There shall be many coming in my name, saying I am Christ, and
they shall deceive the very elect.
— Matthew 24:5
Oh my God! Am I seeing right? Is that really Shirley McLaine —
former Queen of the New Age Movement — on the cover of a new book,
clutching a mass of crystals and smiling out at us with that disgusting
blissed-out look? I mean … I thought we’d gotten rid of this bimbo.
But noooooooo …
I am completely and utterly amazed that people are still buying this
New Age shuck ‘n’ jive! I mean, Good God — this crap was boring in the
’60s and it’s even more boring today! Please, somebody tell me
… what’s going on here?
A few weeks ago, in order to better understand the longevity of this
extremely repellent phenomenon, I attended the Whole Life Expo — L.A.’s
biggest (and suckiest) New Age festival. There, I wandered amidst a
plethora of booths where carny-like hucksters hawked subliminal tapes,
aura paintings, UFO contact kits, mummification techniques, mirrored and
liquefied isolation booths, hypnosis-producing sunglasses,
self-portraits of your “former incarnations,” plus a staggering array of
cheesy jewelry that wouldn’t have looked out of place at your local
The whole thing had this incredible air of sleaziness about it.
Almost … yeah, pornographic. I’m not just talking about the leering
muscle-bound masseuse, casually rubbing the breasts of a nubile young
lass (right there in the middle of the Convention Hall!) or the videos
of wild, naked humpers sold by the Tantra Society. No, I’m talking about
the atmosphere … the underlying “vibe”– if you’ll pardon the
After getting my fill of the abundance of New Age porn, I wandered
into the “Meditation Environment.” There, a dreadlocked girl sitting in
the lotus position stared vacantly off into space, as an overloud tape
of “oceanic sounds” enveloped the room. I said hello, but there was no
response. Nobody home. No doubt she was floating around happily on the
astral plane (perhaps never to return).
Next door in the “Crystal Environment,” a bunch of dizzy blondes
attired in huge hats and wildly colored shawls were oohing and aahing at
the collection of overpriced rocks. “Oh, Marissa, look at this
one!” squealed a fat woman wearing an “I’ve Been Abducted” T-shirt. The
woman picked up a massive crystal and placed it on top of her head.
“Ahhhh, I can feel the energy pouring through me,” she told her pals,
who followed suit by placing crystals on their respective heads.
In the “Bodywork Environment.” The sounds of the ocean were replaced
by assorted grunts and groans. People grimaced in pain, as serious-faced
masseuses punched, pounded, pulled and twisted their limbs into all
variety of pretzel-like shapes.
From behind a curtain that said “Rolfing Environment” came a
banshee-like wail. “Yowwwwww!” someone howled. Another scream — louder
still — followed. Nobody in the room paid the slightest bit of
Feeling slightly dizzy, I stumbled into the “Urine Environment” to
relieve myself. Inside one of the stalls, someone was having a very
noisy bout of bad gas — no doubt the result of the nauseating fare sold
in the “Natural Foods Environment.”
Holding my nose, I beat a hasty retreat.
Back downstairs, people were pushing and shoving to get into a talk
by Lynn Andrews, one of the regulars on the New Age circuit. Andrews —
a middle-aged Beverly Hills divorcee — teaches her mostly middle-aged
female divorcee followers how to “empower” themselves (“power” seems to
be the major catchword in the New Age Movement).
Under a mass of Dolly Parton-like curls, Andrews sports a mean,
pinched little face that’s cold as ice. But her followers don’t seem to
notice. In fact, they seemed much more interested in Andrews’ attire
(pure Rodeo Drive schlock), her jewelry, and her hairdo than in what she
Soon, Andrews had the audience go through a “share and declare”
session, a technique that she said was very … “empowering.”
“If you say what you want out loud, it will always manifest itself,”
Andrews informed the enraptured crowd.
A man in a very cheap toupee stood up and introduced himself as
“I want love RIGHT NOW!” Leroy exclaimed.
A woman wearing an “Official Shaman” T-shirt stood up. “I want to
love myself and everyone else in the world,” she informed the audience.
People wanted all sorts of things. A frizzy-haired brunette stood up
and stated that she wanted a new boyfriend. An aging Swedish lady
wearing so much jewelry you thought she might keel over from the sheer
weight stated that she wanted to star in her very own television show. A
monstrously obese woman said that she wanted to learn to “love myself
just the way I am.”
Each and every declaration was followed by a rousing round of whoops
and cheers from the crowd, who leaped up and down — chimpanzee-style
— like those couples you see on game shows when they win a trip to
Anderson, standing silently at the front of the room, simply smiled
knowingly at each declaration.
During the course of the day, I noticed that each particular lecture
attracted a certain “type” of person. Andrews’ crowd was 90 percent
female. In large part, these women sported a post-’60s, curly,
hair-going-grey, dangling earring, saggy-breasted look (I call it the
Joan Baez-gone-to-pot look). The men in attendance were — for the most
part — of the weak, chinless variety.
If you’ve never noticed, New Agers have an odd look about them — as
if their skin has somehow been stretched too tightly over their bones.
They also tend to have a strange waxy pallor — almost like their faces
have been buffed with a floor polisher. I suppose this could be due to
collagen injections, but somehow, I don’t think so. My opinion is that
this Stretch-Wax look runs precisely parallel to the level of
demon-possession of the person in question.
Dr. Barbara De Angelis, who teaches a workshop called the “Making
Love Work,” is a perfect combination of the two facial types. In
addition to being a classic Stretch-Wax, De Angelis has the deadest pair
of eyes I’ve seen since watching a rerun of “The Mummy” (the original,
not the remake, thank you) on the Late Night Movie.
De Angelis didn’t offer a “share and declare” session, but she had an
exercise that was oddly similar. It was pretty simple. De Angelis
instructed everyone in the audience to turn to the person sitting beside
him or her. For the next ten minutes we were to “look your partner in
the eyes” and say, “I can have what I want;” to which our partners were
to reply, “Yes, you can have what you want. This was all anybody
was permitted to say.
“It’s a very powerful exercise,” De Angelis informed the audience.
“It’ll open up lots of new doors in your mind.”
My partner was an extremely anorexic looking girl with wild, popping
hair whose nametag said “ShaSha.” For the next ten minutes ShaSha and I
did the exercise. She seemed very serious about it. Meanwhile I did my
best to keep from laughing. I felt alternately giddy and stupid (which
were, I guess, the particular “doors” in my mind that had opened up).
Of course, the weekend wouldn’t have been complete without a
channeling session. The one I attended, led by Taryn Krive (another
Stretch-Wax) was perhaps, the best (or worst, depending upon your
point-of-view) comedy act I’ve seen in years. Krive, a fulltime
“psychic-healer,” channels nine or ten different “entities,” all of whom
speak in strangely similar accents. I endured an hour of gobbledygook
from three different “entities” (one of whom stated that he lived in a
volcano somewhere in Hawaii). However, when Krive began to channel Bel
Bel — a 20,000-year-old hair-lipped spirit from the Planet “Ethos” — I
split the scene.
As I wandered down the hall, I heard shouting and screaming coming
from Lynn Andrew’s lecture room. I poked my head back inside. At the
back of the room, Andrews was busy autographing overpriced copies of her
books, tapes and videos. Meanwhile, the “share and declare session” was
still in full swing. It had now taken on the aura of a confessional of
I took a seat at the back of the room and flipped on my tape recorder.
This stuff was simply too good not to memorialize.
“This is the first day of the rest of my life,” snuffled a tearful
man. “I love you all! I am … because of you …
because… I AM you… and you are me … and … oh, wow
… I’m really high.”
“Beautiful!” sniffed the woman sitting next to me, as the room
exploded into applause.
Another bad toupee stood up. “I just wanna tell everyone that I’ve
been stealing money from the till at my job for the last thirteen years
… and this class has given me the courage to admit it!” he announced.
(He didn’t bother to say whether or not he was going to admit it to his
“YAYYYYY! WHOOOOOOOO! YAYYYYYYYYYYYYY!”
Suddenly I felt a tug on my arm. Two men in blue blazers displaying
badges that said “Staff” stood over me.
“Sir, would you please come outside with us,” said a guy in a crewcut
and bright red stick-out ears.
I followed the duo out into the hall. They both looked extremely
“You are not allowed to have a tape recorder in the class,” said
Chief Red Ears.
“Well,” I said, “You see, I’m a reporter and. …”
“There are NO exceptions to this rule,” his partner (who for some
reason reminded me of the guy who used to play Link on the original
“Mod Squad”) said. “Either you go and put your tape recorder in the car
… or you may not come back into the lecture hall.”
“Oh, OK,” I smiled. “That’s perfectly understandable. I’ll just go to
my car (being that I have a standing rule about never paying for
parking, my car was parked about a mile from the Convention Hall) and
put it there and then, I’ll be right back,” I smiled. “You’ll
save my seat of course. …”
“I’m sorry, “Chief Big Ears said icily, “but we are not allowed to
“Oh, that’s alright. I understand perfectly,” I responded cheerfully.
“See you guys in a few minutes!”
I could feel their eyes on my back as I sauntered down the hall,
humming an out of key version of “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.” I was already
conjuring up the paragraph I’d write describing the incident with these
minor-league Nazis. Oh yeah … this was gonna be fun …
Dog tired, I headed into the hotel coffee shop. My waitress — a
decidedly non stretch-faced specimen with a wonderfully out-of-style
beehive hairdo — poured me a much needed cup of coffee. I noticed that
the poor woman looked nearly as wiped out as I, so I asked her what the
“I just can’t wait for this thing to be over,” she said in a Tammy
Wynettish croak. “I know these people talk about peace and love an’ alla
that stuff … but, well — I dunno.” She leaned closer and brought her
voice down a notch. “Frankly, these suckers are the rudest, most
selfish, buncha a–holes I’ve waited on in years! I can’t wait
till they leave, and we get the regular folks back in here.”
She looked around to make sure nobody had overheard her, then beat
As I sat there sipping my coffee, a strange sense of calm overcame
So. I wasn’t just some twisted, mean-spirited cynical misfit.
I was right! The world really is being taken over by
After a terrifically non-healthy meal, I decided it was time to
split. Outside the convention hall, I sucked in a huge lungfull of fresh
air (as fresh as the air in L.A. ever gets anyhow). I figured it’d take
me at least a week to de-tox from the massive overdose of incense I’d
On the way to my car, I passed a glassy-eyed couple strolling along
with pyramids balanced on their heads. The fact that they were on a
public thoroughfare didn’t seem to bother them in the least.
“Oh Lord,” I said, looking skyward. “Please help them! Help
me! Help us all! The New Age really IS upon us! It’s The
End!!! What do we do now?
Unfortunately, the Big Guy upstairs wasn’t forthcoming with any
Oh well. I promise you guys … if I get any answers, I’ll let you
know immediately. Meanwhile — I’m afraid it’s every man for himself.
Stay tuned for next week’s episode, as our intrepid reporter goes
undercover at a New Age “Rebirthing” session. See — up close
and personal — as he is regressed to his childhood (which of course he
has never left in the first place), and then, even further … back to a
former lifetime! You simply cannot afford to miss this exciting episode
of … (music please) …”Demonic Convergence!”
Should you wish to get a complete version of this pulse-pounding,
highly-revealing expose please click your little mousey … right
S.L. Goldman is the owner and founder of Cultbusters, Inc.
Cultbusters — which works in conjunction with other like-minded
groups such as The Cult Awareness Center and Spiritual Counterfeits
Project — is a non-profit organization which furnishes information to
the public on various destructive cults. Cultbusters also helps
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