Today's LA Times has a nice piece about The Source Family, a hippie cult that had a vegetarian restaurant on Sunset Blvd in the 1970s. There's a new book about The Source and its charismatic leader, Father Yod, published by Process Press.
The sect's Hollywood beginnings make for a juicy read, with Father Yod at the wheel of a white Rolls-Royce and Julie Christie, Warren Beatty and John Lennon making regular appearances at the restaurant. The so-called Mother House was like a hippie Playboy mansion, where friends came to Sunday socials to listen to Father speak. The much smaller Father House was also a social hub, receiving visitors from the Seattle commune Love Israel.Link
Thanks to the rigorous sex practices, 51 Source Family babies were born -- all delivered naturally at home, in keeping with their distrust of traditional medicine. In the end, this would lead to the group's leaving Los Angeles, when a baby severely infected with staph had to be taken to the hospital, alerting the authorities to perhaps other unorthodox goings on in the three-bedroom house where more than 100 slept, many in stacked pods in the yard. Tuning in to apocalyptic visions, Father Yod initiated a move to Hawaii, where in 1975 he died after a hang gliding accident, eventually breaking apart the Family.
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. Come and hear Mark speak at the ALA conference in Chicago on July 1.