A deadly 2009 "sweat lodge" retreat in Arizona left participants so sickened that the scene resembled "a battleground" with people vomiting, foaming at the mouth and with their eyes nearly popping out, according to one survivor who testified Thursday.
James Arthur Ray's spiritual warriors journeyed to the foot of the mystical red cliffs of Sedona, Arizona, to find enlightenment. They were willing to shave their heads, meditate in the desert for 36 hours without food and water, then symbolically die and be reborn in a sweat lodge ritual.
The eighth day in the trial of a formal spiritual retreat leader charged with manslaughter after a deadly sweat lodge ceremony concluded Friday with emotional testimony from the roommate of one of the victims.
Testimony continued Tuesday at the trial of a self-help speaker charged in the death of three people at a sweat lodge in Arizona, with a volunteer saying she and others received little training on how to assist people.
A woman testified Friday that the leader of a spiritual retreat dismissed her alert about the failing condition of a fellow participant in a 2009 "sweat lodge ritual," one of three people who eventually died after that event.
Opening statements began Tuesday in the trial of self-help author and speaker James Arthur Ray, who is charged with three counts of reckless manslaughter in the death of three people at an Arizona sweat lodge.
Self-help author and speaker James Arthur Ray announced Thursday that he is postponing all of his scheduled events through the end of the year after the deaths of three people in a sweat lodge session he led.
A self-help expert said Tuesday that he has hired his own investigators to determine what happened at his Arizona retreat last week, when two people died after spending considerable time in a sweat lodge.
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.