A Biblical Perspective on Channeling

By: Dr. John Ankerberg and Dr.John Weldon; ©2012
In the world today most people believe in the existence of evil, but few recognize the existence of the devil who accounts for great evil.

A Biblical Perspective on Channeling

Demons are personal evil beings who camouflage themselves for hidden purposes. Their disguises range from promoting themselves as myth to the opposite extreme of promoting themselves as the ultimate reality, God Himself. And, indeed, the majority of people either believe that Satan does not exist or that psychic powers and contacts with spirits through channeling are actually divine practices and represent contact with God.

In the world today most people believe in the existence of evil, but few recognize the existence of the devil who accounts for great evil. To believe in endless lesser evils, but not in the evil one (Satan), who is responsible for far greater evil, is to not recognize a potentially great threat. If the devil can misdirect our attention through various forms of channeling and get us to think about our own self-interests so that we are not concerned with the state of our soul, the end result is the greatest threat any man or woman can face (Matt. 16:26; Luke 12:20).

The Bible warns us of the devil’s deceptions beginning in the Garden (2 Cor. 2:11; 11:3; Eph. 6:11). It reports that the devil lied to man in two ways. First, he told Adam and Eve, “You shall be as God.” Second, he promised them, “You shall not die.” Isn’t it interesting that the spirits have never deviated from their master’s first lies? The consistency and persistence of these themes throughout history are amazing. And ask yourself some additional questions: Why is it that channeled spirits who are usually considered “good,” promote what the Bible teaches is false? Why would good spirits identify themselves with the lies of the devil? Could it be that the reason these spirits have never changed their message is because they don’t have another message? And why is it that many former occultists reveal that the only way to escape from those spirits is through the Jesus Christ of the Bible?

Those who say the Bible has nothing to say about channeling may have never considered the following. The first historical incidence of channeling recorded in the Bible is in Genesis, chapter 3. In the Garden of Eden, the devil used the serpent as a “channel” to trick Eve (Gen. 3:15; 2 Cor. 11:3; Rev. 12:9). Through channeling, the devil deceived Eve into doubting God, with serious consequences. Channeling is thus condemned in the Bible as an evil practice before God (Deut. 18:9-12).

The Bible also warns that “in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1). No one can deny that spiritistic teachings pervert the nature of God, lie about Christ, and distort the way of salvation. This explains why those who trust in spiritistic teachings to the end will face judgment at death. On the authority of Jesus Christ Himself, we discover that hell is real (Matt. 25:46; Luke 16:19-31). The demons who promise that sin is not real and that hell does not exist are bringing eternal ruin to those who trust them. Channeling is thus a form of spiritual warfare, with the souls of men at stake (2 Cor. 4:4).

This explains why both channeling and its teachings are condemned in Scripture as rebellion against God and as courting His judgment. An example of this is King Manasseh of Judah in ancient Israel. “He practiced witchcraft, used divination, practiced sorcery, and dealt with mediums, and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him to anger” (2 Chron. 33:6 NASB). Likewise in Deuteronomy 18:1012, God warns His people, “There shall not be found among you anyone… who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft… or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For whoever does these things is detestable to LORD.” The phrase “or spiritist” condemns all aspects of channeling.

Destructive Nature

What additional evidence would lead a person to conclude that the channeling spirits are evil? Because channeling contacts demons, it is an evil practice by itself, but it also leads to other evils. Among these are immorality, crime, fraud, and emotional, physical, or spiritual destruction.[1]

It is not just that there are a few cases which illustrate this. There are hundreds of thousands of them littered throughout the history of religion, occultism, spiritism, and parapsychology—mental illness, suicide, physical crippling, blindness, death. People who would never think of playing Russian roulette even once, or who would never carelessly take a dangerous drug, have good reasons for their decisions. The odds of tragedy are too high. Yet the odds of harming oneself from occult practices are at least as high.[2] What is regrettable is that people ignore the evidence. In The Coming Darkness we have documented this evidence in detail,[3] and here are several examples.

Professor Edmond Gruss mentions several cases of murder committed on the advice of the spirits. In one case a 15-year-old daughter murdered her father. In another case a 77-year-old man killed his wife in self-defense because she believed the lies the spirits told her about his unfaithfulness.[4] John Weldon once talked with a self-proclaimed serial killer, whose “religious commission” was to travel the countryside murdering people his spirit guide told him “deserved to die.” He claimed the spirits always provided a way for him to dispose of the body safely so they could not be discovered. Historically, the spirits have influenced the murder of tens of thousands of children and adults through human sacrifice, including, in all probability, the Atlanta child murders.[5] The spirits have helped start political revolutions, including the Mexican Revolution of 1910,[6] and their teachings have sapped the moral strength of countless numbers. They have done this by leading people to commit evil acts which they otherwise would not have committed.

Jesus Himself called the devil a liar and a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). Those who play into his hands will receive great promises and excitement to begin with, but only deceit and destruction in the long run.

Suicide is a case in point. Channeling teaches that this life is not the end (annihilation), and that there is no final judgment. If this life is simply too difficult or unpleasant, why not take a way out? Why not enter a world you have been promised is far more glorious? Death, after all, is claimed to be a friend. In fact, the spirits may encourage this. We have read many cases where allegedly “loving” spirits have deliberately induced emotional dependence upon their advice and then at a moment of weakness encouraged their contact to commit suicide.[7] In The Menace of Spiritualism, case after case of tragedy is listed. The foreword by Bernard Vaughan, S. J., states, “This very morning I heard of a girl, who being told in a séance by her deceased lover that he would not live on the other side without her, drowned herself to join him, not, I fancy, in heaven.”[8]

Bill Slater, former head of British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) television drama, after attending an impromptu séance with a Ouija board, went home and in the early hours of the morning:

I found myself half-awake, knowing there was some kind of presence massing itself on my chest; it was, to my certain knowledge, making every effort to take over my mind and body. It cost me considerable willpower to concentrate all my faculties to push the thing away, and for what seemed like twenty minutes this spiritual tussle went on between this awful presence and myself. Needless to say, although before going to bed I had felt perfectly happy and at ease with a very good friend, in a flat I knew well, I was now absolutely terrified—I have never known such fear since. I was finally able to call my friend’s name; he woke up, put on the light, and was astonished to find me well-nigh a gibbering idiot. I have never since had any psychic experience.[9]

Nor are such examples surprising. In the Bible, demons are presented as inflicting numerous physical and psychological ailments upon their victims. Many of these parallel today’s cases of channeling. While it must be stressed that most illness is not demonically produced, the array of symptoms suggest the possibility of a virtual monopoly over the workings of the human mind and body: skin disease (Job 2:7), destructive and irrational acts (Matt. 8:28; Luke 8:27), deafness and inability to speak (Mark 9:25; Luke 11:17), epileptic-like seizures (Matt. 17:15; Mark 9:17-18, Luke 9:39), blindness (Matt. 12:22), tormenting pain (Rev. 9:1-11), insanity (Luke 8:26-35), severe physical deformity (Luke 13:11-17). Demons can also give a person supernatural strength (Luke 8:29) or attempt to murder them (Matt. 17:15, 18). There are numerous accounts of mediums, channelers, and occultists, or those who frequent them, suffering physically in a variety of ways from their practice (ill health, alcoholism, spirit attacks, early deaths, and so on).

Most people do not know that the famous medium Arthur Ford became a morphine addict and alcoholic, which caused him no end of grief.[10] Dr. Nandor Fodor observes: “After prolonged exercise of mediumship intemperance often sets in. The reason is a craving for stimulants following the exhaustion and depletion felt after the séance. Many mediums have been known who succumbed to the craving and died of delirium tremens.”[11] British Occultist Aleister Crowley and “guru” Jiddhu Krishnamurti endured incessant torment and suffering.[12] Bishop Pike died a tragic death from his involvement in spiritism.[13] The biography on Edgar Cayce by Joseph Millard reveals the extent of Cayce’s suffering, from psychic attacks, to mysterious fires, the periodic loss of his voice, erratic personality changes, emotional torments, constant “bad luck,” personal setbacks, and guilt induced by psychic readings that ruined others’ lives.[14]

Many channelers and other occultists seem to succumb to various vices later in life, from sexual immorality,[15] to numbing their consciences, to alcoholism and drug addiction,[16] to crime and worse.[17]

M. Lamar Keene spent 13 years among professional mediums as a famous (although fraudulent) medium. He observes, “Cheating, lying, stealing, conning—these are sanctified in the ethics of mediumship as I knew it.”[18] In his public confession, The Psychic Mafia, he confesses,

All the mediums I’ve known or known about have had tragic endings. The Fox sisters, who started it all, wound up as alcoholic derelicts. William Slade, famed for his slate-writing tricks, died insane in a Michigan sanitarium. Margery, the medium, lay on her deathbed a hopeless drunk. The celebrated Arthur Ford fought the battle of the bottle till the very end and lost…. Wherever I looked it was the same: mediums, at the end of a tawdry life, dying a tawdry death…. I was sick and tired of the whole business—the fraud bit, the drug bit, the drinking bit, the entire thing….[19]

Spiritist and guru Sri Chinmoy, a spiritual adviser at the United Nations, observes, “Many, many black magicians and people who deal with spirits have been strangled or killed. I know because I’ve been near quite a few of these cases.”[20]

Dr. Kurt Koch, after 45 years of counseling the occultly oppressed, said that from his own experience numerous cases of suicides, fatal accidents, strokes, and insanity are found among occult practitioners. “Anyone who has had to observe for 45 years the effects of spiritism can only warn people with all the strength at his disposal.”[21]

In addition, over many years, the very act of channeling itself appears to have a destructive effect upon the human body. It is as if there is a type of, for lack of a better word, “psychic vampirism” at work, which slowly eats away at a person’s physical constitution.[22] Edgar Cayce died in misery weighing a mere 60 pounds, apparently physiologically “burned out” from giving too many psychic readings.

Time and again in the lives of psychics, mediums, and spiritists, we have observed the power of the spirits in holding their captives to do their will (2 Tim. 2:24-26). When people attempt to suppress their channeling or mediumship, the result will frequently turn up symptoms of disease or other serious problems, forcing a return to the practice. What is doubly tragic is that for these people it started out so good and promising,[23] and yet it led to such misery and evil.[24]


  1. John Ankerberg, John Weldon, The Coming Darkness, eBook.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Edmond Gruss, The Ouija Board: Doorway to the Occult (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1975). (Reprinted and expanded in 1995.), pp. 83-94.
  5. Ankerberg and Weldon, The Coming Darkness; On human sacrifice see Nigel Davies, Human Sacrifice in History and Today (NY: William Morrow, 1981), pp. 13-28, 84-87, 92-98, 275-289; The Chattanooga Times, March 25, 1988, where a 7-year-old girl is murdered by a Hindu priest in a ritual offering to a goddess; and Maury Terry, The Ultimate Evil: A Investigation of America’s Most Dangerous Satanic Cult (Garden City, NY: Doubleday/Dolphin, 1987), introduction, Ch. 25; on the Atlanta slayings, Sondra A. O’Neal, Emory University in Atlanta, King City: Fathers of Anguish, of Blood: The True Study Behind the Atlanta Murders (unpublished; for her synopsis see John Ankerberg, John Weldon, The Coming Darkness, eBook, appendix).
  6. Robert Somerlott, Here, Mr. Splitfoot (NY: Vicking, 1971), p. 12; Edmond Gruss, The Ouija Board: Doorway to the Occult (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1975) recommends Dr. Charles C. Cumberland’s Mexican Revolution: Genesis Under Madero, which identifies Francisco I. Madero, the originator of the Mexican revolution as a leader of spiritism in Mexico. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, June 12, 1987, a similar situation may have existed in Panama during the crisis there.
  7. Ankerberg and Weldon, The Coming Darkness; Nandor Fodor, An Encyclopedia of Psychic Science (Secaucus, NJ: The Citadel Press, 1966), p. 266; Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, “Suicide or Sannyas,” Sannyas, No. 2, 1978, pp. 27-31; Edmond Gruss, The Ouija Board: Doorway to the Occult (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1975), p. 75; Martin Ebon, ed., The Satan Trap: Dangers of the Occult (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1976), pp. 232-236; Doreen Irvine, Freed From Witchcraft (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson), p. 121; J. D. Pearce-Higgins, “Dangers of Automatism,” Spiritual Frontiers (Autumn 1970), p. 216; Morton Kelsey, The Christian and the Supernatural (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg, 1976, p. 41).
  8. Elliot O’Donnell, The Menace of Spiritualism (NY: Frederick A. Stokes, 1920), p. XII.
  9. As told by his friend Colin Wilson, in Colin Wilson, Mysteries (NY: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1978), p. 451.
  10. The editors of Psychic magazine, Psychics: In Depth Interviews (NY: Harper & Row, 1972), pp. 16-17; cf. Arthur Ford’s autobiography, Unknown But Known: My Adventure into the Meditative Dimension (NY: Harper & Row, 1968).
  11. Nandor Fodor, An Encyclopedia of Psychic Science (Secaucus, NJ: The Citadel Press, 1966), p. 234.
  12. Aleister Crowley, Magic in Theory and Practice (NY: Castel, n.d.), pp. 127, 152-153, from Gary North, Unholy Spirits: Occultism and New Age Humanism (Fort Worth, TX:Dominion Press, 1986), p. 286; Leslie A. Shepherd, Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology, Vol. 1 (Detroit, MI: Gale Research Company, 1979), p. 203; cf., J. Symonds, K. Grant, The Confessions of Aleister Crowley (NY: Bantam, 1971), pp. 575-576; Mary Lutens, Krishnamurti: The Years of Awakening (NY: Avon 1976), p. 347.
  13. Merrill Unger, The Haunting of Bishop Pike (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1971).
  14. Joseph Millard, Edgar Cayce: Mystery Man of Miracles (Greenwich, CT: Fawcett, 1967), pp. 98-116, 198-201.
  15. M. Lamar Keene, Psychic Mafia (NY: St. Martins, 1976), pp. 133,140; Fodor, Encyclopedia, p. 234.
  16. Keene, Psychic Mafia, pp. 135,142; Fodor, Encyclopedia, p. 234.
  17. Carl Wickland, Thirty Years Among the Dead (Van Nuys, CA: Newcastle rpt. 1974), pp. 17, 95, 116, 185; cf. Margaret Gaddis, “Teachers of Delusion” in Martin Ebon, ed., The Satan Trap: Dangers of the Occult (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1976).
  18. Keene, Psychic Mafia, p. 141.
  19. Ibid., pp. 147-48.
  20. Sri Chinmoy, Astrology, the Supernatural and the Beyond (Jamaica, NY: Agni Press, 1973), p. 62.
  21. Kurt Koch, Occult ABC (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 1980). (Retitled Satan’s Devices.), p. 238.
  22. Hereward Carrington, Your Psychic Powers and How to Develop Them (Van Nuys, CA: Newcastle, 1975 rpt), p. 62; Fodor, Encyclopedia, p. 235.
  23. John Ankerberg and John Weldon, The Facts on Spirit Guides, eBook; Ankerberg and Weldon, The Coming Darkness, ebook.
  24. See Doreen Irvine, Freed from Witchcraft (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1973); Raphael Gasson, The Challenging Counterfeit (Plainfield, NJ: Logos, 1970); Johanna Michaelsen, The Beautiful Side of Evil (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1975); Victor H. Ernest, I Talked With Spirits (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1971); John Ankerberg, John Weldon, The Facts on Spirit Guides, eBook; Kurt Koch, Occult Bondage and Deliverance (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publishers, 1970); Kurt Koch, Demonology Past & Present (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publishers, 1973); Kurt Koch, Between Christ and Satan (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publishers, 1962); Kurt Koch, Christian Counselling and Occultism (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publishers, 1982); John Warwick Montgomery, ed., Demon-Possession: A Medical, Historical, Anthropological and Theological Symposium (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany, 1976); cf., Malachi Martin, Hostage to the Devil: The Possession and Exorcism of Five Living Americans (NY, Bantam, 1977); T.K. Oesterreich, Possession: Demonical and Other Among Primitive Races, in Antiquity, the Middle Ages & Modern Times (Secaucus, NJ: Citadel, 1974); William M. Alexander, Demonic Possession in the New Testament: Its Historical, Medical and Theological Aspects (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1980); John L. Nevius, Demon Possession (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 1970).

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