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A Mediumship Mystery: Who’s Sarah?

Posted on 27 September 2021, 8:31

When, in 1939, Charles J. Seymour, a British journalist, undertook an investigation of mediums, he expected to expose “the quackery” in the field.  As it turned out, however, he discovered that there were genuine mediums and ended up writing about them rather than the fakes.

One of the more interesting cases discussed by Seymour in his 1949 book, Behind the Seen, involved a woman named Sarah.  The first time it came through was on July 24, 1939 at a public sitting with a medium named Miller, who said a woman named Sarah was there for him.  Seymour responded that he could not think of anyone named Sarah in the spirit world.  He reasoned that Sarah is a pretty common name and that it could have been an attempt by the medium to simply fish for a name.  However, the name came through again and again with different mediums, 15 in all.

On August 3, 1939, he had a private sitting with medium Maude Bateman, who said, “I get for you the name Sarah.”  On October 1, 1939, medium Eileen Blaschke said, “Sarah is here.  She is helping you with your work, and I feel, has had a great influence on you for spiritual matters all your life.” At a public meeting on June 9, 1940, Grace Cooke said, “I have a message from Sarah.  She tells me that she has been close to you and has watched your progress all your life, and has noted with great satisfaction the efforts you have made.  She had no children of her own, but her wish was that she could have had a boy.  This is a very beautiful spirit, and she sends you a great deal of affection.”

The skeptic will ask why Sarah simply didn’t give her last name or her exact relationship with Seymour.  Seymour also wondered about that and eventually came to understand that most mediums, at least the clairvoyant types, rely on symbolic pictures for names.  In another book, he explained how the medium struggled to get a not so common name through.  In that case, the medium’s spirit control said she was being shown rice, but the name was not Rice.  She was shown more rice and even more rice, before the sitter realized that it was his old friend, Maurice (More-Rice). Generally, mediums report symbols for more common names, but most surnames are more difficult to symbolize. The clairaudient medium might hear the name, but it depends much on the degree of development by the medium.

“Sarah comes to greet you,” said a Miss Herbert at public meeting on December 22, 1940.  “She has a beautiful face; very fine eyes.”

“Sarah sends her love to you,” said medium Ethel Moss at a Sunday service on January 12, 1941.  She is a very sweet young person with blue-grey eyes.” More than two years later, on May 11, 1943, in a private sitting, Mary Burge said, “A Sarah, who says ‘They used to call me Sally…’ A good soul…in spirit a long time.” Still, Seymour shook his head.  The name Sally meant nothing to him, either.

“A Sarah for you, a very sweet lady,” said Eveline Canon at a public meeting on May 13, 1943. “Sarah is very much in your environment.  You get ‘hunches’ with her help,” said Olive Rutherford at a Sunday service on June 5, 1943. At a public meeting on February 19, 1944, Gertrude Rayner provided Seymour with a series of names, all of which he recognized except for Sarah and one other.

Sometime during 1943, Seymour had a sitting with the famous direct-voice medium Leslie Flint, but his record of that sitting were destroyed when a bomb fell near his home and did some damage to part of it, including the records from that sitting. As Seymour recalled it, however, it was a group sitting and the first voice to speak said, “I am Sarah,” first very softly, then more audibly.  Seymour remained silent and no one else in the room claimed the name.  Flint’s control, “Mickey” then spoke and said, “This is for the man by the fireplace.”  As Seymour was sitting by the fireplace, he said that he accepted the name.  The woman’s voice in spirit then said, “I used to be called Sally.  I have been with you many years, doing my best to help you.”  Seymour replied that he did not know a Sarah or a Sally.  The voice then responded: “You would not know me, dear.  I am your great aunt, on your mother’s side.”

Seymour now had a connection, but everybody on that side of his family had passed on and he had no easy way of confirming the actual existence of this great aunt.  However,  at a sitting with Rose Harley on February 24, 1944, the names Sarah and Alice were given.  Harley said that Sarah was in spirit, but she wasn’t sure about Alice.  “I do not know…this condition…I feel it means that the person has either passed on fairly recently or is still on the earth plane but is nearing the journey’s end,” Harley explained. “I am certain about Sarah, though. She is in spirit, and has been so a long time.”

Seymour recognized the name Alice as one of his mother’s sisters, but he had not heard from her in many years and assumed that she also had passed on.  About two weeks later, he happened upon the wife of a deceased cousin and asked her about his Aunt Alice. She informed him that his Aunt Alice was still alive and in her 80s, and provided him with her address. Seymour then contacted Aunt Alice and was informed that her mother had four siblings, Mary, Joseph, Fanny, and Sarah.  She said she had never met Sarah, because she had died before she was born, at about age 17. 

Seymour continued his investigation of mediums and the name Sarah was given three additional times.  “Mr. Sceptic, what do you make of it?” he asked. “I hope you won’t push telepathy at me here – a matter of fifteen mediums mentally searching around London for Aunt Alice, and then reading her mind when they found her and extracting from it the thought that Sarah, born 90-odd years ago, would have liked to make friends with me, had she lived.” 

Still, Seymour struggled with the problem of getting names.  He wondered why some mediums could get other facts about the person but not names.  He understood the problem with clairvoyants trying to interpret pictographic symbols such as that with “more rice” being Maurice, and he understood that that clairaudient mediums can sometimes hear the name. He encountered a clairaudient-type medium saying, “C-C-Copper,” but it did not immediately dawn on him that the name she was trying to get through was “Cooper,” which sounds more like “Cowper” in the particular dialect of the medium.

I recall John Edward, the clairvoyant who had a TV program some years ago, saying that he saw a picture of St. George when the communicator was trying to get that name through.  My most recent book, No One Really Dies, deals with this problem in Chapter 3.  When Sir William Barrett communicated with his widow through the mediumship of Gladys Osborne Leonard, he explained that it was much easier for him to get ideas through by thought impressions than simple names or words.  Lady Barrett had wondered why he identified himself as William, when she knew him as Will and why he called her Florrie, when he knew her as Flo.  He explained that it was a matter of being able to get certain names through a medium easier than other names. Much depended on the development of the medium.

In 1917, Charles Drayton Thomas, a psychical researcher, began sitting with Mrs. Leonard. He quickly made contact with his father, John D. Thomas, and his sister, Etta, receiving much veridical information proving their identities.  However, he wondered why they had such difficulty in giving their names and the names of others. “It became evident that the giving of a name involved the overcoming of some obstacle, and that usually the difficulty, whatever it might be, was too serious to permit of success,” Thomas recorded.  “There is unquestionably a difficulty in transmitting names through trance mediums, though some give them more successfully than do others.”

Thomas’s father explained that if he wanted to give the name of a man named Meadow, he might try to insert the idea of a green field, connecting it with the idea of the man himself.  When the father tried to get the name Jerusalem through the medium, it came out “Zion” instead.  His sister said she could not get her husband’s name, Whitfield, through the medium.  “I can feel it, but I cannot say it,” Etta said.  The best she could do was get the medium’s control, Feda, to say “Wh—, Whi—-, Wht—.”

Thomas noticed that Feda could more easily catch a first syllable than the whole name, but sometimes she would catch only the first letter, which he understood was pictured for her by the communicator. When one communicating entity tried to get the word “Greek” through, Feda struggled with “G—, Gre—, Grek, Greg, Greeg.” Thomas further observed that when Feda had latitude in the selection of words, e.g., Zion for Jerusalem, communication was easier. However, when it came to proper names, this alternative was not always possible.

The discarnate Thomas also told his son that when he entered the conditions of a sitting his memory would divide into its former earthly conditions of conscious and subconscious. Thus, the same forgetfulness he might have had when in the flesh with regard to names and other things still existed on his side of the veil.

Table-tilting is a more accurate method of getting names, Drayton Thomas pointed out, as the communicator can dispense with the control and, assuming enough psychic energy, can direct the tilting himself, i.e., so many tilts for each letter of the alphabet or a tilt for the proper letter when the sitter recites the alphabet. But this method is much slower and cumbrous.

As Seymour might have suggested, the skeptics can laugh when a particular medium can’t a name or gets a wrong name, but it only goes to show their ignorance of the subject matter.

Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife, and Dead Men Talking: Afterlife Communication from World War I.
His latest book, No One Really Dies: 25 Reasons to Believe in an Afterlife is published by White Crow books.

Next blog post:  October 11






Eric aptly calls our attention away from speculation about reincarnation to a focus on “the blessings of a higher life to come.” Is this not THE core teaching of the spiritualist movement? Yet we (including me) so often wander far afield, even get into arguments about collateral subjects inherently beyond our comprehension. Michael’s books and blog serve admirably to keep us on track, drawing us back to core spiritualist teaching when we stray too far and begin to debate about things none of us can possibly know in this life. You can see the same dynamic in NDE discussions, where the common core experience gives way to competing and conflicting interpretations of its meaning beyond the glimpse it provides of that “higher life to come.” Surely there’s nothing wrong with playing with ideas in these areas, exploring the possible contours of territory we can’t begin to understand until we reach it. But there seems to be wisdom in how Jesus handled these subjects. While the afterlife (and his Abba) are the bedrock for all of his sayings and parables, he does not elaborate on the paradise awaiting us but rather stresses how important it is that we live our earthly lives in the context of our eternal destination. I often wonder what our world would look like today had Jesus’ gospel of the life to come, the fatherhood of God, and the brotherhood of man (please forgive the masculine metaphors) been the principal drivers of the religion(s) and institution(s) which developed from his prophetic movement. Imagine if from 30 A.D. or so the church(es) had done nothing but spread this bedrock gospel while embodying it in all manner of compassionate care and concern for human beings—indeed, as Schweitzer was inspired to extend the bedrock, for all living things? Are we too far gone at this point, or can “the kingdom” still come on earth? And is believing in that seemingly impossible possibility part of what is asked of us…even now?

Newton E. Finn, Sat 9 Oct, 17:50

Dear all,

There’s discussion going on about the factuality or otherwise of reincarnation. The only worthwhile thought I have on the subject is that if it takes place there will be a good reason.

I therefore suggest that a life cut short in childhood probably does constitute sufficient reason for it to be renewed and so continued to its normal conclusion in another body, but that there may be fewer circumstances in which someone who has survived into adulthood might be required or granted to reincarnate. Many have lived lives full of unjustified suffering, and have very sound reason to regret what has befallen them in life, and so a desire to reincarnate and live a life with their fair share of life’s fulfillments, but in their case perhaps the more mature expectation is that the pleasures of this life should be forgone as nothing compared with what, in Paul’s words, the human mind cannot conceive, the blessings of s higher life to come.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Fri 8 Oct, 11:57

Amos may have quoted Patience Worth on reincarnation somewhere along the line, but I cannot recall it.  Anyway, here is what Patience said:

“How may it be that flesh created may beccome as flesh again in like exact? Nay, I say me, flesh is recreated of the same material, builded of the same atoms, but the honey of God is ne’er the same—the trick of its hangin’ one ‘pon the other. The trend o’ lennin’ may take frae this and that through kinship, but this hath naught for to do with flesh.”

However, I still prefer the words of the Glastonbury spirit who told Frederick Bligh Bond:

“You understand not reincarnation, nor can we explain.  What in you reincarnates, do you think?  How can you find words?  Blind gropers after immutable facts, which are not of your sphere of experience.”

Michael Tymn, Thu 7 Oct, 20:31


You’re in good company when it comes to reincarnation going “over your head”...that seems to be Imperator’s reaction as well. He wrote…

“Whether in the eternal counsels of the Supreme it may be deemed well that a particular spirit should or should not be again incarnated in a material form is a question that none can answer, for none can know, not even the spirit’s own guides. What is wise and well will be done.”

Don Porteous, Thu 7 Oct, 17:05

I just want to say as an aside, I like being old because I don’t have to be nice to old people any more. (Actually, I am older than most people I used to think were old.) - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 7 Oct, 16:44

You may be aware that Ian Stevenson spent a large part of his career collecting data concerning cases suggestive of reincarnation.  Most of his study, perhaps all of it, concerned children usually under 8 years old who spontaneously remembered prior lives.  Stevenson cautioned investigators of reincarnation to use discretion when looking at reincarnation cases in which past lives were obtained through hypnosis of adults.  I think he was inclined to believe that information obtained through hypnosis tended to be fabrication by the conscious and/or subconscious mind and not reliable as accurate remembrances.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 7 Oct, 16:35

Amos, that is a good analogy. How often is said :as above as below.

Chris, Thu 7 Oct, 10:14

A long time ago I saved something you had written concerning reincarnation.  It was an “Editor’s Commentary: The Enigma of Reincarnation” on page 188 of a magazine you edited.  Concerning reincarnation you wrote some initial comments but then you said “The issue [various concepts of reincarnation] may very well be one of semantics.  In his 1939 book, Reincarnation for Everyman, author Shaw Desmond stated that there are two approaches to reincarnation—-the ‘terrestrial’ and the ‘celestial.’  The former view has the individual returning again and again as the same man, while the latter view has man ‘solely as spirit and his temporary inhabitancy of the physical body as but a tiny projection of the Greater Self.’ “

“Thus it may be that those mystics and spirits who have rejected reincarnation were rejecting it in the terrestrial sense but not in the celestial.  ‘Think of an atom,’ Liszt [spirit of Franz Liszt] told Brown [medium Rosemary Brown].  ‘It is made up of protons and neutrons which all go to make up the nucleus surrounded by electrons.  That is what a soul is like.  These separate parts are held together in the nucleus but the parts can be isolated.  And it is the isolated parts of the nucleus of the soul so to speak, which can manifest as various personalities in your world.  These are what the reincarnationist calls different incarnations but they all belong to one soul which can choose which particular part of the soul it wishes to manifest.’ “

This is another analogy in addition to the ‘diamond’ one which has been discussed here before.  Sometimes I think I like this one better.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 7 Oct, 01:39

Mike @ 6 Oct, 21:53,

I choose—tentatively, of course—a variation on Door No. 2 (“the obsession school — discarnates to some degree or another can merge with the human and give details of his or her life as if it is a past life”).

Why must this be an obsession, though? Many subjects recall alleged past lives only under hypnosis, without any waking awareness of them. Even spontaneous cases, such as children recalling their erstwhile selves, may take these memories as they come without being obsessed as we normally use the term: an overwhelming perception gripping them.

Might I suggest these filed-away personalities are just spirits full of their own life histories, as old people often are? And imposing them on the living for whatever satisfaction they get from it.

I agree with you that many of them are probably low-level spirits wasting their “time” in the afterlife playing silly games (because they can!), delaying their evolution toward higher spirit realms.

Rick Darby, Thu 7 Oct, 01:10


There is definitely a school that believes all purported cases of reincarnation can be explained by obsession or possession.  In effect, I see four schools of reincarnation, although they seem to overlap in some respects:

1. the orthodox school—we live successive lives with time out between lives to adjust and prepare.

2. the obsession school—discarnates to some degree or another can merge with the human and give details of his or her life as if it is a past life.

3. the group soul school—only a small percentage of the Higher Self reincarnates, while the greater part of it remains in the larger life.

4.  the timelessness school—as there is no such thing as time in the greater reality, we live past, present, and future lives at the same time.

#1 seems the easiest to grasp. #2 suggests low-level spirits using innocent people, although that may not necessarily be the case. #3 is somewhat difficult to comprehend but I prefer it.  #4 is extremely difficult to comprehend. 

It is clearly a complex subject matter and one reason I rarely discuss it, i.e., it goes over my head.

Michael Tymn, Wed 6 Oct, 21:53

We’ve strayed enough from the subject of the difficulty in getting names via mediumistic communication, so I might as well stray a bit more, although what I’m about to say may be associated with that difficulty in certain instances. This morning, while reading Spirit Teachings, I was struck by an unusual take by Imperator on the enigma of reincarnation, a take which would imply that we tend to think of this subject in the wrong way, almost backwards. The usual conception is that a departed person is reborn into a new life, returns to earth and lives out a new identity as one unitary spirit making a successive journey. Imperator suggests, however, that only in exceptional cases, and for particular reasons, does a departed person reattach him- or herself to another person living on earth in what would seem to be some sort of group soul process. The reincarnated person does not become fully a new person (successive identities) but rather blends with the new person in order to develop his or her soul in ways which the first incarnation did not fully allow. I wonder how much of this group soul process which intrigues Michael is a matter primarily confined to the afterlife, and how much it may also be operative but hidden right here within earthly life. I’m thinking, for example, of that famous case of the child who vividly remembered being a WWII pilot whose plane was shot down in Iowa Jima. Was the child simply the pilot reborn, or was the pilot somehow joining with the child, perhaps only for a time, to gain further spiritual development? Perhaps, one might surmise, to regain the innocence and purity of a child after having undergone the brutalizing experience of killing and being killed in war.

Newton E. Finn, Wed 6 Oct, 16:52

I have to say a few more things even though it may not be appropriate to say them here.  And while I know that I should not be prescribing anything for you, please regard the following as suggestions for investigation as how they might pertain to you.  Research or browse the internet for information using multiple sites because as you know everybody has an opinion especially in health matters as to what is good for you.  But, only you really know what is good for you.

Diet is very important to calming the nervous system.  Especially a diet low in added sugar.  Almost every processed food these days has added sugar and nothing seems to satisfy more than ice cream, a chocolate brownie or a piece of pie.  But even worse are soft drinks which have up to 54 grams of added sugar (that’s a lot!) in each can or bottle and there is hidden sugar in things like canned fruits and vegetables as well as all snack foods.  If one can limit one’s food choices to items in the periphery of the grocery store one is more likely to find foods free from added sugar; for example, fresh vegetables and fruits, fresh meats, fish, eggs, milk, cheese. Learn to read the labels on processed foods looking for the amount of added sugar.  You will find it in everything in various forms.  Learn the different forms of sugar so that you will defeat the food processors when they try to trick you into believing that there is no sugar in their product. And as you become more knowledgeable look for the grams of carbohydrates in each processed food item.  Because as you know, carbohydrates are all made up of long chains of glucose, a basic sugar.

You might want to investigate the “Keto” way of choosing foods if you need to loose a little weight.  A “Keto” diet when combined with intermittent fasting is a guaranteed way of losing weight.  On a “Keto” food plan, one limits carbohydrates (sugars) to less than 20 grams a day and eats balanced meals which include a goodly amount of fat and protein.  There are several knowledgeable people (physicians) on the internet who will provide you with scientific information regarding the value of a low carbohydrate diet and intermittent fasting. Search them out on your browser and consider what they have to say.  You may find that low sugar, low carbohydrate food choices might be helpful for you.

The undeniable major health problem today in America is ‘insulin resistance’ or ‘metabolic syndrome’ due to excess sugar in the diet and which leads to excessive weight gain and Type 2 diabetes.  Type 2 diabetes (not Type 1) is curable on a low carbohydrate diet.  Many people who are succumbing to the so-called COVID virus infection have Type 2 diabetes or unknown to them have pre-diabetes and may be grossly overweight.

I could say more but I don’t want to overwhelm you.  If you are willing to do your part to take control of your daily choices and actions there is no way that you will fail to be all that you were meant to be.  Your future is ahead of you.  Take charge and live!  Your friend, AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Tue 5 Oct, 12:51

Wow Aly! You are making some good choices and heading in the right direction it seems.  Becoming a librarian may be the right choice for you since you like to read.  Take it a far as you can.  Get a Master’s Degree if that seems to be the way for you.  And who knows, a PhD may be in your future.

I would offer one tidbit for you though.  In the morning, cortisol levels are at their highest and that may contribute to morning anxiety.  The remedy for that is to get out of bed as soon as you wake up, turn on the radio, take a shower and get something to eat.  Only after that, think about the afterlife if you must.  A better way to go would be to get busy, exercise a little and go down to the library and ask them if they would like some volunteer help.

Follow through on your desire to further your education in Library Science.  Enroll in one or more courses at a local college, if one is close.  Make sure that whatever class you take will count toward your degree in Library Science.

Just remember Aly, THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU AT ALL!  You are an intelligent sensitive person, that’s all. Sometimes those two things go together. You have a sensitized nervous system that has become facilitated.  That means that your nerve pathways have learned to function in a habitual way.  You can break that habit but it takes some effort at first.  Know that it will get easier as time passes and you get involved with other things.

Good luck Aly.  You are on your way to success!  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 4 Oct, 20:58

Hello everyone! Thank you so much for your very kind comments. Some of them have been very comforting, and I’ve reread bits of them multiple times. I don’t have time to reply to everyone, but please know I truly, truly appreciate all the wonderful things you’ve said and your compassion and understanding. Two quick responses to specific things:

In regards to my medication, I agree with whoever said (Amos Oliver Doyle? was that you?) that some individuals cannot function without the assistance of medication. I dealt with my anxiety sans medication until I was around twenty, and I finally decided I wasn’t strong enough to handle it alone. The medication has been incredibly helpful and has allowed me to actually lead a normal life, which I am profoundly grateful for.

And Alyson: my real name is Alicia, but it has a very distinctive spelling, and I’m a little wary of allowing my “real life” identity to be too revealed online (thanks Mom!) so I typically just use “Aly” online. No one actually calls me by that in real life. I like your reasoning, by the way; very comforting.

So everyone, how am I doing right now? The answer is….okay, I think. I agree with your exhortations that I can’t allow my anxiety and fear to prevent me from living life. I was given this life for a reason, to learn something (I’m inclined to believe how to love and be a good person) and I want to live my life to the fullest. I’ll discover the truth about the afterlife someday. I’m going to keep reading this blog, and your interesting discussions, and I’m going to try to take care of myself and believe in God and the afterlife.

I think I’ve made some positive changes for the better in my life in the last week or so. I’m making efforts to eat right and get exercise, be healthy; I want this life to last as long as possible, after all. (And also, if I was given this body by God, I should take care of it, right?) I’m trying to control the things I can control (ie not smoking or drinking) and not worry too much about things I can’t (ie a plane falling out of the sky and crushing me, or getting hit by a car crossing the road.)

I’m trying to spend as much as time as I can with the people I love. I’ve decided that there’s nothing wrong with my reading and playing video games, or doing other things like that, as long as they bring me pleasure and don’t hurt anyone else. I’ve been particularly sinking myself into books, because I’ve always gotten great pleasure and comfort from reading. I want to be a good person and help people where I can, I’m trying to be less judgmental, because I know it’s not my place to judge anyone. I’m going to start studying to be a librarian next spring, and volunteering in my local library to get experience.

I’m trying to keep my thoughts and concerns about the afterlife and death confined to the morning and do some deep breathing (meditation I suppose, although usually for only 5 or so minutes) to calm myself before I get started with my day.

I’m trying to live my life and have faith, basically. It’s going okay so far. Thank you again everyone, and I’ll be around reading!

Aly, Mon 4 Oct, 15:45

I think one has to be careful and not put too much stock on what channeled “spirits” say, advanced or otherwise.  Most people, ‘mediums’ or not, who have a cause to promote could draw from their subconscious mind and philosophize upon the secrets of the Universe with little difficulty.

I tend to agree with Chris that time in physical reality and in the spirit world are not the same thing.  I think it is unavoidable that as organized traditional religions go out of favor, more and more people will come to understand that a spiritual reality underlies or lies within physical reality and that that understanding will be the “Mass Awakening” that spirits, whoever they may happen to be are talking about. It may not happen within one lifetime but eventually as human consciousness evolves, it is as inevitable as understanding that the earth revolves around the sun.  -AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Sun 3 Oct, 20:30

Back to Aly, and Alyson also: The fact that “exceptional occurrences” happen, as related ad infinitum in this blog and confirmed by numerous other credible sources, is known intellectually to both of you. (By the way, you might want to check out, if you haven’t done so, “Surviving Death” by the highly-regarded mainstream author Leslie Kean.) So you’ve read enough and watched enough about such occurrences to make a spiritual world, including an afterlife, what William James, in his “Will to Believe,” calls a living option. But just because it’s living on the intellectual level doesn’t mean it’s living on a deeper level, as indicated by how easily the option dissipates when you put down a book or stop watching a video. Why? Because you’re swimming against the relentless current of a materialistic world eagerly exploiting human beings while consuming the earth. You’re trying to hold onto sanity in a world gone utterly mad, and that this isn’t easy well I know. James goes on to point out that your intellect alone cannot win this battle to embrace a living spiritual option, that such an option must also be met halfway by an effort of the will: a decision, a choice, a commitment to act as if that living option were totally true despite the doubts and fears that continue to beset you. How one does this is a matter for each of us to work out on our own. For me, it involves constant, often silent prayer, trying to live my life before the gaze of God, trusting that, because of Him, nothing good is ever lost. For others, it will take different paths, and that’s as it was meant to be. Thus, as I see it, the two of you must find your own ways to meet the living option of the spiritual world and the afterlife halfway by an exercise of the will. And because that spiritual world is there in all its glory, it will, I assure you, step to meet you, to more than meet you, to wrap you in its arms. There’s a little story in the gospels where a father brings his son, suffering from convulsions, to Jesus and begs Jesus to heal him. “Do you believe I can heal him?” Jesus asks the father. “I believe,” the father responds, “help my unbelief.”  I think you both know the rest of the story. Thank you, Aly and Alyson, for your transparency and courage to express the vulnerability inside us all, and please stay here in touch with us for our sakes as well as yours.

Newton E. Finn, Sun 3 Oct, 18:05

Rick, yes, Kryon is a being like Metatron. Of course comes that information from him.
And you are also correct that it is al ready a long time that messages of mass awakening are told. Once somebody can be right but in a world where there is no time ....and in our world where free choice is the norm, it can be difficult to give the right human time.
Indeed language can be a reason, but it can also be a matter of human understanding. Maybe we are not advanced enough to have grip on that term. No doubt, the future will tell. We still don’t have the possibility to get scientific proof of those spirit teachings and to confirm what they say. It’s more a question to compare and follow your gut feeling until another teaching seems you more clear and correct.

Chris, Sun 3 Oct, 13:07

A short video for Aly, Alyson, and the rest us, a bracing interview with the son of spiritualism’s greatest champion. Some of that old fire was passed from father to son, was it not?—the same fire Michael keeps alive in his books and blog.

Newton E. Finn, Sun 3 Oct, 02:40

Chris, 2 Oct, 14:59:

I read a lot of the messages of Kryon (medium Lee Carrol) and Sanaya (medium Suzanne Giesemann). The first gives a lot of technical data, mostly about magnetism. He is an archangel or so (pure energy,not been human).

How do you know he is an “archangel” or assistant archangel or something? Because he says so?

If, as so many assert, we are on this tearful earth so that we can learn the lessons we need to advance to spiritual planes, how did Kryon get away with skipping all his classes?

They all say (also Jonathan Hunter with medium Elaine Thorpe) that we live in a time of mass awakening.

I have been hearing and reading this claim of mass awakening for half a century. Is it wishful thinking? A bunch of New Age “inspirational” groupies aren’t much of an objective sign. I’m still waiting.

By the way ,Sanaya has a very good explanation of reincarnation. They say that the story ,once it ended(our dead) returns to the soul but stays as a ‘energy pattern’.

I am impressed by Sanaya, whom I have heard speaking through Suzanne. Nevertheless, terms like “energy pattern” are not helpful. They are just verbal constructs that sound as if they explain phenomena but have no content. You could describe anything that exists as an energy pattern, at least on the atomic level.

Now I expect someone will write in to say that spirits struggle to explain higher truths in language based on our limited perceptions. That’s probably true, but it doesn’t make vague or empty terminology meaningful.

Rick Darby, Sat 2 Oct, 18:11

Maybe the spirits of the higher realms are back active. I read a lot of the messages of Kryon (medium Lee Carrol) and Sanaya (medium Suzanne Giesemann). The first gives a lot of technical data, mostly about magnetism. He is an archangel or so (pure energy,not been human). Sanaya gives a very solid base and their (groupsoul) view of the Source and us humans is very acceptable. The analogy that our lives are just stories of a soul can be reconciled with live as just a learning and experiences. They all say (also Jonathan Hunter with medium Elaine Thorpe) that we live in a time of mass awakening. So I think it would be very usefull to send guides to us in such an era ,wouldn’t you?
Don , I hope I didn’t spoil your new book…it is a very interesting subject!
By the way ,Sanaya has a very good explanation of reincarnation. They say that the story ,once it ended(our dead) returns to the soul but stays as a ‘energy pattern’. So family can always get in contact with loved passed ones, if both sides want that to happen I assume. It’s not the classic facet/diamond theory but another explanation for the same thing. I think it is a relieve for those who are anxious to be reincarnated again on earth.

Chris, Sat 2 Oct, 14:59

Dear Don,

I am glad to hear that you have plans for a book in addition to the 500-page one you kindly allowed me to read.

I did not mean that the Higher Beings had TOTALLY withdrawn their efforts, but they largely did withdraw, surely? There has surely been a diminution in their giving of evidence since the days of Lodge, Barrett, the ORIGINAL SPR founders, along with Piper, Osborne-Leonard, and a few others. Recall that I have read your very informative book twice, with a proof-reader’s attention. I wish someone would publish it, and am sure Aly would find reading it very helpful. It showed me what version of Christianity I could give assent to, after decades of realising that the apostate churches’ version was untenable!

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Sat 2 Oct, 08:01


Nice post—but I have to (somewhat) disagree with your statement about the higher realms “discontinuing” their efforts to enlighten us “about a century ago.” Yes, the Imperator-type communicators seem to have gone back into the spiritual woodwork (unless you want to include Seth in that group—-personally, I’m a bit ambivalent about him)—-but we can’t just cavalierly sweep the voluminous communications from Mary (at Medjugorje and many other spots)under the rug—-particularly since, as you’ve seen in my first book, her messaging aligns so closely (and often surprisingly) with Imperator’s on so many key topics.

To your point though—-the book I’m currently working on bears the tentative title of “The Age of Revelation…Has It Come to an End?” More to come…

Don Porteous, Fri 1 Oct, 16:07

Dear Aly, and all,

Newton’s latest comment, worthy, as always, of repeated readings until one sees all it contains, expresses the situation of the human soul and points to the solution of its problems.

As Newton says, the main problem is with human science. It is out of touch with realities it ought to have humbly acknowledged and researched decades ago, and so revised its views.

The much-vaunted science of Quantum Physics, Quantum Mechanics, Quantum Chromodynamics, etc, has to do with the effects of the universe around us on ourselves as living Beings, giving us the possibility of free choice of action, a malleable world in which to live; the other (so far incompatible) component of physics, Relativity, has to do with the non-living milieu of space and time in which we live, so both great divisions of science relate to us and our lives. We have not yet begun to discover the deep truths we were intended to discover (as Newton says) and the higher realms’ effort to enlighten mankind was discontinued about a century ago. I think we are for that reason currently living through an era of darkness in which proud scientists are arrogantly struggling to discover what in fact they earlier scorned to research. But it is a darkness before a dawn. I believe enough minds will humbly investigate, and a new era of enlightenment will discover what the spiritual realms could not reveal to humanity a century ago because men were too stubborn after millennia of being misled by false and fantastical religious tyrants (ie the organised churches of the common era). (The apostle Paul warned us against them, even as they were coming into being in the first century AD.) Soon, we shall discover the “religion” (really the inner spiritual awareness) of the harmony of true science with our place in “God’s universe” (how on earth can one express this?). As even the Bible says somewhere (I forget where) the tabernacle, the dwelling-place, of God will be with men. We shall, at last, be living closer to the Great All-Being in Whom we, without ever truly realising it, have always had our very being. We are safe, even when we do not realise it. Aly, all, look up, your redemption draweth nigh.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Fri 1 Oct, 08:51

For Aly, for now, with more to say later: a quote from a little-known essay by William James (among the greatest of America’s psychologists and philosophers) on the impact of his work with Leonora Piper. “(T)he trances I speak of have broken down for my own mind the limits of the admitted order of nature. (Please re-read that sentence, fully contemplating who is saying it). Science, so far as science denies such exceptional occurrences, lies prostrate in the dust for me; and the most urgent intellectual need which I feel at present is that science be built up again in a form in which such things may have a positive place.” I’ll revisit William James, his more famous essay entitled “The Will to Believe,” when I say more to you in the near future. But for now, let me leave you with the thought that the key underlying reason for the painful, sometimes paralyzing, fear and doubt and confusion you’re experiencing (and you’re far from alone here, Aly) is that science did NOT rebuild itself along the lines James knew were necessary but did the opposite—ran from the “exceptional occurrences” which had shaken a towering intellect like William James to the core of his being. Unlike science—or I should say, scientism, because NDE research is beginning to change things—Michael’s books and blog run AT these occurrences, WITH these occurrences, which is why, as you’ve indicated, you felt the need to come here and talk with us. So glad you did.

Newton E. Finn, Thu 30 Sep, 16:55

Dear Aly…

Please allow me to take a stab at your dilemma. This will be far more simplistic (basically just an update of an age-old analogy)than much of the advice others have offered, but perhaps it may help you to reframe your thinking.

Imagine that you live in one of a pair of towns on opposite sides of a river. The town you’re in is called “Alyville” (you ARE famous, after all) and the other is called “Allyville” (Eric and others will note several different shades of meaning there). As the river separating these two towns is very wide, with an exceptionally strong current that devolves into whirlpools in places, there is basically no boat traffic possible between the two.

The residents of Alyville (your town) live in an environment seemingly comprised largely of “opposites.” Idyllic spring and summer days intermixed with tornadoes, hurricanes, or tsunamis that kill thousands…attractive homes surrounded by fragrant gardens in the “better” part of town, juxtaposed with crumbling and fetid slums “across the tracks”...a group of people who largely (though not totally) follow the “rule of law” in your part of town compared to a chaotic, gang-ridden,life-threatening life of lawlessness in the parts of town where “decent” people just plain don’t go…

As far as what goes on across the river in “Allyville”...who knows? Neither you nor any of your neighbors have ever been there. The few hints that you have come from the river breeze that constantly wafts in…bringing a wave of pleasantly aromatic and subtly-shifting scents (without any admixture of the noxious odors that characterize some of the neighborhoods in Alyville)...accompanied by a variety of sounds—laughter, the murmur of pleasant conversation, and music of a quality that warms the heart (without any hint of the grating and raucous cacophony that you’re occasionally exposed to). As far the people, and their living conditions, are concerned…you can only rely on the occasional “traveler’s tales” that filter in now and then from the mouth of some intrepid intellectual explorer. How to get a better picture of what’s going on? Try to visit there? No thank you! I’ll stick to my own little corner of the world, imperfect as it (and rapidly getting worse)...but KNOWN.

This portrait of life in the two towns obviously comes essentially from the realm of “fantasy”... but it’s a fantasy that touches very closely on a world of well-observed “fact.” Many of those facts, particularly as they deal with some one or other of the more “specific” aspects of the “other-side-of-the-river,” have been written about extensively by Michael and others here. On a larger scale, my own “Spiritual Reality and the Afterlife: Materialism meets Immortality” is probably the most comprehensive (nearly 600 pages, the main reason why it’s still unpublished) treatment of the full-scope of data that might impinge on a person’s thinking about what’s to come for us all. Of the handful of people here who’ve read the manuscript, all but one (a somewhat conflicted individual, not unlike yourself) have given it rave reviews as having been helpful in sharpening and refining their own thinking about the afterlife.

Which of those reactions you personally might experience if you were exposed to the book, I have no way of knowing…but as you describe your situation, my gut feeling is that it may prove of some strong value to you. **IF** you would like,I’ll be happy to send you a copy (an electronic one—-I can’t afford to print and mail hard-copies) at no cost. If interested, just send me your e-mail address (to me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address))and I’ll send you a copy as an e/m attachment (it will actually be TWO attachments, one for the main text, and one for the bibliography and index). Good luck…

Don Porteous, Thu 30 Sep, 16:14

Hi there Aly,

I just had to acknowledge your comment, as I couldn’t overlook the synchronicity and similarity of it to my own circumstances.

I don’t know if Aly is short for Alyson or not, but my name is Alyson and I have gone by the nickname Aly. I have also followed this wonderful site, as well as Michael Prescott’s, for quite awhile. I have an ongoing struggle with depression and anxiety, and have taken my share of medications to combat it. And I have an overwhelming fear of death, sometimes to the point of incapacitation. This fear persists despite my constant reading of as much literature as I can find on after~death communication, spiritualism and mediums, NDEs, OBEs, astral travel, etc., etc. No matter how much or how often I consume this information it seems like it’s never enough, and I find myself in a similar situation as you describe where as soon as you stop reading about it, the fears and doubts pop right back in your head again. It’s almost like reading about these subjects acts as a buffer to block out any negative or contradictory thoughts from gaining a foothold in your mind, but once the reading is done and that particular ‘infusion’ has stopped, then there’s no barrier at the mind’s door anymore, allowing any random, not-so-great thought to flood in and possibly try to discredit what you’ve just read and felt very good about.

I have the same questions and concerns about the ‘evolution’ I guess you could say of this topic as you do. Mainly, if communication between those of us on either side of the veil is supposed to be natural and something that both sides are wanting to occur, then why the holy heck isn’t it a built-in natural thing that’s just part of, and within, every person to be able to do? So that if I lost a loved one on Friday, I could be communicating with them again that very night or on Saturday morning… either by seeing them in what looks for all intents and purposes like their physical form, or hearing them speak in what is without question their own particular voice.. or by myself being easily able to meet them where they are, most likely in the dream state but coming away afterwards with the distinct realization that this was most definitely NOT a ‘dream’.

So yeah, I really struggle with trying to understand why it’s difficult if not impossible for some people to have that kind of communication, and if it’s true that everyone has psychic abilities, as so many mediums say, then why can’t we all do what they do? {If anyone here has some insight about this, please feel free to expound on it}.

Anyway, I want to finish on an uplifting note with a thought that has helped me many times, especially when I get caught up in overthinking everything and can’t seem to get out of my own way. I really hope you can get something out of it too, and that it helps you as well:

Take a minute to think about all the thousands or hundreds of thousands {maybe millions even} of reports about life after death, ADCs, etc, since the beginning of recorded human history. Even if 99.99999%
percent of them are false, here’s the thing ~ only one of them, out of all those thousands or millions or whatever very great number it is~ only ONE of those reports needs to be true for it to mean that survival after death is also true.

At the end of the day, those seem like pretty good odds to me.

Alyson, Thu 30 Sep, 11:59

Dear Aly,

I have a daughter in law who is an accredited cognitive therapist who often works for the British National Health Service. Whether that is a recommendation of anything I say myself is doubtful, of course, but she does think I am a wise and loving person. She knows me personally, of course, so THAT may be a small but worthwhile recommendation of what I say. And you have the right to discern for yourself who your suitable “advisers” are.

What I would like to say today is to second very warmly and strongly what Rick Darby has just said.

And to send that message to you in the hope that it is some small part of your spiritual progress, which has indeed already begun, as Rick says. Having the courage and honesty to speak to unknown friends (Mike Tymn’s little congregation, as Newton Finn calls it, Newton himself being a very empathetic, loving person) proves that you have ALREADY made the first step to a happier state of mind. As someone said to me, over four decades ago, when I was troubled about spiritual matters, “PERSEVERE!”

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Thu 30 Sep, 10:53

Names are difficult for me – it’s always been the same. I was walking the dogs recently and a woman ran up to me who I recognised immediately. She is the wife of a former work colleague – a friend many years ago. Slightly embarrassed, I confessed I couldn’t remember her name. The second she told me I was able to recall many memories of her and her husband, including their address.

This morning I woke up from a dream.  In the dream I’m with lifelong family friends from another country. I can’t remember their names. The whole dream involved me trying get their names without asking them directly.

Stafford might be onto something.

Jon, Thu 30 Sep, 09:51


Every viewpoint is controversial, - but only in a culture of critical thinking and open discourse. Thank you for contributing to them with your critique. 

You say you respond to someone’s recommendation, mine.
I just looked at all the meanings of the term recommendation here,
and it looks to me that none applies to what I did:

To a person expressing an unusually strong need for help, forwarded information that a) is patently relevant, b) with the caveats “It might help. Not sure.” and “Had no clue what it is…”

Insofar I said *in effect*....  “I recommend this thing, for which I haven’t a clue,” ... while unbelievable (even on this website), it’s also quite comical… so that no one with minimum common sense could feel compelled to put excessive trust in it.

Insofar our relations should be guided by the principle of doing to others as we would like to be done to us, all that looks fine to me. Tell if you see it differently.

Dorian JR, Thu 30 Sep, 09:34

I agree with Stafford and Rick as to retaining names and trivialities as one ages.  I frequently struggle to remember a person’s name, although I can picture him or her almost perfectly and recall details about the person.  At the same time, I can recall some personal trivialities from 80 years ago and have to stop to wonder why I remember them when they don’t seem to have any bearing on anything I am now doing.

As I mentioned in a comment not too long ago, I recently came across a letter I wrote to my parents in 1958, when I was in the Marine Corps and stationed at Quantico.  I told them about going to a football game with two friends and then having car trouble after the game.  I have absolutely no recollection of the game, who was playing, who the friends might have been, or of the car trouble. If I did go to a football game at that time, it was probably the only one, so I would think I should remember it. On the other hand, I can remember going to the horse races at Pimlico at that time and losing $12.

When I go on my daily walk now, I frequently encounter a person named Jim, who used to work out at the same fitness center that I did about 40 years ago, going in the opposite direction.  He says, “Hi, Mike,” and I say, “Hi, Jim.”  However, when I saw him coming in my direction yesterday, I couldn’t think of his name. For the next 100 or more yards, I struggled to come up with his name.  It came to me just before we crossed paths. I knew his surname at one point, but I have long forgotten it.

Michael Tymn, Thu 30 Sep, 00:02

Aly, 28 Sep, 16:00:

Aly, you have taken the possibly scary step of letting out deep and painful feelings and inviting semi-strangers (presumably you don’t know any of us personally) to respond. Your doing so shows you have the strength of character and the motivation to change your life for the better. Your healing has already begun, even if the results aren’t in yet.

A few comments on issues you wrote of:

Here I am once more, with what I suppose is a desperate plea for help.

Why is it desperation? Asking for help in sorting something out is normal. We’ve all done it countless times.

Part of me does believe, but not deeply enough to penetrate my terror and my anxiety; which if any of you have experience with them, I think you’ll agree are horrifically intense and primal.

Yes, even well-considered belief can be no match for fear and anxiety. In my view belief, if not supplemented with transcendent mental states from time to time, is pretty lean nourishment. If you aren’t already experimenting with such spiritual practices as meditation or yoga, why not give it a shot? (Recommendation: do not worry about results, try to analyze what’s happening, or be impatient. Just get on with it.)

All it takes is for me to start thinking about death being extinction as most of the world regards it, and I am launched all over again into a spiral of terror.

As you know, the cumulative evidence is that death is not extinction of consciousness. But even if it were, nonexistence could not be some kind of frightening experience, like being locked in a dark closet. As Epicurus put it, “Where I am death is not. Where death is, I am not.”

I’m on medication and I’m going to look into therapy to try to deal with my terror, because it’s not conducive to living a decent life.

Meds may help, but keep in mind that different people react differently to any psychoactive drug. Don’t be afraid to try several (at different times, of course, not together). And if at all possible work with a prescribing doctor who is simpatico.

As for therapy, frankly I think it’s a roll of the dice. A few therapists should be avoided, some may be comforting but not otherwise helpful, and a small percentage truly healing. Unfortunately you can’t tell which are which beforehand. Even more than with medical doctors, the relationship with a therapist has to feel right intuitively.


You can’t make yourself believe by an act of will.  Belief in the higher realities comes gradually through non-intellectual, spiritual growth. In the meantime you can take it easy, give yourself a break. That doesn’t require any belief system.

I hope you will return to Mike’s blog and comment again. Pax vobiscum.

Rick Darby, Wed 29 Sep, 22:11

I rarely if ever comment like this about someone’s recommendation but I must say that Peter Breggin has an anti-drug agenda to promote and has done that in other books and formats.  I question whether you have actually read that book that you recommended.  I would not recommend that anyone follow his advice.  Some people cannot function without some help from pharmaceutical medications therefore it is impossible to paint everyone with a broad brush suggesting that they stop taking their psychotropic medications or that their medications are keeping them sick. 

And why in the world would you ever recommend anything when you say that you “ Had no clue what is it, but apparently it’s on a Youtube video.”

Unbelievable! - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 29 Sep, 20:42

Thanks for that link to Nick Wignall’s article on Death Anxiety. Great web-site, super smart guy and teriffic articles. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 29 Sep, 18:37


You asked:

> Why do so few people, it seems like, experience contact from their loved ones after they die?

Maybe because it just seems like. Bill and Judy Guggenheim’s study strongly suggested that such contacts are experienced by a sizeable percentage of the total population.

> Why are NDEs so varied, and some even terrifying?

By coincidence, these days I’m revisiting Michael Prescott’s entry “Lost in the bardo,” which provides a theory for that, exactly.

> I’m on medication…….

“Your Drug May Be Your Problem: How And Why To Stop Taking Psychiatric Medications” by Peter R. Breggin
- It might help.  Not sure.

> I’m going to look into therapy to try to deal with my terror, because it’s not conducive to living a decent life.

Your pursuit of therapy might be helped by the video titled: “Is My Therapist Good or Not? 12 Questions a Former Psychotherapist Asks”  There, the former therapist Daniel addresses many concerns and problems a client can have. 
BTW, his recommendation number one is: …. Trust your feelings.


I’ve seen (here someone suggest “death meditation by Swami nithyananda of Kailasa.“ Had no clue what is it, but apparently it’s on a Youtube video.

Dorian JR, Wed 29 Sep, 17:34

Aly, speaking of synchronicity, I just heared to a recording of Suzanne Giesemann and her guides who are speaking through her. It’s about half an hour but maybe you don’t like all the messages, it’s up to you if you want to hear it or to follow them…the free Will is yours.

Chris, Wed 29 Sep, 13:40

Dear Mike (Tymn),

Thank you for your appreciative comment on my own comment regarding the logical, ie syntactical, structure of sentences, and the explicatory relevance thereof regarding names. A name is a label of a thing (in this case a person, of course) so it is logically isolated from the rest of the sentence. It is merely algebraic, not arithmetical. It has no logical significance of its own, a mere label as I say. There are no relational concomitants, inferences, by which to discern it if it is absent from the sentence, or not known. The meaning of most sentences can be completed by logical inference from the words that ARE there if some of them are missing. This is the whole logical function we see at work in those tests that provide a sentence with a (meaningful) word missing, to test the reader’s knowledge of a subject. Or multiple choice questions, which have some similar, overlapping functions.

Rick (Derby) (thank you, Rick) correctly points out that the same problem occurs with many other words, not just names, but names are the most extreme instance of the problem because they are, relative to the rest of the sentence, TOTALLY arbitrary and NEVER inferable from context. They are isolated items of arbitrary meaning. That’s what a name IS. KJibjb jkb is syntactically as valid as the uniquely specific ‘King George V’, as Rick says. The spirit communicator has almost no chance of getting a name, a mere label, right. It has no referents, no mnemonics, available to him/her.

Aly, I hesitated to try to send something that would help, though I wished to. I think several people have offered very useful thoughts. I hope you find them so. I, like many others, have periods of doubt. We do have to trust. A possibly useful thought is that if the all-encompassing Being we traditionally call God had had any division or disharmony within Him/Herself She/He would surely have destroyed Her/Himself long ago, along with the whole of the creation that that Being contains. The fact that little ‘we’ are still here suggests that ‘God’ really is a Being of love, and even stoops to love US, whether we feel worthy of that or not. Amos discerns that you are an intelligent person, and that is indeed obvious. Rely more on your own God-give powers of reason. Do not be afraid to think, and to ask the Great Being to give the answer whenever fear obtrudes (no matter how frequently! You can think, but ‘God’ knows more and thinks more. S/He is bigger than us. And referring problems to that Great All honours Her/Him. You will not be pestering. God’s prowess at multitasking is proverbial.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Wed 29 Sep, 11:59

Eric, thank you for your contribution to the subject.

In his 1927 book, “Phineas Speaks,” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle reported on a July 31, 1921 communication coming through his wife, Jean, an automatic writing medium. A spirit named Willie Hornung, related to Jean, communicated and said that a fellow who had played cricket with Sir Arthur was there, having just recently passed over. Doyle asked if Willie could get his name.  Willie replied: “Names are terribly difficult. You see a name does not represent any sort of idea. It is an indigestible chunk. You can’t suggest it to the medium’s brain. But I will try.”

Jane then wrote a sequence of letters that made no sense, but ended with CINI.  It was later determined that a man named Paravincini, who played for Middlesex, had died two days earlier. Doyle could not remember playing with him, but considered it a possibility.

Michael Tymn, Wed 29 Sep, 04:50

Hi Aly,

Thank you for very interesting comment.  I’m sorry to hear of your death anxiety condition, especially at such a young age.  I gather that it is called “thanatophobia” and that it afflicts mostly older people.  I will attempt to answer one of your questions,  but please understand that I am not giving advice.  I am not licensed as a therapist of any kind and there are those who would say only a licensed therapist can help with such an anxiety.  The problem, as I understand it, is that most therapists won’t even touch the survival of consciousness concern. 

You asked why the mediumship of yesteryear was so much better than that of today.  I had this on the list of future blogs, but I will abbreviate it here.  According to messages recorded by some very credible researchers of the 1850-80 period (before the Society for Psychical Research was founded), the spirit world, having witnessed the impeachment of religion by science and the despair and grief brought upon many by the nihilistic worldview, decided to make an attempt at providing some evidence of the future state.  Keep in mind that people of that era had very few escape methods compared to what we have today – no radio, TV, computers, phones, etc., etc.  Moreover, life expectancy was very short compared with today. Many children died of diseases.  Life was much tougher and grieving was apparently much more difficult without the escape methods we now have. Many turned to alcohol for relief.

Led by the spirits of Benjamin Franklin and Emanuel Swedenborg, the spirit world attempted to provide phenomena which offered evidence of their existence.  It was not easy for them and they were experimenting on their side.  The physical phenomena was an attempt to attract the attention of those who had lost their faith, while the mental phenomena provided the real evidence.  According to Judge John Edmonds, there was much resistance in the spirit world to the efforts of Franklin, Swedenborg, and others to communicate with us.  Edmonds did not explain the resistance, but my guess is that it conflicted with the whole purpose of the physical world – to learn from our earthly experiences by overcoming adversity.  To put it another way, those opposed to Franklin, Swedenborg, etc. felt that the greater the adversity, the greater our opportunities to learn. 

At some point, during the late 1800s, the spirit world realized that many good people were being disparaged because of the seemingly “foolish” phenomena produced through them, and that they had reached a point where they could do little else to convince the educated world.  Thus, they began pulling back.  Today, being aware of the cynicism and contempt associated with mediumship, they tread lightly.  At the same time, they are aware that people today have more methods of mitigating the grief. Needless to say, there is much more to it than that, but I’ll get to that in a future blog. 

Meanwhile, you might take a look at this website and just keep looking at the evidence for survival.  There must be a reason for your anxiety at such a young age.  Perhaps a therapist can help with identifying that reason.

Michael Tymn, Wed 29 Sep, 03:08

Michael, you wrote, “When Sir William Barrett communicated with his widow through the mediumship of Gladys Osborne Leonard, he explained that it was much easier for him to get ideas through by thought impressions than simple names or words.”

As I’ve aged, I’ve found that the same is true of me. The identity of the person whose name I am trying to remember is crystal clear, but his or her name is not. Sometimes I remember the first syllable of the name before, eventually, the entire name awakens in my memory. The same is true when I am looking for the right word to express an abstract idea while writing. It’s harder to recollect; takes a little more time to arrive! Why is this so? It seems as if the brain is retreating from specificity? Is it a matter of brain decay or something deeper?
As I get older, I’m not as interested in specific details about our world, what we might call trivia, but in larger, more abstract truths. As we get closer to the next world and further from this one, perhaps this is normal and even healthy. It makes the transition more gradual, less sudden. It is also possible that specifics interest us less than abstractions in the world to come. In gradually retiring from our physical brain we might be making room for the astral brain that will be our instrument after physical death.

Stafford Betty, Tue 28 Sep, 20:35

Eric 28 Sep, 08:31,

There is a universal problem with identifying names. It plagues our ordinary conversation just as much as it troubles mediumship.

Too right. I’ve always had at least mild problems remembering names, especially of people, sometimes to my considerable embarrassment. These days I can remember my name, my wife’s, and those of our cats. Anyone else’s is a challenge.

A name has no logical connections to the rest of the sentence in which it occurs. It is an isolated bit of information not inferable from the rest of the sentence. Let me illustrate what I mean: In ANY sentence you can substitute ANY name.

But that doesn’t apply only to names. A substitution is logically possible for any noun or verb. Some alternatives might sound unlikely, but their syntax is correct.

“I went to the supermarket.” [“I went to the park.”]

“He ate a sandwich.” [“He ate a salad.”]

I can’t think of some unique property of names that would make them inherently harder to transmit than other words.

Rick Darby, Tue 28 Sep, 19:52

Aly, there are some interesting videos on you tube of recent mediums I also watched during the last months. As a transmedium is Elaine Thorpe spectacular with her spiritguide Jonathan Hunter. His messages are very comforting. That’s also the case with the messages of Suzanne Giesemann with her guide Sanaya (and even sometimes Jezus and God). The last one is a little more philosophical but very good. And the tip I can give you is to ask it at your guides or God. You can ask them for example before you go to sleep to give answer to the question you pose. Than let it go and sometimes the answer wil come in a dream or you wake up in the middle of the night with an idea you would never think of or you got it in the morning or some days later. It mostly works with me and I think I ‘ve not specific mediumistic talents…it is very important that you pose the question on a moment without fear. It seems that with a negative mindset the spirits are less able to reach you. Give it a try, what have you got to lose? And maybe is that fear the road to awakening…Jonathan Hunter often tells that out of the negative comes the positive or as we in Belgium say after the rain comes the sun. Succes in your search!

chris, Tue 28 Sep, 19:27

Your comment and questions deserve a response that would be too long for a blog comment.  A book could be and probably has been written many times over to address the questions you pose.  Your fear or death is the existential angst mankind has tried to overcome for thousands of years. Few if any intelligent people are immune from the fear that you are experiencing.  From your writing I can tell that you are a very intelligent person and it is intelligent people like you who are most likely to cogitate over what happens, if anything after death of the body.  Bodies are made to serve a purpose for a time and then disintegrate.  The question of course is what happens to the consciousness within those bodies after dissolution of the physical form.  Does it survive or not?  How do we ever get an answer to that question?

I often think that if I dropped in from nothing and will drop out into nothing, then so what?  Hasn’t my life been full; full of experience.  What is the loss or gain?  The gain is the opportunity to live, I am favored in that “I be!”

Don’t let that opportunity pass you by Aly. I often think that I should have chiseled on my tombstone, “He was afraid to live because he was afraid to die.”  Don’t let that be the motto of your life.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Tue 28 Sep, 19:18

Dear Aly: I think I know what you are saying so honestly, so bravely, to us—this little congregation, assembled by Michael, of which you are a part. Most of us here, as you know, are ailing, suffering, enduring—sometimes, like you, clutching at the edge of the abyss with our fingernails. For many years, I’ve had crippling depression, almost total anhedonia coupled with intermittent panic attacks. The personal details of how life came at me and still comes at me are not important or relevant. But I do believe that I, along with others here, have things to say to you that will be of use, as others have had things to say that were of use to me. Rather than write off the top of my head, I will ponder your words, search my soul, and put something together to post in the near future. Until then, dear Aly, may God and his angels (and yes, oh yes, they are there) hold you tightly in their arms. You’ve come to a very good place, this strange little congregation, to be transparent and reach out for support. We won’t let you down.

Newton E. Finn, Tue 28 Sep, 18:45

Hi everyone. You don’t know me but I’m quite familiar with most of you! I’ve been reading your comments and contributions for several years, since I found Michael Prescott’s (sadly discontinued) blog as a teenager. I commented once or twice over there but nothing noteworthy. Here I am once more, with what I suppose is a desperate plea for help.

Unlike most of you, who I am aware are older, I’m only twenty-five. I’ve been struggling with intense anxiety all my life, particularly since I was a teenager, and it almost always circles back to dying. I have found the material on Michael Prescott, and now Michael Tymn’s, blogs quite comforting but I still struggle; I read and read for hours at a time, and I’m comforted and convinced, but no sooner do I put down my phone or close my computer do I start doubting and get scared and feel like I need reassurance all over again.

I want to believe so desperately. Part of me does believe, but not deeply enough to penetrate my terror and my anxiety; which if any of you have experience with them, I think you’ll agree are horrifically intense and primal. All it takes is for me to start thinking about death being extinction as most of the world regards it, and I am launched all over again into a spiral of terror.

When it comes to evidence, I like NDEs and communications through mediums with information that the medium had no way of knowing (I don’t believe this super-PSI nonsense) the best. I don’t like the whole materialization mediums thing, and I don’t know about reincarnation. I still have questions that trouble me, though; why is it that there hasn’t been any real evidence from mediums that’s worthwhile since the early 20th century? I know there are famous mediums like Sylvia Browne, who I think most of you hold in pretty low regard. If death isn’t the end of consciousness, and consciousness isn’t produced by the brain, why does it seem like consciousness turns off while we sleep? I don’t often remember my dreams. Why does Alzheimers affect us so, and why can brain tumors change personalities?

I guess I’m very troubled by the fact that as technology has advanced we haven’t gotten clearer, more exciting proof; no amazing recordings of mediums channeling (honestly, those classic “manifestations” really strike me as just someone dressed in cheesecloth), why did that big study of NDEs from a few years ago fail to produce any real evidence? Why do so few people, it seems like, experience contact from their loved ones after they die? Why are NDEs so varied, and some even terrifying? Some people say dreams are prophetic but mine have all been nonsense (such as me being in a store riding in a kangaroo’s pouch), and what in the world do we make of sleep paralysis? if I accept that as just hallucinations produced by a half asleep brain (I typically do because it doesn’t seem to jive with the rest of the afterlife evidence.

I’m just struggling as I’m sure it’s clear. I’m on medication and I’m going to look into therapy to try to deal with my terror, because it’s not conducive to living a decent life. I think I’m pretty much a decent person, I try to be kind and spend time with my loved ones, and my interests (video games and reading) are ones that make me happy and don’t hurt anyone else. But what’s the point of life? Why am I here? I want to be a librarian, and I believe I could help people that way (maybe not as dramatically as a doctor saving a life, but as I’ve experienced the good literature and books can do in a life, I could certainly help improve people’s lives.) How do I reconcile the pain and suffering I see around me? WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE. HOW CAN I MAKE MYSELF BELIEVE. WHY AM I SO SCARED.

I hope none of this comes off as rude and disrespectful. I respect you all mightily. I just need help. I’m struggling and scared.

Aly, Tue 28 Sep, 16:00

Dear all,

There is a universal problem with identifying names. It plagues our ordinary conversation just as much as it troubles mediumship. A name has no logical connections to the rest of the sentence in which it occurs. It is an isolated bit of information not inferable from the rest of the sentence. Let me illustrate what I mean: In ANY sentence you can substitute ANY name. Turning this realisation around: the sentence itself can give no clue to the name of the person it alludes to. Any name will do. The sentence will give the medium’s subconscious logical processes no clue in deciding what the correct name is. Any name fits the sentence logically.

The problem with names is evidence that the subconscious thought processes of the medium are involved in the mediumistic process.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Tue 28 Sep, 08:31


I don’t have the answers to your questions. I’m just passing on what they have said.  Indications are that the spirit communicators didn’t fully grasp the problem.

Charles Seymour was a British journalist and he didn’t seem to have any question about the “more-rice” matter.  If I were to play charades and tried to get your surname through, I might show myself as a jockey on a horse in an attempt to get the Kentucky Derby or some other derby through.  I’ve heard it pronounced as the Kentucky Darby.  To get your first name through, I will show myself pulling a rickshaw, which I happened to do about 60+ years ago in Hong Kong. I’ll have to work on it to get Rickshaw Derby converted to your name, but hopefully someone will figure it out. wink

I’m not aware of any email problem.

Michael Tymn, Tue 28 Sep, 03:03

Thanks for the comments so far.  I’ll add my own little synchronicity to that of Sister Rosemarie’s.  As I was typing this blog and not really beyond the first paragraph, I took a break and walked through the living room, where my wife had the TV on.  As I passed through the room, a commercial came on and the first thing the woman said was, “I’m Sarah.”  I was startled, but continued without stop and don’t know what product the commercial was for. I see no meaning to it, so perhaps more a coincidence than a synchronicity.

Michael Tymn, Mon 27 Sep, 22:55

Having trouble transmitting last names through a medium might be a variation on another problem. I’ve read that in so-called past life memories subjects can be voluble about many details, but specifics that might help identify the previous personality are scarce.
A 17th-century farmer can talk till the cows come home about, well, the cows coming home. But not the date, who was king at the time, the name of a nearby town, and such. If you suspect, as I do, that earlier “incarnations” are spirits recalling their earthly lives rather than a string of the subject’s past lives, the parallel is stronger.

The difficulty of impressing names on a medium through visual symbolism could be one explanation but that raises problems too.

If it’s said to be easier for a medium to get names more easily through pictorial symbols, why should that be truer for names than for other words? Surely long messages received through trance mediumship contain many words that are difficult or impossible to symbolize.

What’s the pictorial equivalent of Sarah or Alice?

In another book, he explained how the medium struggled to get a not so common name through.  In that case, the medium’s spirit control said she was being shown rice, but the name was not Rice.  She was shown more rice and even more rice, before the sitter realized that it was his old friend, Maurice (More-Rice).

In British English, Maurice is pronounced “Morris.” Getting from More-Rice to Morris is an Olympic event.

Lady Barrett had wondered why he identified himself as William, when she knew him as Will and why he called her Florrie, when he knew her as Flo.  He explained that it was a matter of being able to get certain names through a medium easier than other names. 

Wouldn’t Will have been easier to express as a symbol than William? And Flo easier to picture (as a river flowing, perhaps) than Florrie?

Thomas’s father explained that if he wanted to give the name of a man named Meadow, he might try to insert the idea of a green field, connecting it with the idea of the man himself. ... His sister said she could not get her husband’s name, Whitfield, through the medium.

If a green field could suggest Meadow, why not a wheat field or white field for Whitfield?

I believe we still have a lot further to go in understanding the problem of mediumistic name communication.

OT: Mike, I have sent you an email several times and it keeps bouncing back undelivered. Any idea what’s going on?

Rick Darby, Mon 27 Sep, 21:15


Glad you’re writing about this, people want much specificity, but mediumship and spirit communications have their limitations. Each medium (their physical organism, type of faculty, strength, energy levels, particular aid from the spirit world, etc.) is different.

My father was a trance medium that periodically gave very detailed evidentiary information in the form of pictures and events received through visions received by spirits, as well as by direct spirit communication, but never names. He also received frequent spirit teachings.

One time he asked his spirit guides why he was not like those mediums on TV. They told him that he was not that type of medium and besides his spiritual work was of a different type.

But later on, one day the spirits told him they would prove to him they could do it, but only once.

They gave him the first name of his work colleague’s grandmother…which was not a common name.

I can’t remember it now. But I remember vividly discussing this whole episode with my father.

(I’m sure something like this happens to spirits…they can remember situations but not names)

I’m terrible with names and faces, but I can remember situations better.

So, when my father saw him at work, he brought the conversation around to names in families and that he had relatives with names that all started with the letter A. He told him his grandmother’s name, and finally he asked the man what was his grandmother’s name.

It was the exact same name the spirits had given him.


Yvonne Limoges, Mon 27 Sep, 20:42


Good explanatory piece — and another good reason to publish all your blogs. Taken together, the whole is greater than the parts. With a complete set,  single medium sessions are placed in a broader context, e.g. why names are a problem). Common elements are extracted and analyzed. A broader picture emerges.

Michael Schmicker, Mon 27 Sep, 20:26

I wonder how closely our names, in many instances, are associated with our egos. Some of us spend an awful lot of time and energy in building up our names—taking great pride, for example, in making a name for oneself or in promoting one’s name brand. Perhaps this also has something to do with why names are so easily forgotten in the afterlife, become secondary if not superfluous, because in the spiritual world, we’re told, one’s essential character is open to view by all. Was not the result of this intimate transparency profoundly captured in Jesus’ well known words, that when all things hidden are revealed, when all things secret are made known, then the first shall be last and the last, first?

Newton E. Finn, Mon 27 Sep, 17:49

Very informative and educational article Michael.

I can now really understand why your experience of synchronicity, hearing “I’m Sarah” over the television was so significant for you.  If that occurred while you were writing this blog article then, yes, it seems to me that that was a hard-core example of synchronicity. I think that only you could have written this article, Michael. Few others would have the knowledge and references to write this.

I seem to recall that in previous blogs you may have mentioned that Mediums have various skill sets just as anyone who engages in a creative endeavor or exhibits other special abilities e.g., baseball players.  It seems to me that some mediums do not have the ability of clairaudience and are limited to visual imagery.  Visual imagery used as a symbol for a name can be very difficult to interpret I think but modern-day psychic George Anderson seemed to be good at that especially when seeing religious symbols.

A lot of mediums from past ages seem to be mediums who did not have the ability to hear spirits talking to them although I suppose that mediums who used automatic writing were able to write names (Lenora Piper?)  However, there may have been a few and especially those who were able to channel ‘direct voice’ who produced both first and last names, e.g., Leslie Flint, Etta Wriedt, George Valiantine. Mediums who were clairaudient as well as clairvoyant had a much easier time of it.

Modern day mediums, and I am thinking of Matt Frazer, appear to produce given names very easily without any hesitation.  He says he hears spirits talking to him in his head and they tell him their name.  He is truly amazing in his ability to produce the names of spirits.  Pearl Curran also claimed that she heard Patience Worth speaking to her in her head providing names of characters for her novels, names that were appropriate for their culture, e.g., Greek, Roman, Indian, Arabic; Italian, Old-English; names that Curran could not have possibly known, especially as related to a given nationality, culture or time period.  Additionally, Pearl Curran also received visual imagery of a panoramic nature.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 27 Sep, 17:41

Thanks for this Mike; another thought provoking article.  Naming seems to have been a bette noir for us for so long.  Plus, your abiity to bring my attention to older books I have not heard of is remarkable, despite having a large collection myself.  Seymour’s Behind The Seen is the latest addition.

gordon phinn, Mon 27 Sep, 16:49

interesting synchronicity.  Friday i went up the back way to the Los Padre National forest which has been closed for a year because of the Dolan fire. It destroyed the forest and fire station which has been my Hermitage home for 40 years. The ridge I had hoped to see at the top was behind the locked gate.I was unable to go through to the top and other side. My twin had come to warn me about the fire, a former firefighter and paramedic deceased since 2013in a mediumship reading.  I had not understood the message…being new to mediumship since 2015…only the urgency. While waiting at the gate Sarah Prout came through who I had not met before. She told me she was born at Lucia where the Hermitage is and which recently had a fire at the lodge which destroyed a part of the building. She also told me the fire which my twin had warned me about and came running in at the beginning of a reading was not caused by the backfire that was planned for the next day. The winds had come up which caused it to overrun the area injuring the firefighters and destroying the fire station and area. It had been caused by an arsonist who said he was burying 5 bodies in a drug incident. So it seems his running in…medium said barging in… was the foreshadowed emergency. Interestingly, I had sent him the book:The Afterlife of Billy Fingers just before he died and Billy is racing into a hospital at the time of his death. The fire captain and several others were rushed to hospital. Billy came back to write a book with his sister as my twin has with me.

Sister Rosemarie, Mon 27 Sep, 16:11

It is obvious that we can exclude telepathy in the ‘Sarah’- case. It seems that in the Afterlife they communicate with visualizations rather than with words. Names are of no importance, what you thought, did and do is what counts…it’s a pitty that that isn’t often the case in our world as you know what I mean.😊

Chris, Mon 27 Sep, 13:29

Interesting, but I have no useful comment, at least not yet.

As always, a good piece of writing, Mike, which I shall read again. Your blogs are so worthwhile. We all owe you a huge debt of gratitude. I’ll see if I find anything worth saying later.

Just one thought may be worth expressing: thought itself does not, despite what some self-appointed wise guys have often claimed, take place in words. Sometimes it is an entirely non-verbal, indeed not even verbalisable, imaginative grasp of a truth. There are those, as I remarked, who say that if you can’t put a thought into words you thereby prove that you do not actually HAVE that thought at all. There was once a pundit in the educational field called Paul Hirst who did not realise the error of thinking this. It is circular reasoning, an assumption of what you want to prove. But that assertion may, and in this case definitely IS, false. Thought does NOT usually come as words and, if it does, it is likely to be a clunky thought. Words are blunt, imprecise. Mostly we first have the thought, then have to strive to express it adequately in words. That, after all, is precisely what the mediums find so difficult when trying to find a name, is it not? The very topic of your blog, Mike.

Perhaps that, after all, has been a thought worth my effort to express it. There are many, many clever but mistaken people, such as philosophers, who are completely incapacitated by their own mistake of starting from words instead of starting from an imaginative INSIGHT.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Mon 27 Sep, 13:09

Very interesting. Thanks Michael

Paul, Mon 27 Sep, 12:37

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“Life After Death – The Communicator” by Paul Beard – If the telephone rings, naturally the caller is expected to identify himself. In post-mortem communication, necessitating something far more complex than a telephone, it is not enough to seek the speakers identity. One needs to estimate also as far as is possible his present status and stature. This involves a number of factors, overlapping and hard to keep separate, each bringing its own kind of difficulty. Four such factors can readily be named. Read here
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