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The Most Profound Near-Death Experience Ever?

Posted on 18 November 2013, 13:18

Although the near-death experience (NDE) was not so named until the 1970s, by Dr. Raymond Moody, reports of the phenomenon go back many years before Moody began researching them. It would be difficult to find a more dynamic NDE than that reported by Cora L. V. Richmond (below)  in her 1923 book entitled My Experiences While Out of My Body.  “The possibility of the spirit ‘leaving the body’ for a time and then returning to its usual activities has been demonstrated many times,” she wrote more than 50 years before Moody’s classic book Life After Life,  going on to point out that the separation can be caused by accident or illness (NDE) but sometimes by “voluntary absence,” referred to as simply an out-of body experience (OBE).


“These visits to ‘heaven’,” she continued, “would be sometimes tinged with the religious bias of the subject, but this is not strange in view of the fact that spirit states are conditions of the mind and spirits experiencing them.” . Nearly a century later, skeptical scientists are making this same observation as if it is something new and offering it as evidence that the experience is nothing more than a hallucination.

In addition to several NDEs, Richmond seems to have been adept at departing her body voluntarily.  It is not entirely clear from her book,  but the primary experience reported on appears to have come during a serious illness, when she was near death for a number of days several years before her actual death at age 82, in 1923, the year the book was published.  However, she claimed to have had many out-of-body experiences and it is sometimes difficult to discern if everything she reports in the book resulted from that one NDE during her serious illness or whether some of it came from other experiences.

She begins the book by stating that it is impossible to adequately convey in human language what she actually experienced, especially in the higher states of the afterlife environment, and that the best she could do was make an attempt at offering some glimpses of her experience.  She recalled a great sense of relief – of being set free from the limitations of the body and did not expect to return to it as she had previously done.  “There was a perception of great Light, a consciousness of Illumination, an awakening to the vastness, the unlimitation of this Realm of Spirit,” she explained. “All else was swallowed up – eclipsed by the wonderful experiences that came – the Beloved Presences – the vistas of luminous Spirits!  This was a state of Super-Consciousness; the awakening of faculties and perceptions before unknown, of being aware, almost without limitation; of KNOWING!  Whatever is the nature and state of the real Ego this seemed as near to the Absolute as one could well conceive!  There was so much of me!  There was so little of me!  There were so many and such surpassing spirits!  How one shrinks in the presences of the mighty ones!  How one expands in the Knowledge of the Infinite: His Image!”

Deceased loved ones welcomed her. “The Best Beloved, those who had preceded me into this wondrous life, came thronging around, by degrees,” she wrote, “to welcome me: not all at once, but first those who were by tenderest ties the nearest and the dearest.”. She learned that spirits of kindred thoughts, perceptions, and aspirations are attracted to each other and form groups who work together for others.  “I saw them ‘moving upon’ the minds of those in Earth-forms whom they could reach, sometimes singly, some times in groups, as the conditions might require.”  .

Her guide took her on a tour of the spirit world.  She witnessed scenes in which spirits were attempting to minister to those humans under their guidance but failed because of earthly barriers, primarily selfishness and not being open to spirit influence due to false education, both theological and material.  She saw those recently deceased and not yet fully awakened to their new state existing in the thought-forms and scenes of their recent earthly lives as they lacked the spiritual awareness to fully recognize and appreciate their new states.  “As the Spirit unfolds, the thought-forms change and then disappear as perception takes the place of limitation by the senses,” it was explained to her. Many of those reproducing familiar scenes of their earth conditions seemed satisfied, some even happy, “not even knowing that this similitude was the result of their own thought-forms instead of being inherent or organic in the ‘spirit land’.”  But, there were many others whose thought-forms were of the “shadowed kind” and apparently not especially pleasant.

Richmond went on to say that she became more and more aware that she could perceive and receive more perfectly the answer to every question, even before its formulation in thought.  “Formulation is a process of limitation, sometimes of hindrance,” her spirit guide told her, explaining that prepared senses are the result of prepared minds; that is, minds prepared by the awareness of spirit while in the material life. 

She prayed that she would not have to return to her physical body, but her guide informed her that she still had work to do and must return.  She was taken by her guide to view her body and observed it still breathing while also seeing a “psychic cord” connecting her spirit form to it.  The guide told her that although she would not immediately return to her body, that it was necessary for her to keep her spirit “en rapport” with the body.  Thus, during the experience over “many days” of earth time she was required to return to the body to keep the ”vital spark”  alive.  She likened the idea of returning to visiting dear friends in a place of beauty and enchantment and then having to return to one’s daily routine. 

She was taken by her guide to witness those “working with themselves.”  One such soul she recognized as a person who had been considered “eminent” in the art world whilc in the material life.  He was cutting, carving, and breathing upon an image of himself.  She asked the guide what the man was doing.  “Removing the angularities and errors of his own nature: jealously of other artists, the deepest scar; selfish love of human praise – that overweening desire for adulation; unwillingness to accord to others the appreciation of their true merits,” the guide explained. 

“Spirit states are as varied as are the personal states of those composing them,” Richmond observed. “The knowledge – or lack of it – possessed by the person IS the spirit state, i.e., knowledge of spiritual principles.”  In effect, the more we come to understand relative to spiritual principles in the earth life, the better off we are after transitioning to the spirit world, assuming that we live by those principles.
“Time does not seem to be a factor in the realm of spirits except as related to people and events in the human state with which spirits have connection,” she further explained. “Our human phrases, and even our usual thoughts seem superficial , weak, and puerile when endeavoring to describe the divine realities of the Spirit.”

Her tour of the higher or more celestial realms was completely beyond description.  “No human language is in the smallest degree adequate to portray the ecstasy produced by the vision, contemplation of perception of this all-glorious state,” she went on.  “Orb on orb of transcendent beauty, sphere on sphere of celestial splendor!.” And while spirits in those higher realms were more unified in purpose, they retained their individuality.  “This Individuality is Eternal; is the Ego of which the small personality of earth and even of the spirit states is but a fragment of manifestation.”

Richmond asked her guide why knowledge of the spirit world is not made more available to humans and was told that it was a matter of growth, unfoldment, waiting and working. In other words, most people are not yet ready for it.

In concluding the book, Richmond mentioned that some eminent men of science had made headway in helping humans understand the future life.  She named Hare, Mapes, Denton, Wallace, Crookes, Varley, Zollner, and Flammarion, but she placed Sir Oliver Lodge, an esteemed British physicist, at the top of the list, as one whose mind was best prepared to receive spiritual truths..

There is so much more to the story of Cora L. V. Richmond than her NDEs and OBEs.  She was perhaps the most amazing medium of the 19th Century, possibly the greatest medium in 2000 years.  Beginning in 1851, at age 11, as Cora Scott, she would go into a trance state and vacate her body, permitting various advanced spirits to speak through her vocal cords, lecturing to thousands of people in the United States and England on various subjects pertaining to their spiritual welfare, including philosophical, social, political, and reform matters.  (See my blog of September 23 about Professor James Mapes to read his comments about her. More about Cora L. V. Richmond in my next blog post in two weeks.)

Cora Richmond’s books can be obtained from or phone 510-479-4792
Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die is published by White Crow Books. His latest book, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife is now available on Amazon and other online book stores. 

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Next blog, 2nd December.


coras seem as profound as swedenborg

jimmy, Wed 3 May, 10:26

C. Hilleary,

I’m not sure I get the connection between your great grandfather’s book and the NDE of Cora Richmond.  I infer, however, that you are implying that because you are absolutely certain that your great grandfather’s book was nothing more than fantasy, that all experiences related to a non-material world are also fantasy.

I’m not familiar with your great grandfather’s book, and I don’t know for certain that life does not exist on Mars.  Just because our scientists can’t detect it in a materialistic way similar to our planet or because the atmosphere there would not support human life as we know it does not necessarily mean that life can’t exist there in a vibration that is so far different than we know—one that goes well beyond our limited science. I’m not saying it does, only that it can’t be ruled out by anyone.  I do know that several other messages coming through mediums have referred to life on Mars, but not one similar to ours. 

Perhaps your grandfather was into automatic writing and his hand was guided by s spirit.  Maybe the spirit was writing a piece of fiction through him.  There are different possibilities.

Thanks for writing.  I see your grandfather’s book is available at  I will consider purchasing it.

Michael Tymn, Wed 16 Nov, 08:22

Judge J.L. Kennon of Emeryville Cal. was my great grandfather.  I never met him, but knew a lot about him from stories my mother would tell me.  He was an intellectual, interested in science, but above all, a devout Catholic (he had spent some time in a seminary earlier in his life). Before becoming a judge, he ran small newspapers in California, and was a bit of a writer. He also liked to read his granddaughter fairy tales, and used to doodle in the margins of letters he wrote her little fanciful drawings of brownies and fairies and goblins.  I have absolutely no doubt that “The Planet Mars” was a his way of entertaining himself in his latter years and expressing his views on God and religion.  Please do not publish my email, thanks!

C. Hilleary, Mon 14 Nov, 18:22

Again thanks, nice work getting Cora reinstated in the public’s mind.

Should you or anyone want to call me about Cora, I prefer this # is used instead: 510.559.0701.  Please can you change your records and give this # instead.

Thanks and keep up the good work
In Loving Living Light

Ziaa Szymanski, Mon 2 Dec, 23:28


Indeed, many were.  In fact, some seabeds are now thousands of feet high, something that baffled early scientists.  But, of course, there were ready explanations to the effect that the planet was periodically flooded to the depth of many thousands of feet.  When asked where the water had come from and where had it gone afterwards, they had to admit that they could not explain but always concluded with that oft encountered phrase ‘but it’s obvious, isn’t it!’

All of Australia’s deserts have water not far below the surface - if you know where to look.  The Australia Aboriginals has crisscrossed these deserts - and most of them took weeks to cross by following the water.  To this day, that knowledge is still enshrined in their song-lines.

Early Europeans dismissed this as superstitious rubbish.  Not a few of the same Europeans perished in the same deserts when they tried to cross the same deserts.  Their reasoning was that if sub-human aboriginals could do it, then the superior Europeans could do it - well, it’s obvious. isn’t it!  They died horrible deaths!!

These water sources are small underground rivers and very small underground lakes.  It would be unsurprising to find that the same exists on Mars.


Leslie Harris, Sat 30 Nov, 11:31


From a CNN report today:

‘Mars might appear dry as a desert, but astronauts may someday be able to tap its soil to quench their thirst. Research recently published suggests that the soil from the Martian surface contains about 2% water by weight.”

That doesn’t sound like canals, but weren’t some of our deserts once underwater?  Just musing.  As I said before, Cora said nothing about canals.

Michael Tymn, Sat 30 Nov, 09:00


Thanks for your commen.  The “spirits” communicating through Cora said much the same thing that Ruth Montgomery recorded a century or so later, i.e., that going out from the Sun, each planet has a hgiher and higher form of consciousness, one not visible to the occupants of the the planets behind it. 

I have a difficult time with the subconscious overflow theory when it is a lengthy lecture rather than a few words. As with Pearl Curran and Patience Worth, the question seems to be how all that knowledge or information got into her subconsciouss in the first place.  I know that there were various stories about Mars circulating in the 19th Century, but I question whether any of them sent went so far as to include everything that was said through Cora.  Again, however, she said nothing about the topography of Mars, which got this whole thing started.

Thanks to all others for their comments.  My next two blogs will further discuss Cora.

Michael Tymn, Wed 27 Nov, 11:03

Mike, you wrote five days ago,  “It may be that both Cora and Helene were describing a ‘place’ other than Mars, but there was nothing in their vocabulary to give a name to it other than Mars.”  I hope this is the explanation.  Myers via Cummins wrote in “The Road to Immortality” that a good medium is “an interpreter.  It is an interpretation not a literal statement that is conveyed through him . . .You should study the medium, and if you perceive any very strong prejudice expressed, you will know it comes from the subconscious overflow and not from the poor shade who has the greatest difficulty in contending with any fixed ideas in the medium’s deeper mind.”  So the word “Mars” might be serving as a placeholder for any earthlike planet in the universe.  I see this as a possibility.  But I’m more inclined to see it as mediumistic contamination, or what Myers terms “subconscious overflow.”
In Ruth Montgomery’s “A World Beyond,” supposedly dictated to her by Arthur Ford in early 1971, we are told that intelligent life exists on “Mars, Jupiter, Uranus, Venus, and the like, but not so much in a physical sense as in a state of higher consciousness; for while these planets contain life forms, they are totally unrecognizable in terms of the life forms which inhabit earth in physical form.”  “Ford” goes on to say that “the most highly developed one is Saturn, which contains pure thoughts without embellishment in lower states of consciousness.”

Maybe so, but probably not.

Stafford Betty, Wed 27 Nov, 02:30

I am at fault for not having said at the outset that this was not a book by or via Cora Scott/Richmond.  Finding it was such a shock that it was displaced from my mind when I wrote.
Tom Davies refers to Myers/Cummings.  I regret to say that I simply gave up on much of the Myers/Cummings books after I read his descriptions of the ascending levels.  When I got to the ‘fact’ of entities living on the surface of the Sun during one of these ascending levels but with no supporting explanations, I put it aside.  It came down to the ever-present problem of possibility/probability. 
From some of what I read, it is possible, perhaps even probable, that the next phase after this physical life in this physical Universe coexists with this one.  Several things make this a possibility/probability.
The first is that we are becoming embarrassingly aware that there must be more to the energy spectrum than we originally thought.  We have found that something is pushing all the galaxies (that make up the Universe) apart but, at the same time, something is holding the galaxies together and stopping them from flying apart.
The former is referred to as dark energy and the latter as dark mass.  The best thinkers in Physics are grappling with this but, so far, it is speculative and there is no proof of what these energies might be but it is reasonable to assume that they are energies so far outside our knowledge.
The second is that there is evidence that communicating entities can be what we would call physically present but outside our ability to detect.  This has been reported by two very respected writers – Estep and Cardoso – both of whom report instances of the communicating entities commenting on things that existed at the time of communication.
This tends to indicate that at least the early stages of life beyond this one could be interleaved with our here and now but in no way evident to us.
In respect of Mars, it is possible that another version of Mars exists in another part of the Universe, one which might indeed have canals and a population such as some writers have described but what makes the Kennon book so suspicious is that it exactly parallels the wide speculation of that time.
My surprise and disappointment was that the hosts of the website of the Scott/Richmond books should include this one amongst them because by doing so, they taint Cora Scott/Richmond by association.
“However, if it is true that the inhabitants of Mars would not be visible to us, it seems possible that the terrain of Mars referred to by Kennon and by Helene Smith is not visible to us, either.”
In this case, there are other parameters that we can refer to.  The topography of Mars has now been very accurately mapped, as accurately as this planet.  Certainly, there might be a phantom Mars of different topography but then we must allow that there might be a phantom Earth in which Everest is 100.000 feet high and the bed of the Pacific Ocean is a dry desert. 
~Might be but very unlikely to actually be~!  We can only go by the facts as we observe them.  We do not have airliners crashing into invisible Mount Everests so we can reasonably conclude that the Everest that we see is the actual Everest.
None of this, however, precludes the high possibility that different ‘realities’ co-exist with our ‘reality’ but in energy spectrums so far undetectable to us – like the dark energy and the dark mass of which we have only very recently become aware.
Your closing quote from Scott/Richmond contains nothing that is not made understandable by the very highest of probabilities that the energy spectrum that we currently recognize is but a small part of the energy spectrum that must exist – and it certainly must exist to explain the dark energy/mass that is being demonstrated by the behaviour of the entire Universe!

Leslie Harris, Tue 26 Nov, 00:28

Thanks, Mike Tymn, for pointing out something I missed entirely - that the Mars material was produced by someone other than Cora! I noticed that the paper in question was attributed to Judge Kennon, but because of its placement on a site devoted to Cora Richmond, I somehow assumed he had merely written down what she said. It turns out that the material was the product of automatic writing on Kennon’s part.

On the other hand, the website does say:

“During this time while out of her body, Cora was shown by her Guardian the preparation work of a Martian to embodied Martians here on earth—for the near future presentation of the work; THE PLANET MARS AND ITS INHABITANTS. Cora therefore witnessed this Martian announcement a few years before the northern California, Alameda County Judge, J.L. Kennon began receiving this work.”

It would seem, then, that Cora endorsed Kennon’s manuscript, even though she didn’t write it herself.

Cora’s actual comments on Mars are found about 2/3 of the way down this page, and are announced by red font:

I don’t find her comments very clear, but her statement “A Martian is embodied in Earth form at the present time” is apparently interpreted by her followers as referring to Kennon.

Michael Prescott, Mon 25 Nov, 17:57

Michael & Les,

When I responded earlier to your comments, it was after only a cursory look at the website page having to do with Mars.  I did not notice at the time that the book referred to there, ‘Mars and Its Inhabitants’ was by one J. L. Kennon, not by Cora Richmond. I did not realize until today that Cora Richmond had nothing to do with that book or the mention of canals on Mars, etc.  In one of her trance lectures, as set forth in “The Soul in Human Embodiment,” as well as in the NDE book referred to above, she discussed the inhabitants of Mars and said that the lowest embodiment upon the planet Mars is higher than the highest embodiment on the planet Earth and that they would not be visible to those of us on Earth, just as spirits are not visible to us here. As near as I can determine, she mentioned nothing of the terrain of Mars, including canals.  I am not quite sure I understand the link between what Cora says and what Kennon says in his book.  I simply have not had time to read all of that.  However, if it is true that the inhabitants of Mars would not be visible to us, it seems possible that the terrain of Mars referred to by Kennon and by Helene Smith is not visible to us, either.

I agree that when we argue that there are celestial answers that go beyond terrestrial understanding that it seems like a self-serving cop-out. I cannot explain much of the “bosh” material associated with Leonora Piper, other than by invoking distortion in the communication process, resulting from filtering problems, misinterpreted thought imagery, coloring by the subconscious, or even intrusion by mischievous spirits, whatever, but there was more than enough genuine communication that came through her for me to conclude that what was coming through was not fraudulently obtained and was not the result of chance, good guessing, fishing, or cold-reading.  Likewise, with Cayce and others, I have no answers as to why so many of their prophesies were wrong or seem to be wrong, beyond the same explanations and others usually given by believers, including the often-stated explanation that the spirits giving these prophesies don’t know much more than we do and are just giving their opinions, no different than if some college professor expressed his opinion to his students and out of ignorance and respect for his education and experience the students accepted it as fact. 

Having read the biography of Cora Richmond by Harrison D. Barrett, which includes scores of attestations by seemingly credible people, and after having read many of her (or the spirits controlling her) extemporaneous or impromptu discourses on complex subjects – when members of the audience put subjects or questions to her – I cannot believe that she was a fake, an ultra-genius, or had all the information genetically encoded in her DNA or whatever materialistic theories might be advanced   Had the discourses begun at age 30 or later, I might be more suspicious, but when I read the discourses that came out of her mouth during her teen years, keeping in mind that she had no more than an elementary school education, I believe that spirit influence/communication is a much better explanation than any other explanation.

To quote Cora in one of her discourses:  “The side of heaven that is turned toward man is the shadowy side; it is needed; with your eyes of earth you cannot see the perfect light of truth; it would blind your vision; you would be dazzled by its perfect power. So the great rock broods between you and the perfect light that in the reflected rays you may grow toward immortality.  You cannot bear the great heat-light of prosperity; when the world has conquered selfishness then all material treasures will flow toward mankind, but never believe until then, that human hands will receive without labor, or that labor will cease to be in some instances oppressive; it is needful that men shall toil; it is needful that they shall have their boeis the sustenance that they win; it is needful in spirit that they climb up to the jagged height to win the glory that is to be seen beyond.”

Michael Tymn, Mon 25 Nov, 05:02

I tend to agree with Michael Prescott that any mediumistic communication, no matter how much at variance it may be with our known reality may be verified, if one does not hold the medium literally to what they say.  That’s why, in a way, Helene Smith and Cora Richman should not get a “get out of jail free” card when they provide information about Mars that doesn’t jibe with what those of us in objective reality believe to be true about the planet Mars.

However, if one accepts the premise of a dual nature of reality, a question arises then just how does the spirit in the non-objective reality communicate with a person in objective reality?  Do we really expect it to be like picking up an iphone and placing a call?  In some cases, it appears to be not by way of language, but by pictures or symbols which the medium has to interpret, thereby allowing mistakes in interpretation to be made.

I can think of two good examples.  The psychic-medium George Anderson is one.  In his biographies he reports that he routinely interprets symbols which he sees in his mind’s eye and attaches meaning to them appropriate for the sitter in front of him. Sometimes he is wrong.  Pearl Curran is another “medium” who reported that she sees symbolic images in her mind before she receives poems or stories from Patience Worth.

One could imagine that perhaps a kind of ‘mind-meld’ occurs as portrayed by the fictitious character Mr. Spock in the TV series Star Trek. That is, information the spirit entity wishes to communicate is somehow blended with information (images) stored in the mind of the medium and the medium then has to sort it all out.
I think a specific example of a spirit using information in the mind of the medium is use of the flower ‘Crepe Myrtle” to convey a thought from Patience Worth to Pearl Curran. (See  In that specific case I don’t think that Patience Worth would have known the plant ‘Crepe Myrtle” as it does not grow in England or the northern United States where Patience reportedly lived but it does grow in Texas and Missouri where Pearl Curran spent much of her life. Maybe it is bias on my part though, hoping that Patience Worth was a real spirit and not the subconscious mind of Pearl Curran.

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 25 Nov, 00:30

to Michael Prescott: Good, logical comment! You are correct. There is no need to deify Cora, no need to engage in pathological harmonizing, to tidy up what appear to be embarrassing loose ends. We know that all psychics, even the best, do not transmit 100% accurately. As they said in the old Warner Bros. cartoons, “so I laid an egg!”

w becker, Sun 24 Nov, 16:14

Regarding Mars, the following from Cummins “Beyond Human Personality,” purportedly channeling Myers, may be of interest:

The Mystery of Mars
It is believed by certain astronomers that they will eventually conquer space and unravel the mystery of Mars. This planet with its attendant moons, Deimos and Phobos, with its vast deserts and striking topography, would necessarily offer to its inhabitants a different kind of life from that known to man who has through his telescope, more or, less correctly mapped out its actual geographical features. Some learned people hold the view that if we measure time by the earth clock, no incarnate beings exist in this present era on Mars. Many hundreds of years ago, however, it was the home of intelligent, individualized life. In that far distant age the Martians, in appearance and vibratory character, were near to man; and if astronomical science had been then in its present highly developed state the Martians would, no doubt, have been able to extend greetings to their brethren on earth, for although vastly inferior to him in the arts and graces of life, in mathematics and science they were far in advance of and immeasurably superior to present day man.
Though inhabitants of the planet of war they had learned to subjugate the war spirit by overcoming the evils of a superabundance of births. Mars was thinly populated, and because of the perils of being without food – which were very real – they strictly controlled and limited themselves in their numbers, seeking quality rather than quantity, and thus offering a desirable example to human beings. Death through the hostility of nature rather than death through war was the menace that shadowed the life of the whole Martian race. The struggle to obtain the means of living went on ceaselessly; and the fear of nature on this austere planet so governed their existence that they were far too deeply occupied with this problem to engage, as man does, in destructive War.
I have spoken of the past in connection with intelligent, manifested life on the planet Mars. For I have been permitted to gaze into the scheme of things and to glance at sections of an eternal present, some of it potential and yet to be, some of it past. Nevertheless, during what we might term the present terrestrial era, there revolves in space a planet which corresponds with Mars and which exemplifies in detail the conditions I have just described.
Before we proceed further, it seems necessary to discuss and perhaps extend the meaning of the words “life” and “incarnation.” Let us assume that they imply intelligent, individualized existence in some kind of body akin in structure to the material bodies known to man. It does not follow that the five senses of the human being can apprehend and register the appearance and character of the individuals existing on another planet. We will take, for instance, as an illustration, the history of the Martians and will refer to it in the present tense. At night they have to endure a temperature many degrees below zero. Frost of an incredible severity grips the ground, holds it more surely than steel can bite or grip. The bright hours of the day bear warmth undoubtedly, but the difference in temperature is very considerable. Secondly, the atmosphere is only as dense as that prevailing on the top of the lofty mountains known to man. Necessarily, therefore, the Martians in build and composition must differ in some respects from ordinary human beings who could not, indeed, endure existence on their planet.
So the fabric is more finely interwoven: so the vibrations of the body of a Martian are deeper and of greater intensity than the vibrations of any of the living organisms on earth. Supposing that a telescope had been invented which could register all the small details of visible life on Mars, the astronomer would search it in vain for his counterpart; he would believe that he gazed upon a world from which intelligent, animated life was entirely absent. Yet, in such an affirmation he would be mistaken. His sight, however keen, his telescope however searching, would assuredly fail to find human beings similar to those who dwell on earth. But if some inventive scientist could have imagined and constructed an apparatus very subtly elaborated on the principle of wireless he might, perhaps, have picked up signals which indicated the presence of a mysterious and individualized intelligence on that other remote globe.

Tom Davies, Sun 24 Nov, 16:06

Interesting comments on the Mars issue. The trouble with trying to explain Cora’s remarks as a description of another planet is twofold: the reference to canals clearly links the planet with Mars as it was then imagined; and if we assume that some other planet (or some other-dimensional version of Mars) was intended, then by the same logic we can “verify” any mediumistic communication, no matter how much at variance it may be with our known reality, and objectivity goes out the window.

Years ago, someone said to me that all of Edgar Cayce’s predictions had proved true. I replied that Cayce had predicted Atlantis would rise out of the ocean before the end of the 20th century, which did not happen. The other person shot back, “Maybe it did happen - in a parallel universe!” By that standard, no prediction can ever be wrong.

To me, the simplest explanation of the Mars material is that Cora Richmond (like Helene Smith) was getting it from her own subconscious. This doesn’t necessarily invalidate all her communications, if there are others that show good evidence of psi.

Regarding the similarities in the afterlife descriptions provided by various mediums who didn’t know each other, is it possible that they were all influenced by Swedenborg’s writings? This could be the common denominator in their broadly consistent reports.

Michael Prescott, Sat 23 Nov, 23:24


Your comment is much appreciated.  You said it much better than I did in my earlier comment to Les and added to it.  Of course, the debunkers will simply laugh at the whole idea, since they don’t recognize the obstacles to spirit communication.  They don’t recognize spirits, so how can they even begin to recognize the obstacles, including the filtering and the subconscious coloring, etc., etc.?

Michael Tymn, Fri 22 Nov, 20:43

I have been intrigued by these accounts from mediums of people inhabiting Mars and in the case of Helene Smith transmission of a written Martian language.  I tend to take these reports with a “grain of salt”, not really believing these accounts are about the planet we call Mars.  I don’t know what was going on the minds of people at that time but Mars, the “Red Planet” was somewhat more visible to earthlings than other planets in our solar system or any other and therefore provoked more interest and discussion. It became the archetypical planet inhabited by beings other than earthlings.  I remember hearing about the canals on Mars in my youth long before the Mars Rover provided pictures of the Mars terrain and there was a lot of conjecture, even then in the 1940s, about just what the “canals” were, suggesting they were built by beings inhabiting the planet.

Several thoughts come to my mind concerning this.  First: calling the environment the mediums visualized “Mars” may have just been a symbolic generic term for some other planet either in our solar system or some other.  I don’t think using the term “Mars” totally negates the authenticity of what the mediums intuited, saw and reported. Secondly, I have always thought that maybe we are somehow conditioned to see what we believe we see, that is, we see the moon and Mars as barren planets when there may be realities on these spheres which we are not conditioned to see. ( I know I am not able to explain this right.  Maybe this has something to do with quantum mechanics which suggests that wave function collapses into particles upon observation.)

Professor Stephen E. Braude in his book Immortal Remains used Helene Smith as an example to compare with Patience Worth but I didn’t understand the comparison and thought it distracted from discussing the evidence related to Patience Worth and falsely condemned Patience Worth as a dissociated personality of Pearl Curran—-guilty by association—- when the Helene Smith case and the Patience Worth case were IMO not that similar.

When Patience Worth was asked by Dr. Belmont if there were any other worlds that were inhabited she replied, “Think ye thy ball be the only ball a-spin that speweth forth unto the here?—-meaning the earth was not the only planet that was inhabited by people (spirits) which entered the hereafter. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Fri 22 Nov, 00:28

That Mars was inhabited was widely held at that time.  The eminent astronomer, Percival Lowell, wasted the latter part of his life constructing hypotheses on top of hypotheses to the effect that Mars was well populated and a very advanced civilization, as evidenced by the non-existent canals.  That book could have been written based on Lowell’s imaginings.

If, as you suggest, it might have been another planet, none in the Solar System come within a bull’s roar of the description.  If it was referring to a planet in another star system, one could reasonably expect that this would have been made abundantly clear.

And again, this was at a time when it was universally believed that ours was the only inhabited planet in the Universe.

Whilst that is a possibility or even a probability that there was a lack of clarity or even ambiguity in communications, that sets the tenor against which other pronouncements must be then compared. 


Leslie Harris, Thu 21 Nov, 10:46


Thank you for your comment.  Your comment crossed with my response to Michael Prescott on the Mars matter.  But an additional thought came to mind.  It may be that both Cora and Helene were describing a “place” other than Mars, but there was nothing in their vocabulary to give a name to it other than Mars.  It has been said that the communicating spirit finds it difficult to get words through the medium that are not in her/his vocabulary, and it may very well have been the case that Mars was the only place in her mind and vocabulary that she could apply to what she was seeing.

Michael Tymn, Thu 21 Nov, 02:28


Thanks for your input. I agree, although I am inclined to agree more with Adin Ballou and many others who have said that the subconscious “coloring” varies signficantly with the medium.  It might be 20% with a medium of average strength and 80% with a more powerful medium.  Certainly, that seems to have been the case with the physical mediums. The more powerful physical mediums produced full manifestations at times, the weaker ones only a hand.  Some were in between with a half body or just a face.

As I wrote somewhere else while using the words of William James, “Some bosh does not make for all humbug.

Michael Tymn, Thu 21 Nov, 02:22

I spend a majority of my afterlife research now looking for uniformity between the different categories of research.  Interestingly enough I am reading about the work of Dr. Anabella Cardoso experimented with direct radio voice, a very unique form of EVP that does not require “playback” on an electronic device but the purported deceased can communicate directly through the radio waves.

If we are to believe her work and the entities that came through they also indicated that much of the material that comes through is from the mediums subconscious.  See her conclusion below:

“I made clear earlier that my communicators have told me that mediumship (in the traditional concept of the term) is not necessary in order to make EVP or DRV contact, but this is a somewhat complex issue. In the early days of ITC some transcommunicators (the Harsch-Fischbachs included) were asked to secure the services of mediums, but it appears that as the work has developed mediumship has become unnecessary. The Technician said in Luxembourg that ‘in messages received through mediums in trance, semi-trance etc., you will have four-fifths of the psyche of the medium and one-fifth of the Beyond. In transcommunications through technical means you have one-fifth of the psyche (of the experimenter) and four-fifths of the Beyond’ (Harsch and Locher ibid, 1989). The Technician has also said that the eventual aim is to convey ITC messages without any input from the human psyche. It seems possible to me that mediumship is a capacity common to all beings, but undeveloped in most of them. Throughout the history of psychical research there have been cases of animals - I recall here the famous story of the parakeet of Hamburg for example - that acted as mediums for humans (Horia, 1980). Is it possible perhaps that plants too have mediumship capacities? They are certainly the intermediaries between Earth and Heaven, as witnessed by their roles as life-sustaining agents for the planet. Plants are also a source of tranquil wisdom, consolation and peace for those who claim to be able to hear their voices or to feel their emotions. We could also argue that this communication between plants and humans is also a form of mediumship. It is clear that to judge other forms of life simply in terms of the possession or otherwise of human attributes is both dangerous and scientifically incorrect, because the psycho-physical variables of one species cannot necessarily be extrapolated to others.”


Ray, Wed 20 Nov, 18:35


I had a good rummage through the website and came across one absolute stunner - but for all the wrong reasons!! 

It was the book that described in much detail the planet Mars, its inhabitants and - wait for it - its extensive canal system!!!!!!!!

I hope that not too many other people find it!


Leslie Harris, Wed 20 Nov, 01:26


Thank you for your comments.  As you know, William James and others complained about the triviality or frivolous nature of the messages coming through mediums, never acknowledging the “teachings” coming through mediums like Cora Scott, George Dexter, the Kardec mediums, Stainton Moses, and numerous other mediums in the pre-SPR era;, i.e., from 1848 to 1882.

The “evidence” with the teaching mediums was that the information coming through them was far beyond their education, experience, and exposure.  Pearl Curran, the medium for Patience Worth, came later, but it is of the same type – spiraling mediumship.  I think that was the initial thrust of the spirit world – to educate us and reverse the trend toward materialism.  But, after some 30 years, they saw too much resistance and switched to the more evidential kind, such as with Leonora Piper. 

Prior to reading the biography of Cora Scott Richmond, I had considered Judge John Edmonds as the first psychical researcher in the post-1848 era, but I discovered in the bio of Cora that Adin Ballou preceded Edmonds by a year and wrote a very interesting book with the title “An Exposition of Views Respecting the Principal Facts, Causes and Peculiarities Involved ins Spirit Manifestations Together with Interesting Phenomenal Statements and Communications,” published in 1852.  Ballou clearly finds for the reality of spirit manifestations and communications, but expresses his skepticism toward some phenomena. “I believe that spirits in the flesh, i.e., the mind of the medium, or the minds of persons surrounding the medium sometimes thrwart, warp, peculiarize, or modify the manifestations and communications made,” he wrote in the first chapter.  “I also believe that low and very imperfect departed spirits sometimes manifest themselves.  This is the ground I take.  It enables me to account for the multifarious reliable and unreliable developments of this mysterious agency more satisfactorily than any other.”  He pretty much recognized all the objections that later researchers came up with relative to the subconscious.

Ballou mentions that in some cases he had observed, the communications were so obviously fashioned by the medium’s own mind or the minds of others in attendance.  However, there were many things coming through that he felt could not have been in the minds of the medium or those present and it was a matter of discernment.  The key messages coming through various mediums all ran contrary to established Christian beliefs, namely that we cross over as we are, that we judge ourselves, that there are many realms or spheres on the other side through which we progress, rather than the dichotomous heaven and hell of orthodoxy.  Given the fact that it was contrary to their own religious beliefs and with limited means of communication in those days, he felt certain that these mediums were not in concert with each other and were independently coming up with the information.  It was the consistency of the information that persuaded him. 

So, yes, there was apparently much “coloring” by some mediums, apparently less with other mediums, depending on the the conditions and the passivity of the medium.  I don’t think what Cora had to say about geology to Professor Mapes was recorded anywhere, but even if it was in his mind and she extracted it from his mind, organized it all in her own mind, and delivered it in a coherent manner, that is quite a non-material feat in itself.  It might not lend itself to survival, but still a psychic feat.  As for Mars, I haven’t had time to digest that material, but I believe it preceded Helene Smith and I wonder if both Cora and Smith were tapping into other realms of Mars, those not apparent to our science.
I have read enough of her discourses, including those delivered when she was a young teenager, to conclude that it was not coming from her own mind and not likely coming from the minds of those in attendance.  At least, that is my “discernment” of the situation.

Michael Tymn, Tue 19 Nov, 20:53

It is as I always say…there is so much more out there than any one person can know. There really is a wealth of evidence out there to be harvested…and the sceptics say that there is none?  Where are they looking? Oh sorry, the answer is nowhere in the real world.

Tricia, Tue 19 Nov, 10:39

Interesting stuff, Mike. It’s always good hear about a forgotten figure in mediumship. But when I looked at the linked page, I didn’t see much evidential material. As best I could tell in an admittedly brief perusal, a lot of Cora’s channeled material consists of philosophical lectures, similar in content to Kardec’s “The Spirits Book.”

One of her communications, “Mars and Its Inhabitants,” paints a fairly standard 19th-century picture of the planet Mars, complete with the expected canals and cities. This is reminiscent of medium Helene Smith’s descriptions of Mars, as recounted by Camille Flammarion. Today we know that such accounts are inaccurate; presumably they were drawn either from the medium’s subconscious or from the imaginations of other living people.

In your post on Prof. Mapes, you mention that he was impressed with Cora’s impromptu lecture on geology. My question would be: Was Cora’s information accurate in terms of 21st-century geology or only in terms of the geology of Mapes’ era? If the latter, it would seem to me that she might have pulled it from Mapes’ own mind via ESP. Much of the “scientfic” material in Kardec’s book is of this type - plausible-sounding in terms of 19th century science, but not too believable today.

Any thoughts?

Michael Prescott, Tue 19 Nov, 05:20

A brilliant find Mike!! You have once again done us a huge service by unearthing a gem. Will definitely folliow this up.

Love her succinct comment: “These visits to ‘heaven’,” she continued, “would be sometimes tinged with the religious bias of the subject, but this is not strange in view of the fact that spirit states are conditions of the mind and spirits experiencing them.”
Very pertinent with the release of the movie “Heaven is for Real”.

wendy zammit, Mon 18 Nov, 20:40


As you know by now, I regard Cora Richmond as the most amazing, gifted medium I’ve ever come across—and that includes a lot of them, from Stainton Moses to Geraldine Cummins to Jane Roberts.  Cora is not a creature of this world.

I’m so glad you’ve begun to resurrect her.  Many thanks.

Stafford Betty, Mon 18 Nov, 20:02

Thank you for this information, Michael. W.

w becker, Mon 18 Nov, 17:31

I’ve always sensed spirits and guides and believe in a higher purpose.

Trisha Snow, Mon 18 Nov, 16:21

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Missing Time by Budd Hopkins – Since World War II, tens of thousands of reports of unidentified flying objects have been gathered, officially and unofficially, by the United States Air Force and myriad other governmental and civilian investigative organizations around the world.1 Like Astronaut McDivitt’s “cylinder with antennas,” these objects are often described as being mechanically structured, metallic, and very frequently as behaving as if they were under intelligent control. The thousands of similar, enigmatic reports from across the world mean that no matter what realities may lie behind it, the UFO phenomenon exists as an undeniable fact of life. Read here
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