im also sorry for uploading this twice-
sorry for not doing much
B U T- i have ideas for abnormality ocs, these are mostly related to nursery rhymes and stories i remember,
these might not be original ideas so,, bear with me
(tiny tw for: murder, death, comas and mass disappearances,)
just a reminder i dont know what these guys risk classes would be, so bear with me on this one
so lets start off with the story one, more specifically, the pied piper
so i read an article of its disturbing truth and its said that the piper is the personification of death, you know what that means?
i make the piper a gentleman with a wife and 2 sons who are twins (isabel and gregory, see? their important) named mori (”i apologize to my sons that i couldn’t control myself, i hope you two are doing well,”)
mori’s life before his death basically played out like the pied piper, but it took a much different turn
he decided to put the rats who were infesting the town into an abandoned clock tower, before they all starved and died, some of the rats, with all the strength they had left, formed 2 rat kings that were both merged together, (fun fact: this is another abnormality i thought of thats well- a clock filled with undead and decomposing mice, you probably know where im going with this)
what happened to the children? (except for his two sons) he murdered them and he went insane and murdered himself aswell, the police found the children and also his body many months later, and he moves on as a restless spirit, if any children have been bad a snake-like spirit with an angler fish’s face will rise up from their bodies, these guys dont do much harm, (theres a 30% chance that a plague (i thought inner demon was kinda cliche so uh) will rise from an employee’s body after they were killed) (tiny little thing i wanna add but i may not, if there are 5 plagues then they’ll merge with mori, making him even more dangerous) (also off topic to the story but mori himself wasn’t diagnosed with anything before he died, he didn’t have any mental trauma, in fact, he was generally a nice person to talk to, but rumour has it the flute might’ve caused this murders to happen)
he was basically locked in the cabin for well- months, until someone (isabel who was training to be a flute player) played the song his father usually plays on his flute every new year
that was.. a bit dark, holy shit-
heres the next one for this post
you know the nursery rhyme hey diddle diddle?
well i thought of 4 different abnormalities for this one, that usually switch randomly from one abnormality to another every day, reset, or if you had them first in one of the departments, every memory repository
the least harmful (dammit, accidentally put harmless instead of harmful) one is the laughing dog (”with every cry the spirit made, the kingdom’s castle broke more and more, until the residents of the kingdom disappeared, even himself.”)
basically its a regular pet dog but its in a jester outfit like its halloween or something, the dog was said to be a reincarnation of a medieval jester
basically, kinda like crumbling armour except with attachment, if you do attatchment, you’ll get a gift that gives you more work success
but, dont get your hopes up! if you do attachment too much the person with the gift will laugh until they cant breathe and eventually die (hi yes i didn’t notice that library of ruina has a jester related abnormality, im not kidding. i really didn’t know that it already existed)
the next one is moon jumper (”who knew the moon orbiting the earth would also have something orbiting it? it would seem pretty crazy to believe!”)
this guy is an astronaut with cow horns that hasn’t succumbed to space even though the glass thats protecting their face from space, has cracked a little, they were found circling the moon for some reason and even trying to jump over it
when they breach, they do it passively, usually, everywhere they go theres an effect that causes the room to have the gravity of the moon, meaning abnormalities (even himself) including employees go very slow (heres a thing i added, sometimes an employee may float upwards, they will soon fall down. the fall causes red damage, because you know- they fell-)
moon jumper can be very helpful when suppressing abnormalities due to this power, and after a few minutes he will slowly walk back to his containment
the next one is the cat’s fiddle (”people have thought the instrument was a curse made for the person wielding it,”) a lady with cat eyes, if you zoom in you can hear the sound of someone playing the fiddle. theres a new special work for this abnormality called “trade” for if the person wants to trade their weapon for the fiddle for a while, if you forget to bring it back by the end of the day, dont worry as the weapon that was traded for the fiddle will return back to the employee the next day, if the person wielding the fiddle ever goes insane, they’re eyes will become cat-like (mostly like the woman’s) and they’ll begin slicing the throats of people.
and the last one from the hey diddle diddle gang is the dish that ran with the spoon, (”wake up! please! its not over yet..”) it is a widower who sees illusions of his wife and the wedding disaster, he usually thinks his wife is still breathing. what this wedding disaster means is unknown.
when he breaches his illusion (aka his wife) will appear from another department, on top of a random department’s room will be a wedding ring, they are harmless at first, but if they finally see each other, and the wedding starts, the wedding will abruptly end with the wife’s neck bleeding, her falling onto the floor and fading out of existence, and the widower quickly snapped back to real life, with the realization that his wife is long gone, madness takes over him and he starts to attack the guests that partook in the wedding
next one! its another nursery rhyme related abnormality,
old man coma! (”whatever they said, whatever they tried to do, they couldn’t save him from eternal rest, I already took his last moments away.”)
basically its an old man, who appears to be sleeping in a bed.
his qliphoth counter is at 2, when its at 1, (either bad result, prudence level 3 and lower or repression work, it’ll also go down if the person was damaged by white damage in any way the day they’re working on old man coma) the containment will start to glitch a bit, likes its slipping back into reality, when its at 0, a flat-line can be heard, the containment will change again and the old man will now be lying in a hospital bed thats right next to a heart monitor,
the actual abnormality is his condition, which takes the form of a shadow with bleeding eyes, although its sort of calm, its violent to those who had previous head injuries, (example: hitting your head on things) since head injuries remind it of the old man
when it escapes from the containment it will search for employees with prudence 3 or lower, after it finds one it will soon go into the employee’s brain and make them pass out by just bumping either an employee or an abnormality, they will stay passed out till the end of the day, they will only go for one person, then they’ll be back in containment, but that doesn’t mean the employee will still live! at the next day the employee will be missing, and a notification will pop up that the employee is dead.
i keep getting alot of ideas so heres the final one: missing persons busride! (its based off of glitch in the matrix stuff,) (”so.. this is the thing that caused the mass disappearances?”)
this is a tool abnormality i thought of. like the name says its a bus with grayscale colors, when an employee gets onto the bus (aka uses it) it’ll drive to a portal and come back. there is a chance that the employee will get a work speed boost, but theres also a chance that the person will go missing, you’ll know this if the person comes back as a sorta visible glitchy shadow, there will be no notification specifying the person’s death, and if they are gone, they are gone forever, even if you try to reset or memory repository, they will still be gone. you will have to create the employee again if you want them back.
so thats all for now! i hope that this is alright,
5 notes · View notes
Dynamics of power and control in the hands of sociopathic, narcissistic, madmen: discussion of Voldemort and Jim Jones.
I kind of wish we’d gotten to see more of Tom Riddle/Voldemort in the books. I feel like it’s often forgotten or glossed over that he was really a cult leader, that he was incredibly charasmatic, even as a child and teenager- so much so that he could manipulate wizards who were older and much more powerful than himself.
I feel like it’s probably assumed that alot of his fathers were willing to join him at the drop of a hat because they came from a long line of Slytherins, of ‘dark’ wizards, of families of wealth in some cases, from families with long and proud pureblood lineages, so naturally they’d want blood traitors, Muggles, and people of “impure” blood eliminated. I mean, some of them probably, yes.
But in families that cling to very long standing traditions there can often be the sense that the traditoin is kept alive for the sake of tradition, not because the newest generation, or even the one before that, really believed it. Like people who say they’re Catholic because their family has always been, so they feel like they’re born into the tradition, that that makes them Catholic, but they don’t go to mass except on Christmas, don’t really hold too strongly to a lot of Catholic traditions, and maybe don’t even really believe too strongly in God or the concept of religion at all. But it’s *tradition* that our family is Catholic. So on and so forth.
The dogmas of tradition often become parotted, nothing of personal consequence, but something that must continue in order to please parents, and relatives, and not to have your name burned off of the family tapestry. Rather one truly believes such things or not is inconsequential as long as one does a good job pretending to believe them.
On the other hand, how many people are subject to continuing on family traditions out fear, or guilt? Families are great at that shit. Don’t bring dishonor to us, don’t make us look bad in front of our friends and colleagues, don’t make us look like we failed to raise you right- what will people say? Your actions will affect us in social and political circles. They reflect upon the entire family and it is your responsibility not to tarnish our name.
How about using even greater fear tactics to control and direct what your children believe? If you don’t beleive this, and follow these rules, you will burn in the fires of hell. You musn’t forget about the Burning Times. The Muggles used to set fire to us and gather round with mad, viscious, glee as the smoke filled our lungs and choked out our terrified screams, as the flesh roast off our bones in their killing fires. The Muggle sympathizers forget that, but we don’t forget. Given the chance they’d burn us again. They fear us. Some very old families might even have some memories kept safe that they pour into the pensieve and pass from generation to generation so it’s never forgotten. They burned so-and-so family member while her child watched the flame lick her bones. They didn’t suspect that he was magical too, and so we pass this memory down, so none of us ever forget.
Many of the pureblood families are Slytherin. Maybe a disproportionate amount? So, who knows what’s been passed on in their families for the sake of warning, for parents and grandparents wanting to keep their children wary and safe, or because of control, to reinforce certain expectations, who knows. These children get sorted into Slytherin.
They already know from their families and because really it’s quite common knowledge that a lot of non-Slytherins view Slytherins all as being awful and dark. Right of the gate here are these eleven year old children who haven’t even learned to ride a broom yet and they’re already labeled as dark, as bad, as the ones to watch out for and to fear. All the houses are supposed to have good qualities and yet Slytherin children don’t really get treated as such. The headmaster favors his Gryffindors, Slytherins are of course always at fault, rarely protected because the Gryffindors can do no wrong, even if they nearly kill another student.
Children from long lines of Slytherins are raised not to trust blindly. It’s a matter of self preservation and protection. They go off to school where their parents warn them that they’re likely to be on their own. They’re like, mom and dad are being extra. The school is full of adults. Surely the adults will look out for us all. But mom and dad are right. The snakes are on their own. I really can’t imagine how that would feel to already be decided by adults around you to be bad, inherently worth less than other students, with very little chance of ever growing up to be anything other than awful. “There's not a single witch or wizard that went bad that wasn’t in Slytherin” - Hagrid.
Maybe you could at least depend on your head of house? Not if it was Slughorn. Slughorn is such a gross and predatory character I can’t even. Who knows, maybe he stood up for the Slytherins sometimes, but I really don’t get that impression. He seems so oily and so self-absorbed that he’d only care about protecting the Slytherins who had connections that he wanted to stick his grubby fingers into. And even then he just gives me this vibe of seeming like a guy who would ultimately be passive about it. Like, he’d say something to the Headmaster but back down fairly easy and be like ‘well, I tried’ while not having exerted himself at trying *too hard* at all. Just doing the bare minimum to look like he cared, because if he did nothing at all, then he might risk losing a certain connection, a certain student that he wanted to “collect”.
He’s so nasty I stg.
I don’t know but if I were this generation of Slytherin children I would be very scared to exist in Hogwarts. It seems like it would be a rather lonely and sad experience that could very well make some feel bitter, angry, and resentful. It could very well push children who might not have believed too hard in their families fanatic loyalties to be like ‘Oh, shit, mom and dad have been right all this time. There is danger everywhere, no one else cares, we are on our and we must cling to what our families tell us. They’ve always had our backs and just wanted to protect us. No one else does.’
So anyway, this is a really dangerous place for people to be, especially impressionable young people. Taking out the Slytherins who come from families that have wealth, there are plenty of Slytherins and purebloods who don’t come from wealth, who wouldn’t be able to buy and sell people like the Lucius Malfoys of the world. They are even further marginalized. And those who aren’t from pureblood families? Even bigger oof.
I’m bringing up all of these things not to make any excuses for supporting terrible ideals, but I’m bringing it up because I think it sets up a really horrible dynamic, an ‘us versus them’ mentality, which makes it easy for Tom Riddle to slide ride in and start to gather followers with his charm and his charisma. Slytherin house is ripe for the picking. He knows exactly how to play on their fears, he knows the right words to say and how smoothly to say them. He knows how to promise and to convince people that he’s offering them something he’s not. Even though they’ll be his servants, branded, and under his palm. He knows how to convince, somehow, to twist the reality of life long servanthood into freedom from current dangerous ideals sweeping the wizarding world, into safety, into the promise of power.
He knows how to embolden his servants, how to make them feel important, wanted, even needed. He knows exactly how to play them while they have no idea that he’ll come to torture them, even to kill his own. He will convince them that the torture is deserved, that it’s for their own good. He will make them hunger for his approval, bind them with the ties of fanatical loyalty which his followers will give willingly, without thought that it might prove a bad idea. He will set them apart from others, make them feel that they’re the only ones in the world who are doing what’s right, make them feel that they only way they’ll ever come out on top, the only way they’ll ever survive, is to lay total trust onto him, to give him their lives, to let him brand them with madness disguised as devotion.
I think it’s forgotten that he is extremely manipulative, and powerful. I think it’s forgotten or at least glossed over that he was a cult leader.
And the thing is Tom Riddle, Voldemort, doesn’t give a shit about how his followers fair. He doesn’t care. I happen to wonder how much he truly cares about blood purity at all. After all he’s not pureblood himself. But he found this platform on which he could stand. He found this history and these traditions and these situations that would let him slide in and use people for his own gain. What he wants is power, to be immortal, to be a god among wizards. His motivations have nothing to do with protecting certain people, or promoting certain ideals, those are just means to an end, and the end is centered in raging narcissism and pursuit of power.
I majored in Criminology and I’ve had an interest in true crime for a very, very long time. I’ve studied cults and cult leaders. Their blueprints for gaining power and control are often quite similar to each other. When putting many imfamous cult leaders side by side for comparison it’s often easy to see patterns relating to how they gained and controlled their followers, patterns in manipulation, and abuse.
The example of this that had always interested me the most was Jim Jones. It is a terribly, terribly sad tragedy which came out of Jonestown decades ago. It’s often referred to as a mass suicide but as a side note I’d like to say that that is actually a wrongly perpetuated myth. There’s evidence that the majority of people were forced, even at gun point, to drink the poisoned Flavor Aid. It was a mass *murder*.
Anyway, you can certainly find paralells between actual cult leaders and Tom Riddle. Since Jones’ psychology, and the sociology of the Peoples Temple, fascinate me I’m going to be mainly using those things for comparison. I’m sure you could substitue Charlers Manson, or whoever else you wanted to as far as disgusting cult leaders go, but I’ll be talking about Jim Jones.
I’ve watched many documentaires about Jim Jones and Jonestown, I’ve read books, but if you’re interested in learning more about this tragedy and the things that lead to it, then I would suggest the book “Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People” by John Jacobs and Tim Reiterman. It includes going all the way back to Jones’ childhood which is something I’ve rarely seen explored in other documentaries and books, and it’s certainly an important peice, since Jim exhibited some very frightening signs even as a child.
He was born into a very poor family. His parents didn’t seem to show much love for one another, or for him. His mother worked and she entertained fantasies that one day her son would grow up to be a powerful man.
Jones was very alone as a child. He didn’t seem to make many friends. Maybe tlhis is because his idea of fun was holding funerals and burial rituals for dead pets and animals, and once he started attending church with a neighbor woman, another ‘fun’ thing for kid Jim Jones was to keep neighborhood children in a barn on his family’s property where he would preach to them for hourse and become angry if any of them tried to leave.
He was known for stealing small items like candy in town, for appearing to be overly pious while also getting adults to give him coins for shocking them with strings of profanity which they, apparently, found amusing coming from such a small child. At a young age he is already exhibiting the ability to be whatever he needs to be in order to get what he wants. He wants the familial family of belonging to a church? He will attend every Sunday, often more than one service, at multiple churches. He will carry his Bible all around town, evangalize to his fellow children, stand on the street corner in town and preach. But if he wants a quarter he’ll gladly toss of his angelic persona, stroll into the nearest auto shop or bar, and entertain a bunch of grown idiot men by cursing like the nastiest, briniest, sailor.
He doesn’t know actually how give or recieve love, or affection, so rather than make friendships he uses his weird charisma to get kids to come over to listen to him speak and then he locks them in a barn so they cannot abandon him. This is the closest thing to love and affection that he can comprehend.
As Jones grows he takes notice social injustice and inequality around him. Jones grew up in a rural town in Indiana, dirt poor, mostly white. Besides spending his free time doing animal funerals, and holding other children hostage, he would also read voraciously. As stated Jones was a very intelligent child which made him all the more frightening. He would read books about Hitler, Stalin, Marx, Mao Tse Tung, any person you can think of who was every a very powerful world leader. In fact he *admired* Hitler. As a child. He took all these bits and peices from varoius world leaders, from his explorations in politics, and social systems, and religions, and drank them up. He appreciated men who were charismatic, who could manipulate the masses, and he wanted to be one of those men when he grew up so he could surround himself with followers, with people who would devote themselves to him so he’d never be alone, so he’d have power and control; maybe even be their god.
So when he was older he’d spent a very long time reading, observing, praticing and honing his ‘skills’. During a time of great social unrest and civil in equality, while segregation was stilll in place, a young Jim Jones and his Bible took his white ass into Black communities and mingled, preached, preached the word of God like a fiery, full-of-the-spirit, woke man. He used his experiences of growing up in poverty to speak to impoverished Black folks. See he already had his framework on which to build his power and that framework was religion. Not even a religion that he believed in himself- he confessed at one point to his wife that he was actually an athiest (which doesn’t really make sense either because eventually he claimed himself to be a diety, so he couldn’t be an athiest) but the point is that he didn’t actually believe in Christianity. He just recognized it as a means to and end.
By dipping into a pool of religious people he already has a foundation of people who have faith, who believe in things that to many would seem fantastical, people who seem to be in need of leaders, and someone to love and worship; a God who will protect them and bring them up out of hardship and struggle, a god who will care, and love.
So Jim uses the face of the Christian God and Jesus until he can insulate his followers enough to rip off those masks and replaces those faces with his own.
The charismatic young Jones eventually has a church in a Black community in Indianapolis. The majority of his followers are Black. He is completely preying upon people who are disadvantaged, tired, disparing, poor, and ready for equality and social change.
Indiana was well known for Klan activity. Segreation was still happening. It was a very dangerous time and place to be Black. Jim Jones, however, put on the mask of the friendly white man who understood, who cared about inequality and injustice, who wanted to help, to protect, to build safe spaces and to tear down barriers and ideals that kept his followers under the feet of white men... and all the time he was actually nothing more than another crushing foot.
He did things that appeared to be wonderful on the outside. Things that WERE wonderful, actually, which makes everything all the more gross, and twisted, and fucked up. He had very little funding yet he opened soup kitchens, food pantries, nursing homes, for the Black community in which he built his base of supporters. He worked his way into local politics and was able to talk the way con men talk, to work his voice and his words the way oily creatures do, to get what he wanted- which seemed to be better lives and equality for his followers.
He was so good at what he did that laws were changed and he was regarded as a very respectable man, or a very hated man, depending upon the viewpoint. He began to work preaching about socialism into his Sunday sermons. He claimed to be able to heal people which seemed to be appealing to a group of people who were exhausted and in need of healing. In classic scam-preacher fashion he faked healings, but he faked them well enough, it seems.
His following steadily grew and slowly, over years, he would subtly shift his messages. Eventually Jones decided the Temple needed to leave Indiana. He was able to convince his followers that they were in danger from atomic war and that they needed to relocate to a place where they would be safe when inevitably bombs were dropped.
So Jones and hundereds of his followers crowded onto buses and moved to an isolated, rural, area in California. He had his people where he wanted them but living in a city he could only isolate them so much. So, of course he had to move them, because isolating them was key. In their new home Jones convinced his followers to give over their pensions, their disability checks, their life savings, their prized family heirlooms, their homes- anything of monetery worth that his followers had were to be give over to Jones in order to use to sustain the group as a whole. These are classic manipulation tactics of the absuer. Isolate. Control. Manipulate.
His teachings become more extremist because radicalizing his people serves to further insulate them. People who are radicalized, who share a set of believes that is uncommon to the population at large, but common and prized among a small group like this, that bonds them together and isolates them even more.
Jones continues to wear the clothes of a preacher, to behave like a charismatic religious leader, to preach, to heal, to build churches, and yet his dogma strays further and further from the original platform of Christianity which he used as his jumping off point. He begins to surround himself with an inner circle of special followers. They know how much of a sham he is, they help him perpetuate his fake healing sessions, they know that he’s fucking left and right, men and women, all well preaching to his followers that they should abstain. Of course as it is with most narcissists and sociopaths, they don’t apply the same rules to themselves as they do to others.
His followers call him Father. It binds them even closer. Father is an affectionate name, it denotes family, protection, love; the kind of leader who will look after you as though you are his beloved children; the kind of leader who wants to protect you and provide for you, the kind of leader who surely hates to punish you, but he does punish.
Jones begins to inact cruelty and torture onto his followers. He makes up things for them to be in trouble over, he humilates them in front of the others, encourages the other followers to join in. He punishes them physically. He degrades them. He uses them as an example to the others. He convinces them that it’s for their own good. He’s really just using physical abuse as another form of control, and as a fear tactic to keep those who are already under his thumb in fear of even whipsering dissent behind his back.
Some people already understand that it’s too late to leave. A few do leave and are painted as traitors and people who were unworthy, unappreciative, of the love that Father had showed them. Too many others are still brainwashed and don’t see him for who he really is, and don’t have any inkling of the madness to which he can lead them. He has promised them protection, security, and equality. Father has promised them.
During one of his sermons Jones proclaims that Bible has no power. That he has the power. To show that it’s true he throws the Bible from behind his pulpit, from the elevation of the stage, onto the floor with a silencing thud. See? There is no power in it. It’s just a book.
And so he branches further away from his original tool of Christianity. He sets himself up as the one who has all the power. He’s no longer constrained to preach about God at all, though he continues to preach his own agenda and control tactics in that familiar style of thundering, wild, holy-ghost-filled, Sunday morning preacher. He still calls himself Father, and Reverand, and still calls The Peoples Temple a church. The manipulation is fucking spectacular, and fucking terrifying.
Jones was so well known that prominent people supported the Temple. He was into politics. He used his people and his position to decide elections. His control and influence was not just isolated.
His followers were subject to his every whim. He preached at them constantly. He punished them brutally. He fucked them. He owned them. He isolated them. He promised them a dream of socialism where they’d all be safe, equal, happy. He kept them working to sustain his connections and his power, to sustain the community, on very little sleep and on even less allowance, while remained a revered, respected, and beloved figurehead. If there were outsiders who were concerned, they weren’t concerned. They were trying to cause trouble because they were jealous of what the Temple had. Family wasn’t concerned or worried. Family was trying to pry people away from the good things they had, away from Father, away from this amazing shared community.
Jones faked attacks on himself several times in order to keep his people rallied around him and supportive. He created an ‘us versus them’ mentality, which is highly dangerous, but highly necessary in the playbook of a cult leader.
Eventually, however, Jones was growing paranoid. He was spreading himself too thin constantly preaching, constantly controlling, constantly testing, hanving his hands in politics, and fucking- he was a busy man. He began drug use at some point which contributed to his paranoia. It’s hard to say whether the paranoia was already there and the drug use intensified it, or whether the drug use triggered it and then this weird life control and manipulation that he was leading intensified, or how that all really played out. But basically he was fucked up on drugs and paranoid as hell. He was still the same kid who was afraid his people would leave him.
Jones had to lock the barn doors.
So he isolated his people even further. He moved them to Guyuna. Of course he named their town “Jonestown” because what narcissist wouldn’t name a town after themself given the chance to do so? But see most of his followers still didn’t realize that this was an isolation tactic, a power move, a desperate grab for control. He’d been promising them a sort of Eden for a very long time, a place where they could exist without outside interference, and live their best lives working and thriving together without any care for monetary gain, or race, or social standing. It would have been quite the lovely concept had it not been held in the hands of an evil, half-mad, power hungery abuser.
In Jonestown things went south rather quickly. The jungle was a harsh environment. The land wasn’t actually that great for growing crops. Jones worked his people on very little food, and very little sleep, to exhaustion. They were building their own houses, clearing the land, farming (albiet they were farming in a shitty way and so had very little food they were actually providing for themselves), serving him, caring for their eldery and sick, teaching their children, sustaining themselves. When they weren’t being worked into exhaustion they were being preached at over loud speakers for hours, and hours, and hours on end, into the night, until Jones himself was babbling nonsense and losing his voice and running out of drugs in his system to keep him jacked up and going.
The punishments became more severe, his inner cirlce became more brutal. He became wildly distrustful, and fearful, that outside forces were attempting to destroy them, and that anyone in their midsts could be a traitor to the loving benevolent Father that he was. His people were brainwashed, exhausted, half-starved, hopelessly isolated from family and any help from the U.S. by miles, and miles, isolated from any chance of escape by wild jungle, and no money, or access to help.
He began to test his followers. He would call ‘White Nights” which were meant to prepare his followers for the eventuality that outsiders would come to them to invade and to break down what they had together. He’d wake them in the middle of the nights with his madmans voice blaring over loudspeakers, invigorating them out of a dead sleep with white hot pangs of fear that this time it wasn’t a drill, it was for real. And if it wasn’t for real they’d still be brutally punished for not being quick enough to obey. He began to pass drinks around to his inner cirlce, to followers, and test their loyalties. The first time he did this test after having drank the drink Jones cooly announced that the drinks had been laced with poison which sent people into a panic. After allowing the panic he then said, just kidding, gotcha. Then he proceded to test his followers in this way routinely. They’d never know if he truly poisoned the drinks that time, or if it was just another loyalty test. They either drank and died loyal servants to Jones, or they refused and were severely punished, maybe even killed. In that situation I suppose there isn’t much of a choice is there? Jim began to preach about revoluntionary suicide. He preached that it was better for all of them to lay down their lives in revoluntionary suicide than to see what they had destroyed by people who just didn’t want them to have such a beautiful way of life.
Eventually there were so many growing concerns about what was going on with Jonestown that Congressman Leo Ryan took a few people with him and flew to Guyana to check out Jonestown for himself.
Jones prepared his followers for the meeting by continuing to indoctrinate them that outsiders just wanted to destroy them and they mustn’t let them. That if worst came to worst they must be willing to kill for, or die for, their ideals and their way of life which Jones had lead them to and provided for them. They did drills on how to act, what to say, while Ryan and the outsiders were there. Jones of course had to have as much control as possible. It was enough to play it off as ‘we don’t want them to suspect we’re having a bit of a rough time because they want to find any weakness to destory us’ kind of a deal.
It seemed that Ryan’s visit was going to be pretty successful, as far as lies and deciet go on the behalf of Jones. As far as protecting what Jones had and what he desperately didn’t want to lose- which had nothing to do with socialism or equality, and everything to do with adulation, control, and power.
Except that there were people who secretly managed to tell Ryan that they wanted out, and things were not as they seemed.
Someone snitched to Jones that some people were wanting to leave. That some people were implying things actually weren’t great at all.
So when Ryan and his party went back to the little airstrip to leave they were ambushed by memberes of Jones circles, and most of them were murdered, gunned down.
Jones had been long preparing his followers for this moment. It was all over now. There was no way they could come back from killing a Congressman- upon Jones’ own orders- so it was finally time for the real White Night. The real poison. The revoluntionary suicide that would show the world their lives could not be taken from them by force. They would lay their lives down willingly instead and not give the cruel, nasty, world what it wanted which was to see the beauty of Jonestown and their dream destroyed and in ruin.
Again, that’s just propaganda. What it really was was the age old disgustingness of ‘if I can’t have you then no one can’.
A lot of people probably drank the poisoned drink still not sure if it was real, or anothe rof Jones’ test. Many were forced at gun point to drink it. People were forced to bring their infants and children to be injected with it. People who tried to run off into the jungle as a last desperate attempt for escape were gunned down. And yes, there were likely those who even then, in the midst of such agony, in the midsts of one the most terrible things that humanity has witnessed, drank because they were loyal even still, or because they were truly, thoroughly, brainwashed into thinking it was indeed the best or only thing to do.
A scant few people did manage escape. But around Jones who was seated on his throne (literally, he had this throne that he sat upon) hiding behind dark sunglasses, surrounded by hundered of dead babies, children, and adults... but he didn’t care that so many lives were gone, and at his hand. He didn’t care that they would have suffered painful deaths upon drinking the Flavoraid laced with cyanide. He didn’t give one shit that he’d deprived young lives of their futures, families of their children, and grandchildren. He didn’t care one flying fuck that he had so thoroughly used and manipulated an incredible amount of people and convinced or forced them to their deaths. The crying, the begging, the screaming, the agony, none of it had mattered to him.
With his worshippers, supporters, pawns, and playthings all gone, Jones had nothing left. He lived a horrible, disgusting, life where the closest thing he could get to love was brainswashed followers. A few cared about him until the end, but most had stopped long before then, contiuing to follow out of fear, or out of a dedication to ideals rather than to the man himself, and this was the closest this hollow, evil, man could ever get to receiving love. As far as giving love? I would suspect he never really knew that. I don’t see how a man like him would be capable of it.
The thing he’d spent his life obsessively building in order to bolster his narcissitic existance was gone. All those poor people and their children. So many. And then Jim Jones, the ultimate coward, didn’t even drink the poison himself. Of course not. He knew it was brutal death. It’s up for debate if he committed suicide, or had one last living member of his trusted circle do it, but Jones was shot in the head. An easy, quick, death for a man who deserved the worst possible death a human being can have.
Maybe it’s a lot to compare a fictional person to a real life tyrant like Jones. But fiction comes from reality. It is informed by reality. I feel great pain for those who died at the manipulative hands of Jones, and hope they’re resting in peace, and I feel very sorry and sad for their families. It is an extremely sad, terrible, and haunting situation.
But I do feel like Tom Riddle/Voldemort can only be compared to real life cult leaders because he was a cult leader as well- a fictional one, yes- but who else would have inspired such an evil character than people who were truly evil in reality?
The promise of equality and a socialistic, self-sustaining, community is of course not the same premise as a promise of power and safety based on the deaths or control of another group (i.e. Muggles, Muggleborn, blood traitors, etc.) But there are still many parelells when broken down.
- Incredibly intelligent as a child/young person
- Has special talents, an ability to lead, charisma
- Is missing something very basic to the rest of humanity and has a burning desire to feel that gaping in hole with power and adulation and by any means necessary
- The promise of safety and security
- The promise of equality and power
- Framing their agenda as something good and helpful to the people they are targetting when in reality the true agenda lies beneath that of the ‘greater good’ of the group and is instead purely selfish to the leaders own wants and desires
- A terrifying charisma
- Creating and/or nurturing an environment of fanaticism, or of a unified belief system that borders on the extreme
- Choosing a framework upon which to base the cult leaders own doctrine which is already well estabilished and has a history of following tradition, a history of perhaps intense following, a history of perhaps even blind follwoing, one could argue- Jones used Christianity as his springboard, Riddle used Pureblood ideaology.
- Constant remidner of outside threats
- Fear tactics
- Creating loyalty
- Creating an inner circle which helps distract from other more dangerous things that are happening in the group i.e. focusing certain group members on their own jostling for power- allowing them the false belief that they are favored and hold some kind of special place in the leaders ranks. This actually gives the leader more power over this select few and the leader can use them effectively against the others.
- Choosing followers who already feel afraid, disadvantaged, or persecuted
- Marking them as his for life- whether with a dark mark, or more figuratively (i.e. if worst comes to worse you lay down your life for the cause because you are mine above all else)
- Testing them cruelly
- Punishment and torture often in front of the rest of the group
- Forcing or convincing other members of the group to punish/torture those who stray even if the straying is really petty, or even falsified. Got to keep making an example of what happens to people who so much as even *think* about betrayal or stepping out of line.
- The insatable hunger for power and to surround oneself with followers who are devoted while having no true understanding of what devotion out of love, rather than fear or control, actually is.
- Pretending to give a shit about the group, group goals, group needs and desires, ideals, while actually only using those things as a mask. The leader doesn’t truly give a shit. The leader just wants his own selfish things.
- The leader eventually spreading himself to thin and ripping apart at the seems. This often happens because how much power is enough for these people? The answer is that it’s never enough. They always want more. Instead of being called Father, they now want to be called God. One packed church isn’t enough, we need several more. A compound isn’t enough. We need an entire town named after me. It isn’t enough that I have power over these people I just need more. Always. Constantly. And the paranoia... Jones dealt with the paranoia of his downfall and destruction by preparing his people to die if he couldn’t keep them. Riddle/Voldemort dealt with his paranoia of his downfall and destruction by creating horcruxes so he could live on. Both leaders are spread thinner, and thinner, towards the edge of a terrible breaking point where they will most likely take all of their followers down with them.
Of course Voldemort is killed before reaching any type of conclusion such as that.
I’m sure I’ve missed some things in comparing the two but basically I’ve spent all my time saying this and discussing this in order to say... I feel like Riddle/Voldemort is SUPER glossed over in the books and in fandom, and that there probably isn’t often a depth of thought put in (at least that I’ve seen) to how his followers were sucked in, gathered, manipulated, etc. This doesn’t excuse the fact that many, if not most of them, came from families with nasty ideals, or held beliefs that were problematic already- a lot of them surely did. But as young children, and teenagers, and even young adults, our brains are capable of changing, our hearts are capable of growing, we are capable of learning ways to exist that are outside of whatever bubble we’ve been raised in.
A lot of the people who became Death Eaters, we could speculate, may not have ever gone on to kill or hurt others had they not become devoted to Voldemort. Maybe they would have. But I feel like it’s just really worth noting that people who are raised in these types of bubbles in real life are at great risk as teens and young adults. They are at pivitol points in their lives and if they learn alternatives and broader ways of thinking they can realize that the things that have been drilled into them by family are wrong, and they can choose other pathways. However, they can also be plucked up by Voldemort and radicalized. And this is a big difference as to where things go different ways in the Riddle/Jones comparison, because both radicalized their followers, but Jones followers weren’t radicalized to hurt others (mostly, save his inner circle), or to be weapons- and Voldemorts followers were. Jones followers weren’t used to hurt other people, or kill other people, and Voldemorts followers were. So there is a big difference there and I’m making it clear that I’m not trying to compare weaponized followers against people who, for the most part, thought they were trying to do something good for the world. Though I suppose one could say that maybe Voldemorts followers did think they were doing something good for the world, even though we know murder and violence is NOT anything good for anyone ever. There’s also a big difference in the socioeconomic pot from which either of these leaders drew forth their followers/victims and I understand that and know that that is an aspect which certainly points out a disparity. And again, I have tried mostly to steer away from that stuff, as I’m trying to compare the leaders and the group dynamics, not the pools from which followers of each were drawn, because I feel like that’s not an okay comparison to make at all.
I’m just delving into this because I think Voldemorts power over people is incredibly simplified in the books (which makes sense as they’re childrens books), but even moreso in fandom, perhaps, and fandom consists of people of all ages who should have different levels of understanding and more complex ways of reading Harry Potter than say, a ten year old child. So as an adult in fandom I’m interested in the much deeper aspects along with the entertainment value of the books.
If Harry Potter teaches us anything, I think it’s that there are usually gray areas anywhere you look. Nothing is ever as cut and dry as ‘good’ and ‘evil’... except in the case of Jones in which I think no one can argue that he wasn’t pure evil.
This is not intended to be offensive or disrepectful to real life people in any way. It’s just an attempt to look closer at they dynamics of cults and their leaders and to think about those dynamics when hung upon a set of fictional characters, and fictional situations, and really that’s what fiction boils down to in the end. It’s just taking things from real life, the good, the bad, the ugly, and everything in between, and attempting to process them through the lens of fiction and fantasy, because sometimes the lens of reality is just too terrifying to take a look through.