Different Areas of Evidence for the Afterlife

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A Lawyer Presents the Case for the Afterlife

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Book and newspaper tests and proxy sittings.

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.

Book Tests

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 the message.

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%

Newspaper Tests

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 results.

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.

Proxy Sittings

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
Chapter 5 Proxy Sittings
Chapter 6 The Books Tests

Rev Charles Drayton Thomas Life Beyond Death with Evidence.

Michael Tymn "The book tests: Overcoming Telepathy."


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