Sweat Lodge Victims' Interviews Released; Turns Out it was Hot in There and People Pissed Themselves
The fallout from last October's "Spiritual Warrior" sweat-lodge fiasco that left three people dead and dozens injured continues to play out but still with no indictment of the leader of the event, James Ray.
The Yavapai County Attorney's Office released transcripts today of interviews detectives had with participants in the event that paint a picture of the scene that most people familiar with the case already know about: It was hot, and people were in rough shape.
There are few new details to add to the already graphic depiction of the event, which includes people vomiting and passing out in the tent as Ray aggressively persuaded participants not to leave.
We can, however, add urine to the list of bodily fluids that were dispersed by several nearly unconscious participants.
New reports released today say, while about 50 people were gathered around hot rocks placed in the center of the small, poorly-ventilated tent, people began falling unconscious, puking, and urinating.
Yet, Ray's, um, charisma, kept people from leaving the piss/vomit filled tent.
Randy Potter, a participant, is one of many victims who recall Ray's speaking about death before going into the sweat-tent.
"It's going to feel like you're going to die. I assure you will not; embrace your fear of this," Potter claims Ray told participants.
Authorities are looking into past Ray-led events, where other injuries occurred, including a 2005 sweat-lodge retreat, where some Native Americans called Ray crazy for using more than 60 hot rocks in the tent. The Indians, who invented this bizarre practice and know, essentially, what the fuck they're doing, told one of Ray's assistants that they would never use more than 20 rocks for a sweat tent.
Ray has not been charged with any crime, but authorities say they are continuing to build a case against the "spiritual warrior."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.