Cults are pretty scary organizations and they've been around for a long time. They have been known to warp people’s minds and cause them to do some pretty messed up things. We’re all familiar with Scientology, Moonies, and even the Manson family. The extraordinary part about CharlesManson was that he was able to have people killed without ever getting a drop of blood on his own hands. How is that possible? He was able to manipulate his “people” into making his wishes come true. He hated the rich and famous and all that they stood for. Thankfully, he was brought down because it was alleged that he had a whole list of celebrities that he planned on having killed.
That’s how powerful cults can be and you may be shocked to know how many are out there. You may have heard about the biggest and baddest, but there are a lot more cults out there you may not be aware of. These cults have rituals and maddening beliefs that will make murder seem like child’s play. You won’t even believe that these things could actually happen in real life, but they are. What is shocking to us is how many people get caught up in these cults and think that the behavior is totally normal. They are just looking for acceptance in their lives and they will go through anything to find it. Typically, they are just lost souls looking for answers.
15 Order Of The Solar Temple
This cult had a little bit of everything; their beliefs had a little bit of New Age, Christianity, Freemason, and of course UFOs. They seemed to be one of the more peaceful cults in the US, though they did have some odd beliefs such as death only being an illusion and that life continued on other planets. Things seemed to be going okay in the weird little cult until they sacrificed one of the member's infant child because they believed he was the antichrist. What was worse was that there was a time when there were mass suicides in the cult and many members were smothered to death while they were all wearing their ceremonial robes.
The Synanon was a cult located in Santa Monica, though it’s unlikely that it’s still in operation now. In 1958, there was a cult that actually started out as a rehab community. It was actually a pretty cool place because like AA, people were able to group together and celebrate their sobriety. It sounds like it would be a pretty awesome place for people who need to band together. Unfortunately, by the '70s, the cult was something else entirely. It was called the Church of Synanon. They were up to all sorts of misdeeds, including terrorism and murder. The cult was eventually shut down by the FBI in the '90s. It’s a wonder that these organizations are able to go on for as long as they do. They are very secretive and usually stay under the radar, making it hard for authorities to track.
This cult had to flee their country of origin because they were about to face persecution. Isn’t that always what happens to cults? The Freedomites were a Canadian cult that was formed in Saskatchewan in the 1900s. They were originally a group from Russia who had fled at the time and reformed in Canada. So, what were the Freedomites all about? They believed in three things: nudity, communal living, and of course, a little anarchy. These guys used to have nude protests about things they disagreed within society. Could you imagine a bunch of nude people walking around with signs in public? In the '20s and '30s, they liked to bomb buildings to “show their disdain for government.” They did, of course, do all this in the nude. Talk about awkward.
12 Aum Shinrikyo
This is a cult that is considered to be a doomsday cult because that’s what they believed in— carnage and wreckage. The cult was founded by Shoko Asahara in 1984. In 1995, this cult did a lot of damage when they put nerve gas in the Tokyo subway. The gas was applied during rush hour and it killed thirteen people and injured thousands of others. They continued setting off similar attacks in multiple subways, but they failed at those attempts. They went into hiding and in 2007, the cult split into two groups called Aleph and Hikari no Wa. This terrible cult had resurfaced as recently as last year in 2016 causing mayhem wherever they go. They often participate in terrorist activities and then go into hiding. The government has been trying to track them for years. Talk about a scary cult.
11 Movement For the Restoration Of The 10 Commandments
This was yet another cult that was filled with lies and ended in murder. This cult was formed as a breakaway from the Roman Catholic Church and was formed in Uganda in the '80s. This cult believed in following the 10 Commandments to a tee. They believed if they followed the rules that they would avoid damnation. They often outlawed sex and even soap for some reason. They believed in having weekly fasts to keep their faith strong. The leaders of the cult told their members that the world would end at the start of the new millennium, so when that didn’t happen, the cult started to fall apart. It ended permanently when the leaders murdered all their members by stabbing them, poisoning them, and setting fire to their church.
10 The Cult Of Edmund Creffield
Just admit that this photo may give you nightmares because it certainly gives us the creeps. The photo is of Edmund Creffield, the leader of his own cult. The cult was formed in the 1900s and it’s shocking that even way back then there were people trying to convince others that they were the second coming of Christ. How do people get manipulated to this degree? Maybe it’s because Creffield actually believed that he was the second coming of Christ and he was also known to be a very charismatic man. He gathered a following of women and children and convinced them to move to Corvallis, Oregon. They were definitely a weird cult because they would often have prayer services that included sobbing and rolling around wildly on the floor begging for forgiveness. Sounds like a party.
Many cults usually have a similar theme that includes abuse both physically and sexually. Buddhafield was no different from most. This cult was ruled by a man named Michel, and he believed in a group that was all about an "alternative community and meditation." That was what he wanted outsiders to believe anyway. The cult was located in Los Angeles and it took a lot of time for the truth to come out about the church. Former members who left the church started talking about how they were sexually abused. The cult had a lot of moral things wrong with it and it’s a cult that is still practising today. A documentary was released about the cult in 2016 called Holy Hell and it exposed the brutal things that used to go on in the church.
8 The Family
Australia has an apocalyptic cult that was led by Anne Hamilton-Byrne from the '60s to the '90s that had spread across the world, including the US. She claimed to be Jesus Christ and “collected” 28 children, most of which were blonde, because she wanted to create a master race. How she managed to collect all these children is up for debate, but a few of them came from parents who sold drugs and Byrne was able to convince them to allow her to raise them. She would often give these children LSD and lock them up. If they stepped out of line, they were beaten brutally with a belt buckle. The cult went on for many years before police stepped in after one of the kids was expelled for bad behavior. It is said that the cult still goes on secretly, though the numbers aren’t what they used to be. It’s scary to think that parents were willingly giving up their children to this cult.
7 The Creativity Movement
There are quite a few white supremacy organizations around the world and The Creativity Movement was a cult that focused on just that. This cult has formed in multiple locations across Canada and the US. This cult was formed in Illinois in the '70s and their belief was that they could unite white people together for the common cause of “racial religion.” They had some good elements about them like eating healthy and living a naturalist lifestyle, but their main focus was the supreme value of white people’s lives. It’s because of their belief system that they have been categorized with a bunch of other Neo-Nazi organizations by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
These guys are huge believers in aliens and their philosophy is truly insane. Oddly enough, this cult was founded by the French race car driver Claude Vorilhon. We’re not sure how he went from racing cars to founding a cult, but maybe he got a head injury at some point. The Raëlism belief system focuses on the fact that human life was created by aliens who sent messengers down to Earth in the form of Buddha and Jesus to check on their civilization from time to time. For the most part, they believe in a lot of good things such as democracy, world peace, sharing, and nonviolence and have a liberal view of s*xuality, . All in all, though, the cult is very strange in the sense that they are big into cloning. In the '90s, they founded a cloning company and went right to work. In 2000, they claimed that they cloned a human even though they had no scientific proof.
5 Happy Science
This is a pretty disturbing cult and one that is still active today. It’s a mash-up of far-right nationalism, New Age beliefs, and infrastructure spending. Confused yet? Ryuho Okawa founded the cult in 1986 after he was taken by a group called God Light Association. His personality is all about the Science of Happiness and he’s even got a couple of books out about it. He doesn’t claim to be God but claims to be all of them. He believes he is a supreme being known as El Cantare which means he’s Buddha, Christ, and Muhammad all wrapped up into one. There is so much New Age nonsense in his church that it’s hard to even understand what he’s really about aside from being deeply disturbed. He believes in a violent war with North Korea and China and has over 12 million members in his cult. Scared yet?
4 The Congregation For The Light
This is another doomsday cult that is actually located in Murray Hill, Manhattan. These church members strongly believes that they was a master race, the Aryan race. When the cult is about a master race, then you know that they have no problem killing other people who don’t fit in. They believe in earning forgiveness, but it’s a little more complicated to get forgiveness than you thought. You have to earn forgiveness from your past lives. We’re not sure how they manage to do that, but it’s frightening to think that this cult is still active to this day.
3 Twelve Tribes
This cult was formed in Chattanooga, Tennessee in the '70s but they changed their name a few times over the years. They are all over the world, however, which is highly disturbing. Elbert Spriggs is the founder and he formed it from the “Jesus movement.” It started off innocently enough as a prayer group for teenagers, but that certainly didn’t last long. The group is all about the life of a hippie. They embraced love and peace and wanted to reenact what was once the Book of Acts, the first-century Christian church. They do not follow the Christian belief system, though. They believe that Jews are responsible for the death of Christ and they work to establish 12 Israeli tribes around the world. It is their goal to presage the end of the world. Over the years, they have been accused of using their children for slave labor.
2 Heaven's Gate
There are a lot of cults out there that believe they can predict the end of the world. These cults have all been wrong so far and unfortunately, once they realize they were wrong, they resort to mass suicide. Heaven’s Gate was no different. This group was founded by Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles and they believed that the Earth would be destroyed and then recycled. In order to escape the world being wiped out, they decided to commit suicide because that would lead them to an extraterrestrial spaceship that would save them.
1 Nuwaubian Nation
The founder of the cult was Dwight York and he originally had it named the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors. He managed to combine the beliefs of African rituals, Christianity, an alien return, and Egyptian iconography all in one cult. The cult believed that aliens would return and take away 144,000 chosen people to a flying city to prepare for battle against satan. It is astounding that people believed this stuff, but they did, and it even reached the hip-hop community and rural Georgia. They built a massive compound for the community from donations. The belief system of the cult grew to include cloning, racial theory, mythology, anti-government conspiracies, and cosmology. In 2002, it all broke wide open, though, and York was arrested for running a massive child molestation ring that had around 1,000 victims. Although he was sent to prison and the compound was destroyed, the cult lives on in smaller numbers.