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Ectoplasm: Hokey but True?

Posted on 11 February 2013, 5:09

It is difficult not to laugh or even scoff at some of the photos of supposed materialized spirits one comes across in books or on the Internet.  Some of these photos are hokey,  bizarre, and absolutely ridiculous.  Who in his right mind would possibly believe that such ludicrous objects are spirits of the dead?  Consider the photo below, which shows a supposed spirit form developing out of ectoplasm produced by British medium Helen Duncan.  Clearly, it is a fake, right?  I wouldn’t be so sure.  At least, the photo in itself does not prove that Duncan was a fraud, as any “rational” person might assume. 

duncan

Or consider the photo below of an entity called Bien Boa, which materialized in the presence of Dr. Charles Richet through the mediumship of Marthe Beraud, also known as Eva C.  It looks a little more realistic than the Duncan materialization, but appears to have no legs and is hokey nonetheless.  But Richet, a Nobel Prize winner in medicine, had no doubt that it was real.  “I shall not waste time in stating the absurdities, almost the impossibilities, from a psycho-physiological point of view, of this phenomenon,” Richet wrote.  “A living being, or living matter, formed under our eyes, which has it proper warmth, apparently a circulation of blood, and a physiological respiration (as I proved by causing the form of Bien Boa to breathe into a flask containing baryta water), which has also a kind of psychic personality having a will distinct from the will of the medium, in a word, a new human being!  This is surely the climax of marvels!  Nevertheless, it is a fact.”

boa

Richet added that Bien Boa walked and moved, and his eyes could be seen looking around, and when he tried to speak his lips moved. He also floated in the air, far out of the reach of the medium, and vanished into the floor under his eyes three times, only to reappear, “bowing like an actor who receives applause.”

Along with Doctors Gustave Geley and Albert Schrenck-Notzing, two respected scientists, Richet observed the materialization process from the beginning.  “A kind of liquid or pasty jelly emerges from the mouth or the breast of Marthe which organizes itself by degrees, acquiring the shape of a face or limb,” he further reported. “Under very good conditions of visibility, I have seen this paste spread on my knee, and slowly take form so as to show the rudiment of the radius, the cubitus, or metacarpal bone whose increasing pressure I could feel on my knee.”

Richet further explained that the materializations were usually gradual, beginning with a rudimentary shape with complete forms and human faces only appearing later on.  At times, they waited for two to three hours for a full materialization.  “At first these formations are often very imperfect. Sometimes they show no relief, looking more like flat images than bodies, so that in spite of oneself one is inclined to imagine some fraud, since what appears seems to be the materialization of a semblance, and not of a being.  But in some cases, the materialization is perfect.”

Richet’s comments might very well explain why the Duncan materialization appears so imperfect. That is, it was incomplete and may never have progressed beyond that point because the medium was not strong enough or the discarnate attempting to materialize was incapable of doing so.
.
In one sitting, a communicating entity told Richet that he was unable to materialize because he could not remember what he looked like when alive.  However, the spirit later materialized without a face. 

In her 1892 book, There is No Death, Florence Marryat, a popular writer of the Victorian era, told of a sitting with a medium in which an old family friend, John Powles, communicated but initially declined to materialize.  Peter, the medium’s spirit control, communicated that “he doesn’t want to show himself because he’s not a bit like what he used to be.” 

However, when Marryat persuaded Powles to show himself, she saw only a face that didn’t resemble her old friend in the slightest.  She wrote that it was “hard, stiff, and unlifelike.  Powles then told her that he would try to do better the next time.


For the next sitting, Marryat brought along a necktie that had belonged to Powles, keeping it in her pocket and telling no one about it.  Soon after the séance began, Peter told Marryat to hand over the necktie and put it on Powles’ neck.  “The face of John Powles appeared, very different from the time before, as he had his own features and complexion, but his hair and beard which were auburn during life, appeared phosphoric, as though made by living fire,” Marryat wrote, adding that she then mounted a chair, put the tie around his neck and asked if she could kiss him.  Powles shook his head, but Peter then told her to give him her hand. “I did so, and as he kissed it his moustaches burned me,” Marryat wrote.  “I cannot account for it.  I can only relate the fact.  After which he disappeared with the necktie, which I have never seen since, though we searched the little room for it thoroughly”.

As I understand it from other research in this area, the discarnate must visualize his or her old self and project that image into the ectoplasm.  The ability of discarnates to do this apparently varies as much as artistic ability varies among incarnates.  While some people have artistic talents and might do a good self portrait, my self-portrait would look more ridiculous than the Duncan materialization above. 

When William T. Stead first materialized after dying in the Titanic disaster, only his face appeared. When he was asked about this, he said that he visualized only his face. He explained that it was explained to him by other entities that he had to visualize himself among the people in the flesh and imagine that he was standing there in the flesh with a strong light thrown upon himself.  “Hold the visualization very deliberately and in detail, and keep it fixed upon my mind, that at that moment I was there and they were conscious of it,” Stead explained.  It was in the same way he was able to get a message through.  He stood by the most sensitive person there, concentrated his mind on a short sentence, and repeated it with much emphasis and deliberation until he could hear part of it spoken by the person.

Although I cannot immediately recall the reference, I do remember a case in which a researcher asked a spirit to show himself on a photographic plate. The spirit said he had to quickly visit his old home to view a photograph of himself before he could project his image on to the photographic plate, as he, too, didn’t remember what he looked like when alive. . He returned in a matter of seconds and the photograph that developed looked very much like the portrait on the mantel at his old house.

Likewise, materializations of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Raymond Lodge which manifested in the research of Dr. T. Glen Hamilton of Canada looked like old photos of them, which immediately suggested fraud.  But think about it, if you had to telepathically project an image of yourself to someone, what would the self-image be based on?  What you see when shaving or applying make-up in the morning or a good photograph of yourself?  I’m pretty sure that I would visualize myself based on a 40-year-old photograph.  I know that when I sometimes look in the mirror I wonder who it is looking back at me and that person in the mirror does not match the more idealized likeness I have of myself.  And I know that when I think of my brother, who died in an accident 40 years ago, I picture him as he appeared in a high-school graduation photo, not as he appeared in some fleeting moment in our interaction during his lifetime.

Keep in mind also that before photography and quality mirrors, many people had no clear-cut idea as to what they looked like.  If you had no photographs of yourself from your childhood, would you know what you looked like at age 7 or 10? I don’t think I would. 

This might also explain why several early materialized spirits looked something like the medium.  The most famous case in this regard is that of Katie King, who materialized through the mediumship of Florence Cook.  Because many observers concluded that Katie looked like Florence, there was speculation that Florence was somehow doing a fast costume change, even though the room was thoroughly investigated beforehand and no costumes found. 

But Sir William Crookes, a famous British scientist, said that Katie was much taller than Florence and, in fact, saw them both at the same time – Florence in trance inside the cabinet and Katie in a materialized form. The reason that Katie looked so much like Florence may have been because Katie lived before photography and did not have a fixed image of herself, only that she was much taller than Florence.  Thus, she identified with Florence’s image.  As far-fetched as that may seem, it makes more sense, to me at least, than other explanations offered by debunkers.  . 

“To suggest that these trained observers were all deceived by fraudulent operations, those stupid and very tiresome performances which mislead no one but the uninformed and gullible, is to offer an explanation which offends our reason and shows willful indifference to truth,” Hamilton wrote, referring to Crookes, Richet, Geley, Schrenck-Notzing, Sir Oliver Lodge, Alfred Russel Wallace, and other esteemed men of science who witnessed materializations.

Schrenck-Notzing also observed that the cynical press was quick to accept unsubstantiated debunking reports and sensationalize them, thereby defaming innocent people.  These sensationalized reports then became “fact” as far as the public was concerned and later became part of standard reference books, muddying up the waters so that people today don’t know what to believe.  I find it easier to believe that those esteemed men of science were competent investigators than that they were duped in dozens, even hundreds, of materializations. 

“This ectoplasmic formation at the expense of the physiological organism of the medium is now beyond all dispute,” said Richet, who won the Nobel Prize for his research on anaphylaxis, the sensitivity of the body to alien protein substances.  “It is prodigiously strange, prodigiously unusual, and it would seem so unlikely as to be incredible; but we must give in to the facts…Yes, it is absurd; but no matter – it is true.”

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

 

Next blog post:  February 25        


Comments

Forests writes That is NOT me!! ….. I am not “Darryl” or Exterminator, they were false accounts pretending to be me

According to a skeptiko moderator forum post Forests = Darryl = Exterminator, both the latter names were banned from forum. So you are now claiming that a person making the same arguments as you, same spelling mistakes as you, is impersonating you. That is quite a conspiracy theory.

Is it the real you or the fake ‘Forests’  that is falsely implying ‘Open Mind’ on another forum that is a (banned) poster called mu on skeptiko forum after I told you this is false!

Forests claims Rudi Schneider was caught cheating by six different scientists.

Utter nonsense. Your Rational Wiki article is error after error and you probably do not know how absurd it is due to taking on faith prejudiced political materialist resources like the ‘skeptics dictionary’ and it’s biased selective reporting.

Forests writes ‘....anyone please email me and we discuss any of this in further detail if you are interested in any evidence against Duncan, Piper or Schneider etc. Cheers. ...

I accept the challenge.  I can correct your Rational Wiki article on Rudi Schneider line by line. All you have to do is agree to join the skeptiko forum and explain your errors … and I can ask moderators to check your ISP doesn’t match a long list of previously banned posters.
Do you accept the challenge to debate the Rudi Schneider case based upon your own article on the Skeptiko forum?

Open Mind

Open Mind, Wed 6 Mar, 18:53

Open mind! What is your obession with this Fodor character? That is NOT me!!. It seems that user is a skeptic who is educated about anomalistic psychology. I would shake his hand if I knew him but his knowledge seems more than me on psychology, i am only interested in debunking spiritualism, I found a study debunking psi but I don’t usually focus on psi. my beef is not with the psi believers, it is just with the spiritualists. tony cornell was a believer in psi but wrote that all physical mediumship was fraud, i would of shaken his hand!

I am not a fan of wikipedia, they shoot down spiritualist claims which is great, but they endorse the Big Bang fraud amongst other things that I disagree with.

I am not “Darryl” or Exterminator, they were false accounts pretending to be me amongst countlss of others. You obviously dont understand how wikipedia works, it goes with the consenus. ie. those reliable scientific sources, not a single spiritualist book. Users who try and add fringe views on the paranormal or conspiracy theories to articles on wikipedia are banned.

I used to be a believer in spiritualism lol. you think I started off as a total skeptic? I was a member of the SPR and spent money on spiritualist books even got invited to a seance once, it was total fraud. I picked up the books of trevor hall, Milbourne Christopher, Eric Dingwall, Houdini and Joseph F. Rinn et al and I realised I had been duped!

Rudi Schneider was caught cheating by six different scientists. It is obvious that you wont accept a single medium has ever cheated, this is an odd attitude considering most parapsychologists even accept physical mediumship is fraud, see Max Dessoir, Alan Gauld, Tony Cornell, Brian Inglis, Harry Price, H. H. Price, D. Scott Rogo, C. D. Broad, J. B. Rhine, William Mcdougall, Théodore Flournoy and Hilary Evans etc al. All the dudes in your own field who are devout believers in psi don’t even believe in mediumship.

But I agree there is no point in discussing this subject anymore becuase you are a true believer and I am the opposite, we wont find any middle ground!. please email me on the email address I left on Prince Emmanuel’s talk page on rationalwiki. I can send you details which debunk Duncan or other mediums. I also figured out that Piper was a fraud, she was doing muscle reading in some of her seances, (look it up) it is a mentalistic technique.

I would appreciate if the admin of this would let this last comment through, please!! i honestly wont reply anymore and anyone please email me and we discuss any of this in further detail if you are interested in any evidence against Duncan, Piper or Schneider etc. Cheers. Enjoy the rest of your discussion.

forests, Tue 5 Mar, 22:43

Forests writes ’...Open Mind you are wrong about Duncan using no blindfolds, have a look on google images. Duncan did use blindfolds thoughout her career: ..’

You are not listening. Duncan only used a blindfold to protect her eyes, apparently due to potential damage to rapid ectoplasm recoil during flash photography. That is why it is in many photographs have blindfolds.  If you have a source that claims otherwise, quote it.  Also are arguing against yourself, it is you who is arguing Duncan was performing a puppet show (in red light) are you seriously going to argue she wore a blindfold while doing so?


http://survivalafterdeath.info/photographs/duncan/baby.htm
In the above photo is an early seance, way before Price. Notice the plastic childrens doll wrapped in cloth.

How did you measure it was ‘plastic’? Price didn’t use this photograph, it is not regarded as particularly damaging to Duncan case (2) The above photograph seems to have different history compared to the 2 grotesque doll heads Price used.  (3) The faces of other sitters is cut out of shot in the Price/Maule source photographs, unlike others which show other sitters.

Forests writes ‘...One last thing your claim of a conspiracy theory comes from The story of Helen Duncan, materialisation medium by Alan Ernest Crossley. Crossley was a convinced spiritualist, the book was published by Psychic World Classic. This is not a neutral source or a scientific source. ..’
You are not listening. The conspiracy long predates Crossley, it emerged not long after after Price’s tests and a series of events all involving Price directly or indirectly. Roy Firebrace (of British Intelligence)  tested Duncan prior to Harry Price in 1931, it was Brigadier Roy Firebrace, head of Scottish Military Intelligence during WW2 who reported Duncan in 1940s to British Intelligence stating she had correctly reported sunk ship, his family confirm that is what triggered the police raid in a TV documentary (as did Firebrace to others) i.e. the reasons given for the Duncan arrest are not what pseudoskeptical revisionists wish to argue.

Forests writes ‘...You have also been claiming on michael prescotts blog that no photographs were used against Duncan. This is false, as I said read the book …’ ?
You are not listening. Your favourate doll-headed ones were not used in the court cases. Molly Goldney asked Price why he didn’t provide them to the prosecution.

  In 1944 years Duncan came out of Prison, a policeman raided Duncan house and they witnessed a cheesecloth dolls spinning across the room. When the lights were turned on the doll was not found. Duncan’s husband had hidden it. 
You are not listening. That is the 1956 event. Nothing was captured by police. They even returned the following day to search for a spirit dog they had seen during… nothing. 

Also google search Helen Duncan cheesecloth, for over 40 photos that look like cheesecloth, how do you get round this? Even stitching is visable and rubber gloves.
You are not listening. Most of them with one or two exceptions emerge via one man .. Harry Price… who faked photographing a radio wave in 1899 (his achievement is missing from his library). He lied about the date existence of his Rudi Schneider photograph in 1932. He was accused of faking photographs in other cases. He assistant during the Duncan tests was Molly Goldney whom Duncan accused of trying to frame her, Goldney lied in at least once séance. Price’s other assistant Joad was caught lying about attending a séance he never did and when silent when challenged. Apart from this Price has connections suggestive of working for British Intelligence.

. To keep on believing would be a case of true believer syndrome and such a thing is what we find with religious fundamentalists.
You are not listening. I have never stated Duncan was genuine or not!!  There are many positive witness reports and 4 magicians made signed statements Duncan was not detected in fraud. I have said there was a conspiracy to arrest Duncan confirmed by the person who initiated events. I have said the photographs are not of reliable source or known circumstances. I am very skeptical of Price who endorsed cases of psychic phenomena too.
Also you are not listening properly … I never said I had not read the posts of MU!! (a poster banned from skeptiko forum, where you previously posted under the pseudonyms Darryl, Exterminator etc. ) I said I did not know who the person was who posted as MU!! which you have twisted to claim I had never read his posts …. you wiki edits are full of errors .. I could correct them. You are not reading or listening properly.
Please stop wasting my time or the time of others who will have to undo all your incorrect edits that have been copied to wikipedia via a poster called ‘Fodor Fan’.

PS Sorry to other readers, if the post has typos or missing words, letters, etc. I do not have time to proof read it.

Open Mind, Tue 5 Mar, 19:07

Forests, if the court cases against Duncan couldn’t use those photographs as evidence, neither should you. My analyst said it couldn’t be proven it was or wasn’t Duncan. More importantly, I have repeatedly said whether it is Duncan or not, it is irrelevant as evidence without knowing the circumstances of photographs. For example anyone could trick a blindfolded person to look foolish for a photograph, etc.

Forest writes ’ ...Non-physical “spirits” would not be able to talk through the physical brains of mediums, this would contradict known physics and scientific laws such as the conservation of energy.

This type of ‘conservation of energy’ argument is unproven in quantum mechanics.

<b> ‘.. This argument depends on identifying ‘standard physics’ with classical physics. The argument collapses when one goes over to contemporary [quantum] physics, in which, due to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, trajectories of particles are replaced by cloud-like structures, and in which conscious choices can influence physically described activity <i> without violating the conservation laws or any other laws of quantum physics. Contemporary physical theory allows, and its orthodox von Neumann form entails, an interactive dualism that is fully in accord with all the laws of physics. <i> Any perception merely reduces the possibilities.’ - Physicist Henry Stapp

Open Mind, Tue 5 Mar, 07:43

Open Mind you are wrong about Duncan using no blindfolds, have a look on google images. Duncan did use blindfolds thoughout her career:

http://survivalafterdeath.info/photographs/duncan/baby.htm

In the above photo is an early seance, way before Price. Notice the plastic childrens doll wrapped in cloth.

One last thing your claim of a conspiracy theory comes from The story of Helen Duncan, materialisation medium by Alan Ernest Crossley. Crossley was a convinced spiritualist, the book was published by Psychic World Classic. This is not a neutral source or a scientific source.

If want a neutral scientific source for the facts, see

You have also been claiming on michael prescotts blog that no photographs were used against Duncan. This is false, as I said read the book The trial of Mrs. Duncan which was written by a judge and contains multiple witness reports.

In 1944 years Duncan came out of Prison, a policeman raided Duncan house and they witnessed a cheesecloth dolls spinning across the room. When the lights were turned on the doll was not found. Duncan’s husband had hidden it.

Also google search Helen Duncan cheesecloth, for over 40 photos that look like cheesecloth, how do you get round this? Even stitching is visable and rubber gloves. To keep on believing would be a case of true believer syndrome and such a thing is what we find with religious fundamentalists.

forests, Tue 5 Mar, 04:20

If I thought I would learn something valid from the book I would buy Libet, Freeman and Sutherland
that Forests reckons scientifically disproves psi {e-mail, 4 March}. But I have read so many of these scientific ‘proofs’ that I grow weary of continually repeating my objections to the way evidence is selected and interpreted. The book is available from Amazon at £14 but I really don’t think it’s worth the investment just to counter Forests arguments. See my Amazon review of Stenger for example. The arguments against God are much the same as those against psi.

Dr Howard A. Jones, Tue 5 Mar, 00:57

Forests,

I wasn’t going to respond to your last comment to me about the voices since it is clear that you are stuck in the muck and mire called scientism, which is not “science.”  It is equally clear that your mind is made up and so I see no point in responding, other than to clarify things for others who might read this and be confused.  This, however, will be my final comment on this entry..

Let me begin by quoting one of the great scientists, Sir Oliver Lodge, a world-renowned physicist:    “It is not easy to unsettle minds thus fortified against the intrusion of unwelcome facts; and their strong faith is probably a salutary safeguard against that unbalanced and comparatively dangerous condition called ‘open-mindedness,’ which is ready to learn and investigate anything not manifestly self-contradictory and absurd.”  Of course, one can put his own definition to the word “absurd.” 

First of all, no one has said that the medium’s brain is used when materialized spirits are speaking.  Indications are that it is the independent voice, or direct voice, which seems to by-pass the medium’s brain. In the direct voice, or independent voice, the spirit entity molds its own voice box or larynx from the ectoplasm and speak independent of the medium.  Mrs. Piper, for example, was a trance voice medium, and the words came through her mouth after apparently being filtered through her brain. In the independent voice,  such as that discussed with Etta Wriedt (see October 2011 entry), the voices come through independent of the medium’s vocal cords, usually emanating from above the medium’s body.  Mrs. Wriedt was not in a trance and could be talking to the person next to her as the “voices” came through.  With Independent Voice mediumship, there have been times when two or three voices could be heard at one time, each talking to a different person in the room.  Exactly how the medium’s mind contributes to the direct or independent voice, if at all, is unknown.  In other words, science hasn’t figured it out.  It might come as a surprise to you that “science” is still expanding, still learning, has not yet figured out everything. In fact, indications are that science is still in the elementary stages. 

Levitation also defies the known laws of science, but there is simply too much evidence in support of levitation to reject it. There are just so many things in the whole spiritual realm that are beyond science and only an ignorant person would say that science has figured out everything.  How does one understand non-linear time?  I don’t pretend to grasp it, but quantum theory suggests that non-linear time exists. 

You brought up Bessie Beals before and I intended to discuss her in a future blog if I can ever find my references – references which indicate that discarnates cannot always distinguish between the “living” and the “dead.”  Indications are that we are living in two or more worlds at once.  Our higher self is in the spirit world and the lower self that we recognize is in the lower or material world.  Thus, spirits in search of other spirits are not always certain that they have contacted the “lower” person, rather than the “higher” one or another fragment of the higher one.  It may be that the lower person is sleeping at the time while his higher self is doing things on the other side, although there are indications that the lower person can be awake and doing things while other aspects of the same person are doing things elsewhere, even living multiple lives at the same “time.” 

All that may seem like a cop-out to you, but the e bottom line is that you cannot take refuge in science for things science has yet to figure out.

I said earlier that I have never erased or rejected your comments as I don’t have the ability or means to do that.  The entries, even this one, go to a webmaster first and he posts them.  However, I see no point in going around in circles on this as you are not prepared to recognize the limitations of science and thus I will ask the webmaster to reject any future comments from you.  Others are being turned away by your fundamentalism and I simply don’t have the time or desire to answer you each time, when it is clear that you are not ready to understand.  Perhaps in time you will. I will pray for you in that regard. wink

Michael Tymn, Tue 5 Mar, 00:39

Open mind the Duncan debate on here has been finished , but I sent the Duncan photos to my brother who is a forensic anthropologist student and he has compared the photographs and used various techniques such as metric characters and an analysis of the phenotypic features of her face and head, he told me it is the same lady. You don’t have to believe me, but it is!.

forests, Mon 4 Mar, 12:38

http://www.wjh.harvard.edu/~moulton/Moulton_Kosslyn_2008_Neuroimaging_Psi.pdf

Scientific paper disproving psi.

Non-physical “spirits” would not be able to talk through the physical brains of mediums, this would contradict known physics and scientific laws such as the conservation of energy. See:

Wilson, D. L. (1999). Mind-brain interaction and the violation of physical laws. In B. Libet, A. Freeman, & K. Sutherland (Eds.), The volitional brain (pp. 185-200). Thorverton, UK: Imprint Academic.

Mohrhoff, U. (1999). The physics of interaction. In B. Libet, A. Freeman, & K. Sutherland (Eds.), The volitional brain (pp. 165-184). Thorverton, UK: Imprint Academic.

Any opinion on this Michael Tymn how do you get round these facts?

forests, Mon 4 Mar, 06:43

Open Mind and Michael,

Thanks for our concluding comments.  A concluding remark on my part.  I suspect that “soul mist” is related to ectoplasm.  Ever since my blog about soul mist during October 2010, people have been leaving comments now and then about their personal experiences with soul mist.  One that was left today reads:

“Several years ago I tried to kill myself by ingesting many pills. A while
after taking the pills and while I laid in my bed, I saw a grey mist coming
out of my chest and abdomen. Fortunately, I did not die but I clearly
remember this greyish, vapor like mist.”

Michael Tymn, Sat 2 Mar, 14:26

Michael Tymn, I will respect your wishes to end this discussion with this post to Forests (and one final comment upon your original topic)

Forests writes ‘..You are the only guy as David said who believes those photographs are frauds. ..’

You mean of all the armchair critics and revisionists who witnessed nothing and don’t know the origins of the photographs? 

Compare this to all the witness reports (over a hundred) …most favourable but lets add in unfavourable ones too ….  absolutely nothing like grotesque doll heads are described.

There were 2 police raids of Duncan….. none of them found doll heads.

The scientific consenus is that those photographs are Duncan, and 99% of spiritualists even accept those photos are Duncan.

There was no scientific consensus amongst the researchers who investigated.
  David speaks much sense in his post and you failed to explain his or Michaels comments on why those Price photos in his lab reveal rubber gloves and cloth on Duncan.

Ectoplasm if real would have to emerge like fine material .. a gas or liquid would disperse, a hard solid would damage body, so unless you expect it to look like hollywood, perhaps gauze like is the first step however Helen Duncan believed Price tampered with the photographs.

There are some suspicious technical aspects about the lab photographs such as objects at same distance not being in same focus, missing shadows and possibly over exposures to disguise something added later.

Does this photograph look tampered with?
http://www.harrypricewebsite.co.uk/Seance/Duncan/duncan-plates-08.htm

Open Mind, Sat 2 Mar, 11:14

“Someone sent me an e-mail that the Helen Duncan thing has gotten out of hand.  I agree.”

Personally I think the discussion has been very interesting. I’ve ordered Hartley’s book, and am at least a little bit more open to the possibility that Duncan has been defamed.

The one scenario I personally would rule out of bounds is that the puppet figures were actual materializations. This is way past my boggle threshold.

“I have never in any way cited Duncan as a medium through whom evidential information has come.”

The HMS Barham episode seems pretty evidential, though I suppose it could be argued that Duncan learned of the ship’s sinking (which was classified information) through some clandestine source.

Michael Prescott, Thu 28 Feb, 23:08

In line with my prior comment, I think we should bring this discussion to a close.  We seem to be going around in circles at this point.  I do appreciate the comments, but let’s move on.  Thank you.

Michael Tymn, Thu 28 Feb, 22:58

Open Mind I am not David, I was gonna stay away from this blog but you keep mentioning my name, so let me give you one last comment. See the talk page of the article for the skeptiko forum on the rationalwiki site it is all explained if anyone is interesting in the events surrounding me.

As for deleting those photos off rationalwiki. Not a chance mate. I don’t know who added the photo to wikipedia, I am not on that website but as they only accept scientific sources, then no, it won’t get deleted based on your conspiracy theory. I quit rationalwiki but you are wrong becuase the skeptiko forum 60% of the members on that site believe those Duncan photos were real, see the thread called physical mediumship. You are the only guy as David said who believes those photographs are frauds. I am not sure if you are trolling or you actually have fooled yourself deep down. A chat with a member from your own forum even said he thinks you have lost the plot on this one!

The scientific consenus is that those photographs are Duncan, and 99% of spiritualists even accept those photos are Duncan. I am sorry but at the end of the day you are a single guy mate and the world does not evolve around your personal opinions. David speaks much sense in his post and you failed to explain his or Michaels comments on why those Price photos in his lab reveal rubber gloves and cloth on Duncan. The doll photos are Duncan, I think it is highly irrational to invoke conspiracy theories that have no basis in reality.

All books on Duncan claim those photographs were Duncan. I suggest you look up what a consenus is. If there are 200 books and reports claiming those photographs are Duncan (there are!) then we don’t go with the single book claiming they are a hoax. If that is your logic, then aliens and creationism would be taught in the classroom and all science would fall down. I understand you want to believe and you will find a way to believe even if it is twisting the facts but please don’t claim you are correct on this one. If Helen Duncan was the earth, you are pluto my friend, that is how far you are away from the truth.

As the user below said the whole Duncan thing has got out of hand. Wasting our lives discussing this when there are productive things to be doing. When I was researching mediumship non stop all my grades at college went down the pan for two months. None of this mediumship has any basis in reality in my opinion. I am glad that I exposed some of these fraud mediums for the world to see but the subject can be addictive and for me has no basis in reality, it is magical thinking. If I want some fantasy I will stick with some sci-fi films. Perhaps sci-fi films even have more truth in them than Duncan, now that is saying a lot! Cheers. raspberry

If mediumship is true, then anybody should be able to do it, I should!! But it don’t happen and this is why it is a scam lol. There is no such thing as “psychic ability” if materializations are real then all of us should be able to do it at anytime, anyplace, not in a dark seance room lol.

I am reading dd home exposed by gordon stein. good stuff. Home is the last medium I will expose. I am even gonna draw diagrams! o well thats not for now. My exposure of home will be released in 6months or so. Have fun researching!

Forests, Thu 28 Feb, 19:15

Conclusion

David (Forests), please do the honorable thing

You have added these 2 photographs to numerous Rational Wiki and Wikipedia pages as if an authentic source, either remove these photographs completely OR or better still add Manfred Cassier’s quote I have provided to let people know the photographs were never proven to be an authentic resource.

Please also remove the photograph from the ‘skeptiko’ forum rational wiki page,  for you to claim it represents their viewpoint is not an error, not just vandalism, it is the sleaziest of tactics to discredit with disinformation.

Open Mind, Thu 28 Feb, 12:47

David writes ‘...The dolls photographs were her 100%!

Sigh ....

(1) Only a pseudoskeptic would claim a person in blindfold concealing the upper face is ‘100%’ proof of identity. Research has shown that facial recognition from the lower face is much poorer than upper face. Here the eyes have a blindfold, ears are covered, upper part of nose is covered. Fat people have more similar chin lines.

(2) We are debating whether the photograph is real or not. Arguing it looks like Duncan is not evidence it is genuine, if it faked to discredit Duncan, it is meant to look like Duncan. either by adding extra stuff to photograph or finding a look-a-like (and Esson Maule with a blindfold would looks similar to Duncan)

(3) To quote Cassier on photo ... ‘.. Price is silent about their origin in his published works, or about the circumstances under which they were taken—supposedly at Helen’s home — and Price’s correspondence with Esson Maule is missing from the files at Harry Price Library. Mr Wesencraft has no certain knowledge of these items, which may have been removed by his executors; with what purpose one cannot even guess. It is even possible that the photographs are reconstructions of what was supposed to have been seen, in line with others to be presently considered. As “exposures”, other than by the camera of Miss Esson’s photographer, they must rate low. - Manfred Cassier 1996 ‘Medium on Trial’

(4) Curiously these 2 doll head photographs Price used in his case book have the initials EM for ‘Esson Maule’ but the photographs emerged after the Esson Maule 1930s trial or Maule would have used these during court case) as Duncan did not give any seances to Maule after the court case. So although the photographs have the initials ‘EM’ on the back, Esson Maule is extremely unlikely to have been present at these photographs i.e. the source is unknown  

(5) Do you seriously think Helen Duncan, made these crude, grotesque puppet heads and invited a photographer into her own home to take pictures of these? 2 years after Harry Price ridiculing her with photographs? It doesn’t make any sense whatsoever that any trickster (as skeptics believe) would try to expose herself in such a manner.

Open Mind, Thu 28 Feb, 12:37

David writes .. Even spiritualists accept the vest incident:

“However, another exposure followed on January 5, 1932, in Edinburgh. Peggy, the materialised child control, was seized by Miss Maule and found to be identical with the medium.

“I see no escape from the conclusion,” wrote J. B. M’Indoe, President of the Spiritualists National Union in Light, Feb. 10, “that Mrs. Duncan was detected in a crude and clumsy fraud - a pitiable travesty of the phenomena she has so frequently displayed. I have no doubt that the fraud was deliberate, conscious and premeditated.”

but J. B. McIndoe changed his opinion ... he spoke at the trial and stated Esson Maule’s version of events had totally changed from what she had previously told him.

Open Mind, Thu 28 Feb, 10:18

David writes ‘.. Esson Maule was a policelady according to the book The Supernatural by Roy Stemman, see pages 114-116

Also according to Manifred Cassier’s book ‘Mediums On Trial’ it claims Esson Maule was a ‘well off member of the nursing profession’ ...

‘..I am in the process of speaking to Roy, I might even send him the link so he can comment on this blog. Hes a spiritualist, but an honest one who admits that Duncan was a fraud…’

I doubt that is Roy Stemman’s opinion (without even reading his book) ... I’d rather here Stemman speak for himself, his former boss directly witnessed the Duncan phenomena, Stemman did not.

Open Mind, Thu 28 Feb, 10:03

Someone sent me an e-mail that the Helen Duncan thing has gotten out of hand.  I agree.  My original point was that the photo, in itself, does not prove Duncan a fraud, because so many imperfect materializations were even more ridiculous looking.  I have never in any way cited Duncan as a medium through whom evidential information has come.  She may have been a genuine medium, she may have been a charlatan, she may have been a mixed medium, i.e., producing real phenomena at times and using tricks when her powers failed her.  I don’t know and I don’t really care.  There is more than enough evidence coming to us through mediums who were subjected to more scientific testing, whether Forests understands or appreciates the evidence or not. 

Forests and other pseudoskeptics can talk about Mrs. Piper’s supposed confession, Bessie Beals, and other things which they don’t understand, and which they don’t want to understand, but the evidence favoring them is overwhelming if not absolute. 

I’ll devote a future blog to explaining Bessie Beals when I find my references on her.  I’m very disorganized at the moment and am not sure when I’ll be organized again.  I know that the explanation will not satisfy Forests and others grounded in terestrial/materialistic thinking, but that is their problem. 

There is just so much of the celestial that is beyond human comprehension and materialistic thinking that it does little good to try and present the spiritual explanations.  That was the primary purpose of this blog entry, but it seems to have drifted away from that.

The bottom line is that whether Duncan was a genuine medium, a fraud, or a mixed medium is unimportant in the great scheme of things. If she was a fraud, it certainly doesn’t mean that all mediums are frauds, even if that is the way Forests and others prefer to see it.

Michael Tymn, Thu 28 Feb, 08:00

Thanks for the info, Open Mind. I’ll have to look for that book.

Still, the lab photos themselves are pretty damning, aren’t they? The “ectoplasm” has visible stitching in some shots.

Michael Prescott, Thu 28 Feb, 05:52

Esson Maule was a policelady according to the book The Supernatural by Roy Stemman, see pages 114-116. I am in the process of speaking to Roy, I might even send him the link so he can comment on this blog. Hes a spiritualist, but an honest one who admits that Duncan was a fraud.

Also I agree I made a mistake in my last comment, the vest incident was in 1932. The photographs that show dolls were not taken at Maule’s house in 1932, they were taken a year later in January 6th 1933 at Duncan’s house. This clears it up.

http://survivalafterdeath.info/mediums/duncan.htm

Even spiritualists accept the vest incident:

“However, another exposure followed on January 5, 1932, in Edinburgh. Peggy, the materialised child control, was seized by Miss Maule and found to be identical with the medium.

“I see no escape from the conclusion,” wrote J. B. M’Indoe, President of the Spiritualists National Union in Light, Feb. 10, “that Mrs. Duncan was detected in a crude and clumsy fraud - a pitiable travesty of the phenomena she has so frequently displayed. I have no doubt that the fraud was deliberate, conscious and premeditated.”

Even presidents of the spiritualists national union believe Duncan was a fraud. The dolls photographs were her 100%! No doubt needed. I am not into conspiracy theories, the police caught her red-handed.

I noticed your allegations against Price, do not come from Price himself, but come from a spiritualist author, and even yourself do not have access to these secondary sources, and you even said the photographs are not online… lol. this is because they dont exist. Honestly it is just spiritualists who were upset that Price exposed Duncan, so in response make up a load of lies. Anyone honest can see that the dolls photos were Duncan they were not a look a like.

Having a go at Harry Price makes no sense, he was actually a believer in poltergeist and ghosts, he just rejected spiritualism, that was all. He was not a materialist or skeptic.

Even if all those doll photographs were fake photos employed by the british intelligence then how do you still get round the rubber glove photographs of Duncan taken in Harry Price’s lab? You refuse to comment on these photos, they reveal cheesecloth and newspaper cut outs of peoples heads. And there is no way you can say that is not Duncan! I will let Roy step in, if he ever responds, but I will not be responding anymore. You have 100% proof Duncan was a fraud, to deny all this is to deny the real facts and that is not acceptable in my book.

Another thing Malcolm Gaskill in his book on Helen Duncan claims she never paid any tax, she traveled the country conning people to earn a living to feed her 9 children. not a nice lady. she was also 230 pounds, why would an obese conlady (and non tax payer) have a gift to communicate with the spirit world? surely if someone can really channel the dead they would be an honest person? smile

david, Wed 27 Feb, 22:57

Just to clarify ... it was me who said ‘

...Not proven ... Harry Price in the caption of his book implies that it is Duncan’s own home, read the caption below the photographs ...’

I must not make it look like David is correct when these are my words! I forgot to cut of the italics in his quote, these are my words. I am correct, not David.

David, I checked your reference ... there is no mention there Maule was police woman, do you have one? Or do you just make stuff up like Forests?

Also I’d like to apologize to readers for typos, missing words over various posts ... I am very busy at present, multitasking and short of time, with no time to proof read properly before posting. I hope the information I am posting is still intelligible and readable.

Open Mind, Wed 27 Feb, 22:25

David Writes ‘..Esson Maule was a devout spiritualist and friend of Duncan…’

Esson Maule was a sneaky woman who pretended to the Duncans that she wanted to write a book about them to help their reputations after Harry Price’s various attempts to flatten it (which were backfiring).  The Duncans did not know she was in communication with Harry Price.

David writes ‘...   Interesting that Maule was a policelady herself… Why would she lie?’

Where are you getting this crap information from? Esson Maule was an obese woman who looked like Helen Duncan smile  ..... she was nurse, suffragette, author ... she was not a police woman as far a I know, she may have been been British Intelligence though.

smile

Esson Maule is also one of Harry Price’s associates who looks curiously similar to Helen Duncan ... sweep hair back, add blindfold and and your ‘100%’ certainity that it is Duncan in those puppet headed photographs should drop down a bit wink

Open Mind, Wed 27 Feb, 19:42

David writes ‘....Here are the facts open mind has failed to explain… </i>

No, you are just waking up David, you are just several steps behind me. smile

You write ... ’.. 1. The Duncan photographs that show dolls were taken in the top-floor room of the house of Miss Esson Maule at No. 24 Stafford Street in a seance in 1933. Six witnesses confirmed it

Not proven ... Harry Price in the caption of his book implies that it is Duncan’s own home, read the caption below the photographs ...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Helen_Duncan_fake_ectoplasm.jpg

However it is true that Esson Maule CREATED RECONSTRUCTION PHOTOGRAPHS (this is after she called the police, after pouncing upon Duncan in a pre-planned exposure, she was in communication with Harry Price prior to this)

Perhaps proven liar Harry Price pretended he didn’t know what was recontructions and what wasn’t and used them as the real thing ..for the letter from Maule sending pictures to Price is missing from the Hary Price library ... . so both Price and Maule created ‘reconstructions’ using models that were not Duncan ... if they were both trying to discredit Duncan, replace the term ‘reconstructions’ with ‘forgeries’

Note: Although Maule claimed it was a vest other witnessed decribed adult forms at that seance where Maule claimed it was a vest, which would require longer material to fake ... in fact in one Maule recontruction photograph she shows a long material wrapped around head from head to below knee .. i.e. not a vest.

Unfortunately these photographs are not on the internet, Harry Price Library has in past been curiously protective of these recontruction photograph copyrights, for example Dr Robert Hartley was initially refused the right to use one of the Maule reconstruction photographs but they eventually changed their mind, so one of these is in his book.

smile

Open Mind, Wed 27 Feb, 19:05

David writes ... ’...Open mind are you MU!! from various spiritualist forums?
</i>
Wrong again. smile I have no idea who the poster MU!! is.

<i> ‘You are obviously a convinced spiritualist and you are well educated about spiritualism’

What do you mean by ‘spiritualist’ with a lower case ‘s; to me it just means one who believes there is evidence the discarnates survive death… if you man a capital S, as in Spiritualism the religion. No

I’m not religious, I leave faith to political materialists who take on unquestioned faith organized ‘skeptic’ resources, Skeptic Dixtionaries, Rational Wikis, and police wikipedia by copying each others errors, like some religious people defend the bible. smile

Open Mind, Wed 27 Feb, 18:07

Thanks all for your comments.  They are much appreciated, even Forests’s remarks. To quote the advanced spirit who gave him name as Imperator:

“We have frequently said that God reveals Himself as man can bear it.  It must needs be so. He is revealed through a human medium, and can only be made known in such measure as the medium can receive the communication.  It is impossible that knowledge of God should outstrip man’s capacity.  Were we now to tell you – if we could – of our more perfect theology it would seem to you strange and unintelligible.  We shall, by slow degrees, instill into your mind so much of truth as you can receive, and then you shall see your present errors. But that is not yet.  Indeed, since the conception which each frames for himself is to him his God, it cannot be that revelation can be in advance of capacity. It is in the nature of things impossible.”

My guess is that Forests doesn’t have the capacity at this time or simply wouldn’t be able to bear it if he does have the capacity.  As indicated, he is still very young.  Perhaps in another few decades he will be able to “see the light.” 

You might find August Goforth’s comments on my latest blog interesting.

Michael Tymn, Wed 27 Feb, 12:56

Michael Prescott writes ‘.... Open Mind, can you supply a citation (book, journal, or online source) for Harry Price’s newspaper comments about taking staged photos of a stand-in? ..... ‘

Yes, according to the book by Dr Robert Hartley ...

‘6th November 1931, Empire News. Harry Price confirms he produced photographs using a model similar to Mrs Duncan and Butter Muslin and that her husband Mr Duncan could not discern the forgery’ -  ‘Helen Duncan - The Mystery Show Trial’- Page 296

Harry Price also stated in his report on Duncan that he used his secretary Ethel who doesn’t look a bit like Duncan, you can see this photograph on the Harry Price website , she is wearing the same Duncan seance gown, with cheesecloth completely covering her face and head ... the only clue that it is not Duncan is the body is a little thinner in the large garment. So skeptics will argue that was the photograph but it could have been other stuff.

However Another of Harry Price’s female associates was obese (I can let you know who in private mail) with facial features and body shape similar to Duncan except for the eyes ... but in the puppet head photographs there is a blindfold concealing the eyes. I’m looking into the possibility of using biometrics to find out if it is really Duncan in those puppet ones but unfortunately the areas that could be used ... such as nose, ear and eyes are all completely or partially covered by he blindfold.

Also please note: The puppet-headed photographs seem years later that Price’s lab photographs, Duncan is clearly in many of the prior Harry Price lab photographs ...(i.e. the ones without a blindfold) ...Of course photographs can be faked in different ways, one can add things to photographs not necessarily originally there…. gloves, pins, etc.

So there is evidence Price would deliberately mislead people with photographs ... the question is to what extent?

Open Mind, Wed 27 Feb, 11:51

Interesting, according to Journal of the Society for Psychical Research - Volume 66 Esson Maule was a devout spiritualist and friend of Duncan. Interesting that Maule was a policelady herself. Why would she lie? The truth is, the lights were turned on and Maule caught Duncan using tricks. The is nothing else to it, no conspiracy. Maule was honest.

Here are the facts open mind has failed to explain.

1. The Duncan photographs that show dolls were taken in the top-floor room of the house of Miss Esson Maule at No. 24 Stafford Street in a seance in 1933. Six witnesses confirmed it.

2. The stabbed vest which occured in the seance by Maule was found and used as evidence.

3. The vest was collected by the local police.

4. Duncan was prosecuted and fined £10, for her fraud mediumship by the local police.

5. Maule was a policewoman herself. Do you really think she would lie?
There is no conspiracy, you really think the British intelligence were behind this? Oh please… come back to reality! What cloud are you on:)

I won’t debate this issue anymore, but I will observe your comments. As Michael said, I would be interested in hearing your sources. A quick look online reveals no book or website for your claims.

david, Wed 27 Feb, 09:50

The poster “open mind” has made a mistake with the duncan photographs.

According to the Harry Price website:

The photographs depicting rubber dolls were taken by a Scots lady, Miss Esson Maule, who had a séance with Duncan and arranged that some well-known Edinburgh people should be present. The meeting was held on January 6th, 1933.

“The usual “spirits” materialised, and towards the end of the sitting “Peggy” was seized by Miss Maule at the same time as someone switched on a light.  A terrific struggle between Miss Maule and Mrs. Duncan took place.  It was a case of “pull Devil, pull baker,” with “Peggy” as the prize.  Miss Maule ripped “Peggy” up the middle and got her arm through it, but ultimately had to leave go.  The police were called and the case created a considerable sensation.”

There is no conspiracy becuase the police found the stabbed vest, unless of course the local bobby were in on the conspiracy lol.

See the photos here for the ripped vest:

http://tipsimages.it/Search/Search_Editorial.asp?ofid=1&imid=1334869&styp=keyw&logi=and&or_h=h&or_v=v&or_s=s&or_p=p&tp_f=f&tp_i=i&tp_c=c&ps_1=1&ps_2=2&ps_3=3&ps_g=g&pgsz=75&scsa=smpl&sctp=edit&cl_c=c&cl_bw=bw&chrm=1&chrf=1&chcfa=start&chcil=start&chcfs=start&chcar=start&chefs=start&chene=start&chesp=start&cheen=start&ched=ed&latest=false&LAID=2&SRCV;=+mediumship

In the above link also some very rare photographs of Esson Maule where the events had happened. No conspiracy at all, see the photographs in the middle of that collection of photographs, you can easily see Maule recreating the scene where it happened. There are 4 or so photos of the stabbed vest as well.

Here is a photo of Duncan’s doll “peggy”

http://psychictruth.info/Helen_Duncans_Spirit_Peggy_1933_closeup.jpg

As you can see it is a fake doll, Duncan and her maid put it together. It was made of a painted papier-mache mask draped in an old sheet.

One last thing even if you deny all of the above facts, how do you explain the Duncan photographs taken in Price’s lab? Have you seen them?

They consist of rubber gloves, cheesecloth and cut outs from magazines of peoples heads:

http://survivalafterdeath.info/photographs/duncan/price-investigation.gif

cheesecloth/newspaper cut out

http://www.prints-online.com/image/duncan_ectoplasm_4_662091.jpg

big roll of cheesecloth

http://www.harrypricewebsite.co.uk/images/spiritualism_images/helen-duncan-platexiii.jpg

rubber glove/cheesecloth

Please! just look at the photos. Duncan was a fraud, nuff said. I know you want to believe, and you will find a way to believe, but I can;t see how when the photos depict fraud straight in front of you.

david, Wed 27 Feb, 09:30

Open mind are you MU!! from various spiritualist forums? You are obviously a convinced spiritualist and you are well educated about spiritualism, but it’s always open minded to see both sides of the story not just the spiritualist side. The Duncan photos depicting dolls are Duncan, not a look a like. If you read The Spiritualists: The Passion for the Occult in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries by Ruth Brandon or Ronald Pearsalls book Table-rappers: The Victorians and the Occult they both list much of the evidence for fraud physical mediumship, some interesting photos aswell.

david, Wed 27 Feb, 07:32

Ah, “Open Mind”,
“Never wrestle with a pig.  You both get dirty and the pig likes it!”

Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 27 Feb, 05:50

Open Mind, can you supply a citation (book, journal, or online source) for Harry Price’s newspaper comments about taking staged photos of a stand-in?

Michael Prescott, Wed 27 Feb, 05:45

“In a newspaper article Price claims that Mr Duncan could not tell the difference between his reconstructions using a model (i.e. not Duncan) and the pictures with Duncan.”

I hadn’t heard this before. If true, it provides one possible explanation for the obviously fake photos of the cheesecloth dummies: namely, that Price himself took these photos (or had them taken) with a stand-in for Duncan, using goofy-looking props that he had built or commissioned. This actually does make more sense than the idea that Duncan would try to fool people with such crude puppets, or that she could smuggle the necessary apparatus into the seance room and assemble it in the dark. And it fits Price’s reputation as a media-hungry showman who played fast and loose with the facts. Interesting ...

I’m starting to think I’ve been too hard on poor Mrs. Duncan.

Michael Prescott, Wed 27 Feb, 04:49

Open mind all very interesting, but do you really think it is rational invoking a conspiracy theory? Once you go down that road any credibility that you may have will go down the pan.

I have shot down your claims due to the photo analysis:

http://www.spookyisles.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/HelenDuncan.jpg

As I said, the doll photos were Duncan, it was not just some “dressed up fat lady” lol. It was 100% the same lady (just look at the photos!). I noticed you could not comment on this or any of the other photos. They were all Duncan, check the body, and face etc. Even Michael Prescott agrees they were Duncan.

You have pasted a lot of your personal opinions in, but where have you got all this from? Can you provide sources?

I am not an editor on wikipedia, but I do happen to know they only rely on reliable sources and not spiritualist books, so I trust their articles on spiritualism. It appears the main book dealing with the Duncan case was Helena Normanton. The Trial of Mrs. Duncan Edited with a Foreword by C. E. Bechhofer Roberts, Jarrolds Publishers, 1945. The book was written by a Judge and contains many witness reports. Duncan was caught in fraud, I see no reason for conspiracy. You talk about the police raids in the 1940s, but you forget to mention the police raids in the 1920s-1930s which also caught Duncan cheating.

The problem open mind is that you are refusing to read the literature written by scientists, and instead you are digging up your information in spiritualist books. Spiritualist books are very biased. I understand you don’t like Harry Price, but attacking the man won’t make any difference, that is the first time I have heard he might be a nazi, but ad hominem attacks don’t work.

Alfred Russel Wallace was a convinved spiritualist, but he also did some fascinating work on the theory of evolution. Just becuase he was a spiritualist, should we dismiss his science work? No.

Even if Price was dishonest, one thing we 100% know is, his lab experiments with Duncan were not dishonest, just look at the photographs to see rubber gloves, cheese-cloth and newspaper cut-outs, 100% no conspiracy here. Many of these things were handed to Duncan by her husband, and she also pulled them out of her mouth. She was an obsese lady who could swallow many materials. If I can remember correctly she weighed 21 stone!

I know you won’t read “skeptic” books of paranormal phenomena so I decided to send you some mid way books which are neither spiritualist or against spiritualism, such as by Alan Gauld. Interesting you even reject this, you really are a convinved believer in spiritualism, so nothing I say will shake your belief. You are honestly the only guy in the world who believes those photos were not Duncan, you have an interesting little theory, but to support it is to deny the real facts, and such a thing in my view is not honest. I have read the literature (both sides, not just one) and that is all we can do. If you choose to only read spiritualist literature than that is your choice, but that is not open minded. Have a look at both sides.

Have a search online for Helena Normanton. The Trial of Mrs. Duncan. The entire book can be read free on the internet. Honestly it shoots down many of the things you have said.

David, Wed 27 Feb, 01:07

<quote>Do you really think there is a massive conspiracy behind Duncan to convict her of fraud lol, then you may as well believe the earth is flat. 
David
</quote>
Scoff away … although you have been editing internet encyclopedias as ‘Fodor Fan’ and other pseuodo-names to claim there was no conspiracy …. you are wrong yet again…

THERE WAS A CONSPIRACY AGAINST DUNCAN …  The head of Scottish Military Intelligence Brigadier Firebrace confirmed (and his family confirmed even on TV programme) that it was he who told British Intelligence that Duncan had reported the sunk ships, that is what triggered the later police raids, leading to the WW2 court case against Duncan.

And while scoffing …  do remember, it was ‘Forests’ (i.e. you?)  who also posted as ‘Harry Price Fan’ …. are you aware Harry Price was writing letters to Adolf Hitler, being wined and dined by the Third Reich … are you a ‘fan’ of Hitler, like Harry Price too? smile

Are you are claiming British Intelligence could not doctor of fake photographs of Duncan to look fraudulent? Was it technically beyond British Intelligence to do? Of course not! They faked loads of documents and photographs during WW2.

I think it is perfectly reasonable to suspect Harry Price worked for British Intelligence

- Price in 1920s was sent to investigate psychics by a person who worked for British Naval Intelligence during WW1

- Personnel from British Intelligence investigated Helen Duncan in the 1930s PRIOR to the Harry Price lab photos (in the same building as Price’s lab).

- Price was also asked by Scotland Yard to trail psychics during WW2

- Price was befriending Hitler and leading Nazi’s just prior to WW2

- Price tried to write a bill banning public demonstrations of psychic phenomena during WW2

I have the evidence Price was lied about photographs, in Schneider case and in earlier and later events, Price is being dishonest over and over again .... not just this others in the Duncan case

If I am correct and Harry Price was investigating claims for British Intelligence …. then you are a ‘useful idiot’ suppressing what occurred by claiming there was no conspiracy on wikipedia.

But of course you aren’t going to correct all your errors on Rational Wiki or Wikipedia prejudiced edits … because you have prejudiced your mind so much against psychic phenomena (even in better cases) you cannot see the ‘forests’ for the trees. smile

Open Mind, Tue 26 Feb, 20:59

<quote>One other thing open mind, Duncan’s husband admitted she had used fake props in a newspaper article before her death (have you read it)?. Why would her husband lie? No spiritualist has ever been able to counter the confession/s.

David </quote>
What was the confession about? I think you are referring to this …
<quote>
‘….Duncan’s husband admitted that the ectoplasm materialisations to be the result of regurgitation. …’

Forests (the internet sock puppet skeptic)
</quote>
What occurred as that Mr Henry Duncan trusted Harry Price until he found out Price was a deceptive liar playing games with them.

Harry Price sent letters to people claiming Helen Duncan’s ectoplasm was genuine….

To Dr Osty, Price writes ‘I have secured a portion of teleplasm I believe is absolutely genuine’ .. Price wrote to Dr Osty again ‘I have received a portion of teleplasm from a source I believe to be absolutely impeachable’    however in a later letter Price implied he was lied to entice the Duncan’s into his lab. So Price would lie whenever it suited him, he is untrustworthy source

This leads to your other misleading comment …

<quote>’ … Also you said you didn’t know of anyone else who had investigated Duncan. In 1931 the London Spiritualist Alliance examined Duncan and found her using cheesecloth…. ’
David
</quote>
They did not capture or prove cheesecloth theory. On the contrary the prior report was favourable to Duncan … until a tricked Mr Duncan (embarassed his wife might be a fraud) went to the LSA and claimed his wife seemed to be cheating due to trusting the opinion and photographs of Harry Price. The LSA then revised their prior favourable report to fraud in alignment with Harry Price’s theory of regurgitation, without proper evidence of a regurgitation theory.

In a newspaper article Price claims that Mr Duncan could not tell the difference between his reconstructions using a model (i.e. not Duncan) and the pictures with Duncan.   So Price was also showing Mr Duncan fake photographs as if they were real. We cannot trust Price as to what pictures he was shown since he was a a manipulative game player …  Helen Duncan was furious at her husband when she found out he trusted Harry Price instead of his wife. She punched her husband when she found out he had arranged with Price X Ray photographs. Then Price accused Mr Duncan of hiding cheese cloth instead of Mrs Duncan.

Harry Price then offered the Duncans £100 for a photograph attempting to swallow cheese cloth to complete his theory. The Duncans turn down further money and left.

Not long after this Duncan agreed to be tested again … a Dr  Margaret Vivian re-tested Duncan, after bodily search Duncan swallows blue dye pills and pure white ectoplasm was reported by witnesses… not blue stained cheese cloth. .. Price’s theory was contradicted.

Worse is to follow for Harry Price’s claims…. 4 magicians (some of them Price’s conjuring friends) make signed statements Duncan produced genuine phenomena…. they also directly disputed Price’s lab regurgitation of cheese theory

So Harry Price’s credibility was in trouble in the early 1930s ... but magically those unrpoven origin photographs with grotesque puppet like faces to support his case against Helen Duncan but the information on who took them, how Price got them has been buried because they trusted Price.

If the whole case against Duncan is to be based upon Price as a direct or indirect source of information ... why? He is a proven liar, manipulator.

Open Mind, Tue 26 Feb, 19:08

<quote> The vest was used in evidence with the police, and they found props in duncans house, see:
</quote>
This was not a police raid as you implied. The police raids were during WW2 then again 1956, the police captiured nothing and in 1956 even returned again the following day to look again.

This 1930s Edinburgh court case was due to a Miss Maule (a crony of Harry Price) pouncing upon Duncan and then calling the police to claim a vest she took from Duncan during a search was a little girl (try doing that in a room with red light, bright enough to read a book and see how convincing it looks)

Of course Duncan lost the court case, the witnesses were people invited to Maule’s own home, hardly neutral.  Duncan’s lawyer argued Duncan was a performance artiste and should not be criminally charged for a performance but Duncan protested she was genuine.

The Duncans also claimed Miss Maule had previously broken into their home in the middle of the night. When they confronted Maule in their home,  Maule apparently claimed she had entered to ask for tickets for a séance the following day. … if the Duncans were telling the truth, what the hell was Maule doing there? Looking for the type of undergarments Duncan wore?

I don’t know ... but the role of the researher is to listen to both sides of the claims and what occurred isn’t as clear cut as debunkers wish to present by selective reporting.

Open Mind, Tue 26 Feb, 17:52

<quote>
open mind you are the only dude in the world with that view that those duncan photos are fake.
</quote>
Simply not true because you do not know of other authors and articles on Duncan case … that is not my fault. Also I said some photographs could be fake, I do not jump to ‘100%’ conclusions as you have done.

<quote>
It amazes me how far you will twist the facts to believe. </quote>

David or are you Forests? If you are Forests, this communication will be fruitless since I have the lowest respect for what are the most prejudiced, one sided comments written by Forrests poster on Rational Wiki and Wikipedia (as pseudo-name Fodor Fan). Political pseudo-skepticism at its worst!. Y

Forests (and pseudo-names) have written such topics designed to prejudice the readers minds by deliberately missing out contrary information. This is shameful behaviour.

I could provide information you do not know on the Duncan case and others .. but why should I help a disinformation like Forests shit over the facts? He knows most people don’t look beneath bullshit versions. Apologies to readers for the crude analogy but it is apt. To use another analogy instead ... once a well is poisoned, most people simply avoid the well altogether.

I will comment further … next post …

Open Mind, Tue 26 Feb, 17:19

<quote>
’... Those are photos of Duncan, they are all of Duncan, and the reason I know is becuase I have seen them in the SPR archives….
  </quote>

Are you planning to enter the JREF propaganda prize as a skeptical psychometrist who can tell what is genuine by merely looking at a unknown source photographs? wink

The SPR did NOT do experimental research upon Helen Duncan. The person who put information in SPR records – some of it oddly of an anonymous source (i.e. not trustworthy) was Molly Goldney (the assistant of Harry Price)  who was also helping British Intelligence in the case against Helen Duncan during WW2 while Harry Price dodged taking the stand in court by pretending to be ill. He had spent many years attacking Duncan in a underhand manner with questionable cronies but suddenly became too shy for court? Liars do not like courts, awkward questions arise.

Open Mind, Tue 26 Feb, 16:54

I just love this blog.  I have not been online for a while, but see that it seems hard to see the trees for the Forrest. (LOL)
Regarding ectoplasm.
At a spiritual meeting one eve, our medium, a quiet unassuming man who never wished to be known, permitted his guide through once again.
The guide explained how difficult it could be, and how much time it could take, to effectively bring a medium and guide together for physical manifestation.
The guide also explained, that times were changing, and that different methods were being experimented with.  I guess this is why we do not see many “physical mediums” now.
However saying that, Dr. Raymond Moody’s experiments, of meetings and encounters with loved one’s, are very interesting.  Is there anyone who knows more on this?
Does anyone else believe it common sense that trying to debunk events, which were not witnessed personally, is futile? 
Opinions are debatable, may even spark something worthwhile, but come on, debunking!
Can anyone share a first hand experience of physical medium-ship?
And I apologize if you may have already discussed all this and I have not seen it.
Thanks.

Denise McDermott-King, Tue 26 Feb, 02:06

Open mind, are you honest enough to admit that you might be wrong about the Duncan photos? It is the SAME lady!!

http://www.spookyisles.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/HelenDuncan.jpg

No doubts needed.

Also compare:

Duncan as Price’s Lab:

http://www.harrypricewebsite.co.uk/images/spiritualism_images/helen-duncan-platexii.jpg

to one of her seance sittings:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_vaInQlj1paI/SX9HRp0UxMI/AAAAAAAAACo/rjzXvltSyqE/s320/duncan_spirit.jpg

100% the same lady

Also google search images for “Helen Duncan” and see the first 20 photos… you should not have any doubt at all after this. Same hair cut, same face, same body build, same head shape, chin, nose etc etc.

David, Mon 25 Feb, 21:59

One other thing open mind, Duncan’s husband admitted she had used fake props in a newspaper article before her death (have you read it)?. Why would her husband lie? No spiritualist has ever been able to counter the confession/s. Do you think it is rational that you are invoking all these conspiracy theories? Those photos are Duncan, copy and paste them into a microsoft paint and do and analysis of the face and body… same person. Do you really think there is a massive conspiracy behind Duncan to convict her of fraud lol, then you may as well believe the earth is flat.

David, Mon 25 Feb, 21:49

Open Mind I think your mind is a lil bit to open that your brains are starting to fall out wink. Those are photos of Duncan, they are all of Duncan, and the reason I know is becuase I have seen them in the SPR archives. Alan Gould, David Fontana, Brian Inglis and Andrew Mackenzie (all SPR members even claim those photos are Duncan) There is no way round it, unless of course you want to challenge these guys? Remember these researchers were not skeptics or materialists so you cannot accuse them of bias. David Fontana accepted Duncan was a fraud but was a convinced spiritualist etc. Here is helen duncan

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-LdNlCJjvQD8/TdlshskLnvI/AAAAAAAAAGY/M50ZakRNnMQ/s1600/H.+Duncan+with+husband.jpg

It is the same woman as in the photos with the dolls! Do we need some kind of anthropologist to confirm it. no.. you can see from the face and size of the woman. As for your other claims, check out the book Renée Haynes. The Society for Psychical Research 1882-1982: A History. Haynes was a spiritualist but even admits those doll photos were duncan… open mind you are the only dude in the world with that view that those duncan photos are fake. It amazes me how far you will twist the facts to believe.

The vest was used in evidence with the police, and they found props in duncans house, see:

Helena Normanton. The Trial of Mrs. Duncan Edited with a Foreword by C. E. Bechhofer Roberts, Jarrolds Publishers, 1945.

If you read the above book, you wouldn’t have said half the things you have done! I respect that you are researching this though!

David, Mon 25 Feb, 21:43

David gets information wrong when he writes ...

‘..As for the Duncan case, if I can remember correctly one of her seance sitters got up and stabbed a “spirit” in one of the seances, the lights were turned on and stab marks were found in a vest of a doll. That vest was used in police evidence. You can search online for a photo of the vest. …’

David, you are all mixed up. Ths 1930s event was NOT a police evidence or raid . The vest was NOT stabbed during séance., It was NOT a dolls vest ( no head captured, if you think so).

The police were called only after the a physical assault between Miss Maule and Mrs Duncan after. Maule pounced upon Duncan during séance with the pre-planned timed assistance of others present. This was a preplanned event.

Since this séance took place in the home of Maule some of the other witnesses can hardly be regarded as necessarily neutral, not surprisingly several supported Maule’s version while contradicting each other and lacking some elements claimed by Maule.

Maule had been in communicating with devious debunker Harry Price prior to this séance. Since this was a preplanned exposure attempt they would have later claimed success even if a failure had occurred.  Duncan was fined but claimed she was the victim of Price/Maule frame up.

I’m not asking people to necessarily believe either side, I’m just giving you the side pseudoskeptic debunkers miss out.

Open Mind, Mon 25 Feb, 15:29

Forest,  you have a remarkable talent for getting information wrong, not just on skeptiko forum, not just on Rational Wiki but also here.  Are you also ‘Fodor Fan’ on wikipedia?

Forest claims here …. ‘dolls and other props were found in duncans seance, the police found them…’

Wrong again Forest. Police captured nothing in the 1940s, nor 1950s raided seances. No dolls were found either.

Open Mind

Open Mind, Mon 25 Feb, 14:53

Dear Michael Tymn,

That photograph (and others) are not proven to be of Helen Duncan!

The photograph(s) mysteriously appeared via a 1930’s aggressive opponent of Helen Duncan who created other reconstruction photographs (i.e. not real events) photographs mimicking what they claimed to see at a (prior) Duncan seance.

Harry Price in his book (and private records) never revealed who sent him the photographs ... although a photographer’s name is given, nothing detailed is known, this photographer could merely have made copies of someone else’s original (fake) photographs.

Curiously when Donald West (of he SPR) asked to re-publish the photograph in the 1940s, he asked Harry Price for permission ...why ask Price? The photographs were not supposed to have been taken by another photographer, not Price ... so again Price concealed the original source and implied he had the right to give permission over photographs he never actually took or owned?

These untraceble photographs were not used in the court case(s) against Helen Duncan (despite Price’s colleague Goldney secretly helping the 1940’s British Intelligence court case prosecution) did they know the photographs real origins would not withstand a court case scrutiny?

In conclusion, the photograph (and others in same batch) are not evidence of anything other than an unknown fat woman with a blindfold with some weird looking puppet-like faces that I doubt even a fake medium would have attempted to utilize, the only person who would attempt to fake something with such crude, grotesque facial features is someone trying to discredit the phenomena or ridicule or scarecrow the topic from further research.

Open Mind
(From the Skeptiko forum)

Open Mind, Mon 25 Feb, 07:13

Juan,

Good question, one that would take at least several thousand words to answer and one I have addressed elsewhere, including in the Epilogue of my book, “The Articulate Dead.”

To summarize, though, we do have it today, although apparently not the quality and quantity that we had 100-160 years ago.  Science doesn’t appear to be interested enough in today’s physical mediumship to validate it.  Mainstream scientists assume it is all fake and won’t waste their time with it, while those who do see something in it do not want to risk their reputations by getting involved in such research, realizing that they would be subject to ridicule.  At the same time, researchers who go in with a negative attitude, i.e., out to prove fraud, defeat the phenomena by upsetting the harmony required.  Of course, skeptics laugh at that reason, but it seems to be a fact. 

The quality and quantity is likely not as good today because such mediumship takes time and patience to develop.  In those days before people were entertained by radio, television, and computers, it was not uncommon for them to socialize more and to experiment with mediumship.  They sometimes waited an hour or two before the conditions were harmonious enough for phenomena to develop.  People today don’t have the time or patience for that.  Sophia Williams, one of the renowned mediums of yesteryear, said that it took her four years of sitting quietly each night to learn the art of relaxation and complete detachment before her own mediumship began to develop.

But perhaps more than any other reason, we don’t see much of it today because the spirits gave up on us.  Indications are that they were experimenting on their side, just as we were on our side.  Seeing that so many genuine mediums were being disparaged because people didn’t understand what was going on and therefore assumed it was all fraudulent, they put a stop to it.  There was nothing to be gained by reinventing the wheel over and over again.  They gave us as much as they were capable of giving and the world rejected it.  .

There are other possible reasons, but that is all I have time for right now.  I will devote a full blog to the subject sometime in the future.

Michael Tymn, Mon 25 Feb, 01:56

Hello Michael.

If some of ectoplasm examples were authentic, why these materializations not occur today?

Juan, Sun 24 Feb, 15:14

BTW, it’s pretty obvious that “David” is “Forests.” He uses a variety of screen names, but you can easily identify him by his broken grammar. (I’m guessing English is not his native language.)

Michael Prescott, Sun 24 Feb, 02:30

“On your blog you wrote that you believed Duncan was genuine. If I can remember correctly a user called Forests had mentioned Price reports to you, but you had originally denied these and was rather hostile to Price calling him a debunker and unreliable. Interesting you have changed your view.”

David, I’ve never said Duncan was a genuine materialization medium. I believe you’re confusing my remarks with some statements made by readers in the comments section of my blog.

As for Price, I think he was unreliable and not always honest, but I have no particular reason to doubt his investigation of Duncan.

Here’s a post I put up about Duncan way back in 2007, long before I’d ever heard of Forests:

http://michaelprescott.typepad.com/michael_prescotts_blog/2007/06/not-so-great-mo.html

Here’s another 2007 post focusing on Harry Price’s investigation of Duncan:

http://michaelprescott.typepad.com/michael_prescotts_blog/2007/09/a-picture-is-wo.html

As you can see, I’ve held a skeptical view of Duncan for a long time.

Michael Prescott, Sun 24 Feb, 02:24

Michael Prescott,

On your blog you wrote that you believed Duncan was genuine. If I can remember correctly a user called Forests had mentioned Price reports to you, but you had originally denied these and was rather hostile to Price calling him a debunker and unreliable. Interesting you have changed your view.

As for the Duncan case, if I can remember correctly one of her seance sitters got up and stabbed a “spirit” in one of the seances, the lights were turned on and stab marks were found in a vest of a doll. That vest was used in police evidence. You can search online for a photo of the vest.

You also said you didn’t know of anyone else who had investigated Duncan. In 1931 the London Spiritualist Alliance examined Duncan and found her using cheesecloth. If a spiritualist association even admitted that Duncan was a fraud then they cannot be accused as being “materialists” like you call most of those you disagree with.

It seems pointless to discuss or defend Duncan when even most of the spiritualist community admit her to being a hoaxer. Why is everyone discussing this like it might be genuine 60 years after it happened, lol.

There is no scientific evidence for this “ectoplasm”. This is not to say it is impossible, but so far the result has been fraud sadly.

David, Sat 23 Feb, 08:59

Forests wrote: “As for Prescott’s claim about Duncan:...”

I’m not sure what this refers to, but for the record, I’ve frequently posted my opinion that Helen Duncan was a fraud and that Harry Price’s investigation debunked her. Of course I could be wrong ...

Michael Prescott, Fri 22 Feb, 07:36

Levels of Proof

We have seen some interesting claims that some mediums are proven frauds, ergo all mediums are frauds.  This set me to thinking about levels of proof and that they can range from nonsense proofs to highly rigorous.

Take a hypothetical.  I claim that I have designed a car that gets 1000BHP from a 2 litre engine, gets 100 miles per gallon, can do the standing quarter in 2 seconds and has a top speed of 250 MPH.

Hands up all those who believe me.  No-one? 

So what do I have to do to prove my claim? 

I have to produce the hardware and make it available to people of accredited expertise and experience in the forensic examination of motor vehicles, all of whom are free to examine every aspect of the vehicle, which includes the measurement of the claimed performance by independent expert observers.

If the claims are shown to be not factual, it does not follow that all motor vehicles in the world are fraudulent.

There are very extensive records of mediums having been observed by people of the highest intellectual calibre who apply rigorous analytical standards to everything that they observe.

At the other extreme, we have a copy of a copy of a reproduction of a photograph which “proves” that a particular medium was a fraud.  This is then extrapolated into: ‘therefore all mediums are frauds’. 

This claim fails on all accepted grounds of scientific investigation.  It depends on non-original material; the proof is not documented and made open to all with accredited expertise to apply rigorous standards of examination.

It should not be necessary to have to point this out but it is a sad fact that no more than a few percent of the world’s population can distinguish between accepted scientific method and unsupported opinion. 

It should also be unnecessary to point out that all hypotheses (read: claims) have to be put in the public domain and be open to unrestricted scrutiny. 

This is how all of science works.

Les Harris

Les Harris, Thu 21 Feb, 09:53

I don’t want to beat a dead horse so to speak on this blog and take up more space than is warranted but sparked by “Forests” assertations and insinuations I collected several JPEG images of the Carlos Mirabelli levitation.  I could only find one photograph—-the one Forests linked to—- but I did download 5 copies of it in varying states of clarity, each from a different web site and additionally, copies of the “BBC Prime” before and after close-up photos of a pair of lower legs and feet.  We are lead to assume that the legs and feet in the BBC photo are of Mirabelli and are a close-up of the Mirabelli levation photo but there is no evidence to that as a fact.

When I uploaded the photos into my Photoshop program and enlarged them, I noted a couple of incongruities.  First, the close-ups purporting to show the feet of Mirabelli show him standing on what looks to me like a short stool, maybe a foot or so above the floor rather than a “ladder’ as is indicated by Forests.  Behind the stool one can see what appears to be the juncture of the wall and floor—-rather close to the stool.  In the “after” photo of the legs, the stool is not present but one can see remnants, minor distortions on the photograph, of what might have been the stool as well as the floor-wall juncture as it previously appeared. The pattern of the wallpaper on the wall behind where the stool was appeared to roughly match but is somewhat distorted. Curiously, the photo WITH the stool also shows some of these same distortions around and under the stool though not as extensive. 

More importantly, the full-figure photo is taken at an angle which makes Mirabelli appear to be several feet above the floor; I’m guessing 3 or more feet, not just a foot or so as appears in the close-ups.  There is no indication in the full-figure photo that the perspective is such that the juncture between the wall and floor would be shown. In fact, the camera angle is pointed toward the ceiling, not the floor.  Unless the original photograph was seriously cropped, the original has no evidence of the floor-wall juncture shown in the BBC close-up. In the full-figure photo the shadow behind Mirabelli is sharper where Mirabilli is closer to the ceiling and softer where he is farther away from the wall as would appear normally if he were levitated.  These are details that are difficult to do digitally in Photoshop and probably as difficult or impossible to do chemically on a photographic plate.

In my opinion the so-called photographic proof of fakery by Mirabelli in this photo is a FAKE!, contrived to make an implied statement against Mirabelli, levitation, mediums and spiritualists in general.

Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 21 Feb, 08:39

Dear Forests, or whoever you are. (“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.)

I have read your multitudinous posts in the sites you referenced and see that you certainly have had your “day in the sun” that is, your 15 minutes of fame regarding your beliefs about spirit materialization.  I think you have the makings of a good intellectual and with more study and a lot more experience you may have some worthwhile thoughts to offer.  Unfortunately mate, now u appear to have spent a lot of time on the internet reading articles by other people and basing ur ‘debunking” on what other people have said.  YOU have “proved” nothing—-contrary to what you claim.  Until you conduct your own investigations and studies, you might want to consider that ALL information flowing through humans and posted on the internet or written in books, or on TV is just opinion, regardless of the amount of “proof” which is claimed.

Your demands for answers to questions you posed on the other sites require a lifetime or more to answer.  Certainly, no one can answer your demands for answers in a short paragraph or two on an internet blog site.  Humans have been trying to answer your questions for 1000s of years and many books have been written and wars have been fought to come to a consensus belief.

Join the crowd “Forests”!

Your perspectives, I believe, add to the discussion but you seem to have such a narrow view of reality, based primarily on what you have read from materialistic authors on the internet, that you present yourself as a closed-minded, opinionated, uneducated teenager.  You will find that if you continue presenting yourself that way, people with disregard you out-of-hand, blowing-off everything you say.  If you really want to have your opinions seriously considered, learn to be less confrontational and at least respond with courtesy and finesse, rather than calling honest enquiring people liars.

Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 20 Feb, 21:38

Forests,

I see no point in debating, discussing, or simply explaining my views to you as it is clear that your mind is made up and that you see things in black and white rather than in various shades of gray.  This is not unusual with people your age, so it is understandable.But let me point out a few errors in your thinking.

First of all, you said something about me deleting your posts.  I do not have the ability to delete any posts at this blog.  It is all done by the webmaster at White Crow and I doubt very much that he has deleted anything you sent.  At least, I did not ask him to delete any posts.

I know that your review of my book about Leonora Piper at Amazon was deleted, but I had nothing to do with that, although I admit to wondering how one reports abuse to Amazon —abuse in this case meaning posting a review without even reading the book.  I didn’t have time to look into it when I noticed that the review was taken down.  Apparently someone else reported the abuse.  But it appears that you succeeded in getting it back up under another name, if you are “drifter.”  It sounds much the same as your original review.

You have referred to me as a “spiritualist” without defining the word.  If a “spiritualist” is defined to mean a non-materialist, then I must be a spiritualist.  I have contributed some articles to the National Spiritualist Summit and to the old Psychic News of GB, both Spiritualist publications, but have never belonged to a Spiritualist (with a capital “S”) church or organization of any kind.  If there were one where I live, I’d probably join and occasionally attend some functions, but there is none.  While you seem so certain that I am a “spiritualist,” it is news to me.  This is a good example of your black and white thinking.

You stated in your book review that Mrs. Piper’s “confession” proves that she was a fraud, or words to that effect.  As I pointed out in the book,  all Mrs. Piper said is that since she was in a trance during the communication process, she didn’t know if spirits were talking through her.  It was the New York newspaper that sensationalized the whole story and labeled it a “confession,” which it was not.

As for Mrs. Duncan, I have explained that I do not know enough about her to defend her.  All I was saying is that the photos, in and of themselves, do not establish her as a fraud.  As far as the maid goes, as I recall reading somewhere, she was fired or dismissed well before she made certain allegations against Mrs. Duncan and so her testimony may very well have been vindictive in nature.  Why accept her word over the hundreds of people who were sure they witnessed actual phenomena?  Outside of Harry Price’s observations, I am not aware of any serious objective research with Helen Duncan and therefore I have no real position on her.  However, if I were a betting man, I’d bet at least $100 that she was a genuine medium, not much more than that though. 

Concerning the levitation photos, I have the same questions that Amos Doyle has, but, again, I have never, to my recollection, written about Mirabelli.  I’ve read a little about him, but it was so long ago that I don’t remember much about him.

A little more about physical mediumship and the weird stuff in my blog for next Monday.

Michael Tymn, Wed 20 Feb, 12:41

I just read the posts here re that photograph. I should have read them before sending my previous comments.

I see that people here are not disputing this photo as being a fake. This fact makes me feel better as I would be worried if everyone were claiming this photo was a genuine photo of an apparition.

Lee

Lee, Wed 20 Feb, 04:00

Ray,
I am very happy to see posts like the little gem from Forests.  Bring them on; let them demonstrate their irrationality for all to see.  From time to time, a good laugh is a welcome relief from intellectual rigour.
Les Harris

Les Harris, Wed 20 Feb, 03:13

“Fyi Michael and everyone else on here forests also posts as Daryl and is a notorious troll”

Ray, I am certainly not a troll. Indeed the comment about Mirabelli was not written by me, but an imposter account. He took half of my message from another forum and pasted it in with added sarcasm. Yes Mirabelli was a fraud and I discovered that photo when 20 spiritualists told me no data had uncovered him, 5 mins online and look what i find lol,. Spiritualist are not interested in any evidence which contradicts their belief its like u are not in reality, u have shut urself away from reality. I am one of the only people in the world who has spent countless hours exposing such mediums.

but This is what you believers do in your spare time? Make fake accounts of people. Pretty sad. You are right though yes I have exposed various people on different websites. but i don’t go personally attacking people or making fake accounts pretending to be them.

I exposed EVa c, helen duncan on this forum before I was banned.

http://www.spiritualismlink.com/t2049p45-fraud-mediums-in-spiritualism

If you want an honest debate, then I am only on one forum http ://moh2005.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=medpsy

as you can see on that forum I have exposed Tymn, michael roll, and countless of other fraud spiritualists. Jon Donnis has also exposed 1000s of recent mediums.

As for Prescott’s claim about Duncan:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Duncan

there is no conspiracy, what tymn is dishonest to mention is that those dolls and other props were found in duncans seance, the police found them and we have multiple witness reports. ALSO Duncan’s former maid Mary McGinlay confessed in detail to having aided Duncan in her mediumship tricks, and Duncan’s husband admitted that the ectoplasm materialisations to be the result of regurgitation.

It is a shame how people can believe in this nonsense which has long been debunked.

and Any other comments on this thread with “forests” are not me, you should be able to check by the IP address, i am in the midlands UK, the other Ip is probably from somewhere totally different. anyway this comment won’t go through becuase Tymn will delete it.

I think that Tymn is misleading the public and lieing to them, anyone honest can see that duncan used dolls and all these other materializations are just frauds chesecloth or paid people to sneak into the seance room.

I would put my real email in and discuss this with you over email, but I left my email to a spiritualist once and they have sent me abuse for being a “skeptic”. as i said if you want to debate post on the badpyschics forum but you wont becuase all photos of ectoplasm look like dolls, cheesecloth or other fraud.

if materializations are true, then why do not bacteria, algae, fish, rats, dinosaurs etc come through? are there dinoasaurs in this spirit world what about ants or plants? the religion of spiritualism is just anthropocentric nonsense, you have not thought it through. 

You guys are all 40-60 years older than me, I am young am not really gonna waste anymore time debunking mediums, I have already exposed mina crandon, helen duncan, eva c, schneider brothers, daniel douglous home, Carime Carlos Mirabelli, leonoria piper etc etc etc. the is no truth to spiritualism but fraud, deceit and wisful thinking. cheers.

the real forests, Tue 19 Feb, 22:22

Dear “Expert on being fraudulent” that is, “Forests”,

I wanted to allay your fears and let you know that we “guys” really do try hard to be honest, but usually we don’t “admit” anything until we study it, some of us for years and even then, we usually don’t reach a point where we can honestly “admit” something because, after all is said and done most of the time proof is “in the eyes of the beholder”.  Maybe when you are a little bit older you will understand this.
You are so lucky to have examined the original photograph to determine that it was a fake.  I have not been so fortunate.  All that I have been able to see are copies in books or on web sites.  For me it is impossible to determine the fakes from the non-fakes without seeing the original.  I am sure that you would admit that it is possible to fake a fake.
 
Since I am a photographer, I am interested in the “chemicals” used to “retouch” the Mirabelli photograph.  Even with “Photoshop” when I erase something (make it “invisible”) in a photograph I have to replace it with something that looks like it belongs in the picture.  I am guessing that it would be more difficult if I had to use chemicals to replace parts of the photograph especially if I made a ladder invisible which would be very difficult for me to fill-in with something else.  I think we all would be interested in your explanation of how this was done using chemicals.  What you have linked is just a small photograph.  The photograph you linked, in and of itself, is not proof of any fraud.  Please help me to understand your thought processes to determine that “all mediumship” is fraud” so that all of “us guys” may become more discriminating in these matters.

Amos Oliver Doyle, Tue 19 Feb, 21:17

Fyi Michael and everyone else on here forests also posts as Daryl and is a notorious troll, he has been booted of mind energy and runs the irrational wiki page which blasts Michael Tymn.  Best to be ignored

Ray, Tue 19 Feb, 19:00

Forests,

It sounds like you are saying that since you found fraud in one case that it necessarily follows that all physical mediumship is fraudulent. That doesn’t sound like very sound reasoning to me.  Moreover, I cannot recall ever writing anything about Mirabelli.

Michael Tymn, Tue 19 Feb, 10:26

Forests,
Congratulations!  Bravo!  You have passed the Photographic Plate Examiners Test.  You are now entitled to put the title Doctor in front of your name.
Unfortunately, you have totally failed Basic Logic.  You are now prohibited from using the title Doctor and you are now obliged to use the title Dumbbum in front of your name.
Les Harris

Les Harris, Tue 19 Feb, 08:47

Guy Playfair wrote about the Mirabelli Ladder picture being a fake in one of his books. But he also investigated him when he was in Brazil, and found there is a ton of evidence that Mirabelli produced phenomena that can’t be explained from a materialist perspective.

There’s fraud everywhere particularly in science, but it’s a fraction of the overwhelming evidence for psychic phenomena that can’t be explained away so easily.

Jon, Tue 19 Feb, 08:36

On a previous post a user told me to prove fraud. I have just done this and discovered blatant fraud. I am an expert on being fraudulent.

Now please don’t delete this post. This will be the last post that I do on this blog. I just want to know if you guys are honest enough to admit that Mirabelli was using tricks.

Let me show you what I have found.

It was discovered that one of his materialization photographs was fake. If one is they all are.


Interestigly this photograph was examined by me and before by the scientist Gordon Stein and professional photographers and revealed that a photo of Mirabelli levitating had been chemically retouched so the stepladder that Mirabelli was standing was made invisible. This is fraud. I will now prove it. Here is the photo:

https://gottesneuesichtbarkeit.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/carlos-mirabelli-1-betrug-im-spiritismus1.jpg

So see all mediumship is fraud as I should know.

forests, Tue 19 Feb, 06:40

Here’s an observation from an old engineer of some standing.  It is very unwise to express opinions about something that you don’t fully understand.  Analyse and question by all means, because this is the only path to understanding, but wait for the full understanding before embarking on the opinions / statements.
Les Harris

Les Harris, Sun 17 Feb, 04:42

Denise,
I have stopped a few screaming sceptics in their tracks by inviting them to reproduce Scole - ALL of Scole and in the same TIME FRAME. 
I get one of two responses.  One is the longstanding political ploy - answer a different question and hope that no-one notices.  The second is to disappear over the horizon in a cloud of dust.
les Harris

Les Harris, Sun 17 Feb, 04:36

Anything that can be used to generate fame or fortune has the propensity to be used in a fraudulent way.  But it would be naïve to throw out the baby with the bath water.
Some years ago, I read about the Scole experiments, and also watched some interesting footage.  These experiments were conducted over a five-year time frame in a little village called Scole, England.
The manifestations were prolific, and experienced by many.
Scientists, psychic researchers, and skeptics alike, were welcomed into the very controlled environment, to conduct their research.
Some of the best stage magicians and illusionists, known for their slight of hand and craft, said they could not find a way to replicate such manifestations.
I guess it will always boil down to one thing, personal experience. 
Though many of us travel along on faiths hem much of the time, it is only by having an encounter with something or someone out of our known world, that will take us to say, “Yes, I know it to be true”
Which is why I believe, it is so important to investigate what we don’t know.

Denise McDermott-King, Sat 16 Feb, 08:32

Michael, I guess I just have a one track brain and do as I am told.  I missed the—-?—- on the first time around.

You are right that we (I) should not be too hasty to dismiss the crude materializations as fraudulent.  ( Fraudulent is such a strong word, perhaps just not explained would be better.) I try to keep an open mind on the matter, but as has been said by Carl Sagan I think, “not so open that my brains fall out”

Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 14 Feb, 23:29

Amos,

I appreciate your additional comments.  I got 14 out of 15 on the attention test without even counting and did see the gorilla.

I do understand how some people can be turned off by the more rudimentary physical mediumship, and that is why I wrote the blog, to attempt to point out that—at least as I have come to understand it—there are many degrees of physical mediumship and we should not be so hasty to dismiss the real crude stuff as fraudulent.  I am no authority when it comes to physical mediumship as I have not witnessed any of it myself. I’m just trying to fit the pieces together as I have come to understand them from numerous reports,  and that’s the way the puzzle comes together for me.

Michael Tymn, Thu 14 Feb, 14:51

This topic is rather akin to the calssic conundrum of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.  Since the matter of ectoplasm is simply not understood, any opinions as to validity or invalidity are just that - opinions - for which we can offer no substantiation.
‘Scuse me, I have some angels to count!
TT

TT, Thu 14 Feb, 13:30

Yes, Michael,
Your September 2010 blog about Roy Dixon and your August 2012 blog about physical mediumship do offer good evidence for me.  It makes me wonder why those hokey photographs turn me off so much when I can be more easily convinced by the reports without photographs in your other two blogs. Even so, spirit materializations are still very hard for me to believe. Am I on the fence like William James?

Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 14 Feb, 06:20

Paul,
Yes I agree “solidity” of evidence is desirable.  I would have liked, more than anything else, to have been present when Jesus appeared before the disciples and like Thomas, I could have walked up to him and put my hand into his side and my fingers into the bleeding wounds in his hands and feet. Yes that would truly convince me especially if he vanished in front of me and all of this was observed by a room full of people.  If I had experienced that I probably would not think that I was in a trance or hypnotized. I would truly be convinced.  But except for that report, handed down for 2100 years I don’t think there is another piece of evidence as good as that in support of spirit materialization.

So far I have had to get by without that “degree of physicality” but I have found much supporting evidence in the work of Richard Hodgson, Frederick Meyers, and others, yes, especially the tangible evidence left by Patience Worth whom I think provided a written intellectual puzzle as proof of spirit survival for us to figure out

Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 14 Feb, 05:30

Arun,
You may be reading too much in what I wrote.  I don’t think you have “to assume that all these reported well known cases were nothing but hypnotic hallucination.”  Personally I am not knowledgeable of all of the cases of ectoplasmic materialization. There may, of course be outright fraud by the medium and by the sitters too.  “Who knows what lurks in the hearts of men?  (You may not remember this old radio show but the answer to that question is “The Shadow does! or as we said in grade school “The Shadow do!!)

I am also not saying that materialization mediums “dupe” anyone necessarily , however, some of them may have in fact had exceptional powers, I don’t know.  Please understand that “eminent persons” are not immune to misinterpreting things.  It has happened over and over again in many years of scientific investigation, especially in medicine, with which I am familiar.  Intelligent or not-so-intelligent persons of notoriety have been taken in by many beliefs accepted as mainstream but which over time turn out to be false.

And Arun, no one can be “forced” to be hypnotized.  In fact, authoritarian techniques used in hypnosis are not as effective in producing trance as more permissive styles of entering and deepening trance states. Most people resist being forced into anything, including a trance state.

I don’t think that all people need something tangible to be convinced of survival, I myself have, as written by William Wordsworth, experienced several “intimations of immortality” that were not really tangible.  I heard my deceased father’s voice cry out to me a couple of days before my mother died; I have seen a light appear across my mother’s picture on an inner wall of my house where there is no light and I have had a synchronous experience the day before my mother died of a sign on a truck at the same traffic light at which I was stopped that said “It’s time to let me go” after my mother had been caught in a limbo between life and death for seven months before she died the next day. This is all meaningful to me and suggestive of intimations of immortality but not really very tangible, especially to anyone else.

Amos Oliver doyle, Thu 14 Feb, 05:11

Michael,
Thanks for keeping my blood flowing for another day.  You know that I respect your expertise in these matters.

What I meant to say is that I agree with your initial premise that it is difficult for spirits to project images of themselves by thoughts or whatever mechanism they use.  Yes, the two images you used in your blog are “hokey” as you say, but I have seen several others that are just as unbelievable as the ones you used if not more so.  I have not seen any that I thought were believable—- for me. I don’t regard these photographs as evidence of anything spiritual.  I ‘m somewhat of an amateur photographer so the photographs interest me.  Maybe that is why I give them so much attention.  I also don’t place much value on sporadic accounts of individuals who think they may have seen materializations at these séances. Whether or not some people accept it, people do experience both positive and negative hallucinations in a trance state and as Franz Anton Mesmer, arguably the father of hypnosis, recognized is that a “setting” of low lights, candles, soft music and high expectations are important in facilitating hypnotic trances with successful outcomes, e.g. healing, change in behavior, change in beliefs etc.

What I am not buying yet, is that there is good evidence of ectoplasmic materializations of spirits of dead people. Whatever is presented as evidence—-photographs and a few reports—-are weak and, sorry to say, laughable. Except in the case of studies done by Richard Hodgson of Leonora Piper and others, such as Walter Franklin Prince of Pearl Curran, and the collection of multitudinous reports by Frederick Meyers and Edmund Gurney where there are years of documentation, I don’t regard a human report here and there as good evidence.  I, like many others, am looking for tangible evidence which I personally find in the Leonora Piper case and as you have alluded to, the tangible evidence left by Patience Worth.

If you haven’t already seen it look at the video “Attention Test on YouTube” at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJG698U2Mvo.  I don’t want to ruin it for you so I won’t discuss it but the first time I saw it I failed the test.  I think it is only good for one viewing because once I understood the test it didn’t work for me any more. Really, there are such things as positive and negative hallucinations even when one is not in a trance.

(Come on, Michael, you put me in the same category as James Randi.  How could you do that!  I am truly deflated!)

Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 14 Feb, 04:30

Thanks to all for your comments, but to respond to Darryl I did mention Richet’s skepticism in my reply to Amos Doyle, but the main point of the blog was to suggest that the hokeyness of the materializations is not necessarily prima facie evidence that the mediums are frauds, Whether they point to survival or subconscious creations is another question.

And as I pointed out I don’t think that the Duncan materializations or Bien Boa are espcially good evidence for survival.  I do think that the materializations who/which speak and provide evidential information, such as those mentioned in my September 1910 blog about Roy Dixon Smith or in my August 2012 blog about physical mediumship offer better evidence than in mental mediumship alone. 

Although I don’t recall the reference, Sir Oliver Lodge, who was a close personal friend of Richet’s, wrote that Richet was much more a believer in spirits than he let on publicly. Apparently, he feared condemnation by his peers if he spoke in favor or spirits.  I suspect it was much the same with Schrenk-Notzing.

I also want to mention that I don’t know enough about Helen Duncan’s mediumship to defend her.  Outside of Harry Price, who seems to have made up his mind beforehand, I am not aware of any serious research with her.  All I am saying about Duncan is that the photos, in themselves, are not evidence that she was a fraud.

Michael Tymn, Wed 13 Feb, 11:40

While I might tend to agree with Amos Doyle that
the physicality of materializations is not a necessary argument to bolster the possibility of life after death, it is a useful argument as part of the whole. That is because when we- lofty spirits that we may be in spiritual reality- are in the physical body subject to the material, cultural and social dictates of that world, our concepts, values and paradigms are created by that world and shape all of our perceptions. As a result, the “solidity” of evidence should indeed include a degree of physicality. Additionally, there is no particular necessity to invoke any kind of a trance state in people sitting in such séances. We, in the modern world, may find it difficult to sit still for a few minutes, but that was not necessarily true in the past, though having the time to do would have been largely a factor of middle & upper class life, not true for the working class. Further, there is no particular reason indicated by the many accounts of such séances to think that anyone had been hypnotized by any kind of state. Sorry Amos, I just don’t buy it!

paul biscop, Wed 13 Feb, 02:07

Reputable scientists who want to fully and patiently investigate an unusual phenomena, especially at a time without the distractions of our current time, is reasonable.
Scientists spend numerous years investigating other “material” things in our world, so a few hours is nothing.
And, who are we to say that what we call the aura, ethereal or spiritual body or the perispirit, may or may not have the capability to manifest in a more solid form? 
Many times it has been said that “truth is stranger than fiction.”

Yvonne Limoges, Wed 13 Feb, 00:13

Sorry for being OOT, but what do you think about Pope’s resignement? Here are my thoughs from Italy where nothing is as it seems….
We are all shocked by the news that, in the last hours, are making the rounds of the world, but we of the PdA (The Amputated Parents’ Website ) are a little less than many others….
Already long ago we had made it known by our website that the Pope was denounced for having covered up the crimes of pedophilia committed by many prelates in the U.S and in other countries.
Well, we fear that his resignation are not random, nor due to health reasons (at least as far as we can suppose according to his more recent television images) but linked to a delicate political moment for our country: in a nutshell we suspect that there are also political reasons to make the announcement today.
 
1) A chairman (the Pope is also the Chief of the State of Vatican)  CAN NOT APPEAR BEFORE A COURT, and Pope Ratzinger was accused of having diverted the investigation of child abuse in the United States when he was Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, so it is likely that USA Judges were able to force the Pope to return CARDINAL in order to be judged.

2) It would not seem so farfetched hypothesis that the resignation of the Head of the Church under political campaigne (elections will be done on Feb 23/24) might give a “boost” to some parties of Catholic inspiration that will be critical for the balance of the next government.
Because Silvio Berlusconi is still trying to avoid the court of justice a Pope who allows the judgement, might be a strong sign of honesty and fairness for those Parties, stealing votes to Berlusconi’s factions.
In this context,  Benedict XVI’s act would certainly be not comparable to the “great refusal” of Pope Celestine , but an act of courage and honesty, even if exploited to mere electoral purposes.
Who will be the next Pope? We hope for an enlightened one who may bring together all the Monotheistic Faiths under one flag and will debunk all the old inconsistencies and dogmas ridiculously defended until today, promoting a spiritual rebirth of which all the world badly needs
——————————————————————-
Claudio.
http://www.ampupage.it

Claudio, Tue 12 Feb, 02:41

Also to add – the mental medium-ship, NDE, ADC or death-bed vision can never prove SURVIVAL beyond doubt. These can only put the case forward. People will need something tangible and only materialization medium-ship or direct voice medium-ship or ITC can help with that.
We still have Marcello Bacci with us whose tangible DRV still cannot be proven fraud over so many years and withstood many scientific investigations – why can’t the scientists focus more on that and try to figure out what’s exactly happening there. Why can’t expert James Randy be called in to explain that phenomena? If he can’t then his $10M can be invested in further research grin

Arun Mukherjee, Tue 12 Feb, 00:24

Got your point Amos, but in that case we’ve to assume that all these reported well known cases were nothing but hypnotic hallucination. If the materialization mediums can dupe all such eminent persons then I must admit that they had exceptional powers.
Now, how the materialization cases where a group of people were present be explained? We’ve to assume that all participants of various mental states were forced hallucinating.
Remember just one genuine materialization medium and one such materialization case can prove this phenomenon possible. I wonder why other eminent personalities and scientists didn’t get involved when such cases were in abundance during that time, at least for few convincing cases.
It’s a very important question to mankind and can make a paradigm shift the way people live their lives now – degrading every day for all material pleasures.

Now the problem is that, such true (!) materialization mediums are so rare it can probably never got validated before our eyes.

Arun Mukherjee, Tue 12 Feb, 00:09

Michael I think you are being a tad wrong by keep quote mining Richet! Richet did believe in those materializations you are correct, but what you forget to mention is that he opposed the spirit hypothesis, indeed he suggested that these ectoplasms originate from the mind and body of the medium and have nothing to do with spirits. He tended to go with the latter, indeed other writers called this the “psychic force”. Edward William Cox for example wrote an entire book on the subject called Spiritualism Answered by Science and he wrote that materializations and ectoplasms are evidence for a force from the medium and not from spirits.

Albert Schrenck-Notzing also was a strong opponent to the spirit hypothesis and held an even more radical theory that these ectoplasms came straight from the medium’s mind, a form of thoughtography.

darryl, Mon 11 Feb, 19:19

If all psychic phenomena are in fact transmitted through the quantum field then rationally it is as possible for ‘spirit persons’ to materialize out of this field - just as the universe itself did, according to the views of some current physicists. After all, souls are all around us all of the time in spirit form. I do think however that there is plenty of other evidence for discarnate existence even if the skeptics do dismiss ectoplasmic phenomena.

Dr Howard A. Jones, Mon 11 Feb, 15:59

Amos,

I appreciate your comments and value them, but I am not sure what it is that aren’t “buying.”  Is it ectoplasm and materialization in general or just the Duncan and Eva C. materializations? Keep in mind that there were more perfect materializations reported by others and that the 2-3 hour materializations seem to have been the exception.

Are you suggesting that the medium hypnotized the researchers, then brought a rubber doll into the room to be photographed by the researcher?  Do you really think that Helen Duncan and other mediums were so stupid as to think that such hokey figures would fool anyone?  As I see it, the “hokeyness” lends itself to the credibility.  If only Helen Duncan, that would be one thing.  We might write her off as of moron intelligence, although that would seemingly conflict with her ability to carry out such an imposture.  However, there are simply too many other cases in which the materialized manifestation were under controlled conditions.  Most of the materializatons observed and photographed by T. G. Hamilton were in the same category as the Duncan materialization, some more ridiculous.

It seems that you are saying because some manifestations take a long time and because even very intelligent men can be hypnotized into thinking that they saw, talked with, and photographed a materialization and then later reported on it with a clear recollection of it that they must all then be of the same characters.  It sound like an argument that James Randi would use —false in one then false in all. but maybe I am reading too much into your comments. 

I know that you are very accepting of other mediumistic phenomena and I agree with you that the Duncan and Bien Boa materializations are not good evidence for survival—even Richet was publicly a skeptic as to whether they were actually discarnates—but I do believe that some materializations—those who were able to appear as themselves and talk with sitters about things which the medium had no knowledge of—is as good or better evidence than even Patience Worth. 

Again, thanks for your opinion.

Michael Tymn, Mon 11 Feb, 15:39

An initial comment would have to be that, like everything else in this field of investigation, single instances can be labelled suspicious or improbable.  This then taints far more credible instances of the same thing.
The usual filter has to be applied - the credibility of each individual source.  This then yields a range of questionable all the way to high credibility.
The Time TRaveller

TT, Mon 11 Feb, 11:15

Very good rationalization Michael, I agree!  If I were to try to project a thought-image of myself I am quite sure that it would look as bizarre as those old photographs of spirit materialization which you referenced.  Even if I would spend hours trying to physically draw or paint what I thought I looked like, without a photograph to copy or a mirror to look in I know that I couldn’t do it. It wouldn’t even be a good cartoon.  Why should we expect spirits to do any better?
I have never found it necessary however to include these “ectoplasmic materializations” as meaningful evidence for the existence of spirits. To me they do seem “hokey” and look like a lot of bed sheets or muslin, some with the hems or seams clearly visible.  The faces look like cut-outs similar to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s cut-out “fairies” which he believed were real.  There is a multitude of evidence of a more reasonable and intelligible type to bolster my belief in the existence of spirits.  We can’t have it both ways.  Something is either material or spiritual that is, non-material.  I don’t think it can be both.  And why should it be both?  I have never understood why some people have a need to materialize something that in its essence is not physical. It’s like people thinking their body will be physically resurrected on judgment day. What is the need for that if one can have a better existence in a spiritual form.  Who would want to spend eternity in a lumbering physical body when a spiritual body has so much more facility?  I am sure that that is not what was really originally meant by scriptures that reference resurrection of the body.  It speaks of a perfect body that is not subject to decay.  Perhaps a body of light as is suggested by multitudinous accounts of NDEs of spirit world contact.
One of your examples speaks of two or three hours for a materialization to be completed.  My, my –that’s a long time to be sitting in the dark amid all the hocus-pocus and spirit expectations of a séance.  I have just finished certification as a hypnotist which makes me think that maybe two or three hours in a séance, in the dark caused some or all of the sitters to enter into a trance.  Contrary to what some people may think, intelligent people are more easily hypnotized and can enter into a trance state easier than the less intelligent, elderly, very young children or mentally compromised people.  The fact that these sitters were doctors, knighted or Nobel Prize winners does not give them a free pass on credulity.  To me as a hypnotist, it only means that they may be more susceptible to negative and/or positive hallucinations.  That is, in a trance state, they may be suggestible so that they see things that are not there and conversely don’t see things that are there.  This is somewhat easy for a hypnotist to facilitate in good subjects.  This combination of positive and negative hallucination in a trance state over two or three hours would allow these sitters to implicitly believe that what they “saw” or didn’t see was real.
Sorry Michael, I just don’t buy it!

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 11 Feb, 06:56


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Spirits and Crime by Carl Wickland – Habits, desires and inclinations are rooted in the mind and remain with the individual after he is freed from his physical body, until they are eliminated by the will. The spirits of many criminals, murderers, those who were executed or are seeking for revenge, remain indefinitely in the earth sphere and often endeavor to continue their former activities and to carry out their evil designs through controlling the bodies of mortals who are sensitive to their influence. Read here
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