Is it religion or is it a cult? Here are 6 cults which were very bizarre and stuck around for a while, for some reason. How people believed this stuff I have no idea.
Founded by some dude named George King in 1954, the 650 member strong Aetherius Society claims that after learning yoga, King developed psychic powers that allowed him to learn the secrets of the universe. King claims that a voice told him to “Prepare yourself!” and that he was to be the voice of an Interplanetary Parliament
The Brethren aka “The Garbage Eaters” – well, now you know how they cracked this list – are a group of vagrants who shun all material things and are forced to break with their loved ones in order to devote themselves to the cause
Formed in Japan, the followers of Mahikari believe that a dude named Yoshikazu Okada is a prophet. Apparently, Okada, suffering from a high fever (hmmm…) was transported to a magical land where he saw an old dude with long flowing white hair, uh, scrubbing his clothes clean. Naturally, Okada returned to the land of the living convinced that because he saw some old man doing his laundry that he was now a missionary of God.
The Freedomites formed in Canada in 1902 as an offshoot of a Russian religious sect. What makes the group unique is that they are notorious for their nude protests. Seriously, in researching this I found a picture from the early 1900’s of a bunch of old weirdos with Civil War looking beards wandering around completely nude, like a horde of unshaven Abe Lincoln impersonators.
Chen Tao is a Taiwanese cult that literally means “True Way.” And so what is the True Way? Well, according to them, the truth is that the world is trillions of years old and has gone through several different epochs, all ending in terrible disasters, and that a handful of survivors were saved each time by God who swooped down in a giant spaceship like some sort of Holy Han Solo to save the day.
Raëlism was founded in 1974 by a French race car driver named Claude Vorilhon, also known as Raël, and teaches that life on Earth was created by scientifically minded aliens (naturally…) named the Elohim. These Elohim lied to people and claimed that they were angels, hence all that business in the Bible, and that certain historical figures such as Jesus and Buddha were Elohim messengers sent to teach people how to live right.