The twentieth century has seen a marked rise in the number of religious cuts and sects throughout the world. Until recently, such groups were viewed as harmless, misguided zealots. However, doubts are being raised about the nature of some cults with the massive media coverage of the mass suicides at Jonestown and David Koresh’s Branch Davidian Cult in Waco. Here are the prophecies and practices of these controversial sects. From the early rituals of Ancient Egypt, Rome and Greece to the headline grabbing activists of the Ninteies. There are leader profiles and the influences that shaped their individual philosophies.