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Is “Speaking in Tongues” Evidence of a Spirit World?

Posted on 24 October 2022, 7:03

There are some stories so mindboggling, so weird, so utterly out of the norm, that people just shrug them off and give them no heed, seemingly assuming that they are pranks of some kind. The rational mind wants nothing to do with them. Parapsychologists apparently fear that even mentioning them will ruin their reputations. Such is the case with medium George Valiantine, (below) a direct-voice medium during the 1920s and early ‘30s. He may have produced the greatest mediumship ever, but he has gone down in history as nothing more than a fraud. One of the three books written by H. Dennis Bradley about Valiantine, Wisdom of the Gods, was recently reproduced by White Crow Books. As I was asked to write a Foreword and Afterword to the reproduction, I reread it after many years and am still scratching my head.


Valiantine has been discussed in prior blogs here, in those of April 22, 2013, May 24, 2021 and June 7, 2021, all in archives at the left of this post. The most memorable and mindboggling phenomenon was produced during October 1926 when a “voice” came through in a Chinese dialect giving the name K’ung-fu-tzu, while saying that men called him Fu-Tzu, the names now given to Confucius, the renowned Chinese philosopher. The “voice” went on to dialogue with Professor Neville Whymant, a Chinese scholar who is said to have spoken 30 languages and was fluent in that Chinese dialect. The story rates no more than a scoff or a smirk with most people, but those willing to hear the complete story and fully consider the credentials and background of Whymant must certainly have some reservations about completely dismissing it as fraud. Consider also that Whymant attended 11 additional sittings, dialoguing with “voices” in 13 other languages, including Hindi, Persian, Basque, Sanskrit, Arabic, Portuguese, Italian, Yiddish, German and modern Greek.” They all took place at the New York City home of Judge William Cannon, one of the officers of the American Society for Psychical Research.

Whymant also recorded that he observed Valiantine, who was not a trance medium, carrying on a conversation in “American English” with the person next to him while foreign languages were coming through the trumpet. “I am assured, too, that it is impossible for anyone to ‘throw his voice,’ this being merely an illusion of the ventriloquist,” he wrote.

It is even more difficult to believe that Valiantine was a charlatan after reading Wisdom of the Gods and Bradley’s earlier book, Toward the Stars, as well as his last one, And After.

The “Confucius voice” was not the first time a Chinese dialect had come through the trumpets in Valiantine’s direct-voice mediumship. As Bradley, a British businessman and playwright, told in Wisdom of the Gods, on February 25, 1925, Madame Wellington Koo, the first lady of China, was one of seven sitters with Valiantine. He identified her as “Countess Oeitiongham” (sic) apparently her name before her marriage to the president of China and her prior marriage to a British consular agent. Her father, Oei Tiong Ham, was a Chinese-Indonesian business tycoon, and she had become an international socialite, a very interesting one for many years according to my internet search. “When we had sat at least one hour, one of the trumpets was lifted close to the face [of the countess], and a ‘voice’ addressed her in a foreign language,” Bradley wrote, adding that the voice was initially very indistinct and the trumpet fell to the floor. Although the countess recognized the initial voice as a Chinese dialect, it took three more tries before it was loud enough for her to fully understand and carry on a conversation with the “voice.”

The countess later explained to Bradley that the “voice” spoke to her with two dialects mixed, in a way in which no European – even if he were able to speak Chinese – could do. As the countess further explained, one of the dialects was that which her father, who had died the prior year, spoke to her when she was a child, while the other dialect was one he used after she had grown up. The message was said to be one for the countess’s mother and too personal for her to reveal to Bradley.

Two of the guests on March 10, 1925 were Countess Ingegard Ahlefeldt-Laurvig, daughter of the Danish minster to England, and Gonnoske Komai, a famous Japanese poet and artist. Bradley states that Valiantine had never met them before and was not given their names. According to Bradley, a voice said to be the countess’s deceased brother came through in Russian, but she replied in Danish. However, the brother requested that she speak in Russian, and they continued to converse in that language. Another voice came through in Japanese and spoke with Komai, who later told Bradley that the identification of the communicator was uncertain, but he gave certain names and places that were meaningful to Komai and also said that he died by committing hari-kari. Based on that information, Komai had some idea as to who it was.

On March 18, Komai returned for another sitting. After a failed attempt at rising, the “spirits” were able to materialize the voice of Komai’s elder brother, who carried on a conversation with him in Japanese. Komai was told that his mother was also there, but she was unable to communicate. Apparently, the conversation with the brother had mostly to do with his children. Dr. Barnett, one of Valiantine’s guides, broke in and said Japan was preparing for a great war in the air. Komai replied that American is a far greater country than Japan, but Barnett then said that such was true but Japan’s preparation was far greater and more advanced than that of America.

Countess Ahlefeldt-Laurvig returned on April 18 for an individual sitting with Valiantine. “The Countess and Valiantine sat in my study in the daylight, and almost immediately the voice of Oscar (brother of the Countess) came through and spoke to her. The first part of the conversation was carried on in Russian, and then the Countess suggested that it should be continued in French,” Bradley wrote, adding that they spoke for about a quarter of an hour. The countess referred to it as a “marvellous” sitting.

On April 8, 1925, with the very skeptical researcher Harry Price present, Bradley reported that the gramophone which was used to play music and establish harmonious conditions would not work and therefore Miss Lilian Walbrook, one of the sitters, was asked to sing. She sang a number of songs, including “Il Bacio.” Price was taking notes and recorded that at the conclusion of the song, one of the two trumpets rose into the air, approached Miss Walbrook and thanked her in Italian. The “voice” identified himself as Luidi Arditi, an Italian composer who had died in 1903. There was a further exchange of words in Italian between Arditi and Walbrook.

In Bradley’s 1924 book, Toward the Stars, he provided a detailed report on his first sittings with Valiantine at the New Jersey country home of Joseph De Wyckoff, an American lawyer. As a guest of De Wyckoff, Bradley was invited to attend a séance with Valiantine. While very skeptical, he saw it as a means of entertainment and accepted the invitation. Nothing happened for the first 20 minutes and Bradley considered it a very dull show. However, he soon heard a soft and gentle woman’s voice call his name, addressing him as Herbert, his given name, rather than Dennis, the name most people knew him by. It was his deceased sister, Annie. They talked for 15 minutes about family matters and there was no doubt in Bradley’s mind that he was talking with his sister.

On the following night, they again sat for a séance. De Wyckoff’s cook and butler were invited to join the small group. After Dr. Barnett spoke to the group in a loud Scottish accent, Bradley’s sister again spoke. “Her tones were clear and bell-like, her notes were sympathetic and understanding, and were radiant,” Bradley recorded. “How can I describe the indescribable?” Bradley pointed out that his sister mentioned things that nobody else knew about or could have known about. After his sister left, the trumpet floated in front of De Wyckoff’s cook. “Anita! Anita!” the ‘voice’ said. “Si! Si!” Anita Ripoll excitedly responded. “It is Jose! Jose!” the “voice” said. It was the cook’s deceased husband. They carried on a conversation in Spanish which Bradley could not understand.

“I could not follow it, but nobody could fail to understand the feeling. Words tumbled over one another. Sentences joined and overlapped in Latin excitement Neither husband nor wife, apparently, marvelled at their supernatural meeting. These two souls, who had loved each other and probably had never questioned the certainty of an after-life, accepted it as entirely normal.” As De Wyckoff understood the language, he told Bradley that Jose drifted into a dialect that was a mixture of Basque and corrupt Spanish, the dialect of their native home in southern Spain. When Jose was alive in the flesh, he spoke no English and communicated with De Wyckoff in proper Spanish.

Bradley called it the “most staggering event of my life,” causing him to change his whole philosophy of life. “Doubt took flight when faced by an unchallengeable fact and the mind understood in a flash that what had hitherto appeared to be impossible was possible.”

Back in England, Bradley attended a séance at the British College of Psychic Science on February 19, 1924, with Valiantine being the medium. Among other things, he observed a voice address itself to an Australian lady, saying that it was her grandmother. The conversation opened in English and “drifted into German.” Later, the Australian lady’s mother came and also conversed with her in German. The following week, Bradley sat in again and this time heard a conversation between a deceased father and his son in a strange Welsh tongue. 

Valiantine was described by Whymant as “a typical example of the simpler kind of country American citizen” and claimed to know none of the languages spoken. Can anyone believe that he secretly learned all those languages, even different dialects and was able to carry on conversations about family matters with different sitters, at the same time being seen speaking in English to someone next to him? In the Confucius case, he would have had to anticipate that Whymant was going to quiz the “voice” about two poems of Confucius and then memorize 15 verses of one of the poems in a Chinese dialect, as well as explain a misinterpretation of another poem – a misinterpretation that had escaped scholars for centuries. And he would have had to be able to speak with an ancient dialect of Chinese to begin with, before switching to a more modern dialect, one Whymant could better understand.

Is it possible that Bradley, Professor Whymant, Judge Cannon, renowned physicist Sir Oliver Lodge, popular journalist Hannen Swaffer, and dozens of other famous people mentioned in Bradley’s books just imagined it all or were hypnotized? Or that they all conspired in a giant hoax? Is there some subconscious factor involved, or a “computer in the cosmos,” that science does not yet understand, one that records voices on earth and somehow feeds them back in a dialogue form at the proper time? Although the original copy of Wisdom of the Gods was written before the fraud charges against Valiantine, none of which involved the voices, the reproduction by White Crow Books has additions that explore those charges. In the end, however, it all leads one to believe that absolute proof is beyond our reach and probably not in our best interest. We need some doubt if we are to effectively carry out the divine plan.

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.

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Seeing Karma and the Big Picture

Posted on 10 October 2022, 9:56

“There is so much to be studied in the bible of humanity!  By it, we know that everything has to be paid.”  So wrote Amalia Domingo Soler (1835-1909), a Spanish poet, philosopher, writer, editor, social reformer, Spiritist, and the author of Acts that Prove, recently translated into English by Yvonne Crespo Limoges and republished.  The book is about the karmic aspects of life, how suffering in one lifetime is often linked to actions in a previous lifetime.  According to Limoges, Ms. Soler, (below) is known by Spiritists as the “Grand Dame of Spiritism” and the “Chronicler of the Poor.”


“It is a collection of human incidents (usually tragic) that Ms. Soler wrote down, then asked the spirits about them,” Limoges explains.  “The language is forthright and direct. The stories were originally printed in her magazine then placed in book form known in Spanish as Hechos Que Prueban, which in English could be translated as either, “Facts that Prove” or as “Acts that Prove.” I chose the latter as more appropriate, because the chapters report actions that occurred or that people took, and then the spirits tell of the effects (consequences) of those acts, whether for good or bad.”

One of the frequent spirit communicators in the book is Father Germain, who dictated his life story (when on earth as a priest) through a medium, the result being a book which is now a Spiritist classic, in novel form – Memoirs of Father Germain.  (That very intriguing book was translated into English by Limoges’s father, Edgar Crespo.)  It is not always clear which spirit is communicating, whether Germain or another, but they offer much to ponder on, including this:  “In this period, is when man needs to know something of his life, because he now has sufficient knowledge to comprehend the advantages of goodness and the harmfulness of evil.  Therefore, since everything reaches its time, that is why we have come to awaken your attention; that is why the tables dance and why the furniture changes places, and the voices of the spirits resounded in different parts of the Earth, because it is necessary that it be understood that you are not alone in this world.”

Another communication put it this way:  “We come to give advice, to strengthen you, to teach you to know about universal harmony; to tell you that the story of your mistakes of yesterday are the causes of your misfortune today. This is the mission of the spirits near you; spurring you on to work, to cultivate your reason, and that is what will lead you to the perfect understanding of God.”

The story of Carlos and Luisa, as discussed in Chapter 11 is an especially emotional one.  The two were romantically attracted to each other in their youth, but Carlos’s mother was adamantly opposed to their relationship because she wanted her son to marry into wealth, which Luisa’s family did not have.  To please his mother, Carlos distanced himself from Luisa, but they corresponded frequently, expressing their love for each other.  Some 30 years later, when Carlos received a telegram that Luisa was dying, he rushed to her deathbed and sat by her as she took her last breath. 

As explained to Mrs. Soler by a spirit communicator, Carlos and Luisa had been linked together for many centuries by a powerful love. In their past incarnation, they were married and had a daughter who fell in love with a humble peasant.  They objected to her relationship and insisted that she marry into nobility.  The humble worker was deported and died in exile.  The daughter rejected a noble suitor and died prematurely, forgiving her parents for their blindness.  In effect, Carlos and Luisa purified themselves in the present lifetime for the suffering they caused their daughter in a past lifetime.

A lady Spiritist wrote to Amelia, informing her that a newborn child had been left at the door of her house and wondering if there was some spiritual significance to it.  Amelia asked a spirit about it and was told that in her past life the inquiring woman had belonged to nobility and was deceived and seduced by a baron.  The child was taken from her at birth to hide her dishonor and placed in an asylum.  In her remaining years, she wept for her lost son and undertook many charitable acts of helpless men in her son’s memory.  The abandoned child left on her doorstep in the present life was the child of the past life returning to her. 

In another chapter, we meet a man named Francisco Crea who was erroneously convicted of murdering a person and then spent 35 years in prison.  “Is it not true that the preceding story is horrific?” Soler asks, wondering where we can find eternal justice.  She received an answer from the spirit of Father Germain, who explained that some centuries ago, in another lifetime, the man killed his brother and was not held accountable. Thus, he served his time in a subsequent lifetime.

In still another story, Teodora Cruz wonders why her husband’s grandmother hates her so much.  Consulting with the spirits, Soler is informed that the grandmother is a rejected suitor from a prior lifetime who was dominated by violent passions. 

There are 41 other stories in which past-life activities are linked to the current life. The author offers much profound wisdom and philosophy in explaining the issues linking the lives.  Ms. Soler offers much profound wisdom and philosophy.  In the chapter on suicide, she writes: “Living without hope!...It is not living! To live without desiring is to die without agony. Living, dominated by indifference, is to anticipate the crisis of death, it is to open oneself the pit to bury our body in it; it is to become a gravedigger.”

Soler cautions against judging others based on outward appearances.  She tells the story of a homeless person who died of hunger, in spite of the fact that 31,000 pesetas were found in his bed of rags.  Having been very greedy and very much a miser in past lives, he learned the lesson of poverty in the current life, but his past hoarding remained partially with him, the result being that he needed yet another lifetime to learn the lesson of charity.

Soler refers to atheism as the most profound desperation.  “What is life without a tomorrow; the sketch of a painting, the prologue of a story, a voice without echo, a flower without aroma? On the other hand, when hope encourages us, what unlimited horizons present themselves before our eyes! The death of the one who waits, is the death of the just, as the Catholics say, sweet and tranquil.”

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: October 24  


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