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Hooey, Humbug, Hocus Pocus: Not God’s Way?

Posted on 14 October 2019, 8:42

Some of the physical mediumship observed and reported by credible investigators of psychic phenomena during the latter half of the nineteenth century, even the early twentieth century, was so bizarre, so weird, so mind-boggling that even people who today accept the reality of clairvoyance and other psychic phenomena refuse to believe that it was genuine.  They agree with the so-called skeptics that it was just so much hooey, nothing more than what the skeptics called humbug, twaddle, bosh, or just plain rubbish.  I met a clairvoyant at a conference some years ago and she was of that mindset, reasoning that if she, a “medium,” couldn’t produce that kind of phenomena, then it couldn’t be real. 

I’m referring to the kind of mediumship discussed in my last blog here, that of the “Brothers Davenport,” who gave exhibitions throughout the United States and around the world in which they were securely tied and handcuffed and then freed themselves within a few seconds, and in which musical instruments floated around the room giving off popular tunes of the day.  There were also reports of levitations of tables and of the brothers themselves being raised high off the floor while upside down.


It all sounds so vaudevillian, just some very clever illusionists or magicians as we see on television today with David Copperfield or Michael Carbonaro. Still, so much of it was witnessed by renowned men and women of science, Nobel Prize winners included, under strictly controlled conditions, some of them calling for the medium to be stripped and her or his private parts to be thoroughly examined for hidden objects, and for the phenomena to be produced in a room foreign to the medium and for the medium’s hands to be held throughout the séance, the doors locked behind them.  Conditions could not have been more “scientifically” controlled.  As Professor Charles Richet, winner of the 1913 Nobel Prize in medicine, wrote, “Yes, it is absurd, but no matter – it is true.”

Another popular indictment of the phenomena was that if it were the work of God, or of high spirits, “He” or they most certainly would offer something more sacred, sensible and respectable than floating people, tables, and musical instruments.  Surely, they would provide something more pious or virtuous.  But would they?  Could they? Or can they? 

In San Francisco, during 1869, a reporter asked the spirit controlling the Davenport Brothers why spirits involved themselves with such trivial pursuits, such as musical instruments flying about and escaping from chains and ropes.  The reply came:  “Is it trifling to convince the world of the existence of the invisible universe, in which and by which alone all things subsist? To the Spirit world Truth is an actual entity, and it is the only important thing, and the search after it is the principal and most fascinating occupation of Spirits.  Truth is not measured, as to its value, by the same criteria as men measure it; that is, not by money utility, but by its ability to make Spirits and men more happy by adding to their means of enjoyment.  If the moving of guitars through the air without hands or human direct agency is a fact, it is just as useful a truth towards establishing the fact of communication between the spiritual and physical world as though a million of dollars were created from the ultimate gaseous substance from which gold was originally condensed in nature.”

Much the same question was put to the Imperator group communicating through the mediumship of William Stainton Moses, an Anglican priest.  “Such phenomenal manifestations are necessary to reach men who can assimilate no other evidence,” Imperator responded through Moses.  “They are not any sort of proof of our claims, no evidence of the moral beauty of our teachings; but they are the means best adapted to reach the materialist.”

Imperator cautioned against applying terrestrial methods and standards to celestial matters, communicating, “You must remember that those of us who operate on the plane of spirit rather than of matter, do so on your earth under conditions that are very delicate and precarious. Matter has faded from our gaze, and when we return to the material plane, we see nothing of it.  All we see is the spirit.”

Imperator added that they could not present themselves for a photograph, but that they might commission other spirits to present an image of them.  Imperator further explained that physical manifestations were produced by the lowest and most earthly spirits.  “It would be absurd and foolish to you if the progressed spirits of humanity were to be put forward as the agents in what you contemptuously describe as a moving of furniture,” Imperator continued.  “The mighty ones, who even in the flesh were spirits sent from God to enlighten your world, are not the agents who can be used in bringing home evidence of the kind needed by your materialist.  They no longer have any power over gross matter, and would be unable to act.”

As discussed in the last post here, research suggests that the more advanced spirits are at too high a vibrational frequency to communicate directly with humans, and if and when they do communicate with humans they must have lower-level spirits relay the messages on to humans. These “lower-level” spirits are not necessarily morally corrupt spirits; they are simply not spiritually advanced and are closer to the earth frequency and therefore better able to reach us.  However, there apparently are devious low-level spirits who are more “earthbound” and capable of deception and tomfoolery. 

“These phenomena, though executed by inferior spirits, are often prompted by spirits of a more elevated order, for the purpose of convincing people of the existence of incorporeal beings, of a power superior to man,” explained pioneering French psychical researcher Allan Kardec, who communicated with many spirits. It was explained to Kardec by the spirits that the coarseness of the spirit body of the inferior spirits gives them more affinity with matter, making them more fitted for physical manifestations.  “It is for the same reason that a man of the world accustomed to the labor of intellect, whose body is frail and delicate, cannot carry a heavy burden like a porter,” he was told.
Johannes Greber, who left the Catholic priesthood to become a psychical researcher, also asked a communicating spirit about it.  “You ask to what purpose the low spirits hold such ‘a carnival at modern spiritistic seances,’ or why indeed they are allowed to do so,” the spirit responded to Greber.  “To this I can only reply that low spirits have the same latitude of conduct as low and wicked people.”  The communicating spirit went on to say that this “high carnival” often has a good effect in that it compels those who do not believe in God or a spirit world “to think of these matters, to relinquish their skeptical attitudes and to make a beginning of trying to discover the truth.”

The communicating spirit told Greber that materializations were also in this category.  “Even if the only interest in these things springs from a craving for new sensations, it often happens that many people do retain the impression that ultra-mundane forces must exist, and if this result is not all that could be desired,  it is at least better than if those individuals had not had their attention called at all to the Beyond.”

Dr. William Crawford, who taught mechanical engineering at Queen’s University in Belfast, Ireland, wrote that he witnessed hundreds of levitations and many other strange physical phenomena in his research of mediums. He referred to the spirits as “operators” and noted they seemed to be experimenting on their side as much as he was on the material side. “I admit that it is very difficult for the ordinary person to bring home to his consciousness the fact that these unseen beings can possibly be like himself in their make-up,” he explained. “There is an ingrained feeling in humanity that the beings inhabiting the after-death world must be far removed from us in mental qualities and characteristics – we feel that there should be a great advance in intellectual equipment over what they possessed here; that they should be, if not quite angels, at any rate not far removed from them.  Of course this instinctive feeling we all possess is due to centuries of religious instruction behind us; we feel that the next state must of necessity be either heaven or hell.  Hence it is rather a shock to us when we find the inhabitants of that other state not to be angels by any manner of means, not to exceed us appreciably in intelligence, but to be, in fact, only good-natured beings of much the same capacity as our familiar selves.” 

Crawford specifically asked the operators why they were involved in such séances and was told that such work helps them in their own development and that there were great crowds of spirit people looking on during the experiments.  “They told me this was the case at all our séances,” he added. “They gave me the impression that the séance room and the sitters were surrounded by a huge invisible audience arranged in an orderly and disciplinary manner, perhaps tier upon tier as in a lecture theater.  The séance to many of them would appear to be as novel as it is to us.”

The earlier research by renowned British chemist Sir William Crookes with Daniel D. Home, who also produced floating musical instruments, levitations, and other strange phenomena suggested the same thing.  At a sitting on June 28, 1871, Home went into a trance state and a voice began speaking through him, informing Crookes and the others present that the conditions were not very good that night. When asked what the conditions should be, the reply was, “That is a matter in which we cannot help you much. There are comparatively few spirits who are able to communicate at all with you.  They are constantly working and experimenting to try and render the communication easier….Sometimes they think they have found out some of the conditions which will lead to success, and the next time something occurs which shows them that they know scarcely anything about it.” 

Still, the skeptic asks why we don’t see such phenomena today. According to Imperator, it was the discarnate Benjamin Franklin, assisted by the discarnate Emanuel Swedenborg, who discovered the means of communicating with the material world by raps, i.e., so many raps for each letter of the alphabet or a set number of raps for “yes” or “no.”  “At the time of the discovery it was believed that all denizens of both worlds would be brought into ready communion,” Imperator explained. However, they assumed wrong, not taking into account the obstinate ignorance of man and the extent to which the lowest-level spirits would interfere with their efforts.  This ignorance and interference resulted in the disparagement of mediums and discredit to the cause.  Therefore, they then backed off.  The focus turned more to evidential trance mental mediumship and later to clairvoyance.

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.

Next blog post:  Oct. 28


Mike (Tymn) your team may be interested in what is happening in the UK. Professor Susan Blackmore, a psychologist who starts from the base that the mind dies with the brain, is always given the freedom of mainstream media outlets. Safe in the knowledge that no person who disagrees with her is ever allowed to give a balance.
However, there was a balance allowed at London University a few years ago. Blackmore presented the case against survival, and I was allowed to present the scientific case for survival. Something that is never allowed on mainstream media outlets in England where the Church and the state are still established.

Michael Roll, Mon 4 Nov, 11:16

Mike (Tymn) A more up to date attack on those who present the scientific case for survival happened recently to the American broadcaster Jeff Rense. He has let me broadcast across the USA 13 times. On the way home from his radio programme Jeff was targeted by a laser while he was driving his car. The car was a complete write off and Jeff was in a coma for a few weeks. The good news is that he has now recovered and recently invited Professor Peter Wadhams of the Geophysics Department at Cambridge University to support Sir William Crookes on radio across the USA. Nothing like this would be allowed in the UK. You can listen to the Jeff Rense radio broadcasts at the top of my website.  Also look at the photographs taken by Crookes: http:/

Michael Roll, Sun 3 Nov, 11:27

Mike (Tymn) How right you are about so-called researchers. It is a good job that Sir William Crookes was a genuine seeker after knowledge. But he found out the hard way that publishing the truth is a dangerous road to take. In 1874 when he published the results of his three year experiments with a materialisation medium, he came under a vicious attack from the religionists and materialists who will be made to look very silly when millions eventually find out that it is a scientific fact that we all survive the death of our physical body.

Michael Roll, Sun 3 Nov, 11:12

Michael (Roll),

Thank you for your additional comments.  I agree with you.  Unfortunately, today’s researchers aren’t interested in mediumship, especially physical mediumship, and they don’t have the patience or understanding to really test them.  If some researcher were patient and courageous enough to undertake such a study and then publish results suggesting spirit phenomena, he or she would be laughed out of the field.

Michael Tymn, Sun 3 Nov, 06:33


Thanks for filling me in on the later developments. I read the “Singer in the Shadows” book many years ago, but did not recall all that.  Very interesting.  However, as we have discussed before, I do believe that Patience Worth was a “group soul” and so I think Hyslop may have been right about many spirits being involved.

Michael Tymn, Sun 3 Nov, 06:26

I made a writing error; I should have said that Hyslop HAD BEEN Research office for the ASPR rather that WAS since Hyslop died in 1920 and the ASPR rebuttal was in 1937. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Fri 1 Nov, 15:56

The behavior of James Hyslop toward the Patience Worth case is very interesting.  As you may know, Hyslop considered himself the preeminent expert on all matters having to do with spirits.  Hyslop’s exalted view of himself becomes evident as one reads more of his writings and comments not only about Patience Worth but about other issues as well.
Irving Litvag does an excellent job discussing Hyslop/Curran/Yost/Reedy verbal exchanges in his book “Singer in the Shadows” pages 123-132 as well as in additional scattered pages following that.  Walter Franklin Prince also discusses the Hyslop criticisms on pages 420-428 of his study of Patience Worth and Pearl Curran published in his 1927 book “The Case of Patience Worth”.  And Daniel Shea in “The Patience of Pearl” writes about the kerfuffle between Hyslop, Yost, the publisher Henry Holt, Marion Reedy and the Currans.

Both Shea and Prince allude to the relationship between Professor Hyslop and Emily Hutchings, that Hyslop was being fed information about the Currans by Emily. (Emily was estranged from Pearl at that time.)  Hyslop condemned Yost’s book about Patience Worth and disregarded her creative writing as interesting perhaps but not of spirit origin while at the same time he praised to high heavens Hutchings’ novel “Jap Herron” as having been unmistakably dictated by the spirit of Mark Twain—-no question about it.

According to Litvag on November 14, 1919 in New York Hyslop met with Patience and Pearl and he requested an additional meeting, which occurred on November 21 of that year.  Hyslop continued to be argumentative and insisted that a number of spirits were taking part in the writing. (Interesting in that he now thought that the writing did come from a spirit source.)  Patience replied that:

“Aye, but I say me, why need I a one to chew the feed which I take?  When thou dost eat thou dost chew and swallow the stuff thyself.  Nay, nay, this be one path that be not trod by hosts.”

After Pearl’s death in 1937 the American Society for Psychical Research published a rebuttal of all of Hyslop’s criticisms which seems to me to be highly unusual since Hyslop was Research Officer for the society. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Fri 1 Nov, 15:20

Mike (Tymn) when I witnessed the Rita Goold experiment in 1983 I was so pleased when she confirmed to me that it would be in order to invite a scientist to repeat the 1870’s experiments that Sir William Crookes carried out.
Professor Roy’s experiments were sabotaged by a psychologist just as he was about to go in and film the “dead” Russell Byrne being physically reunited with his mother Gwen Byrne. All very well covered in today’s Victor Zammit’s weekly report.
The only trouble is we can’t force a materialisation medium to work with a scientist like Professor Archie Roy. If a medium is prepared to do this, then millions would find out that losing a loved one is only a temporary tragedy. It is a scientific fact.

Michael Roll, Fri 1 Nov, 11:06


Your comment about Professor James Hyslop’s views prompted me to dig out the March 1919 issue of the ASPR Journal, in which Hyslop reviewed “The Sorry Tale.”  His review is too long to quote here, but I’ll quote the last couple of sentences: “As to the merits of the story as a literary product we are not competent to judge, and so far as we have read it could find no interest whatever in it.  This may be due to the fact that we care for science in such cases than we do for fiction, especially when the fiction appears under the guise of a spiritistic origin.  We want to know what evidence there is that Mrs. Curran’s subconsciouos did not produce it, and there is nothing on which a scientific man can hand a verdict in the case.” 

Earlier in the review, Hyslop states that none of her earlier works appears to have a spiritistic orgin. If he met Pearl Curran between that review and his death a year later, then what you say makes sense, but I am not aware of such a meeting.

That said, I think Hyslop missed the boat on this one and I fully agree with you.  The fact that what Pearl produced far exceeded her education, experience, and apparent intelligence should have been of scientific interest.  In other words, how did all of it get into her subconscious in the first place?

Given the fact that Hyslop subscribed to the spiritistic hypothesis, I am somewhat stymied by by his attitude toward Pearl.  If the meeting between them was during the last year of his life, then that explains it.

Michael Tymn, Fri 1 Nov, 05:25

Michael Roll,

It has been nearly 37 years since Archie Roy told you about the infrared cameras.  The skeptic might wonder why nothing of significance has happened in all those years.  I think I know the answer, but I am curious as to yours.

Michael Tymn, Thu 31 Oct, 22:12

I take no offense in this kind of information sharing, and am grateful to Mike Tymn who I greatly admire for having this forum. I approach everything critically and then compile and research my facts. In my opinion, if anyone reads the complete,  documented source material about the Davenports and what they went through, especially the perilous, life threatening situations that they endured, all for the cause that they were NOT frauds, then I think opinions would change. No one, and I mean no one would put themselves through what they did unless they were genuine, with nothing to hide. They rose to every occasion and attack.If I thought they were frauds, I would certainly say so, without reservation.

riley heagerty, Thu 31 Oct, 14:25

All this business about tying mediums up is now hopelessly out of date. The infra-red camera has now been perfected. We can now see perfectly in the dark. Let’s also get rid of this ridiculous “séance” word. Professor Archie Roy of the department of astronomy at Glasgow University, and myself have only taken part in scientific experiments. Prof. Roy wrote to me in 1983 saying that he has now obtained the infra-red camera and is now ready to go in capture everything on film. Unfortunately he had a psychologist on his team who had just published a book saying that all materialisation mediums are frauds. This psychologist so upset the medium, who was dedicating her services free of charge, that she withdrew from this vital experiment that would have shown six recently deceased people being physically reunited with their loved ones on Earth.

Michael Roll, Thu 31 Oct, 10:07


Thanks for your clarification.  I fully understand your intent and that you often like to play the devil’s advocate.  You do a good job.  Your comments are appreciated.

Michael Tymn, Thu 31 Oct, 09:20

James Hyslop initially was not so much critical of Pearl Curran as he was of Casper Yost,who published the initial book about Patience Worth, and the manner in which Yost conducted the study of Pearl and Patience.  Hyslop thought that the Yost book about Patience Worth was not anything that would appeal to a “scientific man” which was obviously true. At a later date Hyslop met with Patience and Pearl and whatever issues he had with Pearl, John , Patience and Casper Yost were resolved at that meeting. 

Casper Yost was enamored with Patience Worth and he was beside himself to tell the world about her.  In his wildest dreams he probably did not even consider conducting a ‘scientific” study of the phenomenon.

When Hyslop insinuated motives of Pearl Curran and her husband John (he had not met them at the time)  he based his opinions on clandestine communications he had with Emily Grant Hutchings, Pearl Curran’s erstwhile friend and confidant, especially during the early days of the Patience Worth dictations.  Later Emily went on her own way, reportedly contacting Patience Worth herself and later Mark Twain with whom she wrote novel called “Jap Herron”.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 30 Oct, 19:41

I apologize if I offended you.  Actually I like your books and have purchased three of them.  I especially enjoyed the one about the Bangs sisters which I believe had a few very good credible resources for the information.  I am just commenting here on this blog to keep the conversation going.  As I said initially I was reluctant to comment since I had a less accepting view of the Davenport brothers than Michael and you apparently have but that is what makes interesting repartee.

Personally I have read a great many stories, reports and studies of mediums and other people considered to be on the parapsychological spectrum over the past 50 or 60 years.  It is unavoidable that I would make comparisons among them, usually only in my own mind.  I, and perhaps most others just don’t have the time or inclination to conduct an in-depth review of all of the available literature about a very large number of people.  My research has been focused on the Pearl Curran/Patience Worth story about which I believe that I am very knowledgeable.

I appreciate your long-running efforts to bring to the modern day public well researched information about the Brothers Davenport.  But in all honesty I can’t say that I am convinced by the reports about the Brothers Davenport that the phenomena surrounding them was influenced in one way or another by spirits.

Not to worry, Riley, this is only my opinion.  No attack intended.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 30 Oct, 19:21

As far as the Davenports, I have gathered all available sources over many years, and the readers can come to their own conclusions, I could care less who believes in what they did or not. I have years and years behind the research, and I think that the critics have ‘very little’ time spent in backing their charges up with facts. This is the standard, usual attack method with NOTHING to back it up. It has been going on for a century and a half. Elizabeth Davenport, from all sources I have gathered, never traveled with the boys. There is positively NO PROOF, again, that she was involved in their cabinet demonstrations. That theory is beyond comment.
The boys would invite anyone, to come from the audience and tie them up, many times to the level of torture. The cabinet was examined top to bottom. There has never been a fastening or tying that the spirits could not relieve them from. As I said in the book, if I myself was allowed to tie up in any fashion I wanted, David Copperfield, he would NOT be able, without the use of helpers or a pre-arranged illusion, confederates, etc., to get out of the ropes. I have also stated, there has never been anyone, magician or debunker-wise, who could duplicate the phenomena of the Davenports under the SAME CONDITIONS that were imposed on them, on thousands of occasions. How does a critic explain their dark seances? They are tied up, the ropes over their coats, and the coat is dematerialized from their body, ropes intact exactly as before. Their hands being held all the time. The coats in certain occasions were actually seen in flight after being taken off the boys.
I would like one of these arm-chair critics to explain how this was done, BUT, back it up with facts, not stuffy conjectures.

riley heagerty, Wed 30 Oct, 15:32


You may be right and since it has been a few months since I read the book I am unable to counter your arguments. When you and Sarah say they were “caught” in fraud a time or two, I look for the evidence and it all seems to be hearsay at this point in time.  According to the debunkers, all mediums were caught in fraud because such phenomena defies natural laws and can be nothing but fraudulent. As you know, even James Hyslop doubted the mediumship of Pearl Cuurran.  I will see if I can get Riley to respond.

Michael Tymn, Wed 30 Oct, 11:01

I didn’t want to comment any more about the Davenport Brothers after reading Heagerty’s book because as always, I am a contrarian.  I was not convinced by the resources Heagerty used even though they were from people who were there at the time as it could be that they had some vested interest in promoting the career of the Davenport brothers.  I don’t have the book in front of me now but I recall that their father provided much of the information Heagerty used about the early phenomena reported to be exhibited by the brothers and their sister.  And, some of the antics boggle the mind, e.g., hanging upside down floating around the room.  Another frequently used resource was a man (I forgot his name but used initials of first and middle name) who traveled with the brothers but I don’t know to what extent he participated in the shows.  And, Heagerty doesn’t tell us much about what happened to the Davenport sister.  It was reported however that the hands and arms protruding from the top of the cabinet were delicate feminine arms and I wonder why the hole in the middle door for the arms was placed so high on the middle door near the top and that there was a somewhat high wood ornament in the top center of the cabinet.  This makes me think that a small girl or young woman could have climbed on top of the cabinet and hid behind the ornament and top decoration of the cabinet when the lights were turned off and lying on the cabinet top, hidden from view, was close enough to put her arms through the hole at the top of the middle door and then climb down after performing and before the lights were brought up.

After reading Heagerty’s book which I believe provided an abundance of good resource material in that those resources apparently reported what they saw or believed perhaps, I was not convinced of spirit participation in the Davenport performances.  As I recall they were “caught” in fraud one or more times and Heagerty may have mentioned this in the book.  (Sorry the book is at home and I am at work.)  Perhaps they were very good escape artists similar to Houdini.  I just don’t think that the resources used by Heagerty were beyond reproach.

This is not a criticism but I believe Heagerty has a ‘will to believe’ that the Brothers Davenport were spiritists.  I say this based on his own comments made as part of the text or notes at the bottom of the page.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Tue 29 Oct, 20:08

Sarah, what you say reminds me of a meeting of The Society for Psychical Research that I attended to talk about materialisation mediums. I was the only person in the room who had actually taken part in an experiment with this type of medium - Rita Goold. This medium soon came under attack from a person who said that he had heard that she had been exposed as a fraud. I was able to put the record straight that nothing could be further from the truth. This is what happens on mainstream media outlets. The psychologists Blackmore, Wiseman and French are always given total freedom to destroy the very idea of survival after death in order to keep the old-boy network intact. Experts like myself are never allowed to balance professional wreckers like the psychologists.

Michael Roll, Tue 29 Oct, 10:19


You say that they were exposed as frauds many times.  Please support your statement with the research exposing them as frauds.  I’m not asking for some Wikipedia statement by somebody not even born when these brothers were giving exhibitions, but some researchers who witnessed them on a number of occasions.  As I suggest in the post above, it was very hokey, but hokey doesn’t necessarily translate to fraud.  The evidence set forth in Heagerty’s book, which is based on writings by witnesses to the phenomena produced by the brothers, is persuasive to anyone with an open-mind and who is familiar with the mediumship of D. D. Home and others who produced similar phenomena.

Michael Tymn, Tue 29 Oct, 04:43

There are some good mediums out there but Davenport brothers were two magicians. I am not sure, are you claiming they were actually communicating with spirits? If so you are mistaken. They were exposed as frauds many times.

Sarah, Mon 28 Oct, 16:20

Mike (Tymn)What you say about somebody to worship maybe true in the USA, but not in the UK. Over here we have almost completely escaped from the clutches of priest craft. We look upon Jesus as a philosopher, not a god.

Michael Roll, Sat 19 Oct, 10:40


While I agree with you on most everything you have written, I believe most people need a “Being” as a figurehead to visualize and pray to. If Jesus serves that purpose for them, so be it.  It is beyond most people to think of God as cosmic consciousness or some such abstract “entity.”  I prefer to think of Jesus as the equivalent of “Chairman of the Board” on the Other Side and that works for me. I do believe that most religions go too far in the “worship” of Jesus and other gods, but it is a matter of what works best for them.  Like you, it upsets me when they begin claiming that what we believe is demonic, but their belief is, I think, better than no belief at all.

Michael Tymn, Thu 17 Oct, 21:09


It was said to be Benjamin Franklin along with Emanuel Swedenborg who figured out how to communicate by raps.  As I understand it, the Fox family figured out one rap meant “yes” and three raps meant “no.” or something like that.  It soon developed to one rap for each letter of the alphabet, e.g., five raps for the letter “e.”  I am not aware of any reference that explains more than that.

Michael Tymn, Thu 17 Oct, 20:57

Mike do you know of any book or article that includes the rap or tapping alphabet that came from Benjamin Franklin & I forget who else -
that lists all the taps for all the alphabet?
Thanks if you do Blessings Karen

PS I agree with Yvonne!!!

Karen Herrick, Thu 17 Oct, 15:23

Let’s face it. The story of Jesus being seem by his disciples after he was killed also seems fantastic way back 2,000 years ago. Now we can understand the reason why the philosopher Jesus was turned into a God. Back then people thought that something supernatural had taken place. In 2019 we know that nothing is supernatural or paranormal. If something is witnessed then there must be a rational scientific explanation to account for what is being witnessed. We have had the scientific proof of survival for 145 years. Ever since Sir William Crookes published the results of his experiments in The Quarterly Journal of Science in 1874.What was published can now be read at the top of my website:

Michael Roll, Thu 17 Oct, 10:23

What Sir William Crookes and his scientific team witnessed in the 1870’s may have seemed fantastic, even supernatural, but not now in the 21st century - the exciting scientific age of reason. All scientists now agree that 95% of the universe is missing. This is the part of the universe that we all come from and return to after our short stay on Earth. We now know that we are made of invisible stuff, therefore it is no longer fantastic to have something invisible break away from the dead physical body. We now have a rational scientific explanation to account for all the millions of ghost stories down through the ages. It is just interference from another wavelength. We are in a transient part of the universe. All the suns we see will eventually burn out.

Michael Roll, Wed 16 Oct, 10:54


I think we are for the most part in agreement.  However, if we didn’t have those “devious earthbound spirits” tempting us toward immoral behavior, we would not have the opportunities to exercise our free will.  As I see it, rejecting such temptations and overcoming adversity provide us with the primary lessons of life.  Take them away and the material life has little meaning.

Michael Tymn, Wed 16 Oct, 08:07

Much of what’s presented here makes sense; if spirits are trying to wake people up to the idea that something is present beyond the physical world, it’s logical that they would enable seemingly supernatural and impossible things designed to make people think. However, I think the most important part of this post is this:

‘However, there apparently are devious low-level spirits who are more “earthbound” and capable of deception and tomfoolery.’

Over the years, I’ve come to notice that most of the reports about these ‘low-level’ spirits imply or say that they’re - for lack of a better word - savages who are consumed by the desire to do evil or malevolent mischief. Giggling devils, so to speak, who only get their jollies when they’re tormenting people via poltergeist activity, hauntings, and the like. I can’t recall any channelings from the golden age of spiritualism about malevolent spirits who are intelligent, smart, and cunning. If they exist, they presumably have abilities we don’t, including being able to read minds, see the past, and the like. It would be easy for them to pretend they’re someone else, and like controlling, abusive spouses, they could slowly make their physical target become dependent on them for answers. There’s always the possibility – however tiny – that the channeled spirits from that time were frauds who intentionally cast themselves as high, powerful, and wise, and said nothing about any malevolent counterparts who were equally intelligent, powerful, and cruel, so as to not draw any unwanted attention to themselves.

Perhaps the best example I can think of for someone who was probably deceived in this manner is Sylvia Browne, who’s become rather infamous for how wrong so many of her predictions and readings were. I can’t remember the source, but shortly after her death in 2013, one article covering her life included a quote from one of her childhood friends who said that when she was young, she did have genuine psychic abilities. Perhaps trying to use them to earn money made them wither, or - and this the view I hold - her spirit guide/s were actually malevolent beings who made her grow dependent on them, even as they fed her false information, eventually leading to her downfall.

Of course, this is all conjecture. I could be completely wrong, and probably am to some degree. Jesus’ own fruit test (by their fruits you will know them) can and should be applied. But I think it’s important to take all spiritually channeled material with a healthy dose of skepticism, and that I personally think it’s wiser to go to God with our questions and ask for guidance from Him, and Him alone. Just because a spirit says they’re Jesus, an angel, or a higher being sent by God doesn’t mean they’re telling the truth.

Ian, Tue 15 Oct, 08:10


Even when people see with their own eyes, if they don’t want to believe or are not a certain level of understanding, they won’t believe.

As you have done for so many years, you have reminded us that countless prestigious scientists with absolute integrity have attested to physical phenomena and mediumship - plenty of proof exists.

The spirit world needed to wake up the material world to its existence with physical phenomena,
for those who had “eyes to see and ears to hear”!

Now, mental mediumship predominates ... (although physical manifestations still occur).
The average person believes many of what we believe (although they may still say they are of a particular religion or of none).

The spirits have done there job….the world is changing!

Warm regards,

Yvonne Limoges, Mon 14 Oct, 20:04

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Facing the Final Choice by Michael Grosso – The editor of my first book suggested I call it The Final Choice (1985). I thought the title was overdramatic and a bit grandiose. I did in part write the book in response to what seemed like the growing threat of nuclear war. Read here
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