Everyone has members of their family that they would rather not associate with but we deal with them anyway, because they are family. There are times in our lives, however, where we get the opportunity to choose members of our own “family.” We often call them friends, clubs, or communities. While these exclusive social groups allow us to feed into our primal social instincts, not all groups, associations, or families have your or the “community’s” best interest in mind. We tend to label these groups “cults,” with a negative connotation intended.
Being associated with a cult is never a good thing. Even though almost all cults turn out to be bad, a good deal of them started out with good, or at least decent, intentions. Most take the ideals of religions, associations, organizations, and societies that they like and they change it to fit their needs and the needs of those they care about. Usually, after things are off to a swimming start, there’s a bump in the road and either the “all-powerful” leader goes crazy, the members are encouraged to commit murders, people are slain in the name of soul resurrection, or any number of other seemingly insane tasks or rituals that spell disaster for the entire group.
While some say people stupid enough to drink the “kool aid” deserve the fate that is coming for them, there are others that believe these followers and “true believers” just need help. Regardless of how these cult families make you feel, they’ll all make you thankful you just have a crazy aunt that likes cats and drinks too much wine.
15 The Heaven’s Gate Group
With a name like “Heaven’s Gate,” you might believe that this is a family that creates and cultivates an environment that is serene and tranquil, as one might suspect the true Heaven to be. However, underneath the pretentious name lies a cult gathering you wouldn’t want to be a part of. Led by the son of a minister and former music teacher, Marshall Applewhite, together with a nurse named Bonnie, the people who believed in Heaven’s Gate also believed in aliens. Marshall and Bonnie claimed to be alien prophets named Do and Ti. Together they convinced everyone in their “loving family” to drink a cocktail of poison and applesauce, cover their heads with plastic bags and purple shrouds and lay down to die. They believed that there was an alien space ship speeding toward Earth to collect their souls. And you thought your family reunions were hard to get through!
14 The True Russian Orthodox Church
Breaking off from the traditional beliefs of the Russian Orthodox Church, the “True” version was founded by a man named Pyotr Kuznetsov. If you were a member of this insane family, you believed that things like credit cards and barcodes were the work of Satan. In 2007, Kuznetsov convinced 30 members of his group to hole up in a cave for the end of the world in 2008. He made sure to stay somewhere else; how “fatherly.” When authorities first tried to remove people from the cave for their own safety, the lot of them threatened to kill themselves. However, after two of the members died from starvation and the effects of cancer, the bodies began to rot, forcing the remaining members of the family to flee the cave.
13 The Brethren
The Brethren may not be the official name for the religious movement created by Jim Roberts, but it’s the name that society has given this highly interesting “family” of people. The entire idea behind this collective assembly is to shun or reject the idea of a home, a job, or even a family. As a member of this family, you give or throw away all of your material possessions, and you live on the street. For meals and small necessities, you can work odd jobs to make ends meet. So, basically, the Brethren is a group of hobos who choose to live this way. They believe that by already living at the edge between starvation and survival, you’ll be more prepared for the ultimate end of the world. While we certainly believe being prepared is a good thing, we enjoy our showers and beds with sheets.
12 The People’s Temple
Founded by Jim Jones in 1955, this religious group was best known for the horrific mass murder/suicide that happened in November of 1978. Jones had convinced 909 people to drink a lethal mix of Kool-Aid and poison to prevent themselves or their children from being taken. He had created a 44-minute long tape that has since been referred to as the “Death Tape,” which certainly reminds us of the tape in The Ring. It is extremely upsetting that almost a thousand people took their own lives for a belief that was never true to begin with, but what’s worse is that a third of the population killed were innocent children. Jones put the poisoned drink in a syringe before he squirted it into their mouths. The poison killed the drinker within five minutes. It couldn’t get much sicker than that.
11 The Aum Shinrikyo Family
Aum Shinrikyo is a Japanese cult that combines beliefs from both Buddhism and Hinduism and they are completely obsessed with the end of times, otherwise known as the apocalypse. This insane family was listed as a terrorist organization after a stunt they pulled in 1995. They released a nerve agent into the cars of the subway in Tokyo. A dozen people died from the incident and the agent caused another six thousand people to seek out medical attention. In 2007, after the group saw differences in who they wanted to be the leader, the one family became two. The majority of the members still live in Japan with several hundred now residing in Russia. You don’t want to get caught up in this group unless you want to be watched by the government too.
10 The Cult Of Supreme Master Ching Hai
The idea of this crazy group of folks was born around the time Hue Dang Trinh reinvented herself as Supreme Master Ching Hai. She, being an expert in Quan Yin meditation, claimed she had the divine ability to channel God’s inner light. Like most people who need something to believe in, her followers began coming in droves. She now has more than 20,000 followers all of whom pay for her extravagant lifestyle. They foot the bill when it comes to the artificial island she has had built and they also work for free in the restaurants she owns. As if that wasn’t enough, Ching Hai forces everyone to wear necklaces with her picture inside. Talk about a creepy obsession.
9 Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh’s Communities
It all started when a guru from India brought with him 2,000 followers to a spot of land in Oregon. They changed a run down farm into a city and the people worked for free for the silent wispy haired man that quietly oversaw their work. Over the course of the next few years, followers of this crazy group poisoned 700 people, were involved in illegal wiretapping and were caught harboring foreign fugitives. Skilled members of this family also carried out numerous murders and executions. If you wanted to live the same risky lifestyle as an extreme mobster, this would be the cult to get involved in. If that sort of thing just isn’t your cup of tea, we would suggest staying far away from Oregon.
8 Rancho Santa Elena
You might think that living at a ranch sounds like paradise, but if you lived at Rancho Santa Elena, it was anything but. The ranch owned by cult leader Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo was a placed where he and his cult practiced human sacrifice. It was thought that up to 100 people had been lured, kidnapped, and slain in the name of the cult. Although people had been missing in the area, law enforcement didn’t get a solid lead on the horrors happening inside the ranch until one of Adolfo's men had inadvertently led police directly to their place of living. After finding the mutated remains of 27 individuals, the search continued until they found a torture chamber in Constanzo's home among other monstrosities. Even if you didn’t end up like one of the victims, just having to watch such a horrific thing is permanently scarring.
7 The House of Yahweh
“Buffalo Bill” Hawkins changed his name to “Yisrayl” and created The House of Yahweh. He claimed to see the end of times and warned his followers to prepare for Y2K. When the years he so strongly claimed would be the bane of mankind came and left with very little incident, he began to lose the belief of his people, which prompted him to start a YouTube channel. In addition to sharing his teachings with the world via YouTube, he wrote and sold books with titles like “Birth of the Nuclear Baby.” In addition to the strange and creepy apocalyptic beliefs, The House of Yahweh was also accused of everything from sexual assault of a minor to bigamy. Not things you want to take part in.
6 The Order Of The Solar Temple
Although the Order of the Solar Temple was established about a decade before, the OTS is probably most notorious for the murders and mass suicides in the mid-90s. Beginning in October of 1994, an infant was stabbed to death with a wooden stake, at the order of one of the family’s leaders. It was believed that the soul of Satan had possessed the child. A few days later, a slew of killings and suicides happened all over in nearby areas. 15 members of the inner circle offed themselves with poison, while 30 other people were either smothered or shot and 8 others were killed in different ways. Not even a year later, 16 more people were found dead, in a star formation. This isn’t the sort of family fun we were talking about.
5 The Children Of God
By 1969, Children of God creator, David Berg, had changed the name of his “family” and counted a total of 50 members. Over the next year, that number grew to over 200 people. While the organization fronted to the public that it was supporting the good word of God, it was, in reality, running a child sex ring operation. Berg encouraged his “family members” to engage in “sexual sharing” and insisted that God made children ready for sex by age 12 and that they should encourage sexual exploration within families at home. Since the majority of us don’t desire to have sex with a minor, since it’s morally wrong and absolutely disgusting, we know that being a part of this cult would certainly be the death of any sane person.
After having an encounter with an alien being, Raelism founder, Claude Vorilhon, wrote The Book Which Tells The Truth and Extraterrestrials Took Me To Their Planet, both of which outline the incredible information they bestowed upon him. The premise behind the cohesiveness of this family is that UFOs and aliens not only exist, but they created us and the world we live in. They believe that aliens interact with us and that these aliens misinformed humanity long ago when they labeled themselves angels or guardians. Out of all the insane cults and crazy families we mention today, this seems like the one we would want to be a part of the most. However, it seems like living in this family would be the equivalent of wearing a hat made of tin foil 24/7, and that’s just not a good look for us.
3 The Manson Family
We all have heard of the infamous Charles Manson and the Manson Family. You know about the murders committed by the group and the insanity of the man behind the madness that caught California in a whirlwind in the 1960s. It is said that Charles was no criminal mastermind but he was smart enough to know where to go for the knowledge he wanted, and each time he found himself locked up, he would apparently read Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends And Influence People. He read the chapter about making a person take ownership for another’s ideas over and over again until he surely memorized it. It is apparent that he masterfully exercises these so-called talents since he supposedly wasn’t present for any of the murders committed by members of the Manson Family. We didn’t much like taking orders from our parents let alone from a man who’s trying to make us believe it was OUR idea to go out and kill. They even tried an assassination on the President!
2 The Blackburn Cult
Also known as the Divine Order of the Royal Arms of the Great Eleven, the Blackburn Family was established when founder May Otis Blackburn said she had received visions that said she and her daughter were charged by an archangel to write books about life and death, heaven and hell. If you were a member of this insane family, you would be used to sex scandals, animal sacrifices, and the attempted resurrection of a dead 16-year-old girl. After the cult leader, May Otis Blackburn, was imprisoned when she was charged with grand larceny, the clan collapsed and dissolved. The reasons why we wouldn’t be caught dead being associated with this “family” are pretty clear. We don’t want to be involved in any of this stuff.
1 R. Kelly’s Alleged Cult
Breaking news not that long ago stated that R&B singer R. Kelly is holding several women captive in some type of “cult.” The strange part about this story didn’t come from a disgruntled woman who escaped from Kelly’s custody, the accusations came from one of the girls’ parents who said the singer was “brainwashing” their daughter and “keeping her hostage.” Although the young lady in question came forward and exclaimed that she was there of her own free will, her parents were unconvinced. When three other women who had been former residents that lived with Kelly confirmed the parents' worst fears of their daughter leading a scripted lifestyle, the parents urged police to do something. Although they had their suspicions, their daughter was not considered “missing” and the police could do nothing to intervene. There will probably be a hundred new details coming out over the course of a few months, some being true, and others not. Regardless of whether or not R. Kelly is actually “brainwashing” people, we don’t want to be any part of that, “family” or not.