The Book 4th Edition
“People who have not seen ought not speak on the
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
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
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
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
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:
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:
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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 http://veritas.arizona.edu/.
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