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What the Bible Really Says About Mediumship

Posted on 27 January 2014, 10:54

When my #fundamentalist,evangelical,“born-again”friends – whatever name be attached to them – become aware of my interest in mediumship, they express concern that I am being influenced by Satan himself.  They cite Deuteronomy 18:12-13, which they interpret to say that we should not consult the dead and Ecclesiastes 9:5, which says that the “dead know not anything.” 

But how are we to reconcile those Old Testament injunctions with passages in the New Testament, such as 1 John 4:1, which says we should “test the spirits as to whether they are of God”?  How are we to test them if we shouldn’t be talking with them and if they know nothing?  And what about 1 Corinthians 12:10 that says some are given the gift of “discerning” what the spirits have to say?  Why discern if they know nothing?    Then, there’s 1 Thessalonians 5:21, which says to “test them all and hold on to what is good,” while 1 Peter 1:5, tells us that we should add “knowledge” to our faith.

How are we to interpret Joel 2:28-29, which says, “It shall come to pass afterwards that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions, and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days I will pour out my spirit.”?

If the Bible is to be interpreted literally, then why do Christian leaders ignore all of those Old Testament teachings, such as putting to death both persons in an adulterous relationship (Deut. 22:22), stoning to death stubborn and rebellious children (Deut. 21:18-21), accepting polygamy (Deut. 21:15), sanctioning slavery (Lev. 25:44), not eating shellfish (Lev. 11:10), or not having one’s hair trimmed (Lev. 19:27)?

Clearly, much of the Bible has been distorted over the centuries in the various translations.  According to Dr. Robert A. Morey, a professor of Apologetics and Hermeneutics at Perry Bible Institute, the word nephesh is used 754 times in the Hebrew Bible,  but it takes on 30 different meanings, ranging from “soul” and “the dead” to “fish” and “dogs,” while the Greek word aion is found in the New Testament 108 times and is given 10 different meanings, including “forever,” “ages,” “occasionally,” and “never.”  What we read in the English Bible as “everlasting punishment” meant “age-long pruning” in the original Greek.

Although I have not been able to confirm this with a Bible scholar familiar with Hebrew,  I recall reading somewhere that the Hebrew word from which “dead” is derived meant “spiritually dead” and referred to earthbound spirits. Thus, those passages cited above likely referred to earthbound (low-level) spirits.  That is, earthbound spirits know nothing and we should not speak with earthbound spirits. 

Much of orthodoxy clearly interprets Scripture in a self-serving, self-stultifying way and does not grasp the fact that the foundation of the Bible is similar spirit communication coming through mediums of one kind or another.  “If we were to expunge all accounts of the apparently paranormal from the pages of the Bible, we would be left with an intolerably emasculated volume,” Canon (Dr.) Michael Perry of the Church of England wrote.

The more modern revelation has come to us in the same way that the ancient revelation did – through mediums of one kind or another, even though those ancient mediums, whether clairvoyants, trance types, direct voice types, automatic writers, or even near-death experiencers, might have been called prophets, seers, saints, or even saviors (or were translated as such).  What the ancients called an “angel of the Lord” might now be referred to as a “spirit guide.”  Where it is written that “his eyes were opened and he saw a vision,” might be translated today as saying the person was a clairvoyant.  The method by which Moses received the Ten Commandments might today be called “direct writing” or “automatic writing.”  In Isaiah 8:1, we read: “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Take a large tablet and write…’...’ seemingly a reference to automatic writing.

If the evangelicals accept that argument, which most don’t, they point to Revelation 22:18, in which John supposedly says that God will punish anyone who adds or takes away anything from the Bible.  And, yet, in John 16:12-14, we are told that there is much more to learn.  “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.  But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”  But the world, at least then, was not yet ready for it.  Are we to assume that the world is still not ready for it and will never be ready for it? 

If, as fundamentalists believe, Scripture is the inerrant word of God (vis-à-vis the inspired word of the spirit world manipulated by man), we must conclude that God lacked in communicative skills or in the ability to foresee the confusion concerning the conflicting interpretations given to the Bible after numerous translations. “They [the ancient words of Scripture] have frequently blinded us from seeing and entering the experience they seek to describe because these words are always limited by their time, their culture, and their apprehension of reality,” John Shelby Spong, a bishop of the Episcopal Church, recently wrote.
If Christian leaders were to closely examine the newer messages, they would realize that the basic teachings of Jesus – Love thy neighbor…, Do unto others…, and You reap what you sow – are also the teachings emerging from the modern revelation. Moreover, many of the current messages pay homage to Jesus and suggest that he pretty much functions in what might be called “Chairman of the Board” on the Other Side.  With proper testing and discernment, numerous new teachings edify and clarify Scripture, offering us language that is not muddled and befuddled by human hands and brains.

Perhaps the best guide in this respect is Matthew 7:16: “By their fruits ye shall know them.”  Also, the 23rd chapter of Proverbs, seventh verse, which reads, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he..”  It is difficult to read the wisdom that has come through so many credible mediums in recent centuries and believe that the spirits communicating this information are attempting to mislead us, as they offer a much more sensible and more appealing afterlife environment – one that can be reconciled with a loving and just God rather than a cruel, capricious, vindictive, and wrathful one or one who would offer a humdrum heaven or horrific hell.  From this new revelation we discover a Divine plan – one of attainment and attunement, of gradual spiritual growth, of evolution of spirit through progressively higher (in vibration) planes.  In a nutshell, it puts “life” into the afterlife. 

Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die is published by White Crow Books. His latest book, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife is now available on Amazon and other online book stores. 

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Next blog:  February 9   .

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Trying to Make Sense of Ghosts

Posted on 13 January 2014, 9:55

For the most part, I have little interest in haunted houses, ghost hunting, poltergeists, ghostly apparitions, or related anomalous phenomena. However, I had read some interesting and curious things here and there over the years about Alex Tanous (1926-1990) and that prompted me to read a recently released book, Conversations with Ghosts, by Dr.Tanous.  Callum E. Cooper, (below) a psychologist and doctoral candidate at the University of Northhampton, resurrected Tanous’s research papers and put them together in the book. It turned out to be a fascinating and enlightening read.


In the Introduction, Cooper provides a fairly comprehensive biography of Tanous, (below) who was an experimental subject of the American Society for Psychical Research during the 1970s and early 80s for his out-of-body (OBE) capabilities. Later, Tanous collaborated with Dr. Karlis Osis, one of the scientists who had studied his OBE abilities, in investigating haunted houses.


Tanous recalled that at age 11, he was rushed to the hospital after a traumatic experience. “I found myself out-of-body. I saw my physical body on the table. I saw my double standing nearby, and both of us watched the doctors and nurses operating on me.” He then encountered a beautiful light and as the light filled him he saw people he knew and some he didn’t know. He described it as a beautiful, powerful, and peaceful experience, and the beginning of his search for his “other self.” He later discovered that he had the ability to leave his body at will – to bilocate, or to be in two places at once. He referred to his spirit body as Alex2.

Alex2 could go through walls and could be anywhere in a split second. However, he pointed out that he didn’t create Alex2. He already existed. “Now let’s reverse that,” Tanous explained to an interviewer how apparitions are seen. “Let’s say that Alex2 creates Alex1 in a scene, our sitting here, and let’s say that we are all dead and so forth. You can then recreate sections of your life, and have it shown like a movie: there’s talking, and telepathy, you know, your understanding and everything. It’s the reverse.”

Tanous further explained that apparitions are not, as is commonly believed, all more or less alike, “They vary widely,” he said. “Some are perceived as an unrecognizable mist, others are so lifelike they are almost, or often, mistaken for real people. Some behave as though they are re-enacting shadows of tragic events from the past, others are only in the here-and-now and related directly to observers.” He goes on to point out that there are times when everyone present sees the apparition and other times when only one person, apparently one with developed clairvoyant abilities, sees it. He states that after years of experience he and Dr. Osis steered away from psycho-kinetic type phenomena (PK), where adolescents unconsciously create their own PK fields resulting in what is commonly referred to as poltergeist activity.

“I, like many people, believe that ghosts exist because they must tell their story to someone who can set their lives and actions into balance,” Tanous wrote. “I agree, however, that it will always be a metaphysical question as to why ghosts appear.” He considers the theory that apparitions are simply imprinted energy fields rooted in some intensely traumatic incident taking place at the location. He makes a distinction between apparitions and ghosts, a ghost, he believed, is a replay of an event that took place in the past, while there is no dialogue. An apparition is, however, a confrontation with a real spirit in the present day. “It is my belief,” he continued, “that the entity is, in fact, moving forward in its own consciousness, but, at times has the ability to return for the sole purpose of ‘balancing unsupportable events or human injustice in experiences where they lived.’ At the appropriate time, the entity can create an apparition (or related phenomena movements, bangs and raps, etc.) whose aim is to restore the universe to harmony.”

Tanous said that he was able, at will, to leave his body and meet the entities on their level.  “With my personal consciousness, combined with the consciousness of Alex 2, the two of us are able to contact the ghosts,” he is quoted. He goes on to explain that he was able to relive the scenes that traumatized occupants of the home and resulted in the haunting. He would see the scenes as if he were watching a movie.

One of the more intriguing cases investigated by Tanous and Osis took place in 1983 and had to do with a house in lush Pennsylvania farm country. The residents, described by Tanous and very practical and down-to-earth, hardly the kind of people who would be carried away by their imaginations, reported doors opening and slamming shut, footsteps on the staircase, furniture moving around, cold spots, and items disappearing, never to be seen again.

Tanous was able to go back in time and see a young couple living there and also see that the house was a stop on the “underground railroad,” where slaves were sheltered. As he watched the “movie” of the traumatic event in the house, he saw a beautiful young woman warming a pan of food on the stove. As grease spattered into the fire, flames set the woman’s clothes on fire. She died two days later. Before her death, she promised her husband that she would wait in the house for him until he died. The husband lived for another 40 years. During those 40 years, the woman let her husband know she was around with various phenomena.

Tanous discovered that they couldn’t find each other because they were looking for each other in different time periods. Tanous was able to communicate with the woman and bring her into her husband’s time so that they could be together.

Tanous said we have to make a distinction between spirit and soul. He referred to spirit as “personality” and soul as “individuality.” He explained that spirits are energy and are still in some way earthbound. “It has nothing to do with the individuality,” he said. “It has to do with an experience, here and now, that took place. The burning of the house, the man looking for that person. Or a murder taking place that needs to be retold, or an event taking place that we have to balance. It’s that which I would call ‘ghost’ or ‘spirit.’  There’s also the individuality, the ‘apparition’ – this is where the individuality comes over and speaks to you.”

Spirit or soul, personality or individuality, ghost or apparition, here-and-now or past events appearing in the here-and-now? It’s all very confusing to those thinking in linear time and with terrestrial words and their limitations, but makes at least a little sense if we can somehow rise above linear time and recognize that celestial matters do not easily lend themselves to terrestrial thinking and logic. Tanous admitted that he found it all very confusing, commenting that he had come to no definite conclusion. “I do feel that apparitions are some kind of consciousness which makes itself visible and are more perfect than we are,” he offered. “In other words, the higher consciousness can make itself visible to the lower consciousness.” 
Conversations with Ghosts is published by White Crow Books and is available from Amazon and all good online bookstores.

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Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die is published by White Crow Books. His latest book, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife is now available on Amazon and other online book stores. 

Paperback               Kindle

Next blog:  January 27   . 

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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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