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Why Harmony is Important in Spirit Communication and Related Phenomena

Posted on 30 December 2013, 9:35

Many a baseball player has said that trying to hit home runs usually results in strike outs. The harder they try, the more they fail. The important thing is to simply relax and make contact with the ball without any extra effort. It’s a matter of finding just the right rhythm, the right harmony.  It goes without saying that harmony of mind, body, and spirit is a critical factor in the success of any difficult endeavor.  Discord, whether it results from mental conflicts, adverse conditions, antagonism, or opposition of any kind, usually deters, delays, or completely defeats positive results. Such is the case with mediumship, although whenever mediums are unable to produce phenomena because the conditions are not “harmonious,” the skeptics scoff in self-righteous indignation.

The early history of mediumship clearly indicates the need for harmony in mediumistic settings. Many are the reports in which those sitting with a medium would sing or pray in order to establish the necessary harmonious conditions.  Some mediums were able to achieve the passive state required for good phenomena within a few minutes, but there were times when it took an hour or longer for anything to happen and there were many times when a proven medium simply couldn’t produce at all on a particular night because the conditions weren’t right.  A few mediums, well-known in the history of the subject, are said to have turned to trickery when nothing happened because they were embarrassed at their failure and didn’t want to disappoint the observers. Of course that only resulted in the skeptics concluding that everything was a trick.

“The mind must be at peace, in harmonious balance, and not biased or excited,” explained William Stainton Moses, (below) one of the best known mediums of the late 19th Century.  “The best attitude is one of simple receptivity, an attitude, let me say, quite compatible with the keenest scrutiny and the most accurate observation.”  A Church of England priest, Moses was himself a scoffer before he investigated and observed genuine mediumship, and then discovered that he also had mediumistic ability.


Referring to his own mediumship, Moses added that “uncongenial company reduces the manifestations to a minimum” and that the power is greatest when only intimate friends are present.  Under the most favorable conditions, the whole room was in a state of incessant vibration, which could be felt and heard by others the entire time he was in the trance state. Moreover, he had been advised by the “communicating intelligences” to refrain from eliciting phenomena except in the circle of his friends, which included Dr. Stanhope T. Speer and Mrs. Speer, who recorded much of the phenomena.  He further noted that failure to produce phenomena would leave its mark upon him for some days, apparently affecting his confidence.  As a result, he had to deny many requests from researchers who desired to observe his trance mediumship.  This no doubt reinforced the skepticism of the researchers.

In his 1901 book, The Law of Psychic Phenomena, Thomson Jay Hudson, Ph.D., LL.D., discussed the effects of lack of harmony.  “Exhibitions of the phenomena of spiritism are constantly liable to utter failure in the presence of avowed sceptics,” he wrote. “Everyone who has attended a ‘spiritual’ séance is aware of the strict regard paid to securing ‘harmonious conditions,’ and all know how dismal is the failure when such conditions cannot be obtained.  It frequently happens that someone will inadvertently remark that ‘spirits never come when I am around,’ and in nine such cases out of ten the séance will end in failure when such a remark is made.  Any argument against Spiritism, especially if addressed to the medium, or any controversy on the subject in his presence, will destroy all chances of a successful exhibition.” 

Dr. Isaac Funk, (below) remembered primarily as the publisher of the Funk & Wagnalls Standard American Dictionary, was also a psychical researcher and probably more than any other researcher discussed the need for harmonious conditions with mediums.  He recalled a sitting in which the medium’s spirit control predicted failure “because there are so many inexperienced persons present it will make it difficult to harmonize the vibrations.”  Funk further noted that stormy atmospheric conditions upset the harmony and had a negative effect on phenomena.


“We are persistently told at circles that mutual confidence is essential – confidence of the medium in the sitters, and confidence of the sitters in the medium,” Funk wrote.  “There must be a receptive conditions in the circle.  The requisites are serenity of mind, confidence in the integrity of each other, and calm desire.”  He recalled a spirit control telling him that “there are emanations that come from some persons which strike the medium like shots from a gun, and even I, experienced as I am, find it difficult to keep my balance in earth conditions while these adverse waves strike me.”

Another spirit control told Funk:  “A candid, simple skepticism does not necessarily prevent us, but a determined, aggressive skepticism affects unfavorably the power of the medium.  Spiritual communication depends much upon the attitude of the minds of those present. If one says, ‘I cannot believe these things; they are to me absurd,’ he shuts hard the door against us.  Do you never ask yourself why Jesus would never perform miracles when His opponents came to Him and challenged Him to do miracles, saying if you will do such and such miracles here, then we will believe?  He simply could not in that atmosphere, or while they presented these hostile psychic conditions. Faith has the power to perform wonders, even when the motive is wrong.  This is a natural law in both your world and ours.” 

At another sitting, a communicating spirit explained to Funk: “It is to adapt ourselves to your low earth conditions that we use mediums, for it is only in this way that we can reach your coarse, physical senses.  We are compelled to use the organisms of mediums.  This hinders, embarrasses, confuses us, often causes us to blunder, by having our utterances mixed and confused with those of the medium’s psychic nature and with the nerve and thought vibrations of the members of your circle.  Again and again you wish us to satisfy unreasonable skepticism by working wonders, and you can not understand what we mean when we say that we can not.  Why do you not see that skepticism is an impassable bar?”

In his 1942 book, Life Now and Forever, Arthur J. Wills, Ph.D., president of the U.S. College of Psychic Science and Research, tells of an experiment carried out by Mary C. Viasek and Mrs. Z. J. Allyn, a materialization medium.  Mrs. Viasek, who had learned to travel out of body, told Mrs. Allyn that she would attempt to visit her circle on September 28 while she was traveling by train from California to Toledo, Ohio.  At the time of the séance in Los Angeles, the train was in Utah.  After leaving her body, Viasek willed herself to Allyn’s circle in Los Angeles.  The circle was already in progress and Viasek entered the materialization cabinet, where she found Allyn entranced in a chair and a number of spirits waiting to materialize.  The “cabinet guide” told her that she was welcome to observe but because she was mortal she could not participate.

Viasek then observed three “spirit chemists” collecting something.  Looking closer, she saw a band of light, of bluish-grey vibrations, resembling heat waves, passing around the circle and into the cabinet. “The stream of vibrations started from the medium’s husband, Mr. Allyn, who sat by the right side of the cabinet, and gradually increased in size as the various members of the circle contributed their vibrations to it,” Wills quoted the report, going on to explain that the stream was about two inches in width and six inches in depth and increased in size as it passed around the circle and then into the cabinet, at which time it was about a foot in width and 18 inches in depth.  It was further noted that not all of the sitters contributed to the stream, as it appeared to go around a couple of them.
Once the stream reached the cabinet, a spirit chemist took it and appeared to pour it into the back of the head and neck of the medium.  At the same time that the light, bluish-grey vibrations were being poured into the medium, a white substance (not named, but apparently ectoplasm), began to emanate from the medium’s chin, throat, and chest. This emanation was then taken by another spirit chemist and put over the spirit to be clothed.  As he was pouring the substance over the spirit, he said in a firm positive voice:  “Think your features!  Think your face!  Think your eyes! Think your form!  Think positively!  Think your form as you were on earth!  Think your arms!”  As the spirit thought these things a form gradually built up over him. 

All the while the circle members were singing in order to establish and maintain harmonious vibrations.  When they finished one hymn and before starting another hymn, the materializations began failing as “the substance fell from the spirit.”  The spirit chemist then began attempting to clothe another spirit and it also failed when the hymn was abruptly changed.  Viasek noted that the vibrations changed when the singing changed and interfered with the manifestations.

During these failures, Viasek was in the cabinet but could not get her feet on the floor. When the group members started singing Shall we gather at the river, her feet touched and she found herself standing in front of one of the chemists.  He said, “You are mortal.  You cannot go,” but she appealed to him and he then consented.  The chemist then turned her around with her back toward him and began pouring the substance drawn from the medium over her, while saying:  “Think your features positively, just as you are!  Think your hair! Your eyes!  Think your form!  Think your arms!  Think your hands!  Think your feet!” 

As discussed in earlier blogs about physical mediumship, when the mediumistic power lacks or the spirit lacks in ability to project his or her image or voice into the ectoplasm, some bizarre or hokey phenomena have resulted.  Likewise, with mental mediumship, lack of harmony, a failure to produce rhythmic vibrations, however it is viewed, results in distorted communication or complete failure. 

But all this does not easily lend itself to scientific validation and is simply too much for the pseudoskeptics to comprehend, the result being that there has been very little research in this area over the past 100 years. 

Best wishes to all for a harmonious New Year!

Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die is published by White Crow Books. His latest book, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife is now available on Amazon and other online book stores. 

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Next blog:  January 13   . 




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Cora L. V. Richmond – An Amazing Medium (Part II)

Posted on 16 December 2013, 10:08

Scientists, scholars, ministers, and journalists were befuddled by young Cora Scott (later Cora Richmond), who, at age 11, began giving lengthy discourses on various philosophical, metaphysical , social, political, and reform matters. Or rather, one or more advanced spirits gave the discourses through her (see prior blog post).  One theory offered to explain it was called “psychological absorption,” which held that by merely putting her hand on a book or passing through a well-stocked library, young Cora could absorb all knowledge stored in the book or in the library. At the same time, she would have had to discern it, organize it in her mind, and deliver it in a coherent and persuasive manner. The skeptics were prepared to buy into anything but spirits. 

Some of the spirit communication came through in foreign languages, occasionally an ancient language, but Ouina, one of Cora’s key spirit guides, who often acted as intermediaries between the advanced sprits and the medium, was able to interpret all of them.  At one lecture, Cora relayed a message in an Indian sign language to a member of the audience.  The man rose from his seat, said that the sign language given through her was perfect, and though he had been a skeptic he was now a convert.

At the urging of Mrs. Lincoln, President Lincoln and several congressmen were said to have attended Cora’s lectures in Washington, D.C. when she was still a teenager, and to have been much impressed with her.  The abolition of slavery was one of the key themes in her lectures during those early years.

In 1874, when she was 34, Cora toured the United Kingdom.  It was reported that there were standing-room only crowds and that many were turned away.  The Telegraph, a London daily, reported: “For upwards of an hour the lady poured forth an uninterrupted flow of language, without hesitating for a single instance, sentences of the most involved character and abounding in parentheses, being evolved without apparent effort, and every word fitting into the place as in a child’s puzzle.  Though somewhat devoid of elocutionary emphasis, her delivery was clear and telling, and her diction of a very high order.  If, as stated, she is merely a mouthpiece of the Spirits, the condition of belles lettres (beautiful writing) in the Spiritual world is decidedly encouraging.  If, on the other hand, her lecture is a mere effort of memory, its recital is a feat rarely excelled.”

The Liverpool Courier reported: “Although it might be assumed by the advertisements that the lady is an American, she spoke with an unmistakable Scotch accent.  The lady has a fine presence and much grace of manner, a clear and somewhat impressive delivery…” 

The Newcastle Critic story noted that she had given more then 3,000 public discourses before the age of 30 and went on to say that “ her lectures are extraordinarily clever, no matter whether they are the result of spiritual inspiration or that inspiration which is common to thoughtful, intelligent minds.  There is an eloquence which we deem natural to this lady; her articulation is clear and deliberate, her figure is commanding and graceful and she possesses those qualities which are necessary to successful public speaking.  Her knowledge is something marvelous, and that is shown by her ability in lecturing intelligently on any subject that may be chosen by the audience.”

A report in the August 15, 1874 issue of The Bury Times of Bury, England read:  “She is unlike many lady lecturers, having nothing of the masculine about her, either in appearance or style of delivery, but is quiet and ladylike.  She has nothing of the strong-minded woman, which characterizes some of our American female cousins.  Her voice is sweet and clear, but somewhat low in pitch.  She spoke for perhaps three quarters of an hour on the abstruse subject, given in a very logical style, unusual certainly to a lady, apparently unaware of the subject to be chosen, as she must have in this case have been….She was never at a loss for a word, and spoke easily and confidently throughout in what Spiritualists would call the trance state, but in this instance with the eyes open.”

By the 1870s and 1880s, the educated world, had adopted Darwinism and had for the most part totally dismissed religion and spirituality, failing to distinguish between religious dogma and spiritual truths.  As a result, much of the press didn’t know what to make of Cora, (below) but Wilbur F. Storey, editor of the Chicago Times, was very much impressed with her and published many of her lectures verbatim.

cora 3

While touring California, Cora filled a hall with a capacity of 3,000 in San Francisco in successive weeks.  The advice and opinions expressed were almost always prefaced with “we,” referring to the group of 12 spirits speaking through her, e.g., “We can only say, study your souls as you do your bodies, pursue the science as you do any other.  Make the lamp of the human spirit the subject of your inquiries. and investigations, and, like the happy astronomer who triumphed in the exercise of mathematical faith, you too shall triumph in the certainty of spiritual knowledge.”

Here are some other excerpts from Cora’s discourses:

God: “It is often said that an Infinite Deity is inconceivable.  An Infinite Deity is incomprehensible, we admit, but not inconceivable.  The mind may conceive of that which cannot be comprehended.  All that relates to Eternity is not comprehended except in Eternity; but you do conceive both of the heretofore and the hereafter while in your present state.  The conceptions of the mind are prophecies, and the comprehensions of the mind are limitations.”

The Soul: “The Soul in its pure and primal nature has nothing to do with time, nor space, nor matter, but only with eternity and that which belongs to eternity.  Whatever hereinafter shall be expressed concerning what the Soul does must not be mistaken for what the Soul is. The Soul is a revelation unto outward nature.  No external thing can reveal God.  The Soul alone, being of the nature of God, perceives God.  Nothing can teach that there is God.  All things may illustrate it; teaching comes from knowledge, possession; and that which recognizes God is from the Soul.  As consciousness is in the Soul, so every attribute expressed by consciousness is in the Soul.  As you must go to the Soul for the source of all intelligence, so you must go to the Soul ultimately for all that promises expression.”

Overcoming Adversity:  “The strength of spirit is attained through struggles that may encompass all conditions of life.  Not gigantic to the extent of over-weening physical strength, but for the purpose of usefulness as much strength as needed; not gigantic to the extent of worshipping the intellect at the expense of the heart, but to succeed in all and to fail in all, until one can forward the work of the spirit, until it has conquered all states, not only sin, but the greatest of all sins, self-righteousness, and stands in sublime and exalted humility as the typical illustration of conquest over the earth. All states between that and the lowest condition which you can picture are states of human experience that every Soul must pass through.  Meanwhile there infiltrates into these experiences a religious or spiritual element, a suggestion that that which the body, or the mind, only accomplishes is no accomplishment at all.”

Morality: “When the mental force is taking possession it is often veiled before recognition; the antitheses are the stepping from heights that are false; as the physical height has its downfall in order that a better height may be attained, so in the intellectual world there is the recession.  Let no one suppose that, when placed in the spiritual balance, the human intellect without Soul weighs any more than the dust which expresses no intellect; let no one suppose that simply intellectual expression, unaccompanied by moral force or intention, can weigh any more in the great scale of real life, that that life whose intellect is veiled, and yet, in all appearances, wears a fair face, with features that are delicately chiseled , but under some law has come into the world with no intellectual outlook, with no face for earthly victory.  These illustrations are extremes, but there is no more extreme depth, or fictitious height, that that of the pride of intellect, of which this extreme is the necessary and natural antithesis.”

Genius: “We would name Mozart as a genius, because, untaught, in childhood he knew the principles of harmony.  He did not know because he had never had experience, but he knew because he had experience in previous lives; he had taken all the steps because that life was the culmination.  This enabled Mozart to know music at three years of age, not because his Soul, or spirit was any more tuneful than any other, but because he had taken the preceding steps in preceding lives to that culmination.”

Reincarnation:  “The human mind takes alarm at once at these teachings, and declares a loss of identity if one embodiment is followed by another, and one spirit after another has expression.  There is no reincarnation; there is another expression, and another, until all that is possible is expressed here and in spirit life.  Another embodiment is not a loss of identity, but an added expression of identity.. As each form only expresses a portion of the spirit that pervades it, so each spirit (of a Soul) only expresses a portion of the Soul.  Do not mistake the spirit of embodiment for the Soul; it is as fatal as to mistake the body for the spirit.”

Meeting Friends in the Afterlife:  “People say: ‘I would not like to go into the spirit life and not find my friends.’ If they are your friends, you will find them; if they are not you would not wish to.  All real ties are found to last in spiritual existence, and form a portion of the Soul’s possessions. The larger sphere includes the smaller one.”

According to Harrison D. Barrett, her biographer, Cora L. V. Richmond was one of the most famous women in the world during the late 1800s. But today, we ask, “Cora Who?”

Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die is published by White Crow Books. His latest book, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife is now available on Amazon and other online book stores. 

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Next blog post: December 30




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Cora Richmond: A Most Amazing Medium

Posted on 02 December 2013, 14:53

My 2011 book, The Afterlife Explorers, is about the principal mediums and psychical researchers before the formation of the Society for Psychical Research in 1882.  The mediums include Emanuel Swedenborg, Andrew Jackson Davis, George Dexter, D. D. Home, and William Stainton Moses.  The researchers featured are Judge John Edmonds, Nathaniel P. Tallmadge, Professor Robert Hare, Victor Hugo, Allan Kardec, Alfred Russel Wallace, and Sir William Crookes.  It was not until a few months ago that I became aware of a major omission,  a person seemingly more amazing than the mediums discussed in my book. Her name was Coral L. V. Richmond.  Her mediumship began in 1851 and continued until her death in 1923.

Richmond’s dynamic near-death experience was discussed in my last blog post but there is much more to the story of Cora Richmond (below) than her NDE or out-of-body experiences.  Born in Cuba, New York in 1840, young Cora Scott, beginning at age 11, would slip into a trance state, during which time various spirits took over her body and spoke through her.  The words coming through her were not simple utterances of a frivolous nature, but profound lectures on philosophical and metaphysical matters, as well as reform issues, including the abolition of slavery.


Young Cora’s first “visitation” took place during the fall of 1851, She fell “asleep” and wrote out a message from a deceased aunt for her mother. A few days later, when Cora was seated at the feet of her mother, who was sewing, she again fell “asleep” and her right arm began trembling.  Remembering what had happened a few days earlier, her mother placed a pencil and slate in her hand.  “She rapidly wrote one message after another signed by different members of the family who had departed to the spirit life, all of whom united in saying, ‘We are not dead,’” wrote Harrison D. Barrett in his 1895 biography of Cora (Scott) Richmond.  ”They also assured the anxious mother that they would not harm the child, for they had found through her a means of consciousness with those on earth, and wished her to aid them in carrying out this work.” 

Although, during the first four years of her mediumship, Cora, whose education was limited to elementary school, was sometimes controlled by a deceased German physician to do healing work, it was made clear at the beginning that her mission was to be a platform speaker and to provide teachings relative to the meaning of life along with an understanding of the spirit world. 

“From the very first, it was announced through Cora’s own lips (while in a trance state) that there was a band of spirit controls of those whose mutual attractions and sympathy had drawn them together in this work of controlling and guiding [Cora],” Barrett explained.  “This band, acting together under her guides who had charge of her work, would carry forward the message of truth which the spirit world had for humanity, through her organism.”  It was announced in the beginning that there were 12 spirits, each with different gifts or areas of knowledge who would speak as required on scientific, philosophical historical, political, or other topics chosen by a committee or by members of the audience.  At times, members of the band had to combine to address certain themes or to answer questions by the audience.

According to Barrett, the committees choosing the topic were usually made up of medical men, professors, doctors of divinity and statesmen.  “They generally endeavored to select the topic which they deemed most difficult for any speaker to discuss, with which to confound the young girl,” Barrett wrote, pointing out that the subject was not given to her until she was on the platform.

At age 14, she appeared before a large audience in New York City and was given the topic “The Influence of the Aryan Philosophy upon the Philosophy of Modern Times” to discourse on.  The next day, the New York Herald story read, in part: “She gave a most eloquent lecture upon the subject, replete with logic and erudition…and showed a knowledge of the subject far transcending that which [is]  possessed by any mortal… Many abstruse metaphysical questions were propounded to her, which were answered with perfect ease and always in the same scholarly, dignified language.”

In 1856, when she was just 16, while again lecturing in New York City, she was given the subject “The Philosophy of the Spheres” to discuss.  After a short prayer, she responded. in part:  (Many of her lectures were recorded in shorthand) :

“You desire an elucidation of the philosophy of the ‘spheres,’ or an explanation of the successive unfolding of the Spirit though different gradations, either embodied or disembodied.  The word ‘sphere’ when applied to any object simply signifies the orbicular condition or position of that object, and does not illustrate or imply a particular location with regard to other objects.  But when applied to mind, it represents the compass or power of the mental capacity. The sphere of your material earth comprises all that space in which it moves and, atmospherically, all those elements that surround it and are influenced by its revolutionary changes.  So the sphere of an individualized soul is the orbit of its revolutions, and the influence of its movements upon its own center of attraction.

“When we speak of the seven spheres or circles of the Spirit-world, we do not intend to convey the idea that our world is divided and subdivided into regular compartments, each separate and distinct in its formation.  But that we may bring you capacities in harmonious communication with our own, we are obliged to render an outward or objective distinction , thereby enabling you to realize that we occupy a world as real, as tangible, and positive as your own.  Seven is a harmonic number.  There are seven great principles in the spiritual identification of mind, and there must be correspondingly seven material principles.  There are seven hues in the rainbow, or prismatic reflections of these hues.  You have divided your weekly revolutions of time into seven days.  There are seven grand principles of melody in the harmonic world of music, and each distinctive principle is a trinity.  Seven and three are the combinations of harmonious number; three and seven are the union of harmonious sounds; and sounds and numbers are the united representation of spiritual or real existence.

“But before I can proceed to a direct analysis of sphereal harmony, I must distinctly impress upon your mind that ours is a world of causes, or the spiritual, and yours is a world of effect or the material.  And as no effect can exceed or become superior to the cause, no embodied form can represent fully the spirit of embodiment.  We see reflected in the drop of water a miniature image of the whole starry heavens; but remove the water and we see no stars – yet, does that destroy the vast myriads of rolling worlds?  No!  We have only to look upward to see the reality.  So in the external world we see, embodied, in the flower, the beauty, the loveliness and of its spiritual existence. But soon the external flower is destroyed by the blast, and its petals fall withering to the ground.  But where is the odor, the color, and the beauty? Not dead, but blooming in the atmosphere, more lovely because more refined and purified.

“Thus, my dear friend, it is with the soul you see reflected in the human or outward form, the image of the Spirit; and gazing upon its beauty and perfectness, you bow before the shrine of the exterior, forgetting that, like the drop of water, it must soon pass away.  And when it is removed at last, mortals gaze in sorrow and sadness, strive to restore the faded image instead of lifting up their eyes to see the beautiful reality.
“The spheres of the human soul are like the orbits of planets, each perfect in itself, yet distinct and harmonious, and whether that soul exists in the external form, or in the interior and spiritual, it matters not, if it only attains its own orbit and not, like the erratic comet, flashes a moment in the mental horizon and disappears.  But even the comet occupies its own sphere, and never comes in contact with any other planet however near it may approach.

“Man’s sphere is ascertained on earth by the external application of his interior powers.  Men rear grand architectural palaces, whose marble halls and lofty turrets are emblazoned with the choicest gems of earth, surround themselves with every treasure of art, science, and beauty.  The poet weaves for himself the silken robe of song in all nature a grand lyric of perpetual beauty.  The sculptor chisels for himself an embodiment of his ideal of Nature’s perfect images.  All these are but birth of the inferior man, and illustrate the sphereal or harmonic development of the soul.  The philanthropist creates for himself a pedestal of earnest and perfect love, and with clear and piercing eye traces out the windings of his pathway, gazes on this whole race of souls and with one loving clasp draw the whole world to his noble heart and bears them on to joy.

“Thus it is in our life.  The architect creates for himself the ideal, yet real images of his interior thought, and sees in the whole universe a grand and perfect temple.  These thoughts are handed down through successive spheres until at last they reach the earth.

“Here the poet sings his lyric rhymes in harmony with eternity’s everlasting beauty, and this, like the other, permeates all spheres corresponding with its own, until some soul on earth, catching the inspiration, speaks, and lo! The poem becomes an outward form.  Here Mozart thrills forever the strings of Nature’s lyre, and improvises grandest melodies, in harmony with Eternity’s glorious voice.  And Rembrandt, through his own ideal and imaginative power, pictures for himself a panoramic scene of Creation’s lovely landscapes, presenting of eye of God the artist power of Nature.

“Thus in the interior and exterior worlds the sphereal harmonies of each are combined, while the soul, immortal in its powers, passes from gradation to gradation, from world to world, form universe to universe, retaining still its own sphere, and performing still its revolutions around its center – its own interior self.”

At Lynn, Massachusetts, in December, 1857, a committee composed of scholarly men anticipated that they would confound Cora’s guides by asking, “Will you please define the Pythagorean proposition?”  Speaking through Cora, the guides asked, “Which proposition do you mean – the Moral Code or the so-called Scientific Proposition?”  When no answer came from the committee, the guides took up the Moral Code.  Following that discourse, a committee member, apparently a scientist, asked, “What is the diameter of a bucket filled to the brim with water?’  The response came through Cora,  “The diameter of a bucket of water is probably as great as the diameter of a cranial structure, destitute the grey material denominated ‘brain’ by so-called scientists.”

On June 13, 1858. Cora, then age 18, appeared in Melonian Hall in Boston and the spirits were asked to explain the difference between Truth and Fact.  Again, using Cora’s vocal cords, the spirits replied, in part:

“It is customary for man to speak of the truth from the position to which his mind has attained.  In court a man swears to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, yet he only promises to tell the truth as he conceives it to be. You speak of the truths of religion.  All that appears to you in the consecrated religious dogmas has no relevancy to religious truth.  The Bible, as afar as it is historically correct, is not a truth but a record of facts.  There is no such thing in nature, in art, or in intellect as truth.  Intellect is but fact, and mind is built upon the basis of cold facts.  Art and science are not truths, only in so far as they speed the soul on in its attainment.  So with architecture, it is a matter of beauty.  There is no principle of truth in the statement that the earth is round.  It is but a fact.  is there any evidence that any one law of science is perfect?  None at all.  Facts, then are but steppingstones to truths.  Creeds and dogmas ever remain the same –they never progress.  They are not facts, consequently, they are not truths, only man’s expression of what he considers to be truth as regards religion.  You cannot cling to favorite opinions or old-time institutions and arrive at truth.  The greatest of truth is its simplicity….” 

By the end of 1858, Cora, just 18 then, had given over 600 lectures on a wide variety of subjects.  “This lady can address an audience of five thousand people with great ease, and the guides through her give an elaborate discourse upon any subject the audience may choose,” wrote Dr. A. B. Childs, one of the observers.  “There cannot well be a greater test of Spirit power than this.”

More on Coral L.V. Richmond in my next blog, December 16.

Ref: Life Work of Mrs. Cora L. V. Richmond, by H. D. Barrett, first published 1895. For copies, see or phone 510-479-4792

Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die is published by White Crow Books. His latest book, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife is now available on Amazon and other online book stores. 

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“Life After Death – The Communicator” by Paul Beard – If the telephone rings, naturally the caller is expected to identify himself. In post-mortem communication, necessitating something far more complex than a telephone, it is not enough to seek the speakers identity. One needs to estimate also as far as is possible his present status and stature. This involves a number of factors, overlapping and hard to keep separate, each bringing its own kind of difficulty. Four such factors can readily be named. Read here
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