Deathly spell of doom messiahs
Friday 28 March 1997
The Rev Jim Jones takes the credit for the highest body count when he gave cyanide-spiked grape punch to more than 900 disciples of his People's Temple in Jonestown, Guyana, in November 1978.
Last Saturday, five members of the Order of the Solar Temple, which has claimed 74 lives in the past three years, died in St Casimir, Quebec. The cult, whose devotees believe suicide takes them to a new life on a planet named Sirius, claimed 16 lives in December 1995. The bodies, which had been set alight with white spirit, were found arranged in a star shape near a remote Alpine village and included three children.
The movement was founded in Geneva in the late 1970s by Joseph di Mambro, a fraudster with convictions in France and Luc Jouret, a Belgian homoeopathic doctor. Both died in the suicide of 53 in Switzerland and Canada in 1994.
The cult attracted a senior civil servant in the Quebec Ministry of Finance, the mayor of the Canadian town of Richelieu and a leading journalist on the Journal of Quebec.
In March 1995, the Aum Shinri Kyo cult's sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway caused 12 deaths and poisoned 5,500 more commuters. Their leader, Shoko Asahara, is now on trial.
In April 1993, after a 51-day siege, FBI agents stormed David Koresh's Kingdom of Heaven in Waco, Texas. Eighty-three members of the Branch Davidians died after they set their compound on fire.
Near Seoul, South Korea, in 1988, 33 members of a cult which idolised a 48-year-old woman, Park Soon Ja, killed themselves in a mass sacrifice.
- 1 Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
- 2 Art Garfunkel: Paul Simon is a 'monster' with a Napoleon complex
- 3 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 4 Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
- 5 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
Isis 'jihadi bride' claims forced sex with Yazidi girls is never rape because Koran condones it
Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...