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15 Best Podcasts About Investigating Cults

Looking for good podcasts about cults? Discover our expertly curated collection of the best podcasts about cults and murder. Listen to captivating tales now!

best podcasts about cults

Unseen, unheard, and unexplainable — three things that describe the fascinating yet twisted world of cults. With that in mind, it’s no wonder why a growing number of podcasts are stirring around the nature of cults. These days, more people are seeking out truth beyond what they have always known — including learning about the cults that have existed before them all along.

Podcasts about cults are fascinating in their own right. They offer a look into the more sinister parts of humanity that often go unseen and unheard in mainstream society. We wonder what happens behind closed doors and how people escape these secretive communities. 

Listening to a cult podcast is one of the best ways to learn about cults. This podcast genre is rising in popularity and could be the perfect hobby for you to indulge in if you are a fan of cults, conspiracies, and all things strange.

Often disguised as humanitarian communities, spiritual groups, and new religious doctrines, cults have a way of appealing to a person’s mind. This article teaches you about the best cult podcasts that expose bizarre truths behind some of the largest cult scandals worldwide.

Key points:

  • As more people seek to uncover the darker truths of cults, finding the right information sources can be difficult. Therefore, listening to podcasts can be an interesting and viable way to gain information about cults. 

  • Many podcasts about cults feature interviews with survivors, opinionated debates, and shocking truths from some of the largest corporations in the world. Some of the best podcasts about cults include You Must Remember Mason and Cults of Our Lives.

  • Podcasts offer an opportunity to learn about various things, including the secret world of cults. Similarly, the Headway app has many resources to continue learning about the psychology and inner workings behind these bizarre groups.

Honorable mention: Headway

Headway the most downloaded book summary app

If you find conspiracies and cults fascinating, you might be interested in taking your fascination one step further — listening to summaries of the top books on cults and other strange phenomena. Whether you’re looking for psychology books to delve deep into the mind of a cult leader or you want to hear stories from brave survivors, Headway has what you need.

Headway is a bite-sized learning app that gives you unlimited access to non-fiction summaries on bestselling books in psychology and self-development. We carry thousands of non-fiction books to help you become a better you. 

A few book summaries on Headway you’ll want to check out if cults spark an interest include:

  • Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance

  • The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle

  • The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James

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10 best podcasts about cults

1. You Must Remember Manson

must-listen series on cult investigations - you must remember manson

If Hollywood conspiracies are your thing, You Must Remember Manson is your go-to show. With Karina Longworth by your side, you’ll delve deep into the story behind one of the most famous cult leaders of all time, former musician Charles Manson. This podcast spans twelve thrilling episodes that touch on the Manson Family’s twisted legacy of blind faith and wicked bloodshed.

Charles Manson led a large group of followers to commit heinous crimes, including a series of nine murders at four different locations. By the end, Manson had convinced his followers that a race war called Helter Skelter was coming, and they needed to prepare by making the murders appear racially motivated. As this all went down, the Manson Family lived in plain sight in the show business capital that is California, with Charles mingling with some of the most influential people in Hollywood at the time. Longworth brings listeners on a journey to understand the true motives of the Manson Family murders and what happened in Manson’s early life, which led him to the fateful year of 1969.

2. Escaping NXIVM

Premier podcasts exploring cult phenomena

CBC Podcasts presents a chilling audio show about the supposed “self-help organization” led by Keith Raniere. While NXIVM (pronounced “Nexium”) led followers to believe they were merely a humanitarian community, experts deem it a cult. Escaping NXIVM aims to investigate the true intentions of the organization and bring its darker secrets to light.

As a listener, you’ll get to hear stories from the group’s former members who escaped from the shackles of this sinister cult. The podcast focuses on one woman’s journey to escape in particular — what she saw, the dangers she was determined to break free from, and how she managed to save her daughter from the same fate. Escaping NXIVM explores everything about the former cult, including the rise and fall of Keith Raniere and the twisted allegations that caused the supposed “self-improvement company” to decline.

3. Cult Podcast

Essential listens for uncovering cult mysteries

Created by two sorority sisters, Paige Wesley and Marie Bella, Cult Podcast is what you’d expect it to be — a podcast about all things cults. A newer host to the podcast, Armando Torres, also gives his comedic insights into some of the more infamous cult stories. In each episode, you can tune in to learn about a new wacky group with cult-like behaviors.

Cults may be their main focus, but the show also delves into other fascinating topics like questionable historical leaders and ancient religious practices. Some of the show’s most-loved episodes feature stories of the most notorious cult leaders and criminals of all time, including Charles Manson and Ted Bundy. With well over 200 episodes, there’s always something strange and unusual to entertain you.

4. Heaven’s Gate

Leading podcasts on cult exploration

In 1997, thirty-nine people were led to their deaths in one of the most well-known cult stories in the media. This cult was otherwise known as Heaven’s Gate — an American religious group that proclaimed the existence of an alien spacecraft that was supposedly trailing behind the Hale-Bopp comet. Led by the promise of entering this spacecraft and experiencing a higher existence, the members of Heaven’s Gate were persuaded to leave their families behind, join a radical movement of abstinence, and drink lethal poison on the day of the comet’s passing.

More than twenty years later, the Heaven’s Gate podcast follows the unanswered questions surrounding the cult. Glynn Washington takes listeners on an exploration of the former cult through the eyes of family members, followers, experts, and leaders. Whatever you think you know about Heaven’s Gate is about to be challenged by Washington’s recount of the cult’s sinister history and stories of its faithful.

5. IndoctriNation

Best-of-the-best in cult investigative podcasts

Many people tend to focus on the beliefs and behaviors of cults, but few think about what happens after a former member decides to break free. Can they ever migrate into mainstream society? How do they get over their past traumas and fears? What kind of danger prompts them to leave in the first place? Hosted by Rachel Bernstein, a licensed therapist who actively deals with the ramifications of cult deprogramming, IndoctriNation provides a safe space for survivors to share their harrowing experiences.

IndoctriNation features guest speakers born into cults and others who fell victim to the lies and deceit of their supposed teachers. Bernstein uses a trauma-informed approach to prompt her guests to explore their encounters from when they joined the cult to when they left. Each episode will bring you more insight into what happens behind the closed doors of a cult and the long-term psychological effects of having lived within one.

6. Cults

Top picks for podcasts about cults

Have you ever wondered what goes on in the mind of a cult leader? What led them to perform heinous acts and encourage others to do so? What drives an average person to believe these leaders and join a cult? The Cults podcast is a riveting true crime series that allows listeners to learn about the truth behind the behaviors of famous cult leaders and their followers. 

In this show, you’ll explore the psychology of cults and how these supposed spiritual teachers use specific psychological tactics to take advantage of people’s insecurities and weaknesses. You will also learn about the motives behind some of history’s most controversial events and organizations, like “The Peoples Temple" - the most scandalous cult in the history of America. If you’re interested in uncovering the truth behind many past false doomsday predictions, religious doctrines, and supposed alien visitations, then Cults may have the answers you’re looking for.

7. Dear Franklin Jones

Critical listens for cult inquiry

Dear Franklin Jones follows the real-life story of producer Jonathan Hirsch, who also happens to be hosting the podcast in question. To anyone looking in, Jonathan’s childhood was much like anyone else’s — except his parents secretly followed a controversial leader named Franklin Jones. An American-born spiritual teacher, Franklin Jones, founded the religious movement known as Adidam. However, to people outside the group, the community may otherwise be classified as none other than a cult.

Jonathan takes listeners on a journey through his life, how his parents met, and what led to his parents’ loyalty to the infamous spiritual guru who required his followers to strip themselves of all earthly “attachments” to bring themselves to full “enlightenment.” As Jones’ faithful were punished and prodded for their “unclean” desires and attractions, Jones indulged in questionable acts that could otherwise paint him as hypocritical. Jonathan, therefore, offers insight into the life of a corporally unpunishable leader who somehow managed to keep his followers worshipping blindly.

8. Cults of Our Lives

Prime podcasts focusing on cults

Each week hosts Halle and Stasie take listeners through the bizarre world of cults, complete with laughter, jokes, and sarcasm. Cults of Our Lives is the perfect podcast for someone interested in otherworldly phenomena but needs a few good jokes thrown in to take the edge off. Halle and Stasie are your favorite loud-mouthed hosts that don’t hold back when describing the bizarre behaviors and lunacy of cult leaders and followers.

As you listen to Cults of Our Lives, you’ll explore many of the world’s most well-known (and lesser-known) cults and spiritual communities. From Jonestown to Scientology, strange things must be said about each one — including unexplained disappearances, heinous crimes, and secrets exposed. Halle and Stasie also question the motives behind each cult and share their opinions, complete with crude humor.

9. Cult or Just Weird

Top-tier podcasts on cult investigation

Cult or Just Weird brings a humorous air to cults’ usual dark and morbid nature of cults while simultaneously examining issues in various communities. Hosts Chris and Kayla are just two normal people interested in cults, but their discussions are packed with entertaining topics and intriguing insights. Sometimes, you might even catch a fascinating interview with a popular individual or expert!

In each episode, listeners are introduced to a specific topic or strange occurrence that the hosts will delve into. Usually, Chris and Kayla will discuss current popular trends and growing online communities. The goal of each episode is to figure out whether certain groups are cults or communities just exhibiting really odd behavior. So, you can decide whether it is a cult or just weird.

10. Cults, Cryptids, and Conspiracies

Essential podcasts for cult enthusiasts

Cults, Cryptids, and Conspiracies might leave you with more questions than answers, but in the best way possible. If you’re a fan of all things otherworldly, this podcast has what you’re looking for. Hosts Chelsea and Cristina are friends with a common motive — to solve ancient mysteries and unexplained phenomena worldwide. From legendary cryptids to doomsday cults, the friend duo is ready to dish out the hottest myths, legends, and horror stories told throughout history.

Unlike other podcasts, Chelsea and Cristina’s aren’t focused mainly on cults. Instead, this podcast delves into the nitty gritty of everything unusual, ranging from the Babadook of Africa to the questionable teachings of Bill Gothard. As a bonus, you’ll also hear from guests with personal insights and share some of the spookiest stories around.

11. Let’s Talk About Sects

Foremost podcasts exploring secretive cults

"Let's Talk About Sects" is a podcast hosted by Sarah Steel, where each episode offers a thorough examination of different sects, focusing on their leaders, tactics, and effects on members. It's particularly appealing for those interested in the psychological and sociological aspects of cults.

The podcast stands out for its in-depth analysis, providing detailed insights into the inner workings of cults. With compelling storytelling, each episode is engaging and covers a wide range of cults worldwide, offering varied perspectives. Additionally, it serves an educational purpose by increasing awareness about the dangers and dynamics of cults.

"Let's Talk About Sects" is an excellent choice for anyone looking to understand the complexities of cults through well-researched, engaging content.

12. Crime Family (Cult miniseries on "The Children of God")

Top recommendations for cult investigation podcasts

The miniseries episode "The Children of God Cult Miniseries Part I" from the True Crime podcast takes a closer look at the Children of God cult, initially portraying itself as a peaceful, happy community. The episode reveals the cult's darker reality, marked by abuse towards cult members and sex trafficking. It provides an in-depth look at how the cult operated and the significant impact it had on its members' lives, illustrating the broader issue of how cults prey on individuals. The podcast uses this example to highlight the ongoing global presence of similar cults.

You can find this miniseries on Apple podcasts or Spotify or even find a TV Mini Series, in which victims of the cult deep dive into their first-hand experience

13. Sounds Like A Cult

Premier selections of cult investigative series

"Sounds Like A Cult" is a podcast that examines modern-day fandoms and lifestyle trends to determine whether they’re essentially cults in disguise. Hosts Amanda Montell and Isa Medina analyze various cultural phenomena, from fitness crazes and social media to celebrity worship and pop culture, using humor and insightful commentary.

You should listen to this podcast if you're interested in a lighthearted yet thought-provoking exploration of why people get intensely devoted to seemingly mundane or harmless things, offering both entertainment and a deeper understanding of societal behaviors. Amanda Montell also brings insights from her book "Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism," where she explores how the power of language is pivotal in creating and maintaining cult-like followings across various communities, adding an extra layer of depth to the podcast's themes.

14. Life After MLM

Leading choices for in-depth cult analysis podcasts

The "Life After MLM" podcast, hosted by Roberta Blevins, delves into the hidden and often manipulative world of multi-level marketing (MLM) schemes. The podcast features a series of candid conversations with survivors and experts, exploring the impact of MLMs on individuals and debunking the industry's promise of success. Blevins uses her platform to share real-life first-hand experiences and expert insights, aiming to dismantle the stigma associated with 'failing' in an industry that is systematically designed for most participants to fail.

Listeners are encouraged to tune in if they're interested in understanding the complex dynamics of MLMs and the deceptive practices often employed by such schemes. With its focus on personal stories and the broader implications of MLMs on society, "Life After MLM" offers a compelling blend of education and emotional resonance, making it a must-listen for those interested in consumer advocacy and social justice​.

15. A Little Bit Culty

Top-rated podcasts exploring cults

"A Little Bit Culty" is a podcast that explores the world of cults and coercive control with hosts Sarah Edmondson and Anthony "Nippy" Ames, both former members of the NXIVM cult. The podcast aims to educate listeners on the signs and effects of cult-like behaviors through interviews with survivors, experts, and former cult members. Each episode explores different cults, from high-profile organizations to less-known groups, providing insights into how cults recruit, manipulate, and impact individuals and communities​​​​​​.

You should listen to this podcast if you are interested in understanding the psychological and social dynamics of cults beyond the sensational headlines. It's especially compelling for those looking to hear first-hand accounts of resilience and recovery from people who have lived through these experiences. If you want to read more about the cult, don’t hesitate to refer to the New York Times article with a step-by-step explanation of the FBI's case against NXIVM.

Listen to otherworldly books with Headway

The world of cults continues to captivate and intrigue many of us, with many wanting to uncover the darker truths behind these enigmatic groups. Podcasts offer a unique and accessible way to delve into the fascinating realm of cults, allowing listeners to explore the psychology, motivations, and stories behind notorious cult leaders and their followers.

With an ever-growing interest in cult-related content, finding reliable and high-quality podcasts can be challenging. However, the list in this article provides a diverse range of perspectives and narratives, ensuring a captivating listening experience for anyone fascinated by cults and their influence on society.

If you also like getting your information from books but don’t have the time to delve deep into the text, check out our book summary app — Headway. Whether you want a book on human psychology or a memoir from a survivor, Headway is equipped with all the resources to get you thinking deeper about everything beyond the norm.

Looking for more information about cults and strange things? Download the Headway app to access over 1500 book summaries on your favorite topics.

Frequently asked questions

What are the best podcasts about cults?

Podcasts you enjoy should cater to your interests and likes. If you’re looking for a cult podcast that is lively and humorous, the best podcasts for you might be Cults of Our Lives and Cult or Just Weird. Otherwise, some more serious podcasts about cults include Heaven’s Gate, You Must Remember Manson, and the Cults series on The Last Podcast on the Left.

Where can I find more information about cults?

Although you can get information about cults from search engines like Google, the best source of information is usually a book. You can get reliable information about any topic you’re interested in on the Headway app.

Which podcast talks about cult survivors?

After hearing about the bizarre world of cults, hearing from people who have managed to break free from lies and deception can be relieving. Podcasts that feature stories from cult survivors and escapees include Escaping NXIVM and IndoctriNation.

Which podcast talks about QAnon?

While there are many podcasts covering this issues, you might want to give QAA Podcast a listen. This unique show blends investigative journalism, comedic elements, and historical insights and offers a diverse mix of content that challenges conventional perspectives.

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