Saturday, September 22, 2007

From: (with comments)

The Psychic Mafia online

Vitor Moura points out to me that, contrary to what I assumed, The Psychic Mafia is online. It really shouldn't be; the fact that the book is out of print does not mean the copyright has lapsed. But since it's out there, I'm linking to it.

The heart of the book is Chapter 5, "Secrets of the Seance." (This link takes to you to end of Ch. 4; scroll down a few paragraphs for Ch.5.) But read the whole book for an eye-opening look at the cynicism and chicanery of far too many self-styled mediums. The bibliography is very good also.

The footnotes were added by the online version's anonymous typist. The typist is a James Randi fan and gung-ho superskeptic whose opinions are mostly irrelevant and sometimes irritating, but since these are not part of the original book, they can be easily ignored.

the unauthorized online version of The Psychic Mafia, the self-styled Anonymous Typist adds various footnotes stating his own (highly skeptical) opinions. When the book's introduction states that there are some genuine mediums, Anonymous Typist contributes this combative comment: Name ONE!

This got me thinking. Who are some mediums I would name as genuine? The following is a partial, by no means complete, list. I am listing "mental" mediums only. I'm also listing some of the work that impresses me about each of these women (and they are all women, for some reason).

There are others, of course. I tend to focus on those who have been the most thoroughly studied (Piper was studied continuously for twenty years!), or those who produced extraordinarily evidential material (Cummins, Garrett, the Verralls et al). None of these cases are recent; there has not been much sustained, high-quality investigation of mediums in the last few decades.

Some famous names didn't make the cut. Arthur Ford was found to have done research on his sitters. Edgar Cayce got many of his medical diagnoses uncannily right, but seems to have been way off base in his readings on history and archaeology. Emanuel Swedenborg was probably a genuine medium, but a case from the 18th century is a little too musty, even though it was well investigated at the time.

I think Pearl Curran ("Patience Worth") had genuine psi abilities, but since the earthly existence of Patience Worth was never established, it's hard to insist that she was a medium per se. Some of Jane Roberts' writings have the ring of truth to me, but again, there is no evidence for the earthly life of her principal communicator, Seth, and even Roberts herself was unsure who or what Seth was.

Any other names come to mind?


Here's a very bold statement out of body experiences are all in the mind and that it is just the imagination comes from new scientist

also brain connections cause rethink over human memory

What does everyone think about these two articles to me it looks more materialist propaganda

Marcel Cario.

At least he convinced me.

>Marcel Cairo.

I'm totally convinced of Marcel's sincerity, but I was thinking of mediums who've been tested or who have produced a lot of verifiable material that's on the record. Which is not to say that Marcel won't do so, in time.

I already mentioned him in a recent post but Daniel Douglas Home, not only for his mediumship but also his amazing feats of levitation, which have yet to be replicated by the naysayers.

Some interesting tidbits:

- had the most extensive repertoire exhibited by any medium

- never charged for his séances, and turned down attractive offers to perform in public

- gave only private séances

- could raise a table by merely touching it with his fingertips, and could tilt a table to 30 or 45 degrees without displacing objects on its surface

- demonstrated elongation of his body or parts of it dozens of times

- most famous phenomena was levitation where he would rise perpendicularly into the air and float horizontally over the heads of the sitters. There are at least 30 recorded instances

- in 1868 was witnessed by 3 individuals levitating out of a third-story window, and floating back into the building through another window.

What is important to note is that some of the most impressive accounts of his feats are from the private correspondence of witnesses to friends or family, in other words, they had no motive to exaggerate or lie about what they'd seen, unlike dodgy reporters trying to sell newspapers.

He is a perpetual thorn in the side of the skeptics because he's never been debunked, and although they will assure you he was a fraud they simply cannot reasonably explain just how that fraud took place. But trust them, it did.

Popular "explainations" include that he had a jack hidden inside his pants with which to levitate the tables or that he repeatedly and without fail managed to hypnotize entire groups of people into merely thinking that he was floating around the place when in reality he never left the ground.

I agree with Markus, but the problem with Home's mediumship is that few people, including Sir William Crookes, really documented the mental mediumship involved with Home. Frederic Myers, while applauding the courage of Crookes, felt that Crookes really missed out in paying too much attention to the the physical phenonmena and not recording the mental part.

William Stainton Moses, the man probably most responsible for the founding of the Society for Psychical Research, should be on the list; however, although his mediumship was observed by Myers, Gurney, Barrett, and other founders of the SPR, it is not well documented. He ranks right up there with Home on the physical mediumship side. His mental mediumship was, however, not so much circular (evidential) as it was spiraling mediumship (wisdom from advanced spirits). Emily French was probably a better medium than Piper, Leonard, et al, in that her mediumship offered equal amounts of circular and spiraling material. She was closely studied for many years by Edward Randall, a prominent Buffalo lawyer, and Dr. Isaac Funk, a prominent publisher. I quote them:

Randall: "Hundreds, yea thousands [of spirits], have come and talked with me, and to many whom I have invited to participate in the work – thousands of different voices with different tones, different thoughts, different personalities, no two alike; and at times in different languages."

Funk: "About 14 years ago I became acquainted with [Emily French]. I was sure her phenomena were the result of fraud and I determined to expose it. After many sittings and exacting experiments, I became convinced that they were genuine, and finally at the suggestion of the spirit intelligences, I had fitted up a séance room in my own house in which my wife, the medium, and myself held séances, and we have done this now for more than a dozen years. I have tested Mrs. French in every way I can think of, and am thoroughly convinced that the phenomena are what they claim to be."

Unfortunately, many seem to assume that the SPR had to be involved before the medium can be validated.

The "best" from an evidential standpoint of what has been documented by the SPR, is not necessarily the "best" in terms of offering words of wisdom. French's mediumship was both circular and spiraling. She was a direct-voice medium, as was Etta Wriedt.

Wriedt probably offered more evidential stuff than Piper, but it was not for the SPR.

As for spiraling mediumship, Mrs. Piper offered very little. Leonard occasionally produced the direct voice, but she was primarily a trance voice medium, offering mostly circular but a good amount of spiraling mediumship.

Just finished a book by ena twigg but not sure she was ever tested by researchers but she appeared to be one of the most popular mediums in England during her life.

One of my favorite mediums was George Wright but he kept to himself and only worked within his family and never tried to make one dime from his mediumship. His goal was in seeking knowledge not money or even a living from his mediumship. His work in our 51st state during World War II saved hundreds if not thousands of lives.

The spirit that came through George by automatic writing who refused to sign a name is the most profound teachings I have found to date. The book has an interesting conclusion that reinforces that the spiritual entity was not George’s consciousness, but I don’t want to give it away. The book’s title is the open door.

The Margery séances were very good and the only so called fraud exposed was one finger print found not to be her brother’s but that of the dentist that supplied the dental wax. She never charged a dime for her séances so money was not the motive. She did not even believe in mediumship until she went to a medium to convince her husband it was all fraud.

Why were there so many more and better mediums in those times? Home circles appeared to flush out people with mediumship abilities whereas today we sit and watch TV and are entertained and not activity involved in discovering potential mediums. I believe Florence cook discovered her mediumship abilities this way.

These are good recent mediums:

01-Hafsteinn Bjornsson.

Scientific works:

a)An experiment with the Icelandic medium Hafsteinn Björnsson (1974) J.A.S.P.R., 68, 192-202.

Researchers: Erlendur Haraldsson, Ian Stevenson

b) A communicator of the "drop in" type in Iceland: The case of Runolfur Runolfsson Journal A.S.P.R, Vol. 69, pp. 33-59

Researchers:Erlendur Haraldsson, Ian Stevenson

02- Irma Maggi: she was a very good argentinian medium.

Researchers: Professor Ferdinando Cazzamalli, Enrico Morselli, Professor Cayetano Boschi, Eugene Osty (!!!), S. de Santis

03- Chico Xavier : he was a brazilian medium. He write a lot of books, many which are explanable by cryptomnesia, but the messages he received from the dead has so many names, facts and relations that makes him a medium better than Piper (very difficult - I would say impossible - to explain it by cold or hot reading): There's is an online studied in english, it can be downloaded here:

There are a lot of others scientific works of his mediumship, but all in portuguese.

Can we include mediums that are alive today? For example some of those who have been tested by Garry Schwartz et al. at the University of Arizona, like Laurie Campbell. Maybe others like John Edward, George Anderson, Allison Dubois, etc.?

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