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Have been posting far too much, but on this subject, thought I would pass on how I find it..

Personally I don't believe spirits would need an intermediary on their side, and that that would pose a problem. I tend to think more advanced spirits could easily manipulate matter. After all, even those on lower levels seem to communicate with us relatively easily..

I tend to think therefore that the problems are pretty much on our side i.e whether the sitter is particularly gifted, tired, distracted etc. Or whether they even want to pass some particular information on.

I find they talk to me in a fairly straight forward manner. I tend to get it in smaller pieces though ( I think thats because iI don't hear that well, so they do that deliberately) but if I do concentrate, I have had more. They frequently use methods though to pass on large bits of info that I guess are hard to portray e.g

In a murder program I was looking at, to show where the body was- at first they said in my head "she's not in the water'. I didn't know there was water, and then saw psychics (sensing murder) drive across a bridge and thought, ok? Then a picture was put in my head, of a piece of sloped land with dead leaf on the ground and small blades of grass growing through. So I presumed there were light trees overhead, that allowed dappled light for grass to grow.

When a family member popped into see me one night. He gently touched my cheek ( I think to get my attention as I was reading). Then I could feel him come between me and the book and his whole personality came with it along with a small picture in my head of him when younger. It was like having a phone call from someone after a long time, and you hear there voice, and go, "oh my god, it's..".

I find I'm not good at letters, although I haven't practised much. Some psychics are just very good at it though. I have done numbers and I tend to give them some numbers, and then go up and they say yes or no. So with words they would do the same with psychics, probably they would perhaps ask for vowels etc. It just makes it easier - a system that is, to communicate.

For example, some times I get words I don't know the meaning of, and that is to let me know that it's them communicating, not me.

At times however I do find, their wording can be a bit odd, and put it down to that's probably just how they have chosen to explain it, or perhaps how they view the quantum world now.

But then they can be extremely accurate also. For example when asking about another murder case- it came in my head that the perpetrator was largely build, had large hands, and was Asian. And as I live in Bangkok I thought- Asian's aren't large? Then they said - Indian, and I thought yea, that's right Indians are Asian, and some of them are larger built. Then they told me his occupation.

So fairly accurate stuff at times and a number of different ways to ease communication. My mum has said to me on one particular case, she would come with me and we could go and dig a hole. But yea, it's tempting. I can see why psychic's offer to help with crimes.

Cheers Lyn.

In my post, I should have clarified that not all mediums seem to use a control. The control appears to be primarily a feature of trance mediumship, which is seldom practiced nowadays in the US.

Even in the case of trance mediums, there are some communicators who seem able to come through without a control. The material excerpted from Oliver Lodge's "Raymond" in Mike Tymn's book includes one case where Raymond tried to come through a trance medium (not Mrs. Leonard) directly, with unsatisfactory results. He was told (by other spirits) that he would have to practice to master the technique, as it takes special skills to impress one's thoughts on the medium's brain.

"Personally I don't believe spirits would need an intermediary on their side, and that that would pose a problem."

There's so much testimony to the need for a relay system involving communicators and controls, at least in trance mediumship, that I don't think the idea can be dismissed unless we're ready to say that all of this mediumship is fundamentally flawed. And in that case, we lose the best-authenticated mediums in history: Mrs. Piper, Mrs. Leonard, and Eileen Garrett.

"After all, even those on lower levels seem to communicate with us relatively easily."

I think the idea is that communication is easier from the lower planes because those planes are closer to the earth plane. It becomes increasingly difficult as the spirit progresses into the higher planes. This is why it's fairly easy for amateurs to attract low-level spirits via a Ouija board or table-tipping, but hard for even experienced mediums to receive communications from advanced spirits.

Nice post which highlights the problems with all forms of mediumistic phenomena and not just mediumistic trance.
I've alway thought Geraldine Cummins' The Road to Immortality (1932), where the spirit of F. W. H. Myers, purported to write through Cummins illustrated these points beautifully:
"The inner mind, is very difficult to deal with from this side. We impress it with our message. We never impress the brain of the medium directly. That is out of the question. But the inner mind receives our message and sends it on to the brain. The brain is a mere mechanism. The inner mind is like soft wax, it receives our thoughts, their whole content, but it must produce the words that clothe it...... We may succeed in sending the thought through, but the actual words depend largely on the inner mind's content, on what words will frame the thought."

Very interesting posts and it makes sense. Along the lines of what Lynn is saying, when I sat with Georgia O'Connor, her comments gave me the impression that there was no intermediary; that the spirits talked directly to her. Georgia is not a trance medium, though. On the other hand, Georgia did say something about having a spirit guide too. Confusing.

I have noticed that the ("spiritual intelligence") of the medium has much to do with the level of spiritual wisdom the medium receives.

The most advanced spiritual teachings I have discovered came thru a medium that never took his mediumship outside his home with his wife as the only observer.

"Personally I don't believe spirits would need an intermediary on their side, and that that would pose a problem."

I haven't done trance mediumship, so if a psychic says she has used a control for that then likely she/he has. I don't profess to know it all, only what I have experienced. I do feel when using general mediumship, a control is not needed however, but I don't feel thats a definite rule.

For example, some years ago I went to a medium and she told me a male spirit had entered the room when I arrived. She explained that fraternal relations usually went to one side in front of her and maternal spirits stood on the other. In this case, a male spirit stood int he middle. She said he was not speaking, but appeared to be supervising. She mentioned however, that this had not occurred before however, as no one usually stood in the middle.

I do feel ( just how I think it could work), that the higher you go in planes, earth probably has less pull and relevance for most spirits. But that there are probably higher beings that fulfil an advisory rule for lower ones and communication with earth e.g. a spirit guide.

I have also asked at times for a guide to come in and supervise ( an intermediary role I guess) to prevent me feeling the repercussions of a crime.

So I think therefore, all of the above works, it's probably all in the mix in other words.

Lyn x.

The brazilian medium Francisco Candido Xavier (1910-2002) has written some of the best descriptions of the afterlife. The so called Andre Luiz series has 13 books all of them dealing with the afterlife. Some of these books have been translated from Portuguese into English. The first and most known book of the series is called Nosso Lar (Our Home). Recently, the magazine Explore has published a scientific study about the mediumship of Francisco Candido Xavier, which gave positive results. It is a very interesting study.

A very detailed and nuanced discussion of this topic of interference or coloring (material that comes from the medium's own subconscious) appears in Betty White's Gaelic Manuscripts. The manuscripts were channelled from an unnamed entity. The material is purportedly designed as an instruction manual for mediums at a higher level of development. (Here's one section found online: http://harmonhouse.net/archive/fdl/gaelic19.htm#19.01 ).

In one very interesting section, Gaelic explains the reason why there is so much terrible automatic writing or channelled material. He explains that in the early stages of development a psychic will get impressions from an entity who is trying to develop the subject. The first attempts produce little of any value, and most of the content comes from the subconscious of the psychic.

The goal of the entity, through combined effort of the entity and psychic, is to produce material of sufficient quality to keep the interest of the sensitive person -- in other words, not to create so much gibberish that the sensitive throws in the towel.

The beginning steps in psychic development are almost infantile, and the emergence of a fully-developed, mature medium results through many stumbling steps in between. On the psychic's side, she attempts to develop her powers to receive accurate transmissions. On the other side, the entity, through experiment, is learning to "play" this very unique instrument. Sometimes the entity is a Paganini playing a Stradivarius, and sometimes it's Uncle Joe trying to get sound out of a Sears model, with every combination imaginable in between.

So Betty asks the relevant question:

"Assuming that, at least sometimes, genuine and actual communication does take place; communication that is not wholly self-induced, how is one to tell what is real and what is false? . . . how can we distinguish 'coloring' the activities of the station's own sub-conscious?"

Gaelic's reply refers to what the medium, or "station" as he calls her, should do:

"Gaelic offered no sure test in answer to the first question. Take what comes from whatever sources and place it on file. Do this without prejudice one way or another. Leave it. 'And,' says Gaelic, 'after an interval, prepare yourselves in a way to be permeable and read it over. If it is important, we try then by exactly the same process to impress you with the truth, and to cast into your mind a rejection of that which is not truth.'

"There is no communication he urged, extending over a whole evening's work, that would not include, in fact, material from the station's own personality."

Of course, the information provided by Gaelic does not constitute scientific evidence. It is purportedly for those "on the path." Even though I think it offers insights for the average person, like me, it is highly condensed, like a technical manual for someone trying to hone their already prodigious skills. But the manuscripts do offer some insights into how to assess the endless quantities of material and may give hints as to what is false.

I have to say the article makes sense to me. I've had two dreams that are relevant. Here are the relevant portions of them:

1) This is part of a handful of what I call "big dreams" from my journal. In it, I was lucid and was given a symbolic description of how reincarnation is related to the route our soul takes to learn things. A guru/spirit guide showed me this, but then brought me to a different spirit guide who explained what the dream meant. From the journal: "She tells me that the tent and the metaphor of our Earthly trials being represented as a video game like layout was the idea of the Guru who led me to the tent. I get the idea when she says this that he is a playful sort of spirit, but is sometimes so far removed from the ways of Earth that it is difficult for those who are much less below him in their knowledge of spiritual things to understand his meaning. For this reason, he set up the wayfarer's tent and asked this woman, who is but one of many spirit helpers, to be here to explain the dream to me when I arrive."

2) In another lucid dream, but not a "big dream", I am brought to a place where I am shown a symbol representing the trials of life as a vehicle for transitioning from lower to higher levels of knowledge and greater access to previously inaccessible domains of the spirit. A spirit guide then "...brings me into the building. Inside, she tells me that I am asleep and my body is on earth. She shows me my sleeping body, but it is separated from me by a kind of barrier. She tells me that my dreams are created in this place and then they are sent to me. This surprises me a great deal, because the way she describes it, many of my dreams are direct communication between this place, which I understand to be heaven, and me on earth.
The angel stressed that what I considered to be 'my' dreams, were not actually mine. They were made for me, and given to me for a certain purpose, though I don't remember what that purpose was."

I didn't write it in my journal notes, but when this spirit guide gave the explanation quoted above, I had this impression of different spirits collaborating to make the dream communications. Some were better at it than others, and some were better able to send certain types of messages. Some might be good at coming up with a logotype symbol representing something (like the present dream) where others prefer to explain things in a way that includes a time element (like the previous dream) or by simply saying what is meant, though that type of communication was generally regarded as weak because images, feelings, and experiences are all more memorable than words.

AP

When I have been a medium, I have never encountered controls. I have always communicated with spirits directly.

We've also talked about how controls often seem to be functional entities. I wonder if that all fits with trance mediumship somehow...

The Gaelic manuscript's I feel, are useful in showing some of the mechanism's used for those who open their psychic powers for the first time, as they go through a period of adjustment. These things are very individual I think however. Some people are just stradivarius's from the start e,g, children born to it.

For me having coming from an atheist upbringing and having a huge love of science and critical thinking, psychic-ness was the opposite to all my natural instincts. So my journey was probably more similar to how he describes it.

Do psychics use their own reasoning ? For sure. If you think about it, what ever someone tells you, you take it in and reword it to have meaning to you, then relate it to past experience. A psychic does the same.

The gaelic writings suggest that inaccuracy and interference from ones own thoughts is prevalent and a major cause of inaccuracy. I don't totally agree. For me, I'm not switched on all the time, so to speak. a number of psychic's are though e.g Lisa Williams, and thats why they have a TV show. Those who are more gifted tend to get a greater volume of information at a time. This helps to create a fuller picture. For me I tend to get smaller pieces.

Most psychics try to validate in some way however. So putting information away and building on that, would be common. If you go to a psychic, you may notice therefore that at the end of a reading they seem to give a more fuller picture.

In a previous post of mine with a murder, in which a picture of a sloped area of land was given. That is an example of information I would file away till I had more to work on.

The second example I gave in the post however, of when told
"she is not in the water", and then look up to see them driving across a bridge- that is a validation of sorts i.e there is water there as we told you. Psychics get this all the time, validation that is, and it is frequently timed for effect to give pointers to differentiate their thoughts. Another psychic may be told in a crime ( which occurred) there will be a windmill there.

Paqdream, loved your post, I'm so hoping to have lucid dreams.

I do wonder if dreams as with a psychic though, have symbols and experiences that are geared to a persons makeup and personality. I tend to think in the expanded consciousness of a dream, any type of spirit could enter of differing developmental ability, and perhaps a guide came in to ensure you retained your mental stability?

Vlad Ladgman's dream on dreaminglucid.com for example, really gels with my symbolism and experience. In which the toothbrush is god and from the 'factory of details', e,g, "god is one of a us, just a stranger on a bus".

Giving the challenge to god - I have done the same, and boy I regret it, as he forever challenges me.

Isn't life like that though, an individual experience, and I suspect we take that with us ( the individual) all the way to the top.

Cheers Lyn.

By the way, the post was great, and I am as always edified by the great comments here. What you guys are saying is really ringing true for me.

More thoughts on a trance medium's control can be found in Mike Tymn's latest blog post:

http://whitecrowbooks.com/michaeltymn/entry/rolf_explains_how_trance_mediumship_works

"We've also talked about how controls often seem to be functional entities."

I used to be partial to that view, but lately I'm more inclined to see them as actual spirits, albeit fairly low-level spirits. I think their low-level status is necessary to make strong contact with the medium. This would also serve to explain why the controls are frequently somewhat mischievous and even prone to childish acts of deception. It may also explain why they seem to cover up the facts of their earthly lives (if we assume that those lives were not always very admirable).

In an email, Mike Tymn reminds me that the "fishing" often cited as evidence of cold reading was interpreted differently by careful investigators of trance mediums. These investigators became convinced that the control was asking leading questions of the communicating spirit, not of the sitter. In other words, the control was fishing around for a clearer communication, trying to resolve the ambiguities. The transcripts seem to bear this out.

while I do lean toward reincarnation, I am also very skeptical. I was reading Dr. Michael Newton's Destiny of Souls and have to say the "just so stories" seemed far fetched to me at times even though technically they would seem to agree with my worldview. I know it's odd but I just can't be a "true Believer" just because I would like to be. ;-) I also found a blog by someone who said she was a paranormal investigator and she knew that her fellow skeptics needed to be more polite. I was immediately skeptical of her since how do you "investigate" when your mind is already made up. Anyway, she called her blog haileyisaghost or something like that. So, the search goes on. ;-)

Michael,

"I used to be partial to that view, but lately I'm more inclined to see them as actual spirits, albeit fairly low-level spirits."

Why do you think functional entities are not the answer now?

The problem I have with seeing them as low-level spirits is that some have clearly tried to defend their status and history as a particular person over a long period of time. Would a low-level spirit really be inclined to play the role of Phinuit, for example, so consistently?

I'll see if I can answer this succinctly.

1. I think the fictionality of spirit controls has been overstated. Mrs. Piper's control, Phinuit, actually gave fairly good proofs of identity and, contrary to some claims, did demonstrate the ability to speak French. However, he unquestionably would prevaricate or embellish in some cases. He claimed he had graduated from a prestigious college, but no record of him could be found. We might expect this kind of self-aggrandizement from a lower spirit.

2. Gladys Osborne Leonard's control, Feda, seems to have been a historical personage who had a connection with her family (she was Leonard's great-grandmother). It's unclear that Mrs. Leonard even knew about this when the control first appeared.

3. Imperator, Rector, et al., who functioned as Mrs. Piper's controls in later years, seem to be the same entities that communicated with William Stainton Moses. The names of Moses' communicators were known to very few people at the time, never having been published. (I admit I could be wrong about when the names, found in Moses' journals, were made publicly known.)

4. The mediumship of Mrs. Piper improved and changed markedly after Imperator and the others took over. It's not clear how merely functional entities could accomplish this. It appears as if higher spirits found a new and better way to control the "mechanism."

5. Many of the controls in early trance sessions were pirates and other rogues, who became a source of ridicule to doubters. Yet these are precisely the sort of lowlifes we would expect as low-level spirits - undeveloped materialists who committed various crimes and indiscretions but were not altogether bad people.

6. The subconscious trying to deceive us with "fake" spirits seems to get into super-psi territory by expanding the powers of the subconscious to a large degree and fostering something of a "conspiracy theory" mentality. I'm inclined to think we ought to be able to trust our subliminal self for the most part. Otherwise how can we trust anything?

I admit these arguments are not dispositive, but I think, taken together, they are somewhat persuasive.

Michael,

Very interesting. Thank you. I don't have a formed opinion on this particular matter. It's definitely complex!

Very interesting. There was a actually a case however of people creating a fake spirit - the Toronto Society for Psychical Research did indeed deliberately "create" a ghost they called Philip. This Philip was able to dim lights and levitate a table among other things. Since Philip was entirely fictional, it had to be the people doing these things - which brings up some really interesting questions about what our subconscious is capable of.

Thinking laterally - what's to stop a real spirit imitating 'philip'? ;)

Paul, yes, several people speculated that perhaps a real spirit was taking the place of "Philip."

You're right of course, Paul. Since written or spoken language may not be the main means of communication on the other side, names in English or in other languages may not be that important to a spirit identity. I think that that may be more likely if a spirit has been incarnated as other personalities with other names in other lifetimes. It may be that if a medium is trying to contact someone named 'Phillip' it would seem to me that an enterprising spirit from the 'lower' realms would take the opportunity to step up and say "Here I am!" just to get the opportunity to speak. -AOD

What we need is to conduct experiments to prove two things: a) that sentient beings that manifest through mediums are independent of the mediums, and b) that these sentient beings identify with deceased human beings. The first point could be tested if the same sentient being (devising a manner of identification) appears at different times in different mediums separated by many kilometres And the second point could be proved by showing that the memories, motivations, and personality are shown to be identical to those of the deceased.

Thanks Karen and AOD :) - maybe even a spirit having a bit of fun?

Isn´t that the same as what the SPR Cross Correspondence experiments were supposed to have accomplished?

Well Juan, hasn't this been nicely done with the cross correspondences of Frederic Myers? He corresponded over many years with at least 4 mediums separated on three continents. There are other examples of a purported entity communicating through more than one medium, e.g. Imperator, Phinuit

I think Silver Birch did too.

Yes, cross-correspondences are similar, but I think it is necessary to do other experiments that no involving such complication.

One notion I have about the process of mediumship is that it is like process of writing an original song.

In that vein, there's an audio clip of John Lennon in the process of creating "Happiness is a Warm Gun" from the Beatles Anthology CD set. You can hear John fishing around, making many false starts and corrections. Clearly, he's "on" to something, and is trying repeatedly to get a better handle on what exactly that thing might be.

This made me think of how a medium works. They know they have something "nibbling" at their intuitional "fishing line" but it can be a time-consuming process to "reel it in" and get clear about what exactly is on the end of the fishing line/"telephone" line, as it were. Definitely, before the fish/message is seen clearly, there can be a series of less-than-accurate notions of what exactly is tugging at the intuition.

In psychology texts, I seen this called the process of successive approximation.

Experiments mean little to nothing to true believers be they religious, political, or atheists.

Even new thought and new age folks have their beliefs to protect at almost all costs.

The human ego loves to be known for knowing.


Off-topic: Michael and others, I wonder if you know about Sam Harris's new book, to be released in September? Its subject is spirituality without religion, and I found the first chapter quite interesting:

http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/chapter-one

I began reading it with considerable skepticism because of how arrogantly Harris behaved towards Eben Alexander following the publication of Proof of Heaven.

But at the same time, I can't forget a remark he once made:

"If I knew that either of my daughters would eventually develop a fondness for methamphetamine or crack cocaine, I might never sleep again. But if they don’t try a psychedelic like psilocybin or LSD at least once in their adult lives, I will wonder whether they had missed one of the most important rites of passage a human being can experience."

So check it out folks. It's surprisingly good. And how can you resist a book with a footnote like this?

"6. One wonders how it was possible for a charlatan like L. Ron Hubbard to acquire any following at all, because each story about him is more preposterous and embarrassing than the last. For instance, Hubbard claimed to have withdrawn one of his first books from publication “‘because the first six people who read it were so shattered by the revelations that they had lost their minds’” (L. Wright. 2013. Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief. New York: Knopf ). According to Hubbard, when he delivered this “dangerous text to his publisher, ‘The reader brought the manuscript into the room, set it on the publisher’s desk, then jumped out the window of the skyscraper.’”

The footnote ends with this:

"There are many more laughs to be had at Hubbard’s expense. However, several readers who saw the original version of this endnote found it so funny that they had to be hospitalized. Regrettably, I’ve been forced to edit the text out of concern for the health of my readers."

"I will wonder whether they had missed one of the most important rites of passage a human being can experience."

I really like the way he worded this, by the way. Note that he didn't said he would recommend a psychedelic to his daughters, but, having had the experience himself, he would wonder whether they might be missing something important. And that's really all one *can* do when it comes to someone else's life--speculate.

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