Spectres and Shadows: Aum Shinrikyô and the Road to Megiddo

Ian Reader

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This article examines intelligence agency reports, such as the FBI's Project Megiddo, that focus on millennial religious movements and the year 2000. It does so in the context of the Japanese millennial religion Aum Shinrikyô, whose use of chemical weapons was cited in the reports as a significant watershed in the history of terrorism. Showing why the reports used Aum in this way as a 'textbook case' of millennial violence, it analyses the Aum affair in comparative millennial contexts and shows how and why its violence occurred. In so doing it shows how Project Megiddo and other reports err in many of their claims, such as the possible parallels between Aum and Christian Identity movements, the notion that Aum was trying to precipitate a final war, and the assumption that specific dates such as 2000 serve as triggers for millennial violence.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)145-186
    Number of pages41
    JournalTerrorism and Political Violence
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2002


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