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I should really have a motto emblazoned somewhere…’I am all about the evidence’ by Tricia Robertson

Posted on 08 January 2014, 22:25

I should really have a motto emblazoned somewhere… ’I am all about the evidence’

Evidence can be had from various sources. Observations and consistent experiences can also be well justified as evidence along with repeatable experiments in a laboratory.

Many of you are aware of the three published peer reviewed papers on mediumship by myself and Prof Archie Roy. This study was carried out over a five year period. We have never claimed that these papers prove survival of human personality after death, but they do show that, without a shadow of doubt, that good mediums can access information that they could not possibly have gleaned by any method within our present understanding.

The critics always expound the idea that nothing can be proved in this field of interest unless a repeatable experiment can be performed.  They claim that professional observations, collection of data, personal testimonies, including group testimonies, and long lasting life changing experiences which have happened to recipients of “unexplained” events are not meaningful and do not count.  This is a ball park “get out” clause in their uninformed hypothesis that there is nothing in it.

The Mediumistic Information Analysis (M.I.A.) series of experiments carried out by Robertson and Roy were under the auspices of PRISM. (Psychical research involving selected mediums) It was a quantitative statistical analysis of statements made to recipients. The preliminary set of experiments set out to test the sceptical hypothesis that “All mediums’ statements are so general that they could apply to anyone.”  After two and a half years of experimenting throughout the U K and working with approx. 440 participants, the results showed that the odds against chance that this sceptical hypothesis was true were 10,000 million to one. These results were published in paper one. Paper two described a hard protocol which would be applied to future experimentation. This covered situations in experimentation up to triple blind conditions.

The second series of experiments set out to test for the effects (if any) of psychological factors.  For example, would the participants who knew that they were the intended recipients of a message from the mediums tend to accept more statements as being correct just because they thought that they were the intended recipients. Would the non-recipients, or those who thought that they were non- recipients, tend to accept smaller numbers of the statements as being correct.

The hard protocol was adopted. This applied not only to the gathering of an audience but also the random seating arrangements, the locations and actions of the experimenters and the concealment of the mediums involved from the audience. The only contact that the mediums had with the audience was through a microphone, as they delivered the statements. The mediums could not hear any responses and could obviously not see the recipients, therefore eliminating body language responses. Moreover, in some of the tests no one in the hall knew who the recipient was. The only person who knew the seat numbers chosen for any reading was Experimenter A, Professor Archie Roy, as he had chosen the seat numbering and picked the seat numbers foe intended recipients prior to the experiments before anyone sat on the chairs.  Experimenter B, Tricia Robertson, was with the mediums throughout their deliveries and did not know the seat numbering system used or which numbers had been chosen as intended recipients.

Seat allocation was done by a random allocation of available numbers to the audience who had been assembled in another room.  Tricia Robertson reduced the data after each experiment, during which time she did not know who the intended recipients were.  Only when the data had been reduced did Robertson and Roy meet to exchange information.  This was done by each experimenter duplicating their information and simultaneously exchanging the data therein. It is worthwhile restating that Roy did not know how the initial reduction of data had worked out and Robertson did not know who the intended recipients were at this time.

In case anyone is of a suspicious nature, the data sheets analysed by Robertson number approximately 180 for each experiment and each sheet is filled in by each participant in their own handwriting and for the most part with their own pens.

The experimenters know that there was no collusion, but even if people should try to falsify results in the future the enormity of the task would mean that everyone involved would have to be part of the falsification. I add this as this is the usual sceptical stance to say that the experimenters have made a mistake in their methodologies or been fraudulent.

As the experiments stand, the mediums cannot cheat as they do not see the audience or know which seat numbers have been chosen or consequently who the recipients are.

Experimenter A. cannot cheat as he has no control over who sits on what seat and he does not reduce the initial data.

Experimenter B cannot cheat as she does not know the seat numbering system or the numbers chosen to be recipients.  These numbers are chosen days before an experiment and sealed in an envelope.

Experimenter B gathers up all data sheets after an experimental session and locks them in a brief case. Experimenter A does not touch these sheets at all.

The results of this series were published in paper three and showed that results attained in the first phase experimentation is a repeatable experiment with the significance of these results matching the earlier work.

It also showed that even when recipients did not know that they were the intended recipients, the statements made under triple blind conditions to them by the mediums achieved a high degree of significance of ten to the minus six that the sceptical hypothesis may be true.  Many sciences would kill for experiments that would achieve this degree of significance.

Each ‘session’ lasted approx. four hours, and that is before the data has been initially reduced.

The above is a gross simplification of the time involved in this experimentation and all of the factors involved, but is gives you an idea.

The MIA experiments have to date had three published peer reviewed papers on this work in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research.
JSPR April 2001, JSPR June 2001, JSPR Jan 2004. 

If the hard protocol described, in the MIA series, is adhered to and any researcher follows the details of the experiment, this series of experiments is deemed repeatable and if done correctly we are confident that similar results would be achieved.  Everything of course hinges on the use of good mediums who are capable of undertaking this kind of work and, of course, unbiased experimenters.

Many scientists, including Dr Adrian Parker, have been persuaded that experiments which test for telepathy via the Ganzfield type of experiments have proved conclusively that telepathy (transference of information out with normally accepted means) exists.

Dr Rupert Sheldrake has conducted preliminary telephone telepathy experiments with, to date, small numbers of people, but already the statistics are proving to be significant.  Resulting from his rigorous experimentation with animals he has also had to conclude that there is strong evidence that there is a telepathic link between animals and their owners.  I have seen some of the experimental results and they are very impressive. 

Science is definitely beginning to marry itself into an understanding of the psychic element within man and animal kind.

For anyone of open mind to say that there has never been any reliable evidence of anything at all paranormal in the history of the world is simply ludicrous. They must have been fishing in the wrong pond.

A former teacher of mathematics and physics, Tricia Robertson is a long term council member, past Vice President and Immediate Past President of the Scottish Society for Psychical Research.

Her book Things You can do When You’re Dead! Is published by White Crow Books and is available from Amazon and all good online bookstores.

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Tricia, congrats for taking on that endless battle with the sceptics.  It’s always been an uphill battle with little reward, but you and Archie (and others) have, with great care, beaten them at their own game.  I met Archie once when I had the pleasure of driving him to the train staion after a three day crop circle conference (mid-nineties)  A great character and I was sure to pump him for info on issues that puzzled me at the time.  And from my home town too!  Having moved to Canada in 1968 and then discovered spiritualism it took me years to see that Glasgow was quite the hotbed of psychic communications. 
I renounced that battle when I realised my own strength lay in portraying the big picture and advancing over the cultural hurdles left by 19th century spiritualism.  By the time I’d found enough Theosophical texts (Leadbeater etc) to see the significance of reincarnation the practice of past life regression had come online as it were and that lead me beyond mere ‘modern’ travel guides to the astral plane.

gordon phinn, Sat 23 Jul, 15:55

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