Lyn Millner founded FGCU’s journalism program and is the author of “The Allure of Immortality: An American Cult, a Florida Swamp, and a Renegade Prophet,” about the Koreshans of Estero, Florida. Her specialties include narrative journalism, editing and news literacy. Her radio stories have been broadcast on NPR’s Morning Edition and Weekend Edition, and on American Public Media's Marketplace and Weekend America.
Areas of Expertise (12)
Florida International University: M.F.A., Creative Writing - Nonfiction 1999
Georgia State University: B.B.A., Accounting 1989
- Naples Press Club : Member
Selected Media Appearances (4)
FGCU class fact-checking campaigns
Lyn Millner discusses her news literacy class at FGCU.
Five best: Jeff Guinn on books about cults
Wall Street Journal
Jeff Guinn, author of "The Road To Jonestown" highlights Lyn Millner's book "The Allure of Immortality" about the Koreshans of Estero, Florida.
'QAnon': Who they are and what they believe
Lyn Millner talks about the fascination with conspiracy theorists such as the QAnon believers.
3 Song Stories - 003 - Lyn Millner
Lyn Millner appears on 3 Song Stories.
Selected Event Appearances (4)
Metaphysical America: Spirituality and Health Movements During the Gilded Age
Whitehall Lecture Series at the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum Palm Beach, Florida
Miami International Book Fair Miami, Florida
Turning Facts into Story
Sanibel Island Writer’s Conference Sanibel Island, Florida
News Literacy: What’s an Editor to Do?
American Society of News Editors Convention Washington, D.C.
Research Focus (1)
Millner is researching female hysteria in 19th-century Paris. Specifically, the treatment of women under the care of Jean-Martin Charcot, the father of modern neurology. She is also researching the history of women’s basketball in the United States.
Selected Research Grants (2)
Face-to-Face: Conversations with Journalists
McCormick Foundation $42,500
Allows high school and college students to talk virtually with journalists who cover the news in challenging situations.
Daniel and Janet K. Warner Journalism Endowed Fund
Dan and Janet Warner $22,000
This was fund was created for the purpose of helping to maintain press accountability in the community.
Selected Articles (1)
For five days in December 1908 the body of Cyrus Teed lay in a bathtub at a beach house just south of Fort Myers, Florida. His followers, the Koreshans, waited for signs that he was coming back to life. They watched hieroglyphics emerge on his skin and observed what looked like the formation of a third arm. They saw his belly fall and rise with breath, even though his swollen tongue sealed his mouth. As his corpse turned black, they declared that their leader was transforming into the Egyptian god Horus.
Teed was a charismatic and controversial guru who at the age of 30 had been "illuminated" by an angel in his electro-alchemical laboratory. At the turn of the twentieth century, surrounded by the marvels of the Second Industrial Revolution, he proclaimed himself a prophet and led 200 people out of Chicago and into a new age. Or so he promised.
The Koreshans settled in a mosquito-infested scrubland and set to building a communal utopia inside what they believed was a hollow earth--with humans living on the inside crust and the entire universe contained within. According to Teed’s socialist and millennialist teachings, if his people practiced celibacy and focused their love on him, he would return after death and they would all become immortal.
Was Teed a visionary or villain, savior or two-bit charlatan? Why did his promises and his theory of "cellular cosmogony" persuade so many? In The Allure of Immortality, Lyn Millner weaves the many bizarre strands of Teed's life and those of his followers into a riveting story of angels, conmen, angry husbands, yellow journalism, and ultimately, hope.