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Australian Cults: The Grim, The Bad And The Ugly Pt. Three, Universal Medicine

Below is Part Three of our multi-part series on Australian cults, a look into the grim, bad, and ugly utopian communities which decorate Australia's history. Next up is Universal Medicine, lead by "Leonardo Da Vinci reincarnated" Serge Benhayon.

Serge Benhayon’s Universal Medicine

While Serge Benhayon may not believe he is Jesus Christ, there’s no doubting his dabbling with a God complex. The founder of known and active cult Universal Medicine believes he is the reincarnation of Leonardo Da Vinci and has been peddling his spiritual healing business since 1999.

The cult’s genesis was sparked when Serge was sitting on a toilet in April that year and heard voices. The Uruguayan-born, Sydney-raised tennis coach said he didn’t want to pursue his current life, but he had been chosen.

It was in 2019 when Australian media began to extensively cover Serge’s troubling practices. As the founder of what’s been dubbed one of Australia’s most dangerous cults, Serge claimed to be the closest thing to God on Earth. His teachings centre on the belief that we are reincarnated multiple times, and that supernatural entities can invade your body if you partake in certain practices like drinking alcohol or watching porn. According to the daughter of late cancer patient Judith McIntyre (a past follower), he also believes the more money you donate to his organisation, the better off you will be in the afterlife.

Judith McIntyre, who met Serge at a festival in Byron Bay, invested more than 1.4 million into Universal Medicine over two years, before she lost her battle with breast cancer in 2014. McIntyre’s daughter said Serge even tried to drive a wedge between her mother and her siblings, and advised her to cut them out of her will. If she didn’t, she said, she would pay for it in the afterlife.

Using the Universal Medicine cult, Serge went from a bankrupt tennis coach, to a multi-millionaire with a private estate in Northern NSW and over 2,000 devotees.

Some of his teachings are just laughable – like the fact he believes that women shouldn’t play sport because it thickens their vaginal walls and can’t have children, or that his daughter Simone is the reincarnation on Winston Churchhill – but others are much more sinister.

One follower said Serge believes children born with disabilities were born this way because they were evil in a past life. He also believes that if you drink alcohol and you hold a baby, supernatural entities can rape that child. One follower said he believes he can cure many ailments in women by “manipulating their pubic bone” and engaging in “esoteric breast massage”.

As concerning as the aforementioned first-hand accounts are, Serge Benhayon’s unsettling behaviour runs even deeper. Prior to a New South Wales Supreme Court hearing, he was known to have many young girls over to his house. In fact, he met his now wife when she was 13.

In December 2018, a NSW jury found Serge to be the leader of a “socially harmful cult” that prays on the wealthy. The NSW Supreme Court jury found him to be a charlatan who indecently touched clients and “had an indecent interest in girls as young as 10 who stayed in his house.” Serge didn’t attend the hearing.

Unfortunately, Universal Medicine is still operational. Serge has relocated to the UK where he conducts seminars and workshops for over 200 members. His two daughters are heavily involved with his youngest Natalie running seminars on sex and sexuality.

Most recently, in May, three senior judges in the UK requested one of Serge’s followers distance herself from the cult or face losing custody of her daughter.

Lord Justice McCombe and Lady Justice King, said: “Shared care can therefore only continue if the mother makes an immediate and definitive break from the organisation.”

Watch Sunday Night‘s report on Universal Medicine:

READ PART ONE: THE FAMILY

READ PART TWO: DIVINE TRUTH

PART FOUR: THE RAJNEESH MOVEMENT