Cult Woman Died From Dehydration - Report

Newswire, September 23, 1999

The follower of a cult which promotes fasting and "living on light" died from hypothermia and dehydration, officials said today.

Procurator fiscal Alasdair MacDonald said self-neglect was the secondary cause of 49-year-old Verity Linn's death in the Scottish Highlands.

Ms Linn's semi-naked body was found last week by a fisherman outside a tent at Loch Cam, near Elphin in Sutherland.

Mr MacDonald said he understood the dead woman, who had been working for a spiritual and educational community called the Findhorn Foundation in Forres, Morayshire, was an Australian citizen. Problems in tracing her relatives meant police were unable to release her name until today.

A diary found among her belongings suggested she had been taking part in a spiritual cleansing programme, and was a follower of a new-age guru known as Jasmuheen who advocates fasting.

Jasmuheen, a 42-year-old Australian woman whose real name is Ellen Greve, claims to have been living on herbal tea, juice and the occasional biscuit since 1993 after being told to change her life by her spiritual mentor, St Germain.

Her philosophy, explained in her book Living on Light, is based on "breatharianism" - a concept which promotes living on light and almost entirely without food and liquids.

Part of the process of adopting the philosophy includes a "21-day programme" during which participants eat and drink almost nothing, and it is thought possible Ms Linn could have been taking part in this when she died.

In Australia, the movement attracted controversy after a woman died while undertaking the 21-day programme.

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