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    13 Wikipedia Articles On Doomsday Cults That Will Weird You Out

    Some late night, end-of-the-world reading anyone?

    Wikipedia's a great place to start your descent into the black hole of doomsday cults, but because a lot of the information is crowdsourced, it should be taken with a grain of salt.

    1. The Order of the Solar Temple

    Alain Nogues / Getty Images / Via commons.wikimedia.org

    The Order is a secret society that failed to stay very secret after a series of horrific murders and mass suicides during the ’90s in Canada, France, and Switzerland thrust them into the spotlight. They believed that death was an illusion and that they'd be transported to a planet near the star Sirius post-illusion. In 1994, 23 members in Switzerland were found in an underground chapel in ceremonial robes, most shot. Twenty-five members were found in ski chalets with children grouped together. Sixteen bodies were found in the Vercors mountains in France, arranged in a star shape. Two years later, five members killed themselves in Quebec. The teenage children of one of the couples were found alive but heavily drugged. And those are just the better known incidents involving this mysterious group, which is rumored to have attracted the wealthy and notable.

    2. Chen Tao (True Way Cult)

    This UFO cult was founded in 1955 by Hon-Ming Chen, who believed that the Earth had gone through five tribulations since the age of the dinosaurs. Supposedly, each time, God came to North America to save its inhabitants by way of spaceship. Chen Tao ended up moving to Garland, Texas, because it sounded like "God's Land," and predicted that on March 31, 1998, God would appear in Chen's likeness on Channel 18 of every television set in North America. Chen offered to be stoned or crucified for his miscommunication with the powers that be, but ultimately the group fell apart, with its remaining members relocating to Lockport, New York. They predicted an additional end of days by the close of 1999 β€” complete with God ships and nuclear warfare β€” but later revised their statement. They've been pretty quiet since, which I guess is as happy an ending as one could hope for in a situation like this.

    3. Heaven's Gate

    Founded by Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles in 1974, this group would become known for its mass suicide in 1997. While others were preparing to watch the Comet Hale-Bopp travel the sky, Applewhite and 38 other members killed themselves in matching black shirts, sweatpants, and athletic shoes. They believed a spaceship traveling behind Comet Hale-Bopp would collect their souls and transport them to a higher plane of existence, and had prepared by mixing phenobarbital with apple sauce and vodka. They also induced asphyxiation by tying bags over their heads. It seemed that members died in three groups, each cleaning up after the other, which seems exceptionally morbid if you aren't a person who believes your soul is ascending to a spaceship.

    4. Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God

    Unknown / Via patheos.com

    This Ugandan group is now infamous for orchestrating the mass murder of its devoted following. They believed a prophecy that said the world would end on Jan. 1, 2000, but when the new year came and went without an apocalypse, things started to go downhill for the Movement. Many members had sold their belongings in anticipation of their demise and began turning on church leaders. Conveniently, God came through with a new promised end of days: March 17, 2000. On that date, congregation members were invited to a party at their Kanungu location. The doors and windows were sealed shut and an explosion was set off, killing the unsuspecting worshippers inside. Authorities later found bodies buried at other Movement locations β€” many of which showed signs of poisoning or stabbing that predated the explosion. Two of the Movement leaders, Joseph Kibweteere and Credonia Mwerinde, are thought to still be alive and police still have warrants out for their arrest. While this gruesome incident hasn't garnered the myth-status of others, the death toll remains mind-boggling: More than 700 people lost their lives to the Movement on that one day.

    5. Dami Mission

    Dami Mission was founded by Lee Jang Rim, who believed that the end of the world would occur on Oct. 28, 1992. He predicted that 144,000 followers would ascend to heaven, while everyone else left on Earth would suffer seven years of war and famine, resulting in the extermination of pretty much everyone and paving the way for the second coming of Christ. This prediction caused a number of people throughout South Korea to panic. On Oct. 28, many a shenanigan went down, including members dressed in white burning furniture outside a Dami Mission church, gathering outside Lee's prison (Did I mention he was arrested for fraud and illegal possession of American currency?), and leaving massive amounts of cash for those expected to remain behind. When nothing happened, the movement dissolved and Lee spent two years locked away.

    6. Concerned Christians

    Concerned Christians was a group initially created to combat New Age beliefs in the 1980s, but things went horribly awry. The group began ascribing religious meaning to many political events. For example, they believed that the president of the United States was the Antichrist (*insert emojis here*) and that the dissolution of the Soviet Union signaled "the time of the end." The group's founder, Monte Kim Miller β€” a former Procter & Gamble executive β€” predicted a disastrous earthquake in Denver. It never actually happened, but many members fled Denver, with some relocating to Israel. The group was ultimately ejected from Israel after being suspected of planning to destroy holy cites to bring about the second coming of Christ. Good intentions and all that.

    7. Aum Shinrikyo

    Unknown / Via commons.wikimedia.org

    Aum Shinrikyo started off as a yoga and meditation class, but would go on to be known for a deadly sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system. Founder Shoko Asahara believed that a nuclear armageddon, initiated by the United States in World War III, would bring the world to an end. All of humanity would die, save for the select few who joined Aum. The group had a track record of kidnapping, extorting money, and holding members against their will even before the subway attack. On March 20, 1995, Aum Shinrikyo members released sarin in five Tokyo train stations, killing 13 people and injuring many more. Police found explosives, chemical weapons, a Russian military helicopter, millions of dollars in US currency, and cells with prisoners when investigating Aum, along with labs that could produce LSD, meth, and a crude form of "truth serum." That's...a lot. Crazily enough, they're still active today.

    8. The Brethren (Jim Roberts group)

    The Brethren are a strict religious group who believe we are at the end of times, and therefore shouldn't have anything, ever. New members give everything away to purify themselves for Jesus' return. Marriage is discouraged, as "the hour is too late." Singing and dancing are only reserved for the return of Jesus, who is still keeping them waiting. During the 1970s, stories started to leak nationwide about The Brethren's activities, so members now keep their locations a secret and are not allowed to speak to family. Relatives of cult members insist that members are moved about to keep from establishing contact. Thus far, the end of days predictions seem pretty chill, but the mass separation from families thing is less so.

    9. Eastern Lightning

    Eastern Lightning is a cool name for a doomsday cult, but they also get up to some pretty scary stuff. The Chinese-based group believes that a woman will be the second Christ, born to judge mankind and battle Satan. They've been known to retaliate against members who express a desire to leave by maiming or killing their younger relatives. In one case, they even murdered a young boy. The group ushered in a bunch of chaos by predicting the end of times on Dec. 21, 2012, while the film 2012 was already capturing the nation's imagination. Arks were even sold to survive the coming apocalypse. Very enterprising, at least.

    10. Happy Science

    Flicker/cosimoilvecchio / Via Flickr: cosimovecchio

    Happy Science was founded in Japan by Ryuho Okawa in 1986 as religious organization. In the US, it has been classified as a nonprofit since 1994. Okawa claims to be the reincarnation of a supreme spiritual being and, if he is to be believed, predicted Brexit in 1990. A lot of Happy Science's mission statement sounds harmless enough. It's all about finding happiness through truth-seeking and progress. However, it also operates a nationalistic political arm that believes North Korea and the People's Republic of China are plotting to use nuclear warfare to invade Japan. While it's not officially a doomsday cult just yet, it has all the makings of one.

    11. House of Yahweh

    The House of Yahweh has been predicting the end of the world for some time now. The cult believes that we are in a world currently ruled by Satan (a "she" in this case) and that the world will soon experience the great tribulation. They first predicted that four-fifths of the world's population would be eliminated between 1999 and 2002. The claims got weirder from there, with their leader first saying nuclear war would end life on earth in September 2006...only to recant and say that our nuclear apocalypse would instead follow the cycle of a woman giving birth, and that we should expect said nuclear baby sometime in or before June 2007. Now, the group claims that nuclear warfare did start in September 2006 β€” we just haven't noticed it yet. Good save.

    12. Church Universal and Triumphant

    This New Age religious group, founded by Elizabeth Claire Prophet, garnered a bunch of attention in the 1980s when it predicted nuclear warfare. Several members went into debt building fallout shelters and stocking up on supplies. Around this time, Prophet's husband and others were found stockpiling weapons they had bought using false names, leading to the arrest and detention of several members. Ironically, the buying of guns was legal, but they had used false names in an attempt to deflect further criticism of the Church. (Because, oh yeah, they had previously been accused of using sleep deprivation to control its members.) Prophet put a great twist on her failed prophecy, though: She simply told her congregation that they had successfully prayed away the end of days.

    13. People's Temple

    Nancy Wong / Via commons.wikimedia.org

    The People's Temple is perhaps the best known doomsday cult, responsible for the Jonestown mass suicide in Guyana. Jim Jones, the cult's founder, began to preach about a nuclear holocaust taking the earth, allowing the People's Temple to establish a socialist haven. After allegations of abuse surfaced in the media, Jones fled to Guyana with his group. In the weeks leading up to the Jonestown massacre, Jones would hold White Nights with his congregation, where he lectured about government entities out to get the Temple and "practiced" committing suicide by poison. When Californian Congressman Leo Ryan flew down to observe the compound and fly Temple defectors home, Jones took action. He ordered a hit on Ryan, ending his life, and gathered his followers to initiate a mass suicide. On a recording of the events of Nov. 18, 1978, children can be heard screaming and wailing in the background as Jones promises, "If you knew what was ahead of you, you'd be glad to be stepping over tonight."

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