So, that horrifying sweat lodge where Oprah-endorsed guru James Arthur Ray may or may not have inadvertently killed three people? NYT has some new eye witness reports, and they're as scary, icky, and infuriatingly New-Agey as you thought.
Texas orthodontist Beverley Bunn told The New York Times that the sweat ceremony was the rebirth phase of a "vision quest." Much like an actual birth, disgusting things spewed from everyone's orifices and a lot of pain was involved: "There were people throwing up everywhere" based on the kinda-bulimic advice that vomiting "was good for you, that you are purging what your body doesn't want, what it doesn't need." Apparently the body doesn't need consciousness, either, because at least three vision quest-ers passed out during the session, Bunn and others claim. When horrified participants yelled for help, Ray said he would "deal" with it later.
The experience cost $9,695. And, as if paying money to be trapped in a coal-heated, plastic-wrapped, life-threatening wigwam in the middle of the desert with 50 fellow "spiritual warriors," then watching them die before your very eyes, weren't bad enough, James Arthur Ray is apparently not letting up on his New Age bullshit: He brought a "channeler" into a conference call with the likely PTSD-ridden sweat lodge participants. She explained that the spiritual warriors' deceased peers were not, in fact, the victims of homicide—rather, they had powerful out-of-body experiences and it was "so much fun" that they decided not to come back. Seriously, could you even invent a more tasteless line of reasoning for the future Law & Order episode this is clearly about to become?
Local police are investigating the deaths as homicides, but despite the surviving warriors' most obvious wishes, James Arthur Ray has not been charged.