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Amazing Images of Rajneesh Puram, Oregon's 'Bagwan Period'Story by Tim King Photos by Q Madp Salem-News.com
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!
(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 IraqWarHeroes.org 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.
ENJOY THE SLIDESHOW, PHOTOS BY Q MADP::
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 Salem-News.com'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, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. You can send Tim an email at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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, IraqWarHeroes.org is a place of memories for thousands of families who have lost a loved one.
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