Across the Universe with Cosmic Connie, aka Connie L. Schmidt...or maybe just through the dung-filled streets and murky swamps of pop culture -- more specifically, the New-Age/New-Wage crowd, pop spirituality & religion, pop psychology, self(ish)-help, business babble, media silliness, & related (or occasionally unrelated) matters of consequence. Hope you're wearing boots. (By the way, the "Cosmic" bit in my moniker is IRONIC.)
Thursday, October 08, 2015
James Arthur Ray Death Lodge Sixth Anniversary: Never Forget
I always love October. I love the way it
presents itself, more often than not, in such bright and perfect
blue and gold -- yes, even down here where we don't have the
stunning autumn colors that are seen further north. I love the
way October always feels, even more than September does, like a
beginning rather than the herald of any kind of ending. Granted,
at least one group of Apocalyptomaniac "Christians" had
been predicting that yesterday, October 7, would be The
End. They were unfazed by the world's utter failure to end on
September 27 with the lunar eclipse/blood moon/super moon, as predicted by various idiots.
One Chris McCann, head loony at the eBible Fellowship, an online
affiliation headquartered in the Philly area, said that on October 7, the world will be "gone forever.
Annihilated." According to
McCann's interpretation, the world would be obliterated
As we all know now, the world did not end. Here we are, well into
October 8. And the world goes on, for most of us.
But as much as I love October, there is an undercurrent of
sadness in these pristine fall days. Most of the hummingbirds are
gone by now, though a scant few stragglers remain, but that's not
the core of my sadness. It's more of a general melancholy, rather
subtle, perhaps best expressed by Rilke's poem,
"Autumn," which is no doubt even more lovely in the
original German, though the version in this blog post
is the English translation that touches me the most (yes, despite
And after that, the world was never the same for untold numbers
of family members and friends of these three lovely people.
I knew none of them, though some of the family members are now my
Facebook friends, but I think of them every year at this time.
Mostly it is with sadness but also with anger, because the man
whose recklnessness was responsible for these three deaths (four,
if you count Colleen Conaway's death at
another Ray event in July 2009), served a prison sentence of less
than two years for the Sedona deaths. (He served no time at all
for Colleen's death, and wasn't even charged, much less tried or
convicted, although my understanding is that there was a civil
settlement of some kind, eventually.)
People lost hundreds of thousands of dollars through the GIN
scam, money they will almost certainly never get back. Yet the
con rolls on; even the "affiliate" (MLM) program has
been renewed, and various wannabes (like this joker) are still
enthusiastically and aggressively pushing GIN as a "success
club" -- and, in the case of the linked post above, they're
also promoting James Ray as someone to look up to. And Trudeau?
Still languishing in Camp Cupcake (his fake-fond nickname for FPC
(Federal Prison Camp) in Montgomery, Alabama), awaiting the
outcome of the appeal of his ten-year prison sentence, and
pushing his own scams in order to raise money for his legal
Consumers won’t be getting a full
refund on the book. The government agency’s lawyers have
said the refunds could arrive in multiple checks to readers,
and it’s “reasonable” for consumers to expect $11 total
from the first two checks they get. Some variables are at
play, including the number of consumers the FTC can track
down and the percentage who actually cash their checks. The
checks will be valid only for 60 days.
The FTC said more than 820,000 people
bought Trudeau’s book, which has a list price of $24.95.
But you GIN members who maxed out your credit
cards, squandered your life savings or even lost your homes as a
result of constantly being bombarded with attractive lies,
Scientology-like manipulation, sales pitches, upsells and
oversells... pffft. You're on your own. This case was never about
y'all anyway. In fact it wasn't even consumer fraud re the diet
book that actually landed Katie in prison. Technically it was
criminal contempt; essentially, Katie pissed off the courts and
the judges. Granted, it was all related to Katie's egregious
consumer fraud. And Katie still has to answer for many of his
lies (most notably, where he's hiding all of his money) when he
gets out of prison. But meanwhile... he's still scamming and
still has legions of fans.
Although it may seem that I've digressed a bit from my original
topic on this post, I haven't, really, because both Katie and
Death Ray are part of Scamworld, and in fact they have publicly
endorsed and promoted each other numerous times over the past few
years (see here and here for instance).
One of the constant themes on this blog over the past few years
has been that there are no neat and tidy endings in Scamworld.
"The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on." Kevin
Trudeau is in prison, but still scamming, and still looked on as
a hero by many. James Arthur Ray was in prison, but out
now, and still scamming, and still looked upon as a leader of
some sort, at least by a few.
Meanwhile, many of the people Katie scammed are still picking up
the pieces of their crumbled finances and lives. And as October
inevitably gives way to November and December, there will still
be empty places at the holiday tables of the families whose loved
ones were killed by the arrogant recklessness of James Arthur
Regarding the latter, there are bright spots of joy with the
sadness; in the years since Death Lodge, beautiful babies have been
born to some of the family members of those who were lost. Life
goes on, and for some, October is truly a time of beginnings.
maybe, just maybe, no one is ever truly lost. Rilke:
...And yet there's One whose
this universal falling can't fall through.
Kirby Brown's family, trying to create
something good from the awfulness wrought by James Ray, is still
promoting their non-profit, Seek
Safely, whose purpose is to educate
people about how to safely participate in the self-help industry.
I will note once again, as I always do when I mention this
organization, that none of the industry giants invited to sign the Seek Safely Promise has
signed. Here are the people who have signed -- and as I've also said before, I am sure they are
good folks, but they are not the most prominent in the industry.
Still, it's a worthy cause, and I applaud Kirby's family for
And me? I'll continue to do my part to make sure
that people never forget what happened six years ago today,
The Jewish New Year begins at
sundown today, which is around 7:30 PM in my still-verdant and
currently quite pleasant little part of the world. And as I say
at this time every year, even though I am not Jewish I think this
is a far better time to have a new year than January 1. This is
just about my favorite time of year, for in my neck of the woods
summer is finally thinking of releasing its oppressive grip, and
although we will never enjoy the most resplendent autumn colors,
the very promise of fall and marginally cooler weather makes
everything seem new and a little bit thrilling nonetheless. It's
also high hummingbird season here, and I am having trouble
concentrating on my work because I hung a feeder right outside my
I had a passing thought that perhaps Lenny's employment of the
Jewish calendar as a basis of his dire predictions about
September 13 was just another way of blaming the Jews for
everything bad. But that seems too subtle for him. In any case
he, like many other September 13 alarmists, seems to have been on
the "prepper" bandwagon and has advised people to stock
up on canned goods, ammo and of course gold and silver.
First of all I would like to thank for
their support and assistance in my precious friend Jürgen A.
Kettner. Without Jürgen and his Life Coaching Group, it
would have been much more difficult for me to carry on my
message in recent years in Germany...
Uh-huh, because Germany didn't want Lenny's
quackery. The interview included this interesting little snippet
(and remember, this is a Google automatic translation from German
to English, so it's a bit awkward):
[Interviewer:] Now there is in Germany
still a tinge of disappointment, because somebody has already
very criticized their work years ago and joined with a
negative report on the Internet. Do you know them all?
Coldwell: Yes, my friend Jürgen has reported me about it
several times. For me it is still amazing, what is really so
easily possible today in Germany. Thus, even after more than
ten years of my absence, oddly enough, only in Germany, by a
small group of opponents who have formed an unemployed
secretary and their cronies are associated even with child
pornography, lies or false statements on the Internet about
me spread that defy description. I am very grateful for this
information Jürgen and will defend myself quite sure about
I'm pretty sure Lenny was been referring to Karin Paetow-Froese, the
person associated with the late-1990s German lawsuit and
documentation that just won't go away. (Note: Although Lenny has earnestly protested to
the contrary in the years since then, he LOST that lawsuit.) Notice his accusation, in
the interview snippet above, that his critics are linked to child
pornography -- not too far removed from his more recent false
accusations that critical bloggers Omri Shabat and Bernie
O'Mahony are child molesters/rapists.
I also think it's interesting that he refers to "a small
group of opponents" who are "only in Germany" --
when in most of his accusations he claims there are huge,
multi-million dollar conspiracies against him, run by Big Pharma
and other major enemies.
This is interesting too:
[Coldwell:] Several state-recognized
universities in the US have set me as a professor and
entrusted me with it to develop state-approved courses for
their virtual campus on the Internet.
And there is now good news for my German patients:
Immediately also German patients in the US can be treated by
my method, just as in Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
Please contact on my homepage. Jürgen A. Kettner, the
founder of Life Coach group of companies will leave me all
inquiries as soon as possible to come. Discretion is
I wonder why he left his long-time buddy and
business partner, German physician Dr. Thomas Hohn, out of that
particular referral loop.
Well, that was then and this is now. On September 3, 2015 Lenny
posted this advice on Facebook regarding September 13:
Coldwell says that he has been telling us for years now about
September 13. But I have been closely following his nonsense for
more than three years and have done a lot of research on him and
his writings and speeches and videos -- and I never saw him
mention September 13, 2015 until a few months ago.
However, I have seen numerous occasions where he picks
up on some conspiracy meme or random stupid (and debunked) urban
legend, and he claims that he has been making that exact same
prediction or warning (whatever it may be) for years. September
13 is just more of the same, and it too shall pass as soon as he
has milked it of every possible marketing opportunity.
And milk it he has. Lenny has even used the dire predictions to
promote his GIN ripoff club the IBMS Master's
Society, which of course costs money to
join and to maintain membership. He says members of the society
will get exclusive survival information for the hard times ahead.
Many of you will recall that this was the same line that Kevin Trudeau was using three years ago, re the December 2012 panic, to scare people into
joining his own secret society, GIN. (Alas, the video link I
provided in that 2012 post is no longer working, but most of you
ex-GIN members know what I'm talking about anyway. And Bernie
wrote about it in this early GINtruth post,
under "Member Audio Update.")
For that matter, someone just reminded me that
Lenny himself was not above exploiting the 2012 scare, even
though after being fired from GIN in spring of 2012 he repeatedly
made fun of Kevin for the same type of exploitation. Here is an
example from June 2012 of Lenny raving on Facebook about
Trudeau's lunacy re 2012. Notice that Lenny links to Bernie's
blog, GINtruth.com (he was still buds with Bernie back then, calling him "brother" and telling Bernie he loved him). Yet here's a link to a description of a November 2011
Coldwell seminar -- The Doctor Coldwell
2012 Mind Revolution (stop snickering) -- which seems every bit as exploitative of the
2012 hype as anything Trudeau ever did. (Here is a direct link to the promo video.)
In other words, Lenny Coldwell was never above using every smarmy
scam tactic that he so vehemently condemned Trudeau for using.
But then, y'all probably knew that already. It's only a bloody moon...
Now, if you're not satisfied with a mere beginning of
The End and you want a real End to be alarmed about, just wait
another two weeks for the next blood moon: the eclipse that
happens on September 27-28. Most of the conspiracy fans and fear-mongers lump this upcoming event in with the September 13
thing, saying it's all part of the same larger phenomenon that
people in the know are informed about, and that the rest of us
fast-asleep sheeple will ignore to our peril.
Lenny hasn't really said anything about the blood
moon specifically, at least not that I've seen, and for that
matter his ex-b.f.f. Kevin Trudeau hasn't either. In fact, so far
today I haven't even seen any September 13 rants on Lenny's
Facebook pages. That could be because the Brazil scamfest has him
occupied, but on the other hand someone has been writing
on his page today, and that person seems to be interested in the
same things that have occupied Lenny over the past few days:
hating on the Syrian and other refugees who are
"invading" Europe, according to Lenny.
Here are a few very recent gems; the first one is
from September 13 and the other two are from a couple of days
Well, you get the idea. As per usual, he has also been posting
links to hate sites that suggest that Hitler wasn't such a bad
guy after all. But I guess all of that
is another topic too. As for Kevin, he's still at Camp Cupcake (Federal Prison Camp in
Montgomery, Alabama) working his current scams and continuing on
his mission to raise money for his legal fees. He doesn't seem
too interested in either Shemittah or blood moons, but rather on
getting out of the cage so he can scam more freely once again.
September 13 will soon pass, as will the next blood moon or other
interesting anomaly, and the next. Yes, the stock market is doing
wonky things and oil prices are iffy, but that is something
that's been building up for a while and that many credible
experts have observed and written about; it is all part of normal
cycles that have nothing to do with anyone's mystical calendar or
the phases of the moon. But that doesn't matter. There will
always be another harbinger of the Apocalypse around the next
corner, and with it will come renewed opportunities to scare
people into shelling out for prepper supplies, ammunition,
overpriced gold and silver trinkets, and memberships to idiotic
seekrit clubs. The marketing ops are endless in the End Times: a
crapitalist's dream come true.
In case you haven't seen it yet, here
at last is Part 1 of what is intended
to be a three-parter by Jason Jones, aka Salty Droid, one of my
co-defendants in a failed defamation lawsuit brought against us
and a few other real and imaginary defendants in January of this
year by the comically but disturbingly daft Not-Doctor Leonard Coldwell. [Case number 15-CVS-2791, filed
in the General Court of Justice, Superior Court Division,
Guilford County, North Carolina]
The suit was dismissed nearly four months ago, but Jason was busy
with other Matters of Consequence and is only now able to turn
his attention to doing justice to this story of a most unjust
lawsuit. And it appears to me that it was well worth the wait.
As many of you may recall, I wrote about this dumb lawsuit
from my own perspective in May of this year, just after the case
was voluntarily dismissed by the Plaintiff, but I told only a
very small part of the story. For several reasons Jason has many
more insights and much more hilarity to offer, and in the process
he is accomplishing something I was not fully equipped to do:
giving the lawyers who handled this utter sham of a case, William
Franklin May and K.E. Krispen Culbertson of
Greensboro, North Carolina, the smackdown they so richly deserve.
I feel that these lawyers deserve sanctions and that I deserve an
apology from them, but for now Jason's efforts are providing more
than a small measure of satisfaction for me. It almost makes up
for the disappointment I felt when a mainstream-ish media outlet,
after months of back-and-forth, killed this story, supposedly
because the case had been dismissed and was no longer "a
thing." Almost certainly it was not because the media outlet
(which is constantly getting lawsuit threats about stories but
runs with them anyway) had been intimidated by either the
Plaintiff or his attorneys, whose lunatic accusations and threats
against the reporter would have made for a richly humorous story.
But that's water under the bridge. In the end, hobby bloggers,
who lack both the safety net of dedicated legal teams and the
promise of monetary compensation for their efforts, are the ones
left to tell the stories from which other media, for various
reasons, still shy.
Apart from his own knowledge of the law, Jason is able to flesh
out this narrative in ways I could not because he engaged in
extensive private communications with the lawyers. One topic of
conversation among them was that they never properly served
him, supposedly because they couldn't find his address, which is
on the public record. This contrived logistical glitch gave rise
to some more totally loony lies from Coldwell about how Jason was in hiding from service -- kind of a
deja vu of the big and little fibs Lenny told during his last failed lawsuit against Jason, which was filed in February 2014 and dismissed by the
judge in April 2014 "for want of prosecution."
In a February 2015 post Jason
wrote a comical tale of May and Culbertson's attempts to pretend
to serve him with the most recent suit, and he very briefly
quoted some of their communications with him. But what he quoted
there was just the tip of the iceberg... or should I say the tip
of the pile of guano, because clearly, the Plaintiff in this case
wasn't the only one who was displaying signs of being bat-crap
Jason also uploaded and provided links to most of the documents in
this case, so you can see clear evidence of how I tried to
respond and how the lawyers ignored my response and continued to
try to intimidate me. On my own post I had only uploaded the
original complaint and the notice of dismissal. So there's a lot
of information about the case on Jason's post that hasn't been on
Questions without answers?
In this first installment of his new series Jason raised some
interesting questions about issues that had both him and me (not
to mention the North Carolina court, apparently) puzzled about
the lawyers' true intentions. It appeared, even to my unschooled
eye, that they were not proceeding in anything like a
conventional and certainly not a very professional manner in
response to the motions we filed, and particularly in regard to
the process of discovery.
Jason also hints in his post about the ludicrous efforts by the
lawyers to build a criminal case against him for helping me with
my responses to the lawsuit. Jason -- who as of this writing is
not licensed to practice law and, despite Coldwell's hysterical
attempts at "exposing" him, has not pretended to be
so licensed -- was simply a defendant acting as a friend to
another defendant who had tried repeatedly but failed to get
legal representation. He never claimed to be representing me in
this case in any way. He never offered me legal advice and I
never asked for it. But apparently the lawyers' and Lenny's
little panties were in a wad because I responded in a timely
manner to the complaint, and my response looked an awful lot like
In truth, no criminal charges were filed and no arrest
warrants issued in this now-dismissed CIVIL case. So
Coldwell lied... yet again. (I know I went on a bit about that in
my May post, but it deserves a revisit.)
Were the discovery irregularities and the threats of a criminal
case the results of incompetence on the lawyers' part, or were
they simply trying to intimidate me and, as Jason wrote, to scare
him away from helping me in order to "further isolate and
terrify" me? After all, I seemed to be the main target of
this joke of a multi-defendant pleading. And lawsuits can
be terrifying or at the very least very stressful to us novices.
I won't lie: it did stress me out at times, even though I knew I
was not in the wrong and I had no intention of removing my blog
posts. But many times unrepresented defendants, not knowing any
better, are intimidated into responding to a suit in a way that
does not serve their best interests. And it seems that Loony and
his legals were banking on that happening with me. Fortunately I
did not cave.
At any rate, judging from the attorneys' actions, including the
original lawsuit, my guess is that incompetence and
(sleazy but clumsy) intimidation strategies were both factors in
Moreover the lawsuit got it all wrong regarding Jason's writings
about Coldwell. The complaint against Jason focused on a September 2012 post he
had written about a 2007 Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina police
report on Coldwell [case number 2007-04652]. The claim on the
lawsuit was that Jason had published the police report and other
commentary "which falsely accuse Plaintiff of having forced
a person or persons to have sex"--
but Jason never wrote such a thing. He didn't even publish the
police report, only a very, very small portion of it. He captured
the essence of the allegations of multiple complainants by
combining their stories and scrambling details that might
identify them. Essentially what he wrote was that the police report indicated that Coldwell had
manipulated numerous women into having sex, under false pretenses. In other words, Jason never actually claimed that
Leonard Coldwell is a rapist.
And I won't even get into all of the inaccuracies
in the claims against me. Yes, they got my name and county and
state correct. But that's about the extent of the accuracy. No
specific blog posts were cited; words and concepts were simply
lifted, seemingly at random, from various posts about Coldwell.
Most of the allegations regarding specific things I had written
about him were either paraphrases, quotations taken out of
context or in a couple of cases were words that I had actually
written about someone else (e.g., Kevin Trudeau) rather than
Coldwell. Regarding other things I'd written about Coldwell that
the complaint listed as false or obscene or abusive, I provided
plenty of screen shots and links to source material to back up my
The complaint also falsely said I was making money from writing
about Coldwell and that because the things I had written were
false (according to the complaint) I was engaging in deceptive
advertising and fraud. And the complaint inaccurately claimed I
had been asked and demanded previously to remove content about
Coldwell from my blog. That is not the case. Until this January
2015 lawsuit I had never been asked or demanded to remove any
content about Coldwell. In fact the complaint demanded a temporary and then permanent injunction to make me remove the content, but that was a pleading to the court, not an attempt to communicate directly with me.
Jason's post also raises another question: to what extent was
Coldwell playing his lawyers and to what extent were they playing
him? It appears to me that neither the Plaintiff nor his
attorneys were being completely honest with each other.
Dismissing the case was the only right thing to do, but a
"righter" thing to do would have been for the lawyers
to vet the client at the outset, and never to have taken the case
in the first place. Let's hope that any future prospective
attorneys will do their homework and discover that Leonard Coldwell is a serial frivolous
And this man who claims to be such a brave hero and fighter is
doing the very thing he has often accused Jason/Salty of doing:
hiding. But there is nowhere left for him to hide, and now his
stupidity has brought two more lawyers into the harsh and ugly
glare of the spotlight that has been on Leonard Coldwell for
years. And, contrary to what Culbertson & Associate might have
once claimed about their now ex-client, this is not a false
light, but the truest one there is.
The Ray "interview" is on pages 4 and
5. Here's how it starts out:
GIN Report: What
is one accomplishment that you consider the most significant
of your life/career? JAR: Certainly I've been
fortunate to accomplish many things from being an Inc. 500
inductee 2009, a New York Times bestselling author, frequent
guest on Oprah, Larry King, The Today Show and more. I'm
grateful for all of them. But properly understood, these are
all the effects of the greatest accomplishment I believe I
have experienced in my life which is finding my unique gifts
and genius and clearly defining my purpose which has allowed
me to face great adversity and turn it into opportunity. Take
so-called failure and turn it into fuel.
And it just continues on the same note
throughout. Spoiler alert: Not one mention in the interview of
the killings and the cage time.
In case someone wants to point out to me that Trudeau is no
longer at the helm of GIN, let me first say that it's obvious you
haven't been on this blog very much. If you had, you would know
that I'm very well aware that GIN was sold last year to a group of investors who just happen to be long-time buddies and business
partners -- and are still fans and defenders -- of Trudeau. You
might even call them proxies, and you might not be wrong. And
Katie's famous line, "Who do you listen to?" is still
being pushed by GIN CEO Troy McClain, aka "T-Mac" (I am
not making this nickname up).
Apparently one of the people Troy and friends want you
to listen to is Death Ray.
GIN doesn’t exist :: it’s the
lipstick on the pig … after you wash it off with a hose
that whore pig is going to tart right back up. It’s the
pigs involved that need to be stopped if anything is going to
be stopped … not the shell corporate entities organized in
the name of young Ukrainian wives...
You nailed it (as usual), Jason.
Meanwhile, the GIN MLM is back in place, as I'd mentioned a
couple of times over the past year or so. I hadn't visited the page with the details in a
while but did the other day. They never really took the
references to the program off of their "legal
disclosures" page, and the "referral bonus"
program has been in place for some time now. But they've expanded
it and announced the revamped program at the Dream Weekend in
If you have 30-plus minutes to waste hearing very long-term Katie buddy and
GIN co-owner Blaine Athorn bloviate about "sharing"
GIN, by all means watch the video on this page.
Drinking game: Every time Blaine mentions your "fellow human
beings on Planet Earth"... toss one back for me.
The dollar amounts are still smaller than they were back in GIN's
heyday with Katie, of course, and the promises have been tamped
down a bit (at one point Blaine Athorn mentions in passing that
the GIN referral program is not a get-rich-quick scheme, but it can
make you wealthier). And the "cash money" rewards are
relatively modest, with most of the "rewards" being GIN
Bogus Dollars. Oops, I mean GIN BONUS dollars.
But clearly, the hustle is still on.
And clearly, there are still no neat and tidy
endings in Scamworld. The big sick machine just goes on, and on,
Ray is hosting "a night of
solutions" where he will "sit down, no pitch, no
script...armed only with his intellect, his vast experience
and the wisdom" to mentor and "reveal to you the
answers to the things that are holding you back," according to his website.
I'd actually gone to Ray's site a couple of
times over the past week to see if there was any mention of his
keynote appearance at the GIN event, but I overlooked this one.
The copy on the site is pretty disgusting, especially when you
consider how pricey the former incarnation of his "World
Wealth" shtick was. (You can read about that here, and much more about it
in Connie Joy's book, Tragedy in Sedona. It
floors me that he is starting this scam up again.) Meanwhile,
there's this this:
You Asked, James Is Answering!
the launch of The World Wealth Summit just Around the Corner…
With the Cancellation of a LIVE Event… [apparently it
was "Life Unleashed Live" ~CLS]
With a Recent Gallup Poll Showing 71% of people surveyed are
bored, unhappy and disengaged…
You Need a Night of
from James Arthur Ray!
If you had tickets to Life Unleashed LIVE –
YOUR SEAT IS FREE!
Guests without tickets, it’s a steal, so BRING YOUR BEST
and get your seat for ONLY $197!
This may NEVER happen again…
An Entire Evening of Q & A with James Arthur Ray!
BE THERE, GET OUT AND STAY OUT OF THE 71% CLUB WITH THE
WISDOM OF JAMES ARTHUR RAY!
specific indication of where the event will be, beyond the fact
that it will be in Phoenix, Arizona, from 6:00-9:00 PM. But the
first (and most expensive) hotel
listed in conjunction with the event is
the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort (from $150 a night). So
it's possible the event itself will be there.
Tom McFeeley, cousin of Death Lodge victim Kirby Brown, told
ABC-15 News (KNXV-TV Phoenix) that he found out about the event
via email. He is on Ray's list so he can keep tabs on him.
McFeeley said that for Ray "To go to Arizona particularly is
really thumbing your nose at the community, at the state, at the
good people in that area. So it's all disgusting."
McFeeley -- and the reporters working on the story -- did take
this opportunity to once again publicize the non-profit started
by the Brown family, Seek Safely, whose purpose is
to educate people about how to safely participate in the
self-help industry. So I too will take that opportunity again,
and will also note once again that none of the industry giants invited to sign the Seek Safely Promise has
signed. Here are the people who have signed -- good folks, I'm sure, but not the most prominent in
It's really all about choosing one's teachers wisely, and anyone
who chooses James Arthur Ray as a teacher is not making a wise
choice at all. Wake up, people. Please.
I'm going to close out the steamy month of
August with some good news: For the time being, my pal Salty Droid is back on his blog. It's something for Jason to do while awaiting the
emergence of SaltyDroid Phase II, a phase that I speculate will
not be good news for scammers but will be really good news for
many other people.
In his new post Jason/Salty mentioned, among other things, the defamation flawsuit in
which he and I and several other entities were involved earlier
this year as defendants. I hope that in a subsequent post or
posts he continues to elaborate on the profound stupidity of that
suit and on the hilarious exchanges he had with plaintiff Leonard
Coldwell's lawyers. I've told the basics from my side but I suspect that Jason has much more to tell. It
seems clear that he really knows how to bring out the crazy in
scammers and their lawyers, but frankly, in this case there was a
lot of baseline crazy to work with in both the plaintiff and his
formidable legal team.
Donald Trump is ahead in the polls for
the presidential nomination? What the what? I wonder how many
terabytes of audio exist of Utah’s boiler room cartels boiling down Trump’s “university” leads into quivering masses of bankruptcy and
Indeed. In 2013 Jason published several
eye-opening posts about Trump's MLM scam connections -- this is one of my favorites --
and I hope these posts get a much wider audience as we get into
the 2016 presidential campaign. Not that the haters who love The
Donald will really care that in addition to being an egotistical
blowhard/arrogant one-percenter/endless fount of hate speech,
Trump is also a Scamworld player. But some who are on the fence
about him might take notice.
Vemma has been shut down, but apparently only temporarily. Even so, this is news because the Federal Trade
Commission rarely takes such radical (read: responsible) action
against a multi-level marketing company. But I wouldn't be
surprised to see Vemma rise again in a marginally less
exploitative version. Historically the FTC has been
extraordinarily lenient with MLMs. And MLMs continue to do their
insidious work of destroying people's lives (at
worst), or, for many millions more, falling far short of the hype
-- and all under the guise of "dream building."
Q: As a
young entrepreneur, what are some of your favorite brands
that you love wearing and that actually helps you feel more
like an entrepreneur? CM: HUGO
BOSS. Couple of factors with that one, the word boss if you
are an entrepreneur resonates with you. One of the main
reasons (if not the main reason) people start businesses or
become an entrepreneur is because they want to be their own
boss. Then when I first heard the name Hugo Boss, the only
reason I bought the clothes is because it said boss on the
tags. Hugo Boss really has a fine line between high quality
but not out of control prices. You can look really sharp
without spending thousands of dollars. I wouldn’t have
known any of this and would have spent a bunch of unnecessary
money if I didn’t connect with a stylist and have been
guided through what to do.)
Speaking of GIN, I'll wrap up this August wrap-up with a mention
of a rumor that I just heard about the 2015
GIN Family Reunion, which is
(appropriately) being held this year at Disney World in Orlando,
Being the savant about dates that I am, I couldn't help but
notice that the big party will be held the week after the sixth
anniversary of James Arthur Ray's infamous Death Lodge, which
happened on October 8, 2009. And this is relevant because the
rumor I heard is that Ray will be a speaker at the GIN Disney event.
Again, I don't know if the rumor about a Ray
appearance at the GIN Family Reunion is true -- either the
details haven't been finalized or GIN is keeping them under wraps
because they fear (justly) negative publicity -- but I am
following up on it now. If you've heard anything, please do let
me know. If the rumor does turn out to be true, then how pathetic
is it that while Kirby Brown, James Shore, Liz Neuman and Colleen
Conaway are still dead, Jimmy Ray gets to go to Disney World to
help celebrate the fact that he and GIN are still alive? It's a
small Scamworld, after all.
And it's a world that very much needs a Salty Droid in any of his
PS ~ In case you are at all puzzled about the title of this post,
here ya go.
People are free to spend their
money on whatever they want--more power to 'em. But just as I
don't personally care to "waste" my money on some
gazillion-dollar sports car to park in my driveway, I also don't
need a gazillion-dollar imported German Hanoverian warmblood in
my stable to make my life complete. That's just me. If people
really WANT it, okay, whatever makes ya happy. I just noticed, as
a casual observer, that there's a whole lotta money being tossed
about in [the horse lovers']
world, and if I were the cynical predatory type it would be a
consideration to, uh, consider.
Another observation: I would guesstimate from my own
experience... that probably 70-80% of the horsie world is
FEMALE... So if I were looking for companionship and I were
attracted to the female persuasion, it would be a good place to
look. Or troll, as the case may be...
...The potential for lots of money and sex: it's a winning
combination! Though I am CERTAIN all these people and services
you mention [in the blog post] only
have the animal's (and the consumer's) best interests at heart.
I'm just sayin', that's some pretty green grass, there, is
~ My friend "Mojo" (being sarcastic) in a comment to an
August 2008 Whirled Musings blog post
Note: This post is a bit off of the beaten path -- at least the
path I've been riding for the past numerous posts. Enjoy the
break; I'll be back to Kevin Trudeau court docs and so forth
before long. Meanwhile if you want some good articles and links
about the now-imprisoned Kevin and the lasting effects of his
mega-scam GIN, visit
Bernie's GINtruth blog.
I love horses, and have been fond of them since I was a kid. I've
never really been into riding, though I have ridden a few times
over the years (not very well, I might add, but at least I know
how to get on a horse, and I've never fallen off, so
that should count for something). I might actually take up riding
for real at some point, but for now, I simply appreciate horses
for who they are, or to be more accurate, who they seem to be,
based upon my own observations and projections. I don't claim to
have any special knowledge about horses but I admire them and
find them endlessly fascinating. I love the way they look and
feel and move and sound and smell. Having been fortunate enough
to live in proximity to (other people's) horses for several
years, I have come to appreciate them even more. I completely
understand how people can fall so deeply and hopelessly in love
with their horses.
I also understand how expensive and high-maintenance
horses are, even in the best of circumstances. Overall it seems
that many of them are less hardy than some of their
less-romanticized but generally healthier and dare I say smarter cousins (e.g., the
long-ears, particularly mules) -- and even though horses clearly
have a strong survival instinct, as do pretty much all sentient
beings, many of them also seem inordinately prone to sabotaging
their survival chances in shocking and costly ways. (The Oatmeal
has a humorously cynical outlook on horses; I have probably
linked to it before, but here
it is again. Of course I do not agree
with the whole "I hate horses" sentiment, or with the
notion that we should be eating equines, or with the author's
general contempt for horses... but it's pretty funny anyway.)
Combine the normal expense factor with the profound love that
people have for their horses and their desire to do the very best
for their equine friends, and it is easy to see why catering to
the horse lovers' market can be lucrative indeed. It's lucrative
for legitimate business owners and practitioners, and I certainly
do not begrudge any of these people their right to make an honest
living. Unfortunately, judging by what I've seen and heard, the
horsey market can be pretty profitable for scammers as well. I
was reminded of that again recently by an alert reader who is a
horse expert and is utterly appalled by the way certain scammers
-- who, as it happens, have a connection to now-imprisoned serial
mega-scammer Kevin Trudeau -- are taking
advantage of people who have horses with health challenges. We'll
get to that specific herd of horsey hucksters in a few moments.
But first, some context and history.
Saddle up; you're about to be taken for a ride
In the years I've been blogging, I've managed to work in a few
drive-by snarks about New-Wage horseplay. For instance, there's
this August 2008 piece (scroll down
to, "The horse is the new dolphin"). That's the post on
which my pal Mojo, whose words you saw at the beginning of this
post, commented; here's the link to the entire comment.
Nearly a year later, in July 2009, I used the topic
of equine flatulence as a shaky framework for a post about the
aforementioned Kevin Trudeau (aka KT, aka Katie) and another
huckster Katie was courting at the time, Joe "Mr. Fire" Vitale.
At the time I wrote the horse-fart post, I had no idea that Katie
was getting ready to launch his biggest boondoggle of all, the Global
Information Network (GIN), which is
currently having its big "Inspire France 2015" event in
Paris. (It's free, but you couldn't have gotten in on it even if you'd learned of it on time, because it has been sold out for weeks, according to the web
site.) The impending GIN launch was apparently why Katie was
courting Joe back in 2009; no doubt he wanted to capitalize on
Joe's fame as a star of the New-Wage moviemercial The Secret, as well as get his greedy hands on Joe's mailing list.
For his part Joe was over the moon about being sucked up to by
one of the most successful marketers of all time, though he has
been strangely silent about Katie since the latter's trial, conviction and
imprisonment. Anyway, I didn't learn about GIN till a few months
after I wrote the-horse-fart post, and it (GIN, not horse flatulence) has been a frequent topic on Whirled
Musings since then.
Not content to bill himself as a mere horse
whisperer, Gary claims that he is an "international horse
medium." Back in 2012 my good friend Yakaru did his own drive-by snark about
Gary's horse mediumship. Gary maintains a small herd of trained "facilitators" to
present his workshop; Texan Suzy Godsey appears to
be one of Gary's trail hands. She helps out with the Conscious
Horse Conscious Rider workshop scheme and also has a "horse
bodywork" shtick going, based
largely on Access teachings.
Over the years Gary appears to have targeted rich older women for
his various scams and schemes, including rich older women with
horses. A few years ago he even told a story on a radio show
about possibly missing out on an opportunity to inherit some $67
million because he wouldn't bang a wealthy "older
woman" whom he was helping with her horses. But maybe that's
fodder for another blog post. I do have a recording of the
interview, though, and it kind of disgusted me.
And moving on to even lower forms of equine exploiters (if that
is even possible), we have the vociferously self-promoting and
profoundly daft Not-Doctor Leonard Coldwell, a former
b.f.f. of Kevin Trudeau. Lenny was a highly paid GIN speaker
until his firing in 2012, and even today his profile still appears on
one of the Taste of GIN pages on the
official GIN web site. But I probably don't need to tell you
about his GIN background, which is actually what brought him to
my attention in the first place. As it turns out, among his many
other claimed accomplishments Lenny is a horse guy too, and
according to him he knows all about horses and how to train them
and work them.
I'm not insinuating that horses are Lenny's main
shtick or even close to it; as far as I can tell, most of his
time these days is still taken up with promoting his cancer
quackery and other alt-health propaganda, as well as spreading
idiotic conspiracy memes on Facebook. In the service of the
latter he has made several hilarious attempts over the years to
discredit the Internet's most famous conspiracy-meme debunkers, Snopes, as we just discussed here the other day.
Although Lenny doesn't currently seem to be actively exploiting
his love and knowledge of horses, a horsey theme pops up every
now and again in his public show-and-tell. There is, for
instance, a picture of him sitting astride a saddle horse on a recently created page on one
of his new-ish German web sites. The apparent purpose of that
page is to show off what a successful, well-loved, and wealthy
man he is, though frankly I think this picture is much more
representative of Lenny than any of the others on the page. Not
wanting his English-speaking audience to be deprived of yet
another glimpse into his rich and successful life, Coldwell also
provided a link to the German page on a thread on his main
Facebook page. This shot is from August 13, 2015:
But I digress. Contrary to what a casual observer of the page on
the German site might be inclined to conclude, that picture of
Lenny on horseback is not a portrait of a wealthy gentleman horse
owner on one of his noble steeds. Rather it is a pic of Lenny on
a rent-a-horse, taken at a motivational/"spiritual"
weekend retreat he hosted in late January 2013 on a dude ranch in
Georgia, the Southern Cross Guest Ranch.
In the promotions for that event he clearly attempted to
capitalize on his immense horse knowledge, and I wrote about his
promotional efforts on a February 2013 blog post (it's
up towards the beginning, so you don't have to read the whole
thing if you don't care to). The marketing copy I wrote about is
pretty icky, and though it is long gone from Coldwell's own
sites, this promo video is still on his main site. In the vid he mentions that "horses need
leadership," the message being that if you learn, under his
expert guidance, to show your horse who's boss, you can be a
leader in life. And speaking of icky, there is this
cheesy video, produced post-retreat.
A couple of years before the horse camp, while he was still in
GIN, Coldwell apparently gave some horse-loving GIN members the
impression that he was a breeder and owner of top German show
jumpers and that he had sold many horses in the $100,000 to
million-dollar range. That nugget was shared with me by an ex-GIN
member who is a seasoned horse lover and owner. This person
acknowledged that top show jumpers do indeed command that kind of
money, and added that many of the top horses come from a handful
of bigwig breeders in Germany and the Netherlands. The ex-GIN member
claimed to actually know quite a few of these people but added,
"I somehow never heard Coldwell's name come up in those
circles. Gee, no surprise there...I don't think he ever trained
any horse; he doesn't ride well enough... [but] he's aware of his
limited riding skills...If he ever was involved I'm curious who
rode for him. It's a pretty small world amongst riders; we
compete against each other all our lives. I never got around to
asking him [about] that, though. I was already aware of his
And then there are those backyard horses that may or may not
exist. In the fall of 2013, Coldwell boasted on Facebook that he
was moving into a 17,000 square foot mansion. He posted several
shots of the alleged residence, which actually looks pretty
generic on the outside and doesn't appear to be even close to
17,000 square feet. Included in one of his boasts was a picture
of what he said was his back yard, which looked like a huge open
pasture, and he added that "the horses" would be
delivered there soon. But he never did share any shots of the
horses in his backyard after they were delivered, at least not
that I've seen. Maybe they are actually unicorns and don't show
up in photographs.
More recently (June 2015), Coldwell was apparently on a throwback
kick on Facebook, and he boasted about having had a horse ranch
in Virginia a mere two years after moving to the United States
from Germany. He claimed it as one of his great
"successes." Here are the screen shots:
Suspecting he was fibbing or at least
stretching the truth, I reached out to someone who knew him very
well when he still lived in Virginia.
Did he actually own a horse ranch in
Virginia in the early years after he moved to the U.S.? I
read something in the  police report about him having some kind of horse training
venture with somebody, but that's not the same as actually
owning his own horse ranch. Anyway, he's been boasting about
his past on Facebook lately, and yesterday he posted a boast
about the success he had at his horse ranch...
The person answered back:
NO he never owned anything in Va - not
horses, a house or anything. I don't know where those photos
came from but I have never seen them before. I recognize the
shirt though. That's actually funny since anybody can find
out that he is lying. And as a side bar there are no ranches
in VA; they are called horse farms no matter how big they
Virginia apparently does have a few dude or
guest ranches, but the type of property Coldwell was talking
about does indeed seem to be what they would call a
"farm" in that neck of the woods. But beyond the
semantics... I know, I'm as shocked as you are that Leonard
Coldwell apparently lied yet again. No worries for him, though.
His fans did not even seem to question his claims. They simply
nuzzled up to him as per usual, whinnying their approval.
Also as per usual, I am willing to seriously entertain notions
contrary to what I think I pretty much know to be true. I'm
always willing to admit I am wrong if I am. Accordingly if Lenny
-- or someone else who knew him back in Virginia when he
supposedly had that "horse ranch" -- would like to
present me with some concrete evidence that he was telling the
truth about being a successful horse breeder who owned a horse
operation in The Commonwealth in the 1990s, I am all ears. Or
eyes. Drop me a line at one of the email addresses displayed on
this page, or via a comment through Blogger.
I would especially love to hear from someone who was in the horse
world in Virginia in the mid to late 1990s to early 2000s. Lenny
resided in Fauquier County, Virginia back in the day (Remington
and Warrenton, I'm told). Do any of you horse people who were
living in the area, or anywhere in Virginia back then, recall a
short, volatile little German guy with unnaturally black hair, a
perma-tan and a porn mustache, who was a highly successful horse
trainer/breeder and/or horse farm owner? He most likely went by
the name Leonard Coldwell, but could have still been using Bernd
Klein or maybe even Bernd Witchner. (He didn't actually get his name legally changed to Leonard Coldwell till
June 1998, but clearly he was using
that name for years in Germany and the U.S.)
So let me know. And if I hear anything contrary to what I've
written, I will be glad to retract, correct, or amend the above
as appropriate, and to restore Leonard Coldwell to his rightful
place in the horse world. Otherwise I'll assume that he is just
shoveling sh-t as usual and is about as prominent and
accomplished in the equine world as he claims to have been in the
martial arts world.*
Trick and Morter Now -- finally -- let's get to those other
flim-flammers, the ones to whom I was alerted recently by my
correspondent, who is not only a lifelong horse lover but also a
professional horsewoman with what appear to be very impressive
creds. This concerns a scampire run by some long-time buddies and
business partners of the aforementioned Kevin Trudeau, the Morters. I've known about them for years and have mentioned them in passing,
but have simply never given them the attention on this Whirled
that they so richly deserve.
Next to Fred van Liew, another
nearly-lifelong Katie pal to whom I have paid tribute
here several times, the Morters are arguably some of the most
nefarious in the foul stable of Katie enablers. Unlike Freddy,
they weren't mentioned in Aaron Gell's excellent piece for Business Insider, which was published earlier this year (here is my blog post about it).
I don't know if Aaron reached out to them and they refused an
interview, or if it was just an oversight, but in my book, the
Morters deserve their own stars on the Scamworld Walk of Infamy.
The Morter scampire was founded by the late Dr. Milton Theodore
(Ted) Morter, Jr., who was apparently good buddies with Katie for
many years before his death in May 2013. If you were simply to
visit the link above on the Morters' main web site you might
think he is still alive, but here is his obit.
Back in the 1970s, Ted the Elder (one of his sons, Ted III,
carries on his name as well as his schemes) invented a health and
healing gimmick called Bio Energetic Synchronization Technique,
or B.E.S.T., described thusly on
the Morter site:
B.E.S.T. is a non-forceful, energy
balancing hands on procedure used to help reestablish the
full healing potential of the body. Understanding the body
makes no mistakes regarding health and longevity, B.E.S.T.
principles acknowledge the concept of Interference we create
with our conscious mind. This Interference caused imbalance
in the autonomic nervous system leading to exhaustion of our
organ systems over time. Researched at major universities,
taught in several Chiropractic Colleges and in professional
continuing education seminars, B.E.S.T. is recognized as an
effective healing science. The principles and concepts of
Morter HealthSystem and B.E.S.T. technique are available to
families, therapists and health care practitioners.
If think you've heard that kind of stuff before, you almost
certainly have, if you've been following some of the snarks on
this blog over the years, or if you've been following or
subcultures and industries at all. Most of these "healing
modalities" offer pretty much the same line of horse crap,
and I mean no offense to either horses or their crap. The schemes
just have different names and various other branding details. But
if you've seen one you've pretty much seen them all, or, as we
like to say on this Whirled, it's deja screw all over
The B.E.S.T. main page goes on to elaborate on various offshoots
of B.E.S.T., including something called Morter March ("a
technique designed to use contralateral movement and stretching
to neurologically update and re-time your body"). Then
there's "Physical B.E.S.T" (hands-on stuff "taught
to practitioners only" -- you can probably understand why).
By "practitioner," the Morters are probably referring
to chiropractic -- they are chiros, as was their daddy -- and
select other alternative or "holistic" fields.
If you're not a practitioner, no worries, you still have a chance
to be taken in by "Emotional B.E.S.T.," which
"utilizes advanced technology developed to update higher
brain interference from the physical body." Described as the
core of B.E.S.T technology, Emotional B.E.S.T. is also, according
to the site, "the pattern for health and wellness"
which "unlocks the power." Patients as well as
practitioners can do Emotional B.E.S.T.
Not surprisingly, B.E.S.T. isn't just about techniques of
hands-on and hands-off woo. There
are boatloads of supplements, kits, and
other frauducts and info-frauducts to help relieve you of that
So there you have the foundation of the Morter brand of New-Wage
crapitalism -- at least the part devoted to human animals.
There's a whole other related realm in the scampire, devoted to
non-human animals, and we'll have much more on that in a moment.
It's not so much that I'm taking time getting to the point, but
rather that there are so many points to make.
Background is important because, I believe, the role that the
Morters have played in Scamworld cannot be overstated. They have
their own shtick, certainly, but for years they have also been
bloated planets orbiting around the bright and toxic sun that is
Kevin Trudeau. Though marginally dimmer, Katie's light continues
to burn even from within the walls of the federal prison camp
where he now resides. Back in 2009 The Morters -- not only the
late elder but also his two overfed, smirking sons, Ted III and
Tom (horse people might call them "easy keepers") -- were apparently only too happy to jump aboard Kevin
Trudeau's GIN gravy train. (Their
sister, "Dr. Sue," doesn't
seem to have been involved so much with Katie and GIN, but she is
doing her own motivational/pseudoscientific dog-and-pony show and
is, among other things, a member of that Scamworld
cartel that calls itself the Transformational Leadership Council.)
Even though the GIN assets were sold to a group of Katie buddies in
2014, the Morter boys are still part of the GIN
"faculty," or at least they were last time the GIN site
actually listed its "faculty" members. They were also
part of a group of investors recommended by the court appointed
receiver, Robb Evans, to purchase what was left of Katie's
Natural Cures scampire; see page 5 of this document.
The group called itself the Business Education Support Team
LLC... B.E.S.T. ... get it? And Ted Morter is currently listed as
"faculty" member of the group that bought GIN, AXS. So really, GIN didn't change hands at all.
Speaking of the GIN "faculty," I found it interesting
that the public part of the GIN web site now only has a teaser
video on the Faculty page. Do they have
such a high turnover rate that they don't feel comfortable listing individual
"faculty members" any more? Or were those individuals
simply getting too much publicity (positive or negative)? In any
case I thought it amusing that the final shot on the current
video is a sound bite of Kevin Trudeau himself saying,
"Listen to somebody who has what you want, and has been
where you are." Well, I suppose that anybody who has
aspirations to end up in Camp Cupcake (aka Federal Prison Camp Montgomery,
Alabama) could do worse than listen to
and follow in Katie's footsteps, though I imagine you would also
have to have access to many millions of dollars to feed your
high-priced lawyers (a la Katie) in order to be incarcerated in
such (relative) luxury. Good luck! Let me know where you end up
and give me your inmate number, and I might send you a postcard.
GIN "faculty" or not, it appears that the Morters are
still quite involved in GIN, and they still maintain their GIN Morter Facebook page,
which displays a website address that
redirects to their main site. The Facebook page has a relatively
modest number of "likes" at present -- only a little
more than 900 -- but I have no doubt the Morters have profited
handsomely from being a part of the GIN scam, particularly in
GIN's heyday. However successful they may have been on their own,
Katie gave them a huge platform they almost certainly would not
have had otherwise.
And they got to have a lot of fun with Katie too, at others'
expense. They were privileged to be part of numerous fishing trips and cruises with
Katie, paid for by countless scammed GIN members and other
consumers of Katie's frauducts and flopportunities. Here's a pic
from happier days, of Old Doc and Younger Docs Morter on a
private plane with Katie. (That's pool shark Mike "The
Mouth" Sigel in the background.)
And here are Teddy and Tommy and Katie playing
the fat-cat role to the hilt -- smoking expensive cigars,
drinking expensive booze, and gabbing about energy, GIN, and
fishing. It's an August 2011 video and I know I've linked to this
one before, but it so deserves another sharing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-joxyPHISo
Are you disgusted yet? If so, prepare to become even more so.
Talk to the animals...
It's really no big surprise that there is an Animal B.E.S.T. We love our non-human companions, after all, and horse
people aren't the only folks who, with so much love in their
hearts, can be especially vulnerable to animal scams. Enter the
Morters, who have been only too willing and able to reach deeply
into the hearts and wallets of these loving souls with their
pseudoscientific flapdoodle. Here's the capsule summary of what
Animal B.E.S.T. is all about:
Animal B.E.S.T. (Bio-energetic
Synchronization Technique) is energy work, which balances the
body and updates memory patterns so animals can heal.
The Morter System
has a B.E.S.T. program targeted on animals. As if taking
advantage of the human do-gooder-wannabes isn't enough,
they have pulled in innocent animals as bait to bilk more
money out of the unsuspecting public.
I had one look at the pics and videos of their supposed
"Master'" instructor James W Murphy and knew
the con was on. He claims to be a professional horse
trainer, showman etc. I KNEW this man had never won a
National or World Title as he was claiming. Not possible.
I called Morter Healthcare and asked them exactly what
titles that he had won. I pointed out that he was in a
video on their site claiming that he was a huge success
and endorsed and taught the Morter technique. So...surely
they had his credentials somewhere that listed his
accomplishments? They said I should call him, that they
only knew what he told them, but I could leave a voice
message for "Dr. Ted".
I called Murphy himself. After just a few pointed
questions from me, he started backing up quickly. He
wanted nothing more than for me to go away and hang up.
No such luck for him. His final comment was that he was
under Confidentiality agreements not to divulge his show
record! ( lol alrighty then fraud face). He claimed 73+
World Title affiliations, yet was not able to
["divulge"] one single name of a horse or show
or trainer that won said "World Titles"?
Next call was to the 2 major breed associations to check
out his judges status that he had touted. Ya well....he
never has held a judges card with them. Tsk tsk...
Armed with my personal conversation with him, and backed
up with the info supplied by the National Associations, I
called Morter Healthcare back. (of course no one bothered
to return my call after I had called 3 times and left a
voice mail) This time in no uncertain terms, I told the
receptionist that they had a fraud on their hands and I
felt that they had some exposure there seeing as how they
were making money off of his false claims ($2,500 to take
the 2 class package that his instruction was among the
class choices) oh...and that I would not be letting this
go. This time she put me through to "Dr. Ted"
After listing the issues related to Murphy's false
credentials, Dr. Ted attempted to turn suspicion around
to me. When I pointed out that this was not about me, but
rather his failure at due diligence to vet his
spokesperson, Dr. Ted became condescending and combative.
I gave him the names of the association and told him to
get to work. He wanted an email sent to him with my
information before he would take it any further. Call me
paranoid, but I am not about to give that bunch of money
grubbing cons any of my personal information. Nope, not
Suffice it to say that Morter Healthcare Systems is
making bank off of the false credentials of their sadly
incompetent horse 'professional". BIG bank. They
have been put on notice, it will be interesting to see
how they handle it.
The horses don't deserve this failure of care. I have
viewed youtube testimonials by another idiot that claims
to be modifying their genetics by use of the B.E.S.T.
technique. One particular horse was obviously suffering
from feet issues which needed xrays and corrective
farrier work. This honyonker was claiming that the horse
needed his energy balanced. Poor horse was lame and being
made to move around on hard ground for the video.
Yep that'll get me good and pissed off. Here's hoping you
may get a bit pissed off too!
It did get me a bit pissed off, enough to
inspire, as you can see, a more lengthy and more involved
blog post than I've managed to produce in a long time.
And by the way, here is the link to the video of the guy who claimed to be modifying a
horse's genetics. More on him in a moment.
My correspondent (let's just call her Melissa)
and I have communicated several times since her initial comment
to my blog. She describes herself as a professional horsewoman
with numerous championships and world titles in winnings. In
short, as Melissa says, "I know horses." I believe her.
For personal and professional reasons Melissa wishes to remain
anonymous, and that's one of the things that apparently riled Dr.
Ted and James Murphy, as well as the guy whose video I linked to
a couple of paragraphs up. That guy is a Texan named
Joseph Agrue, who bills himself as
"The Animal Shaman." He is another certified Animal
B.E.S.T. practitioner and also a massage therapist -- somewhat of a New-Wage dilettante, it appears.
Melissa sent me correspondence and screen shots to back up her
claims that she was treated first with indifference, then with
suspicion and rudeness when trying to communicate with these
people via phone, social media, and email. It appears that they
all tried to turn the criticism on her, calling her cowardly and
vengeful, among other things. For instance, in late July she sent
an email to the Animal Shaman Joseph Agrue, which read, in part:
...I am an Equine professional and I take exception to
those that pretend to be helping horses when in fact they may
be causing more harm. For you to pretend that you are
qualified to instruct or train others to diagnose the origin
of lameness in a horse is potentially harmful to both animal
and human. The horse in your video has
front feet issues that require the cooperation of
veterinarian and farrier to address. The owner of that horse
has wasted time and money on the BEST technique , when that
horse could have gotten much needed care and real relief.
The claims that "the color changed" and that the
horse "now has dapples" are ridiculous and patently
impossible. That is a scientific impossibility. Also, to
encourage inexperienced people to stand directly behind
horses to "check their hip alignment" is another
issue altogether. Is is just a matter of time before someone
gets seriously injured.
Here is the deal; real horsemen know a fraud when they see
one. Real horsemen want for the horses and owners to be well
and safe. You sir are no horseman and it is glaringly obvious
to those of us that are. You have no idea about lameness
issues, you do not even use the correct verbiage unique to
the industry. The claims being made are bogus and can be
proven out by other Equine experts...
Here was the Animal Shaman's response:
I have no doubt you are a vindictive
evil woman. I talked to dr. [sic] Ted myself yesterday and he
has no idea who you are. Unless you tell us who you are and
give us a name and contact infol [sic] you're not going to be
taken seriously you are a joke. why are you a coward and
afraid to identify yourself?
In my years as a scam watcher, I have noticed that in addition to
the usual ad hominem attacks on their critics (accusing them of
being jealous losers, evil, or on someone's payroll, for
instance), scammers love to call those critics out as cowards
when they don't use their real or full names. Actually, though, I
understand why Melissa hesitated about revealing her identity
when communicating with these New-Wage hucksters. I have seen how
angry and vindictive scammers and some of their lunatic fans can
be. Some will even resort to sham lawsuits against their
critics, or to serious attempts to physically endanger their critics. So I can't blame any critic or skeptic or questioner
for being a little circumspect about his or her identity. That's
not cowardice; it's simply common sense.**
There's another good reason for Melissa to shield her identity,
apart from the plausible risk to her personal safety. If she were
to reveal her identity and her business, particularly through
this blog, she might be accused of engaging in underhanded
self-promotion, and for that matter I might be accused of aiding
and abetting someone whose agenda is to undermine the
"competition." People might think that Melissa is no
better than Coldwell and his former partner Peter Wink, who used
their vitriol against GIN and Kevin Trudeau as a springboard to
launch and promote their own GIN ripoff club, the IBMS Masters Society. And
readers might question my ethics for allowing such promotion on
After questioning her at length, however, I personally am
satisfied that Melissa is not in competition with the
frauduct and flopportunity peddlers like the Morters and their
"certified" Animal B.E.ST. practitioners. Rather she
teaches real-world riding skills that include a variety of
English and Western disciplines, including pleasure riding,
jumping, trail riding, halter, reining, cutting, barrel racing,
Western Dressage, team penning, and ranch sorting. In addition
she says that she breeds, breaks and trains show horses. All of
her life she has been around horses and horse breeders and
trainers on both coasts and several spots in between. She seems
like the real deal to me.
And although I have no way of knowing for sure, I think it is
very possible Melissa would never have even heard of Animal
B.E.S.T. had it not been for the fact that a woman contacted her,
wishing to use Melissa's horse for "master
certification" work in Animal B.E.S.T. The woman needed to
complete and document 20 "cases" in order to receive
her certification. Melissa describes her as having bought the
Morter gimmick hook, line, and sinker but adds that she was able
to teach the woman a few things about horses and the real reasons
they do the things they do, which apparently rid the lady of her
delusions about the horsey aspect of B.E.S.T. "But she is
still into the human bioenergy crap," says Melissa.
My point here is that in most cases, erring on the side of
caution regarding one's true identity is a smart thing to do when
one is criticizing volatile and unstable people. I know from
experience, and learned it years before I'd even heard of Loony
Coldwell, that some of those "love and light" people
are actually some of the darkest and most hate-filled -- not to
mention litigious -- folks around, particularly if they think
their income stream is being threatened. I think Melissa has been
handling things sensibly, and more than that I think she is
coming from a place of deep concern for horses and the people who
love them. Murphy's flaw As I explained in my response to Melissa's initial
comment on my blog, I hadn't actually heard of James W. Murphy
and when I looked him up, the first info that popped up was
apparently for another James W. Murphy, a Maryland gentleman who died in 2009. That Murphy
was also a horse person, but was involved with horse racing and was
apparently credible and respected.
But the Animal B.E.S.T. James W. Murphy is very much alive and
resides in Arkansas, where, as it happens, the Morters also hang
their hats. If you Google James W. Murphy you have to be pretty
specific, and even then you're more likely to get results for the
dead Murphy. But there isthis June
2013 video, which is one of the chief
pieces of content that really got to Melissa, due to what she
felt are Murphy's exaggerated or false claims about his own
accomplishments. He also tells a touching back story that raised
some serious red flags for her (it even sounded a bit suspicious
to me, as little as I know about horses). Melissa explained the
credibility gaps to me in detail. We'll have a little more about
that in a moment, and I'll link to the video again.
Oddly enough, Murphy's actual web site doesn't seem to pop up
very prominently in the search engines, but
here it is. I am thinking that
Melissa's efforts to reach out to B.E.S.T. and to Murphy himself
had an effect. The above linked video apparently was but no
longer is on the Animal B.E.S.T. site, though Murphy is still
listed on that site as a certified Animal B.E.S.T practitioner. And more
interestingly, Murphy's claims about his horse training creds and
whatnot seem to be gone from the "About Us" page on
his own site. Melissa sent me a screen shot of the original blurb
that captured her interest. Here it is:
And here is how it looks today:
Melissa explained that some of the photos on
James' web site were another red flag for her. Take, for
instance, the three pics that are currently on the "About Us" page
on his web site. Here's Melissa's critique:
In one, he has the lead rope wrapped
around his wrist and hand. A HUGE no-no, any horseman would
never ever do that.
In the middle one, he is all off center with his saddle
slipping off to the right. His right stirrup is hanging lower
than his left and he is twisted in the saddle. All because
his cinch isn't even secure. Enlarge the photo and it is
evident that the cinch tongue isn't through the latigo hole
on his saddle. ...not to mention he has his horse over
bridled, and by the look of the bit shanks, the curb strap
isn't positioned correctly.
Then in the far right photo, his halter is not placed
correctly on his horse's nose... I have 6 yr old beginner
riders that know better than that!
When I pointed out to Ted [Morter] that people were paying
big money to learn about horses from his so called expert,
using false credentials, that's when he got touchy.
I'm no riding expert so I can't judge the
photos myself. I'm just passing along what Melissa said. The
money is definitely an issue I think I understand, though, and
big money it is, potentially. Even if it is not huge money by the
standards of Scamworld or the larger world of commerce, it still
adds up. Melissa wrote:
They charge $2,500 for people to attend
their classes in order to be certified as practitioners for
Animal B.E.S.T. (the Morter technique). [The woman who
contacted me about using my horse] witnessed about 60 people
at these animals classes. There are at least 4 per year which
includes Paris, France as a venue. The animal classes have
been going on for 8 years. Do the math...then these scammers
charge naive pet owners $100 to "balance" their
pets. They are in the process of requiring that all of their
practitioners that wish to be certified in their human
B.E.S.T. attend the animal classes. This will bump their
sales up significantly as they offer at least 15 other
events for certification.
Of note, the B.E.S.T. event going on in Paris, France this
as-we-speak-end coincides with the GIN Paris event.
That's cozy! Here is the
schedule of upcoming B.E.S.T. events.
And if you want more info about B.E.S.T. courses and their costs, go
straight to the source and ask the
horse. Not all of the links work correctly; some of the
enrollment links lead to the Morters' frauducts catalog page. But at least
one link directs properly, revealing the price for the course
being described. The whole issue of the actual course costs is a
little confusing to me, though, particularly after reading the FAQ
page. In any case, it seems the
training isn't terribly cheap, whether it's human B.E.S.T. or
Another point of contention for Melissa was Murphy's
video, which I mentioned above. It's
not real new; it's from 2013, but Melissa assures me that it was
up on the Morters' site until recently, when she began making
noise about it. For Melissa the first red flag in this video was
Murphy's apparent claim that he had more than 70 world titles.
She wrote, "Hell, I'm accomplished, and having five to ten
is damned impressive!"
Then there is the story Murphy tells in the video about how his
horse Patches saved his life. I recommend that you watch the vid
and hear it yourself, but I'll summarize it here. Murphy says he
was riding Patches in traffic one day when an eighteen-wheeler
made a big boo-boo, causing all sorts of mayhem and panic. He
tried to get Patches to turn in a certain direction to avoid
disaster, but Patches, for the first time EVER, ignored his
instructions and turned sharply in the opposite direction. What
happened next with the truck and the surrounding mess was a
complete surprise to Murphy, but he says that he realizes that if
Patches had obeyed him instead of going his own way, they would
have both been killed. So... hero horsey, humbled rider.
But poor Patches hurt his back terribly from the sharp turn, said
Murphy. He was so bad off that vets and horse experts told Murphy
he should just have the horse euthanized. But how could Murphy do
that to his faithful friend who had saved his life? Then Murphy
heard about Animal B.E.S.T. He took Patches to an Animal B.E.S.T
class to be worked on by the class. They all worked on Patches
all day, and voila! Patches was healed and even better
than before. So Murphy decided the right thing to do was to try
to get in on some of that Animal B.E.S.T. action himself.
Here is Melissa's take on the story:
In Murphy's testimonial video he described
how his horse "turned very quickly and hurt his
back". I promise you Connie, nothing turns faster and
harder than a Cutting Horse. They do it over and over and
over without hurting their backs. lol. He did not mention
that the horse fell...nor slipped...he only mentioned that it
turned hard. That alone shows me his inexperience. Then he
claimed that the horse would lie there and not get up. Again,
I am here to tell you that a horse cannot lay down for long
periods without creating a much more serious problem. His
story is crap. And IF that horse were SO injured that a
qualified lameness expert could not help it, nor get to
stand, that damn BEST flimflam hocus pocus would not help!
...Plus, I asked him for the name of the attending
veterinarian and what tests were done...no reply. *crickets*.
But what a heart tuggingly new age feel good story that was
eh? Horse saves man from death, BEST saves horse? Bull....
Of course if James W. Murphy (the live one, not
the dead one) would like to contact this blog and counter any of
the above, he is welcome to do so.
Melissa says her only motivation in making a stink
about these frauduct and flopportunity peddlers is to promote the
welfare of horses and the people who love and work with them. She
says she even went so far as to persuade the Texas State
Chemist to send Morter a cease and
desist order against their pet feed supplements. "I
have Ted's attention, and he sent me an email that pretty much
reads as an offer of a bribe," she told me. I have seen an
email where Ted asked what it would take to make her happy, so I
suppose that could be open to an interpretation of bribery. It
appears to me that what would make Melissa happy would not be
bribe money, but a world in which scammers would stop taking
advantage of good, decent people.
That would make me happy too.
Horse sense and nonsense I know this post has already dragged on more than
long enough. But here's one final point. While we were on the
subject of animal scams, Melissa and I also discussed the
contemporary craze for various types of equine assisted therapy, which
I snarked about it in one of those blog posts a few years ago.
Melissa said that this therapy certainly does have its value in
some contexts but is often misused. She wrote:
I have worked horse therapy
with children with issues. It was really rewarding as the
children were more active and attentive when interacting with
the horses. However, there is now a push to use horses in all
sorts of therapy. As you pointed out, they are the new
...It is a racket filled with wannabes that can't wait to
pretend they know something about horses.
The problem is how they use the horses....those therapists
miss the real deal of what working with horses can do. They
zero in on catch phrases like "trust" and use
anthropomorphic reasoning to relate horses and humans. That
is where they lose the whole basis on how horses can help
humans work through issues. They do not understand the
horse's viewpoint and how that can help the human. I get
livid listening to their BS. Typical example is the Sandra
Bullock film 28 Days, where she is in horse therapy and is
told to "trust the horse" in order to pick up its
foot. Ridiculous crap like that abounds. There is a very deep
and real way that working with horse can help people, but
first one has to truly understand the horse. And sadly not
many people do.
In a subsequent communication she
People like think that horses are these
mystical, all knowing animals that are half fairy dust and
half quantum particles. They are an animal that is hard wired
to react in a given way. Yes they have different
personalities, but they are innately horses, period. You can
call me from France and tell me about a problem with a Polish
Arabian that was an embryo transfer from a Dutch Warmblood
and I can tell you how to fix the problem. Horse behavior is
not unique nor it is a "feeling". It is what it
is...a learned herd behavior of a prey animal. Period.
Call me a neigh-sayer, but I'll take the word
of a genuine professional horse person over that of a New-Wage
frauduct or flopportunity peddler any day.
* Speaking of martial arts and
horse whispering, here's the latest offering
from one of Lenny Coldwell's nuttiest
friends/supporters/sycophants: stoner filmmaker, low-budget movie star and
kick-boxer Ian Jacklin of iCureCancer infamy, who was supposedly going to be doing another
breakthrough film about natural-cures heroes, featuring Lenny. No telling what happened to that; apparently he couldn't get sufficient funding.This vid is all about
Ian, not Lenny. There's a lot in the vid about vaccination evils,
wholistic cancer curing and even sovereign citizenry, though, all
of which offer clear clues about why Lenny and Ian have been consistently masturbating each
other. The horse whispering part of
the new vid appears to be a mini-saga of Ian trespassing
into someone's pasture to make friends with a nice horsey; it starts
at about 12:00 and goes on for several minutes. Apparently Ian
had been spending a great deal of time trying to get into the
pasture, but was too stoned to figure it out until he finally
discovered he could have just opened a gate and walked in all
along. Watch the whole thing if you have time, though. It's
hilarious. It's not quite Harold and Kumar quality, but still
fun. And honestly, I can't tell if Ian is just a harmless stoner
or deeply disturbed and potentially dangerous... or maybe just in
character, playing a deranged activist. I'll leave that up to
mental health experts and/or film critics to determine. Maybe
"deranged" is just part of his persona, like his doppelganger Seann William Scott of
Stifler/American Pie fame, who like Ian seems to be a
little on the washed-up actor side. Except Seann may be a has-been, and Ian... well,
he seems to be kind of a never-was...
** Regarding cowardice and anonymity: Even though I don't think
it is necessarily a mark of cowardice to want to be anonymous
online, I do think that the people who send anonymous death
threats or abusive comments to critics and skeptics and questioners are
cowards. I hear from such cowards all the time. Even so, I
continue to allow anonymous comments on my blog. (Note: I'm not
claiming that everyone who disagrees with me and chooses
anonymity is a coward -- just the abusive ones.)
Some people have told me I am a fool for revealing my own
identity on this blog, but I have a feeling that if I had tried
to disguise it I would have been outed anyway, as my pal Salty
Droid was not long after he began blogging. At any rate I'm
"out," and have been facing the consequences for more
than nine years now. Among many other things I, like my new
friend Melissa, have been called an evil and vindictive woman
Across the Universe with Cosmic Connie, aka Connie L. Schmidt...or maybe just through the dung-filled streets and murky swamps of pop culture -- more specifically, the New-Age/New-Wage crowd, pop spirituality & religion, pop psychology, self(ish)-help, business babble, media silliness, & related (or occasionally unrelated) matters of consequence. Hope you're wearing boots. (By the way, the "Cosmic" bit in my moniker is IRONIC.)
Flattery always works for a narcissist like me, but money works even better. Donate what you can, and help feed the Snark. Thank you!
NOTE: All web links & comments about content on those links were accurate at the time of publication. I am not responsible for links that are removed or pages that are "cleaned up" by scammers trying to cover their tracks.
Got a hot tip or idea for a Whirled Musings post? Or just want to share some intel? (I won't publish unless you give me permission.) Email me: email@example.com