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Professor De Morgan Gave Meaning to “Spiritual But Not Religious”

Posted on 13 September 2022, 9:58

The biography of famed British mathematician and logician Augustus De Morgan (1806-1871) at Wikipedia is very informative and well presented, except for the section near the end when it cites psychologist John Beloff as declaring that De Morgan was barred from positions at Oxford and Cambridge because he was an atheist.  The Wikipedia biographer seems to take some relief in noting De Morgan’s (below) atheism after having explained his interest in psychic phenomena.


Having just read Memoir of Augustus De Morgan by his wife, (below) Sophia Elizabeth De Morgan (1809-1892), published in 1882, as well as rereading Mrs. De Morgan’s 1863 book, From Matter to Spirit: The Result of Ten Years’ Experience in Spirit Manifestations, I don’t see De Morgan as ever having been an atheist, unless one concludes that any person not accepting the teachings of the Church of England at the time was automatically an atheist.  As I understand it, De Morgan earned his bachelor’s degree at Trinity College, Cambridge, but he elected not to pursue an advanced degree there, or at Oxford, because he would have had to declare himself in complete accord with the teachings of the Church.  He could not accept the strict interpretations given to the Old Testament suggesting a wrathful God and had doubts about the nature of the Trinity, but he remained open-minded and his beliefs were in line with many Unitarians of his era.


“He believed that Jesus Christ, the Son of God by the gift of the Holy Spirit without measure, was, as to his nature, a man like ourselves, except in His power of receiving the Spirit of God,” Sophia De Morgan explained in her 1882 book. “That His divinity was not, like that of the Father, the Source of all things, underived and self-existent.  That the Father spoke through Him by the same Spirit, sending the message and the means of redemption or bringing back erring man to God.  That the mission was attested by His words and miraculous works, and that He rose from the dead, and was seen to rise to Heaven, from whence He sends the Spirit to whose who are able to receive it.”  She also recorded that he spent much time during his final years studying the New Testament.

De Morgan’s mother was a fundamentalist Christian who grieved over her son’s rejection of Church doctrine and dogma. In a lengthy 1836 letter to her, he wrote, in part: “Your expressions amount to the following: – If you do not take it for granted that King James’s translators chose the right Greek, and turned it into the right English, and more than that, drew all their inferences correctly, God Almighty will punish you to all eternity.”  Later in the letter, he added: “Before God I declare that I have examined closely the history of the early Church, together with abundance of controversy on both sides, not forgetting the books of the New Testament on which they are written, and can find nothing like the creed of the Churches of Rome or England. The former does not pretend to find what you call the essential doctrines of Christianity in the New Testament, but appeals to tradition. It is easy to rail at them, but to the best of my knowledge and belief, derived from historical reading and actual observation, the Church of Rome contains as much honesty as that of England, and a vast deal more knowledge. It would take one quarter as much evidence to make me a Catholic as to make me a Church of England man.”

De Morgan’s brilliance was such that he did not require an advanced degree and he therefore became professor of mathematics at London University at the age of 22, a position he would occupy for 35 years.  He is remembered today primarily for his contributions to mathematics, especially differential calculus, and logic (De Morgan’s Laws are credited to him, even though Aristotle offered much the same reasoning centuries earlier.)  Philosopher John Stuart Mill referred to De Morgan as a mathematician with the attainments of a philosopher, logician and psychologist.  While he is little remembered in the field of psychical research, his open-minded approach to psychic phenomena is said to have influenced Sir William Crookes, a renowned scientist of that era, to undertake his investigations of mediums D. D. Home and Florence Cook, even though many other scientists of his time scoffed at the idea and even refused to join Crookes in some of his experiments with Home.

Although the lengthy preface to his wife’s 1863 book is simply signed “A.B.” De Morgan later admitted to a friend that he was the author of the preface and that his ideas and observations were in complete accord with those of his wife.  The book explores the experiments, studies, and observations of both Mr. and Mrs. De Morgan in clairvoyance, clairaudience, automatic writing, deathbed phenomena and even near-death experiences, beginning in 1853, placing them, with Judge John Edmonds, Professor Robert Hare, and Rev. Adin Ballou, as among the earliest psychical researchers and possibly the first in Great Britain.  Sophia De Morgan, while referred to as a “spiritualist” in some current biographies with a materialistic slant (apparently because of her interest, not because of any memberships), emerges as an objective investigator of psychic phenomena and possibly the first woman to devote her time and energies to psychical research.

“When a strange tale reached us, twelve years ago, of noises which had been heard in America, and attributed to spirits, everybody laughed,” Sophia De Morgan wrote in the first chapter of her 1863 book. “As the stories multiplied, a few persons in England began to think they must have some origin at least, and to wonder why, if spirits could rap in the United States, they did not do so in our country…and at length curiosity was still further excited by the appearance of a medium in London. Mrs. [Maria] Hayden became the wonder of the day; but people fancied that they could detect imposture, and, though none was ever fairly proved, the interest flagged and the ‘medium’ returned to America, having sown the seed of a tree the extent of whose growth has yet to be measured…” 

Mrs. De Morgan recalled in their first sitting with Mrs. Hayden that they waited for 15 minutes or more before anything happened, and they were becoming impatient. They then heard some throbbing or patting sound in the center of the table, and Hayden said, “They are coming.” The sounds gathered strength and Hayden said that a spirit was there. The name of the spirit was spelled out by raps (Mrs. De Morgan would run her finger along an alphabet board until a rap sounded indicating the correct letter, the medium unable to see the board). “To my astonishment, the not common name of a dear relation, who had left this world seventeen years before, and whose surname was that of my father’s, not my husband’s family, was spelt. Then this sentence. “I am happy, and with F—- and G—-(full names given).” All three names were recognized by Mrs. De Morgan,

In the 1882 book, a letter from Augustus De Morgan to Rev. W. Heald, dated July 1953, is quoted, De Morgan described his experience with Mrs. Hayden, explaining that it was his wife’s sister who had communicated.  “After some questioning, she (I speak the spirit hypothesis, though I have no theory on the subject) was asked whether I might ask a question,” De Morgan recalled.  He received an affirmative rap and then asked if he could give the question mentally.  Again, the reply was in the affirmative.  The question he mentally put to his wife’s sister (without speaking)  had to do with the subject they once discussed in a letter.  The reply came: C-H-E-S-S, which De Morgan confirmed as the proper subject.

De Morgan then heard from his deceased father and after some conversation asked his father to give the first letters of an epithets applied to him (his father) by a periodical he was thinking of, one published in 1817.  (It would have taken too much time for the communicator to give the complete epithets).  The reply came, C-D-T-F-O-C, which De Morgan confirmed as correct, commenting that he was satisfied that somebody, or some spirit, was reading his thoughts.  “This and the like went on for nearly three hours, during a great part of which Mrs. Hayden was busy reading the ‘Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin,’ which she had never seen before, and I assure you she set to it, with just as much avidity as you may suppose an American lady would who saw it for the first time, while we were amusing ourselves with the raps in our own way.  All this I declare to be literally true.  Since that time, I have seen it my house frequently, various persons presenting themselves. The answers are given mostly by the table, on which a hand or two is gently placed, tilting up at the letters….Make what you can of it if you are a philosopher.”  (While De Morgan does not say exactly what the letters stood for, his words suggest that it was something like, “Colonel De Morgan, the fussy old codger.” )

At a later meeting with Hayden,  Mrs. De Morgan had the letters D, E, A, R, E, S, T come through the table and assumed that her name would follow, i.e., “Dearest Sophia,” but the complete message, which was from a long-deceased friend, read, “Dear Esther is with me, and we long to clasp you in our arms in this bright world of glory.”  (Nearly all the messages came through without spaces between words.) “ Mrs. De Morgan noted that the name of the communicator and Esther were both known to her. 

De Morgan continued to sit on the fence concerning the spirit hypothesis, but, also in the preface of the 1863 book, he stated: “I am perfectly convinced that I have both seen, and heard in a manner which should make unbelief impossible, things called spiritual which cannot be taken by a rational being to be capable of explanation by imposture, coincidence, or mistake, But when it comes to what is the cause of these phenomena, I find I cannot adopt any explanation which has yet been suggested. If I were bound to choose among things which I can conceive, I should say that there is some sort of action or some combination of will, intellect, and physical power, which is not that of any of the human beings present.”  He added that “the spiritual hypothesis is sufficient, but ponderously difficult.”  The fact that he did not put his name to the preface seems clearly to have suggested that severe sanctions from the academic world – both from the religious and the scientific sides – would have been imposed. 

Later, in 1866, he wrote, “I have for thirty years, and in my classroom, acted on the principle that positive theism may be made the basis of psychological explanation without violation of any law of the College.”  Wikipedia needs to rethink its branding of De Morgan as an “atheist.”

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: September 26


You might be right, Michael.  I just want to keep people thinking.- AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Fri 30 Sep, 18:59

I think Amos is just playing Devil’s Advocate again.  I am convinced that the insanity we are seeing in the world today has its roots in a worldview that is too nihilistic and materialistic.  We need to restore some balance and the only way for that to happen is to examine the evidence for survival and hopefully conclude that it is overwhelming in that respect. It clearly is not an overnight process and will likely take years to restore the balance. We are now at low-tide and probably won’t be back to high-tide for a decade or more.

Michael Tymn, Thu 29 Sep, 21:08

Thanks for the information about training for “doctors” in the 19th century. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 26 Sep, 16:02


I just back to reading Sharon DeBartolo Carmack’s book about Maria Hayden and noted that both Maria and her husband enrolled in the new Eclectic Medical College of the City of New York in October 1866 and graduated sometime in 1867. Before a student was eligible for the M.D. degree, he or she required three years of internship under a practicing physician. It wasn’t until 1874 that New York law required physicians to have a license to practice medicine. There are some other interesting facts about the school and its faculty in the book. It seems highly unlikely that this school offered a curriculum comparable to Harvard Medical School, but I gather it was par for the course in those days.

Michael Tymn, Mon 26 Sep, 05:11

I should add there was a podcast by Dr. Merkling about Margery Crandon, for anyone that may be interested to listen.  (just click on play to listen).

brian, Sat 24 Sep, 16:16

For anyone interested there is a free Zoom event Nov. 14 about the mediumship of Margery Crandon being given by Dr. Emma Merkling (PhD) of the UK.

Science in the Séance Room: Stereographs, Medical Men, and the Testing of ‘Margery’ Crandon’s Extraordinary Body, c. 1925

In the mid-1920s, a transatlantic team of physicians, surgeons, psychologists, and physicists gathered in the Boston séance room of the medium Mina ’Margery’ Crandon to study the extraordinary phenomena she produced in a trance state, especially the visceral, quasi-biological ‘ectoplasm’ that seemed to ooze from her body. Anxious to defend the scientific status of their research into this strange phenomena situated somewhere between the medical and mental, tangible and intangible, the all-male team of investigators produced a vast set of materials documenting and validating their research (many housed today in the Harry Price Archives at Senate House Library).

This talk centres on the stereoscopic photographs of Crandon taken by the researchers to index the ‘spiritualist’ phenomena witnessed and to supplement the poor observational conditions of the pitch-black séance room. It also considers the researchers’ use of their other senses — touch, hearing, smell — and the photographs’ material qualities to explore the complex relationships embedded in these photographs and practices between apparent polarities like trust and deception, vision and blindness, truth and illusion, proof and faith, and science and supernatural belief. The gendered dynamics of this investigation, related to issues of ‘control’ (scientific and otherwise), are also explored. What role did the photographs, and other forms of observation and control, play in the scientists’ efforts to validate, document, and (dis)prove the seemingly supernormal, yet peculiarly bodily, phenomena they witnessed? What of trust and deception? And what can the application of art-historical methods to such cases offer to the study of the relationship between science and extraordinary belief?Dr Emma Merkling is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Courtauld Institute of Art as Principal Investigator on the grant project ‘Biomedicine and Belief:  Spiritualism, Observation, and Margery Crandon’s Extraordinary Body c. 1920–35′, funded by the International Research Network for the Study of Science and Belief in Society.

brian, Sat 24 Sep, 16:11

I am very familiar with the problems of translation. I am a medium and have been to various trance sessions where the medium had troubles with the translation of the symbol or words. One was the concept of the Internet.
I saw the church filled with eagles from different countries and at the front was the golden eagle lectern.

Why it is so vivid was that I noted the high backed pews for eagles to perch. It made sense to have such pews. I looked up the symbol of the golden eagle lectern
The church was I feel northern Germany but it was a very large gathering. Some eagles in the pews were also golden as they glinted. The peace and silence impressed me as each was receiving spiritual instructions. It was as a church should be.

I mentioned this to a friend who said the eagle is a bird of prey so until your eagle comment I rarely mention eagles. I do believe that it is a symbol for communication. Both mediums and eagles are messengers so to me they go together.

Bruce Williams, Thu 22 Sep, 01:26

Thx Bruce, this is interesting. On the blog of Michael Google translate translate the text automatically into Dutch. So now I can read a translation of a translation. I must say that is not exactly the same, but most text is comparable with the original foreword.
I was thinking afterwards that with messages of the afterlife it is possible the same. Some words or interpretations can differ by interference from the medium but mainly the main message is the same.
Can you remember the place in Germany?
Another strange synchronicity: there was a time gap between book two and three. I was doubtful if I ever came to write the last part of the dream I mentioned. Until some days after that thought, I was walking in an nearby village. There I met someone…with an trained eagle on his arm. (There are no eagles where I live) .This was the sign I had to write book 3.

Chris, Wed 21 Sep, 10:48

Systran seems to be a page by page type translator.
For hours, as a little boy, I could stare at the sky and discover the craziest figures in the passing clouds. Sometimes, as an eagle, I dreamed of shaving through the air at high altitudes.
The years have blurred that childhood dream.
Until that day in autumn 2003. I woke up after a strange nocturnal fantasy. The daylight this time did not dispel the shrouded, dormant dream world. An irresistible urge attacked me.
I ‘had to’ book the eagle saga.
The story took shape and began to live its own life, as if inspired by outside inspiration.
Sometimes things happen that have to happen, sometimes things happen that we wonder why they have to happen, hopefully someday the realization and understanding why they have to happen will happen.
Have fun reading!
Chris De Cat
© Chris De Cat
This book may be read and distributed freely, but not used for commercial purposes without the author’s consent
I will be eating my Dutch licorice while reading.
I like your comment that the book takes its own life. I once saw a large gathering of eagles in a church one day. The vision lasted daily. Eagles are spiritual messengers and we were gathered for a major briefing. Somewhere in Germany as there were golden eagles present. This would have been at least 8-10 years ago. Still vivid.

Bruce Williams, Wed 21 Sep, 01:18

Bruce, I hope you succeed.  I also tried to use Google translate and indeed the file was too big.
Some words can be strange. Some of the animals got an ’eagleized ’ name for example a rat they called ’vetstaart’ what you can translate as ’ fat tail’.
Some expressions are ’birdized’. Expressions with legs,arms or hands become wings,claws, feet (in Dutch of course).I hope you enjoy it.If you need help, you can ask me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) ( it is an email address I use for communication about the books)

Chris, Tue 20 Sep, 14:06

Thanks for the link and the explanation. I am a fan of Dutch thinking with Gerard Croiset written by The Dutch parapsychologist Wilhelm Tenhaeff. Croiset tried to locate three missing Australian children - the Beaumont children
Tenhaeff also wrote Telepathy and clairvoyance; views of some little investigated capabilities of man. Tenhaeff had the chair test with Croiset.
I think that your dream eagle and my awake eagle are subsets of telepathy. I am working on the translation of your books to see if we are similar in the mechanism but the books exceed the limit for free translation.
Thanks for the explanation,

Bruce Williams, Tue 20 Sep, 10:10

As I tell in the foreword in book 1 I imagined as a child to fly like an eagle, but later on I never had any connection with an eagle. Until one night, some 43 years later, in 2003 I dreamed a complete story of an eagle, named Djemana,the rainbow bird. When I woke up I could remember the whole story,something what never happened before. I always remember but a part of a dream or they are a lot shorter. It was the only dream until now,I had about an animal. I knew immediately I had to write the story down. They formed the base of the first three e-books. Since then I dream regularly about different subjects and mostly they try to give me a message, which a write down in e-books 5 and 6. I ’m very grateful for having those marvelous dreams although they aren’t always so much fun to dream .
So it is not my conscious choice to write about an eagle, but maybe unconscious or more probably put in my dreams by spirit.That’s what I believe.
It’s a pitty they are only in Dutch. This is the link:

Chris, Mon 19 Sep, 14:34

It is true that a law degree was not a requirement to practice law in Illinois and other states in the 1800s.  Abraham Lincoln was recognized as a ‘prairie lawyer’ at the pinnacle of that profession but never attended law school.  You didn’t need a law degree to practice law in the early 19th century. Reportedly, the former railsplitter borrowed legal treatises from a colleague in the Illinois legislature, took an oral exam, and was admitted to practice law in 1836.

It may be that in the 1800s and before people could practice medicine without a medical degree and apparently many people did just that.  The barber pole with its red and white stripes was a sign that the barber also treated cuts and other wounds, broken bones and gunshot wounds as well as cutting hair and trimming beards. And, before the 20th century midwives were informally trained to assist with childbirth often treating associated medical conditions.  Today Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners function as physicians at times without a medical degree but under the supervision of a licensed Medical Doctor.  In theory it is the Medical Doctor who prescribes medications although that seems to be changing in recent times.  Of course, major surgery today requires education and training usually provided in Medical Colleges and Universities and a Residency in a hospital under the tutelage of experienced surgeons after which the physician may be licensed by the State to practice medicine.

The use of M.D. appended to a name may not sell books but it does suggest credibility and intellectual prowess and a certain status in society. This may be especially important to suggest when writing about people who have a reputation in occult activities such as psychics and mediums. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 19 Sep, 13:42

I am very interested in your eagle comment. The passage to having conversations in the afterlife is often accompanied by a power animal. I connect with the eagle so I am wondering about your experiences. In your experience are there others in non human form? If your a fan of Penn and Teller you might understand my line of thinking. In case you are not a fan, Penn alludes to the answer.
I think that the learned members of SPR were just like us with interesting discussions of points of after life material.

Bruce Williams, Mon 19 Sep, 10:17

Amos,  I don’t see the M.D. being used to promote the book.  It is not part of the title of the book and is only mentioned along with many other facts about her history. 

I recall that until around 1980, one could practice law in California, Illinois, and possibly a few other places by completing a correspondence course—LaSalle Extension University or Blackstone School of Law, both in Chicago.  Of course, one had to also pass the bar.  If there was some kind of testing requirement for physicians in those early days, it would be much the same thing, I believe.  However, I don’t know if they had to pass a test administered by some government agency.

Michael Tymn, Sun 18 Sep, 21:29

Michael, It may be that your ‘guesstimate’ of 99 percent of the population who never heard of the topics of which you write is a little too high but being an easy target for criticism that you are as a published writer of relatively unknown people and their relationships with alternate realities I can understand that you might hear from a lot of naysayers.  I think that the uninformed are becoming less and less due to the availability of a multitude of easily available internet websites, including yours,  that cover topics related to spirituality.  These sites provide abundant information and examples of evidence suggesting or intimating the existence of other states of existence, life after death and reincarnation.  It may be that the examples of the past, that is, those of which you regularly write are too much too soon for some people to accept, e.g., self-playing instruments, aggressive furniture, direct voices, apports, translocation of humans etc. and they lend themselves to laughter and ridicule.  But the more recent examples are not that easy to laugh at and dismiss.  I am thinking of well produced websites that provide evidence that is difficult to refute.  I think that organized religions are being replaced by this new information concerning spirituality.  As people reject the dogmas and rituals of organized religions and become informed of new information not only from psychic sources but from physics regarding alternate realities they tend to become “spiritual but not religious.”  - AOD

I recommend the following websites:

Matt Fraser at
Jeff Mara at
Thanatos with Werner Huemer and others at

Afterlife Experiences at       

There are also many websites concerning reincarnation, too numerous to list here.  I recommend those sites that restrict their examples to accounts by children and not those of hypnotized adults. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Sun 18 Sep, 14:28

Dear Chris,

Your latest comment has just appeared on my screen. I want to say that I feel TOTAL EMPATHY with your own feelings. I have had exactly the same experience, even from people who should know better, like SOME in the SPR itself. I shall not give names.

Like you, Chris, I do not want to be famous either, but I would like to be understood, not criticised by those who do not take the trouble to read us carefully, nor imagine that we might, just conceivably, have something to say that is worth saying.

I feel with you, Chris, and applaud what you have said to us all.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Sun 18 Sep, 10:57

Dear Stafford,

I have misspent some time and effort answering Lee’s demonstration that he does not read what is written but what he imagines the writer has written, (even imagining the precise OPPOSITE of what the writer has actually said, and said accurately) so I have neglected your own incomparably more worthy request for information on how mathematics strongly suggests the probability of intermingling but normally non-communicating universes, out from which spirit beings do seem, from time to time, to communicate with us. The Scole Experiment provides recent, scientific, and very strong evidence indeed.

I dealt with this topic at length and in precise detail in offering an anthology chapter of 5000 words which one of the Bigelow essay prizewinners accepted as valuable, though not as appropriate for the particular compilation of essays that he was at the time preparing as a book to be published by the SPR.

Few understand the paper, but a world-known mathematician with whom I am slightly acquainted DID understand it, saying that I had handled a difficult subject well. Because so few understand it, despite it explaining how such experiments as those at Scole are possible in our physical world I am trying to make it clearer (but I have many other urgent tasks), but I can send you the latest version of it if you let me know your email address.

Kindest regards

Eric (Franklin)

Eric Franklin, Sun 18 Sep, 10:47

That is the reason why I wrote my books about an eagle saga. They seem to be kind of Disney story but the more you read, they evolve more and more to spirituality and the last book is an afterlife story based on my dreams and verified by the afterlife literature. So I hope that readers roll into spirituality without to mention that word, because it is painful to see that many people still think it is a matter for dreamers or freaks.
Unfortunately I’m not known in Belgium and even if I offer my e-books for free, they got little attention from media altogether. I must say that I don’t feel any need to be famous, but as you know yourself as a writer, you enjoy it when what you wrote is read and especially when they liked it.
The messages are more important than the messenger,that’s what I think.

Chris, Sun 18 Sep, 10:09


Thanks for the link to the soothing music.  Yes, we keep repeating the same kind of evidence over and over again. It is continually reinventing the wheel for many of us.  The problem is that 99% of the population or thereabout have never heard of it. If they have heard of it, they go to Wikipedia or to a “wise” friend to find out more about it and are told that it is all bunk. That seems to be enough for them to return to being one with their toys. Every now and then, however, someone decides to dig a little deeper than Wikipedia, and the more we keep repeating the evidence, the better the chances that the more curious seekers will come upon something that encourages them to keep digging.

I have been told by a number of people that they have forwarded on links like this one to some skeptical but open-minded friends and that those friends slowly begin to think that there might be something to it all.

Michael Tymn, Sun 18 Sep, 06:11

Hi Michael,
Since my wife spent many years and much money earning a medical degree I am always interested when I see “M.D” following the name of a 19th century woman who reportedly was a physician.  I realize that times were different back then and women often acted as midwives and community ‘medicine women’ and may have been regarded as a doctor by the community in which she lived but I don’t think women were welcome in the male-dominated medical schools in America back then.

The example that comes to my mind is Margaret Schmidt, mother of Emily Grant Hutchings.  As you know, Emily was instrumental in bringing Patience Worth out of the vast unknown through the Ouija Board when sitting with Pearl Curran in the summer of 1912-1913. Unfortunately, the research I did many years ago about Emily and her mother is buried somewhere in my files but I wrote in my hacked and now defunct website about Patience Worth that Emily wanted to become a physician like her brother but she reportedly said that “[T]he first time I saw a cadaver, I fainted. That settled my career. So I took to literature instead.”

Emily’s mother, Margaret Schmidt did train as a physician in the 1800s according to Emily to “make herself more useful” to her husband as he contemplated a missionary appointment in Japan but “in those days the rights of womankind were disregarded by medical colleges and she was not allowed to take a degree.”  Although her husband did not become a missionary due to poor health, Margaret Schmidt’s services as a physician “were soon in great demand in the vicinity of her home and she was recognized by all as a physician of ability.  Her field of labor widened and at last she had clientele not exceeded by any other practitioner in Hannibal [Missouri].  She continued in professional work until declining years led to her withdrawal from active practice.”

Things may have been different in Europe where apparently more women entered higher education but even though Marie Curie had a Doctorate in Science and may have been referred to as “Doctor” I don’t believe that even she had a ‘Medical Degree’ as is thought of today.

This may all be irrelevant in the big scheme of things and I don’t know why I care but I think that since placing “M.D.” after one’s name connotes advanced training, knowledge and expertise in medicine and the arduous experience of earning an actual medical degree I just think that it is important to give credit where credit is due and not credit a medical degree to someone who does not have one.  That is the reason I asked. Enquiring minds want to know! - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Sat 17 Sep, 15:24

We are discussing spirituality and the possibility of the afterlife time after time with books, science, religion in search of proof. Maybe it is time to just feel it’s true. This mesmerizing poetic/ music is just doing that for me. Maybe for you too, maybe not… .I find it beautiful.

Chris, Sat 17 Sep, 10:05

Amos, I don’t know if Sharon will see your question about where Mrs. Hayden earned her M.D.  I recall reading in the book that she served an apprenticeship under another doctor, which apparently is the way many doctors were educated in the early and mid-1800s.  Sharon does mention the name of the first woman to attend a medical school in the U.S., but I can’t locate that page right now.  Hayden’s husband, William, was also an M.D., but I think I read that he also trained
under another doctor.  If I can find the pages this was discussed on, I’ll let you know.  I wonder if they had to take some kind of test before receiving their M.D.

Michael Tymn, Sat 17 Sep, 03:57

Dear all,
The loss of the Queen prompted the consideration of royals and mediums. I might add Royal Seance page 18 of Spirit Communications by Roy Stemman.

Briefly Lilian Bailey was blindfolded and taken to a location. She went in to trance and her control Bill Wootton spoke. When Lilian had her blindfold removed there was a circle of the Queen Mother, our late Queen, our late Prince Philip and few other royals. They had spoken to King George VI who had died one year before. Lilian was sworn to secrecy and details were released when she died in 1971. I think that the CofE clergymen would became mediums would be really amused.
Roy also mentions our late Dianna visited Rita Rogers (medium) on 12 August 1997. Rita had comforted Dianna for four years following the death of her father. Two weeks later Dianna died. Rita had warned that Dodi would be in an accident.

I appreciate Eric words to consider the world of mathematics. The Fibonacci sequence and the golden or logarithmic spiral are areas of interest. In one of my spirit communications it was suggested that I develop an better interest in this area of mathematics. I am yet to find out why.

I came through university training in Fast Fourier Transformations. It was an area we had expertise for radiophysics. I thought what other product would ever need FFT theory? One of students (much smarter than me) developed WiFi using FFT theory. Since then I have not asked that question again.

Bruce Williams, Fri 16 Sep, 13:05


The view of some physicists that there are multiple invisible universes “right here” and “all around us” is exactly what my paper on the matter, based simply on necessary facts of very elementary mathematics, proves analytically; that is needing NO external empirical observations as evidence. It is a FACT of the structure of space and “time”, as Einstein would tell you. The simple maths ENTAILS the view I came to YEARS AGO, self-taught and self-thought. If established and incomparably better-informed physicists than I am are now thinking what I thought up about a decade ago without being such an expert myself, that reality may give you pause.

And you are STILL MISquoting me. Read me AGAIN. You need to be far humbler and more careful in future, Lee.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Fri 16 Sep, 11:12

Yes, Lee, the words you quote (but mostly still MISquote) may be mine, but you are STILL reading carelessly and totally misunderstanding them.

I am busy, over 80, and would like to get on with the urgent tasks (dangerous for a person my age, having suffered to strokes affecting balance) that I have today. Read me again, and again, and again, and (perhaps) the coin will drop one day, though I would not like to predict any such happy outcome. I am not your judge, but I suspect you need a metanoia first.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Fri 16 Sep, 09:06

Eric, another point i forgot to make is that some theoretical physicists believe in the possibility of multiple (invisible) universes and all this is based on mathematical equations such as those supporting string theory. So saying that mathematical equations supporting the notion of invisible universes is a stupid statement clearly shows that you have no idea what you are talking about, unless you know more than theoretical physicists. I guess given what you wrote in response to my original question, these theoretical physicists would be considered “insane” for believing in the “stupid” proposition that mathematics supports the notion of there being invisible universes out there.

I will await your explanation of these “mathematical facts which show us how invisible universes… are inhabited by spirits that speak to us”(my apologies but all this sounds like complete nonsense unless you actually have “mathematical facts” to support this proposition that you make). 1=1 and 2= 2 but what does that have to do with the relationship between some unspecified mathematical facts you originally alluded to and spirits talking to us?


Lee, Fri 16 Sep, 00:34

I’m only 103 pages (of nearly 600) into Sharon’s book about Maria B. Hayden and am finding it a real treasure, not only concerning her mediumship but also from a historical standpoint.  I just finished reading a report by Robert Lytton, the son of the renowned author Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, to poet Robert Browning, reporting on several of his father’s experiences while sitting with Mrs. Hayden. In one of them, Sir Edward expressed displeasure with the answer he got from the spirits “when suddenly the Table (near which no person was standing) of its own accord, as one says, sprang at him like a dog.” Mrs. Hayden was also astonished and suggested that the spirits were angry with him.  Sir Edward laughed and suggested they spring at him again.  “And immediately the Table flew at him, knocked him against the wall, and pinned him there so close, that as it was a large table, he was in danger of being crusht (sic); after three or four minutes, the table moved slowly back (with a sort of revolving orbit-like movement) to the original position.” 

That incident reminded me of a later one involving “Margery” (Mina Crandon) when a table chased one of the sitters (her dentist) across the room and down a flight of stairs in the Crandon’s home.

Of course, the debunkers would have a good laugh at all that, but so would the believers.

Michael Tymn, Fri 16 Sep, 00:08

Eric, fair enough. Now what are these specific “mathematical facts that show us how invisible universes can surround our own cosmos”? What mathematical facts support the notion of invisible universes being inhabited by spirits who speak to us? These are your words, not mine.


Lee, Thu 15 Sep, 22:43


Queen Victoria is said to have used mediums frequently, namely Robert James Lees and John Brown.  See

I have three books by Lees that I have not read in more than 20 years. Thanks for reminding me about them.  I may have to read them in the near future and do a blog on them.

Michael Tymn, Thu 15 Sep, 20:59

Dear Lee, and dear Stafford,

I did not say anything about maths proving that the universe is invisible. You, Lee, SAY that I claim that certain mathematical equations “show us how invisible the universe is”. I quote your exact words, do I not? I said nothing even remotely like what you claim, and would surely have been insane to make any such obviously stupid statement? We only have five or so senses, but we do SEE the universe, at least as shallow phenomena. I take it you agree that we see the sun and moon, and, using telescopes, the stars? You have slipped into one of the dangerous traps of verbal language by reading very carelessly. Words are slippery eels and it is impossible to use them with precision, despite some of us trying til we sweat with the effort to do precisely that; and so it is impossible to avoid being misunderstood by those who do not have a sense of the necessity for the precision in expressed meaning that mathematics DOES supply. 1 = 1, and 2 = 2, and we KNOW what 1 and 2 mean. Please do me the consideration of reading me again.

That plea to Lee begins to give a response also to your reaction, Stafford. There is a beauty in precision (just watch and listen to a machine working, eg the near-silent smooth movement of a Victorian pumping engine or the intriguing action of a ‘Geneva motion’ intermittent movement in some other machine). I said nothing about spirit communication being mathematical. Nevertheless, ‘otherness’ is a mathematical concept, definable in meaning, and spirit communication evinces otherness, a word that even partly defines ‘spirit’ for us, in our way of being - we ‘see’ it as ‘other’, by definition, ‘other’ than our familiar world - that is (partly) how we describe spirit, how we define the word ‘spiritual’, as well as by such other characteristics of the meaning ‘spiritual’ that we regard as important components of the full meaning of the word; so even spiritual utterance has a mathematical basis in at least that fact.

Using words legitimately, we can say that spiritual manfestations come to us from another universe thsn our familiar one.

What Mike (Tymn) DID quote from De Morgan is that, being a mathematical thinker, he said he could not accept the usual dogmas, such as the Trinity, without reservations, and what I added, hoping some readers would see what I mean, is that mathematics (very very simple mathematics, mathematics-ITSELF, needing NO evidence from outside itself) shows the necessary fact that no-one seems to investigate, that, maths necessarily being a part of ‘God’, spirit voices etc can in theory and do in practice come to us from another universe. And maths, of which I know far too little but have some slight empathy, explains the possibility of that process, and is beautiful.

Now I am exhausted, and can’t face reading all this over to check for any logical slips of my own (so please forgive if there are some), and need a drink and a rest.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Thu 15 Sep, 15:37

Where did Maria B. Hayden receive her medical degree?  I am aware of medical schools in America during the late 1800s allowing women to attend classes but they would not allow women to actually receive a Medical Degree and practice as a physician.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 15 Sep, 14:40

Thanks for sharing about the De Morgans, but especially their experience with Maria B. Hayden. If anyone would like to read about Maria, please see my website <> and book, In Search of Maria B. Hayden: The American Medium Who Brought Spiritualism to the UK, available on all Amazon marketplaces.

Sharon DeBartolo Carmack, Wed 14 Sep, 17:50

Interesting watching the Queen’s procession and listening to King Charles speak about his mom now meeting his father with the angels. It sounds so childish and nonsensical I wonder if the royals really belive this is what happen after death, based on religious beliefs. This is not to say this is not what happens as I have no idea. Also interesting to think that if consciousness survives then the Queen is aware of the marvelous outpouring of grief and love for her from all corners of the world.

I wonder if the monarchs of the past have made use of mediums and whether current family members believe in and use mediums. Perhaps their religion prevents them from opening this door of potential attempts at communication.

Lee, Wed 14 Sep, 17:45

Like Stafford I would be interested to know what these mathematical facts (I assume equations)  are that “show us how invisible the universe is” and how these mathematical facts support the notion that there are spirits (who speak to us). I have never heard of anyone using mathematics to argue that spirits exist or that mathematics support the existence of God.


Lee, Wed 14 Sep, 16:48

In April of this year I made a 30 minute documentary for Youtube entitled ‘Dr Hare and Mrs Hayden’. Of course it mentions De Morgan and others who were convinced by Mrs Hayden’s sittings. Readers of this blog may be interested in it, see here:

What I wonder, is whether De Morgan and his wife would have arrived at spiritualist phenomena without without Mrs Hayden’s help. She was the first American medium to arrive in the UK. While in England she and her husband were profoundly ridiculed by the ministers of the Church of England, but not by all of them. Thanks Mike for this excellent blog.

Keith P in England, Wed 14 Sep, 13:25

Eric, I don’t follow you. Why not say that reason or beauty or some other quality “underlies all the truths we have discovered,” but why mathematics? What is mathematical about spirit communication? You see something that I don’t see but would like to see.

Stafford Betty, Tue 13 Sep, 23:44

Dear all,

A major point concerning De Morgan and most of the original researchers of spiritual matters is surely that they, the researchers, were such oustanding minds in their own era. The whole matter was never one for dreamy fantasists and emotional fools. It is a slight extension of this to assert confidently that mathematics underlies all the truths we have discovered, and that mathematical truth must be in some real sense an inherent part of God. It is, for instance, a few very simple and wholly analytical mathematical FACTS (ie requiring no external empirical facts as evidence) that show us how invisible universes (inhabited by the spirits who speak to us) can surround our own little cosmos. That simple scenario is worth many thousands of words of verbally-based speculation and opinion.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Tue 13 Sep, 11:15

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