warped mind?! He’s really reaching now for reasons to write hit pieces on her.

    It might be hard to name a Jazz, Rock, Pop, or Rap musician that never used drugs.
    And those who like Michael Jackson’s music didn’t all become child molesters

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