Atlas Obscura explores a failed Oregon Utopia


Okay, so it’s technically a little outside the “state of Jefferson,” but…

Atlas Obscura—surely one of the most wonderful sites on the web—has posted a fascinating little historical tour of Muddy Ranch, near Antelope, Oregon. This ranch, taken originally from the Paiutes and the scene of a bloody battle, is also the erstwhile home of (among other social experiments) the notorious Rajneeshpuram, the “City of Rajneesh.”

According to the author, Adrian Shirk,

This September is the 30th anniversary of the dissipation of Rajneeshpuram, the utopian city established on the Muddy Ranch. For a time in 1984, Rajneeshpuram was not only the fastest growing city in Oregon, but potentially the fastest growing city in America, according to the Chicago Tribune. At its peak, there were between 2,000 and 3,000 permanent residents, though it was built to house 6,000, and around gatherings and festivals the population reportedly rose into the tens of thousands.

But just a year later, this intentional community met its dramatic end when its two most powerful leaders, the Bhagwan himself and his fearsome spokeswoman, were charged respectively with immigration fraud, conspiracy, attempted murder, and organizing the single largest domestic bioterrorism attack in America.

This ranch, Shirk says, embodies “every major trope of the American West.”

Read the article here. 

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Categories: Pacific Northwest and Mythical State of Jefferson.

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