The Ancient Muse – A Spirit?

By: Dave Hunt; ©2001
Richard Strauss, Giacomo Puccini, Gustav Mahler and other composers have claimed that they were compelled in some way to write certain pieces of music. Have entities not of this world guided these composers? If so, who or what are these entities? Is the same thing happening today? Dave Hunt responds.

The Ancient Muse—A Spirit?

(from Occult Invasion, Harvest House, 1998)

In Greek mythology the arts were under the direction of the nine daughters of Zeus by Mnemosyne. These nymphs, or lower deities, also known as muses, inspired writers and artists. The Muse Euterpe was the inspirer of lyric poetry; the Muse Terpsichore inspired music and dancing. Johannes Brahms felt that at times when composing he was “in tune with the Infinite.” Although he believed that his inspiration came from God, the fact that he admitted having to be “in a semitrance condition… [with] the conscious mind… in temporary abeyance,”[1] as with a spirit medium, betrays another source. God does not inspire trance mediums. Tchaikovsky confessed that under similar inspiration he “behaved like a madman.”[2]

Richard Strauss was sure that at least some of the music he wrote was “dictated” to him by “Omnipotent Entities” not of this earth.[3] The great opera Madame Butterfly, Giacomo Puccini was convinced, was dictated to him “by God.”[4] Gustav Mahler claimed that he was compelled by other powers to compose what he hadn’t chosen to write. George Gershwin testified that Rhapsody in Blue came to him suddenly, that he heard and saw as though on paper “the complete construction of the Rhapsody, from beginning to end.” Of his hit song “The Blizzard,” country-western composer Harlan Howard said his pencil just kept on writ­ing, surprising him as it went, and he wondered, “Did some great songwriter in the sky use me as a medium?”[5] Operetta composer Rudolf Friml said: “I sit down at the piano, and I put my hands on the piano. And I let the spirit guide me! No, I never do the music. I never compose it; oh no, no! I am a tool. I am nothing. I am being used. It comes from someone, a spirit perhaps, using me.”[6]

We can only conclude that, just as they all believed, some entity or entities not of this world have guided these composers. But who are these entities? And what about Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland and other charismatic leaders who claim that the Holy Spirit inspires them to speak forth some prophecy that proves to be false? And what of the claims that Christ has even appeared to some of them?

Would Jesus really appear to Yonggi Cho in a red fireman’s uniform, or to Oral Roberts in a form 900 feet tall, as these men claim? And could the countless apparitions around the world really be the Mary who gave birth to Jesus, when they speak forth so many lies and continually contradict Scripture? Who or what are these beings? What is their purpose? The question of the identity and purpose of these entities requires a careful answer.

Identifying the Modern “Muse”

Music has had a key role in the occult as far back as history records. The pulse-beat of drums and rattles is vital in voodoo and most shamanism, to which rock music is closely related. Ray Manzarek, keyboard player for the rock group The Doors, explains the rela­tionship between shamanism and modern rock:

When the Siberian shaman gets ready to go into his trance, all the villagers get together… and play whatever instruments they have to send him off [into trance and possession]….
It was the same way with The Doors when we played in concert…. I think that our drug experience let us get into it… [the trance state] quicker….

It was like Jim [Morrison] was an electric shaman and we were the electric shaman’s band, pounding away behind him… pounding and pounding, and little by little it would take him over….

Sometimes he was just incredible. Just amazing. And the audience felt it, too![7]

Many rock stars have been involved in the occult and admit to a mysterious source of inspiration. John Lennon told of mystical experiences as a young teenager: “I used to literally trance out into alpha… seeing these hallucinatory images of my face changing, becoming cosmic and complete.”[8] Of his songwriting Lennon said, “It’s like being pos­sessed: like a psychic or a medium.”[9] Much credit for fomenting rebellion and turning millions of youth against God and the Bible belongs to the many rock stars beginning with Elvis Presley. The Beatles’ own press agent, Derek Taylor, confessed; “They’re completely anti-Christ. I mean, I am anti-Christ as well, but they’re so anti-Christ they shock me….”[10]

According to Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, “The Stones’ songs came spontane­ously like an inspiration at a séance. The tunes arrived ‘en masse’ as if the Stones as songwriters were only a willing and open medium.”[11] Of the Beatles Yoko Ono has said, “They were like mediums. They weren’t conscious of all they were saying, but it was com­ing through them.”[12] Of the inspiration process Marc Storace, vocalist with the heavy-metal band Krokus, told Circus magazine: “You can’t describe it except to say it’s like a mysteri­ous energy that comes from the metaphysical plane and into my body. It’s almost like being a medium….”[13]

“Little Richard” said, “I was directed and commanded by another power. The power of darkness… that a lot of people don’t believe exists. The power of the Devil. Satan.”[14] Jim Morrison called the spirits that at times possessed him “The Lords,” and wrote a book of poetry about them.[15] Folk rock artist Joni Mitchell’s creativity came from her spirit guide, “Art.” Nothing could detain her when he “called.”[16]

Contemporary musicians offer the same consistent testimony regarding inspiration by otherworldly entities that we find among the most famous composers from the past. Today’s musicians, however, admit that much of their inspiration comes from an evil source. Why should we doubt their testimony? David Lee Roth, who wrote “Running with the Devil” and called himself “toastmaster for the immoral majority,” admitted that the goal in the world of rock was to conjure up evil spirits and surrender to them: “I’m gonna aban­don my spirit to them, which is actually what I attempt to do. You work yourself into that state and you fall in supplication of the demon gods….”[17]

Superstar Jimi Hendrix was not so eager to be possessed but seemed rather to have been a victim. Called “rock’s greatest guitarist” and known as the Voodoo Chile of the Aquarian Age, Hendrix “believed he was possessed by some spirit,” according to Alan Douglas. His former girlfriend, Fayne Pridgon, has said; “He used to always talk about some devil or something was in him, you know, and he didn’t have any control over it, he didn’t know what made him act the way he acted… and songs… just came out of him…. He was so tormented and just torn apart… and he used to talk about… having… somebody… drive this demon out of him.”[18]

Steven Halpern, one of the best-known New Age composers, testifies, “I started record­ing what I received in trance or altered states…. I ended up being guided.”[19]

This type of spirit guidance is widespread. Chester Carlson, inventor of the Xerox pho­tocopying process, received guidance for his invention from the spirit world.[20] Medical scientist Andrija Puharich, holder of more than 50 patents, gave his opinion about these strange inspirations: “I am personally convinced that superior beings from other spaces and other times have initiated a renewed dialogue with humanity…. While I do not doubt [their existence]… I do not know… what their goals are with respect to humankind.[21]


  1. Willis Harman and Howard Rheingold, Higher Creativity, (Jeremy P. Tarcher, 1984), pp. 46-47; cited in Klimo, Channeling, p. 314.
  2. P. E. Vernon, ed., Creative Selected Readings (Penguin Books, 1970), p. 57.
  3. Harman and Rheingold, Higher Creativity, p. 46.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Klimo, Channeling, pp. 314-15.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Jerry Hopkins and Daniel Sugerman, No One Here Gets Out Alive (Warner Books, 1980), pp. 158-60.
  8. The Playboy Interviews with John Lennon and Yoko Ono (Berkeley, 1982), p. 169.
  9. Ibid., p. 203.
  10. Saturday Evening Post, August 6, 1964.
  11. Rolling Stone, May 5, 1977, p. 55.
  12. Playboy Interviews, p. 106.
  13. Circus, January 31, 1984, p. 70.
  14. Charles White, The Life and Times of Little Richard (Harmony Books, 1984), p. 206.
  15. James Douglas Morrison, The Lords and New Creatures (Simon & Schuster, 1970).
  16. Time, December 16, 1974, p. 39.
  17. Rock, April 1984, p. 30.
  18. Sound track from film Jimi Hendrix, interview with Fayne Pridgon (side 4).
  19. Ibid.
  20. Chester Carlson, New Frontiers Center Newsletter, Fall/Winter 1986, p. 9.
  21. Andrija Puharich, Uri: A Journal of the Mystery of Uri Geller (New York, 1975), p. 213.


  1. Maurice Brown on November 9, 2021 at 2:12 pm

    It’s nothing new that spirits interact with us through music. Before David was king, he played the harp and drove out an evil spirit from King Saul. In the old testament of the bible, it also records prophets of God coming down from a mountain with musical instruments . There is a lot to be said about spirits interacting with humans in creativity. It’s wrong to assume one must use evil to create any form of art. I myself have experienced effects of the unseen world interact or respond to things I did musically. I had a near death out of body experience in 1982 that caused me to seriously and diligently seek the Lord . I personally would not seek or agree with evil to inspire me. Music is a spiritual discipline. Music itself has power of persuasion. It’s involved in learning the English alphabet, we sang it to learn it. Music, like any art, can be inspired by good or bad, and used to promote either. It’s used in church, in school when pledging allegiance, in politics at inaugurations, at parties and restaurants, in elevators. I think people should be more aware of the power of music, and choose wisely what to and not to listen to.

    • Maurice Brown on September 17, 2023 at 11:21 am

      I had played a flute and harmonica from my early teens in early 70’s, but wasn’t good at it. After 82 when I became devoted to living for Jesus, I began writing and singing Christian songs acapella. I couldn’t sing and play a flute or harmonica at the same time, so in my 50’s, I started studying guitar. Because of my sold out to follow Jesus way of living, I questioned if I should play an instrument in God’s will ? I had heard of one denomination that restricts musical instruments. Then, I found many instruments in the old covenant, and prophets coming down from a mountain with music instruments. And David played the harp. Paul mentioned several musical instruments in 1 Corinthians 14:7-8, and no rebuke about the use. Matthew 24:31 mentions angels with a great sound of a trumpet. In Isaiah 24, we see musical instruments ceased, but for a reason, they had turned from God and changed his word. Romans 14:14 says nothing is unclean of itself, 14:16 says not to let your good be evil spoken of. Then in 14:23 it says, happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. And Titus 1:15 says, unto the pure all things are pure. Seeing all this , and more, I knew I was free from fear to worship God with musical instruments, and to sing songs of praise and edification along with playing music.

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