6 Of The Most Chilling Mass Suicides In Recent History
If we take a look at history it’s evident that mass suicides have been committed for a number of reasons ranging from religious to cult ideology or simply, to avoid capture by the enemy.
Here are 6 of the most unnerving instances that left behind a field of dead bodies and a number of questions, unanswered.
1. Denpasar, Bali
In 1906, during a military intervention, the Dutch soldiers advanced to the royal palace to see smoke rising and heard the beating of drums. What greeted them was a procession of the subjects led by the Raja.
Then upon a silent signal, they halted and a priest proceeded to plunge his dagger into the Raja. The rest of the people followed suit and starting killing themselves and each other. Apparently, over 1,000 people lay dead when it was over.
2. Saipan, Japan
In June of 1944, the Americans fought a month-long battle against the determined Japanese before they could seize control of Saipan. Some stories say that the Emperor gave an order for all Japanese to kill themselves rather than surrender. So although the Americans offered food and a safe passage, thousands of Japanese committed suicide by flinging themselves off a cliff.
3. Demmin, Germany
In May 1945, an estimated 1,000 people in the German town of Demmin took their lives to avoid rape, execution and capture by the Soviet Red Army marching on Berlin as Hitler’s Third Reich collapsed. In a span scarcely longer than 72 hours, families killed their children and then themselves. While some people hung or drowned themselves in the Peene River, others chose to shoot themselves, ingest poison, or slit their wrists or throats.
4. Peoples Temple Agricultural Project, Jonestown, Guyana
The Peoples Temple was a racially integrated church that operated to help the needy, but in truth was a cult where people were being held against their will. After a visit from Congressman Leo Ryan that ended with him being killed, leader Jim Jones caused massive panic by telling the members living in the Jonestown compound that they were going to be captured and tortured. He then instructed them to commit the “revolutionary act of suicide.”
On November 18th, 1978, 912 members drank poisoned punch (276 of them were children). Jones died from a gunshot wound to the head.
5. Rancho Santa Fe, California USA
The Heaven’s Gate Cult believed that an alien spaceship tailing behind the Hale-Bopp Comet was on its way to earth and by killing themselves, they would reserve a spot on the spacecraft and ascend to a higher plane of existence. On March 26, 1997, 39 people were found dead in a California mansion. They were all dressed in matching outfits, had $5.75 in their pockets and drank a lethal mixture of Phenobarbital and vodka and laid down to die.
6. Uganda, East Africa
The religious movement MRTC (Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God) was formed in the 1980’s by three men who claimed they had visions from the Virgin Mary and set out to preach the word. Believing that the 17th of March, 2000, was the new date of the end of the world, over 500 members arrived at their church to pray, sing and feast. The building exploded soon after, and everyone inside perished. In the days following more bodies were found in other properties owned by group members.