Although Spain is not recognized for having a big number of sects, it is estimated that roughly 1% of the population is affiliated with one of these fanatic groups, with the Valencia region, notably the province of Alicante, hosting the majority of these sects.
Between 50 and 60 of Spain’s 200 to 250 estimated sects are found in the Comunidad Valenciana, especially in northern Alicante. According to Leonardo Casais, a psychiatry professor at the University of Cádiz, one out of every five sects in Spain is found in the region of Alicante.
The professor also believes that the majority of the sects are demonic, however other themes, such as Christian, Hindu, animist, and magical cults, are also prevalent. These organizations have a history of preying on the weak, who are then mentally brainwashed into becoming fanatical.
Casais argues that a variety of factors have contributed to Alicante’s status as a center for various cults, including the province’s geographic position and the large number of immigrants who live there.
One of his assumptions is that there are big populations of immigrants from countries where religious rites and sacrifices are frequent, or were in the past, and who believe in spiritual energy, particularly from “Brazil and Haiti.” These immigrants have continued their religious practices, which are classified as sectarian in Spain, in Alicante.
However, sects are not just made up of foreigners; many locals are pulled into cults by the demonic motif. People’s interest in cults has also grown as a result of the recent development in neo-gothic folklore and pseudosciences, which are more akin to spiritual beliefs than true science.
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The geographical qualities of Alicante are claimed to have contributed to the province’s huge number of sects.
On the one hand, Alicante has large cities with thousands of residents, allowing sects to form unnoticed by the majority of the population and providing members with a sense of anonymity, and on the other hand, Alicante has numerous rural areas where cults can operate with little to no intervention from local authorities.
Cults have made their imprint on Alicante over the years, with several obsessive groups reaching the media. One of the most well-known examples occurred in Alfaz del Pi in 1999, when a 35-year-old woman died during a’spiritual’ ritual, in which her husband was one of the participants.
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