David Thompson rebuts A Skeptic

Materialization mediums have historically had to put up with lies, distortions and personal attacks. It’s bad enough when these come from the materialists but after many years of keeping silent in the face of such attacks and most unfair provocations by a tiny number of people claiming to be ‘Spiritual’ I feel it is time to set the record straight for the sake of decent people who may inadvertently come across those attacks on the internet.

The negative and damaging article by an unnamed skeptic
(in this circumstance the name is not important).

Recently while I was on tour in the UK and Spain, an unnamed skeptic wrote a very negative article about my mediumship on the basis on one sitting. In it he made many inaccurate claims which I want to set straight.

First I want to point out that this skeptic is not a qualified afterlife investigator. As far as I know he is a journalist and knows nothing about scientific method. His article was written as a ‘layperson’ and with an ‘agenda’. It also shows he does not know about the refinements of physical mediumship.

On the other hand Montague Keen, who was the President of the Survival Committee of the Society of Psychical Research and a member for this SPR for fifty five years, investigated my mediumship and wrote a glowing report. His conclusion was that my mediumship is genuine.

After Montague Keen died he materialized through my mediumship on a number of occasions and a speech he dictated while materialized was read out at his funeral. He spoke to his wife, Veronica, while materialized and she confirmed that it was genuinely Montague. And recently while I was on the same tour Robin Foy wrote three detailed and highly favorable reports on my mediumship. He claimed that he received evidential personal messages through my mediumship for which he had been waiting for a number of years. He is probably one of the most experienced afterlife investigator to-day, someone who has investigated physical mediumship for more than fifty years and was one of the key sitters in the highly regarded Scole Group.

I was also investigated thoroughly and systematically over a long period of time by a specialist in evidence – a lawyer – and by a psychologist. Both have professional degrees in scientific methodology and professional experience. Because they were totally convinced of the validity of my mediumship they asked me if they could join The Circle of the Silver Cord.

The True Facts

1) The Skeptic says that he was expecting the séance to be conducted in red light yet he is on record for criticizing the fact that my sittings, like those of Rita Gould and Stewart Alexander, are held in total darkness. The first sentence on the form that all sitters have to sign before attending states: “All sittings are held in total darkness” and this is made clear repeatedly in the pre-séance talks.

2) In the séance forms and pre-séance briefing it is made very clear that having a negative mindset can seriously interfere with the energy and affect the phenomena. People who have not investigated physical mediumhip do not understand this fundamental fact. Having even one person in a room, with a negative mindset can reduce the number of materializations that happen and the strength of the phenomena. Coming to a séance with an already preconceived belief that unless the mediumship is held in lighted conditions it is not genuine is totally unethical. By having a fixed negative mind, the skeptic himself contributed to ‘lowering’ the energy of the séance.

3) The skeptic says “that there was no evidence of anything paranormal in the séance” that he attended. Yet other people who were there commented on the extraordinary precision of the trumpets that flew around the room at lightning speed without hitting anyone and the fact that my chair was levitated and moved several meters at the end. Both my feet were strapped in. Tony Pappard, a journalist with mediumship skills, is on record for stating that his partner came through with highly evidential messages. Dr David Fontana who investigated the Scole Experiment left a highly evidential message for a person who sits in another circle. Ray Lister, Stewart Alexander’s Circle Leader confirmed this and complimented myself and Christine after the séance.

4) “The medium controlled everything.” That is blatantly untrue. I did not do the searching, did not lead the circle, did not see the forms before the séance, did not strap myself into the chair, did not secure the gag and the binds, did not hold the clippers, did not control the music. The only thing I did was scan everyone with the metal detector and seat people (see next point). Given that my life is on the line because of the highly sensitive ectoplasm, I am unwilling to put both these responsibilities onto others. These kinds of misrepresentations I am informed amount to malicious writing against me.

5) “The medium placed the sitters and would have been in a position to know where people sat.” Again this shows the skeptics’s inexperience with energy work as explained in point 2. Anyone who has sat in a darkened séance room knows that it is extremely difficult to move around without bumping into people and impossible to walk across the room and touch someone on the head without first groping around to find them. In any event, as Robin Foy remarked at a subsequent séance, the materialized forms moved from one side of the large room to the other in an instant- something impossible for a bumbling human to do in the dark.

6) The skeptic continues to misrepresent when he claims that I knew who would be attending and saw their forms and in advance of the séance, implying that I would use the information to search out facts about people attending. I had a quick look at the list and did not object to anyone- even the skeptic who is on record for having been skeptical of my mediumship before the séance. However I did not see any of the forms which are kept by the organizers who checked the IDs.

Asking people to sign the form and provide evidence of their identity again on entry is a way of reducing the likelihood of someone giving their ticket to another person who`s intent may not be of a positive nature and out to prove the medium is a fraud by grabbing the materializations. This is done because of legal advice given to me. The form was introduced because a New York lawyer stated that if he was allowed to attend he would do a football tackle onto the materialized spirit. Such things have happened in the past e.g. to Alec Harris when a trusted sitter obtained tickets and then passed them on to two skeptical journalists who tried to grab a materialized form. As a result Alec was almost killed and his mediumship was never the same.

Legal advice stated it was important to make every potential sitter aware of his/her legal duty and liability should they violate the strict security protocols. This is important so that they will take seriously their obligations and know that they will be held legally accountable for their behavior and cannot plead ignorance afterwards. The Circle never had problems with decent people, but it is critically important to follow legal procedures. I make no apology for doing everything to protect my health and my safety since in the past I have been cut, burned and bruised by sitters who were not aware of the danger.

7) In any event the kind of evidence that comes though in a personal reunion is not the kind of thing that can be researched in advance on the internet- things like what was put into the coffin of your loved one, pet names, the way a loved one behaved, the last words you said to them.

8) The skeptic's misleading report claims that a competent stage illusionist could have escaped from the cable ties and run around the room in the dark for one and a half hours, manipulating the trumpets and creating the voices of William, Timothy, Louis Armstrong, Quentin Crisp, May, David Fontana, Tony Pappard’s partner George and the ladies grandfather. He would have had to re-attach the plastic straps and obtain new cable ties and clip them off to the same length. This would mean that I would also have had to have created all the hundreds of the voices of loved ones who spoke in hundreds of reunions over the last ten years including voices in Russian, French and Chinese as well as imitating barking dogs which jumped on their owners’ laps.

I remind the skpetic that I am not a competent stage illusionist- I worked in the aviation industry. And I have a strong English accent. If I could do what he claims I would be making a lot more money in a magic act in Las Vegas.

I also remind him that a number of experienced investigators including Montague Keen and Robin Foy have thoroughly inspected the plastic one way cable ties I always use and concluded that it is not humanly possible to escape from them. Montage Keen’s report stated – in his own words:

”It is almost an article of faith among many psychical researchers that unless physical phenomena are capable of being clearly witnessed, or alternatively that infra-red video recording is available, no persuasive evidence of anything paranormal is possible. Although the spirit portrayed as Sir William Crookes explained why an infra-red video camera might be damaging to the medium at his present stage of development, the general rule of evidentiality may be broken if the other security measures justify an unambiguous assertion that deception on the part of the medium was impossible. The nature of the ties would have prevented the medium, no matter how strong or agile, from escaping his bonds without first managing to cut the ties. Even had he been able to do so, he could not have regained his seat and retied the knots unaided, employing a new set of uncut ties, unless he had been helped by someone able to work deftly, accurately and swiftly in pitch dark. No-one in the séance room could have attempted that without ready detection. Moreover my careful examination of the chair showed no sign of any movable join. Finally, the reversal of the medium’s cardigan while he was still bonded to his seat defies normal explanation. The precautions here were superior even to those employed by Schrenck Notzing on Eva C, who was sewn into a single garment, or on the physical medium Jack Webber, where less sophisticated tying methods, and materials, were used …The voices themselves could not have come from the gagged medium. The only other "regulars" on whom suspicion might rest were his wife, Paul the leader who was seated next to me, and whose voice and location would have clearly identified him, and DF, the host, who was seated at the opposite end of the room from the medium. Any of these possibilities would have easily and immediately detectable by those present, as well as likely to be defeated by listening to the tape recording.”

9) The report claims falsely that Harry Houdini is a member of the spirit team and implies that he gave me instructions in escapology. Please!!! A spirit claiming to be Harry Houdini came through – as a visitor - just a few times in 2007 and has not done so since and all visits were recorded. His main purpose was to apologize for his persecution of the Davenport Brothers and Margery Crandon. At no time did he even mention escapology.

10) On a number of special occasions when the energy is right William allows sitters to approach the cabinet, turn on a red light, and see that I am still unconscious in the chair at the same time as he or other spirits are talking in direct voice. During the recent tour Robin Foy witnessed two independent checkers doing this. In the home circle lawyer Victor Zammit and medium Sunny Burgess have had this experience. However the energy field has to be extremely good for this to happen and the person approaching the cabinet has to have William’s complete trust.

11) The skeptic unfairly accuses me outright of fraud when he says that the materializations felt like a normal human being- “which they clearly were”. This shows he has not done his research. Everyone who has ever experienced contact with a fully materialized figure states that they feel normal to the touch and sound like a normal human being. In one case a doctor examined a fully materialized figure produced by Mirabelli and found that he had a pulse and heartbeat. Clearly this shows he is limited in his knowledge about materializations.

12) Again the skeptic implies fraud – a very serious damaging and unfounded claim - by saying that the boot William placed on the Skeptic’s foot had a ridge on it ‘like David’s trainers’. How can he tell the difference between boots which have ridged soles and trainers? Did he not notice that the voice of William who was six foot two was much higher in the room than mine would have been and that William’s hand placed on his head was much larger than mine? At a subsequent séance in Spain, and specifically in relation to the Skeptic’s claim, Robin Foy asked William to demonstrate the sound of his boots on the floor and showed it was completely different to the sound of trainers. This also shows that the Skeptic ‘had an agenda’ before the séance.

13) The skeptic found it peculiar that the materialized David Fontana knew that the Skeptic was writing a book but didn’t know that the Skeptic had recently sent it to publishers when the Skeptic wrote about it on his website. More credible is that David Fontana heard his colleagues in the spirit world mention the book in connection with the fact that the Skeptic would be sitting. Why would the Skeptic think David Fontana would be interested to read his website? Just because we go to the spirit world we don’t suddenly become all knowing.

14) The report claims that David Fontana offered no survival evidence when he would have been acutely aware of the need for such evidence. However Ray and June Lister confirmed that they were given a message to take to someone not present about something they knew nothing about. Is this not the best kind of survival evidence?

15) The report claims that Tony Papard was unhappy with the quality of evidence he received when the very next day Tony confirmed that he had been in contact with his deceased partner who confirmed everything. Tony has gone on record that he was very happy with the survival evidence. He writes: -

”. At the last sitting in August this year my partner came thru with some ...evidential stuff including the name of a friend's dog and an analogy about barriers dividing loved ones concerning something we disagreed about in life - the Berlin Wall. It was significant that the 50th anniversary of its erection was the night of August 13th/14th 2011 and the séance was on August 15th 2011. My partner mentioned the 28 years this barrier stood, i.e. the barrier between this world and the next. My partner spoke in a soft, shy voice as in life (he hated speaking in public and there were about 30 people at the séance.) I felt his small hands touch my cheeks. Although he couldn't get the voice right as a first-time communicator by this method, I know it was him. He also said he was a 'pain' in life, and another medium gave me a similar message from him, that he could be 'selfish'. This was also evidential, though as I replied to him at the séance I could be a right pain too at times.

16) The report claims that there was nothing strikingly evidential in the father-daughter reunion but he then says that Tony Papard was the only person he spoke to after the séance. How would he know what was evidential to the daughter if he didn’t ask?

17) He then goes on to suggest that more survival evidence would be produced in my mental mediumship and trance sessions. Clearly this shows his bias against physical mediumship. I am also informed by another reliable member of my Circle that the skeptic had expressed anti-materialization views well before the séance.

I don’t deny that physical mediumship is so logically impossible to people who have not studied it that their minds go into turmoil trying to find whether it is a trick. This is why we bend over backwards to include as many security protocols as we can without jeapodising the phenomena.

However the way that the skeptic rushed into print the very next morning without checking the above facts and his subsequent actions in allowing a few people who had existing grudges against me to post on his forum without giving their names shows a total disregard for ethics.

Also most serious, was when he deliberately omitted any mention of the reports of Montague Keen and Robin Foy and others like Ann Harrison, Tom and Lisa Butler, the directors of ATransC who have written positive reports of their experiences and the personal evidence they received.

It is no coincidence that the main people posting on his forum and another forum where he immediately placed his article are people who have a long-standing personal agenda against me, the reasons for which I will reveal with back up evidence in the future. Others who supposedly support them anonymously have no credibility- it is very easy to create multiple fake accounts for anonymous posting on a forum.

Sadly this little cohort was and still is allowed to jump on the bandwagon created by the skeptic's willfully biased reporting – and to try to intentionally hurt me. There is a saying ‘Birds of a Feather flock together”.

I don’t deny that physical mediumship is not for everyone. If you are skeptical and can’t accept the possibility of materialization in the dark it’s not for you. Don’t apply to attend a séance that is clearly stated as being held in the dark on the protocol forms.

Also don’t try to score cheap points by omission and distortion, a fair and balanced view is to give ALL facts not just the ones that fit a person’s personal agenda. In the end you will only be hurting yourself because decent people will avoid any forum that encourages spitefulness, envy, hatred and negativity.

6th September 2011
David website: http://circleofthesilvercord.net/