July 18, 2006
Another fraudulent cult is about to get blown away:
The Gentle Wind Project, which for 22 years has distributed “healing instruments” built on designs adherents claim were transmitted from the “spirit world,” has been sued by the Maine Attorney General’s Office for allegedly violating the Unfair Trade Practices Act.
According to the suit, which was filed June 29 in York County Superior Court, the nonprofit group has made false claims about its products, which range from small laminated cards to hockey puck-like discs the group says will treat everything from alcoholism to paralysis. The group claims the devices have been put through rigorous scientific testing and have been proven effective in hospital settings.
Instead, according to the complaint signed by Attorney General Steven Rowe, there was no scientific testing, and the medical professionals who endorsed the products had undisclosed financial relationships with the Kittery-based group.
The defendants, five members of the Gentle Wind board and their bookkeeper, have been charged with violating the laws regulating charitable organizations. They could be fined as well as forced to pay sales tax that was never collected on millions of dollars worth of transactions.
… The state’s suit marks Gentle Wind’s latest appearance in the legal arena. In 2003, the organization sued former members Judy Garvey and her husband, Jim Bergin, of Blue Hill for defamation after the couple published autobiographical essays about their 17 years in the Gentle Wind Project, which they compared to a “mind-control cult.”
The couple claimed that they had been exploited financially and let group leaders control every aspect of their lives. Garvey said she was involved in “sexual rituals” that she was told were necessary to create the healing instruments.
A suit against the couple and the operators of some Web sites that published their work was dismissed from federal court by U.S. District Judge Gene Carter in January. The suit was filed again in state court and is scheduled to go to trial in October or November.
… According to the Gentle Wind Web site, each human is surrounded by a web of energy. It is oval in shape, 8 to 10 feet tall and made up of 32 layers. “Over 90 percent of the world’s population is missing between 10 to 15 layers,” the Web site claims. Human technology cannot heal the broken energy, according to the group. The healing instruments are effective, they say, and they can solve “most of the problems found in humanity.”
Apart from being sued, apparently. Time to reach for the Trauma Card (one version of which is shown above), complete with its “elaborate sentinel system which prevents anyone from ‘breaking into’ or corrupting the [human energy] system in any way.” Yours for a modest $600 or so “donation” to Gentle Wind (whose research “expenses” in recent years have included a $67,000 sailboat).
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