Purported cult leader Gary Blankenship, who caused a stir in northern Maine over the winter, said Wednesday he’s ready to pack it in.

Gary Blankenship Codington County Detention Center

“The show’s over,” he said from a temporary home in West Virginia.

Calling himself, with a chuckle, “a retired cult leader,” the 36-year-old Blankenship said he plans to move with his wife and daughter somewhere where they can live quietly.

His goal, he said, is to chill someplace out of sight from the many fans and foes he’s made over the years through his travels and talks on Facebook.

Blankenship left Maine in March after residents of St. Agatha made it clear they didn’t want him to set up a community in the area for followers to gather.

He was later arrested in Codington County, South Dakota, in April on a warrant issued for his arrest in Tennessee, related to a dispute about a vehicle.


Blankenship said he and his wife spent 18 days in jail as a result, their daughter taken by social services, before he was released and his teenage daughter returned to her parents.

He said he was held “for no damn reason” and freed when authorities finally realized that Tennessee had no real interest in bringing him back for trial.

Now, he said, he is trying to figure out how to hunker down someplace with his family, far from the spotlight.

“Where I’m going next, they’ll be no one but me, my wife and my daughter,” Blankenship said. “I don’t want to be a public figure. I just want to be a simple man.”

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