Last week, we told you about the weirdo cult that Tulsi Gabbard grew up in. This week the FBI declassified a document dump that deals with a different sex cult from the same time period: The Finders.
Since I’ll be accused of being a wacky conspiracy theorist for talking about this file, here it is so you can read it for yourself: Go read the file. (Warning: It’s a thick, disorganized, unsearchable PDF file.)
A whole bunch of conspiracy theories that you may remember as being “debunked” in the 1980s and ‘90s are actually turned on their heads by this file release, including the Finders cult, its suspected connections to the CIA and white slavery, and even the McMartin Preschool case, which the media dubbed the “Satanic Panic” in order to smear the Christian right.
Even though I was a child at the time, I can still remember the stories of the bizarre arrests of the Finders in the early 1980s. Between the Finders and the Green River Killer who was active in my part of the country, most of us remember our parents warning us to “stay away from panel vans!”
Two members of the Finders were arrested in a panel van in Florida; they were described as two well-dressed white males who were transporting half a dozen dirty, disheveled preschoolers in the back of a van (none of the kids were theirs). In a similar incident, two of the Finders were arrested in a secluded area of a Tallahassee park with a half-dozen preschoolers who weren’t their kids.
The FBI began investigating the secretive cult in the 1980s for sexual exploitation of children and other crimes. The founder and head guru of the Finders cult was a woman named Isabelle Pettie, who died years ago. According to the FBI’s documentation, the Finders cult only had 20 adult members at its peak. Despite being such a small cult that operated out of Washington, DC, the Finders were associated with the following groups:
“Finders” or “Finders Group,” Finders Transnational, Finders Transnational Ragged Mountain Ranch Research Center, General Scientific Corporation in Maryland, The Information Bank in Washington, DC, Future Enterprises, Women’s Networking Service and… a redacted federal agency. Nothing suspicious there!
Let’s set aside the Finders for a moment (but we’ll come back to them). Buried in the just-released FBI documents are some very interesting facts from a case that took place on the opposite side of the country in California: The McMartin Preschool case.
That case was the start of the so-called “Satanic Panic” in the 1980s, in which evangelical Christians asserted that a Satanic child-molesting cult was operating through the preschool. Numerous high-profile conservatives have written about the McMartin case over the years, and all of them came to the same conclusion: The children in the school were brainwashed by an overzealous liberal prosecutor into telling outlandish stories about the teachers. And those stories did sound outlandish.
The children claimed that the teachers had trapdoors in all of the classrooms. Those trapdoors led to secret tunnels that led to a ritualistic chamber, where chanting adults dressed in black robes would sexually molest them. The adults murdered bunnies and other small animals in front of the kids and warned them that the same thing would happen to them if they told anyone.
The kids claimed that another tunnel led from the ritualistic chamber to a secret trapdoor in the bathroom of a nearby house that was hidden from street view. The kids told prosecutors that they were led up through that trap door, and then driven around Los Angeles County where they were prostituted out to local pedophiles.
Some of the kids claimed that they were molested by a professional football player, a professional baseball player, several Hollywood celebrities and several elite local politicians in Los Angeles County.
It sounds outlandish, right? There couldn’t be that many famous people involved in a Satanic cult that were molesting 2-, 3- and 4-year-olds, right? After all, the LAPD started its investigation of these claims in 1982, and when they finally searched the school in 1985, there were no tunnels! Case closed!
None of the teachers at the school were ever convicted in the trials that dragged on for years. One of the women was acquitted; the ringleader’s case resulted in a hung jury; his retrial resulted in an acquittal. For years, this incident has been held up as an example of prosecutorial overreach and the stupidity of those moralizing Christians who want to replace the Constitution with the Book of Leviticus so they can stone the gays. The kids were obviously coached to say all of these things, right?
Per the FBI’s file dump:
Moments before the preschool was about to be demolished in 1993, the former Director of the FBI field office in Los Angeles found the tunnels. They existed, exactly as the children had described. The hand-dug tunnels had been filled in sometime between 1982 when the police investigation began, and 1985 when the LAPD finally searched for the tunnels.
The archaeologist who helped dig up the tunnels found about 100 small animal bones in the central ritual chamber, a plate that had several pentagrams hand-drawn on it, and a Disney-themed child’s backpack from 1982. None of this evidence was presented at trial, and the McMartin Preschool case has been used for years to smear the Christian right in America for “starting a moral panic.”
The FBI had all this information in its files. When the existence of the tunnels was turned over to a new prosecutor, they refused to retry the case.
The FBI files also reveal how federal US Customs employees were being arrested by the dozens during the George HW Bush administration for exchanging and transporting child pornography as part of a global network while on the job. Those numbers trickled off during the Clinton administration, when US Customs decided to stop monitoring its own employees so closely.
How does all of this tie together with the CIA? According to the FBI files, the CIA shut down the FBI investigation into the Finders and other matters related to Satanic child sex trafficking rings in America.
No biggie. The CIA stonewalled the FBI for years as agents requested information about known members of the Finders group.
The CIA’s response, after many years, was that, well, sure, the founding guru of the Finders, Isabelle Pettie, did in fact work for the CIA for a couple of decades but shut up anyway!
According to the FBI, the US Attorney in Washington, DC finally dismissed the case against the Finders in 1993, claiming that there was no evidence that any federal crimes had been committed by the group. Say, who was the US Attorney for DC back in 1993? Oh, just some nobody who almost ran for president in 2020: Eric Holder.
By having the DOJ release this file, I think President Trump just fired a shot across the bow of the Deep State: “You guys want to play this little impeachment game? Let’s rumble! I’ve got a whole bag of Pizzagate files here!”
My guess is that the president has a lot more ammunition like this file against the impeachment coup plotters – and this proves that he’s not afraid to use it. Get your popcorn ready!