Friday, October 09, 2009

Wealth Guru Kills 2, Sends 16 To Hospital

File under: Gurus Clockin' Dollars, Killer Gurus and The Siddhi of PR

Colorado gurubuster and self-help industry critic Duff McDuffee alerted us to this AP news article which details the death of two and the hospitalization of 16 after a sweat lodge run by New Ageā„¢ self-help and prosperity guru James Arthur Ray:
Two people died and an estimated 19 others were taken to hospitals after being overcome while sitting in a sauna-like sweat lodge during a Sedona spiritual retreat, authorities said Friday...

Sheriff's homicide investigators were working to determine what happened and whether any criminal actions might have been a factor in the incident, D'Evelyn said. Investigators were at the resort Friday interviewing the retreat director, staff and guests, including some who told detectives they paid up to $9,000 for the multi-day program.
That's an expensive way to go, especially when most bridges are free to jump from.

Duff has been tracking Ray for awhile, coming to the conclusion that:
The total abundance James Arthur Ray is really enjoying is an abundance of total bullshit.
And now he's in some really deep shit, which, according to Ray's own professed beliefs, he attracted to himself and is completely responsible for.

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At 10/09/2009 7:21 PM, Blogger Darin said...

thats some sad news to hear.

At 10/09/2009 8:05 PM, Blogger jody radzik said...

It is sad when folks die due to the hubris of others.

At 10/10/2009 10:47 AM, Anonymous Erika said...

This reminds me of the New Age wacko who ran a "death lodge" a few years ago... people payed a pretty sum to be a part of this weeklong retreat that included a vision quest and the 'death lodge.' People thought it was symbolic... they'd die and be reborn spiritually in the lodge. Apparently the guy running it put chemicals on the rocks, and it killed two people, sending two more to the hospital.

People either need to stop messing with/disrespecting Native ceremonies, or at least learn to do them right. Sweat lodges are intense, but they're not supposed to harm or kill people... though if you've ever been in a Lakota lodge you'd think you were gonna die from the heat, heh. but that's the thing- NO ONE EVER HAS.

This is very sad to hear. I hope that guy gets whats coming to him...

At 10/10/2009 11:36 AM, Anonymous Erika said...

Here's the link to the article about that lodge... its full of all kinds of crazy. And sadness. I can't believe this happened... and that something so similar managed to happen just recently.

At 10/10/2009 4:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Several months ago in Phoenix, I was solicited via email to attend a free James Ray seminar that was to take place during the evening at a local hotel. I attended and found Ray to be personable and what he had to say positive, helpful, and interesting.

However, at the end of the proceedings, it came time for him to pitch one of his paying "retreats" such as, I assume, the one under discussion in the article on this site. The cost was in the thousands of dollars (I can't remember exactly how much) the price of which Ray told the assembled crowd. At the back of the room were tables set up, manned by several of his staff who were ready to take orders for the retreat from those that chose to sign up. What struck me as odd -- and I have no proof that this is actually the case, I am going only on intuition from what I saw -- is that when it came time for Ray to invite the participants to buy the program by going to the tables at the back of the room that at that point 4 or 5 people seemingly randomly scattered throughout the audience (there were about 300 people in attendance) got up in excited states and hurried to the back of the room to sign up.

And it was this that I found strange: I suspected that those that got up were "plants", that is, employees of Ray's, put there to "break the ice" so to speak and by being the first to get up and buy the retreat package was encouraging genuine prospects to get up and do the same. The theory being that it's not always easy being the first to do something but when you see others doing it, it is easier to do (especially when it costs thousands of dollars).

I don't know if this this constitutes fraud or misrepresentation and, like I say, I don't know if those people really were his employees but it all certainly seemed fishy to me at the time.

At 10/13/2009 4:17 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

I suspected that those that got up were "plants"

In most spiritual/religious groups, there's advertising that brings in new members. The nature of the PR and persuasion deserves attention and questioning.

At the zen center I practice with, there are of course expenses related to maintaining the building, utilities and insurance, etc. When more members come in, they pay certain fees and make donations, allowing us to function. There's a tendency (perhaps necessary to a point) to seek new members, so we can maintain or expand our programs and teachings.

I try to remind myself and others that the advertising ought to be designed to let the public know what we offer, so that people can decide for themselves if they're interested. If more interested people materialize, then we can expand.

In other words... I think we should first see how many people are interested, and then the scope of the organization can increase, maintain, or decrease accordingly. It shouldn't be the other way around: starting with a desire to expand the organization, and then seeking members to feed that desire.


At 10/14/2009 2:51 PM, Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Yeah, I've been tracking James Arthur Ray for quite a while too....

... as well as several of his co-stars in the world's most infamous New-Wage moviemercial, "The Secret." Just a couple of years ago Oprah and Larry King and Ellen were falling all over themselves gushing about these jokers. Who's gushing now?

In March of 2007, when I wrote one of my blog posts listing James Ray's workshops and fees, the price (or "investment") for his Spiritual Warrior retreat was a mere $7,695 per person. I guess he's had to raise his prices to pay for that four-million dollar home he bought in L.A. this past March.

For those who are into sweat lodges and such, here's a cheaper and safer alternative:

At 10/16/2009 3:28 PM, Blogger Darin said...

there is some false reports on cnn and other channels that this guy is legit. In my book two deaths make him a fake sick money hungry SOB, I send my love out to the families of everyone who lost their lives and got injured both this con artist.

At 10/17/2009 6:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This inside account of the tragedy is truly shocking. If it is all true, James Ray is starting to look like a very dangerous man, an outright sociopath, and needs to be stopped from recruiting new victims immediately.

At 10/17/2009 1:37 PM, Blogger Chris said...

"there is some false reports on cnn and other channels that this guy is legit."

He's as "legit" as anyone else CNN and the other media congloms have on. Their pundits aren't any more reliable or less worthless.

At 10/17/2009 2:55 PM, Anonymous ellen said...

'I don't know if this this constitutes fraud or misrepresentation and, like I say, I don't know if those people really were his employees but it all certainly seemed fishy to me at the time.'

Known in the trade as 'shills;' it is common practice in sales situations to use plants to kickstart the sales process. It conveys 'social proof' to those who are ambivalent about buying; the thought process it hopes to engender is 'others are doing it so maybe I should too'--and as social beings we are all susceptible to that.

It is generally classified as persuasion rather than fraud or misrepresentation, but as the extent to which one person can persuade another depends on the naivete and lack of suspicion on the part of the the persuadee, it's good to exercise some discrimination.
If it sounds too good to be true it generally is.

At 10/18/2009 10:46 AM, Blogger Prairie Princess said...

And now the death total is 3!!! He is supposedly doing his own investigation about what happened. Why isn't this man in jail?

At 10/19/2009 10:53 PM, Blogger Bob Weisenberg said...

Hi, Jody.

I'm deeply interested in this topic. Saw your comment on Elephant. Just subscribed to this blog and joined the Forum.


Bob Weisenberg

At 10/21/2009 4:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Jody.

I'm deeply interested in this topic. Saw your comment on Elephant. Just subscribed to this blog and joined the Forum.


Bob Weisenberg

10/19/2009 10:53 PM

Here is a link to some very good information about this. 9 pages as it stands now, with more that will likely be added as time goes on.,77450,page=1

At 10/21/2009 5:35 PM, Blogger Darin said...

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Boycot this Book No money for killers, October 16, 2009
By Darin T. (New York, USA) - See all my reviews

First of all this is a mini review because I did read some of this book at barnes and nobel its ok if your into the wishy washy law of attractions stuff.

Hey guys I posted this review for the book The secret on Amazon last week they have not took it off, it kicks ass right. the book was co authored by the douche bad james ray


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