Hereditary Coherence and Other Forms of Transference

By: Dr. John Ankerberg and Dr. John Weldon; ©1993
The occult involvement of one’s parents can predispose a child to the occult or result in psychological disturbances.


Hereditary Coherence and Other Forms of Transference of Psychic Powers

Dear ASPR:

Please tell me everything about ESP. I want to be a scientist. PS. I am 9.

The above letter to The American Society for Psychical Research (ASPR) was cited in The Christian Parapsychologist (the journal of the Churches Fellowship for Psychical and Spiritual Studies—an organization seeking to integrate Christianity and parapsychology). It represents an unfortunate sign of the times. Thousands of teens and even preteens have become interested in the psychic realm due to the influence of the modern occult revival. Hundreds of educators are obliging them. (See our book Thieves of Innocence.) For example, the Director of Education for the ASPR confessed the following:

At the American Society for Psychical Research we receive letters, telephone calls, and visits from young people of all ages. They come from elementary schools, junior high and high schools, college and postgraduate levels, from people with degrees and even careers in other fields; from teachers, guidance counselors, information centres, administrators… These inquiring young people… are highly motivated. A high school student wrote: “I am almost consumed by the desire to work and study in parapsychology. Yet I do not know where to start… Please help me.”… More and more young people are becoming interested in parapsychology—to study and to make a career in the field… It seems to them that this is “where it’s at.”

One reason for the increase in interest in these matters is undoubtedly the positive media exposure to the world of the psychic, the educational efforts of organized parapsychology institutions to legitimize its “scientific” nature, and the growing influence of the New Age Movement.

But there is another aspect that cannot be overlooked and which should be considered relevant: As surprising as this will be to some, it is the sins of the parents. Can parents’ occult activity really have some effect in predisposing their unborn children, or even their children’s descendants toward occult interests? Further, can occult activity bring unintended harm to one’s children and other family members?

We know that certain sins committed by the parents in the physical realm can seriously affect—even deform or kill—an unborn child. This would include alcohol or drug addiction and many sexually transmitted diseases like herpes, syphilis, and AIDS. We also know that the physical and emotional sins of parents can also leave lasting scars on their children as in incest, emotional withdrawal, and physical abuse. Can we be sure, then, that the spiritual area is exempt from visiting the sins of the parents on the children? Why are some children “born” psychic? Further, can parents’ occult practices influence an unborn child emotionally? If in rare cases a child can apparently be physically marked in the womb from occult practices, what other kinds of psychic or spiritual “markings” might be caused by such activity?

That the occult involvement of one’s parents can predispose a child to the occult or result in psychological disturbances should not be thought impossible. Widespread reading in occult literature reveals this as a common theme. Further, according to the Scripture, occult activity is one proof of hatred for God. Exodus 20:5,6 declares that the sins of those who hate God are carried to the third and fourth generation:

You shall not bow down to them or worship them [false idols/gods]; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to thousands who love me and keep my commandments (NIV).

As Dr. Koch has noted:

It is indeed a fact established by some 600 examples from pastoral experience with those involved in the occult, that prolonged occult practice creates a corresponding psychological constitution, a susceptibility, an inclination, a breeding-ground for various psychological disorders. In a long series of cases it has been possible to establish that occult subjection is an especially marked psychological constitution lasting through four succeeding generations of the same family.

He gives many examples which are indicative of the impact one person can have on his own family and even succeeding generations. We will cite relevant details from just five cases mentioned in his Christian Counseling and Occultism:

(Case 60) Although she had a [magical] charm for every disease of man and beast, she was unable to control the psychological sufferings of her own posterity. From her own children down to her grandchildren, an enormous variety of psychological disorders are to be observed…
(Case 61) Her grandmother was a charmer for many years. Her oldest son, the father of the girl who came to me, was harassed by suicidal thoughts. The second son hanged himself. This first granddaughter had fits of mania…
(Case 62) After years of successful healing practice, his own mind became disturbed. He was taken to a mental institution. Two of his children suffered the same fate. The whole family had psychological disturbances for several generations.
(Case 63) Her grandfather worked with magic books and conducted occult experiments. Finally he became blind. He burned his magic books and warned his children that they must not continue his occult practices because he had become blind as a result of them. In the following generation an astounding picture of psychological abnormalities presented itself. The son was an alcoholic. The granddaughter is a clairvoyant…Five of his grandchildren are mentally abnormal… some with psychoses.

The fifth case is cited at length as an illustration of the extent of damage that can be caused in what Koch refers to as “the terrible balance sheet of this family”: four cases of mental illness and nine terrible deaths—

(Case 65) The great grandfather (first family member) was an expert in the field of occult practice… This man died in dreadful pain and amid the spread of a penetrating odor. His sister (second family member) sensed a change in her emotional equilibrium, became insane, suffered manic attacks, heard voices, committed compulsive acts, and ended in a mental institution. In the generation of the grandparents, the magic and psychic activities continued. The grandmother (daughter of the second family member) had fits of manic and destructive fury. She demolished the furniture, and twice she was in the same mental hospital as her mother. Her sister (fourth family member) had visual, acoustic, and tactile hallucinations and a persecution complex… Another sister of the grandmother (fifth family member) heard voices which predicted her death. This unhappy woman was also taken to a mental hospital. Upon a temporary improvement she was released, and at this point threw herself with her five and eight year old children down a cliff 125 feet high. All three of them were killed.
Her great grandfather had been a conjurer. He hanged himself. The grandfather continued in his father’s tradition. He was one day crushed to death by a tipping hay-wagon. His brother was kicked by a horse and died. That man’s son was a successful cattle charmer, who was always called in by the farmers… He strangled his wife and then committed suicide. His sister jumped into the well in front of the house and drowned herself. Our young woman stood in the fourth generation, and she was now suffering from psychological disturbances and anxieties.

Russ Parker is vicar of Christ Church in Coalville, England. He has had 20 years of experience in deliverance ministry. In Battling the Occult, he lists several physical and spiritual problems associated with one’s parents’ occult or other sins, including one actual case; of blindness from birth that was healed immediately upon exorcism. This man had apparently been possessed by an evil spirit at birth as the result of the criminal activity of his parents. (See p. 316.)

Many secular researchers have also noted there is a hereditary factor for psychic predisposition: Dr. Fodor, the psychoanalyst/ psychic researcher referred to earlier, observes: “In most cases mediumship can be traced as a hereditary gift. If the heredity is not direct it is to be found in ancestors or collaterals.”

The compilation by the editors of Psychic magazine—Psychics: In Depth Interviews—reveals a consistent pattern. Most psychics interviewed admitted familial involvement. Famous mediums Arthur Ford, Eileen Garrett, and Douglas Johnson all had aunts who were mediums or psychics; Irene Hughes and Peter Hurkos both had psychic mothers; and virtually all 19 members of witch Sybil Leek’s nuclear and extended family were sympathetic to psychicism.

As with Edgar Cayce, Olga Worrall, and other well-known occultists, the predisposition often surfaces during childhood, especially in experiences with spirits. In the book cited above, Jeane Dixon, Eileen Garrett, Irene Hughes, Douglas Johnson, and “Kreskin” (who denies he is a psychic even though he practices automatic writing) also encountered psychic events at a young age.

Babies grow into young children, of course, and here the problems continue. Just as there are cases of child demonization recorded in the Bible (Luke 9:38,39) they are also recorded throughout history. Martin Ebon’s book Demon Children documents several cases of child demonization (or what are thought to be) and the terrible suffering and tragedy they bring; this is confirmed also by Samuel H. Young’s Psychic Children.

Thus, Dr. Fodor indicates that even babies and small children of occultists may actually be possessed as a result of their parents’ sorcery:

Inherited mediumship usually appears spontaneously and early in life, like artistic gifts. The five-month-old son of Mrs. Kate Fox-Jenken wrote automatically. Raps occurred on his pillow and on the iron railing of his bedstead almost everyday. The seven-month-old infant of Mrs. Margaret Cooper gave communications through raps. Aksakof in Animisme et Epiritisme records many instances of infantile mediumship. The child Alward moved tables that were too heavy for her normal strength. The nephew of Seymour wrote automatically when nine days old.
In Bonnemere’s Les Canisards and in Figuier’s Histoire du Merveilleux many cases are quoted of Canisard babies of 14-15 months of age and of infants who preached in French in the purest diction.

Dr. Koch attempts to explain the mechanism by citing the illustration of magic:

Magic conjuration, when applied intensively, leaves behind, in the middle level of the subconscious, engrams which enter the hereditary chain and constitute a latent breeding ground and efficient cause for psychological disorders in the next generation. This mental constitution will more certainly experience a development in the next generation when there enters, in addition to this latent efficient cause, a further psychological provocation through occult activity in the children, as an incidental cause. Engrams can, through suspension of occult activity in the following generations, fade rapidly and become recessive; on the other hand, in descendants who themselves practice magic, it can be intensified and appear as a dominant trait in the next generation. In this way the development of strong mediums can be explained. When three generations have all actively experimented and practiced magic, the fourth will reveal an intense mediumistic sensitivity. Two or three successive generations of charmers will, first of all, as already noted, develop clairvoyance, but then also somnambulance, psychic dissociation, and a generally increased sensitivity for paranormal phenomena. Magic conjuration thus has, according to our findings so far, a primary effect of psychological disturbances, and a secondary effect of the development of mediumistic abilities. The connecting link between these two effects is the process of “opening” the subconscious. The powers of the subconscious are unlocked and mobilized. Since this unlocking process is carried out by laymen who have no scientific training, psychological complications set in to say nothing, for the moment, of the religious factors. It often happens that in the third and fourth generations clairvoyance emerges, without the person concerned being aware of the occult roots in the first and second generations. The secondary effect still exists, even though its origin may have been forgotten in the course of the generations.

Consider the case of a pastor who was apparently demon influenced without even knowing it—or the cause:

At the end of one meeting, people were invited to come forward for prayer. When Bennett laid his hands on the head of a minister, there was a sharp reaction. The man slipped from his chair and appeared to go into a coma. Later he was encouraged to go aside to talk and receive further prayer. He agreed that he needed deliverance from this evil and agreed to further prayer. The moment the name of Jesus was mentioned there was another reaction.
Taking authority over this evil in the name of Jesus those who were ministering to him cast out the spirit. Within a few moments, the man was on his feet, delivered and free. His family had been involved in the occult at some earlier time, and he had not known this.

We stress that an experience of this nature does not necessarily mean that Christians are to have great concern over their family histories. First, for most people this information may be unavailable. Second, among Christians an experience of this type is probably rare. Third, when people are converted to Christ, they belong to Him alone. As God does for many other areas, we can expect that, if and when necessary, He will work accordingly to heal and deliver people from such things they know nothing about.

Why this does not happen in every case is unknown. Perhaps the best attitude to take is simply to note that such cases apparently exist—and also to realize that if something like this is a problem in a person’s life, God will certainly work to take care of it on His own terms or through other means. We stress again that, generally speaking, Christians do not need to be concerned over the sins of their ancestors. Only when there are spiritual problems that seem to fit the phenomena of occult bondage should the possibility be explored.

But the heredity predisposition for psychic abilities or occult influences is not the only possibility to consider where the phenomenon of transference is concerned; the active occultist can also influence those around him.

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