9 Killers Who Actually Thought They Were Gods
Plenty of killers have said God told them to do the deed, but far fewer have claimed they themselves were gods. Killers with a god complex often believe they are invincible, or that the rules do not apply to them, and some serial killers who think they are gods just kill for the enjoyment. Many of these people are mentally ill or just pretty damn scary, and that makes them positively fascinating.
Killers with delusions of grandeur are sort of a separate breed from other killers. They can convince others to do things for them by being incredibly personable, they show no remorse, and the killings can be very ritualistic in nature. Throw the belief that they're god in there, and you end up with people more frightening than demons.
Whether these murderers are crazy, possessed, or just plain evil, it's hard to deny that their crimes invoke a morbid curiosity. So read on, and let's delve into the world of killers that are just that much more depraved than usual.
- Photo: Nancy Wong / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
There are few cult leaders more notorious than Jim Jones. The People's Temple started out simply enough, as a religious group in San Francisco, but it began to get weird right away. Jones took the name of "the Prophet" and began to tell his followers to refer to him as a god.
A group of around a thousand followers moved to Guyana, where they set up an agricultural compound and lived apart from the rest of society. Under the surface, though, there were allegations of abuse and inhumane living conditions. A US representative went to investigate and decided to take defectors with him when he left. At first, Jones seemed as if he was going to let the group go, then things went horribly wrong.
Jones ordered the group of defectors and the representative be assassinated as they tried to board their plane. Realizing he'd soon be caught and arrested, Jones ordered the more than 900 people living on his compound to drink poison, including women and children. Every one of them died, making the People's Temple one of the most deadly cults of all time.
- Photo: California Department of Corrections / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
Police visited Wesson's Fresno house in 2004 over a custody dispute. Family members were trying to get Wesson to release his daughters and grandchildren, accusing Wesson of being sexually and physically abusive toward them. When he refused, police stepped in.
Officers made a grisly discovery: They found nine bodies, and every one had been shot through the eye.
Upon finding the bodies, Wesson was arrested. Later, police discovered he was molesting his underage daughters and nieces, and had even fathered children with some of them. Many recounted Wesson saying he was a god and forcing himself sexually on the young girls as part of god's will. They said Wesson operated his family like a cult. During his trial, Wesson at first claimed his daughter had committed the murders. Wesson was sentenced to death in 2005.
- Photo: McLennan County Sheriff's Office / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain
Jones wasn't the only cult leader to be accused of being a megalomaniac. David Koresh was the leader of the Branch Davidians, a religious sect who believed Koresh was a prophet.
He used his power to abuse many members of the sect. Accusations of child abuse and statutory rape surfaced from cult members. The federal government suspected they also had a cache of weapons stored inside. When they attempted to raid his Waco, Texas, compound, things went south. Four government agents were killed and a 51-day standoff ensued. The compound caught fire and around 76 Davidians were killed in the blaze. It is suspected Koresh may have ordered the fires to be set. Koresh was found dead in the wreckage.
Charles Manson might be the most well-known god-complex killer on this list. Manson was born in 1934, and in the '60s, he left for San Francisco. A personable man, he quickly gained a following, which became a messianic cult where he became their leader.
The Family, as it came to be called, moved to a ranch outside of Los Angeles. He told of a coming race war, which he decided to counteract with - what else - a killing spree. He ordered his followers to kill people, and over the following weeks, the group killed nine people. Manson and his family were eventually caught and brought to justice, after which he was given life in prison.
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As far as cults go, Heaven's Gate was one of the weirder ones. Marshall Herff Applewhite met the hyper religious Bonnie Lu Nettles while she was a nurse. As they spent time together, they began to develop a belief that they were the two chosen ones written about in the bible and that heaven was in outer space. The two decided they were unearthly gods from another plane of existence sent to help people. Oddly enough, people agreed with them.
In the mid-'90s, Applewhite told his followers the Hale-Bopp comet was their means of getting to heaven. As it passed, they needed to use it to as an exit off the planet. To accomplish this, Applewhite instructed his followers to drink a mixture of vodka and barbiturates that killed them. The bodies of Applewhite and his followers were not found until several days later.
A Kennington Man Claimed To Be A Messiah Who Required SacrificesPhoto: Charles Foster / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
Jacinta Pompei and her boyfriend Justin Kain Ellard seemed like a normal, happy couple. That is until Ellard took a claw hammer and hit her in the head with it at least three times while she was asleep. He then called police and reported he had murdered her.
When he was questioned about his actions, he explained that he was actually Jesus Christ, and he needed human sacrifices to honor his status as messiah. He felt he needed to kill Pompei in order to strengthen himself and appease his supposed followers. He was found not guilty due to his mental impairment.