16 Creepy Cults You’ve Probably Never Heard Of That’ll Freak You Out


    We asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us which real-life cults freak them the hell out. Here are the terrifying results.

    1. The Family (Australia)

    From the 1960s to the 1990s, Anne Hamilton-Byrne "collected" kids to create her vision of a perfect race. They were told that they were Anne and her husband's biological kids, wore uniforms, and were given LSD as an initiation into The Family.


    2. Synanon

    Started as a rehab community in Santa Monica in 1958, people here found unity in sobriety. By the 1970s, the facility began to call itself the Church of Synanon, and was shut down in '91 when members were convicted of terrorism and other crimes.


    3. Aum Shinrikyo

    Founded by Shoko Asahara in 1984, Aum Shinrikyo is a Japanese doomsday cult that caused the horrific Tokyo subway nerve gas attack of 1995. It split into two smaller groups, Aleph and Hikari no Wa, in 2007.


    4. The Holy Rollers

    5. Buddhafield

    Led by a man known as "Michel," Buddhafield is an "alternative community and meditation group" in Los Angeles. It wasn't until recently that members began to open up about the group's frequent sexual abuse and moral violations. A former documentarian for the group released a film in 2016 called Holy Hell that revealed many of his traumatizing experiences.


    6. The Peoples Temple Agricultural Project/Jonestown

    Founder and civil rights advocate Jim Jones led a "utopian community" where he tapped into people's fears in order to keep them hooked and make them want to stay. The demise of Peoples Temple is now infamous: All members, including kids, drank poisoned Kool-Aid as an act of mass suicide.


    7. Kirtland Cult

    8. The Congregation for the Light

    A doomsday cult active today and based in a brownstone in Murray Hill, Manhattan, they believe they're descendants of a "master Aryan race." Members have to earn forgiveness for their sins from their past lives, and being gay is not allowed.


    9. Heaven's Gate

    10. The Immanuel David Cult

    11. The Ant Hill Kids

    12. Branch Davidians under David Koresh

    Koresh believed he was the final prophet of the Branch Davidians, an offshoot of the Protestant Seventh-Day Adventist Church that didn't directly follow the same beliefs. His rule ended with the Waco Siege of 1993, when the group was suspected of weapons violations: Gunfire broke out that erupted into a fire, killing 76 people, including Koresh.


    13. The Children of Thunder

    14. Aggressive Christianity Missionary Training Corps

    With leaders who insist on being called "Generals," the ACMTC follows a military-like structure inspired by the Salvation Army. Members are trained to "surrender their free will," and are not allowed to do anything their leaders wouldn't want them to do.


    15. The Manson Family

    Though more often referred to as a "commune" than a "cult," the Manson Family's loyalty to leader Charles Manson was definitely terrifying. The Family willingly murdered actor Sharon Tate and several others, and tried to assassinate President Gerald Ford, because it was what Manson asked of them.

    Anna Kopsky

    16. And the Matamoros Cult/The Narcosatanists

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