Sect Madness: Disciples starve themselves to death

Berliner Kurier, September 26, 1999

London - Blonde, thin and dangerous: Ellen Greve (43) from Australia is the woman guru of a new movement. Her teaching is called "breatherianism" - loosely translated: the science of breathing. Her evil message: you need no more food - only divine light nourishment. Fatal consequences: her disciples fast themselves to death - even in Germany.

Light? Air? Corpses? What does "Jasmuheen" - Greve's sect name - really promise? The usual: enlightenment, eternal youth, resistance to cancer, a world without hunger or supermarkets and, naturally, better sex.

The story began in 1993: 20 "spiritual warriors" did without food cold turkey. Ellen Greve later developed a 21 day process which is supposed to permit people to "finally nourish themselves from crystals in the air" - something similar to photosynthesis of plants. Eating is taboo.

So far, so delusory. But by and by it gets dangerous. More and more people gather around the woman guru. Jasmuheen (claims to have gone without sustenance for five years; in the mean time she lives in a house with a swimming pool) talks of over 5,000 successes - business is growing. She distributes her books all over the world. One seminar costs up to 3,500 marks. And: her teachings have already brought about deaths. At least three. Including in Germany.

Munich, June 2, 1997. Kindergarten teacher Timo Degen (31) dies. On the twelfth day of his fast-torture he fell into a coma: circulatory collapse, brain damage. Regained consciousness, fell from weakness and fractured his skull.

Melbourne, August 1998. Liane Morris (53), after seven days of her forced diet, lost her power of speech; her right arm is lame. She collaborated, but could not be saved. Jasmuheen, "Perhaps she did not have the right motivation."

Sutherland, 12 days ago. Verity Linn (49) was found half-naked sprawled out by a lake. A bitter death. She stopped eating September 4. Confused and helpless, she stumble through the moor and died. Jasmuheen stated, "By way of cosmic telepathy I know that she left this life in a beautiful way..."

Jasmuheen's Lighteaters are also organized in Berlin. The ELRAANIS publishers offer seminars and presentation on "up-to-date research on the technology of light bodies." Jasmuheen's hunger books are sold in Berlin. And they have a meeting place in a Kreuzberg courtyard.

Dr. Dee Dawson is an expert in a London special clinic for eating disorders. Her assessment of Ellen Greve, "This woman is a irresponsibly insane."

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