Haunting images reveal eerie former base of notorious lost cult

Haunting images are all that remain of what was once the home of a notorious religious cult where the leader, who was revered by followers as a prophet, is still buried.

Reverend George Pike and his church members began work on their chapel in a gated community in Georgia that he named Little Bethlehem in the 1970s.

Pike founded his own non-profit organisation in Olive Branch, Mississippi under the chartered name of Jesus Christ Eternal Kingdom of Abundant Life Inc, before purchasing the 70-acre tract of land and building a community.

But five decades on, the once thriving grounds of Little Bethlehem now resemble a ghost town.

The gates to the complex were guarded in order to keep outsiders from prying into the affairs of the organisation. Source: Australscope/ Abandoned Southeast
An aerial view of the property which shows the star-shaped mausoleum where the Reverend George Pike is buried. Source: Australscope/ Abandoned Southeast

Eerie pictures recently taken by a photographer known as Abandoned Southeast show empty pews in a large church hall, religious signs that were left behind and safes in walls.

The spooky shots also show the crumbling exterior of the large buildings, the gates that kept people in or out and an aerial view of the property which shows the star-shaped mausoleum where the founder is buried.

According to photographer Pike would take the church member’s money and only give them back what he thought they needed to live on.

Reverend George Pike founded the church which many members of the community believed to be a cult. Source: YouTube
This building was referred to as ‘The Father’s House’ and was built for George Pike by the church members but remains unfinished. Source: Australscope/ Abandoned Southeast

“There were also salacious rumours that he had physical relationships with chosen women of the church,” the photographer wrote in his blog.

“These rumours were fuelled by the local townspeople who viewed Pike’s church as a Jim Jones cult type movement.

“These rumours grew from the church’s strict dress codes.

“Church members created a security team to protect Pike’s family and also to prevent Little Bethlehem from being overrun with visitors.”

Rusted religious signs were left behind. Source: Australscope
It was not uncommon for several hundred people to attend church services. Source: Australscope/ Abandoned Southeast

The church is not affiliated with any specific denomination. Pike rather focused his message and ministry on the final book of the King James Version of the Protestant Bible.

The “charismatic” leader died unexpectedly on June 10, 1996, paving the way for his son, David, to become senior pastor – a position he resigned from three years later.

Church leaders immediately began building a mausoleum following their former leader’s death, however it was not completed until 2003.

The church changed hands and pastors’ numerous times before it eventually closed down in 2013.

According to Abandoned Southeast, David Pike and his family later purchased all the assets and proprietary rights and still maintain a residence at Little Bethlehem, where they intend to spend their remaining years preserving the founder’s legacy.

Australscope