Spiritistic seances

#1
A couple of days ago Michael Prescott wrote on his blog about a British medium by the name of Gary Mannion, who was exposed as a fraud by some hidden infrared camera footage. The videos can be seen here and seem quite damning to me.

Beside a casual interest, I have never seriously looked into the phenomenon of spritistic séances. So I’m curious to hear what people in this forum think about it. Credible or not credible?

As I've never seriously looked into this before, I hope you will forgive me the following obvious question: why it is necessary for the light to be turned off during the séance? This is rather obvious to a sceptic of course, but I’m interested in the explanation that proponent would give. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me: Why would it be light in the visible spectrum that somehow obstructs the process? After all, the room is already full of electromagnetic radiation of all sorts of frequencies – as the above footage shows, there was certainly plenty of infrared light in the room. But somehow light in the visible spectrum needs to be extinguished. Is there any other good explanation other than it is in order to facilitate cheating?
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#2
I don't think anyone who doubts post-mortem survival is ever going to be convinced by seances where the lights have to be turned off unless they themselves were involved in the experiment.

Even then...
 

Ian Gordon

Ninshub
Member
#3
A couple of days ago Michael Prescott wrote on his blog about a British medium by the name of Gary Mannion, who was exposed as a fraud by some hidden infrared camera footage. The videos can be seen here and seem quite damning to me.

Beside a casual interest, I have never seriously looked into the phenomenon of spritistic séances. So I’m curious to hear what people in this forum think about it. Credible or not credible?

As I've never seriously looked into this before, I hope you will forgive me the following obvious question: why it is necessary for the light to be turned off during the séance? This is rather obvious to a sceptic of course, but I’m interested in the explanation that proponent would give. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me: Why would it be light in the visible spectrum that somehow obstructs the process? After all, the room is already full of electromagnetic radiation of all sorts of frequencies – as the above footage shows, there was certainly plenty of infrared light in the room. But somehow light in the visible spectrum needs to be extinguished. Is there any other good explanation other than it is in order to facilitate cheating?
Hi lhl, the topic has started to be discussed here:
http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threads/follow-up-investigation-of-the-felix-circle.3185/#post-93741

From RIta S. Berkowitz (Spiritualist minister and medium) and Deborah S. Romaine, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Communicating with Spirits, in the chapter on physical mediumship:

"Some circles prefer subdued lighting because it helps to set a mood of relaxation and focus, while some sit in total darkness, and others meet in regular daylight. There is no reason to hold a circle in near or complete darkness; a room's lighting is a matter of concern only for those of us on the earth plane, not for spirits." (p. 130 - Alpha/Penguin, 2003)
 
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#4
A couple of days ago Michael Prescott wrote on his blog about a British medium by the name of Gary Mannion, who was exposed as a fraud by some hidden infrared camera footage. The videos can be seen here and seem quite damning to me.

Beside a casual interest, I have never seriously looked into the phenomenon of spritistic séances. So I’m curious to hear what people in this forum think about it. Credible or not credible?

As I've never seriously looked into this before, I hope you will forgive me the following obvious question: why it is necessary for the light to be turned off during the séance? This is rather obvious to a sceptic of course, but I’m interested in the explanation that proponent would give. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me: Why would it be light in the visible spectrum that somehow obstructs the process? After all, the room is already full of electromagnetic radiation of all sorts of frequencies – as the above footage shows, there was certainly plenty of infrared light in the room. But somehow light in the visible spectrum needs to be extinguished. Is there any other good explanation other than it is in order to facilitate cheating?
I'd say the videos are more than 'quite damning'. I'd say shameful.

It is claimed that ectoplasm, which is what allegedly permits the physical materialisation of entities in physical seances, is susceptible to light and exposing it can harm the medium. There does seem to be some evidence to support this.

There were a number of people who claimed to be physical mediums and used subdued or red light and who were closely observed. Sometimes the light was extinguished and then raised at specific points in the seance. I cannot see any point in so-called 'materialisation' in pitch darkness.

There is one exception I'd say, which is the phenomena knows as the 'independent direct voice', this relies on the purported production of a voice box made of ectoplasm which is then used to communicate with sitters, but the primary evidential element here is the content of the speech, not the voice box per se.
 
#5
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/62014-...-afterlife.html#articles_by_subject_ectoplasm

Jack Webber Photos
http://www.survivalebooks.org/Webber/webberphotos.htm

Medium Jack Webber Zerdini: "Leon Isaacs, who took the photographs at Webber’s circles, used two cameras placed at different angles…shots using this two-camera technique showed the disposition of trumpets and other objects, establishing that they were not held aloft by any material agency."
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2012/05/medium-jack-webber.html

Photos of Seances taken by Sven Türck. "The Danish psychic researcher and photographer Sven Türck took many photos of Jonsson's psychokinetic powers, protected against any form of cheating through strict controls in his laboratory."
http://mariondampier-jeans.com/●-spiritism/personer/sven-turck/
English Translation http://translate.google.se/translat...ndampier-jeans.com/dansk/personer/sven-turck/

Photos from MarionDampeier-Jeans.com take during seances.
https://web.archive.org/web/20130117041901/http://mariondampier-jeans.com/english/library/pictures/

The Physical Mediumship of Einer Nielsen "This tribute comes from a pastor of the Swedish State Church ... 'Twice I have sat in the cabinet and kept hold of the medium’s hands. The ectoplasm came directly through his clothes. One figure that of Rita, rose up from the ectoplasm grasped my arm, and we went out together to the sitters and talked with them.'"
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2012/12/last-may-i-posted-some-links-to.html

Pierre Curie (Nobel Prize for Physics): "We have had a series of séances with Eusapia Palladino at the [Society for Psychical Research] It was very interesting, and really the phenomena that we saw appeared inexplicable as trickery—tables raised from all four legs, movement of objects from a distance, hands that pinch or caress you, luminous apparitions. All in a [setting] prepared by us with a small number of spectators all known to us and without a possible accomplice. The only trick possible is that which could result from an extraordinary facility of the medium as a magician. But how do you explain the phenomena when one is holding her hands and feet and when the light is sufficient so that one can see everything that happens?"
https://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/eminent_researchers#researchers_pierre_curie

Ectoplasm and Materialization
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2009/11/ectoplasm-and-materialization.html
 
#6
As I've never seriously looked into this before, I hope you will forgive me the following obvious question: why it is necessary for the light to be turned off during the séance? This is rather obvious to a sceptic of course, but I’m interested in the explanation that proponent would give. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me: Why would it be light in the visible spectrum that somehow obstructs the process? After all, the room is already full of electromagnetic radiation of all sorts of frequencies – as the above footage shows, there was certainly plenty of infrared light in the room. But somehow light in the visible spectrum needs to be extinguished. Is there any other good explanation other than it is in order to facilitate cheating?
The reason usually given is that the energy of the light disrupts the phenomena (ectoplasm). There are many photosensitive chemicals known to science, they are best known in photography. Is it fair to call a photographer a fraud simply because he demands the lights be put out in his darkroom?
 
#7
The reason usually given is that the energy of the light disrupts the phenomena (ectoplasm). There are many photosensitive chemicals known to science, they are best known in photography. Is it fair to call a photographer a fraud simply because he demands the lights be put out in his darkroom?
It's the same for development in other areas such as germination of seeds too. If I recall correctly, bacterial growth is affected by it as well. So there is certainly evidence that the presence of light can affect chemical and biological processes.

The problem is that such phenomena, if in fact they may be genuine, are rightly viewed with suspicion if the controls are insufficient. I'm not saying people shouldn't do it - just that they shouldn't expect others to be convinced or leave themselves open to being duped as demonstrated, or, having been duped, assume that all such phenomena must be fraudulent.
 
#8
I don't think anyone who doubts post-mortem survival is ever going to be convinced by seances where the lights have to be turned off unless they themselves were involved in the experiment.

Even then...
That is probably true. Still, I don't think seances constitute crucial evidence for post mortem survival. One could conceivably take the stance that post mortem survival is real, but seance phenomena are not.
 
#9
Thx, I had missed that.
"Some circles prefer subdued lighting because it helps to set a mood of relaxation and focus, while some sit in total darkness, and others meet in regular daylight. There is no reason to hold a circle in near or complete darkness; a room's lighting is a matter of concern only for those of us on the earth plane, not for spirits." (p. 130 - Alpha/Penguin, 2003)
This seems to contradict the posts on ectoplasm further down in the thread. Perhaps this quote refers to phenomena pertaining to seances except ectoplasm?
 
#10
That is probably true. Still, I don't think seances constitute crucial evidence for post mortem survival. One could conceivably take the stance that post mortem survival is real, but seance phenomena are not.
Yes you've hit the nail on the head. Evidence of survival is multi factorial. You could say the same of reincarnation, NDEs or other factors.
 
#11
Thx, I had missed that.

This seems to contradict the posts on ectoplasm further down in the thread. Perhaps this quote refers to phenomena pertaining to seances except ectoplasm?
Not necessarily. The harm from light on ectoplasm allegedly impacts the medium, not the purported communicating entity. Maybe that's what they mean?
 
#13
Though it's never quite clear whether the harm to the medium is due to their damaged credibility when cheesecloth is discovered rather than ectoplasm.
Well that's true too lol.

Although there does seem to be evidence of burns and bruising to mediums where ectoplasm has been exposed to light. Often light is permitted but it is used in conjunction with the purported 'control'. Of course one could always say 'well they would say that because they need to clear away evidence of fraud', and doubtless that would be true of some 'mediums' but I don't think a careful review of the evidence would support that position for all mediums.

I'm with lhl really, if there is a source of evidence we don't like, it can be ignored without negating the general body of evidence available.

Some of the reported materialisations are, if the observer is to be believed, beyond possibility of fabrication.
 
#14
The Gary Mannion ‘fake medium’ saga continues
Nic Whitham of the UK’s Banyard Centre where Gary conducted a physical seance, exposed him as a ‘fraud’ in this video

http://www.garyfiles.co.uk/# where he was seen moving round the circle of sitters getting them to touch his chest and waving his shirt to create a breeze.
The sitters, who paid fees to attend, assumed what they felt was ‘spirit’ and that Gary was bound up in a chair.
Now Gary has released a video answering questions about what happened:
https://youtu.be/BziW_wm6zkg
In it he claims that it wasn’t trickery but his ‘spirit team’ took him out of his chair in a trance and worked him like a puppet – an action he completely approves of – and he says he can’t remember anything about what went on.
Meanwhile Psychic News this week plans to publish a second exposure article.
For any of you interested enough to pursue this further, Gary’s private circle in Australia, released a statement from his ‘spirit team’ suggesting the entrancing was some kind of experiment they conducted.
Here is that statement from the Wallacia Development Centre, followed by some comments of my own about the Gary response video.



Who is in control during a séance?
Statement by a spirit team, who's way of working is questioned. Direct answers in regards to sitter’s questions stated by the team during home-circle. Posted with permission from the spirit team. Transcript and recording available to those that I (Inge Crosson), as circle leader, trust to be true and trustworthy.
"The time has come to re-evaluate physical mediumship and prevent its destruction. We are aware of the damage which has been done to the medium, but he will not be the only medium who will be subjected to this. We are obliged to work with the other teams as well and yes, we may have used this medium as the first port of call, but he won’t be the last, as the wheels are in motion. We are not the only team which has been asked to put their medium through this and are aware he is not the only medium in the firing line and other teams go through a similar process.
It is not our intention to ridicule or destroy that medium, especially as we work with this medium, but we all, on our side of life, do understand that there is a greater picture and a greater desire from your side of life. Sometimes we must destroy and establish structure in order to change. Indeed, you yet have to understand physical mediumship. Many of your world will not understand and that is fine, as has been happening in the past with physical mediumship as well. Many who have been put down and were neglected by your side of life are now revered. (Inge’s note: read about defamation of Helen Duncan, Gordon Higginson, Alec Harris etc.) This will raise awareness of physical mediumship on your side of life and will draw many back to home-circle and redevelopment. This is a necessary fact of what we want to achieve with your side of life. Yes, sacrifices will be made and have been made before.
On the grander picture this is about changing your movement and your understanding, and indeed within the circles and smaller groups, it gives us an opportunity to try new things and make improvements for the long run. We can attempt a lot more in a safer, smaller environment than what we were achieving in a public sitting. And this is not just with this medium, but with all other mediums. We have a greater opportunity to achieve greater things with your side of life and this will change the movement for the better. We are not the only team and work in collaboration with other teams to improve your movement. There is a need to upset the movement, to put questions in people’s minds to evaluate what is happening in a séance room and our capabilities, to raise knowledge, awareness and understanding. If questions are raised, we are happy to answer them. At the moment, this is the best way forward for us.
Do understand, we gave the medium the impression not to sit and the location of the camera, but again, we were given the signal to go ahead with permission from the medium, so we worked the best way we could and work with what is our limitation. We have worked with your technology if and when we have chosen to and we have been happy with the results, but we do that at a time and place when we dictate and the time and energy is right to do so. The best argument we can give you with your statement going forward is, we worked with the situation which was provided to us. Under different circumstances we would have attempted to work differently. Just because your equipment cannot pick up everything we were attempting, does not mean fraud is automatically the result, as has been demonstrated by other mediums throughout the years. In regards to the night in question, yes, we used the medium as our blueprint, as the base to work from. Indeed, if we had not gone through it this way, it would have manifested in another way, in a more harmful way for the medium’s body. (Inge’s note: During a séance here, a loose light socket caused the light to come on while the medium was outside the cabinet tied in the chair, and ectoplasm was being extruded from his fingertips and nose and eyes. The medium was very ill for over 3 weeks).
In regards to the night in question, that was a great opportunity for us to experiment to try something different and indeed, many who sat there that night were worked with and they felt our side of life and their loved ones and they experienced phenomena. Yes, we used the medium as a blueprint, as a base to extract that phenomena, but what they experienced for themselves was real.
As we have spoken earlier, it’s a new experience for us as we normally work with the ectoplasm and it was a very different and strange experience and indeed, when we work that way we work with the medium's mind and the personality. And indeed, we are happy with that experiment and I know from your side of life you do not understand it and are unhappy, which we hope to correct, but we were happy with what we were able to achieve.
Also, as I said in regards to the cable ties, indeed as we have demonstrated with this medium and with other mediums, if we wish to go beyond the restraints we will do so and we have done so. Indeed, because your side of life has become so caught up on what is genuine and what is fraud, you see the cable ties as a means of restraining the medium, whereas the cable ties are there for the medium's protection. If we were to try to experiment and we need to subdue the body, it prevents injury to the medium, but as it has been demonstrated with multiple mediums, that if we wish to work beyond the cable ties we can do so. (Inge’s note: example - during checking by sitter, she noticed that the medium’s arms were tied to the front of the chair and the lower half of his body was towards the back of the chair and in another sitting the lower part of the body was missing all together. Another time, Imelda was asked to check the ties and then move back for 2 seconds and then forward to check again and the medium's onesie was flying out of the cabinet with the medium still securely tied.)
It is not a necessity of the cable ties that is a misunderstanding from your side of life. The cameras which were used in the incident in question would not pick up on a lot of what happened in the room that night." (Inge’s note: Medium was tied at the beginning and still tied at the end of the séance and independent sitters verified that they were the same cable-ties through the way they cut them when tying him up)
Released by the Spirit teams home-circle Inge Crosson, Imelda Penny, Jennifer Bennett, Cindy Grimwood, Eddie Dzenis and Olive our beautiful matriarch.



My comments about Gary’s video response to the claims of fraud.


Unfortunately Gary Mannion comes across to me as rather over confident with a degree of arrogance.
I don't think I heard one word of apology to those sitters who felt they had been tricked and not got what they paid for.
When challenged about this Gary tried to argue that sitters could ask any question they liked - did he really expect anyone to ask 'When we feel a spirit materialisation will it actually be you in the flesh out of the chair?"
Of course not because they had bought into the concept that the seance was a demonstration of paranormal phenomena - if they saw the trumpet moving they trusted it was spirit moving it and not Gary out of his chair.
Gary reveals in the interview that it's not the first time this 'entrancement' had happened.
Does he then warn sitters at all seances that this kind of thing might happen? Does he put this in his literature so they can make a decision whether or not to spend their money? I think not.
What disturbed me most about this interview was Gary's inference that his spirit team could do absolutely anything and he would go along with it.
He must accept that people were deceived.
Even if has has been argued there was some 'genuine' phenomena there not recorded on film, some sitters at least didn't get what was promised but Gary refuses to accept that this is ethically wrong whether through people or a spirit team.
Cooperation between humans and spirit is one thing but when one gives spirit carte blanche to do whatever they like, it's getting close to religions who worship a god who can even direct them to kill in his name.
Personally I don't know what happened here.
I'd like to believe Gary's version of events is the truth - I have friends who testify that he can produce genuine phenomena and certainly I know a scientist who has tested his healing abilities and finds them genuine.
But I would like to see a little more humility and understanding from Gary to people whose lives have been thrown into turmoil by these revelations.
And I'd like to hear an interview with Nic of the Banyard Centre who it seems is being accused by Gary of some kind of personal vendetta against him.
 
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#15
I feel the level of genuineness of each experiment is in proportion to the spirituality of the medium. I mean the ego will take over at times. Just like a mental medium who cant shut up when they are not receiving.

well that leaves us with scott milligan ... until he's outed ;)

http://www.scottmilligan.net/

I've been to a few physical seances over the years. The last one was Scott's

although a few communicators came through,and there was physical activity, I wasn’t that impressed. not that I didn't think it was genuine.
He and his chair were facing the other direction after the light's went on - him still tie-wrapped to it .

one thing that did impress me, was, at one stage the volume of the communicator went up very high to the point where I had to cover my ears.
 
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