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Book and newspaper tests and proxy
Whereas psychics can tune into the minds of the sitters
and tell them things they have been thinking about and planning
to do, a true medium is also able to reach above the mind
of the sitters and make contact with the spirit world. To
prove that the information is sometimes not coming from
the mind of the sitter the medium would need to bring through
information that the sitters had no knowledge of.
Many spirit communicators have
demonstrated supernormal knowledge by telling sitters the
essence of the text on a particular page of a particular
book in an obscure place.
In the 1850's Professor James J.
Mapes, a professor of chemistry and natural philosophy at
the National Academy of Design in New York was concerned
when his daughter claimed to have become an automatic writing
medium. He wanted to test the claim of a spirit writing
through her who claimed to be his father. The spirit writer
answered his demand for proof of his identity by saying
“You may recollect that I gave you,
among other books, an encyclopedia; look at page 120 of
that book, and you will find my name written there, which
you have seen.” Mapes had not seen the book for
27 years as it had been stored in a warehouse. He retrieved
it and found his father’s name written on page 120.
In 1917 a father in the spirit world began
to cooperate with his living son in a series of 348 psychic
experiments to provide knowledge from the spirit world that
was not in any earthly mind. This was done through the mediumship
of Mrs Gladys Osborne Leonard.
The father was the Rev. John Thomas, a Christian
minister who died in 1903. The son was also a Christian
minister, the Rev. Charles Drayton Thomas, a member of the
Society for Psychical Research (SPR) who had been taking
part in many mediumship sittings with Mrs Gladys Osborne
Leonard, the renowned British medium.
The father agreed to tell the son what word
could be found on a particular page in a particular book
in the son's library or in the library of his friend.
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. Mr John Thomas explained the
failures as his inability to get the idea through the mind
of the medium or the medium’s mind somehow distorting
According to an analysis of the results conducted by Mrs
Sidgwick there were 532 separate books tests given involving
34 sitters. Of these 92 were clearly successful; 100 approximately
successful; 204 complete failures; 40 nearly complete failures;
96 dubious. Taking the first two classes together we may
say that about 36%, of the attempts were approximately successful.
A control experiment was carried out by the Society for
Psychical research in which a number of people turned to
stated locations in given books in an attempt to find certain
messages which might apply to them personally. Out of 1800
separate book items the percentage of complete and partial
successes was 4.7%
Another test devised by Rev John Thomas (the
father in the spirit world) was to provide information that
would appear in newspapers that had yet been printed.
In a test on January 16, 1920, the son 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 1.25 by 1.5 inches.
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.
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
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.
The Reverend Charles Drayton Thomas used to go to sit with
a medium knowing only the name of the deceased and the name
of the person who desired communication. He would then record
everything that was told to him and check it with the person
on whose behalf he was seeking the information.
In one instance in 1936-37 Thomas went to
four sittings on behalf of a person he did not know whose
name was Emma Lewis. Through the medium, Mrs Leonard, he
was able to gain seventy pieces of information which Emma
said definitely came from her Frederick William Macaulay.
Professor Dodds, the rationalist President
of the Society for Psychical Research from 1961-63, supervised
a series of proxy sitting tests with the medium Nea Walker
and was much impressed. He concluded:
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).
On the Internet
Susy Smith, The Mediumship of Mrs Leonard
5 Proxy Sittings
6 The Books Tests
Rev Charles Drayton Thomas Life
Beyond Death with Evidence.
Michael Tymn "The
book tests: Overcoming Telepathy."
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