The Cult Next Door

Elizabeth Burchard


I first heard of  the Black Dog Cult on a podcast called The Grift. Elizabeth Burchard talked about how for years the leader of this cult dominated her life. She gave him all of her time and attention and thousands of dollars. Every decision was subject to his approval.

It’s was easy for me to look down on Burchard, until I remembered some of my own insecurities and bad decisions I made when I was young. Then I realized that it was luck, not my own good sense that preserved me from falling into a situation like Burchard, who was only 17 when she joined.

When one is young and vulnerable, some bad decisions lead to lifelong situations that are very difficult to get out of. Some get married to a person that is wrong for them. Some get religion. Some join a cult, not realizing what they are getting into.

That was the case for Burchard. The leader of the cult was everything she was not: strong, decisive, and self-assured. She accepted his leadership blindly and followed him for years, until a friend helped her to see the absurdity of his teaching and the bad effect it was having on her life and her bankbook. He took and took and never gave back. Finally, she was able to break free of his influence. This book is a result of her looking back on her life, in and out of the cult.

Thanks to NetGalley for ARC.