The Conscious Development Cult Part 2
Terri Hoffman’s followers were devoted to her. The members of Conscious Development followed her teachings to the letter and counted on her for guidance. They believed in her and they trusted her. They trusted her so much that many of them Willed all their money to her. Unfortunately, quite a few of the members either killed themselves or died in an accident shortly after:
- Deveraux Cleavey – Deveraux was Sandy Cleavy’s fourteen-year-old daughter. She was embarrassed by Sandy blindly following Conscious Development. Terri said the black lords had possessed Terri. Sandy said that Deveraux was attacking her spiritual energy and Terri agreed. In February 1979, Sandy and her fiance took Deveraux to Hawaii. They went to a lagoon and took an inflatable raft out to catch crabs. They went out too far and the waves started pushing them towards sharp coral reefs. Sandy claimed that a wave knocked them into the water. When rescuers got there, they found Sandy alive but hurt. By the time they got to Deveraux, she was already dead. A member of Conscious Development had called Deveraux’s father Chuck before the accident. The call was to let Chuck know that Deveraux had written a Will. In it, she left her $125,000 trust fund to Conscious Development “for a school or for a world cruise”. She was only fourteen, so the Will wasn’t binding. It also said, “I give, devise and bequeath all of my property, including all rights, titles, and interests of whatever character I may own in and to any property, real, personal or mixed, wherever situated, to [Terri], who has been to me like a second mother”. The use of the legal language made Chuck worry that Sandy may have killed Deveraux. He also suspected that Terri was behind it.
- Sandy Cleaver and Louise Watson – After Deveraux’s death, Sandy called off her engagement and began to isolate herself from everyone. She gave Terri all her possessions and took out a $300,000 life insurance policy on herself – payable to Terri. She also wrote a Will to make sure Terri got everything she owned. Sandy’s housekeeper, Louise Watson, did the same thing. Sandy eventually remarried. In September of 1981, she and her new husband Don took Louise with them to Colorado. Sandy and Don had just bought property there. On a drive to see the property, Sandy and Louise’s car went over a cliff and crashed. They were both killed. There were no tire marks and police never determined the cause of the accident. Terri claimed the bodies and collected the life insurance two days later. Sandy’s brother blamed Terri for everything and contested the Will. Terri settled and he got half the money from the sale of Sandy’s house, half of her estate, and $112,500.
- Robin Otstott – Robin was a character witness for Terri during the trial over Sandy Cleaver’s Will. She took Sandy’s place as Terri’s assistant. Around 1986, she said she was having an affair with “a supernatural patriot named George Geoffrey.” Robin kept journals of dates, trips, and conversations with her “invisible CIA agent.” She said he was a “‘dematerialized government agent. By the end of 1986, Robin was convinced that her “nonphysical bodies– astral, mental, and physical,” had begun to attack her and others. Conscious Development members began to blame Robin’s “nonphysical bodies” for their various ailments and misfortunes. Robin felt very isolated. In April of 1987, Robin called her ex-husband and told him that she had caught terminal hepatitis from a banana peel. A few days later, Terri went to the doctor and then visited Terri. Robin shot herself that night. The blood tests that the doctor did showed that she did not have hepatitis. In her Will, she left her Colorado land, all her jewelry, writings, personal files, figurines, clothes, and bedroom furniture to Terri. Robin also left a suicide note. In it, she said “I am apologizing to Terri 3000X a wk on all levels of my being for the highly offensive, rude, and vulgar comments made to her last week. I love her dearly & beg her forgiveness one day.”
- Mary Levinson – Mary suffered from chronic knee pain and suffered from emotional troubles. She attempted suicide many times. Mary lived in Illinois, and Conscious Development was not near her, so she had weekly phone sessions with Terri. On November 30, 1987. She overdosed on pills and a puncture mark was found on her wrist during the autopsy. She made a video before she killed herself. Mary had received $125,000 in her divorce. She claimed that she had given her money to animal welfare charities, charitable contributions, and to pay off her debts. After her death, Mary’s family found out that she charged $3,200 worth of jewelry on her mother’s credit card. She also changed the beneficiary on her life insurance to her ex-boyfriend Dr. Larry Keyes. They met at Conscious Development.
- Charles Southern, Jr. – Charles was an assistant chairman of the English department at a local junior college in Chicago. In Conscious Development he led meditation groups, taught classes, and was invited to Terri’s home. He disappeared at one point and his sister found him wandering the streets carrying a newspaper and babbling incoherently in a strange language. He was admitted to a hospital after being deemed possibly suicidal. Two members of Conscious Development visited him daily. When he was released, he wanted to get away from Conscious Development and planned a trip to India. He never made it to India. His parents were so worried that they went to Chicago and broke into his house. His passport was there with no Indian stamp in it. They also found a vial of poison like curare. His coat was inside out and folded with his hat on top of it and placed on a stool. His family learned that the arrangement was a Nigerian tribal death symbol. There were two notes found in his room. They were barely legible, but Terri Hoffman was mentioned. He also wrote, “I came under a bad influence and I was trying to fight it myself”. He was never seen again. It was never proven, but it was suspected that Conscious Development was involved.
- Don Hoffman – Don was Terri’s fourth husband. 1974, Dan and his wife Alice joined Conscious Development. Their three-year-old daughter had drowned and they had lost their faith in conventional religion. Several years later, they started having marital problems and Don was having health problems. They divorced in 1980. Then he married Terri, but their happiness didn’t last long. Then he started having problems like pain and shortness of breath but no one knew why. On September 16, 1988, he committed suicide. He checked into a hotel and overdosed on pills. He left both a suicide note and a videotape. He said that three doctors diagnosed him with terminal cancer and didn’t want to suffer through chemotherapy. Just like Robin Otstott, an autopsy didn’t find any illness. Terri told his son, Rick, that a spiritual master from the ephemeral realm told her that Don did have cancer. She said that the Black Lords were hiding it from the medical examiner. Don’s children filed a wrongful death suit, claiming that Terri had hypnotized Don.
- Jill Bounds – Jill was a practicing psychologist who counseled patients interested in personal growth. She would also read their Tarot Cards and make astrology charts for them. She joined Conscious Development in 1973 but left in 1982. She was bothered by the mysterious deaths of cult members. She blamed Terri after her house was infested with roaches. She called Terri a witch. She was afraid of Terri. On September 20, 1988, Terri was beaten to death in her bed. The killer(s) also found her journal and ripped several pages out. There was evidence that the killer cleaned themself up in the bathroom. Some of Jill’s jewelry and gun were stolen.
- David and Glenda Goodman – David started counseling sessions with Terri after he went through a bad divorce. After marrying and divorcing two much younger cult members, David met Glenda Carlson. They fell in love and got married after Terri told them that they had been married in another life. As time went on they completely cut themselves off from their families. After taking some unknown pills that Terri gave them, they had visions that told them to buy expensive gifts for Terri. They bought her a house and a car. They gave her over one hundred thousand dollars and Willed her fifty percent of everything they had. According to Glenda’s journal, their visions had convinced them that they were really the Roman gods Jupiter and Venus. The journals also said that David and Glenda were fighting against the Black Lords. Glenda wrote that she was depressed and wished she had the strength to kill herself. In January of 1990, they were both found dead of self-afflicted gunshot wounds. David’s father filed a wrongful death suit.