home books e-books audio books recent titles with blogs
World War I Victim Tells of Afterlife Experiences

Posted on 31 January 2022, 7:58

The spirit communicating through the mediumship of a Chicago woman named Joan provided his full name and enough details for Joan and her husband, Darby, to confirm that he had existed and that he was a casualty of the Great War, even the details of his death, which they were able to verify. However, for privacy reasons they provided only the name Stephen. Moreover, because of their professional standings in the Chicago area and their need for privacy, both Joan and Darby wrote under pseudonyms, their 1920 best-selling book titled Our Unseen Guest, authored simply by “Darby and Joan.” While Joan was the medium, Darby did the recording of the messages that came through her in the trance state and put questions to Stephen.


The skeptic can haughtily discount the entire book based on the fact that true names are not given. However, renowned author Stewart Edward White, the subject of the last two blog posts here, met Darby and Joan over a 20-year period, sat with them, and referred to Joan as “one of the greatest psychics, if not the greatest, in the world.”  He explained that she worked blindfolded from a state of trance, into which she entered instantly and completely as soon as Darby touched her wrist. White had no doubt as to the genuineness of Joan’s mediumship.  Initially a disbeliever in mediums, White was converted when his wife Betty developed into a medium beginning in 1919.  As a result, White wrote six books about the wisdom coming through Betty from a group of spirits referred to as the “Invisibles,” and then, after her death in 1939, about communication coming from Betty through Joan (see blog post of January 17, 2022).

Like the Whites, Darby and Joan were initially very skeptical as to the source, both subscribing to the subconscious hypothesis, i.e., it was all coming from Joan’s subconscious, even though she had no recollection of the names and other information coming through her.  Moreover, she didn’t understand much of it. To claim that the information was coming from spirits of the dead prompted scoffs and sneers from the “intellectuals” of the day, so it was best not to mention such a theory or to have their true names associated with such “bunkum.”   
Darby explained in the first chapter of their book that their first experience with psychic phenomena occurred on December 7, 1916, by way of a Ouija board which they came upon at a boardinghouse where someone else had left the board sitting on the table.  Curious, they began playing around with it, when after about 10 minutes, a message was spelled out from Stephen, who identified himself as an American soldier killed in the war.  He provided his full name and details of his death, but said that he did not want his true name made public as it would disturb his family.  Both Darby and Joan thought the other was making it all up, and when that was eliminated they concluded that it was somehow coming from Joan’s subconscious.  However, upon further investigation, they eventually came to accept that Stephen and several others communicating through Joan were who they said they were.  That explanation made more sense to them than the alternatives. 

Stephen explained that immediately following his battlefield death he was lost in a strange world. “Aimlessly I wandered, seeking I knew not what, dazed, mystified. I did not know I was, as you say and as I used to say, dead.”  Stephen communicated, adding that when death comes naturally there are always deceased loved one there to meet them, but, his death being sudden and premature, there was no one to meet him, to explain that he had graduated into a new plane of consciousness. He was eventually met by a woman who explained it all to him and because of his experience he chose such work there – that of meeting fallen soldiers and explaining the simplicity of their own mortality.

Darby asked if all persons survive death. “They become as I,” Stephen answered. “Still possessed of a degree of my own I am part of the great consciousness. I am only a part of the whole, yet the whole is I. You do not understand; later this will be made more clear to you. But don’t use the word ‘death.’ Man has read into this word so much that is somber, so much of unhappiness and despair. The earth term that corresponds to our thought here of what you call death is graduation. And as I did not die, but rather graduated into a new mode of consciousness, so be assured that graduation, not death, awaits you.”

Stephen went on to explain that he did not graduate into a higher consciousness and that his present state was much the same as that of Darby and Joan. However, there was a difference. “Here we do not see through a glass darkly. We recognize ourselves here as a whole, and perfection is the end.”

In one of his sittings with Joan, White asked Stephen about his method of communication. “I utilize a force which man does not yet understand,” Stephen replied, “but which in time he will….” White asked if it involved electricity. “But surely,” Stephen answered, “but not electricity as you now understand it. The atomic force of which I speak might be called magnetic consciousness.”

Stephen cautioned against letting their preconceived ideas and prejudices color his messages. “Keep your mind free,” he advised, “especially when I say something which you do not agree. Darby, you are the conceiving station. Remember that Joan could not communicate alone wholly successfully, nor could, I think, any one else. You can differ from me as much as you will; in fact, I rely on your questions to clarify the communication. But above all you must alleviate Joan’s prejudices. You must prevent her own opinions coloring my words. And you must also be on the watch for a form of color that is likely to result, not simply from Joan’s opinions, but from all that mass of thought and memory, her own experience, that lies dormant in her subconsciousness.” 


When Stephen went on to say that “a part of the whole is constantly reborn,” Darby asked if he was referring to reincarnation. “The transmigration of thought is but a guess at the truth,” Stephen responded, “a theory in some measure correct, yet highly colored by emotional reasoning.”  Darby was confused and asked for clarification. “I am sure to be born again – it cannot be otherwise – yet not all of me as I knew myself before,” Stephen replied. “But you do not understand. For the present accept the thought that consciousness is constantly reborn. Then accept this fact: The individual, once graduated from earthly experience, never again returns as an individual. As an individual he goes on and on; ever nearer he approaches and ultimately reaches supremacy. These two thoughts may now seem contradictory. The contradiction will disappear when you understand what I mean by rebirth.”

Stephen later explained that what he referred to as rebirth is not in any sense what Darby knew as reincarnation.  “It is true, as I once told you, that in the reincarnation idea there lies a glimpse,” Stephen communicated.  “But this Buddhistic thought is on the whole an emotional hypothesis.  Dismiss once and for all any possibility of my meaning by rebirth what the world has meant by reincarnation.”  Darby took that to mean he had never individually lived a prior life and would not live another one.  Stephen said his understanding was correct, that “part” of his consciousness would be reborn many times, but not his individual self.

Darby struggled to understand. Stephen further explained that Darby is familiar only with quantitative development of consciousness and the process of qualitative development goes beyond language, so that he could not offer words to help him understand.

To Darby’s question about God, Stephen replied that, “God is consciousness. Consciousness is God. Consciousness is within you. The germ of supremacy is yours and is mine and is in all things animate and inanimate. Consciousness is. It is all there ever was or will be, without beginning and without end.”  Darby then asked about Christ and whether he was just a man. “What else should he have been?” Stephen responded. “Yet he was in your world as the result of the rebirth of a degree of quality approaching the supreme. And he so fulfilled his quantity that his earth graduation was his last. He passed directly into supremacy.”

When Darby asked about the appearance of souls in the afterlife environment Stephen replied that all consciousness has form. “When you come here and your eyes are unsealed, those who meet you will seem quite natural and quite human, as, indeed, we are.  In fact, we are more human than you, as you now know yourself, ever dreamed of being.  We are humanity intensified many times.”


Darby asked how they recognize one another. “We recognize one another not facially, as men recognize each other, but by the individual degree of quality,” Stephen replied, adding that those on earth also have the same recognition ability but they fail to note the fact. “I have never been to what an Oriental, in his hypothetical way, might call the seventh heaven,” Stephen continued. “From it, I, like you, am many graduations removed.  Therefore my information is limited to that which I have been told here by those nearer supremacy than my myself, and to those things I have learned out of the very nature of my qualitatively free existence. And such knowledge of supreme attributes as I have I cannot make clear to you; earth lacks terms for conveying my thoughts.” 

Although Stuart Edward White said he had no need to hear from Betty, Betty communicated through Joan during his first evening with Darby and Joan after Betty’s death. Betty began by speaking of intimate matters known only to her husband.  “Here, in this first evening, she literally poured out a succession of these authentications,” White wrote in The Unobstructed Universe.  “She mentioned not one, but dozens of small events out of our past, of trivial facts in our mutual experience or surroundings, none of which could by any possibility be within Joan’s knowledge. Many of them, indeed, were gone from my own memory, until Betty recalled them to me.”

Betty, speaking through Joan, stressed what the Invisibles had communicated through her when she was still in the flesh. “All that was meant two-thousand years ago was that people who mourn seek after the truth of immortality for the sake, first, of those they mourn, and, second, for their own sakes…If your life on earth is all, why bother with it? Why bring children into the world? Why plan ahead for coming generations? Fundamentally, you know that the I-Am of man is evolution, and must go on. But man has become so engrossed in the wonders of his own obstructed universe – allowed himself to become so confused and overawed by things outside himself – that he has broken away from that simple, early faith. The world is mourning now. And it is going to mourn. It is losing much that it has valued, emotionally and materially. It is only when people who have become stiff-necked and proud in their own self-sufficiency are forced by sorrow to take time to seek after truth – when they themselves want truth – that truth can comfort them or again make them free.  If you search, you will find many such stepladders to a clearer understanding of the things I have been permitted to tell you.”

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: February 14


Don: Thank you for making an interesting and valuable distinction between levels of afterlife communication. I might add that the purpose for which that communication is sought may also be important here; i.e., whether one is seeking personal consolation (reunion with a departed loved one or overcoming fear of death), or wisdom about, guidance concerning, the living of THIS life.

Bill: You indicate your doubt that ego-boundedness “can be fully appreciated, if appreciated at all, by anyone who has never experienced even a moment of what I’ll call ‘transcendence.’” I quite agree, but suggest that many, perhaps most, are able to find, if they seek it, more than sufficient transcendence in “ordinary” experience, which is, of course, anything but. That there is anything at all, that there is sentient life against all odds, etc., are for them miracles enough to ponder for a lifetime.

Michael: As you know, I’m a religious person who finds in the subject matter of your blog and books a most welcome bolstering of my faith. I suggest, however, that some Christians who are “satisfied with blind faith yet continue to grieve the loss of a loved one,” without seeking out such bolstering, may see the pain of temporary loss of contact as one of the ways we are meant to carry the cross. And I submit that Imperator might well approve.

Eric: In response to your saying that “I want to be pleasing, at least a little, enough to save my continued Being and to be admitted into a place/state of new learning and continued life, by the Great All Whom we ignorantly refer to as ‘God’”, I can only say, along with others, I’m sure, in Michael’s congregation, a resounding amen. Does not this congregation point toward, perhaps prefigure in its facets, that sublime reality referred to as the group soul?

Newton E. Finn, Sun 13 Feb, 17:11

Hi all,

I was curious as to whether there are any scientists posting here and what area of science they specialize in, if not too personal a question. I would also be interested to know the professions of others posting, including whether they completed science and/ or social science degrees at university (again if not too personal a question). I want to determine from the sample of those posting here whether it is mostly those with social science backgrounds and related- occupations, who tend to post here, and who are more open minded to consciousness survival.

As for myself,I started in scieces at the University of Toronto majoring in microbiology after taking first year physics, chemistry, biology, calculus, psychology, etc., and then went on to complete degrees in history, international relations and a masters in public administration. I worked for Health Canada along with scientists and policy analysts. I am quite open minded to consciousness survival but of course I cannot say I am 100% convinced.

Thanks to others if they have the inclination to provide a very a brief academic and work bio as it would be interesting to understand the demographic of those posting in this forum. I hope there are some here with scientific backgrounds and would be interested if they could identify themselves as such. I would also like to know more about others posting here.

Thank you.

Lee, Sun 13 Feb, 14:19

Dear all,

Much of what Bill Ingle shares in his latest comment is dealt with, with a slightly different, but I hope illuminating, perspective, in chapter 15 of Dr Maureen Lockhart’s book ‘The Subtle Energy Body’, Inner Traditions International, 2010. Her expertise is evident in the rest of her book, but she was not a scientist, and would not have been able to write on that narrow and sharp-edged area of human thought. The intentional narrowness of science, which thought startles the lay reader, is explained by reference to Herbert Dingle’s writing.

The whole print run of ‘The Subtle Body’ is now sold out, but (without my permission, as it happens) the whole book is available free online. I hope some will enjoy reading it and find their understanding of scientific thought increased.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Sun 13 Feb, 11:27

Newton, I explored the many faces of skepticism in my blog of July 9, 2018.  Your comment of yesterday has prompted me to give some thought to the many faces of belief.  Clearly, there are many mindsets among believers. The one I find most curious is the religious person who is satisfied with blind faith yet continues to grieve the loss of a loved one while taking absolutely no interest in the phenomena discussed here.

Michael Tymn, Sun 13 Feb, 05:17

Two quotes from Seth, both found in Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul by Jane Roberts first published in 1972 (I’ve posted them here before):

1. “Most of my readers are familiar with the term, ‘muscle bound.’ As a species you have grown ‘ego bound’ instead, held in a spiritual rigidity, with the intuitive portions of the self either denied or distorted beyond any recognition.”

2. “His message will be that of the individual in relation to All That Is. He will clearly state methods by which each individual can attain a state of intimate contact with his own entity; the entity to some extent being man’s mediator with All That Is.”

I seriously doubt the first can be fully appreciated, if appreciated at all, by anyone who has never experienced even a moment of what I’ll call “transcendence.”

There’s no scientific definition of “transcendence”—but present science isn’t about such areas.  With some exceptions, science deals with that which can be weighed or measured—physical reality.

Science rests on foundational assumptions.  Some are formally stated, others are not. An assumption could be called a belief and cannot be proved using the methods of science.

An example of an unstated assumption is the idea that a scientist is separate from all else, delineated by his or her skin, a physical being who exists strictly between birth and death.

Another might be the idea that all data can ultimately be acquired only by the usual physical senses, even when those senses are extended by various devices—telescopes, microscopes, sensors attached to computer networks, vast and expensive machinery built to observe the effects of the collisions of very small particles, etc. 

Present science could also be called an “egoic” science in line with the first quote above.

I’m not going to fix this, and I’m not going to write a critique of modern science. (I believe the situation is changing but not as quickly as some would like.)

What this suggests, however, is that present science is not suited, not designed, for achieving an understanding of the nature of reality, including not just physical reality, but also what I’ll call “inner” reality.

The second quote includes mention of “All That Is.” Yes, science is part of All That Is, but so is everything (including all of us)—this doesn’t make present egoic science at all illuminating in terms of understanding the nature of reality.

As we are part of All That Is, we must be connected to it in some way.  Will doing the “clearly stated methods” provide us with a conscious awareness of that connection?  It’s impossible to say, as the methods—as far as anyone knows—do not yet exist.

“He” in the second quote is a reference to a new version of Saul of Tarsus, one of three personalities of what Seth calls “The Christ Entity” but I don’t wish to stray into Christian mythology—it’s very difficult to discuss this without doing that.

Some may find my words implausible, ridiculous, without basis; the experience that underlies them, while very important to me, lies almost entirely in the subjective realm—I can’t prove that I had such experiences or that they have any validity whatsoever.  Insisting otherwise would be madness.

Whether someone believes that reading alone is sufficient for understanding inner realms and the nature of self and reality, or that (present) science can and will shine a light in this direction, illuminating it for all, “believes” is key.

Everyone is entitled to believe whatever they wish to believe in these matters.  (Seth encouraged his readers to examine their beliefs, as conscious beliefs are one key to the creation of personal and mass realities—and change them as necessary; very unscientific of him, I’d say.)

Regarding “spirit voices” and EVP/ITC: I tend to get visual information, sometimes quite vivid, but on occasion I “hear” thoughts that seem to come from the dead.  Generally these are very brief—I don’t consider myself much of a medium despite having some strong “mediumistic” experiences. (Does this mean I’m bonkers and need medication?  Maybe so.)

This is a kind of telepathy and I can think of no present technology that could be used to analyze thoughts—whether from the living or the dead.

A minor example, one of a great many (this kind of experience is fairly routine for me):  One day I was lying in the dentist’s chair waiting for the novocaine to take effect.  I was very relaxed and wondering about some of Dr. John Hayes Hammond Jr.‘s non-public activities. (Hammond, a prolific inventor, lived in a mammoth castle-like dwelling about 1 mile from where I live. This has been a museum for many years. He died in 1965.)

Suddenly, I “heard” a woman’s voice, commenting on my thoughts—she was speaking to me, in a manner of speaking…  This was clearly coming from Irene Fenton Hammond, Hammond’s wife. She died in 1959.  I’m leaving out a great deal, but you get the idea.

Eileen Garrett, the Irish medium, was a friend of Irene’s.  Hammond tested her abilities in a Faraday cage.

Anyway, I note that in the YouTube version of the “sensational” Italian TV production focused on Marcello Bacci’s radio (whoever created the English subtitles did a very poor job), someone examined the voices received on the radio using some kind of analyzer.  Although the voices sounded “human,” the waveforms were nothing like the waveforms of actual human voices, but then that shouldn’t be at all surprising—the voices did not belong to living humans.

Hammond & Hammond Castle:

Marcello Bacci’s Radio:

Bill Ingle, Sun 13 Feb, 03:51

Newton’s observation about the dichotomy in approach between those with a great interest in hearing from deceased loved (or even liked)ones on the other side—vs. those of us (myself included)for whom such contact is unimportant—is reflected in the larger literature on afterlife matters as well. While much of the more “popular” literature in the field is geared to reports essentially from the “summerland” or the “third plane” (what Myers calls “the plane of illusion”)—the more serious literature goes well beyond that, into areas from which, even if those dear to us had the actual ability to communicate with us, the nature of the “individual” making those communications might well have evolved or developed to a point where identification with the person that we knew and loved here on Earth might not be quite so straightforward. Really meaningful communications might conceivably have to wait until our own development has caught up with them just a bit…

Don Porteous, Sat 12 Feb, 22:15

Dear all,

In response to Newton’s curiosity about our various motivations and main interests with reference to spiritualism, I can state mine with the ultimate in brevity and precision: I want to be pleasing, at least a little, enough to save my continued Being and to be admitted into a place/state of new learning and continued life, by the Great All Whom we ignorantly refer to as ‘God’. Ultimately, (and it’s not far ahead at the age of nearly 81) nothing else matters.

But very few who comment even mention that Great Being. This does disappoint me, though perhaps the reticence is due to the fact that none of us can say much on that subject. I am continually saying (like John Polkinghorne, but rather differently) that science gives us one of the best approaches to the whole subject because its results are (or should be) well-tested and reliable, and once well corroborated (ie true) science is undeniably a “part of” God, so must be a good guide in the darkness that surrounds us.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Sat 12 Feb, 19:48

I’ve learned a great deal from spiritualism and will be forever grateful for Michael’s work, which introduced me to the movement’s most prominent voices. But when it comes to seeking out super-normal experiences, wanting to talk to my dear departed mother, for example, or to listen to a voice from a floating trumpet, I must, perhaps strangely, confess to having little interest.

One of the reasons I relate to Michael’s work is that he himself shares at least part of this lack of desire. In “No One Really Dies,” before describing a most impressive experience with a medium, he says (with characteristic honesty and directness) that “I have never felt any special need to hear from deceased loved ones….” Contrast this with the intense longing of Leslie Kean expressed in “Surviving Death.”

So what might help to explain this bifurcation in spiritualism between those who thirst for super-normal experience, who believe it to be of crucial importance, and those who lack this thirst, are quite content to read about super-normal experiences and ponder their profound meaning for normal life?

Rather than try to answer this question, I’ll leave it on the table for the congregation to discuss if it’s so inclined. I respectfully suggest that we might learn much about spiritualism and, more importantly, about ourselves, by probing it a bit.

Newton E. Finn, Sat 12 Feb, 18:15

I like Bill’s two-month “conference” idea, but I don’t think it would move me up from my 98.8% conviction, and I suspect I would have had enough after one week.  I can see it working for those who are at 50% or less, but I’m not sure I’m properly visualizing it.

Michael Tymn, Sat 12 Feb, 04:54

In synchronistic fashion (usually a good sign), I stumbled upon something akin to an answer to my question about how a contemporary cosmologist would talk about the afterlife, were he or she to become a spiritualist.

The following video is an interview with a late, great Christian scientist/theologian, but note the striking similarities to classic spiritualism in key aspects of the afterlife vision.

This is another exhibit to my continuing argument, not well-received by some of Michael’s readers, that much of classic spiritualism morphed into liberal/progressive Christianity following the world wars.

Newton E. Finn, Fri 11 Feb, 17:12

I agree with Amos that attempting to match the alleged spirit voices with the voices of the actual people when incarnate is a waste of time. However, I do find the reasons advanced to explain the differences interesting and worth discussing. I’m pretty sure we’ve discussed them in a past blog, but I’ll put the subject on a list for a possible future blog. 

To respond to Newton, I have asked the same question about EVP/ITC and have never received a clear-cut answer.  If Anabela is still following the comments here, perhaps she can respond.

Michael Tymn, Fri 11 Feb, 08:35

Indded, to experience something yourself is a very different thing than to read about the experience of others. Was that not the reason we came on earth?
But the reading about those experiences is also important in making people aware and in opening their mind to the subject. It is good to buy a ticket before you take a plane.

Chris, Fri 11 Feb, 07:21

Sounds like a plan, Bill!

Jon, Thu 10 Feb, 19:49

Some thoughts after reading comments here:  I don’t have Robert Bigelow’s resources. I’m as curious as anyone to see what comes next at BICS, and of course BICS is relevant to the book reviewed.

While we’re waiting, as a thought experiment, I’ll imagine the Ingle Institute of Consciousness (IICS) Studies, enabled by my (imagined) wealth.

I’ve rented the Venetian in Las Vegas for two months and agreed to pay all of the expenses for everyone here, including transportation costs, food, lost wages, etc.

I’ve hired hypnotists, mediums, channelers, skilled ouija board operators, stenographers, and so on, and rented all kinds of equipment—computers, flip chart easels, microphones, cameras, recording equipment, copiers, etc.

We’ll have the Sands Exposition Center to ourselves for two months, and endless private conference rooms.

A section of the exposition center will be devoted to Annabella, her equipment and assistants, etc.

A key difference between IICS and BICS is that I don’t care at all about proving anything to anyone except for those in attendance—you & me—but by “proving” I’m referring to knowing, an entirely different result; “proving” often refers to physical parameters, details, statistical results, use of the usual “physical” senses, etc., but as we will be dealing with inner realities, with certain exceptions “proving” won’t get us anywhere.

So the objective of the event will be to acquire a firm knowing.

No members of the scientific community, no allegedly impartial observers, will be invited. The emphasis will be on direct, immediate, personal experience. 

This must be strong enough to be firmly convincing, even when entirely subjective, even when no easy kind of validation can be contrived, but I hold this to be superior to merely reading and pondering anything concerning mediumship, the after life, reincarnation, “group souls,” and anything else that might be placed into categories such as “the paranormal,” “psi,” and so on.

Reading and pondering and/or conducting carefully contrived experiments that attempt to be impartial and “objective” have their place, but these activities will treated as secondary to active exploration.

I believe that proceeding in this direction for two months would yield absolutely amazing results, but not for everyone, and the reasons for this would be one topic for conversation at this imaginary event, as would the topic of knowing—what can we know? How can we know it?

Many would be quite changed by the experience, I’m sure.  Possibly some would write books about their experiences. More importantly, practical techniques, methods, and exercises for entering and exploring invisible and/or inner realities would likely arise.

None of this would necessarily enable the changing of beliefs of non-participants, although that’s a possibility.

The question of mass beliefs and how they change is part of a deeper philosophical area related to knowledge or knowing.  (Plus we have all of the words that have been said regarding the effect of thoughts and beliefs upon physical reality.) 

Possibly, all of that might explored at a similar event in a following year.

Bill Ingle, Thu 10 Feb, 18:52

Thanks, Michael, for sharing the befitting ocean-in-a-bucket image, and thanks, AOD, for the encouragement. While thinking about this cosmology stuff, it struck me that classic spiritualism of the late 19th/early 20th centuries developed in relative cosmological ignorance, compared with what we now know or think we know.

As Christianity incorporated the three-story (or concentric level) cosmology of its day, so spiritualism naturally adopted hazy and amorphous concepts and language about spheres, planes, vibration levels, etc. How would a cosmologist talk about all of this today, were he or she to become a spiritualist? Eric picked up on this issue well before me.

PS: I still would like someone to tackle my question about whether individual mediumistic ability may wind up playing as much a part in EVP/ITC as it does in direct voice phenomena.

Newton E. Finn, Wed 9 Feb, 22:10

On the previously referenced Leslie Flint recordings site there are several recordings of William Stainton Moses.  You might be interested in listening to his purported spirit voice.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 9 Feb, 19:53

Here is one of the better sites for Leslie Flint recordings. Listen to them all and see what you think.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 9 Feb, 19:49

Yes, Paul, bringing up Ellen Terry is cherry-picking one posh English voice that is the hallmark of the Flint direct voice recordings and sounds like every other upper class middle-aged woman of 100 years ago to the point of becoming a stereotype of how older English women speak. (At least that is what Americans think and what we hear in the old movies!)    The majority of Flint’s voices have an English accent of the upper classes; however it may be veiled.  One needs to consider all of the recorded voices in order to evaluate whether or not the Flint voices really were the voices of long-dead personalities.  (I provided a couple of examples in my previous comments and if you are interested, I can scrub the internet for you to find the voice of Herbert Hoover so that you can compare it with Flint’s ‘Herbert Hoover’.)

I think the whole direct voice thing and whether or not they sound like their purported bearer in real life is just a waste of time.  Spiritualists can come up with many reasons why the voices don’t sound authentic and maybe some of them are plausible.  The Flint voices have been discussed ad nauseum in prior posts over the years.  To each his own I suppose.  As far as I am concerned, the jury is still out on Flint’s voices.  Everyone has their own opinion of the Flint voices.  There is no reason why I should give any more validity to someone else’s opinion over mine. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 9 Feb, 18:58

I see that you are progressing well, having discovered Stephen C. Meyer’s books about Intelligent Design.  His books and others contain weighty scientific material strongly supporting the concept of a creator, information that is solidly based on the inner workings of biology, that is the cell and it’s evolution,  and in the basic structure and mechanics of the universe.  Because of my education in biology and chemistry, I think I understand what Meyer says but it may be difficult or very slow going for some people whose training was in other specialties.  Things come to us when we are ready to receive them.  Apparently you are ready Newton.  At some point one can put mediums aside and look to science where one can find God, the first and only true scientist.  Best wishes to you in your journey.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 9 Feb, 14:22

Dear Amos,

a) It’s a bit late for you not to be involved, b) to describe a reasoned debate on methodological fundamentals as ‘tit-for-tat’ is, shall we say, a bit misplaced.  As for Leslie Flint, I was thinking of – and should have mentioned – the case of Dame Ellen Terry and the technical voice analysis comparison carried out between recordings of her living voice and her discarnate voice through Flint’s direct voice mediumship.  However, my time is short and I can’t readily lay hand to the reference.  This has been featured in a video on the afterlife and quite likely written up as well.  So let me put it to the readership here – can anyone specify the video and segment in question?  As for your general critiques on Flint, perhaps the following might begin to satisfy you:

Paul, Wed 9 Feb, 13:44

I can’t immediately find the quote and can’t recall whether it was Betty or Stephen that said it, but one of them said: “It is as impossible to put my world into words as it is to put the ocean in a bucket.”

Michael Tymn, Wed 9 Feb, 05:35

My attention initially grabbed by a video, I’ve been immersing myself in a subject I had written off as cretin, much like the subjects talked about here are written off by hardcore materialists. It turns out that the intellectual firepower currently in the Intelligent Design Movement is stunning, an example being Stephen Meyer’s recent “Return of the God Hypothesis.” And here I had thought (or been led to believe) that the whole ID thing was nothing but fundamentalist fossil denial….

Three facts provide more than ample material to mull over, marvel over: (1) that there is a universe to be experienced at all, (2) that this universe is structured in such an extraordinary way as to allow this experience, and (3) that among what we experience are the mind-blowing phenomena familiar to Michael’s readers and others cognizant of things “psi.”

All three facts, especially in combination, provide sources of amazement, “stepladders to a clearer understanding” to use Betty’s words, “reverence for life” to use Schweitzer’s. No matter how we may dissect or differ over this or that particular “tree,” let us never lose sight of the mysterious, miraculous “forest” which surrounds, contains, and sustains them all.

Newton E. Finn, Tue 8 Feb, 20:44

I didn’t want to get involved in the ‘tit for tat’ between Paul and Bruce but I can not resist disagreeing with Paul when he states, “.  .  .  where spectral voice analysis has matched the deceased communicator to their recorded voice while living – as with Leslie Flint.”  (Any specific examples?)  I have listened to many of the Leslie Flint recordings and of those with which I have been able to find a ‘match’, the recorded voice sounds absolutely nothing like the person when they were alive.  Examples would be the voice of the American president, ‘Herbert Hoover’ and then ‘Marilyn Monroe’ and maybe the stereotypical voice of the American black girl.  Now I am not saying that the voices produced by Flint were all fake but some, well actually all are questionable, for example, Chopin who spoke in English during the séance, actually spoke Polish. Many of the direct voices did not sound like the people when alive.  Many of them had an upper-class English accent in direct voice, regardless of their nationality except for the comic relief Mickey, who spoke with a cockney accent.  Flint seems to do better with upper class English personalities who, at my fault, all sound very similar.

There is always the possibility that Flint’s direct voices were from ‘lower-level spirits’—-at least some of them—-who took advantage of the opportunity to speak.  I think that in the spirit world, earth names become unimportant.

(See ‘Imperator Group’ of Stainton Moses.  Few mediums can accurately get the full name of a spirit although a very few do, suggesting perhaps that the spirit may have forgotten his earth name from the previous incarnation as it eventually becomes irrelevant or the medium is just not skilled enough to get the full name.)

And what would be the name of any group soul who contained many earth personalities.  I also think that spirits have a great sense of humor and probably entertain themselves by playacting whenever they get the chance when someone on earth is encouraging them to do so.  I just don’t think that names are important to a consciousness as most of them have had many names in their physical incarnations so the enduring consciousness does not actually have a name, at least one that we would recognize. It would be easy for any old spirit to say “OK, if you want to talk to President Kennedy, here he is!” since some of them might have full access to the life of President Kennedy including all of the details. – AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Tue 8 Feb, 19:15

I thought the video covered all the bases.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Tue 8 Feb, 18:18

Dear Bruce,

Without getting into nitpicking of words more than is absolutely necessary, you then go on to say that your favorite method is hypnotic regression, on the basis that it gives copious detail regarding posthumous conditions.  But of course, this isn’t of relevance unless it can be first established that such given detail is actually touching upon something real.  As for the degree of emotionality in a regressed subject – whether lacking or intense – again, this establishes nothing on its own.  There are many experiences that we can point to that have intense emotionality as a core component that nevertheless are not reflective of anything real.  Nightmares are an obvious example.  Intense reverie – say, daydreaming about an imagined relationship with some idol – is another.  Subjective emotionality is simply not a secure measure of the ‘reality’ of an experience.  Neither is having an ‘altered state of consciousness’ – again, see dreams, to which drug-induced visions (which certainly alter one’s state of consciousness without any security that what will be experienced is real) might also be added by way of example.

Quite apart from this, as Stevenson and Tucker report, hypnotic regression is known to be unreliable with regard to ‘this worldly’ memories that can actually be subject to validation.  Why, then, would we suddenly think that it is a reliable method with regard to ‘other worldly’ memories, typically not subject to validation?  What is a secure measure?  Take, say, shared deathbed visions, where a ‘healthy’ person – such as a nurse or hospice worker – participates in an NDE.  Take those deathbed visions when a deceased person is encountered not known by the dying person to be dead.  Take automatic writing where copious private information was shared and confirmed – as with “Swan on a Black Sea” – or where handwriting analysis was carried out – as with “Beyond the Horizon” – or where intricate, interlinked communications were conveyed through multiple writing mediums – as with the Cross-Correspondences.  Take independent direct voice mediumship – where audio recordings exist, where the medium has been subject to extensive controls and where spectral voice analysis has matched the deceased communicator to their recorded voice while living – as with Leslie Flint.  Take EVP/ITC, where there can be clear, interactive vocal communication, independent of any known mechanism, including mediumship – as with Anabela.  The list goes on.  What do we have that reaches this level of validation with regard to hypnotic regression?

Paul, Tue 8 Feb, 16:36

Dear Amos,

Thank you for the link. I have watched the video. It is highly valuable BECAUSE it is so far from unique, so similar in general outline to many other accounts. Its value is in its consistency of testimony with a myriad other NDE narrations. Thank you.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Tue 8 Feb, 13:41

Dear all,

What I am thinking, and expressing, in my latest comment, also fits perfectly with the testimony from the “Universe of Elsewhere-Being” that those (including, for instance, William Barrett) who now have their being “over there” cannot ‘appear’ here without leaving a dimension of their present selves behind, and so becoming, temporarily, severely limited by that deprivation. ((That has to do with one of their present dimensions, which was our “time”, having become their fourth dimension of space))

And how many of you understand what I am saying? To me - and please forgive the appearance of a boast, for it IS NOT - it seems very obvious and also very elementary, mathematically (logical thought) and also in physics (stuffness, material), to me. Perhaps the ideas have come from somewhere very far above my head, and doubtless undeserved. Please, someone qualified by more knowledge than I have of terrestrial physics, or of physics (5-dimensional?) theory, respond.

And much more could be said, and I may venture to try to convey some of that ‘more’, if its relevance to some future comment ever appears.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Tue 8 Feb, 10:07

Paul, regarding your first sentence of my reply I never said (nor implied, or believe) as you assert, that all methodologies are of equivalent evidentiary value.

In fact I said the opposite by saying this, “Especially coverage of those spontaneous pre-birth recollections of children for obvious reasons”.

Meaning of course that, of all those I thought were praiseworthy; this was the greatest !!! Your assertion (respectfully) therefore is your own invention.
Also, you go on to say that “As to your quote, it seems very obvious to me that pointing to a lack of emotionality as secure evidentiary indicator of actual past life memories really establishes nothing.”
I would most certainly agree with you if !!! this were the case, but this is not true – as it seems you have chosen to deliberately ignore it seems other side of the coin, where I pointed out the actual validation criteria where I said.  “… with true hypnotic recall, subjects vividly relive experiences in the regressed state, and exhibit intense emotion and often physiological responses.”

Perhaps if you read the 30 or so pages of my book which establish the case for some regressive hypnosis by professional expert hypnotherapists to source accurate detail from discarnates,  you might change your mind about its worth.

I would be happy to provide you with a pdf of the relevant pages if you kindly direct Mike Tymn to pass on your email address to me.

Bruce, Mon 7 Feb, 23:22

If you don’t have anything else to do, you might like this NDE as it touches on some of the things recently discussed here.  It lasts an hour so you might be tempted to skip forward.  – AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 7 Feb, 21:44

Could you be more specific.  I am a little dense this morning and I don’t understand the point of your last comment to me. = AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 7 Feb, 16:22

Dear Bruce,

It’s fine to say that “all the methodologies which can be used to assist in scientific validation of the existence of an afterlife are praiseworthy” but that simply doesn’t imply that they are of equivalent evidentiary value.  They are not.  And that is particularly true of hypnotic regression.  As to your quote, it seems very obvious to me that pointing to a lack of emotionality as secure evidentiary indicator of actual past life memories really establishes nothing.  Meanwhile, the significant critiques of Stevenson and Tucker go unmet and unanswered.

Paul, Mon 7 Feb, 13:48

Dear Amos,

Despite Bruce’s characterization of your comments on Stevenson and Tucker as ‘evidence’, I don’t really think there is anything here that rises above the level of surmise, conjecture and innuendo.  While short on facts, it is long on the ‘hermeneutics of suspicion’ I have previously noted.  The obvious question is ‘why is your suspicion so one-sided?’  After all, Michael Newton and Brian Weiss were ‘regressing for a fee’ and as such had a powerful financial motive for overselling what they had to offer.  They too, no doubt, liked to eat on a regular basis.  Why trust them, but not Stevenson and Tucker?  On the flipside of all this, why not entertain the possibility that Stevenson and Tucker were/are expressing their honest, scientifically informed reservations about a methodology they have judged – for sound, stated reasons – as being evidentiarily insecure and unreliable?

Paul, Mon 7 Feb, 13:47

Dear all,

Regarding Bruce Scott-Hill’s statement about the frequency of 8.3 cycles per second producing (or being produced by?) an altered state of human consciousness, the idea seems at least thinkable (it would be an extension of the KIND OF thought involved in Tonomura’s experiment of 1986 and Aspect’s experiments of 1982, and, of course, in the totally intra-our-own-universe Hall Effect) that such a state of the brain waves could achieve RESONANCE BETWEEN contiguous universes which are NOT OTHERWISE IN COMMUNICATION AT ALL, and so be the means of communication from “the next world”, “the other side” (whatever those very vague phrases denote) and our own universe (ie the familiar world-about of our everyday experience. (Heidegger tr. Walford)

Does anyone know a sufficiently knowledgeable and sufficiently open-minded physicist to ask his/her opinion? (I wonder what Brian Josephson would think.) I certainly don’t know enough, but, as I say, I do find the idea thinkable, eminently reasonable-sounding. I, a humble autodidact, am thinking it. If the ‘process’ of intercommunication between kosmoi does take place (as we probably all believe) it must take place IN “God”, must it not?, and if it is IN that Great Being it is true science (whether discovered already by us or not yet discovered by us), true KNOWLEDGE to be discovered with faith, hope and charity - and reverent awe. I wonder whether the Great Being will allow its discovery as a new item in our world’s corroborated (Popperian) scientific fact. Surely only a reverent scientist could, or will be permitted to, discover it? Is anyone of such character reading this?

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Mon 7 Feb, 11:24

Thanks to Amos and Paul,  I agree with everything you both have said regarding Stevenson and his contemporary Tucker. I do though hugely admire the work of both. It certainly seems from what you say Amos and your evidence, that they are unreasonably precious about their work in their field, in being somewhat contemptuous of others researching other fields.
In my view I believe all the methodologies which can be used to assist in scientific validation of the existence of an afterlife are praiseworthy. Especially coverage of those spontaneous pre-birth recollections of children for obvious reasons.

However my favourite method - since it has given us all so much copious uncoloured detail already of what awaits us in the afterlife – is that provided by professional regressive hypnosis experts, such as Helen Wambach and Dr Michael Newton.

In my science book, “The Paranormal is Normal, The Science validation to Reincarnation, the Paranormal and your Immortality”(which won the 2016 national New Zealand Ashton-Whylie Literary Prize) there is considerable coverage of regressive hypnosis as it comprises some 30 pages.
For those interested in some coverage of reasons why scepticism of validity of the methodology of regressive hypnosis can be shown to unwarranted, I have include a few quotes on this from my book as follows:
“Because any suggestion of fantasy, acting, or the hypnotist leading the subject, could be severely detrimental to reincarnation research verification, it is worthwhile including here some technical detail on the way in which fantasies and other regressional issues can be identified by professional hypnotists.
They report that fantasies can easily be distinguished from true past life regression, primarily by the absence of emotion while unconscious. In contrast, with true hypnotic recall, subjects vividly relive experiences in the regressed state, and exhibit intense emotion and often physiological responses.
One such physiological response for example is that a person regressed to early childhood often adopts the foetal position, the sucking reflex and even the fan-like extension of the toes that occurs in infants when the lateral part of the sole is stimulated by a sharp object.
Some hypnotherapists use EEG (electroencephalograph) techniques, where waveforms of 8.3 cycles per second were found to indicate a genuine altered state of consciousness where past life recall occurs.”

Also, since all expert trained regressive hypnotherapists earn a living mainly curing phobias - when they regress patients to past instances of trauma since birth in this life - why deny their ability to regress subjects to a past life before their birth, as they continually claim? Particularly, as it often occurs by accident.

Experiments have shown repeatably that patients again regressed to the same point before their birth, repeat the same detail again and again with subsequent regressions. Also, that when fully regressed, experimentally it is found that regressed subjects - even when prompted to do so - cannot lie.

Should you be interested in learning more detail from my book (and articles). Here is my website link;

Bruce Scott-Hill, Mon 7 Feb, 05:05

Hello dear Don! I certainly understand and agree with your comments about people who have had no experience of the phenomena nor have they read the evidence… That is a situation that cannot be helped. Only they can solve it, either by studying the evidence in depth (unfortunately most of it is not translated into English, although I have tried to translate as much as I could) or by experimenting. I know positive results are not universal but I also know that a reasonable number obtain some kind of results. One anomalous, controlled voice is enough! It is like the white crow… grin
David did not speak much about Zen, no, but, knowing him, I believe his ‘choice’ if that was the case, was very relevant for his further development. As for Zen temples existing in the next world, from my side I must say that everything exists in the next world! I am sure it does, and this is what the communicators inform us, too.
Thanks for praising my first book. It is highly appreciated. And I certainly look forward to learning the good news about yours. All the very best.

anabela cardoso, Sun 6 Feb, 20:36

Thanks Paul for the links to Stevenson and Tucker.
While I may respect Ian Stevenson—-more appropriately I respect the work he did to study past-life reports of children, I also think that Stevenson for the most part was a ‘fence sitter’ extraordinaire.  In his classic 1966 book, “Twenty cases Suggestive of Reincarnation” he might as well have said after all of his study of cases “suggestive” of reincarnation, “Well, it could be this or maybe it could be that.”  One is left to make up their own mind about the matter, which is probably the way it should be. Jim Tucker seems to be following Stevenson in that approach.

Stevenson was less of a ‘fence sitter’ when he considered hypnotic regression of adults. (See Paul’s link.) I wonder if there might have been some academic rivalry going on between Dr. Ian Stevenson and Dr. Brian Weiss who published cases of reincarnation reported by hypnotized adults.  Stevenson’s attack on people who use hypnosis to regress adults was fierce and unequivocal.  Stevenson of course confined his research to children who spontaneously reported a past life and he did not charge fees for his efforts while Weiss made the last part of his career in psychiatry one involving regressed adult clients, for whom he charged a fee.  Stevenson and Weiss crossed paths so to speak during the later part of the twentieth century when Weiss published his book “Many Lives Many Masters” in 1988.  Stevenson does say that there may be just a very few reported cases of hypnotic regression in adults that have provided some seemingly evidential information during regression but he repeatedly says that these cases are very few.  Stevenson noted that such rare cases involved xenoglossy are worth studying. So hypnotic cases involving xenoglossy might be true cases of reincarnation while other cases—-probably are not.

Stevenson also said that his reservations about using hypnosis to reveal past lives might also apply “with some modifications to amateur experiments with ouija boards, planchettes, and automatic writing. In most such experiments the persons concerned tap into nothing more than the subconscious layers of the minds of one or more of the participants. The dangers of deception and self-deception are perhaps greater than in experiments with hypnosis, especially when the persons experimenting become convinced that they are being guided by discarnate personalities. Here again, in rare instances some paranormal process may be involved in the results of such experiments and very rarely they have produced evidence suggestive of actual contact with a discarnate personality. But in the majority of instances such evidence is totally lacking.”

Well, Stevenson had his career to defend so what else would we expect him to say about things that, if only superficially he was aware of.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Sun 6 Feb, 18:05

Thanks to Bruce for the refresher on the “Michael” entity. I read two of the Michael books many years ago.  It all sounds pretty much like the Buddhist idea of Nirvana, i.e., achieving “oneness” and “perfect quietude.”  One might infer from it that we lose our individuality and that the boredom of it all is as bad or worse than total extinction.  I think about it most while in the dentist’s chair and under the influence of nitrous oxide.  It is a very pleasant state. one that I would like to continue well beyond the one hour that the dental procedure lasts.  But I always ask myself if I would want it to continue for eternity and that scares me. 

A chapter of the Darby and Joan book is devoted to the individuality of consciousness. Stephen explains that the “Oneness” realized at what might be called Nirvana is the achievement of “perfect individuality.”  I struggle to reconcile such Oneness with perfect individuality, and I conclude that there is a paradox to it all that is beyond human comprehension, at least beyond mine. It is like the paradox involving a visit to the dentist. It was at one time, for me, my biggest fear and involved the ultimate pain, but now I look forward to a visit to the dentist, assuming it is going to be long enough for nitrous oxide to be administered. (I’m not otherwise into drugs.)

Michael Tymn, Sun 6 Feb, 03:37

To follow up on my own and Amos’s comments on the matter of hypnotic regression as an evidentiary source with regard to discarnate knowledge – as with the books of Michael Newton – the following critiques by Ian Stevenson are worth citing:

Jim Tucker, who has carried forward Ian Stevenson’s work on reincarnational memories of children at the University of Virginia Division of Perceptual Studies, expresses identical concerns to those of Stevenson in the resources above:

“…we’re rather skeptical of hypnotic regression mostly because hypnotic regression is a very unreliable tool, even for memories of this life. Unreliable, meaning there are times where it’s dead on and people are giving license plate numbers from crime scenes or whatever, but then there are plenty of times where the mind just fills in the blanks. Then after that, it’s very hard for someone to tell if this was an actual memory or did my mind create that?
When you’re looking at unverifiable, past lives—most of them are—unless you can verify that somebody was able to give a bunch of details that there’s no way that you can say that it was from past life. Many of them are often people talking about some ancient life in ancient Greece or whatever, which of course, would be impossible to verify. There are also times where, under hypnosis, the details that people give are sort of historical absurdities, things that don’t match up with history that we know.
There have even been cases where people have been re-hypnotized, asked where the information came from. It turns out, it came from a book that the person read years before and completely forgot about. All that being said, there’s a very small number of cases where it does look like somebody provided information that would have been very hard for them to obtain through ordinary means. The vast majority in the hypnotic sessions may be therapeutic. They may help people work through various phobias…but it doesn’t mean that they are remembering a past life that they actually lived before.”

Now, Stevenson and Tucker are arguably the foremost scientific researchers on the subject of past life / reincarnatory memories.  If they don’t think hypnotic regression is a reliable evidentiary means to such memories, why should we?

Paul, Sun 6 Feb, 01:15

Regarding the group soul, some choice quotes from F.W.H. Myers , “The Road to Immortality”:

“The higher the ego climbs on the ladder of consciousness, the nearer it draws to other kindred souls. I have already told you that there may be a thousand, a hundred, or merely twenty souls all fed by one spirit. Their consciousness of comrade-souls increases on the higher levels of existence. In time they are able to enter into the other souls’ memories, perceive their experiences and be sensible of them as if they were theirs. Mind becomes communal in the last stages, for the spirit, the unifying principle, is tending all the time to produce greater harmony, and therefore greater unity. These various individuals are merging more and more, becoming one in experience and in mind, and thus attaining to undreamt-of levels of intellectual power.”

“Here, in the After-death, we become more and more aware of this group-soul as we make progress. Eventually we enter into it and share the experiences of our brethren. You must understand, therefore, that existence for my soul—as separate and apart from my individual ego—is dual. I lived two lives, one in the world of form, and one subjective, in the community of which I am a member.”

Also,  some choice quotes from Frances Banks, “Testimony of Light”:

“All great aspirations, revelations and divine whisperings of intuition originate in and through the Spirit of the Group to which one belongs, i.e., the Highest Point of the Group….Since I left the earth I have been taught by a Teacher with whom I am in contact, mentally and spiritually. He Himself is a part of the Group Soul towards which I am progressing and of which, although I was not entirely aware, I have been a member for many ages. This Teacher is a higher Disciple, a wise and advanced soul, and is able to impart knowledge and wisdom to souls in the Group.” (p.118)

“The Group itself is made up of souls at all levels of consciousness, from the highest to the mediocre, but the Spirit of the Groups only Itself advances as the younger and less knowledgeable members make progress. It is a unified advance. No member of the Group can pass beyond the call and communication of other members. When the Group itself advances into the Divine Company, then there will be no ‘stragglers.’ But, as I am instructed, such an experience is far beyond the Group consciousness at this stage.” (p.119)

“At higher levels of consciousness, Group Souls unite to form greater Units. This, I reason, must be the continued Law of Progress into Divinity which is a Unity, a Oneness, a total, mysterious and glorious whole. But only thus far dare I aspire to the Divine Plan. Here and now I am privileged to be enabled to touch only the fringe of the consciousness of Groups working at this level and to co-operate with them.” (p.139)

“As I begin to comprehend now, the purer and stronger the Light from each unity soul of the Group, the greater the advancement of the Group Soul Itself towards ultimate bliss of Union, towards that ineffable Light which will ever be the mystery and wonder of Divinity.” (p.145)

Paul, Sun 6 Feb, 00:10

Good morning Anabela…

Your presence here among our little group is most welcome, and may be most helpful.There are some among our regular contributors (and undoubtedly many more among the silent readers)who, for whatever reasons of their own, find it difficult to ascribe full confidence to what they may read about these various phenomena, no matter how comprehensive and compelling the evidence.

For those, like yourself, who’ve actually HAD THE FIRST-HAND EXPERIENCE, a position of doubt is far more difficult to maintain.(And for those of you who haven’t yet read Anabela’s book “Electronic Voices” I would urge you to pick up a copy, for a genuine description of that firsthand experience).

My own book, which as you know was in progress when we last spoke, has been complete for over a year now, and is presently being prepared for publication (by myself—it was a bit too long to catch serious interest from the commercial houses). I"m hoping, barring any roadblocks thrown up by some health issues, for a release perhaps in late spring.

Interesting comments about David Fontana—I don’t recall him saying anything about Zen Buddhism in his books, but I may not have been paying close enough attention. Who knew there were Zen temples on the other side!

Many thanks for your input Anabela—-hope to hear more from you.

Don Porteous, Sat 5 Feb, 16:27

Hi Mike,
On the subject of “Group Souls” I thought your readers might like to see these two extracts from the Michael Entity website, as follows:

“Title: The Michael Entity (first channelled on 12 August 1973)”

“Each of us is a part of a fragmented whole, a fragment of our own entity. As we evolve individually, our entity evolves collectively.

Eventually, the 1,000 or so souls making up an entity will form an integrated whole, a far greater body of consciousness and intelligence than any single soul.

After re-integration, our soul is no longer a separate fragment but an integral part of a higher intelligence.”

“We would advise all to listen to that higher self as carefully as you listen to us. After all, the essence has a vast store of knowledge accumulated over the centuries, and can be trusted implicitly, only the personality is transient and fraudulent, and you will soon learn the difference.


It is noteworthy that the concept of a “lower” and *higher” self, mentioned extensively by David Ingman in his first Amazon book, “Conversations with Higher Consciousness”, and the earlier posting by myself in this blog - is both validated (by their remarkable correlation) and continued here.
Due to the energy considerations I mentioned earlier by Michael Newton, only the Lower self (ourselves while on earth) actually reincarnate, while the higher self remains in the afterlife until re-integration to reform the whole - as covered above in this posting. Medium David Ingman in his book (as with Seth), calls “the 1000 or so souls making up an entity” a Gestalt.
As mentioned earlier due to considerable research,  I have found many other successful recent correlations like this above (too great in number to include here).
In view of this,  I personally now regard and consider the above, as all facts, not opinion.

Bruce Scott-Hill, Sat 5 Feb, 05:05

On the vexing subject of reincarnation, let me throw another two cents into an already rich conversation. “Spirit Teachings,” as I read it, talks about at least three reincarnation scenarios.

The first scenario, in Section Three, concerns children, some of whom, instead of growing up in the afterlife in the usual manner, return to earth to experience the coming of age and subsequent trials of maturity they had missed.

The second scenario, similar in substance and also located in Section Three, concerns older people (again, in the distinct minority) who after living their earthly lives decide to live another one to further develop aspects of their character or to undertake a special mission.

The third scenario, described in Section 29, is the harmful aspect of reincarnation: the return to earth of undeveloped spirits not merely to hover over and adversely influence persons still in the flesh but actually to obsess and possess them, “psychologizing a mind.”

We don’t talk much about the negative influence of the departed on our world or of the dangers associated with contacting them cavalierly, do we? Yet these themes are prominent, at times dominant, in the text of “Spirit Teachings,” to many (like me) the bible of spiritualism.

Newton E. Finn, Fri 4 Feb, 20:55

Hello Don Porteous! Sorry for my late reply.

I do remember the question about David, yes, but I couldn’t recall the name of the person who asked. Now I know it was you! grin
Indeed, I have had news about David lately. The most impressive one was a voice which inserted itself in an interview I was doing for a Portuguese YouTube channel, EXO Realidades. I happened to mention the name of David Fontana during my talk with the interviewer as I was commenting on what he had once told me about my ITC contacts. And when I uttered his name, an authoritative masculine voice can be heard saying in Portuguese “No Rio do Tempo, num templo Zen”, kind of glued behind my own voice. I took this information to mean that David was in Rio do Tempo (the general name for the next world at a certain level of consciousness) in a Zen temple.
You can listen to this particular voice at minute 37’ of the interview:

There were over 80 anomalous voices during this interview. Also, when I did the New Thinking Allowed interviews with Jeff Mishlove, there appeared several voices, too. Some of those were listened to directly from the air by the viewers, and they commented about them in the comments published with the videos. This is a new development in my ITC contacts. As you know, I do not record these interviews; the hosts do record them via Zoom. I hope I have replied to your question.

All the very best.
P. S. There were other voices speaking about David on other occasions, some of them during telephone conversations I was having with friends.

anabela cardoso, Fri 4 Feb, 19:10

Dear Michael,

As, per your post referencing Johannes of Glastonbury, we are ‘getting medieval’ regarding the group soul, this is likely a germane moment to mention what I believe may be the earliest recorded mention of the group soul.  Has it really been three weeks since I last quoted from Dante?  How time flies!  In canto 19 of ‘Paradiso’, the character Dante enters the sphere of Jupiter, the heaven of Justice, and there encounters a vast Eagle, composed of countless just souls.  From ‘Paradiso’, XIX:1-23 (tr. Robert and Jean Hollander):

Before my eyes, its open wings outstretched,
appeared the lovely image of those interwoven souls,
reveling in sweet enjoyment.

Each one seemed to be a single ruby
in which the sun’s ray burned with such a flame
it felt as though a sunbeam struck my eyes.

And what I now must tell
no voice has ever uttered, nor ink ever wrote,
nor was it ever seen in phantasy.
For I saw and heard it was the beak that spoke,
sounding with its voice the words for ‘I’ and ‘my’
when, in conception, it meant ‘we’ and ‘our’.

It said: ‘For being just and merciful
I here am raised unto that glory
which by itself desire cannot attain.

‘On earth I left behind such vestiges
as even wicked people there commend,
without, however, hewing to the form.’

Just as from many coals we feel a single heat,
so from that image there came forth
the undivided sound of many loves.

The Hollanders comment, regarding the opening verses, “The Eagle is first seen as a discrete entity (‘la bella image’) and then as its components, the individual just rulers who constitute this beautiful image of justice, each appearing as a much-prized precious stone, the ruby. The text goes on to suggest that all of them were glowing as though the sun were equally reflected in all of them at once…”  I am particularly struck – indeed moved – by the lines “sounding with its voice the words for ‘I’ and ‘my’ /
when, in conception, it meant ‘we’ and ‘our’.”  An artistic representation of the Eagle by the medieval Italian artist Giovanni di Paolo may be found here:,_Dante_and_Beatrice_before_the_eagle_of_Justice._British_Library.jpg

Paul, Fri 4 Feb, 14:51

S. Kidd,
I agree with you.  I think that Matt Fraser is very accurate and specific.  His personality and show business presentation may not appeal to some older people but if one can get beyond that and tally his “hits” with the people he ‘reads” then much of what he relates is astounding. Maybe Matt Fraser is a ‘man of his times’ so to speak and comes at this time to appeal to a younger population who are computer-savvy and use ‘iphones’ and “Zoom”.  I don’t fault him for using those modalities to get information from deceased loved ones to those who have unresolved issues concerning the deceased. Using this modern technology he can interact with many more people that the mediums of past times could.  Eventually he may ‘burn out’ but currently he is the ‘medium of the hour” and I wish him luck.

And I also agree that the “Thanatos” and the “Afterlife Experiences”—-German websites—-are the best on the internet; and of very high quality. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Fri 4 Feb, 14:43

Dear all,

I have not yet read all of today’s new batch of comments, but starting with the earliest of them, I note something Paul quotes this morning (it’s morning in Great Britain). Paul tells us a friend said

“There is a close analogy with the idea of escape velocity. A rocket escapes Earth’s gravity only when moving fast enough. The non-material essence of a human only escapes having to reincarnate when it reaches a sufficient development. Otherwise it falls to Earth-life again.” 

My long-term memory is much better than my short-term memory. I believe/know that what Paul is quoting is my comment - indeed he quotes my own precise words - offered at least a year ago and published in Michael’s wonderful blog at that time.

It is so encouraging for an auto-didact’s words to be thought worth quoting by someone as truly, admirably, learned as Paul when the said autodidact’s usual surroundings are peopled with critics and denigrators, many of them known as ‘philosophers’, some of them conventional scientists, some simply opinionated fellow humans unwilling to ‘see’ (which is very sad).

Occasionally, one is permitted by the Great Being to weep secretly for joy. Thank you Paul.

Now I’ll wish everyone well, and read the rest of this morning’s comments.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Fri 4 Feb, 11:54

One more quote from the Imperator group, when asked about their names:  “These names are but convenient symbols for influences brought to bear upon you. In some cases the influence is not centralized; it is impersonal, as you would say.  In many cases the messages given you are not the product of any one mind, but are the collective influence of a number.  Many who have been concerned with you are but the vehicles to you of a yet higher influence which is obliged to reach you in that way.  We deliberate, we consult, and in many instances you receive the impression of our united thought.”

Also, concerning Stephen’s knowledge after such a short period on the Other Side, it may be that “Stephen” wasn’t all that advanced. That is, the messages were coming from the group through Stephen who, closer to the earth vibration or frequency, was serving as the medium for the group.

Michael Tymn, Fri 4 Feb, 09:30

Adding to the group soul concept, which Paul and Newton have commented on, I would like to again quote from the Glastonbury scripts.

Even before the communications by Myers, Silver Birch, and Seth, a spirit entity identifying himself as Johannes of Glastonbury, a monk who had lived from 1497 to 1533, communicated by means of automatic writing a number of messages to Frederick Bligh Bond, the director of excavations at Glastonbury Abbey, concerning the layout of the abbey grounds in his day.  Johannes alluded to a group soul when another spirit entity, one speaking more fluent English, interrupted Johannes’s message and suggested that Johannes might be “earthbound” and his recollection colored somewhat by “clinging to vanished dreams.”  In fractured English, Johannes, seemingly upset by the comment, responded:  “Why cling I to that which is not?  It is I, and it is not I, butt parte of me which dwelleth in the past is bound to that which my carnal soul loved and called home these many years. Yet, I, Johannes, amm of many partes, and ye better parte doeth other things – Laus, Laus Deo – only that part which remembreth clingeth like memory to what it seeth yet.”

As a group, the communicating spirits referred to themselves as “The Watchers.”  It is not clear, but I infer from the scripts that Johannes was part of the group but not particularly advanced.  However, not being so advanced, he was closer to the earth plane frequency and therefore better able to communicate with Bond than the more advanced members of the group.

Michael Tymn, Fri 4 Feb, 09:18

The reincarnation research seems to support my earlier comment and that mentioned by Eric that Richard Hall (Stephen) may have been an advanced soul. Although I can’t give references right now without a lot of digging (I think Michael Newton is one), the research suggests that advanced souls often volunteer to come back as mentally or physically challenged children or in situations involving premature deaths, thereby helping parents and others learn from their handicaps or premature deaths.
Perhaps Hall, before he was born, foresaw a very premature death and was such a volunteer.

Michael Tymn, Fri 4 Feb, 08:48

Here is a video you might find interesting.  It is rather over dramatized and commercial but nevertheless it might provide some insight into children who think they were reincarnated—-maybe possessed.- AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Fri 4 Feb, 02:03

I don’t usually comment (I’m here to learn:-)) but just wanted to thank you for the Matt Fraser link you posted quite a while back.  Been enjoying his videos ever since and find him a rather interesting character. He can be very specific and accurate, unlike many other mediums out there.  Also been watching the NDE videos on Thanatos and Afterlife Experiences websites.  They are excellent.

S. Kidd, Fri 4 Feb, 01:50

I guess my question concerning possession rather than reincarnation being an explanation of reports of past lives would be, why do so many of these cases involve children two to five years old?  If possession is the reason for such ‘memories’ then why not choose someone older with whom the possessing spirit could experience more of the ‘joys’ of life if you know what I mean. Who would want to come back and choose to be in diapers?  I don’t understand why the spirits of Marty Martin, James Huston and “Pam” among many un-named others would choose to come back to possess little kids under five years old. Yes, there are adults who claim to be reincarnated but I should point out that Ian Stevenson who spent much of his career as a psychiatrist and investigating cases of reincarnation in children was skeptical of regression cases of adults under hypnosis as he thought they were unreliable as true reincarnation cases.

There is a well-known case of possession reported as the “Watseka Wonder” where the spirit, Mary Roff chose to possess a young teenage girl Lurancy Vennum.  She actually displaced the spirit of Lurancy, and Lurancy reportedly left the body.  For several months Mary Roff lived with her own family until leaving after several months and returning the body to its original owner, LuRancy Vennum who went on to marry and have several children,  In contrast, reincarnation cases come on gradually as the child begins to remember, perhaps having nightmares related to that life, and then the memories fade eventually and the nightmares resolve when the child is about eight years old or the child comes to grips with the memories by visiting the site or town of their past life.  The child claiming reincarnation does not pretend in any way to actually BE the person they claim they once were as Mary Roff did. They may exhibit a few prior skills or interests but overall, the child remains intact as his or her own person; they don’t leave and then come back as the spirit of Lurancy Vennum did. And in the case of “Pam” a black woman who reportedly died in a Chicago apartment fire, why would she chose to possess a white little boy living in Cincinnati and not stay around her own family in Chicago.  Here is a typical skeptical view of the story of Pam and reincarnation.

In my view the simplest, clearest, most elegant explanation of cases of children claiming to have lived a prior life is that they actually did live that life but as Ian Stevenson claimed in his book title these are all cases “suggestive” of reincarnation. I don’t think he ever claimed that reincarnation was a fact.  He left that up to the readers of his research to decide. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 3 Feb, 22:49

Dear Newton,

With regard to the group soul, I share your sympathy for the concept.  I actually had my ‘Michael chart’ done by Shepherd Hoodwin a few years ago to determine my group and where I fit within it.  It was an interesting engagement that made a certain large amount of intuitive sense, although I’m still not sure what to make of it.

With regard to your statement regarding possession and reincarnation, I think this can happen – perhaps overshadowing might be a better term – but I worry about it explaining evidentiary factors such as birthmarks aligning with death wounds.  I think reincarnation might well be an exceptional possibility without needing to reject all purported cases or, alternatively, accept it as a universal fact.  Here, let me reshare something Don Porteous had discovered in his studies correlating across discarnate testimony from multiple sources:

“Further to your thoughts on reincarnation…it may be of interest that of the 145 separate spirits included in my review of spirits’ attitudes, a total of 52 had comments on some aspect of the reincarnation question. Of those, only 4% of them (2 of the 52)fell into the ‘reincarnation is the norm’ camp.
  At the other end of the spectrum, only 6% (3 of the 52) were of the opinion that ‘reincarnation occurs only rarely, if at all.’
  By far the most predominant view, (79% of the responding spirits, 41 of the 52)was that reincarnation occurred at least ‘some of the time’ for at least ‘some souls.’ There was general agreement that reincarnation was more likely for ‘less developed’ souls.
  Frederic Myers, who you mentioned, felt that while it indeed did happen, at least occasionally, reincarnation was really ‘not necessary,’ as whatever further experience a given soul needed for its development could be acquired via its exposure to the experiences of those other souls comprising its ‘group soul.’
… Considering this widespread variance in opinion, perhaps the most cogent viewpoint is that expressed by Imperator…’There are still mysteries, we are fain to confess, into which it is not well that man should yet penetrate. Whether in the eternal counsels of the Supreme it may be deemed well that a particular spirit should or should not be again incarnated in a material form is a question that none can answer, for none can know, not even the spirit’s own guides. What is wise and well will be done.’”

This seems reasonable to me: that reincarnation is an actual, but nevertheless exceptional possibility.  The challenge is to make sure – through our manner of life and understanding – that it doesn’t happen to us.  In this regard, a friend once shared, “There is a close analogy with the idea of escape velocity. A rocket escapes Earth’s gravity only when moving fast enough. The non-material essence of a human only escapes having to reincarnate when it reaches a sufficient development. Otherwise it falls to Earth-life again.”  This reminds me very much of the two paths denoted in the classical Hindu scriptures, the Pitṛyāna, the path of the ancestors, and the Devayāna, the path of the gods.  The former is the reincarnatory path; the latter is the path of release and liberation from the round of reincarnation.  Thus, sloka VIII.26 of the Bhagavad Gita (tr. Winthrop Sargeant) states:

These are the two paths, light and dark,
thought to be eternal for the universe.
By one he does not return;
by the other he returns again.

What distinguishes those who take the path of the gods and who escape the cycle of rebirth? According to the testimony of the Chāndogya, Brhadāranyaka, Mundaka and Praśna Upaniṣads, they are those who are self-controlled, full of knowledge and wisdom, and devoted to faith, austerity and truth.  Words to bear in mind.

Paul, Thu 3 Feb, 22:45

Dear Amos,

Judgment is a tricky business for all of us.  Further, it is the nature of the limitations of time and attention imposed upon all of us that we often make judgments on the basis of limited information and limited investigation and, once made, we tend not to revisit them.  Judgments also, necessarily, subjectively differ, and sometimes for more or less arbitrary reasons of personal history or inclination.  Such is life.  So, if Darby and Joan tweaked you the wrong way, so it goes – you may even well be right.  We are far from being able to achieve certainty in these matters.  With that said, I do think that ‘capability presumes culpability’ is, in general, too stringent a criterion, for the reasons I have stated.  It might even be that, in certain, circumstances, ‘capability presumes against culpability’.  Here, I am thinking of Harry Homewood’s “Thavis is Here”, which might be considered analogous to Stewart Edward White’s “Betty” writings.  In each case, we have an established author well respected and widely published in a given genre – for Homewood, it was WWII naval fiction involving submarine warfare (as a very young man, he served as a US naval submariner in the Pacific during WWII), for White it was Westerns and wilderness adventure novels.  In each case, the author then writes a book (or books) completely out of keeping with his established genre and literary reputation.  Why?  What if John Grisham or Danielle Steele were to suddenly start writing Spiritualist novels, or even worse – nonfiction.  Would this help or hinder their literary prospects, do you think?  To ask is to answer.

As for the ‘hermeneutics of suspicion’ as a proper scientific attitude, as per your claim, I was simply making the point that, far from contributing to science as a human collective enterprise, it is in fact deeply destructive of it, for the reasons I have mentioned.  As a side note regarding the atheistic leanings of scientists, the general situation, as demonstrated by occasional polling, is that ‘average’ scientists are no more atheistic than the general population around them – noting that in Europe and Great Britain this is generally quite high – but that ‘eminent’ scientists – members of the American National Academy of Sciences or British Royal Society – overwhelming self-identify as atheists, to the tune of >95%.  Of course, the individuals you name – Douglas Axe, Stephen Myer, both of whom I know of – are profound outliers from this general trend.  As for your final lob at Stainton Moses, I find this unpersuasive for the simple reason that a challenger of “Spirit Teachings” would simply claim that Imperator and his band were either a) made up by Stainton Moses as complete fabrications or b) delusions of Stainton Moses’s disturbed mind.

Paul, Thu 3 Feb, 22:27

I don’t know Paul.  I am trying to understand the point of your comments.  For myself I have no judgment to make about anything nor do I care to delve deeply into the motivations of why people behave as they do.  But as a long-time ‘people watcher’ I have my intuitions and archetypes to guide me.  There are too many other examples to consider regarding survival of consciousness to get my “knickers in a twist” about a few who have obtained some devoted following.  But I agree with you that along with capability one must also consider compelling physical evidence, motivation, character, etc. and obviously if someone has in-capabilities then, as you say, “that would be a strong argument against capability, and therefore culpability.” (Dare I say Pearl Curran.) Perhaps that incapability lends weight to a belief that whoever is being charged with a ‘crime’ had no part in whatever is being alleged

Broad generalities about scientists may not be appropriate to describe scientific discovery and people who make such discoveries but I have often thought that modern ‘science’ is sometimes a ‘science of consensus’ or a ‘science of opinion’ rather a science based on hard facts. That certainly has been true in recent years for medical science. e.g., cholesterol and saturated fat causing heart disease.  You have pointed out why this may be so but I think it is a far reach to describe “nearly all scientists [as] materialists” and “many, if not most, scientists are atheists.”  I have not found that in my studies, especially with those more thoughtful scientists throughout history and up to the present day e.g. Douglas Axe “UNDENIABLE; How Biology Confirms Our Intuition That Life Is Designed” and Stephen C. Meyer “SIGNATURE IN THE CELL; DNA And The Evidence For Intelligent Design.” I could name many more if I spent the time going through my library of books concerning spiritualism in some form, many of which are authored by physicians.

Stainton Moses may have been “dis-motivated” to publish “Spirit Teachings” but he could always claim that it was not he who was dissembling Christian theology but spirits ‘in the know’ called Imperator, Rector, Doctor and others who sat at the foot of God’s throne.  So, who would dare to challenge them? - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 3 Feb, 19:32

I love the idea of a group soul, the intimacy, communion, and expansion it connotes, along with its relationship to a this-worldly idea I also love: Rupert Sheldrake’s morphic fields/resonance. I also more than share Michael’s and Paul’s antipathy to reincarnation, the avoidance of which or ending of which was the goal of Brahmanism and other early Eastern traditions.

But why can’t the concept of possession broadly understood and as described in “Spirit Teachings”—a departed soul being allowed, on rare occasions and for specific reasons, to reattach temporarily to a living person—cover virtually ALL cases of apparent reincarnation and explain them in the simplest, clearest, most elegant fashion?

Newton E. Finn, Thu 3 Feb, 19:30

Dear Chris,

Of course, you are absolutely correct.  We wouldn’t accept a message from a given communicator, even if the provenance of that communicator was superb, unless the content of the message was well in line with the bulk of coordinating testimony from many other sources.

Paul, Thu 3 Feb, 16:07

Dear Michael,

On the matter of reincarnation and the group soul, I am in agreement with you on both counts: a) I really don’t want to come back for a second, or nth pass at incarnated earthly existence.  I think people who are deeply attracted to the notion of reincarnation come from a psychological place I can’t recognize.  Have such people never suffered, never met abject disappointment, never had to endure a long slog through a working career? b) Although I would look to Myers before Silver Birch, on this matter, their testimonies are identical – which of course lends further credence to each.

Let me share here a couple of salient points brought up by Bruce Greyson in a very recent, as yet unpublished interview.  First, he shared that the most surprising thing that Jim Tucker – the inheritor of the late Ian Stevenson’s mantle in reincarnation research – had noted in his long study of reincarnation and children was that children claiming past life memories lived less than 4 miles from where they claimed to have previously lived.  This, to my mind, clearly points to such reincarnation evidence as indicative, not of a universal phenomenon, but of a marginal one – similar to repeating a grade, which really happens, but happens to very few.  Further, Dr. Greyson, mentioned two examples that didn’t fit into the usual reincarnation pattern – one where several individuals remembered the same life, another where an individual remembered as a past life actually was still alive.  What both of these examples point to is something apparently no one (I’m not sure about Dr. Greyson) in that interview knew anything about – the group soul, written clearly about by the discarnate Myers a century ago, as well as by other sources (including Silver Birch and Seth).

Paul, Thu 3 Feb, 16:06

Dear Amos,

Perhaps ‘hermeneutics of suspicion’ is not quite the best phrase to capture what I think is at play in your judgment.  A better one might be ‘capability presumes culpability’.  By this light, if an author has known literary capability then we have to presume – out of an abundance of caution (or suspicion, if you prefer) – that any discarnate communication passing through their pen is nothing of the sort.  Does this standard of evidence really ‘work’?  Consider a legal analogy.  A lawyer stands before a judge and jury in a criminal trial. “Your honor, the defendant is known to possess a firearm, therefore we have to presume that he shot the victim.”  After all, capability presumes culpability.  Would any judge or jury consider this a convincing argument?  Certainly, if the defendant could be shown never to have possessed a firearm, or if the defendant’s hands had both been in casts from a recent surgery, then that would be a strong argument against capability, and therefore culpability.  Other factors must be brought to bear – compelling physical evidence, motivation, character, and so on.

As for the ‘hermeneutics of suspicion’ being a proper scientific outlook, as you suggest, is that really the case?  Science is, after all, a communal engagement.  One lone researcher is strictly limited in terms of what he or she can study.  One is forced to look to the findings of one’s scientific colleagues.  But, really, why should an individual scientist trust his or her colleagues?  After all, they certainly have the capability to fake data – these are clever, very often brilliant people after all.  Further, they can be powerfully motivated to fake data, for the simple reason that they are powerfully motivated to eat on a regular basis and career advancement depends on a record of publication, whether to secure tenure or to secure grant funding.  Of course, one might argue that there is an ethic of truthfulness instilled as part of one’s scientific formation, which is no doubt true, but bear in mind also that nearly all scientists are materialists and many, if not most, scientists are atheists, which implies that nothing underpins their private sense of morality – so much as they may be presumed to possess one – other than mere conventionality.  Compare that to, say, Stainton Moses, who was professionally dis-motivated to publish “Spirit Teachings”, precisely because it cut hard against Anglican teaching, and whose rectitude of character was well established.

Paul, Thu 3 Feb, 16:05

Dear all,

I think some wonderful insights are being voiced in response to Michael’s latest blog.

I woud like to make one small response to a remark of Amos’s: He writes:

I too wonder how this American soldier—-Ambulance driver—-could become so erudite and philosophically knowledgeable about the afterlife in such a short time, earth time that is, in ‘heaven’.

Without the possible fact having the power of proof, I think the truth may be found in the facts that Richard Hall was an ambulance driver, working before the United States formally entered the war. Surely he must have chosen that work, and done so as a conscientious decision to do good in a patently evil situation. In other words he was there voluntarily. Being a conscientious volunteer (perhaps even a conscientious objector to taking an active part in combat, but hoping to do good), he may also have been a man of thought, conscience, considerable intellect and previous study. Hence his large knowledge and/or his quick acquisition of such understanding post mortem. Perhaps further research by those who are able to discover such historical knowledge might confirm this scenario.

I think there was something more I wanted to add, but my fingers don’t go as fast as the thoughts I want to express, and my short-term memory is not good. I lose ideas if I have more than two at a time. One idea I am not going to lose as it awaits keyboarding. Again it is Newton who reminds us that the whole subject is the consciousness of the Great Being in Whom ALL exists. So it is not a question of which question we try to decide first or second. If we choose to determine first whether or not we continue to live after what we call ‘death’ (ie take the line of human science) it remains unchangingly logically certain that we do, since our “time” is inherently part of that timeLESS Being, and THAT fact remains pivotal when we approach the question of ‘God’ whether first or only after establishing as human-scientific fact our undyingness. Pure logic is, despite our frailties of mind, quite reassuring in getting over the little bridge from 98.2% to certainty. It just remains to add that we must respond by behaving ourselves. The only worthwhile religious (ie humanly voluntary) resolve is to acknowledge the reality of the Great All FIRST, and act accordingly at all times. We all have what we call conscience, and should use it - as I am sure all of us who discuss Mike’s blogs surely do, whether making a point of saying so or not.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Thu 3 Feb, 12:31

Why are we comparing all the time the messengers?
Maybe se need more to focus on the messages? Is what they say plausible or not? Are the different messages conflicting each other or not? If they are lookalikes,is it because one has copied it or is it because it is true? The truth can only repeat itself in meaning, you can try to explain it with other words or metaphors but basic they must learn the same idea. Terms as oneness,the divine,light, love,respect,consciousness,change,service,...are contantly repeated.

Chris, Thu 3 Feb, 07:20

Thanks to Bruce for detailing the Seth view of reincarnation. I confess that my opposition to the “Buddhist” approach to reincarnation is more emotional than reasonable, as I don’t want to do this again.  So much depends on the interpretation of various words and phrases. I’ll stick with the explanation given by Silver Birch.  Silver Birch, believed to be a group soul, explained that the individual personality on earth is a small part of the individuality to which he or she belongs.  ‘He’ (or ‘they’) likened it to a diamond with its many facets, pointing out that the personality on earth is but one facet of the diamond. “what you express on earth is but an infinitesimal fraction of the individuality to which you belong.  Thus there are what you call ‘group souls,’ a single unity with facets which have spiritual relationships that incarnate at different times, at different places, for the purpose of equipping the larger soul for its work.”

As for WWI ambulance drivers, I recall that Ernest Hemingway also served as one and was severely wounded in that capacity. However, I don’t recall Hemingway being involved in any after-death communication.

Thanks to all others who have offered comments here.  I could probably do another two blogs on the ‘wisdom’ offered by Betty and Stephen, but I’ll move on to another subject.

Michael Tymn, Thu 3 Feb, 07:01

I hope folks don’t mind me posting this:
Students at the University of Edinburgh (Koestler Parapsychology Unit) are asking folks to answer their paranormal beliefs survey. It takes about 15-20 minutes to complete and is done online anonymously here:

Perhaps some here will be interested to take the survey and help out the students with their research.

lee, Wed 2 Feb, 21:12

I do not know you so I should not opine about what you believe personally and I try to restrict my comments to the issues at hand rather than to comments people might make about me and what I believe.  I will respond to what you write however.

You commented that, “At the same time, for you to assert that any literary or writing background on the part of a living amanuensis with regard to an ostensibly discarnate source is sufficient grounds for rejection seems to cleave far too closely to the ‘hermeneutics of suspicion’.”

It is true that I read these purported teachings from discarnate entities with the ‘hermeneutics of suspicion’  As an erstwhile scientist that is the only way that I can determine for myself whether or not what is presented as truth is in fact most likely to be true.  I don’t regard the “hermeneutics of suspicion” as a fault but as an asset of mine.  What other way would an intelligent reasonable person consider purported truth from fiction?  If I have implied that I think that a literary or writing background is “sufficient grounds for rejection” of a possible discarnate source, then I have been at fault for not expanding further my thoughts on the matter. Considering that this is a blog site, I try to keep my comments as short as possible even though it may not seem that way at times.

Chico Xavier reportedly said regarding contact with the dead that “The telephone only works from there to here, not from here to there.”  I see no reason why a discarnate spirit would not manifest through a highly learned, verbose author or writer just as they might communicate through an uneducated person like Pearl Curran, Chico Xavier and others for example. It just so happens that Moses, Kardac, the Finleys, the Whites and Jane Roberts were all highly educated writers having a long history of writing about various topics.  That makes me suspicious. I can’t help it!

It is true that I do have the same suspicions about Stainton Moses as I do about the Findleys or Whites or Roberts.  I have intimated my suspicions about Moses in previous posts for after all, Stainton Moses was a highly educated and experienced Anglican priest well versed in Biblical lore and quite capable of expressing his dissatisfaction with the current interpretations of Christian teachings but I would not commit his communications with “Imperator”, “Rector” and others “to the shredder” as you suggest. His reports of his circle séances are if nothing else interesting.  I understand that Stainton Moses is regarded as one of the more influential mediums providing teaching from the spirit world and that some people can relate to those teachings better than others.  It so happens that I am not one of those people.  I have read a lot of material on life after death and accounts of mediums both past and present.  I often think that modern mediums such as Matt Frazer,  John Edward and others are for some reason given short shrift by those who put a lot of trust that long-dead mediums are truthful and who cannot or should not be questioned about the legitimacy of the source of their writing. In no way do I expect any particular “line drawn” by myself to be taken as objective and binding by anyone else.

There are some mediums that raise my believability quotient close to 100%.  Pearl Curran is one of them.  I mention her frequently, pleading as you say perhaps to the distaste of others but I think that she gets little or no real consideration from most people who are looking for evidence of an afterlife. My guess is that few here have read about “The Case of Patience Worth” by Walter Franklin Prince or any of the writing by Patience Worth.  I do, forsooth want to keep her memory alive. I apologize if that has been annoying to some people.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 2 Feb, 20:08

Dear Amos,

Regarding your critique of individuals with prior writing experience conveying ostensibly discarnate communications, I’m of two minds.  On the one hand, this feels like yet another angle of special pleading by you on behalf of Patience Worth.  This is, in and of itself, not a problem and no doubt Patience Worth deserves the attention you are recurringly bringing to bear on her behalf.  It is also curiously similar to one of the primary arguments is ‘Islamic apologetics’ – if one may speak of such a category – in that the illiteracy of Muhummad is asserted as a major guarantor of the Divine origin of the Qur’an, given its universally acknowledged literary excellence in classical Arabic.  It is a powerful argument, just as yours is with regard to Patience Worth, and deserves serious consideration.  At the same time, for you to assert that any literary or writing background on the part of a living amanuensis with regard to an ostensibly discarnate source is sufficient grounds for rejection seems to cleave far too closely to the ‘hermeneutics of suspicion’.  No doubt William Stainton Moses composed sermons as part of his duties as an Anglican priest – therefore consign “Spirit Teachings” to the flames.  Similarly, Allan Kardec was a profoundly educated and deeply cultured educator – therefore commit “The Spirits’ Book” to the shredder.  At what point is your particular line drawn and why should it be taken as in any way objective, as binding on any but yourself?

Nevertheless, and here I am in full agreement with you, what I think we are all striving for is certainty – absolute, relative, or whatever we can get – with regard to the question and nature of posthumous reality.  What sources can we place confidence in?  Who can we trust?  These are not easy questions to answer.  What is needed is some sort of systematic set of criteria, but such can never be wholly objective and will always be heavily colored by subjective measures of judgment.  Anyone wading into this field is confronted, time and time again and with each new ostensible source of communication, with this question of the degree of confidence that might be placed.  I’ll give one measure of judgement that I have frequently pondered, that of having knowledge of one’s discarnate interlocutor.  Here, let me mention just four examples: the first that of the discarnate Frederic Myers in Geraldine Cummins’ “The Road to Immortality”, the second that of the discarnate Douglas Conacher in his “Chapters of Experience”, the third that of Grace Rosher’s discarnate friend in her “Beyond the Horizon”, the fourth that of the discarnate William Barrett in “Personality Survives Death”.  In each case, the deceased communicator was well known to the living, very often intimately so.  The continuity of their personality through discarnate communication forms a powerful argument for an accompanying confidence in what they communicate.  Of course, they can still be mistaken or biased in what they communicate.  In comparison, we have no real idea of who Imperator is, who the Invisibles are, who Seth is, and so on.  As we don’t know who we are dealing with, we should reasonably place less confidence in what they convey.  When one gets to Ramtha, the Pleiadians or the many ‘channeled’ entities, I find that my own boggle threshold has been reached and that I can proceed no further.

I often think that there is much that analogously connects such judgments regarding certainty to that of an intelligence analyst – deep in the bowels of Langley or Vauxhall Cross – sifting through HUMINT, human intelligence, asking the very same sorts of questions:  What sources can we place confidence in?  Who can we trust?  It may well be that a major step forward in the evaluation of discarnate material would be the wholesale borrowing of developed methodologies from intelligence analysis for application to the weighing of ostensibly discarnate source materials.  Now that is a PhD-level project waiting to be undertaken.

Paul, Wed 2 Feb, 16:49

“Who knows what EVIL lurks in the hearts of men?  The shadow do (knows)!  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 2 Feb, 16:36

Thank you Anthony for the link to “Harper’s Pictorial Library of the World War”.  Truly there is great information there.  Published in 1920, that information about Richard “Dick” Hall surely was accessible to the Finleys, maybe not at the end of 1919 as they reported their first contact with Hall in December of that year—-but perhaps as prominent editors in the newspaper and publishing business they had received a pre-publication copy in 1919 prior to the release date by Harpers in 1920.

“Who knows what lurks in the hearts of men?”  ” The Shadow do!”  (Anyone younger than 75 will not understand this!) - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 2 Feb, 16:25

I agree with Titus Rivas about reincarnation:

“My own conceptualisation of reincarnation is personalistic. I hold that the mind is not some impersonal or collective category, but the life of a constant, substantial self.”

“The self is what I conceive to be the personal agent that is the subject of all of psychological life or experient. Thus, it is also the entity that reincarnates and remembers its previous life. The person who remembers what he or she experienced in a previous life is exactly the same person as the one who originally experienced what is now being remembered.”

Research on reincarnation supports this view:

Kalervo, Wed 2 Feb, 16:15

Re: Reincarnation and “superself,” “oversoul,” “group soul,” “entity,” etc., etc.

As those who’ve read my comments know, I’m a “Seth freak”—Seth’s words have inspired me since 1982 and I’ve interacted on-line and in-person with other Seth readers since 1995.

I don’t restrict myself to Seth’s words.

I also know that no “voice channeling” or any other form of communication from “invisible” beings can ever be perfect, owing to its nature, as it necessarily requires both particular “connective” skills and a kind of translation.

These are more art than science and vary as much as any kind of creative output. Even so, some “communicators” are more skillful than others, and some material is excellent.

(I noticed Dr. Cardoso’s presence in the comments. I’ve long had in interest in the area of her explorations, as well, once exchanging letters with George Meek, and have made inquiries through mediums of dead engineers regarding such activities. This is a related area but distinct from trance communication—a special case.)

Seth’s communications included exercises to validate his concepts and one in particular,  “Finding the Center of Self” can enable someone to be consciously aware of another version of themself—a “reincarnated” self.

Yet “reincarnation” as Seth and many other invisible beings have attempted to describe, isn’t as many imagine it.

For one thing, the usual concept includes a serial version of time that we take for granted, the usual one-day-of-the-week-following-another.  Seth, instead, spoke of “simultaneous” time, contrasting it with “linear time” and that applies to “reincarnation.”

The larger “gestalt” being that Seth generally referred to as “entity” experiences all of its selves at once.

The concept of the entity itself (and our relation to our own entities) is also key to the explanations from Seth and others on this topic.

(Seth also spoke of probable selves and realities, but one thing at a time.)

All of these abstract explanations are interesting and entertaining, but pale compared to direct experience of entity, inner self (a part of entity) and “previous” selves (bearing in mind that “previous” is actually not correct).

(I could quote Seth—many of his words are instantly available in digital form these days, whether as Kindle books or from specialized search engines, but I would recommend that those genuinely interested read the books he dictated to gain the full context of his words.)

Seth’s “Finding the Center of Self” exercise isn’t the only way to access another self.

Call me deluded, if you wish, but I access other selves all day, every day, and they access me; this has been true for many years. Sometimes they look through my eyes; sometimes I look through their eyes.  I would say that several “previous” versions of me find the turbo feature of my old Saabs quite fun (I don’t drive around in a trance state, however, and wouldn’t recommend it—a very brief connection with an Assyrian or Prussian self while driving on a back road is a different situation.)

My first attempt to come to grips with reincarnation (as I understood the term at the time) involved working with a hypnotist, in 1979.

I wasn’t a good subject—he couldn’t put me into a sufficiently deep trance—but he found a workaround using dreams. We’d agree on what I wished to dream about then, in a relaxed state, he’d offer suggestions (I was fully conscious.)

I’d return the next week, enter a relaxed state, and recall, vividly, the pertinent dream. Typically I’d encounter some kind of block. We’d discuss the next dream, with suggestions, one that would surmount the block.

We proceeded in this way for many weeks. The final dream deserves several pages.  As amazing as it was, parts of it would make no sense to me until I came across _Seth Speaks_ the first time I meditated (I perceived a persistent interior image of the cover) several years later.

That was long ago, and I’ve been open to my “other selves” ever since (I was actually open in this way much earlier in my life, but questioned it, had no good framework in which to understand it, and at various points assumed it was nothing more than my imagination.)

A strong experience of this nature took place in 2001 (I’ll leave out the back story as few would believe it).  Short version:  With my eyes closed, I focused with great intensity on a particular question that arose from an usual experience. The result: I found myself within a scene.  “I” was a military officer of some kind “dining” with a colleague.  Our uniforms were crude, our hair long and greasy. We were unshaven, our fingernails were uncut. We stabbed pieces of meat with sharp knives; our table was rudely made.

This was extremely vivid, but I couldn’t place the scene in terms of time and place.

Fortunately, I had many friends at the time who were skilled at autotyping and only a phone call or email away.  I asked one to “tune in” to the scene and got a detailed response that identified the time and place, my dining companion, and our relationship. 

Someday, maybe, I’ll tell the full story and how it relates to U.S. politics.

My point, again, is that if you wish to _know_ about so called “past lives” (and your own in particular) you can.

Bill Ingle, Wed 2 Feb, 15:54


How wonderful to see you over here! (If you’ll reach deeply into your memory banks, you may recall that we had some conversation via e-mail about ten years ago.)

Among other things, I asked you then if you had received any communications from David Fontana (it was shortly after his passing). Your response at the time was that no, you hadn’t, but that you had heard “of” him over there. I’m curious if there has been any change on that front—any contact since then?


Don Porteous, Wed 2 Feb, 15:48

To me this whole topic about reincarnation is so very simple.  The personality that I display in the body that I inhabit now will not live again on earth or any other place.  It is my soul that survives.  It is my consciousness which is devoid of gender, appearance, and history.  In an afterlife I may remember my previous personality for a while but that is not ‘me’; that is not the thinking me. If and when my consciousness comes back to earth or another place my consciousness will inhabit another form which will develop another personality better than the one I have now, I hope.  With each lifetime, the personality is left behind and the soul or consciousness is released to evaluate its past experience and perhaps to choose another experience if needed for soul growth and advancement. We are what we are now because of the time and place in which we live and the body we chose to inhabit but that will fade away in the greater reality of the source consciousness in which we will live in a timeless forever.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 2 Feb, 04:08

Thanks, Michael, and everyone who commented on my question about the year 1916 as it related to Stephen. And thanks Amos for the additional details, especially Stephen’s alleged real name. It really sent me down a rabbit hole! But I found some good info on the actual soldier, Richard Hall, and it opened up a part of the Great War I knew nothing about: the Americans who drove ambulances before the US entered the war. Check out this Harper’s article on Richard Hall (aka Stephen). Pages 95-100:

Great stuff.

Anthony, Wed 2 Feb, 04:01

You recalled and thought (above in your most recent post), that “Seth” made similar comments to that presumably of Stephen (or Dr Newton), and asked my advice on this.
You are quite correct, as you requested, I managed to find relevant Seth comments for you, and they are detailed below for you and readers. In this case, to me there is nothing but scientific consistency amongst them all, and all quotes including Stephen’s in my view - in their totality, without exception or variable methodology, all help educate us regarding the fascinating but complex process of reincarnation. I have multiple other quotes from different sources that provide further correlations, which will appear a later science research paper of mine. Space does not permit their inclusion here.

The following are the relevant “Seth” statements taken from channelling by Jane Roberts.
(Note: Seth uses the term “superself” to describe one’s own higher self)

“You are, … sent out by a superself who strongly desired existence in physical form…. You will follow your own lines of development, and through means far too difficult to explain here, you add to the experience of the superself and also then extend the nature of its reality.”

“You also insure your own development, and you are able to draw upon the abilities of the superself. Nor will you ever be swallowed by the self that in these terms seems so superior.”
‘’There is no end to the reality of consciousness, nor the means of its materialization. Nor is there any end to the developments possible for each identity. Let me make it clear once again: Your present personality as you think of it is indeed “indelible,” and continues after death to grow and develop. I mention this again in the middle of our present discussion so that you do not feel lost, or negated, or insignificant.… your whole self, or soul, has such vast potential, that it can never be expressed fully through one personality.”
-  Seth Speaks, Session 530

“You, as you know yourself, will not grow into this quote “higher” self. This higher self and you exist simultaneously. And yet the abilities and knowledge of this “higher” self can become part of your own conscious knowledge through the psychological bridge of which I have spoken.”
—TES9 Session 501 September 17, 1969

(“Seth also speaks of one’s Supraself as follows) - often called one’s “Oversoul”.

“This supraself can be called upon. Its abilities can be used—they are to some extent in projections, from either the waking or dream state.

An awareness of the existence of the supraself is in itself of great benefit. The author of Ruburt’s new book calls this God, and I am simply telling you what it is. The supraself is indeed a portion of a higher gestalt, which is part of yet another higher consciousness-gestalt. This is true. But this supraself is you in a highly personal way, and it is superior in many aspects. It controls and organizes larger portions of action.

It operates for your benefit almost automatically in any case, for your benefit is its benefit, you see, and its energies are always at your disposal. This does not mean that you are dependent. You are independent as far as the actions you choose to take. You are however a part of your supraself, for it is a self which you will become, in your time terms.

In other terms it is the self which you are; you can call upon your own supraconsciousness therefore, though there should be no reason to do so. It operates within you and for you in any case. The awareness of its existence however has strong reassuring elements on a conscious level.

You see you are not the low man on the totem pole however. There are lesser, so to speak, personalities within every dominant physical personality, and lesser identities quite independent within each personal system. To these the physical personality would seem like a supraself.”

—The Early Sessions Book 7 Session 301 November 16, 1966

In a sense perhaps Mike, these “selves” evolving to a “supraself” and ultimately beyond (outlined immediately above), appear yet another example of the “holon” hierarchical structure of all life and within a reincarnational event cycle - which I covered in a professional science paper you kindly edited for me and was published by the ASCS some years ago.

Bruce Scott-Hill, Wed 2 Feb, 03:51

I wish that I did not have to be so negative about Stewart White and Betty and ‘Darby’(Emmet Finley) and ‘Joan’ (Ruth) but both of these couples were writing at a time when many people were ‘riding high’ on Ouija boards and messages from the dead, especially messages from dead soldiers, e.g., Raymond, ‘Bob’ Boyland.  Claude Kelway-Bamber, Thomas Dowding, and Rolf Little, all of which you have written about in your books and blog.  The Whites and the Finleys obviously knew each other and spent a lot of time together being entertained by their common interests.  All four were writers and had written many books and/or magazine articles before the advent of their abilities as mediums.  The Finleys were newspaper people—-reporters, editors and newspaper managers so it is unlikely that they would not have had easy access to the “New York Times” article about the fallen American soldier, Richard Hall,  who gave his life on Christmas morning a year before the Finleys reported that they had contacted him via a Ouija board.

I too wonder how this American soldier—-Ambulance driver—-could become so erudite and philosophically knowledgeable about the afterlife in such a short time , earth time that is, in ‘heaven’. (I know there is no time in the afterlife, so they say.) He was college-educated so maybe he had a way with words.  And why would that soldier, Richard Hall, just happen to contact the Findleys rather than his own family or friends or want to get messages through to them.

I get an intuitive feeling about all of this, a discernment concerning the social and class position of these four university-educated retired couples, writers all—-who apparently found it irresistible to act as favored spokespeople for spirits in the afterlife. Being somewhat close to the time in which they lived, myself, I just can’t resist a feeling I have that I have personal knowledge about this time and that if this was not a conscious fabrication by them, that they came to actually believe that they were relaying information from spirits even though it actually may have been coming from the subconscious minds of Betty and Ruth. In the absence of any facts allowing research and confirmation of what they were saying, any validation is impossible.  We just have to believe them and their opinions as to the source of the information.  And so often these philosophical teachings from the afterlife just don’t ring true to me as coming from another reality.  People who report an NDE tell a consistent story of what it may be like in the afterlife, at least as far as they were allowed to go.  I have a tendency to put more faith in what they say than in what the Whites and Finleys say.

I am beginning to think like James H. Hyslop I guess, much to my chagrin, who demanded evidence to satisfy the “scientific man” that communication from alleged spirits was really coming from the spirits and not the conscious or subconscious mind of the mediums.  If Pearl Curran had been University educated and had a long career as a writer, most people would have believed that the writing of Patience Worth really came from the mind of Pearl Curran.

Why do I believe, in contrast to the aforementioned, that the Patience Worth case was either actual communication from a discarnate spirit or communication from a group soul or oversoul of Pearl Curran?  Well In the first place, Pearl Curran barely completed grade school; she had no college or university education, she had not traveled beyond the Midwest of the United States and she had written no books, magazine articles or poetry prior to the appearance of Patience Worth yet the language and quality of the communication was in many ways superior to recognized writers and poets of that time and much of it was validated by historians and linguists as an accurate portrayal of the times written about.. It was information Pearl Curran did not know, had never written about and could not understand.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 2 Feb, 02:59

Further to the comment I just left about Stephen and Myers saying much the same thing about reincarnation, I will again quote Myers/Cummins for the benefit of those who are not familiar with it.  From “The Road to Immortality”:

Myers explained that a soul belonging to the group of which he was part lived a previous life and built for him a framework for his own earthly life.  The spirit – the bond of the group soul – manifests, he said, many times on earth.  “We are all of us distinct,” he continued, “though we are influenced by others of our community on the various planes of being.” He further explained that a group soul might contain twenty souls, a hundred souls, or a thousand souls.
“When your Buddhist speaks of the cycle of birth, of man’s continual return to earth, he utters but a half-truth,” Myers went on.  “And often a half-truth is more inaccurate than an entire misstatement.  I shall not live again on earth, but a new soul, one who will join our group, will shortly enter into the pattern of karma I have woven for him on earth.”

Myers likened the soul to a spectator caught within the spell of some drama outside of its actual life, perceiving all the consequences of acts, moods, and thoughts of a kindred soul.  He further pointed out that there are an infinite variety of conditions in the invisible world and that he made no claim to being infallible. He called it a “general rule” based on what he had learned and experienced on the Other Side.

Bruce, it seems to me that Seth made a similar comment, but it would take some digging to find that.  I do recall that Seth made seemingly conflicting comments about reincarnation.

Michael Tymn, Tue 1 Feb, 22:39


Thank you for the link and information providing the identity of Darby, Joan, and Stephen. I had made a search for such information, but you were more successful. I had similar concerns about the credibility of Darby and Joan and am nowhere near 100% on them.  I’m at 77.8%.  I considered the possibility that Joan and or Darby had read “The Road to Immortality” by Geraldine Cummins, as Stephen’s comments about reincarnation seem to be much the same as those by Frederic W. H. Myers, as received by Miss Cummins.  However, the first printing of the Cummins book was 1932, 12 years after Darby and Joan’s book.  Of course, that presents the possibility that Cummins read their book and the idea came from her subconscious, not from Myers’. If we are going to question the credibility of Darby and Joan, we must also question that of Stuart Edward White, who claims to have sat with them on a number of occasions and received much veridical information that Joan could not possibly have known. 

Like Chris, I wondered how Stephen knew so much for having been on the Other Side for less than a year in earth time, but I also considered the possibility that Stephen was a somewhat advanced soul before he was killed in the Great War, as well as the possibility that a Group Soul was communicating through Joan and not just Stephen.  That aspect also factors into my 77.8%. I was at 86.7% before factoring that in.  Clearly, much discernment is required.

Michael Tymn, Tue 1 Feb, 22:29

To piggyback on Paul’s question for Anabela, how much of the medium’s own subconscious connection to the spirit world (essentially a gift, as I understand it, but subject to development), is involved in the process of EVP/ITC? Direct voice mediumship, while not utilizing the medium’s voice box, nevertheless seems to come via a particular medium like Leslie Flint, by means of his or her unique gift.

Does your work lead you to believe the same to be true or likely to be true of electronic modes of communication across the veil? Or is it more a matter or goal of anyone at anytime, anywhere, being able to tune into the right channel on the right apparatus? Like Paul, I’m excited by and grateful for your input on Michael’s blog.

Newton E. Finn, Tue 1 Feb, 19:55

I am so sorry to say that I give little credibility to people who profess to communicate with spirits and then write one or more books about them when those people are career writers having written many books before they decided to become “mediums” and cash-in on books about spirits and write during a time of emotional need of many people who had lost loved ones in war. I would be more apt to believe them if they would own-up to their authorship and subject themselves to criticism.

Since the American soldier died in 1915 it is possible they had read about him prior to 1916 in the New York Times in a newsworthy article since he was an American Ambulance driver who received honors from the French at his funeral. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Tue 1 Feb, 19:25

It might be of interest to know that ‘Darby’ and ‘Joan” and ‘Stephen’ have been identified.  According to Linda Pendleton who wrote an introduction to an edition of “Our Unseen Guest” published in 2011. It is also interesting to know that “Darby and Joan” is an English trope for an old devoted married couple. - AOD

“‘Joan’ was actually Ruth Ebright Finley. She was born in 1884 in Akron, Ohio.  .  .  She studied at Oberlin in 1902, and the next term at Buchtel College but never completed her college degree.”

Pendleton writes that, “After college she [Ruth] began a newspaper reporting career at the Akron Beacon Journal, and soon gained a name for herself. She moved on to the Cleveland Press and became know there for writing stories about working conditions of women. She was also credited with helping to get a bill passed to benefit working women.

It was at the Cleveland Press that she met Emmet Finley, an editor there. They were married soon after.

Emmet Finley was born in Salem, Ohio in 1881.  .  .  . In 1903, he received a degree from Adelbert College of Western Reserve and a law degree there in 1906. He was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1907.

He began a career as a newspaper reporter, editor, and held management positions in various newspaper printing and supply companies and organizations. He died in Dobbs Ferry, New York December 13, 1950.

Ruth Finley’s career was varied. She worked as a reporter, editor of magazines and periodicals, and was an historian, author and feminist. She wrote the book, Old Patchwork Quilts and the Women Who Made Them. She designed a quilt, “The Roosevelt Rose” given to first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, in 1938. In 1931, she published a biography, The Lady of Godey’s, Sarah Josepha Hale.

But as I [Pendleton]wrote above, the Finley’s were not living an uneventful life. As they continued their careers, they were also exploring the paranormal. They do not identify the dead soldier by his real name because his family was still living and he apparently chose not to be identified, so they called him “Stephen.” He had been an American volunteer soldier ambulance driver who had died in France during World War I, the year before the Finley’s contact with him began. Their book soon became a classic in spiritual literature of the time.

In recent years, after the death of Ruth Finley in 1955, it appears her papers revealed the identity of Stephen as being Richard Hall, an American soldier and Dartmouth graduate, who was killed on Christmas morning, 1915, by a German shell while driving an ambulance on a steep, shell-endangered road near Hartmanns-Weilerkopf. It is said that some of the bloodiest battles of the war were fought in that area.

At his funeral, according to the New York Times, the Cross of War was pinned upon the French Flag which covered his body. After attending Hall’s funeral, Inspector General of the American Ambulance in the Field stated: “Hall was buried with honors of war in an Alsatian valley which once more belongs to France and in which our American ambulances are working among great green mountains and picturesque villages torn by shells and swarming with soldiers.”

Amos Oliver Doyle, Tue 1 Feb, 19:02

Stephen tells Joan and Darby that “such knowledge of supreme attributes as I have I cannot make clear to you; earth lacks terms for conveying my thoughts.” How many times have we who study these communications across the veil heard similar words, similar cautions?

Why then engage in herculean efforts to grasp the details, the specifics, the particularities, the nuances, of the afterlife? How can we who are locked into time and space even begin to comprehend more than the broadest outline of what awaits us when freed from these constraints?

I wonder if at least some of this seemingly restless, incessant detail-digging, this insatiable thirst for information, is the result of a struggle to believe in the afterlife without a corresponding belief and trust in its Source: The Author of Life, this one and the next.

Now Michael has a different take on this—that the God question should come second, not first—and there’s something to be said for that. How much baggage has been loaded onto this word for the divinity? Yet perhaps it’s no quirk that Imperator talks constantly of GOD in “Spirit Teachings” (caps NOT added).

Newton E. Finn, Tue 1 Feb, 18:09

Dear Paul, thank you for your comment on my post.
In relation to ITC, I must say that some of the most powerful and significant information ever conveyed to humanity apparently from higher dimensions, was received by Maggy Harsh-Fischbach in Luxembourg and Adolf Homes in Germany, via the Direct Radio Voices and spontaneous anomalous computer texts. Professor Ernst Senkowski compiled and published the many hundreds of pages about it in his major work Instrumentelle Transkommunikation (1995, 2000). In my book Electronic Contact with the Dead, What Do the Voices Tell Us? (2017) I translated some of such texts and speeches (originals in German) and compared them with the information I received in my own experiments, albeit in a lesser scale. However, I agree with you in relation to common EVP… which, nevertheless, has the advantage of being objective, that is, it does not need a medium and is open to anyone. Thanks again for your interest in my work.

anabela cardoso, Tue 1 Feb, 17:28

Dear Bruce,

I’m not sure that the comments on reincarnation through the discarnate ‘Stephen’ as shared in Michael’s post are best viewed through the lens of Michael Newton’s framework.  With regard to Michael Newton, I have simply never had particular confidence in hypnotic regression as a valid, secure or reliable means of knowledge regarding posthumous matters.  Put more pointedly, hypnotic regression is the source of testimony on matters posthumous – of all the many available to us – in which I have the least confidence.  There is simply too much evidence of false memories from hypnotic regression when considered in a more general context.  I have been a little baffled by the popularity of Michael Newton’s books – particularly when much more evidently deserving, significant and impressive books languish in relative obscurity (say, those by Robert Crookall or Paul Beard) – given this very obvious point of hesitation.  Helen Wambach’s books have struck me as more secure in methodology than those of Michael Newton, given her careful statistical analyses, even while following a very similar approach.  What you share of Michael Newton in your comment, in which you speak of ‘energy’ and ‘percentages’ and ‘soul division’, does nothing to allay my already present concerns regarding him, as such seems both a strange and illegitimate appeal to the trappings of scientific description as well as largely out of keeping with the broader testimony of the discarnate literature.  With that said, there is quite possibly something to what you have shared, but the language seems entirely inverted.  It is not that souls are ‘split’ or ‘divided’, as Michael Newton’s testimony would have it, but that the incarnate ‘self’ is a projection or emanation of the ‘Self’ proper.  The entire thrust of discarnate testimony is that of unification and union – a fundamental understanding preserved by the language of projection or emanation – not separation, splitting or division.  Further, it is not that this ‘higher Self’ is in some discarnate existence, but rather that it is ontologically prior to either considerations of incarnate or discarnate existence. 

To reframe matters away from Michael Newton, which I consider both unreliable and unhelpful, let me instead suggest, in the context of traditional metaphysics, a classic article by the scholar Ananda Coomaraswamy, “On the One and Only Transmigrant” (Google for the pdf), that is both much more in keeping with the understanding conveyed by the discarnate ‘Stephen’ and much more in line with the fundamental unity of all apparent ‘things’ in the Divine reality, a unity that ‘Stephen’ gives voice to in his statements about ‘God’ and ‘consciousness’.  In brief, and to quote from Coomaraswamy’s opening sentence, in which he quotes Shankaracharya in turn, “Verily, there is no other transmigrant but the Lord”.  What appears as reincarnation to us is not splitting, division or separation but projection or emanation, “a part of the whole is constantly reborn”, as ‘Stephen’ expresses.  When he goes on to say that “consciousness is constantly reborn” and that “God is consciousness. Consciousness is God. Consciousness is within you….” this brings his expression entirely in line with that of Shankaracharya.  ‘We’ are so ‘many’ expressed modalities of the singular Divine being/consciousness/presence in so many apparent forms, conditions and circumstances.  But at root, there is only the One that is at once the All.  And that is all.  “Verily, there is no other transmigrant but the Lord.”

Paul, Tue 1 Feb, 16:42

Dear Anabela,

It is very good indeed to see your comment here, as I have followed your work on EVP/ITC for a number of years with great interest.  Might I take this opportunity to pose a question to you that I have had for many years?  Although the underlying ‘mechanism’ of communication employed in the respective cases of EVP/ITC and independent direct voice mediumship is not doubt quite different, the evidentiary quality of both is very similar.  In each case, direct vocal communication with discarnate individuals is possible, independent of any incarnately human capacity for speech (as, say, with vocal communication through a medium’s own mechanism of speech in trance mediumship).  However, EVP/ITC and independent direct voice mediumship are also radically different in the following two senses:  First, independent direct voice mediums are rare as hens’ teeth – I can think only of half of a dozen of any note, the most recent being Leslie Flint, now several decades deceased – whereas EVP/ITC hold the promise of bringing discarnate communication to the masses, of democratizing such communication as it were.  Second, independent direct voice mediumship appears capable of much more satisfying communication that the present state of EVP/ITC appears to support.  Thus, typical recorded sessions with Leslie Flint in the Woods/Green archive are on the order of perhaps a half hour, sometimes longer, with typically clear articulation throughout and a natural manner of both speech and spoken exchange with participants, in the manner of a normal conversation.  In EVP/ITC, it often seems that individual short sentences are the best than can be managed and that these are often garbled in transmission to the point that it can be difficult to distinguish their meaning or establish them as expressions of intent rather than random noise.  Even when communication is clear and there is a high degree of certitude that communication is in fact taking place, it never seems to rise to anything like the conditions of communication of high quality independent direct voice mediumship.  Do you have any insight as to why this should be and whether matters might be improved upon in this regard?  Thanks very much in advance.

Paul, Tue 1 Feb, 15:35

in the book are mentioned several dates of connection with Stephen before october 1917, but they also speak of ‘killed in service of the Allied force’, not specific of the army of the United States. But nevertheless it is remarkable that a recently killed soldier with no doubt some traumatic experiences brings so quickly,such deep philosphic messages to the world.

Chris, Tue 1 Feb, 07:37

Did I hear it on the grapevine?

No—I read about it on Michael’s blog.

Thanks for mentioning Our Unseen Guest, Michael. 

I’ve not gotten very far yet, but the beginning reminds me of some of my own ouija board adventures while this tale of a husband, a wife, and a ouija board, the husband taking notes, was echoed by Jane Roberts’ and Rob Butts’ experience in 1963. (What might be taking place in 2022 of a similar nature?)

I posted about the book to a corner in FB Sethland, including the link to the free pdf.  Now some Seth enthusiasts are reading it.


Bill Ingle, Tue 1 Feb, 05:25

Title to my comments below is - Confusion relating to the subject of Reincarnation

Mike, It is unsurprising that some confusion arises from the concept of reincarnation (as covered under the heading “Reincarnation” above), as many are unaware that a soul wishing to reincarnate cannot incarnate on earth unless an arrangement is made to leave a portion of his/her consciousness/energy behind.
Modern nomenclature is useful to describe the end result, as the portion which remains in the afterlife is termed one’s “Higher Self” and the portion which incarnates on earth, is called one’s “Lower Self”.
Dr Michael Newton, the famous afterlife professional regressive hypnosis researcher who has written many books based on regressive hypnosis of his subjects, describes very well the energy considerations which necessitate both the soul splitting prior to birth of a soul on earth, and the reunification process following later transition of a soul at death. He calls the complete process, “Soul Division and Reunification” and has written a whole chapter on this subject in his book, “Destiny of Souls” .
Below are key extracts taken from his coverage in this book,

Importantly, this arrangement also explains how a medium can still contact a person in the afterlife regardless of the possibility of multiple reincarnations, and critically allows the lower self (while on earth) to be influenced by the higher self (continuously if desired) aimed at the lower self’s advantage and ultimately, that of course of the whole entity.
Extract from Dr Michael Newton’s book, Destiny of Souls
(a)  Soul Division
“All souls who come to earth leave a part of their energy behind in the spirit world, even those living in parallel lives in more than one body.
…“the capacity for souls to divide their energy essence, influences many aspects of soul life”. Newton then explains in his book that due to energy considerations; soul splitting is imperative since an entire soul’s energy is too great to carry over for any given reincarnation. He continues, “The percentages of energy souls leave behind may vary, but each particle of light [as we appear as a light form in the spirit world], is an exact duplicate of every other “self” and replicates the whole identity”. “If only a small percentage of the soul’s energy is left behind in the spirit world, that particle of Self is more dormant because it is less concentrated.”
It is important to realise that soul division into a “higher self” that stays behind and a “lower self” portion which only travels to be born on earth - explains how a medium can always contact a soul in the afterlife, regardless of if a soul is involved in multiple reincarnations. Also, as Newton explains, “if someone you love died thirty-years ahead of you and has since reincarnated, you can still see them again upon your own return to the spirit world.”
(b)  Reunification/integration (on return to the afterlife, following death)
On this Michael Newton states that, “The ability for a soul to unite with itself is a natural process of energy regeneration after death.” Also, often because many passing over consider soul reintegration of considerable importance they arrange a ceremony soon after arrival to celebrate it.
Medium David Ingman only recently wrote an entire book on this subject called, “Conversations with Higher Consciousness”, which is thoroughly recommended. It is one of his two books available on Amazon via the first link below. The second link gives access to his website.
You will see there is much to learn in this book and Ingman’s website about “your” higher self and how it interrelates with you personally during your lifetime - which is largely what the book covers. See:

Also, Medium David Ingman’s website:

Bruce Scott-Hill, Tue 1 Feb, 04:21

Anthony, good point about Stephen’s death happening prior to the United States entering the war. I had not thought about that.  In further checking the book, I noted that Darby refers to Stephen as an American serving in the “Allied army,” that he was “decorated by France” and somehow involved with the Red Cross.  Darby further mentions that they went searching for evidence of Stephen’s existence and on January 16, 1917, Joan found a book in the book store which included Stephen’s name.  “And there, in black and white, was the story of Stephen L., of his service in the Allied army, and of his death. There were the facts the ouija-board told us on the night of of December 7, 1916.”  Darby did not want to give the actual date and place of death as he thought that might identify Stephen, which Stephen had asked him not to do.

If Darby and Joan made it all up, it seems like they could have done a better job in coming up with a date of death or country to which Stephen belonged.  I also noted that there were seven deaths in New Jersey on July 30, 1916 in what was called the Black Tom Affair, a German attack in the U.S. I doubt, however, that Stephen was one of them. My guess is that he was an American serving in the armed forces of another country or with the Red Cross.

Michael Tymn, Tue 1 Feb, 01:05

Thank you, Michael, as always, for a wonderful and fascinating blog post. One small thing: you mention that they first came in contact with Stephen through a Ouija board on December 7, 1916. But American soldiers didn’t arrive in Europe until June 1917 and only saw first combat in October 1917. I guess it’s possible Stephen joined Canadian or British units before the Americans entered the war (perhaps that’s in the book), but I did want to point this out in case it’s a typo - it’s the kind of thing skeptics love to jump at in order to dismiss the whole darn thing.

With gratitude,

Anthony, Mon 31 Jan, 21:00

Thank you Mike for this extremely interesting post. I was delighted to learn that the concepts conveyed by Stephen so much resemble the teachings I and other operators received from our ITC communicators much later. In my opinion, the existence of a common pattern in these postlife communications of different kinds is an element of utmost importance that adds to their credibility. All the very best to you and the work you do.

Anabela Cardoso, Mon 31 Jan, 19:21

Thank you for the article! I found the book almost immediately on Amazon Kindle. As I continue my studies of the afterlife, it occurs to me constantly how somewhat prepared for the ‘graduation’ when it comes as opposed to the vast majority of our brothers and sisters who will enter into the afterlife without any clue as to what is happening.

Ted Tassos, Mon 31 Jan, 18:41

I’m in the middle of reading the Unobstructed Universe, which was Betty channeled through Joan.  It does compare well with Seth in its quality of afterlife information.  Lots of difficult concepts to wrestle with and worth the effort.

Keith K, Mon 31 Jan, 16:41

What an interesting perspective with regard to reincarnation. Thanks Mike. I just looked up ‘Our Unseen Guest’ on Amazon UK and there’s a choice of 9 different editions. It is also available as a free pdf:(328 pages) 328 Unseen Guest - Darby and Joan.pdf

Keith P in England, Mon 31 Jan, 12:41

Thanks Michael for this interesting item. Again a strange synchronicity if you read my last comment on the earlier item that I posted in answer to Newton and before this article was published.

Chris, Mon 31 Jan, 10:37

Add your comment



Your comment

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

Please note that all comments are read and approved before they appear on the website

translate this page
Fallen Soldier Convinces His Famous Father of Life After Death – On September 14, 1915, Second Lieutenant Raymond Lodge, the youngest of six sons of Sir Oliver Lodge, a distinguished British physicist and pioneer in electricity and radio, as well as the former president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, was killed in WWI action in Flanders. Read here
© White Crow Books | About us | Contact us | Privacy policy | Author submissions | Trade orders