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Alleged Doomsday Cult Leader Behind 440 Deaths Goes On Trial

Paul Mackenzie and 94 alleged accomplices are accused in the case

(Newser) - The trial of alleged doomsday cult leader Paul Mackenzie started Monday in Kenya. Mackenzie is accused of masterminding the Shakahola forest massacre, one of the worst recent tragedies related to a cult , with more than 440 followers dead ( nearly 200 of them children ) after being told to starve...

The Search for Cult 'Witches' Who Disappeared in 1998

Alta's Geoffrey Gray goes on the hunt for the followers of Carlos Casteneda

(Newser) - The story starts off in a typical fashion: a cult leader gains notoriety and wealth, purchases a compound, and fills it with disciples, primarily young women, who serve as his sexual subordinates. But in reporter Geoffrey Gray's twisty examination in Alta of Carlos Castaneda and his sect of devoted...

Cult Leader Is Blamed for Hundreds of Deaths in Court

Paul Mackenzie must undergo a mental assessment

(Newser) - Doomsday cult leader Paul Mackenzie and 30 of his followers were presented in a Kenyan court in the coastal town of Malindi on Wednesday to face charges of murdering 191 children . Mackenzie and the other suspects were not yet formally charged and so did not enter pleas because High Court...

Cops: Missing Adults, Kids Joined Child Molester's Cult

6 missing people from St. Louis area said to be followers of self-proclaimed god Rashad Jamal

(Newser) - Four adults and two children reported missing in Missouri in August are believed to have joined a cult run by a convicted child molester and online guru, police say. Rashad Jamal, born Rashad Jamal White, is serving an 18-year prison sentence in Georgia for child molestation and cruelty to children,...

From Smallville to Jail Cell, Allison Mack Is Now Free

Actor involved in NXIVM sex cult is released from prison after 2 years of 3-year sentence

(Newser) - NXIVM leader Keith Raniere isn't getting out of prison anytime soon, but one of the highest-ranking members in his sex cult is now free. Per Federal Bureau of Prisons records, former Smallville actor Allison Mack was released Monday from a federal prison in Dublin, California, as first reported in...

Cult Members Keep Trying to Die, Even After Rescue

65 charged with attempted suicide in Kenya; meanwhile, starvation death toll rises to 300-plus

(Newser) - The death toll from a Kenyan doomsday cult whose members fatally starved themselves has surpassed 300, making it "one of the worst cult-related tragedies in recent history," per Reuters . The adjusted number came after authorities exhumed 19 more bodies from mass graves in the nation's southeastern Shakahola...

Kenya Cult Death Toll Rises to 73
Death Toll at Kenyan
Cult's Ranch Rises to 90

Death Toll at Kenyan Cult's Ranch Rises to 90

17 more bodies exhumed after pastor allegedly told followers to starve themselves

(Newser) - The startling numbers continue to grow in Kenya: The death toll at a ranch owned by a pastor who is accused of leading a religious cult and ordering his followers to starve themselves reached 90 on Tuesday. The new figure came after police exhumed 17 more bodies, per the AP...

25 Deaths and Counting Linked to Alleged Kenyan Cult

Pastor is in custody, accused of encouraging followers to starve themselves

(Newser) - Twenty-one bodies have been found so far on land owned by a pastor in coastal Kenya who was arrested for telling his followers to fast to death, per the AP . Malindi sub-county police chief John Kemboi said more shallow graves have yet to be dug up on the land belonging...

Televangelist's Jail Sentence Is Jaw-Dropping

Turkish cult leader Adnan Oktar gets 8,658 years behind bars

(Newser) - It doesn't look like Adnan Oktar is getting out of prison anytime soon. The 66-year-old Turkish televangelist—notorious for his rants against evolution and the "British deep state," and for surrounding himself with young women he called "kittens"—found out his fate Wednesday in an...

Members of Religious Sect Charged in Girl's Death

Parents of Australia's Elizabeth Struhs were previously charged; they prayed instead of providing insulin

(Newser) - Australian police on Tuesday arrested 12 members of a religious group who allegedly prayed for an 8-year-old Queensland girl as she lay dying, rather than providing life-saving insulin. Earlier this year, the girl's parents, Jason and Kerrie Struhs, were arrested and charged with murder, torture, and failing to provide...

He Won't Call It a Cult, but Acknowledges 'Cultlike Things'

In 'Esquire,' Jeff Gross tries to come to grips with decades he spent in Ganas commune

(Newser) - The story by David Gauvey Herbert in Esquire is in most respects about what its critics label a cult. If the Waco Branch Davidians were a 10 on the cult spectrum, this group—called Ganas—was more like a 5 or 6, renowned cult expert Rick Alan Ross tells Herbert....

For First Time, Heaven's Gate Survivors Are Talking

To Diane Sawyer, 25 years after 39 died in cult mass suicide

(Newser) - Surviving members of the cult behind America's largest mass suicide are speaking out for the first time about the bizarre life they left behind. In an upcoming two-hour 20/20 special, Diane Sawyer speaks with two surviving members of Heaven's Gate "who share their stories for the first...

'Mother God' Is Dead. Here's What Came Before That

'Marie Claire' delves into Amy Carlson Stroud, the late leader of Love Has Won

(Newser) - The story made headlines in May : Police were told that the mummified remains of the female leader of Love Has Won (LHW) were in a Moffat, Colorado, home. In July, those remains—with missing eyes, glittery makeup, and a body wrapped in a sleeping bag and Christmas lights—were positively...

Allison Mack Gets 3 Years in NXIVM Cult Case
Actress Allison Mack
Is Now an Inmate

Actress Allison Mack Is Now an Inmate

Convicted in NXIVM case, she starts her sentence early

(Newser) - Update: Allison Mack is now behind bars. The actress started her prison sentence early, with the Bureau of Prisons confirming Wednesday that Mack entered its custody Monday. She's at a low-security federal correctional facility for women in California, NBC reports. The 39-year-old, best known for Smallville, was convicted in...

Allison Mack Apologizes for Her Role in NXIVM Cult

'Smallville' actress will be sentenced Wednesday

(Newser) - Days before her sentencing in the NXIVM sex trafficking case, Smallville actress Allison Mack apologized for her role in the cult-like group. Mack, best known for playing Chloe Sullivan on the WB/CW series, wrote a nearly 800-word statement for the federal judge who will sentence her Wednesday describing the "...

Alleged Cult Leader Dies, Followers Apparently Can't Part With Her

7 members of Love Has Won religious group kept mummified remains of Amy Carlson in home

(Newser) - Police say a man returned to his rural Colorado home last week to find a mummified woman, who "appeared to be set up in some type of shrine." The face, with missing eyes, was caked in glittery makeup, and the body was wrapped in a sleeping bag and...

Big Twist in Case of Victimized Sarah Lawrence Students

Isabella Pollok, painted as a victim of Larry Ray, now charged as accomplice

(Newser) - An unexpected twist in a bizarre case involving a group of Sarah Lawrence students that came into the public consciousness by way of a lengthy story from the Cut . "What happened to the group of bright college students who fell under the sway of a classmate's father?" Ezra...

Sex Cult Founder Gets 120 Years
Sex Cult Founder
Learns His Fate

Sex Cult Founder Learns His Fate

NXIVM leader Keith Raniere gets 120 years

(Newser) - Defense lawyers said self-help guru and NXIVM sex cult leader Keith Raniere should be sentenced to only 15 years in prison after being found guilty of sex trafficking, racketeering, and other crimes. But after hearing searing testimony from 15 victims Tuesday, US District Judge Nicholas Garaufis sentenced the unrepentant 60-year-old...

Billionaire's Daughter Gets 81 Months in Sex-Cult Case
Heiress Sentenced
in Sex-Cult Case

Heiress Sentenced in Sex-Cult Case

Clare Bronfman gets 81 months for her involvement in Nxivm

(Newser) - An heiress is heading to prison for her role in an abusive cult that turned women into sex slaves, the New York Daily News reports. A judge sentenced Clare Bronfman, the daughter of late Seagram's billionaire Edgar Bronfman Sr., to 81 months in prison and fined her $500,000...

Amy Barrett's in a 'Charismatic' Catholic Group —But Is It a Cult?
Amy Barrett
Is in a Group
That 'Speaks
in Tongues'
the rundown

Amy Barrett Is in a Group That 'Speaks in Tongues'

The media spotlight falls on a 'charismatic community' called People of Praise

(Newser) - President Trump's pick for the Supreme Court belongs to a tightly knit Catholic group called People of Praise—but what exactly is it? The media spotlight is falling on Amy Coney Barrett's "charismatic community" and reviving questions about its spiritual advisers, communal living spaces, and alleged connection...

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