Chuck Anderson, the head of an unaccredited school called the Endeavor Academy (EA) in the Wisconsin Dells, is dead. He was 83.
Often referred to as a “cult leader” by his critics, Anderson’s followers called him instead their “Master Teacher” (MT).
The self-styled “miracle worker” (see photo left) was a former real estate broker from Chicago. He died quietly while watching television last month on the evening of May 13th, according to “Janice” a spokesperson for the group.
EA adherents consider death a “transition,” but it seems that they may be experiencing some difficulty making the transition to a group without its MT.
Groups called “cults,” defined by a charismatic living leader who becomes the focus and locus of power, frequently crumble after that leader is gone.
This strange announcement was posted at a discussion board about consciousness and mysticism four days after Anderson’s death. “Our beloved Teacher and friend, Dear One, left the body on May 13. Many of you also know Dear One as a teacher of teachers and a beloved friend. We invite you to join us this evening in not just talking about Dear One but BEING with him in a brand new hologram of light that he continues to offer – even now – to everyone.”
Has MT gone from dearly departed to disembodied deity?
Anderson was extolled by his disciples as “a continuing union with the mind of Jesus of Nazareth through the Holy Spirit…a Teacher of God…the Awakener” and “Light Transmitter.”
His teaching “credential” was supposedly “the transmission of the power of Resurrected Mind.”
MT based his teachings on a book titled “A Course in Miracles,” (ACIM) an essentially benign work that according to its author Helen Schucman, originated from a divine source she named as Jesus.
The Foundation for Inner Peace and Penguin Books sued Anderson claiming that he and EA had violated their ACIM copyright. Ultimately though MT prevailed, when the First Edition of the book was declared public domain.
Accoording to a 1991 report filed by Kalie Picone Anderson promised that he would “enlighten everyone that follow[ed] him” and one day they would “get out of here….flash[ing] out…together.’”
However, MT is gone and his followers have been left behind.
A cadre of loyalists are appaarently intent upon soldiering on and preserving his legacy, administering an MT video library, not to mention the residue of cash and assets strewn in the wake of their “Awakener.”
Darla Hughes, a prominent leader at EA said that there are now many “master teachers” who are “graduate ministers” (see photo right) and that no single leader would replace MT. She and her husband Alden Hughes continue to facilitate workshops.
Ms. Hughes explained that “there is no such thing as death.”
In an expression of what can be seen as either denial or devotion the EA teacher went on to say, “[MT] is still alive in me and I experience him every day.”
Visitors to the EA Web site are greeted by the audio taped voice of Anderson followed by a haunting video invitation to become his pupil.
But what is Chuck Anderson’s real legacy? A man that appeared to yearn for enduring recognition.
MT apparently relished the spotlight, as seen through his stream of self-produced videos, which featured Anderson in the starring role of “Light Tranmitter.”
However, other than his own productions MT achieved little recognition, with the exception of a 1999 CBS “48 Hours” segment titled “The Academy: Miracle or Cult?”.
This became both Anderson’s proverbial and literal “Andy Warhol 15 minutes.”
But a source said that the octogenerian “wasn’t allowed to go near [Chopra] the whole time.”
A critic of the 2006 CultNews article admitted, “Master teacher is ego maniacal…with both an inferiority as well as a persecution complex…I have seen him do some creepy things.”
Another former EA student elaborated in some detail.
“We all know…that Charles is a fraud,” she said. “I’ve seen Chuckie beating up his people, screaming at them and making absolutely no sense in the process. I’ve seen him raving insanely at other teachers (Not associated with EA) who all out-classed him simply by not defending themselves.”
She added, “I’ve seen otherwise rational people sit, against their wills, and listen to his mad-gabbing for years at a time simply because they couldn’t understand him and thought he knew something they didn’t”
The same former student leveled serious sexual harassment and abuse allegations against Anderson.
“I’ve seen [MT] molesting women on so many occasions I can’t count them, he is not subtle about it either, he puts his hands down their tops and plays with their breasts in public or he yanks at their hair or goes in for the kill and grabs at their sexual organs.”
CultNews received complaints from concerned families that compared MT’s “mind training” to “brainwashing.”
Enlightened being or dirty old man?
Master Teacher or master manipulator?
In the end what will be Chuck Anderson’s epitaph?