Wahbeh, H., Carpenter, L., Radin, D. (2018) A mixed methods phenomenological and exploratory study of channeling. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 82(3), 129-148.
Abstract: Full-trance channeling is a practice in which an individual (a channeler) willingly enters into a dissociated mental state with the intention of bringing forth an intelligent “entity” that speaks and acts through their mind and body. During such states, the person acting as the channeler may or may not be consciously aware of what they are saying or doing. This study was designed to contribute to the conceptual framework for understanding the nature of channeling, as well as to further understand the phenomenological experiences of such individuals. We invited five full-trance channelers to participate in a pilot study at Mt. Shasta, California, between March 19 and March 22, 2017. Prior to the event, demographic measures, spirituality and religion measures, experience with medication, and personality, dissociation and psychotic symptoms were collected via questionnaires. The results showed that the channelers were similar to general population norms. As expected, paranormal belief scores and reports of “anomalous information reception” experiences were high. During the focus group meeting, a custom-built, multi-channel, random number generator (RNG) system located in the same room as the group continuously recorded data for exploratory purposes. A modestly significant mean difference between RNG data obtained during channeling versus no-channeling control periods was found (z = 2.250, p = 0.024, two-tail). This encourages additional research and development of physical detectors as potential methods for objectively measuring environmental fluctuations associated with the act of channeling. Such techniques may also provide a novel means of discriminating among different purported “beings” said to arise during channeling sessions. Qualitative analysis of the channeled content revealed five common themes: 1) mechanisms of channeling; 2) the need to awaken humanity and methods by which to do so; 3) the nature of reality; 4) descriptions of multi-dimensional beings and worlds; and 5) suggestions for advancing channeling research.