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Cult Following - J. W. Ocker

Cult Following - J. W. Ocker


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From the author of Cursed Objects and The United States of Cryptids, an eye-popping compendium of the most infamous, audacious, and dangerous cults in history.

How do smart, normal people end up enmeshed in extreme cults? Weird history expert J. W. Ocker strives to answer that question in Cult Following. Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about history’s most notorious cults—and the psychology of the people who join them—is packed into this accessible, engaging volume. Walk in the footsteps of the followers who were lured into such sinister groups as:

  • Branch Davidians: Led by David Koresh, this cult was waiting out the apocalypse in 1993 when the FBI infamously raided their compound in Waco, Texas.
  • Los Narcosatánicos: This cult of drug traffickers in 1980s Mexico was led by Adolfo de Jesús Constanzo, who believed he possessed magic powers and committed human sacrifice.
  • The Seekers: The infiltration and study of this, the earliest known UFO cult, by psychologists inspired the term cognitive dissonance.
  • Ho No Hana Sanpogyo: The founder, Hogen Fukunaga, claimed to be able to tell someone’s fortune by examining their feet.
  • Breatharianism: Breatharians believe that humans can live on air alone. Their founder, Wiley Brooks, claimed to have gone without food for nineteen years.
  • NXIVM: This twenty-first-century cult attracted several Hollywood actresses and engaged in sex trafficking, forced labor, and racketeering under the guise of personal development seminars.

In Cult Following, Ocker sheds light on the terrifying attraction of cults, demonstrating the elasticity of belief, the desperateness of belonging, and the tragedy of trust.

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