The city was on the site of a 64,229-acre property known as the Big Muddy Ranch.
Within three years, the neo-sannyasins developed a community, turning the ranch from an empty rural property into a city of up to 7,000 people, complete with typical urban infrastructure such as a fire department, police, restaurants, malls, townhouses, a 4,200-foot (1,300 m) airstrip, a public transport system using buses, a sewage reclamation plant and a reservoir.
Funding flowed in to support construction from a global network of lucrative communes, as well as sannyasins who sold their earthly possessions and donated the proceeds toward the effort. These devotees were also taught that labour was a form of meditation, and willingly worked long hours to make Rajneeshpuram a reality.
With devoted labourers working to create a dam and build power production infrastructures, a city quickly began to develop, Within a few years, the population went from a few hundred to over 7,000. The city even had a mass transit system consisting of 85 school buses.
Bhagwan preferred to get around by car, usually driving the streets with one of his ninety-three Rolls Royce’s.
Rajneeshpuram created a program called ‘Share-A-Home’ and began to bring in hundreds of homeless people from around the country, offering them a place to live. They also encouraged them to vote in local elections. These residents were usually drugged with a powerful anti-psychotic called Haldol, in an effort to convince the homeless to vote for Rajneesh.
Images From <https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/qvj8ev/rare-photos-from-jonestown-the-deadliest-cult-in-american-history>
Jonestown was a remote settlement in North Guyana established by the Peoples Temple as ‘The Peoples Temple agricultural project’
Jim Jones chose Guyana, an English-speaking socialist country, because the government included prominent black leaders, whom Jones believed would afford black Temple members a peaceful place to live.
500 members of the Peoples Temple went to Guyana to begin construction of Jonestown in 1976. Jones told his followers it was to be a socialist sanctuary and paradise, or a benevolent communist community.
‘I believe we’re the purest communists there are.’
Jones’ wife Marceline described Jonestown as
‘dedicated to living for socialism, total economic and racial social equality.’
School study and night-time lectures for adults revolved around Jones’ talks on revolution and enemies. They had lessons on:
- Soviet Alliances
- Jonestown Crisis
- Mercenaries and defectors
- Temple members lived in small communal houses, some with walls woven from Troolie Palm.
- Food stores only held rice, beans and greens, with occasional meat, sauce and eggs.
- In Jones’ home, he had a small refrigerator containing eggs, meat, fruit, salads and soft drinks.
- Jonestown had no dedicated prison or system but used punishment on members with disciplinary problems. Methods of punishment included imprisonment in a small plywood box, forcing children down to the bottom of a well at night, along with beatings. Those who attempted to flee were captured and drugged with the likes of Thorazine (anti-psychotic), sodium pentothal (barbiturate general anaesthetic), chloral hydrate (sedative), Demerol (Opioid pain relief) and Valium.
- Armed guards patrolled the area around Jonestown day and night to enforce rules.
Jones based much of the rules and regulations of Jonestown on the North Korean regime of eight hours work, eight hours of study. Study time was usually used to employ mind control and behaviour modifying techniques, which would work better on tired Temple members after a long day of manual labour. Many of these techniques were influenced by North Korea and Mao Zedong’s China.
6:00am – Wake up, breakfast, prepare for the day ahead.
6:30am – Start manual labour work
11:30am – break for one hour lunch
12:30pm – return to manual labour work
5:00pm – Finish work for the day, head to the pavilion for communal dinner
5:30pm – begin night-school
10:00pm – night school ends, sleep.
Temple members initially worked six days a week from roughly 6am to 6pm with an hour for lunch. But after Jones’ health began to deteriorate, his wife took over day-to-day running of the settlement. She reduced worked to eight hours a day, five days a week, however, after the day of work had finished, Temple members now had to attend several activities in the pavilion including classes in socialism.
For entertainment, Temple members would listen to Jones reading news and commentary, main items from Radio Moscow and Radio Havana. Jones recorded his readings of the news and broadcasted them over the tower speakers so that all members could hear him through the day and night. In these news readings, Jones often hailed Kim Il-Sung, Robert Mugabe and Joseph Stalin as positive forces in the world of politics.
Temple members would be allowed to watch socialist or communist movies, under the watchful eye of Jones, who would interpret each scene as he saw fit.