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Debunking the Debunkers:  Living to Living Communication

Posted on 01 June 2015, 19:25

The annals of psychical research and books about mediumship contain a number of cases in which what was initially thought to be a “dead” person communicated through the medium, but it was later determined that the communicator was still alive.  “Fake!  Fraud!  Charlatan!” the pseudoskeptics were quick to charge in those cases.  Such cases are still cited by debunkers as proof of fraud.  However, these “know nothings” apparently do not consider the evidence suggesting that living humans are able to leave their bodies and telepathically communicate with other living humans.

In the mediumship of Poland’s Franek Kluski, as discussed in this blog of two weeks ago, Colonel Norbert Okolowicz reported the case of a phantom of a living person appearing to sitters at a Kluski séances.  One of them was the father of a sitter at the séance, who appeared to his daughter with a confused expression in his eyes.  The concerned daughter sent a telegram to the family in another town and determined that her father was alive, but was ill and unconscious with a high fever at the time she saw his phantom, ghost, double, spirit body, perispirit, or whatever name might be given to it.

Okolowicz also reported that Kluski received automatic writing messages from about 150 entities, using different handwriting and different styles of expression.  Six or seven of them were identified as being living persons not present but asleep at the time. According to Zofia Weaver, who translated Okolowicz’s book and added commentary to it, the communication usually took the form of a dialogues between a participant at the séance and the entity. Apparently, it was confirmed in some of the cases that the correspondent had “dreamt” the conversation.

Beatrice Gibbes, a researcher who dedicated much of her life to observing and assisting Geraldine Cummins, (below) a renowned Irish automatic writing medium, reported on a case involving Mrs. Napier Webb, an old friend of Cummins’ who was seriously injured in a hunting accident during March 1944.  Brain surgery was performed during May and it was considered doubtful that she would survive it.  On the evening of May 25, Gibbes and Cummins were supposed to go to tea and then a film in London, but Cummins had a sudden urge to write.  After Cummins was seated and went into a trance with pen in hand, Astor, her spirit control, communicated that a strange woman was close by but he didn’t know what she wanted.  Before Gibbes, who was seated at the table, could finish telling Astor to ask her who she was and what she wanted, the pen appeared to be seized and wrote “Tid Webb.”  Tid was the pet name of Mrs. Webb.


Tid Webb wrote:  “My dear Geraldine.  It is strange how my thoughts have gone out to you in this dreadful time.  I am in two worlds.  I am not dead but I may be soon.  I can’t talk to anyone.  I want to tell them things: how I was with B___ (her son killed in Hong Kong early in the war).  He took me into a world so brilliant I can’t describe it.  This is just a little visit to beg you, if you go over to Ireland, not to lose sight of my darling… (her young and only daughter).  The boys are all right but she is so young…The doctor has been here and I could see that he still thinks I have a little chance – that I may struggle back, and I want to so much, perhaps I shall.  If I don’t recover, promise me you will do as I ask.”

Gibbes replied to Webb, explaining that Cummins was in a trance but that she would inform of her of the request as soon as she was fully conscious.  Webb replied:  “Oh, Miss Gibbes.  Of course I see you now.  Thank you so much.  Now that queer cord is beginning to pull at me.” Gibbes asked her if she was in a coma at the time. “I saw my body lying there and I am still bound to it by a silvery cord – a bit frayed, you know,” Webb responded.
Astor took back control and told Gibbes that he did not think that the woman had passed over because he could see the cord of life still there. But he could tell that she was in and out of her body.  A mutual friend later wrote to Cummins and said that Mrs. Webb was still alive but that she appeared to be “half or more than half with the others, and only comes back with an effort when one comes in and speaks.”  She died about three months later.

Similarly, trance medium and clairvoyant Gladys Osborne Leonard reported seeing and communicating with her husband’s spirit body before he actually died.  With a nurse watching over her husband, who had been very ill for a number of days but seemed to be improving, Mrs. Leonard took a walk on the beach outside of their cottage.  She became aware of a vague, shadowy form walking next to her and talking to her.  “Don’t worry, little woman, don’t worry,” her husband told her. Thinking he might have died, Leonard raced home and found her husband in a deep sleep.  When he awoke he told her that he had been out on the seafront and was talking to people, although he did not remember talking to Gladys.  “This experience made me quite certain that my husband’s soul body was loosening its hold on the physical counterpart in spite of the recent improvement in his condition,” Leonard wrote, further mentioning that she had clairvoyantly witnessed the “double” of several other people before their actual deaths. 

Camille Flammarion, a renowned French astronomer and psychical researcher, cited the case of Dr. C. J. Romanes, an eminent English scientist.  Romanes reported that while he was awake in his bedroom, he saw a white form come into his room, grazing the head of his bed as it passed, and then come to a halt at the foot of the bed.  “Suddenly, lifting its hand, the form withdrew the veils which hid its face, and I was able to distinguish the features of my sister, who had been ill for some time in that very house,” Romanes reported. “I called to her, crying out her name, and I saw her vanish instantly.”

Although his sister was ill at the time, her doctor did not consider it serious.  Nevertheless, she died a few days later.  “We may suppose that the subconscious mind of the invalid had a perception of imminent death, as opposed to the conscious personality which did not suspect it,” Flammarion gave his theory. 

The great German polymath Johann Wolfgang von Goethe reported that while he was walking with a friend one day, he was halted by an apparition of another friend, Frederick, who was believed to be in another city at the time.  When Goethe started speaking to Frederick, the person then walking with Goethe thought he had gone mad, as he saw nothing.  When Frederick vanished, Goethe wondered if his friend had died.  Upon arriving home, Goethe discovered that Frederick was there, having a little earlier arrived in Weimar from his town, and then having gone to sleep in an arm chair while waiting for Goethe to arrive home.  Frederic then related a dream he had had while sleeping in the arm chair. He encountered Goethe and described the scene and words used by Goethe when Goethe saw him.   

William T. Stead, (below) a British journalist and author, developed the ability to do automatic writing and asked Julia Ames, the spirit communicating with him, to explain how automatic writing worked. She told him that his mind was not “trammeled by the limitations of matter” and thus he was a good “instrument.”  She further informed him that he could also receive messages from his friends still alive in the earth realm in much the same way.  “All minds are in contact with each other throughout the whole universe,” Julia explained, “and you can always speak and address any person’s mind wherever that person may be, if you more or less know that person.”  She added that “your real self, what you would call your Ego, sits behind both your physical senses and your mind, using either as it pleases.”


Stead decided to experiment by asking a lady in Gloucestershire to sit at 10:30 a.m. and try to make something known to him in London.  They were to immediately post a letter to each other, she telling him what she was trying to communicate and he telling her what he received.  Upon receiving the woman’s letter, Stead was disappointed, noting that he had captured only one of seven distinct statements.  But a few days later, he received another letter from the woman stating, “This is more wonderful than anything.  You know that you have scarcely written anything that I willed you to write, but you have written nearly everything that kept bobbing into my mind without my will at all.  When I was saying to myself, ‘I want to tell you so and so,’ it kept coming into my mind, ‘tell him so and so,’ and I thought, ‘No, that is of no interest to him,’ or ‘that will only trouble him,’ and you have got all the things written down in London that kept coming as it were spontaneously into my mind at Gloucestershire at the time that I was willing to write another set of things.”
The spirit “control” for another medium told Stead that he had a “very loose soul.”  When Stead asked what that meant, it was explained to him that his soul is very loosely connected to his body and thus he was “able to allow other minds to be hitched on” to his hand.  Persons whose souls are closely knit, he was further informed, are not able to be used in that way. 

There are many other cases of such out-of-body travel and telepathic communication that could be cited.  The bottom line is that they in no way nullify the spirit hypothesis. 

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

Next blog: June 15


I love it!  Those who complain that there can’t be after-death communication because there is no survival after death are just as upset by communication from living persons!  There is no pleasing them.

Elene Gusch, Tue 16 Jun, 22:02

Mike, Interesting post. It makes sense to me that mediums might occasionally communicate with the spirits of the living. Also, that people undergoing an NDE might do the same. After all, if we are spirits first and foremost, then the spirits of the of the incarnate should be able to do pretty much anything the spirits of the disincarnate can do.

There was a period in my life many years ago - a couple or three years - when I frequently had out-of-body-experiences (OBEs). These started spontaneously, but I eventually learned to induce them at will and exercise some degree of control over them. In one session I kind of lost control and found myself moving through my neighbor’s house (I didn’t know the new neighbor and had never been in the house). Later, when the neighbor met me, she remarked that she had thought she had seen me walking through her house in the middle of the night. Then she thought it was just a dream when she realized that no one was really there. My research tells me that these things happen from time to time with people having OBEs. I imagine that if the neighbor had been a medium, we could have had a conversation. That would have been interesting!

Erich Avedisian, Sun 7 Jun, 13:04

Hello, Mike, I have a personal experience about psychically communicating with those still in this world. Six years ago, suffering from distress due to lack of communication with a loved one, I approached a local psychic, who happens to be extremely skillful at what she does. At the time, I did not know if it was possible to have a communication of the sort I wished for. Also, to preserve the authenticity of any message, I gave the psychic no details about the situation, only that I wished to have information about someone. I had been to her several times before, and had also witnessed her giving messages to others, and what I secretly proposed had never come up in any prior transmission. A minute or two into my session, she suddenly became very alert and exclaimed, “Hey, this isn’t about someone on the other side, is it!” When I heard that, I knew I was plugged into a good source, and that her guides or mine were directing this, and knew what I wanted. To summarize the final result, I learned things about my absent friend that were most evidential and would later prove to be spot on.

W Becker, Fri 5 Jun, 23:38

Hi, Mike,
I like the term having a “very loose soul.”
Many people who have had NDEs come back with a loose soul, and find themselves having been sensitized to spirits and people’s thoughts. I guess their souls were highly stretched from their bodies, and return to them more loosely connected, and more in touch with the next “dimension.”
Also, when we’re sleeping, all of our souls are “looser,” so people who don’t consider themselves psychic are able to receive after-death communications, which we call dream visitations. Thanks for your well-written thoughts on the matter, Mike!

Jane Katra, Thu 4 Jun, 00:25

Very informative article. Most people do not realize that spirits of the living can communicate via mediumship.
Terribly ill friends and relatives have throughout the years communicated at our spirit communication sessions although
still living in the material world.
Allan Kardec, paranormal researcher and educator, addressed this phenomena in his book The Mediums’ Book in Part II, Chapter XXV item no. 284 - Evocation of Living Persons.
Great job on bringing to light these types of spirit communications.
Yvonne Limoges

Yvonne Limoges, Tue 2 Jun, 23:08

Thanks, Mike.  This is a good article on the subject not often noted or dealt with and expands the possibilities of the other dimensions of life here and beyond.

Richard Batzler, Tue 2 Jun, 06:05

Mike, this is one of the finest pieces you’ve ever done.  I had no idea there were so many of this type communication in the literature, and all the more amazing to me is it that you knew where to go to find them. I’ve long been troubled by these living-to-living communications but am no more.  I am once again indebted to you.

Stafford Betty, Mon 1 Jun, 21:38

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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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