Inside the Bizarre Nullo Cult

Severing one’s own “appendages” as a cult ritual is nothing new: Some members of the infamous UFO cult Heaven’s Gate removed their man bits themselves in an attempt to rid themselves of carnal desire, which they deemed demonic. 

However, an estimated 10,000 worldwide members of the less-organized Nullo cult are removing their down south parts themselves for far more vague reasons.

The message behind their odd ritual, which they refer to as nullification, is not entirely clear. To many of them, it is simply an extreme form of body modification, similar to microdermals or tongue forkings.

Who Is Mao Sugiyama, the Figurehead of the Nullos?

The most well-known nullo is undoubtedly Japanese artist Mao Sugiyama, whose story made global headlines in 2012.

In April of that year, shortly after turning 22, the self-described as*xual illustrator had himself made into a Ken doll via surgery.

Then, in the presence of a professional chef, he cooked his own bits and served it to five people, each of whom paid $250 for the indulgence.

While only five people—among whom were an otherwise pedestrian married couple, a manga artist, and an event planner—ate Mao’s strange concoction.

Seventy others attended the event and were fed a more innocuous dinner of beef and crocodile.

2022: Seven Men with Ties to Nullo Cult Arrested

The Nullos made headlines again 10 years later, when seven members were arrested in London after broadcasting their own insane surgeries via a live pay-per-view channel that was promoted on Twitter. The members’ ages ranged from the 30s to 60s.

While Sugiyama’s operation was performed by an experienced surgeon, these seven men’s cases exemplify a common practice amongst the nullo community: DIY surgery, something that is potentially life-threatening.  

The History of Nullification: Eunuchs

A misconception surrounding the Nullos is that they are transgender. However, most of them reject this label, instead referring to themselves as eunuchs.

Eunuchs were common in many ancient societies, the first records of their existence dating back to the times of Sumer, the 2nd millennium B.C.E.

However, they are perhaps best known amongst historians for the role they played in ancient China.

Removing a mans “parts” was a common punishment in dynastic China (one of the Five Punishments). Some eunuchs would go on to hold high-ranking civil service positions, as their inability to father children would prevent them from attempting to overthrow the throne and found their own dynasties.

How Big Is the Nullos Cult?

As stated previously, it is estimated that there are 10,000 nullos currently alive today, though that number could be completely off the mark.

Based on the nature of their lifestyle, they are considered fringe even amongst extreme body modification circles. 

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