Episode 24: James Rowe

June 26, 2017

James Rowe, a 26 year old living in Crestone, Colorado, went missing on July 30th, 2004. James lived what some would call an alternative lifestyle: he was off the grid, and was co-owner of a natural food co-op. He valued self-exploration and spirituality, and around a week before he went missing, he attended a Landmark Forum seminar.

The seminar touts itself as quote “designed to bring about positive, permanent shifts in the quality of your life – in just three days.” 

Landmark Seminar encourages people to talk about your feelings and experiences from childhood. James called his sister, Laura, while at the seminar, and expressed his feelings from that time. Whatever James experienced there, he was clearly moved and emotional. He shaved his head and removed all of his piercings.

In the following week, his friend Jeremiah, who we speak to in the episode, claimed that he was having a hard time balancing these new emotions. On the day he went missing, James and his dog Piglet took a drive. His car is found 20 miles outside of town, and there are various reports of the things he did after leaving his car: some said he tried to hitchhike back to Crestone. The last known thing that James did was walk into his friend Adam’s shop, express that he was having a hard time, and walk out. That was the last time James was ever seen.

Since that day, there have been sightings of James as far away from Colorado as Georgia. If you have any information, please contact the Saguache County Sherriff’s Department at 719-655-2544, or contact us at thinairpodcast@gmail.com, and we will pass the information along.


James Rowe @ The Charley Project 

Laura, James’ sister, blog on his disappearance

Landmark Forum: More information 



  1. Pattie says:

    People should read up on Landmark Forum. Some people find it helpful, but other people believe there are issues, both with the program’s impact on people’s mental health, and with the financial pressure the organization puts on participants to purchase more and more courses.

    1. Sue Rowe says:

      Jame’s mother. My name is Sue . I spoke with James after attending Landmark,he was emotionally distraught. He ended our conversation convincing me he was alright; clearly he was not. I want to know what happened to my son James. He is loved and missed and will not be forgotten. Landmark councils to the masses . It opened an emotional landslide which my son was not able ro handle. I am convinced he would be here today if he had not attended that conference. I also understand that they tell their “students” that they have no integrity if they do not attend more classes, which of course benifits them financially. Be ware!

      1. Eldon says:

        You have my deepest sympathy. I wish I could pick up your burden. I have a young daughter and I can’t imagine what it is like for you to go through this. I can’t bring myself to listen to the episodes about young children. God Bless You.

  2. Monica says:

    First I want to say that I love your podcast! It is great, there is a need to call attention to these persons that have fallen off the radar or been taken away from loved ones. Please keep up the good work.
    I attended a Forum weekend back in about 1988. Funny enough I had just been thinking about it in the few days before hearing the podcast. I see they really still around and up to the same manipulating strategies as almost 30 years ago! I can totally see someone suffering from emotional difficulties being pushed too far by the pressure tactics they use. If you don’t want to go on to the next, and the next seminar after that one there is something lacking in you and you will never be successful, or a whole person at all. The person who led my seminar yelled at participants whom she perceived as hiding something or not being fully “engaged”. They changed the name but it’s still the same idiotic format that is frankly cult-ish. It took me a long time to get over that experience as a college student, and I would caution anyone interested in participating in it to run very fast in the other direction. James is in my prayers!

    1. thinairpodcast says:

      Thank you for sharing this story, Monica!

    2. Eldon says:

      I am also very moved by this podcast and how thoughtful it is. I know people who did these programs both a long time ago when t was a different company and they were a lot more intense and actually quite recently. One of them is a therapist themselves considers the changed course to be quite different and better. Personally I don’t see a causal link when you consider that a couple millions people have done these courses and you have this instance. 100,000 people or more go missing each year and as evidenced by this podcast, it is difficult if not impossible to pinpoint why people make that choice. I realize that none of that takes away the pain and questions families must endure. I will keep James and his family in my prayers.

  3. Michael Heredia says:

    In 1976, my mother went to a similar program I believe was called PSI Energetics. I think that group is now called PSI Seminars. They were like EST which eventually became Landmark Worldwide. I think those kind of groups can be beneficial to some people and harmless to most but I think there are some that can experience a mental breakdown. For my mom, it was the beginning of her schizophrenia. Since she had my sister and I enrolled in the kids program, we were taken to where the adults had their meeting at the end of the day and I remember almost everyone there being happy and having positive energy but my mom had obviously been crying and looked emotionally drained. From there, everything went slowly downhill. Within 3 years she had to be committed. She came out but just two years later she went missing for a few months in LA while I was in Marine Corps Boot Camp. By chance, an estranged family member saw her leaving a store and reported that to me. The store sent us to a motel across the street and they sent us to a local church where I found my mom living in her car out back and completely out of her mind. She thought I was dead and that I was the devil coming to get her. We had her committed again and she eventually got better as long as she stayed on her medication. Of course, over the years she has relapsed many times. She has been declared permanently disabled by the state and will always be schizophrenic. Since she has been in a home for the last 10 years, she has been good because they keep her on her medicine and if you didn’t know, she seems totally normal. In closing, I would like to say, I don’t care what “numerous independent experts” say, it can affect some people adversely (albeit a very small minority). To say the program has no negative effects on any participants is a complete lie.

Leave a Reply

Scroll to top