8 Craziest Cults
According to Raël, a message explaining our origins and future was dictated to him in December 1973, during personal meetings with a 25,000-year-old extraterrestrial named Yahweh who came in a UFO. The story goes that after terraforming the Earth, human beings from another planet — the "Elohim" (Hebrew for the word "God" as found in the Hebrew Old Testament, which the extraterrestrial himself translated as meaning those who came from the sky in ancient Hebrew) — created humans and all life on earth using DNA manipulation and genetic engineering. The message dictated to Raël during his encounter with the Elohim states that the Elohim contacted about forty people to act as their prophets on Earth, among which are those who founded the world's major religions (Moses, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, etc.)
The Raëlians believe, furthermore, that the Elohim will visit the earth officially when enough of its population is peaceful and come to know about them. They believe this is foretold in all religious texts - the predicted "Age of Apocalypse" or "Revelation" (unveiling of the truth).
The most famous examples of Cargo Cults have been the airstrips, airports, and radios made out of coconuts and straw. The cult members built them in the belief that the structures would attract transport aircraft full of cargo. Believers stage "drills" and "marches" with twigs for rifles and military-style insignia and "USA" painted on their bodies to make them look like soldiers.
The classic period of cargo cult activity was in the years during and after World War II. The vast amounts of war matériel that were airdropped into these islands during the Pacific campaign against the Empire of Japan necessarily meant drastic changes to the lifestyle of the islanders. Manufactured clothing, canned food, tents, weapons and other useful goods arrived in vast quantities to equip soldiers—and also the islanders who were their guides and hosts. With the end of the war the airbases were abandoned, and "cargo" was no longer being dropped. In attempts to get cargo to fall by parachute or land in planes or ships again, islanders imitated the same practices they had seen the soldiers, sailors and airmen use. They carved headphones from wood, and wore them while sitting in fabricated control towers. They waved the landing signals while standing on the runways. They lit signal fires and torches to light up runways and lighthouses. The cultists thought that the foreigners had some special connection to their own ancestors, who were the only beings powerful enough to produce such riches. Over the last seventy-five years most cargo cults have petered out. Yet, the John Frum cult is still active on the island of Tanna, Vanuatu.
Thirty-eight cult members, plus Applewhite, the cult's leader, were found dead in a rented mansion in the upscale San Diego community of Rancho Santa Fe, California on March 26, 1997. The mass death of the Heaven's Gate group is one of the most widely known examples of cult suicide. In preparing to kill themselves, members of the cult drank citrus juices to ritually cleanse their bodies of impurities. Their suicide, conducted in shifts, was accomplished by ingestion of phenobarbital mixed with vodka, along with plastic bags secured around their heads to induce asphyxiation. Each member, for reasons unknown, carried five dollars in quarters. All 39 were dressed in identical black shirts and sweat pants along with brand new black-and-white Nike tennis shoes and purple armbands reading "Heaven's gate away team".
The cult started attracting controversy in the late 1980's with accusations of deception of recruits, and of holding cult members against their will and forcing members to donate money. A murder of a cult member who tried to leave is now known to have taken place in February 1989. The cult is known to have considered assassinations of several individuals critical of the cult.
On the morning of 20th March 1995, Aum members released sarin in a co-ordinated attack on five trains in the Tokyo subway system, killing 12 commuters, seriously harming 54 and affecting 980 more. Prosecutors allege that Asahara was tipped off about planned police raids on cult facilities by an insider, and ordered an attack in central Tokyo to divert attention away from the group. At the cult's headquarters in Kamikuishiki on the foot of Mount Fuji, police found explosives, chemical weapons and biological warfare agents, such as anthrax and Ebola cultures, and a Russian MIL Mi-17 military helicopter. There were stockpiles of chemicals which could be used for producing enough sarin to kill four million people. After Asahara's arrest and trial, the cult re-grouped under the new name of Aleph in February 2000.
In October 1994 an infant, aged three months, was killed at the group's centre in Morin Heights, Quebec. The baby had been stabbed repeatedly with a wooden stake. It is believed that Di Mambro ordered the murder, because he identified the baby as the Anti-Christ described in the Bible. He believed that the Anti-Christ was born into the cult in order to prevent Di Mambro from succeeding in his spiritual aim.
A few days later, Di Mambro and twelve followers performed a ritual Last Supper. A few days after that, apparent mass suicides and murders were conducted at two villages in Switzerland, and at Morin Heights — 15 inner circle members committed suicide with poison, 30 were killed by bullets or smothering, and 8 others were killed by other causes. Many of the bodies when found were drugged, possibly to prevent the members from objecting. The buildings were then set on fire by timer devices, purportedly as one last symbol of the group's purification. In western Switzerland, 48 members of a sect died in another apparent mass murder-suicide. Many of the victims were found in a secret underground chapel lined with mirrors and other items of Templar symbolism. The bodies were dressed in the order's ceremonial robes and were in a circle, feet together, heads outward, most with plastic bags tied over their heads; they had each been shot in the head. It is believed that the plastic bags were a symbol of the ecological disaster that would befall the human race after the OTS members moved on to Sirius.
The organization was initially founded as the Church of the Creator by Ben Klassen in early 1973. In the summer of 1993, Klassen committed suicide. It was later led by Matthew F. Hale until his incarceration on January 8, 2003 for plotting with FBI informant Anthony Evola to murder a federal judge. On July 22, 2002, two members of the organization were found guilty in federal court of plotting to blow up Jewish and Black landmarks around Boston, in what prosecutors said was a scheme to spark a "racial holy war."
Some of the "16 Commandments of Creativity":
The group is best known for a highly publicized, and failed, prophecy in 1998. Chen predicted that at 12:01 a.m. on March 25, 1998 God would be seen on channel 18 all across North America. Whether you had cable, or what channel you had for 18, was irrelevant to God's appearance on that channel. However when March 25 came and went without the predicted appearance the group became confused. Chen offered to be stoned or crucified for the event, but no one took him up on this offer. He had earlier made a false prediction of finding a "Jesus of the West" who would look like Abraham Lincoln.
Sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8
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