(Investigator 26, 1992 September)
The Fountain of the World cult experienced an explosive setback in 1958 when two ex members dynamited its monastery headquarters 55km south of Los Angeles (California).
In the blast on December 10 perished the two dynamiters, seven members plus the cult leader who was a petty criminal, liar, alleged adulterer and fake Messiah named Krishna Venta.
Krishna Venta was born Francis Heindswatzer in San Francisco on March 29, 1911. He worked as a dishwasher, shipyard labourer, boilermaker, etc. Meanwhile he built up a record of arrests for burglary, bogus cheques, non payment of maintenance, insanity, theft and threatening President Roosevelt.
During World War Two Heindswatzer served in the Army Medical Corps. In 1948 he started calling himself Krishna Venta, found several naive people to believe in him, and named his gang Fountain of the World. He claimed his creed was Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith and Love.
Cult headquarters at this time was a former brothel in Santa Barbara. New members acknowledged Venta as Christ and signed over all their assets to him.
Members wore robes of different colour to signify their role and status. The Master (Venta) wore yellow; door to door solicitors wore grey; artists lavender; pregnant females pink; students green and kitchen workers brown. Everyone went barefoot. The males avoided haircuts and shaves. All had titles such as "Brother", "Sister", "Priest", "Bishop", "Cardinal".
Like Adolf Hitler, Venta not only lied to attract followers (twelve in 1949) but made lies his policy and made them whoppers.
His story was that he was born on the planet Neophrates 240,000 years before, came to Earth in a rocket, landed in Turkey and lived in the Garden of Eden.
In 1949 Venta and his wife "Sister" Ruth (an ex Mormon) visited London. They told the press that Venta was the Messiah, had two million followers world wide and 80,000 in America. Sister Ruth explained: "Of course he materialised himself. He has no navel. He has no age as you know it for he has been with us since the beginning."
Back in California in 1950 the cult purchased a 25-acre property in a lonely canyon south of Los Angeles. A three-story monastery was built and a dozen bungalows set up to house the cultists now numbering about 100.
The cult did some good in fighting bush fires and aiding the destitute and so the public donated generously to their door to door collectors.
In 1956 "Bishop" Ruth opened a branch in Alaska. Venta began proclaiming the year 1975. He said that he would lead 144,000 followers to take over the political leadership of America.
Venta taught his 150 followers that money was evil and yet himself frequented the Californian gambling table and racetracks.
Such conduct made two members, Ralph Muller and Peter Kamenoff, leave the cult. They went to the Attorney General and accused Venta of stealing cult funds, fornicating with girl and woman cult members, performing marriages without a license, and performing surgery illegally in which cult members died. They summed up their former leader as: "a scheming, conniving charlatan."
The Attorney General could not prosecute without proof which Muller and Kamenoff next tried to obtain.
On December 9 1958 they purchased 20 sticks of dynamite and detonating caps. Then they went to the monastery to force Venta to confess. There were loud arguments followed at 1.30 A.M. by a huge explosion.
Venta, Muller and Kamenoff died as well as a Cardinal, a High Priestess, a Priest, a Sister, a Mother and two children. Twenty others were badly injured.
"Bishop" Ruth returned from Alaska to take over the leadership. Venta’s remains were identified from dental bridgework but Ruth denied it: "He is the Christ; How could he die?"
The monastery was rebuilt and about fifty members stayed on to await the return of Krishna Venta.