Devil in Ohio true story: Was there really a cult?

Devil in Ohio is a Netflix suspense thriller based on the young adult novel of the same name written by Daria Polatin. The story focuses on a young girl who escapes a cult and takes shelter with a psychiatrist trying to help her.

Devil in Ohio is a limited series based on Daria Polatin’s debut novel published in November 2017. The series touches upon the psyche of a cult member and how a cult practices subliminal messaging and conditioning to maintain control over any individual’s mind.

The series also talks about domestic abuse and trauma survivors and how their lives may or may not be indefinitely affected by their experiences. But is ‘Devil in Ohio’ based on reality or is it a work of fiction?

The various inspirations behind Devil in Ohio

Daria Polatin stated that she did intense research on cults and how they function while working on this novel which was initially inspired by the true events of a young woman who had escaped from a satanic cult and moved in with her psychiatrist’s family.

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Daria Polatin and the cover of her novel

For obvious safety reasons, Polatin never revealed the identity of her source but she did confirm that there were horrifying rituals where the victim was scarred, both physically and mentally, the planting of mind control triggers and how the cult succeeded in tearing apart a close-knit family.

She also consumed media such as Lawrence Wright’s book ‘Remembering Satan: A Tragic Case of Recovered Memory’, the documentary ‘Holy Hell’ and the fictional film ‘Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene’. All of these stories touched upon abuse, the way a cult indoctrinates its members and how they make it difficult for them to acclimatise back into society long after they have left.

A brief history of cults in America

Cults often function as a religious movement with a charismatic leader at the top who suppresses his followers and often manipulates them psychologically into doing his bidding. The leader convinces the rest that everything they do is for a higher purpose that only the leader can ascertain.

There are many well-known cults in America and the world over, some of them still alive today albeit without the same kind of influence and power. Notable examples are Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple, the Branch Davidians led by David Koresh, and the Ku Klux Klan among others.

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Jim Jones and David Koresh were two prominent cult leaders

Most cults today do not have the same kind of reach and are overshadowed by mainstream religion so they mainly function as insular cults or mostly ineffective ones like the Ku Klux Klan.

Also Read: Devil in Ohio ending explained: Does Suzanne save Mae from the cult?