Deaths at “spiritual cleansing session”.

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The organiser of a spiritual retreat in Arizona may be charged with criminal negligence following the deaths of 2 people and the admission of 19 others to hospital.

James Arthur Ray was directing a “spiritual cleansing session” in a sweat sauna in which between 55 and 65 people had paid USD$10,000 to participate. The 19 people taken to hospital were suffering from dehydration, burns, respiratory arrest and kidney failure thought to be associated with the lack of oxygen in the sauna, high temperatures and over crowding. Ray is an author and regular on the American talk show circuit. He holds seminars on wealth creation and was interviewed for the movie version of “The Secret”.

In further developments, authorities are investigating whether Ray deleted potentially incriminating twitter posts, known as tweets, put up during the fateful ceremony. At least two tweets have been removed from his twitter stream and replaced with messages of condolence. In one he wrote; “The Spiritual Warrior has conquered death and therefore has no enemies, and no fear, in this life or the next,” likely during the time people were falling ill.

Authorities say that Ray has since left the state and refuses to speak to authorities. You can read more about this story here.