Whirled Musings

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, July 25, 2019

Colleen Conaway: ten years after


July 25 marks the ten-year anniversary of the day that 46-year-old Colleen Conaway died during a San Diego event held by New-Wage/McSpirituality guru James Arthur "Death" Ray, of whom Conaway was a devoted follower. She plummeted to her death from an upper-level balcony of a San Diego mall during one of Ray's weekend "wealth creation" seminars, and when Ray and his top people discovered she was missing, and later learned of her death, they kept it under wraps and partied on. Ray was later convicted of negligent homicide, not for Colleen's death but for the deaths of three other people in Sedona, Arizona, in October 2009. He served less than two years in an Arizona state prison, and has been spending the time since he got out of prison trying desperately to make a comeback in Scamworld.
~ CC


Every year at about this time, there is a gathering, in a desirable location undisclosed publicly until after the fact, of an elite-ish group of self-appointed "thought leaders" known as the TLC, which stands for Trained Liars Cartel... I mean, Transformational Leadership Council (aka the Transformational Leadership Council...of Death). They hold semi-annual meetings; the other one always takes place in late January. Founded in 2004 by Jack Canfield, co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul (aka "Soup for the Hole" in Salty Droid parlance) franchise, the TLC made Scamworld history at its 2005 event in Aspen, Colorado. It was there that Aussie TV and film producer Rhonda Byrne, desperately scrabbling for a new money grab, filmed some of the TLC members for what was to become the mother(f---er) of all New-Wage moviemercials, The Secret. This year's summer meeting of the TLC began yesterday (July 24) and continues through July 28.

Though he is no longer listed as a member, or even mentioned,
on their web site, convicted killer James Arthur "Death" Ray was a founding member of the TLC and was, as a consequence, one of the most flaming pants-on-fire "stars" of The Secret (he was the guy with the Genie). So you might say that it is bitterly ironic that the summer meetings of the TLC always fall around July 25, which was the day in 2009 that one of Ray's most faithful followers, Minnesota native Colleen Conaway, jumped to her death from an upper-level balcony of a San Diego shopping mall during one of Ray's "wealth creation" manipulation weekends. (If you follow the link in the previous sentence, you'll find some posts I've written on past anniversaries. And if the graphic on today's post looks overly familiar, it is because it is a repeat of the one I used for last year's anniversary post and which was originally created for the post I wrote the year before that.)

In
a 2013 Verge article about Ray called "The Death Dealer," Matt Stroud explained:
As part of a two-day seminar... Ray had instructed his participants to pretend they were homeless. Soon after, one attendee, 46-year-old Colleen Conaway, jumped to her death from the fourth floor of a shopping mall. A yet-unsettled lawsuit in San Diego claims that Ray knew Conaway had gone missing, but ordered the group to leave the mall without her. He and his employees did not contact police until six hours after Conaway’s death — and after leaving concerned-sounding messages on her cellphone, which she’d turned over to Ray’s staff before the homelessness exercise. She’d also given up her driver’s license, which led authorities to label her a Jane Doe until Ray’s people eventually faxed over a copy of her ID.
Salty Droid had some cynical words for Ray and his peeps; here's one of numerous posts he wrote about the tragedy.

Colleen's family was bewildered by her death and said she didn't have a history of depression or suicidal tendencies. To them it was pretty clear that she had been unduly influenced by her idol, Ray.

Though James Ray was arguably a rising star in the motivational racket before The Secret, it was his participation in that craven franchise that propelled him to the A-list. He only grew more arrogant and ruthless as his star rose, and at numerous live events he recklessly subjected his followers to emotional abuse and physical danger. It isn't much of a stretch to say that The Secret -- and the TLC -- are at least partially responsible for the deaths of Colleen Conaway in July of 2009,
as well as the deaths of the three people who died in Ray's Sedona "sweat lodge" the following October. It's very likely that Colleen's story wouldn't have gotten the traction it did had it not been for the Sedona deaths.

As I noted in last year's post and on numerous others, I've only covered Colleen's story superficially; some of my fellow bloggers, including the aforementioned
Salty Droid, have written in much more depth about Colleen. (And for the next few paragraphs I'm just going to copy and paste a bit from last year's post.)

For instance,
here's my friend in Germany, Yakaru, writing on the third anniversary of Colleen's death.
Not every “self help” teacher shares Ray’s dangerous combination of stupidity and sadism, but it’s a slick and ruthless system that has been constructed and refined over decades. Every possible devious sales technique has been worked into these routines.

Colleen walked into this trap, hoping to learn how to fulfill her dreams and get the best out of herself. Once she had committed herself to Ray’s program and handed over her money to him, he had immense power over her: she would have felt he held the key to her dreams and hopes.

In essence, James Ray stole her dreams and then set about selling them back to her at the highest possible price.
Also cited in Yak's blog post is another excellent post by Salty Droid, written in 2009.
After Colleen’s death Lynn [Colleen's sister] found that she had been filling out 3x5 cards with what looked like James Ray’s sayings or directives. They were all over Colleen’s house :: Hundreds of them :: Along with spiral notebooks full of similar gibberish. Colleen had been directed to keep a list of her ‘old limiting views’ and her new ‘harmonic views.’ Lynn sounded anguished recalling her feelings at seeing that Colleen had lined though many of the values that 2008 Colleen would have treasured. Scratching off pieces of herself :: one at time :: replaced with empty lies.

And now, ten years later, Death Ray is still struggling to make a Scamworld comeback, as recently mentioned again on this Whirled. Recently he has been peddling "Crisis Coaching ®, a flopportunity by which he helps other presumably disgraced people with their own "comebacks." Trouble is, he hasn't exactly mastered the comeback feat himself, which is bad for him (yay!), but good for the world.

Not that Ray doesn't have his small but loyal fan base; he does. But if there's any justice in the world, his evil little monkey wings have been clipped enough that he'll never get the opportunity to kill someone again. As he continues to find new ways to make himself relevant again -- and as his former club-mates in the Trained Liars Cartel party it up wherever it is they're convening -- my heart goes out to the family and friends who loved Colleen Conaway.

Never forget.


PS ~ As I have often mentioned here on my posts about Death Ray, if you're at all tempted to give money to Ray or to any other Scamworld scammer for any reason, give it instead to a worthwhile organization, such as
Seek Safely, which was founded by death lodge victim Kirby Brown's family to guide consumers and make self-help practitioners more accountable for their actions through legislation. (Here is the link to donation info.) So far, as I've also mentioned numerous times, more than 160 leaders in the industry have been invited to sign the "Seek Safely" promise, and not one of the A-list crew has yet done so. While some of them are now dead, such as Louise Hay and Wayne Dyer, the invitation has been open for years, but nobody who's really anybody in the industry seems very interested. That should tell you something.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Mrs. Dose of Reality said...

Maledicent. Cocky. Subversive. Kooky. In case you can't tell, I'm making a direct reference to Cosimic Connie. The key point of the following exposition is that in my observations upon fascism, I have expressed no opinion thus far of the mode of its extinguishment or melioration. I will note, however, though I still have nothing to propose, that Connie doesn't take criticism well. To her, any comment short of adulation is considered a smear. Consequently, what Connie sees as severe persecution is typically just someone observing that Connie has one-upped George Washington in that she cannot tell a lie and cannot tell the truth. Basically, she's too underdeveloped to distinguish between the two.

Sometimes I think that Cosmic Connie is simply a willing pawn from her nut house dwellers who call for a return to that which wasn't particularly good in the first place. I typically drop that willing-pawn notion, however, whenever I remember that I'm no psychiatrist. Still, from the little I know about psychiatry I can unequivocally say that Connie seems to exhibit many of the symptoms of loserville's syndrome (someone who is so f'd up. that they write about others to create a cloud in front of their own pitiful life - and folk's that cloud came from her ass). I don't say that to judge but merely to put Connie's froward expedients into perspective. We must search for the truth, find the facts, and convey the message that Connie uses herself as the gold standard or benchmark by which to measure all other people. Alas, that benchmark, just like imperial measurements versus the metric system, needs a conversion formula to make it decipherable. Let me help decipher it by pointing out that I have no idea why Connie makes such a big fuss over solecism. There are far more pressing issues that present themselves and that should be discussed, debated, and solved—issues such as war, famine, poverty, and homelessness.

Just as night follows day, Cosmic Connie will increase subservience to her monolithic engine of boosterism any day now. I have frequently criticized her unspoken plan to toss quaint concepts like decency, fairness, and rational debate out the window. She usually addresses my criticisms by accusing me of imperialism, McCarthyism, child molestation, and halitosis. Connie hopes that by delegitimizing others this way, no one will listen to me when I say that when Connie hears anyone say that her narcissistic self-identification with all of the traumata of her repressed diathesis towards etatism has made her empty garbage pails full of the vilest slanders and defamations on the clean garments of honorable people, her answer is to humiliate, subjugate, and eventually eliminate everyone who wants to lead a jacquerie against her. That's similar to taking a few drunken swings at a beehive: it just makes me want even more to explain why her cosmic views are a failed philosophy, just as much as her. (Hint: It's because it denies the realities of human nature and teaches that anyone who disagrees with Connie is ultimately sappy.) That's all I have time now to write. If you want to get more insight into Connie's mentality, though, then study the details of her codices. Try to see the big picture: It will undeniably amaze you. It will take your breath away. And it will convince you that Connie's expositions are a masterpiece of sordid poppycock rants (and judging by the millions of comments...oops my mistake...one comment...mine) that she is the only one who reads this crap blog and that make me LAUGH!!! The best part of my comment is, Cosmic Connie can't understand half of the words written in it. Yes! Time to get your dictionary out Cosmic Connie.

Friday, July 26, 2019 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Okay... let me guess...

"Mrs. Dose of Reality," who even went so far as to make up a domain name, "fuckyou.com", is...

1. A Trump fan (who doesn't like my Facebook posts or my blog posts about Herr Twitler and his MAGAnoids
2. A Joe Vitale and/or Lisa Winston fan who didn't like my previous blog post(s) but commented here because it was the top post on the page
3. A James Arthur Ray fan?!? (Surely not)
4. A bored troll who just wanted something to do, and who happened upon a thesaurus
5. Someone who took pity on this little blog because no one comes here to spew anymore, and they thought they'd get the ball rolling.

Anyway, thank you, "Mrs. Dose." Or Mr. MRA/Incel, as the case may be.

I actually do take criticism pretty well, so if you were sincerly trying to make a point... well, point taken. In any case my own limitations and "stuff," of which I'm quite aware, don't keep me from seeing some things pretty clearly. Besides... yawn, I've heard it all before.

You may, however, be correct that I am the only one who reads this "crap blog." Besides you, of course. Thank you for reading, and thank you for taking the time to write.

Friday, July 26, 2019 6:14:00 PM  
Blogger RevRon's Rants said...

What dressing do you recommend with that word salad? Did you simply shred a dictionary and throw random words on the page that are obviously foreign to your lexicon? At the very least, you could do well taking lessons in rudimentary contextualization. And based upon your "psychiatric assessment" of Connie, you obviously sourced your talking points from "The Complete Idiot's Guide To The DSM." Good form.

Friday, July 26, 2019 6:19:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thank you, Ron! Good to see you here. As you know, I have been psychoanalyzed by some of the finest minds in Scamworld, such as Not-Doktor Loony Coldwell, who declared me to be, among many other things, "mentally ill" and "a danger to myself and others." I am certainly a danger to tree roaches if I find them in the house, and, okay, humans who read my blog may face the danger of either getting bored or offended, but I don't think I'm so much a danger to myself. As you may also recall, more than four years ago Loony Coldwell also predicted that my blogging colleague Salty Droid (aka Jason Jones) was also a danger to others and would be "the next mass shooter." Didn't happen. Jason took the bar exam in Ohio and became a practicing attorney again, and is now busy being a danger to Herbalife.

Friday, July 26, 2019 6:34:00 PM  

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