The razor-blade king and the cult: Big stories hide inside this LA park

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The property was sold to the Church Universal and Triumphant, a New Age religious order and doomsday cult that believed its leader, Elizabeth Clare Prophet, was a messenger for God. Prophet named the estate “Camelot” and made the mansion her private residence. Prophet claimed to receive instructions from a group of “ascended masters,” which included Merlin the Magician, Jesus and Christopher Columbus, the Los Angeles Times reported in 1986.
Ultimately Prophet and her followers moved on, decamping from the grounds for Montana.

But the cult era at King Gillette Ranch wasn’t even the most tumultuous part of the property’s history. Japan’s Soka University bought the ranch and planned to expand to a 5,000 person campus, which was met with fierce opposition from nearby residents, environmental groups, and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.

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