Durek Verrett

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Durek Verrett
Born
Derek David Verrett

(1974-11-17) 17 November 1974 (age 49)
OccupationAlternative therapist
Spouse
Zaneta Marzalkova
(m. 2005; div. 2009)
PartnerPrincess Märtha Louise of Norway (2019–present)

Durek Verrett (born November 17, 1974, as Derek David Verrett) is an American businessman, alternative therapist,[2][3] self-professed shaman and author. He advocates several conspiracy theories and has been characterized by Norwegian media and other observers as a conman.[4][2][5][6][7][8] He is engaged to Princess Märtha Louise of Norway.

Background[edit]

Verrett grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area town of Foster City, California, and changed his name to Durek Verrett in 2014.[9] On his personal website from 2011 to 2020 he claimed to be a 3rd generation Shaman.[10] Since 2020, he changed his claim and began describing himself as a 6th generation shaman.[11] In a 2023 interview, however, Verrett's mother stated that no shaman lineage exists in their family whatsoever, and that Verrett has simply fabricated such stories in an effort to boost his career.[12] In multiple interviews in 2022 and 2023, Verrett's mother described him as "ingratiating", "manipulative", "dangerous", "prone to lying", and said she no longer has contact with him.[13][14]

In multiple 2019 interviews including Vanity Fair, Verrett claimed he was raised by a wealthy architect father "with a private plane and domestic servants."[15] However, several of Verrett's relatives contradict such claims, including his paternal aunt who said Verrett's father was a middle-class contractor who twice went bankrupt, and Verrett's stepmother was a longtime employee of Alaska Airlines.[16]

Verrett has claimed that his mother, Sheilah G. Farmer, who goes by the alias Veruschka Urquhart, is of Norwegian-West Indian[17][18] descent, although he has alternately described her as being of Native American heritage.[19] He has sometimes claimed that his father, David Benjamin Verrett (1929-2017), was of African and Haitian origin, while at other times stating his father was "a Native American Blackfoot Indian".[20] Verrett's parents divorced in April 1977 when he was 2.[21] When Verrett was 3, his father married Verrett's stepmother, Geraldine Roy (1943-2009).[22]

In a 2009 interview Verrett claimed to be "born into the lineages of Haitian voodoo and indigenous Norwegian medicine".[23] However, his aunt Shirley Verrett's autobiography contradicts his claims, as she describes the Verrett family's strict Catholic and Seventh Day Adventist lineages, and refers to non-Christian practices such as voodoo by stating their family "strongly disapproved of anyone who practiced those negative arts."[24]

Verrett has said that he was convicted of arson and sentenced to five years imprisonment in the United States after he organized a party in an abandoned house that was set on fire.[25] He said that he served one year in prison before being released on parole.[26][27][28][29]

He was formerly married to Zaneta Marzalkova, a Los Angeles resident of Czech nationality. They married in 2005 when she was 21 years old.[30] In 2008, Marzalkova filed for divorce from Verrett, which was granted by Los Angeles Superior Court. Verrett has claimed that his wife "exploited" him, and that in 2008 he reported her to the immigration authorities as an illegal resident which caused her to be jailed and deported from the country.[31]

From 2007 to 2015, Verrett had a male fiancé, a masseur named Hank Greenberg, who was also his business partner. In 2015, Verrett was arrested by the Los Angeles Police Department for domestic abuse after he attacked Greenberg at their home. Verrett was charged with felony assault and battery, and Greenberg soon after broke off their engagement.[32] In multiple interviews, Greenberg has described Verrett's true nature as manipulative and dangerous, and stated that Verrett has a "brainwashed" cult of followers where "his word is law."[33] In 2012, Verrett and his then-fiancé Greenberg started an Indiegogo crowdfunding page to raise money for Verrett's kidney transplant in which they stated that Verrett is HIV positive.[34][35]

Verrett lived for six years with his then-manager Tiana Griego, who said that "Durek controlled my whole life. It was as if he became jealous of anything that stole his attention. I was not allowed to start a serious romantic relationship or raise my son. It was all about Durek."[36][37][38]

Career[edit]

Verrett had a limited early career as a model and in appearances on television shows.[citation needed] Vanity Fair wrote about Verrett being bisexual and summed his early activities up as an eclectic early career and this helped propel his brand of new age shamanism into celebrity circles as he had grown up partly in that world.[17] Verrett claims to demystify spirituality by making it attainable and understandable for not only the layman, but also for the more spiritually advanced, and everyone in between. Verrett states that his "true mission is to bring the ancient practice of shamanism to the mainstream, helping people to 'get lit' by cultivating love and acceptance of themselves and others."[39]

Verrett claims to have been initiated spiritually by one of his grandmothers (who according to fact-checking site Vantrú, died before he was born) and an American woman who calls herself "Princess Susana von Radić of Croatia" (who is described by fact-checking site Vantrú as "a fraud who claims to be a princess.")[4][40]

Verrett claims to have worked at Shamir Medical Center in Israel, where he says he treated children for cancer using shamanistic methods, but the hospital denied that he had ever worked there.[41] Verrett also claims to be a reincarnated Pharaoh from Egypt.[42]

In 2019, his book Spirit Hacking was set to be published in Norway, but the major publisher Cappelen Damm dropped the book a week prior to its scheduled publication over concerns over its content. It was later published by a small publisher. In the book Verrett advocates numerous "absurd medical theories."[43] He claims children get cancer because they want it,[44] and suggests that chemotherapy doesn't work and is only given to cancer patients because the doctors make money from it.[45][46] He also writes that casual sex attracts subterranean spirits, that make an impression on the inside of women's vaginas, which he sells exercises to "clean out".[47] Verrett also says that he can turn atoms and literally reduce age.[48] Cancer experts called Verrett's views on cancer "dangerous."[46] Major newspaper Dagbladet described the book as "the ravings of a lunatic."[49] Verdens Gang called the book "nonsense, garbage and dirty talk," and said it is an unoriginal "rehash of the standard repertoire of the most cynical part of the alternative [i.e. New Age] culture."[50]

In his 2019 book, Verrett claims that he was resurrected as a 27-year old when he says he nearly died in Belize after a local medicine woman told him he would die soon, and he was taken by ambulance to a Belize hospital.[51] However, in 2018, Verrett stated in multiple interviews including DUST Magazine that the near-death experience occurred in Los Angeles and that his friend Marcus drove him in a car to a hospital there. In both his book and various interviews, Verrett also claimed that he underwent emergency tracheotomy (surgical opening of the throat) and sternotomy (surgical opening of the chest) at the hospital in Los Angeles.[52] Media observers have pointed out that Verrett bears no scars on his throat or chest, which are always present after such invasive surgeries. In his book and interviews, Verrett also fails to mention any doctors or hospital staff who he claims saved his life, and whom he claims spent months nursing him back to health.[53]

Verrett has also claimed that he foresaw the September 11 attacks two years before they happened, but said that everyone must "accept their destiny" and that it was not his role to intervene.[11]

Verrett has stated that he considers himself to be a reptilian, and has asserted that "I'm a hybrid species of reptilian and Andromeda, and I also hold the energies of the ancient spirits from the old world. There have been lies told about our species that I want to address. We are a cluster of beings, that means that we’ve come here to create structures that help people to come into liberation. Reptilians are here to shake up the system in a big way."[54] According to extremism researcher John Færseth, Verrett's ideas about being a reptilian are based on the Reptilian conspiracy theory advocated by David Icke.[55][56] Verrett has stated that he considers the 5G technology to be a conspiracy by "those who enslave the planet."[54]

In July 2022, Verrett was criticized in Norway for advertising a medallion he sells and that he claims cures COVID-19. The Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman said undocumented claims that products can cure diseases violate Norwegian law.[57][58]

As of 2023, he sells a medallion for over 2,000 Norwegian kroner that he claims can cure dogs. It was criticized by the professional association of veterinarians as not based on science.[59]

Relationship with Princess Märtha Louise and reception in Norway[edit]

Verrett's relationship with Princess Märtha Louise of Norway has been heavily scrutinized, with many Norwegians voicing their disapproval and calling Verrett a "charlatan".[60][8] He has also been characterized by Norwegian media and other critics as a conman and a conspiracy theorist,[2][3][5][6][4][7] and his statements on various topics have been widely criticized and ridiculed in Norway.[61][62][40] The former Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg described Verrett's views as "very strange" and "not based on facts," and said that "the ideas that he promotes is something that we combat as conspiracy theories." Solberg further said the criticism of Verrett is reasonable.[63] State Secretary in the Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services Ole Henrik Krat Bjørkholt described Durek Verrett as "an unscrupulous and dangerous charlatan" who engages in fraud.[64]

Together Märtha Louise and Verrett have organised seminars titled "The Princess and the Shaman," which also were widely criticised for the claims made by Verrett about healing cancer and for exploiting Märtha Louise's constitutional role as princess for a private business venture.[65][66][67][68] For example, the newspaper iTromsø noted that Märtha Louise has faced extensive criticism for associating with a conspiracy theorist and over her "commercialization and abuse of the title 'princess'".[69] In June 2022, Märtha Louise announced that she and Verrett were engaged.[70] Verrett has claimed that his mother had foreseen, when he was still a child, that he would marry a Norwegian princess.[29]

Both Verrett and Märtha Louise have complained about the negative reception of Verrett in Norway,[71][72] and Verrett claimed he was criticized because "people don't want a black man in the royal family."[73] Verrett also claimed that "I have never experienced so much racism as when I came to Norway" and said that he is misunderstood, comparing himself to "geniuses [like] Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, the Wright brothers and Helen Keller."[74] His claims of racism were criticized; former cabinet minister Abid Raja (of Pakistani descent) accused Verrett of "playing the race card" to distract from the criticism of his conspiracy theories and "dangerous" views, and comedian Jonna Støme, of African American descent, said that Verrett's claims undermine the real fight against racism and that people in Norway react negatively to Verrett because "he is a conman who says horrible things."[75][76]

Verrett has claimed that he will become the first black person who becomes a part of a European royal family,[77] although Sudanese citizen Mary Nyanut Ring Macha married into the Austrian House of Habsburg in 1999,[78] Angela Brown married into the House of Liechtenstein in 2000, and Meghan Markle married into the British royal family in 2018. In October 2022, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Märtha Louise's brother, told Norwegian broadcaster NRK that the matter of Verrett's position in their family is difficult and will take time to solve.[79]

In November 2022, Märtha Louise relinquished her remaining royal duties to focus on her alternative medicine business with Durek Verrett.[80]

In 2023, Verrett claimed that Märtha Louise's late husband Ari Behn, who died by suicide in 2019, had contacted him from beyond the grave.[81]

Verrett and Märtha Louise announced they plan to marry on 24 August 2024.[82]

Published work[edit]

  • Spirit Hacking: Shamanic Keys to Reclaim Your Personal Power, Transform Yourself, and Light Up the World (Ed. St. Martin's Essentials, 2019).[83] ISBN 1250217105

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Princess and the Shaman". Vanity Fair. November 12, 2020. Retrieved September 14, 2023.
  2. ^ a b c "Norway princess quits royal duties for alternative medicine". BBC. Retrieved November 9, 2022. Verrett [has been] described as 'a charlatan', a conman and a conspiracy theorist
  3. ^ a b "Norwegians resist spell of Martha Louise's fiancé Durek Verrett". The Times. Retrieved November 11, 2022. He is also a conspiracy theorist with unusual views on everything from cancer to Covid
  4. ^ a b c "Vantrú: The sham of the shaman". vantru.is.
  5. ^ a b "Norway princess gives up royal duties for life with 'shaman' fiance". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 9, 2022. Critics have called him a 'con man' and conspiracy theorist
  6. ^ a b "Durek Verrett er en svindler" [Durek Verrett is a conman]. Finansavisen. October 25, 2019.
  7. ^ a b Nordbø, Dagfinn. "Sjarlatan Durek" [Durek the charlatan]. Utrop. Retrieved June 7, 2022. han er en svindler, en sjarlatan og en kvakksalver [he is a conman, charlatan and quack]
  8. ^ a b "Eine norwegische Prinzessin und eine himmlische Beziehung". Allgäuer Zeitung. Retrieved June 17, 2022. Was zu der Ungnade der norwegischen Öffentlichkeit hinzukommt: Der Zukünftige, Verrett, gilt als Scharlatan. Er vertritt verschiedene Verschwörungstheorien, gilt in den USA als Sex-Guru. [Adding to the disfavour of the Norwegian public: the fiancé, Verrett, is considered a charlatan. He promotes various conspiracy theories and is considered a sex guru in the U.S.]
  9. ^ "Alt du vil vite om sjaman Durek". MSN (in Norwegian). Retrieved September 14, 2023.
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  12. ^ "Moren advarer: - Han er farlig" [The Mother Warns: He is Dangerous]. Retrieved March 1, 2024.
  13. ^ "Dureks mor: - Har brutt all kontakt". Dagbladet. Retrieved March 31, 2023.
  14. ^ "Moren advarer: - Han er farlig". Seher. Retrieved September 14, 2023.
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  18. ^ "Sheilah G. Farmer". A. S. Johannessen & L. Haegland. May 26, 2019. Retrieved October 2, 2022.
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  20. ^ Verrett, Durek (2019). Spirit Hacking. St Martins. p. 220.
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  22. ^ "Nevada Marriage Index". Ancestry. Retrieved March 2, 2024.
  23. ^ LA PEOPLE 2009: Urban Shaman — Durek Verrett
  24. ^ Verrett, Shirley (2003). I Never Walked Alone. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 4–6.
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  26. ^ "Einzelhaft & Zwangsjacke: Ihr Durek berichtet über traumatische Gefängniszeit". Bunte. Retrieved June 7, 2022.
  27. ^ "- Jeg satt et år i fengsel" [– I served one year in prison]. Retrieved June 7, 2022.
  28. ^ "Efter kæmpe tragedie: Nu er hun forlovet med udskældt shaman". Retrieved June 7, 2022.
  29. ^ a b "Der Verlobte von Prinzessin Märtha Louise von Norwegen sass im Gefängnis" [Princess Märtha Louise of Norway's fiancé served time in prison]. Retrieved June 10, 2022.
  30. ^ Newsbreak
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  35. ^ "Operation Get Derek a Kidney". WebArchive. Retrieved February 28, 2024.
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  37. ^ "Märtha Louise och shamanen i ny pinsam skandal". Allt om kungligt. Retrieved June 8, 2022.
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  41. ^ "Israelsk sykehus avviser at sjaman Durek jobbet for dem". Nettavisen. Retrieved June 7, 2022.
  42. ^ "Durek Verrett om sitt tidligere liv: – Jeg var farao". ABC Nyheter. Retrieved June 15, 2022.
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  46. ^ a b "Kreftlege: - Direkte farlige påstander". Dagbladet. Retrieved June 12, 2022.
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  49. ^ "Gal manns tale" [The ravings of a lunatic]. Dagbladet. Retrieved June 7, 2022.
  50. ^ "Sprøyt, svada og griseprat" [Nonsense, garbage and dirty talk]. VG. Retrieved June 7, 2022.
  51. ^ Spirit Hacking: Shamanic Keys to Reclaim Your Personal Power, Transform Yourself, and Light Up the World (Ed. St. Martin's Essentials, 2019, page 1)
  52. ^ Williams, Jacob. "The Power of Actions". ShamanDurek. Retrieved March 1, 2024.
  53. ^ Verrett, Durek (2019). Spirit Hacking. St Martins. pp. 13–14.
  54. ^ a b "Durek Verrett erklærer seg selv som romvesen – og går til angrep på 5G-nettet: Prinsesse Märtha Louises kjæreste knytter seg til notorisk konspirasjonsteoretiker og antisemitt" [Durek Verrett proclaims himself to be a Reptilian – and attacks 5G: Princess Märtha Louise's boyfriend is associated with a notorious conspiracy theorist and anti-Semite]. Nettavisen. Retrieved June 10, 2022.
  55. ^ "Sjaman Durek Verrett står frem som reptil". ABC Nyheter. Retrieved June 7, 2022.
  56. ^ "Durek Verrett: – Jeg er en hybrid av reptil og Andromeda". NRK. Retrieved June 10, 2022.
  57. ^ "Durek Verrett hevder medaljong hjalp mot coronasykdom – selger den på egen nettside". VG. Retrieved July 29, 2022.
  58. ^ "Kraftige reaksjoner på Durek-medaljong: – Klin sprø" [Strong reactions to Durek medallion: – Clinically insane]. Nettavisen. Retrieved July 29, 2022.
  59. ^ Durek Verrett hevder medaljong kan hjelpe hunden din
  60. ^ "Prinses Märtha Louise (50) heeft zich verloofd met omstreden sjamaan Durek Verrett (47): een relatie die al heel wat 'hobbels' moest trotseren". Nieuwsblad. Retrieved June 8, 2022. Vele Noren aanzien hem als een charlatan [Many Norwegians regard him as a charlatan]
  61. ^ Krøger, Cathrine (October 15, 2019). "Gal manns tale". Dagbladet.no.
  62. ^ Husøy, May Synnøve Rogne Eirik (May 13, 2019). "Märthas sjaman-kjæreste sier han kan snu atomer – fysikkprofessor kaller det "sludder"". Aftenposten.
  63. ^ "Erna Solberg til sjaman Durek: – Det må han tåle". TV2. Retrieved June 12, 2022.
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  65. ^ Nikolaisen, Rudi (May 21, 2019). "Sjaman-svada fra Märtha og Durek". itromso.no.
  66. ^ Hirsti, Kristine (May 13, 2019). "Kritiserer 'The Princess and The Shaman': – Bruker rått det at hun er kongelig". NRK.
  67. ^ Fjeld, Johannes (May 13, 2019). "Fillerister "sjaman"-foredrag". Dagbladet.no.
  68. ^ Stephansen, Erik (October 17, 2019). "Nå er det blitt så pinlig at hele kongeriket rødmer". Nettavisen.
  69. ^ "Selvrettferdig og virkelighetsfjernt fra Märtha Louise". iTromsø. Retrieved February 16, 2023.
  70. ^ Cathrine Gonsholt Ighanian, Marthe Stoksvik, Camilla Norvik and Jørn Pettersen (June 7, 2022). "Prinsesse Märtha Louise og Durek Verrett er forlovet" (in Norwegian). Verdens Gang. Retrieved June 7, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  71. ^ Thompson, Sophie (November 25, 2019). "Gwyneth Paltrow's spirit guide, Shaman Durek, shares his simple guide to re-centering yourself". Glamour UK. Retrieved July 26, 2021.
  72. ^ Bennett, Jessica (July 3, 2020). "The Shaman of Instagram". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 26, 2021.
  73. ^ "Durek Verrett: − Folk vil ikke se en svart mann i kongefamilien". Retrieved June 13, 2022.
  74. ^ "Durek Verrett om kritikken: − Jeg er fullstendig ferdig". VG. Retrieved June 15, 2022.
  75. ^ "Reagerer på Verrett-utspill: – Veldig leit at han lar rasismeaspektet ta så stor plass". Nettavisen. Retrieved June 15, 2022.
  76. ^ "Abid Raja raser mot Durek Verrett: – Det stemmer ikke". ABC Nyheter. Retrieved June 15, 2022.
  77. ^ "Durek Verrett: – Folk vil ikkje sjå ein svart mann i kongefamilien", NRK, 13 juni 2022
  78. ^ "Move Over, King Charles. Here Are Some Black Royals We All Should Know". Yahoo Lifestyle. May 5, 2023. Retrieved February 28, 2024.
  79. ^ NRK interview 2022-10-17
  80. ^ "Norway princess quits royal duties for alternative medicine". BBC News. November 8, 2022. Retrieved March 9, 2023.
  81. ^ "Durek Verrett sier han har kontakt med Ari Behn: – Han ber meg hilse til barna". ABC Nyheter. Retrieved January 27, 2023.
  82. ^ "Norwegian princess to wed Hollywood 'shaman' Durek Verrett". The Guardian. September 13, 2023. Retrieved December 5, 2023.
  83. ^ Barlow, Eve. "The Shaman and the Princess". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved August 2, 2021.