Killer Cults: Killer cults tend to be led by charismatic megalomaniacs who pit themselves and their churches against the rest of the world. They are usually apocalyptic visionaries drunk with lust and power that have physical and sexual control over their followers. In most cases their beliefs stem from twisted interpretations of established doctrines. These self‑proclaimed divinities usually amass a large arsenal of weapons before bringing forth their personal day of reckoning. The cults are listed according to number of kills associated with them. Check the morgue for the latest doomsday prophecy.
Cults Hit List: The so-called Reverend Jim Jones & The People's Temple (900+) Jim Jones, the son of a Klansman, considered himself the reincarnation of both Jesus and Lenin. He was also endowed with a huge penis which he used repeatedly in the name of Christ. Jim had visions of an impending nuclear holocaust in which only the towns of Ukiah, California and Belo Horizonte, Brazil would survive. With that in mind, he relocated his first People's Temple to Ukiah to await the Armageddon. Tired of waiting for the third world war, he moved his church to San Francisco where he recieved numerous humanitarian awards and became the Chairman of the city's Housing Authority. There he first practiced a ritual called "White Nights" in which he prepared his followers for an act of revolutionary suicide to protest against racism and fascism.
By 1977, as things started getting weirder, he was forced to move his church to Guana, South America. There, in the isolation of the jungle, Jimmy created his dream community, Jonestown, and lost his mind. Jim's nirvana rapidly deteriorated into a nightmare which he knew of only one way to end.
On November 18, 1978, when Congressman Leo Ryan visited Jonestown to investigate alledged human rights abuses, the good reverend had him and his party killed. Then he ordered his followers to drink from a tub of Kool Aid laced with cyanide and tranquilizers. All 900+ did. As the ritual suicide progressed, Jim put a bullet through his brain. Some believe that Jimmy was linked to the CIA and that the Jonestown massacre was in fact a mind control experiment. If it was, it was a total success. Years later, serial killer Henry Lee Lucas confessed that he did indeed personally delivered the cyanide to his "good friend, Jim Jones."
David Koresh & ATF (90) On February 28, 1993, when the Storm Troopers of the ATF tried to enter the Branch Davidian compound in the outskirts of Waco, Texas, Dave and the gang answered with a rain of lead killing four ATF agents. Koresh, a failed rock'n roller turned doomsday prophet and poster boy for the NRA resisted the ATF siege that followed for fifty‑one days. He also promised to bring forth a fiery apocalypse for all those with him in the compound.
On April 19, 1993, he delivered. As the Federal Bureau of Investigation agents under the lead of Bob Ricks launched their assault, the compound broke out in flames killing eighty‑six people inside. The government claimed that Koresh ignited the flames and had the compound booby‑trapped so it would go up in a fireball. Some, like the recently infamous Michigan Militia, believe the Feds and Attorney Genereal Janet Reno to be completely responsible for the deaths of the Koresh and his fellow charred Branch Davidians.
Order of the Solar Temple: As the millenium rapidly approaches, this international apocalyptical cult has claimed 69 victims in two bizarre mass suicide rituals. Strangely, most of the members of the sect seem to be highly educated and well‑to‑do individuals who follow a bit too eagerly the temple's doomsday teachings. The Order itself stems from the Knights of Templar, a secretive medieval organization founded by French crusaders in Jerusalem. How it became a New Age Euro‑Yuppie Suicide machine, is a solar mystery.
The Temple came to prominence on October 5, 1994, when 53 people committed suicide simultaneously in several chalets in Switzerland and Canada. The two known leaders of the group, the Belgian New Ageist Luc Jouret, and the guru Joseph di Mambro, died in the 1994 ritual. The cult seems to give great importance to the sun and practices most of its rituals during the summer and winter equinoxes. The 1994 deaths were meant to take the sect members through fire to a new world on a planet called "Sirius." To assist with the trip, several of the victims, including some children, were shot in the head, asphyxiated with black plastic bags and/or poisoned. Luc and Joseph wrote, in a letter delivered after their deaths that they were "leaving this earth to find a new dimension of truth and absolution, far from the hypocrisies of this world."l
The second mass suicide ritual ocurred about a week before Christmas in 1995. On December 23, on a remote plateau of the French Alps police found 16 charred bodies arranged in a star formation with their feet pointed to the ashes of a fire. Like the rituals of 1994, they all died by stabbing, asphyxiation, shooting and/or poisoning. Also, the bodies were burned as part of a cleansing ritual.
A week before discovering the bodies, Swiss and French authorities suspected the worse when 16 cult members dissappeared from their homes. Some left behind handwritten notes expressing their intentions of committing mass suicide. One of the notes stated: "Death does not exist, it is pure illusion. May we, in our inner life, find each other forever." Two of the dead were the wife and son of French ski champion and millionare eyewear manufacturer, Jean Vuarnet.
Adolfo de Jesús Constanzo & Sara Aldrete (24) Constanzo, a Cuban‑American bisexual cult leader and male model, managed a drug smuggling ring in Matamoros, Mexico. He and Sara Aldrete, his college‑student‑gone‑cult‑priestess partner, were very successful in the drug trade because their habit of ritually sacrificing their competition. Once a member of their cult was playing pool in a bar and took out a severed finger to impress his rivals. Their gig ran afoul when they decided what they needed was to kill a gringo. They abducted Mark Kilroy, a college student on spring break, and killed him in their border ranch called Santa Elena. There his body was dismembered and his heart, genitals and spine were used to make a magic stew. The disappearance of Kilroy triggered an all out police search around the border. Authorities were alerted of the weird rituals practiced in Rancho Santa Elena. As the digging in the ranch began a large number of dismembered bodies started appearing and several members of the cult were arrested.
Previously no one cared about the missing drug dealers figuring there were victims of a drug war. However, once the gringo was sacrificed, the group was put on the run. By the time the bodies in Matamoros were found Constanzo and Aldrete were hiding in an apartment in Mexico City. Police discovered their hideaway and surrounded the apartment. After a brief exchange of gunfire Constanzo and his male lover were machine‑gunned by another cult member in a closet of the apartment before the police charged in. The college‑student‑gone‑cult‑priestess Aldrete is now in jail in Mexico where she gives totally schizophrenic interviews.
The Church Of The Lamb Of God: Led by neo‑polygamist Mormon patriarch Ervil LeBaron, this tribe of killers (many of them his wives and children) have murdered at least 20 people ‑‑ mostly rival polygamists and fringe Mormons ‑‑ over a 20‑year period. LeBaron himself died in prison in 1981, but the killings were continued by his followers for years after his death.
Zebra Killers: Yahweh Ben Yahweh & The Temple of Love (14+) This charismatic black leader of the Church of Love and sixteen followers have been charged with the slayings of at least fourteen people. Yahweh Ben Yahweh (God, son of God) was born Hulon Mitchell. He built a multimillion‑dollar business empire in the Miami area through murder, fire bombings and extortion. However, he also managed to join Miami's Chamber of Commerce and was even honored with the proclamation of "Yahweh Ben Yahweh Day" by city's mayor. The secretive Church of Love preached that the American blacks were true Jews living in the land of the "white devil". It's members dressed in white robes, took the last name Israel and followed a kosher diet. The cult is accused of a reign of terror that includes the beheading of an ex member, the fire bombing of a Delray Beach neighborhood and many other acts of violence. It seemed that to become part of the "Brotherhood", a secret group within the sect, one had to smoke a "white devil". Many of the shady details of the sect's activities come from Robert Rozier, a former football player, who was arrested in 1986 in connection to four of the killings.
Shoko Asahara & Aum Supreme Truth: This apocalyptic sect and its charismatic, blind leader are suspected of releasing Sarin gas in five Tokyo subway stations the morning of March 20, 1995, killing 11 people and sickening more than 5,500 others. The religious cult is also suspected of a similar gas attack in June, 1994 in Matsumoto, a town north of Tokyo that killed seven people and wounded 144. Furthermore they are suspected of a series of slayings and kidnappings of anti‑cult activist and preparing to overthrow the Japanese government all in the name of "good karma."
Asahara justified indiscriminate mass murder through the religious belief "poa" ‑‑ a Tibetan Buddhist term for reincarnation to a higher existence. According to Shoko's twisted doomsday teachings, one can only save their soul through the killing. Asahara taught his followers that a "poa" killing relieved victims from everyday life and the inevitable accumulation of more bad karma. Thus what we call cold blooded murder was regarded "as a beautiful 'poa,' and wise people would see that both the killer and the person killed would benefit."
In 1994 Shoko, seeing that his cult was entangled in all types of legal difficulties, ordered his disciples to mass produce deadly nerve gas and test its power in the streets of Matsumoto. It was the start of a doomsday plot to wipe out untold numbers of innocent people and his first volley in a war against the police and the Japanese government. The objective of the attack was to kill judges staying at a courthouse dormitory in the town, who were due to rule against the sect in a property lawsuit. Seven people died and 144 were injured in the experiment. This turned out to be just a dress rehearsal for the deadlier March 1994 subway attack in Tokyo.
Under Asahara's command, the doomsday cult built a sarin plant to produce 70 tons of the lethal Nazi‑invented gas to wipe out the population of entire cities. On the side he also had plants manufacturing barbiturates and truth serum. Furthermore, he ordered the production of 1,000 automatic rifles and one million bullets in preparation for his war against the Japanese Government. Not the humble type, Asahara demanded that his followers treat him as a "living incarnation of god." He also allowed them, at a steep price, to drink his bathing water which would be a sure way to cleanse their souls. Shoko also had a habit of kidnapping and executing anti‑cult activist. Prosecutors described how one rebel cult member, Kotaro Ochida, was strangled while Asahara looked on.
During the opening day of his trial the blind visionary's only words were: "I have nothing to say." Later he appeared to doze off and one of his lawyers had to wake him up. If convicted the blind doomsday cult leader could be sent to the gallows. Virtually all of the other top cult members‑ including Shoko's wife‑ have been arrested for crimes ranging from misdemeanours to helping to carry out the Tokyo subway murders. Until his arrest, the portly cultist predicted that the world would soon come to an end and only the Aum Supreme Truth would survive. Until then, they will all be in jail waiting for the apocalypse.
Charles Manson & The Family: Meet the Reigning King of America's Homicidal Maniacs and his harem of acolytes. Between July and August of 1969, Charlie and his "Family" of society drop‑outs carved themselves a niche of infamy in the American psyche after a blood‑soaked series of murders that hammered shut the hopes of the flower generation. Born "No Name Maddox," Charlie was the son of a teenage, bisexual, alcoholic prostitute. As an infant his uncaring mom once traded for a pitcher of beer. As a young boy he watched his mother bring home lovers of box sexes and was constantly shuffled between the home's of relatives and orphanages. One particulary sadistic uncle forced Charlie to wear a dress to school so he would "learn to fight and be a man." Not surprisingly Charlie started his career in crime at a young age. The product of institutional life, he spent more than half of his life incarcerated before the age of thirty‑five.
When he was paroled in 1967 this ex‑con and aspiring musician drifted to San Francisco just in time to catch the Summmer of Love. There he became the "God of Fuck". Charlie's charisma made him the Messiah of every lost flower child. Curiously Charlie turned out to be full of love. Describing himself as a " little runt" he managed to surround himself with a bevvy of beautiful young girls who considered him God. While in San Francisco he traded the rights to one of his songs for a bus which they painted black and drove all across the West collecting "Garbage People."
When the bus broke down north of Los Angeles, they settled in the Spahn Ranch, a derelict ranch that was used for Western movies. There the Family grew to be over 30 girls with more joining each day. At first their life in the ranch was pure hippie Nirvana. Charlie would sleep with a different girl each night as they all fried on acid and sang songs around a campfire when the sun went down. They would raid garbage dumpster in the back of supermarkets for food and would shoplift for other necessities. Back at the ranch, as they fucked and sucked with abandon, the Family envisioned themselves as representatives of the "Infinite Soul." On the side the formed alliances with various satanist and biker groups and occasionally committed ritual murders.
All along Charlie planned to launch his stellar career as a folk singer with the help of Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys. Sadly, for Sharon Tate and her friends, things didn't turn out the way he thought. Shunned by the music industry Charlie grew bitter and vengeful. His odd interpretation of the Beatles' song "Helter Skelter" warned of a coming race war in which "blackie" would win. Then he and his minions, who had been breeding at a furious rate in the Spahn ranch, would take over and rule the world. Ultimately, the reign of terror perpetrated by this midget genius had nothing to do with his visions of Armageddon. Instead, it was simply an act of revenge against the music industry who ignored him.
Terry Melcher, a music producer who rejected Manson and the son of Doris Day, moved out of his house in Cielo Drive and subleased it to Roman Polanski and his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate. In a desperate attempt to get his music produced Manson had gone to talk to Terry to find out that he had moved. He thought the new tennants of Cielo Drive treated him like"a piece of scum to be sucked into the toilet." So when he felt that a series of random murders were needed to feed the "Infinite Soul" he knew exactly where to go
The first hit was Gary Hinman, a rich Buddhist musician who was partly associated with the family. Family members Susan Atkins, Marie O'Brien and Bobby Beausoleil went to pay him a visit. After torturing Gary for five or six hours he proved unwilling to give the Family money. Manson and family member Bruce Davis were called to the scene to see if they could convince Hinman to cooperate. He refused again and Manson told Bobby: "You know what to do. Kill him‑‑ he's no good to us." Bobbie stabbed him and later wrote on the wall "POLITICAL PIGGY" in blood to divert attention to the Family and make it look like a hit by the Black Panthers.
The next stop in their war against "the Establishment" was Cielo Drive. On August 8, 1969, Manson sent Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Linda Kasabian to "do the Devil's business." What ensued was a bloodbath of apocalyptic proportions. Armed with knives and a gun, the Family members butchered Steve Parent, Abigail Folger, Voityck Frykowski, Jay Sebring and a very pregnant Sharon Tate. After the killing Tex ordered Susan to return inside and, "write something that will shock the world." Using a towel soaked in Tate's blood she wrote "PIG" on the door. She also thought of carving out Tate's unborn child and bringing it to Charlie wrapped in the towel. "How proud Charlie would be if I presented him with the baby cut from the womb of the woman." She later considered cutting out the heart and eating it or skewering the baby and roasting it in a bonfire. Fortunately these were just fleeting thoughts.
Feeling that the massacre in Cielo Drive was too messy, the next night Charlie joined his hippie death squad to demonstrate how the killings should be done. After meandering through the streets of Los Angeles they ended next to a monastery in the Los Feliz area. There he entered the home of supermarket magnate Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary. After tying the couple and reassuring them that everything was going to be fine, Charlie sent Tex, Leslie and Patricia to do the job. They killed the hapless couple and scribbled in blood "Arise" on the wall, "Deatj Tp All Piggs" on the front door, and "Helter-Skelter" on the refrigerator. Then they took showers, ate watermelon and hitchhikked a ride home. Before leaving, Patricia, in a stroke of evil brilliance, carved the word "War" on the stomach of LaBianca using a fork. When police discovered his body the next day he still had the fork protruding from his gut. To make the rampage look like part of the impending race war Charlie drove to a black neighborhood and left the wallet of Rosemary LaBianca in the bathroom of a gas station.
The last killing perpetrated by the family before their arrest was a ranch hand called Shorty Shea at the Spahn Ranch who knew too much about the "five dead piggies.". He was ritually dismembered, beheaded and buried in the ranch. The Family then relocated to the Barker ranch in Goler Wash in the outskirts of Death Valley. There Charlie and the Family "tried to get as close as we could to all the animals, try to learn from them how to live."
They also had fun with dune buggies playing some type of desert war games. Eventually, because of their nightly desert escapades, U.S. Marshalls came to arrest the Family on charges of arson and auto theft after they torched some park ranger equiptment. Once in custody the Susan blabbed to one of her cellmates about the murders and their house of cards came tumbling down. During their trial Charlie tried unsuccessfully to defend himself and staged several media pranks in his ongoing attack on "the Establishment." He wanted to form a corporation with the other six jailed Family members called "The Family of Infinite Soul, Inc." to pay for their defence. Eight days after the defense rested their case, Manson's court‑appointed attorney Ronald Hughes dissapeared. His decomposed body was found five months later. At one point Charlie and the girls carved Xs on their foreheads as a symbol of X'ing oneself out of society. All the histrionics never amounted to anything other than Vincent Bugliosi penning a best‑seller out of prosecuting the Family.
By 1971 seven members of the Family were handed death penalties which were revoked in 1972 when the California Supreme Court abolished it. Charlie, although convicted of multiple murders, was never proven to have killed anyone. It is believed that the Family was probably responsible for dozens of other deaths before and after the arrest and incarceration of their leader. Years later, Family member Squeaky Fromme managed to capture the headlines pn September 4, 1975 when she lunged at President Ford with a gun. Fortunately a Secret Service agent managed to wedge his thumb between the hammer and the firing pin preventing one more death to be tallied for the Infinite Soul. A week later fellow Family member Sandra Good leaked to the press a hit list of corporate and political big wigs targeted for assasination by the Family for their destructive actions against the environment.
Robin Gecht: In the early eighties Robin a former employee of John Wayne Gacy, and three followers had a Satanic cult dedicated to spreading death and mayhem through the streets of Chicago. Gecht and his gang drove around in a van looking for prostitutes to sacrifice. They would remove their breasts and eat them as Robin read passages of the bible. Gecht and his friends were finally arrested in 1982 for the stabbing of a teenaged prostitute and like every good Satanist they all started squealing on each other.
Jeffrey Lundgren: As a member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter‑Day Saints, Lundgren wielded total control over his six‑family flock. He beat misbehaving children with poles, trained his followers for war and masturbated while naked female cult members danced around him. A man of strange appetites, Jeb7, as he liked to be called, enjoyed having excrement rubbed all over his body by his loving wife as he preached about the coming apocalypse.
In 1987 he settled with his cult in a fifteen‑acre farm in rural Ohio. There, according to cult members, they were intending to meet God in the final days of planet Earth. However, God would be angry with the cult, due to "man's sins." Lundgren, a resourceful man, figured that if he sent five of his own, the Avery's (whom he considered the weakest family in the cult), before the "judgement bar," God would take out his anger on them.
The Avery family was then thrown in a pit under the barn of the cult's ranch and were shot to death with a Colt 45 which, incidentally, Avery had paid for. After the killing Lungren and his family fled to what they called "The Wilderness" in Tucker County, West Virginia. By the fall of 1989 the group relocated to Jackson County, Missouri where things started to really fall appart.
On December 31, 1989, Larry Keith Johnson, (whose wife, Katheryn Renee Jackson was chosen by Lundgren as his "wife.") reported the murders to Larry Scott of ATF‑Kansas City. Three days later the first body was uncovered, that of Dennis Leroy Avery. On January 7, 1990, Jeff Lundgren, his son Damon, and wife Alice were arrested in Room #29 of the Santa Fe Motel in National City, California. At the time of their arrest police and ATF agents found an arsenal of weapons tucked in the room with them. His wife and nineteen‑year‑old son received five consecutive life terms for the doomsday killings of the Avery family. Jeb7 was sentenced to death. The remaining cult members (except for Larry) were sentenced to various lengths of imprisonment.
The Ant Hill Kids Commune: Only one actual murder was committed by this group, but the sheer ferocity of its leader, French‑Canadian alcoholic hippie‑guru Rock Theriault, makes them charter members of the Killer Cult Hit List. A truly deranged individual, Theriault started out in Adventism but eventually became a polygamist who terrorized two Canadian provinces for many years. He's currently in prison, and still has loyal followers in Canada.