Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Slideshow: Top ten deadliest cults

Cults that ripped themselves apart with torture, murder and suicide.

Today in Crime History: Police find the bodies of the Avery family

On January 3, 1990, following a tip, police searchers found the bodies of the missing Avery family. They quickly made the connection to cult leader Jeffrey Lundgren, who claimed his authority came from God, but who embraced acts of violence and sexual assault that culminated the murders of five of his followers, two adults and three children.

Today in Crime History: The Jonestown Massacre

First came the reports out of Guyana were on November 18, 1978, that Congressman Leo Ryan and four members of his party were dead. Later, came the grisly discovery of the largest mass suicide of the 20th Century. The Reverend Jim Jones led his flock commit suicide in a way that forever changed our notion of what it means to “drink the Kool Aid.”

Today in Crime History: Police Obtain a Warrant to Arrest Roch Thériault

Roch Thériault’s cult began as a health clinic that shunned modern medicine and disintegrated into a violent horrorshow that went unnoticed until a severely injured member escaped and told authorities of the deaths and mutilations that occurred. On August 19, 1989, police arrived at his cabin to arrest him, but Thériault was nowhere to be found.

Children of Thunder, the Helzer Brothers

Glenn and Justin Helzer, two seemingly nice Mormon boys, became bored with good, embraced evil, started a cult and used murder to fund their exploits.

VIDEO: Family International Cult Members Sing Ode to ‘Dad’

Family International, previously known as Children of God and Family of Love, has always branded itself as the “cool” cult in order to recruit young people attracted to counterculture. Seen here is a music video produced by Family International in which female adherents sing an ode to their ‘Dad,’ cult founder and leader David Berg. Berg died in 1994 but the cult continues to operate in his legacy.

LISTEN: The Jonestown Death Tape

On November 18, 1978, over 900 members of the People’s Temple Agricultural Project committed suicide by ingesting Kool-Aid poisoned with cyanide. Before the mass suicide, cult leader Jim Jones addressed his followers. This recording, known as FBI File No. Q042, captures Jones’s speech and the final moments of hundreds of people who took their own lives and the lives of their children at the Jonestown settlement in Guyana.

Inside the Heaven’s Gate Cult

The followers of have decided that the world would end on May 21, 2011. They are not the first to try to predict the end. The Heaven’s Gate cult believed that the end was tied to the Hale-Bopp comet and committed mass suicide to gain access to the space ship they believed was following it.

Incest, Control and Murder: Inside the Family of Marcus Wesson

Marcus Wesson ran his family like a cult. He had children with his daughters and preached a religion he created, one in which he was a Jesus Vampire. After a standoff, police found nine of the children dead.

Today in Crime History: Killer Cult Leader Jeffrey Don Lundgren is Born

Self-proclaimed prophet and cult leader Jeffrey Don Lundgren was born on May 3, 1950. After a life of religious confusion, Lundgren became the leader of a fanatically loyal sect. One day, he decided that a family of his most ardent followers, the Averys, was to be killed for sacrifice.