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

Holy shit.

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We asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us which real-life cults freak them the fuck 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

Wikipedia Commons / Public Domain U.S. / Via

In the early 1900s, Edmund Creffield believed he was the second coming of Christ and used his charisma to get a bunch of women and children to follow him to Corvallis, Oregon. Apparently their prayer services often included followers "rolling wildly about the floor, crying for forgiveness of their sins."


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


Self-proclaimed prophet Jeffrey Lundgren led a Reformed Latter-Day Saint Movement group, and convinced them to help him murder a family of five as a sacrifice to God in April 1989. He was executed in October 2006.



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

Wikipedia Commons / Fair Use

Led by Bonnie Nettles and Marshall Applewhite, the group believed the entire Earth was going to be wiped out and "recycled" — so they participated in a mass suicide in 1997 that they thought would send them to an extraterrestrial spacecraft.

Brett Vergara

10. The Immanuel David Cult


Charles Longo changed his name to Immanuel David because he thought he was God. His followers were mostly his family, including his wife and seven kids. After he killed himself, his wife threw the kids out of an 11th-floor Salt Lake City hotel room. One of his daughters survived, and still believes her father will return to Earth.


11. The Ant Hill Kids


Roch Thériault led a religious group of about 35 adults and children as his followers in Ontario between 1977 and 1989. Members who didn't bring in any money for the group were severely punished, and the women who followed him were pretty much just there for sex whenever he wanted. He was found dead in his jail cell in 2011.

debrad49 and corellaw


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

Public Domain

The cult consisted of three people: brothers Glenn Taylor and Justin Helzer, along with their roommate. Justin claimed God spoke to him personally. In 2000, they killed five people while trying to extort $100,000 to start a group that would "thwart Satan by spreading peace and love."


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

Wikipedia Commons / Fair Use

Under leader Adolfo Constanzo, the group was led to believe human sacrifices would give them "success and protection." Their most famous crime was the abduction and murder of college student Mark Kilroy in 1989, because Constanzo thought Kilroy would provide a "good brain" for one of his rituals.

—Debbie Ann, Facebook

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