Spiritualism in Elmira, New York, courtesy of medium Jane Roberts (The Seth Material, Afterdeath Journal of an American Philosopher) and an all-too-willing class of participants from the late Sixties through the late Seventies. Author Susan Watkins was one of the disciples: like everyone else, she hung on every word uttered by Roberts in the guise of ""Seth""--""the spirit of a dead man,"" or more properly, a conglomerate identity of dead people and still somehow an ""aspect"" of Roberts' own identity. This kind of heavy contradiction informs most of the goings on, with Seth generally having the last word on all subjects, in the tones of a messiah: ""Now we have spoken in terms that you could understand. . . But you have not taken the stuff of reality into your hearts. . . ."" Seth's primary interest is in getting his ""class"" of dunderheads--of whom he seems affectionate and protective--to accept that they ""create"" their own reality with their beliefs; though why this should concern him so deeply is never made clear. To accomplish his purpose, he often exults in group-therapy games (everyone tells a secret) and philosophizes about reincarnation; if he says an old fellow on the street is an aspect of Watkins' dead grandfather, then, by gum, that clinches the matter for everyone. Nonsense about reincarnation, telepathic powers, and such--lent dubious authority by a ghost. We can hardly wait for Vol. II.