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Evan Rachel Wood Returns to Instagram and Makes an Interesting Admission of Drug Use as a "Child"

On April 24th 2024, Evan Rachel Wood deactivated her Instagram, as previously reported , and remained completely away from the public eye until she reactivated her Instagram account on June 11th 2024, nearly two months later. Whether she did this merely to take a break or not is unknown, though I explored some possible explanations in my previous post. However, it does seem like it is interesting timing that she did return when she did. Here are a few reasons why. First, the day prior to her return, on June 10th, it was widely reported that Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman were returning for a long-awaited Practical Magic sequel, and that Akiva Goldsman, one of the writers behind the original, will pen the screenplay. In the original 1998 film, Evan Rachel Wood plays Kylie Owens, the daughter of Sandra Bullock's character, and it has long been speculated that if there was a sequel, then it would focus on the daughters, especially Evan's character. And if there has been one mo

How the 1944 Movie "Gaslight" Became the Playbook of Marilyn Manson's Accusers

When on February 1st 2021 Marilyn Manson was called out by name on social media by Evan Rachel Wood and a number of other women for alleged abusive behavior, and in the lawsuits that followed months later, one of the most common terms used to describe this abusive behavior was "gaslighting", which is an umbrella term that includes grooming, controlling, brainwashing, love bombing and manipulating with a goal to get someone to question their own reality, memory or perceptions.

The association of Marilyn Manson with gaslighting began with Evan Rachel Wood's 2018 congressional testimony, in which she described that the abuse she suffered by her then anonymous abuser was centered around gaslighting. She said:

My experience with domestic violence was this. Toxic mental, physical, and sexual abuse, which started slow, but escalated over time, including threats against my life, severe gaslighting and brainwashing, waking up to the man that claimed to love me raping what he believed to be my unconscious body, and the worst part, sick rituals of binding me up by my hands and feet to be mentally and physically tortured until my abuser felt I had "proven my love for them."

That same year, in March 2018, Evan Rachel Wood's movie Allure came out, in which Evan plays an older abuser who gaslights her younger victim. An interview by The Daily Beast from that time was even titled "Evan Rachel Wood on the Gaslighting of America." Among the things she says in this interview is the following:

If you come from any sort of abusive background where you’ve felt like you didn’t have a voice, or an identity, or you’re longing for this or that, or you feel alone, and then the big, bad wolf comes along and knows that’s your reality and knows that you’re the perfect candidate for them to be your “savior,” and says they’re going to love you and do all these things for you, and then almost uses that as an excuse to be able to abuse you, it’s just ass-backwards. It’s so backwards. But that’s how a lot of people think—they prey on the weak. And they have so many issues themselves so they can’t prey on an older, healthy grown-up because you’re not going to be able to get away with it, so unfortunately very young people, often people that don’t have good relationships with their families or have felt alone in the world, fall victim to these types of gaslighters.

As late as March 17th 2022, when interviewed by Drew Barrymore, Evan talked about being the victim of gaslighting:

Esme Bianco repeated this term in her statement before the California senate in 2019 about the abuse she suffered by her anonymous abuser:

Before he succeeded in his seduction, my abuser carefully groomed me, manipulating and gaslighting me over a number of years of “friendship”. He knew that I was easy prey. I had neither power, nor control over my life.

Ashley Walters wrote in her statement on February 1, 2021: "I soon became a victim of his psychological abuse - he was very skilled at gaslighting his inner circle."

Gabriella Accarino said about Manson in her statement on the same day: "He gaslit me so much I began to gaslight myself."

Sarah McNeilly describes Manson as gaslighting her, though she doesn't use the term. She begins her statement saying: "He (Brian Warner) lured me in with 'love bombing.'"

Scarlett Kapella similarly described Manson as going "from charming and loving to complete monster behavior, subjecting me to emotional, physical and sexual abuse. He exploited an unequal power dynamic and put me in a place of fear, controlling when I was allowed to speak, what outfits and color lipstick I could wear."

Chloe Black (Jane Doe #2) says: "I too was 'love bombed' and manipulated ... I accepted the lies and manipulation and I did what I had to do to keep him from turning on me. It's called 'Fawning' and is a common response to trauma."

Annie Abrams, speaking of Manson, said "we're dealing with a master manipulator here who has no remorse and who will do anything to look like a victim himself." She further explained:

The issue with Brian Hugh Warner is that he goes out of his way to make you as paranoid as possible. If only 2 out of 10 things are correct......8 aren't. So it's a poker game, he's playing as if he has a straight flush, when really...he might have one pair."

Agata Alexander explained that Manson's Instagram post about his innocence following the allegations made against him "is him gaslighting again and it has pissed me off beyond belief."

These are just some examples to show that gaslighting is a central accusation from which other accusations sprout against Marilyn Manson.

Why is gaslighting such a central feature, if not the most central feature, of the alleged abuse by Manson on multiple women?

Here are five reasons:

1. It establishes the women as victims who had no free will or agency. “Free will” means you have the power to make choices. “Agency” means that you have the power to act on those choices. However, if you from the very beginning establish that you were gaslit, then you don't have to acknowledge that you had either free will or agency, and therefore you are the innocent victim of someone's maliciousness against you.

2. The main accusers of Marilyn Manson all claim to have not realized they were abused by him for a number of years, and it was either only after therapy or after hearing the experiences of others that they came to a realization of the abuse they suffered years prior. The manipulation and brainwashing associated with gaslighting are a perfect excuse to make such wild claims believable.

3. Evan Rachel Wood began the narrative of trying to make Manson out to be a cult leader. One of the things cult leaders try to do is to get you to question your own reality and judgments to establish control over you.

4. If someone who makes accusations of gaslighting is ever questioned, they can gain sympathy by accusing those who question them of perpetuating the cycle of abuse by gaslighting them into trying to get the accusers to question their own memories and reality. Similarly, if the accused ever tries to defend themself, the accusers can double down on them and accuse them of trying to gaslight themself out of the allegations.

5. For all of the above reasons, it is a tried and true scripted playbook.

It is this fifth and last reason that I want to explore a bit further.

(Before you proceed, if you have not seen the movie Gaslight (1944), I encourage you to do so now before you proceed, otherwise there are spoils ahead. See it here.)

"Gaslighting" is a term that has its origins in the 1944 film Gaslight, a psychological thriller directed by George Cukor and starring Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman. It is about a young woman whose husband slowly manipulates her into believing that she is descending into insanity.

But this isn't the only film of the time that explored such ideas. In 2006, film critic Emanuel Levy discussed the film noir aspects of the film:

A thriller soaked in paranoia, Gaslight is a period film noir that, like Hitchcock's The Lodger and Hangover Square, is set in the Edwardian age. It's interesting to speculate about the prominence of a film cycle in the 1940s that can be described as 'Don't Trust Your Husband'. It began with three Hitchcock films: Rebecca (1940), Suspicion (1941), and Shadow of a Doubt (1943), and continued with Gaslight and Jane Eyre (both in 1944), Dragonwyck (1945), Notorious and The Spiral Staircase (both 1946), The Two Mrs. Carrolls (1947), and Sorry, Wrong Number and Sleep, My Love (both 1948). All of these films use the noir visual vocabulary and share the same premise and narrative structure: The life of a rich, sheltered woman is threatened by an older, deranged man, often her husband. In all of them, the house, usually a symbol of sheltered security in Hollywood movies, becomes a trap of terror.

In other words, between 1940 and 1948, one of the most repeated and beloved by audiences plots in Hollywood films was about an older deranged man of power who maliciously manipulates a woman, usually his wife, through mind games, control and isolation.

If you watch any of the movies mentioned above, and there are others like them, but especially if you watch the movie Gaslight, what you will see is a very similar script to the accusations made against Manson.

When rereading the accusations of Marilyn Manson's accusers, consider the following twelve points from the movie Gaslight:

1. The film begins in 1875, when world-famous opera singer Alice Alquist is murdered at her London home, and her niece Paula (Ingrid Bergman) is sent to Italy to follow in her footsteps as an opera singer. Ten years later, now a young adult, Paula marries her much older accompanist Gregory Anton (Charles Boyer), after a two-week whirlwind romance. At his suggestion, they settle in London and occupy her late aunt's long-vacant townhouse despite the traumatic memories that linger there for her.

2. Paula, having been traumatized as a girl from the murder of her aunt, now even ten years later has developed PTSD and is afraid to return to London and her home there which her aunt left to her. Gregory takes advantage of this vulnerablity by love bombing her and getting her to marry him quickly in order to bring her to London and isolate her in the home of her childhood trauma and nightmares.

3. When Paula finds a letter to her aunt from a man named Sergis Bauer, Gregory reacts violently but apologizes. He will later claim that this letter never really existed, but was a figment of her imagination due to her paranoia.

4. Paula, isolated in her home and not allowed to leave, tells Gregory that she wants to have parties and invite visitors over, but Gregory forbids any communication to Paula except from himself and the maids he hired.

5. Gregory begins to constantly chide Paula as being forgetful. On a visit to the Tower of London, she cannot find an heirloom brooch he gave her as a gift, although she believed Gregory stored it safely in her handbag, when in reality he put it in his pocket to hide it from her. When she cannot find the brooch later, she begins to believe what Gregory has been chiding about, that she is forgetful.

6. When Gregory goes out by himself at night, he shuts Paula up in their bedroom. While there, she is plagued by noises coming from the boarded-up attic, and notices the gaslights dim for no apparent reason when Gregory is not home, which he assures her is only her imagination.

7. Gregory flirts with Nancy the younger housemaid, whose disdain for his wife only worsens Paula's nerves, which is the reason he does it.

8. Isolating his wife from the world, Gregory convinces her that she is a kleptomaniac, responsible for hiding a painting from him that was on their wall. In reality, Gregory hid this painting from her. This convinces her she is too unwell to be in public.

9. Unable to prevent her from attending a party hosted by her old family friend, Gregory accuses Paula of stealing his watch. When he finds it in her handbag, where Gregory secretly put it, Paula becomes hysterical in front of the guests. Taking Paula home, Gregory angrily claims that her mother died in an asylum, and that the letter she discovered from Sergis Bauer never existed. Doubting her own sanity, Paula breaks down.

10. While all this is going on, an old family friend named Cameron has noticed something suspicious going on with Paula and Gregory, so he investigates the matter. He is able to talk to Paula, who has been isolated in her home, and he convinces her that her husband Gregory is Sergis Bauer, who a decade earlier killed Paula's aunt because she was hiding some royal jewels, which were somewhere in the boarded up attic Paula was not allowed to enter, and there he would go every night in search of the lost royal jewels. While in the attic, Gregory would make noises and dim the gaslights to drive Paula insane.

11. Cameron appears and confronts Sergis, chasing him into the attic and tying him to a chair. Finally convinced of her own sanity, Paula is left alone with Gregory, namely Sergis (he tries to convince her that Sergis was his stage name in the opera), who urges her to cut him free. Instead, Paula taunts him, musing that the knife in her hand might not be real, showing him what it feel like to be gaslit.

12. The movie ends with Sergis arrested and Cameron and Paula falling in love.

In light of these twelve points, reread the accusations of Esme Bianco and Sarah McNeilly against Manson, and you will basically find the same plot. Even the latest accusation of Sarah McNeilly from March 13th 2023 on Instagram follows the plot of Gaslight even to the details:

In fact, about five years ago Sarah McNeilly made a short film called but, i love you, which looks like it was directly inspired by the final scene of Gaslight when Paula confronts her husband as he is tied to a chair.

When you read the statements and declarations of the accusers of Marilyn Manson, they all pretty much speak about him as an older man of wealth and influence, who love bombs a younger woman, and proceeds to isolate her from friends and family. In this place of isolation, Manson is described as playing mind games with his victims, keeping the temperature cold, the house dark, depriving them of sleep. When he wants to go about his own business privately, he will further isolate his victim by locking them in the bedroom or the "bad girls room" where he proceeds to further drive them out of their minds. All of this forces them to rely on him for all their needs to control them and keep them for his own pleasure, to do with them as he wants. Some manage to escape him, while others are tossed aside when he is through with them, leaving them psychologically scarred for a lifetime. This is basically the script of Gaslight.

It is almost certain that accusers like Evan Rachel Wood, Sarah McNeilly and Esme Bianco are familiar with the movie Gaslight, and likely the other films of that era which taught women to beware of their husbands or boyfriends, especially if they are older, richer and more powerful than you. After all, the film is the origin of the term they use to describe their abuse. I'm not so sure the same could be said of all the accusers, but this should not be surprising, since all the accusations that talk about Manson's gaslighting come from after 2018 when Evan Rachel Wood spoke about it, which is built on the exaggeration of older probably more legitimate accusations of Manson sometimes being difficult to work with at certain times, which does not mean he was an abuser and certainly not a criminal. 
This leads us to where the line is drawn between false and true accusations of gaslighting. For an accusation of gaslighting to be true, it has to be shown that it was done with malicious intent. Someone defending themselves or claiming they were misunderstood or joking around with someone that may go a bit too far, or even being a bit too difficult to be around, is not gaslighting unless they are doing it with the intent of altering your perception of reality while they are aware of what reality is. And when you read the accusations against Manson, there is no indication that this is the gaslighting they are describing, though they try hard to make it fit this definition by interpreting things that way.