Thursday, February 6, 2014

Current Interests

Due to personal experience and knowledge of the experiences of others with whom I have had close relations, I have been forced to conclude that popular dictums against psychic phenomena are false, and personal inquiry revealed the falsehood of the key arguments disputing reports of it since the beginning of the popular antagonism against it in the West to the present time. I formerly had a great detail of preliminary commentary here, however, the issues require much more serious attention to detail - therefore, I have created a research project on Wikiversity: https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Parapsychology/Sources/Steigmann

detailed discussion between myself and a person helping me occurs here: https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/User_talk:Ben_Steigmann

In the comments, there is a dispute between myself and a counter-advocate - the material in the above two items controverts claims of his not already controverted in the dispute.

I feel that there are immense implications to this for human understanding and human potential that are squandered because of culturally conditioned bigotry against it that I will attempt to analyze later.

Aside from this, as a means of improving the personal and societal condition, I have taken up a deep interest in natural health, and very much appreciate the databases from Greenmedinfo and the Life Extension Foundation.

I am working on countering the historical misrepresentations levied against Linus Pauling's Orthomolecular Medicine by providing the overlooked responses of the proponents to the critics. Given that I am busy with other issues, I have only put up a preliminary overview, though I will massively expand this later: https://archive.org/details/ReplyToApaTfr7

And I agree with him totally that optimum nutrition is the desirable medicine - if the enough work is done, it may, in accordance with his desire, as of yet become the medicine of the future.

Finally, I am beginning to delve into the work of the economic reformer Henry George, but used towards alleviating Statist excesses and ultimately something to use put towards increasing anarchy, and I desire to come up with similar forms that could challenge existing monopolies and then ultimately become anarchic in the monetary system. Adjunctive to this are some of the proposals of the anarchist Bob Black. I am also appreciative of the efforts of Michel Chossudovsky and others with the Centre for Research on Globalization, though I believe that many of the writers of that organization are duped by fallacious Marxist arguments, and that their analysis, while useful, is limited in scope. My previous posts on this site provide a perspective that is important to consider in conjunction with theirs.

24 comments:

  1. Hey Ben,

    This is Fodor Fan here (Leon) we spoke before. Regarding the D. D. Home fire thing? Alfred Wallace talks about it as a paranormal feat but there is a naturalistic explanation regarding the use of chemicals... it was a magician trick.

    It's found in the book by the magician Henry Evans "Hours With the Ghosts Or Nineteenth Century Witchcraft".

    It's online. He believes Home was a mixture of fraud and genuine psychic phenomena. You might find the book interesting. The book was later reprinted under the name "The Spirit World Unmasked".

    Sorry I don't edit Wikipedia anymore (on my ip) or on my account Fodor - I closed them. I was heavily interested in mediumship and Lamarckism but have given those subjects up. I don't research the subject anymore the last thing I did was debate Open Mind on it a few months ago but I began to realise that Walter Franklin Prince should be respected. I am willing to admit skeptics have made some mistakes. I remain unconvinced about physical mediumship or any kind of mediumship and I won't be delving into the subject anymore. Always interesting to read your perspective. Keep up the good work.

    By the way I can send you a book you may want for your further research:

    You can find the book online free if you search.

    Spiritualism's challenge; submitting to modern thinkers conclusive evidence of survival, by Dr. Edwin F. Bowers. It has a defence of the some of the mediums you have written about, and a criticism of Joseph Jastrow. He concludes many mediums were frauds but some were genuine.

    Did you ever manage to track down a copy of Simeon Edmunds book? It was the best I have read on the subject. I studies this subject for years and the only researchers I think are worth listening to are the psychical researchers Harry Price, Simeon Edmunds, Frank Podmore, Walter Franklin Prince and the skeptic Joseph McCabe. Having read most of their books I basically have obtained what I want to know about mediumship. It's a tiring subject filled with all kinds of contradictory claims and bogs you down but good luck with it.

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    1. I know you haven't dealt with this on your blog but when I debated Open Mind he was very anti-Harry Price. He even managed to fool me with some of his material.

      After I finished the debate with OM because the topic was still on my mind I went back to read Paul Tabori's biography of Price and Peter Underwood and Tabori's book on the Borley Rectory. I am convinced Price was not a fraud in anything related to psychical matters. The photograph of Rudi Schneider freeing his arm was not faked, Schneider was a fraud. It would be an endless debate to open it up here, but I do not recommend the biography of Price by Richard Morris it is heavily biased filled with assumptions and unsupported accusations like claiming Price slept and made the medium Stella C pregnant and paid privately for her to have an abortion. The book even claims Price was linked to the Piltdown man hoax... the book is basically nothing more than attacks against Price from rumours or the authors own agenda against Price.

      The odd thing about Richard Morris is he is a skeptic of all paranormal phenomena. So when he says Price set up Rudi Schneider, William Hope etc he is not defending the mediums because he even suggests Price has faked their phenomena! For example he thinks with the séances with Stella C, Price was doing the movement of objects in the room etc. It is absolutely ludicrous. The biography by Morris may be cited by spiritualists but it is anti-spiritualist in it's conclusions. John Randall wrote a negative review for it which can be found online.

      Regarding William Hope you can read criticism about how he faked the photographs by Hereward Carrington (in several books), Walter Franklin Prince and Harry Price. I don't need to read anymore on that. Massimo Polidoro has written an article on it.

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    2. Regarding Henry Slade what are your thoughts about Stanley LeFevre Krebs catching him in fraud (swapping slates) from a secret mirror?

      BTW this is really weird. But if you read Joseph Rinn's book there is mention that when Slade died (he died in a mental home as an alcoholic) they checked him and his records and he was a hermaphrodite (which he admitted once) ?? Martin Gardner also mentions this.

      Joesph Rinn called the hospital and the doctor confirmed Slade was a hermaphrodite. (page 272 in Are Universes Thicker Than Blackberries by Martin Gardner). Gardner has a whole chapter debunking Slade including the Zollner experiments, you would need to purchase the book it is not online, it also has a negative chapter on Leonora Piper and fraudulent Russian psychics. Sorry I don't remember much more.

      Harry Houdini also mentions a confession from Slade, this was also picked up by another skeptical writer Andrew Neher. Open Mind had doubts about the confession. Sorry I don't have time to look into it in any depth. Perhaps you can.

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    3. I have not yet acquired the books of Price and Edmonds. I am however acquiring "The Table-Rappers" and "Psychic Paradoxes". They may be problematic, because of the former, Michael Prescott asserted severe twisting of the facts: http://michaelprescott.typepad.com/michael_prescotts_blog/2006/10/sleight_of_mind.html, of the latter, in some areas it appears tendentious at best: http://michaelprescott.freeservers.com/r-101.html

      You have also made some other errors in your articles - re Geraldine Cummins, the article "Swan on a Black Sea: How Much Could Miss Cummins Have Known" does not establish fraud, but merely asserts that in important areas, natural causes were not ruled out: https://ia701200.us.archive.org/13/items/NotesonSpiritualismandPsychicalResearch/SwanOnABlackSea-HowMuchCouldCummingsHaveKnown-BarringtonJsprVolume43_pg289to300.pdf

      For evidence in favor of the Cummins mediumship, see: https://ia701200.us.archive.org/13/items/NotesonSpiritualismandPsychicalResearch/SomeRecentCommunicationsReceivedThroughMissCommings-GibbsJsprVolume34_pg32to43.pdf

      Likewise, your sources contra Gladys Leonard are tendentious at best, and in some cases are in conflict with the content of the primary sources. This is something you can discover for yourself.

      There appear to be some other errors - e.g., Hanussen predicted Hitler's chancellery at a time when such a prediction was held to be implausible.

      It is important to not be blinded by prior prejudice, and realize that many of the writers you refer to had an axe to grind.

      I don't need to get in an endless debate about this though. If you still have an interest in this, a text that helped me to resolve many of the issues brought up in our exchanges is "Immortal Longings: F.W.H. Myers and the Victorian Search for Life After Death" by Trevor Hamilton, which I have just acquired. It has been positively reviewed: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3143887/

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  2. Ben,

    I think it would be worthwhile your time if you look up psychics like Pascal Forthuny and Raphael Schermann. They have been forgotten about. They are not on Wikipedia or mainstream websites. No skeptical material exists on them. As far as I know none of them were caught in fraud. I am not saying I believe their claims as I don't believe in the paranormal, but the stuff isn't embarrassing like cheesecloth ectoplasm in séance rooms or mediums dressing up as spirits. Do a Google search for "ectoplasm" in images, all images of it are beyond stupid. For example you have defended Eva C but type her in Google image and her "ectoplasm" is nothing more than cardboard cut-outs or newspaper clippings etc. I don't recommend wasting time on such nonsense if you are trying to make a case for psychic powers.

    There's other psychics like Stefan Ossowiecki that might be worth looking into. I was impressed by some of the automatic writings by Grace Rosher but she was debunked by Simeon Edmunds. Rosemary Brown has also been debunked. It's hard to find a psychic that has not been debunked.

    I recommend putting some time in trying to dig up long lost forgotten psychics like Raphael Schermann. He was not exposed like many of the false mediums. Paul Tabori writes about him in his book "Crime and the Occult: A Forensic Study".

    You might be interested in Erik Jan Hanussen, he was a psychic who managed to trick Hitler. The list goes on there's many of the little known psychics. I don't have time to read about them anymore. Harry Price mentions hundreds of them in his book Fifty years of Psychical Research. Most of the information is not online, or if it is it's only in a minority of sources.

    As you are focusing on physical mediums, I would be interested in knowing your thoughts about Jan Guzyk or Maria Silbert. They were two mediums exposed as frauds by Harry Price and Walter Franklin Prince.

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  4. I am engaged in a long attempt to delve into this, and am starting out with the 19th century mediums. Regarding Home - yes, you could make mention of the magicians trick, but the important point is the transference of in-combustibility mentioned in those accounts. Carrington compares Home's phenomena to fraudulent phenomena, and states the difference - to the extent that he cites independently verifiable sources or : https://archive.org/stream/physicalphenomen00carr#page/402/mode/2up

    I will state that if you accumulate the material (but in this case use google books to track down references) in Inglis' "Natural and Supernatural", Stephen Braude's "Limits of Influence", and most importantly, Elizabeth Jenkins "The Shadow and the Light".

    On Home, it is important to remember that Eric Dingwall was a very strong skeptic, but he positively reviewed Jenkins' book as follows, from the SPR bibliography:
    Jenkins, Elizabeth. THE SHADOW AND THE LIGHT, reviewed by E.J. Dingwall, Journal 52, 1983, pp. 143-7. Biography of the nineteenth century D.D. Home. ‘It is one of the best written and most original of the biographies, since the author not only writes as a believer in the genuine nature of the phenomena occurring with Home, but stresses the importance of dealing with Home as a person rather than simply as a medium and exposes the unworthiness of those who, when he was alive, sought to denigrate both him and his work…’ BR/PM/Biog/dh

    Podmore is completely overrated as an analyst. Elizabeth Jenkens notes, on p. 254 of her biography, "The Homes were in Nice in 1872 and Hamilton Aide, with Alphonse Karr the editor of Le Figaro, were able to attend a seance, Karr, who was noted for irony and skepticism, announcing that he should soon get to the bottom of the thing. They were shown into a large room, sparsely furnished, the tables, mostly of marble, without cloths, the scene brightly lit by a lamp on the centre table and twenty candles on the chimney piece. The visitors scanned the room narrowly but could detect no trace of apparatus or machinery; but presently a large arm-chair rushed violently towards them across the room, then the central table began to tilt so that they could see under it as well as over it. Podmore's suggested explanation for this type of phenomena is:-'the articles were probably, it may be suggested, held in position when the table was tilted by means of hairs or fine threads attached to Home's dress'. This ingenious supposition did not present itself to Hamilton Aide or to Karr, who was irritated and nonplussed."

    James Hyslop questioned Podmore's reliability in cases where he made a priori dismissals (like physical phenomena) - see the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, vol. 13, June 1919, beginning on p. 354 of the pdf (p. 327 of the document): http://www.iapsop.com/archive/materials/aspr_proceedings/aspr_journal_v13_1919.pdf

    His views are supported with some of the material given. As for McCabe, he may be an interesting source for some matters, but his books lack adequate sourcing, and have more than one misrepresentation. His "Spiritualism: A Popular history" lacks the offensive quality of his other work, but if one had not read other literature, one might be swayed by his extremely biased account.

    Regarding Henry Slade, CC Massey, who defended him, put it best when he stated that he combined genuine phenomena and trickery (as cited in Inglis, I will attempt to get the source later).

    Without getting into the details, though I disagree with the main attacks on him, it is clear that Slade was a bit of a trickster.
    I was unaware of Krebs' expose of Slade, but it would be unsurprising that he would make such an allegation. The following attempted defense of the Bangs sisters would, however, if the sources check out, caution us against accepting blindly the word of Carrington and Krebs: http://www.the-voicebox.com/bangsisters.htm

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  5. I disagree with Carrington's views of Slade for a number of reasons:
    1) As an example of puzzling phenomena produced by Slade, "Transcendental Physics" by Zollner records a table vanishing and reappearing in Slade's presence: http://www.freewebs.com/afterlife/articles/Table.htm
    On pp. 103-105, Zollner discusses something else that is very interesting that I find it difficult to account for - I could not find reference to a "shell" in this context in Carrington's book, and he describes modifications to the temperature in a way that is difficult to account for: http://books.google.com/books?id=g9cRAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=transcendental+physics+zollner&hl=en&sa=X&ei=CS_1UtXnM6iY2wXahYGwAQ&ved=0CDoQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=shell&f=false

    A.C. Doyle may have been credulous in some cases, but I don't think he was insincere, and he is useful as a historian - on p. 301 of "A History of Spiritualism", vol. 1, he states reasons for putting faith in Zollner's account: https://archive.org/stream/historyofspiritu015638mbp#page/n315/mode/2up

    2) Richet corroborates the Slade phenomena, citing, in"Thirty Years of Psychical Research", p. 410, the evidence of P. Gibier that is highly compelling.

    Regarding Harry Price - the other problem is that he is contradicted at every turn by reliable sources. I agree that fraud is not proven, and the following review of Randall that I was aware of does not totally repudiate Morris' work, but it does note its bias. The relevant part is: "It so happens that a few years ago I undertook a detailed examination of one of Price's best cases: the mediumship of Stella Cranshaw (Randall, 2001). I discovered hidden patterns in the data which had not been noticed by Price, and I came to the conclusion that the phenomena could not be explained by fraud, either on the part of Price alone or by Price and Stella in collusion. The simplistic dismissal of all Price's work as fraudulent does not do justice to the surviving evidence.": http://www.harrypricewebsite.co.uk/BooksabtHP/psychic-detective-review-randall.htm

    With respect to everything else, there is contradiction from reliable sources. Thus Price's views on Helen Duncan are in complete conflict with the endorsement of her by the notable magician Will Goldston: http://whitecrowbooks.com/features/page/helen_duncan_confounds_the_magicians_by_will_goldston

    With respect to Schneider, there is conflicting evidence - some experts have denounced Gregory's hypotheisi, others have rejected it. Brian Inglis, in "Science and Parascience" (1984), pp. 252-253, noted: "But there was another possibility, which Osty, understandably angry with Price, hinted at: that Price had actually faked the photographs. After examining the negatives in detail, Mrs Gregory realised there were good grounds for this suspicion. They were to be confirmed by Colin Brookes-Smith, a photographic expert, whose opinion was that in the photograph which Price had used to damn Rudi, Price had superimposed the extended arm with the help of a double exposure."

    Aside from that, for the Rudi Schneider case, fist, consult the following debate: http://forum.mind-energy.net/scientific-debates/5928-rudi-schneider-case-example-errors-galore-wikipedia-so-called-skeptics.html

    , and pay attention to the word ALSO, capitalized thusly in one of the posts by "Open Mind", after the first page - these disprove the other main fraud assertion. For the Price assertion - I agree with OM that in light of conflicting evidence, up to date computer analysis will solve the problem. Will Goldston attested to the genuineness of Rudi Schneider.

    With respect to William Hope, Morris may want to paint Price with a black brush, but again, there is counter evidence to Price, and Morris' bias does not invalidate his entire argument. With respect to Crookes and Hope, see Medhurst & Goldney p. 125: http://www.deanradin.com/evidence/Medhurst1964.pdf

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  6. As for Price & Hope, Morris states, " I wrote that although Harry stated that he passed the supposedly faked plate to an independent photographer to develop they were in fact developed by one of Harry’s close friends, Charles Reginald Haines. Haines was also implicated in Price’s attempt at passing off fake antiquities and a staged robbery at a village church in the 1920s." - p. 108 of this: http://www.woodlandway.org/PDF/PP3.5May07..pdf

    If this is true, then Price, merely for lying about who he sent the plates to, is impeached as a witness. This becomes all the more problematic when you realize that there is contradictory evidence on Hope - as Brian Inglis notes in his "The Paranormal: An Encyclopedia of Psychic Phenomena" (p. 132), "as Sudre ["Treatise on Parapsychology", London, 1960] emphasized, there were also tests of Hope's spirit photographs which gave positive results - at least to the point of producing recognizable human forms or faces. One was undertaken by an expert conjuror, Dr Lindsay Johnson, in 1921. Johnson brought all the equipment himself and - presumably aware of the earlier accusations against Hope - refused to allow him to come near it, except in a test where Hope was allowed to put his hands in a box which contained unexposed plates. Of eight photographs which Johnson took and developed, three had an 'extra' - as spirit forms had come to be called - two of them identifiable human. And on one of the exposed plates in the box, two in the middle had 'extras' - 'one showed four heads of the same person, and the other a photograph which had appeared the day before' - evidence which sufficed to convince Johnson."

    Finally, regarding materialization, it is important to realize that there exists cross-cultural correlations - e.g., from St. Augustine: https://archive.org/stream/psychicalsuperno00joirrich#page/462/mode/2up

    The problem with Eva C is not whether or not the pictures are absurd (though some are more compelling: http://0.tqn.com/d/arthistory/1/0/U/5/03_8.TheMediumEvaC.jpg - from: http://arthistory.about.com/library/weekly/sp/bl_perfmed_rev.htm), but whether or not they were produced in fraudulent means. You distrust Schrenck-Notzing and Richet because of the Lambert article, though Inglis, in "Science and Parascience", defends them against that article, and Richet notes corroboration from Dingwall, writing, in "Thirty Years of Psychical Research":
    "The official reports of the séances lead to very distinct inferences; it seems that though the external conditions were unfavourable to success, some results were very clear and that it is impossible to refer the phenomena to fraud. Nevertheless, our learned colleagues of the SPR came to no conclusion. They admit that the only possible trickery is regurgitation. But what is meant by that? How can masses of mobile substance, organised as hands, faces and drawings be made to emerge from the oesophagus or the stomach? No physiologist would admit such power to contract those organs at will in this manner. How, when the medium's hands are tied and held could papers be unfolded, put away and made to pass, through a veil? The members of the SPR, when they fail to understand, say 'It is difficult to understand how this is produced.' Mr. Dingwall, who is an expert in legerdemain, having seen the ectoplasm emerge as a miniature hand, making signs before disappearing, says 'I attach no importance to this.' We may be permitted to remark that very great importance attaches to Mr. Dingwall's testimony."

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  7. Shrenck-Notzing refuted three main points of skepticism of Eva C. in aspects of his writing "The Phenomena of Materialization", that are reproduced here:
    1) "The Rumination Hypothesis": http://www.survivalafterdeath.info/articles/notzing/rumination.htm
    2) "Front Page Illustrations from the Journal Le Miroir": http://www.survivalafterdeath.info/articles/notzing/miroir.htm
    3) and most importantly, "Expert Opinion on the Fraudulent use of Certain Materials in Producing Teleplasmic Images": http://www.survivalafterdeath.info/articles/notzing/expert.htm

    Regarding "people dressing up as spirits", a full defense of Florence Cook has been given above: http://www.victorzammit.com/articles/sirwilliam.html

    In order to determine the genuineness of that, we need to have a situation where both the medium and "spirit" are seen in the same room, and where the "spirit" is seen in plain view materializing and dematerializing. Something approaching these conditions is given here: https://ia601200.us.archive.org/13/items/NotesonSpiritualismandPsychicalResearch/Foreign%20Comments%20on%20Florence%20Cooks%20Mediumship%20-%20Zorab%20%28Proceedings%20Vol%2054%20March%201964%29026.pdf

    However, Richet notes, in "Thirty Years of Psychical Research", notes, "atie King had long before announced that she would be able
    to remain with her medium only for a short time, and that she
    must soon bid her farewell. The last séance was on May 21, 1874.
    There was then a dramatic scene at which Sir William Crookes
    was present. Katie gave her last instructions, and went to Miss
    Cook who was lying insensible on the floor. Katie touched her
    and said, Wake up, Florence, I must now leave you. Miss Cook
    awoke and with tears besought Katie to remain with her, but in
    vain; Katie of the white robe disappeared. Crookes held up the
    fainting medium and Katie was seen no more.

    Other interesting experiments were made with Miss Cook by
    various persons. Florence Marryat (quoted by Erny, p 145)
    says: "Katie King stood by the wall of the room, with both arms
    extended as if crucified. Three gas-jets threw a bright light upon
    her. The effect was stupefying. She remained so for about one
    second, then began to disintegrate; her features became nebulous,
    the eyes retreated into their orbits, the nose disappeared, and
    then the brows, then the limbs seemed to drop apart to the floor; at
    last only part of the head and some white garments remained, then
    all vanished."

    In conclusion, I very much appreciate your recommendation of "Spiritualism's challenge; submitting to modern thinkers conclusive evidence of survival".

    Getting back to me in a year would be better, as I have limited time. I agree that Stefan Ossowiecki is interesting. Ian Stevenson, a more respected parapsychologist, wrote on him: http://books.google.com/books/about/A_World_In_A_Grain_Of_Sand.html?id=ugV-AAAAMAAJ

    I will probably write an ebook containing the results of my research in this, and await criticism on that, but for now, this is a work in progress. I would much appreciate if you allow me to develop the material, before further commentary, and I will make it available to you. It will attempt to answer the skeptical criticisms, which I appreciate you making available, or concede the case, and it will be an attempt to do what Robert McLuhan attempted, but failed to do.

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  8. According to your posts in the Rudi Schneider debate, you used to be interested in mental mediumship, but felt that there were contradictions in the accounts of mental mediums, and that they were simply conveying the contents of their subconscious. I have seen reference to, and will acquire, "The Supreme Adventure" by Robert Crookall. As advertised, it is an attempt to demonstrate an underlying uniformity of the contents of disparate mediumistic messages, that in different ways, they are describing the same thing. As such, it is a complement to "At the Hour of Death" by Osis and Haraldsson: http://www.questia.com/library/144509/what-they-saw-at-the-hour-of-death

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  9. Ben,

    I don't believe in the paranormal, only nature exists for me. I used to believe in the paranormal but over the years I have read so many skeptical books I don't need to see anything else, all psychic stuff is just conjuring tricks or wishful thinking. I used to be a spiritualist but I realised it was all nonsense.

    If spirits exist anyone should be able to see them not "select" mediums and there's no reason they would only appear in dark rooms. If they were real with all the technology and cameras we have in this generation we would have observed one by now. If spirits were real when they die they would just come back and reveal themselves easily without the need for any "medium" or séance room. The whole dark séance room is just a scam to con people.

    I think it's a case of wishful thinking. I know some people seek hope to meet loved ones from an afterlife but there's no evidence it exists. Evidence from neuroscience and physics shows us when we are dead we are dead. There's no evidence consciousness can exist separate from neural activity, there is no dualism. If you look in nature there's unfortunately insects, animals and plants dying all the time. Do ants, rats, snakes make it to the spirit world? What about dinosaurs? If there's a spirit world wouldn't they be eating everyone lol.

    I would like there to be an afterlife but it just seems too good to be true, a fantasy. Considering humans have destroyed the planet I don't think we would deserve an afterlife anyway. It gives me great comfort knowing humans are not going to survive death. I am a misanthrope, I have suffered from depression for years. I lost hope in humanity. There's nothing special about humans. There's no supernatural God. I don't want to read about mediumship anymore but sometimes I get the urge to go back to it, I just spend my time in nature now.

    Anyway there are contradictions with what the spiritualists say. The spiritualists claim the afterlife is mental and controlled by thought but how does that work? It makes no sense. What about criminals? Wouldn't they just cause havoc in this spirit world lol. There's so many inconsistencies. They say people build houses in the afterlife out of their thought to create "astral" matter, it's so stupid and hard to believe. If there is an afterlife there's no evidence it will be a "spirit" world or eternally. I will briefly comment on some of your stuff but that will be it.

    I am in the process of moving backwards and forwards from the UK to New Zealand where I will be living soon because of my job. I was thinking of writing an e-book to defend Harry Price but I really can't be bothered. I have sold all my books. I got interested in spiritualism at age 16, over the years I collected 1000s of books both pro and con. I have made my mind up on the subject, but everyone has there own take on it I guess.


    Some of me still wants to believe in an afterlife it's a case of wishful thinking but I have accepted that there probably is no afterlife. It's uncomfortable for some people but we have to accept the possibility of this.

    I have read all the stuff you have collected and it's loads and loads. It's an endless topic. I have given up researching it. I am probably a similar age to you, I am 22 by the way. I studied at university and earned a degree in ecology. I am interested in natural sciences.

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    1. I will conclude by noting the points collected by Dr. Jeffrey Long, NDE researcher, severely challenge materialist explanations and seem to indicate the existence of a soul - as follows - these are his “9 lines of evidence” - point 3 is particularly important: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/717604#1
      The 9 Lines of Evidence from Evidence of the Afterlife
      1. Crystal-clear consciousness. The level of consciousness and alertness during NDEs is usually greater than that experienced in everyday life, even though NDEs generally occur when a person is unconscious or clinically dead [flatline EEG]. In addition, the elements in NDEs generally follow the same consistent and logical order in all age groups and cultures.
      2. Realistic out-of-body experiences. Out-of-body experiences are among the most common elements of NDEs, and what is seen or heard is almost always realistic. Even if out-of-body-experience observations include events that occur far from the physical body, and far from any possible sensory awareness of the patient, they are almost always confirmed to be completely accurate.
      3. Heightened senses. Heightened senses are reported by most people who have experienced NDEs, and normal or supernormal vision has occurred in those with significantly impaired vision, and even legal blindness. Several people who have been totally blind since birth have reported highly visual NDEs.
      4. Consciousness during anesthesia. Many NDEs occur while a person is under general anesthesia, at a time when any conscious experience should be impossible. Although there is speculation that these NDEs are the result of too little anesthesia, some result from anesthesia overdose.
      5. Perfect playback. Life reviews in NDEs include real events that took place in the lives of those having the experience, even if the events were forgotten or happened before the person was old enough to remember.
      6. Family reunions. During a NDE, the people encountered are virtually always deceased, and are usually relatives of the person having the NDE; sometimes they are even relatives who died before the patient was born.
      7. Children's experiences. The NDEs of children, including children who are too young to have developed concepts of death, religion, or NDEs, are essentially identical to those of older children and adults.
      8. Worldwide consistency. NDEs appear remarkably consistent around the world, and across many different religions and cultures. NDEs in non-Western countries are incredibly similar to those that occur in Western countries.
      9. Aftereffects. It is common for people to experience major life changes after having NDEs. These aftereffects are often powerful, lasting, and life-enhancing, and the changes generally follow a consistent pattern.

      The other indicator for a soul would be an underlying unity of consciousness - for this, and a rebuttal to competing ideas ("split-brain" objections, etc.) see "Irreducible Mind" ch. 5, "Automatism and Secondary Centers of Consciousness": http://books.google.com/books?id=6gS_LcIjFMsC&printsec=frontcover&dq=irreducible+mind&hl=en&sa=X&ei=d1cqU8LoJsfsoAShpoHgDw&ved=0CDYQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=irreducible%20mind&f=false
      I am aware of the negative review of the book, that has been balanced by positive reviews, and at any rate, the points are relevant.

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    2. Also, not all work in dark rooms, though that is a digression from the underlying issues.

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    3. And many of the people in the skeptical literature omit opposing views - eg: https://ia700604.us.archive.org/25/items/someitems/ReplyToTheNationalResearchCouncilStudyOnParapsychologyPalmerHonortonAndUttsjasprVol83Jan89Pp31-49034.pdf

      This is also a problem for people who want to believe that Spiritualism and Psi have a perfect history, they don't, but there are many illigitimate aspects to the antagonistic reaction to them.

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  10. Let me comment on some of your replies as you have spent some time responding. I will only comment on Price as I did read about that a long time. Regarding Slade you will have to get Martin Gardner's book which cover his fraud. Slate writing tricks were exposed by magicians like David Abbot, David Chung Ling Soo and Carl Hertz. The only thing you have that is interesting is the zollner experiments but see Hereward Carrington's book those rope feats could easily have been simple magician tricks. Sorry I don't have time to read over all his feats in those experiments, but he also performed a trick with some wooden rings. These were simple magician tricks going back years covered in magic books if you visit any magic book shop. I can't explain the alleged table vanishing and reappearing I find this hard to believe, as Slade performed his feats in the dark it was probably a trick. Séance sitters have bad memories and have seen things that are not really there in dark conditions, it's all the psychology of the mind:

    Theodore Besterman. (1932). The Psychology of Testimony in Relation to Paraphysical Phenomena. Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, 40. pp. 363-387.

    Richard Hodgson. (1887). The Possibilities of Mal-Observation and Lapse Memory. Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, 4. pp. 381-495.

    Regarding the claim that the supposedly faked plate of Hope was sent to an independent photographer to develop by Harry’s close friend Charles Reginald Haines I cant find any other reference that confirms this. This makes no sense. Have you read Massimo Polidoro's article? Basically when Price tested Hope it was for the Society for Psychical Research and he was not there alone, he was also with James Seymour, Eric Dingwall and William Marriott (a magician). Hope was also exposed by a spiritualist Fred Barlow years later.

    Brian Inglis had a history of defending loads of mediums. He really wanted to believe. If you believe enough it's possible to twist any evidence. I have even seen some people claiming the Conan Doyle Cottingley photographs were not faked.

    Regarding Will Goldston, he was one of the very few magicians (ever) to be a spiritualist. He may of exposed Cecil Husk but he had the will to believe in mediums. I think he was duped by Duncan. Btw you can read his thoughts of Duncan in his autobiography.

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  11. Regarding the claim about Eva C:

    "They admit that the only possible trickery is regurgitation. But what is meant by that? How can masses of mobile substance, organised as hands, faces and drawings be made to emerge from the oesophagus or the stomach?"

    This is a bit of a straw man because most skeptics have not suggested this. What the believers forget to mention is that Eva C was a bisexual/lesbian who had her lover Juliette Bisson in the séance room with her completely un-controlled, it would of been easy for her to sneak newspaper clippings in the room, especially as Eva C was naked distracting the make investigators. There were some very unpleasant sexual things reported in her séances. Have you seen the Le Miro photo?. The two-dimensional face on the newspaper had been clipped from the French magazine Le Miroir and you can read it from the back. I think it's a waste of time trying to defend fraudulent physical mediums. I know there will always be believers of this stuff though. If you want a neural source that discusses her fraud, you can find it in Psychical Research Today by Dr. Donald West a psychical researcher who was skeptical of physical mediumship but believed in telepathy.

    Regarding Eric Dingwall, he's not trustable in my opinion. He claimed to later become a skeptic but he was a big believer in paranormal spiritualist phenomena. He wrote a look of crazy books on sexual matters. He was nick named "dirty dingwall", he had sexual relations with the mediumship Mina Crandon like Malcom Bird and Hereward Carrington did.

    Now Open Mind and critics of Harry Price say he slept with mediums but there is no evidence he did. I have no doubt many early psychical researchers slept around with mediums but Price never did. I told you earlier, apart from Price, Podmore and Simeon Edmunds, Walter Franklin Prince, Theodore Besterman etc I don't trust hardly any psychical researchers they were up to stuff with the mediums or hiding fraud like Charles Richet. I know you have tried to refute some of this charges but I remain convinced the evidence is against them.

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    1. With respect to Bisson, you have expressed reservations about Dingwall's testimony, but for the record, he stated "not a shred of evidence exists which implicates Mme Bisson in anyway whatsoever with the alleged fraudulent aspect of the phenomena of Eva C.": http://books.google.com/books?id=4jJYAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA310&lpg=PA310&dq=eva+c.bisson&source=bl&ots=0WVwg0FV3F&sig=n6e4IBVYfoOCbFfmmwtc_40KgBA&hl=en&sa=X&ei=sG4dU_e1G4PsoASgn4GABQ&ved=0CDYQ6AEwAjgK#v=onepage&q=eva%20c.bisson&f=false

      Dingwall also made some testimony contradicting a key skeptic claim about Crandon, though you have particularly expressed reservations about his sincerity in this case: http://sas-space.sas.ac.uk/4828/2/Academia_FT_Dingwall._Part_Two.pdf

      With respect to Schneider, neither of us have Gregory's book, so it's premature to make a definitive conclusion. With respect to people like Guzik, if Price committed fraud in any case, his testimony looses weight, if not, his testimony needs to be balanced against proponent testimony, though it may supersede it. With respect to Price, the best route would be to get the books of both Tabori and Morris.

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    2. With respect to Slade, I am aware of the various exposures of fraud. Some have been countered, the Krebs one seems genuine, and Hodgson also had a very suspicious sitting with Slade. I am not defending him (her?) as an honorable individual. But I have presented very compelling signs of evidence (Gibier, etc.) below.

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    3. And in anticipation of your future comments, I don't want to discuss other claims against Slade - those I am aware of, though they are more problematic than the ones I conceded (which confirm Massey's views). Getting into that would be too time consuming - i said I would write up a pdf. Instead, what a person might want to do with such characters is present examples of self-evidently supernormal phenomena. Those have been provided below.

      Slade, from that, would seem to confirm Hansen's take on the situation in "The Trickster and the Paranormal".

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    4. By Hansen's take on the situation, I meant Hansen's take on the subject.

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  12. I have never looked into the NDE in depth so I can't really comment. Even if an NDE was evidence for an afterlife I think it would be impossible to demonstrate scientifically because these experiences are subjective. I have had a lot of lucid dreams, that's what I believe OBEs actually are. Stephen Laberge wrote a paper on it if I can remember correctly. I have a broken finger by the way so my spelling may be poor. I will try and get my last last replies to you later regarding Price and Schneider. I am going out now. Take care.

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    1. I appreciate your commentary. I will attempt to track down. I am aware of magicians exposing Slate writing tricks - the question is, do all of the Slate performances have this feature? The shell comment is important, according to Zollner the table struck him: https://web.archive.org/web/20130721182848/http://www.freewebs.com/afterlife/articles/Table.htm, and some items in psychography are interesting (e.g - p. 72). Finally, the comments of Gibier are highly rlelvant - search "Thirty Yearss of Psychical Research" for them.

      I will attempt to follow the source material to the footnotes/bibliography on Hope - pro and con. Thank you for your replies.

      Shrenck-Notzing attempted to refute the Le Miror charges in some detail, as seen above - you probably reject it, but the argument is there. Carlos Alvarado, in a review of "Science and Parascience", noted criticism outside of the SPR that Inglis had overlooked of Rudolf Lambert's article, I will attempt to get that as well and convey the full reply.

      Chris Carter's book on science and the near death experience is better than his other book - though if you don't take him at face value, you can still attempt to track down sources. It's available online for free: http://www.scribd.com/doc/102183297/Chris-Carter-Science-and-the-Near-Death-Experience

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    2. Isaac Funk's "The Widow's Mite" has a good appraisal of this early period: https://archive.org/stream/widowsmiteandot00funkgoog#page/n380/mode/2up

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