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Dear all,

I happen to possess some tapes of Flint sessions and also one of a Dutch radio documentary that was produced in the seventies. In particular the latter I have listened to again this afternoon.

(Sorry, I was unable to convert it into a MP4 file, so you will have to do with a transcription.)

In 1967 test seances with Flint were begun by Electrotechnical Engineer Nigel Buckmaster, together with Prof William Bennet from Columbia University, USA.
This comes from a session in 1972.

Buckmaster: “His face was taped. His lips were sealed with plaster right across his face. And a microphone was put on his throat. A throat microphone. Again, of course, one never gets its absolutely cut and dry, but the fact that there were voices when his mouth was taped, and the voice produced perfect sounds of p’s and b’s, indicated to us that they were supernormal.”

He also sat with Prof Bennet at a distance of two feet away from Flint.

Buckmaster: “We did see in infrared light ectoplasm proceding out of his left ear just above his shoulder and then on his shoulder. Professor Bennet and I were invited by Micky to come up close to it. We were not allowed to touch it. It looked like a very strange substance. I don’t what it was but it did built up, and the voice seemed to proceed from it.”

----------
So far Buckmaster.

Some Remarks from me:

-- Way back in the early nineteenhundreds Nobel Prize winner Charles Richet was allowed to touch ectoplasm when in session with a medium who produced the substance. He described it as something proteine-like. Actually, it was Richet who coined the term ectoplasm.

--In the same radio broadcast, the Dutch ventriloguist Haak van Overloop (known as the best one of his time) was asked to have his mouth plastered and then produce something intelligible. The only sound he could produce was “mmmmmmmmmmm”. Next he said that for any ventriloguist it is absolutely impossible to produce p’s and b’s in such a situation (plaster stuck over one's mouth) Hence the claims of the SPR and others that Flint was a very good vertriloguist are nonsense.

-- By the way, in these sessions Greene and Woods were NOT there. So the claims of AOD and others that they (Green and Woods) were the ones who produced these voices do not hold.

In general I wish to say this. The fact alone that Flint was willing to be the subject of many, sometimes quite humiliating tests, testifies for his trustworthiness. A fraud would never want be subject of such rigorous tests. Therefore I find claims of cheating shocking not to say downright evil.

Smithy

Oops: I don’t what it was but it did built

should be I don't know what it was but...

As I said before, I also have a book on Flint, i.e. the Dutch "Dood geen Einde" (= Death no End) by IJsbrand Rogge (for English-speaking people he calls himself Michael Rogge). The book consists of 238 pages, is A4 size, and includes a 45 rotations per second gramophone record of noteworthy voices.

The book is very thorough and critical, and also based on Rogge's own visits to Flint.

Rogge examines various claims of fraud, and found them all wanting. He thinks Flint is/was genuine.

That Flint is not mentioned quite often in modern parapsychological literature is because, as I have been informed by current parapsychology reseachers in the Netherlands, that (a) they prefer quantative tests over qualitative tests of personal nature and (b) they want to avoid anything that could involve fraud.

Cheers - Smithy

There are a few books listed here which feature the work of Flint...and there are others.
http://www.leslieflint.com/books

Cheers,
Karl

From Flint's biography, Professor Bennet says:

"My experience with Mr. Flint is first hand; I have heard the independent voices. Furthermore, modern investigation techniques not available in earlier tests corroborate previous conclusions by indicating that the voices are not his. But to be thorough, one should consider the possibility of live accomplices...

This suggestion became untenable for me during his visit to New York in September 1970, when, in an impromptu séance in my apartment, the same voices not only appeared but took part in conversations with the guests"

Hello Smithy,

I would be very happy to learn where this transcript by Buckmaster originates....I have never heard this anywhere before. Where did it come from ?

Also I would be keen to learn which other Flint recordings you might have (any that are not already online I mean)

Regards,
Karl

Hello Karl,

The Buckmaster words were from a Dutch radio program. The makers interviewed Buckmaster at the time. So no wonder that you could not find this.

I am also lucky that I got acquainted with the man who originated this radio documentary, i.e. IJsbrand Rogge, now in his late eighties. He was so kind to send me a tape of this radio-doc.

Furthermore I have eight recordings of prominent voices - also kindly forwarded by Rogge, but these are all available now on the internet. Not in the seventies.

BTW - I am glad that you transcribed Bennet's words from Flint's autobiography. They corroborate what Buckmaster said on my tape.

Cheers - Smithy

Dear Smithy,
I know and have emailed Michael Rogge - he is very dedicated. I only wish his book had been translated into English...

I am very interested in your audio of the Dutch radio show.
I do have a copy of one Dutch broadcast, from Dec 7th 1974. It's an 'on air' seance with Flint's helper Mickey talking to those in the studio.
Unfortunately, I only have the 2nd half - so would you say this is the same recording that you have ?

If you can help me obtain an mp3 version of your recording I can put it out on the Flint Trust website (I volunteer for them).

You can email me via leslieflint@hotmail.com

Regards,
Karl

Smithy,
also - in Michael's other post on Flint - you respond quoting from an email from Mary Rose Barrington, where she tells how the voice of Mickey, Flint's "control", was heard over her head, rather than coming from Flint himself.

If you are still in touch with Mary, it would help me greatly to hear from her - as a testimonial of her experiences with Flint would be an important record for those wishing to study Flint in the future.

Regards,
Karl

I wonder how much is out there regarding medium Alec Harris?

I know Zerdini spoke highly of him and indeed Zerdini directly witnessed full materialisation in good light, and in his opinion Harris was the real deal.

Zerdini recounted an experience (which is on a blog post here somewhere) where he actually shook hands with the materialised spirit guide, who took the form of a native american, that being the spirit-guide fashion at the time!

This was in good light. The spirit guide actually dematerialised in front of him as he was shaking his hand, leaving nothing but fresh air.

I know, it's definitely at the upper end of some peoples' boggle-threshold, but there you go.

Zerdini spoke highly of Flint too. In his opinion there are no mediums of Flint's or Harris's quality today. In today's faster paced world, people are not willing to dedicate the time required. In the slower paced world of the past, this was less of a problem.

Hence, 'easier' yet less impressive forms of mediumship predominate today - mental mediumship being the most common.

It should be pointed out that there are a few circles operating on a weekly basis in the US, UK and elsewhere, trying to raise the game in physical mediumship, but they are generally private, as their results are too inconsistent to demonstrate publicly - a mature attitude imo.

Douglas


Hi all,

Today I have spent a few hours to plough through all the mails about Leslie Flint, I exchanged quite a few years ago with Michael (aka IJsbrand) Rogge and also with an SPR prominent, i.e. Mary Rose Barrington. See what follows:

Excerpt from a mail sent to me by Mary Rose Barrington:

MRB: To answer your main question quickly, the SPR test [of Flint] was inconclusive, because Dr West, who fixed a tape over Flint's mouth to ensure that he did not use his own voice, said that the tape did not line up with his marks, and therefore indicated that it had been moved. The SPR did not publish an adverse report, firstly to spare Flint, and secondly because no one could be certain that the tape had been removed. The outcome was unsatisfactory for everyone concerned. It may have been a rigorous experiment, but unfortunately it can't be said to have confirmed the direct voice.
Much later, when Flint was in his sixties, an experiment was done using infra-red and a monitor screen where one could observe directly or close up on the screen, it was clear that he was articulating, and his own voice was recorded through a throat microphone. So that was not a success.
But I did attend many sittings with Flint, and on one occasion I had the Mickey voice whisper straight into my ear, and I am fairly sure that this was direct voice, not Flint himself.
My own view is that the direct voice was only occasional, and certainly the voices I heard (with that one exception) appeared to come from Flint himself.

Excerpts from my mail exchanges with Rogge
(translated from the Dutch):

Rogge: Indeed, the mediumship of Leslie Flint was not recognised by the SPR. But when you read their publications, then one would doubt any supernatural phenomenon….
The objections about Flint by the SPR I am aware of. But the observation that one saw move Flint’s lips is alien to me. About 35 years ago I visited a medical specialist, Dr Rabinowitz. At his place observations in infrared light were done. He was convinced of the results. No mention whatsoever about lip movements.
He did mention that now and then the electrical current to the infrared lamp was cut off, and that then the loudness of the voices increased considerably. Evidence that ectoplasm is sensitive for light, even for the infrared which is invisible to our eyes.

[Smithy:] By the way, it was the wife of Rabinowitz, Doreen Montgomery, who was the actual ghostwriter of Flint’s biography – mind you, Flint's formal education went no further than primary school, so writing was not his forte.

Rogge: There are indeed weaknesses to the evidence of Flint’s direct voices, such as the similarities of them. On the other hand, then he would have been one of the most exceptional ventriloguists of this world. Professional Ventriliquists have judged that they could not in anyway accomplish his feats. Then he would have been able to also produce the most beautful female voices: I have played some of the tapes to a speech therapist, Jaap Hoogstra, and asked him if any male actor could mimick in such a way a female voice. Verdict: never ever!

Rogge: So indeed, the identification of the voices is a thorny matter. For example, the Ghandi voice differs from his speedy high pitched voice during his life. On the other hand, a tape recording of his direct voice played in New Delhi was identified as his by the public. The voice of the arch bisshop of Canterbury was positively identified by someone. Also the voices of Bernard Shaw and Lilian Bayless were positively identified. However, I believe that one should not entirely rely on such indentifications.

Rogge: That the voices are closely connected to the voice box of the medium can indeed be concluded from all sorts of observations, but that these at all times originated from the medium’s mouth I cannot accept, given the fact that these voices were heard from all corners of the seance room.

Rogge: In addition, one should realize that this particular phenomenon was not only happening to Flint. In this regard, I have the report from an audio engineer who attended a studio seance with the American medium Valentine. They had purposefully attached microphones onto the ceiling, which could not be reached without a ladder. Yet, voices were recorded that originated close to these microphones.

------

Okay - that will do I guess.

We can safely conclude that Flint was an exceptional medium. What truly happened we will never know (he died in 1994), but that he was a fraud as so many so-called skeptics have been all too happy to shout from the rooftops, seems very doubtful. It is much more likely that his capabilities were genuine.

Smithy


Karl - in the above you will find the relevant mail I received from Ms Barrington. There were two others mails from her containing only one irrelevant line, hence I deleted them.

As for that particular Dutch radio doc, as I said I tried to convert it, but I don't have the good equipment for it.

Maybe a friend can help me.

BTW - as far as can judge, Rogge seems still around, but he is very old (from 1929). Perhaps you can contact him again.

Cheers - Smithy

Very interesting thank Smithy. Thank you for making the effort.

@Smithy

What is quite interesting is that MRB doesn't seem to say she conducted the test which she says showed Flint's throat being the source of the voice. So that raises a number of questions for me...
Who did carry out the test? When and where was it done and under what circumstances? What was Flint's response to the suggestion that he was producing the voices himself? If he wasn't asked, why not?

Then, as you say, we see many examples of tests carried out with all the details present that we see missing from the MRB reference (I am not blaming her but it would have helped if the interviewer had asked).

MRB's reference to what she said West inferred from his test of Flint differs from Flint's view, and whilst one could argue 'well it would be different', I think it is a long leap to introduce the idea of fraud into the conversation from MRB herself. Let's see what West actually said - if anyone can find it.

The remark about 'sparing Flint' does carry the implication that he was at fault. Is that right, or was it a fault in the way West conducted the test, not ensuring thathis own protocols were sufficiently rigorous and which he could not then (rightly) depart from.

I don't have anything to add to the fascinating Flint discussion, but thought I would recommend this Ted talk video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbnBe-vXGQM

A hospice doctor recounts some of his and others' many experiences with dying patients being visited by their dead relatives, family, and (yes!) pets. Really interesting stuff. Art, if you're listening, I think this would be right up your alley.

Mary Rose Barrington wrote:

"Much later, when Flint was in his sixties, an experiment was done using infra-red and a monitor screen where one could observe directly or close up on the screen, it was clear that he was articulating, and his own voice was recorded through a throat microphone."

From what I've read elsewhere, this seems to be a mistaken memory of the episode. The published sources I've consulted uniformly state that the throat mic did *not* pick up any evidence that Flint was articulating.

It's possible that Barrington is referring to a different, heretofore unreported test, but it's more likely that she was simply confused in her recollection after a long passage of time.

Barrington also wrote (with regard to the earlier Elastoplast test): "The SPR did not publish an adverse report, firstly to spare Flint, and secondly because no one could be certain that the tape had been removed."

The business about "sparing Flint" appears to be pure supposition on her part. The SPR was never hesitant about exposing fake mediums, especially of the "physical" variety. Indeed, the SPR publicly discredited more fakes than Harry Houdini ever did. The SPR researchers who investigated Eusapia Palladino in 1908 had exposed more than 100 mediums as frauds before they ever met Palladino. The SPR grew so weary of exposing physical mediumship that they stopped investigating physical mediums almost entirely for several decades, the only major exceptions being Palladino and Mina Crandon. And Crandon was herself discredited in the famous "thumbprint" episode, which was published.

In short, if the SPR had the goods on Flint, they would have published the report. They did not publish it because the researcher in question, Donald West, apparently believed that the Elastoplast probably had come loose by accident.

Barrington's spin on these two episodes appears to be unreliable, at least to me. Which is not to say Flint was legit, only that these brief passages should not be taken as accurate, let alone used as the basis for sotto voce murmurings about all the deep dark secrets the SPR may have kept to itself. Based on the SPR's reluctance to investigate physical mediums at all, it is probably safe to assume that they knew nothing more than what has been reported - which is very little.

I dunno, but it seems to me that Mary Rose Barrington, as a rather active member of the SPR since around 1962 (she was vice-president in 1995) should have known something about what was going on within the SPR. To blow off her comments about Flint as faulty memory is just conjecture and an effort to preserve one’s ‘will to believe’ that Flint actually facilitated conversations with the dead. - AOD

Why are we even debating today whether the Flint voices were authentic direct voice phenomena or not? Don't you find it incredible, that the scientific acumen which put men on the moon in 1969 could not definitively settle the matter yea or nay? After all, we're talking basic biology here. Either the human instrument is making the noise or it isn't. I should think that a high school science class could have established effective controls and instruments of sound source detection to settle the matter. And, if scientists are so damned curious, creative, and willing to dream truly wild ideas, like the existence of a multi-verse, dark matter/dark energy, and so forth, then what's so difficult about accepting as fact that a weird little Englishman can produce voices without the use of his physical organs of speech? I find the failure of courage and curiosity in this matter to be truly mind boggling. By comparison, buying into direct voice with conviction is a walk in the park, however you explain the damn thing.

SPR president John Poynton speculates that a kind of cognitive pathology is responsible for the attitude of incredulity that afflicts the scientific mainstream with respect to paranormal phenomena. Peter Lamont addresses the history of this "cognitive pathology" in his excellent article Spiritualism and a Mid-Victorian Crisis of Evidence. Lamont's article is on Jstor, but you can register for free to read it. The mid-Victorian crisis was not a lack of evidence, but rather an embarrassing wealth of it supporting the psychic phenomena of D. D. Home. The witnesses were first class, the lighted conditions ideal, and the scientific testing by Crookes and colleagues was impeccable.

Honest disagreement about interpreting strange phenomena is not the problem. It is, rather, the absurd inability to face physical facts and admit that we don't know what the hell is going on. The flaming arrogance and unwillingness of the supposedly educated mind to confront its own ignorance is beyond belief. Henry Sidgwick called it a scandal in 1882. That it continues to this day, is a testament to the power of belief systems to alter and conceal matters of clearly established fact.

Facts are precious things. They are the offspring of cosmic law and universal truth. When we allow our opinions to morph into pseudo-facts, they attach themselves like barnacles to the genuine facts, and the truth becomes encrusted and disfigured, like the once beautiful statuary in sunken cities.

"To blow off her comments about Flint as faulty memory is just conjecture and an effort to preserve one’s ‘will to believe’ ..."

I don't think I have a will to believe regarding Flint, since I have no definite opinion on him as yet. If anything, I lean toward thinking he was a fake, because the voices just don't sound convincing to me. Physical mediumship in general has always struck me as problematic, though there are a few (a very few) cases that seem authentic.

But really, AOD, how can you talk about "conjecture" after throwing out the suggestions that Woods and Greene were Flint's accomplices and that the SPR had dirt on Flint but chose not to release it? Both accusations are purely conjectural.

MRB's statement about the throat mic contradicts every published source I've been able to consult. So we have a conflict between a) a letter (or email?) from someone who wasn't present at the event and who was writing many years later, and b) published accounts apparently based on the original research. I think the published accounts should take priority. At the very least we have to treat MRB's claim as unproven.

Of course, if anyone can point me to published sources that back up her claim about the throat mic test, I'd be happy to see them.

Michael,

I recently mentioned to you that I’ve spent some time in recent years with Aubrey Rose, a retired human rights lawyer who lives near London.

Aubrey’s son passed away in or around 1977. Some time later someone played him a Flint tape purporting to be a Judge; I forget which one. Because the so-called communicator was a judge, he was intrigued and he decided to visit Leslie. He told me he received personal evidence at a number of sittings, and subsequently, the two became friends.

He also told me he sat with him regularly right up until Leslie retired to Brighton and Hove on the south coast of England. Even then he visited him often and spoke at his funeral.

Aubrey still has a drawer full of tapes. He said they used to put in a donation (I think it was £5) for anyone who wanted a tape. This was in the 70’s/80’s.

I’ve met him a few times and although now in his late 80’s he is still very sharp. As far as he is concerned, Flint was a modest, simple, regular guy with gift. He told me, as a trial lawyer, he was used to defending the great and the not so great, and at no time did he ever feel Leslie was anything other than who he appeared to be.

He wrote the foreword to his biography. See here:
http://www.leslieflint.com/voices-in-the-dark

I only mention him here because he’s a very pragmatic, accomplished man, and has never struck me a person who could be duped year after year (although of course anything is possible). In his professional and personal life many people (probably surprised by their friendship), questioned him about Flint and sometimes he took people to see him, particularly if they were skeptical.

http://www.aubreyrose.org.uk/about.html

Maybe some of the communicators were not who they claimed to be, who knows? But the idea that they colluded and created fake tapes over decades seems unlikely, or at least there doesn’t seem to be any evidence for that.

Reading all the comments here it’s easy to be skeptical but there are not too many “Flint sitters” around these days and Aubrey was a regular, so I was happy to hear his opinion.

Well, Mary Rose Barrington was reported by Smithy to have said that, “The SPR did not publish an adverse report, firstly to spare Flint . . . “ To me, that means that the SPR had information about Flint that, if it were published it would not be in Flint’s favor, that is, it would not support the contention that Flint was facilitating communication with the dead. Whether or not one would consider that “dirt’ is a matter of semantics. I don’t think that it is a matter of conjecture, at least not mine. It is something MRB, a long-time active SPR member reportedly said. I would like to think that it would be relatively easy to validate MRB’s claims through documentation maintained by the SPR. Perhaps someone with easy SPR access could or should do that.

My bias is that I have not yet found in the history of parapsychology any well documented evidence that dead humans can speak to the living in the manner presented in the Leslie Flint tapes. In simple terms I do not believe that the dead can speak to the living. I say that even though I myself may have heard my deceased father call my name in an agitated manner early one morning a day or two before my mother died. My belief is not immovable but hard solid evidence needs to be available to support such contention. The Leslie Flint tapes, in my opinion do not provide that support. - AOD

AOD, the quote from Barrington is: "The SPR did not publish an adverse report, firstly to spare Flint, and secondly because no one could be certain that the tape had been removed."

The meaning of this is perfectly clear. If a report had been published suggesting that the tape had been deliberately removed, it would have damaged Flint's reputation. Since the researchers were not sure the tape had been removed (it could have come loose by itself, especially since only a small corner was loose), it would have been unfair to do this to him.

You seemed to interpret her statement to mean that the SPR had other, unspecified info on Flint that was damaging, but they chose to suppress it. There is simply nothing to support this conjecture.

As for the ability of the departed to speak to the living, I think the hundreds of posts on this blog about Leonora Piper, Gladys Leonard, Eileen Garrett, spontaneous ADCs, crisis apparitions, NDEs, etc. are enough to suggest at least a high probability of such communication. But I concede that if that material left you unmoved, Flint's mediumship (which clearly has its problematic points and is far from the strongest case) won't change your mind.

Hi Michael,

The mail I received from MRB was sent to me on November 17, 2009, hence now almost eight years ago.

As for your suggestion that Flint was a fake after all, because of the male voices that for many of them more or less resembled his own, is something I take the liberty to take issue with.

Indeed, as I said before, it is a thorny matter. But that does not mean that the entities using those voices were not coming from the supposed personalities. After all, searching through all the available material on the tapes and in Flint's (ghost-written) autobiography, shows that often information quite relevant for the involved sitter(s) was given via those voices. Also, quite a few times those entities made it clear that using Flint’s voice apparatus was something that required great effort of them.

In one of my former posts I talked about the Dutch radio doc in the seventies. A whole team, the initiator of which was the aforementioned Michael Rogge, visited Flint, with the main aim to seek contact with the soul of Godfried Bomans, who had passed away some time before this visit. In the company was also Jan Bomans, a brother of Godfried. BTW, at the time Godfried had been a very famous author and radio personality in the Netherlands – also he was a fervent Charles Dickens fan, and thus very familiar with the English language.

Anyway – they sat with Flint and asked Bomans to come through. Flint began calling up Micky, his control. After some time, indeed, Micky came through, first as a faint whisper, then gradually much louder. The voice was very loud and articulate, clearly the voice of a young boy. In no way, in particular the deeper tones, hinting at the voice of a grown-up who mimicked a boy’s voice.

Micky made it clear that the passed away Bomans could not come through personally as he was not ready for this. However, Micky would act as an inbetween.

Soon after that he began relating all sorts of events from the lives of the two brothers, Godfriend and Jan Bomans. He did not so much respond to questions of Jan, but simply issued statements about things in the house, such as their dog, things hidden in drawers, and so on. Perhaps for an outsider all not so relevant but for the brother it WAS relevant.

As is written in Rogge’s book, 20 of those facts were directly stated by Micky, 17 of them appeared to be correct, and three doubtful.
However, after having returned to the Netherlands, it was found out that of those three one was correct after all.

Hence, the score 18 positive against two doubtful. Not a bad score, I would say, given the fact that Flint never ever had heard of the Bomans family in the Netherlands. Also, keep in mind that in those days, when there was no such thing as an internet with Google, it was virtually impossible to obtain that sort of information within a short period of time, or at all!

It is also known that Flint’s mediumship began in the usual manner: going into trance, and then entities coming through who used his normal speech organ. Only later in life the direct voices began to manifest themselves.

The fact that he began as a trance medium could account for MRB’s statement that on certain occasions he was seen, via infrared devices, articulating with his lips.

Anyway, the female voices contradict everything that has been suggested about Flint using his own voicebox within his throat at all times. Those female voices, some of them truly beautiful and thorougly feminine, could not have been produced by Flint’s own male voicebox.

The argument that he was a clever ventriloguist is downright untenable, as professional ventriloguists have testified. Also: I repeat it again: Flint produced voices when his lips were sealed with plaster and water in his mouth. No ventriloguist can do such a thing, period.

Smithy

PS - just read the comment about Aubrey Rose! Great stuff. In the Dutch version of Voices in the Dark there is no translation of that foreword.


Michael,
Whether or not the tape moved an eighth of an inch or so is a minor issue in my opinion. To risk another conjecture, Flint probably squiggled around his mouth if the tape itched. However if he moved his mouth to articulate voices as Barrington indicated, then that may have dislocated the tape. I don’t think that Flint actually removed the tape with his hands. Barrington speaks of being able to see on the infrared monitor Flint articulating speech and the throat microphone picking up Flint’s voice. If that information is true, and Barrington was an active member of the SPR at the time then I presume that others at the SPR would have been aware of that also. One is left wondering why the SPR did not publish that finding and if that documentation is available in their archives, then it seems to me that it would be important to find it or not, thereby substantiating or not Barrington’s claims.

Yes, I believe that it is true that communication with the departed may have occurred especially in the Piper readings for which there is the most seemingly good evidence. The other paranormal things you mentioned reportedly do provide communication also. However, I am not aware of any other direct voice audible communication from the deceased of the conversational type provided over many years through the Flint séances. If there are others, I of course would be interested in the source. - AOD

Very interesting post Jon thank you.

AOD wrote,

||In simple terms I do not believe that the dead can speak to the living.||

Do you mean that you believe that mediumship doesn't exist at all? I would be curious, then, how Patience Worth can serve as evidence.

As a minor mental medium myself, I can say without equivocation the following:

1. The deceased sometimes greatly pressure us to come through; i.e., we are not always necessarily "digging."

2. We get information that we could not have gotten from non-paranormal means.

3. We get communications and images that are consistent with a specific personality. I.e., it seems that *someone* is talking to us; it's not just random information coming in that is connected by the deceased as a *theme*.

IOW, it sure doesn't feel how one would suspect super-psi would feel.

The above might very well come from a cause other than the dead wishing to speak with the living. But the phenomena are real and require an explanation.

David Chilstrom wrote,

||Why are we even debating today whether the Flint voices were authentic direct voice phenomena or not?||

For me, it comes down to the quality of the taped sessions. To me, "authenticity" has two necessary conditions: 1) paranormal production of the voices (since that was claimed; not required of mental mediums, obviously); 2) quality content. Without #2, we may have a paranormal phenomenon that isn't mediumship. And it's not necessarily the case that every session was the same, either.

||Don't you find it incredible, that the scientific acumen which put men on the moon in 1969 could not definitively settle the matter yea or nay?||

No. Society has not yet chosen collectively to recognize paranormal phenomena as real, so it's difficult to develop a collective judgment about any given instance of a phenomenon.

||[...]then what's so difficult about accepting as fact that a weird little Englishman can produce voices without the use of his physical organs of speech?||

I agree that it's conceptually and technologically simple to do so in 2017. The tests were not done *and* recorded (by video, etc.) in such a way at the time that all doubt was removed for the suitably open-minded. That said, I lean toward believing that paranormal phenomena were produced by Flint, at least at times.

||SPR president John Poynton speculates that a kind of cognitive pathology is responsible for the attitude of incredulity that afflicts the scientific mainstream with respect to paranormal phenomena.||

I think it's pretty simple to explain, actually: in the West, Christianity was (and is still in the process of being) replaced by atheism, neither of which have any interest in recognizing the phenomena. Scylla and Charybdis, if you will.

Though, I think you are off on a bit of a tangent with respect to why commenters *here* believe or do not believe in Flint. I think you are using the template to fight against Skeptics on people who are not Skeptics.

||That it continues to this day, is a testament to the power of belief systems to alter and conceal matters of clearly established fact.||

Indeed. Christians (and Muslims, for that matter, though they tend to attribute anything paranormal to the jinn) and atheists are not open-minded about the phenomena. They are motivated to deny the existence of the phenomena in the first place.

Spirits using Flint's own voice box is an entirely different thing that direct voices from spirits using a trumpet or an ectoplasmic voice box. I am willing to concede that at the times that Flint was in a trance (similar to Leonora Piper) spirits may have been communicating using Flint's own voice. Mickey may have been acting as a control conveying the thoughts of the communicators similar to Phinuit and other controls of Piper. Flint may have at one time been a credible trance medium which I can accept based upon the years of study done on Piper. It is the tapes of direct voice conversations from movie stars and others reportedly using an ectoplasmic "voice box" that boggles my mind.

I believe that Barrington wrote that Flint was in his 60s when the infrared monitor and throat microphone were used to test Flint during which she indicated that his lips moved and the microphone picked up his voice so perhaps he was still using his trance mediumship at times or maybe not. I believe that Woods and possibly Greene were also mediums but I don't know whether or not they were trance voice mediums.

I agree with Smithy that the female voices probably were not produced by Flint's own male voice box and also I agree that ventriloquism doesn't seem to be a tenable argument for the production of the direct voices. - AOD

AOD - see my opening post of this blog.

Nigel Buckmaster was also a member of the SPR. Together with Prof Bennet he contradicts MBR's statement.

BTW - Mrs Barrington is now 90 or 91 years old. I am not going to bother her about this issue.

Smithy

Hi all,

As Michael said, yes there were direct voice mediums who were much better than Flint. One of them was Etta Wriedt. Although she could only express herself in her mother tongue English, voices were heard who spoke in various different languages, such as Croation, Serbian, modern Greek, Swedish, Dutch, etc.

Unfortunately, due to the fact that she lived in the first half of the previous century, no audio recordings exist of her seances.

http://psychictruth.info/Medium_Etta_Wriedt.htm

BTW: Wikipedia claims that she was a fraud. Nothing could be further from the truth - just go to the above link, and read in particular the lines pertaining to that untruth.

AOD - thanks for your latest post. Now we are getting somewhere!

Smithy

Matt:
You asked, "Do you mean that you believe that mediumship doesn't exist at all? I would be curious, then, how Patience Worth can serve as evidence."

As you know, mediums come in all flavors and colors from strictly mental mediums to flamboyant full figure materialization mediums and of course, direct voice mediums such as Leslie Flint. and the unbelievably multi-talented medium, D.D. Home. Pearl Curran pleaded with Dr. Walter Franklin Prince to make it known in his study of her fling with Patience Worth that she was not a 'medium' saying "Please, Please Dr. Prince, I'm an Episcopalian!" Depending on how one defines mediums however, I probably would say that Pearl Curran was a medium of a special type. In my opinion whether or not she was in contact with a long-dead spirit of Patience Worth I don't know.

Pearl Curran does not fit into any medium mold so it is difficult to really think of her as a medium though. She did not go into a trance; she did not materialize ectoplasm or spirits, she did not produce direct voice; no apports; no translocation and contrary to what some may think, she did not do automatic writing as currently thought of. She was not possessed by a spirit at any time and none controlled her body, arms or hands. She was quite dissimilar from Leonora Piper and other well-known mediums at the time.

Pearl Curran reported that she saw full-blown images in her mind's eye and often saw these images in a panoramic view with people conversing in a normal manner. Over and above the conversation in the panoramas, she reported that she heard the voice of Patience Worth describing the parts of the scene she wanted Pearl to use in her stories or poems and interpreting foreign languages for Pearl. At other times, Pearl Curran transmitted words directly from 'Patience Worth' one letter at a time using the Ouija Board as a "thought dispeller". To some small extent Pearl may have been in a very light trance during her contact with 'Patience Worth' but she was not oblivious to what was going on around her at the time she was involved with Patience Worth.

Do I believe in mediumship? Well, maybe I do but I am very dubious of some forms of mediumship especially direct voice mediums and those that claim full-figure materializations and ectoplasm. I trust the mediumship of George Anderson, Chris Stillar and John Edwards, all mental mediums only. My mother was kind of a spooky medium in some ways and toward the end of her life after she returned home after hospitalization for septicemia, she was sitting in the living room and claimed to see a hand and arm reaching out to her from the beyond. I tend to think this was an mental/medicine hallucination but it may have been something else. So in answer to your question, yes, I do think that there are some people who have either easy access to their own subliminal mind or possibly past life selves or access to thoughts of other people both living and dead? - AOD

What if everything that Leslie Flint claimed about the spiritual origins of the recorded voices is 100% true? Even if I believed with an ironclad conviction, some of the doubts and questions raised here would still remain.

  • Why do some of the voices sound spot on and others noticeably different from their previously incarnate selves?
  • Why is it that some people come across lively, loud and vivacious, while others struggle to manage a whisper?
  • Why are some unable to come at all?
  • How does this mysterious ectoplasmic vocalization instrument work?
  • Why do some physical mediums manifest a range of phenomena, while others, like Flint, specialize in vocal reproduction?

Of course, not having met Flint and hearing the voices first hand I can, at best, have faith, not the kind of conviction that Woods, Greene, and others, who sat with him often, developed over the years.

One of those who had such experience was Zerdini, who commented on this blog a few years back:

"I have studied the paranormal for fifty years, during which time it has been my good fortune to see, and get to know, some of the best mediums in the world. I base that statement on their consistency and accuracy."

"In my view, the best survival evidence has been...through Independent Direct Voice mediumship. Two of the best examples are Leslie Flint in the UK and Emily French in the USA. The former always allowed tape recordings to be made of his seances and the latter was investigated by lawyer Edward Randall, who sat with her over a period of 22 years, and had all communications recorded by a stenographer."

Of course, this was Zerdini's opinion, but unlike mine, his was backed by considerable direct experience over a period of decades. I think it was Paul who said that Zerdini sat with Flint over 200 times. That has to count for something.

Naturally, there are middle positions between total belief and complete disbelief. While all these combinations are logically possible, some are more probable than others.

If it is true that direct voice mediumship is a reality and that Flint was the real deal, then the Flint recordings are a priceless treasure.

I believe Mediums get information but it's not like talking on the telephone. Communication with the other side is done in symbols and feelings and little bits and pieces. If you hire a medium and they are supposed to give you a 45 minute or hour reading a lot of it is going to be filler. They "tune into" you and try and contact your people on the other side but a lot of what they get is static so they do what all good showman do and embellish and fill in the gaps with with what they intuit you need.

So yes I believe it's possible to communicate with the other side but it's not cut and dry like picking up a telephone and calling your friends or parents.

And as far as physical mediums? To be honest I think it's ridiculous and has very little to do with life after death and more to do with putting on a really good show. I'm not saying I don't think it's possible but there is a lot of room for fraud in that line of work. If they can't produce what you want to see they are going to do whatever it takes to make sure you get your money's worth.

"Wikipedia claims that she was a fraud. Nothing could be further from the truth - just go to the above link, and read in particular the lines pertaining to that untruth."

Smithy it says Etta Wriedt was caught in fraud by physicist Kristian Birkeland, he discovered metallic potassium in her trumpet, which she used to make fake spirit sounds.

She was detected in fraud by that scientist, so does this not ruin her credibility as a medium?

Steven:
The Wikipedia section about Etta Wriedt and fraud is the most asinine piece of junk writing and imbecilic intelligence that I have ever seen in print. How could anybody in their right mind think that that Wikipedia article about Etta Wriedt provided any meaningful information? - AOD

“Etta Wriedt was caught in fraud by physicist Kristian Birkeland, he discovered metallic potassium in her trumpet, which she used to make fake spirit sounds.”

If I read that sentence correctly, then what is being claimed is that Potassium + trumpet=“fake spirit sounds”. Now that’s one nutty professor. Exploding substances do not sound anything like the speech of humans. Ok, maybe the words "kaboom! pow! and bang!" sound a bit explosive, but really, the vocabulary of the "fake spirits" would be pretty limited. Then again, if she were channeling veterans of the Civil War, they might have been reenacting the Battle of Bull Run.

Sorry at having a little fun at your expense Steven, but it is either laugh or weep, and I choose to laugh.

I believe hat there are real mediums. I have sat with one and was thoroughly convinced on two different occasions. My wife was a complete skeptic entering the first sitting and she came away convinced too. We took a lot of precautions to avoid the possibility of normal investigative work giving the medium an opportunity to prepare for the sitting. The information that came through was very detailed and 100% accurate. I've written a number of comments on this blog about that over the past few years.

That said, if we have a medium of Flint's alleged ability, why wasn't he doing sittings with media people and others of prominence such that he would convince them? Why always the secret sittings with the close circle of friends and cognoscenti like Zerdini? Why not bring it out into the open? The TV mediums do this, but, quite frankly, they suck. Looks like all cold reading to me.

There's the opportunity for revolutionary revelation. Think about Anderson Cooper (for lefties) or Hanity (for righties) sitting with a direct voice medium and getting a clear message from a deceased relative or loved one.

But it never happens. It's always behind closed doors, shrouded in secrecy. We always have to rely on the testimony of some little known figure or someone who lived a hundred years ago. Why wasn't Flint sitting with Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather, etc? When this sort of public display was attempted with Flint, it failed.

That's what makes it suspicious to me. That and the corny voices on the tapes.

We always get sketchy responses like spirits don't like microphones. or light, or...well anything that is necessary to carefully assess what is happening in the room. Too convenient for hucksterism.

Yes, Wikipedia has long been known as an unreliable source of info on the paranormal (and on most other controversial topics). It's usually fine for basic uncontested facts ("When was George Washington born?"), but worse than useless for any disputed issues.

I've given up trying to argue people out of "facts" they learned on Wikipedia. I think any serious investigator already knows that there are far better sources.

Incidentally, even uncontroversial facts can be wrong on Wiki. Their entry on me says I was born in 1980, when actually I was born in 1960.

Michael said: "Incidentally, even uncontroversial facts can be wrong on Wiki. Their entry on me says I was born in 1980, when actually I was born in 1960."

I'd go with Wikipedia on that one. That you graduated from Wesleyan in the year of your birth must have made mama and papa Prescott proud.

A number of audio links have been submitted which cast doubt upon the authenticity of the Flint recordings. I would like to submit an exhibit for the defense, which I find quite convincing. The recording below is between Dr. Nanji and his deceased wife Annie. It appears to be of a private session with only Flint and Dr. Nanji in attendance. In the recording:

  1. Dr. Nanji recognizes the voice as that of his dead wife.
  2. He converses with her naturally, as though she were in the room with him.
  3. Annie Nanji doesn't philosophize vaguely about the spirit world, but rather talks of family matters that would concern a loving couple.
  4. His wife clearly reveals private information known only to herself and her husband. No fishing about.
  5. Dr. Nanji gives no indication during the conversation that he is chatting with anyone but his wife Annie.
  6. Annie describes how she is with her husband at various times and places, and he agrees that he feels her presence often and at those particular times and places.

The skeptical prosecution might counter each of these arguments thusly:

  1. Blinded by grief, Dr. Nanji only thought the voice he was speaking with resembled that of his dead wife.
  2. Flint had a lifetime in which to perfect his mimicry and spontaneous conversational skills.
  3. Trivial matters are Flint's speciality. He must have been relieved to not have to consult his apparently encyclopedic knowledge of Spiritualist tropes for these private conversations.
  4. Flint almost certainly possessed genuine psychic skills, which he may have used to artfully manipulate his clients.
  5. Hypnosis may have been involved as well.
  6. Dr. Nanji likely fantasized that his wife was often with him. He would clutch at any feeble claim of her presence that Flint dished out.
  7. Dr. Nanji may have been in league with Flint and his possible other confederates.

The voices of Flint's presumed co-conspirators are absent in these recordings. It's logical to presume that this was a private session between Flint and Dr. Nanji. While it is possible that a collaborator is listening in and broadcasting through a concealed speaker system, we would then be compelled to endow that person with psychic powers and a gift for convincing impersonations also.

There is, of course, the ever present super-psi argument, which seems more threadbare then ever in this context. That Flint's subliminal self has somehow resurrected the psychic corpse of Annie Nanji and is using her persona, memories, and its psychic knowledge of Dr. Nanji's life to intentionally deceive him, is a logical possibility. Also logically possible is alien mind control, and any number of other arguments, which though possible and logical are highly improbable.

Besides being a much more complex and convoluted explanation than accepting the conversations at face value, we would have to attribute a sadistic malevolence to such a subliminal being. Can it be that a pleasant person on the outside is host to an evil doppleganger within? Does this sound like the sort of mischief a demonic being would indulge in?

I've tried to make the counter arguments as plausible as possible, but frankly I don't find them at all convincing. Perhaps some of you can supply better skeptical arguments to counter the factual evidence in this and the other nine recordings of Dr. Nanji and his wife.

Zerdini believed that Independent Direct Voice mediumship was the best evidence of survival. I believe that these conversations between a man and his deceased wife compellingly support that opinion.

Dr Nanji and Wife 3 March 1971

All ten of The Annie Nanji séances

I was mistaken about there being only ten séances involving Mr. and Mrs. Nanji. Dr. Nanji met with Flint twice a year over a period of thirteen years for a total of twenty-six sessions.

"Now that’s one nutty professor. Exploding substances do not sound anything like the speech of humans."

Sorry but this is your own misunderstanding David. Birkeland never said the noises from a trumpet sound like humans.

Back in the day loud explosion noises would be heard in seance rooms from trumpets, they were known as "trumpet blows". They are produced by substances (usually potassium particles) mixed with water. Particles were found in Wriedt's trumpet. She was caught in fraud.

As for Kristian Birkeland he was not nutty. He won the Nobel Prize seven times. He was a top quality physicist and knew what he was talking about.

Also as for Wikipedia nobody is saying it is perfect no website is, but the information on Wriedt it is sourced to articles and books. It is quite narrow minded in my opinion just to ignore Wikipedia because it cites facts you may not like about Wriedt.

I may also add Everard Feilding attended two seances with Wriedt and although he did not detect it directly, he considered her likely to be a fraud. He was banned from attending further seances.

"Zerdini believed that Independent Direct Voice mediumship was the best evidence of survival. I believe that these conversations between a man and his deceased wife compellingly support that opinion" - David

Sorry, but after listening to the tape I did not hear much - if anything - that was evidential. The fact that someone the couple knew was buried in Switzerland was a small crumb of verifiable reporting. Otherwise, just vague stuff that anyone could safely assume and fabricate. "You think about me....". Sure. A guy who loved his now deceased wife thinks about her all the time I'm sure.

If I went to a séance and "received" that kind of conversation, I would write it off as low grade mediumship at best and most likely cold reading and stage magician fluff.

Pauli the parrot? Really. Pauli want a cracker? Lucky guess. Lots of people have met a Pauli the parrot. I have. It's not like the parrot was significant to the husband. Why doesn't the wife know the dog's name? Why doesn't she describe the dog and it's behavior quirks?

The whole conversation was totally vacuous + a bit of the typical Flint spirit preachiness, just toned down a little.

Why does an East Indian woman have what is sort of a slightly off German Jewish accent that sounds like a female version of the Chopin voice?

There is just nothing of significance in the recording and it reinforces my suspicion that Flint is a hoax. Furthermore, if that tape is considered good evidence by someone, then I have to question that person as a researcher.

David,
I have listened to all of the ten tapes (about 3 hours’ worth) of Annie Nanji and her husband Dinshaw R. Nanji. They all seem very similar to me in that the same topics were commented upon over and over again over the years in which the 10 sessions with Annie were held and I listened to. It would seem that a rehashing of the same information would be such a serious waste of a rare opportunity to speak to one’s dead wife. It seems that a lot of the ‘facts’ were provided by Dr. Nanji after which his wife would say “I know, I know.” or some other affirmative comment but the information did not originate with her in many of the examples. Dr. Ninji kept up a running conversation which I understand that he would want to do but his comments acted as an impetus for Annie to seemingly know ‘facts’ and then expand upon them. I think that some of the comments by Annie were very general in content, information that perhaps many Europeans would know. And anyone knowing his name and seeing Dr. Nanji could tell that he had some Indian heritage so that ‘hit’ and related further comments are not significant.

There was a lack of specificity in the comments from Annie. Even though Dinshaw expressed a desire to speak to his children, they never came through when they reportedly were present with Annie; that seems odd to me that his children would not make an effort to speak. (No, that's not right! I think that on one tape his son did speak.) Some information from Annie was not confirmed by her husband and some things were wrong (Early on there seemed to be some confusion about Annie’s age which seems unlikely that she wouldn’t know.) And when Dr. Ninji sorely wanted to record Annie’s voice at home or in his own apartment he was encouraged at first but later he was advised by Annie that a medium would be required and an ectoplasm voice box would be necessary.

Apparently, based on at least one comment by Dr. Ninji at the end of one session, there must have been some conversation between Dr. Ninji and Leslie Flint prior to the taped sessions with Annie. An astute person, perhaps like Flint could pick-up bits of information from those conversations which would act as starting points for cold readings or fishing by the ‘voice’, whoever it may have been. Apparently Dr. Ninji was not a complete stranger to Flint over those 13 years. - AOD

Before one can entertain the idea that the dead can communicate with the living whether directly or through a medium; before one can accept that there may be such a thing as ectoplasm and that spirits of the dead can materialize in solid form; before one can believe in the paranormal there has to be a paradigm shift in one’s mind that the world around us is not what one has been lead to believe. Once that happens not only do paranormal things seem possible and believable but other things seem to take on new meaning. Limits melt away and new insight occurs and the world becomes a kind of surreal fantasy, more like just a lower sphere or realm of the spiritual world; the spiritual world and the world we live in being part and parcel of the same thing. Evolution, intelligent design, animal consciousness, plant spiritual essence, and many other concepts that one was so sure of as seen from a materialistic perspective take on new understanding when considered from a spiritual perspective.

There are too many well documented reports of communication between the living and the dead from too many mediums, including direct voice, to continue to believe that it is impossible or that it is all fraudulent. Leslie Flint may or may not be what he seems to be and there may be other explanations for the direct voices associated with Leslie Flint and his circle of friends. It has been reported that at least several of the people in Flint’s circles were mediums so who is to say that after sitting in a dark séance room for a half hour or so, that one or more of them including Flint slipped into a trance and the spirits spoke through them producing the varying male and female voices. I know this is conjecture again but there has to be an explanation for the voices associated with Leslie Flint and unless I have made that paradigm shift I have no other choice but to suspect fraud. Once I believe that all is spirit and that I live in a spiritual realm, albeit of lower vibration, i.e., frequency and wave length, then I can accept that the voices associated with Leslie Flint were voices of spirits of the dead speaking from another sphere of reality. - AOD

‘As for Kristian Birkeland he was not nutty. He won the Nobel Prize seven times. He was a top quality physicist and knew what he was talking about.’

‘Steven’, if you insist on flying by the seat of your pants in taking everything you read on Wikepedia as being gospel truth, then how on Earth do expect anyone to take you seriously if you can’t even read THAT properly? Birkeland did not win any Nobel prize seven times – he never even won one once, as far as I can gather. Although it is stated on Wikipedia (and other places) that he was NOMINATED seven times; according to Nobel Prize.org, it was actually thirteen.

‘Also as for Wikipedia nobody is saying it is perfect no website is, but the information on Wriedt it is sourced to articles and books. It is quite narrow minded in my opinion just to ignore Wikipedia because it cites facts you may not like about Wriedt’

As has been stated, time and time again (here and elsewhere), the whole problem with Wikipedia (as Michael has pointed out – especially with controversial subjects), is that it too often does not deal in ‘facts’ per se. The ‘articles and books’ that are cited, especially in relation to psi matters, are often (in my experience ‘usually’ might be more apt.) hopelessly inaccurate, shallow, or selectively quoted in such a misleading way as to be virtually worthless ‘factually’.

Indeed, the article on Wriedt is a prime example of this: The main source given on Wikipedia is ‘Is Spiritualism Based on Fraud?....’ by Joseph McCabe. You’re probably aware of the recent discussion on Paranormalia concerning Rob McLuhan’s comment that spelling mistakes in relation to important aspects of a subject is often indicative of sloppy research, or a poor understanding of the subject at hand. It therefore came as no surprise to me that, upon consulting McCabe’s book (pp. 124-127) I found reference to ‘Mrs. Ebba [sic] Wriedt’, (twice, in different parts of the book – p.16 and p.124 -, so it’s a bit unlikely that the mistake is merely a typo) and a completely unreferenced and uncorroborated account of Birkeland’s alleged exploits with her. In effect (without the references and detailed quoting of Birkeland) McCabe’s account amounts to little more than a series of bald statements of his own.

Of course, you will find no mention on Wikipedia, of other witness accounts of Wriedt’s seances that state that she often produced voice phenomena in lit conditions, which would make McCabe’s theory that Wriedt produced the actual voices using a tube attached to the trumpet untenable; not to mention accounts of long and detailed conversations in several languages. Should we be just as questioning of those sources? Yes, of course we should. But the fact that the author(s) of the Wikipedia piece do not even mention them, let alone attempt any sort of critique, tends to suggest (at best) ignorance or (at worst) a deliberate attempt to mislead by omission.

Furthermore. You state: -

‘I may also add Everard Feilding attended two seances with Wriedt and although he did not detect it directly, he considered her likely to be a fraud. He was banned from attending further seances.’

You do not give a source for that, but I’m guessing it’s Wikipedia again. Unfortunately, I’ve already used up ten minutes of my time checking out the worthiness of the McCabe source for you. So, I’ll leave this further one up to you, if you can be bothered, as I don’t have any further time at my disposal today.

Free download versions of McCabe’s book, and also Usborne Moore’s account of experiences with Wriedt can be found below: -

https://archive.org/details/isspiritualismba00mccarich

http://www.snu.org.uk/Images/pdfs/Voices.pdf



I think that Birkeland was nominated for the Nobel Prize seven times. He did not win it.

Steven said:

"As for Kristian Birkeland he was not nutty. He won the Nobel Prize seven times."

Wow. That got my attention. Especially since no one else has won it more than twice.

How about *nominated* seven times? :)

Thank you for posting the 'The Annie Nanji séances' links, David. I will take great interest in listening to those.

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