Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

FALSE PROPHET: THE AUM CULT OF TERROR

A New Age

Hideo Murai
Hideo Murai
It would be easy to dismiss the Aum cult as one that preyed only on the simple minded. Of course, there were many followers who could be considered impressionable and many others who were simply looking for an alternative to the high-pressured work ethic that had became an integral part of life in modern Japan. Many students dedicated their life to Aum and, after joining, regaled their friends with stories of miraculous occurrences amidst a life of peace and harmony. Some highly talented young men and women responded to the call, lured by the promise of events that bordered on the supernatural.

Hideo Murai was one such convert. A brilliant astrophysicist, Murai had turned his back on the corporate world after reading an Aum leaflet in a public library. Hideo was a small, quiet man seemingly incapable of a single violent thought. However after meeting Asahara, he became caught up in his new masters apocalyptic vision and was destined to become Aums chief scientist and the architect of the terror that Aum was about to unleash on the world.

Masami Tsuchiya
Masami Tsuchiya
Many others followed. Seiichi Endo, had been studying at Kyoto University when he first heard of Aum. A genetic engineer with a Ph.D. in molecular biology, his time had been devoted mainly to conducting medical experiments in the Viral Research Centre within the university medical school.

Masami Tsuchiya walked away from a brilliant career in organic chemistry to join the cult, and Fumihiro Joyu had received an advanced degree in telecommunications. He was at the beginning of what was considered a great opportunity for any young scientist, researching and developing artificial intelligence for the National Space Development Agency. Sadly, lured by the magic of Aum, he quit after only two weeks on the job.

PSI headgear
PSI headgear
One of Hideo Murais first inventions was a cloth cap fitted with a web of tiny electrodes called the Perfect Salvation Initiation. The cap sent bursts of electrical energy into the scalp that, according to Murai, would "stimulate the brain and synchronize the brain waves with those of the master." The caps, powered by six-volt batteries, were mass-produced and given free to all full-time followers. Others could rent one for only $7000 a month or purchase their own for $70,000. Murais bizarre invention sold well, raking in millions of dollars for the cause.

The Astral Teleporter followed. The device was a system of wires that were connected to Asaharas meditation mat to "record the vibrations of the masters mantras." The resulting vibrations were then pulsed through the mats of the followers so that they could, "clean their astral dimensions through the masters mantric vibrations."

With many talented scientists and physicians joining the cult, Asahara  planned to create an Astral Hospital and Cosmic Science Institute. The hospital was to be the first that, "incorporated medicine from a higher dimension." The science institute was to become responsible for such things as the newer version of the original blood initiation ceremony. DNA was "extracted" from the masters blood, which already had "magical properties" and, when ingested, would result in the recipient gaining an even higher level of enlightenment and amazing "supernatural powers." The cost of such a treatment? Why, $7,000, of course. Asahara was elated -- his new band of scientists had transformed his original "miracle cures" into a new high-tech industry.

The euphoria was short lived because, beneath the surface of Asaharas god-like demeanor, burned the ever present desire to strike out at the world that had originally rejected and ridiculed him.

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