Nonhereditary Transference of Psychic Powers
|By: Dr. John Ankerberg and Dr. John Weldon; ©1993|
|Psychic powers or effects may be transmitted to individuals by virtue of direct transference, but committed Christians are protected from such influences.|
Nonhereditary Transference of Psychic Powers
Psychic powers or effects may also be transmitted to individuals by virtue of direct transference. Before reading this material, be assured that committed Christians are protected from such influences. Indeed, occultists have often found they have no power over genuine Christians who are living for Christ. Former witch Doreen Irvine is one example. In Freed From Witchcraft she recalls on page 98:
- I tried to put curses on the preacher, but they did not work. There was a barrier between my power and the preacher, who was a man of great faith and courage. I was puzzled. My powers had never before failed. I had no idea that far greater power than that of Satan was protecting this man—the mighty power of the Lord Jesus Christ.
On the other hand, many of the gurus (e.g., siddha or power yogis), such as the late Rajneesh and Muktananda, or Sai Baba, Nityananda, and Da Free John, have induced the transmission of occult power into their disciples solely by touch, thought, or glance. Of course, Western occultists can do this as well. Nevertheless, the spiritual dynamics of this ability indicate it as a spiritistic phenomenon. Transference often occurs during ritual occult initiation or standard initiation into Eastern sects where it is known as shaktipat diksha. Here the guru or leader transfers occult power into the initiate for purposes of occultic energizing. (This is also a common phenomenon of psychic healing, which is, in effect, a similar transference of occult power.) In some cases, the effect is to spark interest in the psychic realm or to develop psychic abilities. But in many cases something more profound occurs: a complete religious conversion or a form of possession. Some of the gurus make regular converts by this method, almost as if it were a spiritual counterfeit to biblical regeneration and/or laying on of hands. One converted psychiatrist provides an illustration of the occult power involved (cf. pp. 153-55):
- Suddenly I start shaking all over and experiencing inner reactions… A glance and a wave of his hand, and I just fell apart… stunned… all I could do was sit on the floor for some time to regain my composure. I’m still amazed to witness myself break up like this, although I have heard that many people have such reactions as they draw closer to Baba… It seems the closer I get the less control I have.
Johanna Michaelsen reports that when touched by the psychic surgeon with whom she worked (who was then under the control of the spirit guide), “A strange shock ran through my body as his hands touched me.”
When Swami Muktananda initiated Albert Rudolph (Swami Rudrananda) into his spiritual tradition (Vedanta), Rudrananda:
- Immediately felt within me a surge of great spiritual force which hurled me against the stone walls and allowed a great electric shock to send a spasm of contortions through my body. Movements similar to an epileptic fit controlled my body for almost an hour. Many strange visions appeared and I felt things opening within me that had never been opened before.
Rudrananda observes the relationship of this energy transfer/ possession and later speaks of the normality of the student being spiritually “possessed by his teacher.” He described his own experience of this phenomenon when he felt his own guru enter and possess him in a spirit form.
- Slowly Swami Nityananda came toward me and entered into my physical body…. It was a terrifying experience.
Carole Carmichael describes a typical experience while under the tutelage of Swami Rama:
- The energy was shaking my being and filling my body…. The force was engulfing me; I felt as if I were caught in the violent wind of a tornado—it was surging through my head, heart, lungs and spine down through my legs, surrounding my entire body. The force was filling my body with air and moving my lungs rapidly. My heart beat faster than I thought possible. My breath was being drawn in and out so rapidly that I could hardly breathe; in fact, the force was breathing for me.
But there is also the opposite phenomenon. Rather than an inputting of spiritistic power, the occultist draws energy from other people by some form of psychic vampirism. This typically occurs in mediumism to generate energy for spiritistic materializations, apported material, and other manifestations:
- As a rule, most mediums require assistance for the production of their phenomena. The sitters of the circle are often drained of power. According to Maxwell, Eusapia Paladino could quickly discern people from whom she could easily draw the force she needed. “In the course of my first experiments with this medium, I found out about his vampirism, to my cost. One evening, at the close of a sitting at L’Agnelas, she was raised from the floor and carried on to the table with her chair. I was not seated beside her, but without releasing her neighbors’ hands she caught hold of mine while the phenomena was happening. I had cramps in the stomach—I cannot better define my sensation—and was almost overcome by exhaustion.”
- Dr. Kerner states that the Seeress of Prevorst ate little and confessed that she was nourished by the substance of her visitors, especially of those related to her by the ties of blood, their constitution being more sympathetic with her own. Visitors who passed some minutes near her often noticed upon retiring that they were weakened.
- Some mediums draw more of the sitters’ vitality than others. These mediums become less exhausted and consequently can sit more often. Mrs. Etta Wriedt, the direct voice medium, always left her sitters weak. Vice-Admiral Moore complained that he hardly could use his legs after a sitting.
Then there is the strange phenomenon of mediumistic induction—the seemingly “innocent” transference of occult ability. This results merely from being in the proper environment, whether or not one intends to pursue occult practice.
- Another way of receiving mediumistic abilities is through occult transference. If someone with the ability to use a rod or pendulum holds the hands of a person without the ability, a transference can take place which surprisingly is permanent. Transferred powers, however, are never as strong as inherited ones.
The prominent neuropsychiatrist and psychic researcher Shafica Karagulla recounts a personal illustration of this phenomenon:
- I tried to use the divining rod but got no effect. My young friend, the Princeton graduate, tried, but without results. At this point, [dowser] Reverend Stanley suggested another experiment which he said worked with most people. I stood beside him with one hand on his shoulder and with the other hand, I held one branch of the divining rod. He held the other branch. When we moved over the spot where he had detected water, the rod began to bend downward with such force that although I have strong wrists, I could not prevent it. The young man tried this with similar results. We were both mystified by the force with which the rod bent downward to the floor [cf. John Weldon, “Dowsing: Divine Gift, Human Ability, or Occult Power?” Christian Research Journal, 1992].
In another case, Martin Ebon, the well-known psychic investigator, mentions that the wives of W. B. Yeats and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (of “Sherlock Holmes” fame) “both became mediumistic when their husbands developed a lively interest in spiritistic phenomena.”
Dr. Fodor observes:
- The spread of modern spiritualism discloses the phenomenon of mediumistic induction. Those who sat with the Fox sisters usually discovered mediumistic abilities in themselves. Mrs. Benefict and Mrs. Tamlink, the two best early mediums, were developed through the gift of Kate Fox…
- The most famous early [psychic] investigators became mediums. Judge Edmonds, Prof. Hare, William Howitt, confessed to have received the gift. It is little known that in his last years Dr. Hodgson was in direct contact with the Imperator group. Conan Doyle developed automatic writing and direct voice in his family. H. Dennis Bradley received the power of direct voice after his sittings with George Valiantine. The Marquis Centurione Scotto developed through the same instrumentality. Eusapia Paladino could transfer her powers by holding the sitter’s hand.
But when this occult energy, whatever it is, is either transferred into a person or taken from them, how might this affect the person physiologically, psychologically, or spiritually?
In a related area, occultists often seek to transfer their powers to someone else at death. If they are unable to do so they often undergo an unbelievable death agony. Indeed, for committed occultists in general, Koch observes from his wide experience that “a very difficult and terrible death struggle [is] a symptom which has emerged in every case of occult practice within my knowledge.” Dr. Unger comments that such a situation may become “a nightmare of suffering [for the occultist] when children do not wish to receive the occult power.”
- However, it is not only the active engagement in occult sins like those we have just mentioned which leads to demonic subjection, but one frequently finds that people whose parents or ancestors have practiced sorcery also fall under the ban of the devil. In fact, powerful sorcerers and mediums often seek to transfer their occult powers over to some relative or friend, be it an adult or child, before they die. Later the people onto whom the powers have been transferred suddenly become aware of their strange inheritance.
Another dangerous element of transference is common to all forms of psychic healing where the “healer” temporarily assumes the sickness or disease they are seeking to cure. This can be excruciatingly painful and may last for hours or even days or weeks. It may also account for a portion of the unsavory character development which can afflict occultists. Dr. Hereward Carrington, an early supporter of mediumism, argues:
- These influences… are contagious to a remarkable degree. All experienced spiritualists know that a medium is liable to “take on” the conditions of a spirit or of another person, when in a sensitive state, and this is true of his mental and spiritual life as well as his physical health. We can acquire the other’s irritable disposition, his sourness and lack of balance, for the time being, just as easily as we can acquire other symptoms; and unless this is recognized and the medium takes care to throw off these influences, they are liable to remain with him more or less and influence him—just as we sometimes experience the after influence of a bad dream in the daytime.
- The practical conclusion to be drawn from all this is that it is very dangerous to the mental and moral health of a psychic to develop under the guidance of a medium who is mentally, morally, physically or spiritually ill—for these conditions will possibly sooner or later be “taken on,” and they are liable to influence the medium to his own detriment.
The point is well-taken, because from a biblical perspective who knows the extent of spiritual illness an occultist endures? Further, their defective philosophy makes its mark on their lives, and this moral character may, as Carrington observes, be transferred. The mental health of many occultists must also be considered. If mental conditions are to some extent transferred, one can only say, “Let the buyer beware.”
As an example, we mention one psychic who entered a trance state to help an emotionally disturbed woman whose brother had apparently been murdered. During the trance, the psychic actually “relived” the murder, including experiencing the sheer terror of the victim, and the hatred and revenge of the murderers and the murder itself. “It was all as if it were my own,” she reported. Leaving the condition of the trance was difficult, plus all of the emotions were brought forth into the conscious state where they remained, causing serious mental problems.
We provide one final example—this time of serious physical ailments—from the life of Indian miracle worker and spiritist Satha Sai Baba. Here, as mediums and psychic healers often do, he is allegedly taking upon himself the karma, diseases, etc. of other people. Considering the extent of his suffering, one could more reasonably assume he had come under the spell of sadistic spirits rather than healing energies.
- Even as he fell, the left hand clenched its fist; the left leg stiffened; the toes became taut. Evidently, he had taken upon himself in his infinite mercy, the stroke of paralysis destined to incapacitate or perhaps kill some saintly person! Having seen him while taking on the typhoid fever, the gastric pain, the bleeding ear, the mumps, and even the stroke… [we waited]. The face twitched and muscles drew the mouth to the left… the tongue lolled. The left eye appeared to have lost its sight…
- Respiration was hissing, at times; the left side of the body the upper and lower limbs were rigidly held in a position of extensor tone. There were gross twitchings of the face occasionally on the right side. The head would be suddenly tossed to one side or the other, with a groan of anguish and the utterance of un-understandable syllables…
- The body perspired a great deal but he could be given only a few spoonfuls of water, the spoon being inserted, after pressing the jaw apart. He was apparently severely exhausted. Moreover he suffered from what Dr. Krishnamurthi names “angina pectoris,” paroxyoms of intense pain, originating at the breast bone and radiating thence mainly to the left shoulder and arm. The physical frame groaned…
- It was a heart-rending experience—to catch those hazy sounds and interpret them, for the words emerged from a mouth gone awry and a tongue turned left. He warned us not to frighten the other devotees with our fear….
- Rumours circulated… The wildest of these was that Baba was under the maleficent influence of black magic! Others surmised that he had gone into Samadhi…
- Two hours later, we had a tragic jolt. His breathing worsened; he gasped and rolled. His feet and palms became cold… For 4 full hours, Baba broiled us thus, in mortal anguish.
So far, we have examined a number of negative consequences of the occult: mental illness, social consequences, familial hazards, and others. In our next chapter we examine the potential for physical damage and disease arising from occult practice.