MEDIUMSHIP AND CONSCIOUSNESS
A medium purports to connect with the mind (or consciousness) of a deceased person and in doing so gain veridical information, which is then passed to the sitter who has come for a reading. I have studied these matters long enough to know that in the best cases the information delivered by the mediums displays the knowledge, idiosyncrasies, memories and personality of the deceased. This being the case the sensible person would have to proffer some kind of argument or theory to explain the accurate information that is provided within this scenario. It is no good in simply saying that these things cannot happen, therefore it is all fraud and misperception and I am having nothing to do with these distasteful ideas. That is not a rational or educated opinion based on the evidence gathered over the last 100 years or so.
A theory in any avenue of interest is just that – a theory, which has to be tested to see if it fits all of the facts. The ‘theory’ that mediumship communication is all cold reading, misinterpretation and lucky guessing simply does not wash, as it most certainly does not fit all of the facts in the better cases. The ‘cold reading theory’ also does not fit with many good experimental results, especially as many, including my own, are carried out in double, or even triple, blind conditions. Although I am only dealing with good, evidential, cases, I have to concede that a high percentage of modern mediumship information given to sitters can indeed be non-evidential and mediocre at best. But this does not negate the value of the best examples.
Materialists think that the brain is the source of consciousness and when the body dies all ‘real time’ consciousness goes with it. Although there are competing theories in this matter the truth is that as far as we know, no one on this planet can reliably describe consciousness or accurately point to where it resides within the human body. It is not just ‘awareness’ of one’s surroundings although that is of course part of it. A worm may be aware of its surroundings but I doubt that it can, for example, hold a séance producing materialisation or generate poltergeist activity. But regardless of what consciousness actually is or where it lies we can on occasion observe and document the use of an individual’s consciousness and how it links with or affects others, whether they are alive or dead. This we can do by studying people with unusual abilities. The following is one example.
It is strange to think that some people seem to have the ability to tap into the consciousness of other people who are still alive, but they can. By this I do not just mean ordinary telepathic experiments with twins or other people or just the feeling of knowing what another person is thinking, but by studying people with very unusual talents. One such person was the Dutch clairvoyant Gerard Croiset. We usually think of the word clairvoyant in relation to a medium contacting a deceased person, but in Croiset’s case he was indeed repeatedly able to tap into the consciousness of other people including those who had passed over and those still alive.
Croiset was sometimes called upon by the Dutch police to determine the whereabouts of a missing person whether they were presumed alive or dead, or to gain information about them. Croiset was also utilised by the Dutch police over many years to solve cases of theft and murder by using his amazing abilities.
Many people think that the evidential results produced from different avenues of psychical research have a sell by date – but they do not. A fact is a fact, regardless of the time in which it was witnessed and documented. When someone as spectacular as Croiset has been researched and found to be the ‘real deal’ his abilities should not be forgotten. However, they often are. In this day and age when consciousness is a ‘buzz word’ I think that the examples of Croiset’s abilities are more important than ever and they should give us further food for thought.
As to the man himself, he was a Dutch grocer who, in the mid 1940s at the age of thirty-four, began to develop clairvoyance. Whether this was a natural development or a concentrated effort by himself I know not but the subsequent results speak for themselves. We are indeed fortunate in that his abilities came to the attention of Professor Tenhaeff, Director of the Parapsychology Institute in Utrecht, who systematically documented many of Croiset’s cases.
We may never have known about this man’s work if it were not for Jack Harrison Pollack who published detailed translations from the Dutch Journal of Parapsychology, Tenhaeff’s scholarly books and Dutch police records, in his book Croiset, The Clairvoyant.
It is worth noting that Croiset never charged a penny for the use of his extraordinary abilities. So much so that, even when he was consulted by the police, he insisted on paying for his own travel expenses. He also declined to use his talents for his own financial gain such as stock market dealings, predictions, horse racing or any other sort of gambling, although he did once visit a racecourse and picked the winners of the first four races! This did not sit well with him and he never repeated that experience again. He wanted to use his paranormal abilities for the good of mankind. He is quoted as saying, ‘I have a gift from God which I don’t understand. I can’t use it just to make money from it for myself. If I do, I may lose it’.
His ability appears to challenge our scientific theories of time and space. Not only could he ‘tune in’ to missing people alive or dead, regardless of distance, but also he could receive impressions of things that happened in the past and in some cases predict the future. He stated, ‘The past, present and future are difficult to separate for me’.
When the respected Dr J. B. Rhine of Duke University visited Holland in 1951 he offered to test Croiset’s abilities using his experimental Zener cards, Croiset declined the offer saying, ‘I respect your work very much, Dr Rhine but I do not like just to guess cards. I have to be emotionally involved in a case, such as that of a missing child or somebody in trouble’.
That statement seems to be key in paranormal phenomena in that emotion seems to play a crucial part. I find it interesting in that emotion, as far as I can tell, is something that we cannot easily measure. Granted, you can tell when someone is angry but you cannot really accurately measure the anger. It is the same with love – you cannot sit a test to display how much you really love a person. Emotion does seem to act as some sort of carrier wave underlying psychic phenomena although at this time we cannot really explain it or its modus operandi.
In October 1959 the daughter of an American professor from Kansas disappeared from a hospital in Topeka where she had been receiving treatment for a nervous breakdown. The professor, a former Rhodes scholar, was a very reserved gentleman with a string of academic qualifications to his name and was not a man to deviate from a path of anything that would not appear to be totally acceptable and ‘respectable’ within his social group. However, when after a month and a half there was still no official word as to his daughter’s whereabouts he decided to contact Croiset to see if he could help. ‘I thought it was worth a try’, he said at the time.
On December 11, he contacted Professor Tenhaeff in Utrecht to inquire if Croiset had ever solved a case over the telephone. The reply was, ‘Sometimes’. Arrangements were made for the missing girl’s father to call the Parapsychological Institute the next day at 3:00 p.m. when he would be able to speak to Croiset through an interpreter. As Tenhaeff spoke excellent English he ended up being the interpreter on that day. The conversation lasted twenty-two minutes.
Croiset: Is there a river near the hospital where your daughter had been?
Professor: Yes. The Kansas River runs close by.
Croiset: I see your daughter running over a large lawn and then crossing a viaduct. Now I see her at a place where there are stores, and near them a large body of water with landing stages and many small boats. I see her riding there in a lorry and in a big red car.
Professor: Is she still alive?
Croiset: Yes, don’t worry. You will hear something definite at the end of six days.
It was then arranged that the professor would phone Tenhaeff and Croiset six days after this conversation. On that day the professor reached out his hand to pick up the telephone in his living room, as he did so he stopped short, as he was astounded to see his daughter sitting on the sofa. After the initial shock he phoned Utrecht to give them the good news. On subsequent questioning it was found that everything that Croiset had said was 100% correct.
Many of Croiset’s cases are very complex but I am sticking to simple ones to give you examples of his abilities. The next case does not have the same happy ending.
In September 1960 a stranger telephoned Croiset at midnight from the small rural town of Hedel, some 85 miles away. He was calling on behalf of his neighbour whose seven-year-old son was missing. The family were distraught, as they did not know if he had been kidnapped or had got lost. The caller pleaded with Croiset, ‘Please, can you help us?’ Although Croiset was still a bit drowsy having been roused from his bed he replied, ‘I see a boy walking along a wide road. Something frightened him. There is water. I see him no longer. There is a mist over the water. I am sorry, the child drowned. His fishing rod lies near him. I have an image of a tunnel – search where I said immediately’. Croiset went back to sleep but an hour later the phone rang again and it was yet another neighbour who was unaware of the first call, this neighbour was phoning from the home of the boy’s parents.
The Burgomaster of Hedel was also with them. Croiset now had a clearer impression, ‘I see three dykes ... they must be roads ... coming together ... I see the tunnel again ... and near it a small store house with a steel door. I also see a culvert. There I have my greatest emotion. I see a slope of stone, a lot of concrete and new cement on a bridge. Near that small tunnel you will find that child lying in water ... his fishing rod is near him’.
Burgomaster Van Werken subsequently wrote in his official report, ‘In daylight we again started dragging near a small tunnel, only a few metres away was a culvert below the main state road. They dragged in front of the culvert during the night but not in it. When we found the child – his fishing rod was indeed near him. The boy was completely stiffened so we can assume that he had been dead for twelve hours or so, Mr Croiset gave exact details of where the child would be found’.
So far we have seen that Gerard Croiset has provided information about one person who was still alive and, sadly, one who had died. The next example is even stranger.
Tenhaeff designed an experiment to test Croiset to see if he had any ability in the field of precognition. His first set of trials were so successful that the experiment was subsequently repeated nearly four-hundred times, using rigid controls, by scientists from Germany, Holland, Austria, Italy and Switzerland.
The experimental protocol required that a chair number be selected at random as the target for a forthcoming public meeting. Croiset was either told the number or indeed he sometimes selected the number himself. He could then describe with amazing accuracy the chief characteristics of the person who would occupy that seat, e.g. his/her sex, personality, appearance etc.
There was no perceived difference in the experimental results between his seat number being self-selected or a chosen number being supplied to him.
Here is a typical example.
On January 6, 1957, Tenhaeff travelled to the Parapsychology Institute in Utrecht. He was accompanied by a Miss Louwerens, Professor L.H. Bretschneider, a biologist, and Professor J. A. Smit, a physicist.
Croiset was there and was handed a seating plan for a meeting that was to be held in twenty-five days time in the home of a Mrs C. V. T, a woman from The Hague, who was unknown to both Croiset and Tenhaeff. The only thing known at that time by everyone present was that thirty chairs would be set out for the experiment. At that time the guest list had not been formalised by those given that task. The experimenters were never involved in the selection of the guest list.
The experimenters turned on a tape to record the proceedings. Croiset selected chair number 9 as the chosen target and then he stated,
1. ‘On Friday February 1, in the home of a lady in the Hague, a cheerful middle-aged little woman will sit in chair number 9. She is very interested in caring for children’.
2. Between 1928 and 1930 I see many of her footsteps were taken near the Kurhaus and Strassburger’s Circus in Scheveningen.
3. When she was a little girl she had many experiences in a district where there was lots of cheese making ... I see a farm on fire where some animals burned to death.
4. I also see three boys ... one has a build like mine. He has a job in some oversees area. It seems to me like a British territory.
5. Has she been looking at a picture of a Maharajah? I see somebody from India ... he is wearing the dress of an inhabitant of that country ... a turban with a large jewel.
6. Did she ever drop a handkerchief into a cage with wild animals? I see a piece of cloth fall. These animals ... and they look like lions ... tear the cloth to pieces.
7. I also see a scrap of paper with the number six on top. At first it was five but she has changed it to a six. This just happened and she had many arguments about it.
8. Has she also recently soiled her hands on an old fashioned paint-box? I see a box with small tablets of paint ... did she hurt herself slightly with that? ... the middle finger of her right hand’.
Author’s note: It seems to me that when he appears to be asking questions he is really just thinking aloud. After all he absolutely knows that the experimenters do not know the answers as no one present even knows who the target subject will be. Anyway, back to his statements.
9. Has she also recently been visited by a woman friend about 44 years old, not very tall, well built, stout, with dark hair, and wearing a dress with several large pleats in front? Did this woman talk to her about sexual problems and did she advise her friend to visit a psychiatrist?
10. Has she experienced strong emotions about the opera Falstaff? Is that the first opera she ever saw?
11. Did her father receive a gold medal for services he rendered?
12. Has she taken a little girl to the dentist? And did this visit cause a lot of commotion? I can almost say that this will happen on Friday, February 1, 1957’.
(It did transpire that this happened on the same day as the proposed meeting.)
The tape was played back and Croiset was asked if he had any further impressions. Yes he did. On point 2 he had the impression of a man of about 45, very emotional and sensitive – his wife did not understand him. They were separated ... this man had affairs with other women and his wife had affairs with other men.
On point 4 he now got the impression that one of these boys was dead. His death had something to do with the (German) occupation of ‘our’ country.
He admitted that the image of a lion on point 6 was probably symbolic and he said, ‘I once compared a mesmerist to a lion tamer and the public to the lions. When the lion tamer gets too close to the lions, they devour him’.
Regarding point 12 he stated, ‘I suddenly saw my grown-up daughter as a child. When she was five years old I took her to the dentist. She refused to open her mouth and stayed with the dentist for several hours’.
The experimenters transcribed the original statements and made forty copies. The supplementary data was not copied, as it would only be checked with the person who eventually sat on seat number 9.
The appointed day of February 1st arrived. The experimenter responsible for negotiations at the home of Mrs C. V. T. had not been given any information about the statements made by Croiset.
On the night of the experiment more professors and doctors were called in to oversee the randomisation of seat numbers. No one but Croiset and the original experimenters knew that seat number 9 was the target. Each person was now in possession of a random seat number in which they had to sit. Once everyone was seated they each received a copy of Croiset’s statements. They were then instructed to tick only the statements that could apply to them. Cutting the methodology short – the outcome was as follows: There were 30 people in the room and the results showed that virtually none of the statements applied to twenty-nine of them. The only person who could accept a large majority of the statements was the woman in seat number 9. This lady was a Mrs M. D.
Author’s note: As an aside, I noted from the report that when the people entered the experimentation room they were given instructions not to TOUCH any chair that was not their appointed number. I found that curious and interesting. I wondered if they would they have left a trail of some sort, such as a bloodhound might follow from a scent? An impression – a psychic link, perhaps. Who knows?
The results were as follows:
1. Mrs M. D. was 42 years old, a cheerful active vivacious woman who admitted a tremendous interest in child care. As predicted.
2. Her parents were divorced. Her father, a sensitive emotional man, worked in the Netherlands East Indies. When on leave he often took her to the circus in Scheveningen. And indeed both parents maintained intimate relations with another woman and man respectively. All as predicted between original statements and additional information.
3. The lady often visited farms as a child but the chief product was butter, not cheese. The statement about a farm where animals were burned to death can be best explained by an experience of Mrs D’s son. The boy worked on a farm where he witnessed a horse being killed by lightning. He was profoundly affected by it for a long time. So, not exactly as predicted.
4. Her husband had two brothers, one who volunteered to fight in Indonesia although he only got as far as Singapore, and another who died in a concentration camp. This second brother had a build similar to Croiset. Very similar to prediction.
5. A few days before this experimental meeting Mrs D. had been looking at a picture of a Yogi in a book. She then had a conversation with her son about it and the Hindu Magi. Similar to prediction.
6. Mrs D. insisted that she could not place this image, but Croiset insisted that it would become clear when she read statement number 9.
7. Between January 26, and February 1, after Mrs D. had been balancing her housekeeping book it was discovered that she had put a five where there should have been a six which caused a major quarrel with her husband as the books did not balance. As predicted.
8. In early January Mrs D’s children were ‘messing around’ with an old-fashioned paint-box, the kind with small paint tablets. She wanted to get rid of it and in so doing got her hands and a towel covered in paint. About the same time she cut the middle finger of her right hand on a tin of vegetables; this might indicate that Croiset seemed to combine the two images. A slightly mixed prediction, but correct in essence.
9. Mrs D. confirmed that she had been speaking with a woman friend who was not very tall, well built, stout, had dark hair and often wore a dress with large pleats. They did discuss sexual problems and Mrs D. had referred the woman to a mesmerist. So far, spot on.
However we have to address the additional information that was provided. Croiset spoke about a handkerchief and lions. On further interview, when Croiset heard the name of the mesmerist he said, ‘this man is not trustworthy in sexual matters; a mesmerist or psychiatrist must know how to remain aloof from his patients. Otherwise ‘the lions will devour him’. When asked what that had to do with a handkerchief he referred to a game that he had played as a child; ‘Handkerchief hidden, telling forbidden’. Saying, ‘No one should be told what happens between a woman and her mesmerist or psychiatrist’.
10. It proved to be that Mrs D. was a professional opera singer and the first opera in which she sang was Falstaff. She had also fallen in love with the tenor in it. As predicted.
11. When her father retired he had received a gold, inscribed, cigarette case. Croiset thought it was a gold medal for services rendered.
12. Mrs D’s small daughter had a cavity in her front tooth. On the day of the experiment she took her to the dentist. The child was very frightened of the pain and suffered during the visit. This was as predicted, even down to the exact date of the visit to the dentist.
What are we to make of all this? Note that there does not appear to be any actual two-way communication between Croiset and the ‘targets’ in any of the above accounts. The targets had no idea that Croiset was accessing information about them. This differs entirely from mediumship where mediums make statements such as, ‘He is telling me ... etc’. where there is a three-way communication between the medium, the sitter and the alleged communicator. However, Croiset does appear to tap in to the consciousness of the target person whether alive, dead, in the past or in the future. Curiouser and curiouser.
Now consider the statements that were made during experimentation. They were absolutely correct, and many of them were very specific and obscure – how can we explain that? The simple answer is that in our present model of reality we cannot. I think that you would at least agree that it was not just lucky guessing. In relation to the statements made by Croiset we would need to accurately know how many of the statements could be accepted by the other twenty-nine people in the room before it would be possible to calculate the actual probability of the results being due to chance, but the statements were so specific that the odds against chance would doubtless be enormous.
As I said earlier, this type of experiment was replicated over four hundred times by different experimenters from various countries, who achieved similar results. I leave you to digest that information. Whatever you think about all of this, there is no doubt that Gerard Croiset appeared to have an amazing psychic talent, if that’s the correct term – he did not claim that he had any contact with a ‘spirit world’. However, as already noted, his consciousness was in some way able to tap into other people who were alive or dead. Perhaps this is akin to some very precise form of remote viewing rather than straightforward mediumship? I do not know the answer.
I, personally, do not like the idea of precognition and retrocognition, but that is just too bad and I have to be sensible and follow where the evidence leads.
There are many misperceptions about mediumship. I would say that the standard definition of a medium is one who acts as an intermediary between the living and the dead, but, as we can see from Croiset, it may not be that simple.
Very little is clear-cut in these matters and it would be foolish to be dogmatic about any process. Perhaps precise definitions are not the way forward.
In 2018, the President of The Academy for Spiritual and Consciousness Studies, Mr James E. Beichler, Ph.D. offered the following opinion.
I believe that we as individuals are subconsciously and constantly in contact with the universe as a whole and in its parts. This contact is the source of our intuition, paranormal phenomena and many other phenomena and events that cannot be explained by science. This worldview may seem a bit odd for me as a diehard physicist, but I am also a trained historian, which gives me a much broader view of science, how new ideas intermingle, evolve and grow to influence the human condition. Together these interests have driven me even deeper into studies of the human psyche, which has directly affected the physics in which I practice and conduct research.
I applaud his statement.
As far as continuation of consciousness is concerned, in my role as a psychical researcher, I try to look at these matters in as scientific a manner as possible but often the reality defies rationality. A few years ago I took an excellent medium to a case where a young couple were complaining about inexplicable noises in their house. In these types of cases I take a tape recorder with me. I drove Professor Archie Roy and the medium to the house.
It was a fairly small, modern house with accommodation upstairs and downstairs. We sat downstairs and I began recording our conversations. We were told that they often heard quite definite footsteps coming from the bedroom that was directly above the lounge. By this time the medium had left the room as I had asked him to go upstairs and have a sense of anything that might be going on. He had not been given any information regarding the nature of the purported phenomena. He was quite happy with this and said that he would sit on the bed and ‘tune in’. As I said, the rest of us were sitting downstairs when, after chatting for five to ten minutes, or thereabouts, we heard quite loud prolonged creaky footsteps coming from the bedroom above. There was no mistaking the source and they sounded as if they were going right across the middle of the ceiling of the lounge. I said, ‘Oh the medium must have finished and is coming down’. He never appeared. I went upstairs to see what was happening to find him sitting on the edge of the bed, facing the door. I said, ‘We heard you walking up and down, did you sense anything?’ He looked puzzled and said, ‘I haven’t moved’. When I actually took time to look at the room I realised that he could not have walked up and down as the room could only hold a double bed.
There was no place for him to walk! Unfortunately the tape recorder was an old one and did not clearly pick up the footsteps, but we all heard them clear as a bell. Due to the construction of the house there was no other property that could account for the source of the footsteps.
It appears to me that mediumship and consciousness cannot be separated. True mediumship requires a blending of the consciousness of the medium and that of another personality.
In mediumship a long prolonged message is not always necessary for an evidential reading. Very recently another respected medium known to me personally was asked to give a private reading to a man whose mother had just passed. The sitter was distraught and not coping well. The medium gave him excellent information about his mother, which did not seem to have much impact until the medium said, ‘She wants to know why you are now sleeping on three pillows?’
The man’s jaw visibly dropped and then he began to really listen. He had only used three pillows since her passing.
Another medium’s private message was falling on stony ground until he said to the female recipient, ‘Your son says you have to stop sleeping on his grave at night, it is far too cold and he is not there’. At this point the woman’s husband, who was very dubious about the mediumistic process, was visibly flabbergasted as he responded by saying that no one knew of this except him and his wife. They then listened very carefully after that and received a great deal of help from that reading.
On a different vein, some people imagine that every ‘message’ given to a recipient at, for example, a public meeting would be one that was welcome. Not necessarily so. I attended a meeting a few years ago, and I cannot remember who the medium was, where a message was proffered to a woman, whom I knew, in the audience.
The medium said to her, ‘I have your mother here’.
The response was less than enthusiastic. As I listened my heart sank, as I knew that she really disliked her mother.
The medium continued, ‘She has come to offer you an apology’.
Little response – undaunted the medium continued, ‘Will you accept an apology from her?’
After what seemed like a lifetime in deafening silence the woman replied, ‘No’.
After a little hesitation the medium then described the recipient’s last cat in great detail, and that was met with a lot more joy.
At another public meeting, a medium brought forward a gentleman to a lady in the audience and said, ‘I have your husband here’.
The somewhat cynical response was, ‘Oh yeah’.
Medium continued, ‘He didn’t come in to me in the usual way, he sort of slid in’.
Response, ‘Oh that’ll be him, he was a slippery sod’.
Undaunted the medium continued, ‘He is bringing you a large bottle of champagne to acknowledge your recent birthday’.
Response, ‘Oh he would, he liked his drink and you can tell him it’s the best ****** birthday I have ever had now that he has gone!’
I have actually toned down the language in that exchange.
No love lost there then.
Publisher: White Crow Books
Published October 2020
Size: 6 x 9 inches / 229 x 152 mm