Rajneeshpuram

Roman Mars:
This is 99% Invisible. I’m Roman Mars.

Roman Mars:
It’s hard to imagine building a city from scratch.

Milt Ritter:
I just remember the difference between the first time I went there when it was just a little mud hole. Just didn’t look like it had very much potential at all.

Chloe Prasinos:
Turning a little mudhole into a full-service city, it takes an incredible amount of resources and people and moxie.

Roman Mars:
That’s reporter Chloe Prasinos.

Chloe Prasinos:
And the other voice you just heard is Milt Ritter.

Milt Ritter:
Okay. My name is Milt Ritter.

Chloe Prasinos:
Ritter is a journalist. He covered the story of Rajneeshpuram, which was a city that popped up in Oregon in the 1980s.

Milt Ritter:
I mean it was amazing. You know, it was slightly breathtaking driving down into the canyon after a few years compared to what it was.

Chloe Prasinos:
Rajneeshpuram wasn’t trying to be any American city. They are trying to build a utopia guided by new age religious principles, a place where people of like-mind could abandon the mainstream and live their own way.

Roman Mars:
And almost as quickly as this place went from mudhole to city, it went from utopia to dystopia.

Milt Ritter:
There’s been a couple of big stories that I covered in my lifetime. The eruption of Mount St. Helens was one of them, and the Rajneeshpuram was the other, you know, it was crazy.

Chloe Prasinos:
The story really begins with one man, an Indian guru named Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.

Roman Mars:
His name loosely translates to ‘Sir God’.

Ma Ananda Sarita:
Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh is a mystic from India, and he’s what we would refer to as an enlightened being.

Chloe Prasinos:
That’s Ma Ananda Sarita. When she was 17 she ran away from home and traveled the world looking for what she calls the essence of life. Sarita found it in India when she met Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.

Ma Ananda Sarita:
So of course you’ve heard of Jesus, you’ve heard of Buddha. Those would be considered as enlightened beings.

Chloe Prasinos:
Rajneesh was a philosophy professor come guru. He synthesized Eastern and Western spiritual thought and psychotherapy and created his own brand of spirituality.

Milt Ritter:
He said, you cannot make a dogma out of my words. As far as I could tell his religion was a non-religion.

Roman Mars:
Here’s archival tape of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh from the Oregon Historical Society. We’ll be hearing tape from their archive throughout this episode.

Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh:
“It is not a way of prayers. It is a way of living.”

Roman Mars:
The guru’s way of life basically trashed all the difficult stuff about religion, all that chastity and abstinence and discipline and shame, and instead curated as spirituality of sex, laughter and luxury, which, as you can imagine, sounded pretty appealing to a lot of people.

Chloe Prasinos:
Rajneesh had a meditation center in India where in the 70s lots of Westerners paid good money for spiritual instruction.

Roman Mars:
Rajneesh’s disciples dressed in red clothing and wore lockets with his photo inside. They called themselves ‘sannyasins’, a Hindu term for a kind of spiritual seeker. They even took new names given to them by the guru. The women were given the title Ma. The men were referred to as Swami.

Chloe Prasinos:
And the sannyasins weren’t just disciples. They claimed to be in love with their guru.

Man:
“Bhagwan is my master, and I love him.”

Woman:
“Bhagwan’s my master.”

Ma Ananda Sarita:
He was infinitely graceful and in his eyes, one could experience the whole universe, pulsing there, throbbing, alive.

Roman Mars:
Rajneesh was known for a technique called ‘dynamic meditation’. It was intended to quiet the mind.

Chloe Prasinos:
Practitioners close their eyes and concentrate on their breathing. Then they explode, they scream, jump, kick, dance, writhe. Then comes a mantra and then, silence.

Roman Mars:
In 1981, Rajneesh was basically kicked out of India. There were accusations that his ashram was a business, not a religious institution, which would mean he owed several million dollars in back taxes.

Chloe Prasinos:
So the guru and his followers started looking for a new home base and they found it in the United States, a 64,000 acre ranch way out in the range country of north central Oregon. Soon after they arrived, Milt Ritter went out to investigate.

Milt Ritter:
When we first took that trip, it was almost like, really, is this right? You know, are we headed in the right direction? This just seems so out there. And it was hard to understand what a guru from India would want in a place like this.

Dan Durow:
The first time I met Rajneesh was in about the second week of July of 1981

Chloe Prasinos:
This is Dan Durow. He was the Wasco County planner at the time and the sannyasins’ new ranch was located in his jurisdiction.

Dan Durow:
When they first walked into the office, there were just three of them at the time and they were quite pleasant.

Roman Mars:
But they definitely weren’t from around there. They were all dressed in red. They had strange names. At one point in the conversation, Durow asked if they were a religious organization.

Dan Durow:
And the answer was, “Oh, no, absolutely not. We’re not a religion. We have members who are of all faith and we just celebrate life and laughter and happiness and we’re just simple farmers.” Well, that wasn’t the case and that wasn’t, of course, the intent.

Chloe Prasinos:
Durow didn’t know it yet, but the intent of his visitors was to build a Mecca for the guru’s followers from across the globe.

Roman Mars:
In order to build anything, the sannyasins would have to get permits for every single structure that went up.

Dan Durow:
The mistake I think that they made ultimately was to not look at the land use laws of Oregon versus other States.

Roman Mars:
The land that sannyasins had chosen was zoned specifically for farming and they weren’t going to be able to get permits for buildings that weren’t for farm use.

Chloe Prasinos:
But there was a workaround. According to state law, if they became their own city, they could have their own planning office and issue their own permits, effectively skirting county oversight and the land use laws.

Roman Mars:
And in Oregon at the time, to incorporate a city, all you needed was 150 people, which was easy for the sannyasins.

Dan Durow:
There really wasn’t much to decide. Once they met the basic requirements for incorporation, it moved forward.

Roman Mars:
The sannyasins named their new city after the guru, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. They called it ‘Rajneeshpuram’.

Milt Ritter:
It seemed like it happened very quickly, that buildings started springing up and gardens started being planted, houses. They scratched out a runway for an airfield and they brought in planes.

Roman Mars:
The city needed infrastructure to support not just the full time residents, but visitors too. Every summer thousands of disciples came for Rajneesh’s annual festival. In the off season, people came to take meditation courses and experience life in the city.

Chloe Prasinos:
They built a strip mall and a hotel, buildings for religious ceremonies, a crematorium, a discotheque, a post office. Many of the buildings were designed in a rustic Alpine-style with wood in-siding. Housing, on the other hand, was built quickly with lots of prefab A-frame structures littered across the valley.

Milt Ritter:
It was amazing at what they were doing and they were doing it very, very quickly.

Roman Mars:
But the ranch’s rapid expansion did not go unchecked.

Chloe Prasinos:
Immediately after Rajneeshpuram became an official city, an Oregon environmental group challenged the incorporation.

Dan Durow:
They saw the attempt to build a big city out in the desert which was zoned agriculture as a huge problem for the land use laws.

Chloe Prasinos:
A judge ruled that the sannyasins could keep building their city despite the pending lawsuit, but he warned them. If the environmentalist won their case against Rajneeshpuram, almost everything they built would have to come down.

Roman Mars:
The sannyasins were undaunted. They worked 16 hour days, six days a week, building up their city. Here’s Ma Ananda Sarita again.

Ma Ananda Sarita:
And so we would work all day and usually that would go on till midnight and then go to bed and maybe have another and make love all night, and then get up again in the morning and start over.

Chloe Prasinos:
Rajneesh taught his followers that meditation was the highest form of worship and that work would be their meditation.

Roman Mars:
A doctrine of relentless work is pretty convenient when you’re trying to erect a city from scratch. Of course, all that construction costs a lot of money.

Chloe Prasinos:
Luckily, Rajneesh had a global network of lucrative communes that sent their revenue to Rajneeshpuram. Plus, the guru’s followers surrendered everything from their former lives. They sold their jewelry, their cars, their homes, and gave it to the city.

Roman Mars:
The ranch was changing fast. The sannyasins arrived in 1981, but by 1983 they had built 140 small dams up and down the John Day River to slow the rate of erosion, and it worked. The dusty Golden Valley was green.

Ma Ananda Sarita:
We had an amazing organic farm with very, very nutritious vegetables.

Chloe Prasinos:
Within the first couple of years, the population jumped from a few hundred people to around 2,000 and their farms produced almost everything they needed.

Roman Mars:
They also accomplished some pretty impressive feats of engineering. They built a 45 acre reservoir held by a 400 foot earthen dam, not to mention a mass transit system composed of 85 school buses that zigzagged around Rajneeshpuram. But while the citizens got around in school buses, the guru preferred a Rolls Royce.

Chloe Prasinos:
In fact, he owned 93 Rolls Royces and every day in a kind of ritual, he’d drive around the city in one of them.

Milt Ritter:
At noon and then again like at five o’clock he would drive the roads and people, the sannyasins, would line up along the roads, hands clasped in front of their faces, and then just sort of be blissed out as he went by. And tears streaming down their faces and they’re just like, ‘Oh.’

Roman Mars:
Right around the time he moved to America, the guru began a vow of silence. So these so called drive-bys were one of the ways that Rajneesh communicated with his followers, but it seemed like he also just really liked the feel of the open road.

Dan Durow:
And then he would hit the highway and he would drive a hundred miles an hour. I don’t know how many tickets he got and how many times he was threatened to have his license taken away, but evidently it was a lot.

Chloe Prasinos:
While Rajneesh was in silence, he set up a government for the ranch, an elite inner circle of female sannyasins.

Roman Mars:
He wanted the commune to be a matriarchy because he believed that women were less dominated by their egos.

Chloe Prasinos:
At the center of this circle was a woman named Ma Anand Sheela. Sheela was Rajneesh’s secretary and chief spokesperson. She was one of only people he spoke to during his long silence.

Roman Mars:
Here’s archival tape of Ma Anand Sheela.

Ma Anand Sheela:
“My purpose is to live with the living master, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, harmoniously with his people around here and live a very beautiful, rich life which we have here.”

Chloe Prasinos:
Whenever Milt Ritter came to report on the ranch, Sheela would try to convince him to join the sannyasins.

Milt Ritter:
And she says, you know, come on. It’s, you know, what’s there to lose? Everything is taken care of for you here. All your food is made for you. Your laundry is done, you have housing. Why wouldn’t you just do this?

Roman Mars:
Sheela didn’t convince Milt Ritter to move, but she had a very persuasive way about her and she was becoming more and more powerful.

Ma Ananda Sarita:
There was a kind of what we could call a power elite, so Sheela was considered to be the boss, and especially when Bhagwan was in silence. Then she took on more and more authority.

Roman Mars:
At first, it seemed like Sheela wanted to have a good relationship with the surrounding Oregon community. She threw a party out at the ranch and invited the locals, but it didn’t last.

Chloe Prasinos:
A lot of people think that it was Sheela that steered Rajneeshpuram into a dark chapter, one that began with the neighboring town of Antelope.

Roman Mars:
Antelope was a small community of about 40 people, mostly retirees.

Milt Ritter:
It was kind of a depressed little community and had a grocery store and maybe a gas station, I think, and not a whole lot more.

Roman Mars:
The sannyasins saw an opportunity in Antelope. They knew the future of their commune was subject to the county’s laws. If they had control of a town, an established town whose incorporation wasn’t hanging in the balance, they could influence county policy and carve out a permanent place for themselves in Oregon.

Chloe Prasinos:
So the sannyasins purchased vacant houses in town, moved their people in and generally made life in Antelope miserable. They harassed locals constantly, partied in their driveways, made fun of them on the street, and, just to intimidate people, they took photos of license plates and videotaped city council meetings.

Dan Durow:
They were obviously given a mission: take over the town of Antelope.

Chloe Prasinos:
Over the course of a couple of years, the sannyasins stacked the city council and elected their own mayor. They even took over Antelope’s school and forced ranchers to bus their children to another town an hour away.

Roman Mars:
They ran the place.

Milt Ritter:
And eventually they changed the name of antelope to Rajneesh.

Chloe Prasinos:
Another city named for their guru.

Milt Ritter:
Now they were pissing people off.

Chloe Prasinos:
Anti-Rajneesh sentiment spread like wildfire across the state. You started seeing bumper stickers that said “better dead than red,” a reference to the sannyasins’ red clothing.

Roman Mars:
And some of this anti-Rajneesh sentiment turned violent. A hotel in Portland owned by the Rajneeshis was bombed, though no one was killed, and both the guru and Sheela began receiving death threats. Sheela felt they were under attack.

Ma Anand Sheela:
“Stop persecuting us once and for all. And if they want to continue persecuting us, even though we are non-violent people, we will show them that we won’t take this kind of harassment.”

Roman Mars:
Rajneeshpuram’s police force, they called it the peace force, started buying more and more weapons. Sannyasins with rifles followed the guru everywhere. Sheela carried a sidearm. The city even had two helicopter reconnaissance teams.

Dan Durow:
And then there were demonstrations that they would show to the media at the firing range of all these automatic and semiautomatic weapons that they had, and they had a lot of them.

Roman Mars:
The takeover of Antelope, the brandishing of weapons, it was all too much. State and county politicians got together and put the bureaucratic smack down on Rajneeshpuram.

Chloe Prasinos:
First, the Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission amended their rules. Now counties would have to check with the state before allowing a new city to incorporate.

Roman Mars:
The new rule was retroactive to right around the time Rajneeshpuram was incorporated.

Chloe Prasinos:
And then a county judge stalled all construction in Rajneeshpuram. No more building until their status as a city was sorted out.

Roman Mars:
Rajneeshpuram seemed to be losing the battle to exist as a city. Here’s county planner, Dan Durow again.

Dan Durow:
And it wasn’t long after that too, I think, that they then began to move in the street people from around the country, and busing them in and housing them there on the ranch.

Roman Mars:
In the fall of 1984, Sheela announced that the sannyasins would open their city to the homeless.

Milt Ritter:
Their idea was that if we can bring in enough people to live here and we can convince them to vote for the Rajneesh candidates, we could actually get a couple of people on the county council and maybe get some things going our way.

Chloe Prasinos:
Sheela denied that the new residents were there just to vote. She claimed she wanted to share the bounty with them and named the initiative, the ‘Share a Home Program’.

Ma Anand Sheela:
“Nobody else is taking care of them. Somebody has to do it. And I’m grateful that they’re ready to share with us.”

Chloe Prasinos:
The program got a lot of media attention.

News Report:
“Some 300 of the new arrivals now meditate. 70 have just become full fledged sannyasins.”

Chloe Prasinos:
As many as 4,000 homeless Americans were brought to Rajneeshpuram during the Share a Home Program.

Roman Mars:
But behind the scenes, the new residents weren’t treated well. Rajneeshpuram leadership tried to keep them in line by drugging them with Haldol, a powerful anti-psychotic. Not surprisingly, many of the new residents ended up leaving.

Chloe Prasinos:
And then, in a final desperate move, the leadership of Rajneeshpuram devised an insane plan to prevent the rest of the county from voting.

Roman Mars:
By making people too sick to go to the polls.

Milt Ritter:
The way they did it evidently is they would go to these restaurants and buy a lunch, and when they went to the salad bar, they would pull out a little squirt bottle that they had concocted in the lab at Rajneeshpuram that had salmonella in it, and they would just spray this over the salad bar and then slip it back in their pocket and nobody knew.

Chloe Prasinos:
There were no fatalities, but 750 people were poisoned. The sannyasin power elite wouldn’t be connected to the poisonings for another year.

Roman Mars:
To this day, it is the largest act of bioterrorism on US soil. By 1985, Rajneeshpuram had entered its death throes.

Ma Ananda Sarita:
It had become a kind of oppressive energy you could say on the ranch.

Chloe Prasinos:
The guru finally emerged from his vow of silence. Sheela couldn’t speak on his behalf anymore.

Ma Ananda Sarita:
And then I think she started getting more and more nervous. As he came out more, than she started feeling perhaps that her power was waning.

Roman Mars:
And suddenly Sheela was gone.

Chloe Prasinos:
She left Rajneeshpuram for West Germany.

Ma Ananda Sarita:
And then once she had fled, then all these things started coming to light because then people started speaking and putting the pieces of the puzzle together.

Chloe Prasinos:
There was a long list of dirty deeds that Sheela and her lieutenants had perpetrated over the past several years.

Roman Mars:
Including but not limited to the salmonella poisoning, a huge wire tapping operation throughout Rajneeshpuram, a plot to murder the gurus physician and Oregon’s attorney general, and the firebombing of Wasco county’s planning department, Dan Durow’s office.

Chloe Prasinos:
There were also rumors of crimes Sheela and her inner circle perpetrated against sannyasins – sedating people for days against their will, telling troublemakers they were HIV-positive and quarantining them so their descent wouldn’t catch. Some sannyasins were forcibly sterilized.

Milt Ritter:
99 and 44/100s percent of the people who lived at Rajneeshpuram, they were just good people trying to eke out a life, you know, in what they thought was the perfect utopia. And to them this was shocking.

Ma Ananda Sarita:
Like complete shock and disbelief. And then at the same time once it started coming to light, there was relief that she was gone.

Chloe Prasinos:
The guru started talking to reporters. He claimed innocence and invited the authorities to investigate the ranch.

Reporter:
“Did you really not know what was going on in Antelope?

Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh:
“When I was silent, I was completely unaware.”

Roman Mars:
“When I was silent, I was completely unaware.” That’s an archival recording of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.

Chloe Prasinos:
Soon Sheela was extradited from West Germany on a slew of charges. She pled guilty, but said Rajneesh was the mastermind, that she was only acting on behalf of her spiritual master.

Roman Mars:
Her sentence? Three concurrent 20 year terms to be served in Pleasanton, California.

Chloe Prasinos:
The guru was also charged, but for lesser crimes. He got five years probation, $400,000 in fines, and he was deported.

Dan Durow:
The whole ranch just kind of ground to a standstill. These people were grieving.

Roman Mars:
And then Rajneeshpuram dissolved.

Milt Ritter:
Everything was being auctioned off. Everything from Rolls Royces to police uniforms. After the auction, it was a ghost town.

Chloe Prasinos:
Sarita was one of the last sannyasins to leave. She admits things went terribly awry, but she still feels good about what they built in Rajneeshpuram.

Ma Ananda Sarita:
Even though it didn’t last, the fact is that for a number of years we were living in a very, very beautiful harmony with each other, so this was an amazing achievement and I think it can serve as a model. The fact that there was some kind of power games going on and there was these destructive elements, that you will find anywhere.

Roman Mars:
Rajneesh returned to India where he continued to be a spiritual leader under a different name, Osho. He died of heart failure in 1990, but his teachings still command a global following.

Chloe Prasinos:
Sheela only served about two years of her 20-year sentence. She was released early for good behavior. Now she lives in Switzerland where she owns nursing homes for the elderly and disabled.

Roman Mars:
Today, the city that the sannyasins left behind has been transformed into a different kind of community.

Chloe Prasinos:
My co-producer Steven and I went out to where Rajneeshpuram used to be. We drove down the long gravel road and descended down into the valley that is now home to one of the largest youth Christian camps in the country, owned and operated by an organization called Young Life. The meditation hall where sannyasins used to gather is now a massive sports complex with a batting cage, four basketball courts, ping pong tables, you name it. The old hotel is now a dormitory. Occasionally they use the airstrip the sannyasins left behind to fly in international campers.

Roman Mars:
Rajneeshpuram isn’t a city anymore. It’s now called the Washington Family Ranch and is under a county jurisdiction. It’s still a place for religious seekers, but not the kind that wants to build a utopia. Just thousands of Christian teens looking to have “the best week of their lives.”

Roman Mars:
99% Invisible was produced this week by Chloe Prasinos and Steven Jackson, with Katie Mingle, Avery Trufelman, Sam Greenspan, Kurt Kohlstedt, and me, Roman Mars. Special thanks to the Oregon Historical Society for the use of their archive, and this episode also features a bunch of music from Humeysha, whose first album just came out. It is going to be big. I like the album so much I decided to put the full vocal version of the first song on the album at the end of this episode. So stay tuned and you’re going to have your new favorite song. You heard it here first.

Credits

Production

Reporters Chloe Prasinos and Steven Jackson spoke with reporter Milt Ritter; former Rajneeshpuram resident Ma Ananda Sarita and Wasco County planner Dan Durow. Lead image and additional images provided by Yogi unless otherwise noted.

Music

This episode features music from Humeysha. “Burma Between You and Me” is your new favorite song.

  1. Very interesting episode. My grandparents and some family friends were some of the victims of the salmonella poisoning in a restaurant in the city of The Dalles.

  2. Julio Cedano

    Great episode, shows the ways we can go around existing policies to create, in this case a small city that didn’t have a good end to it. What is the song midway of the podcast?

  3. J.M. Aileron

    What perfect symmetry that it’s now a Young Life site. Some things never change, they just get shined up for the next batch of willing sycophants.

    1. ms X

      jesus has a way of taking something dead, degraded or decayed and bringing it back to life. Cleansing, salvaging and healing it for vibrant new life. The people in the pic are having something called FUN. without plotting to murder or enrich some decadent old phoney. You have NO clue.

    1. Yoann

      It always comes down to that doesn’t it, with commune leaders or dictators.

  4. George

    Matt Groening used this guy and his organization/cult into an episode of The Simpsons called The Joy of Sect when the Simpson family falls under the spell of a charismatic leader who drives around in a Rolls Royce like this guy.

  5. Brian

    Great episode. I grew up in Portland during this time and heard about this as it unfolded on the radio news, but I was a kid and it’s nice to revisit what happened. In addition to those memories, this episode reminded me a of “The Mega Maharishi”–a local wrestler in the “heel” role who would don the red robes of Rajneeshpuram and rile up the crowd in the 80s:

  6. This episode was so fascinating to me, especially since I had just submitted a proposal for some potential work in the neighboring Sherman County. Going to be visiting this area tomorrow and hopefully more in the future.

  7. What was the song that was mentioned at the end of the podcast I can’t find it anywhere, or maybe I keep misspelling it?

  8. Sw. Prem Pravas

    I first arrived at Rajneeshpuram in August of 1984, shortly before the Share a Home program began. I was there for about three months in the fall of ’84. My last time at Rancho Rajneesh was October 1985, after Bhagwan’s middle-of-the-night attempted escape that landed him in a North Carolina jail wearing an orange jumpsuit (surprised you didn’t mention that) and shortly before it was all dissolved.

    Your account is fairly balanced, but like so many in the media, you focus on the big news story and mostly miss what this movement was really about. No, building a utopia wasn’t the big goal of the group. That was just another stop along the way.

    Yes, some of the people who had been around longer than I put their hearts and souls into it and were disappointed to see it all fall apart. But a popular joke among sanyassins was about someone who falls off a building and halfway to the ground says, “So far, so good.”

    It was about being spontaneous, overcoming the things that hold us back, and accepting life. As you mentioned, Bhagwan took ideas from all the religions as well as modern psychology and turned them into his own teachings. I benefited greatly from my time as a sanyassin. And I didn’t have to give up all of my personal belongings. Maybe some did that, but almost everyone I knew still had their stuff and their lives.

    I knew nothing about what was really going on with Sheela and her cronies, but most of us knew that things weren’t right at the top.

    Also, your story makes it sound like all or most of the homeless people brought in were drugged, but that was not what I saw. I worked with many of them on the farm and ate with them in the dining rooms. For some of them, their time at the ranch was a life-changing experience.

    Thanks for letting me relive those magical days a little bit with your mostly well done story. And thanks for posting the photos here. I still have my Rajneesh Currency Card, too.

    If you want to do a followup story on life at the ranch among those of us who weren’t involved in the criminal activity at the top, let me know. I’d be happy to share my perspective.

  9. Riddler

    Weird that you didn’t discuss that Young Life is either a cult, or right on the edge of being a cult. Your story made it sound like an innocent summer camp, when we all know it’s reputation is very different than that. I’m here for the often invisible truth, and don’t think it wise to gloss over the controversy surrounding this group. You don’t have to agree with it, but it at least is worth noting.

  10. Trevor Keen

    This cult camp was described by Christopher Hitchens in his book “God is Not Great – How Religion Poisons Everything”. It’s sad that ownership of the camp just seems to have been passed from one small cult to a much larger one. Couldn’t it just be a nice vacation resort?
    From Young Life’s Wikpedia page:
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  11. Anonymous

    This may be overly picky, but while it is certainly important to recognize the genocide and war crimes committed by European colonizers of the Americas, I think the addendum is not technically accurate. In 1763, the US did not exist, so it was on US soil. Again, certainly worth noting, and something that we do far to little in the US (especially compared Canada), so thank you for recognizing it, but perhaps it would be more accurate to say in North America…

  12. Eric Croddy

    Great feature and very well done. Minor point: the mass poisoning (Salmonella typhimurium) was the largest known bioterrorist attack on US soil. The intent behind the smallpox blankets was truly horrific but there’s no evidence that it hastened the spread of the disease: most indigenous populations had already died or had been exposed via natural transmission. The smallpox lesions (crusts) would not have carried active virus.

    1. Joseph Meyer

      Thank you. Invoking smallpox blanket legend does not lend credence to this article.

  13. Richard Parker

    You said Osho died of natural causes, however he himself the one who died says that he was poisoned by the U.S Goverment, during his 12 day, no bail, jail time in 6 different jails. Look up the video on Youtube. There was little to no evidence of Baghwans involvement in the crimes he was charged with. Think about it, even if he did do crimes there would be no evidence against him. He didn’t take part it any crimes and communicated very discreetly, infact he was in complete silence for several years. They kept him in 6 different jails for 12 days without bail and evidence. He took the deal so that he could have peace. He was tired and chose not to fight the case, which according to several expert lawyers, he had a good chance of winning…..The fact that you have a whole article on him, means that he did something. Look into his teachings not the stories and press, read his books. He literally tells evryone to listen to no one including OSHO. Many of the experiences of actual people living there went under the radar. Look it up. Wild Wild West needs to get numbers up.

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