There’s drama within an online cult, and it involves spies, allegations of death threats, and financial transparency concerns. This is the first-ever inside look at the ongoing conflict from all sides.
Some former members of Hyperianism, a self-described “cult of reason” that promotes math and logic using Gothic imagery and dark metaphors, are speaking out against its founder, who goes by the name “Morgue.” Morgue is a former shock artist known for his role on AMC’s Freakshow, but these days he told me his life is “dedicated to producing knowledge.”
I wrote about Morgue and Hyperianism late last year, when I was covering the group’s rejection of Abrahamic religions and its attacks on science as an “irrational religion.” Morgue encouraged his followers to comment on my article, which led to a flood of Hyperians on my blog (some were reasonable and polite, while others not so much).
I didn’t think much about this “anti-science” group after that, until I received a message from someone who is a current member. This person isn’t a fan of my work, but they saw my first article and wanted to report to me some disturbing things they saw in the Hyperian Facebook group. Specifically, they sent this screenshot showing a conversation involving fantasies about violent murders of those who oppose the group (this concerned me as a critic).
After receiving this screenshot, I asked for more photographic evidence of conversations in the group. I used those to find former members, and they informed me about something unique that was happening. Hyperians are part of a tight-knit group, but some members — called “the Outcasts” by mainstream Hyperians — were now breaking away to spread their own views about the cult and its leader.
The Outcasts don’t have a unified message. The de facto leader of the small group, Anthony, seems to have no ill will against Morgue, who he says has good intentions. Instead, Anthony wanted to draw attention to poor treatment of members by “revenants,” or higher ups who emphasize social media activism within the movement. He created an Instagram account for that purpose.
It is ironic that Hyperianism has done the exact thing to which is supposedly opposed to and that is by creating an elitist type of system where “only the best” are allowed to succeed. Hmm now how does that really sound like a system for all? #hyperian #hyperianism #cultofreason #adastra #projectfallenstar #logic #reason #truth #rational #magick #occult #spiritual #conscious
Other members of the Outcasts group, however, are more focused on what they see as Morgue’s failing leadership style or his lack of financial transparency. According to two sources close to Morgue, he makes approximately $5,000 per month from Patreon alone (members will point out that much of that money is spent on producing Hyperianism videos and other merchandise). His admins and revenants reportedly aren’t paid anything.
Buffy Caudell, a former revenant who now finds herself among the Outcasts, told me in a phone interview that she found Morgue’s prior group, the Order of One, by chance. She thought Morgue was interesting, and liked logic and reason, so she decided to follow him to Hyperianism.
“I always had a question about compassion, because it seemed like compassion did not fit in with what Morgue was talking about,” Buffy told me. “Emotion was seen as something bad, and logic and reason was seen as the way to go.”
Buffy bought the Book of One, a purchase all members must make in order to advance in the movement, and ultimately became one of the first so-called revenants. She left the group after a disagreement with Morgue involving her idea to distribute a one-page information sheet to new members. She was concerned about new members not having enough information, but Morgue didn’t like the idea, she said. This was her public goodbye:
Buffy said no one questions Morgue or his emotional outbursts, and that he is “untouchable” within the cult. She noted that Morgue is known to “verbally punish” people by using aggressive middlemen.
“He has ways of punishing people… they verbally punish you until you feel at your lowest. He gets the other admin to do it — he never does it.”
She also said that, even though he “ruined” her whole outlook on the movement, she still likes him.
Buffy said the cult took over her life, and that she was constantly worried about “pleasing Morgue.” She donated money to the group, but never received any payment for her work on behalf of Hyperianism.
“That money is all his, and I have no idea how much. I know he has no other income, because he no longer does the show. He has said that before. His apartment is nice. He tells us things he buys, like he gets really nice wines every week. He takes jiu-jitsu. He’s living, is what I’m trying to say.”
Asked about Morgue’s financial transparency, Buffy said, “Oh, no, nothing. I have no idea how much money… it’s a lot.”
Of the eight-person group of Outcasts, half seemed to cling to the idea of Hyperianism while criticizing Morgue himself. A few others considered themselves to be done with the group and had legitimate concerns about it ultimately becoming dangerous to those who oppose its goals, and at least one was shown to be a spy from the mainstream Hyperianism group.
Shortly after I was introduced to this group and informed them about this article that I was writing, I was contacted via private message by “Merrick,” one of Morgue’s revenants. She said the information I was receiving from them was “inaccurate and false,” and that the group had formed “a personal vendetta against Morgue and the others.”
Merrick also said she had “eyes and ears” inside their group chat, which prompted me to investigate. I sent each individual member a private message in which I provided a false piece of information, and then I sat back and waited for Merrick to message me again. The information she brought up could only be found in my message with one of the “Outcasts,” Jordy, who turned out to be a committed Hyperian. Morgue and Merrick both vehemently deny that Morgue was aware of this spy plan, which Merrick said was prompted by concerning comments (and even veiled death threats) some of the members allegedly made.
Merrick and I talked and she ultimately connected me with Morgue, who agreed to an interview. He said my previous article was not reflective of the group’s mission, and that he wanted to clear up misconceptions. I was happy to interview him and get his side of things.
First, we talked about our similarities as rationalists:
Me: I do see the similarities and common goals. The Abrahamic faiths, for instance, need criticism from everywhere. And I once designed a hat that said, “IN LOGIC WE REASON,” so I know where you’re coming from on those points. I suppose a difference would be when it comes to science. I see science as a way to OVERCOME our senses, by focusing on testability and peer review over personal experience, and you teach — if I’m not mistaken — that science is more like another faith that relies on physical sense.
Is that accurate? Do you have anything to add on that front?
Morgue: What an excellent hat. I completely agree that the Abrahamic faiths need criticism, we’re definitely in agreement. We’re rationalists, in the philosophical definition of the term, meaning we place a priori mathematical truth over sense data when dealing with the universal structure of the world, as opposed to pragmatic endeavors and the study of the natural world, which science is very good at. That last point is very important, science is extremely useful for modelling the natural world. But reason is required for other domains, as an example, for proving that there are an infinite number of primes. For this you do not use empiricism. It’s not something you can go out in the world to prove. You use pure reason. As Kurt Gödel, famous for his incompleteness theorems, said, “I don’t believe in empirical science. I only believe in a priori truth.”
Next, I ask Morgue about the conversation within the Hyperianism group that prompted my initial investigation. I showed him the screenshot from Raymond, who said he wanted to “literally gut” people.
Me: Can you comment on this behavior from a Hyperian in the outer circle Facebook group? He was a member at least as of yesterday, yet this was a week or more ago.
Morgue: This is extremely disturbing behavior. We will absolutely look into this. There are people out there claiming to be hyperian that absolutely are not and don’t follow our ideals. We are for nonviolent and peaceful reform. We’ve recently uncovered a group of trolls claiming to be hyperian with the intent of causing discord. We are so tired of all the violence and division in the world. We want a world of healthy growth and unity. Which is why we are opposed to the Abrahamic faiths since they have been the cause of so much violence and division. Our goal is to create a healthy, connected community where people aren’t dragging each other down but instead are building each other up. We desire equal opportunity for all regardless of gender, sex, age, or race. A society focused on healthy growth, the creation of art, and the cultivation of knowledge and education.
This sounds like a great idea, and to his credit Morgue did ban Raymond and does make frequent disclaimers discouraging his followers from committing any violence. But his movement does seem to glorify violence and self-harm, at least from a metaphorical standpoint, so I asked about why those themes are there.
Me: Another commonality, I think, is that it seems like you’re anti-violence and self-harm. I know you have a book called the Metaphorical Suicide, so can you explain to someone who may not know why you aren’t actually advocating anyone killing themselves? I read that it was because you see it as a great loss of potential, which I liked.
Morgue: Absolutely. The title “The Metaphorical Suicide” is about de-conditioning yourself from all the damaging systems that have been instilled in you by social institutions since birth, such as the Abrahamic religions. They are restricting you from thinking freely. So in a sense you are metaphorically “killing yourself” by getting rid of all the superstitions instilled in you so that you can become a freethinker. People should be free to think for themselves instead of being controlled by culture and religion. They should question and examine everything, including what we have to say, with logic and reason. We are opposed to things like suicide and violence. They are the ultimate loss of potential. We are rationalists and killing yourself is not a rational thing to do! The rational thing to do is to better yourself, your life, and the life of those around you.
Me: Using titles like that and promoting “darker” imagery might confuse some people, but is there a greater purpose to that? I’ve been told that you also require new members (or perhaps revenants) to perform a certain magic ritual before joining. To an outsider, it seems like you’re promoting superstition.
Morgue: I personally display a darker image to metaphorically represent my opposition to the damaging institutions of the world. It’s how I choose to express that we need change. The church has burned rationalists at the stake countless times in the past, and we’re not afraid to show that we aren’t too happy about that… Some hyperians like that and choose to do so as well. But that is by no means necessary. There are many hyperians that have what the world considers a more conventional image. We accept all modes of expression whether dark, light, or anything in between.
As for the ritual, that is entirely symbolic and metaphorical to mark a special occasion. People blow out candles on their birthday or when a year ends they make a new year’s resolution and count down from ten seconds right before midnight. People exchange rings when they get married. These are examples of rituals. They are simply actions and thoughts done at certain points to mark a special occasion. Something is done that says “This particular moment is different and meaningful, it is significant and set apart from all of the rest.”
There is nothing illogical or superstitious about rituals as long as they aren’t interpreted in the wrong way.
Next, I asked Morgue about the “Outcasts.”
Me: You said some people were trying to make your group look bad, bring discord, etc. Is that Anthony’s group, with which I’ve been interacting? Or is that a separate group?
Regardless, can you tell me what you think of Anthony’s group? What do you think of the claims they’ve been making about you and your leadership? Some of them say they love the idea of Hyperianism, but that it became more about your ego than anything else. Others say you promise to be open to being questioned, but that you won’t accept criticism. What’s your response to these allegations?
Morgue: There are many groups and individuals that we’ve been noticing lately and we are putting in effort to figure out exactly what is going on. The amount of trolling we have received has been through the roof and we suspect some kind of organized effort whether it is by a religious group or some other we’re not sure and are currently looking into it.
As far as I know about Anthony, it’s just him and a few other people, most of them being of the superstitious new age mindset, that are upset that we don’t agree with their beliefs. They are free to believe whatever they like, but that is not what being a rationalist is about. You can’t exactly call yourself an atheist, for example, and then believe in the Christian god. That would be ridiculous.
We always encourage questioning using reason and logic. Now as far as my leadership role, this was never my intention. We welcome new, intelligent, autonomous leaders to come forward and blaze a trail in the name of reason. Right now hyperianism is associated with me. This is simply because I have done the most to get our system exposure. This is not what I want and I look forward to the day when that is not the case! By all means, study our system and, granted that you are qualified, take a leadership position! This is a system of reason that is not one person’s idea, just as science is not one person’s idea.
Me: I’ve been told that you’re someone beyond human who remembers past lives and was chosen with the message. In your words, a “herald of hyperianism.” Does that sound about right?
Morgue: We consider all hyperians (that actually understand what that means) to be beyond human. It is the Nietzschean concept of the Übermensch. An individual that creates themselves and forges their own way in life according to their own will. In Nietzsche’s words, “Man is a rope stretched between the animal and the overman.” Of course we extend this concept to all genders (and age/race etc). Humanity is simply the bridge to the hyperian. Nietzsche understood this so many years ago.
The definition of herald is “an official messenger bringing news”. I want the world to understand and place reason above all and I’m happy to bring this message. We need more heralds of hyperianism, more heralds of rationalism, more heralds of freethought.
Morgue wouldn’t answer legal questions, such as whether or not he has considered registering Hyperianism as an actual religion, but I did ask him about financial transparency.
Me: One of the chief complaints from your former members has been a lack of financial transparency. They’ve told me that, through Patreon, merchandise, and book sales, you raise a substantial amount of money while paying none of your people (some of whom dedicate their lives to the cause)… There’s nothing wrong with them supporting your work, but even two current members told me they want more transparency in that area. And two others complained about being required to buy material before advancing further. What do you think of this?
Morgue: People have no problem paying for a Starbucks coffee, or a Game of Thrones DVD, or a smartphone, or a playstation, or a Big Mac, or a beer, or a night out at a club, or a concert ticket, but there is this attitude that people of knowledge are not to be paid and are to work for free and produce knowledge while being destitute all while people that make makeup tutorials are making obscene amounts of money comparatively. I used to live in a bachelor apartment and only recently moved to a small one bedroom simply because I didn’t have room to film videos. I don’t even own a car at the moment. Some people don’t realize the cost of living in Los Angeles is extremely high. My life is dedicated to producing knowledge.
The basics of our system are freely and easily accessible. And on that basis you have everything you need to decide if Hyperianism is right for you. If you decide that it is, we’ll happily point you in the direction to learn more about it for yourself. This is the same as going to school to learn something new. If you want to learn quantum mechanics you have to go to university or get a decent textbook.
Morgue didn’t really address the transparency part of the question, but I moved on to discuss the spy I found inside the “Outcast” group.
Me: Merrick contacted me and told me that she had “eyes and ears” in the 9-person group started by Anthony. My investigation concluded that “Jordy” was sending screenshots of everything in that thread for Merrick. Was this something that you ordered, or were aware of? This type of surveillance activity is what a lot of people associate with controlling cults.
Morgue: We’re all about autonomy. This was not something that I ordered. That was her own initiative. I don’t keep track of what everyone is doing. If I did that would be authoritarian. I was not even concerned about this group. I don’t have a problem with people expressing their points of view on their own platform, though I will respond to those that spread disinformation. We have much more pressing matters to attend to, such as the production of our mathematics videos and world change.
There is a lot to process in this interview, and Morgue certainly paints a different picture of what’s happening than some former members, but it’s worth looking at this conflict from all angles to determine the truth. I personally feel as though I learned a lot. Only time will tell who is being honest and who is not, but for now we know the general landscape of what’s happening.
I will continue to stay in touch with Hyperians and its leadership, and update you on future developments. If you have any additional information about this group or those like it, you can contact me at David@DavidGMcAfee.com.
David G. McAfee