Presented in reverse chronology, this history stretches from the present back to the Fellowship's 1970 founding, and beyond.
(See "Blog Archive" in the sidebar below.) It draws from many sources, including The Fellowship of Friends - Living Presence Discussion, the Internet Archive, the former Fellowship of Friends wiki project, cult education and awareness sites, news archives, and from the editor's own 13-year experience in the Fellowship.

The portrait that emerges stands in stark contrast to sanitized versions presented on the Fellowship's array of
alluring websites, and on derivative sites created by Burton's now-estranged
disciple, Asaf Braverman.

Wednesday, April 11, 2001

Ex-Fellowship of Friends member commits suicide

[ed. - Charles Forline was Fellowship of Friends member in the 1970s and 1980s.]
Man Dies in Apparent Suicide

The Daily Californian
By Bonne Chance

A BART train struck and killed a man at the North Berkeley station 4:45 p.m. Monday in what appears to be an apparent suicide, public transit officials said.

Charles William Forline, 57, died at the station from "extensive blood [blunt?] trauma," after being hit by a train traveling nearly 18 mph.

Witnesses at the scene told police they saw Forline, a Berkeley resident, jump onto the tracks when the train appeared, said BART spokesperson Mike Healy. The incident will likely be under investigation for at least six weeks, said Michael Yost of the Alameda County Coroner's office.

The six-car train hit Forline as it rolled into the North Berkeley station and prepared to stop, Healy said. The train was in the process of decelerating at the time of impact.

It is not known if the man died instantly or if he lived for a short time after the collision took place.

Healy said the station was a regular stop for the train, which was coming in from Richmond. The train closed the track for two to three hours, although an adjacent track remained open, he said.

The station was closed for about 45 minutes, Healy said. People were able to use the trains in either direction after the closure.

While the train was out of service, transit officials set up a "bus bridge" at 5:15 p.m., which shuttled commuters to the different East Bay stations.

Forline [sic] said that while BART accidents do not occur daily, they are not infrequent.

"People get hit because people jump or have seizures and fall onto the tracks," he said.

Wednesday's death was the latest in a series of train crashes in the Bay Area. A funeral was held in early March in San Leandro for a boy who was hit by a train while trying to race with it on his bike. Several weeks ago, an Amtrak train swiped a Berkeley man's truck, which contained empty beer bottles, but nobody was seriously hurt.

A Berkeley woman driving an SUV and talking on her cell phone was also hit by a train in the fall. Although she suffered no injuries, her car was "severely mangled." Additionally, in early February, a train hit a man and dragged him for approximately 20 miles. He lost all of his limbs except for one arm.

"Jomo PiƱata" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, February 25, 2009:
Stella and Harold [Wirk] rented for years from Charles Forline. He walked around Berkeley in his bare feet and I believe it was important to him to be barefoot as an individual right. He was renting out rooms in a home which, it came to light, he did not own. The Berkeley ordinance required him to have registered the house with the City and he overlooked this little detail, which made the rentals illegal. He may have been concerned when he was found out that he was going to have to pay back all the rents he had collected, I’m not sure. But I have the sense that his being found out precipitated the suicide.

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