Cosmic healer 'destroys' loving family
The first thing Jilleen Anderson lost was her sense of humour.
As her friendship with German-born cosmic healer Ingrid Jander deepened, her personality began to change in more profound ways.
She grew hostile to her husband and their two daughters. She rejected friends of many years standing and cut off ties with a brother with whom she had always had a close relationship. Once a a strong, fit woman, she became sickly.
Today her family grieve for the loving, vibrant woman they once knew.
"The real Jilleen has gone," says former husband Richard.
"That's why it's like a death. Jilleen now is nothing like the Jilleen we knew."
Richard believes his wife has been totally manipulated.
He was to learn the cosmic healer had had a similar effect on at least one other woman in the recent past. But more of that later.
Jander, 66, uses several Christian names including Ingrid, Hillary, Angelina, Angela and Ariana and the surnames Snow-Jander, Johnston and Jander-Johnston. We will call her Ingrid.
Up to the middle of 2017, the Andersons of Mt Pisa, Cromwell, were a close, hardworking and loving family.
Richard and Jilleen, 56, were comfortably off and lived on an idyllic rural block on the outskirts of Cromwell with their daughters Jehnna and Sian, and Sian's partner Derek Pye.
All that is gone. The marriage has ended, the property has been sold and Jilleen, once a devoted mother who home-schooled her children, is bitterly estranged from her family and friends.
Jilleen and Ingrid met through their shared interest in alternative medicine, and Jilleen invited her to stay for a weekend in August 2017.
The stay stretched into months and Richard and the rest of the family were slowly pushed away as Ingrid appeared to exert increasing influence over Jilleen.
Richard says he briefly fell under Ingrid's spell too.
"She is really powerful. She has this tone of voice and tells you everything as though it's a complete fact."
Ingrid, who claims to have trained as a medical doctor in Europe, diagnosed Jilleen as being very ill and began cooking all her meals and controlling her activities.
She also treated Jilleen's illness with a biofeedback machine, dismissed internationally by experts as bogus. The treatment entailed attaching Jilleen to electrodes that sent electrical pulses into her body through a computer. Proponents of the machine claim it can diagnose and cure cancer.
Within six weeks Ingrid had persuaded Jilleen and Richard that their daughter Jehnna, a chef, should not be living with them because of her "negative energy". She was given her marching orders with Jilleen and Ingrid threatening to call the police if she did not leave.
By October Jilleen, who had moved from the matrimonial bedroom to the spare room occupied by Ingrid, had told Richard their marriage was over.
Sian and her partner, who were still living on the property in a self-contained flat, left in December 2017 after demands from Jilleen and Ingrid.
Richard stayed on in the house until the property was sold in April last year.
"I knew I had to hang in there to sell the property. It just about drove me nuts," Richard says.
Jilleen's share of the cashed up property was worth about $1.2m.
Ingrid and Jilleen then moved to the small Central Otago township of Naseby where Ingrid had built a small chalet-style hut on her section. A larger dwelling, believed to be financed by Jilleen, is being built behind the hut.
Around the time of the move to Naseby, Jilleen changed her will to leave all her money to a charitable trust to be set up for the purposes of establishing a wellness resort. Ingrid is the sole executor and trustee of the will.
Messages to friends suggest Jilleen is also sending money to an Aboriginal charity in Australia and they worry the money is being channelled elsewhere.
The Anderson family tried to separate Jilleen from Ingrid and, in November 2017, arranged a meeting at the Cromwell police station with a counsellor. It didn't work.
Jilleen's brother Chris Lawrence, who lives in Perth, last year applied to the Family Court for a protection order. The court declined.
Lawrence said before Ingrid entered his sister's life they had a close relationship and he regarded her as his best friend.
After the relationship with Ingrid, Jilleen became hostile towards him and then cut off contact, he says.
Her health deteriorated and she had gone from being healthy to "skin and bones". Her reported physical condition made him fear for her life.
"If she is genuinely sick, she needs medical treatment urgently," he says.
"Ingrid has really destroyed a beautiful family."
The only explanation he could think of for his sister's sudden change is that "she has effectively been brainwashed by Ingrid".
"Jilleen is doing things she would never do - like take a trespass order against her own daughters. The Jilleen we know would never have done that."
Richard says no-one in the family was aware Jilleen had a major health problem or an issue with her marriage of 32 years until Ingrid arrived on the scene.
"If Jilleen was ill, of-course we would have taken care of her.
"I have no doubt Ingrid has placed the story we refused to help in Jilleen's head as part of her divide and conquer plan.
"I very quickly realised I was living in the presence of a very dangerous woman who was a master of manipulation, lies and deceit. Her whole method in my presence was to cause confusion."
Ingrid claimed to be a medical doctor, a psychologist, naturopath and nutritionist and used those apparent qualifications to lend authority to her stories, he says.
Richard believes "Ingrid is a destroyer of everything she touches".
Stuff approached Ingrid and Jilleen in Naseby last week.
Jilleen denies she had been brainwashed and said she is her "own person".
She claims her family rejected her after she became seriously ill and her daughters are interested only in her money. Her brother Chris has been "sucked in", she says.
"My husband didn't want anything to do with me after I became ill. The allegations against Ingrid are just slander and gossip.
"I got kicked in the guts and I had to pick myself up and now I have to try to survive."
Ingrid says Jilleen is terminally ill, something she knows all about: "I have twice had terminal illnesses and recovered."
She denies exerting any undue influence over Jilleen and says they live separately.
"They brainwashed you. What did they pay you?
"You think you have the story of the world. Go for it. Go, go, go."
Horrified at what had happened to the family, Sian and her partner Derek began their own investigation into Ingrid.
It didn't take long to find Svetlana Malanina, a Russian immigrant, who met Ingrid at an "energy healing" course in May, 2010 in Auckland.
According to a 2011 High Court judgement, Ingrid and Malanina quickly became fast friends and Ingrid persuaded Malanina to buy a house she owned in Titirangi to set up a healing centre they would run jointly as a business.
Told by Ingrid the house was worth $900,000, Malanina agreed to buy the property for $795,000. Ingrid urged Malanina not to tell her boyfriend because "he was wrong for her".
The judgement goes on to record that Ingrid arranged the legal work and got an accountant to produce a false statement of earnings so Malanina could raise a mortgage.
When Malanina returned from a trip to Russia, Ingrid refused to communicate with her and resigned from their Cosmic Healing Trust.
The price Malanina paid for Ingrid's property turned out to be $200,000 more than it was worth and Ingrid had done nothing to start the healing clinic.
Malanina made a complaint to the Police alleging fraud but they concluded no crime was committed.
The Russian woman then took Ingrid to court, spending $60,000 in legal and other fees.
The High Court awarded Malanina $193,532 plus costs but Ingrid has not paid. She transferred $294,000 to an Australian bank account before she could be served with a court order freezing her New Zealand bank account.
Malanina says her experience with Ingrid was devastating.
"It's hard for me to explain why I believed all my loved people were wrong, that suddenly only Ingrid will do everything for me, only she can understand me.
"She wrote letters and messages for me and told me what to say to my relatives. My best friends and relatives tried to help me but I was sure they just didn't get it. It sounds crazy but that was my reality."
Ingrid made her feel afraid of everyone and was exhausting to be with, she says.
Ingrid says lawyers have "dealt with everything" in regard to Malanina's claim.
The court action occurred while she was in Australia for cancer treatment and she found out about it later, Ingrid says.
"She [Malanina] is Russian and I have learned as a German to be careful with Russians. They are very, very cunning with money."
Ingrid and her then husband Ferninand Pfeiffenberger came to New Zealand in 1985 with their five children.
They bought land in St Bathans, near Alexandra, on which they planned to set up a herb farm. The family lived in a caravan on the block.
In the early 80s, the couple had been involved with the Swiss-based cult, Free Community of Interests, whose adherents believe they are in communication with alien life forces.
While in Central Otago the couple relinquished custody of one of their daughters. Ingrid claimed the girl had telepathic powers that were inflicting pain on her.
Eventually the family ended up in Auckland where, in 1994, the couple went into a business called Gourmet Wholefood Delicatessen with a third person.
The business did not last and neither did Ingrid's marriage.
Around 2008 she married Trevor Johnston, an Auckland businessman, who, according to sources, helped Ingrid finance the purchase of the Titirangi house she would sell to Malanina.
Another businessman who does not want to be named knew the couple and watched as Ingrid seemed to create acrimony where-ever she went.
"I found her manipulative and incredibly persuasive. She is so convincing about her stories but in the end they were seldom true.
"She attaches herself to vulnerable people - wherever she sees the next meal ticket coming from. I know of lots of tradespeople who weren't paid or half paid. She lives in a different sort of reality."
Some of the old patterns appear to have emerged in Naseby where Ingrid is well known and regarded as someone to be avoided.
When she was living in an off-grid shed on her property in the winter of 2017, she went to live with an elderly woman in Alexandra. They met at a Christian meeting in Ranfurly. Ingrid stayed for three months rent free.
Local sawmiller Ricky Ward says Ingrid commissioned him to remove some trees on her land a few years ago.
They agreed on a price per tree but when it came time to pay she claimed he had cut down the wrong trees.
"She short-changed me even though we had marked the trees to be cut."
Bryn Conroy, a plumber who lives in Mosgiel but has a crib in Naseby, says he allowed Ingrid to use his bach to have a shower after he did a day's work on her new hut.
"Then I got a call from a neighbour saying she had moved in to the crib. She had the fire going and food in the fridge. We had to move her on."
Chris Lawrence was not sure what else the family can do to help his sister.
He believed the Family Court had failed to appreciate that his sister was being manipulated and brainwashed.
"Jilleen needs to be protected from Ingrid. Ingrid got inside her head within a matter of weeks. She convinced Jilleen she was her saviour.
"In the end we just want Jilleen back," he said.
Richard says the family still hopes Jilleen can get the help she needs.
"We would love to have the Jilleen we know back in our lives."
Sunday Star Times