- Cult leaders have over-abundant belief that they are special, that they and they alone have the answers to problems, and that they had to be revered.
- A charismatic personality, grandiose ideas with borderline beliefs and an appetite for violence and you get some of the history’s most notorious cult leaders often with tragic results.
Cult leaders – driven to manipulate, fueled by egomania. Charismatic narcissists, who want to control others, but often lead themselves with their followers to early graves. Entwined with over zealous doctrines and paranoia, the followers are brainwashed to commit vicious acts and may resort to mass suicide than rather being captured or admit defeat.
Above is the list of the most notorious killer and suicide cults in modern history. From doomsday to suicide cults. From political to destructive cult movements.
Mass suicides often occur in religious settings. Usually, these acts are planned or carried out by frustrated people, often as a form of political protest. Below is a list of cults and their leaders, that have brainwashed people to commit suicide simultaneously, for different, but always wrong reasons.
∅ The Order of The Solar Temple (Switzerland, 1994)
October 1994. 23 bodies, all members of a little known esoteric cult “The Order of The Solar Temple”, were discovered in the Swiss canton of Fribourg. Another 25 bodies in the Swiss canton of Valais. Just five days earlier, parents and their infant son Emmanuel Dutoit had been killed in Canada by the sect members, because he was believed to be the Antichrist. On the morning of 23 March 1997, five members of took their own lives again. This time in Quebec, Canada.
The letters left by the members stated that they were leaving to escape from the “hypocrisies and oppression of this world.”
∅ The People’s Temple, Jonestown (Guyana, 1978)
November the 18th, 1978. This horrific scene is from Guyana. The tale of mass suicide was carried out by the 913 followers of the People’s Temple – a cult born in the 1950’s, a sanctuary against racial and social inequality prevalent at the time. The followers of a charismatic leader Jim Jones were ordered to drink a deadly mix of poisons, 300 children including, making it the biggest mass suicide in modern times.
∅ Heaven’s Gate (USA, 1997)
March the 20th, 1997. San Diego, California. 39 disciples of an UFO religious sect cult called “Heaven’s Gate” killed themselves by drinking phenobarbital mixed with apple sauce and washing it down with vodka. After ingesting a lethal dosage of poison, each member wrapped a plastic bag around their head to leave nothing to chance.
When the lifeless bodies were found by the authorities, they were all comfortably lying on their bunk beds – dressed in identical outfits: black pants and shirts, Nike sneakers, and armband patches reading “Heaven’s Gate Away Team”…
Here are the cults, whose followers have been manipulated to murder innocent people. For the same reason, people decide to join the Freemasons, the Rotarians or a political party – to experience friendship, connections, identity, an opportunity to make a contribution – people join cults. If the right people get together, under a charismatic, but evil, leader, the consequences can be deadly.
∅ El Padrino De Matamoros y La Madrina (Mexico, 1988)
Adolfo Constanzo and Sara Aldrete were cult leaders and serial killers, believing their black magic and spell casting helped the cartels to smuggle drugs successfully over the border, with the little help of human sacrifice. In 1988, they moved to Rancho Santa Elena in Mexico, a small house in the desert, which became known as The Devil’s ranch – a temple for human sacrifice.
∅ Aum Shinrikyo (Japan, 1995)
March the 20th, 1995. During the rush hour in Tokyo, Japan, a lethal nerve gas called sarin was released into the subway system. 13 people died and thousands were injured.
The perpetrators were not common criminals. They were doctors, lawyers, scientists, university students – all members of a doomsday cult “Aum Shinrikyo”.
Their beliefs were mixed Tibetan and Theravada Buddhist teachings, laced with western Biblical prophecies. The emphasis was on the doomsday prophecy – a final conflict ending with a nuclear armageddon, after which they were to replace the government.
∅ Charles Manson and The Family (USA, 1969)
Charles Manson – an American serial killer, who never actually killed anyone, but led what became known as the Manson Family – a group that arose in the California desert in the late 1960s. Manson and his followers committed a series of nine murders at four locations over a period of five weeks in the summer of 1969, including the killing of an American actress and model Sharon Tate.
And few more, not necessarily killer and suicide cults, but are worth a further study.
∅ The Branch Davidians/Waco Siege (USA, 1993)
Branch Davidian was an offshoot group of the Davidian Seventh-day Adventist Church that made headlines on February 28 in 1993 when their headquarters in Waco was raided by the ATF. Four agents were killed in the assault. A lengthy standoff between the group and government agents then followed after 80 members of the group died (possibly by their decision) when the compound was burned to the ground following an attempted entrance by FBI agents.
∅ Warren Jeffs (USA, til this day)
Warren Jeffs was born into a family that believed in an offshoot form of the Mormon religion. Being the sole individual in the church with the authority to perform marriages, he was responsible for assigning wives to husbands and also reassigning their wives, children and homes to another men.
Being the leader of cult-like community, the convicted polygamist pedophile still issues commands to his sect from his jail cell…