New-Age Channeler J.Z. Knight and 'Ramtha' in Divorce Court
Sep. 26, 1992
TACOMA, Wash. (AP) _ A New Age spiritualist who says she's the voice for a 35,000-year-old warrior named Ramtha is fighting her own battle against an ex-husband who calls her ''channeling'' a money-making sham that cheated him too.
Jeffrey Knight, 36, fifth husband of guru J.Z. Knight, is suing his former wife because he claims he accepted her $120,000 divorce settlement in 1989 while under Ramtha's influence.
Saying the Ramtha business is a fake and he deserves a bigger settlement, he asked Judge Bruce Cohoe to reopen proceedings in the couple's divorce.
The New Age adversaries have been drawing standing-room-only crowds to the Pierce County Superior Court since the hearing began Sept. 8.
Ms. Knight told the court she was sick after arriving at the courthouse Friday and the judge recessed the proceedings until Monday.
Earlier in the week, Ms. Knight had said she feels mocked. ''If I were the pope, I wouldn't be up on the stand having to answer these questions,'' she told reporters Thursday.
Knight also blames his ex-wife and Ramtha for his failure to seek immediate treatment when he learned in 1985 he had the AIDS virus, apparently caught during homosexual encounters.
Ramtha ''told me that he would teach me how to heal myself, and that I should not worry about it, and that I could not die from the plague,'' Knight testified.
Knight testified that he originally asked for $10,000 monthly support. Then he met with his wife at the Tacoma home of actress Linda Evans, a Ramtha follower, and was told Ms. Knight was $7 million in debt.
Wanting Ramtha's protection from AIDS, Knight said, he agreed to the single payment. But after the divorce, he lost contat with Ramtha, he said.
Ms. Knight, 46, lives in a $3 million compound at Yelm, about 30 miles southwest of here. Even the horse barn is decorated with a chandelier and wallpaper.
A business school dropout, Ms. Knight got rich ''channeling'' Ramtha, who seems to speak through her in a gravelly voice.
Ramtha first appeared to Ms. Knight in her kitchen in 1977, she said. A year later, she began channeling him publicly for a fee.
Among her adherents were Shirley MacLaine, who no longer associates with Ms. Knight.
Ramtha predicts catastrophes and advises followers to stock up on household provisions and gold.
While the Knights were married, Ramtha recommended that followers invest in the couple's Arabian horse-breeding business, for instance.
Ms. Knight met her ex-husband, a professional horse trainer, in 1980 while married to her fourth husband.
Their romance flourished after Ramtha let it be known the two were ''soulmates,'' she testified Thursday.
The couple moved in together in 1981 and married in 1984.
''Ramtha counseled and controlled almost every decision that we made, including such things as which horses we should buy or breed for our horse business,'' Knight said in court documents.
Ms. Knight testified Thursday, however, that in fact a British spirit named Charles made most of the decisions.
''He understood a little bit more about horse flesh than we did,'' she said, and Ramtha generally deferred in that area.
Photographers were banned from taking pictures of Ms. Knight while she was on the witness stand, because of her objections. The judge ruled that ban doesn't apply to Ramtha, though.
''If Ramtha appears, then you've got my permission to take his picture,'' the judge said.
''I would never, never channel Ramtha in the courtroom,'' Ms. Knight said.