Guys, just in case this is of any use, there was a turn of the century yoga entrepreneur/guru who hung out in Nyack, another town in Hudson Valley.
His name was Pierre Bernard and he is the subject of a recent biography by Robert Love, entitled The Great Oom
Bernard cultivated wealthy people, created an aura of exclusiveness, had lithe young gorgeous girls who ran yoga classes and gracefully enticed people to get interested. He did commit some serious professional improprieties with some of his vulnerable patients.
However unlike Unlike Horn and Gans, Bernard did try to maintain ties to his relatives, offered to help them when in trouble, and he did not cultivate a chronic climate of fear, or push disciples to gang up and shun or abuse designated scapegoats.
Bernard wanted to influence his disciples lives, but for the better, and did not try to turn them into robots. Unlike Horn and Gans, Bernard did leave a positive legacy--he turned yoga into a respectable activity and linked it to mental and physical health and he even linked it to becoming a better and more effective citizen--quite unlike the morbid rejection of society fostered by Horn and Gans.
Here is where it really gets quite interesting; Bernard incorporated work and private theatricals, even a circus, into his programs for disciples. Later, he created a baseball team.
As I read this, I wondered whether the memory of all this had lived on in Hudson Valley and could have been a source of ideas for Horn and Gans. Robert Love noted that while he researched Pierre Bernard's life, he learned that persons living in and near Nyack still remembered him.
Unlike Gans and Horn, Bernard was mindful of the town and actually went to a considerable extant to create jobs during the Depression.
He had quite a sense of personal entitlement, but he did not take pleasure in cruelty, nor did he encourage disciples to shun or inflict harm on any designated scapegoats. The basic difference with Bernard is that he did not create a climate of fear or train anyone to despise the outside world.
But Bernard's taste for luxury, fine buildings, cars, and his strategy of putting disciples to work renovating property and involving them in creating theatricals, training in and performing in musicals and even circus events--all that intriguing similiarities to what has been reported of Horn and Gans.
Robert Love noted that Pierre Bernard drew many disciples from the art and music scene in New York--very similar to the areas where many guru recruiters prowl today.
If Alex Horn or Sharon Gans spent their early years in and around the Hudson Valley they might have gotten some inspiration from Bernard's career, just from hearing locals talk about him.
It is also interesting that Bernard spent some time in San Francisco, had his first 'Tantrik Lodge' in that city.
He left San Francisco just before the 1906 earthquake. He went north to Oregon, got into some trouble there, then moved to New York City.