Sex often seems the impulse for cultish activity. Charismatic guru Joshua Creffield attracted many women to his mission in Corwallis, California, in 1903. His form of worship included them ripping off their clothes, which led to many husbands running him out of town. Setting up again in Newport, Oregon, more opposition followed, so he put a curse on San Francisco.
The coincidental earthquake which flattened the city increased his appeal, AND his sexual appetite. Creffield was eventually shot dead by a man who discovered he had ‘deflowered’ his two sisters. Such was the degree of veneration for this guru that one of the sisters then shot her brother in revenge.
(c) Anthony North, Feb 2007