Monday, November 26, 2007

The Strange Saga of Pastor Don LaRose (AKA Mayor Williams)

The Mayor of Casterbridge meets "Satanic" Abduction and Brainwashing...

Nov. 2007 69-year-old Ken Williams had been the mayor of Centerton, Arkansas for 6 years when he announced that his name was really Don LaRose. 30 years earlier he had been LaRose (now 67 years old), a married preacher and father of two in Indiana, until members of a Satanic cult kidnapped him and "brainwashed" him to forget all about his former life. Then, in 1975, he was injected with a truth serum and suddenly remembered what the Satanists had done to him. Williams/LaRose says he underwent 5 years of therapy to recover the rest of his memories.

The disappearance of Reverend Don LaRose from Maine, New York, had made area headlines in 1975. According to a February 13/76 article in Christianity Today, some members of his congregation at the First Baptist Church even speculated that he had been abducted by angry Satanists who had written a nasty letter to him. However, when authorities located LaRose three months after his disappearance, they determined he had vanished voluntarily. (They didn't believe his bizarre story, that he had been hauled into the back of a van and "brainwashed" with a portable electroshock device attached to his forehead.) He had taken the name Bruce Kent Williams from a car-crash victim who died in 1958, but implied the Satanists had "given" him this identity; according to LaRose, he had simply woken up in Minneapolis as a homeless drunk named Bruce Williams, with no memory of his previous life as a Baptist minister. He became a baker's assistant in a downtown cafeteria, spending his free time at a mission. A preacher there recognized him as the missing New York pastor and arranged for LaRose's wife and father to pick him up.

LaRose was "happily" reunited with wife, Eunice, and their two daughters, but his former church washed its hands of him. And that seemed to be that.

The LaRoses moved to Indiana in '77. Don became pastor of Hessville Baptist Church in Hammond, and continued to tell his story about Satanic abduction and brainwashing, claiming he had recovered the memories of the events only after a dose of sodium amytal administered by Dr. Marvin DeHaan.

Those pesky Satanists just wouldn't leave him alone, though. In June 1980 he claimed to have seen them sneaking around his church, peeping in windows. On June 10, he told Eunice he was going to the church to meet someone. He didn't return home; 7 years later he was declared dead, and Eunice remarried. Despite his presumed death, family members continued to search for Don LaRose and hoped to learn his fate.

On the website LaRose admitted his second vanishing was deliberate, but only because the unknown Satanists threatened to murder his family if he didn't disappear. He bicycled away from home, bought a bus ticket to Wyoming, and became "Ken Williams".

In the early '80s "Ken Williams" popped up in Centerton, became a radio personality on KURM, and remarried. He was elected mayor in 2001. But earlier this year he put up a website about Pastor LaRose's disappearance, written from the perspective of LaRose. It contained an autobio of LaRose, a recap of the initial "abduction" ("may have been SATANIC inspired"), and his "amazing story of survival" after being forced to leave his family. A member of LaRose's family discovered the site, and it was easily traced to Williams. On Monday, November 19, the Benton County Daily Record phoned Mayor Williams to confirm his true identity. For a day he denied being LaRose, then "came clean" about his past to the newspaper.

LaRose has resigned as mayor of Centerton. Though he expressed interest in seeing his daughters, his grandchildren, and his 96-year-old father, he plans to remain in town with his current wife, and will continue to use the name Ken Williams. He is reportedly not under investigation.

LaRose/Williams says the people who abducted and brainwashed him were probably not Satanists, just "Satanically inspired".

Sources:

- Florida wftv.com article (erroneously gives pastor's name as "LeRose")
- "Being Don LaRose" by Eleanor Evans and Tracy Neal, Benton County Daily Record online, Nov. 21/07
- "The Two Reappearances of Don LaRose", Benton County Daily Record online, Nov. 22/07- http://www.donlarose.com/ (Williams' website)

114 comments:

Anonymous said...

How many more politicians and preachers are mindcontrolled slaves of Satan? Not all stories are true, and politicians and preachers lie like everybody else. But some horrors ARE true, every day.

Here's a list of politicians named in court as Satanic cult members using brainwashing and electroshock technuiques, including Arkansas, Tennessee and Satanic Bohemian Grove presidential nudist compound for snuff kiddie porn in California:
http://tv.groups.yahoo.com/group/piratenewsrss/message/368

Cathy O'Brian and her daughter were given the electroshock brainwash treatment by Satanic Uncle Scam:
http://trance-formation.com
http://piratenews.org/video-archive.html

Jeffrey said...

Hmmm. Lots of urban legend and conspiracy theory. The LaRose story that most claims of the victims of "satanic activity" are the products of personal issues, badly processed sensory data, and faulty human memory, just like most "satanic activity" itself.

On a related note, I'm wondering if you know the cheapest, easiest way to get hold of original newspaper stories from the Satanic Panic (say, 1979-1994). I'm gathering resources for an in-progress novel about that time in the Midwestern US.

Good blog, by the way.

And Thanks in advance.

Kelly Malloy said...

What a bizarre story...

SME said...

These faux abduction stories have been cropping up like crazy in recent years...Dar Heatherington, Karen McConnell-Hancock, Audrey Seiler, etc. It's like an Aimee Semple McPherson disease is running rampant.
The motives for this kind of deception vary. Some people who stage mysterious disappearances (like Agatha Christie) crave attention and sympathy, and may be suffering factitious disorders. A handful of people seem to truly experience fugue states and don't know what happened to them. And then are folks like LaRose, who just want to extricate themselves from an unwanted life and get a fresh start without any of the unpleasant side effects of being assertive.

Anonymous, I'm afraid that information just doesn't convince me of anything. Child abuse and corruption in high places are certainly endemic, but most of the claims made by "Satanic government mind control" victims are highly, HIGHLY questionable. You'd be doing yourself a tremendous favour by examining them closely and deciding if they really stand up to scrutiny.

Sorry, Jeffrey, I myself have to rely upon free online newspaper archives and on my contacts for period news reports. But if there's anything specific you need, let me know and I'll do what I can to help. Best of luck with your writing!

being stalked said...

its certainly an odd story but its not as far fetched as it may seem - its plausible.

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