The Great Eleven Club

When one thinks of Southern California cults, Charles Manson and his harem of knife wielding waifs are usually the first to come to mind. But the very same Santa Susana mountain range that hosted Charlie’s Angels has been home to any number of similarly twisted cults.  One in particular was the Divine Order of the Royal Arms of the Great Eleven, or “The Great Eleven Club.” The Great Eleven Club was founded in the early 1920’s, establishing their headquarters in the high reaches of the Santa Susana knolls.

Mrs. May Otis Blackburn and her daughter

Mrs. May Otis Blackburn and her daughter

Cult members were said to gather there at night in the woods, as high priestesses in long robes sacrificed mules in a ceremony called the “Jaws of Death.” Following these rites, the cultists danced about in the nude around ceremonial bonfires. On this same site, the leader of the Great Eleven Club, Mrs. May Otis Blackburn, later baked a disciple in a brick oven to cure a “blood malady.” Two days later, the disciple predictably died. Soon after, the Great Eleven Club became the subject of a police investigation when it was discovered that four other members had mysteriously disappeared. One of the more gruesome discoveries was the corpse of a 16-year old girl, Willa Rhoads, who was stored in a pickled state for three years while the cult awaited her resurrection. Rhoads’ body was later exhumed from a crypt beneath a house in Venice, California. Afterwards, the cult reportedly relocated to the Lake Tahoe area, and was never heard from again.

~ by gorightly on January 3, 2009.

2 Responses to “The Great Eleven Club”

  1. You might want to read my novel The Blackburn Chronicles
    for an inside view of the cult.

  2. Sounds intriguing, R.J.–I’ll have to pick it up.

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