"Quinn's Force Is Weak", Sunday World
Messiah’s free seminar turns into The Farce, by Sinead Nolan
It’s official folks – Mucky Messiah Tony Quinn no longer has ‘The Force’.
The mind guru is desperately trying to save his flagging reputation and business by luring new recruits to his Educo cult – but nobody wants to know.
In an unprecedented move, Quinn’s right-hand-man, Martin Forde, held two free public talks this week in a bid to sell the bizarre mind technology they call ‘The Force’.
An undercover Sunday World reporter was there to record the farcical attempt to revive Quinn’s empire which spans courses, gyms, health supplements and seminars in mind power.
The ‘guru’ himself even turned up in an attempt to drum up business.
But it appears that the recession-hit Irish public have moved to the dark side when it comes to the ‘guru’ who believes he is Jesus Christ.
Billed as an ‘Introduction to The Power Within’, the talks were hoped to sign up fresh faces to Quinn’s promise of a ‘designer life’ achieved through attending his pricey seminars in the sun.
Instead they proved that his business has bombed and that would-be followers have woken up to the real ‘Farce’ that has turned him into a multi-millionaire. Of the seven people who attended the free ‘recruitment’ seminar in Naas on Thursday last, four walked out before the session finished and the other three appeared to be already dedicated followers of Quinn’s mind technology.
The Sunday World can reveal how the guru’s famed hard-sell methods fell flat with one woman exclaiming: “Perhaps I’m just a sceptic but positive thinking doesn’t cost thousands.”
The talk kicked off shortly after 7.30pm in one of the Quinn-franchised Educogym’s in Naas in County Kildare where just seven people gathered to hear about the revolutionary ‘Ki’.
There was a distinct feeling of unease as we entered the room and were told to take a seat as Forde, a long-time devotee of Quinn, began to pace the room and begin to describe this ‘Ki’ or ‘The Force’.
He tells us that it is not something we have, but something we are.
The aim of the talk is to invite us to ‘The Force’ by the power of self-belief, and positive instead of negative thinking. From what I can tell, although the point is unclear for most of the talk, the aim is to use the force to channel energy into the massage.
Quinn is not mentioned very often, instead Forde is keen to push their holistic courses – but not before he made sure we understand ‘The Force’ behind it.
It isn’t long before he has grabbed the attention of the small audience and most nod in affirmation. But when one man asks if this ‘Force’ is like how he sees the presence of his dead teacher who died two years ago – Forde begins to lose his audience. “It is not like religion,” he shouts at us. We are all taken aback.
Another person asks: “So if we have all this energy, where does it go when we die?” But it is not a question that Forde is comfortable discussing.
“This is not a religion! We’re going completely off the subject,” he says. He later produces the brochures on the available Ki massage courses – available in Quinn’s headquarters at Dublin’s Eccles Street.
Of the of ‘Holistic Medicine Diploma Courses’, the prices are as follows: Yoga Teacher Diploma, €3,650; Ki Massage Therapy Diploma, €2,450; Holistic Dietetics and Nutrition Diploma, €2,450; and Certificate in Applied Positive Psychology, €2450 – for this money you get just seven weekend seminars.
I raise my hand: “Surely self-belief is just something you have?”.
“Is it?” he asks, giving me an intense stare. I tell him I think I have it. “But where did you get it?” he asks me, not giving me a chance to answer, and then telling me where I got it: “Perhaps you had a loving home.”
I ask him another question. “But some negative thinking must be essential, am I right?” He then goes into a tirade about how negative people spread negative energy.
“Negative energy is a bad thing,” agrees one woman. “You don’t want to speak to people who are negative.” But after hearing of this lifestyle, I am not convinced.
“Surely if the power you are talking about is to live a ‘designer life’ and get whatever I want, then that is selfish?” I ask.
He rejects this and tells me a story about how he healed a woman’s headache with his hands using the energy and ‘power’ of Ki massage. “Tell me that’s selfish,” he says condescendingly.
You could hear a pin drop. It is not clear whether the audience is spellbound or afraid. One woman keeps asking for the Ki massage demonstration but is told to be patient.
“I feel you are going around in circles,” she says to Forde.
“I keep asking you to do a demonstration but you keep going over this mind-power thing.”
Eventually Forde gets us to stand in a circle and hold our arms out.
“Feel the power coming out through your hands. Feel the energy!” he says.
I feel nothing. One woman complains she can feel pins and needles in her hands.
“It’s the energy,” says Forde excited. Then it is time for a demonstration. The door opens and ‘guru’ Tony Quinn himself walks in and sits in the middle of us. He says nothing but his gaze is slow and steady.
A ‘customer’ fresh from a Ki Massage tells us how great it is. He is of average height but rather unhealthy looking, with a large duffel coat on, and carries car keys as though ready to go home.
He has an accent that veers between English and extreme country Irish. He talks excitedly and hastily about how fantastic Ki massage is and how it has improved his life.
Another member of the ‘audience’ surprisingly pipes up that she has tried Ki massage. “I have never slept like that before,” she says. With that, another member of the group speaks: “I’ve just had a thought. What if everyone were to come back next Thursday and bring a friend?” The comment is the final straw for some and four of the seven get up and leave, including me. Outside we dis- cuss the experience among ourselves.
“When the customer came in, that was the most staged event I have ever seen,” says one of the women. “I don’t think I will be going back,” she says “Perhaps that makes me a sceptic, but I don’t care.”
“Very strange talk,” commented another. “A bit of a farce.”
One thing was for certain – Tony Quinn will have to try harder if he is going to continue to dupe the public
NOTE: It was noted later that Tom McKenna, who Quinn has stated in the reincarnation of Moses, was in attendance and not Quinn himself.
Article sourced from Dialogue Ireland.