Wednesday October 20, 1999
It is dreadful to be an onlooking parent, for the loved child is lost
In the second extract from his new biography of Alistair Cooke, Nick Clarke reveals how the broadcaster's daughters became
entangled in a sinister cult.
For all Alistair Cooke's ability to make, keep and cherish friendships across a broad - if compartmentalised - social spectrum, he
was finding it no easier to deal with relationships closer to home. One of the lowest points was reached in the summer of 1965.
Holly [the daughter of Cooke's second wife, Jane], still living in London, had grown listless and unsure of herself and was attracted
to a small, obscure group known as the Process, run by a pair of self-promoting amateur psychotherapists.
Robert and Mary Ann de Grimston had met through the Church of Scientology and set up their own headquarters in London, soon
gravitating to Mayfair. To begin with, they offered radical sessions of what they called “Compulsions Analysis” in return for fees.
But in due course, their “patients” were sucked into a complete commitment to the group, sometimes handing over large sums of
money, and giving up friends and family. Many years later, The Process would gain international notoriety as the Grimstons
gathered an ever larger group of disciples who were taught that Lucifer, Jehovah and Satan had been reunited: there were reports of
orgies, blood sacrifices and other occult rituals. The cult was also known as the Church of the Final Judgment.
When Holly first became part of the Grimston's inner circle, however, the Process was still comparatively unknown and
comparatively benign. To begin with, she found comfort in the therapy sessions but soon became seriously hooked. Three hundred
sessions later, it was impossible to extricate herself. It took many months - and a visit home to the US - before she was able to break
free, as she explained in a Sunday Telegraph interview given to Duff Hart-Davis in 1966. Gradually, she said, she had become
nauseated by the g