Article by Vi Kipling with Craig Hamilton-Parker about psychic tests and research.
There has been an area of scientific investigation, which has been carried out following the breakthrough in spirit communication when the Hydesville Rappings took place in 1848. In this article, we look at some of the psychic tests done through spiritualism.
Many eminent scientists researched the phenomena being produced by mediums, in the early days of Spiritualism, usually of a physical nature, and the majority of them became convinced of their genuineness. There were many psychic tests made to mediums and spiritualists.
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Society of Psychical Research
In 1882 the Society for Psychical Research was set up with Mr. FWH Myers a classical scholar, poet and essayist being its first President and the Rev W Stainton Moses, an Anglican Clergyman and author being a Vice President and amongst its earliest members were:
- Sir William Crookes, the British physicist who discovered thallium and also paved the way for the discovery of the electron and x-rays.
- Sir Oliver Lodge, – British physicist who developed a system of wireless communication in 1894 – his work was influential in the development of radio receivers.
- Alfred Russel Wallace – British naturalist whose paper on the theory of evolution was read on the same day as Darwin’s. and was awarded the order of merit in 1910
- Lord Rayleigh, the British physicist who was the co-founder of the gas argon and who was also awarded the order of merit.
- Sir William Barrett, a professor of psychics.
- Prof Wm James, a psychologist, and philosopher.
- Prof Hyslop, also a psychologist and philosopher.
- Dr. Richard Hodgson, a psychologist – and Prof de Morgan the gentleman who investigated Mrs. Hayden’s mediumship. This lady being acknowledged as the medium who brought Spiritualism to England.
- A group of truly eminent people.
A manifesto issued by the society stated:
It has been widely felt that the present is an opportune time for making an organized and systematic attempt to investigate that large group of debatable phenomena designated by such terms as mesmeric, psychical and spiritualist
People of such eminence initiated the Society, and many scientists today of similar eminence in their own fields, are members of the Society, continuing the work of its founders. Mediums should be aware that at any time, people of this caliber may consult with them and wish to investigate their mediumship.
Such approaches should be welcomed; the spirit guides and operators of the pioneering mediums were very happy to co-operate with the early scientists and the same co-operation will be given today. The propagation of spiritual truths is, and always has been the prime objective.
Journalists and TV Producers
Spirit communication is such a controversial subject, which is feared by many, and any article on such always initiates a response from newspaper readers. Mediums should be aware that it is always possible that there is a Journalist from a local newspaper sitting in the audience of a hall or in the congregation of a Church and should be prepared to be interviewed.
One of the main reasons for the pursuit of the study of the history of spirit communication, the mechanics of mediumship, etc is to enable a medium to answer clearly, logically and with knowledge, any questions put to them relating to their art. Journalists do not pose easy questions any more than Radio Interviewers do.
Invitations to be part of a radio program that is discussing spirit communication should always be declined unless the medium knows s/he can handle it in a manner that will not reflect badly on his colleagues and/or the spirit people. It may often be more appropriate to suggest to anyone making such approaches that recognized Spiritualists organizations or well-known mediums should be contacted in order that the truths of spirit communication can be discussed rationally.
Psychic Tests on Radio
As with radio programs, invitations to participate in television shows should also be declined unless, as above, the medium knows that s/he is competent and has studied the subject of spirit communication in great depth.
It is not permissible to postulate theories that cannot be substantiated and which are the opinions of the mediums or other people. Spirit communication is factually based.
It should also be borne in mind that linking with spirit does not always work in a television studio, no matter how strong the medium may be. There are extremely harsh lights to contend with, quite often an unsympathetic interviewer, conflicting emotions of the studio audience and antagonist thoughts being sent out by those who are ignorant of, or fear, spirit communication
Students wanting to know about Psychic Tests
It has been known for students studying at Universities and Colleges to produce a dissertation or even a Ph.D. thesis in Spiritualism and its related phenomena. These students will often contact mediums to ask for help with their studies and psychic tests. Mediums, therefore, ought to be able to give students lists of books that will be of assistance to them and also be able to answer any questions posed, again sensibly and logically.
The word skeptic means ‘one who questions’ and the world is full of skeptics which is not a problem. What is a problem, however, is that some skeptics have very closed minds and it is the closed-minded skeptics we are placing under the heading of skeptics. Some of these people will attend a place where a medium is working just to pour ridicule on his or her work. They have no intention of undertaking genuine psychic tests.
That ridicule will be directed to the medium via the thoughts of the skeptics and can affect the energies around the medium and subsequently, his/her ability to link with spirit. Communication with spirit, using mental mediumship, is by telepathy; by the blending of discarnate mind and incarnate mind.
Mediums, having opened their awareness and entered into an altered state of consciousness, are vulnerable to antagonistic thoughts, which they pick up through their auric fields, from people around them. This can weaken their links with spirit.
It also has to be said that a medium may give the most amazing contact from spirit to a recipient with clear and precise evidential information, which is totally acceptable, but a skeptic will never accept that it came from spirit. A skeptic will find a hundred ways that the information was obtained or manufactured.
According to the skeptics, Helen Duncan was supposed to have had at least two stomachs, one of which contained the cheesecloth she was accused of swallowing before every demonstration of her psychical mediumship for future regurgitation in the seance room. Helen’s mediumship was so outstanding she was imprisoned, basically for giving out information from ‘dead’ troops of the second world war before the Ministry of Defence had released that information.
It is, therefore, recommended that mediums do not even begin to try and ‘convert’ these people. It is like banging the head against a brick wall and all that ever produces is a headache. Whatever the results of the most perfect psychic tests, they will not look at the evidence.
One last point, however, which should be made. People who are analytical in their approach to Spiritualism and spirit contact are often confused with being closed-minded skeptics and this is not the case. These are the people who, once convinced of the reality of spirit, will further its progress and that of Spiritualism and mediumship.
People from other religions
Quite often members of other religions will come for private sittings or enter a Spiritualist Church for the sole purpose of obtaining a message from a loved one and these people should be welcomed. Mediums must never use an opportunity thus presented to attack another person’s religion. If spirit communication is required then it should be given. It may be that these people will return and want to learn more and if that is the case, again they should be made welcome.
Some people have no problem with attending many Churches; they, like everyone else, are finding their own spiritual pathway and it is not within the remit of a medium to try and convert them to Spiritualism.
COPYRIGHT This article is part of our Distance Learning Project DLP – a course specially written for us by the great Spiritualist Violet Kipling with Craig Hamilton-Parker
Recommended research: Society of Psychical Research.