Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Case For Immortality

I like to discussed the case for survival of bodily death which i find very compelling.

1. Apparitions

A collectively perceived apparition of a dead man
As a carefully verified case in which a number of people, at the same time, perceived the apparition of a man known to be dead, let us consider the following:

In June 1931, Samuel Bull, by occupation a chimney-sweep, died in his cottage in Ramsbury, Wilts., England. His aged widow continued to live in the same cottage with a grandson, James Bull, twenty-one years of age. In August 1931, a daughter, Mrs. Edwards, gave up her own home and came with her husband and five children to live with the widow for the purpose of looking after her.

Some time in or after February 1932, Mrs. Edwards saw the deceased man ascend the stairs and pass through a closed door into the room, then unused, in which he had died. Almost immediately after Mrs. Edwards saw the apparition, James Bull also saw it. Later all the members of the family together observed it. Even the five-year-old girl recognized it as 'Grandpa Bull.' The appearances continued at frequent intervals until about 9 April. Whenever the apparition was seen, all the persons present were able to see it.

The Chaffin apparition gave information not known to any living person
The evidence in this famous case was tested in court, and the judge accepted it as the basis for his verdict:

James L. Chaffin, a farmer in North Carolina, had a wife and four sons. In 1905 he made a will leaving his property to his third son, Marshall, but leaving nothing to his widow and the three other sons. In September 1921, the old man died, and the will was probated. In 1925, the second son, James, made the following sworn statement:

'On a night during the latter part of June 1925, my father appeared at my bedside, dressed as I had often seen him in life, wearing a black overcoat which I knew to be his own.

My father's spirit took hold of his overcoat, pulled it back and said, "You will find my will in my overcoat pocket," and then disappeared.'

James made inquiries, and finally in July found his father's overcoat at the home of his brother John. He cut the stitches of the inner pocket, and found inside, not the will itself but a roll of paper with the words, 'Read the 27th Chapter of Genesis in my daddie's old Bible.' (This chapter tells how Esau was supplanted by his younger brother Jacob.)

Taking his daughter and two neighbours with him as witnesses, James Chaffin, Junior, then went to his mother's house, found the dilapidated Bible, and in the presence of the testator's widow and two other witnesses looked up the 27th Chapter of Genesis. Folded into the pages there they found a will dated 16 January, 1919, which had been made without witnesses, but which was valid by the laws of North Carolina as being in his own handwriting. This newer will divided the property equally among all the four sons, adding: 'You must all take care of your Mammy.'

At first the heirs under the old will contested the new one. But when they were shown the actual document at the trial they admitted it to be genuine, and they withdrew their opposition. Ten witnesses were prepared to swear it was in the testator's handwriting. In December, 1925, the second will was admitted to probate, and probate of the earlier will was cancelled.

So far as can be learned, James Chaffin, Senior, before his death spoken to anyone about his second will. His apparition, after death, would seem to have been the vehicle of his surviving personality, seeking to complete the righting of a wrong which he had done while still in his mortal body.

The authenticated apparition of a dying captain
The cases which have just been cited were apparitions of persons who had been dead for months or years. Let us now consider a representative case of an apparition at the moment of death:

On 3 January, 1856, Joseph Collyer was in command of the steamer Alice, which was moored alongside the levee on the Mississippi River just above New Orleans. Joseph had retired to his berth for the night. Another steamer bore down upon the moored ship, and Joseph was called. He ran on to the deck, clothed only in his nightgown. The other steamer collided with the Alice. The concussion caused the flagstaff to fall, striking Joseph's head and actually dividing the skull. This, of course, caused instant death.

On that same night, Joseph's mother, Anne E. Collyer, at her home in Camden, New Jersey, had a remarkable experience which she reported to another son in a letter dated 27 March, 1861.

'On the 3rd of January, 1856, I did not feel well, and retired to bed early. Some time after, I felt uneasy and sat up in bed; I looked around the room, and, to my utter amazement, saw Joseph standing at the door, looking at me with great earnestness, his head bandaged up, a dirty night-cap on, and a dirty white garment on, something like a surplice. He was much disfigured about the eyes and face. It made me quite uncomfortable the rest of the night. The next morning, Mary came into my room early. I told her that I was sure I was going to have bad news from Joseph. I told all the family at the breakfast table; they replied: "It was only a dream, and all nonsense," but that did not change my opinion.'

Joseph's brother, Robert H. Collyer, M.D., who lived in London, reported in a letter dated 15 April, 1861, that he had obtained the details about Joseph's death from another brother, William, 'who was on the spot at the time of the accident.' In October 1857, Robert visited the United States, and learned from his mother about her experience. Her account was corroborated to him at that time by his father and his four sisters. On 12 May, 1884, one of the surviving sisters wrote a letter of corroboration.

Dr. Collyer stated that his father, who was a scientific man, calculated the difference of longitude between Camden and New Orleans, and found that the apparition occurred at the exact time of Joseph's death.

His mother had never seen Joseph attired as his apparition appeared to be. One curious fact is that the bandaging of the head did not take place until hours after the accident. William told Robert that Joseph's head was nearly cut in two by the blow, and that his face was dreadfully disfigured, and the nightdress much soiled.

A conscious apparition of a living person
For comparison with the samples given above, of apparitions of dead men, and an apparition of a man at the moment of death, consider the following example of an apparition of a man who was still very much alive. The experience was reported by a bachelor farmer named Walter E. McBride, who lived near Indian Springs, Indiana.

On 23 December, 1935, McBride had been concerned during the entire day about his father. He was under the impression that his father might be ill. Shortly after retiring, at about eight o'clock that evening, he felt himself to be floating in the room, in a whitish light which cast no shadows. He said that he was wide awake at the time. After moving upward to a certain height, he felt himself to be turning vertical, and looking downward he saw his physical body lying on the bed.

He then found that he was floating upward through the building. The ceiling and floor failed to stop him. Almost at once he realized that he was moving through the air towards the north, and he seemed to know he was going to his old home several miles away. Passing through the walls of his father's house, he stood at the foot of the bed in which he saw his father reclining. His father's eyes were fixed upon him and he seemed to be surprised, but he did not seem to hear when McBride spoke to him. The knowledge came to McBride that his father was well, whereupon he found himself travelling back to his bedroom. He again saw his own body, still lying on the bed where he had left it. Re-entering his physical self, he was instantly alert, with no feeling of drowsiness. Throughout this excursion, McBride was aware of a presence, which he was unable to identify, but which he subsequently came to regard as a guide.

Upon recovering possession of his physical body, McBride got up, made a light, and wrote down the time and the account of what he had experienced. Two days later, on Christmas Day, 1935, he visited his father, who verified his experience by saying he had seen McBride, just as he had stood at the foot of the bed. The father, moreover, had written down the time of his vision, and it tallied with the time put down previously by the projectionist. Mrs. J. E. Wires and her son, Earl, of Shoals, Indiana, were also visiting the senior McBride at the time. On 25 February, 1938, they each signed the following statement: 'I can vouch that the above-described meeting and discussion did take place.'

2. DeathBed Visions

Here is a powerful case of visions of a dying person

Dr. Wilson of New York, who was present at the last moments of Mr. James Moore, a well-known tenor in the United States, gives the following narrative:

"It was about 4 a.m., and the dawn for which he had been watching was creeping in through the shutters, when, as I leant over the bed, I noticed that his face was quite calm and his eyes clear. The poor fellow looked me in the face, and, taking my hand in both of his, he said: 'You've been a good friend to me, doctor.' Then something which I shall never forget to my dying day happened, - something which is utterly indescribable. While he appeared perfectly rational and as sane as any man I have ever seen, the only way that I can express it is that he was transported into another world, and although I cannot satisfactorily explain the matter to myself, I am fully convinced that he had entered the golden city - for he said in a stronger voice than he had used since I had attended him: 'There is mother! Why, mother, have you come here to see me? No, no, I am coming to see you, just wait, mother, I am almost over. Wait, mother, wait, mother!'

"On his face there was a look of inexpressible happiness, and the way in which he said the words impressed me as I have never been before, and I am as firmly convinced that he saw and talked with his mother as I am that I am sitting here.

"In order to preserve what I believed to be his conversation with his mother, and also to have a record of the strangest happening of my life, I immediately wrote down every word he said. It was one of the most beautiful deaths I have ever seen."

Miss Cobbe in her Peak in Darien gives another instance of this kind, but the following narrative is even more striking. It is vouched for by my friend the late Mr. Hensleigh Wedgwood, who contributed it to the Spectator. Mr. Wedgwood writes:

"Between forty and fifty years ago, a young girl, a near connection of mine, was dying of consumption. She had lain for some days in a prostrate condition, taking no notice of anything, when she opened her eyes, and, looking upwards, said slowly, 'Susan - and Jane - and Ellen!' as if recognising the presence of her three sisters, who had previously died of the same disease. Then, after a short pause, 'And Edward, too!' she continued, - naming a brother then supposed to be alive and well in India, - as if surprised at seeing him in the company. She said no more, and sank shortly afterwards. In course of the post, letters came from India announcing the death of Edward from an accident a week or two previous to the death of his sister. This was told to me by an elder sister who nursed the dying girl, and was present at the bedside at the time of the apparent vision."

3. The Cross-Correspondences

Mediumistic phenomena was further increased some ten years ago by a new development, hitherto unknown, that of Cross-Correspondence. It was discovered by the distinguished secretary of the British Society for Psychical Research, Alice Johnson, who, while studying the automatic writings, of the different mediums, became aware of a strange relationship between them. In some cases this consisted of striking allusions made by one written communication to the other, in the use by both mediums of the same strange expressions, in a common reference to a certain literary quotation, and so on. This relationship was of too frequent and systematic a character to be merely due to chance, and did not necessarily exist between two mediums only, but between several. For instance, on April 8, 1907, Mrs. Piper uttered the words "Light in the West" while in a trance in London. On the same day, three hours later, Mrs. Verrall, a medium in Cambridge, wrote automatically among other things: "Rosy is the East, etc.

AOn August 6, 1906, Mrs. Holland wrote in India at the end of a fairly long communication, separated by a wider space and in an altered hand:

"Yelo" (scribbled).
"Yellowed Ivory."

Two days later Mrs. Verrall wrote in Cambridge on August 8:

"I have done it to-night y yellow is the written word
Say only yellow.'

And her daughter also wrote automatically at the same time, without her mother's knowledge:

“Camomile and resin the prescription is old on yellow paper in a box with a sweet scent.”

In other cases automatic writings supplement each other, and only make coherent sense when added together. It is - to use a metaphor - almost as though a manuscript had been cut into scraps and handed to various compositors who would only be able to make sense of the whole after joining the fragments together. Oddly enough, cross-correspondence first showed itself suddenly among a number of mediums, including Mrs. Verrall, Mrs. Holland, Mrs. Piper, and others.

Spiritistic interpretation sees in cross-correspondence the best of all proofs of its teaching that mediumistic phenomena emanate from spirits, arguing that the relationship between the various automatic scripts can only be the outcome of an intelligence beyond the ken of the mediums, which uses the latter to prove its own independent existence through the cross-correspondences. Only an intelligence, it is argued, would be capable of meting out a consecutive idea into distinct parts and then directing the pen of the various mediums so that each should write separate fragments of the whole. Spiritism further points to the strange coincidence that cross-correspondence appeared for the first time after the death of Myers, one of the most eminent scientific English-speaking spiritists, who was expected to furnish a conclusive proof of spiritism. In the first cross-correspondence, the "spirit" purporting to be Myers draws direct attention to the new development and the prospect of its further continuance. As a matter of fact, it is not possible not to regard certain cases of cross-correspondence as evidence of the most remarkable and difficult parapsychic phenomena. It is easy to understand that when confronted with cross-correspondence, scepticism should lose its assurance, and that those spiritistically inclined should become definite converts. It is obvious that cross-correspondence must be attributed to a reflecting mind. There can be no question of chance, for the varied inspirational utterances are too numerous, too striking in character, and fit into each other too well. Despite this, they need not be regarded as any incontrovertible proof of spiritism. The hackneyed contention that the various mediums concerned have come to an understanding with regard to a common deception cannot, of course, be maintained. There is no cause for suspicion here. The possibility, however, is not to be denied that there may be an unconscious telepathic understanding of that kind. We have gradually collected so many proofs of the highly developed intelligence of the subconscious mediumistic psychic life that such a hypothesis cannot be excluded. We know of automatic riddles and of anagrams of such artistic conception that we cannot reject such possibilities. A certain Mr. A., for instance, while experimenting with automatic writing, at his third attempt to obtain a reply from the supposed spirit to his question: "What is Man?" received the automatic answer, "Tefi Hasl Esble Lies," of which the solution is "Life is the less able."

No difficulty is encountered in interpreting the cases in which the cross-correspondence confines itself to connexions between automatic script in the way in which a certain word is repeated or referred to. Such similarities must be explained as due to the mediums writing being possessed of telepathic or clairvoyant faculties. It is another matter when one fragment only makes sense when joined to another, each scrap consisting of one sentence. Then it is necessary, unless the connexion between the two scripts is to be regarded in the light of mere coincidence resulting from a purely hypothetical completion, of one fragment by another, that a mutual understanding or convention should be assumed to exist between the two mediums to settle which words of the sentence should be written by either. If, however, telepathic possibilities of communication actually exists between them, it is equally admissible to contend that all these various mediums are alike imbued with their desire to add to the proofs in favour of spiritism.
A conscious suggestive influence of one trance personality on other individuals would represent a positive novum. A priori there is no reason why a person in a somnambulistic state or in a similar condition should not be subjected to suggestion from others, and also subject others thereto. Experimentally, we only know at the present time of suggestion "à distance", (based on the tests of Richet, P. Janet, and others), in the form of suggestions by a conscious individual.

It would be extremely interesting (if it were possible) to persuade the trance personalities themselves to make suggestions either to conscious or to other hypnotized persons. Suggestion on suggestion might also be contrived, by influencing a person under hypnosis, so that he should distribute his own suggestions even at a distance.

Cross-correspondences are from the point of view of logical proof at a disadvantage when compared with other parapsychic phenomena, in so far as we are, in their case, mainly obliged to rely on the veracity of the mediums themselves. Many among them, notably those to whom the most important experiments are due, as also the authors of the reports published in the "Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research," have themselves supplied the material in full cognisance of the stage reached in the problem at issue. The assumption that the writers must be regarded as common frauds is in contradiction to what is known of their character on the whole; besides which, in Mrs. Piper's case, the phenomena of cross-correspondence were carried out under a system of strict control.

Further examples of the work of the cross correspondences

One of the most famous, which occurred right at the beginning of the cross-correspondence, is as follows:

Mrs. Verrall, lecturer in classics at the University of Cambridge, writes:

"On January 31, 1902, I had been lunching with Mr. Piddington in town, and after the arrival of Sir Oliver Lodge from Birmingham was about to walk with them to the SPR Council Meeting at 3 p.m., when I felt suddenly so strong a desire to write that I came down and made an excuse for not accompanying the gentlemen, saying I would drive later. As soon as they had started I wrote automatically in the dining-room the following words:

"Panopticon σφαιράς άτιτάλλει συνδέγμα μύστικον τί ούκ έδιδως; volatile ferrum - pro telo impinget."

A few more words were added, when I was interrupted by Mr. Piddington, who had returned, in order to drive with me to the meeting. All the rest of the day I felt a wish to write, and finally, in the train on the way home to Cambridge, more script was produced. That script contained no verifiable statement but was signed with two crosses, one of them being the Greek cross, definitely stated elsewhere in the script to be the sign of Rector (one of Mrs. Piper's trance personalities).

So far for what happened in England. In Boston, as I subsequently learned, the following took place. At Mrs. Piper's sitting on January 28, 1902, after the reference to my daughter's supposed vision, Dr. Hodgson suggested that the same "control" should try to impress my daughter in the course of the next week with a scene or object. The control assented. Dr. Hodgson said: "Can you try and make Helen see you holding a spear in your hand?" The control asked: "Why a sphere?" Dr. Hodgson repeated "spear," and the control accepted the suggestion, and said the experiment should be tried for a week. On February 4, 1902, at the next sitting, and therefore at the very first opportunity, the control claimed to have been successful in making himself visible to Helen Verrall with a "sphear" (so spelt in the trance writing)."

This example is also an instance of the curious and baffling confusion which prevails in much of the automatic writing which contains cross-correspondences. Instead of an (actively conditioned telepathic?) vision which we might have expected after the séance with Mrs., Piper, we get at Mrs. Verrall's end (as was so often the case with her) script mixed up with broken bits of Latin and Greek (she was a classical scholar), or, as in the present case, so far as it is published, script consisting of nothing but bits of Latin and Greek, in which very clear allusions, obvious at once, strike us to the séance in Boston (σφαιρα = sphere; volatile ferrum, telum = spear).

A second example. On March 11, 1907, at about eleven o'clock, Mrs. Piper, who was in her normal waking consciousness, said "Violets. Dr. Hodgson (said) violets." In accordance with previous experience marked utterances of this kind might be expected to have reference to a cross-correspondence. In fact, on the same day about the same time Mrs. Verrall wrote automatically:

"With violet buds their heads were crowned.
"Violaceae odores.
"Violet and olive leaf purple and hoary.
"The city of the violet―"

It is hardly necessary to emphasize here the marked way in which the word violet is stressed. The whole script seems really to be simply built up round this word. (This example is taken from A. Hude's "The Evidence, etc.," p. 283).

To conclude with an example in which several days elapsed between the cross-correspondence.

On April 8 the Myers' personality speaking through Mrs. Piper, said to Mrs. Sidgwick: "Do you remember Euripides?" "Do you remember Spirit and Angel? I gave both. Nearly all the words I have written to-day refer to messages I am trying to give through Mrs. V―.", Mrs. Verrall had already on March 7 done a long piece of automatic writing in which the word "Hercules Furens," and "Euripides" are found.

And on March 25 she had written: "The Hercules play comes in there, and the clue is in the Euripides play if you could see it." Also she wrote on the same day a separate piece of script in which the word "shadow" occurred several times: "Let Piddington know when you get a message about shadow. The shadow of a shade. That is better umbrarum umbras σκιάς έίδωλον was what I wanted to get written." The word "spirit," however, was not used. On April 3 an effort was clearly made to reach a satisfactory conclusion, although the word "Angel" could not be reached. "Flaming swords - wings or feathered wings come in somewhere - Try pinions of desire. The wings of Icarus - Lost Paradise regained - his flame - clad messengers (she draws an angel with wings) that is better F W H M has sent the message through at last."

The cross-correspondence, moreover, was extended to include Mrs. Holland. On April 16 she wrote automatically a passage in which were found these words: "Lucus Margaret To fly to find Euripides Philemon." The names Lucus and Philemon seem to be derived from Browning's translations of Euripides' Hercules Furens. (A. Hude, p. 285).

Many other cross-correspondences, some of them extremely striking ones, cannot be quoted here because of their complexity and of the space which they require for interpretation and comment. The peculiarity of the cross-correspondences from English sources is that they are mostly of an especially contorted kind. Some French cross-correspondence to which I am unable to refer, are (as I am told) much easier to see through. (G. Geley, "Contribution à l'etude des Correspondances Croisées." Documents nouveaux, Paris, 1914).

4. 1. The case of Al Sullivan: Al was a 55 year old truck driver who was undergoing triple by-pass surgery when he had a powerful NDE that included an encounter with his deceased mother and brother-in-law, who told Al to go back to his to tell one of his neighbors that their son with lymphoma will be OK. Furthermore, during the NDE, Al accurately noticed that the surgeon operating on him was flapping his arms in an unusual fashion, with his hands in his armpits. When he came back to his body after the surgery was over, the surgeon was startled that Al could describe his own arm flapping, which was his idiosyncratic method of keeping his hands sterile.

2. The case of the Chinese woman: The author Maggie Callanan in her 1993 book, Final Gifts, wrote about an elderly Chinese woman who had an NDE in which she saw her deceased husband and her sister. She was puzzled since her sister wasn't dead, or so she thought. In actuality, her family had hid her sister's recent death from her for fear of upsetting her already fragile health.

3. The case of Pam Reynolds:This is reported by Michael Sabom in his book Light and Death. Pam Reynolds underwent a very risky operation to remove an aneurysm from her brain, in which her brain was drained totally of its blood so that the doctors could clip off the swollen blood vessel. During this procedure, Pam had a deep NDE in which she saw all of the details of the operation and later reported on it with complete accuracy, even though she was "dead" by usual criteria (no heartbeat or respiration, and a flat EEG) for much of it. [ Some of her experience happened before her brain stopped however it's likely that it continued throughout the entire operation]

4. Cases of the blind who can see: As recorded by Kenneth Ring in his book, Mind Sight, there is solid evidence for 31 cases in which blind people report visually accurate information obtained during an NDE.

Also many studies have been done on Near Death Experiences you can find these studies here:


5. The Newspapers Tests rank of to almost the very top of the evidence that has been collected for survival of bodily death

Sir William's comments had to do with the book and newspaper experiments conducted by himself and more extensively by the Rev. Charles Drayton Thomas, a Wesleyan minister. Unlike most members of the clergy, Thomas did not see communication with the "dead" through mediums as a threat to his Christian beliefs. In fact, he saw it as supporting the basic tenet of Christianity - we do live on after death. .

Like Barrett, Thomas was a member of the British Society for Psychical Research (SPR). His experiments, along with those of Barrett, were conducted with Gladys Osborne Leonard, the renowned British medium. "The primary purpose of these efforts was said [by my father] to be a demonstration that spirit people were able to do that for which telepathy from human minds could not account, a demonstration calculated to clarify the evidence already existing for the authorship of their communication," Thomas wrote in 1922.

Thomas said that it was his father, the Rev. John Thomas, also a Wesleyan minister, who, posthumously, gave him the idea of the book and newspaper tests. It was during a sitting with Mrs. Leonard early in 1917, that the father and son on different sides of the veil began collaborating in the experiments.

The senior Thomas, who died in 1903, told his son that the tests had been devised by others in a more advanced sphere than his and the idea passed on to him. At the time, Drayton Thomas (he went by his middle name) had had over 100 sittings with Mrs. Leonard, although later in his career that number exceeded 500. He mentions that the tests were secondary to other business which he and his father discussed and that his father continually gave other evidence of his own identity.

Drayton Thomas would arrange a notebook on a table with a lighted lamp. Leonard would take a seat several feet from him and after two or three minutes of silence she would go into a trance. Suddenly, in a clear and distinct voice, Feda, Leonard's spirit control, would take over Leonard's body and begin using her speech mechanism while relaying messages from the senior Thomas and others in the spirit world. There was no similarity between Leonard's voice and that of Feda, who spoke like a young girl. Moreover, Feda spoke with an accent and had frequent lapses of grammar.

Occasionally, just after Leonard went into the trance state, Thomas would hear whispering of which he could catch fragments, such as, "Yes, Mr. John, Feda will tell him...Yes, all right..." Feda often referred to herself in the third person, e.g., "Feda says she is having trouble understanding Mr. John."

The idea behind the book tests was to communicate information gleaned by the father from a book in the son's extensive library. For example, in one of the earliest experiments, the father told the son to go to the lowest shelf and take the sixth book from the left. On page 149, three-quarters down, he would find a word conveying the meaning of falling back or stumbling. When the younger Thomas arrived home that evening after his sitting with Mrs. Leonard, he went to the book and place on the page, where he found the words, "...to whom a crucified Messiah was an insuperable stumbling-block."

The father explained to the son, through Feda, that he was able to get the "appropriate spirit of the passage" much easier than he could the actual words. However, over a period of 18 months experimentation, he found himself able to pick up more and more words and numbers, gradually shifting from "sensing" to "clairvoyance." It was made abundantly clear by the father that he was experimenting on his side as much as his son was on the material side.

It was certain that Mrs. Leonard had never visited Thomas' house and knew nothing of the library of books in it. Realizing, however, that his subconscious might somehow have recorded such detailed information in the book when he read it years before as well as the exact location of the book in his library, Thomas decided to experiment with books in a friend's house. He informed his father of the plan so that the father knew where to search. In one of the tests there, Feda told Thomas that on page 2 of the second book from the right on a particular shelf, he would find a reference to sea or ocean. She added that the discarnate Thomas was not sure which, because he got the idea and not the words. When Drayton Thomas pulled the book from the shelf of his friend's house, he read, "A first-rate seaman, grown old between sky and ocean."

In another experiment, Drayton Thomas was told to look at page 9 where he would find a reference to changing of colors. Upon opening this book, Thomas found, "Along the northern horizon the sky suddenly changes from light blue to a dark lead colour." In still another test at his home, Feda told Drayton Thomas to go to a book at a certain point on a shelf and he would find words looking like "A-sh-ill-ee" on the cover. Feda explained that she was giving the sound but not the correct spelling. When Thomas arrived home, he went to the exact spot indicated by Feda and found a book authored by Mrs. Ashley Carus-Wilson.

Over a period of about two years, the father and son researchers carried out 348 tests. Of those, 242 were deemed good, 46 indefinite, and 60 failures. The discarnate Thomas explained the failures as his inability to get the idea through the mind of the medium or the medium's mind somehow distorting the message.

After conducting a number of book tests, the senior Thomas suggested a different kind of experiment - what came to call the "newspaper tests." These newspaper tests, which also involved Mrs. Leonard, began in 1919, some two years after the book tests. In the newspaper tests, the discarnate Thomas would provide information to be found in newspapers and magazines not yet printed. Thus, he would exercise a sort of precognition and clairvoyance. This would seemingly rule out what was being called Super ESP, the ability of the medium to go beyond reading the mind of the sitter and tap into the mind of anyone having a particular knowledge of a subject.

In a test on January 16, 1920, the junior Thomas was told to examine the Daily Telegraph for the following day and to notice that near the top of the second column of the first page the name of the place he was born. Thomas was born in Victoria Terrace on Victoria Street in Tuanton. When Thomas checked the paper the following day, he found the word "Victoria" exactly where his father said it would be.

In a test on February 13, 1920, Thomas was told to go to the London Times of the following day and near the top of column two of the first page he would find the name of a minister with whom he (the father) had been friendly when living in Leek. Lower in the column, he would find his (Drayton's) name, his mother's name, and an aunt's name, all within a space of two inches. When the paper appeared the morning after the sitting, Thomas saw no familiar names relative to the minister friend. He then consulted with his mother who immediately called his attention to the name "Perks," informing her son that the Rev. George T. Perks was a friend of his father's and had visited him while they were living in Leek. Looking lower in the column, Thomas found his name, a slight variation of his mother's name, and an aunt's name, all within a space of 1 ¼ by 1 ½ inches.

In the same test, Thomas was told that two-thirds of the way down column one, he would find a word suggesting ammunition, and between that and the name of a former teacher of his he would find a French place name, looking like three words hyphenated into one. While Thomas found the name of a former teacher, "Watts," it was in the column next to the one indicated by his father. As for the ammunition reference, the word "canon" appeared twice, apparently taken by the discarnate Thomas as "cannon." The Belgian town of Braine-le-Château was also found in the column indicated.

Drayton Thomas checked with the London Times and concluded that the page from which his father took the information had not yet been typeset at the time the information was given to him through Leonard and Feda.

Many other newspaper tests were carried out by Drayton Thomas. In each case, he would immediately write down the information and file it in a sealed envelope with the Society for Psychical Research at a time before the type was set at the newspaper office. Further, Thomas would check papers from at least 10 other days, being sure that the same names did not appear in those editions, thereby ruling out coincidence. Some of the tests were inconclusive and a few were failures, but there were many more positive results.

When Thomas asked his father how he was able to obtain information from newspapers not yet typeset, the father replied that he didn't quite understand it himself. He referred to it as some kind of "etheric foreshadowing." He likened it to seeing the shadow of a man around the corner before actually seeing the man. "Now the things I see are frequently but the spiritual counterparts of things which are about to take form; some of my tests from the Times might be called shadows of a substance," the discarnate Thomas explained. "When you see a shadow it is but an outline, and you do not look for detail, and that explains the difficulty of these tests; we cannot always sufficiently observe detail." He further explained that as he had moved from sensing to seeing, he could not always see the word clearly, as in one case he gave the word "rain" for what proved to be "raisin."

6. Triple Blinded Studies done on mediums by Professor Gary Schwartz


also you will find many other experiments also done

7. Psi Evidence

go here and read up on these studies all supporting the evidence for psi which shows that mind is more than the brain


That is just some of the evidence that supports the survival hypothesis

Such as Electronic Voice Phenomena

Scientific effort (EVP)

EVP is the short word for Electronic Voice Phenomenon. EVP voices cannot be heard when a recording device such as tape-recorder is recording, but it can be heard when the tape is played back. The simplest form of the experiment is to adjust radio frequency between two stations where no signal can be detected. This setting produces white noise which includes wide range of frequency. Record this noise for one or two minutes after you ask some question. Repeat recording in this style. When you listen the recorded result after the experiment, you might hear something in the part when you were silent, and you sometimes notice the voices give you an answer for your question.

Well, is there such phenomenon? So many people have researched EVP since it has long history (about 40 years). The most famous person who cooperated with scientific research would be Konstantine Raudive.

He contacted Jürgenson after reading his two books, and asked him to demonstrate some of his tapes to a small private audience. Jürgenson is one who tried to spread the study of this phenomenon worldwide for the first time. Since the demonstration was successful, Raudive started some research with Jürgenson on his estate in order to gain some personal experience. Soon Raudive started his own experiments in 1965. His classic research Unhoerbares Wird Hoerbar (The Inaudible Becomes Audible) was published based on 72,000 voices he recorded. Several things happened when it was translated into English.

On 16th November 1969, Peter Bander, who tried to introduce the English translation of this German book, was assailed by the gravest doubts. At that time, publisher Colin Smythe told him that he experimented on a tape recorder following the procedures outlined in Konstantine Raudive's book, and mentioned that at one particular point a certain rhythm was clearly audible and also a voice but he could not make sense of it. When Bander played it back, he heard nothing. Then he rewound it and let it play. After about ten minutes he got the following ridiculous conclusion:

"I noticed the peculiar rhythm mentioned by Raudive and his colleagues .., I heard a voice .... I believed this to have been the voice of my mother who had died three years earlier."

Isn't it merely subjective impression? Anyway, Bander and Smythe were working to publish the English version, "Breakthrough" without any doubt after this incident. However, unexpected interference came from the English vice prime minister in those days. He told them that he would ruin their company if they insist to publish such junk, evil book. Then, Bander and Smythe proposed to have a controlled experiment with Raudive, so that they can assert their rights to publish the book.

In 1971, Pye Records Ltd. invited Raudive to their sound lab and installed special equipment to block out any radio and television signals which they could detect at that time. They would not allow Raudive to touch any of the equipment. Raudive used one tape recorder which was monitored by a control tape recorder. All he could do was speak into a microphone. They taped Raudive's voice for eighteen minutes and none of the experimenters heard any other sounds. But when the scientists played back the tape, to their amazement, they heard over two hundred voices on it. Observers accepted the validity of EVP since some voices addressed Raudive as his nickname, "Kosti" or "Koste," and Raudive's deceased sister said her name three times "Tekle."

Consequently, English edition of the book "Break through" was published. In the next year, more controlled experiment was took place. The English company Belling and Lee, Ltd., used by the British government to test its most sophisticated defense equipment, decided to conduct some experiments with Raudive at their Radio-Frequency-Screened Laboratory. The supervising engineer, Peter Hale, was a physicist and electronics engineer. He was considered the leading expert on electronic-suppression in Great Britain, and one of the five leading sound engineers in the West. The recording hardware which was designed for this test was provided, and the blank tape which had just been shipped from the factory was used. But the voices still appeared.

A.P, Hale stated:

In view of the tests carried out in a screened laboratory at my firm, I can not explain what happened in normal physical terms.

9. The Proxy Sittings

There was a argument in the early days of Psychical Research that mediums were using telepathy from unconscious minds who were at the sittings.

The Reverend Charles Drayton Thomas, a Methodist minister who became a psychic researcher, spent many years as a proxy sitter investigating the mediumship of Mrs Leonard and recording his results for the Society for Psychical Research. He would go to a sitting knowing only the name of the deceased and the name of the person who desired communication.

In one instance in 1936-37 Thomas went to four sittings on behalf of Emma Lewis, a person he did not know. Through the medium, Mrs Leonord, he was able to gain seventy pieces of information which Emma later felt confirmed beyond all doubt that it was her father, Frederick William Macaulay, who was communicating.

The only possible objection a skeptic can make in relation to proxy sittings is fraud. There is no other possible or probable explanation for the information coming through the medium about someone who has passed on and who had no connection whatsoever with any of the sitters who were with the medium at the time.

But so far in the last fifty years or so, no one has been able to even suggest fraud in the proxy sittings conducted by the Reverend Drayton Thomas. Again, psychic researchers are impressed by the conspicuous absence of criticism of these particular proxy sittings.

For Example Professor Dodds says this about the possibilty fo fraud in the proxy sittings:

The hypothesis of fraud, rational inference from disclosed facts, telepathy from the actual sitter, and co-incidence cannot either singly or in combination account for the results obtained ( Dodds 1962).

10. Instrumental Transcommunication Experiments

During 1994 ITC experimenters in Luxembourg, Germany, Brazil, Sweden, China and Japan received paranormal telephone calls from Dr Konstantin Raudive who died in 1976 (Kubris and Macy 1995: 14). These calls were tape recorded and analyzed by voice experts.

The calls have continued since then and one two-way taped conversation in 1996 between Dr Konstantin Raudive and Mark Macy lasted for 13 minutes (Continuing Life Research video— ITC Today 1997).

According to Mark Macy’s World ITC website scientists working for the International Network for Instrumental Transcommunication (INIT) received from the Afterlife:


pictures of people and places in the afterlife on television that either appeared clearly on the screen and remained for at least several frames, or which built up steadily into a reasonably clear picture over multiple frames

text and/or picture files from people in the afterlife which appeared in computer memory or were planted on disk or similar recordable media

text and/or images of people and places in the Afterlife through FAX.
Such contacts, which were received by European experimenters over a 10-year period and were enjoyed by other researchers from 1995 are giving modern researchers a view of unprecedented clarity into life after death.

The evidence collected by this now extensive group of reliable witnesses — including reputable scientists, physicists, engineers, electronic technicians, doctors, professors, administrators, clergymen, successful businessmen — is undeniably convincing to those who systematically investigate the EVP and ITC. The consistency of the evidence from different parts of the world is overwhelming.

One of the leading researchers in this field today is Sonia Rinaldi who leads the biggest ITC Association in Brazil, with nearly 700 members. She recently announced new contacts received via computer, answering machine, telephone and video camera. At public meetings in Brazil and in the United States large numbers of members and visitors were able to receive direct answers from loved ones in the spirit world.

Up to date information on her research can be read in English on her website ANT Associacao Nacional de Transcomunicadores in English. All her work is based on scientific control and her site contains scientific declarations issued by the most respected University in Brazil, USP - Universidade de São Paulo.

Recently the Institute of Noetic Sciences, an organization founded by Astronaut Ed Mitchell to bridge the gap between science and religion, announced that it will be working with Sonia in a project to examine the claims of ITC.

Mitchell decided to form the group after a spiritual experience while walking on the moon 25 years ago. Today the Institute of Neotic Sciences, based in California, is headed by Winston Franklin as President, and is composed of approximately 50,000 persons around the world, including some of the world's top scientists. IONS designs and funds various cutting-edge scientific research projects.

11. The Mrs. Holland Scripts


Some of the most remarkable automatic scripts, - which have been discussed with critical acumen by the Research Officer of the S.P.R., - came to a lady of education and social position resident in India. This lady was not a spiritualist, and at the time had no acquaintance with the members of the Society for Psychical Research. As her family disliked the whole subject she prefers to be known under the pseudonym of "Mrs. Holland." Subsequently, on her return to England, she became personally known to and esteemed by many of the leaders and officials of the S.P.R. Her attention having been once casually drawn to the subject of automatic writing she tried the experiment and to her surprise found her hand, wrote both verse and prose without any volition on her part; the first messages were headed by the impromptu lines:

Believe in what thou canst not see,
Until the vision come to thee.

Mrs. Holland says she remains fully conscious during the writing, "but my hand moves so rapidly that I seldom know what I am writing." Her interest in the subject increased and she obtained and read Mr. Myers' monumental work Human Personality, which was published after Mr. Myers' death. Though she did not know the author, it was natural that much of her automatic script purported to be inspired by him. A careful study of the messages so inspired has compelled the belief that the spirit of Mr. Myers really did control some of these messages. Here for instance is a very characteristic communication purporting to come from Mr. Myers:

"To believe that the mere act of death enables a spirit to understand the whole mystery of death is as absurd as to imagine that the act of birth enables an infant to understand the whole mystery of life. I am still groping-surmising-conjecturing The experience is different for each one of us. . . One was here lately who could not believe he was dead; he accepted the new conditions as a certain stage in the treatment of his illness."

Then follows, not quite verbally correct, the first two lines of Mr. Myers' poem St. Paul - a poem which Mrs. Holland declares she had never read and of which she knew nothing whatever. Of course it is possible that she had somewhere seen these lines quoted, though she has no recollection of this. The automatic script is as follows:

"Yea, I am Christ's - and let the name suffice ye - E'en as for me He greatly bath sufficed.(1) If it were possible for the soul to die back into earth life again I should die from sheer yearning to reach you - to tell you all that we imagined is not half wonderful enough for the truth - that immortality, instead of being a beautiful dream, is the one, the only reality, the strong golden thread on which all the illusions of all the lives are strung. If I could only reach you - if I could only tell you - I long for power, and all that comes to me is an infinite yearning - an infinite pain. Does any of this reach you, reach anyone, or am I only wailing as the wind wails - wordless and unheeded?" - Proceedings S.P.R., Vol. XXI, P. 233.

12. Powerful Medium Mrs. Piper

Mrs Leonore Piper wasn't exactly the picture of a spiritualist wonder-worker. She was a middle-class and married Bostonian who had lived an eminently normal life. Her introduction to the spiritualist movement came only after she suffered some medical problems as a result of an accident. Her father-in-law suggested that she see a prominent blind clairvoyant in Boston to hear what he would have to say about possible treatment. It was during her first consultation that something strange occurred. Mrs Piper later explained that as she sat listening to the psychic, 'his face seemed to become smaller and smaller, receding as it were into the distance, until gradually I lost consciousness of my surroundings'. She had apparently entered into a spontaneous trance, which surprised her since she had previously entertained no interest in spiritualism.[4] She started attending some of Dr Cocke's regular séances anyway, and soon discovered that she, too, had trance ability. It wasn't long before she was the talk of the spiritualist community, since during her trances her clients seemed capable of making contact with their deceased friends and relatives.

[4] Piper, Alta. The Life and Work of Mrs Piper. London: Kegan Paul, 1929.

Mrs Piper was only 25 years old at the time and her burgeoning mediumship probably wouldn't have come to scientific attention at all were it not for a fortunate development. William James's mother-in-law heard about her, visited the young psychic, and was so impressed by her performance that she guided James's attention to her. James and his wife sat with Mrs Piper shortly thereafter and were astounded by the accurate messages they received.

James attended several sittings with Mrs Piper from 1885 to 1886, and several of the incidents he witnessed especially impressed him. During one sitting for example, the psychologist and his brother were told that their aunt (who was living in New York) had just died that very morning at 12.30. James knew nothing of the matter but as he later wrote, 'On reaching home an hour later I found a telegram as follows - Aunt Kate passed away a few minutes after midnight'.
Mrs Leonore Piper was the 'one white crow' who proved spirit communication to William James satisfaction. (Mary Evans Picture Library)

The SPR was naturally impressed by stories such as these, so in 1887 they decided to take action. They sent one of their most critical investigators to Boston to look into the case and report back to them.

Richard Hodgson was a keen and rigidly sceptical investigator but he was also passionately devoted to psychical research. He set sail for Boston and ended up spending the next eighteen years of his life studying Mrs Piper's mediumship.

Richard Hodgson came to the United States in part to take over the reins of the American branch of the SPR, which William James had helped to organize. His first major project was to take complete charge of the Piper case. His plan was to book her sittings himself, study her background, and make sure she wasn't secretly studying her sitters. He even had her trailed by detectives. He also insisted that many of the sitters he booked remain anonymous to her. Despite these formidable controls, the quality of the Piper mediumship remained impressive. She would merely sit down with the client, suffer some minor convulsions and enter a trance, and soon a curious personality who called himself 'Dr Phinuit' would speak through her and act as master-of-ceremonies for the session. Hodgson was never much impressed by Dr Phinuit since the persona's French was practically non-existent and he could never give a very credible account of his terrestrial life. Phinuit actually seemed to be a split-off portion of Mrs Piper's own mind, or so Hodgson argued. But despite his dubious credentials, Dr Phinuit was often brilliant at bringing through veridical messages from the dead.

Hodgson later reported that at his first sitting at Mrs Piper's home, Dr Phinuit successfully described and helped bring through some of his own departed friends. The control especially mentioned an old school friend and called him by his proper name. 'He says you went to school together,' he explained to Hodgson. 'He goes on jumping-frogs and laughs. He says he used to get the better of you. He had convulsions before his death struggles. He went off into a sort of spasm. You were not there.'

All of this rather trivial information was correct, and it alerted Dr Hodgson to the fact that he was being confronted by a case of epoch-making potential.

The communications that followed the appearance of his old friend impressed him even more. Hodgson was from Australia and many years before his move to England he had fallen in love with a young woman. Marriage never entered his life, however, and the woman passed on long before the time of the present sittings. Hodgson was astounded when Phinuit began describing the young woman, and she was able to bring through several deeply personal messages which, more than anything else, convinced Hodgson of the authenticity of the Piper mediumship.

Despite the startling nature of the evidence, Dr Hodgson was not sure that he was actually making contact with the dead. It was true that the messages seemed to be coming from the world of the dead, and he spent months supervising the sittings of other clients whose personal experiences were leading them to the same view. Yet like so many of SPR founders, Hodgson found himself grappling with the same old telepathy versus spirit communication debate that was plaguing the study of apparitions. It was certainly reasonable to assume that Mrs Piper's messages came from the dead; but it was also possible that she was reading the minds of the sitters and gathering up all the pertinent information. He reasoned that this information could then be used to help build up perfect (but bogus) personations of the dead. This line of reasoning was tempting since Mrs Pipers chief control actually seemed to be bogus. It didn't take too much of a leap in faith and logic to assume that all the spirits that regularly came through her also had their psychological roots within her own mind. Hodgson at first actively favoured this view; which he put forth in his first major paper on the case.[5]

[5] Hodgson, Richard. A record of certain phenomena of trance. Proceedings: Society for Psychical Research, 1892, 8, 1-67.

He was not the only person to receive such evidential messages, since many of the sitters he booked in Boston reported similar success. So in order to test Mrs Piper under even more stringent conditions, Hodgson and his colleagues decided that she should go to England and sit for the SPR leaders in person. They would then be in a position to supervise her closely for themselves. The trip would also allow the researchers to be sure that Mrs Piper was not secretly learning about her sitters' backgrounds, since she had never visited England before, and could not have had access to information about them. The sitters in this case were, of course, the researchers themselves.

Mrs Piper sailed for England in 1889 and was met at the docks by F. W. H. Myers and Oliver Lodge, an influential physicist at the University of Liverpool and one of the SPR's leading lights. They carefully controlled every move she made and even, with her consent, opened her mail to make sure no one as 'feeding' her information. Despite these incumbrances, she gave séances for the SPR both in Liverpool and Cambridge with outstanding success.

It would be impossible to go into great detail about these important sittings. Lodge was perhaps the most impressed with Mrs Piper, partly due to his own experiences with her.[6] The following is a report Lodge filed about a single incident that occurred during one of his first sittings. Remember that this is actually just one episode which occurred during a more lengthy session:

[6] Myers, F. W. H.; Lodge, Oliver; Leaf, W.; James, William. A record of observations of certain phenomena of trance. Proceedings: Society for Psychical Research, 1890, 6, 436-659.

It happens that an uncle of mine in London, now quite an old man, and one of a surviving three out of a very large family, had a twin brother who died some twenty or more years ago. I interested him generally in the subject, and wrote to ask if he would lend me some relic of his brother. By morning post on a certain day I received a curious old gold watch, which this brother had worn and been fond of, and that same morning, no one in the house having seen it or knowing anything about it, I handed it to Mrs Piper when in a state of trance.

I was told almost immediately that it had belonged to one of my uncles - one that had been very fond of Uncle Robert, the name of the survivor - that the watch was now in possession of this same Uncle Robert, with whom he was anxious to communicate. After some difficulty and many wrong attempts Dr Phinuit caught the name, Jerry, short for Jeremiah, and said emphatically, as if a third person was speaking, 'This is my watch, and Robert is my brother, and I am here. Uncle Jerry, my watch'...

Having thus ostensibly got into communication through some means or other with what purported to be a deceased relative, whom I had indeed known slightly in his later years of blindness, but of whose early life I knew nothing, I pointed out to him that to make Uncle Robert aware of his presence it would be well to recall trivial details of their boyhood, all of which I would faithfully report.

He quite caught the idea, and proceeded during several successive sittings ostensibly to instruct Dr Phinuit to mention a number of little things such as would enable his brother to recognise him ...

'Uncle Jerry' recalled episodes such as swimming the creek when they were boys together; and running some risk of getting drowned; killing a cat in Smiths field; the possession of a small rifle, and of a long peculiar skin, like a snake-skin, which he thought was not in the possession of Uncle Robert.

All these facts have been more or less completely verified.

The only problem with evidence such as this is that Mrs Piper liked to hold the hands of her sitters. It was suggested by some sceptics that somehow the sitter might be communicating information to the psychic by making unconscious and subtle muscular movements. This idea was especially championed by Andrew Lang, an early SPR member and a pioneering anthropologist and folklorist. He engaged Lodge in a prolonged debate over this issue in the SPR's publications. Lang was sceptical of Mrs Piper, but even he finally admitted that the 'snake-skin' reference cited above was just too good to be dismissed.

Several of the Society's leaders were able to work with Mrs Piper during her trip. They filed a joint report on their work with her in which they came to four main conclusions: (1) that there was no reason to suspect Mrs Piper's good faith or honesty (2) that Dr Phinuit was probably a secondary personality of the psychic's own mind, (3) that he often 'faked' his way through some of the sittings, but that (4) on a good day he could bring through voluminous amounts of highly evidential material. The SPR researchers would not, however, commit themselves as to whether these messages emanated from the dead. This was an issue on which they were hopelessly divided. Sir Oliver Lodge preferred this theory to any other about the source of Mrs Piper's communications, but the telepathic hypothesis loomed far and wide and some researchers favoured it.

Even though the SPR could not agree about the source of Mrs Piper's communications, its leaders did not cease studying her formidable abilities. She returned to Boston in 1890 where she once again worked under Hodgson's auspices. Although the reasons were not clear, it now seemed that the quality of her mediumship was improving. Some of her sittings were so impressive that the telepathic hypothesis had to be stretched widely to account for them. This was certainly the opinion of the Revd and Mrs S. W. Sutton, who first attended sittings with Mrs Piper in 1893.[7] Their hope was to establish communication with their little daughter Katherine, who had died only six weeks before. The Suttons were intelligent people and they brought along a note-taker supplied by Dr Hodgson, so today we still have a complete stenographic record of what transpired during their critical sitting of 8 December. This was an occasion on which several departed members of the Sutton family spoke through Mrs Piper, including their daughter. The sitting is so crucial to understanding the psychology of the Piper mediumship that an edited version of the sitting is transcribed below.

[7] Hodgson, Richard. A further record of observations of certain phenomena of trance. Proceedings: Society for Psychical Research, 1898, 284-582.

This séance began as Mrs Piper took hold of the note-taker's hands. Her trance followed in short order and then Mrs Sutton took the psychic's hands in her own. It didn't take the enigmatic Dr Phinuit very long before he was able to bring through her daughter. He almost began the sitting with the words, 'A little child is coming through'. The Suttons could then hear the control coaxing the child to come to him, and he spoke as if he were their daughter. This was typical of the control, who often proxied in this manner. He reached for a medal and a band of buttons that the Suttons had placed on the séance table, and then spoke:

Dr Phinuit

I want this - I want to bite it.
Quick, I want to put them in my mouth ...
Mrs Sutton's Annotations

She used to bite it.
The buttons also. To bite the buttons was forbidden. He exactly imitated her arch manner.
I will get her talk to you in a minute. Who is Frank in the body?... We do not know. My uncle Frank died a few years before. We were much attached. Possibly Phinuit was confused and my uncle was trying to communicate.
A lady is here who passed out of the body with tumour in the bowels ... My friend, Mrs C. died of ovarian tumour.
She has the child ... She is bringing it to me. Who is Dodo? Speak to me quickly. I want you to call Dodo. Tell Dodo I am happy. Cry for me no more [Phinuit puts his hands to his throat.] No more sore throat any more Papa, speak to me. Can not you see me? I am not dead, I am living. I am happy with Grandma. [Phinuit now speaks for himself:] Here are two more. One, two, three here ... one older and one younger than Kakie. That is a boy. The one that came first. The little one calls the lady, Auntie I wish you could see these children. [Addressing Mr Sutton, to whom he turns:] You do a great deal of good in the body [To Mrs Sutton:] He is a dear man. Was this little ones tongue very dry? She keeps showing me her tongue. Her name is Katherine. She calls herself Kakie. She passed out last. Tell Dodo Kakie is in spiritual body. Where is horsey? Big horsey, not this little one. Dear Papa, take me wide [to ride]. [Speaking for Katherine:] Do you see Kakie? The pretty white flowers you put on me I have here. I took their little souls out and keep them with me. Papa, want to wide horsey. Every day I go to see horsey. I like that horsey. I go to wide I am with you every day ...
The name for her brother George.

She had pain and distress of the throat and tongue.

My mother had been dead many years.

Both were boys.

Not her aunt.

Her tongue was paralysed, and she suffered much with it to the end.

I gave her a little horse. Probably refers to a toy cart and horse she used to like.

Phinuit describes lilies of the valley, which were the flowers we placed on her casket. She pleaded this all through her illness.

I was so hot, my head was so hot. I asked if she remembered anything after she was brought downstairs.

Some further messages were received and Kakie referred to her sister Eleanor by name. Then, to the Sutton's great surprise, the communicator begin singing a song that was sung to her before she died. The little communicator urged her parents to sing along with her, and the couple complied. While they were singing they could hear a soft, childlike voice coming out of the psychic's mouth and intoning the precise words with them. Two stanzas were sung before the sitting could progress. Then the child sang yet another song she had known in life through the entranced medium. It actually seemed as if the child was talking directly through Mrs Piper and was no longer using the control as a proxy. What so impressed the Suttons was that these two songs were the only two the child knew completely. Phinuit seemed to re-insert himself at this point, and the sitting continued:

Dr Phinuit

Where is Dinah? I want Dinah.
Mrs Sutton's Annotations

Dinah was an old black rag-doll, not with us.
I want Bagie.
I want Bagie to bring me my Dinah. I want to go to Bagie. I want Bagie. I see Bagie an the time. Tell Dodo when you see him that I love him. Dear Dodo. He used to march with me. He put me way up. Her name for her sister Margaret.

Dodo did sing to me. That was a horrid body. I have a pretty body now. Tell Grandma I love her. I want her to know I live. Grandma does know it, Marmie - Great grandma, Marmie.

We called her Great Grandmother Marmie, but she always called her Grammie. Both Grandmother and Great Grandmother were then living.

With evidence such as this pouring in, Dr Hodgson found himself doubting the idea that telepathy could explain Mrs Piper's utterances. Even the somewhat questionable but crudely lovable Dr Phinuit began proving himself a bit. But it wasn't until one of Hodgson's own friends died and began communicating through Mrs Piper that he finally changed his entire verdict about the Piper mediumship. This new development came in 1892 during a crucial stage in the mediumship.

Before 1892 the Piper mediumship was characterized by two features. She always delivered her messages by trance speech and her transition to the trance state was accompanied by fits and spasms. This was the stage of the mediumship dominated by Dr Phinuit's ever-present personality, much to the chagrin of those researchers who considered him nothing but a sub-personality of the medium's. But in 1892 Mrs Piper began developing (under Hodgson's guidance) automatic writing which soon superseded the trance speech. The transition to the trance state also became gentler and more facile during this period. The real change in the trance state came, however; with the appearance of a new trance-personality who replaced Dr Phinuit as the psychic's primary control. George Pellew (whom Hodgson called 'George Pelham' throughout his writings on the case) was a young and philosophically minded friend of the researcher's. He had sat with Mrs Piper himself once before his death and long remained intrigued with the problems of trance mediumship. His death came in 1892 as a result of an accident, and it wasn't long before he started communicating through Mrs Piper. He soon took control of the Piper trance state altogether.

The appearance of the Pelham control also heralded a new dimension in the quality of the mediumship. It became more focused and consistently evidential. Hodgson also used the Pelham persona to test the possible spiritistic basis of the entire mediumship. During the next several months, he introduced 150 sitters to the séances, of whom 30 had known Pelham during his life. The Pelham control was able to accurately recognize 29 of them. His only lapse came when he failed to recognize a young woman he had only known as a child. Most of the sitters were able to talk and reminisce with the Pelham personality as though he were right there in the flesh, and the quality of his many trance conversations was certainly equal to that of the Sutton sittings. Hodgson was so impressed by this new personality that he issued another report on Mrs Piper in 1898 in which he outlined his reasons for converting to the spiritistic theory.[8]

The subsequent history of the Piper mediumship is no less imposing or dramatic. She underwent several more changes in control, and when Dr Hodgson died suddenly in 1905, he subsequently communicated through her Mrs Piper's mediumship began to deteriorate in 1911 and she lost her trance state altogether, though the automatic writing continued for several more years. She held sittings well into the 1920s and died in 1950.

The Scole Experiments


The evidence for identity in the discarnate


Medium DD Homes


DeathBed Visions




Direct Voice Mediums






Drop In communicators

One spectacular case of positive communication was that of Pearl Curran who tried a Ouija board with her neighbor on July 12th 1912. After a year of experimenting she began to receive messages from Patience Worth, who claimed to be a spirit entity born in 1649 near Dorsetshire in England.

Between 1912 and 1919 she dictated through the board five million words—epigrams, poems, allegories short stories and full-length novels. Her collected works fill twenty-nine bound volumes, 4375 single-spaced pages. There were five full-length novels, the most successful being The Sorry Tale a 300,000 word story of the earthly life of Jesus which was reviewed as follows in the The New York Times, July 8, 1917:

This long and intricate tale of Jewish and Roman life during the time of Christ is constructed with the precision and accuracy of a master hand. It is a wonderful, a beautiful and noble book.

Patience Worth also wrote over 2,500 poems. She won a national poetry contest in which forty thousand contestants submitted multiple entries. She was regularly published in America's most prestigious annual poetry anthology.

One of her greatest admirers was the publisher William Reedy who was on the award-selecting committee for the first Pulitzer Prize for poetry. He was a regular visitor to Pearl's house and he said of her poems:

They contain passages of bewitching beauty, of rare high spirits, of pathos. It does not equal Shakespeare or Spencer. It is not so great as Chaucer. But if there be any intelligences communicating poems by Ouija board or otherwise... it is good poetry, better poetry than we find in our magazines as a rule—poetry with a quality of its own (Hunt 1985: 31).

The Seth books

Another famous literary relationship which began with Ouija communication was that between Seth and Jane Roberts and her husband who began using a Ouija Board in 1963. On their fourth try an entity introduced itself as 'Frank Withers' who said that he had most recently lived on earth as an English teacher and had died in 1942. Later he explained that he preferred to be called 'Seth' and that he had a special mission to help people better understand themselves and reality.

Through Jane, Seth has dictated several best-selling books which have dealt with the nature of reality, reincarnation, dreams, astral travel and the nature of God. He has given step-by-step advice to his readers on the development of meditation techniques and ESP. He has diagnosed illnesses, correctly described the contents of building and rooms many miles away and materialized as an apparition in well-lit settings (see Roberts 1974, 1994, 1997a 1997b).

There are many other stories of successful literary and creative relationships that have developed through using the board including that of James Merrill, a Pulitzer Prize winner who wrote The Changing Light at Sandover (1982) working with a Ouija board.

His frightening experiences (visions, bodily transformations, felt powerful presences) as well as his positive and joyous ones are vividly reported in the poem. However after more than thirty years experience with the board Merrill claims that he no longer recommends that friends use it because:

One can never tell in advance how susceptible a given person will be.

Strong evidence for the afterlife

What I personally find staggering about the Ouija board literature is the extent to which it is consistent with the findings of researchers who have worked with top level mediums, with electronic voice phenomena and with the other areas of scientific research mentioned in this book. It is simply impossible to explain the staggeringly different kinds of communication that one receives when entities of different levels are communicating—often in quick succession—purely on the basis of projection of the unconscious of an individual or a group.

As well there have been a number of startling cases of drop-in communicators coming through the board. These are entities which although totally unknown to the sitters give correct and verifiable details of names, address, occupation and sometimes a large number of other details. Dr Alan Gauld investigated 37 of these who had appeared among 240 alleged communicators in a Ouija board circle which met in a Cambridgeshire home between 1937 and 1954 (Gauld 1966-72:273-340).

In his paper for the Society for Psychical Research he explains how he followed up the details of some of these in some cases more than twenty years after the original communication had been made and had been able to verify a significant number of details in at least four cases.

In the case of Gustav Adolf Biedermann Gauld was able to verify the personality of the communicator and the following specific information:

I lived in London.
My house was Charnwood Lodge.
Nationality German.
Correct name Adolf Biedermann.
I was always known and called Gustav
I was a Rationalist
I was turned seventy when I passed away
I had my own business
I am associated with the London University
I passed over a year ago

In these cases, Gauld points out, the sitters did not seek publicity or money and he was convinced that there was no way they would have gone to the trouble of accessing the public documents he obtained from a huge number of sources to fool the other circle members and then leave them for more than twenty years on the off-chance that somebody would happen by to investigate them.

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