UPDATE: Sweat Lodge Survivor Speaks; Ray "Played God"
James Arthur Ray
The first survivor to speak out about the "spiritual warrior" sweat lodge retreat that took the lives of three people and injured more than a dozen, is saying that the leader of the retreat, self-help guru James Arthur Ray, pushed people too far.
Beverley Bunn, a 44-year-old Texas woman who participated in the retreat, says the group spent days doing grueling physical and mental activities before entering the sweat tent, where people began passing out and vomiting.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Bunn says Ray "played god" in games the group played before going into the tent.
Bunn describes the tent as pitch black and when someone lifted the side of the tent to let in some fresh air, she says Ray called it a "sacrilegious act."
Arizona Coyotes vs. San Jose Sharks
TicketsTue., Nov. 1, 7:00pm
Phoenix Suns vs. Portland Trail Blazers
TicketsWed., Nov. 2, 7:00pm
Arizona Coyotes vs. Nashville Predators
TicketsThu., Nov. 3, 7:00pm
Arizona State University Sun Devils Hockey vs. University of Michigan
TicketsFri., Nov. 4, 7:05pm
Maybe "thou shall not breathe" is the 11th Commandment that nobody knows about?
Bunn says time in the tent was broken up into 15-minute "rounds," and after about an hour, people started vomiting and passing out.
Bunn heard people saying, "I can't get her to move. I can't get her to wake up," at which point Ray said, "Leave her alone; she'll be dealt with in the next round."
People tried leaving, according to Bunn, but were encouraged by Ray to stay in the tent and told that their bodies were stronger than their minds.
Well, in three cases, it appears that Ray was wrong.
On his Web site, Ray wrote Tuesday: "I too want to know what happened that caused this horrible tragedy."
People tend to need oxygen in order to continue living. What's the big mystery, James?
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.