A new Facebook Watch series with a cult-centric mystery has a surprising tie to the Rajneesh movement, the controversial community explored in Netflix's docu-series Wild Wild Country.
Upcoming Facebook Watch show Sacred Lies tells the story of Minnow Bly (Elena Kampouris), a teenage girl who ends up in juvenile detention following an escape from a cult. She just so happens to be missing both her hands... and may or may not know more about the mysterious murder of "The Prophet" (Toby Huss) than she's willing to speak about.
The series is based on the book The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes, which itself was inspired by the Brothers Grimm fairytale The Handless Maiden. (Reminder: These are not your sanitized, animated Disney film fairytales. In this story, a miller must chop off the hands of his own daughter in order to present her to the devil. That should give you a clue as to what happened to Minnow's own appendages.)
Without the specific life experience of series creator Raelle Tucker, this Facebook Watch adaptation may never have happened at all. Tucker revealed to Entertainment Weekly that her family was part of the community founded by Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh in the '70s. Today, many consider the Rajneesh movement a cult, which is what inspired Tucker to tackle Minnow's story.
"I was always looking for something to develop in the cult world, because I actually grew up in a cult for a few years when I was a kid," Tucker told EW. "If you’ve seen Wild Wild Country, that’s the cult that I grew up kind of a part of — and I say 'cult' loosely, because when you’re in a cult you never know you’re in a cult."
There's little doubt that Minnow's cult was exactly that. While there is some debate over the true nature of Rajneesh's organization, like Minnow's cult, it came to a violent end — one that included the largest bioterrorism attack ever to occur on American soil, and multiple attempted murders.
Fodder for any jaw-dropping TV show, really — it's easy to see why Tucker was so interested in exploring this part of her past.
Reality is sometimes stranger than fiction, even if Sacred Lies has some epic twists and turns to keep Facebook Watch viewers enticed. The series debuts on Friday, July 27.
Refinery29 has reached out to Tucker for comment.