Canadian Documentary of the Cult Ecoovie

The Anatomy of the Cult Ecoovie is my most popular blog post with 2,683 hits and 15 shares. Since seeing is believing, I am sharing the Canadian documentary called The Face of Evil, about the life of Pierre Maltais, the cult leader of Ecoovie.

You don’t want to miss the rest of this post, read on!

The Anatomy of the Cult Ecoovie

Pierre Doris Maltais on Ometepe Island in the beige shirt and sandals.

William Norman (Man to his followers), whose real name is Pierre Doris Maltais was born June 27, 1937 in East Angus Quebec, married in 1961,and had three children. He is known as an “omniscient master”, skillful manipulator of noble ideas, and a dangerous cult leader. Through my investigations, I have discovered that there have been a number of naive idealists (scientists, environmentalists, politicians, businessmen, police officers) who have been taken in by his specious verbiage. He is alive and well and living in Granada, Nicaragua! His son[Osagi, I recently found out is not his son, he is a business partner] manages the Indio Viejo in Moyogalpa, Ometepe Island.

Osagi and Annie copy 2The picture above is of Osagi, in the middle, and Annie. Both Osagi and Annie manage the Indio Viejo. I recently heard that Osagi’s real name is Stephen and he was adopted by Pierre Maltais. ( added March 2013)

Ecoovie, a cooperative in experimental green living, began in 1978 in Paris.  Its mission was ecology and natural food. Pierre Doris Maltais, the founder, claimed to belong to the Micmac Tribe, in Gaspé, Quebec. Ecoovie humbly began in 1973 as an eco-naturalist group in Quebec, known as The Tribe. In Paris, its members become “écoopérateurs” volunteering for Ecoovie.

“William Norman”( one of his many alias’)  founded the University of Ile-de-France  in 1980. He renamed his university, University for Peace (Pax-UNI) in 1983. Through the establishment of a false university, he was able to secure funding to lead his ‘flock’.  In March 1983, he convinced the founder of the United Towns Organization, Jean-Marie Bressand, to sign a memorandum of understanding, and he was elected Federal Secretary for Peace, Disarmament and Human Rights at the 29th Session of the International Council of the UTO.

William Norman then founded the University’s new traveling group (UNI-R), through his newly elected status as Federal Secretary for Peace. The UNI-R was launched on March 21, 1984, called the March of Return: 170 people, including pregnant women and babies, were expected to perform around the world on foot and sixteen on a raft expected to cross the seas and oceans.

The University of Peace proposed to the UTO “the pursuit of common goals: peace, solidarity and harmony between men and peoples”; the University of  Peace formed the traveling group and advocated a World March for “a return to the global awareness of problems, peace, racism, and world hunger. “The World Council of Peoples was intended to” protect and promote respect for life in all its forms, freedom-friendly, all natural and human heritage. “

The expedition marched through France, Spain, Portugal, and sailed to Ceuta (Spanish Morocco). Shortly after establishing the UNI-R, word spread that William had scammed the UTO. The Congress of the UTO (September 1984, Montreal) dismissed Jean-Marie Bressand of his presidency (He founded the UTO in 1957).

As for the designs drawn from the primitive customs of the Indians of North America, the followers of the Tribe, guinea pigs. were tested at their expense. The group left Paris in its entirety on March 20, 1984 (day of the equinox) with luggage, tents and Indian children, to travel around the earth. Their travels lasted 16 years until 2000. Former cult followers testified that sanitary conditions were poor, work was unpaid, and medical care was non-existent, but the members had deep convictions.

It was a Danish woman who broke the silence about the cult, Ecoovie. Her name is Jill. For ten years, she lived among the followers of Maltais. She was 18 when she left Denmark to join the sect. She heard of Ecoovie for the first time when she was in the private school, Andebolle in Funen, Denmark. The idea of living like Indians fascinated her. July 27, Jill confided her ordeal in “Jyllands-Posten.” the largest Danish newspaper. (…) I hated the society. Actually I was weak and without insurance. I thought it would make me strong.

At first, Jill felt that she was about to discover the meaning in her life. However, the relationship with Ecoovie ultimately cost her two children. At that time, the followers lived in the forests or mountainous regions in France, Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark. Finland, Haiti, and Italy in tepees made of sticks and straw. Alcohol and tobacco were forbidden. The food consisted of roots, twigs and leaves. They were required to lie on the ground in Indian tents or teepees, to find the original heat (heat supplied by the winter compost liter) and droppings around the tent. Not to break the vibratory circuit of soil-plant-eater-alluvial ground, they were forced to defecate on the floor like animals.

 There were no medical or pharmaceutical supplies. William Norman, to this day, claims to be a doctor and claims his recipes are magical. He demanded treatment of diseases in plants, clay poultices, fasting and incantations. It was nature itself that had meant the end of this sinister enterprise, in the form of diseases caused by malnutrition and lack of hygiene: typhus, furunculosis, dysentery, jaundice, and still births. Survival for a traveling group in Finland was even more catastrophic, given the weather conditions (temperatures down to minus 30 ° C), and certain months of the impossibility of finding food locally.

“We had to work six hours and sleep and two hours,” Jill stated. “During the breaks we were often awakened. It follows that we were always stressed, because plans always changed, and we had to decamp to go further. After some time, we were so feeble, that we begin to believe that the enemy “society” was the cause, just as we believed that Maltais was always right and he knew everything.”

Free and community homosexuality was imposed by William Norman (it would allow the transmission of knowledge through semen, according to Indian custom). Maltais had separated men from women. For minors, he had invented the “passages” of sexual initiation rites with the onset of puberty that allowed him to take an interest in children 12 to 16 years. In its report (Belguim Parliamentary Commission, 1997) , the Committee concluded that the touching took place under medical pretexts. As for the conception of children, since men and women were separated, it was Maltais who undertook to “convey the seed”.

“Maltais wanted men and women to live separately … and did not want them where he lived. Instead quantities of young men, had sex with him at night,” said Jill. Her account corroborates the TV Canadian documentary, where two former followers admit:” We had to lick his body. He was sick and he said that we gave him [and] juvenile forces “. One of them said he was 15 years old then.

In 1985, Jill was pregnant. The followers had walked about 1,000 kilometers, across Europe. She weighed only 45 kg. “I asked many times to be excused from work, especially when I was tormented by contractions,” recalled Jill. The answer was always this: It’s a dry race we do. ( I am uncertain of this translation)

On September 25, Jill goes into labor. “The contractions became more frequent and the amniotic sac breaks. I had to say nothing because I was hysterical and cataloged as pain in the neck. However, the pains were so strong that I could neither walk nor stand up.”

For four days, Jill continued to work and walk on the roads. Shantig was finally born between 10 pm and midnight September 29, 1985. The baby weighed only 1,630 gr. and remained a little over a month in a neonatal unit, said the mother.  Concerned cult followers hid Jill from Maltais and took her to a hospital against his commands that she deliver the baby in the forest.

At Ecoovie, children were not especially welcome. If followers gave birth, the child was deprived of his biological parents and placed in another camp. “Maltais did not want the parents to begin to bond with their children. The attachment could violate his plans”, Jill said.

“My daughter, Shantig, was moved to another camp a little time after hospital discharge,”claimed Jill. She gave birth to her son Gisga in 1989, when she was only in her 29th week of pregnancy. Two years later she gave birth to stillborn baby boy. For her, it was clear Ecoovie was responsible for this death. The crusade could begin.

In 1991, when she delivered a stillborn, she realized then that the lifestyle had killed her child. A year later, pregnant again, she finally left the cult definitely also for fear of losing her unborn child. She was then admitted to Rigshospital (Copenhagen University Hospital), where she has received psychiatric care for almost a decade.

During this decade, Jill  fought to get her children out of the sect, who refused to say where they were. For three years, her son, Gisgas, remained in Finland. Sick, he refused food for a month. Photos taken a month before his death showed his swollen belly. One day, Jill received a telephone call. The female voice said to Jill, “Your son is not here. He was taken elsewhere.”Jill  immediately left for the northern part of Finland. It took days to reach the camp lost in the forest. When she arrived, she was told that Gisgas was cremated yesterday. After consideration, the authorities had concluded that an infection was untreated and that was the cause of his death. Investigations have shown a number of deaths of children and adults in Ecoovie. Former followers have reported to Jill, then on TV that Gisgas, who had been in the group of boys of Maltais, died of exhaustion and with large pustules on his body.

The same year Jill gave birth to Sami. “Maltais psychically destroyed my daughter,” she reported. It took another five years before she got him to release Shanting, who was then 13 years old.” When I saw her, I have cried endless,” she reported. “She was tiny, delayed, skin and bones. She spoke only French and did not know me. Initially she was afraid to be with me. They told her that I was a demon, very few can understand how this can happen,” said Jill.

“I survive. It makes me strong to love my children, and think that we will overcome Maltais. I do not know what is the strongest [in me] of love or revenge, but the death of Gisgas can not be forgiven,” she said.

Meanwhile, in 1985 William Norman transferred some of his followers to Belgium, where he resumed his undercover naturo-led humanitarian scheme. He rented a castle in Belguim and led a frivolous high-society lifestyle. He received funding from supporters and affiliations with his  World Council of Peoples, a European Foundation of associations, association Re-source, and also a center flanked by a Franciscan Ecumenical theological faculty born in Brussels in 1985-1986. William Norman became Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor Recollects under the name Brother Maolinn Tiam.

While it is impossible to determine how many suckers, young and old, have monetarily supported William Norman and his fraudulent schemes, one horrific fact remains.  While his followers were reduced to living in squalor, surviving on leaves and twigs, and enduring painful ailments without medical care,  Maltais lived in apartments, comfortable hotels, castles, and ate in fancy restaurants in countries where he led a strange business under false identities to make off with the profits with little risk. In Belgium, he had retained a suite at the Metropole hotel under the false name of Henry Bridge. There  he led the good life, and in the private dining room reserved for gourmet, he entertained a parade of investors  interested in funding his world fabulous projects. Keteller Gustave was one of his business partners, he served four months in prison, like Maltais.

 Maltais created SOS-Deserts, in March 1988, aimed at greening the Sahara Desert and presented an international project, “the front of the Sahel”, estimated at $15 billion. Many people had been deceived by his charm and pseudo-friendliness.

Excerpt from an open letter from the UNI-R to the authorities of Ceuta (October 9, 1986): “[…] we are a group of thirty-five to forty people, doctors, engineers, technicians, teachers, students and other professionals who have decided to go around the world on foot in sixteen years. This is a project we prepare for over thirteen-years, a multidisciplinary international shipping and ecumenical […]. We also participate in a huge project: to fight against the desert, called “Front of the Sahel”. This is a program for greening of the Sahara made from a chain of 35,000 localities between Senegal and Ethiopia, thus constituting the “front” whose purpose is to stop the steady advance of the desert and start its regeneration. This project was developed within an international organization: the World Council of Peoples […]. We also chose a diet called “vital and sports’ for economic reasons and physiological: we do not smoke, we do not drink alcohol, we do not consume coffee or tea or other drugs.

We do not eat no meat, no milk, no new or other animal products […]. The socio-economic reasons that we have decided to choose this diet were reinforced by excellent and dramatic physiological results to be published in a medical thesis that we are now finishing to be presented in future years. We also chose to eat only after sunset […]. We do not participate in the race for money but more a race for survival of the planet. We live just like the Franciscans, and indeed, we were moved, as the Franciscans have been learning about the history of Daniel and his companions at the gates of Ceuta in 1227. These Franciscans live with Buddhists, Catholics and others interested in the Islamic tradition … “

William Norman was arrested in December 1988 in Belguim, and was jailed for four months , then out of the prison Saint-Gilles, April 14, 1989, and was expelled from Belgium. In December 2, 1991, the 49th Chamber of the Court of Brussels condemned him to three years in prison for forgery and use of forgery, fraud, embezzlement, false names public port and criminal conspiracy.

Four years after the events in Belguim, William Norman fled to Finland in early 1993.  Armed with the label “Indians Quebec,” Norman William and his followers infiltrated the environmental movement for Finnish subsidies. William reported to the Parliament in Helsinki in March 1993 for a conference on ecology, because of his research on the conditions of survival in cold weather! The Finnish government was aware of his background and ordered the expulsion of these unfortunate ecologists (120 were identified).

The French écoovistes identified in Finland, and also in Sweden, all returned to France, where they lived underground.  An investigation was opened by the prosecutor in Nantes, in the wake of death in Sweden of a man from this city, recognized as a member of the Tribe of Man. William Norman returned to Quebec in 1994. Jacques Godbout, Canadian filmmaker and writer, who knew him since 1960, made a documentary film, the “Norman William Case,” which was presented in September 1994 at the International Film Festival in Quebec.

This blog, was written by a traveler who met Abi and Osagi on Ometepe Island. At first he recalled them in a favorable way. The blogger later went back and included a warning at the top saying that Abi gives off a good impression at first, but is a very dangerous man.  Below this warning in red are 4 links to a CBC (reputable news agency in Canada) 4-part documentary about Norman William and Ecoovie.  It is in French.    Read it here.

The Canadian documentary showed Maltais experiencing European hotels, but with 14 false identities. Piel Petjemaltest (aka Pierre Doris Maltais) conducted a series of property transactions for a sheik from Saudi Arabia. Other times it was Norman William or Manolin. He managed to defraud humanitarian organizations out of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars for nonexistent projects.

In 2003,  there was a child abduction case in Canada that involved Pierre Doris Maltais. He was accused of molestation of minors. Ten children were, at that time, excluded from this sect. Among them, the three grandchildren of Helen Martin. “At 8, the eldest still could not read and write. They were totally under the domination of vegan tenets of this sect. My daughter thinks I tried to take away her children. All I want yet is that they have a normal life, they can go to school. and I can see them simply as a grandmother,” she said. Justice Canada released Maltais, and then released the children to their mother … “Which will vanish soon in nature to follow his guru.”

 “This decision is incomprehensible. Again, we must try to locate them. They would still be about thirty, including several children, to surround Pierre Doris Maltais,” denounced Janine Tavernier, former president of the Association for Family and Individual (LISA).

In 2004, my husband and I moved to Nicaragua to run the Hospedaje Central ( renamed El Indio Viejo by an Indian Chief from Canada called Abi) on Ometepe Island. We stayed at the Hospedaje Central in Granada to train for our new jobs. Bill Parker, who owned the Hospedaje Central in Granada and leased the Hospedaje Central on Ometepe Island introduced us to a group of people who were members of an Indian tribe from Canada. They were staying at the Hospedaje Central in Granada. Their leader, Pierre Doris Maltais, was called Abi. The only thing I knew about this strange group was that a young street urchin had been befriended by Abi and one day, Abi reported that the street urchin had stolen $4,000 from him, which had been hidden in a dirty sock.

Bill died Christmas Day, 2004 of cancer. His Hospedaje Central in Granada was sold to ‘Abi’, and they took over the lease on the Hospedaje Central on Ometepe Island, changing the name to El Indio Viejo. A year or two later, he sold the Hospedaje Central in Granada  and his entire tribe moved to Ometepe Island.

In October of 2011, a Nicaraguan National Police helicopter arrived on the island to rescue a young boy, who reportedly had been kidnapped by Pierre Doris Maltais. We heard many rumors, the most prevalent being that this young boy had been chained up and abused in the Hospedaje for several years.

Update: According to the police report, this boy was from Haiti and “adopted by Pierre Maltais, 74 years old and FRANCOISE, MARIE, JACQUELINE, ODILE, EDITH, POUDRE, 51 years of age. 

He was reportedly suffering from malnourishment, reportedly had mental challenges (or retardation), and was locked in a house alone near the church in Moyogalpa. He was discovered naked laying on the floor, surrounded by a few coloring books and some ropes ( of which I am not sure what they were used for. One can only surmise.) The house had no furnishings. He slept on a mattress on the floor. The police took the teenage boy off the island, after a complete physical and psychological examination was completed, and will not give him back to Abi.

Shortly after that, most of the Ecoovie members fled and dispersed to….? An old man that made delicious sour dough bread for the tribe returned to Granada, where he continues to make his delicious sourdough bread.

Osagi (son of Maltais) returns to the island frequently, but he’s not there all the time. An older woman is currently running the Indio Viejo with a young volunteer. Several weeks ago, when Jerry died, Osagi offered to buy Yogi’s Place. He said he wanted to buy it for his brother, who was moving to the island. He also said that his father (Pierre Doris Maltais, aka Abi) was a biologist and was interested in doing ecological research.

I suspect that their lease on the Indio Viejo is going to be broken soon, so they are scrambling, and I hope, leaving the island for good. But, look out Granada, because another unverified rumor is that Pierre Doris Maltais bought a hotel on the Calzada in Granada.

How in the world does this “Face of Evil” avoid getting caught? It reminds me of the movie, “Catch Me If You Can.”  All I know for sure is that I spent a considerable amount of time researching Pierre Doris Maltais and his cult, Ecoovie. The problem with Nicaragua is a lack of communication and a lack of resources to investigate most crimes, which makes it a perfect location for Maltais and his cult members of Ecoovie, or whatever they call themselves, now, to hang out unrecognized.

So, when coming to Ometepe Island or Granada, please be on the lookout for this face of evil. Beware, use caution, and please spread the word. We don’t want him in Nicaragua! Spread the word for Gisgas, for Shantig, for Jill, for Helen Martin’s grandchildren, for the countless number of children and adults abused, malnourished, and abandoned by Pierre Doris Maltais. Spread the word for the abuse of power, greed, fraud, and the innocent conned into his evil trap. Spread the word in the name of humanitarianism, peace, and truth.