Monday, August 6, 2007

A Debunking Review on Ghost Hunters book

Here's a ignoring evidence for life after death and psi evidence from a writer in the New York Times
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9503E6DB1F3FF933A1575BC0A9609C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=print

Here's some points that need rebuttal

Eusapia's apparent ability to levitate heavy tables, make mysterious winds blow and produce a substance known as ''ectoplasm'' -- a sort of afterbirth of the netherworld -- had already convinced some scientists in Europe that paranormal powers were real. But she had been married to a traveling conjuror and would be caught in trickery countless times. Members of the Society for Psychical Research wanted to be sure. But above all, they wanted to believe. If Eusapia was exposed, they would find someone with more impressive powers. Blum's strange tale shows how and why many British and American intellectuals (including some prominent scientists) ended up on a fruitless but determined hunt for ghosts.

Leo: yes she was caught many times but she was never caught at the time when she did produce genuine phenomena. Also psychical members did not want to believe they were infact skeptical but no closed-minded but open-minded.

Despite the meticulous and often Herculean efforts of the society, more than a century of psychical research has added nothing to the stock of human knowledge. There is today no more reason to believe in spiritualism or telepathy than there was in the Victorian era, when the bearded men of science groveled earnestly at the feet of dubious mediums. Of course, parapsychology's hosts of remaining enthusiasts will vehemently disagree. But, to avoid swamping the mail slots and in-boxes of the Book Review, readers should send messages about this by psychic means only, please.

Leo: Here we have another incorrect statement evidence for life after death is continuing to grow `as I have mention before of 20 areas of evidence in favor of survival of bodily death also there is lots of evidence for telepathy like the ganzield experiments.

Meanwhile in England, Alfred Russel Wallace, the co-presenter of the idea of natural selection with Darwin in 1858, had started visiting mediums and was mightily impressed. He was particularly taken with Daniel Dunglas Home, whose powers, according to astonished witnesses, included the ability to levitate, float out of a window and then float back in. Home, who became one of the best-known mediums in Europe, also floated into high society, marrying a goddaughter of the czar, with the novelist Alexandre Dumas as his best man.

Darwin was exasperated by Wallace's gullibility and feared that his activities would somehow besmirch the theory of evolution. Wallace, however, suspected that evolution explained only the origins of bodies, and that a supernatural ''overruling intelligence'' was required to explain mental and moral life. Most of the scientific establishment, on both sides of the Atlantic, disagreed -- often vehemently, as in the case of the scientist and lecturer T.H. Huxley, known as ''Darwin's bulldog'' -- and asserted that spiritualism was pure trickery that needed exposing rather explaining. But a smattering of eminent scientists remained open-minded or even joined the cause.

Wallace brought the chemist William Crookes, future president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, into the fold. Crookes was the discoverer of thallium -- a toxic element that some skeptics alleged had adversely affected his mind -- and his work on cathode rays played a role in the discovery of the electron. Not only was Crookes convinced by Home, he was enchanted by Florence Cook, a strikingly pretty girl in her early 20's who liked to conduct her seances in tight black dresses. While Florence was locked in her spirit cabinet, her ''spirit guide'' would materialize in flowing, white robes and eat cakes and drink wine while she flirted with Crookes.

Leo: Dr.Alfred Russel Wallace found evidence for life after death the fear of materialist scientists such as Darwin which is still going on instead of looking at the evidence they rather dismiss it because it effects that materialist worldview.

Here we have a accusation that Florence is in a relationship with Sir William Crookes

Others duplicated his work

Crookes' materialisation experiments were not unique and he was not the only one experimenting in this field. There were others investigating materialisation mediums using ectoplasm in his time and later in England and Europe, the United States, Canada, Brazil.

· In France and Germany between 1909 and 1913 a series of carefully conducted experiments were carried out successfully by Baron von Schrenck-Notzing who independently confirmed Crookes' psychic findings.

· Nobel Laureate Professor Charles Richet, a Professor of Physiology at the Sorbonne, confirmed the existence of ectoplasm and inevitably validated Crookes psychic claims. About materialisation, this Nobel Laureate and expert empiricist definitively stated, " it is a fact."

· Professor W.J. Crawford from the University of Belfast conducted long and meticulous studies of ectoplasm and materialisation with the Goligher Circle and published three books about it all substantiating Crookes' claims.

· Dr Glen Hamilton in Canada also confirmed ectoplasmic materialisations.

· Empiricist Gambier Bolton (Ghosts in Solid Form) conducted more than a hundred test materialisations with Florence Cook and other five other sensitives during a period of seven years which were all documented in detail consistently confirming Crookes' experiments.

· Eva C, famous French materialisation medium, duplicated Cook's materialisations in France. Dr Geley and Prof Richet attested to the genuineness of Eva C's materialisations. During one meeting some 150 people including scientists, witnessed materialisation (Fodor 1960:131)

· Further, Crookes' materialisation claims were successfully repeated later by materialisation mediums Helen Duncan and Rita Goold. I interviewed three of Rita Goold's sitters, Gwen Byrne, Pat Jeffries and Michael Roll, who witnessed Rita Goold's materialisations. All attested that their loved ones were fully materialized and that they held them in their arms and talked to them.

· Contrary to the negative malicious rhetoric and imputations by his uninformed critics, Crookes was NEVER found to be involved in fraud, NEVER found to have used any kinds of tricks, was NEVER charged with anything fraudulent and NEVER found anything that is not consistent with international findings about materialisations and ectoplasm.


Other most common attacks on Crookes.

"Scientists seldom notice the deception being practiced under their noses".
This is usually articulated by the ignorant uninformed negatively minded skeptical attackers and other cynics who try to score a cheap point and who know absolutely nothing about scientific method. As abovestated, Crookes was not a theoretician of science, he was a "hands-on" scientist and an empiricist. Given Crookes' brilliant achievements he would be classified as a first class professional expert with vast experience in scientific investigations. Detecting fraud is one of the key elements in basic scientific method.

"Crookes was taken in by Dr Henry Slade, the spirit photographer."
More intentional misrepresentations by the sceptics to unfairly denigrate Crookes. There is no evidence that Sir William conducted any tests with Dr Henry Slade who was not in any event a spirit photographer. Crookes spoke of Slade before the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1876 and said among other things, "I was asked to investigate when Dr Slade first came over, and I mentioned my conditions. I have never investigated except under these conditions" (Fodor 1966:71). For the record, Slade was investigated in the United States, England and in Europe by a number of top investigators including Sergeant Cox, Robert Collyer in the USA, by Dr Carter Blake, Professor Johann Zollner, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, William Weber, Professor of Physics and Wilhelm Scheibner, Professor of Mathematics at Leipzig- all of whom confirmed Slade was a genuine psychic.

"Crookes was taken in by Rosina Showers."
Another of the skeptics egregious misrepresentations. Showers was allegedly detected in fraud in the summer of 1876 before Crookes began formally testing her. He was well aware of this but felt that the information was hearsay and he wanted to test Showers himself. He felt she was still worth investigating because five or six people whom he trusted had declared they had seen Rosina and her spirit guide at the same time.

However Showers failed the dye test (which Cook passed). Crookes met her privately to discuss her alleged cheating; her mother Mrs Showers went berserk and fraudulently forged letters over Crookes' name and spread scandals about him. Crookes had no alternative but to commence legal action to stop the dirty rumours and all allegations made by Rosina's mother were immediately withdrawn (Inglis1974:275-6).

"Volckmann grabbed Florence Cook in a séance and exposed her as a fraud".
So many skeptics grabbed onto this one thinking they now had all the evidence against Florence Cook and Crookes. Wrong! A close examination of this incident shows:

1. This incident happened before Crookes had begun to investigate Cook. According to Brian Inglis, Crookes had seen her once and wrote in her support initially on the basis that he had experienced materialized hands disappearing in his grasp while investigating Home. (Inglis 1977;268).
2. Volckmann acted most irresponsibly at a séance. There was a tacit understanding that he was there to observe NOT to do anything which could harm the medium by his aggressive transgression. During ectoplasmic materialisations mediums lose nearly half of their physical weight. Bolton claims that the measured actual weight loss to the sensitive at the time of a full materialisation was no less than sixty-five pounds (Bolton 1919:9) Contemporary empiricist George Meek investigated materialisation mediumship in Brazil. He found that in genuine materialisation both the medium and the sitters would temporarily lose a great deal of weight (Meek 1987:69).
3. There was NO evidence during the incident that the materialized person was not Katie King. Volckann did not ever claim that he ever saw the face of the materialized person (that of Katie King) or Florence Cook during the scuffle.
4. Barrister Henry Dumphy, stated inter alia, that Katie King "glided " out of Volckmann's grip, leaving no trace of corporal existence or surroundings in the shape of clothing.
6. When the cupboard was opened, Florence Cook was seen distraught, dressed in black still bound and with the tape around her waist as it had been at the beginning of the séance, the knots sealed with the signet ring of the Earl of Caithness and untampered with as at first.
7. Katie was always seen in white clothing; Florence Cook always dressed in black and although she was searched no white clothing was ever found.
8. Critically relevant: Volckmann married rival medium, Mrs Guppy, who was according to Inglis "paranoically jealous" of Florence Cook's success, immediately after this incident (Inglis 1977:268).

"'Katie' was none other than Miss Cook."
This is the core attack by skeptics on Crookes. If the materialized Katie was simply Florence in a white dress how would we account for the following evidence:
1. In many of the photographs that were taken, Katie King looking between 30 to 40 years whereas Cook was in her teens.
2. Katie being six inches taller than her medium.
3. The absence of a blister on Katie's neck.
4. The absence of perforations in Katie's ears (Florence always wore earrings).
5. The difference in complexion.
6. The difference in bodily proportion (Katie more voluptuous.)
7. The fact that Katie and Florence were seen together by eight people beside Crookes. One of them was Aksakoff, a Russian aristocrat, who reported how in one séance Katie King invited him to see for himself the medium Florence Cook 'deep in trance … sitting on a chair, with both her hands bound fast behind her back' (Cit. G. Zorab (1964: 174-5).
8. Katie King being reported to have appeared in Canada during the famous Dr G Hamilton materialisation seances.
9. Katie King appearing in Rome in 1974 (Noah's Ark Society website).
10. Katie King having dye on her hand which did not appear on Florence Cook's hand.
11. Katie King being observed dematerialising "like a wax doll melting before a fire": (Fodor 1966:222).
Crookes made points 1 to 8 in public repeatedly at the time and they were not contradicted by the many quality eye-witnesses. (See Crookes, Fodor, Medhurst and Bolton)

Florence Cook was detected in fraud when Sir G.R. Sitwell grabbed "Marie" who really was Florence Cook.

Skeptics claim this newspaper report to be strong evidence proving Cook's fraud and by implication Crookes. However it must be remembered that this incident happened in 1880, six years after Crookes had ceased to investigate Cook.

1. It is also well known that newspapers are in the business of shock, drama, exaggeration and taking things out of context AND are the least reliable sources! Further, that the reports in the newspapers were written by the skeptic Sitwell himself who stood to be a judge in his own cause. Sitwell's account was rebutted by contemporaneous other writers including the editor of The Spiritualist.
2. As a result of Sitwell's action Florence Cook insisted that someone was to stay with her in the cabinet and thereafter Mrs Marryat was tied to Florence Cook in the cabinet throughout her séances in which successful materializations continued.
3. Further, in 1899, Florence Cook was invited to Berlin by the Sphinx Society to undertake séances under test conditions. The materialisations from these séances were most successful (Fodor 1966:63).
4. One has to see the Cook sittings in their respective longitudinal perspective - as long term credibility is more acceptable than an allegation of a one-off subjectively reported fraudulent claim.
5. In 1900 a number of sitters testified in writing that they has seen Florence Cook and 'Marie' at the same time and that "Before this seance, Florence dressed in the garments provided, was not left a moment alone. She was most securely bound to her chair, which was fastened to an iron ring in the floor and each hand was tied to an arm of the chair...everything was found intact afterwards' Cit. Medhurst and Goldney (1964) pp 84-85.
6. Gambier Bolton in his documented Ghosts in Solid Form (Bolton 1919) provides primary evidence that he himself repeatedly tested Florence Cook (then Mrs Corner) when she was in her forties. He states that her materialisations were genuine, proved and repeatedly witnessed by highly critical sitters in the light, NOT in darkness.
7. Bolton applied the same stringent controls on to Florence Cook as Crookes did himself: the séances took place in the homes of himself or a friend which was searched prior to the sitting by an architect; the medium herself was searched in her clothes and body by a doctor before the sitting; the medium was dressed totally in black (even underwear); the medium was bound with all knots sealed; the medium was seated on a self-registering weighing machine to which an electrical alarm was secretly hidden. (Bolton 1919: 15-68).


"Florence Cook confessed to Anderson and M Bois that she and Crookes committed fraud during the séances."

These alleged confessions have NOT been independently substantiated. The alleged confessions have not been tested for validity. We allegedly have claims by two people, Anderson and M Bois, who allegedly were Florence Crooks' lovers. I submit the reasonable person uncommitted to this issue would NOT accept Anderson and Bois' allegations of confessions - especially, when it is not credible that a person would say these things against themselves. Indeed Mrs Goldney who apparently was acquainted with Anderson and witnessed his allegations did not accept them (see below).

Besides, as has been discussed above, identical experiments were successfully repeated by other investigators in the UK and in Berlin many years after Crookes retired.

Experts in security disinformation will tell you that it would be relatively easy to set up incidents to look genuine, using bribed "witnesses" the effect of which would be to destroy the credibility of a targeted person who could in Crookes' context, raise more than reasonable doubt about the validity of traditional reductionist science. There are allegations that this is being done even to-day.

This does not surprise me at all the new york times and other magazine and media outlets are either with this materialist paradigm or against it if they are for it which they are there is loss but if they support the evidence for life after death and psi then they are enemies to all intellectual materialist scientists.

1 comment:

Blue1965 said...

Does anyone know if the substance ectoplasm has ever been tested professionally in a lab? If so what were the results of the test?