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Why Spirit Messages are Sometimes Twisted, Garbled, and Distorted

Posted on 25 April 2022, 9:10

Although the evidence for spirit communication is overwhelming, it seems well established that messages from the spirit world coming through mediums are often distorted by the medium’s subconscious mind.  Moreover, the messages are altered, twisted, and garbled by the inability of the medium to properly interpret symbolic or pictographic messages, or to grasp ideas which are not familiar to her or words not in her vocabulary. The messages are further garbled by the inability of the spirit communicators to lower their vibrations to the earth frequency or to achieve harmonious conditions, not to mention interference by low-level spirits who are closer to the earth frequency than the more advanced spirits. One of the best references discussing the subconscious aspects in such communication is Swan on a Black Sea, first published in 1965.  It involves messages coming from Winifred Coombe Tennant through the automatic writing of renowned Irish medium Geraldine Cummins (below) between August 1957 and March 1960. In all, there were 40 separate messages, or “scripts.”


While in the earth life, which ended on August 31, 1956 at age 82, Coombe Tennant (hereinafter “Winifred”) was a leader in the women’s suffrage movement, an art patron, a philanthropist, a magistrate for her district in Wales, and a liberal politician, serving as a British delegate to the League of Nations. Thus, she used the pseudonym “Mrs. Willet” in her mediumship work to protect her privacy. Her mediumship was studied extensively by members of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR), including physicist Sir Oliver Lodge, Lord Arthur Balfour, prime minister of England from 1902 to 1905, and his brother, statesman Lord Gerald Balfour. 

The communication with Geraldine Cummins was arranged by William H. Salter, a British lawyer and officer of the SPR. He did not give Winifred’s identity to Cummins and provided only specimens of her handwriting in an envelope to psychometrize by holding the letter to her head. He arranged for Winifred’s two youngest sons, Alex and Henry, to review the messages for factual information and verification. They also had Winifred’s personal diary from which to confirm facts. 

In the first script, on August 28, 1957, Astor, Cummins’s spirit control, instructed her to put the letter to her forehead. “I see her as a very old woman in the eighties, very fragile. She lost a son when he was only a youth. He was killed when he was nineteen or twenty, I think,” Cummins recorded Astor’s words. (Winifred’s first son, Christopher, was killed in World War I.)  Astor said he got the name “Wyn” or “Win,” but he couldn’t get the complete name.  He also got the name “Henry” or “Harry” but wasn’t sure which it was.  He felt that Wyn or Win was too anxious and trying too hard to show him different memories, thus obstructing the communication. 

The following day, in the second script, Astor communicated that “Win” was more at ease and explained that she began to get automatic writing when she was a child, but it wasn’t until years later, after she was married, that the power greatly increased. Astor said others were there and got Cummins’s name, Geraldine, but corrected himself and said it was the male equivalent, Gerald. After some conversation, it was determined that it was Lord (Gerald) Balfour, who had died in 1944.  (Indications are that Winifred and Lord Balfour had become intimate at some point in his study of her and that Henry was their son.)

Astor then relayed the following message from “Win”: “There comes to me from the earth such a feeling of oppression, of worrying, or anxiety, of fear of death, and all is derived from non-belief. If they could only but realize half the glory, even a fragment of the peace of this life I now experience. Oh! If I could only make them accept it, there might at least be some rationality. Rationalists are irrational, and it makes such a confusion, creates so much fear, when death, that deliverer approaches.”

It was on the third script that Astor got the names Fred and Win.  “No, she says, they are not the names of a man and a woman,” Cummins recorded as coming from Astor. “Put these two names together and you will get mine – Fredwin – she shakes her head. Yes, I see, it is Winfred…..” Astor then explained that Winifred wanted to try to communicate directly through her (Geraldine’s) hand (rather than have Astor relay the messages).  Winifred achieved direct communication and explained that the confusion in her first message “was due to my being in a sense compelled to select from your memories while you were selecting from mine.”  She said that confusion between the names Henry and Harry was a result of Cummins’s memory of her (Cummins’s) brother Harry, who was killed in the Great War, being “stirred up” when she (Winifred) attempted to get Henry’s name through. 

“I see now how we can wander and get lost in the memories of the automatist when we so-called dead try to communicate,” Winifred added. “This kind of mutual selection is bound to be what my friend Gerald (Balfour) calls a ‘mixed grill.’ But in the communication of the second message to W.H., whose letter is beside you, I meant what I said. I was clear and collected, as clear as if I was a magistrate sitting on the Bench giving [her] verdict.  I was one, you know, who sat on the hard bench.”  The second script referred to by Winifred included a message to William H. Salter (W.H.) telling him that he had a free hand in publishing from her diary or other references from her earth life. She added: “My memory is still rather in tatters, but I seem to recollect that I left restrictions as to what should be published.  Scrap them. I am convinced – no, I think it is ‘concerned’ – W.H.S. – that people should believe.”

In the fourth script, Astor returned and said that Gerald Balfour was with him.  He explained that Balfour was the leader of a group on their side and that Winifred was acting as a kind of liaison officer for the group.  Balfour communicated that Winifred was extremely nervous and still struggling to adapt to the spirit world.  “As in the case of very old people still in the physical body, those who have experienced the full span of life on earth when they come here recall most easily fragmentary memories of the distant past and fail to recollect near events,” Balfour wrote through Cummins’s hand. “As [Winifred] says quite correctly, we seem to swim in the sea of the automatist’s subliminal mind, and any strong current may sweep us away from the memory objectives we have in view, before we attempt to communicate.” Balfour suggested that Winifred could better establish herself by attempting to write more about her early life.

There was then a change of handwriting as Winifred returned and gave the name “Morgan.” She immediately corrected herself and said to add W. G. on to Morgan, the result being Morganwg, which is Welsh for Glamorganshire, where she lived many of her early years with her husband and sons.  She then struggled to get her husband’s family home, Cadox Lodge, first getting “Cad,” then “Cadre,” “O.” “Ox,” “Cadre Ox,” and finally Cadox Lodge. “How crammed is one’s life with detail!” she communicated. “How difficult to pick out from the mass what signifies in memory. Cadox Lodge presents all that mass to me.”  She recalled Dorothy, Eveleen, and Fred, two of her sisters-in-law and brother-in-law, visiting the lodge.  (Fred was Frederic W. H. Myers, one of the pioneers of psychical research who had communicated extensively through Cummins in prior years following his death in 1901.)

In the fifth script, on September 24, 1957, Astor opened with a comment that “the lady with the darting mind” was with him and was prepared to write.  He said that she identifies herself as “Mrs. Wills.” (the first attempt at getting the name “Willet” through the medium’s mind.) Winifred then took over and said she was directed by a “Group” there –“people who once lived at Cambridge, or were connected with it,” and that the group wanted her to explain that “there is a succession of me’s throughout my life – psychic units all building up.  The outward semblance, the personality varying, as each psychic unit acts its part upon the stage, then passes on. But behind it is one’s real self, fundamental, greater than its personality. That is what the Group here say. It is what is permanent.” 

Given the Cambridge clue, along with the name Gerald Balfour, and similarity of the names Wills and Willet, Cummins began to suspect that it was Mrs. Willet communicating. She had read Lord Balfour’s study of Mrs. Willet many years earlier as well as a 1946 book, The Personality of Man, by physicist G. N. M. Tyrrell, who had devoted a chapter of his book to Mrs. Willet.  However, they did not reveal her true identity and Cummins said she was unaware of it and that she knew nothing of Winifred’s family or personal history.

Winifred continued to provide veridical information, including names, places, and experiences that were confirmed by her two sons or from her diary – information that Cummins could not possibly have known without a team of detectives digging extensively into her history and having access to the diary. Some of the experiences involved trivial matters that no detective could have uncovered. For example, in the 19th script, she recalled her dislike of a prayer asking “to deliver us from sudden death,” going on to explain that she preferred sudden death to a long illness leading to death.  Her son Alex recalled his mother telling him of her dislike of this prayer. 

In the 36th script, Winifred explained that when the messages began two years earlier, the Group had appointed Edmund Gurney as her assistant.  Gurney, one of the founders of the SPR, had died in 1888. “They considered that the difficulties were considerable for me in presenting successfully through G. C. (Geraldine Cummins) anything that would make an impression on an intellectual public….We were to work double harness, as it were, he to provide the force, I to be the actual communicator…He shaped the outlines of certain scripts I have written via G.C.  I provided the memories and was the communicator who directed the pen. But there were occasions when he trespassed on to the territory of my mind. In fact, his mind, in certain instances, blending with mine, may have, as he admits himself, taken away from the revelation of what was characteristic of me. I want to make it clear that occasionally his keen sense of humour, was too flippant and cheap in character. These I disown, and I ask that in any analysis of these writings, due allowance is made for the Gurney blend in the style and approach of certain of the scripts. There is of course a considerable reside of myself in them. Also, on my own I wrote several intimate personal letters [to Henry] that were entirely me. I am glad to perceive in your dear letter, Henry, now before me, that you recognize something of myself in the last scripts received by you.”  (Many of the later scripts involved messages to her son Henry, who did not believe in life after death, in attempt to help him believe.)

“On the other hand,” Winifred continued, “I must honestly say that I, as a newcomer to this level of life, would, I believe, owing to the great difficulties of communication, have almost totally failed, if it had not been for Edmund’s experienced assistance and driving force.”

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: May 9 (more on the Cummins-Willett scripts)  


Your comment about the trance control reading your questions before you ask them was mentioned in Rev George Vale Owens Part 1 Lowlands of Heaven page 31.
Are you able to see me as I sit here writing?

We do see you, but with other eyes than yours.
Our eyes are not accustomed to the effect of light as you have it on earth Our light is of a different kind, a sort of interpenetrating element by which we are able to discern your inmost mind, and that is it to which we speak—to you yourself and not, of course, to your outward ears So it is yourself we see, and not your material body, which is but an enveloping robe When we touch you, therefore, you do not feel the touch physically but spiritually, and if you wish to apprehend our touch, you will have to keep this in mind and look deeper than the body and its mechanical brain.

Bruce Williams, Sun 8 May, 06:09

Bill et alia,
Strange that I wandered in to this blog and Marcellus (he liked the correction seems to be a good reason. I might start with a story in keeping with the distorted theme. Writing is preferred as not interpreted by the medium. I received one recent message which started Myers here - I was writing a section on Myers. It could have been more likely Ayers here. The content I was writing at the time may change the expression given. I am more on a conversation with Ayers than Myers.

I have seen Sidney Kirkpatrick’s Youtube (having read the book) as sent by Lissett (Eilleen grand daughter). Sorry to see that the Parapsychology group are in trouble. Thanks for those references.

The Syrsha,” (reputedly a long dead Egyptian priest) is interesting as they have good contact with the Egyptians (Cayce had an Egyptian connection as well).
I was also surprised to see your IoT reference (I mention that I write cybersecurity articles for PenTest magazine, old copies are on Researchgate and have good contacts with a IoT security leader = we have similar interests (apart from sitting around tombs smile).
Strange things are becoming normal on Michael’s blog.

Bruce Williams, Sun 8 May, 05:55


Did Andrew Jackson Davis truly anticipate Wallace and Darwin?

I’m not convinced.  His words are quoted out of context from one book of 30. What did he really mean by “ issue of the stupendous system of nature, whose myriad forms, substances, essences, and principles have, step by step, ascended the spiritual path or universal progression…”?

In particular, what did he mean by “spiritual path or universal progression?”  I don’t believe he was referring to random mutation with these words.

Further, his use of “Deity” (capitalized) in “man is not the result of any special creation of Deity” doesn’t imply an absence of deity.

His words do seem opposed to the Judeo-Christian creation myth that was prevalent in Western societies before Darwinism and related theories gained sway, however.

Davis very obviously can’t be aligned with those of a reductionist materialist persuasion, either.

Maybe I’ll find the time to study some of his writings in detail, but I’d prefer to have a conversation, one way or another, with the departed personality who, so far, has only said to me:  “There’s nothing left of me!”

I’m not going to assume communications his writings were based on weren’t sometimes twisted, garbled, and distorted or that some his views on the nature of reality and self haven’t changed since his death or aren’t still changing.

As to “the origin of species”:  As an enthusiast of Seth’s teachings, I note that Seth spoke of this a number of times. His views were definitely not aligned with those of Darwin or Wallace, and as an “energy personality essence no longer physically embodied” he was no reductionist/ materialist, while the subtitle of _Seth Speaks_ is “The Eternal Validity of the Soul”, hardly aligned with William Provine’s points.

David:  I’m curious about the “manifold empirical evidence of spiritual, psychical and parapsychological phenomena” you mention.

I have yet to read all of the entries to the Bigelow Institute of Consciousness Studies’ essay contest yet, but have cruised through some of them. I wouldn’t use the phrase “manifold empirical” to cover the “best evidence” offered, even if some of that evidence is quite convincing.

Of course I don’t feel any strong need to back up my own beliefs, developed as a result of a lifetime of odd experiences and colored by a number of written sources, not just the Seth material, with manifold empirical evidence.

“Empirical” is the sticking point for me. It has endless associations with a dualistic view of self and reality and a science that rests on assumptions rarely examined by anyone except philosophers of science.

Bill Ingle, Sat 7 May, 16:11


Thanks for the information.  I have one or two Massey books, but will have to search for them when things quiet down here.  They are very hectic at the moment

One reader emailed me and asked if the distortions in the direct voice are as much or as many as in trance voice.  I’ve often wondered about that myself and indications are they are not as great, as to some extent the medium’s mind is being by-passed.  The same goes with table raps and table turning.  There is supposedly less distortion with them since the medium’s mind is not interpreting.  However, there is still the question of how advanced or evolved the communicator is.  Since there seems to be an inverse relationship between ability to communicate and advancement in the spirit world, we are left to wonder if the communicating spirit really knows what he/she is talking about.

Michael Tymn, Fri 6 May, 22:52


Andrew Jackson Davis’s communications regarding human evolution: “…man is not the result of any special creation of Deity, but an issue of the stupendous system of nature, whose myriad forms, substances, essences, and principles have, step by step, ascended the spiritual path or universal progression,” seems to be a flowery and generalized version of Darwin’s theory.

This is that a non-teleological, purposeless, meaningless undirected mechanical process of random hereditary variations (mutations) filtered by environmentally determined natural selection has resulted in all the great complexities and triumphs of human beings, and also all of the living natural world.

We should realize the deep implications of this “consensus reality” accepted today as a sort of secular religion allowing intellectuals to pretend they understand the origin of mankind without the need for God or for that matter any spiritual reality at all. This is the essence of the prevelant reductionistic materialism of the mainstream today.

This Darwinism is the essence of materialism, and was aptly summarized by one of it’s leading spokesmen, William Provine:” “Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent.
.....The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them”

These clear implications of Darwinism are of course untenable due to contradicting the vast and manifold body of empirical evidence for the existence of Spirit, that has been accumulated in the last century and a half. Then also by clear implication, some other and inherently teleological (that is, Mind-containing) processes must absolutely have been the causes of the creative process of “evolutionary” change prevailing over the hundreds of millions of years and even billions of years during which Life has developed.

There are many deep connections and contradictions between the spiritualistic understandings of human existence discussed in these pages, and the consensus Godless materialist reality (centered on Darwinism) espoused by our intellectual elite.

Fortunately Darwinism today has scientifically been essentially demolished - it is dead, and the existence of some sort of very long-term teleological design process has becoming apparent - due to a pile of new evidence in biochemistry, paleontology (the fossil record), systematics (the relationships between organisms), genetics, physics (in the existence of fine-tuning), and other fields, so that the manifold empirical evidence of spiritual, psychical and parapsychological phenomena is not the only reason for Darwinism’s bankruptcy. Of course the social inertia of our deeply entrenched materialist institutions such as academia continue the Darwinistic myth, but sooner or later it will change. Or so I would like to believe.

David Magnan, Fri 6 May, 18:07


In 1981, living in Boston, I came across a yard sale at a large building in nearby Brookline.

This turned out to house a revivified version of Marcellus (not Marcus) Ayer’s First Spiritual Temple..

Skeptical but curious, I attended weekly Q&A sessions with light trance medium Reverend Stephen Fulton for some months. I came away convinced that something unusual was taking place, especially as “Syrsha,” (reputedly a long dead Egyptian priest) who Fulton accessed, would look at me through Fulton’s eyes and answer my questions before I voiced them.  (Fulton died in 2017. The organization sold the Brookline building and moved to Cape Cod.)

The next year I chose to meditate for the first time on steps leading from a tomb that I later learned housed the mortal remains of Mary Baker Eddy, in Mt. Auburn Cemetery.  My eyes closed, I “saw” a persistent image of the cover of _Seth Speaks_ by Jane Roberts.

I stopped, hiked into Harvard Square, and discovered the book existed.  I purchased it, but would have dismissed it if not for this odd experience, while my interactions with Syrsha had opened me to the existence of “channeling.”

Regarding Eileen Garrett and Edgar Cayce:  You may already be aware of Sidney Kirkpatrick’s exploration of their encounter.  He lectures on this here:

The lecture was sponsored by the Parapsychology Foundation (founded by Eileen J. Garrett and Frances Payne Bolton), and is currently experiencing some difficulties:

Ms. Garrett was extensively tested in a Faraday cage by John Hammond, Jr., in a location less than a mile from me, Hammond Castle Museum. (She was a close friend of Hammond’s wife, Irene Fenton Hammond.) She was also tested in a Faraday cage by Andrija Puharich when he was the director of research of the Round Table Foundation of Glen Cove, Maine.

Although Andrew Jackson Davis came to my attention recently, I tend to jump around in time.  Yesterday, I received the name “Carew Raleigh.”

Regarding telecommunications:  Instead of writing this, I really should be focusing on work related to GSMA’s IoT SAFE.  (I find the kind of communications discussed here much more interesting.)

Bill Ingle, Fri 6 May, 17:10

Bill and team,
Bill’s comment was both a surprise and not a surprise at the same time. The comment -referring to the Poughkeepsie Seer Andrew Jackson Davis He eventually moved to Boston,  placing him there at the time of William James’ investigations.  He knew Marcus Ayers, a prominent Boston area businessman and spiritualist who used his wealth to build a large temple that still stands in Boston’s Back Bay.

I will try to explain the background. I receive messages often prefaced by Stand by for transmission. These are my corporate messages than the normal. A few years ago I was instructed to write a book on the After Life. During this my ghost writer team (in the true meaning) directed me to the meeting of Edgar Cayce and Eilleen Garrett. Dueling psychics. I wrote to both ARE and Eilleen Garrett’s grand daughter but only she replied. Two emails is my limit- if no reply then time to move on. She did not have the material (she also wanted it) as ARE considered it confidential. I then found the material.

However my instructions used the term team for Eilleen Garrett. I came across Ayers First Spiritualist Temple as hosting Eilleen. Was this the team mentoned? I had been shown a image of the head of the ghost team who was described as an old Spiritualist. I was also trained as a Spiritualist but wanted (as others) to find out higher material than the well wishes of those who have past. On the FST website there was the image of the person I had seen. The spirits knew that I would be at the point of finding this about one month before seeing the photo.

I wrote to them and mentioned about the oil that was mentioned as being placed in the time capsule. I sent them the scripts (as I had done with ARE and EG grand daughter).

The FST website mentioned that the oil came from Egypt and my information added to the story. These details were known to Ayers and as with any scripts, I send them off for a hit rate response (80% is usual). I act like a psychic detective and then located Gerald Massey as Ayers contact. I was given clues that I followed but the conclusion could be wrong. No reply from the FST. My two email rule.

I then placed Massey in Boston giving a few lectures on Egypt (there were about 1000 Spiritualists in Boston) before the temple was built. I believe Ayers was told to build it from angels. Ayers placed the FST church as outside of the association of Spiritualist churches. It was a trance based church.

The certain type of oil was significant as Massey knew about the use of this oil as it was used to bless a temple. Horus was the focus as the oil connected to the after life (this is a very short version).

Imagine my surprise to see Ayers mentioned in this forum. I have the scripts in my slowly being written book. I can fully appreciate being given information that you need to check and if anyone has the actual connection between Massey and Ayers, please let me know.

I found out that Massey also toured Australia (where I live) and was hosted by Spiritualists in Melbourne. He would have met Thomas Stanford (part of the Stanford who set up the university).

I wandered in to this forum chasing a reference in one of Michael’s books. I did not expect to find many learned commentators so I am very grateful for these comments. 

Bruce Williams, Fri 6 May, 03:13

Thanks to all for the comments here.  Due to some computer problems, which have not been completely resolved, I have not been able to respond to a couple of them or to view the links mentioned.

As for Andrew Jackson Davis, it might be noted that he (or the spirits communicating through him) spoke of evolution before Darwin and Wallace brought it to the public attention in 1859. Of course, Wallace doesn’t get much credit because of his spiritualistic beliefs. 

In his 1852 book, The Great Harmonia, Davis wrote that man evolved from animals.  This was six years before Darwin and Wallace announced their theory and seven years before Darwin’s book was released. “…man is not the result of any special creation of Deity, but an issue of the stupendous system of nature, whose myriad forms, substances, essences, and principles have, step by step, ascended the spiritual path or universal progression,” he wrote (apparently automatic writing). “On the summit of this boundless empire of life stands man in his ordinary or rudimental state – a reservoir of everything beneath him, and the splendid representative of all the perfections and energies of the grosser worlds of life which move in nature’s broad dominion.”

Michael Tymn, Thu 5 May, 21:33


Thanks for your comment. I will look for Dr. Lockhart’s book.

I discovered that Davis, who lived from 1826 to 1910, was a bit like an earlier version of Edgar Cayce (Cayce, after reviewing one of Davis’ books handed to him by his son Hugh Lynn Cayce, said: “This sounds so much like me it gives me the creeps.”)

Among other activities, Davis wrote 30 books; what we call Spiritualism was one of a number of topics. He dispensed healing advice and obtained a medical degree at what was a fairly advanced age for his era.  He eventually moved to Boston,  placing him there at the time of William James’ investigations.  He knew Marcus Ayers, a prominent Boston area businessman and spiritualist who used his wealth to build a large temple that still stands in Boston’s Back Bay.

Apparently, his life took an unusual turn early on, when a traveling mesmerist passed through the hamlet he lived in and “mesmerized” him.

I’m not likely to engage in a serious study of Davis and his writings (his library exists at the A.R.E. headquarters in Virginia Beach, VA; all of his books, long out of print, exist in free digital form on-line; a few have been republished), but he would not have come to my attention without some relevance to my (part-time) “inner” activities.

I am interested in communicating with him, however, and exploring the “There’s nothing left of me!” statement.

Seth has a take on the after death transition (and its variety) that includes a reversal of the relationship between the “outer personality” and the “inner self” but each of us must also have an awareness of this in the area of our minds that existed prior to our births, if we can but access it.

Bill Ingle, Thu 5 May, 17:08

An interesting talk for the group, I don’t necessarily endorse everything this guy has to say but it may clear up some anomalies in spiritualism as above or the guy could have a few screws loose, you decide if you like.

Gavin Doyle, Thu 5 May, 14:27

Dear Bill Ingle,

Your comment is very interesting. Commenting on just one aspect: I think it will be possible to understand the being who says nothing is left of him as meaning that he is conscious of being-there, of being a ‘simple bare consciousness’, a sort of empty presence, a bit like an adult baby, if that’s a conceivable notion, aware, but empty of his own thought or awareness of the world-around, unaware of any ‘otherness’. It’s a Heideggerian concept, as known in our era, but it is also surely similar to Avicenna’s notion, more than a millennium before Heidegger, of a ‘floating man’, a ‘Who’ who is aware that he has awareness and is present to himself (nothing though he be), but has no other content of mind. He is ‘there’ but not there in relationship to anything else, for there is no other ‘thing else’.

This is not our usual way of conceiving our own consciousness, of course, our ‘Dasein’ (Being-there), but it is real (in an idealist, not materialist, way), once the concept/percept dawns in the mind.

This, I assure all, is not gobbledegook, but it does take some musing-out before the idea flowers in the dawning sunlight of the mind. I try to expound it on page 140 of Dr Maureen Lockhart’s book ‘The Subtle Energy Body’, Inner Traditions International, Rochester, Vermont, 2010, which is sold out, but is now available free online somewhere or other. I wrote substantial parts of that book.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Thu 5 May, 09:20

I like to imagine that if I were retired, I’d be able to spend more time developing my “communication with invisible beings” skills but whether I’d have the perseverance to do so or not is an open question.

I tend to get “visuals” and mere snippets—a few words, sometimes a complete sentence or two, and typically not when I’m expecting it, although I can sometimes trace a connection to something I was consciously focused on.

(Once, as I was reading _The Devil’s Chessboard_, which is about Allen Dulles, a pipe smoker, a friend—a professional clairvoyant—and I both noticed the distinct aroma of pipe tobacco smoke as we watched television.  I searched outside—was someone walking by, smoking a pipe?—but found no one, while the aroma was confined to my apartment.)

Recently and quite unexpectedly I got something very brief about Andrew Jackson Davis.

I’d heard of “the Poughkeepsie Seer” but knew next to nothing about him, so I found what I could on-line.

While doing this, it seemed as though I briefly connected with his shade, who said:  “There’s nothing left of me!”

I found this puzzling, a bit like someone saying:  “I’m not here.”

If I were much more practiced (and if this was more than just some odd statement from my subconscious) I’d do my best to get much more.

I have no difficulty whatsoever understanding that spirit messages are sometimes twisted, garbled, and distorted…

Bill Ingle, Thu 5 May, 00:57

Here is Matt Fraser bringing through a name of a miscarried baby. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Tue 3 May, 00:05

There have often been discussions about the ability of mediums to discern names of communicating spirits.  If one is knowledgeable of the modus operandi of many mediums then one can understand that not all mediums receive their information in the same way.  There is a range of abilities to discern the names of spirits.  Mediums often say that they may see, hear, feel, smell and taste things that provide information about the communicating spirit but not all mediums have all of those abilities.  Much of the information is always subject to misinterpretation by the medium. Names are especially difficult if the medium e.g. George Anderson, relies on symbols to get the name.  The interpretation of the symbol is based upon what the medium has experienced in life and therefore the medium is limited by his own experience.  Those mediums who are clairaudient are better able to get names as they actually hear the name. Matt Fraser and Pearl Curran are examples among many mediums who had no trouble transmitting names from spirits as they actually heard the name in their head.  Mediums who do automatic writing or those who use a Ouija board actually write the name down. People such as Leonora Piper or Elaine Thorpe who are possessed by a spirit or Lurancy Vennum, voice the name of the communicating spirit as the spirit speaks through them.  And then there is Leslie Flint a ‘direct voice’ medium who by means of an “ectoplasmic voice box” was able to record spirits speaking and giving their names. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 2 May, 14:48

David and Don,
What it is to find others with similar reading habits and interests. I am currently reading Both Sides of the Veil by Anne Manning Robbins who occupies a privileged position - she was friends with Mrs Piper before William James. She provides a person in the street and is in later in contact with her old boss Augustus Martin (the General) who held very senior government positions (Police and Water . We have Phinuit giving advice, a friend Hiram Hart, Imperator who all give advice that shows advance knowledge of events to happen. I find myself that this is the case. They can see a little way ahead (like sitting on a hill watching your progress down the road). My second best example was being told of the internet in early 1990s and as I am a telecommunications engineer I had trouble understanding how it work work. I look for evidence in the communications and also the quality of those reporting. I look at these books with my own experience. All I can say is that the Cummins scripts still continue today. My scripts had material that those who planted the items in a time capsule knew but those who were digging up the time capsule would need to check. So I need to check the details which in my case I get clear communications (names are sometimes clear) but they send an image as backup. All weird but you learn to understand their methods.
Don would get communication by attracting his attention - my grandmother used to say when the clocks go flying you know someone is upset with you (she did swear a little so upset was not her actual word smile). She understood communication but my mother could communicate far better. Mind you that these gifts were not advertised. To my surprise, this group is very receptive to the unusual.

Bruce Williams, Mon 2 May, 10:33

With the Cummins communications you have given some excellent examples of one of the more puzzling characteristics of the communications coming through psychic mediums being distorted is their often great difficulty in getting names correctly.

Another suggested hypothesis for this is based on the great likelihood that the reading, writing and understanding of words, especially names, must be a neural process, the function of certain brain structures. Naturally they no longer support the spirit or soul after it has left the body. Accordingly, when out of the body in other spiritual realms, the spirit would have great difficulty in naming names. This is because absent the neural brain structures the consciousness or awareness or idea of the identity of a unique person can no longer automatically be associated with the sound of the persons name and the shapes and identifications of the letters making up the name.

The spirit would be aware of and identify another spirit through direct psychic perception, telepathy or other paranormal modalities - sense their essence so to speak, and have no need for names.

The following account is another example, one that is very much in line with this hypothesis:

“From the 1922 book “Past and Present with Mrs. Piper” by Anne Manning Robbins, a friend of Leonora Piper - on page 49 of the book we start to read an interesting sketch of life after death, told in trance on May 24, 1904 by Leonora Piper through automatic writing (which the book states was used almost exclusively by Piper between 1903 and 1908, rather than verbal trance speaking). The source dictated as if it were some deceased spirit:

“And the feeling of ecstasy is beyond description, and no spirit that ever returned to earth could begin to describe it for the understanding of the mortal mind. And then I was surrounded by friends, by acquaintances, by old war veterans, by my intimate friends whom I know, members of my family and all, surrounded by them, welcoming me. Why, I felt as though I should be enveloped by them, the delight was so great, but when I tried to call them by name I was at a loss to do so. They had to tell me who they were. I knew their faces, not one failed to me. I knew them and understood them well. I saw them and recognized them, but to call them by name, believe me, I could not. And when I tried to speak I found instead of it being an effort and difficult for me to speak, I found that my thoughts were understood, actually understood, and their thoughts were returned to me. There was a perfect communion between us.”“

This hypothesis if true would also appear to be another fairly strong piece of evidence against “super-psi” as an explanation for mediumistic communications with the deceased. Why would the subconscious mind of a medium choose to fake a phenomenon that would be later explained as an expected artifact of the nature of the physical brain, spirits, and the psychic communication chain?

David Magnan, Mon 2 May, 00:13

Hi Don,
How fortunate you are to be living in one of the most beautiful areas of the United States. In my younger days I wanted to move to Asheville North Carolina in the Blue Ridge Mountains but apparently that was not part of my life’s plan.  I am glad to hear that your book is about to be published.  I wish you good luck with its distribution and sales.

I have been moved by Mark Laita’s videos of people of Appalachia.  I can’t help thinking about them from a spiritual perspective.  I can’t put into words what impact these videos has had on me and how they bring to my mind the meaning of life on earth and what is gained or lost in the lives each of us live.  There is too much in these stories of the Appalachian people for me to fully contemplate. The comparison between those lives and the silly lives of Hollywood and television personalities and the narcissism of politicians points out the frivolousness of the culture and society of mainstream America today.

This is not a forum to be political but a few million dollars of the billions of dollars given to other countries would go a long way to help the people of Appalachia.  Just a few cottage industries developed by the “richest people in the world” would give work and meaning to the lives of those people.  Illicit drug usage is almost universal among those people and has destroyed most of their lives.  I don’t understand why, as a people who are supposed to be good and caring about their fellow man, we are ignoring the people of Appalachia. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Sun 1 May, 16:17


Apologies for interrupting the absolutely wonderful post that was your “interruption.”

My wife and I live essentially in Appalachia—-we’re on top of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and from our front yard, look out at the Appalachian Mountains across the valley. It ain’t the city.

While of a totally different mindset than many of our neighbors, we’ve found that, even in these turbulent times, it’s possible to get along civilly as long as we keep the fundamental underlying “kinship” in mind. Not always easy, but it can be done.

Don Porteous, Sun 1 May, 14:45

Good morning Bruce…

Sorry for the delay in responding—it’s been a busy time here. I had a bit of difficulty in following your train of thought at first, but think I have the gist of it now. The “official attitude” you ran into still seems, lamentably, to be more the norm than the exception and I doubt that it will be going away any time soon.

My own “contact experience” (which I related here some time ago, so I’ll be brief) was not as in-depth as yours, but was more than adequate to give me full confidence that the phenomena we discuss here are unquestionably real.

There are three chapters in my book which deal specifically with mediumship. I was working on this material over an extended period sometime in the 2012-2013 timeframe. My normal process was to do the reading/note-taking during the day, and to “think” about the material in the early-morning hours while lying in bed. In one corner of my bedroom was a TV facing the bed. After some months of being involved with the mediumship material, I began to notice occasional crackling, or electronic-type noises emanating from the TV-corner. The frequency of this noise increased as time went on. Finally, while lying on my back at two or three AM one night, pondering whether my take on a particular question (I’ve forgotten what it was) was on track or not—-there was a loud “bang” on the headboard above me and to my right—-followed immediately by a similar bang on the headboard above me and to my left. Naturally, this set off a train of speculation in my head, but no firm conclusions.

The following morning, I went into my office to write. While my computer was warming up, I was musing on the same question that had occupied me the previous night—-when, in a mirror-image performance, there was a loud “bang” on the top of my desk to my left—-followed immediately by a bang on the desktop to my right.

ONE occurrence—-I can put down to chance. TWO, each with what seemed to be “contextual relevance” is all the “proof” that I personally need.

Don Porteous, Sun 1 May, 14:34

Since there is a lull in this thread, perhaps I might go off on a tangent and offer a link to an interesting website called “Soft White Underbelly” done by Mark Leita.  Mr. Leita is a photographer who has complied many videos of interviews he has done with people living far from the mainstream culture of America.  His video set of people living in Appalachia I found especially touching and informative.  His portraiture of those he interviews is exceptional and tastefully shows the reality of the people he interviews without a photoshop touch-up but the portraits show great respect and love for each individual, no matter how horrible their life might have been and how fate, time and experience has molded their features.

On the surface it might seem that these videos have nothing to do with topics discussed on this blog.  But from a higher perspective if one will think in terms of a consciousness inhabiting, in this case, a human form, one might be better able to understand God’s love for all creatures great and small.  I can’t help loving all of these people for their ability to withstand—-or not—-the adversities presented to them in their lives and I can imagine that each of them is embraced by loving arms when they enter the next life.  – AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Sat 30 Apr, 20:13

Thank you, Bruce Williams, for sharing with us all the fact that beings now in what we call the afterlife know of the contents of the time capsule. (I hope I am correctly understanding your meaning.)

The contents of such a time capsule would seem at least on a par with the Cross Correspondences as proof of the survival in another universe of beings formerly alive in ours, and on a comparable level, perhaps the same level, seeming to its inhabitants just as ‘solid’ as our universe seems to us. Let us hope many become convinced. Our troubled world needs both the assurances and the warnings such revelations would provide.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Thu 28 Apr, 08:47

Would appreciate a catch up. I was directed to write a certain book which was wanted by After Life Inc (their term). It was a departure from my normal medium activities. The information given was focused and I think correct but fell on deaf ears. It was details unknown to the public and required research by the current leaders to confirm. It was proof of survival by the foundation leaders in Boston USA in 1880s with an item placed in a time capsule which was recently opened up. A bit of a mystery placing the people in to thier sequence of events. It was similar to the Swan on the Black Sea with trivia that required research to confirm. Those on the other side knew the story and wanted to use it to prove their identity.

I liked the heading of this topic-messages are twisted, garbled or distorted. Even when they are clear they also require understanding and knowledge by the medium.
I give permission for the editor to send you my email if it is usual practice not to post them in comments. I think that we have similar interests.

Bruce Williams, Thu 28 Apr, 04:55


Thank you for your comments. I can empathize with your problem in “trying to include too much” in your writings. While my own book is far from short (451 pages in its “slimmed down” version)—-the material that’s NOT in the book is far more imposing, with my stack of folders full of notes being about 15 inches high. Hardly surprisingly, categorization and organization was key to sorting it all out…

Would be interested in sharing a war story or two regarding your “communications”...

Don Porteous, Wed 27 Apr, 16:48

I enjoyed your comment very much. I have the electronic version of Rev G Vale Owens four book set but I am awaiting his printed book Facts and the Future Life to arrive this week. I also like the Imperator teachings and agree that knowledge is the key.
We are both working on books (I don’t know how Michael is so productive).
The problem I find is trying to include too much. I have no problems with writing technical articles on cybersecurity but writing on the After Life is interesting. I received some knowledge (my own messages) but yearn for more.

Bruce Williams, Wed 27 Apr, 07:53

As something of a sidebar to the above blog, I might mention that the Palm Sunday Case, which also involved “Mrs. Willet,” was summarized in my blog of February 12, 2018, which is in the archives at left. (Scroll down past the first blog there.)

Good to hear that Don is back with us and feeling younger than ever.  Also, good to have Newton back.

I know what Amos is referring to relative to the on-line encyclopedia, which seems to have debunking all psychic and spiritual matters as an objective. As I recall, it says something to the effect that Winifred and Geraldine knew each other in the earth life. In the introduction to the “Swan” book, Geraldine says she did not know anyone from the Coombes Tennant family.  One can read that to mean she knew no member of the family other than Winifred, but I don’t think that was the intent of her statement.

As Bruce suggests, the title of the book is something of a stretch.

Michael Tymn, Tue 26 Apr, 05:10

Re Wikipedia if you want a real laugh read their latest entry on rising medium to the stars Tyler Henry. It smells of hysterical fear and desperation.

MickeyD, Mon 25 Apr, 22:18

Greetings all…

Finally back from another of my ridiculously prolonged absences…this time due to some major surgery, some unexpected complications, and a fairly lengthy recovery. Am now back to nearly normal (although my wife might question exactly what that means…)

Like Eric, I haven’t yet read this present blog—but did just take a look at Michael’s eloquent “cri de couer” in the previous installment. As one of Michael’s mates in the 80-plus club, many of his sentiments ring a distinctly familiar chord.

I’m presently in process of re-reading one of the cornerstone pieces of the literature on the afterlife, G. Vale Owens’ 1920-ish four-book series known collectively as “The Life Beyond the Veil.” It’s not one of my absolute favorites (I wouldn’t rank the teachings as on a par with those from Imperator, for instance) but it does have its moments. Two points in particular stand out in the early teachings from “Astriel” (the first to appear) and his successor “Zabdiel.” The first comes in several references to the fact that progression in the afterlife comes (if not exclusively, at least typically) following the increased acquisition of “knowledge.” The second comes in the admission (as universally from every other communicator I’ve encountered)that no matter how advanced they might be, NO spirit communicator has more than a smidgeon of the knowledge that will ultimately be available.

While growing up, I’m afraid that I was nowhere near the admirably-habited individual that Michael was…at least some aspects of the hedonistic lifestyle (the brewers’ arts come first to mind) got a ready share of my attention. That all changed with thudding immediacy when I became fully aware of the solid factual basis of many of the phenomena that are discussed in this forum. From that point on, the pursuit of information—the pursuit of “knowledge” in the field—became my driving obsession (leading, of course, to my book—which should be published within a month or two).

Leading to my underlying point: As Michael, myself, and others of our age-ilk get deeper into what some may call our “dotage”—that dotage takes on a completely different complexion for someone who can retain a healthy interest in the questions that drive us all. For myself, I can truly say that (intellectually, at least) I’ve never felt younger in my life!

Don Porteous, Mon 25 Apr, 18:38

Is there anyone brave enough to try to correct the Wikipedia pages on Tennant and Cunmmins?  Try if you will and you will be shot down in a heartbeat.- AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 25 Apr, 17:47

Wikipedia, true to form, has a disgustingly inaccurate silly account of Cummins’ association with Mrs. Tenant. I won’t do them the honor of quoting it.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 25 Apr, 17:42

Mrs. Tennant lived near Swansea in Wales.  I wonder if that has any meaning in the title “Swan on a Black Sea.” - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 25 Apr, 16:57

There is an excellent summary in case anyone is interested of Swan on a Black Sea at
This is from Journal of the Society for Psychic Research

Bruce Williams, Mon 25 Apr, 11:21

I also thought that Swan on a Black Sea (a reference to the preface Is there an entity like a soul that rises like a swan above the Black Sea of Death) is an excellent automatic writing book. Mrs Coombe Tennant was in the cross correspondences from Myers. She is a key figure and worthy of discussion - the mixed grill expression of spirit communication is appropriate.

Bruce Williams, Mon 25 Apr, 11:14

Dear all,

I have yet to read Mike’s new blog as I don’t have any more ability than the rest of us to do adequately more than one thing at a time.

But I think it’s worth immediately offering the view that phenomena such as the “inspiration by the Holy Spirit” that moved Old Testament prophets to retail their messages were of precisely the same kind, and allowed the same imperfections. Christians, especially those as dogmatic as the prophets themselves often were - I am thinking of Jeremiah, who employed the scribe Baruch to record his utterances - should, I think, take note, and realise that God does not require of us the impossibility of being totally sure of our facts any more than today’s mediums can.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Mon 25 Apr, 10:29

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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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