- Founded by John Miller with help from Claudia Panuthos (aka Mary Miller,
aka Mary Carreiro).
- Expanded to include a second level of followers (employees), when
it was incorporated as a nonprofit organisation.
- First listing of Gentle Wind Project by New Zealand Cult List.
Situation early 2004.
- Seminars have now been held in various countries around the world,
with the "healing instruments" supposedly being used in many
other countries, particularly very poor countries.
- Among the original followers from the mid-to-late 1980s, there are
reported to be approximately fifteen who have been completely committed,
to the exclusion of most other relationships, working full time for
the GW leaders over a period of twenty years. These roughly 15 followers
make up the two top tiers of leadership.
- There are possibly another 60-100 serious instrument keepers, while
all instrument keepers could number a few thousand people.
- Officially launched in New Zealand by Mary
Miller, with the NZ contact person Grace
Maiden. (Although there is some thought that GWP was here in a small
capacity before this time.)
- Mary Miller interviewed by Alison Mau on Breakfast show on
- Shortly after that launch our original GWP listing (a bit shorter
than the present listing) resulted in that
particular page (but strangely, not the site) being included on the
GWP web site in a list of targets (since removed) for legal action.
Intimidation is a classic cult trait. We note that their web site has
plenty of information available which makes their beliefs and many of
their practices (not to mention the ridiculous price of their healing
instruments!) quite clear.
1 April 2004.
- We see that New Zealand (but not specifically this site or the page
with the GWP listing) is once again mentioned as a target for legal
action. (Could it be they're doing a bit of seasonal joking?) It seems
the NZ Cult List has rather more noble intentions than the Gentle Wind
Project and we hereby request that Valued Readers do not send
money for legal expenses. (The wording of GWP's request is for donations
to a legal defense fund – something that we presume won't be
required since no one is legally attacking them. What will they use
the money for?)
- GWP includes the name of the current NZ Cult List editor in their
legal rambling (PDF, 214KB). We completely
fail to see the point of that move, other than to encourage us to further
explain why we need to include them in the NZ Cult List.
- GWP starts sending letters to its intended legal victims in the United
States and the UK (but strangely not New Zealand), rather ruining anything
left of their "gentle" image. According to the law
suit, "Gentle Wind’s revenues have dropped substantially
since the Count IV Defendants began making their fraudulent misrepresentations."
- The California-based Special
Investigations Agency launches an investigation into the Gentle
Wind Project's activities.
- The New Zealand Cult List editor is assured (in a letter dated 23
April 2004) that "... the New Zealand Department of Corrections
is not involved in the purchase, testing, or in any other form, utilisation,
of healing instruments such as marketed by the Gentle Wind Project."
In other words, GWP is not using its healing instruments in New
Zealand prisons in any sort of official capacity.
- The Special
Investigations Agency reports: A preliminary investigation reveals
that there are serious financial improprieties within the so called
"Non Profit" organization of the Gentle Wind Project.
- Rumours circulate that the television company ABC in the United States
wants to do a full investigation of GWP.
- GWP's lawyers officially serve legal papers to the editor
of the New Zealand Cult List, using up several trees in the process
judging by the amount of paper involved. The editor notes that New
Zealand is not the 51st state of the USA, so GWP's actions are
really only so much hot air as far as the New Zealand Cult List is concerned.
The editor also notes that it's probably quite improper – even in the
most uncivilised parts of the United States – to sue people without
first sending that person a cease and desist letter. Ha!
- The New Zealand Cult List launches its Closeup on Gentle
- Gentle Wind Project in the USA wants their local court to declare
the editor of the New Zealand Cult List in default of their previous
legal claims against him. The
editor suggests that a court on Mars would probably have just as much
jurisdiction over New Zealand citizens as the foreign court they are
going through. He asks: How many tens of thousands of dollars of donations
have been wasted by their action? Update: It turns out to be quite a
few – their 2003-2004 tax return showed legal fees in excess of US$110,000
(NZ$161,000+), and that's only part way through the case.
- The editor of the New Zealand Cult List continues to be sent an occasional
parcel of American pulped vegetable matter. The editor wonders aloud
if someone could suggest to lawyer-type people in the United States
that they use stamps on their envelopes rather than using franked envelopes
– then at least local stamp collectors can be kept happy and maybe all
those trees won't have been pulped in vain. The editor also begins to
consider the possibility that the real danger Gentle Wind poses is not
to New Zealanders but to American trees.
- The Special
Investigations Agency reports: "It has been difficult for us
to verify many of the endorsements which the Gentle Wind Projects displays
on their site. The organizations are not familiar with the Gentle Wind
Project, and do not know where the endorsement came from."
- According to the Special
Investigations Agency web site, Mary Miller tells a GWP seminar
that "she was considering filing legal action against SIA to silence
the criticism of her organization."
- The Gentle Wind Project continues in their attempts to con the unsuspecting
and undiscerning, releasing another of their fake "healing instruments".
- Worldwide product recall announced
for all "healing instruments" manufactured by Gentle Wind
Project. These "healing instruments" apparently do not meet
the specifications of the original designers and may cause harmful side-effects.
- In answer to the September request to have Default Judgment against
the editor on 12 December the American court issued an order "reserving
ruling on the motion until resolution of other pending motions."
In other words, they're leaving it until last.
- Pretty quiet in New Zealand regarding GWP.
- Senior United States District Judge Gene Carter makes judgment for
the defendants Jim Bergin and Judy Garvey, "granting defendants’
motion for summary judgment on RICO Claim (Count I)". Count II
has already been dismissed and because the Federal court doesn't have
any independant reason for jurisdiction on the other counts, III through
VII (they arise from alleged violations of state law), they have also
- Senior United States District Judge Gene Carter makes judgment
for the Cult List editor (PDF), dismissing Count I on the basis
that the editor couldn't have been racketeering with the other defendants
since the RICO (racketeering) charge against the other defendants was
already dismissed. Count II didn't apply to the editor and for consistency
counts III through VII have also been dismissed.
- Gentle Wind Project reach deeper into the pockets of their poor deluded
supporters and refile a whole bunch of stuff in a State court. How wonderful
to be a lawyer in the United States. The editor presumes there aren't
many greenie lawyers over there, going by how much paper they use. How
unfortunate to be a tree in the United States.
- The Maine Attorney General's Office has filed a lawsuit against the
Gentle Wind Project. According to WMTW:
The attorney general's office accused the group of falsely
claiming that their products had healing qualities and of considering
the income from their sale as charitable donations rather than sales
Prosecutors want the Gentle Wind Project to liquidate
its assets, pay the state's legal fees and refund anyone who bought
items between 2000 and the present.
The lawsuit specifically mentions (on pages 15, 17, and 28) the ridiculous
GWP claim that there is no placebo
effect in the performance of the healing instruments as being something
GWP is answerable for (apparently to the tune of US$10,000 for that
claim alone, if found guilty). For example, Exhibit E (page 15 of the
filing) quotes the Code of Ethics and Compassion from the GWP web site:
There is no placebo effect in the performance of these
To be found innocent of that charge, GWP will presumably be required
to present results of scientific testing that shows the placebo effect
has absolutely been ruled out. Such scientific testing is something
they simply haven't done, and is almost certainly not even possible.
Andrew Oh-Willeke, an attorney who writes a blog under the name Wash
Park Prophet, has written a detailed
analysis of what the attorney general's case means for the Gentle
Wind Project, and what it will mean for future cases against them –
for example "nothing prevents the attorney general from bringing
criminal charges against the leaders after this case is concluded, or
parallel to it."
Investigations Agency (in the USA) prepared a case they submitted
to the Attorney General's Office, and have written a summary
of events from their own perspective.
Gentle Wind Blown Away! Gentle Wind Project has settled with
the Maine Attorney General's Office over the attorney general's law
suit. A Portland
Press Herald article sums up the consent decree quite nicely (emphasis
In a consent decree filed in York County Superior
Court last week, the directors of the Gentle Wind Project admitted
that they made false claims about their products, which they said
could cure anything from alcoholism to paralysis. They admitted
making false claims on their Web site, at public appearances and in
written literature that the instruments had been scientifically
proven to be effective.
Board members also admitted that they breached
their fiduciary duty as officers of a charity by using donations
for the purchase and upkeep of houses purchased in their own names
and for other illegal transactions.
And, indeed, the first page of the Consent
Decree and Order (PDF, 1.24MB) makes it quite clear that Gentle
Wind and its board have agreed to its contents:
... all parties having consented to the entry of this
Consent Decree and Order without trial or adjudication of any issue
of fact or law ...
Main points included in the Consent Decree and Order:
- Defendants Mary E Miller and John D Miller made unsubstantiated
claims (both express and implied) about the health benefits of the
- Defendants represented (both expressly and implied) the healing
instruments as having been scientifically tested and proven to be
- Carol R Miller and Pamela Ranheim breached their fiduciary duties
as directors of GWP.
- Mary E Miller beached her fiduciary duty as the president of GWP.
- Shelbourne Miller breached her fiduciary duty as the treasurer
- All defendants breached their fiduciary duties as directors of
officers of GWP (in several other ways).
- The Defendants (and just about anyone who has ever worked with
them, including their attorneys) are banned from having anything
to do with making, advertising, selling etc any healing instruments
in Maine if they make any claims including that the instruments:
- Heal a person's "etheric" structure.
- Solve most of humanity's problems, help Alzheimer's patients,
heal 50% of alcoholics and drug addicts, reduce chronic pain.
- Are effective in hospitals.
- Have been tested in blind and double blind studies, using
the highest research standards, and that the results have been
duplicated by others.
- Have no placebo
effect in their performance.
- The same list of GWP Defendants and just about everyone who has
ever worked with them are banned from using or selling any property
owned by GWP. (It's all going to be sold.)
- They are also banned from ever leading a non-profit corporation
in Maine, and banned from ever using the name Gentle Wind Project
(or similar) in Maine.
Civil Penalties and Costs
- Mary E Miller and John D Miller to pay US$20,000 (total) for violations
of the Unfair Trade Practices Act.
- All the defendants to pay US$30,000 (total) towards the Attorney
General's investigation and legal costs
Liquidation and Dissolution of GWP
- John C Turner appointed as liquidating receiver for GWP, and shall
wind up affairs for GWP.
- GWP has 30 days to vacate any GWP premises and Defendants will
cooperate fully with receiver to sell "any property located
outside the State of Maine to a bona fide buyer as determined by
- After payment of costs (including compensation for the receiver)
all GWP assets will be handed over to the Attorney General.
- GWP will be dissolved.
- The Attorney General will refund consumers who bought a GWP healing
instrument since 2003 – offer valid for six months.
- After that, AG will pay restitution to those consumers eligible
- Any balance will be given to a Maine charity which assists those
with mental health disabilities.
Retention of Jurisdiction
- If changes are required at a later date – not a problem.
- Any (and each) violation of the Consent Decree and Order will
be treated as a separate contempt of it.
- Carolyn A Silby – Assistant Attorney General.
- Mary Ann Hale – Defendant (listed as Maryanne Hale, President,
The Gentle Wind Project).
- Mary E Miller – Defendant.
- John D Miller – Defendant.
- Shelbourne Miller – Defendant.
- Carol R Miller – Defendant.
- Joan G Carreiro – Defendant.
- Pamela Ranheim – Defendant.
The Attorney General's case is separate to the case GWP has brought
against former members and the editor of the New Zealand Cult List.
According to the Portland
Press Herald article:
Mary Miller ... said the case against Bergin and Garvey
will go forward, however.
Unfortunately for her, that will be rather difficult for her to pull
In the consent decree, Gentle Wind's board members
admit the truth of most of the statements they call defamatory in
their lawsuit, [defamation lawsuit defendants' lawyer] Crouter said.
There is also a question whether a court-appointed receiver would
allow the organization to spend assets on legal fees.
The group's lawyer, Daniel Rosenthal of Verrill Dana,
has filed a motion asking permission to withdraw from the defamation
If the request for GWP's lawyer to withdraw is granted, the receiver
(acting on behalf of the State of Maine) would need to retain a new
lawyer, who would be pressing a case with very little substance left,
after the admissions of the board. So the receiver would be VERY unlikely
to agree to that.
While Gentle Wind Project is now illegal in Maine, USA, Mary Miller
has stated that it will continue in the other 49 states and around
the world. From the Portland
Press Herald article:
Mary Miller ... said the organization would continue
to distribute its products outside of Maine.
"We have a very large group of volunteers all
around the world," she said.
Assistant Attorney General Carolyn Silsby, who signed
the agreement for the state, said Maine authorities can only control
the group's activities in Maine. But she said by signing the consent
decree, the group gives up all of its assets anywhere in the country,
including a house in Durham, N.H., listed for sale at more than $1
"We would love to see Gentle Wind stop making
their claims everywhere, but we can only enforce the laws of the state
of Maine," she said.
Press Herald article finishes:
Crouter said Gentle Wind will now have trouble proving
that Bergin and Garvey are responsible for its problems.
"They claim that Jim and Judy damaged their business,
leading to a drop in their donations," he said. "Now we
see the Gentle Wind Project has admitted that claims about the healing
instruments are false. The damage to their reputation was caused by
their own misrepresentations. We believe the defamation claims should
Of course, that would also apply to the editor of the New Zealand
Cult List and the List's explanation of the healing instruments possibly
having a small effect by means of the placebo
effect – if they actually have any effect at all. (The instruments
may not be marketed in Maine with any claim that there is no placebo
effect in their performance.)
- The law firm representing the Gentle Wind Project has been granted
permission to withdraw from the law suit, saying "The grounds in
support of this Motion are that the clients deliberately disregarded
an agreement with, or obligation to, the lawyer as to expenses or fees".
In other words, they haven't been paid. The law suit will continue with
the plaintiffs (the GWP board) representing themselves.
GWP has lodged a stipulation for dismissal with the Maine Court,
dated 8 November 2006. It's short and to the point (although worded
in American court language).
Plaintiffs The Gentle Wind Project, Mary Miller, Carol
Miller, John Miller, Shelbourne Miller, Joan Carreiro and Pam Ranheim,
and Defendants James Bergin and Judy Garvey hereby stipulate to the
dismissal of all claims and counterclaims asserted in this case, including
plaintiff's claims against Defendant Ian Mander, with prejudice, and
without costs or attorneys' fees to any party.
This means that Ian Mander of the New Zealand Cult List is no longer
being sued by an extreme New Age cult/scam group in the United States.
The "with prejudice" means that they can't refile the claims,
so they can't sue again.
GWP has made an appearance in Nevada, USA, where a GWP follower is
a teacher in a middle school in Sparks (near Reno). Story at KoloTV.
The Gentle Wind Project has already been shut down
in at least two states, including Hawaii and Maine, as a result of
lawsuits filed by their Attorney Generals.
Police want to warn people this group is out there
and to beware. Before you buy any "healing" type products,
or become a member of any groups, be sure to do a little research...and
if something doesn't seem right, call the police.
(I believe that should be "Attorneys General".)
- Caught in the Act of Manipulating: The Rise and Fall of a Cult
and Its Leaders, a book review by former GWP member Jim Bergin has been posted
on Cult News, regarding the 451 page Caught in the Act of Helping: How a government official
destroyed 23 years of effort aimed at producing revolutionary, new stress
relief technology by Mary Miller.
- Written submissions for this listing are still being accepted. Please
see the Contact page. We note that to date
no submissions for the content of this web site, and no cease
and desist orders, were ever received from the Gentle Wind Project or
anyone representing them (legally or otherwise).