banner  
 
 
home books e-books audio books recent titles with blogs
   
   
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Balance Problem in Weighing the Afterlife Evidence

Posted on 01 August 2022, 6:24

Over the years, I have posted 20 biographies and articles about various psychic phenomena at the PSI Encyclopedia website, which is sponsored by the Society for Psychical Research (SPR). They include bios of Sir Oliver Lodge, Leonora Piper, Professor James Hyslop, and William T. Stead, along with essays on the Glastonbury Scripts, the Buried Crosses, and the mysterious Patience Worth.  Nearly all of them have been edited to some extent to overcome my bias toward accepting the credibility of the person or the genuineness of the phenomenon.  In other words, I rarely give as much weight to the debunker’s side of the story, as I do to that of the dedicated researchers. After all, the researchers had already debunked the debunkers. Nevertheless, if the debunking side is not given equal attention, it is not seen as a “balanced” report and the editor finds it necessary to rework my submission by deleting some of the testimony in favor of the genuineness of the person or the phenomenon or to add some information (or misinformation) that supposedly counters the evidence in favor of the person or the phenomenon. 

My most recent submission, the most edited of all, is on the controversial direct-voice medium, Mina Crandon, (below) better remembered as “Margery,” whose mediumship was extensively studied by scholars and scientists during the 1920s. Historians and pseudo historians have not treated her well. The “know-nothings” are certain she was a fraud.  The debunking theories extend to the possibility that her husband, Dr. LeRoi Crandon, a prominent Boston surgeon and instructor of medicine at Harvard University, enlarged her “female storehouse” so that animal lungs could be hidden there and later exuded and passed off as ectoplasm.  This “anatomical concealment” included reabsorption at the end of the séance as well as the need for a refrigeration unit of some kind.

mina

Most of the phenomena were physical, including levitations of a table, apports (objects floating around the room), unusual lights and breezes, the materialization of hands and arms, paraffin gloves purportedly produced by spirits, the ringing of a bell not within reach of the medium, a scale in which the weighted side went up as the unweighted side went down, and other strange happenings.  However, the main attraction was the “master of ceremonies,” said to be Walter Stinson, Margery’s older brother, who had been killed in a railroad yard accident in 1911. Walter would speak through his entranced sister and also independently of her in a masculine voice.  He would carry on conversations with the sitters, joke with them, curse at them, whistle tunes, and do automatic writing through Margery. She is said to have produced writing in nine different languages, including Greek and Chinese. 

On the surface, the story seems trite, even laughable, involving no more than homespun vaudeville, but a verdict for Margery would have meant an indictment of mechanistic science and the philosophy of materialism.  The story made front-page news in the New York Times and other newspapers.  It included character assassinations, revenge, sexual innuendos, threatened lawsuits, the aforementioned anatomical storage, and bizarre phenomena, even a table chasing a guest around the Crandon house and down a staircase. 

My submission was melded with that of another writer and the editor’s own research and many revisions, so that I recognize very little of it being from my original paper. What bothers me most is that the key to understanding what some researchers considered “tricks” by Margery is explained in my paper, but none of that survived in the published piece.   

From earlier discussions, I gather that the editor is under pressure to provide a neutral account so as not to offend the members who prefer a materialistic explanation. Once an article becomes biased in either direction, it is no longer “scientific” and is considered “propaganda.” At that point, the materialists do not renew their memberships and the organization faces insolvency.  I understand this concern and appreciate the dilemma of the editor, but at the same time I struggle to understand how an organization or publication can have an unending quest to straddle the fence.  Shouldn’t it at some point be able to move off its perch?  If it does show some unbalance toward accepting a spiritualistic view, has it abandoned science?  It seems so stultifying and senseless for an organization to be perched on the fence for 140 years. In all fairness, I know that some of the editors at the SPR have permitted articles that lean in the direction of spiritual causes. Dr. Leo Ruickbie, whose essay earned him third place in last year’s Bigelow Institute Consciousness Studies contest, is one example.       

As I recall, William Stainton Moses, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Vice-Admiral W. Usborne Moore and Dennis Bradley all had the same concern and resigned from the organization.     

I justify my bias by saying that I am only interested in writing about people or phenomena who have, or which have, been judged authentic by researchers.  If the research pointed to the person being a charlatan or the phenomenon being fraudulent, it doesn’t interest me enough to write about it. I guess that makes me a propagandist in the dictionary sense of the word, i.e., someone who promotes an idea with zeal, even if modern-day politics has given a negative slant to the word. 

In the introduction to my book, Resurrecting Leonora Piper, I explain that I am presenting the case for Piper as a lawyer might present a case for his client in a court of law.  I focused on her many “hits,” and mentioned only a few of her “misses.”  I assumed that the intelligent reader would see that her hits went far beyond chance guessing, coincidence, or advance research by Mrs. Piper and tried to point out that mediums are not infallible living saints.  If I were writing a book about Babe Ruth, I’d focus on his 714 home runs, not his 1,330 strikeouts. However, the problem there is that most people don’t know how difficult it is to hit a 90-100 mph fastball or a breaking ball.  It looks much easier than it is.   

It’s not just the SPR.  I recall being asked by a college professor putting together an encyclopedia on psychic matters to write 5,000 words on levitations.  I did so, but it was unacceptable to him because I didn’t have enough information in the essay on the debunker’s view of it all.  He asked me to revise the submission by adding more research opposed to levitations.  Since I was asked to keep it at 5,000 words, that meant deleting 2,000 or more words supporting levitation and adding the research opposed to it.  However, I was unable to find any research opposed to it, only comments by fundamentalists of science saying it defies the laws of gravity and is not possible, or they offer theories on how the “trick” could have been carried out.  It didn’t amount to much more than 100 words, and so I gave up on that project. I do wonder how a researcher goes about proving that levitation is not possible.

About 20 years ago, I interviewed Dr. Gary Schwartz, a research professor at the University of Arizona and author of the 2002 book, The Afterlife Experiments.  He mentioned that when he was asked to appear on television for interviews to discuss his research, the program producers would always call in a paid skeptic to present the other side, suggesting that Schwartz was on the side of the mediums he had studied because he validated them. Schwartz should have been interviewed as the judge in the case, not as an advocate for the medium.  He had already dealt with the arguments of the paid skeptic. And so it should have been with all the researchers cited in my essay on levitations. 

My essay on Margery included prior research with other mediums, namely Eusapia Palladino. Kathleen Goligher, and Rudi Schneider, which if understood and accepted, would have pulled the carpet out from under the naysayers in the Margery case.  However, that was all deleted from the final product. 

The research with Palladino was some two decades before Margery came on the scene and included reports on movements well away from her reach.  That is, her fingers, hands, and feet seemed to be moving in harmony with activity distant from her, something of a puppet effect resulting from invisible ectoplasmic “strings” between the medium and the object. “When [Professor Oscar] Scarpa held Palladino’s feet in his hands, he always felt her legs moving in synchrony with ongoing displacements of the table or chair,” reported Professor Filippo Bottazi, who referred to the action as “‘synchrony.”

Adding to that is research by Dr. Karl Gruber, as reported in my blog here of March 14.  Gruber, a German physician, biologist, and zoologist, explained that, in his research involving more than 100 experiments with Rudi Schneider, he observed “synchronous movements” between the medium and objects out of his reach.  “This fact has been repeatedly misunderstood by the skeptical, who have seen in it the unmasking of a frightened medium,” he wrote in the May 1926 issues of the Journal of The American Society for Psychical Research.

Gruber cited the reports 0f Dr. William Crawford, a mechanical engineer who carried out 87 experiments with Irish medium Kathleen Goligher and reported on objects out of Goligher’s reach being moved by “psychic rods,” which apparently were made of what others called “ectoplasm.”  They originated with what Crawford referred to as “operators,” which he took to be discarnate human beings. “These particular mechanical reactions cause her to make slight involuntary motions with her feet, motions which a careless observer would set down as imposture,” Crawford wrote.

It was just such movement that contributed significantly to some researchers, as well as Houdini, the magician, condemning Margery, but there is no mention of any of this research in the PSI Encyclopedia on Margery.  Also cut from my submission were most of my comments about Dr. Mark W. Richardson, a professor of medicine at Harvard who is credited with developing a vaccine for typhus.  Although I was unable to determine how many of Margery’s sittings Richardson attended, indications are that he attended nearly all of them, probably well over one-hundred, maybe as many as two-hundred. He also carried out various tests with her to confirm that the “voice” of her deceased brother, Walter, was not coming from Margery’s body.  Even though Richardson was said to be a good friend of Dr. Crandon’s, it is difficult to believe that he could have been fooled so many times or would have collaborated with Crandon in a hoax of this magnitude for years.  If he knew that Margery was a trickster, didn’t he have better things to do?  In concluding his report on the series of sittings in which Margery produced Chinese script, Richardson wrote:

“… there comes a point at which this hypothesis of universal confederacy must stop; or if not this, that the entire present report may be dismissed off-hand as a deliberate fabrication in the interests of false mediumship. I respectfully submit that no critic who hesitates at this logical climax may by any means escape the hypothesis of validity. If the present paper is worthy of and if it receives the slightest degree of respectful attention, the facts which it chronicles must constitute proof of the existence of Margery’s supernormal faculties, and the strongest sort of evidence that these work through the agency of her deceased brother Walter.”

mark

Dr. Mark Richardson testing Margery’s voice

Margery emerges as an attractive blue-eyed blonde, charming, giddy, outgoing to the extent of being flirtatious, and otherwise fitting the “flapper”’ stereotype of the era. She was definitely not the saintly type. When called a charlatan, she reacted with indignation at times, but laughed it off at other times. Although debatable, as so much of the story is, Margery’s flippant attitude may have extended to suggesting that if Walter, her deceased brother, was unable to produce phenomena on a particular night, which was sometimes the case, that one of her friends should go ahead and produce something fraudulent to please those in attendance.  Even if that story is true, it suggests that Margery produced genuine phenomena some, or most, of the time. 

The encyclopedic entry ends with a comment about a “negative” verdict by a committee of five.  To me, a negative verdict is one that judged Margery a fraud.  The verdict was “inconclusive,” not negative.  One of the five committee members voted in favor of Margery and one (Houdini) against her.  The other three said further investigation was necessary.  In effect, it was a “hung jury.”

The words of the renowned Italian researcher Ernesto Bozzano were not included in my submission, as I came upon them later.  He wrote, “It is true that amongst private mediums one occasionally finds persons so imbued with the spirit of sacrifice in the cause of science that they will undergo any kind of humiliation which may be inflicted on them. Such people deserve an honoured place among the saints and martyrs of a future metapsychic calendar, and in saying this, I have in mind that American lady – ‘Margery’ (Mrs. Crandon) – and her worthy husband Dr. L. Crandon.  They submitted themselves to all kinds of tests and endured untold dignity in order to convince the men of science who attended their seances. Such a spirit of sacrifice is indeed worthy of admiration, but one cannot reasonably demand that private mediums should be aspirants to the crown of martyrdom.” 

The bottom line here is that to find spirits, one has to recognize the possible existence of spirits.  Since science does not recognize that possibility, anything involving spirits of the dead must be considered fraud.  It is a Catch 22 situation and so the researcher is forever glued to the fence. 

All that said, I very much appreciate the efforts of the editor of the PSI Encyclopedia, who is faced with producing something that those stuck in the muck and mire of materialism will understand and deem “scientific.”

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: August 15
 

 


Comments

Bruce,

That is interesting that you notice changes in your brain activity prior to communications starting to commence. Obviously with years of readings you are aware of your general rate of accuracy and the amount of evdential information you provide to sitters that you could not have knowledge of otherwise, so by now you must know with certainty that consciousness survives death. That must be comforting to know with certainty. I still struggle with the concept of consciousness survival given the rational part of my brain keeps me from fully embracing this possibility.

Lee, Tue 9 Aug, 14:23

Lee,
I use hits for the measurement. I have kept private these conversations (my wife records these in her diary). Having a person who talks to the dead is not a great attribute for a good marriage so I kept it private for many years. My previous wives were not aware of any abilities. My present wife had proof from her favourite but departed aunt with an inscription in a old book. Many other messages came with strong evidence.

I separate the communication in to private and corporate. Corporate information is weird even by my standards and I wait to see what happens. In both cases I receive Stand by for Transmission and I seem to go quiet as I listen to the conversation. My wife notices and stops talking. Sometimes their technique puts me to sleep before the message comes through.

I would like to see if part of the brains electrical patterns are affected. I suspect that parts are frequency sensitive. Being a lab rat is not that enticing. I write down these corporate scripts and test them. Some take months to realize the meaning as information emerges. It is their way of giving evidence in advance. Pieces of the puzzle.

Sometimes when I describe something I get the wrong interpretation of the event. That’s why they use scripts which are dictated to avoid my wrong interpretation.
Bruce

Bruce Williams, Tue 9 Aug, 10:26

Bruce,
Thanks for the response. I wasn’t thinking about fraudulent mediums, I was just observing that it seems to me there are many conditions which have to be met in order to achieve a successful sitting.

Jon, Mon 8 Aug, 16:03

Permit me another comment about mediums and whether their veracity is increased or decreased depending on if they charge for a sitting.  I have to use the case of Pearl Curran again as an example.  Curran held “sittings” (and that is not the correct word) with her family and friends in the beginning of her association with the ‘spirit’ Patience Worth.  Those people included her friend Emily Grant Hutchings, her mother Mrs. Mary Pollard, and her husband John Curran and later, editor and friend Casper Yost and his wife.  As the communications became more regular and produced more interesting discussions with Patience Worth, more and more people attended the sittings including some very prominent people.  These sittings were held in the home of Pearl Curran.  In those early days Mrs. Curran basically ‘entertained’ those people regularly long into the night after which she provided a midnight snack or other treats of sorts. Such entertainments ended-up costing Mrs. Curran a lot of money and John Curran did not have a high-paying job and was ill some of the time.  At that time, no one paid anything for attending a sitting with Patience and Pearl or eating the food.


The few books that were published of the Patience Worth writings failed to generate enough money to pay for their printing and it was only because of her friendship with editors and publishers and benefactors, e.g. Herman Behr, that the books were published.  At least a couple of them, “Samuel Wheaton” and “An Elizabethan Mask” were never published due to lack of interest and funding.

When Mrs. Curran’s husband John died in 1922, and her mother died shortly afterward, Pearl Curran was left almost destitute with no source of income and began to provide ‘entertainment’ for a fee in the homes of prominent women in St Louis.  As I recall the amount charged for these sessions was nominal by today’s standards but sufficient to keep Mrs. Curran going for a while.  Without a means of support as there was no Public Assistance in those days or other government hand-outs and with two children to feed, Pearl decided to go on the entertainment circuit where she was paid for her “performances”.  It seems interesting to me that people where willing to pay for sessions with Patience Worth when no communications were given from the deceased other that the purported Patience Worth. This is not too dissimilar to the modern “entertainment mediums” seem on television or the internet today, e.g., John Edward, Matt Fraser, Tyler Henry who provide readings to groups or in Tyler Henry’s case, to celebrities. These modern mediums, do however provide purported communication from deceased family members.


Eventually things got so bad for Pearl Curran that she had to send her daughter “Patience Wee” off to California to live with her friend Mrs. Alexander Smith while her younger daughter Elaine was cared for at times by her friend in St. Louis.  Herman Behr who was very well off financially provided Mrs. Curran four hundred dollars a month for several years (a lot of money during the 1920s) so that she could survive and raise her daughters.  But, I should add that Herman Behr went on to publish a book of poems by Patience Worth and I am not aware of any royalties Pearl Curran received from that book.  Max Behr, his son and a golf course architect continued his father’s interest in Pearl Curran and helped her to write for Patience Worth in California.  He subsequently married Pearl’s adopted daughter “Patience Wee’, considerably younger than he, who drank herself to death at an early age.

Matt Fraser has taken advantage of today’s technology which allows him to hold Zoom meetings with large numbers of people for which he charges slightly under twenty dollars I think.  He also holds sessions around the country in larger cities at which a large number of people pay to attend for a lot more money I suppose.  Private sessions are more expensive.  He thereby brings his talents, as such, to a large number of people. I guess what I want to say is that if the medium is good, really good with many ‘hits’, people will take advantage of him or her. People were lined-up around the block into the night to have a moment with Chico Xavier.  I don’t think that a medium who resorts to fakery would generate such numbers of followers.  Chico could not have survived if he had not had a menial job with a governmental office to provide an income.  It is because of the goodness of his heart and his desire to help people that he gave all of his income for his psychography to charity.  His books earned millions of dollars over the years which was all given away by Chico.  Few people could or would do that today especially if they did not have another source of income.

Had Chico not given all of his money away maybe I would not think less of him or have any questions about whether or not he really contacted spirits of the dead but I have to admit that poor struggling uneducated mediums who don’t charge do tend to garner a stronger belief from me that one who is living the high life as a result of charging for sessions and royalties from their many and sundry books.  Similar to the multi-millionaire televangelists who live in mansions and fly privately owned jet planes, a medium who charges exorbitant fees and provides little or no accurate information from the deceased throws into question just what he or she is really up to.  And bilking of the bereaved is not a way to gain credibility as a medium.


Attending a medium is like any form or entertainment, sometimes you get your money’s worth and sometimes you don’t.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 8 Aug, 15:32

Jon,
There are many considerations and in England (Australian law follows) from Wiki The Fraudulent Mediums Act 1951 was a law in England and Wales which prohibited a person from claiming to be a psychic, medium, or other spiritualist while attempting to deceive and to make money from the deception (other than solely for the purpose of entertainment). There were five prosecutions under this Act between 1980 and 1995, all resulting in conviction.
Fraud has the element of money so no money = no fraud.
Conditions - I would wait for the grief to pass. Stages of grief are very raw. I did have a reading (person, friend of a friend not platform) where the pressure of the spirit was trying to come through (overshadow - early trance). I needed to block the pull from the sitter and the strong push from the spirit. Messages were clear and strong but the family problems quickly emerged in the meeting.
Daughter from second marriage did not want to know daughter from previous marriage. It was like a Christmas gathering descending in to fights and long held grudges.  Conditions are variable and it is not always the happy meet and greet.

I would not like to charge for the fact that when the sitter tells her friends the friends either say they are ripping you off or I must meet him. It depends if you want a business working with vulnerable people. I have run a business in protecting websites/companies but it is the case of doing 15 things, 14 are right 1 is wrong. Is your score 14 or -1?
The emotional state of sitter and spirit does not always allow good communication.
Bruce

Bruce Williams, Mon 8 Aug, 14:31

Bruce,
So what proof do you have that you actually communicate with the deceased? Do you keep a record of a your statements in terms of hits and misses? Is most of the informatin you provide highly specific and evidential that you had no way of knowing about? Too many mediums provide general info that can apply to most and they come away thinking the have a gift for communicating with the deceased (well meaning but deluded folks).

When you communicate with deceased do you feel your brain being activated in a way that is completely different from your normal state when you are not communicating with the deceased? Perhaps that is difficult to tell unless your brain is monitored by EEG or functional mri etc.

Lee, Mon 8 Aug, 11:15

The simple fact is, all of us need an amount of money to function, and a medium is no different.

If someone has a good job and wants to use their gift to help others, that sounds worthy, but if that person lost all their money and made a living from using their gift, I would think that’s just as worthy. As with anything of spirit, motivation seems to be the key.

On a related topic, I’ve had more than enough personal evidence from a medium I know, who has never let me pay her any money. Yet she makes her living as a medium.

Not long ago, someone asked me to recommend a medium, which I’m loathe to do because it appears to me, the likelihood of success depends on many things – the medium’s ability and state of mind/health/motivation – the sitter’s state of mind/motivation. Then there’s the communicator; are they highly evolved or not so evolved but happily enjoying the joy of spirit – are they unaware of their state, possibly thinking they are still in the physical – are they experiencing a hellish environment — namely, what are the “conditions”?

I asked the medium how much she normally charged – she said 100 euros. I said I would like to pay her for a reading for my friend. Because she always refuses to accept money from me, I felt in some small way, by paying for someone else, I was giving something back. I was also fairly sure that the friend who asked for the recommendation wouldn’t have an evidential sitting, but if it hadn’t cost her anything, it wouldn’t be so bad. In my limited experience (as a sitter), she wasn’t in a good state of mind at the time, too desperate for evidence, perhaps. My friend contacted her; she had the reading and felt she received nothing that she deemed evidential.

Another time a woman contacted me asking to recommend a medium; I said I didn’t do that but she persisted. Her husband had just committed suicide. Same thing. I put her in touch with the medium, who told me afterwards she didn’t think she got much in the way of evidence.

And yet as I said earlier, I’ve had enough good personal evidence from this medium, who I’ve never paid, to fill a chapter of a book.

Maybe Bruce has some thoughts about the “conditions”, which seem to include the motivations of all concerned, which presumably includes money.

Jon, Mon 8 Aug, 11:07

Thanks Amos, it was an interesting video on you tube and I saw another one of him that was even better in proving the existance of the afterlife. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5RpbveVC_4&list=PLLB-82YMhiPFPKSm2Ke69aK0DKTftpvo0&index=1
(53min). You can ask yourself why it isn’t shown on television… instead of showing those nonsense soaps.😁

Chris, Mon 8 Aug, 10:08

Lee,
Your excellent question prompted a better explanation.
How do you know which mediums are tricksters?
Michael says ” I justify my bias by saying that I am only interested in writing about people or phenomena who have, or which have, been judged authentic by researchers.” 
Part of the spiritualist development training is seeing trickster techniques. The term cold reading and fishing are two of my favourites. I was getting read in a meeting by two management consultants (NLP techniques). I sent out two opposing signals which they were so confused they confessed their actions. This is like the cold reading techniques, spotting visual clues. I gave visual clues the opposite of the conversation.

The other technique was fishing. In cybersecurity we use phishing to get information. Kevin Mitnick’s The Art of Deception is a classic of social engineering.

These two fields are very similar. I was training mediums/churchgoers to look for these techniques. The technique of saying Is this meaningful to you is used not to get an additional information presented which a trickster can use.

I was an analyst so that seeing meaningful data was a gift.

The test for a medium who is not self delusional (makes up the messages of hope) is proof. The same proof as you would expect in a court of law.
I would get my cybersecurity students to use critical thinking skills (how do you know a scammer who says trust me I’m from Microsoft from reality).

I like this group as it has a collection of critical thinkers. My ratio was 10 students in 400 with such critical thinking skills, here it is very much higher. Trust no one and even that is too risky.
Bruce

Bruce Williams, Mon 8 Aug, 03:02

Lee, Amos and Eric,
Great conversations. I will have Amos as my manager. There is strong debate between mediums about the question to charge. It comes down to the person. John Sloan medium - Arthur Findlay. John did not charge. Lots of others. I noticed that Lee donated some money to Julie Beischel for research. Julie has mentioned a problem with health side effects of mediums https://www.windbridge.org/new-fact-sheet-disease-burden-in-mediums/
This was the tradeoff of whether to charge to cover health problems.
I am reminded of a joke we tell in the medium circles, medium? no just plain very large.

The Spiritualist Church fee is a straight reading and is designed not to attract bad money hungry mediums but to recognize the exchange.

My viewpoint is that if you have a gift you should not profit. Service to mankind. I was lucky to have a well paying job.

I left platform work as I did not have the compassion that was needed. I gave technical readings. Pamela has the compassion that I knew I lacked. Besides I was more interested in finding out about the mechanisms.
I look for the way to improve the theory.

Lee good question award.
Being a medium, can you tell me whether you are
certain you are communicating with the deceased? How can you tell?
From my years, there are levels of communication.
In a previous post I mentioned the saying about this question “The psychotic drowns in the same waters in which the mystic swims with delight.” - Joseph Campbell.

The platform work with strangers (remember there are lots of people wanting a reading so if I said that I had a James many hands would go up). I would spot someone with a person behind lock in to the person load up a series of questions name, relationship about six indicators of connection. If the person did not recognize the name and details the message would not hit home. In a previous post I was 60% right and when they checked it was 90% right.

To answer the question, you pass of information unknown to you but recognized by the person. There is the old telepathy theory but the information, if unknown to the person and later verified is the key. Unknown to the sitter.

I get surprised by the messages too.
The levels of communication. The clearer the communication the more advanced the spirit. I can spot the power. The platform work has the love but sometimes the spirits send messages which make me work to see what it is about.
Your father would love to find another engineer to communicate through as the translator has a limited vocabulary.
I often wonder about the organisation in the After Life. Would your father be dropping hints, getting upset you wasted efforts then finally gets his message through. I used to ask the person what will you do in the future? To me the message was do your research to find out. In your case you succeeded in understanding the importance of the message, that there is an after life.
Bruce

Bruce Williams, Mon 8 Aug, 01:43

Dear Amos, and all,

I am very glad to see your mention of the healer George Chapman, and the eye-surgeon, William Lang, now in the spirit world. I had thought to mention them myself, if I ever saw sufficient opportunity to do so. I was somewhat sceptical when I visited George Chapman’s son Michael about five years ago, but felt physiological reactions throughout his healing ministrations, so had a little faith that the claims were true. The healing did not occur at that time, but seemed to prepare me for normal surgery about six months later. Mr Devarajan of Bronglais Hospital, Aberystwyth, removed a rather difficult cataract from my left eye on Sunday 16 December 2018 (yes, they work a rota that includes other Welsh hospitals and includes working Sundays) and inserted a new methyl methacrylate lens, which is serving me very well. At certain distances it is slightly superior to the still-natural right eye, which itself is unusually good, and my sight is entirely free from AMD. I have been shown the images made by the optometrist’s equipment, showing a healthy pair of retinae, and my vision is equal to the normal 6/6 (metres)or 20/20 (feet) vision, at age 81. But the fact that prompts this comment is the fact that I did not experience even so much as a quarter of a second’s pain after receiving the new lens in my left eye, whereas some pain is normal. I conclude that Michael Chapman’s power as a healer is genuine, and that the Great Being is certainly content, probably more than content, to acknowledge the presence in the whole situation of Dr William Lang, now of the spirit world. By their fruits ye shall know them.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Sun 7 Aug, 17:54

Chris,
If you are not familiar with the healer medium George Chapman you might want to look at a couple of websites concerning Chapman’s relationship with spirit Dr. William Lang.  Together they reportedly healed many people including some with serious or terminal conditions. I recommend Psi Encyclopedia and the article by Karen Wehrstein

https://psi-encyclopedia.spr.ac.uk/articles/george-chapmanwilliam-lang


And Dr. Keith Parsons provided an excellent video about Chapman and Dr. Lang at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cm1U_VYLb6k&list=PLLB-82YMhiPFPKSm2Ke69aK0DKTftpvo0&index=7&t=4s


-AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Sun 7 Aug, 16:26

Well said Eric. If the afterlife is sort of a continuation of the present ,there is good and less good, but as I read in diverse spirit teachings, they are more separated in the afterlife, but they both can intervene on earth.
Wicked thoughts will attract wicked spirits. A man with a high standard of morality is able to lower himself to the opposite and can attract in that case misleading spirits.If your goal on the long term and in the first place is to get rich and famous and you abuse others and your gift, you will lose that gift. About healing I cannot say much, but I think that the part of the searcher of healing is as or even more important than the part of the so called healer. In the dream that I mentioned, it was shown the truth is and must be given to everybody, not only to a select group who can afford it.

Chris De Cat, Sun 7 Aug, 11:39

Dear Lee, and all,

Your latest comment shows, as do so many, that we have to test the spirits, whether we know how to test them or not; so we have to be careful, as many religious people tell us, as if ignorance of the spiritual realm(s) were preferable to knowledge of them.

But we can surely trust that IF WE ARE OURSELVES UTTERLY HONEST ETC the Great Being Him/Herself will not want us to be misled, so will not tolerate it happening, but will protect us in our uncertainty IF, as I say, we are truly honest. It is surely impossible to believe that any Deity would allow subterfuge of any kind on the scale that would be necessary to justify scepticism. Trust-belief will surely win even if we are ourselves troubled as we persevere.

I strongly approve Mike (Tymn’s) own latest comment.

Eric

Eric Franklin, Sun 7 Aug, 07:11

Chris de cat,
Dr Moreira-Almeida interestingly enough did an experiment on John of God (very famous spiritist Brazilian healer who was sent to prison a few years back for raping women). Dr Almeida tested his healing ability claims decades back during one experiment and he could not find any evidence of such ability (his experiment and findings are on the internet).

Lee, Sat 6 Aug, 18:51

Bruce,
Interesting you are an engineer and a medium to boot (an educated person who communicates with the deceased!). A good friend of mine is head of the department of chemical engineering at the UofCagary. He specialized in biomedical engineerng (he invented a bioreactor to deveop stem cells decades back) before he became head of the department. I wanted him to do some distance healing experiments but he doesn’t have any free time or resources for such things and the department would probably frown on such.

Being a medium, can you tell me whether you are
certain you are communicating with the deceased? How can you tell?
Many years ago I sent a bit of money to Julie Beischel (PhD in toxicology) to help her with mediumship research she was doing. She did an interesting experiment where she monitored the brains of mediums as they claimed to be communicating with the deceased. I believe Dr Moreira-Almeida also did a similar experiment years ago.

I contacted 3 mediums after my dad died. The first two charged hundreds and were a joke, getting literally everything wrong. The third was a minister of a spiritualist church in Canada that I chose randomly from the internet, who charged less than $50. She told me to only confirm whether a statement was meaningful or not after each statement. There was no info. about my dad on the internet ( he was an engineer working in the oil industry in Cagary for decades).

The minister said 14 statements about my dad over the phone to me, which I wrote down, all very specific and meaningful and got all of them correct. This was far more meaningful to me than anything I ever read re mediums from the 1800s. I keep wondering if she just got lucky (I calculated odds of simply guessing 14 specfic statements as roughly one in over 50 million, if I recall correctly now).

Lee, Sat 6 Aug, 18:45

I understand why people would expect a medium to provide their services free of charge as that might decrease the suspicion of fraud on the part of the medium.  There are some mediums who did just that, e.g. Chico Xavier, Pearl Curran and probably many others but mediumship is a gift, a talent just like other talents.  Some people are gifted with a beautiful voice which they develop over years of practice. Some people are gifted with a body that allows them to excel in sports while others have a talent to produce exquisite paintings or other artwork and I would consider work to produce beautiful woodwork, architecture or other construction as talents honed by years or perhaps lifetimes of practice. And some people are gifted with fine motor skills which allow them to complete delicate surgeries, saving the lives of many people.  All of those people are paid for the products or services they provide for others.


Why is it that mediums would be expected to provide their time and efforts free of charge while those other talented people are compensated for their products or services?  I think it is because of the possibility of fraud with mediums which is not an issue with singers, athletes, artists, surgeons, or architects.  If mediums receive nothing for their service then one assumes that they would be less likely to bother fooling other people.  That may or may not be true. There could be other reasons for fraud, e.g., ego, publicity. 

A medium who provides information, purportedly from disembodied entities, should at least be compensated for their time if nothing else.  Just consider it entertainment for which people readily pay, sometimes exorbitant amounts.  Few if any talented people provide masterpieces 100% of the time.  As Michael has said, Babe Ruth did not hit home runs 100 % of the times he was at bat and Michelangelo probably filled pot holes in the Appian Way with his broken attempts to sculpt a masterpiece.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Sat 6 Aug, 13:47

Lee,
Before I start I must compliment Pamela for her choice of reading Grace Rosher’s Beyond the Horizon (1961). I read her book last year and enjoyed her candour as her writing glowed with both love and compassion. Your quotes to Eric are delivered with this same special quality.
Lee, my background is telecommunications engineer who moved in to high technology marketing of new innovative products and later taught cybersecurity and engineering at university. (I was appointed a bio medical engineer but did not continue with this field).

Also a medium who attended training in Spiritualist Church. In Australia we follow the UK model with SNU. There are public services on a Sunday and the bereaved can attend. Church of England style service. Only difference is the platform work with mediums giving messages to those in the audience. A development group meets during the week to practice these skills. The basis is proof of survival and hits and misses allow improvement. No two mediums operate the same way. There are usually a few trance mediums and you might swap mediums to see different techniques.

The situation with Eric reminds me of a reading that threw me. I had the father of a girl in the audience but it was not right. Usually you feel the love in the message but not with her. I thought that it was a fake spirit. It turned out that the father left the family and there was no forgiveness in this life. The point is that love is a binding force but other forces can mask this love. It can also operate between other members of the family/friends. You might be met by a friend rather than a parent as that friend had a stronger connection in a previous life.

Back to Lee. I did look at Stargate (I had worked with our Defence industries) to see if their techniques were the same. Mediums interpret symbols as well as voice to understand the message. For example I might get a boy switching ages to indicate that they knew him between these ages or a school rugby jumper to indicate school connection, colours of the school etc.
Remote viewing fits with the transfer of images, symbols so that the mechanism is (I think) the same. I was looking at the backgrounds of those who did remote viewing. I looked to see if they were connecting on love/friendship connection or going out to the universe to obtain information (Cayce style).
So I get dictation style messages but with images (I use the phrase spirit television to explain).
Stargate is very interesting and used the term tracks in the wilderness to explain the difficulty in getting answers.
Bruce

Bruce Williams, Sat 6 Aug, 10:22

Newton,

It is my recollection that Walter Franklin Prince had only six sittings with Margery and was not overly impressed with the phenomena he had witnesses.  He didn’t have time to spend in Boston to witness others.  However, I got the impression that like, Dr. Rhine, he was turned off by the lack of the sacred in the phenomena.  Walter Stinson came across as a wise-guy, while Margery was a giddy flirt, and that didn’t seem to be consistent with the attitude of people representing higher realms of existence.  It is unfortunate that more of what Walter had to say wasn’t recorded.  I’m at 95.2% of Margery being a genuine medium, but that does not consider the possibility that she cheated at times when Walter left the audience with nothing.

Thanks to all for the comments to date.

Michael Tymn, Sat 6 Aug, 08:50

Lee,it was an interesting video with Dr. Almeida and I think that he is right when he says that also mediums can have a bad day in connecting with spirit. Even more because they don’t always know if the information of spirit is complete or valid and secondly:most of the time they have to interpret the information that is often given in symbols or images. It’s a different case with trancemediums : in this case the spirit uses the vocabulary of the medium but not his interpretation, so it might be interesting to investigate more on that subject. Another point that I remembered was the gift of mediumship seems to work best when used free of charge. I must admit that I also got that message in a dream. Those mediums who made a lucrative business out of it, lose their gift within time.

Chris De Cat, Fri 5 Aug, 19:51

Bruce,

Thanks for the link. Yes, interesting that according to that survey the less educated seem to be more in tune with messages from the deceased (assuming we survive death). I did not look at sample size so not sure if this is an especially meaningful survey.

Interesting you were approached for card guessing during the 1990s as a friend of mine is a US professor of engineering who is doing a remote viewing experiment with me (for our own interest). He knows Dean Radin who is reviewing some theoretical remote viewing work of his; he also knows Dr. Ed May and others of note from Stargate: https://www.ciis.edu/faculty-and-staff-directory/dean-radin
https://www.newsweek.com/2015/11/20/meet-former-pentagon-scientist-who-says-psychics-can-help-american-spies-393004.html

My friend, the professor of engineering, has me randomly choose an image from the internet and tell him when have chosen a target. When he gets the time (he is very busy with conventional engineering research, especially biomedical research and teaching class at a large US university) he goes into a meditative state to try and “see” my target. He then emails me the image that comes to mind and we determine whether it is a hit or miss. When we did the first 10 targets he was spot on for 5 of them, if I recall correctly now, which is unbelievable given that I can choose from hundreds of millions+ of images found on the internet. We have done about 44 targets over the last 5+ months and he has been obtaining no hits for the last 10+ targets. The fact he got the first 5 of 10, however, is truly amazing as it is well, well above odds of just guessing. My friend will do all the statistical work once we have completed 100 targets. Anyway, I just bring this up because you brought up card guessing.

My other friend, a Spiritist from Brazi, knows Dr. Alexander Moreira-Almeida who does a lot of mediumship research in Brazil(perhaps of interest): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeIZiyyBIUM
Again, perhaps most on this forum probably would not know of or have interest in such research as it is current. I know Alex Tsakiris so connected him with Dr. Almeida to have them do a podcast a year or so back for Skeptiko: https://skeptiko.com/

What do you mean when you say that your background was training in the Spiritualist Church?

I think I get your “ghost outline” joke.

Lee

Lee, Fri 5 Aug, 17:34

Hi Eric, certainly your experience makes clear that one cannot always have recourse to one’s immediate natural family (that seems even more the case these days with the rise in divorce). Nevertheless sometimes an aunt or grandparent could be a point of contact or a friend or even a kindly schoolteacher. I seem to recall an incident communicated through Leslie Flint of a man being met on the other side by his horse!

What you said about religious teaching is an important factor. I can recall two documented incidents in the older mediumistic literature (one communicated through John Campbell Sloan and the other through Emily French) of deceased clergy who had imposed false or oppressive religious teachings on their congregations having to meet each and every member as they passed over and set them straight.

If I could say one single thing to someone on the point of death it would be ‘you can always ask for help’. The value of reading some of the older post-mortem accounts is that they can give one confidence about this, whatever one’s circumstances. I think White Crow is performing an important service in republishing these.

Pamela, Fri 5 Aug, 15:58

Dear Pamela, and all,

Your response to my thought is also very welcome. My thought seems very rarely to find appreciation, or even comprehension.

You have been fortunate, Pamela. You rightly say “In my experience what bridges the gap is an ongoing relationship with dear departed ones on the other side.” In my own case family life was cursed with an imposed religious tyranny most would, during early adulthood, have rebelled against, rejected, and then slowly, painfully, recovered from, probably taking decades to achieve emancipation from the poison. The result was, predictably, that I have no deceased people towards whom I feel the love you speak of. I am alone, as I have been, inwardly, my whole Earth-life. Life was so persistently painful that I have to acknowledge that I STILL (at 81) cannot forgive my parents for the agonised drudgery they inflicted on the ground of their religious dogmas. Now, my problem is to become able to forgive them the harm they inflicted, and I am not sure I can achieve that during this Earth life. As Newton has remarked, it is slightly surprising that I have been able to maintain any kind of trust in a Deity and the Deity’s plan for the universe(s) She/He contains and maintains. I am glad your situation has been better, and/but I refuse to envy you. When I see the relationship between my son (whom I deliberately shielded from the evils I had myself endured) and HIS children I am also tempted to be guilty of envy for a childhood and prospects of adult happiness I would have liked to have myself but was denied. As Newton says, it is a minor surprise that I am here at all, sharing Mike’s blogs and the comments they engender, and often stressing the need for reverence and a personal regard for the Great Being. My own little being, my Dasein if you like, hangs by a mere thread of that trust (Gr pisteuo, but usually termed faith) that some others enjoy.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Fri 5 Aug, 10:16

Eric, appreciated your response and want to add a further comment re: your reference to “emotional insecurity” being generated by the gap between the available evidence, which as you say, mounts towards certainty (vis-à-vis the survival hypothesis), but necessarily always falls short of proof (empirical inference being what it is). I don’t know Popper well at all, but think there is something further that bridges or can bridge that gap and lead to a sense of assurance, which goes beyond even well-informed evidence-based opinion (which must remain open to the possibility of alternative explanations, i.e. apart from survival).

In my experience what bridges the gap is an ongoing relationship with dear departed ones on the other side. I think the family is a natural bridge between the worlds without there being any need for special mediumistic abilities, just natural affection and the immediacy of the relationship is sufficient (for some it might be a spouse or friend). I would add, however, that it helps to practice remembering them on their anniversaries. Of course, each individual must do this for themselves (if it is going to be done) and undoubtedly personal circumstances are highly variable.

There are many examples of this kind of personal contact in the older material, e.g. the communication between Florence and William Barrett in Personality Survives Death (facilitated by Leonard sittings). The same with Charles Drayton Thomas and his father and later sister Etta who died age 42 then communicated back. And the family of “Agnes” in the account, From Life to Life.

I am currently reading Grace Rosher’s Beyond the Horizon (1961), an automatic writing type of communication from her fiancé, Gordon Burdick who died just before travelling to England to marry her. According to GB some do experience “grim conditions” post-mortem, commensurate with the lives they have lived on earth. But, Plato said exactly the same thing (e.g. Gorgias 525a–526c). How did he “know” this and what made him so certain about the immortality of the soul? (I think it was some kind of metaphysical intuition).

Link following to the Rosher volume. Someone uploaded it to the internet archive a year ago. It can only be “borrowed” not downloaded. Perhaps a reprint edition might be of interest to White Crow? The volume was sponsored by The Churches’ Fellowship for Psychical Study and gives the impression of having been carefully vetted.

https://archive.org/details/beyondhorizon0000rosh

Pamela, Fri 5 Aug, 03:10

Lee,
Thank you for the links. I am looking at these with great interest. You made a good point about the debate on 100+ year old cases versus current research.
I am familiar with statistics (the old saying of lies damned lies and statistics). I have always looked at Factor Analysis rather than the significance of abnormalities.

I was approached for tests in the 1990s for card guessing. I thought that most mediums pass on information that is unknown to them and wondered if the group understood the difference between hits and predictive ability.

Michael makes the great case that evidence including current testing protocols is often ignored. What will it take?

My background was training in the Spiritualist Church and the recent studies connected with them are
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/what-can-science-tell-us-about-mediums-who-hear-voices#Can-mediums-really-hear-the-dead

The problem is that the surveys (I like the bit about the educational level being low) associate After Life communication with the lower classes. They don’t have any reputation to endanger. I wonder if a Phd Mrs Piper exists and if she would be better respected.

I agree with you that the statement that we all can be mediums is one of those positive affirmations but I have seen ordinary (but grief stricken people) suddenly become mediums. The above research is also looking at how people handle that sudden event.

I look at the proof - what can I verify? Hit or miss or undecided. The work with the Dutch clairvoyant Gerard Croiset is my gold standard but gets attacked all the time.

Again, thanks for the leads. I have a visual joke which is hard to explain. Graph of normal distribution next to a graph of paranormal distribution= ghost outline.

Passing on messages with a sense of humour is difficult (inside jokes). I was talking to Chinese trade group of 50 and used their woman translator. I told her a joke (she asked me what was it I was say). I said translate these words. There was a strange delay then the room exploded in to laughter with the translator looking bewildered. This is the same as a medium. It means something to the audience = a hit.

Thanks,
Bruce

Bruce Williams, Fri 5 Aug, 02:19

Thanks, Palat Jean-Paul.

Jon, Thu 4 Aug, 19:32

I acquired the conviction of the survival of death thanks to a medium Mrs. Déborah Bénisty. She has the same faculty as Mrs. Leonard or Mrs. Piper. I have done research on the history of spiritualism or spiritualism. There are thousands of books. I have great admiration for the work of Sir Oliver Lodge, Arthur Conan Doyle, Alfred Russel Wallace, Charles Richer… I love your White Crow website!

Palat Jean-Paul, Thu 4 Aug, 19:29

Chris,
Yes, in the experiment I posted it seems the control group did much better than mediums. It could be these mediums were frauds or thought they had an ability to communicate with mediums when in reality they don’t have such ability. Perhaps these mediums just had a bad day (I have not heard of any mediums with 100% accuracy rates).

I don’t believe we all have the ability to communicate with the deceased but that is just my opinion. I believe some people have a gift to communicate with the deceased (if indeed people are actually able to communicate with the deceased).

What i find interesting is we have real scientists who today study mediums in a scientific manner and most people on this forum_ I assume based on lack of discussion on present day scientific mediumship research- could care less about this research, instead being more interested in debating claims from 100+ years ago. Perhaps the actual science of mental mediumship research is less interesting (“sexy”) than reading stories about what took place 100+ years ago or perhaps many here don’t have the ability to comprehend statisitical analysis mentioned in the mediumshop research findings of today (not everyone understands p values, etc. and it is pretty dry the actual mental mediumship research of today).

I like to read about the mediumship of 100+ years back but I also like to examine the scientific findings from today’s scientists studying mediums, who use proper controls to prevent any possibility of leakage (the design section of such research papers by Julie Beischel and others gives one a good idea of whether any sensory leakage was possible). The problem with mediumship claims and research of 100+ years ago is that many claims don’t have associated with them rigorous methodologies and findings that one can review. For example, Spiritists cannot even point to any rigorous methodology utilized by Kardac in the 1800s to come up with his claimed answers from the supposed spirits that provided answers to 1000 questions found in his Spiritist Book. Kardec called his Spiritism “science” but it had nothing to do with science.

Lee, Thu 4 Aug, 13:49

Dear all,

The comment from Pamela is very welcome, and very weighty, and therefore to be noted carefully. Perhaps the level of Eleanor Sidgwick’s certainty (if there are ‘degrees’ or ‘levels’ of ‘certainty’ - language is no good) is a matter of Popperian ‘belief’ - and ‘belief’ is not the right word either, as Pamela says. The weight of evidence we have, each item being individually carefully assessed before it is added to the scale-pan of the evidence we already have, mounts towards certainty that the ‘survival hypothesis’ is correct. No sceptical view reaches even part way to this level of corroboration from evidence. Nothing in science can ever be proved, and not only for the reason of the vagueness of language. When the sceptic has uttered his last carping remark it remains, even merely statistically, possible that he is wrong and the believer right. The weight of evidence almost breaks the balance, it is so near certainty. What we really have reservations about within ourselves, our minds, is an emotional insecurity - another instance of the Popperian recognition that we can’t claim certainty just in case the unexpected statistical outlander is correct. But the probability is already overwhelming. All science is Popperian, and Eleanor Sidgwick was a Popperian before he was.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Thu 4 Aug, 10:20

Michael,
I have enjoyed the present discussion. I balanced the scientific approach with the occult (hidden knowledge) in my years of seeking. I looked for reasonable explanations for my contacts with spirits.

I am reminded of “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
― George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman

I dealt with those innovators who developed new products by seeing that the world had unmet needs. These innovators were all unreasonable people. You are unreasonable in thinking that those who don’t believe are open to change. (Double negatives are nasty). People do not like change. Not many religions discuss life after death. (ad for Summerland here) so why change? Be reasonable.

Sadly, these people often operate on the old Witch scientific approach.

To test if she is a witch we strap her into a chair then place her in a lake of water. If she floats then she is a witch and we kill her. If she doesn’t float then she is not a witch but she is dead. Our problem is resolved by scientific reasoning and your suggestion for new thinking means nothing.

The scientists who create new products became suddenly mad as soon as they investigated the paranormal. New thinking again.

“Mad Hatter: “Have I gone mad?”
Alice: “I’m afraid so. You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.”
― Tim Burton, Alice in Wonderland

You are with the best people,
Bruce

Bruce Williams, Thu 4 Aug, 05:48

I shouldn’t be surprised that you are still committed to banging your head against the wall on this issue Mike, but I do feel symptahy for your dilemma.  When studying the issue myself decades ago before my own first book I decided that the battle was not worth fighting and was actually a red herring issue in spreading understanding about the spirit world and our activities within it.  These ‘august’ organisations, while invoking the spirit of enquiry, actually prevent the serious issues from being understood or accepted and their media cheerleaders back them up like the automatons they are.

gordon phinn, Wed 3 Aug, 21:38

Well said, Michael - I’d like to respond by quoting from our book, “The Risen Dialogues, etc.”:

Throughout the existing literature of the nineteenth, twentieth, and early twenty-first centuries, people outstanding in a great diversity of professions, including highly degreed and respected scientists, have loaned their names and reputations to books and research about the subject of survival after death. It’s clear that they all discovered in some way that skeptics need their skepticism. A lot of time and energy has been fruitlessly spent in trying to convince individuals who simply were not interested in admitting that the fact of survival is more important than the fiction of their ego-minds. Yet even this will change as more and more professionals come to their own personal spiritual discoveries, and as the world continues to grow increasingly comfortable with the realization that we all survive death.

Some people are Skeptics with a capital S. These Professional Skeptics feel it’s their job to remain closed in their minds and hearts while retaining the right to question anything. Many of them include scientists, who represent a very small minority of humanity on earth, but have been placed on pedestals that raise them above the majority. This misapprehension disempowers the majority, disabling them from assessing their own valid experiences of personal reality. Science has given us brilliant advances in many aspects of human living, but not without a lot of trials and errors. The facets of truth that science presents as dogma are often successful in creating distractions from those with alternate viewpoints. Yet scientific history consistently reveals the inevitable result of radical exchanges of such dogma. Former universally accepted and supposedly proven axioms are continually replaced by new discoveries, which are then made formal by a collective agreement of this minority. Such has been the course of mainly Western science as it has evolved on earth. This is finally changing as science rediscovers the idea of the energy we call spirit. Science is wonderful, amazing, and necessary, and can provide a certain amount of insight into our existence, but not all. Given the amazing changes in our scientific world-views over the past one hundred years, can we truly think we can now put a cap on what is to come in the next hundred?

While giving due credit to the necessity of healthy skepticism, this book (The Risen Dialogues) does not address the needs of professional skeptics.  As Tim has pointed out, it has been orchestrated by many, many Risen Ones to evoke and inspire various levels of resonance and deeply intuitive responses from the reader, skeptic or not. This will be especially effective for those who are either working through or have worked through their fears and doubts, and feel drawn to the subject in some way, however slight, however wary. A scientist and a non-scientist may not think they’re looking for the same thing, but the shared desire to understand will likely bring them into contact with one another in some way.

August Goforth, Wed 3 Aug, 20:44

Sorry to hear, Michael, that Dr. Prince may have considered fraud as a full and sufficient explanation of the Margery phenomena. Was this dalliance with unreasonable doubt before or after his intensive study of Patience Worth?

To follow up on my overbelief comment, here’s a short interview with Dr. Stephen Braude, who, while having his own skeptical side (as you well know), refuses to duck Dr. Prince’s quandary via absurd explanations of paranormal things, explanations like cracking toe joints, wiggling feet, or enhanced female anatomy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kg6my9cMgVw

Newton Finn, Wed 3 Aug, 19:21

I do have to say Michael that the fact that Dr. Walter Franklin Prince was not easily swayed by the Mina Crandon case only gives more credence to his very positive study and support of the Pearl Curran case.

I note that in a previous comment by Pamela, she mentioned Eleanor Sidgwick and her stance on “belief” on the reality of life after death.  I have not read a great deal of Sidgwick’s dissertations but I did read her extensive report to the SPR concerning Leonora Piper.  I really think that Eleanor Sidgwick was a “fence sitter” too.  While on the one hand she thought it was necessary to point out all of Leonora Piper’s flub-ups she also spoke about spirits and communications between spirits and Mrs. Piper.  While she leaned in the direction that the communications provided THROUGH Mrs. Piper were provided BY Mrs. Piper, it soon became apparent that Sidgwick agreed that Piper provided information that she could not have possibly known, that is, she could not have obtained it through her own senses.  At one point Sidgwick condescended to allow that Piper received a kind of ESP or thought transference between spirits and herself. 

I think that Eleanor Sidgwick accepted the idea that there were in fact ‘spirits’ but that the means of communication through Mrs. Piper may not have been by spirit use of Piper’s voice box, arms or hands; spirits did not possess Mrs. Piper.  She more or less apparently thought that there was such a thing as ESP and that it could occur between one living person and another living person but also between one living person and a ‘dead’ person thereby acknowledging the existence of spirits.

Eleanor Sidgwick was an intelligent woman overshadowed by her husband Henry and other males in their group, in keeping with the status, position and relationship between men and women of that era. Today, I think that Eleanor Sidgwick would be at the top of her game as an outstanding psychic investigator and researcher. And, as an aside, I think that while Eleanor is sometimes presented in an unflattering light physically, but with her large eyes, bone structure and high cheekbones and with today’s makeup and hair styling, Eleanor Sidgwick would be a stunning woman in appearance   -AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 3 Aug, 17:45

Newton, interestingly, Dr. Walter Franklin Prince, whom you applauded for his study of Patience Worth, was one of the three committee members in the Margery case who could not give a decision without more study. Actually, I got the impression he was learning in the direction of fraud.

Michael Tymn, Wed 3 Aug, 07:22

Perhaps relevant to present considerations, the following attestation by Gerald Balfour, having just read Eleanor Sidgwick’s paper, “The Society for Psychical Research: A Short Account of Its History and Work on the Occasion of the Society’s Jubilee, 1932” (1 July 1932):

“Some of you may have felt that the note of caution and reserve has possibly been over-emphasized in Mrs Sidgwick’s paper. If so, they may be glad to hear what I am about to say. Conclusive proof of survival is notoriously difficult to obtain. But the evidence may be such as to produce belief, even though it fall short of conclusive proof. I have Mrs Sidgwick’s assurance — an assurance which I am permitted to convey to the meeting — that, upon the evidence before her, she herself is a firm believer both in survival and in the reality of communication between the living and the dead.”

Gerald Balfour, Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research 41 (1932-3) p. 26.

I have reservations about the word “belief” in this context, which doesn’t seem epistemically strong enough. I think it possible to have a well-founded, evidence-based assurance about the reality of life after death, which somehow goes beyond mere opinion or belief, even if the matter isn’t conclusively proved. In fact, I gather that it was Mrs. Sidgwick’s intention to convey an outlook along these lines.

Pamela, Wed 3 Aug, 00:48

Most of what I’ve read about the astral body states that it is not effected by gravity - so wouldn’t a lot of this material “defy the laws of gravity.”

I just keep teaching things to people who want to know where their loved ones are and don’t worry about the naysayers.  It helps people and those people are the ones who will keep the truth of all this going I think. But perhaps that’s too simple Blessings to all Karen

Karen Herrick PhD, Tue 2 Aug, 19:49

Thanks Lee for the interesting information. It seems that it is indeed possible to get information from the dead, but that it is not always the mediums who have the highest scores. In some researches the non-mediums had better results. Can we conclude that most of us has some mediumabilities but that we don’t know how to use it properly? Maybe the non-mediums had little to fear and weren’t stressy, while the mediums had thoughts of a reputation to lose. Intuition or spirit originated knowledge only comes in a relaxed state I read some time ago.

chris, Tue 2 Aug, 19:21

Michael,
I decided to refresh my memory and read the Psi Encyclopedia article about Mina Crandon which you, Wehrstein and McLuhan wrote.  I think it covered the pertinent details of the case in a general way which was very informative.  Like so many other articles of this ilk, it provided a lot of information but didn’t tie it up with a bow, that is, as you say, it was another example of a fence-sitting stance concerning parapsychological topics. 

This didn’t bother me at all as I guess I am a fence sitter.  As in so many similar cases, one—-if they are honest—-really can’t come to any conclusion as to the validity of what is reported.  Maybe it is true and maybe it is not.  Those who were there and reported are long gone and so what we have left is a lot of hearsay information.

Actually, I liked the article and thought that it gave a fair and balanced report of what was easily known and available about the Mina Crandon case.  No surprises for me at all.  Those who have more detailed knowledge of the case like yourself, I am sure could have added additional information on either side of the argument which may have tilted it in one direction or another.

I have to say though, Good Job, Michael!  You have restored my faith in Psi Encyclopedia.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Tue 2 Aug, 18:43

Anyone with common sense and an open mind, who takes the time to digest the material about Margery and many other mediums (information which Michael has graciously made so accessible), can draw only one conclusion. It is the same conclusion drawn by Dr. Walter Franklin Prince after his exhaustive study of the Patience Worth phenomenon.

In his words: “Either our concept of what we call the subconscious must be radically altered, so as to include potencies of which we hitherto have had no knowledge, or else some cause operating through but not originating in the subconsciousness (of these mediums) must be acknowledged.”

This is IMHO as far as observation and reason can take us. Every statement we make about this quandary beyond its mere recognition is what William James called on overbelief. Rather than using this term in a critical manner, James viewed such overbeliefs as comprising the most valuable part of religious experience, the means by which we make an existing faith tradition our own or create our own unique spiritual identity.


Isn’t this precisely what we do here, what we love to do here in this sacred space—explore together our individual overbeliefs in light of our shared acknowledgment of the quandary posed by Dr. Prince? Could anything be more meaningful or exciting? Each participant in this dialogue has a part to play, a contribution to make that can be made by no other. But first must come the humble, honest, and wise acceptance of the quandary.

Newton Finn, Tue 2 Aug, 16:59

Chris, there are scientists who research today’s mediums. One of them is Julie Beishcel (PhD) who won a Beiglew contest prize for her essay. She was subsequently placed on the board of directors for the organization:https://www.bigelowinstitute.org/Judge3.html

https://www.windbridge.org/about-us/beischel/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25666383/

There are other scientists (with mwedical degrees and or PhDs) who study mediums in a scientific manner (e.g.https://opensciences.org/alexander-moreira-almeida).

Here is a lingk re a group of scientists that did a control study with mediums and they found the control group did better than the mediums: https://bigthink.com/thinking/psychic-energy/
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0278262620302414

There are many more scientists studying mediums.
They all publish their research and anyone can read their protocols and findinfgs re the mediums they research.

Lee, Tue 2 Aug, 13:16

Does anyone know if the mediums of today are being monitored or are subject of scientific research? With the technology of today it should made a difference or is science scared of the results and to make them public?

Chris, Tue 2 Aug, 09:01

Dear all,

I think Newton, Amos, Keith P and Stafford are ALL correct. There is no incompatibility in their views, which are all within a Wholeness of understanding, being perspectives on the same object of attention. (Remember the blind Hindus and the elephant?)

Amos writes of “irrefutable hard evidence that anyone can hold in their hand of an esoteric intelligence or consciousness that exists in some other location”, and Newton sees his point, and my autodidact’s paper on how Einsteinian Relativity proves by a very simple and fundamental argument the possibility of universes intermingling without communicating except in unusual circumstances, a paper that one world-known mathematician approves but most do not understand and almost everyone ignores, shows how that is possible within the Reverent Science that the spiritual rangefinder shows to be one and the same as the Great Being HIRself.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Tue 2 Aug, 08:16

Michael, if it is any solace to you, your blogs here have far more influence on serious researchers and seekers than the articles in the Encyclopedia. There is no comparison.

Stafford Betty, Tue 2 Aug, 05:47

Newton,
That is what I have been trying to point out all these years.  The Patience Worth case does not have all of the bells and whistles or gaud that people seem to be looking for.  They like floating trumpets, spooky lights, apports, melting apparitions, accordions that play by themselves, voices speaking ancient Chinese, electronic voices and on and on. These things are really physical in construct. But the Patience Worth case taken IN TOTAL provides irrefutable hard evidence that anyone can hold in their hand of an esoteric intelligence or consciousness that exists in some other location; maybe not spirit entities living in Summerland but something or some being that we do not know about yet.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 1 Aug, 19:15

In response to this blog, Michael, I read the new Psi Encyclopedia entry on Margery. And you are right, there is plenty of space given to the sceptics; with the conclusion unjustifiably downbeat. One thing I noticed in particular (for me it is crucial evidence) is that they remembered to include Margery’s phenomenon of putting ‘matter through matter’, but without acknowledging the enormity and uniqueness of this achievement; instead giving it just 4 words. For me this one item clinches her reputation as genuine and deserves proper coverage. And Professor Richardson’s establishing beyond doubt with his speaking tube equipment that Margery’s brother’s voice was independent of Margery was just as important. So yes, you have a right to feel disgruntled if your contribution was minimised. Nonetheless, this encyclopedia entry is quite comprehensive at 7,300 words; and I found it interesting overall, even despite the parts of your contribution going missing. With Wikipedia specialising in misinformation on psychical matters, in my view (and in disagreement with Amos) I think we should be glad this encyclpedia exists and is still expanding. You are entirely correct that after 140 years there is sufficient evidence for the SPR to finally get off the fence, and onto the survival side. But I don’t expect it to happen in my lifetime. Not enough skeptics have died off yet! But your previous contributions to this encyclopedia, and also Karen Wehrstein’s are§ valuable indeed.

Keith P in England, Mon 1 Aug, 17:11

Oh yes, AOD. I consider the Patience Worth literature (which, bless you, you worked so hard to keep in public view) to fall into something like the category of physical mediumship, almost like an apport from a higher realm. As you’ve pointed out on numerous occasions, this stunningly sublime body of literature stands physically and permanently before us, unlike an accordion that stops playing or a figure that melts before our eyes. For those who want something physical in their grasp of mediumship, there it is IN SPADES!

Newton Finn, Mon 1 Aug, 16:41

Newton,
Of course you (and begrudgingly, Imperator) are right!  That is why I consider the case of Patience Worth to provide some of the best evidence of spirit entities or something that is not yet known about the human psychic. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 1 Aug, 16:03

Does not some of the problem in getting skeptics to accept the reality of physical mediumship stem from the seemingly frivolous or gaudy, showy nature of much of the phenomena? Was not this alluded to by Imperator in his downplaying of physical mediumship, in his repeated warnings against putting too much stock in it? Might this be part of the reason that NDEs, which are not frivolous or gaudy in the showy sense, are taken more seriously by many skeptics?

Newton Finn, Mon 1 Aug, 15:02

Michael,
You have my sympathies.  I suppose if you wrote an article about the evidence for the spherical earth revolving around the sun, the editors of PSI Encyclopedia would rewrite it to give equal space for the opinions of the Flat Earth Society!

In my opinion it is a waste of good money The articles are interesting at times but it is not a prime source of information for me.  I really got turned off when so many of the articles were about living people, especially in England, who dabble in subjects related to PSI but for the life of me, I don’t understand why they deserve an article at all.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 1 Aug, 13:39

Dear Mike, and all,

Starting from your question “If it does show some unbalance toward accepting a spiritualistic view, has it abandoned science?” I would like to add one more thought: Science and the real final truth, the undeniable FACT must itself be whole, or we have to admit that the Great Being is not whole, but schism-ridden. That surely cannot be. So the battle against the extreme sceptics will only subside when the scientific view and the ‘religious’ view come to coincide like the images in a rangefinder. In seeking scientific truth we are seeking the Great Being Hirself.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Mon 1 Aug, 11:04

Dear Mike,

Thanks for the new blog, and - yet again - Bravo! There are none as illogical in their thought as cynical’sceptics’ who claim to be thinking logically and scientifically. I, too, have suffered at the hands of the SPR’s supposedly balanced reviewers and editors, but, again like you, have also earned the praise of Bigelow winners. Wheat and tares still have to be tolerated alongside, until the harvest, so that the wheat shall not be uprooted.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Mon 1 Aug, 09:04


Add your comment

Name

Email

Your comment

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:


Please note that all comments are read and approved before they appear on the website

 
translate this page
feature
The Orpheus Motif in North America: The Comanche tradition – To give the reader a general idea of the form taken by the Orpheus tradition in North America, I reproduce the version of the Comanche Indians, here published for the first time. It was communicated to me orally by the late Dr Ralph Linton, who noted it down in the course of his field-studies among the Comanche (1933). Particular interest attaches to the Comanche narrative, for it is the first recorded Orpheus tradition from the more easterly Shoshonean groups. No account is given of it in Wallace and Hoebel’s Comanche monograph, which is otherwise a valuable source for the religion and folklore of this tribe. Read here
© White Crow Books | About us | Contact us | Privacy policy | Author submissions | Trade orders