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It would seem, then, that taps delivered on command to specified targets in the dark are good evidence for paranormal activity. .

Not necessarily. I don't know how the circumstances are, but there is in fact a possible explanation.
The cones in your eyes need 20-30 minutes to adjust to total darkness and much more important, if disturbed by a light, need again the same time to get to the same level of vision. This is independent of
good night vision.
So a fraud who knows this *closes* one of his eyes during producing light phenomena
(which is dim enough so that noone sees that he is closing his eye) and therefore retains good night vision. The observers, unaware of this, lose night vision on both eyes and are therefore (for them subjectively) in pitch darkness.

The Psychic Mafia? Surely you don't mean...

La Cosa Nostradamus?!?!?!

[BA-dump-dump!] Sorry, couldn't resist!

I sat on a regular basis with Leslie Flint over a period of ten years.

The room was pitch black. I tried the night vision experiment many times - I couldn't even see my hand in front of my face.

Sorry but the 'closing one eye' idea just won't wash.

It's a toss up. I've been in dark circle seances that were rigged, and I was tapped on my shoulder and knees. However, you are right in saying that there is a statistical impossibility to getting all the targets right at all times.

Yet, there is something I need to make very clear, and I can vouch for this completely -

Spirit does not need darkness to do anything.

Every single meaningful spiritual experience I have had myself or have witnessed has all happened in visible light. This includes levitation, physical manifestations, etc.

The only spirit that requires darkness is the one in the physical with deceit on their mind.

@Zerdini:
Michael asked this question because he was referring to 1920 when infrared equipment was not available. As infrared equipment *was* available during WWII and you say that you personally experienced a seance, then you must be at least 80 years old to exclude the usage of such equipment.

Anyway, if we accept darkness/no IR I would be interested if it is possible to develop much better coordination if trained. Google Ben Underwood to see an extreme example.

Marcel said:
Spirit does not need darkness to do anything.

Marcel other then your personal experiences do u have any evidence that this is the case?

Hitting things in the dark isn't the same as tapping things in the dark,one requires precision and the other doesn't.To me it sounds very difficult.I would however believe this part could be fraudulently done if any skeptic could achieve it with the same precision,however if Arthur Findlay was holding JS's hands then obviously things would be different.

For me,Sloan proves himself not in the tapping phenomena,though interesting by itself it does not compare to the A1 examples which super highly suggest identity survival(after death).

The post above was written by me.Bryan.A

“The only spirit that requires darkness is the one in the physical with deceit on their mind.”

I completely disagree with this statement. The ectoplasm that “may” be moving the trumpet is light sensitive. I have read many times that mediums are very critical of other mediums if they can perform phenomena that they cannot perform. I.e. we all have a hard time seeing outside our existing paradigm.

I believe Vandersande when he stated that the luminous trumpet moved around the room and could touch them wherever they asked to be touched by the trumpet. It is one of those cases that you have to be there. Besides the mediums were people he and his wife had met on a shopping trip not professional mediums and they were not charging money and this went on for several years.

Our materialistic minds have a very difficult time with phenomena that does not fit within our materialistic beliefs.

It would take an elaborate set up to prepare a room to do this with sitters sitting close together. Even with night vision goggles the noise of someone running around the room with a trumpet in their hands could be easily detected by the sitters.

I have this picture in my mind of Randi running around the room with a trumpet trying to duplicate this phenomenon. He tried to duplicate the readings that John Edwards does in England and it got so bad they had to turn off the cameras and cancel that part of the taping for an upcoming show on the paranormal.

I personally want to be a sitter in a séance where a skeptic can claim to duplicate this phenomena and move a luminous trumpet around the room like a bee and have the trumpet stop and touch the exact place a sitter stated on their body and not make any noise making that trumpet fly like a bee.

I totally agree with Marcel, spirit can manifest physically in light and some mediums have transported themselves to different locations physically to be seen full bodied in daylight.

I witnessed a manifesting spirt when I was 20 in broad daylight about 2 metres away from my face standing alongside a man who I was in conversation with. Luckily for me I had a witness to the event, so I have no problem with doubting the afterlife.

Now why some claim they need darkness, I have no idea, my thoughts lean towards maybe some spirits are weaker or lower entities with limited abilities. In which case we have to wonder why and what keeps them on lower astral levels and whether all communications with them are to be taken as gospel, even those professiong they are advanced.

We have alot of intellectually advanced people on this planet, although it doesnt necesarily make them honest and trustworthy.

“Now why some claim they need darkness, I have no idea, my thoughts lean towards maybe some spirits are weaker or lower entities with limited abilities.”

There may be some validity to this statement. Jesus and Yogananda’s guru apparently were able to manifest in a physical form in the light. Also some spirits are able to appear as apparitions in the light. But it appears that other spirits need ectoplasm, which appears to be sensitive to light.

“In which case we have to wonder why and what keeps them on lower astral levels and whether all communications with them are to be taken as gospel, even those professiong they are advanced.”

Alan Kardec in the spirits book in his introduction writes about this very issue and I think with much intelligence. I wonder if intellectual aptitude may be a prerequisite to intelligence, which is based in love and divine wisdom. Although intellectualism can be as much of a hindrance to divine wisdom as vanity and greed.

I think what keeps anyone on a lower astral level is their vibrational level, which I suspect is based on their level of love, compassion, and divine wisdom. Love and compassion for self and others appears to be the key that opens the door to higher astral levels. I.e. like attracts like.

Thorsten said:

"Michael asked this question because he was referring to 1920 when infrared equipment was not available. As infrared equipment *was* available during WWII and you say that you personally experienced a seance, then you must be at least 80 years old to exclude the usage of such equipment."

Leslie Flint was tested by the Society for Psychical Research in a series of stringest test seances at which infra-red telescopes and throat microphones were used.

Some were on their premises.

I an not 80 years old but not far off!

I first sat with Leslie Flint in 1971.

The voices simply came from mid-air...no trumpets were used nor any other paraphernalia...the evidence was sufficient...and Leslie was fully conscious throughout and was able to take part in the conversations from time to time although he was discouraged from doing so by the spirit controls.


Marcel, it is very unwise to be dogmatic about anything to do with Spiritualism.

Where can one read about your wonderful experiences or testimonials to that effect?

The ectoplasm that "may" be moving the trumpet is light sensitive. [...]
I believe Vandersande when he stated that the luminous trumpet moved around the room and could touch them wherever they asked to be touched by the trumpet.

Did I understand this right ? A light-sensitive ectoplasm is handling a luminous trumpet ?

@zerdini: I cannot share the experience because I was never in a seance; I am just thinking out loud. While I can imagine spiritual phenomena, any physical phenomena like raps and floating things are giving me cramps because they are "materialistic".

"Revelations" and "Psychic Mafia" didn't help either. We must assume that, if the medium is malicious, the medium has always years (!) for refining his technique. He has encountered many people and many security procedures. It is very probable that he will defeat my most cunning security measures regardless of my intelligence. Once convinced, my guard will inevitably drop.
And, if I reached this state, how do I separate the wheat from the chaff in mediumship ? Even so, many mediums, genuine or not, cannot resist to cheat if it improves their performance (If caught, for skeptics this is irrefutable proof that anynthing was faked).
Helen Duncan was touted as one of the finest mediums ever existing, but this photo
(look for Helen Duncan on MP's page) where you see the used cheesecloth coming out of her nose is *really* embarassing for believers.

@Thorsten

There is a big difference between 'thinking out loud' and actually sitting a seance.

You can read books on swimming but it will never make you a swimmer or reading 'how to drive a car' will make you a driver.

You have to undergo the actual experience before you can really comment.

Correction - 'sitting in a seance'.

Zerdini:
Your comparison is a bit off: Swimming and driving require active participation while sitting in a seance is almost completely passive; you do nothing except observe, talk and do preparations. Nothing of that requires any skill and is therefore not really comparable. And you surely agree that telling millions of people who are watching the current EM that they shouldn't
really comment because they don't play football sounds a bit...strange.

I will gladly agree that I am preconceived and prejudiced and I should attend if we discuss specific seances. But MP was asking the specific question how someone is able to tap correctly in pitch darkness. And in this case I have something relevant to say;
if it is true or not in a specific case does not matter.

If the target is saying "tap me on the shoulder" you have the audio cues to help you find the target. This will make taping a person easier than finding targets in an empty living room.

Thorsten:
Most people have experienced football in one way or another although it doesn't interest me at all.

It is easy to be an armchair critic e.g. saying that it is cheesecloth coming out of a medium's nose when you have no evidence for that at all. Photographs are no substitute for actual experiences. Ectoplasm can take many forms - it may be hard as steel one minute and like cottonwool the next.

I never sat with Helen Duncan so I wouldn't dream of commenting on her seances but I do know many people who have and received remarkable evidence of their loved ones' survival.

Well, photographs do tell us one thing: either Duncan's ectoplasm had no fear of light, or Harry Price had invented a camera that worked in the dark.

Ectoplasm is not affected by light - it is the medium who is in a sensitive state who is affected by light.

That's good news — so, if they're fully clothed and wearing gloves and some sort of head covering, any such medium should theoretically be able to produce ectoplasm in full-light conditions?

You have to undergo the actual experience before you can really comment.

I've never attended a seance, and I blog about the subject all the time. I'm not sure that actually attending a seance would make much difference, since anything that takes place in darkness or very dim light is always going to be open to some doubt.

That's why I think materialization mediumship and physical mediumship in general are not the best evidence. They depend too much on eyewitnesses, whose observations or memories can always be challenged. I think mental mediumship provides better evidence, if a verbatim transcript of the sitting is available. It's more objective.

Alan Gauld comes to the same conclusion in his classic book Mediumship and Survival.

I do think physical mediumship provides some evidence, especially when conducted under tightly controlled conditions. But even then, it's usually the messages that come through that are important. For instance, the Naples sittings with Eusapia Palladino clearly showed that paranormal activity was taking place, but didn't prove much about survival, since the phenomena could possibly be explained by PK. On the other hand, Etta Wriedt's direct voice mediumship does constitute good survival evidence, because of the messages that came through.

I'm really sorry but "taps on the knees, knocking, spirits, etc." all seem like silliness to me. There is nothing evidential about any of it. Stage tricks. I am impressed by some mental mediumship, such as bringing forth evidential information that validates that something of who we are remains. I'm sorry stage tricks just don't impress me much.

Michael said:
"I've never attended a seance, and I blog about the subject all the time. I'm not sure that actually attending a seance would make much difference, since anything that takes place in darkness or very dim light is always going to be open to some doubt."

If you had attended the same seances I did you would have a very different opinion.

The materialisation seances of Alec Harris took place in reasonable light...at least three 60w red light bulbs...I could see everything very clearly.

The direct voice seances of Leslie Flint like those of Etta Wriedt took place in complete darkness.

Leslie Flint never used a trumpet ...the voices came from mid-air. Etta Wriedt used a trumpet (megaphone) to amplify the voices although sometimes they came in daylight.

Both these mediums gave good survival evidence often in different languages unknown to the mediums.

The same could be said of Mollie Perriman who occasionally also had the voices in daylight.

I agree that good mental mediumship can also provide good evidence.

Not too long ago a mental medium brought through seventeen people, known to me, during the course of a sitting. I always tape a sitting so I can listen to it over again to make sure I haven't missed anything.

I must point out I rarely have private sittings nowadays but when I do there almost seems a rush by spirit communicators to make themselves known to me.

I am not particularly interested in any paranormal activity so I tend to avoid those type of seances. It's the evidence of survival that is most important in my opinion.

"It's the evidence of survival that is most important in my opinion."

So why o why not ask the spirits how they live? *Details*.

Ask them how they spend their time, what conditions are like, if they'll be coming back. If they know nothing, you can suspect they're telepathic subconscious projections. Do they use the bathroom after a steak? Do they play sport? What exactly do they do between seances?

So why o why not ask the spirits how they live?

These questions have been asked many times. Whole books have written about conditions in the afterlife, based on "channeled" information. Swedenborg was probably the first to compile such info, but others include Allan Kardec and Robert Crookall. Richard Matheson's novel What Dreams May Come relies on this material to provide a detailed (fictional) look at one man's post-death experiences. The bibliography in Matheson's book points you to his many sources.

I am a medium, and I can tell you with some degree of certainty, mediumship will never be the smoking gun that will ignite a revolution in the minds of materialists.

That said, mediums like myself, who are not trapped in the corral of parapsychology's history may somehow be able to assist psi researchers in the design of experiments as their minds are more realistic about the limits and potential of non-local consciousness to consciousness communication.

I'm taking a stab in the dark here(pun intended), but I would assume that over 97% of mediums claiming ectoplasmic abilities (both past and present)have some connection to the UK or to some other psychic/medium from the UK.

To me, it's pretty clear that "ectoplasm" is a relic of British spiritualism. As with other paranormal trends which have fallen out of fashion with the onward progress of technology and science, I also suspect that ectoplasm and materialization mediums will fade away as well. I can only hope.

And yes, David Thompson's claims of materialization are still fraudulent, and no, he will never sue me for saying so. He knows I am right.

Here is a must read piece from a New York Times article written on April 5, 1885. It is a hilarious account of American materialization mediums turning on each other and exposing each others fraud in order to be crowned king/queen of materialization mediums.

This is why materialization mediumship was run out of the States and took up residence in the UK - the English are more refined and respectful in matters of deceit and self-delusion, unlike their cousins abroad.

I have uploaded the article in both jpeg and pdf formats. you will have to use your view option to enlarge the microscopic type to a more legible form.

"Marcel, it is very unwise to be dogmatic about anything to do with Spiritualism.

Where can one read about your wonderful experiences or testimonials to that effect?"

Ectoplasm is not a relic of British Spiritualism at all - it all began in the good old USA!

Some of the finest physical mediums cane from America.

David Thompson has admitted he is NOT a materialisation medium so of course he won't sue. That's just a red herring.

Came from America not cane - apologies

Zerdini,

You are right about that the whole charade began in the states, that's why I uploaded the NYT article. I should have been clearer, modern materialization mediumship is almost strictly linked to the UK.

I haven't written about my experiences because, one, they are very private to me, and two, not many would believe me anyway so why suffer the ridicule?

My medium work is public, but my own experiences are not (not yet).

As far as David Thompson's admission of not being a materialization medium goes, I guess someone forgot to tell Victor Zammit, because if you go to the Circle of the Silver Cord's website, there is nothing there to discount this claim.

David is one of the World’s foremost Direct Voice & Physical (Materialization) Mediums (one of only two endorsed by the Zerdin Fellowship). David’s gift has been independently tested over the years in controlled environments providing little room for doubt.

Both Marcel and Hope seem to assume that all mediums have equal mediumistic power, or whatever one might want to call it. I am constantly amazed at Marcel's comments, which suggest that if he hasn't experienced it, it can't be true, or it all happens only in the way he has experienced it.

Clearly, mediums vary in their gift, strength, or whatever you want to call it. D. D. Home could perform in light, but did much better in the darkness. His premature death (around age 50, I think) may have been from performing in the light too often.

A magician will likely say anything can be duplicated. Floating trumpets can be duplicated by rigging the room with pulleys and lines, etc. But if the room is inspected before the lights go out, that seems very unlikely. Ask the magician if he can also duplicate the voices and the veridical information, keeping in mind that the voices often are much the same as the communicating spirit had when incarnate.

Addressing the floating trumpet issue alone is like addessing only ectoplasm and concluding it is all cheesecloth, forgetting to ask how cheesecloth can then develop into materialized forms, as witnessed by Richet, Geley, King, von-Schrenck-Notzing, and at least a dozen other respected scientists.

Ectoplasm is necessary to form the "voice box" required in the direct voice. As I have stated before the question might be asked why so many mediums find it necessary to come up with something as ridiculous as ectoplasm and a floating trumpet. Certainly, there must be less repugnant, stupid, and vulgar ways to trick people.


Marcel:

You are right except that Zammit has been told over and over again by members of the Spiritualist Chat Room
http://spiritualistchatroom.forumotion.com/login.forum?connexion

that his fatuous claims of David Thompson being a materialisation medium are rubbish. Neither Victor, nor his wife Wendy, nor any members of the Circle of the Silver Cord have ever experienced a materialisation and wouldn't know one if they fell over one in the light never mind the dark.

I don't know where you get your information about modern materialisation mediumship being mainly linked to the UK - it is equally the same in the USA.

Where can one see your public demonstrations of mediumship Marcel?

It's true that some physical mediumship phenomena is probably genuine. Of course the evidence for mental mediumship is much better but their certainly is some evidence for physical phenomena.

Mike Tymn wrote -

I am constantly amazed at Marcel's comments, which suggest that if he hasn't experienced it, it can't be true, or it all happens only in the way he has experienced it.
My comments have never suggested that, you have. You don't have to like my opinion, but the weight of the evidence is on my side. Richet, Geley, King, von-Schrenck-Notzing are no more immune from being duped than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was. In fact, Sir Arthur's rush to defend the most obvious of scams is a classic example of how much one can be blinded by one's own confirmation bias.

Mike Tymn wrote -

Ectoplasm is necessary to form the "voice box" required in the direct voice.
Show me the science. Show me the proof. Zero. Zip. Nada.

Again, Mike Tymn -

As I have stated before the question might be asked why so many mediums find it necessary to come up with something as ridiculous as ectoplasm and a floating trumpet. Certainly, there must be less repugnant, stupid, and vulgar ways to trick people.
Once the idea had been established and accepted as the prevailing mechanism for materialization, it would have been very difficult to get a new theory accepted by one's peers. However, calling the concept of ectoplasm, "repugnant, stupid, and vulgar" is spot on.

"As I have stated before the question might be asked why so many mediums find it necessary to come up with something as ridiculous as ectoplasm and a floating trumpet."

1. Because it works! Why put effort and risk into devising new tricks, when there's a readymade audience for these tried-and-tested classics?

2. People are suspicious of novelty. A purveyor of trumpets-n-ectoplasm can safely portray themselves as part of a tradition of other respected mediums and inherit part of their reputation; if you start introducing innovations, people are going to ask why the spirit world chooses one means of communication when working through you, and another set with others.

3. The fact that you pose the question illustrates another plus point: people will jump to defend seemingly "ridiculous" methods because that ridiculousness somehow means it's less likely to be made up. You'll see a similar principle at work if you read about the great con-men of the early 20th century: paradoxically, people are more likely to buy the ridiculous (e.g. that I'm selling you various New York monuments, or the Eiffel Tower, or that I'm an exiled member of the Austrian aristocracy) than more mundane claims. They refuse to believe that anyone would be so audacious (or stupid) to present such claims falsely. Their imaginations are engaged, and once that happens they will fill in the gaps and generate their own counterarguments when family and acquaintances raise doubts ("well, the ectoplasm must be light sensitive..."; "if we touch the medium during the session there's a serious risk they might die..."; "Houdini was using some of Louis Armstrong's leftover Southern vocal cords" etc.)

The reading I have done suggest that the worst person in the world to evaluate another medium is a medium especially if the medium being evaluated is able to produce phenomena that the other medium cannot produce.

I personally am inclined to believe Vandersande and Crookes when they state what they and others with them have witnessed.

I will say it again and again our worldly paradigm will not allow most of us to accept materializations from the other side.

Are any of Marcel's points in particular rendered useless thanks to him being a jealous jane and "the worst person in the world" to be talking about this kind of stuff? Or should we just ignore all of them?

What does your reading say about people who fall back on ad-hominems? Are those people more trustworthy?

In the 19th century spirits bouncing furniture, floating trumpets and ectoplasm fit right in to the paranormal beliefs extant in that culture. Those who follow the original spiritualistic traditions still get the same paranormal phenomena. Today many people believe in little gray aliens, not spirits, so little gray aliens show up and do the paranormal things expected of them. How much of this is from the "other side" and how much is directed by the beliefs of the experiencers? It would be interesting to get a group of believers in gray aliens and do a seance with them. What would show up?

Marcos F said;
'Are any of Marcel's points in particular rendered useless thanks to him being a jealous jane and "the worst person in the world" to be talking about this kind of stuff? Or should we just ignore all of them?'

What does your reading say about people who fall back on ad-hominems? Are those people more trustworthy?'

I agree with the ad-hominem,it's not about Marcel as a person it's his claims that need to be substiantated.

U said this;
However, calling the concept of ectoplasm, "repugnant, stupid, and vulgar" is spot on.

Why such hostility to this particular part of physical or direct voice phenomena?

Bryan,

I'm not really hostile towards ectoplasm or anyone on this site. I was just having fun with the adjectives that Mike Tymn used. They were his words, his insults. I thought that was obvious, but if I offended anyone who believes in the virtues of ectoplasm, I apologize.

Here is my belief, and if you don't agree, well, that's fine, let's agree to disagree.

No spiritual phenomenon that requires sitters to be in a pitch dark room where their senses are desensitized should be taken seriously unless strict "scientific" protocols are followed.

That's it.

Let me put it another way, as no one has yet answered my question. If the communication coming through the direct voice is veridical, why would the medium have to resort to ectoplasm and a flying trumpet if it is simply a trick? Let's start with the result and work backward rather than start with flying trumpets and end there.

Marcel - you claim you are a medium - where is the evidence for this claim please?

Well I am glad we settled that mystery.

We are in the 21st century with all of our technology and we still cannot settle once and for all this mystery. my my.

Would any evidence settle this mystery? The greatest scientist in England had a go of it and even took pictures and invited famous respected people to view what he was seeing and still a no go.

Back to paradigms again. Ok I won’t go there.

Zerdini, all evidence of my claim as a medium was being kept in a safe at the Atlantis Ramada Inn. Unfortunately Atlantis disappeared before I could retrieve it.

However, there is hope. James Cameron and Geraldo Rivera may have discovered the lost city of Atlantis buried deep under Lake Havasu. Seeing that there were only two hotels at the time, I am confident that the evidence will be recovered.

Stay tuned.

http://www.harvestfields.ca/ebook/02/050/06.htm

this chapter is a classic on skepticism and I think applies to our comments here.

chapter six of there is no death.

Very amusing Marcel but I remain unconvinced that you are a medium.

William:

Thanks for reminding me of that particular chapter. I read "There is no death" so long ago that I had completely forgotten it.

Have you read Florence Marryat's other book "The Spirit World"?- equally as fascinating - she had some remarkable experiences.

"These questions have been asked many times. Whole books have written about conditions in the afterlife"

Most are old sources. I was interested in a current communicator answering ordinary questions about how they typically spend their time, and what their hopes and dreams are. *Details* are worth a thousand bits of advice and philosophy.

Marcel is a medium. He gave me a telephone reading which was very good. He also read blogger Matthew Cromer over the phone, with excellent results.

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