Different Areas of Evidence for the Afterlife


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Physical Mediumship

When spirit people use a medium to produce phenomena that can be seen, heard or felt by everyone present the medium is called a physical medium.

Different kinds of physical mediumship

The kinds of phenomena produced can include bangs and raps, moving objects with no apparent cause, levitating tables and other objects, causing objects to dematerialize and reappear elsewhere (apports) influencing scientific instruments without touching them, producing whispered voices and materialized hands and dozens of other "paranormal" effects.

The most developed and rare kind of physical mediumship is people in the spirit world use the energy of the medium to partially or fully materialize people and animals. Some of the best known kinds of physical mediums are
transfiguration mediums, direct voice mediums, materialization mediums and healing mediums which are outlined in the next chapters.

Known in every indigenous culture

Physical mediumship has been known throughout history; every indigenous culture seems to have had physical mediums- sometimes called shamans or Wu in China. The Bible is full of reports of reports of physical mediumship. In 1901, US ethnologist Waldemar Bogoras traveled to Siberia to visit a shaman of the Tchouktchi tribe. Bogoras heard strange voices filling the room.The voices seemed to come from all corners and spoke English and Russian. It was the first known case in which direct spirit voices were caught in a recording.

Investigated by scientists

From the middle of the nineteenth century physical mediumship became very popular in the United States and all over Europe and some of the best physical mediums of the day were investigated at length by the top scientists who concluded that the effects were real and there was no fraud going on.

Sir William Crookes, the leading scientist in England, did a great deal of psychic investigation with American medium Kate Fox, one of the Fox sisters whose mediumship had started the Spiritualist movement in the USA.

Crookes stated that he witnessed that Kate Fox was able to produce raps loud enough to be heard several rooms away simply by placing her hands on any substance. He also said that while he was holding both her hands in his left hand he had seen a luminous hand materialize, take a pencil from his right hand, write a message on a sheet of paper, throw the pencil down and then fade into darkness. (Inglis 1977 p.264)

He also conducted a number of experiments with physical medium Daniel Dunglas Home, who was able to produce effects in daylight. Dozens of highly credible witnesses independently gave testimony of Home's ability to levitate heavy pieces of furniture and levitate himself. Crookes showed in a laboratory situation that Home could affect the weight of a board resting on a balance scale merely by placing his fingers in a glass of water resting on the end of the board.

In another carefully constructed experiment an accordion (purchased by Crookes) played by itself when placed near to Home. In these experiments Home's hands and feet were restrained and the accordion placed inside a wire cage through which an electrical current was passed. Crookes and two of the other witnesses present stated that they distinctly saw the accordion 'floating about on the inside of the cage with no visible support' (Crookes 1874:14).

Similar results were reported by Professor Alexander von Boutlerow, professor of Chemistry of the University of St Petersberg who tested both Home and Kate Fox.

Home always claimed that his powers came from spirits- people who had died and continued to live in the afterlife. But Sir William Crookes was careful not to talk about "spirits" for fear of upsetting the scientific establishment. Instead he talked about a new force which he called "psychic".

Sir William's wife, Lady Crookes, was more willing to speak plainly about her observations. According to her she saw the accordion in the above experiment taken from Homes' hand by "a semitransparent distinctly human form" which sank into the floor after playing the accordion.

A video about Daniel Dunglas Home in Portuguese

The Dr Osti-Rudi Schneider physical mediumship experiments.

Crookes' experiments with physical mediums were duplicated in England and Europe, the United States, Canada, Brazil.

Dr Eugene Osty, head of the Metaphysic Institute in Paris, proved under laboratory conditions that a young medium, Rudi Schneider, was able to produce genuine physical phenomena without fraud. He set up a table with an infrared beam across it which would trigger a battery of cameras if anything crossed it. Even under these conditions the spirit control of Rudi Schneider was able to move objects on the table. As it did so a galvanometer began to register the 'pulsation' of the invisible intelligence. As Carrington states: "It was somewhat like taking the pulse of an invisible being standing before them in space!"
( Carrington 1973:54).

In France and Germany between 1909 and 1913 a series of carefully conducted experiments were carried out successfully by Baron von Schrenck-Notzing who independently confirmed Crookes' psychic findings.

Nobel Laureate Professor Charles Richet, a Professor of Physiology at the Sorbonne, confirmed the existence of ectoplasm and inevitably validated Crookes psychic claims.

Professor W.J. Crawford from the University of Belfast conducted long and meticulous studies of ectoplasm and materialization with the Goligher Circle and published three books about it all substantiating Crookes' claims.

Empiricist Gambier Bolton (author of Ghosts in Solid Form) conducted more than a hundred test materializations with Florence Cook and other five other sensitives during a period of seven years which were all documented in detail consistently confirming Crookes' experiments.

Dr Geley and Prof Richet conducted experiments in physical mediumship in France. During one meeting some 150 people including scientists, witnessed materialization (Fodor 1960:131).

Energy-based physical mediumship

Since about 1950 and increasingly since 1990 a number of circles have been developing mediumship which is based on the group energy either on its own or with ectoplasm. The Scole group worked with this energy and the Felix Experimental Group in Germany claims to be working with a combination of energy and ectoplasm.

Minds of the living or minds of the dead?

We do know that the minds of living people can influence movement of objects. In the video below Russian psychic Ninel Kulagina demonstrates.

A number of experiments have been conducted into this ability called psychokinesis (pk) or telekinesis. It is ability of the mind to influence matter, time, space, or energy without the use of any currently known type of physical means. It refers to a wide variety of abilities including the movement of objects, softening of metal (spoon bending), levitation, influencing a random number generator and much more.

However these effects are usually limited to small motor movements. There has never been an experiment anywhere in the world where psychokinesis has been used to create voices, materialized hands, ectoplasm or objective apparitions seen by more than one person.

Group psychokinetic effects

Experiments have shown that when a group of people establish a close and harmonious link they may be able to generate group psychokinesis. In 1974 a group of Canadian researchers made up a story about a ghost named Phillip and for several years sat around a table in a darkened room. Eventually they began to get intelligent raps and table movements which corresponded with the groups's expectations of Phillip. Watch video. This experiment has been replicated by other research groups.

However it must be pointed out that at no time did the Phillip group or any other group working with psychic energy get voices or apparitions or materializations of hands. Nor did they get information unknown to the group that later proved to be true. And, there is no way of proving that the effects in the Phillip group were not aided by low level spirits who decided to have some fun and play along with the game.

These effects are completely different from working with an established physical circle where there are circle guides who maintain distinctive voice and personality even when the medium is unconscious and none of the regular sitters are present.

However it is certainly a warning to groups attempting to develop physical mediumship to be discriminating and always look for evidence.

How do you become a physical medium?

True physical mediumship is very rare. Probably only one in a million people have the potential to develop it. Their bodies have an extremely rare ability to produce a large amount of ectoplasm, a substance made of bodily fluids produced by the pancreas or other energies which can by used by colleagues in spirit.

It is strongly genetic- usually a physical medium will had a parent or grandparent who had the gift, and often there will be two or more siblings in the family who have it. Many physical mediums report having great difficulties in childhood because they generated so much energy around them:
* Daniel Dunglas Home was thrown out of his home by his aunt at age 17 when furniture started moving on its own near him.
* Florence Cook at age 15 was sacked from her position as an assistant school teacher because in her presence books and pencils flew around, chairs kept following her and tables were moving on their own.
* Brazilian medium Mirabelli was sacked from his job as a shoe salesman at age 23 because the shoes kept jumping off the racks
* Matthew Manning from the age of 11 was at the center of poltergeist activity- various items were moved or disappeared, there were loud knocking and creaking sounds and objects flew violently around the house and signatures of dead writers appeared on his bedroom wall.

But even if someone has the natural potential to be a physical medium it needs to be developed by a group or “circle” of people who are prepared to meet regularly together and sit in the dark for, say, an hour and a half every week for a number of years. The medium needs to be able to develop the ability to go into deep trance and allow the spirit team to work with their energy, something that takes a great deal of trust. Boddington (1992:10) claims it takes at least twenty years to develop a physical medium. Often nothing happens for two or three years. The Scole Group (see Chap. 8) sat for three years as did the Harrison home circle. Leslie Flint, the famous direct voice medium (See Chap. 15) sat with a group weekly for seven years before anything significant happened.

Is the fact that there are so few physical mediums today evidence of fraud?

It can be argued that the development of electrical appliances decreased physical mediumship. We know that light, heat and electricity and closely related on the electromagnetic spectrum and that ectoplasm and physical mediumship is highly sensitive to electrical activity. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century when people had fewer distractions from radio and television and computers and less interference from electrical fields, physical mediumship was well known. With the spread of electrical appliances and the development of radio, television and computers life has changed from the times when people would spend their evenings sitting around a fire in the dark in a group. People today do not have the time or the patience to do this and those interested often live long distances from each other.

On the Internet

Modern Spiritualism founded on physical mediumship.


What is Spiritualism? Medium Carole Lynne explains.

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