Oct 23, 2016

Calls for probe into secret society Hermes Far Eastern Shining

Herald Sun
Danielle Gusmaroli, The Daily Telegraph
October 23, 2016

A FORMER devotee of cult-like group Hermes Far Eastern Shining claims she was “love bombed” by recruiters for Hermes Far Eastern Shining after meeting devotees at the Mind Body Spirit Festival in London’s Olympia in 2002.

“The devotees were enthusiastic and young and intoxicated me with kindness,” Ann Fitzgerald told The Daily Telegraph. “I was being loved bombed.”

Once the fastest-growing spiritual community in the US and Australia, Hermes Far Eastern Shining –which is frequently referred to as “The Water People” –was prevalent in the mid-1990s.

A band of members sprang up in Maroochydore, Queensland, led by clinical psychologist Gerald Attril, who reinvented himself as an alchemist and Jesus-figure called Jessa O’ My Heart.

The then 38-year-old British Airways flight attendant was visited by senior representatives of the group, which was formed by Gerald Atill and is located in the hills of Byron Bay, at her home in Ireland to relay the teachings of Jessa and his wife Showme Seven Showers.

Atill instructed gurus to recruit At New Age Festivals and target Brisbane University students before he moved members to Sydney and then to a property at Tygalum, 70km north of Byron, in the shadows of Mt Warning, more than a decade ago.

Jessa proclaimed he was the Messiah who possessed the power to bless water and was

sent to bring God to Earth. He died of a suspected stroke, aged 72, in December 2012.

After regular phone contact, and two years later, Ms Fitzgerald, who is now 50, quit her home and job to join the organisation in Australia, where she was bestowed the “alchemy name” Perplexity Swings This And That.

She spent the next eight years working voluntarily up to 16 hours a day for free in the group’s Flutterbies tearoom in Tyalgum, at The Little Shop next door, dispatching artefacts and working as Jessa’s housekeeper at his cottage.

She says she suffered “colossal torment” and exhaustion “working like a slave”.

“I realised I was being conned,” she recalls.

Shopkeepers Ken McGrath and Anita De Leeuw helped her escape and drove her to a hotel in Coolangatta where she hid until her family sent money in October 2011.

“It saddens me to think there are some wonderful people who still believe,” she said. “It has taken me until now to recover.”


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