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    Fact of the Day - CONSPIRACY THEORIES Eye of Providence Did you know.... that a conspiracy theory is an explanation for an event or situation that invokes a conspiracy by sinister and powerful groups, often political in motivation, when other explanations are more probable. The term has a negative connotation, implying that the appeal to a conspiracy is based on prejudice or insufficient evidence. A conspiracy theory is not simply a conspiracy; instead, it refers to a hypothesized conspiracy with specific characteristics, such as an opposition to the mainstream consensus among those people (such as scientists or historians) who are qualified to evaluate its accuracy. (Wikipedia) Facts About Conspiracy Theories BY ELLEN GUTOSKEY | JULY 16, 2020 Did the government fake this photo? NASA From President Kennedy’s assassination to the Roswell UFO incident, history is teeming with events so calamitous or uncanny that the “true” explanation—whether it’s presented by scientists, historians, or the government—just doesn’t seem good enough. That’s where conspiracy theories come in. But what exactly is a conspiracy theory, and why are people so inclined to believe them? In this episode of The List Show, Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy is delving into the psychology behind one of the most mysterious topics ever and shedding a little light on some popular conspiracy theories that did (or didn’t) turn out to be true. Did Lewis Carroll actually moonlight as Jack the Ripper? Also, what’s the deal with tinfoil hats? Watch the episode below to find out the answers to those questions and more—and do it quickly, before the Illuminati deletes this video. Historical Conspiracy Theories BY JAKE ROSSEN | SEPTEMBER 24, 2019 President Lincoln Assassination For some, the historical record just won’t do. For centuries, conspiracy theories have attempted to draw back the curtain on important world events, casting into doubt official accounts and accepted wisdom. While the internet has made the discussion and dissemination of conspiracy theories easier, suspicion over everything from Roman rulers to the moon landing has persevered for centuries (and some conspiracy theories have even turned out to be true!). Take a look at eight of history’s lesser-known—but no less fascinating—alternative explanations. 1. SHAKESPEARE DIDN’T WRITE HIS OWN PLAYS. Many consider William Shakespeare the greatest playwright who ever lived. But to some, he’s simply one of the great pretenders. So little is known about Shakespeare as a person—he was born in Stratford in 1564 as the son of a glove-maker, married a woman named Anne Hathaway, and died in 1616—that examining his life in any detail is all but impossible. Theorists have claimed that Shakespeare didn’t exist at all, and was instead merely a pseudonym for an accomplished (and well-educated) writer. That could have been Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, a courtier who visited many of the places depicted in the plays, or possibly Christopher Marlowe. The latter is one of the more elaborate ideas, as it maintains that Marlowe was not murdered in a tavern in 1593 but instead hustled away to France thanks to some well-placed connections. He allegedly then spent the next 20 years writing under the Shakespeare name. The belief that Shakespeare was not the author of works attributed to him has been voiced by several notable names throughout history, including Orson Welles, Sigmund Freud, and even Mark Twain. Twain once posited that Sir Francis Bacon could easily have been the Bard, and he believed the words "Francisco Bacono" appeared in code in the First Folio. The belief gained more credence in 2016, when the respected Oxford University Press actually credited Marlowe as co-author of the three Henry VI plays. Among other research, the publishing house cited an analysis of vocabulary between the work and Marlowe's plays. 2. JOHN WILKES BOOTH WASN’T KILLED. After drawing a weapon and fatally shooting President Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth went on the lam. Authorities caught up to him 12 days later, when he was confronted by an Army sergeant and shot while hiding in a barn. He died on the porch of a nearby farmhouse shortly thereafter. Unless, that is, the person in the barn wasn’t Booth at all. One theory speculates that Booth succeeded in escaping and headed to Texas, changing his name to John St. Helen and living until 1903. The idea was put forth by author Finis L. Bates, who published The Escape and Suicide of John Wilkes Booth in 1907 after claiming St. Helen confessed to him he was Booth and that the assassination was planned by Andrew Jackson to secure the presidency. (The man shot in the barn, Bates said, was a patsy, his death allowing soldiers to collect the bounty on Booth’s head.) Not coincidentally, Bates was able to profit from this speculation by displaying what he claimed was the preserved body of the recently departed Booth, charging admission for the morbid curiosity. The notion that Booth escaped death has intrigued at least one salient party: Booth’s descendants, who have petitioned to have his grave in Baltimore dug up in order to make a positive identification. No court has yet granted their request. 3. OLIVER CROMWELL WAS NEVER EXHUMED. Oliver Cromwell's Head? There was no peace for Oliver Cromwell (the Lord Protector of England, Ireland, and Scotland in the 1650s) after his death. In 1661, King Charles II of England's parliament ordered Cromwell’s body and two others exhumed so they could be posthumously hanged, a vindictive bit of showboating resulting from the trio having ordered the execution of King Charles I. (Cromwell died of illness in 1658, denying King Charles II the pleasure of striking him down.) Cromwell, Henry Ireton, and John Bradshaw were left to hang and then decapitated, with Cromwell’s head left on a spike for several decades. But what if they got the wrong corpse? Some believe that Cromwell secretly moved his own planned tomb site in Westminster Abbey to avoid just such a fate, and that whoever was dug up was not Cromwell. In one spectacular flight of fancy that reads more like a D.C. Comics twist, there has been speculation that King Charles II’s men accidentally dug up his executed father instead, and were in the process of having him hanged before realizing their mistake. 4. MERIWETHER LEWIS DIDN’T COMMIT SUICIDE—HE WAS MURDERED. Famed explorer Meriwether Lewis met an unfortunate end on October 10, 1809. After stopping to rest at a lodge along the Natchez Trace—a formidable trail between Mississippi and Tennessee—Lewis apparently shot himself. The wounds were fatal, and he was soon buried nearby. There seemed to be motivation for Lewis’s decision to take his own life: While he was celebrated for the journey from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean with partner William Clark that ended in 1806, the two had not found the Northwest Passage to the Pacific, making Lewis feel as though they had come up short on one of the mission's primary goals. Lewis was also desk-bound, a disappointing outcome for someone who craved adventure. He was known to suffer from depression and even wrote a will before striking out on the Natchez. But others have argued that the trail was full of bandits, any one of whom could have confronted Lewis and engaged him in a lethal struggle. It was also curious that a trained marksman would need to shoot himself multiple times, as Lewis had, to achieve the desired result. The theory picked up steam in the 1840s, when Lewis’s body was exhumed and examiners made a comment about his injuries looking like the work of an assassin. His descendants have lobbied for another exhumation, which could look for gunpowder traces to see if a weapon was fired at close range or from across a room. Because Lewis's body is on National Park Service land, and the service rarely grants permission for exhumations, the theory remains untested. 5. NERO MAY HAVE SET FIRE TO ROME. Nero took control of Rome in 54 C.E. at the age of 17. Ten years later, a fire broke out around the Circus Maximus, the chariot stadium. The blaze ravaged the city over nine days, destroying three of its 14 districts and severely damaging seven others. Was it an accident, or did the formidable ruler set fire to his own kingdom? Those who argue the latter point out it was convenient that Nero was safely tucked away in Antium and miles from the fire. With the city partially destroyed, he could erect new buildings more to his liking, including one—the fanciful Domus Aurea—that would have been met with opposition among the social elite under normal circumstances. One of Rome’s historians, Tacitus, even claimed Nero merrily played his fiddle while Rome went up in flames. The fiddle had not yet been invented, but such details have not stopped suspicions that the young ruler was a bit of a firebug. 6. THE U.S. DEVELOPED AN INVISIBLE WARSHIP. Private citizens may never know the full extent of the weaponry and tools of war that the U.S. government has developed over the decades. One significant leap in technology was thought by some to have occurred in July 1943, when officials at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard took the USS Eldridge and successfully rendered it invisible using electrical field manipulation—or so some believed, anyway. Later, the Eldridge was allegedly teleported to Norfolk, Virginia, with the ship arriving a few seconds before it left. Thus, time travel had also been invented. These claims originated with a man named Carl Meredith Allen, who said he was a seaman stationed in Virginia who saw the Eldridge appear and disappear in front of his eyes. He sent his eyewitness account to author Morris K. Jessup, author of several books about UFOs. While Jessup never published the claims, they did become the focus of a 1979 book, The Philadelphia Experiment: Project Invisibility. The author, Charles Berlitz, was primed to buy the tale, as he had already explored the mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle. Naval records, however, contradict the claim. The Eldridge was not in commission on the day it was supposedly rendered invisible, and stationed in New York Harbor instead of Philadelphia or Virginia. The theory may stem from attempts by the Navy around that time to make ships undetectable to surface and underwater mines by running electrical currents through them, canceling out their magnetic field. That could technically make ships "invisible" to the mines, although not to the human eye. 7. QUEEN ELIZABETH I WAS ACTUALLY A MAN. Was the Queen a man? Queen Elizabeth I—who ruled England for 44 years between 1558 and 1603—defeated the Spanish Armada, rejoined what had been a divided country, and encouraged the arts to flourish. What she didn’t do was marry. The Queen refused any and all advances to enter matrimony, a policy that led to her nickname of the Virgin Queen. Her stance led some observers—including Dracula author Bram Stoker—to suspect she may have been a man. Stoker once visited the town of Bisley in the Cotswolds, where a May Day celebration involved a boy dressing as the May Queen in Elizabethan clothes. Intrigued by the ceremony, Stoker discovered a fantastic tale—that the queen-to-be had visited Bisley in her youth to escape the plague, got sick, and died. Knowing her father, King Henry VIII, had a famous temper, the governess found a boy who resembled her charge and disguised him as Elizabeth when the king, who apparently could not readily identify his own daughter, came to visit. The deception was never discovered, and the unknown boy grew to rule England, disguising his masculine features with wigs, heavy make-up, and neck coverings. While Stoker popularized the story in the early 1900s, it had appeared during Elizabeth’s reign, possibly as a way for male subjects to cope with the idea of having a female ruler. 8. LEWIS CARROLL WAS JACK THE RIPPER. To some, the author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was no demure children’s book author. He could have been notorious serial killer Jack the Ripper. That was the theory offered up by author Richard Wallace, who assembled a laundry list of suspicious and potentially incriminating facts about Carroll in his book, Jack the Ripper: Light-Hearted Friend. Wallace believes Carroll—born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson in 1832—experienced traumatic events in boarding school that would plague him for the rest of his life. He also believes Carroll hid secret messages in his books in the form of anagrams that confessed to his involvement. Carroll was also geographically close to the sites of the Ripper murders. Doubters pointed out that “confessions” could be extracted from Wallace’s own words in the same fashion—including incriminating statements about murder and even that Wallace was the secret author of Shakespeare’s sonnets. Source: Wikipedia - Conspiracy Theory | Facts About Conspiracy Theories | Historical Conspiracy Theories
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    What's the Word? - ZELIG pronunciation: [ZEL-ig] Part of speech: noun Origin: American English, 1980s Meaning: 1. A person who is able to change their appearance, behavior, or attitudes, so as to be comfortable in any situation.. Example: "Despite belonging to the PR Team, Harold was a Zelig who easily blended into any department." "Rather than joining a clique in school, Cathy was a Zelig who made friends in different interest groups." About Zelig This word originated in American English in the 1980s based off of a Woody Allen character Leonard Zelig, the titular character in the movie “Zelig” (1983). Eponyms are not always proper nouns, but “Zelig” is usually seen capitalized. Did You Know? A Zelig is a person who is able to change their appearance, behavior, or attitudes to be comfortable in any situation. Similarly, a chameleon is a reptile who is able to change its physical appearance, but not to simply camouflage itself against a background as cartoons might make one believe. Instead, chameleons often change colors to regulate temperature, indicate changes in mood, and communicate with other chameleons.
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    Fact of the Day - FAIRY Did you know.... that a fairy is a type of mythical being or legendary creature found in the folklore of multiple European cultures, a form of spirit, often described as metaphysical, supernatural, or preternatural. (Wikipedia) Fairy Facts A fairy or færie (Old English spelling) is a supposed magical being that flies in the air. They are usually depicted as small girls or women. Some færies have certain jobs, such as the Tooth fairy, who gives money or treats under the pillow of small children who have had a tooth fall out. A fairy tale is a story with a plot involving fairies. These stories are usually for children. Fairies can also be found in folklore, for instance, in Ireland and Scotland, fairies are still held as creatures that were defeated by the human race thousands of years ago and now live in caverns in the world of faerie. These mystical creatures are believed to be made after a kind of angel. Fairies come up in many fictional books such as "Peter Pan" and "The Spiderwick Chronicles". Etymology According to Thomas Keightley, the word "fairy" derives from the Latin fata, and is from the Old French form faerie, describing "enchantment". Other forms are the Italian fata, and the Provençal "fada". In old French romance, "fee" was a woman skilled in magic, and who knew the power and virtue of words, of stones, and of herbs. Faie became Modern English fay. Faierie became fairy, but with that spelling now almost exclusively referring to one of the legendary people, with the same meaning as fay. The word "fairy" was used to represent an illusion, or enchantment; the land of the Faes; collectively the inhabitants thereof; or an individual such as a fairy knight. Description 1896 illustration of a fairy from Ernest Vincent Wright's The Wonderful Fairies of the Sun Fairies are generally described as human in appearance and having magical powers. Diminutive fairies of one kind or another have been recorded for centuries, but occur alongside the human-sized beings; these have been depicted as ranging in size from very tiny up to the size of a human child. Even with these small fairies, however, their small size may be magically assumed rather than constant. Some fairies though normally quite small were able to dilate their figures to imitate humans. On Orkney they were described as short in stature, dressed in dark grey, and sometimes seen in armour. Wings, while common in Victorian and later artwork of fairies, are very rare in the folklore; even very small fairies flew with magic, sometimes flying on ragwort stems or the backs of birds. Nowadays, fairies are often depicted with ordinary insect wings or butterfly wings. In some folklore, fairies have green eyes. Some depictions of fairies either have them wearing some sort of footwear and other depictions of fairies are always barefoot. Characteristics Much of the folklore about fairies revolves around protection from their malice, by such means as cold iron or charms of rowan and herbs, or avoiding offense by shunning locations known to be theirs. Some pranks ascribed to them, such as tangling the hair of sleepers into "Elf-locks", stealing small items or leading a traveler astray, are generally harmless. But far more dangerous behaviors were also attributed to fairies. Any form of sudden death might stem from a fairy kidnapping, with the apparent corpse being a wooden stand-in with the appearance of the kidnapped person. Consumption (tuberculosis) was sometimes blamed on the fairies forcing young men and women to dance at revels every night, causing them to waste away from lack of rest. Rowan trees are considered sacred to the fairies. Classic representation of a small fairy with butterfly wings commonly used in modern times. Luis Ricardo Falero, 1888. Classifications In Scottish folklore, fairies are divided into the Seelie Court, the more beneficently inclined (but still dangerous) fairies, and the Unseelie Court, the malicious fairies. While the fairies from the Seelie court enjoyed playing pranks on humans they were usually harmless affairs, compared to the Unseelie court that enjoyed bringing harm to humans as entertainment. Trooping fairies refer to fairies who appear in groups and might form settlements. In this definition, fairy is usually understood in a wider sense, as the term can also include various kinds of mythical creatures mainly of Celtic origin; however, the term might also be used for similar beings such as dwarves or elves from Germanic folklore. These are opposed to solitary fairies, who do not live or associate with others of their kind. Changelings Main page: Changeling A considerable amount of lore about fairies revolves around changelings, fairy children left in the place of stolen human babies. In particular, folklore describes how to prevent the fairies from stealing babies and substituting changelings, and abducting older people as well. The theme of the swapped child is common in medieval literature and reflects concern over infants thought to be afflicted with unexplained diseases, disorders, or developmental disabilities. In pre-industrial Europe, a peasant family's subsistence frequently depended upon the productive labor of each member, and a person who was a permanent drain on the family's scarce resources could pose a threat to the survival of the entire family. Protective charms In terms of protective charms, wearing clothing inside out, church bells, St. John's wort, and four-leaf clovers are regarded as effective. In Newfoundland folklore, the most popular type of fairy protection is bread, varying from stale bread to hard tack or a slice of fresh home-made bread. Bread is associated with the home and the hearth, as well as with industry and the taming of nature, and as such, seems to be disliked by some types of fairies. On the other hand, in much of the Celtic folklore, baked goods are a traditional offering to the folk, as are cream and butter. “The prototype of food, and therefore a symbol of life, bread was one of the commonest protections against fairies. Before going out into a fairy-haunted place, it was customary to put a piece of dry bread in one’s pocket.” In County Wexford, Ireland, in 1882, it was reported that “if an infant is carried out after dark a piece of bread is wrapped in its bib or dress, and this protects it from any witchcraft or evil.” Bells also have an ambiguous role; while they protect against fairies, the fairies riding on horseback — such as the fairy queen — often have bells on their harness. This may be a distinguishing trait between the Seelie Court from the Unseelie Court, such that fairies use them to protect themselves from more wicked members of their race. Another ambiguous piece of folklore revolves about poultry: a cock's crow drove away fairies, but other tales recount fairies keeping poultry. While many fairies will confuse travelers on the path, the will o' the wisp can be avoided by not following it. Certain locations, known to be haunts of fairies, are to be avoided; C. S. Lewis reported hearing of a cottage more feared for its reported fairies than its reported ghost. In particular, digging in fairy hills was unwise. Paths that the fairies travel are also wise to avoid. Home-owners have knocked corners from houses because the corner blocked the fairy path, and cottages have been built with the front and back doors in line, so that the owners could, in need, leave them both open and let the fairies troop through all night. Locations such as fairy forts were left undisturbed; even cutting brush on fairy forts was reputed to be the death of those who performed the act. Fairy trees, such as thorn trees, were dangerous to chop down; one such tree was left alone in Scotland, though it prevented a road being widened for seventy years. A resin statue of a fairy Other actions were believed to offend fairies. Brownies were known to be driven off by being given clothing, though some folktales recounted that they were offended by inferior quality of the garments given, and others merely stated it, some even recounting that the brownie was delighted with the gift and left with it. Other brownies left households or farms because they heard a complaint, or a compliment. People who saw the fairies were advised not to look closely, because they resented infringements on their privacy. The need to not offend them could lead to problems: one farmer found that fairies threshed his corn, but the threshing continued after all his corn was gone, and he concluded that they were stealing from his neighbors, leaving him the choice between offending them, dangerous in itself, and profiting by the theft. Millers were thought by the Scots to be "no canny", owing to their ability to control the forces of nature, such as fire in the kiln, water in the burn, and for being able to set machinery a-whirring. Superstitious communities sometimes believed that the miller must be in league with the fairies. In Scotland, fairies were often mischievous and to be feared. No one dared to set foot in the mill or kiln at night, as it was known that the fairies brought their corn to be milled after dark. So long as the locals believed this, the miller could sleep secure in the knowledge that his stores were not being robbed. John Fraser, the miller of Whitehill, claimed to have hidden and watched the fairies trying unsuccessfully to work the mill. He said he decided to come out of hiding and help them, upon which one of the fairy women gave him a gowpen (double handful of meal) and told him to put it in his empty girnal (store), saying that the store would remain full for a long time, no matter how much he took out. It is also believed that to know the name of a particular fairy could summon it to you and force it to do your bidding. The name could be used as an insult towards the fairy in question, but it could also rather contradictorily be used to grant powers and gifts to the user. In art At that moment she was changed by magic to a wonderful little elf by John Bauer. Images of fairies have appeared as illustrations, often in books of fairy tales, as well as in photographic-based media and sculpture. Some artists known for their depictions of fairies include Cicely Mary Barker, Arthur Rackham, Brian Froud, Alan Lee, Amy Brown, David Delamare, Meredith Dillman, Jasmine Becket-Griffith, Warwick Goble, Kylie InGold, Ida Rentoul Outhwaite, Myrea Pettit, Florence Harrison, Suza Scalora, Nene Thomas, Gustave Doré, Rebecca Guay and Greta James. The Fairy Doors of Ann Arbor, MI are small doors installed into local buildings. Local children believe these are the front doors of fairy houses, and in some cases, small furniture, dishes, and various other things can be seen beyond the doors. The Victorian era was particularly noted for fairy paintings. The Victorian painter Richard Dadd created paintings of fairy-folk with a sinister and malign tone. Other Victorian artists who depicted fairies include John Atkinson Grimshaw, Joseph Noel Paton, John Anster Fitzgerald and Daniel Maclise. Interest in fairy-themed art enjoyed a brief renaissance following the publication of the Cottingley Fairies photographs in 1917 and a number of artists turned to painting fairy themes. Source: Wikipedia - Fairy | Fairy Facts
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    What's the Word? - IMPRIMATUR pronunciation: [im-PRIM-ə-toor] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, mid 17th century Meaning: 1. (in singular) A person's acceptance or guarantee that something is of a good standard. 2. An official license by the Roman Catholic Church to print an ecclesiastical or religious book. Example: "Father Matthews decided to seek an imprimatur for his book on religious symbols in the Catholic faith." "His debut novel was marked with an imprimatur from the bestselling horror writer of the decade." About Imprimatur This word developed from the Latin word “imprimere” (let it be printed). Did You Know? The blurb is an example of imprimatur in the literary world. A blurb is a short promotional piece that accompanies a work; on a book, it can usually be found on the dust jacket, the back of the book, or sometimes on the cover. Seeing a blurb from a famous author or celebrity may persuade more people to buy and read it.
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    Fact of the Day - CULTS Did you know.... that in modern English, a cult is a social group that is defined by its unusual religious, spiritual, or philosophical beliefs, or by its common interest in a particular personality, object, or goal. This sense of the term is controversial, having divergent definitions both in popular culture and academia, and has also been an ongoing source of contention among scholars across several fields of study. The word "cult" is usually considered pejorative. An older sense of the word cult involves a set of religious devotional practices that are conventional within their culture, are related to a particular figure, and are often associated with a particular place. References to the "cult" of a particular Catholic saint, or the imperial cult of ancient Rome, for example, use this sense of the word. While the literal and original sense of the word remains in use in the English language, a derived sense of "excessive devotion" arose in the 19th century. Beginning in the 1930s, cults became the object of sociological study in the context of the study of religious behavior. Since the 1940s the Christian countercult movement has opposed some sects and new religious movements, labeling them "cults" because of their unorthodox beliefs. Since the 1970s, the secular anti-cult movement has opposed certain groups, and in reaction to acts of violence which have been committed by some of their members, it has frequently charged them with practicing mind control. Scholars and the media have disputed some of the claims and actions of anti-cult movements, leading to further public controversy. (Wikipedia) Infamous Cults in History Thea Glassman | Dec 7, 2018 Members of the Manson Family In March 1997, 39 members of Heaven’s Gate, a cult started in the early '70s, put on matching dark clothes, swallowed barbiturates, and placed plastic bags around their heads. It was one of the largest mass suicides in the history of the United States. Although you may have heard of that incident, when it comes to the world's most infamous cults, that's just the tip of the iceberg. INSIDER looked back on some of the most dangerous and infamous cults throughout history and the charismatic leaders who founded them. The Manson Family famously murdered seven people over the course of two nights to start a race war. Charles Manson was convicted of first-degree murder in 1971. In the late '60s, Charles Manson brought together a group of displaced young people and called them his "family." They settled in Spahn Ranch, a sprawling former movie studio near Los Angeles, where drugs were free-flowing, mandatory orgies were enforced, and Manson pushed his ideas about an imminent race war. The cult leader told his followers he wanted them to go on a killing spree. On August 8, 1969, a few members of the cult headed to a Beverly Hills home and murdered five people, including actress Sharon Tate. They wrote the word "PIG" in Tate's blood on the door. The violence continued the next night when Rosemary and Leno LaBianca were murdered in their Los Feliz home by Manson's followers on his orders. Rosemary was stabbed 14 times. Manson was convicted of first-degree murder in 1971. He served out his prison sentence until he died on November 19, 2017, at age 83. Members of Heaven’s Gate were told that God was an alien. 39 members died by suicide. Bonnie Nettles, one of the founders of the cult. In the early '70s, Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles went on a road trip across America and found a group of people they dubbed "the crew." Applewhite told his followers many things, including that he was the second coming of Jesus Christ, the end of the world was upon them, and that God was an alien. He encouraged them to give away all their money and cut off contact with their families. Cult members were also put on a Master Cleanse diet of lemonade, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup, in order to get rid of sexual thoughts. Eight men volunteered to be surgically castrated. In March 1997, 39 members of Heaven's Gate donned dark outfits and matching Nike shoes. They drank vodka and ate applesauce and pudding that contained barbiturates and put plastic bags over their heads to suffocate themselves. When police officers entered the home, they found a line of bodies, each covered with purple fabric. It was one of the largest mass suicides in the history of the United States. Members of Aum Shinrikyo left five bags filled with a toxic nerve agent on three Tokyo train lines during rush hour. The cult was led by Shoko Asahara. The cult Aum Shinrikyo was founded in the '80s by Shoko Asahara. He claimed to be Christ and — at one point — garnered tens of thousands of followers across the world. His teachings started out spiritual and then became increasingly violent. Cult members even paid money to drink Asahara's blood. On March 20, 1995, members of Aum Shinrikyo left five bags filled with a toxic nerve agent on three Tokyo train lines during rush hour. Passengers began choking and throwing up. 13 people died because of the attack and 5,800 were injured. As months went by, the cult tried — and failed — to attack other subway stations with a deathly cyanide. Asahara was sentenced to death, along with 12 other members of Aum Shinrikyo. Seven members were executed in July of 2018, including Asahara himself. The other six members are still on death row in Japan. The Branch Davidians had a 51-day standoff with the FBI. Branch Davidian cult members Brad Branch, Kathryn Schroeder, and Kevin Whitecliff on their way to the Waco federal courthouse. David Koresh believed that he could talk to God. He also thought that the world was ending. The cult leader managed to convince more than 100 people to move to a compound outside of Waco, Texas, and follow his teachings (which included his belief that men could have multiple wives, including girls as young as 10). On February 28, 1993, the FBI arrived on the scene to arrest Koresh and ended up in a 51-day standoff. "Never before have so many heavily armed and totally committed individuals barricaded themselves in a fortified compound in a direct challenge to lawful federal warrants," a report from the Justice Department said. In the end, the standoff came to a close when the compound combusted into flames. 75 people died, and Koresh was found with a gunshot wound to the head. Children of God was accused by numerous members of child abuse. It later rebranded to The Family International. A Children of God family walking along t he Texas countryside in 1971. The Children of God was established in the late '60s by David Berg, a traveling preacher. They believed in "free love" that reportedly involved female members recruiting with sex (sometimes known as "flirty fishing") and survivors say children were regularly abused. Both Rose McGowan and Joaquin Phoenix grew up in the Children of God. "There was sexual abuse for myself from the age of 4, not just from my dad who got convicted, but from various other members of the cult, some related, some not," Verity Carter, who grew up in the cult, told BBC News. "I wasn't comfortable with the things being done to me but if I asked a question I got beaten or put on silence restriction. I was punished a lot because I was never able to stop asking questions." Berg died in 1994. The Children of God later rebranded and changed its name to the Family of Love, and later The Family International after it had been labeled a cult and was investigated by the FBI and Interpol. Jim Jones founded The People's Temple and instructed all of his followers to drink cyanide-laced Flavor Aid. More than 900 people died. Hundreds of people died in the Jonestown settlement. In 1955, Jim Jones founded The People's Temple in Indianapolis. He grew concerned that a nuclear attack would fall on the area, so he moved his congregation to Eureka, California, which he thought would be safer. Paranoia struck again in 1977 (this time born out of media attention), and Jones moved The People's Temple to a settlement in Guyana dubbed Jonestown. US Congressman Leo Ryan decided to visit The People's Temple's new location in Guyana in 1978 in order to investigate reports of abuse of members. He was shot and killed by four members of The People's Temple. Jones then instructed all of his followers to drink Flavor Aid laced with cyanide. Over 900 dead bodies were discovered at the settlement, including Jones, who had a bullet wound to the head. In an unsigned suicide note, one member of the cult wrote: "If nobody understands, it matters not. I am ready to die now. Darkness settles over Jonestown on its last day on earth." Category of Cults Cults come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Not every person’s experience will fit neatly into these following categories, but this list should provide some idea of the range of cults and their reach into every walk of life. Eastern cults Eastern cults are characterized by belief in spiritual enlightenment and reincarnation, attaining the Godhead, and nirvana. Usually the leader draws from and distorts an Eastern-based philosophy or religion, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, or Sufism. Sometimes members learn to disregard worldly possessions and may take on an ascetic and/or celibate lifestyle. Practices and influence techniques include extensive meditation, repeated mantras, altered states of consciousness, celibacy or sexual restrictions, fasting and dietary restrictions, special dress or accoutrements, altars, and induced trance through chanting, spinning, or other techniques. Religious cults Religious cults are marked by belief in a god or some higher being, salvation, and the afterlife, sometimes combined with an apocalyptic view. The leader reinterprets Scripture (from the Bible, Koran, Talmud, or Cabala) and often claims to be a prophet, if not the messiah. Typically the group is strict, sometimes using such physical punishments as paddling and birching, particularly of children. Often members are encouraged to spend a great deal of time proselytizing. Included here are Bible-based, neo-Christian, Islamic, Jewish or Hebrew, and other religious cults, many of which combine beliefs and practices from different faiths. Practices and influence techniques include speaking in tongues, chanting, praying, isolation, lengthy study sessions, faith healing, self-flagellation, or many hours spent evangelizing, witnessing, or making public confessions. Political, racist, or terrorist cults Political, racist, or terrorist cults are fueled by belief in changing society, revolution, overthrowing the perceived enemy or getting rid of evil forces. The leader professes to be all knowing and all powerful. In some cases, adherents may be more drawn to an extreme ideology rather than a leader per se. Groups tend to operate as secret cells. Often the group and/or individuals are armed and engage in violent activities, including arson, kidnapping, bombing, and suicide bombs. Such groups typically meet in secret with coded language, handshakes, and other ritualized practices. Members consider themselves an elite cadre ready to go to battle. Practices and influence techniques include paramilitary training, reporting on one another, fear, struggle or criticism sessions, instilled paranoia, violent acts to prove loyalty, long hours of indoctrination, or enforced guilt based on race, class, or religion. Psychotherapy, human potential, mass transformational cults Psychotherapy, human potential, mass transformational cults are motivated by belief in striving for the goal of personal transformation and personal improvement. The leader is self-proclaimed and omniscient, with unique insights, sometimes a “super-therapist” or “super-life coach.” Practices and techniques include group encounter sessions, intense probing into personal life and thoughts, altered states brought about by hypnosis and other trance-induction mechanisms, use of drugs, dream work, past-life or future-life therapy, rebirthing or regression, submersion tanks, shame and intimidation, verbal abuse, or humiliation in private or group settings. Commercial, multi-marketing cults Commercial, multi-marketing cults are sustained by belief in attaining wealth and power, status, and quick earnings. The leader, who is often overtly lavish, asserts that he has found the “way.” Some commercial cults are crossovers to political and religious cults because they are based on ultra-conservative family values, strict morals, good health, or patriotism. Members are encouraged to participate in costly and sometimes lengthy seminars and to sell the group’s “product” to others. Practices and influence techniques include deceptive sales techniques, guilt and shame, peer pressure, financial control, magical thinking, or guided imagery. New Age cults New Age cults are founded on belief in the “You are God” philosophy, in power through internal knowledge, wanting to know the future, or find the quick fix. Often the leader presents herself or himself as mystical, an ultra-spiritual being, a channeler, a medium, or a superhero. New Age groups, more so than some of the other types, tend to have female leaders. Members rely on New Age paraphernalia, such as crystals, astrology, runes, shamanic devices, holistic medicine, herbs, spirit beings, or Tarot or other magic cards. Practices and influence techniques: magic tricks, altered states, peer pressure, channeling, UFO sightings, “chakra” adjustments, faith healing, or claiming to speak with or through ascended masters, spiritual entities, and the like. Occult, satanic, or black-magic cults Occult, satanic, or black-magic cults are generated through belief in supernatural powers, and sometimes worship of Satan. The leader professes to be evil incarnate. Animal sacrifice and physical and sexual abuse are common; some groups claim they perform human sacrifice. Practices and influence techniques include exotic and bizarre rituals, secrecy, fear and intimidation, acts of violence, tattooing or scarring, cutting and blood rituals, sacrificial rituals, or altars. One-on-one or family cults One-on-one or family cults are based in belief in one’s partner, parent, or teacher above all else. Generally an intimate relationship is used to manipulate and control the partner, children, or students, who believe the dominant one to have special knowledge or special powers. Often there is severe and prolonged psychological, physical, and sexual abuse. Practices and influence techniques include pleasure/pain syndrome, promoting self-blame, induced dependency, induced fear and insecurity, enforced isolation, battering and other violent acts, incest, or deprivation. Cults of personality Cults of personality are rooted in a belief that reflects the charismatic personality and interests and proclivities of the revered leader. Such groups tend to revolve around a particular theme or interest, such as martial arts, opera, dance, theater, a certain form of art, or a type of medicine or healing. Practices and influence techniques include intense training sessions, rituals, blatant egocentrism, or elitist attitudes and behaviors. Source: Wikipedia - Cult | Facts on Infamous Cults | Cults in America
  6. 1 point
    What's the Word? - RAILLERY pronunciation: [RAY-lə-ree] Part of speech: noun Origin: French, mid 17th century Meaning: 1. Good-humored teasing. Example: "When John was the only one who fell for the prank, the crew engaged in a little raillery at his expense." "The mayor took the raillery at the reception in stride." About Raillery This word developed from the French words “raillerie” and “railler” (to rail). Did You Know? The roast — a comedic event where a guest of honor consents to be subjected to raillery by comedians, fans, friends, and family members — originated in a New York nightclub in the 1940s. A roast usually consists of a blend of insult humor, teasing, and genuine compliments, with the goal of making the audience (and the guest of honor) laugh.
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