A large property once belonging a mysterious Nanaimo cult leader during the early 20th century is on the market.
The Decourcy Island Farm, a 42-hectare property on Decourcy Island, is up for sale and has an asking price of $2.19 million. Located south of Gabriola Island, the largely forested property comes complete with a wooden workshop, barn, fencing, irrigation, pastures, and can serve as a small agricultural and woodlot operation.Mark Lester, senior vice president of the Unique Properties Group at Colliers International, told the News Bulletin that the property includes waterfront views and is a one-of-a-kind purchase.
“This property really is the heart of the island,” he said. “It runs down the central spine of Decourcy and it represents about 25 per cent of the land mass of the island and it is where so much of the history of the island is based.”
The property, which according to Lester, is referred to by locals as simply the “farm” is also shrouded in mystery and historically significant.
During the 1920s, the Decourcy Island Farm was owned by Edward Arthur Wilson, a cult leader known as Brother XII. The farm served as the one of the bases for his cult following called the Aquarian Foundation, which had hundreds of mainly wealthy followers during the late 1920s.
Brother XII and his Aquarian Foundation mysteriously left Nanaimo in the 1930s, leaving behind all kinds of strange stories and rumours of buried gold on his Decourcy farm.
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Above: Edward Arthur Wilson, also known as Brother XII, with followers of his cult Aquarian Foundation. – Image Credit: File photo
Lester, who also has property on Decourcy, said he’s heard all the stories, including those about people hunting for gold on the farm.“I’ve heard the stories about people years ago showing up at Decourcy looking for treasure,” he said. “If there was any treasure left on the island somebody would have found it years ago and likely have not told people that they found it.”There are very artifacts from the Brother XII cult following that remain to this day. However, the property’s barn was once used as a dormitory by the cult. “It was originally built as a dormitory for followers of Brother XII,” Lester said.
Lester said the Decourcy Island Farm is currently owned by four partners who have maintained the property for years, adding that the land can still be farmed for leisure purposes.
“It’s property that needs to be experienced in order to be truly appreciated,” he said.The property does not have a house on it according to Lester, who said current zoning allows for one to be built or for the property to be subdivided.
Lester said he has had plenty of interest from potential buyers, but that he is unsure if it’s because of the historical connection to Brother XII, adding that the cult connection makes for a fun story.“It’s part of the story that we are able to tell about Decourcy,” he said.There is no ferry service to Decourcy, but Lester said that’s part of what makes the island special.“One of the things about Decourcy is that it a boat access island, but it does have regularly scheduled float plane service as well,” he said. “That does scare people sometimes because they can’t drive their car on a ferry, but that is part of the charm.”
For an historical story by the News Bulletin on Brother XII, please follow the link: www.nanaimobulletin.com/news/175644671.html