The full document. Krippner et al

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The full document. Krippner et al

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For the record. The full document.
WORKING WITH RAMTHA: IS IT A “HIGH RISK” PROCEDURE?
Stanley Krippner, Ian Wickramasekera, and Judy Wickramasekera 1997
Krippner et al.
WORKING WITH RAMTHA: IS IT A “HIGH RISK” PROCEDURE?
Stanley Krippner, Ian Wickramasekera, and Judy Wickramasekera

Saybrook Graduate School,
San Francisco, California, USA

ABSTRACT
Seven research participants who had worked with the consciousness training procedures taught by the alleged discarnate entity “Ramtha” for 5 years or more, were administered a series of psychological tests.
The resulting profile indicated that they were characterized by “thin boundaries,” high absorption capabilities, and high dissociative capacities, a profile consistent with Wickramasekera's description of
individuals in the “high risk” category for mind-body incongruence and\or somatization. Because of their
“high risk” profiles, we would advise that these individuals, and those who engage in similar practices, continually monitor their psychological and physiological health, paying special attention to such variables
as diet, exercise, rest, and attitude. We further advise that their vocational, avocational, and social activities be designed to provide equilibrium in light of their endeavors. Finally, we hope that these individuals will
continue to collaborate with serious investigators of human consciousness including parapsychologists. In the meantime, we propose that experiences that Westerners label “dissociative” may have once served
adaptive, survival functions in human evolution, and may continue to enhance adaptive behavior in any number of non-Western societies.]

INTRODUCTION
Although the study of anomalous phenomena has emphasized experimental research studies in recent decades, the literature contains several examples of controlled observations of research
participants known as “mediums,” “psychics,” or --perhaps most appropriately-- “psychic claimants.” The effects observed in the presence of these individuals included the apparent anomalous production of raps, voices, and other sounds; the apparent anomalous movement of
tables or small objects on a table or other surface; the apparent alteration of photographic film; the
apparent anomalous appearance and disappearance of objects; and the apparent anomalous

1
Gratitude is expressed to the Northwest Research Foundation for funding this study, to Michael Winkler
and Robert Tartz for assisting with the statistical analysis, and to Saybrook Graduate School for granting a
sabbatical to the senior author, part of which was used for data collection and analysis in this study. An extended version of this paper has been accepted for publication in the I{Journal of the American Society
for Psychical Research}.


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“channeling” of information and inspirational comments (Schmeidler, 1977, 1990).

When given the opportunity to work with purportedly remarkable research participants, serious scientists have been ambivalent. Haraldsson and Houtkooper (1994) have outlined the value and limitations of working with these individuals who are often dubbed “star performers,” i.e., research participants who allegedly manifest dramatic phenomena. The possibility of fraud is
omnipresent, and many of these “stars” have earned a reputation for being “difficult,” refusing to perform under controlled conditions or with magicians present, invoking demands that scientists consider unwarranted, and making outrageous claims about the “scientific verification” of their
abilities once the research has ended. Rush (1977) concluded that the demonstrations by “star
performers,” even granting their validity, “have not advanced scientific understanding of the phenomena very much” (p. 48). Murphy (1969) admitted that the more gifted these individual
are, the greater the difficulties are in studying them. Wiseman and Morris (1995), however, point out that “the study of psychic claimants could prove important” (p. 12); like creativity, putative psi ability may best be studied at the extreme end of the normal distribution curve rather than as it occurs in the general population.

With these caveats --and possibile benefits-- in mind, we accepted an invitation to initiate a research study with JZ Knight and her associates in Yelm, Washington in 1996. Knight (1987) has described her first encounter with the alleged entity “Ramtha” following a 1977 demonstration of so-called “pyramid power” in her kitchen. After placing a paper pyramid over her head she recalls noticing a “glimmer of a bright light” and seeing “a giant man...aglow” who announced himself as “Ramtha, the Enlightened One” (pp. 11-12).

Later, Ramtha (1986) described himself as part of “an unseen brotherhood” who loves humanity
(p. 1), telling Knight that she was to be a “channel” for his messages. As Knight began to “channel” Ramtha's words for audiences, he explained that “to prevent you from worshiping me, I have not come to you in my own embodiment. Instead, I have chosen to speak to you through an entity who was my beloved daughter when I lived upon this plane....When I speak to you, she is no longer within her body, for her soul and spirit have left it completely” (p. 2). (In light of this claim, this paper will employ the usage “Ramtha's advice” or “according to Ramtha” instead of “according to Ramtha, speaking through Knight.”)

From the viewpoint of at least one debunker, Knight is “probably the best-known and most financially successful of the modern channelers” and Ramtha's advice has become “more puritanical and negative” over time (Alcock, 1996, p. 157). However, the same debunker claims that Ramtha purports to have “conquered the entire world thirty-five thousand years ago,” a
statement at variance with Ramtha's (1986) statement that he “conquered three-quarters of the known world” (p. 2), a discrepancy that casts doubt on the accuracy of the remainder of this derisive assessment.


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Krippner et al.

Over the years, Ramtha has prescribed a series of exercises that purport to help people “focus” their attention and heighten their untapped capacities. Specifically, these capacities would be described by parapsychologists as “psi phenomena,” specifically telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, and psychokinesis.

This program attempts to activate “kundalini energy,” a construct that has had various meanings over the millennia it has been used. Ramtha uses the term to describe a reservoir of energy that
can be moved from the lower part of the body to the brain's frontal lobe through breathing exercises. Students assume a “half lotus” posture with their eyes closed, legs folded, and buttocks elevated slightly. Students straighten the spine and picture themselves as being pyramids, the forehead being at the apex. Students then attempt to visualize a red line running from the forehead to the right knee, and then to the left knee, and back to the forehead. Students attempt to visualize
a red thread slowly unwinding from the forehead to the right knee. As this thread unwinds, the extended index and middle fingers of the right hand trace the movement of the red line on the forehead (Melton, 1997).

Students then tighten the lower part of the body and take a deep breath inward through the nose, expelling that breathe with great force. While breathing in this manner, the back of the tongue is placed on the roof of the mouth, constricting the air flow and generally making the turbulent sound of a rushing airflow. At this point, Ramtha often instructs students to visualize a volcano
that spews lava just as the air is exhaled. Each completed cycle of this process is an individualized breath. Students often repeat the phrase, “So be it,” accompanying the statement with a movement in which the right hand, already in front of the body, is quickly brought to the right side at shoulder height with the palm facing forward. This process is usually accompanied by music
thought to be energizing (Melton, 1997).

Finally, this alleged activation of kundalini is brought together with practical work on one's life transformation. Beginning students are invited to list various changes they would like to make, or to catalog what is missing from their lives. A word is chosen from each item on the list, and the student “focuses” upon the word holding it in the “mind's eye,” i.e., what Ramtha considers the brain's frontal lobe. After students feel comfortable with their “focus” upon the word, it is held in awareness while breathing; as the breath is discharged, the letters of the word are expelled, one at a time. Ramtha tells students that the breathing facilitates an altered state of consciousness, one that assists the “manifestation” of the life change by unconsciously anchoring the hoped-for transformation. This process is accompanied by biochemical changes in the body, specifically a
lowering of bodily acidity (Melton, 1998).

Ramtha (1986) has expressed an interest in systematic research into these phenomena, forecasting that “scientific developments will bloom here greater than they ever have” (p. 3). It was in the spirit of this comment and the cooperation of JZ Knight that we undertook this investigation.


RESEARCH QUESTION AND PROCEDURE
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The research team consisted of Stanley Krippner (SK), Ian Wickramasekera (IW), and Judy Wickramasekera (JW). Research participants consisted of JZ Knight and six individuals living in Yelm who have studied at the Ramtha School of Enlightenment for five years or more: Brett Alt,
J.O. Alt, Bodhananda, Joe Dispensa, Greg Simmons, and Audrey Wolf. The 7 research participants (five men, two women, ranging in age from 26 to 57 with a mean age of 39.5) were administered a series of psychological tests. Only Knight claims to “channel” Ramtha; the others
practice the prescribed kundalini meditation exercises.

The framework guiding our research project was Wickramasekera's (1988, 1989, 1991, 1995) multidimensional High Risk Model of Threat Perception (HRMTP) designed to identify persons at risk for mind-body incongruence. Wickramasekera (1989, 1995, 1993, 1998, in press;
Wickramasekera, Pope, and Kolm, 1996) has amassed considerable data in support of the HRMTP model, and found 71% of one high risk group (high hypnotic ability people) to report anomalous experiences in comparison with 19% of another high risk group (low hypnotic ability people). This quantitative discrepancy in “lows” is hypothesized to be due to an active inhibitory cognitive style that blocks access to implicit or unconscious (Kihlstrom, 1987) perceptions
(Wickramasekera, 1988, 1993). Wickramasekera's model predicts that (1) the capacity to enter an altered state of consciousness, and (2) the capacity to block the perception of threat from consciousness, are I{preconditions} for the development of both somatization disorders and presumptive psi abilities, especially anomalous healing.

All 7 research participants were administered the Absorption Subscale of the Differential Personality Questionnaire (DPQ) (Tellegen, 1977), the Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES)
(Bernstein & Putnam, 1986), and the Boundary Questionnaire (BQ) (Hartmann, 1989). The DPQ
and the DES are both measures of the capacity to enter an altered state of consciousness
(Frischholz et al., 1980; Rosen & Petty, 1994; Tellegen & Atkinson, 1974), which permits the
temporary inhibition of threatening perceptions and memories from conscious awareness. The BQ
was added because of its suspected relationship to dissociation and its inclusion of several questions relating to purported psi experiences.

The Absorption Subscale of the DPQ was designed to tap openness to absorbing and self-altering experiences (Tellegen & Atkinson, 1974). Several research studies have demonstrated its utility in
predicting the reliability with which individuals can enter altered states of consciousness and produce psychophysiological changes in their own bodies (e.g., Roche & McConkey, 1990). The
absorption scale has been shown to correlate with hypnotic ability (Tellegen & Atkinson, 1974). Irwin's (1985) survey of subjective anomalous experiences (e.g., apparitions, ESP experiences,
out-of-body experiences, past-life experiences) suggests both a capacity and an opportunity for absorption on the part of the experients. Some support was given to this thesis by the results of a ganzfeld study that explored arousal level and ESP performance (Stanford, Angelini, & Raphael,
1985).

Proceedings of Presented Papers 53

Krippner et al.

The DES is a 28-item self-report questionnaire with a test-retest reliability of .84, split-half reliabilities ranging from .71 to .96, good internal consistency, and good construct validity (e.g.,
Bernstein & Putnam, 1986). It inquires as to the frequency of dissociative experiences in the daily lives of respondents. A score of 30 or above is regarded as characterizing those who are “severely
dissociative” (Carlson & Putnam, 1993), but only 17% of this number have been later diagnosed as suffering from dissociative identity disorder (Carlson, Putnam, Ross, Torem, Coons, Dill,
Loewenstein, & Braun, 1993). Kirmayer (1994) regards the DES as “the most psychometrically adequate and widely used measure of dissociative phenomena” (p. 96).

The Boundary Questionnaire (Hartmann, 1989) was constructed to measure the personality dimensions referred to as “thin boundaries” and “thick boundaries.” For example, “thin boundaried” adults often are open, sensitive, and vulnerable; tend to experience “twilight” states
of consciousness easily,” and typically involve themselves in relationships quickly. In general, they do not repress uncomfortable material or isolate thought from feeling; not do they have ready access to the various defense mechanisms by which “thick boundaried” people defend themselves.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both “thin boundaries” and “thick boundaries.” “Thin boundaried” people are open and creative in certain ways but may get lost in fantasy and might be
emotionally vulnerable. “Thick boundaried” people are adaptive in making one well-organized, punctual, reliable, responsible, and efficient, but may make one rigid and unable to change.
Neither condition, by itself, can be considered pathological (Hartmann, 1991, pp. 188-189).

Validity data on the questionnaire has been supplied by Hartmann (1991, pp. 250-254) who notes that it correlates predictably to several scales on other personality tests (e.g., the MMPI) and has
been able to discriminate nightmare sufferers (pp. 67-68). It comprises 145 items, divided into 12
I{a priori} categories, each of which was utilized for statistical purposes in this study. In addition, all the questionnaire items pertaining to reported “psychic experiences” were totaled to create a
category we thought would be especially pertinent for the Yelm group. Such items included, “I see auras or fields of energy around people” and “I have had dreams that later come true.” A few
additional items were added to this category, e.g., “I have had clairvoyant experiences during which I seemed to be aware of distant events.”

The framework guiding our research project was Wickramasekera's (e.g., 1988, 1995) multidimensional High Risk Model of Threat Perception (HRMTP) designed to identify persons at risk for mind-body incongruence. Wickramasekera (1989, 1995, 1993, Wickramasekera, Pope, &
Kolm, 1996) has amassed considerable data in support of the HRMTP model, and found 71% of one high risk group (high hypnotic ability people) to report anomalous experiences in comparison
with 19% of another high risk group (low hypnotic ability people). This quantitative discrepancy in “lows” is hypothesized to be due to an active inhibitory cognitive style that blocks access to implicit or unconscious (Kihlstrom, 1987) perceptions (Wickramasekera, 1988, 1993).

Over the years, Wickramasekera has attempted to identify four predisposing high risk factors: hypnotic ability, excessive catastrophizing, high negative affect, and high Marlowe Crowne
(Crowne & Marlowe, 1964) scores (i.e., people unable to perceive threat). These predisposing


54 The Parapsychological Association
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factors amplify the probability that the two triggering high risk factors, major life changes and multiple “hassles,” will generate dysfunctional symptoms unless their impact is reduced by the
buffering high risk factors, social support, and coping skills. It is hypothesized that people who are high on the predisposing risk factors hypnotic ability are (1) hypersensitive to both sensory and anomalous phenomena, (2) prone to surplus empathy and boundary problems, and (3) also prone to surplus pattern recognition or the tendency to find meaning in randomly distributed events.

If high risk patients anguish about their high frequency presumptive parapsychological
experiences, Wickramasekera (1988, 1993) reframes their concerns, helping them to assimilate the incidents comfortably. Typically, this process is followed by an attendant decrease in psychological and physical symptoms and medical costs (Wickramasekera, 1988, 1993). We
suspect that his high risk factors characterizes many mediums and healers, as well as clients who make remarkable recoveries (e.g., Hirshberg & Barasch, 1995) demonstrating the model's
usefulness in the study of anomalous healing. Therefore, we asked if the test scores of our research participants would resemble those at “risk” for somatization, admitting that the limitations of our study included only three of several potential measures and a small number of research participants.



RESULTS
Absorption Subscale
The raw scores on the Absorption Subscale ranged from 19 to 33, with percentile equivalents ranging from 45% to 98%. The mean score was 28.6 (85%). In other words, all 7 members of the
Yelm group obtained scores that were in or near the top half of the expected distribution. This test correlates modestly with hypnotic ability, and both high and low hypnotizability characterize somaticizers.
Dissociative Experiences Scale
The raw scores on the DES ranged from 12 to 46, with a mean of 31.1. There were four scores above 30, which is regarded as the cutoff point for those who are “severely dissociative,” but it
must be noted that only 17% of those who make these scores are later diagnosed as clinical cases of dissociative identity disorder. Of course, this does not rule out the possibility that some of the individuals in this group would be candidates for clinical diagnosis and treatment despite their ability to function well in this particular setting.

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Krippner et al.

Boundary Questionnaire
The mean total score for the Yelm group was 343, indicating “very thin boundaries,” as average scores range between 250 and 300 (Hartmann, 1991). The only two groups tested by Hartmann
who have received comparably high scores are college music students and people reporting frequent nightmares (Hartmann, personal communication, October, 1996; Hartmann, Elkin, &
Garg, 1991). The mean score for each category appears in Table 2 as well as the general population's mean score for purposes of comparison.


Category 1 (Sleep, wake, dream): 25 (population mean: 15.8)
Category 2 (Unusual experiences): 38 (population mean: 25.6)
Category 3 (Thoughts, feelings, moods): 39 (population mean: 29.2)
Category 4 (Childhood, adolescence, adulthood): 13 (pop. mean: 11.2)
Category 5 (Interpersonal): 29 (population mean: 25.6)
Category 6 (Sensitivity): 13 (population mean: 12.8)
Category 7 (Neat, exact, precise): 25 (population mean: 20.3)
Category 8 (Edges, lines, clothing): 43 (population mean: 37.1)
Category 9 (Opinions about children and others): 26 (pop. mean: 20.7)
Category 10 (Opinions about organizations, relationships): 29
(population mean: 23.4)
Category 11 (Opinions about people, nations, groups): 41
(population mean: 34.6)
Category 12 (Opinions about beauty, truth): 22 (population mean:
18.4)

Total Score: 343 (Psychic experiences category excluded)

Psychic Experiences Category: 21 (maximum possible score: 32)


Table 1: Mean Scores for Yelm Group on Boundary Questionnaire
Correlations between tests
The Pearson product moment coefficient correlation ( I{r}) was used to determine if there were
statistically significant relationships between the various test scores (Tables 2 and 3). The
relationship between the DES and the Absorption Subscale was .88; the relationship between the DES and the total score on the Boundary Questionnaire was .78; the relationship between the Absorption Subscale and the total score on the Boundary Questionnaire was .68. The first two of
the three correlations are significant at the .01 level (2-tailed, 5 df). The latter correlation (
I{p}=.10) is not significant.

The Absorption Subscale correlated positively and significantly (beyond the .05 level, 2-tailed, 5
df) with Boundary categories reflecting reports of “psychic experiences”; having “unusual
experiences”; “scoring thin” on thoughts, feelings, and moods; and “scoring thin” on opinions about beauty and truth. The correlation with the added “psychic experiences” category was
extremely high, significant beyond the .02 level (2-tailed, 5 df), indicating the importance of


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studying the incidence of such purported events as precognition and out-of-body experiences.



Boundary category r
(with Absorption Subscale)
Category 1
.70 ns
Category 2
.83 .05
Category 3
.80 .05
Category 4
.45 ns
Category 5
-.20 ns
Category 6
.22 ns
Category 7
.23 ns
Category 8
-.04 ns
Category 9
.14 ns
Category 10
-.40 ns
Category 11
-.54 ns
Category 12
.79 .05


Total score
.68 ns
Psychic experiences .84 .02

Table 2: Correlations (r) between Boundary categories and Absorption Subscale scores
Boundary category r
(with DES scores)
Category 1
.80 .05
Category 2
.90 .01
Category 3
.88 .01
Category 4
-.40 ns
Category 5
-.46 ns
Category 6
.52 ns
Category 7
.06 ns
Category 8
-.19 ns
Category 9
.22 ns
Category 10
-.07 ns
Category 11
-.32 ns
Category 12
.75 .05


Total score
.78 .05
Psychic experiences .82 .05


Proceedings of Presented Papers 57

p

Krippner et al.

Table 3: Correlations (r) between Boundary categories and DES scores

The DES correlated significantly (at the .05 level, 2-tailed, 5 df) with Boundary categories
reflecting reports of “psychic experiences”; awareness of sleep, waking, and dreaming experiences; and “scoring thin” on opinions about beauty and truth. Two correlations were significant beyond the .01 level (2-tailed, 5 df): having “unusual experiences” and “scoring thin” on thoughts, feelings, and moods. Hence, “thin boundaried” people making high scores on these
categories also may be expected to make high scores on measures of dissociation, i.e., a gap or disturbance in one's ordinary integrative patterns of memory, self-identity, or perception
(Kirmayer, 1994, p. 114).

The categories on the Boundary Questionnaire that failed to attain significance when correlated with either of the other two tests were: “childhood, adolescence, and adult experiences”;
“interpersonal relationships”; “sensitivity”; “neat, exact, and precise”; “edges, lines, and clothing”;
“opinions about children and others”; “opinions about organizations and relationships”; and
“opinions about people, nations, and groups.” Even though the small number of respondents
tested prevents us from coming to any firm conclusions regarding these data, several findings are intriguing enough to warrant further study with larger samples.

The Boundary categories that correlated significantly with I{both} the Absorption Subscale and the DES were reporting “psychic experiences”; having “unusual experiences”; “scoring thin” on
thoughts, feelings, and moods; and “scoring thin” on opinions about beauty and truth. Each of these three categories are common characteristics of “thin-skinned” individuals. The addition of
the “psychic experiences” Boundary category was justified, given its significant correlations with both the Absorption Subscale and the DES; this category might be used with salubrious results in parapsychological research. (Because this category is composed of items from several parts of the
Boundary Questionnaire as well as additional items, it not an independent
category.)

DISCUSSION
This investigation marks the first time that the Boundary Questionnaire, the Absorption Subscale, and the DES have been given to the same people, although Barrett (1989) had previously reported a significant relationship between the Absorption Subscale and Total Score on the
Boundary Questionnaire, a finding repeated in this study. Richards (1996) administered the
Boundary Questionnaire to participants in a “interpersonal psychic training” program, finding a significant association between subjectively perceived success in the program and “scoring thin” on the Boundary Questionnaire.

Ryan and Ross (1988) found that reported psychic experiences clustered with several diagnostic criteria for dissociative disorders among a sample of college students, but Ross (1989, p. 194) did
not find notable degrees of dissociative psychopathology among 11 alternative healers and therapists. This group, however, did report more psychic experiences than a comparison group of psychiatry residents (p. 184). Pekala, Kumar, and Marcano (1995) administered the DES and the
Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility as well as an inventory of anomalous experiences


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to 413 volunteer subjects, reporting that both dissociative ability and hypnotic susceptibility were
important in predicting who would report anomalous experiences, with dissociative ability being somewhat more important.
Richards (1991) used the DES in a study of correlations between subjective “psychic” experiences
(e.g., “telepathy,” “clairvoyance,” “past lives”) and dissociation in a non-clinical adult population
of 184 subjects. There was a statistically significant relationship between DES scores and most of
the “psychic” experiences reported. Richards, in agreement with Ross, concluded that these experiences “are a common occurrence in non-clinical populations, and...although they are
correlated with dissociation, they are not necessarily associated with pathology” (p. 83). The only experimental study on anomalous phenomena that employed the DES was conducted by Palmer
(1994) with 40 volunteer subjects. For those who scored above the mean on the DES, there was a positive correlation between ESP scores and trait anxiety in one condition of his experiment, one that attempted to introduce an emotionally-toned element into the ESP task.
The number of significant relationships in this study was obtained from a very small sample, thus demonstrating the utility of this line of research. For example, the Boundary Questionnaire could be administered as a followup to the DES to help identify high DES-scorers who “score thin” but
do not suffer from dissociative identity disorder. Hartmann (1991) suspects that both genetic and environmental factors are involved in the development of “thick boundaries” and “thin boundaries” (pp. 112-121).
The data suggest that these three measures, in whole or in part, tap into the personality dimensions that characterize body/mind incongruence. It is likely that the common construct measured by these separate tests is a capacity to readily enter into altered states of consciousness. This suggestion is not made only on the basis of this study and its small number of research
participants but on the basis of research involving larger numbers of subjects with many of these same personality measures (e.g., Tellegen & Atkinson, 1974; Wickramasekera, 1986b).
A frequently asked question is whether Ramtha represents an “alter personality” of JZ Knight. Whatever Ramtha may or may not be (e.g., a discarnate entity, a subpersonality, a social role taken by Knight), his appearance bears some resemblance to the phenomena observed during
“switching” in people diagnosed as having a dissociative identity disorder. As a result of the “channeling” process, JZ Knight exhibits the “striking gaps in awareness, memory, or identity” that characterize the domain of dissociation (Kirmayer, 1994, p. 92). According to the American Psychiatric Association (1994, p. 477), amnesia is the critical factor in the diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder, and Knight claims to be amnesic for Ramtha's appearances.
However, she has access to Ramtha through a voluntarily-induced procedure, whereas the “multiples” afflicted with dissociative identity disorder are taken unaware by their “alters.” As a
result, the possibility that Ramtha is an “alter personality” can not be answered definitively on the basis of the data available to us. On the other hand, a useful control would be for an accomplished
actor to attempt to simulate these changes under the same conditions, using the same equipment. There is considerable cross-cultural literature indicating that dissociative abilities, per se, are not necessarily pathological and may even be adaptive (Braude, 1995; Krippner, 1997). There is less

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Krippner et al.

demand for behavioral continuity, consistency, and rationality in many non-Western cultures than
in Western societies (Kirmayer, 1994, p. 107; Ross, 1989). In these non-Western cultures, the phenomena associated with JZ Knight and Ramtha most likely would be honored, admired, and put to use by the community for purposes of divination, counseling, and healing. It would be a gross misinterpretation of our data for the research participants to be pathologized on the basis of
their “thin boundaries” and their high dissociation and absorption scores.

The research participants from Yelm who participated in this study appear to be candidates for Wickramasekera's “high risk” group on the basis of their “thin boundaries,” absorption
capabilities, and dissociative capacities. But these potentials need not be categorized as negative
or pathological. With the proper social support and coping skills, this group could maintain their
current abilities without adverse reactions, even utilizing the self-regulation they have learned for maintaining their well-being and making rapid recoveries from various ailments and indispositions.

The direction of causation can not be determined from this study. Do people in this training program learn how to elicit altered states of consciousness more readily, or were they attracted to
the program because they had such capacities before the program began? Longitudinal research is needed to answer this question. In addition, it should be noted that numerous correlation coefficients were computed, thus some significant correlations might be spurious. Future research
along these lines should utilize statistical procedures that correct for multiple testing.


CONCLUSION
The willingness of these 7 research participants to cooperate in this study yields data with important clinical and theoretical implications. Because of their “high risk” profiles, we would suggest that they continually monitor their psychological and physiological health, paying special
attention to such variables as diet, exercise, rest, and attitude. It would also be important that their vocational, avocational, and social activities be designed to provide some balance for their
endeavors at the Ramtha School of Enlightenment. Their verbal reports indicate that Ramtha's teachings have played a crucial role for them, one that they indicate has been life-affirming. We hope that they will continue to collaborate with serious investigators of human consciousness because the results could be mutually beneficial.

Although no systematic investigation was made, it was our impression that the research participants were functioning well in society, either in their local communities or in administrative positions at the Ramtha School of Enlightenment. Krippner (1997) has stated that dissociative
experiences are not inevitably uncontrolled and dysfunctional. In fact, based on clinical psychophysiological theory and empirical research, Wickramasekera (1986a, 1986b, 1988, 1993)
has also hypothesized that high hypnotic ability, a construct that includes dissociation (Hilgard,
1977), if recruited and focused on “transcendent goals and ideals” (Wickramasekera, 1988, p. 70) can give these high risk people a competitive edge in adaptation over their contemporaries of
lesser hypnotic ability. Hence, data and theory from cross-cultural studies and the clinical psychophysiological domain converge on the same conclusion: that adaptive recruitment of these exceptional abilities (dissociation, hypnotic ability) can be highly functional.
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Experiences that Westerners label “dissociative” may have once served adaptive, survival functions in human evolution, and they continue to enhance adaptive behavior in any number of
non-Western societies (Krippner, 1997). It is possible that Western societies suppress this natural and valuable capacity at their peril. The Ramtha School of Enlightenment may be one of several
institutions that is actively preserving a capacity that could be of adaptive value for certain populations in the future.


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But he has nothing on at all, cried at last the whole people....

Vanilla
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Re: The full document. Krippner et al

Unread post by Vanilla » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:40 pm

Can someone explain this in laymen terms?

Rooster
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Re: The full document. Krippner et al

Unread post by Rooster » Tue Mar 27, 2012 5:20 am

I think that is the problem Vanilla! A bunch of hooey and no real information. It's what the???

ex
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Re: The full document. Krippner et al

Unread post by ex » Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:34 pm

A frequently asked question is whether Ramtha represents an “alter personality” of JZ Knight. Whatever Ramtha may or may not be (e.g., a discarnate entity, a subpersonality, a social role taken by Knight), his appearance bears some resemblance to the phenomena observed during
“switching” in people diagnosed as having a dissociative identity disorder. As a result of the “channeling” process, JZ Knight exhibits the “striking gaps in awareness, memory, or identity” that characterize the domain of dissociation (Kirmayer, 1994, p. 92). According to the American Psychiatric Association (1994, p. 477), amnesia is the critical factor in the diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder, and Knight claims to be amnesic for Ramtha's appearances.
However, she has access to Ramtha through a voluntarily-induced procedure, whereas the “multiples” afflicted with dissociative identity disorder are taken unaware by their “alters.” As a
result, the possibility that Ramtha is an “alter personality” can not be answered definitively on the basis of the data available to us. On the other hand, a useful control would be for an accomplished
actor to attempt to simulate these changes under the same conditions, using the same equipment. There is considerable cross-cultural literature indicating that dissociative abilities, per se, are not necessarily pathological and may even be adaptive (Braude, 1995; Krippner, 1997). There is less

Proceedings of Presented Papers 59

Krippner et al.

demand for behavioral continuity, consistency, and rationality in many non-Western cultures than
in Western societies (Kirmayer, 1994, p. 107; Ross, 1989). In these non-Western cultures, the phenomena associated with JZ Knight and Ramtha most likely would be honored, admired, and put to use by the community for purposes of divination, counseling, and healing. It would be a gross misinterpretation of our data for the research participants to be pathologized on the basis of
their “thin boundaries” and their high dissociation and absorption scores.
that is the part about ramtha. in my words and speculation: jz knight presented some anomalies. they could not confirm possession which probably would be unscientific or that its out of human range. they could not rule out that she is a fake because there were no control experiment. they stated that she might be a nutcase. however they point out that the anomalies don't have to be treated and that she functions in society maybe better in a non western one. poor jz is born in the wrong society? probably not, even in india they look on their gurus to spot on questionable phenomena.she could not make so much money and spend it on her vanity.
also the school aspect of rse is questioned. rse might just attract people who already show phenomenas not that they learn them trough the disciplines. from my understanding jz probably chickened out from a big study over several years on all students which could have shown real progress or not. again i don't find any part which suports jzrs stage statement:' i got scientifically tested. i am the real thing'. i get the conclusion: jz might be a phenomen but we don't know why.
i am no expert just try to understand.

Ockham
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Re: The full document. Krippner et al

Unread post by Ockham » Mon May 28, 2012 5:58 am

If you look on Dr. Stan Krippner's curriculum vitae you won't find the aforementioned paper listed: http://stanleykrippner.weebly.com/uploa ... 4-2012.pdf

Apparently Dr. Krippner does not consider the parapsychological research in the paper significant enough in his career to merit public mention in his CV. For RSE to misrepresent parapsychology as, "science," is typical of JZ Knight and friends bending of facts and rules to fit their marketing goals.

To my reading, the paper is hardly a slam dunk verification of, "Ramtha's," veracity and wonderfulness. For RSE and JZK, Inc., however, it is one and done. Any other organization worth its salt would be conducting ongoing scholarly work to better understand its foundations and precepts. What one gets from RSE is nearly incoherent blather from a drunken woman to be taken as unexpurgated truth. So be it. Even the Catholic Church, a favorite target of JZ Knight's diatribe, conducts continuing scholarly research and engages in at least some critical introspection.

joe sz
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Re: The full document. Krippner et al

Unread post by joe sz » Mon May 28, 2012 2:07 pm

ahem.... :lol:

I read this study/report before. Note that the "scientists" were aware that no control using "actors" to replicate the JZ Knight result was done:

That has been my criticism all along..."acting" has not been ruled out, thus neither has fraud, or a form of it.
Granted, most creative folk, like music students, creative writers, and artists, rank higher than average on the DES [dissociative experience scale---aka trancing out], thin boundary scale---sensitives, and suggestibility scale--quicker to absorb and believe than the average sceptic]. I never questioned that JZ may have exper4einced a form of hallucination in 1977 seeing "ramtha" in her kitchen...so what---many of my psych patients with dissociative disorders "see" things and people that are not there....but what the patient and what the "star channeler" does with this experience are vastly different.

What the study hardly touches is that "what" or the ensuing behavior of JZ Knight since 1977...we all know what came down and how many people have been devastated by the Ramtha experience in the last 30+ years. the Krippner et al study mentions nothing of the harm done by JZ...no research there...save mentioning a caution that 'cult' members in the study should be carefull to balance their lives with proper diet, exercize and healthy social activity outside of the "cult." :roll:

the dumbest part of this study and the most revealing one is in the conclusion:
Experiences that Westerners label “dissociative” may have once served adaptive, survival functions in human evolution, and they continue to enhance adaptive behavior in any number of
non-Western societies (Krippner, 1997). It is possible that Western societies suppress this natural and valuable capacity at their peril. The Ramtha School of Enlightenment may be one of several
institutions that is actively preserving a capacity that could be of adaptive value for certain populations in the future.
This stereotypical dichotomy between "western" and "non-western" societies is the typical 'fringe liberal' projection that the inward, dissociative, meditative, "holisitic" side of Eastern cultures is superior to our Western "left-brained", white bread male attitudes. Eastern societies are far more chauvinist and male-dominated---eg, India, Arabia, and China---and far less "creative". Western science and art have been far more prodcutive and interesting, so much so that the East and Middle East continue to adapt to "US" and not vice versa.

I think Krippner threw the RSE dog a bone with that last statement, that RSE
could be of adaptive value for certain populations in the future.


And then we can ask: How does RSE "preserve" anything for the future? Will we have to go through the RSE cult rituals to preserve our dissociative adaptability? Red wine, prozac, Twinkies, heavy breathing, and stumbling around blindfolded in our buried survival shelters?
We all know what those certain populations are--they live on Mars and in Harry Potter novels.

Ockham
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Re: The full document. Krippner et al

Unread post by Ockham » Mon May 28, 2012 4:37 pm

Very well reasoned and well stated Joe. Thank you!
could be of adaptive value for certain populations in the future.
I wonder what exactly they found would be of adaptive value in the Ramtha myth or JZ/R herself? I suppose to some degree we all display multiple personalities, changing our persona to meet the needs of a particular situation. For example we probably display a different persona to being frisked by TSA agent in an airport than we would to an unruly child. The difference between the rest of us and JZ/R is that we are able to integrate our personalities and call out personality traits as need to meet varying social situations. This is in contrast to the way JZ/R presents, where the R side of the personality is not integrated and shows clear disregard for the physical health of of the JZ side of the personality. I was wondering if the authors were thinking of a post apocalyptic world as espoused by RSE when they were writing that quote. Either way, the authors' assertion seems equally vapid. If the Merv Griffin TV interview is any indication, needing five minutes to call out the Ramtha personality is not going to be much use when having Ramtha's personality on board would be helpful in facing an unexpected peril.

A scientific study would have backed up the thesis with a comparative analysis of JZ/R's performance in a set of defined situations against a control. The article reads more like a marketing tract than a serious paper.

Ockham
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Re: The full document. Krippner et al

Unread post by Ockham » Mon May 28, 2012 4:45 pm

Correction: in my last sentence I meant to include the students in the performance assay.

joe sz
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Re: The full document. Krippner et al

Unread post by joe sz » Mon May 28, 2012 5:38 pm

In these non-Western cultures, the phenomena associated with JZ Knight and Ramtha most likely would be honored, admired, and put to use by the community for purposes of divination, counseling, and healing. It would be a gross misinterpretation of our data for the research participants to be pathologized on the basis of
their “thin boundaries” and their high dissociation and absorption scores.
admired?
go ahead, JZ: do your ramtha act at a Sufi gathering in Iran 8)
or better yet, go to India where "Rama" and yoga are better understood and see if any sophisticated religious Indians buy into it....

pure BS...this is Western academic racism at its worst coming out of this report. Krippner et al are basically saying that third world folk are too dumb to spot a selfish fake or a false prophet among their seers and shamans.

Professor Agehananda Bharati [though Austrian, was a true Swami of the highest order] in his instructive autobiography, The Ochre Robe, is clear that 'most' of the gurus in India have been less than credible or out and out fakes with no true traditional testing or bearing.
http://archives.syr.edu/collections/fac ... i_bio.html

joe sz
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Re: The full document. Krippner et al

Unread post by joe sz » Mon May 28, 2012 6:01 pm

ps:

That Krippner statement above also ignores how common
the phenomena associated with JZ Knight and Ramtha
are in Western culture. Our 'Bible-belt' preachers continually enter trance states while preaching, suggesting that they are 'inspired' or seized at these special moments by the Holy Spirit, as do folk in the congregations. Catholics do long recitations on rosary beads as mantras--try doing that for an hour and you will likely experience "the phenomena associated with JZ Knight and Ramtha", that of feeling close to a god or presence of a transcendent, healing force n your life.
Miracle stories, predicting the future, remote viewing, and 'channeling' God abound in Christian and Jewish cultures.

Mormonism is fraught with "the phenomena associated with JZ Knight and Ramtha"..divination is at the core of the entire LDS belief system, esp inside the Temple rituals wherein they commune with spirits of ancestors, etc.

Again, Krippner et al have some distorting stereotype of "Western" in their heads and use it as the whipping boy or "straw man" in their attempt to prop up JZ's purely "Western" puppet show.

OK...I will stop.... :-)

Ockham
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Re: The full document. Krippner et al

Unread post by Ockham » Tue May 29, 2012 3:30 am

The funny thing is that Dr. Stan Krippner was a department head at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio in the 1960s. In that geographic location, he was sandwiched between two very large centers of Amish culture in Ohio. The Amish have for real the spirituality that RSE claims, as well as [mostly] impeccable ethics and superb self sufficiency. I think if Dr. Krippner had the academic interests he says, he would certainly have been aware of the Amish way of life, given where he was living. To state that JZ Knight and her Ramtha personality have something particularly unique to offer would be ignoring facts almost certainly of which Dr Krippner had to be aware.

The only reasonable conclusion is that the so-called study was all about the money and it is all but a bald faced marketing tract on behalf of RSE.

joe sz
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Re: The full document. Krippner et al

Unread post by joe sz » Tue May 29, 2012 7:11 am

Ockham...thanks for your insights on this important issue. If I may, I want to comment on
Even the Catholic Church, a favorite target of JZ Knight's diatribe, conducts continuing scholarly research and engages in at least some critical introspection.
actually, for centuries the Catholic church has employed the latest reliable science to investigate purported miracles and phenomena like apparitions, hearing a "voice" of an angel, saint or God, sensing occult aromas, etc.

one recent example that I have cited before re Ramtha and channeling in general are the extensive, truly scientific tests done on the seers at Medjugorje (the Marian apparitions began in early 1980s in Yugoslavia).

http://www.scientificexploration.org/jo ... akalam.pdf

if you read the above pdf, it becomes immediately clear that what Krippner and his crew did with the RSE students and JZ hardly qualifies as true science. Imagine JZ going through what the Medjugorje seers went through many times with scientists, psychiatrists, doctors and theologians!

One distinction between New Age style channeling and seers reporting what an apparition of Mary or an angel say to them regards "integrity" [as Ockham pointed out above], ie, there is no dis-integration of the seers at Medjugorje, no "possession" by the alleged spirit, and no direct channeling, no amnesia or partial amnesia, and the "messages" though repetive and simple, are completely consistent within their tradition. The seers did not form a cult around themselves--the cult is directed toward the apparition only and guided by the Church officials, not all of whom believe the apparition is real or authentic.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Whk6tO-xqs

skeptics, of course, fail to see any proof that the seers see a real "Mary"....

my wife and I visited the site in 1989 and we were there during one of the daily apparitions
...I have no concluding position that that it is Mary appearing to them, but I can vouch for the extensive studies done, most of which I have read. The Krippner study at RSE is an embarrassment by comparison...

Ockham
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Re: The full document. Krippner et al

Unread post by Ockham » Tue May 29, 2012 11:37 am

Thank you, Joe, for the pointer to the Medjugorje apparition study paper. It is quite illuminating to see the differences in approach between the latter paper and the Ramtha study.

Elizabeth
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Re: The full document. Krippner et al

Unread post by Elizabeth » Fri Mar 28, 2014 12:17 pm

The Krippner paper tosses around the term 'dissociate' quite a bit. I put up a post with some more info about what that means, why it's relevant to RSE experiences and some outgoing links to more info. Understanding dissociation gives some clarity to what these guys were really testing.

http://www.predatorpray.com/2014/03/21/ ... sociating/

Ockham
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Re: The full document. Krippner et al

Unread post by Ockham » Sat Mar 29, 2014 2:12 pm

Thanks very much for your efforts Elizabeth. Well done.

The Krippner paper is really annoying because it is pseudoscience wrapped in what appear to be academic credentials. Krippner et al do not, at least for me, build a convincing case that their measurements relate to anything more meaningful beyond the measurements themselves. Never mind that the study fails to quantify how the presumed measurements are statistically significant beyond background variation nor does the study account for how interference from nearby man made devices is excluded from influence. Excactly how do E and H field measurements relate to anything in particular about spirituality?

A properly constructed study would have included a control group of non Ramtha aware people who were tasked with conducting the same behaviors as Ms. Knight and students, but without the prejudice of presumed outcome. The measurements of the two groups would then be compared to determine if there were a statistically significant variance in the measurements between the two groups.

To me it seems obvious that Krippner et all are paid apologists of Ms. Knight and RSE and were predisposed to obtain a positive outcome, if for no other reason than it would secure financial reward for their work.

I think the Nixon era Gordon Liddy holding a lit cigarette lighter on his finger is probably as compelling as physical demonstration that JZ Knight does. As fas as I know, Mr. Liddy doesn't make any claims to channel any supernatural entities in order to dissociate from feeling the pain of the fire.

Xylofone
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Re: The full document. Krippner et al

Unread post by Xylofone » Sat Jun 01, 2019 8:43 pm

I've got a couple questions on this paper and the research team. There's so much ambiguity around it based on what we've been told from the stage so I want to make sure I get it right.

These scientists came to study her at her request, yes?
She paid Melton to write the book and test her?
The test was more than just one time, it was multiple tests over time - they said 2 years from the stage.
Melton testified at her trial? Why did she need him to testify at her trial? And which came first, her need for his testimony at trial, or the so-called experiments?

I am having a difficult time following the timeline. You know they don't tell the truth from that stage, and they didn't put anything in writing. :roll: :roll:

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