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Before jumping on fundamentalist Christian bandwagon, Michaelsen was fully immersed in New Age wingnuttery. She had claimed to have had supernatural experiences from the age of eleven onward, which she now believes was inherited from her great-great aunt, Dixie Jarratt Haygood, a vaudeville performer whose tricks were easily replicated by those that knew them. Michaelsen asserts these experiences were real and that she inherited real psychic powers. She would make even more outlandish claims about Haygood in her autobiography, including some that were demonstrably wrong, like the claim that Haygood died in the 1920s, when in fact she died in 1915.. Michaelsen would later claim she learned how to use her psychic powers from Silva method, and that people were invited to test them to demonstrate the method. Yet James Randi states that tests to demonstrate the validity of the Silva Method are actually discouraged. Her experiences with Silva Method would lead her deeper into the New Age path were she would immerse herself in psychic surgery, another popular phenomenon of the 1970s.
During the 1970s, Michaelsen claimed to have worked with a psychic surgeon, Pachita, who claimed to do lung transplants, remove impossible tumours and the like, despite considerable evidence that the psychic healer named "Pachita" was far less than claimed. After visiting a Christian centre in Switzerland, she would be convinced that her occult experiences were not from Jesus but Satan. This led to her conversion to Christian fundamentalist.
Michaelsen's story of her "occult" experiences shot her into fundie superstardom and she became a beacon for other forms of wingnuttery, like the promoting of Lauren Stratford's fraudulent Satanic ritual abuse screeds. Michaelsen was one of the biggest defenders of Stratford and supposedly took Stratford into her home for months. She was also a champion of Mike Warnke, author of another fraudulent memoir of his life as a Satanist.
Michaelsen was also instrumental in telling Christian parents the evils of cartoons like He-Man and She-Ra, as well as Dungeons & Dragons. It even turns out that she was Hal Lindsey's sister-in-law, until he left Johanna's sister for a Bible study student.
Despite not making major mentions of Warnke or Stratford in public, it still seems that after all these years Michaelsen believes that Satanic Ritual Abuse is real. On her ministry website she links to Gregory Reid, someone who explicitly and clearly defends Lauren Stratford despite offering no counter evidence to what evidence has been presented.
- The Beautiful Side of Evil, Harvest House, 1982. ISBN 0890813221
- Like Lambs to the Slaughter, Harvest House, 1989. ISBN 0890816174
- About page at michaelsenministries.com.
- The prodigal witch: a thumbnail sketch of Johanna Michaelsen. swallowingthecamel.me, 30 June 2011.
- Michaelsen, Johanna. "Beautiful Side of Evil", 1982, page 16.
- Dixie Annie Jarratt Haygood at findagrave.com.
- James Randi & Arthur C. Clarke. An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural. St. Martin's Griffin. Retrieved January 22, 2014
- "The Seduction of Christianity – Program 7", John Ankerberg Show, 1985
- 'Pachita', el espíritu que habita la Casa de las Brujas. chilango.com, 19 September 2016.
- The prodigal witch IX: Lauren Stratford. swallowingthecamel.me, 2 July 2011.
- Michaelsen, Johanna. "Your Kids and the Occult", 1989, pg 9.
- Alan Scherstuhl, Studies in Crap Sticks Up For the Care Bears, Who Are Totally Not Satanic. Village Voice, 26 February 2009.
- Halloween: What are we celebrating? standupforthetruth.com, 7 October 2012.
- Halloween: More misinformation from evangelical Christian groups. religioustolerance.org.
- Check out these resources. michaelsenministries.com.
- A Hero Goes Home: Lauren Stratford. Archived from the original at gregoryreid.com, 14 January 2005.
Lauren’s book Satan’s Underground was a major blow to the powers of darkness. Her testimony of child abuse and satanic crime was an astonishing message of the power of God’s love to heal. It was a book she was reluctant to write. It was destined to be read by pastors and survivors worldwide. Soon she became a reluctant spokesperson for victims everywhere. But she used each opportunity, interview and talk show to tell people about her beloved Savior.