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Dr. William J. Crawford discusses his mediumship research

Posted on 19 December 2017, 11:07

In 1914, Dr. William J. Crawford, a lecturer in mechanical engineering at Queen’s University of Belfast, Ireland, began investigating the mediumship of 16-year-old Kathleen Goligher (below). The phenomena surrounding the young girl included communicating raps, trance voice, and table levitations.  In all, Crawford had 87 sittings over some two and a half years with the Goligher Circle and detailed his research in four books: The Reality of Psychic Phenomena (1918), Hints and Observations For Those Investigating the Phenomena of Spiritualism (1918), Experiments in Psychical Science (1919), and The Psychic Structure of the Goligher Circle (1921), all published by E. P. Dutton & Co. of New York City.


Crawford (below) died by suicide on July 30, 1920.  Skeptics suggested that his suicide was the result of realizing he had been duped.  However, four days prior to his death, Crawford wrote to David Gow, the editor of Light, the following:  “My psychic work was all done before the (mental) collapse, and is the most perfect work I have done in my life.  Everything connected with it is absolutely correct, and will bear every scrutiny.  It was done when my brain was working perfectly, and it could not be responsible for what has occurred….I wish to affirm my belief that the grave does not finish all.” 


Born in New Zealand, Crawford received his D.Sc. from the University of Glasgow and authored a number of books, including Elementary Graphic Statics and Calculations on the Entropy-Temperature Chart, before undertaking his research of psychic phenomena.

This “interview” is based on the four books mentioned in the first paragraph.  Except for words in brackets, inferred and inserted to permit a flow, the words are his.  The questions have been tailored to fit the answers.  Various English words, e.g., colour, sceptic, centre, etc. have been Americanized.  When Crawford refers to “operators,” he is speaking of spirits.

Dr. Crawford, how did you become interested in psychical research?

“A number of us had been sitting round a small table in the usual way and had obtained the usual tiltings and usual mixed-up messages, when suddenly the table twisted round under our hands and did not stop until it had turned through nearly a complete revolution.  It did this two or three times. The movement, which was so obviously not produced by any of us present and which we did not expect – this simple little turning movement – caused the first glimmer of doubt in my mind that all table tiltings, etc., were due to subconscious actions of the sitters, as I had strongly held up to that time. From that moment – now years ago – I decided to investigate the matter thoroughly.”

I believe you referred to the type of table phenomenon you initially experienced,  where the sitters have their hands resting gently on the table, as “contact” type, while that involving a medium like Kathleen Goligher, when no one is touching the table as non-contact.  Would you mind explaining the contact phenomenon?

“[In the contact phenomenon] the sitters, it is understood, are only touching the top of the table lightly with the palms of their hands or their finger tips.  When the table thus moves about by the true action of psychic force upon it, it seems to possess a peculiar attribute of inherent liveliness and lightness, very obvious to the sitters, who soon become convinced that its motions are quite independent of muscular pressure.  On the other hand, if the psychic force is absent or is not being applied, the table feels heavy and dead.”

What causes the table to move if muscular force has nothing to do with the matter?

“Up to the time of my experiments on table movements without contact, I do not think anyone had much idea.  But I fancy the matter is a little clearer now.  Arguing on the basis of non-contact phenomena, what probably happens is that psychic arms (or rods) – invisible and impalpable – project themselves from the person who is mediumistic, these arms being supplied with energy from the bodies of the sitters.  Briefly, the medium supplies the psychic arm and the sitters the energy required to work it.  If there is no medium present, no psychic arm can be projected and no phenomena can ensue though all the sitters may be able to give forth psychic energy in abundance…These invisible psychic arms probably grip the table by adhesion to its under surfaces or legs and thus bring about the movements which appear so mysterious.” 
Would you mind describing the process involving Kathleen Goligher?

“The members constituting the circle enter the room and each sits down on his customary chair.  They sit around in the form of a circle about five feet diameter and the table is placed in the center.  The ordinary illuminant is turned off and a red light turned on.  The sitters clasp each other’s hands in chain order and the séance commences.  One of the members of the circle opens the proceedings with prayer and then a hymn is sung.  In a few minutes, sounds – tap, tap, tap,—are heard on the floor close to the medium.  These are the first ‘spirit’ raps of the evening.  They soon become louder and stronger and occur right out in the circle space, on the table, and on the chairs of the sitters.  Their magnitude varies in intensity from the slightest audible ticks to blows which might well be produced by a sledge-hammer, the latter really being awe-inspiring and easily heard two stories below and even outside the house.  The loud blows perceptibly shake the floor and chairs. Sometimes the raps keep time to hymns sung by members of the circle; sometimes they tap out themselves complicated tunes and dances on top of the table or on the floor. Besides the ordinary raps the operators can produce various modifications and peculiar variations.  For instance, they can imitate a bouncing ball so perfectly that one would be prepared to affirm a ball was really in the room. They can imitate to perfection the sawing of the table leg, the striking of a match, the walking of a man, and the trotting of a horse.  They give double and treble knocks, i.e., two or three fast ones and one slow one.  In fact, almost every variety and combination of rap it is possible to imagine is heard.”

How long does this rapping go on?

“After a quarter of an hour or so the rappings cease and another type of phenomenon takes its place.  [It should be remembered] that the members of the circle are simply sitting on their chairs and holding each other’s hands in chain order and are only passive instruments in the hands of the invisible operators – whoever the latter may be.  The little table is standing on the floor within the circle formed by the sitters and is not in contact with any of them or with any portion of their clothing.  Suddenly the table gives a lurch or moves slightly along the floor.  After a while it may give another lurch or it may rise into the air on two legs.  These movements – which are executed, as I have said, without physical contact with the medium or the members of the circle – are the preliminary motions which usually take place just previous to the first levitation, i.e., before the table rises completely into the air of itself where it remains suspended for several minutes without visible support.”

Do you know how the rappings come about?

“[As I mentioned earlier], a psychic ‘rod’ (or arm) issues from the body of the medium; a semi-flexible rod, which is moved up and down and strikes the floor or table.  [The operators] say that raps are produced in two ways:  (1) soft raps, bouncing ball imitations, etc. – by beating the side of the rod on the floor, as one uses a stick for beating a carpet. (2) hard raps – by beating the rod on the floor more or less axially.  I asked them the approximate dimensions of a rapping rod used to give a fairly hard blow.  They gave a blow on the floor as a sample and then said that the diameter of the rod used in that particular case was about two inches and of uniform thickness over its length, until just before entering the body of the medium, where it increased to a diameter of about three inches.”

Is Miss Goligher in a trance when the various phenomena are produced through her?

“[No.] The medium was quite conscious during all my experimental investigations, and any fraud presented would therefore be in the nature of deliberate action.  She herself was always keenly interested in the experiments, and has told me she enjoys such sittings much more than ordinary development séances…Many times I have observed the keenness with which she followed what went on, evidently forgetting for the time being that she herself was the prime cause of all the phenomena, and that without her there would have been nothing.” 

So you recognize that there is such a thing as unconscious fraud with some mediums?

“While recognizing that both varieties of fraud exist, I am confident that they have been much overrated.  Even at séances, such as the Golighers’, where everything is above suspicion, where all phenomena can be demonstrated with the greatest ease to be genuine to the last detail, things happen which to a superficial observer might appear fraudulent.  For instance, sometimes the medium’s body, or portions of her body, make spasmodic kinds of movements when heavy raps or impacts are being experienced far out in the circle.  These are simply the reactions due to the raps and are what we might expect.  The seeker after fraud (who by the way is usually a person with no knowledge of science) immediately puts them down to imposture.  My experiments, conducted over a long period of time and more thoroughly than any ever carried out hitherto, have proved to me beyond all question that the medium’s body is either directly or indirectly the focus of all the mechanical actions which result in phenomena.  And not only is it the focus but it also seems to supply a kind of duplicate of portions of her body, which can be temporarily detached and projected into the space in front of her.  Thus, things happen in the séance room which, from the nature of the case, sometimes bears a superficial appearance of fraud, though, in a properly conducted circle it is only superficial, and the true and genuine nature of the phenomena can always be discovered by a little investigation.”

What kind of person is Kathleen Goligher?

“She is an upright and honorable young woman, has received no monetary recompense for what she has done, and has always been willing to give me her services freely in the cause of science.  Her mediumship is absolutely beyond dispute, as many people, some of them well known, are able with certainty to say.  However, she knows it is my duty to set at rest the minds of those who are afraid of unconscious mediumistic action and the like; of those who, not having been able to attend her séances and see for themselves what actually happens, wish to know what precautions have been taken, and what independent witnesses have to say.” 

Do you have an opinion as to whether these “operators” are spirits of the “dead” or some aspect of the subconscious?

“[The subconscious] is the alternative I had in mind all through my investigations.  As months succeeded month, as each new phase of phenomena was presented, as each new experiment was done, I always said to myself, ‘Can this very determined work of seemingly intelligent beings be but a simulation after all?  Can it be all a fraud?  Is it possible that nature holds intelligences belonging to ourselves or otherwise, which could so persistently deceive?  Why should our subliminal consciousness (supposing we possess such a thing) carry out for us phenomenal demonstrations on the lines of reason and intelligence, requiring effort and system, for the object of deceiving us?’  No! It seems most unlikely and repellant to our sense of the fitness of things.  Nobody who has not delved deeply into psychic phenomena can have any conception of its tremendous variety and range.  It includes telekinetic phenomena, apports, materialization, the direct voice, clairvoyance, clairaudience, trance, etc., etc.  There are, in fact, dozens of phases of psychic action, all consistent in the inference to which they lead, namely, that man survives death, and inconsistent on any other hypothesis.”

This interview will be continued at the next blog post here on January 3.  In the meantime, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year to all.

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.

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An Interview with EVP researcher, Dr. Anabela Cardoso

Posted on 04 December 2017, 9:38

“The electronic voices received through ITC tell us that they originate ‘in another dimension beyond time, a world where the dead also live’,” Dr. Anabela Cardoso (below) states in the Introduction of her latest book, Electronic Contact with the Dead:  What do the Voices tell us? “My own contacts have been with voices that, overall, assert that they belong to the deceased ... [they] have repeated time and again that they ‘are the dead speaking from another world’.”


Until I read Cardoso’s 2010 book, Electronic Voices: Contact with Another Dimension? I wasn’t overly impressed with the evidence for ITC (Instrumental Transcommunication), EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) or DRV (Direct Radio Voices).  In previously exploring the subject, all I had heard were some muffled or garbled “words” that required some imagination, sort of like looking for faces or figures in the clouds.  However, Cardoso’s book offered much more than a few words here and there.  There was actual dialogue taking place in her experiments, some involving philosophical discussions.  Her latest book adds to the evidence

Dr. Cardoso, who speaks five languages, is a highly-respected diplomat, having served as Consul-General for Portugal in a number of countries, including the United States, Spain and France, and as Portuguese Chargé d’Affaires in Japan and India.  She is the founder and editor of the ITC Journal, which is published in English.  I recently put some questions to her by e-mail.

Dr. Cardoso, what prompted your interest in this whole area of electronic voices and survival?

Two things – firstly, an enormous curiosity about life and death; secondly, grief – mine and the deep grief and despair of the friend who started experimenting with me. She had tried to commit suicide twice. 

Would you mind briefly defining ITC, EVP, and DRV and explain how they differ?  There seems to be much overlap and confusion as to how they are used.
ITC is a broad term that encompasses the whole range of electronic communications – computer texts, video images (also called transimages), fax communications, telephone calls, anomalous electronic voices and other electronically mediated contacts. In the scope of the voices it is normally used in relation to the DRV. The DRV emanate directly from the loudspeaker of a radio and allow for dialogues when we are able to understand what the voices say immediately. EVP are the voices that we cannot hear directly but become audible when we rewind the recording. They are normally much shorter and clearer but, naturally, do not allow for a dialogue because we cannot hear them directly.

The term Instrumental Transcommunication (ITC) was coined by Dr. Ernst Senkowski, professor of physics at the Technical University of Mainz, Germany in the 1980s when other types of electronic messages, namely images, computer and fax messages, started coming through. Until then and on account of Dr. Konstantin Raudive’s book, Breakthrough, the anomalous electronic voices were called Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) or “Raudive voices.”  Raudive’s book caused furore in Great Britain when it was published by Colin Smythe in 1971, and thousands of people started experimenting with the new method he described, apparently obtaining results; therefore, the term “Raudive voices.” But it was Friedrich Jürgenson, the Swedish painter and singer, who in reality pioneered the existence of these mysterious voices. Dr. Raudive got the information and methods to experiment from Jürgenson himself. Later, in their book, Phone Calls from the Dead, parapsychologists Scott Rogo and Raymond Bayless published the results of their investigations of still another type of ITC messages, the anomalous telephone calls. From then on, reports of anomalous messages transmitted via electronic means upsurged all over the world. Some results are truly exceptional, as is the case of Maggy and Jules Harsch-Fischbach in Luxembourg, of Adolf Homes in Germany and Marcello Bacci in Italy, while other reports publicized mostly through the Internet, are imprecise and even doubtful. 

What do you say to skeptics who say that electronic voices are no more than wishful thinking turning a bunch of static into voices?
I say, of course, that they have never witnessed, nor heard, and even less studied, any real anomalous electronic voices. Furthermore, I say that they know nothing about the literature. There are over one-hundred volumes published on this subject. They should study them first and look at the evidence. 

In your 2010 book, you mention a DRV communication of over 2 1/2 hours, but you state that most of it could not be understood.  How much could be understood and what exactly is the problem in that regard?

The contact remained open for all that time but not the voice speaking with me. Although very long, it did not speak all that time. I have never heard of an electronic voice speaking for such a long period of time! The voices do not speak uninterruptedly. They speak, stop for a while, speak again, in the best-cases come back repeatedly, but they never speak for such a long time.
Little could be understood of my September 1998 DRV. The voice was so loud that I had to lower the microphone entry to a level much under the normal microphone entry otherwise it would be damaging to the ear. But it sounded as if spoken from the inside of a metal box with the corresponding deformation, and it was also truncated. It was as if speech bits were missing. It was also very fast (a common characteristic) and seemed glued all together. I understood “[Rio do] Tempo” spoken in a lower tone and by another voice, “Anabela”...”This is what you asked for yesterday”...“It’s very difficult, difficult”... “It’s for Cristina Arruda”...“It’s the father, satisfaction” and other things that I cannot recall. At the time I had a Brazilian researcher staying with me; she had come purposely to watch my experiments. Indeed, the day before I had asked Carlos de Almeida (my main communicator at the time) if they could speak for her the next day.

Interestingly, in most cases, the louder the DRV the less understandable they are. I remember that I cried and cried because of not being able to understand the replies that extraordinary masculine voice gave to my many questions on some transcendental issues that interest me deeply. I took the tapes to a specialized audio shop and the sound technicians there could not understand it, either. They said pieces of speech were missing. I recall an anomalous computer text conveyed via Adolf Homes, which stated that the voices were transmitted from the next dimension in packets of energy and that only around 40 percent of the information sent by them reached our world (I cannot be sure of the exact percentage but it was in this order). Maybe this is what happened. I just don’t know.

Are any of the messages so clear and distinct that there is absolutely no question about them?

Some of the voices in the CD I published with my first book are fully intelligible. Naturally, as should be expected, the only condition is to be fluent in the idiom.

What has been most evidential to you?

Perhaps the fact that the voices identified themselves as the dead, in some cases with their own names and called me by my own name and my family pet name, “Bela,”” and replied directly to my questions. Also that Rio do Tempo identification was clearly provided on many occasions. “We speak from Rio do Tempo Station…”. “Zeitstrom” (Timestream) was the name of the group (station) that spoke both with the Harsch-Fischbach in Luxembourg and Adolf Homes in Germany. Years ago, before me, Carlos de Almeida had spoken clearly in Portuguese with the Luxembourg operators identifying the name of his group in “Zeitstrom Station” as “Rio do Tempo” and telling his own name. His message was addressed to a conference in Brazil where Harsch-Fischbach were going to present their findings.

You refer to group souls in your books.  What exactly are they as you understand them?

My communicators have spoken many times about “our group” and have also explicitly said “I go down to my group, I go to the soul” as you might have heard in my CD. Apart from the mention of their group, they have told me “You belong to Rio do Tempo [the group],” and other remarks I heard them say to each other which implied the collaboration of less-expected beings such as, fish and other animals, besides my own dogs that, obviously, we would expect to be part of the group. They mentioned the most varied beings in the context of playing a part in their projects to accomplish the communications with us. Consequently, my own interpretation of the group-soul is very close to the description Frederic Myers purportedly made of that unit in The Road to Immortality through the automatic writing of Geraldine Cummins. A huge group that comprises minerals, plants, animals, humans, united by affinities, interests, goals and, of course, love. I suppose this group extends beyond our present existence and could relate to many other unknown circumstances.   

Why isn’t it possible to get a number of distinguished scientists to observe an ITC session with you and for them to all agree that it is genuine?

I believe you mean orthodox scientists and that is practically an impossibility because they are not interested. Unorthodox scientists have been present in some of my experiments. Professor Uwe Hartmann and Professor Ernst Senkowski from Germany, Professor David Fontana from the UK, and Dr. Adrian Klein from Israel, were in my house on innumerable occasions and took part in many dozen experiments. They all agreed to the genuineness of the voices I receive and published about them. David Fontana spoke extensively of my ITC experiments in his books, and Professor Uwe Hartmann also published about them, took measurements, etc. However, they were not orthodox scientists and understood that the voices do not happen on command; therefore, they stayed at my house for rather lengthy periods of time. I don’t know if or when the voices will occur, thus I cannot say in advance if a session will yield positive results. We have to wait and see. I very much doubt that an orthodox scientist, particularly a high level one, would stay at my house for a full month, for instance, to see if the voices manifest!  And even if he did, they might not happen in that period. Then what? But if you know of anyone who is in that disposition, please recommend them to come.  However, let me clarify that to fully validate the anomalous electronic voices, we need a specialized scientist, not any scientist. We need an electromagnetic physicist or engineer. Interestingly, I met one of those in 1998 at the beginning of my experiments. I will tell you briefly what happened.

When I started receiving the DRV, voices happened at my house practically on a daily basis. I and my colleagues were amazed and wanted all possible confirmation of the anomalous quality of the voices. The University of Vigo, where I live, is well known for its engineering and telecommunications faculty. I sent a pair of tapes (I used an analogue recorder then as I still do today) to the acoustic experts of the faculty to be analysed. They did not know me and I did not know them. Not a clue about the provenance of the voices on the tapes was given. The whole thing was channelled through my office at the Consulate General of Portugal. A few weeks later, the experts came back to the officer who had made the contact, and told him they were extremely surprised because the tapes contained voices which were not modulated in a usual way. They insisted in finding out how the voices had been obtained but the Consulate officer did not know; thus, he conveyed their message to me and, a few days later, I decided to invite these two academics for lunch at my house.  Their research area was (is) Theory of the Signal and Communications and this is exactly the area credentialed to evaluate the characteristics of any recording. One of these academics is currently a full professor at the same faculty of Vigo University. When they came for lunch they still did not know what the voices were. With great difficulty, I told them about the likely provenance of the recorded voices and immediately their faces showed such stupefaction that I could not hold laughing! As a matter of fact the situation was out of the ordinary, to say the least – a high ranking diplomat telling two orthodox scientists in a highly conservative country that does not accept any discussion of these issues, that she had recorded the voices of the dead! Moreover, they had never heard of EVP. What an embarrassing situation!

To make a long story short - I informed them that my communicators had told me they would endeavour to speak at 8 p.m. of that same day, so they should wait and see for themselves. But some half an hour before the time, they suddenly got up, apologized and said they had to leave immediately. I insisted to no avail. Rio do Tempo did speak that evening at 8.00pm. What a missed opportunity! It was a real shame because to reliably assess the electronic voices we need scientists of the pertinent field, i.e., physicists working in Theory of the Signal. This was my first encounter with orthodox scientists in the scope of the electronic voices. Later, I contacted a few others but the moment I revealed my opinion about the origin of the voices, they ended all contact with me.

Another good example is the report on the highly controlled experiments carried out for a period of two years I published in NeuroQuantology – “A Two-Year Investigation of the Allegedly Anomalous Electronic Voices or EVP” (Cardoso, 2012, 2017). It announced that samples of the voices would be sent to interested scientists and technicians. Nobody applied for this free demonstration.

What do you see as the future for ITC?

ITC, the new method to attempt contact with the next dimension of life announced by mediums in different points of the globe at the beginning of the last century (Cardoso, 2010), will play a still more significant role in the future. If we ponder the manifestations seemingly produced by those we call the dead throughout human history, we easily verify that their recurrent feature is to be in conformity with the [human] epoch of their emergence. This attribute is even more visible in ITC with its technological connections, apart from the fact that the determinant element is electricity, which is supposed to be a very manageable energy for our communicators. Thus, in my opinion ITC will develop hand-in-hand with the new technologies that humans will devise in the future. We just have to wait and see!

Electronic Contact with the Dead:  What do the Voices tell us? is available from Amazon and other bookstores.

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.

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“Life After Death – The Communicator” by Paul Beard – If the telephone rings, naturally the caller is expected to identify himself. In post-mortem communication, necessitating something far more complex than a telephone, it is not enough to seek the speakers identity. One needs to estimate also as far as is possible his present status and stature. This involves a number of factors, overlapping and hard to keep separate, each bringing its own kind of difficulty. Four such factors can readily be named. Read here
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