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Michael, isn't it possible Shakespeare was an automatic-writing medium, much like Pearl Curran, who produced works compared with Shakespeare's under the name Patience Worth? Remember that Curran had no more than an eighth-grade education and had no real worldly experiences approaching those she penned. I'm sure Amos will have some thoughts on this.

I guess anything's possible, but there’s no indication that the Stratford man could even handle a pen competently, or that he had the slightest interest in occult practices (which in that era were illegal and highly dangerous — King James had a particular horror of witches, a term that would certainly include mediums). All signs point to William of Stratford as a hard-nosed, spiteful pragmatist who hoarded grain in a famine, pursued debtors for trivial sums, and left his long-suffering wife their second-best bed in his will.

The only manuscript possibly written by the author known as Shakespeare (a scene from a play written by multiple authors) shows signs of considerable rewriting, with lines struck out and new lines written above (by the same hand). This is not what would be expected in automatic writing. The Shakespeare plays contain many topical references, unlike the books attributed to Patience Worth. Shakespeare's plays and sonnets show clear signs of personal growth, setbacks, illness (probably including venereal disease), and a brooding sense of his own mortality — again, probably not what we’d expect from scripts generated across the veil. Shakespeare’s general view of death is that it is "the undiscovered country," to be dreaded because it is unknown and unknowable (despite the occasional testimony of ghosts in the plays).

So Will Shaksper the channeler doesn’t work for me. Incidentally, Pearl Curran once claimed to channel Shakespeare the author, but the verse she produced was of decidedly sub-Bard standards. The same is true of all other mediumistic communications ascribed to the sweet Swan of Avon, as far as I know. 🙂


You're probably right. I was just throwing it out as a somewhat remote possibility. Incidentally, for whatever it is worth (probably not much) in his 1917 book, "Spirit Intercourse: Its Theory and Practice," James Hewat McKenzie states that information derived from spirit sources holds that Shakespeare was a medium and received the works from Euripides, the Greek tragedian, and that Francis Bacon collaborated with Shakespeare in the endeavor. McKenzie does not provide any information as to the spirit sources or the medium through whom these alleged spirits communicated, nor does he explain how Bacon collaborated with Shakespeare. Thus, his explanation is hardly evidential or convincing.

If there actually was "collaboration," my guess is that it was something like that involved in the Glastonbury Scripts, i.e., Frederick Bligh Bond placing his hand on top of the medium's hand to provide the so-called sympathetic link.

Actually, Pearl Curran never suggested that she channeled Shakespeare. Pearl and Patience (with the help of one or two others) wrote a play about the very young Shakespeare during his "lost years' called "The Elizabethan Mask". The writings of Patience Worth were hers and no one else's. In that play, Patience tried to mimic the writing style of Shakespeare. It may be that she did not equal Shakespeare's writing but I would challenge any writer to do as well as Patience did and I don't know why we would expect her to equal the bard anyway.

I do think that Pearl Curran is an example of someone with little education or world travel who wrote about places and customs which she had no opportunity or experience to know about. While Shakespeare may have had a troop of players to contribute around him, Pearl Curran and Patience Worth wrote their novels and poems generally without any assistance from anyone. - AOD

Sorry for the mistake about Pearl Curran. I remembered you (AOD) quoting some verse she channeled that was intended as Shakespearean. This must have been from the novel you mentioned.

I agree that Pearl Curran/Patience Worth was a remarkable figure. On one occasion she was challenged to produce an acrostic poem in which the verses started with the letters of the alphabet in sequence. This is very hard to do, but she did it on the spot, and the poem is quite good!

Michael Tymn, I suspect the info about Bacon collaborating with a mediumistic Shakespeare came from the medium's subconscious. The Baconian theory of authorship, little regarded today, was popular at that time.

Michael, when you say that the Baconian theory of authorship "was popular at the time," what time are you referring to? Shakespeare's time or 1917? If the latter, how do we know that the Baconian theory didn't begin with McKenzie's book?

Consideration should also be given to the case of Rosemary Brown, a widowed London housewife who, beginning in 1964, purportedly received compositions from the spirits of many great composers, including Beethoven, Liszt, Mozart, Chopin, Bach, and Debussy. Although Brown had taken some piano lessons, she had no real talent and was unacquainted with the technicalities of writing notes. Mediumistic since her childhood, Brown received a message from Liszt via automatic writing in which he said that a group of composers from the spirit world would be using her to dictate new compositions through her by means of automatic writing. “You have sufficient training for our purposes,” Liszt told her. “Had you been given a really full musical education it would have been no help to us at all.” He further explained that a full musical background would have been an impediment to them as she would have had too many theories and ideas of her own that they might not have been able to overcome.

Applying Liszt’s explanation to Shakespeare and Bacon, we might conclude that Euripides required a less-educated mind than that of Bacon in order to get his words through without distortion, and Shakespeare filled the bill. Just a theory that I wouldn't bet on.

One other point: I understand that playwrighting was considered beneath the dignity of the elite class in those days and that many of them were arrested for satire and treason. That might explain why Bacon didn't want to take any credit for himself.

Michael I always enjoy it when you go off on an excursion into Shakespeare lore. There are a couple of very good exchanges of ideas in your archives about the Shakespeare identity problem. Now might be a good time to read over them again or for the first time if one has not read them before.

It could be that William Shakspear, using a stage name Shakespeare, was a Producer/Director of plays, who produced entertainment to bring people into the alehouse to buy some ale, trinkets and favors from whoever might be selling. It probably was like it is today where Producers/Directors of movies, TV shows and plays gain some notoriety and the movie, television show or play becomes known under their name. We might remember some of the actors but who remembers the numerous writers who wrote the scripts for shows put on by say, "Roseanne", Norman Lear, David O. Selznick, Cecil B. DeMille or Alfred Hitchcock? In four or five hundred years the names of the writers will be lost in the collective memory of the culture in which they lived. and the shows, if remembered at all will probably be remembered as a production of the famous producers not the many writers. I think in Shakespeare's time, it probably was no different. So I would agree with you that "Shakespeare' probably was not the primary writer of plays produced under his name. Maybe many writers under contract wrote the Shakespeare materials. - AOD

Someone skilled at accessing "unconscious" information in a trance state might be able to shed light on this mystery.

Verifying this with physical evidence -- handwriting, libraries, records of life details, etc. -- is another question and might not be possible, while information obtained in this manner is always open to question, for multiple reasons.

It's a question of some interest to me as my investigations into "past lives" years ago revealed an Elizabethan life experience.

Of course there's no way to prove something like this, despite the excellent work of several researchers in this area -- what they've obtained is highly suggestive of "reincarnation" in multiple specific cases. That may be quite convincing for those open to such ideas but is still not proof -- other explanations can always be offered.

Over many years I've known and encountered others associated with that Elizabethan self, but that knowledge has always been entirely subjective and, again, unprovable.

It might be quite an "adventure in consciousness" to sit in the same room with all of these people and for the entire group to focus on this particular mystery in a relaxed, mind quieted state -- who knows what might be hidden in their collective "unconscious" minds?

Meanwhile, William Shakespeare himself certainly knew, consciously, at least part of the answer to this mystery; if he was not the author (given what's been written about shared authorship) he would have certainly known that and more than likely the identity of an author or authors who used his name.

Therefore, another possible approach would be to "get in touch" with Shakespeare, or a version of him alive in our time -- if one exists -- or his "greater self."

Again, proving any information acquired in this way might not be possible, but the effort would certainly be fun and rewarding.

I've often imagined approaching the mystery of "Arturo" -- King Arthur -- in the same way, knowing that it's possible there never was such a man, although _someone_ defeated the Saxons in the Battle of Badon, many centuries before the creation of the myth so many are familiar with.

I wonder, Michael, whether you might have experienced a life in Elizabethan times; being attracted to the mystery of the authorship of the plays can be one telltale sign. Note, too, the idea that some of those we are associated with in our present lives are often those we were associated with in "previous" lifetimes -- this has great relevance to such questions in terms of subjective "knowing."

(The idea of "serial" reincarnation -- one lifetime after another, like the days of the week -- is not the only version or explanation; there are those who suggest something along the lines of "simultaneous" lives, consistent with certain ideas regarding the nature of time and reality.)

MP: I was impressed by the discovery about a year ago by the author of "North Of Shakespeare" of a pamphlet by North foreshadowing much Shakespearian material. What do you think?

//Michael, when you say that the Baconian theory of authorship "was popular at the time," what time are you referring to? Shakespeare's time or 1917? If the latter, how do we know that the Baconian theory didn't begin with McKenzie's book?//

The theory originated in the mid-1800s, promoted by a certain Delia Bacon (no relation to Francis).This was long after Shakespeare’s death, of course, but prior to McKenzie. Though never academically respectable, the idea gained quite a few followers among the educated general public, including Richard Maurice Bucke, who simply assumes that Shakespeare was Bacon in his 1901 book Cosmic Consciousness. Baconism later fell out of favor, being largely supplanted (among authorship doubters) by the theory that Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford, wrote the works. Bacon as the Bard has few supporters today. See this Wikipedia entry for details:

//I wonder, Michael, whether you might have experienced a life in Elizabethan times; being attracted to the mystery of the authorship of the plays can be one telltale sign.//

Maybe I was Shakespeare! If so, I’ve declined rather sadly in terms of both talent and success. 😕

Actually, if I was any Elizabethan writer, I was probably Thomas Nashe, a short, irritating little gadfly. Yeah, that sounds about right ...

//I was impressed by the discovery about a year ago by the author of "North Of Shakespeare" of a pamphlet by North foreshadowing much Shakespearian material. What do you think?//

Shakespeare paraphrases North's translation of Plutarch in parts of Antony and Cleopatra, and clearly admired North's work. But even the author of "North of Shakespeare" seems to have backed away from his original assertion that North was Shakespeare. Now (if I understand him correctly) his position is only that North influenced Shakespeare — which is not a controversial opinion.

I was sufficiently interested in the (original) North theory to read North's translation of The Moral Philosophy of Doni, but although it's an entertaining book, it didn’t seem very Shakespearean to me.

Michael: "Maybe I was Shakespeare! If so, I’ve declined rather sadly in terms of both talent and success...Actually, if I was any Elizabethan writer, I was probably Thomas Nashe, a short, irritating little gadfly. Yeah, that sounds about right."

Hmm. Nashe was a clever writer but tended to get into printed jousting matches with other writers, a bit like certain Twitter personalities today, attracting attention to himself. Suppose, instead, that you were Sir Henry Neville?

Let me contact Bess Throckmorton. She may know someone, or someone who knows someone, with some inside knowledge or who may at least have a very good idea of things owing to their existence in that time and place.

Bill, as I’m sure you know, I was kidding about Thomas Nashe. 🙂

With my luck, I was probably Thomas Kyd, who was tortured after heretical documents were found in his flat. He implicated Christopher Marlowe, who ended up dying under ambiguous circumstances shortly before he faced a Star Chamber hearing that might have led to his own imprisonment and torture.

Elizabethan England was not quite the merry old place it's made out to be.

P.S. I’m kydding ... er, kidding ... about being Thomas Kyd, too.

Michael: "Elizabethan England was not quite the merry old place it's made out to be."

It certainly had its dark side and dark personalities, while, as the way to "get ahead" necessarily involved the Court, any number of frequently vicious and sometimes deadly rivalries, often encouraged by various players.

At the same time, it was a fantastic flourishing of creative energies of all kinds, even as the "New World" was appearing, in reality and in minds. What a swirl of activity; what a cast of characters!

I'd say the era wasn't nearly as dark as that which preceded it, while concerning what transpired after the death of Elizabeth, the lowering of the curtain, I've never been a fan of King James, although some his actions could be attributed to his difficult childhood.

"P.S. I’m kydding ... er, kidding ... about being Thomas Kyd, too."

If you believe in the existence of reincarnation then you must allow for the idea that historical personages reincarnate just like everyone else, but saying "I was so and so!" (especially on-line) is a sure way to be considered a lunatic.

This means that you might certainly have an existence as an Elizabethan personality, and one that can be found in the historical record. You would more than likely be a writer in that time, as you are in this one (or more than a writer -- as you know, some of those personalities are known for their activities in many areas) although I suppose you might have been an obscure person from some small village, but I doubt that.

If you should find out, through hypnosis or by doing some exercise, meditation, etc., I recommend keeping this to yourself and/or your closest associates (they will likely have known you then), a quiet knowing. After all, we live now, in our present, no matter how interesting and/or luminous some previous edition may have been. (I do have to say, though, that any number of Elizabethan poets might have some choice words for some of our present political personalities.)

This knowledge might inspire a novel on your part, though; I'd purchase a copy.


Interesting. So you would no longer consider yourself an Oxfordian?

I think Oxford is still a better bet than Neville, but I’m open to other options. The only candidate I reject outright is that Stratford guy. 😬

There is a paper online that makes a good case that it was Neville who wrote the manuscript of the "hand-D" section of "Thomas More," far better than the case that it was the Stratford man who did, if by "the case" you mean absolutely no case at all.

Diana Price's book demonstrating that there is absolutely no contemporaneous evidence that the Stratford man wrote any of the works attributed to him is the best book on the topic that I've read. She proved that after the most extensive search for such a record, the Stratford man is unique in those considered to be writers from his time period to have left not a single piece of evidence of that, though he left about seventy records, many of those dealing with his business activities, not one of them related to writing.

Michael do you still believe the Fox Sisters were genuine. RationalWiki seem to have a good point on this they quote Richard Wiseman "

"Margaretta silenced those Spiritualists who had been sceptical about her confession by appearing before a packed auditorium at the New York Academy of Music and demonstrating her remarkable ability to produce raps at will."

Kind off-topic ... but yes, I think the Fox sisters had real mediumistic (or possibly PK) abilities. The confession was made at a time when Margaret was an impoverished alcoholic, and she was paid a substantial sum for her appearance. I don’t believe that joint-cracking explains the thunderous raps reported by earlier investigators, or that Margaret could have fooled the investigators who closely examined her under controlled conditions. It would be interesting to see someone produce raps loud enough to shake the house (as observed in Hydesville) by cracking toes or knees.

It’s entirely possible that the sisters supplemented their abilities with trickery (a regrettably common circumstance) in order to perform on demand and to produce more commercially desirable effects, like materializations. It’s also possible that their abilities declined as they grew older, and they relied increasingly on fakery. Actually, I think both of those scenarios are very likely. Something similar arguably happened in the case of Arthur Ford. But I think the original Hydesville phenomena were genuine.

Incidentally, Margaret Fox retracted her confession soon after making it. And I’m afraid neither Richard Wiseman nor RationalWiki has much credibility to me. Cheers!

Is it me or is it a bit odd that Jon Donnis (if it is in fact him) would submit a seemingly completely irrelevant post like that? It’s puzzled me.

Yes, it’s odd. It may not have been Jon Donnis of the "Bad Psychics" site. It could’ve been an impersonator.

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