What Happens During Channeling

By: Dr. John Ankerberg and Dr.John Weldon; ©2012
What happens during channeling? When a channeler goes into a full trance, it is as if he is falling backwards into a deep sleep. Both his facial muscles and lips twitch as the invading spirit begins to gain control over the person.

What Happens During Channeling

What happens during channeling? When a channeler goes into a full trance, it is as if he is falling backwards into a deep sleep. Both his facial muscles and lips twitch as the invading spirit begins to gain control over the person. Once the spirit is in possession of the body, changes in breathing occur and the person’s facial features and expressions are different, sometimes greatly different (for example, the late Jane Roberts). What can be most noticeable is when the voice changes, as when a feminine voice becomes deep and masculine.[1] Differences in brainwave patterns,[2] various body mannerisms, and individual preferences also occur. For example, a channeler who does not smoke or drink may engage in such activities while possessed.

The person who is possessed by a spirit may describe it as similar to an alcohol blackout or to what occurs during hypnosis: The person loses consciousness. Later he awakens. He is told he has said and done things he would not normally have done, yet he remembers nothing about it. He is told there was a total takeover of his individual personality. Again, he became like a puppet.

For others, what is first experienced as a powerful impersonal energy outside them transforms itself into a personal entity within them. New Age channeler Shakti Gawain writes, “…as I surrender and trust more, I find my relationship with this higher power becoming more personal. I can literally feel a presence within me, guiding me, loving me, teaching me….”[3]

Full trance channeling may involve anything that is normally done in the body, from writing, typing, and painting, to singing, dancing, and composing music, to counseling and teaching others.[4]

Below we present two firsthand reports of what channelers typically experience:

I experience Orin as a very loving, wise, gentle being with a distinct presence. He has wisdom and perspective, as well as a breadth of knowledge, that exceed anything I consciously know. There is a richness of impressions that goes beyond any of the words that he is saying. While I am conscious, I am not able to affect the words as they come through me. I can stop them, but I can’t add my own words or change the message. A week before he gives me dictation on a book, I can feel him organizing the ideas and I become aware of bits and pieces of them floating into my consciousness. Once Orin has decided to teach a class on a topic, I’ll receive information on the topic at unexpected times, usually when I run or meditate or when I happen to be thinking about the topic or class.

When I channel, I receive many pictures, feelings, and images, and I can hear my own thoughts and comments alongside Orin’s. When Orin leaves, my memory of what he said fades like a dream. I can remember the general ideas to some degree, particularly if they have an impact on me personally, but I cannot remember the details of the information unless I read it afterward…. Unless the information is discussed afterwards I remember little of what Orin said. However, when I bring Orin through again he can remember exactly what he told people—even years later.

My experience of trance varies, depending on the information I am bringing through. I go into a very deep trance when channeling information for books and relaying esoteric information of universal knowledge. When I am channeling for other people, my trance is lighter, for it does not take the same amount of Orin’s energy to transmit this kind of information.[5]

The above description is fairly typical. The medium is unaware of what goes on while the spirit is possessing her and speaking through her. Unless she is later told the contents, she is unable to remember them. On the other hand, it is also characteristic for the spirits to remember specific details and to be able to pick up at exactly the place they left off, whether days, weeks, months, or years later. They are also able to refer back to technical subjects they spoke on years ago and reference the exact spot at which it was produced on paper. Exactly how they do this is anybody’s guess, but perhaps it gives us some gauge of their intelligence.

Now consider our second example of a channeler’s experience:

I experience DaBen as a very radiant energy, loving and exacting, who has great caring. His knowledge is very detailed and extensive. Some of the information is so complex that he has been assisting me in developing new words to transmit it. He does not want me to gloss over his concepts or simplify them, even when people cannot immediately understand them. Sometimes I understand them myself only later, after I have put several scientific channelings together and seen the interactions between them. Often I have to consult my physics books to understand what he might be explaining.

I experience fairly light trances when I am working with touch on people’s energy systems, particularly because I need to move around and retain awareness of my physical surroundings. My trances are much deeper when I am channeling general information and when DaBen leads people into various experiences of expanded consciousness.

Although DaBen will search for specific information about a person’s life in response to questions, it is clear that he prefers to work directly with their energy. Through my touch or by transmitting energy to them, he helps people achieve higher energy states where they can answer their questions themselves.

When I finish channeling I can remember the concepts that were gone over as though my mind is working in a new way. The specifics, however, fade very quickly. When I read the transcripts of the channelings I am amazed at how much more information is contained in them than I remember channeling. It’s as if I remember only a few of the hundreds of ideas that are compressed into the words used.[6]

In the previous instance note that the spirit is not only able to induce altered states of consciousness but that they are achieved by affecting people “energetically.” The goal, presumably, is to allow people to experience occult energy in an altered state, which then allows them to access information not normally available. But who can prove this is not really the experience of an indwelling demon? At the least, such an energy phenomenon would involve some form of spiritistic influence or infusion of energy.

Besides the typical experiences, there are two basic types of channeling: intentional and spontaneous. In “intentional” channeling a person actively seeks to be possessed by the spirits. In such cases, the spirits usually wait for the individual’s permission to enter the body. In “spontaneous” channeling, the spirits take control when they please. The channeler is at their mercy. Yet even intentional channels may suddenly be taken over without warning and find themselves at the mercy of their formerly polite spirit guides.[7]

Channeling also includes different forms. For example, one form brings complete loss of consciousness, while another involves partial loss of consciousness. Thus, there is full trance possession with total loss of consciousness, and light-to-moderate trance possession, in which the channeler retains partial or even full awareness.

In addition there is “sleep” channeling, where the spirits teach or influence mediums during sleep or in dreams (see our Knowing the Facts about Dream Work eBook). Another form is known as “automatism,” where the spirit seems only to control part of the body, such as the hands in automatic writing or painting. The Eastern guru Sri Chinmoy, a spiritual adviser at the United Nations, claims to have produced thousands of such paintings.[8]

There is also “clairaudient” channeling, where the medium only hears the words dictated by the spirits, as was true for Helen Schucman, the human amanuensis behind the popular A Course in Miracles.[9] Then there is “clairvoyant” channeling, where the spirits put certain images, pictures, or symbols into the mind of the person for a variety of purposes. This has occurred in some types of Jungian counseling.

There is also what is termed “physical” channeling, where the spirit uses the medium to affect or alter the environment For example, the spirits, either through a medium or on their own, may materialize images of dead people (called “ectoplasmic manifestations”). They may also move or levitate objects, or imprint them with messages or pictures, or transfer objects from one location to another.[10]

Whatever form channeling takes, it is clear that the power the medium uses comes only as a result of contact with the possessing spirit. It is universally recognized that apart from these spirits (however they may be defined) the channelers have no power.

New Age Connection

Channeling is important to the New Age Movement because many of the spirits impart information on a wide variety of New Age philosophies and practices. In fact, channeling as a whole is one of the pillars of the New Age Movement In our chapter on New Age medicine we cite over 20 examples of how spiritism or the occult influenced the originators of specific New Age therapies plus a large number of New Age health practitioners who have spirit guides, who instruct them in the use of New Age health methods or related areas. Consider the following typical description of a healing and channeling session with a patient: “I will usually both see and hear the guides…. I usually have about three teachers that guide me…. The guide also visually appears to fit over me like a glove. The guide begins to move my arms and hands…. My personality self seems to be floating off and above…. I feel merged with the guide.”[11]

In our discussion of acupressure elsewhere[12] we mentioned Iona Teeguarden, a leading teacher of Jin Shin Do acupressure and cofounder of The Acupressure Workshop in Santa Monica, California. In the preface to her book, Acupressure Way of Health: Jin Shin Do, she expresses gratitude to her spirit guide, “Iajai,” for its help in her New Age medical practice.[13]

Edgar Cayce[14] is another example; his spirit guides produced thousands of pages of information on New Age medicine over the years.

Another spirit entity, “Seth,” dictated various texts through medium Jane Roberts on both attitudinal healing and another popular New Age technique, dream work! In the book Seth: Dreams and Projection of Consciousness, “Seth” cites information showing how dream work can be used to secure a wide variety of New Age goals. In particular, this spirit reveals how dreams can be used to develop spiritistic out-of-body excursions and altered states of consciousness.[15] Consider Roberts’ comments about the influence of Seth:

Seth spoke through me for over two hours, so quickly that the students had trouble taking notes…. The personality was not mine. Seth’s dry sardonic humor shone from my eyes. The muscles of my face rearranged themselves into different patterns. My normally feminine gestures were replaced by his. Seth was enjoying himself in the guise of an old man, shrewd, lively, quite human…. [B]y following his instructions my husband and I are learning to develop our own psychic potentials…. Seth does insist that reincarnation is a fact…. I began to have out-of-body experiences (astral projections) as I sat in the living room speaking for Seth.[16]


  1. e.g., Jon Klimo, Channeling: Investigations on Receiving Information from Paranormal Sources (Los Angeles, CA: Jeremy P. Tarcher, 1987), pp. 1, 185; and Jane Roberts, Seth Speaks (Englewood Cliff, NJ: Prentice Hall), pp. 1-2 and cover photo.
  2. Loyd Auerbach, Reincarnation, Channeling and Possession: A Parapsychologist’s Handbook (NY: Warner, 1993), p. 311.
  3. Robert Basil, ed., Not Necessarily the New Age: Critical Essays (NY: Prometheus, 1988), p. 277.
  4. e.g., Sri Chinmoy has produced thousands of paintings by automatic painting. In less than two hours on June 26, 1975, Sri Chinmoy allegedly painted 500 paintings according to the publicity booklet Sri Chinmoy (Jamaica, NY: Aum Publications, n.d.), pp. 15-18; Rosemary Brown, Unfinished Symphonies (NY: William Morrow & Company, 1971). Medium Rosemary Brown has composed hundreds of musical pieces in styles similar or very similar to the famous dead composers she claims work through her.
  5. Sanaya Roman and Duane Packer, Opening to Channel: How to Connect with Your Guide (Tiburon, CA: H. J. Kramer, Inc. 1987), pp. 31-32.
  6. Ibid., pp. 32-33.
  7. Jon Klimo, Channeling: Investigations on Receiving Information from Paranormal Sources (Los Angeles, CA: Jeremy P. Tarcher, 1987), pp. 185-86; Raphael Gasson, The Challenging Counterfeit (Plainfield, NJ: Logos, 1970), pp. 83, 87.
  8. See footnote #4.
  9. See http://acim.org/.
  10. known as teleportation; Klimo, Channeling, ch. 6.
  11. Barbara Brennan, Hands of Light: A Guide to Healing Through the Human Energy Field (NY: Bantam Books, 1988), pp. 171-72.
  12. Paul C. Reisser, Teri K. Reisser, John Weldon, New Age Medicine: A Christian Perspective on Holistic Health (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1988), pp. 89-92.
  13. Iona Teeguarden, Acupressure Way of Health: Jin Shin Do (Tokyo, Japan: Japan Publications, 1978), p. 6.
  14. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Cayce.
  15. Jane Roberts, Seth: Dreams and Projection of Consciousness (Walpole, NH: Stillpoint, 1986), pp. 6-13, 39-41, 63-64, 193-207, 350.
  16. Jane Roberts, The Seth Material (NY: Bantam, 1976), pp. 3-5.


  1. Ileen on April 20, 2019 at 9:53 pm

    Curious your feeling what this means and is it the other side giving confirmation?
    Example. This happens too me ALL the time. I’ll say a silly word such as IVory (our dog is >smiling<.. and a second later on tv comes on someone saying this is Mrs Smiling. I am not even paying attention to what is on tv yet I clearly am drawn attention to the word Smiling after just seconds before saying this same word. This happens all the time to me and the words are not common words at all!.
    I’d LOVE your input. I have any other odd validated messages etc. and would love input on this.

  2. Mike on May 15, 2022 at 6:19 am

    I had a traumatic experience about my mothers health status (she was having life saving heart surgery) and my brother flew inter-state and took me to a bar to try and figure things out. The pub is on Tasmanias Salamanca waterfront. All the bars are over 100 years old and potentially have very much history. I have been to many bars there previously but not this one… and things turned on me… During the bar visit I entered what I can only call a ‘transe’ state where I was muttering things to him and his friend. I’m sure I accidentally woke something inside me that night but I don’t think anyone would beleive me. I can’t remember what I said to my brother or his friend – I don’t think I was doing the talking. My brother won’t talk to me anymore… I’m pretty upset about all of it now. There’s not much I can do. My brother and his friend won’t talk to me about what happened that night. All I can remember is ‘waking’ to find people upset. This is not a cool deal.

    • JT on April 3, 2023 at 3:18 am

      Hi Mike, I do trust what you said here, and I know the area you mentioned, I do feel a bit so I avoid the area or have a bit spiritual protection on me if I go to the area. It has a very different atmosphere that a sensitive person can feel. Luckily it happens only once to you and you return to a normal person. God loves and blesses you!

  3. Tara on October 10, 2022 at 2:46 am

    I’m very excited to read this article the only thing that I kind of standoffish with at the moment is you saying that the person is possessed. People that channel, I Channel spirit and spirit doesn’t possess me. I surrender to Spirit of higher dimensions of love and light and I asked and then once ready to release when I release they let go that’s not possession. My apologies but I really had to say that love and light to you🤍💙💚💜🦄💫👽🛸🙏

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