A Lawyer Presents the Case for the Afterlife


The Book 4th Edition

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13. Scientific observation of mediums

“People who have not seen ought not speak on the matter.”
Professor Charles Richet

A medium is a gifted person who communicates with beings from the afterlife and other dimensions. Closed-minded skeptics have generally tried to downplay the achievements of mediums, suggesting that they are all either outright frauds and cheats preying on the gullible or mentally deluded. Whilst there are undoubtedly some who call themselves 'mediums' who are honest but less skilled, and some who cheat and lie for commercial purposes, there are also genuine mediums whose results have shocked the world with astonishingly accurate information.

The general impression that materialist critics try to give the public is that all mediums work with vague suggestions, guesswork and astute observation of the client called “cold reading” or by 'mass hypnosis' of the audience.

However when one investigates the literature, using the same tests of credibility that historians use to ascertain whether certain events really happened, there is a staggering body of evidence which shows that there have been genuine mediums past and present who have amassed an amazing amount of objective evidence of the survival of the individual personality.

Many types of mediums

Mediumship covers many different types of psychic phenomena. The most common nowdays is mental mediumship where the medium communicates through inner vision or knowing, clairaudience, automatic writing and automatic speech. Trance mediumship occurs when the medium becomes unconscious and a completely different entity takes over the medium's body temporarily.

There is also physical mediumship which is characterized by rapping, levitation and movement of objects as in the Scole Experiment (see Chap.8)
Some rare physical mediums are able to produce independent direct voice where the voices of departed loved ones speak to the audience independently of the medium’s vocal cords. Rarer still nowadays are materialization mediums in whose presence objects and human and animal spirits actually appear. In transfiguration mediumship ectoplasm is laid over the medium's face and other faces appear or other parts of the medium's body appear to change to resemble the communicator.

The Church of England finds mediumship genuine

John G. Fuller, a respected journalist who investigated the evidence on mediumship, points out the problem created by its sheer volume:

On examination, it is so persuasive that it points to a rational conclusion that life is continuous, and that articulate communication is possible. One problem is that the evidence is piled so high that it is boring and tedious to go through it. Like the study of mathematics and chemistry it requires painstaking labour to assess it (Fuller 1987: 67-68).

He points out that it took a committee of the Church of England two years to assess the great volume of the evidence on mediumship. The Committee was specially appointed in 1937 by Archbishop Lang and Archbishop Temple to investigate Spiritualism. Its investigations included sitting with some of the leading mediums in England. At the end of that time, however, seven of the ten members of the Committee—against enormous pressure—came to the conclusion that:

the hypothesis that they (spirit communications) proceed in some cases from discarnate spirits is the true one (Psychic Press 1979).

This report was considered so dangerous by Church conservatives that it was stamped 'Private and Confidential' and locked away in Lambeth Palace for 40 years before it was leaked to the media in 1979.

Gifted mediums rare

It is extremely rare indeed to come across a very highly gifted psychic medium. George Meek, the American psychic researcher, spent 16 years traveling to different countries—from 1971 to 1987—trying to find the most gifted mediums in the world. He says that in all that time he found only six superb mediums, none of whom ever advertised their psychic abilities or charged money for their services (Meek 1987: 81-82).

We are told from the afterlife that the motives of a medium are very important to the maintenance and the quality of their mediumship—thus ego and desire to achieve status can actually lead to a reduction of the medium's powers and to the medium coming into contact with less developed spiritual beings.

Spiritual service

One medium who exemplified the ideal of mediumship as spiritual service was Chico Xavier of Brazil. Although poorly educated and almost blind he was the author of more than 126 spirit-dictated best selling books on a variety of highly specialized and technical subjects. However he renounced the wealth and influence that he was offered and dedicated his life and his mediumship to proving survival and to providing food, clothing and medical assistance for the poor. He was considered by many to be a radical Christian saint—a 'one man welfare system'—a man of 'almost pathological modesty and humility' (Playfair 1975:27).

The literature of Spiritualism is full of self-published diaries and books attesting to wonderful events that have taken place and are continuing to take place through the work of dedicated mediums.

Famous sitters

Many famous and hard-headed people have sat regularly with mediums for years and have published personal testimonies to what they have experienced first hand. One notable one was Many Mansions, first published in November 1943 by Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding who led the British airforce in the Battle of Britain.

Another was one of the finest minds of his age, Sir Oliver Lodge was made a professor of physics at 30. He was knighted and made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1902. Lodge's original work in physics includes investigations of lightning, the voltaic cell and electrolysis, and electromagnetic waves. He also studied the nature of the ether, a medium permeating all space, and of the ether drift, the supposed relative motion between the ether and any body within it.

Sir Oliver began studying mediums in 1883 and had sittings with Boston's famous medium, Mrs. Lenore Piper, when the medium was tested in England by the Society for Psychical Research. He received many evidential messages from deceased loved ones that soon convinced him that the "dead" still live. His findings were published in 1890. Later, his deceased close friends and associates Frederick Myers and Edmund Gurney communicated incredibly detailed evidence through Mrs. Piper

However what convinced Sir Oliver totally was a series of remarkable communications through different mediums from his son, Raymond, who was killed in the First World War on September 14th, 1915.

On November 25th, 1915 a complete stranger to the family wrote a letter saying that she had a photograph of Raymond with the officers of the South Lancashire Regiment taken just before he died. She offered to send it to the Lodges and they graciously accepted the offer.

On December 3rd, 1915, Raymond, communicating through Mrs. Leonard's mediumship, gave a complete description of this photograph that neither the medium nor the Lodges had yet seen. He described himself as sitting on the ground, with a fellow officer placing his hand on Raymond's shoulder.

On December 7, 1915, the photograph arrived and corresponded with the description given by Raymond through the medium four days earlier, in every detail. Many other messages came forward from Raymond, all of which were very evidential to Sir Oliver and Lady Lodge. All of this first hand testimony by an astute scientist was published in Sir Oliver Lodge’s 1916 book Raymond or Life After Death.

It was well known that Abraham Lincoln attended séances in the White House during the American Civil War and was lectured by a spirit being through an entranced medium on the necessity of freeing the slaves (Maynard 1917 and Stemman 1975: 22-25).

Queen Victoria, although nominally the head of the Church of England, for years communicated with her deceased husband Albert through John Brown, a trance medium, whom she had installed in her castle. She brought all her children up as spiritualists. The recent Queen Mother often used the services of the medium Lillian Bailey to communicate with her late husband, King George VI. (Neech 1957).

Sir Winston Churchill was a close friend of the trance medium Bertha Harris during World War II. Bertha Harris had many Sunday evening visits to Number 10 Downing Street during the war and predicted Pearl Harbor six months in advance of the attack (Meek 1973:140).

General Charles De Gaulle also consulted her regularly while he was in England during WWII after being introduced to her by Churchill (Meek 1973:140). Churchill was appalled when materialization medium Helen Duncan was imprisoned. (See

Séances in the Vatican

According to Arthur Findlay, séances have been held in the Vatican. In Looking Back (1955) he recounts how in Rome in 1934 he addressed a large audience that included several high dignitaries of the Church. After the meeting he claims he was told by a cardinal that séances were held in the Vatican but that Pope Pius XI was a bad sitter and much better results were obtained when he was not present (Findlay 1955:350).

A handful of mediums have co-operated with often-hostile psychic researchers to demonstrate their gifts. Sometimes this has been at great personal cost since mediums are, by definition, people of highly developed sensitivity.

As was mentioned above, the Church of England conducted a two-year study of mediumship in Britain in the 1930s. Its officials sat with some of the best mediums available and concluded that there was abundant evidence that good spirits could be contacted through mediumship and true guidance received.

The Afterlife Experiements

Recently detailed investigations into the genuineness of mediumship have been carried out by Professor Gary Schwartz and colleagues at the University of Arizona who conducted a number of double blind research studies with some of the top mediums in the United States including (in order of working with them) Laurie Campbell, John Edward, Suzanne Northrop, George Anderson. Anne Gehmen, George Dalzell, Allison Dubois, Catherine Yunt, Mary Ann Morgan, Janet Mayer, Christopher Robinson, Traci Bray, Sally Own, Mary Occhino, Debbie Martin, Doreen Molloy, Sally Morgan, Robert Hansen and Angelina Diana.

He writes:

These mediums have been tested under experimental conditions that rule out the use of fraud and cold reading techniques commonly used by psychic entertainers and mental magicians.

Details of his experiments in the Veritas Program are available on his website


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