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Why Mediums are Like Distance Runners

Posted on 27 March 2023, 10:34

There are two subjects I’ve studied and written about extensively over the years – distance running and mediumship. They don’t appear to have much in common, but I have observed many parallels, similarities or correspondences.

My interest in mediumship and its relationship to the larger life has been discussed at this blog over the past 13 years, as well as in seven books and various newspapers, magazines, and journals. My interest in distance running and in the larger area of sport began during the early 1950s and continued for more than 60 years, during which time I contributed hundreds of articles to several national magazines and a daily newspaper. I had the opportunity to interview dozens of Olympians and legends of the athletic world.  I even had my own laboratory of one, winning some races and achieving a little success in the sport.  I look back upon my personal participation as one of self-actualization, not fun and games.

On May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister of Great Britain became the first human to officially run a mile in under four minutes while recording 3:59.4 on the Oxford University track.  Six weeks later, John Landy (below) of Australia (depicted in a Vancouver, Canada statue with Bannister and also with the writer in a 1986 photo) bettered his time with a 3:57.9.  The world record is now down to 3:43.13 by Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco.  Here are some of the similarities, parallels, or correspondences I’ve noted:


Beyond Science: Before 1954, science, as represented by physical educators and physiologists, said running a mile under four minutes was not humanly possible.  Science also said, and still says, with exceptions, that it is not possible to contact the dead.

Development Necessary: It takes up to seven years for a runner to fully adapt to the demands of the sport and requires much more training and development than previously realized to run a mile under four minutes. In mediumship, the best mediums seem to have developed over a period of time. Sophia Williams, one of the most-tested mediums of yesteryear, wrote that it took her four years of daily practice in learning the art of relaxation and complete detachment before the spirits were able to get messages through her. Gladys Osborne Leonard, another renowned medium of the past, wrote that she had 26 failures before receiving a spirit message. She gradually developed from that point.  How many people have that kind of patience, persistence, and perseverance?

Physical Limitations: Only a very small percentage of humans have the physical foundation, i.e., slender frame, exceptional heart, proper mix of fast- and slow-twitch muscle fibers, etc., to build on and develop into running a sub-4 mile.  No doubt, many of those who have the physical makeup never get the opportunity to recognize it.  And so it seems with mediums, that only a very small percentage have the “gift” to be good mediums, and there are likely many with the gift who have never recognized it or developed it.
Wide Range of Ability:  There is a wide range of ability in running among humans. Elite distance runners can cover the 26.2-mile marathon in close to two hours, but the average marathon finisher these days is much closer to four hours. Those who haven’t trained for the distance would likely struggle to finish in two days, if at all.  Such a wide spread of ability or talent seems to exist among humans in the area of mediumship. There are a few “world-class” mediums and there are some with just a modicum of talent, while most people have no real mediumistic talent. Nevertheless, many skeptics assume that if one medium can produce a certain phenomenon, then all mediums should be able to replicate it. It’s a black and white world for most skeptics.

Abilities Differ:  Generally, a world-class miler lacks the speed for sprints and may even lack the ability to be a good marathoner.  Moreover, world-class sprinters do not make good milers or marathoners. The sprinter has mostly fast-twitch muscle fibers, the marathoner mostly slow-twitch fibers and the miler has about half fast-twitch and half slow-twitch. The nature of the fibers seems to be mostly genetic, not something one can easily convert from one to the other. Likewise, a good trance-voice medium does not necessarily have the ability to be a direct-voice medium or even a good automatic-writing medium. Mediums can be as different as sprinters, milers, and marathoners in their abilities.  Leonora Piper (see photo/book cover) was considered one of the best “mental” mediums of her time, but there is no indication that she had any ability as a “physical” medium, one who could be levitated by spirits or produce the ectoplasm required for materializations.  On the other hand, some of the best physical mediums had little of no ability as mental mediums. I once encountered a clairvoyant medium who thought the famous mediums of the past were mostly charlatans because she couldn’t do the things they reportedly did. . 

Overdoing It: It is well established that a runner can do too much and overtrain, causing him or her to become slower rather than faster.  Researchers studying mediums have recognized that too many or too long sittings by a medium can result in them producing weaker phenomena or in losing their ability completely. Moreover, like runners and other athletes, mediums have their “good” days and their “bad” days.  On their real bad days, nothing is produced and the skeptics then assume they are frauds.

Cheating: Some world-class runners have been known to “cheat” by using steroids or “blood packing” to enhance performance.  Some people with no real running ability have been known to sneak into a marathon from the sidelines during the final mile or two and pretend to have run the full distance while finishing first.  Likewise, some people with no mediumistic ability have pretended to produce phenomena, while some with a little mediumistic ability have used tricks to exaggerate their abilities. 

Declining Years:  Competitive runners have their peak years before a decline sets in, primarily the result of aging, but also because of mental fatigue or loss of motivation. Mediums also appear to have limits in this regard.  Leonora Piper’s ability peaked during her early 30s and was in serious decline during her 40s.  “Burnout” seems to be a problem with mediums as well as runners. 

Performance Anxiety: It goes without saying that nearly all athletes warm up physically before performing and do their best to control their emotions and settle in mentally before the start of competition,  They rest and get mentally focused on the event, hoping that nervous energy is properly channeled and does not detract from their performance.  They especially want to avoid “trying too hard,” which can result in a poor performance. And so it seems to be with mediums.  Many have failed to produce phenomena at all on days they could not achieve the necessary passivity or when otherwise they had too many unrelated things on their minds. They simply couldn’t get tuned in to the spirit world. Hamlin Garland, one of the early researchers, reported that he waited as long as four hours in the dark for phenomena to begin. In a sitting with medium Mary Curyer Smith at the home of the famous physicist Professor Amos Dolbear, nothing happened for over an hour and Dolbear was ready to give up. Garland persuaded him to wait a little longer and soon books began flying from nearby shelves in Dolbear’s library over their heads.  There was enough light for them to see shadowy hands piling them on the table in front of them, after which a spirit named “Wilbur” began conversing with them. (See blog of December 30, 2013 in the archives at left for the role of harmony in sittings.)

Amateurism:  Professionalism was frowned upon in both athletics and mediumship in the early years. Aileen Riggin, winner of a gold medal in the 1920 Olympic Games and silver and bronze in the ’24 Games (in bottom right photo, giving swimming exhibition with Johnny “Tarzan” Weissmuller in 1926.), told me during an interview how she was ostracized for turning professional (giving swimming and diving exhibitions) after the Paris Olympics.  She could not enter the front door of athletic clubs, as professionals were allowed to enter only through the back door. Based on various biographies and autobiographies from that era, charging for mediumship seems to have been considered just as wicked and shameful as it was in sports.

Validation:  Controls in competitive running are strict.  A world-record cannot be recognized unless the officials are all certified, having met certain educational and experience standards, and electronic timing devices must all be calibrated. In psychical research, strict controls are also expected, but the problem is that the strictest controls, such as tying mediums up, seem to constrain or restrain abilities by making them uncomfortable and disrupting the harmony.

History: The mediumship “epidemic” is said to have started in 1848 with the Fox Sisters of New York, while the running “craze” is seen as beginning with Dr. Kenneth Cooper’s 1968 book, Aerobics. It took 20 to 30 years for each to reach a peak in popularity, before a decline in interest set in. The general public never really grasped the difference between jogging (for health) and running (for sport), the latter involving much risk-taking that can result in anti-health, anti-fitness, e.g., dysfunctional knees, ankles, feet, as well as a loss of upper-body strength. The newspapers would report that 25,000 “runners” participated in a race, when only about one percent actually ran, the other 99 percent jogging, strolling, or walking the distance. In the area of mediumship, neither the general public nor science fully grasped that the afterlife being explored by psychical research with mediums was not the pursuit of religious beliefs. 

I don’t know if there is any meaning to all those parallels, similarities, or correspondences, beyond sport being a microcosm of the more serious aspects of life, but, as stated, I found the sport of long-distance running to be a self-actualizing pursuit, not simply fun and games.  It offered numerous lessons in overcoming adversity and prompted much existential thinking, or soul-searching,  along the way.  As the late Sir Roger Bannister put it: “Only in something like running can finality be achieved, the sort of finality that is almost perfection. But it is not the kind of perfection that leaves you with nothing to live for. You are not your own executioner, because sport is not the main aim of life. Yet to achieve perfection in something, however small, makes it possible to face uncertainty in the more difficult problems of life.”

Bannister recalled that first sub-4 effort: “The faint line of the finishing tape stood ahead as a haven of peace after the struggle.”  Leaping at the tape he was “like a man taking his spring to save himself from the chasm that threatens to engulf him.”  It was not the end, though. The greatest part was yet to come – liberation! “No words can be invented for such supreme happiness, eclipsing all other feelings,” he related, adding that he felt bewildered and overpowered.”

Is there a better simile for life’s end than the finishing tape of an all-out mile run?

Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife, and Dead Men Talking: Afterlife Communication from World War I.
His latest book, No One Really Dies: 25 Reasons to Believe in an Afterlife is published by White Crow books.

Next blog post:  April 10


I’ll look forward to your Blog article on spirit photography Michael. As for myself I think I need to do far more research on the subject before I can even come near to forming any kind of conclusion so I’ll be interested to read your insights into it all.
I was aware of the William Mumler photos that Bruce mentioned and considering Mumler had very little photographic experience before developing (pun intended) his spirit photography he certainly seemed to convince even seasoned photographers with many years experience. To my eyes all the spirits look pretty much the same in the sense that a certain technique could have been used to produce a similar effect and they look completely different to most other spirit photographs I’ve seen.
I believe one of the photos of the Cottingley fairies was deemed to be of genuine fairies as admitted by one of the cousins Frances Griffiths after previously stating they were all faked.
Chris I came across Isabelle Duchene while I was researching Leslie Flint as he was a big inspiration to her. Her spirit photos look very convincing and I’ve heard her in trance where Red Cloud is speaking through her but I know very little about trance mediumship per se so don’t want to make to much comment on it just yet. She’s very interesting to listen to though and seems quite a genuine person. I’d love to hear Stewart Alexander in trance with his guides White Feather, Christopher, Freda and Walter Stinson and of course witness the physical phenomena he produces. There’s nothing like first hand experience and all I’ve done so far is read about these things but it must be something else to experience them in the flesh so to speak and to be in touch with something that defies reality as we know it.

Dave Harrison, Fri 7 Apr, 22:35

On the site of Isabelle Duchene
You can find photo’s of her guide, Red Cloud, taken under red light.

chris, Fri 7 Apr, 14:30

The spirit photography history starts with W H Mumler 1861 on page 10
I am looking at Michael’s running finish photo at the start of his article for any extras,

Bruce Williams, Fri 7 Apr, 04:33

Adding to the tunnel I came across this article about AJD
and the following article
From memory the Cottingley Faries photographs were examined by experts in London and authenticated. Again from memory ACD waited until the photos were examined by these experts. This excerpt “Later in life, Doyle became also critical of the Society for Psychical Research, the non-committed body of which he was a member,
but at first it was Lodge, an SPR leader who tried tactfully to restrain Doyle.
Later, Lodge could not dissuade Doyle from his most disastrous case, the Cottingley
fairies, which were brought to his attention in 1920 by an LSA friend, Felicia Scatcherd, and
which he very publicly endorsed.”

Dave, I did enjoy the photo finish pun.

Bruce Williams, Fri 7 Apr, 04:12


Thanks for the comment.  I have been meaning to do a blog on spirit photography for some time, but I can’t seem to get all my references on the subject together. I will get to it some time this year, assuming I last that long.  One thing that seems clear to me relative to such photography is that the “spirit” must project an image of himself, as he remembers himself looking into the ectoplasm.  Thus, in the photos obtained by Dr. T. Glen Hamilton, Raymond Lodge looks much like the photo of him taken before his death and the same for the photo of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This suggests fraud, but the explanation for this is that they visualized those photos in projecting their images into the ectoplasm.  I’m pretty sure that is what i would do. I still picture myself as much younger than my 86 years, but then when I wake up in the morning and look in the mirror, I have a rude awakening. What I see in the mirror is not what I would project into the ectoplasm. I would likely visualize a photo of myself at about age 35 and project that image. 

Prior to the invention of photography, many people did not have a good idea of what they looked like. I don’t know when good mirrors were invented, but I gather that commoners did not have mirrors.  As I have suggested before, imagine you did not have any photographs of yourself as a child and you are asked to visualize yourself at age 7 and project that image for others to see.  Would most of us be able to visualize ourselves at age 7 if we had no photos of ourselves at that age?  I don’t think so.

Michael Tymn, Thu 6 Apr, 22:27

That’s a really good analogy Michael and one you can obviously relate to. I’ve read this Blog from when you first started and I must say you’ve covered an enormous amount of ground (the long distance runner again wink) which for anyone wanting a good introduction to the subject it gives so much information and background. I particularly find the induced after death communication ‘experience’ quite fascinating and wasn’t aware that such a thing could be achieved and it opens up a whole new area of possibilities I’m sure.
I’ve also recently been reading early editions of the Psychic News starting back in the 1930’s and it gives a really good idea of the zeitgeist of that period. Particularly the belief in spirit photography which seems to have been a bit of a craze back then and there’s many examples depicting the photos produced at the time. Although I’m sure the first time spirit photography surfaced was back in the 1860’s in the USA. William Hope being a member of the Crewe Circle and a keen amateur photographer captured many images of deceased relatives lurking in ectoplasmic clouds behind and around the subject. Although it was later claimed he was using double and triple exposure techniques and craftily switching plates which was another little hole put into the ever leaking bucket of Spiritualism. Looking at these photos now it’s very apparent that they are faked at least to my eyes. In his book ‘A case for spirit photography’ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle appears to be a firm believer in the authenticity of spirit photography and the book contains testimonies from quite a few people who have the same sincere belief that all was above board and shipshape. Having seen the photos in that book it’s quite obvious again that the photos have been doctored. Also Sir Arthur Conan Doyle thought the photos of the Cottingley Fairies were of genuine fairies and not faked. It was much later after Doyle’s death that it was admitted they had been faked. This makes me wonder why a sharp, critical and astute mind such as that of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle could be duped into believing such photos were genuine. Of course he was no photographic expert and photography was still more or less in it’s infancy back then. It could be asked if he was taken in by this then what else could he be taken in by? Granted such photos gave people hope particularly at a time just after the war when they had lost relatives but it still amounts to fraud at the end of the day. This was another time another era and the mindset was totally different to today so I think you have to view things of that time with that in mind. But fascinating to read these articles from back then all the same. Apologies for being slightly off subject although dare I say we might have a ‘photo finish’. smile

Dave Harrison, Thu 6 Apr, 13:17

Today in a Fraser reading video he discerned the deceased brother of a woman who had cleaned out his living quarters after his death.  Fraser discerned from the brother that she had found some “sex toys” of her brother’s which was correct, to the sister’s embarrassment and Fraser’s.

Now how would Fraser know that unless the deceased brother had told him?  How would anyone know that except the brother who had kept them hidden?  (Oh, this modern mediumship!!!!!)  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 5 Apr, 16:35

Mediums get two types of broadcast, wide and narrow. Imagine a room full of people at a party all having conversations about purple cows, flying saucers etc. The crowd of spirits on stage are having a similar conversation.

You tune in to one conversation in wide mode, then you have to look for a match with those people sitting waiting for a message. You have to lock on to a link (most look for person with the most suitable person at their shoulder - rough location). The spirits may tell you Blond woman in pink, second row. You then narrow broadcast hearing their message above others. John Edwards and others use their helpers to line up the spirit crowd and have better matching techniques. Also someone in the audience is a message grabber and say That’s me. You have to disengage politely.

These are hard techniques to teach. Meanwhile bouncing around in the mediums head is where does the purple cow come in? Seth Godin means something remarkable by this term. I will try to find that person. It must be important.
The medium babbles about information in order to get past it - they have no connection to this information but just clears the way.

I have seen mediums unable to filter messages just like station swapping on a radio. It is great when the messages connect with proof. The number of hits is the key. For example you are fond of Dutch liquorice=possibe hit (it could be a good guess) but you follow up with the shape - cat like liquorice.

Bruce Williams, Wed 5 Apr, 01:02

What I don’t always understand with mediums like Fraser en Thorpe and many others is that they also give information that does not ring any bell by the clients. They try to get over it quickly by emphasize the other things where the public responds to. The useless information is than complete ignored and swept under the carpet. Wrong interpretation of the medium or what is the intention of that sort of spirit information?
It feels a bit like a trick of the magician that failed to me , so let’s ignored it quickly hoping nobody noticed it.

Chris, Tue 4 Apr, 07:47

Great video. This video ties the life plan conversation by Michael Newton and others with the mission of a spiritual warrior.
Years ago I was picked as a Sustainability warrior (there were 80 who were trained for a year in a post graduate Diploma). The idea was that we would transform the thinking. We failed as the thinking for sustainability transformation is complex. MIT Fishbank simulation of the Tragedy of the Commons is an example.
I was also picked for spiritual transformation (transformation is mentioned at the end of the video).
Change theory looks at different methods of buy-in using marketing techniques. I see that Betty is changing viewpoints on recovery from drugs with her actual story. I like that you (Amos) pushed her story further ahead in to a wider audience.
Thanks for the link,

Bruce Williams, Mon 3 Apr, 03:44

If you don’t have anything else to do watch this video. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Sun 2 Apr, 20:17

Well, first it was the radio, then television and now the computer and internet as an attempt by disembodied spirits to communicate with the embodied spirits. I recall, that in the movie “Ghost”, the writers gave the spirit character ‘Sam’ a difficult time learning how to maneuver physical objects but eventually the character was able to type a few words on the computer.

In Matt Fraser’s case, spirits don’t move anything or type on the computer, speak on radio or appear on television but only have to get the attention of the medium—-Matt Fraser. And some are more aggressive in getting his attention than others. (Just like people on earth.)  Once they get his attention Fraser relays the information, just like mental mediums did in the old days when electronics were not part of the mix but without the trance or other spooky gyrations or environments.

Fraser is not your great grandfather’s medium though.  I think he is a medium for young people of these times although he also does readings for middle-aged and a few old people. (He has discontinued individual face-to- face readings because he was 3 to 5 years out in scheduling.)  I have watched many of his Zoom computer readings and almost all of them bring forth information Fraser could not possibly have known, including names of deceased persons.  As I recall, I think that almost 100% of the sitters seemed to be deeply moved by the information provided through Fraser.  I don’t think they are ‘acting’ in response to the information.  Emotions run high in those sessions with Fraser and one can’t watch them without being deeply moved too.  Of course, not all of the readings are spectacular but some are beyond belief.  Some readings I would consider mundane in that only one or two bits of specific information is given.  But even when there is little in the reading out of the ordinary reading, e.g, your mother is alright, your father just kissed you etc., those one or two direct hits are difficult to explain away.

Regarding the Vision Board Comedy show, are they making fun of psychics or are they taking psychics seriously but modulating the stodginess of it all and making it all a little bit more lighthearted and acceptable to today’s audiences? It seems to me that psychics would provide great fodder for stand-up comedians! - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Sat 1 Apr, 21:06

Thanks, Amos, for introducing me to Matt Fraser. I viewed the 30-minute video (really enjoyed it and his presentation) and wouldn’t be surprised if today’s youth found it just too long to sit through! Hopefully not, but perhaps folks on the other side are choosing to communicate through the spaces where we now spend most of our time: for the vast majority of us, I assume that’s the internet.

I live in Brooklyn, NY, and recently saw an ad for a comedy show with this description:

“Vision Board Comedy Show Part 2: A show that combines standup comedy & psychic readings THIS SAT 4/1

“Vision Board is a Standup Comedy Show that explores spirituality and psychic insight with its audience in a fun and surprising way. We also have professional psychics and mediums, who will answer audience’s questions at the end of the show.”

Link here:

Could you imagine the Imperator Band showing up at a comedy show?

Perhaps the spirit world is rolling with the current Earth times? Hanging among popular comedians and staying plugged in to the Internet? Matt Fraser fits that profile for me.


Anthony, Sat 1 Apr, 05:04

I appreciate your comments. I knew about this talk “In April 2015, Georgetown University, in conjunction with The Teilhard Project, honored Teilhard de Chardin on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of his death, ://”

Teilhard was on the battlefields of France as a French stretcher bearer. My grandfather was there as well in places called Hellfire Pass (many Australians fought in WW1). Many did not return.

It was the daily loss of life that formed Teilhard views on life (his book Finding God in suffering)which were not well accepted by the Catholic Church.

My previous story about understanding how loss has affected people made me admire those resilient people. Mediums deal with loss with each reading, some deal better than others. I was not very demonstrative of any feelings which in turn, made me search for higher level spiritual teachings as I felt that other mediums can give the emotional support that people need when dealing with loss. As my daughter expresses it Loss - that’s a you problem, not a me problem.

I have his book The Phenomenon of Man but have not yet read it. It would seem that his words resonate in the hearts of people which to me signifies a spiritual leader.

Bruce Williams, Fri 31 Mar, 09:27

Bruce: When I was at Lake Forest College in the late 60s, “Mike C” was the head of the sociology dept. and one of my three academic advisors. Then we both wound up in the south side of Chicago, he as a faculty member of the U of C, and me as a student at Chgo. Theol. Seminary. It was “Mike” who introduced me to Teilhard de Chardin, one of the seminal thinkers who helped shape my worldview. For that alone I will always be grateful. Small world.

Newton Finn, Thu 30 Mar, 19:05

We have had discussions about Eleanor Mildred Balfour Sidgwick before.  I don’t know why I am attracted to her other than I think she was a very intelligent woman in a society in which women often were not allowed to receive an advanced education.  I think one has to consider Eleanor Sidgwick in the times in which she lived and what she achieved in competition with other prominent male members of the Balfour family and her husband Henry Sidgwick and the male academics that surrounded him.

As I try to understand Mrs. Sidgwick’s stance on Leonora Piper, I think she acknowledged that there was a lot of very good evidence in support of Piper’s special abilities to contact deceased spirits.  In her report to the SPR she acknowledged that there was plenty of evidence already published to support that view but that she wanted to present another side of Piper, either rightly or wrongly, pointing out Piper’s failures.  I think that Sidgwick concludes her report thinking that Piper got her information by thought transference (ESP or “Super-ESP) between the living and the living or between the living and the dead.  In other words, I don’t think she thought that spirits were communicating ‘through’ Piper by voice or automatic writing. She still acknowledged that some communication was occurring between the medium, Mrs. Piper and somebody either living or dead but that it was Mrs. Piper who was speaking it or writing it down.  (This of course opens up a discussion of failures of the medium to correctly interpret what is being communicated which may account for some of Mrs. Piper’s failures and is admitted by many good mediums today as problematic.)  I may be wrong here but it seemed so to me.

That stance does not negate the existence of a spirit world.  It just means that Piper was functioning like many mediums we see today in that Piper heard, saw or felt communication from the spirit world which she interpreted and passed on during a séance.  I guess one could say that it was a kind of thought transference or ESP but that same view could be applied to many other mediums e.g., Pearl Curran, Geraldine Cummins, Gladys Osborne Leonard, Matt Fraser, John Edward and most other mental mediums.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 30 Mar, 17:53

Another interesting podcast is of Next Soul Level (Alex Ferrari) . Lot’s of good interviews.
For example :

Chris, Thu 30 Mar, 17:07

I have not thought of Matt Fraser as being black or white on anything.  Like most mediums he is limited in what he can do in terms of contacting the spirit world.  I think we have recently all been acknowledging that not all mediums are created equal.  Fraser seems to be limited to the spheres, planes or vibrations closest to the earth plane.  He speaks of spirits going to heaven but what exactly is the “heaven” he speaks of?  I think he is simply contacting people who moved on to a “Summerland” vibration, one closest to the earth vibration and as he says, he avoids communicating with negative or “evil” spirits who have not moved on to that higher vibration and linger on the earth sphere due to their inability to give up their negative emotions, e.g., hate, they had while alive on the earth plane. He is still able to see those negative spirits which he avoids by prayer and other mental blocks to them.  Fraser says that the spirits are not with him nor does he contact them in some other realm but they are with the sitters he reads whether in person or in a ZOOM meeting using a computer.  He does not contact spirits in higher realms such as Imperator and his group of 49 advanced spirits.  Neither does he contact well-known personalities such as Marilyn Monroe or Frederic Myers and he has no interlocutor to forward communications to him from other spirits.  Spirit communication with Fraser is direct, from the communicating spirit.  He says that in an empty auditorium, he sees no spirits but as the people come in and take their seats, he sees spirits who want to communicate come in with them and stand behind them.  Not everyone has spirits who want to communicate; not everyone receives a communication if there is no unfinished business the spirit wants to resolve or a very special need of the sitter for a contact with a deceased person in order to provide some degree of comfort to the sitter.

After watching many of Fraser’s readings on YouTube I believe he has some special gift allowing him to contact deceased spirits who remain close to the Earth vibration, probably because those spirits still have close associations with spirits remaining in the Earth vibration.  Once those people on earth have passed on, then perhaps the deceased spirits will either move on to higher vibrations or choose to come back to a lower vibration like the one on Earth for another go around!  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 30 Mar, 17:02

I did know that Landy was a gentleman and thought that his character needed a story. I taught Sports Marketing in early 2000s. The class was those failed Olympic/State athletes - they were not good enough to make the team and at 18 were now dropped from elite sports coaching.

We did try to point them towards another career (marketing sports products). My class did not respond to me until I took them to meet a NSW State Squad psychologist. He told the class to treat me as their coach. Rather than shape them to aspire to be better students he understood their loss. I can help with their loss.
Worked well apart from they then told me where they fell apart in their sports. I spent time explaining the zone theory and methods to achieve better results. It worked.
The interesting thing was when I had two marketing classes compete in a marketing simulation. I used this to see talent. The better trained marketing students formed 5 person teams, sports marketing students formed their 5 person teams.
The results: Sports teams beat all other teams as they were competitive and understood where they made mistakes. They understood teamwork. One marketing team I nicknamed The Waterboys as they went out backwards. Sack their leader or do the opposite to what he says.

The training with mediums was to cover the wants and needs of those getting messages. They want proof. If you get in to the zone and pass on the messages then you have done your best. If you are not going too well - stop. You need to understand and help with their loss.

I later looked at Flow by MIHALY CSIKSZENTMIHALYI to understand happiness.

I like the parallels with sport and mediumship. Loss and happiness are powerful emotions that few appreciate. (I also suspect the better mediums were able to run away faster from the angry crowds.)

Bruce Williams, Thu 30 Mar, 14:50

The video I linked was only 31 minutes. - AOD

a, Thu 30 Mar, 11:41


Thanks for the interesting links, including the one on John Landy. He was one of my boyhood heroes. While I was attempting to become a miler in high school, in 1954, he was having his greatest success.  There were two guys—Landy and Wes Santee of the United States—who were battling to become the first under four minutes.  Roger Bannister was pretty much an unknown.  I was rooting for Landy rather than my fellow American, although I didn’t tell Santee that when I interviewed him some years later.  Having lunch with Landy when he visited Hawaii in 1981 was a real treat.  He was a real gentleman, one of the finest men I have ever known. One of my fellow sportswriters recalled that when Landy passed through Hawaii en route to Vancouver in 1954 for the “Mile of the Century,” there was a press lunch for him.  He was introduced to a dozen or so reporters before the lunch and when they were all leaving he thanked everyone by name.  They didn’t have name tags on; he just remembered all their names. No wonder he got to be Governor of Victoria.

Michael Tymn, Wed 29 Mar, 21:36


Thanks for the additional comments and explanations. As for “being in the zone,” I did experience the so-called “runner’s high” a number of times, i.e., when running felt effortless.  There was one time only when I had what seems to have been an out-of-body experience.  I was 39 at the time and sharing the lead in a four-mile race with a college runner. As we hit the half-way mark, we heard our time called out, 9 minutes, 37 seconds. That was about 15 or 20 seconds faster than I had expected, but it felt effortless. I considered picking up the pace and leaving my competition behind, but as soon as I considered that I seemed to be above my body while looking down at the two of us running shoulder to shoulder.  It lasted for only two or three seconds, if that, but I can still picture it.  Upon returning to my body, I began to feel the effort.  It was clearly no longer effortless. We continued to duel the final two miles, but the young runner out-kicked me over the final 100 yards.

I also recall a couple of basketball games in high school when I was “in the zone.” I knew the second the ball left my hands that it was going in the basket. I seemingly didn’t have to set and aim.  I just put the ball up and knew it was going to be a “swisher.”  However, those times were rare.

I once kept a biorhythm chart, plotting my physical, emotional, and mental highs and lows based on my birth date.  I had much doubts about it, but did it as an experiment.  It was difficult to measure highs and lows, but there did seem to be something to it, i.e., a positive correlation between in my running success with highs in cycles, especially the physical, and when all, physical, emotional, mental, were high the performance matched it. But I didn’t keep it up long enough to come to any definite conclusions. I am surprised that I haven’t heard about any studies in this regard. Baseball players clearly have their “hot” streaks and their “cold”  streaks.  It would be interesting to see how those streaks would play out on a biorhythm chart.

I hope you’ll comment more often.

Michael Tymn, Wed 29 Mar, 21:27

Amos, thanks for the link on Matt Fraser.  I watched part of it, but 90 minutes is a bit too long for me in one sitting.  What I did see was a too black and white for me—good and evil spirits only, heaven or no transition at all. All that is not consistent with the teachings I am familiar with, i.e., many levels and many degrees of behavior, not simply good and evil.  However, I’ll get back to watching more of it later and that might further explain where he is coming from. No doubt he has many young followers and what he is giving them may be better than organized religion is providing.

As for Mrs. Sidgwick, I didn’t care for her at all and didn’t even mention her in my book on Mrs. Piper.  She was set on debunking Piper with subconscious theories, although in the end she partly came around to understanding what was happening.  I don’t see her as overshadowing her husband.  I see it the other way around.  We rarely heard anything about him.  It is clear that the other researchers, i.e., Myers, Lodge, Hodgson, etc., respected her, so I may very well be all wet in that regard.  When I visualize her, I think of Eleanor Roosevelt. Again, you may be right.

Michael Tymn, Wed 29 Mar, 21:06

I hesitate to mention Matt Fraser again but I am impressed by him on many fronts.  He has a recent podcast which I will link here:

I never know how people on this blog will react to Matt Fraser so I have a degree of trepidation about mentioning him.  However, for those who may be repulsed by his methods, appearance, demeanor and presentation style, if you choose to look at his recent podcast anyway, I would suggest that you might try to imagine him looking like one of the old psychic investigators of the 1800s.  Imagine him to look like Sir Oliver Lodge, or William James and slow his speech down to a clipped but muffled English drone to make him more acceptable to a generation of 70 and 80-year-olds. Just try to listen to what he has to say, listen to the end and see if it agrees with what many commenters here have been intuiting for years.

Matt Fraser is a mental medium for a young generation of people who are very receptive to a new way of understanding the world of spirits.  He is part of a generation of people who are spiritual but not religious.  If organized religions are disappearing in these times, Matt Fraser may be instrumental in replacing them with a new “religion” for lack of a better word, a belief system free from dogmas and ritual and sacred texts but with a greater understanding of a spirit reality.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 29 Mar, 17:35

Thanks for the link to the SPR Journal.  That is one of the more important volumes because it contains an extensive report by Eleanor Sidgwick about Leonora Piper and contains much detailed information about sessions with Mrs. Piper.  I think that all serious psychic investigators should read that report by Mrs. Sidgwick.

Words fail me to describe Mrs. Sidgwick’s intellectual prowess and abilities.  I think she is much under-rated as a psychic investigator and overshadowed by her husband Henry, Frederic Myers, and Edmund Gurney, all perhaps not as astute as Mrs. Sidgwick in evaluating Mrs. Piper.  I think that Mrs. Sidgwick was not taken in by another woman as the men who investigated Mrs. Piper were charmed by the feminine wiles of Mrs. Piper. 

In another time and place, Mrs. Sidgwick could have been described as a beautiful woman, a and a powerful intellectual.

Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 29 Mar, 17:03

This true story has elements of fast times for running, NDE and Australia.
The background for non Australians is shown in this story:
This is a suburb in Sydney close to where I was staying for past 10 weeks. My father in law was bitten on the foot by a funnel web spider. He was on a farm but close to a doctors (about 2 miles away). He ran in to the doctors in probably 20 minutes. He raced in to the doctor’s room screaming I have been bitten by a funnel web. The doctor said “Don’t be silly. if you had been bitten you would have been dead by now.” The funnel web spider had not pierced the skin on the foot. It has only been since 1981 that we had serum to prevent deaths.
When you talk of NDEs, here they really are NDEs.
I remember a sprinter friend talking about if any would break the four minute mile record of Landy.
This article covers John Landy -

Bruce Williams, Wed 29 Mar, 09:13

My interview with Dr. Jane katra, who left an interesting comment here a day or two ago can be found in the archives at left for March 8, 2011.

Michael Tymn, Tue 28 Mar, 23:51

I do think your analogy, Michael, is valuable and thought-provoking. Thanks very much for your work and insights! It does bring up the contrasts of attuning attention to ones ego’s concerns, or surrendering those for attunement to the higher vibrations of essence or Source/ love, which occurs when there is no personal effort expended. Perhaps the illnesses experienced by various mediums weakened their egos’ hold on their attention and heightened their abilities to tune to their own and others’ soul frequencies. As I evolved from being a psychic healer to a spiritual healer and medium, I went from thinking “There’s a power available, and I can use it,” to “There’s a power available, and I can let it use me.” Different spirits or “soul groups” communicate with different qualities of frequencies, and perhaps different mediums are better able to tune to certain frequencies than others. I know that my remote viewing capacities were at their best when I asked to be of service to science/ asked a higher power to use me. My ego/ fear of failure got out of the way, and I would be most pleased when Jane mind would receive words and descriptive phrases and images that were quite surprising to me, beyond my ordinary vocabulary or ability to draw. I imagine that successful athletes like you, Mike, also experienced being in the zone of effortless “being carried over the finish line?”
In any case, thanks for your presenting the framework for comparing physical and mental excellence with spiritual attunement and interdimensional acuity.

Jane Katra, Tue 28 Mar, 21:48

It’s possible that different abilities of mediums have to do with their attuning to different frequencies and their abilities to do so. For example, if I am tuned to my own mind’s thoughts, fears of failure, or goals, I am unable to be fully attuned to (surrendered to) the higher vibrations of life energy that I and others call love. When involved in healing interactions, I sometimes experience sensations of different “signature frequencies,” subtle variations of intensities and qualities of frequencies which seem to be of different spirits’ energies flowing through me and affecting patients with whom I am entangled during healing.

Jane Katra, Tue 28 Mar, 20:52

I can think of a couple more examples of brain dysfunction as related to mediumship.  You have mentioned Etta Wriedt, D.D. Home, and Leonora Piper as having had a physical illness which might have been causative in some way of their psychic abilities.  I recall that many people who report a Near Death Experience also say that after their experience, (during which their brain may have been affected due to lack of oxygen)  they believe that they have some unusual abilities which could be considered to be be psychic abilities, e.g., intuitive abilities, sensitivities, clairvoyance, artistic abilities, clocks stopping etc.  Another example would be ‘terminal lucidity’ in dying people when as the brain is shutting down, Some people exhibit a return of their mental ability, or ability to speak among other things shortly before death.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Tue 28 Mar, 14:51

Today I have thought of various versions of the comment below. However, from past great conversations (I hold you in high esteem) I have chosen the softer reply. Picture options from the Terminator in the hotel room.

Inherited flaw in brain development puts mediums on the spectrum. Mediums would argue that all could be mediums but there is a block to the natural ability of many. We would not use the term flaw to describe non-mediums. It is all about light - some people are more visible to the spirits and others are not. Those visible to the other side have free will to work with these spirits.
The Imperator group made a few good comments “Now if we cannot sustain the light and use it for giving spiritual teaching and advice and for the accomplishment of the destruction of unpleasant earthly conditions, then we cease to act.” and
“(May 24, 1904.) Dr. Oliver on Rector.
Sitter and Recorder, Miss A. M. R.
A voice sitting. Control, Rector. Communicator, ” Dr.Oliver,” who has been prescribing medically for the sitter.
The following is part of their subsequent conversation :
Dr. O. Yes, Rector is repeating for me my sentences as best he can. Rector is an important personality, for the reason that he knows how to care for the light, how to support it and how to keep it. He is appointed by Imperator to look after it. He knows every organ of the body and knows how to use all the organs that are necessary for him to use, and he knows how to keep the light replenished and how to keep others from using it to the detriment of it. Therefore he is exceedingly important to us, although he is a little old fashioned in his language, but he is learning—as we come over here and find out the light and return to it we are teaching him how to use different language.
page 490

I do agree with Michael’s analogy. I was a sprinter only good for 100 yards. If it was 101 yards then I was no good. (I could say Australians have developed fast speed due to fleeing the number venomous spiders and snakes).
I only do mental mediumship. We tried various techniques within the Spiritualist church to test different abilities. There is a management guru who said Go with your strengths (Marcus Buckingham from memory). Don’t waste your time making a poor physical medium better, go with their mental mediumship strengths. In corporate organisations HR would try to train poor performers to be better.
Acquired inheritance - I do like Kammerer in Koestler’s book The case of the Midwife toad. I read it 20 years ago. The debate divided scientists over the Weismann barrier concept.
Flawed Bruce

Bruce Williams, Tue 28 Mar, 09:40


I know you have mentioned Matt Fraser before, and I think I watched a you-tube about him, but I will have to further check him out.  There does seem to be a hereditary factor involved with mediums, but there also appears to be a factor that involves recovering from a serious disease or sickness. I once had a list of mediums and the diseases that they recovered from, intending to do a blog on that, but I’ve misplaced or misfiled the list and can’t remember all the names. I do recall that Etta Wriedt, D. D. Home, and Leonora Piper were on the list.  It occurred to me that progress in eliminating many of the diseases that plagued the the world a century or two ago might be a prime factor in the decline in mediumship.

Michael Tymn, Tue 28 Mar, 04:55

From Amos O. Doyle:
“I guess the goal of mediumship is to bring forth validated information seemingly from someone no longer living in a physical form.  To the extent that a medium is able to do this, by whatever means, then I suppose the medium has crossed the finish line.”
My experience has been that I have been spontaneously chosen by a number of disembodied spirits, most whom I never met, to bring forth messages to their loved ones, some of whom have been strangers to me. I have learned to take the risks offered to me by various spirits, to pass on messages that I believe the discarnate hoped would ease the grief, educate, contribute to healing, and give meaning to the grieving person. The goal of my mediumship is to carry out the loving intentions of spirits whose goals are also for betterment and healing. I left the field of parapsychology to be fully available as a spiritual, as well as, seemingly, a Spiritist healer, being an instrument of creative active intelligent loving energy which has its own agenda, which seems to be promoting life and evolution of consciousness. Perhaps other mediums’ goals are to serve life and love, as well.

Jane Katra, Tue 28 Mar, 03:18

The comparison between running and mediumship is a good one, I think.  While it also may be that the process of development of other abilities, talents and skills would make a good comparison, e.g., other sports, writing, playing a musical instrument, singing, artistic painting—-running seems somewhat unique in that there is a finish line which is not so clearly defined in these other endeavors. The goal or end point of mediumship or an individual medium may be somewhat vague in comparison to the finish line at the end of a sprint or marathon.

I guess the goal of mediumship is to bring forth validated information seemingly from someone no longer living in a physical form.  To the extent that a medium is able to do this, by whatever means then I suppose the medium has crossed the finish line.  Some mediums are quicker and less encumbered at achieving that goal than others similar to your description, Michael, of abilities of runners.

In my view, the record breaker of mediums today is Matt Fraser.  He seems to exhibit an ease not exhibited by other modern mediums, of contact with thousands of spirits. He is 100% a mental medium who requires no hocus pocus prior to or during contact with the deceased.  He claims that he sees spirits and hears them speak to him as well as feels their injuries and illnesses.  He is able to get names of spirits, a rarity among mediums.  His skill as a medium has developed over a number of years but apparently it was present in him as a young child and he reports that it was an ability of his mother and grandmother.  So, I suppose that suggests some hereditary component associated with this ability, perhaps an inherited flaw in brain development which weakens the brain’s ability to filter or screen reality as is thought by some as its function in normal individuals.  That is, it is not far-fetched to think that mediumship is inherited like sports abilities and maybe to the extent that our brains are dysfunctional we are all mediums.  – AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 27 Mar, 18:16

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