Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Laboratory

By Mike Ganley via spiritoday.com, 13 October 2013 (Thanks Connie)

A new laboratory has been developed in the UK. You would be forgiven for not recognising it as a laboratory as there isn’t a test tube, Bunsen burner or white coated scientist in sight. Instead, it’s just a large room with a wooden floor and a few chairs in it. Perhaps not the archetypal laboratory that springs to mind? The room however, has been designed to allow scientists and researchers to apply stringent control measures to help solve one of the most intriguing questions ever asked by humanity: Is there life after death?

I have witnessed some amazing results from physical mediumship demonstrations and do not doubt for a single moment the genuine phenomena and irrefutable proof they bring forward to confirm the existence of an afterlife. However, there is a growing need to disseminate this evidence to a wider public audience and to convince them of the secular scientific case for survival: secular as the question of survival is not linked to any religious dogma and scientific, because missing pieces of the particle physics jigsaw puzzle are slowly being put into place. However, to enable this to happen, we need to ensure that the evidence we bring forward has been subjected to robust security checks by researchers and scientists to eliminate fraud and trickery beyond any reasonable doubt.

The laboratory, or bespoke room, will enable some of the country’s main physical mediums to demonstrate under the scrutiny of leading academics and investigators and the total transparency of the set-up has been designed to eradicate all extraneous variables which could potentially influence the findings when serious experiments begin.

Sir William Crookes et al
This is by no means the first time that physical mediums have been subjected to scientific research. In the Nineteenth Century one of Britain’s most eminent scientists, William Crookes (1871) turned his attention to making an in depth study of the physical medium Florence Cook. He was initially highly sceptical and determined to expose her fake mediumship but eventually became convinced of the genuine phenomena and published his findings in the Quarterly Journal of science. Since then, a host of other researches including Crawford (1918), Findlay (1931), Hamilton (1942), Lodge (1925),  Richet (1923) and von Schrenck-Notzing (1923) have added their weight to the reality of life after death.


For whatever reason, much of this research has been condemned to gather dust in establishments not respected by conventional mainstream science. A current materialistic paradigm ensures any research into the Survival Hypothesis is marginalised and labelled pseudo-science by the scientific establishment. After publishing his findings, William Crookes received much criticism and a vicious assault on his character ensued with false allegations of his infatuation with the medium, Florence Cook.

Since then, Michael Roll, founder of the Campaign for Philosophical Freedom organisation has dedicated his life to promote the secular scientific case for survival after death.  This followed Michael being reunited with his deceased father through the physical medium, Rita Goold in 1983. As well as his own personal experiences, Michael documented the reuniting of Barry and Pat Jeffery with their dead 16 year old son.

It is perfectly obvious that an establishment out there is determined to block the dissemination of this sort of information and to continue to promote both the materialist and sacred arguments that have dominated western society for much of the past two centuries. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle touched upon this in his Foreword to Violet Tweedale’s Phantoms of the Dawn, and readers will not be surprised to learn that this was published in 1924. Conan Doyle wrote:

Year by year, however, this knowledge is permeating the various strata of society, and as the old obdurate materialists of the bad old Nineteenth Century type die away the new psychic teaching finds a less prejudiced audience among the younger generation.

Obscurants

The old obdurate materialists have evolved into high profile sceptic academics (Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawking) and ‘professional wreckers’ such as Chris French and Susan Blackmore who have unrestricted access to all media outlets, ridiculing anyone arguing the secular case for survival.

Could the setting up of this ‘laboratory’ be just the thing to nudge the prevailing materialistic paradigm to start taking the subject of life after death a little bit more seriously?  Adrian Berry, the science correspondent of The Daily Telegraph, is not so optimistic, and points out that few subjects more infuriate scientists than claims of paranormal phenomena, because if confirmed, ‘the whole fabric of science would be threatened.’

Physical Mediumship

Unlike conventional mediums who bring evidence of survival through messages, physical mediums bring proof through spiritual energy manipulating matter and interacting with both the physical world and the sitters themselves.

physical mediums

physical mediumsAny Google search will bring up a list of famous physical mediums both past and present. One common hallmark of a physical medium is the ability to produce an energy which can produce the physical phenomena – much of which we will discuss later. An example of this energy is the production of a material called ectoplasm. Famous ectoplasm mediums include Daniel Dunglas Home (1833-1886), Helen Duncan (1897-1956), Rita Goold (-1956) Leonora Piper (1859-1950), Helene Smith (1861-1929), Jack Webber (1907-1940) and more recently David Thompson and Gordon Garforth. Physical mediums produce a variety of physical phenomena and examples of such would be the ability to make objects float or levitate in a room, apporting objects (making them appear from nowhere) or materialising ethereal people in the room who can be seen, felt and heard by the sitters.

zerdin_printerThe ‘laboratory’ has been designed with two main factors in mind which needed to be taken into cognizance. The first consideration is the safety of the medium. According to numerous reports on physical mediumship (Zerdin), a completely blackened out room is required; any light could affect the quality of phenomenon produced but more seriously, endanger the safety of the medium. For example, in November 1956, police raided a séance being conducted by Helen Duncan. The sudden entry in the room resulted in two second degree burns on her body and she later died in hospital. More recently, the physical medium Gordon Garforth was burnt when a sitter, without warning, stood up and ran out of a sitting allowing light to suddenly enter the room. Under no circumstances, will this be allowed to happen in the planned sittings. All natural light in the room has been eliminated to ensure the safety of the medium but also to assist in the production of highly evidential phenomena. Leading academics have commented that the need for absolute darkness is a fatal drawback for establishing the validity of the phenomena, or investigating their nature, unless infra-red photography is permitted. Naturally, these concerns are taken on board but unless the mediums and their etheric stipulate to the contrary, we must adhere to their requests.

The second factor was that the room needed to be completely empty, with only one lockable door to enable investigators to establish protocols for the conducting of the experiment and as far as possible exclude as many extraneous variables which could influence the findings of research conducted here: the scientists are no longer visiting the séance room but the mediums are coming to the laboratory instead. For example, Sir William Crookes attended séances at the house of a Mr Luxmore and not on neutral ground.

The Scientific Method

In any experiment, the objective is quite simple: to determine the cause of the dependent variable. The ‘dependent variable’ represents any output or effect – in this case physical phenomena produced by a physical medium with the assistance of their ethereal or spirit team. The independent variables are the things which are manipulated in controlled experiments in order to ascertain which one is the cause of our dependent variable. Obviously such variables would include factors such as fraud, trickery, visual illusions and psychological states of sitters and as such, controls and checks can be introduced in the controlled environment of the laboratory to eliminate such confounding variables.


The laboratory is in its infancy, though it has been tried and tested on several occasions by two of the country’s leading physical mediums. I would like to share with you some of the preliminary findings. These preliminary sittings were set up primarily to establish the suitability of the room as a laboratory / setting in which such experiments could be conducted and to begin to draw up the sorts of protocols and checks for independent variables that any mainstream academic would expect to see.

Since conducting the sittings further checks and protocols have been added and I will discuss some of these in further detail in the discussion and conclusion.

Two mediums were invited to sit in the laboratory: Gary Mannion and Anders Akkesson*

Controls and Measures
Before all the sittings, the following stringent checks were carried out before, during and after by the circle team and randomly chosen sitters:

  • The room was searched fully before anyone was allowed to enter;
  • Sitters were not allowed to bring anything into the room with them; all personal items had to be handed in and stored in a lockable cupboard;
  • Sitters were searched before they entered the room (a metal detector was also used)
  • The circle team, including the medium, were searched;
  • When in the room, the mediums were fastened onto the chair by their arms and ankles using heavy duty cable ties which were tested beforehand;
  • Once in the room, the door was locked on the inside and the lock was covered in masking tape;
  • The door was also sealed both to prevent any light from entering the room as well as to ensure no one was able to enter or leave the room during the sitting;
  • To ensure no one was either moving around the room during the sitting, everyone was asked to hold hands throughout the sitting and during the Gary Mannion sitting, also asked to link ankles as well.
  • Circle members were mixed with sitters and they also had to adhere to all the protocols as well.

A list of all those attending the sitting was provided and only those names on the list were allowed to enter the previously searched room.

The Cabinet in the New Lab

The rooms were in total darkness throughout the sittings apart from a few occasions when a red light was switched on to enable sitters to check the mediums and ensure they remained tied to the chair. Both mediums sat in a cabinet. For the laboratory, a bespoke cabinet was constructed out of MDF and a curtain fastened in front. The mediums sat in the cabinet and were tied to their chair by cable ties. The ties were checked by a member of the public and someone was appointed to fasten the medium in and at regular intervals during the sitting to confirm they were still fastened in by the original cable tie. This person was also given a pair of pliers and asked to release the medium at the end of the sitting.

A variety or artefacts were brought into the room. They included light séance trumpets, musical instruments (tambourines, drum sticks, drums and bells) and a few toys. All the artefacts were luminous otherwise luminous tape was used to enable sitters to see where the artefacts were in the room.

The circle leaders were allowed to use their own protocols in both opening and running the sitting and this comprised of an opening prayer, playing music or asking the sitters to sing. During the sitting they communicated to the sitters when to hold hands. This was done for two reasons. The first was for the safety of the medium. Any sudden movement could jeopardize the safety of the medium if ectoplasm was moving freely around the room. The second reason was to reassure all sitters, including researchers and independent scientists that everyone was sat on their chair and no one in the room was free to move around.

Both mediums were physical and deep trance mediums. Their spirit guides took over the rest of the sitting speaking through their respective medium and guiding everyone through the sitting. Each voice was unique and recordings of both sittings were made.

Phenomena Experienced

Continue to the full article, http://www.spiritoday.com/the-laboratory/

7 comments:

angelicview said...

This looks really interesting - but I'm on my way to work, so I'll have to check it out better later. BTW, I couldn't get the website 'spirittoday.com' to load up. Maybe just my computer but I just got a blank white page. <3 :)

Laron said...

Link is working, but I forgot to also add it at the beginning which I will do now!

Laron said...

(you must have typed it out manually as it only has one t, not 2)

angelicview said...

I didn't - I copied and pasted from what you wrote. It may have just been my computer because I had a lot of windows open at the time. ;)

angelicview said...

O!M!G! Laron, this whole entire website is like a wet dream to me! :)))))))))

Laron said...

Well uhh, lucky you! =)

Shallena said...

Hmmm... I think I will have to go check that page out angelicview.. lol