Harmon Leon’s story “The Canadian Man who commands a cult with His Gaze.” Vice, 25 February 2015
John de Ruiter is a well looking/ attracting man with “steely blue eyes” who has fans from major places of the world who gather to sit in a hall and watch him as he stares at them with an “emanating intense gaze.” In these halls, there will be close-ups put by projector screens focusing on John’s face where for an hour all the audience will stare at John’s face. People believe that John doesn’t just stare at those people with his eyes, but instead they believe that he is staring at their souls. Others have said: “they can see an aura around John during his three-hour staring session, or meetings” (Leon, Vice, February 25, 2015). Prior to becoming or known for being a “messiah” by his followers from around the world, John is a Christian preacher and an orthopedic shoemaker in rural Alberta. He is also the founder of the College of Integrated Philosophy in Edmonton. Before holding his “meetings” at the Oasis Centre, John used to hold his meeting in a small bookstore off of Whyte Ave in Edmonton. Most of John’s followers are usually middle-aged women. People from all around the world travel to Edmonton to see John and pay $10 to sit in his three-hour staring session. Some of his followers have even moved form all over the world, such as From Europe, to live in Edmonton and to be closer to John. If people don’t see results from John’s sessions, they would not give up, but instead they would pay again to come and to finally get results. De Ruiter holds sessions all over the world, and he has a staring tour coming up in Israel, Germany, India, Holland, and England, where tickets are sold for hundreds of dollars. According to John’s followers, “No two meetings are the same” (Leon, Vice, February 25, 2015). Most of John’s followers expect the world to be “filled with peace and happiness but have been left disappointed” (Leon, Vice, February 25, 2015).
The staring sessions held by John de Ruiter, do not make sense to me, as I don’t see anything useful out of them. Most of John’s followers, are looking for a peaceful / happy world, but until now they’ve been disappointed, and therefore I don’t see a point of these sessions. It is quite disappointing to see people all over the world going to attend his sessions and paying money to get answers to problems they don’t even talk about during these meetings, because he basically just sits there and stares at them. This is also the first time, I read about anything like this where it is actually allowed, and where people are truly following. As a reader, this only makes me think of how much problems there are in our world that really need to be looked at, and need solutions for. These followers must have major life problems that have led them to attend such sessions, otherwise there’s no other answer to why this is happening.