"Cult" generally refers to a social group identified by extreme devotion to religious, spiritual or philosophical beliefs or a common interest in a particular person, object or goal. The public is fascinated by cults, their aftermaths and their survivors. But what about those left behind by cult members?
Reddit user LilMissMuppet asked "Redditors who have lost a friend or family member to a cult, how did it happen?"
Here are first hand accounts of people who have dealt with cults and the toll they took.
I lost my entire family. On my father and mother's side. Almost the entirety of people I grew up with and knew. As if I was never born. Raised Jehovah's Witness.
Just because the "religion" is prominent in our society does not discount the fact that it is by definition a cult.
Weight Down Ministries
I lost an aunt and cousin to Weight Down Ministries. It's run by this woman named Gwen Shamblin. A real nut job. She lives in Franklin, Tennessee, in this huge mansion where she broadcasts live church webinars multiple times a week. People all over join in and host these "church gatherings" at their homes. They get you in by introducing it as a weight loss program. Simple. Lose the weight quick and easy and never gain it back. Eat what you want!! So you go wow this sounds great! Then they slowly introduce the Bible and she'll preach to you through online videos, then you get recruited to a church in someone's home near you where the service lasts for FOUR hours. So anyways, my cousin and aunt got sucked into this and now they moved away to live in Franklin, TN where they worship every breath this Gwen Shamblin woman takes. Everyone that joins ends up marrying someone else inside the cult. My cousins sister wasn't allowed in her wedding because she wasn't part of the cult.
Most people wouldn't consider Southern Baptist a cult, since it's pretty mainstream where we live, but the degree to which my father embraces it, and the amount of time, effort, and money he puts into it, I think it's reasonable to call it cult-like.
His parents raised him in it, but I remember as a very young kid that we didn't go to church as much as we would later. Once a week, and sometimes we'd miss a week and it wouldn't be a big deal.
He got back into it when his dad died, and then doubled down when his mom passed several years later. He started forcing us to go to church two, sometimes three times a week. Those losses had a profound effect on him and I guess he just really, really wants to buy into the idea that he'll see his parents again.
Can't really blame him for that, I guess, but it has put a considerable strain on my relationship with him. Especially lately, since he's made friends with this guy who is even more fundamentalist than my dad is, and he's been bringing this guy around the house.
This guy, there's no other way to say it, he's just straight up crazy. My dad is passionate about his beliefs; this guy is fanatical. The kind of person I'd be worried might blow up an abortion clinic or something. (I had a conversation with the guy shortly after the Vegas shootings, and he all but came out and said those people deserved to be shot for just going to a sinner's hellhole like Vegas.)
I was in what I personally deem as a cult. They had a ruse of being a very "hip" non-denominational Christian Church. You may know of them - the pastor wears jeans and high fashion button-up shirts, the band plays alternative christian rock, there's a coffee shop, etc. However, I think the church sort of morphed into that in the ...15 years I attended, to become more appealing. This church had helluva lot of layers - and as the kid of the associate pastor of the church (My dad was the right hand man of the main pastor), I pretty much knew all of the layers.
I had been going to this church since I was 4, and from that point forward my family had become extremely devout. We were there nearly every night of the week - bible studies, 3 sermons on Sunday, 1 sermon on Wednesday, worship practice, babysitting, events, list goes on an on. One summer, I couldn't have been older than 9, I spent every morning cleaning the church (still can't remember why I was required to clean the church so much...but it kept me there all the time) At 11, the church opened up a school - that literally was just a money sucker. When I say money sucker i mean $2,000 dollars per school year roughly (possibly more, later down the road), for you to learn and re-learn the same subjects, because once you got to a certain point in education, they'd make you re-do it, because there was no point in you learning anything else (you were just going to end up being a church pawn anyways!). We'd pledge to the christian flag, the bible, and american flag every morning & had hour long bible study lessons. We had to memorize so much scripture, and would be tested & re-tested on these scriptures we were supposed to know by heart EVERY Friday. If we got in trouble we sometimes would be assigned lines, which usually was also a scripture verse.
Anyway, this church bred loyalty - and anyone who left would suddenly have a seriously terrible rumor spread about them, to make it seem like whoever DID leave had some type of mental breakdown or they were a "wolf in sheep's clothing" the whole time. It was pretty messed up, because one minute I would have a friend I thought I would have for life, and the next minute their mom would suddenly leave and the rumor would be "oh she married a Muslim man and converted or that they were stealing money or just whatever they could come up with. This was always MOST unsettling when a church "great" would leave (people who had been there for 10+ years and were heavily involved in ministry.)
So I finally hit a point where I decided to leave the church for good at 20-21. So I left, but I basically lost everyone on my way out. Everyone judged me about what happened. I know they spread rumors that my dad was stealing money, but that didn't concern me, because I realized, despite losing all of my friends, this life was already better.
Some of my old church friends had tried to scold me saying "you know better"...it made me sick. I see how much time & money they put into this church. Most of them are HEAVILY in debt, because that church made your wallet HURT. And There's always SOMETHING going that kept you there 5-6 days a week. AND they were so ISOLATED. I never noticed this until I left. but the church did the whole rumor bull, to keep you from talking to people "outside". It's sickening and depressing and a cult in my eyes.
I've lost a friend of mine to 'Ansarullah Bangla' an offshoot of ISIS in Bangladesh. It was back in 2014.
He was a computer science student but most importantly a poet. He is one of the most amiable persons I've ever met. We used to hang out a lot in our hometown since he was one of the few of same-aged friend I had back then. We were tremendous dreamers and very lazy workers.
Till this day, I just try to make sense of the murder and the aftermath. He, although was an atheist, never ever loud about his belief system since atheists are always shunned in our country. All of his very few blog posts are either poems or short stories. He was never active on social platforms too. If anyone knows his belief or disbelief they do by personal attachments. So when I learned about the murder I've never suspected the actual cause can be his belief system. Someone sold him, someone close. Maybe a friend from University. A facebook page of Ansarullah Bangla claimed that they killed him for 'practicing atheism in personal life'. They attacked him in his apartment, barred two of his friends, butchered him, stabbed him right into his skull, he died bleeding, instantly.
This death has given me some subtle ideas about death that was not present even a year before when my father died. I understood, life is not fair and anyone can kill you for no rhyme or reason and that is exactly why I have to shout out my ideas no matter what is the cost. Before that event, I was a pro-death nihilist and afterward a life-savoring nihilist.
Life goes on. Yet, he left a mourning girlfriend who still mourns, some friends who don't eat certain foods that are favorites of his. It's a death I can't get quite accustomed to.
My parents told me when I was younger that they knew (casually, not like best friends or anything) married couple that joined the People's Temple in the Bay Area.
They didn't go to Guyana. However, Jones had left some people behind to take care of the property. Approximately a year after the mass suicide the couple disappeared. Nobody knows if they decided that they wanted some grape Flavor-Aid too or if they were "disappeared" against their will.
Not exactly a cult, but my aunt became a born again Christian and joined this crazy fundamentalist church. Within a few months months she had married a man she met there and pulled her kids out of public school and enrolled them at the church's tiny private school. The church doesn't allow women to cut their hair so she quit her job as a hair stylist. She started wearing ankle length skirts and made my cousin do the same. My cousin wasn't allowed to wear normal clothes. When we went on our annual beach vacation, my cousin couldn't wear a bathing suit, she had to wear knee length board shorts and a tee shirt.
Joining that church completely changed my aunt's personality. She used to be a really cool person, she would take me and my cousins to do all kinds of fun stuff when we were kids. I remember her being my "fun aunt". She was also a talented painter and extremely creative. She doesn't paint at all now. She became completely submissive to her new husband, who is super manipulative and a compulsive liar. I don't think she's being physically abused, but she's not allowed to leave the house alone. She can only go places with her adult son or her husband. My mom tried to convince her to leave and now she is banned from talking to my mom on the phone unless her husband supervises the conversation. He works from home, so he is literally always around micro managing her life.
Joining that church also changed my cousin's life. She was probably about 12 or 13 when this all happened. She wasn't allowed to cut her hair and she was only allowed to wear full length skirts and long sleeves. They wouldn't let her see her old friends, she was only allowed to associate with people from church. We lived in different states, but we were extremely close and she used to come visit my family several times a year. Those trips stopped. I could only see her when we drove out to where they lived, and even then she wasn't allowed to be unsupervised with my mom (who was deemed a bad influence because she called my aunt and her husband out on their B.S.). It was really hard on my cousin.... She ended up legally emancipating herself at 16 and moving in with our grandparents. It was an ordeal.... The church "school" she had been going to was unaccredited and essentially useless, so she had to repeat a lot of high school online.
The happy news is that my cousin finished high school, went to college, and now she's happily married to a great guy. Shes totally normal and super cool. My aunt is still in the church, but honestly now that my cousin is free from all that, I don't care. I kind of hate her for what she put her daughter through. It definitely really hurts my mom though. She was super close to my aunt their entire lives, until she joined this church. Now they have basically no relationship. Their phone calls and visits are supervised by her husband. All she ever wants to talk to my mom about is converting her and saving us from going to hell, even though my mom is a Christian and goes to a normal church every Sunday. It's really sad, I feel bad for my mom. Especially since their other sister passed away suddenly a couple years ago, my mom has been pretty lonely. She tells me sometimes she feels like she's lost both her sisters.
I was raised as a Jehovah's Witness and grew up with most of my family being a part of the religion. When I was 10, my mother left the church and then was disfellowshipped (shunned) for having my sister out of wedlock. I was told that I could not associate with her after I became an adult, and that started me on the path to leaving this "Christian" group. I later on, at age 23, after not attending church for close to five years, also was disfellowshipped for having a child while single. This meant that everyone in my family besides my mother and half-sister could no longer talk to me. My father, stepmother, stepbrother, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends.... all of them gone. It can be emotionally devastating. My mother took her own life exactly two years ago today. I have a beautiful son, incredibly supportive and loving husband, and a new family that has helped to start healing those wounds. If anyone who is going through a similar situation ever needs a listening ear, there is a huge community (including myself) out there who can aid in the healing process.
My older brother joined a cult. He had a huge drinking problem most of his life, and drug problems in high school. He joined the Coast Guard after high school, but he was getting into trouble at work, coming in hungover all the time, not really caring about his job. One of his superiors, despite the trouble at work, really cared about him and wanted to help him. He recommended that my bro start going to church. So he did and it really turned things around for the better. My family and I were all so proud of him, he was really happy for the first time in a long time.
And then it just progressed from there, what first seemed helpful started to get out of control. The cult that he's in he found online. Obviously they don't outright say they're a cult, my bro saw it as an online community that supported his religion, made him feel like he had others to talk to. At first we just thought he was taking this whole religion thing too seriously, but then he went AWOL for one of their meet ups/functions. He ended up getting discharged from the military and then he began calling my parents less and less. He moved to the city where the cult is based out of and got some job using connections from the church. Him and I were still close and we called/emailed a few times a week. Starting before his discharge from the CG, in just about every conversation he would bring up doomsday, punishment, and hell. Eventually he began telling me that God told him that he can't change me, and that unless I decide to accept Jesus as my savior, he could no longer contact me.
We haven't talked in years, I was the last one he cut off. He still talks to our biological dad once every few months. My brother told my dad that God spoke to him through prayer and told him he's still got a chance to save my dad. I honestly think he's just too afraid to completely let go of his old life and entire family, and that's why he still keeps contact with my dad. He gets updates on me through him, but I've come to terms with the possibility of never seeing my brother again.
After his discharge from the military, he met a girl from the cult and they have three lovely children. Seriously, they are ADORABLE! My dad sends me pics. While I don't agree with his beliefs and being cut out of his life hurt a lot.. I am happy that he's content and he found somewhere he feels he belongs.... he seems like a great father.
I don't know if it was an actual cult, but after my cousin did a legit "teach in Asia" program she decided she was in love with Buddhism and joined a temple in Thailand (haven't gotten to the cult stuff, bear with me) whatever that meant. Then after a couple of months there she went to India. About six months there and she decided to come home.
But she was still in love with the temple life, so she joined a group in the US working with Tibetan monks? She was always a little loose on the details. Then one day she up and leaves everything behind to study Tibetan (language) somewhere in Vermont and then before we know it, they have sent her back to India.
The group in Vermont is the shady part, because my cousin was advised not to talk about who they were, where they were, or how it all worked. She was completely out of touch by modern means for six months, and only sent some letters with no return address and a very robotic format of "it is so wonderful here! Everything is beautiful" etc etc.
Then about two months after she had been in India she leaves the group and contacts us to say everything is okay, but she is staying in India. Because she met a boy. Who does happen to be a Tibetan refugee, so there is that!
Anyway, they got married, came to the us once they could get him a passport (took about two years) and now they are happily living in the US. She still won't talk about what happened, though her husband has let slip that something shady was going on, he also won't say what.
I had this friend growing up and we were the best of friends. Our summers were spent sleeping in my parents camper, swimming, jumping on her trampoline. We would ride our bikes around town and did everything together.
Growing up my parents always sent me to church, Sunday school and bible camp. She never went to church and would kinda make fun of me for not being allowed to have Saturday sleepovers. She had a lot of doubt but I didn't really care. She was my friend and if she didn't believe in God then whatever, who cares, let's watch Blossom!
Then her mom got sick. They kept her illness very private but it became obvious. She lost a ton of weight, stopped working and slept a lot. Around this time my friend's family joined a church. It was called New Life Church.
My best friend got super into this church and she would invite me to their youth group and it seemed ok. We would eat chicken burgers and and watch sister act 2. One day she asked me if I wanted to have a saturday sleepover and attend Sunday service with her family. My parents were ok with it because they assumed it was like normal church.
It was no normal church. It was a new wave Christian church and their minister was a faith healer. I mean people speaking in tongues and he would perform healing ceremonies. People would come up to him and he would use his palm to smack them on their foreheads and they would shake on the ground. He told people that he could use God's power to heal cancer.
It was scary and the people attending fully believed that this man could save them. On the way home from the service my best friend's mom asked me what I thought. I was honest and said it was weird and nothing like my church. She asked if I would go back and I said it wasn't the right fit for me.
After that my best friend was not allowed to hang out with me. If her mom saw her talking to me around town she would yell at her. My best friend told me that it was because her mom said I didn't have a pure Christian heart.
Her parents ended up putting her in the church's private school for a few years and by the time she came back we were in high school and she was far gone.
Her mom died when we were about 19. Her dad left the church but she did not. She met her husband and they have 2 adorable children but she is in so deep.
I miss my best friend and I am sad that church took advantage of them and gave her mom false hope.
So I got out when I was 20-21. And by got out I mean was demonized and disowned by my mother. Who then married the cult leader after he divorced his wife "for having an affair". Cult leader's wife was my ex-step-grandmother (long story, my mom's not great at picking men). But she's still in it now and won't talk to me, though she did try to make me see the error of my ways a couple months back (I'm in my early 30s now). Apparently the cult leader is dying of cancer to the mouth, which is incredibly appropriate.
Anyway, once he dies I'm hoping to be able to slowly talk sense into her again.
A friend of mine told he how she lost her friend to Scientology. It was more or less because they were residents of Hollywood and would walk down Hollywood blvd every day to go school. They'd pass the recruiting center every single day and pay no mind, but one day her friend decided to go in. She said after high school, her friend dissociated with her after realizing she wasn't going to convince her to join.
Does losing someone to an Multi Level Marketing cult count?
Not only lost a friendship, but had to unfollow all their posts. I can't answer their calls, texts, or messages because it's all about me "being on their life changing team" and "supplementing my income" even though my spouse and I both own our businesses, love our jobs, and don't need supplemented income.
If you're reading this and in an MLM think about the friendships you have had with people for many years. Don't throw it away for the small chance you will actually make good money.
I had a similar experience with a high school acquaintance selling Mary Kay; she reached out to a handful of us inviting us to a "girls night in at her house" and admitted she wanted to show us some Mary Kay samples but no pressure to buy. I felt bad cause I knew through the grapevine and she and her husband were struggling financially, so I figured I'd go and maybe get a lotion.
We follow the GPS instructions and it straight up leads us to a warehouse where about 20 Mary Kay consultants and 10 of their higher-ups are waving women inside, and casually blocking all the exits. Each consultant had invited 5-10 people, and if you tried to leave, one of the higher-up ladies would corner you, while another blocked the exit, and give the spiel about how if you didn't want to order anything today you could just host your own party another day - just give them the date and time. I said I wasn't interested 5 or 6 times before I just caved and bought the cheapest thing available.
The really crappy part is that they know full well that they've put you in a situation you can't get out of without being incredibly rude and confrontational (in front of a couple hundred witnesses) and that most people would rather avoid a scene like that. I blocked her on social media and never talked to her again.
My step aunt, uncle, and their daughter are Scientologists. My step uncle had a drug problem when he was younger and Scientology said they could help him. Surprisingly enough they did and he got clean but he got roped in. He and his family work for them now. His daughter works on the cruise ship they have. They seem pretty normal but they occasionally send us DVDs to try and convert us. Also when my rather wealthy Grandpa died they wanted to take some of his possessions to sell to Scientology.
She wasn't permanently lost, but my aunt joined the Children of God in the 70s. She was down in Texas doing student teaching and one day her roommate called my grandparents to say she hadn't seen her in a couple days and was pretty sure some people took her to Mexico.
My grandparents immediately drove down to Mexico, hired a cult deprogrammer, and rented a house near the cult compound. They basically blew as much money as they could afford, but never saw her before they had to give up and go back home.
A little while later, my aunt called home to tell her parents she was getting married. They told her to wait until spring break and they would come down for the wedding, but she said she couldn't. A few months after that, she brought her new husband to the US to meet the family.
They're still married today and I basically just learned about the whole thing like 6 months ago.
Here in central Ohio, we have a cult called Xenos. They market themselves as a Christian home church group. In reality, you will be pressured into moving into a home where you share a room with others of the same gender in order to prevent premarital sex and masturbation.
You will be forced to shun all non-xenos friends and family you have. It's pretty baffling how people keep falling for it. I lost a friend to it years ago. Haven't heard from her since. I saw her at the store once a few years ago and she refused to even acknowledge my existence.
Two of my college housemates went out one evening to buy cigarettes, and came back converted to Scientology. One eventually got out of it, but it took years. The other, I have no idea.
It was like a horror movie about pod people taking them over.
The worst part about Scientology to me is the time you lose by involving yourself in it. Members can spend 18 hours of their day being "audited." Children are separated from their parents for months at a time, essentially erasing the familial relationships. It seems that the children learn to never trust anyone, or be loyal to anything other than their "religion." They're told that it's their responsibility as a Scientologist to rat out anyone who says something that even slightly opposes the church's beliefs. If someone reports you to the church, you're required to go through the "auditing" process for hours and hours at a time, at your own expense. It's BONKERS.
A family friend of mine was a prominent young chess player (a grandmaster --- not a grandmaster, an international master with a GM norm) who, at a stressful crossroads in life, basically had a nervous breakdown at a tournament in Budapest and went outside and somehow came into contact with a cult. He's been there for a few years, within a couple weeks he withdrew all the money from his bank account and asked his family to not contact him. Apparently they later were allowed to and he spoke broken English and was more comfortable in a Hungarian language. I'm pretty sure that when they talked to him it was in person in Budapest in a public space with a translator/caretaker with him. They said that he seemed more comfortable in Hungarian, he didn't seem to remember American slang that he used to use, and generally body language and all just didn't seem like himself.
...one of the smartest guys I knew.
I had two cousins who went to Jonestown. I was born 2 years after their deaths, so everything I know is a kind of family lore. They were my Dad's best friends, and he rarely talked about them, but my mom was pretty open about it. The following is me paraphrasing what my mom has told me about them getting involved in the People's Temple.
They joined in San Francisco. It began as a utopian community, which followed the teachings of Christ. They gave literally everything they had away. Blankets, food, whatever the group had, they would give away. At the time, communes were common, so what they were doing, moving in with a bunch of like-minded people, didn't seem that odd. To their family, it seemed like an idealistic hippy community.
Then they started asking for money. Always under the guise of feeding the poor, or something like that. It didn't begin with asking for money because Jim was the second coming. Their parents sent all the money they had, but my cousins just kept asking for more. Eventually this was how he isolated his members from their family. If the family kept giving money, then the members could keep in touch. If the money dried up, the family was blamed, the members were cut off from contacting them.
My parents were living in Seal Beach at the time. My mom says the first time they noticed the cousins seemed a bit strange was when they cousins were on a mission trip with Jones. I believe he was preaching at the Crystal Cathedral, and he brought a bus of his followers down. It rained. Like one of these rare downpours in SoCal. The bus didn't have a windshield, so everyone was just getting soaked. So Jones walked up to the front of the bus, held out his hands and spoke, "Storm, stop!" And the rained stopped.
So that was the story my cousins told my parents that was the first sign my cousins had been brainwashed. I asked my mom what her response was, and she said, "we just laughed. It was so ridiculous. We had no idea what was coming, no one had heard of a cult."
By the time they left for Jonestown, my dad says he knew he'd never see them again, but at the same time he was shocked when it happened. We have letters from their time in the church all the way up to in Jonestown, so you can read their progression into brainwashing.
In the end, Nancy freely took the Kool aid, Ronnie was injected with cyanide. Their deaths have been ever present in my family.
Conspiracy theories are beliefs that there are covert powers that be changing the course of history for their own benefits. It's how we see the rise of QAnon conspiracies and people storming the capital.
Why do people fall for them? Well some research has looked into the reasons for that.
The Association for Psychological Science published a paper that reviewed some of the research:
"This research suggests that people may be drawn to conspiracy theories when—compared with nonconspiracy explanations—they promise to satisfy important social psychological motives that can be characterized as epistemic (e.g., the desire for understanding, accuracy, and subjective certainty), existential (e.g., the desire for control and security), and social (e.g., the desire to maintain a positive image of the self or group)."
Whatever the motivations may be, we wanted to know which convoluted stories became apart of peoples consciousness enough for them to believe it.
Redditor Lopsided_Confusion57 asked:
"What's the wildest conspiracy theory you fully believe?"
We can't say any of these are true but sometimes it's fun to speculate.
The time traveling cyclist.
"The Australian cyclist Mick Rogers is a time traveler."
"In the 2002 Tour Down Under, Rogers was in a great position in the breakaway and looking to move into the overall race lead but a collision with a motorcycle left his bike out of commission. With the team service car and mechanics way down the road, it looked like Rogers' chances were gone. Then a cycling fan, who just happened to be at that precise point in the road, offered Rogers his bicycle to continue on. The bike also just happened to be the *exact* model of Colnago that Rogers had been riding. It was the correct size, right down to things like the stem and crank lengths. It even had the same pedal system that Rogers was already using, so he could just clip in and be away. He finished that stage and took the race lead, which he held on to all the way to the end for his only career win in his 'home' tour."
"My theory is that in the original timeline, Rogers didn't win the 2002 Tour Down Under. He quit cycling in anger and devoted his life to theoretical physics and solving the problem of time travel just so he could arrange it to leave himself a spare bike where and when he needed it."
"I'm on board for whatever book or screenplay you write."
"Wait, so if Rogers motivation to find ways for time travelling was losing 2002 race, and if he won, then Rogers never found time travelling and our time line is forever devoid of genius like Rogers who would have found time travelling and attended Hawkins party."
"Yep, exactly. Our timeline is stuck with boring old Mick Rogers, 2002 TDU winner and 3x World Time Trial Champion while some other, much cooler, party timeline gets Mick Rogers, the second coming of Einstein. He probably even cures Covid for them."
The best money making stunt.
"Information is leaked from a studio about an upcoming project that p*sses off the fan base. The studio will then change things to keep the fans happy. The conspiracy is the original leak was just a lie to drum up free publicity for the project."
"This made me think of the Sonic movie. No way in hell were they going to make Sonic look that bad. Put out a fake trailer with him lookin all scary, everyone is talking about it. Wala. Take a bit to say you're fixing his look, put out a new trailer. You just drummed up tons of publicity since people are now following the story."
"I have mixed thoughts to that one."
"I mean 'No way in hell were they going to make him look like that.' Buddy have you seen the cash-grab BS that Hollywood has pulled off before? Hell, when was there a movie based off a game that wasn't exactly as bad as that Sonic looked?"
"I will admit that they may have done that as a publicity stunt, but I also admit that they could have thought it looked fine."
"Have you seen … CATS?"
"100% of the population believes that Putin has had people killed for political reasons but only a very small percentage of Americans believe that American politicians would ever do so."
"I mean, there's a reason the joke/saying is, 'The highest award a journalist can receive is being assassinated by the CIA.' There's probably been a handful who may've found out one too many things on the elites, and then had an accident before they could publish their findings."
"Ohhhh boy then south american journalists in the 60s-80s have been awarded way too much."
"MLK was literally murdered by the government."
"Lots of Black Panthers were too."
'"As part of the larger COINTELPRO operation, the FBI was determined to prevent any improvement in the effectiveness of the BPP leadership. The FBI orchestrated an armed raid with the Chicago police and State Attorney on Hampton's Chicago apartment.'"
"Quote from the Wikipedia article on Fred Hampton."
Conspiracies for the conspiracies to cover up the conspiracies.
"The CIA creates conspiracy theories to provide cover for the real conspiracies."
"It's actually kind of scary how smug anti-conspiracy discourse is used to derail actual conversations. A moment that chipped my faith in humanity just a little was when I was arguing with some people about Guatemala in 1954 and people denied my version of events happened 'because it's a conspiracy.'"
"Like no the parties involved admitted to it."
"If you don't know what I'm talking about and are from the USA you should have a google. But, basically the USA destroyed a democracy because it made a corporation sad."
"What's worse is when people will talk about how corrupt insert what politicians they don't like are, but then when you mention something that is actually confirmed to have happened, they pull the conspiracy theory card and act as if the idea people in power don't want to secure further power for themselves."
"We have been conditioned to think like that from since we started school though (I guess that's my submission for this ask post)."
"I think I remember reading about some CIA agents AMA. Someone asked him the question, 'What's the point of area 51?' The answer was, 'To keep your attention away from area 50 and 52.'"
"Obviously not an exact quote, but the idea of it has always stuck with me."
Extinct animals not actually being extinct for preservation.
"I think it is entirely plausible that the Thylacine still exists in the depths of the Australian mainland and the government knows it."
"It wouldn't be that crazy for misguided scientists to have moved or released a few in the late 1800s. Once the animal went extinct, they certainly couldn't reveal the existence of the mainland population lest poachers and local farmers destroy it. They also may have realized how significant the liability was for releasing large predators into farmland."
"Folks have found hair and scat samples that may be from the animal, but the university lab results always come back and say they are nonsense. That's probably the truth, but I wouldn't be entirely surprised if the government was strong-arming them into reporting BS results. TBH if I was a conservation scientist it wouldn't take much convincing for me to fake a negative test."
Robert 'Curt' Borton Jr.
"I believe in a LOT of really boring conspiracies. Stuff like. 'This person was about to expose corporate/government corruption, and then died suspiciously.'"
"But if you want to go for a more intense one, Robert Borton, who I just learnt about, takes the cake. tl;dr guy disappears in Vietnam and really strange sh*T happens to his family."
"This guy, Robert 'Curt' Borton Jr. turns 19 in 1965, he goes to fight in Vietnam. He lands in 1966 and vanishes 19 days into his deployment alongside 3 other soldiers."
"In 1976, two guys approach his dad and claimed to work for the Department of Defense. They asked him to sign a letter that would change his sons status from 'Missing in action' to 'Killed in action' and he refused. Arguing the military would not confront people in public to sign documents. However, in the following weeks he was approached again by these two guys in public places and eventually signed it out of fear. He later received money for doing so."
"His sister then claims that every time they've seen Curt's official files, the entries keep changing, and his sister claims her phone was being wiretapped. A cousin believes that everyone was being watched, claiming that he was followed to work several times and that two men would follow him from his home to his company and then back. After this went on for a month, he decided to confront them, but they denied following him. After that, for about a month, he was not followed."
"The family is convinced Curt was part of a secret government operation that brought him from Vietnam into the United States. Diane believes that he has tried to contact her and other family members on multiple occasions. She claims that she has talked to a man who is a "secret returnee" and that they are allowed to come back to the United States, as long as they do not contact their families. She believes that this was done because the U.S. government had already claimed that all of the living POWs had been brought home; since they were still left behind, they could not become known to the public."
We may never fully know if any of these are true. Given the track record and history of most governments in the world, maybe some of these aren't so far fetched.
Only you can decide what you believe or not.
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I hate ghosts, even if it's Casper. My life is already stressful enough. I don't need to creeped out by spirits from the beyond. Shouldn't they be resting and basking in the glow of the great beyond instead of menacing the rest of us?
The paranormal seems to be consistently in unrest, which sounds like death isn't any more fun or tranquil than life. So much for something to look forward to.
Some ghosts just like to scare it up. It's not always like "Ghosthunters" the show.
Redditor u/Murky-Increase4705 wanted to hear about all the times we've faced some hauntings that left us shook, by asking:
Reddit, what are your creepy encounters with something that you are convinced was paranormal?
I can't definitively say I've come face to face with the spirits. But I have had some unsettling feelings in the dark. Shadows are just shadows sometimes, but who can be sure.
I hear it...Nbc Wings GIF by HULUGiphy
"I was helping my dad clean my grandma's house after she passed and I went in and was trying to find a song in my phone and before I could I heard a cough plain as day come from down the hallway where her room was. She died of lung and throat cancer it was pretty crazy."
"When I was 5 I remember getting home from my grandpa's birthday party. For context my mom was pregnant with my brother at the time, so my parents had already bought his crib. I woke up in the middle of the night to find a women in a white dress and long black hair standing over my brother's crib. I managed to wake up my dad so he could take me to the bathroom. When I got back it was still there. It was only until morning when it disappeared. Every now and then I see a glance of what I assume is that thing running past the backyard."
"My best friend and his wife had moved to a new apartment. I came over to visit a few times, and each time I'd see the motion of a cat in my peripheral vision. Not the image of a cat, but a sense of how a cat moves. Anyway, one day I finally cracked some joke about the ghost cat in the place and his wife was instantly saying "See! See! I told you we had a ghost cat!"
"I worked graveyard shift in a dementia ward for 4 years and it was anything but quiet. I was working with a nurse one night when we both heard a resident say "excuse me." We looked around and no-one was there. I checked on the resident in question and she was fast asleep in her own room. Many of us also experienced someone whistling in the ward late at night and one nurse even managed to catch a video of it happening. It was unnerving to say the least."
"I once saw someone short walk by me in my house. They walked into the laundry room which only has one way in. I walked into it behind them and they where gone. I thought it was my little brother but I went to his room and he was asleep. I still have no clue what that was."
Now was everyone here positive they were sober? Just asking. Those are certainly spooky moments. I'd like some video footage please. Continue...
Reflectionsghost library GIFGiphy
"I was up at 3am when I was maybe 7 or 8. I looked out the window and saw a woman in a white dress run across my yard. I could see through her. She was transparent like the reflections on the window."
"So, my work place is haunted. I was having a really crap day, and as a cleaner, it's normal that me and my co worker will be the only ones left at night. So I was standing on the second floor, leaning on the banister for the stair case, when I heard this male voice say in my ear "you alright?" Clear as day. I turned around so fast and nobody was there and it scared the hell out of me."
"I remember as a young kid I usually use to sit in my bed and watch tv with my room door open while the adjacent guest bedroom next to mine would always have the door shut. I always remember seeing that door fully open and close by itself multiple times a day very slowly and gently. Never really bothered me much now that I think about it… but there were other creepier experiences I had in the same house that made me feel uncomfortable like I was being watched."
"I went to the Betsy Ross House as a really little kid in the early 90s. Normal house but I was confused why the tour guide never talked about the woman on the chair crying at the edge of the bed in Betsy Ross's bedroom. So I asked about it. No one else saw the woman at the edge of the bed. I figured it was just a wax museum since there was a wax statue of a man in uniform rolling bullets in the basement."
"Years later, I was looking at haunted Philadelphia tours to go on with a friend and the Betsy Ross House was on it. I was like "woah! I was there!" and looked into it some more. Turns out there is a woman at the end of the bed crying and a uniformed man in the basement that people have reported seeing. There is no way that 8 year old me would have known about either of these things."
hello kitty...hello kitty lol GIF by Animation Domination High-DefGiphy
"I had this hello kitty Balloon In my bed room, it had a string and weight on it. So it was late, I had the lights on just Sitting on my bed. The Balloon turns, faces my door, slowly floats into my hallway and turns and floats into my sister's room. To this day I am scared of balloons."
They are among us and they like Hello Kitty. I'm probably rattling the paranormal cages and they'll come for me next, but I'm ready. I feel like this thread has prepared me.
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The past year brought about much anxiety and it's been a challenge to find the light in what has felt like perpetual darkness.
"What gives you genuine happiness?"
Food brings people together, and that combination brings much happiness for these Redditors.
"Plenty of my favorite food eaten together with fam."
"Harvesting fruits/veggies from plants which I grew myself and then gifting the harvest to others. I love to grow blueberries and hope I will have lots next year."
Compliments To The Chef
"Seeing people enjoy food that I cooked, especially seeing my fiancee smile while she eats my from-scratch chocolate chip cookies."
The Little Things
"It's difficult to tell the difference between genuine happiness and enough distraction. Food, like video games or playing the piano, makes me joyful while I'm eating it. I believe that the things that make me truly happy are the ones that happen infrequently, if at all, and are beyond of my control, such as being complimented or receiving physical contact."
Being alone with our thoughts can be comforting.
Wee Small Hours Of The Morning
"Being outside with no people around. Live in a city and I get up super early and just walk around before everyone else is out. Best part of my day."
In Between Consciousness
"I think it may be the only time I am ever genuinely happy when I am in that state of going to sleep where I think, but at the same time I am neither asleep nor awake. It feels like I am entirely detached from the physical world; free of fear, and pain."
"Don't try heroin."
"I've noticed that some things can make you so happy that they make you happy before (anticipation) and after (reminiscing) you've done them."
Being with loved ones, both humans and pets, can be the very definition of happiness.
"Weekend mornings sitting on the couch curled up with my husband and cat, both of us reading a book. It feels like quality time even though we aren't talking. Just a lot of peace."
"Your comment made me imagine a cat sitting on a couch, reading a book, wearing reading glasses and that made me really happy."
Hide And Seek
"Watching my cat get stuck somewhere stupid, then yelling for help. The best place so far was in a cabinet over the stove."
Our Inner Comedian
"When I manage to make my friends day by making them laugh. I honestly get so happy when they are happy."
What Brings Joy To Others
"I really love to hear about other people's hobbies/passions/interests. It never fails to make me smile."
"Equally, my hobbies/passions/interests make me happy."
I'm a kid at heart.
So it's not surprising that going to a Disney park as an adult brings out the inner kid in me.
Having grown up in Southern California, I get nostalgic about all my trips to Disneyland with my family and friends.
Eventually, I got a job there in entertainment, where I've made lifelong friends and grew as a performer.
My glee quadruples when I bring friends who've never been to a Disney park before and I see the excitement on their faces.
And what brings me pure joy is hearing from these first-time visitors that, after a long day of running around for 12+ hours, they tell me they had the "best day ever."
Walt, you did a good thing.
A lot of talk going on about women's bodies, isn't there?
Not necessarily with women front and center as part of the conversation, unfortunately.
One of the main talking points against these bans and laws being placed on women's bodies is the idea that it would never happen to a man. "If men could get pregnant, there'd be free abortions tomorrow," is a slogan thrown around quite a bit online. Is that true?
Let's ask them.
Men of Reddit, would you take a male contraceptive pill if it was readily available? Why/Why not?
Genuinely, you might find yourself surprised at how many men are willing and ready to do their part in controlling what goes on during contraception.
Click, Click...No Boom.
"Yes. Makes more sense to unload the gun than shoot at a bulletproof vest."
"Without a doubt. I hate the idea of a vasectomy...nervous about the procedure. But I'd 100% take a male contraceptive pill"
Both Parties Are Making A Choice
"Yes. I world prefer both genders have birth control and that both are actively using it to give the best possible chance of no accidental pregnancies."
What Have Women Been Going Through?
"Honestly I would because I hate the fact how it f-cks with my girlfriend's body. And I rather deal with it than her"
"Absolutely ruins my day when I think about what a hormonal disaster the implant has been for her. It doesn't even bother her that much, but why should she have to deal with any of it at all? Saving up for a vasectomy so it can all just be done with."
Some men are not for a male contraceptive.
Hear them out.
"Think I'd probably still rely on rubbers. Shooting a load without one and relying on it being blanks... I'd be too paranoid about it"
"Rubbers will still help against things OTHER than pregnancy too - so, wearing them is still a good idea"
Wait, What Day Of The Week Is It?
"Oh yes 100%. The only reason I'd be hesitant is i'm very likely to forget"
"Yeah my ex couldn't even remember to buy condoms so not sure I would trust him with a pill. I also wouldn't trust myself with it either, hence the condoms :D"
What's It Doing To Me?
"If it had the same side-effect as the female one and affected my mood or my libido? F-ck no."
"Not all methods have that effect on women. There are literally hundreds of contraception, it's finding the best one for your body."
"I imagine that if men were taking contraception there would be triple the research into making sure you guys were A-OK"
It's All In The Conversation
"Personally, I wouldn't take it. The pill messes with your hormones and that's why I don't expect a woman to take it and also, that's why I don't want to take it."
"If she does, because she wants to - ok. If she doesn't, because she doesn't want to - ok, too."
"If I happen to hook up with someone, I'll wear a condom, because pregnancy isn't the only thing to prevent."
"If I am in a relationship and my gf tells me that she doesn't want to take the pill (anymore), I don't have any right to argue with her and that's why I'll wear a condom."
"I don't care if it "doesn't feel so good" - for me, the best thing about sex is the shared intimacy."
However, really, it's the man in all of us that wouldn't mind shouldering some responsibility in the child-baring years of our lives. Cheers to that.
So Long As It's A Unity Effort
"Yes, I have this theory that every man's phone alarm would go off at the same time at the bar, and we would raise our bc pill in the air to cheers all taking it at the same time"
Why Make Them Do Something You're Not Willing To Do?
"Abso-f-cking-lutely YES a million times yes!!!"
"Straight away, it would be a d*ck move if I expected my girlfriend to take stuff if I'm not willing to"
...Is That Pun Or...?
"Yes! My wife has been carrying the burden of birth control for 11 years now. Lots of pain, discomfort and other effects over the years, its time men can share the load."
We won't know what the future brings. Science at this point makes it feel like anything is possible, so in the next century? Who can say?
Be ready, men. It's our turn, next.
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