Tony Russo
Most Recent Book Title
Dragged Into the Light: Truthers, Reptilians, Super Soldiers, and Death Inside an Online Cult
Book Description
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.
Additional Book Titles
Eastern Shore Beer, Delaware Beer
Location (city/state/country)
United States
Author bio
Telling compelling stories about ordinary people has been Tony Russo's specialty for the entirety of his journalism career. Whether profiling artists, community leaders, or combat veterans, he has a knack for helping people connect to personal stories.
After nearly 20 years covering news and writing features for local outlets, Tony moved into independent journalism, telling stories about how small events affected the larger culture.
In addition to writing about the craft beer revolution, Tony wrote and hosted "This Is War" a narrative podcast documenting the personal stories of combat veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
His most recent work, Dragged Into the Light: Truthers, Reptilians, Super Soldiers, and Death Inside an Online Cult looks into how one nondescript woman was able to tap into the rising paranoia that birthed the conspiracy theory culture.
Tony lives on Maryland's Eastern Shore with his wife and the only of his four daughters who has yet to move out. Together they keep their dog and cats comfortable.

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