Hollywood is crazy, right? Celebrities have all the money and fame in the world to do whatever they please. In the fans' eyes, they may as well be gods and goddesses; such is the ecclesial devotion these artists attract. However, rather than simply get arrested for drag racing a Lamborgini in a shady part of Miami, some celebrities have gone a step further in their craziness and decided to join a cult. Yes, you read that correctly.
Read on below as we chronicle 10 celebrities who you never knew were once members of infamous cults.
1. Elvis Presley
The King remains the music industry's biggest star, and that won't be changing anytime soon. He was, quite simply, a musical genius, and an artist who inspired heaps of others to pursue their dreams in a period where the music industry was only just starting to take off and make stars of its artists.
However, did you know that the Hound Dog hitmaker was once in a cult? The king of rock 'n' roll was a member of the "Self-Realization Fellowship" which sounds more akin to a Goa hippie retreat full of ex-surfers and mindreaders.
But the organization wasn't really that interesting. Founded by Paramahansa Yogananda, the cult, which remains active, aims to promote a greater understanding between the world's most diverse groups... or something along those lines. They even tried to help Elvis find God, which led him to famously ask himself, "Why did God make me Elvis Presley?"
He also gave them a lot of money.
2. Glenn Close
Glenn Close has had a wildly successful career in Hollywood, achieving mainstream success in both the film and tv world. But her life is more than just an endless list of artistic achievements. When she was 7, Glenn Close's parents joined the Moral Re-Armament (MRA) cult, a dangerous right-wing group that led by four tenets: "absolute honesty, absolute purity, absolute unselfishness, and absolute love."
Close's family were members of the cult for 15 years, and Close herself remained in the cult until she was 21. She was even part of the MRA singing group in college, believing it actually helped her career.
However, she only pretended to believe what the cult's leaders were saying.
3. Jayne Mansfield
The blonde beauty is considered one of Hollywood's finest actresses of the Golden Age, but few know that she was once a member of the Church of Satan. She was also good friends with the cult's leader, Anton LeVey.
But let's be clear: The Church of Satan doesn't actually worship Satan himself. It was actually a harmless anti-Catholic group that liked to promote themselves by doing a series of provocative stunts. They also wore horns on protests which attracted even more notoriety.
4. George Harrison
The Beatles were the biggest band of all time and were known for their hippie, out-there ways, but it was always John Lennon who was thought to be the most in touch with his hippie roots. However, this was actually George Harrison, by a country mile.
Harrison was a member of the Hare Krishna, a tambourine-playing cult that was somewhat popular in the '60s. But after the Beatles broke up, Harrison spent even more time with the members and continued to play a role in what has to be one of the least dangerous cults in the world.
5. Winona Ryder
As a child actress, Winona Ryder moved all over the place, but she was happiest when she lived in the Rainbow Commune in California, a cult where multiple families lived without running water or electricity for years on end.
The Rainbow Commune is basically America's hippie enclave and has gained a positive reputation for helping put an end to Native American appropriation.
6. Rose McGowan
Rose McGowan has been in the news for more reasons than she can probably think in the last few months, with most of the news typically Weinstein related. Unfortunately for McGowan, her unsavory experiences in recent years are not isolated incidents. In her childhood, her family was a member of an infamous Italian cult called Children of God.
As McGowan's father was an artist based in Italy, they stayed there for many years and devoted large parts of their life to a cult which has been known to encourage younger members to have intercourse with older ones. Thankfully, McGowan's family got out and relocated to Los Angeles, where their daughter would go onto find work as a child model and then as an actress.
7. Michelle Pfeiffer
Michelle Pfeiffer was just like any other malleable, aspiring, young actress when she first came to Los Angeles but instead of keeping her head down in a steady job and looking for auditions, she soon joined a cult called breatharianism. In what has to be the most L.A. cult ever, members believed you didn't need food or water to survive, and that sunlight alone can sustain you.
Astonishingly, Pfeiffer believed she wasn't part of a cult until her then-husband, Peter Horton, directed a movie about cults, upon which Pfeiffer soon realized what she had signed up for.
8. Dennis Wilson
Dennis Wilson is another hippie and musical genius who found solace in a cult. Part of the legendary California group, the Beach Boys, Wilson was also friends with Charles Manson before he formed his own cult which was responsible for a mass number of murders in the Los Angeles area.
Their friendship was closer than most would imagine. Not only did they write songs together and hang out at each other's homes, Wilson also introduced Manson to the famous music producer Terry Melcher.
However, once Melcher discovered that Manson didn't have a natural flair for singing and writing like Wilson did, he refused to work with him again. In anger, Manson instructed his followers to kill everyone at Melcher's house. But instead of Melcher being there, he was away and had rented it out to the famous film director Roman Polanski and his wife Sharon Tate, who was eight months pregnant when she was killed by Manson's crazed followers.
9. Neil Young
While Melcher made no secret of his distaste for Manson's music, Manson was still well-connected, so much so that he could rely upon singer/songwriter Neil Young for an endorsement of his music. This allowed Manson a second roll at the dice, this time with another famous producer. However, Manson's career in music ended when news broke of his connection to the horrific murders.
But who knows? If Manson hadn't acted with such murderous rage, perhaps Young's producer friend may have thought differently and promoted Manson as the artist he always wanted to be.
10. Val Kilmer
Val Kilmer is a member of the Christian Science community, a cultish offshoot of Christianity that believes physical sickness is nothing more than a spiritual malady that can be overcome by the power of prayer. Ironically, the founder died from pneumonia.
Kilmer, himself, almost lost his own life in 2015 after not wanting to seek treatment for a brain tumor before finally being convinced that his cult's beliefs were unconventional. Even today, his family still air their concerns about his involvement in the Christian Science Community, though Kilmer is still thought to be a member.