American Cults
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  • Explores 40 sects, cults and charismatic leaders
  • Uncovers and examines the agendas, manipulations and coercion of cults
  • Cults have had a long and often ugly tradition in the United States.
  • Cults have become integral to modern pop culture and politics
  • Cults have affected society throughout history
  • Facts enhanced with compelling stories
  • Logical organization makes finding information quick and easy
  • Numerous black-and-white photographs
  • Thoroughly indexed
  • Authoritative resource
  • Sure to appeal to politics enthusiasts, conspiracy buffs, history readers, and true-crime aficionados.
  • Publicity and promotion aimed at the wide array of websites focused on the paranormal, unexplained, and conspiratorial.
  • Promotion targeting more mainstream media and websites with a popular topic
  • Promotion targeting national radio, including Coast to Coast AM and numerous other late-night radio syndicates looking for knowledgeable guests
  • Social media outreach, advertising and marketing
  • Promotion targeting current events magazines and newspapers religious, culture and current events editors

  • QAnon: Political Conspiracy and Religious Icons

    That leads us to the whole field of conspiracy cults that seem to thrive in the United States today. And perhaps the grandaddy of them all is called QAnon.

    You probably didn’t know this, especially if you happen to be a Democrat, but in the presidential election of 2016, Donald Trump was running for president in part to expose a cabal of Deep State politicians, celebrity actors, medical professionals, and business tycoons who were engaged in satanic worship and pedophilia on a global scale.

    This didn’t become public knowledge until 2017, when an alleged top-secret governmental official who goes by the pseudonym “Q,” reminiscent of Jean-Luc Picard’s nemesis in Star Trek: The Next Generation, began to post online messages about the “truth” of what is “really” going on, not only in the United States but the whole world.

    As soon as Donald Trump became President Trump, he was going to order mass arrests and executions of members of the secret cult. This was going to happen on a day called either the “Storm” or the “Event.” The cabal was so worried about Trump losing the election that they conducted a secret conspiracy involving Russia in the election. QAnon supporters claimed that FBI director Robert Mueller’s inquiry into Russian interference was really an elaborate cover story for an investigation into the alleged sex-trafficking ring, along with an attempted coup d'état by President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and philanthropist George Soros, who were the ringleaders.

    Somewhere along the line, “Q” learned of even greater plans. Deep research into George Soros and the wealthy Rothschild family—common targets of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories—allegedly revealed that Jewish instigators were at the bottom of the whole conspiracy, which used a well-known pizza chain as a front. Russian and Chinese state-backed media companies, along with the far-right Falun Gong–associated Epoch Media Group, were somehow in the mix as well.

    There is, of course, not a shred of evidence in any of these claims. The day of the “Storm” came and went. Trump was elected, and no arrests were made. But that didn’t make any difference to what is now often called the QAnon Cult. Facts simply don’t matter. The bulk of the news is reported by the “Fake Media,” and you can’t believe anything they say. Therefore, you have to get your real news by way of social media, the only sources to be trusted.

    Which social media sites, you might ask? Easy! The ones that agree with your opinions. All the rest are attempting to deceive you.

    And how do you know you are receiving the truth? Well, you must be, because you have gathered around yourself a virtual, online community consisting of hundreds, if not thousands, of people who all reinforce your beliefs. And that many people can’t be wrong. It becomes the main, animating force in your life.

    In 2013, a social media website called “Infinitechan” or “Infinitychan” was created. It was often pictured as ∞chan, employing the mathematical symbol for infinity, and this name became 8chan. It was a site that had been linked to white power groups, Neo-Nazis, and other far-right organizations and antisemitic groups. Mass shootings from El Paso and Dayton to New Zealand had been advertised on the site, and it hosted child pornography chats as well. This was the site that first spread the missives of “Q” to the world and is thus the home of QAnon.

    In 2015 the popular search engine Google stopped showing results for the site, and in August 2019 the service that hosted 8chan on the so-called clear web (where indexed, common-access websites reside, as opposed to the dark web that hosts unindexed, hidden sites) stopped supporting the site. Banned from its home, 8chan returned to the clear web as 8kun in November 2019, supported and funded by a Russian host provider.

    “Q”’s often symbolic and cryptic posts became known as “drops.” To say the least, they are enigmatic. Take this drop from 2019:

    [C] BEFORE [D]. [C]oats BEFORE [D]. The month of AUGUST is traditionally very HOT. You have more than you know.

    Once a message was dropped, it spread through private channels with amazing speed, posted and re-posted before search engines could catch up. It soon became a political tool, and Trump supporters began showing up at rallies with “Q Sent Me” placards. Trump himself began quoting so-called Q Drops on his Twitter feed.

    The QAnon cult has even taken on a religious component. Jacob Chansley, labeled the “QAnon Shaman,” made a name for himself by appearing at QAnon rallies dressed in animal skins and face paint while wearing a pair of bull horns on his head. He was easily the most identifiable character in any crowd that was photographed by reporters, and cameras frequently pointed in his direction. So it didn’t help his cause when, as one of the first wave of people who entered the Capitol Building on January 6th during the insurrection, he was photographed and later arrested. He had left a note inside the building that read, “It’s Only A Matter Of Time. Justice Is Coming!” At his trial, he was sentenced to 41 months in prison.

    Christian conservatives and Evangelical pastors have weighed in on religion and QAnon.

    The Rev. Jon Thorngate, for instance, is senior pastor at LifeBridge Church near Milwaukee. He is one of a small number of church leaders who will actually go on record about QAnon. Most fear backlash from their parishioners. He calls QAnon a “real problem” and recognizes that belief in conspiracy theories is a growing threat. Only five or ten of his church members have actually posted QAnon theories online, but many more—he doesn’t know how many—are open to them.

    Some of his members have held meetings in which they viewed a short film called Plandemic, which puts forth the theory that the whole COVID-19 epidemic was a moneymaking scheme by government officials. The film has since been posted on common social media sites like Facebook. Some of his members have also distributed a video, which has since been banned by mainstream social media sites, that promotes hydroxychloroquine as a cure for the virus.

    Many QAnon believers have crossed the line between following and acting. In 2018, for instance, an armed believer named Matthew Wright blocked a bridge that led over Hoover Dam. He later pleaded guilty to a terrorism charge.

    Several former associates of President Trump, such as former national security advisor Michael Flynn, and two members of Trump’s legal team, Lin Wood and Sidney Powell, have championed QAnon conspiracy theories. This led to a publicity crackdown on the movement and its claims, which only furthered distrust between followers of “Q” and the media, who were accused of a political witch hunt.

    Supporters have vowed there will come a day of reckoning, and many believe arrests, convictions, and executions of prominent figures will yet take place. Their slogan has become infamous: WWG1WGA! (“Where we go one we go all”).

    The movement most definitely has gathered political clout. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a United States congressperson from Georgia’s 14th congressional district, was elected in November of 2021. Since her election, she has quoted and championed a number of Q Drops.

    More than 21 past candidates for state legislatures have signaled their support for QAnon. Others, trying to be a bit more circumspect in their language, have decided simply not to publicly condemn the organization for fear of losing votes.

    How many QAnon members are there? It’s hard to guess. But QAnon-related traffic on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and YouTube has exploded since the first Q Drop in 2017, and indications are the totals have gone up even further, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.

    Various social media platforms have instituted rules about QAnon content and have banned hundreds of Q-supporting videos. But it’s hard to stay ahead of a constantly evolving technology when so many users contribute to it with such growing technical savvy and political fervor.

    Who is “Q”? No one knows for sure.

    The Washington Post suggests it might be Ron Watkins, an administrator of the 8kun message board. The New York Times has entered the names of Paul Furber, an early follower of the movement, and Ron Watkins, who operated a website where Q Drops began appearing in 2018. Watkins launched a campaign to run for Congress in Arizona in October 2021.

    Frederick Brennan, the creator of 8chan, swears that his former business partner Jim Watkins, Ron’s father, is the culprit. Jim is a supporter of Q. He began the QAnon Super PAC and wore a “Q” pin during his testimony before Congress about 8chan in 2019.

    All candidates have denied responsibility.

    Is QAnon a cult? Many claim it is. Just as many seem to claim it is simply a truth-telling organization. Tempers run high on both sides of the issues. It might be a while before this one is sorted out for the history books.

    Sex in the City: The Dark Potency of Cults

    Throughout this book, we have surveyed various cults that developed, in one way or another, a component of immorality and subjugation that involved sexual dominance and exploitation. Sad to say, this happens more often than not when cults idolize or otherwise revere a vulnerable leader. Temptation rears its ugly head, and the whole organization goes downhill.

    What’s even worse, however, is when a cult begins its mission with sexual exploitation in mind. It’s hard to imagine how and why women, who are almost always the ones being exploited, fall into the clutches of real monsters such as the ones we are about to review, but it happens over and over again. It takes an experienced psychologist, with years of specialized training, to explain the power of sexual exploitation, but it is a real phenomenon. It’s hard to read about it. It’s even harder to write about it. But if it will help even one person recognize the trap before it is sprung, it is worth the attempt.

    Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh: Coming to America

    In the 1960s and 1970s, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, who is called Osho or Acharya Rajneesh and whose name originally had been Chandra Mohan Jain, owned and ran a large ashram in Pune, India, that attracted thousands of visitors from around the world. Reports of violence and sexual aggression eventually accompanied the downfall of this ashram, and in 1981, Rajneesh moved to the United States. Soon after, he incorporated what he hoped would be a new city named Rajneeshpuram. The site was going to be built on an abandoned ranch near Antelope, Oregon. During the next few years, many of the people who had moved there with him, some of them his most trusted aides, packed up and left. Rajneesh himself came under investigation for multiple felonies, including arson, attempted murder, drug smuggling, and vote fraud. He plea-bargained guilty to immigration fraud and was deported from the United States, but he was refused entry to 21 countries before returning to Pune.

    Who was this guy, and how did this all happen?

    Rajneesh was born in 1931 in Kuchwada, India. When he was young, he lived first with his grandparents, and then with his parents. Apparently, he was a handful, intelligent but rebellious—traits that would later earn him a living, a following, and a jail sentence. After graduating from high school, he attended college for a while, but at least one of his professors remembered him as being just as much of a handful to them as he was for his parents and grandparents.

    In 1953 he took a year off from his studies to search for meaning and meditate, a common practice in India at that time. When he returned to school, he claimed to have reached enlightenment. He had come to believe that individual religious experience is at the base of spiritual growth, and that such experiences cannot be organized into any one belief system.

    He finally graduated with a bachelor's degree in philosophy and went on to study for a master’s degree as well. After he graduated, he became a college professor, teaching philosophy at Raipur Sanskrit College.

    Old habits are tough to break, however. His radical ideas got him fired, and he eventually moved to the University of Jabalpur. While still teaching, he began to travel throughout India, building a following by teaching some controversial ideas about spirituality.

    What was so controversial that it caused his ideas to catch on? What else? It involved sex. He taught that sex was the first step toward achieving what he called “super consciousness.” This was completely at odds with prevalent Hindu teachings.

    By 1964 he was experiencing so much success conducting meditation camps and recruiting followers that he was able to fulfill almost every college professor’s dream: he quit teaching. Because of all this, he became somewhat of an outcast in academic circles and earned the nickname, “the sex guru.”

    His following grew and in 1970 he introduced the practice of what he called “dynamic meditation.” It was a technique that, according to Rajneesh, enabled the practitioner to experience divinity. One can only assume that the whole technique was inspired by practitioners who were heard to exclaim, “Oh God!” when they reached enlightenment. Or whatever.

    Needless to say, Westerners began to flock to his ashram in Pune, India. They become known as sannyasins, disciples. Taking Indian names for themselves, they dressed in orange and red clothes and participated in group sessions that sometimes involved both violence and sexual promiscuity. Rajneesh taught them to renounce the world and practice asceticism. That’s a common Hindu teaching. But in his system, they were trained to still live fully in the world. They were just not to become attached to it.

    In a few years, the ashram was full to capacity, and Rajneesh was forced to look for new and larger quarters. Here, he ran into a problem. Local governments didn’t want anything to do with him. By 1980, he had even survived an assassination attempt by a Hindu fundamentalist.

    It seemed a good time to move, and America beckoned. He immigrated to the United States with 2,000 of his disciples and settled on a 100-square-mile ranch Oregon. Mixing East and West, he came up with the name Rancho Rajneesh.

    Local authorities in the States, despite the sexually open reputation of America in the 1980s, still complained, however. That’s what brought Rajneesh and his sannyasins to begin work on Rajneeshpuram.

    To say the least, the neighbors disapproved. Local officials tried to shut the place down. Nearby churches didn’t like it much, either. They joined forces to say that the burgeoning community violated Oregon's land-use laws. But Rajneesh emerged victorious in court and continued to expand the commune.

    Now the story takes an especially dark turn. Rajneesh was upset. As is common for people who believe themselves above the law, subject only to God, he retaliated. Accusations of murder, wiretapping, voter fraud, arson, and a mass salmonella poisoning in 1984 that affected more than 700 people brought the situation to a boiling point.

    Several of the commune leaders fled to avoid prosecution for crimes, and in 1985, police arrested Rajneesh, who was himself attempting to flee the United States to escape charges of immigration fraud.

    During his subsequent trial, Rajneesh pleaded guilty of immigration charges, realizing that a plea bargain was the only way he would be allowed to return to India.

    When he finally came home, however, in 1986, he realized his following had dwindled away. It experienced ebbs and flows but never again reached its former heights. He wasn’t exactly strapped for cash, however. Because he was an enlightened being, he chose to be seen in public only in a Rolls Royce. Not just one. He is said to have owned, at one time, ninety-four of them.

    He continued his teaching, changed his name to Osho, and tried to keep going. But his health deteriorated, and he died of heart failure in 1990.

    The remaining followers renamed their commune the Osho Institute and later re-renamed it the Osho International Meditation Resort. It attracts as many as 200,000 visitors a year, and some 750 Osho Meditation Centers have sprung up in more than sixty major cities around the world.

    There’s no doubt about it: sex sells.

    About the Author

    Introduction: Crystal Balls and Conspiracies

    Prologue: What Makes a Cult Possible?

    Part I: In the Beginning: Why is America Such a Fertile Field for the Growth of Cults?
    Ch. 1. Lip-Service Religion
    Ch. 2. Rebelliousness
    Ch. 3. Entrepreneurship
    Ch. 4. Religious Freedom
    Ch. 5. Evolving Social Media
    Ch. 6. Infatuation with Conspiracy Theory
    Ch. 7. Living on “The Eve of Destruction”

    Part II. Offshoots: Breaking Away from Traditional Religions
    Ch. 8. Cyrus Teed and the Koreshan Unity
    Ch. 9. Father Divine and the Peace Mission
    Ch. 10. Jim Jones and the People’s Temple Full Gospel Church
    Ch. 11. Jim Baker, the PTL Club, and the Return of Jesus
    Ch. 12. The Evangelical Church, Politics, and the NRA
    Ch. 13. Joshua, Jesus, Mohammad, and the Implications of Jihad
    Ch. 14. David Berg and the Family International
    Ch. 15. The Watchtower Society and Jehovah’s Witnesses
    Ch. 16. Gay Rights, Free Speech, and the Westboro Baptist Church
    Ch. 17. Jane Whaley, the Word of Faith Fellowship, and the Gospel of Prosperity
    Ch. 18. David Koresh and the Branch Davidians

    Part III. Science, Politics, Economics, and Metaphysics: A Codependent Relationship
    Ch. 19. The Cult of Scientism
    Ch. 20. The Dogma of Politics
    Ch. 21. Multi-Level Marketing Cults (MLMs): Pyramids, Ponzis, and Profits
    Ch. 22. The World of Metaphysics: “It Seems to Me …”
    Ch. 23. Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church
    Ch. 24. Eckankar: Discovering God

    Part IV. The Universe and Beyond: Answers from the Final Frontier
    Ch. 25. The Christian Rapture, Carl Jung, and Flying Saucers
    Ch. 26. The Church of Scientology
    Ch. 27. Raëlians and the Elohim: Intelligent Design for Atheists
    Ch. 28. Into the Universe: Latter-day Saints and the Colonization of the Cosmos
    Ch. 29. Heaven’s Gate: Help from Above?

    Part V. Prophets of the End Times: Telling the Future for Fun and Profit
    Ch. 30. From 666 to the “Seventy Sevens”: What Does the Bible Really Say about THE END?
    Ch. 31. From Nostradamus to Edgar Cayce and Beyond
    Ch. 32. The Doomsday Clock
    Ch. 33. Roch Thériault and the Ant Hill Kids

    Part VI. The Rise of Racial Religion Cults and Social Media: From WASPS to Computers and Beyond
    Ch. 34. From the Ku Klux Klan to White Nationalism
    Ch. 35. The New Militia Movement
    Ch. 36. Nuwaubian Nation: From Black Supremacists to UFOs
    Ch. 37. Social Media and the Rise of Hate Groups
    Ch. 38. Spoofing the Movement: Fun with Cults
    Ch. 39. QAnon: Political Conspiracy and Religious Icons

    Part VII. Sex in the City: The Dark Potency of Cults
    Ch. 40. Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh: Coming to America
    Ch. 41. Keith Raniere and NXIVM: The Case of the Self-Styled Revered One
    Ch. 42. Sullivanians: Sex as a Way of Life

    Part VIII. Conclusions: What’s Ahead for Individual Freedom?

    Epilogue: How Do I Get Out?




    Publié par
    Date de parution 07 mars 2023
    Nombre de lectures 0
    EAN13 9781578598267
    Langue English
    Poids de l'ouvrage 9 Mo

    Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0950€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


    Lip-Service Religion
    Religious Freedom
    Evolving Social Media
    Infatuation with Conspiracy Theory
    Living on The Eve of Destruction
    Cyrus Teed and the Koreshan Unity
    Father Divine and the Peace Mission
    Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple Full Gospel Church
    Jim Bakker, The PTL Club , and the Return of Jesus
    The Evangelical Church, Politics, and the NRA
    Joshua, Jesus, Muhammad, and the Implications of Jihad
    David Berg and the Family International: From Teens for Christ to Grown-up Cult
    The Watchtower Society and Jehovah s Witnesses
    Westboro Baptist Church
    Jane Whaley, the Word of Faith Fellowship, and the Gospel of Prosperity
    David Koresh and the Branch Davidians
    The Cult of Scientism
    The Dogma of Politics
    Multi-Level Marketing Cults (MLMs): Pyramids, Ponzis, and Profits
    The World of Metaphysics: It Seems to Me
    Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church
    Eckankar: Discovering God
    The Christian Rapture, Carl Jung, and Flying Saucers
    The Church of Scientology
    Ra lians and the Elohim: Intelligent Design for Atheists
    Into the Universe: Latter-day Saints and the Colonization of the Cosmos
    Heaven s Gate: Help from Above?
    From 666 to the Seventy Sevens : What Does the Bible Really Say about THE END?
    From Nostradamus to Edgar Cayce and Beyond
    The Doomsday Clock
    Roch Th riault and the Ant Hill Kids
    From the Ku Klux Klan to White Nationalism
    The New Militia Movement
    Nuwaubian Nation: From Black Supremacists to UFOs
    Social Media and the Rise of Hate Groups
    Spoofing the Movement: Fun with Cults
    QAnon: Political Conspiracy and Religious Icons
    Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh: Coming to America
    Keith Raniere and NXIVM: The Case of the Self-Styled Revered One
    Sullivanians: Sex as a Way of Life
    Is Every Organization a Cult?
    Leaders, Followers, and Pathology
    What s Ahead for Individual Freedom?

    Cult: A system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object; a relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister; a misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular person or thing. ( Oxford Language Dictionary )
    What is a cult, really?
    Cult is a word that has long been bandied about to describe organizations of quite disparate views and values. During the 1960s and 70s, it was often applied to the Manson Family, a communal gang based in California and led by Charles Manson. About 100 followers, most of whom were habitual users of LSD and other hallucinogenic drugs, became convinced that Manson was a reincarnated manifestation of Jesus Christ. He prophesied that America would soon become immersed in an apocalyptic race war. The group might have escaped public notoriety had members not broken into the home of actress Sharon Tate in 1969. In a gruesome manner, they killed her and four other people, and they committed similar atrocities in other locations. Manson died in prison in 2017 while serving a lifetime sentence for murder, among other crimes.
    If all it takes to define a cult is to identify a charismatic leader and enthusiastic followers with evil intentions, there is no greater example than that of Japan s Shoko Asahara and the group that became known as Aum Shinriky .
    Asahara was born into a very poor family. He was partially blind, and as a child he attended a boarding school that worked with students whose sight was impaired. While there, he gained a reputation as a bully who dominated other students and was involved in a series of scams. The scams continued after he left the school. For a while he ran an acupuncture salon that specialized in dubious cures, but by 1986 he was traveling throughout the Himalayas, searching for enlightenment.

    Aum Shinriky was behind one of the most chilling and memorable news stories of the mid-1990s: the sarin gas attack in the Tokyo subway. One hundred and eighty-nine cult members would eventually be indicted for the attack, with founder Asahara and 12 followers sentenced to death by hanging.
    He emerged from his quest having labeled himself a guru. By combining mystical Buddhism and various forms of Hinduism, and then adding a dollop of regimented and vigorous yoga, he began to build the organization known as Aum Shinriky .
    It was, however, only after he discovered Christianity and its doctrines concerning Armageddon-the final, cataclysmic conflict-that his enterprise began to form into what can only be called a cult. Asahara the con man rose to the surface. He offered products such as electrode caps and astral teleporters. He soon ventured into a pseudoscientific method of transfiguration he called Magic DNA. All these items and services came with a price, of course, and many people were duped into donating.
    In 1984 Asahara had a one-room yoga school, a small number of devotees, and a dream of world domination. By 1994, only ten years later, the group had become known as Aum Shinriky , or Supreme Truth, had 40,000 followers from six different countries, boasted a worldwide network of influence, and had accumulated enough money to buy state-of-the-art lasers, laboratories full of modern equipment, and weapons. Lots of weapons. Varied weapons. Weapons that would soon be employed to massive effect.
    He moved his operation to Manhattan and Silicon Valley. Then he established bases from Bonn, Germany, to the Australian outback. He even formed a satellite group in Russia. With the Soviet Union in disarray, his cult followers there found a ready supply of weapons and were even rumored to have somehow obtained a small nuclear bomb.
    To increase his following, Asahara began to systematically target Japanese universities, searching for bright, young, vulnerable students enrolled in engineering, chemistry, and physics departments. He recruited medical doctors, who began to perform exotic experiments on humans. He forged relationships with the Japanese crime syndicate known as Yakuza, and he even recruited former members of the KGB.
    Why did so many flock to his banner? He promised them relief from their dead-end jobs. He guaranteed enlightenment and supernatural powers. He convinced his followers, largely by an obviously doctored photo, that during intense meditation, he could actually fly. They all wanted similar abilities. He offered something special, and they desperately wanted to believe he could give it to them.
    Successful cult leaders attain their status by tapping into social needs and desires that other mainstream leaders miss or ignore. The dispossessed, the lost, the alienated, the discouraged, the overlooked, and the powerless respond to overtures that promise them exciting abilities like telepathy, levitation, political power, and above all, acceptance and meaning.
    Somehow in the midst of all this, Asahara managed to escape the radar of both police and media, even though he operated on four continents. Aum Shinriky was now one of the richest and most sophisticated organizations of its kind in the world. It might have continued forever were it not for the sarin gas attack it attempted to pull off during rush-hour traffic in the subway system of Tokyo in March 1995.
    The whole escapade started with an earthquake. During the Cold War, both the Soviet Union and the United States had attempted to manufacture a so-called death ray. What most of the world didn t know was that Aum Shinriky was trying its best to beat both superpowers in the race toward Armageddon.
    On January 17, 1995, a sudden earthquake rocked Kobe, Japan, twisting highways, destroying bridges, and sending apartment buildings crumbling to the ground. It claimed more than 5,500 causalities, becoming the worst Japanese disaster since World War II.
    Asahara was convinced it was caused by the United States. Aum Shinriky s chief scientist, Hideo Mauri, reported that there is a strong possibility that the Kobe earthquake was activated by electromagnetic power, or some other device that exerts energy into the ground.
    When he conveyed his suspicion at a news conference, he was met with derision from the gathered reporters. This infuriated Asahara. He had ardently followed the work of Nikola Tesla (1856-1943). Tesla was a brilliant Serbian scientist who had become a United States citizen. He studied the effects of electric energy over long distances and had predicted that an induced earthquake was possible. Asahara believed it, and he blamed the United States government for the Kobe earthquake.
    Tesla had also surmised that it was possible to split the earth in two with electromagnetic forces. It was a claim that probably cost him his job and reputation, but that didn t stop Asahara from believing it. He became con vinced that Armageddon was just around the corner and decided to help move things along. Thus, the sarin gas attack.

    The Great Hanshin Earthquake, measuring 6.9 on the moment magnitude scale, struck near the Japanese city of Kobe on January 17, 1995. The quake brought massive destruction to nearby areas and caused the deaths of almost 6,500 people.
    Asahara and Aum Shinriky put together a team of five upper-echelon scientists. One was a doctor. The others were members of the cult s Science and Technology Ministry. Blending in with the morning comm

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