Over a thousand people were lured into Credonia Mwerinde and Joseph Kibwetere’s cult, believing that Credonia had spoken to the Virgin Mary herself. Once they joined, guilt, isolation, and even the fear of AIDS kept members psychologically trapped within the Movement’s compounds. Greg and Vanessa examine the leaders’ manipulation tactics and study the horrific destruction inflicted when the cult became too much for Credonia to handle.
With Greg Polcyn & Vanessa Richardson
Mystery. Manipulation. Murder. Cults are associated with all of these. But what really goes on inside a cult? More specifically, what goes on inside the minds of people who join cults and leaders who start them? Every Tuesday, Greg and Vanessa (co-hosts of the podcast Serial Killers) explore the history and psychology behind the most notorious cults. Cults is part of the Parcast Network and is a Cutler Media production. Ad-free archives of episodes six months or older are now available through Stitcher Premium.
In a country torn apart by civil war, Credonia Mwerinde and Joseph Kibwetere were united by their desire for power and reverence. Claiming that they were messengers of God called upon to save the world from its impending apocalypse, Mwerinde and Kibwetere preyed upon the vulnerable and passionately religious in Ugandan society. Greg and Vanessa investigate the lives of these cult leaders, and how they began to build what would become one of the deadliest cults in history.
Members of the Heaven’s Gate UFO cult believed they were meant to shed every scrap of humanity they had. Paradoxically, they ran a promotional website and made videos promoting their beliefs. Greg and Vanessa dig into the minds of members who joined and later left the cult, as well as those who followed cult leaders Nettles and Applewhite’s shared delusion from the 1970’s until the cult’s dark end in 1997--the largest mass suicide on US soil.
Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettle believed their bodies were merely hosts for extraterrestrial angels, and that they would one day ascend on a UFO to the “kingdom-level-above-human.” How did they come to believe this? Greg and Vanessa dig into the early lives and first meetings of “the UFO Two”, comparing Applewhites nomadic, musical Christian background to Nettles’ New Age Spiritualism, and then recounting the Near Death Experience that eventually led to 39 suicides.
Before, during, and after the Manson Family Murders, Charles Manson used psychological warfare to control his “Family”. But who was drawn into this “Family” and how? Greg and Vanessa explore several of Manson’s techniques, including mystical manipulation, group LSD trips, and the way Manson would break members down psychologically until they were terrified of leaving--so terrified, they would commit murder to stay in Manson’s good graces.
In the first episode of “Cults” Greg and Vanessa explore the life of Charles Manson: how he turned from a troubled “callous and unemotional” child into an infamous cult leader, where Manson got his inspiration, and what psychological factors molded a murderer so charismatic and manipulative that his murder weapon of choice was not guns, knives, or axes, but other human beings.
Mystery. Manipulation. Murder. Cults are associated with all of these. But what really goes on inside a cult? More specifically, what goes on inside the minds of people who join cults and leaders who start them. Every Tuesday we take a psychological approach to analyzing a cult and its founder. Cults premieres Tuesday September 26th. Here is a sneak peak.