Dragged Into the Light
IPPY Awards Silver Medalist (True Crime) 2022
As Seen on VICE TV's “The Devil You Know” Season 2
Ohio housewife Sherry Shriner grew to prominence as a social media cult leader, flourishing in the era of conspiracy theories and the 9/11 Truther movement. She preached the virtues of mysterious orgone energy and Christian prayer as defensive shields against the forces of darkness, including: Lucifer and his demons; reptilian shapeshifters masquerading as human elites; the New World Order; cell phone towers; even hostile UFOs that flamed out over her home, visible only as shooting stars.
Amazingly, she built a coterie of passionate devotees. The more outrageous the lie, the more fervent their belief.
In 2017, she told follower Steven Mineo that his girlfriend, Barbara Rogers, was a witch who would kill him. A month later, Steven was dead, and Barbara was in jail charged with his murder.
Steven’s death proved Sherry’s divinity to her followers, but in reality, he was just the latest casualty in a string of online trolling attacks that had left an earlier believer dead of suicide and still more cast into the outer darkness of cyberspace.
Journalist Tony Russo follows Sherry Shriner’s cult, digs into its bizarre beliefs, and reports on the shredded lives and reputations surrounding an otherwise-nondescript woman who transformed herself into a web-based evangelist in the wee hours of the night. The incredible story is documented in dogged reporting, surviving internet chats and transcripts, and voluminous police records.