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James Ray Attacks His Victims — Kirby Brown “was estranged from her family”

December 8, 2016

The reason I started this blog, nearly seven years ago, was to speak out against the deadly failed self-help teacher James Arthur Ray. At that time, Ray was under investigation by Arizona police for his role in the “sweat lodge” deaths, but he was still running events and claiming that his “mission” was too important to the world for him to stop.

Today, seven years, three homicide convictions and one jail term later, Ray still hasn’t realized that he is a failure at this “self-help” stuff, and again needs other people to tell him to stop.

inmate2Ray, convicted of 3 counts of negligent homicide

Ginny Brown, the mother of his victim Kirby Brown correctly and damningly once labeled him a failure and a “product recall”. This obviously stung the thin-skinned narcissist, because now that CNN and a few yellow journalists are trying to help him relaunch his career, he is using them as a megaphone to attack Ms Brown and defile the memory of the daughter he killed. As with any thin skinned narcissist, any slight must be avenged, even when it comes from the mother of the woman he killed. Ginny Brown’s daughter Kirby, he claims, was estranged from her mother,

“and that was one of the reasons her daughter was there” [at Ray’s event]

(Incidentally, Ray does not think it’s a breach of confidentiality to blabber out details of a customer’s  private life. It’s all contained in the waiver people have to sign: he can use their name, statements, image, film, audio, in any way he wishes; including, obviously, slandering them on national television.) 

This is a short video letter to James Ray from Kirby Brown’s sister, Jean Brown. I have transcribed the entire message below the fold, but will also highlight this passage.

…In another interview you claimed that Kirby was estranged from our family. That is a shameful lie. Certainly, Kirby was dealing with the challenge of carving out a unique path in life, one that deviated from society’s and, yes, probably our parents’ expectations, but that in no way shape or form means that she was estranged from our family.

My parents are loving and supportive parents. They had even attended some of your events with Kirby. All of those pictures out there of Kirby in a yellow dress — that was at my wedding: July 4th 2009, at my parents house in their backyard. That was just three months before your sweat lodge killed her….

To James Ray:

You may recognize me as Jean Brown, the sister of Kirby Brown, who died at you 2009 Spiritual Warrior Retreat.

In the course of promoting a documentary featuring yourself, Enlighten Us, you have manipulated the facts of my sister’s and James Shore’s and Liz Neuman’s deaths. You have also become insultingly bold in how you discuss Kirby, James and Liz. And so I am addressing you now with a very simple message:

Please stop.

You’ve been repeatedly asked if you’ve taken responsibility, and you say that because you have fulfilled your legal obligations, you have. But you haven’t taken responsibility, have you? Perhaps you’re incapable of taking responsibility — which might be more disturbing.

You continue to refuse to admit where you went wrong — the actions and inactions that made their deaths inevitable. The fact that you knew your sweat lodges were dangerous, because customers in previous years had been injured, but there was no risk management plan in place in case things went wrong; that your customers were weak after days of deprivation, and being encouraged to strip themselves away so that you could help rebuild them. And because of this weakness, you had power over them. You controlled the sweat lodge, and those deaths are on you.

But instead, you point to debunked theories, and the free will of your customers, which at that point was virtually non-existent. And that tells me that you still refuse to take responsibility.

Please stop.

You are now trying to build a narrative that those who died at your event were willful in their decision to die; that they died for something they believed in, and so should be considered heroes like martyrs for their cause. The funny thing is that I do consider my sister a hero. She was a hero to a lot of people, but not for the reason that you claim. Not because she died at your event.

I assure you: my sister did not attend your event intending to die. She wanted to challenge herself, improve herself, learn and grow. She had every intention of returning to the fully decorated apartment she had moved into just three weeks before. She wanted to expand her business, she wanted to pain a room in my new house. She wanted to meet the babies she knew her siblings would have and maybe she herself would have one day. She did not die at your event because she just believed in it that much.

She died at your event because of you.

So don’t tell me that calling her a victim dishonors her memory. You continuing to ask more people to trust you with their desire to grow, the same desire that Kirby had — that dishonors her memory. So please stop.

In another interview you claimed that Kirby was estranged from our family. That is a shameful lie. Certainly, Kirby was dealing with the challenge of carving out a unique path in life, one that deviated from society’s and, yes, probably our parents’ expectations, but that in no way shape or form means that she was estranged from our family. My parents are loving and supportive parents. They had even attended some of your events with Kirby. All of those pictures out there of Kirby in a yellow dress — that was at my wedding: July 4th 2009, at my parents house in their backyard. That was just three months before your sweat lodge killed her.

You making the claim that she was estranged from our family is a terrible lie, and I will not allow you to continue to repeat it. Please stop.

As I share my concerns publicly about you and your attempts to build the same sort of business that you failed at when you lost four customers at your events, I run into people who support you. They ask why I am so angry. But I think you’re the one who is angry. That you smear the families of your victims and try to rebrand the facts of your customers’ deaths for your own gain — deaths that were the result of your actions — there is anger in that.

I know you have fulfilled your legal obligations, you’ve paid your restitution; I got my $47 check, thank you; you served 20 months in jail: you have a right to live the rest of your life, I grant you that. But you do not have a right to insult my family. You do not have a right to dishonor my sister. And you do not have a right to put other people in danger. I will not let. Please stop.

In case you are beginning to think that this is all about you, I want you to know that this is much bigger than you and even my sister. I have learned that there are many in your industry who are like you — taking advantage of their customers financially, and even them physically or emotionally. This is an industry with no professional cohesion. You, as the product that you sell, should have been taken off the market. But there is no orgasnization in this industry to do that.

And so Kirby will be a hero, because through her story, we will protect other people from dangerous scammers like you, and help them find safe and true guidance. If Kirby had survived, she would be speaking out about your manipulation of this story and your abuse, I’m sure of it. But because she is dead, I am speaking for her.

And until you stop, get used to my voice. I won’t let you shut me up.

And so my message to you is this: Please stop.

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2 comments

  1. Thanks Yakaru,
    Your reasons for beginning this blog are perfectly understandable to me.
    I had been moving slowly and not always smoothly to the habit of critical evaluation for several years, but when investigating skeptical sites online out of curiosity, starting with ‘The Skeptic’s Dictionary’, cover to cover, what first gripped my attention and drew me back for more were sites like ‘What’s the Harm?’ and a section of the skeptic’s dictionary of the same name.
    These included sections like religion, psuedo-medicine, financial scams and claims of ‘psychic mediums’.
    I wanted to learn more of the true prevalence and extent of the Catholic sex scandal. The extent to which un-shown medical or rehabilitative theories had damaged people beyond their original complaint. How much money had seemingly been wasted on these products. The severe damage waged upon individuals and their families when shown medicine, which had survived well designed and controlled testing, had been ignored in favour of popular but ineffective shit.
    Even the serious beliefs of UFO nuts, usually involving the story that aliens were on their way to save the cult members and take them to a beautiful new world, occasionally resulted in multiple suicides by the faithful.
    With these stories and my interest in their details, came knowledge of the logical fallacies, which were so handy to know that one might immediately recognise them in the oppositional ranting of believers who tried to scold us skeptics. For me at least, learning of them included learning how guilty I and likely everyone was guilty of them.
    Holy Shit! I still catch myself occasionally indulging in the fallacies to support my own theories which I have not studied well enough yet to support without the logical lies.
    I’ve been called an ‘armchair denier’, a debunker (which I took as a compliment), a hater, a ‘government shill’, a grumpy old bastard and worse.
    The truth is that my concern and disgust in relation to many of the dishonest magical theories, hypnotic fallacies and dangerous delusions, led me to often wish that many, many others would investigate the subjects that I had and learned of the mental distractions that have affected me and you and everybody in the world. I wanted them to be free of the kind of crap that keeps us believing in bullshit and wasting our money and our brain-cells..
    I wanted everyone to know just what kind of damage has been waged upon people who have fallen victim in this way, swayed by arguments that are not really arguments, proof that is not really proof and all of the enchantments we fall under simply because of how much we really WANT to believe something.
    You have been successful in your motive, because now I know so much more about this James Ray. Others have gained and we are all now better, wiser and less gullible than we were before.

    While I am taking the time to express myself like this, online, before all of your readers and fans and anyone else who may have surfed by, I must declare, again, how glad I am that blogs like yours exist, that people make the effort to get across to others what they are feeling in regard to fucking dangerous bullshit-artists like James Ray.
    My thanks and an enthusiastic salute to you, Yakaru.
    In so many ways, you are a man who’s heart beats not unlike mine.

    All the best,
    Woody


  2. Thanks, Woody — great comment, and thanks for your support over the years, too.
    I remember when The Secret came out, thinking “No good will come of this.” But I didn’t reckon with anything like what Ray did. One reason I wanted to cover it was because I think skeptics are sometimes too quick to write off people who fall for such scams as fools. They’re not necessarily — the whole culture of modern commercial spirituality involves surrounding the customers with a network of people who will tell the same lies, and a series of well-rehearsed defense mechanisms against science and critical thinking. It’s really only those who are motivated to find out the truth who ever break out of it.



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