Though I grew up in the environs of Santa Barbara, I've never really understood or particularly liked the place.
The people are a strange mixture of the outrageously rich, entertainment celebrities, retirees, hippies, a few middle-class folk, and poor Mexicans who are essentially ignored except as cheap labor or crime statistics.
The town also seems to host more philosophical and religious cults per capita than any place in California, which is saying something.
On Chapala Street, there seemed to be one strange headquarters after another, including the 33-year-old Institute of World Culture in a lovely yellow Victorian called the Concord House...
...and the comparatively downscale, Saint Germain Foundation nearby which had the scariest logo of all.
According to their website:
In 1930 Guy W. Ballard, hiking in northern California, met the Ascended Master Saint Germain on the side of Mount Shasta. His remarkable experiences are recorded in the books, Unveiled Mysteries and The Magic Presence, written under the pen name of Godfre Ray King. First published in 1934, the books have never been out of print. This introduction was followed by more than 3000 Discourses by the Ascended Masters. Out of this dynamic and practical instruction the "I AM" Activity was founded by Mr. and Mrs. Ballard, under the daily direction of Saint Germain.