I’m obsessed with cult leaders

Is that weird? Maybe.

It all started when I learned where “drinking the Kool-Aid” originated. I spent days learning all I could about Jim Jones and Jonestown and the Peoples Temple. Then I came across the wealth of information on Charles Manson. And then ol’ L. Ron was next.

Honestly, it’s the psychological part I’m obsessed with. I lap up any documentary, novel, or podcast I can get my hands on—I dig deep into the psyche of these not-quite-sane individuals and learn about their motives. (And the motives of those who follow them.)

It can be anything as small as a famous scam artist like Jan Lewan, or a lesser-known religious leader of Buddhafield named Michel. It’s all the same fascination. I stopped counting how many hours I’ve spent glued to these stories.

What drives a person to commit heinous acts—and usually in the name of their deity? That question clicks on the light bulb for me.

At first, I believed this strange curiosity was something I should keep hidden. It’s a little odd to be engaged by something so dark, something that’s spread nothing but darkness over history.

But then I realized its purpose in my life.

I’m supposed to write about this, about a cult leader. That’s what all this fascination is about. It’s research for a character I’m to create. And so I’ve started gathering notes, started talking to people—getting thoughts and ideas around it.

More shall come on this, but I’m looking forward to cataloging how this all plays out here.

So, the moral of this story? I’m relieved I’m not going to wind up in a cult someday.