The Spirits Behind the Channeling

By: Dr. John Ankerberg and Dr.John Weldon; ©2012
Do many channelers sense that the spirits are not who they claim to be? Yes, and the channelers’ doubts are carefully handled by the entities.

The Spirits Behind the Channeling

The Spirits’ Motives

Do many channelers sense that the spirits are not who they claim to be? Yes, and the channelers’ doubts are carefully handled by the entities. For example, one of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ spirit guides, “Salem,” “proved” he wasn’t a demon to a skeptical priest by allowing himself to be soaked with “holy water” while in fully materialized form. He was supposed to disappear but didn’t, thus “proving” he was not a demon.[1] Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, was not certain if he was possessed by a jinn (an Islamic demon) when receiving the revelations of the Qur’an, but he was eventually persuaded otherwise.[2]

When unbiblical revelations started coming from Edgar Cayce’s trance sessions, the famous medium openly wondered if “the devil might be tempting me to do his work by operating through me when I was conceited enough to think God had given me special power.”[3] After his first unbiblical reading on reincarnation, he replied, “If ever the devil was going to play a trick on me, this would be it.”[4] J. Z. Knight went through a period where she felt “Ramtha” might be a demon, but she was eventually persuaded to trust him.[5]

Laeh Garfield, author of Companions in Spirit, “was infuriated” at one spirit guide who “had tried to fool me in order to gain my trust.”[6] She confesses that bad or evil entities can and do “approach you in the guise of a guide,”[7] and that “some spirits are tricksters.”[8]

Initially, several individuals associated with “The Michael Group,” a company of persons involved with spirit messages given to Jessica Lansing, all had their doubts. Lansing herself confessed, “To tell you the truth, we were all pretty scared “ Emily, a participant, adds, “I kept thinking about all the warnings in the Bible about various malicious spirits, and I didn’t know what to think The more I considered it the more worried I got.”[9]

Another example is Uri Geller, famous for UFO contacts and various psychic powers. Both Geller and his teacher, parapsychologist Andrija Puharich, MD, had an uneasy feeling that there was something “funny” or “wrong” about their spirit contacts. They suspected they were being “played with” and wondered if the entities were unstable.[10]

Gurdjieffian J. G. Bennett discusses the latihan experience in the religion of Subud. This personal experience of a supposed mystical “life force” has a number of similarities to spirit possession, and some people seem to sense something evil:

In the latihan, we are gradually pervaded and permeated with the life force that flows into us from our own awakened soul…. The latihan itself lasts for half an hour or more…. Some trainees are convinced that there is indeed a force, but an evil one. Others are simply afraid. … Indeed, the sense of being alone in the presence of a great Power is the strongest and clearest element of the whole experience. It is that Power that gives new life to the soul, and not ourselves, not anything that we do.[11]

There are many other cases where channelers have been uneasy or apprehensive over the exact nature of their encounters.[12] Yet in the end, channelers tend to trust their spirit guides implicitly because they have been conditioned by the spirits to do this. For example, Laeh Garfield believes that “the majority of our celestial friends have worked out their human negativity and have no plans to abuse us in any way.”[13] In response to a question about spiritual duplicity, her faith remains One person asked her, “How can you be absolutely sure whether or not an entity is a true guide? Couldn’t a malevolent spirit strike a friendly pose?” In response she said, “… as long as you approach the prospect of working with spirit guides in a positive fashion, the capricious or invidious entities will keep their distance.”[14] But how does she know? Given the history of spiritism, one would expect just the opposite—that evil spirits would naturally take advantage of people’s good motives, trust, or naiveté, for the specific purpose of deceiving them.

Modern channelers also know what spiritists throughout history have known, that the spirits are indeed interested in contact with men and women. “Spirit beings are as interested in us as we are in them, if not more so. They’re interested in our physical world and in us as individuals.”[15] But spiritists also recognize that the guides have their own agenda. “Guides can do favors for you, but you must return the favor. They’re drawn to you and cooperate with you because you’re capable of doing what they want to have happen in this world.”[16]

The spirits also become substitutes for the help people ought to be receiving from God. Books on channeling encourage people to ask for spirit guidance, to depend on spirits for protection, to pray to spirits and receive feelings of love, joy, and great peace from them. People learn to trust in their words and advice, and in the end they develop the same kind of personal relationship with their spirit guides that God intends us to have with Him through Jesus Christ. In many cases the relationship seems to be one of trust, care, and love; yet it is one that is always includes the spirits’ ulterior motives.

Consider the case of Kevin Kiper, a radio operator from Cocoa Beach, Florida. According to Kevin his spirit guide saved his life, and as a result, Kevin now listens carefully to his guide’s advice. On September 25, 1978, a 727 jet from Sacramento collided with a Cessna over San Diego. The Cessna was flying in improper air space. It flew straight into the wing of the jet, tearing out a large section of the wing. The pilots did their best, but it was hopeless, and the passengers knew it. Each of them had 90 seconds to contemplate their fate as the crippled airliner plunged toward earth. Everyone died, and the last comment heard on the flight recorder was, “I love you, Mom.” Incidentally, the plane crashed less than a mile from where John Weldon was teaching at a Bible school. It was one of the worst air disasters in American history, and John has said that he will never forget the train of fire trucks and ambulances that rushed past the church toward the three-block area of devastation.

Kevin Kiper was to have been on that flight. As a matter of fact, he was. His spirit guide, a female spirit he calls “Azibeth,” has been with him since the age of ten. In September, 1978, while in Sacramento, he made plane reservations to fly to Chicago to see his father, but to go first to San Diego to have breakfast with his aunt. In Sacramento, he boarded the plane for San Diego—the plane on which every passenger less than an hour later was to die. Suddenly Kevin was warned: “A flight attendant spoke to me about my seat, but I didn’t really hear her. I was listening instead to what Azibeth was suddenly starting to tell me. She said, ‘Get off this plane right now.’ So I did.”[17] “I may have missed breakfast with my aunt, but I also escaped a certain death.”[18] “After this incident I fully realized that Azibeth does exist. She watches over and protects me. When she talks to me, I listen.”[19] In exchange for key advice at the right time, “Azibeth” has a convert for life. The moral? Save a life, own a life.

Those who learn to trust, love, and obey their spirit guides rarely understand the real nature of their guides. Sure, they provide enough care in order to establish trust, but the relationship is carefully monitored so that any upcoming maliciousness on the spirit’s part can be rationalized with various explanations: the spiritual necessity of suffering, the unexpected intrusion of an “evil” (“confused”) spirit, karmic rebalancing, and so on. When a person trusts a spirit in all situations, the spirit has, in essence, replaced God.

The spirits also work to keep their contacts from personal faith in Jesus Christ In this, their hatred for their contacts becomes most evident The spirits will pull every ruse in the book, feign every kind of love, give every conceivable pleasure, protect from any disaster necessary, to keep people trusting in them instead of the one true God and Jesus Christ

This is to use “love” in the most despicable manner—in the service of evil; it is not love at all, but a pretense and a play on emotion. Jesus Himself taught, “This is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent” (John 17:3 NASB). Why then would “good” spirits disagree with Jesus Christ Himself, unless they were really something else?

Should a channeler begin to think seriously about Jesus Christ or consider receiving Jesus as personal Savior, the spirit will provide “true” insight. Jesus Christ will be redefined, biblical “errors” will be corrected, “Christ” himself may appear and confirm the lies. The person may be told that receiving Christ as Savior is an error of “primitive” Christianity, perpetrated by “unenlightened” Jews who mistakenly thought Jesus Christ was their Messiah. People may be told that Christianity is a spiritually unevolved religion that will bring great suffering, not only in this life, but especially in the next. And a spirit’s response will be carefully tailored to the knowledge, background, and emotional makeup of their contact. Whatever is necessary to keep that person from personal faith in the biblical Christ, this is what is done.

Of course, many people disagree that the spirits are evil. One example is channeling advocate and psychologist Dr. Jon Klimo. He argues those who say that the spirits are demons and evil beings are harming the welfare of humanity. Klimo proposes that occult practices are good and something that mankind needs. In his view, a renaissance of the occult is to be achieved “with less guidance than ever before… from the churches of organized religion.”[20] Klimo writes, “To the extent to which they [the churches] brand and prohibit channeling as demon worship and consorting with ‘unfamiliar spirits,’ they will be abdicating what should be their role: to help us reconnect ourselves in our own way with our common Source as underlying Reality.”[21] In other words, “to return to the truth of truths… that we are God.”[22]

But if these spirits are demons, and if the logical, historical, and biblical evidence points to this conclusion, then seeking them will harm mankind, not help it. What if it is a lie that we are God? What if, trusting the spirits’ teachings, millions of people believe this lie, not knowing that God says that such a belief is false? What if this results in their eternal judgment? What if those who say the spirits are our helpers do so merely because that is what they want to believe, and that they are unwilling to face the facts?[23]

Unfortunately, people often ignore obvious facts for personal preferences. The need for meaning in life or love can cloud judgment and result in beliefs or decisions that have no basis in reality. To illustrate, consider the reluctance of many today who refuse to believe that spirits even exist. Occult writer Colin Wilson has questioned this reluctance of many to accept the spirits for what they are—real spirits:

Why do we try so hard to find a theory that rules out living forces? It is as if a doctor tried to find a theory of disease that made no use of the concept of germs. Why do we experience a certain unwillingness to entertain this hypothesis of “discarnate entities?”… [It is because] there is an unwillingness to introduce a frightening unknown factor into our picture of the universe.[24]

In a similar fashion, the concept of demons is often rejected because people simply refuse to believe in the reality of a spiritual evil directed personally at them. Yet this is what the Bible teaches, and why we are warned to “be on the alert” (2 Cor. 4:4; 1 Pet. 5:8).

Spirit Teachings

Evidence that evil spirits do have a clearly defined plan of deception, directed specifically at individuals who seek them out, can be seen in their own teachings.

The spirits will teach on almost anything. In Reincarnation, Channeling and Possession, parapsychologist Loyd Auerbach discusses the work of Arthur Hastings:

Dr. Arthur Hastings, a transpersonal psychologist and parapsychologist, provides an overview of channeled information in his excellent book on channeling, With The Tongues Of Men and Angels: A Study of Channeling…. Hastings also points out certain characteristics of the messages. I’ve already mentioned that channelers may come through with fictional and technical information, with music and art, with philosophical and spiritual perspectives on the universe and on human experience, as well as information directed at individuals. In a brief overview, Hastings also lists some of the following: “Social commentary, utopian models… Community organization and development…. Psychological theories, personality typologies, therapies, and consciousness-expanding practices…. Advice on daily life decisions… personal guidance and advice, self-knowledge…. Diagnosis and treatment of illness and medical needs…. Information on karma, past lives, life purpose.”…

The messages themselves often have common characteristics. Hastings and others discuss these commonalities, and I refer you especially to his book and Klimo’s for very indepth discussions of the specifics.[25]

One common characteristic of the messages is their antibiblical content, regardless of the overall subject being discussed.

In essence, the spirits’ consistent religious (and often ethical) teachings, throughout human history, reveals their true identity. At their core, such teachings are amoral, unbiblical, divisive, and opposed to human welfare. Consider a few of the popular teachings of the spirit entity “Emmanuel” in the text by Pat Rodegast titled Emmanuel’s Book. Morally, Emmanuel teaches the permissibility and desirability of divorce (in “incompatible” marriages); the possibility of “open marriage” (adultery); the permissibility of abortion (“a useful act” when done “with willingness to learn” for “nothing hi your human world is absolutely wrong”); homosexuality and bisexuality as normal behavior, even in full recognition of the AIDS plague.[26]

Emmanuel demeans political leaders as ignorant and sick and teaches that the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust really chose to be murdered in order to grow spiritually. Predictably, Emmanuel says that Hitler and Stalin should not be condemned too severely, for they were part of God and His plan.[27]

Are these the kinds of moral codes men should live by? Are they good ethical teachings in any sense? Can they be considered socially constructive? Are these ideas what we would expect from morally pure, divine, or highly evolved spirit beings? Or are they what we would expect from evil spirit beings? Emmanuel’s theological teachings deny and oppose biblical teachings. He teaches that God and man are one (see Genesis 1-3); that faith in God is unnecessary (see Heb. 11:1); that Jesus Christ is man’s “higher self’ (see John 3:16,18; Phil. 2:1-9); that death is “absolutely safe,” merely a change without judgment (see John 3:36; Heb. 9:27; Rev. 20:10-15).[28]

Other typical New Age beliefs that Emmanuel teaches include : the monistic concept that “all is one,” there is no good or evil, cosmic evolution through reincarnation, one-worldism, contact with alleged extraterrestrials, the importance of spirit contact, and so on.[29]

The thing to remember is that Emmanuel’s teachings are not the exception. They represent hundreds of other spirits’ teachings.


  1. Cited in Human Behavior magazine, September 1977, pp. 26-27.
  2. See our The Facts on Islam for several original refs.; cf., J. M. Rodwell, trans., The Koran (NY: Dutton, 1977), preface, pp. 5, 13-14.
  3. Thomas Sugrue, There Is a River (NY: Dell, 1970), p. 210.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Holistic Life magazine, Summer 1985, p. 30. For another example, see Laeh Garfield, Companions in Spirit: A Guide to Working with your Spirit Helpers (Berkeley, CA: Celestial Arts, 1984), pp. 92-93.
  6. Laeh M. Garfield, Jack Grant, Companions in Spirit: A Guide to Working with Your Spirit Helpers (Berkeley, CA: Celestial Arts, 1984), p. 78.
  7. Ibid., p. 97.
  8. Ibid., p. 92.
  9. Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Messages From Michael (NY: Berkeley, 1983), p. 29.
  10. Andrija Puharich, Uri (NY: Bantam), pp. 173, 188-89; cf. p. 112; Robert Leichtman, M.D., “Clairvoyant Diagnosis,” Journal of Holistic Health, 1977, p. 40; Robert Leichtman, Eileen Garrett Returns (Columbus, OH: Ariel Press, 1978), pp. 46-48; and Robert Leichtman, Edgar Cayce Returns (1980), pp. 50-52; D. Kendrick Johnson; the From Heaven to Earth series; and Robert Leichtman, Carl Japikse, The Art of Living, Volume 4 (Columbus, OH: Ariel 1984), p. 78.
  11. J. G. Bennett, Concerning Subud (NY: University Books, 1959), pp. 95,103-07.
  12. Garfield and Grant, Companions, 349:77,92-93,96,148
  13. Ibid., p. 96.
  14. Ibid., p. 92.
  15. Ibid., p. 1.
  16. Ibid., p. 63.
  17. Ibid., p. 57.
  18. Ibid.
  19. Ibid., p. 58.
  20. Jon Klimo, Channeling: Investigations on Receiving Information from Paranormal Sources (Los Angeles, CA: Jeremy P. Tarcher, 1987), p. 297.
  21. Ibid.
  22. Ibid., p. 296.
  23. Loyd Auerbach, Reincarnation, Channeling and Possession: A Parapsychologist’s Handbook (NY: Warner, 1993), pp. 295, 314.
  24. Colin Wilson, Mysteries: An Investigation into the Occult, the Paranormal and the Supernatural (NY: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1978), pp. 460, 484.
  25. Auerbach, Reincarnation, p. 171.
  26. Pat Rodegast, Emmanuel’s Book (Weston, CT: Friends Press, 1986), pp. 132, 198-199, 200, 201, 227, 232, 205, 161.
  27. Ibid., pp. 228, 208, XX, 145, 223, 151, 88.
  28. Ibid., pp. 29, 30, 33, 39, 42, 44, 169-72 243.
  29. Ibid., pp. 138, XIX, 142-143, 153, 222, 239-241, 71, 74, 76-77, 78.

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