Remember when Oprah was obsessed with “The Secret”? One year after the bestselling book shot to worldwide fame, the motivational speaker behind its founding principles was convicted of negligent homicide.
Rhonda Byrne, author of “The Secret,” was largely inspired by motivational speaker James Arthur Ray, who starred in an earlier film by the same name. The book claimed that thinking positive thoughts would lead to positive events and circumstances. Conversely, negative thoughts would lead to negative consequences.
Some followers even went as far as to believe that “the secret” could cure cancer. Others claimed that victims of natural disasters had brought the devastation on themselves. Controversy abounded, but it was nothing compared to what was to come.
In October 2009, James Arthur Ray hosted a five-day spiritual retreat in Arizona. Part of the agenda was a “rebirth” ceremony, which would take place in a sweat lodge.
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Ray warned the group that they would feel “extreme heat.” It was later discovered that they’d also been encouraged to abstain from water for two days beforehand.