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A non-believer convinces another non-believer of life after death

Posted on 11 March 2013, 13:10

When he was alive in the flesh, George Pellew, an author, poet, and journalist, told Dr. Richard Hodgson, who was studying the mediumship of Leonora Piper, that he could not conceive of an afterlife but that if he died before Hodgson and found himself “still existing” he would attempt to let Hodgson know.

Hodgson (below) had been studying Mrs. Piper since 1887.  He would arrange for various people to anonymously sit with her, and then would observe and record the sessions. The usual procedure was for Mrs. Piper to go into a trance state and her body to be taken over by a spirit calling himself Dr. Phinuit, who, unlike Mrs. Piper, spoke in a gruff voice and with a French accent.  As it came to be understood by Hodgson and other researchers, very few spirits are capable of communicating directly and thus Phinuit would act as a medium on the Other Side, relaying messages from them to the sitters.


Initially a skeptic, even a debunker, Hodgson had completely ruled out fraud on the part of Mrs. Piper but still questioned whether the voices coming through the young Boston medium in her trance state were voices of the dead or some secondary personality buried in her subconscious.  But since many of the sitters seemed to be receiving very evidential information from deceased loved ones and friends, the question remained as to how the secondary personality, if that is what it was, got the information. 

Hodgson, Professor William James, and other researchers were reluctant to accept the spirit hypothesis.  No evidence could be found that a Dr. Phinuit ever existed and they theorized that he was a secondary personality which was somehow able to telepathically tap into the mind of the sitter.  When information came through that was unknown to the sitter but later verified as correct, they further theorized that it was possible for Mrs. Piper’s secondary personality to read the mind of anybody in the world or to tap into some kind of cosmic reservoir in the ethers and extract information, then feed it back to the sitters.  As far fetched as that seemed, any explanation was preferable to spirits, as science, in the wake of Darwinism, was busy demonstrating that things spiritual were just so much superstition and folly.  The mere suggestion of spirits of the dead was cause for smirks, scoffs, and sneers among educated people. 

Hodgson’s confidence in his views was “shaken” after the accidental death of Pellew (below) on February 18, 1892, the result of falling down a flight of stairs.  At the time, Pellew, a Harvard graduate, was employed as an editorial writer for the New York Sun.


On March 22, a little over a month after Pellew’s death, Hodgson brought Pellew’s friend John Hart for a sitting with Mrs. Piper.  Early in the sitting, Dr. Phinuit (speaking through Mrs. Piper’s body) announced that “George” was there.  Phinuit then gave Pellew’s full name and the names of several close friends.  To give assurance that it was actually himself communicating through Phinuit, Pellew told Hart that the pair of studs he was wearing were once his and were given to Hart by his (Pellew’s) parents, which Hart confirmed as true.  Pellew then mentioned some mutual friends, Jim and Mary Howard, and asked Hart if he could get them to attend a sitting.  He also brought up a discussion he had had with Katharine, the Howard’s 15-year-old daughter, about God, space, and eternity.  As neither Hart nor Hodgson, who was also in attendance and taking notes, was aware of any such discussion with Katharine, this information, later confirmed by Katharine, fell outside the scope of simple telepathy.

Hodgson recorded that many personal references were made by Pellew, including one to a book he had not yet finished before his death, and that Hart was impressed, mentioning that various words of greetings and speech mannerisms were very characteristic of Pellew, even though the messages were relayed through Phinuit.  For privacy reasons, Hodgson called him George “Pelham” in the research records, or otherwise referred to him simply as “G.P.”

Some three weeks later, Jim and Mary Howard had a sitting with Mrs. Piper. They were somewhat reluctant to participate in such “occult activity,” but Hart’s account of what took place at his sitting made them curious. Hodgson did not tell Mrs. Piper their names or give her any clue as to their connection with G.P.  Yet, G.P. communicated.  However, rather than Phinuit speaking through Mrs. Piper and relaying messages from G.P., G.P. took over Mrs. Piper’s body and spoke directly to his friends:

G.P.:  “Jim, is that you?  Speak to me quick.  I am not dead.  Don’t think me dead.  I’m awfully glad to see you. Can’t you see me?  Don’t you hear me? Give my love to my father and tell him I want to see him.  I am happy here, and more so since I can communicate with you.  I pity those people who can’t speak…”

Jim Howard: “What do you do George, where you are?”

G.P.:  “I am scarcely able to do anything yet; I am just awakened to the reality of life after death.  It was like darkness.  I could not distinguish anything at first.  Darkest hours just before dawn, you know that, Jim.  I was puzzled, confused.  Shall have an occupation soon.  Now I can see you, my friends.  I can hear you speak. Your voice, Jim, I can distinguish with your accent and articulation, but it sounds like a big bass drum.  Mine would sound to you like the faintest whisper.”

Jim Howard: “Our conversation, then, is something like telephoning?”

G.P.: “Yes.”

Jim Howard: “By long distance telephone?”

G.P.: (Laughs)

Jim Howard: “Were you not surprised to find yourself living?”

G.P.:  “Greatly surprised.  I did not believe in a future life.  It was beyond my reasoning powers.  Now it is as clear to me as daylight.  We have an astral fac-simile of the material body…” 

The conversation continued.  G.P. mentioned that he had seen and talked with Martha Rogers, the deceased daughter of a mutual friend.  He said that she was still adjusting to her new environment. He also asked how Orenberg and Berwick, two other mutual friends, were doing, adding that Orenberg liked him but never understood him.  “We fellows who are eccentric are always misunderstood in life,” he said.  “I used to have fits of depression.  I have none now.  I am happy now.  I want my father to know about this.  We used to talk about spiritual things, but he will be hard to convince.  My mother will be easier…”

At a later sitting, the Howards brought their daughter, Katharine.  G. P. came through and asked Katharine about her violin lessons, commenting (apparently jesting) that her playing was “horrible.”  Not realizing the humor in it, Mary Howard spoke up to defend her daughter’s music, but G.P. then explained that he mentioned it because that is what he used to do when in the flesh. It was intended as verification of his identity.

Jim and Mary Howard returned again on December 19, 1892.  Mary Howard handed G.P. a letter from his father and asked him if he could read it.  G.P. said it did not sound like his father would talk to him when he was in the body, but that his father does believe that he still exists and is no longer in pain.  Mary Howard confirmed for Hodgson that this was the key message in the letter, which apparently was still in the envelope.  G.P. continued:

“That brings me nearer to my father; now give him my tenderest love and tell him that I am very near him, and see him almost every day, if I could go by days, but I can’t judge of that, because I have no idea of time; that is one thing I have lost, Hodgson…You of all others are the one that I want to be absolutely certain of my identity…Hodgson, I mean, and Jim, I want you both to feel I am no secondary personality of the medium’s…Now, about my theory of spirit life independent of the material substance.  I live, think, see, hear, know, and feel just as clearly as when I was in the material life, but it is not so easy to explain it to you as you would naturally suppose, especially when the thoughts have to be expressed through substance materially…Nevertheless, I am bound to do just all I can for you to prove to you that I do absolutely exist, independent of the material body which I inhabited…”

Jim Howard returned alone for a sitting three days later and asked G.P. to tell him something that only the two of them knew.  In fact, G.P. told Howard something so private and personal that Howard did not want it made part of the record, but he told Hodgson that he was perfectly satisfied with the information.  G.P. continued:

“Jim, I am dull in this sphere about some things, but you will forgive me, won’t you?...but like as when in the body sometimes we can’t always recall everything in a moment, can we, Jim, dear old fellow?...God bless you, Jim, and many thanks.  You often gave me courage when I used to get depressed.  You know how you especially used to fire at me sometimes, but I understood it all, did I not, old fellow?...and I used to get tremendously down at the heel sometimes, but I am all right now, and, Jim, you can never know how much I love you and how I delight in coming back and telling you all this…When I found I actually lived again, I jumped for joy, and my first thought was to find you and Mary.  And thank the Infinite here I am, old fellow, living and well…”

Over the period of time during which G.P. communicated, Hodgson brought 150 sitters, 30 of whom were known to G.P. when he was alive.  In each case, G.P. greeted them by name. The non-recognition of the other 120 was contrary to the telepathic and cosmic soul theories. That is, if G.P., or Mrs. Piper’s secondary personality, had been reading minds or searching in some cosmic computer, he (she) would have known the names of all of them. 

The emergence of G.P. moved Hodgson and other researchers to a belief that spirits of the dead were in fact communicating.  In effect, there was too much individuality, too much purpose and persistence, expressed by G.P. to attribute it to telepathy of a limited or expanded nature.  It was one thing for a medium to tap into another mind or cosmic reservoir for information, quite another for that other mind or reservoir to dialogue with the fullness of a personality rather than just fragmentary bits of information.

Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die is published by White Crow Books. His latest book, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife is now available on Amazon and other online book stores. 


Next blog entry:  March 25


Nice! Just wanted to respond. I thoroughly loved your post. Keep up the great work on .

prescription testosterone, Tue 15 Oct, 19:43


Thank you for the comments about Trucks, or whatever his name is.  At least he had the sense to take down the “conman” label he attached to me. Of course, I made a copy of it for my libel file. It is only a matter of time before Forests realizes how expensive defense lawyers are in England.

Michael Tymn, Thu 28 Mar, 00:40

For interest despite this rather extraordinary communication there were significant reasons why Leonora Piper was so highly rated. Almost the entire proceedings of 1915 concern her as she was so heavily researched by the SPR. In the introduction all the then SPR papers are listed:

To show this PROCEEDINGS OF THE Society for Psychical Research.

The main interest of Mrs. Piper’s trance phenomena lies
undoubtedly in the evidence they afford of knowledge acquired
otherwise than through the senses whether from the living
or from the dead. This evidence has been set forth and
discussed in numerous papers in the Proceedings, of which
a list is given below. To these papers I must refer those
who are interested only in such evidential matter. For in
the present paper they will not find what they want. There
is no attempt in it to give any of the evidence for supernormal
powers, with which it is concerned only incidentally.
Its object is to throw light on the working of the trance
ii Mrs. Henry Sidgwick.

consciousnesses from a psychological point of view, and, among
other things, on the question whether the intelligence that speaks
or writes in the trance, and is sometimes in telepathic communication
with other minds (whether of the living or of
the dead), is other than a phase, or centre of consciousness,
of Mrs. Piper herself.


Vol. VI. (1890), pp. 136-659. “A Record of Observations
of Certain I na of Trance,” by F. W. H. Myers,
Sir Oliver Lodge, Dr. Walter Leaf and Professor William

This deals with the sittings m Ki.irliimi in 1889-1890.
Vol. VIII. (1892), pp. 1-168. “A Record of Observations of
Certain Phenomena of Trance,” by Dr Richard Hodgson.
This deals with sittings in America from 1886 to 1891.
Vol. XIII. (1898), pp. 284-682. “A Further Record of Observations
of Certain Phenomena of Trance,” by Dr
R. Hodgson.

This deals with sittings in America from 1892 M 1895.
Vol. XIV. (1898), pp. 6-49. “A Further Record ..f Observations
of Certain Phenomena of Trance,” by Professor
Romaine Newbold.

This deals with sittings with which Professor Newbold
was concerned from 1891 to 1895.

LXXI.] Psychology of Mrs. Piper’s Trance. Papers. iii
Vol. XVI. (1901), pp. 1-649. “A Further Record of Observations of Certain Trance Phenomena,” by Professor
J. H. Hyslop.

This deals with Professor Hyslop’s sittings in 1898-1899,and contains also accounts of certain experiments by him, and discussions. Professor Hyslop has published accountsof his later sittings in the Proceedings of the [new] American Society for Psychical Research.

Vol. XXII. (1908), pp. 19-440. “A Series of Concordant Automatisms,” by Mr. J. G. Piddington.

This deals with concordant automatisms between Mrs.
Piper and other automatists, and some experiments during
her visit to England in 1906-7.

Vol. XXIII. (1909), pp. 2-121. “Report on Mrs. Piper’s Hodgson-Control,” by Professor William James.

This records and discusses the Hodgson communications whether as control or communicator during the year following his death, namely 1906.

Vol. XXIII. (1909), pp. 127-280. “Report on some Trance
Communications received chiefly through Mrs. Piper,”
by Sir Oliver Lodge.

Most of this paper is concerned with sittings with Mrs.
Piper arranged for by Sir Oliver Lodge, and at which
he was generally present, in England, in 1889, 1890, 1906,
1907. Two sittings in 1905 in America are included.

Vol. XXIV. (1910), pp. 31-200. “Further Experiments with
Mrs. Piper in 1908,” by Mrs. H. Sidgwick, Mrs. A. W.
Verrall and Mr. J. G. Piddingfcon.

This deals with Mr. G. B. Dorr’s sittings in America in 1908.
Vol. XXIV. (1910), pp. 351-664. “Report on the Junot
Sittings with Mrs. Piper,” by Miss H. de G. Verrall.

This gives the record of all” Bennie Junot’s” communications
from 1899-1905.

a2iv Mrs. Henry Sidgtoick. [PART

All the above papers are primarily concerned with th<>
exhibition in Mrs. Piper’s trances of knowledge supern<>nn.illy
acquired, though incidentally some other points are discussed.
There have also appeared in the Proceedings four papers
discussing the published evidence, viz. :

Vol. XTV. (1898), pp. 60-78. “Discussion of the Trance
Phenomena of Mrs. Piper,” by F. Podmore.

This paper takes the view that there is undoubtedly
telepathy with the living, but insufficient evidence to jn-.

further. The Piper phenomena are compared with
those of Adele Maginot and others.
Vol. XV. (1900), pp. 16-38.
” Discussion of the Trance
Phenomena of Mrs. Piper,” by Mrs. Henry Sidgwich

This paper takes the view that, assuming there is communication
with the dead through Mrs. Piper, the evidence
poiints to it being telepathic in character.

Vol. XV. (1900), pp. 39-62. “Discussion of the Trance
Phenomena of Leonora. Piper,” by Andrew Lang.
This paper is described by its author as
“Reflections on Mrs.Piper and Telepathy.”

Vol. XXVI. (1912), pp. 147-173. “The Latin Message Experiment,”
by Bin. Anna Hude (with Note on same by
Mr. J. G. Piddington).

Not Ahtun Re, Tue 26 Mar, 04:48



The monkey was in the Sun FYI

W. R. N. “Sir Walter, is the sun all fire, or has it a solid core ?”

Sir W. Scott. “...This is caused by gravity understand where we are we have now reached the limit, we find it very warm and deserted like a deserted island. We wish to find its inhabitants if there are any i.e. if it has any.

Now we see what we term monkeys, dreadful looking creatures, black extremely black, very wild…”

Followed by…

Sir W. Scott. “Oh you could not have thought that I wished to convey the idea that there were actually monkeys living in the sun, sir!”

Not Ahtun Re, Tue 26 Mar, 04:41

Sorry my typo error. Skeptiko. (Alex)

I honestly do not believe any amount of evidence will convince Forests since he has clearly concluded there is none.

Antony, Sat 23 Mar, 00:54

I may be that “Antony” is referring to Skeptiko and not Skeptico.

Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 21 Mar, 18:00


Thanks for telling me.  I wasn’t aware that Skeptico had a comments section and can’t seem to find it.

Forests recently deleted his comments at on a review of my Piper book by by Dr. Howard A. Jones, so I thought that perhaps he had “seen the light.”

Michael Tymn, Thu 21 Mar, 00:03

Wow Michael your book as certainly provoked Forest & friends to go on a trolling rampage over at Skeptico. Was it something you said!!

antony, Wed 20 Mar, 02:02

If her mediumship was true then she should not of made silly mistakes and said false things like that.

You are assuming that if the mediumship exists, then it is perfect, but this assumption may be false and in fact is false because the phenomenon is too complex for the mediums are perfect.

I have never seen a white medium in my life…

Besides Leonora Piper, the medium Eileen Garrett is another example of mental medium was probably in contact with the minds of the deceased.

Grey makes no sense, use some common sense if a medium is genuine and has genuine supernormal powers then why do they need to cheat? The only type of medium that exists is black.

Although a medium is genuine, she may not always be able to do what is asked, which can lead to resort to fraud.

Piper’s mediumship (all of it was explained by)

Muscle-reading, fishing, guessing, hints obtained in the sitting, knowledge surreptitiously obtained, knowledge acquired in the interval between sittings and lastly, facts already within Mrs. Piper’s knowledge.

No, Piper researchers as William James concluded beyond reasonable doubt that at least Piper had access to a paranormal source of knowledge.

One last thing that none of you have thought through, if spirits exist then why do they need to enter peoples brains and talk to us?

You’re assuming that if the spirits of the deceased exist, then they could communicate directly with living beings, but this assumption may be false, and you cannot play God and say how it should be reality if certain things happen.

<i<Spiritualists oppose reincarnation. The reincarnationists oppose the spirit world. Apparitions are opposed to spiritualism, according to ghost hunters spiritualism is a hoax and apparitions look nothing like the “spirits” of ectoplasm.</i>

No, some spiritualists are not opposed to reincarnation, and the fact that most of mediumistic communications not try the reincarnation does not mean opposing the reincarnation because mediumistic communications indicate that people have more or less the same knowledge after his death. The reincarnationists are not opposed to the spiritual world, but that the spiritual world is between successive lives. Spiritualists do not dispute that may occur apparitions of the deceased and some ghosts hunters largely unknown spiritualism.

The key is that there are several types of evidence converge independently that there is a form of afterlife: the near death experiences, the deathbed visions, the shared death experiences, the apparitions of the living and the deceased, the mediumship, transinstrumental communication and children who seem to remember past lives, which makes that the case for the afterlife is stronger.

Psi there is no scientific evidence for it, it is incompatible with the laws of science…

Of course there is scientific evidence of psi, some scientists just refuse to admit it because of its implications. Nor is it true that psi is incompatible with the laws of science, contrary to popular belief, it is incompatible with certain metaphysical assumptions of modern science.

...if psi existed then it would debunk spiritualism up front, mediums would just read their victims minds etc.

No, psi is incompatible with spiritualism only if we assert that all cases of mediumship are instances of psi only between the living and the material realm, but spiritualism can admit that there are some psi abilities.

<i<“ganzfield research” has never been replicated and lack of scientific controls were in place.</i>

There are Ganzfield experiments have been replicated statistically, not puntually, which is enough to accept the existence of psi phenomena.

The near death experiences has been explained by modern neuroscience but even if they were real evidence for the afterlife they contradict spiritualism, according to the NDE experience there are no “spirits” and it is like a dream world i. e. people are still in the flesh and based around fantasy, desires or other subconscious information.

Modern neuroscience has not explained all aspects of near death experiences, as happens a hyper-lucidity while brain activity collapses or veridical extracorporeal experiences. These aspects make the NDE evidence of the afterlife. NDEs as evidence of the afterlife does not contradict spiritualism because people died that is perceived by NDE experiencers can call spirits of the deceased.

Juan, Sat 16 Mar, 22:26

Thanks for the link to Mrs. Piper’s statement.  Obviously it is not an admission of anything other than that she is tired of the publicity and of being used by the “Psychical Research Society”. Like other mediums, she doesn’t really understand her “gift” any more than anyone else.  I can’t help but have a sympathetic reaction when I read her own words about her mediumship.  Thanks Arun.

Amos Oliver Doyle, Sat 16 Mar, 19:04

Read Mrs. Piper’s confession at

If one believes it as her honest confession he will at least appreciate the fact that she was not dishonest at least. She claimed nothing special of herself and accepted that she was a just a research machine used. She could have claimed something special to flourish her private career but she didn’t.

Now assuming she was actually a fraud and was able to misguide such eminent members of SPR over so many years by her trickery on such a sensitive and highly suspicious subject we all must accept that she was having intelligence out of the world. She must have been given noble prize for that! We are just not eligible to judge her then – she is beyond our knowledge.

Victim of the circumstances my emotional outburst forced me to contact two well-known mediums in recent past. I had compelling reasons to believe in their ability to comfort my inner self but just within 5 mnts into both my readings I was clear that they were shamelessly cheating and all info coming through are nothing but bogus. If these established mediums of modern age with all modern technologies like internet etc. could not convince a bit a person of negligible intelligence like me I wonder how Mrs. Piper was able to manipulate those great minds who tested her tirelessly!!

ArunM, Sat 16 Mar, 02:06

You really don’t deserve a response to your verbal tantrums but I can’t resist using your erroneous thought process to call you a liar based on what you said in your last post.  If you really knew anything about anything, you would know that Richard Hodgson never married.  He had no wife.  Therefore if you lie about one thing you lie about everything.

Liar!  Case Closed!

Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 14 Mar, 23:46


I agree with your last comment. I would add that the “experts” who subscribe to the secondary personality theory with Patience don’t explain how all that knowledge, wisdom, and information got into the subcoscious of a woman with no more than an eighth grade education and who had never traveled more than a few hundred miles from her home in St. Louis.  Today, they would likely say that her play pen was next to the television for several years and her subconscious absorbed it all from the various TV programs her parents were watching, but Pearl Curran lived before television and even before mass radio programs, so that explanation doesn’t hold up.  As Patience said, “I be I and she be she.”

Michael Tymn, Thu 14 Mar, 22:58


I have already addressed most of your questions below or in other blogs and don’t have the time or desire to keep going around in circles with you on this matter, especially since it is clear that your mind is made up. I think Antony sums it up in his last post.  Let me just add a suggestion that you obtain a copy of Dr. Walter Franklin Prince’s 1930 book, “The Enchanted Boundary,” subtitled “Being A Survey of Negative Reaction to Claims of Psychic Phenonmena 1820-1930.” This book is still available if you go to He devotes 16 pages to discrediting Tuckett.  He also discusses Hall and Tanner, pointing out the many distortions and errors in their clearly biased reports.

As Antony says, it is not a black and white situation as you seem to want it to be, nor does everyone become a “spiritualist” just because he or she doesn’t remain a skeptic or debunker and speaks out in favor of the phenomena. 

If you want to believe that Lodge was out of his mind, that Crookes had a romantic interest in Florence Cook, that Crawford’s suicide was because he knew he was wrong, etc., etc. you are free to do so.  I’ve heard them all.  You are not going to convince me any more than I am going to convince you, so please find another hobby.

Michael Tymn, Thu 14 Mar, 22:48

antony you are setting up ad hominem attacks against the authors, without even reading the book by McCabe.

It does not matter if a book was written by an atheist, a nazi, or someone who sells hotdogs for a living, if they have written an honest book then they deserve to be heard not shunned.

It turns out the skeptics have got it all right, it doesn’t matter if they were atheists or believers in God or what their religion or lack of religion beliefs were that is not on topic. Just flick open the McCabe book, everything he says in it was the truth about those fraud mediums, they have been caught red-handed. It is a short book, you should check it out.

“In the Pellew case how was it that Piper managed to identify 30 of his friends whom she had never met. How could she possibly know about intimate details?”

There is a rational explanation for it, it is all explained in the Tuckket book I was reading it last night but it is over 90 pages. I will summerise it for you at some point becuase obviously nobody else here is going to read his book. You can’t accuse Tuckket of being an atheist either, he was an agnostic.

Interestingly I am not sure why you brought up the atheist thing, most parapsychologists are atheists, and even if an afterlife was real it could still be compatible with atheism and nothing to do with any God/s.

“Hodgson was no fool as he already debunked other mediums so I trust someone who was there on the scene rather than post hoc analysis over a century later by armchair sceptics”

You need to look into the background of Hodgson his wife died and the day she died he claimed to see her spirit, he was a devout spiritualist from the beginning of his career and his belief biased his judement, he was not an exposer of fraud mediums like spiritualists like to claim. Which mediums did he expose? Spiritualists are then silent. The only false medium he exposed was Blavatsky, but Blavatsky was not really a spiritualist she was a Theosophist and her stuff was childish so it was not hard to expose.

“philosophical commitment to materialism/atheism which itself is a claim that needs to be tested”

Science is the study of the physical world. If you are invoking spirits, then that is a metaphysical world view. The guys I quoted had no philosophical world view they just reported the facts.

“Final point – even without spiritualism there are other lines of evidence which challenge the brain=mind view, NDEs, crisis apparitions, reincarnation research, terminal lucidity, psi, ganzfield research etc. If anything these pose a serious problem for materialism.”

All these things contradict eachother. Spiritualists oppose reincarnation. The reincarnationists oppose the spirit world. Apparitions are opposed to spiritualism, according to ghost hunters spiritualism is a hoax and apparitions look nothing like the “spirits” of ectoplasm.

Psi there is no scientific evidence for it, it is incompatible with the laws of science, so if it existed it would be metaphysical and outside of the material realm to study, and if psi existed then it would debunk spiritualism up front, mediums would just read their victims minds etc. psi believers such as alan gauld or tony cornell have opposed spiritualism.

“ganzfield research” has never been replicated and lack of scientific controls were in place.

The near death experiences has been explained by modern neuroscience but even if they were real evidence for the afterlife they contradict spiritualism, according to the NDE experience there are no “spirits” and it is like a dream world i. e. people are still in the flesh and based around fantasy, desires or other subconscious information. All your “evidences” contradict eachother.

As for your other claim about “materialists”. Spiritualists are materialists. According to the spiritualists spirits are made up of a finer type of matter or “etheric matter” even the medium who claimed to chanell the son of Oliver Lodge Raymond claimed the spirit world is made up of spheres made up of finer types of matter. I don’t believe in ectoplasm becuase it is just cheesecloth and muslin but according to spiritualists ectoplasm is a physical substance made from a finer type of matter. No spiritualist has ever claimed that spirits are totally non-physical. So you are indeed a materialist antony, as is Michael Tymn and every other spiritualist.

forests, Thu 14 Mar, 20:41



Joseph McCabe was a militant atheist with an ideological chip on his shoulder out to destroy/attack any religion so I hardly think one would expect a balanced & fair treatment regarding spiritualism from him anymore than I would expect Joseph Goebbles to espouse the merits of racial equality. Yes there have been clear examples of fraud, cheating of many varieties & when evident this should be exposed for what it is however this does not address those numerous clear examples of ‘hits’ that Michael refers to. In the Pellew case how was it that Piper managed to identify 30 of his friends whom she had never met. How could she possibly know about intimate details?  What about the steps Hodgson took to have her followed by private detectives or intercept her mail or having proxy sitters attend??  Yes its logically possible she somehow managed to acquire secret background information but logical possibility does not mean it is realistically practical. Hodgson was no fool as he already debunked other mediums so I trust someone who was there on the scene rather than post hoc analysis over a century later by armchair sceptics.  On the issues of her successes or failures - why do things have to be black or white?  Only debunkers view the world this way. Life is not like that. Human performance is subject to numerous variables so why should mediumship be any different. Your assertion that if she is genuine she should not make errors is simply naïve as we are clearly dealing here with altered states & levels of consciousness. If the spirit hypothesis is correct then success or not may depend on whether the communicator can impress or overlay its thought processes onto the instrument. There may have been times for whatever reason, ill health, fatigue, that no communications was possible & Mrs Pipers sub consciousness took over resulting in fantasy, false communications.  These do not mean she was a fraud.  If you are a genuine truth seeker you need to look at all sources of evidence pro & con & assess it fairly not just rely on debunking literature which I have found to be without exception motivated by an underlying philosophical commitment to materialism/atheism which itself is a claim that needs to be tested.  Final point – even without spiritualism there are other lines of evidence which challenge the brain=mind view, NDEs, crisis apparitions, reincarnation research, terminal lucidity, psi, ganzfield research etc.  If anything these pose a serious problem for materialism.

Carry on researching as the road to truth is a never ending journey……………

antony, Thu 14 Mar, 16:42

I would like to address the secondary personality theory so often proposed as an explanation of mediums.  This theory, including multiple personalities and dissociation is often used by those very erudite professorial types who are either on the fence regarding survival of human consciousness or deny it outright.  Stephen E. Braude,  Professor Emeritus, University of Maryland stumbles back to this explanation of the Patience Worth case and Pearl Curran in his book “Immortal Remains”.  Perhaps in some cases that explanation may be correct.

Contrary to most classic secondary personalities as defined in psychoanalytic literature, Patience Worth was present at the same time as the primary personality Pearl Curran, that is, Pearl Curran was fully conscious and was able to carry on normal conversations with “sitters” in her circle as well as smoke, drink and write at the same time that Patience Worth, her “control” was communicating by way of the Ouija board or typewriter. Pearl Curran was not displaced by Patience Worth.  Similar to Leonora Piper, Curran was able to write or speak one train of thought while writing another train of thought with her other hand. One personality was not displaced by the other.  According to those who posit this theory, I guess they believe that Pearl Curran and Leonora Piper manifested two personalities at the same time, somewhat unusual for multiple personality cases.

According to Curran she was able to hear Patience Worth speaking to her and interpreting or translating what Curran was seeing in her mind’s eye, When Curran “heard” a foreign language in her mind, Patience Worth would translate it for her.  Secondary personality is an easy theory to banty-around but in my opinion it does not explain the Pearl Curran/Patience Worth case and probably not the Leonora Piper case.

To get a feel for the difficulty of explaining the Patience Worth case, try to recite something you have memorized like the “Pledge of Allegiance”, “Lincolns’ Gettysburg Address”, “The Night Before Christmas” or whatever you have memorized, letter-by-letter.  Then try to create a blog post, poem or the first page of a novel, reciting it out loud letter-by-letter while someone else writes it down. Now try to do this while you are conversing with your sitters.  You can’t pause or rewrite; just let the letters flow.  I don’t know about you, but I find this very difficult.  Pearl Curran did this with ease for years and years, creating numerous quality poems, aphorisms, and novels letter-by letter while carrying-on conversations with her sitters and responding to her “secondary personality”.  Eventually Curran was able to recite them word by word as Worth spoke them to her in her mind.  If this all came from a secondary personality, then perhaps we all should develop one.

Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 14 Mar, 04:02

Michael you are silent on the spirit from Piper claiming Monkeys live in the sun, and you are silent on her spirit guide moses say a great world war was going to break out involving those specific countries, such a thing never happened that is enough for me for her mediumship to be bogus. If her mediumship was true then she should not of made silly mistakes and said false things like that. I have never seen a white medium in my life (read on to see what I mean by white medium).

As for your questions about Lung cancer and smoking this is not acceptable example to be comparing to mediumship and I can’t answer you becuase I have not studied that field, I would be talking from ignorance but let me relate to the black, grey and white medium.

Athur Conan Doyle the spiritualist wrote there were three types of mediums:


The white mediums are perfect mediums who have never been revealed as fraud (none exist ever). The Grey medium is a medium who cheats but also has genuine ability and the black medium is the complete fraud medium who cheats everytime (the black is the reality of mediumship). I have not see any greys.

Interestingly Doyle wrote most mediums were grey with a handful of whites. But Doyle was a convinced spiritualist. Hereward Carrington wrote most mediums were black with a few greys (he wrote 98% of mediums were frauds) and Harry Price wrote most were black. Both Price and Carrington spent their lives studying mediums, you cannot accuse these men of being “Skeptics” becuase both actually believed in psychic phenomena so they were not “materialists” as you are known for calling people.

Trevor H. Hall who spent most of his life studying mediumship wrote they were all black, as did Gordon Stein, Joseph Jastrow, Ivor Lloyd Tuckett and countless of other scientists and psychical researchers.

Joseph McCabe wrote every medium is a black medium i.e. they all cheat. I agree with McCabe.

Grey makes no sense, use some common sense if a medium is genuine and has genuine supernormal powers then why do they need to cheat? The only type of medium that exists is black. There is no grey or white mediums. 

After a detailed study McCabe exposed Palladino, Piper, Cook, Home and Slade etc as black mediums.

McCabe debated Doyle and published his conclusions in:

Is spiritualism based on fraud ?: the evidence given by Sir A.C. Doyle and others (1920)

Online Free:

Honestly if you read the above book you would not believe in spiritualism or mediumship and your worldview would be shattered and you would regret embracing it all. I used to be a spiritualist that was one of the first books which made me realise I had been duped. It is a truthcentric book and it has nothing to do with being a skeptic. The author just reported the facts.

Spiritualists books are biased they never report the trickery that actually has been going on with mediums, they fan it all out. That is dishonest and why I gave up looking at spiritualist literature. If you do not believe me then go onto google books and type in Leonora Piper “moses” “1899” or Leonora Piper “Bessie Beals” or Leonora Piper “monkeys” the only books which report any of this are non-spiritualists books, spiritualists leave out the Bessie Beals character, that Piper “spirit” said monkeys live in the sun or the 1899 silly prophecy by moses.

The same thing has happened with many other mediums. The spirit Bien Boa which was discovered to be a dressed up man is only reported in non-spiritualist books. Also the medium Eva C in one photograph the words “Le Miro” can be seen, her ectoplasm was a clipping from the French magazine Le Miroir and people scanned back copies of that magazine and found the heads Woodrow Wilson, King Ferdinand of Bulgaria, French president Raymond Poincaré that Eva C had cut out and used as her fake ectoplasm. None of these facts are mentioned in any spiritualist book. The list goes on.ère

Piper’s mediumship (all of it was explained by)

Muscle-reading, fishing, guessing, hints obtained in the sitting, knowledge surreptitiously obtained, knowledge acquired in the interval between sittings and lastly, facts already within Mrs. Piper’s knowledge.

Now you don’t have to take my word. These were the words of the scientist Ivor Lloyd Tuckett who spent 6 months studying the Piper mediumship and wrote 90 pages debunking her. You can find his chapter here free online.

No spiritualist has ever read the above book, they have ignored it.

As for keep quoting Oliver Lodge, the man was mentally ill. No this is not me attacking the man. Charles Arthur Mercier (1851-1919) M.D., F.R.C.P., F.R.C.S. and a leading expert on insanity and mental illness wrote a whole book debunking Oliver Lodge and a psychological evaluation of why he converted to spiritualism, he went nutty after his son died. The book is called Spiritualism and Sir Oliver Lodge and was published in 1917 I think.

According to wikipedia “Thomas W. M. Lund who attended a sitting with Piper recalled that before the séance began he told another sitter about his son’s illness and his wife’s plans “within earshot of Mrs. Piper.” In the séance Piper’s control mentioned his statements. Lund suggested that Piper was not unconscious during the séance and that she had used clever guess work and other mentalist tricks”.

One last thing that none of you have thought through, if spirits exist then why do they need to enter peoples brains and talk to us? lol. If they exist we should be able to see them and communicate with them, no medium would be needed and no “psychic ability”.

You dont want to hear it but at the end of the day all mediumship is fraud, I am glad I discovered this truth. In time you may find it, but not many people do when they get sucked into the religion of spiritualism, like all belief it is hard to break out.

You probably wont read the McCabe book that I cited but do check out the Tuckett book.

forests, Thu 14 Mar, 00:13


Thanks for your comments.  If you are interested, a slightly more comprehensive bio of G.P. is now up at

Michael Tymn, Wed 13 Mar, 23:28


I just wanted to comment on a movie I saw last night on Netflix.  It was titled “The Gift”.  It is a murder mystery involving a rather run-of-the-mill psychic living in the deep south of the United States.  I liked the movie because it portrayed what I think might be a more realistic experience of a psychic or medium if you will.  This psychic was a single mother whose husband had been killed and who experienced moments of insight and frank hallucinations, seeing people who had died.  The “donations” she received from her sitters helped her to support her three children.  Locally she was know as a “fortune teller” and women came to see her for help.  I won’t spoil the movie for you but I think the portrayal of this character was very good and I recommend that you watch this movie. You may see that, at least in this portrayal, the psychic struggled to not only maintain her sanity but also to endure the criticism, threats, name-calling and actual physical abuse of many of the people in the small southern community in which she lived and at the same time try to live a normal life with her children while they adjusedt to the loss of their father.  I don’t think that this was necessarily the experience of Leonora Piper and other mediums of the 19th and 20th century but I think it would be good for you to see a portrayal of a medium that is not out to con everyone.  There are several story lines in this movie but if you put yourself in the place of the lead character—-the psychic, maybe you will be able to empathize a little more with real people who were blessed or cursed with “the gift”.

Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 13 Mar, 22:26

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