When it comes to the true crime genre, there’s nothing like a cult story. While most viewers can’t wrap their heads around things like indoctrination and how leaders amass followers, there are always two—equally fascinating!—sides to a cult story. And frankly, we want to watch—or maybe even listen—to all of them.
If you’ve already watched every compelling documentary that TV has to offer on cults, it’s time to move onto some of the best cult-related podcasts. Check out these 10 best cult podcasts that really take things to the extreme.
10 Best Cult Podcasts
1. The Orgasm Cult
What a name, right?! The Orgasm Cult podcast follows the bizarre story of Nicole Daedone, an entrepreneur who sought to popularize the orgasm as a self-care practice synonymous with things like yoga, meditation and you know, face masks. But her company One Taste is now being investigated by the FBI for dastardly allegations like sex trafficking, prostitution and labor law violations. Ultimately, this podcast from host Nastaran Tavakoli-Far seeks to answer the question: Is the industry of wellness a cult? Or, in the wrong hands, does it have the potential to be?
2. You Must Remember Manson
Each season of host Karina Longworth’s podcast You Must Remember This is worth listening to in its own right, but it’s You Must Remember Manson—an entire 12-episode season dedicated to how Charles Manson orchestrated the Manson Murders by forming a cult called The Family—that’s something to write home about. It’s a story that contains everything from murder, sex, brainwashing and ultimately, madness.
3. The Gateway: Teal Swan
The Gateway feels closer to home than some other cult-centric podcasts (and even documentaries) and that’s because more so than others, The Gateway feels like it could happen to you. To anyone. That’s because it’s happening as we speak with the help of YouTube videos. Guru Teal Swan uses YouTube to gain followers, spread her spiritual teachings and ultimately, target vulnerable people suffering from suicidal thoughts and depression. Some followers believe in her teachings enough to upend their lives and move to her spiritual center in Costa Rica. So, what’s really going on with Teal Swan? Jennings Brown reports straight from the scene, talking to members and even Teal about her teachings and the mysterious deaths of some of her followers.
4. Heaven’s Gate
The Heaven’s Gate podcast pairs nicely with the HBO Max four-part docuseries it inspired, Heaven’s Gate: The Cult of Cults. But in audio form, this podcast all about the UFO cult known as Heaven’s Gate feels extra trippy. The cult made headlines in 1997 when 39 cult members participated in a mass suicide at the direction of their leader, believing they would ascend earth and chemically and biologically become aliens. If you want a real page-turner (but in audio form), this is it.
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5. Let’s Talk About Sects
Hilarious title aside, Let’s Talk About Sects uses each hour-long podcast episode to take a deep dive into various religious extremist sects. You’ve got the obvious ones—your Branch Davidians of Waco-fame and Children of God—and then you have the ones you’ve never even heard of—Zendik Farm, Gloriavale Christian Community and so many more. Hosted by Sarah Steel, Let’s Talk About Sects isn’t just a casual listen for hour-long commutes; it’s a commitment.
With a logo featuring the Illuminati symbol, it’s not hard to guess where this one is going. Hosts Greg Polcyn and Vanessa Richardson research the heck out of each cult an episode focuses on, then bring us down the rabbit hole with them—from what it takes to build a cult and how a cult functions to ultimately, why (and how!) some members choose to exit. If you’re deep into the psychology of it all and love a thriller-esque format, don’t sleep on this one.
7. Transmissions From Jonestown
The Jonestown Massacre of 1978 was the largest mass suicide in modern history and as such, made international headlines. When members of the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project cult were instructed by their charismatic leader Jim Jones to take their own lives, 918 people at the Guyana settlement died. But though you might know that part, there’s so much more to the story. From host Shannon Howard, Transmissions From Jonestown will transport you deeper into the shocking story than you ever knew possible.
Related: Best Cult Documentaries
8. Oh No Ross and Carrie
When it comes to going to the extreme, Oh No Ross and Carrie definitely takes the cake. After all, hosts Ross and Carrie joined—yes, joined—The Church of Scientology undercover in order to learn more about the mysterious organization. Now on the Supressives list, Ross and Carrie still host the show post-Scientology life. Seasons past and current are all worth a binge-listen.
If it’s the psychology aspect of it all that you love, then try listening to IndoctriNation, a cult-themed podcast that takes a unique approach. Instead of rehashing tragic cult history or infiltrating an extremist religious sect, IndoctriNation is hosted by a therapist, Rachel Bernstein, who deeply examines why cults happen in this cyclic, almost unstoppable pattern. If your fascination with cults is new, this one’s a great first step.
10. I Got the Hell Out
The only podcast on this list actually hosted by a person who was genuinely in a cult (although, Ross and Carrie, we give you props for your attempt at method-acting), I Got the Hell Out explores host Debby’s experience in a fundamentalist Christian cult. Co-hosted by her friend Laura, I Got the Hell Out approaches the cult experience from a firsthand perspective rather than relying on heavy research and interviews with others. Ultimately, it’s the story of how Debby got the hell out. But in one word? It’s fascinating.
Next up, check out the 30 best true crime podcasts.