The Finders were a relatively obscure spiritual group based in Washington, D.C. I was originally led to them when I asked John Wren-Lewis‘ opinion on spiritual groups worth visiting in the United States. The Finders originated in the early 1970s (known as The Seekers in those days) under the direction of Marion Pettie. A search of the web turned up a handful of reports that Pettie and The Finders were a front for CIA operations, plus some suspicions of child abuse and pornography — all and all, not very encouraging.
I called the phone number given by Wren-Lewis and got an answering machine message. What I heard was a rambling, non-sensical message interspersed with electronic tones. Apparently, it was a coded message. I left my name and number and mentioned Wren-Lewis as my referral. As soon as I mentioned Wren-Lewis, someone picked up the phone.
The Finder I spoke with was a pleasant enough fellow, just rather vague. He said people came to the group for various reasons, such as needing work, and that they traveled all over the world on business. Pettie was not a guru, but he did organize things. When I asked if Pettie was enlightened, he said Pettie predicted his date of “entrance into knowledge” to be 2004. I was invited to stop by their location in D.C. “Go inside, ring the gong, and someone will let you in.” Yeah, sure thing buddy, and I’ll probably never be seen again, either.
By this point, I just wanted off the phone. Needless to say, I didn’t take The Finders up on their invitation to visit. I don’t know what they are up to, but there is something rotten in the state of Denmark. My theory is that Pettie iss a rogue CIA agent who infiltrated the guru movement of the 1970s. Eventually, he convinced himself he really was a guru. Now, he and his students travel the world as spies for hire. It would make a good movie, wouldn’t it?
If anyone out there has the inside scoop on The Finders, please let me know. I found their secrecy worrisome and do not recommend them. One of these days, I’m going to ask John Wren-Lewis why he recommended them to me.
2004 Update: I heard from John Wren-Lewis that Pettie truly predicted his date of “entrance into knowledge.” He said Pettie died in June 2004. I found a newspaper article, though, that says Pettie died in 2003.
2016 Update: As near as I can tell, The Finders are finished. Whatever was left of the group dispersed with Pettie’s death.
If you insist on investigating this strangeness for your self, here are a few links, updated as of 2016: