"Escaping Twin Flames" has all eyes on Leelanau County
By Art Bukowski | Nov. 15, 2023
The nation’s eyes are on Leelanau County.
To be more specific, millions of eyes across the nation are on two people who happen to live in Leelanau County. That’s thanks to the number one show on Netflix, a documentary called Escaping Twin Flames, a three-part series that focuses on what those interviewed for the documentary describe as a cult.
Jeff and Shaleia Ayan (often calling themselves Divine instead of Ayan; Shaleia’s birth name is Megan Plante) have a home in a subdivision along M-22 not far south of Lee Point. They are the subjects of the series, which features former members of the “Twin Flames Universe,” an online community founded by the couple that promises to find true love for members in the form of unique soul connections.
The series details how the Ayans claim to have a direct line to God and say they’re able to discern whether others have found their “twin flame.” Former members describe the cult-like qualities of the group and its leaders and allege the Ayans amassed millions from supporters.
The documentary, which according to the Huffington Post is currently the number one show on Netflix, has attracted coverage from the likes of Time, People, Vox, Salon, Cosmopolitan and more. Prior to the documentary, Vice News also did a detailed expose on the group. Local Facebook and other internet groups are on fire with buzz about the show and its local connections, with hundreds of comments piled up on multiple posts about the show.
Leelanau County law enforcement is aware of the couple’s presence, and they’ve received some inquiries since the show premiered. But there’s nothing actionable, they say.
“We’ve been aware of them and the situation for some time, but we’re not seeing any law breaking at this time, so we’re not involved,” Leelanau Sheriff Mike Borkovich tells The Ticker, adding that other law enforcement agencies have previously investigated the Ayans.
Tales of people losing money to schemes that are described as scams are very common, Borkovich says, and he feels it's another good opportunity to remind people of that.
"People should thoroughly research anything they're going to spend money on," he says. "Be very, very certain of what you're doing before you spend money, because more often than not, things don't work out the right way."
Chief Assistant Leelanau County Prosecutor Tristan Chamberlain tells The Ticker he was unfamiliar with the couple.
The Ayans were not home when The Ticker stopped by for comment, and they did not return a request for comment left with construction workers busy remodeling the home. Neighbors in their high-end development were either unaware of the situation or declined comment.
On the Facebook Page for Twin Flames Universe, the Ayans – who did not participate in the documentary – respond to allegations against them, saying that each of them has dedicated themselves “wholly to ethical conduct and the welfare of our community.”
“We take seriously recent allegations implying that we wield inappropriate control over our community members. After a careful review of both media coverage and recent productions, we are saddened that so much effort has gone into taking swipes at an organization and community founded on love and mutual respect,” the post reads in part. The allegations levied against Twin Flames Universe not only distort our true aims, methods and curriculums, but also misrepresent the autonomy of our community members, who are free to engage with our resources as they see fit.”
It is unclear what previous ties the couple had to Leelanau County before purchasing their home in 2020. Neither has a criminal record in either Grand Traverse or Leelanau County.Comment
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