Joe, Toren, and Kevin are joined by Rebecca Dart to talk about cults! We talk about Brother XII, who claimed to be the Egyptian god Osiris, Shoko Asahara and his sarin gas using cult “Aum Shinrikyo”, The Order of the Solar Temple, Heaven’s Gate and more weird groups of True Believers.

Music: Cultists on Board by The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets

Also: We’ve added another free ringtone to the Downloads page — from last week’s Leprosy episode it’s our reaction to hearing about rats eating a leper’s fingers. Eeeeeuuuuuuwwwwww!

Images

Videos

Movie Reviews

Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom
Toren: 6/10
Kevin: 5/10
Joe: 6/10

Conan the Barbarian (1982)
Toren: 8/10
Kevin: 7/10
Joe: 7/10

Videodrome
Kevin: 6/10

Ghostbusters
Toren: 10/10
Kevin: 8/10
Joe: 10/10

Young Sherlock Holmes
Toren: 5/10
Kevin: 6/10
Joe: 5/10

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Showing 35 comments
  • Nick Curnow

    John Connolly’s Charlie Parker series of detective novels feature a variety of cults. f d,

  • Nick Curnow

    John Connolly’s Charlie Parker series of detective novels feature a variety of cults. f d,

  • banks!

    I thought we’d get some Lovecraft references for cults in the pop culture section. Say the Cthulhu cult featured in ‘Call of Cthulhu’ for example.

    Also, no mention of Dungeons & Dragons in the pop culture section on cults? Gentlemen, turn in your d20s! Particularly Toren who illustrated the Cult of the Yellow Sign for Green Ronin’s Freeport adventures!

  • Nick Curnow

    Oh, and Sante Muerte in Mexico

  • Gareth

    I’d just like to point out that I have no idea from the podcast just what Rebecca Dart’s bonafides are. You have failed me for the last time Leeson!

    On a serious note, my parents and those of a friend of mine grew up in this group:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exclusive_Bretheren so I grew up hearing about these nutcases and the crazy level of control that’s exerted over it’s members, including a refusal to allow any kind of higher education or even access to the radio. Interestingly, my 4 female cousins, who are still in it (meaning by the way that I’ve never met them since they cut off all contact with my parents once they left) have been put into what amounts to a catalogue of wives for Bretheren males to peruse as there’s no-one in Northern Ireland that they can marry since they’re all too closely related. Classy people.

  • Gareth

    I’d just like to point out that I have no idea from the podcast just what Rebecca Dart’s bonafides are. You have failed me for the last time Leeson!

    On a serious note, my parents and those of a friend of mine grew up in this group:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exclusive_Bretheren so I grew up hearing about these nutcases and the crazy level of control that’s exerted over it’s members, including a refusal to allow any kind of higher education or even access to the radio. Interestingly, my 4 female cousins, who are still in it (meaning by the way that I’ve never met them since they cut off all contact with my parents once they left) have been put into what amounts to a catalogue of wives for Bretheren males to peruse as there’s no-one in Northern Ireland that they can marry since they’re all too closely related. Classy people.

  • Karyn

    Of all the related videos you could have put up….That one may have been by far the creepiest.

  • marlo

    I really like that Thickets song! Also, yay for female guests!

    • Joe

      I’m glad people are noticing and enjoying them. We finished our first year and discovered to our surprise that all of Season 1’s guests were male and decided we were going to make a definite effort to fix that.

      It happened simply because we’re three guys and most of our guests are friends or acquaintances and for us those tend to be other guys. But we’re reaching out now and doing what we can to correct the imbalance.

  • marlo

    I really like that Thickets song! Also, yay for female guests!

    • Toren

      Only about 60% of the song was included in the episode

    • Joe

      I’m glad people are noticing and enjoying them. We finished our first year and discovered to our surprise that all of Season 1’s guests were male and decided we were going to make a definite effort to fix that.

      It happened simply because we’re three guys and most of our guests are friends or acquaintances and for us those tend to be other guys. But we’re reaching out now and doing what we can to correct the imbalance.

  • Phav Nosnibor

    More about Aum: Yeah, they’re still around today, but Aleph comes across as a mostly harmless return to their meditation-group roots. They seem to raise most of their money (that doesn’t come from members’ donations, anyway) by running neighbourhood bakeries, though most communities are understandably cautious about having them around. There was one a couple of blocks from where I lived in Osaka, and they never came across as being terribly creepy selling bread.

    Meanwhile, if anyone’s interested, Asahara put out a record at one point. There are MP3s of both songs up on WFMU’s blog site at http://blog.wfmu.org/freeform/2007/10/shoko-asahara-s.html

  • castewar

    I will be filling the Wiki with follow-up fodder. And I concur, I know who Rebecca is, but for others…

    Now onto pressing business.

    Mike, slap yourself over the Ghostbusters thing. Then slap Joe, and Joe slap Mike over your comics discussion. You hurt my nerd gland when you guys discuss superhero comics – its like you don’t remember the silver age of comics, when Superman could push the moon around and Batman was ALWAYS pulling the old “fooled ya!” routine on bad guys. I’d bet money he did it to a cult, just as you described, at least once in the 60-70s.

    Toren, slap yourself just because.

  • castewar

    I will be filling the Wiki with follow-up fodder. And I concur, I know who Rebecca is, but for others…

    Now onto pressing business.

    Mike, slap yourself over the Ghostbusters thing. Then slap Joe, and Joe slap Mike over your comics discussion. You hurt my nerd gland when you guys discuss superhero comics – its like you don’t remember the silver age of comics, when Superman could push the moon around and Batman was ALWAYS pulling the old “fooled ya!” routine on bad guys. I’d bet money he did it to a cult, just as you described, at least once in the 60-70s.

    Toren, slap yourself just because.

  • Lex

    There’s another cult that is chock full of things Caustic Soda-y*, but since they don’t have a particularly catchy name (“Ant Hill Kids”) and had a low body count, a lot of people haven’t heard of them. It was run by Roch Thériault in the ’80s and is chronicled in the 2002 movie Savage Messiah — VPL has a copy, it’s worth a watch.

    * And by “things Caustic Soda-y” I mean murder, necrophilia, amputations, concubines, etc. Not judging.

  • cr0m

    Roch Thériault was murdered in prison recently, so his cult got a bit of reportage again. A truly despicable person.

  • Michael

    I’d like to add a Canadian made movie about a cult of supreme human beings (only in Canada of course) that has become a cult hit. It was also spoofed on a tv show that also has become a cult classic. This is a triple threat of cults (if you count cult followings of entertainment). The Mystery Science Theatre 3000 adaptation of Tjardus Greidanus’s “The Final Sacrifice ”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cN8RgFYrQg

    • Toren

      You know, I watched this for the podcast, and I don’t think I brought it up during recording.

  • Michael

    I’d like to add a Canadian made movie about a cult of supreme human beings (only in Canada of course) that has become a cult hit. It was also spoofed on a tv show that also has become a cult classic. This is a triple threat of cults (if you count cult followings of entertainment). The Mystery Science Theatre 3000 adaptation of Tjardus Greidanus’s “The Final Sacrifice ”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cN8RgFYrQg

    • Toren

      You know, I watched this for the podcast, and I don’t think I brought it up during recording.

      • Michael

        no you didn’t, I think that movie is sort of a love hate thing.

        • curtis

          how can anyone not love Rowsdower and his hockey hair?

  • Derek

    Can highly recommend the book “Survivor” by Chuck Palahniuk, which is about a cult member. Awesome, and not just because Australia features. 🙂

  • Derek

    Can highly recommend the book “Survivor” by Chuck Palahniuk, which is about a cult member. Awesome, and not just because Australia features. 🙂

  • Darren

    I’m a little late to the Caustic Soda party but I believe someone did collect on the alien abduction insurance you mentioned. The guy that started it was interviewed on Coast to Coast, so take that with a whole shaker of salt. If I remember right, the he was fairly tongue in cheek about it. It was more of a “pay some money to get a funny certificate you can show your friends” than “alien abduction is a serious problem” type thing.

  • Darren

    I’m a little late to the Caustic Soda party but I believe someone did collect on the alien abduction insurance you mentioned. The guy that started it was interviewed on Coast to Coast, so take that with a whole shaker of salt. If I remember right, the he was fairly tongue in cheek about it. It was more of a “pay some money to get a funny certificate you can show your friends” than “alien abduction is a serious problem” type thing.

  • Jon

    I am disappointed that you didn’t mention the hilarious spoof on cults portrayed in The Mighty Wind, a mocumentary about a number of folk groups. One of the groups, the Main Street Singers, has two members (one a former porn star played by the hilarious Jane Lynch), who are members of the cult Witches in Nature’s Colour. I’m laughing just thinking about that ridiculous movie.

    Thanks for another great show!

  • Nettie

    FIGHT CLUB! Whew, I’m glad I got that out of my system.

  • Nettie

    FIGHT CLUB! Whew, I’m glad I got that out of my system.

  • curtis

    I was once approached by the Raelians at a fleamarket in Sydney, NS. I guess they were looking for movies (they even rented a room at the local university to show a ‘documentary’ about the origin of life). This nice woman handed me a brocheur, i skimmed it, looked at her with a big smile and said loudly for everyone to hear ‘Ooooh! you’re a sex cult!’

  • Derek

    Just listening to this great ep again and noted your comments about JEJ’s amazing voice. Another great voice belongs to Brian Blessed (of Flash Gordon fame, of course), who was the cult leader on the prison planet Cygnus Alpha in Blake’s 7, a 70s/80s British scifi show by Terry Nation, who created the Daleks. Can’t say awesome enough times.

    BTW, what were Rebecca’s bona fides after all that?

  • Derek

    Just listening to this great ep again and noted your comments about JEJ’s amazing voice. Another great voice belongs to Brian Blessed (of Flash Gordon fame, of course), who was the cult leader on the prison planet Cygnus Alpha in Blake’s 7, a 70s/80s British scifi show by Terry Nation, who created the Daleks. Can’t say awesome enough times.

    BTW, what were Rebecca’s bona fides after all that?

  • Jen Afrasiabi

    Is it just me or does XII look an awful lot like Charlie Manson?.. Hmmmm

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