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By September 20, 2012 6 Comments Read More →

Cult, custody and murder: A Philadelphia MOVE saga

Alberta Africa is the matriarch of the MOVE cult, which, during a confrontation, was firebombed by Philadelphia police in 1985. Seven years later, a man by the name of John Gilbride married her. They had a child, then split up—and when Gilbride wanted to see his son, he ended up dead.

A two-part series in the Philadelphia Inquirer tells this fascinating story of sociopathic seduction, manipulation and rage. Read the articles by Monica Yant Kinney:

A son slain, he fears he’s lost a grandson to MOVE, on Philly.com.

Murder of ex-MOVE member remains a mystery, on Philly.com.

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6 Comments on "Cult, custody and murder: A Philadelphia MOVE saga"

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  1. Ox Drover says:

    This is a very ODD situation…with many questions about why this young guy would marry this much older woman who is involved with a violent cult. His second “secret” marriage was also an odd thing as well saying that maybe John wasn’t all that wise or stable either.

    It does sound like MOVE might be involved with this man’s murder and if so, there probably is no chance in hades that it will ever be “solved.”

    I feel for this man’s father and for the child (now an emerging adult) and wish them peace.

  2. Truthspeak says:

    OxD, the matriarch was powerful and cunning, or else she wouldn’t have been able to manipulate so many people.

    I have a very strong resistance to groups of people who band together for “A Cause,” regardless of what it is. Some “causes” are noble and altruistic, but there’s always someone involved who is interested in power and control through the auspices of the group’s goals.

    And, to be quite honest, Alberta may very well have targeted this fellow to use him for her own purposes, whether it was to reproduce or groom him into a victim/minion. He may have been vulnerable because he was seeking someone to “mother” him, as well. As an aside, the exspath targeted me for just that purpose: to provide a “safe” mother-figure that he could have sex with. I know, it’s sickening, but it’s true.

    Jeeeeeezzzzzzz, this kind of thing really upsets me.

    Brightest blessings

  3. I thought these stories were really interesting because they showed the relationship between cults and sociopathic manipulation.

  4. Ox Drover says:

    Donna, I agree that the stories are VERY interesting. I do find it odd though that this young guy was apparently sucked into this MOVE cult by this woman in the first place. It makes me wonder about his vulnerabilities, WHY? It doesn’t seem like a “fit” to me. OF course I guess no cult is a fit with most people who become involved with cults…even cults of 2 (like with a victim + a psychopath= a cult of 2 )

    The wiki article about the MOVE group is quite interesting. I hadn’t heard about them until now…I was really busy during that time (the bombing) but God I can’t believe how dumb the police were to drop a BOMB on the building. DUH???? Sounds like an urban Waco. Bet some heads rolled over that one!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MOVE

  5. Oxy – I remember the MOVE bombing. Yes, it was amazingly stupid – 11 people died and it wiped out about 60 homes.

    My guess is that John Gilbride had some vulnerabilities – but then, we all have vulnerabilities. Or, Alberta Africa was an extremely seductive sociopath.

  6. Truthspeak says:

    The MOVE bombing/massacre was epic, and it’s members were extremely militant, from all that I learned about it. My feeling is that the slaughter was needless and could have been handled in a far better way.

    Having said that, it is almost a patented series of events when a group of people is led by a sociopath into doom. Jim Jones, David Koresh, Heaven’s Gate, Westboro Baptist Church, Charles Manson, and many, many others end up leading people into certain doom, on every level. That is the ultimate intention, I think – those that go out with a BANG tend to be remembered and discussed long after they’ve departed this earthly realm. The only true method that these people achieve their immortality is through mayhem, and history will remember them as “leaders,” whether it’s of a cult or a global religious organization.

    Alberta Africa already had a group of disgruntled and furious people behind her, and after the massacre, she likely whipped this group into a frenzy, and that is some kind of power and control to wield, I imagine. Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac and, as most of us can testify to, the quickest path to corruption. Gilbride was snagged, for whatever reason, and it’s a never-ending story where cults are concerned. They exist because someone craves power and control and “members” are desperately in some sort of “need,” whether it’s a spiritual void or a social/cultural void – these predators pounce on those who are in need like a duck on a junebug.

    What an awful mess.

    Brightest blessings

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