From Abracadabra to Zombies
1 August 2011
Hello. I am a sceptic. I accept that there is no compelling evidence that UFOs, ghosts, or the Loch Ness monster actually exist. I believe that the world's major religions are human invention. I apply 'Occam's Razor' to such ideas and simply look at the probabilities. Human deceit, delusion and self deception are common everyday phenomena whereas real evidence for the paranormal is extremely uncommon. Hence, the probabilities hugely favour a sceptical approach.
I most definitely disagree with your comments on Jane Roberts and Robert Butts though. Only someone with rigid and dogmatic pre-conceptions and who refuses to even look could have made them.
reply: Really? That's a pretty bold insult for someone who's not in control of the situation.
Neither Jane Roberts nor Robert Butts made any significant money from the Seth material, and the remark that they were 'laughing' at the gullibility of their readers is both absolutely untrue and revealing of a mean-spirited bias.
reply: Whatever you say. But you're barking up the wrong tree. I hardly say anything about Jane Roberts or Robert Butts in either the entry on channeling or the entry on reincarnation (where I mention them). I don't know or care how much money they made on the Seth stuff. I have no inclination to speculate about what made them laugh or how gullible they thought their readers were. I'd say it was rather mean-spirited of you to accuse me of such bias. But, since you are obviously a sincere seeker after the truth, I'll forgive you.
I first read these books 40 years ago and today, as a reader of Science magazines, I am constantly amazed that the things Seth said then are constantly upheld by "new" scientific findings. Quantum theory, multiple universes in which all possibilities are explored , a holographic world, time and distance as an illusion. Seth explained all of these things a long time ago, and so much better!
reply: So did a lot of other people, namely, scientists whose writings were easily available to Roberts.
How could Jane Roberts have been conversant with what is today's cutting edge science? How could she have produced such a vast volume of material and nothing needed editing, but that was produced perfectly to including punctuation the first time?
reply: Punctuation? She got the punctuation right? That impresses you? What if she plagiarized the material?
Many have stolen from Seth without giving credit, both New Age authors AND scientists!
reply: Really? What are the odds that scientists stole from Roberts rather than the other way around? Next you'll be claiming that Edgar Cayce is indebted to Roberts rather than the other way around.
I do agree that people like Keven Ryerson , JZ Knight (Ramtha), and other New Agers got their shtick from Roberts.
So sure, be a sceptic, that is always easy, and especially if you are one of those who enjoys that delicious but ridiculous feeling of superiority that can go with it, but that is not a rational approach either.
reply: I've known many delicious and ridiculous feelings, never together as far as I can remember, but a feeling of superiority over someone who puts his faith in the likes of a Jane Roberts is not one I can recall ever experiencing.
3 Aug 2007
Regarding your article about Ramtha, I wanted to drop you a note regarding how people like JZ Knight harm their followers. My mother, along with many others, got hooked into Ramtha back in the eighties. They were told to move to Washington if they didn't want to be killed in the "coming earth changes." If you had other commitments.... Well, just forget about them. leave your spouse, don't worry about paying your bills, just leave it all behind and it will all work itself out. The alternative to this suggestion was very grim, explained as "I'll see you next time," meaning in your next life. My mother was so sure of these predictions she even bailed on my wedding, fearing certain death if she left the safety of Washington for even a few days.
After spending some ten years living in a place with little opportunity (Yelm), and spending all her money on Ramtha seminars, my mother finally left Washington feeling like she had been had, and she was. She threw away those important years, and capital that can't be replaced. She's now all alone, trying to scrape up a living on Social Security.
A co-worker of mine has a similar story about his aunt. She left her well-to-do husband because he didn't buy into Ramtha, took half his life-savings to live in Washington with JZ.
I remember vividly hearing many doom and gloom predictions that never came to be. Everything from a stock market crash to major earthquakes. A clever mix of truth and lies can be a difficult thing to resist for anyone who has lost their way. Your "misfit" term pretty much sums it up.
One more thing....fear is what drove many of these people to Washington: fear of death in the "coming earth changes." We see this tactic used time and time again.
reply: It made me sick to see Larry King provide a pulpit for JZ [*] and a few of her comrades who came to speak favorably about how to think your way to love and money. None of them told the truth. Scare people and give them false hope: that is the way these folks made their money. The gobbledygook about neural networks, quantum mechanics, coming earth changes, etc., is just gilding on the lily.
03 May 2002
Hi Robert, I have just gone to your site for the first time and was really amazed by your opinion of Ramtha and JZ Knight. I am sure I am not the first to say this... but you have got this entire situation completely incorrect.... although I will say that I don't doubt that for you it IS correct. Many many tests have been done on JZ Knight from skeptics, and I have seen that all tests done have proved that there appears to be a phenomenon happening. Haven't you seen this too??? I would like to assume that you have looked into this far enough, prior to such judgment, to know already of the scientific data that has been produced.
reply: There certainly does appear to be a phenomenon happening, but I don't think gullibility needs a scientific explanation.
Apart from this, I have noticed that you make some very large sweeping generalizations regarding her (JZ Knight) intent with the Ramtha existence. You say it is about fame and fortune.... and then you say that she only has a "few thousand followers". I question you then on the fame that you mean?? It seems to me that you have Ramtha's point of view so very incorrect. Afterall......... if the words that are spoken help people, then why is it so bad?
reply: The words aren't bad. The lie that they issue from an ancient spirit warrior from Atlantis is bad.
Do you judge every way of thinking with the same anger?
reply: Anger? How could I be angry at people who keep me in stitches?
I know that Ramtha is a very real entity and I have channeled him too!! Oh dear, won't that confuse you!!!!
reply: I don't think I'm the one who is confused, my dear.
The reality is, at the end of the day, that what you focus on DOES create your personal reality!!!! Don't take that away from other humans, just because YOU don't believe it to be so. Ramtha is trying to get that message across through JZ Knight. The information is HIS knowledge and truth, NOT hers. HE speaks through HER...... don't you get it!!!
reply: What I get is that this notion that one creates one's own reality and truth is a dangerous delusion.
Anyway.... what I want to know is.... what do YOU believe in?????? No skeptic ever seems to write back to me..... but stills proceeds to judge others!! Please write back.... I would love to hear your point of view.....
reply: See my FAQ page if you are really interested in what I believe in. Furthermore, I don't know what scientific test there is to determine whether a 25,000-year-old spirit has invaded the body of a Tacoma woman in her kitchen.
Firstly Bob, Ramtha appeared to her, he didn't "invade" her as you say. I am not here to "convince" you, just trying to stop your incorrect judgment of her on the internet. Ramtha has indeed existenced [?] for a "long" time, but that shouldn't seem so impossible to you. Why do humans think that they know everything about the entire universe? The truth is, that you don't know the truth really. What makes you really think that Ramtha is not an entity? Did you know that energy and matter are the same thing? Did you know that different energies can combine??? If you did a basic physics course you would better understand the meta-physical aspects of life. Try reading Barbara Brennan's book on "Hands of Light". She was a nuclear physicist for NASA who opened up her own school of healing. If you are "really" trying to find out the "truth" you would read her book. Something tells me you may not bother. Oh well.
reply: No, I don't claim to know everything, though I seem to appear that way to people who disagree with me. Is it possible that ancient spirits are using humans to convey bits of trivia that pass for wisdom these days? Sure. Is it probable. No.
I must admit that I don't see the connection between channeling and physics. I have taken a basic physics course and I have studied metaphysics but your claims about matter and energy, and combining energies, leaves me nonplussed.
Barbara Brennan is mentioned (not too highly) in my entry on intuitive healers. She may have been a nuclear physicist for NASA at one time, but she is now a New Age energy healer. She may think there is some connection between nuclear energy and the metaphysical energies she thinks permeate our organs, but to most of us with some understanding of physics and medicine, she's just another New Age quack. I've given her "Hands of Light" more time than it deserves.
22 Aug 2000
I noticed your emotional opinions on your web site and in the interest of objective scientific truth I am submitting the following correction of fact.
reply: Never let it be said that I stood in the way of "objective scientific truth." Blast away, O enlightened one!
You claim that J.Z. Knight "pretends" to go into a trance to channel Ramtha. Stanford Research Institute in conjunction with leading scientific authorities have established with extensive scientific and empirical evaluation that J.Z. Knight does, in fact, go into a deep trance provably engaging her autonomic nervous system to an astonishing extent, i.e. deeper than any yogi on nails, hypnotist, or prevailing New Age avatar, when she is channeling Ramtha.
reply: Wow! The Stanford Research Institute! The very place that Hal Puthoff, Russell Targ and Ingo Swann, parascientists extraordinaire emerged from? For more info on this illustrious hall of "objective science" see the following:
Furthermore, the measurable electromagnetic field of the Earth itself spikes upon the occurrence of the aforesaid channeling.
reply: You wouldn't mind producing proof of this extraordinary claim, would you?
So we have scientifically undisputable research that proves that J.Z. does, in fact, go into trance when she is channeling.
reply: Maybe you do, but the rest of us don't.
This leads to the obvious question of whether your highly prized "skepticism" is based upon scientifically provable fact or personal, emotional, ulterior motive.
reply: That's a false dilemma!
Such as, why are you so emotionally insecure about an unknown and challenging reality?
reply: That's a loaded question!
I dare you to cross the line into empirical, scientific evidence.
Your intellectualism can explain anything to protect your belief and
social programming, but when it comes down to real science where do you
Expecting a reply, Bruce Weiskotten
reply: Geez, Bruce. I don't know what to say.
24 Apr 2000
This is pure FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) and not worthy of the site: (from Ramtha page)
One might say, then, that it would be good to leave the Ramthas of the world alone. After all, they're helping people, even if they are frauds. As long as they're not hurting anyone, let them be. Even if they are hurting people, the victims are adults who freely choose to be exploited and abused. Don't we have the right to be victims if we so choose?! Sometimes. But sometimes those adults bring their children. Sometimes those adults are not as free as the rest of us. Sometimes a Ramtha takes more than your money. No one should ever forget the reverend Jim Jones and the mass suicide in 1978 of more than 900 cultists in Jonestown, Guyana. Not that Ms. Knight is a threat to her followers' lives, only to their dignity.
This is appalling rhetoric and does the skeptic cause no good at all.
reply: I didn't know there was a "skeptic cause" or that I was supposed to be doing it some good. Sorry. I also don't think the rhetoric is as appalling as the recent events in Uganda where hundreds were murdered, including many children, over some miscalculated end-of-the world prophecy by some defrocked priest who thinks the Virgin Mary is sending him messages. Frauds and deluded people can be dangerous to your health.
I am reminded of the di-hydrogen monoxide page as a kind of reductio ad absurdum of this argument. Did you know that people have died by inhaling di-hydrogen monoxide [water], but it is still legal to SELL it ??
reply: I'm sure this is of interest to somebody and that there is a connection between this paragraph and your opening sentence but don't expect me to waste any time trying to figure out what your point might be.
The crap about protecting the children is the same argument used to justify installing rigorous censorship on the same medium (the internet) you are using to broadcast your messages.
reply: So that's what this about...censorship of pornography. Why didn't you just say so? Never say you are concerned about some fraud or delusional person harming children because that gives fuel to those who want to ban pornography from the Internet!
Oh yeah, the Ramtha crap pisses me off too, but you are stooping far
to low here.
reply: I admit I am stooping pretty low to respond to you.
20 May 1999
Hi! I just read your thoughts on Ramtha & J.Z. Knight.
You sure have a lot of opinions! And it's great that you exercise them so well. However, I don't really get your idea of Ramtha's school being a "cult". I happen to find his & many others who teach the same ideas as beautiful entities who have much to teach us about life and ourselves.
What do you believe in? Most religions started out small. Does that
make the huge religions today cults? Everything, everything can be seen as
a form of brain washing. Even your most factual scientific findings.
Things constantly change, new ideas are not insanities.
reply: For some of my beliefs, see my FAQ and the other 338+ pages I've posted.
The old saw is that a delusion held by one person is a mental illness, held by several is a cult and held by many is a religion.
I just checked out Ramtha's "lofty thought of the day." Here it is: What part of you do I love? The part that goes on in the face of all that says you shouldn't.
Isn't that precious! I suppose if you find such drivel to be enlightening, you can see the universe in a grain of sand or Jesus in the clouds, or your innermost self in an inkblot.
9 Jun 1999
I have observed Barbara Marciniak, Lia Light and others over the last 5 years or so because of my wife's involvement in the new age movement. And they are a bunch of money grubbing phonies. They add to their "message" when they need to move on. And it gets so absolutely incredible as to defy anyone believing it. But, unfortunately, there are a lot of lost "souls" out there searching for something better than their own drab existence. They are making money hand over fist and seem to have an innate ability to seek out those with "disposable" income. They continually have you buy books, oils, crystals, charts, drawing, and, of course, you must have a "reading" every month or so. I know one woman who, I would estimate, has spent over $50,000 over her life on readings. Why?? To get an answer that matches what is in her mind. And no one ever has. You are right on with your site and information. Keep up the good work and if you want any specifics as to what these "channellers" are up to drop me a note.
reply: I think we can guess what they are up to.
28 Apr 1998
I just checked out your definition of channeling in your Skeptic's Dictionary and was pleased to find that I clearly don't fit. Neither do most of the channels I know. Clearly you have done your research only among the largest hucksters in the field. Most channelers are decent thoughtful folks and good citizens. Therefore, I am inviting you (and it is a public list) to spend some time on firstname.lastname@example.org. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
Eileen H. Kramer
reply: The site you refer to claims that it is a "mailing list for those who want to learn more about the voices, visions, inspiration, and thoughts inside their heads that come from some place other than their mundane self. It is a list for people who speak to the dead, aliens, elemental and nature spirits, angels, other higher beings, and their higher selves." If you want to define channeling in such broad terms, then you will have to read my entries on angels, alien abductions, the Celestine prophecy, god, spirits, and theosophy, among others, as well as my comments on mediums and Budd Hopkins. You may not want to associate with Ramtha, but some of the greatest hucksters who have ever lived have been decent thoughtful folk and good citizens, e.g., Edgar Cayce and Rudolf Steiner.
7 Aug 1998
I noticed a paragraph in your section on "Ramtha" regarding the classic New-Agean "people only use 10% of their brain" theory and that you weren't quite sure what it truly meant. In the past few years, this has been thrown by the wayside by "real" psychologists for the new theory that "people only use 10% of their brain for cognitive processing. The other 90% is to do stuff like breathe, see, digest, control muscles, etc." Newer psychology texts in college usually have this somewhere near the beginning of the "cognitive thought" chapters. If any of these New Agers find out how to use 100% of their brain for cognitive reasoning, I'd be interested to see what happens to the rest of their body.