A Reddit cult that ended with the leader's suicide


Artistic rendering of Chris Cantelmo (founder)

Cantelmoism is a Reddit cult started in 2019 by Chris Cantelmo, who graduated from Yale and became a successful scientist and founder of GL Sciences. After getting diagnosed with brain cancer, Cantelmo announced that he successfully cured himself through the psychedelic drug DMT, had begun conducting extensive research into the benefits of DMT, and was preparing to publish his findings.

In 2019 he promoted his beliefs on Reddit and gained notoriety for being incredibly generous with giving "awards" to other Reddit users, which provided them with free access to the paid premium features of the website. He was spending thousands of dollars a day on these awards, which were given to virtually anyone who interacted with him, and thousands of people were commenting on his posts to receive these perks.

This unique behavior became a form of proselytizing that proved very successful. Everything Cantelmo ever said on the website, as well as those who supported him, instantly had several "upvotes", and awards, which gave the impression that his views were widely shared by many others on the website. In addition, several people, whether they agreed with Cantelmoism beliefs or not, wrote in support of his ideas so that they could also get awards. Plus, Cantelmo targeted the younger users on the website, who tended to be more open to adopting his beliefs, and gave other financial gifts to followers as well, such as free plane rides to visit him and even paid for college tuition. Within months, he started Cantelmoism, a religion with thousands of devoted followers.

Chris Cantelmo's teachings mostly centered around the spiritual, psychical, and psychological benefits of DMT but also included other radical beliefs, such as a belief that certain laws of physics were incorrect, aliens are already on earth and predictions about the future. However, as he started to become more defensive of his teachings, many followers started to turn against him. 

Just months after the Cantelmoism cult reached its peak, Cantelmo committed suicide. Interestingly, his website is still being updated with posts under his name.

Religion: Other

Founder: Chris Cantelmo

Founded: 2019

Ended: Most members left in 2019, but it still has members today

Size: 100,000 online followers

Location: Online, mostly Reddit; lived in Oregon, US

Other info:

Short summary of the group