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Jan-29-2010 00:48printcomments

Amazing Images of Rajneesh Puram, Oregon's 'Bagwan Period'

These fascinating photos show the beauty of the area as Q approached the compound in what before and after the days of the town being called "Rajneesh Puram" it is simply known as Antelope, one set of photos that you do not want to miss!

Rajneeshpuram, Oregon 1985

(RAJNEESH PURAM, Ore.) - Land once occupied by a notorious religious cult in Oregon is being designated as a Wilderness Area, and it seemed a good time to publish a series of photographs by Q Madp of that were snapped on July 21st, 1985.

Madp said, "I went to check out a peculiar group of people that formed a commune on a place known as the Muddy Ranch in eastern Oregon."

'Peculiar' as he would later learn, would ultimately be what you would call a mild description, for this group that followed the teachings of a man who investigators later learned, bilked his followers for the most part, out of everything they owned. That might explain the fleet of over twenty Rolls Royce's the Bagwan Rashneesh was said to have particularly cherished.

These fascinating photos show the beauty of the area as Q approached the compound during the time the town was called "Rajneeshpuram"; today it has returned to its original name of Antelope, Oregon.

The crazy stories about this place abound, and there are many Oregonians who remember this strange period very well. Q's photos show people in purple robes around large buildings on the compound itself, and then there are the purple-uniformed Rajneesh Police.

Q says it was not something he soon forgot, and after making it through the encounter with the "local cops", he got the heck out of there.

"There are some interesting stories... which include trying to poison the nearest town so they could have the rule of the land on their side," he said. "They supposedly poisoned the water at the local Sizzler and a lot of people got sick."

Then there was the way they took empty buses to Burnside in Portland and brought them back filled with "formerly" homeless people to Antelope so the Rajneesh citizenry could rename the town. For a couple of months they had quite a population, but most of the homeless were returned to Portland without delay. The Rajneeshes took over for some time, but the poisoning event Q referenced brought an end to it.

Bonnie King had a chance meeting with a young woman who was en route to join the Bagwan Rashneesh in 1983. It was in the Portland International Airport, and they were both waiting to be picked up during a snow storm. It took about four hours, so Bonnie heard her sad personal story of loss and betrayal in detail. Typical scenario for many people drawn to the cult leader. Bonnie really liked her, and knew her destination could not ultimately be good. In the end they went their separate ways. Her friend's ride arrived, two men in long red robes escorted her out to the waiting van and Bonnie never saw her again.

I sat in one of the Rolls Royce limousines he used to own when it was on display in the Auto Collections in the Imperial Palace in Las Vegas.

It is a weird chapter in Oregon's history, I am really glad Q Madp took the time to locate the old negatives that these prints were made from.


Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines. Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Serving the community in very real terms, is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. You can send Tim an email at this address:

Q Madp is a person who has dedicated his life to preserving the integrity of those who have died fighting for their nation overseas. This is a person who has wrapped his entire life around his efforts to preserve the legacies of people who have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as during other conflicts. He doesn’t think their deaths should go unrecognized, and he is right. Q is a photographer and he has his work cut out for him as the self-appointed unofficial photographer of NW military funerals. He travels to services and he is constantly on the move. When he isn’t driving or shooting pictures, Q spends his time researching combat statistics and adding names to the vast list that he hopes will eventually include every American lost in the combat theaters and every other allied soldier as well. His Website is easy to remember, is a place of memories for thousands of families who have lost a loved one.

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Lorraine April 4, 2013 8:26 pm (Pacific time)

Theres alot of stories about who this man was but unless you saw him or was witness to what he and his cult were about, you really have no clue. I experienced the "Rajneeshy" days and i know there was nothing good about him. Why would anyone think that a man was good who tried to poison the water system of a city?

tiguer paw March 4, 2013 6:13 pm (Pacific time)

When Cristo spoke out, we killed him. When Osho tried to reach out to help us,we deport Him.

MyHammie July 11, 2012 2:30 pm (Pacific time)

Are there followers still around and what are they about?

np May 29, 2012 9:16 am (Pacific time)

It was actually a pretty high-minded ideal, to create a city based on meditation, personal growth, and the teachings of a master, rather than one based on the pursuit of money and the daily grind. I was there as a child for about a year, part of a pretty turbulent childhood... it was unique.

Editor: You should write about your experience, I would gladly publish it.,  it is great perspective.  Thank you.

Anonymous May 11, 2012 7:58 am (Pacific time)

Pinheads that all!

Suzi February 28, 2011 8:03 pm (Pacific time)

All the people who are passing judgement here without knowing who Rajneesh was and what he about, Please take some time to get to know him or read thousands of his discourses to understand him. To me he was a threat to christinity (those who believe that Jesus was or is the only God kind of people) than huminity. in fact as powerful as Rajneesh was, he would have lead the rest of the world to believe that he is the only God. indeed his teaching is 1000 times better than typical christan and the churches teach in name of Jesus.

bhumi February 19, 2011 6:47 pm (Pacific time)

dont know where you got the pictures but they show nothing of the amazing things that can happen when people work togather

TRUTH or accuraccy May 10, 2010 1:39 pm (Pacific time)

There was no "Sizzler" in The Dalles. One of the places was a Shakey's Pizza. The thing is, if they would not demonstrated their aggression on Wasco County, they would problably still be there (as long as the money kept flowing to bagwan)

Julie January 30, 2010 12:04 pm (Pacific time)

It's nice to be able to wear red again, without every one on the street turning to look! There never would have been a "red hat society" back then!

gp January 29, 2010 3:46 am (Pacific time)

We were amused by the Rajneesh until the poisoning happened. Of course, when it was over we were all able to find red, rose,purple and orange clothing in the second hand stores again, that was a good thing.And we could wear them too and not be mistaken for a devotee. The funny thing is we jokingly accused a friend of being a cult memeber when we saw her wearing the colors of the sunrise and sunset only a few days ago. So for us Oregonians of a certain age, the Rajneesh are part of our historical context. Yes there were some evil people there, but like most religions the cult followers were just that, followers, people looking to fill the empty spot within themselves by some painless and easy way. Like followers of other religions,they woke up one day to find that they were being used, bamboozled, ripped off, and lead by crooks who find religious yearnings to be a convenient way to make a living.

Daniel January 29, 2010 8:44 am (Pacific time)

What no shots of the Rolls Royces !

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