R. Kelly allegations evoke memory of the most infamous cults in recent history

From the Manson Family to Jonestown, the most infamous cults in recent history have made headlines and lasting impacts around the world.

Talk about many well-known cults has emerged in the wake of a Monday BuzzFeed report claiming R&B singer R. Kelly is housing at least six women in the suburbs of Atlanta and Chicago as some form of sex "cult."

The disturbing allegations have been made by parents of young women, who they allege have been brainwashed and are being held against their will by the 50-year-old, as well as three women who are former members of Kelly's inner circle.

Check out some of the most infamous cults in history:

Most infamous cults in history
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Most infamous cults in history

The Manson Family

Charles Manson led a group known as the Manson Family in California during the late 1960s. The group targeted some of Hollywood’s biggest names in an attempt to incite a race war -- what they called “Helter Skelter.” They committed a series of seven murders in 1969, including the murder of Sharon Tate, the pregnant wife of director Roman Polanski. Charles Manson was sentenced to life in prison in 1971.

(Photo by John Malmin/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Children of God 

The Huntington Beach, California cult was established by David “Moses” Berg in the last 1960s. Though the group considered themselves a form of Christianity, they condoned sex with children and often used young women to lure in new followers. Joaquin and River Phoenix and Rose McGowen were raised in the Children of God before leaving. 

Photo Credit: Reuters 

The People's Temple

The leader of the cult, Jim Jones, began preaching social equality for all and other progressive views by the late 1950s in Indianapolis. After amassing many followers, he moved them to California to build a commune. Jones grew increasingly paranoid and eventually relocated the cult to a compound in Guyana, South America in 1977.

In 1978, California Congressman Leo Ryan visited Jonestown with reporters to investigate claims that members were being held in Guyana against their will. When Ryan attempted to leave with several defectors, Jones’ men ambushed him. The congressman and four others were shot and killed at the airport. That night Jones instructed and forced followers to drink juice that contained cyanide. At least 900 people died. 

(Photo by Don Hogan Charles/New York Times Co./Getty Images)

The Branch Davidians 

Branch Davidians started when David Koresh became the self-appointed prophet of the small religious community in Waco, Texas.

He was suspected of stockpiling weapons, polygamy and having sex with underage girls.

Koresh’s cult compound in Mount Carmel was raided in February 1993, resulting in a shoot out that killed four FBI agents and five cult members. After being tipped off that there were women and children inside the compound, the FBI stood down and re-strategized their raid.

Using bulldozers, loud music and tear gas — the FBI stood on the compound for 51 days before the compound was lit in a fire and incinerated.

Source: NPR

Heaven's Gate

The cult’s leader Marshall Herff Applewhite was convinced that Earth was going to be "recycled," and that they needed the help of extraterrestrials to transcend into a new body. The group believed that after the 1996 Hale-Bopp, a spaceship would follow. Applewhite and 38 followers committed mass suicide in 1997 at a mansion in Rancho Santa Fe, California. 

(Photo by Brooks Kraft LLC/Sygma via Getty Images)

Order of the Solar Temple

Based on the Knights Templar, the Order of the Solar Temple is a suicide cult founded by Joseph Di Mambro and Luc Jouret in 1984 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Jouret saw himself as Jesus Christ and centered the cult around sex and money. In October 1994, 23 bodies were discovered in a Swiss canton while another 25 bodies were found in Valais. Another couple and their infant son has also been found stabbed to death with a wooden stake in Canada — believed to be the Antichrist.

Foreseeing an end of the world due to disaster, cult members -- including both founders -- took part in a mass suicide/murder. The cult is now believed responsible for 74 deaths.

Source: Bizarrepedia

Aum Supreme Truth, Shoko Asahara

Aum Shinrikyo, or “supreme truth,” began in the 1980s primarily as a spiritual group based on Hindu and Buddhist doctrine. Later, though, the group’s leader — Shoko Asahara — claimed to be the first “enlightened one” since Buddha.

Eventually, the group turned into an anarchist cult. The cult infamously carried out a rush-hour attack in Tokyo in 1995 when they released opened bags of sarin on the train lines. Thirteen people were killed and thousands were injured.

Source: BBC


Kelly has denied all of the allegations made against him. His attorney, Linda Mensch, said in a statement on Monday that Kelly is "both alarmed and disturbed at the recent revelations attributed to him. Mr. Kelly unequivocally denies such allegations and will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name."

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