In the aftermath of the horrific fire which took the lives of 36 people in Oakland, the “Cult” leader and his wife are being questioned. Derick Ion Almena had booked the night in a hotel for himself, his wife and children . He said it was because he was exhausted and that his kids had “school.” I find this to be very suspicious, since he and his family lived at the warehouse.
As I read about the personality of this man, it brought back memories of Charles Manson and his followers. Almena is described as very charismatic, but with a volatile temper. He did not own the warehouse, but was known as the “spiritual” leader of the residents. Some described him as violent when he felt that he had been betrayed. He was known to steal all belongings of individuals and insist they leave the Ghost Ship, as it was called.
EXCLUSIVE: Inside the ‘cultish’ world of the Oakland inferno warehouse organizer as tenants tell of mind control, threats of violence and ‘bloody rituals’ at the ‘collective’
Derick Ion Almena, 46, leased the ‘Ghost Ship’ warehouse where 36 died as fire swept through it during an unlicensed party on Friday night
Now former tenants and court documents paint a picture of the sinister and controlled world inside the Oakland venue
Ex-tenant calls him ‘cult leader’ and says: ‘It was a cult if you believed what Derick had to say.’
Almena used Hindu symbolism as part of his ‘art’ – although there is no evidence he was actually a member of the Eastern religion
Sinister account reveals how one of his sidekicks was accused of using ‘blood’ in a ‘ritual’
Almena faces criminal investigation; one friend defends him and tells DailyMail.com: ‘We’re a family, he’s a father’
Details of the sinister and sometimes cult-like atmosphere around the ‘artist’ who ran the Oakland warehouse can be revealed.
Derick Ion Almena was in charge of the illegal enclave, described variously as a collective or a commune, where 36 died in Friday night’s devastating fire.
He is facing a criminal investigation into the lead-up to the fire, which happened in a warehouse filled with junk and where Almena was raising his three children with his wife, Micah Allison.
Now details can be disclosed of the power Almena exercised over those who lived in the space he illegally rented to them, to the extent that one described him as ‘a cult leader’.
Almena, who appeared on NBC’s Today Show on Tuesday in a testy exchange with Matt Lauer in which he ranted about being ‘sorry’ but offered no explanations for the conditions in the warehouse, was accused of using threats of violence to get his way, and being able to flip from charming to threatening in a heartbeat.
He even attempted to take a restraining order out against a tenant who complained about conditions in the warehouse.
The tenant, Shelley Mack, fell out with him in an angry dispute over the unsafe and unsanitary conditions in the ‘commune’.
In return he went to court, documents show that he went to court, alleging that she was illegally squatting at Ghost Ship and had falsely accused him of stealing a car, and also that she ‘repeatedly called CPS [child protective services] on fake accusations’.
Mack told DailyMail.com it was a lie to discredit her and described the strange atmosphere in the venue.
Describing him as a ‘cult leader’ she said Almena threatened her several times and one of his followers pulled a gun on her.
‘It was a cult if you believed what Derick had to say, but I didn’t,’ she said.
‘But there were people who did believe him though. If you didn’t follow him then they would threaten your life, pull guns on you, turn your electricity off.
‘They would block you from the bathroom, call the police and lie and make up reasons for you to get arrested
I had one friend in there who was a diabetic and Derick stole his medicine and his truck and kicked him out and called the police.
‘If you didn’t show that you were willing to do whatever he wanted you to do, you were on the out.
‘If you didn’t buy in to the way things were run they ostracized you, kicked you out and kept your money and your things.
‘They would make it incredibly difficult, I had to call the police to get an escort out of there.
‘Derick would say this is a collective, we are building this spiritual, creative world, you had to buy in to that.’
Almena called the warehouse alternately the Ghost Ship or the Satya Yuga collective.
Jewelry designer Shelley Mack told DailyMail.com how she wrote to Almena to complain earlier this year.
Satya Yuga is a reference to Hindu theology, which sees it as the golden age at the start of time.
There is no evidence Almena was himself practicing the Hindu religion, but he appears to have picked from elements of it in his ‘art’ and his father-in-law had previously told DailyMail.com that he spent lengthy periods in Bali, the majority Hindu Indonesian island.
‘He wanted you to believe the whole Satya Yuga philosophy, spiritual, lyrical. He was into all this spiritual Yugi, Yogi bulls***,’ she said.
‘It wasn’t a religion but it was a belief. He’d give these big speeches, on and on and on. It was all poetic, a lot of it didn’t make any sense.
‘He would speak in lyrics a lot of the time, he would say we’re a family, we care about each other and we’re living off this vibe in this wonderful, beautiful artistic thing.’
Mack, who lived in the warehouse for four months, leaving in February 2015, said Almena considered himself a Yogi – a person dedicated to yoga practice and the tantra traditions of Hinduism.
Mack said Almena had a close circle of people around him who followed his commands.
‘He provided the appearance of a positive vibe, there was the words and the music and the art. He gave these people a place to stay and a space for their art and their creativity,’ she said.
‘We had meetings, he would have his own long dialogue or he would send out three or four pages of texts, stuff that was so bizarre you couldn’t understand half of what he was saying, it was like somebody being on drugs and talking to you.’
Mack says Almena’s wife Micah Allison was always by his side.
‘Don’t forget his wife, she was there co-signing everything,’ she said.
Allison is self-described as the group’s ‘Mother Superior’ and in a May 2014 Facebook post, she described the Ghost Ship as ‘the true crossroads of culture and revolution in Oakland.’
She added: ‘Within the walls of the most beautiful temple living tribute tied bound nailed erected and held together with love and blood. It is the center of the universe.’
Mack said a man called Max Ohr – nicknamed ‘Warlord’ – was Almena’s right-hand man and would regularly do the leader’s bidding.
She added: ‘Derick would tell him [Max] what to do and he’d do it, he had a devout group around him that still believes in him and is still lying for him.’
It’s believed Ohr, who escaped the blaze on Friday, was running the door for the rave that night.
The violent side of the Almena’s group has also been exposed in court papers and by the testimony of other tenants who lived under Almena’s rule and visitors to the warehouse.
Last year Almena was accused by artists and events producers of stealing equipment, breaking contracts, and making violent threats, according to court documents.
Philippe Lewis said that he rented the Ghost Ship for an event on January 3, 2015, but that Almena demanded extra money for the space.
When he refused to pay more, he says Almena became violent and stole his sound system ‘hiding it in the space.’
During the incident, it was claimed, Almena locked individuals into the converted warehouse and held them captive.
In a petition for a restraining order filed with the Alameda Superior Court, Lewis alleged that Almena threatened him.
‘I’m going to get my gun,’ he allegedly told Lewis, who had seen a box of new bullets while in the property.
He also claims he was attacked, sustained a dislocated shoulder and was kicked in the head by Almena’s henchmen – who assaulted Lewis on their leader’s orders.
He also says claims he saw evidence of a gun and bows and crossbow weapons on the property.
A friend of Lewis’, who asked not to be named, told DailyMail.com: ‘Philippe doesn’t want to have to deal with Almena any more than he has to, they are a violent group. He’s trying to protect his family right now.’
Another man who was at the party for the same dispute wrote in court documents that: ‘I was robbed of my iPhone & Philippe’s property at Derrick’s (sic) direction & beaten by his staff.’
Danielle Boudreaux, who has known Almena and his wife Allison for eight years, said Almena was charismatic and easily influenced those around him.
But she said she saw a ‘change’ in him due to drug use.
‘I knew Derick very well. The drugs made a big change in him. He was always this polar opposite person. One hand could be charming, making you feel you have great ideas, very able to persuade people in that way. There was always this dark vicious side underneath. That was never not present.
‘He was like a cult leader, he has that sort of charisma, draws people in.’
Almena promoted himself as a spiritual man and says on social media he’s a ‘student of the shadows’.
He purported to worship the sourceHindu gods Shiva and Kali.
In Hinduism our present time is Kali Yuga – ruled over by Kali, the demon who is the source of all evil. – source
We don’t know how the fire started, but from what I have read about this man, Derick Almena, he might has well have doused the warehouse with gasoline and lit a match to set the inferno in motion. His lack of regard for the safety of the people who lived there; and not only the people, but also his own family, is despicable.
I find it very suspicious that he and his wife and children were in a hotel the very night of the fire. I’m glad that the children are safe, but something just doesn’t add up.
I believe that this man is demon possessed. Satan owns his soul. You can see it in his eyes. I call those kind of eyes “shark eyes.” They are empty and appear dead.
Come Lord Jesus
The evil on this earth is so thick and widespread. Brethren, when we see stories like this, it makes us realize all the more that this place is not our home – we are just passing through. We are waiting for the Blessed Hope of His appearing, and we will never be separated from Him again. Hallelujah!