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I think u raise alot of valid points Michael and I wish to see u pursue the matter further.I think alot of those here might share the same opinion.

I hope your voice may be heard by Victor Zammit himself and that he might just implement the new procedures that his seances so desperately need.

Surely if indeed those magicians can do what they claim Victor Zammit is deluding himself.

Hopefully those magicians apply for the challenge and show that they are more then just barking dogs who don't bite,figure of speech.

Claims on their side are as valid as claims on VZ's side,if they can prove their claims are effective under the same conditions then it would be almost hard to not jump over to your side of thought.

Excellent post Michael with some very intelligent points.

But PLEASE do not close this debate! It is fascinating. I want to read more about this, and I want you to keep the pressure on Zammit and Thompson with your elequently made points.

Don't let them win! They'll want nothing more than for you to shut up!

Well done, Michael. You've done what needed to be done and can move forward confident in knowing that you've helped clarify the actualities of this particular affair. Houdini would probably be pleased, given his desire to expose dubious mediums. Just as a point of information, Houdini was not American born, though he liked to claim Appleton, Wisconsin as his birthplace. He was born in Budapest, in what was then the Austro-Hungarian Empire , on March 24, 1874, his real name Erich Weisz (speaking a little Hungarian, I can vouch that the spelling of his family name is correct for the Hungarian language). After emigrating to New York in July of 1878, the family changed the spelling of their name to "Weiss".

A brilliant coda to a magnificent opera. Well done, Maestro!

Kevin, thanks for the info on Houdini. I'll fix the post later to correct this mistake.

>But PLEASE do not close this debate!

If more info comes along, I'll post it. For the moment, I don't see what more there is to say. It's been fun, but I don't want to get obsessive about it ... And in the grand scheme of things, it really isn't that big a deal.

>I hope your voice may be heard by Victor Zammit himself and that he might just implement the new procedures that his seances so desperately need.

I hope so, too. In the post immediately before this one, I passed along one escape artist's specific suggestion on how to secure the medium to make trickery more difficult. This suggestion can be easily implemented.

Love you blog Michael but emotions may be hindering your rational. This is a common human phenomena I know it well.

You stated: "After all, in my spare time, without any particular trouble, I was able to find out essentially how Mr. Thompson has tricked the circle of sitters who believe in him"

We don’t know this yet that Mr. Thompson has tricked his circle of sitters. You have discovered a way that he may use to trick his sitters. You know I am one of those that hold out faith that these séances may be valid or at least some parts valid. My reason I suspect is to protect William Crookes reputation, as I believe he was falsely accused of many things to protect a materialistic paradigm.

The book I am reading now ghost hunters relates to today’s research and discussions on the paranormal and one quote from a researcher named Hyslop stood out and would like to share it with you.

“Why is it so noble and respectable to find whence man came, and so suspicious and dishonorable to ask and ascertain whither man goes?”

Of course he was comparing those researchers into Darwinism compared to those researchers into the paranormal. From my point of view ascertaining whither man goes is much more important than ascertaining whence a man came. Some people feel that the fear of death is responsible for much of our neurotic behavior and who knows could it be responsible for all of this drug use we see in our culture because materialism is not working to satisfy the “spiritual and emotional” needs of Americans.

I live in the very city that makes those night vision goggles maybe I should check it out and see if they make a pair that does not emit radiation or light and would they donate several pairs to Dr Thomson’s sitters. Why do I have the feeling that even if they make goggles that do not emit light and they are willing to donate several pairs to the circle of silver cord they will not accept my offer of free night vision goggles?

I will send an email right now to this silver cord circle and see if they want me to do research on these night vision goggles and even visit the plant that makes them as it is only a couple of miles away unless of course they have outsourced the manufacture of them to china. Will get back to you on this.

Oh one more thing I am glad he is taking his séances on the road the more variable the sitters the more opportunity to expose fraud if any exist.


I would like to see if the escape artists can replicate what DT does. Can they put on a show in complete darkness without tripping or falling or banging into somebody? Can they manipulate a trumpet (at high speed) in complete darkness so that nobody ever gets hit in the side of the head? Has anybody ever gotten popped upside the head by the trumpet at a DT seance?

Of course, if you're claiming that DT is also using night vision goggles, that's a different story. Are you speculating/assuming that he is doing that?

Can the same escape artists, not only escape, but provide info. to sitters that convinces them that they are speaking to their deceased loved ones?

DT has been at this for many years and has yet to be exposed as a fraud. If he IS a fraud, he's pretty good at it. He could make plenty of money holding seances for entertainment if he wanted.

That's going on in Houston for the month of October. I may go to one...

www.houstonseance.com

Stewart Alexander operates the same way as DT. And yet, not many folks here have comments on him. The only difference is that SA has allowed luminous bands to be placed on his legs at various seances. I wonder if it would change the mind of anybody if DT did that? The other difference is that VZ is not SA's mouthpiece. SA's mouth is not dirty. :-)

* * * * *

"After all, in my spare time, without any particular trouble, I was able to find out essentially how Mr. Thompson has tricked the circle of sitters who believe in him"

While I appreciate the info., you've done nothing of the sort. You've pointed out just one possibility. I agree that skepticism is in order until further controls are implemented. But your claims that you've figured it all out are not supported by any hard evidence.

Maybe you're right. Maybe not.

I have yet to experience a DT seance in person. Until I do, I'll remain skeptical. But I won't come to any conclusions. Assumptions are worthless. And I won't spend much time on DT unless the said controls are put in place.

A relevant excerpt from Braude's book, "The Gold Leaf Lady..."

Magicians need to demonstrate that they can do what they claim is easy to do. The proper response to skeptical critics is to demand that they put up or shut up. Significantly, the only thing close to an attempt by skeptics to replicate the phenomenon was laughably inadequate, arguably dishonest, and (in fact) quite irrelevant.…

* * * * * * * * *

Put up or shut up? Sounds like our buddy VZ.

There's more to the saga of physical mediumship then David Thompson, a relatively new guy on the scene. Let's not be rash and allow some magicians to say everything is bunk with a few broad strokes of the intellectual brush. (I'm not saying they're claiming all physical mediumship is trash, I don't wish to put words in anybody's mouths, but it's obvious to me the direction a hard-line stance could develop.)

What about Minnie Harrison? Decades of highly reputable physical mediumship; she never made a cent, and it's very well chronicled by Tom Harrison in his book Life After Death: Living Proof. Her seances were done in light, with compelling photographs taken.

There's John King's story you can read about this week at Tymn's blog: http://metgat.zaadz.com/blog

There's Stanley de Brath and Gustave Gelley's wax molds of limbs from a physical seance: http://www.survivalafterdeath.org/photographs/geley/1.htm

And, certainly others. But, none of it means anything if you've already made up your mind.

It's an extremely easy argument to say "It's all self delusion! People believe what they want to believe" and run away from the topic. Dare I say this tactic is actually cowardly. The truth is we'll never know the answers unless we investigate physical mediumship ourselves, and provide the protocols we desire, in which case we could have personal proof--but we would never be able to share it and be taken seriously.

I am convinced that even if a physical medium was taped in infra-red light pouring ectoplasm out of her orifices to produce a structured, materialized form, it would do absolutely NO good, it would immediately be labeled a hoax; some magicians would recreate the tape themselves, and the issue would be deleted from our minds. So it makes me wonder, why even bother? It also makes me understand why Minnie Harrison kept her circle more private and personal, because the circus of trying to convince people is very, very far from pleasant.


>Of course, if you're claiming that DT is also using night vision goggles, that's a different story. Are you speculating/assuming that he is doing that?

No. Fake mediums have been waving trumpets around in dark seance rooms for more than a century - long before the invention of night vision gear. And they have been caught doing so.

>Can the same escape artists, not only escape, but provide info. to sitters that convinces them that they are speaking to their deceased loved ones?

Other than the "M & M's" thing and the "CAMilla" note, I'm not aware of any evidential communications in this case. And I don't feel the need to explain everything. For me, it's enough to know that the medium can escape from his handcuffs and then get back into them. The rest is window-dressing.

>Stewart Alexander operates the same way as DT. And yet, not many folks here have comments on him.

I know almost nothing about him, so I haven't commented. I'm not really that interested in physical mediumship, since most of it, historically, has been fraudulent.

>I have yet to experience a DT seance in person.

Experiencing it in person would be of no benefit. Deprived of sight, hearing, and touch, you would have no idea of what's going on. In a pitch dark room, anyone can be fooled. Anyone.

>It's an extremely easy argument to say "It's all self delusion! People believe what they want to believe" and run away from the topic.

I'm not running away. I've pursued the matter for a year. Now I've determined, at least to my own satisfaction, that Thompson's act can be duplicated by trickery. If the Circle of the Silver Cord wants to prove me wrong, they can tighten up the controls. Until they do, they're the ones who are running away.

"Experiencing it in person would be of no benefit. Deprived of sight, hearing, and touch, you would have no idea of what's going on. In a pitch dark room, anyone can be fooled. Anyone."

No benefit? Come on, Michael. How can you say that? Sorry, but that's showing a bias. I'll explain why I feel that way. Although I know you already know what I'm about to write...

First off, why would I be deprived of hearing? Does Victor require sitters to put their hands over their dirty ears?

Let's say I attend a DT seance when he comes to the US...

If a voice speaks out and it sounds just like the distinct voice of a person I knew when they were alive, and the voice seems like it is right in front of me, and the voice provides very specific details that only I would know...

...you're saying that would not be any benefit to me in trying to figure out if DT is legit. or, at the very least, a mental medium with possible physical mediumistic abilities?

It could put me in a better position to judge DT as opposed to me just sitting here judging from afar.

It COULD offer insight that one could only garner by attending a DT seance and getting a personal reading from a loved one who has passed on.

Or, maybe it wouldn't give me any insight. Maybe specific details wouldn't come through and maybe I wouldn't hear a voice that I recognized. If that's what happened, then I agree, it wouldn't be any benefit. But there's only one way to know for sure.

I really want to see the magicians and escape artists replicate these types of seances. But they have to be searched before they enter the room. And the room has to be searched and secured too.

As Stephen Braude says, these magicians need to "put up or shut up."

>If a voice speaks out and it sounds just like the distinct voice of a person I knew when they were alive,

Subjective impressions under such compromising conditions are not of much value.

>and the voice seems like it is right in front of me,

It will be right in front of you, where the medium is standing once he gets out of his chair.

>and the voice provides very specific details that only I would know...

Okay, I'll give you that. But you don't need materializations to get that kind of information at a seance.

>I really want to see the magicians and escape artists replicate these types of seances. But they have to be searched before they enter the room. And the room has to be searched and secured too.

They should be searched, etc., but it makes no difference. If you go back and read what the escape artists wrote to me, you can get a pretty good idea of how Thompson does the trick. You have to read between the lines a little, but the information is there. And it has nothing to do with hiding anything on one's person, or using an accomplice, or using gimmicked handcuffs or a gimmicked chair.

It all has to do with muscular control ...

You really DO have to keep the DT stuff going. It's too much fun to read/write about.

And, I realize how hard it is to wade through these cases and get to what seem like legit, physical medium cases. But IMO, the payoff for finding a legitimate one is well worth the effort and frustration.

It would be huge. And that's why I like the physical medium stuff over the mental. I think certain mental mediums have already proven that they could/can come up with info. through meas other than the five senses. But it's impossible to know for sure that it's from the dead.

I want to see the spirit. That, combined with the specific info. would be proof enough for me.

>I want to see the spirit. That, combined with the specific info. would be proof enough for me.<

JoeMB, reading this comment made me realize how much spiritual contact you must have missed out on just because "it's your way or the highway" when dealing with spiritual truths.

If spirit has not given you enough proof by now, then you may as well resign to being blind forever.

My way or the highway?

For somebody who claims to avoid online battles, you sure like to stir the pot.

By the way, I supported you on another board where you were talking about a new test for mediums in which you would be the first one to try it. Somebody wrote that your rules were confusing. And I responded to them. Not sure which board it was. You have the link?

I'm talking about proof that I can present to others as being overwhelming. Something that I can put in a documentary, which is my ultimate goal when I finish working on these reality shows.

To be 100% honest, I do not KNOW for a fact that we survive death. I'm not a medium and have not attended a seance. Nor have I had any personal experiences that I would attribute to the dead.

The only evidence I have is from books and videos. Some of which is very impressive. But not conclusive. For others, the evidence is overwhelming. I don't judge them for coming to that conclusion. But it's not my reality. Yet. However, I'm enjoying the search.

Your experience is different. Good for you. But that's not my experience.

Dear friends,

I've discovered in archive.org a great resource for certain rare psychical texts, in this instance the most pertinent being Revelations of a spirit medium, that rare but amazingly detailed book on virtually all the methods of deception used by the early mediums (and you can guarantee many today). Carrington and Price credited this as the definitive book on the matter, and it's really worth checking out. An amusing back-story to the book - it was so thorough in outlining the methods used by charlatan mediums that apparently they rushed out and purchased every available copy of the original edition, thus making the book extremely rare until Price & Dingwall produced the re-issue.

Oh, archive.org also has a bunch of the SPR Journals, try a search for "psychical research" and you'll find plenty of good stuff to digest.

Come on guys...

if this protocol is adhered to, and the results are repeated then surely the escape artists will know that there is way to get out...

so the bar will keep going higher and higher...

Nothing DT do will convince those who experience this second hand...

Having said that, Is what DT does something similar to automatic writing...

in the sense that the spirits finds ways to escape from the binds and use DT's body to perform the acts but DT plays no concious role in them???

how do we test for such a phenomenon???

*******

MP wrote

"In any event, I'm pretty much done with this issue. As far as I'm concerned, what is happening in that seance room is quite clear. The lights go off; Thompson extricates himself from the handcuffs and gag; he disguises his voice (not very well) and walks around the room shaking hands and passing the occasional note to a credulous sitter; he then resumes his chair, replaces the gag, and slips back into his bonds."

Now can DT be possessed by a spirit and do all the above...

Would that be valid Physical mediumship???

The above comment was written by me

Why limit the spirit possession hypthesis to Thompson? How about Penn & Teller? Maybe they're possessed by spirits who make them perform their magic act ...

By this logic, any sort of legerdemain or trickery can be explained as the work of spirits.

I would be willing to bet, however, that if Thompson ever is caught redhanded in fraud, this is precisely the alibi he will use. And many of his supporters will buy it.

Yes. That's exactly the same alibi Colin Fry used when he got caught holding a trumpet when the lights mysteriously came on!

So, is Fry a total fraud or is he a legitimate mental medium who is a fraudulent physical medium?

The only thing that intrigues me in the Fry Lights case is: who turned on the lights?

I really would like to see a magician/escape artist replicate what DT does. Have any done that under similar conditions?

Until they do, they should follow Stephen Braude's advice:

"Magicians need to demonstrate that they can do what they claim is easy to do. The proper response to skeptical critics is to demand that they put up or shut up. Significantly, the only thing close to an attempt by skeptics to replicate the phenomenon was laughably inadequate, arguably dishonest, and (in fact) quite irrelevant.…"

I'll keep using that quote until replication takes place.

There has been a fascinating discussion about Thompson and other physical mediums in relation to fraud, cable ties, ropes etc on the following forum. You'll have to register in order to read the posts.

Wolflock, an escaplogists from the Magic Cafe forum has just started posting there. He's promised to duplicate the Thompson seance controls and free himself on video for all to see!

http://www.directvoice.proboards101.com/

Once you get your log in details, visit the Physical Mediumship forum and join in!

If it was just about freeing himself, there would be no debate. I'm sure there are plenty of escape artists who can do that. But can they duplicate the other aspects of the seance? If we are to believe that DT is escaping and walking around the room, can the escape artists do the same thing and manipulate the trumpet at high speeds (without any trick apparatus) and do it without knocking people in the head?

And can they talk in various voices and provide some information that convinces at least one person in the circle that they have communicated with a loved one who they were very close to when they were alive?

The issue of using a night vision camera to provide evidence during dark seances has been raised a number of times.

The technology needed is called "thermal imaging". Thermal imaging cameras use the infrared radiation generated by the heat of room temperature objects to create a picture.

A less expensive "infra red" camera cannot be used in a seance because it will require an infra red light source of a temperature far above room temperature and this is believed to be harmful to ectoplasm.

A "starlight" camera which amplifies low levels of visible light will not work in a completely dark room.

Thermal imaging cameras cost well over $5000 for the simplest and these are intended for industrial applications. One needed to take high resolution pictures clear enough to satisfy skeptics would probably cost much more.

A couple of links for those interested...

(I have no financial interest in these products):

http://www.tequipment.net/WahlHSI3000.html

http://www.professionalequipment.com/flir-thermacam-b-cam-infrared-thermal-imaging-camera-27801-0202/thermal-infrared-camera/

froogle search on "thermal imaging camera"
http://www.google.com/products?q=%22thermal+imaging+camera%22&show=dd&scoring=p&btnG=Go&output=html&sa=N&lnk=next&start=10


thermal camera said:

"A less expensive "infra red" camera cannot be used in a seance because it will require an infra red light source of a temperature far above room temperature and this is believed to be harmful to ectoplasm."

Heat is harmful to ectoplasm???? Now, that's a new one! Says who? Please quote your source for this.

There have been various infrared photos taken of David Thompson, so this contradicts your statement.

There have been various infrared photos taken of David Thompson, so this contradicts your statement.

Those photos were conventional camera shots taken under red light, which is a different matter to infrared imaging.

I think what "thermal camera" is referring to when they talk about cheaper cameras is an "active" infrared system. These do send out infrared radiation to "illuminate" the scene and get a better picture on cheaper equipment.

http://www.thermal-eye.com/19/Security%20and%20Surveillance.htm>Here is a page full of screenshots from decent "thermal imaging" solutions, which are passive and don't require any active illumination. The images are captured using an array of sensors, similar to those used in digital cameras but detecting a different range of frequencies. If it's okay to take digital shots of DT under red light, these should be no different.

The quality is fantastic — take a look at the videos. In a small room, you'd see everything.

I imagine they can be rented if price is an objection. Even purchased outright, Victor's reward is AU$500K, which is an excellent return on investment. I'd certainly be willing to contribute: you either win a lot of money, or you have proof of genuine phenomena!

First it was radiation, now cost... what's the next excuse going to be?

marcos ferreira said:

"Those photos were conventional camera shots taken under red light, which is a different matter to infrared imaging."

Yes, sorry you are correct Marcos. And your points concerning passive infrared are spot on.

But since these photos are taken in a normal red light, why can't a normal video camera be used???

Toshiba Imaging Systems produce the IK-1000, an extreme low-light, color video camera. The breakthrough imaging system features Toshiba's new, proprietary electron-multiplying CCD technology.

The incoming signal is multiplied by a factor of ONE THOUSAND, allowing a minimum illumination with full color reproduction down to 0.25 mlux (1/1000 lux) in color at 50 IRE.

Or what about the LCL-902 Watec - the World's Lowest Light Black & White Mini Camera that has a minimum illumination requirement of .00015 lux!

To give you an idea of how low a light setting 0.00015 lux is, a candle at a distance of 30cm will give off a luminous intensity of 10 Lux.

Moonlight is about 1 Lux. So, if we look at the Thompson photos taken in a dim red light here:

http://www.silvercordcircle.com/phenomena/Phenomena_30sep2003.pdf

I would suggest that the illumination there is certainly higher than 1 lux - moonlight, and certainly nowhere near as low as the 0.00015 lux required for the LCL-902 Watec video camera.

Next excuse please!

They say the red light photos are taken with a long exposure time, so it's difficult to judge the illumination from the pictures. But like you say, it's bound to be well above those ultra-low intensities. So it's nowhere near the "total darkness" at which these starlight cameras fail.

Perhaps the Silver Cord people could let us know the approximate light levels of their allowed redlight condition to put an end to any "camera X won't work in these conditions" type of arguments.

The Watec is only $570, the Toshiba around $7K but like all expensive AV equipment, will be available to rent at a daily rate. So the cost argument doesn't hold. Besides, isn't $7K a measly price to pay for world-shattering proof?

By the way, if any of you expect VZ to tighten up the controls on DT, you're not going to get it. DT is in charge of his controls and if he is going to change them, HE is going to have to OK it. Not VZ.

It's a minor point but I think it's important that people direct their frustrations at DT and not VZ. VZ's "dirty mouth," comment and others like that, are out of frustration, I believe.

Has anybody tried to write DT at his site?

>DT is in charge of his controls and if he is going to change them, HE is going to have to OK it.

Well, that's the whole problem, right there.

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