Lost Connections[rebelmouse-image 18348030 is_animated_gif=
"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.
Widespread[rebelmouse-image 18348031 is_animated_gif=
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[rebelmouse-image 18348032 is_animated_gif=
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.
Fanatical Devotion[rebelmouse-image 18348033 is_animated_gif=
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.)
Pastor's Kid[rebelmouse-image 18348034 is_animated_gif=
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.
Ansarullah Bangla[rebelmouse-image 18348035 is_animated_gif=
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.
People's Temple[rebelmouse-image 18348037 is_animated_gif=
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.
Fundamentalist[rebelmouse-image 18348038 is_animated_gif=
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.
Disfellowshipped[rebelmouse-image 18348039 is_animated_gif=
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.
Older Brother[rebelmouse-image 18345996 is_animated_gif=
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.
India[rebelmouse-image 18348040 is_animated_gif=
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.
Former BFF[rebelmouse-image 18348043 is_animated_gif=
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.
Mother[rebelmouse-image 18348044 is_animated_gif=
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.
Hollywood[rebelmouse-image 18348045 is_animated_gif=
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.
MLM[rebelmouse-image 18348046 is_animated_gif=
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.
Cruises[rebelmouse-image 18348047 is_animated_gif=
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.
Mexico[rebelmouse-image 18348048 is_animated_gif=
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.
Ohio[rebelmouse-image 18348049 is_animated_gif=
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.
College Days[rebelmouse-image 18348050 is_animated_gif=
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.
Budapest[rebelmouse-image 18348052 is_animated_gif=
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.
Jonestown[rebelmouse-image 18348053 is_animated_gif=
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.
Remember way back when the internet wasn't a flaming dumpster fire?
Yeah, us either.
The internet has always been a mess, but it's also always been beautiful.
It connects people, ideas, senses or humor, creativity! Yes, we've got our fair share of deviants, murderers, and trashbag people, but we've also got decades of wonder to celebrate.
Newbies like to think using the internet for awesomeness is something they came up with, but the old heads are here to tell you the internet has ALWAYS been a complicated crash course in the coolest stuff ever.
So let's hop in the wayback machine and get our nostalgia on.
Reddit user ransom0374 asked:
"What do you miss from early internet times?"
So let's take that walk down memory lane, or if you're new-ish here on planet Earth, this is going to be a fun little "history" lesson.
If you're uncertain where you fall, here's a test:
"Badger, Badger, Badger, Badger..."
If you finished the song, you're probably going to remember quite a few of these...
"AIM away messages saying stupid stuff like 'BRB going to get some bagel bites.' "
"Don't forget to update your personal profile with Blink 182 lyrics and the initials of your school sweetheart and some ASCII. Browse for a new inappropriate buddy icon and strike up a convo with SmarterChild"Giphy
"I miss the wild unknown frontier that the internet was."
"It seemed there was so much discovery to be had on the internet, and if you were good at the internet everyone thought of you as 'Hackerman' and you were like a God amongst your peers."
"It seems like there isn't anything 'new' on the internet anymore. No discoveries to be made."Giphy
The Irony Is Not Lost On Us
"Variety. There's a popular tweet that says something like 'the internet has turned into four websites where on each one people share screenshots of the other three.' "
"I miss when you could search a term and there would be dozens of sites dedicated to it or forums especially for it. Now it's just ads, Wikipedia, and Reddit."
"Oh, and not having ads shoved down your throat every time you search a term or navigate to a page!"
"I know there were pop ups and banners, which weren't any better. But there was a sweet spot."
"There was a few years there where you could Google something and half the first page WASN'T sponsored ads that had nothing to do with what you looked up. And you could go to a website and it DIDN'T block the page with a full screen ad asking for your email to join their mailing list or save 10% on their merchandise."Giphy
Figuring It Out
"That all the webpages were just random people trying to figure out HTML."
"There really wasn't a corporate presence at all. It was just a place for people to experiment."
"You could click on a button and make a cardboard hand wave at someone's cats. You could dispense a coke from a machine in some dorm. It was dumb and fun."Giphy
"The learning was endless."
"There were almost an infinite source of information from all over the world. If you wanted to find something all you had to do was search for it in Ask Jeeves or whatever and you'd find any website that had ever mentioned that thing."
"There were more than 10 different websites. And at least it didn't feel like I was being forced to sign up for a subscription after every click."
"There were so many fun, cute stores to shop. Now it feels like everyone dresses and decorates the same."
"I miss a lot of things about the early internet. I'm probably wrong, but it just felt safer than it does now?"Giphy
"I was in my late teens when the internet was becoming accessible to everyone. Our one household computer was in the kitchen & facing in a way so anyone coming in could see your screen."
"I remember looking at someone's website and my Dad passing by to get something to eat, asking me if the person on the website was my friend."
"I miss those old days! The internet seemed endless & friendly."Giphy
A Base Level For Participation
"Most people were smart."
"In the early days (by far) most people on the internet were in college, either as a teacher or student. Beyond that, people had to to be in a lab or make their computer talk to a connected computer which was not so easy in the old days."
"It acted as a sort of intelligence barrier one needed clear to participate in internet things."
"Higher barrier to entry."
"I remember the fond days of SLIP and Trumpet Winsock when you had to know at least a little about tech to get on and participate."
"There was still stupidity, but it just wasn't as loud as it is now."
"In the very very early days, pre-AOL, you needed skill and knowledge to get online."
"Then AOL came onto the scene an d anyone could get online at the push of a button."Giphy
Go Away Now
"I miss when what happened on the internet, stayed on the internet."
"You could turn off the beige box and go about the rest of your day without it affecting you."
"The fact that is only existed on a big computer in the house, as long as no-one was on the phone. It wasn't some all-encompassing thing."
"The internet not following me around. When you logged off, you effectively put the internet away."Giphy
It Used To Be...
"How people used to treat it."
"The internet was not just a novelty, but an amazing piece of technology that let anyone share anything. It was so wholesome and loving, with everyone still being amazed at what we could do now."
"Now? There's so many websites that are designed to make you angry and radicalize your beliefs. It's quantity over quality."
"There was a time when nobody on Reddit shared politics, when Facebook was for socializing, when YouTube was where people uploaded stuff they were passionate about."Giphy
We Used To Love Yahoo
"I can't remember what it was called, but Yahoo had this great music video program where it showed popular artists, and some very unknown folks."
"I discovered some of my favorite artists having it play in the background all the time."
"Launchcast/Yahoo Radio. It was revolutionary for music streaming and the 1-5 star system worked really well. I preferred it over Pandora's up/down system."Giphy
On a personal level, I want to go on record and say MusicMatch was the greatest music program in the history of life.
It just was.
I will die on this hill.
It was dopeness in all forms. MusicMatch Jukebox? Dope. Yahoo MusicMatch? Dope.
So what relics from Ye Olde Internet are you passionate about? Sound off in the comments!
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No one wants war.
Who is going to light the powder keg and set it all off?
Which country will start WW3? Why?
Does anyone really want to start another world war?
They may not have a choice in the matter.
Getting It Out Of The Way Early
"Austrian here, we will do it again probably, I would like to say sorry in advance! Most plausible reason at the moment is because Germans eat schnitzel with sauce on top, then this conflict will spiral out again into WW3."
"Third time's the charm!"
-Some Austrian, probably
Civil War 2: Electric Boogaloo
"It'll be a civil war that devolves into a world war, with no one country clearly responsible for this change."
"But we'll blame it all on germany again, right"
Why I Oughtta...
"At this point, there are enough nukes in the world to ensure that a World War would simply result in nuclear annihilation on all sides. Say what you want about authoritarians like Xi Jinping, Kim Jung Un, and Ali Khameni, they are many things; but they're not suicidal. They know that an all out war would just end everyone, including them, so they're not going to. This is why the US and the USSR never went to all out war, despite coming close a few times; the risks were just too great for both sides."
"What could easily happen, however, is another cold war, this time between the US and China. And like in the Cold War, there could be proxy wars fought as a result of it, but it's unlikely that any country will take the insane risks of starting World War 3."
A full-blown world war is a tricky thing to get off the ground, that is if anyone wants it. The leading cause to impending war could come out of nowhere, or somewhere completely unexpected, or perhaps it will never come.
2-Day War Delivery
"Bruh its gunna be Amazon, not a country"
"Jeff Bezos finna be dropping Amazon basics nukes on us"
Can It Even Happen?
"I don't think the world can handle another world war. simply for the sake that we're all so interconnected. every major nation trades with each other and are in bed with each other. I would be a detriment to whatever country starts a war."
"Think about how the global supply chain has been impacted by the pandemic, the world would probably cease to function all together in a major conflict."
"There was a quote I liked, I think it was from Dan Carlin. He said that leading up to WWI Europe had become too economically entwined to go to war with itself, but none of the economists were invited to the war councils. The generals making the decisions didn't understand the situation so they made dumb decisions. The situation is undoubtably more-so interconnected today, the question is, do we have economists making the call on starting wars?"
A Little Humor Before We Get To The Serious Stuff...
"Probably America, I mean they made Wonder Woman 1 & 2, so highly likely they'd make WW3. At least start it. Not sure why someone else would finish it."
"No, they don't know how to count.. They jumped from WW1 to WW84."
Is it in the realm of possibility? Possibly.
After all, people will be people.
Anyone Else Surprised? No?
"America have a surplus of military might, a recent history of starting wars for profit, EVERYTHING is politicised and extreme nationalism and xenophobia are normalised within the populace. I'm going with them."
These All Feel Tangible
"My guesses would be 1) USA vs China over Taiwan or 2) China vs India (a lot on tension there that doesn't get a lot of news attention)"
"India-Pakistan and China-India are hot beds."
"India and Pakistan have been at war numerous times since their inception. 5 'official' wars and 9 minor skirmishes, to be exact. The last conflict ended with a ceasefire in 2003, but the last incident was a series of skirmishes along the Line of Control in Kashmir, from November 2020 to February 2021."
"Neither is capable of a full-fledged invasion of the other, so it's limited to border disputes. And while Pakistan does have nukes, it would be suicide to use them. There's no incentive for any other countries to get involved."
Going For It
"China making a move on Taiwan or some other land grab in India or other bordering countries."
An Infectious Idea
"India and Pakistan. It will spread to China, then North Korea (or North Korea first) and pull in many others in Asia. This will pull in NATO, either directly or via global partners (Australia)."
This One Makes WAY Too Much Sense
"Twitter. Someone will probably make a typo that everyone takes the wrong way..."
Well, what do you think could happen? Let us know in the comments.
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So let's talk about how a dog owner on Facebook learned her dog's "adorable" behavior was, in fact, furious masturbation.
Readers, if you know anything about me you know I love a good plot twist and I love chonky puppers.
Yesterday, life combined my two great loves in a hilarious and inappropriate way.
I was mindlessly scrolling through my dog groups on Facebook when a video with a few hundred laugh reacts but almost no comments caught my eye.
The still from the video was a pudgy little Frenchie, so obviously I had to read and watch.
The dogs owner shared the video along with a post asking professionals to shed some light on why he does what he does.
Owner-obliviousness as they gushed about how adorable it was made the awkward even better.
The owner explained the Frenchie often makes aggressive eye contact and licks his lips while he "plays air guitar"—which is what the family calls it—and how cute & funny they all find the behavior.
The video was the dog, casually chilling, using his paw to rub the tip of his penis while staring awkwardly at the camera and licking his lips like a pup possessed.
Three hundred and fifteen laugh-reacts—at the time that I saw it—and only three comments:
1. a vet explaining that the behavior showed in the video was the dog masturbating while making direct eye contact
2. the owner giving a simple "thank you" and
3. the admins of the group closing the comments.
So, why am I sharing this with you?
Because Reddit user Drakmamman asked:
"Dog owners of reddit, what the dog doin?"
... and so now you get this whole article just so I had an excuse to tell y'all about a furiously fapping Frenchie, 'cause somebody else needed to know about him.
I cackled for a good 20 minutes imagining the family getting all giddy about their dog "playing air guitar"—making the little air guitar meedly squeedly noises while he played, maybe even playing along thinking they're enjoying a fun little game—but they're really just been giving a hair metal soundtrack to their dogs stroke sesh.
Something tells me now the owner knows what "air guitar" really is, they're not likely to rush and tell Reddit all about how they've been gathering as a family to watch cause it's just so cute.
That's what I'm here for.
Anyway, here's the stuff other people's dogs are up to. It's not fapping—or if it is, the owners aren't telling Reddit.
"Wife just came home with the baby. Dog is acting like she's been abandoned for years running up and down, barking and jumping on everything."
"They'd only been out an hour and I was with her the whole time." - Single_Goose7015
"My dog does this too when my wife comes home. Like what am I, chopped liver?" - jackof47trades
"I feel your pain. My dog started howling mournfully when my partner went back to work last week… I was right there!" - TreatOutside
"Staring at the door waiting for the only human he cares about to come home (obviously not me)" - SnarkyRedhead
"Probably trying to herd the cats."
"He's a border collie mix who's afraid of goats and sheep, but even after six years of living with them he still thinks he can control where the cats go."
"He's a good boy, he's very persistent, but not terribly bright sometimes." - TokesNotHigh
"After 8 years our border collie still herds the cats, and the vacuum." - psychologicaluse28
"Big heart, small brain. I have one of those dogs too. They are the sweetest." - Technobucket
"She has flung herself flat across the bed and is playing dead, quiet except for the occasional pitiful whine. Every now and then she lifts her head up and fixes a desperate look upon me, silently begging for release from her wretched existence."
"She's a bit overdramatic about having to wear a cone. The issue is an abrasion on a toe that she won't stop licking, which is making it worse."
"I've been alternating between bandaging it and having her wear a cone. She's been consistently a drama queen." - halfinboxes
"Staring at me because their dinner time is in one hour and they need to start letting me know that, in an hour, they need to eat...in an hour, so I better not forget...cuz they're hungry, which is why they're staring at me...and it's almost dinner time."
"Just one more hour, And they want to make sure I don't forget. Because maybe I will."
"So, they need to remind me. By staring at me. Every day. One hour before dinner." - MotherOfFred
A Little "Light" ExerciseGiphy
"Mine loves light reflected off watches or phones. And loves lasers."
"It's sunny and he sees light on the wall so he is bothering me to use my watch or phone so he can chase the light. I've spent the last hour doing it."
"I even got him a cat laser toy that's automatic for him and he runs himself tired as all hell with it. But he is STILL asking for it."
"Used the laser toy also too, so he is panting dripping tongue and still wants to play more..." - boomgoon
"Last night my dogs chased down and killed a rabbit in the backyard. They are usually so gentle; this was weird and unexpected."
"I watched the whole thing helpless because it was so fast. The rabbit screamed, it was insane."
"Now, I'm watching them sleep on my couch and can't help but think they just murdered someone."
"They are just vicious predators, right here, in my house. On my couch."
"But they snuggly as f*ck. This trips me out." - Atheist_Redditor
A Problematic PrincessGiphy
"We have two chihuahuas. One is a 15 year old (quite appropriately) named Princess and one is a one year old named Charlie."
"Both have their own dog beds on the couch since they are spoiled."
"When Princess is feeling particularly moody or like asserting her dominance, she will drag Charlie's bed into her bed and lay on top of BOTH of them and snarl at him if he comes close to her personal space bubble/bed mountain."
"And when we tell her she can't have both beds and put his bed back to the side, she just glares at us. Lol." - mslm90
"She's currently in her cage resting after her great adventure."
"She managed to get upstairs and grab a hold of one of my shoes. Not just any old shoe, but one of the shoes I am planning to wear this weekend for my wedding."
"After running around, she dropped the shoe to chew on a shirt - at which point she was cornered, and then brought downstairs."
"Pup and shoe are both unharmed and doing well. My nerves, not so much." - still_interesting23
So ... what's YOUR dog been up to lately?
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Have you ever fantasized about what it would be like to win the lottery? Having money for the rest of your life, as far as the eye can see, to cover your expenses.
And have you thought about all the things you would buy if you could really afford them? Are they ALL practical things, or are some of them silly?
We always love to fantasize about what life would be like if money were no object. And you are not alone!
Redditor OnlyVillager asked:
"If you won the lottery, what's something 'useless' that you would buy?"
Here were some of those answers.
I Be The Witch Of The Wood
"My teenage daughter disclosed to me the other day that her biggest life goal is to buy a house on an acreage that has a large wooded area."
"She plans to build me a house in the woods, fund whatever ridiculous bullsh*t art installations I want to erect in the woods, then spread rumors in neighboring towns that a witch lives back there."
"She's the best."-OpossumJesusHasRisen
My Kingdom For A Castle
"I'm blowing it all on a castle. No, not one of those fairy tale mansions from the 19th century robber barons called 'castles'.
"A fully loaded, honest-to-god, obsolete, medieval fortress. Two curtain walls, a keep, towers, barbican, portcullis, murderholes, loopholes, machicolations, the works. It'll be a well warmed summer retreat/place to hide out if another plague hits the world."
"I'm buying Au Train island in the Upper Peninsula to be specific. When the feds finally come after billionaires to pay their fair share, I'm running to my island and sealing the gates behind me."
"So I can get my affairs in order and pay my taxes. What were you thinking I was gonna do? Hide from the IRS? They can breach any castle lmao."-DaemonTheRoguePrince
I Wanna Be A Billionaire
- "I want a cold water dispenser on my desk. It has to be connected to the water line, filtered and cooled. Ideally it also has that thing that automatically knows when the container is almost full."
- "My new lifestyle would be to live 4 weeks in a different city, then 1 week at home. In each city, I would stay in a Luxury Airbnb or a five star hotel."
- "I would hire a professional soccer coach. I'm talking someone that trains pro players. I'm Arab and I'm tired of not being good at soccer, just a few months of lessons and I'll be able to participate in pick up games and have fun."
- "I would also hire singing, guitar and piano instructors. Singing would be the toughest because my voice sucks, but I figure with time I can be good enough to sing a song if I want to reference it. That's how bad I am today."-Reformedjerk
Imagine just not having to think when you click the "purchase" button.
A Nice Siesta
"Maybe not exactly "useless" in the way people are thinking (the way the question is asked makes me think by "useless" they mean "stupid/wasteful" but I'm thinking in terms of things that are fun and only for the purpose of having fun), but do vacations count?"
"If I had that much money all to myself, I would 100% rather have a regular sized house/car and spend the money on experiences instead."
"The idea of having a normal life but knowing that I can just decide to take the day off and go to DisneyLand or treat myself to a fancy dinner whenever the hell I want to is a fantasy I've had since I was literally a little kid."
"I get that those aren't useful things because they're not things I could USE like a car/house/purse/etc, but I'd definitely be happy:)"-StreetIndependence62
"Well this stuff is only useless if there isn't some sort of apocalyptic event that happens in my lifetime."
"That said, I'd go full prepper and bury myself a bunker in the desert with tons of food and water stored away and decked out with solar panels, a garage full of electric cars, and a stash of every sort of modern electronic equipment available in vast quantities."
"So this would be a huge waste of money if there's never an apocalypse. But it would be very valuable to me if there happens to be one."-TimHawks1983
"I have always wanted a talking toilet. I don't even know why at this point. I just saw it on a tv show, don't even remember what, and since that day I have thought 'yes, I want this.'"
"But right now, with my paupers wage, I cannot afford such a thing. I have a lot of serious plans for lottery level money. I would open a shelter for homeless people and start my own dog shelter. As well as my own theme park."
"But I would still get a talking toilet."-MagnificentColossus
Put Your Bird On My Shoulder
"I would get into falconry, vintage guitars from the 50s and 60s, a live in Cook, most of the surfaces that I touch would be marble, and I would save a significant portion of my money to split between investments and gambling on riskier stocks."
"Depending on how much money a private jet would be in the cards as well as a flight license. This is one of my favorite things to daydream about"-freemason777
The best part of all of this is, it doesn't matter that these things are useless.
They bring us joy, and that is what matters.
"Boring" "Flame Thrower"???
"Definitely a boring company flame thrower. And a Barrett M82."
"Probably a supercar too, but not to drive it. I want to light it on fire in a public space as an appeal to consumerism right before I go take a private jet to Nappa Valley to eat at the French Laundry and get hammered on the most expensive bottles of wine I can find."-xdylanxfrommyspace
"There are many things I bought that I regretted it immediately. I love to try new stuff. Especially no-brand or brand that is not famous. My curiosity is very high, that is the problem."
"I wanted to know whether those products are okay for human being. For example, I bought BioAqua face products. The most product I regret is BioAqua aloe vera. After my third use of the product, I actually experience worst allergic in the world."
"My skin had a lot of red patches appeared in just few hours. It was itchy but not painful. Just I keep scratching my skin but I tried my best to control it."
"It took about three - five days to keep it clear with medication and creams. Then after a couple of weeks, I decided to use it again. I got the reaction."
"Thankfully, I still have the medication and the cream. So, I took it immediately. I also did not apply the cream that much compared to previous time."
"I still have the aloe vera bottle in my room. I wanted to throw it but I could not throw it. Yet, I cannot use it and yes, I feel sad when I saw it. So, you can understand how I feel."-nimbledealing53
Hobby Hobby Hobby!
"If I won the lottery - I would open a shop for my favorite hobby. I would manage it like a business, giving a decent wage to several workers allowing them to pursue a degree or whatever and have a job that doesn't suck."
"I'd lose money on running a store. But I'd enjoy it. I'd enjoy sharing my hobby, selling the stuff I love at reasonable prices and giving a few young people a good job in a stress free environment."
"Useless store, great life experience for the people I'd employ."-Dealthagar
Money doesn't solve all of the world's problems or all of a person's problems, even—but it certainly does make life a little easier here and there for those who need it.
Hopefully the 21st century sees all of us buying things with our millions of dollars.
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