Anorak | James Arthur Ray Is Guilty: The Full Story Of The Sedona Sweat Box Deaths

James Arthur Ray Is Guilty: The Full Story Of The Sedona Sweat Box Deaths

by | 23rd, June 2011

JUSTICE has been served on James Arthur Ray . The motivational speaker was complicit in the deaths of three people at the Sedona Sweat Lodge on October 8, 2009. James Shore and Kirby Brown, died at the scene. Liz Neuman died on October 17 after being comatose for a week. Ray is guilty of negligent homicide at the Angel Valley Retreat Center, Arizona.

Anorak has followed the case for months. Here are a few highlights of the case:

October 2009 :

AT a James Athur Ray spiritual retreat in Sedona, Arizona, for harmonic minded individuals two guests are dead and 19 more are hospitalised. Kirby Brown, 38, and 40-year-old James Shore died at the five-day Spiritual Warrior Even t” that would accelerate the releasing of your limitations and push yourself past your self-imposed and conditioned borders .”

More than 60 warriors enter a makeshift structure at Angel Valley Retreat Center where hot stones create an intense heat. It’s a sweat box that looks more like a circus tent.

Christine Whelan notes:

Participants should leave when the heat becomes too intense. However, after a week of brainwashing about pushing past “self-imposed” borders, human instinct was overridden by orders from a so-called great leader…

They trusted a well-known, well-loved inspirational leader who had been given the popular culture seal of approval…

James Arthur Ray has been endorsed by the cult of Oprah Winfrey,on Larry King Live and the Today show.

After the horror, James Arthur Ray is at a seminar at a hotel in Marina del Rey, near Los Angeles. He’s not in Arizona. He’s not under arrest. Before a crowd of around 200, he cries. He says he’s hired investigators to look into what went wrong:

“This is the most difficult time I’ve ever faced. I don’t know how to deal with it really.”

So should he go on to perform on stage so soon after a disaster?

“My advisers told me, ‘Don’t do that. You don’t know who’ll show up. They’re going to eat you alive… I’m grieving right now. I’m grieving for the families.”

We all grieve in our own ways. Ray does his grieving on a stage before an audience who give him a stranding ovation.

Two are dead, and Cassandra Yorgey brings news of a call from Ray to the injured “a conference call that was only for the victims of his latest retreat-gone-wrong”. READ IT HERE . And bring a bucket for the puke.

OCTOBER 2009 :

Texas resident Beverley Bunn speaks out publicly about the events that led up to the three deaths. Ms Bunn tells of the New Age oven than killed three, saying how the the participants had undergone days of physically and mentally strenuous events that included fasting. In one game, guru James Arthur Ray even played God .”

But it is ok because James Arthur Ray is doing fine. And he’s making  puns :

I promise you I am doing a lot of learning and growing. I have taken heat for that decision, but if I chose to lock myself in my home, I am sure I would be criticized for hiding and not practicing what I preach.

A survivor called  Sidney Spencer is talking:

“If this sweat-lodge experience had been conducted properly nobody would have been injured, but it was reckless how they handled this thing. Each and every one of them, they were told that to succeed you need to see this through to the end and if you don’t you will have failed this activity .”

Like so many others there, Spencer suffered multiple organ failures. She also has neurological issues and has difficulty talking.

Another survivor talked to CNN:

The only personal space you had was where you were sitting, nothing more, says Richard. Every 15 to 20 minutes, James Ray would open the doorway of the tent to allow people to bring in more heated rocks, onto which water would be poured…

(I) Remember, coming out of the tent most of us were still delirious & just trying to gather our own bearings. I was aware of people being passed out, vomiting, etc but didn’t realize anything more serious was going on until the paramedics, ambulances, fire rescue,  started showing up.”

“We were getting people out of the tents while the staff tried to tend to everyone outside the tent.”

As members of the Angel Valley Retreat staff tended to those who weren’t physically hurt but needed to process the emotions of what had just happened, James Ray slipped out of town.

“We don’t know why James left,” Richard says.  “We can only assume his attorneys told him to get out ASAP… how he handled this since is not acceptable.”

In spite of what Richard experienced, he is reserved in the way he lays responsibility for the horror of that afternoon in the desert.

“The bottom line in all of this is that nobody knows what went wrong yet and why people died this time.  Should and could steps have been taken to ensure our safety?  Absolutely.”

According to Richard, reports that Ray had hired a nurse to be part of the event are not true.

“There was not a nurse on staff,” explains Richard.  “There was someone who used to be a nurse there that also just happened to be at the event as a volunteer.  She was not ‘hired’ to be there as a nurse.”

OCTOBER 2009 :

Last March, the Los Angeles Times ran a blurb in its “Hot Property” column, a space reserved for real estate transactions involving the rich & famous.

Former footballer Rodney Peete and his actress wife Holly Robinson Peete were closing a deal to sell their home to a newcomer among the Beverly Hills-adjacent gliteratti… bestselling author, motivational speaker, disciple of “The Secret,” and self-described New Age shaman James Arthur Ray.

An aerial view of James Ray’s Mulholland mansion, located in the luxurious gated community of The Summit just north of the Beverly Hills corporation limits.

For his $4 million, Ray got a 7,200 square foot mansion in a gated community on the famed Mulholland Highway, the perfect place to sequester one’s self and relax after a five-day “Spiritual Warrior” retreat that brought in a half million dollars.

An even better place to hide from the media and Sedona investigators after such a retreat goes horribly wrong and costs the lives of three paying participants.

But James has worked and continues to work hard for his millions.

Just last Friday and Saturday, he toiled through two day’s worth of motivational sessions at his “Harmonic Wealth Weekend,” a gathering of 1,000 eager customers who doled out a total of nearly $1.3 million to  learn from the master.

OCTOBER 2009 :

Long before the fatal sweat lodge tragedy in Sedona, Arizona, people were complaining about James Arthur Ray’s business practices. Research finds there have been no fewer than seven complaints against Ray filed with the Better Business Bureau, all from people who unsuccessfully sought refunds for retreats or seminars with Ray. That’s according to BBB President and Chief Executive Sheryl Bilbrey.

One  woman who complained, Donna Fleming, 60, filed a small-claims lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court, but lost her case. Fleming is a Topanga, California resident and business owner. She says she paid $6,000 to attend James Ray seminars.

During one of those in 2008 at Paradise Point  Resort & Spa in San Diego, Fleming told the BBB that about 175 people were told by Ray to put on thrift-shop clothing and mess up their hair to appear homeless. A bus then dropped them off in downtown San Diego with no money, IDs or phones. Fleming said she didn’t feel safe in the rough neighborhood they wandered in for about four hours.

“We were told not to associate with one another,” Fleming told a San Diego newspaper. “We were told that we’re warriors, surviving out there and living by our wits.”

She said she felt duped by Ray because the session wasn’t  teaching her anything about how to achieve wealth. And the BBB apparently isn’t impressed with the way Ray runs his business… A check of the Bureau’s website reveals the company gets only a “C” rating (”A+” being the best, “F” being the worst)

OCTOBER 2009 :

The James Arthur Ray Sedona sweat lodge story rumbles on. This week, Larry King meets the relatives of Kirby Brown, one of the three who died in the James Ray sweat lodge…

WHAT makes the situation interesting is the fact that the “Larry King Live” executive producer is known to have had a business relationship with Ray in the past, reportedly. Apparently, the producer was so taken with the philosophy of “The Secret,” that she focused at least two episodes of King’s show on the subject, and personally booked James Arthur Ray as a guest.

But wait. There’s more.

Around the time Ray last appeared on “LKL,” King’s producer was shopping him to a Hollywood production company to host Ray’s own syndicated show based on “The Secret.” Her efforts to pitch Ray were unsuccessful, in part due to the fact that Oprah Winfrey sent word to Ray that she was interested in building a show around him and his teachings.

Ray quickly abandoned King’s producer for Winfrey’s people but talks with the Big “O” eventually broke off, leaving him out in the cold. So the question is: Will King go easy on Ray’s actions during Monday’s show… or will he be out for blood?

OCTOBER 2009 :

THE 120-degree temperatures inside that sweat lodge was nothing compared to heat James Ray could soon feel from federal investigators.

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobucher is asking both the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to look into what happened at the Spiritual Warrior retreat where three people died.

The dead include one Minnesotan, Lizabeth Neuman of Prior Lake.

Senator Klobuchar serves on both the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees.

“People came from all parts of the country to attend an event which they believed would enhance their lives,” said Klobuchar. “Instead, three people died, 18 were hospitalized and dozens more were traumatized. Mr. Ray neither enhanced their lives nor protected their safety.”

OCTOBER 2009 :

WE now know now what it takes for James Ray to finally talk or write about what happened in Sedona: the potential loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars, allegedly. Ray has broken his eight days of silence, with an e-mail to the people who had enrolled in what was supposed to be his upcoming Quantum Leap experience at a Las Vegas  Hotel .

The fee for the experience: $3,995 per person On Tuesday, however, the Green Valley Ranch Hotel notified all of those enrollees booked at the hotel that the event and their reservations had been canceled.

No explanation was given. They merely received an e-mail that read “we are saddened to cancel your booking with us…”

Then, in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, the Quantum Leapers, got an e-mail from one of James Ray’s associates, Director of Operations Megan Fredrickson. In the e-mail, Fredrickson said the cancellation message from the hotel was as much a surprise to us as it was to you, and for that we offer our sincerest apologies.

Megan went on to offer a standard confused apology: “We are currently in communication with Green Valley Ranch and regret that we do not have any further information to share at this time.”

Then, in an e-mail time & date stamped at 3:51am on Thursday (10/29), The Big Kahuna himself reached out to his followers.

“The lives of the families impacted by the Sedona tragedy have been changed forever,” the missive began.

“These families deserve to have the questions raised by the tragedy answered as quickly and authoritatively as possible. That is the goal I’m dedicated to achieving.”

But Ray’s dedication to resolving everything doesn’t stop there.

“This is the most emotionally wrenching situation I have ever faced,” he says in the e-mail, “and it’s now clear that I must dedicate all of my physical and emotional energies to helping bring some sort of closure to this matter. That means helping the authorities and the families get to the bottom of what happened.”

But apparently “helping the authorities” doesn’t include speaking directly with them.

As of the time he wrote that e-mail, there had been no reports of any conversations between James Arthur Ray, and the Yavapai County Sheriff’s office, which is investigating the case.

In his e-mail, Ray goes on to explain that the Quantum Leap experience will be re-scheduled for a time after the first of the year. He makes no mention of refunds.

For your reading pleasure, the full missives can be read here .

OCTOBER 2009 :

HERE’S a new piece at about James Arthur Ray and the Sedona sweat lodge disaster. The apparent thesis is both chilling and fascinating.

Essentially, James Ray appears to be obsessed with death:

“If you review Ray’s writing and lectures, you will find many references such as: ‘If you’re not growing, you’re dying’ and ‘for anything new to live, something first must die,’” says the source. “He speaks a great deal about dying to limitations, dying to the old self, (dying to old) ways of thinking,” and breaking free.”


HMMM.  This is perplexing.

Just last Saturday, James Ray posted an update on his internet and Facebook pages regarding the investigation into the Sedona sweat lodge tragedy.

“Not only is this situation requiring all of my personal focus,” said Ray in a very carefully worked statement, “it’s also consuming my entire team’s focus as well”

“For that reason,” he continued, “you can expect significant delays in responses to all general business requests.”

Interestingly enough, however, the tragedy hasn’t consumed so much of Ray’s time that it prevents him from e-mailing at least the occasional daily Thought of Power to the people on his mass correspondence list.

But it’s not so much the fact that he’s sending these thoughts, as it is what the thoughts themselves say.

Just today, one of the recipients of these daily “Thoughts of Power” forwarded one of them to Rumor Rat… see for yourself what it says:

Creepy, right?


In a Saturday evening statement posted on Ray’s website, he tells us he’s continuing to devote all of his energy  “to determine the facts surrounding the tragic accident in Sedona. ‘Cause there’s no way, as the proprietor of the sweat lodge, he could possibly already know any of the facts surrounding the tragedy, right? It’s not like he was in control of what happened inside that tent?

But we digress.

From now on, as the result of his zeal for finding the truth, we will refer to James Arthur Ray as Detective Jim .”

Furthermore, we’ll now stop saying that Ray is refusing to cooperate with the authorities.


Because in the statement he posted Saturday night at about 7:00pm PT, Ray states very clearly that he has instructed his representatives to meet with the authorities in Arizona, and to share with those authorities the fact they learn.



“Some friends of  James Arthur Ray sweat lodge victim Kirby Brown are doing their part to spruce up the view from the New Age guru and motivational speaker’s Carlsbad, California offices.

“They’ve hung the above pictured banner in a spot that ensures Ray will have something to read every day when he goes into the office.

“It reads:



ANOTHER eye-opening, if not downright shocking, report from CNN reporter Gary Tuchman on those three sweat lodge deaths at the James Ray “Spiritual Warrior” retreat back in October.

Investigators looking into those deaths that happened during New Age guru James Ray’s “Spiritual Warrior” retreat aren’t giving any details to the media.

But family members of the victims and a former James Ray employee say they’re  confident , based on conversations with authorities, that Ray will face criminal charges.

And that’s not the only new revelation from Tuchman’s Monday night report.

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Posted: 23rd, June 2011 | In: Key Posts, News Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink