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Was D. D. Home like Babe Ruth, David Thompson like Nick Swisher?

Posted on 19 March 2012, 13:40

Daniel Dunglas Home (1833 –1886), a Scottish American, has gone down in the history books as perhaps the best physical medium ever.  His feats included phantom forms, levitations, floating objects, luminous hands, materializations, strange luminous vapors, beautiful music from an accordion with no physical hands touching it, and voices talking and singing.  And while in the trance state, he delivered a number of philosophical discourses. Home (pronounced Hoom in Scotland, Hume in England), was the subject of a thorough investigation by Sir William Crookes, a distinguished British scientist. Although Crookes apparently set out to debunk Home, he became convinced, over some 30 sittings with him, that Home was no charlatan and that some form of “psychic force” was taking place through him. Crookes took every possible precaution in ruling out trickery, even picking Home up at his apartment and watching him dress. “I am, therefore, enabled to state positively, that no machinery, apparatus, or contrivance or any sort was secreted about his person,” Crookes stated, stressing the fact that most of the séances were held in his (Crookes’) home under lighted conditions and that Home had no opportunity to rig anything in the séance room or smuggle anything into it. 

“If Home was for real, why don’t we see that type of mediumship today?” the modern day skeptic asks.  Applying the same type of reasoning, we might ask why, excluding steroids and a longer season, nobody has topped Babe Ruth’s 60 home run record of 85 years ago.

There have been a number of baseball players who have approached Ruth’s record and there have been many physical mediums nearly as good as D. D. Home.  Although the quality of physical mediumship today does not seem to approach the quality of physical mediumship 100-150 years ago, for reasons too involved to go into here, there clearly are a number of genuine physical mediums around today.  The evidence strongly suggests that David Thompson, an Englishman living in Australia, is one of them. 

Thompson has been criticized by a number of observers, including some who believe in mediumship, because his séances are conducted in complete darkness. They point to the fact that D.D. Home produced phenomena in subdued light and could be seen by everyone in the room.  They further point to the fact that other physical mediums have been able to operate under red light.  They say that if Thompson is a genuine medium, he should be able to give séances in the light, like Home, or at least in red light, like Alec Harris and Minnie Harrison, two other famous mediums.

But let’s apply the baseball analogy here.  If Ruth was to baseball what Home was to mediumship, both daylight “power” guys, then Willie Mays, Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle, and Ken Griffey, Jr. – ballplayers who hit 50 or more homers in a season and approached Ruth’s 60 homers in 154 games – might be likened to mediums who produced phenomena under red light.  The great majority of baseball players, however, don’t hit even 30 homers a season, so we might liken them to mediums who require darkness.  Those players simply don’t have the power that Ruth, Maris, Mantle, Mays and Griffey, Jr. had and no amount of physical training is going to help them achieve Ruthian numbers.  But they are major league baseball players nonetheless. Players who make the majors, even those who hit only a few home runs a year, are gifted athletes. They are nearly as rare as people who are capable of producing ectoplasm, the key element in physical mediumship. 

Nick Swisher, the man who now plays Ruth’s position for the New York Yankees, is a good, solid, journeyman ballplayer, even an all-star two years ago.  He averages around 25 homers a year, but no one says he is a fake ballplayer because he can’t hit the ball as far or as often as Ruth.  As I see it, David Thompson is to physical mediumship what Swisher is to baseball – gifted, but lacking the power of D. D. Home. 

I have never seen Thompson, but I have never seen many things that scientists claim is true, and yet I accept them based on the credibility of the researchers.  There are simply too many reports by credible people to believe that Thompson isn’t the real thing.  One of those credible people is Dr. Jan Vandersande, a retired physics professor who had the opportunity to observe Thompson on three occasions during a recent visit by Thompson to the Los Angeles area.  Vandersande witnessed various materializations, objects flying around the small darkened garage, some of them stopping in mid air, felt the hands of a child spirit, and listened to various spirit entities speak in different voices. “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that David is a legitimate medium” Vandersande told me by phone recently. “Fraud is not a possibility, even though we had a few people there who simply refused to believe that the phenomena were real.  They claimed that David must somehow have smuggled in night vision goggles, and they came up with other far-fetched theories as to how he might have done it.  Their minds were made up beforehand and they simply refuse to believe.” (Vandersande & Thompson below)

Vandersande, the author of “Life After Death:  Some of the Best Evidence,” observed much physical mediumship in South Africa when he was teaching at the University of Witwatersrand, so this was not a new experience for him. Under red light, he saw ectoplasm flowing from the nose of a South African medium named Kitty Gordon.  He saw it stretch some four to six feet across the room while still attached to the medium’s nose. He noticed that it was slightly transparent and he saw it reabsorbed by the medium within a few seconds.  Scientists have never been able to completely analyze ectoplasm because it must be reabsorbed by the medium, and attempts to capture it can result in serious injury to the medium. A few scientists were able to capture small amounts but it disappeared in their containers before they could analyze it.  Observers are warned not to touch it, because of the possibility of injury to the medium. 

“Ectoplasm can be very sensitive to unexpected touching or being exposed to white light,” Vandersande said, recalling the cases of Alec Harris and Helen Duncan, both mediums who were seriously injured – Harris when a person grabbed him and Duncan when the lights were turned on unexpectedly.  Duncan died shortly thereafter and Harris never completely regained his strength. In fact, Home suffered from ill health most of his life and died of TB at age 53, but it has been speculated that his condition might have been exacerbated by having his ectoplasm exposed to too much light.  (Coincidentally, Babe Ruth also died at age 53)  Vandersande completely agrees with the baseball analogy, saying that the ability to produce ectoplasm is greater with some than with others and that some mediums never reach the point where they are strong enough for red light. Some can develop over time, just as a baseball player can get stronger over time.  He adds, however, that Thompson has occasionally produced ectoplasm in red light and photographs have been taken showing sheets of ectoplasm stretching from his face across his chest down to his lap or even lower.”  And Nick Swisher occasionally hits 400-foot home runs, but not nearly as often as Ruth and certainly not on demand.  The conditions have to be just right in baseball and just right in mediumship. . 

As early researchers came to understand, ectoplasm is used by the spirits to materialize.  The spirits project an image of themselves into the ectoplasm and that thought image then takes form. They also use the ectoplasm to form an artificial voice box so that they can speak.  At one of the three Los Angeles sittings, the grandfather of Vandersande’s wife, Marlene, materialized and spoke with her.  Her mother then attempted to speak but the power was low at that point and the voice was very weak.  “It appeared that there just wasn’t enough energy for her to materialize,” Vandersande explained, mentioning that the energy or power, whatever it is called, was low in the first sitting but much stronger in the second and third sittings.

The usual controls against fraud were taken.  Thompson was searched by Vandersande and another man, and his arms and legs were secured to a chair with leather straps, while plastic zip ties were pulled through the holes of the straps to ensure that the straps could not be undone.  Additionally, zip ties were put through his cardigan sweater to ensure that he could not get out of the sweater. “There is no way that he could have freed himself from those binds,” Vandersande said, “but then you get people who say that Houdini would have been able to get out of it,  so why not Thompson.  You get all kinds of wild theories from people who just refuse to believe it is real.”

After the lights were turned off and the garage sealed up from the inside, a short prayer was said and music turned on to increase the harmony and vibrations.  All sitters were told to hold hands to increase the energy and ensure that no one tried to touch the ectoplasm without permission. After three songs, William, Thompson’s primary spirit control, started talking to the sitters while walking around.  “He spoke quite loud, in a distinctive British accent that I found difficult to understand at time,” Vandersande said.  “He then started to answer questions about the spirit world.”  William’s full name was said to have been William Cadwell and he is said to have died in 1897.  Vandersande asked William if his materialized body had a pulse.  “He came over to me, took two of my fingers with his hand and put them up against what I assumed was the carotid artery in his jaw area,” Vandersande said.  “It felt like rough skin I was touching and I could feel a very, very vague pulse.”

Other spirits communicated, one a young cockney youth named Timmy, who walked around among the sitters, allowing them to grasp his small hands. During each of the three sittings, a friend or relative of one of the sitters materialized and spoke briefly.  During the third séance, a man materialized and called out to his mother and father, who recognized him as Jay-Jay, their deceased son.  “He walked to them, touched them both and kissed them, then after saying a few words he left.  During all three séances, Louis Armstrong, the famous musician, who died in 1971, materialized.  “His voice sounded exactly like the very characteristic voice so often heard when alive on earth,” Vandersande said. “He played a harmonica for a few minutes and you could hear him take deep breaths occasionally while playing.  After that he left.  I always get nervous when famous people materialize but I now have a better understanding why they do it.  To prove survival after death, it makes more sense that someone who has a characteristic voice and mannerisms that just about everyone can recognize materializes rather than a no name regular person.”

A trumpet and some drum sticks sometimes flew around the garage, as high as the roof of the garage, nine feet up.  They would stop in mid air at times and resume flight.   “I am a physicist, but I have no idea how all that happens,” Vandersande concluded.  “But I know it happened and there were no tricks involved.”

If Thompson were a charlatan, he would have to be:
1. an expert escape artist, able to free himself in a very short period of time and then secure himself with the same binds before the lights are turned on;
2. an expert at doing different voices, to the extent of imitating the voices of deceased relatives and friends among the sitters;
3. an expert investigator, able to dig up the names of deceased relatives and friends in another country, even when it is unknown who those people will be;
4. an expert magician, able to make objects fly around the room and stop in mid air, even when seated in the corner of the garage against the walls, as Thompson was (skeptics have suggested that he uses a whirly bird of some kind on a stick, which would require him to be in the center of the room); 
5. a very stealthy athlete, able to move around a dark, crowded room without tripping over someone and without being heard and to somehow smuggle things into the room after being strip searched, and then hide them before the lights are turned on;   
6. able to somehow make sitters think they are holding the small hands of a child rather than adult hands.
7. Although apparently not experienced at Vandersande’s sittings, publisher Jon Beecher reported that when he sat with Thompson in New York a few years ago, his partner’s deceased grandfather materialized.  Tatyana, Beecher’s partner, began speaking in English, but was encouraged by Timmy or Timothy, the spirit controlling things at the time, to speak in her native language. She then changed to Russian, after which the materialized spirit answered in Russian.  So Thompson must also be a linguist.

Beecher also reported that he and others regularly checked the medium’s ties during the séance and he was always in his chair, appearing to be asleep. He and the others present also observed a trumpet, with luminous tape on it, fly across the room at great speed, stopping at the end of Tatyana’s nose, then touching her five times on her head without harming her.  They further observed a harmonica flying around the room, sometimes 10 feet in the air while playing a tune. When it fell to the floor, it continued to play.  So add an eighth ability to the seven above.  Thompson must be able to play the harmonica in impossible positions. 

As a last resort, the skeptic might claim that the medium is doing a mass hypnosis of all the sitters, suggesting that they believe things happened that didn’t really happen.  There seems to be no end to the “could have” or “might have” theories for the person whose mind is made up that it is all fraud.  As for me, I believe the evidence, if not absolute proof, at least meets the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard.

Michael Tymn’s latest book Transcending the Titanic: Beyond Death’s Door  is published by White Crow Books and available from Amazon and all good online book stores, along with The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After we Die

Paperback               Kindle


Transcending the Titanic by Michael Tymn

Paperback               Kindle

The Afterlife Revealed - Michael Tymn

Next blog entry: April 2


I viewed David Thompson but his guide William did not come through to speak on that occasion and David talked about mediumship, his own, and that of others in attendance.

I have experienced the unique work of full trance medium Andrew Overlee who has worked with his spirit family since a young boy and his wife,Tamara, an automatic author and spiritual counsellor. They are the founders of Joy of Healing and are committed to helping all to achieve physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness. Theirs is a work to help mankind, not entertainment.
Because of them I am alive and well, pain and prescription free. I had tried countless treatments and medications, both holistic and medical, to relieve the excruciating pain of fibromyalgia. Still the symptoms intensified. I was no longer able to teach. Caring for myself and my home was impossible. I was planning to spend what time I had left on this plain in agony in a nursing home when my uncle introduced me to this beautiful work.
Because of Andrew and Tamara and their family and spirit who heal, teach, and write through them I have my life back, renewed and full.

Janet Komanchuk, Thu 12 Jul, 22:37

If this gets posted in time, I thought some might be interested in tonight’s “Signs of Life” radio broadcast from the Forever Family Foundation.

It’s every Thursday at 8 pm EST.

Tonight’s show is about what “heaven” might be like and they are featuring both Michael Tymn’s and Prof. Stafford Betty’s books.

Here’s tonight’s episode’s description:

“People from all cultures and beliefs have different thoughts on what life is like in the world beyond. Opinions have been formed based upon many different factors - religious or spiritual views, scientific research, and personal experience. Near death experiences, deathbed visions, and channeled accounts through mediums have many similarities in descriptions of the afterlife.”

Ron, Fri 6 Apr, 03:33


And I thought you were a hard-core skeptic. You’re at 99.9% on a good day and I have never been higher than 98.8%, where I stay on nearly all days.  I doubt that I will ever achieve 99.9%.

I’m 96.4% David Thompson, but only 50% on reincarnation (as generally accepted), but 90% on reincarnation in a way that is beyond human comprension.  But I’m only 12.5% on the Loch Ness Monster, even though I think I saw Nessie on a trip to Scotland some years ago.

Michael Tymn, Thu 5 Apr, 09:02

As “coincidence” would have it, I was just listening to Ray Kinman’s NDE (he was on Bio’s “I Survived - Beyond and Back”) and he also described a panic and being terrified when he first found himself in that new environment.

In the following interview he talks about how he, also, “boxed up” his experience.  I wrote him to tell him how amazed I was that we used the same language there and elsewhere in his story (I can’t get into it here/now).

Take care.

Ron, Thu 5 Apr, 03:53


Wow that is amazing stuff! I am sure you are are aware of Michael Prescott’s blog and maybe you already participate there but you would fit right in over there,as their are some on the blog that had similar experiences.  I understand your past.  I was raised Catholic, didn’t question my faith, went to a liberal arts college and was challenged and became a hardcore pseudo “scoftic”.  Then my grandmother passed and looked into the evidence for life after death.  First I was pretty convinced on an intellectual level and then started having my own experiences and strengthened my afterlife belief.  Currently I am probably at 95%, it depends on the day.  My skeptical side is still harborded in my subconscious and comes out every once in awhile.  I really appreciate you sharing this information.  This is the type fo story that a closed minded skeptic doesn’t see…they think anyone who is open to these experiences is credulous and was always a believer.  They fail to see that many people were once agnostic or atheist and only came to accepting the evidence after personal experiences and studying the topic.  Thanks again, as I know it isn’t always comfortable to tell your story to complete strangers on the internet but I think we are seeking and on excellent blogs like this for a reason.  I for one don’t like to think of myself as a “meat robot” smile

Ray, Wed 4 Apr, 22:38

Hi Ron. Hopefully this isn’t asking too much but may I ask what personal proofs you have been given?  It appears you are a skeptical believer such as myself so I would be most interested in your personal experiences if you would be so kind to share.
Ray, Fri 30 Mar, 13:14

There have been many experiences in my family… But because I have an insane ability to ramble on for pages, and because I can barely talk about myself without first talking about my Dad and all the stuff he was into when I was an infant (during which time I supposedly experienced many things, for most of which my memory is fuzzy), or my journey from being raised a fundamentalist Christianity to shedding every belief I once thought I had, I’ll try to cut it very short and say this:

At the peak of my hardcore agnosticism-bordering-on-atheism (I never called myself an atheist, but as far as I was concerned, I was 99.999% sure that when you were dead that was it), my father’s father, my Pappy, died on May 28, 2000.  This was my first significant-significant death and it hit me like a freakin’ ton of bricks.  He was the greatest man I’ve ever known and I mourned for a year, mostly to myself as my relationship with my family was close to nonexistent due to my having renounced the Christianity I was raised with.

And then, some time in late 2001 - possibly just before or after 9/11 - or even as late as early 2002 (*) - I had what I 7 years later learned to be what is called a “dream state ADC” with my Pappy. 

(*) I often find my inability to remember the exact date to be one of the strangest things about the experience since I remember dates - but it’s evidence of just how successful I was in suppressing (but never forgetting!) the experience.

It was - and remains - the peak experience of my life.  It was the “dream that’s not a dream.”  I was calling it “hyper-real” and “realer than real” long before I discovered (when I read “Hello From Heaven!” in 2009) that there was something called an “ADC” and that others had had similar experiences and used the same language.  It was a hyper-lucid experience and I was hyper-aware of what was happening - in fact, I was panicking in a major way because I had no idea what was happening to me.  It was *this* consciousness that was experiencing this new environment - and I had no F***ing idea what was going on.  I can only imagine that my panic must have been like what someone waking up from a mugging or in a hospital must feel like - that *jarring* discontinuity between living your life one second, and the next second being *thrust* into a strange world.  I was basically terrified - at first.  The colors (the greens and blues!) were not of this Earth - in fact, the colors were *alive* and communicated energy to me (that’s the best I can explain it).  And they calmed me. 

And then my Pappy showed up…  He glowed from within and was surrounded by a white aura that - well, the best way I can describe it is that it looked like those pictures of the Sun’s corona during a full solar eclipse. And we communicated telepathically.  I won’t go into the full communication, except to say that it really wasn’t a conversation, per se. It was more of a him showing me that he still existed, and my struggling to understand it.  Besides the brief words that were exchanged, an emotion like I can’t even describe was imparted to me at one point when I asked, “How do I know this isn’t a trick?” (good old fundamentalist Christianity rearing its head!).  In response to that question I got a blast of that emotion from him.  I always poo-pooed talk of “unconditional love”, but that’s what I felt when he communicated the emotion to me - the emotion and the *knowledge* that he understood why I was afraid and was asking that question were both communicated to me.  That’s the best I can explain it.

There was more to the experience but I’ll stop there.  I don’t like writing about it because it make it feel cheapened in some weird way.  I’ll talk about it if someone asks me in person (and very few have, and most don’t even know), but I don’t write about it.  It was just a mind-blowing, “holy” (for lack of a better word) experience.  And I had no idea what to do with it…  So I boxed it up.

I put it in a box and ignored it - or tried to, I should say.  The imagery I always use is that I put it in a box, “but it was a really huge box and it was in the center of my living room - so I always knew it was there.”  But as long as I didn’t open the box, I didn’t have to relive the experience or process it and determine the implications.

Three days before my Dad died on 11/03/09, I had another experience with my Pappy. This one could be called a “shared-death experience” or perhaps a “shared death-bed vision at a distance”, I don’t know. It was another compelling dream (but nothing like the one I described above! nothing like it at all) where I was shown and it was communicated to me that my Pappy was ON HIS WAY (those words became an important part of the validation) to see my dying Dad. When I bolted out of bed it was 2:47 am. I was able to go back to sleep and told my wife the dream the next morning.  Two days later I found out from my sister that she had learned that my father, who hadn’t spoken in over a week, started talking out loud to his dad (my Pappy) at 3 am the night I was having my dream.

So what do I do with that, right?

But since my Dad’s passing, no less than a dozen people in my extended family - my wife, my mother, siblings, cousins, my cousin’s kids, my FATHER-IN-LAW (who never knew my Dad), 2nd cousins, everyone but the mailman - have had an experience involving my father, sometimes in the accompaniment of my Pappy.  They’ve pretty much run the gamut of every chapter in “Hello From Heaven!” - a daytime apparition (to my mother), feeling his touch and being hugged (again my mother), sensing his undeniable presence (a brother), hearing his voice, hearing his whistle, dreams - many dreams!, including some involving a cousin who received information about my family that he couldn’t have known - and then the real kickers (as if that wasn’t enough!) a dozen or so cigarette smoke experiences.  My father was a life long smoker and died of lung cancer, so this would definitely be his calling card. The smoke experiences occurred at times and in places when there was NO WAY there could have been cigarette smoke or smoke of any kind.

I myself have had 2 dreams (again, not of the quality of that experience in 2001, but one which anyone less skeptical than myself would have said, “Dude!  ADC!  Not even symbolic!  Pretty straight forward!  Why are you doubting?!”, and a cigarette smoke experience when I was half asleep (and because I was half asleep I found a way to doubt it).

I said I wasn’t going to ramble and I did so anyway…  Sorry.

Long-story-short: my skepticism has gone from being 99.999% convinced there was no survival of consciousness, to 99.999% acceptance that consciousness indeed survives.  That remaining 0.001% is simply because I was such a hard-headed skeptic and agnostic that the skepticism dies hard in me.  But as I’ve found out, I’m in good company with guys like Dr. Raymond Moody and Dr. Melvin Morse who also spent a long time not fully accepting the very information that they were spreading, information which helped so many others come to accept the idea of an “afterlife”.  In Dr. Moody’s case, he said it was only 3 years ago that he finally gave up doubting, threw up his hands and said, “I really think there is an afterlife!”

Anyway, I’ve been “hit over the head” with alot of “hammers” (and some pretty big hammers at that!), but I keep asking for “just one more…”  And then maybe I’ll fully accept it all?  At the least, since I basically do already accept it, I would like to stop “speaking with qualifiers”. (“if this is all true…” being my favorite.)

Okay, now I’m really done rambling.

There.  Now you all know something personal about me.

Ron, Wed 4 Apr, 02:11

Hi Ron. Hopefully this isn’t asking too much but may I ask what personal proofs you have been given?  It appears you are a skeptical believer such as myself so I would be most interested in your personal experiences if you would be so kind to share.

Ray, Fri 30 Mar, 18:14


I appreciate your comments.

To answer some of your questions: yes, I think there is *MUCH* more the spirits could be doing to convince us that things are legit.  I’m sorry, but I can not be convinced that centuries old spirits - spirits who were once human - spirits who have no participated in these demonstrations of physical mediumship countless times - can not come up with something better, after all this time, then floating cones and drumsticks.

And if I’m to believe the zip ties weren’t removed, then what are the spirits trying to communicate to us when “they” reverse Thompson’s sweater?  It’s not adding up.  What, are they teleporting Thompson to another dimension every single time, and then returning him - with his sweater reversed every single time?  And if he is being teleported somewhere or dematerialized (and, really, what else are we to assume??), then why couldn’t we also assume that Thompson is conceivably one of the “spirits” moving around the room?  (Although, if Thompson is being dematerialized/teleported - that’s a mind-blowing enough demonstration right there!  I don’t care what he’s doing after that!)

Moreover, to clarify something I said in a previous post: I don’t want the zip ties numbered. Instead, I was proposing that large numbers be put on everyone’s forehead made out of the glow-in-the-dark strips or - better yet - a semi-permanent glow-in-the-dark ink.  This way, at least the entire small circle of people could all watch each other!  And if the ink isn’t so easily removed, it would be hard to commit fraud unless you physically covered your forehead - which is easy enough to do, so that’s why it would be important for everyone to account for all 10 or so people at all times; i.e. if David and his handlers are numbers 1, 2, 3, then make sure those numbers are visible at all times.  Etc.

Along these lines of things that bothered my critical thinking filters: the radio.  Thompson and his handlers use the excuse that electronic equipment (usually referring to night vision recorders) somehow disrupt the goings on.  Yet it is PRECISELY A PIECE OF ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT (the radio or MP3 player) that they use to facilitate the entire demonstration!  Huh??

Plus I’ve seen his trance demonstrations, and those bug me just like every other demonstration I’ve seen of a trance medium.  They say nothing new or interesting, yet so many are wowed and floored and get all emotional and whatnot.

My Dad must be laughing at me from “the other side” at how critical I still am despite all the proofs I’ve been given…...

I don’t have a large axe to grind about Thompson.  (Maybe just a small one…)  My interest is ADCs and NDEs.  I suspect mediums will always be in my “gray basket” - sometimes interesting, but for too often underwhelming and not worth my time.

Okay, that’s it for now.

Take care.


Ron, Fri 30 Mar, 00:54

Study of paranormal activity is still in its infancy.
If scientists can vehemently differ (sometimes being at polar opposities) in two opposing
camps regarding their evaluation and conclusions of so-called “hard evidence” of a “material” nature,just think how difficult it is for them or anyone else to come to an agreement about those things of a “spiritual” nature.
In addition, if with the paranormal we may be dealing with “intelligences” not of our material world, in my humble opinon, this complicates the matter even further. For all we know, these “intelligences” may be doing their very best under the circumstances to provide so-called “proof” to us… yet what is lacking to receive it may be on our end (whatever that may be).

Yvonne, Thu 29 Mar, 18:47


Thank you for your comment, but I disagree.  There was no doubt much fraud in physical mediumship 100 or so years ago, but I don’t think there was anywhere near as much as you and others think.  Many legitmate mediums were written off as frauds because the researchers didn’t understand the phenomena.  Also, much of it was unconscious activity by the medium interpreted by the researchers as fraud.

I believe that is one reason why physical mediumship declined.  The spirit world had hoped to offer good evidence that a spirit world exists, but the world didn’t understand it and many good people were disparaged in the process.

Nor do I agree with your comment about baseball. Sure, just about anyone can play baseball, but only about one in a half million is gifted enough to make the major leagues.  Baseball talent comes in many degrees, just as mediumship does. I’m sure there are many people who have some very basic mediumistic talents but don’t recognize it as such. 

The same might be said of magicians.  They vary significantly in degrees of skill.  If a magician were to sit in with DT and proclaim him a genuine medium, the skeptics would simply say that he isn’t a good enough magician.  No magician would be good enough for the skeptics until one said that DT is a charlatan.

Michael Tymn, Wed 28 Mar, 14:17


I have had the same questions as you have, as many other “believers” have had as well.  I don’t think anyone has the answers and I’m pretty sure that science has no clue relative to materializations and de-materializations, as with the sweater. Therein is part of the problem – it is beyond current science.  Science has never limited itself to what it knows.  Otherwise, there would be no need for science to continue.

I have also wondered why the “spirits” don’t change their routine – why the same old sweater “trick”?  But when you think about it, how many things can they possibly do in the confines of a small room to convince us?  Beyond things floating around the room, the reversal of the sweater, voices, the medium ending up in a different spot, etc., what other “magic” might they perform?

The hypothesis of fraud appeals to the skeptic, but the really curious will seek to enlarge their knowledge of physical phenomena by considering all the points against it.  Why do the same questions come up with other physical mediums?  Are they all educated by the same magician?  Why do the sweater “trick” at all when fraud is such an easy explanation for it?  If DT were the only one producing such phenomena,  I might be more skeptical, but there are and have been too many others producing similar phonemena.  It is the cumulative evidence that convinces me.  As I asked many times, why do we think spirit phenomena should conform to our limited intelligences?  On the other side of the coin, why do we assume that the spirits are highly intelligent beings who would not participate in such tomfoolery?  Is it really tomfoolery or is it just the best they are capable of under the limited circustances and limited abilities?

Michael Tymn, Wed 28 Mar, 06:33

If Thompson’s zip ties are not being removed, could someone please explain to me the “paranormal physics” that results in his sweater being reversed?

Hasn’t anyone found that one recurring part of all his demonstrations even the tiniest bit peculiar?  To me, it is *so* peculiar as to arouse suspicion.  I see no point in it other than to distract the audience with a “wow!” or something.

And why does he (bound in his chair) always end up ceremoniously dumped onto the center of the plywood?

Even if there are no shenanigans, I just don’t get why the spirits would include these two parts in his show.


Ron, Tue 27 Mar, 03:09

I think very few physical mediums have been authentic, because this particular field seems the most prone to fraud in the early psychic research. But it may have been some genuine physical mediums and some direct voice mediums.

On the other hand, I do not think the analogy of Babe Ruth to work, because baseball can practice almost anyone, but instead only very few people seem to be physical mediums, ie the difference between Ruth and me is simply quantitative, but the difference between Home and I is qualitative, why it is more difficult to accept physical mediumship as a human skills.

Finally I have not seen any session of David Thompson and do not know if is a fraud or not, but the sessions would have to be witnessed by a magician rather than a physical and be recorded by night vision camera.

Juan, Mon 26 Mar, 02:31


It is my understanding that David Thompson had only one “handler” with him during his recent California trip and that her hands were held the whole time as members of the circle held hands for the entire seance.

As Elene asks, do you think Thompson speaks Russian, Chinese, and Bangladeshi?  As Jon has pointed out, the Russian did not amount to just a few words, but questions were answered in Russian. How does one who does not know Russian prepare for questions from a sitter he doesn’t know?

As Jon also states, he was sitting next to DT during his sitting and had the opportunity to check him throughout the sitting.  Thus DT would have to jump back in his chair periodically. 

Perhaps the zip ties should have been numbered beforehand, so that if DT was able to cut them off and put new ones on, then the new ones could have been checked.  But I am sure that skeptics would then say that the person who numbered the zip ties was a confederate of some kind. I don’t think there is any way to convince people who have made up their minds that fraud is involved. 

To quote William James:  “One who takes part in a good sitting has usually a far livelier sense, both of the reality and of the importance of the communication, than one who merely reads the records. I am able, while still holding to all the lower principles of interpretation, to imagine the process as more complex, and to share the feelings with which Hodgson came at last to regard it after his many years of familiarity, the feeling which Professor Hyslop shares, and which most of those who have good sittings are promptly inspired with [i.e., the spirit hypothesis].”

Michael Tymn, Sat 24 Mar, 13:06

Thanks, Mike.

That was the question I was inquiring about.

I look forward to your blog post on it.

I was also asking the same question of your fellow White Crow Books blogger, Prof. Stafford Betty, about it here on his most recent blog post:

(In the above I also recount how I met and talked to Prof. Betty for hours at last year’s Afterlife Awareness Conference.  This question really is a big one for me…)


As for Thompson, it won’t get anyone anywhere to get into a lengthy and possibly heated discussion about him and those who believe in him, so let me just say this:

In the descriptions, it’s said that the trumpet and drumsticks and other props all have glow strips on them so that the participants can see them zooming around the room.  So it can *safely* be surmised that *clearly* sticky glow strips are not inhibitive to his mediumship.

With that in mind, let me propose this:

Every participant in the room - including Thompson and his handlers/helpers - all attach a glow strip number (i.e. a number formed out of glow strip tape) to their foreheads (preferably with Super Glue, but I suppose that’s not necessary) before the lights go out.

I’m no magician, and I’m sure there are a million ways I could still be fooled.  But if I could see that all the “numbers” were accounted for at all times, and that they were always in their respective parts of the circle, then that might go a long way to convincing me that shenanigans aren’t going on with his handlers as soon as the lights go off and the music turns up…


Ron, Fri 23 Mar, 08:08

I totally fail to see how such phenomena as speaking in languages unknown to the medium can be considered “complete cold-reading b.s.”

I myself have been able on many occasions to give clear readings for my patients and others about matters that were unknown to me, including specific facts, not vague and fuzzy stuff.  And I’m no great talent, that’s for sure.  My level of ability is quite ordinary, and I know a good many people here in Albuquerque who can do the same or better.  I have no problem whatsoever believing that the “Babe Ruths” of psychic and mediumistic ability can do far more than I can.

It’s entirely possible that at least some of those “very well known” mediums and channelers Ron has encountered are something other than great talents, and simply have good marketing.  Some of the most impressive examples I’ve seen are known only in their own local circles and don’t have any desire to make big deals of themselves.

As for Thompson, Mike clearly enumerated the reasons why it isn’t plausible to believe that he is a fraud.  Anyone who says he is must come up with explanations—real explanations, not the silly ones that have been advanced so far—of how he does what he is observed to do.

“Much of it is pictographic and requires an interpretation” is all too true in my experience.  Often the images are extremely vivid, but I may not completely understand them until a bit later when I’ve had time to think about them more consciously.

Elene Gusch, Thu 22 Mar, 12:28

Hi Mike- I’d like to respond to Ron’s comment of Mar. 19th, 22:36. He claim’s that ideologically he’s always “the outsider” and has not yet seen a
convincing demonstration of “psychic mediumship”.
I’m not entirely sure what he means by the latter
phrase, but I assume he means “evidential mediumship” aimed at proof of survival. I would suggest that Ron do some introspection; the skeptic’s special question, “can you stand to find out it’s all crap?”, so to speak, is useful to consider. But skeptics seldom turn the question
on themselves: how would you know proof if it slapped you in the face? Proof of survival of death is itself a profound anomaly, but it also
brings profound change. One cannot ever quite live
life the same again, and not everyone is fully prepared to do that. Indeed, real proof brings both an ideological and emotional revolution.

paul biscop, Wed 21 Mar, 20:57

Has anyone sat with now retired Stewart Alexander?  It seems like his “guides” had the same protocols for his seances.  Quentin Crisp is a busy man in spirit because he apparently spoke at some of his seances as well.  So there are one of 2 things going on here

1) Stewart Alexander and Thompson share professional notes on how to dupe the sitters al la camp chesterfield or

2) the similarities on the controls are almost identical because it’s the only way to make it work for these 2 mediums

The jury is still out for me if these similarities are reassuring or highly suspicious of fraud of the worst kind…a network of crooked mediums prying on the grief of others

Ray, Tue 20 Mar, 19:14

Michael (s)

My experience at a Thomson séance was not like you describe.  A room at a local healing centre was hired in a small town near White Plains.  I and a few others helped put the room together, by clearing out some furniture, blacking out the windows and putting plywood on the floor so we would hear any movement.. Another sitter ‘K’ bought the chair.

David showed up an hour or so later. He sat outside; and took in some sun. He didn’t appear to have anything with him apart from a pack of cigarettes.

The sitters searched him, and his assistants and the other sitters were searched. 2 sitters volunteered to tie him to the chair, and we checked what’s they’d done. I was taking to one of the sitters who put the ties on. Once they were tightened, they were cut off, so if somehow he could get out of them, he wouldn’t be able to easily get back into them or replace them. Also, one of the sitters who checked the ties placed the clippings (a bit like you place a hair over a door to see it it’s moved) round Thompson’s feet in certain positions. Throughout the séance Thompson was checked (I checked him myself) the clipping remained where they were throughout the séance and could be seen when red light was on.

His 2 assistants had nothing to do with any of this and they had no access to him during the séance as they were holding hands with other sitters.

When the séance finished, as often is the case, Thompson was still strapped into his chair but in another part of the room The cardigan he was wearing was now on back to front, and he was still strapped in with the same ties. (cut)

The sitter who cut the ties then was asked to cut them David out of his ties. (There was 8-10 of them)

For me it was an amazing experience and baffling.  The Russian voice was obviously personal and it’s hard to fathom how anyone could do that by normal methods. Someone later said, “maybe Thompson checked out your partner and learned a few words of Russian.’ Of course that is possible, but the voice didn’t just speak a few random words of Russian it answered a question which is a very different scenario.

Is it possible Thompson had us checked out while we were in England, and he was in Australia, and could he have learned enough Russian especially for the occasion?

Dark séances are not really satisfactory, but in the history of this subject, darkness does seem to be a factor in physical phenomena, and like D.D. Home, a lot of people have sat with Thompson and believed and not believed, been over whelmed and under whelmed, but as far as I’m aware he hasn’t been caught cheating yet.

Victor Zammit has sat with him more that 70 times since he has been in Australia. Could David have deceived him more than 70 times — possibly, but when one gets personal specific information, which Victor and others say they’ve had, it’s hard to argue with.

However, from personal experience — mental mediumship has been much more revealing to me, because of the information I’ve received has been more informative than flying trumpets will ever be.

Jon, Tue 20 Mar, 14:49

Thompson’s seances are closely supervised by an associate who remains in the room at all times. This associate secures the medium to his chair, instructs the sitters not to grab the spirits, turns on the music to “raise the energy level” (or perhaps to cover suspicious sounds?), etc. As long as a close confederate of the medium is controlling the venue, securing the zip ties, and moving around unrestricted in the pitch dark room, it’s impossible to rule out some kind of trickery.

I’m not insisting that trickery is going on, but if these experiments are to be convincing to those of us who have not personally participated in them, much better precautions against fraud have to be taken. I’d suggest two simple steps: 1) make sure no one associated with the medium is present before or during the seance; and 2) hire an escape artist to secure the medium and monitor his presence in the chair throughout the session.

Who wants to bet that Thompson’s spirit guides will veto these suggestions?

Michael Prescott, Tue 20 Mar, 11:19

Good analogy, Mike.
I have attended seances for over 50 years.
Each medium is an individual person.
Each one can have has varying energy levels, different specialities and strengths, and some work better under particular conditions.

Yvonne Limoges, Tue 20 Mar, 09:15


Further to my earlier reply below, I didn’t initally grasp the fact that you asked the question at an review of the book.  Your question is: What happens if we figure it all out? That is, if we get absolute proof, is the game then over?  Yes, that is definitely a good question and I have it on a list of things to address in a future blog.  Thanks for reminding me.  I will get to it in a month or two or three.

Michael Tymn, Tue 20 Mar, 06:15

Hi Ron,

Thanks for your comments.  I am sorry that I did not get back to you on your question, but I do not recall it, and I am not sure which Ron I am communicating with. I’d appreciate it if you would refresh my memory on the specific question.

You must have a different definition of “critical thinking” than I do.  I see all kinds of critical thinking going into it.

Much of what you call “cold reading” is called “fishing” for answers.  What skeptics don’t grasp in this regard, because of their lack of critical thinking, is that the medium or the medium’s control, depending on the type of mediumship, is searching for an interpretation to what he/she is seeing or hearing. It took some time for the pioneering researchers to understnad this.  They thought Leonora Piper was fishing for information from the sitters, when, in fact, Dr. Phinuit, her spirit control, was looking for intepreations of what he was seeing or hearing from the spirit communicators. It doesn’t necessarily come through like one is talking on the telephone to another incarnate human.  Much of it is pictorgraphic and requires an interpretation. 

I would bet a pension check that DT is genuine, but we would never find a jury that would agree.  Many genuine mediums of the past were judged fraudulent for one reason or another, often because the researcher was applying terrestrial standards to celestial matter he did not understand.  Some mediums “cheated” while in trance, but it was not usually conscious cheating. Eusapia Paladino is probably the best example of this. She may have consciously cheated at time, because her powers weren’t working and, simple woman that she was, she felt obligated to make something happen, but most of her so-called cheating was unconscious.  Thus, even if some clever researcher catches DT doing something that looks like it is fraudulent, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is fraudulent, at least conscious fraud.  That sounds like a cop-out and like I am covering all bets, but that’s the way it is.

One reader reminded me by e-mail that Chinese and Bangladeshi languages were also spoken in DT sittings.  Hard to believe that DT can speak those two languages and Russian as well, but anything is possible. 

I’d appreciate it if you would remind me of the question I did not answer.  Again, thank you.

Michael Tymn, Tue 20 Mar, 05:48

Hi, Mike.  I once asked you a question in an Amazon review of your _Afterlife Revealed_ book.  I think you were going to get back to me with a blog post that addressed it but I don’t think you did.

Anyway, I think I am just going to forever be the man on the outside regarding this one.  (Hey, it suits me well.  Ideologically, I’m always feeling like the proverbial “man without a country”.)

I mean, I am very much on the side of those who know (not believe, but *know*) that consciousness survives physical death.  And I give alot of credence to certain classic channeled texts.

But I’ll be danged if I’ve yet to see a compelling demonstration of psychic mediumship. I’ve been to the alleged best where I live and most recently was able to watch some very well known psychic mediums and channelers perform.  And I am struck by 3 things: how monumentally underwhelming it is, how monumentally transparent it is what the “psychics” are doing, and how monumentally willing to believe so many in the audience are (most of whom are bereaved and desperate for confirmation) and how flimsy the evidence is that they accept as *proof*.

Where is the critical thinking???

And these so-called “physical mediums” seem to me to be the worst of the lot.  Hume might have been awesome (and oh how I wish for there to have been some kind of recording of him back in those days!), but I will never be able to take Thompson seriously as long as he has to maintain these rigid, bogus and self-contradictory rules and guidelines in order to do his thing.  I’m willing to bet no small amount of money that he’ll eventually be shown to be a fraud.  I hope I’m wrong…

And I don’t care how many “professionals” and “researchers” attest to his genuineness.  I’ve been around enough people with PhD’s who sat watching the same mediums as myself and who were completely snookered by what I could plainly see to be complete cold-reading b.s.  Degrees mean nothing.

Where’s the critical thinking???

Sorry if I offend anyone.  (Well, not really…  I had to get it off my chest.)


Ron, Tue 20 Mar, 02:36

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