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Let's Talk About Sects

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Branch Davidians

2018 marks the 25-year anniversary of a 51-day siege that ended in tragedy, following a shootout between the U.S. government and members of a sect called the Branch Davidians. The gunfire exchange lasted for well over an hour, killing four U.S. agents and six Branch Davidians, and wounding their leader Vernon Howell, also known as David Koresh. Yet this violence was just the beginning of an ordeal that would culminate in an inferno later to become known as the Waco Massacre. CW: references...


Bonus Episode: Aum Shinrikyo Update

Over recent days, several of the 13 incarcerated Aum Shinrikyo members sentenced to death have been moved to new facilities, prompting speculation that their execution is imminent. In this bonus episode, a follow-up to our third episode about the infamous Japanese sect, Let's Talk About Sects spoke with a woman who has researched the group for over 16 years, and has also been in direct contact with ex-members. She goes by the name of Sarah Skibtower, and she was kind enough to share her...


The Order of St Charbel

William Kamm has a 10pm curfew, and is not allowed to spend time with girls under the age of 17. He is prevented from entering the Shoalhaven district of New South Wales, and his movements and communications are monitored. These are conditions of his release after serving 9 years in jail for crimes he committed against two teenage girls – yet his followers still believe that he is the next true Pope, and that the Virgin Mary speaks to him on the 13th day of every month. CW: references to...



The Koreshans believed that the earth was hollow, and that humans lived on the concave inside surface of it. They theorised that the moon and stars, and indeed the rest of the universe, was contained within. On the outside? A void. When they formed the utopian community in Estero, Florida that they called the Koreshan Unity Settlement, a common greeting of one member to another was, “We live inside.” Research sources listed on each episode page at www.ltaspod.com. If you have been...


Episode 5: Universal Knowledge

Carli McConkey was a 21-year-old university graduate when she decided to attend the Mind Body Spirit Festival in Sydney, and came across the stand for Life Integration Programmes. The course they offered sounded like exactly what she needed to get her life on track and realise her potential. Little did she know that this encounter was the start of a 13-year ordeal that would see her estranged from her family, under continued financial stress, a victim and perpetrator of physical assault,...


Kenja Communication

Ken Dyers passed away 10 years ago this year, but the organisation that he spearheaded with his partner Jan Hamilton lives on. In spite of a few parallels, this Australian organisation, called Kenja, has been listed as a suppressive group by the Church of Scientology. Jan claims that Kenja has faced decades of persecution by those who want to bring them down, including a member of parliament, and charges levied at the organisation include brainwashing, exacerbation of psychological...


Episode 3: Aum Shinrikyo

Twenty years ago this year, Japan was to become a nuclear wasteland, according to the leader of a sect who claimed that the only survivors would be his followers and 10% of the major cities. It was in the lead up to this year of the predicted apocalypse, 1997, that he ordered shocking acts that would eventually result in his group being labelled a terrorist organisation, and himself and 12 other sect members being sentenced to death. CW: references to physical and emotional abuse,...


The Family

There is a 95-year-old woman in a Melbourne nursing home who dotes on a plastic baby doll. You wouldn’t guess it to look at her, but this is a woman who amassed a multi-million dollar fortune, destroyed families, and affected the lives of numerous people giving them ongoing psychological issues, some of which ended in suicide. Former police detective Lex de Man said of this women to 60 Minutes, “Of all the crimes that I investigated, she is the most evil person that I’ve ever met.” CW:...


Episode preview: Let's Talk About Sects Trailer

Let's Talk About Sects is a new Australian podcast about cults around the world. We cover a different sect each episode, launching on Wednesday 20th September and then releasing an episode each month. Hope you can join us.


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