Myth of an Afterlife?
The Science-Religion Continuum

Indridi Indridason

At parapsychology events I sometimes come across Erlendur Haraldsson, the distinguished Icelandic psychology professor and psi investigator who, among many other topics, published a study of Satya Sai Baba (with Karlis Osis). I’m trying to get him to contribute an article for the Psi Encyclopedia on the Icelandic medium Indridi Indridason. I’m sure he will eventually, but in the meantime, here’s a look at his book on the subject that came out last year (co-written by Loftur Gissurarson).


Indridi indridason2Indridi was a farmer’s son with very basic education. Aged 21, he came to Reykjavik in 1904 to become a printer’s apprentice. He had no notion of becoming a medium, and got into it accidentally after being invited to take part in an experimental table-tipping circle that his sister had become interested in. Things really started rocking when he sat at the table, and from this time he sat frequently for sittings organised by the newly formed Experimental Society, in which a wide variety of strong effects were recorded. In 1909 he became ill, and he died three years later aged 28.

The phenomena were phenomenal, as one might say, rivalling the effects for which DD Home had been famous. Here’s a selection:

  • Raps, cracking sounds in the air; knocks responding to the sitters demands, some of them loud and heavy, and knocks heard on the body of the medium.
  • Gusts of wind, cold or hot, were common, strong enough to blow paper, sometimes far away from the medium.
  • Olfactory (odor) phenomena sometimes occurred: a sudden fragrant smell in the presence of the medium, sometimes other smells, such as seaweed. The odor would sometimes cling to a sitter after being touched by the medium.
  • Movements and levitations were frequent, of objects, small and large, light and heavy, and over short or long distances within a room or hall and sometimes quite high. Some of these objects moved as if thrown forcefully, at other times their trajectories were irregular. Sometimes objects were found to tremble. Curtains were pulled back and forth on request by the sitters.
  • Levitations of the medium. Many instances of levitation are reported, often with the medium holding onto another person. During violent poltergeist phenomena, the medium was dragged along the floor and thrown up into the air, so that his protectors had difficulty pushing him down.
  • Playing of musical instruments as if by invisible hands, and sometimes while they were levitating and moving around in mid-air.
  • Light phenomena. Fire-flashes or fire-balls, small and large fire-flashes on the walls. Luminous clouds as large as several feet across, sometimes described as a ‘pillar of light’ within which a human form appeared.
  • Materializations. The shadow or shape of materialized fingers were seen, or a hand or a foot, or a full human figure. Sitters touched materialized fingers, limbs or trunks that were felt as solid. Once a monster-like animal (mixture of a horse and a calf) was observed outside a séance.
  • Dematerialization of the medium’s arm. The medium’s shoulder and trunk was inspected through touch by several sitters, yet the arm was not detected.
  • Sense of being touched, pulled and punched by invisible hands, also of being kissed.
  • Sounds heard around the medium, laughter, footsteps, buzzing sounds, clatter of hoof beats and the rustling noise of clothes as if someone was moving.
  • Direct writing. Writing appeared on paper without human touch.


Unlike Home's, most of Indridi's sittings were held in darkness. The group tried red light a few times, but dropped it because it caused the phenomena to diminish. However, some violent poltergeist phenomena that occurred during the winter of 1907-8 took place in full light, as did some successful table tipping sessions.

Even Home did not produce some of the effects seen with Indridi, including direct voice – voices, that is, that were clearly independent of his own, coming from different parts of the room. Each had its own characteristics and manner of speech. Some spoke in foreign languages such as Norwegian and French. One frequent communicator, a French-speaking woman, often burst into song. Her identity was eventually revealed as Maria Malibran, a famous mezzo-soprano who sang leading roles in opera houses in Europe and America and died in 1836, and who no one in the circle had apparently heard of before.

More than one voice could be heard singing together, and not just in séances, but spontaneously outside:

Once in the middle of the day, as often occurred, Indridi was at my home. While he was there I played on the harmonium a melody by Chopin. Indridi sat to the left of the harmonium. I expected that Mrs. Malibran knew the melody that I was playing for I heard her humming it around Indridi. Then I saw him falling into trance… I heard many voices, both of men and women singing behind me, but especially to my right with Indridi being on my left. I did not distinguish individual words, but the voices I heard clearly, both higher and lower voices, and they all sang the melody that I was playing. This singing differed from ordinary singing as it sounded more like a sweet echo. It seemed to come from afar, but was at the same time close to me. No single voice was discernible except the voice of Malibran. I always heard her distinctly.
The group seems to be have been conscientious about establishing controls and writing up its results, but probably not to a standard that would carry much weight. What gives the claims about Indridi somewhat more authority is the energetic intervention by Gudmundur Hannesson, a highly regarded scientist who later became professor of medicine at the University of Iceland and founded the Icelandic Scientific Society. Gudmundur was known for integrity and impartiality, and also for a strong disbelief in the claims of mediums. To get to the bottom of the mystery he persuaded the group to let him carry out strictly controlled investigations, constantly increasing and varying them to try to catch Indridi out. His reports describe very detailed examinations of the séance room. Every item was scrutinised. The medium was stripped and his clothes examined. The doors were locked and sealed. He wrote: ‘Nothing seems too trivial to be suspected that it may in some way serve the purpose of the impostors. This is no joke, either. It is a life and death struggle for sound reason and one’s own conviction against the most execrable form of superstition and idiocy. No, certainly nothing must be allowed to escape.’

Gudmundur was especially interested in the movement of objects. He ordered from abroad some phosphorescent tape which glowed well in the dark (nothing like this was to be found in Iceland), and fixed it on some objects to enable him to track their movements in the dark. One was a zither, a rather bulky stringed instrument, which he saw move in an entirely unnatural way: at lightning speed or floating with varying speeds in different directions, in straight lines, curved lines, and sometimes spiral lines.

The investigations were interrupted by the medium’s illness, by which time, however, Gudmundur had seen enough. He was completely stumped.

Often I could see no conceivable possibility that anybody, inside or outside the house, was moving the things… the movements were often of such a nature that doing them fraudulently would have been exceedingly difficult, eg. taking a zither, swinging it in the air at enormous speed and at the same time playing a tune on it. This was, however, frequently done while I was holding the hands of both the medium and the watchman [controller], and there seemed no way for anybody to get inside the net.

What do we make of this? I should say, to begin with, that having once spent quite a long time reading up on physical mediumship – and getting horribly tangled up in the controversies – I no longer pay it much attention. I think the effects are real, having been described by enough credible people in circumstances of sufficient control to the point where they can’t be explained away as clever tricks. I’m also aware that those people who have directly witnessed these phenomena find them so totally convincing as to be baffled that anyone else could ever doubt it. Nevertheless, for those who haven’t, these sorts of psychokinetic claims defy belief, and it seems impossible to report them in a manner that lays scepticism completely to rest. It’s easy to get bogged down in claim and counter-claim. (James Randi’s confrontations with Uri Geller in the 1980s arguably helped kick-start the sceptics movement). So although I wrote about Eusapia Palladino in Randi’s Prize, I don’t think that now I’d waste time trying to convince anyone about her or any other physical medium.

That said, features of Indridi’s mediumship make it rather intriguing. One is the location. A thing about Iceland that’s easy to forget is that it’s very small. In 1905, when Indridi’s séance phenomena started, the entire population would have been not much more than 100,000, equivalent to a small city like Oxford or Cambridge. There was no tradition of spiritualism before Indridi. Neither Indridi nor anyone else would have had access to the kind of conjuring equipment needed to stage what would have been extremely complex tricks.

In addition is the fact that Indridi’s mediumship was so short, just five years. With other physical mediums the power of the effects seemed to fall off with time. You also find – often in the later years of the medium’s career – the involvement of a sceptic, who publishes a report on the basis of a cursory investigation (or pure conjecture) that becomes the received text for critics (Kathleen Goligher, Rudi Schneider and Ted Serios all come to mind). In Indridi’s case, the phenomena started strong and, far from falling off, were at their peak when he became ill and had to stop. And although the reports stirred up a great deal of controversy in Icelandic society – as is usual in such cases – by the time he died, of tuberculosis in 1912, no one with sufficient polemical skill had emerged to kill them off for posterity with some damning counter-evidence.

So we’re left with a virtually uncontaminated case that offers evidence of powerful phenomena, some of it witnessed under rigorously controlled conditions, and for which, as far as I know, there are no meaningful documented claims of fraud, or even plausible conjectures. Since Indridi was never on the radar of the sceptic community, there are no handy quotes that can be used to contaminate the Wikipedia article about him, of the ‘Ruth Brandon has written…’ variety. Of course, because most sittings were held in darkness – which sceptics treat as a kind of all-purpose ‘explanation’ – I don’t think Indridi Indridason’s story represents any kind of threat. But for anyone who’s interested in this kind of thing, it’s fascinating reading.

Erlendur Haraldsson & Loftur R. Gissurarson, Indridi Indridason: The Icelandic Physical Medium (Hove: White Crow Books, 2015)

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Another example; if I was judging the validity of atheism by this lady, I'd think they were all sexist, racist, homophobic, historically-ignorant, and obnoxiously patronising: http://das-sporking.livejournal.com/1295340.html
Good thing that has nothing to do with whether you believe in the supernatural or not!

"There is no such thing as past lives or life after death. Once you are dead you are dead. Get over it."

Leuders, it's not as simple as that.

"He was caught in fraud. I have a source that shows this, but it is not written in English. I am currently translating it."

How funny that you have not put the link, right?

"Curran was a fraud like all mediums."

And we'll believe you because you're a troll, right? Garrett, Indridason, and other mediums were never caught in fraud and plausibly they were genuine.

"All his cases have been debunked."

It is not true. I challenge you to proof it and not to assume that everything has been debunked, troll.

"And we'll believe you because you're a troll, right? Garrett, Indridason, and other mediums were never caught in fraud and plausibly they were genuine."

"In 1916 the psychical researcher James Hyslop wrote that the whole case for Curran's mediumship was based on fraud. Hyslop in the Journal for the American Society for Psychical Research claimed Curran had known people from the Ozarks who spoke a dialect reminiscent of Patience Worth and Curran's husband had studied Chaucer and educated her on the subject.[15] According to Hyslop the case of Patience Worth was "a fraud and delusion for any person who wishes to treat it seriously."

Conscious fraud.

Next?

Eileen J. Garrett and the R101 case:

"Melvin Harris a researcher who studied the original scripts from the case, wrote that no secret accomplice was needed as the information described in Garrett's séances were "either commonplace, easily absorbed bits and pieces, or plain gobbledegook. The so-called secret information just doesn't exist." Harris discovered that the original scripts of the séances did not contain any secret information and spiritualist writers such as Fuller had fabricated and misinterpreted content from these scripts. When experts and veteran pilots were shown the scripts they declared the information to be incorrect and technically empty."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eileen_J._Garrett

Unconscious fraud...

Next?

"I challenge you to proof it and not to assume that everything has been debunked, troll."

All alleged ''paranormal'' cases have been debunked. All you have to do is read the skeptical literature. But you have never read a skeptic book or gone out and bought one or looked up the skeptics who have debunked all such cases.

Oh my god, Thomas! You are so deficient in information about Pearl Curran and Patience Worth it is laughable. If you are sincere in your quest to be informed please see http://www.patienceworth.com/hyslop-patience-worth/ for information about Hyslop and Pearl Curran. I would be interested in your opinion after you read that. - AOD

Why don't we let Dr. James Hyslop speak for all of us here regarding Skeptics.

Hyslop said, "I regard the existence of discarnate spirits as scientifically proved, and I no longer refer to the skeptic 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.

Those are my sentiments, exactly. - AOD

Have you read much of Dean Radin's work; or that of Gary Schwartz; or Julie Beischel - and dozens of others brave enough to work at the cutting edge of this avenue of research?

No, of course you haven't. You've preferred to be spoon fed the ignorant and dull-minded rhetoric you quote above.

But the question is why do you do this? Why do you endlessly troll here where 99.9% of posters are highly intelligent, well informed people who are perfectly capable of thinking for themselves? This kind of behavour has absolutely nothing to do with 'protecting the public from woo-woo' (patronising and downright insulting as that approach undoubtedly is), No, it's about elbowing your presence into arenas where you are, like all mediocrities, blissfully unaware of the level of buffoonery that you and your ilk present. You are Morcambe and Wise in concert with Andre Previn: utterly cringeworthy stupidity, except without the humour and the wit.

Now, if you want to get to the 'facts' of the issues surrounding Psi then go and tune into Alex Tsakiris at Skeptiko; better still, ask for an interview with him. But, of course you won't do that, will you? You won't do that because he will 'sandbag' you with the truth - as if holding up the proverbial cross to the vampire. You lot really can't stand the light, can you?

In the past, I've taken issue with Alex's gladiatorial approach. But now I begin feel there's no other way to address you - either that or to ignore you completely. Certainly, reason has no effect. You don't even seem to mind being insulted (which you certainly deserve to be). It's as if you crave attention - any kind of attention - is exactly the same way that a pre-school infant might.

Robert is kind enough to allow your presence here - and he does so with gentlemanly reserve. Very different from the approach taken by the custodians of your various snake pits. Why he does so I really don't understand, because the only thing your presence achieves is to disrupt any attempt at worthwhile ongoing discussion. Or is that the game?

Why not go and fix up your train set elsewhere? My guess is that you won't, simply because you can't find anything worth chatting about among yourselves. Trolling is the only game in town for you people, isn't it.

My comment above was in response to 'Thomas'. I was casting what, I hope, will be my final pearl in that direction. These pseudes can't even recognise when they embarrass themselves. 'Tis all very sad and pitiable. :(

"Have you read much of Dean Radin's work; or that of Gary Schwartz"

Have you read the criticisms of their work? I thought not.

Gary Scwartz experiments debunked:

http://www.csicop.org/si/show/how_not_to_test_mediums_critiquing_the_afterlife_experiments

His experiments contained sloppy controls and were never replicated.

Dean Radin?

http://www.csicop.org/si/show/when_big_evidence_isnt_the_statistical_pitfalls_of_dean_radins_supernormal

"Radin relies upon meta-analyses and misrepresentations of published results to produce outlandish confidence numbers that work against the very belief he is trying to foster."

Debunked. I know you are anti-science but feel free to let us know when you have some science you can cite though.

Let's stay on track Amos. According to James Hyslop the case of Patience Worth was "a fraud and delusion for any person who wishes to treat it seriously."

Hyslop was not on your side on the Patience Worth case.

"Now, if you want to get to the 'facts' of the issues surrounding Psi then go and tune into Alex Tsakiris at Skeptiko; better still, ask for an interview with him."

All the people you list are anti-science. Alex Tsakiris was has been proven flat out wrong on psychics:

"Researcher Benjamin Radford who investigated what Tsakiris offered to him as the "best case for psychic detectives" (and which appears in the book as chapter 8) wrote an in-depth blog addressing the claims. The complex case, originally profiled on a 2006 episode of a TV show, involved a psychic named Nancy Weber who claimed that 30 years earlier she helped catch serial killer James Koedatich by giving police officers Jim Moore and Bill Hughes biographical details about the killer long before he was caught—details that Weber and Tsakiris claim turned out to be amazingly accurate. Tsakiris wrote that "the police detectives repeatedly corroborated psychic detective Nancy Weber’s amazing account... Amazingly, Radford still denies this fact" (p. 90).

Radford notes that "No one, including Tsakiris, Weber, Moore, or Hughes, offered any evidence whatsoever supporting their claims" and that "this ‘amazing’ case rests entirely on the contradictory memories of three people from a third of a century ago, yet Tsakiris boldly offers it as an example of Why Science Is Wrong. Furthermore in contrast to Tsakiris’s claim that "the police detectives repeatedly corroborated psychic detective Nancy Weber’s amazing account," a close review of their statements reveals “that they contradicted virtually every specific claim Weber made about what she told them.” In chapter 6 of his 2010 book Scientific Paranormal Investigation: How to Solve Unexplained Mysteries, Radford lists six examples of specific information Weber claims to have given police and quotes one or both of the officers as either refuting or being unable to confirm virtually all of Weber’s claims. In fact "Sgt. Hughes admitted that no information she gave led to his arrest…the case was solved by good police work."

Radford discovered using a New Jersey phone book from 1982 that if Weber had indeed given the detectives all the evidence she claimed she had at the time, the police could have discovered the killer with a 15-minute search through the phone book, yet the police were unable to find the killer until he called them to his home. Radford’s research also revealed that Weber falsely claimed to have psychically known unpublished details about the murder of Koedatich victim Aimee Hoffman (whose name Tsakiris repeatedly misspells as "Amy Hoffman") when in fact those details had been reported on the front page of the local newspaper. Radford attributes the case to a series of memory errors, confirmation bias, and mystery mongering."

http://www.csicop.org/specialarticles/show/alex_tsakiris_psychic_detectives_and_bad_science

Reference: 'Csicop'. LOL!

Are you trying to be funny, or merely stupid?


""Radin relies upon meta-analyses and misrepresentations of published results to produce outlandish confidence numbers that work against the very belief he is trying to foster."

Debunked. I know you are anti-science but feel free to let us know when you have some science you can cite though. "

Au contraire: I am not in the least bit 'anti-science' and, BTW, Radin *is* a scientist. Did you fall off the last banana boat?

"Hyslop was not on your side on the Patience Worth case."

And he wasn't on your 'side' in anything else, was he? You plonker. :)

Let's try to stay on track and read, Matthew. I have explained Hyslop's book review of Casper Yost's book at http://www.patienceworth.com/hyslop-patience-worth/ Please read it if you wish to continue commenting about Hyslop. - AOD

Because I am aware of much of the Patience Worth and Pearl Curran history I cannot continue to allow erroneous information about Pearl Curran to be presented by Skeptics as if it were true. ‘Leuders’ quotes a source from “Anomalistic Psychology” ,which I have read before, that claims that Pearl Curran was a “precocious learner” had a “good education’ and taught at “various public and private schools. She had “extensive tutoring” and “expensive” voice and piano training. Well, that is just not exactly true.

Pearl Curran barely got through grade school and dropped out of high school at about age 14. That was the extent of her formal education. Any “tutoring” Pearl received was in elocution and Delsarte which her mother, as other mothers at the time, thought might help her young girl to become more desirable for marriage. There is no evidence that she was “precocious.” Curran stated that, “I don’t know why I was promoted to the third grade, and only remember learning how beans sprout in water.” She further stated that, “I never knew my lessons.” She says that,” I broke down the last year of too much piano, elocution, Delsarte, school and entertainments, and was sent to the Catholic St. Ignatius’ Academy for “rest.” ”

Whether or not her piano and voice lessons were expensive (not relevant) I don’t know but Pearl reports that she had to work in various merchandise stores in Chicago at $6.00 a week to earn enough money to pay for her lessons, some of which were mail correspondence lessons. (Her family was not well-to-do.) As a young woman she taught voice in three small villages in Missouri, near St. Louis to earn enough money to earn her passage back to Chicago each winter. She says that her father paid for some lessons and that she “earned a little by playing piano at my uncle’s Spiritualist church in Steinway Hall, for a short time. But things I found here and my home surroundings were most unpleasant, and I went back to Palmer [Missouri].”

I believe that whoever wrote the article for Anomalistic Psychology is confusing Pearl Curran with her good friend Emily Grant Hutchings who sat with her at the Ouija board when Patience Worth first came on the scene and who channeled her own spirit, Mark Twain and went on to publish his dictated book, 'Jap Herron' which, by the way, Dr. James Hyslop thought was an evidential spirit writing. Here is some information about Hutchings.

“Emily Grant Hutchings attended the public schools in Hannibal Missouri, where she was born in 1869, graduating from the High School at seventeen years old and going from there to Germany to a famous school for girls in Altenburg, the Karolinum Hohere Tochtere Schule, where she remained for one year. On coming back to America she entered State University at Columbia, Missouri taking a course in letters. For two years she taught Latin and Greek, also German in the High School of Hannibal, and then came to St. Louis, taking a position as a feature writer on the “St. Louis Republic”

Emily Grant Hutchings was a well-known writer of women’s issues in St. Louis. She wrote daily articles about the World’s Fair held in St. Louis in 1904 and was the last journalist to leave the Fair after it was closed. - AOD

P.S. Whoever put the 'bold' font on, please take it off (Matthew!) .

Does this help?

I would like some info on the Helen Duncan case, if that's okay. I'm informed there was in fact an obvious leak of the information she cited as coming from ghosts:
"There was no shroud of secrecy; The Times of London carried news of the disaster on the Monday. The loss of HMS Barham, torpedoed off the coast of Egypt on 25 November 1941, was indeed kept quiet for a while, but letters of condolence were sent out to families of the 861 dead, asking them to keep the secret until the official announcement. So, allowing for perhaps 10 people in each family, there were about 9,000 people who knew of the sinking; if each of them told only one other person, there were 20,000 people in the country aware of the sinking, and so on – hardly a closely guarded secret. In short, news of the sinking spread like wildfire; Duncan simply picked up the gossip and decided to turn it into profit." - Graeme Donald
Allegedly leakage was traced to the secretary of the First Lord of the Admiralty. How reliable is this?

(See, He of the Many Names, how I'm providing a quote and a source and asking for information rather than assuming what I already wanted to be true is.)

Dammit, the bold-end tag didn't work when I did it. Does the person who originally started the bolding have to do it?

Many families knew about the sinking of HMS Barham. Most of these families lived on the docks where Helen Duncan held her famous seance. Gossip travels far. I don't think any paranormal explanation is needed.

As for Duncan there are some very funny photographs of her with cheesecloth. Nothing at all genuine about the medium.

Not from you, sceptic, I already know that side of the case.

Must say, I find the account of Ted Serios in the Psi Encyclopedia absolutely fascinating - if only for the documentation of the lengths that the likes of Randi will go to to prove that black is white.

I'm very much enjoying perusing the contents of this new encyclopedia. Well done, again, Robert!

"All alleged ''paranormal'' cases have been debunked. All you have to do is read the skeptical literature. But you have never read a skeptic book or gone out and bought one or looked up the skeptics who have debunked all such cases."

But that is to assume that the cases have been debunked, not to prove it. Are there books like Is There An Afterlife? by Fontana and The enigma of Survival by Hart that refutes that skeptical literature.

And you have not proven that Indridason was a fraud.

"He had no notion of becoming a medium, and got into it accidentally after being invited to take part in an experimental table-tipping circle that his sister had become interested in. Things really started rocking when he sat at the table,"

I remember as a child my mother telling me how a group of family members used to get together for dinner at my aunt Edith and Uncle Albert's home. When the meal was finished and the pots cleared, as a lighthearted way of passing a dark, winter evening, they would hold hands around the dining table and try to effect a seance. Apparently, uncle Albert was the only one among the group who staunchly refused to have anything to do with such 'stuff and nonsense'. Accordingly, he would take himself off to sit in his armchair and read his paper in front of the fire.

Oddly enough, when they began the ritual of asking, 'Is there anybody here?', Albert would almost immediately go into some form of trance and begin passing on messages, purportedly from the spirit world. I remember my mother telling me that throughout this process tears would stream down Albert's face and that when he came round he had absolutely no idea what had happened and no recollection of what he'd said while in trance. In fact, he refused to believe that he'd been in trance or that he had delivered any such messages at all!

I love to hear accounts such events that, I'm sure, are recounted among members of many families that lived through difficult times - especially during WW1 and WW2. But, sadly, such accounts all-too-often remain 'within the family' for fear of ridicule. But it's only by hearing about such first-hand anomalous experiences that we can verify our own.

I've seen many, many 'spirit lights' of the kind described by the Scole experimenters. I've also seen several coloured orbs of light with my own bare eyes. Because of other's accounts of such things I know, with certainty, that they are objective phenomena. I only wish I understood better what they are.

As Michael Prescott pointed out, using extremely tenuous evidence about a medium's sexual behaviour to discredit her says something unflattering about the sceptic's attitude to women. I'd also say it's not very flattering to men's intelligence either, considering the men in question started out as sceptics themselves and presumably had access to far more attractive women who wouldn't require them to compromise their principles.

FuzzCatPotato (quoting Kalush and Sloman)…

"The most notorious medium who used her sexual charms to seduce her scientific investigators was Eusapia Palladino... [She] had no qualms about sleeping with her sitters; among them were the eminent criminologist Lombroso and the Nobel Prize—winning French Physiologist Charles Richet. After being discredited, Palladino's career was revived in 1909 when Hereward Carrington, acting as her manager, brought her to the United States."

I have the book. Could you please tell me where Kalush and Sloman list Dingwall as their source for this weird claim? There certainly isn’t any reference to a source in the text itself, and there is no reference or notes section in the book. You’ll have to forgive me if I’ve missed something, it’s been a number of years since I read this rather long book. But, on the face of it, I don’t see how you can regard this uncorroborated claim as being reliable in any way.

However, if you read Kalush and Sloman’s sentence carefully, you’ll see that they are not ACTUALLY claiming explicitly that Lombroso and Richet had sexual relations with Palladino. The sentence itself is merely rather ambiguous, they seem to be just numbering these two researchers amongst Palladino’s sitters after making an uncorroborated claim that she ‘had no qualms about sleeping with her sitters’.

Indeed, it seems to me that this is just an example of sloppy grammar, more than anything else. Of course, though, if you have an overriding emotional/ideological need to cast aspersions on the character, motives and competence of these two researchers, then that could result in misinterpretation. At the end of the day, though, I’m not aware of any evidence that Lombroso or Richet got up to fruity stuff with any of the mediums they studied. And, ironically, Kalush and Sloman mention (page 447 – again without citing an ACTUAL source) that Dingwall himself was accused of having an affair with Marjory Crandon.

Whatever other merits ‘The Secret Life of Houdini’ may have, clear referencing of reliable sources is not one of them. In that respect it is hugely flawed and should be approached with an appropriate amount of caution and (cough) scepticism – something that seems to be sadly absent from the mindset of Skeptic Wikipedia ‘editors’.

PS. A note of no real importance: in my earlier posting I got the name of my uncle wrong: he was Arthur and not Albert. Anyway, he's probably all but forgotten by the rest of my family now; he died a very long time ago. But I often think of the memories my mother shared. There were several 'sensitives' among my relatives and I would love to have known more about their personal experiences - although I doubt there were any as dramatic as uncle Arthur's.

"Indeed, it seems to me that this is just an example of sloppy grammar, more than anything else."

No not really. The line is very clear.

"No qualms about sleeping with her sitters; among them were the eminent criminologist Lombroso and the Nobel Prize—winning French Physiologist Charles Richet."

It says Palladino slept with Lombroso and Richet. How could you interpret that any other way? Sleeping with someone obviously implies sexual.

"Could you please tell me where Kalush and Sloman list Dingwall as their source for this weird claim? There certainly isn’t any reference to a source in the text itself, and there is no reference or notes section in the book."

Apparently Kalush and Sloman have released the notes for their book separately. A strange thing to do. The notes are not in the book itself, they were listed on the previous page.

The source is not Eric Dingwall. So a mistake has been made.

But Michael Prescott is wrong. He deliberately puts on his blog a photograph of Palladino when she was older saying she was unattractive.

Here is a photograph of Palladino in 1895, when she was a bit younger.

https://carlossalvarado.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/eusapia-palladino-ca-1895-acevedo-los-espiritus.jpg?w=155&h=222

Richet investigated Palladino in the late 1890s so she would have looked like in the picture on that link.

Now we see she was not so unattractive like Prescott alleges. Palladino was reported to get sexual during her seances. Are we expected to believe older dudes like Richet or Lombroso just looked the other way? lol.

Keiran - the sentence ambiguous, period. The reference (as you say) is wrong. Whether or not you think Palladino looks attractive in that photo is really neither here nor there, you have offered not one shred of credible evidence that she slept with either Lombroso or Richet. I'm an 'older dude', and I certainly would have 'looked the other way', especially if I was an internationally respected scientist with a reputation to protect.

If the source was not Dingwall, then you don't seem to be particularly anxious to reveal it.

PS - I couldn't really care less whether Palladino was a genuine medium or not. I don't have an ideological axe to grind. What I do care about is people who do (in either direction) allowing their confirmation biases to get the better of them and accepting little more than salacious gossip as 'evidence', whilst lecturing everyone else about bias and the reliability of sources...in the case of Wikipedia, in this instance.

There is no solid evidence Richet or others slept with Palladino, it's just a suggestion from two authors. Nobody is saying it is factual. It has been suggested that is all. I think it is possible but there is no conclusive proof and you know that.

Charles Richet was a racist and white supremacist who argued black people had no better intelligence than apes and chimpanzees. He also wrote offensive things about disabled people supporting their sterilization and supported eugenic measures. Cesare Lombroso was also a racist. I couldn't care less if they were "internationally respected scientist{s}" or if one won a Nobel prize. Both were gullible fools when it came to mediumship stuff. One can be a brilliant scientist but duped in other fields.

Richet openly stated that the performer Joaquín Argamasilla had genuine psychic powers. His feats were debunked by Harry Houdini.

Yet none of this is mentioned on the new PSI encyclopedia. All we ever read is how 'great' these psychical researchers were. Nothing bad about them. That's why I love wikipedia it does not censor the negative evidence. It embraces it.

"That's why I love wikipedia it does not censor the negative evidence. It embraces it."

It certainly does!

Now, perhaps you can tell me where might I find the positive psi evidence on wikipedia?

Dawkins and Hitchens are/were racist jerks as well. Your point, New Name?

"There is no solid evidence Richet or others slept with Palladino, it's just a suggestion from two authors. Nobody is saying it is factual."

Yes they are! YOU just did! Unless the endless string of different names with identical typing styles repeating the exact same information over and over actually are different people.

"Yes they are! YOU just did! Unless the endless string of different names with identical typing styles repeating the exact same information over and over actually are different people."

Nope I have never posted on here before, you do realise this blog has been advertised on several skeptic forums right?

But the first person to mention the sexual allegations of Charles Richet and Palladino was FuzzyCatPotato that definitely is a different person, he is an admin on Rationalwiki. There is more than one skeptic commenting on this blog. But sure every skeptic who comes to this blog is automatically the same person, whatever floats your boat.

"Dawkins and Hitchens are/were racist jerks as well"

Irrelevant even if true, they are nothing to do with the psi debate. We are not talking about those guys. Amos Oliver Doyle believes different races of people are different species, Benjamin Steigmann (who writes articles for the PSI encyclopedia) is a 'race realist' with links to white nationalism and Troy Southgate. Charles Richet who modern psi proponents quote like a religious script when it comes to the seance room like to 'forget' his racist writings. Funny that :)

I repeat: will you please direct me to the positive psi reporting on Wikipedia?

@Robert. Re: Seros. I notice the following isn't mentioned on Wikipedia:

"The primary source of this skeptical allegation was the article, ‘An Amazing Weekend with the Amazing Ted Serios’, in the October 1967 issue of Popular Photography, written by David B Eisendrath and Charles Reynolds. That article left most (if not all) readers thinking that the authors had successfully exposed the pretensions of an alleged psychic. However, the article was seriously misleading, and few learned later that no one had accepted Eisenbud’s challenge (in the following November issue)5 to duplicate Serios’s results under conditions similar to those imposed on Serios (more on that issue below). Before long, Eisendrath’s and Reynolds’s criticism evolved into the unverified assertion that Serios’s feats had been duplicated easily by the magician the Amazing Randi, and soon many people had accepted that falsehood as an established fact. The noted science author Martin Gardner undoubtedly moved this process along by repeating the allegation in his book, Science, Good, Bad and Bogus,6 and by claiming in the journal Nature that Randi ‘demonstrates it [the Serios phenomenon] regularly and with more skill.’7 However, Gardner’s claim is completely unsubstantiated. Randi never even attempted publicly to duplicate the Serios phenomenon under conditions resembling those that prevailed during Serios’s tests. He did, however, fail to duplicate the phenomenon under the much looser test conditions allowed on the television show Today on October 4, 1967."

Strange that, isn't it?

Stephen E. Braude on his piece on Ted Serios, doesn't mention the following which is found on Wikipedia:

"In an article in New Scientist titled "The Chance of a Lifetime" (24 March 2007), an interview appears with the noted mathematician and magician Persi Diaconis. During the interview Diaconis mentioned that Martin Gardner had paid him to watch Ted Serios perform, during which Diaconis claimed that he caught Serios sneaking a small marble with a photograph on it into the little tube attached to the front of the camera he used. "It was," Diaconis said, "a trick".

Now that is funny. Braude doesn't like the fact Serios was caught in fraud. And even funnier Julie Baxster, you are claiming the bogus "thoughtographs" of Ted Serios was genuine. Lol. Right.

"will you please direct me to the positive psi reporting on Wikipedia?"

All over the place. Wikipedia cites what parapsychologists believe. Look on the main parapsychology article. It's not possible to have articles on parapsychology without first noting what parapsychologists believe to have demonstrated.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parapsychology

"The chemist Robert Hare conducted experiments with mediums and reported positive results."

But Wikipedia also includes the skeptical material as well:

"Other researchers such as Frank Podmore highlighted flaws in his experiments, such as lack of controls to prevent trickery."

The Psi encyclopedia only reports positive findings not the skeptical rebuttals. Wikipedia is more reliable because it contains both.

Waller Joel (or whatever your true identity) Randi failed to repeat Serios' results under much looser conditions. now, what is it about that fact that you don't understand? But I admire your talent for taking barrel scraping to a whole new level. Yes, I'll give you that, Sunshine. :)

"All over the place. Wikipedia cites what parapsychologists believe. Look on the main parapsychology article. It's not possible to have articles on parapsychology without first noting what parapsychologists believe to have demonstrated."

ROFL! And then uses the most spurious and disingenuous arguments in a blatant attempt to trash the findings of anyone engaged in Psi research. I can never decide whether you people are trying to make the rest of us chuckle or whether you actually take yourselves seriously. But I begin to suspect the latter since I've never detected even a hint of a sense of humour in any of you.

Anyway, since I'm whiling away a few minutes plaiting live eels in a bucket, can you please direct me to Wikipedia entries where scientists, such as Dean Radin, are given the opportunity to respond to the puerile criticisms made of his work in the field of Psi? I can't seem to find them offhand. I also notice that there's not much in the way of balancing input from Robert McLuhan, either. But then freedom of information is simply a one-way channel in your online version of Pravda, isn't it.

As my old grandmother would say, why don't you just go and play with the ducks. :)

"Wikipedia cites what parapsychologists believe."

But it does not cite the refutations of skeptical objections.

Although it is over.

It’s funny, really: I haven’t visited this blog (or any other) for quite a while. But when I saw over 200 comments on this thread, my first thought was “My, that’s quite a surge in interest here!”, closely followed by “But what’s that familiar, malodourous smell? – Gadzooks, Skeptic Wikipedia-fetishist Troll dung!”. Then I noticed the first few Skeptical comments; some, though under different names, in a very familiar style (hello ‘Bill’) others not, forming a trail of said smelly stuff, leading into the trees.

So, what could possibly have brought this on? An unusually large group of Trolls (is there a collective noun for Trolls? Suggestions welcome) attempting to waste everyone’s time in what they imagine constitutes ‘debate’. As the stools appear to be even looser than usual (e.g. the historically childish attempt to smear ONE 19th/early 20th century scientist with eugenicism – see link at end), it almost seems as if someone had left some troll-bait laced with hospital grade Picolax lying around.

I'd suggest that this is a childish reaction to the mere existence of the SPR 'Psi Encyclopedia'.

'Keiran' - I don't think you've named the source of the (perhaps accidental) Palladino/Lombroso/Richet, allegation. Just saying! Please tell - I'm sure we're all fascinated.

Eugenics was embraced by an astonishing number of otherwise respected figures pre-WW2: -

http://listverse.com/2015/07/10/10-widely-admired-people-who-supported-eugenics/

A 'twaddle of trolls', perhaps? :)

Okay, I'll accept for the moment there's more than one person involved. Still, someone here just claimed she did, further up the thread. Doesn't speak well for your reading comprehension.

My point is, if you can dismiss the psi field because of participant's views on other things, I can dismiss atheism and anti-psi as well.

"An unusually large group of Trolls (is there a collective noun for Trolls?"

Let's not talk about each other. Why not discuss the topic at hand instead of talking about users on this blog? I don't know everyone who is posting here. It is just a discussion that is all. I don't see any trolling just a debate.

"the historically childish attempt to smear ONE 19th/early 20th century scientist with eugenicism – see link at end"

Point valid, but it is more than this Steve. Charles Richet wasn't just an eugenicist, he was a white supremacist who wrote horrible things against black people. I will cite scholarly sources to clarify this:

"The distinguished scientist Charles Richet, who was a firm believer in the inferiority of blacks, considered the possibility of verification by systematic comparisons of black and white children. He went on to dismiss it on the following grounds "The precocity... not being similar, one will not be able to compare a negro of twelve years with a little white of the same age, who will still be altogether a child (Richet 1919, p. 65)."

(Gustav Jahoda. Images of Savages: Ancient Roots of Modern Prejudice in Western Culture, p. 154)

"The French Nobel Prize–winning physiologist Charles Richet likened Blacks in his La sélection humaine (1919) physically to apes, and intellectually to children and imbeciles."

(Paul G. Bain, ‎Jeroen Vaes, ‎Jacques Philippe Leyens. Humanness and Dehumanization p. 28)

"Charles Richet, professor of physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Paris, and Nobel Prize winner: "A white woman should by no means marry a Negro. Even if the signs of his ethnic inferiority is little apparent, they will appear in the... All mixture of race is detestable. Alexander Dumas was an exception."

(Joel Augustus Rogers. Sex and Race: The Old World, p. 231)

I have read a lot of your posts on the internet Steve but you do not seem to accept a single valid criticism of any parapsychologist anywhere. You seem to think parapsychologists are immune from criticism or mistakes. Do you admit Richet was a racist. Hopefully you do, Thank you.

"Let's not talk about each other. Why not discuss the topic at hand instead of talking about users on this blog? I don't know everyone who is posting here. It is just a discussion that is all. I don't see any trolling just a debate."

LOL! So you have got a sense of humour after all. :)

Virtually every word spoken by you most cowardly pseudo sceptics is little more than ad hominem attack against those who have devoted their lives and/or careers to the investigation of psi. Nobel winning scientists who are brave enough to pursue such matters. You like to dismiss them as either deluded fools or, on the slightest pretext, label them as sexual predators whose only interest in female mediums is of a carnal nature. But then such judgements say more about you than they do your targets. Clearly, you are judging them by your own standards.

And then you think your endless, tedious trolling is worthy of sincere attention. You really are sad, aren't you.

Ps. Steve Hume: What about a 'trash of trolls'? :)

I think that one should be aware how misleading it may be to judge people of one, two or three hundred years ago by the standards of today. I think this is especially true in discussions about race. In America we tend to assume that black Africans of yesteryear were the same as the beautiful mixed-race African-Americans we see in movies, commercial ads and on television today. These select few African-Americans are not representative of the pure negro race straight out of Africa as it was known by Charles Richet and others of his generation. - AOD

Amos, there are many beautiful Africans today who are not of mixed race and who have never left Africa. The Maasai Warriors are a stunningly aesthetic race of people, as are many other native Africans, and their physical posture is the envy of the world.

That aside, I really don't see what someones personal/political/racial beliefs have to with the viability of Psi?

Or, perhaps, a 'turbulence of trolls'? :)

Julie, Julie, Julie. Everything is a challenge for you, isn't it? My comment was in response to criticism of Charles Richet and his generation. I am well aware that every creature is beautiful in it's own right. What say you?- AOD

Yes, for the most part - although I have a problem with large spiders. But to suggest that the Africans of yesteryear (who had no mixed American blood) were somehow less beautiful, worthy or equal to the white races of the time is a very racist and, frankly, ugly comment, Amos, by any standards.

Anyway, what about a 'tedium of trolls'? :)

Julie erroneously interpreted my comments when she said," But to suggest that the Africans of yesteryear (who had no mixed American blood) were somehow less beautiful, worthy or equal to the white races of the time is a very racist and, frankly, ugly comment, Amos, by any standards.

Julie go back and read my comment. You seem to be making something out of it that is not there.

Let me break it down for you.

1. I said that it may be misleading to judge people of yesteryear by the standards of today. Please tell me how that is racist?

2. I said that mixed-race African Americans of today are not representative of the negro race that was known to Charles Richet. How is that an ugly racist comment?

3. How is it that Maasai Warriors have good posture that is the "envy of the world" relates to any comments I made?

Educate me here. - AOD

@Amos: But if, on the other hand, what you mean to say is that the far more parochial lives (and hence narrower outlook) of those learned gentlemen of the past who, by modern standards, had little opportunity for global travel, might have made black-skinned Africans appear somewhat savage and hence repugnant to them then, yes, I can accept what you're saying. :)

Ps. What about a 'torment of trolls'?

Amos, it must be the way you tell 'em! ;)

Perhaps a 'thicket of trolls'? :)

Tut, tut.....believer's bickering amongst themselves?
This 'infusion of trolls' must be congratulating themselves.

"Tut, tut.....believer's bickering amongst themselves?
This 'infusion of trolls' must be congratulating themselves."

LOL! We're not 'believers', Stuart, we're truth seekers. It's a fascinating area of study and well worth pursuing for its own sake. I've always had intuitions that there's perhaps considerably more to life than meets the eye, but beyond that I can't make any assertions or hold to and hard and fast beliefs.

That's the true scientific outlook. :)

"LOL! We're not 'believers', Stuart, we're truth seekers."

Well, indeed Julie, although it is possible to be both, is it not?
I don't believe that trolls view it that way. They don't view us as truth-seekers.
Maybe, an 'entrenchment of trolls' perhaps? Or, am I being too polite?

"Maybe, an 'entrenchment of trolls' perhaps? Or, am I being too polite?"

Probably. But you're forgiven - just this once. ;)

Julie,
Read Charles Darwin's "On the Origin Species" and "Descent of Man" to see his discussion of 'savages'; a typical view around 1859- 1871. I wouldn't say that Darwin had little opportunity for global travel, would you? - AOD

No, unlike many of his contemporaries - who were in no position to pass judgement on the hearsay of someone who had a definite axe to grind - and, not least, an illustrious career to make. :)

While we're on the subject of Darwin (and in mitigation of some of his more bigoted views) I always rather admired the fact that Darwin - unlike his sycophants - could accept that Kammerer's theory better answered some of the questions surrounding the process of evolution than did his own 'random mutation' hypothesis. .

Now, what about a 'torrent of trolls'? :)

A 'castration of trolls?'

"A 'castration of trolls?'"

What a *splendid* idea! I have all my male horses gelded; it makes them much nicer people. :)

Ah Julie, you are so right! I know a few young women who would be a lot easier to get along with if they were spayed. - AOD

"Ah Julie, you are so right! I know a few young women who would be a lot easier to get along with if they were spayed. - AOD"

Oddly enough, as chance would have it, I am, this very day, contemplating the exact same procedure for one of my mountain & moorland rescue ponies, Merrylegs, who is three-years-old and quite overcome by her emotions; bless her. She's very bright, focused and energetic. But the general consensus is that her attraction towards the male of the species is diverting vital attention from the important issues in life. :)

An 'enfant terrible of trolls'?

"I always rather admired the fact that Darwin - unlike his sycophants - could accept that Kammerer's theory better answered some of the questions surrounding the process of evolution than did his own 'random mutation' hypothesis."

Charles Darwin died in 1882. Paul Kammerer was born in 1880. Darwin did not know about Kammerer. His fraudulent experiments were conducted much later.

"Charles Darwin died in 1882. Paul Kammerer was born in 1880. Darwin did not know about Kammerer. His fraudulent experiments were conducted much later."

My apologies, I meant Lamarck not Kammerer. :)

Ps. A 'trivia of trolls'? :)

John
I think, Charles Lyell, maybe. A slip of memory.

Julie, you might want to see this about Kammerer (and by extension, Lamarck). - AOD
http://phys.org/news/2016-10-re-examination-paul-kammerer-scientific-fraud.html

OOps... my mistake!.... Lamarck it is.

I don't understand the point you are trying to make, Amos.

Ps. A 'trial of trolls'. :)

No major point Julie. Just that Lamarck's inheritance of acquired characteristics and Kammerer's inheritance of acquired characteristics, once a discarded theory, apparently has some validity in epigenetics. I guess the point is that what we think we know is not always what we eventually come to find out. Perhaps that is applicable to those who spout off 'facts' or 'evidence' regarding PSI abilities or the lack of them. As I come to know more and more I realize I really know less and less.

It's too late to think Julie. It's time for bed! Pleasant dreams. - AOD

Ŷes, I thought that's what you meant, Amos. I have a copy of Bruce Lipton's book, 'The Biology of Belief'. It's a very clear description of how the science of epigenics has uncovered the mechanism by which our thoughts, habits and experiences can alter our DNA, this affecting our progeny.

I've always thought, intuitively, that Lamark was essentially correct as, I believe, did Darwin. Kammerer was the agent of his own downfall in wanting to show evidence (by fair means or foul) of what he knew in his heart to be true. It was a great pity. Not least because it stifled the flow of research into this fascinating aspect of evolution for many decades to come.

People often make silly, badly judged, mistakes when they want to prove an elusive truth. There is no doubt in my mind that that's what some mediums have done throughout the history of psi research. But the fundamentalist bastions of thought, the mediocrities who would control everyone's ideas and beliefs, make it their right and duty to throw the baby out with the bath water. For them it seems, one wo/man's folly condemns the entire population.

Kammerer's fate was a tragedy. The endless persecution of psi researchers, their efforts and the evidence they produce, is a constant flow of similar tragedies - at least in effect. But time does have a way of uncovering the truth in the end, no matter how many self-appointed members of the thought police try to stand in its way. The path of human progress in all important conceptual advances has always had to be ploughed through the rubble of dull minds and small-minded bigotry. It's a story as old as time itself. But, again, the truth *always* wins through . . . . . . . eventually.

Ps. Have we had a 'twist of trolls'? :)

PPs. 'Epigenetics'. I really do need a spellchecker. :)

Yes, Julie, I too recommend The Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton. I loaned mine out and it was never returned. As I recall the first part of the book was the better part. - AOD

For anyone who might be interested, I think you can still get a free copy of Lipton's book here:

http://go.hayhouse.com/ebook-giveaway?utm_source=FB&utm_campaign=FB_Paid_eBookGiveaway_Lipton_BiologyBelief_HH&utm_medium=Paid

All excellent suggestions Julie (and Stuart). Though as Keiran seems to be suggesting that I’m guilty of trolling too, then, I have to admit, that ‘a castration of Trolls’ is causing me to wince slightly ;)

Keiran: If you can point me towards an example of me pitching up under a variety of different pseudonyms (or, let’s be realistic…my own name, lol), making comments about any issue raised that seem to be merely tendentious – e.g. by not answering a polite request for the source of contentious information; or being insulting to any to anyone living, or dead; or, indeed, any slippery behaviour of that ilk – or a whole host of other misdemeanours, then I’ll admit, happily, to being a troll. My point was, that it seems quite remarkable to me that this blog should suddenly be hit, as if by magic, by so many communicators of that ilk – some of whom, I’m fairly certain, are forever popping up under various guises doing the same thing, here and elsewhere.

I think it’s probably true that I’ve rarely accepted criticisms made by others of academic parapsychologists, or ‘psychical researchers’ (to use the older term). However, that’s probably because I usually do not contribute to any discussion of this nature unless I feel that such criticism raised by others is egregious – being based on unreliable sources; ill thought through; shallow; or based on weak evidence. And the example of Richet and Lombroso getting jiggy with Palladino is about as weak as it gets – perhaps William Crookes was looking on as a voyeur through the keyhole, dressed in a gimp suite? I have often, in the past, raised criticisms of my own re various researchers in print and online (Crookes, in particular). It’s simply the case that, to me most (but certainly not all) ‘Skeptical’ criticisms online are so bad. They are often made using source material that was discredited for good reason (outside of Skepticism, at least) decades ago, though still cited on Wikipedia. That, in my opinion, actually encourages people to ignore Skeptics in general, and therefore eschew non-ideological ‘scepticism’ to an extent – and that’s not good in any field. I suppose, I just don’t like what seems to me to be incompetent, badly thought through, scepticism.

Which brings us back to Richet: Yes, he does appear to have been appalling racist, certainly when judged by the standards of today and, probably, by the standards of the more progressively minded minority of his own time. But, then again, similar allegations against Gandhi have made the news again quite recently.

As has been pointed out by someone else, though, none of this has any relevance whatsoever to Richet’s competence as a psychical researcher. For me to ‘admit’ that he seems to have held racist views (where did I claim that he didn’t?) may be relevant to you, somehow, in some sense – but I’m really struggling here to grasp its pertinence myself. I once engaged a central heating engineer who (for some reason best known to himself) made some appallingly racist comments after doing some work for me as he left – but he still fixed my boiler, and it kept working for at least a year afterwards. Does me NOT being a racist make me any more competent to comment on these issues? Of course not.

So please, if you want to ‘debate’ then stop trying to (apparently) distract me from the fact that you still haven’t named the source for the Lombroso/Richet/Palladino allegation (that you seemed to think was valid at first, then ‘not factual’). You did, after all, imply earlier that you knew it. Because, at the moment, it just looks to me like you’re trying to change the subject.

Steve did you post as "Open Mind" on the Mind-Energy forum and Michael E. Tymn's blog a few years ago? Was that you, or is that someone different?

Steve Hume used to troll the James Randi forum under that Open Mind name claiming the fraudulent medium Helen Duncan was 'framed' by skeptics. I debated him back in 2004 on this.

http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=29896

Scroll down to see his posts.

I have blogged on the fraud of Helen Duncan

http://garvarn.blogspot.co.uk/2010/04/nothing-unexplained-about-helen-duncan.html

Regards,

Garvarn

According to James Randi:

"Mr. Hume seems to be of that heady school, the survival-after-death crowd, since his specialties - "table levitation" and "direct voice communication" - both require direct involvement of the performer, with conscious physical activity. It's far from any sort of self-delusion; it's full, knowing, fakery and fraud. It doesn't take place by accident."

http://archive.randi.org/site/index.php/swift-blog/297-the-art-of-book-review.html

Garvarn I have spoken to Steve in the past about that link. Randi got it wrong. Steve is not a medium himself. He was giving a demonstration of table levitation to an audience at an event for a skeptic magazine. Also, unlikely Steve is the user across the internet "Open Mind", that person is a well known conspiracy theory nut.

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