Netflix’s new true-crime series Wild Wild Country is so outrageous that many viewers have questioned its authenticity. The story of the Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and the thousands of red-clad devotees he attracted is true.
It was filmed on three working ranches in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Really well done and really fascinating documentary about something really unique. Had it not been for so much genuine original material from that period, I personally would not have believed this story given its sheer scope and number of people involved.
People were free to come and go as they pleased as long as they didn’t hurt anyone. In the last week of September 1985, after Sheela fled in shame, Rajneesh declared that the religion of “Rajneeshism” and the “Rajneeshees” no longer exist and that anything bearing that name would be dismantled .
Rajneesh did not shy away from wealth. In fact, his teachings celebrate it. His wealth came from donations from devotees both in Rajneeshpuram and around the world. In India, he made money from wealthy locals, but as his popularity grew in the West, he began making his fortune directly from followers around the world.
At the end of Wild, Wild Country Niren explains that he is working on his own book – one that will likely be more for Rajneesh than Stork’s memoirs. As for the ranch that caused so much controversy? That’s also very different – well, depending on how you look at it. It is now a Christian youth camp.
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But one of the defining moments of the year’s weirdness arrived much closer to home and traveled back nearly four decades: Neflix’s Wild Wild Country, the boozed six-part documentary series about the Rajneesh grounds outside of Antelope , Oregon, in the 1980s.
The ranch, originally listed for over $28 million in 1985, was sold to the Connecticut General Life Insurance Company at a sheriff’s auction in late 1988 for $4.5 million. the sole bidder.
In 1984, the Rajneeshees bused 3,000 homeless people to their Oregon estate. Our reporter was one of them. The former Rajneeshees compound is now a Christian summer camp. This is participation.
Rancho Rajneesh, as it was known, controversially occupied Muddy Ranch until the group collapsed in 1985 and ownership reverted to the state of Oregon. In 1991, Dennis R. Washington’s Washington Construction, Montana (or an affiliate) company bought the ranch for $3.65 million.
According to a 1985 Los Angeles Times report, Rajneesh decreed that his Rajneeshees wear red because the color represented the sunrise. Rajneesh’s philosophy included the idea of the ‘new man’ – hence the symbolism of sunrise or dawn seems appropriate. The group’s sacred “Book of Rajneeshism” was also red.
In 1985, Sheela left the commune claiming that she could not meet Rajneesh’s demands for Rolls-Royce cars and expensive watches. After her departure, Rajneesh broke his vow of silence and accused her and her closest aides of poisoning local residents with salmonella bacteria to influence the result of the local elections.
Baghwan Shree Rajneesh, the Indian guru who attracted thousands of followers in his Oregon community in the early 1980s before being deported from the United States, died yesterday of heart disease at his Poona community in southern India, members of his Entourage there told reporters. He was 58 years old.
As reported about the site in a 2018 Netflix original documentary Wild Wild Country, the site eventually became a Christian camp called the Washington Family Ranch. It opened 20 years ago this month and anyone can visit. It is run by Colorado Springs-based youth ministry Young Life.