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Rajneesh, Bhagwan Shree (1931–1990)

In 1984, disciples of the Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh used salmonella bacteria to poison 750 people in rural Oregon.

Rajneesh, an Indian philosophy professor turned spiritual guru, left his commune in Poona, India, in 1981 and traveled to the United States. He established a commune on a 64,000-acre ranch in the high desert of Wasco County, Oregon. In a short time, the commune, called Rajneeshpuram, developed into a small city, complete with sewer and water systems, a paved airstrip, a 44-acre reservoir, a shopping mall, and its own “peace” force that carried assault weapons and patrolled the commune 24 hours a day.

As the commune's population swelled to more than 4,000, one hundred times that of the local community of Antelope, tensions mounted. Some of Rajneesh's followers moved into Antelope and took over the city council, changing the city's name to Rajneesh. Antelope's population ...

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