I have a horrific fascination with cults. Especially the sort of really dodgy ones with a personality st the centre persuading the members to do horrific things. Obviously I have a fascination with suicide cults – it’s not really my suicide ideation st play there though, it’s more about a fascination with what the human brain can persuade itself/can be persuaded to do. It’s more related to my interest in hypnosis than anything else.
There’s a cult in Africa, Good News International, that managed to persuade its members to starve, apparently straight up to meet Jesus, and I really am quite intrigued. Cults that persuade their members to die tend to be more American/European and this one is a very homegrown African one by all accounts. There’s fifty bodies found and over a hundred and fifty still missing.
I’ve frequently said that I like my yoga classes to be just this side of a good exercise group but a little towards the beginnings of a cult. It’s the way people can pull other people towards doing things that really interests me. The manipulation of the psyche and how that happens, how it happens to extremis. I’m always interested too when cult leaders but their own bullshit and end up trying to fly from cliff tops and such. This one in Africa though seems to be a more usual leader manipulating the masses thing, at least on the initial face of things.
I think it would be very easy for me to get pulled into a cult, it’s something that I’m very aware of, I could get sucked into belief I think – I’m thinking of that moment in VIP (Vampire LARP) when my character got swept up into crowd think and we burned people at the stake without trial. I’ve been told by a couple of people they think I’d make a great cult leader, I don’t think I would actually, I think if I did end up there I’d be the sort who was sucked into her own hype and tried to fly off a cliff in the end. I like to think the self awareness and self reflection is going to keep me from the clutches of persuasive cults. But I do wonder whenever stuff like this happens.