Before David Koresh, there was simply "Koresh." Cyrus Reed Teed was an eclectic physician from New York who experienced a "divine illumination" (Google Books) in 1869. He recruited over 200 followers to settle a utopian commune in Estero, Florida based on his revelation of a unique hollow-earth theory called the Cellular Cosomogony. Elaborate experiments showed conclusive "proof" that the world's surface was a concave sphere. Despite this, his movement failed to gain traction; relations grew increasingly strained between the Koreshans and the Lee County locals. In 1906, the aging Dr. Teed was severely beaten in a Ft. Myers street brawl (PDF, see pp. 12-14) and died from his injuries on December 22, 1908. His martyrdom sealed, the Koreshans refused to bury the remains (PDF) in the belief that their messiah would be resurrected on Christmas Day. The commune has been preserved as a state historic site where Floridians can learn more about the cult leader in their backyard. [more inside]
Eight of the craziest cults evar. An honorable mention is being considered for the Taiwanese chicken cult.
Why waste time on playing roleplaying games or writing pastiches when you can actually worship Cthulhu? Join an existing Cthulhu cult or form your own!. They've got a book and everything! (though it may contain big chunks of wiki-plagarism). As ever, the ability to rock a traditionalist shaved-head-and-goatee satanist look considered a plus.
Modern Mummification. For yourself or your pets. The Summum organization, which incorporates a variety of religious and spiritual philosophies into its belief system, introduced modern mummification in 1975 as a means to "guide one's essence to a greater destination following the death of the body." They even have their own pyramid, in Utah of all places. There are several webpages for the kiddies, even very young ones. One presentation for kids explains that mummification is like "a caterpillar turning into a butterfly." Some people would like to expose the whole thing as a batshitinsane, money-making cult.
The Room: The Movie. Triple-threat (actor/writer/director) Tommy Wiseau made his cinematic debut in 2003 with the The Room (see trailer and various scenes), "a blend between a softcore porn flick and a Tennessee Williams stageplay." Wiseau ("who's not just one of the most unusual looking and sounding-with an unidentifiable Eastern European accent-leading men ever to grace the screen, but a narcissist nonpareil whose movie makes Vincent Gallo's "The Brown Bunny" seem the apotheosis of cinematic self-restraint...may be something of a first: A movie that prompts most of its viewers to ask for their money back-before even 30 minutes have passed." - Variety), allegedly raised $6 million outside Hollywood to cover production and marketing costs of the self-described "black comedy about love, passion, betrayal and lies" (see various rough dress rehersals). Audience members, including comedian David Cross, have been "marveling at the bizarre editing, bad bluescreen, uncomfortably explicit sex scenes and, of course, the enigma of Wiseau himself" as the film played monthly for years in Los Angeles. Available on DVD, diehard "roomies" swear by the theatrical experience, shout out their own commentary, hurl spoons at the screen and singalong to the soundtrack. Some call it "The Rocky Horror of the New Millenium" and stage "Room" parties. If you look at the marketing campaign or survived a screening you might see The Room as "a seminar on how NOT to make a movie." [Inspired by Boing Boing]
xFamily Values. A collaborative work by former members documenting The Family/Children of God religion/cult. Uniquely reflecting the sexual revolution, they encouraged prostitution as a means of gaining converts and offerings (Flirty Fishing). Plus they had comic books for the kids. But in concordance with other cults, abuse, incest, mind-control, secrecy, charismatic leaders and leaderettes, insanity, and irreparable harm were in full swing. (No more inside. There may be PDFs involved. Please note that much of this material is not safe for work, or anywhere else.)>
We are the Children of the Multiprismed Light and we are here for you. FSM!? Light of the Giant Moth! Moonmonsters! Xenu!? Ancient Nasquat413G!! GOD'S EYE OF DEATH! Stockpile soy products! Sleep deprivation! Yoni massage! Dance with reptiles! Take the quiz!
Cassiopaea Cult Lead By Cold War Physicist This is a Florida cult that talks to aliens on a Quija board. The aliens warn the cult members that the rest of us are possessed by Lizards from another dimension. Anyway, the cult is lead by an old Cold War era high-energy physicist from Poland. Is it me, or should I worry that this kind of a person has a web site with Armageddon in the title bar? Also, the obligatory parody site is at 220.127.116.11.
Yes sir, that's my cloned alien baby! I was concerned about this article from cnn about Clonaid going ahead with cloning a human. And then I found out Clonaid was stared by a religious group that believes ETs used genetic engineering to create life on earth. Legitimate news item or bad X-files script? (posted by Miss-Lapin)