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Hi, Michael
but why this "Dr. Ian" is not in a scientific experiment? He could ask to some scientist or another doctor or even a skeptic like Wiseman to test him.

This book was reviewed on the Paranormalia blog aswell! Probably worth buying reckon :).
Vitor-maybe he doesn't want to be tested, or isn't aware of the possibility. Why don't you e-mail him?

I think it's better someone who has in fact read the book contact him :)

"Sometimes I think that accounts like this, presenting the reactions of ordinary people to anomalistic phenomena, are ultimately more convincing than any amount of scientific evidence."

I know what you mean, and agree completely, because then I don't have to worry about interpreting data and such, which is always subject to debate. With a book like this, it's more a question of whether I trust the author, and from your comments and Robert McLuhan's review, Rubenstein (a practicing physician) doesn't sound like someone who's likely to concoct a fantasy.

I'd probably take out the word "ordinary" from your comment, though, because "really smart" doesn't hurt!

Just realized--by "ordinary" you probably mean non-psychic. But often even extremely psychic people--Judith Orloff and Eileen Garrett come to mind--have trouble accepting the validity of what they do, and their accounts can be compelling.

Anyway, this sounds like a good one, and I'm really looking forward to it!

A friend of mine who is a member of the SPR sent me the following link:

This page is reproduced by kind permission of Roy Stemman from the Paranormal Review website

Spirit helps doctor treat patient

2009 August 10 by Roy Stemman

A general practitioner with a practice in east London was remarkably frank about his mediumistic abilities in a programme, “Talking to the Dead”, one of a series on different faiths on the UK’s Channel 4 which was screened last night (Sunday, 9 August).

Dr Ian Rubenstein was filmed at Walthamstow National Spiritualist Church, where he sits in its Awareness Circle for developing mediums, and in his surgery where he recounted some of his extraordinary experiences.

Richard Alwyn, who filmed, produced and directed the documentary “after being given unprecedented access to a Spiritualist church”, testified that Dr Rubenstein had given him a vivid description of his grandfather when they were both sitting in the development circle. He described him, accurately, as being involved with music, playing instruments and conducting.

At his surgery, he told Alwyn about one woman patient who came to him suffering with inconsolable and inexplicable depression.
“So I printed out a prescription for an anti-depressant for her from the computer and, as I took it out, signed it and went to hand it to her I felt this blow to the back of my head and I heard a voice say, ‘Ask her about her father’.
“As I heard the voice I saw, at least I think I saw – it was almost as if I could see it properly over her left shoulder – the misty outline of a man. And I could actually describe him. I said, ‘Lucy, tell me about your Dad’. And she looked at me quizzically, stopped crying and said, ‘He was killed 38 years ago on the 8th of December by the IRA. Do you think that’s why I’m depressed?’
“And I said, ‘Did he look like…’ and I described him. And she said, ‘Yes, how do you know?’ And I said, ‘Actually, Lucy, I think I’ve just seen him.’ At which point she grabbed my arm and said, ‘Thank you so much, doctor, you don’t know what this means.
“She regained her composure and I offered the prescription but she said, ‘No thanks, I don’t need that now. Now that you’ve told me you’ve seen him, I don’t need it’.”

Dr Rubenstein’s first psychic experience occurred 35 years earlier, when he was a young medical student. He and his sister were sitting with a friend, 19-year-old Felicity who had long dark hair and a dark complexion. They were having an ordinary conversation when “all of a sudden there was someone else there” who had a very stern “snow queen face” with blonde hair, piercing blue eyes and “distorted thick white lips”. His sister suddenly started screaming and said, ‘My God, did you see those lips?‘ The “vision” had lasted just a few seconds but it made an impact on the young student. Later, talking a friend’s neighbour, medium Keith Hudson had told Dr Rubenstein that he had seen Felicity’s spirit guide. The doctor started going to the Spiritualist church five years ago after an unsettling experience with a patient who gave him an uncannily accurate message from the dead. There, he was reunited with Keith Hudson who plays an active role in the running of the church, as its vice-president, and who was the focal point of much of the documentary

As well as receiving the doctor’s mediumistic impressions about his grandfather, producer Richard Alwyn also had another experience at the Walthamstow Spiritualist church which was equally impressive.
“When I decided to try healing for myself, it had a dramatic impact.
After years of chronic back pain, I had little expectation of a cure. But after just 20 minutes with a healer the pain was no longer with me, and four months later I still don’t know what to make of it.” Later, he referred to it as “my seemingly miraculous cure”.

Despite these experiences, Alwyn’s voice-over commentary didn’t always do justice to Spiritualism. Even so, this was something of a breakthrough: the Spiritualist movement seldom gets this sort of TV exposure.

But it was Dr Ian Rubenstein who was the undoubted star of the documentary, as he talked about “speaking to these voices in my head that I hear”.
“When I’m doing my job, I’m a doctor. When I come here [to the Spiritualist church] I’m a psychic medium. I’m quite happy with the terminology. …”
Richard Alwyn said he was “amazed by the doctor’s stories, amazed by their contents but also to think of him using spirits as part of a consultation.”

Just downloaded this for my kindle, looking forward to it.

Dear Zerdini, thanks so much for downloading the above story. I found it deeply moving!

And then to think that this world abounds with so-called skeptics who dismiss such wonderful accounts as hogwash from irrational people...

There are plenty of irrational physicians. :)

On the face of it, yet another story about a personal journey of apparent psychic development.

What makes this book a bit different is that the author is a medical practitioner. There are plenty of books about investigations into psychic matters and mediumship by medics and scientists, however I can’t think of any by a medic or scientist making this journey personally, and certainly nothing recent.

As with all such offerings, we are reading about the subjective experiences and reflections of a particular individual. How we choose to view this kind of evidence (and I would say that testimony is certainly a type of evidence), depends on a number of factors such as – whether we know the writer personally, the potential motivations behind writing, the nature of the phenomena reported and suchlike.

The fact that Ian Rubenstein is a medical doctor is interesting. I don’t think this makes his judgement on such matters any weightier necessarily than the next person’s, however he does seem inclined to look for evidence to support his conclusions and to be, at the start at least, at most neutral and possibly somewhat sceptical. If the author is to be believed, his initial experience was unwanted and not particularly welcome.

I think it unlikely that he will make any money from this exercise and would have thought that his profession provided sufficient personal recognition, so I am inclined to rule these out as motivations. In fact, discussing his experiences with patients and colleagues could be seen as somewhat risky from a professional standpoint. It would be safer surely to keep it under wraps and certainly not write a book about it. So he has something to lose by ‘coming out’ I would suggest. This leave me inclined to think that the motive for publishing is genuine.

This doesn’t necessarily make the reported phenomena genuine communications from the deceased however. As he discusses his ‘progress’ from his initial inklings through to development circles and demonstrations of mediumship, at times he seems to have fallen for it all hook line and sinker, and to be mixing with some decidedly odd characters in the process. At the same time, every so often one can see he doubts the reality his experiences and looks for evidence to support them rather than blind faith, unsure that what he thinks he is experiencing is actually ‘so’.

It strikes me as an honest account. Whether Ian Rubenstein has taken leave of his senses or not I cannot say (I suspect he thinks or thought that himself at some points in the process). Does it add much to the body of evidence for survival so far accumulated? – I don’t think so. Is it a read likely to attract people to spiritualism? – I don’t think so (not that it purports to be either). I do however think the author has taken a personal risk with his own professional standing and credibility and for that reason it is worth reading to make what one will of the personal testimony he presents.

I just finished this book and i really enjoyed it. I like his mix of acceptance and skepticism and the honesty in his account of his experiences.

Paul says he dosnt think it is likely to attract people to spiritualism? I would disagree, it's attracted me, in fact it's opened a window on a very interesting world that is quite different from that provided by the jaded impressions of armschair skeptics.

In fact, my impression is that the spiritualist community is a healthy one - yes it has its fair share of oddballs, but it also embraces genuine individuals, who are just as keen as any skeptic to route out the scam artists and crazies- they are actually highly self-critical.

For me, the biggest thing I took away from this book is that, contrary to what Michael and others have suggested before, the spiritualism movement is FAR from extinct. Sure, its a lot smaller than in its hayday, but the movement is alive and well, and from what I read here, quite healthy allbeit on a smaller scale.

I also like the fact that the mediums described by Ian are not claiming to be spiritually superior or more 'advanced' than the rest of us. They are just very human.

I love a bit in the book where Ian asks Keith Hudson's opinion of two women who stubbornly refused to accept some communications. Hudson replied that he wasnt suprised as they looked like a couple of 'moaning cows' lol - i love it! I would be less impressed with a medium who was coming across holier than thou; what we actually get are ordinary people with extra ordinary talents.

Ian is honest enough to admit the possibility that he is simply going through a unique form of mid-life crisis, but reading his account, I think this unlikely.

Anyway, do a bit of reading and you will discover that the very concept of 'mid life crisis' is actually highly controvesial anyway, if not complete tosh.

In all, as a result of this book I'm going to visit my local spiritualist church this weekend to check out what they do, thanks Ian!

I admit I am a biased against churches per se lol. I have visited a few spiritualist churches and seen very little (and that's being charitable) mediumship that was in anyway evidential (and the little that seemed as though it might be, impossible to vaIidate). I found the environment dull and sparsely attended. The churches reminded me of non-conformist chapels with no passion, dry and dusty. I suppose I had my expectations raised by many of the works describing great mediums of the past.

As for spiritualism itself, I don't think it has much to offer philosophically above other religions other than evidence of survival, which these days seems particularly rare.

I would be very interested to read your own view after visiting a few establishments Douglas.

I will certainly let you know. Everyone's experience is different of course, and I'm sure the quality of any spiritualist establishment will vary greatly from area to area.

I am sure you're correct. Look forward to hearing. Where are you based as a matter of interest?

I have the impression that the Spiritualist movement is somewhat more active in the UK than in the US. And it's quite popular in Brazil, from what I understand. But compared to the halcyon days of, say, the 1920s, interest in the overall movement has dropped off considerably. I think, however, that a form of Spiritualism persists as sort of an "underground" movement, which may be pretty widespread - individuals who gather together in their homes to conduct seances, healing sessions, group meditations, Tarot card readings, etc. They don't seek publicity and don't broadcast their interests, but I suspect there are many more such people than we might think. It's almost like the early days of Christianity when followers would meet in private homes and conduct loosely organized services that included "prophesy" (channeling) and other occult phenomena.

Most towns here (uk) seem to have a spiritualist church Michael.

Hi Paul, i'm in Edinburgh

Thanks Douglas. Hope you have your thermals. :)


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