Cult Expert: Sedona, Arizona is a definite draw for cults - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Cult Expert: Sedona, Arizona is a definite draw for cults

Posted: Updated:
  • Arizona HeadlinesMore>>

  • Arizona abortion case headed to Supreme Court

    Arizona abortion case headed to Supreme Court

    Supreme Court - State of ArizonaSupreme Court - State of Arizona
    Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in the case against the state's new abortion rules.
    Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in the case against the state's new abortion rules.
  • Ex-NFL QB Max Hall arrested near Arizona hometown

    Ex-NFL QB Max Hall arrested near Arizona hometown

    Authorities say former NFL quarterback Max Hall has been accused of shoplifting and narcotics possession near his Arizona hometown.
    Authorities say former NFL quarterback Max Hall has been accused of shoplifting and narcotics possession near his Arizona hometown.
  • The Buzz: 9/2/2014

    The Buzz: 9/2/2014

    John Hook & Kari Lake talk about the sell by date, a new pricey lottery ticket, and Jolie's dress 9/2/14
  • Special ReportsMore>>

  • Did someone die in your house? Valley woman discovers tragic history in her new condo

    Did someone die in your house? Valley woman discovers tragic history in her new condo

    Here's a question that usually doesn't come up as you buy your American dream home. Has anyone ever died in the house, if so how did they die?Those creepy questions are ones that a young valley woman wishes she would have asked.
    Here's a question that usually doesn't come up as you buy your American dream home. Has anyone ever died in the house, if so how did they die?Those creepy questions are ones that a young valley woman wishes she would have asked.
  • Panhandling: why there is an increase in panhandlers

    Panhandling: why there is an increase in panhandlers

    Have you noticed there seems to be more panhandlers on city streets? It's a common site just off freeway exit ramps, waiting to collect money from kindhearted drivers.For some of the men and women who seemingly have fallen on hard times, they're able to rake in big bucks in an hour or two.
    Have you noticed there seems to be more panhandlers on city streets? It's a common site just off freeway exit ramps, waiting to collect money from kindhearted drivers.For some of the men and women who seemingly have fallen on hard times, they're able to rake in big bucks in an hour or two.
  • Some Arivaca residents upset over Border Patrol checkpoint

    Some Arivaca residents upset over Border Patrol checkpoint

    A battle is brewing in one Arizona Border Town over what some residents say is taking over their way of life. They're not talking about migrants crossing the border; their fight is with Border Patrol.
    A battle is brewing in one Arizona Border Town over what some residents say is taking over their way of life. They're not talking about migrants crossing the border; their fight is with Border Patrol.
PHOENIX (KSAZ) - If you watched the season finale of  "The Following" on FOX, you know it's a frightening fictional look inside a killer cult -- but it's not as far fetched as you might think.

According to researchers, destructive cults are on the rise -- right here in Arizona.

Dark and disturbing, "The Following" paints a picture of a man, Joe Carroll, who has garnered such power over people he can compel them to kill.

Sound impossible, unbelievable, far-fetched in this day and age?  Not really, says cult watcher Rick Ross.

"The Following reflects what cults can be like.  The character, the leader Joe, is a Manson-esque figure who has an intense desire to destroy, kill.. very much like cult leaders that I've dealt with over the years," said Ross.

Ross runs the Cult Education Institute in New Jersey, but he grew up in Phoenix, knows Arizona and says one city here is a definite draw for cult activity.

"Sedona, Arizona has been kind of a magnet for groups called cults," he said.

Beautiful, mystical Sedona, with its stunning red rock, but Ross says it's the greenery that draws cults -- the kind found in the wallets of Sedona residents.

"Demographically, there are a lot of people there who have extra money.  They have money to spend.  It's an affluent area and there are a lot of groups that are set up there, most notably James Arthur Ray," explained Ross.

Ray, the motivational speaker and self-help guru, charged as much as $10,000 per person for his retreats.  One of those retreats near Sedona in 2009 turned deadly.

Three dead, more than a dozen others sickened in a sweat lodge ceremony orchestrated by Ray.  Many could have left the sweltering makeshift lodge, but they stayed.

"That is how total the control was that James Arthur Ray had over these people psychologically and emotionally.  It was very cult like the way he was able to dominate them to death," said Ross.

Ray, who was convicted of three counts of negligent homicide, served 20 months in an Arizona prison.  He said he didn't mean for anyone to get hurt.  Released in 2013, he is again building his self-help business.

Sedona's business continues to boom for its red rock views and the so-called vortexes that enhance spirituality and energy.  It is that vibe that also draws cults, say some residents.

"There's a natural draw for healing and self-discovery in Sedona, so I think I disagree.. it's affluency that's drawing what cults do come here, but that natural draw of nature and everything else," said Arthur Baird of the Sedona Crystal and Sound Healing Center.

There is a stark difference between groups offering spirituality and self-awareness and destructive cults, like David Koresh's Branch Davidians of Waco, Charles Manson of the Manson Family, Marshall Applewhite's Heaven's Gate, Jim Jones' People's Tempe and in "The Following," Joe Carroll.

The horror of this show -- fiction yes, but real life lessons can be learned as well, says Ross.  One of them is to be careful who you follow.

"Many of these groups are quite deceptive.  No one knowingly joins a cult, so do your homework.. investigate about this group before you go into it," said Ross.

Online: www.culteducation.com


Didn't find what
you were looking for?

Powered by WorldNow
Untitled

WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
5151 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20016
Main Number: (202) 244-5151
Newsroom: (202) 895-3000
fox5tips@wttg.com

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices