The Life and Death of the Chosen One

Ricky Rodriguez was born in the role of the messiah. His father was David Berg, the leader of the polygamous/incestuous cult The Children of God, which published a book documenting his early life:

In 1982 a shop in Spain printed several thousand copies of a book that was then distributed to group members around the world. Bound in faux leather, illustrated with hundreds of photographs, the 762-page tome meticulously chronicled Ricky's young life and was intended as a child-rearing manual for families. Its title, The Story of Davidito, was stamped in gold. With its combination of earnest prose and unabashed child pornography, it is perhaps the most disturbing book ever published in the name of religion.

Eventually, he left the cult and found work as an electrician. But revenge called him back.

Thirty Years in Captivity

Rosie grew up in a succession of decrepit houses in South London with one man and a rotating cast of women, who claimed that they had found her on the streets as an infant. The man, Aravindan Balakrishnan—Comrade Bala, as he wanted to be called—was the head of the household. He instructed the women to deny Rosie’s existence to outsiders, and forbade them from comforting her when she cried.

Inside Superstar Machine

Ex-members say it’s a cult preying on young creative women in New York. Its leader — a man who goes by International Scherick, compares himself to Jesus, and charges $200 minimum — says he’s empowering his clients to be successful in life and love.

Sun Myung Moon's Lost Eco-Utopia

Before he died, Sun Myung Moon, cult father to massive Unification Church (known better as the Moonies), sent 14 Japanese “national messiahs” deep into the Paraguayan jungle to build an utopian “ideal city.” Thirteen years later, the author catches a trading boat down river in search of their hidden town.