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Cults

Cults

Mystery. Manipulation. Murder. Cults are associated with all of these. But what really goes on inside a cult? More specifically, what goes on inside the minds of people who join cults and leaders who start them? Every Tuesday, Greg and Vanessa (co-hosts of the podcast Serial Killers) explore the history and psychology behind the most notorious cults. Cults is part of the Parcast Network and is a Cutler Media production.

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A Bram Stoker Classic from Haunted Places: Ghost Stories

Dracula wasn?t the only frightful fiction conjured by Irish author Bram Stoker? In this retelling of ?The Judge?s House,? a Cambridge student is overcome with curiosity ? then dread ? as he faces an evil man?s terrifying legacy. Listen to Part 1 right here, then search ?Haunted Places: Ghost Stories? to hear Part 2, when the Judge himself comes calling?  Haunted Places: Ghost Stories is a Spotify Original from Parcast. Every Thursday, find a new tale of terror from some of history?s greatest authors. Listen free on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-02-25
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?The Light of the World? George Feigley

Described as ?hypnotic? and ?disarming,? George Feigley used his silver tongue to convince countless people that he was a scholar and religious figurehead. In 1976, he was charged with statutory rape and imprisoned ? but it was far from the end of his cultish offenses.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-02-23
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?The Aetherius Society? George King Pt. 2

In 1959, George King traveled to Los Angeles to complete his interstellar mission. He spent decades cultivating faithful followers as he traveled to astral planes, channeled alien entities, and battled against galactic beings beyond comprehension.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-02-16
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?The Aetherius Society? George King Pt. 1

When an angel appeared before him in a dark forest, George King knew his life would be special. That mystical meeting was just the start: Over the years, King began communicating with beings from other planets, all while building a devoted following. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-02-09
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?The King of the Ozarks? James Ellison Pt. 2

In the 1980s, rigorous training and illegal weapons turned Ellison?s once peaceful commune into a murderous militia. As they carried out acts of terrorism and plotted attacks on the government, their actions did not go unnoticed ? or unanswered.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-02-02
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?The King of the Ozarks? James Ellison Pt. 1

Expelled by Lincoln Bible College in 1962 for being too radical, James Ellison spent the next decade preaching about God?s judgment and establishing a commune in Arkansas, where he transformed his followers into a heavily armed white supremacist terror organization. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-01-26
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?New World Comforter? Allen Michael Noonan

In 1947, a 31-year-old sign painter experienced a supernatural event that left him convinced he was the newly anointed savior of the world. Allen Michael spent the following decades creating a political party, compiling a gospel, and doing the will of the all-powerful ?Galactic Logos.?  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-01-19
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?Chino Shoho? Yuko Chino Pt. 2

When her doomsday prophecies failed to materialize in the early aughts, Yuko Chino faded from the headlines. But after two unsettling deaths and another apocalyptic prediction, she announced one last out-of-this-world plan to her followers.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-01-12
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?Chino Shoho? Yuko Chino Pt. 1

As a young woman in 1960s Japan, Hidemi Masuyama took nightly walks in the nude, talking to entities only she could see. Later, she changed her name and hatched a religious sect that obsessed over electromagnetic waves and extraterrestrials.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2021-01-05
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The Sodder Family Tragedy: 75 Years Later (Pt. 3)

For decades, family members and sleuths have tried to determine what really happened the night of the fire. As of yet, they have been unsuccessful. But the clues remain, the questions linger, and the case unofficially stays open?  This episode is presented by Unexplained Mysteries, a Spotify Original from Parcast. For more of history?s greatest puzzles, follow Unexplained Mysteries free on Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-12-21
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The Sodder Family Tragedy: 75 Years Later (Pt. 2)

In the aftermath of the fire, a startling number of tips, twists, and witnesses came forward regarding the fate of the Sodder children. Their father, George, followed the clues for decades, driven by a suspicion of the ?official? story and a belief that the blaze was no accident. This episode is presented by Unexplained Mysteries, a Spotify Original from Parcast. For more of history?s greatest puzzles, follow Unexplained Mysteries free on Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-12-21
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The Sodder Family Tragedy: 75 Years Later (Pt. 1)

Early Christmas day in 1945, Jennie Sodder woke up to her house on fire. The blaze consumed her home, and five of her young children. Or did it? Strange events, prescient remarks, and a lack of human remains hinted at more nefarious ? though no less tragic ? outcomes.  This episode is presented by Unexplained Mysteries, a Spotify Original from Parcast. For more of history?s greatest puzzles, follow Unexplained Mysteries free on Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-12-21
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?Ho-no-Hana Sampogyo?: Hogen Fukunaga

In the late 1980s he claimed to be the final savior of the world, but behind Hogen Fukunaga?s grandiose claim was a shrewd businessman who scammed millions from loyal followers. His method? Detailed foot readings that cost hundreds of dollars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-12-15
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?Lord RayEl?: Raymond Elwood Howard-Lear

He?s not your typical cult leader: Lord RayEl doesn?t have a large church, or host large gatherings. Instead, he?s built a following solely online ? where a virtual congregation likes, subscribes, and tithes to the convicted felon they believe is the second coming of Christ.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-12-08
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?Attleboro Sect?: Roland and Jacques Robidoux Pt. 2

After starving his infant son in 1999, Jacques Robidoux and his followers went to drastic lengths to bury the evidence. But a whistleblower made sure the group answered to the law, avenging more than one life in the process.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-12-01
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?Attleboro Sect?: Roland and Jacques Robidoux Pt. 1

Shunning mainstream religion, school systems, and science, this small Massachusetts sect withdrew from secular society in the ?70s. Its increasingly bizarre directives to members led to defections and, eventually, death. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-11-24
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Conspiracy Theories Crossover: Bohemian Grove Pt. 2

Today we?re bringing you a special two-part episode from another Spotify Original from Parcast. If you enjoy it, check out Conspiracy Theories on Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts! Deep in the heart of the redwood forests is a 2,700-acre plot of land that?s home to an exclusive gentleman?s fraternity. Since its founding in 1872, the club has been accused of paganism and human sacrifice. What's really happening in the depths of Bohemian Grove? And why don't they want the world to know? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-11-17
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Conspiracy Theories Crossover: Bohemian Grove Pt. 1

Today we?re bringing you a special two-part episode from another Spotify Original from Parcast. If you enjoy it, check out Conspiracy Theories on Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts! Deep in the heart of the redwood forests is a 2,700-acre plot of land that?s home to an exclusive gentleman?s fraternity. Since its founding in 1872, the club has been accused of paganism and human sacrifice. What's really happening in the depths of Bohemian Grove? And why don't they want the world to know? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-11-17
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?Sky Kingdom?: Ayah Pin Pt. 2

Branded religious deviants by local leaders and the Malaysian government, Ayah Pin and his followers argued for their freedoms in Syariah Court. But in 2005, armed intruders destroyed the Sky Kingdom compound, and drove the self-proclaimed god into exile. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-11-10
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?Sky Kingdom?: Ayah Pin Pt. 1

In the mid 1990s, a strange compound sat hidden amongst the hills of northern Malaysia ? a wonderland complete with themed buildings and a giant teapot. Its creator claimed to be the reincarnation of major religious figures, tasked with unifying the world and bringing heaven to earth.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-11-03
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Satanic Panic Pt. 5: The Real Victims

In the years since the Satanic Panic, it's become obvious that the crimes people were accused of never really happened. But while none of the nightmarish stories of ritual abuse in Satan?s name were true, it doesn?t mean there weren?t real victims?  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-10-27
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Satanic Panic Pt. 4: The Rise of Evangelical Churches

Emboldened by power- and money-hungry conmen, Evangelical doomsdayers set the stage for an epic showdown of biblical proportions. The fight for the souls of every last American was beginning, they claimed, and Satan was coming to drag us all to hell. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-10-20
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Satanic Panic Pt. 3: The Cults That DID Exist

From Adolfo Costanzo and the Narcosatanists to the gruesome Chicago Rippers, these horrific groups showed that fears of murderous devil-worshipping cults weren't entirely unfounded. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-10-13
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Satanic Panic Pt. 2: Serial Killers

In the 1980s, ?Satanic Panic? was a mass hysteria that consumed communities and ruined lives?all over things that never even happened. In this new five-part series, we?re examining the origins of the panic, tracing back through the decades to see how the fear of Satan?s influence in society swept across North America. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-10-08
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Satanic Panic Pt. 1: Origins

In the 1980s, ?Satanic Panic? was a mass hysteria that consumed communities and ruined lives?all over things that never even happened. In this new five-part series, we?re examining the origins of the panic, tracing back through the decades to see how the fear of Satan?s influence in society swept across North America.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-10-05
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?The Palmarian Church?: Clemente Domi?nguez Go?mez

In the late 1960s, a listless young man craving significance began claiming he could see and hear messages from the Virgin Mary. With charismatic displays of ecstasy, Clemente Domi?nguez Go?mez developed a following and declared himself the next pope, then set about making life agony for his devotees.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-09-29
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?Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness?: John-Roger Hinkins Pt. 2

At the height of his power in 1983, John-Roger Hinkins hosted a star-studded awards show for his ?movement.? But behind his glitzy veneer was a dark secret. He was coming unhinged? and within five years, his image was destroyed.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-09-22
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?Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness?: John-Roger Hinkins Pt. 1

After waking up from a nine-day coma in 1963, Roger Hinkins claimed his body was housing a spiritual personality named John. John-Roger went on to found one of the largest spiritual movements of the 1970s and '80s. But behind closed doors, Hinkins preyed on young members of his staff and claimed if they didn't comply, a dark spirit would corrupt them. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-09-15
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?The Gatekeepers?: Chris Turgeon

In 1990s Everett, Washington, a charismatic man named Chris Turgeon started a small group Bible study with a few of his friends. In only a few years, he had turned the group into a cult that followed his every command? even when he ordered them to commit murder. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-09-08
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?The God Squad?: Douglas Metcalf

In 1972, self-appointed bishop Douglas Metcalf had his followers build a new heaven on earth in New Zealand. He called it Camp David? But while the group found peace behind the gates to their compound, they prepared for battle with the outside world. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-09-01
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?The Chicago Rippers?: Robin Gecht Pt. 2

In the early 1980s, Satanist Robin Gecht and his three followers terrorized the women of Chicago. They attacked, maimed, and tortured at least five victims in an attempt to summon a demon known as "The Dark One." Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-08-25
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?The Chicago Rippers?: Robin Gecht Pt. 1

In the early 1980s, contractor Robin Gecht recruited three of his employees to join a violent cult. Using a mixture of intimidation and coercion, Gecht led his followers on a murderous rampage that shocked the city of Chicago. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-08-18
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?Friends Landing?: Whitewind Swan Fisher

When Whitewind Swan Fisher founded Friends Landing in 1985, it was marketed as a safe space for spiritual healing. Instead, it was her personal lion's den where she took advantage of the very people she promised to help. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-08-11
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?Concerned Christians?: Monte Kim Miller

In 1985, Monte Kim Miller was an anti-cult activist, speaking at churches to warn against brainwashing and manipulation?until he began using the same tactics he preached against to extort, coerce, and compel his own followers into radical behavior.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-08-04
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?NXIVM? Pt. 4: The Fall

In 2017, news of Keith Raniere?s predatory sorority finally hit the airwaves. After disavowing any connection to the group, the 57-year-old cult leader read the writing on the wall and fled to Mexico. But authorities weren't going to allow him to avoid consequences that easily... Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-07-30
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?NXIVM? Pt. 3: The Master and the Slave

By 2006, 46-year-old Keith Raniere had made NXIVM alluring enough to attract billionaire heiresses and Hollywood actresses. But as women began defecting, he feared he was losing control?and in a bid to reassert dominance, created a predatory group known as DOS.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-07-28
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?NXIVM? Pt. 2: The Parasite and the Producer

In 1999, after the collapse of Consumers Buyline, 39-year-old Keith embarked on a new business venture. But while the product he was selling changed, his approach remained the same. And soon, he began to prey upon the very students he had promised to help. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-07-23
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?NXIVM? Pt. 1: The Carrot and the Stick

After acing an IQ test in 1988, 28-year-old Keith Raniere was able to brand himself ?The Smartest Man in the World.? The moniker allowed him to seduce unappreciated businesswoman Toni Natalie, who would go on to help Keith grow the first of his predatory companies. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-07-21
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?Gloriavale?: Neville Cooper

Founded in New Zealand in the late ?60s, Gloriavale was supposed to be a sin-free utopia. But its leader, Neville Cooper, instead crafted a hellish prison rife with immorality. He imposed rigid rules and strict gender norms?and had a penchant for violently abusing his followers.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-07-14
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"Knutby Filadelfia" Pt. 2: Helge Fossmo

In 2004, Swedish Pastor Helge Fossmo used ?spiritual shunning? to alienate and manipulate the congregation at his Pentecostal church. He convinced them to do whatever he asked, eventually coercing his mistress Sara into committing a string of wicked crimes.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-07-07
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"Knutby Filadelfia" Pt. 1: Helge Fossmo

In the mid-?90s, Pastor Helge Fossmo was hand-selected by the so-called ?bride of Christ? to help lead a Swedish Pentecostal church. As he gained more authority, Fossmo's power went to his head, and he began doing whatever he wanted to get his way? eventually resorting to murder. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-06-30
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?Circle of Friends? Pt. 2: Bruno Gröning

By the mid 1950s, Bruno Gröning was famous. Thousands flocked to the "Miracle Doctor" hoping that he would heal them with the power of his faith. However, just five years later, Bruno's mythos was already beginning to break down and he was beleaguered by scandals from all quarters. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-06-23
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?Circle of Friends? Pt. 1: Bruno Gröning

In 1949, faith healer Bruno Gröning was thrust into the limelight after German newspapers reported he had cured a young boy of muscular dystrophy. However, with fame came increased scrutiny from the legal authorities... Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-06-16
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?Conscious Development of Body, Mind and Soul? Pt. 2: Terri Hoffman

As the 1980s began, Terri Hoffman and her followers seemed to be flying high. But after several people associated with Terri suffered mysterious deaths, her organization faced accusations of brainwashing, theft, and murder. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-06-09
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?Conscious Development of Body, Mind and Soul? Pt. 1: Terri Hoffman

In the 1970s, Terri Hoffman went from high school drop-out to leading New Age mystic. Her Dallas-based organization, the Conscious Development of Body, Mind, and Soul, targeted affluent residents?and their wallets. But as her influence grew, so did suspicions about her shady practices. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-06-02
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?Christian Catholic Apostolic Church? Pt. 2: John Alexander Dowie

In June of 1888, John Alexander Dowie moved his family to the United States to found the holy city of Zion. He envisioned the Illinois town as a paradise, but soon his immense wealth clouded his judgment, and Dowie came crashing down to Earth. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-05-26
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?Christian Catholic Apostolic Church? Pt. 1: John Alexander Dowie

His drive for independence eventually led him to create a spiritual movement all of his own in the late 1800s. After founding the Divine Healing Association, John Alexander Dowie went from a discontented minister to a leading figure in Australia?s faith healer movement. But money and success would eventually be his downfall. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-05-19
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?Endeavor Academy? Chuck Anderson

Founded by Charles ?Chuck? Anderson in the Wisconsin Dells in 1992, Endeavor Academy was a religious group claiming to be able to lead its students to enlightenment. But as Endeavor?s public profile grew, so did the controversy surrounding it?with allegations of abuse that some claim drove multiple members to suicide. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-05-12
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?The Rama Cult? Frederick P. Lenz

Founded by software guru Frederick Lenz in 1981, the Rama Cult operated in the Los Angeles and Tri State areas until 1998. Lenz referred to himself as "Rama," and claimed to be able to lead his acolytes to wealth and enlightenment?but has been accused of psychologically manipulating those who trusted him most. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-05-05
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?Access Consciousness? Gary Douglas

Founded by Gary Douglas in the 1990s, ?Access Consciousness? went from a mystical meditation clinic to an international media empire. This movement attracted tens of thousands of followers a year, and eventually earned Gary an estimated net worth of $1.5 million dollars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020-05-02
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