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I agree with your assessment of the book Michael. It's hard to dismiss what Findlay reports and his reports are detailed to the point of tedium sometimes. What he reveals is astonishing and Sloan appears to me genuine and if anything reluctant to participate on occasions.

The example of the military training and subsequent events is one of the best I have read and I can find no reason to doubt Findlay's honesty in this matter.

Had a reading today with a medium today, attempting to contact my mother who passed back in December. There were a number of very interesting "hits." This was a phone session.

***The spirit claiming to be my mother mentioned that her first car was a 1964 Ford Mustang (true).

***She mentioned that she was met on the other side by "a parallel female spirit with a name that sounds like Anna or Ada".
My mom had a sister named Aida who died a few years ago who she was very close to.

***The medium said that my mother had died very quickly (true, although she could have picked that up from the obituary) but that she had a long digestive system illness two years ago that almost killed her at the time (true, and not something that would be known outside the family unless the medium somehow had access to our medical records).

***The medium said my mother was very pleased that we had bought my son an electronic keyboard recently. (True, we got him one two weeks after she died. I checked and nobody has mentioned this on facebook or anything that the medium should have access to).

***The medium said I am approaching a major job change (likely true).

***She mentioned that my grandmother whose name was "O-something" had lived in eastern Pennsylvania or the New York area (but not NY City) and that this was her favorite place and what she experiences in heaven. My grandmother was named Olga and she lived in Albany, New York. I suppose this information could have been discovered by the medium but this seems unlikely given that Olga lived the last 20 years of her life in Iowa.

***The medium mentioned that a large black or dark blue car that "looked like a Cadillac or something similar" broke down when I was very, very young and that this was one of my earliest memories of my mother. (True, when I was 2 years old our 1966 dark blue Buick Electra broke down one morning. It is my earliest memory and no, I've never discussed it on Facebook.)

Good stuff. I like how you note there is something hokey about ectoplasm, reminds me there's a sense of aesthetic resistance to the afterlife portrayed by the evidence.

Things seem diversified, if not messy. Less like the perfect systems people expect (Heaven/Hell, Karmic Cycles, etc) and more haphazard & strange.

That last case has so much detail, its quite extraordinary.

I went back to a medium I have seen some 8 years ago, as I found her to be very accurate.

What I noticed this time was that those who had died recently - came. I guess it makes sense as you would want to communicate that you are ok etc. She said so many came she was over whelmed and asked them to step back. There are a few over there, as we say.

For the first time a member of my husbands family came. He lived overseas, so to show her where, he used a symbol that represented the country. And then I knew who she meant. He answered a question I had, to put my mind at rest. So relevant and so sweet.

When she asked what I would be doing in the future, I laughed as I didn't expect it. She said " I have been asking them what you will be doing for a job, and they just give me lots of colours". "I've asked them twice and thats all I get, colours swirling everywhere".

Well Im back doing my psychology degree and just for fun I thought I would do a diploma in Interior design. So I was on my first assignment, the next was all about colour. I can't see me working in it, but who knows. Cheers Lyn.


Thanks for that report on your reading, FDRLincoln. Sounds very good.

Were there any big "misses"? Any sense of cold reading (fishing for info, asking leading questions, etc.)?

Very interesting FDR. thank you.

What do you think now of the typical objections? Most of today's scientists do not accept the results of Findlay because those results were not produced under controlled flow of information and currently it can not be reproduced again. Then there is the difficulty of inferring from a living organism the presence of entities that are conscious without a nervous system.

Looking forward to FDRLincoln's answers to Michael's questions because if, as I'm anticipating, no such fishing/cold reading could be possibly brought into play, then this series of factual nuggets amounts to a very strong case, with or without the odd "big miss". Interesting!

The main misses: the medium insisted that my mother was close friends with someone with a two-syllable name that begins with B, she thought it would be Betty or Bernice. But I have no idea who that is.

She also insisted that my son has a close connection with someone named Debbie or Denise but I don't know who that is either.

A third reference was that my son (who is non-verbal and autistic) has a new teacher named Jessica or Jennifer that he will develop a close bond with. I didn't know who that was, but this morning when I dropped him off to school, a new para was there to meet him and her name was Jessica. So what I thought was a miss turned out to be a hit after all.

A fourth reference was that my mother was close friends with someone named "Vua", which the medium thought was a strange name of course. "Vua" according to the medium was still alive. This seems likely to be a reference to my mom's friend "Via", who is indeed still alive. And no, Via is not on Facebook.

I did not get a cold reading sense and I tried to be very alert to that. There were no leading questions that I could discern and I tried to stick to vague answers as much as I could to not give much detail away.

Another thing I forgot to mention, she said that part of the greeting group for my mother on the other side was a gray-striped tabby cat. My mother did have such a cat who she loved very much, who died in 1999 at the age of 22. There are no pictures of that cat anywhere on the internet.

Overall, a very successful reading. As noted there were some names that I don't recognize or know about. There was also a reference to an important birthday coming up in June but I have no idea who that is. But for the most part, the specific information she came through with would be extremely difficult to explain by conventional means. Even a private investigator would have a very hard time coming up with some of this stuff.

Super-PSI could explain much of it though. But then you get into "how do we explain super-Psi?"

Michael hasn't posted my first response yet, but another point: the medium mentioned that my mother "was raised Orthodox but never felt at home there. She has found her spiritual home now."

This is true. She was raised Greek Orthodox, left the church when she was in her early 20s, became an Episcopalian, but eventually felt out of place there too. She was a generic monotheist when she died.

FDRLincoln, interesting indeed. Your reading had an impressive number of "hits". Unfortunately, parapsychologists would as usual point out that the most parsimonious explanation is telepathy (living agent psi), since the information for each of the "hits" already resided somewhere in your mind even if you were not actively thinking about it. Of course there are the rare cases of evidential mediumship that can't be explained by LAP or where it strains credulity. And the stubborn fact that what the mediums themselves actually experience is communication with the deceased personality. I think Julie Beischel of Windbridge Institute once said that science will never be able to decide the question.

"She also insisted that my son has a close connection with someone named Debbie or Denise but I don't know who that is either.

A third reference was that my son (who is non-verbal and autistic)"

FDRLincoln - maybe your autistic son is communicating with people - psychically - that you don't know about. I have wondered what is happening within the autistic person's mind.

Sounds like you had a great reading. Thanks for sharing. Where did you find this medium?

Great stuff FDR.

Super-psi is like the simulation or solipsism question - of interest to academics but not one I'd expect most people to worry about.

FDRLincoln, thank you for posting the results of your session with the medium; I really enjoyed reading it, especially that comment about your mother finding her spiritual home. For some reason, that's quite heartwarming to me.

FDRLincoln, thanks for sharing your experience. Super-psi requires explanation, but also the afterlife requires explanation. It's not about that, but what is happening in a medium.

"And the stubborn fact that what the mediums themselves actually experience is communication with the deceased personality."

But that mediums have the first word does not imply they have the last word.

"I think Julie Beischel of Windbridge Institute once said that science will never be able to decide the question."

I do imagine a way to decide on a scientific method: "drop in" communications under controlled conditions and a physical model of how consciousness can act after the organic death and that that model has predictions.

"Super-psi is like the simulation or solipsism question - of interest to academics but not one I'd expect most people to worry about."

It is true that in theory super-psi hypothesis is as the simulation hypothesis or solipsism: skeptical hypotheses not logically impossible, but they often seem impossible for epistemological reasons. But in practice the afterlife hypothesis is not like the hypothesis that there are other minds, or anti-solipsism, because we relate to other people every day and can deepen it but mediumship is rare, most of the people have never been with a medium and current mediums rarely talk in trance or show mannerisms of the deceased. That is, the mediumship is not as robust as to compare the hypothesis that some mediums embody the deceased with the hypothesis that there are other minds.

"Super-psi is like the simulation or solipsism question - of interest to academics but not one I'd expect most people to worry about."

Agree, SPatel. Most people - and I think this way too - figure if super psi is possible, then consciousness is not limited to the interior of the physical brain and, once we have consciousness operating beyond the brain, pretty much anything, including survival, is not only possible, but likely.

True, a philosopher could find holes in that thinking, but I don't think most of have time or taste for that kind of erudite analysis.

Well what can I say.

The ether hypothesis has been discredited so a lot of Findlay's book is invalid.

And I am afraid I am not convinced by John Sloan. This 'direct-voice' mediumship and voices with trumpets has been exposed in magic literature by professional magicians for years. It has also been exposed in psychic literature.

Arthur Findlay was not an experienced investigator in magic or conjuring trickery. He was a card-carrying spiritualist. There was no magician present during these séances and no evidence the controls were 'fraud proof'.

In his book "The Physical Phenomena of Spiritualism", published 1907 by Hereward Carrington. He states:

"In the vast majority of cases, the trumpet talking is done by the medium himself. If the séance is in the dark, the medium’s task is an easy one, he having only to wave the trumpet about and imitate whatever voices he desires. By attaching a trumpet to the end of the telescopic rod... and moving this about, voices can be made to appear in various parts of the room at will. Sometimes the trumpet is partly in sight, when the room is only partially darkened, and yet the voices come. This is accomplished by a small piece of rubber tubing being attached to the mouth of the horn, and the medium speaks into the other end of this tube. The voice appears to issue from the horn. At other times the medium employs a second trumpet, speaking into that, and it is almost impossible to distinguish the difference by locating the sound."

The phenomena with trumpets is easily achieved.

There are also many methods how a medium can evade control from a sitter's hand throughout a seance (Harry Houdini has published many photographs of this, as did Carrington). There is no evidence Sloan's feet and hands were properly controlled during any seance. He could move freely.

Malcolm Bird an early psychic researcher attended séances with Sloan concluded "the phenomena themselves were not particularly impressive; with the intermittent freedom of the medium, it seemed simple enough for him to have done most of them himself". (My Psychic Adventures, 1924 - I have uploaded this book online, if any earnest reader wants the link I can send it.)

In short, this is not evidence for life after death in my opinion, just another seance held in dark rooms with lack of controls.

"Most people - and I think this way too - figure if super psi is possible, then consciousness is not limited to the interior of the physical brain and, once we have consciousness operating beyond the brain, pretty much anything, including survival, is not only possible, but likely.

True, a philosopher could find holes in that thinking, but I don't think most of have time or taste for that kind of erudite analysis."

But it is conceivable that psi can operate beyond the brain as a kind of waves generated by the brain that spread outside.

And decline to these erudite analysis assumes risk being branded novice.

I'm not convinced ether has been disproven, though perhaps certain conceptions of ether have.

I feel a lot of things that are supposedly "proven" or "disproven" - to the benefit of the materialist faith - end up being extrapolations from actual experimental data.

It's interesting to note materialism has been allowed to revise itself in new guises after the old ones die of failure - to the point its foundations now rest on quantum weirdness - but immaterialism can apparently be killed by an experiment or even a stage magician's judgement of an experiment.

@ Juan:

"It is true that in theory super-psi hypothesis is as the simulation hypothesis or solipsism: skeptical hypotheses not logically impossible, but they often seem impossible for epistemological reasons. But in practice the afterlife hypothesis is not like the hypothesis that there are other minds, or anti-solipsism, because we relate to other people every day and can deepen it but mediumship is rare, most of the people have never been with a medium and current mediums rarely talk in trance or show mannerisms of the deceased. That is, the mediumship is not as robust as to compare the hypothesis that some mediums embody the deceased with the hypothesis that there are other minds."

But the medium would have to either be lying or deceived that they are communicating with another entity?

@ No One:

"Most people - and I think this way too - figure if super psi is possible, then consciousness is not limited to the interior of the physical brain and, once we have consciousness operating beyond the brain, pretty much anything, including survival, is not only possible, but likely."

I tend to lean this way as well. At some point super-psi - especially when one adds in the sociological psi that supposedly creates UFOs and such - seems to credit humanity with god-like powers.

At the least it would suggest we re-unite with some kind of Mind @ Large.

Someone asked where I found this medium. That's a story in itself. She was doing a public session about 10 years ago near where I live, sort of John Edward type deal. I went more or less as a curiosity, not having attended anything like that before, and I went with the specific intent of looking for evidence of cold reading.

She went through the audience and gave impromptu readings. Many I felt were rather vague, but a few seemed quite impressive. However, for all I knew these people were plants in the audience.

Then she came over to me, and said that my father had recently passed (true), and that although he had not died in a hospital, he was appearing to her wearing something like an old-style hospital gown from the 1920s (the night before, I had a dream about my dad wearing such a hospital gown).

Then she said "Your father is showing me a sign that says 'Lake of the Ozarks' and he says that is an important place for you. (true, my wife and I had our honeymoon there and return there as often as possible. No, I was not wearing a Lake of the Ozarks shirt, and it is 200 miles from where we live).

She then said that my father was saying something about delivering pizzas. (at one time we both worked as pizza delivery drivers).

Needless to say, I can't imagine how she could have gotten this kind of information. She didn't have my name and had never seen me before.

That was 10 years ago. I've had a couple of phone reading with her since. One was quite vague and did not impress me, but the second had some strong hits, including a warning that my mother was going to have cataract surgery soon (true).

The phone session a few days ago that I've already described had the most solid hits of all.

This medium either has the best private investigator on earth working for her, or she's genuine. Much of the information has been very, very specific, some of it known only to the family, and not generated by leading questions or cold reading.

She's not 100% of course. As stated there was one session which I was not impressed with. And even in the most recent one I didn't have a hit on some of the names.

But overall I find her very convincing. Chalking these hits up to fraud strains credulity for me. It isn't like she's just throwing tons of info at me looking for things that might hit. She zeroes in specific things, not with leading questions, but with declarative statements such as "your mom is telling me her first car was the '64 Mustang."

"But the medium would have to either be lying or deceived that they are communicating with another entity?"

The medium was wrong but that is not comparable with solipsism for the reasons I have already explained.

FDR, presumably the medium you saw could tell you exactly where your Mum is? Or any other of your loved ones? Are they supposed to be in "heaven"? or are they "earth bound"?

Why don't "dead" people communicate with mediums from hellish states of existence to bring back a message for their loved ones on earth?

Are we to believe that dead people are hanging around in the air somewhere just waiting for an opportunity to speak through a medium?

FDRLincoln, thanks for relating that story, very interesting.

David r, I've had these sort of questions, too, this is what I think about them.

Why don't "dead" people communicate with mediums from hellish states of existence?

Wouldn't it be really cruel of the medium to reveal this? If it was me, I wouldn't reveal it, and what good would it do?

Why don't the dead communicate to everyone? It's a cliche, but I think it makes sense that only certain people are gifted enough to communicate - or rather perceive - spirits. It's pretty clear in other areas that some people are far more perceptive to others' feelings, and more perceptive to the beauty of nature and expressing it artistically, for instance. Our minds also seem to pretty limited often too when it comes to perception - for instance, people routinely falsely misidentify others when they're a victim of crime.

I'm not sure what your question is David. Where is she? She hasn't "gone" anywhere. She's just at another level of existence that we only have tenuous access to.

"The ether hypothesis has been discredited so a lot of Findlay's book is invalid."

I would not be sure of that, because the notion of ether can be reborn under another name, such as quantum foam.

"There are also many methods how a medium can evade control from a sitter's hand throughout a seance (Harry Houdini has published many photographs of this, as did Carrington). There is no evidence Sloan's feet and hands were properly controlled during any seance."

But that says nothing about the mediumistic communications. Anyway, we already know you on this blog, much cherry picking, etc.

FDR, I asked several questions not just one.

FDRLincoln,

Great reading you got! And it jibes with everything I experience as a medium, though I am nowhere near the level of the person who read for you.

David r wrote,

||Are they supposed to be in "heaven"? or are they "earth bound"?

Why don't "dead" people communicate with mediums from hellish states of existence to bring back a message for their loved ones on earth?||

People who are earthbound after they die are in a confused state and typically not able to communicate very effectively. If mediums are able to reach them, the first thing they are going to say is, "Go into the light," etc.

Based on what I know, people are not sent to hellish existences when they die. Robert Monroe on his site explained it rather well when he said that evil people will go where they can keep doing what they've been doing. These people too are not in a position to reach out to mediums or be contacted.

I have personally spoken to someone who was in a kind of self-imposed purgatory after death. Sometimes people just don't feel vibrationally ready to be with others of a high light level and choose to spend some time alone or with similar others after death. This person wanted to speak with his former love, my friend on Facebook. It was a good conversation with some evidential elements. This wasn't a hellish existence, but it wasn't Summerland either.

||Are we to believe that dead people are hanging around in the air somewhere just waiting for an opportunity to speak through a medium?||

Sort of! Sometimes people want to communicate with others quite badly. A couple times a year, I will have strangers Over There want to talk to people who are strangers to me here. More frequent are people who want to communicate with people I know.

As FDRLincoln said, they do not have to be in a particular "place" in order to try to communicate. The Afterlife proper is the 5th dimension and higher, and they are always "close" to us in the geometric sense.

"But that says nothing about the mediumistic communications"?

My advice it to delve into the history of spiritualism. Every single physical medium that was ever investigated was either caught in fraud, or strongly suspected of fraud. Are you making the case Sloan is different? Why would that be?

As for direct-voice mediumship, look at two of the most notorious direct voice mediums in British History. William Roy and Frederick Tansley Munnings. Both performed phenomena far more spectacular than Sloan, and Munnings did not take money either. But both were exposed and published open confessions of their trickery.

Here is a little bit of Munnings from his confession:

"I have produced the voices of such well-known dead persons as W. T. Stead, Lord Northcliffe, the great English publisher, whose private secretary "recognized" her late employer...

I have even "materialized" a precious pet dog from the other world, making it possible for its grateful mistress to strokes its fur and cherish a few
of its hairs [...] Thousands have testified that I revealed things and made things happen that could only be accounted for by supernatural means and yet it was all hunk and fraud."

Why would Sloan be any different?

Psychic investigator Malcolm Bird who sat with Sloan in person concluded the phenomena was easily fraudulent. What is your position on this?

Also, do you honestly believe Sloan communicated with spirits? If there really was such a remarkable thing as life after death do you really think someone would come all the way back through time and space to a dark-room just to talk through a trumpet through some random guy? Does that make sense?

Is this not all a bit silly. And who has heard of a direct-voice medium today?

Do you remember slate-writing? It was exposed as fraudulent, what about spirit photography? That was exposed as fraudulent as well. What about ectoplasm? Nobody defends these things anymore. So direct-voice mediumship was just another fad in the history of spiritualism, a thing of the past. We rarely hear about it today. Can you explain all these fads?

As the twentieth century progressed there was a an increase in technology (camera etc) and scientific instruments so mediums could no longer hide their physical frauds. Now we only have 'mental' mediums. Direct-voice is dead. I do not see any revival of this stuff. Take care.

Some people who have a near death experience report seeing their life play out before them like a movie in great detail, even experiencing the thoughts and emotions of people they may have injured in some way. Apparently there may be some way to manipulate time so that one can see the past as well as the present and perhaps the future as it relates to a given individual.

I wonder if mediums are tapping into that time-dependent 'movie' in some way. If that were possible for some people, that is for instance, for a medium to see my movie, then it may not be necessary for any spirit to communicate at all. All the medium would have to do is watch my movie in which she would see and maybe experience my life and all of the lives of those who interacted with me.

I don't know. It's just a thought. - AOD

I think questions like "Why no communications from Hell?" are interesting but we also need to think about afterlives, plural, instead of one place everyone goes.

If the afterlife is real there can be various planes of existence. I actually suspect the crowded cosmologies of 80s-90s comics, or perhaps Dungeons & Dragons, would be a better description than that provided by our extant religions.

Also, on Ether - what is the "fabric" of spacetime? What are "waves" of gravity? Not saying its necessarily accurate but World Mysteries goes into more detail about how ether could still be real:

http://blog.world-mysteries.com/science/where-did-the-aether-go/

Seemed reasonable to me.

Sorry, I meant to add that these Hellish existences might have different relationships to our reality than the ones mediums can communicate with.

Tyrannies likely clamp down on communication, same with Abattoirs and the like.

@ Bill -

"Does that make sense?

Is this not all a bit silly."

Silly? Heh, have you heard of something called Quantum Mechanics?

Here's what I think, ha ha.

I had a really horrible experience about three years ago which I wrote of. Where a guy implanted his thoughts? feelings? body? into mine. I presume he suicided by how I felt- my body felt run down, I was extremely sad, and I could see no way out of my dilemma. Now before this happened, I believed in a number of spiritual things, but not someone implanting themselves in you. That was a eye opener.

I'm not an empath, i.e. feel people. And certainly after that I told god in no uncertain terms I didn't want that again. So I would say all mediums, particularly those who 'feel emotions etc'., would make sure those types did not connect with them.

So thats why you don't hear from them basically. I know one of the mediums on the 'Sensing Murder' programme in NZ said before it started, how she was worried about connecting with those who were murdered etc., as required by the show. As she would feel what they did. Yea, not pleasant.

Here's an idea of what spirit say to me some days if I ask them things. Yesterday i went to get stitches from a biopsy (of a sore) out and the results. Feeling nervous, I enquired with spirit.

"A little problem", they said. Oh dear I thought, what does that mean- more nervous. The reply- "No stitches, just cream, a little problem".

I go in. "Sorry", says the dermatologist, but your results did not come through " ( a week later already). " I am not sure what happened, but can we email you?". Lyn .

Adding to that, here's a better example.

The medium I spoke of from the 'Sensing Murder' show at one stage got in touch with a girl who drowned I think - she had water in her lungs. On contacting the girl, she passed the water on her lungs to the medium, to show her how she felt. The medium ended up in hospital with pneumonia, and she laughed saying how it wouldn't go down well with the doctor if she told him a spirit gave her pneumonia.

I remember years ago seeing an eighty year old medium, and she said she was giving up readings as she was worried about having a stroke- by them putting their emotions onto her.

In my experience I can understand that, as my whole body chemistry seemed to change. I felt so run down, as every feeling he had experienced in his anatomy and thoughts due to depression ( obviously over a period of prolonged time) became mine. Cheers.

SPatal,

As far as I know Quantum Mechanics has nothing to say about anything paranormal or alleged 'entities' such as spirits coming back to a use a trumpet in a seance. Can you point me to a mainstream QM textbook that does?

I read a lot of your posts and they are interesting but always about undermining 'materialism' or Quantum physics. Can you not discuss the topic at hand?

I think we should stick on tract and discuss these old historical mediums such as Sloan only as this is what Michael's thread is about.

What is your opinion on Sloan do you believe he was genuine? And how do you explain Malcolm Bird an experienced psychical investigator claiming the phenomena 'could' have been easily fraudulent? Why is it all direct-voice mediums from the past were caught in fraud? I am interested in your answers.

"My advice it to delve into the history of spiritualism. Every single physical medium that was ever investigated was either caught in fraud, or strongly suspected of fraud."

That still does not touch the data from mediumistic communications.

"Psychic investigator Malcolm Bird who sat with Sloan in person concluded the phenomena was easily fraudulent. What is your position on this?"

Cherry picking.

"Also, do you honestly believe Sloan communicated with spirits? If there really was such a remarkable thing as life after death do you really think someone would come all the way back through time and space to a dark-room just to talk through a trumpet through some random guy? Does that make sense?"

Funny, but that it seems absurd to you does not imply it is not real.

"So direct-voice mediumship was just another fad in the history of spiritualism, a thing of the past. We rarely hear about it today. Can you explain all these fads?"

Scole experiments...

@Bill. The usual exaggerations I see. Every medium who has been investigated has not been found to be fraudulent. Sloan was investigated and wasn't. Flint was investigated and wasn't. Emily French was investigated and wasn't to name but three. So your assertion is plain wrong.

Perhaps what you mean is 'any medium who has been investigated by someone whose opinion I agree with'?

Certainly some have. To conclude that therefore all are fraudulent is simply illogical.

That almost sounds very similar to supposed "voodoo dolls". That is, a medium feeling pain in their body could be compared to a voodoo doll being pricked in a certain part of the body.

Bill wrote "... do you really think someone would come all the way back through time and space to a dark-room just to talk through a trumpet ...?"

Maybe. If at least some EVP and ITC cases are authentic, then it would appear that spirits attempt to communicate by any available method. Communicating by trumpet is no more (or less) farfetched than communicating by Ouija board, planchette, table tipping, raps, apports, dreams, apparitions, phone calls, TV sets, fragrances, mysterious breezes, etc., etc. Of course a Skeptic would say that all of these things are 100% bunk. But maybe communication between different planes of consciousness simply takes advantage of any little crack in the door.

Regarding direct voice, there is the strange case of George Valiantine. Yes, I know he was caught cheating in 1931. But five years earlier he had a series of sessions with an expert on Confucius, and the expert swore that a voice speaking an ancient (and now defunct) dialect of Mandarin Chinese provided knowledgeable answers about Confucius' writings. See:

http://whitecrowbooks.com/michaeltymn/entry/the_voice_was_it_really_confucius_speaking

I suspect that in many cases, the medium's power fails after a while, and he or she then resorts to fraud. So I would not assume that fraud in a later stage of a medium's career automatically invalidates the earlier stage, though of course it does raise a red flag and points to a need to examine the earlier sessions very carefully.

Arthur Findlay reported positive things and Malcolm Bird reported negative. Should we not read both?

I have, then made up a conclusion. But you will not even acknowledge Bird, Juan? Why just read the positive and pretend the negative does not exist? This is not open research... I admit my bias (everyone is bias) I am a skeptic buy I still read all this psychic stuff.

"Usual exaggerations I see. Every medium who has been investigated has not been found to be fraudulent. Sloan was investigated and wasn't. Flint was investigated and wasn't. Emily French was investigated and wasn't to name but three. So your assertion is plain wrong."

Actually Paul what my first statement said was all physical mediums were either caught in fraud or strongly suspected of fraud. Apologies if I did not make that clear in my second post by claiming they were all fraudulent by proof. I think we can both eventually agree by evidence nearly all of them were.

Both Flint and Emily French were caught in fraud or at a minimum strongly suspected. You can easily find this information online.

"To conclude that therefore all are fraudulent is simply illogical."

Actually it is illogical to conclude some of them are genuine. I will quote not skeptics but people from your own movement of spiritualism and psychical research who believed in psychic powers.

These are very much the 'heroes' of parapsychology who are often quoted by spiritualists in defence that mediums are genuine. But even these fellows admit what a skeptic like myself is saying:

Camille Flammarion famous astronomer and psychical researcher (Long time member of the Society for Psychical Research and Theosophical Society).

"It is the same with all mediums, male and female. I believe I have had nearly all of them, from various parts of the world, at my house during the last forty years. One may lay it down as a principle that all
professional mediums cheat, but they do not cheat always."

Baron von Schrenck-Notzing famous German physician and psychical researcher (who himself was duped by many fraudulent mediums including Eva C and Eusapia Palladino):

"It is indisputable that nearly every professional medium (and many private mediums) does part of his performances by fraud Conscious and unconscious fraud plays an immense part in this field [...] The entire method of the Spiritualist education of mediums, with its ballast of unnecessary ideas, leads directly to the facilitation of fraud."

Hereward Carrington, long-term member of the American Society for Psychical Research, amateur conjurer and writer:

"There may be much fraud in modern spiritualism, in fact, I am disposed to believe that fully 98 per cent, of the phenomena, both mental and physical, are fraudulently produced."

Julian Ochorowicz famous polish psychical researcher who held favourite views about Palladino:

"Fraud is inseparable from mediums, just as simulation is inseparable from hypnotism."

Lewis Spence (who wrote a book "An Encyclopaedia of Occultism" often cited by modern parapsychologists to defend their claims):

"A very large part is played by fraud in spiritualistic practices, both in the physical and psychical, or automatic, phenomena, but especially in the former."

John Herman Randall, famous American psychical researcher, New Thought writer and president of the Metaphysical Society of America. He says this in his book on immortality:

"Many mediums have been detected in fraud and their trickery has been exposed."

A couple of more recent researchers:

Peter Aykroyd famous modern day ghost-hunter, author of "A History of Ghosts":

"Many of the psychical manifestations are clearly fraud and others are suspect, and there is no doubt that a great many mediums have gone down the road of deception."

Roger Clarke, author of "A Natural History of Ghosts" (I found this a good history)

"Almost without exception, most mediums were exposed."

Robert Crookall, geologist, psychical researcher and OBE writer who seemed to believe in just about anything paranormal. I see Michael Prescott has cited him on this blog:

"It is true that many mediums have, on occasion, resorted to more or less deliberate fraud and trickery."

Dead Radin in his chapter for "Debating Psychic Experience", wrote most physical mediums were caught in fraud.

Please note all of the above were or are believers in psychic phenomena. Yet they all concluded 'many' or 'most' mediums have been fraudulent. Their words not just mine.

This is no different than a card-carrying skeptic such as Paul Kurtz who wrote "Many mediums and psychics have been found cheating."

Your statement that all mediums are fraudulent is an 'illogical' position is not to me. Because believers from your own field. Men who sat with mediums for many years such as Carrington, Flammarion or modern day ghost-hunters have admitted most mediums are fraudulent.

If nearly all these mediums are fraudulent like researchers from your own field state then is it really illogical to go an inch more and say they all are? If mediums were really genuine then why have 'nearly' all of them been exposed?

The one 'white crow' does not make much sense to me. Surely more mediums should be genuine if we are dealing with a genuine phenomena here?

All I see is fraud I am afraid, and I have painstakingly in depth studied your own field and even your own guys agree with me. Take care.

@ Bill:

My point about QM was that just because something seems absurd doesn't mean it's not real.

Not trying to provide a quantum explanation for these phenomena though the weirdness at that level does make your claims about a spirit having to cross back through space & time potentially irrelevant.

Wherever spirits are, if they exist, might not be so far after all.

(Michael if my other post to Bill went through just delete this one. Dealing with a spotty connection in India - apologies!)

Bill wrote,

||I admit my bias (everyone is bias) I am a skeptic buy I still read all this psychic stuff.||

Feel free not to.

What's the skeptical explanation for my recent very successful reading?

"Why just read the positive and pretend the negative does not exist?"

I already read both positions, for example in The Enigma of Survival by Hornell Hart, and Is There Life After Death? by Robert Kastenbaum, and I have come to the conclusion that the most likely some mediums are genuine and are in contact with spirits of the deceased.

"If nearly all these mediums are fraudulent like researchers from your own field state then is it really illogical to go an inch more and say they all are?"

Of course it is illogical, because it does not logically follow that all mediums are fraud / deception from that most mediums are fraud / deception.

French,Sloan and Flint were not caught in fraud by people who investigated them. Please show me specifically where Flint,Sloan and French were caught in fraud.

It is very easy to suggest fraud as an explanation for phenomena. This is not evidence of fraud, it is an opinion no more valid than that of people who would say the opposite. In fact in all those cases the mediums concerned were extensively tested over a long period. I'm not saying one should therefore simply accept the testimony supporting them however testing over an extended period with proper controls trumps someone who visits them once and suspects something a bit fishy.

Of course one should read all research on a particular medium, not just those endorsing it, but they do not all carry the same weight necessarily. It is quite difficult to form a rounded view on testimonial evidence, even when one knows the reporter personally.

There is also the point Michael Prescott made, which is that even in the event that fraud is detected, one should make an effort to understand why and how, if our interested is genuine.

Bill says that direct voice is dead, and presumably by this he also means to sound the death knell, so to speak, for *all* the phenomena of physical mediumship of old.

Well, I attended a circle only the other week, in the north of the UK where I live, which featured physical phenomena that would appear to refute that suggestion, Bill. The circle in question consisted of a couple in their sixties, their late-teenage grandson and his girlfriend, plus two other couples who had travelled to join them, plus myself as a guest.

The sitting took place in a small bedroom, so small as to accommodate not much more than the double bed that normally resided in there and which had been tipped onto its side to allow room for a small round table and nine chairs. It was intimate: cheek-to-jowl, thigh-to-thigh, arm-to-arm, nine people in a circle.

Although the seance took place in the dark, I believe the configuration of people and their intimacy precluded any fraud that could sufficiently explain the effects that saw, for example, the table levitate to the ceiling (viewable by luminous stickers), move outside of the circle and back again and then become placed over one of the sitters' heads such that she ended up "wearing" the table. A person standing to pick up the table, move it about and place it on someone's head, would have immediately alerted their neighbour and indeed the rest of us since the circle was so intimate and we could hear every movement.

In addition to this, the grandson was in charge of a torch that he switched on and off at regular intervals in between phenomena, showing the intact circle. Phenomena began instantly as the torch was switched off, and included writing of messages, tying of ribbons onto sitters' wrists, various parlour tricks of that nature. To a skeptic who wasn't present, I can understand that these phenomena sound open to fraud, but I was there and there is just no way that this could account for them. The speed of some of these effects, the wide movement of objects above our heads and around the whole circle, would have required somebody to be stood up running round the room. Oh please don't cite telescopic whatnots and other subtly skilful cheats! If you were there, you'd know...

In addition, this circle, with varying members, has been going on for eighteen years. They say they didn't even get much physical phenomena for the first eight years. It takes time to build a kind of rapport or bridge with the team on the other side, they say. They don't charge money, they don't seek fame. Do you really think they have done this for eighteen years, solely in order to fool their friends and indeed now their own grandson (who has only recently joined their circle)? For eighteen years? What could anyone possibly get out of that, even if it were possible?

No, I have to say, Bill, as tough as it is to believe - and I certainly grant you that it is hard to believe - it simply comes down to the old Holmesian adage of "Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth."

Thanks for that fascinating report, Adeimantus. There are such circles still in existence, but they keep a low profile, mainly because they don't want to be exposed to ridicule from Skeptics like Bill. Skeptics go out of their way to mock and disparage anyone who makes such claims, and then ask triumphantly, "Why don't more people report these things?"

Incidentally, J. Malcolm Bird, who Bill cited as expressing doubts about Sloan, was a confirmed skeptic himself. He was an editor of Scientific American who offered a $5,000 prize to any medium could prove his or her abilities (sound familiar?).

I'm not saying we should discount Malcolm Bird's opinion strictly on this basis, but I would note that Bill discounted Arthur Findlay's opinion, which was grounded in far more extensive experience with Sloan, simply because Findlay was a spiritualist. This is a common tactic - spiritualists are biased and cannot be trusted, but Skeptics are impartial and can always be trusted. It never seems to occur to Skeptics that many of these people became spiritualists only after seeing enough evidence to convince them.

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