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Channeled Apparitions: On Visions that Morph and Categories that Slip

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Abstract:

This paper examines apparitions that morph into embodied or channeled entities through a comparison of JZ [Judy Zebra] Knight (b. 1946), who claims to channel a 35,000-year-old spirit-warrior named Ramtha, and turn-of-the-last-century case studies of spirit possession and multiple personality. Considering visions as arising, like dreams, from internally rather than externally generated percepts and both as grounded in fluctuating states of consciousness, allows us to analyze the range of perceptions that arise without external stimulation of the senses, the extent to which they morph into other unusual states, and, in cases where this happens, the factors that seem to encourage this. In Knight's case, her ability to see and then embody Ramtha most likely rests on a combination of personal abilities and contextual factors linked by an openness to implementing suggestions from self and others.
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