Twitchell's Birthdate and More Lies

Author: David Christopher Lane
Publisher: Alt.religion.eckankar
Publication date: 1996

E-mail David Christopher Lane directly at

I want to go back to the home base now.


Otherwise known as

Twitchell lied about his birthdate:

[Very close reading is probably important]

Steve R writes:

"Apparently there is a typo on Paul's death certificate.  Note that
Gail  Atkinson, Paul's widow,  is identified as the "informant".  The
information was likely taken from Gail and typed into a form by a
clerk.  Which is more likely,  that Gail passed on a lie told to her
by Paul giving his birthdate as 1922, or that when typing 10/22/12,
the typist accidentally typed in 10/22/22?  Remember they didn't have
word processors in 1971.  In order to correct the mistake in she would
have had to use an eraser or white-out and then retype the date.  I
doubt that anyone would have noticed or cared at the time.
This typo forms Lane's entire case in this chapter for making Paul
Twitchell out to be a liar.  There is no other evidence to
substantiate his claims, and this evidence is itself, by definition,
second hand.   Unless, that is, Lane is saying that Paul lied on his
own death certificate.  But if he could do that, then ..."

David Lane's response:

I don't mind your alternative hypothesis, but you have given
me no proof whatsoever that there was indeed a typo. In
fact, I am looking at Twitchell's death certificate right
now (have you seen it, as well?). This is what it says about
Twitchell's age and birthdate. I will type it exactly as it
states, and not as you imagine it looks (like
10/22/22--which it does not). Look closely:


Date of Death: Sept 17, 1971

Age (Last birthday [years]: 48

Date of Birth: Oct 22, 1922


Now read the entire document. It gives Twitchell's address
in Del Mar, his occupation, his p.o. box, etc., and the
informant which was Gail Atkinson.

You have no evidence whatsoever that there was a typo.
What you have is a document which says he was 48 when he
died and he was born on October 22, 1922.

That's it Steve. Now you can claim anything you wish, but
the DOCUMENT done by a notarized registrar and directly
informed by his wife, Gail, says exactly what I reported.

You are the one "making" conjectures because you don't like
the implications. That's your problem, NOT the document's.

You then further state that I am relying on second-hand
information (which in this case is Twitchell's death
certificate). Yet, Steve, I can at the very least point you
to the document. All you can say here is that there is
"apparently a typo." Why? Because you don't like what it

Given that modus operandi (it's a typo when I don't like
it), then you can conjecture anything you wish. Elvis on
Mars, Sudar in Allahabad, Gakko on Venus.... you get my


Steve R. writes:

"Note that not one of these sources gives a specific date, nor does
Lane cite exactly what they say.  Someone saying "he was born in the
early 20s" instead of saying "he was born in the early teens" does not
suffice to substantiate the charge of Paul's being a "notorious liar".
Paul was young looking for his age.  In the 1960s two independent
reporters said that he was in his 40s.  They were probably speaking
casually, if at all."

David Lane responds:

I would be most happy to supply you with Jack Jarvis'
article wherein he writes in JULY OF 1963 that Paul
Twitchell had "just turned" 40.

Now Steve, he does not say, as you wrongly infer, that "he
was young looking for his age." And saying that he "just
turned forty" is not speaking casually, Steve. It is quite
precise. By the way, do the math my friend. If it is July
1963 and Twitchell "just turned 40", guess what Twitchell's
birthdate would have been? That's right: 1922.

Pretty interesting coincidence, huh? Or, geez just another
typo in that infinite string.

I actually point to a REAL document and you call that
unsubstantiated, while you say things like "they were
probably speakng casually." I like the psycho-analysis, but
you have no document, no evidence. What you have is your
simple distaste of my pointing out that Twitchell did indeed
tell lots of people he was younger than he was. I can
demonstrate my claim, Steve.

Can you actually DEMONSTRATE yours?                                                                                                
Typo again?

Oh by the way, re-read Steiger and see for yourself his time line.
Keep in mind that Twitchell's mother, Effie Troutman, died on April
26, 1940 (I have the death certificate, as well) of a liver
disorder. Steiger, not me and not you, says that Twitchell and his
sister returned to the USA shortly before the outbreak of World War
Two. Steiger's inference is very clear.


Steve R. writes:

"So, is Jarvis the "notorious liar"?  What is the exact quote here?"

David Lane replies:

The exact quote is that Twitchell had just turned 40. Don't like it?
That's not my problem, it's yours since it directly supports Gail
Atkinson's information on the death certificate and puts another
nail in your "typo" hypothesis. Get the document Steve and read the
article yourself.


Steve R. writes:

"The premise of Steiger's book is that Paul was the modern day founder
of Eckankar. How does Lane deduce that the book is based on a premise
about Paul's age, when Steiger doesn't even give a birthdate.  What
Steiger does is to talk about some events in Paul's youth and then
skip to World War II.  There may have been some material edited out in
between.  No mention is made of Paul's age at the start of the war."

David Lane replies:

The answer is simple Steve. Brad Steiger says that Twitchell was 15
when he visited his supposed half sister, Kay Dee, but they had to
return immediately according to Steiger because Twitchell's mother
was dying.

When did she die? April 26, 1940. Okay, Steve, work out the math on
this one. Guess what? It clearly points to Twitchell being born in
the 1920s. Moreover, read your own Eckankar literature on the
subject and see when Twitchell supposedly traveled to India.

Steiger says Twitchell was 15. Steiger says he went to
attend to his dying mother. I reported that accurately, you have

Effie's death certificate says she died on April 26, 1940.

You say there may have been some material "edited" out.

Again, when you don't have any documents or any evidence you 
make scenarios up. I don't mind, but don't talk about "fraudulent"
research when your own defense is imaginary posturings.

Steve Writes:

Q: Where does Gail "put forth" these dates? 
 A: In the typo on Paul's death certificate.

David Lane replies:

This is very clever, Steve. You have now moved from "could be a
typo" to "the typo" on Paul's death certificate. I like these leaps.
It wasn't a typo, Steve. You have no basis whatsoever to back your
claim, except that you don't like the fact that Gail, that Jarvis,
and that Steiger all think Twitchell was born in the 1920s.

You may not like it, but imagine Gail's surprise when she realized
her husband was not so young?


Steve Writes:

(Citing my last line):"If the typo on his death certificate was correct it would make Paul
10."  The only evidence here is that typo.

David Lane Writes:

No, Steve, you got it in reverse. You have no evidence. I got
plenty--from Jarvis, from Gail, from Effie Troutman, from Paul's
own writing.

What you got is a lot of air. Again, I don't mind, but be
accurate. I have at the very least based my data on actual evidence
by pro-Twitchell supporters (Steiger, Gail, and Jarvis).

What you have based your typo hypothesis on is your unwillingness
to concede that Twitchell lied. 


Steve Writes after citing me:
"Steiger, coincidentally, makes no reference whatsoever to Twitchell's
college career in his biography."

Given the tenor of the rest of this chapter, this line appears to be
written solely so as to make us suspicious of something. 

David Lane replies:

You are right on the money, Steve. I do want to make you suspicious
of something. I want you to "doubt" the veracity of Twitchell's self-professed
claim to be younger than he was.

I want you to question Steiger's biography. And so you should, as
Klemp now admits.


Steve Writes:

"The dates here are consistant. The delay on Paul's birth certificate
is also consistant with his out of wedlock status.  Why didn't the
doctor or hospital issue a birth certificate in 1912?  Why didn't his
parents issue one if he was born at home?  Could it be because Paul's
biography is actually correct?

David Lane replies:

Steve if you like the 1912 birthdate that's fine with me, but it
directly contradicts Harold Klemp (who favors 1908) and Darwin Gross
(who liked 1812). Your typo defense that Gail should have put 1912
versus 1922 does not have any support, neither from Harold nor from
Gross. They don't use that date.

So what you got is the fact that Twitchell subtracted a
decade or so off his birthdate when he talked to Steiger, Jarvis,
and Gail.

No typo, Steve, just your imaginary desire.

About the accuracy of Paul's biography, you should go ask the guy
who wrote it. I did and he said he made things up to cover
Twitchell's true life. Sorry, another strike for the typo

Steve Writes:

"Again, the only reference to the 1922 birthdate is in the typo on
Paul's death certificate.  The only way this can be seen as a
fabrication is if one is expecting a fabrication.  To those of us
without David Lane's keen sense of personal character, it is just a

David Lane replies:

Nice try, but don't you see how dishonest you are being to me and to
what I wrote? I didn't come out of the blue with 1922. Twitchell's
death certficate says it. Steiger says he was 15. Jarvis says he
just turned 40. Twitchell himself says in 1963 in one of his own
articles that he was just 40. 

These are all pro-Eckankar people. Your argument about this
birthdate is Twitchell's problem, not mine.

You are the one who cannot accept the document and the articles.
I can.

I am not expecting fabrication Steve. I was simply giving you the
documents by pro-Eckists. You just don't like it because it shows
Twitchell lied about his birthdate.


Steve writes:

"This line is pure character assasination, with absolutely no basis in
fact.  It is typical Lane.  Paul's death certificate has a "2" where
there should be a "1". From this Lane concocts a story that Paul
fabricated or lied in order to "to convince his young wife, Gail, that
he was not too much older than herself".  This claim has been repeated
over and over by people who have uncritically accepted the Lane
material.  David Lane and his supporters make the claim that he is a
legitimate researcher into the history of religions.  Legitimate
researchers do not engage in character assasination."

David Lane replies:

Again, you are not being straight. Twitchell is reported to be in
his forties in the 1960s by at least four people (Jarvis, Gail,
Steiger, and, best of all, the Twitch himself) and I am accused of
character harm because I report that he was not born in 1922, but
much earlier (Klemp agrees, as well, by the way on this score).
So why did Twitchell change his birthdate and his age?

Among competing theories, it looks likely that Gail was the reason.
Why? She is barely 20 and this guy is over 50 in real life. So he
lies. And his death certificate, informed by Gail, shows it.

I can at least give you an informant and several documents for my
"theory" (and all from pro-Eck sources).

What do you have to offer on this score?

Another typo......



Steve Writes (about the 1909 birthdate, etc.):

"Once again, evidence supporting Paul's assertion that his birth was
out of wedlock.  Presumably, if there had been no family mystery
surrounding his birth, there would have been a birth certificate, or
birth announcements or some other family record from which this
geneology would have been compiled."

David Lane replies:

Steve you can rant all you want about Twitchell's illegimate birth,
but the documents all point to Effie. All you are left with is
Steiger's account of Twitchell's inventions.

Believe it, if you wish, but the documents do not say anything about
his alleged illegitimacy.


Steve Writes:

"Here we have utter nonsense as Lane confuses the accounts of Paul's
physical birth with the akashic records of a past life (debatable, but
not evidence of "habitual lying")."

David Lane replies:

Sorry Steve, but the information about the 1812 birthdate comes from
Eckankar directly (I met with them at their headquarters in Menlo
Park). I asked them if they meant a past life, they told me that
they did not. Bill Popham told me in no uncertain terms that
Twitchell was born in 1812, not a akashic reading.

So once again, you say I am sprouting nonsense when the very
non-sense came directly from Eckankar headquarters.

Better rip them.


Steve writes:

"Despite this, Lane continues to use Paul Iverlet as a presumably
unimpeachable source."

David Lane replies:

Steve, you say an unimpeachable source, I didn't. I simply reported
the fact that he said Twitchell was a notorious liar. Iverlet also
has lots of documents to show it.

What have you shown?

another typo?


Steve writes:

"Again, had Paul's birth been normal, presumably there would have been
announcements of some sort.  That there are discrepencies between
family bibles and geneologies is not surprising given that his birth
was illegitimate."

David Lane replies:

I like the leap of logic here Steve. Typos, speculation, and not one
document. There is another reason for the lack of documentation on 
Paul's birthdate..... the original record was lost in a fire
(according to Professor Sutphin, an Eckist at one time who did the
research on this).

In any case, you are the one speculating about illegitimacy, not me.


Steve writes:

"I find it incredible how liberal Lane becomes when correctly
acknowledging that "Even family documents can be filled with errors,
since they often rely on memory.", and how unforgiving he can be over
a typo on a death certificate."

David Lane replies:

Watch your logic jumps here, I am getting dizzy from vertigo. I am
not being  "unforgiving" to Twitchell. I am simply reportng what he
himself wanted known via Steiger, Jarvis, Gail, and himself.

He wanted people to think he was younger than he was. I point this
out. You don't like it and call me unforgiving.

No, it is not one document Steve. There are several. And that is why
your typo hypothesis does not hold water. You just don't like that
Twitch lied about his age. 

That's very simple and that's exactly what the documents show.


Steve writes:

"Again we have the implicit characterization of Paul as a liar when
there has been absolutely no evidence to that effect.  The 1922 date
was a typo.  All other evidence points to 1912.  How does Lane come to
the conclusion that both dates "are of John Paul's making"?  Lane
isn't biased against his subject, is he?"

David Lane replies:

I think you got something backwards here. I say the 1922 date is a
fabrication made-up by Twitchell. I then say, quite reasonably, that
his birthdate is somewhere between 1908 and 1912. Your living Eck
Master uses 1908 (we will forget Gross' 1812 pet theory for the
moment to keep things simple).

Now Steve by saying that all other evidence points to 1912 you are
the one contradicting Harold Klemp. 

I give the 1908-1912 timeline, even though I think it was most
likely 1908. Why? To be as fair as possible. But even though I favor
the 1908 date,  I do not state that we are absolutely certain of it.

You call that biased?

Hmm.... better call Klemp on the carpet for agreeing with me.


Steve Writes:

"So much discussion to come to the conclusion that Paul's birthdate is
probably between 1908 and 1912, when his birth certificate says 1912.
Well 1912 is between 1908 and 1912.

David Lane replies:

I think you lost something in the translation, Steve. 1908 was put
forth by the Library of Congress..... Or is that another typo?
Klemp liked it.

By the way, it is ironic that you would be upset by my re-telling of
the various dates around Twitchell's birthdate.

In each case, I have given you my sources.

What are yours, Steve?



Steve Writes:

"Paul Iverlet was Paul Twitchell's brother-in-law.  Lane is
surprisingly unspecific in his explanation here.  What exactly did
Iverlet say.  What was an "atrocious lie"?  Did someone perhaps ask
"Was Paul Twitchell a bastard?" To which Mr. Iverlet might have
replied "That is an atrocious lie."  Or was Mr. Iverlet responding to
the entire Steiger biography.  Or was this a general response
regarding a brother in law for whom he did not care much.  Lane does
not specify.  Is the out of wedlock birth an atrocious lie?  Or is the
date?  Or was he just responding to Steiger's use of the ficticious
China Point instead of Paducah?  We don't know, and Lane doesn't tell."

David Lane writes:

Yes, David Lane does tell. I have made photocopies available of
Iverlet's letter in which he says the biographical narrative
surrounding Twitchell's birth and step-mother is an atrocious lie.

Why don't you ask me for the document?

I will give you a free copy. I will tell about any of my sources.

Just ask.


Steve Writes:

"Most specifically, the detractors have no answers here either, yet
they persist on telling us that this piece of evidence proves that
Paul Twitchell lied about his birth.  How can one be so certain in the
absence of any evidence?"

David Lane replies:

Do you really want to say this, Steve? I have given you several
lines of evidence. What you should do is reverse your statement and
apply it to your typo defense: "How can one be so certain in the the
absence of any evidence."

I can give you my documents.

I can give you the Death certificate, Twitchell's marriage
certificate with Gail (why not get one Steve and see what THAT
Document agrees with).

What can you give me?

Air, nothing, imaginary speculation.

You may not know it, but the wide gaps in your argument are showing
quite clearly.


Steve Writes:

"It is not surprising that a family from rural Kentucky would react
this way to a relative who founded a religion like Eckankar.  What do
you suppose the neighbors thought?  That his daddy "would have beat
the hell out of him", says alot about where the family stands on Paul
Twitchell and Eckankar.  I live in the rural south.  My daughter, at
the age of 10, was publically accused of worshipping the devil by a
schoolmate after she told her that our church was Eckankar.  It is not
at all surprising that the Twitchell family might be a little
embarrased, and who could blame them?"

David Lane replies:

Nice speculation, Steve, but you have not disproven the quote. You
have simply come up with another baseless explanation when
confronted with a statement you don't like.

I understand, it's not easy to admit that the founder of Eckankar
lied and his family thought he lied as well.

But that's not my fault, bro, it's their statements.


Steve writes:

"The chapter continues in much the same vein centering almost
exclusively on the imrprobability of the 1922 date. The rest of the
book is more of the same, pull one thread and his entire story

David Lane replies:

Uh, Steve, what thread have you pulled? That the death certificate
states he was 48, born in 1922, and that Jarvis, Gail, and Steiger
and Twitch himself agree with that?

There is only thread that was pulled here.

That your typo hypothesis has not one ounce of proof.

What has collapsed is your miscues of logic.


Steve writes:

"I apologize to anyone who has read this far only to find out that Paul
was born as it says on his birth certificate on October 22, 1912.  I
apologize to anyone who has read this far hoping to find proof that
Paul was somehow unethical.  On the bright side, I may have saved you
the trouble of reading much more of Dr. Lane's material on Eckankar."

David Lane replies:

Hey Steve you better apologize to Harold. He uses 1908 as his
working birthdate for Paul's birth. You better apologize to Darwin
since he uses 1812 for Twitch's birth.

While you are at it, better apologize to Effie, Steiger, Gail (geez,
what do wives know?), Camille Ballowe Taylor, and Paul himself (that
old bugger thought he could pull it off......).....

No need to apologize to me, of course.

No, it is perfectly fine to completely misread me.........

That way, I can at least write yet another tome.

Another typo bites the dust

and another one gone

and another one gone......

oops, can't get that song out of my skull......

david lane

the "fraud" researcher

(you were on the right track, Steve, when  you
called me a "fraudulent" researcher. The only problem
is that you should have left out the "ulent" part.)

I am enjoying the name calling......

Keep it up.

E-mail The Neural Surfer directly at

I want to go back to the home base now.