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It's AMAZING book !!

I confess I have yet to read this book. However, I would like to support Maurice Grosse's view of poltergeists - given above - and suggest that, perhaps, the 'third party' point might usefully be pursued further. The 'kids kicking around a football in the park' might be replaced by the emotional over-concern of someone for the juvenile, when a youngster is the 'focus'. This 'third party' might even be miles away - eg, parent worrying excessively about youngster's first living away from home - and be quite unaware of any personal input to the poltergeist. Just a hunch of my own but, I think, worth mentioning. Newton Green

Nice review!

In the Paranormalia blog Robert Mcluhan writes:

(Since posting this, Ian Rubenstein has been in touch, and is happy to answer any questions readers may have in the comments thread below.)

There are many detailed answers by Rubenstein to readers' questions.

Thank you for the review, Michael. As a writer, though, do you not think some of the conversations seem rather manufactured - a literary quality (as in the detective or thriller novel genre).

I thouraghly enjoyed the book and in fact it's encouraged me to attend my local spiritualist church this sunday to see what's happening. I'm in Edinburgh, UK.

"do you not think some of the conversations seem rather manufactured"

I wouldn't expect him to reproduce conversations verbatim, but I thought the dialogue was pretty believable. No doubt it was cleaned up for clarity and brevity, but that doesn't bother me.

I've had some of my questions answered by Ian Rubenstein on the Paranormalia blog and some person contact with him via e-mail as well. I found him to be a very honest, nice man who is willing to give up his free time to answer, well basically a strangers questions! So if anybody wants to find out more I found him to be very approachable and I suggest checking out his website where theres a couple of youtube videos about him, a radio interview and a magazine article/interview! I look forward to buying the book! Cheers everyone!

I know this is completely off base, but, I just have to mention it. Recently I read an article in Scientific American by Michael Shermer, something about classifying Pseudo-science. Of course, in the comment sections there were speeches about parapsychology and how to deal with this "pseudo-science". A commenter talked about how Parapsychological Foundation was apart AAAS and therefore a science. He also listed several sources (Stevenson, EWK, Radin ext) In the following posts there were many ramblings about the dangers of Parapsychology and only one comment breifly touched on the quote (didn't even mention the studies). Revealing!

Haven't read the book, but I appreciate your calling attention to it.

With orthodox science now a closed shop where the paranormal is concerned, it will be mainly interested laymen who keep psychical research and its findings alive, like the monks in the Dark Ages who copied ancient manuscripts and thus prevented many works of antiquity from vanishing.

Robbie - I've had some of my questions answered by Ian Rubenstein on the Paranormalia blog and some person contact with him via e-mail as well.

I read his answer to your question on Robert's blog. What puzzles me is that even a medium isn't 100% convinced about personal survival.

I don't find that too vexing. Piper and Leonard were not fully convinced of their gifts and questioned it after lifetimes of tests. I can understand, if I had developed mediumship I would still have doubts. Even if my mother materialized right in front of me and told me something only I would know I would still not be 100 % convinced, I'm not that convinced about anything other than my hatred for my career choice :)

True I heard this many times from other mediums. I just can't get my head around what mental mediumsship really is. Ian writes that he had a period of 9 months where he was getting everything wrong. Why can't the medium distinguish between correct and wrong information? Is it because the 'bit rate' of information transfer is so low that the medium involuntary fills up the gaps with fragments from his own imagination?

@sbu,

Mental mediumship usually take three forms i.e. clairvoyance (clear seeing), clairaudience (clear hearing) and clairsentience (clear sensing).

Most mediums have one of the above although some are able to demonstrate all three but this is the exception.

In my view, based on my own experiences, clairaudience is the most evidential which probably is why it is so rare.

Very few mediums are able to understand their own abilities or to explain them in a clear and precise way.

Naturally this leads to confusion in the mind of the sitter.

Mediumship is not a precise science nor will it ever be where the emotions are involved.

Nevertheless it is still possible to receive evidential communications from friends and loved ones but never 'on demand'.

Who is the best mental medium you ever sat with Zerdini. Just curious who provided the most convincing evidence for you personally

For about six months after my kundalini rose in the fall of 2006, I had pronounced mediumistic abilities and was able to discern voices that gave me information that I could not possibly have obtained from a non-dead source but which turned out to be accurate.

Gradually the ability began to fade. The last little dollop was after my brother-in-law died in 2008. He was caught in a flash flood and his body was missing for two weeks. I was able to describe the location where he was eventually found, helping the searchers.

But at that point, the ability went away. In a way, I was very thankful for this. I was finding the ability to be much more of a burden than a blessing.

Somehow, even with these experiences, I'm not 100% sure of survival. :) But 90% is pretty good, and it does give me some comfort during trying times, as well as gratitude during good ones.

"Somehow, even with these experiences, I'm not 100% sure of survival. "

It's interesting, isn't it, how even the best mediums aren't absolutely convinced of survival.

The ones who ARE 100% certain are the NDErs. They speak with a vastly greater level of confidence than the mediums.

And it makes sense, if you think about it. On the one hand we have people who have talked to folks who seem to be on the Other Side. And on the other hand, we have people who have actually been there.

And who, by the way, have ALSO talked to folks on the Other Side (in many cases), but face to face. So that may also contribute to their certainty.

I was thinking some more about my last comment, about how mediums are so often not 100% sure about survival, whereas NDErs so often are.

When you have people like Ian Rubinstein, or better yet, the truly world-class mediums like Leonora Piper or Eileen Garrett, and they're not completely convinced about survival, doesn't that say something about the power of NDEs, that just a single event can convince the majority of experiencers?

Nor is there any reason to think that NDErs are less intelligent or more gullible than mediums, it would seem to me.

Think about it: one brief, momentary, NDE vs. a lifetime of apparently evidential readings, as in the case of Mrs Piper.

We all know how difficult it is to be 100% convinced of psi, much less survival, despite the kinds of experiences many of us have had--precognition, ghost sightings, etc. Human psychology seems to work hard against certainty in this area.

An NDE must be a pretty amazing thing!

Of course, there is another possibility--that the NDE is an astonishingly effective deceiver. What do you all think?

Well, the kundalini rise was accompanied by soul-shattering ecstasy and feelings of overwhelming, overpowering, all-consuming universal divine LOVE. During that period of time, I was 100% certain.

But then the hard spiritual work began. Part of my work is the fact that the logical part of my mind tries to be skeptical.

I have as much "proof", personal and otherwise, as anyone except an NDEr can have. Some small part of me thinks that maybe my experiences were a combination of delusion and coincidence. Thus the hedge.

Although when I look at it, a lot of the "doubt" is really just my ego talking. Because on close examination, some of the things that happened and that I experienced, CANNOT be explained outside of either a survival hypothesis. Even a PSI hypothesis doesn't explain everything.

Yet there is still that tiny nagging doubt...but I've grown comfortable with the fact that it will likely always be there. And Goddess understands that.

Nicely said, FDRLincoln, and you sound a lot like me. Just substitute psychedelic journey for kundalini, and the rest of my story would read about the same.

Yes--during those episodes I was 100% certain that death was the silliest notion around. No, make that 200%. :o)

And then I have to go back to the world of skepticism--at least partial--where I still reside at the moment.

Ray wrote: Who is the best mental medium you ever sat with Zerdini. Just curious who provided the most convincing evidence for you personally

I have been asked this question many times and from a lifetime of experiences I would say, for consistency of survival evidence, two mediums stand out, namely Mona van der Watt and Gordon Higginson.

Of course, there is another possibility--that the NDE is an astonishingly effective deceiver. What do you all think?

Having an NDE doesn't always make people start believing in survival. Carl Sagan is a notorious example.

If some Mediums are not 100% convinced about survival, do they believe that they, themselves, are delusional? They claim to be speaking to other side, and I assume, not all of them can be scam artists. So, I wonder what they think of their work, if they aren't 100% convinced.

@SBU

How was Kiev? Anything interesting happen? How did you find the Ukrainian vibe? any better than my experience of them not being able to lose the old communist mentality (15 years ago)?

Well, as one skeptical friend of mine said when I was describing one of my experiences: "that kind of thing just doesn't happen."

But, well, it did, and I wasn't imagining it, and it isn't a case of fuzzy memory since I wrote it all down when it was happening, and there was more than one witness.

"Nicely said, FDRLincoln, and you sound a lot like me."

And like me2 - but both kundalini and psychedelics in my case.

I lived with that persistent little ego based doubt for many years. No too long ago I left it behind. I'm not completely sure how I managed to do that; just that it happened rather suddenly and the doubt never returned. It had something to do with thinking about the ramifications of the continuence of life after physical death, but also just my limited time here as well - what that all meant in terms of how I wanted to live and what I wanted to do. The doubt was a barrier - or more like an anchor I was dragging around - and it had to go.

I find the situation sort of analogous to stage fright. I play guitar and I sing a little. In the living room or on the back porch, solo or with a musician buddy or two, there have been some great jam sessions, some great renditions (covers) of blues, jazz, flamenco...some original stuff too...there have been some very bad renditions as well, but when I'm on time and in tune I feel good about what I putting out there and I feel like it is worth sharing. I've been playing for 30+ years. I know the chords, the licks, the notes. I'm also fearless about improvising and quick to do so. It's all instinctual at this point.

However, I can't seem to play out, solo, to an audience. Before I get on stage, hours before, I begin to have all these doubts about my ability. I start to question my remembering of chord changes in tunes I've been playing for years. Then, when I get on stage, I choke. It's terrible. It's incredibly frustrating, painful even. And it's self defeating.

Getting past the doubt about spiritual survival, etc has had some positive effects on my life. Since the change was recent, I'm still just understanding the potential that has been released. I feel like there is a lot more that I will gain in coming years.

Now if I could only enjoy the same transformation re; playing out solo, I'd be a very happy man.

Maybe the problem for some mediums is that they are providing evidence for others and not themselves. Perhaps they are missing the direct personal experience that clinches it for others?

No one:

In my case, my experiences help me let enough fear go to take up a couple of hobbies that I was always afraid to do in the past. I'm still working on purging remaining fear, and it is not always easy. Sometimes it has been extraordinarily painful. Yet even the painful experiences, in retrospect, taught me something that I don't think I could otherwise have learned.

In the case of Leonora Piper, it's worth remembering that as a trance medium, she had no memory of anything she said during the sessions. So perhaps it's not surprising that she would have doubts. She also was surrounded by investigators who were interested in the super-psi idea, and she picked up on this notion. Eileen Garrett, another trance medium, may fall into the same category.

Some mediums say they have no doubts; in his book, Ian Rubenstein describes some mediums he met who fit that description. It probably depends on the temperament and personality of the individual. Doubt may also be a protective psychological mechanism to avoid dealing with the full implications of a potentially "scary" or "weird" ability. And it may be a result of "over-thinking" the process, a natural tendency among educated, left-brain-oriented people.

Very few mediums are able to understand their own abilities or to explain them in a clear and precise way.

Do you know of any contemporary mediums who claims to have clairaudience? I would imagine such a medium is more convincing with exact names?

I will have to read Ian Rubenstein's book to really understand what his sceptism is about - if I ever was to witness a truly paranormal phenomena I'm sure I instantly would put materialism behind me for good.

@j9 - It's definitely an interesting place. I'm sure a lot have changed the last 15 years, but you still get a pretty good impression on how a major city used to look like back in the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union should have been the worlds most powerful economical nation - and instead communism basically made time stand still there for 50 years while the rest of the world moved forward. It's fascinating how much freedom to the individual means.

Georgia O'Connor has clairsuduence. She heard names during my reading with her and gave me full names for my deceased dad, grandmother and my living mother there wasn't sort of "I'm getting a C or a K " it was straight up "I'm getting a Grace she is your grandmother on your dads side." I asked her about her clairaudiance and she says it depends on how the "spirit" communicates, some just show her images like Ian describes in his book and some can articulate sound. When my alleged father came through he was giving her both and wouldn't stop giving info even after I asked to speak to someone else. That's how he was in real life too. When my alleged grandmother came through she didn't have a lot to say similar to how she was in real life. Georgia and Ian in his book both state that communication is just as difficult on their side and without their skills or cooperation they can't give a good reading. The mediums mood also seems to affect the readings. Ian said in his book that his messages were way off when he was feeling negative.

"....if I ever was to witness a truly paranormal phenomena I'm sure I instantly would put materialism behind me for good."

Don't be so sure, SBU. This is what some of us were talking about a few comments up thread. It would probably take at least a few experiences and even then you would reserve some level of skepticism. The Ego/rationality complex in the modern industrial society mind is very skilled at constructing methods of denial. Some of these are sublime.

There are some youtube videos with Dr Rubenstein. In one of them he describes some very convincing experiences, but then he goes on to say he is only 75% convinced in the reality of survival and all that. He doesn't elaborate as to why he reserves 25% skepticism. My own impression is that he is a genuinely fair and decent man and he doesn't want to try to sell anyone - including himself - notions that have not been scientifically proven to the point where they are generally understood and accepted. This seems a reasonable position to take given that he interacts with many people and has the potential to influence them.

Where does your skepticism stand no one? I think its hard to put a concrete percentage on it because one day I am 100% convinced and then the next I will see a fire and brimstone sermon from Dickey Dawkins (I don't mean it to poke fun at Mr. Dawkins, I have respect for his intellect but its a cutsie name for such a serious individual)or another skeptical article and it will once again cast doubt. I know from reading the blog you had what I consider many paranormal experiences. It is just hard to search for truth when there are so many darn versions of it!

My skepticism is at 0% these days. A year or so ago - maybe two - I would have said it was at 2.5% to 5%.

Like I said, based on some 30 years of my own experiences, those shared by people I know and trust and the good evidence that I have read as well as evaluating the counters from hard core skeptics, something inside of me just gave up that last 2.5% and decided to get on with life and to delve deeper into it without reservation.

It's kind of like when kids put a toe into a pool to test the water, then a foot, then maybe wade waist deep in the shallow end with arms in the air trying to stay half dry. Sooner or later if you want to have fun and swim you just have to go for it and totally submerge.

Now, that is concerning the *concepts* of survival and psi (psi including clairvoyance/audiance, precognition, communication with the deceased, telepathy, some forms of psychokenesis and meaningful synchronicities). I am 100% convinced these things can and do happen and they are what they appear to be.

I have ample skepticism concerning any *individual* case or claim as well as any theory, religion or philosophical construct designed to explain how or why it happens, what it all means, etc.

One problem with this area is some people make some absurd assertions. Then again, even in the hard material sciences people make absurd claims. It pays to not be too ready to accept what anyone says at face value.

I also maintain a much greater degree of skepticism concerning a variety of other "paranormal" phenomena; like UFOs, monsters, ectoplasm and flying trumpets, cloud bursting.........

I should add, Ray, that I hope you would not be convinced by anything I say. I am just here conversing with people interested in the same things I am.

My wife, who has lived with me (and my experiences) for a long time and who has had some remarkable experiences of her own is probably 99.5% convinced some days and only 25% convinced other days. Probably averages around 60% convinced.

I can't figure out how she bounces around like that. When something strongly paranormal and spiritual happens she is really a believer. When nothing has happened for a while it's like she forgets and she becomes depressingly rational and material. That's how I see it any how. It's weird.

Thanks for sharing your insight on one. I can relate to your wife I do it too and it is weird! This blog is really the only place I can free think this topic with others. I work in real estate and it seems as though I am surrounded by egomaniacs who don't think beyond their wallets. My family and friends think I am nuts for even thinking too deeply about life after death a truelly taboo subject in the U.S...honestly people feel more comfortable talking about their deepest sins (vices not used in the religious context). Sometimes I wish I was so preoccupied with the most important question facing humanity ie survival but this blog is a harbor for me to bounce thoughts and ideas off of others who seem to be trying to figure it out as well

Just wanted to say thanks Michael for reviewing my book and I also like the discussion afterwards.

"no one's" experiences and what he says about his wife's skepticism probably mirror mine the closest.

The book ends in 2007 and I've had plenty more experiences since, so I'm probably now less skeptical than the tone of the book suggests. It started out as a Microsoft Word document in which I just wrote down my thoughts, experiences, key conversations and messages as they happened (often with long gaps in between) as a way of giving myself more "headspace" to understand what the hell was going on! So I'm trying to convey my state of mind at the time.

I'm much more comfortable with whatever it is that happens when I give a message now, five years on. But there is stil a core 25% skepticism within me that won't go. Not sure i want it to go, actually. You can never be 100% sure about anything and a little bit of doubt keeps your feet on the ground and allows you to laugh at yourself so you don't take yourself too seriously. Though I do take this subject seriously.

@Ray, thanks again for recommending Georgia. I will let you know how my reading goes on the 5th. Do you think there is any way she could have gotten your information off the internet?

@J9

I am not ruling it out. I automatically dismissed all items that could be done by a search but I was still left with some amazing hits that I didn't even know and had to ask my mom about. As long as there is that possibility that the info could have been obtained by normal means I remain somewhat skeptical. That is why I am going for round 2!

Thanks Ray, I remember you saying that now. It takes an evil person, don't you think though, to purposely prey on the grief of others. I would hate to think that there are too many of those people in the world.

I whole heartily agree with you J9. When I look at some of the notorious frauds in the past such as William Roy and Lamar Keene it makes me wonder what their psychological motivations were. Was it for fame, money or did they simply enjoy rousing their fellow man or maybe it was a combination of motives? I read Lamar Keene’s book and he comes off as a misanthrope, completely disgusted by his victims need to believe. Even more ironic is how he cashed in with his tell all book, similar to Jose Canseco bringing everyone down with him in the Major League Baseball steroid scandal. My question is why couldn’t the obvious frauds like Roy and Keene that had an obvious talent for sleight of hand, go on tour and make their money as mentalist? Why did they have to deceive people by proclaiming to be a real medium? I agree with Dr. Rubenstien, that little bit of skepticism is just enough to help you think critically about a paranormal experience. Although Georgia is probably a genuine medium, I am letting my suspicious baggage from reading the parapsychology literature on frauds to keep me from giving a 100% genuine endorsement.

Thanks for your comment, Dr. Rubenstein. I agree that it's a mistake to be 100% certain about anything. I've found that once I'm sure of something, I lose interest in exploring it further or seeking out dissenting opinions. Confirmation bias becomes a real issue at that point.

Personally I'm just hoping to be 100% convinced that physicalism/materlism is wrong - a philosophical position I find it so hard to break away from. Dr. Rubenstein's book is ordered from Amazon - looking forward to read it.

About spiritualists or mediums not being wholly convinced about the truth of the information they get:

With normal, materialistic world we can check most things again if we are not completely sure. If you thought the car you just passed by while walking through a parking lot was red, you can go back and check, yes, it was red, you can ask somebody else and they will probably also confirm it was red, and the same model you are seeing too.

As far as I understand with things like clearvoyance that would be more like just seeing the car once, in most cases not being quite sure whether it was red, or maybe there was just parts that were red, or maybe it was actually pink, and not being quite sure about the model either. And the clearvoyant can't ask the guy who was sitting next to her for confirmation because he didn't see anything. No matter how often you got the part there was a car, and not, for example, a boat, right, it might still leave one feeling a bit unsure about the whole thing.

And then there is the fact that we can't, actually, even be completely sure that what we experience in the real world is exactly the way it is or was, especially when talking about something that is now only a memory, because what we think should be so or what we want to be so can color our perceptions and our memories, sometimes to the point of creating something completely false. So presumably our thoughts and wishes do color information coming through those other ways even more. And if the person 'seeing' were to notice that he is a bit more likely to 'see' what he thinks should be there, or what he wants to be there, that might also make him doubt the whole thing, regardless of the times he seems to have gotten it right.

Marja: I agree. In terms of mental mediumship the position seems to be that the entity purporting to communicate is in some way limited to the images, thoughts and connections which exist within the unconscious mind of the medium. The point being that it is very hard (very, very hard at first!) to distinguish between your own thoughts, and what you might suspect to be the promptings of a communicating entity. After all, they are still your thoughts, but rearranged! With practice it gets easier, and you often surprise yourself. But there is always room for doubt because it is easy to kid oneself (and others)and, even accepting psi is real, the alternative hypothesis of super-psi always presents itself (mind you, I still think that's pretty wonderful if true!).

In my case, what I found most convincing (apart from a couple of absolute barn-door cases of clairvoyance) are the unlikely chains of coincidences I found myself caught up in. Some of them were so unlikely that they beggar belief!

I think that's the point really, for me anyway.One can experience the most unlikely coincidences that are personally convincing but leave anyone else unmoved, or certainly unable to accept them as proof of anything, or even good quality evidence.

There are countless tales of astonishing experiences and reports by the most eminent individuals, but many of us need our 'proof' personally to be convinced, and if/when we have it, it cannot be transferred to another person without losing its impact, at least in part.

I can vouch for Georgia O'Connor being the real deal, I had a reading with her on Feb 1st and there were 2 big hits I really could relate to that related to my personal life but would rather not go into details here and they were things there was no way she could of known by searching online.

She brought through my Grandmother on my Mothers side, My Grandfather on my Fathers side who I never met so I had to confirm some of those things she said about him with my Father and also my Uncle most of the specific stuff I could relate to came through from the Grandmother on my Mothers side which makes sense as I was quite close to her, Georgia didn't mention any names but I could tell the Grandmother on my Mothers side was her personality from the things Georgia told me.

Personally I felt it was $110 well spent and gave me some comfort and peace of mind and I would recommend her to anyone who has lost loved ones.

The Felix Group has released their white light photos of ectoplasm...let the debate begin!

http://felixcircle.blogspot.com/

There is nothing to debate, Ray.

Ectoplasm (if indeed that's what it is supposed to be) is not evidence of survival.

Neither is there any evidence of the alleged materialisation of Tom Harrison.

I just meant on the authenticity but youre right Z as you said before the only thing that matters is the evidence for survival paraphrasing of course

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