Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Mazdaznan Leader Nabbed In Chicago


Sun Cult's "Little Master" on Way to Coast to Answer Charges of Children

Ottoman Zar Adusht Hanisch, the "Little Master" of the Mazdaznan cult, was arrested upon his recent arrival in Chicago and his enforced return to Los Angeles to answer serious criminal charges broke up the "feast of Gahanbar," a celebration of which by his Chicago followers was planned from midnight Christmas eve to the last minute of the year.

And he hadn't any idea, up to the moment of his arrest, of going in that direction. On the contrary, he had intended to sail for Europe in a few days, with Zurich as his objective.

But then the "Little Master" hadn't much to do with the journey. His fate was fashioned by a Los Angeles grand jury and by Lieut. Charles A. Jones of the police force of that city.

On June 14, 1918, the grand jury secretly voted ten indictments against Hanisch after hearing serious charges. Several of the complainants are children, girls as well as boys, ranging in ages from 11 to 15 years.

The Los Angeles police have been looking for Hanisch ever since. They learned that his real name is Otto Zachariah Hanisch, that he is a Russian, that his father is Richard Hanisch, a Milwaukee music teacher, and the fugitive had been lecturing under the name of Dr. Ken Wilson.

Well Known in Chicago

Chicago knows Hanisch well. He maintained his temple for years at 3016 Lake Park avenue. His disciples lived on fruits, nuts, vegetables, garlic, dewdrops, violets and sunshine, and danced alone — when they danced — breathing rhythmically and deeply, and greeting each other at every turn with "Hail to thee! Ten thousand hails!"

Hanisch got a lot of notoriety out of the "Billy" Lindsay case. "Billy's" mother, Elizabeth H. Lindsay, was a member of the cult. The boy was kept in the "terrestrial temple" and fed on white grapes and beer, it was said.

Wealthy relatives in Chicago and Pittsburgh cooperated with the Juvenile Court authorities to save the boy. Hanisch was taken into court, but the boy and his mother fled.

Seized Near Coal Bin

The Lindsay case, however, led to an investigation of the cult, and it was found the sex idea predominated. Hanisch sent an alleged obscene book by express to another State, and on March 4, 1912, a raid was made on the temple and he was arrested. He was found, in all his silken glory, wedged into a niche near the coal bin in the basement.

He was convicted of sending obscene literature in interstate commerce, fined $2,500 and sent to the bridewell for six months. The literature in question was his book of "Inner Studies," which sold for anywhere from $10 to $50, according to the wealth of him who bought it.

—The Saturday Blade, Chicago, Jan. 3, 1920, p. 1.


Anonymous said...

Do you have any later clippings relating to this case? I've been overhauling the Wikipedia entry on Hanisch's cult and would be grateful for any info.

Clippique said...

I don't personally have any other info on the group or leader. But I saw one article, which I will post today (April 3) that has him named in a divorce case.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, that was another interesting snippet about this colourful character.