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Betty White: “Consciousness is Everything”

Posted on 17 January 2022, 10:12

The entities called the “Invisibles” by Stuart Edward White and Betty White communicated through Betty’s mediumship between 1919 and 1936 (see prior blog post).  The Betty Book was published in 1937, telling of Betty’s development as a medium and much of the “teachings” coming through her from the Invisibles.  Additional teachings were set forth in Stuart’s 1939 book, Across the Unknown. In addition to the words of the Invisibles, the book included Betty’s reports on her out-of-body experiences and clairvoyant visions during those experiences.

Betty died on April 5, 1939.  On the day of her departure, Betty’s doctor visited and exclaimed, “My God! The woman still smiles!”  White then began to question the wisdom of his persistence that she “hang on.”  He went into another room, sat in an easy chair, and “projected” in Betty’s direction the words that he released her.  A minute or so later, the doctor came to tell him that it was over.  He told White that Betty had spoken up clearly and gayly as had been her habit.  “It’s all right,” she said.  “I’ve had a talk with my boy.  You can take me now.”

White wrote that instead of feeling grief, as he had anticipated, he experienced a pure happiness that he had never before known, as Betty’s companionship flooded through his entire being in an intensity and purity of which he previously had no conception.  In the months following, he sensed Betty around him but could not communicate with her.

Five months later, during a trip to Chicago to promote one of his many novels, he met with Darby and Joan, the pseudonyms adopted by the husband-and-wife authors of a popular 1920 book, Our Unseen Guest.  Their story was similar to that of the Whites, Joan being the medium and Darby the recorder and author.  Because they were both professional people, they elected not to go public with their actual identities.

White, who had met Darby and Joan some years earlier as a result of their common experiences, referred to Joan as “one of the greatest psychics, if not the greatest, in the world today.”  He explained that she worked blindfolded from a state of trance, into which she entered instantly and completely as soon as Darby touched her wrist. Their book set forth wisdom communicated through Joan from a spirit identified only as Stephen, an American killed in World War I.  Stephen spoke much about consciousness, calling it the all.

Like the Whites, Darby and Joan were initially very skeptical as to the source, subscribing to the subconscious hypothesis, but they too, after much investigation, came to the conclusion that Stephen had actually lived in the flesh, and they received other evidential material pointing to the spirit hypothesis. (My next blog will discuss Stephen and his teachings.)

Although White (below) said he had no need to hear from Betty, Betty communicated through Joan during his first evening with Darby and Joan. She began by speaking of intimate matters known only to her husband.  “Here, in this first evening, she literally poured out a succession of these authentications,” White wrote in The Unobstructed Universe, published in 1940.  “She mentioned not one, but dozens of small events out of our past, of trivial facts in our mutual experience or surroundings, none of which could by any possibility be within Joan’s knowledge. Many of them, indeed, were gone from my own memory, until Betty recalled them to me. And all of them – except just one – clean-cut, air-tight, without need of interpretation.  A dyed-in-the-wool psychic researcher would have gone mad with joy over such a demonstration, which would have furnished him enough material to have lasted him for the next seven years.”  Betty also communicated some 20-odd pieces of information for Stewart to pass on to her sister, Millicient, some of which was unknown to White but later verified as fact.


Some of the very evidential information Betty communicated was so personal, that White was embarrassed to be discussing it in the presence of a woman, but Betty assured him that Joan was not “present” though her physical body was there serving as the medium.
Once she had convinced White that it was she who was communicating, Betty moved from the personal stuff to more existential and cosmic subject matter.  “Consciousness,” she said, “is the starting point for everything.”  She added that it is everything and beyond consciousness is nothing and that all manifestations can be traced to consciousness. 

And so began a series of sittings in which Betty communicated much wisdom.  She stressed that stability is what the world has lost, not security. She explained that stability involves the soul and the character of the person, and is based on faith in immortality.  “Earth-life would have no point, would be too much to ask of man, without immortality,” she communicated.”

“The old order of things has collapsed,” Betty continued.  “In some parts of the world, as in Europe, that collapse has been so complete that it seems everything of the old has been destroyed or lost.”  She added that the elements that brought about the collapse in the Old World were at work in the New.  When White asked Betty what had brought about this collapse, Betty replied bluntly: “Loss of faith in the present fact of immortality.”  She explained that she was not referring to a conscious attitude of agnosticism or denial.  “We may still profess belief in a vague and remote ‘heaven’ to which eventually we shall go,” she continued.  “But belief is not faith; and it is only faith – faith in the same sense that we accept the inevitability of death itself – that can transfer the field of our practical endeavor out of the present moment. When the present moment – the earth span of life – is all that concerns us, then the emphasis of all we think and all we do at once bases on materialism.”

Betty further pointed out that modern civilization has been drifting in that direction while tending to write off everything but the gain of the day, and “emphasizing rights rather than obligations that a real faith in immortality must impose.” She added that one of the causes of the instability in the material world was that technology had advanced faster than society’s ability to assimilate it.  “The purpose of the present divulgence is to restore in earth consciousness the necessity of individual effort, and the assurance that the effort will not be wasted,” she communicated. “The only assurance of this is a return to the belief in immortality.”
When humankind loses sight of the fact of immortality, she continued, it has to come back or perish.  Her purpose, Betty said, was to “make reasonable the hereness of immortality” rather than the thereness of immortality which most people subscribe to.

The basic thesis of the book is that there is an unobstructed universe and that it interfuses with our own.  “You must keep clearly in mind the difference,” Betty advised, “that the obstructed universe has a limited frequency and that the unobstructed universe has an unlimited frequency.  But it is not the same frequency.  It operates in the same way.  You have a frequency that permits your senses to be aware of the entire universe, up to a certain point.  That point varies with the individual.  Our frequency in the unobstructed universe is the frequency beyond the highest point reached by that vibration.”

Betty further explained that our material world has developed a greater control of space, mechanically, than of time.  They, however, have a much greater control of time and can go backward or forward in time.  Cause and effect, she said, is one of the laws of time and one of the laws of motion.  “There are those here now who could tell you things that are going to happen,” she communicated through Joan’s entranced body.  “They have proved it. It is done in time’s essence, receptivity.  Take your own experience.  You get up in the morning.  Your intent is to go to the office.  It’s perfectly true there are things that could deflect that intent.  And it is true you have to operate certain things in your present to make that future event become present.  Nevertheless, you do foresee the event. That is a very simple example.  You can will it not to take effect. There can be extraneous deflections that can stop the effect.  That is a condition of the obstructed universe.  Predestination is, with you, only a glimpse.  It is much more than a glimpse with us, though it is not a complete reality.” 

Asked about their bodies, Betty responded that she recognizes other spirits by their light and color, which reflects their frequency.  However, she added that Stewart would recognize her just as he used to know her.  “I don’t believe I can make you understand,” she lamented. “It’s that law of parallels again.  My body functions for me according to my needs.”

Betty said that she didn’t have answers for everything and that what she now understood was only a little beyond what she knew in her material life. “I know there are degrees (of consciousness) of which I know only a little more than you know about me,” she stated, adding that she had heard about higher degrees of consciousness and an ultimate or supreme degree of consciousness, and that she trusted her sources.

Having heard that spirits have difficulty communicating matters beyond the medium’s intelligence, White wondered how Joan, who seemed to have very limited knowledge of metaphysical matters in her conscious state, was able to pass on such communication.  Betty explained that Joan had the “potentiality” in her mind and that she had the ability to step up her frequency. “A station’s ability to release subconsciousness and be stepped up in frequency is a talent,” she said. “It’s part of that person’s make-up, like any other talent. You all have it to a degree, the simplicities of it.”

Betty noted that the four of them (Joan, Darby, Stuart and Betty) were very close in frequency and this facilitated the reception.  On the other hand, there was someone named Anne on her side who was at such a high frequency that she could not communicate through Joan, though she was able to assist communicators on that side. Anne was able to explain that the awareness-mechanism of the bug is to human awareness as human awareness is to her state of awareness.

Betty cautioned against thinking in terms of absolutes, as anything in evolution, as is consciousness, cannot be absolute. “Not that she rejected a Supreme Degree of Consciousness,” White recorded. “She merely pushed it back, out of the finite, into the infinite. Infinity we do not, cannot, understand, for the supreme degree is beyond our comprehension.”

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:  Jan. 31


I would go even further. If you believe that God is All That Is, everything that exists is part of it. Not only life is the condition, just ‘to be’ is.

Chris, Mon 31 Jan, 07:37

Dear Friend Newton,

Thank you for your appreciation of what I contribute, and I am sorry your Buzz left you, but happy that she flew off, still catly-conscious, into another universe. I once had a cat so intelligent it took her all of twenty seconds to understand the new cat flap and start using it. But she had no fear of roads or the vehicles rushing past. I am sure that she flew upwards into a universe as high as ours, perhaps to be born a human.

But I did slip up a bit this time: I muddled a few words: our Being is, even now, already, in THAT higher universe, of course, though we cannot see it, one of my points being that we are restricted to sensing THIS low one. We cannot (yet) see the universe in which we really already live, yes, even now. I wrote this down the wrong way round,  but I’m sure everyone knew what I meant, and equally sure many agree.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Sun 30 Jan, 22:03

“We no more see the universe we actually exist in than we see our own faces with our eyes.” Nicely put, Eric, and thank you, my friend, for picking up on and expanding my metaphysical ramblings. I always look forward to your comments here.

Yesterday, my family lost our precious little kitty, Buzz, born in our home 11 years ago, whom we did our best to care for during several months of ever-increasing enfeeblement, a process which the vet and the meds were unable to reverse.

Seeking solace in Michael’s work, as I often do when feeling low, I came across the following passage in “Dead Men Talking.” Raymond Lodge, speaking through Mrs. Leonard, is describing what he was told in a visit to a much higher sphere of the afterlife, one much closer to God.

“You are in the presence of the Infinite. What you feel is the Life-Force that goes from God through all the spheres, and feeds the earth plane. Without this, there would not be a person physically alive on the face of the globe. Not an animal, plant or flower, without this Force that you can feel now.”

Raymond explained that his mind couldn’t grasp this revelation, but his soul did. He was told that “your soul grasps it because your soul belongs to it. It is only with your soul that you can understand this…. Let your soul grow up to it, and your mind will follow by degrees.”

I can’t speak for others, but when I think about the afterlife I always include all living things. Sometimes I wonder whether we use the fancy word “consciousness” when a simpler, more direct word would do as well, perhaps better: LIFE.

Newton E. Finn, Sun 30 Jan, 18:06

Dear Newton,

We very largely agree again.

Our real selves, our consciousnesses, our personal sense of who-ness, our Dasein, is not even in the physical universe that we observe and are conscious of. It is a less than a few nanometres away outside the light cones of the physical kosmos that alone we can observe and get sense experiences from. The fact of being ‘in’ the physical universe limits our observation to the physical universe, but is IN that other kosmos, but not OF it. We exist OUTside what we think of as our familiar universe’s light cones. We no more see the universe we actually exist in than we see our own faces with our eyes. Part and parcel of this system of conscious Presence is that our awareness of the universe in which we REALLY live and move and have our being is (must be) that other ie that non-physical, universe and needs our subconscious as the only available bridge. Hence all the difficulties of mediumship down here

For another approach to the fact see the pre-quantum, pre-relativity (ie outdated and misleading) ‘science’ and ‘philosophy’ of Stephen—- in ‘Darby’ and ‘Joan’s’ book ‘Our Unseen Guest’, which I am just reading for the second time. Much of it makes logical sense, and is probably largely correct, but the full science and philosophy are unlikely to be understood until the “penny drops”. We have to “see” even though we cannot see our faces with our eyes.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Sat 29 Jan, 23:29

Amos and Bill,

If you do go to Lily Dale, be sure to go during the “season.”  I don’t know the exact dates of the season, but it is mid summer.  My wife and I visited there late May about 15 years ago and there wasn’t much going on.  We also visited Cassadaga, a spiritualist camp in Florida.  About the only thing to see there was the book store. I talked to the book store manager about the possibility of carrying my book about Leonora Piper, but she had never heard of her.

Michael Tymn, Sat 29 Jan, 19:56

I’m in the process of re-reading the third in Lanza’s series of biocentrism books, “The Grand Biocentric Design,” which dives into the quantum world in an attempt to understand consciousness and cosmology.

When reading this kind of stuff (and there’s a lot of it these days), it always strikes me that the missing component in the theorizing and speculating is God, the Great Observer from the beginning, who notes even the fall of a sparrow. There would be a hell of a lot of collapsing of the wave function involved in this scenario (wouldn’t there be?), apart from biological consciousness.

IMHO, nearly all of this quantum speculation (whether by physicists or in pop literature) runs off the rails into absurd complexity and a touch of hubris because it mistakenly substitutes biological consciousness (often in conjunction with some sort of impersonal holographic matrix) for the super-personal God whom, according to Kierkegaard, does not exist but is eternal, does not think but creates.

Michael’s congregation might be interested in a possibly novel idea raised in this latest Lanza book: that at both the quantum level and the human subconscious level, things operate nonlocally, unconstrained by time and space. Given that this also seems to be true of the afterlife, or so we’re told, then Myers was on to something fundamental in seeing ALL interaction with the departed as coming via the subconscious.

That subconscious, obviously having to do with whatever our “higher selves” may be, would thus operate as no less than THE link between worlds, this one and the next. So I much look forward to Michael’s upcoming post shedding further light on this higher self enigma.

Newton E. Finn, Fri 28 Jan, 17:43

I just wanted to post in reply to those discussing Jane Roberts.

I actually know someone who was “taught” by Jane for a couple of years in a small group setting. I asked this person if perhaps it was Jane’s subconscious (split personality?) doing the talking and the person replied that she felt certain it was some entity and not Jane’s subconscious coming through.

For what it is worth.


Lee, Thu 27 Jan, 01:40

Hi Bill,
Since I am interested in the precipitated paintings of the Bangs sisters and the Campbell brothers, I would be interested in a trip to Lily Dale where they had some association but it is a little to far away for me to drive.  I am relatively close to Camp Chesterfield in Indiana but I haven’t got the gumption to get up and go there yet.  I would like to see the precipitated paintings of the Bangs sisters, many of which are on display there.  It is also the headquarters of the Indiana Association of Spiritualists.  They advertise classes in mediumship and many mediums and clairvoyants are available for sessions. It is only about 3 hours away from where I live so maybe this summer I will go.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 26 Jan, 14:31


I stand corrected on Jane Roberts. She wrote three published science fiction novels prior to the emergence of Seth.  (In addition to Our Unseen Guest, I’m reading Speaking of Jane by her friend Susan M. Watkins, a biography of sorts that includes Jane’s very difficult early life as well as how she was unfairly dismissed from Skidmore prior to graduating.

I’ve meditated off and on since 1982, not in accordance with any formal tradition, and not rigorously. I believe it’s a useful way to “prepare the ground.”  I’ve long been inspired by this sentence in Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul (in Session 586):

“His message will be that of the individual in relation to All That Is. He will clearly state methods by which each individual can attain a state of intimate contact with his own entity; the entity to some extent being man’s mediator with All That Is.”

This suggests that “methods” can be effective, period, even if the particular methods mentioned don’t yet exist, as far as anyone knows.

Every so often, going back 50 years, I’ve recorded a peak experience of some kind, but these have tended to be unpredictable, although I do associate some strong early experiences with exercises described in P.D. Ouspensky’s In Search of the Miraculous (I have never belonged to any Gurdjieff/Ouspensky study group.)

On occasion these have included experiences associated with “chakras”—in particular the crown and brow chakras.  (Seth never used the term, although in one of his exercises, for locating “coordination points”—one of the unique areas in his material—he referred to the locations of the brow and crown chakras.)

I was unfamiliar with the term until having a strong experience that involved 1.) My crown chakra; 2.) Communicating with my own “entity;” and 3.) The mother and daughter ouija board team I mentioned previously.

This resulted in a undeniable state of altered consciousness that lasted 3 days. At one point, someone came up to me and said:  “Bill!  What’s happened to you?  Your crown chakra is expanded!” resulting in some research on my part. That experience took place over 25 years ago.

I’ve combined what I learned from that experience with my meditation, attempting to cobble together something that achieves the same results Seth mentioned in the quote above.

This has been promising, but takes persistence; I continue to tinker with it.

I’m still working at an age at which many are retired; I like to imagine pursuing this and related areas more consistently after retirement, assuming I don’t drop dead before that happens.

Regarding mediums, channelers, etc.—at different moments in my life I have come across such people, but usually not without some effort (except on one notable occasion, but that’s a complicated tale).

My preference is for talented amateurs, although I have known two professionals—one a “clairvoyant,” the other trained as a Spiritualist medium, but this includes making an assessment and can be time consuming.

The early Internet enabled me to connect with quite a few talented (in a psychic way) amateurs who shared my interests.  Years later I used the meetup website and sampled quite a few meditation groups, seeking a group in which I noticed “something special” during meditation but didn’t find anything suitable until trying a “Mediumship and Meditation” group, which put me into contact with an entire “ecosystem” of such people.

One thing had changed. Whereas previously, going back decades, I’d encountered both men and women pursuing more than just meditation, the ecosystem in question was close to 99% female, a bit of a puzzle (but then I lived through both the “hippy” and “New Age” eras, wherein such interests were shared by both sexes; things change, always).

Possibly, living a mere 12 miles from Salem, MA, for the last 35 years was helpful. Swampscott, south of Salem, has a Spiritualist church, too, although I’ve never been a regular visitor.  (I also attended a 4-night class given by Laurie Cabot, the well known “witch” of Salem, some years ago that dealt not with her unique form of witchcraft but rather with entering the “alpha” state. The last class included a “remote viewing” test.)

I’ve never been to Lillydale, in New York state.

Were I wealthy (and if there were no Pandemic) I might sponsor an all-expense paid-trip to the place for frequenters of this blog.

Bill Ingle, Wed 26 Jan, 00:18

Dear AOD, my friend: Thank you for your sensitive response to me and for all of your insightful comments here. Please understand that my reference to your “grimacing” was intended to be lighthearted, picking up on your prior armchair psychological assessment of good old Stainton. Whatever my “religious” take on Patience, I, too, love her for the reasons you so beautifully express.

Newton E. Finn, Mon 24 Jan, 20:42

I can appreciate your comments regarding mediumship.  I admit that I have had no direct experience with mediums however I did receive some indirect, what I regard as evidential information, from a medium who was relaying information to my wife when I was not present.  What he said to my wife was “Pearl sends her regards.”  Now that meant nothing to my wife but to me, that was significant information.  My wife knew that I was interested in Patience Worth and Pearl Curran but at the time that was the farthest thing from her mind and I had never met that medium so he did not know me.

I meditate from time to time in two ways.  When I am stressed-out, I lie down, close my eyes, breathe deeply and begin to progressively lift and let fall each of my arms and legs. At the end of that sequence, I move my head back and forth a number of times not consciously knowing at which count I will stop to try to exclude my conscious mind from having an effect. (Impossible to do.)  Throughout this exercise I continue to do focused deep breathing with locomotive exhalations after each breath.  If I do this for three or more repetitions I either fall asleep or get up feeling very relaxed for an hour or two.

I also use a very effective guided imagery technique when I am riding a stationary bicycle.  Although lasting about 30 minutes the time seems to me to be condensed into 5 minutes or so when the 30-minute alarm goes off.  I have tried to meditate by sitting and clearing my mind but it scared me once as I felt as if I were leaving my body and since that time, I have not tried to do that anymore.

Where I live there is a dearth of mediums and little outward interest in any evidence of a spirit life so my opportunity to sit with a medium is nil. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 24 Jan, 19:12

I would like to respond to your recent comments but I need to be careful in my response because it concerns a somewhat delicate matter and verges on the borderlands of being personal which I think is not appropriate for a blog like this.  So, I will give it a try saying beforehand that I respect and enjoy everyone who comments here and even though we may not all agree on the details we share a common interest in alternate realities and life after death. We all come from different places and my experience has not been one of religious upbringing and education The extent of my personal knowledge of religious theology was gained by going to the Catholic church with my father and grandmother when I was a child 70 years ago.  While my interest in spiritualism has been life-long my interest in religion has been marginal, if that. My formal education has been in music, art, geology, chemistry, physiology, botany and zoology in which I continue to have strong interests.  Not surprisingly, as I have entered my final years, spiritualism has become my main interest.

What I am trying to say is that one’s education, overriding interests and social milieu in life colors how one responds to ‘teachings’ delivered through so-called mediums.  For example, I respond to the writing of Patience Worth because she writes of the woods, fields, plants and animals, all things that have been a major part of my life and my education. I relate to the way she says things in her poems and novels as I am a student of language.  She speaks as a common person in a way that I, as a common person, would speak if I had her gift of language. Therefore I respond to that commonality and it lends believability to what she says.  Similarly those who have education, vocation and life-long interest in religion will resonate with the teachings coming through William Stainton Moses and find profundity in them which would escape me.

I may be blinded by the criticisms of Pearl Curran and Patience Worth because somewhere in my subconscious mind I take those criticisms to be criticisms of me.  Disbelief of the spirit source of Patience Worth makes me question my thinking ability.  Therefore I may react strongly to those criticisms and at times say things without thinking, not in defense of Patience Worth but to defend myself and my sanity.  I guess what I am trying to say, is that when I comment about Stainton Moses, Stewart and Betty White, “Darby” and “Joan” or Jane Roberts, or any other medium with whom I have some reservations I do not criticize those who are able to relate to those people and what they are offering.  Some spirits have intimated that they provide information to those who are able to receive it. I, as we all are, am limited sometimes in my ability to receive what is offered.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 24 Jan, 15:19

I’m afraid I have to agree with AOD about Jane/Seth.  I tried to read one of the Seth books many years ago (I’ve read a lot of spiritual material over the years) and could not get past the way her husband seemed to be in adoration at her knees, describing her every little twitch as if she were some goddess descended from Heaven.  Threw the book away in disgust.  Should probably have stayed with it for the message but just couldn’t.  The video just confirmed the feeling I had at the time.  I guess we all see things very differently.

S. Kidd, Sun 23 Jan, 19:29

AOD will grimace, but what grabbed me from the get-go about “Spirit Teachings” was its theology. Its revisions and reinterpretations of Christianity reflected my own theological journey from a young man in love with Kierkegaard’s existential orthodoxy to an old man basking in Schweitzer’s universal reverence for life.

The signs and wonders involved in delivering the messages to Stainton were interesting to me, but served only to bolster the impact of the content. And as I continue to read the text, this seems more and more to be the place where Imperator & Co. were working so tenaciously to bring Stainton…and, through him, us all.

Over the years, the mode of mediumship that influenced me has been less paranormal, but, as the text teaches, mediumship is not essentially about attention-grabbing signs and wonders. It’s much more about hearing the voices of others, incarnate or discarnate, normal or paranormal, which open one’s eyes a bit wider to hidden, higher things.

Jesus talked of these hidden, higher things (what he called the kingdom of heaven) in a series of short parables put back-to-back in my little alternative gospel. “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed. The smallest of seeds becomes the greatest of shrubs. It is like leaven. A tiny pinch turns a bowl of flour into bread.

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure buried in a field. When a man discovers it, he sells all he has to buy that field. It is like a precious pearl, for which a merchant eagerly trades all his merchandise.” Is it any wonder that Imperator & Co. came to Stainton in Jesus’ name, spoke to him and to us under the sign of the cross?

Newton E. Finn, Sun 23 Jan, 17:19


You make assumptions (judgements), including whether Jane Roberts was in a trance or simply “faking it” based on old home movie footage from the 70s taken during an “ESP Class”—weekly informal gatherings held in Jane and Rob’s apartment in Elmira, NY.

I don’t believe it’s possible to reach any firm conclusions in this way.  (These classes and Jane’s comments on her own experiences channeling Seth between 1963 and 1984 are thoroughly documented in numerous books, quite aside from the content—all that Seth said.)

I never sat in a room when Jane Roberts was “channeling” Seth and neither have you.

On the other hand, over many years I have sat in many rooms (or outside, on some occasions) when information was being delivered through someone’s voice, their fingers on a keyboard, and even through ouija boards.

I have participated, as a student, in many “circles” in which a form of mediumship was taught and practiced, and observed Spiritualist mediums “delivering” from a podium, on a number of occasions.

The degree of trance varied quite a bit from one person to another on all of these occasions, as did the physical appearance, mannerisms, speech patterns, etc. of each medium, channeler, “autotyper,” ouija board user, etc., from seemingly no trance to a someone who was clearly quite dissociated (her eyes were “glazed over”) as she sat down to “autotype” at one of my computers after we had meditated.

The output from all of these experiences also varied considerably in terms of length and quality, while what I experienced in terms of sensations (this could be a topic for a fairly long essay—let’s say that sometimes sensations accompanying such activities can be sufficiently unusual so as to really, really, get your attention) and “inner visuals” also varied—from nothing or “nothing special” to “spectacular.”

With the exception of shared group experiences, these were entirely subjective and I can think of no way to prove that they took place and can only offer theories as to their nature. 

My first experience of this nature involved attending weekly Q&A sessions with a very experienced “light trance medium.”

Curiosity drew me and I was initially highly sceptical. One thing that got my attention was how the being who (allegedly, if you take that position) spoke through the medium—quite well and extemporaneously—looked at me and answered a question before I’d expressed it.  There were other indications that gradually forced me to relinquish much of my scepticism.

If you’ve never experienced any of this, never noticed being in even a light trance—with the typical alteration in subjective sense of the passage of time that accompanies such states—my words will be fairly meaningless to you.

You can read about these and related areas all you wish, analyzing and comparing. If this is not augmented with direct experience of “inner realms,” however, it will get you nowhere, in my opinion.

Bill Ingle, Sun 23 Jan, 16:13

As long as we discuss the issues at hand, I don’t feel attacked. After having dealt with the public for many years and having seen and heard many English-speaking people speak and having seen their mannerisms when they speak, and having studied voice and singing for many years and having photographed and painted portraits, I don’t believe that someone looking like the picture of Seth painted by Robert Butts, with the bone structure and amount of fat around “Seth’s” throat and face as portrayed by Butts would speak and act the way that Jane Roberts did when she was speaking for Seth.  There is a disconnect between the portrait and the performance.  I don’t see that as me being prejudiced; I am just stating what I am observing and comparing based upon years of experience with people, their voices and their appearance. I have spent years singing. studying voice, singing in choirs and acting in musical shows on stage.  I have worked with many actors and believe that I can make a judgment without being prejudiced.

Jane’s “accent” is not related to any known English dialect and is just a contrived speech habit she chose, just an effort to sound different and authoritative.

Now, what I have said about Jane Robert’s performance as Seth does not mean that I do not think that Jane may not have been in contact with some higher energy either her own or some other entity. And I think that what she said may have some merit and is worth reading and studying as someone’s view of reality. The show she put on was unnecessary in my opinion unless she and her husband wanted to use it as a means to generate interest in what Jane, or some other energy wanted to say.  Pearl Curran did the same thing without all of the folderol put on by Roberts and Butts.

The intent of my recent comments is to consider what these so-called mediums say without accepting that the source of what they say is some spirit entity.  If the content of what is said or written holds up on its own then so much the better.  If it takes a spirit source to give it some interest or meaning, then perhaps what is written are ordinary musings that many of us could make if we put some effort into it. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Sun 23 Jan, 14:46

It is difficult to prove that Jane Roberts was bringing up a Seth-show or not, but I think the strange accent sounds to me as a foreigner who speaks English.
The argument of the old friendly man in the picture who does not match with the voice and language, do you really mean that? Is it not quite prejudiced? Appearance and real character do not match in many cases.
And about the swinging: If you look to Elaine Thorpe as medium of Jonathan Hunter, she als seems to wiggle often. Also Suzanne Giesemann channeling Sanaya makes many gestures.
Don’t feel attacked by my reaction.I respect your opinion just as I respect the opinion of others.

Chris, Sun 23 Jan, 11:29

Dear Newton,

My last comment was indeed the product of a very onerous day for me. On re-reading what you said after all my tasks had been successfully done I realised the point I was making was exactly the SAME point you were making, not its opposite. Misreading in a hurry is so easy a fault to commit. Forgive me. It was indeed a stressful and over-active day.

So you and I agree again, as we so often seem to do. Amos gives us a very necessary, rational appraisal of the matters in hand, Paul the very deeply studied and widely-referencing cultural background out from which our opinions should grow, Bill Ingle the analysis of the long-practising expert, Don Porteous the careful observer’s survey of the established facts (without which there can be no stable discussion of any topic, under the sun or elsewhere) and the blogs from which all arises, Mike Tymn’s of course, give the rational and well-explained overall view that raises the questions we then mull over and comment on. Our own individual characters appear in what we write, bespeaking sincerity, and we each have something to discuss (though best not in a hurry - the mistake I made this time). We are indeed a congregation, as you have told us, Newton, and we should value ourselves and continue to seek truth and share it with all unprejudiced listeners, trusting in the Great Loving All Who tolerates our efforts.

We should recall the blind men and the elephant, and open our eyes to its illustrative relevance.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Sun 23 Jan, 11:17

I have tried not to make any comments about Jane Roberts and “Seth” but I can’t restrain myself after watching her videos.  My comments are not meant to infer any opinion about those who find the Seth material enlightening. However I do not believe that Jane Roberts is a medium channeling any spirit(s) for the following reasons.

1.  If Jane is in a trance even a light trance she is still able to rock in her rocker, gesticulate with her arms and hands, move and twist her body and head in identical ways that she does when she is not in a “trance”.  Jane has no ‘going into trance or coming out of trance as was so common with real mediums such a Leonora Piper. She makes whatever transition there is between the two personalities almost instantaneously. Jane may be somewhat internally distracted when she speaks as Seth much in the same way that Pearl Curran was somewhat distracted when she received dictation from Patience Worth but I don’t think either of them were in a trance.

2,  If Jane IS in a trance it is unclear just what part of Jane’s physical apparatus Seth is using.  Apparently he is possessing her entire body including all of her muscles controlling speech, e.g., lips, tongue, lungs, nasal passages as well as her “voice box”. When Jane is speaking as Seth either he or Jane is able to use her facial expressions, eyebrows and is able to focus her eyes.  It is obvious to me that either Jane or Seth is actually seeing through her eyes.  My guess is that Jane is totally aware of everything in the room including the people she sees and nods to.  Such facial expressions are in agreement with what she is saying, that is, her facial expressions are animated as appropriate for what she is saying as Seth so the whole body and brain of Jane is participating in the show. If ‘Seth’ is possessing Jane’s body, he is possessing her whole body as he is able to use her leg and back muscles to rock her rocking chair and fiddle her fingers, move her arms and hands as well as her head, otherwise Jane’s brain is still in control of her body. Both Jane and Seth have a tendency to gesticulate primarily using her left arm and hand while her right arm lies unmoved at her side.  I find that very telling about who is actually controlling the body.

3.  Jane uses a dramatic and totally unnecessary speech delivery; pontificating with contrived speech adding an ‘a’ after many of her words, e.g. listen-a, own-a, selv-a, would-a, speak-a, when-a, see-a, know-a, if-a, molecule-sa, read-a, fun-da, goo-da, etc. etc.  Use of the ‘a’ at the end of many, many words is just a pretentious effect to appear —-who knows what?  (Butts cleaned this up when he transcribed Jane’s speech as these a’s don’t appear in the published texts.)  Why is it necessary for ‘Seth’ to use such hard speech, so mean, so assertive, so forceful in his delivery and appearance through Jane?  Is this the way people talk and act in heaven?  If people in the spirit world are like Seth—-talk like Seth, have no warmth or friendliness—-then I surely don’t want to go there.

In my opinion, Jane is putting on an act, even though much of what she says may in fact make a lot of sense, but I don’t think any of it was coming from spirit entities in another reality called Seth or Cezanne, or William James or Rembrandt, dissociated personalities she claimed she channeled.  Jane’s performance of Seth does not match the jovial, chubby, good-natured ‘old man’ “Seth” as depicted in the painting of him done by Robert Butts, Jane’s artist husband. After listening to Seth through Jane Roberts, my belief meter went from 50% to about 10%.

(I think I would still describe Jane Roberts as ‘witchy’ except I might want to add ‘snaggle-toothed’ to the description.  All she needs is a pointy hat to complete the effect.  Move over Margaret Hamilton, a better actress has been found to play the ‘Wicked Witch of the West’ in the Wizard of Oz. ) - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Sun 23 Jan, 04:01

Noted:  Our Unseen Guest is available as a free download at:

(The file is large and will take a while to download unless you have a fiberoptic connection.)

Bill Ingle, Sun 23 Jan, 02:12

Newton, I think Stephen will address your “higher self” question in the next post here.

Michael Tymn, Sat 22 Jan, 20:48

Dear Paul, I’m much more in your camp (and Michael’s) than in Braude’s. Yet he and others like him have caused me to hang a little looser with some of this stuff in certain respects—not in my belief in the afterlife but in how to interpret the evidence for it and the extent to which we can talk meaningfully about its nature.

Always, however, when I read through your remarks (or Michael’s books or “Spirit Teachings” or Sir Arthur’s work, etc.), they resonate with me. I can’t help but consider spirit communication to be much closer to the truth than super-psi, because I just don’t think we’re that super.

Dear AOD: I’ve come to see Patience not so much as a particular incarnated spirit but as a manifestation of the Holy Spirit, which at times has been thought of as feminine (Sophia). She now plays a role in my spiritual life akin to that which the near-divine figure of Mary plays in the Catholic faith.

Newton E. Finn, Sat 22 Jan, 17:23

Dear Newton,

Hurriedly, in the midst of other tasks:

Your comment Jan 20, 20.38 (to which Paul also responds):

It seems to me that Imperator, in the paragraph you quote at the very end of section 15 of ST, is describing his and his helpers task from the opposite perspective to the one you are taking. He is saying that humans by nature view things in a certain way, and therefore need a certain direction of teaching. If they are going to understand the matter being taught, humans need the spirit teacher to explicate difficult topics in a certain style and from a certain viewpoint. (The good teacher always starts with what the pupil (thinks he) knows already - and modifies it.) Often elsewhere in ST Imperator is at pains to explain that the line of attack spirit teachers take is often determined by the rather uncomprehending human minds they are having to explain to.

I don’t think I have expounded even my own take on this very well. I AM in a hurry due to other tasks, which must be completed in this day’s short daylight, and I AM myself showing those very human mental frailty and pre-established (wrong?) ideas Imperator is referring to. Please forgive. My mind is dull today and does not see this clearly enough to explain what I think I am thinking.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Sat 22 Jan, 13:15

Dear Newton,

By way of reply with respect to your comment [Thu 20 Jan, 16:04] regarding the metaphorical nature of posthumous description, there are three points I would make.  First, whether this is the case is largely irrelevant to my earlier comment [Wed 19 Jan, 16:49] regarding the majority of posthumous accounts being descriptive rather than prescriptive.  Whether such descriptive accounts are truly understandable in our terms of reference, the very fact that a majority are descriptive works clearly against your hypothesis that what is going on with mediumistic communications is ‘simply’ a case of inspiration from the medium’s higher self.  Second, I would argue that all description is by nature metaphorical, whether of the next world or of this.  Try explaining sex to a virgin, a rainbow to one blind from birth, or snow to a tropic dweller.  One is not evoking direct experience in such an instance, for there is no direct experience to evoke, never mind that the experience is wholly of this world.  One is forced to turn to metaphor, which is imperfect, often misleading, but nevertheless far from worthless.  Third, the very fact that generalities of description are common across broad discarnate accounts belies the claim that the ‘details’ on offer are without significance or value.  Clearly, something of common experience is being communicated, even if that communication is necessarily lacking in conveying that experience to the uninitiated.

As for your quote from “Spirit Teachings” [Thu 20 Jan, 20:38], my take is that you are reading too much into that statement and that it is subject to a quite different interpretation than that you are applying.  To quote the relevant para from “Spirit Teachings” more fully:

“Could you see, as you now see, the signs which have attended and followed similar movements in other ages of the world, you would not fall into error of supposing that these signs are exclusively confined to our mission. They are inherent in your human nature, inseparable from anything which deeply stirs the heart of man. They attended the mission of Moses to the Israelites of old, of the Hebrew Prophets, as well as of the Christ. They have appeared at every fresh epoch in the history of man, and they attend the present development of divine knowledge.”

I would read your capitalized words ‘THEY ARE INHERENT IN YOUR HUMAN NATURE’ as referring rather clearly – given the context of these words in conjunction with Mosaic and Christian religions – to what I previously referred to in a comment to Michael’s immediately prior post – one that that seems to have been truncated from the list of comments since it went up [Jon?] – as the ‘religio cordis’, or ‘religion of the heart’, pointed clearly to by Stewart Edward White’s spirit guide Gaelic in the passage there quoted.  In Arabic, it is the ‘din al-fitrah’, or ‘inherent religion’.  In Sanskrit, it is the ‘sanatana dharma’, or ‘eternal religion’.  And so on.  To quote from “The Gaelic Manuscripts”:

“Gaelic defined religion as ‘that device by which people live with realities’. He distinguished two aspects of religion. ‘The first is the essence, which is very simple and not diversely differentiated; and the other is the outer appearance, which represents the essence to the individual beholder. The first is always the same; the second is of almost infinite variety. The second never completely expresses the first, but to those who hold it in sincere belief it represents as much as is adequate”

The ’essential religion’ is that which is “inherent in our human nature”, the ‘formal’ or ‘outer’ religion is that associated with this prophet or that incarnation.  Needless to say, this has nothing to do with contact with discarnate individuals through mediumship being solely a matter of the medium’s ‘higher’ or ‘unconscious’ self, as you would interpret it.

Paul, Sat 22 Jan, 05:40

I think it is expecting a little too much to think one could find a treasure trove of writings of the incarnate Patience Worth somewhere either in England or in the Colonies.  Even in England in the 1600s few women had the time to sit around and write poetry or novels.  Especially women of the lower classes who had to cook, clean, keep the fire going, fetch water, plant and cultivate a garden, spin yarn, care for children, make and mend clothing and keep them clean. There was no time left for creative writing. And where were these rural women supposed to get paper and pens to write their stories.

Patience Worth was once asked by a lady if when she lived on earth, she had an ambition to write since she was writing so much now.  According to Dr. Walter Franklin Prince, “The instantaneous answer was: ‘Dame, what wench that has a tongue and a mind to wag it e’er itched for a quill?’”

Professor Stephen Braude noted in his book “Immortal Remains” that the Patience Worth case was non-evidential.  In that “[D]espite diligent research, no one has discovered a previously existing individual even roughly corresponding to the Patience persona .  . .  [S]till, we might wonder how much the discovery of a real Patience Worth would bolster a survivalist (spiritual) interpretation of the case.  And surprisingly, I suspect that it would make almost no difference.”

Braude then goes a little off the deep end when he says “So how do we explain why, if a corresponding Patience Worth actually existed, no one remarked on her improvisational prowess and no body of works survived.  It seems extremely unlikely that Patience would have exhibited those abilities without someone documenting them and without Patience leaving a legacy of compositions for posterity.”

As I have indicated previously, rural women were simply too busy to engage in creative writing.  Does Braude really expect that this isolated rural teenage or twenty-something girl in 17th century England, engaged from dawn to dusk in household tasks would have left a library of her writing documenting “her improvisational prowess” and that they would have achieved notoriety among the higher classes warranting their preservation for posterity and then conveniently accessible for all of us to peruse—-preserved in pristine condition, I presume?

Professor Braude concludes his chapter about Patience Worth by saying “It is . . . safer to credit ‘Patience Worth’ to the unconscious and to classify her, officially, as Mrs. Curran’s secondary self.”

With all due respect for Prefessor Braude, I don’t agree!  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Fri 21 Jan, 18:51

As part of my research concerning the origins of Patience Worth I discovered the following:

There is documentation that there was a Patience Worth who lived in Devonshire England during the 1600s but not exactly during the period that Pearl Curran’s Patience Worth indicated she had lived on earth (1649-1694)—- but during the same century.  Apparently there was a Patience Worth born in Devonshire in 1613.  There is also documentation that a Patience Worth died in Devonshire in 1615 but there is no indication whether or not this is the same person.  There is also a record of Patience Worth living in Devonshire England who married James Symons on September 11, 1698 in Paignton, Devon, England.  Obviously this was a different Patience Worth than those documented as having been around in 1613 or 1615.  If Curran’s Patience Worth lived around 1649-1694 then probably none of those Patience Worths are Curran’s Patience Worth.  Devonshire was the home of the “House of Worth” so apparently the name Patience Worth’ was if not common was given to girls of that time and place. Casper Yost guessed that Patience was born in Dorset England, not Devon and Patience played along with that guess but she did not actually confirm that that is where she was born.

There is documentation of two Patience Worths living in New Jersey in the later 1600s and early 1700s but both of these women were born in the colonies, not in England where Patience Worth had indicated she was born.  These girls living in New Jersey were born into the family of William Worth.  William Worth was married to Faith Patterson and they named one of their girls Patience Worth, born 1681.  One of their sons married and also named one of his daughters Patience Worth, so William Worth had a daughter and a granddaughter named Patience Worth, but alas, they were probably not the Patience Worth of Pearl Curran, but, I think that they could have been related to Curran’s Patience Worth.  That is, it seems that the name Patience Worth was apparently a family name in William Worth’s family.  If he had a sister, aunt or grand aunt or other spinster relative named Patience Worth who came with him to the colonies, perhaps he memorialized her (after she was killed by the natives) by naming one of his children after her as also did his son.  No record has been made available to document what happened to the Patience Worth who was the daughter of William Worth and Faith Patterson,  Their granddaughter Patience Worth grew up and married Benjamin Lawrence on November 13, 1742

Amos Oliver Doyle, Fri 21 Jan, 16:00

There are some videos of Jane Roberts speaking as “Seth” and and Jane.  Here is one. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Fri 21 Jan, 14:05


Your point is well-taken. I certainly can appreciate the work of the Jesus Seminar when it comes to illustrating the “additive” or “revisionist” nature of a fair amount of the material in the NT.


As the direct lineal descendant of Rudolph Bultmann (the “Great Demythologizer”) the Jesus Seminar folks lose me entirely when they take a firm stance against such items as the Resurrection, wherein the very strong possibility of tangible physical evidence (the Shroud of Turin—-as you know, the jumping off point for my own work)can be said to exist.

I don’t want to get into an extended back and forth here—-we could debate this for ages. Let’s just say there’s some right on both sides…

Don Porteous, Fri 21 Jan, 13:36

Amos, as you know, Patience Worth ranks very high with me, but I can’t see her case as standing alone or at the top without good evidence of a human Patience Worth with a similar personality to the one communicating through Pearl Curran.  The primary argument against superpsi, living-agent psi, the cosmic reservoir, whatever name be given to it, is that the personality of the spirit communicator and the facts related by it match up with the human personality known to have existed, e.g., George Pellew.

The same could be said of Betty White.  There was considerable personal evidence given to Stuart White to lead him to conclude that Betty was communicating, not some secondary personality of the medium, a group soul, or a “cosmic computer.” I was giving some consideration to summarizing those evidential cases with Betty, but they are quite long and lend themselves to a blog in themselves. 

As I understand it, there were at least several people named Patience Worth known to have existed, but nothing was known about them.

Michael Tymn, Fri 21 Jan, 02:49

Let me add that there’s a strange statement in “Spirit Teachings” which may lend support to something like the “higher self” interpretation of mediumship and perhaps many other “paranormal” phenomena. Here are Imperator’s words to Stainton Moses as found in Section 15.

“Could you see, as you now see, the signs which have attended and followed similar movements in other ages of the world, you would not fall into error of supposing that these signs are exclusively confined to our mission. THEY ARE INHERENT IN YOUR HUMAN NATURE (my caps), inseparable from anything which deeply stirs the heart of man.”

What does one make of THAT?

Newton E. Finn, Thu 20 Jan, 20:38

Amos:  “I wonder what we all would think if the accomplished novelist, Jane Roberts had published the “Seth’ philosophy under her own name with no mention of the hocus-pocus of the sessions with her husband in which one of her dissociated personalities dictated, under the name of ‘Seth’, esoteric philosophy to Robert (Rob) Butts?”


“Would anyone belong to a cult based on the teachings of Jane Roberts if they were published as just another one of Roberts’ sci-fi novels or a book of her view of reality? (That’s assuming that any publisher would have published them.)”

Dear Amos:

If that had been the case, then my experience in 1982 (when I “saw” a persistent image of the cover of Seth Speaks as I meditated for the first time) would have referenced a book with the same content but a different title. In other words, this probably would have made no difference to me, but I can’t speak for anyone else. (I’ve met Christians who assumed Jane was possessed by the devil based on that cover, but it was chosen by Prentice Hall for marketing purposes, however misguided that decision may have been.)

(Jane Roberts wrote poetry and had a few short stories published prior to the emergence of Seth—no entire science fiction novels; in other words, at that time she was not an “accomplished novelist.”) 

Why do you assume or believe that “Seth” is one of Jane Robert’s “dissociated personalities” (and not an independent “energy personality essence?)”

(Do you have a foolproof method for determining this, one that works at a great distance in time and space—you only have the published sessions to go on, and were clearly never present during any of these sessions?)

Why do you refer to dictated sessions as “hocus-pocus”?  Do you believe that any and all examples of trance communication are of this nature?  (“Hocus pocus” suggests skeptical belief).

Your use of “cult” is also telling.  Do you believe that all enthusiasts of Seth’s teachings belong to a cult? (Cults tend to have charismatic leaders and a degree of unified organization that doesn’t exist when it comes to Jane Roberts and Seth. There have been conference organizations, publishers, a non-profit association that purchased the apartment building in which Jane first gave voice to Seth, and numerous electronic groups since the days of Delphi and CompuServe, but none of these constitute a “cult” while there has always been a diversity of opinion amongst Seth readers—they can be an argumentative lot. 

There is no single central organization—no temple in Utah, no pope in Rome, and no ashram presided over by a guru. Seth readers constitute neither a cult nor a religion. (Further, Seth advised his readers to never treat him as an authority—he encouraged his readers to develop their own “intuitive abilities,” to in effect be their own “authority.”)

Amos:  “Is there anything in those that tells us anything we don’t already know or anything that we, with our creative minds, could not conjure-up ourselves?”

Yes—quite a bit and a great deal which no one else has ever “conjured up.”  (You can find some similarities with other writings—“channelled” or not—if you search through centuries of literature, but nothing quite the same.)

Amos:  “We all have opinions of how things should or could be.  Are we all taken in by her witchy style of presentation and ‘trance’ contact with Seth?—- then “Rob” imagines and paints a portrait of Seth?  Come on now!  Is this all theater?  Do we really believe all of that?”

Why do you use “witchy style?”  We all have beliefs, and you are expressing yours—which may or may not be shared by anyone else.  To suggest that “this is all theater” says more about you than Jane Roberts or Robb Butts and their Seth-related activities, in my opinion.

Note that Jane Roberts was very different from later personalities such as Esther Hicks (“Abraham”) or JZ Knight (“Ramptha”). She did not create a “show biz” act, did not travel around the country packing adoring (and paying) fans into crowded venues.

Amos: “What is it about teaching from spirit entities that makes it so enticing, so seductive?  Most of them don’t tell us anything new and we are left after reading them with nothing actually to make our lives better; nothing that hasn’t been said a couple of thousand years ago by one of the greatest mediums the world has yet to see.  They generate no emotions, no clear direction, little creativity or wonder and only a sense of longing for something more.  In a word, after a while they are just boring.  So, we keep searching!”

They find “teaching from spirit entities…so enticing, so seductive” implying that you are not so enticed or seduced.

I would value your opinions and beliefs much more if I knew that you engage in or have engaged in some form of trance communication or mediumship, or, second best, have spent a fair amount of time in close proximity with a medium or trance communicator.

Do you meditate? Are you familiar with even mild alterations in consciousness?

Amos:  “I can duplicate the delivery and opinions of Moses, Roberts, White etc.”

That’s quite an assertion, one I don’t accept. One example of many: Read and do Seth’s Practice Element 1. in The “Unknown” Reality Volume One. I don’t believe you’re capable of coming up with a comparative exercise but you’re most welcome to prove me wrong.

“but I cannot duplicate the language, delivery, poetry and intricate plot lines dictated by Patience Worth although I have tried.”

Let me get back to you on this last—I’ve never spent any time seriously considering the works of Ms. Worth and/or Ms. Curran. (But you’re most welcome to explain what “intricate plot lines” have to do with imparting “metaphysical” information.)

Bill Ingle, Thu 20 Jan, 19:40

A series of excellent comments have been posted on this thread (mine excepted), comments with the kind of honesty and weight which set this blog apart and should bring a smile to Michael.

I would respond to Paul by saying that given my belief that ALL descriptions of the afterlife are metaphorical, dealing as they must with matters beyond time and space (the modes of incarnate perception and cognition), I don’t put much stock in their “details” other than their common assertion that how we live THIS life determines our happiness or unhappiness in the next.

To Don I would respond with the opinion that NT scholars ARE searching for the truth, albeit historical truth. Isn’t the attempt to reconstruct ancient history, to distinguish facts from editorialized accounts of them, somewhat akin to the attempt to separate the genuine in mediumship from the bosh, that difficulty or slippery slope which gave pause to William James?

And AOD, I love your thought-exercise about how we would view the messages of mediumship if their otherworldly aspects dropped out. The ethics, I agree, seem little different from those of Jesus and other sages. But when it comes to the role of spirits or angels in earthly life—crucial, pervasive, and hidden influences both good and bad—“Spirit Teachings” and similar spiritualist works do IMHO break new ground.

Newton E. Finn, Thu 20 Jan, 16:04

I wonder what we all would think if the accomplished novelist, Jane Roberts had published the “Seth’ philosophy under her own name with no mention of the hocus-pocus of the sessions with her husband in which one of her dissociated personalities dictated, under the name of ‘Seth’, esoteric philosophy to Robert (Rob) Butts?  Would anyone belong to a cult based on the teachings of Jane Roberts if they were published as just another one of Roberts’ sci-fi novels or a book of her view of reality? (That’s assuming that any publisher would have published them.) Is there anything in those writings that tells us anything we don’t already know or anything that we, with our creative minds, could not conjure-up ourselves? We all have opinions of how things should or could be.  Are we all taken in by her witchy style of presentation and ‘trance’ contact with Seth?—- then “Rob” imagines and paints a portrait of Seth?  Come on now!  Is this all theater?  Do we really believe all of that?

What is it about teaching from spirit entities that makes it so enticing, so seductive?  Most of them don’t tell us anything new and we are left after reading them with nothing actually to make our lives better; nothing that hasn’t been said a couple of thousand years ago by one of the greatest mediums the world has yet to see.  They generate no emotions, no clear direction, little creativity or wonder and only a sense of longing for something more.  In a word, after a while they are just boring.  So, we keep searching!

What would we think of the somewhat neurotic hypochondriacal Anglican cleric, William Stainton Moses if he published his disappointments with the Christian theology of his time in an essay under his own name (or his ‘nom de plume’, M.A. Oxon) instead of the spirit entities ‘Imperator’, or ‘Rector’ or any of the other spirit entities in Imperator’s ‘group soul’ which thereby freed Moses of any responsibility for the thoughts? Maybe like-minded clerics would have read him but probably nobody else. It was not a real chore for Moses to write about contentious issues of theology he had pondered about his whole life. If he had written what he personally really thought of the state of his Christian religion in his day could he have gotten away with it and remained as a high priest of the Anglican religion?  Probably not! And as an arm-chair psychologist, I think that conflict is what made William Stainton Moses mentally and physically sick most of his life.

And how about best-selling novelist Stuart White publishing his wife’s musings about life and death under her name with no mention of the spirit source for lack of a better name they called “The Invisibles”?  The lovey-dovey husband and wife teams of Stuart and Betty and “Darby” and “Joan” may not have had such success if they had not implied a spirit source for their “teachings;” same thing for Cora Hatch Richman, Chico Xavier, Marija Lunetti of Medjugore and—- perhaps Pearl Curran for that matter.

The spirit source adds something enticing and reassuring if not believable suggesting life after death, ghosts, and other spirit entities which most people find at least interesting enough to buy a book about them or to travel across the world to see them. Almost all of them provide little or no evidence of survival of the human soul. But without those spiritual marketing hooks, it is unlikely that anyone would show any interest in the purported ‘teachings’ from those mediums with one exception; the poetry and historical novels of Pearl Curran.  That writing speaks for itself and was read and praised by people who did not know of its actual source.

Anyone can read the writings of Patience Worth who dictated them through someone who had authored no books or other articles: non-writer Pearl Curran. And there is something new in the writing in terms of language and historical supplementation that has been authenticated by historians and others who had spent years studying the language, places and times Patience through Pearl wrote about.  I challenge anyone here to write poetry and novels at the speed that Pearl Curran received dictation from Patience Worth. Just pick any poem or other piece of writing that you have memorized and speak it out loud letter by letter (without looking at text) as fast as you can as Pearl Curran did; then try to do the same thing creatively, making sure that you don’t lose track of your plot, the characters and the conclusion of the story or poem which you are writing. Make few if any corrections to the writing after it was done.  Do that for 500 pages of writing.  I don’t think it can be done without help from a determined spirit entity who probably had already written the material in another reality prior to her dictation.

I can duplicate the delivery and opinions of Moses, Roberts, White etc. but I cannot duplicate the language, delivery, poetry and intricate plot lines dictated by Patience Worth although I have tried. A novel at Gatling-gun speed is entirely beyond me and I venture to say, anyone else who comments on this blog.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 20 Jan, 00:15

Several items to respond to here—-in a way, they’re all related.

Paul—-The Kerouac material you posted was most moving. Somehow, even though I came to the “age of awareness” in the ‘50’s, I never got around to reading Kerouac. Amazing how resonant his thought processes were with the mainstream of so much of the input we get from the other side.

Mike—-Thanks for the passage from Maeterlinck on the “unknowability” of things. While I find it easy to agree on the “larger” scale, it’s always been my feeling that on the “smaller” (human, physical) scale, it’s incumbent upon us to understand as much as we can about how things work and relate to each other. Leading me to…

Newton—-You can understand how I, as someone who’s always had a penchant for “evidence,” might not be totally in sympathy with Marcus Borg and others of the “Jesus Seminar” ilk. While an understanding of content and meaning are obviously important—-the habit of ignoring legitimate evidence in order to maintain support for a desired interpretation of a subject, creates a slippery slope in which the value of “truth” itself can be questioned. I’m not sure any of us really want to go there…

Don Porteous, Wed 19 Jan, 19:09

Dear Newton,
In a way I agree with the point you are making, but only to a certain limit.  Much of the ostensibly discarnate communication we have is in fact much more descriptive - so many travelers’ tales regarding their present world and state - than prescriptive.  There are many, many examples of this in the posthumous literature, far more than there are of ‘straight up’ spiritual and ethical teaching along the lines offered by Imperator and his band.  Are we to believe that such descriptive communication is simply from the ‘higher self’ or ‘unconscious self’ of the medium?  Particularly when such description may have nothing prescriptive or even exalted or uplifting about it?  Here, a case in point would be the ‘drop in communicator’ Runolfur Runolfsson, written up by Erlendur Haraldsson and Ian Stevenson [].  The authors have cogent comments on the general challenge that such drop in communication has for any ‘living agent psi’ explanation, but in the particular case mentioned, the ostensibly discarnate Runolfson elbowed in uninvited and started aggressively and crudely demanding the return of his missing leg.  A leg that was, in fact, eventually recovered.  Are we really to believe that an appeal to the medium’s ‘higher self’ or ‘unconscious self’ is the most satisfying explanation in such a case?
With that said, I certainly do not deny that an individual can receive inspiration from his ‘higher self’, ‘oversoul’ (see the well-known essay ‘The Over-Soul’ by Emerson) or ‘overself’ (see the writings of Paul Brunton that address the ‘Overself’, including his “Inspiration and the Overself” []).  My own view is that both types of communication are possible - communication through a large variety of means with discarnate individuals as well as direct inspiration from one’s ‘spirit’, ‘higher self’, ‘higher phase of soul’, ‘oversoul’, ‘overself’ or whatever name one prefers.
As for your comment regarding pursuing ‘every sign and wonder of mediumship in quest of certainty’, first of all, mediumship is far from the only game in town when it comes to lines of evidence of posthumous survival.  Near-death experiences, shared-death experiences, deathbed visions, crisis apparitions, spontaneous after-death communication, induced after-death communication, psychomanteum encounters - to name only a subset - yield evidence of posthumous survival without the involvement of a medium.  Second of all, establishing relative certainty with regard to the question of survival is an important stage of engagement with the topic, particularly when the dominant cultural voices surrounding one stridently and assuredly insist that death is the end of us and that a strictly bounded materialism is the way things are.  With that said, and here I finally come round to agreeing with you, the eventual point is to come to a sufficient certainty - ‘an end to hedging’ as Michael Prescott expressed the matter in my final comment to you in Michael’s immediately prior post - regarding posthumous survival and then, from that position, to work on ourselves - our purification and expansion of being/consciousness - for the sake of our posthumous felicity and of drawing nearer to the Divine that is at once our our  source, ground and return. Certainly, that is my own predominating present concern.  As Huston Smith once wisely remarked in a slightly different context, ‘not altered states, but altered traits’.
Could such ‘prescriptive’ instruction regarding the proper shaping of our souls come from wise discarnate beings intent upon our good?  Could it come from direct inspiration of the ‘spirit’ or ‘higher self’?  Could it come from the living teaching of the world’s spiritual traditions?  Yes, yes and yes.  Whichever will get the job done and the more the better.

Paul, Wed 19 Jan, 16:49

(I hope I’ve remembered simple HTML correctly.)

A note on Seth and his writings (and Jane Roberts and her writings) prompted by previous comments.

Today many sessions have been published in multi-volume compilations after Jane Robert’s death in 1984. These include The Early Sessions, The Personal Sessions, and The ESP Class Sessions. See <a >=“”>SethCenter</a>).

Well before this, however, Seth—who described himself as an “energy personality essence”—also dictated a number of books. Each of these is designated as “a Seth book.”

The first was Seth Speaks, followed by The Nature of Personal Reality and The “Unknown” Reality(in two volumes) in addition to later additional books (that were somewhat shorter as Jane Robert’s health began to decline, a perennial topic on Seth forums for obvious reasons and one that Seth spoke of in detail).

In addition, there are unpublished sessions in the Yale University Library archives.

For those who are put off by Rob Butt’s notes (he definitely overdid this, especially in The “Unknown” Reality, they can simply skip them.  Rob, Jane’s husband and an artist, was an essential part of Jane’s channeling of Seth. Not only did he capture Seth’s words using his own unique shorthand and support Jane’s activities in many ways; per Seth, there were strong “inner” connections between himself and both Jane and Rob.

Jane Roberts also wrote her own books, not to be confused with Seth’s books (a few included excerpts from Seth sessions prior to the publication of Seth Speaks).

She was already a published poet and sci-fi short story writer when, casting about for a topic to write about, chose the “psychic” area.  She and Rob begin to work with a ouija board, initially getting gibberish. They were persistent, however, and began to get information until Jane began to “get” Seth’s words before the planchette moved; after this, they soon dispensed with the board. (This is not uncommon with ouija board practitioners who become adept at using a board.)

A key experience prior to this was an OOBE, during which Jane engaged in autowriting.  This resulted in “The Physical Universe as Idea Construction” see more on this on the publisher’s site at <A >=“”>Amber-Allen Publishing</A>.

Jane had serious doubts about Seth’s validity early on and was extensively tested by a psychologist. (This and the early ouija board output are included in The Early Sessions.)  She also had a very difficult childhood and at one point was raised by Catholic priests—her single mom was a bedridden alcoholic and very difficult. This was a factor in her life as well as her illness and death, and something Seth commented on, many times.

Seth’s “You create your own reality” involved extensive explanations, even if it became a New Age slogan long after he first said it, frequently appropriated without attribution.

Note that per Seth not all of reality creation is done unconsciously; conscious beliefs are also integral to personal reality creation and Seth urged his readers to become aware of their conscious beliefs and, if necessary, change them.

Having encountered Seth Speaksin 1982 (“seeing” the cover as a persistent image with my eyes closed the first time I ever meditated) and then interacted with other Seth readers since 1995, I could continue indefinitely.

From what I’ve seen of Betty White’s material, there are some significant differences between it and Seth’s, beyond some surface similarities and some “basic truisms.”

This is not at all surprising, for many reasons.

I should also note that there is great variety when it comes to Seth readers and their approaches to Seth’s teachings.  These days, with so many of Seth’s words instantly available, digitally, a kind of literalness—a greater emphasis on Seth’s words, typically posted as short quotes taken out of context, than on their meaning—has developed that, for the most part, didn’t exist until fairly recently. (I find this bothersome.)

Seth included exercises to validate his material; those who do these tend to have a different take on the material than those who don’t, while in my once-upon-a-dotcom-time circles, prior to this more recent “literalness” development, Seth’s teachings tended to be used as inspiration for individual and collective inner explorations, as a background and a stepping off place.

Solitary readers read Seth’s books before the Internet arose. Discussion groups existed, but Internet interaction added a new dimension and led to some very surprising and unexpected developments, but these weren’t stable and began to vanish at about the time of the events of 9/11, something of a mystery.

Bill Ingle, Wed 19 Jan, 03:22

On the issue of certainty, I just discovered this interesting quote in one of my old files:

“We need have no hope that any one will utter on this earth the word that shall put an end to our uncertainties.  It is very probable, on the contrary, that no one in this world, nor perhaps in the next, will discover the great secret of the universe.  And, if we reflect upon this for even a moment, it is most fortunate that it should be so.  We have not only to resign ourselves to living in the incomprehensible, but to rejoice that we cannot get out of it.  If there were no more insoluble questions nor impenetrable riddles, infinity would not be infinite; and then we should have for ever to curse the fate that placed us in a universe proportionate to our intelligence.  All that exists would be but a gateless prison, an irreparable evil and mistake.  The unknown and the unknowable are necessary and will perhaps always be necessary to our happiness. In any case, I would not wish my worst enemy, were his understanding a thousandfold loftier and thousandfold mightier than mine, to be condemned eternally to inhabit a world of which had surprised an essential secret and of which, as a man, he had begun to grasp the least tittle.”
              – Maurice Maeterlinck (1911 Nobel Prize Winner)

Michael Tymn, Wed 19 Jan, 03:15


Thanks for always bringing to light books we had no idea existed, and providing a great summary of the information they contain.

Happy New Year!

Yvonne Limoges, Wed 19 Jan, 00:57

I don’t know, Bruce. The quote you offer seems very nihilistic, although you seem to offer it as a positive thing. As I read it, it suggests that we in the material world create consciousness rather than the other way around.  However, it is all so abstruse, and one must always look for the paradox.  And, yes, so much of it seems similar to Seth, although since Betty preceded Seth, it would be more proper to say Seth is similar to Betty. One has to wonder if Jane Roberts or her husband read Betty beforehand and if it colored or influenced the Seth remarks. It would be interesting to see a detailed comparison of their ideas.

I wasn’t aware that Jung was interested in Betty and thank Jan for mentioning that as well as providing the links.  Tanks also to Amos, Jon, Chris, Newton and Eric, for their interesting comments. The younger Betty White’s comment about the Ouija board offered some humor for the day.

Betty’s development as a medium seems very similar to that of Pearl Curran.

Michael Tymn, Tue 18 Jan, 20:20

Listening last evening to a video lecture by the late great NT scholar Marcus Borg, I was struck by the applicability of what he said about contrasting views of the resurrection to the controversy between proponents of direct spirit communication and the alternative living agent hypothesis (super-psi).

Borg had no doubt that the followers of Jesus had visions of him after his death but did not believe in the empty tomb or a reanimation of Jesus’ body. Borg went on to call this issue unimportant, the crucial point being the spiritual force of Jesus flowing from his life and teachings: the Risen Christ experienced through the centuries.

In a similar vein, what does it matter if the profound messages we hear from the best of mediumship, messages about the existence of the afterlife and how we are to live this life, come from actual spirits or from the “higher selves” of mediums, the deepest levels of their (sub)consciousness?

Throughout “Spirit Teachings,” Stainton Moses pressed the question of identity—who were these voices speaking to him?—only to be led by Imperator to realize that the messages should be accepted or rejected on their content, embraced (or not) as spiritually and ethically true without regard to or repose in the identity of their source.

Are we who are fascinated by evidence of the afterlife, who pursue every sign and wonder of mediumship in quest of certainty, falling into the trap that Stainton fell into? Certainly the phenomena of mediumship call the spiritual world to our (materialistic) attention, but can they, should they, be expected to do more?

Does the truth of what Stuart said, the impact we allow it to have on our minds and hearts, depend on whether Betty first said it to him or his “higher self” simply said it to us? If “consciousness is everything” and we’re living in “an unobstructed universe,” then it is and we are, it seems to me, either way.

Newton E. Finn, Tue 18 Jan, 19:09

Bruce Scott-Hill,
Thanks for the link to the Seth search engine,  It helps me to ‘soften’ somewhat toward the Seth material. It cuts through all of the Robert Butts’ superfluous information in the actual Seth books that was so tiresome for me.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Tue 18 Jan, 14:06

Thank you ,Jan , for the link to the essay. I found an important synchronicity for me in that essay, that means a lot to me.

Chris, Tue 18 Jan, 10:20

Those of you reading this from the States may know of the reading by the English stage actor Charles Laughton that has been played for many, many years as part of the National Public Radio Thanksgiving programming:  He is a delightful raconteur and my mention of it really needs no further motivation than that.  However, it is offered here by way of introduction – as he weaves in an extended nod to the mystical yearnings of the Beat poet Jack Kerouac – to the following private letter by Kerouac – one just passed to me by a close friend earlier today – that ties in to the theme of the present post:

“I have lots of things to teach you now,
in case we ever meet [again],
concerning the message that was transmitted to me
under a pine tree in North Carolina
on a cold winter moonlit night.
It said that Nothing Ever Happened, so don’t worry.
It’s all like a dream.
Everything is ecstasy, inside.
We just don’t know it because of our thinking-minds.
But in our true blissful essence of mind is known
that everything is alright forever and forever and forever.
Close your eyes,
let your hands and nerve-ends drop,
stop breathing for 3 seconds,
listen to the silence inside the illusion of the world,
and you will remember the lesson you forgot,
which was taught in immense milky ways
of cloudy innumerable worlds
long ago and not even at all.
It is all one vast awakened thing.
I call it the golden eternity.
It is perfect.
We were never really born,
we will never really die.
It has nothing to do with the imaginary idea
of a personal self,
other selves,
many selves everywhere,
or one universal self.
Self is only an idea, a mortal idea.
That which passes through everything, is one thing.
It’s a dream already ended.
There’s nothing from staring at mountains months on end.
They never show any expression,
they are like empty space.
Do you think the emptiness of space will ever crumble away.
Mountains will crumble, but the emptiness of space,
which is the one universal essence of mind,
the one vast awakener-hood,
empty and awake,
will never crumble away because it was never born.
The world you see is just a movie in your mind.”

Paul, Tue 18 Jan, 04:59

First-time poster, long-time reader of your blog, Michael. I join with others here in appreciation of your articles, but it is the writings of Stewart White which prompted me to finally respond in the comments. 

Years ago I read White’s books about Betty’s excursions into that mysterious otherworld. It was the many rereads of those books, as well as Darby and Joan’s “Our Unseen Guest, along with evidence offered by direct-voice medium Leslie Flint, that “clinched” my 100% certainty in the continuance of life after death.  I’ve been eagerly anticipating this entry since you announced your plans to write about Betty White a while back.

I think it’s worthy of noting that Carl Jung had a great interest in Betty’s experiences and gave White’s books to his colleagues to read.  I discovered that gem from a sizeable essay about the “other” Betty White that you and your readers might enjoy which can be found at:

Also,to add to AOD’s comment about the recently transitioned Betty White’s reported quote about dying, that beloved woman also fearlessly talked to Larry King about leaving the planet:

Again, thank you for your wonderful blog!


Jan, Mon 17 Jan, 23:56

Mike, you will recall in your blog you wrote that Betty said, “Consciousness, is the starting point for everything.”  She added that, “It is everything, and beyond consciousness is nothing and that all manifestations can be traced to consciousness.”
Incredibly and In a political article (of all documents), I read recently in alignment with the above the following statement:
“Philosophers like Michel Foucault argued that there is no real world. Instead, there are just a whole lot of [mental/consciousness] constructs, things that exist because people believe them. It was all interesting stuff, but few took it seriously.”
The above in my view aligns also impressively with the major contribution that the famous entity “Seth” channelled by Jane Roberts, continually makes with his famous assertion, “That we all create {unconsciously and with others] our own reality”. Which is vindicated by the famous science double-slit experiment, in that it can be shown unequivocally, that the presence of an observer unconsciously collapses the Schrödinger wave function.

Also, the following extract from Seth early sessions, aligns very well with this, as will be seen below the recently provided search engine for Seth teachings (provided by Jane Roberts books supporters of “Seth” teachings), where one can substitute any desired word variable. In this particular case, you will see have inserted the variable word “consciousness”. If you try this for yourselves you will then find the relevant quotes shown below will then occur.
Taken from “The Early Sessions 338 May 1, 1967” using the Seth Search Engine above:

“Consciousness or action forms all realities.”
“From itself, therefore, and of itself, consciousness gave birth to its new dimension of experience, and then experienced what it had created, further extending itself and in turn bringing forth further possibilities of development. [-Seth]


Consciousness therefore continually creates and maintains itself, and this includes the physical materialization, the properties of the dimension, and yet basically there is no difference between the creator in these terms and the created. Nor between inner reality, which forms physical matter, and physical objects themselves, for the atoms which are manipulated to form objects are themselves a portion of consciousness, and alive in those terms. They respond to emotional and psychic directives as the physical body responds to light.” [-Seth}

Bruce Scott-Hill

Bruce Scott-Hill, Mon 17 Jan, 22:23

I think there may be some people here who would appreciate what the most current version of “Betty White” is reported to have said.

“People say, ‘But Betty, Facebook is a great way to connect with old friends.’ Well, at my age, if I want to connect with old friends, I need a Ouija board,”


Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 17 Jan, 21:39

The answer is simple ,I think, on this question:How do we live in the temporal AND the eternal, the virtual AND the real, at the same time…in the NOW?
The answer: just by ‘being’.

Chris De Cat, Mon 17 Jan, 21:26

“Earth-life would have no point, would be too much to ask of man, without immortality….” Oh yes! NT scholar Dale Allison vividly describes what this life is like without an afterlife.

“(M)alevolence and foolishness greet us daily; sin and guilt never leave us. Physical pain and mental pain haunt our lives, and we are ever the victims of the senseless sport of circumstance: something is always going wrong, when not for us then for those we love. And over it all is spread the eternal shroud of death. We blossom and flourish and wither and perish. Our cruel fate is to close our eyes and become short-term memories.”

Too much to ask of a human being, indeed. Let’s be thankful it’s not asked of us but instead the question posed by Betty and Jon, the best in the world’s religions, the best in spiritualism. How do we live in the temporal AND the eternal, the virtual AND the real, at the same time…in the NOW?

Newton E. Finn, Mon 17 Jan, 18:13

Great blog, Mike. I say great because for me, once again it’s validation of two thoughts/ideas/knowledge that I woke up with after being unconscious for a few minutes 21 years ago – thoughts that I’d never had or contemplated prior to that day.

The first being “that this isn’t home,” that the afterlife isn’t “out there” and something in the future, rather that this is an excursion, like visiting a movie theatre, and when we physically die (leave the theatre) it’s like taking off VR goggles or waking up, as some might say. Since that day I’ve viewed my existence as if that’s the case and it’s made life much, much more interesting, like being on a road trip, knowing you’ll be home at some point.

The second thought being, the reason why faith/acceptance of immortality is essential is, until we accept we are in a game we cannot get out of the game. After we physically die, most of us are still in the game/bardo/purgatory but now we are wearing a different set of VR goggles, (spirit body) more sophisticated than our physical equipment, but we remain stuck in that virtual reality until we realize that’s what it is.

It’s what Buddhists, Hindus, Taoists and Jesus have always said, we are in the world (the game) but not “of the world.

These are just my thoughts but when Betty talks about “the hereness of immortality” rather than “the thereness of immortality” she seems to be saying the same thing, but she puts it better than I can.

Jon, Mon 17 Jan, 16:34

Dear all,

This information, about Betty White, Edward, Darby and Joan begins to describe what I see in my own view of the scheme of all things, so far as our own low universe and at least the next higher one goes. Any points I find questionable in Mike’s description of the all-around-us that Betty White describes via Joan are merely verbal. What a joy to discover this. Thank you Mike.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Mon 17 Jan, 15:47

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Fallen Soldier Convinces His Famous Father of Life After Death – On September 14, 1915, Second Lieutenant Raymond Lodge, the youngest of six sons of Sir Oliver Lodge, a distinguished British physicist and pioneer in electricity and radio, as well as the former president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, was killed in WWI action in Flanders. Read here
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