On December 26, 1974, the Source Family sold their restaurant and
moved to Hawaii. On August 25, 1975, despite having no previous hang-gliding
experience, Yod decided that he would go hang gliding. Yod used a hang glider to
leap off a 1,300-foot (400 m) cliff on the eastern shore of Oahu. He
crash-landed on the beach suffering no external injuries, but was unable to move
and died nine hours later. The Source Family refers to this day as Black
Monday. After three days of vigil, Yod was cremated and his ashes put to rest
at Lanikai Beach in Hawaii.
Ken de Russy writes:
One of my early students Gary Bencar moved to Hawaii and knew of
the story first hand and related it to me at the time. The cult apparently kept
the body for some days expecting that he was either not dead or would rise from
Makapuu was a hotbed of hang gliding, one of the first places where unlimited
airtime was easily achievable by anyone who survived launch. The first loops
were done there as early as 1973 or 1974. Yod's commune was situated close by
where this extraordinary sight of humans flying as long as they wished. Such a
sight is intoxicating.
Yod's egocentricity likely told him it was a simple skill that he already
possessed. I encountered a few such Dunning Kruger types in the many years I
taught but only rarely did any act on their delusion like Yod.
If he in fact crashed on the beach his judgment must have been very close to
right. Having survived the launch was quite an achievement and by the time of
landing he would have had a pretty fair level of drive skills.
In those days I met a concert violinist who by chance encountered some pilots
preparing to launch Haleakala, struck up a conversation and then having only
seen one or two people launch before him and never having seen hang gliding
before that, proceeded to fly 10,000' down to the beach. There are other
credible stories of people just hooking in and launching off big places with no
training or exposure and surviving. Too bad Yod didn't succeed. The story can be
found in several places with a Google search. I recall that there is a YouTube
video that covers this person, group, cult and hang gliding death.