Margaret Singer, expert on brainwashing, dies in Berkeley

Margaret Singer, a Berkeley psychologist and expert on brainwashing, is dead at the age of 82.

Singer died Sunday after a long illness at Alta Bates Medical Center in Berkeley.

She studied and helped authorities and victims understand such cults as the Peoples Temple, the Branch Davidians, the Unification Church and the Symbionese Liberation Army.

Singer testified in the 1976 bank robbery trial of newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst, who was kidnapped by the S-L-A. She also testified at the 1977 hearing for five young members of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church when their parents tried to have them “deprogrammed.”

She interviewed more than three thousand cult members and assisted in more than 200 court cases.

Singer was born in Denver and received her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Denver.

She began to study brainwashing in the 1950s at Walter Reed Institute of Research in Washington, D-C. There — she interviewed soldiers who had been taken prisoner during the Korean War.

She is survived by her husband, Jerome, and by two children, Sam and Martha, all of Berkeley.

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Associated Press, USA
Nov. 25, 2003

Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday November 25, 2003.
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