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Michael,

Thank you for the interesting review. I know that you and others who have read some of my books, articles, and blogs consider me gullible when it comes to certain mediums, such as Helen Duncan, Mina Crandon, and Eusapia, but I understand that mindset. I believe there was "cheating" by them and others, but I am not so sure it was conscious cheating or fraud. If not conscious, I wouldn't call it cheating, per se. Your comment about the Davenport Brothers being obvious frauds brought this to mind. From what I have read of them, they were legitimate mediums, although they were probably guilty of unconscious cheating, if it can be so labeled, on a number of occasions.

I just finished rereading Stewart Alexander's book, "An Extraordinary Journey," which was originally published in 2010 and just revised and republished by White Crow Books. As you may know, Alexander is or was a gifted physical medium, probably one of the very best over the last 70 years. He is still a medium, but I think it mostly mental mediumship these days and only with a few close friends.

I really recommend his book, especially Part II, which deals primarily with the "Margery" and George Valiantine mediumships (Part I is primarily about his own mediumship). As Alexander points out, 2 + 2 does not necessarily add up to 4 when it comes to mediumship and other paranormal matters. That is primarily why he has given up physical mediumship. Initially, he was convinced he could make a difference by offering evidence that strongly suggests survival, but he gradually came to believe that there are aspects of it that simply do not lend themselves to science or human understanding. Thus, he gave up on trying to provide such evidence and has retreated to small home circles only. Nor does he give interviews now, apparently realizing that his words will be twisted or distorted by journalists who assume that 2 + 2 always equals 4.

I read the book in 2010, but it was much more meaningful on my second read last week, probably because I have developed a better understanding of it all over the past 10 years. I think Alexander explains the problems better than any other writer I have read.

I'm rarely 100% on anything. I'm 88.6% on the Davenport Brothers being genuine mediums, but that does not mean that I don't believe there was "unconscious" or even "conscious" cheating at times.

Michael,

A short addendum to my prior comment:

It occurred to me as I read Alexander's words in Part II of the book that trying to convince scientists and even "normal" people of the validity of physical mediumship is like trying to convince those suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome that Trump is really a very brilliant and benevolent guy. Their minds are made up and they believe that 2 + 2 always = 4, and thus there is no point in even attempting to convince them otherwise.

Curiously, just two days ago I discovered a free YouTube playlist of formerly paywalled Sherlock Holmes stories, read by a narrator who is acclaimed as the best of all, at https://www.youtube.com/c/SherlockHolmesStoriesMagpieAudio

Although I'm not a fan of audiobooks generally, I found these items (I've heard three so far) considerably more satisfying than the printed and kindle versions I had read myself before. The narrator provides convincing accents and tones for each of the speakers, along with pregnant pauses and perfect pronunciation.
https://www.youtube.com/c/SherlockHolmesStoriesMagpieAudio

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