Controversial Gentle Wind back in business

Foster's Daily Democrat (NH)/September 1, 2006
By Chloe Johnson

Durham -- The disbanded Gentle Wind Project is back in business with a new website and reorganized leadership.

The group this month settled a lawsuit brought by Maine's attorney general, agreeing to disband their Kittery operation and losing their nonprofit status in Maine.

Gentle Wind, which describes itself as a spiritual healing group, was based in Kittery. Several of its leaders live in Durham, and the group also is registered in New Hampshire.

Gentle Wind's leaders vowed to continue operating elsewhere even as they agreed to dissolve. Mary Miller, the group's past president, this week confirmed the group still offers the "healing instruments" central to Maine's suit.

"There's a lot of people involved in keeping it going," she said.

Gentle Wind said the instruments - principally hand-held laminated cards and plastic pucks - improve emotional, mental, and physical functioning. Maine's AG argued there was no scientific proof to back such claims, calling them fraudulent.

Longtime member Mary Ann Hale, of Bass Harbor, Maine, who signed as Gentle Wind's president on the settlement's consent decree, issued in York County Superior Court on Aug. 10., said she had "no comment."

The group's redesigned website,, lists an address in Sparks, Nev. Miller would not say whether the organization is relocating.

The site says the group is now an "all volunteer" organization.

"We are not a nonprofit nor are we a profit making company," the site says. "We do not accept donations or payment in any form."

The group is suing former followers Jim Bergin and Judy Garvey, of Blue Hill, Maine, alleging defamation.

Bergin and Garvey's website,, details what they say was the more than 15 years they spent as part of the group, which they say was cultlike and practiced mind control.

Miller said this week that the two initiated a "cyber smear campaign" against Gentle Wind.

Garvey has said stories on are written to warn others about the group, which she said conned her into group sex rituals that were to help the leader, John Miller, invent the healing instruments.

"We have a right to talk about our lives and an obligation to tell the truth," Bergin said.

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