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It would be interesting to make a comparison between what Vatellini says and what Seth says. It seems to me that there are several points in common even if I have not read Cornillier's book.

Seth talks about probable realities and alternate futures, and appears to suggest the future is not fixed, which may account for the various predictions that don't come to pass - perhaps they do come to pass but not in this reality.

When particularly gifted individuals tap into these future scenarios, there's still no guarantee that the future they tap into will be one that maps onto our own present. There's too many variables.

Mind you, you would think that these spirit communicators would have worked this out by now...

Great post and great overview! Thank you, Michael. All very interesting.

The wrong and somewhat absurd predictions (e.g. Asia invading Europe) + incorrect pronouncements about how things work are so common in this kind of material that they seem to be a feature as opposed to a bug. They'd be damning to the entire paranormal hypothesis if it wasn't for all the verifiable non-normal demonstrations. Who knows? Limitations on what spirits can know combined with the normal subconscious processes and conscious thoughts of the incarnate (as well as those of the spirit)? A focus on energies in other dimensions that never come to manifest in the material realm?

The long term global predictions seem to be wrong far more often the correct. It would be interesting to build a database of these predictions wherein a scoring of the accuracy is performed, followed by some analysis. Maybe a pattern would emerge that would assist with the development of an explanation.

Good review, Michael, though I don't think I'll be reading the book; Vettellini reminds me of many other so-called higher spirits that leave me with a nagging feeling that they're not quite who they claim to be. While some of his points make sense (especially levels of understanding), your quotes and summary of him give me a smug, 'holier-than-thou' feeling that I get so often from channelings of ascended masters and other claimed higher spirits. Perhaps it's just me, but this strictness and sternness seems 'off' for lack of a better word. NDE's, especially the exceptional ones (such as Christian Andreason's experience) portray the heavenly realms of the spirit world as ones of pure love, where even the highest, most powerful, and most evolved spirits are still loving and caring. If God, the highest of all entities in existence, is supreme benevolence, love, understanding, and forgiveness, shouldn't beings who are closest to God should be the same? I can understand how we as humans need to be firm with individuals who need controlling and guidance, but for spirits to be the same feels like a nightmarish version of earthly bureaucracy that causes so much unhappiness to so many. Would you want to spend eternity under the gaze of stern spirits who have become rule-nazis and frown at the idea of having fun? The thought makes me want to gag.

The summary of Vettellini's attitude towards suffering, however, is especially troubling. While I haven't read many of them, changelings from the early 1900's seem obsessed with suffering to a downright unhealthy degree, as if the spirit world is filled with masochists who get their jollies at the thought of undergoing pain and misery again and again. I've never gotten that feeling in any current-day channelings or NDE's, which emphasize that while we may experience suffering and hardships in life and the lower planes after death, it does eventually come to an end and will not be forever. Vettellini's description sounds like Groundhog Day if it was written by Satan: Live, suffer, die, suffer, be reborn, and repeat. Forever.


It's material like this that makes me wonder if what is channeled to humanity in different time periods may be meant for people of that era based on their cultural beliefs and attitudes. Or perhaps these higher beings and ascended masters actually are benevolent, and are just pretending to be stern and strict for certain individuals, and not humanity as a whole. Either way, it's compelling food for thought.

On a related note, Michael, what does the book say about Him/Her/It? I'd find it even more suspicious if Vettellini doesn't even talk about the Creator at all, or just a few times.

Vettellini doesn’t use the term God, but instead refers to Fate or "the Hand." This seems to be an impersonal force, which is hypothesized rather than known directly. Even spirits at Vettellini's level do not know much more about this ultimate mystery than we do, we are told.

Vettellini does have a rather tender and loving relationship with both Reine and Cornillier, including many moments of levity. Whether he is all that he claims to be, I don’t know. The emphasis on suffering and "ordeals," both during incarnation and on the astral planes, gets a bit depressing.

Vettellini says at one point that the frequent references to God in some earlier spiritualist messages were intended to address the beliefs and predilections of the spiritualists themselves, many of whom came from a Christian background. In other words, the messages are tailored to the audience, to some extent. This also applies to descriptions of palaces and tapestries and concerts in the Au-Dela, all of which are metaphors for things beyond human understanding, rendered in comparatively banal terms.

These studies should address only two things, because the predictions and metaphysical statements are often wrong or unfalsifiable.

1. Show that the possible spirit of the deceased has the same personality as the human being when he / she was alive, something that only those who knew him / her when he / she was alive can do.

2. Show that the possible spirit of the deceased possesses the same memories and unknowns as when he / she was alive, without the medium being able to obtain this by conventional means.

You might be interested in reading “Swan on a Black Sea” by Geraldine Cummins. It is an account of sittings Ms. Cummins had in the late 1950s (1957-1959) with the spirit of Winifred Coombe-Tennant 1874-1956. Cummins transcribed information from Winifred Tennant who during her lifetime was the reluctant medium---‘Mrs. Willett’. Coombe-Tennant was related indirectly through marriage to the circle of people that included Frederic Myers, Edmund Gurney, the Sidgwicks and others deeply involved in pursuing the truth regarding spirit survival after death of the physical form. Much of what Cummins transcribed from Coombe-Tennant was verified by Tennant’s two sons one of whom did not believe in spirit survival. The sessions with Mrs. Tennant were her efforts to prove to her unbelieving son Henry that she continued to exist.

Cummins had little or no knowledge of the life of Mrs. Coombe-Tennant prior to her contact with the spirit of Tennant and for a while didn't even know that it was Tennant she had contacted but Cummins was able through more than 40 sittings to provide a large amount of accurate personal information about the personality of Mrs. Tennant, some of which was not even known to her surviving sons but later verified.

I think that Ms. Cummins transcriptions will address your two points regarding verifiable information obtained through mediums or psychics. Mrs. Coombe-Tennant in spirit was directed by ‘Fred Myers’ in some of the information she transmitted to Cummins. Apparently Cummins also received transcriptions directly from Frederic Myers which she published in a book titled “The Road to Immortality”.

Geraldine Cummins also provided at the end of her book with Tennant information regarding her (Cummins) personal background and how the lines of communication between a medium and the spirit world work. I found this information very enlightening helping me to understand the difficulties in transcribing information from other realities and why it may at times not be accurate.

In my opinion Geraldine Cummins is a much neglected medium and ‘automatist’. I found her book documenting her sessions with the spirit of Winifred Coombe-Tennant one of the best I have read that supports communication with spirits in another reality. - AOD

Amos, Cummins was indeed a fascinating automatist but the Cummins/Willett material has been explained away.

Eric Dingwall's comment:

"An example of what is necessary can be seen in the recently published scripts of the late Miss Geraldine Cummins purporting to emanate from the famous SPR automatist Mrs. Willett. This book was supported by at least three ex-presidents of the SPR, one of whom wrote a long preface to it of over 70 pages. In the course of the communications two odd and startlingly evidential items of information, involving a word and a phrase, were given by the medium, and the editor of the book assured us both that these were actually in the diaries left by the deceased communicator. Fortunately, in this case the original diaries had been preserved. They were examined, and their owner stated that neither the word nor the phrase was to be found in them."

Eric Dingwall. (1985). The Need for Responsibility in Parapsychology: My Sixty Years in Psychical Research.

It doesn’t sound as if Dingwall thought he had "explained away" the entire book; he was simply casting doubt on two details.

I read Cummins' book years ago; as I recall, there were hundreds of items in the text that were confirmed by her sons. Even if two points were not confirmed, there would still be many others.

This argument strikes me as an instance of "the fallacy of the glancing blow," which is exceedingly popular among Skeptics. (I believe Matt Rouge coined this term.)

Interesting, but I hope it's not true, as I still really hate the idea of reincarnation. Most people have to suffer an inordinate amount on earth in one lifetime as its, I hate to think of good people have to keep going 'round.

I did come on upon a very interesting NDE on Youtube. It's interesting because the woman was pronounced Dead on Arrival at ER and appears to have recounted what was going on around her while "dead" very accurately. It's a long video, but strangely (or not) very relaxing to listen to.

In a nutshell: the only thing that really matters is the motivation behind our actions, that actions made out of love are the only that matter in the next world.

She also very briefly alludes to certain spirits who seem to go "hell," but not the conventional hell. Instead, it seems some spirits, because of the way they've lived their lives, find the well-known bright light common in NDEs very painful and must turn away from it. Perhaps these "shapeless spirits" are forced to incarnate again and again, which would in fact be considered hellish by some people.

I can't respond to your comment unless you provide more substantial information that would "explain away" the Cummins/Willett scripts. I think one needs to read what Cummins wrote about "The Lines of Communication" between mediums and the spirit world. Apparently many things blend together to produce a good evidential reading not the least of which is the sitter. Additionally according to Cummins the medium’s subliminal mind is drawn upon by the spirit to construct and transmit information in a way understandable to the medium.

Few serious investigators of spirit communication believe that the information provided through mediums is 100% accurate at every sitting. Trashing a medium because “a word” and “a phrase” somehow is not found in a diary is like junking a car because it had a gnat in the paint job. The owner of the diary (whoever that was) could not find the word or phrase in the Willett diaries. So what? I should suppose that in over 40 sessions with Mrs. Coombe-Tennant and Cummins there are many more examples where information was provided that was questionable. Even Tennant’s son could not validate 100% of the information provided by his mother through Cummins. That is not a reason to not take seriously the rest in the information that was confirmed by her sons.

Coombe-Tennant's stated purpose for the transcriptions through Cummins was to convince her son that she still lived in spirit even though her physical form had died. I think she did a pretty good job of doing just that.- AOD

This morning I awoke with the desire to summarize what I've read about dimensions of Nature (and maybe to summarize where I stop with my conjecturing germane). can the morphic field be so exact when it develops morphology but so arbitrary when it re-fosters whatever set of human rituals?

Then I read Nicholas Wroo's post under your Jesus post. Wow.

Under this post of yours above there enters the concern of presumptuous ghosts that assume various personas. It's a bit of a tangential concern, but last night and this morning it seems I was (and am) concerned with divisions. Thusly I rattle on below.

Who is the kind me? This time around maybe it consists mostly of a synthesis of the presence of other kind ones I've encountered in this sojourn.

What are my soul's unique qualities that are positive? After all these years I can't say.

This points to the importance of what some traditions call the Higher Self. In that Self must be everything that matters. Is that Self the soul, and did Aurobindo answer this very question? I know of a book that outlined Aurobindo's take on the thing [the soul was the "psychic body"; and, if "Higher Self" was mentioned, I've forgotten the taxonomy germane]. No, I don't think it is the soul. I think the many attributes alluded to everywhere as "individual" (exhibited by various souls) grow each incarnation out of the psychic body, which is as a "seed" that survives. Anyway, what are the "attributes" worth anything?

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."

You mean advanced knowledge of Powerpoint, Oracle, or Photoshop aren't on the list? Not even VR Systems software?

Huh, now you may say these attributes from Galatians aren't so unique, and one fine day when everyone possesses them...there won't be enough variety. And that is why I say...after all these years I can't say.

The Higher Self must be the soul of the soul. Depending on whatever tradition, it can apparently mean either the egoic-type-entity that reappears with whatever samskaras, or take on this "soul of the soul" meaning.


I am afraid I cannot help with further information, it was just an observation from Dingwall that the scripts were somewhat unreliable. I briefly knew Dingwall before he died.

There is a paper in the SPR journal that accuses Cummins of fraud, Mary Rose Barrington. (1966). Swan on a Black Sea: How Much Could Miss Cummins Have Known?. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 43: 289–300. Sorry no access I have not read it. Maybe one of you guys can look into it?

My mentor was Martin Gardner and I have worked as a magician. Run a search on my name Miistermagico.(yes there are two ii's) you will see a thread I have created "History and Science: The Terminator is Back" on the Magic Cafe forum that has interesting information about psychics and other people of interest.

Some of my favourite writers are E. R. Dodds, ALbert Ellis, Amy Tanner and Frank Podmore.


01 - "In any event, modern sources say Nicolo was born in 1773 and died in 1818. "

Not exactly. See:


Nicolas Isouard, detto Niccolò di Malta (Casal Zebbugi, 6 dicembre 1775 – Parigi, 23 marzo 1818), è stato un compositore francese.


Nicolas Isouard (Nicolò Isouard, bekannt unter seinem Pseudonym Nicolò oder Nicolò de Malte, * 6. Dezember 1775 in Mosta, Malta; † 23. März 1818 in Paris) war ein maltesischer Komponist französischer Herkunft.


"There is a paper in the SPR journal that accuses Cummins of fraud, Mary Rose Barrington. (1966). Swan on a Black Sea: How Much Could Miss Cummins Have Known?. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 43: 289–300. Sorry no access I have not read it. Maybe one of you guys can look into it?"

Here is:


02 - "there must have been a mistake somewhere, since someone with those dates of birth and death would have been 33, not 43, when he died."

If December 6 1775 is the correct birth date, he would have 42 years when he died in March 23 1818. Only if you count the 9 months of pregnacy he would have 43 years.


could you make a review of the book: "The Enigma of Rosalie: Harry Price’s Paranormal Mystery Revisited "

If you do the review, please, read this article first:

Thank you Victor for the link to the SPR journal article in which Mary Rose Barrington offered her comments regarding the Winifred Coombe-Tennant scripts transcribed by Geraldine Cummins. It is much appreciated. I understand that Ms. Barrington is the ‘Grand Dame’ of the SPR so I suppose that her ‘take’ on the Cummins/Willett scripts would carry a lot of weight among it is members.

I need to study it carefully and compare her comments with what is presented in “Swan on a Black Sea”. A quick scan of Ms. Barrington’s suppositions I think reveals more about Ms. Barrington than perhaps they do about the credibility of the transcriptions from ‘Mrs. Willett’. But of course I have no credentials or knowledge to critique either Barrington or Cummins.

I don't think that Barrington is really accusing Cummins of fraud. Fraud is a pretty strong word. It seems to me that Barrington is just presenting a lot of 'what ifs', suggesting ways other than spirit transcription that Cummins could have obtained the information about Winifred Coombe-Tennant she presented in the transcribed scripts. - AOD

Sorry Vitor. I need my cataracts taken out. - AOD

Barrington appeared did a similar number on Leslie Flint; Seeming to suggest something odd happened and not supporting it with any evidence.

The overall moral tenor of the teachings and the emphasis on the moral aspects of spirit life (rather than flowery descriptions of a spirit world where everyone gets a regulation cottage with roses around the door), sounds very much like the French Spiritism of Alan Kardec. Although this had declined in France by the early 20th century, (having been exported to Brazil, where it is massively popular today), I find it difficult to believe that this medium, and the author of the book, were not aware of the Kardec works. The reference to 'fluid' is another sign of that, as Kardecism carried forward many of the principles and practices of Mesmerism.


Great post! You put so much work you put into reading these books and providing these really detailed and insightful reviews. I appreciate it and think it's a very valuable service.

"Fallacy of the glancing blow" comes from Steven Goldberg. I read it in his book "Why Men Rule" (a good but not perfect book).

Hmm, another Skeptic here posting under a pseudonym. I'm absolutely -sure- it's a totally new person.

Eek just read my previous post - apologies for the errors.

What I meant to say was that I recall reading Mary Rose Barrington on Leslie Flint. Although she didn’t exactly say he was using fraudulent methods, the mealy-mouthed way in which potential explanations were raised was IMHO - shall we say charitably - ‘phrased in such a way that an accusation of fraud could be inferred if one wanted to’. Then she went on to describe a voice being heard close to her that she had no explanation for.

Whilst a factual description of what actually happened is of course fine, one ought perhaps to be careful about expressing how the events might have occurred.

If a person thinks fraud is likely then one ought to say so and and also explain why. If I recall correctly, one explanation she offered was that the voices were produced by his stomach in some way - huh? Another (I’m not sure it was offered by her) was group hypnosis or hallucination - no explanation as to how they managed to hynpnotise the recording machine or cause it to hallucinate.

Miistermagico is a guy who has a number of accounts on Wikipedia. He had an account called "Kazuba". He was the person who edited many articles claiming all mediums were caught in fraud. Just from the amount of time he has been editing wikis he is probably paid by a skeptical group or Susan Gerbic's Guerrilla Skepticism team.

He claims to be an ex-magician and have met Eric Dingwall. Can you verify these claims Miistermagico?

To clarify poor wording up there in my last paragraph posted on Nov. 20th...

The Higher Self must be the soul of the soul. Depending on whatever tradition, it can apparently connote either the pristine foundation of the egoic-type-entity that eventually re-manifests with whatever samskaras; or it can take on this "soul of the soul" meaning...sort of a Brahman/observer soul-component. The latter estimate evidently posits it somewhat removed from, as in the vernacular, the notion of "soulish" elements.

Ha, I see "David" isn't enough. I didn't put up the Nov 24th post. Throughout the period beginning with 11/20 and ending 11/25 1:55 PM Eastern I've only put up three posts...this one, one immediately prior to this one re my last para on the 20th...and, of course, the one on November 20th. I'll use my whole name henceforth. Sorry, folks.

I wouldn’t waste your energy on him David.

I don’t know if it’s the same person, but I remember getting an email from someone who boasted that he had debunked every medium with a Wikipedia entry. He'd accomplished this very fast, apparently at a rate of several entries per day.

How was it possible to do all this debunking so quickly? Well, he had the peculiar notion that if he could find any negative comment about a medium from any source, even if the comment was pure armchair speculation or a trivial or doubtful criticism, then he had "debunked" the medium.

I pointed out that it’s possible to find a negative or critical comment about literally anyone or anything, and that actual debunking requires much more than merely finding uncomplimentary remarks, but he truly did not seem to understand this point.

Again, this may be a different person altogether. And there’s nothing wrong with pointing out Barrington's observations. The problem lies in thinking that Barrington's brief remarks can account for Cummins' entire career. It seems to be a classic case of jumping to conclusions.

David there is no paid skeptical editing on Wikipedia. This is a myth.

Do you really think skeptic organizations have the money to being doing this? They have limited funding. The Rationalwiki foundation is nearly bankrupt.

Susan Gerbic does not pay her editors. It is all voluntary. I have never been paid.

As for my personal life I am a former student of Martin Gardner. I was taught by a professional magician Milbourne Christopher. I met Eric Dingwall only once. I cannot prove these things to you, but I can assure you they are all true. I tend to ramble on a lot but I have genuine curiosity in these matters. Regards.

After doing some more thinking based on what you've posted, Michael, including a reply to my question, I'm still undecided about Vettellini and his channeling. I cannot make an accurate conclusion without reading the book, but I think I've figured out why I feel uneasy about his statements.

Over the years, I've come to notice that channelings from higher entities more often than not lack the love and compassion from NDE's and the like. It's entirely possible that highly-evolved spirits operate on a different thinking pattern than we do (much like how a university professor will have a different personality when instructing students compared to a grade-school teacher), but I still stand by my idea that if we get closer to God, the all-loving, all-compassionate, and all-forgiving supreme being, it makes sense that we become more like God. Even the PHD-wielding professor can still be kind, funny, and inspiring to students. Vettellini and other channeled entities don't feel like that to me, often coming off as stern lawyers instead.

The reason I'm hesitant about Vettellini is that NDE's and many channelings have an overall message of hope behind them, that in the end, things will work out for the best, that we will eventually become one with God, and that our ultimate destiny is to be one with love itself. But higher-entity channelings don't tend to have that message. I used to read the website AskRealJesus regularly, but stopped upon realizing that the Jesus coming through - while very intelligent and with good insights - has a stern, legalistic bent to it that didn't inspire me to go out and do good. Vettellini talks of suffering going on seemingly forever, even for higher entities like himself. How is that supposed to inspire anyone to try and become a better individual? The atheist afterlife of non-existence seems like a better alternative by comparison.

Obviously, there is no way of knowing if Vettellini's teachings are genuine, meant only for a specific audience (my current view), of if he's actually an entity only pretending to be of high class. Granted, he worked with his channelers for many years, and had lighthearted moments, but for an entity for whom time does not exist, it would be easy to be patient and play a very long game.

I think the best takeaway from material like this is that everyone has different needs when it comes to the spiritual, and that we would be best helped by asking the Supreme Being to guide us to what works best for us, and to gently steer us away from what doesn't.

I think I may have had the same concerns that you do about the tone of many spirit communications. But, I think that spirit consciousness is little different from consciousness in physical beings so one is likely to encounter high minded spirits, know-it-all spirits that like to lecture from their spiritual pulpit and spirits that are speaking as a common man or woman. Sometimes I think that some spirits are playing a joke on the people who channel them, that is, the spirit is having a good time kidding the sitters making them think that they know more than they really do, sometimes claiming to be someone they have never been.

Being in a spiritual realm does not imbue one with omniscience but I think that some spirits like to pretend that they are more knowledgeable than they really are because they are speaking from a position in the spiritual world somehow giving them special authority and believability which they don’t have. Some of them seem to come off as pompous and authoritarian. You say that, “But higher-entity channelings don't tend to have that message” [a message of love and hope]. That is a generalization perhaps, but I agree that few channeled messages show the same ineffable love experienced and reported by those who have experienced an NDE.

I have been reading the comments of ‘Frederic Myers’ as transcribed by Geraldine Cummins and published in her book “The Road to Immortality.” And the more I read the more I feel that the communication is really not from the spirit of Frederic Myers. There is just something preachy about it which I don’t find in Myers’ writings when he was in the physical. Nor do I find it in the ‘Cross Correspondences’ from Myers. I suspect that the preachiness is really from Geraldine Cummins. Now I know that channeled information draws from the mind of the medium and often the sitters so that there is a mingling of style but even so, I find the channeled Myers’ comments disappointing. I expected something less mundane and dull and something more positive, loving and uplifting.

If you haven’t read “The Case of Patience Worth” by Walter Franklin Prince

I would recommend that you read it. Prince studied Patience Worth for many months and published what I think is a highly evidential book about Patience Worth and Pearl Curran who transcribed the thoughts and words of Worth. I think you may find within the poems and words of Patience Worth included in Prince’s book the humor, the love---especially of God and other high-minded thoughts you are looking for from spirit entities.

I have found few other channeled thoughts of spirits that exceed the quality and verity of the transcriptions of Patience Worth. - AOD

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