Amazing Physical Mediumship Still Exists, But ...
Posted on 12 October 2020, 12:12
We don’t hear much about physical mediumship these days, but apparently it still exists here and there. Stewart Alexander, whose 2010 book, An Extraordinary Journey, has been revised and republished by White Crow Books, must certainly be one of the best physical mediums living. However, we don’t hear much about him, because he has come to understand that the nature of such mediumship is beyond science and human comprehension and will always result in cynicism and contempt by those blind to any evidence suggesting spirits and survival. “Having studied extensively the history of physical mediumship over the past forty years, I am very aware that almost without exception those mediums who cooperated with the researchers, in the hope of establishing their mediumship on a scientific level, invariably failed and were forever surrounded in bitter dispute and allegations of fraud,” Alexander explains, adding that even when tests were inconclusive (the usual case) more tests were demanded. He sees it as a “no-win” situation.
In effect, Alexander has concluded that no amount of evidence will convince those who quite simply refuse to believe that two plus two does not always equal four. This ‘will to disbelieve’ plus the risk of serious injury if some ‘doubting Thomas’ decides to flip a light switch on while ectoplasm is being exuded from his body, prompted Alexander to give up public demonstrations in late 2008, limiting himself to mostly small home circles among friends.
Although Alexander is the author of the book, there are plenty of testimonials and quoted reports in the book to lend credibility to his mediumship. The late Dr. David Fontana, a professor of psychology and former president of the Society for Psychical Research, expressed high praise for Alexander in the Foreword of the book. “Those of us who know and admire Stewart and his mediumship, and all those who have been fortunate enough to have had sittings with him, will be delighted to see this book in print,” Fontana wrote. “It provides us with an exceptionally clear, well-written and convincing account of what it is to be a physical medium, and of what it means to act as a channel between one level of reality and another.”
In the 2020 edition of the book, journalist Leslie Kean provides an Epilogue in which she states that the 2010 edition changed her life. “It opened the door to a wondrous and unexplored new world,” she writes, going on to explain that she had not encountered anything like it before. She made contact with Alexander, attended a 2015 seminar he gave, and then had two sittings with him, which she describes in her popular 2017 book, Surviving Death: A Journalist Investigates Evidence of an Afterlife.
Jon Beecher, the owner of White Crow Books, recalls attending an Alexander séance in 2017. He met a man whose wife had passed away a few years earlier, leaving him with five children to raise. During the séance, Alexander’s voice changed to a more feminine one and became tearful with joy. The voice, apparently that of the widow of the man Beecher had been talking with, communicated with that man and mentioned three of his children by name. After the séance, Beecher again chatted with the man, who said he was mystified as to how “Alexander” could have known the names of his children.
Chapter 11 of the current book sets forth a report from the July 2009 issue of the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research by investigator Lew Sutton, a retired engineer whose career involved research into the atmosphere for designing the parameters of future satellite communication systems. Sutton notes the strict controls taken before the start of each séance, including Alexander being secured to his chair by straps that had to be cut by pliers at the end of the séance. After an opening prayer and music, a spirit control known as White Feather speaks through Alexander, who is apparently in trance, and gives an opening greeting. White Feather is followed by spirit communicators known as Christopher, Freda Johnson, and Walter Stinson, the latter the primary control of his (Stinson’s) sister, Mina Crandon, aka “Margery,” many years earlier. Freda would introduce loved ones who wished to communicate with sitters and would act as a go-between when the loved ones couldn’t directly communicate.
Sutton also describes the appearance of a materialized hand. “After a few moments a blob or what is announced to be ectoplasm is seen to appear on the illuminated translucent table top on the edge nearest the medium. Slowly it forms into a large hand – which Walter claims is his. It is certainly larger than Stewart’s hand. The materialized hand moves toward the sitter’s hand and then strokes and/or grasps it before withdrawing and melting away. The hand is invariably reported as feeling normal and warm.”
A common observation, according to Sutton, is that of the table levitating about 30 cm (approximate one foot) above the floor. Also, the aluminum trumpets though which the voices came had luminous tabs and could be seen by all sitters moving from the floor to airborne positions, then floating around the room. “Occasionally, the trumpet will shoot towards someone and stop dead millimetres from their face and then sometimes caress their head or gently traverse around them,” Sutton explains. “They have also been known to land on people’s hands. All these actions indicate a controlling intelligence with a great spatial awareness in total darkness.” He notes that the trumpets will often touch the ceiling, a height of over four meters, (over 12 feet). He further notes that Alexander has been seen to levitate (or to be levitated by the spirits) up to 90 cm (about three feet) above the floor. Although it is dark, luminous tabs are attached to his knees.
The voices coming through the trumpets usually begin as a soft whisper and then become louder so that everyone can hear what is being said. Dr. Franklin Barnett, said to be a nineteenth century Scottish physician who also worked through medium George Valiantine during the 1920s, frequently speaks as does Walter Stinson. Sutton says that two hands were touching his head while his wife experienced the same sensation as Barnett spoke to her through a trumpet. At the same time, a voice was coming through the other trumpet on the other side of the room.
Dr. Barnett apparently does some healing as well. Sutton reports that his wife had a medically incurable problem that was leading to a loss of sight in one eye. She could not make out the lettering on an eye chart before Barnett’s healing, but had excellent eyesight in the three years after that healing to the time of his report.
While the physical phenomena do not in themselves prove survival, Sutton records that there was much audible evidence in the form of personal communication from loved ones who had passed on, by both trumpet and by trance voice (from the medium’s vocal cords). “Sometimes this evidence is outstanding,” Sutton writes, mentioning a case when a father discussed a particularly unfortunate and sad event that occurred at his funeral.
At the end of the many seances observed by Sutton over a four-year period, the sitters could confirm that Alexander was still tightly secured to his chair as he slowly returned to normal consciousness.
Journalist Kean observed much the same thing as Sutton during her sittings with Alexander in 2015. She refers to the “straps” binding Alexander to the chair as thick cable ties and she confirms that they were tightly binding him. She describes seeing the two trumpets “come alive” and “dance” around the room, one of them tapping her face gently before a male voice, mostly unintelligible, came through. At a later sitting, Dr. Barnett spoke clearly, as did Walter. She observed a grayish-black foggy cloud (ectoplasm) come toward her over the table and witnessed it take on the shape of a hand, which formed a fist and banged three times on the table to demonstrate its solidity. “From the gaseous ectoplasmic energy, a solid living hand had emerged,” she writes, going on to tell of another hand materialization, said to be Walter’s, form in front of her from a cloud. Walter explained to her how he did it, but you’ll have to check her book for that information as well as the other phenomena she witnessed.
Kean also reports on several intriguing book tests. In one, during 2016, a man named Kevin Kussow, whose father had died two days earlier, was told to go to his father’s bookcase, to the second shelf and take the second or third book from the left, open to page 84, and near the top he would find a sentence mentioning animals or an animal. Further down would be the names “George” and “Smith.” Kevin followed the instructions, found the second book to be a thin paper pamphlet, but the third was entitled Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. He opened to page 84 and found reference to “Little Raven” and on the next line to “hunting buffalo.” Farther down the page there was reference to Smith, a post trader and a “half-breed” named George.
The debunker would likely say that Alexander had a very clever confederate involved in everything recorded by Sutton, Kean, Fontana, and many others. The debunker would have every one dwell on that possibility and ignore the veridical information coming from the voices, the healings, and the actual observations that must certainly go beyond countless group hallucinations, mass hypnotisms, or wills to believe. But how does one prove that a sly confederate was not the case, beyond suggesting that so many people could not have been duped so many times over so many years under such controlled conditions?
One might also ask why his friends in the home circle continue with such “nonsense” to this day? After more than a quarter of a century, wouldn’t they be on to his “tricks” by this time? What is the motivation for it all? “If people attend a physical séance looking for ‘loopholes’ they will find them,” Alexander laments. “If none are to be bound then they will create them. In finding them or in creating them the accusers will refuse to face the facts which fail utterly to fit neatly into their own conclusions.”
Is it any wonder that Alexander has thrown in the towel on being tested by more researchers and that he is content to keep his mediumship low-key? “At best,” he ends his book, “it would be seen that paranormal action was a reality but it would doubtlessly be explained away as an abnormal physiological function possessed by and unconsciously directed by the medium.”
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 forthcoming book, No One Really Dies: 25 Reasons to Believe in an Afterlife is due in February 2021.
Next blog post: October 26
An Extraordinary Journey: The Memoirs of a Physical Medium by Stewart Alexander is published by White Crow Books.
Appreciate your follow up and direction Mike. I will re visit Rileys book . Meanwhile I’m enjoying ” Voices” and looking forward to a few new publications that look very promising. I did neglect to mention the Scole Experiment amongst my favourites. Hope you enjoy the winter in Hawaii. With all the Covid lockdowns in Canada it’s not looking too appealing for us right now. Cheers. Andrew
andrew simpson, Mon 9 Nov, 17:16
Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a title to refer you to beyond those you mentioned. There are many, but I think the books of Edward Randall about the mediumship of Emily French, which Riley Heagerty has compiled in “The French Revelation,” which you listed, ays it all and points out that is for the most part beyond human comprehension, at least beyond what is usually referred to as the “third sphere.”
I just pulled Riley’s book from my shelf to refresh my memory and it opened to page 141, which addresses the concern that is often asked,i.e., do we lose our individuality when we become ONE with God on what is often called the seventh sphere. I discussed this is a prior blog but I think I missed quoting the answer coming through Mrs. French. Someone just recently sent me an email about this. She said that the afterlife doesn’t seem too inviting if she is going to lose her individuality and merge into some kind of Oneness. Here is what came through Mrs. French by a spirit who claimed to be on the third sphere:
“I have not been to the fourth (sphere), and only know of it as you do, by the teaching of those who are there. We are told that the spirits in the sphere of exaltation (seventh) do not even lose their individuality. They are embodied in all the beauty and good of the universe. I do not know that I can make my meaning clear. Although they keep their individuality, they permeate the universe. They have become so great and universal that, we sometimes think they go beyond and must lose their personality; but we have no definite knowledge, and it is generally accepted that they do not. It is difficult to understand or appreciate what this last sphere is, the development is so beyond our comprehension.”
I have had the same concern, but it seems to me that if graduation to the seventh sphere is something we strive for from lower spheres, it must not be something to fear.
Michael Tymn, Mon 9 Nov, 07:15
Thanks Mike. Looks like I have a lot more reading to do.What is becoming more important to me is not so much proof of the Afterlife but as as Alex Munro pg 138 in ‘The Voices ’ says ‘What I should like to know is more about this spirit world, which must be peopled by countless spirits,what domestic and social life exists,how long does the influence of this world hold them, and what as spirits are their aspirations,etc,etc. Any books that would shed further light on these thoughts would be appreciated.
andrew simpson, Fri 6 Nov, 20:40
Thank you for your comments and recommendations. I pretty much agree with your recommendations, although I would add many. See my blog of December 5, 2016 in the archives at left for my top 30 books before 1950. Also, in my blog of September 11, 2017, I added one that you mentioned.
Michael Tymn, Fri 6 Nov, 02:59
Hi Mike, just finished reading ” An extraordinary journey ” by Stewart Alexander. A wonderful and compelling book that I had no problem in believing. In the past fifteen years of researching over at least a hundred books , dozens of blogs and articles this book takes its place as one of the best.Thank you for referencing it in your blogs.I am grateful to you for the time and effort you’ve put into all the material you’ve recommended over the years. I do wish to add the titles of several books that I believe your readership would enjoy. I always read the comments and recognize the knowledge and wisdom of many of your regulars. Even tho’ I can’t claim any personal Spirit experience I have no doubts about the survival of consciousness. The credibility of the sources of information is sufficient to validate the stories I’ve read. So if anyone hasn’t read the following books most of which you have recommended in the past here are my favorites.“Life after death -living proof by Tom Harrison. The French Revelation and Portraits from beyond by Riley Heagherty. The Afterlife experiments by Dr Gary Schwartz. the afterlife unveiled by Stafford Betty.An Atheist in heaven by Davids and Schwartz. The survival of the soul and its evolution after death by Pierre emile Cornillier. Also all the articles by James Hyslop, Five reports dealing with survival after death . These are worth their weight in gold . There are many other books but these would be a good start. I’m just reading ‘’ The Voices’ and following up with “Glimpses of the next State
andrew simpson, Thu 5 Nov, 02:46
I just started to read the lectures of W.T. Stead linked in the sidebar of this blog. They apparently were published by Dr. Samuel Toman as received from Stead through medium W. B. Murphy. But, I had to stop when Stead supposedly started talking about the Tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden in the second lecture.
“[O]ur forefathers were driven out of the Garden of Eden, of which, was said, of disobedience because they tasted of the tree of knowledge. Even according to the Biblical statement—we will take the Bible statement to verify the truth of this assertion—“He tasted of the tree of knowledge.””
Anyone who knows his or her Bible will know that it was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That is a completely different thing. There is a huge philosophical gulf between partaking of knowledge and what is implied by “knowledge of good and evil” It is only man that has knowledge of good and evil. That concept is not shared (probably) by other living creatures. But other living creatures from the highest to the lowest have knowledge—-knowledge that pertains to their experience of reality. God does not forbid his creatures from having knowledge but it is the committing of evil when one has knowledge of what is good and what is evil that got Adam and Eve kicked out of the Garden of Eden. What doomed man was not knowledge but knowing the difference between good and evil and choosing to commit evil by disobedience to God. Anyone with the intelligence and worldliness that Stead supposedly had would know that.
Little things like that supposedly coming from an intelligent spirit of Stead’s standing in the afterlife tend to dissuade me from belief in the medium and for that matter, belief in the honest intentions of the person who publishes a book of dictations from the spirit world. - AOD
Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 22 Oct, 15:52
Your positive feedback is much appreciated. There are times when I wonder if it is all worthwhile, but comments like yours keep me at it.
I know that physical mediumship is frowned upon by many, but I tend to agree with Professor C. J. Ducasse of Brown University, who said: “The prima facie most impressive evidence there could be of the survival of a deceased friend or relative would be to see and touch his materialized, recognizable bodily form, which then speaks in his or her characteristic manner. This is what appeared to occur in my presence on an occasion three or four years ago, when during some two hours and in very good red light throughout, some eighteen fully material forms - some male, some female, some tall, some short, and sometimes two together - came out of and returned to the curtained cabinet I had inspected beforehand, in which a medium sat, and to which I had found no avenue of surreptitious access.”
Of course, many materializations are partial or deformed and do not speak, leaving much to be desired, but I don’t know what else we could ask for beyond that mentioned by Ducasse.
To what end? I think it provides considerable peace of mind, especially in one’s declining years, to know that he/she is not facing total extinction or obliteration. All well and good for people who say they can live in the moment and not think about what’s ahead, but I suspect that such a mindset is mostly bravado that does not extend to the deathbed or even close to it.
Michael Tymn, Fri 16 Oct, 21:52
I’m grateful that this evocative and provocative blog prompted me to read “An Extraordinary Journey,” which in turn led to me read additional books about physical mediumship. At this point, I have little doubt that “signs and wonders” come via mediumship in all of its forms. But what are we to make of these “signs and wonders” in terms of the actual living of our lives? Do they, standing alone, offer a sufficiently solid basis upon which to build a lifetime of spiritual experience and ethical engagement with the world? Perhaps for some they do, and bless them for finding in these accounts what I cannot find. But I did find in all this medium material in which I’ve immersed myself, especially in Michael’s series of books, something of immense value to keep and cherish in my few remaining years on this side of the veil. The final chapter of FHW Meyer’s “Human Personality,” in which a mind of the first order explores what the results of psychical research mean, what they imply, what they point to—where Meyers ties the results of psychical research together with the great religious traditions of East and West and shows how the doctrines of both require modification and expansion—has enriched my non-orthodox devotion to the person and teaching of Jesus. So I again thank Michael for writing the books that started me on this trail leading me to this destination, where I could acquire additional wisdom about ultimate things. Such wisdom, of course, must always remain partial and imperfect—probably flat wrong in certain respects—until we reach that place in a higher level of existence where “nothing concealed will not be disclosed, nothing hidden will not be made known.”
Newton Finn, Fri 16 Oct, 14:14
Thanks for the clarification and kind words. It does sound like that “medium” was a fraud, but, as I have said there are three sides to these mediums—genuine, fraudulent, and unconscious fraud, i.e., reacting to the negative thoughts of the sitters while under trance, movements made by the control, not the medium, taken to be fraud, etc. J. B. Rhine, the founder of parapsychology, is said to have walked out of a sitting with Mina Crandon, aka “Margery” because he saw movement on her part that suggested cheating. However, those more experienced with physical mediumship saw it as Walter, her deceased brother and spirit control, attempting to carry out some phenomenon while Margery was in trance, apparently not considering that it would appear as cheating on her part. Eusapia Palladino’s comments in this regard seem to explain it. In the case you mentioned, if the ties weren’t even secure in the first place, that certainly seems to point to conscious fraud.
Michael Tymn, Thu 15 Oct, 21:11
Thank you, Mike and Amos.
Mike, I apologize for even remotely insinuating that you may have been selectively moderating posts.
Amos, to answer some of your questions: Yes, I get emotional - and I tend to be verbose in conversations I think are important. (My emails or posts are rarely short…) But I’ll keep this one much shorter.
Yes, I was being somewhat vague - mostly because this particular “medium” has a network of people ready to threaten lawsuits if they see any negative press about said “medium”. And even though I couldn’t care less about being sued by someone in another country because I said his medium friend is a fraud (I’m laughing at the idea!), and even though I’m semi-anonymous here, I figured I wouldn’t cause Mike a headache. But you can all figure out who I’m talking about…
The super-short story of how this “medium” pulls off his trick is simply this: He’s not bound at all.
The medium-length version: He can easily and instantly slip both his hands out of the bogus “restraints” around his wrists. His legs aren’t even bound - they’re held to the chair with rubber friction buckles. Once the lights are off it takes him 3 seconds to slips his wrists out, pull on the buckles on his ankles, and get the gag out of his mouth. After that, it’s just the same show he always gives, walking around the room (presumably with night vision googles), talking in the same silly voices, slapping people with the same rubber hand, and twirling around the room with a trumpet in his hand. When he’s done he reverses his oversized loose sweater, straps his ankles back in, slips his wrists back into the loose cat collars holding his wrists to the chair, and then rock-walks the chair (while bound) to the center of the room and falls backward with a loud thud. When the lights come on he pretends that he was levitated to the center of the room. But it’s so comical as to be insulting - you literally hear the creaking of the chair as he rocks and walks it to the center.
Enough about him…
To answer your other questions: My direct experience with mediums is somewhat limited. Besides this “physical medium”, who also did a horrible “trance” demonstration, I’ve been to 4 demonstrations involving a large room of people. The medium was the same in those 4 cases; she’s a well-known celebrity medium. I found her completely underwhelming and the whole thing a giant cliche. I once paid $300 to have a one-on-one with a somewhat well-known Boston-based medium. After an hour or so of her not getting a single thing right, she said she had a stomach ache or something and we agreed to leave it at that. I didn’t put up a stink to get my money back. My final one-on-one was with a friend of mine and NDEr. She doesn’t charge anything. She just does this once in a while for close friends. I love her to death but was still skeptical of what she would or could actually do. (I love her to death, but she tends to be far more accepting of “claims of woo” than myself.) And she blew me away. I know she’s a friend, and therefore knows some stuff about me that a random person on the street wouldn’t know, but she said a couple of things and described a couple of super-specific things that made it pretty darn clear to me that my dad was trying to make his presence known… The skeptic in me still rebels - but man… It was that specific and *perfect*.
Ok, enough rambling. Have a great day.
p.s. Mike, I loved your “From Treasure to Trash” entry. I too struggle with getting rid of stuff. I’m not quite a hoarder yet (despite my wife calling me that…) but I have a hard time letting go of books, photos, magazine, and papers I’ve printed. I think about doing a “death decluttering” all the time so I don’t leave my young kids a mess if I ever kicked the bucket before I’m 80…
RC, Thu 15 Oct, 15:01
I don’t know which “medium” you are referring to, but I’m sure there have been many charlatans. At the same time, there is what has been called “unconscious fraud,” in which the medium is in trance and the spirit controlling his or her body carries out certain activities that make it look like he or she is cheating. Coincidentally, Keith Parsons’s latest you-tube deals with this. You can view it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lL5zL39eM0&list=PLLB-82YMhiPFPKSm2Ke69aK0DKTftpvo0&index=36&ab_channel=MetascienceFoundation
Michael Tymn, Thu 15 Oct, 00:54
You may have a valid complaint but you are so vague about details and circuitous in your complaints that I have a difficult time getting past all the emotion. Who, What, When, Where and Why and sometimes How are always good places to start with in a complaint. I might have a tendency to agree with you if I knew more of the details of the mediumistic sessions you attended.
How may mediums have you sat with? Is this the only one that you experienced? I have no personal experience with mediums—-well, maybe one indirectly through my wife who provided a tidbit of validating information but I too have suspicions about mediums who produce physical manifestations.
Mental mediums are another thing for me and I think that there are at least a few very good honest mental mediums who are as perplexed by what they do as everyone else.
For me, mediums are only one of many sources of information that suggests survival. I would place physical mediumship at the bottom of my list of reliable sources of good evidence, but I allow that some of them might be honest. Etta Wreidt, D.D. Home, The Bangs Sisters, are examples of physical mediums that are difficult to prove fraudulent. I know there are others. Mental mediums are too many to mention; Pearl Curran is my favorite although she would not want to be considered a medium. Geraldine Cummins also was a very impressive mental medium as was of course Leonora Piper and others.
I am impressed by the reports from people who have experienced a near death experience. I think they provide very interesting information about what one might experience when one is dying or almost dead but they provide little information about living a spirit life for longer than a few minutes or hours. Some have been in a coma for days and report afterlife experiences but they have no sense of time so it is difficult to really know how long they were in an afterlife.
Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 14 Oct, 23:38
Few people would condone taking advantage of grieving people, financially and emotionally and “mediums” that do that should be run out of town or jailed. But I am not at the point yet where I judge every person who exhibits physical mediumship as a cheat. - AOD
Well, I guess my response was either too long or too provocative. And unfortunately I did not save a copy of it for myself for future reference.
The short of it is that I was a checker - not merely a sitter - for a well-known “physical medium” and saw firsthand how he pulls off his trick. At that precise time I decided not to make a stink or blow the whistle because I wanted to see the performance through to the end.
Afterward, there more than a few furious people who had attended and couldn’t believe the hokum and chicanery we had just been witness to.
And I met several grieving women who felt absolutely *violated*, like they had been completely taken advantage of emotionally. They are the reason why I sought out the keynote speaker (we were all at a conference) the next day, himself a very well-known afterlife researcher who you all know, and gave him an hour long, on camera interview detailing what I’d witnessed.
This was five years ago. What he does with the video and information, if anything, is his decision.
RC, Tue 13 Oct, 23:49
I like Leslie Saunders’ view:
> I affirm the philosophy and stay out of so called evidence.
... even though I can’t help but continue to think about how we could objectively prove - with accepted science and technology - the reality of the soul, that consciousness continues - in some form or fashion - after physical death.
That said, I was a checker - not merely a sitter, but a checker - who got to put my hands on and examine one of the aforementioned well-known mediums at a well-attended afterlife conference.
And I saw immediately how simple - how embarrassingly simple - he pulled off his charade. If a camera were pointed at me, you would’ve seen 2-3 seconds of absolute stunned embarrassment - for myself and everyone in the room - as I debated whether to expose him right there and then, or raise a red flag about my concerns about the “restraints” (which would’ve gotten the whole exhibition shut down due to my “negativity” or something), or just swallow my pride and see if he did what I thought he was going to do.
I went with the last option, and he proceeded to do exactly as I expected.
Afterward, after speaking with a number of absolutely furious people who attended the same performance - some who themselves are well-known afterlife researchers and mediums, and some who were grieving women who felt utterly *violated* by the BS they’d just witnessed - I decided I had to speak up.
So I sought out one of the keynote speakers, who himself is one of the top afterlife researchers whose name everyone knows. He wasn’t able to attend the performance the night before but his wife had, and she had problems with it as well. I gave this researcher an hour of on-camera testimony. As far as I know, he has never done anything with the video. But he did - and this is now about 5 years ago - issue a formal, non-controversial proposal for how this “medium” could be tested, etc.
The challenge was never accepted, and as far as I know, this well-known “psychic medium” really hasn’t done much the past 5 years. I think he’s performed at the same conference again. And he probably still does his circle thing in his home country. I don’t know.
I had read numerous glowing online reviews of his “mediumship” and how the events would unfold during a seance. And these reviews themselves already made the whole thing sound beyond hokey and raised more than a few red flags if you thought about any of it critically.
But I still went because I needed to witness it for myself, and because - despite my nagging suspicions - I was *completely* open to the possibility that “one white crow” could slip into the room that night and blow me away.
But what I witnessed that night was utter garbage. And it went down *exactly* as described in those reviews. The same hokey voices. The same rubber hand slapping you on the forehead. The same trumpet with glow-in-the-dark tape on the end clearly being whirled around by a guy dressed in black. And worst of all, no specific messages of any kind from deceased loved ones, just a bunch of vague platitudes ...
... platitudes and one crumpled piece of paper for the keynote speaker (not in attendance), supposedly from a deceased well-known scientist (and the voice this “medium” used sounded NOTHING like the very distinctive voice of that scientist), containing a nonsensical drawing of a doodad purported to be a technical device that would facilitate spirit communication.
I honestly don’t care how many people claim the guy is “legit”. Maybe one time, at some seance, he said something sort of maybe interesting once… (think Whoopi Goldberg in GHOST.) Whatever. I’ve attended enough demonstrations and seen enough to know that grieving and/or gullible people will BELIEVE ANYTHING. It’s understandable, I guess, but still very frustrating.
So I am not swayed by glowing praise and incredulous reviews. This “physical mediumship” was garbage, and indeed it all sounds like garbage. Until these guys start allowing themselves to be tested under night vision or infrared conditions they shouldn’t be taken seriously from a scientific perspective.
I say this with all love and affection, but “afterlife research” is populated by all kinds of frauds and fruitcakes - on both the presenter/researcher and receiver/consumer sides. Only a well-concerted, NO B.S. effort to weed out the chaff will ever move along this research.
Thank for allowing me to vent. I don’t care to get into a back and forth.
Again, the reason I got so upset was when I saw women legitimately *injured* by this con man. I didn’t care that I’d wasted $200—I knew the risks; the money meant nothing. But when I saw grieving people hurt… That’s what got me pissed.
RC, Tue 13 Oct, 14:23
Very interesting Michael—-I was not familiar with Alexander.
The ongoing problem with many such cases, at least in the minds of most determined sceptics, is the normally prevalent occurrence of them in darkened rooms. All of which makes the performances of the almost legendary D.D. Home—-even after nearly a century and a half—-so difficult to argue against, as they frequently occurred in at least partial, and on at least several occasions, in full daylight.If others have had this ability since then, I’m not aware of them—-
Don Porteous, Tue 13 Oct, 14:11
Thank you Michael,its true that Roy dixon Smith found great Evidence of Bettys survival,this book is worth a read in its own being it happened in my grandmothers house, through Helen Duncan.
louie Paterson, Tue 13 Oct, 13:47
I’m delighted that this book will be published once again. Physical mediumship and for that matter mental mediumship are neither fraudulent nor embarrassments, although like anything else in human life there have been frauds and embarrassments attached to them. And Stewart Alexander is correct. The reality of spirits and survival can never be proven to those with closed minds on the subject. Some believe in the afterlife on faith, some are open to evidence, and some will simply not accept the evidence, even if it’s stacked as high as Mount Everest.
James McArthur, Mon 12 Oct, 19:52
The Roy Dixon Smith case mentioned by Louie Paterson was summarized in my blog post of September 10, 2010 and can be found in the archives at left. It is definitely one of the more impressive cases.
Michael Tymn, Mon 12 Oct, 19:21
I perfectly understand his wanting to just have private sittings!
Yvonne Limoges, Mon 12 Oct, 19:12
I am a champion for legitimate physical mediumship as it can be uplifting and enlightening. I have sat several times with Stewart Alexander and David Thompson, another of the world’s great materialization mediums. Both were as real as can be and those experiences helped to change my life.
It is not everyone’s cup of tea but don’t paint everyone with the brush of fraud. Especially if you have not sat with those you are criticizing.
Tom Newman, Mon 12 Oct, 18:39
Spiritualism’s philosophy of eternal progression, spiritual inclusion and Equality among all persons, is the absolute truth.
Leslie Saunders, Mon 12 Oct, 18:16
The dark underbelly is the so called proof of survival. Fraught with fraud and human politics, it is a spiritual minefield, and stays alive I only through the court of human opinion.
I affirm the philosophy and stay out of so called evidence.
When I saw the Medium, Rev DeRay of Jackson, Michigan, three people, two of whom I knew in life (my father and my paternal grandfather) and my sister, Betty, who died 3 years before I was born. The voices of the first two were the SAME as in life. And the same as HOW they spoke as I knew them. And my sister referred to our situation referring to our parents in common. No room for doubt at all!
Richard VanDerVoort, Mon 12 Oct, 17:27
Thankfully we don’t hear much about “physical mediumship” these days. It is the embarrassing afterlife equivalent of channeling Ramtha. The quicker it quietly goes away the better.
Having witnessed firsthand the harmful effects of this kind of fraudulent “mediumship”, I have nothing but ill feelings for these people.
True, the same could be said for fraudulent psychic mediumship. And mediumship in general is, as you know, highly problematic for being the subject of any kind of scientific investigation, but I digress.
RC, Mon 12 Oct, 16:27
louie Paterson, Mon 12 Oct, 15:30
Reading the book, light on survival by Roy Dixon smith.will enlight the truth on physical through the grat Helen Duncan.
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