William Burchett / Jervis aka Medicine Turtle – A criminal turned plastic shame-on
For Psiram as well as for our friends at NAFPS (New Age Frauds and Plastic Shamans), Mr Whatshisname is an old acquaintance. NAFPS has been dealing with him since 2006, when he was fairly newly arrived in Europe, apparently married to a woman from Luxemburg, with whom he got into contact while still in prison for armed robbery. Yes, Mr Burchett is a former inmate, he was granted two consecutive prison sentences amounting to a combined duration of 15 years in the clink, of which he served some 13 or 14 years. Apparently, good conduct is an option which never occurs to Burchett. And already while in prison, Burchett decided he’d rather be a Cherokee. Which is somewhat hilarious, with him being red-haired and of a very brilliant white, and since he picked up his knowledge about indigenous cultures from some Hollywood D productions.
Interestingly enough, he was sentenced as „William A. Burchett“, but already while in prison applied for an official change of name to „William A. Jervis“ in 2002. This was denied by a court, so whether his legal name is still Burchett or whether he successfully applied again after his stint in prison is unknown, but even when released from supervision on June 30, 2005, official documents speak of him as „William Burchett“. Anyways, having been released from prison and then from supervision, he got married and settled down in Luxemburg, but this story does not have a happy ending. Soon enough, Burchett was fed up with being a DJ in a small Luxemburg radio project, and started his own „Indianer club“ which he advertised on many internet sites and platforms, like e.g. nudist sites in France. When this did not kick off, Burchett started advertising „sweatlodge“ ceremonies at these premises.
Eventually, he realised that Luxemburg is a small country with a limited potential clientele, so he made off to Germany where he found two ladies acting as his aides and abettors to organise events for him. One soon dropped out, the other hung on and dug herself in deeper and deeper, with e.g. running a massage office from an appartment where Burchett sold „Cherokee massages“. Whether all due taxes were paid or necessary paperwork, work and stay permits, and licences were obtained may perhaps be interesting to investigate for authorities here. He even entered the travel business offering trips to the USA and, of all places, Thailand. Burchett made this career under the name of „William Jervis“, first as „Firewalker“ as his most genuine „Indian name“, and when Firewalker’s reputation got somewhat soiled in the course of time, he went by „Turtle Winds“. Great choice of name, though – a Farting Turtle. Still, breaking wind or not, Burchett even received some attention by private German TV stations broadcasting reports on him in regional programs, and by a few regional and local rags.
During this time, it also became quite apparent that Burchett cannot be bothered to try honest work for a change when he can make even one buck duping others. Plus he became a pain in the neck to many internet site and forum owners by publishing myriads of unwanted spam material to promote his bullshit ceremonies and ridiculous teachings. Probably in order not to be identified too soon by the recipients of spam messages, Burchett also took up posting under various names. He also had and has YouTube channels going as „medicine turtle“, „medicineturtle1“, „firewalker“, „turtle winds“,„Lakota nation“, „Iron Horseman“ and posted resp. still posts from several e-mail addresses, although some older ones meanwhile have been deleted by servers due to spam complaints. He also maintains several facebook profiles, not just as „Medicine Turtle“ or „William Jervis“, but also under the aliases of „Paul Cherokee Slone“ [sic] and „Sam Smith“, plus Linkedin profiles and pinterest boards. The number of blogs Burchett publishes with several providers under a plethora of titles and aliases may easily amount to 100 or more.
Another peculiarity of Burchett’s is that he publishes blogs resp. websites using the names of established plastics shamans like John Pope aka Rolling Thunder, Vincent LaDuke aka Sun Bear, or Nuage vendors like the Federation of Shamanic Studies. What is worse is that he also opens blogs and websites using the names of respectable persons, faking their cooperation with himself in the attempt to appear more serious and honest to his perspective customers. However, he also does not stop at forging videos with US president Obama allegedly praising the „mighty medicine man“ – you can have a look here, but this comes with a definite coffee warning. The video also sheds some light at Burchett’s mind – e.g. his point of view as a Southern redneck of Afro-American heads of state. Needless to point out, Burchett also doesn’t give a damn about copyrights, so part of his videos contain filmed material and photos taken from other sites.
Anyways, around 2011/2012, Burchett suddenly made himself uncharacteristically scarce in Germany. Perhaps things looked a bit grim here, perhaps certain questions regarding stay permits, work permits, tax payments, licences to apply and teach massages etc., became too frequent eventually. Grim enough apparently that Burchett prefered to try and pronounce himself dead at least twice: once on March 1, 2012 and once on May 19, 2011, when he even was desperate enough to claim he already died eight years earlier. This announcement claimed: „But in all authenticity he was the greatest cherokee medicine men [sic!] of all time. Turtle Winds Firewalker is pain in our hearts.“ A pain he certainly is – but he got the part of the anatomy wrong.
Eventually Burchett resurfaced in Austria. With again two new female sidekicks, one as his „shamanic student“, the other one running a psychologist’s office. He had changed his „Indian name“ to a – for the time being – unconspicuous „Medicine Turtle“, but was selling the same hogwash as in Germany. Meanwhile (as history tends to repeat), one of the ladies left, but the other one stuck around and goes on aiding and abetting. Burchett must also believe that Austrians are easily led up the garden path, as he gives interviews to newspapers claiming he grew up living in a cave. We won’t contradict him all that much, perhaps it’s true in his case (after all, he is a Southern redneck who loves to sport the Confederate flag), but he should refrain from describing this as Cherokee culture.
In Austria, Burchett even founded a „Native American Medicine Academy“ promoting training courses of some eight to ten years. Long-term customer loyalty is probably conman’s heaven. And apparently Burchett manages to make some sort of a living, although he is way less than convincing as a „medicine man“ – he is rather to be seen as a very sorry imitation of a plastic shaman. Plus that he does not as much exploit and sell Cherokee spirituality, but Lakota ceremonies, and also uses Lakota terms. Such a mix of claimed ethnic backgrounds and spiritual traditions is nothing but a sure-fire indicator of a plastic shame-on.
At his ambitiously termed „Academy“, Burchett claims to teach participants how to do sweatlodges, „vision quests according to traditional methods – four directions“, Burchett’s alleged Cherokee methods of „Hassuny“ and „Hiskoliya“ which he claims were 8,000 years old and took 8 to 10 years to learn, he teaches the medicine wheel, animal communication, the „7 teachings of the Cherokee Nation“. He also announces „ceremonial days“ and „special initiation days“, and four meetings per year in a seminar house. The vision quests are said to be done in „various countries“, e.g. in the „sacred mountains of the Cherokee, the Appalachians Smoky Mountains [sic]“ and in Arizona. Of course all this wouldn’t be complete without plenty of Burchett braggings, like: „The Native American Medicine Academy in Europe is the only one of its kind where Medicine People teach in the Indian tradition. It brings students to the Indian tribal leaders and elders. No academy in Europe offers this“, and „Here you will learn to feel the power of the true Indian way of life“. The stereotypical greetings at the end of this text („Aho medicine turtle & sunturtle woman“) complete the bucket of rubbish thrown at the site’s readers.
What is particularly stupid is that Burchett claims he has „copyrighted“ his BS „Cherokee Bodywork – Hiskoliya – Hassuny©“ under his fake „Indian name“ of Medicine Turtle and owns a registered trademark, with a date of „February 7, 1980“ mentioned. In 1980, Burchett didn’t even know how to spell „medicine person“ – oh okay, he most probably is still battling with the correct spelling now. But he was born February 15, 1966, so that makes him of what age on Feb 7, 1980? Did we hear „13“? Yup, very convincing indeed. But perhaps Burchett was a clairvoyant who already knew way back then he would have this nice little racket going as an imitation of a plastic shaman after his release from prison, and the trademark then might come in handy.
Still, our multi-named plastic is also quick to adapt ages, DOBs, and years of „job experience“. In a profile kept at LinkedIn, he claims he has been a medicine man and „medicine doctor“ at the „cherokee indian reservation“ since February 1970. We’re deeply impressed – what a talented little brat he seems to have been! But if you think this is the Top of the Pops – of course it isn’t: another Jervis profile at a different platform claims his DOB was …. 02/02/1970! So now we’re getting down to brass tacks – working as a plastic shaman from birth, and applying for trademarks at the rather tender age of nine.
Anyways, having now advanced to the owner and manager of a veritable academy, Burchett indeed became brazen enough to advertise himself as a „Medical Doctor“ in one of his blogs and even in a profile still online at Linkedin. Posing as an MD when you’re not entitled to call yourself one happens to be an offense requiring public prosecution in both Austria and Germany.
Burchett also advertises the alleged services of a company he named „medicine turtle cherokee travel company“ for which he claims a postal address in Pikeville/Kentucky at an inexistant „sweatlodge road 9“. He also uses this postal address on further blogs and on portals publishing ads for events. What the travel company’s field of activity may be, however, remains unclear; the description given reads:
„native american travel company is a company owned by cherokee medicine man medicine turtle
our company provides help to the native american indian people.
for more detills contact firstname.lastname@example.org“.
Under a Pikeville address, Burchett further posted various ads for a campground allegedly run by him, for which he also faked customer reports in respective forums. Burchett probably does have some ties to Pikeville, as both the family name „Burchett“ as well as „Jervis“ can be located there, and he also committed the armed robbery at a branch of the First National Bank of Pikeville.
Prospective donors should take particular notice that, although also asking for donations, none of Burchett’s endeavors have a charitable status. The „Native American Medicine Academy“, as one example, is not registered as a non-profit with Austrian authorities, and probably would not be granted a charitable status as it sells courses of several years‘ duration for training students as „medicine persons“. The for-profit status implies that any donations received can only be passed on to whatever project after due tax has been paid. However, as there are e.g. no Tax ID numbers mentioned for Burchett’s various business projects, it remains unclear whether taxes are paid at all. Taking a look at Burchett’s back-story, his use of fake postal addresses and claiming non-existant titles and qualifications, it is dubitable whether he would pay attention to such details in the first place.
On the other hand, he did promotional videos for YouTube channel „Okitalk from Austria, an internet radio station which is not only deeply into Newage and altmed garbage of all sorts, but also into conspiracy theories, truthers‘ theories, and the Reich Citizens‘ movement (the German/Austrian variant of the „free citizen“ movement).
Then Burchett also made his way back across the border to Germany with seminars and events. On one of his numerous blogs, he advertised a „Vision Quest seminar“ in the vicinity of the German town of Koblenz taking place in May 2015, organized by himself and one Viola Flambé aka White Buffalo Woman, a Newager selling indigenous ceremonies from the Bavarian town of Kelheim with whom he had also cooperated before his sudden disappearance. Burchett charged € 480 for this event.
Additionally, he was announced as a participant at a „Drumming event“ in the Bavarian town of Bad Gögging in June 2015. This was organised by some particularly clueless Newagers (no, in the case at hands, this does not happen to be a pleonasm!) who cannot tell their behind from a hole in the ground, and even less distinguish between Native Americans and Pretendians. This is why they invited plastic shaman Ruben Ortiz aka J. Reuben Silverbird as the event’s patron. Among the other participants was the above mentioned Viola Flambé who also cooperated with one Giovanni de Carlo aka Tdom Bah Toden Xkee, a fake flutist posing as a Kiowa – or was it a fake Kiowa posing as a flutist? Ah, however.
Additionally, Burchett was also announced as a participant in the „Drumming Event“ in Bad Gögging in May 2015 (pls see here. Even if the number of participants did not match the 500 persons expected, it is common knowledge: there’s one born every minute, so our Newage crew is confident to pull off another Drumming Event in 2016. But this is a different story again. As far as Burchett is concerned, we gladly decorate him with our special Psiram „seal of a quality plastic shaman“.