There are plenty of people out there with a Messiah complex. Here are ten crazies with big delusions of grandeur–people that claimed to be God with somewhat disastrous results.
We know the word “crazy” is a little redundant in the title, but you catch our drift.
1Florida Native Tells Police That He Is God and Asks Them to Cut Off His Penis
Sure, there are people who have claimed to be God and terrible things have come out of that, but when you involve the act of cutting off a penis, that takes crazy to a whole new level!
Police were called to Campus Club Apartments in Gainsville, FL after getting a report that residents witnessed 19- year-old Michael Joseph Silecchia running the halls of the building. According to police, the suspect stated that he was “straight” and that he was “God." Silecchia then stripped and begged cops “don't cut off my penis.” However, Silecchia's last shred of sanity disappeared when he changed his mind and asked the police to indeed cut off his penis. Things then turned ugly when Silecchia punched a female officer in the head while the police were trying to subdue him. The police eventually had to use a taser on the potentially penisless “God.”
To nobody's surprise, Silecchia later told the police that he was on acid. He was later taken into custody and given a medical evaluation.
2Self-Proclaimed Messiah Responsible for the Death of 911 Followers
Along with David Koresh, Jim Jones was possibly the most notoriously crazy person to claim to be God. He is responsible for the utterly gut wrenching Jonestown Massacre in Jonestown, Guyana in 1978.
Jones, a paranoid drug addict infatuated with power, claimed that he was the reincarnation of Jesus, Buddha and Gandhi. This untrained Christian preacher from Indiana founded the People's Temple Full Gospel Church and moved his congregation from the U.S. to Guyana due to an expose in New West magazine.
Claims of abuse and human rights violations led to a Congressional investigation of Jim Jones in Guyana spearheaded by Congressman Leo Ryan. Ryan and a NBC film crew discovered that people were being held against their will in Jonestown. When the congressman announced that he was willing to take anyone who wished to leave back to the United States, Jones launched an attack on Ryan and his entourage and used that to influence his followers to commit mass suicide.
A total of 918 people died that day. Jim Jones died of a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
3Florida Woman Claims to be God and Sets Car on Fire With Her Dogs Inside
On April 24, 2013, Alexandra Barnes of Daytona Beach, FL, walked inside a BP gas station, went behind the counter and grabbed a lighter. As the she ran out, another clerk ran after her and wrestled her to the ground. She broke free and with her car already doused in gasoline, Barnes grabbed another lighter and proceeded to set fire to the vehicle.
A witness–Larry Romero–jumped into action when Barnes screamed that her babies were in the car. The babies turned out to be the Barnes' dogs. Romero pulled the dogs from the car and grabbed Barnes, who was sitting in oncoming traffic in the middle of I-92 claiming to be God.
Barnes was taken to a local hospital for observation and the only damage to the gas station was a melted pump hose – well, that and probably some canine psychological damage.
4Sect Leader Causes the Deaths of 75 People in a Standoff with the FBI
Vernon Howell, a.k.a. David Koresh, was a self-proclaimed prophet and the final leader of the Branch Davidian sect.
In the 1930's, Lois and Ben Roden, Davidian founders, believed that a new Messiah would arrive, signifying the beginning of the “last days.” Upon joining the church in 1981, Howell became close to Lois Roden and after her death gained control of the Davidians. Howell changed his name to David Koresh, and became the church's new leader and Messiah.
Under Koresh's control, rumors of child abuse and illegal weapons within the Branch Davidians ran rampant, resulting in The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and FBI issuing a warrant for Koresh's arrest on February 28, 1993. Four ATF members died in the resulting shoot-out with the Davidians, who lost six of their own.
Negotiations with Koresh dragged out over 51 days. He stalled for time by confusing negotiators with biblical imagery and claimed he was writing religious documents he needed to complete before he surrendered.
The siege finally ended when the FBI carried out a final assault to take members of the sect by force. The “last days” the Roddens had predicted for the Davidians were finally at hand–the compound caught fire and 76 members of the Branch Davidians, including David Koresh, perished inside.
5Messianic Cult Leader of “The Family” is Responsible for the Tate-LaBianca Murders
Let's jump from one murderous, frustrated musician with a Messiah complex to another. What list would be complete without Charles Manson?
Perhaps the most infamous, homicidal, Messianic cult leader of not only the ‘60's, but of all time, Charlie was born as “No Name Maddox” to 16-year old prostitute Kathleen Maddox. He spent the majority of his youth in various reform schools, prison and the like.
When Manson was released from prison just in time for the 1967 “Summer of Love”, he moved to the epicenter of Flower Power, San Francisco and gained a following. The following eventually became the hippie cult known as “The Family”.
Manson moved his “Family” to an abandoned ranch just outside of Los Angeles, and proceeded to manipulate his followers with his own religious philosophy. “I'm God to my friends. I'm the devil to my enemies. When I look to the future, I'm the prophet. When I must lay down the law for our earth, I'm the son of man.”
Manson prophesied an upcoming race war in which black people would slaughter white people. To ignite the race war, Manson ordered some members of “The Family” to go on a killing spree, which resulted in the deaths of actress Sharon Tate and several others. This set off a reign of terror in Los Angeles for several months and ended the spirit of peace and love of the 1960's for many.
6Colorado Man Claims to Be God and Beats a 70-year old Man to Death
In 2013, 25-year-old Zachary Joseph Cooper of Denver, CO, had been recently discharged from the military and suffered from mental illness. He was in the care of his mother, Janet Seguras and their neighbor, 70-year-old Tony Morales.
While his mother was out shopping, Cooper beat Morales to death with a baseball bat and slit his throat. After arriving home, Segura found her son naked and “making comments about being in Heaven and referring to himself as God.” Cooper also told her that he had “killed the devil” after the alleged incident.
Cooper has been charged with first-degree murder and is being held without bail.
7Brazilian Man Claims He is Jesus Christ Reincarnated
Taking his first name as an acronym from Jesus Christ's cross, “Inri” and his last name meaning “Christ,” Inri Cristo is a 66-year-old Brazilian man who believes he is Jesus Christ reincarnated.
Having heard voices since his childhood, Cristo received his first revelation he was Christ while undergoing a fast in Santiago, Chile, in 1979. On this occasion, the voice said, “I am your father: the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” His website claims that his is the same face as that on the Shroud of Turin.
As the leader of his own church, “SOUST”– an acronym for Supreme Universal Order of the Holy Trinity–Cristo has many female followers, many of which live on the church compound and have been following him for decades–the oldest is 86 and the youngest only 24. His provocative views on capitalism, abortion, atheism, birth control and even Christmas have caused so much controversy that he has been expelled from several countries including the U.S. and Britain.
Cristo remains in the public eye making numerous appearances on tour and in Brazilian media. The vegetarian and self-proclaimed Messiah broadcasts his teachings every week live on his website to this day.
8Cult Leader and Self-Described “Higher Being” Convinces His Followers to Commit Suicide to Attain a "Level Above Human"
Marshall Applewhite and former partner Bonnie Nettles, founders of the Heaven's Gate cult, believed themselves to be “walk-ins”– higher beings who took control over two middle-aged human bodies designated for their use to teach humanity. Their followers believed it too, and gave up their lives and worldly possessions in the belief that Earth was to be “recycled." The only way to survive was to leave immediately.
In March 1997, that time had come. Applewhite spoke to his followers of a spacecraft that was trailing the comet Hale-Bopp. The church leader claimed that the “only way to evacuate this Earth” was to stage a mass suicide so their souls could board the spacecraft. In his taped speech, he said that after their deaths, the UFO would take them to “another level of existence above human.”
38 members, including Applewhite, left Earth for that “next level” in a rented mansion in suburban San Diego. They carried $5.75 in their pockets for their interplanetary toll.
9Self-Proclaimed Messiah is a Tranvestite and Former British Intelligence Spy
David Shayler – a former member of the MI5 (Security Service) – proclaimed himself to be the son of God by saying, “I am the messiah and hold the secret to eternal life." He is a also a transvestite whose alter ego – Delores Kane – lives in a squat in Surrey.
Shayler initially achieved notoriety in 1997 when he leaked secret documents to the British newspaper, Mail on Sunday. Believing that intelligence services were deliberately planting stories in newspapers and mainstream media, Shayler later joined the 9/11 Truth Movement, a movement believing the 9/11 attacks to be fraudulent.
In addition to having a conspiracy theory for every major act of terrorism over the past few decades, he also claims to have divine powers, which allow him to influence the weather, prevent terror attacks and predict football scores.
10Pedophilic Sect Leader Claims to be God is Arrested on Sex Charges
Michael Travesser, a.k.a. Wayne Bent, leader of The Lord Our Righteousness Church in New Mexico, revealed himself to be the Messiah in 2000.
He predicted the world would end in 2007 but stated that God said to “stay with me one more year.” A year later, Bent was arrested on sex charges for three counts of sexual conduct with a minor. The church leader has acknowledged that he has had sex with his followers in the past.
Comparing himself to Jesus Christ, Bent told the media, "The current upheaval over me and the present contest is well under way. It was the same for Jesus. Jesus had not committed any crimes, so the authorities had to invent some crimes to crucify him over. It is the same for me also. I have committed no crimes, but many crimes are being imagined and concocted in the minds of men to try and kill me again.”