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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

channeling Beginning in about 1980, jaded celebrities began gravitating to a new notion that was actually spiritualism rewarmed. Instead of sitting in a darkened séance room holding hands and singing hymns, however, channeling consists of buying a $600 seat in a fully lit theater and listening to gurus expounding the wit and wisdom of great personalities who expired as much as thirty-five thousand years ago. One of the most prominent public figures to embrace this idea was the superbly talented actress Shirley MacLaine. She chose, for a while, to support the claims of J.Z. Knight, who spoke as Ramtha, a warrior from thousands of years ago.
      There are a number of other channelers in the business, such as Jach Pursel (who channels Lazaris), along with Jane Roberts and Jean Loomis (who did and do Seth), Pat Rodegast (with Emmanuel), and Elwood Babbitt (he does Vishnu——along with Mark Twain, Albert Einstein, William Wordsworth, Jesus Christ, and others!) and dozens of other minor actors. They are or were all essentially amateur thespians speaking in strange, strained voices with very bad impressions of foreign accents and making even stranger faces and gestures, delivering mindless pap to the gullible who can afford them.
      There even is published by Barbara Bell, out of San Anselmo, California, a Barbie Channeling Newsletter dealing with a channeler who claims to contact the “archetypical feminine plastic essence who embodies the stereotypical wisdom of the 60s and 70s.” In other words, Ms. Bell is bringing erudition from a polyethylene doll by tapping into the emotional reservoir of countless little girls who have given their devotion to Barbie. This claim seems to fit in well with the other claims made by those who contact folks from Atlantis.
      Conjuror Jamy Ian Swiss has an excellent comment on channeling. He refers to it as “just bad ventriloquism. [The channelers] talk funny but their lips move.”

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Copyright (C) 1995-2007 James Randi.

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