Category Archives: Cults

The Mysterious Death of Jayne Mansfield

In June 1967, Hollywood icon Jayne Mansfield died in a tragic car crash. But the mysterious events surrounding it suggest that it was no ordinary accident…

Tom Cruise Scientology Video

I had forgotten all about this video. This is Tom Cruise at his nuttiest.

The Cult of Debt Forgiveness

A cult and a conspiracy.

With inequality growing exponentially over the past decades, people around the world have assumed massive debts. In Indonesia, a mysterious cult with the impressive name Swissindo World Trust International Orbit has attracted a global following for its promise to magically make one’s debts go away.

The group is led by Soegihartonotonegoro, a charismatic leader who calls himself M1, and presents himself as a godlike figure who can erase the world’s debt due to a seemingly limitless ancient inheritance. To find out the truth behind this bizarre story, VICE Indonesia correspondent Arzia traveled to visit the Swissindo Headquarters in Cirebon, Indonesia, and interviewed M1, and his followers.

We also met with the manager of a local bank that had been targeted by Swissindo for its debt services, and a client of Swissindo’s whose experience with the group was not exactly as anticipated.

Top 10 Craziest Conspiracy Theories About the ILLUMINATI

Top 10 Craziest Conspiracy Theories About the ILLUMINATI

Why do people join cults?

The first thought that came to mind was Scientology.

Here Be Dragons (Brian Dunning)

Here Be Dragons is a 40 minute video introduction to critical thinking. This video is on my “must watch” list for skeptics and critical thinkers 🙂

Most people fully accept paranormal and pseudoscientific claims without critique as they are promoted by the mass media. Here Be Dragons offers a toolbox for recognizing and understanding the dangers of pseudoscience, and appreciation for the reality-based benefits offered by real science.

Here Be Dragons is written and presented by Brian Dunning, host and producer of the Skeptoid podcast and author of the Skeptoid book series.

Source: Here Be Dragons – YouTube.

5 Ridiculous Things About Dianetics

‘It Was Like a Cult’: Leaving the World of Online Conspiracy Theories

chemtrail Illustration by Sarah Schmitt

Stephanie Wittschier believed in the Illuminati and chemtrails, and even tried to convert people online. But then she started to have doubts.

By Alexander Krützfeldt via Broadly

conspiracy to do list_200px_200pxStephanie Wittschier believed in a lot of different things throughout her life: that aliens were locked away in Area 51; that the Third Reich was alive and well, along with the Illuminati, and—last but not least—that ruling elites were using chemtrails to poison humanity.

The 35-year-old German was deep into the conspiracy theory scene for years before she dropped out, turning her attention to educating outsiders about the sinister truth behind Third Reich truthers and “chemmies” a.k.a people who believe the government is dumping toxic agents in plane vapor trails. Now she and her husband, Kai, run a Facebook page and Twitter account called Die lockere Schraube (“The Loose Screw”). And they’ve since incurred the wrath of their former conspiracy colleagues.

Wittschier’s journey into the world of conspiracy theories began when she watched a documentary about the alleged inconsistencies in the 9/11 attacks. “Immediately afterwards she went online and googled ‘conspiracy’ and ‘9/11,'” Kai told Broadly. Wittschier got hooked. “She started to talk about elites, the Illuminati… At a certain point it stopped being fun, as it became impossible to talk to her. She stopped listening and seemed closed off to any reasonable discussion.”

A ChemTrail plane departing from an undisclosed location.

A ChemTrail plane departing from an undisclosed location.

On the internet, Wittschier found people who shared her convictions. “That’s how it was,” she writes via email. “Back then, I had a friend who was into the same ideological conspiracy [stuff] and we got along pretty well. We believed in the same stuff, browsed the same forums, we used to talk about all sorts of things and most of the time we shared the same opinion.” Wittschier felt accepted among these like-minded people, who would ridicule outsiders’ attempts to re-educate them: “Those people [with different opinions] are representatives of the system or get paid; so-called sheep, people who don’t think.”

At the height of her obsession—especially when it came to chemtrails—Wittschier was part of various groups on Facebook, participated in a forum called Allmystery, and was active on YouTube. But in August 2012, her best friend in the conspiracy world started to question and oppose certain theories, and began the slow process of dissociating herself from the world she shared with Wittschier.

Continue Reading @ Broadly – – –

Firestorm in Waco

How much truth is there to the conspiracy theories that the FBI deliberately killed the Branch Davidians?

Brian DunningBy Brian Dunning via skeptoid
Read transcript below or listen here

Today we’re going to delve into the deepest, ugliest corner of urban legendry: conspiracy theories claiming that the US government deliberately attacks and kills its own citizens. In this case it’s the infamous 1993 raid on the Branch Davidian religious sect near Waco, Texas resulting in the deaths of some 75 people inside. The accepted narrative is that the Davidians, intent on apocalyptic death according to their prophecies, committed mass suicide as the federal agents entered the compound with armored vehicles; while the conspiracy theory holds that it was the federal agents who set the fires in a successful effort to murder the entire population inside. Today we’re going to examine the claim, and find out how we know what we know.

The Mount Carmel complex burns in Waco, April 19, 1993

The Mount Carmel complex burns in Waco, April 19, 1993

The Branch Davidian sect, originally an offshoot of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, had been on its land outside Waco for nearly 60 years when young Vernon Howell took it over in the aftermath of a 1987 armed raid. He luckily escaped conviction, changed his name to David Koresh (telling his followers that Koresh meant “death”), and assumed the role of prophet. A few years later, a confrontation with federal authorities led to a six week siege that ended with the complete destruction by fire of the compound as tanks rolled in with tear gas, killing Koresh and 75 other Branch Davidians inside.

The conspiracy theories came thick and fast. The most prominent were popularized by a pair of independent filmmakers, Linda Thompson (who was a full-throttle conspiracy theorist best known for her film Waco: The Big Lie) and Mike McNulty (who was more measured, and received an Academy Award nomination for Waco: The Rules of Engagement). We’ll take a look at the two most commonly repeated claims:

Brian Dunning via Continue Reading @ Skeptoid – – –

Nikola Tesla Wasn’t God And Thomas Edison Wasn’t The Devil

Alex KnappBy Alex Knapp via Forbes

“It takes a thousand men to invent a telegraph, or a steam engine, or a phonograph, or a photograph, or a telephone or any other important thing—and the last man gets the credit and we forget the others. He added his little mite — that is all he did. These object lessons should teach us that ninety-nine parts of all things that proceed from the intellect are plagiarisms, pure and simple; and the lesson ought to make us modest. But nothing can do that.” – Mark Twain
Image: theoatmeal.com/comics/tesla

Image Courtesy: theoatmeal.com

The Oatmeal is a fantastic comic that I recommend that you make a habit of reading. However, even the greatest can go astray, and I’m pained to admit that The Oatmeal has done so regarding someone I regard very highly, and that’s Nikola Tesla. Alas, The Oatmeal has fallen prey to Tesla idolatry, confusing his genius for godhood and of course, setting up the now all-too-common ‘Edison as Tesla’s arch-villain’ narrative.
There are quite a few errors and misconceptions about both Tesla and Edison in this comic. But they’re errors that I’ve seen before and they are often repeated, so it’s worth the time, I think, to address some of the big ones.

Tesla Didn’t Invent Alternating Current And He Wasn’t A Major Power In The War Of The Currents

Let’s start with the first thing the comic says: “In a time when the majority of the world was still lit by candle power, an electrical system known as alternating current and to this day is what powers every home on the planet. Who do we have to thank for this invention that ushered humanity into a second industrial revolution? Nikola Tesla.”
This is just wrong. Alternating current was developed in principle by Michael Faraday and in practice by Hippolyte Pixii in the early 19th century. Practical devices employing AC in the medical world were developed before Tesla was even born. Contemporaries of Tesla working for George Westinghouse developed practical methods of distributing AC power from power plants before Tesla came to work for Westinghouse. Tesla himself actually studied the use of AC in college – he had an electrical engineering degree.

Continue Reading – – –

Building Muscle w/ Bob: Back Edition

Don’t give up on this video. Watch it and listen closely, i think you’ll get a laugh out of it 🙂

Source: Building Muscle w/ Bob: Back Edition – YouTube

10 Unsettling Teachings Of The Eccentric Aleister Crowley

By Debra Kelly via Listverse

Regardless of anyone’s religious or spiritual beliefs, or lack thereof, Aleister Crowley is an incredibly fascinating figure. There’s as much myth and legend surrounding him as there are facts, and sifting through the stories is a strange, strange look into one of the most notorious lives of the 20th century. He left behind an incredibly rich history of teachings and beliefs, not to mention more than a few outrageous claims.

10 • Claimed To Have Developed The ‘V For Victory’ Sign

V-For-Victory_300pxThere was some pretty powerful symbolism going on in World War II, and according to Crowley, the Allied “V for Victory” sign was his creation. Since we know what happened at the end of the war, it goes without saying that he was right—if, that is, he did do what he claimed.

At the time, he was friends (or at least acquaintances) with real-life super-spy Ian Fleming. Just what kind of impact Crowley had in the war years is up for debate. There are some claims that he was a spy and some saying that, even going back to World War I, he was posing as a German supporter to drum up a significant amount of crazy in order to help sway the Americans to join the war on the side of the British.

Aleister also said that he had the ear of Winston Churchill, and when it came time to develop a symbol that would rally the Allied troops, he was the one that came up with the “V for Victory” salute. More than just an inspirational sign, it was also designed to strike fear in the hearts of Nazi occultists. The swastika, which gained its power from the Sun and solar energy, was a powerful thing; that’s why the Nazis chose it, after all. Crowley stated that the “V for Victory” sign was just as powerful in its opposition. Supposedly, it was a magical, mystical sign that invoked the power of Apophis and Typhon and channeled their destructive forces to fight for those who wielded it.

9 • Crowley And The Hermetic Order Of The Golden Dawn

Golden-Dawn-Cross_300pxOnce a major player in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Crowley’s falling-out with the secret society within only a few years of his 1898 induction set a pretty good precedent for just how many different stories have been developed around him. According to Crowley, his disillusionment with the organization came when he realized that the people who were initiated didn’t necessarily know what they were dealing with when it came to mysticism, rites, and rituals. He stated that while the founder, S.L. MacGregor Mathers, did have some mystical powers, he had essentially bitten off more than he could chew and had started mucking about with evils over which he had no control. His actions had destroyed the Order, and Crowley left.

The Order tells a very, very different story. According to their official biography of Crowley, his rather over-the-top personality and his sexual orientation were already causing problems when there was a falling-out between two opposing factions within the organization. Ultimately, Crowley didn’t actually leave the Order, not as he described, but finished off his alienation of the group by publishing some of their secret documents. To add insult to injury, he wasn’t just revealing secrets, but he was giving himself credit for works that Mathers had written. Crowley claimed to be doing it because Mathers was actually under the influence of the evil that he couldn’t control.

Lawsuits soon followed, but since Mathers hadn’t copyrighted the works outside of the organization, Crowley won.

8 • Invisibility And The Lamp Of Invisible Light

Invisible-Man_300pxAfter his falling-out with the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Crowley fled first to Paris and then to the Americas. While in Mexico, he was absolutely inspired by what he found there and established his own order—The Lamp of the Invisible Light.

According to Crowley, his time in the Order of the Golden Dawn was just a warm-up. He likened his exodus from the Order to putting away “childish things” and went out to learn on his own. Once he was freed from the shackles of the already organized society, he did a lot of things with inspiring names.

He learned to wield the “all encircling chain of the Great Brotherhood” and the “Sword of Flaming Light,” killing the serpent that had started the downfall of Christ, while taming good and evil bulls, sowing dragons’ teeth, and acquiring the Golden Fleece. It was while he was writing his self-initiation ceremonies for his new order that he also discovered how to make himself invisible, which is apparently pretty easy once you know the tricks. Crowley says that it doesn’t have anything to do with truly making yourself invisible but just controlling everyone else around you and making them completely uninterested in making eye contact with you or noticing you in any way. He says that once he figured out how to do it, which he could gauge by the faintness of his own reflection, he could don his red robes and golden crown and walk the streets of Mexico, where no one would ever, ever make eye contact with him or initiate a conversation.

Clearly, this was because he was invisible.

7 • Aiwass

Aiwass_300pxAiwass meant several different things over the course of the evolution of Crowley’s beliefs. In 1904, Crowley wrote The Book of Law, supposedly with guidance from the otherworldly Aiwass. At the time, Crowley painted him quite clearly as something that existed outside of himself rather than as a part of him. It was necessary, after all, as The Book of Law was designed to be the new religion that he had hoped would make all other religions obsolete. This religion, Thelema, was to be world-changing, and for that, it needed to come as a message from something outside the world. Aiwass was painted as the messenger, but as the doctrine developed, so did Aiwass’s role.

MORE – – –

25 of the biggest lies told by L. Ron Hubbard and the Church of Scientology

By Jeffrey Augustine via The Underground Bunker

L. Ron Hubbard audits a tomato to determine whether it experiences pain, 1968.

Hubbard audits a tomato in 1968.

  1. The lie: “I happen to be a nuclear physicist; I am not a psychologist nor a psychiatrist nor a medical doctor.” — L. Ron Hubbard, in the 1952 lecture “Dianetics: The Modern Miracle.” Also found transcribed in the Research and Discovery series, Vol. 3 page 470, and New Tech Volumes, Vol. 5 page 143.

    The truth: Hubbard flunked both high school and college, leaving after his sophomore year at George Washington University during which he failed a course of “Molecular and Atomic Physics.”

  2. The lie: Hubbard was a “blood brother” of the Blackfoot nation.

    The truth: Blood brotherhood was not a practice of the Blackfoot.

  3. The lie: Hubbard slept with bandits in Mongolia, and traveled to India and Tibet.

    The truth: Hubbard never traveled to those countries.

  4. The lie: Hubbard was a “pioneering barnstormer at the dawn of aviation in America.”

    The truth: As Jon Atack points out, Hubbard flew gliders in the early 1930s, which doesn’t really put Hubbard there with the Wright Brothers (1903) or Charles Lindbergh, who crossed the Atlantic in 1927.

    scientology volcanoctopus_190px

  5. The lie: Hubbard’s 1940 adventures in Alaska led to the development of LORAN, a radio-based system for navigation.

    The truth: Alfred Lee Loomis invented LORAN (Long Range Aid to Navigation) in the 1920s and 1930s at Tuxedo Park in the US. Hubbard was not even remotely qualified to do any serious electrical engineering.

  6. The lie: Hubbard created the US Air Force.

    The truth: In 1941, Hubbard was one of many people offering free advice to government officials about how the US should prepare for a war the country seemed sure to get involved in. On June 30, Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada wrote a letter to Hubbard telling him the he would, indeed, push for a bill to create a US Air Force. But ten days earlier, the US Army Air Corps had already changed its name to the US Army Air Force. The US Air Force, under the name we know today, came into existence later, in 1947.

  7. The lie: Hubbard claimed to have been awarded 21 or 27 combat medals in World War II as a navy lieutenant.

    The truth: Hubbard never served a single day in combat and was never awarded any combat medals.

    scientology bart simpson xenu

  8. The lie: Hubbard was wounded in combat and was awarded two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star.

    The truth: Hubbard’s US Navy service record shows that he never received Purple Hearts or a Bronze Star.

  9. The lie: Hubbard was “returned home as the first American casualty of the war in the South Pacific.”

    The truth: The US Naval Attache in Brisbane ordered Hubbard returned to the US for being meddlesome and quarrelsome.

  10. The lie: Hubbard was a “commander of corvettes” in the North Atlantic.

    The truth: Hubbard was assigned command of navy yard patrol vessel YP-422 in Boston Harbor. However, he was relieved of command before the vessel was commissioned after getting into an argument with the Commandant of the Navy Yard.

  11. The lie: Hubbard fought German U-Boats in the North Atlantic.

    The truth: No he didn’t.

MORE – – –

Also see Tom Cruise at his craziest:

Neurotology Music Video

By Saturday Night Live via YouTube

Followers of Neurotology star in a music video that sings the religion’s praises in this Scientology parody.

For lyrics and more information: Saturday Night Live’s genius spoof of Scientology: Lyrics and images (Tony Ortega)

What is the Finders Cult?

By Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know via YouTube

You may have not heard of the Finders before, but this organization has been accused of everything from being a CIA front to stealing children. So what’s the truth?

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