A Lawyer Presents the Case for the Afterlife


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10. Materialization Mediumship

“The ultimate in personal experiences came when my wife Irene, who passed four years ago, manifested to me on no less than four occasions with individual mannerisms and characteristics so familiar to me. With her final visit she brought a single red rose and kissed me. Well, what can one say in the light of such happenings, except that it was not only very moving but the most wonderful experience of my life.”
Allan Crossley, Psychic Investigator.

While I wasn’t able to speak personally with Allan before he died about his experience described above
I have been able to interview at length three other very credible witnesses to the Rita Goold séances held in Leicester, England, in 1982.

Michael Roll’s account is on the Internet at
and the online interviews with Pat Jeffrey and Gwen Byrne are available at together with extracts from a book that Gwen wrote about her experiences being re-united with her “dead” son Russell.

I have known all of them for a number of years and am convinced of the truthfulness of their accounts. I am mindful that in a court of law the testimony of four such witnesses of unblemished character with no motivation to lie would be sufficient to ensure the conviction of a person charged with murder.

But isn’t it all fraud?

Undoubtedly have been some fraudulent mediums who tried to make money by fooling the gullible, especailly when they are making a living from their mediumship and the phenomena are not flowing naturally.

However there is also abundant evidence from top scientists that physical mediumship is real, that direct voice mediumship is real, that ectoplasm is real and that materialization is real (See Chap. 7 on the Scole Experiments).

Professor Richet, winner of the Noble Prize for Physiology studied materialization and writes of the phenomona in his book Thirty Years of Psychical Research:

I shall not waste time in stating the absurdities, almost the impossibilities, from a psycho-physiological point of view, of this phenomenon. A living being, or living matter, formed under our eyes, which has its proper warmth, apparently a circulation of blood, and a physiological respiration which has also a kind of psychic personality having a will distinct from the will of the medium, in a word, a new human being! This is surely the climax of marvels. Nevertheless, it is a fact.

The archives of the (British) Society for Psychical Research and the American Society for Psychical research contain numerous accounts of materialization mediums who were investigated for years by some of the top scientists and professors of the day—people like Sir William Crookes, the greatest chemist of the nineteenth century, Professor W.J. Crawford and Dr Gustave Geley.

Weight loss

Professor W.J. Crawford was a lecturer in mechanical engineering at Queen's University Belfast who conducted long and meticulous studies of ectoplasm. He wrote three classic books: The Reality of Psychic Phenomena (1916), Experiments in Psychic Science (1919) and The Psychic Structures in the Goligher Circle (1921). He found that during materialization the weight of his medium dropped from 120 pounds to 66 pounds. Professor Crawford found that all of the physical manifestations of his mediums—lifting of tables, moving of objects etc. were achieved by the construction of ectoplasmic rods, struts and cantilevers. In his Psychic Structures he provides photographs of ectoplasm being used to lift tables. In his expert opinion as a professor of mechanical engineering: (Butler 1947: 78).

George Meek (1987) found that during materialization séance there is a temporary weight loss from both the medium and the sitters as a substance is withdrawn from their bodies. In his own experiments he found a weight loss of 27 pounds—about 10 kilos—shared among the medium and fifteen physicians, psychologists and others who made up the research team (Meek 1987:69).

Alexander Aksakof, the Russian psychic investigator, recorded testimonies of ten witnesses the partial dematerialisation of the body of medium Mme. d'Esperance’s body from the waist downwards and, with the testimonies of those present, published the full story in his A Case of Partial Dematerialisation (1896).


We are told that groups of scientists work in the afterlife work with physical mediums to create communication between the dimensions. They extract a mysterious substance from the body of the medium and from the sitters and the furniture and use it to make a mysterious substance called “ectoplasm”.

Ectoplasm can be manipulated into hardened rods and spirit can direct these rods to move large object like tables and chairs and levitate a person. It can also be moulded into an artificial voice box or stretched out into flat like a sheet of material with which spirits cover themselves in order to lower their vibrations and become solid.

The word ectoplasm from the Greek meaning literally “exteriorized substance” was coined by Professor Charles Richet, Professor of Physiology at the Sorbonne in Paris, a winner of the Nobel Prize and member of the prestigious Institute de France who investigated it for thirty years.

Richet's conclusion was:

There is ample proof that experimental materialization (ectoplasmic) should take definite rank as a scientific fact. Assuredly we do not understand it. It is very absurd, if a truth can be absurd (Richet 1927: 112).

In its primary stage he found that it is invisible and intangible but even then it can be photographed by infrared rays and weighed. In its secondary stage it becomes either vaporous or liquid or solid, with a smell somewhat akin to ozone. In its final stages, when it can be seen and felt, it has the appearance of muslin and feels like a mass of cobwebs. At other times it is moist and cold and, on rare occasions, dry and hard. Its temperature is usually about 40 degrees Fahrenheit (Butler 1947: 75) which accounts for the observation of drop of temperature around physical phenomena

Baron Von Schrenck-Notzing, a Munich physician, showed that ectoplasm is composed of leucocytes—white or colorless blood cells—and epithelial cells—those from the various protective tissues of the body. During materialization it is taken from the bodies of the medium and the sitters (Stemman, 1975:57).

Baron Schrenck Notzing in Phenomena of Materialization sums up hundreds of experiments conducted for a period of five years with Eva C.:

We have very often been able to establish that by an unknown process there comes from the body of the medium a material, at first semi-fluid, which possesses some of the properties of a living substance, notably that of the power of change, of movement and of the assumption of definite forms.

In Munich, with the Polish medium Stanislawa P., the Baron succeeded in making a cinematographic record of ectoplasm as it flowed out of the medium's mouth.

Skeptics claim that ectoplasm does not exist and photographs of it are all faked, usually by the medium rolling up cheesecloth in the mouth or anus prior to the séance and pulling it out and making it walk and talk and assume the shape of one’s dead relatives—a feat which I for one would love to see one single skeptic actually demonstrate, especially while tied hand and foot to their chair the way most materialization mediums are!!!

But why can’t they turn on the lights?

One of the key properties of ectoplasm is that some of its forms are extremely sensitive to light, so much so that even flashing a torch drives the substance back into the medium's body with the force of snapped elastic. Bruises, open wounds and hemorrhage may result.

Fodor (1932) lists the following examples of mediums being hurt by the sudden retreat of ectoplasm:

“Kluski received an open wound from a violent retreat of ectoplasm. Conan Doyle quotes the case of a medium who exhibited a bruise from the breast to the shoulder caused by the recoil of the band. Evan Powell, at the British College of Psychic Science, suffered a bad injury on the chest owing to an unintended violent movement of a sitter, touched by an ectoplasmic arm. Hemorrhage may also result from sudden exposure to light. Dennis Bradley speaks of an instance in which George Valiantine got a black bruise, measuring about two inches by three, on the stomach by the shock of returning ectoplasm when a powerful electric light was suddenly switched on in his garage which faced one of the windows of the seance room.”

Because of this sensitivity to light, most physical mediums have to work in the dark or in infrared light and those responsible for their safety have to use absolute care in selecting sitters who can be trusted to stay still and hold hands during materialization.

During a recent materialization experiment with David Thompson in Sydney Australia (07/08/06) I was present when one of the sitters, startled by the medium’s chair being levitated and dumped in the middle of the room at the end of the session, let out a sudden scream. When the lights came on the medium’s face showed a swelling near his eye and a number of small cuts that had not been there before the session. As he put it, a sudden noise creates an effect similar to glass shattering. On another occasion (11/8/06) the control, William, had to withdraw the ectoplasm quickly as a curtain over one of the windows was beginning to fall down. When David regained consciousness he knew what had happened by tenderness in his stomach area and he spent the next few hours nursing his stomach.

What evidence is there that all this is real?

A recent series of experiments which produced all of the above phenomena in abundance and was thoroughly investigated was the Scole Experiment. (See Chapter 8)

Senior scientists and investigators who participated in the Scole experiments included Professors David Fontana, Professor Arthur Ellison and Montague Keen. Of course, over the four years and five hundred sittings there were many others who attended as senior scientists and guests in the actual experiments: Dr Hans Schaer a lawyer, Dr Ernst Senkowski, Piers Eggett, Keith Mcquin Roberts, Dr Rupert Sheldrake, Professor Ivor Grattan-Guiness, all with scientific or other relevant background and a host of other highly credible witnesses who have had years of experience in dealing with the paranormal. In the United States sessions were also attended by a number of scientists. There were a number of senior scientists from the space agency NASA and others from the Institute of Noetic Sciences near San Francisco as well as representatives from Stanford University.

Some of the most famous materialization mediums of the last two centuries include Daniel Dunglas Home, who was investigated in a laboratory by Sir William Crookes, Franek Kluski, the Warsaw medium who was notable for materializing large numbers of animals and mediumship was verified by Dr Gustave Geley, who participated in Kluski's seances at the Paris Institut Metapsychique International and by Prof. F. W. Pawlowski.

When you read the sheer number of testimonies of credible witnesses of the phenomena of materialization you cannot help but be struck by the sincerity of the witnesses and the similarities in the phenomena. For example see the online accounts of the following materialization mediums:

Elizabeth S and May E Bangs (known as the Bang Sisters) of Chicago, Illinois,

Arnold Clare,

Florence Cook,

Margery Crandon,

Stella Cranshaw, better known as 'Stella C.',

Frank Decker,

Elizabeth Hope who worked under the pseudonym of Mme. d'Esperance,

The Eddy Brothers,

William Eglinton,

Helen Duncan (See Chap.11)

Alec Harris whose wife documented his mediumship in the book They Walked Among Us.

Minnie Harrison,

Cecil Husk,

Stainton Moses, an Anglican clergyman,

Eusapia Palladino,

Estelle Roberts,

Rudi and Willy Schneider,

Hunter Selkirk,

Jack Webber

Brazilian evidence

Evidence for materialization is substantive not only in England and the United States but in other countries, such as Brazil where materializations took place in daylight in the presence of hundreds of hard-core skeptics.

Carmine Mirabelli (1889-1950) produced fantastic physical phenomena witnessed by scientists from many parts of the world which up until to-day have not been rebutted, nor are they likely to be rebutted.

In 1927 there appeared in Brazil a book entitled O Medium Mirabelli containing a 74 page account of phenomena which occurred in broad daylight at times in the presence of up to sixty witnesses at the same time representing the leading scientific and social circles of Brazil. Among those who gave their names as witnesses were the President of Brazil, the Secretary of State, two professors of medicine, 72 doctors, 12 engineers, 36 lawyers, 89 men of public office, 25 military men, 52 bankers, 128 merchants and 22 dentists as well as members of religious orders ( Zeitschrift fuer Parapsychologie 1927 : 450-462).

The testimony of so many prominent credible witnesses cannot easily be overlooked and in Brazil a committee of twenty leading men, headed by the President, was set up to interview witnesses and to decide what should be done to scientifically investigate Mirabelli's powers. It was decided in 1927 to mount a series of controlled investigations by the newly established Academia de Estudos Psychicos using the same controls as European mediums had submitted to.

The investigators divided into three groups. One group dealt with dealing with spoken mediumship and had 189 positive sittings (sittings which produced positive results). A second group investigated automatic writing and had 85 positive sittings and 8 negative sittings (sittings which produced no results). A third group investigated physical phenomena and had 63 positive and 47 negative sittings. Of the positive sittings, 40 were held in daylight and 23 in bright artificial light with the medium tied up in a chair in rooms which were searched before and after (Inglis, 1984: 223).

Physical mediumship and materialization

At a well-attended seance in Sao Vicente the chair on which the entranced Mirabelli was sitting rose and floated in the air two meters above the floor. Witnesses timed its levitation for 120 seconds. On another occasion Mirabelli was at the da Luz railroad station with several companions when he suddenly vanished. About fifteen minutes later a telephone call came from Sao Vicente, a town ninety kilometers away, stating that he had appeared there exactly two minutes after he had disappeared from da Luz.

At a seance conducted in the morning in full daylight in the laboratory of the investigating committee in front of many people of note including ten men holding the degree of Doctor of Science:

• The form of a little girl materialized beside the medium.
• Dr Ganymede de Souza who was present confirmed that the child was his daughter who had died a few months before and that she was wearing the dress in which she had been buried.
• Another observer, Colonel Octavio Viana also took the child in his arms, felt her pulse and asked her several questions which she answered with understanding.
• Photographs of the apparition were taken and appended to the investigating committee's report.
• After this the child floated around in the air and disappeared, after having been visible in daylight for thirty six minutes.
• The form of Bishop Jose de Camargo Barros who had recently lost his life in a shipwreck appeared in full insignia of office.
• He conversed with those present and allowed them to examine his heart, gums, abdomen and fingers before disappearing.
At another seance conducted at Santos at half past three in the afternoon before sixty witnesses who attested their signatures to the report of what had happened:
• The deceased Dr Bezerra de Meneses, an eminent hospital physician, materialized.
• He spoke to all of the assembled witnesses to assure them that it was himself.
• His voice carried all over the room by megaphone.
• Several photographs were taken of him.
• For fifteen minutes two doctors who had known him examined him and announced that he was an anatomically normal human being.
• He shook hands with the spectators.
• Finally he rose into the air and began to dematerialize, with his feet vanishing first followed by his legs and abdomen, chest arms and last of all head.
• After the apparition had dematerialized Mirabelli was found to be still tied securely to his chair and seals were intact on all the doors and windows.
• The photographs accompanying the report show Mirabelli and the apparition on the same photographic plate.
At another seance under controlled conditions Mirabelli himself dematerialized to be found later in another room. Yet the seals put upon his bonds were intact as were the seals on the doors and windows of the seance room (Inglis 1984: 226).

Is the fact that there are so few physical mediums today evidence of fraud?

Skeptics argue that the disappearance of physical mediumship in the West at a time when the potential for electronic investigation intensified is prima facie evidence that the phenomena was always essentially fraudulent.

But it can be argued that the same development of electrical applicances which increased the ability to investigate materialization mediumship dramatically decreased the probability of it developing. We know that light, heat and electricity and closely related on the electromagnetic spectrum and that ectoplasm and physical mediumship is highly sensitive to electrical activity.

We also know that the ability to be a physical medium is very rare and is genetic—many of the famous physical mediums came from a long line of mediums and had siblings who shared their talent. But even if someone has the natural potential it needs to be developed by a group or “circle” of people who are prepared to meet regularly together and sit in the dark for, say, an hour and a half every week for a number of years.

Boddington (1992:10) claims it takes at least twenty years to develop a physical medium. Often nothing happens for two or three years. The Scole Group (see Chap. 8) sat for three years as did the Harrison home circle. Leslie Flint, the famous direct voice medium (See Chap. 15) sat with a group weekly for seven years before anything significant happened.

With the spread of electrical appliances and the development of radio, television and computers how many people are willing to show such patience today? In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century when people had fewer distractions from radio and television and computers and less interference from electrical fields, physical mediumship was well known.

The Noah’s Ark Society for Physical Mediumship which operated in England from 1990 to around 2000 was established to provide a safe haven for mediums and to promote the development of physical circles worldwide. In the United Kingdom there are three well-known physical mediums who demonstrate their gifts at public séances.

As well there a number of quietly run home circles in England, South Africa, Spain, Malta and other countries where hundreds of mediums and sitters are working patiently to develop physical mediumship. At the time of writing I am not aware of any physical mediums demonstrating publicly in the United States although David Thompson is planning a tour there in 2007.

On the Internet

More information can be obtained from the Arthur Findlay College

and online from Physical UK and

the Zerdin Fellowship,

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