Cults of the World: Order of the Solar Temple

*Post written by James Wethington, senior library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

Over the next couple of weeks, the communal studies collection touches on various types of communes such as eco-villages, religious life, collective settlements, and many more. Some groups in the collection were cults. According to Merriam-Webster (2018), a cult is “… a great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (such as a film or book)”. Followers of the Order of the Solar Temple definitely showed their “undying” devotion to their leaders.

Established in 1984 in Geneva, Switzerland, by Luc Jouret and Joseph Di Mambro. Solar Temple traced their lineage back as a revival of the Knights Templar. The order had a strict structure with a thirty-three member council with regional lodges located throughout the world such as Australia, Switzerland, Canada, and France (‘Joseph Di Mambro’, 2014; Melton, 2015).

The Sunburst Sacrifaces A murder-suicide ritual in the French Alps revives European alarm about a shadowy, well-heeled group. Geneva was brimming with holiday cheer as a small convoy of cars set out for France. The travelers looked more respectable than any ordinary party of vacationers. In their four cars, the 16 French and Swiss nationals included three little girls, two policemen, a Geneva psychotherapist and the son of a famed European former skiing champion. But as they arrived in the vicinity of Grenoble in southeastern France, a furtive air crept in to the seasonal image. Near the village of St. Pierre-de-Cherennes, the party halted in the thick of an Alpine forest and walked about half a mile to a clearing. There, 14 members were dosed with sedatives and lay down in a sunburst pattern, most of them with plastic bags over their head. The remaining two then shot the others dead, set the bodies ablaze and killed themselves with pistol shots under the chin. One of the executioners was a policeman, Jean-Pierre Lardanchet. Two of the three girls shot through the forehead with a .357 magnum were his own daughters, ages 2 and 4, investigators disclosed last week. When the ghastly scene was discovered, the day before Christmas Eve, much of appalled Western Europe was compelled to ask again-Why? The winter solstice ritual enacted about an hour's drive from the site of the glittering 1992 Winter Olympics reprised similar cult sacrifices that took place 14 months earlier. And among the victims were some of the most privileged, responsible members of society. Besides the police officers, the woman psychotherapist and an architect, the dead included Patrick Vuarnet, the 27-year-old son of l960 Winter Olympics gold medalist Jean Vuarnet, best known today for his line of chic sunglasses. For Vuarnet fils-whose mother Edith, his woman companion Ute Verona and their daughter Tania, 6, accompanied him in death-the prerogatives of status had melted under the mystical thrall of a sect known as the Order of the Solar Temple. Founded by a Belgian homeopath named Luc Jouret, the cult at first seemed to be a harmless New Age mishmash of astrology and health regimens professing to trace some of its ideas back to the Knights Templar, an order of Crusaders. By late 1994, the directions his sect was taking became horribly clear when Jouret and 52 fellow Templars were found dead as part of mass immolations in Switzerland and Quebec. Police pursued complaints of manipulation of wealthy cultists for their money by shadowy Solar Temple survivors. With the guru's demise, though, the decapitated order seemed likely to wither away. Vuarnet's family knew better. Recalling his brother's guilt at not having been "called" in 1994, Alain Vuarnet says Patrick "looked me straight in the eye and said, 'Alain, you are the one deluding yourself. You just don't understand.' "In view of the cult's still extensive assets and international following, authorities are trying harder than ever now to understand. - By James Walsh. Reported by Bruce Crumley/Paris, January 8, 1996. Source: CS 538-2 (Time Magazine).

Article from Time Magazine about the Order of the Solar Temple’s suicides, 1998. Source: CS 538, Order of the Solar Temple.

This was not Joseph De Mambro’s first time dealing with cults. In 1978, he established Golden Way in Switzerland, where he met Jouret. They worked together to establish the Order of the Solar Temple using their talents and abilities: Jouret held lectures while De Mambro took control of finances and ran the order. Their beliefs included “… astrology, medieval legends, and Christianity”: by the late 1980’s, the Order had over four hundred members (‘Joseph Di Mambro’, 2014).

The order started to unravel in the early 1990’s under Jouret and Di Mambro’s leadership. Word began to spread the apocalypse was upon them. Just before the world ending event, Jouret and Di Mambro “… orchestrated a dramatic exit for themselves and their followers. Believing in the transformative powers of fire, they thought that they could be reborn on Sirius, another planet in another universe” (‘Joseph Di Mambro’, 2014). Sadly, their plan went into effect on October 4 and 5: fires were set to their compounds and their members committed suicide. From 1994 to 1997, seventy-four members committed suicide or died in the set fires (‘Joseph Di Mambro’, 2014; Melton, 2015).

At the University Archives and Special Collections, there are over six hundred and fifty communities available in our communal studies collection. On our online digital gallery, the Order of the Solar Temple have a finding aid available and materials can be requested at archives.rice@usi.edu or in-person. Stay tuned for our next blog in “Cults of the World”.

References

Joseph Di Mambro biography. (2014, April 2). Retrieved from https://www.biography.com/people/joseph-di-mambro-235990

Melton, J. G. (2015, January 9). Order of the Solar Temple. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/topic/Order-of-the-Solar-Temple

Merriam-Webster. (2018). Cult. Retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cult

Posted in Communal Studies, Cult, European History, Murder | Leave a comment

Passing the Torch: Dr. H. Ray Hoops

Left to Right: Dr. David L. Rice and Dr. H. Ray Hoops, n.d. Source: University Archives and Special Collections, UP 26092.

Left to Right: Dr. David L. Rice and Dr. H. Ray Hoops, n.d. Source: University Archives and Special Collections, UP 26092.

*Post written by James Wethington, senior library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

As we continue the series, “Passing the Torch”, we focus on USI’s second president, Dr. H. Ray Hoops. After the retirement of the first president, there were some big shoes to fill. This was a prominent theme as Dr. Hoops started his presidency at USI. Just like Dr. David L. Rice left his footprint, Dr. Hoops filled the shoes and pushed USI into the next millennium.

Dr. Hoops graduated from Eastern Illinois University in 1962 with a B.S. in speech communication; however, he went to Purdue University and graduated with his M.S. (1962) and Ph.D. (1964) in audiology and speech sciences. His academic career began in 1966 at Wayne State University as a professor until 1975. He worked for the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare and was a research scholar at the University of the Philippines (Harris, 1994a).

(Left to Right): Dr. H. Ray Hoops and Archibald Eagle at Recreation and Fitness Center, 1997. Source: University Archives and Special Collections, UP 02520.

(Left to Right): Dr. H. Ray Hoops and Archibald Eagle at Recreation and Fitness Center, 1997. Source: University Archives and Special Collections, UP 02520.

After working overseas, Hoops served numerous administration positions at the University of Northern Iowa (1975-1980), North Dakota State University (1980-1985), Oregon State System of Higher Education (1985-1988), and University of Mississippi (1988-1994). During his tenure at Ole Miss, Hoops had a proven record of accomplishment for “… racial diversity and cultural diversity [such as] a 50 percent increase in the number of minority faculty and appointment of the first female dean at the institution” (Harris, 1994b).

(Left to Right): Dr. H. Ray Hoops, Sherrianne Standley, and USI cheerleaders introducing Screaming Eagles soda, 1995. Source : University Archives and Special Collections, UP 05305.

Introduction of Screaming Eagles soda following the USI’s Men’s Basketball winning the Division II Championship, 1995. Source : University Archives and Special Collections, UP 05305.

During the Hoops presidency at USI, the student body increased by 25 percent and numerous building expansions and additions occurred, such as the UC expansion, new David L. Rice Library, Liberal Arts Center, creation of the Quad, and many more. Dr. Hoops announced his retirement would occur on June 30, 2009, after a forty-year career in education (Weyer, 2008).  On February 9, 2009, Linda Bennett became USI’s third president (Grundhoeffer, 2009).

At the University Archives and Special Collections, all of the past Shield newspapers are available upon request. The department is hour Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 6 PM and digital content is available at http://digitalarchives.usi.edu/.

References

Grundhoeffer, S. (2009, February 9). Bennett named USI’s third president. The Shield, p. 1.

Harris, B. (1994, September 1). Midwest values taught president to appreciate hard work. The Shield, p. 1.

Harris, B. (1994, September 8). Diversity was hallmark of Hoops’ time at Ole Miss. The Shield, p. 1.

Weyer, B. (17, Janaury 17). President Hoops retires. The Shield, p. 1.

Posted in Education, history, USI | Leave a comment

Women’s Culture and Feminism: Chrysalis Magazine

*Post written by Josh Knecht, student assistant at the University Archives and Special Collections.

Top to bottom: Nuclear Madness - An Interview with Helen Caldicott by Kirsten Grimstad and Susan Rennie. Chrysalis: A Magazine of Women's Culture. Abortion as Politics and Experience by Meredith Gould and Ellen Willis; Fay Stender and the Politics of Murder by Diana E. H. Russell; The Erotic as Power by Audre Lorde; The 'Parlorization' of our homes and ourselves by Sheila Lervant de Bretteville; Has Anyone Read 'Gone With the Wind' Lately? by Carol Fox Schmucker; Pushing Our Own Buttons: The Feminist Computer Technology Project by Elisabeth Reinhardt; Catalog of Feminist Publishing by Linda Palumbo; Is She or Isn't She? Women Athletes and Their Gender Identity by Michele Kort; Fiction by Aleida Rodriguez; Poetry by Ellen Bass, Toi Derricotte, and Kathy Freeperson; Film Review by Brandon French; Book Review by Beverly Tanenhaus; Double Crostic by Dorothy Riddle; Two Years of Chrysalis: A Cumulative Index by Peggy Kimball and Deborah Marrow.

Front cover of Chrysalis magazine, 1980. Source: Roselia N. Meny collection (MSS 303-1-7)

The Rice Library Archives and Special Collections has decided to double down on the material we have to offer pertaining to women’s history. A previous post mentioned the “Heresies Magazine” that is a part of the Roselia N. Meny collection, https://amusingartifacts.org/2018/03/15/womens-history-month-heresies-magazines/. This post discusses another set of magazines from that exact same collection, Chrysalis: A Magazine of Women’s Culture.

Chrysalis’ publication period spanned from 1977-1980. According Sorkin (2011), Chrysalis was an:

“Influential feminist publication that was collectively produced by artists and writers active in the Los Angeles feminist movement. Chrysalis’ complete integration of art, literature, and cultural studies was distinct from other journals of the era, in particular, Heresies, which began the same year in New York. While Heresies remains the better-known publication, it is Chrysalis that engaged a broader public, covering progressive issues that affected the women’s community at large.”

Top to bottom: Susan Griffin, Diana Russell on pornography. Through the Peephole: Lesbian Sensibility in Art by Ruth Iskin, Arlene Raven; New Poetry by Diane DiPrima, Pat Parker, Marge Piercy, Evelyn Pasamentier; The Glamour of Grammar by Jane Caputi; Original art by Betye Saar; New fict by Marge Piercy; More About Money bu Joanne Parrent, Valerie Angers; Science Fiction and Feminism: The Work of Joanna Russ by Marilyn Hacker; Interview with Judy Chicago by Arlene Raven, Susan Rennie; Thinking About My Poetry by June Jordan; Alice Bloch reviews 'Beginning With O' by Olga Broumas; Joan Kelly reviews 'Population Target' by Bonnie Mass: Chrysalis.

Front cover of Chrysalis Magazine, 1980. Source: Roselia N. Meny Collection (MSS 303-1-4).

This quote is important, because it signifies that though both magazines were committed to the feminist cause, they reached different audiences in different ways. The Rice Library Archives and Special Collections has access to both magazines within the Roselia N. Meny collection; this affords students and the public the ability to not only read the magazines, but also recognize the context in which they originally existed.

Come to the Rice Library Archives and Special Collections to check out the Roselia N. Meny collection and reconnect with women and feminist heritage during the month of March. You can also check out any of the other cool old stuff we have available to students and the public.

References

Sorkin, J. (2011, October 31). Second life: Chryslis Magazine. Retrieved from https://eastofborneo.org/articles/second-life-chrysalis-magazine/

Posted in cultures, feminism, women's history | Leave a comment

American Propaganda in World War II

*Post written by Jake Knecht, student assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

World War II bond poster "Ours to Fight For; Freedom from Want", 1943. Bond poster is from the William Sonntag collection, MSS 286-001.

“Ours to Fight For; Freedom from Want”, 1943. Source: William Sonntag collection (MSS 286-001).

During World War II, the American government employed a very intensive propaganda campaign to sway the American public to purchase war bonds. War bonds were essentially loans that the government would receive from paying citizens so that they could fund war efforts. As many families had reduced household income due to having one or more men fighting in the war, the government knew that enticing the average American to spend money on war bonds could be a tough sell; they would need to get creative and persuade the public in such a way that they would want to purchase war bonds.

The government’s solution was to create various forms of propaganda in order to tug at the heartstrings of the families who had someone they loved in the war. The idea was to make everyone realize how much the men who were fighting had to sacrifice, and in so doing, make the public realize how relatively little a sacrifice the price of a war bond was for the greater good. War bonds were not only depicted as helping to fund the war; they were to fund freedom and the future of America. This message and vision was largely effective in convincing Americans to purchase war bonds during World War II.

World War II bond poster "Let's All Fight; Buy War Bonds", 1942. Source: William Sonntag collection (MSS 286-042).

World War II bond poster “Let’s All Fight; Buy War Bonds”, 1942. Source: William Sonntag collection (MSS 286-042).

Propaganda for war bonds came in many forms: radio broadcasts, comic books, sporting events, and celebrity appearances and endorsements. Perhaps the most influential form of war bond propaganda came in the form of posters. Posters were colorful, powerful, and ultimately more emotional than other forms of propaganda due to the simple yet effective means through which they conveyed their messages to viewers. They contain some of the more memorable images from the war because many of the posters were made to appeal to the emotions of the American public.

World War II bond poster "To Have and to Hold; Buy War Bonds", 1942. Source: William Sonntag collection (MSS 286-043).

World War II bond poster “To Have and to Hold; Buy War Bonds”, 1942. Source: William Sonntag collection (MSS 286-043).

War bond posters oftentimes depicted soldiers either in or preparing for precarious situations so that the viewer would think about the danger soldiers are placing themselves in and want to buy bonds to help support them. Other posters depicted family and children in order to show the public what they were really protecting by purchasing war bonds. If you are interested in viewing war bond posters, the University Archives and Special Collections has a variety of them available, in addition to other material from World War II.

 

 

 

 

References

Riddle, L. (2016 August 6). American prpaganda in World War II. Retrieved from https://www.warhistoryonline.com/world-war-ii/american-propaganda-world-war-ii.html

American women, World War II and propaganda (n.d.). Retrieved https://uki16.wordpress.com/war-bond-posters/

Posted in American history, British History, European History, history, Student Assistants, World War 2 | Leave a comment

Passing the Torch: Dr. David L. Rice

Dr. David L. Rice walking in front of the construction of the Science Center, 1969. Source: University Archives and Special Collections, UP 00484.

Dr. David L. Rice walking in front of the construction of the Science Center, 1969. Source: University Archives and Special Collections, UP 00484.

*Post written by James Wethington, senior library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

Over fifty years, the University of Southern Indiana has been a beacon of light onto the city of Evansville since its conception in 1965. Three wonderful individuals guided the University into future. Those three individuals were Dr. David L. Rice, Dr. H. Ray Hoops, and Dr. Linda Bennett. In a special three part series, “Passing the Torch”, we honor the legacy of USI’s three presidents.

(Left to Right): Betty Rice and Dr. David L. Rice, n.d. Source: University Archives and Special Collections, UP 08885.

(Left to Right): Betty Rice and Dr. David L. Rice, n.d. Source: University Archives and Special Collections, UP 08885.

Long before the creation of Indiana State University-Evansville, David L. Rice began his academic career at Purdue University. From there, he received his bachelor, master, and doctor of philosophy degrees. He started at Ball State University, as a faculty member and director of research. He served with the Cooperative Education Research Laboratory and Bureau of Research at the U.S. Office of Education. In 1967, Indiana State University-Evansville, he became the dean to oversee the university. He would not become president of ISUE until 1971 (USI Web Services, 2018).

During his twenty-seven tenure, Dr. Rice oversaw the growth of ISUE, independence movement from Indiana State University as a separate institution, creation of numerous bachelor and master’s degrees and expansion the curriculum, and becoming a “public university accessible and affordable” (Office of the President, 2018; USI Web Services, 2018). Dr. Rice announced his retirement on March 3, 1993: Rolland Eckels stated, “David Rice is a classic example of the right person in the right place at the right time. He came in 1967 and very effectively acted as a shepherd to the embryonic campus. He has quietly and effectively done a superb job of familiarizing the legislature with the importance of USI to the educational development of Southern Indiana” (Anderson, 1993).

Left to Right: Dr. David L. Rice and Dr. H. Ray Hoops, n.d. Source: University Archives and Special Collections, UP 26092.

(Left to Right): Dr. David L. Rice and Dr. H. Ray Hoops, n.d. Source: University Archives and Special Collections, UP 26092.

Without Dr. Rice’s leadership in the early years of ISUE and the independence movement, USI would not be what it is today. During his tenure, the student body at ISUE/USI experienced a 707% increase, 922 students in 1967 to 7,443 students in 1994 (Office of the President, 2018). In 1994, the USI Board of Trustees announced a successor to Dr. Rice: H. Ray Hoops (Miller, 1994).

At the University Archives and Special Collections, we house the personal collection of the USI President’s collection (UA 001). For more information on the Rice presidency, check out the Rice Library Online Digital Collection and look through past editions of The Shield newspaper and other university publications.

References

Anderson, J. (1993, March 3). President Rice to announce retirement. The Shield, p. 1.

Miller, S. (1994, January 26), New president anxious to continue USI’s progress. The Shield, p. 1.

Office of the president, USI. (2018). Former presidents. Retrieved from https://www.usi.edu/president/former-presidents/

USI Web Services. (2018). USI presidents. Retrieved from https://www.usi.edu/about/history/usi-presidents/

Posted in Education, history, USI | Leave a comment