Who Was Sherry Shriner?
Sherry Shiner was an Ohio-based American conspiracy theorist who used a variety of internet mediums to spread her message. Shiner referred to herself as the “Messenger of the Most High God” and claimed her ideas were prophecies. Shiner’s theories centered on how a New World Order, ran by Reptilian aliens posing as world leaders, was trying to establish a one-world government. Shiner claimed that Queen Elizabeth II and former President Barak Obama were among the reptilians. She also espoused ideas of Satanism and witchcraft in government offices, the threat of doomsday scenarios in our present times, called the Jewish people “Satan’s offspring,” and promoted a substance called “orgone” that she claimed had the power to kill and repel the reptilians aliens she warned her followers about. In 2016, Shiner claimed that 90% of people on TV were involved with the reptilian plot and were either a clone or a “synthetic robotoid.” She spread this information online through different mediums, like blogs, self-published e-books, social media, and ten different websites where she established herself as an online Messiah of sorts with thousands of followers. Her message and following made her a leader of an online cult. Shiner was an early YouTube adopter, joining the platform in 2008, where, as of 2022, her page has 29.3K subscribers and 3,421,787 views. Though her leadership and following acting much like a cult, and has since been labeled as such, Shriner claimed that she was not a cult leader, and that people were free to not watch her videos or listen to her podcast and that there were no rules or membership requirements with what she was doing.
Her ideas and followers stirred up media attention several times in the 2010s. First in 2012 with the death of Kelly Pingilley, a follower and employee of Shiner and five years later in 2017 with the murder of Seven Mineo by his girlfriend Barbara Rogers, both of whom were followers of Shiner.
Deaths linked to Sherry Shiner’s Message
In 2012, 22-year-old Kelly Pingilley died from an overdose on sleeping pills in Waterloo Township, Michigan. Hunters found Pingilley’s body in a state wildlife area not far from her car. Pingilley was not only a follower of Shiner, but she also worked for her transcribing one of Shriner’s radio show called Aliens in the News and also accompanied Shriner on various exploits to New York and Kentucky where they searched for secret government sites. After Pingilley’s death, Shriner came out after Pingilley’s passing and said that she had been murdered by NATO agents and also that the government had ordered Pingilley to kill Shriner months before her passing further perpetuating her own conspiracy theories.
Five years later in 2017, Steve Mineo was murdered by his girlfriend Barbra Rogers, both of whom were followers of Shriner. Mineo and Shriner had a close online relationship and the never met in person. Mineo helped Shiner create blogs for her website and became a devout follower of Shriner. His murder was a result of their falling out. In 2011, Mineo met Barbra Rogers online through Shiner’s webpages. The two maintained an online relationship before moving in together in Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania in the Pocono Mountains. While there, the couple was described by law enforcement as “hermits” who rarely left their apartment and spent almost all of their time online.
The incident began in 2017 when Rogers posted a photo on her Facebook page of steak tartare. Shriner commented on the post attacking Rogers for earing the dish, in which Shriner called Rogers a witch and said consuming raw meat was something that Satanists did. Shiner kept pushing and slandered Rogers to other members of the cult. Mineo took this hard and it caused a falling out between him and Shriner. Mineo retaliated by posting a series of videos online to expose Shriner. Shriner responded by urging followers to shun and threaten Mineo and Rogers. She also claimed Rogers was a reptilian of a high order. The incident prompted Mineo and Rogers to step away from the online cult. This came as a huge blow to Mineo who had spent so much time working with Shriner and furthering their cause online. He was caught between having to chose over the cult, his mentor, Shriner and his girlfriend. Mineo would ultimately chose another, more fatal option.
One night in the summer of 2017, Mineo and Rogers had been out late at a local bar in Western Pennsylvania after enduring online threats and harassment from Shiner’s followers. Upon returning home in the early hours in the morning. Roger’s claims that Mineo reached the end of his rope. He then grabbed his gun and begged Rogers that she needed to kill him. Despite his involvement in the cult, Mineo is noted as still having some Christian beliefs and thought that he would go to hell if he committed suicide. Eventually Mineo forced Rogers to put a gun to his head and pull the trigger. Around 2:30 in the morning, Rogers called the police to explain the situation. She told them they were cult members and that Mineo had a falling out with the cult and its leader, that he had come to believe that Shriner was a reptilian herself, and wanted to die as a result of the strife it had caused him. Rogers was convicted of third-degree murder in June of 2019 and sentenced to 15-40 years in prison.
Shriner posted a statement on Facebook after the incident in which she claimed that she had tried to warn Mineo that Rogers was dangerous and denied accusations that she was a cult leader, saying instead that she was a “humble servant and Messenger of the Most High” and that Rogers was involved with witchcraft and Satanism. She also tried to capitalize on the incident and urged her followers to continue donating to her cause.
In 2018, nearly nine months after the Mineo murder, Shriner passed away at the age of 45 from a heart attack. Even after her passing, her message remains widely available online, due in part to Shriner’s daughter who has taken over operations of all the website domains, social media pages, and blogs.
How Sherry Shriner came to believe in aliens
Some historic context can help to explain Shiner’s beliefs. Shiner was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1965. She eventually attended Kent State University where she triple-majored in journalism, political science, and criminal justice and graduated in 1990. During Shiner’s college years in the 1980s, the United States witnessed a moral panic over perceived widespread Satanism. The “Satanic Panic,” as it is referred to, involved people bringing over 10,000 mostly false or unsubstantiated accusations of Satanic Ritual abuse from child care centers to government institutions across the United States. The accusations spawned a moment in which people looked for the occult or Satanism in everything from music, to TV shows, to their neighbors.
This moral panic grew out of a 1960s and 1970s interest in the occult and famous serial murders involving people who had ties to Satanism or the occult, like the Manson Family, the Zodiac Killer, and the Son of Sam. Alongside the moral panic over Satanism, Christian fundamentalism and televangelism rose to prominence with TV preachers spreading messages of moralism, fire and brimstone, and the evils of non-Christian beliefs across the world. Shiner would have been in her teens and 20s when fears of Satanism and religious fundamentalism were taking hold, topics that appear in her own writing and views.
The other historical moment that needs to be considered with Shriner is the advent of social media and the internet age in the 2000s. Shiner used all sorts of mediums on the internet to spread her message and gain a devoted following. Her use of the internet plays into a larger moment in time of the internet as a disseminator of misinformation and breeding ground for conspiracy theory and fanaticism. Shiner’s use of the internet is much like the rise of radical political factions online who believe the government is run by Satanists or a pedophile ring. Shiner understood how to use the web to get her message out far and wide to gain a dedicated following in the process.
Shiner’s message and the deaths tied to her followers highlight not only the dangers of unchecked information and its impacts on people in real life, but also showcases a unique instance of how cults cane operate in the digital age.