Sorry, I meant to respond sooner.
Regarding the statement:
“W.A. was also unaware of any fraud by Valiantine, but he explained that a medium may sometimes be impelled or impressed by his unconscious knowledge of what the spirit communicators want to do or want to say and thus carry it into action. His unconscious actions are then interpreted by the sitters as a conscious attempt to deceive them.”
As a medium of over 40 years, I fully agree with this statement as something that can occur.
It amounts to what can be described as an almost hypnotic influence by the sitters towards the medium, who then acts unconsciously with no malice.
That is why it is better when many good authentic mediums work in a group setting together over time. Other mediums would recognize any of this type of thing and it call it out immediately.
The most important thing Spiritists teach their mediums-in-development is CONTROL…to try and prevent any of this type of influence and other influences.
Yvonne Limoges, Mon 21 Jun, 21:37
Dear Chris de Cat,
I think you are right. As humans have sometimes said before, the medium is not the message (despite the interpretation of Marshall McLuhan). Whichever way we humans think to analyse and categorise what happens in our world, and however we, often mistakenly, distinguish and name these processes (eg clairvoyance supposedly distinct from telepathy, etc etc etc) the only certain-seeming interpretation is that the ONE GREAT BEING, being timeless (eternal) contains all and can do what s/he pleases, even send DIRECT messages to us microbe humans on the minuscule Earth. The message is what is important, the messenger (medium) not so. It remains true, of course, that we have to be careful to discern the spirits - but that’s a matter of OUR morality, for which WE are responsible. Our chosen moral worth matters. Have we put ourselves in a relationship with that Great All that opens the channel for DIRECT messages now and then, or are we still prone to delusion by low spirits?
The Great All Being Who, knowing all, nevertheless knows no time, even controls the fall of sparrows and the innocent wanderings of young cuckoos. Either we believe in a god who is God, or we don’t.
Eric Franklin, Sun 20 Jun, 11:51
I think there is no coincidence. A few weeks ago I wrote a chapter for a series of books I am writing about a cuckoo. Early afternoon a bird walked from my patio into the conservatory…it was a young cuckoo and it was the first time that I saw a real cuckoo. Isn’t it amazing? What are the chances? I am convinced that most of us gets in our life messages from beyond. How they reach us is not the most important issue, but the content and the understanding is.
Chris De Cat, Sat 19 Jun, 20:18
I also have had many other things disappear over the years, never to be seen again. My wife is certain that there is a “sock heaven” into which many of my socks have disappeared over the years. We usually hold on to the one remaining of the pair for some time, assuming the other will eventually show up, but it rarely does. However, the pill box disappearance and reappearance tops them all, at least those I can remember. If it were not for the fact that it was leaning against the coin dish at a 45-degree angle I probably would have written it off as malobservation by now. Nevertheless, as gullible as some of my friends think I am, I give it only a 12.3% chance of it having been my recently deceased friend, Dave or some other spirit entity. That is almost the same percentage I give the Loch Ness Monster (14.2%), even though I saw a large wake coming toward me as I stood at the top of the castle ruins overseeing Loch Ness in 1999. I’m at 15.2% on Big Foot, but I am at 84.4% on crop circles not all being man-made. Whether made by aliens, spirit entities, or other forces is something else.
Michael Tymn, Sat 19 Jun, 05:55
Nice to know my family is not the only one intermittently teased by a poltergeist or other departed soul. Right now, we’re searching for a cloth bag we’ve used for years to take up bedtime accoutrements, faithfully returning the bag to the same place each morning. A few months ago, there was a paper bag of caramel corn that disappeared for several days, only to be found in plain sight in a place we had repeatedly looked. Before that, it was my glasses, etc. And thanks to all who responded to my question about whether there is NDE evidence, similar to mediumship evidence, of learning things that no other living person could possibly have known, thereby ruling out the explanatory power of even the most extreme form of telepathy. Such evidence coming from an NDE would be far more persuasive of an afterlife IMHO than the viewing of numbers from high up in a hospital room. Would not the NDE researchers learn much from the old psychical researchers if they paid them appropriate attention? Across the board, I’ve come to see, we often fail to progress because we insist on beginning from scratch.
Newton E. Finn, Fri 18 Jun, 16:44
I am aware of those little plastic pill boxes you are talking about. I don’t think it is easy to misplace them especially when they are routinely kept in the same place all the time as a routine for pill-taking is followed. Even at a 45 degree angle they would be easily seen I think especially if two people looked for it and moved things around that were on top of the chest of drawers. And, I doubt that you would have ever placed it at a 45 degree angle after you had used it—-that’s not very likely for those little long boxes. On the other hand if your pill box was one of the clear plastic types which most of them are, it may be that in poor lighting you didn’t see it especially since it was in an unusual position. I think we see the expected and don’t see the unexpected. (Like the Gorilla walking across the basketball court I previously mentioned.) I tend to think that disappearing and reappearing items may be caused by lower level mischievous spirits. Occasionally that kind of thing happens to me too. (I swear someone hides my pencils and tape measures just to irritate me when I am working on a building project!)
I recall that at the time of my burgeoning interest in Patience Worth my very first book about her, the one written by Casper Yost, “disappeared” and I never could find it. I had to buy another copy. I have thought that that was the work of evil spirits who didn’t want me to follow my interest in Patience. On the other hand I may have inadvertently dropped it in the garbage can to be taken to the dump. That was many years ago though, before I entered my dotage.- AOD
Amos Oliver Doyle, Fri 18 Jun, 13:09
Dear Mike (Tymn),
Remember that when we have conscientiously dealt with and rejected every possible possibility in seeking an explanation, the remaining impossibility has to be the right explanation.
I would believe that the event WAS Dave’s demonstration. Remember he is in a universe not visible to us in ours, not sensible by any quantum interaction that can take place within our experience, indeed, relativistically from a completely separate universe that is right there through your bedroom (and mine). We, our Essence, is not even in the universe of our sensory experience. We experience the universe within which we are alive as one who is stumbling about in a diving suit. But we are more “real” than the universe we suffer in.
Now I really must get to those tasks . . .
Eric Franklin, Fri 18 Jun, 09:38
I may have misunderstood Newton, but I think he was asking for such a veridical experience from an NDE. There are many from mediumship.
Michael Tymn, Fri 18 Jun, 09:21
Dear Newton and dear Amos,
Remember that the so-called super-psi hypothesis gives a perhaps even more impressive confirmation of the Great Inclusive Eternal Being’s reality if it is believed that no lower being at all, anywhere, could have known what the séance reveals. To be able to suggest that the Great Being her/himself has given the knowledge directly to the medium must be very impressive, even to the cynic, if such a revelation subsequently proves to be fact. That this “argument” is circular pales in importance when one asks the cynic to explain how the revelation proves to be true. He can’t, so the faith-encouraging hypothesis that the Great Eternal has reached down into a world of time-constrained being to hand the medium a message must become even more impressive. The cynic, under such a confrontation, then has only bluster to defend his own stupid arrogance and to attack his unassailable opponent.
In haste. Now back to the 24/7 tasks . . .
Erc Franklin, Fri 18 Jun, 09:17
I want to express empathy with your suffering on account of the destruction of your Wikipedia article by vile, prejudiced persons. In several different fields of life I have myself suffered theft of work equipment, destruction of property, many insults and defamations, none of them justified but in fact showing the inadequacies of those who held the adverse opinions, and a number of differing violations to which we humans attach a variety of categorisations and words. I was even cheated, lifelong, out of pleasant quality of life by my own father’s jealousy (I do not exaggerate).
Many of us will be empathising with your injuries, and I hope will express their fellow feeling.
And thanks to Mike Tymn and Jon Beecher for providing the platform for us to share.
Eric Franklin, Fri 18 Jun, 08:12
Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 17 Jun, 21:19
What about information from Confucius during the Valiantine direct voice sittings? Who else in the world knew what the corrections of the ancient Chinese writings of Confucius should be? (That’s not verifiable, I know.) I think there may be examples of what you are looking for sprinkled throughout the literature concerning mediums and the information they discern. In addition to the one you mentioned of a revised will being sewed into an old coat I recall there was one of a receipt of for a paid bill filed in a hidden compartment in the back of a dresser drawer or something of that type. I don’t remember the exact case. There was another one where a dying person saw the spirit of a young woman who not even her mother and father had been informed that she had just been killed in an automobile accident. Of course, there were law enforcement people who knew about the accident but no family members knew. And I keep thinking that in the many years of Leonora Piper’s seances there must have been information that no living person knew about. It may be very difficult to identify cases where absolutely no living person knew the information. If I can gather a little motivation, I will look for others. I think there must be more than just a few. - AOD
The NDE project Newton referred to is still sitting on the side of my desk…One of these days, if I am still around. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of such a experience as Newton has in mind, but I will have to explore the recesses of my mind more thoroughly in quiet times.
As for Fraser, I haven’t looked beyond the link Amos initially provided. The comments made thus far all suggest that he has some clairvoyant ability, but clairvoyance is not nearly the same thing as direct-voice mediumship. I heard about one direct-voice medium in England a few years ago, but I don’t know anything about her.
I had a very strange experience last night. At 8 p.m., I went to my bedroom to take the two pill I usually take at that time. I keep them in a plastic container about six inches long. It has a little opening for each day of the week. I keep it on top of a chest of drawers in a space about 20 inches by 18 inches. The other items in that space include my wallet, keys, a metal dish in which I throw all my loose change, a flashlight, and two journals. However, the pill container was missing. I looked everywhere, in the drawers, in the wastebasket next to the chest of drawers, under the bed. I spent 10 minutes looking for it without success. I told my wife and she duplicated my search. There was no doubt that it was not in the small space on the top of the chest of drawers where it should have been. I gave up on the search and ended up going to my resupply bottles for the necessary pills.
About three hours later, while preparing for bed, I made another search, with negative results. Shortly thereafter, while sitting on my bed, I looked again and saw the pill container sitting right where it should be, except it was leaning against the coin dish at a 45-degree angle. I couldn’t imagine how both my wife and I could have missed seeing that. Also, I have never positioned it at such an angle against the coin dish. It always lays flat on the surface. There is no reason to position it that way.
The most obvious explanation is malobservation by both my wife and me. But we both took in every inch of the surface and didn’t see it.
I considered the possibility the my wife was playing some kind of trick on me, but she is not into such foolishness and I’m positive that is not the explanation.
I considered the possibility that I am delusional or otherwise losing it at age 84, that I hid it and then unknowingly replaced it during a mental lapse. I don’t think so.
The only other possible explanation I can come up with is that a friend died about two months ago. Dave was a retired sociology professor who remained skeptical of an afterlife to the end. He was open-minded, however, and when I talked with him on his deathbed two days before he died, he said that he would try to give me some sign if he survived. I wonder if that was it. I doubt it, but that is the only other possibility I can come up with. I mentally asked him to try to repeat it during the night while I slept, but nothing happened.
If the pill container has not been placed at a 45-degree angle against the coin dish, I would probably opt for malobservation by both my wife and me, even though we thoroughly went over the space it should have been in and where it was found, but the position in which it was found, leaning against the coin dish, is the most mysterious part of it all. If it was Dave, I hope he makes another attempt.
Michael Tymn, Thu 17 Jun, 21:15
Just to clarify my comments, terminology, and questions: I’m using “peak-in-Darien” to refer not merely to seeing dead people that the seer did not know had passed, but in the sense of learning something that could not be learned from any living person, like the existence and location of that hidden will referenced in “Human Personality.” I’m aware that many who have NDEs and death bed visions see relatives and friends that THEY did not know had passed, but are there instances where, for example, they see someone in the afterlife that NO ONE yet knew had died?
Newton E. Finn, Thu 17 Jun, 19:23
Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 17 Jun, 18:13
It is difficult to say that the internet has really added anything positive to the human experience. If it has, that has been counterbalanced by the harm it has done. If there is one contribution it has added it is that it has given uneducated, mentally compromised, puerile human specimens a voice to the world. - AOD
Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 17 Jun, 16:38
I think that you have linked to an article that Michael Tymn referenced earlier in this blog article. The minute that I read that Susan Gerbic was involved my whole being convulsed with disgust. I experienced a real sickening visceral reaction. Gerbic was head of the Skeptic Guerillas that stalked Wikipedia to discredit any and all articles that suggested there might be an alternate reality inhabited by spirit entities. I have tangled with these people on my Patience Worth site which they ultimately trashed and destroyed. They have revised the current Wikipedia article on Pearl Curran/Patience Worth to the point that it is useless to try to provide any accurate information about the Patience Worth phenomenon because they will immediately edit it to their liking and then insult and degrade you on the ‘talk page’ of the Wikipedia article. (See the talk page at the end on Pearl Curran to see how they fabricated things about me and were totally disrespectful to me as a human being and a contributor to the page) These people are rabid destroyers of truth and want to force everyone to accept their beliefs about anything and everything related to the unknown. These people are unintelligent disrespectful goons who crawl out of their basements to try to gain notoriety on the internet with a small demented following. There are no words to tell how reviled by their disgusting behaviors I am. There is nothing worthwhile to consider from these people. They are all quintessential failures in life. - AOD
Not long ago, Michael indicated he was playing around with doing a post on NDEs and their similarities/differences with the older psychical research. Apart from Matt Fraser & Co., it seems that the action has shifted from mediumship to NDEs, which certainly have their share of boggle-shots. Is anyone aware of an NDE account which contains a peak-in-Darien communication: veridical information given to a person on the brink of death which no other living person could possibly have known?
Newton E. Finn, Thu 17 Jun, 14:20
Here is an interesting piece on the Matt Fraser group readings. His “mediumship” abilities seem to be very underwhelming:
Lee, Thu 17 Jun, 12:07
I think, for what my opinion may be worth, that Amos is entirely right in his interpretation of the place in our society that Matt Fraser occupies.
If we believe, as I am inclined to do, that the Higher Beings concluded that their voices had, for the most part, fallen on deliberately deaf and stolidly stubborn ears during the first half of the last century they might well think that popular unconsidered credulousness is now the most suitable vehicle to bring about a change of paradigm, and so repulse the sceptics by that more round-about means. Popular beliefs are, of course, often correct, even when the more careful mind questions whether any real evidence is forthcoming in such a milieu, and seeks it elsewhere.
Perhaps the illustrative analogy is between Liberace and, for just one example, Alfred Brendel. Liberace is gladly permitted to vamp until Brendel, or Maurizio Pollini, or Benjamin Grosvenor (just three entirely random examples), have warmed their own fingers up, and politely request access to the keyboard.
Eric Franklin, Thu 17 Jun, 09:39
As I said previously, Frazer is all show biz which probably appeals to young people today; hence his reality television show and other commercial endeavors, books, free photos, T-shirts etc. I think these are all appropriate for people living in today’s modern American culture. And I can’t fault him for wanting to make a good living with his gift while he has the energy of youth with him, I think he needs to make the most of the energy he has now. If Frazer were to frame his activities on religious themes or dogmas then I don’t think he would have the followers he has today. God in his loving kindness understands as long as the message is getting through.
Psychic gifts are known to wane over time so Frazer has to strike while the iron is hot so to speak. Most of us would not criticize a gifted well-known concert pianist for charging a considerable amount for tickets to a performance or putting on an entertaining show, e.g., Victor Borge, Liberace (I am dating myself)—- neither do sports fans balk at paying substantial amounts of money to see a football game, an auto race, boxing match or whatever. And most of the musicians or athletes have a cadre of support people to help them plan and schedule their ‘performances ‘as Frazer does. Frazer might have charged $19 for an individual to participate in a Zoom meeting but his Zoom meetings have many participants so Frazer probably makes a good amount for the hour or so for a Zoom sitting and I am guessing that some of the people are disappointed if they pay their money and do not get reading. I understand that he has a three-year waiting period before he gets around to a request for a sitting. My guess is that Frazer will not become a multi-millionaire which many of the professional football players become.
Frazer says he sees spirits standing behind living people but he seems to respond to those spirits who are energized to say something so not everyone gets read. Like most other mediums he can not just dial-up a spirit on request, he has to go with the spirit that manifests behind the sitter. The spirits are with the sitter not with Frazer.
Frazer also says he tries to read as many people as he can in the time he has so he often talks fast and tries to move the sitters along during a sitting. At the same time he tries to interpret what the spirits are saying, and be personable, compassionate and entertaining—-I can’t fault him for any of that.
Probably most of the people who are read consider the information as good evidence that their loved one survives somewhere but the rest of us want hard evidence that can be verified by some other means than family members who are responding emotionally at the time of the reading. Maybe if Frazer asked the spirits for numbers that would help. If he could get home addresses of the spirit when alive on earth or maybe a telephone number that would satisfy the skeptics but then, skeptics would claim Super-psi since family members would obviously know the address or phone number. I have not heard him give an exact birthday date rather he says that the spirit wants to wish someone happy birthday to which the sitter confirms has either just passed or is coming up sometimes in a month or so—-not really good evidence.
For me, Matt Frazer is just another piece of the puzzle. My initial reason for providing the link was to show an example of a “medium” who was not cast in the same mold as the long-gone mediums of previous centuries. He is not the first modern medium but the trend over the past 50 years or so is for mediums to become more flamboyant in order to gain an audience. Thanks to TV, YouTube videos and the internet one can see a progression of these ‘new-style’ mediums that produced a “Matt Frazer”.- AOD
Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 16 Jun, 21:16
I, too, have watched several more Matt Fraser videos. He seems to be well-meaning (albeit in the context of incessant self-promotion) and certainly intuitive, if not psychic, with regard to those he’s trying to help. His more general statements about the abiding presence of our departed loved ones and the nature of the afterlife (limited as far as I can see, like Eric, to Summerland) are in substantial accord with spiritualist literature. Thus I have come to view him in a positive light but can find no revelations in his readings which create genuine boggle-effects like Bradley and his wife experienced, much less a full-blown peak-in-Darien shot. Fraser seems instead to be a prime demonstration of Michael’s lament about how far spiritualism has slipped from the heady days of the 19th and early 20th centuries—which is not meant as a personal criticism of Fraser, who is alive and working now, not then. AOD did us a favor in calling our attention to Fraser so that we might explore his psychic readings (and current mediumship in general) in juxtaposition to the much more evidential material which came through Valiantine, toe or no.
Newton E. Finn, Wed 16 Jun, 16:12
I have watched again, and all through, Matt Fraser’s séance with the family of four that Amos gave the link for. It is true it is more impressive at a second watch.
I was already aware of Hyslop and Hodgson’s view about James’ reservations regarding fishing, and already agreed with them, long before viewing the Matt Fraser video.
I would add, too, that bubbling joyfulness is perfectly in order when one realises we do have a share in Eternity, some part of us (and it is certainly not the physical body) being “there”, and what we call immortal. And joyfulness is, or should be, as appropriate as churchy solemnity. More appropriate indeed. Incense pleased the senses of the Zadokites, no doubt, but that did not guarantee that God would agree with them. Also that if joyfulness shows in so bubbly a way it does not necessarily exclude reverence.
Another favourable point is that the fee for a séance was, apparently, and to my surprise, only 19 dollars. Every human has costs to meet, so no stickler pharisee should insist on the medium’s costs never being met.
So my view is changing in a favourable direction.
It is nevertheless right to acknowledge that nothing at all in the video gives rigorous evidence, let alone the (unattainable) “absolute proof” that many humans seek.
My own view that there are MANY universes around us, of differing spiritual levels, all part of the Eternal Being, is strengthened. I would postulate that the universe out from which the spirits speak via Matt Fraser in THIS particular séance is not higher than our own. I would not expect to hear the voice, even the relayed, reported words, of Stainton Moses, let alone of Imperator, come through Matt Fraser. And this is not snobbery. A happy (spiritual) child is far better, as communicator or as medium, to an over-pious and ‘superior’ papal prelate now in another world.
I think myself that just as there are, they say, horses for courses, there are mediums for audiences. And in the Eternal House there are many space-times and inhabiting spirits of the appropriate level in each space-time.
I did judge Matt Fraser too quickly.
Nevertheless questions do arise, such as the reason why the bubblingly exultant child does not (yet?) seek to hear the message “Friend, go up higher”.
Other thoughts have come, but I cannot keyboard them fast enough, and duties call.
Eric Franklin, Wed 16 Jun, 10:57
What seems to me extremely offensive about some who are, or merely claim to be, mediums is their failure to realise that, if their mediumship is genuine, the matters they are dealing with are concerned with God, the Great Being. There seems to be no reverence, no awe. They dabble with God, and do not seem to care whether glibly, flippantly.
If, on the other hand, their mediumship is fraudulent, as some certainly appears to be, they are lying in matters to do with God, there being no truth or provenance in their utterances, utterances which purport to be true, but are fabrications of their own minds or, perhaps, of low spirits who themselves have no respect even for simple genuineness. They are then not only false witnesses in the messages for humans that they bring, but unconcerned blasphemers against the Great Source of Truth too.
I have to say, with anger against such false beings, that I loathe them as much as I love truthfulness.
And I will say too that Amos should note what I say of myself knowing that the Great Being, the All, the very source of truth, listens.
Eric Franklin, Tue 15 Jun, 09:16
Those who seek recourse in super-psi however conceived, in some sort of a permanent and accessible (to certain mediums) record of everything that has ever happened anywhere, are driven to that position SOLELY by peak-of-Darien communications. EVERYTHING else, from manifestations of physical mediumship to Patience Worth’s literature to Matt Fraser’s psychic readings, can be theoretically covered (albeit extremely thinly in the most impressive cases) by some unknown, extraordinary form of telepathy or telekinesis which need be operative only in THIS world. Communication with the dead is not an absolutely necessary, logically compelled element of explanation. But when a communication is received through a medium, the content of which no living person knew or could have known (“Human Personality” describes several such instances), then some sort of super-psi is the only rational alternative to communication with the dead. It’s the psi counterpart of the multiverse position, which allows cosmologists to theoretically cover the Goldilocks conundrum by positing an infinite number of random universes.
Newton E. Finn, Mon 14 Jun, 18:56
I believe you are being much too hasty in writing Fraser off as a fraud, and especially in calling him names. William James also called such questions “fishing,” but both Richard Hodgson and James Hyslop corrected him on that, saying that the fishing was being done on the other side by the spirit controls, who were trying to interpret what the communicator was showing them. They were involved with trance mediumship, which is not the kind of mediumship involved here. It appears to be clairvoyance, but the same explanation could be applied here. Fraser is hearing things, but he doesn’t know who they apply to or how they apply and thus it is necessary to narrow it down to a specific person by asking questions - questions which skeptics call “fishing.”
Based on the single clip I have seen, if I were a betting person, I would say that Fraser is a legitimate clairvoyant, but I would reserve judgement before seeing many more demonstrations and learning much more about him.
Michael Tymn, Mon 14 Jun, 18:11
Dear much-appreciated Newton,
An extremely rushed comment after an extreme rush to the pharmacist for urgent medication for Dr Lockhart - forgive if not cogent:
I agree with every point you make. Yes, a kind of super psi is possible because the Great Being we usually call God DOES know it all, and is perfectly capable of telling a medium, so knowledge can come direct. It exists, and can sometimes be conveyed to a human. Undeniable. Such a God holds all of us in His/Her Being, or whole life histories, future and past (as WE see it) so we are always ‘alive’ even when the masses say we are dead. It’s almost a truism, limited by OUR tiny consciousnesses. Even when the Bible was being penned, someone, I forget who, wrote that God speaks of what is not as if it were - for that Great ETERNAL it is so, is’t it? Only we think things come to PASS. We are living in the delusion of time. Some scientists can see that, but some literary minds cannot grasp it, and have to rely on a process parallel with literary criticism.
As for my opinion of Matt Fraser, you can see immediately if something is black, not white. It does not need further investigation - just humble use of the intelligence God imparted, and honesty. Let’s just say that even if he is reliable, the sittings give no evidence that can stand rational scrutiny AS PROOFS. There’s a difference between unprovable truth and evidence that leads to conviction.
Newton, you are right to insist that a peak in Darien experience is the best evidence WE can normally hope for, and anything less is best not relied upon.
Eric Franklin, Mon 14 Jun, 17:57
I think there may be several understandings of what “Super-PSI” is supposed to be. I have not understood Super-PSI to be an ability to tap into a cosmic computer, a modern term I suppose. A similar but older concept might make reference to the “Akashic Records” (a term popularized by Edgar Cayce) which could be considered to be a kind of ‘cosmic computer’ in which data of everything that has happened on earth and thoughts and activities of everyone who has ever lived is recorded, a ‘Book of Life’ I suppose. I recall hearing at a young age that things were written on the “skein of time”, a more colorful concept and might be similar to Patience Worth’s concept of a tapestry and that we all weave a thread in that tapestry. But all of these terms e.g., cosmic computer, telepathy, mind-reading, Super-PSI and Akashic Records associated with psychic phenomena are vaguely defined and supported by no strong evidence in most cases that they exist. They are all terms of analogy and conjecture to try to explain the unknown. However, there may be some substance to this idea of a cosmic data bank since various sources intuit it exists and try to explain it in ways so that people can understand the un-understandable.
Those who promote “Super-PSI” as an explanation of how information is obtained by psychic mediums often imply that it is the ability of a medium to mentally roam the world searching everyone’s memories reading their minds, looking through every library book in every library in the world, including books in archaic languages unknown to the medium. There is no evidence that anyone is able to do this. Surely, you would agree that Pearl Curran could not write all of the material attributed to Patience Worth by using Super-PSI. If she did use Super-PSI then the information flow would have to have been downloaded at more than instantaneous speeds to accommodate Pearl Curran’s ability to provide the information at normal conversation speed. And I don’t think that George Valiantine used Super-PSI to relay the Chinese direct voice of Confucius. - AOD
Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 14 Jun, 17:35
Let’s say Matt Frazer, the medium hears a spirit say, “I am Robert.” So Frazer asks the sitter if she knows anyone who has passed by the name of Robert in an effort to confirm what he is hearing. The sitter says no, I don’t know anyone by that name. But Frazer continues to hear the spirit say “I am Robert, Robert! Robert!” If Frazer were ‘fishing’ he would give up at this point and try for another name or go in another direction but he continues to say there is someone named Robert wanting to communicate. In this example the sitter hums and haws around and finally remembers that she did have an uncle Bob who died. If Matt Frazer were the medium he would say “Hello! Pay attention!” and he would continue to provide information from “Uncle Bob”(Robert) which the sitter would confirm as accurate.
I think Frazer needs this validation or confirmation from the sitter to know that he—-Matt Frazer has interpreted what he is hearing correctly. I don’t think he is fishing for information. It is not common for mediums to come up with names, but Frazer seems to be able at times to do this easily. I think that mediums need this confirmation feedback from the sitter to motivate them to go on with the reading.
Dr.Gary Schwartz, PhD. professor at the University of Arizona in his research with living mediums did not allow this feedback from the sitters during a reading so the mediums had to continue assuming that they were on the right track without on-going confirmation. Perhaps their accuracy would have been better if they had had some encouragement from the sitter. - AOD
Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 14 Jun, 14:53
Are you hinting that I am dishonest?
I think I am able to make a reliable judgement very quickly from what I observed.
Eric Franklin, Mon 14 Jun, 14:08
What I asked AOD concerning Matt Fraser was not meant as a criticism but rather an honest question. BY FAR, the most convincing evidence for an afterlife, as Myers and the SPR well knew, were precisely these peak-in-Darien communications, which eclipsed other “signs and wonders” (subject to “special powers” explanations other than communication with the dead) and, most importantly, ruled out any explanation via telepathy between living persons. As others have pointed out, the ONLY alternative explanation in these rare instances is the existence of some sort of “cosmic computer” (super-psi) that certain mediums can tap into—a self-defeating explanation IMHO because it points to an omniscient God, which in turn points to an afterlife.
Newton E. Finn, Mon 14 Jun, 14:01
Newton, I am not a repository of all of the sittings of Matt Frazer so no example comes to mind of any sitting in which information given was “beyond the knowledge of ANY living person.” How would I know that anyway even if I had memorized all of Frazer’s sittings? I think that those who bristle at Frazer’s videos should just chalk it all up to ‘super-PSI’ or ‘cold reading’ and go on to other things; content perhaps with their own contemptuous views.
I have to say, that there is not one piece of information from any medium that confirms without a doubt that survival of the human consciousness is a fact of reality. Things are placed before us to consider and perhaps link together but proof of survival is an elusive character. Every single example of purported evidence from mediums can always be discarded by saying that the information was obtained by ‘super-PSI’ or if that fails (it rarely does) then one can just claim that there must have been fraud without providing supporting evidence. - AOD
Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 14 Jun, 13:30
Regarding Matt Frazer, I would say that there are many YouTube videos one could watch if one is inclined to discover the truth about his ability to contact departed spirits on the ‘other side’. They are easily accessible at the right side of the YouTube screen. An honest seeker of truth would make an effort to review several videos in their entirety.
As Patience Worth says, there are some who “shall seek to taste the brew and sniff the whiffing o’ the scent; ayea, and stop alonger that they feast! And lo, ‘twill set some asoured, and some asweet; . . . ” I need say no more. - AOD
Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 14 Jun, 12:56
Thanks, AOD, for introducing me and other readers to Matt Fraser. After watching your link and nosing around a little more on the net, I’ve got a question you might be able to answer. Matt calls himself a “psychic medium,” which seems to be the currently popular mode of communication with the other side. Can you point me to a video or interview where Matt hits a peak-in-Darien shot, conveys information which could not possibly have come from mindreading or other form of telepathy? As you know, Myers and his colleagues were big on using this criterion in assessing the mediums of their day. They were looking for material given through a medium that was beyond the knowledge of ANY living person, material which thus transcended the telepathic tapping into memories. Has Matt, to your knowledge, ever provided such an example?—which is not to say that his not yet doing so would detract from what he does do as a self-described “psychic medium.”
Newton E. Finn, Sun 13 Jun, 15:45
Amos Oliver Doyle, Sun 13 Jun, 13:44
Often Frazer will have a Zoom or Skype reading with two or more people—-sometimes three or four. I have not seem a video with only one person. It seems that one person (probably a woman) requests a sitting and brings family members with her. It is not unusual for Frazer to focus on someone other than the one who requested the sitting as in the linked video. He says that he sees people standing behind a person and that spirits come through who want to convey a message to someone living because of some unresolved issues. If everything is hunky-dory then there is no need for the spirit to communicate so not everyone would be selected for a reading during a large group. People with the most demanding spirits are the ones who get read. I think that Frazer hears a tidbit of information and then expands it a bit, sometimes saying it a couple of times in a different way. And, he may build somewhat upon what the sitter says during a reading. This might allow time for another piece of information to come through. I don’t know but I find his videos very entertaining and he seems to produce very accurate information for the sitter. Of course the videos on the internet are probably selected to show him in a good light. We never see the statues that Michelangelo broke up and used to pave the driveway. - AOD
Amos Oliver Doyle, Sun 13 Jun, 13:19
According to Wikipedia, all mediums without exception are frauds. - AOD
I have just watched and listened to a large part of Matt Fraser’s video. Adverts then interrupted, despite my opting to skip adverts at the beginning, and my software does not appear to allow me to switch off adverts that appear during playback. So I switched the video off myself. I am afraid it is very unimpressive, offering no evidence that can be even taken as valid anecdote indicating further research with adequate controls.
Fraser continually asks for his sitters’ confirmation of his statements of fact, and is very obviously watching their faces. What he speaks is the standard vernacular understanding of child psychology, nothing more. His performance, if that is the word, is that of the very quick comedian who gains and uses rapport with an audience of people without critical faculty but already very willing to find confirmation of their beliefs. He does not score near 100% on well defined and unambiguous matters of fact. My own impression after only one short experience of his performance is that he scores about 50% or even less. I would say that Fraser is a perfect example of what sceptics rightly regard as utterly destructive of belief in communication from a spirit world. A huge disservice to our cause and a misleader of the gullible.
I doubt whether I have sufficient reason ever to give him a second chance. I think it would be a waste of my time. I prefer the solid support of hard science. Now I see why some among us do not want to hear what hard science has to say in support of belief in life’s continuity.
I have to express shocked surprise that any thinker among us can advocate belief that there is an afterlife on such ‘evidence’. It is playing into the hands of the mocking sceptic.
Eric Franklin, Sun 13 Jun, 09:27
I just looked at the Wikipedia entry on Matt Fraser. It notes that in Operation Peach Pit, five people attended one of Fraser’s readings in an apparent attempt to expose him as a fraud. However, not a single one of the five was selected for a reading. Apparently, the reader is supposed to assume fraud from that, although it is not mentioned how many people were there to begin with.
Michael Tymn, Sun 13 Jun, 05:44
Thanks for the link on Matt Fraser. I had never heard of him before. The seven-minute clip was interesting. I’ll have to further check him out. The skeptic is left to wonder how he gets the messages from spirit at the same time he is delivering another message, i.e., there is no pause between messages.
Michael Tymn, Sun 13 Jun, 05:33
Here is the most recent video of medium Matt Frazer. This is an example how modern mediums differ from the stolid mediums of the past. Maybe some people won’t accept the way this medium presents the information he receives from deceased people but I think that Frazer is very impressive in that he seems to be close to 100% accurate with the information he provides. -
Amos Oliver Doyle, Fri 11 Jun, 18:54
Thanks AOD and Michael for an informative, insightful, and inspirational interview. Michael’s readers would surely benefit from following his link and reading or rereading the 2013 interchange with Amos. And thanks to Eric for a bit of further elaboration. I’m reminded of an entry I believe was found in Kierkegaard’s journal: “God does not think, He creates; God does not exist, He is eternal.” This causes one to wonder about the fruitfulness of debate about God’s “existence” and, perhaps, deepens one’s speculation about the ultimate source of Patience’s “creation.”
Newton E. Finn, Fri 11 Jun, 14:23
Apropos Mike Tymn’s latest observation, a helpful thought may be the following:
Einstein’s point is that ANYTHING immediately surrounding the observer, that observer can regard as stationary. (Those surroundings that he is aware of are his “reference frame”, the “”“static”“” thing he measures everything from.) Hence the child’s view that as the trains are moving at the SAME SPEED it is OBVIOUS that they are both stationary, and the ground, indeed ALL else he can see but the trains themselves, is moving the opposite way. The wheels are turning “forward” and/but the track is being pushed “backwards” by that turning, so the trains, because they are BOTH GOING THE SAME SPEED are obviously stationary.
And my additional point HERE (though there’s more to come in another post or two) is that the HUGE station that is to be finally reached is the ONLY STATIC “THING” THERE IS: IT IS THE ALL - it includes both trains and track, with their RELATIVE movement - and we call it God. It never knew time. It IS.
PS The writing of this explanatory comment has been interrupted twice or more - I can’t be sure. That’s called 24/7 pressure, which many of us experience 24/7.
Eric Franklin, Fri 11 Jun, 09:11
Thanks for the additional comments. Others might be interested in reading the interview I did with you in my blog of June 17, 2013, which can be found in the archives at left or seen at
Michael Tymn, Fri 11 Jun, 08:29
Eric, thanks for the train story. I saw the two trains in motion and everything else stationary, so I am not sure I got it. What was strange, however, was that the wheels of the train appeared to be going clockwise (in reverse) rather than counter-clockwise, or forward.
As for religions, I agree for the most part, but I do believe that some organization based on spiritual beliefs is better than no organization at all. The problem is that if it is not big enough to be called a religion, it is called a cult.
Michael Tymn, Fri 11 Jun, 07:20
Thumbs up, Eric, on your use of word pictures to lay out your thoughts on relativity and its implications for spiritualist communication. The two racing trains, with wheels turning the earth backward instead of the trains forward, pulling the “station” toward us rather propelling us toward it, is a provocative and pregnant image to mull over. Onward we go, at the pace you deem best, toward that light cone shimmering in the distance, which your thoughts are not pushing us to but rather pulling to us.
Newton E. Finn, Thu 10 Jun, 18:04
Wise words, Amos.
Jon, Thu 10 Jun, 14:02
Patience Worth would agree with you I think. She could care less about what people thought she was, her words and what they revealed were more important to her than any fame or notoriety she might receive. Here is what she had to say about it.
“I be a dame atruth, and I tell thee the word o’ wag that shall set thy day, meaneth anaught but merry to me. Hark! I put a murmur o’ thy day, for at the supping o’ this cup the earth shall murmur so.
“Tis but the chatter o’ a wag! Aye, the putting o’ the mad! “Tis piddle! Yea, the trapping o’ a fool! Yea, ‘tis but the dreaming o’ the waked! Aye, the word o’ a wicked sprite! Yea, and telleth naught and putteth naught!
“And yet, do harken unto me. They then shall seek to taste the brew and sniff the whiffing o’ the scent; ayea, and stop alonger that they feast! And lo, ‘twill set some asoured, and some asweet; aye and some, ato, shall fill them upon the words THEY do to put o’ me, and find them filled o’ their own put, and lack the room for eat o’ the loaf o’ me. ‘Tis piddle, then! Aye, and yet I say me so, ‘tis bread, and bread be eat though it be but sparrows that do seek the crumb. Then what care ye? For bake asurely shall be eat!”
Casper Yost who was present at many of the sittings with Patience Worth and wrote the first book about her said, “This is a point she often makes, and strives earnestly to impress—-that whatever she may be, whatever the world may think she is, there is substance in her words. It is bread, and will be eaten, if only by the sparrows. So, she is content. “
Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 10 Jun, 13:23
Your present point, about remaining a Methodist (or Congegationalist, or whatever you like) while adding spiritualistic insight and experience, is true, of course. It is perhaps worth drawing attention to the fact that one’s religious training and allegiances are totally irrelevant to one’s spirituality and even to one’s knowledge, or one’s beliefs, about the spirit world. The naive human tendency to confuse and so conflate religion and spirituality is a precise illustration of the fact that religions are systems of laws, tenets, habits, rituals, special apparel, offices, honours, all of them man-made and as dead as the Dodo, while spirituality is in an altogether distinct universe that is the true locus of our own Being (see Paul in Acts - in Him/Her we live and move . . . and in one of the Epistles “our politeia is in heaven . . .”) a place-state nearer to the Great All we often term ‘God’, and appropriately alive, sometimes suddenly revelatory, reassuring, enlightening, and all but impossible to speak of.
Eric Franklin, Thu 10 Jun, 11:32
On the assumption that Mike Tymn is happy to continue to allow Newton’s request that I try to explain a few things about time and about how Einstein’s Relativity shows how other universes can thread through ours without us even sensing the fact, I shall now continue by telling a little tale of two trains. It is a very illuminating tale, even though only an interlude along the way to the crucial realisation about the universes. What this tale tells is something about Relativity itself, pure Einstein, without, as yet, the further implications of the light cone. That will come, but not yet.
Somewhere in the USA there is a city to which two railroad companies built their competing railroads along the same valley. For many miles their tracks were within a few hundred yards of each other, more or less parallel. Steam railway enthusiasts decided to stage a race between two locomotives, with their trains, presumably, for fairness, trains of equal weight.
The trains started at what everybody agreed was the same moment. (They used the Salisbury Cathedral medieval clock to tell the time. It has a loud tick. The clock ticked . . . and on the designated tick both trains started.) A child, watching the other train from one of the carriages, as they began to move, was seen to become very quiet, very thoughtful. For a few miles the race continued, the engines neck and neck. The child at last decided to draw his mom’s attention to an intriguing fact. “That train isn’t moving at all. Look. See for yourself.” He tugged his mom’s dress. “Look. The ground is moving.” Mom looked. The ground was indeed moving, but both trains were stationery - puffing as steam engines do, to be sure, but undeniably both stationary. Sure enough, the wheels of the other train, the one on the other track which the child could see, were turning, but instead of moving that train to the left along the track the turning wheels were rolling the track beneath them, in fact the whole Earth, to the right.
Eventually, the city they were all going to arrived at the two trains, and, immediately, the child saw that the station around him was huge. It surrounded the two trains. Engulfed them. It surrounded everything. There was not anything else in the whole . . . the whole . . . the whole Earth? No, it was much bigger than that. It was everything, and it stood as still as concrete. Benevolent, for sure, but still. Only the Salisbury Cathedral clock, suddenly very tiny within the static station (that’s what the word means, is it not? A static place, a static thing, a static EVERYthing.) went on ticking, microscopically almost invisible within the hugeness of the stationary Eternality of Everything. The child became even more thoughtful.
Eric Franklin, Thu 10 Jun, 10:08
Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 9 Jun, 19:41
As you may know, it was also said about Elizabeth Blake, another direct voice medium with a 60 year career providing mediumistic services to a reported 200,000 people that, “She is a Methodist and has not relinquished any of her old faith to become a Spiritualist; she has simply kept the old and added it to the new.” - AOD
In support of AOD’s observations about the uniquely persuasive position of Patience Worth in the wide field of spiritualist communication, let me quote America’s most courageous (arguably) and most despised (unarguably) founding father, my beloved Thomas Paine:
“Revelation, when applied to religion, means something communicated immediately from God to man. No one will deny or dispute the power of the Almighty to make such a communication, if he pleases. But admitting, for the sake of a case, that something has been revealed to a certain person, and not revealed to any other person, it is revelation to that person only. When he tells it to a second person, a second to a third, a third to a fourth, and so on, it ceases to be a revelation to all those persons. It is revelation to the first person only, and hearsay to every other, and consequently they are not obliged to believe it.”
In Patience’s voluminous work, we have a kind of revelation made directly to each reader via the stunning depth and beauty of her words, the spiritual impact of great literature apart from its source. The identity of that source, of course, must remain a mystery and a matter of hearsay to everyone but Pearl Curran.
Newton E. Finn, Wed 9 Jun, 18:02
Thanks for the additional input on Patience/Pearl. As I have said before, Patience ranks up there in my top five, maybe my top three, in providing evidence for survival. As you know, however, some would say that it was all coming from some cosmic soul, whatever that is. If William James had lived long enough to study Pearl, that would likely have been his theory. But that theory seems even more fantastic than the survival hypothesis. I would
have to rank Bradley’s experience of talking with his sister and hearing her voice come through exactly as he remembered it, along with all the other evidential voices coming through Valiantine, as a bit more convincing (of survival) than Patience, but not much more, maybe three tenths of one percent more—98.8% for Valiantine to 98.5% certainty for Curran. Some parapsychologists would no doubt argue that it was some kind of “super psi” and not evidence of survival. But then they are at a loss to identify “super psi.” My 1.2% to 1.5% skepticism is in recognition that some such thing exists.
Your comment about Pearl being an “Episcopalean” rather than a medium touched upon something I was just banging out for my next blog. It has to do with an article about Spiritualism in the latest issue of “New Yorker” magazine. The author makes out Leonora Piper to be the most noteworthy “Spiritualist” of them all, but I don’t think Leonora ever considered herself a Spiritualist. She was raised in the Congregational Church and I am pretty sure she remained with that church her entire lifetime. I cannot recall reading anything suggesting that she belonged to a “Spiritualist” organization, although in her later years (after the SPR and ASPR were finished studying her), she might have had some associations with Spiritualist organizations.
Michael Tymn, Wed 9 Jun, 08:08
Dear Amos, and all, of course,
Your latest mention of the writings of Patience Worth crystallises in my own rather non-literate mind the realisation forming behind one or two of my comments, following some recent reading. I can now state firmly that there seems to me to be evidence of the differing levels of spirit life, that hidden-from-us life around us in the flowing “local Elsewheres” of the Great Being’s “separate” creation (where all the times happen). Some of the worlds around us seem to be almost disgustingly low, with their unedifying phenomena of hairy ape-like presences and invisible wet dogs jumping into laps, complete with odours. We can be glad of the self-evidence that, in our own world-about, we have all at least risen above that.
There is no intellectual, artistic, or moral content in that sort of apparition. The contrast with the works of Patience Worth and Imperator’s teachings brought through Moses does not need to be pointed out.
Perhaps a moral interpretation can nevertheless be remarked without the self-delusion of his intellectual prowess of the “just-read-a-book” teenager. There ARE low universes around us, and higher ones. Perhaps some of the early scientists, while sincerely and carefully seeking knowledge, were being mocked for their own - what shall I call it? (words are no good) - their own moral juvenility, while others (the ones not bothered by the wet dogs) such as William Barrett, were already on a higher moral plane.
The highest ethics are surely required of each of us. Without, the seeker is vulnerable to the sending of “strong delusion, lying wonders to deceive, if it were possible, even the elect”. Whether we are foreknown to be of that status depends, surely, entirely on us, each of us. It is our own choice, whether we be sitter or medium, to eschew pride or moral negligence of all kinds.
PS Morality, of course, is never law, rules, rituals, church membership, the wearing of the dog collar (smelly or not). Such human contrivances produce only the righteousness of filthy rags. In our day Kohlberg, following Piaget and adding to his schema, has drawn attention to mature moral decision-making.
Eric Franklin, Wed 9 Jun, 07:45
It is difficult for me to resist the opportunity to comment about Patience Worth. The Case of Patience Worth is, I believe one of the very few cases of mediumistic activity where there is evidence available for anyone and everyone to see and study. The evidence is of a cerebral type found in her poems, novels, plays and everyday conversation. Patience Worth did not produce, direct voices or apparitions of spirits nor did she conduct personal readings for her ‘sitters’ during the—-for lack of a better word, seances using a Ouija board. Pearl Curran through whom Patience Worth manifested pleaded with Dr. Prince who studied her for the better part of a year to not call her a ‘medium” preferring instead to remind everyone that she was an ‘Episcopalian’!
But if one studies the complete works of Patience Worth and Pearl Curran one will find that there is undeniable hard evidence of an extraordinary non-physical presence communicating through Mrs. Curran. And it is difficult to criticize Pearl Curran or accuse her of fraud simply because over the past 100 plus years there has been no evidence that her activities were fraudulent. Regardless of Mrs. Curran’s wish not to be regarded as a medium, she was one.
Unfortunately, I believe, that one must read the entire body of work or oeuvre of Patience Worth and Pearl Curran to begin to understand the significance of what Patience Worth did as it relates to survival of consciousness.
Some might think that Patience Worth actually lived as one or more of the characters she wrote about. Personally, I think one of her earth personalities was Theia, mother of the thief who died on the cross next to Jesus. This view I believe supports a reason that Patience Worth contacted Pearl Curran to tell her story about Theia’s son and to remove the stain from his memory.
Permit me to quote from the novel “The Sorry Tale” by Patience Worth a prophetic statement spoken by Theia.
As some background Theia was a concubine of the Roman Emperor Tiberius and exiled from Rome when she became pregnant with the child of Tiberius, Hatte. Throughout the novel there was a love- hate relationship between Theia and her son Hatte which in the end had solidified as an intense love of a mother for her son and his love for her. Hatte throughout his young life was abandoned by almost everyone and descended into a life of crime resulting in physical wounding and loss of function of his leg. He was considered a criminal by everyone and not recognized as a true heir to the Roman Empire. He was crucified on the cross next to Jesus. (Panda was a man-servant of Theia from her days as a coddled concubine of Rome.)
I apologize for the length.
“Theia, Theia, dragged amid the mires of earth and cast and supped; cast unto Rome’s own and supped by Rome; she lieth stripped and broken like the blooms that marked the feast and fell, a foot-cloth for the drunkened. Hark thee, Panda! “Tis Theia who loveth much. The Theia who holdeth hate, for hate hath been her gift, doth flutter up from out the filth and rise like white mist of the early morn that flees the sordid earth. Yea, and Panda, this, the white-mist Theia, is the Theia of him [Hatte] who sleepeth yonder.
“Rome, and gods of Rome, shall fall into the hands of them she hath cast to earth, broken vessels of the feasting! This God, Jehovah, shall build back the break and offer unto earth and Rome a cup of bitters; Yea, offer unto Rome the cup she broke at ribaldry. And from out Rome’s nobles shall one, the hate born [Hatte], be set up through ages, the puppet for earth’s mockery. Yea, and though ages roll them o’er to blot the stain, it still shall stand; for but Theia holdeth power. And time and time shall pass, and when it ripeth, then shall Theia wipe away the crimson brand! Yea, and hark, Panda! When the time is ripe, the earth shall stand full, yea, full of crime and crimson shall run and bath her sides. [This was written just before WWI] And it shall be that Theia, then shall reach through time and ages and wipe the stain away. Yea Panda, and Theia’s words, spoken here without the walls of Bethlehem, shall harken unto this time and comforting shall fall to crimed; yea, and crimson shall dry. Yea, and earth’s men shall speak much of this, and Theia’s dust shall dance before the tabernacles and stop the tongues of them. Theia shall wring from earth’s heart the every drop of Rome’s wrong-shed blood.”
Amos Oliver Doyle, Tue 8 Jun, 21:04
I was writing my comment, AOD, as you were posting yours, and likely wouldn’t have felt the need to put in my two cents after you expressed, more acutely than I did, similar thoughts. At some point (not now, because it would steer this thread off-course), I want to get into another issue that has surfaced in my exploration of spiritualism, an issue which lies at the heart of whatever division or tension there is (in emphasis) between the spirituality of East and West. This issue, deftly defined and explicated in Schweitzer’s little-known “Christianity and the Religions of the World,” pertains to “the ethical” in both its personal and social import—with that central and often forgotten or distorted concept of the Kingdom of God. Even more precisely, it concerns how that Kingdom is to come on earth in fulfillment of Jesus’ prayer, itself deeply rooted in the Jewish Prophetic Tradition. I’ll work on trying to make my point, at the appropriate time, as clearly and concisely as possible. But as delicately as I can make it, I won’t be able to avoid stepping on a good number of political feet.
Newton E. Finn, Tue 8 Jun, 16:43
Many of you have read far more than I have of the literature available. Amos, Mike, Stafford, Keith P . . . and many others who remain unnamed. Amos’s comment accepting the testimony of Bradley regarding his sister Ann seems to ring particularly true, so much so that it is in stark contrast with other possibly suspect matter presented to us by the same source.
The early scientist researchers seem to have been both stringently careful and honest. Sir William Barrett’s post Earth-life statement that he seemed to have, and be conscious of, an extra dimension since leaving Earth first aroused the idea that had been quietly in my mind for a few years about the light cone and the possibility of other universes around us threading through the momentary and microscopic ‘Elsewheres’ of our own universe.
And it was due to Mike Tymn and Jon Beecher that I received, free of charge and by internet technology and PDF, a copy of a book I was not until then aware of, and, indeed, could not earlier have afforded to buy. (The British government keeps me a little more comfortably now.)
So I agree with Newton that we are indeed a congregation, sharing with each a sacred space.
Eric Franklin, Tue 8 Jun, 16:28
I may have mentioned this before. I have met up with a man named Aubrey Rose a few times in recent years. Aubrey is a very accomplished individual in the traditional sense of the term. In his professional life he’s a human rights lawyer (see link below to his bio). I only mention Aubrey because he’s a very sharp, rational man who know Leslie.
He met Leslie Flint in the 70s after his son died and he was invited to a sitting. Aubrey told me that after a few sittings, he had no doubt about Leslie’s genuineness. He sat with him regularly for more than 10 years. He wrote the foreword to his book – set up the foundation to keep his work alive and conducted the eulogy at Leslie’s funeral.
The last time Aubrey and I met was five years ago. Although in his 90s he was still very active. He told me his experiences with Leslie had a profound effect on him and as a result he discovered he had/has healing abilities. He wrote two or three books about it.
Whether some of the voices were who they say they were, who knows? I’m not sure it matters. Surely what matters is that the voices were real, meaning not coming from Leslie?
When Leslie said he was one of the most tested mediums in history, he may have just meant he was open to trying experiments such as water in the mouth etc. I’m not trying to defend him – it doesn’t matter to me whether he was genuine or not, but just because he wasn’t scientifically tested and tests peer reviewed, doesn’t mean he wasn’t tested/asked to do things to convince people who came along to sittings.
I’ve met SPR people who went to a sitting with Leslie; Guy Playfair, Mary Rose Barrington, and if my memory serves me, Alan Gauld told me they did. If I remember, they weren’t overly impressed, but if you’ve ever sat with mediums, it’s completely hit or miss whether you get any evidence, let alone good evidence. That’s why the old accounts such as Edward Randall & Emily French are compelling. I don’t believe Emily was “scientifically tested” but Randall claimed they sat more than 700 times and we only know about her because he wrote books about it.
Guy told me throughout his travels and investigations he had only really had good personal evidence from one or two mediums. We discussed whether he might have been a bad sitter. He joked he thought he might be. I asked who the best one was. She is still alive and I went to see her. I had an evidential sitting with her.
Jon, Tue 8 Jun, 16:14
Yes there are some mediums, psychics or whatever one want to call them that seem to take advantage of current available means of gaining notoriety. The internet especially provides an easy way to promote oneself. I must admit I have watched several of these mediums perform on their websites or on YouTube videos. I am currently interested in Matt Frazer who seems to have amazingly accurate “hits” with most of the people he reads. Frazer is 100% show biz I think and he even has a reality show called “Meet the Frazers ” to promote his abilities to communicate with the departed.
I don’t fault these mediums for taking advantage of modern media to further the interest in spiritualism. Just what do we expect of them. They can either spend all of their time providing solace to grieving people for free or at a nominal charge or come up with a way to provide such relief and receive good remuneration some other way. If these mediums had to earn an income by means of regular employment I don’t think they would have the time or energy to contact the spirits for the many people they serve and few if any of them are independently wealthy to allow them to do what the do on such a large scale via the internet.
One should try to look beyond the glitz and glamour of modern ways of marketing mediums and focus on the accuracy of what they bring through from those purported to continue to live in an afterlife. Their accuracy is sometimes truly amazing! - AOD
Amos Oliver Doyle, Tue 8 Jun, 15:39
These last comments by Eric and Michael hit squarely on the head an issue that has troubled me during my exploration of spiritualism: the tendency by some to make heroes or celebrities of mediums and, accordingly, try to rank them by some standard of greatness. Frankly, I don’t even like the word “medium” and much prefer Myers’ “sensitive” or, even better, the Celtic phrase “thin space.” As many here on this blog and in the spiritualist literature have pointed out, mediums or sensitives are hardly saints in many instances and can exhibit quite unlovely human inclinations and characteristics. This is why I prefer to think of the manifestations that come through them as having little to do with their persons and much to do with the thin spaces which they happen to provide, in the same manner that human eyes happen to be brown, blue, green, or hazel. What especially turns me off these days is the commercial marketing of mediums, complete with advertising hype and attractive photos. Imperator, I dare say, would NOT approve.
Newton E. Finn, Tue 8 Jun, 14:49
I appreciate the additional information about Bradley. I think his rejection of spirituality could be expected after he heard of the possible fraud from Valiantine. That doesn’t surprise me if Bradley felt duped and emotionally reacted to the claims of fraud against Valiantine. But nevertheless, Bradley did experience something with Valiantine that is difficult to explain, i.e. the sustained unmistakable voice of his sister and information unknown to anyone in the séances but him. As you state, all mediums at one time or another are accused of fraud.
It seems to me that all people with special gifts, whether they be creative talents of music, writing, painting, or athletic skills—-they all deteriorate over time but those people still try to stay in the “lime light” by whatever means they can. As we see around us every day some of these gifted people in sports, film, and music get ‘full of themselves’ as they gain notoriety and try to hang around until the last curtain falls.
If I could conjure the dead, I would feel pretty special too. It seems to me that often people appear on earth who gain great popular fame—-Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson, Prince, and others who come to earth to fulfill some archetypal role and then leave early, when the fun of their existence has waned. They don’t have to resort to artifice to keep going until they become caricatures of themselves, e.g. Clark Gable. Some of them become so bloated with fame that they lose touch with who they really are. Apparently that happened to Valiantine too.
I am not a fan of Leslie Flint. I still think that Betty Greene and George Woods, themselves mediums had something to do with producing the recorded voices of Leslie Flint even though they may not have been present at all of the recording sessions. Voices of President Hoover, Marilyn Monroe and the stereotypical little American black girl (“Prissy” from the movie ‘Gone With The Wind’) and Chopin who spoke no English in real life are laughable as are many of the others. The falsetto voice of the little boy “Mickey” is especially silly and grating to me but that archetype little-boy character seems to appear with several mediums of yesteryear to provide some comic relief to the séance. .
I am not aware of any real “research” conducted on Leslie Flint. There were a few tests done on him as you know but I don’t think anyone conducted an extended examination of Leslie Flint as was done on Leonora Piper, Eusapia Palladino, and others. - AOD
Amos Oliver Doyle, Tue 8 Jun, 14:08
From the moment I saw the photograph of Valiantine, years ago, I suspected pride. Pride is one of the wide-open sentry-less entrances to low spirits, surely? Other justly noted, even “famous”, mediums grew in spiritual stature as their experience of their own mediumship accumulated. The result seems to have been that worthy souls, not Geley’s often anonymous communicators, chose to use them, but some, it seems, already on the edge of the cliff, allowed their heads to turn even further, and fell off. It is hard to withhold oneself from loudly denouncing such foolishness. The apostle Paul expressed his carefulness to avoid, having witnessed to others, becoming a castaway himself.
Even when the medium is learning humbly s/he is nothing more than a crystal set with the spirits waggling the cat’s whisker to get their transmissions through. I suspect that quite a few phenomena that Geley reports from his own research were low-level evidences that there is non-Earth-physical life in other universes contiguous with ours, and of very little spiritual worth. We should surely all seek the inspiration of Beings at higher altitudes than our own, and so build our own path to spirituality up the slope before us, not down it.
Eric Franklin, Tue 8 Jun, 11:20
Amos, yes, there seem to be as many variations with the direct voice and independent voice as there are with automatic writing. Bradley has the voices coming through so loud in some cases that you could hear them a quarter-mile away. At the other extreme, Hamlin Garland, in his story of the Buried Crosses, reports that the voices coming through Sophia Williams were not much more than whispers. He had to hold the trumpet to her chest to hear them.
I’m not a big Leslie Flint fan, as the only things I have read about him were from his autobiography. He claims to have been the most researched medium in history, but I have yet to find any significant research carried out with him by independent researchers. Are you aware of any?
Michael Tymn, Tue 8 Jun, 02:43
I should have pointed out that, as a result of the toe print incident, Bradley, in his last book, “And After,” denounced Spiritualism, psychical research organizations, and anything associated with mediumship while saying that he was returning to his Catholic faith. Clearly, he was not saying that what he had experienced in the years previous was all fraud. In the final chapter of “And After,” he explains:
The record of [Valiantine’s] phenomenal mediumship prove that at the time he was at the height of his powers he could be accounted as the most remarkable physical medium in history. Later, when his mentality developed a materialistic outlook, decay set in. His reason for attempting these imprint frauds will remain incomprehensible. He was receiving no money from me, and for him to imagine that in the presence of imprint experts he could commit palpable fraud and escape detention was a sign of sheer lunacy. With the actual personal imprints of famous men in our possession, only a madman would offer his big toe for comparison. Yet, Valiantine, despite his illiteracy, is by no means a stupid man.
“Powerful objective mediums, such as Valiantine, possess a strain of abnormality. From my observation of him, from the first moment of his last—and final—visit, it was certainly apparent that he had developed a form of megalomania. Flattery, adulation, and the gifts of large sums of money had led him to imagine himself a man of super importance…..Considering the marvellous accumulation of subjective phenomena, i.e., incontrovertible mental evidence given in the ‘direct voice’ on matters completely outside his knowledge—it remains an enigma that he should have attempted such palpable and stupid objective fraud. No man in his right senses would destroy a brilliant reputation by imbecile and meaningless acts, with the distinct possibility—even probability—of a ruinous discovery…
“In ‘direct’ voice communication, when one is in contact with intelligent and personally known entities, conversations can be held which are beautiful and inspiring, but it must be realized that when once the channels of communication are opened, lower and less intelligent entities are also, at times, afforded opportunities. It is because of this danger that if I were asked: ‘Is the tendency of ‘spiritualism’ in its present public form towards good or evil?’ I would reply that it is so often misused and abused, that the general tendency is towards evil.
“I was educated a Roman Catholic and I remain a Roman Catholic.”
Michael Tymn, Tue 8 Jun, 01:25
Another fascinating review of a case that strikes me as irrefutable evidence of survival. Thanks, Michael.
Stafford Betty, Mon 7 Jun, 18:09
I don’t know that to think about the “direct voice” phenomena. Some direct voices require an ectoplasmic ‘voice box’ (Leslie Flint) while others use an aluminum trumpet of sorts (Valiantine) Still others (Etta Wriedt) do not require either of those as some voices sometimes appear to come directly from the air from various parts of the room, several speaking at the same time. Bradley commented that his sister’s voice had all of the nuances that it had when she was in a physical form. Those qualities of voice, e.g., timbre, modulation, enunciation, etc. are to a great extent the result of the physical apparatus generating the sounds. That is, the larynx, nasal cavities, vocal cords, tongue, lungs and general physicality of the speaker. It would be informative if the spirits would tell us how they do this without a physical body.
In contrast to the voice of Bradley’s sister the voices of Leslie Flint did not sound like their identified owner in physical life. In some cases, they were radically different, many or most of them speaking with an English accent in similar English cadence even though some of them did not speak English or spoke American English. One can hear this by listening to the available recordings on the internet of the direct voices conjured-up by Leslie Flint. It is unfortunate that neither Valiantine nor Wriedt recorded their seances for comparison of voices even though recording devices were available during their lifetimes.
Nine years ago, I had the impression that I heard my deceased father call my name several days before my mother died. I recognized his voice as exactly the same as when he called my name for help before he was taken to hospital for the last time. At this distance from the emotional circumstances of that time I now question whether or not I actually heard a voice or perhaps it was just some house sound heard when waking up from sleep that I interpreted as my father’s voice.
Whatever the case, if there really are “direct voices’ from the spirit world, a la Bradley’s sister Anna, I would think that this is pretty good evidence of survival of consciousness after the death of the physical form. How they accomplish this remains to be seen. - AOD
Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 7 Jun, 17:40
Sharon Allen, Mon 7 Jun, 17:30
I couldn’t read this one all the way through and maintain dry eyes. Michael probably doesn’t want to hear it, but words fail to express the gifts he has brought to us in this blog and in his series of books. Literally life-changing stuff. Also, I’m so glad that Eric, under the most difficult circumstances, is willing to continue to share his own thoughts and experiences with us as we row our boats ashore together—and that other voices like Don’s, to mention only one of many, chime in, as the spirit moves, with their own unique and additional enlightenment. Are we not a congregation in the “religious” sense, and is this not a sacred space?
Newton E. Finn, Mon 7 Jun, 17:23
Add your comment