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Irrefutable Evidence of Life After Death?

Posted on 25 March 2024, 9:37

I don’t know how anyone can read the reports by some very renowned researchers about the mediumship of Etta Wriedt and conclude that she was a charlatan or that the phenomena described by various witnesses suggest anything other than spirit communication and, concomitantly, survival in a spirit world.

ettat

Wriedt, an American living in Detroit, was studied and validated by such esteemed researchers as Sir William Barrett, a physics professor who co-founded the Society for Psychical Research (SPR), Sir Oliver Lodge, a physicist remembered for his pioneering work in electricity and radio, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the physician who created Sherlock Holmes, Dr. John S. King, a physician who founded the Canadian branch of the SPR, and Vice-Admiral William Usborne Moore, a retired British naval commander turned researcher. Lady (Dr.) Florence Barrett, Sir William’s wife, who was dean of the London School of Medicine for Women, is said to have been skeptical of all mediums until she sat with Mrs. Wriedt and heard from deceased relatives in their own voices.

A collection of some of the most interesting reports has been put together in a book edited Etta Wriedt: One of the Greatest American Direct Voice Mediums of the 20th Century by N. Riley Heagerty and published by White Crow Books. Another book, to be published by White Crow Books later this year, titled The Spiritualist Prime Minister, is about William Lyon Mackenzie King, former prime minister of Canada, and his many communications with the spirit world, quite a few of them through Wriedt.  The author is historian Dr. Anton Wagner. That book will be the subject of a later blog.  For this one, I’m just going to provide bits and pieces from Heagerty’s book. As discussed in his book, as well as in my blog of October 31, 2011 and in Chapter 14 of my book, No One Really Dies, Wriedt (1862-1942) was a direct-voice medium, meaning the voices did not come through her larynx and mouth but from nearby her, often amplified by a so-called trumpet which would float around the room and stop in front of one of the sitters to whom spirits would then speak. She did not go into a trance state as so many mediums did then and could often be seen talking to the person next to her at the same time one or more spirit voices were being heard by others.

It was reported that as many as four spirit voices would be talking simultaneously to different sitters and that, although Wriedt knew only English, the “Yankee” form of it, not “pure” English, according to Admiral Moore, spirits communicated in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Norwegian, Dutch, Arabic, Serbian, Croatian and other languages. Phenomena could be produced in lighted conditions, but darkness provided stronger voices and otherwise better phenomena.

Count Chedo Myatovitch, a diplomat from Serbia, provided an account of a sitting with Wriedt on May 16, 1912 in Wimbledon, England. He heard from a   recently deceased friend, Adela Mayell, communicating in Serbian and speaking “in her affectionate and generous voice, trying to reassure me on certain questions which had sadly preoccupied my mind since her death.”  She was followed by a deceased physician speaking in the Croatian language to Dr. Hinkovitch, who had accompanied Myatovitch. “They continued for some time the conversation in their native tongue, of which I heard and understood every word,” Myatovitch reported, adding that he accompanied Frau Professor Margareet Selenka, a renowned German zoologist,  to a later sitting with Wriedt.  She had a conversation with her late husband and her mother before a friend came singing a German song while asking Selenka to join in.  “I spoke of it to my friends as the most wonderful experience of my life,” Myatovich offered.

Whistling from the Dead

Rose Champion de’Crespigny, a noted British artist, historian, and author (upper photo), was highly skeptical before she was persuaded by a friend, Colonel E. R. Johnson, to sit with Wriedt.  She was amazed when her late husband, Philip, greeted her by whistling their favorite waltz, “Daheim,” through the trumpet.  She was certain that Wriedt, Johnson, and others in the room knew nothing of their interest in this music.  She remained skeptical, however, because her husband’s voice didn’t sound like she remembered it, although he spoke with the same mannerisms.  Apparently sensing her skepticism, Philip turned it over to his brother, who reminded her of a dance they had both been to when young and of some incident about the flower she had worn. As that was very evidential, Crespigny didn’t know what to think.

At a later sitting, Crespigny heard from her father, who had died some 25 years earlier.  He asked about his two sisters, mentioning one of them by a pet name, while also referring to their old Scottish nurse and giving her name, an unusual one, Euphemia, as well as the pet names of her children. He further talked about his duty stations in the military.  When Rose asked her father if he remembered the Russian ‘scare’ in 1879, he replied that he certainly did and corrected her by saying it was in 1878, not ’79, which proved factual. 

Crespigny estimated that she had more than one-hundred sittings with Wriedt while Wriedt was visiting England and said that she could count the blank sittings on the fingers of one hand. She recalled an attempt by a scientist to expose Wriedt as a fraud by detecting drops of water adhering to the inner sides of the trumpet, which suggested the condensation of human breath and Wriedt’s having spoken through the trumpet.  However, she said it was the custom to hold the trumpet under the cold water tap after each sitting – something she had assisted with on many occasions. Moreover, drops of water did not explain the evidential information.

First & Second Wife Communicate Together

Dr. John King (middle photo) reported that both his first wife, Martha, who had died at an early age, and his recently deceased second wife, May, communicated with him together in harmony. May spoke loud enough that a trumpet was not required and referred to him as “Johnnie,” a nickname which only she called him by. King also heard from a former patient who expressed concern about an illegitimate son, asking King to divulge his identity to the boy along with the fact that his mother had withheld funds he had left for the boy’s education and advancement.

The Reverend Charles Tweedale, Vicar of Weston, Church of England, and his wife sat with Wriedt in 1912.  He reported that a voice came to his wife, giving the name “Frank Woodward.” His wife was astonished as Woodward was her schoolmaster 17 years earlier and she was not aware that he had died, a fact which she verified upon returning home and writing to her mother.

Admiral Moore (bottom photo) reported that in Scotland, Mrs. Wriedt’s séances were even more successful than those in England.  “The Scotch voices of the spirits were most remarkable,” he wrote, “especially to an English listener.  Very occasionally, Gaelic was spoken.  No Scotch spirit ever spoke in English unless he had lost his accent before he passed out, and no English spirit ever spoke in Scotch.”   
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Moore further stated:  “For my part I can only say that, in her presence, I obtained evidence of the next state of consciousness so clear and so pronounced that the slightest doubt was no longer possible. I left her house in February 1911, in the condition of mind of a man who no longer fosters ‘belief,’ but who knows what is his destiny when the tomb closes over him and his spirit leaves the earth plane.”

Said Sir William Barrett, the physicist: “I went to Mrs. Wriedt’s sittings in a somewhat sceptical spirit, but I came to the conclusion that she is a genuine and remarkable psychic and has given abundant proof to others beside myself that the voices and the contents of the messages are wholly beyond the range of trickery or collusion.  I am convinced of the genuineness of the phenomena.”

There is so much more set forth in Heagerty’s book as well as in the other references.  With such evidence, I find it extremely difficult to understand how anyone with an open mind can claim fraud, telepathy, super psi or living-agent psi, or some other explanation than spirits of the dead communicating from another dimension of reality.  Yet, more than a century later, both religion and science turn up their noses at such evidence. Is it any wonder that the spirit world has pulled back?

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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Next blog post:  April 8

 


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The Irish are Still Quite Fey

Posted on 11 March 2024, 9:16

I try to pay special homage to my Irish ancestors on St. Patrick’s Day, which is coming up on Sunday.  They include my maternal grandmother, Mary Ellen Donovan (right photo), her father, Jeremiah Donovan (top left), his two sisters Bridget and Catherine Donovan (bottom left), who cared for Mary Ellen after her mother, Margaret (Lynch) Donovan, died at childbirth.  Bridget and Catherine accompanied Mary Ellen to the United States from County Cork in 1903. Bridget was my Godmother, and although she died in an accident in 1938, when I was just a year old, I never had a chance to know her. I think she might be one of my spirit guides.  Also, Anna (Toaz) Bowles, my maternal grandfather’s mother (middle left) was three-quarters Irish, although she was born with a surname having roots in the Iberian Peninsula.


irish

I am especially indebted to the Donovan/Lynch/Sullivan side for my Catholic heritage. It provided me with a spiritual foundation, one I could build upon and chisel away at in in later years, thereby developing into a more meaningful existential approach to this life and the “larger life.” Without that foundation, I’m not sure what path I would have taken. I might have otherwise chosen to be a nihilist, thereby being “one with my toys.”

A few days ago, it seemed like a good time to call my long-time friend, David Stang, as to the state of spirituality in Ireland. Although Dave is an 85-year-old retired American lawyer living in Washington D.C., he has a summer home in Ireland and has spent time there nearly every year for the past five decades.

In a chapter titled “Religion on the Rocks,” in his 2003 book, Emerald Spirit, Dave observed that many Irish people had left the church or remained only nominal parishioners.  The reason, he wrote, is much the same as in other countries – various clerical scandals and disagreement with certain Church teachings, but perhaps more than those it was materialism.  “Through watching American and British movies on TV portraying the glories of a materialistic culture, and by being bombarded with advertising, a growing number of Irish are beginning to believe that they are what they buy,” he explained. “They are learning to measure their self-worth by the clothes they wear, the houses they live in, and the cars they drive. The more they have, the better they tend to feel about themselves.”

Reduced Rosary Chanting

I asked Dave if there has been any noticeable change since he wrote the book 20 years ago. He said he didn’t have any statistics available, but opined that “Materialism is replacing Christianity. The small towns are slower to catch on,” he said.  “The old ways of seeking divine intervention through saying the rosary have been largely abandoned by the big city folk in Dublin and Cork.  The people there want to be ‘European,’ not ‘rosary-chanting Irish.’ In the country towns, you still find some people going to church.  They may not accept all the doctrines of the church, but they are superstitious so they still see reciting the rosary as a good way of avoiding a future in hell.”

According to a 2022 census, 14 percent of the Irish population are “irreligious,” while 69 percent identify as Catholic, down from 94.9 percent in a 1961 census. In that ’61 survey, fewer than one-percent were in the “irreligious” category. In a separate survey, church attendance was down from 80 percent during the 1990s to 28 percent in 2020.

As Dave sees it, the materialistic mindset is more prevalent among those under 35, the consciousness of hard times tempering somewhat the spending habits of those over 50.  An increasing number of Irish, he further notes, believe that they are losing their Irishness and no different now than Yanks or Brits.  “Their mistake is in assuming that their belongings are the principal means of demonstrating their collective identity,” he added.  “Many appear to forget that social and cultural identity are shaped by more than material possessions alone.”

With some 50 years of observing Irish consciousness, including their spirituality Dave sees a number of major factors contributing to the development of the subtlety of the Irish stereotype, which, “generally” includes fair skin, freckles, blue eyes, sandy hair, musical and poetic abilities, a penchant for extensive conversation, a remarkably quick-witted sense of humor and of course being quite fey.”

The most important factor is that their collective gene pool is rich in inducing what can best be called “fey” or possessing clairvoyance. Dave said what he means by this is that the Irish gene pool empowers the populace with a special way of sensing which ranges in intensity from strong intuition to possessing with the Irish call the second sight or the sixth sense. Viewed from the academic perspective of parapsychology this means possessing extra-sensory perception. He told me a story that one of his Irish friends with a very strong capacity for the second sight or sixth sense reported that in his small village in County Kerry when someone dies everyone knows it intuitively. He said, “For example when you wake up in the morning you know right away that someone in the village has died. Radio Kerry which we will listen to has a programmer morning listing on the deaths within the past 24 hours. It is no surprise to us when we hear that one of the names on that list is from our village.” Another Irish friend told me that when he was a boy there was someone in his town that had the sixth sense of being able to hear banshees cry. He said, “The cry of the banshee informs us that someone has died.” Dave suggested that very prevalent Irish superstition may well relate to an intuition which detects that something isn’t right. He also told me that when he raises the matter of the sixth sense or second sight with Irish friends and acquaintances they deny that they have any such skills. It took him a while to discern that they say that because nearly everyone in Ireland is fey. “So in Ireland” he said, “it’s no big deal to be able to intuit something before it happens.”

Other examples of being fey include among a good number of the Irish that they possess a vibrant awareness of the Other World; belief in magic and the power of disincarnate spirits to reap vengeance through haunting. Additionally many still believe in the magical healing power of the holy wells or what is known elsewhere as natural as springs; their remarkable awareness of nature including the oppressive continuity of stratus clouds to spray down depression-inducing rain; and their remarkable memories of what they hear spoken because the Celtic-rooted Irish language from the beginning of the Iron Age until the seventh century was entirely verbal, thus completely unwritten.

Dave goes on to point out that the many dark days instill in the Irish a certain melancholy, while the bright days induce an almost manic state of bliss, As a result, the fey dimension of Irish” is constantly being reinforced by its kaleidoscope skies.  “When you cast your eyes towards the horizon and see, streaming through the cloud cover, majestic rays of light, you can only begin to suspect that the Deity, or at least a mighty host of angels, is close at hand,” he explains the phenomenon.  “The majestic rays of light are as plentiful as rainbows in Ireland. And everyone knows about the spiritual magic of rainbows.”

And then there’s the landscape.  “There is something magic about the landscape, the way it changes from minute to minute,” he continues.  “The visible suddenly becomes invisible, then returns again as if under the control of spirit beings.  If you relax and let the panorama phantasmagoria speak to you, your consciousness may click into a realm of fantasy where charms, magic, and mystery all dwell contentedly together.  This allows your rational mind to let itself lapse into a semi-stupor so your child’s mind can awaken and listen. The child’s mind is fueled with curiosity and a belief that all things are possible.”

Mini-Insights

Dave then got into some mini-insights, involving the Irish character beginning with suspicion and trust, which he says follow closely on the heels of guilt within the penumbra of Irish consciousness. “Due to the last 13 centuries of Irish history, xenophobia, perhaps more than anything else has given rise to suspicion and distrust. If you are a foreigner in Ireland or a blow-in, meaning that you come from any other town in Ireland than the one in which you are presently located, you are usually instinctively distrusted and treated with deep suspicion. My favorite example of this phenomenon is a personal one. One day when I was walking through Killarney I noticed that the battery on my watch had stopped and I feared that I might be late for an appointment. So to the first person I met approaching me I asked if I could trouble him for the correct time.  My God, did that attract suspicious response. The man stopped dead in his tracks, backed up a couple of steps and stared at me as if I were on the threshold of committing a felony. This is what he said: “Time, you say? Highly unlikely. Straightaway you can completely forget about trying to trick me out of anything. Now, get on your way and leave me alone.”

The next insight had to do with secrecy. “A friend of mine whose brother was dying in a nearby hospital was asked by a sympathetic neighbor, who knew that my friend had just returned from seeing him in the hospital, how his brother was faring. My friend responded, ‘When I last saw him he was still alive.’ “Not very revealing, was it?  Later my friend’s sister who just arrived from England asked her brother what his mobile telephone number was. My friend told her, ‘You have no need to know.’ She responded, ‘But I am your sister, your only sister and our brother is dying.’  My friend’s response: ‘That makes no difference a’tall’.”

Finally, Dave mentioned what the Irish call “Falling Out,” meaning the abrupt and potent complete revocation of a long and otherwise quite agreeable friendship. “I’d heard this phrase used for many years in Ireland but only had a most superficial understanding of what it meant,” Dave said. “So I asked an Irish friend to explain the meaning of that phrase. He said, ‘You just stop talking to the person involved and act as if he never existed.’ I asked him what happens if you run into him walking down the street. ‘You look the other way or you cross the street to avoid him. You pay him no mind at all.’

“I inquired whether in politeness one might nod his head or smile or make some other friendly gesture, including possibly waiving. His answer: ‘Total disengagement. You don’t look at him. You don’t say a word to him. You don’t waive or make any other gesture toward him. For all practical purposes he ceases to exist.’

“I asked him, ‘Do you ever make up with such a person who was once a good friend of yours with whom you have fallen apart?’  ‘Never. Not a chance. And your family supports your decision and they pay the man no mind as well.’  This goes on between families here and lasts for several generations.”  Falling out, Dave ended the discussion of mini-insights, is “a very heavy-duty kind of thing.”
Death, Dave says, is a very big thing in Ireland.  “Rural and small-town Irish often curse their neighbors behind their backs, but the moment the neighbor is dead, they say, ‘God rest his soul; I’ve never had any unkind word to say about him.’  Life-long enemy or not, they go to his funeral – sometimes it seems, as a form of penance to avoid retribution for unkind words and deeds previously inflicted on the now dead man.”

As Dave sums it up, the Irish have heart-centered souls.  It is a soul filled with empathy and compassion and one that feels with intensity. “When they live out of their heart, and soul, it shows,” he concludes.  “They exude a reverence for being alive, humility, kindness, compassion, graciousness, sociability, cheerfulness, and humor. But most of all a good proportion of the population appears to be quite fey.”

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.

NOTE: If your browser will not accept a comment at this blog, send it by email to Mike at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  or Jon at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and one of us will post it.

Next Blog post: March 25

 


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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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