Three Materialization Seances with David Thompson in 2014
I was very fortunate to have had the well-known
Australian materialization medium, David Thompson, and his
partner, Christine Morgan, a spiritual medium, come to the
Los Angeles area for three séances on February 9, 11
and 13, 2012. The séances were a great success and
after numerous requests I asked David to come again. Three
séances were held on January 21, 23 and 25, 2014. This
article will provide a brief background on materializations
and describe in detail the amazing events of our three séances.
I will describe the events of a séance from beginning
to end with events from of the three nights overlapping.
Jan W. Vandersande Ph. D.
Materialization, especially full-body materialization, is
the rarest of all reported paranormal physical phenomena.
Portions of human bodies, such as hands, which move, grasp,
carry things, etc., or entire bodies which speak, breath and
walk like living beings materialize (i.e. form) from ectoplasm.
Ectoplasm is a whitish substance which comes from the medium’s
body through one or more orifices such as the nose, ears,
mouth and/or the solar plexus. When ectoplasm is initially
expelled from the medium it looks transparent, like fine silk.
This silk-like looking ectoplasm then solidifies into partial
or full materializations of spirit entities or into a rod-like
shape that moves the trumpet (a megaphone typically one to
two feet long). The ectoplasm always returns to the medium’s
body after the materializations are finished.
Ectoplasm was given its name by Professor Charles Richet in
1905, when he was president of the Society for Psychical Research.
He derived the name from the Greek word meaning “exteriorized
substance”. The German authority Baron von Schenk-Notzing,
who called it “teleplasma” produced a chemical
analysis (around 1913) as follows: “colorless, slightly
cloudy fluid with slightly alkaline reaction, traces of sputum,
mucous membrane granules, potash, cell detritus, skin discs
and minute particles of flesh”.
This analysis was similar to that done by Dr. Dombrowski of
the Polish Society for Psychical Research in 1916. Because
those analyses were done in 1913 and 1916 they could not be
as sophisticated and advanced as you would find nowadays.
These analyses do however support the fact that ectoplasm
actually does come from the body of the medium. I have documented
a large number of reports of materializations and these as
well as some photographs of ectoplasm can be found in my book
titled “Life After Death: Some of the Best Evidence”
(Outskirts Press, 2008).
Ectoplasm can be very sensitive to unexpected touching or
by being exposed to white light. There have been a few reported
cases of serious injury to the medium when a sitter in a séance
grabbed or shone white light on the ectoplasm. This has typically
happened when a skeptic tried to unsuccessfully expose the
medium for being fraudulent. Some of the best materialization
mediums have produced full-body materializations in red light
(which is of lower energy than white light) and a rare few
have even produced materializations in white light (for examples
see my book).
David Thompson has been doing materialization séances
for at least 15 years. Most of his séances are done
in total darkness but, occasionally, he will produce ectoplasm
with red light on. Some of those instances have been photographed
showing a sheet of ectoplasm stretching from his face across
his chest, and down over his lap down to nearly his feet.
Those séances when the red light is turned on are usually
only when small groups are involved like at his home circle
in Sydney. Full materializations are only produced in total
darkness and therefore cannot be photographed. Hopefully one
day he will have developed enough so that red light can be
used in all his séances.
Given that a materialization medium can be seriously hurt
during a séance means that precautions need to be taken
to ensure that no sitter grabs the ectoplasm or shines white
light on it. During our séances sitters were warned
before the séance that under no circumstances could
they touch the ectoplasm or full materialization unless the
spirit entity allowed it. Also, all sitters were searched
before entering the séance room. During the séance
all the sitters had to hold hands in order to remove the temptation
for any sitter to grab at a materialization.
Similarly, precautions were taken to make sure that fraud
on the part of the medium could be completely ruled out. A
female and male sitter (called independent “checkers”)
were randomly chosen from amongst the sitters to help ensure
that all the necessary precautions were taken. David was searched
by them before each séance. David sat on a chair with
arm rests in a cabinet made from PVC (a rectangle about five
feet deep by four feet wide and seven feet high with black
curtains on either side and two curtains in the front). The
back of the cabinet was placed against a side wall and from
21 to 24 chairs (for the first and third séances, respectively)
and 11 chairs for the second seance were positioned in a semi-circle
with the sitters facing the cabinet. David’s arms were
tied tightly to the arms of the chair by means of two leather
To ensure that the straps could not be undone, plastic zip
ties (also known as cable ties or tree ties) were pulled through
the holes of the strap so that the strap could only be undone
by cutting the zip tie. I checked that David could not pull
his hands out from the straps (I found it to be impossible).
His legs were tied to the legs of the chair by means of straps.
David wore a cardigan sweater during the seances that had
five buttons that were buttoned. Five zip ties were used near
the button holes to ensure that the only way he could get
out of the cardigan was for the zip ties to be cut. The two
independent checkers and I searched the room (a conference
room without windows in an hotel), especially in and near
where David was sitting, for anything that might be used to
get out of the bindings and enable him to see in the dark.
Nothing was found. The independent checkers and I were convinced
that there was no way that David could get out of his chair.
Finally, a black gag was secured around his head and through
his open mouth so that he could not talk (at least not recognizable
With David securely seated in the cabinet and all the sitters
seated, the lights were turned off after the door was taped
with black tape and black out curtain so no light at all could
come into the room. There appeared to be some faint light
coming from the door area so Christine, the circle leader,
turned on her red flash light and some more tape was added
to block out any light. While this was happening William,
David’s main spirit guide (who had died in 1897), spoke
briefly from within the cabinet saying that conditions were
now fine. He explained later that he used an ectoplasmic voice
box formed next to David’s right ear.
Christine now started the séance with a short prayer
and then asked me to start the music. I had a CD player next
to me on a chair and started the music (I had practiced to
be able to operate the CD player in total darkness). Several
familiar songs were played and the sitters were urged to sing
along to increase the energy and vibrations. After four to
five songs Christine told me to stop the music because William,
David’s main spirit guide (also called his control),
had materialized and was heard speaking from the middle of
I had actually noticed that someone had walked out
of the cabinet. Christine was wearing a luminous broach on
her shirt and was sitting directly opposite me (on the right
side of the cabinet while I was sitting on the left side)
and the broach disappeared briefly (1-2 seconds) indicating
someone walked between us. This occurred numerous times during
the sittings when spirit materializations walked in and out
of the cabinet.
David has a band of spirit entities many of whom regularly
materialize at his séances. His main spirit control
is William Cadwell, who materializes first at all his séances
and appears to control what happens during the séance.
After materializing William started talking to the sitters
while walking around. He spoke loudly and in a distinctive
British accent that I found difficult to understand at times.
William stepped on the piece of plywood (two feet
by two feet), that we had placed at the center of the circle,
making a distinct sound indicating that he was wearing heavy-soled
boots (meanwhile David was wearing sneakers).
He then started to answer questions of a general nature about
the spirit world and about life asked by some of the sitters.
After answering each question he would most of the time walk
over to the sitter who had asked the question and asked if
he could touch them.
After the sitter said that he could, he put his hand on their
head. The sitters who had that experience (from 4 to 7 per
sitting) described a very large hand (meanwhile David
has very small hands). After he had answered a number
of questions in each of the three sittings he walked back
to the cabinet.
The next regular materialization, in David’s séances
and in each of our séances, was Timmy (Timothy Booth,
who died in 1902), a Cockney youth claiming to be nine years
old, who has a very characteristic young voice. Christine
placed their trumpet, a megaphone approximately a foot and
a half long with a luminous band (approximately half an inch
wide) around the bottom so that it could be seen in the dark
and one of the two trumpets (a large one and a small one)
I had brought, near the front of the cabinet. Then according
to Timmy, he manipulated the ectoplasm, which had come from
David and from which he (Timmy) had formed, to move the trumpets.
(Photographs of how the ectoplasm is typically attached to
the trumpet can be seen in my book.)
The trumpets (two in the first séance, three in the
second séance and only their trumpet in the third séance)
flew at great speed and with considerable precision, performing
aerobatic patterns such as large and small circles, flying
to the ceiling (from 10 to 12 feet high), the corners, all
around the room and tapping each other in mid-air while I
had the CD player play an Irish jig. Occasionally the trumpets
slowed to a stop and gently tapped a sitter deliberately on
the head, the shoulder, or the knee. The trumpets did that
to several sitters. In the first séance I was tapped
on the leg by my small trumpet three times and in the third
séance I was tapped on the head three times by their
trumpet. Never at any time did the trumpets bump into any
sitter or anything else in the room.
There is absolutely no way any human, assuming they
could see in total darkness, could move a trumpet in those
random patterns, that fast and at that those heights, as all
the sitters observed in the three séances. My wife,
Marlene, and I saw similar trumpet movements in a large number
of séances over an eight year period in the 1970’s.
The smaller of the two trumpets I had brought ended up under
my chair at the end of the first séance.
While the three trumpets were moving around the room during
the second séance I all of a sudden heard a thud to
my left and leaves were all of a sudden touching my head.
Then I heard a thud in front of me and then about a minute
later a thud to my right. It turns out that Timmy had moved
three artificial trees (about 5 feet tall, each in a pot weighing
about 6-8 pounds) from three different places in the room
to in front of me. One tree was originally behind a large
table so the table had to be moved by him in order to bring
the tree to me. The other two trees were originally in two
different corners of the room. Some sitters in the circle
actually heard something fly over their heads. My two trumpets
ended up in one of the trees between the branches. After he
had moved the trees Timmy told me that from now on he would
call me "Jungle Jan".
This phenomenon of moving heavier objects using ectoplasm
is extremely impressive and in no way could have been done
by anyone in the room in the pitch dark.
In the second séance, Christine gave Timmy
a small ball (approximately three inches in diameter) that
was covered with luminous paint so it could be seen in the
dark. Timmy put his fingers around the ball and walked around
the circle showing the ball to each sitter, so that each sitter
could see the outline of his small fingers.
Another one of David’s regular spirit entities, Louis
Armstrong (the famous musician, known for his trumpet playing,
who died in 1971), materialized in all three séances.
He sang to one of his well-known songs (Hello Dolly) which
I played on the CD player. His voice sounded exactly like
the very characteristic voice so often heard when he was alive
on earth (a deep distinctive gravelly voice). Christine then
handed him a harmonica and he played it for several minutes
while tapping on the plywood on the floor. You could hear
him take a deep breath occasionally while playing. After that
he left. I always get skeptical and nervous when famous people
materialize but now have a better understanding why they do
it. To prove survival after death it makes more sense that
someone who is well-known, has a characteristic voice and/or
mannerisms, that just about everyone can recognize, materializes
rather than an anonymous person.
A Native American Indian named White Soaring Bird materialized
in the third séance, after Louie had returned to the
cabinet. He was introduced by Timmy, who said that he was
afraid of him and did not like him. Timmy actually sounded
tense, even afraid (intimidated). White Soaring Bird came
to give a blessing to the sitters. He first spoke in his native
Indian language and then in English.
During the first sitting Timmy asked if any one (who was also
coming to the second sitting) knew a George. Both my wife
and daughter said yes. Timmy then said that he (George) would
try to come during the next sitting. During that sitting my
wife felt some one gently rubbing her back and arms and speaking
to her (but she could not make out what the person was saying).
Timmy said it was her father George (who is in the spirit
One of the more interesting things that happened during the
first séance came unexpectedly. While William was walking
in the circle and answering questions, the blackout curtain
that had been taped over one of the two doors all of a sudden
fell to the floor. We heard William rapidly go back to the
cabinet and after several seconds he told Christine to put
the curtain back over the door. She had to put her red flash
light on so that one of the sitters could re-tape the sheet
over the door. Once that was completed William said that Christine
with the two independent checkers should briefly look into
the cabinet to see that David was still tied up as he originally
was. They did that and confirmed that he was still tied up.
This unexpected event clearly shows that it was not
David pretending to be William, walking around the room and
answering questions as some skeptics have maintained. There
is no way David, if he had been walking around, could have
rushed back to the cabinet and re-tied himself in such a brief
period of time. Also, the only way he could have seen in the
dark would have been with night vision goggles and they were
definitely not in the room (I checked that myself, as did
the independent checkers).
At the end of each séance William asked Christine and
the independent checkers to look into the cabinet using her
red flashlight to confirm David was still tied up as he originally
was and that his cardigan was still on properly. They found
that to be the case in all three séances. This checking
of David during the séance and just before the end
of the séances was not done during the séances
three years ago.
After David had been checked, William said good-bye and Christine
asked me to play some music. After a few minutes everyone
heard a large thud in the circle, approximately 10-15 feet
in front of the curtain (in the first and third séances)
and to the left of the cabinet behind the row of sitters (about
20 feet) in the second séance (so David in his chair
had been lifted over the sitters- an amazing feat).
The red flashlight was turned on and the tape on the
door was removed and the door opened. We all saw David sitting
in his chair, tied up exactly as he was at the beginning of
the séance except for the fact that his cardigan had
been reversed. The cardigan was still buttoned and
the five zip-ties were still in place exactly as when we placed
There is no way that David could have reversed the
cardigan. The movement of David in his chair for a distance
of at least 20 feet shows that the spirit entities have tremendous
strength (using ectoplasm from David and likely the sitters
as well). While the reversal/removal of the cardigan shows
a de-materialization/re-materialization capability (or whatever
technology the spirits used) that is way beyond the current
laws of physics as we know them. It was truly an amazing phenomenon
to have observed.
The male independent checker then gave Christine the cutters,
which he had in his pocket throughout the séance (in
all three séances), so that the zip ties could be cut
loose and David untied from the chair. I carefully examined
how David was tied into the chair and I am absolutely sure
that there was no way he was able to remove himself from the
chair during the séance and then return to the chair
and tie himself back to the chair. There is no doubt in my
mind he produced the materializations and the other physical
phenomena while tied in the chair in the cabinet.