Guest View: Ramtha, Carl Sagan & the Fine Art of Baloney Detection

In General

By AnonyMaker

Strange and even somewhat dangerous concoctions or treatments seem to have a certain place in high control groups or cults, where pseudo-science is rife. [The Ramtha cult seems to have suggested that followers drink a concoction of poisonous lye with Dead Sea water].

It’s also the sort of weird half-baked thing that comes out of the imaginative processes of the mind that actually produce what passes for “channeling” or “past lives.”s

Here’s what a renowned scholar has to say about J. Z. Knight and Ramtha in general, taken from the book The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark –

The Fine Art of Baloney Detection by Carl Sagan

“J.Z. Knight of the State of Washington claims to be in touch with a 35,000-year-old somebody called “Ramtha.”

“He speaks English very well, using Knight’s tongue, lips and vocal chords, producing what sounds to me to be an accent from the Indian Raj. Since most people know how to talk, and many — from children to professional actors — have a repertoire of voices at their command, the simplest hypothesis is that Ms. Knight makes “Ramtha” speak all by herself and that she has no contact with disembodied entities from the Pleistocene Ice Age.

“If there’s evidence to the contrary, I’d love to hear it. It would be considerably more impressive if Ramtha could speak by himself, without the assistance of Ms. Knight’s mouth. Failing that, how might we test the claim? (The actress Shirley MacLaine attests that Ramtha was her brother in Atlantis, but that’s another story.)

“Suppose Ramtha were available for questioning. Could we verify whether he is who he says he is? How does he know that he lived 35,000 years ago, even approximately? What calendar does he employ? Who is keeping track of the intervening millennia? Thirty-five thousand plus or minus what? What were things like 35,000 years ago? Either Ramtha really is 35,000 years old, in which case we discover something about that period, or he’s a phony and he’ll (or rather she’ll) slip up.

J. Z. Knight says she channels Ramtha but skeptics suspect she is making it all up.

“Where did Ramtha live? (I know he speaks English with an Indian accent, but where 35,000 years ago did they do that?) What was the climate? What did Ramtha eat? (Archaeologists know something about what people ate back then.) What were the indigenous languages, and social structure? Who else did Ramtha live with — wife, wives, children, grandchildren? What was the life cycle, the infant mortality rate, the life expectancy? Did they have birth control? What clothes did they wear? How were the clothes manufactured? What were the most dangerous predators? Hunting and fishing implements and strategies? Weapons? Endemic sexism? Xenophobia and ethnocentrism? And if Ramtha came from the “high civilization” of Atlantis, where are the linguistic, technological, historical and other details? What was their writing like? Tell us. Instead, all we are offered are banal homilies….

“People pay attention to these puerile marvels mainly because they promise something like old-time religion, but especially life after death, even life eternal.”

Sagan’s point about Ramtha’s supposed age is an interesting one – and a good catch, by the truly clever, inquiring and rigorous mind. One of the typical tricks of gurus and leaders is to project an aura of false authority by asserting things with certainty, specificity and detail that sound scholarly or scientific when they’re just pulled from nowhere. We assume that everyone knows their age (though even in primitive cultures that is not necessarily true), and so Knight’s credulous followers are unlikely to think to stop and question what point of reference Ramtha would have for calculating that.


Image result for ramtha
J. Z Knight on whiteboard

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25 commentsOn Guest View: Ramtha, Carl Sagan & the Fine Art of Baloney Detection

  • Pingback: Guest View: Ramtha, Carl Sagan & The Image of Baloney Detection – Frank Report ()

  • Great post AnonyMaker!

  • J.Z. Knight describing the Amway pyramid scheme 35,000 years ago. Some things are so stupid that a long analysis of them is just as stupid.

    • “J.Z. Knight describing the Amway pyramid scheme 35,000 years ago.”

      omg. That’s hilarious…

      • Yes. Almost as hilarious as NXIVM’s 3-ring circus presentation at trial but hopefully not as deadly as their more personalized charts. Funny how the NXIVM sash colors could fit right into Ramtha’s pyramid.

  • Steven the questioner

    At the bottom of this page there is an ad with a picture of a very attractive young woman who claims to want to meet me. I hope she is not lying too.

  • Sagan’s grasp of the obvious notwithstanding… we also need to consider the science of human psychology — re: cults, thought reform, mind control, hypnosis and why otherwise intelligent and rational people continue to patronize cults. . Cult Education Institute has numerous articles on mind control psychology — and specifically data on “Ramtha School of Enlightenment” and NXIVM nutty nonsense

    That said there’s this YouTube conversation between Raniere and Mack.

    About 12 minutes in:

    RANIERE: …And it also relates to wisdom in that wisdom is being able to take all your life experience and applying it to a decision. It’s a global way of acting as opposed to a narrow way where… Oh, I feel like doing this – not gonna give anything that ever happened to me… no lessons have been learned. I’m just going to go and do this thing. Likewise, authenticity has no layers of artifice, no trying to be something that you think you should be. It’s just a pure state of being. So one would say authenticity is being as you are and expressing as you are at least to some degree and, of course, as you are is the sum of your whole past. So, when someone’s being authentic, you get the feeling that not only that there’s a person there in the moment but somehow you reach into their very essence and you meet the unique individual.”

    MACK: “I don’t know why it makes me want to cry. It’s beautiful! I think…”

    RANIERE: “I think these are things we all strive for, you know we strive as a… as individuals we strive to break through a type of existential isolation, we want to touch someone, we want to know that other people have souls, we want to experience this – we want to experience connection – things like what we call love… umm and compassion, um even something like a we say connectional rapport – some people call it an energy — or whatever but now we’re not talking to a machine, we’re talking to another human… and even if this human is a machine, somehow we imbue it with… we even ask the question is this thing alive.. is this thing thinking?”

    Now, if I hear the “smartest guy on the planet” spouting this stupid on steroids nonsense — and then he wants $7500 for a self-improvement class….. I say “Go. Pound. Sand, Einstein. Next.” So I’m still a little confused how people don’t get a clue up front.

  • Nice write up!
    …”One of the typical tricks of gurus and leaders is to project an aura of false authority by asserting things with certainty”….

    I would think that there would be very few times in civilization that anyone, a group or village or otherwise, followed someone else if they were not convincing or at least acted brave. Think castle raids, tribal conflicts etc..

    • That’s a good point – it’s just these sort of human tendencies, that often serve a positive purpose, that also can be exploited to our disadvantage.

      It turns out being trusting overall, is also a positive and useful trait – research shows that higher levels of general trust is associated with wellbeing, education and success. And yet that is yet another thing that can be exploited.

      p.s. Glad if you found the piece of interest, thanks for the acknowledgment

  • Years ago I had a subscription the The Skeptical Enquirer. Each issue was filled with long, painstaking, carefully footnoted articles by scientists debunking such nonsense as weeping religious statues, contrails, and the crop circles. Entertaining and illuminating at first, but then I realized the futility of the exercise, which would be summed up by the fictional Dr. House: “if you could reason with religious people, there would be no religious people.”

    People believe what they want to believe. The brilliant Dr. Sagan and an entire team of likewise brilliant scientists will never convince a true believer that they are mistaken. As Bill Murray said, “if you think it’s difficult changing a smart person’s opinion, just try it with a stupid person.”

    • AnoyMaker,

      Hard to believe Carl Sagan pointed out all of the flaws with Ramtha…..

      …….Even harder to believe is the fact that Carl Sagan pointed out all the obvious an easily observable flaws in the Flat Earth Theory and Flat earther ranks have swelled since the dawn of the Internet.

      AnoyMaker you ever read the Skeptics magazine?

      It’s another one.

  • For some reason, I’m really doubting there will be many articles on this blog about Ramtha. Anyone who has dealt with JZ and her minions and tried to question was shut down quickly….ask Virginia Coverdale…
    I’m pretty sure this blog will shut down after NIVIM wraps up if they continue to cover Ramtha. There is no way Ramtha and her lawyers will tolerate any criticism of that group.
    Would be great if this blog would take them on, but I’m sure if more articles are written this blog will probably go under beneath the weight of most certain litigation if more is spoken of Ramtha.
    Scary territory to tread on…..ask Virginia Coverdale….it ruined her life…..and finances.

    • Ramtha sued Coverdale on the theory that Coverdale violated her employment contract by revealing corporate secrets.
      Oddly enough Ramtha did not sue Coverdale alleging defamation, essentially admitting the truth of Coverdale’s allegations.

  • Early followers of Ramtha say that JZ Knight modelled herself (including the vocal delivery, at least in the beginning, it’s become increasingly erratic) on the channeling of “Seth” by Jane Roberts from the 1960s until her death in 1984. Knight apparently channeled whole passages straight from Seth. Jane Roberts was herself a writer and poet, often on esoteric themes. If you read the book “Seth Speaks”, entirely dictated by Seth — who humorously calls himself a “ghost writer” — Roberts goes into great detail about this channeling process, and how she tested it against her own experience of writing.

    She says something like — I know what it takes to produce a book. I did not produce this work, although I can recognise some of my own turns of phrase (Seth would “borrow” her consciousness and idiom to channel his message).

    My main point: Jane Roberts would generally be completely and genuinely unaware of what she had been channeling, when she came out of trance. Her husband would take this dictation down in writing, and sometimes she herself would only see the material months later. She felt that if she got too involved, it might lead her to anticipate the direction of the material and thus influence the process.

    Now: Ramtha the Enlightened One Himself once presided (through JZ Knight) over a “rape trial” at the Yelm compound. Here’s an account of what happened when the matter subsequently came to court:

    — — RAMTHA: Channeler says she won’t testify

    Sun | Local

    Oct 10th, 2000

    YELM (AP) – The woman who claims to channel a 35,000-year-old warrior spirit called Ramtha said she can’t take the witness stand against a Pe Ell couple accused of sexual misconduct with a 15-year-old girl.

    J.Z. Knight said she doesn’t remember the confession of voice instructor Wayne Allen Geis and his common-law wife, Ruth Beverly Martin, which is said to have occurred about a year ago in front of about 800 stunned students at Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment on Knight’s Yelm estate.

    Knight said she was in a trance at the time – that it was Ramtha who questioned the couple and elicited the confession.

    “There is a being outside of me which is him,” Knight said. — —

    There’s one very easy way to prove that JZ Knight is actually a total fraud. Can anyone explain how she somehow *knows* what Ramtha said through her, all the esoteric teachings and the like, without someone either telling her what she said, or her watching a video of her own “performance”? Jane Roberts was far behind her husband, and far less of an expert on what Seth was revealing, during the whole process. That’s what a real channeling looks like (and having read Jane Roberts’s careful personal interrogation of the whole Seth phenomenon, and having seen the integrity of the material in Seth Speaks, I am personally 100% convinced that this was the real thing.)

    The Rudolf Steiner people are very strict about what counts as valid “spiritual science”. They absolutely discount *all* channeling. They say that, like Steiner himself, you must confront the spiritual realities in full waking consciousness. Yet a top Steiner follower, Stanley Messenger, maintained that the anthroposophical movement never achieved what it should have, and *this* was why Seth was necessary:

    “The exceptional case I referred to is when, as in the case of Seth and his medium, Jane Roberts, in the seventies, one can ask whether any of this remarkable teaching would have been needed if we had really listened to Rudolf Steiner earlier on. I am not at all saying that Jane Roberts could have done anything differently, though Seth himself repeatedly warned her that her total mediumism, alternating almost from minute to minute with a very full and intelligent consciousness, was playing havoc with her health. In the end her body seized up and she died. It was partly a conscious sacrifice. A vast amount of information and insight needs to pour through from the spiritual world, and if we fail to make the conscious effort someone may suffer in a mediumistic or channelling way.”

    I’m sure that JZ Knight’s rants during “wine ceremonies”, when she’s drunk and staggering around the stage, really are just a blur to her the next morning. But it’s a very convenient trick, to put all the blame for anything she says in this state on Ramtha the Enlightened One.

    She says Ramtha first appeared to her in her kitchen, quite visibly, and spoke to her. Why did she have to channel him, then? Compare this with Jane Roberts’s account, of how Seth very slowly manifested in her consciousness through various means, like through her metaphysical poetry, with her actually resisting this strange influence very strongly at certain points. The whole Ramtha story, from beginning to end, reeks of fraud.

    When I say “end”: JZ Knight now claims in a press release that her personal healthcare professional (he’s not a proper doctor) did DNA tests on her while channeling Ramtha, and says that her DNA changes to that of a native American / Viking *male* while she’s in trance:

    — — “There is no doubt in my mind that the DNA from JZ Knight in her everyday life and from Ms. Knight when she was channeling Ramtha demonstrate an incredibly rare scientific phenomenon,” said Dr. Matthew Martinez, JZ Knight’s personal physician, who collected the cheek swabs and sent the samples at the same time to three different laboratories. “There is no debate – the DNA samples indicate completely different people.” — —

    There is no debate: this is more nuts than just about anything she’s claimed before, and to my eye, is conclusive proof that this cult is being primed to implode. Now: JZ Knight has more than once boasted about her CIA connections. She says the CIA uses Ramtha material to train its top agents. She calls herself the “best-kept secret in Wall Street” and says that all the major corporations, like IBM and Google, consult Ramtha. (They deny it, when asked, but of course, that’s just more proof that it’s true).

    If she has such a big consultancy going with Wall Street: why does she have to charge so much for her esoteric teachings? I mean, the teachings of Ramtha the Enlightened One? Does *Ramtha* need the money?

    So I’ve long held the view that the Ramtha cult would be implemented by the CIA in some fashion. For example: in 2011, after Fukushima, there was a very dramatic Ramtha channeling, predicting a vast earthquake and tsunami that would take Japan right under the seabed. Ramtha said that the Higher Beings had decided this was the only way the world could be prevented from global disaster. Vast tsunamis were going to sweep from California to New Mexico, and in the podcast, her followers were excitedly predicting which cities would go under the water. This was supposed to happen within weeks.

    That podcast has now been removed. However, I went on a (now defunct) sci-fi forum to report this prediction, and said: if this actually happens, it’s no proof of Ramtha’s prophetic powers. It shows that the CIA is engaged in earthquake warfare, and is using Ramtha as a foil. The earthquake never happened, of course, and that entire board has disappeared into digital history, I can’t find a trace of it. But I’m glad I made the point, because now I think the CIA *has* implemented its asset. JZ Knight, after donating some $170,000 to Democrats in her area over the years, is now a big Trump fan and supporter of the Q Anon movement… and she’s selling neat Q shirts…

    The following is a very difficult and disturbing video, but contains some fascinating insights into what’s really going on at the Ramtha School of Enlightenment (RSE) compound:

    This woman grew up in that community. She describes the terrible abuse she suffered as a child, including being used as slave labour to dig an underground bunker. However, she reveals exactly how these bunkers were planned: she says they got hold of books describing how the Viet Cong built entire underground complexes, with interlinking tunnels, to fight the war. And the RSE people followed these technical details closely, she says.

    Several reports say these people are stockpiling weapons as well. Does anyone get the feeling that Ramtha is not going to disappear quietly into the night? JZ Knight was quoted as saying that “We will go out in a blaze of glory in this life”.

    This is why this totally insane story of the DNA is being floated. I believe JZ Knight’s CIA handlers decided on this as a serious test of who would stick with the program, no matter what, and who would balk at the Kool-Aid jug. And when this all goes up in flames, it will be blamed by the entire mainstream media on those crazy Q people. Whatever Q is or isn’t, I don’t think the CIA are happy with this phenomenon, and they will go to great lengths to discredit it.

    As a foreigner, it just amazes me that there is such total ignorance and incomprehension of the risk these people pose. But I’ve seen this happen once before, with the Aum Shinrikyo cult in Japan. I’m a radio man, and was listening to and recording Radio Moscow during the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Around 1992, they started carrying advertisements, mostly for state-owned enterprises. But there were also dramatic broadcasts, with ominous music, that said “This is the truth of the holy heaven; when this truth has been propagated around the world, the destruction of the Earth shall come.” I’ve still got the tape recordings somewhere.

    This was followed by a postal address for Aum Shinrikyo in Shizuoka. I was intrigued enough to write to them, and started receiving a regular newsletter, with details of shortwave broadcasts from Japan, which I tuned into. I even got a QSL card from them with Asahara’s picture when I sent a reception report.

    I was receiving these apocalyptic newsletters right up to the point of the Tokyo sarin gas killings. The last Aum newsletter, a few weeks before this, was completely off the wall. It predicted a vast war between Japan and America, to be fought with earthquake technology and nuclear weapons. And there was a whole page interpreting the Buddha’s sayings about “blue” and “yellow” lotus flowers as references to blood (venous blood, hence blue) and pus. Buddha was describing the decay you have to go through and experience, to reach enlightenment.

    Oddly — and I perhaps should not say this — I had had experiences, during a very rough psychological patch, which exactly mirrored what this screed was saying, specific visions of pus and blood that I knew I just had to get through, so I was interested. One thing I’ll tell you, Shoko Asahara had a line to primitive Buddhism which was quite impressive, it certainly fooled the Dalai Lama, who was photographed holding Asahara’s hand and reportedly told him to take Buddhism proper to Japan. And of course, the Dalai Lama pitches up again with NXIVM — he really should choose his cult associations more carefully.

    When Aum Shinrikyo imploded, and the sarin gas attack occurred, the Japanese government said it was totally caught by surprise. Oh, yeah. Aum had imported a military attack helicopter from Russia, along with all kinds of electromagnetic warfare equipment. There was a US Senate hearing into whether Aum Shinrikyo actually possessed earthquake tech and had caused artificial quakes in Australia — the cult bought a sheep farm there, which promptly became the epicentre of an earthquake, accompanied by a fireball, in an area that had never experienced a quake before. An Aussie geologist called Harry Mason did an exhaustive investigation of this, and found stories from Aboriginal locals about Aum members on motorcycles collecting earth samples from the area. Mason had no doubt that Aum Shinrikyo was behind this event.

    So don’t tell me that no one in the Japanese government had any clue of what was going on. Aum was being used to covertly acquire extremely sensitive weaponry, so someone at the top knew the score.

    If I, a complete nobody with a shortwave radio, could tell that Aum Shinrikyo was about to implode: how does it possibly happen that no one in Japan saw this coming? And why do I get exactly the same feeling now with RSE?

    I mention Aum Shinrikyo for one very other particular reason. There’s a major cult apologist called J Gordon Melton, who is always quoted by Ramtha followers as proving that this channeling is all legit and scientifically proven. He wrote a whole book about the Ramtha cult, as described by Joe Szimhart, who had very close information about JZ Knight from her ex-husband, Jeff Knight:

    One quote from this: “My last point has to do with the nature of the tests that certain ‘experts’ performed on JZ while she was in her Ramtha mode. Melton tells us that the tests show that JZ is not a fraud, and that something extraordinary was physiologically taking place.”

    This was decades before these DNA tests, so you can see the pattern here, using pseudoscience and pliable hucksters to provide a veneer of bullshit to baffle the brains of her benighted believers. They really do believe this DNA stuff, by the way, I know some serious Ramtha devotees, one of whom has actually built an underground bunker to store food. This was for 2012, when they thought the world was going to end, so these supplies may be going off by now.

    So Ramtha and Aum Shinrikyo actually shared the same apologist, in J Gordon Melton, and if *that* doesn’t ring an alarm bell somewhere, you’re not listening.

    Yes, the Ramtha lawyers may get busy; but watch out for a legal action that ends up with some kind of raid on that compound, followed by scenes from Apocalypse Now, as they fight back from their Viet Cong-style underground bunkers and tunnels.

    Bunkers that in one case, at least, were dug out by child slave labour.

    One other thing: that woman’s video describes how the people at RSE wore branded track pants with labels bearing the names of their particular groups and colour coding to indicate seniority. The more you pay, the higher your rank. If you miss a course, you have to go back to the beginning (according to David McCarthy, one of the big whistle-blowers at RSE). So you just keep spending and spending. Does any of this sound familiar? This is NXIVM with underground bunkers and machine guns. I’m a nothing from nowhere, and I can see what’s coming.

    There are other similarities between NXIVM and RSE. Both ran grade schools, although the two schools associated with RSE shut for lack of funds (what? Couldn’t they just invoke their clairvoyant powers and go to the casino and win all the money they needed?)

    Both have attracted some of the wealthiest people in the world: the Bronfmans to NXIVM on the one hand, and Ms Rebecca Oppenheimer, of De Beers diamonds, who once bid $170,000 for a private session with Ramtha at a charity auction for one of the schools that bit the dust, Phoenix Rising, an unfortunate name. NXIVM certainly did a better job on that score, those Rainbow Gardens schools have to be one of the creepiest parts of the whole story.

    But in the end, I’m certain that the Ramtha School of Enlightenment is going to make NXIVM look truly puny. And the end has now definitely begun, with these DNA tests and the whole Q thing. There may not be so many people in those bunkers as there were, I don’t know. But the ones that remain are armed, dangerous, and very tired of waiting for the apocalypse, they’ve been promised it for 40 years now. It’s not a good recipe.

    Thanks for your attention; sincere thanks again to Frank Parlato for his fearless efforts.

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