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Thursday, 6 April, 2000, 05:46 GMT 06:46 UK
Guru condemned as 'dangerous'
Group website
The teachings have been controversial
A new age guru whose teachings were blamed for the death of a woman in the Scottish Highlands has been condemned as "dangerous".

The attack was made on Ellen Greve, an advocate of "breatharianism", by the Green MSP Robin Harper.

Australian Ms Greve, who calls herself Jasmuheen, was the focus of criticisms after she gave a talk on her philosophy at Edinburgh University, where Mr Harper is the rector.

Her teaching that people can live almost entirely without food or water was linked to the death of a 49-year-old follower.

Woman starved to death

Verity Linn's body was found in a remote part of Sutherland last year after she apparently starved herself for at least eight days.

Mr Harper, who became the university's rector only a few weeks ago, said: "I think this woman is dangerous.

"Some young people are impressionable. They want to try new things.
Loch Cam
Loch Cam, where Verity Linn's body was found

"I can see many people thinking, 'I will have a go at that, it sounds interesting', then put their health seriously as risk.

"I know very little about it, but what I do know, I don't like."

He said he did not blame the university for hiring out a room because it had not known about Ms Greve's background when the booking was made and had decided not to cancel because it did not want to impinge on free speech.

"If they had known more about her they might have thought twice. I don't think this qualifies as a religion," said Mr Harper.

300 calorie diet

When Ms Greve arrived in Britain on Wednesday, she said she had survived on less than 300 calories a day for seven years because she absorbed nourishment direct from a creative source.

The mother-of-seven added that she was aware her work was very controversial but she had been misquoted by the media.

"It's not a movement, it's not a cult, it has no organisation, it's a movement of consciousness.

"I see myself as an ambassador in the advanced field of bio-energetics, an advanced science that our scientists will understand in time," said Ms Greve.

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12 Mar 00 | Scotland
'Fresh air' guru comes to Scotland
21 Sep 99 | Scotland
Woman 'starved herself to death'
14 Jul 99 | Education
Sixth formers on cult alert
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