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Canadian Physician Informed: “We Do Not Die”

Posted on 23 May 2022, 17:03

Due to failures of certain researchers to grasp the anomalies of mediumship, including the research involved with the mediums Mina Crandon, aka Margery, George Valiantine, and Rudi Schneider, during the 1920s and early ‘30s, parapsychology began replacing psychical research, the emphasis being on evidence for extrasensory perception (ESP) and away from spirits, physical mediumship and life after death, in general.  However, there was still one researcher who continued to focus on physical mediumship and other phenomena suggesting a spirit world.  He was Thomas Glendenning Hamilton (1873-1935), better known as T.G. or Glen to his friends (below).


A successful physician and surgeon in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada when he became interested in psychical research in 1918, Hamilton also taught medical jurisprudence and clinical surgery at Manitoba Medical College.  His initial interest in psychical research was a result of articles on psychic phenomena by William T. Stead of England and later after hearing from his friend, Dr. W. T. Allison, a professor at the University of Manitoba, about the investigation of the “Patience Worth” phenomena in St. Louis, Missouri, USA.

Hamilton and Allison carried out some experiments in thought-transference, or telepathy, and became convinced that there was something to it.  Hamilton then began studying the reports of esteemed members of the Society for Psychical Research, including Sir William Crookes, Sir Oliver Lodge, Professor William James, Professor Charles Richet, and Alfred Russel Wallace.  “To suggest that these trained observers were all deceived by fraudulent operations, those stupid and very tiresome performances which mislead no one but the uninformed and gullible, is to offer an explanation which offends our reason and shows willful indifference to truth,” Hamilton wrote.

Hamilton first experimented with Elizabeth Poole, a family friend who lived near him.  With her, he observed a 10-pound table move by itself and heard communicating raps come from the table.  An early message supposedly came from Frederic W. H. Myers, one of the pioneers of psychical research and read:  “Read Plato Book X.  Allegory very true.  Read Lodge.  Trust his religious sense. Myers.”
But, after 40 séances with Poole, Hamilton, concerned about the negative reaction to his research and his reputation, temporarily gave up his research of mediums.  Early in 1923, however, he had an impromptu sitting at which a message purportedly coming from William T. Stead said, “Go on with your work.  More ahead. Stead.”  Hamilton then resumed a weekly study of the Poole phenomena.  Over a five-year period (1923-27), he observed Mrs. Poole in 388 séances and observed 591 trance states containing 977 trance products of a purely mental nature.  In addition to Stead, author Robert Louis Stevenson and missionary-explorer David Livingstone were among the frequent communicators. 

Poole would go into a trance state and her hand would then begin writing.  “It seemed to be directed to one purpose only, that of setting down the script,” Hamilton recorded, referring to the writing as coming through in an extraordinarily blind sort of fashion. “But it was a blind and trusting automatism which assumed the cooperation of the observer. It displayed no awareness of the end of the paper, or of a broken pencil, or of the removal of the paper.  In all such cases the hand wrote steadily on, regardless of any circumstances which made the automatism valueless.  In order to facilitate such matters, the medium was supported in her chair and her arm was lifted at the end of each line and returned to the starting point on a fresh sheet of paper.”

Poole was semi-illiterate and lacking in spelling and basic grammar skills when writing consciously.  Hamilton was reasonably certain that she had never read any of the works of Stead, Stevenson, or Livingstone.  Yet, many details of their lives and published stories came through Poole’s trance writing.  While Hamilton, his wife Lillian, and others on the research team, had read some of their works, much of the information that was dictated was unknown to them and had to be verified by acquiring their books from various libraries.  Moreover, Hamilton noted that there were differences between the handwriting of the various trance intelligences.  In her normal state, Poole wrote slowly and with care, but in the trance state, under the influence of Stevenson, her hand wrote in a dashing, headlong, nervous style.  The Livingstone messages were written more slowly and with “manifest imperturbability.”  The Livingstone script was small and neat, Stead’s larger, while Stevenson’s was largest and roundest of all, “betraying more than the others (and particularly more than the medium’s own) that appearance which we call ‘cultivated’.”

The stream of memories and ideas from each communicator was well-defined and unmixed, Hamilton added. “Yet between the change from one dominating trance entity to the next, the medium made little stirrings and uneasy movements which were interpreted as her efforts to re-integrate herself,” he explained. “Though less marked, a similar effect was observed when there was a change of memory-topic by one of the communicators.”

Livingstone’s messages lacked the poetry and creativeness of Stevenson’s, and were more factual in content.  The messages included many tribal names and places encountered by Livingstone during his travels, most of which were unknown to the medium and sitters but later verified as part the Scottish explorer’s adventures.

Indications were that Stead, who had been very much interested in mediumship before he died in the Titanic disaster of 1912, was the director of the group of discarnates, who were cooperating with Hamilton and his group in their researches and that Stead had urged Stevenson and Livingston to present their memories in such a way as to indicate continuity of human personality and creative skill.  Moreover, Stead predicted the coming of a second medium whose powers would unite with those of Poole to produce materializations.”

The second medium was Mary Marshall, referred to in the scripts as “Dawn.”  She had displayed some psychic gifts as early as 1923, but did not begin to develop as a trance medium until 1928.  Mary’s sister-in-law, Susan Marshall, referred to as “Mercedes” in the records, also developed as a medium and was studied by the Hamilton group, which by this time consisted of Hamilton, his wife Lillian, his brother Dr. James Hamilton, and Dr. Bruce Chown, a professor of pediatrics who is remembered for his research of the Rh negative blood factor.  A fourth medium, a professional man who preferred not to be identified and was referred to as “Ewan” also contributed to the research.

Walter Stinson (“Walter”), the deceased brother of Boston medium Mina Crandon (“Margery”), claimed to be the primary control for Dawn, Mercedes, and Ewan, but “Katie King,” who manifested in the mediumship of Florence Cook nearly 60 years earlier, also controlled Mercedes, while “John King,” who had controlled Eusapia Palladino 30-40 years earlier, also controlled Ewan.

Dawn became known for her “teleplasms,” which were primarily strange two-dimensional manifestations similar to those obtained by Drs. Gustave Geley and Albert von-Schrenck-Notzing with the medium know as “Eva C.” in France. Ectoplasm, or teleplasm, as it was also called, flowed from an orifice of Dawn, after which faces would appear in the ectoplasm. Some of the faces, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Charles Haddon Spurgeon, were familiar to the researchers.  As Geley had come to understand them, these were incomplete or fragmentary materializations as the medium was not powerful enough for the “spirits” to fully materialize. Hamilton was able to photograph many of these teleplasms.  According to Hamilton, Walter would signal when to take the picture.

“Five years, from 1928 to 1933, we gave to this study,” Hamilton wrote.  “Through all these stages unseen intelligences led us, directed us, co-operated with us, and did their best to maintain rigorous conditions of séance-technique – intelligences claiming to be the dead.  As are most investigators in the beginning, reluctant at first to face these most astounding agencies and their equally astounding claims, we were forced – if worthwhile phenomena were to be secured and made available for examination – to capitulate and to walk humbly before their greater knowledge in these matters. I make no apology for this state of affairs.”
On March 29, 1931, members of the research team witnessed an unusual phenomenon with Dawn. “For some ten minutes the pencil was heard moving across the sheets of paper,” Margaret Lillian Hamilton, Glen Hamilton’s daughter, recorded.  “While her hand wrote for some unknown communicator, ‘Walter’ spoke through her in his usual rather offhand and joking fashion.  The three medical men present, my father, his brother, Dr. J. A. Hamilton, and Dr. Bruce Chown, all expressed amazement at witnessing two streams of diverse thought emerging simultaneously through the single organism of the entranced automatist.”
In spite of the complete darkness, the writing was neat and within the margins and on the lines of the foolscap paper. The unsigned message read, in part:  “The spirit world is not far removed from the natural world.  In appearance the spirit world closely resembles the physical world; the similarity is too startling for you to believe.  The incarnate mind views spirit in the sense of intangibility as something like misty nothingness, when the truth is, spirit, to spiritual beings, is tangible and real. The spirit world, as we term it, is the abode of undeveloped spirits, those who have not long left the body, and those who, by the law of spirit life, have not yet risen to higher spheres by progression…”
After Hamilton’s death in 1935, his wife and daughter led the research circle, primarily with Dawn.  During 1943, Dr. Hamilton communicated a number of times.  “I see you, Lillian, as a spot of vivid light,” he told his wife during an August 1943 sitting, “but to me you seem tenuous.  It is the old question of adjusting to one’s environment.  At first I could not do it; at first I had trouble in learning to adjust the amount of energy necessary to each action; so little energy is required here.”

In a later sitting, Hamilton said that he had met John King, Robert Louis Stevenson, William T. Stead, Oliver Lodge and Mary Lodge and had seen Frederic W. H. Myers, Camille Flammarion, Arthur Conan Doyle, William Barrett, Rudyard Kipling, William Crookes, “and many others who have forgotten their names.”
In still a later communication, Hamilton said that he saw a group of people looking in the graves which contained the remains of their bodies.  “With some it is an obsession which they cannot get free from while a bit of flesh remains on the bones,” he said, “and that is why Walter and Spurgeon and R.L.S. (Stevenson) and the others wish it to be known that we do not die– only in the flesh.  The soul lives on and takes a new form.”

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: June 6

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Boggled Spirit Minds & Messages – Part II

Posted on 09 May 2022, 8:17

“When we converse through a medium and with a medium or automatist we become, as it were, dependent on her thoughts, words and images, and we go wrong, we stray in that tide. It can be a River of Forgetfulness temporarily too, for the struggling communicator in many cases, and it can be a mixture; part the automatist, part the communicator, or it can come in flashes and be almost true.”

So communicated the discarnate Winifred Coombe Tennant (below) in the fifth of forty scripts recorded by renowned Irish automatic-writing medium Geraldine Cummins on February 15, 1958.  As summarized in my previous blog, Coombe Tennant (hereinafter referred to as Winifred) was a renowned medium, herself, before her death on August 31, 1956, at age 82. She began communicating through Cummins on August 28, 1957.


Winifred stressed that she was still new to it all, still learning, and there was much that she did not understand about mediumistic communication, but she could give assurance “that human souls born into this world after death in many cases pass on to a different level, where their appearance is of a kind not known to any being on earth.  They are not merely moving at a different rate; they travel on a different scale. On that scale and changed key, they are cut off from earth. Only when these souls drop back in the scale and slower rhythm and sequence [frequency?] near the physical, can they project or put on the likeness of themselves as they were on earth, so that she or he [is] whole as the inner eye perceives them or their projected images. Or they, in that minor scale and key, convey fragmentary communications to the subliminal mind of a skilled medium. But medium is an incorrect term. They should be called interpreters, and bad ones at that! So often there is mistranslation. They catch perhaps what the communicator emphasizes and then fill in their own subconscious material. Oh, the woeful mistranslations!”

In the ninth script, on February 16, 1958, Winifred directed the message to her son Henry, fully aware that Henry did not believe in an afterlife. “Far be it from me to convert you to a belief that a vestige of your mother still lives on quite comfortably, without ache or pain,” she wrote through Cummins’s hand. “Later I may explain why it is probably far better for you to keep your belief in my annihilation. But it is happiness to me to get your letter, to write to you again, and tell travellers’ tales.” She went on to tell Henry that she had some pleasant dreams, some uneasy ones, and some nightmares before she woke up from the “sleep of death” and was welcomed by her father and mother, followed by Henry’s father and her two sisters. “I was too overjoyed perhaps at getting a glimpse of George, your brother, so father and mother soothed me, calmed me, took charge of me and gave my first sense of locality and environment.” (Note: For an unexplained reason, Winifred’s oldest son, Christopher, is continually referred to as George, his middle name, throughout the scripts.)

Winifred went on to say that she now had a freer movement in space-time. She was able to relive familiar scenes from her earthly life. Her mother and father, she explained, now existed at a higher plane than she found herself in, but they were able to come down to her level and “put on their mortal semblance as I remembered them, in order to greet me.”  Had she been able to go up to their level, they would be almost unrecognizable, she added.

In the 14th script, a message from the “group” to which Winifred belonged on the Other Side added to her comment that the famous Cross-Correspondence cases in which she had participated were no longer possible as “human desire springing from imagination has failed.”  The Group added: “It is when imaginative desire fails on the part of human beings otherwise fitted for the work that ‘cases peter out,’ as you describe the process. At the present time imagination is too completely subservient to the intellect among well-educated people. The over-riding intellect produces sterility of imagination. Such people are therefore wholly incompetent as investigators: they are bound, if they can investigate, only to meet with negative results. But atheists or agnostics who do not subdue the imaginative desire of the explorer will, granted other conditions, a skilled medium, etc., obtain fruitful results. If the desire is there, the gift is there.

Several months later, in the 28th script, Winifred communicated that “even temporary belief on the part of the sitter and automatist in the personality of the communicators is a vital part of the conditions.” She pointed out that Gerald Balfour’s intellect was wholly skeptical, but his imagination was not. “It could clearly conceive a situation his intellect did not admit, for imagination has its roots in the subliminal mind. His subliminal mind, as well as his deeper emotional being could wholly believe in the communicator’s reality. Yet, in ordinary life his cold, impersonal intellect governed all his actions.”  She recalled cases in which Balfour, J. G. Piddington, and Eleanor Sidgwick (all prominent SPR researchers) accepted the reality of the communication during the sitting but later rejected it due to the intellect later overriding the imagination.

“The opposite to Gerald and Oliver Lodge is the egocentric sitter who has a deep-seated complex, such as a repressed horror of death, or inordinate vanity that derives from an insecurity fear. How dreadful to the egocentric is the thought that others might deem him credulous! Another quite useless investigator is very much a creature of his physiological brain patterns. Communicators are cut off through his being cut off from his subliminal, and through a paralyzing emanation from him.  G. B. (Balfour) and O. L. (Lodge) were fortunately free from any of these crippling hindrances which prevent any results of value being transmitted in most cases.” 

In the 16th script, Winifred stated that the human being consists of a number of selves or aspects with a primary self. “We only become unified in spirit or the other self on the higher level. When I communicate, I blend with the automatist in the sense that depend partly on her memory and her standard of intelligence for words in which to express my thoughts. Occasionally her subliminal mind enters my mind, plunders an idea or memory. It is not all a one-way traffic. Then, of course, her mind may insert in patches its own mistaken interpretation. Supernal and infernal juggling can occur.” 

As a test, Henry, still very skeptical, asked his mother about her sittings with the “scientist” during her earth life. Winifred remembered the scientist being Sir Oliver Lodge. “How may I describe that first meeting with Sir Oliver?” Winifred communicated. “Charm is not the word to apply to him. Kindliness is a more suitable noun with which to describe his gracious reception of me. He spoke very appreciatively of my brother-in-law Fred (Myers), and of the greatness of his work, and of the need for people psychically gifted, who were of good standing and repute, to devote time to experiments in order to follow up and develop his pioneer work. I was deeply impressed.”  In Winifred’s diary for April 15, 1909, she wrote: “Of the SPR, the most surprising thing to me is Oliver Lodge. His accuiel (?) to me has been astonishing – so extraordinarily kind and gentle and understanding, so unlike my idea of a Professor. I have lost any sense of shrinking in that respect which I had and feel as if I knew him already.”

In the earlier scripts, Winifred talked about being part of a group, a group that was controlling the communication. She elaborated on the group in the 28th script. “The human being’s soul belongs to, or is derived from, a Group Soul, which is inspired by one spirit,” she further explained. “If we make progress in the after-death, we become more and more aware of this Group Soul. It is more than a brotherhood, it is organic, an organized psychic or spiritual structure. Its spirit is the bond that holds together a number of souls. The spirit might be described as a thought of God, or the Light from Above –the Creative Light from Above. It has an apartness from God, as is the created thing from the One who gave it life. At first an embryo innocent, it has to gather a harvest. There are unaccountable spirits, each one connected with a Group Soul.”

In the 32nd script, Winifred informed Henry, still doubting the validity of the messages purportedly from his mother, that she no longer cared whether he accepted her continued existence beyond death.  “Oh I was filled with moral and missionary zeal and laboured in various ways to give evidence of my identity,” she communicated. “But now all desire has left me to convert you…I do not care whether to the end of your days you consider me non-existent…love, a force of gravitation in this world of the mind, will inevitably draw us together at some future date. Meantime, be as happy as you can in your nursery illusion that death means extinction. It will make the universe seem much cozier to you. But life goes on relentlessly and so does my love for you, dear son.”

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

Next blog post: May 23




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