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10 Modern Mystics Who Channeled Strange Spirits

by David Tormsen
fact checked by Jamie Frater

Over the course of the 20th century, a number of unusual figures have claimed the ability to “channel” ascended spirits or other entities possessing great wisdom. The spirits usually bring messages of love and enlightenment for our benighted species, which the channelers usually charge a pretty penny for delivering.

10Alice Bailey


Born in 1880 in Manchester, England, Alice Bailey worked as an evangelist in Ireland and India. She eventually married and settled down in the United States to study theology. She was ordained in the Episcopal Church and worked as a Bible teacher until her marriage broke down due to her husband’s abuse. She ended up working in a sardine cannery to survive.

In 1915, she was introduced to Theosophy and tried to integrate its esoteric teachings with the strict Christianity of her childhood. At the shrine room of the Theosophical Lodge in Pacific Grove, California, Bailey claimed to recognize a figure in a painting as a mysterious benefactor who visited her as a teenager. He was Master Koot Humi, a member of the spiritual hierarchy, but some Theosophists thought she was making up stories to claim special status for herself.

In 1919, Bailey was sitting on a hill when she was contacted telepathically by a spiritual master named Djwhal Khul, apparently occupying a physical body in Tibet. She heard a musical note, followed by a voice: “There are some books that it is desired should be written for the public. You can write them. Will you do so?” Since Alice didn’t know the voice’s credentials, she sensibly refused, but Khul persisted in telepathically harassing her until she gave in.

Their professional relationship blossomed for 30 years, covering such topics as esoteric psychology, cosmic evolution, and the consciousness of atoms. According to her autobiography, her psychic correspondence began every day at 3:00 AM, since she was part of a “suicide squad” of souls destined to work long hours for the benefit of mankind. She died in 1949, having published 19 books in psychic collaboration with Djwhal Khul, along with six books of her own.

9Penny Torres


In 1986, Penny Torres was a stay-at-home housewife from Los Angeles who spent most of her days watching soap operas. So she was very surprised when she made contact with Mafu, an entity from the seventh dimension, during a channeling session in Laguna Beach. Their first encounter was startling: “I almost got pushed out of my seat by a burst of cold and then hot air from underneath me. It took my breath away.” Later that night, the entity spoke to her in her living room, saying, “It is I, Mafu, and I come to tell you that you are loved.” She felt a compulsion to take a $1,000 amethyst crystal she had recently bought into the bedroom of her infant son, who was sick with pneumonia. The crystal’s tip shattered into fine powder and her son was cured by morning. According to Torres, “I thought I was crazy. This is Poltergeist City.”

The next night, Mafu also appeared to her husband, Tony, an LAPD officer. As the couple slept, their bed levitated and they found themselves looking at a gigantic man with huge hands and “chiseled Greek features” wearing a belted toga. The couple both wet their pants, but it turned out that Mafu merely wanted permission to inhabit Penny’s body to “bring the message of love to the human plane.” The first time Penny allowed Mafu to take over her body, she reported a burning sensation in her abdomen. She scolded the spirit: “He was in a happy mood and I was going ‘You jerk, I’m in pain here.’ He said he hadn’t been in a body since 79 AD and next time he’d try to align better.”

The couple cut a deal with Mafu, allowing him to inhabit Penny’s body for seven years. He offered a mountain of gold, but they modestly asked him to cover only their basic needs, such as a house in Hollywood at $2,500 a month. Torres spent 45 hours each week channeling Mafu, monetizing the inconvenience by charging people $30 a head for day seminars and $125 for weekend retreats. It seems their relationship was fruitful enough to continue the arrangement, since Torres now calls herself Swami Paramananda Saraswatti and continues to spread the word of Mafu through the Foundation for Meditative Studies.

8Benjamin Creme

Benjamin Creme Museum

Born in Scotland in 1922, Benjamin Creme is a modernist painter who became interested in esoteric philosophy from a young age, particularly the works of Helena Blavatsky and Alice Bailey. He came to believe in the existence of Masters of Wisdom, custodians of the Divine Plan for the planet Earth. In 1959, he claims to have been contacted by one such master, calling himself Maitreya, the World Teacher. In 1972, Creme began training to prepare the world for the return of the World Teacher, who is supposed to be the one destined to return in many cultural traditions: Christ, Messiah, Imam Mahdi, Krishna, and Maitreya Buddha.

The Maitreya is concerned with global issues like economic inequality, environmental damage, and human selfishness and conflict. He will return in the role of a teacher, guiding humanity to live as a family, solve critical world issues, and provide solutions for the problems of food supply, housing, healthcare, education, and environmental restoration. He has existed on this planet, hidden among the British Asian community, since at least 1972. In 2010, Creme announced the Maitreya had appeared on American television without revealing his identity, something he has been claiming is imminent since 1982.

As luck would have it, the British economist Raj Patel had just appeared on the comedy program The Colbert Report to promote his new book The Value Of Nothing, a critical analysis of western capitalism. This seemed about right to believers, who deluged Patel with emails asking if he was indeed the Maitreya. In response, Patel posted a denial on his blog, referencing a classic Monty Python line: “Sadly, I’m not the Messiah. I’m just a very naughty boy.” He also wrote about the experience for the Guardian, quipping that “it seems you can’t be a deity unless you do Comedy Central.”

7Jani King

P’taah is a multidimensional energy force vibrating through the Pleiadian star system, which has been channeled since 1989 by Jani King of Queensland, Australia. P’taah uses King to communicate to us denizens of “the third density,” spreading the message that giving thanks to the universe is the key to attracting good energy. His wisdom is available on CD or MP3 via subscription or individual purchase, as well as personal private sessions via telephone. These sessions are only available in English. When asked why he does not communicate through King in other languages, P’taah replied “one phenomenon at a time, beloved.”

Among P’taah’s gifts to humanity is a ditty called the Morning Song, to be sung daily in the shower to help overcome fear and transform your life: “Sing this song to your universe each day as you go forth to bathe your body, as you stand beneath the delicious flow of water and your beautiful body is warm and relaxed. The water is crystalline in property and is grandly magnifying, and as you sing forth the words, the sound embraced by the feeling in the Is-ness, in the Now of being in total abundance, you are in that reality. And as you go forth in your day, you carry with you the resonance, the energy that knows no lack.”

You have to make up your own tune, but the lyrics begin:

From the God/Goddess of my being I give forth thanks
for the love that I am.
For the love in my life and the love that surrounds me,
Thank you.
Thank you for the miracle of life that I am and
Thank you for the miracle of life I see reflected all about me.
Thank you for the gift of life that I am.
Thank you for this perfect body, my health, and well-being,
Thank you.

Of course, many would be skeptical of such claims. But even some non-skeptics have a problem with Jani King. One website claims that King’s P’taah is a big fat phony, ripped off from the experiences of a Swiss man named Billy Meier, who communed with extraterrestrials named Semjase, Ptaah, and Quetzal. Meier’s aliens originated from the Plejaren Federation, 80 light-years beyond the Pleiades. Plejaren Ptaah was a fleet commander and leader of the Federation, described as “a flesh and blood human being with a family and distinct human responsibilities and limitations.” When asked about Jani King’s P’taah, this Ptaah is alleged to have denied contacting anybody other than Meier. People who claim otherwise are “only poor crazy, schizophrenic, or otherwise delusionally sick, or even conscious liars, swindlers, deceivers, or charlatans.” Since he’s an alien, he would probably know.

6Barbara Bell


Photo via Wikimedia

In 1992, former air stewardess Barbara Bell discovered she could channel the spirit of Barbie. Yes, the plastic children’s doll. Apparently the first channeled message was “I need respect,” prompting Bell to found the Barbie Channeling Newsletter. In Bell’s own words: “Since childhood I have been gifted with an intensely personal, growth-oriented relationship with Barbie, the polyethylene essence who is 700 million teaching essences. Her wisdom is too important to be prepackaged. My inner hope is to let the voice of Barbie, my inner nametwin, come through. Barbie’s messages are offered in love.”

Through Bell’s newsletter, Barbie was soon answering questions at $3 a pop, including such queries as “Is there a bad Barbie?” and “[My roommate is] transsexual [and] wants to know why her estrogen pills are pink.” But Mattel proved oddly uncomfortable with the idea of a channeling cult emerging around their trademark, eventually issuing a cease-and-desist letter: “Your use of the Barbie name may adversely affect the wholesome, positive, family-oriented image of Barbie. We demand that you immediately discontinue.” Bell resisted but did make some concessions, including not appearing in public holding a Barbie doll.

In an interview with Melusine magazine’s Tara L. Masih, Bell considered why she was chosen to be the voice of the plastic prophetess: “I don’t know why, but on the other hand, why not? Somebody eventually was going to have to say something. I mean, her mouth doesn’t even open. Her eyes don’t open and shut. The poor woman is trapped in a sterile body, and she really has deep emotions and feelings.” Bell also let Masih speak directly to Barbie, who discussed her self-image (actualized through meditation), celebrity status (“I’m here to share”), and love life (surprisingly unfulfilled, although apparently “GI Joe is a very nice man”).

5Tom Kenyon


Not to be confused with the Australian politician of the same name, Tom Kenyon is a spiritualist and author who claims to have been in contact with a group of multidimensional beings called the Hathors since the 1980s. The Hathors apparently entered our universe through a portal near the Sirius star system before making their way to our solar system and the etheric realms of Venus. They have been active on Earth for eons but were particularly involved with the ancient Egyptian cult of the fertility goddess Hathor, as well as with early Buddhist lamas in Tibet.

The Hathors are considered slightly more ascended than us, having a greater awareness of the One Source of all that is. While they can communicate using human language, their usual form of expression is through “catalytic sound patterns,” which Kenyon channels via meditation. As a result, his vocal range has increased a full octave, although this is only apparent when he’s channeling sounds from other dimensions. These sounds are said to help people to enter altered states of awareness.

But the Hathors aren’t Kenyon’s only spiritual contacts. In 2000, Kenyon was asked by a friend to try and make contact with Mary Magdalene, the follower of Jesus often later interpreted as a reformed prostitute. After entering a light trance state, Kenyon reported feeling the presence of “an extraordinary feminine intelligence possessing an elegant power I had never, ever experienced before.” The entity insisted on being referred to as Mary Magdalen, minus the E, in order to distinguish herself from the false caricature taught by the Church. In reality, she explained, she had been the wife and tantric partner of Jesus Christ. She added that the couple were actually multi-dimensional beings called Arcturians, who only spent one life on Earth.

4Darryl Anka

Darryl Anka (Bashar) – Buddha at the Gas Pump Interview

As a visual effects designer, Darryl Anka has worked on films like I, Robot, Live Free Or Die Hard, and Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End. He’s also Paul Anka’s cousin. But that’s all a side concern for Darryl, who has spent the last 30 years channeling an extraterrestrial being known as Bashar, a commander of the Essassani civilization, which exists about 500 light-years toward the Orion constellation. At least, it will one day, since Bashar is also from the future.

It all started in 1973 when Anka spotted two triangular UFOs in Los Angeles. Ten years later, he made contact with one of the beings who was onboard: Bashar. According to Anka, the Essassani have Eurasian features, enlarged eyes, and whitish-gray skin. The females sport white hair, while the males are bald. They also live on a higher vibration than us, so their star system is not visible from Earth.

Anka claims that Bashar’s teachings are based on an advanced form of physics, rather than New Age philosophy, and can really change people’s lives for the better. A self-described expert on human transformation, alien civilizations, parallel realities, psychic phenomena, earth changes, future technology, the afterlife, sacred geometry, and much more, Bashar’s principles include four basic laws:

1. You exist.
2. The One is All and the All are One.
3. What you put out is what you get back.
4. Change is the only constant, except for the first three laws, which never change.

Not everyone is convinced, with the website Skeptoid wondering why an extraterrestrial energy being needs to charge $300 a session via PayPal (plus $100 as a booking fee). The site also criticizes Anka for rejecting modern medicine and claiming a regime of organic food, hydration, fasting, and exercise can cure AIDS and cancer, regenerate missing limbs, and allow levitation.

3JZ Knight

Judith Darlene Hampton (JZ Knight) – Extremely rare South African interview

Born Judith Darlene Hampton in Roswell, New Mexico (yes, that Roswell), JZ Knight was attending business school when she made contact with a 35,000-year-old Lemurian spirit-warrior known as Ramtha.

According to Knight, she and her husband had heard that pyramids had the power to preserve food and keep blades sharp. Intrigued, they spent an evening filling their kitchen with paper pyramids to test their efficacy with cheese and dog food. Placing one of the paper pyramids on her head as a joke, Knight suddenly received a vision of a tall man in a purple robe, who informed her he was “Ramtha the Enlightened One. I have come to help you over the ditch.” Her husband saw nothing, being too busy trying to align pyramids with the help of a compass. However, he apparently did feel the magnetic energy of the Lemurian, since the compass needle started spinning wildly and there was a noticeable ionization in the air.

In 1979, Knight began spreading the word of Ramtha through retreats and sessions known as “Ramtha Dialogues,” which attracted celebrities like Shirley MacLaine (who later broke off contact), Richard Chamberlain, Mike Farrell, and Salma Hayek. According to Knight, the world was once home to advanced civilizations, who coexisted with dinosaurs and lemurs. The people of Lemuria originated from “beyond the North Star” but were still overshadowed by the even mightier civilization of Atlantis. Ramtha himself once led an army of 2.5 million troops to conquer two-thirds of the world. But an unexpected stabbing prompted him to spend the next seven years meditating on a rock. After that, he became enlightened and ascended.

Ramtha chose Knight as his emissary partially so that his teachings would “come through the body of a woman,” explaining that “women have been abused by men, and herded by men through religion to perform according to those religious doctrines, and in fact, women were despised by Jehovah.” Speaking of Jehovah, the Judeo-Christian God is not well regarded by Ramtha, who has called Him a “psychotic, insecure son of a bitch.”

In 2011, Ramtha came under scrutiny after apparently going on a racist and homophobic tirade before a paying crowd. Through JZ Knight, Ramtha ranted about Jews (“F–k God’s chosen people! I think they have earned enough cash to have paid their way out of the goddamned gas chambers by now”) and Mexicans (who “breed like rabbits”). He also claimed all gay men once served as Catholic priests and that organic farmers have bad hygiene. Knight tried to take legal action against those who released video of the event, claiming the Lemurian’s comments were taken out of context.

In 2014, a shocking letter from former Ramtha enthusiast Virginia Coverdale became public, alleging the Ramtha School of Enlightenment was encouraging followers to drink a concoction of Dead Sea water mixed with lye. Coverdale said her family had been involved with the school for 30 years and that the dangerous mixture “wasn’t just a one-time thing. They were taking it for five years and Ramtha at one point told them to chug it. This was not just a teaspoon in the morning, in the evening. People were losing their hair.” According to one physician who has treated a number of deathly sick Ramtha followers, lye can “cause huge ulcers in your esophagus; it could kill you if you took it straight.”

2Geoffrey Hoppe

Discovery Shoud 10 with Adamus Saint-Germain channeled by Geoffrey Hoppe

In 1997, Geoffrey Hoppe was on a flight when he first made contact with Tobias, also known as Tobit, an angelic being who spent many lifetimes on Earth but took a long leave of absence after 50 BC. (He was a merchant who was thrown into prison due to a greedy neighbor with government connections, so telling Earth to get lost is an understandable reaction.) According to Tobias, he spent the intervening time working for the Archangel Michael, preparing to help humans with the awakening of “Christ consciousness,” which began with the Buddha and continued through Jesus and Muhammad.

Through Geoffrey Hoppe and his wife, Tobias spent 10 years building a network of spiritual teachers referred to as the Crimson Circle or Shaumbra. In 2009, he announced his departure, saying he was off to inhabit a “shell body,” a biological human vessel containing his angelic consciousness, called To Bi Wah. His chosen shell was apparently a boy named Sam, who had been in an accident and was unconscious in hospital, which rendered him spiritually open enough for the To Bi Wah entity to enter him. While that’s terrifying, the Crimson Circle saw the occasion as a poignant farewell.

Luckily, Tobias wasn’t their only channeling contact. In fact, Geoffrey Hoppe has channeled a number of important spirit masters, including the Metatron and the Archangels Gabriel, Michael, and Amiel. Two of the organization’s most prominent spiritual pals are Adamus Saint-Germain and Kuthumi lal Singh. Saint-German was an 18th-century alchemist who now serves as keynote speaker for all Crimson Circle seminars. Singh, on the other hand, was a 19th-century Kashmiri who received a broad education at Oxford University and a Tibetan lamasery. He was also the reincarnation of Pythagoras, Pharaoh Thutmose III, Balthasar of the Three Wise Men, Saint Francis of Assisi, and Shah Jahan (builder of the Taj Mahal). He is said to have advised Madame Blavatsky, but is now best known in the Crimson Circle for a humorous lecture entitled “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Ascension: I Lost Everything.”

1George Van Tassel


One of the founders of modern UFOlogy, George Van Tassel began his career as a contactee, rather than a channeler. He was dozing on a plot of land he leased when he was woken by a man standing at the foot of his sleeping bag, who declared that he was “Solganda, and I would be pleased to show you my craft.” The extraterrestrial took Van Tassel to a UFO hovering nearby, at which point he was lifted into the air by a mysterious “butter-colored light” and told that he had been chosen to bring a message of peace and interstellar brotherhood to the people of Earth.

Van Tassel’s subsequent bizarre career could probably fill a list of its own. Among other things, he is said to be the first to use the word “channeling” to describe contact with extraterrestrial beings. In 1952, he made contact with a being he called Ashtar, Commandant of the Vela Quadra Sector and Representative of the Council of Seven Lights. Ashtar was worried about the development of the hydrogen bomb on Earth, which had prompted him to assemble a fleet and three substations hidden in vortices around the planet. Claiming authority from Schlning, Lord God of the Third Dimensional Sector, he said he had 500,000 “ventalas” ready to release if humanity looked like destroying Earth with hydrogen weapons.

Interestingly, Ashtar wasn’t particularly concerned with fission weapons based on plutonium or uranium , but he insisted that “when they explode the hydrogen atom, they shall extinguish life on this planet. They are tinkering with a formula they do not comprehend. They are destroying a life giving element of the Creative Intelligence. Our message to you is this: you shall advance to your government all information we have trasmitted to you. You shall request that your government shall immediately contact all other earth nations regardless of political feelings.” If humans didn’t heed his warning to back away from H-bomb research “we shall eliminate all projects connected with such. Our missions are peaceful, but this condition occurred before in this solar system and the planet, Lucifer, was torn to bits. We are determined that it not happen again.”

Van Tassel later hosted channeling sessions with Ashtar at his Ministry of Universal Wisdom, but argued with his disciple Bill Rose, who thought he should commercialize the enterprise. Van Tassel refused, so Rose set up a rival organization called the Ashtar Command, which published channeled messages through newsletters and New Age books. No ventalas appeared to put a stop to this unprecedented case of interplanetary copyright infringement.

David Tormsen is occasionally channeled by a cuttlefish-like fungal entity with a boring day job who lives in the Centaurus system. Most of his wisdom is recycled from greeting cards, but the subscribers seem to like it. Email him at [email protected].

fact checked by Jamie Frater