HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Religion & Spirituality » Religion (Group) » Memories of a Cult from m...

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 02:39 PM

Memories of a Cult from my childhood...

I grew up in Southern California, between 1945 when I was born, until 1963, when I left that area for good. One of the memories I have that extends over much of that time was of a cult that had its home in the Santa Susana Mountains, near Chatsworth, CA. Run by a man who called himself Krishna Venta, but whose real name was Francis Pencovic, his small cult, popularly called the Box Canyon Cult, for its location, was part of my life in the small town nearby where I grew up. the cult's real name was "Fountain of the World." It's followers were called "The Barefoot Boys," by residents in nearby towns, for their unshod nature when begging for donations.

Unknown until a 1949 plane crash near the compound, the cult, which numbered as many as 50 or so, was dedicated to world peace, universal love and the pursuit of
knowledge. Its leader considered himself to be Jesus Christ. He was more dedicated to having sex with as many of the women in the cult as he could, which I suppose was the "universal love" part or something.

They used to show up in my little town every so often, elegant in white robes, and somewhat inelegant in the aroma that wafted from beneath those robes. They'd go door to door, asking for donations. My mother, soft-hearted and kindly woman that she was, always gave them a dollar or two, and then cautioned us children not to mention that to our father, who was less soft-hearted and tended to be unkind to crazy people coming to the door.

After some run-ins with the law over bad checks and other minor offenses, the cult developed some schisms, as often happens in cults. A couple of the men in white robes took umbrage at Krishna Venta's habit of screwing their wives. In December of 1958, not long before Christmas, those men blew up the compound with 20 sticks of dynamite, killing themselves, Krishna Venta, and several others. It is unknown whether the space ship Venta said brought them to Earth returned to take them back. I was all of 13 years old when that happened, and it was the talk of the town for some time. We were not supposed to know about the philandery, of course, being so young, but we did.

You can learn more at: http://www.charliemanson.com/places/fountain_of_the_world.htm or by searching for "box canyon cult." A fascinating bit of religious history, I think, with tentacles that reach into many cults and other religious groups, I think. Oddly enough, people continued to live at the cult's location, and its history goes on into the 1970s, and has links to the Charles Manson group and other unseemly folks. Several murders are associated with this later occupation. You can learn more about that at http://www.charliemanson.com/links-fountain.htm

Cults are interesting, since they represent the extremes that religious belief can take some people.

10 replies, 6805 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread

Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 02:44 PM

1. Vote Romneylan For Pope





Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 02:54 PM

2. Holy Mackerel! Fish sticks and crackers! Reminds me of a cult in San Franscisco I met once. Ugh.

Guess the polygamy scam isn't unusual after all.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to freshwest (Reply #2)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 02:58 PM

3. Nah. Boinking the female followers is one of the

fringe benefits of cult leadership. That's in the rules. I read it in "Starting a Cult for Dummies." It seems to be a fixed benefit, really. Sometimes, other religious folks try to take advantage of that benefit, but they don't have it vested in their doctrine, and usually get caught with their pants down, so to speak. Sometimes they even get confused about who they're supposed to be doing that to. It can all be so confusing at times. That's why I gave op the idea of starting a cult. Too much confusion, really.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MineralMan (Reply #3)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 03:17 PM

4. I never liked the robes

that's why I never started one. Robes make me look fat.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to freshwest (Reply #2)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 04:15 PM

7. It's a hallmark of too many charismatic cult leaders

who use sex to display their complete dominance over the people in the cult. It goes across national borders and cultures.

The cult I knew best were the Mel Lyman people in Boston in the late 60s. Lyman would do things like decree all the women wear cocktail dresses (one I particularly remember) so you'd see all the women in the cult grocery shopping completely tarted up at 8:30 AM.

Even as a drugged up hippie I found those people weird.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Warpy (Reply #7)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 05:50 PM

9. I was invited to join one in SF. The guy was anything but charismatic. Besides, I'm monogamous.

I sensed something much like fundie cults with Wife #1 standing right behind GodsGiftToWomen, awaiting my answer. And a load of confused young men and nauseated young women on my side of the room. Nice parlor, there.

GodsGift had the same amount of sex appeal as Karl Rove. I knew what I liked, and no way I was gonna be part of a harem, and I wouldn't have agreed to be monogamous with the DudeInCharge, anyway. A large part of me was saying, WTF is wrong with these people, is anyone this damn lonely?

When DudeInCharge explained his Vision of sleeping with a different woman every night, I said I'd have to pass. He and Wife #1 tried to give me a bad time for it, asking why I didn't wanna be part of their wonderful family. Ah, they had my role all planned out as I interviewed, since I was planning to transfer with my company for a good paying job there. They explained I'd be one of the 'hunter gatherers for the tribe.'

I didn't actually object to sharing some of my pay, I mean, I was a total outsider, a stranger, didn't know my way around. I'm open minded to living new ways, but just handing my body over to anyone? Forget that.

I babbled some shit about how I had this fragile something inside me that would get broken, so sorry very much but I just had to say 'No.' Kinda in the range of the precious little snowflake gambit. Which appeared to have blown GodsGift and Wife #1's minds completely. I was utterly sincere, even though it sounds now like I'm kidding, but admit that I do have the gift of bullshit.

One of the young couples indicated to me later that night they didn't want to share themselves with the rest any more, they wanted to be monogamous and might leave the group. So I spent the night next to their living space.

I give them all of the cult members credit, I didn't have a place to stay. No one tried to molest me or coerce me into staying. They took me out to a veggie restaurant in the Haight and looked out for me, because there were people freaking out, having DTs and stuff, you couldn't cross the street by yourself without getting accosted.

If DudeInCharge or anyone else had tried anything, they'd have been walking funny for a month from taking a bow if one got friendly, the way I was back then. Vibes.

Other than that, it was an interesting trip to see San Francisco. Several interesting things to learn and an eye opening experience in the largest, oldest city I'd ever seen. I'd never been in a city anything like that, and I loved the mass transit. I flew home and went back to work to my conventional life.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 03:44 PM

5. Venta also "crucified" himself every year...

But not really. He was tied to a cross, and sat on a cleverly concealed bicycle seat.

Is this the etymology of "Christ on a bicycle?" LOL...

I learned that from my grandfather's giant stash of old "men's magazines." Not Playboy and such, but the "action" men's mags. The ones with wonderfully sleazy covers and titles like "I Survived The Sex-Starved Nazi She-Devils of Hell's POW Camp!!!"

I distinctly remember one lurid cover showing a sweaty, half-naked guy up on a cross. It was a story about Venta and FOTW, after the bombing. It mentioned the fake crucifixions. And the fact that Venta had ordered females in the cult to "cleave only unto" him.

Six degrees of separation: that was back in South Carolina long ago. Nowadays I live pretty close to Box Canyon and the old Spahn Movie Ranch, where the Manson family hung out.

Here's a 2004 article from the Acorn, the local newspaper in Simi Valley. About the night of the bombing:

In an ironic twist, a small fire station sat directly across the street from the compound, but immediate help was delayed because the explosion threw the huge door of the fire station off its hinges. One firefighter had to lift the door while another drove the engine out.

Gawd sure does work in mysterious ways.

http://www.simivalleyacorn.com/news/2004-04-02/Neighbors/013.html

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to onager (Reply #5)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 03:54 PM

6. That road, Box Canyon Road,

leads to lots of things. I talked to my parents this afternoon. They remembered a wife-swapping group that lived up that canyon, too. Must be something in the air there that attracts strange people. They distinctly remembered Krishna Venta and his followers, too. They remembered much more than I did.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MineralMan (Reply #6)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 04:31 PM

8. Nah, the REAL weirdos are over in Laurel Canyon...



Nothing to see here in the boring, suburban San Fernando Valley. Now move along. Please ignore all those "porn capital of the world" stories...

Wife-swapping groups? You could probably still find those in just about any bar in the Los Angeles County, any weekend.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 07:21 PM

10. Let's don't make it seem like religion is uniquely a boys' club.........

Pastor Melissa Scott managed to inherit the whole empire of her hubby and infamous philanderer Gene. That story, which is mindboggling, at least shows that there are assets on both sides.

Her services are private, but reports are the congregation is practically exclusively male.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread