About The Book
Nine people arrive one night on Chelsea Bridge. They’ve never met. But at the same time, they run, and leap to their deaths. Each of them received a letter in the post that morning, a pre-written suicide note, and a page containing only four words: Nothing important happened today.
That is how they knew they had been chosen to become a part of the People Of Choice: A mysterious suicide cult whose members have no knowledge of one another.
Thirty-two people on that train witness the event. Two of them will be next. By the morning, People Of Choice are appearing around the globe; it becomes a movement. A social media page that has lain dormant for four years suddenly has thousands of followers. The police are under pressure to find a link between the cult members, to locate a leader that does not seem to exist.
How do you stop a cult when nobody knows they are a member?
The trick to running a cult is to get other people involved. Not new members or followers. Not more subscribers or a greater mailing list. It doesn’t matter if there are six people who think someone is Jesus or there are a million admirers hoping for a seat on the spaceship that will fly them away as Earth implodes with greed and apathy.
It’s not the apostles that make the cult.
It’s everybody else.
What is needed are the other people. Because other people always fuck things up.
Take the small town of Antelope, Oregon. A smudge on a map. Fifty people looking for quiet. They need a post office, a general store, a school and a church to exist. Not to survive. They haven’t moved here for that. Everybody knows everybody and everybody wants to be alone. Because they’ve come here to see out their years in peace. Then die.
Drop in four thousand disciples adhering to the philosophies of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. Watch as they are welcomed as a peaceful people, renouncing a world of materialism in favour of a spiritual life. Embrace their desire to establish their own community.
Now get other people involved.
See how the word ‘community’ transforms into the word ‘commune’. Now wait as tensions rise and hostility grows. Wait a little longer. Because here come the other people. And it’s easy to take other people and make them fear something. Soon, a school teacher or postal worker or bar owner or dairy farmer has used the word ‘cult’.
Sit back and bask in your success as civilians are weaponised and cafes are poisoned and phone lines are tapped.
This is other people.
Take a student pastor at the Somerset Southside Methodist Church, Indiana. Tell him that he can’t integrate black people into his congregation. Piss him off. Give him a crusade.
Watch as he moves on and gives people hope. See his drive for racial equality. You don’t call the healings fake. Not yet. You call them Baptists. You say they are a church. He calls them the Wings of Deliverance.
Now let him open a soup kitchen for the poor, then watchas other people become involved. Because other people have an innate ability to take something good and turn it straight to shit.
Migrate that church to Guyana. Call it a compound. Call it Paradise. Call it Jonestown. Say that members did not travel there of their own free will. Get other people to interfere. Intervene. Get shot at. Wait a moment while everything is ruined. While nine hundred men and women take cyanide to kill themselves. Let them poison their children.
Now you can call it a cult.
And feel safe that you’re not one of them.
Take David Koresh. Take Waco. Tell the world he has several wives and fucks his kids. Set fire to buildings. Smoke him out. Kill twenty of those kids while you’re there.
Take the Manson Family. Take Scientology. Take any passage from any holy book out of context.
Take the unknown and drop in some fear and insecurity.
What have you done?
The other people club
You. At arm’s length. Outside looking in. With your judgement and your free choice and your safety. You don’t understand.
Not one of these people thought that they were part of a cult.
And you, you’re no different. You could be part of a cult right now and you don’t even realise. You think you have a choice.
So, put that rope around your neck.
Here come the other people.