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Krishna Venta (born Francis Herman Pencovic; March 29, (there is conflicting information on the birth date; some records indicate 1911 and other records say 1913) – December 10, 1958) was the American leader of a California religious group. In the late 1940s, Venta founded the WKFL (Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith and Love) Fountain of the World cult in Simi Valley, California.
The Fountain of the World became famous in the press in the 1940s and 1950s for uniformly dressing in robes, going barefoot, and requiring its male members to grow beards and wear their hair long. The Fountain was marginally controversial because one of the requirements for membership was that one donate all worldly assets to the group prior to joining. For most who joined the Fountain, however, this was irrelevant since few had much in the way of possessions anyway.
Activities of the group included fighting wildfires, offering shelter to those in need, and feeding the homeless. The group first gained national exposure in 1949 when the newswires picked up the story that Fountain members had been among the first on the scene to offer aid to the victims of Standard Air Lines Flight 897R, which had crashed into the Simi Hills, killing 35 of the 48 people on board.
Pencovic, who stated in April 1948, "I may as well say it: I am Christ. I am the new messiah," and who claimed to have led a convoy of rocketships to Earth from the extinct planet Neophrates, legally changed his name to "Krishna Venta" in the California Courts in 1951.
He died in Chatsworth, California on December 10, 1958 in a suicide bombing instigated by two disgruntled former followers (Peter Duma Kamenoff and Ralph Muller) who, although never offering any documentary evidence to support their claims, charged that Venta had both mishandled cult funds and been intimate with their wives.
A branch of the WKFL Fountain of the World cult was also established in Homer, Alaska in the years prior to Venta's death. Fountain membership at both sites declined rapidly following Venta's death, and the cult had ceased to exist entirely by the mid-1970s.
Pencovic/Venta is also remembered because of the child support case Pencovic v. Pencovic, 45 C2d 97, Cal Sup Ct (1955).
The Los Angeles Times reported on Dec. 11, 1958:
The Fountain of the World Monastery in a wooded canyon near Chatsworth was ripped apart early yesterday by a heavy explosion which instantly killed the bearded leader of the cult, Krishna Venta, and seven of his followers.
Two ex-cultists linked to the blast by bizarre tape recordings in which they vowed “to bring Krishna to justice” were believed to have also died in the explosion.
Two children, both girls, ages 8 and 9, and a 59-year old woman were seriously burned.
The explosion blew the roof from an adjoining dormitory for children and touched off a brush fire that swept over 150 acres. Fire completed the destruction of the monastery and dormitory.
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|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Krishna Venta|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Krishna Venta.|
- Krishna Venta website created by a former child member of the Fountain of the World.
- Brother Asaiah - Biography of senior Fountain member.
- My Search for Krishna Venta (online blog)
- Krishna Venta at CharlieManson.com
- Article regarding Krishna Venta from International Cultic Studies Association library
- Pencovic v. Pencovic (1955) 45 C2d 97
- Krishna Venta information archive