Collective suicide ritual

A collective suicide ritual or for cultural reasons is a collective suicide often with ritual committed by members of groups that have been considered religious groups or sects . 1 2 3 In some cases, all or a large number of them have committed suicide in the same place and at the same time.

Some groups that have committed this type of suicide are, for example: the Heaven’s Gate sect , the Solar Temple Order and the Temple of the People in the famous Jonestown Tragedy . In other cases as in the Philippian sect, the sect supported mass suicide without attempting to convince the entire group of participation.

Known religious suicides

Temple of the town

Main article: Jonestown

The 18 of November of 1978 , 918 Americans died in the tragedy of Jonestown , Guyana , including 909 members of the sect the Peoples Temple led by Pastor Jim Jones . 4 The event included 303 children. A tape of the last moments of the Temple was found in the Jonestown Pavilion, which contains repeated discussions within the group stating that they would commit a “revolutionary suicide”, also includes references to the poison taking and the containers they would use . 5 On the tape, Jones informs members of the sect that Russia would have negotiated with them a potential exodus for months, after having murdered Congressman Leo Ryan , NBC reporter Don Harris and three others in a runway Nearby. 5 When members seem to have broken down to cry, Jones consoles them saying, “Stop this hysteria.” This is not the way to die for socialist or communist people.It is not our way of dying, we must die with some dignity. ” 5 At the end of the tape Jones concludes: “We did not commit suicide, we perpetrate a” revolutionary suicidal act “in protest of the conditions of an inhuman world.” 5 The people in Jonestown died of cyanide poisoning, except for Jones and his support staff who reportedly died of self-inflicted firearm injuries. 6 The members of the Temple would have spoken of the “revolutionary suicide act” before, and members would have been given what they were told was poison, but such a drink would have no poison. 7 Four other members of the sect were killed in the People’s Temple barracks in Georgetown, Guyana.

Order of the solar temple

Between 1994 and 1997 , members of the Order of the Solar Temple began a series of mass suicides that totaled 74 deaths. 8 In the farewell notes that the members would have left, they expressed their belief that their deaths would be an escape from the “hypocrisy and oppression of the world.” In addition to this they believed that they would be “taken to Sirius .” 10 Some recordings that would be collected by Quebec police showed that some members would have made personal donations to the leader of the sect, Joseph Di Mambro , for a million dollars. 11 Other members of the cult attempted to commit suicide in the late 1990s , but their attempts were thwarted. All suicides and suicide attempts occurred around the equinoxes and solstices , because it appears to be in line with the beliefs of the group. 12

Heaven’s Gate

On March 26, 1997 , 39 followers of the Heaven’s Gate sect died in a mass suicide in Rancho Santa Fe , California , on the northern border of San Diego ; Believed, according to the teachings of the sect, that with their suicides “they would leave their human forms” and that their souls would approach a spacecraft that would follow comet Hale-Bopp . 13 Some men, members of the sect, would have been subjected to voluntary castration to prepare themselves for a life without sexes, which would come after their death. 14 the 30 of March of 1997 , Thomas Nichols, younger brother 15 of actress Nichelle Nichols , was discovered dead in his trailer with a note that read in part: “I go to the ship that goes to the Hale-Bopp to be with Those who went before me “; Using propane gas to end their life. Nichols , like the other members of the sect, had his head covered with a plastic bag and his torso covered with a purple shroud. The connection Nichols with the sect is unknown.

In May of 1997 , two members of the sect who were not present in the mass suicide, attempted suicide, one of them died in the attempt, the other was in a coma for two days and then recovered. 16 In February of 1998 , the survivor, Chuck Humphrey , committed suicide. 17

Other suicides related to sects

The Davidians

The 19 of April of 1993 , the Bureau of Alcohol, Snuff, Firearms and Explosives of the United States besieged the faction of the Davidians near Waco , Texas that ended with an assault followed a firefight that destroyed the place, in The one that died many of its inhabitants. During the harassment many hand grenades and gas bombs were fired. CS 18 Some people believed that grenades and other material were fired to ignite the fuel supplies inside the building. 19

Richard L. Sherrow, an expert investigator on fire and explosions, was hired by a civil court to pinpoint the causes of the onset of the conflagration and his conclusion was: “The fire originated in the tower located in the northeast corner when a type lantern Coleman fell in the oxidizing material, more precisely in the beds, since the place was used as dormitories. The flashlight would have fallen after a mechanical impact between the tower and the CEV . twenty

The media reported immediately after the harassment and described it as a ritual collective suicide including a murder perpetrated by the sect’s leaders. However, some independent media, academics and other experts argue that the fire originated accidentally or resulted from panic.

The International Family

In early 2005, the International Family again gained attention because of the premeditated suicide of 21 member Ricky Rodriguez , biological son of leader Karen Zerby , and adopted son of founder David Berg ; Which revived the allegations that the group incites its followers to the idea of suicide . Rodriguez’s death was widely called “ritual suicide.” The event became popular thanks to NBC references on the television shows Third Watch and Law & Order . 22 The followers of the sect maintain that the behavior of Rodriguez is not typical in the group and that there is no evidence that in the group there are more suicides than in the society in general. 2. 3

Atma Energy Release Training Center

Main article: Training center for energy release Atma

In February 1998, Heide Fittkau-Garthe , a German psychologist , and a senior official at Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University , was suspected in the Canary Islands of the conspiracy to commit suicide in a group of 32 members, including 5 children. They believed they would be picked up and taken to a spaceship with an unknown destination. Otherwise, they were suspected of committing collective suicide. 24 The suicide would take place in the Teide National Park . Apparently the sect was denominated Center of training for the liberation of the energy Atma , but it was called “sect of Heide ” in honor to its founder.

Restoration movement of the ten commandments of God

The 17 of March of 2000 , 778 members of the Movement of Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God died in Uganda . 25 The theory that members would have died in mass suicide changed when several of the corpses were found with signs of strangulation and knife wounds. 26 The group diverged from the Catholic Church in the emphasis of the arrival of the apocalypse and questioned the Marian apparitions . 27 The group was called an inner revision movement, which used uniforms and restricted vocabulary to avoid saying sinful or dishonest things. 28 29 At the time of suicide, according to testimony from the locals themselves, the members were having a party, where 70 cases of soda and 3 bulls were consumed. 30

This version of the events has been criticized by Irving Hexham, 31 and Ugandan sources who have stated that “no one really can explain the whys, the quads, the commas, the dies, et cetera.” 32


  1. Back to top↑ Townsend, Ellen ( February of 2007 ). «Suicide Terrorists: Are They Suicidal?». Suicide & Life – Threatening Behavior ( New York) 37 (1): 15 |página=and |páginas=redundant ( help ) . “There are some other examples of suicides involving group (eg, cult suicides) and dyadic (eg, suicide pacts) processes; But these are very rare.
  2. Back to top↑ Harper, Tim (as 19 April as 2003 ). «Leadership races need a little drama». Toronto Star ( Toronto, Ontario): F.02. “… a vote for Campbell was akin to the party drinking its Kool-Aid, a stunning reference to the mass cult suicide at Jonestown in Guyana.”
  3. Back to top↑ Kiley, Sam (20 out of March as 2000 ). “Suicidal creed that came from the West.” Toronto Star ( London, United Kingdom ): 3. “” Until the weekend, suicidal doomsday cults were seen by Africans as a decadent Western luxury. But the deaths of more than 230 ordinary Ugandans ranks as the second-largest cult Suicide in recent times. “
  4. Back to top↑ House of Representatives (May 15). House of Representatives, ed. “Foreword, The Assassination of Representative Leo J. Ryan and the Jonestown, Guyana Tragedy” (in English) . Archived from the original on November 25, 2015 . Retrieved on October 6, 2012 . “Report of the research group to the foreign affairs committee of the United States “.
  5. ↑ Jump to:a b c d San Diego State University. “Primary Audiotape Jonestown Project: Alternative Considerations of Jonestown and Peoples Temple” (in English) . Archived from the original on November 25, 2015 . Retrieved on October 6, 2012 .
  6. Back to top↑ «Guyana Inquest of Cyrillus Mootoo & Cecil Roberts» (PDF) . Archived from the original on November 25, 2015 . Retrieved on October 6, 2012 .
  7. Back to top↑ Deborah, Layton (1998). Seductive Poison (in English) . Anchor. ISBN  0-385-48984-6 .
  8. Back to top↑ (October 13). «The Solar Temple» . Retrieved on October 6, 2012 .
  9. Back to top↑ University of Virginia. Order of the Solar Temple . Archived from the original on November 25, 2015 . Retrieved on October 6, 2012 .
  10. Back to top↑ Stephen Dafoe & Templar History Magazine (2002). «The Tragedy Of The Solar Temple Cult» . Retrieved on October 6, 2012 .
  11. Back to top↑ CBC News. Solar Temple: A cult gone wrong . Retrieved on October 6, 2012 .
  12. Back to top↑ Ramsland, Katherine. Crime Library, ed. «By Death Journey» . Archived from the original on November 25, 2015 . Retrieved on October 6, 2012 .
  13. Back to top↑ Jonathan Broder, Suicide in San Diego – Were cultists recruited on the Web? , Salon / March 28, 1997
  14. Back to top↑ Some members of suicide cult castrated , CNN, March 28, 1997, per Rick Ross
  15. Back to top↑
  16. Back to top↑ “Two More Search For Heaven’s Gate,” The Associated Press, May 6, 1997, per Rick Ross
  17. Back to top↑ “Ex-Heaven’s Gate member is found dead”, Associated Press , February 21, 1998, per Rick Ross
  18. Back to top↑ Waco admission damages Reno , BBC News August 27, 1999
  19. Volver arriba↑ Carol Moore, The FBI’s April 19, 1993 Gas And Tank Attack, Ch. 10, “The Davidian Massacre
  20. Back to top↑ Fire Investigator’s Civil Suit Affidavit On Origin Of April 19, 1993 Fire At Mount Carmel , In The United States District Court, For The Southern District Of Texas, Houston Division
  21. Back to top↑ Ricky Rodriguez Video Transcript , Ricky Rodriguez
  22. Back to top↑ Law & Order: Season 15 (2004-05) Sects , episode originally aired March 30, 2005, Footnote TV, Retrieved 2007-10-13
  23. Back to top↑ Suicide and the Sanctity of Life , The Family International, Retrieved 2007-10-13
  24. Back to top↑ Rod Usher, Near-Death Experience , Time , January 19, 1998 Vol. 151 No. 3 Archived from the original on May 22, 2011
  25. Back to top↑ Cult in Uganda Poisoned Many, Police Say New York Times July 28, 2000
  26. Back to top↑ New Vision, “Kanungu Dead Poisoned”, Matthias Mugisha, July 28, 2000.
  27. Back to top↑ Logan Nakyanzi, Uganda: Religion That Kills- Why Does Uganda Have So Many Cults? , ABC News , Feb. 14, 2000 (?)
  28. Back to top↑ Massimo Introvigne, Tragedy in Uganda: the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God, a Post-Catholic Movement , CESNUR, Retrieved 2007-10-13
  29. Volver arriba↑ Quiet cult’s doomsday deaths, BBC News, March 29, 2000
  30. Back to top↑ Simon Robinson, Uganda’s Faithful Dead , Time , Mar 26, 2000
  31. Return to top↑ Irving Hexham, Professor of Religious Studies, University of Calgary, What Really Happened in Uganda? Suicide or Murder , Religion in the News, Vol. 3, No. 2, Summer 2000, pp. 7-9 and 24
  32. Back to top↑ Gerald Businge, Seven Years Since the Kanungu Massacre – Are we any wiser? , UG Pulse, March 17, 2007