The Finders - Sources

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The Finders - Sources

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Tue Mar 25, 2014 11:31 am

There have been a number of threads on this subject -- this one is just my attempt to gather primary sources which have a procilivity for disappearing for years at a stretch. I would like to start with this DB piece which cuts through a lot of the "uncertainty" on this topic.


Sidebar from NameBase NewsLine, No. 5, April-June 1994:

Marion Pettie and his Washington DC "Finders": Kooks or Spooks?

by Daniel Brandt
In August 1984, two twenty-something young men wearing ties knocked on my door and gave their names: Steve Usdin and Jeff Ubois. A tiny newsletter had mentioned the database I was developing, and they were interested. They began pumping me on my activities and associates, and took notes. Their questions reflected a familiarity with obscure leftist personalities and publications that is found only among seasoned activists, and even more curiously, they expressed no politics of their own. Usdin and Ubois had to be "sent men."

But they wanted to be helpful. My own attempts to interest progressives in my project had been met with quizzical looks, because at the time most leftists were still using typewriters. These two fellows at least knew all about microcomputing. So I rewarded them with the first edition of what today is called NameBase. At the same time I mentioned that I needed the IBM BASIC compiler to get the program transferred from CP/M, and a few weeks later they came by with just what I needed, complete with a photocopied manual in a binder. I probably should have asked them for new computers and an office.

They said their group went by the name of "Information Bank," and they wanted to approach certain organizations in the Washington DC area and volunteer their technical skills. The following June I visited their warehouse headquarters and met Randolph A. Winn and Robert M. Meyer. I asked questions about who or what was behind it all, but their answers were evasive. From their perspective, I was a potential recruit.

In July 1985 I got a call from Kris Jacobs, a DC activist who did research on the right-wing. She said that Ubois was caught looking in her office files, and when she confronted him, he claimed to be from the National Journalism Center. Since NJC is a right-wing group that was then doing research on the left, his answer didn't pacify her. Ubois had been dropping my name to talk his way into certain places, so Ms. Jacobs wasn't happy with my excuses either. I alerted two other organizations who were getting assistance from the Information Bank. The next time Ubois came over in early 1986, I casually brought up the name "National Journalism Center" in a different context, and asked him if he had ever heard of it. "Nope." That's when I opened my own file on the Information Bank.

Louis Wolf helped me check crisscross directories and we visited the recorder of deeds. Several group names were listed under each address, and the two properties we knew about were both in the name of Robert G. Terrell, Jr. While returning from the recorder of deeds office, cross my heart, we spotted Usdin walking with an older man. He didn't see us so we followed them on foot for about two miles like Keystone Kops (they kept stopping at store windows), but eventually lost them. Sometime later Ubois dropped in on Wolf (they never call ahead) and whipped out a business card that read "Hong Kong Business Today." He wanted to know how to get a visa for Vietnam. It was clear by then that most group members were world-class travelers, which included travel to numerous Eastern Bloc countries. It was all a game to them. This was a small group -- perhaps 40 adults -- but they had no visible income to support their far-flung activities.

In February 1987, two young men from the group were arrested in Tallahassee, Florida because the van they were driving contained six children with dirty faces. The term "child abuse" was trumpeted in all of the media, all over the country, for several days. Customs, the FBI, and DC police raided three group properties and made off with their files and computers. The group (it was a "cult" to the media) was called the "Finders" (years earlier they had been known as the "Seekers"), and it was run by Marion David Pettie, then 67 years old. At least now I knew who the older man was and I had another name for the group. No charges were filed and the children were soon returned to their mothers in the group. After realizing that they had been feeding on a nonstory, the media suddenly dropped everything with no apologies. I called the Washington Post city desk at the height of the hysteria and explained that there was another angle, but when their reporter called back he was only being polite.

Three years later I obtained a three-page nongovernment memo of undetermined origin that summarizes Pettie's intelligence links. Most of it seems to check out. According to this memo, Pettie began his career with assorted OSS contacts, served as a chauffeur to General Ira Eaker, became a protege of Charles Marsh (an intimate of FDR and LBJ who ran his own private intelligence network), and was trained in counterintelligence in Baltimore and Frankfurt, Germany. His wife worked for the CIA, and Pettie himself was run by Col. Leonard N. Weigner (whose September 1990 Washington Post obituary confirms that his career was spent in air force intelligence and the CIA). Pettie's case officer was Major George Varga, who relayed Weigner's instructions until Varga died in the 1970s. The memo says that on Weigner's advice Pettie resigned from the military and surrounded himself with "kooks" so that he could infiltrate the "beat," human potential, and now the New Age movements.

Okay, so file this memo under "P" for "Paranoia." Except that in December 1993, first the Washington Times (which was picked up by AP), and then U.S. News and World Report, both carried essentially the same story. It seems that the Finders investigation was stopped cold shortly after it started in 1987, and now the Justice Department has formed a task force to figure out what's going on. Why was it stopped? This is from an internal "Memo to File" written by a Customs agent who participated in the raids, dated 13 April 1987:

CIA made one contact and admitted to owning the Finders organization ...but that it had "gone bad." ... [I was advised] the investigation into the activity of the Finders had become a CIA internal matter. The MPD [DC police] report has been classified Secret and was not available for review. I was advised that the FBI had withdrawn from the investigation several weeks prior and that the FBI Foreign Counterintelligence Division had directed MPD not to advise the FBI Washington Field Office of anything that had transpired. No further information will be available. No further action will be taken.
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Re: The Finders - Sources

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Tue Mar 25, 2014 11:35 am

Via: ... ers-keeper

Finders’ Keeper

Marion Pettie and his secretive utopian community, the Finders, flourished underground for decades. Now the group is on the wane, its assets are in court, and its leader is strolling the streets of Culpeper.

By Eddie Dean • May 24, 1996

The dispatches appear mysteriously on the marquee. The aged, decrepit State Theater on Main Street in downtown Culpeper has been closed since a screening of Free Willy a few years ago, but the cryptic messages come and go, each as inexplicable as the last:




Nestled in the Virginia piedmont at the foothills of the Blue Ridge, Culpeper is a real estate agent’s fantasy, one of those picture-perfect places that always top lists of America’s best small towns. Quaint restored buildings, history winking around every corner, peace and quiet—all within commuting distance to Washington. But since the freakish messages began appearing, it’s become a postcard with a question mark in the middle. Nobody ever sees how the blue block letters actually end up on the decayed art deco movie house; the words seemingly materialize overnight as naturally as the morning dew, no telltale ladder in sight. A message—if that’s really what it is—might remain for as long as a month; then, without rhyme or reason, it vanishes—only to be replaced by another:


In Culpeper, where everybody knows everybody, these disembodied messages from God-knows-where have been the talk of the town for more than a year, inspiring as much contempt as conjecture. For every local watching the marquee to test his word power (“I look up everything they put up there, but ‘ataraxia’ wasn’t in the dictionary”), another is convinced his intelligence is being insulted (“There’s no such thing as free money”). Others discern a diabolical plot, swearing it’s Satan playing a one-sided game of Scrabble that Culpeper is sure to lose (“They’re trying to mess with our minds”).

Culpeper gradually realized it had a cult within its bucolic midst. After much head-scratching and compounding of rumors, it became apparent that the messages were being sent by the Finders, a secretive utopian group that over the decades has made its home in various places around the Washington area, most recently in Culpeper. Who the Finders are and what they are doing in Culpeper is a deeper mystery. Did the Finders buy the theater just to have a billboard with which to freak out the locals? Nobody knows.

And while no one can remember exactly when they first came to town, the Finders have kicked up almost as much paranoia as the Yankees did when they invaded more than a century ago.

In appearance, the Finders—mostly middle-aged men, always in dark suits—wouldn’t be out of place managing a local funeral home. But the behavior of the handful of adherents has people wondering whether they arrived by flying saucer. Townspeople say the Finders constantly walk the streets, following people home and taking extensive notes and pictures. They often appear at local council meetings, never saying a word but simply observing the scene. At other times, they plunder the visitor’s center of brochures, maps, and local travel guides. And they haunt the courthouse, scouring land deeds to find out who owns the local real estate.

The town police say that whatever the Finders are up to, it’s not illegal. Naturally, though, rumors fly: Did you hear what the Finders are doing at the old theater? They’re planning a stage production of Paradise Lost—with an all-nude cast. Or was it a gay burlesque version of Dante’s Divine Comedy? Were the Finders gathered for some ritual in the back lot, or were they simply taking trash to the dumpster? People have seen glowing lights in the windows of the Finders’ group house at the edge of town, along with visitors coming and going at odd hours. The lawn is mowed in a peculiar circular pattern: That’s the place where they sacrifice pot-bellied pigs.

No one in Culpeper, or anywhere else, can tell you with any certainty what the Finders really are, but the threat they seem to pose is to convention, not public safety. The best guess suggests that the Finders are a waning cult of merry pranksters with roots that go back five decades. They are perhaps a dozen men and women who own property in common, make a hobby of tweaking people, and apparently have taken a liking to the town of Culpeper. Culpeper hasn’t bothered to like them back, treating them like the local version of the Addams Family.

This isn’t the first time the Finders have become a template for people’s fears. Less than a decade ago, the Finders made national headlines and became the subject of a full-blown media witch hunt. In February 1987, police arrested two men traveling with six children in Tallahassee, Fla. Authorities discovered the group living out of a van in a park; the men were well-dressed but the children appeared dirty, unkempt, and disoriented. The men told the cops they were taking the kids to a school in Mexico; it turned out they were members—along with the children’s mothers—of the then-D.C.–based Finders. The cops didn’t know what to make of it, but they didn’t like what they saw. The men were charged with misdemeanor child abuse, and the children were taken into state custody.

Authorities raided the group’s Glover Park duplex and a warehouse in northeast D.C. and staked out several rural properties outside Culpeper. They seized piles of documents, computers, and software. Nothing illegal was uncovered, although investigators were impressed by the array of high-tech gear in the old fish warehouse off Florida Avenue NE.

But among all the cryptic inventory, cops found a photo album entitled “The Execution of Henrietta and Igor,” a series of snapshots depicting berobed adults and children slaughtering goats in a wintry woodscape. One photo depicted giggling toddlers pulling dead kids from a womb (“Baby goats!” ran the caption); another showed a grinning adult presenting a goat’s head to a startled child.

A little blood, along with the accusations of child abuse, lit a media wildfire led by the Washington Post, which ran three front-page stories on the Finders. There were intimations that the Finders were actually agents for hire, led in lock step by a former Army intelligence officer. The New York Times reported that “some have described [the Finders] as a bizarre cult of devil worshipers.”

You’d have thought the Finders had been tried and convicted of killing Bambi: A group of nobodies who liked it that way was suddenly the hottest cult in the U.S.

They may not have been spooks or satanic goat-killers, but the secretive communal group was also no bunch of dummies. The two dozen members had been thriving outside the mainstream for years, pooling their resources and raising kids in a free-form family. They enjoyed life on the fringe and even though the investigation put a spotlight on them, they weren’t about to step out into the light of day. Instead, they sparred with reporters in mock interviews and leaked fake “investigative leads” about their activities. The episode was a fever dream, stoked by media reports that turned out to have no basis in fact. The group deftly kept the mystique level cranked up and simply waited for the heat to die down.

It worked. The child-abuse charges were dropped; the feds backed off, the children were returned to their mothers, and the Finders returned to their mysterious activities, eventually fading from the media’s freak-of-the week radar screen.

Throughout the controversy, group founder Marion D. Pettie remained the central but unseeable character in an ever-changing cast of followers. During the ’87 scandal and its aftermath, even though he was apparently calling the shots, Pettie was nowhere to be found. Until now.

He calls himself the Stroller, and locals tell you there’s not a street in Culpeper that Marion Pettie hasn’t walked a hundred times. They say he’s hard to miss on his morning constitutional, when he ambles down busy Main Street past Gayheart’s Drug Store, where regulars crowd the window counter for breakfast and gossip. Others have seen him at odd evening hours, pausing leisurely in front of houses, sometimes taking notes, but mostly just watching. Always watching.

They say he has the bemused expression of someone who’s seen it all but can’t stop looking.

Always in a suit and tie, Pettie is a tall, impressive figure, the quintessential Southern gentleman out taking the air. He carries a wooden cane, but there is an athletic spring in his step that renders the cane more prop than walking stick. Though quick to nod a greeting, he is apparently immune to the small-town pleasantries that afflict his fellow pedestrians.

Locals may treat him like an alien abroad, but Pettie was born and raised in Culpeper; he’s lived there on and off for years. Still, while other native sons have been content to head the Elk’s Club, Pettie’s been busy leading the Finders.

Sometimes Pettie stops by the theater, always accompanied by a Finder; some say he watches movies in the empty auditorium. He makes frequent treks to the local library, but only after first sending ahead a scout. Pettie is also a regular down at the courthouse, sitting quietly and taking notes on the proceedings.

Last winter, though, Pettie was more than a spectator in those chambers. He and the Finders were being sued by nine ex-members demanding their shares of the group’s assets, an estimated $2 million in property and cash that had built up over the years.

In many ways, Arico vs. The Finders is like any other chancery case: former associates bickering over money. But the suit also provides an unprecedented glimpse into the workings of a secretive group that has mostly avoided the mainstream.

More than anything, Arico vs. The Finders tells the saga of a utopian community that went sour. Soon after the ’87 incident, most of the female members left, taking their children with them. A few years later, several long-time Finders departed. Now down to a handful of members—and apparently only two women—the Finders are disappearing.

The Finders are still listed in the business section of the D.C. phone book, but the line just rings endlessly. So I’ve gone to Culpeper on a drizzly April morning to find the founder of the Finders. Locals tell me Pettie could be anywhere in the world right now—probably in some warmer clime waiting for winter to end—but he always comes back. They assure me that if I meet Pettie on the street, he’ll be only too glad for a chat, despite his reputation for elusiveness.

Down Main Street at the State Theater, the marquee is blank. Have the Finders run out of messages, I wonder, or have they run out of members to put up the damn things in the middle of the night?

The theater is closed, but two flanking window offices provide passers-by with an intriguing tableau. Taped on one of the doors is a tiny placard: “THINK.” Both rooms have a variety of office props: desks, couches, an upside-down map of the world, a disconnected computer, an antique manual typewriter, a dusty old set of Encyclopedia Britannicas, a rack of welcome brochures and pamphlets. Every object is artfully placed in its own discrete space. The only clue that this is a Finders’ office is a piece of paper on a window sill, perched like some official document. It’s a copy of a U.S. News & World Report article about the Finders from January 1994. Headlined “Through a glass, very darkly,” the story details the ongoing Justice Department investigation. A passage is highlighted: “The group’s practices, police said, were eccentric—not illegal.”

The paper is turned upside-down—away from the street—so you have to crane your neck to read it.

As I’m reading, I hear something. For the first time in my several visits to town, there’s someone stirring in the darkened bowels of the theater. From the sidewalk, I watch an elderly man shuffle to the window and take a seat. He’s got on a worn white T-shirt, baggy pants, an oversize belt, and sandals and socks. Ever so carefully he arranges his situation in simple, deliberate gestures. Satisfied everything’s in order, he sips from a steaming mug, lights a cigarette, and adjusts an earplug hooked to a transistor radio.

Though I’m only a few feet away, the man doesn’t pay me any mind. When I knock on the door, he jumps to attention and opens it graciously. Up close, he looks like a man who’s been kicked around by life: An arm is missing from his heavy-framed glasses, he’s got a gap-toothed smile, and his face looks like a bruised orange.

“I’m looking for Mr. Pettie,” I say.

“I don’t know where Mr. Pettie is,” he replies. “I’m just drinking my coffee and listening to the news.”

I ask him if he’s a member of the Finders.

“I just joined the group,” he says. “I just came down here from Pennsylvania and they put me up here.”

“Do you know if Mr. Pettie’s in town?”

“You’re wasting your time asking me where he is, because I don’t know. I just got here from Pennsylvania and needed a place to stay. You could go by the house to check to see if he’s over there.”

He gives me the address of the Finders’ group house a few blocks from downtown.

I nod my thanks as he returns to his morning coffee.

Across Main Street, a block away, I stop by the former Medical Arts building, an imposing brick edifice that once housed the offices of local doctors and dentists. Now that the Finders own it, the whole town wonders what goes on inside. In one of the windows is a glowing plastic Halloween skull; from the sidewalk, I can see a large map of the U.S.—this time right-side-up—on a wall inside the entrance.

Peering in the front door, I’m startled by a seated person in a dark business suit, back turned to the entrance, reading a magazine. Is this a Finder, or maybe a security guard? On closer inspection it turns out to be a mannequin topped by a ghoulish rubber mask and wig—a homemade dummy to entice curious passers-by.

On the edge of old town I pass the gargantuan Culpeper Baptist Church, which takes up an entire block; from its immaculate front lawn sprouts a marquee announcing: “WHERE YOUR MONEY IS, THERE IS YOUR LIFE AND LOVE.”

At the top of a hill, overlooking Culpeper on a quiet corner, sits a spacious two-story brick house. Its lawn has been allowed to grow semiwild, and the back yard is enclosed by a tangle of bushes. But in the daylight at least, there’s nothing even remotely creepy about this house, as inconspicuous and tidy as any other in this neighborhood of grand homes and mansions. I climb up the well-kept porch—chairs in a neat row—and knock on the front door. There’s no answer, so I look through the window. In the vestibule, a small globe sits upside-down on an oriental rug in the middle of a wooden floor. The glowing orb is plugged into a nearby wall socket. Against the bare wall is a couch covered by a white sheet; an upside-down bowler hat rests on top. Behind it leans an early-1900s photo of a formally dressed couple—woman standing, man sitting—apparently a wedding portrait.

Like the theater front, the scene is less eerie than weirdly inviting. I knock several more times, but the house is quiet and apparently no one’s around. As I head back down the steps, I glance back to see if anyone’s watching my departure.

That’s when I notice, hooked on the back of a porch chair, a wooden cane.

The people of Culpeper, along with the rest of the world, found out a few things about the visitors in their midst during court testimony last winter. (Still pending in Culpeper Circuit Court, the case is now in the hands of a commissioner who is reviewing hundreds of pages of testimony and boxes of documents.)

At their peak in the ’80s, the Finders boasted nearly three dozen people in their experimental community: Based in various domiciles around Washington and headquartered in the converted warehouse off Florida Avenue, they played an elaborate “game” run by Pettie, the “Game Caller,’’ traveling the globe as free-lance journalists, computer consultants, and information gatherers. They pooled their finances and shared property. Women assumed positions of power in the group, whose goal was to form an extended family based on mutual trust rather than blood relations—to “learn and earn” and raise “free” children.

The group’s roots stretch back to a pre-WWII Washington, D.C., open house run by Pettie when he was an Army sergeant. There, he claims to have become a full-time student of human nature. “I rented two apartments about 55 years ago,” he testified at the court proceedings, “and opened them up for anybody that wanted to come in, and the idea in my head was that they were going to teach me something about power, money, or sex.”

Experience was the only teacher Pettie ever respected; he quit school after the ninth grade. “I consider my whole life an education, and that’s all I do is work on my education. I dropped out of school because it was interfering with my education.”

Pettie told the court he’s never had a real job: “Not unless you call being a cult leader full-time employment. I haven’t had any.” And yet when pressed to declare himself a cult leader, he replies, “It would be more appropriate if I said I was a cultural leader, if I’m a leader.”

In his testimony, Pettie describes the Finders as a modern-day Narrenschiff, or ship of fools: “About 500 years ago, it was very common for ships to take persons that are nowadays called neurotics or psychotics and keep them moving, and they found that it was very therapeutic....That’s one of the ideas that I had here, that people, if you kept them moving, they were better off....”

At least eight members are active in the group, according to Pettie’s testimony; he claims the lawsuit has only strengthened the loyalty of those remaining. Insiders say the group is greatly diminished from its glory days: “It’s just a shadow of what it was,” says a former member. But it’s by no means dormant; Finders operate various companies in the D.C. area. Until last year, members ran a firm called Global Press out of several offices in the National Press Building. And despite its diminished size and power, the group continues to confound those trying to discover its inner workings.

Wendell Minnick, author of Spies and Provocateurs: An Encyclopedia of Espionage and Covert Action, has spent two years researching the Finders. Minnick has given up his project after running up $1,000 in phone bills and running into too many dead ends. “The Finders would love you to think they’re a CIA front, but I would say they’re really nothing,” says Minnick. “You’re going to hear a lot of bullshit on the Finders, because they lie. These are dysfunctional adults, but they’re all working their asses off. They’re constantly working on some project. If you have a cult, the best way to control people is to keep them busy, to keep their minds occupied—if you have people standing around doing nothing, then they start thinking.”

Still, there’s always just enough tantalizing information to link the Finders to the spook underworld, clues never fully substantiated and yet never disproven, either. Author Mark Riebling skirts the topic in his 1994 book, Wedge: The Secret War Between the FBI and CIA: “Just before Christmas 1993, both agencies were embarrassed by a Justice Department investigation into whether the CIA had improperly used the FBI to cover up its connections to a computer-training cult called Finders, which had been accused but acquitted of child abuse.”

Apparently, the Finders did work during the ’80s for the government on a computer project, but only as private firm on contract; nevertheless, authorities say the case hasn’t been closed by any means: “The Finders matter is still an open investigation,” says John Russell, spokesperson for the Justice Department.

Merry pranksters, Narrenschiff, or federal investigative target, the Finders were also a partnership, according to former members turned plaintiffs, who argue that they deserve their fair portion of the group’s total worth.

“This action is about settling up 20 years of throwing our assets into a partnership, because we want to liquidate that partnership and get our share out of it, which is something I think we have a right to do,” testified Robert “Tobe” Terrell, who left the Finders in 1991. Terrell said that the group deteriorated during the two decades he was a member: “The vision of the group shifted, and the nature of the group shifted from an idealistic utopian community to more of a militarylike organization where following orders became more important than the vision.”

In 1971, Terrell had a pretty hefty chunk of the American dream: Married with children, the 35-year-old venture capitalist and CPA had a house in Chevy Chase; he was making nearly $200,000 a year. He owned a farm in West Virginia and half of an oil company, among other holdings.

Less than a year later, Terrell had left his family and joined the Finders.

“I was looking for a more meaningful life,” he recalls. “I had already made a pretty big pile of money and I couldn’t go on just making more, there wasn’t really much point in that. Pettie offered a more personalized life, more community-oriented, re-establishing the kind of extended family that the human species evolved under.”

Of the plaintiffs, Terrell is the only one I was able to contact for an interview. He has relocated to Florida, his home state, where he runs a bakery and a vegetarian restaurant with a female ex-Finder. He agrees to meet me in Virginia, but asks me not to reveal the town where we’re meeting: He doesn’t want Pettie and the Finders to know where he’s doing business. He’s not fearful exactly—though he says there have been threats—he just doesn’t want to be bothered.

Pushing 60, wearing a blue button-down shirt and gray slacks, Terrell looks exactly like what he is: an entrepreneur. An extremely short, serious man, Terrell is balding, and his remaining hair is cut in a bowl shape, giving him a monklike appearance. After just a few minutes of listening to Terrell, I begin to sense that he may be an ex-Finder, but he’s certainly no enemy of the group. He behaves more like a devoted—if disillusioned—fan, who’s moved away from his home team but can’t stop rooting for it. Moreover, his complaint against his former mentor apparently has less to do with money than with what he perceives as a personal betrayal.

“Pettie broke his word,” says Terrell sadly. “When I first met him, he said his only religion was friendship. Now he calls himself a skeptic.”

Terrell first met Pettie at a Finders’ group house in Georgetown in ’71. He was fascinated by Pettie’s ideas, his energy, and his theory of “game calling.” It would be an exciting new way to live, unshackled by the suburban grind. Soon he was going by the name “Tobe,” bestowed on him by Pettie.

In the early days, the group resembled an extended family, but the real attraction for Terrell was self-realization.

“Pettie used the term ‘pressure cooker,’” he says. “The idea was to explore your own person and discover your own true nature. You can’t do that just sitting at a desk or on a couch in a routine way. You have to have some experiences, so Pettie was good at structuring experiences from which you could learn. He called himself the ‘game caller,’ and what that meant was that he’d call a game for you to do something where you’d gain experience.”

For Terrell, game playing ranged from working a temp accounting job in a downtown D.C. law firm to catching a flight to Japan on two hours’ notice to gather information on Japanese companies and report back to Pettie. It was a subculture built on whimsy and intrigue, undergirded by a sense of tribal affiliation.

“Early on, we were focused on trying to build a community that was based on old-fashioned principles of loyalty,” he says.

When my questions drift into the sexual dynamics of the Finders, Terrell gets angry: “If you want to write a scholarly piece about the group in the historical context of the Shakers and the Oneida communities, fine, but for a newspaper article, I don’t want to get into that—that’s sensationalism.”

Terrell blames the media for the ’87 debacle that gave the Finders their 15 minutes of fame. The child-abuse charges were dropped, but all many people remember about the incident was something about animal sacrifice: “We were just slaughtering the goats for food,” he scoffs. “People take pictures of their kids doing all sorts of things.”

The aftermath of what became known as “Goatgate” divided the group: “That changed everything,” says Terrell. “The mothers didn’t like the way that Pettie handled it, apparently, and they left right after that. It changed the course of the Finders—it was never the same.”

Nevertheless, Terrell stayed with the Finders until 1991, even though he says Pettie became more authoritarian as more members left. What finally drove Terrell from the group to which he’d sacrificed most of his adult years was quite simple: He claims the Game Caller decided to make some new rules.

“Pettie tried to change the game,” says Terrell. “When I came around, there was no doubt that if you put your money in the group, you could get it back—it was referred to as the ‘Invisible Bank.’ But somewhere along, Pettie came up with the idea of what he called ‘The Last Man’s Club,’ implication being that once you put something in, you never got it back again.”

Terrell says that in the years since he left the group he’s tried to negotiate with Pettie; in fact, for a while Pettie sent him monthly checks, but Terrell says the money wasn’t nearly enough compared with what he’s owed. He scorns the payments as Pettie’s way of trying to lure him back to the Finders.

“Pettie wants to appear like he’s ready to settle, but he has a philosophy of always drawing a bigger circle, and he will never let anyone out of that circle. He can never let go of anybody....Pettie is paranoid—he sees dangers that don’t exist. He insists that I and the others are trying to go against him, but that was never the idea—all we want is our fair share.”

Despite the lawsuit, despite his disappointment in Pettie, Terrell doesn’t regret his two-decade involvement with the Finders.

“I think if you look at the history of utopian movements in America, the Finders have a legitimate place because of the experimentation that went on. It was a good experiment, a lot of people learned from it, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It lasted for 20 years while I was there and I wouldn’t call it a failure,” he says, adding, “I still think Pettie is a man of great insight, and the world would do well to listen to his ideas.”

Nevertheless, Terrell thinks the group is destined to fade away; Pettie’s age and the lack of women and children make its future prospects bleak, he says. “Originally the whole idea was to have something for the children of the group,” says Terrell. “So it’s a joke that they’re holding onto the properties for the children, because there are none left.”

Something else bothers Terrell.

“I don’t know why Pettie is turning outward and is doing things like he’s doing in Culpeper. When I was there, we always subscribed to the philosophy of keeping a very low profile, being invisible and doing our thing. Why he’s choosing to prod or poke—I don’t know why he’s doing that.”

A cavalier gentleman emanating the Southern traditional style. Very large proportioned male, with barrel chest and lanky long legs. Gray hair, still flecked with sandy highlights, cropped short and looks like a home cut....

Radiates a very casual but completely confident sense of self—a sort of Khaddafi without the ego. Makes jokes about switching roles yet always carries himself like an active duty officer.

Does not fidget. When seated in car or domicile assumes a position and holds it. No fast movements, steady, modulated voice, not bass. Sometimes speaks in a clenched teeth fashion yet other times has a hint of a Virginia drawl....

Maintained that he likes “young pussy more than old pussy.” Moreover, upon questioning, stated that “twice a week since the age of 13 or so has been the optimum amount for me....”

Farts a lot....

Eccentric in urinary habits. Walks 10-20 miles a day and has done so for years. Reports that the secret of his health and happiness is having consistently associated only with people he likes and who like him.

—from “Official Report on Marion David Pettie By Neurotic,” written by a Finder circa 1990

On a bright May day, I decide to take one last crack at finding Pettie. Except for the cane on the porch (which could be just another prank), there’s no clue he’s anywhere near Culpeper. But at least there’s a sign of life at the State Theater: Its marquee says “John 8:32.”

A local man quotes the cited passage from memory:

“And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”

“Do you know what’s important about that?” says the man, a longtime resident who believes the Finders are part of an evil conspiracy. “That’s also engraved in the lobby of the headquarters of the CIA.” He shows me a reference in Bob Woodward’s Veil; it was indeed a favored motto of former CIA chief William Colby, who had disappeared the week before near the Chesapeake Bay.

At the very least, the new marquee message means that the Finders are definitely in the neighborhood. I head toward the group house, and nearing the shady street corner, I realize that today might be different: Parked in front is a shiny blue BMW. Damn, maybe Pettie’s home after all, waiting for me.

I rap softly on the front door, and even before my second knock, suddenly, he’s right there, opening the door as though he’s been expecting me.

“Mr. Pettie?”

“Yes, the old man told me you stopped by the theater,” he explains warmly. “I thought you might be coming by.”

It’s Pettie all right. He’s tall, distinguished, and seems completely at ease in a smart brown suit with a burgundy paisley tie. His lean, slightly flushed face is framed by sprigs of gray hair, bushy, active eyebrows, and a trim, gray mustache. His piercing blue eyes—pale and flickering as a gas-stove flame—have the strange effect of making me feel at once welcome and extremely nervous, as if I’m just another prospect he’s sizing up.

I’d given up all hope of actually meeting Pettie, so I’m completely at a loss to conduct a formal interview. On the other hand, I sense that maybe that’s the whole point, and that we should just talk. But any ideas about a friendly chat are shattered when a man suddenly appears from a back room, as if on cue. He’s rail-thin; bulging eyes and a mustache crowd his tiny head. He too sports a suit, and he holds a legal pad and a pen.

“This is Stan Berns,” says Pettie. “He’s going to take notes while we talk. You know, we’re going to interview you, too.”

Berns says nothing, only nodding at the introduction. For the rest of the afternoon, Berns only speaks when Pettie asks him something; as far as I can tell, his job includes being butler, chauffeur, and bodyguard, among other duties.

Pettie leads me past a portable Chinese screen into the adjoining room; its walls are lined floor to ceiling with books on cinder-block-and-plank shelves. On the floor, leaning against a bottom shelf, are two blown-up daguerreotypes of a 19th-century couple. Except for the minilibrary—labeled by subject matter—the room is nearly bare, just some low-key Ikea furniture, a couch and two chairs. Easing into his chair, Pettie gestures me to the couch; Berns takes the opposite chair, putting me in the middle of their relentless gazes.

A plate with remnants of rice and beans sits nearby on top of a paperback, The Development of Civilization. Pettie has apparently just finished his lunch; he fingers a mug of hot tea and waits for me to talk. So I do the obvious, pointing at the photos and asking who the couple is.

“That’s my grandparents,” he says. “And that’s my parents in the other room. I like to glance over at them and think about their lives. My ancestors have been around this area since the 1600s. We’ve been around here for 10 generations. He was a carpenter; my father was a carpenter. When I was a kid my father and mother said, ‘You listen to us and we’ll make a good worker out of you’—they wanted to make a carpenter out of me—and I said, ‘I don’t want to be a worker. I want to be a capitalist and exploit the workers.’ And they said, ‘Well, we can’t do nothing for you.’”

Pettie speaks in monologues like a practiced orator, but you have to strain to hear his soft, cadenced mutter. Unlike your typical blowhard, Pettie isn’t really obsessed with himself as much as he is with everything but himself: He’s an egoless egomaniac. I get the impression he’s an expert listener.

“In my family, there was only one book when I was growing up—the Sears and Roebuck catalog. Most of my relatives were oral people—they couldn’t read or write—they’d sit around and talk and I’d listen—I’ve spent my life listening to interesting people, or walking, reading, and thinking. That’s what I do, and none of those are against the law.”

I ask him about the history of the Finders. Pettie explains that his group is actually the “second round” of a long-term, ongoing experiment he calls the “topsy-turvy university,” in which everyone teaches him, the Student.

“I’ve been keeping open house to fools since the ’30s,” he says. “I rented two apartments in Washington and had open house. Anyone that wanted to could come and stay with me—I’m still doing it. And by watching these fools, that’s where I get most of my learning. I do just about anything to humor these bunch of fools that want to come along and be nice to me. And of course, I’m a big fool, too.”

He describes the odd work of the Finders nonchalantly. “My goal is to know everything and say nothing. I run a private intelligence game, and I send people out undercover to find out various things. I’ve been investigating the CIA before it was the CIA, when it was the OSS.”

The Finders, he says, still have a strong membership—made only more loyal by the lawsuit, he assures me—now consisting of “10 above ground and 10 under, who don’t show their connections to the group.”

I ask him if he’s moved back to his hometown because his roots are here. He scoffs, claiming he feels no Robert E. Leelike loyalty to his native soil: “I’ve been called a Southern hypocrite, and I resent the word ‘Southern.’ I may be a hypocrite, but I’m not a Southern hypocrite. I’d have been on the Union side in the Civil War. I like Lincoln’s ideas, even though I usually don’t admire lawyers—only a few others, like Castro—he’s a lawyer, you know.”

I’m getting dizzy from his stream-of-consciousness speech and can’t get a word in


Sipping his steaming tea, Pettie says that his life has been a long, pleasant dream. He says he simply agrees with people; he ‘wishes’ for things, and he gets them—as do the rest of the Finders. He calls it the gift economy.

As if on cue, Berns suddenly leaves the room and returns holding a sealed jar of cigars. Pettie offers me one—a $10 JB, he remarks—while taking his own. I don’t usually smoke cigars, but I figure it’s good manners to partake. He lights mine and I take deep drags, cigarette-style; meanwhile Pettie puffs, and his long face gets even thinner and a cloud of smoke envelops him.

“The only conflict I’ve ever had in my life are with these ungrateful wretches that are suing me now,” mutters Pettie. “They were dope fiends and emotionally disturbed people, and they got cured in my mental hospital and they left. Now they come back and want to take the hospital.”

He knocks some ashes off the cigar and points the smoldering butt at the silent Berns, scribbling away in his note pad: “These people like him, they’re not cured yet, and he’s only been here 25 years. He came here as a dope fiend and sick 25 years ago, and I just let him lay on the porch in the sun for a couple of years; now he’s one of my main lieutenants.”

Berns, expressionless, simply nods his head in agreement.

Pettie continues to interview himself while I reel from the cigar and the colliding topics. “Culpeper is a model of a well-run little town,’’ he explains, pleading no personal attachment to the place. “I’ve been studying this town for 70 years. I like it here because nobody talks to me. You’re the first person to come here and talk to me.”

Then Pettie waves his cigar in a gesture of hospitality and suggests that I take a look around the house. It’s infested with books and wall maps in every room—even the kitchen boasts swollen shelves. But except for a hot tub on the back porch, it’s an unremarkable domicile, tidy and spare.

“We live part of the time here, part in D.C., part out in the country, and the rest traveling the globe,” he says after I return from my self-guided tour. “You can stay here tonight if you want, I don’t care,” he adds graciously and apparently quite seriously. “You can stay here the rest of your life. And those so-called plaintiffs are welcome to come back and stay here, too.”

By now I’m getting used to his style of conversation, a restrained sort of free-associating, always circling back to his big-picture view of the world. Everyone does this to a certain extent; it’s just that Pettie is a master. He will allow no comment to be left hanging. Everything must be connected, somehow.

What about the new message on the marquee, John 8:32? Did he put that up there as an allusion to the CIA, as townspeople have told me?

“I put that up there for you,” he explains ominously, adding, “I’ll put up anything you want. What do you want up there?’

“How about “‘Vote for John Keats,’” I offer, saying the first thing that pops into my head.

Pettie clearly enjoys my comment—an attempt at his stream-of-consciousness banter—and his flattery gets heavy as his eyes flicker with delight: “I like your style. You know how to interview an eccentric.”

Then he veers. “I thought you were inspired to come down here from D.C. to find out about Colby disappearing. By coincidence you showed up at the theater at the same time. I thought you wanted to come down and ask what’s the connection.”

Before I can ask him if there really is a connection, Pettie abruptly leaves the room: “OK, Stan, go ahead and ask him some questions.”

“How about just running through your life history,” murmurs Berns, staring at me, his pen poised on the notebook.

By the time Pettie returns, I’ve jump-cut from my birth in Fairfax to the years I drove an ice-cream truck in the Blue Ridge mountains. Pettie listens to my rambling, disconnected narrative and seems to decide that I have potential.

“Anyway that we can throw you any leads?” he asks. “Be thinking of what leads you could throw us, if you come across anything that we’d be interested in.”

I can’t think of a single “lead” that Pettie might be interested in. He and Berns both lean forward awaiting my response. No one says a word, and the silence is deafening. The cigar, which I’ve been stupidly smoking like a cigarette, is starting to make my head buzz and I’m getting paranoid. Feeling hemmed in, with the pair staring at me from both sides, I feel like bailing out, and nearly announce that I want to go outside for a second. But the feeling slowly lifts as Pettie starts talking again.

“What we’re interested in is winners and losers in life—we don’t fool with the middle class and we don’t investigate them. For one thing, they’re so predictable, but winners and losers I find interesting—that’s our field of study.”

We get to talking about all the nasty things that townspeople have said about the Finders. Pettie says only “low-class” locals spread the rumors: “It’s just standard gossip; they don’t really have anything to talk about, so they talk about the Finders. The people around here don’t like what we’re doing, but they’re afraid to come out in the open because they think we know something on ’em.”

The conversation comes back to the lawsuit, and I bring up Tobe Terrell.

“Tobe used to be quite a character,’’ Pettie says warmly. “He used to have a handlebar mustache and sing songs for the group and all kinds of things.’’

Then he adds soberly, “Tobe had a great time with us until this woman told him that he was Toto and that I was the Wizard [of Oz], and they were going to expose the Wizard.”

I tell him I had already interviewed Terrell, and was impressed with his admiration for his former Game Caller despite their conflict.

There’s dead silence, and both men hunch forward in the chairs.

“You saw Tobe?” asks Pettie, his face twisted with concern. “Where was he?”

I say that I promised Terrell I wouldn’t tell anybody where we met, except to say it was somewhere in Virginia.

“He’s up around here?” demands Pettie. “Where is he?”

It’s clear that Pettie feels I owe him at least that much after all he’s told me.

I nearly blurt out the location, but instead I stand firm. Perturbed, Pettie leaves momentarily to go to the bathroom behind the kitchen. After he returns, our conversation rambles from the locals (“I study those mountaineers the way Faulkner studied the Snopes. I don’t like ’em—they’re individualists and I like tribes”) to Benjamin Franklin (“He had his own secret society, too’’) to Thomas Jefferson (“The only thing I hold against him is that he died broke”). He also holds forth on his favorite philosophers, ranging from Pythagoras to Lyndon LaRouche.

Just when I’m starting to really enjoy the history lesson, Pettie gets up from his chair and suggests we go for a walk.

A few moments later, the Stroller is leading us along the streets of Culpeper. Pettie has his cane, which he uses to point out things of interest. Sporting dark shades and a duffel bag slung on his back, Berns hovers around us like a Secret Service agent protecting the president.

As we slowly take our walk, Pettie comments on nearly every house; it seems he knows every detail about the residents. Usually, he explains, Berns brings along a notebook filled with addresses to chronicle any new “developments” in Culpeper. “We just walk by and see what’s going on,” Pettie says. “But everybody thinks we’re by just to see them....Before TV, every night people were sitting on all these front porches—nobody sits one ’em anymore but me. Also, there used to be a lot of walkers—aristocratic, upper-class people would walk—but now nobody walks, except the Finders and a couple of bums. You know, the lazies and the crazies.”

Besides being the perfect way to gather information on the town, Pettie’s daily walks also provide exercise. “I’m in pretty good shape,” he says. “I still practice jujitsu. I don’t feel any pains—I’m 76, but I feel like I’m 35.”

We pass by the Medical Arts building. Pettie gives me a brief tour of the renovated quarters; there are offices with computers (“For Women Only” reads a placard on one door) and sleeping quarters strewn with futons—spare but comfortable. On the top floor is a small apartment, Pettie’s own private roost when he wants to get away from the group house. A sign on the door says, “The High and Pleasant Situation Room.” Naturally, it’s lined with books; next to the futon is an open paperback of Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil. Leaving the building, Pettie announces, “This is going to be ‘The Visions of the Future Museum.’ We’re not going to push our vision, though. We’re going to push whoever wants to put an exhibit in there—anybody that wants to use it.”

We head out the door, and Pettie leads the way to the State Theater.

“This is our private home-movie theater,” says Pettie, as Berns leads the way with a flashlight through the darkened auditorium. Pettie tells him to get something rolling. Standing in the half-light, Pettie mentions that when he was a boy he’d watch cowboy movies here and always cheer for the Indians, but not for the usual reason of rooting for the underdogs: “I liked their tribal structure and the way they handled group property,” he says. “I don’t like individualists—I like the tribal style.”

Berns is bumping around somewhere behind us; then a large video screen flashes on CNN. We sit in the seats near the front for a while, a trio of spectators in the empty theater. The newscast drones on, and Pettie seems bored. He decides to take me to meet the “old man,” the down-and-out Finder who watches the theater. The guy stumbles out from the basement, where he apparently spends most of his time.

“Interview him,” Pettie tells me sternly, sounding more like a drill sergeant than a philosopher. “He’s going to interview you,” he tells the man, who laughs nervously.

We look at each other uneasily, as the man fumbles for a cigarette. I’ve got nothing to ask him, and he’s obviously got nothing to say, especially with Pettie watching the charade. Then, as obediently as if we had guns to our heads, we proceed to do exactly what Pettie has told us to do.

“So when did you get down to Culpeper?” I ask woodenly.

Pettie listens briefly to our stilted, pointless interview: I’m just where I began my search, bumming a cigarette from a man who tells me once again that he just arrived from Pennsylvania. The realization hits me that I don’t know much more about the Finders than when I started.

Then, apparently satisfied, Pettie nods to Berns, and they head for the door. Without a word, the Stroller takes his quiet leave, heading back out onto the streets of Culpeper.
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Re: The Finders - Sources

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:15 pm

Via: ... =8&t=27182

This is from Nick Bryant...

In The Franklin Scandal, I also discuss a cult called the Finders and a subsequent law enforcement investigation into their activities: On February 4, 1987, a concerned citizen notified the Tallahassee Police Department that he had observed six white children, poorly dressed, bruised, dirty, and behaving like wild animals, in a Tallahassee park. The children were accompanied by two well-dressed white males driving a white 1979 Dodge van with Virginia plates. The Tallahassee police responded to the call and took the children and adults into custody. The children told Tallahassee police they were not allowed to live indoors and were given food only as a reward. The Tallahassee police charged the two adults with felony child abuse, and they were held on a $100,000 bond. The children were placed in protective custody.

The Tallahassee police suspected child pornography, so they contacted the U.S. Customs Service (USCS), which has a Child Pornography and Protection Unit. Shortly thereafter, a detective from the Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) contacted special agent Ramon Martinez of the USCS, who was spearheading the investigation into the Finders. The MPD detective indicated that the Tallahassee arrests were probably linked to a case that he was investigating in the DC area, involving a cult called the Finders. An informant had conveyed to the detective that the Finders operated various businesses out of a warehouse in DC and housed children at a second warehouse. (I've attached a PDF containing the U.S. Customs report on the Finders.)

"The information was specific in describing blood rituals and sexual orgies involving children, and an as yet unsolved murder in which the Finders may be involved," wrote special agent Martinez in his USCS report.

The MPD and US Customs acquired a search warrant for the Washington, DC warehouses occupied by the Finders: The two warehouses would give investigators a series of grisly blood curdling discoveries as they executed the search warrant. They discovered a telex that specifically ordered the purchase of two children in Hong Kong to be arranged through a contact in the Chinese Embassy, a number of photographs of nude children with one appearing to be a child on display that accented the child's genitals, and also a photo album containing photos of adults and children dressed in white sheets that portrayed the execution, disembowelment, skinning, and dismemberment of the goats by the children. The US Customs report also relayed that the Finders had an interest in purchasing children, trading, and kidnapping.

"There were what appeared to be a training areas for the children and what appeared to be an alter set up in a residential are of the warehouse," wrote special agent Martinez in his report. Many jars of urine and feces were located in this area.

Newspapers around the country got wind of the story, ranging from The New York Times and Washington Post to the Orange County Register, and almost all of the articles pertained to the investigations launched by the Tallahassee police, MPD, and USCS. The earliest articles discussed the Finders probable involvement in Satanism, and a spokesman for the Tallahassee police said that one of the children showed signs of sexual abuse. Moreover, an FBI spokesman announced that the Finders were being investigated for the transportation of children across state lines for immoral purposes or kidnapping.

In The Franklin Scandal, I talk about how the CIA quashed the multiple jurisdiction investigation into the Finders: The two incarcerated Finders were sprung from jail and all child abuse charges were dropped, and the children would eventually be repatriated with the cult. Moreover, after the CIA's intervention into the case, I report on a news conference kicked off by MPD Chief Maurice Turner, Jr. At the news conference, Chief Turner backpedaled with ferocity, rejecting allegations that the Finders were involved in satanic rituals or child abuse. The chief also elevated the Finders from a cult to a communal group. He neglected to mention that the Finders were a communal group that reportedly had an interest in purchasing children, trading, and kidnapping. He omitted discussing the jars of feces and urine too.
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The Testimony of Michael Phillips

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:29 pm


The Finders

I recently spent three months reading a 550 page manuscript about the Finders, a Washington D.C. middle-class commune. It took so long to read because I put it on my Sony Reader and only read it on airplane flights. I also deliberately read every word carefully, it was so beautifully written and so engrossing. The author of the manuscript was a long time member of the group who has an extraordinary ability to remember conversations. When it is published I will let you know.

I first met the Finders in the mid 1970s when they opened a small branch operation in San Francisco and came to let me know they were available to help me. I was a well known author at the time, was the treasurer and business manager of Glide a magnet institution and was deeply involved in the counter-culture. From then on, I have stayed in touch with the Finders, I've known several of the members very well and followed their history. I also visited them in D.C. on many occasions.

The Finders were a middle-class commune. By that I mean (and they mean) that most of the core group were well educated, some came from prestigious universities and many had held important jobs. The core group was close to their teacher Marion D. Petty, a self educated, retired Army non-commissioned officer.

What fascinated me most about the Finders is that they followed one of Petty's main Daoist teachings: live every moment fresh. That meant that every day they had a group meeting and decided what to do that day. They were serious and often they just plain disappeared for days, weeks months or years. They arrived and they moved on without notice.

I always learned from the Finders. They used their Daoist teachings to learn how the world worked and they learned a great deal. I've written one blog with a story from the Finders.

In future blogs I will recount some of the interesting stories from my encounters with the Finders.

Comments of note:

Posted by: Friend of Finders Hi Michael - nice to know all is well with you. I can't wait for the next installment on the Finders!! (I've just happened on this website and will look around to see if you have added more.) I guess you know that MD Pettie, Diane and Stan have passed away. Tobe's book is out; you can get a copy by contacting him.

Take good care. Pat

Posted by: Vindalf Hello Michael,

Your Finder's experiences are very intriguing, thanks for having the courage to share them. I'd love to hear more, but from what you have seen in your comments you'd be inviting an onslaught of hatefilled nastiness. A Customs report on investigations into Finder's activity in the late 1980s is considered to be a 'smoking gun' by members of Mind Control & Ritual Abuse witchhunting cults. For more info about this, check out my review of "The Franklin Scandal" on Amazon and the comment thread for it.

These zealots attack any voice which threatens the fantasy constructs they consider to be "the hidden reality", and their favorite weapon is to accuse anyone they dislike of secretly being a CIA/Satanic pedophile. They need to grow up.

Phillips says "I've written one blog with a story about the Finders" -- this is that:

No real meat there, except that Phillips was in the habit of calling Pettie for advice when he was in a bind.

Phillips also indicates plans to post on the subject more; searches indicate that has not happened.
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Re: The Finders - Sources

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:42 pm

Via Steamshovel Press: ... 00344.html

The Finders' Keeper: An Interview with Marion Pettie
By Kenn Thomas and Len Bracken,©1998
an article from:
Steamshovel Press #16 1998
POBox 23715
St. Louis, MO 63121

A 1994 reference work- on utopian communities refers to the Finders as "a
rather spontaneous non-organization ... Their overall approach to life is to
make it into a game--a challenging and educational process where the rules
change from week to week, day to day, sometimes even by the hour." Contrast
that with investigator Ted Gunderson's handwritten description, attached to
Treasury Department memoranda on the Finders that Ted Gunderson circulates in
a info-packet about the group: "the Finders are a "CIA front established in
the 1960s. It has TOP CLEARANCE and PROTECTION in its ASSIGNED task of
kidnapping and torture-programming young children throughout the US. Members
are specially trained GOVERNMENT KIDNAPPERS known to be sexual degenerates who
involve children in Satanic sex orgies and bloody rituals as well as murders
of other children and slaughter of animals."

The Finders group found itself in the news in February 1987 when an anonymous
caller phoned police to report two formally dressed men (Michael Houlihan and
Douglas Ammerman) supervising six casually dressed children--according to
police, they were unkempt, disheveled and bruised--at Myers Park in
Tallahassee, Florida. The police charged the men, members of the Finders, with
child abuse, and Detective Jim Bradley of the metropolitan police in
Washington, DC, used the arrest as a pretext to raid one of the Finders'
properties there, Bradley's men seized evidence they said may have been
indicative of an organized ring of pedophilic child kidnappers who made animal
sacrifices to Satan.

A report by Customs Special Agent Ramon J. Martinez claimed that documents
found at the Finders property "revealed detailed instructions for obtaining
children for unspecified purposes. The instructions included the impregnation
of female members of the community known as the Finders, purchasing children,
trading, and kidnapping. One telex specifically ordered the purchase of two
children in Hung Kong to be arranged through a contact in the Chinese embassy
there-" Martinez also reported that the seized Finders evidence included
"numerous photos of children, some nude, at least one of which was a photo of
a child 'on display' and appearing to accent the child's genitals ... a series
of photos of adults and children dressed in white sheets participating in a
"blood ritual." The ritual centered around the execution, disembowelment,
skinning and dismemberment of the goats at the hands of the children, this
included the removal of the testes of a male goat, the discovery of a female
goat's 'womb' and the 'baby goats' inside the womb and the presentation of a
goat's head to one of the children."

Despite this, charges against the men in Tallahassee were dropped, the
children were sent home to their parents unharmed (although the court attached
conditions to the return of two of them), and prosecutions were not pursued in
DC. Police authorities both in DC and Florida complained that the case was
mishandled because the Finders work for the CIA. When Martinez went to meet
with Detective Bradley to review the case, he was directed to a third party
who advised that all the passport data from the seized Finders material check
out as legal According to Martinez, "the individual further advised me of
circumstances which indicated that the investigation into the activity of the
Finders had become a CIA internal matter. The MPD (DC metropolitan police)
report has been classified secret and was not available for review. I was
advised that the FBI had withdrawn from the investigation several weeks prior
and that FBI Foreign Counter Intelligence Division had directed MPD not to
advise the FBI Washington Field office of anything that had transpired."

The Justice Department released Martinez's report and other documents about
the Finders when it opened a new investigation into the group's activities in
1993, in part to determine if the CIA had put the kibosh on the 1987
investigation. One memo claimed that the "CIA made one contact and admitted to
owning the Finders organization as a front for a domestic computer training
operation, but that it had gone bad." The operation, called Future
Enterprises, had hired a Finder, but dismissed him when his connection to the
group was exposed. North Carolina's Democratic representative Charlie Rose and
Florida's Republican representative Tom Lewis supported and publicized that
investigation, as did a former CIA operative named Skip Clemens (reported upon
by Chris Roth in Steamshovel Press #111 see also pp. 295-296 of Popular

The Finders have more-or-less rational explanations for even the most bizarre
behavior attributed to them, especially in the context of a group that exists
to challenge social paradigms. Even the goat sacrifices, known as "Goatgate"
to the group, have been attributed to the Finders just play-acting at being
witches and warlocks, another "game" to dumbfound lookers-on. Many of the
Finders' games serve as parody or put-on. The store windows of its offices
include strange scarecrow artifacts and bumper sticker slogans like "Call
Police" with the letter "C" missing. The words "Promise Keepers" adorn the
marquis of an old theater owned by the Finders, although their meaning-perhaps
something to do with the manic Mtn of the infamous Christian movement Promise
Keepers--is lost to strangers. Not all the weirdest at Finders HQ is Finders
generated, however. Travelers arrive at Finders headquarter in Culpeper,
Virginia, an hour and a half northwest of Washington, DC, via state route 666

The Tallahassee incident and subsequent interest placed the Finders'
reputation at the center of DC's conspiracy culture. That's no small feat in a
town where Operation Monarch sex-slave operations and powerful pedophilic
politicians rule the rumor roost. Steamshovel editor Kenn Thomas and author
Len Bracken (whose 1990 novel Freeplay included fictionalized reference to the
Finders) dropped in unannounced at the Finders facilities. At the time, eight
former members had filed a chancery action against the group to recover money
they had pooled into they currently considered a defunct partnership. More
evidence that Goatgate did cost the Finders money and members. Marion Pettie
was still holding court in Culpeper, however, and granted the -following
impromptu interview. It is presented here as a rare look at the controversies
surrounding the group, verbatim from the perspective of the main personality
at its core.

Q: How far back can you trace the origins of the Finders?

A- I had two apartments back in the 30s and 40s in Washington and just kept
open house. It was supported by the gift economy and I would throw something
in, Some people would say I threw in my good taste. So anyway, it goes bark
that far. Four people here with me now have been with me for over twenty-five
years- In fact, I kept another thing called the Free State back in the hippy
period, back in the mountains here.

Q: The Free State?

A- Yeah, it was called the Free State and it
was known all over the world.

Q: This was where?

A; About twenty miles from here. About a hundred people would usually be there
at any one time. A few other people have done that. A man named Gottlieb, have
you ever heard of him, a musician? He kept open house like that and the
government came out and closed him down. But the local authorities let me keep
it going up there.

Q: This was the 40s?

A: No, we've moved up to the 60s here. Before that, just to give you an idea
of the time period, the sheriff came out and put a gun on me one day and said,
"show me some ID." I showed it to him and he says, "Oh, I know you. You're the
guy what keeps beatniks." So I kept open house to beatniks. We're talking
about the 50s now. Going back to World War 11, 1 kept open house mainly to
intelligence and counterintelligence people in Washington. OSS people passing
through, things like that. So the open house at that time was more or less at
that level. The main ones were beatniks, though, like Dick Dabney. Ever heard
his name?

Q: What's the name?

A; Dick Dabney, He was the number two king of the beatniks in Washington and a

Q: But the group is basically different from the Kerouac/Ginsberg/Burroughs
type crowd?

A; I just keep open house. That's about all I do. It changes as people show
up. Basically, we have about 600 acres up there and a few houses and people
who are here more or less permanently now-They spend part of the time in this
town [Culpepper] and part of the time in DC and part of the time up in the
mountains, and another part traveling all over the world.

Q: But it's still basically the same drift in, drift out kind of thing.

A: Nobody signs anything.

Q: It's an interesting philosophical difference with the culture at large.

A, Personally, I'd say the only thing that has been different is --I'm closest
to being Taoist.

Q: I noticed you have a Lao Tzu quote framed on the wall there.

A; Two ministers were going to come over here and pray for me. I thought you
two might have been them.

Q: [laughter]

A, They said they had a problem with me being a skeptic and me being in this

Q: There's a church next door. That's got to be difficult.

A: How so?

0: I was thinking in terms of having a bohemian crowd around. Also, that's a
real thing to infiltrate in terms of the intelligence agencies.

A; Some investigators back in the 60s tailed me for four years. At first they
said they thought I was a dope dealer big time because, I didn't use it
myself. Then they decided that I was a front for the CIA. They asked I was a
front for the CIA. Of course I wouldn't have told them anyway, but I asked
those people, they said they ran the name through the computer and they said,
"No, we don't own that guy." So then the investigator says, "I've been working
on you for four years and I can't figure out what you're doing. What the hell
are you doing?" So the point is that actually I'm not doing anything, just
enjoying life and working on good ideas all of the time. I considered when I
was 12 years old that my mission in life was to know everything and do

Q: I wonder if in the 1950s you ever encountered the name Wilhelm Reich or any
of the Reichian people?

A: Oh yeah.

Q: Do you have any specific memories about that?

A: At that particular time I also kept open house mainly to the humanist
psychology movement. They would come up to the country and have all these
various gatherings and movements and some of them were Reichians. But I
wouldn't say that I'm an expert on Reich. I think I've read most of his books.
I would say that I had an interest but I don't really have any inside
connection to that personally.

Q: Reich's last years were in Jail, as you know, and he was considered
paranoid, and they burned his books and all that. He was considered paranoid
because he said he was a victim of a Rockefeller conspiracy. But Rockefeller
was the money behind the New Republic which ran an anti-Reich smear campaign
and whose editor, Michael Straight, later confessed to being a Soviet spy.

A: He was a little bit paranoid, they said ... when a plane would go over, hed
say it was one of Rockefeller's planes...

Q: Eisenhower's...

A- It might have been a mixture of both of those.

Q: What do you make then of these stories that connect the Finders up to a
pedophilia ring in the CIA?

A- The pedophiles and all that stuff..

Q: That's all smear?

A; I just kept open house to a lot of the counter-intelligence and
intelligence people over the years. I have been reported to their security
officers probably plenty of times for trying to find out what's going on in
the world. I've tried all of my life to get behind the scenes in the CIA. I
sent my wife in as a spy, to spy on the CIA for me. She was very happy about
it, happy to tell me everything she found out. She was in a key place, you
know with the records, and she could find out things for me. And my son worked
for Air America which was a proprietary of the
CIA. There are some connections, but not to me personally.

Q: But do you have any suspicions ... the Finders sounds like a real open
group that attracts a lot different elements ... disinformation stories could
be planted by certain elements to try to connect it to pedophilia...

A: The reason the CIA wouldn't hire me is that they wouldn't have the control
factor over me. That's one of the things. They may have used me at some time
without me knowing it. They have categories of unwitting agents. Maybe you two
were sent here by them. But I'm pretty open about this kind of stuff, though.
They wouldn't hire me as a contract employee because 1 wouldn't sign the
papers. Anybody that's a contract employee must sign an agreement and then
they pay you out the money. Well, I don't

need the money, but I am trying to find out all about them. Basically, the one
sentence about the CIA is that I have been studying them since before they
were burn, I was studying them back in the 30s. It was ONI

Back then [Office of Naval Intelligence], and then the Coordinator of
Information comes on, and after that it turns. into the OSS and OSS turns into
the CIAU and the CIAU_ turns into the CIA. So I've been studying that all of
my life. But I wasn't personally working for them.

Q: The renown case, of course, took place in Florida.

A! Would you like to hear about it?

Q: I'd like to hear everything you have to say about it, actually.

A; It's very simple, We had the kids and the general idea was that they would
go up to the country up there, twenty miles from here, and they would go to
school, a self-governing school. Adults would be available to them,
intelligent, well-balanced people. And they would never be alone with it kid
so that no one could accuse them of any pedophiles stuff. At least two would
have to be there. As far as I know, they did all that. Then they were just
taking them on a camping trip to Florida. There were four intellectuals with
them and they just happen to drive into a park and somebody was suspicious
because the two men were well

dressed They had four people with them on the trip and they were all well-
educated, well-balanced people. So I don't think them

was any funny stuff going on.

Q: There were just police suspicions?

A: Well, somebody called up and said, "there's two well-dressed men with some
kids in a van over there," So the police come and then they take them down and
by their standards these well-dressed men weren't answering the questions
properly- So then they called Washington and somebody in the Washington police
says, "Yeah, we know those people. They're Finders and we're just about to
find out what they're up to up here and we'll use this as an excuse to go in
there and rig them."

Q: So you were still under surveillance by them.

A: Surveillance? I have been personally, I know, for forty years because in
other countries and so forth, counter-intelligence, come out and want to know
what !'in doing ... if you go around acting mysterious and just find out
what's going on, naturally, people come to find out what it is.

Q: So then it snowballs. First there are unfounded suspicions by these people
and the police. The local police connect to here in Washington and they say,
"oh yeah, we know about the Finders" :and that plays into their paranoia.

A, Then it goes back down to here.- Like 1 said, in the 60s I was under
surveillance for four years, from '64 to '68, and they get all their files out
and everybody starts comparing them. Basically, they come up with idea that
"we don't know what with the, idea they're doing. We don't know who they're
connected with," What were those people called in Holland?

Q- The Provos?

A: Yeah. We are more or less like Provos or Situationists or something like.
Actually, we're not connected with anybody, other than trying to know what's
going on the world and improve the world a little bit.

Q: So you haven't heard anything more about that? A guy named Skip Clemons
took all this and turned it into, "this is a Satanic cult." Apparently his
daughter actually successfully prosecuted somebody for satanic ritual abuse at
a Montessori school. Have you heard of this?

A; Oh yeah. Maybe this is something big.

Q: There's also a computer trainingcenter that was actually training CIA guys
how to operate, right?

A. There's some partial truth to it. We go out and do emergency services and
get employment for a lot of people. So one of them was in there working, where
you're talking about, but we didn't have any connection other than one man
going down there. And the man didn't know it but he was so-called "hiring a
Finder". Tile company was actually doing training for the CIA- We had no
particular connection to that man other than what anybody else would call a
temp worker. But it looks like on the surface that it all ties together- A lot
of these things do happen, but we're not connected anymore than any of the
individuals in the Provo of the Situationists were. Maybe there are some
people who have been around here have been doing some intelligence work. I
don't know about it. Mainly, there's no connection and it's just like I'm
telling you- Individuals, I don't know. People show up. They may be sent here
by the CIA, the FBI, the state police or anybody.

Q: Having it such a loose association furthers that. It's not like you join
the Finders and get a membership card.

A; That's right.

Q: It's a scene. Drop in, drop out.

A: There's no such thing as the Finders. It's just a group term for people who
like to hang around me. That could be anybodyThere's nothing in writing.
There's not even a group,

Q: I notice you're reading Arthur Koestler's Thirteenth Tribe. Is that a
particular interest of yours? Did you know Koestler?

A- I didn't know him, but I really like his books, his style of writing.

Q: Did you know Tim Leary?

A, Yeah.

Q: Was he in and out of the Finders scene?

A; At one time, when he was up in New York, he would send people down here and
sombody[sic] got tired of something down here, they would go up there. It was
a pretty close connection. He gave me LSD but I never took it. I kept it in
the ice box in case I wanted to take it. I figured it must be pretty good if
it came from him.

Q: Did he ever ask you about it afterward?

A: No. Actually, one of the people connected with Leary accidentally burned
the house down. He was; putting in a sauna and he was so efficient he burned
the house down and burned the LSD up- I never did take it, But I had a
particularly close connection to him at that time, were talking about the 60s
again, by me running a place down here and him running one up there and people
going back and forth all of the time.



Readers will rind the most interesting material that circulates

about the Finders below. It comes from an memo entitled "Investigative Leads"
with the attribution that It was "produced sometime during the
1980s/authorship unknown."

Pettie met Joseph Chiang, a chinese agent operating under Journalistic cover,
in 1939 and remained in close contact with him throughout the war. Around this
time Pettie also made Connections with the OSS, through George Varga, Earl D.
Brodie and Nick Von Neuman (John Von Neumann's brother) -- all lowlevel OSS
offciers. Sometime near the end of the war, Chiang introduced Pettie to
Charles E. marsh, at the National Press Club. Marsh, who ran the best private
intelligence network of his era and was an intimate of FDR, Henry Wallace and
later Lyndon Johnson, became, Pettie's mentor and role model, shapiong[sic]
his career. (Marsh's mentor and role model was Colonel Edward M. House, who
was a personal advisor to President Wilson, circa 1919, often mentioned in
connection to the Council on Foreign relations). Marsh died in December 1964.
His last known address was Austin, Texas.

In the 1950s and 60s Marsh provided funds for Pettie to purchase hundreds of
acres of farmland in Madison and Rappahannock Counties, near his estate in
Culpeper County. Later Petty arranged for William Yandell Elliott (1896- ) of
Harvard University to purchase a property adjacent to him, in" Madison County.
Elliott was a government professor at Harvard University who was on the
National Security Council's planning board and a trustee of Radio Liberty
(sponsored by the CIA). As of 1984 Elliott was a board member of Accuracy in
media. Wrote numerous books.

In 1946 Pettie, acting as chauffeur to General Ira Eaker, Marsh arranged for
him to be trained in counterintelligence in Baltimore, Maryland. Around this
time Pettie established close ties to two guards of atom bomb secrets, Captain
Michael Altier (?) and Major Harry Wolanin, both retired. In 1954 Pettie
recruited Eric Heiberg who lost his NSA clearance at about this time. Heiberg
was redeployed as a private investigator and subsequently as a talent spotter
at Georgetown University (now retired). Pettie received intelligence training
at Georgetown University in 1956 and was sent to USAF intelligence training
school in Frankfurt, Germany in 1956-1957. Through Marsh, Pettie got his wife
a job with the CIA from 1957 to early 1961, working in Washington as secretary
and in Germany for the Chief of Station, Frankfurt- Colonel Leonard Weigner,
USAF (deceased 1990) trained Pettie and advised Pettie retire from active
military service and surround himself with kooks, recruiting agents from youth
hostels and universities. Major George Varga became Pettie's case officer,
relaying Weigner's instructions until Varga died in the 1970s,

Under Varga's instructions, Pettie recruited a network of agents in Europe,
including Dr. Keith Arnold (recruited in Paris in 1958) who he accompanied to
Moscow in 1959 or 1960. Arnold, currently based in Hong Kong with the Roche
Foundation, has made over 40 trips to mainland China and has stayed in contact
with Pettie. In the 1960s Pettie established connections with the 'beat'
movement. Norman Mailer and Dick Dabney (died in November 1981) frequented his
Virginia farm. Dabney's widow Dana has extensive files on Pettie. Peter
Gillingham (intermediate Technology. Palo Alto, CA) and Christopher Sonne
(currently Goldman saches, NY) met Pettie in Moscow in 1961. In the early 60s
Pettie allowed Ralph Borsodi and Mildred Loomis to use his Virginia property
for the School of Living, a 'decentralist' one-world government front
organization. Around 1964 Pettie recruited Bosco Nedelcovic and deployed him
to penetrate the Institute for Policy Studies (he is currently an interpreter
at the war College in Washington). In 1967 or 1968 Pettie established a
'futurist, network, assisting Edward S. Cornish in founding the World Future
Society and working through Roy Mason and John Naisbitt. At this time Pettie
also penetrated the hippy drug culture through retired naval intelligence
officers Wait Schneider (Timothy Leary and Billy Hitchcock's private pilot)
and Willard Poulsen (cut out bewtween[sic] Pettie activities and those of
Leary at millbrook), In 1971 Pettie infiltrated the 'human potential'
movement, setting up Ken Kesey (Living Love) as a prominent guru and working
through Dr. Stephen Beltz (related to Judith Beltz, a behavior modification
specialist more recently deployed to the Institute of Cultural Affairs and the
Meta Network cult.

Christopher Bird, former CIA officer who served in Japan and a psych warfare
specialist in the Army, and author of New Age and occult books has also been
associated with Pettie. Bird wrote The Secret Life of Plants with Peter
Tompkins, New York: Avon, 1974, Tompkins wrote on new age subjects like the
pyramids, and once served in the OSS (now anti-CIA).

Pettie's activities took a different turn in 1979 when he recruited John J.
Cox. founder of general Scientific (a computer firm specializing in classified
defense, contracts). Cox trained several of Pettie's Finders in computer
programming and communications technologies and took two or more Of them to
Costa Rica and Panama in 1980-81. Cox worked through Miguel Barzuna, a
prominent Costa Rican money launderer, the Vienna, Virginia-based Institute
for International Development and Cuban exile Emilio Rivera in Costa Rica and
Panama. Through Cox, Pettie and the Finders linked up with several Washington
area computer-oriented groups, including Community Computers, a front
organziation[sic] for The Community, a cult run by Michael Rios (aka Michael
Versacc). (Pettie's son, David Pettie, is a member of the Community, Pettie's
other son, George, may be the one who was in Air America) Cox also recruited
Theordore[sic] G. reiss (wife; Ann), 4 reston-based computer programmer and
highly active member of Werner Erhard Seminars (EST). Cox also recruited Susan
Gabriel and Judith Beltz as couriers. Pettie and Cox have simulated a failing
out and pretend to be enemies...

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Re: The Finders - Sources

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:58 pm

Via: ... en-finders

State Keeps Mothers From Finders' Children

February 15, 1987|By Anne Groer, Sentinel Washington Bureau

TALLAHASSEE — Five mothers whose children have been in secret protective custody since police found the youngsters in a park here almost two weeks ago were barred Saturday from seeing their sons and daughters.

Instead, the five women, members of a controversial Washington communal group called the Finders, spent Saturday with their attorney and the children's court-appointed guardian and attorney. The women tried to convince state officials that they are fit mothers of the four boys and two girls, ages 2 to 7.

The children were put in the custody of the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services Feb. 5 after two well-dressed men with whom they had been traveling since December were arrested in Myers Park.

The men, Finders members Michael Holwell, 23, and Douglas Ammerman, 27, are in the Leon County Jail, charged with misdemeanor child abuse stemming from the unkempt, bug-bitten condition in which the children were found.

''Our main concern is to make clear to the authorities that we are very good parents and that the home environment is not just adequate but superbly happy, healthy, fun and educational,'' said Kristin Knauth, 26, a free-lance writer and editor and mother of Ben, 4, one of the children in custody.

Carolyn Said, 28, a writer and editor and mother of another of the children, B.B., 2, said she was confident of a happy outcome because, ''This is America, and in America people have the right to pursue life and liberty. And we have done our best to provide for the children, and in America a certain amount of diversity is tolerated.''

The other women are Pat Livingstone, 43, an office worker, whose son is Max, 6; Judy Evans, 31, a writer and editor, whose daughter, Honey Bee, is 3; and Paula Arico, 33, a bookkeeper, whose children are Mary, 7, and John Paul, 2.

''What the mothers want to do is cooperate in every possible way to satisfy HRS that they are good people, that they are good parents, that they love their children very much and that they understand there has been no bad intent or motive on HRS's part,'' said Paula Walborsky, the mothers' Tallahassee attorney who specializes in family law.

The women had hoped to see their children once they arrived here late Friday afternoon, but Walborsky said HRS officials blocked any visits until identities had been positively established.

The women said Saturday that they would confer with Tallahassee police Monday to proceed with the identification process.

''Although the mothers, as human beings, desperately want to see the children,'' Walborsky said, ''on a more logical level they understand'' the need to follow procedure.

The women, who live in Washington and earn their living writing, editing and operating computers, were working in San Francisco when the children were taken into custody.

Finders spokeswoman Diane Sherwood said earlier in Washington that the mothers, who gave the men permission to take the children out of the district, did not immediately go to Tallahassee after the arrest because they were ''scared to death'' of law enforcement and social services officials.

Police in Tallahassee and Washington initially suggested that the Finders might be practitioners of ''satanic'' rituals or producers of child pornography. Both allegations since have been radically amended.

Authorities say they are continuing to analyze computer tapes, files, photographs and other material seized in raids on the Finders' Washington and Virginia properties after the Tallahassee arrests.

Among the confiscated items was a photograph of two goats being slaughtered while the children watched.

At the end of the week, however, the focus shifted to Florida and the women's efforts to retrieve their children.

Dr. Nahman Greenberg, an Illinois child-abuse expert who examined the youngsters at the request of HRS Secretary Greg Coler, said the children complained of being ''outside, living in tents, with the snow coming down'' and being subjected to ''rigid rules.'' He also described one child as a ''tyrant,'' whose leadership was ''arbitrary, autocratic and mean.''

Greenberg said two of the children were ''clinging desperately'' to the people now caring for them.

Told of Greenberg's observation, Knauth said, ''This is the first time in these children's lives they have been out of the presence of anyone they know.''

Said added that the children were grasping for ''any anchor in a storm.'' She acknowledged ''one isolated incident where they woke up in the snow, and the men took them into shelter.''

Finder spokeswoman Sherwood, the only non-mother among the group's six women, defended the communal arrangements, which include group living in a pair of adjoining four-unit apartment buildings in northwest Washington.

None of the six women is married to any of the 14 men in the group, all of whom can claim theoretical paternity of the children.

Although the two oldest youngsters are 6 and 7, neither was enrolled in school anywhere when they were picked up.

Sherwood was evasive when asked about the Finders' philosophy of education -- public, private or alternative -- saying she feared that her comments coudl adversely affect efforts to reclaim the children.

''One of the three things that we understand the judge is going to be looking at, to determine whether a home is proper, is food, clothing and education. So you can rest assured that we agree with whatever the judge thinks is good,'' she said.

''All we want to do is free the 'Tallahassee Six,' '' Sherwood said of the children.

The publicity in the case has ripped the veil of secrecy from a group that for 17 years tried to live what Sherwood called an ''invisible alternative lifestyle'' in the nation's capital.

Carpenters, computer programmers, writers, plumbers and architects, they pooled their money to maintain the apartments and a warehouse in Washington and two sprawling farms in rural Virginia.

They amassed a 10,000-volume library and created a computer data base and communications network. They played ''games'' that included drills to leave the country on 7 minutes' notice.

Above all, this mysterious group, which one member wryly called ''an investment club'' of ''apprentice thinkers'' and ''overeducated fools,'' sought the freedom to experiment with communal living, intellectual exploration and non-traditional child-rearing.

The arrests have sparked an outpouring of criticism and anonymous tips.

Virginia police dug up one of the group's farms with heavy equipment after a tip about bodies buried on the property. They found nothing.

Former Finders have been quoted as saying that group members neglected the children and found taking care of them drudgery.

A Virginia judge and a lawyer involved in Finders cases complained of harassment by members, and a former Finder complained that his tires were slashed after he dropped out of the group.

Such accusations and the ongoing barrage of negative publicity prompted several members to come forward last week in the group's defense.

Robert Gardner Terrell, 50, an accountant and former Internal Revenue Service agent who sports a handlebar moustache, has given numerous interviews but allowed no photographs.

At the only Finders press conference in the group's warehouse, he sat with his face to the wall and the back of his head covered by a Ronald Reagan mask. Terrell contended that the only ritual practiced by the group was ''paying our bills on time.''

By midweek, after the mothers had returned to Washington from San Francisco to confer with FBI agents, Sherwood, 50, took over as spokeswoman.

Sherwood, who said she supports herself by doing ''emergency personal services'' ranging from research to catering, held her press conference on the sidewalk in front of the Finders' home Wednesday evening.

She insisted that she and her associates were just ''private citizens'' being victimized by the police and press.

''We are a very hard-working group with a Protestant ethic. We work all the time,'' she said, sitting in one sparsely furnished apartment living room.

''We don't even think we are a group. We are just a network of co- operators,'' she said, noting that the name Finders was created ''seven or 10 years ago after we did a job and they wanted to make out a check to just one person, and we just said, 'Make it out to Finders.' ''

In fact, the name may derive from the least accessible and most important member of the group, founder Marion Pettie, a 66-year-old retired Air Force master sergeant who was occasionally called ''The Pathfinder'' by other members.

During the late 1960s Pettie bought extensive acreage in rural Virginia in an attempt to create a counterculture community of educated, articulate and intellectually curious people who shunned drugs and psychedelic music of the period.

Although Terrell had said he was in frequent contact with Pettie, another member said the founder could be as far away as China or Indonesia.

One of the more media-savvy Finders is a bearded, free-lance journalist who steadfastly has refused to let his name or photograph be used for fear it will cost him business.

However, he gladly conducted several tours of the frigid warehouse that once was a wholesale fish market, showing visitors several rooms built into old meat lockers and cold vaults.

One featured an entertainment center with a 6-foot television screen, elaborate stereo equipment and a computer center with several work stations.

A wood-paneled room sported a white, silk parachute hung from the ceiling as a canopy for a hot tub.

Periodically the tour guide would excuse himself to take a telephone call, though occasionally he would leave the task to answering machines, one of which used a message set to the melody of ''Greensleeves.''

Sherwood said the group had joked about changing the apartment-house tape -- now a takeoff of the song ''Hallelujah, I'm a Bum,'' -- to reflect its new reputation as a ''satanic cult.''

''We thought of putting in a new message,'' she said, ''like, 'Hi, there. What the devil do you want?' ''
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Re: The Finders - Sources

Postby elfismiles » Tue Mar 25, 2014 1:06 pm

Briefly touched on this case in my interview with Len Bracken who was with Kenn during the Steamshovel press interview...

not sure where in the audio ... need to re-listen.

Wombaticus Rex » 25 Mar 2014 16:42 wrote:Via Steamshovel Press: ... 00344.html

The Finders' Keeper: An Interview with Marion Pettie
By Kenn Thomas and Len Bracken,©1998
an article from:
Steamshovel Press #16 1998
POBox 23715
St. Louis, MO 63121


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Re: The Finders - Sources

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Tue Mar 25, 2014 1:19 pm

The Orlando Sentinel has proven to be an embarrassment of riches, yielding tons of details. I am thinking the best way to deal with the overload is a chronological PDF of the total coverage; that is in the works. Meanwhile, some of the more useful stories...

Via: ... rs-terrell

Note Muddies Tallahassee Kids Case

February 9, 1987|By Washington Post

WASHINGTON — A statement by a member of the Finders commune defending two members arrested in Tallahassee against child abuse charges and identifying the children found with them ''raises more questions than it answers,'' a police spokesman in Florida said Sunday night.

The statement, circulated by Robert Gardner Terrell, a key member of the Washington-based Finders, suggests further areas for investigation but will not win the release of the two men, who were picked up Wednesday after being found in a city park with six hungry and dirty children, the spokesman said.

In the written statement and in subsequent interviews, Terrell, who owns a Washington duplex apartment and warehouse used by the group, denied that the children were abused or neglected and said that at least one of the men with whom they were found had written permission from the mothers to care for their children.

Terrell's statement, circulated late Saturday, broke the silence that members of the Finders had maintained for three days while speculation about the nature and activities of the group mounted and reports from former members and law enforcement authorities suggested seemingly unusual behavior and bizarre goings-on.

''We are rational people,'' Terrell, a 50-year-old accountant, said in the first of two lengthy interviews over the weekend with The Washington Post, ''not devil worshipers or child molesters.

''Certainly anything we've done is based on the desire for the children to have the richest life they could have,'' he said.

In his statement, he listed the children by name and listed names of women he said were their mothers. According to the statement, the women were in San Francisco working to raise money for a Finders project.

''We are making attempts to find the parents,'' the Tallahassee police spokesman, Scott Hunt, said in an interview Sunday night. ''We are making all kinds of attempts.''

He said his department had identified several of the six children -- four boys and two girls, ranging in age from 2 to 7 -- but ''only tentatively.''

He said, ''We've had hundreds of calls from people claiming to be'' the children's parents or relatives, as well as from people seeking to adopt the children.

In addition to naming those he said were the children's mothers, Terrell listed in his statement a number of people who he said had been connected with the children's movements since they left Washington in January.

There is ''a huge number of people identified in that memo,'' Hunt said from Tallahassee, ''and we'll be checking who they are and what role they play.'' Asserting that the Terrell statement ''provided us with investigatory leads,'' Hunt said that ''we'll do our best'' to follow them up.

The investigation, which has prompted raids on two locations in the District of Columbia and five in Virginia, involves D.C. police as well as the FBI and Virginia State Police. The case has ''got bizarre implications already,'' Hunt said. ''What it's going to lead to we're not sure yet.''

In the interview Sunday night, Hunt said that, based on a medical examination of the children, ''at least one, possibly more than one, showed evidence of sexual abuse.''

One source familiar with the state's handling of the children disputed Hunt's account of possible sexual abuse. The source said ''a couple of children have possible indications'' of abuse, but the children have not been interviewed. Physical examinations of the children conducted on Thursday included tests for abuse and a variety of other health factors, but results are not expected until today or Tuesday.

In an interview Saturday night, Terrell said that any possible sexual abuse to one of the girls ''might have happened after she was out of our control.'' He maintained that the children were well cared for and had bathed the day before they were picked up. However, he added, ''If you've got the six kids at a campground, you can't expect them to be ready for Sunday school.''

In his memo, in which he described himself as a ''certified private accountant,'' Terrell said that early last month, the six children and two men, including Douglas Ammerman, apparently one of the two arrested in Florida, left Washington for Berea, Ky.

Holding letters from the children's mothers giving them authorization to care for the children, the men went to Berea to complete plans for and begin construction of a retirement community called New Hope, according to Terrell, who said they had been invited by the Rev. Jim Wyker.

While asserting in a telephone interview Saturday night that he had no connection with the Finders, Wyker described them favorably and confirmed that group members had been in Berea last month.

The children, he added, ''were healthy, very well fed, and loved like they were in a family.''

The memo named a man and woman from Spring Grove, Pa., who it said helped with child care on the trip to Berea.

The woman, who identified herself as True Marks, said after being reached at a telephone number supplied by Terrell that members of the group ''took very good care'' of the children and ''never hit them or abused them in any way.''

According to Terrell's memo, ''it was thought'' that the children would be enrolled in a Montessori school in Berea for the duration of the project.

He said the children's mothers ''are now in San Francisco working in business offices, earning money to help pay for 'New Hope.' ''

After finding that preparations for Kentucky groundbreaking were incomplete, Terrell said, the men took the children to Florida on a vacation and camping trip ''with the full applause and approval of the children's mothers.''

Terrell said he and four other men then drove to Florida to help care for the children. When satisfied about the care, he said, he and one of the four left.

At the time of the arrests Wednesday, Terrell said, three of the men remaining had gone to look for accommodations, leaving the children in the care of Ammerman and Michael Holwell, whom he said the children knew as Michael Houlihan.

Police in Tallahassee said that on Wednesday they arrested two men, identified as Douglas Ammerman, 27, and James Michael Holwell or Michael Houlihan, 23. Hunt said Sunday night that each has been charged with child abuse. They were being held with bail set at $100,000.

From Washington Post the same day:

Cult Weaned Children From Their Parents

February 9, 1987|By Washington Post

WASHINGTON — Former followers of Marion Pettie say they called him ''The Student,'' ''The Stroller,'' ''The Game Caller'' or ''The Pathfinder.''

They believed that when Pettie lectured them at their Washington house about ''the New Age way of living'' and Eastern mysticism, he could peer into their souls almost as if he had X-ray vision.

The group believed that women, never men, should initiate sexual relationships, because Pettie told them so, and that children should be raised like Indians on the Plains, strong and tough.

Interviews with former members and associates of the group of about 40 followers, known as the Finders, describe an organization dominated by Pettie, 66, and driven by a complex belief system confounding to outsiders.

Now it is the police and the FBI who are perplexed as they sift through documents and computer tapes seized in raids on the group's headquarters in Washington and Virginia.

Authorities in Tallhahassee are questioning six children found dirty and hungry Thursday and in the company of two men the police identified as members of the Finders.

The commune in Washington grew out of the human potential movement of the 1970s, with its heavy emphasis on shedding inhibitions and delusions, said former associates. Most of them did not want to be identified -- out of embarrassment for having been in the group or out of fear of current associates.

''It was a 24-hour, 365-day-a-year training group for games,'' said a man who said he has known group members for 15 years. ''It was like people who go to an institute for a weekend, but this was for a year or a lifetime. And the games were always changing.''

Former members of the Finders said the six children found in Tallahassee are sons and daughters of group members. They said the children are the result of a deliberate binge of child-bearing among group women in the past few years. That followed about 10 years of freewheeling relationships in which they deliberately avoided having children, former associates said.

A number of the older members of the Finders, people in their 40s and 50s, had careers or families but left them behind to join the group. Looking back, most of them regarded their old lives as uninteresting and their children and former spouses as too conventional, according to the former group associates and relatives of current members.

Pettie and his followers agreed in about 1980 that they should start a new generation of children and raise them in an experimental way, the sources said. The biological parents would not raise them -- the group would.

In reality, though, the children were largely ignored by the members.
Responsibility for their care was considered drudgery, the former members said.

''It was an undesirable job in the group,'' said a person who quit several years ago. ''They were trying to keep the kids out of their hair. . . . The theory was, the children should have a lot of abundance. . . . But they were terrible at putting it into practice.''

The commune children were so dirty and full of sores on their bodies that they were not allowed to play with other children on the playground at the school near the group's residence, former associates said. Group members had taken the children there to encourage them to play with non-group youngsters, but the two groups did not mix because the Finders children could hardly communicate with the others, one ex-associate said.

All the commune's former participants who were interviewed agreed that they knew nothing about child abuse in the organization, although members sometimes might have ignored the children or even mistreated them.

Most knowledgeable sources said they knew nothing about the kind of satanism in the group referred to in a District of Columbia police detective's affidavit in support of a search warrant. However, one former associate said he believes members have dabbled in satanic-type or pagan rituals only in the past few months, as the group's latest so-called game.

These games played a central role inside the Finders, and it was often difficult to know when the members were playing out some fantasy and when they were not. The Finders' tendency to abandon jobs and homes at a moment's notice could complicate law enforcement efforts to find the group's members, who were gone from their Washington bases when police arrived Thursday.

Sometimes they approached businesses, from a major Washington law firm to a leftist think tank, and offered their expertise in computer programming and other services. Other times the group went through the motions of setting up a business, sometimes printing up phony business cards. Some members used up to 20 aliases.

''They would have games like, 'We're going around the world today; be ready to leave the country in seven minutes,' '' one former associate said. ''This is a group that for 15 or 20 years has done nothing but practice flexibility and invisibility. You will never find them.''

Pettie, an Air Force master sergeant who retired in 1956 and bought extensive woodland property in rural Madison County, Va., started the Finders in the late 1960s as a communal experiment characteristic of the period. He sought intelligent, well-educated people who could discuss the latest thought in philosophy, psychology and human development.

The Finders eschewed counterculture music and drugs, former associates said. While they maintained an open door policy at their Washington house and Virginia farms, many of the drifters and hippies who came for free food quickly left because of the emphasis on serious conversation and work.

''It used to be an organization of dropout professionals who didn't know what to do with their lives,'' said one former associate. ''But it took a bad turn.''

In 1980, Pettie's close friend and second-in-command, Barbara Sylvester, who was in her 40s, died at the Finders' Washington house after she refused to seek medical help for appendicitis.

Michael Rios, a businessman for whom several members did temporary work, said of Sylvester: ''She thought she could cure herself.''
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Re: The Finders - Sources

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Tue Mar 25, 2014 1:41 pm

The original report is apparently not archived on Washington Post, so I cannot vouch for the veracity of this transcript I was reduced to trolling a Yahoo group to obtain:

Saturday February 7, 1987
Officials Describe 'Cult Rituals' in Child Abuse Case
Photos of Youngsters Seized At D.C. Warehouse, Probers Say

Authorities investigating the alleged abuse of six children found with two men in a Tallahassee, Fla., park discovered material yesterday in the Washington area that they say points to a 1960's style commune called the Finders, described in a court document as a "cult" that allegedly conducted "brainwashing" and used children "in rituals."

D. C. police, who searched a Northeast Washington warehouse linked to the group removed large plastic bags filled with color slides, photographs and photographic contact sheets. Some photos visible through a bag carried from the warehouse at 1307 Fourth St. NE were wallet-sized pictures of children, similar to school photos, and some were of naked children.

D.C. police sources said some of the items seized yesterday showed pictures of children engaged in what appeared to be "cult rituals."

Officials of the U.S. Customs Service, called in to aid in the investigation, said that the material seized yesterday includes photos showing children involved in bloodletting ceremonies of animals and one photograph of a child in chains.

Customs officials said they were looking into whether a child pornography operation was being conducted.

According to court documents, computers and software were seized from the warehouse, from a Glover Park apartment building and from a van that was recovered in Tallahassee along with the children. Yesterday's disclosures about the mysterious group grew out of an investigation that was set in motion Wednesday by an anonymous call to Tallahassee police about two "well-dressed men" who were "supervising" six dishevelled children in a neighborhood park.The men were arrested and charged with child abuse, according to Tallahassee police.

Their links to the D.C. area have led authorities into a far-reaching investigation that includes the Finders - a group of about 40 people that court documents allege is led by a man named Marion Pettie - and their various homes, including the duplex apartment building in Glover Park, the Northeast Washington warehouse and a 90 acre farm in rural Madison County, Va.

Tallahassee police, who arrested and charged men identified as Douglas E. Ammerman and Michael Houlihan with child abuse, contacted D.C. police Thursday in an attempt to establish the identities of the children.

They learned that D.C. police had heard of the Finders group, according to Tallahassee police spokesman Scott Hunt. No other member of the group had been located last night, police sources said.

According to U.S. District Court records in Washington, a confidential police source had previously told authorities that the Finders were "a cult" that conducted "brainwashing" techniques at the warehouse and the Glover Park duplex at 3918 20W. St. NW. This source told of being recruited by the Finders with promises of "financial reward and sexual gratification" and of being invited by one member to "explore" satanism with them, according to the documents.

According to the affidavit the source told authorities that children were used in "rituals" by the members, and though the source had never witnessed abuse of the children, the source said the children's grandparents feared for their safety.

On Dec. 15, a D.C. police detective observed a clearing in the area of the 3900 block W. St. NW where "several round stones had been gathered" near a circle, as well as evidence that people had gathered there, according to the document, which stated that "this practice is sometimes used in satanic rituals."

Armed with that information and the report from Talahassee police of the allegedly abused children, D.C. police sought search warrants for the Glover Park residence and the warehouse.

Meanwhile, authorities in Florida attempted to learn more about the six small children, described by a police spokesman as "hungry and..pretty pathetic" who had set the investigation in motion.

The children, identified in a court document only by the first names of Honeybee, John Franklin, Bee Bee, Max and Mary, were described as "dirty unkept, hungry, disturbed and agitated" They had been living in the rear of the van for some time, the document said. Yesterday, police spokesman Hunt said one of the children, a 6 yr. old girl "showed signs of sexual abuse" but that an examination by a local doctor showed none of the children as being ill.

Five of the children were uncommunicative, according to police, and none seemed to recognize objects such as typewriters and staplers. However, the oldest was able to give investigators some information. She said that the two men "were their teachers," according to Hunt. She was not sure where they had been recently or where they were going. But until recently, they had been living in the District in "a house with other children and adults." They lived mainly on a diet of raw fruit and vegetables, she said.

The girl told the police that while they were in the District, the children received instruction from "a man they called a Game Caller or a Game Leader," according to Hunt.

According to the D.C. court document, a Tallahassee police investigator identified this man as Marion Pettie, who the confidential police source "also identified as the Stroller, leader of this 'cult.'"

The children have been placed in emergency shelters in Tallahassee, according to Merril Moody of the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services. He said officials were trying to identify them.

Neighbors of the W Street house last night identified the photographs of two of the children as residents of the house.Before their arrests in the park, Ammerman and Houlihan had told police that they were teachers from Washington "transporting these children to Mexico and a school for brilliant children," according to Hunt. When police asked the men where the children's mothers were they said they were being weaned from their mothers.

Yesterday, U.S. Attorney Joseph E. diGenova said that authorities were investigating "the crime of kidnapping" but that the investigation "is not limited to that as the evidence evolves."

George Wisnowsky, spokesman for the FBI in Jacksonville, said the FBI was "checking the transportation of children across state lines for immoral purposes or kidnapping."

Authorities in Florida, who searched the van, found 20 floppy computer discs and a device Hunt said could be used to hook into a computer in another location by telephone. He said D.C. police have obtained evidence that a computer linked to the group received a call from Tallahassee late this week.

Meanwhile, authorities in Washington were busy searching the warehouse and the Glover Park residence, side-by-side brick apartment buildings that, according to neighbors, stood out in the neighborhood because of a hot tub and satellite dish on the roof. Only women and children lived there, though men visited regularly, according to neighbors.

One woman from the neighborhood said the children from the house were "easy to spot because they were so dirty," adding that adults with them "seemed not to care." She said the group from the house reminded her of "leftover hippies." But another neighbor, college professor John Matthews, who said he had lived at 3918 W St. for a short time while looking for an apartment, said the residents were "a close-knit group" of feminists who liked to help people and were not a cult. "The neighborhood talks about them because of their life style," Matthews said.

The Fourth Street warehouse, which authorities said also was used as a residence, had windows that were boarded shut. One wall was covered with a huge map of the world, lit by floodlights. Upstairs, mattresses were flung on the floors of various rooms.

Staff writers Joseph E. Bouchard, Ed Bruske, Mary Thonton, John Harris and Linda Wheeler contributed to this report.
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Re: The Finders - Sources

Postby cptmarginal » Tue Mar 25, 2014 2:19 pm

Here's something new I came across a while back, for whatever it's worth: ... rs_Keepers

Customs agents links with right-wing extremists

Some very important and highly relevant information is missing from McGowan's article.

The basis of the article is a series of US Customs reports written by ss/a Ramon J Martinez. These reports describe investigations into a group known as The Finders, carried out primarily by Martinez and ss/a Bob Harrold.

These reports are the only 'official' documents in which an original investigator, (ss/a Martinez), claims to have been told; "...the investigation into the activity of the Finders had become a CIA internal matter. The MPD report has been classified SECRET and was not available for review. I was advised that the FBI had withdrawn from the investigation several weeks prior and that the FBI Foreign Counter Intelligence Division had directed MPD not to advise the FBI Washington Field Office of anything that had transpired". Martinez does not name the person whom he claims to have told him this. Martinez was to have met with the primary investigator from the MPD, Detective Bradley, but says "he was no available". Martinez describes the source of this info only as "a third party" i.e., someone who was not personally involved in the investigation.

Ramon J Martinez was at one time the best friend of Patriot militia zealot Mark Koernke. ... 27,00.html

"Koernke did manage to attract a few friends. One of these was Ramon Martinez, then an upperclassman and now with the U.S. Customs Service in Washington. "The majority opinion was that he was nuts to have around," Martinez says now. "But I saw it differently. I saw a guy with his own way of doing things." Martinez enjoyed Koernke's intellect, his ability to talk at length about history or classical music". "Koernke first came to most Americans' attention when it was reported that he was wanted for questioning in connection with the Oklahoma City bombing. That turned out to be misleading. Stories that he had faxed an announcement of the bombing to a Congressman before it occurred, and that Timothy McVeigh once acted as his bodyguard, died on the vine; the fbi confirmed that he was not a suspect. In fact, say observers, Koernke's influence on the radical right, while less tangible, is more pervasive. The militia movement prides itself on being "unorganized," spontaneous and unburdened by a national structure. Yet it does have opinion leaders, and Koernke is one of the most vocal".

Mark Koernke was an associate of Patriot militia zealot and habitual satanic panic promoter Ted Gunderson. They did far-right conference presentations together. ... rk-koernke "Koernke was one of several anti-government speakers scheduled to address the five-hour "taking our country back" conference at the Palm Springs Hilton resort. In all, organizers said, more than 600 people attended at $12 a ticket, with about 200 watching on closed-circuit TV in a separate room because no space was left in the ballroom" "Among the speakers who appeared before Koernke was scheduled to take the podium was Ted L. Gunderson, a former FBI agent and self-proclaimed satanic expert, who told the crowd that the government is using last month's bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City to "arouse the American public . . . to further erode our liberties and destroy constitutional rights."

For many years, Ted Gunderson was the most ardent evangelist for Martinez' Customs report and sold copies of his commentary to it, linking the CIA to satanic child abuse and mind control generated multiple personality disorder.

In 1994, Martinez received official reprimand for intentionally causing a person under investigation to become aware of that investigation. ... -3354.html "By letter dated December 7, 1994, Customs informed Martinez that it proposed to remove him from his position because he had improperly disclosed case information to a close co-worker of an individual under investigation, knowing that the information would be disclosed to the individual. On July 5, 1995, however, the agency mitigated Martinez’s penalty, by reducing it from a removal to a five- day suspension without pay and reassignment to the position of Physical Security Specialist, GS-080-13, in the Security Programs Division".

ss/a Robert "Bob" Harrold is openly a Patriot zealot, no different than Koernke or Gunderson. ... ishes.html "Posted by Robert Harrold at Thursday, April 22, 2010" "ROBERT (BOB) HARROLD II 1704 Lotus Lane El Centro, CA 92243 *** Folks stationed at RAF Bentwaters; lived in Woodbridge, Felixstowe, RAF Woodbridge between 1956 and 1959. Dad transferred to Bunker Hill AFB, Indiana, in 1959. I graduated Bunker Hill HS in 1960. Dad then transferred to Barksdale AFB, Shreveport, LA, in 1960; I enlisted in the Air Force and spent 4 years, 1960-64. Attended Louisiana Tech College, 1964-70. U.S. Customs Investigations, Special Agent, from 1970-93, in New Orleans, LA; U.S. Virgin Islands; Jacksonville, FL; SSA, HQ Customs, Washington, D.C., D.C. Field Office, Herndon/Reston, VA; Resident Agent-in-Charge USCS Internal Affairs, Calexico. Retired in 1993 and became a manager of a local PC sales/repair store, Calexico, CA. 1993-95: Self-employed/PC Service/Repair. 1995-98: Network Administrator Contract w/Immigrations. 1998-2000: Vocational teacher/PC repair-basic web pages, getting teacher’s credentials and PC tech with local school system. Hobbies: Designing web pages, reading, target/pistol shooting, beer tasting…" --Fantasypopper 03:08, 23 August 2011 (IST)

Here's a good quality copy of the Customs report:
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Re: The Finders - Sources

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:17 pm

Hmmmm.... "In search of the Finders" City Paper, Aug. 12, 1988

13 page article I would like to secure a copy of:

I remember Dreams End was in touch with Jon Cohen and stated that Cohen was pretty dismissive of the case.

Via: ... 141#p45141

While we're on it, let me tell you why I called this article a "limited hangout". I don't know how else to explain it. The author did a great job in getting lots of details. But there was nothing about the Customs Agent's memo about acquiring children from Hong Kong...and all that stuff (I can reprint it, but I'm sure you are familiar with it.) So I sent Cohen a copy of this memo to see if he thought it was real and he said it looked real to him. He said he'd seen "some" of the pictures and they were "no big deal." So he had no interest in the trafficking angle or any of that. It was just kinda strange.
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Re: The Finders - Sources

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:57 pm

Google Books is claiming Andrei Codrescu discussed The Finders in his book Comrade Past & Mister Present, which I have just ordered. The Google Books entry for this is broken, alas.

Andrei is also mentioned as having interviewed The Finders in the 1980's in the work of Wendell Minnick:

Around 1980 the cult abandoned the communal hippy lifestyle
by embracing technology and business. The membership varied
between thirty to forty members. They became engrossed in
computer technology and business practices.

Pettie maintained a bizarre living arrangement. Male and
female members were separated in different living quarters.
Pettie's girlfriend, Barbara "Bonnie" Sylvester, was given a
dominant role over the cult. According to journalist Andrei
Codrescu, who interviewed "Bonnie" during this time, the sexual
practices were odd. "Coupling was forbidden and sex was a favor
granted from above. When a woman felt the need for company she
called one of the men from the bunks below to comfort her. Men
were rotated to prevent attachments but nonetheless certain men
were called more often than others." The Customs documents
validate Finders odd sexual behavior, "The information was
specific in describing 'blood rituals' and sexual orgies
involving children."

Codrescu also described Finders globe trotting, "they sent
groups [of Finders] to various places they picked arbitrarily on
a globe in the Situation Room, with instructions to work various
jobs and bring back a certain sum of money." The CIA is also
mentioned, "the male founder [Pettie]...had once been in the CIA,
which is why the [the Finders] were also known as the DCIA
(Divine Central Intelligence Agency)."

No citations from Mr. Minnick, though.
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Re: The Finders - Sources

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Tue Mar 25, 2014 9:17 pm

NYT's left-right combination goes as follows...

Via: ... -cult.html

By RICHARD HALLORAN, Special to the New York Times
Published: February 8, 1987

Police officials here said today that six disheveled children found in Tallahassee, Fla., might be the offspring of members of a little-known cult, but the officials said they had not ruled out the possibility of kidnapping.

Police officials in Tallahassee said today that the children were moved from a shelter because of telephoned threats received there, The Associated Press reported.

Capt. William White 3d, a spokesman for the District of Columbia Police Department, said, ''At this point, it appears that those children are the children of members of this group.'' He was referring to members of a cult known as the Finders, who have occupied at least two buildings here.

But Captain White added, ''We haven't ruled out any possibilities.'' He declined to speculate on what the possibilities might be but other police officials said they included kidnapping or some type of international market for children.

The children, two girls and four boys 2 to 7 years old, were discovered in a Tallahassee playground on Thursday. Two men, Douglas Edward Zimmerman, 27 years old, and Michael Houlihan, 28, were arrested in the case and charged with child abuse.

Subsequently, the police here obtained warrants to search a house in Northwest Washington and a warehouse in Northeast Washington, both believed to have been occupied by the Finders. Captain White said they had seized boxes of records, documents and computer programs.

''We have a very long, tedious process of reviewing this material ahead of us,'' the captain said.

Detectives in the investigation said the review would require the weekend at least. The detectives said that they had begun to doubt that child pornography was involved. However, he said that the evidence indicated that children were involved in rituals. They declined to comment on reports that the Finders were worshipers of the devil.

According to the A.P., the authorities have received a memorandum from a man who said he owns the Washington house asserting that the children were on a vacation trip in Florida with the approval of their mothers. A spokesman for Joseph diGenova, the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, declined to comment on the memo, the A.P. said. Search Also Made in Virginia

In neighboring Virginia, the authorities said they had completed their part in the investigation by searching five places in Madison County where members of the group were said to have occupied farms and homes.

Lieut. J. P. Henries of the Madison County Sheriff's Office said, ''No obvious new evidence of criminal activity was found.''

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has also been called into the case. Police officials here suggested that whatever legal action might arise from the case would be in Federal rather than in local courts because it appeared that the children had been transported across state lines in possible violation of Federal laws.

Captain White said the district police had been unable to identify the children or their parents. ''We're trying to find the parents,'' he said.

Captain White said that other people who might be related to the children were also being sought, but he declined to give details.

The Police Department spokesman said no further arrests were expected.

Then this pause-worthy kicker from the day before's AP report...

Threats Force Move

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Feb. 7 (AP) - The six children were moved from a shelter after officials there received telephone calls threatening to the children, the police said today.

The children were moved to a site that was undisclosed and were being protected by armed guards after a half-dozen threats were telephoned Friday night to a temporary shelter in Tallahassee, according to a police spokesman, Scott Hunt.

Mr. Hunt said the Finders cult might have been accustomed to selling or smuggling the children of its members out of the country.

The two men found with the children at a playground remained in the Leon County Jail today, charged with one count each of felony child abuse and held in lieu of $100,000 bond each.

The children, who had not been bathed in several days when they were found, had insect bites and had not been fed in more than a day. Investigators said the children appeared to be ignorant of such daily conveniences as hot water and electricity.

Weird, yeah? Early Sentinel stories mentioned that detail in passing. Combined with the WDC computer being called from Tallahassee...anyways, two days later, NYT followed up as follows.

Via: ... -cult.html


By PHILIP SHENON, [i]Special to the New York Times[i]
Published: February 10, 1987

Local police officials announced here today that six children found last week in Florida had apparently not been kidnapped and that there was no evidence to show that the secretive group that has been raising them is a cult involved in child abuse.

The statement from the Metropolitan Police Department conflicted with accounts from the police in Tallahassee, Fla., where the children were found, unwashed and hungry, last week. Officials there said this morning that at least two of the children had signs of sexual abuse.

But late today, the Police Chief in Washington, Maurice T. Turner Jr., said at a news conference that there was no evidence of criminal activity by the communal group known as The Finders. However, he said the investigation would continue.

Two Men Were Arrested

Chief Turner's announcement was another confusing twist in the investigation that began last Wednesday when the children and two men were found in a Tallahassee park. According to the Tallahassee police, the children could not identify themselves and said the two men were teachers. The men were arrested and charged with child abuse.

Law-enforcement officials suggested that Chief Turner was attempting to end recent speculation that the group was involved in satanic rituals at a Washington home.

After the children were found last week, the police searched the home and a warehouse in the northwest section of Washington, and seized photographs and documents that one source in Florida originally said were ''consistent with a satanic cult.'' Statements by Finders Spokesman

The Washington police said that the children, two girls and four boys who ranged in age from 2 to 7 years, were apparently the offspring of members of the Finders, which the police said was a secretive group in which the sexes are separated and children are raised communally. Acknowledging that the group's practices were unusual, the officials said it had not engaged in criminal practices.

Robert Gardner Terrell, a spokesman for the Finders, said his group had cooperated with the police and that the mothers of the children had spoken with the authorities, according to an Associated Press report.

Mr. Terrell, who appeared at a news conference wearing a mask bearing President Reagan's image, said the organization's first priority was getting the children back.

''We've been in constant contact with the authorities,'' he said. ''It hasn't been on the basis of interrogation. It's been in terms of cooperation. Sooner or later we knew people in Tallahassee would recognize their mistake.''

Photographs of Goats

Officials confirmed that photographs found in buildings used by the Finders showed children watching goats being slaughtered. But they indicated that the activity was not illegal, nor did it suggest pornography.

''There was apparently the killing of goats and some type of blood,'' Chief Turner said, adding that it appeared the children did not participate in the killing. Other police officials suggested that the goats were actually butchered for meat, not for some sort of satanic animal sacrifice.

''A photograph can paint 1,001 pictures,'' Chief Turner said.

''The life style of the so-called Finders organization may differ from the societal norm,'' he added, ''but so far, the Metropolitan Police Department has not uncovered any evidence of criminal wrongdoing by members of the group.

''At this point the Metropolitan Police Department has not found any materials among the seized documents or records that would initially corroborate allegations made by an informant that the organization is a cult and that its activities involve satanic rituals.

Documents Being Reviewed

''However, we are still involved in an extensive and detailed review process of the documents and records seized,'' he added.

Asked if the group was dangerous, Chief Turner replied: ''I don't really believe so. If they are a danger, from what I an see, they would be a danger to themselves.''

Chief Turner said he had no evidence that any of the children had been molested and referred questions about physical abuse to the Florida officials.

Officials say the Finders apparently is a remnant of a 1960's counterculture movement created by Marion Pettie, a charismatic leader who urged his followers to study a doctrine that stressed self-exploration and futurism.

Children Allowed to Travel

''Apparently it's an organization that started in the late 60's,'' Chief Turner said. ''If you went back to that point in time there were a lot of communes and a lot of hippies, and I think it was a way of life for them. From that way of life it has escalated to what we have today as the Finders.''

Members of the group, the police said, apparently permitted their children to travel to Florida for a time while they remained behind to work.

The two men arrested in the case were identified as Douglas Ammerman, 27 years old, and James M. Holwell 23. They were charged with aggravated child neglect, a misdemeanor, and held on $100,000 bond.

Funny, two days earlier, it went like this:

Two men, Douglas Edward Zimmerman, 27 years old, and Michael Houlihan, 28, were arrested in the case and charged with child abuse.
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Re: The Finders - Sources

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Wed Mar 26, 2014 1:23 pm

Almost finished gathering for the chronological PDF, but this first instance of NYT coverage has many notable details.

Via: ... ldren.html

By JON NORDHEIMER, Special to the New York Times
Published: February 7, 1987

The authorities in several states today sought to identify six children who the police said were apparently taken from their parents by two Washington, D.C., men and enlisted in what some have described as a bizarre cult of devil worshipers.

Known to one another by such names as ''Benjamin Franklin,'' ''John Paul Pope'' and ''Honeybee,'' the children were taken into protective custody Thursday by the police in Tallahassee, Fla., after they were found, unwashed and hungry, in a city park. The children, two girls and four boys ranging in age from 2 to 7 years, were with two men driving a van with Virginia license plates.

Acting on information supplied by detectives in Tallahassee, the police in Washington today searched a house and a warehouse in the northwest section of the District of Columbia, seizing photographs and other documents that one source described as ''consistent with a satanic cult,'' including a photograph of a multilated animal. No Clues to Their Identities

Questions about how the band of children materialized in Florida has police baffled. Some officials have said the case resembled something more like a Pied Piper story than a tale of the occult.

Some of the children told investigators they had not seen their parents since Christmas and had been traveling with the men since then. Other children said that one of the men, Michael Houlihan, 28 years old, was their father, but Mr. Houlihan denied it without providing any clues to their identities.

Mr. Houlihan and the other man, Douglas Edward Ammerman, 27, were arrested on charges of aggravated child abuse.
The children found with them Thursday were insect-bitten and apparently had not bathed in weeks, the police said. Five were apparently in good health, but one child, a 7-year-old girl, showed signs of sexual abuse, according to investigators. The children were placed in shelters until the authorities could determine more about their background. Men Said They Were Teachers

Investigators in Tallahassee at first reported the suspects told them they were headed for Mexico in the van to start a school for brilliant children. Today, however, the police discounted that story and said they had information that Mr. Houlihan might have been headed for Bradenton on Florida's Gulf Coast south of Tampa, where he was reported to have relatives.

Both men, who were described as articulate and well-dressed, identified themselves as teachers of the children.

The Federal authorities, meanwhile, were asked to assist with the investigation and help identify the children.

Fingerprints Being Obtained

A check of reports of missing children in the Washington area did not turn up any hard leads, investigators said, and photographs of the chidren and their fingerprints were being obtained to circulate across the nation.

''As far as we're concerned, this goes from coast to coast and from Canada to Mexico,'' said Scott Hunt, a spokesman for the Tallahassee Police Department.

Evidence obtained in the searches today in Washington ''revealed that the organization is probably headquarters for some type of satanic cult,'' Mr. Hunt said. ''Adults are encouraged to join this group and one of the stipulations of joining this group is that they give up the rights of their children.''

Police sources in Washington said the trail of the men led to a rural Virginia community in Madison County, about two hours southwest of the nation's capital, apparently a lead provided by documents found today. ''It may turn out to be one property, it may turn out to be more,'' said Lieut. M. G. Millner of the Virginia state police who added that the police would to check the area soon.

Computer Programs Seized

In the searches, police officers seized large boxes of documents, records and equipment, including computer programming material.

Twenty-seven computer storage disks were also found, along with rotting food, in the blue 1980 Dodge van driven by the suspects when they were taken into custody in Tallahassee with the children.

Witnesses there told investigators that they saw two other men and children in a second van make contact with the first group in the park. The witnesses said they drove away before the police arrived.

Children Rewarded With Food

The children told investigators in Tallahassee that they had been on the road for weeks, camping out at night. The older children reported that they were rewarded with food for doing ''good things'' but that the nature of what was expected was not described.

Their daily ration of food consisted of oranges, bananas and raw potatoes, they told the police.

Based on information provided by the children, they were tentatively identified as Mary Houlihan, 7 years old; Max Livingstone, 6; Honeybee Evans, 3; Benjamin Franklin, 3; John Paul Pope Houlihan, 2, and B.B., a 2-year-old boy.
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Ramon J Martinez from Customs

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Wed Mar 26, 2014 1:57 pm

Someone anonymous has a bone to pick with Ramon Martinez. From the comments of this VISUP piece: ... rt-ii.html

Note that from the precise phrasing and copy used here, it seems likely this was the same person as "FantasyPopper" from the WikiSpooks page Cpt. Marginal referenced.

Also, note the datelines below vs. the WikiSpooks edit: This page was last modified on 23 August 2011, at 02:08. Someone was on a binge that week.

AnonymousAugust 21, 2011 at 7:31 PM There are two principle Customs investigators involved - ss/a "Bob" Harrold and ss/a Ramon J Martinez. Would you be surprised to learn that Robert "Bob" Harrold is a Patriot fanatic on par with Gunderson or DeCamp? ... ishes.html

"Posted byRobertHarrold atThursday,April 22, 2010"


1704Lotus Lane

ElCentro, CA 92243


Family:Wife, Deborah Bell Harrold;children, Donald Robert(Shreveport, LA), Grace Anne Loper (Shreveport, LA), Jessica HopeHarrold(college, Fullerton, CA), and Erica Lynn Harrold(college, Davis, CA).

Folksstationed at RAF Bentwaters; lived in Woodbridge, Felixstowe, RAFWoodbridge between 1956 and 1959.

Dadtransferred to Bunker Hill AFB, Indiana, in 1959. I graduated BunkerHill HS in 1960.

Dadthen transferred to Barksdale AFB, Shreveport, LA, in 1960; Ienlisted in the Air Force and spent 4 years, 1960-64. AttendedLouisiana Tech College, 1964-70.

U.S.Customs Investigations, SpecialAgent,from 1970-93, in New Orleans, LA; U.S. Virgin Islands; Jacksonville,FL; SSA, HQ Customs, Washington, D.C., D.C. Field Office,Herndon/Reston, VA; Resident Agent-in-ChargeUSCS Internal Affairs, Calexico. Retired in 1993 and became a managerof a local PC sales/repair store, Calexico, CA.

1993-95:Self-employed/PC Service/Repair. 1995-98: Network AdministratorContract w/Immigrations. 1998-2000: Vocational teacher/PCrepair-basic web pages, getting teacher’s credentials and PC techwith local school system.

Hobbies:Designing web pages, reading, target/pistol shooting, beer tasting…"

AnonymousAugust 21, 2011 at 7:32 PM Would you be surprised to learn that Ramon J Martinez was once ( and probably remained, despite what he may have said publicly), the best friend to militia promoter Mark Koernke ? ... 27,00.html

"Koernke first came to most Americans' attention when it was reported that he was wanted for questioning in connection with the Oklahoma City bombing. That turned out to be misleading. Stories that he had faxed an announcement of the bombing to a Congressman before it occurred, and that Timothy McVeigh once acted as his bodyguard, died on the vine; the fbi confirmed that he was not a suspect. In fact, say observers, Koernke's influence on the radical right, while less tangible, is more pervasive. The militia movement prides itself on being "unorganized," spontaneous and unburdened by a national structure. Yet it does have opinion leaders, and Koernke is one of the most vocal"

Koernke did manage to attract a few friends. One of these was Ramon Martinez, then an upperclassman and now with the U.S. Customs Service in Washington. "The majority opinion was that he was nuts to have around," Martinez says now. "But I saw it differently. I saw a guy with his own way of doing things." Martinez enjoyed Koernke's intellect, his ability to talk at length about history or classical music".

AnonymousAugust 21, 2011 at 7:33 PM What has come to be known as The Finders investigation of 1987, chronicled in the Customs report AUTHORED BY Ramon J Martinez, was a very calculated attempt to "take down" Marion Pettie's private intelligence network. Although there were police agencies from several jurisdictions involved, the principal actors in the "take down" were Bob Harrold and Ramon Martinez. In a recent exchange of emails, Martinez claims that he doesn't recognise the name "Ted Gunderson" - HAH! He is very much aware of all the controversy his report has been responsible for, however, saying it had caused him "endless grief over the years", and remarking that Judicial Watch was supposedly looking into it (not that I could find evidence of). Yet, he doesn't recognise the name of the man who has been his report's greatest evangelist for 20 years? Bullshit. And Martinez & Harrold didn't become friendly with & sympathetic to far-right extremists currently classified as "Patriot militias", that Gunderson and De Camp have been involved with since at least the mid 1980s - on a sudden whim, just this last Tuesday...

Martinez' Customs report describes what it does, about 'evidence' found at Finders 'HQ' in Washington DC, the way that it does, for 2 reasons:

1) It really is deliberately calculated to appear to expose the precise satanic child abusing kidnap cult fantasized and promoted by Gunderson et al.

2) Harrold & Martinez know in advance what will be found at Finders HQ, that there will be documents apparently discussing kidnapping children, buying children, otherwise acquiring children, intelligence reports on "private individuals" - gathering detailed personal info on them & their families, the hippie-cult photo albums showing naked kids and the goat-slaughtering festivities, the jars of excretia, etc. They know all of this will be there, because the properties have been carefully spied-out prior to the police "raid". Most of these things are just conveniently mis-interpretable, but the research into kidnapping isn't there by fluke.

Someone - a private individual probably - was paying Pettie to investigate the whereabouts of children who had vanished into the lydia rayner and faye yager fronted "children's underground", although it is not an impossibility that a goverment agency such as the CIA could also have been paying Pettie to look into the possible involvement of foreign 'extremist' - 'terrorist' (i.e left-radical, Weather Underground connected) groups facilitating the accomodating & hiding of these children in other countries. This is the primary motivation for the setting-up & "take down" of Pettie's group, to disrupt Pettie's investigation of the "children's underground".

In the US, this underground had two parallel origins - the leftist Weather Underground-Black Panther network, and the rightist Survivalist-Christian Patriot Defence League-Christian Parent's Right to Beat Their Kids-Compound Living network. Whether it really was facilitated by Larouche or not, there is abundant evidence of these two networks combining or working together co-operatively in support of this "children's underground". Whatever name you wish to give the proto-militia side of this equation, that's what Gunderson, DeCamp, Bo Gritz, Mark Koernke, Robert Harrold & Ramon Martinez were involved in.

AnonymousAugust 21, 2011 at 7:34 PM The deliberate mis-interpretation of evidence found at Finders HQ, in the Customs report, and "leaking" of this info through the press, serves several purposes; obviously, the research into rayner-yager kidnappings is transformed into "research intended to facilitate kidnappings" by The Finders themselves, the good guys become the bad guys. The Satanic cult kidnappers myth gets a serious boost, reinvigorating the Satanic Panic's distraction away from the real kidnapping & disappearances of parental abduction victims, displacing those concerns onto pointless goose-chasing of a phantom "kidnapping threat" that doesn't exist.

So what's with the vanfull of kids in Florida? Not likely going to any school as Pettie claimed. More likely being taken far away from HQ, to be looked after in some obscure place of safety by trustworthy members of the group, because Pettie has some kind of forewarning that his operation is going to suffer a bogus investigatory "hit". Send their kids far away so they won't get hurt, won't get caught up in whatever shit goes down, won't be confiscated by child welfare agencies if all the adults end up incarcerated. But they were tracked to Florida by their enemies, who take advantage of the circumstances to initiate the take-down with a complaint about possibly kidnapped "wild" children living in a van.

Frame-up efforts continue for awhile, anonymous sources tipping the authorities to non-existent bodies supposedly buried on their land, etc. In the end, there is no actual case against them and all charges are dropped, all investigations cease. That OUGHT to be how Martinez' report ends. That's not a satisfactory outcome for the plotters, however. They want long-term, irrevocable discrediting of Pettie & his operation, they want to tie the CIA into their satanic kidnapper-abusers fantasy, and especially they want a windup that doesn't discredit or refute the falsified facts in Martinez report. So, Martinez makes his appointment with Detective Bradley MPD, but skips it and instead meets up somewhere in DC with Ted Gunderson. At this point in time, 1987, Gunderson is at his peak of credibility & authority in the eyes of the media and much of the public. Martinez writes Gunderson into the report as "a third party", and just in case - to cover their asses - Gunderson probably gives Martinez one of his famous "investigator reports", in which he claims to have knowledge that: "the investigation into the activity of the Finders has become a CIA internal matter. The MPD report has been classified SECRET and will not be available for review. I was advised that the FBI had withdrawn from the investigation several weeks prior and that the FBI Foreign Counter Intelligence Division had directed MPD not to advise the FBI Washington Field Office of anything that had transpired.

No further information will be available. No further action will be taken"

How convenient, eh? Might as well read "If you are reviewing my report, don't bother looking into the MPD report because that report (which will totally contradict mine) has been classified SECRET. There's no need to advise the FBI Washington Field Office that we've closed our investigation, OR WHY, in fact - FBI counter intelligence (THIS IS A MATTER OF NATIONAL SECURITY SO DON"T ASK QUESTIONS) has specifically directed that no one alert FBI Washington Field Office. Don't bother asking anyone, such as the MPD investigators, sometime down the road, if there has been any new info on the Finders (you might find out this report is full of shit) - because no further info will be available. No further action will ever be taken by anyone. Trust me"

The Martinez report is actually less disturbing to me than the curious details that emerge from piecing together all the 1987 coverage. The story does not hang solely on a Customs document.
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