I've always liked to read essays on my favourite topics and after a horrible Saturday where plenty of disgraces and troubles occurred to me, I took a one-day hiatus from all the rest and spent it devouring the 215 pages of this book, analyzing the most popular mass murderers sects' leaders from the 60s to the end of the 20th century.
They're all located in the USA, Canada and Switzerland and they depict the genesis, the proselytism, the apex, the isolation to establish their headquarters, the lies and the physical and psychological violence, and the fatal decline of these sects, mostly religious, some with New Age and homeopathic taints, others with white supremacy creeds, all based on brainwashing, profits on the fools (also educated people) ready to give their assets, forces, freedom, sex and lives to the leaders and the elite of these sects.
The sects' leaders died after police and SWAT raids or ended up in jail and still someone talks well about them and believes in them. They were all psychopathic, megalomaniac and smart men who failed in their studies, jobs, marriages and they used every possible lie, trick and violence to seduce or intimidate enemies, betrayers and dissidents; some of them were antisocial, others had powerful communicative skills, knew marketing bases, understood which way the wind was blowing and intercepted people's needs and requests, exploiting their emotions and using them for their financial, sexual or ego purposes.
They were all murderers, with the exception of Charles Manson, who is indirectly responsible for a number of killings and an array of thefts, robberies, drug pushing, illegal weapon possession or smuggling, paedophilia crimes, abuses, similarly to many other sects' leaders.
Sometimes they were considered eccentric or harmless at first because Christianity started as a sect, too, sometimes they were seen as a threat or a place where something really wrong was going on but there was no hard evidence to nail them; in the end they were all taken seriously only when it was too late.
The other names to cite in this involving and crude depiction, rich in details without morbidity, are Jim Jones, Gordon W. Kahl, John Africa, Jerry Lundgren, El Padrino, Keith Ham, Luc Jouret, Yahweh Ben Yaweh, Roch Theriault, Vernon Wayne Howell (a failed Heavy metal musician). Despite the Waco Davidians, Manson and Jim Jones, I admit I didn't know the others and "Killing Kults" helped me understand mankind's psychology even deeper. The ones who thought they were reincarnations of Jesus Christ and used the Apocalypse and other issues to exploit people in the hope of a better life were not less merciless than the ones dedicated to other non-religious convictions. They had no respect for human life and were the doers of tortures and murderers of animals, adults and children, sometimes infants, in rituals, revenge actions or using them as shields during armed battles. In some cases their own spawn died because of their deeds and life choices.
With time the topics utilized to convert change, but the techniques to draw and the mechanisms to keep followers within are still the same: fear, public ridicule, family disgregation, separation and destruction of self-esteem.
An interesting aspect to focus on is that only in the USA there are today in 2013 thousands of sects, some of which have already achieved a religion status thanks to their economic strength and diffusion, while they're banned in other countries. This means that people who don't know history are destined to repeat their mistakes, and we're not referring to tribes in Nepal or in the Amazon, but to people who sometimes have a good education and shouldn't theoretically be so naive; yet, if still alive, they keep trusting these messiahs and healers even after quite a long time spent with these manipulators keen on enterprising in crimes as successfully as mafia bosses. Sad but true.
My life's still sooo hard and still stinks, yet at least I have the meagre consolation of having read an amazing, enlightening collection of murderous cults leaders and founders, and thus I have forgotten my problems for a few hours.
MARKUS GANZHERRLICH - 20th January 2013