Cults are juicy fodder for documentaries, but this six part Netflix series about the rise and fall of Rajneeshpurum, a New Age city in the remote hills of Oregon, is especially enticing. Scads of period footage mixed with present day interviews blend the Then and Now to tell the tale of some very strange events.

In 1981 the self-styled guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh arrived in Antelope, Oregon, a town of 60 residents, with the plan to build a city for his thousands of followers. His secretary, Ma Anand Sheela (formerly Sheela Silverman), had purchased The Big Muddy Ranch, a 64,000- acre property, for close to $6 million, all funded by book sales and donations to the ashram. As pre-fab houses rolled in, followers arrived by the busload to kneel at the feet of their guru, a balding, white bearded man with a penchant for expensive jewelry and custom painted Rolls-Royce limos. Things did not go well and documentarians Chapman Way and Maclain Way tell the story in painstaking and fascinating detail.

What isn’t covered in the series is the backstory of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, now known as Osho to the many who continue to follow his teachings. A reputedly brilliant student in India, he was kicked out of almost every school he attended because of his “disruptively argumentative” nature. After a spiritual awakening at the age of 21, he spoke publicly against organized religion, socialism and the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, claiming they were glorifications of poverty and martyrdom that would keep India an economic and social backwater. By the early 1960s he started meditation groups that attracted wealthy and connected followers. They were more than willing to finance his ashram in Mumbai and later in Pune as more and more devotees flocked to be near him. By the late 1970s, the Indian government had had enough of the Bhagwan’s contentious teachings and he was run out of the country by accusations of tax fraud. Wild Wild Country begins with the Bhagwan’s arrival in the US as thousands of men, women and children from all over the world descend on Wasco County, Oregon to leave “their shoes and minds” at the door of the Bhagwan’s commune.

The series dutifully gives voice to fears, regrets and recriminations from inside and outside the commune, but it never manages to explain why this physically frail, perpetually smiling guru was so captivating to so many. Perhaps that’s the fascination of cults and their leaders, as well as of this series. Light up some incense and enjoy – it’s a heady binge.