The 10 Most Brutal And Cruel Gang Initiation Rituals

Organized crime is a phenomenon that transcends borders and cultures; it's a universal, nefarious practice that's as diverse as it is common. Gangs exist all around the world, often violently at odds with one another over turf and money. They're so interesting that they're the subject of movies, music, and television shows, and pop culture does a good job of illustrating what gangs are willing to do to their rivals. From offing the competition in drive-by shootings to putting enemies' heads in vices until they talk, the details of what gang members do can be extremely shocking.

What is underrepresented, however, is what people do to get into gangs. These young recruits are willing to do whatever it takes to show their loyalty, which often means subjecting themselves to injury and humiliation. These gang rituals are frequently just as horrifying as the transgressions they commit against their rivals. As this list shows, these brutal gang initiations are often more violent and f*cked up than you could imagine.


  • The Hells Angels Make You Bathe In Poop

    The Hells Angels Make You Bathe In Poop
    Photo: sfbaywalk / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    The Hells Angels are a household name when it comes to organized crime. The legendary motorcycle club boasts some 2,500 members in 26 countries, and has a reputation of racketeering, drug trafficking, and committing murder. Though the club steadfastly denies any criminal ties, entrance to the motorcycle gang is not easy, and involves a ritual that implies a future involving some dirty work. 

    New members of the Hells Angels are, reportedly, required to engage in an incredibly unhygienic baptism. Existing club members put fecal matter and urine into a bucket, and said bucket is poured on the new Angel's head. The newly soiled soldier cannot wash or change clothes for the duration of the evening. 

  • New Members Of The Chinese Triads Drink Blood - Sometimes Their Own

    New Members Of The Chinese Triads Drink Blood - Sometimes Their Own
    Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

    The Chinese Triads is an umbrella organization responsible for a number of secret illegal enterprises, dating back some 3,000 years. Operating in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and mainland China, the Triads are known for their work in prostitution, gambling, extortion, and laundering money. 

    Joining this clandestine criminal group requires a very visceral commitment. New members are expected to drink from a goblet containing animal or human blood (sometimes their own, sometimes not), and recite the following oath: "If a member of this society finds himself in difficulty, all will rush to his aid. If I, as a future member of this association, break this oath, the swords will descend and kill me."

  • The Aryan Brotherhood Requires That You Kill A Rival Gang Member

    The Aryan Brotherhood Requires That You Kill A Rival Gang Member
    Photo: United States Department of Justice / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    The Aryan Brotherhood is the US's oldest white supremacist prison gang. Founded in the mid-1960s by bikers looking to protect themselves in a newly desegregated prison system, the Aryan Brotherhood - also known as A.B. or Alice Baker - is still going strong today with an estimated 20,000 members.

    The Aryan Brotherhood requires potential recruits to "make their bones." This bloody rite of passage is pretty simple: It means murdering a rival gang member or corrections officer, thereby making them into bones. The A.B.'s motto is "blood in, blood out," and making your bones satisfies the first part of that - the second part comes when you leave the gang, which only comes through death. 

  • To Become A Member Of The Knights Templar, You Have To Eat A Human Heart

    The Knights Templar are one of Mexico's most gruesome drug cartels. The organization is one of the more violent participants in the nation's ongoing drug war, and is known for its affinity for public decapitations and boiling its enemies alive. While the atrocities committed against this cartel's adversaries are quite horrifying, it's the initiation process for its own members that is truly on another psychopathic plane. 

    It's unclear whether this initiation process of the Knights Templar is still enforced, but it appears to have evolved from simply murdering and dismembering rivals into a cannibalistic experience. Members are forced to eat a human heart in front of their peers to symbolize their boundless loyalty.