Shirley MacLaine Goes High Tech

Dancing Spiritualist Still Out on a Limb - But Now Online

ABC News/July 20, 2000
By Buck Wolf

Shirley MacLaine as a Sphinx? Why not? She claims she's been an Indian princess, a peg-legged pirate, and a man from Atlantis in past lives. Still, many people look to her as a spiritual teacher. For more unusual news, click on the image.

Just because you have past life experiences doesn't mean you live in the past. Just ask Shirley MacLaine.

The Oscar-winning actress now has a Web site to tell the world about her latest out-of-body adventures and UFO encounters. After a 500 mile trek across northern Spain this year to reinvigorate her spirit, MacLaine, who is 66 (in this lifetime), now wants to devote her self to teaching.

"I think everyone goes through a period where they want to teach. I'm in that phase now," MacLaine tells The Wolf Files. "It's quite a rush to lead a group meditation with a thousand people. I help them to get in touch with past life experiences and resolve the troubles they face."

By MacLaine's various accounts of her past lives, she's just about done it all. She's been a man from Atlantis, a peg-legged pirate, an Indian princess who telepathically communicates with elephants, and Charlemagne's mystical lover.

But America's foremost advocate in New Age spiritualism has been conspicuously absent from the cyberworld. That seems out of character for someone with so many psychic friends. But MacLaine says all that's changed.

"I'm going to bring together the best of the Internet on spiritualism and help people seek truth about their past lives and the world around them," MacLaine says.

"I suppose aliens also use the Internet. If it is out there, why wouldn't they?"

After a humble launch two months ago, is now getting its first PR thrust, as MacLaine begins meditation seminars in San Francisco, Las Vegas and Denver. She'll also be chatting online, appearing July 19 on, one of the largest health sites on the Net. Writing Jokes for Leno

If she's still the butt of Jay Leno's jokes, MacLaine doesn't care. "I heard his bit about me and Charlemagne, and I can laugh at it. Heck, I've even given Leno jokes," she says.

"If you don't find life fun and funny, you are really missing the point."

In her new book, The Camino: A Journey of the Spirit (Simon and Schuster), MacLaine recounts her past life love affair Charlemagne and tells how she saved him from impotence.

MacLaine remembers herself as a coffee-skinned, black-haired woman who comes to the emperor as a healer. "He succumbed to the vibration of my touch and soon became aroused," he says. "His protectors left as I proceeded to consummate the healing."

At another point in the book, Shirley travels - out of her body, we presume - back to the Garden of Eden, where her soul is re-embodied as both Adam and Eve. Of course, she relives humanity's first stirring of sex - as both man and woman.

"Dear Reader," MacLaine writes at one point in The Camino, "it is here, at this point, that I have debated with myself whether to include the ensuing events in the telling of my Camino tale. ... But I have always felt that if one cannot walk to the end of the precipice, then why walk at all?"

One can only imagine the past lives of Warren Beatty, MacLaine's younger brother, whom she has described as "left brained" and "cerebral."

Yet for all her eccentricities, MacLaine's popularity as a spiritual guide is astounding. When she embarked on a seminar series in the late 1980s, she filled 1,000-seat reception halls across the country - with each attendee paying $300. Midge Costanza, once a special assistant to President Jimmy Carter, served as the organizer of the "Connecting With the Higher Self" lecture series.

Old Friends: Keep Quiet
Her show business friends and advisers once told her to keep her controversial beliefs to herself. But ever since her 1983 bestseller Out on a Limb, she's found a giant audience for her own brand of spirituality - a mixture of several religions with an emphasis on Eastern traditions and a dash of UFOs.

"Everything happens for a reason," MacLaine likes to remind an audience. But of course this is no ordinary Yogi talking. MacLaine is the legendary star got her big break in The Pajama Game, and went on to star in such classics as The Turning Point and Terms of Endearment.

When Paramount was looking for her in 1983 to tell her she had been nominated for an Oscar, they finally found her holed up in a pyramid in Egypt. She had been sleeping in a Sarcophagus.

Dancing on the edge of celebrity, she says Peter Sellers visited her after his death and told her, "Keep up the research." One might imagine that with the new Web site, he could have just sent e-mail rather than appearing as a milky apparition above her bed.

Her old Rat Pack buddy, Frank Sinatra, once said of MacLaine, "It's amazing what a broad will do for a buck." Still, MacLaine seems to enjoy her role as America's favorite kook, and she doesn't think it hurts her as a teacher.

"I am who I am," MacLaine. "People will see what they want to see. My way works for me."

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