9 Real Life Murder Cults That Claimed Numerous Human Lives

A lone-wolf killer is hard to understand, but when groups of people come together to murder, it’s nearly incomprehensible. These murder cults may have formed with other goals but their stories all ended in death. Some of these groups started as clubs, families, or business relationships, but they all evolved into something much darker.

The webs of control, violence, lies, and deceit that formed the bonds between members of each of these homicidal cults are chilling in their complexity and disregard for the value of human life. In some of these stories, we see the way that a charismatic, violent leader can bend people’s will. In others, isolation and the effects of generational violence come to a head in the worst possible way. Whatever the case, these stories of homicide cults will haunt you for days. These cults that killed spiraled out of control, and its members murdered plenty of innocent people. 


  • The Manson Family Killed Seven People To Please Their Master
    Photo: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    The Manson Family Killed Seven People To Please Their Master

    In the 1960s, Charles Manson gained a following among young women in the Bay Area. He believed Satan would be reconciled with Christ, and at the end of the world they together would judge humanity. He became a Christ-like figure, attracting dozens of women to his compound in Los Angeles. While leading his followers, Manson was also developing a reputation as a budding songwriter.

    Manson warned his followers of a race war, and set his sights on killing Hollywood influencers and "beautiful people." While Manson himself never actually killed anyone, he ordered the murders of at least seven people, though some speculate as many as 35 people were killed on behalf of Manson. Some of his victims included Hollywood starlet Sharon Tate, heiress Abigail Folger, and writer Wojciech Frykowski. Manson was sentenced to life in prison for being an accessory to murder. 

  • Los Narcos-Satanicos Used Human Body Parts For Witchcraft Rituals

    Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo began practicing Palo Mayombe - a respected African religion with mystical elements - as a teenager in 1970s Florida. When he got older, Constanzo moved to Mexico City and warped the religion into something much darker.

    In 1987, Constanzo decided he was tired of performing animal sacrifices and good luck spells for powerful drug lords to protect their business. He marched into the home of the extremely powerful Calzada family and demanded to be made full partner, crediting his magic for the success of the cartel. When they said no, he murdered all seven family members. When their bodies were found, fingers, toes, and other parts were missing.

    In 1988, he moved to a house in the desert. With him were Sara Aldrete - Constanzo’s lover and high priestess in the cult, and another drug cartel and devotees of Constanzo. He used a large cauldron to create mixtures of animal remains, sticks, and human body parts. At this desert enclave, they adopted the name Los Narcos-Satanicos and murdered 15 people.

    Constanzo's cult was finally caught after two of his henchmen abducted an American student named Mark Kilroy. He was in search of a "superior brain" and targeted the pre-med student. Under pressure from the US, the Mexican government raided the compound and found Kilroy's decapitated body. Constanzo fled to Mexico City and killed himself.

  • The Ripper Crew Abducted Women And Mutilated Their Bodies For Satan
    Video: YouTube

    The Ripper Crew Abducted Women And Mutilated Their Bodies For Satan

    In an 18-month span of the early 1980s, around 20 women in Illinois were abducted, mutilated, and killed. Behind the spree was brothers Andrew and Thomas Kokoraleis, along with their friends Robin Gecht and Edward Spreitzer.

    Gecht’s attic was dubbed the “Satanic chapel.” That is where they brought the women they kidnapped to kill. 

    Soon the four were arrested and Thomas Kokoraleis confessed. He said Gecht orchestrated the murders. He maintained his innocence, and was the only one not to be charged with murder. He was however charged with abduction and rape, and received a sentence of 120 years in prison. Andrew Kokoraleis was executed and Spreitzer was sentenced to life in prison. Because of his cooperation, Thomas Kokoraleis is scheduled to be released in 2017.

    In a chilling bit of foreshadowing, Gecht worked as a subcontractor for John Wayne Gacy before the killings.

  • Beasts Of Satan Killed Their Friends As Sacrifices

    The “Beasts of Satan” was a group of young Italians who bonded over their love of heavy metal music, the occult, and getting high. On any given Saturday night, Andrea Volpe, Nicola Sapone, and Mario Maccione were drinking beer at their local heavy metal club with their friends, talking about Satanism and spinning wild plans for their service to their dark religion. In January 1998, they were with a young couple that was part of their group when things took a very sinister turn. Volpe, Sapone, and Maccione turned on the lovers, stabbing them to death as they tried to defend themselves. The three murderers took Marino and Tollis’s bodies into the woods, buried them, and danced on their graves chanting, “Now you’re both zombies!”

    They attempted to cover up their crime by telling the couple's family and the police they had run away to be together. Police bought this explanation, but the father of Fabio Tollis - one of the victims - did not. Michele Tollis spent the next six years compiling evidence on the Satanic cult that had killed his child.

    The group murdered again in 2004. Volpe’s ex-girlfriend, 27-year-old Mariangela Pezzotta, went to his house for what she thought was a friendly dinner, but in reality, it was her murder. When she arrived, he shot her. Volpe called Sapone for help burying her, realizing as they spoke that Pezzotta was still alive. Together, Volpe and Sapone beat her with a shovel and then buried alive her beneath Volpe’s parent’s greenhouse.

    The group was caught when Volpe and his fiance attempted to drive Pezzotta’s car into a river. They failed - partly because they were high - and were promptly arrested. Volpe confessed to the killings and implicated Sapone, Maccione, and four other members of their cult who he said acted as accessories. While all of the participants received jail time, only Sapone was sentenced to life because, according to authorities, he was the ringleader of the homicidal cult.

  • The Fall River Satanic Sex Cult Killed Three Young Women

    In the 1980s, Fall River, MA was a bad place to be - at least two sex workers were found sexually assaulted and brutally murdered. The culprits? A satanic sex cult.

    The first victim was 17-year-old sex worker named Doreen Levesque. Her body was found raped, beaten, bound, and bloodied. A year later, a man stumbled across the second victim, 22-year-old Barbara Raposa. This time there were signs that the killing was part of a ritual.

    Police were confounded and the town was in a panic. Rumors of a murderous cult or killer pimps spread like wildfire. The only lead authorities had was a statement from Raposa’s boyfriend. He said a Satanic cult had sprung up in Fall River and that it targeted sex workers. Police eventually found clearings in the woods that bore evidence of Satanic rituals. A young woman named Karen Marsden came forward and said she was a member of the group. She pointed police toward a man named Carl Drew. In a matter of days, she had disappeared. Her body was found months later.

    What really happened to Raposa, Marsden, and Levesque is still a matter of vigorous debate. A tapped phone line led investigators to Drew’s 17-year-old girlfriend, Robin Murphy. Murphy was active in the cult, and would later admit to participating in the killings, saying Drew forced her to slit Marsden’s throat before Drew broke her neck. Police who worked on the case have serious doubts about her testimony though, and support Drew’s statement that Murphy herself was the ringleader. Drew maintains his innocence.

  • The Black Hebrew Israelites Cult Killed Two And Buried Them In The Backyard

    In 2011, police in Durham, NC, uncovered two grisly murders and the polygamous cult that was responsible. It started after a landlord sent a plumber to investigate a terrible stench coming from the backyard of his property, possibly from a sewage leak. Instead, the plumber found the partially buried remains of a small boy and a young woman.

    The renter was Peter Moses, Jr, leader of the Black Hebrew Israelites. He and the five women he kept as wives lived in a collection of buildings and trailers. The women, who called one another sisters, were bonded in their fear of Moses. He told them he was leader of the chosen people of Israel and instructed the women to call him "Lord." 

    The deceased boy was four-year-old Jaden, the only child living at the house not fathered by Moses. He suspected the boy’s father was gay, and subsequently thought the boy was also gay. In a rage, he took the child to the basement and shot him as the Lord’s Prayer played.

    One of the wives, Antoinetta McKoy, then attempted to flee, but was dragged back into the house by the other women. There they beat her before Vannia Sisk - mother of the slain boy - shot and killed her. Sisk is still serving a 19-year sentence and Moses two back-to-back life sentences.