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.
Fundamentalist Mormon cultmaster and religious psychopath Ervil LeBaron used his 13 wives, children and colleagues to murder and intimidate more than 25 people he saw as his opponents. Lebaron was even connected to the death of his daughter Rebecca, 17, who, pregnant with her second child, had hoped to leave the cult.
The Heaven’s Gate cult believed that the end of the world was tied to the Hale-Bopp comet, and committed mass suicide to gain access to the space ship they believed was hidden by the comet’s tale.
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.
On January 25, 1971, Charles Manson was convicted on seven counts of murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder, for his role in trying to start a race war with the bloody Tate and LaBianca murders.
Cult leader and self-proclaimed prophet Jeffrey Don Lundgren was born on May 3, 1950. After a life of religious confusion, Lundgren became the leader of a fanatically loyal sect. His followers were prepared to do anything for him. It all began to unravel when Lundgren demanded the sacrifice of an entire family, the Averys, some of his most ardent followers.
Cults that ripped themselves apart with torture, murder and suicide.
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.
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.”
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.