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A film and interactive experience by Mia Donovan.
DEPROGRAMMEDÂ chronicles Ted â€˜Black Lightningâ€™ Patrickâ€™s anti-cult crusade. His practice of â€˜deprogrammingâ€™, also known as â€˜reverse brainwashingâ€™, started in the early 1970s and quickly snowballed into a vast underground movement composed of concerned parents, ex-cultist-turned-deprogrammers and some sympathetic law-enforcers whose mission was to physically and mentally remove individuals from â€˜cultsâ€™.Â
My stepbrother Matthewâ€™s love of heavy-metal-music, juvenile delinquent tendencies and fixation on the Satanic Bible led his father to hire Patrick to deprogram Matthew while confining him to a motel room for 8-days.Â In 2011, after 18-years of estrangement, I sought Matthew out and discovered that the deprogramming that he endured did more harm than good.Â This led me to a deeper inquiry into Ted Patrickâ€™s pioneering technique, resulting in a 2-year journey to track down others whoâ€™d been deprogrammed.Â Through interviews and the never-before-seen archives of the actual deprogrammings of those individuals, the film will begin to unravel what it might mean to be in a high-control group under a form of â€˜thought-controlâ€™, the line where free will begins to blur.
Along with extensive interviews with the now 84-year-old Father of deprogramming himself as he reflects on his career, news archives will also reveal the changing attitude that the public and law enforcement agencies developed towards Ted Patrickâ€™s controversial approach to deprogramming. Looking back at the involuntary deprogramming era (1971 until around 1990) this documentary questions how much the practice was a result of moral panic and how much of it was, in fact, a matter of cultic mind-control?