Gangs are crazy. There are different gangs for people in all sorts of different situations. They’re all looking for power, money, and glory. Some gangs will keep to themselves, other gangs will instigate fights. There are varying degrees of seriousness within these gangs. Some gangs won’t let you enter unless you commit heinous and violent acts. Other gangs just need to beat the crap out of you before you’re initiated. Some of these rituals are far worse than others, but we’ve dug up 15 of the most gruesome rituals currently being performed around the world. There are gangs in prison, there are gangs outside of prison, there are gangs based on ethnicity. There are gangs everywhere.
When it comes to gangs, there is a lot of secrecy. You don’t get access to the information and their practices without first joining the gang. As such, information isn’t always readily available. We’ve scoured the internet to root out 15 terrible rituals that will leave you cringing and thankful that you have nothing to do with gangs. Any thoughts about joining a gang will likely fly out the window after reading this list. The actions some of these groups carry out are truly unthinkable, and the fact that they are as popular as they are show the gravity of the gang situation. No one should want to go through what these people are forced to go through. Yet it happens, and we turn it into a list. So behold, the 15 most gruesome gang rituals ever, and which gangs employ them.
15. Cross-Burning KKK
The Klu Klux Klan are one of the most widely-known gangs. They are the white supremacists that exhibit strong acts of racism, particularly against African Americans. One of their most notorious rituals is the cross-burning ceremony. It is an act with lingering imagery, seeing the cross alight like that. The KKK claim it is a “lighting” ceremony, but burning a cross is burning a cross, no matter what you call it. While the act itself is one of the tamest you will see on this list, the implications behind it are not. The infamous white hood cult use the burning cross as a means of intimidation, a way to send a message to America. They are on a misguided path to what they see as purifying the nation. It offends some people more than others, and it intimidates some people more than others, and rightly so. Still, every list has to start somewhere, so it makes the list.
14. Hell’s Angels
The most infamous motorcycle gang in history, the Hell’s Angels have a pretty bizarre portion of an initiation method. Instead of exhibiting extreme violence, they put on a new pair of jeans and a new hell’s angels vest. They sit in a chair. The surrounding members surround the new recruit…
And then they dump urine and feces on him. Urine and feces. After being appropriately covered in inappropriate excrement, the new recruit is expected to maintain his sloppy drippings for the rest of the day. No washing, no changing clothes, no nothing. The recruit has to endure being soggy with in pungent waste if they want to be in the Hell’s Angels. A truly bizarre ritual, but far from the most gruesome on this list. Still, it’s not something that we’d want to go through anytime soon. That takes some real dedication.
13. MS-13 Jump In
When someone says “jump in!” and they’re talking about a pool, that’s fun. Everyone should jump into the pool, why not? It’s probably hot out and the pool is nice and cool.
When someone says jump in and they’re talking about the MS-13 gang, well that’s not fun, so don’t do that! If you jump in with MS-13, you’re in for a severe beating. The unabbreviated name for MS-13 is Mara Salvatrucha 13. With origins commonly traced back to El Salvador, MS-13 has expanded North America.
In order to get entry into MS-13, you need to be jumped in. This is where a group of established Mara Salvatrucha 13 gang members take the opportunity to beat the snot out of the new initiate. After they beat you up, you’re in. As long as you don’t die. It’s not uncommon for someone to be beaten unconscious in one of these initiation bouts. Another potential initiation option is committing a violent act. New recruits might be given a pistol and simply told to “use it.” Without the targets being chose, “soft” victims like women or younger men will end up on the wrong end of a gang initiation.
12. Junky Funky Kids
This South African gang takes a barbaric, straightforward approach to initiation. Established gang members form two lines opposite each other. Make no mistake, this isn’t a game of Red Rover. Prospective Junky Funky Kids initiates must make it through the human hallway. The members that are lined up are armed with a bunch of things you wouldn’t want to get hit with: clubs, iron bars, belts, baseball bats, etc. Other iterations of this initiation come in the form of surviving a 2-minute beating session, with other gang members still equipped with weapons. It is especially unfortunate because most gang members are being recruited at young ages to join the Junky Funky Kids.
11. Numbers Gang
Don’t let the Numbers Gang get your number, that’s what we’ve learned from looking into their rituals. The Numbers Gang is a prison gang divided into three different branches, the 26s, 27s, and 28s. An opening part of the initiation ritual involves a question. If you answer the question correctly, you have to attack a prison guard and withstand the retaliation that comes next. The kicker? You can’t make any noise the entire time. When you’re getting slammed with a nightstick, you can’t make a peep. Some branches, like the 27s, might require initiates to stab prison guards with homemade knives before they can receive entry. Better to just stay out of prison.
10. Taitung Syndicates
There was a Taiwanese Lantern Festival practice known as “bombarding Master Handan.” Master Handan is the God of Wealth, but the legend said that he simply could not resist the cold. Participants in the ritual would throw firecrackers at Master Handan to drive this immortal chill from his bones. The more firecrackers they set off, the greater their wealth would become. In the 70s and 80s, potential crime syndicate bosses would play the role of Handan. This involved baring your chest and getting up on a structure, while participants threw firecrackers at you. Whichever gang member could survive the onslaught the longest would become the next crime boss. Authorities caught on to this practice and cracked down on it in the mid-80s. Bombarding Master Handan has been revived as a historic tradition, and continues to this day, but without the criminal influence.
9. The Triads
The infamous rulers of the Chinese underground, the Chinese Triads take their traditions and initiations seriously. Many of the more elaborate induction methods have fallen by the wayside for the Triads, as a security measure in this evolved age of police operations. One ritual the Chinese Triads have not abandoned is the blood drinking ritual. In the early days, new recruits were required to drink a bowl of their own blood, mixed with the blood of the other recruits. With AIDs and other blood-transmission diseases to worry about, the more modern version of the indoctrination ritual more commonly involves the recruits own blood. Drinking blood, no matter whose it is, is crazy.
8. University Fraternities
Not a gang, but the terrible hazing is as bad as it gets without introducing violence. Pledges are paddled, punched in the head, or punched in the stomach. One sorority initiation beating led to a concussion and vaginal bleeding for one poor pledge. Others have died from alcohol poisoning, water poisoning, and hypothermia from bizarre hazing rituals involving chugging water in an ice-cold basement, while fans blow and ice is thrown at you. Pledges have been sent to the hospital with severe burns and boiling water was poured down their backs, getting hotter and hotter each time. Other pledges had to swim in kiddie pools of humane waste, rotten food, and semen. Then they had to eat vomit omelettes and chug vinegar. What would you rather do, drink blood or eat vomit? Wear fecal matter or swim in semen?
7. Bloods Draw Blood
The initiation to join the Blood gang involves drawing blood by slashing a stranger’s face. This occurs in and out of prison. Outside of prison it’s common for two recruits to use razors on a stranger. Inside, the established Bloods member will call recruits to act, calling “013” to initiate the attack on a target. Whatever blade can be attained in prison is the one that’s used, box cutter, razor, whatever they can find. Slashing a face like that is a sure way to leave scars. It caters to a particularly violent type of person. At the height of the practice, over a hundred people in a month might have been mutilated.
6. The Latin Kings
The Latin Kings got their start in Chicago, but have since spread to over half of the country. They are widely recognized as one of the most dangerous gangs in the US, and when you hear what they do it’s easy to see why. They’re known to have associated with terrorist groups, and in that same vein they’re known to have stolen military weapons for their own gang use.
For initiation, prospects look for members of the GD. GD stands for Gangster Disciples, and they are a rival gang. When the Latin Kings find some GD members, they flash GD hand signs. If the GD members respond to the code, the Latin Kings target them in a drive-by shooting. The initiate is forced to play a part in this drive-by killing in order to make it into the gang.
The Yakuza practice yubitsume. This is a Japanese ritual used to atone for wronging someone else. It serves as a way to both sincerely apologize and be punished for your transgressions. The practice involves dismembering part of a finger. At this point, it’s pretty much exclusively used by the Yakuza. If someone commits an offense within the organization, they are charged with cutting off parts of their little finger. One offense is equal to one joint of the little finger. If offenses are committed after the left pinky is completely gone, the process of yubitsume carries over to the right-hand little finger. It’s hard to say who would keep committing offenses, you’d think losing the first joint of your little finger would be enough to teach you a lesson. Apparently some people just can’t help themselves.
4. Aryan Brotherhood
The Aryan Brotherhood formed as a result of the desegregation of prisons. They covered all sorts of unlawful activities in the prison, like male prostitution, murder-for-hire, and the smuggling of drugs. The Aryan Brotherhood also goes by the names Brand and AB. As the Aryan name indicates, it is a white supremacist prison group. The FBI thinks the Aryan Brotherhood are responsible for up to 30% of the murders committed in federal prisons, which is astounding because they make up a small percentage of the overall prison population.
With this lack of fear of the consequences of murder, the Aryan Brotherhood force initiates to kill in order to join. The murders aren’t limited to rival gang members. Unfortunately for prison staff, prison workers are sometimes targeted for murder too. Their total prison population is on the smaller side, but their activities are known and their presence is felt. Perhaps such a small dog needs to be fearless and show it has a ferocious bite to keep itself safer in the system. Like many gangs, you can identify them from their gang-oriented tattoos and markings.
3. Mac Baller Brims
While you might recognize the Mac Baller Brims as having links to the Bloods, their initiation rituals are quite a bit more violent, and sometimes lethal. Mac Baller Brims get their gang members started young. They even refer to them as YGs, which simply means young gangstas.
The standard practice is the jump in, which we discussed earlier. Several established gang members go to town beating on a new recruit for a set amount of time. Other times, new initiates are required to carry out a hit. The tragic story that is commonly circulated is the time a 14 year old initiate had to assassinate someone. Of course, he completely botched it. He missed his target, and police later found him and shot him.
2. Roto Gang
The Roto Gang is another gang that is based out of South Africa. Unlike the other participation-based introductions, the Roto Gang operated a little bit differently. Instead of making new initiates participate in the violence, they would instead have them watch a grueling mutilation of a corpse. To many, passively watching the violence would be favorable to actively participating in the violence. The Roto Gang, however, held nothing back when they conducted these grisly killings. They would hack at the body, remove parts of the body, and extract certain organs from the body. The body would be kicked and spit on, though that hardly matters when the corpse is dismembered and the organs are extracted. While not necessarily forced to participate, initiates did have to watch this happen. One initiate was told to expect a different experience when he met with the gang. He was so caught off guard by what he saw the gang members do that he reported everything to the police, resulting in a major police crackdown on the Roto Gang.
1. Knight’s Templar Cartel
Of all the gruesome rituals we’ve looked at today, none quite take the cake like the Knights Templar Cartel. The Cartel is thought to control an organ trafficking ring. They kidnap people, children included, and harvest their organs to sell on the black market. A grizzly and inhumane practice in the most extreme degrees. Informants told police of a particularly ancient and cannibalistic practice that the gang used recently. They ate the hearts of children. We told you it was gnarly. As if it’s not bad enough that they kidnap children from schools and transport them in refrigerated trucks, they eat some of the children’s hearts, too? Where do these motivations come from? How can anyone stomach being a part of that? They’re children! In any case, they unequivocally take the number one spot for their heinous cannibalistic insanity.