Let me just add a little to my earlier comment about frauds. I’ve said this over and over again throughout the years and I suspect some readers are tired of hearing it, but it is clear to the dedicated psychical researchers that those claiming fraud with such people as Margery, Eusapia, and others you have named simply didn’t grasp the big picture. They approached it from a materialistic standpoint and therefore the possibility that spirits were involved in the mediumship was not an option. If they couldn’t explain it by known science, it must be fraud, they concluded. Please read my blog of March 14 for more on this.
Again, I’m sure there were charlatans, but I am not interested in them or in writing about them. Also, many of the mediums I have discussed here were called frauds because of unconscious movements while in trance. Again, see my blog of March 14. The researchers who approached it from a materialistic/reductionistic standpoint are never going to get it, because, in their minds, spirits don’t exist. It’s a Catch 22 situation. That is, if you rule out spirits as a possible cause, you’ll never get to the truth of the matter.
Michael Tymn, Tue 29 Mar, 03:48
Can you please place on your blog my answer to Simon Jenkins below.
All the mediums with physical effects have defrauded one day or another
(except precisely the British medium Stewart Alexander whom I saw at work in
2006). All of them, except him, have been caught cheating or suspected of
cheating simply because they were given
the opportunity and found nothing else to do but to resort to it to
compensate for their temporary incapacity.
Rather than produce nothing and suffer this failure, they preferred to
defraud. The power of materialization is unfortunately not controlled at
will; many imponderables come to prevent its manifestation: stress, health
of the medium, audience, hostility of the sitters, etc.
Thank you very much.
Michael Granger, Mon 28 Mar, 20:21
Ryan, it would take much more than a a few paragraphs here to respond to your question, but please read the blog that follows this one for some answers, the one about Margery and the research by Dr. Hamilton, and others. So much of what was deemed fraud was not fraud or it was unconscious fraud, which was not really fraud at all. That is not to suggest that there were not frauds, only that I don’t bother with them. I write about the ones who were genuine mediums. Again, read the blog post that follows this one.
Michael Tymn, Mon 28 Mar, 20:17
Michael E. Tymn can you clarify your position on fraudulent mediums? I have read over some of your blog posts and you seem to be claiming every famous physical medium from the past including obvious showmen like the Davenport brothers were actually genuine and communicating with spirits. I don’t get this idea to claim every medium was genuine. It’s obvious many of these physical mediums were fraudulent, you can just Google search them.
I find it hard to believe that Davenport brothers, Elisabeth d’Esperance, William Eglinton, Stanisława P, Maria Silbert, Einer Nielsen, Linda Gazzera, William Hope or Edouard Isidore Buguet were genuinen because they were all caught in fraud.
Do you have a list of mediums that you believe were fraudulent because I have read over this website White Crow Books and I cannot find a single admitted line that a single medium was the past was fraudulent. I understand you believe mediumship is genuine but I believe it is taken too far here.
Ryan, Mon 28 Mar, 01:38
Thanks Bill for the link to the web site. It seems to have some interesting posts. - AOD
Amos Oliver Doyle, Sun 20 Mar, 13:48
Amos: “I remember at the time thinking the ideas related to Findhorn were interesting and being a gullible young person I might have considered that they had some truth to them. Now from a perspective of a lifetime of experience with such ideas, Findhorn has passed from my consideration along with Doyle’s fairies…”
Amos: All that Doyle and alleged photographs of fairies haave in common with Dorothy Maclean’s communication with plant devas, Robert Ogilvie Crombie’s encounters and conversations with various non-human entities, or Eileen Caddy’s channeling, is nature and Doyle’s interest in communicating with invisible beings (a la Spiritualism in his case).
In the case of Findhorn, soil scientists did thoroughly investigate what seemed impossible in the poor soil and northern climate—the growth of large, healthy plants and vegetables, supposedly enabled by all of the above communications. They chalked it up to an unknown “Factor X.” The proof is in the pudding.
These communications are relevant to the blog only to the extent that they (allegedly) involved beings invisible to the naked eye.
Whether communicating with your dead mom, a plant deva, some kind of natural “sprite” or a more significant being (Pan), this will be a subjective experience from a medium’s POV, difficult to verify or validate by outside observers, whether of a scientific cast of mind or not.
If all who use terms like “woo woo” or “New Age” derisively when it comes to those who claim to communicate with dead humans, it’s no surprise that they would have similar beliefs about normally invisible beings associated with the natural realm.
Although soil and plant science has moved along (despite widespread pollution, factory farming, GMOs, etc.) since 1970, the natural realm and whatever (invisible) beings may be associated with it has long been an area of ignorance and prejudice when it comes to modern “official” knowledge, not dissimilar from knowledge of the afterlife, our greater selves, and so on.
I hadn’t thought of Findhorn in many years (and am not sure what reminded me of it, recently), but unlike you, my experiences with invisible beings since first reading of it in the 1970s have expanded considerably—the Findhorn material now seems much more plausible to me, not less.
Were you to take some classes in mediumship and/or have some strong subjective experiences (difficult for you to deny, even if you might not be able to prove their validity to anyone else) in the invisible being department, you might change your beliefs about all kinds of material, not just that associated with Findhorn or Seth.
Gurney, btw, died from an overdose of chloroform. No one knows whether this was deliberate (suicide) or not.
Regarding William James’ experiences with laughing gas or nitrous oxide, see his _Varieties of Religious Experience. Note, too, the influence Aldous Huxley (mescaline) and Alan Watts (LSD) on what became known as “New Age.”
(I’m not an advocate of drug use, but it can enable a temporary “change in consciousness.” This connects it, to an extent, with various explanations for a “New Age” as they also involve a change in consciousness.)
See “video” in link below—more of a voice recording.
Bill Ingle, Sat 19 Mar, 16:37
You are preaching to the choir. I went through that torn meniscus thing a couple of years ago and it healed itself without surgery after about 12 weeks. Now it is torn ligaments and tendons which also heal after several weeks but when that happens it does curtail my ability to walk around; peripheral neuropathy, carpel tunnel, trigger fingers—-the list goes on and on. As Betty Davis reportedly said, “Old age is not for sissies.”
I taught myself to type on an old manual typewriter, graduated to an electric typewriter and now to a computer keyboard. I haven’t timed myself but I think I am up to a pretty good speed too. Knowing how to type kept me out of the dirty work when I was in the Combat Engineers of the Fifth Army long ago. A lot of people just ‘hunt and peck’ now on the keyboard, tablet or iphone but really, everyone should learn to type the old-fashioned way. It is so much faster on a keyboard.
Best wishes, Michael on your up-coming birthday. They say that the good die young so maybe that says something about us.
Your friend, AOD
Amos Oliver Doyle, Sat 19 Mar, 13:45
Not only is there no clear-cut definition for “New Age,” there is none for “Old Age,” either. Most sources have it beginning at 65. but some say 60 and others say 70. Some government demographic organization says 65-74 is young-old, 75-84, is old, and 85 and up is old-old, real dotage. I’ve got two weeks left before reaching the threshold of dotage, but I think it started two months ago with a torn meniscus. I now walk like Chester of “Gunsmoke.” However, I can hit close to 100 words per minute on the computer keyboard. Could do only 70 in high school, when I was the only boy in Typing C.
Michael Tymn, Sat 19 Mar, 02:08
Thanks for continuing the discussion. In spite of my quest for a precise definition of ‘New Age” I know there is none. On the other hand I do understand a kind of generic meaning of ‘New Age” vaguely contrived to be any kind of spiritual belief or activity out of the mainstream thought with a kind of derisive connotation, and people who espouse such ‘fringe’ ideas are generally made fun of and laughed at, e.g. Shirley McClaine.
I remember reading one or two books about Findhorn. That was decades ago and I have no idea when I read them. I remember at the time thinking the ideas related to Findhorn were interesting and being a gullible young person I might have considered that they had some truth to them. Now from a perspective of a lifetime of experience with such ideas, Findhorn has passed from my consideration along with Doyle’s fairies and only when you brought it up do I remember it.
Amos Oliver Doyle, Fri 18 Mar, 15:03
Didn’t Edmund Gurney, associate of Fredric Myers use ether or some other substance as a relaxant or something? I believe he died of an overdose of it. - AOD
“New Age” is an umbrella term and was also a commercial term at one time.
Both cover (and covered) a very wide area.
As such, there’s no official definition, but although “New Age” was used in the early 20th Century by certain astrologers, from the perspective of literature it can be said to roughly cover a time period beginning in the 1970s and extending into the 1980s, with antecedents and later activity.
In that context, it refers to a wide reaching change in consciousness. See David Spangler’s _Revelation: The Birth of a New Age_. Spangler was involved with Findhorn at an early stage, but the primary personnel were sufficiently old to have partaken of various older traditions not associated with “New Age.” (See _The Magic of Findhorn_ by Paul Hawkins and The Findhorn Garden_ by the Findhorn Community.)
For endless other “New Age” activities and personalities, See Marilyn Ferguson’s _The Aquarian Conspiracy_ by Marilyn Ferguson.
Jane Roberts began to channel Seth well before “New Age” became a commercial term and wasn’t consciously part of any such “movement” but Seth books began to be associated with “New Age” simply owing to the time of their publication.
(Some of the activities at Findhorn, btw, were very interesting, in case you’re unfamiliar with them, and definitely involved what might be termed “spiritualism” but applied in a somewhat different direction.)
Earlier, during the heyday of Spiritualism, you can find various pronouncements that have much in common with the “change in consciousness” associated with the more serious “New Age” literature, but not using that term, while Spiritualism itself in the time frame of “New Age” often became associated with the term.
Both Spiritualism and New Age stuff dealt with areas outside of official knowledge, resulting in heaps of scorn, even as the environment of that official knowledge changed as Michael has noted many times—whereas it was acceptable to study certain relevant areas, scientifically, this changed, but nothing stays the same indefinitely; today the area of UFOs is becoming an acceptable topic of study while “consciousness studies” have increased.
There are a number of different versions of the “change in consciousness” above, regardless of the time period in which they were offered or when they supposedly will come into being. What they tend to have in common is a new “less egoic” consciousness in which the “intuitive”—long associated with the symbolically feminine in our histories—is merged with the intellect, usually treated as an aspect of the symbolically masculine (along with aggressive and warlike behavior and the worship of anthropomorphic male divinities).
Possibly, one reason “New Age” versions tend to have a certain flavor distinct from earlier versions is owing to the hallucinogenic drug use that became common prior to the emergence of the New Age as a commercial and “thought” category; when William James and company were investigating psychic activity they weren’t stoned, although James did indulge in nitrous oxide on more than one occasion; Leonora Piper definitely did not toke up before starting a session, as far as I know.
Bill Ingle, Thu 17 Mar, 18:48
Bill, For me “New Age” has no precise meaning whatsoever. I might use ‘woo woo’ in a context when I am referring to another person’s use of it but I would not use that term to discuss or describe anything on my own. -AOD
Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 16 Mar, 16:48
Amos: “You ask “Was all of this [?] just more New Age nonsense?” If I assume you are talking about Seth and Findhorn, then I have to answer, “Yes!”
Amos: There are strong parallels and connections between 19th Century (and later) Spiritualism and that which some refer to as “New Age.”
Another derogatory umbrella term used to refer to various topics, including those discussed here, is “woo woo.” (Those who use the term may include what they think of as “New Age”—there’s a good deal of overlap.)
I’ve found wheat and chaff here, no matter which derogatory term is used; I’ve also found that some effort may be required to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Little or no effort is required of those who use the terms dismissively.
Bill Ingle, Tue 15 Mar, 04:03
Also re Leibniz and his monadology, and why he came to such a complicated-sounding idea (ie, that every soul/atom is an entire copy of the universe) that seems at odds with his idea of beauty being simplicity:
I feel like maybe he was thinking in terms of mathematics, which is not so much about causation but about correlation.
For example, think of fractals like the Mandelbrot Set. Obviously Leibniz didn’t know about chaos theory in his time, but, he was pioneering the maths that would eventually lead there. He was doing calculus and studying curves and I think he probably had this kind of whole-systems view of how a single differential equation could create multiple apparently “separate events” that were really all “images” of that one equation.
Eg in the Mandelbrot set you’ve got all these complicated swirls and entities - entities within entities and overlapping with them - but there’s no actual causation. In any given view of the set, the rendering pixel at X,Y,Z doesn’t “cause” the pixel at X+1,Y+1,Z+1. There’s no flow of time or energy. Rather, each separate “pixel” are all just an image of the single underlying equation.
I think that’s close to Leibniz’ view of the universe at the time he wrote the Monadology. We’re all part of this single whole system; our apparent separateness is an illusion. Every being (both every soul and and every particle of “physical matter”) is an image or projection of a deeper unified equation that’s working itself out.
This idea of the universe as a single soul and/or single mathematical equation also would fit with the “image and number” school of I Ching interpretation from the Neo-Daoists, filtered through the Jesuit missionaries in China, which is where Leibniz got his I Ching from as I understand it.
As I said, it feels like an idea that would appeal to a mathematical mind inventing calculus, who also had a somewhat spiritual perception (or at least hadn’t yet decided that the soul was something to be removed entirely from physics).
I imagine Einstein and some of the “wave theory” rebels in modern physics were probably thinking in somewhat similar terms. I guess of that group, it was David Bohm who got the most publicity in New Age circles (due to his catching the attention of Jung and Krishnamurti I think?) But that group - and the whole conversation at the intersection of physics and psychology - mostly have fallen out of favour in educated society right now, which I think is a shame.
I really wish we could have another wave of spiritualist phenomena like we did in the 1850s, to put this subject back on the Western cultural agenda. But perhaps there’ve already been enough communications: maybe we just need to sit down and actually study the ones we have.
Nate Cull, Sun 13 Mar, 23:00
“She was (?) interacting with the shade of Richard Feynman and his views had definitely changed, but he insisted that she use a blackboard and chalk—none were handy; the communication ceased.”
I’d love to know what Feynman thinks now about physics! But I feel like physics is probably really difficult to communicate across the dimensions.
I’ve been reading several channeled books from the Spiritualists of the 1850s (Isaac Post, JW Edmonds, and currently Charles Hammond doing “Thomas Paine”). Paine tries to explain, in passing, his take on light (ie why spirits can see in the dark) and it just feels very weird by modern standards of physics (much talk about “rays from the earth meeting rays from the sun” and “friction” when today we’d want to hear about quanta, fields, or resonances). I remember that the later Theosophists were also very big on “fire by friction” as a physical metaphor for some kind of energy interaction, even more than “ether” and “vibration”.
I have a similar sense reading Walter Russell. I feel like he definitely glimpsed “something” real and coherent but his attempt to convey insights into “physics” just doesn’t cohere and isn’t useful for actual physical science.
Same with some channeled physics from “aliens”, as for example Wilbert Smith in the 1950s. There’s definitely *something* trying to be communicated, but it gets lost in the weeds and falls apart.
I don’t think that spirit-channeled descriptions of physics are necessarily *wrong* as such but I feel that they have a huge “translation gap” and are useful only as very broad, loose hints toward knowledge we have to learn ourselves. It seems to be much easier to get across emotional or spiritual concepts than physical concepts.
Nate Cull, Sun 13 Mar, 22:40
You ask “Was all of this [?] just more New Age nonsense?
If I assume you are talking about Seth and Findhorn, then I have to answer, “Yes!”
Amos Oliver Doyle, Sun 13 Mar, 18:17
Amos: “We create our own reality to the extent that we create the circumstances in which a given reality can manifest itself. If I go to the library and take out a book or order a book on Amazon, I did not create that book but I changed circumstances in my life to allow that book to appear in my reality.”
Amos: Seth’s explanation of physical reality creation extends beyond creating circumstances.
Per Seth, each of us creates a unique space continuum—this is mostly done “automatically;” unconsciously—but our conscious beliefs also play an important role (which is why Seth advised his readers to become aware of their conscious beliefs and modify them, as necessary).
He spoke of how we constantly hypnotize ourselves, feeding ourselves suggestions—beliefs—and we are ordinarily oblivious to this, leading to a condition not so different from Gurdjieff’s “sleep.”
You wrote: “If I go to the library and take out a book or order a book on Amazon, I did not create that book but I changed circumstances in my life to allow that book to appear in my reality.”
Per Seth, you create everything you perceive—your version of it. This would include the library and the book. If ordering on Amazon, this would include the room you are sitting in and the computer or smart phone you are using, as well as the book, when it finally arrives.
If someone else is in the room with you, they are creating their version of the room, the book, your computer, your body, etc. You and they are in unconscious telepathic communication and so in agreement as to the size of the book, your desk, you, the room itself, and so on.
The content of the book is of a different nature.
This physical reality creation can be expanded into the mass reality—mass events are collectively created.
In 1963 Jane Roberts had an unusual experience (she refers to this as her “psychic initiation”) not long before she began to channel Seth, one that was connected to Seth’s teachings. She describes this in the introduction to Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul.
Short version: While writing poetry, she had a spontaneous out of body experience. When she returned to her body, she became aware that she had “autowritten” notes, complete with a title: The Physical Universe as Idea Construction.
This is not a new idea even if Seth’s version, dictated in thousands of sessions, has unique aspects.
The physical body is like a space suit or diver’s suit that includes a brain (“mechanism” per Seth—not “mind”) but specialized for physical reality, not space or under the ocean, including physical reality creation.
“Dead” people and invisible entities obviously lack a physical body—they don’t have the “equipment” to create a unique physical space continuum.
(There are exceptions, qualifications; ectoplasm being one, Scole/Norfolk Experiment phenomena, EVP/ITC, etc., another category, yet these require specialized cooperation between the “invisibles” and the living. Another exception—a being with sufficient knowledge to traverse realms, to travel to and from “invisible” and physical realms and create suitable continua for each—is strictly unproven, theoretical at the moment, despite occasional anecdotal reports.)
Of course there is communication, and any of the endless examples can obviously influence the living and affect their physical reality creation, by enabling changes in their beliefs.
You mentioned flora and fauna—those old enough may recall Findhorn, plant devas, “elementals”, Pan, and so on.
Was all of this just more New Age nonsense?
Bill Ingle, Sun 13 Mar, 17:04
We create our own reality to the extent that we create the circumstances in which a given reality can manifest itself. If I go to the library and take out a book or order a book on Amazon, I did not create that book but I changed circumstances in my life to allow that book to appear in my reality. I did not create anything in that book, I simply set in motion certain actions which allowed that book to come into my life. To the extent that we have various beliefs, desires or intentions we bring into our lives or create material objects. I create a family, or children in my reality if I take action by intent or desire. However without actions regardless of intent or desire children will not magically manifest themselves in my life.
It may be that the intent or desire followed by actions of more than one person has greater power to effect a change in reality. Therefore the more people who believe and take actions to manifest, for example, a pandemic of viral disease may in fact provide stronger power to manifest that disease in their reality. An example from the spiritual realm might be manifestation of a major change in the flora and fauna of the earth whereby major phyla of plants and animals would ‘disappear’ over a relatively short period of time, i.e. eradication of dinosaurs, to be seemingly instantaneously replaced by completely different plants and animals i.e. “The Cambrian Explosion.”
Now none of this is new, except perhaps thinking that spirit intent and desire from another reality might have some effect on physical reality on the earth plane. There thoughts, desires, and intents might have more power to affect change especially if the power is generated from the syncytium of spirit consciousnesses functioning as a part of a whole, or God-like consciousness. - AOD
Amos Oliver Doyle, Sat 12 Mar, 20:36
Regarding Leibniz—what a mind!
I’m no expert on his thought, including monads, but I note a passing similarity between them and Seth’s “Consciousness Units” (CUs), while Seth’s “Electromagnetic Energy Units” (EEUs) are perhaps a bit closer to ectoplasm.
(Norman Friedman in Bridging Science and Spirit: Common Elements in David Bohm’s Physics, The Perennial Philosophy and Seth made some good connections but didn’t mention monads.)
When I posted “You create your own reality” is obviously directly opposed to the idea of an “objective” reality that can be impartially observed” I wasn’t referring to Liebniz’s concepts but rather to the vast bulk of scientific observations made since the days of Galileo and Copernicus and the commonly held idea of physical reality being “out there”, the person observing it completely separate from it and having no effect upon it.
This continues despite serious questioning by some in various areas of science and philosophy, including QM.
“...why did he decide that he needed to bring in such a baroque concept? Why wasn’t the physics that he was interested in reducible to something really simple like energy and causality and an arrow of time?...My guess would be because he caught a glimpse of how the higher realms operate - and how they operate is indeed through some kind of pre-existing harmony.”
He lived before the science we know was firmly established, before the extreme specialization we treat as normal existed, while the body of background information and mass beliefs were quite different from today. (Note Newton’s alchemical pursuits, beliefs regarding the bible.) Then, too, Liebniz possessed an amazing inquiring mind and many interests.
How might his views have changed after his death?
Once, I sat in meditation with someone who got up afterwards, her eyes glazed over, and sat at one of my computers. She was (?) interacting with the shade of Richard Feynman and his views had definitely changed, but he insisted that she use a blackboard and chalk—none were handy; the communication ceased.
Bill Ingle, Sat 12 Mar, 17:38
““You create your own reality” is obviously directly opposed to the idea of an “objective” reality that can be impartially observed”
I’m not entirely sure about that. It’s essentially the same idea that Gottfried Leibniz came to with his Monadology, and I think he was interested in observable objective reality.
ie the idea of “windowlessness” and “pre-existing harmony” is pretty much “each monad creates its own reality - but these realities overlap, and where they overlap is where we get the illusion of ‘causation’”.
Now the interesting question to me is: why did Leibniz, who was basically inventing classical physics and calculus along with Newton, as well as large chunks of logic and computing including binary numbers…. why did he decide that he needed to bring in such a baroque concept? Why wasn’t the physics that he was interested in reducible to something really simple like energy and causality and an arrow of time?
My guess would be because he caught a glimpse of how the higher realms operate - and how they operate is indeed through some kind of pre-existing harmony. Causality in the Newtonian kind of sense is too simple, it just doesn’t work. Even in Einsteinian relativity and quantum mechanics, it starts to break down. The higher worlds have even more interesting physics than that.
Nate Cull, Sat 12 Mar, 09:40
After using the references in the search engine, it turns out that material on ectoplasm is very limited in Seth sessions (and in notes based on information obtained by Jane from someone other than Seth, a deceased woman)—all quite skimpy.
I’ve never witnessed it, either.
Interesting stuff. Thanks to everyone who provided relevant information in these comments—there’s more than enough for anyone choosing to pursue the topic.
Bill Ingle, Tue 8 Mar, 01:23
A very basic reason contemporary science is unable to fully cope with “ectoplasm” and related areas has to do with, of all things, a New Age slogan: “You create your own reality.”
Here and there, in physics, some theorists begin to approach this; they “have their hands on the doorknob” per Seth, speaking decades ago.
But “You create your own reality” wasn’t always a New Age slogan. Speaking long before “New Age” became a category for commerce and, at one time, a section in bookstores next to the Self Help or, sometimes, Occult areas, Seth originated the term.
He approached it from different directions in different books and sessions; the area is one of the keys, if not the key, to his teachings—some might say it serves as the core of those teachings.
He meant it literally. Each of us creates a unique space continuum that includes everything we can see, hear, smell, touch, and taste. In fact, our “physical” senses are key to this creation. We coordinate these with others telepathically. (There are many implications which Seth explored but neither Seth nor Jane were engineers or scientists—the language he used was not technical.)
You can think: “This is a preposterous idea! What nonsense!” After all, it does fly in the face of nearly everything we believe we know—that which we were taught, but if accurate, then there is at least one major, fundamental flaw at the heart of science. (It’s not the only one, either.)
Is there any way to test or “prove” this, to treat it as a falsifiable hypothesis? I don’t know, but if science is flawed in this way (and even a layman delving into the history and philosophy of science will have to admit that science is built on unprovable assumptions—change any of them and a very different or “probable” science results), I find it very unlikely, at least in the present—instead of proof, mysteries or puzzles will result.
(“You create your own reality” is obviously directly opposed to the idea of an “objective” reality that can be impartially observed, even if the adoption of that perspective can and does yield practical results.)
All of this must apply to “Ectoplasm” (which Seth explained and Jane Roberts once produced—to see if she could—use the search engine at https://nowdictation.com/ if you’re curious) but it’s a special case, as it’s not ordinary physical matter.
If you imagine a “seance” in which ectoplasm is produced, then everyone present will be creating a version of it in their own unique space continuum, not just the medium, although he or she will be central. As with any physical matter in a shared space, all present will be in some kind of telepathic agreement as to what is seen. The ectoplasm must have certain physical attributes for this to be so.
As such (and unlike an invisible “Energy Personality Essence” such as Seth, “spirit,” “deceased personalities”, our own inner and/or “greater” selves or entities) it can be detected by instruments, photographed, etc., but that alone will not be particularly helpful in explaining its actual nature.
Bill Ingle, Sun 6 Mar, 16:18
Of course, the physical medium Ethel Post-Parrish is included in the investigation of which this first volume of the SAGA OF ECTOPLASM is the report. But also: Linda Gazzera, Ethel Post-Parrish, Einer Nielsen, Minnie Harrison, Alexander Frederick Harris, Gordon Higginson, Keith Rhinehart, F. Perriman, A. Clare, I. A . Northage, Hunter Selkirk, Maud Gunning, William Olsen, Rita Goold, Anna Prado, Francisco Lins Peixoto, Chico Xavier, R. Warren Hoover, Carmen Dominguez, Samuel Huicochea, Carmen Wey, Ofélia Corrales, Stewart Alexander, Colin Fry, W. Caylor , David Thompson, Kai Mugge, etc. This first volume covers D. D. Home, G. Spriggs, E. Palladino, W. Eglinton, C. Wood and Mrs Mellon, Elisabeth d’Esperance, F. Kluski (yes Z. Weaver’s book is excellent), I. Indridason, Mina Crandon, Helen Duncan, Marthe Bérault alias Eva C. It has 923 pages including the index and 443 photos. Volumes 2 and 3 will have the same size and are planned for 2022 and 2023.
Michel GRANGER, Sat 5 Mar, 16:35
Still puzzled by Dr. Granger’s conclusion concerning Bien Boa, I got to my knees (something difficult to do these days) to pull Professor Richet’s book from the bottom shelf of a bookcase. Here is what Richet says on pages 505-506:
“The materializations produced were very complete. The phantom of Bien Boa appeared five or six times under satisfactory conditions in the sense that he could not be Marthe masquerading in a helmet and sheet. Marthe would have had not only to bring, but also to conceal afterwards, the helmet, the sheet, and the burnous. Also, Marthe and the phantom were both seen at the same time. To pretend that Bien Boa was a doll is more absurd still; he walked and moved, his eyes could be seen looking around, and when he tried to speak his lips moved.
“He seemed so much alive that, as we could hear his breathing. I took a flask of baryta water to see if his breath would show carbon dioxide. The experimented succeeded. I did not lose sight of the flask from the moment when I put it into the hand of Bien Boa who seemed to float in the air on the left of the curtain at a height greater than Marthe could have been even if standing up. While he blew into the tube the bubbling could be heard and I asked Delanne,‘Do you see Marthe?’ He said, ‘I see Marthe completely….”
Richet went on to discount the story that a coachman who had been fired by Marthe’s father “played the ghost,” which skeptics today still rely on to discredit Richet.
Richet further details one experiment in which he observed a white vapour, about sixteen inches from him. “It was like a white veil or handkerchief on the floor. This rose and became spherical. Soon it was a head just above the floor; it rose up still more, enlarged, and grew into a human form, a short bearded man dressed in a turban and white mantle, who moved, limping slightly….” Richet then observed it sink back down to the floor, then reappear, and again disappear into the floor. The only “un-metaphysical explanation” Richet could think of was a trap door, but he confirmed after the experiment that there was no trap door.
Richet had much more to say about Bien Boa and his photo of Bien Boa has often been published.
Considering Richet’s reputation in the scientific world and the fact that he was reluctant his entire lifetime to endorse the spirit hypothesis, while also adding in the other witnesses, including Gabriel Delanne (the subject of a future blog),I just can’t see Bien Boa having been a “puppet” and Richet having been duped on a number of experiments.
Michael Tymn, Wed 2 Mar, 05:05
Keith, thanks for your additional comments on the Meyer book. I didn’t infer that Meyer thinks death is final, but, if he did, the question then becomes “Where is the meaning in recognizing that there is a Creative Mind, whatever name be given to Him, Her, or It, if consciousness does not survive death?”
Thanks also to Amos for the bat biology to ponder on. I will stick with Alfred Russel Wallace on that subject and take the inductive approach of weighing the evidence coming to us through psychical research while also heeding the words of the Glastonbury spirit who said that we are “blind gropers” who don’t seem to grasp the fact that there are differences between the terrestrial and the celestial that are beyond human understanding.
Michael Tymn, Wed 2 Mar, 04:17
Eric, I understand that the book is available only at https://www.assokardec.fr/
Michael Tymn, Tue 1 Mar, 23:19
I often think about Darwin’s and Wallace’s theories about survival of the fittest in response to the environment and evolution of species after having read Darwin’s books “Origin of Species” and “Descent of Man”. I encourage anyone interested in Intelligent Design to read through Darwin’s two books upon which so much of agnostic and atheistic diatribes are based to support their refutation of an intelligent creator. I think people often reference Darwin’s work without having actually read his books. It may come as a surprise to some that Darwin intentionally wrote to disprove God and religion as practiced during his time and some examples of evolution Darwin gave e.g. variety in pigeons, actually had a creator, i.e. man!
Evolution of species and creation of new species is not an easy or simple subject to consider as it requires knowledge of cell biology, chemistry, geology and the fossil record and how mutations in DNA, which first must occur in a cell, are manifested in a phenotype and are perpetuated in subsequent generations.
I often contemplate the evolution of the bat and ponder how mammal phalanges (finger bones) could through individual mutations extend themselves to form an integral part of a bat’s “wing”. That is in addition to considering how by individual mutations additional skin could form between and around the phalanges and extend to the hind feet being attached to the body throughout. Just imagine how that would happen if it were a human animal who evolved membrane wings with skin attached to his fingers and toes as well as the sides of his body. It is as if the individual mutations had a goal of flight in mind for this small mammal, with each rearrangement of the DNA code and that none of the mutations would be detrimental to the animal along the way to that goal.
Here is a picture of a bat for meditation on the number of mutations that would have had to occur to change a small land animal into one that could fly. Take some time to consider this animal as an example of survival of the fittest by chance or as an example of Intelligent Design. - AOD
Amos Oliver Doyle, Tue 1 Mar, 20:21
This book seems absolutely fascinating, but it cannot be found anywhere! Would it be possible to put me in touch with Michel to see if I can buy one if he has any stock left with him.
Thank you in advance
Eric Ouellet, Tue 1 Mar, 17:39
Mike in response to your request for my views, I must tell you I read this book on the God hypothesis as soon as it came out last year & wrote a ‘4 star’ review on Amazon last June, of which this below is the major part.
“I bought this book to find out if Meyer has lost the plot by going on about Christianity & faith, i.e. accepting beliefs without evidence, instead of depending on a rational critique of the shortcomings of materialist science which points instead to intelligent design. I thought that if he did this he would have ‘blown’ years of successful effort by the Discovery Institute to establish the bona fides of the intelligent design movement, which has so far assiduously avoided getting into creationism, and discussing ‘who’ the creator might be. I have read both ‘Signature’ and ‘Darwin’s Doubt’, and together with Denton’s ‘Evolution: a Theory in Crisis’ (and its follow-up Still in Crisis) & more, I do not doubt the validity of the I.D. case, and I particularly like Illustra Media’s The Information Enigma video.
In my view, this latest book is an explanatory tour de force up to around page 430. However it is possible to accept a theistic conclusion, without getting into the nature of a ‘transcendental mind’ - about which we can suspect nothing apart from its existence. By that I mean that we do not have the evidence for an anthropomorphic god, that is a ‘being’, (although Meyer uses that term) and certainly not one with a gender - He. Nor do we have to accept that this god is ‘personal’, a word Meyer introduces without explanation. However Meyer drops us the information that he’s a Christian and takes the unjustified position of assuming without evidence that this god is ‘benevolent’. Victims of Covid & other tragic deaths may find difficulty in accepting ‘benevolence’ claims when ‘theistic indifference’ provides an alternative view.
There is a distinct problem with the word ‘God’ which puts off large numbers of people since it has accrued so many questionable connotations over previous millenia - labels such as Father, Lord, Saviour, We his children, plus the need for praise, worship and adoration; in short, religiosity. None of this is needed to accept a theistic conclusion, so it appears to me that Meyer has risked dropping the ball and short changing the ID movement by not keeping his head down about this; & leaving others to come to their own conclusions. Accepting theism as a powerful theoretical solution to the the Big Questions of Existence that materialism fails to answer adequately, does not require religious faith. The notion of ‘God creating us in his image’ - a closing idea from a guy called Platinga, is simply guesswork and a ‘no-no’ from a rational perspective.
One thing that strikes me is that Meyer appears to assume that death is final. He barely refers to consciousness as a possibly fundamental quality of the universe, but there is plenty of empirical evidence supporting consciousness surviving the death of the body, with numerous reputable scientists & others backing this possibility. To ignore this as ‘simply unwarranted’ is not unlike materialists refusing in principle to consider intelligent design theory.”
Keith P in England, Tue 1 Mar, 13:36
Off the primary subject (though still related), Amos, and back to your comment in the prior blog about the book, “Return of the God Hypothesis” that you “don’t think that Dr. Stephen Meyer is trying to prove the existence of spirits or life after death.” You further state that the thrust of his argument is to provide evidence to support intelligent design of the universe and subsequently of living organisms.” However, although I am only through the first 670 or so pages, I don’t see it that way.
Meyer talks extensively about his existential angst or, as he refers to it, “metaphysical panic, a fear of the meaninglessness of life,” as being the driving force in his pursuit of knowledge. One might infer from his words that in finding a Creative Designer, he would also find a larger life or the continuation of consciousness beyond this one, but so far I have seen no reference to the survival issue, and just browsing over the final 100 or so pages I don’t think I will. I should probably wait until I am finished with the book to comment, but I’ll probably forget about it or lose focus by that time.
Much reference is made in the early part of the book to Newton and the law of gravity, and how materialistic scientists and philosophers interpret all that to rule out God, but I kept wondering why no mention was made of those like D. D. Home, Eusapia Palladino, and others who defied the law of gravity, and how such defiance might be factored into the discussion. If even one person can defy the law of gravity, what does that suggest? It seems to me that ectoplasm/materialization fits into the discussion to the extent that they deviate from the laws of nature subscribed to by the materialists of science.
Meyer talks about inductive reasoning leading to circular reasoning, but I don’t think his starting points for inductive reasoning are the same as those advanced by Hare, Wallace, Crookes, Barrett, Lodge, and the other scientists he failed to mention among those he names as influential during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Even if they weren’t influential enough, it seems to me that he could have at least mentioned their work, unless he is totally unaware of the early psychical research.
That all leads to the crux of the problem, i.e., examining the evidence for God before examining the evidence for survival and why it isn’t just the opposite?
Maybe Stafford or Keith can give their thoughts as to what I am missing here or give some opinion as to why Meyer makes no mention of such evidence.
Michael Tymn, Tue 1 Mar, 04:47
Amos, thanks for the mention of and link on the gold leaf lady. That reminded me of meeting and interviewing Dr. Berthold Schwarz, a psychiatrist, about 15 years ago (He has since transitioned.) Here is a quote from that interview:
Michael Tymn, Tue 1 Mar, 01:32
“When I moved to Florida in 1982, I thought that my psi researches were at an end but synchronicity intervened and I became immersed for the past twenty-five years in studying two spectacularly psi gifted people. My formal studies of Joe A. Nuzum of Pennsylvania have included his mental psi, i.e., telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, and his physical psi, i.e., virtuoso metal bending and its derivatives, such as transposition of markings/inscriptions of metallic surfaces, genuine escapes from various restraints, psi induced combustion, telekinesis, levitation, variegated matter through matter feats and teleportation. Through synchronicity I met Katie, a Florida housewife who had many diverse psi abilities, and in the course of our sessions developed apportations and the presumed materialization of ‘gold foil’… actually, on analysis, copper and zinc… upon her body and sometimes on the bodies of others including myself, and when entranced illiterate Katie would also write the quatrains of Nostradamus in its English translations with Greek, Latin, and French phrases. Recently, her son, James, who had been observed through the years, discovered a carving of a mammoth on a fossilized mammoth bone that he found during his paleontology diggings. Sandwiched in between these years I also studied Peter Sugleris and his super psi abilities, including a well documented, videographed and recorded episode of a Peter’s levitation in his mother’s backyard.”
Keith, I thought I had seen all 48 of your you-tubes, but after writing my earlier comment I decided to take another look at the one you provided in the link. I confess that I can’t recall having seen it before. It is outstanding and definitely in your top 3, maybe number 1. I noted that 42,500+ people have viewed it.
I also noted that you covered everything I said in my earlier comment about Silver Belle (I neglected the last “e” in her name).
Shame on me for having missed that one. Then again, maybe it’s old age and I don’t recall watching it.
Michael Tymn, Mon 28 Feb, 22:23
As an aside here, Dr. Stephen Braude PhD writes in his book, “The Gold Leaf Lady and Other Parapsychological Investigations” of a woman who exuded, not the typical gossamer ectoplasm but a substantial gold colored foil-like substance from her skin. – AOD
Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 28 Feb, 21:43
Keith,my take on the Native American princess materialized in the photos with medium Ethel Post-Parrish (I think her name was Silver Bell) was that she lived before photography and her only image of herself was from looking in a clear pond on a bright, sunny day, a very idealized image. It is my understanding that the spirit attempting to materialize has to visualize herself in her earthly body and then somehow transfer that image by thought into the ectoplasm. Some are more successful at it than others, just as some of us are better artists than others. If I were asked to draw a picture of myself, it would look nothing like me and more like Mickey Mouse.
Likewise, if photography had never existed and I were asked to draw a picture of myself at age 10, I doubt that I would have any idea of what I looked like at that age and wouldn’t know where to begin. Dr. Richet mentioned in his book that one spirit told him that he was unable to materialize because he could not remember what he looked like when in the flesh. I recall another case in which the spirit said he needed to visit his old home and look at a portrait of himself before he could attempt to materialize.
Materializations of Raymond Lodge and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for Dr. T. Glen Hamilton look very much like portraits of themselves. My guess is that Lodge and Doyle visualized their old selves from those portraits. I think that is what I would do, probably using a portrait of myself from my military days, a portrait that hung in my parents’ house for many years. I think it is the last portrait I ever had taken. When I look in the mirror now, I wonder who I am looking at, so I don’t think I would use my present image.
For those reasons, I disagree with Dr. Granger on Bien Boa. I suspect that Bien Boa had no clear idea of what he looked like when alive in the flesh and wasn’t much of an artist, therefore, it has a “puppet” effect. The same with the materialization of the young boy (forget his name) with Helen Duncan. I find it difficult to believe that Dr. Richet, who didn’t even believe in spirits, could have been duped by a doll on several occasions.
Michael Tymn, Mon 28 Feb, 18:51
Thanks for this discussion Mike. I was surprised this author did not mention the American medium Ethel Post-Parrish who had a series of photographs taken of ectoplasm materialising from vapourous smoke into an indian princess, although the completed figure looked like a cardboard cut out.
If anybody would like to see these photos in a continuous series they could look at my 2017 Youtube documentary, ‘Can Spirits Marerialise?’ which provides 30 minutes of photographs of ectoplasm and a discussion of the whole subject. There is also some interesting input from the author Zofia Weaver who wrote an excellent book published by White Crow on Franek Kluski’s mediumship. This video has had over 41,500 views and can be found either by inputting to youtube the title, or here:
Keith Parsons, Mon 28 Feb, 12:28
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