Beautiful people: Brian Oblivion and Madeline Follin
The most beautiful things are pretty but also flawed at the same time. In this way our music is reflective of the cults that inspire us. Where our music is upbeat and uplifting there lies beneath heart breaking lyrics and quotes from notorious cult leaders; from ugly people saying beautiful things. It’s this contradiction that is the source of our fascination with cults. It’s intrinsic to their allure. So here are the top five cults, by Cults...
No one personifies the meeting of the beautiful with the sinister better than old Charlie Manson. He was living it up in California with all the beautiful people, friends with pop stars, flocks of women by his side. During 1969 and over the course of ‘The Summer of Love,’ he established himself as a guru and gathered troops of enthusiasts all of whom were entranced by his charisma, charm and artistic hippy lifestyle.
The reality is that he was a lifelong criminal, in and out of prison his whole youth and a total maniac. “Peace and love,” evolved to become violence and paranoia, culminating in the pre-meditated murder of pregnant wife of Roman Polanski, Sharon Tate amongst others.
Patty Hearst is also an interesting case. She came from a very wealthy background; she was a socialite and an actress, the embodiment of glitz and glamour. Things all descended when she was kidnapped from her home in 1974 by the Symbionese Liberation Army, an American radical left-wing militant group at the age of 19. The twist here lies in the fact that Hearst ultimately became sympathetic to the cause of her captors. She ceased to be a victim and shockingly, she joined them. This lead to her participation in a variety of illegal activity including armed bank robbery. She’s probably the most referenced example of victims of The Stockholm Syndrome.
The case of Jim Jones is also an interesting one. He was the founder and leader of the Peoples Temple which made gruesome history when more than 909 members committed suicide / were murdered on mass (depending how you look at it,) in 1978 in Jonestown, Guyana. Jim did a lot for black integration in his home state of Indianapolis in the 60s which was almost unheard of for a white man at this time. Together with his wife Marceline he started what he called a “rainbow family,” adopting children from Korea, a Native American child and a black child. This was pretty groundbreaking. He traveled a lot and worked with the poor and impoverished in South America. At the same time though, he was a fervent communist, a drug addict and an apocalyptic paranoiac. Jonestown was meant to be a “social paradise,” instead it became the site of the greatest single loss of American civilian life (in a non-natural disaster) until 9/11. 303 of those that died were kids.
Scientology is a topical one. You can’t deny its stronghold over the world right now. Science Fiction writer L.Ron Hubbard’s created a religion based on the concept that “Thetans” from outer space have captured the human psyche and need to be dismissed through intense therapy sessions. Unsurprisingly there have been tales by ex-members of mind control, criminal acts and financial destruction and yet you still have all of these high profile followers. It’s an explicit contemporary example of the hypnotic quality that cults have. Charlie Manson was a Scientologist...that says it all.
CHILDREN OF GOD
Children of God was SERIOUSLY twisted. Driven by the idea that sex with children was just and right, founder David Bird’s mission was to convert female followers into prostitutes and use sex to bring seduce men into the “Family ” there was even a fixed term for this kind of sexual enticement which they called “flirty fishing.” Again Berg was obsessed with the notion of the apocalypse which he used to manipulate members. He was undeniably evil but also a powerful and charismatic orator who was able to gain many followers including River Phoenix.