Top Five Phenomena That Offer Evidence For An Afterlife

Near Death Experience

In the modern age, the debate over the possibility that our consciousness might survive the physical death of our body is often reduced to a false dichotomy of science vs religion. As such, scientists sadly often ignore and ridicule reports of strange phenomena from those who have approached, and in some cases gone beyond, the threshold of death, even though such experiences have a profound effect upon those who undergo them. Do these phenomena offer evidence that we might live on in some way past the demise of our physical selves? Here’s a list of five areas, taken from the book Stop Worrying! There Probably is an Afterlife (Kindle/Paperback), which suggest that it might just be so:

1. Veridical NDEs

The near-death experience first shot into the limelight in the 1970s after the publication of Raymond Moody’s best-selling book Life After Life, to the extent that nearly everyone today knows what an ‘NDE’ is. But while many people took the near-death experience itself as proof of a life beyond death, orthodox science has judged (rightly or wrongly) the heavenly visions of the NDE to be simply hallucinations brought on by the various physical and psychological burdens put on the brain by its imminent demise.

One area that has the potential to change that opinion, however, is research into what are termed ‘veridical NDEs’. This is where, during the ‘out-of-body experience’ stage of the NDE, the experiencer sees things – and later reports back on them – that they should not have been able to perceive. There are many anecdotes of veridical NDEs, such as the case of ‘Dentures Man’, which was mentioned in the respected journal The Lancet. In this case from 1979, a 44-year-old man (‘Mr. B’) was brought into the emergency department at Canisius Hospital in the Netherlands by ambulance, after being discovered comatose, hypothermic and without a pulse in a cold, damp meadow in the middle of the night. Hospital staff, including the senior nurse (‘T.G.’), were beginning resuscitation on the patient when T.G. noticed that Mr. B was wearing dentures, so removed them and placed them on the ‘crash cart’ so that he could put a ventilation mask on the unconscious man. After Mr. B was successfully ‘brought back’, he was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit, and so T.G. did not see the man again until a week later while doing rounds distributing medication. T.G. was astonished when, as he walked into the room, the patient he had brought back to life suddenly exclaimed ‘‘Oh, that nurse knows where my dentures are!’’. Seeing the look of surprise on T.G.’s face, Mr. B explained himself: since coming back to consciousness, Mr. B. had been looking for his dentures. ‘‘You were there when I was brought into hospital and you took my dentures out of my mouth and put them onto that cart,” he said. “It had all these bottles on it and there was this sliding drawer underneath and there you put my teeth”. T.G. was confused by this, as he remembered that he had done this when the patient was unconscious and undergoing CPR to bring him back to life:

When I asked further, it appeared the man had seen himself lying in bed, that he had perceived from above how nurses and doctors had been busy with CPR. He was also able to describe correctly and in detail the small room in which he had been resuscitated as well as the appearance of those present like myself. At the time that he observed the situation he had been very much afraid that we would stop CPR and that he would die. And it is true that we had been very negative about the patient’s prognosis due to his very poor medical condition when admitted. The patient tells me that he desperately and unsuccessfully tried to make it clear to us that he was still alive and that we should continue CPR. He is deeply impressed by his experience and says he is no longer afraid of death. Four weeks later he left hospital as a healthy man.

How did Mr. B ‘see’ the resuscitation room, and in particular the head nurse’s face, when his brain was apparently shut down? While this account alone is puzzling, it is just one of a long list of ‘veridical NDE’ reports through the years. Another patient, Al Sullivan, was undergoing emergency heart surgery when he had a classic NDE with the well-known elements of the tunnel, ‘the light’, and a meeting with his dead mother. But during the out-of-body experience stage he also apparently ‘saw’ the operating room while under a general anaesthetic: “I was laying [sic] on a table covered with light blue sheets and I was cut open so as to expose my chest cavity… I was able to see my surgeon, who just moments ago had explained to me what he was going to do during my operation. He appeared to be somewhat perplexed. I thought he was flapping his arms as if trying to fly...” It tuns out this ‘flapping’ motion was an idiosyncratic habit of the surgeon, who after scrubbing in would point at things using his elbows to avoid contamination of his hands. The list of similar cases goes on; researcher Janice Miner Holden collected some 107 cases from the NDE literature, and concluded that “the sheer volume of anecdotes that a number of authors over the course of the last 150 years have described suggests [veridical NDE perception] is real.…the cumulative weight of these narratives [should be enough to] convince most skeptics that these reports are something more than than mere hallucinations on the patient’s part”.

In fact, the evidence from veridical NDEs has been so strong that a large study has now been undertaken, involving various hospitals around the world, that is attempting to answer the question of whether near-death experiencers can truly ‘see’ while having an out-of-body experience. In the AWARE study, patients who survive a cardiac arrest are being asked if they underwent an out-of-body experience during their brush with death, and if so, whether they were able to see certain ‘hidden targets’ placed in the room that can only be seen from a vantage point near the ceiling. The AWARE researchers will soon release their first official scientific report , and have just secured new funding that will ensure this area continues to be investigated.

2. Peak-in-Darien Experiences

In an 1882 book that described a number of strange phenomena reported by the dying titled The Peak in Darien, author Frances Cobbe wrote of an incident “of a very striking character” that occurred in a family with very tight bonds. A dying lady suddenly began showing emotions of recognition and joy, before telling how, one after another, three of her brothers who had long been dead had appeared in the room. Then, strangely, a fourth brother appeared to her as dead, despite the fact that he was believed by those present to still be alive and well at his residence in India – the suggestion that he had passed away was enough to cause one person to run from the room in shock. Being the late 19th century, there was no instant way of checking on the brother’s health, but sometime later letters were received announcing his death in India at a time before his dying sister appeared to recognize a vision of him at her bedside.

The title of Cobbe’s book has since become the unofficial name for accounts of this type, those where the dying have visions of deceased individuals who were thought to be alive at the time of the vision: Peak-in-Darien experiences. And like veridical NDEs, there are a surprisingly large number of them recorded in the literature. They have even seeped into popular culture: in recent times, the popular TV show Grey’s Anatomy brought such an experience into the public consciousness when the main character, Meredith Grey, had an NDE in which she had a vision of her mother, whom she thought was alive but had actually just passed away elsewhere in the hospital. The scene has a number of parallels with real life events.

For instance, in 1968 a female near-death experiencer reported having the classic OBE view of her hospital room from outside her physical body, before finding herself in ‘heaven’ with an angel and a familiar-looking young man. “Why, Tom, I didn’t know you were up here,” she said to the close family friend, with Tom replying to her that he had just arrived himself. Not long after returning to her body, and life, her husband received a phone call with the unfortunate news that their friend Tom had died in a car accident.

In another case, a 9-year-old boy in Pittsburgh suffering from meningitis woke up the next morning and said he’d been in heaven and saw his grandparents and uncle, as well as his older sister, saying “she told me I have to come back, but she’s going to stay there with grandma and granddad”. The boy’s father became upset with him, rebuking the lad before assuring him that his sister was alive and healthy at college in Vermont, as he had spoken with her the previous day. Concerned at the father’s state, the doctor told him to go home and get some rest, at which time he found that the college had been trying to call him all night long with the tragic news that his daughter had been killed in a car accident the night before.

Though it’s likely Peak-in-Darien experiences will never convince the most hardcore of skeptics, the sheer number of puzzling accounts of this type should certainly have any open-minded person curious as to whether they are evidence of some sort of life beyond death.

3. Mediumship

While the idea that certain people can ‘talk’ to the dead is a popular one in modern culture – witness the success of recent television shows such as Medium and Ghost Whisperer, not to mention hit movies like Ghost – such individuals are not as popular with scientists and skeptics, who tend to view them with contempt. The reason for this is no doubt the long association between mediumship and unscrupulous charlatans taking advantage of the bereaved, of which there have been more than a few. But mediumship proper goes back into prehistory, when shamans went into trance and acted as the conduit between the dead and the living. And right up into modern times, there have been certain individuals who seem to have had this ability. In the late 19th century, the Society for Psychical Research (S.P.R.) – a group comprised of some of the most respected academics in the world – set out to investigate claims of mediumship to try and ascertain the truth of the matter. And while they certainly found their share of frauds, they also uncovered rare gems. They assigned one of their toughest skeptical minds, an Australian by the name of Richard Hodgson, to the peculiar case of an ostensibly normal Boston housewife, Mrs. Leonora Piper, who would go into trance and allow ‘the dead’ to channel communication through her (at one point, three conversations could be held simultaneously between living and deceased individuals, one through the voice, one through writing with the right hand, and another with the left!). Hodgson investigated Piper for almost twenty years, using detectives to shadow her and her husband, arranging sittings anonymously and taking numerous other precautions. He collected thousands of pages of testimony and analysis, and reams of evidence suggesting that Mrs. Piper had access to information beyond her normal senses. Hodgson’s official conclusion was paradigm-shattering. He was, he said, convinced “that the chief ‘communicators’...have survived the change we call death, and... have directly communicated with us...through Mrs Piper’s entranced organism”.

Hodgson was not alone in his summation. Another researcher who devoted a number of years to studying Mrs. Piper, Professor James Hyslop, concluded that her mediumship provided solid evidence “that there is a future life and persistence of personal identity”. Frederic Myers, one of the founding members of the S.P.R., said of his own sittings that they “left little doubt – no doubt – that we were in the presence of an authentic utterance from a soul beyond the tomb”. And yet, in the last century, these findings have been forgotten, so that in recent times scientists tend to react only with disdain when the subject of mediumship is raised.

However, in recent years other researchers have taken on the yoke of investigating mediumship within a scientific framework. Dr. Emily Kelly of the University of Virginia and former hospice chaplain Dianne Arcangel undertook a study of the information given by mediums to recently-bereaved persons, the results of which were published in early 2011 in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disorders. Some of Kelly and Arcangel’s findings do appear to offer tantalizing evidence for the validity of mediumship.

In one experiment, Kelly and Arcangel employed nine mediums to offer readings for 40 individual sitters – two of the mediums doing six each, while the other seven mediums did four readings each (each sitter had just one reading done). The sittings were done without the actual sitter present (the researchers acted as a ‘proxy’ to keep a blind protocol), and audio recordings of the mediums’ statements were later transcribed. Each sitter was then sent six readings – the correct reading, and five ‘decoy’ readings drawn from those given for others in the group – but were then asked to rate each overall reading on how applicable they thought it was to them, and comment on why they chose the highest rated reading. Thirty-eight of the forty participants returned their ratings – and, amazingly, 14 of the 38 readings were correctly chosen (while at first sight ‘less than half correct’ may seem a rather poor success rate, given there were six readings to choose from, this is actually a number significantly above what would be expected by chance). Additionally, seven other readings were ranked second, and altogether 30 of the 38 readings were ranked in the top half of the ratings. What’s more, one medium in particular stood out above the others: all six of this person’s readings were correctly ranked first by each sitter, at quite astronomical odds! Sitters, asked to explain why they chose the correct readings, often cited the specific, personal details that stood out. For example:

...the medium referred to “a lady that is very much, was influential in his [the deceased person’s] formative years. So, whether that is mother or whether that is grandmother... She can strangle a chicken.” The sitter commented that her grandmother (the deceased person’s mother) “killed chickens. It freaked me out the first time I saw her do this. I cried so hard that my parents had to take me home. So the chicken strangling is a big deal...In fact I often referred to my sweet grandmother as the chicken killer”.

Other researchers have also returned positive results from research with mediums. Dr. Julie Beischel has spent more than a decade investigating mediumship, and she has become convinced by the evidence. “When I applied the scientific method to the phenomenon of mediumship using optimal environments, maximum controls, and skilled participants”, she states, “I was able to definitively conclude that certain mediums are able to report accurate and specific information about discarnates (the deceased) without using any normal means to acquire that information”.

4. Death Bed Phenomena

Strange experiences reported at the time of death, including near-death experiences and death-bed visions, are often dismissed by skeptics as artifacts of the dying patient’s misfiring brain. But such explanations are confounded by the fact that, in some cases, other quite healthy people present in the room with the dying also experience the ‘veil’ to the afterlife being lifted.

For example, there have been numerous cases in which carers for the dying have described seeing a bright light surrounding the dying person, exuding what they relate as “a raw feeling of love”. What sort of numbers are we talking? Researcher Peter Fenwick was amazed to find in a survey that one in every three palliative carers reported accounts of “a radiant light that envelops the dying person, and may spread throughout the room and involve the carer”. In a similar Dutch study, more than half of the carers surveyed reported witnessing this ‘light’! Meanwhile in a questionnaire put to palliative care nurses in Australia, one respondent told how he, another nurse, and the patient’s husband saw a blue-white light leave the body of the patient and drift toward the ceiling. “As she died we just noticed like an energy rising from her...sort of a bluey white sort of aura,” the nurse explained. “We looked at each other, and the husband was on the other side of the bed and he was looking at us... he saw it as well and he said he thinks that she went to a better place”. As is often the case, this experience was transformative for the nurse: “It probably changed the way I felt about people dying and what actually happens after death”. In fact the researcher responsible for the Australian survey, Deborah Morris, was herself originally inspired to investigate death-bed experiences further by her own experience of seeing ‘the dying light’. “There was a young man who had died in the room with his family and I saw an aura coming off him,” she recounts. “It was like a mist. I didn’t tell anybody for years. I’ve never seen it again”.

Peter Fenwick relates an instance in which a person, at the time of their brother’s death, witnessed “odd tiny sparks of bright light” emanating from the body – and what’s more, these ‘sparks’ were also seen by another person in the room. In another case, a carer awoke in the darkness of early morning to the sight of “a flame licking the top of the wall against the ceiling” above her dying father’s bed. “I saw a plume of smoke rising, like the vapour that rises from a snuffed-out candle, but on a bigger scale...it was being thrown off by a single blade of phosphorus light”, the witness recounted. “It hung above Dad’s bed, about 18 inches or so long, and was indescribably beautiful...it seemed to express perfect love and peace”. She switched on the light to investigate further, but the light instantly vanished; “the room was the same as always on a November morning, cold and cheerless, with no sound of breathing from Dad’s bed. His body was still warm”. This sighting of a vapour-like substance leaving the body at the time of death is another element that is often reported:

As he died something which is very hard to describe because it was so unexpected and because I had seen nothing like it left up through his body and out of his head. It resembled distinct delicate waves/lines of smoke (smoke is not the right word but I have not got a comparison) and then disappeared. I was the only one to see it. It left me with such a sense of peace and comfort. I don’t think that we were particularly close as my sister and I had been sent off to boarding school at an early age.

I do not believe in God. But as to an afterlife I now really do not know what to think.

Family, carers and physicians have also reported various other phenomena occurring at the time of death, from the sounds of angelic choirs singing through to visions of the already deceased at the dying person’s bedside. For example, one woman reported that as she watched her mother pass away...

…Suddenly I was aware that her father was stood at the foot of her bed. My mother was staring at him too and her face was lit up with joy. It was then that I saw her face appeared to be glowing with a gold light. The light began to leave through the top of her head and go towards the ceiling. Looking back to my mother’s face I saw that she was no longer breathing.

Similarly, Peter Fenwick was told by one lady that while sitting at her dying husband’s bedside there was suddenly “a most brilliant light shining from my husband’s chest”. The light began to rise toward the ceiling, and she began hearing “the most beautiful music and singing voices”, filling her with an overwhelming feeling of joy. At this point, the nurse interrupted with news that her husband had just passed, and the light and the music instantly disappeared, leaving the woman bereft at being left behind, after being shown just the barest of glimpses ‘behind the veil’.

Certainly, those witnessing the death of another person are sure to be under psychological stress, so perhaps in some cases we could explain cases away as some sort of hallucination. However, in cases where multiple witnesses in the same room describe the same vision, we really do being to feel as if we’re reaching for mundane explanations.

5. Crossovers between Mediumship and Near-Death Experiences

After days of struggle against the disease that had struck him down, Dr. Horace Ackley could take no more. All of a sudden, he felt himself gradually rising from his body; as his organs ceased functioning, Dr. Ackley suddenly found himself in a position slightly above his lifeless physical body, looking down on it and those who had been in the room with him. Then, without warning...

…the scenes of my whole life seemed to move before me like a panorama; every act seemed as though it were drawn in life size and was really present: it was all there, down to the closing scenes. So rapidly did it pass, that I had little time for reflection. I seemed to be in a whirlpool of excitement; and then, just as suddenly as this panorama had been presented, it was withdrawn, and I was left without a thought of the past or future to contemplate my present condition.

Dr. Ackley realized that he must have died, and was gratified to learn that it seemed a rather pleasant experience. “Death is not so bad a thing after all,” he said to himself, “and I should like to see what that country is that I am going to, if I am a spirit.” His only regret, looking down on the whirl of activity in the room, was that he was unable to inform his friends that he lived on, to set their minds and hearts at ease. At this point, two ‘guardian spirits’ appeared before Dr. Ackley, greeting him by name before leading him from the room into an area where a number of ‘spirits’ whom he was familiar with had assembled.

Those familiar with accounts of near-death experiences might well be saying to themselves “ho-hum, another stock-standard near-death experience”. They might guess that Dr. Ackley then woke up in his resuscitated body and told an NDE researcher about his experience. But if they did, they would be wrong. Dr. Horace Ackley truly did die that day, never to return to this life. The report that you read above was an account of his death, allegedly given by him through a spirit medium – one Samuel Paist of Philadelphia. And what makes it truly remarkable is that it was written down by Paist in his book A Narrative of the Experience of Horace Abraham Ackley, M.D., and published in 1861 – more than a century before the near-death experience had come to the attention of researchers and the general public. And yet Paist/Ackley tells of an OBE shortly after death, a “panoramic” life review (the exact word “panoramic” is found in many NDE reports), and being greeted by spirits who subsequently guided him to an afterlife realm!

But the after-death narrative of Dr. Horace Ackley is not an isolated instance. More than a decade before the publication of Raymond Moody’s Life After Life – the book that started the modern fascination with near-death experiences – another scientist had already investigated and written at length on the topic. In a pair of relatively obscure books – The Supreme Adventure (1961) and Intimations of Immortality (1965) – Dr. Robert Crookall cited numerous examples of what he called “pseudo-death,” noting the archetypal elements that Moody would later bring to the public’s attention as the near-death experience. What’s more however, Crookall also compared these tales of ‘pseudo-death’ with accounts of the dying process as told by ‘communicators’ through mediums – and found a number of these same recurring elements, well before they became public knowledge through Moody’s Life After Life.

For example, Crookall showed that, according to ostensibly dead ‘communicators’ talking through mediums, the newly- deceased are usually met by other deceased loved ones: “Usually friends or relatives take the newly-dead man in charge”. This of course may not be considered a surprising thing for a medium to say – it’s probably what most people would expectantly hope for upon entering the spirit realm. But the common elements continue, and include some of the more idiosyncratic features of the NDE. For instance, Crookall noted that, as with the case of Dr. Ackley above, communicators often declare through mediums that “in the early stages of transition, they experienced a panoramic review of their past lives”. In one case the communicator recounted that shortly after death “the scenes of the past life” are revealed; another said that upon ‘waking’ his “entire life unreeled itself”. A dead communicator by the name of Scott told medium Jane Sherwood that his thoughts “raced over the record of a whole long lifetime”, while another communicator said that he saw “clearer and clearer the events of my past life pass, in a long procession, before me.”

Beyond the meeting with the familiar dead, and the past life review, Crookall’s research also found that mediumistic communicators regularly make note of the out-of-body experience component. For example, one communicator noted that he “seemed to rise up out of my body”. According to another, “I was not lying in the bed, but floating in the air, a little above it. I saw the body, stretched out straight”. Furthermore, they also describe the familiar element of traveling through a tunnel! “I saw in front of me a dark tunnel,” said one communicator, before travelling through it and then stepping “out of the tunnel into a new world”. Another communicator noted that they remembered “a curious opening, as if one had passed through subterranean passages and found oneself near the mouth of a cave... The light was much stronger outside”. And once through the ‘tunnel’, the environment is once again familiar to anyone who has perused a catalogue of NDEs: “I was with ‘B’ [her son, killed in the War]: he took me to a world so brilliant that I can’t describe it”.

The common elements are compelling. For anyone familiar with the NDE literature, these reports through mediums are startlingly similar to the accounts of near-death experiencers – and yet Crookall collected them years before the archetype of the NDE became common knowledge. And what’s more, not only do they seem to offer support for the validity of the near-death experience, they also hint that there may well be more to the much-maligned subject of mediumship.

For more detailed discussion of all these fascinating topics, grab your copy of Stop Worrying! There Probably is an Afterlife as either a Kindle ebook or in paperback.

Stop Worrying! There Probably is an Afterlife

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Honestskeptic's picture
Member since:
9 December 2013
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31 weeks 2 days

Greg,

As we have discussed before you have cherry picked your information on Leonora Piper and have ignored all the skeptical literature on the subject, you keep doing this, and you show no sign of stopping, it's not honest research. Do you really believe she was in contact with spirits despite all the evidence to the contrary? It exposes you as credulous and willing to believe no matter the evidence and it amazes me how you can still go on believing when there is stacks of evidence against the spirit hypothesis with Piper:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonora_Piper

There's not a shred of evidence she was in contact with spirits. Her controls talked nonsense about monkeys living in the sun and about non-existence planets, you believe that do you? Her controls made false predictions about wars that never happened and about people's lives, for example one of her supposed "spirit" controls told Richard Hodgson he would get married, have two children and have a long life but Hodgson died a few months later, unmarried and childless. She made many other errors.

During a series of séances the Hodgson control of Piper was asked the name of his schoolmaster in Melbourne but failed to give the correct answer, Hodgson's sister who was sent the messages was not convinced they were from Hodgson.

Both Frederic Myers and Richard Hodgson wrote secret messages in envelopes and claimed that when they would die if they were to come back through Piper they would reveal the contents of the letter, it's not a surprise that Piper's Hodgson and Myers control failed to reveal the messages in the letter.

With the amount of errors Piper's controls made, the explanation via Occam's razor is that the "controls" were just Piper herself and fictitious creations. Anyone rational will see this. It is a serious stretch and violation of the data to conclude spirits were involved.

As for the Pellew control of Piper, his family were shown the communications and they were not impressed:

"A cousin of Pellew's wrote to Mr. Clodd to tell him that, if he cared to ask the family, he would learn that all the relatives of the dead man regarded Mrs. Piper's impersonation of him as "beneath contempt". Mr Clodd wrote to Professor Pellew, George's brother, and found that this was the case. The family has been pestered for fifteen years with reports of the proceedings and requests to authenticate them and join the S.P.R. They said that they knew George, and they could not believe that, when freed from the burden of the flesh, he would talk such "utter drivel and inanity." As to "intimate friends," one of these was Professor Fiske, who had been described by Dr. Hodgson as "absolutely convinced" of the identity of "G. P." When Professor Pellew told Professor Fiske of this, he replied, roundly, that it was "a lie". Mrs. Piper had, he said, been "silent or entirely wrong" on all his test questions."

As you can see from the above quote, Richard Hodgson was also involved in fraud. He had deliberately lied about certain data from Professor Fiske's séance. None of this is mentioned by you. It's important that the family members of Piper's alleged controls were not impressed, it is not something that should be ignored, surely family members know the most about a person, right?

If you want the reference for the above quote it's Joseph McCabe. (1920). Is Spiritualism Based On Fraud? The Evidence Given By Sir A. C. Doyle and Others Drastically Examined. London Watts & Co. p. 103

And what about the Dean Connor case? Piper's control had claimed Connor was alive and gave very specific details about where he was but he was dead and all Piper's information was wrong. The errors are just too many. Even Piper herself confessed "I must truthfully say that I do not believe that spirits of the dead have spoken through me when I have been in the trance state" so it's kind of strange that you are writing books claiming she did communicate with spirits.

Jon Donnis and Harry Price both legends.

Honestskeptic's picture
Member since:
9 December 2013
Last activity:
31 weeks 2 days

Greg, if you want to further debate this feel free to email me, it's probably not the best place on here. Before I get attacked by believers on here let me clarify my position... I am only skeptical of mediumship and spiritualism, I have no dispute with research into ESP, telepathy and apparitions etc and have no problem with your other content in your book which is well-researched, for me you only ruin it by being credulous on the mediumship and ignoring certain works. I believe in the afterlife but I don't believe it can be scientifically demonstrated, it doesn't work that way as Harry Price found out. I have views very similar to one of my heroes Harry Price and I highly suggest the book The Newer Spiritualism (1910) by the skeptical SPR member Frank Podmore. It has a chapter on Piper and rejects the spirit hypothesis. Mediums can't and don't communicate with spirits, the evidence shows this. I also recommend Ronald Pearsall's book The Table Rappers for the tricks of fraudulent mediums and Harry Price's Fifty years of Psychical research is the best book on the subject. Regards. Have a good Christmas.

Jon Donnis and Harry Price both legends.

Mizore's picture
Member since:
15 August 2012
Last activity:
29 weeks 1 day
Honestskeptic wrote:

As we have discussed before you have cherry picked your information on Leonora Piper and have ignored all the skeptical literature on the subject, you keep doing this, and you show no sign of stopping, it's not honest research. Do you really believe she was in contact with spirits despite all the evidence to the contrary? It exposes you as credulous and willing to believe no matter the evidence and it amazes me how you can still go on believing when there is stacks of evidence against the spirit hypothesis with Piper:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonora_Piper

There's not a shred of evidence she was in contact with spirits. Her controls talked nonsense about monkeys living in the sun and about non-existence planets, you believe that do you? Her controls made false predictions about wars that never happened and about people's lives, for example one of her supposed "spirit" controls told Richard Hodgson he would get married, have two children and have a long life but Hodgson died a few months later, unmarried and childless.

The fact that Piper committed some errors does not invalidate the extraordinary successes she had. For example, when Pellew through Piper recognized all persons Pellew met in life except one, because he met when she was little. In addition there are many other cases of mediumship probably authentic, as Eileen Garrett and Gladys Osborne Leonard.

Greg's picture
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30 April 2004
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58 min 16 sec
Honestskeptic wrote:

As we have discussed before you have cherry picked your information on Leonora Piper

...followed by a dozen posts in which you cherry-pick information and cite people to support your conclusion of fraud who did *not* believe fraud was involved.

What's more interesting to me is that you post under the username 'HonestSkeptic', despite already having a username here that works perfectly fine. Though perhaps we should inform readers this is a habit of yours, you post under multiple different usernames on almost every forum I've spotted you on. At least this time (so far) you haven't created another username in which you pretend to be your opposition, trying to ingratiate yourself with them, which you've also done multiple times? Will you be linking (spamming) to RationalWiki soon? You know those hit pieces on the likes of Michael Prescott that you wrote, then denied you wrote to readers here (under your old username here)? I did like the touch though of linking to Wikipedia articles to support your cause, when you're the one who has been writing/spamming those entries over the course of this year, flooding them with...cherry-picked information that supports just your own conclusion.

Honest skeptic? More like a dishonest troll methinks. And I don't feed trolls.

My suggestion to you? Create a website and post your rants there, rather than flooding Wikipedia, TDG and various other websites with your proselytising.

Kind regards,
Greg
-------------------------------------------
You monkeys only think you're running things
@DailyGrail

Honestskeptic's picture
Member since:
9 December 2013
Last activity:
31 weeks 2 days

I am not denying Piper had some successes, but like all fraudulent mediums who utilise mentalist techniques she was a clever cold reader, she picked things up about her séance sitters. All mental mediums will get the occasional hits. Many of them are clever at what they do.

As Ivor Lloyd Tuckett wrote it could be explained by "muscle-reading, fishing, guessing, hints obtained in the sitting, knowledge surreptitiously obtained, knowledge acquired in the interval between sittings and lastly, facts already within Mrs. Piper's knowledge." In short all information by Piper could have come through naturalistic means. I am not opposed to ESP but there's no need to invoke it in mediumship cases.

As for Pellew she held one sitting with him and spent an entire day with him before his death, she knew all kinds of details about him and his life. But she also made many errors about Pellew. She failed at impersonating him. As quoted in my original post, Pellew's brother and cousin were shown the communications and they were offended by them and denied they were from the real Pellew. The Pellew control of Piper was the opposite personality of the real Pellew. Greg doesn't mention the family members of Pellew in his book. As explained it's important not to ignore this evidence.

I don't see why Greg includes the Piper case on a book about the afterlife, her mediumship has entirely naturalistic explanations and even most parapsychologists have admitted this or invoked ESP, not spirits.

As for Eileen J. Garrett and Gladys Osborne Leonard, similar to all mediums of that period they were both exposed as frauds:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mediumship

The quote from Terence Hines, basically sums it up:

"If John Edward (or any of the other self-proclaimed speakers with the dead) really could communicate with the dead, it would be a trivial matter to prove it. All that would be necessary would be for him to contact any of the thousands of missing persons who are presumed dead—famous (e.g., Jimmy Hoffa, Judge Crater) or otherwise—and correctly report where the body is. Of course, this is never done. All we get, instead, are platitudes to the effect that Aunt Millie, who liked green plates, is happy on the other side."

I know people want to believe in mediums but if you do honest research you will discover it is just fraud. It is not evidence for an afterlife. Also this is something Greg has overlooked but the reports of the NDE's contradict what the spiritualists have said about a spirit world.

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There's also something else that Greg and other proponents of spirit hypothesis have not explained, there is a contradiction/error from the spirit hypothesis.

Walter Mann comments on it:

The Spiritualists, in their clever theories, have overlooked one thing : What becomes of the spirit of Mrs. Piper? Does it remain close at hand, ready to return to Mrs. Piper's body directly the control vacates it ? If so, how is it that Mrs. Piper knows nothing of what transpires ? If, on the other hand, it goes wandering about, how is it she knows nothing about that? Spirits do not go into trances or become unconscious.

We are assured that pure spirit, freed from the earthly shell or body, is pure intellect. No one ever heard of a sleeping spirit or an unconscious spirit. How is it that Mrs, Piper gives no account of what happened to her own spirit during the sitting?

The most reasonable explanation is that spirits have nothing to do with the matter at all, and that the real author of the message is Mrs. Piper, and no one else.

Reference: Walter Mann. (1919). The Follies and Frauds of Spiritualism. Rationalist Association. London: Watts & Co.

The book is free online if you search for it, but like most skeptical references is no where to be found in Greg's book.

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Here's some interesting quotes from Society for Psychical Research members who rejected the view that Piper was in contact with spirits.

Mrs. Henry Sidgwick:

Mrs. Henry Sidgwick, who has made a careful analysis of Mrs. Piper's trance phenomena, running to a volume of 650 pages, comes to the conclusion that, "however true it may be that there is really communication between the living and the dead, the intelligence communicating directly through Mrs. Piper's organism is Mrs. Piper."

Frank Podmore:

I cannot point to a single instance in which a precise and unambiguous piece of information has been furnished of a kind which could not have proceeded from the medium's own mind, working upon the materials provided and the hints let drop by the sitter.

It is impossible to believe that in these trance utterances [of Mrs. Piper] we are listening to authentic and unembarrassed messages from the dead.

William James also described the "spirit-contol" hypothesis of Piper's mediumship as "incoherent, irrelevant and in cases demonstrably false."

Yet Greg ignores Sidgwick, Podmore or James conclusion and goes with Hodgson's (even though Hodgson was caught fabricating data).

Cherry picking just the minority of spiritualist supporters for Piper isn't good, surely all of the psychical researchers and skeptics should be reported and taken into consideration as well? But Greg doesn't do this. I understand his book is meant to be pro-afterlife and not "neutral", but it would have been much more better if all the data was included pro and con so then the reader could make up their own conclusion.

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If anyone is looking for a neutral book, I recommend:

The Case For And Against Psychical Belief (1927) which contains essays by both believers and skeptics. The book features essays from spiritualist believers such as Oliver Lodge, to semi-sceptical psychical researchers like Walter Franklin Prince and to militant skeptics such as Joseph Jastrow and the open-minded skeptic magician Harry Houdini.

Online here: https://archive.org/stream/caseforandaga...

This is one of the only collaborations in existence between believers and skeptics, you see we don't always have to be at war :)

Jon Donnis and Harry Price both legends.

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This is not well known but the militant skeptic Joseph Jastrow was actually a founding member of the American Society for Psychical Research (ASPR), as was G. Stanley Hall. They both resigned though by 1890.

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_So...

Who would have believed it, the American SPR was originally a skeptic organization =) SHHH that didn't come from me.

Both Joseph Jastrow and G. Stanley Hall were highly critical of Leonora Piper. Jastrow believed Piper was a conscious fraud and that she had faked her trances (this view was taken up by later skeptics). Hall conducted his own psychological experiments on Piper and wrote an introduction to Amy Tanner's book Studies in Spiritism which debunks the spirit hypothesis of Piper's mediumship.

The book is online here:

http://archive.org/stream/cu319240289521...

Admittedly not the best book on the subject, but one that should not be ignored.

Jon Donnis and Harry Price both legends.

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Just found this reference from a website someone quoted:

Leonore Piper lived in the United States around the turn of the century. Through her, a number of "spirits" related stories of persons and events concerning which Leonora Piper denied any knowledge. However, a number of incidents cast doubt on her ability to contact the dead. For example, she gained some degree of fame with a "spirit" revelation about the circumstances of the death of a man called Dean Connor. However, when the revelation was finally checked out, it turned out to be grossly unreliable. In another incident, the family of George Pellew-whose departed spirit supposedly conveyed much of the news of the "other world" to Leonore- was shown the information furnished by "Pellew" about himself; they judged it to be highly inaccurate. On another occasion, Leonore claimed to have contacted the spirit of Bessie Beals, who was a fictitious person invented on the spur of the moment by the psychologist G. Stanley Hall. Later in her life, Leonore Piper made the following statement: I cannot see but that it must have been an unconscious expression of my subliminal self... it seems to me that there is no evidence of sufficient scientific value to warrant acceptance of the spiritualist hypothesis."

I am not sure why he calls Leonora "Leonore" but either way the evidence is overwhelming, Piper was not in contact with the dead.

Jon Donnis and Harry Price both legends.

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This information isn't widely known and doesn't appear anywhere on the internet, but it appears in the book William James. Essays in Psychical Research published in 1986 by the Harvard University Press in the footnotes at the back of the book:

William James found information that Piper may have started her mediumship career as a slate-writer. This is controversial considering slate-writing was discredited as fraudulent in the 1880s (William Eglinton, Henry Slade etc were exposed). Richard Hodgson exposed the slate writing methods of mediums with the conjuror S. T. Davey. Is it possible that Piper converted to a mental medium because she was previously exposed as a fraud under a different name? Or did she convert to mental mediumship due to Richard Hodgson investigating her (Hodgson had a strong dislike to slate-writing). I find this suspicious. I was at one point very close to speculating that Hodgson may of been romantically involved with Piper but there is no direct evidence for this, but there's a lot of odd stuff surrounding Piper and Hodgson, for example he used to stand outside her house for hours observing her, almost like a stalker. Weird stuff indeed.

We already know that Piper liked to tell her séance sitters what they wanted to hear, for example one of Piper's controls (I think now we can just call them Piper because they were herself) told Hodgson that Madame Blavatsky's soul was in hell (Hodgson hated Blavatsky and had previously exposed her). It makes sense that Piper was clever and would do things to get in the good books of psychical researchers. It must all be remembered that Piper was paid a fortune from the SPR members, this is also mentioned in a footnote in William James collected essays on psychical research, I can't go through the figures on here but by todays standards Piper was of been close to a millionaire from the money she had received.

Another interesting fact from the essays of James reports that Leonora Piper's daughter used to stand outside of the séance room and collect money from the séance sitters before they would enter. There was a case where a poor maid was refused by Piper to enter because she did not have the money. This is an insight to the sort of lady Piper really was. Definitely not the sort of Lady Greg implies she was in his book. You have to do deep research to find these facts out. I don't believe Piper was a nice lady.

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On the subject of Richard Hodgson, his work on debunking fraudulent physical mediums has been widely cited by skeptics. He also wrote this important paper about fake séances and the response from sitters:

Hodgson, R., and S. J. Davy. 1887. The possibilities of mal-observation and lapse of memory from a practical point of view. Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, 4:381-495.

The skeptic Richard Wiseman praises this paper, as revealed in his article:

For example, in 1887 Richard Hodgson and S. John Davey held seances in Britain (in which phenomena were faked by trickery) for unsuspecting sitters and requested each sitter to write a description of the seance after it had ended. Hodgson and Davey reported that sitters omitted many important events and recalled others in incorrect order. Indeed, some of the accounts were so unreliable that Hodgson later remarked: The account of a trick by a person ignorant of the method used in its production will involve a misdescription of its fundamental conditions . . . so marked that no clue is afforded the student for the actual explanation (Hodgson and Davey 1887, p. 9).

Appears on the CSICOP website!

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

Richard Wiseman also dedicates an entire chapter to Hodgson in his book Paranormality: Why we see what isn't there but his work with Leonora Piper is deliberately not mentioned! See both believers and skeptics sometimes ignore evidence. Similar to Greg, Wiseman was caught with his pants down on that one. Believers and skeptics may have something in common after all! Like my early posts stated I believe all the material should be included both pro and con.

Anyway as for my own view it is very disappointing that Hodgson wrecked his credibility with the Piper case and even fabricated data (as mentioned in my first post). I don't think Hodgson's work with the Piper case should be applauded. It certainly shouldn't be ignored but we should take all things into account. Hodgson himself claimed to be a medium in his later years.

There is a biography of Hodgson by Alex Baird. (1949). The Life of Richard Hodgson published by the Psychic Press but it is very expensive to get hold of.

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Just in case anyone is interested (I have probably bored you all to death) there's another book which mentions Piper in extensive detail:

Spiritism, Hypnotism and Telepathy: As Involved in the Case of Mrs. Leonora E. Piper and the Society for Psychical Research (1904).

It is a compilation of psychical researchers (not skeptics) offering their opinion about Piper, the majority in the book such as Thomson Jay Hudson conclude that Piper utilized ESP, hypnotism and suggestion and there is no evidence for the spirit hypothesis.

Online here:

http://archive.org/stream/spiritismhypno...

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honestskeptic wrote:

he used to stand outside her house for hours observing her, almost like a stalker.

Yes, to see if he could catch her doing something suspicious (e.g. meeting with secret sources)...

Honestskeptic wrote:

Weird stuff indeed

It was a manifestation of his skepticism, actually. Hodgson was also skeptical when the private detectives informed him that there was no evidence of foul play. Hodgson also once shouted at and berated a sitter for bringing an umbrella inside on a rainy day because he thought it could contain hidden information! Hodgson started off *extremely* skeptical and even prejudiced (he wrote to a friend that he had every intention of exposing Piper as a fraud).

James was indeed skeptical of the spirit-communication interpretation, but he did not do the bulk of the research on Piper and he also had no doubt about genuine ESP occurring. Are you suggesting otherwise?

Apart from having PIs tail Piper and apart from Hodgson stalking her (out of skepticism – not romance...), the investigators *also* (1) read all of Piper’s mail, (2) had strangers sit in for the actual sitters (which still gave rise to veridical hits), (3) had stenographers write down every word and they noted if something approached cold or warm reading (the transcripts are available and people can come their own conclusions about whether or which hits can be reduced to cold/warm reading techniques), (4), brought Piper to another country to see how she’d perform, and (5) took great steps to test the sincerity of her trance. On that last point, note that they shoved into her mouth spoonfuls of salt and perfume, put ammonia beneath her nostrils, pricked her skin with needles, studied pupil dilation and reflexes, studied her respiration, and even put a flame on her skin to see how her body would react. Her trance was most likely genuine. She was most likely *not* consciously faking.

In my mind there is no doubt that genuine ESP was occurring in at least *some* cases because Piper’s controls produced highly intimate hits under conditions that (in my judgment) sufficiently ruled out fraudulent methods. The question then becomes this: Was it ESP between the living and the dead, or was it ESP manifesting in secondary personalities with schizophrenic-like tendencies?

Some people might look at the errors and ridiculous statements made by some of the controls and conclude that it must have been ESP among secondary personalities. After all, if they were genuine spirits, surely they wouldn’t have made the errors they did… right?

I’m not convinced by that reasoning. The same objection could be raised against the claim that there was genuine ESP occurring. After all, if the ESP were really as highly refined as it appeared to be in some cases, well then surely those big errors would not have cropped in… right? And yet, in my mind at least, it’s *obvious* that there was genuine ESP.

Let me be clear. I’m [i]NOT[/i] convinced that it was spirit communication (neither was Piper herself btw). But I’m also not ready to totally dismiss that possibility. So IF it was spirit communication then *why* did the controls sometimes make big errors and ridiculous statements? Well, here are some possibilities:

[b]1.A)[/b] It may be that the process (or whatever you want to call it) of occupying and using Piper’s brain/body had a diminishing affect on the cognitive abilities of the controls. Some of the controls seemed to suggest as much. [b]1.B)[/b] Related to this point, it’s certainly also possible that scattered bits of Piper’s subconscious interfered with the process and infiltrated into the communication. If these were actual factors, then it may (at least partially) explain why the controls were sometimes fuzzy, confused, or just plain ridiculous. We simply have no idea what we’re talking about when we get into the mechanics of possession (and this would have been spirit *possession*). On this note, the Hodgson control once said:

Hodgson Control wrote:

I find now difficulties such as a blind man would experience in trying to find his hat […] I am not wholly conscious of my own utterances because they come out automatically, impressed upon the machine [Piper’s body] […] I impress my thoughts on the machine which registers them at random, and which are at times doubtless difficult to understand. I understand so much better the modus operandi than I did when I was in your world.

Similarly, Hylsop summarized skeptics of the spirit-communication interpretation in the following way:

Hylsop wrote:

when we say to the average man that we can communicate with the dead, or that we have obtained through apparitions or mediumistic phenomena facts which prove survival, they see that we are implying communication as well as survival of the discarnate, and with it they assume that the process of communication is as simple as our ordinary social intercourse. They read the records which we present as if they were merely jotted down conversations with the dead conducted very much as we talk with each other. They make no effort to investigate the complexity of the process, but take the phenomena at their face value and ask no scientific questions. They read an alleged message as they would a telegram or an essay. They make no account of the conditions under which the message is transmitted when it claims to come from another world, but recognize exactly what the conditions are in the physical world [...] If a message, however, claims to come from the dead, they set up objections as if they knew exactly what the conditions are for the receipt and delivery of the communication.

Fair points in my opinion.

[b]2.[/b] It’s also not a stretch to think that some controls were intentionally misleading, deceptive, and mischievous. Some people seem to think that “transcending” into the afterlife makes one wise, mature, and compassionate. But I see no reason to dismiss the possibility of some spirits being mean-spirited or just plain childish/immature.

[b]3.[/b] It’s possible that some controls were genuine spirits and some were secondary creations of Piper’s mind. Interestingly, this possibility seems to have been suggested by (one version of) the Myers control, who commented on an earlier and *fictitious* personality claiming to be him! The Myers control said:

Myers Control wrote:

I could not say it, but they were translating like a schoolboy does his first lines of Virgil - so terribly confused and inaccurate. But somehow I could not help it. It was not me communicating, yet I saw it going on.

Oliver Lodge summarized that situation as follows:

Lodge wrote:

He [Myers] said it was not he, but neither was it fraud. He does not want you to stop the phenomenon, he wants to study it. You are not to say it was wrong and get it stopped. He likes to watch the somnambulistic thing at work. It is not he that is doing it, and yet he is looking on. He does not see how it is worked, but he finds this more interesting than the genuine communications. He did not rattle the curtains either ... but it was not cheating, and he does not want you to make them think that they are cheats. He does not know how it is worked, but he is studying and he thinks it will help a great deal if he can understand how the cheating things that are not cheats are done [...] He says he is finding out how honest non-phenomena are to be accounted for. Apparently dishonest phenomena are phenomena of extreme [interest] apart from the spirit which purports to be communicating.

Michael Prescott also discusses this case and adds his own twist to the secondary personality interpretation:

Michael Prescott wrote:

Is it possible that Myers, who was well known to the investigators and mediums, existed in part as a thought-form in their minds, and that this thought-form acquired a degree of autonomy, thus "becoming" a sort of pseudo-Myers or Myers doppelgänger, while the real Myers looked on in helpless fascination?

I recommend checking out the entire Prescott essay for a fuller explanation of what he was getting at. It’s worth it. See http://michaelprescott.typepad.com/micha...

All of these points could be explored further (e.g. Hodgson gave a pretty sophisticated argument against the secondary-personality interpretation that Honestskeptic didn’t mention and which we should discuss at some point), but I just wanted to give a brief reply.

Happy holidays to all :)

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Honestskeptic wrote:

Just found this reference from a website someone quoted:

Leonore Piper lived in the United States around the turn of the century. Through her, a number of "spirits" related stories of persons and events concerning which Leonora Piper denied any knowledge. However, a number of incidents cast doubt on her ability to contact the dead. For example, she gained some degree of fame with a "spirit" revelation about the circumstances of the death of a man called Dean Connor. However, when the revelation was finally checked out, it turned out to be grossly unreliable. In another incident, the family of George Pellew-whose departed spirit supposedly conveyed much of the news of the "other world" to Leonore- was shown the information furnished by "Pellew" about himself; they judged it to be highly inaccurate. On another occasion, Leonore claimed to have contacted the spirit of Bessie Beals, who was a fictitious person invented on the spur of the moment by the psychologist G. Stanley Hall. Later in her life, Leonore Piper made the following statement: I cannot see but that it must have been an unconscious expression of my subliminal self... it seems to me that there is no evidence of sufficient scientific value to warrant acceptance of the spiritualist hypothesis."

I am not sure why he calls Leonora "Leonore" but either way the evidence is overwhelming, Piper was not in contact with the dead.

The reference is one you posted yourself to RationalWiki a month ago. Please do not lie to readers of this website. I am allowing you to continue posting, as I encourage debate, but your continued deceptions and sock puppetry will not be tolerated any further than this point - clean up your act please, or you will be blocked.

Kind regards,
Greg
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Honestskeptic wrote:

As Ivor Lloyd Tuckett wrote it could be explained by "muscle-reading, fishing, guessing, hints obtained in the sitting, knowledge surreptitiously obtained, knowledge acquired in the interval between sittings and lastly, facts already within Mrs. Piper's knowledge." In short all information by Piper could have come through naturalistic means. I am not opposed to ESP but there's no need to invoke it in mediumship cases.

No, some cases only can be a form of anomalous knowledge, either between living and deceased or between livings.

Honestskeptic wrote:

As for Pellew she held one sitting with him and spent an entire day with him before his death, she knew all kinds of details about him and his life. But she also made many errors about Pellew. She failed at impersonating him. As quoted in my original post, Pellew's brother and cousin were shown the communications and they were offended by them and denied they were from the real Pellew. The Pellew control of Piper was the opposite personality of the real Pellew. Greg doesn't mention the family members of Pellew in his book. As explained it's important not to ignore this evidence.

You accuse mediumship proponents to make cherry-picking, but this is what you do. Errors in mediumship may favor the spiritualist hypothesis, because if everything is due to mere ESP between livings, once we have ruled out fraud, random hits and sensory filtering, there would be no mistakes. But if Piper sometimes was in contact with deceased, it is possible the error due to communication problems. Besides Pellew's case is interesting not only for the people he recognized through Piper, but also by people who did not recognize.

Honestskeptic wrote:

As for Eileen J. Garrett and Gladys Osborne Leonard, similar to all mediums of that period they were both exposed as frauds:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mediumship

The only thing that gets on that page about Garrett is that she could have known by normal means what showed in the case of R101, but I disagree. There are many other episodes in the life of Garrett that fit better with the spiritualist hypothesis, besides that Wikipedia is biased and unreliable source on these issues.

Honestskeptic wrote:

Walter Mann comments on it:

The Spiritualists, in their clever theories, have overlooked one thing : What becomes of the spirit of Mrs. Piper? Does it remain close at hand, ready to return to Mrs. Piper's body directly the control vacates it ? If so, how is it that Mrs. Piper knows nothing of what transpires ? If, on the other hand, it goes wandering about, how is it she knows nothing about that? Spirits do not go into trances or become unconscious.

We are assured that pure spirit, freed from the earthly shell or body, is pure intellect. No one ever heard of a sleeping spirit or an unconscious spirit. How is it that Mrs, Piper gives no account of what happened to her own spirit during the sitting?

The most reasonable explanation is that spirits have nothing to do with the matter at all, and that the real author of the message is Mrs. Piper, and no one else.

The spirit of Piper may be overshadowed by the spirit of the deceased during the temporary possession. We not know how something happens does not mean it does not happen.

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kaviraj excellent research but because Piper is controversial we will find conflicting information on some of this stuff. I don't doubt that Hodgson was originally skeptical (he had exposed many physical mediums) but Hodgson's lover (his cousin) Jessie D., died in 1879 and on the day of her death he claimed to have observed her spirit. I have indeed read that Hodgson originally planned to expose Piper as a fraud, but there's also conflicting references which indicate Hodgson was a believer in mental mediumship before he investigated Piper and that he used Piper in the hope to communicate with the spirit of his lover Jessie D. To me Hodgson was credulous and had the will to believe. As explained in my first post he even lied about a piece of data himself.

It's clear Hodgson did go to great lengths to rule out fraud and nobody is denying that. As far as I know no skeptics have claimed Piper used a constant secret accomplice, she didn't need to. She obtained her information about her sitters herself. But there is evidence she may of obtained information about William James from her maid.

It's mentioned in an article Herman H. Spitz, “Contemporary Challenges to William James's White Crow,” Skeptical Inquirer 28, no. 1 (2004): 53. 84.

A maid in the household of William James was friendly with a maid in Piper's house and this may of been a source of information that Piper used for private details about James. "Bibliographers Frederick Burkhardt and Fredson Bowers who compiled the works of James wrote "It is thus possible that Mrs. Piper's knowledge of the James family was acquired from the gossip of servants and that the whole mystery rests on the failure of the people upstairs to realize that servants [downstairs] also have ears."

This is a form of sensory leakage, and it's no different than what usually invalidates psi experiments - a natural cause of information.

In my mind there is no doubt that genuine ESP was occurring in at least *some* cases because Piper’s controls produced highly intimate hits under conditions that (in my judgment) sufficiently ruled out fraudulent methods.

I used to believe that myself, and many psychical researchers have held that view, but then I started doing deeper research and reading books on mentalism and conjuring and realised Piper used clever mentalist techniques. Occam's razor rules out ESP and spirits in the Piper case, there is a more simpler mundane explanation for Piper's information. Ivor Lloyd Tuckett explains this in his book The Evidence for the Supernatural: A Critical Study Made with "Uncommon Sense" (which can be found online).

According to Tuckett all Piper's mediumship could be explained by:

Muscle-reading, fishing, guessing, hints obtained in the sitting, knowledge surreptitiously obtained, knowledge acquired in the interval between sittings and lastly, facts already within Mrs. Piper's knowledge.

So I see no reason to invoke ESP or spirits, her mediumship has a natural explanation in my opinion.

Even SPR members such as Andrew Lang admitted Piper would fish for information:

Mrs. Piper would cheat when she could—that is to say, she would make guesses, try to worm information out of her sitter, describe a friend of his, alive or dead, as ‘Ed.,’ who may be Edgar, Edmund, Edward, Edith, or anybody. She would shuffle, and repeat what she had picked up in a former sitting with the same person; and the vast majority of her answers started from vague references to probable facts (as that an elderly man is an orphan), and so worked on to more precise statements.

Interesting comment from you:

On that last point, note that they shoved into her mouth spoonfuls of salt and perfume, put ammonia beneath her nostrils, pricked her skin with needles, studied pupil dilation and reflexes, studied her respiration, and even put a flame on her skin to see how her body would react. Her trance was most likely genuine. She was most likely *not* consciously faking.

I'm skeptical about some of these claims, these tests were obviously not performed frequently in her séance, there's only record of them only been done once. From what I have read and due to Piper's fishing (cold reading) I believe she was a conscious fraud. There's other pieces of evidence which support this. For example as the Wikipedia page reports:

Horace Howard Furness attended a séance with Piper and concluded that the she had feigned her trances. During the séance Furness caught Piper with her eyes open, looking at some flowers which he had placed in the room.

Thomas W. M. Lund recalled that before a séance with Piper he had told another sitter about his son's illness and his wife's plans "within earshot of Mrs. Piper." During the séance Piper's control mentioned his statements. Lund suggested that Piper was not unconscious during the séance and that she had used clever guess work and other mentalist tricks.

Alexander Macalister attended a séance sitting wrote that apart from one common guess Piper got nothing correct and that her trance mediumship was a poor imposture. Another sitter Thomas Barkworth who held the hand of Piper in one of her séances accused her of practicing muscle reading. Martin Gardner wrote "Mrs. Piper liked to hold a client's hand throughout a sitting, or even to place the hand against her forehead. This made it easy to detect muscular reactions even when a sitter remained silent."

These pieces of evidence are in favour of conscious fraud. The interesting thing about all these pieces of evidence is that they appear in no spiritualist publications, they have been ignored and filtered out. It's only skeptics who cover this stuff.

The psychical researcher Walter Franklin Prince described the mediumship of Mina Crandon as ""the most ingenious, persistent, and fantastic complex of fraud in the history of psychic research". I believe that statement should be applied to Piper.

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James was indeed skeptical of the spirit-communication interpretation, but he did not do the bulk of the research on Piper and he also had no doubt about genuine ESP occurring. Are you suggesting otherwise?

William James was an early member of the American Society for Psychical Research (ASPR). The ASPR was originally a skeptic organization (this had not been widely reported) but the history is there, but the skeptics had mostly resigned by 1890 but not James. James was always skeptical of the spirit hypothesis, but he was open to the possibility of ESP. I never had him down as a believer in all psychic phenomena, he always seemed to be on the borderline of accepting some of it, but not a total skeptic either. His Essays in Psychical Research which were compiled after his death contain some useful information on the Piper case which has not been widely reported. By todays standards Piper would be close to a millionaire, she was paid a fortune by SPR members and private séances. I believe she was a very clever fraud, not as clever as Daniel Dunglas Home though.

Actually there are cleverer frauds out there in the history of mediumship, Henry Slade managed to fool a group of scientists with some rope tricks. Some of the tricks really are ingenious and sometimes you have to spend ages researching to see how they did them. It's all fun. Us skeptics have to do the spiritualists homework for them and correct their errors :)

Jon Donnis and Harry Price both legends.

kaviraj's picture
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Honestskeptic, respectfully my good sir (assuming you’re male!), you did not engage several of my points. But that’s okay. For the time being, I won’t reply to everything you said either :) But I’d just like quickly comment on a few things.

Quote:

but because Piper is controversial we will find conflicting information on some of this stuff.

Which is why we should stick to the primary research as much as possible. But so far, there’s no conflict in *facts*. I agree with you that Piper’s controls often made foolish errors and ridiculous claims. But *all* of the original/primary investigators (including Hodgson btw) were already well aware of that and noted it publicly. Nobody has ever denied it. The primary investigators were also upfront about the fact that controls *did* indeed sometimes fish. It’s in the original papers by the original investigators!

Quote:

A maid in the household of William James was friendly with a maid in Piper's house and this may of been a source of information that Piper used for private details about James.

That is pure “maybe/maybe not” speculation and not relevant to cases where the conditions imposed upon Piper prevented that sort of thing from happening (see below). And, again, James’s direct involvement with Piper was miniscule.

Quote:

According to Tuckett

I’m sorry but Tuckett is just wrong.

Quote:

all Piper's mediumship could be explained by muscle-reading, fishing, guessing, hints obtained in the sitting,

Not in proxy cases where *strangers* sat in for the actual sitters and not when available transcripts (which are still publicly available) fail to show these techniques at play.

Hodgson, Myers, et al had seen dozens of fraudulent mediums and *knew* full well what to look for. As William Newbold noted, he and Hodgson had “seen much of professional mediums, and are thoroughly familiar with the methods of ‘fishing’ upon which they generally rely” and so they “always had such possibilities in mind”. He confidently notes that “it would have been impossible for any large amount of detailed information to have been extracted from us in this way without our knowledge.” In any case, one can just look at the available transcripts in all cases where “hits” were made. It’s a good thing they often used stenographers!

Quote:

knowledge acquired in the interval between sittings

Examples? Besides, controls often produced highly intimate hits right off the bat.

Quote:

facts already within Mrs. Piper's knowledge.

Not when Piper didn’t know the sitters...

Quote:

So I see no reason to invoke ESP

I do, and I’m familiar with all of your objections. We may simply be at a standstill my good sir. But that’s okay :)

Quote:

Horace Howard Furness attended a séance with Piper and concluded that the she had feigned her trances. During the séance Furness caught Piper with her eyes open, looking at some flowers which he had placed in the room.

I’m trying to find the original letter that Furness wrote to James. Do you have it?

Quote:

Thomas W. M. Lund recalled that before a séance with Piper he had told another sitter about his son's illness and his wife's plans "within earshot of Mrs. Piper." During the séance Piper's control mentioned his statements.

We can’t infer fraud from *that*. Instead, the *most* we can say is that fraud cannot be ruled out in the Lund case since the statements were (allegedly) made “within earshot”. I’m sorry, but to infer fraud on *that* simply strains credulity.

Quote:

Lund suggested that Piper was not unconscious during the séance

Because?

Quote:

and that she had used clever guess work and other mentalist tricks.

Because?

Lund can say whatever he wants, but unless there is some paper out there in which Lund addresses the points I’ve made and/or shows how the trickery took place, I just don’t see why I should be impressed by his skepticism.

Quote:

Alexander Macalister attended a séance sitting wrote that apart from one common guess Piper got nothing correct

Yep. That sometimes happened in Piper’s sittings, as all of the original investigators were *upfront* about.

Quote:

Another sitter Thomas Barkworth who held the hand of Piper in one of her séances accused her of practicing muscle reading.

I have no idea what happened with Barkworth, but Piper’s controls often produced intimate details (1) without holding the sitter’s hand, (2) when the sitter was really a proxy (stranger) taking the place of the actual sitter (in which case muscle reading was literally useless), (3) when the sitters themselves weren’t even aware of the (accurate) details described by the controls, etc.

Quote:

Martin Gardner wrote "Mrs. Piper liked to hold a client's hand throughout a sitting, or even to place the hand against her forehead. This made it easy to detect muscular reactions even when a sitter remained silent."

Greg Taylor has a whole essay on why Gardner’s expose (including the bit on muscle reading) is deeply flawed. Have you not read his lengthy paper titled “Skeptical of a Skeptic?” Go to http://www.dailygrail.com/essays/2010/11...

Here’s an excerpt:

Greg Taylor wrote:

Being a knowledgeable magician, Gardner knows that there are other possible techniques for achieving ‘psychic abilities’, and so he doesn’t just rest with the fishing claim (even if he ascribes “most of Mrs. Piper’s hits” to it). For instance, he also points out that “Mrs. Piper usually held a client’s hand throughout a sitting”, which could be suggestive of ‘muscle reading’. This is certainly a point worth bringing up when investigating claims of mediumship, as it is another magician’s trick for ‘reading the mind’ and first came to prominence during the 1870s, little more than a decade before the testing of Mrs. Piper began. Muscle reading takes advantage of the ideomotor effect, where very slight involuntary reactions to questions can be ascertained through physical contact, often by holding a person’s hand. Ironically, William James was one of the first to bring the ideomotor effect to wide attention, in his foundational textbook Principles of Psychology – a point Martin Gardner does not mention in his essay. More concerning though is that once again Gardner seems to be disregarding the source material. For instance, in the British report on Mrs. Piper, Sir Oliver Lodge wrote:

Lodge wrote:

I am familiar with muscle-reading and other simulated ‘thought-transference’ methods, and prefer to avoid contact whenever it is possible to get rid of it without too much fuss. Although Mrs. Piper always held somebody’s hand while preparing to go into the trance, she did not always continue to hold it when speaking as Phinuit.

It is also worth noting that for the bulk of her career, Mrs. Piper’s ‘communicators’ used her hand(s) to write, rather than speaking ‘through’ her voice, severely limiting any chance of contact mind reading. It is difficult to see how Gardner translates Lodge’s notes on avoiding contact, and the reported circumstances of Mrs. Piper’s trance, into her “usually" holding a client’s hand "throughout a sitting” [my emphasis]. Similarly, elsewhere in his essay he claims that Mrs. Piper’s eyes “were often only half closed, allowing her to observe reactions”. Gardner seems to ignore the fact that for the majority of her sittings, Piper’s trance conditions had her head buried in a pillow, with the eyes “not only closed but turned from the sitter.”

Not content with fishing, muscle reading, and visual cues (though all dismissed by the original researchers), Gardner believes…

Gardner wrote:

she had other tricks up her sleeves. She constantly saw friends and relatives of clients. A vast amount of personal information can emerge in the give and take of séance conversation, to be fed back to sitters in later séances… Obtaining facts about prominent persons is not difficult. Obituaries can be checked. Courthouses contain birth and marriage records, real estate sales, and so on. Reference books abound in biographical data that sitters often swear a medium could not possibly know.

Even disregarding the fact that Mrs. Piper and her husband were shadowed by detectives to check whether they were in some way researching “clients” (as noted by Gardner himself), there’s good reason to doubt this claim based on the original sources. As Frank Podmore pointed out, Richard Hodgson instituted strict controls to lessen the chance that Mrs. Piper could ‘get up’ information on sitters prior to a séance. For instance, she…

Podmore wrote:

[Piper] did not even know their names… The sittings were fixed sometimes a fortnight, sometimes only two or three days beforehand; the dates were sometimes changed… in one or other of these instances the precautions taken may have been insufficient… But it would be very difficult to suppose that that loophole was always left open, that malign chance favored Mrs. Piper for nine years so punctually that the sittings which have to be written down as failures now number barely 10 per cent…. And it is at least worth remarking that the one series of sittings where it would have been least difficult to anticipate the names of the probable sitters and to provide for their advent – the well-known Professors of Harvard, who came when Mrs Piper was under Professor James’ direction, – was one of the least successful here recorded.

If, like Gardner, we (rather cavalierly) disregard the confidence of the original researchers that Mrs. Piper was kept in the dark about the identity of the sitters – how then did she collect information about them once she knew who they were? Gardner has a suggestion:

I stopped there (at a thrilling moment) to entice you to read the whole essay for yourself. Greg did an excellent job!

I’ll leave it at that. Be well Honestskeptic

Rho's picture
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Hello,

A Few weeks ago i picked up an interesting book in a second hand shop. The Other World by Albert Pauchard originally released in 1937

The author gave much of his life to examining evidence of communication after death and to spreading its truth in his homeland of Switzerland. Continuing this important work here he describes the experiences, some quite unusual, which met him after his own death. An intellectual and a man of probity, Pauchard found himself confronted by much that was both unexpected, searching and rather different from the somewhat undemanding picture often described. He treats reincarnation as an established fact and emphasises that our development on earth determines the kind of experience awaiting us thereafter. A fascinating account of adventures of the soul in realms which all of us must eventually traverse.

Only half trough currently but it's an interesting account of a Swiss man who had planned to tell about his afterlife experiences through what turned out to be Dutch mediums.

Currently not available at Amazon

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it”. --Aristotle

Mashimaro's picture
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I wish that reading the comments section was not a single long essay by "honestskeptic". It's great that you have a POV on the subject, but yours isn't the only one of the Grail. And Grail readers are a pretty smart bunch. As the disclaimer at the top of the site reads "caveat lector!". I don't think you need to keep spamming your opinion - we get it, you're skeptical of Leonora Piper!

And, for what it is worth, I did an undergraduate research paper on Leonora Piper and my research of the primary and secondary sources supports Greg's overall position on the case (in so far as I understand his position). There are legitimate skeptical arguments about Piper's mediumship, but the more baffling aspects of her case create a great argument for why mediumship should be studied today, with modern tools and methods.

Do you use your powers for good or for awesome?

reliv55's picture
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I agree with most of what you said. The problem with skeptics is that they demand tangible evidence that they can hold in their hand. This is not possible when it comes to the spiritual realm, it is an entirely different dimension, and you will rarely ever find any evidence that is tangible. The only type of evidence that is acceptable in my opinion would be the reliability and credibility of the people who have seen, experienced, or witnessed such phenomena.

I have a few research essays listed on my website if you would be interested in reading them. It is under the science section and labeled as "Doctors Encounter the Other Side". Feel free to leave a comment, I love talking about this stuff. Take care and thank you for the article!

-Will

http://www.illumination55.com

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I have to respond to reliv55 in that I believe that there is at least one case concerning the spiritual realm that has an abundance of tangible evidence and that is the Case of Patience Worth. There are thousands of poems, several novels and much conversation purported to be from Patience Worth channelled, if you will, through the medium Pearl Curran (Pearl would disclaim the label 'medium'.) Twenty-nine volumes of the material are available at the Missouri Historical Society building in St. Louis. There are also three published novels and two unpublished works by Worth/Curran. There is a 500+ page case study of the Patience Worth phenomenon by Dr. Walter Franklin Prince as well as two books of her poems, one by Casper S. Yost and the other by Herman Behr. Granted these materials are not 'evidential' per se, but they certanily present an enigma that has not yet been explained, or seriously challenged for that matter. - AOD

http://www.patienceworth.com

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Greg,
I so agree with your comment, "I did like the touch though of linking to Wikipedia articles to support your cause, when you're the one who has been writing/spamming those entries over the course of this year, flooding them with...cherry-picked information that supports just your own conclusion."

The commenter you referenced in the above quote has destroyed many articles on Wikipedia including mine about Patience Worth and now wants to reference his own Wikimedia inaccurate revisions to prove his point. What a laugh!

I recommend that anyone really interested in information about Leonora Piper should read Richard Hodgson's "Detailed Reports of Sittings" with Leonora Piper published in the S.P.R. Proceedings as "Observations of Certain Phenomena of Trance". These observations quote original notes of Hodgson regarding his investigation of Leonora Piper. I would quote from the copy I have before me except that limited space on this blog does not allow the extensive quote that would be required to provide the best refutation of comments previously made above. Hodgson's report on Piper can be found in the Appendix of at least 57 pages, much too much to post here. - AOD

Honestskeptic's picture
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Sorry I can't reply to the other person who has been doing long posts, you seem knowledgeable even though you dismissed skeptical books in a single line lol, but this isn't place for a debate on Piper and it would drag on, so I apologise, email me if you wish. I will reply to Greg and Doyle who believe I am a troll or vandal out to make trouble (you couldn't be further from the truth!).

Greg's rant:

What's more interesting to me is that you post under the username 'HonestSkeptic', despite already having a username here that works perfectly fine. Though perhaps we should inform readers this is a habit of yours, you post under multiple different usernames on almost every forum I've spotted you on. At least this time (so far) you haven't created another username in which you pretend to be your opposition, trying to ingratiate yourself with them, which you've also done multiple times? Will you be linking (spamming) to RationalWiki soon? You know those hit pieces on the likes of Michael Prescott that you wrote, then denied you wrote to readers here (under your old username here)? I did like the touch though of linking to Wikipedia articles to support your cause, when you're the one who has been writing/spamming those entries over the course of this year, flooding them with...cherry-picked information that supports just your own conclusion.

Hi,

Lots of errors in your post and some correct stuff. I don't cherry pick Greg, I am one of the very few people in the world who has read everything on the topic, my posts show that, probably even to the point of "mad" lol. My knowledge on this is far above you or any other spiritualist. You only read spiritualist publications, I have read both skeptical and spiritualist. The reason I don't cite spiritualist publications anymore is because they contain incorrect information and filter out evidence of fraud. I stop reading spiritualist books a few years ago, but when I was 16 I had countless spiritualist books and had read practically every popular book and rare on the subject.

I have read 1000s of books on the subject far more than anyone else I have ever come across, I have probably read too much on the subject... I still don't understand why you include Piper in your book on the afterlife when the majority of psychical researchers rejected the spirit hypothesis and the skeptics exposed her as fraudulent. I understand though that people have the will to believe. I am not sure why you are attacking me I have applauded your research into the NDE, if I was to give you a book review it would be 60% good. As I said you only slip-up IMO on the mediumship for filtering out skeptical references.

A for your points, True I have had an account on this website called "advanced" but I forgot the password (it doesn't help that you give the passwords a bunch of random letters, they are hard to remember) I only posted to defend Wikipedia because you were accusing some of my friends on Wikipedia as being biased skeptics. And yes before that I had one other account, but I only came to your site because someone was impersonating me (see below).

As for Wikipedia, I have created a tonne of articles on Wikipedia in the past lol (who hasn't?) Wikipedia is free, it's not a crime to create Wikipedia article, but it's not just me doing it, I have countless connections and friends doing it on countless accounts (I was even and admin on wiki once lol).

As for rationalwiki and I am certainly not involved with it in anyway they sometimes copy articles from Wikipedia, a person did impersonate me on that website. I have not been banned on any forums. A person called "MU" (a spiritualist) who also posted as "Andrew B. Chung" who now posts as "Tyler Snotgern" and many other sock puppets impersonated me on a few forums and posting abuse in an attempt to "blacklist" my name (if you want this clarified speak to Jim Warwood owner of the spiritualismlink forum) or to my friend Jon Donnis owner of badpsychics (Donnis has also been impersonated), I am entirely innocent, this Mu person did the same to me on Michael Prescott's blog, everyone knows about it, it wasn't a nice thing but that's what I get I guess for being a skeptic. I had the police look into it but in the end I made peace with MU and he's apologised and he's no longer faking me so I don't have a problem with him anymore he's moved on and seen the errors of his ways. Feel free to email me if you need further clarification, it's not something I want to discuss on here, it's a private matter.

I have never ever abused anyone on the internet anywhere, if you think I have done something wrong email me (if you have seen something it was probably impersonation). Your comments about me using sockpuppets are unfounded (see above for the explanation) I have used multiple accounts within policy of websites. As for some of my comments I apologise if they come across as immature, I like a bit of humour sometimes and you have to remember I am twenty, thirty or forty years younger than many people on these websites.

Amos Oliver Doyle writes:

The commenter you referenced in the above quote has destroyed many articles on Wikipedia including mine about Patience Worth and now wants to reference his own Wikimedia inaccurate revisions to prove his point. What a laugh!

Hi Amos not sure why you are quoting Richard Hodgson, you cherry pick only his support for spiritualism but I have never seen you quote his research on unmasking fraudulent mediums like Eusapia Palladino or Henry Slade, surely you should look up his research of debunking mediums as well?

As for wiki nobody "owns" Wikipedia articles, so not sure why you are claiming to own the Patience Worth one. Just for the record I didn't edit that one but it look neutral to me. There is a group of editors who edit these articles, check the Wikipedia fringe noticeboard "LuckyLouie" etc. If you know anything about Wikipedia then you would know it doesn't tolerate pseudoscience or fringe views. As for patience worth the majority of psychical researchers accept that Patience Worth was a subconscious personality of Curran (you even admitted on Tymn's blog that you have a bias of denying this view) not sure what your problem is.

Walter Franklin Prince didn't believe in spirits, he believed in ESP. He exposed many fraudulent physical mediums including Mina Crandon (you never mention this). I have not seen a single post from you anywhere on the internet ever admitting a medium has been caught in fraud Doyle. Like Tymn you claim every historical medium was genuine, IMO it's not honest to ignore the fraud. You only ever report the "positive" stuff but the entire history of spiritualism is riddled with fraud. Are you honest to admit Helen Duncan, Mina Crandon, Henry Slade and William Eglinton and other bogus physical mediums were exposed as frauds by psychical researchers Doyle? If not then you have a lot to learn about psychical research my friend. You would be surprised to learn that the majority of psychical researchers are not friends of the spiritualists and never supported their pet theories.

You are closing your eyes to many pieces of evidence due to pre-conceived beliefs, that's not what psychical research is about, but you come across as a spiritualist and not a psychical researcher, so perhaps my mistake. But my complaint is that you have not studied psychical research and it is important to do so if you are going to quote certain people, the majority of psychical researchers have exposed mediumship as fraudulent (did you read Hereward Carrington or Harry Price?). Hint look up the history of the SPR, Harry Price and his National Laboratory of Psychical Research etc etc.

If fraud occurs we shouldn't ignore it! We should admit it. Richard Hodgson was caught fabricating data Doyle (see my first post). Good luck on your research. Perhaps in the future you and Tymn can blog on fraudulent mediums instead of just claiming they are all genuine?·

I will end with some comments from Joseph McCabe on Piper:

When Sir O. Lodge presented to Mrs. Piper a sealed envelope containing a number of letters of the alphabet, she could not read one of them, and declined to try again. She could not answer simple tests about Pellew. She gave Professor James messages from Gurney after his death (1888), and James pronounced them *' tiresome twaddle." When Myers died in 1901 and left a sealed envelope containing a message, she could not get a word of it.
When Hodgson died in 1905 and left a large amount of manuscript in cipher, she could not get the least clue to it. When friends put test questions to the spirit of Hodgson about his early life in Australia, the answers were all wrong.

Mrs. Piper fished habitually and obviously for information from her sitters. She got at names by childishly repeating them with different letters (a very common trick of mediums), and often changed them. She made the ghost of Sir Walter Scott talk the most arrant nonsense about the sun and planets. She was completely baffled when a message was given to her in Latin, though she was supposed to be speaking in the name of the spirit of the learned Myers, and it took her three months to get the meaning (out of a dictionary ?) of one or two easy words of it. She gave a man a long account of an uncle whom he had never
had ; and it turned out that this information was in the encyclopaedia, and related to another man of the same name. In no instance did she ever give details that it was impossible for her to learn in a normal way.

After reading books by Clodd, McCabe, Podmore, Tuckett et all. There should be no doubt in your mind if you really look at the evidence that Piper was not in contact with spirits, it's up to you if you want to still go on believing and denying the facts.

Either way, Good luck with your research. I have given Greg and his book positive remarks and like Martin Gardner I believe in the afterlife, so not sure why the personal attacks, I am definitely not a militant skeptic, half of me is one of you guys, I believe in some of this stuff just not mediumship. There is no need for a war between believers and skeptics, we should learn to co-operate but I am no longer researching the subject it's taken too much time away from my biology career. Take care and have a good Christmas all, this time of year it not the time for arguing.... we are all on the same team at the end of the day. You may find the truth on this subject if you seek it, (you have to read a heck load of books though, check the ones I cited)!

Regards,

The Honest (and slightly mad) skeptic :)

Jon Donnis and Harry Price both legends.

kaviraj's picture
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Quote:

you dismissed skeptical books in a single line

I did no such thing. My friend, frankly, you have no clue what I have read or not read. I read skeptical pieces all of the time. Just because I don't agree with you doesn't mean I'm being unfairly dismissive. Ironically, I believe you are dismissing out of hand.

Be well :)

- Pat

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You dismissed Ivor Lloyd Tuckett's masterpiece in a single line "sorry but he's wrong". He wasn't wrong, it was one of most detailed refutations of Pipers mediumship, nearly 80 pages long. As he explained Piper's mediumship had a natural not supernatural explanation. I have posted far too much on here, I don't have time to discuss this anymore. If spirits exist anyone should be able to see them, the whole idea of mediumship is bogus. The whole dark room thing was a scam. In fact reports of apparitions contradict mediums. There is no "medium" involved in apparitional sightings. Spirits don't communicate through peoples bodies, the idea that "select" mediums can see spirits and other can't was a con to make money. There is no evidence for mediumship it's all fraud see Hereward Carrington, Joseph McCabe, Harry Price or Joe Nickell etc. All the "popular" mediums of the day such as Moses, Palladino, Home, Duncan, Fay etc were exposed. The majority of psychical researchers rejected the spirit-hypothesis of mediumship. There is a wealth of information about this here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mediumship

There isn't a single historical medium who was investigated who was not exposed. If you want an overview see Georgess McHargue's book Facts, Frauds, and Phantasms: A Survey of the Spiritualist Movement or Joseph Rinn's book which was a masterpiece at uncovering the tricks of fraudulent mediums. I came to realise after studying conjuring that mediumship was mostly magic tricks, sleight of hand, deception and suggestion. Occam's Razor agrees.

But, kaviraj are you Skippy Borzakov?

http://www.skeptiko.com/forum/threads/ho...

You have attracted attention from the Tyler Snotgern (MU)

He was recently exposed here by Murgatroid (who I suspect is Eveshi, someone MU previously impersonated but I have not spoken to in months) and Mac. If you want to know his darker side:

http://www.spiritualismlink.com/t2125-sa...

When Greg said he had seen me trolling forums, he was probably referring to the impersonations that this MU person has done of me and other skeptics, I don't usually post on forums and haven't done in many months, the impersonations should be easy to tell.

MU has been impersonating people for over twelve years, he's also targeted skeptics such as Jon Donnis, Arouet and Paul C. Anagnostopoulos, he no longer does it to me because I tried to be nice to him. I am not sure if he has become "clean" or not, I was always convinced deep down MU was an ok person but had a lot of anger so took it out on people online, I used to do this myself as a kid so I understand but MU is 40 years older than me, he's almost a granddad so it's kind of weird that someone that old spends his time trolling, I don't think he's married or got any kids. He comes across as very lonely, I feel sorry for him in a way. I consider myself a nice person and despite all he has done to me I wish him all the best. No point in hating an enemy :)

Despite my criticism of mediumship I do believe in the afterlife, Harry Price was a heroe of mine. I became addicted to psychical research but over the last year have given it up for natural science which is the real me. People should also look at the positive things I have posted rather than always the negative stuff about mediumship. I no longer research the subject this will probably the last time I visit a blog on the subject. I'm back to NZ after Christmas. Take care.

Jon Donnis and Harry Price both legends.

Tap's picture
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Honestskeptic wrote:

But, kaviraj are you Skippy Borzakov?

Kaviraj isn't Skippy Borzakov. I know this because *I* am Skippy Borzakov.

red pill junkie's picture
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You only read spiritualist publications, I have read both skeptical and spiritualist

And HOW would you know what Greg has or hasn't read?

Are you a psychic? ;)

It's not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me...
It's all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

Red Pill Junkie
_______________
@red_pill_junkie

Andie Doomshroom's picture
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red pill junkie wrote:

You only read spiritualist publications, I have read both skeptical and spiritualist

And HOW would you know what Greg has or hasn't read?

Are you a psychic? ;)

Come on, Greg is like well-known believer although nobody really is sure if he is! But he totally! Or isn't!

I am, or am I?

red pill junkie's picture
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Well known by whom? Randi & his ilk? Greg happens to be one of the most skeptical-minded individuals I've come across with.

If he weren't, he would've titled his book Stop Worrying: There Totally is an Afterlife ;)

It's not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me...
It's all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

Red Pill Junkie
_______________
@red_pill_junkie

Andie Doomshroom's picture
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Advanced wrote:

Also you claim to be "non-objective" but you are a well known spiritualist.

Advanced wrote:

Well I don't know if you are well-known or not.

Actually I used the wrong term. But those were on http://www.dailygrail.com/Skepticism/201...

I'm just making fun of "HonestSkeptic/Advanced"

I am, or am I?

Andie Doomshroom's picture
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http://stream1.gifsoup.com/view/179341/m...

I am, or am I?

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I take exception to the statement that this is not the place for debate on ANY paranormal issue. This is THE perfect place for such debates. I am retired form occult investigations (not stupid ghost hunter nonsense actual arrest the serial killer stuff). I am a person of faith, but that is the limit of my submersion into the realms of gullibility. I have an opened mind to such things, unlike most self proclaimed skeptics that are just the opposite extreme of the woo-woo whack jobs. I trust certain sites as references because of their honesty, or at least their transparency so that other members, such as Greg, can point out contradicting information and allow me to review facts and form valid conclusions. Though I find it suspect that no one has offered contradictory information regarding the other 4 points made, the mediumship argument is rather ridiculous. Houdini buried that dead horse a hundred years ago. I'd love to submit to the arguments of an after life, especially given my religious faith, but the obviously biased information regarding some of the information casts a shadow on all the information given. Despite all that, I still find this site of value if for no other reason, than the references to opposing information (not opinions. Opinions are useless, only information matters).

kaviraj's picture
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Ellizzarr wrote:

the mediumship argument is rather ridiculous.

I'd love it if you could (1) summarize the reasons/arguments provided by Greg and then (2) explain where and how Greg goes wrong in those arguments...

Quote:

Houdini buried that dead horse a hundred years ago.

Those of us who've been studying psychical research (including research carried out by early SPR members) for several years would love it if you explained how Houdini buried the dead horse of people anomalously acquiring information under stringent conditions that (at least really SEEM) to rule out fraud.

Quote:

the obviously biased information regarding some of the information casts a shadow on all the information given.

Examples?

Ellizzarr's picture
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Because most non critical thinkers cling to anecdotal evidence rather than scientific evidence my own personal run in with the now dead Sylvia Brown at a psychic fair in West Virginia in 1993 went as follows: I was shocked at her revelation that my dead friend Dave was warning me to save another friend, how could she know? I later found out she knew, because she pumped my then wife for information about me then encouraged her to have me sit for a reading. Enough? of course it's not, because you are most likely incapable of seeing reason. I'm open minded about these things, but I prefer evidence to wishful thinking.
here are the things to look up online for your complete answer....sorry...there is no Santa.

Houdini with pro-spiritualist Sir Arthur Connan Doyle
Houdini & Bess w/ Oscar Teale exposing slate writing fraud
Houdini & Bess - slate writing fraud
Houdini Duplicates a "Spirit" Photograph - 1
Houdini Duplicates a "Spirit" Photograph - 2
Houdini Duplicates a "Spirit" Photograph - 3
Houdini Duplicates a "Spirit" Photograph - 4
Houdini Duplicates a "Spirit" Photograph - 5
Houdini with Exposed Medium Pecoraro
Houdini with Spiritualist Margery
Spiritualist/Medium Margery
Margery Conducting a Seance
Margery in Box (restricts her movements)
Below Link to TheHistoryNet.com - explains Houdini vs. Margery
"The Medium and the Magician"
Sir Authur Connon Doyle Supports Margery
Houdini Threatens to Sue Doyle
Houdini's $5,000 Challenge to Margery
Houdini Explaining Margery's Box - 1
Houdini Explaining Margery's Box - 2
Houdini Disguiesd Himself at Seances
Ad for Houdini's Exposure Show - 1
Ad for Houdini's Exposure Show - 2
Ad for Houdini's Exposure Show - 3
Hippodrome Review of Houdini's Spiritualism Exposure
Houdini offers $10,000 in HPC Stock to any Legitimate Medium
Scientific American Mag. Denies Margery its Prize
Children attending Houdini Spiritualism Exposure
Headline Proclaims Houdini's Spiritualism Exposure
Houdini Letter - Spiritualism Challenge
Houdini Letter - Spiritualism
Houdini Testifying for Congressional Committee
Houdini with Senator Capper

See video
/> http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/swif...

Matthewh20's picture
Member since:
19 January 2014
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3 weeks 17 hours
Ellizzarr wrote:

Because most non critical thinkers cling to anecdotal evidence rather than scientific evidence my own personal run in with the now dead Sylvia Brown at a psychic fair in West Virginia in 1993 went as follows: I was shocked at her revelation that my dead friend Dave was warning me to save another friend, how could she know? I later found out she knew, because she pumped my then wife for information about me then encouraged her to have me sit for a reading. Enough? of course it's not, because you are most likely incapable of seeing reason. I'm open minded about these things, but I prefer evidence to wishful thinking.
here are the things to look up online for your complete answer....sorry...there is no Santa.

Houdini with pro-spiritualist Sir Arthur Connan Doyle
Houdini & Bess w/ Oscar Teale exposing slate writing fraud
Houdini & Bess - slate writing fraud
Houdini Duplicates a "Spirit" Photograph - 1
Houdini Duplicates a "Spirit" Photograph - 2
Houdini Duplicates a "Spirit" Photograph - 3
Houdini Duplicates a "Spirit" Photograph - 4
Houdini Duplicates a "Spirit" Photograph - 5
Houdini with Exposed Medium Pecoraro
Houdini with Spiritualist Margery
Spiritualist/Medium Margery
Margery Conducting a Seance
Margery in Box (restricts her movements)
Below Link to TheHistoryNet.com - explains Houdini vs. Margery
"The Medium and the Magician"
Sir Authur Connon Doyle Supports Margery
Houdini Threatens to Sue Doyle
Houdini's $5,000 Challenge to Margery
Houdini Explaining Margery's Box - 1
Houdini Explaining Margery's Box - 2
Houdini Disguiesd Himself at Seances
Ad for Houdini's Exposure Show - 1
Ad for Houdini's Exposure Show - 2
Ad for Houdini's Exposure Show - 3
Hippodrome Review of Houdini's Spiritualism Exposure
Houdini offers $10,000 in HPC Stock to any Legitimate Medium
Scientific American Mag. Denies Margery its Prize
Children attending Houdini Spiritualism Exposure
Headline Proclaims Houdini's Spiritualism Exposure
Houdini Letter - Spiritualism Challenge
Houdini Letter - Spiritualism
Houdini Testifying for Congressional Committee
Houdini with Senator Capper

See video
/> http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/swift-blog/1755-long-island-medium-a-tall-story.html

what we find with people who are involved with the "skeptical" movement is that they use attractive words like "critical thinking" and "skeptical". these produce what could be discribed as a "wizard of oz effect"

where once you have had a look behind the curtain its really not that impressive. the "skeptical community" cling to the delusion (some probably really believe) that they are open minded truth seekers.

whilst exepting anacdotal evidence as proof or even a high-grade type evidence. is irrational dismissing it out-of-hand is equally irrational and this needs to be understood.

whilst some believes cling to anacdotes (sometimes for emotional reasons) not all do. some do take it on scientific evidence 130 years of research in some cases. of couse talling a psuedoskeptic this is futile but just because you don't like it does not mean it is not scientific.

<==))=========>

Strange_Stars_Near_Arcturus's picture
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If this Piper woman's so disreputable, how was it possible to miss all this stuff when preparing the book? Is the goal to discredit any actual research being done? The 'Probably' in the title... I don't get this at all. I'm having buyers remorse and the book hasn't even arrived yet. The Victorians were a weird bunch. The whole spiritualism thing is a lot of fun, but really?! I want to believe this stuff and you seem to be going out of your way to ruin that belief dude. I'll read the book, and you've made your money, which is probably the only point in the exercise...

Honestskeptic's picture
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If this Piper woman's so disreputable, how was it possible to miss all this stuff when preparing the book?

They just ignore it, that's what they do! They have been doing it for over 120 years. Any negative information about mediums and they will filter it out. They only report the alleged positive stuff.

Jon Donnis and Harry Price both legends.

Amos Oliver Doyle's picture
Member since:
10 December 2013
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Those who are interested might want to look at Houdini's own account of the Margery investigation.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/houdini/sfe...

Of interest is his own statements including "I was to have the right to reject any person proposed as a member of the committee [to investigate Margery]with me. My reason for this was, as I explained to them, that while an ordinary investigator, whether layman, professor, or scientist, could make a mistake and later correct himself without damage to his standing, I was in a different position, for due to the peculiar nature of my work my reputation was at state and I could not run the risk of having it injured."
One needs to read the whole excerpt which apparently is from Houdini's "Margery" the Medium Exposed". To me, Houdini does not seem to be a neutral or non-biased investigator. As he stated, his reputation was at stake! (Much like Randi I think.) - AOD

Honestskeptic's picture
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Of interest is his own statements including "I was to have the right to reject any person proposed as a member of the committee [to investigate Margery]with me.

Interesting you are adding things to quotes that were not originally there and quoting mining AOD. This is the real quote and the full context:

They discussed the Black articles with me and asked why it was that I would not write on Spiritualism for them. I explained that the research work involved was such that I could not entrust it to anyone else and that it was impossible for me to spare the time which this and the writing of the articles would require, but I advised them to form an investigating committee and said if the other members were honest, reliable, and qualified, I would serve as one without pay with the stipulation that I was to have the right to reject any person proposed as a member of the committee with me. My reason for this was, as I explained to them, that while an ordinary investigator, whether layman, professor, or scientist, could make a mistake and later correct himself without damage to his standing, I was in a different position, for due to the peculiar nature of my work my reputation was at stake and I could not run the risk of having it injured. This was agreed to before they left my office, but sometime, afterwards hearing that they had selected a committee without consulting me I wrote the following letter to protect myself.

Doesn't come across as "biased" to me.

You write:

To me, Houdini does not seem to be a neutral or non-biased investigator.

But neither are yourself AOD you are a devout spiritualist. You blog and post on many websites claiming all kinds of mediums communicated with spirits, but not in a single post have admitted a medium was a caught in fraud. As soon as fraud is mentioned you get angry and accuse people of being "biased" or "pseudoskeptics". This is why conversations with spiritualists are pointless because no matter the evidence you will still go on believing, like you have done in very blatant cases of fraud like Helen Duncan.

You have even admitted on Michael E. Tymn's blog you have a bias:

Maybe it is bias on my part though, hoping that Patience Worth was a real spirit and not the subconscious mind of Pearl Curran.

http://whitecrowbooks.com/michaeltymn/en...

As for Mina Crandon - Walter Franklin Prince wrote she was "the most ingenious, persistent, and fantastic complex of fraud in the history of psychic research." Would you agree with Prince on that Doyle?

Jon Donnis and Harry Price both legends.

Honestskeptic's picture
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Those of us who've been studying psychical research (including research carried out by early SPR members) for several years would love it if you explained how Houdini buried the dead horse of people anomalously acquiring information under stringent conditions that (at least really SEEM) to rule out fraud.

I have not come across any evidence for "stringent conditions", have you looked up the case of Douglas Blackburn and George Albert Smith? They managed to fool the SPR for over 30 years that they had genuine telepathy abilities. Blackburn later confessed:

For nearly thirty years the telepathic experiments conducted by Mr. G. A. Smith and myself have been accepted and cited as the basic evidence of the truth of thought transference...
...the whole of those alleged experiments were bogus, and originated in the honest desire of two youths to show how easily men of scientific mind and training could be deceived when seeking for evidence in support of a theory they were wishful to establish.

Which shows how gullible some of the early SPR members were.

Jon Donnis and Harry Price both legends.

Honestskeptic's picture
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Houdini with pro-spiritualist Sir Arthur Connan Doyle
Houdini & Bess w/ Oscar Teale exposing slate writing fraud
Houdini & Bess - slate writing fraud
Houdini Duplicates a "Spirit" Photograph - 1
Houdini Duplicates a "Spirit" Photograph - 2
Houdini Duplicates a "Spirit" Photograph - 3
Houdini Duplicates a "Spirit" Photograph - 4
Houdini Duplicates a "Spirit" Photograph - 5

The best book about Houdini in my opinion is Final Séance: The Strange Friendship Between Houdini and Conan Doyle by Massimo Polidoro. My sister met Polidoro at the The Amaz!ng Meeting (TAM) 2013 at a casino in Enterprise, Nevada. Got a signed copy of his book. The book contains many private letters between Arthur Conan Doyle and Houdini. It was interesting to me to see how credulous Doyle really was, he sent letters claiming Houdini himself had occult powers as well as other magicians such as the Davenport Brothers. Doyle couldn't understand that physical mediumship was just clever magician and sleight of hand tricks.

Jon Donnis and Harry Price both legends.

Honestskeptic's picture
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I take exception to the statement that this is not the place for debate on ANY paranormal issue. This is THE perfect place for such debates. I am retired form occult investigations (not stupid ghost hunter nonsense actual arrest the serial killer stuff).

It's not a true place for a debate because no matter the evidence the spiritualists on this website won't accept any of the mediums were caught in fraud. It's like a scientist trying to show a creationist evidence for common descent, the creationist will just ignore it. If you want a true place to debate you should join Jon Donnis on his badpsychics forum. Donnis is a famous skeptic on the topic of psychics and mediumship.

http://moh2005.proboards.com/index.cgi

Anyone is invited.

Jon Donnis and Harry Price both legends.

Honestskeptic's picture
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I trust certain sites as references because of their honesty, or at least their transparency so that other members, such as Greg, can point out contradicting information and allow me to review facts and form valid conclusions. Though I find it suspect that no one has offered contradictory information regarding the other 4 points made, the mediumship argument is rather ridiculous.

Of course the believers can’t refute the evidence presented by the sceptics, all they can do is ignore it and go after the sceptics themselves with ad-hominem attacks like Greg did to me in his post. I presented conclusive evidence Piper was not in contact with spirits, but all that data was ignored and I was personally attacked with some deliberate false information. The believers have a long-history of doing this. This is why it is pointless in doing debates on believer websites.

I also noted Greg posts libel about sceptics and conspiracy theories on his personal twitter page, this is quite uncalled for and bordering on personal stalking. He's been moaning for months it seems that "skeptics" own Wikipedia pages yet why doesn't he edit Wikipedia himself? Nobody owns Wikipedia pages. The whole Guerrilla Skepticism Wikipedia conspiracy theory was a hoax. Susan Gerbic talks about the conspiracy theory here:

http://guerrillaskepticismonwikipedia.bl...

According to Gerbic:

I was attacked by all sorts, an astrologer wanted me to debate him. Others made fun of my hats (can you imagine!) Rupert's latest blog misspelled my name, Susan Gerbik, so much for his investigative skills. Tim Farley and I discuss the drama and what led up to it on this episode of Skepticality Jerry Coyne jumps into the fray and defends us in a series of blogs. This is the first one. Here is a blog by an astrologer (not sure if it was the same one that challenged me) This is the first in a series by a person who tried to edit Sheldrakes page, got into arguments with just about everyone and ended up storming off complaining about my team. The really funny thing is that this person only made one tiny edit to the Sheldrake page and accused us of having an agenda, this person has only ever edited on the Sheldrake talk page and no where else on WP. Looking over my notes, this appears to be the very first blog from from all this drama and it dates back to 2012, and just tonight I discover that this person has written a book about this mess and I'm in it (with my name spelled correctly, Sheldrake are you listening?). Amazing!

With this new knowledge perhaps daily grail can retract their previous claims about skeptics high jacking the Rupert Sheldrake Wikipedia article. :)

Jon Donnis and Harry Price both legends.

Honestskeptic's picture
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Well known by whom? Randi & his ilk? Greg happens to be one of the most skeptical-minded individuals I've come across with.

If he weren't, he would've titled his book Stop Worrying: There Totally is an Afterlife ;)

Well everyone is skeptical about something. My complaint is that his book ignores skeptical publications and his bibliography consists of mostly spiritualist and occult publications (skeptics like Ivor Lloyd Tuckett or Joseph Rinn who demolished the Piper case and reports of deathbed visions are not mentioned anywhere in the book). If he was a true skeptic then he would be questioning some of the gullible spiritualist references that he used but he accepts many of these anecdotes at face value and does not question his own beliefs. See the review by Lawrence Trayne "Notabuck" on amazon. He also has a poor understanding of Occam's razor. In places he advocates magical supernatural entities whilst ignoring the simpler explanation of fraud, coincidence, memory loss, dissociative states or hallucination.

The book I recommend is The Science of Ghosts: Searching for Spirits of the Dead by Joe Nickell, it's the opposite of Greg's book on almost every level. It is a worthwhile exercise to compare both of the books.

Jon Donnis and Harry Price both legends.

Honestskeptic's picture
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And HOW would you know what Greg has or hasn't read?

Are you a psychic? ;)

I know what he's read by looking at his bibliography :)

I don't mind being called a psychic, I have had some strange telepathic experiences with my sister and some of my friends. If telepathy exists I don't believe it can be done at will though. For example I did some number guessing number experiments and when we didn't think about it we got the numbers correct but every time we consciously thought about it, it failed. The psychologist William McDougall believed telepathy was a subconscious process. There's also some interesting stuff from Whately Carington about "association of ideas" the idea that people with similar interests or personalities will have higher telepathy hits.

Carington's best known and most controversial contribution to parapsychology is his "association theory" of telepathy, the basis of which is the concept that minds are systems of ideas and sensa (termed "psychons" by Carington). Such "psychon systems," he held, are not wholly insulated from one another, and in telepathy interaction between psychons in different minds takes place according to the same laws of association as govern the interaction of psychons in a single mind.

http://www.pflyceum.org/229.html

Carington was a critic of the spirit-hypothesis of mediumship, he developed world-assoicate tests and had proven that the alleged "spirit" controls of mediums like Rudi Scheidner and the "feda" control of Gladys Osborne Leonard were not spirits but subconscious personalities. Carington published these results in a series of papers called "The Quantitative Study of Trance Personalities", this is a major blow to the spirit hypothesis of mediumship. I have not read Greg's book in a few weeks but I believe he did not mention the work of Carington when he mentioned Gladys Osborne Leonard. I am not accusing him of ignoring Carington, I don't think he is aware of his research. If I am wrong feel free to correct me. Not all us skeptics are bad, some of us do deep research :)

Jon Donnis and Harry Price both legends.

red pill junkie's picture
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I know what he's read by looking at his bibliography :)

You're making an inference by extrapolation. You're assuming that if a title wasn't referenced in his book, then it's either unknown to him, or that he's deliberately omitting them --look who's accusing him of libelous comments...

I haven't had a chance to read Greg's book yet. I'm also not versed in the case of Piper at the degree Greg --or you-- are. But one thing that is plain to me is that it's you the one who's making the absolutist claims --"All mediums were proven to be charlatans"; "there's nothing to substantiate mediumship", etc etc (I'm paraphrasing you here, but nonetheless the observation stands).

When someone makes such kind of blanket statements, I become highly skeptic of their arguments.

It's also been you the one who's tried to hijack this thread. When someone bothers to write comments that are more lengthy than the original text, then maybe that someone should've written an article of their own. As a TDG member, you have the option of writing entries in your personal blog. Other members would then be free to assess your arguments & judge whether they hold any water or not.

As for the validity of mediumship, and what it ultimately means, I personally still keep it in my gray box. Because even if the information was obtained by the medium's subconscious, that's still pretty darn interesting in my book; and it would still urge us to re-evaluate our current materialistic paradigm.

It's not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me...
It's all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

Red Pill Junkie
_______________
@red_pill_junkie

kaviraj's picture
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Honestskeptic wrote:

It's not a true place for a debate because no matter the evidence the spiritualists on this website won't accept any of the mediums were caught in fraud.

What the hell are you talking about? I guarantee you that everyone on here knows that many SPR investigators (and non-SPR investigators) have exposed dozens of fraudulent mediums. Nobody denies that that there have been (and continue to be) a depressingly large number of frauds. Just because I (and Greg and others) disagree with you on Piper doesn't mean that people on this site refuse to "accept any of the mediums were caught in fraud". Friend, get a hold of yourself.

honestskeptic wrote:

It's like a scientist trying to show a creationist evidence for common descent,

I use the exact same analogy in the other direction. Psi-deniers are just as bad as evolution deniers.