Associate: Sweat Lodge Guru's Ego Swelled

Former Co-Worker Says He Never Checked James Ray's Credentials

CBS News, The Early Show/October 26, 2009

A former co-worker of James Ray said he noticed the self-help guru become more narcissistic after an appearance on Oprah Winfrey's show.

Ray stands at the center of a criminal investigation into three deaths at an Arizona sweat lodge earlier this month.

"I saw an ego just blow up," Mickey Reynolds, a former associate of Ray's, told CBS' "The Early Show" Monday.

Reynolds said he funneled several followers to Ray. "I never really checked into his credentials," Reynolds said. "I just believed him."

When Ray appeared in film "The Secret," his income was $1.5 million. Then came Oprah Winfrey, who featured Ray and the secrets of other new age experts on her Show - sales soared, as did Ray's personal fortune. His revenue topped $9 million last year, CBS News correspondent Sandra Hughes reports.

The deadly sweat lodge ceremony was part of Ray's "spiritual warrior" retreat. Each participant paid $9,000, but a survivor says that as people died and others passed out, ray abandoned them.

"We never saw James Ray ever again and he's never contacted any of us," Dr. Beverly Bunn told "The Early Show" recently.

Ray later posted condolences on his Facebook page and is continuing with his workshops, even as authorities have declared the deaths homicides, Hughes reports.

"I'm sure that investigators and prosecutors feel that this motivates them all the more, to go after him," CBS News legal analyst Lisa Bloom said.

Investigators in Arizona would like to hear from Ray as well. He has yet to file a statement or offer his account of the tragedy.

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