NYC’s Odyssey Study Group ‘cult’ that held ‘fight clubs’ sues over tell-all book

New York Post/July 15, 2023

By Jacob Geanous

A Manhattan cult is suing a former member who wrote an explosive tell-all book and compared the group’s founder to murderous svengali Jim Jones.

Odyssey Study Group Horn ‘s former leader Gans Horn swindled inheritances, systematically terrorized members and was “every bit as demented” as Jones, former OSG member Spencer Schneider claimed in a July 2022 memoir. Jones, Leader of the Peoples Temple cult, killed more than 900 followers at Jonestown in a 1978 mass murder-suicide.

Schneider, 63, has “bedeviled” the Odyssey Study Group ever since he left in 2012, including falsely branding it a “sinister cult” that manipulated, abused and took advantage of its members, according to a July 5 Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit the group filed against him.

But the book was the last straw, the group claimed.

During the promotion of “Manhattan Cult Story: My Unbelievable True Story of Sex, Crimes, Chaos, and Survival,” Schneider claimed the group is a cult that engages in human trafficking and forced labor, according to the lawsuit, which accuses him of defamation.

“OSG and its members turned the other cheek for a decade in the face of Schneider’s defamation and harassment,” the Odyssey Study Group said in the filing. “But last year, Schneider dramatically and inexcusably upped the ante.”

They were “left with no choice” but to file the lawsuit to “put an end to Schneider’s relentless chicanery,” the group said in court papers.

Schneider spent more than two decades as an OSG member which he claimed recruited hundreds of successful professionals seeking personal development.

Schneider also claimed the group held fight clubs and arraigned marriages, including his own to his ex-wife, identified in court filings as “Beth,” who he divorced in 2010 before leaving the alleged cult.

Horn, who started the group in San Francisco in the late 1970s with her husband Alex Horn, died in January 2021 at age 86 and had a decades-long history of allegations that she drained cash from loyal followers.

Scheider, who currently has a federal human trafficking lawsuit against the group pending in Brooklyn Federal Court, told The Post OSG’s lawsuit will not deter him from continuing to speak out against them.

“I take this as just another attempt to intimidate me and others from exposing them and it’s not going to work,” Schneider said.

The Odyssey Study Group’s attorney declined to provide a comment.

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