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Thirty Reasons Why the Afterlife Evidence is Ignored or Rejected: Pt. 2

Posted on 20 January 2020, 10:21

As discussed in the last blog post here, I see 30 reasons why the strong evidence in support of spirits and survival has been ignored or rejected.  Here are reasons 16 through 30. 

16.  The Roving Subconscious:  A goodly number of the pioneers of psychical research came to believe in the reality of psychic phenomena but remained skeptical on the spirit and survival issues. They hypothesized that a “secondary personality” buried in the medium’s subconscious telepathically picked up the thoughts of the sitters, somehow processed those thoughts, and intelligently communicated information as if it were coming from a deceased person.  When information came through unknown to the sitters, the researchers speculated that the medium could tap into the minds of anyone in the world.  When that didn’t completely explain it, they further speculated that there is some kind of “cosmic reservoir” from which the medium’s subconscious can access information.  Later researchers bundled it all up and called it superpsi.  But the more experienced psychical researchers concluded that there was too much personality and too much volition to dismiss it as anything other than spirit communication. Moreover, the pioneering researchers could see no logical reason why these so-called secondary personalities of mediums from different continents would all pretend to be spirits of the dead and saw no way they could have all collaborated in this worldwide deception. 

17.  Sheep-Goat Effect: The early history of mediumship clearly indicates the need for harmony in mediumistic settings. In order to produce phenomena, the spirits are said to have required the medium to be in a passive state, one apparently best achieved with music and prayer.  Some mediums could achieve the passive state in a minute or two, but there were times when it took an hour or longer for anything to happen and there were many times when a proven medium simply couldn’t produce at all on a particular night because the conditions weren’t right or she had too much nervous energy holding her back. Also, negativity by the observers defeated good results.  Some observers who got nothing on the medium’s bad night wrote off the person as a fraud and indications are that many true mediums were so disparaged. Researchers now refer to it as the “sheep-goat” hypothesis, wherein believers (sheep) in psi get results and non-believers (goats) come up empty.

18.  Too Hokey:  So much of physical mediumship seemed weird and exceeded the boggle threshold of nearly everyone.  Some materializations looked like mannequins or dummies; some were flat; some didn’t look like the person he or she claimed to have been.  Often, there was only a miniature face or a hand.  The fact that most mediums required darkness added to the belief that it was all fraudulent.  Even many of the researchers who accepted mental mediumship had a difficult time accepting physical mediumship.  But those who stuck with it long enough came to see the flawed manifestations as being the result of imperfect or incomplete thought-projection from the spirit world, or the inability of the medium to produce the necessary odic force, or ectoplasm.

19.  Too Much Gibberish:  Even with the best of mediums, there was much vagueness and ambiguity, even gibberish, in the communication.  Skeptics saw all this as evidence that the so-called mediums were charlatans, as they assumed that if spirits really exist they should be able to communicate in a much more intelligent and effective manner. But, as the more experienced researchers came to understand, the subconscious of the medium is a factor and often distorts the message as it is filtered through her or his brain.  Also, they concluded that sprits themselves are limited in their ability to effectively communicate and that it takes much practice on their side and development on our side.  Most of the communication was by thought-projection and symbolic, thus resulting in different interpretations.  Indications were that low-level spirits often got involved and completely muddled the communication.

20.  The Bifurcation Fallacy: Occasionally, the supposed discarnate communicator turned out to be alive, seemingly clear evidence to the debunker that the medium was a charlatan.  However, research suggests that living humans are capable of out-of-body travel, often while asleep, and further supports telepathic communication between humans. In the study of the near-death experience, debunkers argue that similar experiences can be had under LSD and other drugs, completely rejecting the idea that bifurcation of mind (soul) and body (brain) is not limited to death or a near-death experience.
21.  Trivialities:  Many of the early researchers, including William James, wondered why so much of what came through mediums was of such a trivial nature, like what happened to Uncle George’s watch or the location of a birthmark.  Why didn’t they talk about the nature of reality, what it is like on their side of the veil, etc.?  The fact is that much of the early communication did address more profound subjects.  The writings of Judge John Edmonds, Dr. George Dexter, Professor Robert Hare, educator Allan Kardec, and the Rev. William Stainton Moses offered very comprehensive reports on the greater reality,  but it was not evidential and much of it, according to the reporting spirits, was beyond human vocabulary and comprehension. It was the trivial message that was evidential and which the Society for Psychical Research focused on beginning in 1882. 

22.  The Omniscient Myth: The popular assumption seems to be that spirits, if they exist, are all equal in the “heaven” of orthodox religion, and are “all-knowing” and therefore they should all agree with each other. The fact that they disagree on some things, especially on the subject of reincarnation, suggests fraud.  However, as the pioneering researchers came to understand, spirits are at different levels of advancement, some not knowing any more now than they did when alive in the flesh.  Moreover, low-level spirits find it easier to communicate with us because they are closer in vibration to humans than the advanced spirits.  At the lowest levels, the spirits apparently don’t realize how little they know and therefore often give incorrect information.  It has been likened to an alien from another planet landing in the jungles of New Guinea and reporting back home that earthlings are all very primitive in their ways.

23. Varying Degrees of Ability:  As with most gifts or talents, mediumistic ability came in varying degrees. In physical mediumship, there were a few who were strong enough to produce manifestations under good light and some under red light, but the majority required darkness, as light affected the odic force or ectoplasm exuded by the medium and could be injurious. The researcher set on debunking the medium would see darkness as a cover for fraud, reasoning that if one medium could produce under lighted conditions then all should be able to do so.  If one medium was capable of producing a full materialization, then all should be capable of doing it. 

24.  Sainthood Expectations:  It was assumed by many that mediums should be especially holy people, candidates for sainthood. However, this was not the case. Most of them were very common in religiosity and many of them charged for a sitting, which was considered sacrilegious.  Indications are that there is no significant positive correlation between spirituality and mediumistic ability. One might result after the person recognizes his or her ability, but it does not necessarily originate with such a mindset. 

25. Historical Omissions & Distortions:  Much of the early physical phenomena was recorded following the observations and consequently lacked in detail, leaving many questions unanswered.  While much of the mental phenomena was recorded in shorthand, the reports were often abridged or highly condensed in order to avoid superfluous verbiage and wearisome reading. Moreover, researchers reported that some of the very best evidence was too personal to document. The same applies to some degree with more current research.  The net result is that much of the reporting is subject to the interests and biases of the researchers.  Second- third- and even fourth-hand summaries of the research over time by historians and pseudo-historians further abbreviate and distort much of the original research.  This is often observed today in various on-line references, especially at Wikipedia, the primary reference for many people.
26. Refocused Research:  Because psychical research conflicted with materialistic science, there was little support and funding for such research.  As the dedicated pioneers of psychical research died off, few came forward to replace them. Moreover, psychical research appeared to have reached a point of diminishing returns and was replaced during the 1930s by the field called parapsychology.  In order to attract funding, parapsychologists steered clear of the survival and spirit issues, focusing on extrasensory perception and psychokinesis.  Associating such paranormal phenomena with survival was and still is looked upon as professional suicide.

27. Machismo:  Various history books suggest that men of a century ago looked upon spiritual beliefs as a “woman thing.”  Men smoked cigars, drank whiskey, fought in wars, governed countries and managed businesses.  Religion had been impeached and such dreamy foolishness as spirits and angels was best left to the ladies.  A man’s afterlife was his legacy of earthly accomplishments and he was expected to greet his extinction with a stiff upper lip.  While women have significantly closed the gender gap since the Victorian era, machismo still seems to play a part in spiritual beliefs, as various surveys indicate that women are more inclined, generally, to believe in God and an afterlife than men.

28. Vanishing Phenomena:  While there are mediums still producing the same kind of phenomena observed by the pioneers of psychical research, the quantity and quality of such mediumship seems to have significantly diminished.  There have been many theories as to why this is, but the most accepted one seems to be that modern technology has resulted in too much “noise” in the world.  Before radio, television, computers, smart phones and the like, people had more quiet time.  They sat around fireplaces or on porches and knitted or whittled, being more open to altered states of consciousness and spirit influence, while also having more time to develop their inner selves.  Instead of playing with their devices at night, they gathered together and experimented with contacting the spirit world. In addition, many of the trance mediums developed after a serious disease, sometimes being near death, just as modern-day near-death experiencers frequently develop psychic abilities.  But science has eradicated many of the diseases that resulted in trance abilities.

29.  Absolute Proof Fallacy:  While the debunker and lay person demand “absolute proof,” the true scientists realizes that proof is subjective and a matter of evidence.  The evidence developed in psychical research is not within the domain of pure or exact science. Nearly all the phenomena are spontaneous and not subject to replication.  It is more “courtroom” science and therefore more subject to a “preponderance of evidence” standard, although some would say it goes far beyond that and meets the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard. 

30. Necessary Doubt: When the great author Victor Hugo asked a spirit why God doesn’t better reveal himself, the reply came: “Because doubt is the instrument which forges the human spirit.  If the day were to come when the human spirit no longer doubted, the human soul would fly off and leave the plough behind, for it would have acquired wings. The earth would lie fallow.  Now, God is the sower and man is the harvester.  The celestial seed demands that the human ploughshare remain in the furrow of life.” In effect, absolute certainty is not in our best interest. 

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:  Feb. 3.


Many years ago I found out the same thing that Mike Tymn has discovered, that the scientific case for survival after death is being blocked from reaching people in large numbers. My published book “The Suppression of Knowledge” can only be found on the Internet. Here it is:

Michael Roll, Tue 28 Jan, 10:04

James, I don’t see how the priestly word “believe” comes into this. It is a scientific fact that we are made of invisible stuff. Therefore it is no longer fantastic to have an invisible soul brake away from the dead physical body. Our ancestors who invented all the dangerous and divisive religions had no knowledge of subatomic physics. Understandably that thought that they had witnessed something that was supernatural. It all fits in now that all scientists start from the correct base that 95% of the universe is missing. This is the so-called spiritual part of the universe that we all come from and return to after our short stay on Earth.

Michael Roll, Thu 23 Jan, 11:26

James Paul,

Many thanks for sharing that information. I think it would be included under #4 (Scientism), although numbers 1-3 could also play into it. 

Again, thanks to all others who have offered comments.

Michael Tymn, Wed 22 Jan, 17:33

Dear Mike,
Humans have a predicament not to believe in the invisible realms and that may prompt individuals not to believe in the discarnate existence and the associated dimensions.  Newtonian world picture and views reinforced the impercibility problem, but quantum physics has modified it. Robert Klauber (2000) has tried to clear this invisibility conundrum in one of his scientific papers. Medical reductionism is a challenge for health professionals to deal with before they dare to believe in the continued existence after physical extinction. Mental health professionals are highly vulnerable to medical reductionism as they see the working of potent psychotropics on the brain chemistry and conclude that consciousness is a complex algorithm of chemical reactions. Medics lose their self-realization by the time they complete their medical schooling. Once someone considers humans are only electrical animals, post-mortem existence and transcendental realities become irrelevant. Not to believe in after death existence is a personal choice and it is also an excuse to follow one’s own philosophy of selfishness.  These human problems are clearly illustrated in the Biblical verse: “… but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.” “He said to him, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” (Luke 16:30-31).
James Paul Pandarakalam

Reference: Klauber. D. Robert. Modern physics and subtle realms: not mutually exclusive. Journal of scientific exploration, 2000; (4):275-279.

James Paul Pandarakalam, Wed 22 Jan, 09:20


It was physicist Sir William Barrett who said that he could not make his fourth-dimensional self act like his old three-dimensional self. See my post of December 9.

Michael Tymn, Tue 21 Jan, 21:35


Enjoyed your REASONS WHY articles.

As a woman, I appreciate the “Machismo” reason.
I also, enjoyed reading your personal interview.       

One thing I would like to mention as a reason, as a reincarnationist,is that everyone (person/spirit) is at a different level of knowledge of spiritual matters based on their
own experiences, intellect, education, personal background, etc. and level of morality.

We have all had a various number of different types of lifetimes. It affects what they believe or don’t believe.

Thanks for all the diligent work you do!

Yes, you definitely have in this life the mission to spread knowledge of
spiritual realities.

Light & Blessings,

Yvonne Limoges, Tue 21 Jan, 20:40

Thank you so much for this list and the detailed explanations, I was just wondering about all of this and you’ve done a great job of explaining it all!
Very refreshing,

Lee, Tue 21 Jan, 16:47

Many thanks to those who have commented so far.  They are very much appreciated.

To answer Alex’s question about ET’s, I can recall only one medium or psychic who alluded to what might have been ET’s.  In his 1929 book, “A Curious Life,” George Wehner wrote: “I also used to see at times beneath certain trees, strange creatures that I could not account for. They were sometimes four or five feet in height, and they wore no clothing, being sort of halfway between human and animal.  They had rather short legs, long arms, and wide frog-mouths in their clumsy ill-shapen heads.  There eyes were also frog-like and faintly luminous.  In color, their skins, if they can be so called, were gray like the bark of the tree from which they came, or pale yellow, and sometimes greenish….”

Of course, there is also the case of Helene Smith, a trance medium, who, in 1894, reported on a visit to the planet Mars and later to Uranus and supposedly spoke in strange languages from those planets, not resembling any language on earth.  French professor Theordor Flournoy closely observed her and concluded that they were all “subconscious constructs” of some kind.  I don’t recall all the details of the case, but there were many other veridical earthly phenomena coming through her while in trance.  Flournoy supposedly debunked the spirit hypothesis, although I don’t think he gave any consideration to the “group soul” hypothesis, which could place it back in the spirit category. (See my blog of Sept. 30, 2018 in archives at left for a discussion of the group soul.)

I gather that science has since ruled out the possibility of earth-like life on Mars, but I don’t recall that the entranced Helene Smith said it was earth-like. I’ll have to reread that case one of these days.

Michael Tymn, Tue 21 Jan, 05:10

Thank you for this excellent overview.

Gaby Kessler, Mon 20 Jan, 22:41

I give talks on “Life after Life” I mainly use your and Stafford Betty, Anthony Borgia and Vale Owens works as my source ,plus 2 out of body experiences 40 years ago.I am now 84 and hope that I have lived a life that will at least qualify me for Stage 3 on the otherside.

Larry Baum

Lawrence O Baum Jr, Mon 20 Jan, 19:32

I have enjoyed a lively, ongoing communication with my wife who passed more than five years ago. She enjoys playing pranks on me and creating meaningful synchronicities with punchlines. I believe my easy and natural connection to her is the result of my not assuming that this physical existence is “real”. I understand that my assumed “reality” is actually a by-product of a much larger and deeper field of consciousness out of which this illusory reality is constructed. Quantum physics has proven this over and over again. As physicist John A. Wheeler has said, “There is no ‘out there’ out there.” But most humans are incorrigible numbskulls about their reality. They think it is the gold standard for what is real. Thus, they denigrate the Afterlife simply because they are in complete ignorance about what it is. Our existence is of a piece with that inhabited by those who have left this one. The frequencies are different, so we recklessly conclude that ours is the only valid one. It’s just a matter of selective bias. We reject the Afterlife because we cannot accept the idea that our reality is derivative of it. We have not entertained the real possibility that nothing in our world already exists and that we are creating it from moment to moment with our consciousness. If we believed that our reality is “non-local” as quantum physics has proved, we would have much easier access to the universe that encompasses ours and be able to chat with it.

Frank Juszczyk, Mon 20 Jan, 19:10

excellent. thx. Hey Michael, have you found any mention of ET in the old spirit communicators or is this a recent phenomenon?

Alex Tsakiris, Mon 20 Jan, 16:57

Dear Michael Tymn,

Your points 27 to 30 are particularly interesting. Many human males are an arrogant lot, even today. Irrational scepticism has taken a firm hold in both science and philosophy, and is only now being weakened by the more the mature recent utterances of a bold few.

Regarding 28, a related point (which is probably made in your earlier set of reasons): science has produced so much reliable information about the physical world that many naively believe that the physical world must be all there is, that evidence or proof of the factuality of any other world is a fantastical and delusive invention of the human mind. Such blindness is a culpable instance of the amalgam of ignorance with arrogance and laziness.

29 and 30 are good points, probably illustrative of that very need for questing humility and patience.

Much more could be said: as I have remarked before, established physics (ie this-world science) itself includes at least the evidence of the very high probability of other worlds right ‘here’, but out of communication with our world, in the ‘elsewhere’ outside its light-cones, namely Einsteinian Relativity, and when (if?) physicists ever manage to combine relativity with quantisation a much simpler, comprehensive and more revealing schema may suddenly and unexpectedly unravel itself before their view, like a knotted tangle that suddenly pulls straight. Psychical research has long suggested the possibility of just such a resolution. Recall what a well-known early 20th century scientist-spirit-communicator said, whom you quoted in one of your recent blogs. My physical is getting old and will not instantly regurgitate his well-known name, so please forgive the unintended anonymity: He could not express his spirit-world five-dimensional experience via our limited system of only four.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Mon 20 Jan, 14:00

Dear Michael,

Thank you so much for the enormous amount of time, care and judicial thought which went into this “list of doubts”. The ‘golden age’ of mediumship does seem to’ve left us in many ways, alluding to the advance of technology - both bane and boon to modern spiritual people - but it also seems, from this relatively new medium’s point of view, that the veil is thinning on all sides: I frequently pick up on profound abilities in those who profess to need a reading and try to address this as thoroughly as possible. People like Suzanne Geisemann are doing so much to demystify what was once thought a happenstance gift or a thing conferred somehow mysteriously.(I realize that in saying ‘people like Suzanne’ when she’s one of a kind in the best way as she’s also a phenomenal channel for the plurality of guides known as Sanaya. Likewise for Paul Selig whose channeling, in my opinion, also is from the very highest possible sources of ‘heavenly wisdom’.)

What’s required, as I read your list carefully, is resolve on the part of us - the believers - even if it’s ‘only’ those who have experienced phenomena that’s off the usual charts. (Perhaps shockingly enough, the famous skeptic Michael Shermer even wrote of an extraordinary event that took place on his wedding night; one that seemingly indicated communication by his deceased father-in-law via an old, broken transistor radio. Of course, the immediate reaction from his colleagues was derision which probably shut down his quest for any further answers, although the episode itself was, as they say, one for the books.)

I’ve posted about you and White Crow books before, on my small Instagram account, but am going to do so again this week. Btw, I’ve also heralded Keith Parsons’ terrific documentaries because, yes, they’re fascinating, but also approach the subject matter from a skeptical viewpoint, which can be vital assurance to many considering the reality of the Great Unseen for the first time.

So many of my followers seem to be curious about the afterlife especially and yet hesitant to be in the “unicorn brigade”. Your work here does much to gain the study of not only the “merely curious”, but those who absolutely crave knowledge that those passed - many of whom now reside in truly exalted realms, are with us, encouraging us and bringing more light to a planet in sore need of it.

All blessings your way,


Brett, Mon 20 Jan, 13:03

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