This week we’re bringing you spaghetti fights, country music, diarrhea curses, and corn-fed masters as we jump back into the world of American New Age religions and begin our look at Eckankar, which boasted tens of thousands of adherents in its heyday and continues to exist. While Eckankar shares quite a few similarities with some other groups we’ve covered, it’s a bit different. They have Eck Masters, you see. Not ascended masters, Eck masters. And in fact they even have a living Eck Master. On the surface, they seem to be pretty innocuous and just kind of goofy, and hey, at least they teach you the magic. But dig a little deeper and things get real weird, real fast. In part 1 we learn about Eckankar’s founder Paul Twitchell, a man who first incarnated on this earth thousands of years ago as an “unspecified mineral” and who owned so many hats that he lost a job because it. He also used his super special astral projection powers to scare barnyard animals as a kid. This one is both incredibly goofy, and deeply unsettling. Also incredibly difficult to summarize. Enjoy!