By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Being a massage therapist, he had heard theories about how energies, or chakras, run through the body. He hadn't put much stock in it, but now it was all beginning to make sense. He had never been a religious man either, but he'd always considered himself spiritual. Now, thanks to Dusk, his eyes were being opened.
When Conrad watched The Indigo Evolution at Unity, it was the confirmation he'd been looking for that everything he was hearing at work was true. And it was nice to know that he wasn't the only one raising a child with supernatural gifts. Now he just had to figure out the best way to raise such a boy.
Karla Bass was at the Orlando conference, and it was there that she saw indigos up close. It was also in Orlando where she first met James Twyman, the event's organizer and host.
Twyman, 42, is perhaps the most outspoken expert on the indigo phenomenon. It is primarily because of his two movies, a feature film released last year and the documentary Conrad watched at Unity, that the idea has reached the mainstream. To his followers, Twyman is a humble and sincere spiritual messenger. To his detractors, however, he is a con artist with delusions of grandeur.
Twyman lives on a 42-acre sanctuary outside of Ashland with a small group he calls the Beloved Community. The hilly resort includes several cabins, a labyrinth, a house where community workers and volunteers live and a mobile home converted into an office. At Twyman's right hand is a 72-year-old woman named Sharon Williams, a retired schoolteacher who gave her house away to follow him after reading his first book, Emissary of Light.
That book, published in 1997, put Twyman on the map in the New Age community. It was initially presented as the "true story of an incredible adventure" Twyman had while touring as a musician in war-torn Bosnia in the early '90s. In the book, Twyman journeys to a secluded mountainous area where he meets a mystical group of 12 disciple-like figures and one master teacher. Known as the Emissaries of Light, the secret society tells Twyman they have existed for thousands of years but are known only to those drawn to them. They have hand-picked Twyman to announce that the world is on the verge of a major awakening.
After the book was published, questions about its origin surfaced, and a New Age organization called New Heaven New Earth decided to take a closer look at Twyman. They concluded that much of the book had been lifted from other sources, including a three-volume set called A Course in Miracles (supposedly written by Jesus Christ through a Jewish psychologist) and the teachings of the Endeavor Academy, a Wisconsin group to which Twyman had once belonged. Within New Age circles, Endeavor was widely considered a cult, led by a former real estate broker and recovered alcoholic named Chuck Anderson who, according to NHNE, "exerted god-like powers over his followers, many of whom have given up everything they own to the community."
Twyman's response to the report was that he hadn't meant every word in his book to be taken literally. He insisted, however, that the 13 emissaries he'd met were real people he encountered in the flesh, but they were no longer on this physical plane. He had embellished certain parts to make the story more exciting, he acknowledged, but the essence of the book was true. He called it allegorical nonfiction.
Even within New Age circles, the NHNE report had little effect, and it did nothing to slow Twyman's rise. His follow-up, Emissary of Love, told the story of a similar encounter in 2001, when Twyman met with a secret group of psychic children called the Children of Oz in the mountains of Bulgaria. These children would help humans attain the next level of spiritual evolution. It was the first time Twyman had written about indigos, and it made him an instant expert on the subject.
Today, Twyman stands at the top of a small but growing New Age empire. His two films, Indigo and Indigo Evolution, have grossed more than $1 million. On his Web site, he sells books, movies, CDs, and New Age-inspired clothing and jewelry. He is not as wealthy as some of his counterparts, like best-selling author Neale Donald Walsh, but he has learned how to spin a good story into a healthy business.
At least that's how his critics see it. Lorie Anderson, who lives near Twyman's compound, has been closely watching the indigo movement. She says some of the services Twyman has offered on his Web site, such as online courses on telekinetic spoon bending, are scams (on her Web site she links to Hank's Magic Factory, which sells bending forks for $695). In a self-published article titled "Indigo: The Color of Money," Anderson paints Twyman as a fraud who is preying upon vulnerable parents overwhelmed by difficult kids. Physically and mentally handicapped children, for example, are often identified as indigos and used by Twyman to make money for the Beloved Community, Anderson says.
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