This Is What Ma Anand Sheela From Wild, Wild Country Is Doing Now

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix
One of the most controversial figures from Netflix's new documentary series Wild, Wild Country is Ma Anand Sheela, the right-hand woman of spiritual guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. Yet, in light of Sheela's many allegedly criminal acts — which are discussed at length in the six-part series — where Sheela is today may surprise you.
Wild, Wild Country, which was produced by Room 104's Mark and Jay Duplass, tells the story of Rajneeshpuram, an Oregon-based community created by Rajneesh for his "sannyasin" followers. Specifically, it tells the tale of how tensions between Rajneeshpuram and the existing Oregon communities that neighbored it led to a series of unbelievable incidents. One of these incidents included the largest bioterrorist attack ever to be committed on United States soil — a crime that Sheela allegedly ordered.
Wild, Wild Country details how Sheela used as much force as possible to protect Rajneeshpuram from the Oregonians who wanted the New Age-y sannyasins off "their" land. Sheela, who had created a massive wiretapping network, ordered one act of arson, as well as multiple murders (none of which were completed) and poisonings. In 1985, Sheela pleaded guilty to her crimes and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. However, she only served 29 months of her sentence and was released in 1988.
After her release, Sheela moved to Switzerland, where she could not be extradited to the United States, and started a community of her own — though the one she started looked very different from the commune of Rajneeshpuram.
Per the Oregonian, Sheela got a job as a caretaker shortly after moving to Switzerland. She then took three elderly women into her own home, sparking what would become a long-term career. The Oregonian reports that she now operates two nursing homes near Basel, under her name Sheela Birnstiel, where she tends to 22 patients.
At the end of Wild, Wild Country, the documentary follows Sheela into her new life caring for these people, who are a mix of elderly patients and those with mental disabilities. Though Sheela leads a vastly different life than the one she did with Rajneeshpuram (a life that seems wholly positive, with zero salmonella poisonings in play) it's worth noting that Sheela is still managing lives, just as she did in Oregon.

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