Tower of Beauty

Anastasia Drozdova was a super model who also took the Rose of the World training at the VDNH culture center in Moscow. She too took her life by jumping to her death. Beautiful women are put in a tower at the center of a maze.

“I felt depressed for week after I attended the Rose of the World. I felt that there was no way out.”

I asked Rena why she didn’t get into modeling like her three older sisters had. She told me they were all screwed up. One of them was the mistress of Robert Vesco, the millionaire financier who was a good friend of Donald Nixon.

“Vesco was notorious throughout his life, attempting to buy a Caribbean island from Antigua in order to create an autonomous country and having a national law in Costa Rica made to protect him from extradition. A 2001 article labeled Vesco “the undisputed king of the fugitive financiers.”

Wealthy men surround themselves with thoroughbred beauties, lure them in, and put them in their towers. Rena was a thoroughbred who chose to be with me, a homeless man with no money – a true Bohemian. Smart girl!

I have long contended there was a cult around my famous sister who captured beutiful women in her infamous ’empty spaces’. Rosamond put herself in a tower.

One day she called Rosemary and said;

“Mother. I am staying the night at the Getty house in New York. I have it all. But, I don’t know who I am anymore.”

When Rosemary told me that, I knew Christine was in trouble, and looked for a way to intervene, but I was blocked, shut out. My beautiful sister was seeing three therapists when she drowned. I begged the executor, Sydney Morris to help me put an end to this Rose of the World Cult. but, he accused me trying to exploit my families tradgedy by suggesting Christine Rosamond was murdered.

Hundreds of people use the term “murder” after losing a loved one to a cult. When you take everything from someone, and destroy their core being, what is left – but death!

Jon Presco

Copyright 2012

Anastasia Drozdova
Her friend, Ukrainian model Anastasia Drozdova has also jumped out of the building a year after Korshunova in 2009 in

Anastasia Drozdova
Kiev. She has also attended “Rose of the World” along with Korshunova. Girls believed that the organization can help them with daily troubles and enlighten them to find meaning in life and advance careers.  Anastasia’s mother has found notes in her room with sporadically written notes suggesting she is not physiologically stable. She lost weight and was behaving weirdly after attending the sect according to her mother.

A documentary maker has linked the suicides of two Russian models to the re-emergence of an American cult in Russia that was closed down by lawsuits in the 1980s.
British TV producer and writer Peter Pomerantsev investigated the death of 20-year-old Ruslana Korshunova, who jumped off a building in New York in 2008, leaving no clue as to why she would have taken her own life.
Although Korshunova (pictured above in 2006) had recently broken up with her business tycoon boyfriend, her friends told Pomerantsev, who relates the full story in Newsweek, that she was over the relationship and planned to study at university.
Then, a year after Korshunova’s death, her friend and fellow model Anastasia Drozdova also committed suicide by jumping from a block of flats – this time in Kiev. The note she left for her mother read: “Forgive me for everything. Cremate me.”
Searching for answers, Drozdova’s mother found papers among her belongings from Rose of the World, a ‘training centre’ the model had attended with Korshunova.
Pomerantsev attended Rose of the World training sessions with a hidden camera. “When you enter the Rose,” he writes, “there is darkness and shouting, everything is designed to stun the conscious mind, suspend critical thought. Then the ‘life trainer’ emerges. He talks so fast you can’t help but be confused, the microphone set at a level your head starts hurting.”
Participants, who pay $1,000 for a three-day course, are asked to recall their worst experiences. Pomerantsev found that Korshunova had been the centre’s “most enthusiastic speaker”, telling of her father’s death and her failed love affair.
Pomerantsev describes his own experience at Rose of the World as “three days of shouting, recalling repressed memories, meditation followed by dancing, tears followed by ecstasy”.
In an echo of the methods of the notorious Church of Scientology, participants are persuaded to pay for more sessions: Korshunova and Drozdova were among those who had continued their ‘training’ in this way.
Pomerantsev found that the ideology of Rose of the World is based on Lifespring, a cult founded in the United States in 1974. A book about this New Age ideology describes “authoritarian trainers who enforce numerous rules” and favour “feeling and action” over reason.
After numerous lawsuits brought in the 1980s by former members and their relatives, some of whom accused the cult of ‘wrongful death’, Lifespring was effectively shut down in the US. However, branches of it survive around the world, including in Russia.
Drozdova attended Rose of the World for a year, while Korshunova was there for three months. However, a member of the cult denied that either suicide was linked to Rose of the World, telling Pomerantsev: “Korshunova had what we call a ‘rollback’. She felt a little strange. You’d find her wandering round town, unsure what she was doing there. Maybe she’d cry at night. But she couldn’t have killed herself. We cured her of any problems she might have. And Drozdova? She was messed up already. We tried to help her, we really tried. But she refused transformation. Blame modelling, maybe drugs, not us.”
However, Rick Ross, head of the Cult Education Forum is less sure: “These organisations never blame themselves. They always say, ‘It’s the victim’s fault’. They work like drugs: giving you peak experiences, their adherents always coming back for more. The serious problems start when people leave. The trainings have become their lives – they come back to emptiness. The sensitive ones break.”

More than 30 lawsuits were filed against Lifespring, alleging that the training had caused everything from emotional damage to psychotic breakdowns to suicide. The first unfavorable jury verdict came in 1984, when Deborah Bingham, a 30-year-old blackjack dealer, was awarded $800,000. She said she’d been in a psych ward for a month after attending two Lifespring courses. In 1982, after David Priddle jumped off a building, his family accepted an undisclosed sum; so did Artie Barnett’s family, when Barnett, who couldn’t swim, drowned as fellow participants egged him on. And Gail Renick’s family received $450,000 after she died from an asthma attack during a training session. She had been led to believe her medication was unnecessary. Gabriella Martinez testified that she heard her trainer’s voice in her head the night she swallowed a bottle of sleeping pills. Lifespring settled the case out of court.
In 1980 ABC’s 20/20 aired an investigation of Lifespring. It included an interview with cult expert Dr. John Clark of Harvard Medical School, who said the group practiced mind control and brainwashing. In 1987 Virginia Thomas, who is married to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, told the Washington Post she had had to hide out of state to get away from Lifespring. In 1990 KARE-TV (Channel 11) ran a segment called “Mind Games?” that Lifespring claimed was deceptive and sensationalized. (The Minnesota News Council rejected the company’s claim.)
While trainings continued until the mid-Nineties in certain parts of the country, the lawsuits and the bad press crippled the company. In Minneapolis many Lifespring grads were sad, angry, and determined that the work should continue. One of them, Sue Hawkes, founded Vistar in partnership with two California-based Lifespring trainers. She ran the company out of her home in Plymouth. It’s a good guess that Hawkes’s idea was to grow Vistar into a self-help empire like Lifespring, where people took the training seminars in groups numbering several hundred. It never happened. During my involvement, Level I enrollments hovered between 15 and 50 people. Despite ample free labor, the company couldn’t have been very profitable. Unlike Hanley, who invented the seminars for profit, everyone running Vistar had been through the program and they believed in it. I sometimes wonder if that’s why they failed.
Today, all of the phone numbers associated with Vistar have been disconnected. There are no new directory listings, no Web pages, no evidence that the organization is still active in Minneapolis.
It hardly matters. There are approximately 3,000 groups like Vistar operating in the U.S. today. Exit counseling has become a viable career, and mind control is an academic subgenre, complete with schools of thought, theories, and counter-theories. Most people who study cults conclude that groups like Vistar’s, classified as LGATs (Large Group Awareness Trainings), are pathological, but they disagree about the extent of the damage. Are they cults? Cultlike? In the 15 years since the American Psychological Association released a report condemning LGATs in general, and Lifespring in particular, no one has brokered a clear consensus. This might have something to do with the fact that specificity can be dangerous; lawsuits are an occupational hazard.
Last year the Phoenix New Times reported that Landmark Education, a company that markets a class similar to Vistar’s–known as the Forum–was distributing a letter from UC Berkeley’s Dr. Margaret Singer stating that their approach does not warrant cult status. The company had sued the professor emeritus of psychology for mentioning Landmark in her book Cults in Our Midst. As part of the settlement, she agreed to write the letter and strike references to the group in later editions of the book. She declined further comment to the New Times reporter, saying, “The SOBs have already sued me once.”
Landmark trains 125,000 people annually in 100 cities worldwide, including Minneapolis.
On October 29, 1996, I wrote in my journal: “I know I am loved—deeply, and for the rest of my life—by all of these people in my Leadership Program, and by James…I am willing to devote my life to that love.”
At that point I was halfway through Level III: The Edge. A seven-week program, Level III was advertised as an opportunity to practice the Vistar model of success in a group setting. It would teach participants to stretch the limits of what we believed to be achievable. After all, the only thing holding us back was the lies we told to keep ourselves small.
Level III was structured around a group challenge and a series of personal goals. The group was to raise $27,000 and use it to rehab an abandoned house in Minneapolis’s Phillips neighborhood. Individually, we each wrote a “Letter of Intention” or “LOI,” setting multiple, measurable objectives in seven areas of our lives. Under “Work,” I committed to finding a job. Under “Health,” I dedicated myself to running twice a week, giving up dairy products, and eating five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. My LOI contained 22 goals in all.
Almost parenthetically, we were asked to commit to enrolling at least one person in one of several upcoming Level I seminars. After all, our success in enrollment would be the best indication of whether or not we “got” commitment. I committed to enrolling one person. Some people committed to as many as four.

Then again, in the outside world, my life was falling apart. I had an internship and some part-time work, but I was spending too much time working for Vistar to look for a job. I didn’t have a car, health insurance, or money for food. The worse it got, the harder I worked the Vistar formula, which promised: Once you get enrollment, you get everything else. Desperate to master enrollment, I joined the Vistar sales team. But despite endless hours of phone calls, heart-to-heart talks with anyone I could corral, I failed. I never enrolled a soul. After a while, I became unhinged. I cried myself to sleep. I cried walking down the street. When I ran into old friends, I accused them of jumping to conclusions about Vistar. I told them my life was better than ever. I was beginning to doubt it myself, but what else could I say? If I told the truth, to myself or anyone else, I would never enroll anyone in the courses and my life would never work.
Things finally came to a head when I applied to senior a Level III. It was June, seven months after my own Level III graduation. And I was chosen, with one caveat: I had to enroll someone first. I spent two weeks trying. During the last two days I worked out of Sue Hawkes’s basement in Plymouth, where Vistar was headquartered, cold-calling people from stacks of cards collected at various recruitment events. In between calls, I would set down the phone and weep. Just hours before the Level III kickoff, someone finally agreed to take the course and I copied down his credit-card number over the phone.
The following weeks brought a series of confrontations. The small group I was coaching wasn’t enrolling anyone, and I was held responsible. One evening I was summoned to an emergency midnight meeting, where two staff members cataloged my failings in excruciating detail. I cried. I promised to try harder. A week later, there was another emergency meeting because I’d told someone I wanted to quit. I was attacked again. I promised again to stay and try harder.
A week later, two of my three fellow staff members skipped a 5:00 a.m. meeting. One of those absent was Hawkes, who ran Level III. Midway through the meeting, she called to lecture the participants about their lack of commitment. There was no speakerphone in the room, so she delivered her tirade, piece by piece, to the guy who answered the phone. Piece by piece, he delivered it to the rest of us. It was absurd. Still, I wasn’t planning to quit that day. I was just tired. There was a staff meeting scheduled for 8:00 p.m., and that afternoon, I took a nap. While I was asleep, a storm knocked out the power. It took out the alarm and the cordless phone. Messages piled up in my voicemail. I slept until the next morning.
The next day, in an ugly, curt telephone call, I was removed from my position. I was both elated and mortified. Mostly, I was relieved. I figured I would take a break and then throw myself back into Vistar. I would try even harder. After all, that’s what a lot of people did.
My deprogramming happened by accident. A week after I lost my position as a Level III senior, I was in Barnes & Noble when the word cult caught my eye. When I picked up a book called Cults in Our Midst, I felt triumphantly traitorous, until I came to a detailed description of Level I. I put the book back and fled. Later that same night, I went to a different bookstore. Another cult book. Another description of Level I. I visited several more bookstores in the next month. It was awhile before I could bring myself to believe it, much less buy it.
After I had read the books, I told James that we had been conned. It took him some time to come around. We talked about it for months. We planned a lawsuit. We planned to blow the whistle. When we heard that Vistar had scheduled a teen seminar, we planned a disruption. In the end, these plans went nowhere.
One reason people stay in cults even when the experience is deeply painful is that it can be far more psychologically painful to admit to being unreasonable and wrong. For me, throwing off mind control was a matter of education and time. I learned that what keeps people in difficult and painful situations is an unwillingness to admit that they might have made poor choices. Before long I applied the same logic to my marriage. James and I were married in July 1998. Shortly thereafter, he started drinking heavily. We fought about it for a year, and then I left. Eventually we agreed that without Vistar, we never would have married.
During my marriage and afterward, I had nightmares in which I would suddenly find myself in a training room. I would know what was coming, and I would know there was nothing I could do. I felt a similar dread each time I spotted Vistar people around town. I didn’t feel safe until I moved out of state.
One day, in the thick of my Vistar involvement, I was downtown with a fellow grad. We were talking about a WCCO-TV employee who had gone through the Vistar program with me. She mentioned the media coverage that had brought down Lifespring. “I’ve always wondered if Beth was in undercover,” she said thoughtfully. I was immediately certain it was true. Though I didn’t say it out loud, I wondered: “Could we kill her?”

1. I felt depressed for week after I attended the Rose of the World. I felt that there was no way out.

Rose of the World’s reaction to Ruslana’s regression reveals something about its attitude to participants and its tendency to blame problems on them rather than consider whether the trainings were powerless, or even part of the problem. Rose assistant Volodya said,
            “Ruslana had what we call a ‘rollback.’ She felt a little strange. You’d find her wandering round town, unsure what she was doing there. Maybe she’d cry at night. But she couldn’t have killed herself. We cured her of any problems she might have. And Anastasia? She was messed up already. We tried to help her, we really tried. But she refused transformation. Blame modeling, maybe drugs, not us.” (Newsweek, “The Lost Girl,” by Peter Pomerantsev, May 9, 2011, p.57)
            Note that Rose saw emotional problems in enough clients that they had a term for it- “rollback.” This suggests that the LGAT transformation is not a core change in people, but a temporary suspension of personal failings or stressful feelings. Certainly LGAT promotional literature ever mentions the prospect of “rollback.” Volodya’s comments also imply that even a full year of trainings were powerless to help these women. In fact, their “rollback” regression describes emotions and behavior that were worse after the trainings than before. Rose believed it “cured” Anastasia even though she obviously showed deep emotional and behavioral problems.
Rose readily blamed the dead women for “refusing” transformation. This is consistent with LGAT theory, which blames people for the problems in their lives because they choose to be victims rather than overcoming obstacles. There is no hint that “rollbacks” prompt LGATs to seriously evaluate their trainings for flaws.

Training for personality development is how the Rose of the World describes itself. “Our seminars will teach you how to realize your goals and achieve material wealth,” its website states, lit up by photographs of happy, shiny people. …

VDNH was commissioned by Stalin to celebrate Soviet success; now it is rented out to petty traders selling everything from kitsch art to rare flowers. Stray dogs hunt in packs between gargantuan statues of collective-farm girls. The trainings are in a vast building where, in Soviet times, the Komsomol would meet to sing songs of praise to tyrants. I acquire hidden-camera and audio recordings of the training. When you enter the Rose, there is darkness and shouting, everything is designed to stun the conscious mind, suspend critical thought. Then the “life trainer” emerges. He talks so fast you can’t help but be confused, the microphone set at a level your head starts hurting.
“In the coming days you will experience discomfort. Fear. But this is good. This is the inner barrier you have to break through.” There are 40 people in the hall, who are asked to confess their worst experiences. Tales of rape, abusive parents. Ruslana, I learn, was the most enthusiastic speaker. She spoke about her father’s death, her failed romance — cried publicly, laughed violently. Three days of shouting, recalling repressed memories, meditation followed by dancing, tears followed by ecstasy. Every intense emotion you’ve ever had, stuffed into three life-changing days.
The models signed up for more training, each one a little more expensive than the last, each one a little more intense.
The article even gets the religion hook, even if all of this is coming at the end of the tragic tale.
The Rose’s website reveals its trainings are based on a discipline called Lifespring, once popular in the U.S. What the site doesn’t mention are the lawsuits brought against Lifespring by former adherents for mental damage, cases that caused the U.S. part of the organization to shut down in 1980. In Russia, Lifespring is in vogue, filling in the post-Soviet spiritual vacuum, providing “life-changing” and “transformational” experiences without the inconvenience of traditional religious moral codes. A Lifespring-inspired trainer has even had his own show on the country’s main television station.

In Moscow, I seek out Luba, Ruslana’s friend and colleague, who was close to her in Moscow at that time. Luba’s flat is stuffed with hundreds of cuddly toys. These girls are nothing like their images on paper. They’re small and scared. Luba remembers Ruslana’s lover well: “He’s gorgeous. Girls drop at his feet. He’s been with so many of my friends. All of them perfect.”

Friends, more experienced girls like Luba, warned Ruslana not to fall in love. But she was certain this was the real thing.

When the tycoon dumped Ruslana, she kept on texting him, hoping for an answer. Friends recall that the tycoon’s personal assistant called Ruslana and ordered her to leave him alone. And as suddenly as he had dumped her, her career stalled, too.

“She couldn’t understand,” Luba says. “Suddenly she was a no one.”

It’s a scenario many models face. Elena Obukhova attempted suicide after two years working in Milan. She is now a psychologist planning to set up a counselling centre in Moscow aimed exclusively at models.

“You’re in a world where nothing is real. Men sleep with the girl in the photograph, not with you. But your feelings are genuine,” she says.

“At one point I just couldn’t tell who I was anymore. And, in a weird way, the only way I felt I could be real again was to attempt suicide.”Robert Lee Vesco (December 4, 1935 – November 23, 2007[1]) was a fugitive United States financier. After several years of high stakes investments and seedy credit dealings, Vesco was alleged guilty of securities fraud. He immediately fled the ensuing U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation by living in a number of Central American and Caribbean countries that did not have extradition laws.[2] Charges emerged following the Watergate scandal that linked Vesco with illegal funding for a company owned by Donald A. Nixon (Richard Nixon’s nephew).

Vesco was notorious throughout his life, attempting to buy a Caribbean island from Antigua in order to create an autonomous country and having a national law in Costa Rica made to protect him from extradition. A 2001 article labeled Vesco “the undisputed king of the fugitive financiers.”[3] After settling in Cuba in 1982, Vesco was charged with drug smuggling in 1989. In the 1990s he became involved with Donald Nixon again, and was indicted by the Cuban government for “fraud and illicit economic activity” and “acts prejudicial to the economic plans and contracts of the state” in 1996.[4]

Vesco was sentenced to 13 years in jail by Cuba. Five months after his death in November 2007 the New York Times reported he succumbed to lung cancer at a hospital in Havana, Cuba.[1]

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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1 Response to Tower of Beauty

  1. Reblogged this on Rosamond Press and commented:

    Would Hillary have won if it were not for the attack on me from SLEEPS? Consider the smokestack of the Portreo Plant.

    Roza Mira and The Divine Feminine
    Posted on May 3, 2012
    by Royal Rosamond Press

    Leonard DaVinci would enjoy the vision of Daniel Andreev, he perhaps rendering beautiful images to go with the idea of a Divine Feminine that was explored by Denis de Rougemont who envisioned a One World Government.

    I found the Roza Mira oil and gas company. Are they associated with the Roza Mira Prophecy who has plans to unite all the religions of the world? My Bohemian Bank was calling for such a thing, we Bohemians anointing our own middle men in the oil game in order to fund the Arts.
    ” Monolit is, in turn, part of Roza Mira, a medium-sized independent Russian group trading oil products.”
    Did the Roza Mira Training center try to employ super model Ruslana to help develop their brand name ‘Rose of the World’? If so, is Roza Mira looking at my blogs, and my famous sister, Rosamond?
    Michell Bachman will endorse Mitt Romeny thus unite the Mormon and Evangelical cults that have transformed the Rebel Jesus Redeemer into a virginal feminine love object with a long white gown – and long hair! Loving and worshipping beautiful woman is a big taboo in this modern world – gone mad!
    The idea of a Personal Jesus is about fifty years old. Billy Graham was intent on stopping Teen Love, and making Jesus the Love Object of teenagers so they will not make love to love music that worshipped beautiful women. Jesus was not born to be your personal savior, die on the cross FOR YOU, and you, and you, and you, and you! He never was your personal lover. Get over it! Not everyone gets a beautiful woman, or, a divine deity who knows everything about you. Not everyone get to be an Artist.
    When Lover Jesus was turned into Political Killer Jesus by Tim LaHaye, the Christian Coalition, and Oil Billionaires, then American became home to a terrorist orginization whose divine leader gave this simple message;
    “Love me! Worship only me – or I will destroy you!”
    Sounds like Lucifer, the vain fallen angel to me!
    Ruslana is a fallen angel, with long hair. We Nazarites take her into the Lord’s Fold.
    Jon ‘The Nazarite’
    The Rose of the World is envisioned in the development of the feminine nature in humanity: abhorrence for cruelty and violence, the expression of tenderness and love, the central concern for children, and the love of the beautiful. Women will assume positions of leadership, inspiration and wisdom. The current patriarchal order will be, at least partially, transformed under this empowered feminine influence in the Rose of the World.

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