Cults, Power & Trafficking: Alcatraz East Crime Museum New Exhibit on Master Manipulation Opens This Month

Alcatraz East Crime Museum

According to the American Psychological Association, manipulation is behavior designed to exploit, control, or otherwise influence others to one’s advantage. Some individuals excel at manipulation and some get caught and go to jail for their antics. Alcatraz East Crime Museum is putting manipulators in the spotlight with a new “Master Manipulation” exhibit, opening on August 26, 2022.

“This is an exhibit that will not only share information about some infamous manipulators but will teach people about their methods,” says Ally Pennington, artifacts and programs manager for Alcatraz East. “People will walk away from this exhibit with a better understanding of how criminals manipulate so they can help protect themselves and others.”

Master manipulators are found all over the world. They can be difficult to spot at first because they are either skilled at hiding their motives or have enough influence that others assist in their cover-ups. There are many different ways that manipulators can work to achieve their goals. They may form a friendship or relationship where the person trusts them, and then the relationship becomes abusive as it progresses, or they may use their pomp and circumstance to persuade individuals to act in ways they typically would not.

The new exhibit will focus on providing numerous examples of how criminals manipulate others for personal gain. Some of the methods explored in the exhibit include:

  • Manipulation regarding abuse of power and circumstances. These people use their position in society to manipulate people. Notable names that fall into this category include Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell, and Larry Nassar, the former U.S. gymnastics doctor.
  • Manipulation in cults and groups with extreme beliefs. Since the beginning of America, some groups and their leaders have had radical views. Many of those leaders use a variety of manipulation tactics while directing their groups.
  • Human trafficking manipulation. This has become a widely discussed issue in the country in recent years. According to the Polaris Project, in 2020, there were 10,583 situations of human trafficking reported to the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline, involving 16,658 individual victims.

“I’m honored to be part of this exhibit. Educating the public on coercive control, cultic abuse, and how these systems recruit, retain, and harm their members is essential for preventing future victims. I also hope that it serves as a template for healing from the many ways manipulators abuse their power,” said Sarah Edmondson, a survivor of NXIVM.

More information about this exhibit can be found at

The museum has over 100 temporary and permanent exhibits about crime in the country. The museum features information and artifacts about the history of crime, crime scene investigation, consequences of crime, crime-fighting, counterfeit crimes, pop culture, and more. There are numerous popular items on display for people to see, including the famous white Bronco from the O.J. Simpson chase and Ted Bundy’s famous Beetle.

In addition to the new exhibit, Alcatraz East Crime Museum will host its annual graffiti contest on October 1, 2022. Spectators can visit the museum’s parking lot from 8 am to 12 pm to see the art being created. There will be three monetary prizes for the winners, $750 for first place, $350 for second place, and $200 for third place. The deadline to enter the contest is September 1, 2022. To get more information or enter, visit the site at:

This top museum is open at 10 am daily. The last tickets are sold 60 minutes before closing. These interactive experiences are available for birthday parties, school groups, scouts, team building, or other special events for an additional fee. For more information about tickets, discounts, and all the museum offers, visit the site:

Photo courtesy of Alcatraz East Crime Museum: Jeffrey Epstein Mugshot