IMG_1216 BW small
Blog powered by Typepad

« Mea culpa | Main | The will to disbelieve »

Comments

A dazzler of a post, this.

I truly believe that David Thompson went to Australia to make his name. He couldn't make in-roads in either the UK or the USA, so off to Oz he went.

Now, all he needed was some endorsement and publicity. Voila! Enter Victor Zammit. The perfect foil (pronounce "foil" as you wish). A whole year of hype and build u goes by, and now Mr. Thompson is on tour. What a script!

David Thompson, I am a medium, and all my spirit guides, friends and family on the other side have told me your materialization séances are full of s**t. And they are. That's why I don't bother to be polite like those would still like to give you some benefit of the doubt. Spirit has called you out, and you know it.

Sure, some will say I am biased, but you and I both know I am right. Mr. Thompson you are a FRAUD! Period, end of story.

having dealt with lawyers and used car salesmen if i had to choose between the two for my personl level of trust.

I must admit the nod would go to the used car salesman.

considering many if not most politicians are lawyers what more needs to be stated.

Is Zammit a staff member at the National Enquirer?

Another great post.

You said .” If I can judge from Zammit's remarks, Australians see lawyers as nearly superhuman in their ability to brush aside irrelevancies and focus with laser-beam intensity on the facts.”

But hang on, I’m Australian. We don’t rate lawyers highly. ( Lawyer = shyster , I think )
So I just checked info. Online to get idea of their standing in latest polls:

www.msi-network.com/Upload/Trust%20Survey.doc

They’re No.20 of 42, ( Ambulance drivers top, Car salesmen bottom )

So, we don’t rate them highly at all.

Just thought,
if really he wanted to impress ( Australians anyway! ),then he’d be tested by an ambulance driver.

Not mentioned in that post was a recent eyewitness report of a July 29th seance with DT.

It can be read here:

http://www.victorzammit.com/articles/janereport.html

Marcel, you are not only biased on anything related to DT, you also have shown to be totally closed minded when it comes to mediums who claim to use ectoplasm - which you say doesn't exist. Guess Tom Harrison is a fraud too?

Better be careful with your name (fraud) calling. You might be facing a libel lawsuit down the road.

All VZ has to do is put luminous tabs on DT during the seance. No need for any escape artist to enter into the picture.

For the record, I have no idea whether DT is legit or not.

Sorry Rod but Katie King was tested by the most famous scientist in England at that time and by a medical doctor and a popular journalist and still very few believed them.

Of course an ambulance driver may have more credibility than a famous scientist and a medical doctor put together.

Marcel how can anyone yell fraud until we have enough data to be able to yell fraud or valid phenomena. For myself I don’t have near enough data to draw any conclusion. Michael brings out some interesting points to consider about these séances before we yell valid or fraud.

I have read that mediums have a hard time accepting any type of paranormal events outside their area of expertise.

The universe has only begun to reveal its mysteries to we mere humans. Maybe that is one the great challenges/joys of human life discovering these mysteries about life.

We humans are an interesting species. Saw on Larry king that the air force sent a group out to investigate UFO’s and they came back and stated that they felt that many of the sightings were indeed spacecraft from other worlds. Not what they wanted to hear so the air force fired most of the group and sent another group out to investigate and they came back with different results.

Axiom # 1: If at first they don’t tell you what you want to hear fire them and find someone that will.

Does this axiom apply to generals also?

I don't think DT should be or could be evaluated from an armchair 12,000 miles away - you'd need to go to a sitting and judge for yourself. Forget the escape artist he could easily become a paid part of the act. For the record, Marcel, I know of more than one genuine medium who has been to a DT seance in person and says DT does produce genuine phenomena so the spiritualist community is split on this one. However I have also been told by the same sources that some of the materializations aren't who they say they are.

D.D. Home and Eusapia Palladino could do their physical materializations in broad daylight with numerous people watching, even in random people's houses in normal light. They could do those and a slew of other Paranormal Feats under controlled conditions, even for Scientists.

David Thompson and many other Materialization Mediums claim to only be able to do their stuff in total darkness, in limited conditions to their advantage, and are not interested in indepth testing.

Hmmm. Sounds fishy to me. I think D.D. Home said it well when he said to beware of any Materialization Medium who couldn't do it as he was able to.

Skepticism is well warrented.

Wait a minute, I mistook Eusapia Palladino with Carmine Mirabelli. The latter was one who was able to do their stuff in broad daylight like D. D. Home, and could also speak Xenoglossy of dozens of different languages in trance, including dead languages, if I recall. I had them confused. I don't know enough about Palladino, except I did read she was married to a Traveling Conjuror.

By the way, indepth information on Carmine Mirabelli is here...

http://www.the-voice-box.com/carminemirabelli.htm

This is how a medium ought to be controlled.

"Truth fears no trial"
- famous proverb

Can anyone recommend a good wine to accompany cheesecloth?

P.S. Don't forget that I will be discussing some of these topics with George P. Hansen tomorrow on AfterlifeFM. The show topic is "Return of the Trickster - the marginalization of the paranormal".

Show starts at 7pm(EDT) and 4pm(PDT).

Materializations: Ectoplasmic Conjurings in the 21st Century? Harry Houdini's work is still cut out for him. If we test Mr. Thompson under his proscribed conditions, are we allowed to view the proceedings under infrared videography, or will he insist that the infrared illuminator will disrupt his paranormal abilities? Imagine the convenience for his continued livelihood...

Come on, Vic, you can do much better than that, LOL.

I'm with Marcel on this, I think DT is a shameles fraud that fears and avoids proper scientific scrutiny because he knows full well it will expose his profitable shenanigans once and for all.

Again, if you have nothing to hide then why all the stonewalling? Forget the cuffs and luminous tabs, one well-placed passive infra-red camera will impartially demonstrate what is really going on at these seances, which I suspect is nothing paranormal.

And as for Vic, he also stands a lot to lose credibility-wise for having endorsed DT's legitimacy so fervently so I'm not at all suprised by his continued hostility towards sincere skeptical researchers.

Remember people, this is a field that has historically been absolutely rife with fraud, so much so that one should automatically suspect trickery, by default, until that possibility has been reasonably and impartially ruled out. Anything less and you're just asking to be duped.

So no, Dave Thompson does not deserve the benefit of the doubt here, and he has only himself to blame for that.

>I don't know enough about Palladino, except I did read she was married to a Traveling Conjuror.

The only source I've seen cited for this claim is D.H. Rawcliffe's Psychology of the Occult (1952), reprinted in 1959 as Occult and Supernatural Phenomena. I don't know how reliable Rawcliffe is; he was a diehard skeptic who asserted that all reports of paranormal phenomena can be explained by psychological aberrations.

So, since infrared cameras aren't allowed in a DT seance, it must be fraud? I guess the entire Scole Experiment must be fraud too then?

A few people here have claimed that DT makes his living from public seances and workshops. Any of you have a copy of his W2 to back up that claim? Maybe he does and maybe he doesn't. I'd like to see the evidence first.

And even if DT DOES make some nice cash on seances, it doesn't prove anything. How many of the mental mediums make a killing touring around? And I think that some of them have been tested (by Schwartz) and have a paranormal ability.

As I have said before, DT is planning to come to the US in 2008. If I get the chance to attend a seance and a friend/loved one comes through or materializes, I MIGHT be able to judge for myself if he is legit or not.

If you want to see somebody who is making a living with touring seances, check out Warren Caylor.

Anybody here ever attend a physical seance? And does anybody here have an opinion on Stewart Alexander? Tom Harrison had some kind words for SA in his book.

Still waiting to hear from Marcel on how Minnie Harrison accomplished her feats.

Minnie Harrison went to a store and got a good deal on Cheesecloth... actually, I'm not sure if the deal she go was all that good.

All you have to do is look at the pictures on this page and put 1 and 1 together.


Those comments show you are not capable of judging a physical medium without some sort of bias. Have you read Harrison's books? One is online and free. Have you read what others who attended Minnie's seances had to say?

So Minnie was a fraud? For what purpose? To fool her family and friends? She didn't charge one dime for any seance so what was her motive? To fool everybody for all of those years? Why?

All of the profits from Tom Harrison's book go to cancer research. So what is his motive for going along with the lie in his book?

You really cannot judge ectoplasm photos from a picture. You need film or video to see if it is moving or growing. And since we don't have any of that, no judgment can be made. Unless you're mind is already made up. Which seems to be the case.

Why does it have to be a yes or no on dt's séances.

If he is a fraud and he keeps this up I suspect he will be revealed. If he is not a fraud what profound implications for life after death. If he is a fraud what a profound disservice to humanity and for the most part to those that believed victor and DT.

I want to believe victor but there is a little voice in my head that keeps saying “to many unknown variables at this time”. I think part of our not believing is we do not want to be duped. Been there done that and it is not a pleasant feeling.

Until we have more data I think many of us are letting our bias and opinions get in the way of rational thinking.

As a former six-sigma consultant now retired it is universal that we humans, myself included, almost always make decisions based on insufficient data or conditioned beliefs or wishful thinking. Wall street and the invasions of other countries are classic examples of humans making decisions based on insufficient data.

The ultra skeptical atheists and the religious fundamentalists are classic examples of letting beliefs overwhelm the rational mind. Two sides of the same coin.

So, since infrared cameras aren't allowed in a DT seance, it must be fraud?

Since I am presuming fraud until it has been reasonably and impartially ruled out I'm going to say yes, Dave Thompson obviously has something to hide.


I guess the entire Scole Experiment must be fraud too then?

It's never a good thing when the medium's wife is the one securing him, hardly an impartial party.


Those comments show you are not capable of judging a physical medium without some sort of bias.

I think a skeptical bias is warranted when it comes to physical mediumship, as I said earlier it is a field that has historically proven to be positively overflowing with fraud and trickery, why should we assume things are any different today?

I'm willing to be convinced that this stuff is real but the first step must be to properly demonstrate that fraud is neither probable nor possible.

This simply isn't being done, we're supposed to take DT's and VZ's word for it that the counter-fraud measures in place are sufficient and reliable and that everything really is kosher.

I'm sorry, that is not science.


I want to believe victor

So do I, but unfortunately I just cannot take anything he says seriously anymore.

Markus, there is a difference between being skeptical and making a proclamation such as,

"Mr. Thompson you are a FRAUD! Period, end of story."

Enough said.

Markus wrote:

"I'm sorry, that is not science."

But Markus also wrote:

"Since I am presuming fraud until it has been reasonably and impartially ruled out I'm going to say yes, Dave Thompson obviously has something to hide."

* * * * * * * * * *

Presuming fraud is NOT science. Either is saying that DT OBVIOUSLY has something to hide. You have no idea and neither do I.

It may appear that he has something to hide and maybe he does. One can assume. But from a scientific standpoint, appearances and assumptions are meaningless.

From a scientific standpoint, no judgment can be made regarding DT. And that may never change. If he opens himself to study one day, we might have an opinion based on evidence.

From a personal standpoint, I can get a better feel for DT if I attend one of his seances and I have a friend or relative come through with information that I only I know.


By the way, Minnie Harrison was never tested. Does that mean she was hiding something or was a fraudulent medium?

In Tom Harrison's book, he mentions that JB Rhine was invited to one of Minnie's seances but declined due to his traveling schedule.

Minnie started out working in total darkness and eventually used a red light on a dimmer.
If the spirit was strong, the dimmer could be turned up. And with the weaker spirits, the brightness was reduced.

Hopefully, DT will be able to work in red light one day.

>>Markus, there is a difference between being skeptical and making a proclamation such as,

"Mr. Thompson you are a FRAUD! Period, end of story."<<

I believe Marcel's proclaimation was more a frustrated outburst than a scientific deduction, and I share his frustration, DT's continued refusal to submit to scrutiny smacks of funny business.

>>Presuming fraud is NOT science.<<

Indeed, it is just a starting point. And falsification is the cornerstone of modern scientific methodology, you prove that paranormal phenomena is taking place by attempting to prove it isn't, thus ruling out all naturalistic explainations.

>>Either is saying that DT OBVIOUSLY has something to hide. You have no idea and neither do I.<<

I am inferring he has something to hide by:

a) his close association with a proven fraudster (Colin Fry, his mentor)
b) his habit of conducting seances in conditions ideal for trickery (low visibility)
c) his continued refusual to submit his mediumship to any type of scrutiny that could expose him as a fraud.

And to this equation I add the aforementioned fraud-laden history of physical mediumship which has set such an unflattering precedent. Again, I have no reason to afford Dave Thompson the benefit of the doubt so I do not.

For the record, I believe D.D. Home was legit, and that is primarily because unlike DT & Co. he submitted himself to proper scrutiny and still managed to pull off amazing feats of levitation and the like, in well-lit rooms with multiple witnesses no less.


>>From a personal standpoint, I can get a better feel for DT if I attend one of his seances and I have a friend or relative come through with information that I only I know.<<

Specific information, not the vague "gunshotting" consistent with cold reading.

I certainly would attend a DT seance if given the opportunity, tho I'd smuggle in the tiniest IR camera and recording device I could find and finally see what's really going on.


>>By the way, Minnie Harrison was never tested. Does that mean she was hiding something or was a fraudulent medium?<<

Judging by those photos of her seances I'm inclined to believe it was just another hoax, as was common at the time.

http://www.survivalafterdeath.org/photographs/harrison/Harrison03.gif


>>Hopefully, DT will be able to work in red light one day.<<

But he doesn't have to, thanks to IR imaging technology he can continue to work in a pitch-black environment as per usual, the camera will still capture everything.

Which I suspect he doesn't want.

Joe, what I find amusing is that you think you are not biased. You are SO invested in the hope that David Thompson is legit, you can't even see how biased your own postings are.

I don't think that I am biased. No, on the contrary, I am 100% in the camp that believes there isn't such a thing as ectoplasm, so this makes me more of a fundamentalist.

Now, please do not confuse the terms (as once I did so myself), physical mediumship and materialization mediumship. They are not the same thing.

I have seen other people move objects with their mind and I myself have had bottles fly and glasses explode next to me. So, though partially unintentional, I myself have provoked a form of physical mediumship.

The séances reported by the Circle of the Silver Chord are another matter altogether.

I won't argue or fight with you anymore on this subject. Either you are right and I am wrong, or vice versa. Unfortunately we will never know for sure because David Thompson will NEVER subject himself to authentic scientific investigation that he does not have control over. Never.

BTW, the fact that Minnie Harrison didn't pursue financial gain doesn't rule out the fact that other factors were motivating her deception.

She could have been suffering from delusions of grandeur or one form or another of a messianic complex. She could also have been a spiritual zealot who so direly wanted to prove that life after death exists, she saw no harm in putting on a little show to convince others.

Minnie Harrison could also have been a megalomaniac, or a pathological liar or have been put up to it by someone else. Like you said. She was never tested.

One thing for certain is that in those pictures, she has cheesecloth coming out of her mouth and private area.

You probably won't agree. Not many Zammit disciples do.

"You have no idea and neither do I."

What is wrong with calling a spade a spade? Zammit and Thompson have repeatedly failed to follow acceptable protocols. Zammit simply calls anybody who offers constructive criticism a dogmatist. Zammit is already known for being overly credulous so I think Marcel is correct in his characterization of Thompson.

"BTW, the fact that Minnie Harrison didn't pursue financial gain doesn't rule out the fact that other factors were motivating her deception. "

Hello Marcel,

For someone with claims of observing telekenisis, and the ability to communicate with the dead, why is your mind so made up about materializations being fraud? In the quoted statement your diction implies that you already made up your mind that Harrison was a hoax, without leaving any room for doubt!

I look at the Harrison photo's and I'm not as convinced as you. The photo of the Aunt would require artful third party collaboration (as well as collaboration from the sitter who verified her identity as Aunt Agg)... This makes your argument that she was a megalomaniac / pathological liar unconvincing, since she would require equally disturbed accomplices to pull off her illusion.

Next, it's pretty unfair, and quite ludicrous considering the reasons, to call Joe a "disciple of Zammit". This statement actually made me laugh out loud. I don't think the Church of Zammit would have very popular congregations at all, since the head minister is a senile old bastard who yells a lot on the internet. On the other hand, his book and its bibliography makes a great introduction for anyone getting into this stuff.

So Marcel, if these physical mediumship hoaxers are doing such a bad job of demonstrating proof of a spirit world, why don't you prove it yourself? If you say you can communicate with your spirit guides and deceased relatives so easily, then set up some new cross-correspondences. Or, have a spirit that you know identify an object in a friends house in another country by physically travelling to that location (shouldn't be so hard for a spirit...) while an observer confirms over the internet the accuracy of the result. A few carefully orchestrated experiments like this, with neutral witnesses involved, would be powerful evidence in the field of psychic phenomena, so why not?

He said “I’ll be more than happy to accept any submission from a fully qualified professional lawyer/scientist who has done his homework in the paranormal, especially in materializations.”:
Maybe his meaning can be explained in naturalistic terms.
Option 1. He meant to say lawyer & scientist, but he just hit the “wrong” key.( I do it all the time. ).
Reading the text this way gives a different slant. In any submission, scientists would give lawyers, sorely needed, credibility.

Option 2. The term “ambulance chaser” is widely used slang in Australia for lawyers specializing in “compensation”.
Maybe when the “most trusted” list came out, he misread “ambulance chaser” for “ambulance driver”.
Maybe something Freudian is going on.
Or maybe he’s a bit deaf. ( as well as “blind”, in séances anyway?? )

( Note to myself: Have I cast enough doubt? What would Randi do? I know, I haven’t used ridicule or Occam’s Razor. Maybe I can combine them. )
Or
Option 3. We must consider Occam’s Razor : He could be a d@@@@h@@@@.


Cyrus,

I was merely entertaining Joe's insistence that I respond to his queries about Minnie Henderson's abilities. My comments were primarily focused on the photos which are not only laughable, but pathetic.

I actually wasn't making any claims as to what motivated Minnie Harrison, though it may have read that way. I was merely trying to offer up suggestions as to what might motivate a person to engage in fraudulent claims. From all reports, she sounds like a decent person, but even decent people can get caught up in strange, and yes, deceitful activities.

In response to your poorly concocted cross-correspondence experiment, I have nothing really to say. You obviously don't understand spirit communication or how it is that I work.

Several people on this blog have had a reading from me. Some readings were more successful than others, but I am certain than in each reading, evidence of spirit communication was brought forward. The work I do is very personal and private. My goal is not to convince the world of anything. I gave up on that delusion long ago. I really just want to be the best medium that I can, and do quality work for those who value my time. Isn't that what we all want to do in our lives?

Furthermore, I never said spirit communication was "easy." I merely stated that I do it daily. Why? It's a craft, a skill. You have to keep your faculties sharp just like any other acquired skill. Spirit communication is quite involved, and one is never done learning all of its nuanced peculiarities.

lastly, we shouldn't always take thing one says so literally. SOmetimes I may make an aside for comedic effect or just to goad my adversaries. Banter and debate are a contact sport. I get competitive, but I truly mean no harm. I laugh at these posts probably just as much as anyone. It's just so easy to get the pro-ectoplasm/David Thompson folks riled up. I promise to be a good boy from here on out. I have kids now, so I better watch out. One day they will be teenagers, and that's a Karma with a mighty bite.

Cheers to all.

First off, let's separate Zammit and DT. Zammit could be a great guy or the worst person in Keith Olbermann's world. It's irrelevant as to the legitimacy of DT. DT is what he is with or without Victor Zammit.

Markus wrote:

>I am inferring he has something to hide by:

>a) his close association with a proven fraudster (Colin Fry, his mentor)

Close association? When was the last time they spoke or worked together? Do you know DT's thoughts on Fry? If you do, please share. You're talking about an incident that happened fourteen years ago. When was the last time Fry and DT worked together?

Markus wrote:

>Judging by those photos of her seances I'm >inclined to believe it was just another >hoax, as was common at the time.

You might want to actually read Tom Harrison's book to have a better feel for what allegedly went on in those seances. Lots of witnesses (including a surgeon/Superintendent of a hospital) and consistent results for those witnesses to experience. Minnie's work has none of the hallmarks of a hoax and is one of the better anecdotal cases I have read about.

Do you trust Michael Prescott's judgment on these matters? Check out what he had to say on Minnie:

http://michaelprescott.typepad.com/michael_prescotts_blog/2006/01/beyond_belief.html

It's amazing how some come to a conclusion without at least reading about a case. And you want to talk about science?

* * * * * * * * * *

Marcel wrote:

>You are SO invested in the hope that David >Thompson is legit, you can't even see how >biased your own postings are.

I have hope for every materialization medium I hear about because I know how important it could be for evidence of life after death.
And yet, I am sooooo biased that I have yet to come to any conclusions on any of them. I cannot say the same about you.

If DT turns out to be a fraud, so be it. I will not shed a tear. There are other avenues to explore and there are bound to be other gifted mediums out there who can reproduce what Minnie Harrison (allegedly) did.

Marcel wrote:

>I won't argue or fight with you anymore on >this subject. Either you are right and I am >wrong, or vice versa.

See, you still don't get it. I cannot be wrong or right on DT since I have yet to come to any conclusion. I do not know what is going on. Fraud? Maybe. The real thing? Maybe. I think that's the 4th or 5th time I have written that.

Now, you? You have obviously come to a conclusion. So, you may be wrong or right.

More from Marcel...

>BTW, the fact that Minnie Harrison didn't >pursue financial gain doesn't rule out the >fact that other factors were motivating her >deception.

>She could have been suffering from delusions >of grandeur or one form or another of a >messianic complex.

It doesn't explain the testimony from the other people who attended her seances in good, red light. You obviously have no idea what you're talking about when it comes to the Minnie Harrison case. Do a little reading and get back to me. As a host of show dealing with these matters, that's the least I would expect from you.

>One thing for certain is that in those >pictures, she has cheesecloth coming out of >her mouth and private area.

I didn't realize that you were there when the photos were taken. Have you interviewed Tom Harrison? He's still alive so you might want to try that.

>You probably won't agree. Not many Zammit >disciples do.

Nice way to get away from the evidence and try to take a shot at me. Typical of people who cannot support their argument with any facts.

I brought up the Minnie Harrison case because, IMO, she was very possibly a legitimate materialization medium and produced ectoplasm. DT also claims to produce ectoplasm. Since you (Marcel) have stated that there is no such thing as ectoplasm, you are unable to judge a case that contains alleged ectoplasm without a bias. Whether it's Alexander, DT or Harrison.


I'm surprised MP hasn't chimed in with any further thoughts on Minnie Harrison. It's his post on Tom H's book that got me thinking and made me purchase the book. Thanks, Michael. Great read and really hard to imagine all of those people participating in a hoax all of those years. As you said, the book is just so matter of fact that TH's honest nature comes through loud and clear as you read the book. At least that's how it felt to me.

I also bought "The Limits of Influence," thanks to MP's suggestion.

Marcel wrote

"Several people on this blog have had a reading from me. Some readings were more successful than others, but I am certain than in each reading, evidence of spirit communication was brought forward. The work I do is very personal and private. My goal is not to convince the world of anything. I gave up on that delusion long ago. I really just want to be the best medium that I can, and do quality work for those who value my time. Isn't that what we all want to do in our lives? "

I feel somewhat bad having set you up like this Marcel, because this is the exact reply I was hoping you would make.

What you wrote is exactly what the materialization mediums who refuse to be tested say, they care more about sharing their services with their people then being subjected to scientific scrutiny and becoming guinea pigs in an attempt to "prove" something which they feel is more meaningful when it's discovered spiritually instead of logically. This is why I don't automatically disqualify people if they refuse to be tested, and since you just spelled out the exact same sentiments as a medium yourself, I'd think you should be sble to relate to Minnie and others who didn't like being tested.

Me on the other hand, if I had psychic abilities I'd do everything possible to put it in concrete terms.

You still don't get it Cyrus, I'm not afraid to be tested. Your experiment suggestion served as a poor example of qualitative research. It generalized what mediums do and how they communicate with spirit.

I for one would not offer my services to the police to solve crimes because that is not the nature of my relationship with spirit or the work I do.

You're suggested a type of remote viewing test, and I am not a remote viewer. Why would I want to be tested that way. I already know that I am not talented in that area. My mental mediumship skills are very specific and I have fine tuned them in that field (cognitive therapy aided spiritual contact).

However, if you want to believe that I walked into one of your well-laid out traps, then by all means go ahead. I'm sure the pleasure will be short-lived.

FYI, as soon as Dr. Schwartz begins accepting additional mediums for his Veritas research program, I plan to be there. However, I even think Dr. Schwartz's research could use some fine tuning.

Regarding Minnie Harrison: I admit that the photos look fake. At the same time, the stories told in Tom Harrison's book were pretty convincing. As I wrote in my post about the book:

It turns out that a cabinet was used only for the later seances. In the earlier ones, Minnie Harrison was seated with the other sitters in a circle. The room was illuminated by red light - dim light, but adequate to see Minnie even as the materialized spirit moved about the room. In other words, Minnie could not have been playacting as a ghost, because she and the ghost were visible simultaneously.

Could one of the sitters have served as Minnie's accomplice, leaving the circle and impersonating a spirit? No. The same red light that showed Minnie in her seat showed all the other sitters, too. Besides, the room was very small, and when eight or more sitters were present, no one could have left the circle without being noticed.

Since I wrote this, I've learned more about red light and have become a little more skeptical as a result. Dim red light is not a whole lot better than darkness; the eye can easily be fooled into "seeing" something that's not there. Lamar Keene talks about this in The Psychic Mafia.

Still, in such a tiny room as the one used for Minnie's seances, it seems incredible that she could have left the circle without being observed, or that she could have impersonated various spirits without being recognized. Moreover, in her later years she was gravely ill with cancer and had limited mobility.

All in all, despite the fake-looking photos, I'm still inclined to give Minnie the benefit of the doubt. Your mileage may vary.

(So why won't I give DT the same benefit? For one thing, he insists on total darkness.)

I'm guess I'm really the ignorant person here, but just what IS a "physical" medium? Could someone please explain?

A physical medium is one who produces physical effects such as raps, table movements, musical instruments playing by themselves, cold breezes, apports (objects that appear out of nowhere), and partial or complete materializations.

>(So why won't I give DT the same benefit? For one thing, he insists on total darkness.)

And that's why I can't come to any conclusions on DT without getting a reading myself and hearing the voices of one of my deceased friends/relatives move about the room. And they must provide me with specific details about our relationship that only I would know.

Like you, it's hard for me to believe that MH was a fraud all of those years. There's no way all of those people were delusional. I can't say for sure just by reading a book or watching a video ("Visitors From The Other Side," which is on Google video). But I CAN offer an opinion on the credibility of Harrison. And to me, he has a lot of credibility.

And on ectoplasm? Twice during those seances, Minnie's control allowed a piece of ectoplasm to be cut from the robe of one of the (alleged) spirits.

Here's a comment from the free online book regarding the so-called, cheese cloth photo:

Taken in December 1948, in complete darkness, with a Kodak Infra-red plate.

My mother is in deep trance sitting on a chair in the corner of the room, which, with the black curtain seen in Photo 'B' formed the very simple cabinet which assisted the 'building process' of the materialised Spirit people. The Ectoplasm is emanating from her mouth and in this form it is quite transparent, very similar in appearance and texture to chiffon.

I must admit that when my mother first saw this photograph she was rather taken aback and somewhat queasy to think that this was happening to her whilst she was 'asleep'. But it did not deter her from sitting for many years to come—thus giving so much joy and pleasure to so many people, both here and in the Spirit World.

* * * * *

And here's an excerpt that deals with the cutting of the ectoplasm, which was done by Mr. Jones, the doctor and superintendent of a local hospital. The entire short version of TH's book can be read here:

http://www.freewebs.com/afterlife/articles/visits.htm

In the full version of the book, TH gives more details on the ectoplasm and what was found when it was studied at the hospital lab.

* * * * *

PIECES OF ECTOPLASM CUT FROM AUNT AGG'S ROBES

AT the close of our fifty-second sitting on 26th April 1947, during which we had received the Ectoplasmic feather, Sunrise had promised us that within a few weeks we would have the opportunity of cutting a piece of Ectoplasm from Aunt Agg's robes. True to his promise, three weeks later, Aunt Agg spoke to Mr. Jones and asked him to have his scissors ready for the following week.

Usually Granny Lumsden was the first to Materialise each week, but this particular week, 24th May, Aunt Agg came first. She came out from the cabinet, stood in front of Mr. Jones and invited him to cut off a piece of her Ectoplasmic robes which she held up towards him. As he cut off a piece about the size of a small pocket handkerchief we all saw Aunt Agg cringe a little and heard a slight gasp from my mother behind the cabinet curtain.

Being an experiment approved by our Spirit helpers my mother suffered no ill effect; but here again I can only emphasise the importance of such approval in relation to the safety of the medium. Materialisation mediums in deep trance place their trust in the hands of the sitters and that trust is sacrosant!

The piece of Ectoplasm was passed around the sitters and then I placed it on the mantel shelf alongside me. After Aunt Agg went, Sunrise spoke to us and said that they too were experimenting this week and did not expect the Ectoplasm to be still there when the Circle closed.

He asked us not to be too disappointed however, as we would be able to repeat the experiment next week, when we should have another small jar ready to receive it—as we had done with the Ectoplasmic Feather. But this time, he said, just provide the empty jar and the Spirit chemists would put in some liquid to try to keep the Ectoplasm a little longer.

After a number of other Materialisations we closed at 9.20 pm. and as expected, when the room lights went on there was no Ectoplasm to be seen. But we were all looking forward to the following week of course!

The following week, 31st May, it happened that we had previously arranged to have two guest visitors—a Chartered Accountant friend of Sydney's and the Matron of a large local hospital who had worked with Mr. Jones for many years. We asked Sunrise if we ought to re-arrange their visit but it was agreed we should go ahead as usual—much to our visitors' delight when we explained to them before we started.

We had our usual excellent Trumpet voice phenomena and some flower Apports were given to our visitors, including a rose and two carnations. After about half an hour my mother went into the cabinet and our Materialisation phenomena followed. Firstly there was a close nursing colleague from the same hospital as Mr. Jones and the Matron, followed by the accountant's mother.

In both cases the visitors were quite certain of the identity of the Materialised Spirits and were extremely thrilled and happy to be able to meet and talk to them again.

Then Aunt Agg came, and after chatting to our visitors in her usual friendly manner, she turned to Mr. Jones to repeat last week's cutting. The piece of Ectoplasm was again passed round the sitters, including our visitors, and then I unscrewed the lid of the jar, which had been standing on the mantel shelf all evening, put in the Ectoplasm and screwed on the lid.

At no other time was the lid not screwed on the jar, but as I put in the Ectoplasm I was aware of the same 'bleach-like' odour as the jar with the Ectoplasmic feather some five weeks earlier. I was also able to see sufficiently in the dim red light, that the jar was about one third full of liquid—again supplied by the Spirit chemists as Sunrise had said. Another remarkable Apport.

When the room lights went on at the close of the sitting the piece of Ectoplasm was still there in the liquid in the jar. Again we all examined it very closely, especially my mother of course, and agreed it looked like very, very fine cotton material, with one of the ladies commenting that it reminded her of 'chiffon'—a gossamer-like material.

Naturally we were very excited to have been privileged to carry out such a unique experiment—especially in the presence of our two visitors who were so thrilled to have been part of it.

By the time we left Syd and Gladys's the Ectoplasm was still in the jar and had dissolved only very slightly—quite different from the Ectoplasmic feather which completely dissolved into the liquid within two and a half hours.

The jar was left on the mantel shelf and the Ectoplasm gradually dissolved over the next four days until by the following Wednesday there was only the yellowish liquid with a few minute specks suspended therein.

I have never heard of such an experiment being carried out in any other Home Circle or seance, but would be delighted to hear from any reader who has been as privileged as we were—and who perhaps was able to obtain more 'scientific' information.

Wow. I didn't realize how much science there was supporting Minnie Harrison's séances. This is mind blowing. My apologies.

Not only am I going to run out and buy this Tom Harrison's book, but I am going to also buy Clifford Irving's famous biography of Howard Hughes and James Frey's great autobiography A million Little Pieces.


Nobody ever mentioned the word science with regard to Minnie Harrison. The only thing resembling science was the "testing" of the alleged ectoplasm. Everything else is anecdotal and so noted by myself and MP. You have to use your judgment and common sense. Some are able to do that.

If Rhine would have sat in on Minnie's circle, things might have been different.

Amazing how you've already made your mind up about Minnie Harrison without actually bothering to read Tom's book. Usually only the debunkers do that type of thing.

Joe,

Take it easy. You're losing your sense of humor.

Let's not forget the only reason we are discussing Minnie Harrison is because you wanted me to weigh in on her story. You brought it up, Joe. Not me. So, I did. I never claimed to have read the book.

If you want to hold off personal judgment on ectoplasm, David Thompson, Victor Zammit or Minnie Harrison, then more power to you. However, other people, people just as educated and reason loving as you are have made a judgment call based on a mix of the evidence reported, scientific probability, flawed methodology and personal first-hand experience.

Anyways, it's obvious that you get unnerved with anyone that applies deductive reasoning that differs from your own. I know I have a million better things to do than debate unprovable historical anecdotes. Don't you?

Just one last thing. If you do get a chance to sit in a David Thompson séance, please don't rely on the supposed materialization of your deceased friends and family members to declare Mr. Thompson legit. That has already been done over and over again for a year.

That's not science. Science is objective.

Here's some real scientific research -

1) If ectoplasm is a real physical material that can be photographed or contained in a jar before turning to a "yellow liquid", then obviously, ectoplasm will leave behind some type of footprint or evidence of it having been. Let's swab David Thompson's cheeks and clothing and look at the material under the microscope.

2) Let's take fingerprints of David Thompson and any other person associated with him and see where else in the room those fingerprints show up.

3)Let's put ink on David Thompson's hands, shoes and feet and see where that ink ends up.

4) Let's let David Thompson do his thing alone in a completely sealed room that's outfitted with motion detectors surrounding his chair.

There are plenty more ideas one could come up with to verify the authenticity of any of this. Will this ever happen. You got it. N-O, No!

So in summation, your mere suggestion that David Thompson would have to bring in someone you personally know as a form of proof only shows you are not truly invested in objective science, but in a personal experience. That's fine. People come to me for the exact same thing.

I always begin my session by telling clients that the work I do is a personal, subjective attempt at proving the continuity of life. I don't work in darkness, I don't ask my sitters personal questions, I don't allow my sitters to ask questions (until the reading is officially over), and I don't encourage my clients to come back for more. Never do I tell my clients that what I am doing is science. This is where you, Victor Zammit, David Thompson and I differ.

More importantly, you and I have to realize that like most people who visit this blog, we are searching for truth, insight and answers to one of life's greatest puzzles. We just apply a different set of expectations and critical eye to the matter.

Best of luck on your journey. Coda.

From cfpf.org.uk:

'Barry Eaton interviews Tom Harrison and Victor Zammit.'

http://www.cfpf.org.uk/media/media/2005-04-21_Eaton/2005-04-21_Eaton_1.mp3>Part 1 http://www.cfpf.org.uk/media/media/2005-04-21_Eaton/2005-04-21_Eaton_2.mp3>Part 2 http://www.cfpf.org.uk/media/media/2005-04-21_Eaton/2005-04-21_Eaton_3.mp3>Part 3

Tom Harrison, who speaks for roughly the first two thirds of the interview, comes across as just about the most lovable, spiritual, compassionate and trustworthy person imaginable. And it is almost impossible to doubt his testimony or integrity. Of course, what actually occurred all those years ago is open to question.

Marcel wrote:

>So in summation, your mere suggestion that David Thompson would have to bring in someone you personally know as a form of proof only shows you are not truly invested in objective science, but in a personal experience

* * * * *

Geez, you really don't get it, do you?

No, what it means is that if Louis Armstrong or Montague Keen or any other celebrity comes through, it is meaningless as far as evidence goes. Unless we have relatives of those people in the seance room to verify the info. or the voice as being genuine.

Unless the seance is held in the light, the only way I can be convinced that something paranormal is going on is if I hear the voices of my deceased friends/loved ones and they provide specific evidence that only I would know. It's not about me having a personal experience. Although that would be a side benefit.

If the seance was held in the light or we could use infrared cameras, then I wouldn't need my loved ones to come through in order to be convinced of paranormality. But under present conditions (darkness), it's the only alternative I can think of.

Ryan, thanks for those links. I look forward to reading them.

Marcel wrote

"You still don't get it Cyrus, I'm not afraid to be tested. Your experiment suggestion served as a poor example of qualitative research. It generalized what mediums do and how they communicate with spirit."

But you also said that your goal is not to convince the world of anything, and that such thoughts are a "delusion" which you gave up on long ago. My point is that these are the same sentiments of some of the mediums whom you criticize for not undergoing strict enough testing. I'm not faulting you or anybody, I'm just trying to point out that I don't think physical mediums do it all for science either, I think they're just as disinterested in trying to convince the general public as you state that you are, whether they are genuine or not.

JoeMB,

I hope you enjoy the interviews but they are mp3 files not text transcripts. This makes Tom Harrison's warmth all the more evident. I am not the only one who has observed this, Fontana expresses the same sentiments in the preface to Harrison's book.

Ryan,

I listened to the first part. Great stuff! Thank you!

No problem JoeMB. For anyone who is considering listening to the interview I would just like to mention that Harrison's contribution precedes and is completely separate from vz's.

The comments to this entry are closed.