In the 1980s a 37-year-old teacher from Dallas, Texas, Phyllis Aylward Caldwell, moved to Oregon to join a commune that became its own municipality, Rajneeshpuram. She became Deva Rikta and eventually a member of the city council, according to an old Oregonian article.
Rajneeshpuram is the subject of a new Netflix docu-series directed by Texas’ own Duplass brothers. The siblings have directed some terrible stuff, they tell Dallasite Krys Boyd on KERA’s Think! But critics hail “Wild Wild Country,” calling it “profound and mesmerizing.” Its rating on Rotten Tomatoes was 100 percent, last check.
Members of the Rajneeshee sect came to the Stewpot, a in Downtown Dallas outfit that feeds homeless men and women, to recruit new citizens. At least two men took them up on the offer and shared their stories with the Dallas Morning News.
It turned out that the purpose of picking up so-called “street people” was to increase the population enough to win a county election, take over the world, that sort of thing. Rajneeshee leaders sent many of the recruits packing after the election; other things happened but no spoilers.
The Dallas native Deva Ritka was one of the defendants named in a Oregon State v. City Rajneeshpuram court case.