Let's Start A Cult

Let's Start A Cult

Join me (not in a cult sense), Josh Schell, as we dive into the dark and interesting world of cults! I will take you on a journey of how cults form, who their leaders are, and how they almost always come to an end.

Episodes

March 1, 2022 56 min

We did it, Fred! We finally found a cult that isn't horrible! Because today we are going to be talking about Bruno Groning and The Circle of Friends. A cult whose leader died before it formed but whose followers managed to create a worldwide cult that believes in positive thinking to heal its followers.

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In 1989, the Metropolitan Government of Tokyo officially recognized “Aum Shinrikyo” as a legitimate religious movement.

Little did they know that five years later, that same group would carry out a violent terrorist attack on the city, leaving 13 dead and a thousand others severely injured.


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In 1976, James Ellison moved to Arkansas, intending to establish a self-sustaining fundamentalist Christian commune made up of like-minded individuals who wanted nothing more than to dedicate themselves to God.

But by 1978 – a mere two years later – he and his followers had become domestic terrorists who believed in white supremacy and were willing to resort to violent means to overthrow the government of the United States.

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Cults are not always sinister. Similarly, cult leaders are not always manipulative sociopaths. Sometimes, all they need is one deluded man. August Engelhardt, born with a silver spoon, was many things, and one of them was delusional, something he shared with other cults and their leaders. You might wonder the peculiarities of Engelhardt’s delusion. It is nothing other than the obsessive yet interesting relationship he developed wit...

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For many, Tom Cruise is a good-looking actor who rose to fame after starring in blockbusters like “Top Gun,” “Mission Impossible,” and “Risky Business.”

But for Scientologists, Tom Cruise is a demigod who has become “Operating Thetan VII.” According to them, this status has allowed him to gain a wide range of superpowers, such as telekinesis, leaving his body at will, and controlling the behaviour of other living things – including ...

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Super excited to kick off 2022 with this much-anticipated cult!

The Church of Scientology may be controversial; however, its devotees have nothing but praise for its teachings. For instance, actor Tom Cruise once called it “a beautiful religion,” while fellow actor John Travolta publicly stated that it was only being criticized because it “really works well.”

For many, though, the Church of Scientology is nothing but a dangerous cu...

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When Ann Fitzgerald met a group of New Age devotees at a festival in London, she thought that she had found a set of like-minded and supportive friends. Never did she imagine that she would spend the next decade in their grip, working 16-hour shifts without being paid a single dollar.

Ann, however, was far from the group’s only victim.


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When Allen Lafferty walked into his home on the evening of July 24, 1984, he never expected to find the carpet and drapes soaked in blood. Nor did he imagine that he would be the first to find the corpses of his beloved wife and daughter.

Staring at their remains, Allen soon came to realize that those responsible for destroying his family were none other than his older brothers, whom he had looked up to all his life. 


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October 18, 2021 52 min

After graduating from Harvard University in the early 1970s, Paul Sprecher decided to head to the Big Apple, in search of exciting opportunities.

Instead, he stumbled upon a group led by an increasingly erratic authoritarian, who sought to impose his views about sex and the nuclear family on his hundreds of devotees.

Surprisingly enough, its ranks included prominent celebrities from that decade, as well as other high-profile figure...

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In‌ ‌today’s‌ ‌episode‌ ‌of‌ ‌Let’s‌ ‌Start‌ ‌a‌ ‌Cult‌ ‌we‌ ‌will‌ ‌be‌ ‌discussing Multi-Level‌ ‌Marketing‌ ‌companies ‌or‌ ‌pyramid‌ ‌schemes.‌ ‌From‌ ‌leggings‌ ‌to‌ ‌essential‌ ‌oils‌ ‌and‌ ‌kitchen‌ ‌knives,‌ ‌these‌ ‌predatory‌ ‌brands‌ ‌have‌ ‌manipulated‌ ‌countless‌ ‌individuals,‌ ‌causing‌ ‌them‌ ‌to‌ ‌destroy‌ ‌personal‌ ‌relationships‌ ‌and‌ ‌lose‌ ‌their‌ ‌life‌ ‌savings.‌ ‌ ‌

With‌ ‌tactics‌ ‌reminiscent‌ ‌of‌ ‌actual...

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The Chinese government is often criticized for its harsh policies against groups that undermine it. However, many have welcomed the measures that it has taken to repress the Church of Almighty God, due to the cult’s involvement in dozens of controversies, including riots, a stabbing at a primary school, and a vicious murder that was caught on camera.

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In today’s episode of Let’s Start a Cult – the story of Colonia Dignidad, a religious commune established on the foothills of Chile’s Andes Mountains. 

To outsiders, it seemed like a self-sustaining Christian community that strived to give back to the locals. However, it would later be revealed that it had ties to both Nazi Germany and the Pinochet government, which killed over three thousand people while a thousand more remain miss...

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The Ripper Crew, a group that terrorized Chicago with a series of abductions and horrific killings between 1981 and 1982. Later, it would be revealed that they would eat the amputated breasts of their victims as part of their sickening Satanic ritual. 

They may have committed these horrific murders but one of the cult’s members has since been released from prison. Even their leader will be eligible for parole in a few years’ time, d...

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August 10, 2021 43 min
In this episode, we are talking about an Australian New Age Group called The Family. This group forcefully adopted children and raised them on a compound in Australia.

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July 27, 2021 51 min
In this episode of Let’s Start a Cult – the story of the Children of Thunder, a trio led by a fanatic who believed that it was his mission to kill the leaders of the Mormon Church.

To carry this out, he brainwashed his younger brother and his roommate to carry out a horrific murder spree that left even the presiding judge reeling from its bloody details.

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July 13, 2021 49 min
Unlike the majority of other cults, the House of David didn’t isolate itself from the rest of the world. In fact, its members even opened their commune to visitors, welcoming up to half a million of them during peak season. They also formed their own baseball team that went on to compete with the nation’s best, making headlines across the United States and contributing significantly to how the game has evolved throughout the centur...
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Aswang are horrible shape-shifting creatures from Filipino folklore! Listen to this test episode as John gives Josh and Sean an in-depth look into these terrible creatures!

Get ready to listen weekly starting August 2nd! Subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts!

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Sources:
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https://www.movementdisorders.org/MDS/AOS-Partners/Movement-Disorder-Society-of-the-P...
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June 15, 2021 49 min
He may be long dead, but Charles Manson continues to strike fear in the hearts of many. This gaunt, unshaven man with wild eyes can be seen in dozens of photographs from the late 1960s and early 1970s – a period in American history that, interestingly enough, was marked by peace movements alongside murderous cults, serial killers, and all sorts of violence.

Perhaps no other man embodies this chaotic period than Charles Manson. In l...
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June 1, 2021 70 min
In this episode of Let’s Start a Cult – we will be talking about QAnon, a movement born from an Internet messaging board that – in the space of four years – managed to infiltrate the United States Presidency, leading to a slew of disturbing incidents.

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May 18, 2021 15 min
In today’s episode of Let’s Start A Cult we are talking NEWS! That's right we are a news channel now... Just kidding but in there has been a recent incident involving the cult Love Has Won. We will dive in and find out how a cult with such a nice name came to embalm their own leader!

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