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Trading In Your Family For A Cult: One Woman's Story

Margaret Bullitt
Margaret Bullitt and her mother, Kay Bullitt. Margaret says her mother has always loved and accepted her for who she is.

This is what Margaret Bullitt did when she was in her 20s, living in New York and trying to launch an acting career. The Bullitts are an influential Seattle family. Coming from a family filled with people driven to do good and bring about positive change was intimidating.

“And this idea that you have to do for others and be good in the community and if you aren’t always doing for others, and doing good for the community, then somehow there’s something suspect,” says Bullitt.

Bullitt felt a lot of pressure — and, in turn, felt like a failure. In New York Bullitt looked into self-help classes to boost her confidence and manage the fear that was suffocating her.  While doing this, she came across an organization called Direct Centering. It’s leader was a man named Bayard Horah.

“He was a  strange looking man. He was bald and had wide set eyes and a gap between his two front teeth and a very wide smile. So when he would open his jaw it was sort of snake-like,” recalled Bullitt. She said the most striking feature about Horah was that he had six toes on each foot.

Bullitt was drawn in and moved up the ranks at Direct Centering. But back in Seattle, her mother, Kay Bullitt, knew something was not right. She took a drastic step to save her daughter and sever her child’s dangerous connection before it was too late.

Jennifer Wing is a former KNKX reporter and producer who worked on the show Sound Effect and Transmission podcast.
Sound Effect producer Allie Ferguson has been making radio for nearly 5 years. She got her start at KUOW and has since traveled the country working for national news shows including WNYC's The Takeaway and NPR's Weekend All Things Considered. Allie won a 2016 Gracie Award, which celebrates women in media, for her work at KUOW. She enjoys telling surprising stories about passionate people.