Ingo Swann

Print length:
82 pages


(Swann Ryder Productions, LLC, 2021)

available here: 

The Master of Harmlessness… who came and told us something about our real selves

Book review by Angela Thompson Smith

Ingo’s small book Master of Harmlessness sat in my purse for around two years, intended to be read when I had time. I carry such books for the intended purpose of passing time, when I wait for appointments or during travel. I started his little book several times but was distracted by the academic-sounding introduction that described how the hypothetical manuscript had been found. It wasn’t until I began reading the chapters that I devoured the book in one day!


Master of Harmlessness was written following Ingo’s other small masterpiece Purple Fables and follows the same format: a short retelling of a fable or short story. Purple Fables was psychically-dictated to Ingo who was compelled to write them down—Master of Harmlessness was written in a similar manner. His family, who now manage and publish his books, Swann-Ryder Productions, relate how they found the manuscript, after Ingo passed in 2013, “bound together with a rubber band.” For some reasons, the manuscript had not been sent with Ingo’s papers to his archives at the University of West Georgia.

It wasn’t until his family were listening to one of Ingo’s 1995 interviews with 21st Century Radio, that they heard mention by Ingo of the work, which was “a sort of an accompaniment to his Purple Fables.” The book includes an Author’s Note from Ingo on how he woke up one Christmas morning, and there was a voice in his head with instructions to write Master of Harmlessness. Such a form of writing is known and is often defined as “to communicate or suggest by a divine or supernatural influence.”

In April, I woke up one morning, out of the blue, and there was a sort of voice in my head, not exactly a voice, but sort of a telepathic thing, saying, “You will now write the Purple Fables, there will be four of them, and you will do one in each day and the title is to be Purple Fables,” and I said okay…they were sort of dictated from somebody else, someplace, I guess. The Purple Fables happened in April of 1993, but on Christmas morning I woke up and there were these guys again, or these whatever, saying “Okay now you are going to write a thing called the Tale of the Master of Harmlessness and it’s to be seventy-six draft pages in length,” which is actually the length of all four Purple Fables put together, “and you are to work on it for certain hours in the day, and it will all be done by New Year’s.” And in fact it was done and printed out and sit there in manuscript form on December 31st.

Ingo Swann

Master of Harmlessness

The short chapters relate how a Master or Holy Man, on his inspired travels, came to a small town and decided to rest in a local park. Soon he attracts the attention of several curious, local ladies who each approach and talk to him. They relate their impressions to each other, notably that each sees his eyes as a different color: one sees them as blue, another brown, the third, dark green. But they agreed that he wasn’t doing anything illegal by resting in their park and offered him water to drink.
As sometimes happens, when a stranger comes to a small town, a crowd soon formed, and local dignitaries were called to question him about where he was from and where he was going. His enigmatic answers upset them, and they asked him to explain himself.

The remainder of the book relates his answers which are vaguely reminiscent of the Buddhas teachings: being mindful, harming none, and other esoteric teachings.

A Modern Update

I wondered as I was reading what would happen if this Master had come to our modern little town of Boulder City, NV. Would the same story play out with the Master of Harmlessness answering the same questions? Would our local dignitaries be called? Doubtless the local police would have a presence, asking him to identify himself and why he was in the park? Others would be called: the Mayor, perhaps, our local Justice of the Peace, and leaders of the many philanthropic organizations housed in the town. They would probably call Lend A Hand, the Senior Center, Elks Lodge, Rotary Club and perhaps Emergency Aid. The Fire Department might be called, to be on standby with an ambulance, because a crowd might now be forming.

As the Master manifested certain events to illustrate his teachings, would the leaders of the local churches be called: the Catholics, the Presbyterians, the Evangelicals – all with the differing interpretations of what they were seeing. And the City Council would want to know, did he have a business license, in fact, did he have a permit to hold such a gathering?

Reading this reminded me about my first impressions when I came to the States in 1981 regarding permits and licenses. In post-war England, where I grew up, if you wanted to sell something you just offered it to your community, and someone might buy it. If you wanted to offer your services as a part-time plumber, you just let it known that you were available. However, when I came to the States, first NJ, then NV, I learned that you needed permission to do almost anything! You needed a license, a permit, some sort of permission from a licensing authority to allow you to carry out the activity. Along with the license came conditions and restrictions, which put limits on what could be carried out by the license holder.

The Departure

Towards the end of his small book, Ingo concludes the story by writing, “Thus, and in this way, the Master of Harmlessness came into our town, therein rested for a while in our small park. And while he was rested in our small park, he told us something about our real selves and after that he went on his way from where he had come to somewhere else.”

I’ll leave the last word to Ingo, because this is his story – he writes “But, persisted the second principal lady, What does this have to do with your coming to our town? Have you come here to illuminate us”?

“Well, not exactly”, smiled the Master – ever smiling it seemed. “I’m just passing through as I’ve said. People do pass through, on their way to somewhere else….But I don’t want to turn your town topsy-turvy. Illumination has a way of doing that.”

Ingo Swann and Mel Riley enjoying an after-conference chat.