50 Terrifying Facts About Cults From Around the World

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1Banana For Sex Cult

Banana For Sex Cult

In 2009, a cult in Papua New Guinea promised villagers that their banana harvest would increase every time they engaged in public sex. After a villager reported to the Police that the cult members were issuing threats of violence to force people to have sex in public, the leader escaped.

2. There was a community called Rajneeshpuram in Oregon back in the 1980s that followed Rajneesh (later known as Osho). In 1984, under the orders of Ma Anand Sheela (Sheela Silverman), followers of the cult, sprayed salmonella on doorknobs and food in the nearby town to poison people so they would be too sick to vote and the cult could take over the town. It was the largest biological attack in US history.

3. Aum Shinrikyo was officially recognized as a religion in 1989 in Japan. It originally started as a mixture of Hindu and Buddhist beliefs, but gradually became a doomsday cult, who convinced its followers that World War3 was coming. It became increasingly violent and spent approximately $30 million on developing chemical weapon, including a Sarin production plant for $10 million.

4. In 1993, the Japanese religious cult Aum Shinrikyo released aerosolized Anthrax in a city near Tokyo over the course of 2 days. It should have killed thousands, however, they used a strain of Anthrax used for cattle vaccinations and inadvertently could have immunized everyone instead.

5. A Christian Cult in USA which called itself, “The Children of God,” encouraged its female members to enter into sexual relationships with potential converts to lure them in. They called this tactic ‘Flirty Fishing’ and they were successfully able to lure over 100,000 men into the cult. Some of its past members include Fleetwood Mac founding guitarist Jeremy Spencer, actress Rose McGowan, as well as a 2-year-old Joaquin Phoenix.

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6Order of the Sun

Order of the Sun

August Engelhardt was a German nudist cult leader who created a cult called Sonnenorden (Order of the Sun) that revolved around worshiping the sun, moving to a tropical island, become a nudist, and eat only coconuts. To him, the sun and God and the coconut were as much as the Holy Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. He was eventually imprisoned after several members of his cult died of malaria and malnutrition.

7. The leader of the Heaven's Gate cult, Marshal Applewhite, encouraged castration for his followers, partly because of guilt over his own homosexuality. He recruited his first cult member in a psych hospital which he had entered to treat these urges, after being fired for having sex with his male student.

8. The Heaven’s Gate cult had rules against even thinking about sex. It got so bad that its founder Marshall Applewhite along with seven other members opted to get castrated. They were only able to find a surgeon in Mexico, who was okay with it performing the surgery.

9. The Heaven's Gate cult supported themselves by running a web design company called ‘Higher Source.’ Their clients included the San Diego Polo club and a Christian music store. The cult started when its leader Marshall Applewhite held a talk detailing the arrival of alien visitors. Most attending thought it was a joke but it was convincing enough for some to leave their families and join him. The cult was even covered by an insurance policy that would pay out $1 million per person if they were ever abducted, impregnated, or killed by aliens.

10. When the Hale-Bopp comet was discovered in 1995, it was believed by some amateur astronomers and UFO enthusiasts that a spacecraft was trailing the comet. This led 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult to commit mass suicide in 1997 in an effort to teleport to the spacecraft. They used phenobarbital to kill themselves, which is also the world’s oldest anti-seizure medication. Their bodies were found with a $5 bill and 3 quarters which they believed was for the interplanetary toll. They were all also wearing Nike Decade. This line of sneakers was discontinued due to this incident.

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Lifespring was a massive American cult which became popular in 1970s and 80s. It attracted many prominent people to their new age workshops. Wife of the US Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas was a member of the cult and she later became a vocal activist against cults due to her experience in the cult.

12. Christian cult ‘The Children of God’ rebranded itself as ‘The Family International’ in 2004. They consider the goddess Aphrodite, the Snowman, Merlin, the Sphinx, Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Richard Nixon, and Winston Churchill to be among the “Spirit Helpers” for the spiritual war of good versus evil. Its leader Karen Zerby who once advocated sexual activity with children later also wrote for a Christian magazine under the pen name “Maria Fontaine.”

13. The Founder of ‘Children of God’ cult communicated with his followers via “Mo Letters” until his death in 1994. He wrote on subjects ranging from how to buy a boat, to sexy things to say while you are pretending to have sex with Jesus. All sex material in these letters was tried between him and his own children before publishing.

14. The Ripper Crew was a satanic cult and organized crime group which operating in the early 1980s in Chicago. Its 4 members abducted, tortured, and mutilated 18 women, amputating their breasts with a wire garrote to cannibalize as part of a satanic sacrament.

15. An Australian cult called “The Family” believed their leader, Anne Hamilton-Byrne, was Jesus reincarnated as a female and her inner circle was the reincarnated disciples of Jesus.

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16Ho No Hana

Ho No Hana

Ho No Hana was a Japanese sect often referred to as the “foot reading cult” based on the claim that its founder, who also claimed to be the reincarnation of both Jesus Christ and Buddha, could diagnose followers’ problems by simply examining their feet.

17. In China, there is a doomsday cult named Eastern Lightning that’s an offshoot of Christianity that believes Jesus is currently living in China as a Chinese woman. It has been alleged that they abduct their targets for conversion and force them to convert by employing beatings and coercive tactics. It has been linked with more than 100 incidents of violence and has been trying to make inroads into the Indian northeastern state of Nagaland whose population is 88% Christian.

18. The Twelve Tribes is Christian cult in USA which opens delis in each area it has a division in, luring new members in with delicious looking sandwiches, smoothies and salads. Their goal is to recreate the 1st-century church as it is described in the Book of Acts.

19. In 1989, a Brazilian UFO cult that went by the name of Superior Universal Lineage, tortured, mutilated and castrated 19 boys between the ages 8-14. Its cult leader, a woman named Valentina De Andrade, believed and preached her followers that Jesus was an alien and that boys born after 1981 were evil. She fled the country and continues to preach and live among her flock in Argentina (as of March 2022).

20. Notorious murder-suicide cult leader Jim Jones of the Jonestown assacre was a door-to-door pet monkey salesman before he became cult leader.

21Jim Jones, Racial Integrationist

Jim Jones, Racial Integrationist

Jim Jones, the cult leader infamous for the mass suicide of Jonestown, was a racial integrationist and helped racially integrate various types of public places in Indianapolis in the 60s, and got a Humanitarian award for it.

22. US Congressman Leo Ryan went to Guyana on behalf of his constituents who had relatives in the Peoples Temple cult. While helping people escape from Jonestown, he was shot and killed by the cult’s leader Jim Jones. He is 1 of the only 2 Congressmen ever to be assassinated on the job. Ironically, Leo Ryan’s daughter, Shannon Ryan, used part of her father’s life insurance money to join the Rajneesh cult in Rajneeshpuram, Oregon.

23. Peoples Temple leader, Jim Jones would routinely schedule “White Nights” where he would wake everyone in the commune up with sirens, make them line up, drink wine from a cup. He would then tell everyone that the wine was poisoned, and stage actors in the crowd to convulse and collapse. It was considered “loyalty test” and those who weren’t ready to die for the cause were physically beaten and emotionally/mentally abused. These “White Nights” happened so frequently that nobody thought he would actually do it. Some survivors didn’t even show up to the final white night because they were so sick of attending them.

24. The Peoples Temple cult of Jonestown committed mass suicide with cyanide-laced punch. Although Jim Jones owned a large storage container full of Kool-Aid, grape Flavor Aid is what was ultimately used in the Jonestown massacre.

25. The Peoples Temple cult of Jonestown had a chimp mascot named Mr. Muggs, who they claimed to have freed from scientific experiments. They shot him in the head during the mass suicide.

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