|Ma Anand Sheela Quick Info|
|Height||5 ft 4 in|
|Date of Birth||December 28, 1949|
|Eye Color||Dark Brown|
Ma Anand Sheela is an Indian-Swiss woman known for being the spokesperson of the Rajneesh movement (aka Osho movement) and for leading the 1984 Rajneeshee bioterror attack for which she was convicted and sentenced to a prison term in 1986.
Sheela Ambalal Patel
Ma Anand Sheela, Sheela Silverman, Sheela Birnstiel
Baroda, Bombay State, India
Ma Anand Sheela attended Montclair State College in New Jersey.
Spokesperson of the Rajneesh Movement
- Father – Ambalal Patel
- Mother – Maniben Patel
- Siblings – Sheela has five older siblings.
5 ft 4 in or 162.5 cm
56 kg or 123.5 lbs
Boyfriend / Spouse
Ma Anand Sheela has been romantically involved with –
- Marc Harris Silverman – Sheela married American citizen Marc Harris Silverman who was from Highland Park, Illinois. Their marriage ended after his death. In a later confession by businessman and former mayor of Rajneeshpuram David Berry Knapp, he told the FBI in his testimony that “Sheela told him during a trip to India which they took in 1985” that she had injected Marc with an injection that caused his death.
- John Shelfer – Shortly after the death of her first husband she tied the knot with a fellow Rajneesh follower, John Shelfer but later parted ways.
- Urs Birnstiel – Sheela was married to Swiss national Urs Birnstiel with whom she resided in Maisprach, Switzerland until he died of AIDS shortly after their marriage.
Race / Ethnicity
She is of Gujarati descent.
Salt & Pepper
Due to her age, Sheela’s once dark brown colored hair has now turned gray.
Her short shoulder-length hairstyle
Ma Anand Sheela Facts
- She moved to the United States at the age of 18, to complete her higher studies.
- Ma Anand Sheela was appointed as the personal assistant to Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh in 1981. The same year, Sheela convinced Rajneesh to move from India to the United States where he started an ashram.
- The Rajneesh Foundation International purchased the 64,000-acre (260 km2) Big Muddy Ranch in Wasco County, Oregon in July 1981, where they developed the Rajneeshpuram commune. Later, Sheela was appointed as the president of the foundation.
- Three years later in 1984, the Rajneesh Foundation found itself in a tight spot with local residents and the Wasco County Board of Commissioners, hence, prompting Ma Anand Sheela to take extreme measures to stop voters from the latter party from winning that year’s November elections.
- According to her reports, Ma Anand Sheela had salmonella put into salad bars at ten restaurants in The Dalles, Oregon; which in turn made 750 people ill with salmonella poisoning.
- Upon being accused of the crime, she fled to Europe on to September 13, 1985. After this, Rajneesh accused her of “arson, wiretapping, attempted murder, and mass poisonings.” Later, she was arrested in West Germany in October 1985. She was extradited to the US in February 1986, on charges of immigration fraud and attempted murder.
- She pleaded guilty on July 22, 1986, to first-degree assault and conspiracy to commit assault against Hulse, and was sentenced to three 20-year terms in federal prison, which were later reduced to 4 and a half years. On the other hand, Sheela was also fined $470,000.
- Sheela served her time at the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, California until December 1988, when she was released on good behavior after serving 29 months and was then deported to West Germany. Later, she relocated to Switzerland where she was again tried by the Swiss court in 1999, for the attempt to kill US federal prosecutor Charles Turner in 1985, and sentenced to time served.
- Film producer Karan Johar produced a Netflix documentary called Searching for Sheela released in April 2021.
Featured Image By Ma Anand Sheela / Instagram