Cults

Cults Podcast

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.

“The House of David” Pt. 2: Benjamin Purnell
In the 1920s, the House of David baseball team was taking the nation by storm with their entertaining style of play. However, there was more to the group than just their athletic abilities. They were members of a cult led by a man named Benjamin Purnell, and he was harboring some very dark secrets....

Cults Bites: Psychological Manipulation
In addition to new episodes of Cults each week, you’ll now also hear Crime Bites every Friday. Each Crime Bites episode gives you a deeper, yet brief look into true-crime topics covered at Parcast. Today we explore the idea of Psychological Manipulation—the tactics criminals use to deceive, coerce, and exert control over their victims. We'll dive into clips from shows across the Parcast Network, and discuss how these methods work, and most importantly, their dangerous consequences....

“The House of David” Pt. 1: Benjamin Purnell
Benjamin Purnell arrived in Benton Harbor, Michigan in 1913, claiming to be the seventh and final messenger of God. He planned to build a compound for his followers to wait for the end of the world, but he had an enigmatic past, where he learned to abuse the power he was given....


Listen First! SECRET SOCIETIES, A Parcast Original Series!
They’ve been around for thousands of years…orchestrating some of history’s most controversial events. And if not for their radical actions, you may never have even known they existed. Every Thursday, take a journey through hidden passageways and become a member of Parcast’s diabolical series, SECRET SOCIETIES. Each society is explored in 2 episodes—exposing the people and context responsible for its founding, and analyzing the psychology behind their beliefs. Enjoy this exclusive clip from the first episod...

“The Virtual Reptilian Cult”: Sherry Shriner
Sherry Shriner believed Satan disguised himself as Jesus and subsequently tricked the world into praising him. So she became the virtual leader of an online Reptilian ET Cult that believed demonic, alien reptiles were sent by Satan to take over the world....

Best of 2019: “The Source Family” Pt. 2: James Baker
Here’s one of our listeners’ most requested episodes of 2019: When the cult moved to Hawaii, James Baker never expected his penniless followers to find him. But once it became clear that they were willing to follow to the bitter end, he began planning a dramatic exit of epic proportions....


Best of 2019: “The Source Family” Pt. 1: James Baker
Here’s one of our listeners’ most requested episodes of 2019: When James Baker started his health food restaurant on the Sunset Strip in the 1970s, he had no intention of creating a spiritual commune. But opportunity knocked, and soon, he was the leader of a yoga-based cult in Hollywood Hills that launched Baker to wealth and fame....

Jeffrey Dahmer Special Pt. 3
Parcast Exclusive! DAHMER: A SERIAL KILLERS 3-PART SPECIAL While on probation after an early release from prison in March of 1990, Jeffrey Dahmer continued his wave of sadistic violence. A chance event would finally lead to his arrest, and a media spectacle would bring Dahmer to the masses....

Jeffrey Dahmer Special Pt. 2
Parcast Exclusive! DAHMER: A SERIAL KILLERS 3-PART SPECIAL It was a murderous rampage that could have possibly been stopped. Although Jeffrey Dahmer failed numerous times to turn his life around, his multi-year killing spree also went ignored by his family, neighbors, sentencing judges, and court-appointed therapists....


Jeffrey Dahmer Special Pt. 1
Parcast Exclusive! DAHMER: A SERIAL KILLERS 3-PART SPECIAL You know the name, but do you know the whole story? Jeffrey Dahmer—one of history’s most notorious serial killers, and our most requested episode, is now the subject of an exclusive 3-part special event. You can now listen to all 3 episodes within SERIAL KILLERS, and all of Parcast’s true-crime related feeds. He was one of the most infamous serial killers of the 20th century, murdering 17 young men between 1978 and 1991 through a variety of cruel ...

"Fountain of the World” Pt. 2: Krishna Venta
In the late 1940s, the eccentric Krishna Venta founded the Fountain of the World and claimed to be the embodiment of Christ. However, he had an apocalyptic warning. The world was going to end in 1965, and only his chosen followers would survive....

Only on Spotify! FAMOUS FATES, A Parcast Limited Series!
Discover the stories of incredible people whose grandiose lives were matched only by their shocking demise in Parcast’s new limited series, FAMOUS FATES. With 5 episodes released every Wednesday, each group will center around a common theme, such as Hollywood Icons, Influential Women, Music Legends, and more.  Check out this exclusive clip chronicling the impact of larger-than-life Hollywood icon, John Candy. To finish this episode, subscribe to FAMOUS FATES, free and only on Spotify....


“Fountain of the World” Pt. 1: Krishna Venta
As a wandering lecturer who opened up a religious compound in the San Fernando Valley in 1949, Krishna Venta claimed to be from a mythical valley in India. He preached about love and knowing oneself, but was hiding a secret past....

“Colonia Dignidad”: Paul Schäfer
When former Nazi serviceman Paul Schäfer fled Germany in 1961, he founded a rural community called Colonia Dignidad in Southern Chile. But the community’s bucolic appearance hid a culture of torture, murder, and pedophilia....

Listen First! SPORTS CRIMINALS, A Parcast Original Series!
They’re sport’s greatest heroes… displaying superhuman-like abilities to overcome intense pressure. But when it comes to the downfalls of fame, money, and ego—they’re far more human than super. Every Thursday, Parcast’s original series SPORTS CRIMINALS keeps score on the darker side of sports. Each episode chronicles the meteoric rise and fall of some of sport’s biggest names. Enjoy this exclusive clip from the first of two captivating episodes on disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding. To finish this episo...


“Lev Tahor” Pt. 2: Shlomo Helbrans
In the 1990s and 2000s, Rabbi Shlomo Helbrans and the Lev Tahor preyed on impressionable youths. The ultra-orthodox Jewish community was known to use brainwashing tactics on its followers, and would be accused of heinous crimes such as kidnappings and child abuse....

Listen First! DOG TALES, A Parcast Original Series!
They’re four-legged, full of love and often times more like family than their nickname suggests. Parcast’s endearing original series, DOG TALES, tells the true stories of heroic canines that have gone above and beyond their “best friend” duties. Every Monday, embark on a new journey of courage, service and unwavering sacrifice by our most loyal companions. Enjoy this exclusive clip from the first episode on Buddy the German Shepherd—America’s first seeing-eye guide dog. To finish this episode, subscribe to...

“Lev Tahor” Pt. 1: Shlomo Helbrans
Charming, electric, and persuasive are just some of the ways people described Rabbi Shlomo Helbrans. As the leader of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in the 1990s and 2000s, he was known for brainwashing his followers, leading them to commit shocking crimes....


“The International Churches of Christ” Pt. 2: Kip McKean
While the church became notorious for its aggressive recruiting practices through the 80s and 90s, it also experienced incredible growth—eventually reaching Los Angeles. However, Kip McKean’s hubris—and sins—would eventually lead to his downfall....

Par for the Crime: POLITICAL SCANDALS, A Parcast Original Series!
Every Tuesday leading up to the 2020 election, POLITICAL SCANDALS counts down the 52 most controversial events in American history—uncovering the crimes and deceptions by some of our most infamous elected officials. And now you can hear a special clip from the first episode on the cutthroat circumstances surrounding the election of 1800. To finish this episode, subscribe to POLITICAL SCANDALS free on Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts!...


Listen First! VILLAINS, A Parcast Original Series!
Bad guys. Black hats. Evildoers. They are the bane of every hero’s existence…and the subject of Parcast’s dastardly new original series, VILLAINS. Every Friday, VILLAINS dissects the greatest foils from history and fiction—uncovering origins, analyzing impacts, and exploring the complexity of character and motive.  In this clip, we explore the creation of an iconic, modern-day psychopath of the silver screen—Anton Chigurh from No Country for Old Men. To finish this episode, subscribe to VILLAINS free on Sp...

“New Forest Coven” Pt. 2: Gerald Gardner
Witness the growing pains Wicca went through as it transitioned from a small secret society to a global religion, and explore the fallout from Gerald Gardner’s decision to speak publicly about their practices in 1954. Learn about Wicca’s evolution over the years—and whether it simply adapted to a changing world, or sold out everything that made it special....

"The New Forest Coven" Pt. 1: Gerald Gardner
September 1939: Occultist Gerald Gardner makes contact with what he believes to be a remnant of the long rumored "Witch-Cult." His experience with The New Forest Coven would reshape his understanding of paganism, and inspire him to chart a new course for his life....



“Tensegrity” Pt. 2 - Carlos Castaneda
After he was publicly humiliated when his memoirs were exposed as a hoax, Castaneda retreated into seclusion. But he brought with him a few dozen committed followers, who were sexual slaves and unquestioning adherents. Although he predicted that he was immortal, Castaneda's fatal cancer diagnosis rocked his followers to the bone: resulting in even more untimely deaths....

All Cults Episodes Now Available!
Thank you for being a loyal listener! We’re excited to announce all Parcast Network episodes older than 6 months are now available for free on Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts....

“Tensegrity” - Carlos Castaneda
In 1960, anthropology student Carlos Castaneda followed a Native American Yaqui guide into the desert. There, he received a divine revelation about the subjective nature of reality - a revelation Castaneda could only share by exerting extreme levels of control over every student he encountered....


All Cults Episodes Now Available!
Thank you for being a loyal listener! We’re excited to announce all Parcast Network episodes older than 6 months are now available for free on Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts....

“The Fall River Cult” Pt. 2 - Robin Murphy
Members of the Fall River Satanic cult were suspects in the murder of a young woman in 1979, but detectives couldn't find anyone who was willing to testify against them. Then, as the investigation continued, another body was found. The leaders of the Cult, Carl Drew and Robin Murphy, were escalating their violence and disturbing rituals at a shocking pace....

E103: “The Fall River Cult” Pt. 2 - Robin Murphy
Members of the Fall River Satanic cult were suspects in the murder of a young woman in 1979, but detectives couldn't find anyone who was willing to testify against them. Then, as the investigation continued, another body was found. The leaders of the Cult, Carl Drew and Robin Murphy, were escalating their violence and disturbing rituals at a shocking pace....


“The Fall River Cult” - Robin Murphy
In 1979, biker and pimp Carl Drew joined sex worker Robin Murphy to create a Satanic cult in Fall River Massachusetts. Though some claimed the weekly meetings were harmless, the cult was soon implicated in the murder of a young woman....

Introducing: HOROSCOPE TODAY, a new Parcast Original!
Ever wonder how the stars correlate with our emotional blueprint? Gain insight in just three minutes with daily episodes that will help you navigate your day. Twelve signs, twelve podcasts. Delivering your destiny, daily.Find your daily briefing by searching the name of your sign, followed by “today,” or by visiting parcast.com/signs....

“Church of the First Born of the Lamb of God” Pt. 2 - Ervil LeBaron
In the 1970s, Ervil Lebaron broke with his brother’s church to form his own polygamous fundamentalist sect known as the Lambs of God. By reinstating the religious doctrine of Blood Atonement, Ervil compelled his followers to murder dozens of his opponents and family members in his name....


“Church of the First Born of the Lamb of God” - Ervil LeBaron
In 1971, Ervil LeBaron received a revelation from God: he had inherited the mantle of Joseph Smith, and was destined to rule over God’s Kingdom on earth. There was just one problem: Ervil’s older brother Joel just had the same revelation about himself.  Parcasters - Which UFO sighting kicked off the alien craze? It wasn’t Roswell! Subscribe to Extraterrestrial today to learn about the close encounter that started it all, the Mount Rainier flying saucer sighting. Search for Extraterrestrial on Spotify to lis...

“Symbionese Liberation Army” Pt. 2 - Donald DeFreeze
From within the confines of the Vacaville prison medical center, Donald DeFreeze started recruiting young, idealistic Berkeley radicals for his leftist political cult. The US needed to change. And radical change, DeFreeze knew, demanded radical action. He was willing to do whatever it took to wake Americans up to the revolution, whether that meant murder, theft, or the kidnapping of a newspaper heiress.  Sponsors! Modsy - Go to Modsy.com, start a design project, and use code CULTS to get 20% off....

Introducing: TODAY IN TRUE CRIME, a new Parcast Original!
Crime never takes a day off, and neither do we. In our new podcast, TODAY IN TRUE CRIME, every day, we flip back the calendar and examine a true crime event from the same date years ago.In this clip, we look back at August 19th, 1970, when John Norman Collins was convicted of the murder of 21-year-old Karen Sue Beineman. Subscribe to TODAY IN TRUE CRIME for a new story every day!...


“Symbionese Liberation Army” - Donald DeFreeze
Donald DeFreeze was a gun-obsessed drifter throughout the 1960s. But he didn't use his guns — he had nothing to fight for. At least, not until he was radicalized and began to build a coalition to execute his plans.  Sponsors! Billie - Go to MyBillie.com/CULTS for 10% off your razor. Embrace Pet Insurance - Get your FREE quote at EmbracePetInsurance.com/ CULTS.  Native - For 20% off your first purchase, visit NativeDeodorant.com and use promo code CULTS during checkout!...

“Nation of Yaweh” Pt. 2 - Hulon Mitchell Jr.
In the early 1980s, Hulon Mitchell, Jr.'s Nation of Yahweh became a fixture in Miami's black community. However, while Hulon used his influence to reduce crime rates, he was committing atrocious abuses on his own followers. Parcasters - On today's episode of Mythology, we take on the legendary Odyssey, bringing the incredible journey to life! Subscribe to MYTHOLOGY today to hear the most notable stories in human history as you never have before....

Introducing: CON ARTISTS, a new Parcast Original!
From counterfeit goods, to fake love interests, and even major financial fraud, you will find it all in our new show. In this Parcast Original, we examine the swindlers behind the scam, and the victims manipulated by their deceit. In CON ARTISTS you will learn about the art of the hustle, and the ways you can spot a con. In this clip, we explore the massive Ponzi scheme orchestrated by fraudster Bernie Madoff. Subscribe to CON ARTISTS on Spotify or wherever you listen to Parcast to listen to the rest of thi...


“Nation of Yaweh” - Hulon Mitchell Jr.
From the moment Hulon Mitchell, Jr. was born in 1935, he was raised to think he was special.  But growing up in segregated Oklahoma, he realized that black men and women lacked the same opportunities as their white counterparts. He decided he was the black messiah, destined to lead his people to paradise -- by any means possible. Sponsors! Zola - Go to Zola.com/CULTS to build your free wedding website and get $50 toward your registry....

“The Brotherhood of Eternal Love” - John Griggs
Just before the Summer of Love, 22-year-old John Griggs discovered LSD and had an epiphany – he would serve as the Hippie Messiah and guide the world to psychedelic revolution. John set out to the beaches of Southern California where he founded a psychedelic cult and international drug ring, while blazing the trail for the recreational use of psychedelics at the height of the hippie era. Parcasters - Don’t miss all of our special Summer of ‘69 episodes by subscribing to Parcast Presents: Summer of ‘69, on S...

“The Wesson Vampire Clan” Pt. 2 - Marcus Delon Wesson
The more Marcus Wesson retreated from society, the more extreme his behavior became. He lead his family of 16 children deep into the woods, claiming it was for their own protection. But away from prying eyes, Marcus Wesson preyed on his children. Sponsors! Gabi - Gabi - Take 2 minutes and see if you can save up to $865 when you go to Gabi.com/CULTS....


E94: “The Wesson Vampire Clan” Pt. 2 - Marcus Delon Wesson
The more Marcus Wesson retreated from society, the more extreme his behavior became. He lead his family of 16 children deep into the woods, claiming it was for their own protection. But away from prying eyes, Marcus Wesson preyed on his children.Sponsors!Gabi - Gabi - Take 2 minutes and see if you can save up to $865 when you go to Gabi.com/CULTS....

“The Wesson Vampire Clan” - Marcus Delon Wesson
His version of faith, was placing himself on the same level as God and demanding his children serve him as such. But when Marcus Wesson needed more followers to control, instead of recruiting he turned to his daughters. They would grow their cult-family from within.  Sponsors! Native - For 20% off your first purchase, visit NativeDeodorant.com/CULTS and use promo code CULTS during checkout! Quip - Quip starts at just $25 and if you go to GetQuip.com/CULTS right now, you can get your first refill pack for FR...

“The Alamo Christian Foundation” Pt. 2 - Tony Alamo
Along with his wife Susan, they grew The Alamo Christian Foundation from a few dozen homeless teenagers to over 3,000 followers on sophisticated compounds around the United States. Their dreams of stardom were finally achieved, but it still wasn't enough for the power hungry Alamos.  Parcasters - Cults...UFOs...Nazis? If you don’t know about the Vril Society, you’re in for a treat! This group allegedly developed flying saucers for the Third Reich. Search for Extraterrestrials on Spotify or wherever you list...


“The Alamo Christian Foundation” - Tony Alamo
When he moved to Los Angeles in 1960, Tony Alamo was convinced that his big break as a musician was just around the corner. What he found instead was the voice of God, which commanded him to collect young and homeless followers for Jesus' return.  Parcasters - This week on The Dark Side Of we dig into the trial of Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, and the media frenzy that followed. You might think you know the story, but the truth is much darker! Available now on Spotify or wherever you listen to Parcast!...

“Lord Our Righteousness Church” Pt. 2 - Wayne Bent
In the fall of 2007, Judgement Day arrived on the Strong City compound. The world didn't end, as their Messiah had predicted, but it was still a portent of things to come.  Sponsors! Gabi - Take two minutes and see if you can save up to $865 a year on car insurance at Gabi.com/CULTS. There are NO fees, NO forms, and NO spam. Modsy - Go to Modsy.com to start a design project and use code CULTS to get 20% off.  Quip - Quip starts at just $25 and if you go to GetQuip.com/CULTS right now, you get your first ref...

“Lord Our Righteousness Church” - Wayne Bent
In the early 2000s, Wayne Bent established his following on a compound in New Mexico that he dubbed "Strong City." But their faith would be tested when Wayne revealed God's next command: he required seven young virgins to take as Wayne's wives. Sponsors! The Farmer’s Dog - Get 50% off your two week trial of fresh, healthy food at TheFarmersDog.com/CULTS. Plus, you get FREE shipping!...


“The Children of Thunder” Pt. 2 - Glenn Taylor Helzer
In July of 2001, this cult declared war on Satan and the forces of darkness. But soon, their plans unravelled around them, and five innocent people would fall victim to The Children of Thunder’s bloody war. Parcasters - This week on Extraterrestrial, we take on the mysterious Anunnaki, supposed ancient alien gods. What is their origin? What interactions have they had with our planet? Find out today at parcast.com/extraterrestrial...

Introducing: THE DARK SIDE OF, a new Parcast Original!
Hollywood is one of our most celebrated institutions, but do you know the dark shadows draped over its early years? In this new Parcast Original, we reexamine unknown and overlooked histories of society's beloved cultural touchstones. Every multi-episode series will take on a new topic, from the music industry, to sports, and even dating and romance.In this clip, we introduce the complicated story of Hollywood's founding as a religious utopia. Subscribe to THE DARK SIDE OF on Spotify or wherever you listen ...

“The Children of Thunder” - Glenn Taylor Helzer
He believed that the voice in his head, which he called "Spirit," was the voice of God. Lead by the lord, Glenn Taylor Helzer gathered his followers in the summer of 2001 to wage a war against Satan.  Parcasters - You’ve heard of Pandora’s Box, and you know you don’t want to open it. But do you know the myth behind the saying? Check out Mythology today for this anticipated episode! Available now at parcast.com/mythology...


“Church of Jesus With Signs Following” Pt. 2 - Glenn Summerford
In 1980 he quickly grew his flock through acts of extreme religious affirmation, such as handling poisonous snakes and drinking poison in front of his congregants. But was Glenn Summerford a man with a deep connection to the Lord, protected by his faith? Or a thrill-seeker, on the precipice of madness? Sponsors! The Farmer’s Dog - Get 50% off your two week trial of fresh, healthy food at TheFarmersDog.com/CULTS. Plus, you get FREE shipping!...

“Church of Jesus With Signs Following” - Glenn Summerford
He spent most of his life in a boxing ring, trying to prove his worth with his fists. But after nearly dying from an injury in the ring in 1963, Glenn Summerford committed to turning his life around and found God. Then, God started speaking to him. Through snakes. Sponsors! Omax Health - Head to OmaxHealth.com and enter code CULTS for 50% off a one month supply plus free shipping and a 60-day money-back guarantee....

"The Process Church" Pt. 2 - Mary Ann MacClean and Robert de Grimston
After fleeing from a destructive hurricane, in the late 1960s, Mary and Robert de Grimston led their followers on a nomadic journey around the US in search of more converts and the site of their new church. But the stress of constant relocation and pursuit of US immigrations drove a wedge between the couple.  Sponsors! Omax Health - OMAX is offering 60% off a one-month supply of Ultra Pure, plus free shipping and a 60-day money-back guarantee at TryOmax.com/CULTS today!...


"The Process Church" - Mary Ann MacClean and Robert de Grimston
Mary and Robert de Grimston created a flamboyant cult in 1960s London that attracted outcasts and celebrities alike. But as their communication with God sent them west, the cult soon found itself in constant danger--in the eye of a literal hurricane. Sponsors! Quip -  Quip starts at just $25 and if you go to GetQuip.com/CULTS right now, you get your first refill pack for FREE with a quip electric toothbrush....

Not Guilty, Vanessa’s new podcast!
In this new podcast, we dive into cases resulting in acquittal or exoneration, examining the crimes, trials, and verdicts that make us ask the question: what defines guilt? If you enjoy true crime, courtroom drama, and high stakes storytelling, you won’t want to miss an episode of NOT GUILTY. Subscribe today on Spotify, or wherever you get your shows!In this clip we introduce the unsolved murder of Bonnie Lee Bakley, and the suspicious actions of her husband, actor Robert Blake....

“The Blackburn Cult” Pt. 2 - May Otis Blackburn
In 1925 Willa had been dead for months, and yet she wasn't laid to rest. May Blackburn laid her in a tub of ice, mummified her, and buried her beneath her floorboards in Venice, California. The end of the world was coming, and when Willa was resurrected, so would be their queen. And so the cult prepared for the coming apocalypse, over the body of the Blackburn Cult's first victim.  Sponsors! Calm - CULTS listeners get 25% off a Calm Premium subscription at Calm.com/CULTS....


“The Blackburn Cult” - May Otis Blackburn
Many actors wait tables while they're waiting for their big break; May and Ruth Blackburn started a cult. In 1920s Los Angeles, this mother-daughter duo swindled a fortune from their followers while promising them fortune and immortality.  Sponsors! Quip - Quip starts at just $25 and if you go to GetQuip.com/CULTS right now, you get your first refill pack for FREE with a quip electric toothbrush. Robinhood - Robinhood is giving listeners of Cults a FREE stock like Apple, Ford, or Sprint to help you build yo...

“Eastern Lightning” Pt. 2 - Zhao Weishan
After the cult was dogged with rumors of violent conversion tactics, the Church of the Almighty God blamed the Chinese government for the negative press. A more extreme example occurred in 2014, as the cult would be accused of the murder of a woman who refused to give the group her cellphone number for recruitment purposes. Sponsors! CBS All Access - Visit CBS.com/CULTS to watch The Twilight Zone. Redeem your FREE trial TODAY....

“Eastern Lightning” - Zhao Weishan
The Church of the Almighty God preached that Jesus Christ had been reborn and walked the Earth. She was here to save their souls before the world ended. In 1991, followers scrambled to prove how devoted they were to her before the apocalypse, even if it meant killing in her name. SPONSORS! Calm - CULTS listeners get 25% off a Calm Premium subscription at Calm.com/CULTS. CBS All Access - Visit CBS.com/UNEXPLAINED to redeem your FREE trial TODAY. Upstart - Hurry to Upstart.com/CULTS to find out HOW LOW your U...


Bonus: Greg and Vanessa revisit Jonestown
In this special crossover with Assassinations, Greg and Vanessa give insight regarding the charismatic preacher, Jim Jones, and his congregation’s move from San Francisco to the newly-constructed jungle settlement of Jonestown, Guyana in 1977. The move was intended to keep the Peoples Temple far away from the prying eyes of the U.S. government and media, who'd been looking into Jones' abuses and financial crimes....

“The Source Family” Pt. 2 - James Baker
When the cult moved to Hawaii, James Baker never expected his penniless followers to find him. But once it became clear that they were willing to follow to the bitter end, he began planning a dramatic exit of epic proportions. Sponsors! CBS All Access - Visit CBS.com/CULTS to redeem your FREE trial TODAY and watch the new Twilight Zone exclusively on CBS All Access. Quip - Quip starts at just $25 and if you go to GetQuip.com/CULTS right now, you get your first refill pack for FREE with a Quip electric tooth...

SURVIVAL, a new Parcast podcast!
This high intensity Parcast Original series features incredible stories of defying certain death and overcoming insurmountable obstacles, while taking you along for a fast paced thrill ride. To hear the rest of this episode, subscribe to SURVIVAL on Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts! Thank you for all of your support!...


“The Source Family” - James Baker
When James Baker started his health food restaurant on the Sunset Strip in the 1970s, he had no intention of creating a spiritual commune. But opportunity knocked, and soon, he was the leader of a yoga-based cult in Hollywood Hills that launched Baker to wealth and fame. When the cult came under scrutiny, Baker ran. And to his surprise, his people followed.  Sponsors! CBS All Access - Visit CBS.com/CULTS to redeem your FREE trial of CBS All Access. Robinhood - Robinhood is giving listeners of Cults a FREE s...

“New Vrindaban” Pt. 2 - Kirtanananda Swami
For roughly 15 years, this guru was a beloved spiritual leader with hopes of opening a worship oriented theme park. In 1985, everything changed when a vicious attack resulted in a head injury, coma, and ultimately a sinister personality change. He started using brutal tactics to keep his followers in line, including violence, espionage, and his own personal hitman.  Sponsors! Calm - CULTS listeners get 25% off a Calm Premium subscription at Calm.com/CULTS....

“New Vrindaban” - Kirtanananda Swami
For 26 years, he was the guru and leader of the New Vrindaban cult in West Virginia. Kirtanananda Swami would turn this vacant land into a 1200-acre sanctuary for all faiths complete with an enormous gold palace. What seemed like an idyllic paradise, was actually just a plot to steal member’s money. Swami was successful in swindling $10.5 million in just four years.  Parcasters - To learn about an iconic event in American history, check out our our new episode on John McCain on HOSTAGE, wherever you get you...


“The Workers' Institute” Pt. 2 - Aravindan Balakrishnan
By the 1970s, Comrade Bala's small collective had gone completely underground. His followers lived in constant fear of advanced Chinese technology capable of reading their thoughts, and killing them at any moment. Amidst the chaos, Comrade Bala fathered a child who would spend the first 20 years of her life in his strange home, a slave to the Maoist Collective. But when she finally escaped, she would be his downfall....

“The Workers' Institute” - Aravindan Balakrishnan
His communist cult was started in 1974 in hopes of convincing working class citizens of England to rise up against their capitalist overlords and join forces with communist China. After two "members" escaped in 2013, it was revealed Aravindan Balakrishnan was enslaving women in the basement of his London flat. One woman born into the cult never had contact with the outside world before her release. Parcasters - For more stories about captivity and thrilling escape, check out HOSTAGE. This week, we’re coveri...

“The Sons of Freedom” - Peter V. Verigin
This Cult’s beliefs often steered members to protest against the Canadian government. Due to their lack of regard for laws and public policy, officials began rounding up Freedomite children between 1953 and 1959. Two hundred children were brought to a compound called “New Denver” where they were imprisoned in a filthy, overcrowded institution and would suffer lifelong effects.  Sponsors! Torrid - Go to Torrid.com and use Promo Code CULTS15 for $15 off every $50 you spend! That means you can get up to $150 o...


“River Road Fellowship” Pt. 2 - Victor Arden Barnard
Reigning over Shepherd’s Camp throughout the 1990s, Victor Barnard was the king of his own Eden. As he becomes more and more abusive to his followers, one of them begins plotting his demise. When she finally strikes, she will prove to be a cunning viper that finally exiles Barnard from paradise. Sponsors! Upstart - Hurry to Upstart.com/CULTS to find out how low your Upstart rate is! Checking your rate only takes 2 minutes—and won’t affect your credit!...

“River Road Fellowship” - Victor Arden Barnard
After spending years indoctrinated in the Way International, Victor Barnard started his own cult in the early 1990s and moved off the grid to an isolated campground in Minnesota. With the blessings of their parents, he married a dozen pre-teen and teenage girls. One of these women would later speak out against the abuse she suffered and fight to bring about his downfall.  Parcasters - After this episode of Cults, check out our new show Extraterrestrial and learn about the abduction of Barney and Betty Hill....

Extraterrestrial: Hill Abduction Pt. 1 - a new PARCAST show!
We hope you are excited as we are for this sneak peek episode of our new podcast, Extraterrestrial where we try to answer the question: are we really alone? If you enjoyed this preview and want to listen to the second half of the episode, search and subscribe to EXTRATERRESTRIAL wherever you listen to podcasts now to continue listening!...


“Fellowship of Friends” Pt. 2 - Robert Earl Burton
This alleged cult’s vineyard has produced wines that were served at former President Ronald Reagan’s birthday party, and other illustrious restaurants in the pacific northwest. Robert Earl Burton used elements of mysticism to lure vulnerable followers to his group, but his shaky past threatens their future. Parcasters - After this episode of Cults, race over to Hostage to hear about the incredible story of Shergar, a derby winning horse ransomed by IRA freedom fighters. Listen now at parcast.com/hostage...

“Fellowship of Friends” - Robert Earl Burton
In 1970, his fellowship began with just two members huddled around a dining room table in Northern California. But within a few short years, Burton’s influence would reach across the globe, preparing thousands of members for an apocalypse. And while their eyes were turned towards the heavens, he stole their children behind their backs. Sponsors! Quip - Quip starts at just $25 and if you go to GetQuip.com/CULTS right now, you can get your first refill pack for FREE. Torrid - Go to Torrid.com and use Promo Co...

“Kashi Ashram” Pt. 2 - Joyce Green
What started as a mission preaching tolerance and empathy, quickly turned sour when rumors of drug abuse and financial impropriety started to swirl. The majority of what we know about Kashi Ashram surfaced during a bitter divorce between the ex-public relations director of the group, and his wife, who was serving as a monk in the group.  Parcast News - Be sure to check out Parcast’s first fictional crime show MIND’S EYE at Parcast.com/MindsEye! Sponsors! Calming Comfort - Go to CalmingComfortBlanket.com and...


MIND’S EYE, Parcast’s First Psychological Thriller!
We have a holiday gift for you… Parcast’s first fictional crime show AD-FREE! In Mind’s Eye, a serial killer is back and homicide detective Kate McClay fights against psychology, unsolved crimes, and even her own family... The scariest monsters are those hiding inside our own minds. Continue the story of Mind’s Eye NOW by listening to the next episode - “Lost Forever.” Search and subscribe to MIND’S EYE anywhere you listen to podcasts, or at Parcast.com/mindseye. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit mega...

“Kashi Ashram” - Joyce Green
What do Julia Roberts, Ivanka Trump, and Arlo Guthrie all have in common? They were all financial backers of the charismatic housewife turned cult leader, Joyce Green. She founded Kashi Ashram in 1976 in Sebastian, Florida and began community service projects to help the LGBT and HIV-positive communities. Controversy would eventually strain Kashi Ashram, turning some of Joyce’s closest allies against her. Sponsors! Calming Comfort - Go to CalmingComfortBlanket.com and use Promo Code CULTS at checkout to rec...

"Freemasonry" Pt. 2 - The cult that built America
Masonic ideals helped shape one of the most powerful nations in the world. The Declaration of Independence was signed by at least nine Freemasons. Yet, the secret society has long been associated with political controversy, witchcraft, and even murder.  If you liked this episode, leave us a nice review! It really helps new listeners find the podcast! Sponsors! Audible - For a limited time, you can get 3 months of Audible for just $6.95 a month if you go to Audible.com/CULTS or text CULTS to 500 500.  Caffé ...


"Freemasonry" - The cult that built America
One of the oldest secret organizations in the world that dates back to centuries.  The movements developed by the Freemasons changed the course of history. Originally founded as a working union, it evolved into one of the most exclusive international clubs controlling world politics.  Sponsors! Caffé Monster - Available in Mocha, Vanilla and Salted Caramel. Caffé Monster: Chill it down, Shake it up, Enjoy! Kopari - Go to KopariBeauty.com/CULTS to make the safe switch today, and save $5 off your first order ...

“The Way International” Pt. 2 - Victor Paul Wierwille
A disgruntled pastor of the Evangelical and Reformed Church creates his own religious group in 1942 after claiming he received Biblical secrets dating back from the First Century AD. By 1980, The Way International was one of the largest and wealthiest cults on Earth. Despite it’s tremendous growth, Victor Paul Wierwille’s paranoia and institutionalized methods of control ultimately led to the cult’s demise. New Shows! Parcast Network - Don’t forget to rate, review, and subscribe to our new podcast Assassina...

“The Way International” - Victor Paul Wierwille
After creating a live radio show in 1942 to broadcast his sermons, an out-of-work preacher from Ohio was quickly throw into the spotlight of an international spiritual movement. Through his hypnotic Power for Abundant Living (PFAL) course, Wierwille bought the Way International to a large farm in Ohio during a time of revolution in the 1960s. “The Teacher” appeared to be devoted to God, but actually wanted sex, money, and control. Sponsors! Caffé Monster - Available in Mocha, Vanilla, and Salted Caramel! Ca...


JFK Pt.1 – Assassinations, A new Parcast Podcast!
Hi Cults fans! We hope you enjoy this AD FREE sneak peak episode  of our new podcast, Assassinations, where we examine history’s most dramatic deaths. If you enjoy this episode and want to listen to part two right now, subscribe to ASSASSINATIONS wherever you listen to podcasts!"Loner. Drop out. Marine. Defector. Husband. Father. Lee Harvey Oswald was all of these things, but on November 22 1963, he came to only be known as the man who killed President John F. Kennedy."...

“Church of Satan” Pt. 2 - Anton LaVey
The rapid rise to power and fame went to Lavey’s head resulting in followers abandoning him and a loss of control over the Church. How did the Church of Satan fare after his death in 2001? The results will surprise you.  Sponsors! Calming Comfort - Go to CalmingComfortBlanket.com and use Promo Code “CULTS” at checkout to receive 15% off the displayed price. Kopari - Go to KopariBeauty.com/CULTS to save $5 off your first order when you subscribe!...

“Church of Satan” - Anton LaVey
He is known as the real-life incarnation of the devil and would be responsible for spreading satanism into the mainstream during the 60s and 70s. Anton LaVey would go on to publish the first Satanic Bible which continues to influence people all over the world today.  Sponsors! Caffé Monster - Available in Mocha, Vanilla, and Salted Caramel. Chill it down, Shake it up, Enjoy! SimpliSafe - If you’re interested in Home Security, visit SimpliSafe.com/CULTS....


The Church of the Last Testament - Sergey Anatolyevitch Torop
This traffic cop turned cult leader got his followers to believe he is the reincarnation of Jesus Christ. Sergey would go on to start the religious movement known as the Church of the Last Testament.  Subscribe now to our new podcast HOSTAGE, featuring the riveting story of Patty Hearst's abduction by the Symbionese Liberation Army. Sponsors! Kopari - Go to KopariBeauty.com/CULTS to save $5 off your first order when you subscribe!...

The Kirtland Cult Pt. 2 - Jeffrey Lundgren
Through skilled eavesdropping, Jeffrey Lundgren convinced his followers that he could read their minds. What would happen when the "murmurs" he heard indicated that some of his followers were having second thoughts? Sponsors! Caffé Monster - Available in Vanilla, Mocha, and Salted Caramel....


The Kirtland Cult - Jeffrey Lundgren
He believed that he could talk to God and that he alone could bring about Zion in Kirtland. All he had to do was gain complete control over the members of his cult. Sponsors! Netflix - Starring Dan Stevens and Michael Sheen, Apostle premieres October 12th, only on Netflix. SimpliSafe - Go today to SimpliSafe.com/CULTS....

Mankind United Pt. 2 - Arthur Bell
After being shut down by the FBI, Arthur Bell returned and established a tax-exempt church that would allow him to extort his followers for millions. As they lived in coarse conditions, Bell would live a lavish lifestyle funded by his members. Sponsors! Caffé Monster - Available in Vanilla, Mocha, and Salted Caramel. Kopari - Go to KopariBeauty.com/CULTS to make the safe switch today, and save $5 off your first order when you subscribe!...

Mankind United - Arthur Bell
Imagine only working four hours a day, four days a week, eight months a year. On the heels of the Great Depression, Arthur Bell used his charisma to convince people to follow him and join Mankind United. He promised that a group of wealthy, good people called the Sponsors would create a Utopia for anyone who joined, only the Sponsors wouldn’t offer the program until Mankind United had reached 200 million members. Then his cult spread like wildfire. Sponsors! Parcast - Sign up for the Parcast Monthly Newslet...


The Hernandez Brothers' Cult
The Hernandez Brothers Cult was founded by Santos and Cayetano Hernandez in the early 1960s in a small, northern Mexico village. What started out as a simple scam for power and money from uneducated villagers descended into blood orgies and human sacrifices after the brothers hired a sex worker to impersonate a Goddess....

Lumpa Church Pt. 2 - Alice Lenshina
By 1960, the Lumpa Church was the most influential religion in Zambia and seen as a political threat by Prime Minister Kenneth Kaunda. To avoid escalating violence, the Lumpa Church moved out of the villages to establish new settlements, but Kaunda demanded they return. When they refused, Kaunda destroyed the settlements and murdered its residents....

Lumpa Church - Alice Lenshina
After a life-changing vision turned her into a prophetess, Alice Lenshina rose from one of the minor tribal houses of Zambia to become the founder and leader of the Lumpa church, one of the most powerful organizations in the entire country. At its height, it had over 150 thousand followers, until it became too big a political threat for the government to ignore....


Sahaja Yoga Movement Pt. 2 - Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
Sahaja Yoga continues to prosper with more than 30,000 members worldwide despite allegations of child abuse, tax evasion, and harassment from ex-disciples. How has the cult managed to remain so strong and what role did the death of Shri Mataji play in that success?...

Sahaja Yoga Movement - Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi is the founder of the Sahaja Yoga Movement, a form of meditation meant to help practitioners unlock an inner awareness. She began with good intentions, as an activist in the Indian independence movement of the 1940s. As she gained a reputation for healing the sick, she grew in prominence as a spiritual leader. How did this spiritual role model turn into the leader of a cult?...

Church Universal and Triumphant Pt. 2 - Elizabeth Prophet
Elizabeth Clare Prophet was the charismatic leader of the Church Universal and Triumphant who had no problem recruiting members. Not even her incorrect prognostication that the world would end by nuclear war in March of 1990 could shake her members’ devotion. But could their faith withstand the public disillusionment and exit of the cult by her own children?...


Church Universal and Triumphant - Elizabeth Prophet
When Mark Prophet died suddenly of a stroke in 1973, Elizabeth Clare Prophet usurped his position as the leader of Summit Lighthouse, and changed its name to Church Universal and Triumphant. After several visions and messages from her masters, Elizabeth Prophet declared to her followers that the Apocalypse was approaching rapidly. Would they believe her narrative, and follow her into underground bomb shelters to avoid humankind's impending doom?...

Raëlism Pt. 2 - Claude Vorilhon
Raël recruited members through his media appearances. The more appearances he made, the more books he sold, and the more followers he got. Controversy over sexual practices at Raelian events crossed the line for some, and drove interest for others. But what would his members do when they learned of his quest to make human clones?...

Raëlism - Claude Vorilhon
While on a nature walk in his native France, 27-year old Claude Vorilhon saw a small, alien spacecraft land in front of him. A four foot tall affable humanoid named Yahweh emerged and told Vorilhon to relay the encounter to all mankind —  who will be judged for eternity based upon their reaction. But, who would believe him without any proof?...


Order of the Solar Temple Pt. 2 - Joseph Di Mambro
Joseph Di Mambro and Luc Jouret founded The Order of the Solar Temple. They told their followers that the world would end in 1995, but if they killed themselves, they would be reborn on the star Sirius. Then one night in October of 1994, 48 members of the Orders of the Solar Temple died across two continents. How were Di Mambro and Jouret able to convince so many followers to die for something they likely knew not to be true?...

Order of the Solar Temple - Joseph Di Mambro
Joseph Di Mambro was no stranger when it came to new religious movements. He had joined a few of them as a young adult, and when he decided to start his own, he had a hard time getting followers. With the help of Luc Jouret, the two founded The Order of the Solar Temple. Their goal was to unlock the secret knowledge of the universe, but it ultimately would lead to their deaths....

Leopard Society
For the past 150 years, members of the Leopard Society in West Africa dressed in leopard skins and brutally murdered over six-dozen victims. The murders were so gruesome that at first, it was speculated actual leopards caused these deaths. It was later discovered that these killings were part of a cannibalistic ritual that involving the distillation of an elixir from the boiled blood and organs of the victim....


The Narcosatanists Pt. 2 - Adolfo de Jesús Constanzo
Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo founded the Narcosatanists in Mexico City in 1985. He was able to keep his few but loyal followers by his side as he murdered victims in the name of ancient gods. But the killing of an American college student would ultimately lead to the end of the Narcosatanists and the demise of Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo....

The Narcosatanists - Adolfo de Jesús Constanzo
Adolfo de Jesús Constanzo spent his early life training in the mystical religions of Santería and Palo Mayombe. Those close to him placed no value on the lives of those who didn’t subscribe to the religions. As he got older, this philosophy would play a large part in his founding of the Narcosatanists....

The Moonies Pt. 2 - Sun Myung Moon
Sun Myung Moon's church used a well-practiced set of tactics on each prospective cult member. Once inside the cult, members fell deeper into church's doctrine. What were these tactics and what made it so difficult for members to leave?...


The Moonies - Sun Myung Moon
Sun Myung Moon was the son of farmers who converted from Confucianism to Christianity when he was about 10 years old. As he grew older, he became so devoted to his religion that he founded his first church, Kwang-Ya, in his mid-twenties. A decade later, he would found the Unification Church and develop it into a multi-billion dollar global business empire....

Oneida Community Pt. 2 - John Humphrey Noyes
John Humphrey Noyes’ Oneida Community practiced polyamory long before the free love movement of the 1960s. But his pioneering community had a darker side to it. We’ll uncover the alarming practices intended to serve the perverse sexual needs of Noyes and the community leaders, including a sexual initiation policy for young children, a eugenics program, and incest....

Welcome Trailer!
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 we take a psychological approach to analyzing a cult and its founder. Cults premieres Tuesday September 26th. Here is a sneak peak....


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We now offer our complete AD-FREE archives of episodes six months or older on Stitcher Premium! To get a free month of Stitcher Premium, go to StitcherPremium.com/PARCAST and use the promo code PARCAST....