I figured that before ordering another book about Leslie Flint, I would check my own fairly large collection of paranormal literature to see if he was covered in any of the books I already own. Admittedly, many of these books are too specialized to touch on Flint's mediumship; I wouldn't expect a book devoted to near-death experiences, for instance, to talk about a direct-voice medium. Even so, I was surprised to find Flint mentioned in the index of only one book (other than the Neville Randall book I discussed in my last post).
It would appear that Flint does not occupy a particularly prominent position in parapsychological studies, despite his own claim of being the most tested medium in history.
The one book I did find was Is There an Afterlife? by the late David Fontana. As the subtitle (A Comprehensive Overview of the Evidence) suggests, the book is a compendium of cases relevant to the question of life after death. Pages 233 through 237 cover Leslie Flint. Here are some excerpts:
So strong and consistent were the voices that Flint soon attracted the attention of researchers, and three of the experiments set up by them to test him deserve mention. In the first of these, organized by the Reverend Drayton Thomas in 1948, Thomas closed Flint's mouth with adhesive surgical tape over which he secured a scarf, then tied Flint's hands to the arms of his chair. Another cord was tied at his forehead so that he could not bend his head an attempt to remove scarf and tape by rubbing his mouth against his shoulders. The sitting proceeded as normal, and Drayton Thomas reported that independent voices were heard with all their usual clarity, sometimes even shouting loudly. At the close of the sitting, it was found that everything securing Flint* was still firmly in place.
[*The text reads "Ford," an obvious typo.]
This appeared to dispose of the theory held by some researchers, that although Flint might perhaps receive genuine spirit communications, the supposed independent voices were not independent at all but came from his own lips. A few weeks later Drayton Thomas arranged for the Research Officer of the SPR, Dr. Donald West (subsequently Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge and twice President of the SPR) and other SPR members to attend a sitting of Flint's circle. Donald West was invited to secure Flint's arms to his chair and to seal his mouth with both horizontal and vertical strips of adhesive tape, and to trace around each strip with indelible pencil to ensure that any movement of the tapes during the sitting would be readily apparent. Flint, entranced on this occasion, sat in the darkness of a cabinet as it was agreed that the lights would remain on in the room. Again voices were heard, and Dr. West was given permission by the communicators to raise the curtain of the cabinet briefly during the sitting, with the lights still on, to check that everything securing Flint was still intact. All seemed well, but on checking at the end of the sitting Donald West discovered that one of the pieces of tape was no longer in line with his pencil markings. Although no suggestion was made that this was Flint's doing (one of the tapes may have moved slightly with Flint's labored breathing) this invalidated the test .…
There was no claim that Flint himself was responsible, and no explanation as to how, bound as he was, he could have displaced the tape deliberately or of how, with only a small displacement, he would have been able to fake independent voices. Nevertheless, Donald West's concern was to close every loophole that might permit critics to argue a normal explanation for the voices, the matter how unlikely this normal explanation might be. He was also doubtful that the cords binding Flint were fully secure owing to the thick coat that Flint insisted on wearing even though the cabinet was hot and stuffy, and would have preferred that the medium's hands were held throughout the sitting by disinterested observers.
Donald West attended two other sittings of the Flint circle, both of which took place in darkness and both of which left him unable to reach conclusions as to the genuineness or otherwise of the phenomena; he then invited Flint to participate in a more thorough investigation at the SPR offices. The conditions he suggested for the test were that the sitters would include "a majority of sympathetic spiritualists," that the medium should have his lips sealed and his hands held by sitters on either side, and that he should wear a throat microphone. The sitting could take place in complete darkness if Flint preferred, but in this case he should be under observation through an infrared viewer. Disappointed that he had not already satisfied Dr. West that the voices were genuine, Flint tells us in his autobiography that he refused.
It is a pity that Flint did not agree to be tested under Dr. West's conditions, none of which was in any sense unreasonable (a decision that he tells us in his book that he subsequently regretted) .…
However, two years later Leslie Flint again agreed to be put to the scientific test, this time under the supervision of Professor Bennett, an electrical engineer from Columbia University, and under the aegis of Drayton Thomas and Brigadier Firebrace, another prominent researcher. This time, in addition to the usual taping and trussing, Flint was fastened to a throat microphone wired to an amplifier that would detect even the slightest attempt to use his voice; his hands were held by investigators, and an infrared viewer that detects movement even in the dark was trained upon him throughout. Once again independent voices were heard, though more faintly than usual, and Professor Bennett was able to confirm that Flint's vocal cords were not involved in their production. Very near the end of the sitting the infrared viewer failed, and immediately the voice heard speaking at the time increased in volume. Flint tells us that Brigadier Firebrace confirmed these facts in writing to him, and testified that the medium could have had no knowledge that the viewer had failed, yet the independent voice "immediately doubled in volume." Firebrace concluded from this that infrared may weaken mediumship in some way .…
Flint worked at a time when it was possible to tape record independent voice settings, and two of Flint's regular sitters, George Woods and Betty Greene, were able to put on record over 500 of their conversations with communicators. These were later transcribed, and a selection published by Neville Randall (Randall 1975). George Woods and Betty Greene were concerned primarily to investigate the experience of dying and the nature of the afterlife (Betty Greene's opening question to communicators was "Can you describe your reactions when you found yourself alive?"), and although this material carries its own interest, it is regrettable that once again no consistent attempt was made by investigators to obtain the kind of personal details from communicators that could be verified later. It also seems odd that communicators did not themselves offer these details, and request that contact be made with their surviving relatives and friends. As many of the communicators were what is now generally called drop-ins (i.e. unknown to anyone present, and thus immune to the charge that their details came telepathically from the sitters,), this failure to collect verifiable information is doubly disappointing.
Flint was never identified in fraud, and his mediumship further supports the survivalist argument that communications through at least certain mediums do not appear to be due to any psychic abilities in the living so far identified in laboratory experiments.
Fontana's references include Flint's autobiography Voices in the Dark and Randall's Life After Death. It's not clear if he used any other sources, or if Flint's claims about the independent validation of these tests were confirmed by the other people involved.