We have a fascination with cults, but they are really no laughing matter.
These strange phenomena, in which people fall into a practice of life that is highly controlled by a central figure and exerts abuse and pressure on its members, are actually quite traumatizing for its members.
"Redditors who were raised in cults, when was the first time you realized something was wrong?"
Here were some of those stories.
When The Church Is A Cult
"I was raised in a very strict manner by Church of Christ parents in an extremely legalistic Southern Baptist church."
"I was extremely sheltered, allowed only one movie (maybe) and one hour of TV a week, ONLY Christian movies, books, TV shows, radio, etc."
"I never interacted with kids outside of the church bubble, as my parents started a Christian school so that I 'wouldn't have to go to the evil public school and be brainwashed.'"
"For me it was when my pastor and my youth pastor took me aside during a church camp and said they were worried about my salvation as I hadn't led anyone in the sinners prayer and didn't go on 'visitation,' which was door-knocking on Sunday afternoons to talk about Jesus."
"Instead, I played harp as part of the instrumental group every Sunday and Wednesday and sang in the choir when I wasn't playing, which practiced during the same time as visitation."
"They basically told me that since I showed most of the other fruits of the spirit like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc., they thought I was Christian but since I openly boycotted visitation and hadn't borne any of the 'bringing new sheep into the flock' fruit by leading anyone in the sinners prayer, I couldn't possibly be a full Christian and they wanted me to work on that."
"I was 15! I never interacted with non-christians and was part of the instrumental group and choir which practiced during visitation! How could I do that if everyone I knew was already Christian?? 🤔"
"It led to some serious questions, but I couldn't really do anything until I escaped to college 3 years later."~moldylemming
"When it came time for me to leave for my own mental health."
"I became the villain and when confiding in my college tutor she was horrified to learn even a fraction of what I had grown up with. She was the main encouragement I needed to gtfo when I did" -Broken-Sushi
"When I realized that the doors to the 13 story former hotel building we were all living in was locked and you had to sign out to leave."
"No one (from children to adults) could leave without an explanation to where they were going and when they'd be back."
"Group operated under two names. IBLP (Institute for Basic Life Principals) this was their 'outreach' label where they would go to churches and show this seminar to bring new gullible people into the fold."
"ATI (Advanced Training Institute) was for the people that actually wanted in deep and consisted of an entire homeschool curriculum to make sure your kids got brainwashed correctly."
"They masqueraded as just another Baptist sect but it went way deeper. My family was highly involved for years but the year we lived at their training center was actually horrifying."
"Strictly controlled what was allowed in/out, surveillance for everything. Sad part is most of the families that lived there were essentially slave labor that worked for the ministry and were given free room and board."
"Many of them had nowhere else to go and were trapped even if they wanted to leave."-g1ngerguitarist
It is such a difficult thing to really identify the situation you are growing up in as traumatic.
Connected Even When I Don't Want To Be
"I was born and raised into a not so known buddhist cult (although whether its a cult or not is contested by a lot of people, still) called 'SGI.'"
"My mum was practicing it when she was still preggos with me. Thus I was considered to be a 'fortune baby' as they say lmao."
"I didnt think too much about it as a kid. We went to our meetings every week and met people but at some point I learnt the religion had a whole political thing going on in Japan and I was so confused."
"Also, ive had extensive mental health issues and over the last couple of years I realised my mum who has been practicing this religion for 20+ years is still a narcissist who has never shown an inch of wisdom or any kind of forgiveness as our religious text said."
"Ive slowly moved myself away but its hard because anywhere I move to my mum will always try to 'get me connected' to a local member and its a lot."-zhdlfrufghs
Best Excuses For Late Assignments That Were Actually True | George Takei’s Oh Myyy
"Ex-Jehovah's Witness here."
"My first hint that something was wrong was the amount of control exerted in our day to day lives."
"No beards, no long hair for men, no tattoos or piercings, no shirts with 'edgy' artwork like band shirts or shirts with skulls, no entertainment they don't approve of, etc."
"Other witnesses are trained to report you to the elders if you're not following their guidelines, such as if you have a position of respect in the congregation but someone sees that you have a rated R movie, they'll report you to the elders and you could lose your position and good standing, which will change the way the congregation treats you."
"What really tipped it over the edge for me though was their doctrine that all non-witnesses deserve to die at Armageddon by gods hand, simply for not being witnesses."
"Armageddon is supposed to be urgently imminent, and over 99.9% of the world will die just because they're not witnesses."
"That didn't sit right with me. I had been working in retail for some time, and the people I worked with were every bit as intelligent, compassionate, and loving as any witness I knew."
"Eventually, these issues became too great for me to bear, and I committed the ultimate sin, researching the information that criticizes the religion."
"We were taught to be terrified of anything that remotely criticizes the religion and its leaders. I finally pushed against that fear and did the research."
"Woke up instantly. Realized why they taught us to fear 'apostate' information so much, it's because they know it's all true and they don't want us to see it."-excusetheblood
It's Jehovah Again
"When the 'Elders' told me that I could no longer speak to my younger sister anymore because she was in 'bad standing' with the organization."
"She's the only family I have left. They made her out to be this monster just because she wasn't actively going to church. That's when the glass shattered for me."
"I was one of Jehovah's Witnesses and my sister and I are still close. She's doing great things for herself and I do not regret my decision at all."
"Dont let someone else make decisions for your life, you'll be much happier!"-BananasAnd69
Oh If It Isn't A False Idol
"Not in a cult per say, but was in one of those evangelical megachurches. Started as a nice corner church; the piety was genuine."
"I dont think that the pastor planned the whole thing - he seemed a genuine preacher until the church grew exponentially. Like went from a few hundred members to 15,000 in less than 2 years."
"Then his main focus was maintaining (entertaining) the masses, which drove him to do stupid things."
"Many weird things started happening. Especially, one day he 'had a revelation' that the congregation needs to expand further and members have to, I am serious, give out all the GOLD they were wearing."
"I know a lady that got into serious trouble with her husband because she gave away her gold wedding band."
"My last straw was when he promoted himself to Apostle and renamed himself 'Paul.' Apostle Paul. Okay."-jetiro_now
The signs are varied but just as frightening across the board.
It's Always When You Get The Google
"When my other friends came to my church for the first time. Most of my friendships were isolated to church members until middle school."
"I started going with my other christian friends to their churches which were all similar to each other. When they came to mine they were uncomfortable and they all started telling me my church was weird."
"Around 13 years old a friend's mother asked me a few questions about my church and I had recently gotten the internet so I started asking questions at my church, and the questions were not welcome."
"My church was an offshoot, home based, from what is known as 'The Way' ministries."
"Recently a coworker told me a long story about almost getting indoctrinated to a cult while he was in college. I mentioned how it sounded like 'The Way' and his eyes lit up."-kruxader
The Simple Answer
"When my brother started asking (politely) how our religion was founded and how our family got involved and generally just questions about life: they don't believe in evolution or kissing before marriage."
"And they would bite his head off about it at age 11 It made me realise they were being defensive because they had no answers. If you can't explain why you're in a religion, you get the f**k out."-PurelyAmy
Well It Most Certainly Was A Cult
"Okay so I wasn't raised into a 'cult,' but from age 5-8 I lived with my mom, her 3rd husband, and her parents who were all a part of a 100+ member sex group in the late 90's early 2000's."
"It was a lot like a cult though, they had to sign waivers to join, recruited (and had recruitment expectations), wore specific outfits, encouraged family members to join, encouraged not having friends outside the group as it endangered their lifestyles..."
"Anyway I first knew something was wrong when mom brought me on a yacht and when it started pouring rain she forbid me to enter the lower deck to escape the rain."
"I was like 6 and they couldn't stop the uhh meeting going on so I could stay dry."
"Of the people who were at the home and who I met during meetings 6 of them within the last 20 years have served time for sex crimes and every time one of them was arrested they had meetings about it to help destroy computers and stuff. I'm not sure if it fits the exact def of a cult tho."-breezzii
These people were all lucky, and escaped mostly unscathed.
But cults can leave mental and physical scars on people. Remember that you never know the battles that people are fighting, and that any of those people could be fighting a past that took advantage of them.
History is full of infamous disasters one can't imagine experiencing in their lifetimes.
The same can probably be said of our ancestors if they became privy to some of the horrific events that have occurred in our modern era.
Which are the most frightening?
That is exactly what Redditor dat_b_o_i asked strangers on the internet in the subReddit titled:
"What is an terrifying historical fact that you know?"
Remnants from the past still pose risks.
"There is a missing hydrogen bomb somewhere off the beach where my family vacations..."
"Tybee Island AKA Savannah Beach"
'The Tybee Island mid-air collision was an incident on February 5, 1958, in which the United States Air Force lost a 7,600-pound (3,400 kg) Mark 15 nuclear bomb in the waters off Tybee Island near Savannah, Georgia, United States. During a practice exercise, an F-86 fighter plane collided with the B-47 bomber carrying the bomb. To protect the aircrew from a possible detonation in the event of a crash, the bomb was jettisoned. Following several unsuccessful searches, the bomb was presumed lost somewhere in Wassaw Sound off the shores of Tybee Island.'
"when the USSR collapsed, multiple nuclear weapons and boxes full of vials of smallpox were lost."
– User Deleted
Nuclear Weapons Gaffe
"Since 1950, there have been 32 'Broken Arrow' incidents, out of which 6 of these warheads were not recovered or accounted for. It remains unknown how many such incidents the Soviet Union had."
"Sleep well tonight, my friends."
These fascinating historical facts might be unfamiliar to most people.
"The dancing plague of 1518, or dance epidemic of 1518, was a case of dancing mania that occurred in Strasbourg, Alsace (modern-day France), in the Holy Roman Empire from July 1518 to September 1518. Somewhere between 50 and 400 people took to dancing for weeks."
Kids In Battle
"during the paraguayan war, paraguay sent 3500 poorly armed children between 9 to 15 yo, wounded soldiers and old men to face brazilian army (20 thousand men), because most of paraguayan combatants were killed. the date of this battle is now children's day in Paraguay."
The Next Step Could Be Your Last
"Near Mt St Helens, in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, and before the volcano erupted in 1980, there were areas where you were not allowed off the footpaths. This was because Douglas Firs, which can reach 200ft, were buried in ash in prior eruptions, then rotted away. So you could step on a relatively thin layer of old ash, break through, and fall any number of feet into what amounted to a crevasse or a well."
The following examples depicted some of the most disturbing ways people have perished.
"A lot of sailors survived the bombing of Pearl Harbor, but were trapped in their sunken ships. There was no way to rescue them. People had to listen helplessly to the men banging on the inside of the hulls for days until they gradually went quiet."
"Humanity's Greatest Horrors"
"I went to the Killing Fields and was depressed beyond belief but also became intensely aware of the significance of being at the site of one of humanity's greatest horrors."
Ominously Beautiful Locale
"This reminds me very much of the suicide cliffs in Saipan. Wild story. Basically during World War Two, Saipan was occupied by the Japanese. When word got out that the United States army was coming to the island the Japanese soldiers began telling everyone that Americans will come eat them."
"The people of Saipan and Japanese living there started to throw themselves off these cliffs with their children and families. I forget the exact number but it was a massive amount of people."
"Here is a link"
"While I was working in Saipan it was a crazy place to be. There is a wall with a ton of names on it as a memorial to those who died. Incredibly beautiful scenery with just a horrible past."
"in the warsaw ghettos they would pile up body’s of people that might have not even been dead. someone who collapsed could have been tossed to the side and be covered with other bodies, slowly crushing them and suffocating them. until they did actually die."
The thread was full of some of the most frightening events in history that still haunts many people today.
These appalling and horrific events reinforce the significance of why we should learn from our past so as to never experience what previous generations have suffered.
If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/
Fame is one of those things people tend to want until they have it - or that people shy away from entirely because they understand how sideways it tends to go.
But what about people who end up famous after their deaths? Or who managed to get more famous from the afterlife?
Reddit user GCanuck asked:
"Which historically famous person do you think would be most surprised to learn they are famous?"
If your mind immediately went to that Vincent Van Gogh scene from Dr. Who then 1. you're a nerd (me too!) and 2. you're not alone.
Here's what Reddit had to say.
The Little Painter FellowVan Gogh Reaction GIF by GIF IT UPGiphy
"Vincent van Gogh."
"His paintings made billions of dollars for rich people, but couldn't trade a painting for a meal during his lifetime. Had to be supported by his brother."
"It’s amazing how many pieces he created in such a short time considering how unsuccessful he was in selling them while alive. He kept banging them out despite his 'failure'.”
"He was encouraged to paint as part of his therapy/rehabilitation. He was a pretty disturbed guy, and not in a romantic way."
"Have you ever seen the Doctor Who episode about him?"
"This is what actually prompted this question for me."
"Most of the world has read your diary."
"Wait...All of my diary?"
"Her Father censored some of it because she talks about her body and other things, I can't really blame him for that. Modern prints are uncensored."
"She’d have been thrilled, but I don’t think surprised is the right word. She dreamed of being a published author. She knew that she was creating something valuable and important with her diary, and she wanted it to be published."
"I wonder what she'd think of her diary being turned into a stage play including a Broadway run and thousands of young girls doing their best to recreate all the different facets both good and bad of how she acted during her time in the Annex."
Herman The Whalebart simpson episode 3 GIFGiphy
"He had a few early successes with seafaring books, but Moby-Dick was a total flop that got bad reviews, and he spent the final decades of his life working in the customs department."
"He would be shocked to hear he wrote the Great American Novel."
"My boyfriend is from New Bedford, MA. Apparently the local high schools there had big murals depicting scenes from Moby Dick." "
*That* would have amazed Melville."
"Dude, that's the best part. You never know what's coming next. It's like:"
"45 pages of unintentionally hilarious interactions between Ishmael and Queequeg."
"30 pages of incredible, brooding drama written in stage play format for some reason."
"100 page essay about some minor technical details about whaling and how some village built their chieftain's hall out of a whale's ribcage."
"Another 20 pages of Ahab chewing the scenery and embodying mankind's self-destructive obsessions"
"Then Queequeg speaking his last words but then deciding he doesn't want to die yet and miraculously springing back to life."
"Like the ocean itself, you have to accept that Moby Dick moves at its own pace lol"
We, In Fact, Did Not Forget
"Hegelochus, an actor who mispronounced a word in a play in the year 408 BC and was mocked so thoroughly for it, his mistake has made it into the collective ledger of things historians know about and generally agree upon having happened… and we're still aware of it over 2,400 years later."
"Imagine making a meme today with a word misspelled, and others found that misspelling so egregiously mockable that you are still known for it in the year 4422."
" 'Oh come on get over it. No one will remember about that by tomorrow' -Hehelochus’ mom probably"
"He must have went to sleep running the moment in his head over and over again, but he probably tried to comfort himself by thinking, 'well, at least it's not like some space-age hyper-futuristic society is going to be discussing this thousands of years from now on their magic boxes powered by lightning in some language that doesn't even exist yet'."
"This is the worst nightmare of everyone that has been told to stop worrying because no one will pay as much attention to what you're doing as you."
"Counter point: Hegelochus."
"Kafka. Rarely published in his lifetime, and when he did it was in obscure magazines which nobody read."
"Explicitly asked that his works be destroyed after his death. It's only because his executor disregarded his wishes and published his unfinished works (which comprise the majority of his oeuvre) that he is famous today."
"Kafka is a good example of how much can anxiety ruin a person's life"
"Kafka wrote his stories to be shared with a group of friends like story-telling at a campfire"
"Blind Willie Johnson."
"He passed away blind, poor and sick, lying in the ruins of his house after it was burnt down."
"And his song 'Dark was the Night, Cold was the Ground' left our solar system not too long ago aboard the Voyager to be listened to by life among the stars."
"I really like to think one day-thousands and thousands of years in the future, an alien race will find that golden disk and hear his voice."
"I think the fact he had such a poor life but could one day live eternally amongst the stars is so beautiful."
"Found out about him through a VSauce video."
"I listened to a couple songs and really liked them, he had a great voice and had a great talent for playing guitar despite being blind. Such a humbling and inspiring story he had"
"I remember learning about this in a Vsauce video and crying profusely afterwards, but not only from sadness, also from hope, and some other emotions I can’t possibly describe."
"The fact that he died at the lowest of lows, blind, sick, poor, and alone, yet he very well could be the man that teaches the stars about the very essence of humanity… there’s just something so intrinsically beautiful about that."
"Humanity, flawed as it is, is as intrinsically kind and beautiful as it is evil. The world forgets that sometimes."
Other Madonnamona lisa oh no you didnt GIFGiphy
"Lisa Gherardini, the Mona Lisa model."
"She was just some unremarkable random wife. Fast forward a few hundred years and she ended up as one of the most recognizable faces in history."
"HER NAMES NOT EVEN MONA LISA?!"
" 'Monna' was a shortening of the Italian word 'madonna', which was the equivalent of the English 'Madam'."
Honor Well Pass Death
"This is the dead body they used in Operation Mincemeat."
"The man basically consumed rat poison to commit suicide."
"His corpse was then used for a British secret operation to carry fake documents for the Nazis to find in order to make them think they were invading Greece and not Sicily."
"This man died in a alleyway and went on the become a dedicated Major in the British military buried with full military rites - under his fake name, but still him in physical form."
"He was originally buried under his covert identity (in Spain where his body washed ashore after being deposited in the sea nearby by a Royal Navy submarine), Major William Martin of the Royal Marines."
"In 2009 or thereabouts his real name (Glyndwr Michael) was added to his gravestone."
"I thought he died of tuberculosis so it’d be more convincing he was a British serviceman who drowned? Or maybe that was the guy used to make the Nazis think the Allies were invading Calais instead of Normandy."
"It was rat poison but it's not clear if it was a suicide."
"The poison was in the form of a paste that would be smeared on pieces of bread; rodents eat the bread, rodents die. Or in this case; poor Welshman eats the bread, poor Welshman dies."
"It's not clear whether he knew the paste was poison, or whether he was just hungry and thought he genuinely found some bread lying around."
"Where the confusion comes in is that the guy in charge of Mincemeat claimed the body was that of a young man who died of pneumonia, and that the parents had given permission for his body to be used as it was."
A Real Hero
"A literal hero of humanity who in some ways is still alive."
"Her family deserved so much better though."
"Can I get a short version? I don't think I've heard of her before"
"Her contribution to science is and continues to be gigantic"
Laws Of Inheritance
"Gregor Mendel, the monk and scientist who experimented with pea plant traits to describe what we today literally call Mendelian inheritance."
"The significance of Mendel's findings, which he published in 1866, went almost completely unrecognized during his life and after his death. His work was only rediscovered in the early 1900s when modern ideas about inheritance and selection started taking hold."
"I can differ there. When he first stated his theory, he was sure it was correct (as it was) but was rejected. I can imagine him not being surprised at the fact that his work was re recognised as right later down the line"
"It's entirely possible you're correct and Mendel suspected that someday he'd be proved right. At the same time, however, he spent decades after his discovery trying and failing to elicit interest from the academic public or individual biologists, and retired from science to become a monastery administrator, which looks a lot like 'giving up'."
Okay, so we learned some interesting history today. How about you?
Don't you love a good myth?
Let's put some of NSFW ones to the test.
RedditorWizzlyG33wanted to hear about what lies need to be exposed when it comes to sex, death and all things over the top in life. They asked:
"If MythBusters had a NSFW episode, what would you want to see on it?"
Oh JamieSeason 1 Love GIF by OutlanderGiphy
"A five second segment where Jamie points at a diagram and says, in complete deadpan, 'This is where the clitoris is.'"
"If they did such an episode, I could see this being in it for sure."
"I want them to purchase every pill they see on the internet that would make their penis bigger and see what happens."
"I think we can call that one BUSTED already. In what version of any world can you imagine there is a simple pill to make your junk more impressive and every dude you know doesn't already have a case of 10000 pills stashed under the bed?"
"Can you actually get an STD from a toilet seat?"
"This is an interesting thing actually. It was a myth deliberately perpetuated to make people less ashamed of asking for STD tests."
"Fun fact: There are multiple STDs that can be dormant (like inactive) for years. Like several years."
"You’d never know you had gotten it. Then something triggers it, maybe an infection or something, and then you start showing symptoms/Can now test positive. So technically a partner from years before could have given it to you and you either think your SO is cheating or haven’t been with anybody in a long time. Either way it’s scary when you think about it."
"Does a person really stay conscious for a few moments after beheading?"
"There was a French physician who tested this in the early 1900s. After a criminal was beheaded he picked up the head and shouted the criminal's name. The guy opened his eyes and made eye contact with the physician over a period of 30 seconds whenever his name was called. Edit: I provided the source in other comments but here it is on the original comment."
Theorieslooking down homer simpson GIFGiphy
"Size correlates to what? Feet? Nose? So many theories."
"I have size 12 feet and a massive nose and huge hands and the little guy is small."
Oh the lies and the rumors and the shade.
More is MoreSeth Meyers Dancing GIF by Late Night with Seth MeyersGiphy
"They did prove that women with larger breasts will get more tips. Which isn’t really not safe for work, because Kari literally was working at a coffee shop."
"If breast enlargements will help your job would you be able to write them off on your taxes?"
"How deep underwater are you still able to orgasm?"
"Pretty sure there's no lower limit. When you're underwater, your body is under pressure, but for the most part doesn't actually get compressed. Only your air spaces (lungs, sinuses, inner ears) are really subject to compression from ambient water pressure. There can be painful exceptions like air pockets inside a tooth filling, which I do not recommend experiencing."
"Most of your body is water or various solids, which push back on the ambient water pressure. You prostate shouldn't be blocked by water pressure any more than your bladder is. Source: am old scuba diver, I've done all kinds of things a hundred feet underwater. At that depth the ambient pressure is 4 bar, which in olden-tymes units is nearly 60 pounds per square inch. Also: fish do it underwater, doesn't seem to stop them."
"Does pineapple make your semen taste better?"
"Post orgasm clarity: How much better can you solve puzzles or remember something?"
"Well, recently I did a lot of reaction time tests on humanbenchmark.com and while normally I get average of around 140-145, after a good O I consistently got around 130-135, very often getting single clicks close to 120 which almost never happens in other cases. And it's weird because I feel more tired but apparently my reaction time improves for some reason."
Safety FirstSafety Helmet GIF by Just SecondsGiphy
"A take on the top ten OSHA violations list to see if they are as dangerous as they say."
"Safety regulations are written in blood."
Well that is a ton of great suggestions. Let's work on it.
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Many people value solitude, and having time to themselves.
For others though, loneliness can be a crippling feeling.
Having no one to talk to or spend time with can get wearying after an extended amount of time.
Something many people know more than ever after the global pandemic hit in spring of 2020.
But while some people simply succumb to being lonely, others will find ways to help them cope with, if not completely forget, being all alone.
Redditor No_Blackberry_6286 was curious to hear the different ways people have of coping with their loneliness, leading them to ask:
"Reddit, how do you cope with loneliness?"
Make the most with what makes you happy
"I've learned to enjoy my own company and focus on my hobbies."
"Funny enough, this gives me stuff to talk about when I am around people."
Voices in the background
"Listening to people talk on YouTube so I feel less alone in my house."
Millions of friends, just one click away.
"Chat with random people on Reddit."internet computer GIFGiphy
Still figuring it out
"I don't I'm f*cking miserable."- Savathunh
"I don't :("- __MashedPotatoes__·
Get my body movin'
"It makes me feel better about myself and I have something to do alone."- DerpBread69Gym Working Out GIF by Chance The RapperGiphy
Who says I need to?
"I love solitude."- Befuddled_GenXer
"I become one with loneliness."- thenewyorkofficesolitude GIFGiphy
Hit the snooze button
"Sleep 12+ hours a day."- RockandRoll682
Instant tension and relief
"Lots of arguing online about sh*t I don't care about at all, just to have some form of social interaction, and get off at least 3 times a day."-
There are very few worse feelings than that of being alone.
But it's also quite remarkable how much doing something that makes you happy, be it ever so simple, can elevate your feelings.