Society Magazine

XII: Magicians, Channeling, And The Importance Of Surprise

Posted on the 15 January 2019 by Lugalcain @ur_sheep

XII: Magicians, Channeling, And The Importance Of Surprise

Searching for the answers to the major questions of life, such as “Why are we here?”, “Where are we going?”, “What ought we do?” – or as has been the goal here – “Where did we come from?”, takes long and honest dedication and a commitment to exhausting the available resources. Thousands of myths must be considered along with classical religions, the latest scientific findings, archaeological discoveries, new understandings of history, and more.

When this search finally exhausts the known tangible resources it naturally seeks information undiscovered, undeciphered, or that allegedly known only to the initiated, or the very few. The empty spaces in our knowledge, and perhaps in our hearts, seek fulfillment, and so we become susceptible to information of any kind able to fill the gaps. Consequently, many truth seekers have experimented with what has been called esoteric knowledge, or secret knowledge, information obtained through such diverse sources as psychic readings, astrology, ouija boards, seances, trances, automatic writings, numerology, and especially channelings, by which I mean writings or dictations the author claims not to be his own.

The works channeled often explicate marvelous systems to behold, the likes of which few fiction writers could hope to master, and most of the best “received material” maintains a linguistic and doctrinal consistency matched by only the best scientific treatises. Wonderful personalities claiming to be from Atlantis, or Mars, or The Federation, or The Great White Brotherhood, or galaxies far, far away seem to miraculously appear to, or “come through” certain “sensitive” individuals. These channeled personas bear names such as Ra, or Seth, or Ascended Master, or Ramtha, Ashtar, or Melchizedek. Personalities who have allegedly been here (and far elsewhere…) before proceed to confidently tell us the answers to the big questions – even if it takes 2000 pages to do so, as was required by the authors of the Urantia Book, or an entire new Bible, as the Oahspe. Regardless of the ultimate truth of what is said by these entities, or rather the works produced by them, at first we listen, because we still have unanswered questions for which they provide some sort of answer.

XII: Magicians, Channeling, And The Importance Of Surprise

Now think for a moment of the prospect of magic, or more specifically, what we consider to be magical. Without doubt we must admit that there exist magicians who, by the use of technique and science alone, can fool the average person, and indeed, the best ones can fool everyone except perhaps other magicians. From the wizards of Pharaoh turning staffs into snakes, to The Great Mephistos sawing women in half, to Houdini’s escapes, to David Copperfield making the Empire State Building disappear before millions of people, to continued and ever more proficient sleights of hand, misdirection, and other feats of legerdemain, just to name a small few, magic has had a long and continued human history.

Now when we think of magic these days we think more of tricks and illusions than we do of conjuring or channeling. We tend to think the show we see is done in some rational way, just by or through some method we do not know. We know they are tricks and that there is a solution as to how it was accomplished by the magician. But there are some tricks where the line between the two types of magic become blurred, such as those which seem to materialize objects out of nowhere, or make things disappear, or which involve “reading our minds”. These can be considered types of channeling, in that they claim to work with the immaterial world.

It probably is true as Pascal said, we like to be fooled for entertainment. Maybe we do like to be challenged mentally, and feel joy in trying to decipher how this magical person just accomplished the trick. Maybe we like an element of uncertainty or unpredictability, and the shock of when things do not go as they should, or as expected.

XII: Magicians, Channeling, And The Importance Of Surprise

Let me be clear: Without doubt, today, you expect you automobile to start when you get in it and put the key in the ignition. When it does not go as you expect this can throw your whole day, if not month, out of whack, and this is not something I am saying we like. Being fooled in this way is not what I mean. Consider yourself, for one moment, rather, as in the position of God, or the Creator. Consider if you have created now everything, all that has existence. You are aware of where it is, how it acts, what it does, its origin and destiny. Would this not bore you? Hence the creation of beings with free will, indeed, the very idea of open-ended humanity. And why all this? I suggest the reason is sometimes God likes to be surprised. it is no challenge nor feat to cage a bird and display it as your own. it is quite different to set it free and see if it comes back inside to be with you. So, to stay interested, indeed to grow in ways unknown, in this example God utilizes human free will to experience the unexpected.


In the days of alchemy, as in certain present religious sects like voodoo, practitioners would often discriminate between “white magic” and “black magic”, white being that inspired by or by virtue of the light side of the netherworld, and the black from the dark regions of the beyond. For our purposes here, I want to borrow this distinction for magic in general. That is, it is a fact that there are people capable of doing magical things. To anyone ignorant of how a particular trick or illusion is done the simplest trick or gadget appears to be magic, and its demonstrator, a sorcerer, or magician. Primitives first exposed to certain technologies, like those ignorant of modern chemicals and sleight of hand techniques, can be made to believe the talking radio box is the voice of a god, or that Uri Geller bends spoons with his mind.

XII: Magicians, Channeling, And The Importance Of Surprise

When done as entertainment, or for demonstration purposes this could be called white magic. When these skills are used to take advantage of people, it is black magic. The same trick could be both, and often is both. So, it’s cool to make my wallet go from my pocket to yours if you are making a joke and intend to give it back. It is not cool if you do it to someone on the street without his knowledge, and give it back with no money inside. Important to remember is the white magician will always admit it was a trick, even if you never get the method out of him, but the charlatan, or the practitioner of black magic, will claim himself somehow superior, with “special powers”, or sometimes connections to spirits and gods. In extreme cases, some have even claimed to be gods, or incarnations of gods.

The power to deceive is a strong one especially when it can be used for advantage. Indeed, should there be any real magical powers certainly most people could not be trusted with them because most would use them for their own benefit. In this regard lying itself is a type of magic, in that it attempts to substitute an imagined reality in the place of a real one. Sincere lying can even take on the appearance of truth to a thereby self-deluded individual. And once again here, there are White Lies and Black Lies, the first, say, to protect innocence or for a greater good, the latter, to take advantage for one’s self. All this, mind you, is a consequence of free will, specifically human free will, as no other creature has even the capability to misrepresent itself, or make reality into other than that it appears.

XII: Magicians, Channeling, And The Importance Of Surprise

Many books have been written through human beings by allegedly disembodied spirits and other entities. Even before Edgar Cayce, and often after him, seemingly normal humans have become literal mediums in expounding doctrines, theories, and secret histories known only by those ethereal entities. While I find these books interesting reading, as they make you think in many ways, send you to research, and so on, I must say these channelings are for the most part of the Black Magic kind in that they intend to deceive, whether to gain adherents, to make money, or a name for themselves. I think really they are back-handed ways to offer up one’s philosophy without having to answer for any criticism of it. You can always blame the entity speaking through you, and when something doesn’t go as predicted, you can then blame bad communication.

XII: Magicians, Channeling, And The Importance Of Surprise

Peter Popoff, the evangelical and “black magic” deceiver if ever there was one, was caught in his magic act by the Amazing Randi. Popoff, you will recall, made millions by allegedly conversing with Jesus, seemingly by magic becoming aware of his audience’s names and addresses, diagnosing their ailments, and then supposedly healing them, all on national television. Randi, the great skeptic, and a brilliant magician in his own right, who had already exposed similar charlatans like Uri Geller (by sabotaging his tricks on Johnny Carson show, and then doing every trick exactly like Geller did them to show how easily people could be fooled), revealed that Popoff was wearing an ear piece, through which he received walkie-talkie type communications from his wife, who would inform him of the information he claimed came from the beyond.

Madame Blavatsky, whom I have some affinity for and who railed against channeling later in life (to put down the competition?), nevertheless made an early living conducting seances and allegedly speaking with spirits. Indeed, the best of her work derives from alleged conversations with “adepts” no one has ever seen but her. In fact, once she was caught in the act of using a rigged device to get her seance table to move on command. her response, she said, was that sometimes the spirits “do not cooperate” and when people pay for shows they expect results. A fall-back mechanism for sure.

The remarkable thing about these exposed frauds is that despite their being caught with their hands in the cookie jar, so to speak, none of these personalities lost much of their audience. Popoff still preaches, Geller is still successful and insists his “powers” are genuine, and Blavatsky now has believers and disciples who know little about her past.

We should be careful what we believe in. The very same will to be fooled can reach the point where we believe even despite our own reservations. Think of the cultists who have died, whether by poison or by allegiance, to madmen claiming divine gifts. Think of all the advertising and political claims which turn out to be not quite as they were trumped up to be.

XII: Magicians, Channeling, And The Importance Of Surprise

The very same Amazing Randi did in fact once train a young man to be a channeler, perpetrating one of the biggest hoaxes in parapsychological history. Within weeks of his “coming on the scene” he was performing to packed houses, speaking the usual drivel about multi-dimensions, life forces, and that ever-present (and inarguable) desire for universal love. Ramtha, Ra, Scientology, Urantia Book, Michael and The Law Of The One, the Seth Material, even Cayce – all of them have in common the ultimate message of a “universal love“, and that this love is God. Sure, along the way they will tell you how the pyramids got there, why there is a Stonehenge and might be a Bigfoot, where we go after death, and much, much more. All the gaps get filled. But primarily their message is the same. Treat others as you would want to be treated. And who can argue with that, right?

Hence these books sell. The exact same words written by, oh, JZ Knight, and marketed as “My World View By JZ Knight” would not sell many copies. But say it is another world spirit providing the information, and now we have a best seller. Falling for the tricks again, perhaps for lack of better alternatives, many, many people just believe. And when people believe with this sort of “put reason on hold” faith, this belief takes on cult status. You can argue with these believers, you can show them evidence against their beliefs, contradictions in theory, even demonstrate the methods and devices by which they are being fooled, but still they will believe.

XII: Magicians, Channeling, And The Importance Of Surprise

What seems clear to me is that if anyone had such real magical powers they would be reluctant to use them. Do we want know the future? Read each others’ minds? Is it good to interfere with the natural order? If indeed I am in a prison, stuck in this body and in this world, should I cheat the sentence and be other than a mere mortal? Although I can interfere, is it my place to do so?

XII: Magicians, Channeling, And The Importance Of Surprise

So while I do not discount the powers of consciousness, especially a collective consciousness and what it can accomplish, or downgrade the imagination which we know can come up with genius good and bad, I must remain skeptical about any channeled material, whether it come through a 100 person committee or some schoolgirl in Arkansas. I have no doubt some of these people actually believe their subconscious or even memory is an alien voice, but I think the far most of them are simply acting. It doesn’t take a genius to speak in a different voice and enunciate an imagined world, and this is why the question-answer format is that most often used. First of all the questions could be known ahead of time and the proper research done, but mainly it allows time to conjure up an acceptable answer. Furthermore it would seem that beings of such powers and type of existence could reach many more people by other, more efficient means. Seeking the Origin of Man is little helped by these channels, especially when you can change the channel and get a different transmission. How do we really know, as Joseph Campbell said, whether our vision is divine, or diabolical?

The only way a game is fun is when the results are unknown. The rules in place, growth can only happen with new experience, and any known experience is not new. We have creativity inside us, by which we have the freedom to create and experience in our own way, each of us, and I believe God as well. In fact, it is quite possible we are the extremities of the Creator, and our triumphs and follies in this world are each and all of them experienced by God. We provide the surprises, we are the open-ended game.

XII: Magicians, Channeling, And The Importance Of Surprise

I spent much time in my life, sometimes I think too much time, reading much of this channeled material. It is interesting because it is different and provides alternatives and answers where elsewhere there are none; it makes you want to read more (hence the sequels…spirits enjoying the limelight?). Psychic healing, telekinesis, astral projection, alternative history and speaking with those on another plane or in another dimension – they are very interesting concepts in pretty much the same way that there might be a good magic show, a grand illusion. We can even turn rods into snakes that eat the other magicians’ snakes.

It’s just too bad so many give credit for the surprises to imaginary sources rather than to the skill of the magician.

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