It was the biggest cult prosecution in nearly a decade. In June 2019, NXIVM leader Keith Raniere was found guilty sex trafficking, forced labor conspiracy, human trafficking and multiple counts of racketeering—including sexual exploitation of a child. But while members swore by the 'self help' organization, rumors of its dark underside emerged.
How did Charles Manson, an illiterate ex-con, become such an influential cult leader and turn a group of peaceful hippies into cold-blooded killers? Journalist Tom O'Neill set out to answer this and more in his book, 'Chaos.' Read about Manson's early years—starting with his neglectful mother, then moving on to his stints in institutions for 'delinquent' children and ultimately, in federal prison.
During the 1970s, David Berkowitz, also known as 'The Son of Sam,' prowled New York City, fatally shooting couples in cars. By the time he was arrested in August 1977, he had killed six people and wounded seven others. Although the murders stopped after his arrest, several people who worked on the Son of Sam case are convinced Berkowitz didn't act alone.
It's been 40 years since the Jonestown massacre, yet there is still some mystery surrounding how the group's leader Jim Jones died. Was his gunshot self-inflicted? Could someone else have pulled the trigger through an act of heroism or loyalty? Is it possible he was already dying from other health problems?
One element of the 1978 mass death at Jonestown that hasn't been explored much is leader Jim Jones' rampant drug abuse—and how he used substances as a tool of control in his church. A&E Real Crime investigate the roles drugs played at Jonestown.
Journalist and therapist Nikki Meredith has corresponded with two of Charles Manson's most infamous followers for decades: convicted murderers Leslie Van Houten and Patricia Krenwinkel. After writing a book delving into the psychologies of the two women, Meredith spoke with us about what the former cult members are like today.