Sweat Lodge Guru Sat in Shade as Victims Roasted

'You are not going to die,' James Arthur Ray told those inside
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 30, 2009 12:47 PM CST
Rev. Meredith Ann Murray with James Arthur Ray at the Spiritual Warrior Course at Angel Valley Retreat Center in Sedona, Ariz.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – James Arthur Ray sat outside a sweat lodge in a shaded chair as the guru’s adherents died inside, and even discouraged onlookers from aiding those struggling with the intense heat, say newly released police documents. It would be “sacrilegious” to disassemble the structure, he told one woman who had just pulled out an unconscious victim. She did so anyway. Three died and twenty were hospitalized in the October incident in Arizona.

“You are not going to die,” the woman recalls Ray telling people inside the lodge. “You might think you are, but you are not going to die.” The lodge had no safety plan despite serious medical issues at two previous ceremonies, reports the New York Times. The documents “only tell part of the story,” a Ray lawyer says. The documents disagree: “There were no indications explaining why there were deaths and why people were getting sick other than it was extremely hot inside the sweat lodge.”

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