Guru: The Dark Side of Enlightenment

Guru: The Dark Side of Enlightenment

All episodes are available for free, with ad-free episodes available for Wondery+ subscribers. When we face challenges in life, we seek answers from people we believe can help us. When tragedy strikes an exclusive retreat with a self-help superstar, many people are left to wonder: how far is too far? James Arthur Ray was an Oprah-endorsed self-help teacher who achieved fame, fortune, and influence. But friends and family members of his followers questioned his unorthodox methods, and tried to stop him. From Wondery, the makers of “Dirty John,” “Dr. Death,” and “The Shrink Next Door,” comes a story about the dark side of enlightenment. Hosted by journalist Matt Stroud. New episodes will come out weekly.

Episodes

June 15, 2020 2 min

A search for spiritual guidance leads a group of strangers to seek help from a self-help guru. He’s part of a growing number of entrepreneurs giving workshops and seminars all over the US in the 2000s. His unorthodox methods and blend of self-improvement philosophies and economic advice have won praise from Oprah and others. His career seems to be taking off, but his ever more extreme methods push his pupils to their limits. What a...

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Ginny and her daughter Kirby attend an event featuring self-help superstar James Arthur Ray. Ginny has some concerns about him, but Kirby is drawn in. She spends her life savings to travel for a week-long event in the desert. But when things turn deadly, Ginny is left to figure out what went wrong.

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July 1, 2020 34 min

Eight rounds. Scalding fire rocks. Oppressive heat. What happened to Kirby and the other participants at “Spiritual Warrior”?

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July 3, 2020 39 min

When Detective Ross Diskin first arrives in Angel Valley in Sedona, he wonders if what he’s seeing is the result of a mass suicide . Now, his search for answers will take him from Angel Valley into James’ history. And it will lead him back to one particularly famous talk show host.

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July 8, 2020 36 min

Ginny flies to Arizona seeking justice. But will a jury decide what happened in Angel Valley was an accident or a crime?

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July 15, 2020 40 min

The trial may be over, but Ginny’s family are not finished with James. And when another incident from James’ past comes to light, they get another chance to confront him.

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July 22, 2020 37 min

Ginny gets an unwelcome interruption before Thanksgiving. And a fan of James Ray’s faces a stark choice.

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July 29, 2020 40 min

Matt Stroud, Ginny Brown and Laura Tucker sit down with Laura Beil, host of Dr. Death and Bad Batch, for a live Q&A at the GURU virtual listening premiere.

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August 5, 2020 35 min

Matt Stroud speaks with cult expert Rick Ross about his controversial “cult busting” career and how it led to his involvement in the James Arthur Ray case.

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In the era of some of the most heinous serial killers of all time — one murderous family went curiously unnoticed: The McCrary’s. Led by a psychopathic patriarch and his cunning son-in-law, this Texas clan roamed the country robbing, kidnapping, and killing up to 20 people, most of them taken from donut shops. “Families who Kill: The Donut Shop Murders” recounts the wild and deeply disturbing story of an unhinged American family an...

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