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The close-knit religious sect called Buddhafield formed in the 1980s in West Hollywood and aspired to an artistic utopian communal life. It was led by a mysterious, charismatic guru, who called himself Michel - pictured here. Gradually, several Buddhafield members came to grow disenchanted with Michel and allege emotional manipulation and even physical abuse by Michel.
The close-knit religious sect called Buddhafield formed in the 1980s in West Hollywood and aspired to an artistic utopian communal life. It was led by a mysterious, charismatic guru, who called himself Michel - pictured here. Gradually, several Buddhafield members came to grow disenchanted with Michel and allege emotional manipulation and even physical abuse by Michel.

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    Watch a clip from CNN Films' 'Holy Hell'

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Watch a clip from CNN Films' 'Holy Hell'

Former members of the Buddhafield spiritual sect explain the draw of "Michel," the sect's leader, in this clip from CNN Films' "Holy Hell" premiering Thursday, Sept. 1, at 9 p.m. ET.

Watch a clip from CNN Films' 'Holy Hell'

Former members of the Buddhafield spiritual sect explain the draw of "Michel," the sect's leader, in this clip from CNN Films' "Holy Hell" premiering Thursday, Sept. 1, at 9 p.m. ET.