A Lawyer Presents the Case for the Afterlife


The Book 4th Edition

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14. The most investigated medium ever.

“I shall not commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as a fraud.”
C. G. Jung

One of the most spectacular and outstanding mental mediums who ever lived was the American Mrs. Leonore Piper from Boston. No one, not even the most hardcore closed-minded skeptic, after investigating her mediumship for a period of almost thirty years ever suggested fraud.

Professor William James, Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, personally organized séances for her for a year and a half. Then Professor Richard Hodgson, Professor of Law, the greatest and most notorious debunker in the world took over. And finally Professor James Hyslop, Professor of Logic and Ethics from Columbia University took control of the investigations.

Together they brought hundreds of sitters to her under false names, they hired detectives to follow her and intercepted her mail. She was taken to England where she knew no one and arranged for her to stay with members of the British Society of Psychical Research where she could be constantly monitored.

She would go into a trance, then a control—an intelligence from the afterlife by the name of Dr Phinuit—would take over and start to give a great deal of accurate information and messages from those who had passed on.

Just one example from the many thousands of examples over many decades where Mrs. Piper was deadly accurate in her mental mediumship was when the Rev. and Mrs.. S.W. Sutton participated in a séance in 1893. The Suttons, according to Richard Hodgson's report, were highly intelligent people. They participated in a séance with Mrs.. Piper to see if they could contact their little girl who had recently died. Hodgson supplied a stenographer so that what was stated through Mrs.. Piper about the Suttons' little girl is now held in the archives of the Society for Psychical Research (see Proceedings 1898: 284-582).

Mrs. Piper was able to establish contact between the Suttons and their very much-loved little girl from the afterlife. The information left no doubt whatsoever that the little girl was actually communicating from the afterlife with her mother and father still living on the earthplane.

She confirmed that she used to bite buttons. She identified her Uncle Frank and a friend who had died with a tumor and made reference to her brother by his pet name. She made reference to her sore throat and paralyzed tongue and that her head used to get hot before her death. She referred to Dinah her doll, to her sister Maggie, and to her little toy horse. She also sang two songs, the same songs she had sung immediately before she died. The Suttons had no doubt that they had made contact with their little girl and were especially happy when she reassured them: 'I am happy... cry for me no more'.

One very important skill Mrs.. Piper was to develop was the ability to have two intelligences communicating through her at the same time. An investigator from the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) Richard Hodgson, stated in one of his reports to the SPR that he witnessed an intelligence from the afterlife communicating through Mrs.. Piper to a sitter while Mrs.. Piper was unconscious and at the same time her hand was writing a totally different message about a different subject to Hodgson himself.

Skeptics converted

Initially, there had been a great deal of criticism and skepticism about Mrs. Piper's mediumship. But when the information and the messages from the afterlife were so consistently accurate over so many years, eventually even the second most skeptical member of the SPR, Richard Hodgson, formally conceded that Mrs. Piper's mediumship was genuine and he acknowledged that the information was coming from intelligences in the afterlife.

Richard Hodgson had been expected by the SPR leadership to discredit Mrs.. Piper as he had tried to discredit all established mediums, including Madam Blavatsky and Eusapia Palladino. He had been especially chosen by the SPR and sent to investigate Mrs.. Piper's mediumship in its very early stages. Before he went to investigate Mrs.. Piper he stated that he was going to show how she was able to use tricks so successfully, or in his own words, how Mrs.. Piper obtained information, 'previously by ordinary means, such as inquiries by confederates'.

Fully investigated

Hodgson was determined to expose Mrs. Piper. He engaged private investigators to follow her, to report on whom she met outside her home, to intercept her mail, to invite negative 'dummy' sitters unknown to anyone to her sittings and to do everything possible to prove that Mrs.. Piper was not a genuine medium.

Despite all the opposition and all the obstruction and controls, the incredibly accurate information kept pouring through Mrs. Piper. Then Hodgson started to argue that her control, Dr Phinuit, was a 'split-off ' portion of Mrs. Piper's mind. It was argued that since Dr Phinuit could not identify who he was when he lived in this dimension, he could not be real. Or that because he could not answer certain questions on philosophy then he really did not exist. Or that telepathy explained all. The imputation of these arguments of course is to completely deny the existence of the afterlife.

Hodgson’s limitations

Clearly, Hodgson's objections were not technically valid. Writers on psychic phenomena, even contemporary writers, have been too enthusiastic to write favorably about what Hodgson claimed about mediums. But these writers repeatedly:

• failed to show that he was under a great deal of pressure from the leadership of the SPR to find against mediums

• failed to show that Hodgson's presumption of fraud was a deliberately uncontrolled extraneous negative and intervening variable

• failed to show that the onus shifted onto Hodgson to technically rebut the evidence produced by Mrs.. Piper about the afterlife

• failed to criticize Hodgson for not using science to reject the afterlife

• failed to show that he was not sensitive to nor did he have the essential psychic knowledge to properly administer validity and reliability tests.

In his initial objections, Hodgson himself failed to show that:

• his claim about telepathy was a valid claim

• Mrs. Piper had the competence to read other people's minds

• Mrs. Piper could read minds while unconscious at a séance

• Mrs. Piper's telepathy extended to those who were hundreds of miles away from the séance while she was unconscious

• the accurate information was not coming from intelligences from the afterlife

• the information was being transmitted directly from a split mind.

There is no escaping the issue of who had the technical burden of proof. The onus clearly was on Hodgson to prove that his objections were valid. But he did not prove anything. He just said words to the effect:

'... I can't prove anything at all ... I can't prove fraud, I can't prove cheating, I can't prove trickery against Mrs. Piper but trust me; don’t believe anybody else except me; just believe me because only I have the truth about these things but no one else has’.

That kind of personal, intentionally prejudicial, unsubstantiated dogmatic claim was not the professional way to present rebuttals then, nor is it today.

We know that subsequently Hodgson was to swallow his objections, his rejections, his arrogance, his intransigence against the acceptance of
Psychic phenomena and to reluctantly confess that spirit communication was the only explanation for the consistently accurate information he and others received.

It was really most absurd for these SPR investigators, after continuously receiving brilliant and deadly accurate information about hundreds of different things, to claim that it was not possible for an afterlife intelligence to be guiding Mrs. Piper.

The situation arose that a great number of people accepted Mrs. Piper's afterlife evidence because they received accurate information but the closed-minded skeptical leadership of the SPR didn't. Their strategy was that if they could discredit and destroy Mrs. Piper's control Phinuit, they would destroy any notion that anyone from the afterlife was involved at all.

It must be telepathy!

When the closed-minded skeptics failed to discredit Mrs.. Piper, their new attack was that Mrs. Piper, while in trance—that is, while she was totally unconscious?was reading the minds of those who were at the séance and the minds of others who were hundreds of miles away from where the séance was taking place! There is something most bizarre when the leading skeptics of the Society for Psychical Research (like Hodgson initially, and Frank Podmore) who had never accepted telepathy, turned around and claimed 'it must be telepathy!' when the evidence Mrs. Piper was providing for the afterlife was objective, scientific, foolproof and absolute.

The facts about Mrs. Piper are not in dispute. Different authors acknowledge that Dr Phinuit was her first control. But then one of Hodgson's own friends, George Pellew died suddenly and he took over from Dr Phinuit, manifesting through Mrs. Piper when she was in trance. Hodgson was now in a unique position to ask his dead friend thousands of questions about their relationship. Over the years Mrs. Piper—or more correctly George Pellew speaking through her—answered his thousands of questions correctly.

An incredible test

Over several months Hodgson introduced over 150 sitters at séances to the entranced Mrs. Piper. Thirty of these had known George Pellew while he was alive--the others had never met him. George Pellew was able to correctly identify all of the sitters whom he had known. Most of them sat and talked and reminisced with George Pellew, speaking through Mrs. Piper, as if he himself was there in the flesh. His only mistake was to fail to identify a person whom he had not met since the person was a very small girl!

These meetings were so absolutely impressive that Richard Hodgson wrote his report explaining in detail why he was wrong in his earlier reports and that now he had irretrievably accepted the existence of the afterlife. He claimed that he had communicated with intelligences from the afterlife and he couldn't wait to get there himself!

Hodgson admits Mrs. Piper's mediumship genuine

Richard Hodgson's hard-core skepticism had led him to committing some of the most horrific blunders in psychic history. But they came to an end with Mrs. Piper. He verified the existence of the afterlife saying: the present time I cannot profess to have any doubt but that the chief 'communicators' to whom I have referred in the foregoing pages, are veritably the personalities that they claim to be, that they have survived the change we call death, and that they have directly communicated with us whom we call living, through Mrs. Piper's entranced organism (SPR Proceedings Vol 13, 1898, H 10).

This was quite amazing. Here was someone whose earlier immaturity, relative incompetence and inexperience had helped to destroy the credibility of two international mediums whom he did not take the time to fully investigate. When he did investigate Mrs. Piper he accepted the afterlife because the consistently accurate evidence over the years just would not go away. Hodgson was defeated by a mental medium and he knew it.

Mrs. Piper, the brilliant gifted American medium repeatedly won other battles against closed-minded, many times dishonest negative skeptics. History records this most exciting victory of genuine, psychic mediumship communicating with intelligences from the afterlife.

Giants of science humbled

Some of the most eminent scientists and scholars after scientifically investigating Mrs. Piper's mediumship unanimously agreed in absolute, unqualified terms that Mrs. Piper, had proved the existence of the afterlife. According to Nobel Prize winner Professor Richet's authoritative book about psychic phenomena, Our Sixth Sense (1927):

Frederick Myers, one of the most distinguished members of the Society for Psychical Research stated:

Messages were given to me and certain circumstances indicated with which it was impossible that Mrs. Piper should be acquainted (Richet 1927: 128).

Sir Oliver Lodge, one of the most distinguished scientists this world has ever seen, stated:

I have assured myself that much of the information supplied by Mrs. Piper during trance has not been acquired by ordinary every day methods and precludes the use of the normal sense channels (Richet 1927: 128).

Professor William James from the United States, initially a hardcore skeptic and one of the most inspirational and intellectual giants of his time, admitted:

I am absolutely certain that Mrs. Piper, in a state of trance, knows things of which it is impossible that she should have had any knowledge in the waking state (Richet 1927: 128).

Professor Hyslop, Professor of Logic and Ethics from Columbia University in the United States, a most obdurate closed-minded skeptic who for many years disseminated much anti-psychic propaganda, eventually conceded to the genuineness of Mrs. Piper's mediumship. He founded the American Society for Psychical Research and wrote seven books on the evidence for survival Science and a Future Life (1906); Borderland of Psychical Research (1906); Enigmas of Psychical Research (1906); Psychical Research and the Resurrection (1908); Psychical Research and Survival (1913); Life After Death (1918) and Contact with the Other World (1919).

In Life After Death (1918) he famously wrote:

I regard the existence of discarnate spirits as scientifically proved and I no longer refer to the sceptic as having any right to speak on the subject. Any man who does not accept the existence of discarnate spirits and the proof of it is either ignorant or a moral coward. I give him short shrift, and do not propose any longer to argue with him on the supposition that he knows anything about the subject.


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