In the general sense, a cult is a group of people who come together with a set of unified beliefs and practices. Most of the time, the common values are fanatical views of religion and culture that tend to isolate one particular ideal or standard and then place it above all else. But what separates cults from religions is the notion of complete reclusiveness and the apparent inability of members to leave under their own volition. These groups typically have dominating, charismatic leaders who use their personalities to attract new recruits, get members to do their bidding, and maintain a system of control. Many of the most infamous cults in history arose in the 1970s and ’80s during a time referred to as the “Satanic Panic,” when there was widespread fear that a battle between good and evil was raging just below the surface of American culture. Of those that the media were able to uncover and expose, here are eight of the most terrifying.