The Spirit Teacher Who
Brought The Divine Fire

By Brad Steiger

One evening in the summer of 1969, I was awakened by an unusual sound as I lay sleeping in the master bedroom of my home in Decorah, Iowa. When I opened my eyes, I was startled to see a dark hooded figure standing at the side of the bed. In the dim light diffused through a window shade from an outside streetlamp, I could see what appeared to be a man dressed as a cowled monk waving his arms over my wife and myself.
I was instantly wide-awake with the adrenaline pumping fiercely through my veins. I felt no need to demand to know how the man got into the bedroom or to ask what his intentions might be. I felt no need to know if the stranger was a member of a respected monastic order, a satanic high priest, or an independent weirdo. Self- preservation and the survival instinct submerged any trace of inductive or deductive reasoning in my brain. Somehow, the hooded invader had found his way into our upstairs bedroom and until proven otherwise should be considered a likely threat to my wife and to my four children who were sleeping in two bedrooms down the hall. And I had the terrible thought that since Reb, our very protective Beagle wasn't barking fiercely, the invader must have silenced him.
I rose up on my knees in bed and pulled my right arm back to deliver as solid a punch as I could send into the face of the hooded trespasser who had violated the sanctity of our home.
The blow never landed. I felt all of my strength draining from my body. I was like a balloon that had suddenly lost all of its air. I had never felt so weak, so helpless. I had been an avid weight- lifter since I was twenty-one. At that time, at age thirty-three, I considered myself very strong. But I collapsed in a sprawled heap on the bed at the mercy of the intruder, and I felt tears of fear and confusion running down my cheeks.
"Don't be afraid," the hooded intruder said in a soft, androgynous voice. "We won't hurt you."
The most incredibly bizarre aspect of these words of comfort was that they seemed to be coming from my wife--but it was certainly not her voice.
The next thing I knew it was morning. It was as though only a few seconds had passed. My eyes desperately searched the bedroom for a hidden assailant as if he might still be there, crouching at the side of the bed.
It took a few more moments for me to realize completely that it was no longer night and that the threat was no longer there. As I walked cautiously through the rooms of our home, I found no evidence to indicate that anyone had broken in. Nothing in the house had been taken. Nothing seemed to have been disturbed in any way. I had no bumps or bruises. There was no evidence that the intruder had struck me or knocked me unconscious. And Reb was sound of body and wanting to be let out to perform his morning toilet.
My wife said that she seemed to remember hearing my sounds of distress and that she had reached out to comfort me. But if I had heard any voice speaking, it certainly hadn't been hers.
Several times that day I reviewed the bizarre experience over and over in my mind. I knew that I had not been dreaming. I had definitely been awakened by an intruder who startled me from my sleep by making some kind of strange sound.
What had the invader wanted? If he really was a legitimate member of a religious order, why would he break into the house and sneak into the master bedroom?
What had the cowled figure done? A careful search of the home and a questioning of my children confirmed my initial assessment that nothing had been taken--nor had any member of the family been disturbed in any manner whatsoever.
I kept going over the only words that I had heard the hooded man speak: "Don't be afraid. We [or had it been "he"? Had there really been more than one intruder?] won't hurt you."
When the incident occurred in 1969, I had already written a number of books in the paranormal field. The home in which I had spent my early childhood had been host to a number of ghosts, spirit manifestations, aspects of psychic residue, whatever one chooses to call such manifestations. I had also done ghost research in a number of haunted homes and witnessed a great deal of psychic phenomena and UFO activity. Although it may seem peculiar in light of my now long-established reputation as a paranormal researcher, it was only after hours of reviewing the situation that I finally entertained the possibility that our uninvited guest had been something other than a human interloper. Since there was no evidence of a physical intruder, I at last concluded that we had been visited by some kind of spirit being that had appeared solidly three-dimensionally before me.
Now I began to berate myself that I should have been able to stay awake. I had missed an incredible opportunity to dialogue with the entity, to ask it a hundred questions, the kind of queries that humanity had been wondering about for thousands of years.
I vowed to myself that if the being should return--and somehow I felt that it would--I would be ready for the visit. And I most certainly would not fall asleep. I would stay awake and mentally analyze every moment of the experience so that I would be able to write about it later with vivid and exacting details. And then there were all those questions that I wanted to ask a visitor from another dimension.
The next evening I was just falling asleep when I became aware of a peculiar, metallic buzzing sound--the kind of buzz that one might imagine a mechanical bumblebee would make. I wondered if that had been the sound that had awakened me on the previous night.
I lifted my head from the pillow, and I clearly perceived an eerie greenish light emanating from somewhere in the stairway. Without question, the strange buzzing sound was coming from a ball of light that was slowly moving down the hallway into the master bedroom. Whoever it was--whatever it was--it had come to pay a return visit. And once again, it had managed to quiet Reb and slip by his ever- alert canine vigilance.
I felt my pulse quicken as I watched the green globe of softly glowing light move into the bedroom. I kept repeating a mantra of courage, telling myself over and over that I was not afraid. I was an accomplished and experienced researcher of the paranormal, and this was an excellent opportunity to study a most unusual manifestation at first hand.
Most of all, I told myself that I would not under any circumstances fall asleep. The greenish globe hovered over my face for just a moment, then it moved over my sleeping wife's throat. Her mouth opened, and I heard the same soft voice commanding me to "Listen!"
I didn't have even a few seconds to attempt to struggle against the darkness that came over me. I didn't even have a moment in which to fight to stay awake, to resist sleep, to observe more closely the bizarre illuminated globe that had invaded the bedroom and my wife's body. After the command to listen, the very next sensory impression that I perceived was the light of dawn entering the bedroom windows. Once again, I had slept through the entire experience. Whatever the experience may have been.
Why hadn't I been able to stay awake? How could the being have had that much mental control over my consciousness? I have always been a night person. Since leaving teaching as a profession, my average bedtime has been around 3:30 A.M. In addition to my habit of retiring at a late hour, I have, since early childhood, been pretty much of an insomniac, a very light sleeper and easily awakened. And once awakened, I find it very difficult to return to sleep.
So how could I, of all people, not be able to stay awake when a strange hooded being and/or a peculiar green-glowing sphere from outer space or from other dimensions invaded my bedroom?
By the afternoon after the second nighttime invasion, I began to get a different view of the whole strange business. Shortly after I arrived at my office, I had the concept of a new book niggling at me. It occurred to me that I should write a book that would explore the phenomenon of such mysterious bedroom invaders. I was certain that the being was not a ghost, but some kind of paraphysical, shape-shifting entity out to accomplish some kind of mission or purpose.
Months passed, and I got busy on other projects. Then one night as I sat in quiet contemplation, I began to reflect on my near-death experience at the age of eleven in which a Light Being had shown me an incredible geometric design that instantly transmitted the awareness that everything was as it should be. As I beheld this remarkable multicolored form, I was given to understand that there was a pattern to the Universe, a meaning to life, an evolutionary spiritual destiny for humankind. I had been filled with a sense of deep euphoria and a feeling of oneness with All That Is.
For perhaps the first time in my life, I realized that I had been shown a revelation during my near-death experience-and I began to consider the strange nighttime visitation of the hooded being to be somehow in concert with the wonder of that pulsating, living, geometric pattern.
As the day progressed, I felt that I must write a book about the contemporary revelatory experience, and more and more I began to realize that this idea was connected with the bedroom intruder. I also had a strong conviction that the book must bear the title, Revelation : The Divine Fire.
As I began to write down some notes about the book, the thoughts seemed to be from some kind of memory of a series of discussions with a learned, older, and wiser friend, I began to consider that perhaps my ethereal night visitor had known very well that I had the kind of brain that never shuts up, that never ceases an internal monologue. Perhaps my mysterious cowled visitor knew that my conscious ego had to be silenced so that my unconscious creative self could more readily receive an uninterrupted transmission from some higher level of awareness.
I called Tam Mossman, my editor at Prentice-Hall, and told him that I wanted to do a book on the experiences of men and women who claimed to be in spiritual communication with a Higher Intelligence. Mossman told me to go for it. I defined the Divine Fire as the transfer of thought, spirit, and power from an infinite or multidimensional intelligence to a finite, human intelligence. The process of such a transfer, I had come to believe, is a vital, continuing one which observes no denominational boundaries and employs a spiritual-psychic mechanism that is timeless and universal. All of the world's great saints, mystics, and inspired men and women of history are eternally spiritual contemporaries of those individuals who are visited by the Divine Fire in modern times.
I drew up a list of interviewees for the list which included modern day mystics, prophets, theologians, writers, psychics, psychologists, psychotherapists, professors of theology, and scientists. One of the basic questions that I would ask was how many of them accepted the existence of other intelligences--call them angels, masters, spirit guides--that might operate from another plane of being to influence humankind's spiritual and physical evolution through carefully controlled individual and group revelatory experiences. Since so many revelators insisted that their messages were relayed to them by a cowled figure, a glowing angel, a bearded master, might it be possible that these entities actually existed on another plane of being?
With my editor's encouragement, I set to work on the book at once, and strangely, several passages and pages of the manuscript seemed to write themselves of their own volition. I recall putting "Lucretia," my faithful 1923 Underwood typewriter, away for the evening, probably at two or three in the morning. Then, the next thing I knew, the Dr. Pepper clock on the wall was telling me that the time was now an hour or so later--and four or five pages had been added to my daily output.
Previously, during lectures and personal appearances, I had often been asked if I had ever felt that I had been "given" ("channeled" was not yet a popular New Age term) any of the material in my books by my spirit guide. I had always resisted such a concept as inspiration from ethereal entities, and I would joke that my book royalties were not high enough to share with a "ghostwriter."
However, during the writing of The Divine Fire, I became convinced that someone up there or out there or in there had decided that this particular book had to be written--if not by me, then by some other writer. I began to consider my hooded visitor from the perspective of a spirit teacher.
Later, when Divine Fire had been published and I was on a lecture tour, numerous individuals approached me with their copies of the book open to particular pages that I recognized as some of those that seemed to have been written by my unseen collaborator. These passages, they said, had given them great inspiration.
Shortly after the book was published by Prentice-Hall in 1973, I received a letter from a musician in the Chicago area who claimed that he had received a copy of Revelation: The Divine Fire in his mail prior to its publication. The book had arrived in a plain brown envelope with no return address or letter enclosed.
According to the musician, one night in 1972, while he was drifting off to sleep, he had received an inspiration to write a book on the contemporary revelatory experience. The title that had come to him was The Eternal Flame.
At the time that I was interviewing my list of men and women for the Divine Fire, the roster of interviewees that the musician was beginning to jot down for his book was almost exactly the same.
I began The Divine Fire with a quote from the prophet Jeremiah: "But his word was in my heart as a burning fire. . . ." For the opening words of his The Eternal Flame, the musician had written an original poem, which began with the line "There is a flame which burns within my heart."
Although the musician and I had received the "seed" for almost exactly the same book, I was finished with my version while the musician was still taking research notes. The thing was, I had the mental "writer's muscles" that were required to translate an inspiration for a book into the physical reality of writing a book, and I already had an editor whom I knew would appreciate the concept and the value of the work.
The musician, on the other hand, had been given a different set of creative "muscles," so that writing for him was a much more formidable task. When the copy of my book mysteriously manifested in his mailbox, he knew that he need not complete this particular task. Someone had already finished the cosmic assignment.
I can only speculate how many other creative people on a certain night in 1969-1972 were visited by a hooded entity, an angel, or a spirit teacher and who were given an inspiration, an assignment, to write a book on the contemporary revelatory experience.
To balance the cosmic scales, I have often heard the most beautiful celestial melodies inside my head ever since I was a child--and I can't write a note of music. When I first heard a chorus of heavenly voices rise to meet a lovely orchestral accompaniment, I was convinced that it was a sign that I would one day be a brilliant composer, a modern day Chopin, Bach, or Beethoven.
It was not, alas, to be. Even after eight years of music lessons, I had sadly to conclude that while I am privileged to hear celestial music, it was not my destiny to be able to translate the beautiful sounds into compositions that could inspire others. It fact, it was not my destiny to be able to play any kind of music even passably well.
The book Revelation: The Divine Fire, published in 1973, proved to be one of the most important in my early career. Reviewers were overwhelmingly responsive and thoughtful. Some were generous enough to compare the work in importance with William James's The Varieties of Religious Experience. The book was a selection of many book clubs and published in hardcover, trade paperback, and mass- market paperback editions. But even to this day I ask myself, exactly who should have been credited as the co-author?
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