What about true crime has us all coming back for more? A new podcast? Immediately subscribed and downloaded all the episodes to listen! A new documentary? Binged it with all the lights out even though it’s creepy! A new book? Yes, I need to read it all in one go. Cults still dominate the news cycle and continue to fascinate us. But what are cults? How do you identify one and know the warning signs before you’re, well, in one?

In Cults: A True Crime Collection, Wendy Biddlecombe Asgar leads you down the dark path of what happens when true believers go too far with the shocking stories of the world’s most infamous and horrific cults. From The Order of the Solar Temple to the NXIVM cult to Charles Mansion, you will learn what led these leaders and their followers to commit such terrible crimes like mass murders and human sacrifices.

If you want to learn more, keep reading for a sneak peek of the book! And don’t forget to pick up a copy of Cults: A True Crime Collection.

Cults: A True Crime Collection

Do Cults Still Exist?

It’s hard to imagine being swept up by a charismatic cult leader to the point where you’d do anything they said and follow any order they gave, including murder or another bizarre criminal act. But everyday people have and continue to join cults, which often promote a very different message than the one they use to lure people to join.

Thousands of cults around the world are active today, and it’s estimated that between 2 and 5 million Americans have been involved in a cult at some point in their life. Certainly not all cults commit murder or force their members into mass suicide. And it’s true that only the most extreme, gruesome, and nefarious cults ever make it into the news. But many cults do share similar characteristics, such as an unwavering faith in an absolute leader and an intense devotion to an ideological cause, that lays the groundwork and possibility for criminal acts to take place.

What Are Cults?

Cults are defined as groups of people who have joined together or an ideological cause, such as religion, politics, science fiction, or self-improvement, and are under the total control of a charismatic leader to whom they are completely devoted. Cult beliefs are all-consuming, and cults usually isolate themselves, shunning the outside world to prevent conflicting viewpoints, including from the news and media, to permeate the tight-knit group. The cult leader, who can be alive or dead, is always right, has important information that only they know (such as the day the world will end or biblical secrets), and cannot be questioned by his or her followers.

You don’t look for cults; cults look for you. A common misperception is that only unintelligent and easily impressionable people can be stupid enough to be swept up by a cult. Many recruits are “normal” people who may be lonely and searching for answers.

What About Cult Leaders?

To gain followers, cult leaders need to have enough clout and persuasion to convince members to leave their old lives behind and join their cause.

On the surface, cult leaders express a goal of living in a better world—think of Jim Jones’s utopian society—but these figures are in actuality driven by a desire for money, sex, power, or a combination of those three things.

They provide a spiritual answer that their followers have been craving, and might share it, if you leave behind your family, turn over your assets to the group, and drop all shreds of individuality to become part of a collective cause.

Don’t forget to pick up your copy of Cults: A True Crime Collection! In this book, you’ll about Charles Mansion, Heaven’s Gate, Vampire Clan, Jim Jones, The People’s Temple, and more.