March 21, 2017
I’m in touch with a Chinese professor of physics who’s written an entry for the Psi Encyclopedia on parapsychology in China. His English is quite limited, and the article needs a fair bit of work. But it contains some rather remarkable claims about work with children, which I’m keen to find out more about.
In one project, he writes, blind children were taught to ‘distinguish different colours by touch on the nose or ear, and even recognize the outlines of simple figures and numbers, thus improving their quality of life’. In another, blind children were taught to ‘see and read’ through skin contact.
Some children can now ‘skin read’ the colour, number and figure (animal shapes) on separate cards in some cases at up to 45 cards per minute, often with 100% accuracy. Blind children can be taught to telepathically communicate with each other and have even been taught to get together in a ‘virtual space’ and move objects by virtual PK. Most sighted children can be taught to develop their PK abilities to fold strips of paper or break matchsticks held in transparent sealed containers, and even write a few tiny words such as ‘Mother I love you’ and a figure of ‘love’ on a sealed match stick by using a mind controlled ‘virtual pen’.
Startling stuff. There are no references as yet, and I’m non-committal until I can find out more. But at the least, it seems like an interesting avenue for research. And I’d be curious to know what cultural differences might make it easier to do this sort of thing in China than the West, as I suspect is the case.
This brought to mind a detail in another Encyclopedia article, one that’s already published, on Extraordinary Light Phenomena, by a German philosopher Annekatrin Puhle.
She mentions the story of Jacques Lusseyran, a Frenchman who lost the sight of both eyes in a freak accident at the age of eight, but who, far from being devastated, was excited to discover an inner world bathed in brilliant light. This not only engaged his attention, it also helped him to continue to interact normally with the external world. Puhle quotes from his autobiography And There Was Light, and I found it so intriguing that I bought it, also a later book containing short articles in which he expands on the theme. Definitely worth checking out.
By his own account, Lusseyran enjoyed something of a charmed life growing up in Paris in the pre-war years. His parents sound quite enlightened, and they dealt with his blindness in what he considers to be an ideal way, ensuring as far as possible that he wasn’t treated differently from sighted children. They made him learn Braille at once. He recovered quickly, went back to the same school and was reading, walking, running and playing with other children within two months.
Lusseyran found that being blind was not as he had imagined, nor as other people seemed to think.
They told me that to be blind meant not to see. Yet how was I to believe them when I saw? Not at once, I admit. Not in the days immediately after the operation. For at that time I still wanted to use my eyes. I followed their usual path. I looked in the direction where I was in the habit of seeing before the accident, and there was anguish, a lack, something like a void which filled me with what grown-ups call despair.
Then he realised he was ‘looking in the wrong way’.
I began to look more closely, not at things but at a world closer to myself, looking from an inner place to one further within… Immediately, the substance of the universe drew together, redefined and peopled itself anew. I was aware of a radiance emanating from a place I knew nothing about, a place which might as well have been outside me as within. But radiance was there, or, to put it more precisely, light. It was a fact, for light was there…
I saw light and went on seeing it though I was blind. I said so, but for many years I think I did not say it very loud. Until I was nearly fourteen I remember calling the experience, which kept renewing itself inside me, ‘my secret’, and speaking of it only to my intimate friends…
The amazing thing was that this was not magic for me at all, but reality. I could no more have denied it than people with eyes can deny that they see. I was not light myself, I knew that, but I bathed in it as an element which blindness had suddenly brought much closer. I could feel light rising, spreading, resting on objects, giving them form, then leaving them.
Withdrawing or diminishing is what I mean, for the opposite of light was never present. Sighted people always talk about the night of blindness, and that seems to them quite natural. But there is no such night, for at every waking hour and even in my dreams I lived in a stream of light.
Without my eyes light was much more stable than it had been with them. As I remember it, there were no longer the same differences between things lighted brightly, less brightly or not at all. I saw the whole world in light, existing through it and because of it.
Light threw its colour on things and on people. My father and mother, the people I met or ran into in the street, all had their characteristic colour which I had never seen before I went blind. Yet now this special attribute impressed itself on me as part of them as definitely as any impression created by a face.
Lusseyran experiments to see if he can block out the light, but he finds he can’t do that by willing it – it’s not something he imagines, but is objective, outside himself. But he does discover that it will disappear if his mood darkens: if he either starts to become narrow and calculating, or angry and impatient. Then he loses his bearings and crashes into things.
He talks in a similar way about sound, to which he has become super-sensitive, and which now seems to emanate from objects in a characteristic way that he learns to recognise. More than that, he seems to sense objects like walls as being present, as though they press in on him.
What makes Lusseyran’s story so riveting is what came next. Growing up in the 1930s he became very aware of what was happening in Nazi Germany, and took the trouble to learn German. During the Occupation, aged 17, he started a youth resistance group, which specialised in printing and distributing an underground newspaper based on BBC bulletins and other clandestine sources. This sounds fantastically dangerous. Yet his blindness, far from being a handicap, seems to have helped him. He took responsibility for recruiting, and a special ability to recognise a person’s inner nature ensured that he got people who were reliable and committed – some six hundred eventually. His group later merged with a much larger underground publication that eventually became France Soir, one of the country’s highest circulation newspapers in the 1950s and 60s.
Inevitably, Lusseyran and his colleagues were betrayed to the Gestapo, and he was sent to Buchenwald concentration camp. He made it to the end of the war, about eighteen months later, one of only a small handful of survivors of the thousands of French people imprisoned there. Afterwards he had to struggle because of a law passed by the Vichy regime that prevented blind people from teaching. But he prevailed, and eventually went to the US to teach French literature. He gave lectures about his experience of blindness (reprinted in his second book Against the Pollution of the I) and was on his way to deliver the last of them when he was killed in a car crash, aged 46.
As a European growing up in the post-war era, I’ve always been impressed by these sorts of heroics. Often I’ve found myself wondering how I personally would have measured up if I’d been in such circumstances, and to my great regret, feel certain I’d have been one of the masses who kept their heads down, hoping to get to the end in one piece. So it’s hard to put myself in the position of someone like Lusseyran.
I kept coming back to the inner light thing, reading the relevant passages over and over. Did he really mean he could see, in the sense of making out objects in his vicinity, both nearby and at a distance? How could that be? There certainly seemed to plenty going on in his internal vision that conveyed information to him, and some of this information helped him to move about. And he does sometimes seem to suggest that, in a literal sense, he could make things out, for instance the presence of a wall, or the line of distant mountains, and that, conversely, these shadows (as I think of them) disappeared completely when he was in a depressed or scheming state of mind, obliging him to maintain a cheery disposition.
But if he’s grateful, it’s not because he’d been left with a scrap of what he once had, that in some strange way survived without any sensory basis, but because he’d been gifted with something more. What one absolutely gets is his intense satisfaction with it all, as though he was privileged to experience something out of the ordinary, and pitied we ordinary mortals who merely see in a superficial way.
Wondering about this, I recalled that sometimes I’ve experienced a sense of illumination while meditating, with eyes closed, of a light field beginning to bloom. It doesn’t last long, and it doesn’t actually illuminate anything – it’s more a brightening of the darkness. And although it feels interesting, and potentially a portent of something meaningful, it doesn't lead anywhere.
I also remembered speculating in a similar away about the discarnate experience, trying to make sense of what’s said about it in NDE testimony and mediumistic texts. Clearly, this is not seeing with ocular apparatus, yet light and colour and visual beauty are pervasive characteristics, and there’s also a strong sense that they’re felt or experienced, subjectively, as much as observed in an objective way. Similarly suggestive descriptions are also found in narratives of mystical experience and psychedelic drug visions. So perhaps what Lusseyran was experiencing is essentially this, a way of relating to reality that’s obscured in the incarnate state, but starts to become evident when the physical mechanisms break down. What we think of as sight is merely a mechanical analogy of the real thing.
His experience might be described in psychic jargon – the colour emanations from people as ‘auras’, for instance, and his inner reality as the ‘astral’ – but I don’t think he’s familiar with this literature, and clearly doesn’t think in these limiting terms. He does occasionally talk about God, though, in a confident, unpreachy way, as the foundation of reality:
By the time I was ten years old, I knew with absolute certainty that everything in the world was a sign of something else, ready to take its place if it should fall by the way. And this continued miracle of healing I heard expressed fully in the Lord’s Prayer that I repeated at night before going to sleep.
But what does this mean: ‘everything in the world is a sign of something else?’ It’s obscure, but also potentially meaningful, if we grasp for it. He’s very aware of the limitations of language. He says that what he describes is ‘not magic but reality’; nevertheless, most people, I think, will fall back to supposing that this is how a blind person copes: he makes some kind of involuntary adjustment, a reordering of the neurological apparatus that enables him to continue to interact with the world – albeit in his case, in a rather exceptional way. It’s a very private experience, with no other relevance beyond his particular circumstances.
For others, like me, Lusseyran convinces that, on the contrary, his experience is important, and worth striving to understand. In a rather good introduction to Against the Pollution of the I, Christopher Bamford describes him as a ‘secular saint’, which is what I too found myself thinking: someone whose inner world is reflected in the exemplary moral courage of his outward actions, and whose testimony acts as a sort of beacon for the rest of us.
The "skin reading" phenomenon sounds very similar to something claimed to have been observed in Sony's ESPER lab in Japan, also with children as subjects:
In fact, it sounds so similar that I wonder whether it could be the same work the Chinese professor is referring to. According to the page I linked to, it was reported by the South China Morning Post, apparently in July 1998.
Posted by: Chris Phillips | March 21, 2017 at 11:03 PM
Paul Dong wrote 'China's Super Psychics, on Chinese paranormal abilities, among them children reading with their ears and much more. Definitely Chinese!
Posted by: Loes Modderman | March 22, 2017 at 11:49 AM
" What we think of as sight is merely a mechanical analogy of the real thing."
Interesting post, and I found this sentence very thought-provoking and worthy of contemplation. It reminds me of the idea that our brains are mere filters, honing a greater reality to one our physical bodies can handle here on Earth.
Posted by: Kestrel | March 22, 2017 at 12:13 PM
thank you for a fascinating post.
@kestrel: i noted that, too. i am constantly aware these days that what i see is not nearly all there is to see. its feels as though i am acutely aware of a handicap but i am much more present nowadays in an effort to help myself. cant hurt!
Posted by: weaver | March 22, 2017 at 12:49 PM
Very interesting. I was born legally blind. I had to have very strong glasses until I got cataracts when I was 51. then I had 20-20 vision. 4 years ago I decided to restart my music lessons again. That was when I relaxed enough and began to see interior colors, lights, smells and tastes and hearing. I've begun to feel very young as well.
Posted by: Theresa | March 22, 2017 at 04:16 PM
It's not something I do all the time, but occassionally when lying in the dark at night with my eyes closed I can freely will light to increase in brightness and intensity in my mind's eye/behind my eyelids...that's to say recreate the visual sensation of looking up, with my eyes closed, to the sun or a similar bright light source. I've often wondered about this, whether its something everyone does, and now whether it could be related to the experiences described in the passages quoted.
Posted by: Lawrence B | March 22, 2017 at 07:40 PM
Is it substantially different from the flashing lights everyone gets when their eyes are shut? Sounds like Lusseyran's was.
Posted by: chel | March 22, 2017 at 08:24 PM
Well it's not flashing. Think of it simply as the kind of light you see when sunbathing with your eyes closed..the world simply isn't dark. And then recall when you might have, eyes shut, turned away from a darker area to a bright light source and how the empty field of "vision" behind your eyelids brightens appropriately. I wrote my comment after reading the Lusseyran quotes, but have only read Robert's own description of his experiences meditating and it sounds like the latter is precisely the same thing as I'm talking about..though in my case no meditation is involved. I'm pretty sure I can do it at will when I go to bed, it just rarely occurs to me.
Posted by: Lawrence B | March 22, 2017 at 10:34 PM
I have precisely the same light sensation with my eyes closed that Robert describes when he says, " I recalled that sometimes I’ve experienced a sense of illumination while meditating, with eyes closed, of a light field beginning to bloom. It doesn’t last long, and it doesn’t actually illuminate anything – it’s more a brightening of the darkness."
I, like you am not meditating but I am in a relaxed state and I have to intentionally focus my attention inward as if looking at a blank dark screen. It is not a flashing light but a soft glow as Robert describes as a "light field beginning to bloom". I don't know but I think it frightens me somewhat as it seems to engulf me and I don't allow it to progress. - AOD
Posted by: Amos Oliver Doyle | March 22, 2017 at 11:51 PM
"I, like you am not meditating but I am in a relaxed state and I have to intentionally focus my attention inward as if looking at a blank dark screen" -AOD
That same phenomenon occurs to me too. It's somthing that happens quite often before I drift off to sleep. I find myself, with eyes closed, looking at what (to all intents and purposes) appears to be a blank cinema screen. Then people, objects and places begin to appear. I never recognise anything or anyone in those scenes, but they seem very real and in 3D.
This doesn't happen every night, but I can bring it on at will if I'm in the correct frame of mind (no pun intended).
Posted by: Julie Baxter | March 23, 2017 at 10:09 AM
Intriguingly having said I could probably do it at will I went to bed 10 minutes later. Lights out, closed my eyes, and felt I was distracted from doing it by the still visible glow of light coming from my right hand side which I took for granted to be the screen of my phone still switched on.. so I opened my eyes to turn it off, and found it wasn't on at all. I closed my eyes again and continued to have an awareness of light in my peripheral vision, to my right or else beneath the level of my face, rather than filling my field of "vision". Analysing what I WAS seeing it seemed to me that perhaps what I was experiencing on this occasion at least - and perhaps previously - was more akin to visualising, ie mentally recreating the visual impression of light in my imagination rather than experiencing it with my eyes.
Posted by: Lawrence B | March 23, 2017 at 10:38 AM
Yes, Julie, I too sometimes see images of people, mostly just faces but I never thought about them being 3-dimensional as such. Actually they seem to be in non-color, sort of grey and dark grey. I don't recognize any of these faces. There is no similarity to anyone I know and maybe just the opposite. They seem to be, I don't know, rather earthy.
I have at times had light smudges in my vision due to iridotomies and faint bubble lights at the peripheral of my vision due to aging eyes, but I can tell the difference between those physical causes of light and the light sensation that Robert and Lawrence are describing. One always has to not assume that the light sensation is portending something mystical as it may be due to something physical or structural in the eye. Of course it may also be something in the brain as I also have scintillating scotomas, or ocular migraines which appear as a so-called 'fortification ' of shimmering jagged lights in the center of my vision during normal waking hours. - AOD
Posted by: Amos Oliver Doyle | March 23, 2017 at 01:23 PM
"Yes, Julie, I too sometimes see images of people, mostly just faces" - AOD
Oddly enough, I tend only to see the images of people from the chest or shoulder up. It's as if I'm hovering, invisibly, at around that height and eavesdropping. But, unlike in the dream state, I'm quite detached and aware of the strangeness of the entire phenomenon. There's no feeling that I'm present in the same dimension as the people and situations I observe.
Posted by: Julie Baxter | March 23, 2017 at 03:13 PM
Ps. It just occurred to me: perhaps what I describe above is exactly the way that spirits perceive us in our dimension?
Posted by: Julie Baxter | March 23, 2017 at 03:51 PM
Yes Julie, exactly!
Posted by: Amos Oliver Doyle | March 23, 2017 at 04:01 PM
Having observed this 'phenomena' myself, over many years; I came to the conclusion that these unexplained light sources were due to random photons penetrating the eyelid and scoring direct hits upon the retina. As we are continually bombarded with these photons, it made complete sense to me that some were likely to score a direct hit. During recent months though, I have noticed an increase in the frequency of such. The norm, for me, would be several of these pinpricks of light appearing as if looking upon a starry sky; shining brightly for a few seconds before slowly diminishing in brightness and then disappearing. More recently though, (the last couple of years) I have been beset with the image of a single light-source; that is, one star appearing alone and travelling across the vastness of my minds-eye. The motion of this 'star' is not affected by the movement of my eyes, for I have experimented and found it not to be so. On it goes, upon its inexorable journey, before disappearing beyond the outer limits of my vision.
A thought that this may be sign that a distant star may be keeping me under observation, had me scanning the night-sky in an attempt to locate the source. Several stars seemed, to me, to be likely candidates. Yet, and for obvious reasons, none appeared to move at the required rate. I even considered the idea that it was the international space-station; tracking me!
One never knows? Anyhow, I couldn't think of any reason why this should be so. A set of eyes, on the ground, would suffice. So, somewhat reluctantly, my thoughts turned to the moon. I say reluctantly; for to be watched by a star is surely of greater kudos than being watched by a second-rate luminary? And, at least there is visible movement of such, if one keeps watch for long enough. Occasionally, when I feel minded to, I can summon-up this luminosity from out of the darkness of my mind. Any thoughts upon this phenomena?......anyone?
Posted by: Stuart Certain | March 23, 2017 at 07:38 PM
There are a couple of things I would want to know. How long does the 'star' phenomenon remain visible in your eyes? And, do you see these lights in the dark, in the light, with your eyes closed or open? Light flashes in the eyes are very common and usually are not problematic. Sometimes they are related to 'floaters' in the eyes, which are very small specks of blood and other eye debris which usually appear as small black specks or streaks or black specks with a light halo around them. They can be seen especially when one is looking at an expanse of blank material like the sky.
As one ages the vitreous humor in the eye thickens and may tug away from the retina causing a brief light phenomenon of less than a few seconds, usually at the edges of vision. This either may or may not suggest a problem and usually does not affect vision.
The visual effects of an ocular migraine (scintillating scotoma) commonly last about 20 minutes or so with a small point of light disturbance in the center of vision. It can be seen in both eyes when it occurs. This light gradually expands forming a jagged (could be described as star-like) three-quarters circle, shimmering with color. It can be seen with the eyes open or closed and doesn't move with the eyes. Gradually it expands to encompass the entire field of vision eventually disappearing at the periphery. It usually doesn't impair vision very much although sometimes the center of vision is shaded as the semi-circle expands. One may or may not experience a headache. It is thought that an ocular migraine occurs in the brain not in the visual apparatus. I don't think that an ocular migraine can be summoned-up by an act of the will.
I think what Robert is describing is none of these things as he describes it as "a light field beginning to bloom". To one who has experienced this phenomenon his description is very apt and I couldn't describe it any better.
I have seen 'stars' when I have been hit on the head or when I had anesthetic injected into my lower eye lid. Sometimes I see them along with some oscillating circles of light when I come in from the cold.
You might want to consider seeing an ophthalmologist, a physician who will look into your eyes to determine whether or not there is anything you need to be concerned about - AOD
Posted by: Amos Oliver Doyle | March 23, 2017 at 09:28 PM
Amos, thank you for the advice, I can tell you that this occurs at night, with my eyes closed. The 'star' can remain visible for up to two minutes. Although I can bring it into my minds-eye, I cannot get it to stay still, as it appears to have a will of its own beyond that, and will drift off towards the outer edges of my vision. Sometimes, when I have called it to mind, it appears in much the same way as your excellent description of darkened floaters.
I should explain that my description of calling this a star, is slightly misleading as it does not have the jagged appearance of such, but appears as a circular body. When darkened, I liken it to the appearance of an eclipse, although if it be of the Sun or Moon I cannot tell.
It does indeed then, have a halo. I am aware of floaters in the eye and am usually able to alter the trajectory of such by moving my eyes around. In this case though, movement of my eyes has no effect. I have no associated ocular migraine as such, although a few years ago I had a long period of suffering migraines. These consisted of the pain moving in a circular motion upon my cranium, as though I was being trepanned without anesthesia.
An odd thing to have, no doubt, and resulted my being seen by the top neurosurgeon in London. Yet, despite exhaustive tests, including a cat-scan, nothing was found that could be held to be responsible. I do, however, have what is known as a 'nevus' in one of my eyes. Fortunately, it is not near the optic-nerve and I have been seen by the specialists at Moorfields, regarding this. The overriding thing though, is my ability to bring to mind the light source at will? Although my ability to do this wanes, like the tide. What I haven't done, yet really need to do; is to correlate this phenomena with the phases of the moon.
Just think; if I could, under controlled conditions predict accurately the phases of the moon, it may put me in line for a shot at claiming Randi's prize! What do you think?
Posted by: Stuart Certain | March 23, 2017 at 11:04 PM
"But what does this mean: ‘everything in the world is a sign of something else?’"
I think that the answer to this lay in the belief that Lusseyran expresses; of the eminence that brought us into being. Everything to him became an expression of that eminence, for the adjustment to his conscious state of mind would have had him in a constant meditative frame of mind and he would have been constantly aware of the interdependence of everything around him, not only in the material sense but also, and predominantly, in the psychic sense. A sort of buddhist mindset.
Posted by: Stuart Certain | March 24, 2017 at 11:17 AM
Does anyone else do this thing I do where when something goes wrong or I get hurt I think of it as karmic payment for something going well? Does this sound like wishful thinking or that it fits in with the metaphysical things?
Posted by: chel | March 24, 2017 at 10:59 PM
My own experience is of things going wrong, more often than they go right, or; how I would wish them to go. If it is as the result of Karma or just misfortune is really a moot point. The slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune are well stocked, and seem to be aimed at me. Yet, I can forgive those forces which appear to use me for target practice, on the grounds that pessimism can make me of low mood. I am what you would call, the eternal optimist, for what good it does me?
Posted by: Stuart Certain | March 25, 2017 at 12:35 AM
"I went to bed 10 minutes later. Lights out, closed my eyes, and felt I was distracted from doing it by the still visible glow of light..."
Lawrence, in my experience, 10 minutes is often not enough time to allow for the complete dispersion of light imagery. You know the thing; you are watching tv, turn your head to one side and the image of such can still be seen, although the eyes are closed? Even more so, if you have been on the computer for some time.
Something else to take into account is the light that can penetrate through lightweight unlined curtains. At least, this is what happens with me. I find that to totally rid my eyes of previous light source takes me about twenty minutes. Still, I suppose that this can vary for different people?
Posted by: Stuart Certain | March 25, 2017 at 02:05 AM
"Oddly enough, I tend only to see the images of people from the chest or shoulder up."
"There's no feeling that I'm present in the same dimension as the people and situations I observe."
Julie, I sometimes have this happen to me, but it is not a frequent phenomenon.
It reminds me though, of something that I used to do as a child. In the days before 24 hour TV, and at the end of a days broadcasting, the TV screen would go into a state of frenzied static display; accompanied by a loud hissing noise. I became quite fascinated with this, and would sit watching this display with interest; often moving up close to the TV. After a while, I would discern movement within the fuzziness and that movement would take the form of people moving around the screen. I remember relating this to my mother, who (being of sensible nature) would tell me to switch the TV off, after first remarking that it was probably due to a rogue signal? This was despite her not being able to discern anything herself. However, finding this intriguing I would sometimes get up at night and switch the TV back on (after first turning down the volume) and resume my fascinated pastime. The figures that I saw, were like no program that I had seen broadcast; yet they interacted with each other as though in total communication with one another. Then, one night, events took a turn for the strange; for I recognized one of the figures! It was the image of a woman, walking along the pavement, down a hill and beneath a railway bridge. It was the exact image of the mother of a friend of mine! So excited was I by my discovery, that I told my friend what I had seen. Then I forgot about it. Until, a couple of days later, my friend said that he told his mother of what I had seen, and wanted to know more details. I was able to name the road, which although beyond of our normal territory, I knew; plus, I was able to hone in on a time of day; although not the exact day this occurred. The next day, my friend couldn't wait to tell me what his mother had said. His mother had indeed walked down that road at around that time of day a couple of days previously. This was interesting, for it was a rare occurrence for her to walk along there, yet she had an appointment to make, nearby. His mother wanted to know what else I had seen, or could see. Stupidly, in my excitement, I related this to Mother who promptly banned me from watching TV at night. My friend later told me that his mother said, I was psychic. Which troubled me at the time, for not hearing the term before, I thought she meant sick!
Posted by: Stuart Certain | March 25, 2017 at 03:32 AM
Inner light. Is there such a thing as....outer light? Is not all of the paraphernalia and contraptions that we see; the torch, the lampstand etc, is this not an extension and an outward pouring of that inner light; the light that seeks to see? To help us see? Is not the light from the stars, which gave us life and warms our being; is this not inner light? For without it, we would surely perish. And then, there would be no light. If there is outer light, then how does that light differ from our own, inner light? Our light is light and lights our way. What then of an outer light? Is it a dark light? Does it not seek to see but seek to keep us from seeing? Is an outer light;....anti light? Is our inner light at war with that outer light?
Posted by: Stuart Certain | March 29, 2017 at 02:56 AM
Sorry. Just a bit of whimsy there. Until things pick up.
Posted by: Stuart Certain | March 29, 2017 at 03:24 AM
The recording below might seem unconnected with this discussion but it isn't. Listen all the way through to the end:
Posted by: Julie Baxter | March 29, 2017 at 09:34 PM
Question; does anyone here (unless Michael Prescott's reading, I know of his) have a blog of their own about paranormality? I'd like to see other people's thoughts and it's hard to find ones which aren't at the extreme ends of the "fake-real" believing spectrum.
Posted by: chel | March 30, 2017 at 12:28 AM
I have seen Michael Prescott's blog. Personally, I feel that it is difficult to find a blog where the conversation does not oscillate between the extreme ends of belief, as you put it.
Its the nature of the beast. So many contentious issues. I think that you are looking for a stable and scientific approach to paranormal investigation. That may be difficult. There is, as I recall, a French website which you may find interesting in this respect. Trouble is; I can't, at the moment, recall its name? If I remember the name, I'll let you know.
Posted by: Stuart Certain | March 30, 2017 at 02:14 AM
Julie, I hope that when I die, I don't take my prejudices with me, as appears to be the case with Chopin (if it is to be believed?) Are we to believe that an erudite man, such as he, having passed over and making reference to the greater understanding of things; should then criticise society for its 'material thinking'; when he undoubtedly benefitted from such himself? Its not very unifying as a concept, is it; "your world is very restrictive?"
Has he become an alien?
Posted by: Stuart Certain | March 30, 2017 at 02:50 AM
"Question; does anyone here (unless Michael Prescott's reading, I know of his) have a blog of their own about paranormality?"
Posted by: Juan | March 31, 2017 at 12:25 PM
I think the following Flint recording is simply fascinating:
Posted by: Julie Baxter | March 31, 2017 at 03:28 PM
I can't seem to find any mention of Leslie Flint in the Psi Encyclopedia. Is he persona non grata? :/
Posted by: Julie Baxter | March 31, 2017 at 06:45 PM
Julie, I ask; do you not find these mediums, boring. I mean, they never really say anything do they? For the otherworldly knowledge that one is meant to experience once we've passed over; no matter how wonderful they say that the 'other side' is, they don't seem to be able to express it adequately? There is always a sense of frustration in their voice regarding the situation. Once again we hear talk of 'your world' as though it is a different planet. I'm not experienced in listening to this stuff, and I assume that you have more knowledge of these matters. Once again, there is talk of the materialist failings of 'our world.' To be truthful; there is nothing to be learnt here, is there? I mean, we all know the problems of our existence. We already know of the failings. Do we really need to be told this by a discarnate spirit? I wouldn't call it, enlightening. Maybe, I need to listen to more of these recordings to get a better idea? It could be that I've just been unlucky, so far?
Posted by: Stuart Certain | March 31, 2017 at 11:52 PM
No, Stuart, I don't find "these mediums" boring. On the other hand, I find you excruciatingly boring. Perhaps you might care to ponder that for w while.
Posted by: Julie Baxter | April 01, 2017 at 09:12 AM
Julie,....That's a bit personal from you, isn't it? What brought that on? Have I upset you?
Posted by: Stuart Certain | April 01, 2017 at 09:50 AM
Julie,..Look, I am not criticising you. You find these recordings interesting...fine. So do I, to an extent. I am just interested in what it is that makes them fascinating for you. I am new to this medium business and my comments are no more than first impressions. I was hoping that you would be able to give me the insight that appears to be lacking from these spirits. Am I missing something? Surely, the observations that I make must have occurred to yourself? Are there hidden messages within, or something?
Posted by: Stuart Certain | April 01, 2017 at 10:30 AM
I'm sorry, Stuart. I've provided links to the relevant material, I am not bound to supply you with understanding of my interest in this material. In short, if you don't see what I find fascinating then I simply can't explain it to you. As the late Louis Armstrong said of jazz, "Man, if you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know."
You might as well ask why anyone finds football, cricket or golf fascinating.
Now, I don't think there's anything more that I can say to convince you that I have no answers to give you. Make up your own mind, put your perspective forward if you so choose, or dismiss the topic and move on. But please understand that I don't wish to engage with you. Hence I will not be responding to you again.
Posted by: Julie Baxter | April 01, 2017 at 03:03 PM
The Leslie Flint recordings, legitimate or not, seem laughable to me. Many, most or all of them seem to have British inflections, pronunciations, pattern and tone, even though effort was apparently made to mimic other speech. The ‘Marilyn Monroe’ voice seems to me to be done by an older Englishwoman and is a weak imitation of Marilyn’s speaking pattern, tone, and use of English and what she said just seemed to confirm what one or more sitters in the circle believed about her. Of all the places in the world and to all of the people she knew in life I can't imagine, for the life of me, why she would pick this obscure spirit circle in England in which to manifest.
‘Mickey’s” voice is just silly. It too seems to me to be the voice of an older Englishwoman trying to sound like a little---very little---child. As a stereotypical boy who sold newspapers it seems unlikely to me that ‘Mickey’ would sound so infantile and cultured---at the same time. ‘Louie Armstrong’ and the black woman ‘Bessie’ don’t sound to me as authentic black Americans. Chopin was Polish yet his voice sounded English with a French flavor at times. Most of the old Englishmen, when stripped of superficialities, sound the same to me. Doesn’t anyone have a normal speaking pattern and rhythm? Why is it that they seem so morose, so depressed, so melancholy if they are in ‘heaven’? Is this to convey an ‘otherworldly’ sound to their voice? A ‘spookiness’? Isn’t anyone in heaven happy?
I understand that when comparisons were made between the Flint recorded voices and the actual recorded voice of the ‘spirit’ when alive they were not the same. I think these old people, the sitters that is, were just having an evening of great entertainment---in the dark---conjuring-up spirits who they thought were famous people they knew about in those times. I think that not only was Leslie producing some of the voices but apparently he had an accomplice(s), who was an older English woman, helping him.
In the words of William James, “Bosh!” “Pure bosh!” - AOD
Posted by: Amos Oliver Doyle | April 01, 2017 at 04:03 PM
There is always the possibility that under the hypnotic spell of the séance room of Leslie Flint, these regular sitters, both men and women, at times may have come under the hypnotic atmosphere of the dark séance room and succumbing to the hypnotic singing and expectation, one or more of the sitters, in a hypnotic trance of sorts played their part in producing a voice which they may have chosen to quietly and conveniently ‘not remember’.
I my opinion the Leslie Flint recordings are not the best evidence of spirit life. - AOD
Posted by: Amos Oliver Doyle | April 01, 2017 at 04:33 PM
"I my opinion the Leslie Flint recordings are not the best evidence of spirit life." - AOD
And I can understand why anyone might feel like that. I too have, in the past. But Flint was subjected to many tests and investigations and never caught in fraud.
Arguments are put forward about the fact that the ectoplasmic voice box was constructed from Flint's voice box and that, therefore, there are remnants of his speech patterns etc. involved.
One of the Wikipedia objections is that the voice of Gandhi in the Flint tapes sounds nothing like living recordings of his voice. I disagree - as I have posted, with examples, on Michael's blog.
As to your evaluations of this material as evidential of spirit life, I have no comment. But, personally, I have yet to find a more tried-and-tested source of evidence.
Posted by: Julie Baxter | April 01, 2017 at 04:47 PM
The so-called ‘ectoplasmic voice box’ of Leslie Fling is just a silly stage prop. There is much more to producing a voice than just vocal chords. In order to speak one needs to have a tongue, teeth, lips and nasal cavities, throat, diaphragm and lungs to produce enough air to vibrate the vocal chords. A ‘voice box’ is a relatively minor part of voice. This ectoplasmic voice box in the Flint séances is meaningless and probably is something produced by Leslie Flint for effect or for photographs. The séances were in the dark and who was able to see the ‘voice box’ in the dark?
This is not to say that the information provided by the ‘spirit voice’ in the Flint séances does not have some validity, some value as thought. - AOD
Posted by: Amos Oliver Doyle | April 01, 2017 at 05:06 PM
Perhaps if you research the evidence you could come back with links to your findings, Amos? :)
That aside, I've already thought of all the objections you raise, yet feel I must conclude that I am not sufficiently qualified to judge the veracity of the ectoplasmic voice box. But then neither are you.
Posted by: Julie Baxter | April 01, 2017 at 05:15 PM
"As a stereotypical boy who sold newspapers it seems unlikely to me that ‘Mickey’ would sound so infantile and cultured---at the same time." - AOD
I forgot to mention that it has always occurred to me that Mickey was homosexual and, therefore, lacking masculinity in his voice. Moreover, when I was at the helm of British Mensa, I met very many people who, whilst in possession of a very-superior IQ, earned their living as van drivers and farm labourers. It is a mistake to judge intelligence by standards of worldly affluence.
Posted by: Julie Baxter | April 01, 2017 at 05:25 PM
In the words of William James, “Bosh!” “Pure bosh!” - AOD
So far, from what I've heard of these recordings; I would say...."Tosh!" "Utter Tosh!"
Posted by: Stuart Certain | April 01, 2017 at 05:38 PM
"I am not bound to supply you with understanding of my interest in this material"
Well, there goes the hope of reasonable conversation.
"As the late Louis Armstrong said of jazz, "Man, if you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know."
What a ridiculous thing to say. Music is something that one grows into. There are many genres of music that may not be appreciated at an early age but to which one might become enamoured with at a later date.
"You might as well ask why anyone finds football, cricket or golf fascinating."
Another ridiculous point made. How can anyone compare entertainment upon this dimension with entertainment concerning another dimension?
"I forgot to mention that it has always occurred to me that Mickey was homosexual and, therefore, lacking masculinity in his voice."
I'm sorry, but I had to have a good laugh over that! Its the funniest excuse that I've heard in a long while!
"...personally, I have yet to find a more tried-and-tested source of evidence."
Its not looking good, is it?
"when I was at the helm of British Mensa"
God help us.
Posted by: Stuart Certain | April 01, 2017 at 06:00 PM
". . . it has always occurred to me that Mickey was homosexual and, therefore, lacking masculinity in his voice "
This is such a revealing assessment/comment that rabid liberals, I think, would be ashamed to say. Words that come to mind include generalization, stereotyping, judgmental, superiority, bias against gay men and perhaps men in general, condescending, patronizing, arrogance just to throw out a few.
People who make a comment such as this know nothing, absolutely nothing, about male homosexuality and reveal their indoctrination by media factoids, female fantasies and false stereotypes. - AOD
Posted by: Amos Oliver Doyle | April 01, 2017 at 07:05 PM
Amos. I've known many homosexual young men in my time, and a percentage of them definitely have effeminate voices - and body language.
Posted by: Julie Baxter | April 01, 2017 at 07:18 PM
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to consider the "veracity of the ectoplasmic voice box." (See my comment above.) Ask any speech therapist; they will tell you what it takes to produce audible understandable speech.
You know, I think that Leslie Flint would have been much better off to have simply acted as a voice conduit for any 'spirits' he thought he contacted, much in the same way that more reliable mediums did, e.g. Leonora Piper. Just let him speak for them, under their control, through his actual speech apparatus while he was in a trance or semi-trance. I think that people would have accepted this presentation of spirits rather than the dramatized, sometimes goofy characters acted out by the frustrated English thespians in his séance circle.- AOD
Posted by: Amos Oliver Doyle | April 01, 2017 at 07:28 PM
Well, whatever. Despite being stringently tested on several occasions was never caught in fraud. Make of that what you will.
Posted by: Julie Baxter | April 01, 2017 at 07:44 PM
"Despite being stringently tested on several occasions was never caught in fraud. Make of that what you will."
It would be hard indeed, to deduce anything from someone who was speaking into a cardboard box. That's what I make of it.
Posted by: Stuart Certain | April 01, 2017 at 09:27 PM
Leslie Flint would be more credible for me if he had contacted some unknown deceased people and then subsequently verified their identities after conducting some investigation and research of old records and so forth but I am not aware of anything evidential to be looked-up in Flint's information provided by the celebrities he contacted. I am guessing that everything divulged at the séances was already known to the public, to the sitters or known to Flint. Not even resorting to 'Super-Psi' was necessary to obtain information provided by the celebrities he contacted. Information about those public personalities was commonly known or logically imagined and 'fleshed-out' by Flint and his sitters. This is in contrast to information provided by other credible mediums, i.e., Piper, Fox sisters, Indridason, Curran where extensive investigation and research was done to verify what was divulged by the communicating spirit. - AOD
Posted by: Amos Oliver Doyle | April 01, 2017 at 10:18 PM
I have just listened to the recording of Flint speaking with the 'apparent' voice of 'Elizabeth Fry'
What is most striking to me, is how much this voice sounds like Mary Rose Barrington of the SPR. Not just in tone, but inflection also. Uncanny. Anyone else notice this?
Posted by: Stuart Certain | April 01, 2017 at 10:32 PM
"Leslie Flint would be more credible for me if he had contacted some unknown deceased people and then subsequently verified their identities after conducting some investigation and research of old records and so forth."
Well, he did conduct sittings for people who were certain the evidential information given was undoubtedly correct and, despite the usual distortions, the voices were easily recognised as genuine.
But I'm not here to get into a tit-for-tat, Amos. You must make up your own mind. Whichever way you choose to go makes no difference.
Posted by: Julie Baxter | April 01, 2017 at 10:56 PM
"Leslie Flint would be more credible for me if he had contacted some unknown deceased people and then subsequently verified their identities after conducting some investigation and research of old records and so forth" - AOD
Yes indeed. There seems to be a pattern emerging here. A distinct similarity between these spirit voices and those who claim, under hypnosis, to have been reincarnated.
It seems to be either (A) someone well known to history, or (B) someone who had a well defined role. Interesting, on a psychological level.
Posted by: Stuart Certain | April 01, 2017 at 11:13 PM
'What is most striking to me, is how much this voice sounds like Mary Rose Barrington of the SPR. Not just in tone, but inflection also. Uncanny. Anyone else notice this?'
In fact, it could be her, talking about the SPR itself!
Posted by: Stuart Certain | April 01, 2017 at 11:29 PM
Either everyone's a liar, or there's something in this :
Posted by: Julie Baxter | April 02, 2017 at 09:44 AM
Here is a transcript of comments by "Aunty Greene" who recorded the Leslie Flint voices. (Stuart, I would be interested in your comments about this transcript.) - AOD
Posted by: Amos Oliver Doyle | April 02, 2017 at 11:15 AM
I like this chap, below. Under the circumstances, I too would probably have come back and given my mother what for! :)
Posted by: Julie Baxter | April 02, 2017 at 03:32 PM
I have to say that the so-called Leslie Flint tapes have thoroughly convinced me that there is no life after death. The real culprits in the Flint recordings are Betty Greene and George Woods. Leslie Flint can be bound and gagged with a mouth full of colored water for effect. That is just a distraction. It is really Woods and Greene who should have had their mouths tapped shut.
There are some people who believe that the ends justify the means and I think that Greene and Woods are two of them. In an effort to convince themselves of life after death and to gather support in numbers, thereby diminishing their own fear of death they have acted out, recorded and distributed these ‘Leslie Flint tapes’. There are religious zealots who will stop at nothing to promote their own belief system even if it means concocting and telling outright blatant lies. Greene and Woods were two of them.
Here is Greene’s comment:
"These tapes of ours have no restrictions placed on them--they are for the world. Those lovely souls from the Spirit world have not come through just for our benefit, but to give a message to the world, and they are relying on us to pass that message on through the medium of the tapes, and they are determined that people should receive them."
Yes, yes, yes, Greene and Woods want to give their message to the world and souls in the great beyond are relying on them to do just that. What a noble venture and isn't it great to be singled out by the spirit world for that assignment. And, as stated on a web page about them, “They gave the tape recordings they made to the world, for free, to help humankind grow spiritually.” “As a reward for her efforts Betty Green presents these recordings to the world to enlighten mankind.”
Well, isn’t that nice! They discovered a telephone to heaven. Let’s all download the latest application---but wait, allow me to buy stock in the company first! - AOD
Posted by: Amos Oliver Doyle | April 02, 2017 at 04:35 PM
You're a veritable Miss Marple, our Amos! But, I don't think you're right on this occasion. Too simple an answer and doesn't take account of testimony both from sitters in non-recorded seances and those held away from home with neither of the Greens present. Jolly good show all the same. :)
Posted by: Julie Baxter | April 02, 2017 at 05:12 PM
Ps. Greene and Woods; nice, semantic combination of names. I so wish I'd had the opportunity to attend one of those sittings with Flint. Nevertheless, I've seen other expressions of psychic phenomena at the few sittings I have attended.
Some of the demonstrations I've witnessed on such occasions have been truly breathtaking in their validity/accuracy. But such things are of no value to those who have no understanding of their significance. And it's the same with all such material. Thus, at least for now, it all becomes simply a matter of what one is prepared to consider by way of evidence.
Posted by: Julie Baxter | April 02, 2017 at 05:44 PM
This whole Larry Flint fiasco reeks to high heaven of fraud. Promoted by George Woods and Betty Greeene, séances were conducted in the pitch black darkness with ‘spirits’ speaking through a “voice box” purportedly made of ‘ectoplasm; streamed from the sitters and Leslie Flint and which, the ectoplasm that is, could not be viewed in the light because it might harm the medium (but not the sitters?) but regardless was able to be photographed under Leslie Flint’s chin without harming him. The undescribed and unexamined ‘voice box’ certainly was NOT a voice box designed like the human apparatus that allows speech. Surprisingly the voice box apparently was not necessary as some voices emanated from various places in the room far away from the ‘voice box’. Of course maybe spirits (or someone else) carried the ‘voice box’ around with them as they spoke in the dark from the corner of the room. Apparently the ‘voice box’ was not really needed and was just for show; another distraction.
Some proponents of the Leslie Flint voices compare them with voices associated with Leonora Piper, but that comparison is bogus since Leonora Piper never manifested direct voice phenomena. All voices from the Piper séances emanated from the vocal apparatus of Leonora Piper as spirits took over her body, not from an ectoplasmic voice box on her shoulder and her trances were in the light not in pitch darkness. Flint did not go into a trance as Piper did but apparently was wide awake, just taking it all in, tied to a chair, with his mouth full of water and taped shut.
Flint or somebody else produced silly little mousey voices, barely audible at times but at other times loud and clear, recorded at times with dogs barking and sirens blaring. (Just disregard the man behind the curtain!) All voices with an obvious English accent, albeit subtle and covered up at times by good acting; even when they were voices of people who in life were not English and did not speak English with the usual British dialect and pronunciations and in some cases those spirits had never spoken ‘English’ English in their lifetime. Voices of old Englishmen primarily who sounded basically the same in all recordings and the infantile ‘Micky’ reminiscent of Micky Mouse or Goofy both Walt Disney characters. The imagined drawing of ‘Micky’ is purely conjecture and another similarity to Walt Disney drawings; totally unnecessary and unscientific to draw this ‘likeness’ and promote it as a spirit likeness; again just something for effect. And then there are the so-called foreign or ancient languages which nobody is really able to understand. Some of them sound like gibberish spoken by religious zealots ‘speaking in tongues’. Woods and Greene call them “unknown languages”.
The Leslie Flint tapes turn me off to spiritualism. If this is an example of what people do to contact the dead then I am not buying any of it. Electronic voice phenomena is in the same category. It is a stretch to make any sense out of it. Neither provides good evidence to support spirit survival.
Get a grip, people! - AOD
Posted by: Amos Oliver Doyle | April 02, 2017 at 06:04 PM
Never mind, Amos. If it's not for you then it's not for you, old chap. :)
Posted by: Julie Baxter | April 02, 2017 at 06:36 PM
Thanks old girl; it's not for me. - AOD
Posted by: Amos Oliver Doyle | April 02, 2017 at 08:46 PM
Amos, thanks for the link. Being new to this subject, I find that the article explains quite a bit about mediumship. Most useful. There is quite a bit to digest and get my head around.
I will give a response, once I've done this more thoughtfully. I don't want to upset anyone.
At the moment, I'm thinking more about the issue of M.R. Barrington. I know that I mentioned this; really as just a playful observation. Yet, the more I think about it, the more I feel that there maybe something in what I say?
Straight off, Barrington's interest in clairvoyance seems at odds with her previous role as chairperson of the British Voluntary Euthanasia Society.
I have to ask, if only to myself; Isn't this a clear case of a clash of interest? I mean, was this an attempt to get a conveyor-belt industry rolling? Just a thought.
Posted by: Stuart Certain | April 02, 2017 at 10:17 PM
The article below is the kind of thing I find very interesting. I see no obvious reason why the author should lie about her experience with Flint.
Admittedly, Flint bothers me a bit, not least because he speaks with Received Pronunciation despite coming from a very lowly and impoverished background. This suggests a degree of pretentiousness/insecurity in his character - depending on how one views such traits. And I can understand concern about the fact that several of the 'spirit voices' share obvious similarities; indeed that, and the breath sounds are what turned me away from Flint in the past. But I cannot easily get around the fact that he *was* stringently tested in a variety of situations, by highly-qualified, intelligent people. My intuition tells me that to dismiss this material out of hand is to throw the baby out with the bath water:
Posted by: Julie Baxter | April 03, 2017 at 11:29 AM
"I cannot easily get around the fact that he *was* stringently tested in a variety of situations, by highly-qualified, intelligent people."
There is faith. There is blind faith. And there is also, 'invested' faith. Despite the observations and acceptance of doubts previously expressed by Baxter, one seriously has to consider the possibility of 'invested' faith. Who are these 'highly qualified' people who are mentioned? Are they from the forensics department of New Scotland Yard?
Posted by: Stuart Certain | April 03, 2017 at 01:16 PM
I can find no evidence that Mary Rose Barrington was a former barrister, as is claimed.
Can anyone help?
Posted by: Stuart Certain | April 03, 2017 at 02:08 PM
Julie Baxter: Do you suppose that George Woods and Betty Greene spoke with "received pronunciation"? I believe that the translation in the link I provided to Stuart of Betty's speech reveals it as such. My intuition suggests that the photographs of Leslie reveal him to be a rather vacant-eyed, easily-manipulated older man. Since Flint had his mouth taped shut I don't see how it makes any difference what his grammar usage, speech pattern etc. was. Was "received pronunciation" Flint's normal speech?
I still think that Flint was a distraction and that Greene and Woods were the ones who really should have been tested. You indicated that there were some sessions where Greene and Woods were not present. Which one were they?
In the link you provided, Marion Dampier-Jeans reported an interchange between Flint and 'Mickey" which was interesting as an overlap of the voices was reported which certainly suggests that at least two people were conversing. Dampier-Jeans relates a story of a man in which "a message was received" from his dead wife 'Sue'.. The story doesn't say that "Sue" spoke, just that a message was received. And, don't you think that after knowing someone for 10 years that during that time information about the dead 'Sue' would have leaked out, however briefly in chit-chats between sitters and Flint before and after the séance? It must have become obvious over 10 years that the man was a widower.
I am not arguing with you, Julie I'm just commenting.
The report of people speaking a foreign language that was "Eastern European' and subsequently translated by a relative of Dampier-Jeans to be Polish seems to be very, very weak as hard evidence that the 'language' really was Polish. Then Dampier-Jeans' Danish father came through saying he "had learned a little English". Then in bad English acknowledged that she had been divorced. Well, here again, Dampier-Jeans had met Flint (and probably Greene and Woods since they were both mediums) at a "Psychic Dinner and Dance" attended by mediums. I have to think that during this initial meeting and the "dinner and dance" and probably at subsequent meetings, Dampier-Jeans may have mentioned, however briefly, that she was not married but had been divorced.
I am still open-minded enough to think that Flint or whoever might have been contacting spirits who were able to speak directly through a ectoplasmic 'voice box' but I think there are a lot of issues about the Flint (Greene Woods) recordings that need to be ferreted-out.- AOD
Posted by: Amos Oliver Doyle | April 03, 2017 at 06:47 PM
Yes, I do agree, Amos. It's a very convoluted source of evidence. Right now I'm simply trawling through as many recordings as I can - and following my intuition.
This, below, is my latest finding. It's Harry Price as recorded in a Leslie Flint sitting. Below that is a real life recording. I find both interestin (although, for some reason, I find the real life more amusing).
Posted by: Julie Baxter | April 03, 2017 at 07:01 PM
"Then Dampier-Jeans' Danish father came through saying he "had learned a little English".
Amos,...I find this odd. I mean, if the afterlife is as wonderful and enlightening as surmised; then languages would not, I assume, be a hindrance. I would assume that one could communicate with anyone they chose? In whatever language, Not only telepathically, but verbally. Are we to assume that a degree of separation by language, culture and race still exists upon that higher plain?
Posted by: Stuart Certain | April 03, 2017 at 07:21 PM
"Then Dampier-Jeans' Danish father came through saying he "had learned a little English".
Amos,...I find this odd. I mean, if the afterlife is as wonderful and enlightening as surmised; then languages would not, I assume, be a hindrance. I would assume that one could communicate with anyone they chose? In whatever language, Not only telepathically, but verbally. Are we to assume that a degree of separation by language, culture and race still exists upon that higher plain?
Posted by: Stuart Certain | April 03, 2017 at 07:21 PM
Amos, please explain:
"This whole Larry Flint fiasco reeks to high heaven of fraud."
"Apparently the ‘voice box’ was not really needed and was just for show; another distraction."
"I have to say that the so-called Leslie Flint tapes have thoroughly convinced me that there is no life after death."
And then; later:
"I am still open-minded enough to think that Flint or whoever might have been contacting spirits who were able to speak directly through a ectoplasmic 'voice box'"
I have to admit Amos, that I am scratching my head as to where you are coming from.
Do you believe or not?
Posted by: Stuart Certain | April 03, 2017 at 07:46 PM
Good point Stuart. - AOD
Posted by: Amos Oliver Doyle | April 03, 2017 at 08:00 PM
I can understand why you are confused Stuart. You will find that the more you study paranormal 'things' the more confused you will become. The whole field is rife with fraud. It is difficult to know what or whom to believe. Humans have their own agendas to promote and regardless of the education or intellect it is easy for all of us to be duped from time to time. Much of the information provided as evidence of another reality I accept as possible valid evidence but there is always the chance, especially with the old evidence that those who report it were mistaken or have other intentions.
Regarding the 'voice box' I think that it was a prop and a distraction ( a tenant of a magic act) because as I said previously it takes more than just a 'voice box' to produce audible sound and to speak with the fluidity which some of the 'spirits' were able to communicate. Unless the spirit world was able to construct some other mechanism that transmits sound from the hereafter, calling it ectoplasmic 'voice box', then I have to think that 'voice box, means something like the human larynx i.e. vocal chords.
The last quote of mine simply was agreeing ---for the moment--- that spirits really were able somehow to communicate using the ectoplasmic 'voice box'. You will find that when evaluating this paranormal stuff one needs to keep an open mind and that what at one time may seem impossible to me I have found that after reconsidering it and researching some more that I move closer to a view that perhaps whatever it is might be possible/true, supported by evidence . I never want to get so invested in something that I refuse to consider another explanation of it . - AOD
Posted by: Amos Oliver Doyle | April 03, 2017 at 08:51 PM
When I say that I am new to this 'medium business' I did not mean to suggest that I am unaware of paranormal issues per se. Having been subject to some, myself, I have to keep an open mind; if only to find an explanation for my own experiences. I am also of the opinion that certain forces, which I call; the 'forces of enchantment' (a term incidentally, which I have borrowed from Dr Leo Ruickbie, of the SPR) are natural forces which strive to keep this dimension from sliding into chaos. In doing so, matters concerning other dimensions are suppressed to the extent, as to make proof of such extremely difficult to find. I remind myself constantly of these forces when deliberating over paranormal issues. I do not jump to conclusions. I hope that gives you some understanding of where I am at, when I respond to comments, or indeed, post comments myself.
Posted by: Stuart Certain | April 04, 2017 at 12:01 AM
Yes, it does Stuart. Thanks for the information. I look forward to your views on things. - AOD
Posted by: Amos Oliver Doyle | April 04, 2017 at 12:18 AM
Yeah...well, it goes like that, I suppose. Light, I mean. On and off. One moment its there, the next;... it never was there. Inner and outer, it doesn't really matter. One flick of the switch. One last breath. And darkness rules. Forever. Or does it?
As a child, walking home from junior school, I was distracted one time by a buzzing noise emanating from a lamp-post. On closer inspection, the buzz was coming from the metal safety plate, behind which the wires were safely hid. Call me stupid. I decided to touch the plate. No, I didn't light up like a beacon. Must have been alternating, as opposed to direct current. What I did get, was an input of charge which make my whole body tremble; in tune with the loud buzz. Of course, I rapidly took my hand away. Less reasonably, I decided that; being still alive, I would touch the plate again. There was something within the vibration which I found strangely alluring. Over the course of a couple of weeks, and before the lamp got repaired, every day, on the way home from school, I would stop at the lamp-post to get my fix of this new found source of wonder.
Longer and longer I got to keep my hand upon the plate, revelling in this excited tingling sensation running throughout my small frame. And then, one day, an inner voice spoke to me. It told me that if I kept on doing this, then I would cook from the inside, out.
No matter, on I went until I could keep my hand there for five whole minutes!
A passing elderly man enquired of me what I was doing. When I told him, he quickly ordered me away from the source. The next day, I was most disappointed to find that the fault had been fixed. I began to keep a look out for other lamp-posts that had the same fault. Disappointedly, I found none. It didn't stop my interest though. Having the top bunk of a bunk-bed, I was within touching distance of the ceiling-light. Removing the bulb, I found that I got a similar sensation as before, although mainly confined to the hand and fingers, if I inserted my fingers into the space where the bulb normally resided.
It didn't please Mother too much when I asked her to watch, as I had something to show her. "Is the light switch on or off" I asked her as she came into the room. "Why?" she answered. "Look!" I went on, and pushed my fingers into the socket. "It doesn't hurt!" I exclaimed, excitedly. It had a definite effect upon Mother, though.
Posted by: Stuart Certain | April 05, 2017 at 01:33 PM
Entertaining story, Stuart; good writing! - AOD
Posted by: Amos Oliver Doyle | April 05, 2017 at 01:48 PM
Well thanks Amos, that's very kind of you.
I can now inform you that the Stuart Certain appreciation society consists of precisely; 1 (one) vote!
Posted by: Stuart Certain | April 05, 2017 at 09:52 PM
"I have to say that the so-called Leslie Flint tapes have thoroughly convinced me that there is no life after death. The real culprits in the Flint recordings are Betty Greene and George Woods. Leslie Flint can be bound and gagged with a mouth full of colored water for effect. That is just a distraction. It is really Woods and Greene who should have had their mouths tapped shut."
It is invalid to conclude a generalization from a single case. I have no opinion about Flint, but of course that does not say anything about other cases like John Sloan and other types of phenomena like ECMs, apparitions and people who remember their past lives.
Posted by: Juan | April 06, 2017 at 09:48 AM
Well Juan, we're talking about the Leslie Flint case here. Have you listened to any of the Flint recordings? If you have listened to them, surely you have an opinion about them. What do you think? Do the recordings provide good evidence of life after death or do they not? - AOD
Posted by: Amos Oliver Doyle | April 06, 2017 at 12:57 PM
Juan,.....Sorry, I'm being thick. What are ECMs?
Posted by: Stuart Certain | April 06, 2017 at 09:08 PM
Electronic Cash Machines?
Posted by: Stuart Certain | April 06, 2017 at 09:52 PM
Ectoplasmic Con Merchants?
Posted by: Stuart Certain | April 07, 2017 at 07:55 PM
Look, if it was me and this stuff was issuing forth; whether or not I was in a state of trance, I'd like a sample; to see what it actually was. If I saw photographs of myself with this 'substance' coming out of my nose, or sitting on my shoulder, then not only would I be deeply concerned; I'd be urging those around to get a sample.
Has anyone ever managed to get a sample? If so, what was it determined to be?
Posted by: Stuart Certain | April 07, 2017 at 08:07 PM
Yes I believe that some samples of ectoplasm have been reported to have been collected. As I recall they were said to be muslin, cheese cloth, paper or cloth coated with egg white or starch, strings, pins, magazine cut-outs and various other natural substances; often with body-odor aromas. It has also been reported that the collected sample disappeared before it could be analyzed. It would have really been interesting to have analyzed Leslie Flint's 'ectoplasmic voice box' not only to determine what it was made of but also to evaluate the design. Who really knows as these reports are usually reported by Skeptics and other unbelievers. As for me, I am an unbeliever. - AOD
Posted by: Amos Oliver Doyle | April 07, 2017 at 11:21 PM
I assume that when you say 'unbeliever' that you are expressing your viewpoint regarding the genuinity of Flint only. Or, all those that have produced this 'ectoplasm'? Personally, I am not close-minded as to the possibility of genuine clairvoyance. Earlier, you made reference to frustrated thespians. I think that you made a fair point. I can see how tempting it would be for underemployed actors/actresses to use their skills to bring in extra income; especially in the post-war years. Naturally, any such operation would have been clouded in secrecy, and for obvious reasons. I don't feel any personal dislike of those who were involved in this practice; I just think that it was a consequence of circumstances. And, of course, they strived to give people what they wished for. Hope. Overall, I don't believe that great harm was done; either to the public good or to those who have genuine belief in paranormal issues. It was of its time and, it has now had its day. That's how I feel about it, anyway.
Posted by: Stuart Certain | April 08, 2017 at 12:55 AM
Ectoplasm, floating trumpets, materializations, apports and direct voices do not make me a believer. I think that there is plenty of other good evidence to support a belief in the paranormal or to be more direct, a belief in another reality in which other conscious entities exist.
I tend to value the near death experiences reported by many people who have technically ’died’ and been resuscitated. I also think that some of the people who report past life experiences provide good evidence of something suggestive of survival of consciousness after death of the body. The possession case called “The Watseka Wonder” I find difficult to explain without considering the existence of spirits. The many years of study of Leonora Piper by Hodgson and Hyslop I think provide evidence of the existence of one or more consciousness not associated with a physical brain. D.D. Hume has me scratching my head to explain how he did what he did without help of spirits or someone else and I find the precipitated paintings of the Bangs sisters fascinating and not yet explained. And last but not least I believe that the Pearl Curran/Patience Worth case is perhaps the very best case of something beyond the normal. Whether or not it is communication with a spirit or reincarnation of a spirit I don’t know but that case is like a giant puzzle just waiting to be put together.
I also think that a few modern mental mediums provide good evidence not available by normal means. These include Christopher Stillar, John Edward, George Anderson and others who connect people with family members who have died.
I know it is trite to say that I think that people like Leslie Flint, George Woods and Betty Green were well-meaning people but I think that they truly were. I don’t think that they were trying to take advantage of anyone or make a lot of money. It is my understanding that they made little or nothing from the séances they provided. All three of those people were mediums who worked together and perhaps at times they truly did make contact with another world. But, they probably at times, as many other mediums did, fudged a bit when the spirits were not willing or able to come through to them. I do think that after many years and the notoriety they achieved, that they were invested in promoting a spiritual outlook on life. But I do think that the ectoplasmic voice box of Flint and others is just a silly distraction muddying-up what may have been real communication with spirits. And as I said before some people believe that the end justifies the means and a little lie here and there is seen as a legitimate way to bring others into the fold. On the one hand I agree with your thinking that no harm was done but on the other hand I think that people who resort to fakery provide what in actuality is false hope and do great deal of harm to man’s quest for the truth.
From my vantage point in 2017 who am I to say who or what is fake or real. Maybe all of the life I experience now is fake and my real life will be somewhere else. I don’t know. I know that there are those, some very smart people whom I respect, who think that ectoplasm is real, that is, it is paranormally generated; who think that materializations are real---so in a corner of my mind I leave a space for their views, thinking that well, maybe they are right and maybe I just don’t know enough yet. - AOD
Posted by: Amos Oliver Doyle | April 08, 2017 at 05:21 AM
I think that if any harm has been done, then it is mainly by giving ammunition to sceptics who then use this to cast aspersions upon other and genuine cases of paranormalia.
It feeds into an entrenched mindset. I am not saying that ectoplasm is not real. Its just that I cannot see how this etherized 'substance' can exist within our own dimension, in a recognisable form from the realm in which it originated; the astral-plane. Not that it is visible there, either. I believe that it acts as a dampener of sound upon that plane. If it did not have this property, then people would be picking up a cacophony of noise coming from that plane and we would not be able to function properly. I believe that it shows itself upon this (our) dimension as a result of interaction between two dimensions, and that it sometimes accompanies visitations from other entities. It shows itself upon our dimension as dampness; sometimes forming small pools of what appears to be water. It makes no sound as it falls or drips, and its silent descent is why we may view these liquid pools as miraculously appearing, as if from nowhere.
Posted by: Stuart Certain | April 08, 2017 at 11:04 AM
A commenter above said above Flint was never caught in fraud. Problem with this statement is that he was never investigated by experienced researchers. It was mostly committed spiritualists who attended his séances.
I only know of one case where a psychical researcher sat with Flint. This was with Donald J. West of the SPR. It was discovered after the séance that the tape on Flint's mouth had been moved. After this suspicious activity Flint denied further tests with West.
I have listened to Flint's tapes they sound nothing like the people they were meant to be when alive, for example Harry Price sounds nothing like Harry Price.
As for Flint's 'ectoplasm' voicebox there is a picture of it online hanging on his shoulder. I am afraid it looks like a piece of cheesecloth. I don't think Flint will by endorsed by critically minded people. Over the years all I see is credulous spiritualists spouting out his same as evidence for a spirit world.
I am yet to find a decent physical medium above suspicious of fraud.
Posted by: Harvey | April 08, 2017 at 11:30 PM
Amos, the Watseka Wonder case was pretty much critically examined by a researcher from the ASPR, his name was Addington Bruce. Instead of a far-fetched unconfirmed paranormal ideas, natural psychology explain this case much better. Looks like a case of dissociative disorder to me.
You check out his critical evaluation of the case in his book "Historic Ghosts and Ghost Hunters", here it is online:
There is also a chapter on D. D. Home in there to.
Posted by: Harvey | April 08, 2017 at 11:40 PM
Harvey, thanks for posting that interesting link.
It is interesting to note that, whilst of the opinion that natural psychology was the cause of this possession, the investigator readily accepts the notion of telepathy playing a role.
So, supernatural rather than paranormal would appear to be his judgement. The fact that he resorts to such an explanation would suggest that he struggled to find an explanation.
Has telepathy ever been considered to be acceptable as being; natural psychology?
Posted by: Stuart Certain | April 09, 2017 at 01:09 AM
Stuart it is true Addington Bruce was a believer in telepathy, he was a member of the ASPR (all psychical researchers believe in an element of paranormal to some degree or another they are not total skeptics), but that case is best explained as a case of dissociation and suggestion. Was telepathy involved? I don't know it may have been but I do not think it was required to explain the case. I just know the spirit hypothesis doesn't hold up in that one.
As for telepathy no it is not natural, it is very much in the domain of the paranormal. Bruce thought that most cases can be explained by dissociation, suggestion, hysteria or fraud as and a minority by telepathy. He reminds me of Frank Podmore. These were the "critical" psychical researchers who didn't go the full way of being militant skeptics ( they kept a belief in telepathy or the "subliminal mind" of Myers) but everything else they gave naturalistic explanation.
These type of researchers for some reason are too critical for some paranormal believers and have often been criticized by spiritualists. For example Julie Baxter will only support someone who believes in absolutely all paranormal phenomena. Someone like Bruce is apparently unreliable for being too skeptical. I have encountered this sort of attitude elsewhere on the web. I do not understand it personally. The best psychical researchers in my opinion were the most critical minded ones. And the best criticisms of parapsychology have actually come from the researchers themselves in the past although this is not widely known. I guess I am thinking here of Theodore Besterman, Walter Franklin Prince, Frank Podmore, Harry Price, Alice Johnson, Eleanor Sidgwick, Simeon Edmunds and some of the researchers Amos mentioned.
Posted by: Harvey | April 09, 2017 at 09:53 PM
Harvey, what am I to think?
The events began on the 11th June 1877. A 'Doctor Hodgson' is mentioned. The girl suffered fits. She called her father "Old Black Dick."
Compare the Enfield Poltergeist case.
The noted events began upon the 30th August 1977. The family name is 'Hodgson.' Janet had occasional fits. The name of one of the voices is: 'Dirty Dick.'
Excuse my suspicious nature, but until such time as I can ascertain the truthfulness of the publication; "Historic Ghosts and Ghost Hunters," then, I'm afraid that I have to consider the possibility of a very clever fraud being perpetrated against myself.
Disinformation is a 'dark art.'
Posted by: Stuart Certain | April 10, 2017 at 12:45 AM
Thanks for the link to "Historic Ghosts and Ghost Hunters" by Addington Bruce. I always enjoy reading these old accounts of the paranormal or in the Lurancy Vennum case, an opinion piece explaining everything without resorting to the involvement of spirits. Bruce’s opinion of the case is not unique in that other similar cases and not so similar cases are often ‘explained’ by opining telepathy, clairvoyance, and suggestion as was done by Bruce in the Vennum case. Today, the case would be explained by the more modern term ‘super-psi’ perhaps or Freudian childhood abuse. There isn’t a lot of strong evidence that telepathy, clairvoyance or super-psi actually exist but they are often used when there is no other acceptable mainstream explanation for a case like Lurancy Vennum. It should be acknowledged that Bruce give his opinion and published his book 30 years after Lurancy Vennum was possessed by Mary Rolf.
Often the terms ‘multiple personality disorder’ or ‘dissociative identity disorder’ are used to give a medico-psychological flavor of learned science supporting the analysis of a case like Vennum’s. There is little evidence that those disorders are real pathology and I think they are often used to diagnose and label people who are in fact possessed by some other entity or entities.
I was enlightened somewhat after reading Morton Prince’s book “The Dissociation of a Personality”, often cited to support the multiple personality disorder diagnosis. In that study, ‘Christine Beauchamp’ (Clara Norton Fowler) and her dominant second personality---‘Sally’, were studied by Dr. Prince during which time Prince discovered what he thought were additional personalities e.g., “sleeping Christine”, “Sleeping Sally” and one or two others. Eventually Prince claimed credit for merging all of the personalities except Sally who was the main secondary personality to begin with. It is an interesting read and I recommend it for those who are involved in treating people for psychological disorders. Often studies such as Prince’s study are quoted to support therapies for persons appearing with bizarre behaviors blatantly suggesting spirit possession but which modern materialistic science cannot abide and I think that, sometimes or often, people who cite such cases to support their views have never read the book or case report. AIso, I think that Dr. Prince and Miss Beauchamp were involved in a kind of pas de deux over the many years of therapy where they both played off of each other in a kind of self-fulfilling diagnosis and its resolution. - AOD
Posted by: Amos Oliver Doyle | April 10, 2017 at 02:59 AM
"There isn’t a lot of strong evidence that telepathy, clairvoyance or super-psi actually exist but they are often used when there is no other acceptable mainstream explanation"
"Often the terms ‘multiple personality disorder’ or ‘dissociative identity disorder’... There is little evidence that those disorders are real pathology and I think they are often used to diagnose and label people who are in fact possessed by some other entity or entities."
Amos, once again you have confused the matter by stating 'seemingly' opposing views.
On the one hand you are dismissive of supernatural/paranormal explanations. On the other hand, you are dismissive of what you term; 'real pathology.'
Are you playing a game?
Posted by: Stuart Certain | April 10, 2017 at 09:42 AM
"These type of researchers for some reason are too critical for some paranormal believers and have often been criticized by spiritualists. For example Julie Baxter will only support someone who believes in absolutely all paranormal phenomena."
Please don't make false, public statements about me such as the above. You know little or nothing about me and I have absolutely no idea who you are - other than that you're another spineless no-b*lls who hasn't even the guts or honesty to post under their true identity.
For the record: I believe that psi per se exists. I do not believe that all psi phenomena are genuine or that all who demonstrate purported psi abilities are genuine. I respect anyone with a healthy scepticism with regard to these matters, but I do not respect lazy pseudo-sceptics who have nothing better to offer than to quote contrived and manipulated Wikipedia entries. Such people have no place in any kind of honest discussion.
Bottom line: leave your weaseling, false assumptions about me out of the discussion in future, thank you.
Posted by: Julie Baxter | April 10, 2017 at 12:29 PM
Julie Baxter, Are we friends now?
Posted by: Stuart Certain | April 10, 2017 at 12:39 PM
We were never enemies, Stewart. You just got on the wrong side of me . . . . . for a while. ;)
Posted by: Julie Baxter | April 10, 2017 at 12:49 PM