Growing up in Northern California I was exposed to stories of the infamous “Purple People Cult” in Lafayette, California. My curiosity was piqued the moment fictional stories spread like wildfire through my high school of a supposed sex cult community, where people live in purple houses and drive purple cars. As luck would have it, this sex cult was a mere 25 minutes from my house. It started as an interest that lead to an hour of Google searching, and subsequently plotting an adventure to see what this was all about. Now I certainly WOULD NOT advise anyone to go and disturb this peaceful community, however I will shed some light on what I learned after visiting the Purple People of Lafayette.
First and foremost, don’t go disrupting this community. Instead, educate yourself on what the Lafayette Morehouse (as they preferred to be called) actually is. I’ve heard unfortunate incidents of people acting disrespectful towards this small community and if I could travel back to when I was 16-years-old, I wouldn’t have invaded their territory (hence the poor image quality).
Upon first entering the community, I was surprised by how desolate, calm, and deserted it was. There were purple cars, purple houses, purple golf carts, but not a person in sight. After driving around for a few minutes and snapping a few photos (as you can see by the quality of these images, they were taken prior to obtaining a decent camera) I took off. An eerie and rational fear swept over me. I knew I wasn’t welcome and should never come back.
There is a hiking trail that can be taken to be less intrusive of the Purple People community, however for the sake of their privacy I will not release the exact address or hiking coordinates.
Who Are The Purple People?
So who and what exactly is the Lafayette Morehouse you may find yourself asking? Inspired by Dr. Victor Baranco, and now continued on by his widow, Dr. Cynthia Baranco, the Lafayette Morehouse is and has been a successful group living experiment for the past 45 years. The cornerstone of their philosophy and lifestyle is the concept of perfection. Their research has explored how people can live together pleasurably, with the group providing support for the individual’s goals. What they’ve found is that when people have increased knowledge and awareness, they enjoy fun relationships which endure and deepen intimacy, and have found that gratified people tend to treat others with more passion and love.
Established in 1968, The Purple People believe in the philosophy that you are perfect, the world is perfect, and you are totally responsible for your own life. Moreover, they believe that perfection includes the potential for change.
The organization also has another community in Oahu, Hawai’i.
Sex Cult bias aside, the Lafayette Morehouse or “The Purple People” is a confusing concept for many. Because of this, confusion and stories/fables on how these people live and coexist have been created. Many have devised elaborate tales to fill in the pieces and make sense of it. Through doing this, however, many fictional stories have been created and sensationalized — stories that continue to trickle down to younger generations today.
Event he media has taken a stab at the Lafayette Morehouse. The San Francisco Gate referred to the Lafayette Morehouse as a “sex cult,” and in an article about California “sex communes,” the New York Times describes it as a “controversial 40-year-old community.” There is no doubt that this group is controversial — from their courses offered by members of the organization to the community on topics such as interpersonal communication, sensuality and sex, and inter-gender relationships to their philosophy on perfection — which has caused media controversy, primarily in the 1970s then again briefly in the mid-1990s.
I cannot stress enough that this group — albeit different — requests its privacy. They have been the target of harassment and rumors among teenagers (accepting responsibility here) who trespass their property on a regular basis. Because of this harassment, the community has been forced to protect themselves by taking turns to act as guards.
For more educational information on the elusive Purple People and to truly understand who they are click here.