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Channeling

September 21, 2010

For the general entry on Parapsychology, click here:

The Claims:

Channeling is the mediumistic ability of a person (a “channeler”)  to supposedly be taken over by a spirit entity. This spirit entity then uses the channeler to share its alleged wisdom with the world.

In the 1972 book “Seth Speaks”, an American named Jane Roberts claimed to have undergone a channeling experience while in a trance-like state in which she was taken over by a spirit called Seth who subsequently was able to communicate through her. Other alleged channelers include JZ Knight who claims to channel the spirit of a 35 000 year old warrior from Atlantis called Ramtha.

The channeler often goes into a trance-like state in which he/she leaves his body so that the spirit entity can take its place. During the trance, the channeler often starts shaking violently as the spirit enters the body until they reach a cataleptic state from which the alleged communication is possible.

The Evidence:

Channeling is basically a version of mediumship where a spirit enters into the channeler instead of simply communicating with the medium. There is no evidence that channeling exists outside the fantasy of the channeler. Despite this, many people are convinced and profoundly affected by the performance put through by the channeler.

Conclusion:

There is a complete lack of evidence showing that channeling exists outside of the mind of the channeler. Ockam’s Razor, a principle whereby we select from competing hypotheses that which makes the fewest unfounded assumptions, might be applied to a channeler’s claims.  It is far likelier that the channeler is actively seeking the attention that comes with being able to channel an otherworldly entity than that such paranormal powers are possible.

Links:

The Skeptic’s Dictionary Entry on Channeling

Wikipedia Page on Channeling

 

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