NHT's Writing Desk

When the 'guru' really isn't ...

i have written this article to provide links to the 1984 news story - 
Instead of continually having to repeat the story every time I read a Facebook post 
quoting ‘wisdom’ from a bearded guy named “Osho," -
few know that this guy launched the first bio-terror attack in modern times on US soil -
(just for clarity: he was Hindu, not Muslim ... )
image source:  OregonLive.com

first, understand that ‘Osho’ is a pseudonym perpetuated by his misguided followers 
after the death of, as he is more infamously known, the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh -- 
this man launched the first bio-terror attack on American soil
(in the Columbia River Gorge which divides Oregon and Washington state)
by lacing the service and salad bars in local restaurants with salmonella
and ultimately infecting 751 people ranging in age from 2 days to 87 years …
his insidious goal was political to gain power in this isolated outpost of Oregonian agriculture
by making voters too sick to get to the polls and bussing in the homeless to turn the election ...
As a Bostonian with a northeast grasp of journalism, I know without a doubt
that if this story had happened on the east coast instead of in Oregon, 
that the entire nation would know about it …
as it is, I have encountered way too many who know nothing --
hence, my penchant to set folks straight without repeating myself ...

 this story is up-close and personal to me because, in our search to homeschool without interference
(homeschooling was illegal at the time - parents were being jailed and losing their children),
we had discovered that Oregon was most tolerant 
(as long as you didn't mention being catholic which, in Oregon, had itself been illegal up 'til 1928) -
nevertheless taking my chances on the latter,
we had just located our young family to the area in Oregon 
when and where all of this was happening …

people as far away from the action as 100 miles were panicked …
it was a crazy and intense Welcome to Oregon for this mother with young children

Although the words of “Osho” may ring with your soul,
for myself, a strong believer that actions speak louder than words,
I make it a point to let folks know just who this man was 
whenever and wherever he is mentioned --

nothing is more lost than a society prescribing to the words of its own enemies

©2016, 2018
all rights reserved


For more info   
Here is a Time 2001 article entitled “America’s First BioTerror Attack"  Time was est. in 1923

This is a 2011 article from OregonLive.com  -  a 5-parter because it’s a crazy, crazy story, 
the first part being titled “Twenty-Five Years Later: it was worse than thought” --

This is a 2018 link  to the original 20 part series in the The Oregonian (est 1850)