Tag Archives | Cults

The Hidden Story Of The Up With People Singers

UWPColwellslowres Failure Magazine examines the bizarre hidden story of “Up With People”, the gigantic 1970s singing ensemble which operated almost as a cult, performed at the Super Bowl and met with presidents and the Pope, and was quietly funded by corporations such as Exxon and Coca-Cola that were eager to put forward a youth-y alternative to authority-questioning counterculture:

Before there were yuppies, there were uppies—the term Up With People members use to refer to themselves. Most Americans over the age of 35 are vaguely familiar with Up With People, as its cast members have sung to more than 20 million people worldwide, and at the height of the ensemble’s fame it provided the halftime entertainment at four Super Bowls (1976, 1980, ’82, ’86). But many are unaware of the group’s cultish utopian ideology, its political connectedness, and how it was funded by corporate America, part of a deliberate propaganda effort to discredit liberal counterculture in the 1960s and ’70s.

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Aum Shinrikyo Cult Recruitment Anime

Japan's Tokyo-based Aum Shinrikyo ("Supreme Truth") religious cult reached peak notoriety in 1995 when members conducted a string of terrorist attacks on the subway system, releasing sarin gas that killed thirteen people and injured thousands. Police raided the group's compound and found a massive biological weapons stockpile including anthrax and Ebola cultures and chemicals that could produce enough sarin to kill millions of people. Before their undoing, the cult used anime videos as their recruitment tool, portraying the secret origins of human life and the heroics of founder/guru Shoko Asahara. Even unsubtitled, they're a fascinating view:
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Inside Australia’s Reincarnated Jesus Cult

Alan Miller is an affable young Aussie who claims to be Jesus Christ returned to Earth. (And his girlfriend says she's Mary Magdalene to boot.) Miller has amassed several dozen worshipers, "television soap stars" among them, who have moved onto his sixteen-acre woodland compound in Queensland to be closer to their prophet. Being the son of God, he naturally has some entertaining life stories up his sleeve, including the time he gave relationship advice to Gandhi (in heaven). Add in a George Harrison hairdo, and you can see the appeal:
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An Inside Look At Bonnaroo 2011

RFID chips, a privately-funded police state, cult recruiters, and enough soma to make Indra tap out.  Is it just another music festival, or a dress rehearsal for dystopia?  From a rigger’s diary at RockStarMartyr.net:

© Darin Seaman

© Darin Seaman

It took nearly 24 hours of unbroken sleep to recover from my Bonnaroocleosis. Like other workers, performers, and festicle-goers in attendance, I’ve been hacking up silty brown lung-dumplings and blowing whole coal fields of black boogers into rolls of tissue.

The annual Bonnaroo dust storm could be a preview of the world after a nuclear cataclysm, where those so privileged will wring their desperate satisfaction from tingling chemicals, sun-seared flesh on display, and the pulsating rhythm of pleasure machines, leaving pathetic Plebeians to pick through the scraps.

Once again, I had a blast under the mushroom cloud.

Monday, June 6: Say “Moo” motherfucker

I’m late as usual to pick up Glen the Red, a fellow rigger who packed his camping gear and work tools hours ago.… Read the rest

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All-Female Cult Worships Vladimir Putin As Saint’s Reincarnation

sy2d94Let’s face it — at one time or another, you’ve wondered if Putin was, in fact, something more than an ordinary mortal. The Telegraph reports:

Vladimir Putin has become the object of veneration for a bizarre Russian all-female sect whose followers believe that the prime minister is a reincarnation of the early Christian missionary Paul the Apostle.

“According to the Bible, Paul the Apostle was a military commander at first and an evil persecutor of Christians before he started spreading the Christian gospel,” the sect’s founder, who styles herself Mother Fotina, said.

As befits a sect that worships a man who has denounced the decadence of the oligarchs, the sect’s members are said to survive on a Spartan diet of turnips, carrots, peas and buckwheat.

Father Alexei, the priest in the local village church, has dismissed the sect. “Her so-called teachings are a nonsensical mixture of Orthodoxy, Catholicism, the occult, Buddhism and political information,” he said.

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WikiLeaks: U.S. Government Pondered Raelian Human-Cloning Claims

Lady on bed adorned with Raëlian symbol.

Lady on bed adorned with Raëlian symbol.

Below are documents leaked from the U.S. Consulate in Montreal, via WikiLeaks:

¶1. SUMMARY: THE FOLLOWING IS SOME BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON
THE MONTREAL-BASED RAELIAN GROUP, WHOSE MEMBER DR. BRIGITTE
BOISSELIER ANNOUNCED AT A DECEMBER 27 PRESS CONFERENCE IN
HOLLYWOOD, FLORIDA THE BIRTH OF THE FIRST CLONED HUMAN
BEING, A 7 POUND BABY GIRL NICKNAMED EVE. AND ITS TWO MAIN
FIGURES LEADER CLAUDE VORILHON, BETTER KNOWN AS RAEL, AND
DR. BOISSELIER. ONE LIKELY RESULT OF THE BOISSELIER
ANNOUNCEMENT IS THAT CANADA’S PENDING LEGISLATION TO BAN
HUMAN CLONING COULD CONTAIN STRICTER RESTRICTIONS. END
SUMMARY.

¶2. THE RAELIAN MOVEMENT WAS FOUNDED BY FRENCHMAN CLAUDE
VORILHON, A FORMER SPORTS JOURNALIST, FAILED SINGER, RADIO
COMMENTATOR AND AVID STOCK CAR RACER. VORILHON CLAIMS TO
HAVE BEEN CONCEIVED ON DECEMBER 25, 1945, BY A FRENCH MOTHER
AND AN ALIEN FATHER. SPECIALISTS SAY HE WAS BORN IN VICHY,
FRANCE IN 1946.… Read the rest

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Confessions Of A Thug

Victoriangothic.org reviews the classic novel which first popularized the Thuggee cult, a darkly psychological adventure story with a murderous anti-hero, Ameer Ali:

Philip Meadows Taylor’s 1839 novel Confessions of a Thug captured the imagination of 19th-century Britain with its chilling depiction of an organized death cult preying upon the hapless travelers of India’s wild and desolate roads. Based upon real accounts Taylor gathered during his work suppressing the Thuggee cult for the Nizam of Hyderabad, the book is ominously introduced as an authoritative exposé in which true events have been faithfully woven into a fictionalized narrative.

Group of Thugs c. 1864.

Group of Thugs c. 1864.

As portrayed by Taylor, the Thugs are the votaries of Bhowanee (Kali); the destructive aspect of the Supreme Being. Endowed with superior intelligence and cunning, they are sent forth to make “sacrifices” on her behalf. The reward for their piety is the plunder they gather from their victims. In so far as they observe her omens and obey her taboos, Bhowanee grants them protection from earthly authorities.

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Waco: Faith, Fear & Fire

Nearly 20 years ago, 76 people lost their lives during an FBI raid near Waco, Texas. CNN's Drew Griffin looks at those events at 8 ET/PT and 11 ET/PT Sunday night in "Waco: Faith, Fear & Fire": By James T. Richardson, Special to CNN
I remember being struck by one of the early stories about 1993’s siege of the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas...
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