It is now 20 years since housewife J. Z. Knight exploded onto the New Age scene as the channel for Ramtha, that mythical warrior fugitive from Atlantis. In 1988, “amid a barrage of negative press…she withdrew from public view.” Nevertheless, in spite of another messy divorce in 1992 from a husband who accused her of promoting a cultlike atmosphere, more than a thousand of Knight’s followers have moved to Yelm, Washington, to buy property and build homes near her 3-million-dollar estate and to attend her “Ramtha School of Enlightenment.” About 2000 others reportedly “descend on Yelm to attend twice-yearly retreats…[paying] a minimum of $1350 a year to encounter Ramtha via Knight; to learn a blend of Yoga, quantum physics and mental exercises they say enhance spiritual awareness and psychic abilities; and to seek spontaneous healing of everything from corns to cancer.”
In February 1997, Knight paid the expenses of a group of 14 scholars, headed by J. Gordon Melton, religion researcher from University of California, Santa Barbara, to visit her to determine whether she and Ramtha are legitimate. The results of their investigation will be included in a book Melton is writing about the Ramtha phenomenon. That Knight invited them demonstrates her sincerity and willingness to be tested.
Earlier, Knight had welcomed psychic researcher Stanley Krippner of San Francisco’s Saybrook Institute. Krippner was accompanied by a neurophysiologist who gave Knight a battery of tests while she channeled Ramtha. The tests revealed “increases in heart rate, muscle tension and skin moisture and decreases in blood volume, pulse and skin temperature that…could not be faked.” As with other mediums, such as Eileen Garrett, who submitted to every conceivable scientific test, it is clear that a spirit entity at times takes possession to speak through Knight. Krippner told her after the tests:
“I don’t know who you are, J. Z., but I do know you are not a fraud.”