Wondery Presents GURU: The Dark Side of Enlightenment
In the mid two thousands, James, Arthur ray was a very charismatic self help guru who promised his followers path to wealth and happiness. But not all who followed this path became happier wealthy, and in fact, some never finished the journey at all curious. Well, this is the story told in a new true crime miniseries from wondering called Guru the dark side of enlightenment. James. Arthur Ray was an advocate of the law attraction, mixing spirituality, motivational speaking and quantum physics. He wasn't really well known until he was in this movie the secret and then he was a guest on Oprah few times soon after that thousands of people started attending his seminars, and he was actually pegged to be the next great, self help Guru. But what many didn't know about where his more shall we say extreme methods methods that pushed his followers to their limits, giving some the transformative life experience they dreamed of but putting others in the hospital or even into early graves. All right I'm about to play a brief clip from the show just to give you a preview. Why you're listening, be sure to subscribe to Wendy's new mini series Guru, the dark side of enlightenment on Apple, podcasts or spotify or better yet, Benjamin, all six episodes aired free right now on the wondering APP. See at the quiet end. It was March, two, thousand nine, and in a big chain hotel in New Jersey. A crowd milled around waiting. Once. The doors opened everyone headed for the same place. It was a large auditorium with a big stage in front. The event was called the harmonic wealth weekend. A rigorous two day seminar promised to get participants on the fast track to personal and professional success. It wasn't the kind of thing. Ginny Brown was normally into, but her daughter Kirby had insisted that they go together. As they walked in, she had to admit the atmosphere was exciting. They had a walk through a gauntlet I will say a cheerleaders who were jumping up and down reading up the energy in the room and. I remember saying to when women I said man you. You girls really had your coffee this morning and she said to me Oh. We don't drink coffee like poison and I was like Oh okay well I. DO I love it? As, everyone took their seats. The Lights Dimmed James Arthur ray stepped onto the stage and began a version of a speech often gave. Let's talk about what's changing right now. In your world, you see I firmly believe that you live in the most exciting time in our world history. To time where science and spirituality are realizing that their sister studies. James was tanned with a bright white smile, wearing a bright white shirt pretty trim ethnic build. Daily good looking just can't get going in the morning with my confidence. Give me a fricken break. Total Command of the audience people laughed. They nodded their heads. Like yeah, you know that higher energy kind of environment is just kind of fun you. You WanNa, be part of it. You want to belong you don't WanNa. STAND DOWN AND BE! Kind of against what's going on? Because James Ray was a star Slava. Tractor says like tracks like an as you lock your attention upon that then another particle, which is in harmony with it is attracted and another attack. Another Enough Bang! You've got a Mercedes. onstage he talked about reflecting on yourself and your position in life. Then he began to pull audience members onto the stage and ask them questions and I'd like to have for two volunteers to help me out here. I need a couple of volunteers. Okay, come on, both come on, give him a hand giving handed to come up with I. was impressed. I was fascinated by his ability to really read someone you know. He read people really well, but as she watched, something began to Nag her. There are a couple of times where he brought people on the stage, and had them reveal very deep, personal troubling. Things in their life. Ginny is a clinical social worker and sat there thinking. As the train therapists those are the kinds of questions I would ask if someone was sitting in my office, not in front of hundreds of people I was fascinated and uncomfortable. She turned to her daughter Kirby. Who was mesmerized? Just said you know that's you know that's. That's really not such a great thing to do. But Kirby was focused on James Kirby was in her late thirties, and had bounced around careers relationships. She wanted more success and stability in her life. Ginny knew that Kirby had been doing her own soul searching and the James's teachings had already helped, and she was going to stay there to get the most out of the experience whether she believed everything or not. But neither of US ever thought. He was dangerous. Later that year after attending another James Ray Event with her father Kirby Brown would get in her car and drive to Sedona Arizona for a five day. Intensive retreat with James called spiritual warrior. For James's Followers, it was the pinnacle event of their journey and Kirby spent her life savings nearly ten thousand dollars to be there. The retreat started on October fourth, two, thousand nine. Five days later Ginny was at home in upstate New York. Around eight am the doorbell rang. At Eight fifteen? The trooper comes to the door. and S me if I know Kirby Brown. In my first thought was. Oh, my God is she and some kind of trouble, but it was more than trouble. Ginny would never see her daughter again.