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37 Weird Cults No One Talks About

Updated October 13, 2018 119.4k views37 items

The word "cult" tends to refer to a cohesive social group devoted to beliefs or practices that the surrounding culture considers outside the mainstream with a notably positive or negative popular perception. Many famous cults are destructive or suicidal, though others, while controversial do not commit extreme acts. Unless you're some sort of cult hopping guru addict, then you might not have heard about these religious cults. From vacuum repair guys to Japanese business men and French dudes who are actually from outer space, these strange religious groups and satanic cults have all kinds of big ideas.

Make no mistake: a garbage monster that wants nothing more than to make a quick buck off some unsuspecting dope who needs to be told what to do probably governs a lot of the cult groups on this list and a lot of these cults have caused significant harm and committed actual murder. But a few of the non-mainstream religions that are featured here seem downright adorable.

Peruse this list of cults and learn all about the UFOs that life secretly stems from, and that time you totally missed hitching a ride on a space ship piloted by Jesus himself. There are plenty of weird religious cults out there, and this list has them all!
  • Full Circle

    Photo: Metaweb / CC-BY

    In May 2014, 10 Things I Hate About You co-star, Andrew Keegan, began a new spiritual movement in Venice, CA called Full Circle. They've described their movement as "advanced spiritualism" or "the highest spiritualism founded on universal knowledge." They also enjoy ayahuasca, so you know they like to party.

    Fun fact: in May 2015, undercover ABC agents confiscated "several containers" of kombucha (that gross fermented mushroom tea your hippie friend likes) and cited the group for selling alcohol without a license. Another fun fact: kombucha has like 1% alcohol in it. 

    Whether or not Full Circle is a harmless group of fame whoring new age dorks, or something more sinister is up for debate. For the time being they seem to be as harmless as a junior high youth group.

    Read NYMag's March, 2015 interview with Andrew Keegan.
    Watch this ad for Full Circle and read Vice's Interview with Keegan here. 
  • Aetherius Society

    Photo: Metaweb / CC-BY

    "Co-operating with the Gods from Space" reads the header of the Aetherius Society's official website - an unambiguous UFO cult whose modest American headquarters is stationed in Hollywood (of course).

    The Society was founded in the 1950s when Doctor George Kind received his first "cosmic transmission" from the Interplanetary Parliament that explained that Aetherius, a being from Venus, was our next messiah. Unlike most of the groups on this list, these guys even have a Facebook page!
  • Church of Bible Understanding

    Photo: Metaweb / CC-BY

    The Church of Bible Understanding (formerly known as the Forever Family, which is about a million times better than their new name) is a destructive cult started in 1971 by former atheist and vacuum repairman Stewart Traill in Allentown, PA. Traill teaches that he is the reincarnation of Elijah and knows the date of Christ’s return. Members of the cult give up to 90% of their income to the church, which Traill has used to purchase a half million dollar mansion and four planes.

  • The Unification Church (Mooneyism)

    Mooneyism is a religious movement started by Sun Myung Moon in Korea in the 1940s, based upon the belief of a literal kingdom of heaven on earth and that the second coming of God must be a man born in Korea born in the early 20th century. In the '70s the Mooneys made their way to the US where they separated college students from their families through brainwashing. The Unification Church is still up and running today, if you're, you know, looking to piss off your parents.