Anne Hamilton-Byrne (pictured right) was the glamorous, charismatic and delusional leader of the notorious Australian sect dubbed The Family. One of the very few female cult leaders, she convinced herself and up to 500 followers she was the reincarnation of Jesus Christ. Under the influence of LSD, Hamilton-Byrne believed an apocalyptic war was imminent and that she had a duty to collect children from birth in preparation for a new world. She gathered young boys and girls - some through shonky adoptions, others born to cult members - and raised them as her own on a property in Lake Eildon in central Victoria in the 1970s and 1980s. 'We've received the call - and great things will be done,' she said. The identically dressed children (left and inset), with bleached blonde hair shaped into the same bob, were allegedly bashed, starved and injected with LSD by Hamilton-Byrne and other cult leaders in terrifying sect initiation rituals.
Why racetracks are removing hundreds of thousands of seats
The infield of the Charlotte Motor Speedway on race weekend is a universe unto itself. Here, you enter the Vatican of Internal Combustion, a microcosm ruled by the forces of V-8 power and flat-out speed.
Multicoloured race cars blast around the speedway’s steep grey banks at more than 330 km/h, and the infield resembles a cross between the Woodstock festival and aRoad Warrior set. Race fans, encamped here for days, arrive by the thousands in jumbo-sized motor homes, jacked-up Ford F-150s and old school buses with viewing platforms welded on top.
PETER CHENEY/THE GLOBE AND MAILSteel scaffolds and deer hunting stands rise from the crowd like minarets, each topped with a group of partiers. A black, hemi-powered Ram pickup truck rolls past, loaded with shirtless revellers and a stack of beer coolers. A Confederate flag flutters from one of the chrome-plated exhaust stacks and it brings to mind what one writer said after visiting a NASCAR race at Talladega: “It has not come to the attention of eastern Alabama that the civil war ended.”