Recently unearthed documents belonging to the member of Orange People details the twisted murder and bio-terrorism plots inside Oregon’s notorious Rajneesh cult.
Two years members of the Indian ‘sex cult’ were jailed for poisoning hundreds of people with salmonella, a 14-year-old boy discovered secret documents hidden inside an old, locked filing cabinet his father had bought from the commune.
The weathered manila folder, which had been taped underneath the bottom of the second drawer, had the words: ‘RAJ Neesh PURAM’ scrawled across it and gave sinister titles to its different sections, including: ‘POISONINGS.’ ‘Abuse of Power.’ ‘Drug Abuse.’ ‘Unreported Deseases (sic).’
Two years members of the Indian ‘sex cult’ were jailed for poisoning hundreds of people with Salmonella, a 14-year-old boy discovered secret documents hidden inside an old filing cabinet. It had the words: ‘RAJ Neesh PURAM’ scrawled across it
The documents belonging to the member of Orange People details the twisted murder and bio-terrorism plots inside Oregon’s notorious Rajneesh cult
The ‘Poisoning’ page outlined how each different member had been involved with the poisoning plot
It also had sinister titles to its different sections, including: ‘POISONINGS.’ ‘Abuse of Power.’ ‘Drug Abuse.’ ‘Unreported Deseases (sic)’
The documents, obtained by Oregon Live, describe how salmonella bacteria was cultivated in a makeshift lab, nicknamed the Chinese laundry, in a bit to destroy the Oregonian city of The Dalles.
Followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, also known as Osho, were seeking election in two Wasco County Circuit Court seats but feared they couldn’t get enough votes. So they decided to use Salmonella bacteria to poison the population, first through infected glasses of water to two County Commissioners and then by spreading it at salad bars and in salad dressing at eight restauranrts.
More than 750 people contracted salmonella, sending 45 to hospital, although no one died.
The plot ended up with the members, Ma Anand Sheela and Ma Anand Puja, aka Sheela Silverman and Diane Yvonne Onang, being sent to jail. Sheela pleaded guilty to arson, attempted murder, wiretapping, poisoning and assault yet served just two years and five months in federal prison.
It revealed how Puja had reportedly asked the onsite lab to culture salmonella for the plot
The front of the file read Bhagwan, while on the back, the then-teen had written ‘simply fascinating’
, Ma Anand Sheela was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the salmonella plot but only served 29 months
Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh came to the US in 1981 to build a commune in Oregon, pictured above arrested for his part in an illegal immigration scheme at the church
The former prosecutor in that case, Robert Weaver, believes that someone in the cult may have started the manila folder because they were angry over the plot and wanted to expose the Rajneesh leaders.
‘My guess would be these were people so disgusted with Sheela and the power group they decided to document what was going on for themselves.’
The folder also details furious infighting at the cult which suggests that some may have been unhappy with how it was being run.
He also believes they could have been covering themselves.
‘Maybe for some sense of self-protection,’ he said. ‘Perhaps they really wanted to restore the Garden of Eden and thought this isn’t what we came for.’
Weaver says the notes would have been very useful during the trial but they were still able to get a conviction.
Rajneesh, pictured above, had a massive following in India, many of them Westerners, which inspired him to create a utopia in Antelope, Oregon on a 64,000-acre ranch
The ranch, pictured above, cost $5.75million and housed 1,600 followers. The commune built their own stores, homes, and police force
The manila folder also detailed how followers unsuccessfully attempted to kill the Bhagwan’s doctor, Swami Devaraj, by injecting him with adrenaline.
There was another failed hit on disciple, Helen Byron, after she sued the Bhagwan’s church, Rajneesh Foundation International, for not repaying a $300,000 loan.
A nearby town resident, Rosemary McGreer, who had been vocal in her opposition against the church’s attempt to turn the town into the city of Rajneeshpuram said she was ‘shaken’ but not surprised to learn she too had been targeted.
‘Heaven knows, they were doing these kinds of crazy things,’ she said.
The papers also revealed claims that the church had drugged members and visitors to the site.
It described how the antipsychotic medicine Haldol was slipped into beers given out to homeless people who were brought in to boost the Rajneeshee leader ranks to help sway a local election.
The 13 page, handwritten document, also detailed how the ran had ‘Blue Files’ with fake names and backgrounds of people on the commune in case of an immigration raid.
His followers donned red and orange and are seen waiting to greet Rajneesh on the ranch who is driving a Rolls Royce car, his favorite car of which he owned 93
The file came into the the teen’s hands in 1986 after his father, who did business with the cult, delivering refrigeration and freezer equipment, took the old office drawers off the church’s hands.
After the boy, made the shocking discovery, his family decided not to make it public in case they were targeted by church members.
There had also been a police investigation and several arrests, while some had fled the country, so his father told him the files probably wouldn’t tell prosecutors anything new.
So instead, the teen,from Terrebonne, now a 45-year-old man who lives in Washington State, kept the folder hidden among his coin collection for decades.
It was only when the new Netflix documentary ‘Wild Wild Country’ aired, that he remembered the incredible discovery.
‘Maybe it’s time I do tell somebody the story,’ he thought. ‘Maybe there may be some interest in it again.’
Cult leader Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh created a name for himself in India based on his spiritual teachings of open love and higher awareness.
His practices included naked meditation, group sex, and dancing.
In 1981 he created a utopia for his Western followers, purchasing a sprawling 64,000-acre ranch for $5.75million next the small town of Antelope, Oregon.
Rajneesh and his 1,600 disciples – many of them wealthy professionals – created a world for themselves on the camp with their own homes, stores, and police force.
They took over the area with their communal living style, their daily dancing and singing routines, and stuck out in the red and orange clothing.
However their world clashed with that of the sleepy Antelope town next door, home to just 45 residents and stretching less than a square mile in size, according to the NY Post.
Tensions between the cult and the town’s citizens heightened and three years later it came to a crash.
His following was pictured playing music and singing in a meditation session
The cult followed an ideology of open love and dancing every day, something that Antelope residents found bizarre
‘At first, they were seen as strange — not as a threat. Then they started buying property,’ Antelope resident John Silvertooth said to the NY Post previously.
‘They moved enough people in to get a majority on the town council . . . which changed the name of Antelope to Rajneesh. Main Street turned into Bhagwan Boulevard,’ he added.
The commune’s growing influence took over the town’s local council and adopted its own policies, igniting fury in the Antelope residents.
Video interviews collected from the 80s for a Netflix docu-series on the cult entitled Wild Wild Country reveal citizens’ outrage towards the Rajneesh followers.
‘I want that guru and his evil influence out of my city,’ one woman in the Netflix program.
Another local described the ashram as ‘run by satanic power’.
A former ranch resident said the daily dancing and strange practices ‘just struck fear in me. It was a cult.’
Locals – and doubtful ashram members – found the practices such as group sex therapy sessions that released repression to be bizarre.
‘Everyone was so crazy for enlightenment . . . [that they] took part in sexual encounters, emptied their pockets and proved their devotion [through] expensive gifts,’ Rajneesh’s spokesperson Sheela ‘Ma Anand’ Silverman wrote.
Rajneesh was indeed so wealthy from decades of donations in his mystic career that he had a taste for flashy items and boasted a collection of 93 Rolls-Royce automobiles.
Another former cult member told the NY Post that the ‘free love’ ideology created an unbridled sex environment.
Silvertooth said he once met a teenage hitchhiker escaping the ranch who said ‘he was sick of being raped’.
The madness of the Rajneesh community culminated in 1984 when the cult hatched a plan to win the November 1984 town council elections to drown out the Antelope residents’ dissent.
Rajneesh pictured above with a diamond watch revealing insight into his flashy taste, speaking at a conference
The cult practices spanned sing and dancing during meditations and group sex session, group also pictured in Germany
The commune in Oregon above where hundreds of followers take to picnic tables for a meal
Meditation and higher consciousness was a major theme in the cult’s practices
He along with his followers sought to overtake the town of Antelope by winning the local town council elections through devious tactics including poison
Their tactics included busing in thousands homeless people from New York City, Phoenix, and San Diego to register to vote in the small town in order to win a Rajneesh majority.
County authorities sniffed out the plan and refused to register the vagrants.
The salmonella plot was the largest bioterror attack in the United States.
The restaurant plot was a test run for the real plan of poisoning the city’s water supply, but the group never carried it out.
‘They put salmonella in the salad bars of 10 [local] restaurants; 700 people got sick. Then the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] got involved and they backed off [from the poison water plan],’ says Wild Wild Country co-director Maclain Way.
The election came and went, without a single Rajneeshee making it onto the commission.
‘That whole episode with the poisoning — it showed the extreme nature of some of the people there,’ a former cult member said.
The following year in 1985 a disciple burnt down a Wasco County Planning Office because it reportedly contained documents relating to a real estate investigation of the cult.
Rajneesh’s followers poisoned 10 restaurant salad bars, infecting 700 people with salmonella, the leader pictured above with one of his prized cars
A glimpse at his 93 Rolls-Royce collection above at the Oregon ranch camp site
Followers lifted their hands and sang whole-heartedly during sessions with the leader
A disciple is pictured crying out on the cult during a meeting. Many followers left the cult appalled with its practices that caused one boy to claim he was repeatedly raped
Rajneesh’s spokeswoman Silverman plotted the poisoning of the guru’s doctor, saying he was keeping him on drugs.
The cult also conspired to kill presidential appointee Charles Turner, who was investigating the ranch’s illegal activity spanning smuggling and immigration fraud.
The nation’s eyes were turned to the cult’s chaos that took over a once-quiet town, causing Rajneesh to flee.
He boarded a Learjet business aircraft to escape to India, but was caught and detained during a gas stop in Charlotte, North Carolina on October 28, 1985.
He was charged with immigration fraud in connection with the arranged marriages he set up for followers to gain American citizenship.
He agreed to stay out of the country and returned to India where he changed his name to Osho and his teachings continued.
He died in 1990 at the age of 58.
Now the site that was once the peak of the Rajneesh movement is home to a Christian camp.