KITTERY, Maine — A local new age psychotherapeutic organization recently filed a civil suit in U.S. District Court against a Maine couple and others they claim designed a Web site intent on destroying its reputation.
The Gentle Wind Project is a 24-year-old non-profit corporation that describes itself as being “dedicated to education and research aimed at alleviating human suffering and trauma.”
Headquartered in Kittery, Gentle Wind Project’s core group includes spokeswoman Mary “Moe” Miller and founder John D. Miller (no relation), who reside in Durham, N.H.
The organization holds seminars across the country, selling “healing instrument” products for donations ranging from $450 to upwards of $10,000, asserting they have exclusive healing technology that is channeled telepathically from the “spirit world” and has healing powers.
Filed in May, the suit names Judy Garvey and her husband James F. Bergin of Blue Hill, Maine, the J.F. Bergin Company, Steve Gamble, a resident of the United Kingdom, a corporation controlled by Gamble named Equilibra, Ivan Fraser, a resident of the United Kingdom, The Truth Campaign, a corporation run by Fraser, and several other individuals from Massachusetts and New Jersey.
The suit contends the defendants alleged that members of Gentle Wind engage in or subject others to voluntary or involuntary group sexual rituals; extort or coerce individuals to donate money or things of value; cause the abuse and/or neglect of children; misrepresent the nature and effectiveness of Gentle Wind products for material gain; and engage in or cause the misappropriation of Gentle Wind funds.
According to Channel 10 news in San Diego, Gentle Wind’s tax statement in 2001 revealed the organization took in $1.2 million in contributions — with more than $860,000 spent for developing healing instruments.
Efforts to contact Mary Miller and John Miller were unsuccessful.
The lawsuit disputes the allegations, contending Gentle wind doesn’t sell its healing instruments, but instead gives them free to individuals who request them.
The so-called “healing instruments” include such items as laminated “high-density healing and pain cards” and a plastic item called “Rainbow Puck V.”
According to promotional literature published by the organization, the instruments are based upon “high-frequency temporal shifting, matrixed with millions of pre-defined etheric modifications operating in a vertically and horizontally oriented polarization.”
Gentle Wind further contends its income is generated entirely from donations, and that it has never publicly advertised its products.
With respect to the allegation that it operates as a cult, Gentle Wind asserts in the lawsuit that it’s not a “group,” has no “members” or a “leader”, and has only a staff of individuals who research and develop healing instruments, run an Internet Web site, process requests for instruments and donations, and field inquiries.
Garvey and her husband created a Web site, www.windofchanges.com, describing their association with Gentle Wind. [Note: Should be windofchanges.org. The hyperlink leads to the correct site – RNB]
This is the subject of the lawsuit.
When contacted Friday, Garvey said she and Bergin never accused the organization of extortion, child neglect or misappropriating funds.
“We did personally neglect our own two sons to some extent while we were involved with Gentle Wind, but we never accused them of that or the other things that were alleged.
Essentially they just twisted our words around,” she said.
“I’m the first person who has come forward and spoken out against Gentle Wind and they responded by filing this suit.”
Garvey, who along with Bergin have filed a counter motion for dismissal, said she and Bergin have had to secure a home equity line of credit against their home to help defend themselves against the suit.
“The concern about finances has caused us some duress, but we’ve been away from Gentle Wind for four years and we’ve gotten past our anger. I think the intent of the lawsuit is to enforce silence, but we just felt it was time to get our story out there,” she said.
Aug. 8, 2004
James Baker, Staff Writer