- "Tonino" - Meneghetti was born in Avezzano, a village in the mountains
of central Italy, in 1936. At a very young age, he became a Franciscan
friar. He was ordained a priest.
been sent as assistant parish priest to a parish in the province of Terni,
he fell in love with Loretta Lorenzini, abandoned the priesthood and, together
with her, set up the foundations of his supposed scientific revelation:
ontopsychology. Leaving a mark in the meantime of his exit from the Church,
since he was accused in court of stealing works of art from his own church.
performing in a convention
The first official
School of Ontopsychology was set up in 1972. Six years later, the Italian
Association of Ontopsychology (AIO) was established.
and confused writings of the founder fail to give a clear picture of the
association; and the official purposes laid down in the articles of association,
with various Chambers of Commerce, are extremely vague.
It is also entirely
useless to try to make out what Ontopsychology is by looking at their web
sites or their publications: the former especially change all the time.
present themselves as an alternative, holistic school of psychology, which
tries to find its way into every possible milieu, using credentials which
nearly always turn out to be false.
himself an expert on everything. From psychology to philosophy, from theology
to epistemology, from cooking to painting, from music to architecture,
from fashion to literature, from "leaderistic" training to interior decoration,
plus a lot more... he calls himself, and demands that others always call
him, a great genius, indeed "the only living genius on our planet".
He also established
a publishing house, called "Ontopsicologica". After meeting with a few
problems, this changed its name to the more neutral "Psicologica Editrice"
which almost exclusively prints works by Tonino, in various tongues.
The group settled
down in a picturesque village in Umbria, Pissignano di Campello on the
Clitunno river, which they restored and set up the first residential community
of Ontopsychology. Besides Campello, Ontopsychology opened offices in various
countries (some of these attempts failed) including Brazil, Russia, Slovenia,
Uruguay, China and Greece, as well as various towns in Italy, such as Milan,
Rome and Bologna. New followers were recruited by the tireless work of
the members, ready to face financial ruin in order to promote the myth
of the great scientist Meneghetti and the rich lifestyle of his wife, Loretta
Lorenzini. Funds are raised by promoting "psychology residences" and training
sessions, psychological advisory services, the sale of book and works of
"ontoart", extremely expensive exhibitions and conferences.
are generally forced to abandon all family ties (parents, relatives, spouses,
children, friends) and to be involved with the cult alone, in order to
achieve what is called their total emancipation.
They are told
that their loved ones are vampires who steal their life energy.
combines Biblical motifs with ufology, psychology and occultism, in an
ably brewed blend.
All the income
and assets of the followers are taken over by the organization, and those
who intend to leave the group are threatened and blackmailed, and live
in a state of terror.
Some people who
lived for years inside the organization have had to undergo psychiatric
treatment, and others have lost their lives by obstinately entrusting themselves
to the "holistic" and imaginative health remedies of the scientist Meneghetti
and his wife Lorenzini.
often been indicted for various crimes, but he has always managed to slip
through legal loopholes. In 1981, the Rome daily "Paese sera" published
a large scale investigation into Meneghetti and his organization, after
various legal complaints and appeals by parents desperate because of losing
their children to the cult. The investigation led to the arrest of Meneghetti,
his wife Loretta and other leaders who, however, were all released a month
took on a new dynamism, and began to expand almost irresistibly, since
nobody took the time to carry out a thorough investigation on the activities
of the group or on the criminal record of
October 1991, the cult again made the headlines Meneghetti was accused
and later condemned for killing a young follower of his, Marina Furlan,
along the coast of Sardinia. Many other accusations were submitted before
various courts in Italy, but the proceedings were never taken up, both
because nobody paid enough attention, and especially because many people
were terrified at the thought of appearing as witnesses in court against
In 1998 the Ministry
of the Interior Prevention Police listed Ontopsychology among the dangerous
cults of our country in a public report.
The cult always
counter-attacked in the same way, immediately suing anybody who mentioned
the association without being a member, in order to create an atmosphere
of fear among people who were not willing to run risks for so little.
In Brazil, Ontopsychology
is considered to be a cult, and its practice is forbidden by the official
organizations of psychologists: anyone calling himself an ontopsychologist
is held to breach the professional ethics.
proceedings against the organization are underway in Brazil.
The cult opens
and closes its offices in an incredibly fast way, changing names, theories
and official purposes, in order to escape surveillance by the law and criticism.