Richard Simmons, beloved fitness guru and one of the only men who can rock a sparkly tank top, hasn't been seen in public in almost three years. His most recent media interview was on New Year's Eve in 2013, when he broke down and told CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin he wished he could help more people. And although he maintains an active Twitter account and his manager insists everything is fine, the New York Daily News reports Simmons' friends are worried he's being held inside by forces beyond his control.
"I feel that Richard is now being controlled by the very people that he controlled his whole life," his friend Mauro Oliveira told the Daily News. "Controlled in the sense that they are taking advantage of his weak mental state. Controlled in the sense that they are controlling his mail, controlling his everything. His brother, the manager and Teresa. Those three people." What's more, Oliveira says he believes more sinister forces are at play in Simmons' disappearance:
He was possessed by a bad spirit. I think tormented is the best word to describe his mental state. I think it was black magic, witchcraft. That’s not close to your culture, but to my culture in Brazil, and to Mexicans that is a real thing. They invoke the spirits. They light black candles, and red and blue candles. I’ve never participated. I only saw from a distance. But at services, they do special meals. They offer meals to the bad spirits, and light candles, invoking with words.
Simmons' live-in housekeeper of nearly three decades, Teresa Reveles, is from Mexico, and Oliveria believes she's placed a spell on Simmons to keep him in check. Oliveria was one of the last to see Simmons—in April 2014, Simmons invited him over to say he was withdrawing from public life and they couldn't be friends anymore. Other ex-friends of Simmons' have had similar experiences. "If he had any say in the matter, he would reach out to any of us," one told the Daily News on condition of anonymity. "I’m very suspicious, as it just doesn’t make sense. It’s very bizarre. It’s beyond mysterious." Could it be witchcraft?