For centuries humans have sought to create a utopian society based on equality and freedom. However the following strange towns and communes lean toward dystopia as they are rife with sex, drugs and sliced corpses. Enjoy.
CITE City Ghost Town
The Centre for Innovation, Testing and Innovation (CITE) was a planned ghost town. Originally designed to be a fully functioning town with detailed infrastructure like electricity, plumbing, perfect roads, there was to be no one living there. The purpose of this town was to allow a company called Pegasus Global test technologies without the endangerment of people. Without a population it would be safer to test innovative technologies in budding industries like green energy or even conduct potentially dangerous experiments like driverless cars.
This whole project sounds like fertile grounds for a super villain to me.
The Oneida Community
The Oneida Community was a religious commune founded in 1848 by John Humphrey Noyes. It was believed that Jesus had already returned in 70 AD and it was up to the community to build heaven on earth – so what did heaven on earth look like? Well it was mostly lots of bizarre and intermingled commune sex. The system was known as ‘complex marriage’ where by free love was encouraged and sex was allowed between any two consenting adults. Monogamy and possessiveness of individuals was to be avoided. Post-menopausal women would take young boys as lovers as there was little risk of unwanted pregnancy while older men were in charge of introducing young girls into the world of sex. Parents and their children were separated after weening. The children would then be raised collectively by the community.
Hilariously they had a practice called ‘mutual criticism’ where every member of the community was subject to open and unrelenting criticism. The idea was to critique the individual’s character so that they would strive to be a better person. Essentially if you were subject to ‘mutual criticism’ you would sit in the middle of a circle of people while they hurl abuse at you.
‘Hey Bill, can you stop being such a shit bloke?’
Unsurprisingly, the Oneida Community broke down when a warrant for the founder, John Noyes, was issued on suspicion of rape.
Osho Retreat in Pune India
The Osho Retreat is a community based on the teachings of Chandra Mohan Jain – a pro-eugenic, homophobic, anti-Semite. While these are some of his more controversial world views the majority of his teachings were aimed at liberating the mind from religion and conformity.
In the early days of the retreat, aggression was encouraged with one participant reporting that he left the ashram with a broken arm after spending eight hours in a room with stick-wielding disciples. The experimental ‘violent therapy groups’ were eventually stopped. Now the ashram tends to favour spontaneous dance, communicating in gibberish and promiscuous sex – one of the requirements of entry is a mandatory HIV test.
Hmmm where do I sign?
This is a bizarre pocket of the world that has managed to defy all odds. Originally starting as a small squatting community that occupied some abandoned military buildings on the outskirts of Copenhagen, Christiania has turned into a microcosm of human expression and a testing ground for freedom of rights. However, violence and anarchy has proven to be a large factor in this wacky experimental town. The original community objective written by founding members in 1971 states that ‘mental and physical contamination can be averted’, with the community encouraging the arts, meditation and freedom of expression. Christiania is governed by a special law, The Christiania Law 1989, whereby supervision is transferred from the Copenhagen municipality to the state itself, effectively making it its own little territory.
Until 2004 drugs, predominately cannabis, were openly traded in the community market. Denmark authorities have sought to eliminate the flow of drugs in the marketplace but have been met with resistance. The market is thought to be one of Copenhagen’s top tourist attractions.
Hard and dangerous times have fallen on Christiania with turf wars erupting amongst biker gangs in a bid to control the drug market. Several cases of extreme violence have since occurred within the grounds of Christiania. One report saw a grenade thrown into a busy cafe, blowing one man’s jaw off and injuring many others. While another report indicated that a sliced up corpse had been found beneath one of the buildings.
Despite all the trouble, Christiania is still going strong. It holds regular music festivals and is visited by thousands of tourists every year.