Posts Tagged “angel valley”

Following up my previous blog entries on this subject, CNN reports a third person has died as a result of the Arizona sweatbox incident:

A woman hospitalized after an Arizona sweatbox incident has died, bringing the total fatalities to three, authorities said late Saturday.

In addition to the deaths, nearly 20 others were injured at the October 8 event at Angel Valley Retreat Center near Sedona.

In the meantime, authorities are — supposedly — investigating the New Age guru who got these folks stuffed into the sweatbox, James Arthur Ray, as CBS News reports:

Yavapai County Sheriff Steve Waugh said Saturday that his detectives were focusing on the self-help expert and his staff as they try to determine if criminal negligence played a role in the tragic deaths at the Angel Valley Retreat Center in Sedona, Ariz., on Oct. 9.

This claim, of course, is belied by the fact that the Arizona authorities allowed Ray to refuse to speak to them about the incident and to leave the state. His whereabouts are currently unknown, although apparently he’s still posting insincere drivel to his Twitter stream. Arizona authorities are, therefore, in no position to question him or even apprehend him, if they wished to. They have essentially let him get away. Nice work, guys.

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I blogged a couple days ago about the “sweat lodge” incident at the Angel Valley Resort near Sedona, AZ. Authorities are conducting an investigation into it, including allegations that other people had been sickened before during similar events, according to a CNN report:

The two people who died and the 19 others who fell ill at a central Arizona resort after spending time in a sauna-like “sweatbox” were attending a program by self-help expert James Arthur Ray, authorities said Saturday.

The dead … were among the 50 or so visitors at the Angel Valley Resort near Sedona attending Ray’s “Spiritual Warrior” program.

Nineteen others were treated for injuries sustained in the sweatbox, a dome-like structure covered with tarps and blankets. Hot rocks and water are used to create steam in the enclosed environment.

Waugh said investigators are looking into evidence that “may turn this into a criminal prosecution.”

Investigators are looking into similar events held previously in other locations by Ray, who refused to speak with officers at the scene, Waugh said. A follow-up interview is expected to happen.

Ray didn’t have remorse enough to talk to police, but he did have enough to profess his anguish over the Internet:

Ray posted a noted late Friday on his Twitter page, saying: “I’m shocked & saddened by the tragedy occurring in Sedona. My deep heartfelt condolences to family & friends of those who lost their lives.”

On Saturday he posted another message, saying he’s “spending the weekend in prayer and meditation for all involved in this difficult time; and I ask you to join me in doing the same.”

Will the idiot park himself in a “sweatbox” and sicken himself in the process? One wonders if he’d be a “New Ager” enough to do so.

Ray, of course, is fond of playing the part of persecution victim for his New Age beliefs. Larry King once interviewed him:

“Well, you know, it’s interesting, Larry, because any time a new idea comes to the fore, it goes through three phases. It’s first ridiculed. Then it’s violently opposed. And then it’s finally accepted as self-evident, normally after the opposition dies.”

This is the old, “They’re making fun of me so I must be right” defense. Well, Mr Ray, if you managed to sicken 19 of your sheep followers and kill 2 more, then maybe your “new ideas” should be ridiculed!

The CNN report explains more about the site of this incident, including the New Agey reasons that New Agers hang out there:

Angel Valley Resort advertises itself as “a place to relax and heal … where powerful earth energies are present and active.” It was founded in April 2002 by Michael and Amayra Hamilton, both of whom are teachers and counselors there.

Uh huh. Right. Whatever. CNN even went on to discuss the practice of using “sweatboxes” by native Americans and asked some of them about it:

The use of sweat lodges for spiritual and physical cleansing is a part of several Native American tribes’ cultures.

A traditional Native American sweat lodge is a small dome-like structure made up of willow branches carefully tied together and covered in canvas. Rocks are heated in a nearby fire pit and placed inside the lodge, and water is poured over them to create steam.

“We are curious to find out what happened there,” Richard Moreno, a member of Pira Manso Pueblo tribe, told KPHO-TV. “I’ve been participating in the sweat lodge since the age of 3 and I’ve never recalled being sick from being in the sweat lodge.”

I wonder, too, what these New Agers were doing in there, that caused 19 to fall sick and 2 to die inside?

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Yesterday I posted yet another blog entry about yet another delusionally-religious family that killed its child for Jesus. Today I saw an item about people who died in a sweat lodge in a “New Age” retreat in Arizona. CBS News reports on these people who endangered themselves as part of their “New Age” worship:

wo 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.

Sixty-four people were in a crudely constructed sweat dome at the 70-acre Angel Valley resort Thursday evening, Yavapai County sheriff’s spokesman Dwight D’Evelyn said. The resort nestled in the forest about 20 minutes from Sedona, a resort town about 115 miles north of Phoenix that is well-known as a center for the New Age spiritual movement.

Tangential note: The story includes the obligatory reference to Sen. John McCain’s ranch being not far away. This is, however, completely irrelevant to the story. It just adds an element of what the reporter probably perceives as drama and a connection to politics. It’s nonetheless superfluous, though, as McCain had nothing to do with this.

At any rate, CBS News goes on:

Many people began feeling ill after about two hours in the sweat box, emerging lightheaded and weak, said Verde Valley Fire District Chief Jerry Doerksen. …

About 21 people were taken by ambulance or helicopter to area hospitals, where two were pronounced dead, D’Evelyn said. The dead were identified only as a man and woman, both middle-aged.

Three people taken to Flagstaff Medical Center were listed in critical condition Friday, and another was in fair condition. Three others who were admitted to a hospital in nearby Verde Valley recovered quickly; two of them were released overnight and one was reported in good condition Friday.

Authorities said self-help expert and author James Arthur Ray rented the facility and was hosting the group inside the dome, a low-lying structure covered with tarps and blankets. In a testimonial on the retreat’s Web site, Ray said it “offers an ideal environment for my teachings and our participants.”

I have no idea what sweat lodges have to do with “teachings,” but hey … when it comes to “New Age” practices, rationality and logical connections are unnecessary … you just do whatever, and claim that people did it thousands of years ago, even though they didn’t, and delude yourself into thinking you’re following millennia-old practices, even if you just dreamed them up last week. Angel Valley is apparently a New Age paradise:

The Angel Valley Spiritual Retreat Center, built on former ranch property in the high-desert and red-rock country of northern Arizona, bills itself as a natural environment for self discovery and healing through a holistic approach aimed at balancing the mind, emotions, body and spirit.

When did someone decide that cooking oneself to death in a sweat lodge was the best way to “balance” one’s mind, emotions, body and/or spirit?

Just goes to show that it’s not just Christianity — or Judeo-Christian-Islamic metaphysics — that can harm people … “New Age” can be just as dangerous.

Hat tip: The Apathetic Agnostic Church.

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