In Bowie, Arizona, rescuers discovered Christie McNally, thirsty and delirious sheltering in a cave they also found her husband, Ian Thorson, dead. The couple had been the couple had been expelled from a nearby Buddhist retreat in which dozens of adherents, living in rustic conditions, had pledged to meditate silently for three years, three months and three days.
In the retreat, led by a charismatic Princeton-educated monk, people can only communicate using pen and paper and utilised yoga and meditation in an attempt to answer some of the profound mysteries of the universe. However the retreat has raised eyebrows as former diamond business owner Michael Roach was promoting Buddhist principles as a path to financial prosperity. Details of strange initation ceremonies are emerging from former retreat members with allegations of kissing, genital touching, drawing blood and wielding samurai swords.
It is unclear why the couple were expelled but before McNally married Thorson she had been secretly married to Roach.
Roaches “unconventional behaviour” has reportedly been decried by the Dali Lama and several other Buddhists have criticised the reported practices at the retreat.