Posted by Roberta Grimes • October 23, 2015 • 13 Comments
Afterlife Research, Death
One unfortunate complication of the Scottsdale Life in the Afterlife conference in September was my fault. In an effort to help to rectify it, I am going to give you a treat!
Victor and Wendy Zammit of Sydney, Australia, are the world’s leading experts on the afterlife evidence. Their A Lawyer Presents the Evidence for the Afterlife (2013) is an indispensable handbook for anyone who wants to grasp the breadth of the evidence that has accumulated over centuries. In the course of gathering their evidence, Victor and Wendy have investigated physical mediums all over the world; and after more than a decade of studying David Thompson, a Briton who now lives in New Zealand, they have pronounced him to be one of the three or four best physical mediums who will sit for the public. There are others who sit in private circles, but their reluctance to put themselves on public view is understandable. Physical mediumship is so dangerous that it can readily injure or even kill the medium. It has been estimated that doing very much of it will shorten a medium’s life by as much as a decade.
Actually explaining how physical mediums work, and how they differ from the spiritual mediums who are much more common, would take a book by itself. Fortunately, Wendy Zammit is writing that book, with publication planned for next summer. Suffice it to say that physical mediums generally begin as spiritual mediums. They then develop the ability to go into trance, where they produce in volume a material called ectoplasm that the dead can use to become material. They begin to produce voices, apports, and other phenomena, and generally they can put on quite a show that unfortunately the medium altogether misses because he is deep in trance throughout.
For the medium’s safety, and to maximize results, séances have to be conducted in darkness. The medium is tied to a chair inside a curtained cabinet in a room that must be altogether sealed against light and entry. Some twenty to forty sitters are in a horseshoe around three sides of the room, holding hands. Elevating the spiritual energy in the room is important, so each séance begins with loud singing. A physical medium’s séance is a production requiring vast preparation and a lot of what feels like unnecessary drama, and for clueless Americans to experience all this without careful prior education can make the more skeptical of us believe that the whole thing must be a circus sham.
My first séance with a physical medium was with David Thompson at the Life in the Afterlife conference in September. I didn’t know what to expect, but I loved all the seeming foolishness of it: the examination and sealing of the room, the tying of David to a heavy chair, the singing and holding hands, and even the darkness. And not only did David’s usual crew materialize, including Louis Armstrong and Quentin Crisp, but there were three emotional reunions when relatives of sitters materialized and spoke to them and touched them. It was great!
Sadly, though, there always are people who delight in sowing discord. Two or three of those who had attended this séance expressed their doubts to those running the conference, which was fine. Their doubts were my fault, since I had not known enough to insist upon adequate education of the sitters beforehand. But on the morning after the séance, one mischievous fellow was glad to proclaim that David Thompson was an outright fraud. He knew this because he himself was a magician. I happened upon him expounding to others, so I overheard a lot of what he was saying; and what appalled me was not so much what he said, nor the number of people to whom he said it, but the glee he seemed to feel in assuming the role of garden-party skunk.
Here I will share an important tip. Never make Victor Zammit angry! What followed after I relayed to Victor and Wendy what our magician friend had said were days of detailed emails flying worldwide, accompanied by a demand for an apology. Victor was preparing to file a lawsuit. The necessary apology was made.
Do I believe the David Thompson séance that I attended was genuine? I do. Victor and Wendy Zammit are the foremost living afterlife researchers. They are skeptical by nature, and after long acquaintance I have found their integrity to be impeccable. They have described to me their exhaustive testing of David over 200 séances, and they have given me satisfactory explanations for every one of the “issues” that our magician friend considered to be his proof of fraud.
David Thompson doesn’t have to sit for us! He could make more money more easily, spend more time with his wife and children, and surely better protect his health by never entering trance again. What he does in continuing to perfect his abilities as a physical medium is for us, dear friends. He is putting the edification of humankind before his personal needs. And for that, I am very grateful!
I promised you a treat. Now, here it comes!
Montague Keen was a leading British afterlife expert who died unexpectedly on January 15, 2004. He has been perhaps as active in this field postmortem as he ever was before! He has been turning up often when researchers (including yours truly) were consulting with their spirit guides, or when soul-phone experimenters were sitting at a table with the dead teams who lead their research. And shortly after his death, Monty Keen materialized at a David Thompson séance being held on May 16, 2004, in order to (among other things) talk about what should be said at his memorial service. Just click on this link for an mp3 of the event. You can hear the ectoplasm (that occasional whooshing sound), and you can hear Monty learning to figure out how to reproduce his living voice. His wife and friends have confirmed that this was incontrovertibly Montague Keen. I think this is one of the most remarkable things that I have heard in my life!
Addition: Here is another delightful mp3 of Montague Keen coming through in a David Thompson seance, this one recorded about nine months after Monty’s death. He isn’t quite as easy to understand here as he is in the other recording, but demonstrably he remains the same irrepressible man that he was in life. Toward the end of the nine minutes, he talks about David’s pending move from Britain to Australia, and he asks the sitters to suggest to David that he look up Victor Zammit. David did that, and thus began the Zammits’ decade-long study of the medium. Monty also assures the sitters that David is what he calls “the real McCoy.” Here is Monty, by courtesy of the Afterlife Research and Education Institute (AREI) and its President, our wonderful friend Dr. R. Craig Hogan. Listen!
13 thoughts on “Monty Materializes. And Speaks!”
Good to see you back at your blog, Roberta. A fun newsletter and informative.
As for the David Thompson seance, you’ll recall we exchanged a few emails about this. One of the skeptics in question was George Noory of Coast to Coast fame. As I said before, he mentioned his skepticism on three separate episodes of the show. On the last one, he mentioned psychic and paranormal expert Rosemary Ellen Guiley, who was at the Afterlife Conference and at the Thompson seance, as being skeptical also. In her recent newsletter, she summarized the seance and ended saying:
“It was fascinating entertainment, but the complete darkness and our inability to see anything that was going on left a lot of us with many unanswered questions. ”
Ms. Guiley has a “black mirror” technique she uses to contact those in the Afterlife and regularly promotes it. She’s a regular on Coast to Coast and will appear next on October 30th talking about it.
Did you meet and speak with Ms. Guiley at the Conference?
I rechecked her August newsletter and she is also friends with this Paul Davids, the skeptic and “magician,” who was the loud debunker at the event. I did some checking on him and he’s listed in Wikipedia as a writer and film director and producer. Must be an amateur “magician.” Anyhow, glad he did apologize after interacting with Victor Zammit!
Ms. Guiley also met-up with Dr. Gary Schwartz and his wife back in May here in Los Angeles. They were at the Ackerman mansion in the Hollywood Hills for a several day investigation. Of all things, this Paul Davids organized the investigation. The mansion is named after Forest J. Ackerman, who had a vast collection of horror and sci-fi movie memorabilia from old Hollywood to the present. He knew all the old stars and after his death and some legal tussles, it’s now a museum. Your friend, Suzanne Wilson and a Jamie Clark were also there. Ms. Guiley relates that Suzanne experienced some shadow people and an “old woman” visiting her at night in the bedroom she was in. You might check with Suzanne on all this.
I mention all this because it seems strange Ms Guiley was not familiar with what is required in a seance given all that is in her her background and resume.
I mean no aspersions on Ms. Guiley, though, for I enjoy her newsletter and she comes across as a fine lady.
I’ll end this quickly with three questions:
Could you tell us some of the main issues that this Paul Davids raised and the explanations that Victor gave?
Dr. Gary Schwartz was at the Afterlife Conference. Did he attend the Thompson seance? If so, what was his response? And what is Dr Schwartz’s opinion of physical mediumship in general and does he intend to test that out as he has with mental mediumship?
Thanks Roberta, and wonderful blessings,
Hello Michael! I am so sorry that, as of late, every two weeks seems to be the best blogging frequency that I can manage. I am busier now than I ever was in my life! There are mornings when I barely manage to answer every email and every comment, and some when I can’t do even that. And the Liberating Jesus publisher now wonderfully wants to reissue My Thomas, as well as taking over The Fun of Dying and The Fun of Staying in Touch, all of which means a lot of draw on my time. While meanwhile, I am still practicing law. I do love my life! But lately there is so MUCH of it ;-).
As I say above, the whole David Thompson controversy was altogether my fault. Every objection raised about those seances was the fruit of ignorance that could have been allayed by some basic education delivered by experts both before and after the experience.
Why must it be dark? Why the loud music? Why the curtains and the cabinet and the tying-down? Why did the voices sound so funny? As I listened to him, Mr. Davids even ventured into what I knew were frank lies, because I had attended the same seance that he did.
All the skepticism of which I am aware that was raised by other people came from this one individual. He talked to George Noory. And Rosemary Ellen Guiley (who is a lovely person!). And Gary Schwartz. And my husband. He was so persuasive that even I began to doubt, so I had a lengthy conversation with Victor and Wendy Zammit, two researchers who are beyond reproach. They have thoroughly investigated David Thompson through 200 seances, and they are prepared to place their whole credibility on the line for the proposition that physical mediumship is genuine and that David is among the best in the world. Their testimony is quite good enough for me!
Frankly, I don’t think it matters what anyone says about any of this now. The fault was mine, and so must be the remedy.
Craig Hogan and I have just joined the Zammits and an illustrious few others to form the Afterlife Research and Education Institute, Inc. Our first conference has just been set for Sept 15-18, 2016, in Scottsdale, AZ. It will again feature George Noory, David Thompson, Susanne Wilson, the Zammits, and another twenty of the best experts in the field of afterlife research. An all-star cast! This time, we will be careful to educate everyone who participates in a seance. Then they can make up their own minds, without the interference of someone who apparently delights in sowing discord.
After decades in which it was so obscure that fewer than a half-dozen physical mediums were working publicly in the world, this whole field seems to be experiencing a resurgence. I know of several potentially very good and very young developing physical mediums, including a couple who understand the problems that the need for darkness raises so they are trying to train in low light. Give it another decade, dear. As is true of electronic communication with the dead, a new day in this field is about to dawn!
Congrats, Roberta, on the recent success of your writing and books! It’s well deserved.
I wouldn’t blame yourself for not educating the seance participants on the proper protocol involved and the reasons for it. I’m sure next time you’ll have handout sheets for everyone with the main points and a beforehand lecture to boot.
You’re right David Thompson has not only passed rigorous investigation 200 times by Victor and Wendy Zammit, but many others as well have examined his seances.. There’s never been any uncovering of fraud or trickery of any kind. If there had been, it would have long been exposed by now.
Victor gave this link to 3 experiments over 5 seances by David Thompson conducted by researcher Donna Smith-Monrieffe http://circleofthesilvercord.net/?page_id=4 Her and her team did a thorough exam to eliminate any fraud and none was ever found.
This is what gave Spiritualism such a bad name in the late 19th and early 20th Century, too many fraudulent physical mediums that were easily exposed upon investigation. The legitimate ones got tarnished with the same brush and receded into the background or went underground entirely until recently.
Victor has written in his weekly newsletter that some physical mediums under certain conditions can materialized spirits under a low red light. This is how there are photos of ectoplasm and materialized spirits, some of which Victor has reproduced. Victor hasn’t said, though, what those “certain conditions” are.
You’re right again, that when there can be clear photos and videos of spirits manifesting under some kind of good lighting(red or otherwise) on a regular basis there will be absolute proof that the hard skeptics will have to accept.
You forgot to answer what Dr. Gary Schwartz thought about the Thompson seance after hearing the skeptic Paul Davids’ rant. And, has Gary said anything to you about his thoughts on physical mediumship in general and will he be doing experiments in this field, like he did in mental mediumship?
Hello again dear Michael! Thank you for this terrific comment; I could not have written it nearly as well.
Actually, Gary Schwartz has a personal reason as well as a professional one for wanting to investigate David Thompson. In the first of the two conference seances that were held, reportedly Carl Sagan materialized and handed a slip of paper to Gary’s wife, Rhonda, asking her to give it to Gary (who attended neither seance). Written on the paper was what was reputedly Carl Sagan’s signature. Was the paper an apport? Was the signature real? Had the genuine Carl Sagan actually shown up? Inquiring minds are desperate to know!
Gary would like to conduct some tests with David, but David’s spirit guide, William, has put the kibosh on testing for now. He tells the Zammits that he is working on introducing red light to David’s seances. He understands that conducting seances in light is going to be necessary to erase all doubt, and he tells the Zammits that testing won’t be helpful. It is William’s view that only introducing light will be sufficient to end the nay-saying. Likely he is right. Meanwhile, count me as someone who finds this whole area fascinating!
That’s a real stunner, about the spirit of “Carl Sagan” showing up at one of the seances and giving that note to Rhonda, Dr. Schwartz’s wife. Sorry that Dr. Schwartz didn’t attend either seance, but I’m sure Gary is checking out the note to see if the handwriting matches, and so forth. Can’t wait to hear about his discoveries. Please keep us informed.
Yes, it seems the main sticking point in the skeptics complaints is the total darkness. Good to know that David Thompson’s spirit guide, William, is working on being able to use a red light in David’s seances.
I heard George Noory expressing skepticism on Coast and it disturbed me. it’s finer him to be unsure himself but to use his position in that way? I wasn’t at the conference because I’m on a fixed income and couldn’t afford it. I don’t need to be convinced though. when I hear things like the .mp3 you just gave us of Monty, everything within me rises up and rejoices! I want to support spiritualism/spiritism and especially physical mediumship in any way that’s available to me!
Please don’t fret about it, dear. George’s skepticism was sown by one unpleasant individual, but it doesn’t matter. The truth always wins! And we are on the edge of what will be a rolling cascade of ever greater spiritual truths breaking into human consciousness during the coming decades, all over the world. This is such a wonderful time to be alive!
This is all very interesting. I was contemplating a number of spiritual questions and somehow stumbled onto your site and your interviews, and found some answers. I suppose, though, that must just be a coincidence. 🙂
thedimensionofmind dot com
Heh – Welcome, dear Gary! Since you are a spiritual seeker, I know that your tongue was firmly planted in your cheek when you wrote this. Thank you for giving me a giggle!
Just curious, what type of music is typically played during a physical medium session/seance? And what type was played during the session referred to in this blog? Thank you
Hello Renee! The music is loud and active. A rapid beat. It is meant to raise the energy in the room, so you can imagine what sort of music would best do that! I can’t recall any tunes in particular that were played, but it is my recollection that they were all brass-band sorts of instrumentals.
I think the spirit guide is right. One, in my opinion, cannot fling allegations of fraud toward activity that takes place in total darkness. Light of some sort is needed to put a rest to skeptics once and for all. That is one point I disagreed with Victor on…if I am not mistaken he had commented that you would or should believe in the veracity of all taking place even in total darkness. I am sure it is impressive but not being able to see relegates the activity, no matter what is taking place…to faith and belief…no different than church…which of course has a lot to do with faith…and that’s ok…..but it’s not (and I am sure most would agree) proof that the afterlife exists……in my opinion anyway. David’s work fascinates me…I wish him well….I do agree certainly that he could be doing a lot more lucrative and safer things with his time. Finally, I wonder what David thinks of EP Parrish photo(s) of the guide Silver Belle?? That has to be one of the most intriguing spirit photos of all time…..sort of like the Raynum Hall Brown lady of the spirit world! Well…take care and best wishes…it certainly is fascinating.
Hello Kevin! I agree with you. The fact that ectoplasm is sharply reactive to light, so materialization medium seances must be held in near or complete darkness. is problematic. It makes it harder to study and verify these phenomena, but it does not at all even hint at fraud. What it does do is to require that anyone who wants to rule out fraud must find ways to study these phenomena that do not require the presence of light. Victor and Wendy Zammit of Sydney, Australia, are the world’s leading afterlife researchers, both of them skeptics by nature (as every honest researcher must be). They have attended 200 David Thompson seances over a decade, and have been given permission to study the medium during many of those seances meticulously, include sometimes remaining inside the cabinet with him. Holding onto his body parts and bonds. Investigating everything that in the least troubled them. Their conclusion is that these phenomena are genuine without question. And knowing them as I do, I consider their conclusion to be definitive evidence that in David’s case, all of it is real!