Michael F. Brown, a professor of anthropology and Latin American studies at Williams College, examines in this book "using altered states of consciousness to contact spirits or to experience spiritual energy from other times and dimensions." This fascinating book is based on the author's interviews with 40 practitioners and his participation in channeling seminars and workshops. While skeptics write off this phenomenon as nothing more than a New Age fraud, thousands of well-educated, middle-class Americans are convinced that their lives can be enriched through contact with the spirit world.

Brown delves deeply into channeling as a borderland between religion and therapy that takes within its embrace the spark of divinity inside us, reincarnation, the power of positive thinking, holism, radical relativism, and self-expansion. Some other topics covered include the link between channeling and multiple personalities, the difference between trance and conscious channels, the debate over taking money for spiritual guidance, the dominance of women in the field, and the appearance of cybershamans. Michael F. Brown has provided an invaluable service for the public with his sensitive, wide-ranging, and objective account of this phenomenon.