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Boggled Spirit Minds & Messages – Part II

Posted on 09 May 2022, 8:17

“When we converse through a medium and with a medium or automatist we become, as it were, dependent on her thoughts, words and images, and we go wrong, we stray in that tide. It can be a River of Forgetfulness temporarily too, for the struggling communicator in many cases, and it can be a mixture; part the automatist, part the communicator, or it can come in flashes and be almost true.”

So communicated the discarnate Winifred Coombe Tennant (below) in the fifth of forty scripts recorded by renowned Irish automatic-writing medium Geraldine Cummins on February 15, 1958.  As summarized in my previous blog, Coombe Tennant (hereinafter referred to as Winifred) was a renowned medium, herself, before her death on August 31, 1956, at age 82. She began communicating through Cummins on August 28, 1957.


Winifred stressed that she was still new to it all, still learning, and there was much that she did not understand about mediumistic communication, but she could give assurance “that human souls born into this world after death in many cases pass on to a different level, where their appearance is of a kind not known to any being on earth.  They are not merely moving at a different rate; they travel on a different scale. On that scale and changed key, they are cut off from earth. Only when these souls drop back in the scale and slower rhythm and sequence [frequency?] near the physical, can they project or put on the likeness of themselves as they were on earth, so that she or he [is] whole as the inner eye perceives them or their projected images. Or they, in that minor scale and key, convey fragmentary communications to the subliminal mind of a skilled medium. But medium is an incorrect term. They should be called interpreters, and bad ones at that! So often there is mistranslation. They catch perhaps what the communicator emphasizes and then fill in their own subconscious material. Oh, the woeful mistranslations!”

In the ninth script, on February 16, 1958, Winifred directed the message to her son Henry, fully aware that Henry did not believe in an afterlife. “Far be it from me to convert you to a belief that a vestige of your mother still lives on quite comfortably, without ache or pain,” she wrote through Cummins’s hand. “Later I may explain why it is probably far better for you to keep your belief in my annihilation. But it is happiness to me to get your letter, to write to you again, and tell travellers’ tales.” She went on to tell Henry that she had some pleasant dreams, some uneasy ones, and some nightmares before she woke up from the “sleep of death” and was welcomed by her father and mother, followed by Henry’s father and her two sisters. “I was too overjoyed perhaps at getting a glimpse of George, your brother, so father and mother soothed me, calmed me, took charge of me and gave my first sense of locality and environment.” (Note: For an unexplained reason, Winifred’s oldest son, Christopher, is continually referred to as George, his middle name, throughout the scripts.)

Winifred went on to say that she now had a freer movement in space-time. She was able to relive familiar scenes from her earthly life. Her mother and father, she explained, now existed at a higher plane than she found herself in, but they were able to come down to her level and “put on their mortal semblance as I remembered them, in order to greet me.”  Had she been able to go up to their level, they would be almost unrecognizable, she added.

In the 14th script, a message from the “group” to which Winifred belonged on the Other Side added to her comment that the famous Cross-Correspondence cases in which she had participated were no longer possible as “human desire springing from imagination has failed.”  The Group added: “It is when imaginative desire fails on the part of human beings otherwise fitted for the work that ‘cases peter out,’ as you describe the process. At the present time imagination is too completely subservient to the intellect among well-educated people. The over-riding intellect produces sterility of imagination. Such people are therefore wholly incompetent as investigators: they are bound, if they can investigate, only to meet with negative results. But atheists or agnostics who do not subdue the imaginative desire of the explorer will, granted other conditions, a skilled medium, etc., obtain fruitful results. If the desire is there, the gift is there.

Several months later, in the 28th script, Winifred communicated that “even temporary belief on the part of the sitter and automatist in the personality of the communicators is a vital part of the conditions.” She pointed out that Gerald Balfour’s intellect was wholly skeptical, but his imagination was not. “It could clearly conceive a situation his intellect did not admit, for imagination has its roots in the subliminal mind. His subliminal mind, as well as his deeper emotional being could wholly believe in the communicator’s reality. Yet, in ordinary life his cold, impersonal intellect governed all his actions.”  She recalled cases in which Balfour, J. G. Piddington, and Eleanor Sidgwick (all prominent SPR researchers) accepted the reality of the communication during the sitting but later rejected it due to the intellect later overriding the imagination.

“The opposite to Gerald and Oliver Lodge is the egocentric sitter who has a deep-seated complex, such as a repressed horror of death, or inordinate vanity that derives from an insecurity fear. How dreadful to the egocentric is the thought that others might deem him credulous! Another quite useless investigator is very much a creature of his physiological brain patterns. Communicators are cut off through his being cut off from his subliminal, and through a paralyzing emanation from him.  G. B. (Balfour) and O. L. (Lodge) were fortunately free from any of these crippling hindrances which prevent any results of value being transmitted in most cases.” 

In the 16th script, Winifred stated that the human being consists of a number of selves or aspects with a primary self. “We only become unified in spirit or the other self on the higher level. When I communicate, I blend with the automatist in the sense that depend partly on her memory and her standard of intelligence for words in which to express my thoughts. Occasionally her subliminal mind enters my mind, plunders an idea or memory. It is not all a one-way traffic. Then, of course, her mind may insert in patches its own mistaken interpretation. Supernal and infernal juggling can occur.” 

As a test, Henry, still very skeptical, asked his mother about her sittings with the “scientist” during her earth life. Winifred remembered the scientist being Sir Oliver Lodge. “How may I describe that first meeting with Sir Oliver?” Winifred communicated. “Charm is not the word to apply to him. Kindliness is a more suitable noun with which to describe his gracious reception of me. He spoke very appreciatively of my brother-in-law Fred (Myers), and of the greatness of his work, and of the need for people psychically gifted, who were of good standing and repute, to devote time to experiments in order to follow up and develop his pioneer work. I was deeply impressed.”  In Winifred’s diary for April 15, 1909, she wrote: “Of the SPR, the most surprising thing to me is Oliver Lodge. His accuiel (?) to me has been astonishing – so extraordinarily kind and gentle and understanding, so unlike my idea of a Professor. I have lost any sense of shrinking in that respect which I had and feel as if I knew him already.”

In the earlier scripts, Winifred talked about being part of a group, a group that was controlling the communication. She elaborated on the group in the 28th script. “The human being’s soul belongs to, or is derived from, a Group Soul, which is inspired by one spirit,” she further explained. “If we make progress in the after-death, we become more and more aware of this Group Soul. It is more than a brotherhood, it is organic, an organized psychic or spiritual structure. Its spirit is the bond that holds together a number of souls. The spirit might be described as a thought of God, or the Light from Above –the Creative Light from Above. It has an apartness from God, as is the created thing from the One who gave it life. At first an embryo innocent, it has to gather a harvest. There are unaccountable spirits, each one connected with a Group Soul.”

In the 32nd script, Winifred informed Henry, still doubting the validity of the messages purportedly from his mother, that she no longer cared whether he accepted her continued existence beyond death.  “Oh I was filled with moral and missionary zeal and laboured in various ways to give evidence of my identity,” she communicated. “But now all desire has left me to convert you…I do not care whether to the end of your days you consider me non-existent…love, a force of gravitation in this world of the mind, will inevitably draw us together at some future date. Meantime, be as happy as you can in your nursery illusion that death means extinction. It will make the universe seem much cozier to you. But life goes on relentlessly and so does my love for you, dear son.”

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: May 23





Michael and others,
Thanks for all the comments. Your reporter training has the set of questions which I think arose from Rudyard Kipling poem of six honest men
So I can see a distant connection as
Mrs Alice Fleming, sister of Rudyard Kipling, who practised as “Mrs Holland” helped with cross correspondences.
As a project manager I used only three questions why, what and how (we knew who).

Bruce Williams, Sun 22 May, 13:13

Swan on a Black Sea is not stylistically engaging, it’s actually rather rough, but as for evidential, it’s the best communication I’ve come across.
when I read it many years ago, it cinched the deal for me. I did not require any more proof that we survived.

Mike has done a great job here pointing our key passages. Many thanks!

Stafford Betty, Fri 20 May, 17:52


If you haven’t done so already, you could cruise through some of the 29 prize winning essays at the Bigelow Institute for Consciousness Studies found here:

(These include an essay by Michael.)

I may be an enthusiast of Seth’s teachings but considering who he said he was (“an energy personality essence no longer physically embodied”) who dictated entire books through a woman in trance, I’m not sure emulating his writing style would make much sense.

I have yet to write a published book on any topic but have written numerous articles and papers extolling the virtues of various M2M and IoT technologies. I’m afraid that experience would be of little use were I to choose to write anything of length in this area.

Of the motley crew that constitutes those “past lives” I’m aware of (about 40 of what I’m told are hundreds, probably not unusual), a handful were writers, but the writing style of, say, a British newspaper editor writing in the days of horse drawn carriages wouldn’t be suitable, either.

I’ve started to read Andrew Jackson Davis’ _The Magic Staff_. Many read books by Davis once upon a time, but that was long ago. I doubt his writing style would be very suitable for a modern book.

If you simply go ahead and write, your own unique writing voice is likely to emerge quite effortlessly.  Some tweak their writings by writing successive drafts, honing the end product until they’re satisfied. Doing that is, again, quite different from dictating, as Seth did; each to their own.


Bill Ingle, Fri 20 May, 16:36

Thank you for this wisdom-filled summary of Winifred’s transmissions.  The idea that communication between discarnate and medium is a two-way street and that the results can be muddled or twisted a bit by the medium’s mind is so important.

The anecdote about the deceased Maori chief is interesting. I wonder, though, why the chief is referred to in comments with terms like “barbarian.” Why would anyone assume that the chief was not a highly cultured person? (After all, he was a chief—he must have been accomplished and respected.) And why would anyone assume that he did not have a religion?

Elene, Fri 20 May, 10:49

Thank you for this post.

Imaginative desire—these two words really struck me.

C.M. Mayo, Fri 20 May, 10:40

Dear Bruce,

When I first read Swan on a Black Sea I did NOT like it very much. I prefer Michael’s own ‘Resurrecting Leonora Piper’. ‘Swan’ seemed at first to contain very little real evidence, and the substance was surrounded by a lot of C D Broad’s social comment and the like. Later readings revealed much more.

Regarding writing styles, I am myself the author of just over half the words in Dr Maureen Lockhart’s book ‘The Subtle Energy Body’ (but NOT author of half its substance or origination, which were WHOLLY due to her well-known and much appreciated expertise. I still receive expressions of appreciation of her as a lecturer/tutor/students’ friend at the University of Wales. I simply filled in the part of ‘Subtle Energy Body’ that she felt unable to write herself, namely the science and philosophy (chapter 15), and I edited the whole as she wrote it, chapter by chapter, adding further paragraphs in many places throughout, so much became a joint final product. Apart from a serious error BY THE PUBLISHER on page 151 I believe it is virtually error-free typographically (I know of one place where the word ‘and’ is missing), approachable for the intelligent layman, and readable, as was intended. Whether people like the style of writing I do not know, though even Maureen herself found my very technical/philosophical chapter approachable in style, and readable.

This sounds boastful, so I shall stop.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Fri 20 May, 10:27

An interesting question, Bruce, but I have difficulty in classifying writers of the Afterlife by “style.” My education and writing background was in reporting, not creative writing, and the focus was on the who, what, where, when, why and how of the subject matter.

I was motivated to start writing about the early research because so many of the great researchers, e.g., Hyslop, Lodge, Barrett, etc., didn’t really touch all those bases, or, if they did, it was difficult to link them all together.  Some of their paragraphs extended a page or two, and one was left shaking his head as to what they were saying. My efforts were aimed at trying to convert their reporting to something the average layperson could make sense of, while touching all bases. It is still very much a challenge as there are so many variables involved.

Michael Tymn, Fri 20 May, 09:19

Michael and others,
I am completing my book and I am conscious of the writing style. I was wondering what makes a successful writer of the After Life?

Swan on a Black Sea and others were written by writers. Ruth Montgomery etc. Hans Holzer’s relaxed style always impressed me.

I would be interested in the groups thinking, obviously they love your writing style.
Eric loves Swan on a Black Sea, Bill (we are more technical) loves Seth and Don ( he has written his own book) which we all await with anticipation.

I liked Sir Arthur Conan Doyles (another writer) spiritual books (one of my friends wife was a medium in contact with him) for their simple construction.

Thanks in advance.

Bruce Williams, Fri 20 May, 01:50


Thanks for sharing that Maori seance. Another one from a primitive tribe comes to mind, but I can’t think of the reference now. It may come to me when least expected.  Just finished reading and reviewing (for Amazon), “The Medium and The Minister,” by Roger Straughan, Ph.D.  A very interesting book.  It has reminded me of the Bishop Pike story and that of Colonel Reginald Lester. I have dug out those books to reread.

Michael Tymn, Tue 17 May, 22:13

Dear all,

Bruce Williams, in his most recent comment, about the Maoris, points out what I think is usually lacking from investigations of mediumistic, or otherwise mediated, communications. If the whole matter has to do with an infinite Great Being (and how can it not?) the ethical factor will surely be important. It has often been pointed out, for instance in Gregory Shushan’s valuable new book, which I am now reading for the third time, that the factuality of communications from beyond our physical world do not in themselves do anything to improve the ethics of those who receive the communications. We all need to be careful regarding this, and ensure that we develop the highest ethical sensibility we can during our Earth-lives.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Mon 16 May, 10:59

I was searching for the reference when I looked at where I thought I read it. It wasn’t in The Wanderings of a Spiritualist but this might be of interest to our discussions:

I have been looking up all the old books upon the Maoris which I could find, with the special intent of clearing up their history, but while doing so I found in one rather rare volume “Old New Zealand,” an account of a Maori séance, which seems to have been in the early forties, and,[195] therefore, older than the Hydesville knockings. I only wish every honest materialist could read it and compare it with the experiences which we have, ourselves, independently reported. Surely they cannot persist in holding that such identical results are obtained by coincidence, or that fraud would work in exactly the same fashion in two different hemispheres.

A popular young chief had been killed in battle. The white man was invited to join the solemn circle who hoped to regain touch with him. The séance was in the dark of a large hut, lit only by the ruddy glow of a low fire. The white man, a complete unbeliever, gives his evidence in grudging fashion, but cannot get past the facts.
The voice came, a strange melancholy sound, like the wind blowing into a hollow vessel. “Salutation! Salutation to you all! To you, my tribe! Family, I salute you! Friends, I salute you!” When the power waned the voice cried, “Speak to me, the family! Speak to me!” In the published dialogue between Dr. Hodgson after his death and Professor Hyslop, Hodgson cries, “Speak, Hyslop!” when the power seemed to wane. For some reason it would appear either by vibrations or by concentrating attention to help the communicator. “It is well with me,” said the chief. “This place is a good place.” He was with the dead of the tribe and described them, and offered to take messages to them. The incredulous white man asked where a book had been concealed which only the dead man knew about. The place was named and the book found. The[196] white man himself did not know, so there was no telepathy. Finally, with a “Farewell!” which came from high in the air, the spirit passed back to immaterial conditions.

This is, I think, a very remarkable narrative. If you take it as literally true, which I most certainly do, since our experience corroborates it, it gives us some points for reflection. One is that the process is one known in all the ages, as our Biblical reading has already told us. A second is that a young barbarian chief with no advantages of religion finds the next world a very pleasant place, just as our dead do, and that they love to come back and salute those whom they have left, showing a keen memory of their earth life.

Finally, we must face the conclusion that the mere power of communication has no elevating effect in itself, otherwise these tribes could not have continued to be ferocious savages. It has to be united with the Christ message from beyond before it will really help us upon the upward path.

Bruce Williams, Mon 16 May, 08:42

Thanks for the comment.The comments by Feda (they couldn’t pronounce her name and in good Australian fashion shortened it to four letters, as I did with Michael last time smile). She was a great etc ancestor to Gladys Osborne Leonard (as we are both aware). When asked, the comments was that mediums without too much sophistication (ie the more child like the better) make the best controls. They don’t overshadow the medium.

Now given that most of the controls that I have run in to are Chinese (the trouble is the trance medium does not sound genuine - sounds like Peter Sellers) I have wondered where all the good souls of places distant and “primitive” gather. My thinking is that group gets enhanced in the basics.

I just was reading Arthur Ford (in spirit) saying the key is progression. My thinking is no one left behind.

I think that these discussions are a great basis for reflecting on our thinking. You have expanded my thinking on group progression by introducing the “primitives” concept. I remember Sir Arthur Conan Doyle when he visited Australia and New Zealand when he walked in to a meeting house unannounced was welcomed by the NZ Maori elder “We have been expecting you - the spirits told of you”. In Rugby they invoke their spirits - that’s why we haven’t beaten them for a long time. Rugby the game they play in heaven.

Bruce Williams, Mon 16 May, 08:17


I haven’t seen much, if anything, about the dynamics of the group soul below the more advanced levels, as those of which Myers and Doyle were members.  It may be that they are not advanced enough to really communicate their conditions, although the lower-level spirits are supposedly better able to communicate than higher level spirits.  But if the more “savage” communities here now can’t communicate with more advanced communities, why expect them to communicate more effectively in the afterlife?

Michael Tymn, Sat 14 May, 21:32

Winifred aka Mrs Willet had a quote mentioned in The Supreme Adventure by Robert Crookall.

A second effect is that a communicator may not know what is ‘getting through’ to ‘our side’. The communicator of Mrs. C. A. Dawson-Scott simply said: “We give you a message . . . but are in ignorance as to whether you have got it.” The supposed discarnate Edmund Gurney, after communicating to Lord Balfour through Mrs. Willett said : “There’s a longing to know, when one has struggled, how far one has succeeded in making oneself clear.

I like Geraldine Cummins Chapter 6 The Group Soul concept (Eric supporter) where our personality blends in to a group. I suspect that it is like this group.

Not too sure if Outback Australians (yes I am Australian who lives close to the outback of the city) is the right term but I get your point.

Do groups advance differently? Does this group advance differently with those present who are very well read and respectful of the ideas of others. Or does diversity mean faster progress?

Bruce Williams, Thu 12 May, 06:14

Don recommended “The Open Door.”  I very much agree.  That book is summarized in my blog of May 25, 2020 at

Hard to believe it has been two years since I posted that.  I would have said six months ago.

Michael Tymn, Wed 11 May, 23:43

Thanks Amos & Jon…

I never saw the original “auto-correct”—-I’m curious what it was???

Don Porteous, Wed 11 May, 17:46


I would recommend _Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul_ by Jane Roberts, published in 1972, as a starting point.

Seth describes himself as an “energy personality essence” no longer focused in physical form. He dictated the book through the mouth of Jane Roberts, who died in 1984.

Seth’s teachings aren’t for everyone, but as others have noted, there is no shortage of sources of information covering the questions you posed.

Books can provide useful and interesting information and “roadmaps” for these areas, but I’ve long ranked direct, immediate, personal experience higher, even though here we enter what is often a strictly subjective realm.

It may be difficult or impossible to convince anyone else of the validity of profound personal experiences while even some well known mediums and psychics have questioned their experiences, or feared that what they experienced had no “objective” validity, was no more than an imaginative creation, or worse—was a symptom of insanity.

In the end, you have to make your own decisions about what material, what personal experiences, are valid. What’s real?  What’s not?  How do you decide?

I would not have recommended _Seth Speaks_ had I not “seen” (my eyes were closed) a persistent image of the cover of the book the very first time I ever meditated, in 1982. I stopped, hiked into Harvard Square, entered a bookstore, and discovered that this was an actual book.

Intrigued, I purchased and read it and then other books dictated by Seth then in print. Seth embedded exercises in his books to validate his text, and when I finally stopped and did one of them, I realized how powerful his teachings actually were.

So I view meditation as a very basic tool or technique for inner exploration as well as a variety of techniques, methods, or exercises, from many sources—I’ve never restricted myself to Seth’s teachings.

Trance is another—note that things changed for both Edgar Cayce and Andrew Jackson Davis after they first entered a trance state.

Key relevant concepts in Seth’s teachings pertaining to your questions include those of the “inner self” and “entity” but other authors use different terms.

Bill Ingle, Wed 11 May, 16:25

Don, I changed it. “Irreducible Mind.”
Well spotted, Amos.

Jon, Wed 11 May, 15:22

“Auto correct”  attacked you today.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 11 May, 15:06

Yes Newton,
I agree with you that we may be disagreeing on the definition of ESP.  However I have to use the words of Myers which you quoted when he clarifies that, ESP is “.  .  .  perception of objects or conditions independently of the recognised channels of sense….” and again at , ” ,  ,  ,  from one mind to another, independently of the recognised channels of sense.”  The key part of Myers’ definition is INDEPENDENT OF CHANNELS OF SENSE.  It is clear the Myers means that communication is NOT by way of seeing, hearing, touching, by way of eyes, ears or other physical senses. Mental mediums clearly receive information by ESP according to Myers’ definition.  They often say that they see and hear information in their mind’s eye not by physical eyes or ears.  Pearl Curran and Geraldine Cummins were mediums who could see and hear copious amounts of information in the form of pictures and symbols and sometimes voices appearing in their mind; pictures and voices which no one else could see or hear. Modern mediums Matt Fraser, John Edward and several others state the same thing. Those physical manifestations which I previously mentioned provide perhaps evidence of spirit involvement but they are all perceived using the physical senses.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 11 May, 15:02

I think you have given one of the reasons for reincarnation when you write:

“I have had the same concerns as you relative to individuality and boredom for eternity.”


Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 11 May, 13:34

Good morning Ian…

You raise the same interesting questions that many of us here have pondered over the years, and you’ve been given some excellent food-for-thought in response. More answers-in-depth are out there—-like anything worth having in life however, they’re not free, but require some work to get. Here are a few suggestions on how to approach it…

On the reincarnation question: Still the recognized authority in the field, even though he passed on himself a dozen or so years ago, is your namesake Ian Stevenson, late of the University of Virginia. Stevenson authored fourteen books on “cases of the reincarnation type,” most notably delving into those aspects of the phenomenon that provided material of legitimate evidential value. I’d start with his 1966 “Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation.”

Your first question dealt with the larger topic of “consciousness and survival.” My recommendation here is one of the TWO books I’d want to have with me if stranded on that proverbial desert island—-a large volume from 2007 entitled “Irreducible Mind.” Written by a bunch of academics, it’s not the easiest read you’ll ever find, but its far and away, to my mind at least, the most complete treatment of a complex subject. It goes beyond your questions of interest, but you can pick and choose from within its pages. You’ll find it under the names of the lead authors, Edward and Emily Kelly.

The above two suggestions present information as it appears to us from our vantage point on THIS side of the veil—for a birds-eye view of the way things appear from the OTHER side of death, you can’t do better than with the second of my two “desert isle books,” the classic “Spirit Teachings” from 1873 (newer versions obviously available). A compilation of messages from any of a band of 50 or so “teaching spirits” under the leadership of an entity going by the name of “Imperator” (you’ll see him quoted often on this board), the material was communicated via “automatic writing” via the hand of a Church-of-England clergyman named Stainton Moses who developed some serious mediumistic ability as he grew older. Notably, Moses, who was strictly doctrinaire in his thinking, initially resisted these teachings vigorously, as many of them conflicted directly with his by-the-book mindset.

As one last element in the mix, I would strongly suggest that you pick up a copy of 1970’s “The Open Door,” which presents a true-life, first-hand-experience view of the effects that follow when a “teaching spirit” such as referenced above enters into the lives and affairs of a typical (if highly intelligent and talented) American family of the early 20th-century.

Finally, to state the obvious, if you haven’t already dipped into the writings of your host, Michael Tymn, I would suggest that you do so. They offer much valuable information on the “survival question” presented from a variety of different angles.

And in the near future (sometime in June, barring last-minute glitches) my own “Spiritual Reality and the Afterlife: Materialism meets Immortality” will hopefully be available on Amazon. Of those here who’ve seen the manuscript, some have been kind enough to call it “the most comprehensive book in the field” or words to that effect. I’ll let those here know as soon as publication becomes a fact.

Welcome to our little community Ian—-if you’re willing to put some work in, I think you’ll find, like many of us here, that a truly exhilarating future is ahead of us.

Don Porteous, Wed 11 May, 13:07

Dear all,

Does my own opinion that the latest four comments, including Mike Tymn’s own (as always, a rational, clear, centre-of-the-road comprehensive survey carrying strong conviction) are ALL wholly correct, find others agreeing? It even fits with my usually-ignored explanation of many months ago of how there can be, and probably are, many universes (dwelling places), separated only by the finite velocity of light. Here, and joyfully, we seem to find widespread agreement and consensus among commenters.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Wed 11 May, 09:32

AOD maintains that “ESP does not explain direct voice phenomena, apparitions, materializations, apports, table tipping, spirit lights, electronic voice phenomena (EVP) and other physical manifestations as well as near death experiences (NDEs) reported by people who died or were close to death.” Yet, AOD, do not ALL such phenomena inherently involve communication or manifestation via a non-physical mode or source, a mode or source beyond our physical senses?

Myers (who coined the word) defined telepathy as “the communication of impressions of any kind from one mind to another, independently of the recognised channels of sense.” He defined another aspect of what we call ESP, telesthesia,
as “any direct sensation or perception of objects or conditions independently of the recognised channels of sense….”

Thus the direct voice comes without vocal chords, apports without manual transport, spirit lights without electricity, EVP messages without digital input, an NDE while the experiencer lacks sensory capacity, etc. Are we merely disagreeing about the proper definition of ESP, which Myers framed as broadly and deeply as possible?

Newton E. Finn, Wed 11 May, 00:12

Does anyone actually believe that primitive peoples living in the jungles in Africa or South America or on the Outback of Australia or at the North Pole keep their same personality when they transition to the afterlife.  Do they keep that personality for eternity?  Really? Do they share the same reality with Victorian English men and women?  Or, do they eventually become their core consciousness at whatever stage of evolution it may be.

Do you think that their core consciousness might evolve from lifetime to lifetime so that eventually they achieve a more advanced incarnation as they learn new things eventually achieving, with all other consciousnesses, a god-like state in eternity?  It just makes sense to me that consciousness is prime in this universe and in other realities and though it may be very small to begin with, it changes and grows as it experiences life in various forms and in various environments.  Even the lowest forms of life have a consciousness that changes and grows through experience as it advances to a higher reality.

All life is unique and precious deserving of respect, knowing that it is evolving toward God its source. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Tue 10 May, 22:33


I have had the same concerns as you relative to individuality and boredom for eternity, and I am sure most others have had them as well. I dealt with the individuality issue in my blog of October 28, 2019, which can be found in the archives at left and am otherwise satisfied to believe that nearly all of it is beyond my comprehension and that I should not be applying terrestrial standards to celestial matters. The consensus of spirits who have managed to communicate suggests that it is far better than the earth life, at least after they have completely freed themselves from earthly influences. The NDE offers the same lesson, as indications are that so many having NDErs do not want to return to their physical bodies. If we understood it all and fully appreciated it, we might be too anxious to get there and thereby not face up to the challenges of the earth life and learn from those challenges, which seems to be the whole purpose of the earth life. The initial stages of the larger life is about as much as we can handle, but just knowing that consciousness survives in a “greater” reality is the most important understanding for us.  That’s my take on it.

Michael Tymn, Tue 10 May, 21:03

Hi Ian,
You asked about survival of consciousness and if that means that personality survives for eternity. The following is my opinion.

I think that personality is like a suit of clothing or a costume that is worn for a lifetime but is eventually discarded or put aside after a while in the afterlife while it is the core consciousness (what you call personal identity) that survives for eternity. Personality is dependent upon gender, physical form and development, education, environment, experience, and other physical attributes. These are all variables which the embodied consciousness has little control once the choice to become embodied has been made. In the larger scheme of things, those variables are superficial attributes which are subject to change over a lifetime.  Personality is not static but evolves as one grows.  If personality is what survives, then I have to ask, “Which one? Infant, child, adolescent, young man, mature adult, old man, or senile old coot!  Actually, none of them; it is the core consciousness that survives. It is ageless but evolves with each incarnation. 

Although I am not wedded to a belief system, I do tend to believe that there is such a thing as reincarnation and that a core consciousness may take on another personality if and when it returns to earth or some other physical plane after death.  If one has lived several or many lives, I don’t see how any one personality is the one that survives for eternity.  It is the evolving core consciousness that survives.  Personally, if I have to reincarnate, I am looking forward to coming back as a different personality than the one I have now.  There are so many possibilities; I hope I choose wisely! - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Tue 10 May, 20:36

Using ESP as an explanation for psychic phenomena is limited.  It can of course be used as an explanation for information received by mediums from disembodied consciousnesses, i.e., the dead! My understanding is that Eleanor Sidgwick credited ESP as the mechanism by which Leonora Piper obtained the information she received while in her trance state.  That is, Sidgwick acknowledged that there may be spirit entities but they were not really interacting directly with the medium through controls, automatic writing or the medium’s voice box but that information between the medium and spirit entity was by means of ESP and Mrs. Piper was acting it all out while in trance.

ESP does not explain direct voice phenomena, apparitions, materializations,  apports, table tipping, spirit lights, electronic voice phenomena (EVP) and other physical manifestations as well as near death experiences (NDEs) reported by people who died or were close to death.  Many of the modern mental mediums explain their method of communication as seeing, hearing, and feeling things which, they have to interpret to get the meaning. That seems to me as a kind of ESP. If so, that doesn’t change anything for me regarding the existence of spirits or an afterlife unless all of the information received is coming from living persons, which we have no way of knowing if one subscribes to ‘Super-Psi’.- AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Tue 10 May, 19:51

As Frederic Myers explains at the beginning of “Human Personality” and then documents in the following 900 pages, the bedrock principle in psychical research is ESP. He and most of us here assume that ESP has been proved; i.e., that human beings (and perhaps, even more so, animals) are able to communicate without using the physical senses. The only remaining dispute about ESP, at least for us, is the source of the information it picks up, whether it is always of terrestrial origin or includes otherworldly communications.

Such is the seemingly intransigent divide we come to in this area: spirit communication vs. super-psi. For the vast majority of believers, I submit, this divide has little to do with the existence of the afterlife. Rather, it has only to do with whether the incarnate can receive from the discarnate communications about the afterlife, or whether we, while in the body, must repose in faith and trust as so many have reposed for millennia.

This, I believe, is where something like the God question comes into play in primary, not secondary, fashion. Would our faith in the afterlife crumble if the super-psi explanation turned out to be true, proved sufficient to cover the gamut of ESP from transmissions of facts and sudden inspirations to visions and mediumship and NDEs? I’m reminded of Hyslop’s observation that Christianity blundered in wedding itself to a particular cosmology, destined to be dated.

Newton E. Finn, Tue 10 May, 16:59

Hi all,

I am new here and had a question I hoped folks could weigh in on.

If consciousness does survive death, what exactly does that mean? Does it mean our personalities survive for eternity? Would it not get boring to have our consciousness (personality, thoughts, etc) exist for eternity in some other dimension? What do mediums say about this question?

I do not really believe in reincarnation but if we reincarnate I assume it must mean we lose our personal identities every time we reincarnate and take on different psychological traits.

I appreciate any thoughts on the above.


Ian, Tue 10 May, 15:44

Good morning Eric…

Not to speak for Keith (he can correct me if I’m wrong) but I believe the book he’s speaking of is Swan on a Black Sea. In any event, it’s not mine, as he hasn’t seen it.

My hope is that Spiritual Reality and the Afterlife will be up on Amazon (print version only, no e-book) late this month or (more likely) sometime in June. Will let you and others here know as soon as it’s available…

Don Porteous, Tue 10 May, 14:21

Dear All

I mentioned to Mike previously that Winifred’s son Henry is the subject of a book published in the UK last year (nothing to do with WC). Henry might not have believed in an afterlife in 1957 but it appears in his later life he had a change of heart. See intro and link below.

“Have you watched the new James Bond film and thought it was a little too far-fetched?

“Well, read the story of Henry Coombe-Tennant’s life and think again.
Born in Neath in 1913, Henry was a decorated World War Two hero, and worked for both the Special Operations Executive and MI6.

“In later life, in a dramatic departure from the traditional spy persona, he became a Benedictine monk.

“His fascinating story has been charted by historian and author Bernard Lewis in a new biography, “Wales’ Unknown Hero: Soldier, Spy, Monk - The Life of Henry Coombe-Tennant.””

Jon, Tue 10 May, 11:12

Mike I agree with Keith Parsons, these bits are extremely helpful.

Wendy Zammit, Tue 10 May, 10:02

Lots of food for thought here, Michael; thanks!

Bill Ingle, Mon 9 May, 22:26

Dear Don,

Yes, indeed. The real main topic of Christianity is, and I think should be, love, but the Church has always produced doctrines, and imposed the requirement to adhere to them, and so has veered off course. These doctrinal inventions, imposed on believers, have been an unnecessary burden and have obscured that other component of Christianity (love) with which mediumistic utterances could find the most harmony. As mediumship involves interpretation of what the spirit world is trying to communicate there would be errors, but in attempting to fix spirit communications it would resemble the process of Old Testament-type prophecy.

The latest news of your book that I have is that you expect to publish soon. Is that correct? If so, please let me know how to obtain a copy.

Keith Parsons refers to a book, but I cannot discern which book he refers to. His videos are excellent, his diction virtually perfect, as admirable as they are easy to listen to.

Eric F

Eric Franklin, Mon 9 May, 21:09

It is very helpful that you should trawl through this book and bring together the bits on how mediumship operates. I read this book what seems like eons ago, right at the beginning of my interest in afterlife evidence, and was under-impressed with parts of it, because of what I regarded as its abstruse-ness. Now I am more knowledgeable I may appreciate it more & should read it again. Thanks.

Keith P in England., Mon 9 May, 20:08


An interesting “thought experiment” you propose—-one that, as you know, would be operating in the same arena as the “consolidated” spirit opinions presented in my book.

For the “conventional Christian” the information generated by an effort such as you propose would in all likelihood (assuming it follows a similar pattern to that which my own researches uncovered) be a bit off-putting, as the general drift of spirit-opinion tends to be distinctly “non-doctrinal” to put it mildly—-while still tallying closely with the most basic underlying (and far more important) thoughts expressed by Jesus (Love thy neighbor, etc…).

Don Porteous, Mon 9 May, 18:33

One other point worth making clearly: I believe myself (and would like to hear what others think), that what we call mediumship, is in all its aspects, the very same process, with the very same dangers of adulterated transmission (and therefore just as unreliable), as Old Testament prophecy. Insofar as the last century and a half’s mediumship is Christian, it can be seen as New Testament prophecy. To confirm this hypothesis, a little thought experiment would help: We could consider, and then describe, the features a process would have that a conventional Christian would recognise as God-given prophecy in our age, and I believe the description would tally with what others call the fruits of mediumship.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Mon 9 May, 13:55

Dear Mike,

Thank you for sending this. Your blogs do seem to be reaching me as and when they should, now that my computer’s OS has learned some arcane technicality deep in its subconscious. I am extremely grateful that you have been taking the trouble to ensure that I get the blogs, and Jon is doing likewise. Perhaps, now, Mac OS X has also realised it must let them through.

I am one of those who have read ‘Swan on a Black Sea’ several times, and find it highly evidential, and to have your own commentary on it, always so rational and without any histrionics, is refreshing and helpful. I think that is your great strength, Mike. Alway a rational view, well explained. We owe you a lot.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Mon 9 May, 11:08

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The Only Planet of Choice: Visitations – Many people use the word ‘Alien’ to describe a visitor from outer space. Extra terrestrial is another word, which is rather more user friendly. For the sake of the question and answer format, the word used by the questioner has been left, though even Tom questions our use of‘Alien’. Should we wish to foster openess between all beings of the Universe perhaps we should also look at our vocabulary? In a discussion between Andrew and Tom many years earlier, Andrew had asked Tom about UFOs and whether they were created manifestations. Tom had replied: “Many of the flying things that you call UFOs come from our place, but they come from other places also, and they do come in physical form. But many of them are not physical. They are like your movie screen”. Read here
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