How An Evangelical Discovered Mediumship was Not Demonic
Posted on 11 April 2022, 8:49
As an ordained Baptist minister, Charles Mundell believed that mediumship was the work of the devil. However, he gradually became more liberal in his thinking, especially after reading Sir Oliver Lodge’s 1916 book, Raymond or Life and Death, in which Lodge, a renowned British physicist, reported on communicating with his son Raymond, who had been killed on the World War I battlefield, through several mediums.
On August 7, 1921, Joe Mundell, (below) Charles’s 21-year-old younger brother, was killed in a deer-hunting accident in northern California. There was speculation that Joe was distraught and had shot himself and there was also suspicion that he had been shot by other hunters and left to die. Family members were particularly upset at the report that Joe had taken his own life. Charles and his wife, Margaret, left Oklahoma to be with the parents in Oakland, California, where they lived. Joe had also lived there, working for the railroad at the West Oakland train yard.
Some five weeks after Joe’s death, Charles, his wife, and his mother, Verna, were discussing Joe, life after death, Lodge’s book, and other aspects of psychical research when they decided to try some experiments in table tipping. They opened with a prayer and then sat for about a half hour with no results. They were about to give up when Verna recalled reading books where sitters remained quiet for hours waiting for manifestations. They continued to sit and wait, and about 15 minutes later, the little table in front of them began “quivering and vibrating like something alive.” Then, it lifted off the floor several inches. Charles asked if a spirit was present and to signal “yes” by three tilts of the table and “no” by one tilt. The table tilted three times. Charles then told the invisible entity that he would slowly recite the alphabet and asked that a tilt of the table be given at the proper letter. After the tilting table spelled out H-A-R, Charles asked if it was Harriet, Verna’s mother. Three tilts followed for “yes.” After a few familiarization questions, Verna asked if Joe was with her. Three tilts of the table followed. Charles then asked if Joe could communicate. The table tilted only once, indicating “no.” Margaret wondered out loud if perhaps Joe had not been over long enough to develop sufficient strength. The table then tilted three times. Other deceased family members were discussed, including two of Verna’s children who had died in infancy. They were informed that both were with Grandma Painter (Harriet).
On September 19, Charles had a sitting with Emma Nanning, a Spiritualist medium. He did not give his name. No sooner had he entered when Mrs. Nanning said she saw the spirit of man enter the room with Charles. She then asked if he had a brother who had recently passed into the spirit world. Before Charles could answer, she told him that the spirit said he is his brother Joe, just recently passed out and that he was showing her an accident. “Tell mama I didn’t do; it was an accident,” the medium passed on Joe’s words. Nanning went on to say that she was seeing Joe sitting down on a log with a gun in an area of mountains or hills. She added that Joe was attempting to make his way to a nearby cabin. Charles was unaware of any cabin in the area but later verified that such a cabin existed, thus concluding that this was evidence the medium was not reading his mind.
Several days later, Verna and Margaret Mundell had a sitting with Nanning. Having read enough of debunking theories, they did not give their names or any indication that they were related to Charles. Nanning told Verna that her mother was standing in back of her. “She says, ‘I have brought Joe to you!’” She then got the name Harriet for Verna’s mother. Joe then came through and told his mother that he went quickly and that she should not grieve. “You are wiping out my spiritual life by your tears,” he told her. Joe then explained the accident, which had still been a mystery. He said that he was in the process of rolling a cigarette when the gun fell and fired. He added that Grandma Painter was the first to greet him on the other side.
Joe related that the over-anxious atmosphere and his mother’s crying made it difficult for him to communicate. He said that when she had more faith, he would come to her in his own strength (apparently without a medium).
The following week, Charles, his father, Sam, and Margaret attended a public sitting with Nanning and two other mediums. Sam’s mother, Elizabeth, had died in Los Angeles a few weeks before, not long after Joe’s death. Nanning came to Sam and told him that “Elizabeth comes to you. She says, ‘I’m your mother. Everything here is so much different that I expected. I wasn’t looking for this. It is all so strange. You must help me, my son. I can’t understand it all – yet! I am groping for light’.” Charles interpreted that to mean that his paternal grandmother (Grandma Mundell) was confused because, as a member of an orthodox church, she had expected golden streets, pearly gates, and jasper walls. Upon finding the spirit world no more than a continuation of this world, except pitched in a higher plane and of a more ethereal nature, she was having a difficult time getting her bearings.
On September 27, there was another table sitting at the Mundell home. This time, Margaret Mundell’s father, Herman Brunke, came through. As he spoke limited English, Margaret put questions to him in German and answers were received accordingly.
Seeking even more communication, Charles, Margaret, and Verna took the ferry over to San Francisco the following day for a sitting at a public Spiritualist meeting with Mrs. Marie F.S. Wallace, whom they had never met or seen. About 20 other people were present. After giving what appeared to Charles to be accurate and satisfactory messages to others in the room, Mrs. Wallace came to Margaret and told her that her father had a message of love. To be sure she knew it was him, he asked her if she recalled the time he slapped her over the head with a newspaper. Margaret replied that she remembered the incident very well. Wallace also mentioned that he was showing her that he was killed in a fall from a high building after his foot struck something sharp, like a spike. While Margaret was aware that her father had fallen from a Chicago skyscraper, she was unaware of the spike or cause of the fall.
Wallace then came to Verna, telling her she heard a spirit calling, “Mama.” She went on to relate the message: “I just sat down to rest. I was tired. I was leaning on a gun…It all happened so quickly, like a flash.” Wallace then got the name, Joe. “Joe says, ‘I still live.’ He says something about black. ‘Don’t like for mama to wear black.’ ‘Please don’t grieve for me. I am all right. When you grieve it makes it harder for me to get close to you – it makes aura so dense.’ He says, ‘Willie is here, too – and Annie!’ (the Mundell children who died in infancy) . Joe says, ‘I made Charlie come home.’ Joe also says, ‘If Charlie hadn’t come home, mama would have been here, too, by this time’.” Charles interpreted the latter comment to mean that Joe had impressed him to leave Oklahoma City and return to Oakland. He recalled the desire to return as “irresistible.”
On October 2, Charles, Margaret, Sam, and Verna again attended a public meeting with Emma Nanning in Oakland. Nanning came to Margaret and told her “Vater” (German for “father”) was present. He then gave his name as Herman. Charles took this as very evidential, especially since his wife looked more Spanish than German.
Two days later, the family again took the ferry to San Francisco for a private sitting with Mrs. Wallace. Wallace came to Sam Mundell and said she saw him as an official or leader of an organization having to do with railroads. In fact, he was general chairman of the railroad workers union. Wallace told him that he had fathered five children. Sam told her there were only four, forgetting that a fifth child died a few days after birth. Charles saw this as particularly evidential in ruling out telepathy. Joe again came through, offering more evidential information and ending with the comment: “Papa, I can go where I please, and I don’t have to wait for trains like you do.”
On October 12, Charles, Margaret, and Verna had another table sitting at the Mundell home. They waited 20-25 minutes before the table tilted twice, indicating sprit presence. The alphabet was recited and the name H-a-r-r-i-e-t was spelled, again Verna’s mother. Charles asked his grandmother how the table tilting phenomenon works. “It isn’t any known law of earth,” Harriet slowly spelled out. “It is spirit magnetism. I don’t understand it, but I can use it. Just like electricity is used on earth. Raymond Lodge is experimenting on it in his father’s laboratory. I am tired.”
Joe then communicated through the table. He was asked what it was like where he was and what he was doing. He replied that it was warm and bright with no fog or flees. He was going to school and learning what he didn’t have a chance to learn when he was a kid. He was then asked for more details on his accident. He explained that the gun was leaning against his leg as he rolled a cigarette. As he reached for a match, he knocked the rifle over. The next thing he knew he awoke in his grandmother’s arms with Willie and Annie holding his hands. He felt no pain. He was now with many friends and loved ones.
On November 16, Charles had a sitting with another medium, Mr. F. K. Brown of Oakland. Again, Joe communicated, stressing that his death was neither suicide nor murder, “just an accident.” Charles continued to verify that it was actually Joe communicating. One very veridical piece of information mentioned by Joe was the fact that Charles was wearing his old watch. When Joe mentioned that he (Joe) was still using the watch, Charles became confused and requested clarification. Joe explained that Charles only had the shell of the watch, but that he had the real watch. He further mentioned that he was using some of his old clothes, pointing out that the material might be in an old trunk in their mother’s house but the “life of them” is with him on his side of the veil.
In all, Charles consulted five mediums. None of the mediums knew him or had his name on the first visit, seemingly ruling out fraud. Several messages were unknown to the sitters and therefore suggested telepathy was not a factor. It was more than enough to convince Charles that his brother Joe and other family members were still “alive.”
(Reference: Our Joe by Charels S. Mundell, The Austin Publishing Co., Los Angeles, CA, 1922)
Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife, and Dead Men Talking: Afterlife Communication from World War I.
His latest book, No One Really Dies: 25 Reasons to Believe in an Afterlife is published by White Crow books.
Next blog post: April 25
Good question, but I don’t recall all that many NDEs pointing to unconditional forgiveness and instantaneous transitions to Paradise. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of one. I have 60 or more NDE books in my library, but I am not prepared right now to go back and categorize the NDEs. I’m pretty sure that at least three of the books focus on hellish experiences. The one that immediately comes to mind is “Blessings in Disguise,” by Barbara R. Rommer, M.D, published in 2000. I think Howard Storm is the author of another one. However, as often mentioned, those who have had hellish NDEs are much less likely to report them than those with blissful NDEs. It could also be that they are less likely to remember them.
Michael Tymn, Sat 23 Apr, 22:26
Excellent comment Eric. - AOD
Amos Oliver Doyle, Sat 23 Apr, 14:05
Newton, I think reported variations in the afterlife are like reports of the blind men describing an elephant. Each man reports what he experiences an elephant to be but there is a larger reality when one moves some distance away from the elephant and is able to see the whole animal, which of course the blind men are not able to do. Perhaps we are like the blind men, each experiencing his part of the afterlife but not able to see the whole thing. In John Wesley’s reported experience of the afterlife as transmitted through Cora Richmond, a spiritual reality does in fact have “many mansions” each created by the spirits who inhabit it, therefore it may not be the “same reality” that departed all spirits enter into.
I think the movie “What Dreams My Come” staring Robin Williams does a good job depicting an afterlife including a “hell” of sorts in which people are mired in by their own beliefs. Unfortunately that movie is not readily available unless one purchases or rents it.
Amos Oliver Doyle, Sat 23 Apr, 13:53
I think one needs to acknowledge that a few NDE reports are hellish, at least until the departed spirit cries out to God to save them after which they “see the light” and move into a more commonly reported after death experience. - AOD
Nicely put, Eric.
Jon, Sat 23 Apr, 13:48
A suggestion as to how to explain the seeming disparity between accounts mentioned by Newton a comment or two ago would be that there is a multitude of dwelling places in the ‘heavens’ of which Yahshua himself is recorded to have spoken. Somewhere (I forget where) in the New Testament he is described as “having passed through the heavens”, presumably on his journey through the lower spheres of consciousness to a very high universe, “to sit at the right hand of the eternal Creator Hirself”. These higher spheres appear to be ‘higher’ partly on account of being universes in which THOUGHT is an instantly-creative capability of the beings living there. Even formerly-human beings there seem able to create their surrounding reality by thought.
Around us HERE on Earth are humans of differing spiritual stature, and they each pass into further life in a sphere that matches the spiritual level they have achieved while here. At least one such universe must house Geley’s smelly dogs, and other low universes house lying and fraudulent spirits (of whom we need to beware). So the ‘geography’ of their surroundings and other circumstances they describe to us via mediums varies because the reality of their experienced universe-around-them varies. Just as we here know only what our five senses tell us about THIS universe-around-us, so they now know only the universe they now find themselves in. Many aver that life as they are now living it is very closely similar to life down here. Others find it difficult to make contact with us because they, allegedly - and I believe myself that it is probably true - now dwell in much more advanced universes. The differing descriptions given by mediums down here describe experiences of different spirits living in different ‘dwelling places’ and, reassuringly, all those dwelling places are within our Father’s eternally existing house.
Eric Franklin, Sat 23 Apr, 12:02
It’s a good question, Newton. Most people returning from NDEs report being in a blissful state. I experienced the blissful state after I collapsed on a beach in 2014. It’s hard to explain. I don’t think I was near death; I was carried off the beach by medics and after spending an hour or so in an ambulance and spent the day in hospital because the medics thought I’d suffered a brain injury. But the blissful experience surrounded by beings exuding love was unlike anything I’ve experienced before or since.
As you point out, near-death experiencers rarely report hellish conditions, whereas out-of-body experiencers and afterlife communicators do. I’m thinking of Wickland, J.S.M. Ward in Gone West, Robert Monroe and others. Then there are the so-called Rescue Circles – I know of one in the UK that has been operating since the 70s ¬ a small group, some of them mediums – the main medium being of the deep trance variety. They sit weekly, no money changes hands and destressed entities come through regularly needing help in understanding their environment. I’ve sat with them a few times.
I know one medium who denies the idea that dead people don’t understand they are dead or are “stuck” and don’t know how to move on, and feels rescue circles are not doing anything, whereas the group I mentioned and past groups such as Lord Dowding’s, felt and feel they are providing a great service to humanity.
And then of course there’s the view of traditional religions. Take your pick.
Kurt Leland is an OBEr who cut his teeth at the Monroe Institute and has written books on OBEs. Here’s an extract from his book Otherwhere, where Hell is discussed. Here he’s encounters a “being”.
“Can I be of service, little one?” it said. Somehow I didn’t mind being called “little” by a presence so immense. There was nothing condescending about the being’s tone, which was one of gentleness and humor. Since it seemed to be towering over me, the being was clearly just stating a fact.
“I was wondering if you could tell me about the cave I passed through on the way here,” I asked. “The one where everyone seems to be suffering so intensely—is that hell?” The being laughed, a musical sound like the shimmer of tiny bells. “No, little one,” it said. “There’s no such thing as hell here—except for the private hells people create for themselves from anger, fear, regret, guilt, shame, lust, and self-pity.
“You see, the Afterdeath Zone is a part of nonphysical reality—or Otherwhere, as we call it. Thought creates experience here. When people who have repressed such emotions die, they experience a kind of hell until these emotions have been discharged. We do our best to help them release themselves from their private hells. But some are more stubborn about punishing themselves than are others.
“As for the cave you mentioned, you can call it an insane asylum for existentialists. Their problem is that they don’t believe they’re here. They remain in that place for as long as it takes them to accept that there’s an afterlife. Their self-immolation is an expression of how they were tormented by their consciences while alive. They had dispensed with the idea of a higher power that insists that all action must contribute to the greater good, so there was no basis for them to determine which of their actions were appropriate and which were not.
“This higher power doesn’t judge them for having performed inappropriate actions. Sometimes, it’s necessary to work against the greater good in order to understand that obstructing others’ “growth merely obstructs your own. Ignoring the greater good can be just as obstructive as actively working against it.
“They’re in that cave because they’re still blind to the existence of this higher power. They can’t see what they won’t see. Even their torment is purely their own invention.”
“The higher power of which you speak—is that the sun/heart I see way off in the distance?” I asked.
“In a manner of speaking, yes. But don’t confuse that great Being with the omnipotent presence you call God. There are more comprehensive powers than that one in Otherwhere! You could call this being the god of humanity.
It represents the essence and highest realization of what humans can be, toward which all of us are evolving. As long as there are humans to participate in the cycle of birth and rebirth, that being will pulse its light and love through their veins.”
Shortly after this interaction, I returned to ordinary waking consciousness in the booth. A lab technician entered and removed the electrodes attached to my fingers. I joined Rita in the console room for a debriefing. Aside from a feeling of weariness, I was more amazed and puzzled by this experience than frightened.”
If you are interested, you can read a bit more here.
Jon, Sat 23 Apr, 11:00
Now may be a good time to return to a vexing subject: what (to me) is a distinct disconnect—indeed, in some respects more like a clash—between the afterlives supposedly described by psychical research and purportedly experienced in NDEs. We must speak in generalities, but a brief overview of each version of the afterlife is sufficient to reveal their key divergences.
Stafford Betty does a nice job in laying out the psychical research version in his most recent blog post on this website, “Toward a Rehabilitation of Purgatory and Hell.” So does Michael in several of his books, so there is no need to retrace that familiar territory. As for the NDE version of the afterlife, let me simply repeat a portion of a comment I made in response to Stafford’s post.
“While I like your take on purgatory and hell, largely in accord with classic spiritualism, how do we square it with all those NDE accounts that point to unconditional forgiveness via a life review and instantaneous translation into paradise? Even without a life review, Dr. Alexander, for example, found himself riding with his (then unknown) sister on the wing of giant butterfly. Isn’t this (and so many similar NDE accounts) the farthest cry from Imperator & Co.‘s series of arduous probationary spheres?”
Anyone want to take a stab at explaining this disconnect? Yes, I know there are similarities in the two versions of the afterlife, the most important being, of course, that there is one. But the devil is in the details, in what seem to be stark, if not irreconcilable, differences in two forms of revelation about what should be, ostensibly, the same reality.
Newton E. Finn, Fri 22 Apr, 21:31
For those who haven’t seen Jeffrey Mishlove’s Bigelow Essay Award acceptance speech, it can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WM3MhyIXL98 It is very impressive.
Michael Tymn, Wed 20 Apr, 08:22
I am very pleased indeed to find myself in TOTAL agreement with BOTH Newton and Amos, and with Stainton Moses himself, on the matter of the mixed sources (Deity via Imperator, and human self) of the automatic writing in a conscious state of Stainton Moses. I am familiar with the passages Newton quotes in which Moses states the same view of his own product for I have read Spirit Teachings twice from cover to cover with what I hope all see as my habitual (annoying?) care over the meanings of words and their syntax, and the precise delineation of those meanings in what I write myself.
I would describe my own quest for “saving truth” as BOTH the religiously-raised child’s tormented mind regarding ‘God’ and our duty to “Him” AND the wish to base my final joyful salvation from this low world on TRUE, HONEST science.
Eric Franklin, Tue 19 Apr, 07:02
On the subject of subconscious influence by the medium, I am rereading “Swan on a Black Sea,” which goes into some detail on this. I hope to do my next blog or the one following on that subject.
Michael Tymn, Mon 18 Apr, 22:21
In and of themselves words are only symbols representing some thing or concept. They are always open to interpretation. Among humans there are many different word or sound symbols for the same thing. But overall communication does occur between people, albeit often with misunderstandings or misinterpretations, or mistranslations between individuals or nations.
Reportedly there are no word symbols in the spirit world as communication is by way of a kind of telepathy between entities, maybe like Mr. Spock’s mind-meld in the early TV series “Star Trek.” Perhaps that method of communication is less subject to error. I hope so. - AOD
Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 18 Apr, 22:08
Newton, I agree. You comment that, ‘Is it any wonder that the first sort of seekers might find “Spirit Teachings” more “helpful,” more “of service,” than the second?’ meaning that some people might read Stainton Moses and Imperator to bolster their religious beliefs and find confirmation or congruity therein, while others seek an alternative to religious faith and find Imperator off-putting for the same reason that those who bolster their religious faith through the writings find a confirmation. I have silently thought this sometime back when the discussion about Moses and Imperator began on this blog but did not comment in deference to acceptance of the belief systems of other readers. All must seek their own pathway to the eternal. -AOD
Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 18 Apr, 21:41
I can just prove what I said: when I read the automatic translation the word ‘little’ was translated as not big, small. And my intention was to say ‘few’ as in not much.
Chris, Mon 18 Apr, 20:52
One of my latest dreampoems goes:
‘Ze geven weinig details om de waarheid geen geweld aan te doen’ Woorden zijn wat ze zijn Zo denken wij tenminste Ieder heeft zijn interpretatie Geeft ze zijn betekenis En geeft ze onbedoelde grenzen Hoe groter de details Hoe meer kans op misverstanden Hoe verder van de waarheid Geen wonder dat zij spreken met beelden Eindelijk rust na het eindeloos getater.
‘They give little details so they don’t violate the truth’
Words are what they are, so we think.Everyone has his interpretation, gives them meaning en gives them unintentionally borders.The more the details, the more chance to have misunderstandings, the further from the truth.No wonder they speak in images.Finally some rest after the endless chatter.
If we indeed go over the way we left the body, it seems obvious there are more versions of the truth. Each truth according the development of the spirit. Also, the more we develop , the more details can be given.
Chris, Mon 18 Apr, 19:46
Stainton Moses was honest enough, self-aware enough, to observe, at the beginning of “Spirit Teachings,” that “it is always the case that the idiosyncrasies of the medium are traceable in such communications. It is not conceivable that it should be otherwise.”
He also indicated that “no two of us ever struggle up to light by precisely similar methods,” that he did not publish Imperator’s teachings (as he gleaned them) “in any expectation of general acceptance,” and that he was “quite content that they be at the service of any who can find them helpful.”
I share Eric’s concern that a Victorian over-emphasis on sins of human sexuality (in contrast to the story of Jesus and “the woman taken in adultery”) is one such idiosyncrasy traceable in “Spirit Teachings.” Yet, in fairness, it should also be noted that Imperator’s indictment of the dehumanizing constraints of Victorian marriage was well ahead of the curve.
Spiritualism (or what’s left of it) seems to attract two different sorts of seekers who “struggle up to light.” The first sort, like me, seek evidence to bolster religious faith. The second sort, like the majority of Michael’s readers, seek an alternative to religious faith, having often been subjected, when young, to a narrow and/or oppressive form of it.
Is it any wonder that the first sort of seekers might find “Spirit Teachings” more “helpful,” more “of service,” than the second? None of this will matter, of course, once we transition, because among the first things to go, we’re told, are our conceptions of ultimate things, ALL of which are grossly inadequate if not flat out wrong.
Newton E. Finn, Mon 18 Apr, 17:17
Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 18 Apr, 15:54
I might add that one could guess that Stainton Moses was a sexually frustrated unmarried Victorian. Perhaps he might have been cured of all his frustrations and ills if he had been married or otherwise associated with a woman of a more free thinking nature, if you know what I mean. His quest for “purity” suggests to me that like all men he had some difficulty resisting his own sexual urges and proclivities for which he probably felt a great amount of Victorian religious guilt. - AOD
Yes Eric, I agree with you about Stainton Moses. He was an Anglican cleric after all and due to his somewhat fragile physical and mental condition probably spent a lot of time ruminating about church teachings. Throughout his writing as Imperator I see a lot of religious thought seemingly from Christian dogma at that time. That is one of the reasons I do not spend a lot of time reading his writings nor giving a lot of credence to what “Imperator” says. Actually any medium who, through some purported discarnate spirit, philosophizes about religion or life in general puts me off somewhat. There may be exceptions of course, especially mediums who have no knowledge or training in what they bring to the fore. That was not the case with Stainton Moses who spent most of his adult life deep in Christian religious thought. - AOD
Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 18 Apr, 13:15
My own expectation is that Amos’s definition of mediumship is correct. Is not ANY communication from ‘God’ MEDIATED to us, ie an example of the TRANSMITTED product or message of what we call the function of mediumship? That is how we should define the meaning of the word, by seeing the breadth of its REALITY. So Newton is right too. If the whole of the universe that is visible to us or to our invented scientific instruments is IN God, an expression of God’s infinite potentials, (and we consider this a reliable axiom of our condition or state of being in the world) then any MENTAL phenomenon that comes from God and arises in a human mind is ‘mediated’, and the varieties of mediated thought are the result of the process of ‘mediumship’. A huge range of phenomena is included, indeed ALL phenomena, including musical composition, for example, or logical insight. All are GIFTS, not originally our own creation. ALL appearances, phenomena, are gifts from God (though He/She is HIRSELF above mere phenomena) and, though issuing into our world via, to give but one example, Osborne Leonard, remain in God to be perceived IN that part of God that is what WE call the phenomenal world we see as around US, and is all that we can normally ‘see’ or experience. Only WE make the error of seeing them as separate, because we, as tiny phenomena ourselves, see our cosmos as containing SEPARATE AND DISTINCT ‘things’. However, all phenomena are not equal in OUR limited view as EVIDENCE FOR US that we are also part of God’s eternality, Her/His timelessness, Her/His ever-presence. It is the grading of those phenomena as more or less evidential TO US that we are concerned with. So we want to grade our Mediums as they are the channels of revelation and discovery. Amos is right, I think, but the idea needed unpacking. What do we REALLY MEAN (by the words we use)? Frauds and liars apart (and it is sometimes a problem to sift them out), of course all mediums tell us something, but some provide matter that is more evidential than other matter for the truths we long to be assured of. Of course, as we are part of God’s eternality despite suffering time and other restrictions down here, are we not safe for ever, not needing to fret, but finding that fact hard to grasp? Oh! we of little faith.
Eric Franklin, Mon 18 Apr, 11:56
As Newton has just mentioned the great value he finds in Imperator’s teachings - and I do not deny what he has said on the topic - I wonder if others agree with me that any medium who writes, as Stainton Moses did, while conscious, and not as, for example, Leonora Piper did, fully in trance with others placing pencils and paper, and her body relaxed and supported, truly possessed, just an interfacing processing machine for a while, we should acknowledge that there is a greater likelihood of the medium’s own thought (late Victorian Church dogma included in Stainton Moses’ case) infiltrating what is written. Stainton Moses certainly seems to me to write a great deal in the vein of “Sex is sin” without, for example, ever defining what his use of the word ‘purity’ is supposed to convey to us. I doubt whether the Creator of the sexual system of reproduction that is almost universal throughout the marsupial and mammalian and plant worlds views His/Her creation that way, but only disapproves of its unloving abuse. I feel this is a huge flaw in Stainton Moses’ oeuvre, and therefore a danger to the true understanding we all should wish to reach.
What do others think?
Eric Franklin, Sun 17 Apr, 20:43
Amos Oliver Doyle, Sun 17 Apr, 19:53
Imperator’s definition of mediumship might be one that I am more inclined to agree with. I think there are many gradations of mediumship; some people are more gifted than others. But perhaps they all provide some degree of evidence that a spiritual reality does in fact exist. If not, then something truly bizarre and yet unknown is going on in the human psyche. - AOD
It’s interesting to consider that “Spirit Teachings” conveys a conception of mediumship that is much broader than that involved in making the distinction between those who are capable of being possessed by spirits and those who merely sense them and communicate with them. In terms of the common understanding of mediumship, in which supernormal phenomena are present, this distinction is certainly both accurate and helpful.
Imperator, however, repeatedly indicates that a medium, in the widest and truest sense, is simply one whose spirit is receptive to the spirits of others (whether incarnate or discarnate), who allows his or her life to be shaped by the highest spiritual influences, and who in turn communicates to others the truths he or she has learned in this process. According to Imperator, this is often a purely internal/subjective process that includes no supernormal phenomena.
At first, I brought my own understanding of mediumship to the book (the common supernormal understanding) rather than let Imperator school me from the ground up. It was only repeated close reading, transitioning into daily devotional reading, that allowed his broad and (for me) liberating understanding of mediumship to break through my preconceptions.
Newton E. Finn, Sun 17 Apr, 18:31
Interesting distinction, Michael. I can understand that line of thinking. Few mediums today seem to be actually possessed by another entity or go into a trance as Leonora Piper did. One exception is Elaine Thorpe who seems to be possessed by Jonathan while in a trance of sorts. - AOD.
Amos Oliver Doyle, Sun 17 Apr, 13:03
Most of the “mediums” today would not be considered mediums if the spirit communicating with Father Johannes Greber is correct. Here is how it was explained to Greber:
“Your scientists include among mediums those individuals who have the gift of clairvoyance and clairaudience. This is not correct. It is true that clairvoyants, clairaudients, and clairsentients have mediumistic powers, but they are not true mediums. With them it is their own spirit which is active, which sees and hears, whereas in mediums properly so called it is a strange spirit which acts while the medium’s spirit is temporarily dispossessed. The gifts of clairvoyance and clairaudience do indeed enable the spirit of a man to see and hear the spirits about him, but a clairvoyant is not an instrument of these spirits and should therefore not be classed as a medium. The spirit of a person endowed with clairvoyance, clairaudience and with supernatural powers of feeling, smelling, and tasting, owes these faculties exclusively to the fact that it can detach itself from the body of a greater or less degree…..”
Michael Tymn, Sun 17 Apr, 04:47
There is a quite amazing interview with Geraldo Lemos Neto who was a close associate of Brazilian medium Chico Xavier. Wendy and Victor Zammit have included the video on their website at
If you go into Youtube.com and search in that search engine with https://youtu.be/imZvfJuIavw you may be able to pull up the video directly without going into the Zammit blog.
Neto relays some astounding information about Chico Xavier which brought to my mind the concept of the Christ consciousness and that perhaps Chico was another manifestation of that higher consciousness. This interview is worth watching as it provides information which most of the English speaking people may not be aware. As an example, Chico reportedly was not able to distinguish between incarnate and discarnate people and even surprised himself with his ability to see discarnates and was not able to tell the difference between them and people still living in the flesh. I highly recommend this video. - AOD
Amos Oliver Doyle, Sun 17 Apr, 01:35
Yes Michael, Mrs. Curran did not consider herself a ‘medium’ and pleaded with Dr. Prince to note that in his investigation of her. Pearl Curran was not in the same class as Mrs. Piper. Spirits did not take control of her body (arm and hand) or voice the way Mrs. Piper’s controls did. Curran did not go into a trance. Curran was very similar to Geraldine Cummins in that they both saw pictures, that is, scenarios of events and symbols in their mind’s eye and often heard spirits ‘talking’ to them in their head. At one time Mrs. Curran reported that she did see in the room the spirit of the deceased husband of a friend she had written a poem for but I think it was rare for her to actually see spirits.
Matt Fraser says that he sees spirits of a sort standing behind people in the room. He also says that he hears snippets of communications from spirits. They are just quick pieces of information which he has to make sense out of. He also feels sensations in his body of injuries or illnesses of spirits before they died. Whatever communication is occurring is very fast and in bits and pieces. Modern American television mediums e.g., Theresa Caputo, Allison Dubois, John Edward, essentially say the same thing. - AOD
Amos Oliver Doyle, Sat 16 Apr, 13:57
Thanks for the clarification. We seem to have been referring to two different things. I thought you were referring to the past life of a person clearly “dead,” while you were referring to an NDEr.
I agree somewhat with you on Hyslop. I guess they all had their shortcomings. Hyslop was more interested in veridical communication, not the “teaching” or philosophical type of Patience Worth. As you know, there was a big difference between the mediumship of Mrs. Piper and Mrs. Curran. Hyslop was focused on the Piper-type of mediumship. The same can be said of William James and Richard Hodgson. They seem to think it all started with Piper, giving no recognition to the “teachings” recorded by John Edmonds, Robert Hare, Stainton Moses, and others before the SPR and ASPR were organized. Hyslop continued with the more “scientific” mindset.
Michael Tymn, Sat 16 Apr, 09:39
I think I made that comment based upon reports from people who experienced a near death. Many of them are so enthralled with what they are experiencing as they transition that they easily leave their previous life behind. If they have older children, they know that they will be all right but if they have infants or toddlers, they do feel a need to go back to their life to raise their children. I don’t recall any of them being concerned about a spouse however as a reason to return to life. Many of them look forward to experiencing the bliss of their heaven, new activities and association with their deceased relatives and they don’t want to go back to their previous life. They have little or no concern for what they left behind on earth. A few expect to be reincarnated into a new life. Those that do come back often refocus their life on very personal things like painting or other art work, music, or one-to-one grief counseling, usually very personal things not broad social activities to improve mankind. Some may feel compelled to quit their job or leave their spouse so that they can focus on their own personal spiritual development.
On the other hand, mediums like Matt Fraser say that they see deceased relatives standing behind those left on earth. Often Fraser says that they are acting like ‘Guardian Angels’ overseeing the daily activities of their loved ones. Usually that is for people who are living a very stressful life, who are grieving or when the spirit has unfinished business or information that they want to relay to the loved one. The spirits indicate that excessive grief of those left behind binds them to the earth and they are not allowed to go forward. Fraser seems to be able to see deceased spirits of people who have a message to convey. Apparently not everyone has hovering spirits with messages although Fraser says that spirits close to earth can “check in” on those left behind at any time and in any circumstance.
I think that a spiritual life is a very singular personal experience and I am reluctant to structure it into something reminiscent of a religion. Although in Brasil, ‘Spiritism’ has become a kind of religion I think which may, in the long run, be detrimental to discovering new information about a spiritual life as it becomes burdened with religious fervor, icons and dogma.
I don’t regard Spiritualism or Spiritism as a religion but more of a scientific discovery. As more is revealed, mankind generally is advanced in science according to its ability to absorb the new information. I think one must accept the validity of a spiritual reality before one can apply its tenets to one’s own life. And, its application to society in general must wait until more people are convinced of its truth as it applies to their lives. I am trying to say that spiritualism is a very personal belief system and not one easily shared with the masses at this time. It is an enigma of sorts in that spiritualism leads to the interconnectedness of all consciousnesses and a return to the “One who is” while at the same time it is a quiet inner experience of one person or spirit. I am not saying this well, forgive me.
Regarding Hyslop, I have lost respect for him primarily due to his treatment of Pearl Curran, Casper Yost and John Curran over the Patience Worth case. Hyslop was infatuated by two charming women, Emily Grant Hutchings and Lola V. Hays who charmed him with their feminine wiles into believing gossip about the Currans. Hyslop tried to usurp the Currans by trying to contact Patience Worth himself through medium Mrs. Chenoweth but he failed to get a book out about Patience Worth before Casper Yost published his book. Hyslop made fictitious claims about the Currans and Casper Yost without investigating the facts of the case. And eventually the SPR refuted all of Hyslop’s criticisms of the case. Even Dr. Walter Franklin Prince, a psychic investigator himself, tactfully acknowledged Hyslop’s hasty unverified handling of the case. Hyslop saw himself as the ultimate judge and jury of psychic phenomena. Unless they met his criteria for authenticity, he trashed them. While he may have been an enthusiastic psychic investigator, and pled for money for his cause, he was just a human male subject to coercion of charming sophisticated females from the upper class. - AOD
Amos Oliver Doyle, Fri 15 Apr, 21:45
I whole-heartedly support Newton’s latest comment, which, as he says, quotes wise words from Hyslop. I have long thought myself, with huge disappointment at what I have observed, that what is lacking from most of today’s curiosity regarding spiritual matters is the grounding ethic that every life should have. To describe and identify the necessary level, and approximately define it, I would cite Kohlberg’s level six and seven, and repudiate as inadequate all the levels of his schema up to AND INCLUDING his level five. It is a high ethic that the established churches never, in my experience, understand, evince, or teach, a fact of which they should be ashamed. Spiritual people must do better than the established (but merely-human) religious systems we see around us in this low world.
Eric Franklin, Fri 15 Apr, 09:01
“Once one leaves the physical form all concerns about a prior life and its people on earth are left behind.”- AOD
Amos, an interesting comment and one not consistent with much credible spirit communication. By “prior life,” I assume you mean the one just completed. I believe it applies to highly evolved spirits or souls, whatever name given to them, but not to the vast majority, i.e., those not highly evolved or those still within the earth frequency. However, I’ll have to search for support and perhaps write a future blog on the subject. Can you provide some support for the comment?
Michael Tymn, Fri 15 Apr, 09:01
AOD: Let me quote in response, at perhaps undue length, the prescient words of Dr. Hyslop, the last great psychical researcher, whom Michael and others, including me, believe to have had the deepest grasp of the complexities of communication across the veil. It was in 1919, the year my mother was born, that Hyslop made these observations and gave this warning.
“(T)here is no reason for concerning ourselves with immortality unless it has an influence on ethical life…. Unless (spiritualism) reforms its methods it is doomed to extinction. Its first duty is to take part in the world’s ethical redemption.
“If it will organize charities and hospital work, young men’s and young women’s social and ethical organizations, and in general reproduce the practical services of the church, it can expect to survive. If it had done these things from the start…, it might have conquered the church and the world fifty years ago….
“Men usually form their conception of a religion, a sect, or a society by its most manifest characteristics. If it is ethical and practical, they respect it. If it is mere show, they regard it with amusement, as most people regard spiritualism….
“If spiritualists would only recognize this necessity and then devote themselves to the natural correlate of immortality, namely, the ethical regeneration of a world saturated with materialism, they would not only bring their cause into better repute, but also would refute most of the objections directed against them.”
Newton E. Finn, Thu 14 Apr, 19:56
Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 14 Apr, 17:14
I don’t think spiritualism can be all things to all people. Any successful venture must focus on the issues at hand. Jumping on a horse and galloping off in all directions will not get anyone anywhere. Spiritualism deals with galactic spiritual issues not social issues of the planet earth. Once one leaves the physical form all concerns about a prior life and its people on earth are left behind.- AOD
Here is the correct link to the Easter message:
Scroll down to the second one.
Maybe the mistake was intended so that Newton could make that interesting observation and remark about Cora Scott Richmond.
Michael Tymn, Wed 13 Apr, 19:28
Oops! I goofed on the date for the Easter message. It can be found at April 7, 2014. Sorry about that. Thanks to Amos Doyle for pointing it out.
Michael Tymn, Wed 13 Apr, 19:24
You can say that the victims are welcomed and taked care of in the afterlife, but still, as I read that even young children are raped and abused by Russian soldiers and see that there is so much wrong in the world that we even don’t know of, we can only conclude that humanity did not evolve much away from the animal state…or perhaps we become worse? Some of us have an awareness, but I ask myself how much is needed to ignite those primitive and destructive deeds? I hope we all can avoid that state. I wish to everybody that this Easter will be a turning point
Chris De Cat, Wed 13 Apr, 17:54
for the good and let the peace be with you.
Thanks, Michael, for the link to your enlightening post about Cora. Her message, as you indicate, had much to do with the great social issues of her time. So did the message of classic spiritualism in general, as can be gleaned from histories of the phenomenon which document its close linkage to the movements to end slavery, elevate the role of women, promote prison reform, improve the lives of the poor, create better working conditions, engender world peace, etc.
As James Hyslop pointed out (and as Imperator had warned), when spiritualism became almost solely obsessed with the supernormal and the next world, and turned away from direct engagement in building a better world right here, right now, it lost its spiritual power, its prophetic edge, and began to marginalize itself into the vestige or remnant we see today. Did the spirits leave us, or did we leave them? The same question could be asked of religion/spirituality in toto.
Newton E. Finn, Wed 13 Apr, 16:17
When one is in his 86th year, it is easy to lose track of time. I just realized that it is Easter week and so I thought I would give the link to my blog of April 7, 2014, which deals with the Easter message. It can be found at http://whitecrowbooks.com/michaeltymn/month/2013/11/
(Scroll down past the first blog there)
Michael Tymn, Wed 13 Apr, 04:47
Stafford, I’d put the count between 1850 and 1940 closer to 300, maybe more, but 150 may be closer to the individual stories, such as this one on Joe Mundell. Just a guess.
Michael Tymn, Mon 11 Apr, 22:57
Thanks Mike, Your memory is better than mine, even though you are now ‘old old’ while I am not(yet)! It was Conan Doyle’s son who died in London. I learned about him when making my Conan Doyle documentary for Youtube.
Keith P in, Mon 11 Apr, 22:03
Thank you! Impressive. Good to know this story.
Tea Holm, Mon 11 Apr, 19:29
I am always impressed by the obscure books you pull out of the archives for our edification. I have long wondered how many different authors have written published books full of evidential like this one. I assume well over a hundred but am not sure. Any estimate?
Stafford, Mon 11 Apr, 19:21
Illuminating as always. You are a constant source of encouragement. Xx
Tricia, Mon 11 Apr, 17:38
As I recall, the German language came through by table raps.
And I think Newton got it right on the Doyle dying in hospital matter.
Michael Tymn, Mon 11 Apr, 17:11
One point of clarification.
It was said that “This time, Margaret Mundell’s father, Herman Brunke, came through. As he spoke limited English, Margaret put questions to him in German and answers were received accordingly.”
Was there any indication what language the medium relayed the message? I am assuming it was in English since it did not specifically say that the medium relayed the message in German even though the questions were asked in German by the sitter and Herman spoke “limited English.” -AOD
Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 11 Apr, 14:53
Keith, you may be thinking of Conan Doyle’s son, Kingsley. While I’ve been typing this, Michael or another reader might have beaten me to the punch, so this is perhaps duplicative when posted. Thanks again for those wonderful videos.
Newton Finn, Mon 11 Apr, 14:20
This is an excellent case that I was not aware of, so thanks for it. How skeptics can keep doubting is beyond me, especially since there are numerous other cases of equal veridical quality in the archives. I had an incorrect memory when I read this, thinking Raymond did not die in battle but in a London hospital of his wounds. I must be getting confused in my old age with another case. If you happen to remember who I was thinking of, do let me know ! Thanks.
Keith P in England, Mon 11 Apr, 12:40
Very interesting. I have no further comment at this moment, but will read your excellent, invaluable, blog again.
Have a good day.
Eric Franklin, Mon 11 Apr, 10:25
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