Eastern Shore journalist and podcaster Tony Russo will read and sign copies of his new book, Dragged Into the Light, at the book’s launch event from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, June 5 at The Greyhound Bookstore in Berlin.
Dragged Into the Light considers the political and religious factors that drive conspiracy cults, and questions whether there are deeper reasons than madness that cause people to believe that our celebrities and members of the political elite are possessed by reptile demons.
Russo’s work on the book began when he heard about internet prophet Sherry Shriner, an otherwise-ordinary Ohio housewife who established a dramatic alter-ego as an internet-based evangelist and interpreter of Biblical prophecy.
Shriner had told one of her acolytes, Steven Mineo, that his girlfriend was a reptilian witch who would kill him. The accusation drove Steven to the edge, and he led a rebellion against the cult leader that culminated in his death at the hands of his girlfriend, Barbara Rogers, just as Shriner had predicted.
Over the course of his reporting, Russo uncovered a pattern of betrayal, ostracism and death around the cult, but he also was steeped in what would become QAnon conspiracy culture. His research coincided with a six-part documentary by VICE-TV for its true-crime series “The Devil You Know: Season Two,” which featured Russo as the through-line character explaining the workings of this bizarre and complex cult.
Russo has spent his entire professional life writing on or about the Eastern Shore as a journalist and, later, a tourism content creator.