There is much scientific evidence that supports the Spiritualist philosophy which is based on observable facts. From the beginning of our philosophy, we have a proud record of co-operation with any investigator who was genuine in their desire to investigate our claims. Most of the scientific work was carried out around the late 1800’s and the early 1900’s but more recently ,some excellent studies have been undertaken in universities on the subject of mediumship and in hospitals on the subject of the Near Death Experience (NDE).There are many books written by eminent scientists who have investigated our philosophy. Most of them started out as sceptics and ended up convinced that, at the very least, there are paranormal states of consciousness, whilst many even admitted to being convinced of life beyond the grave.
The best-known investigators are:Sir William Crookes, Sir Oliver Lodge, Professor Frederick William Myers, Dr. Crawford, Dr. Gustav Geley, Prof. Johann Karl Friederich Zollner, Cesare Lombroso, Prof. Enrico Morselli, Prof. Charles Richet, Clamille Flammarion, Dr. Albert Von Schrenck-Notzing and Alfred Russel Wallace. In their day these people had impeccable international reputations as men of science. The contribution made by the abovementioned people to the philosophy of Spiritualism is summed up as follows.
Sir William Crookes – One of England’s most noted chemists and physicists. He conducted many detailed experiments to prove the truths of Spiritualism and he pursued the truth despite criticism from fellow scientists who tried to destroy his reputation simply because he was interested in life after death. He was one of those who tested the famous physical phenomena medium Daniel Home. The results of his experiments, conducted in his own laboratory, were published in the July 1871 edition of the prestigious Quarterly Journal of Science. The report was entirely favourable to Daniel Home. He also investigated Catherine Fox, Florence Cook and Eusapia Palladino and became, through his investigations, an advocate of the Spiritualist movement. He wroteResearches in the Phenomena of Modern Spiritualism and The Spiritualist.
Sir Oliver Lodge – A renowned physicist. From 1900-1919 he was the Principal of Birmingham University. He investigated our philosophy and became convinced of the continuance of life after death. He looked upon Spiritualism as a point of interest in psychical research rather than being a religion, and he wrote Raymond or Life and Death in 1916, after having communicated with Raymond through the mediumship of Mrs. Leonard.
Prof. Fredrick William Meyers – Professor at Cambridge University. He co-founded the Society for Psychical Research in 1882 and coined the words “telepathy” and “supernormal”. He wrote Human Personality and It’s Survival of Bodily Death.
Prof. Enrico Morselli – Professor of Psychiatry at Genoa University from 1889 (previously at the University of Turin) was a bitter sceptic of psychic phenomena until Eusapia Palladino, in 30 sittings, completely convinced him of their reality. He was the author of the book Psicologia e Spiritismo, (Psychology and Spiritism) published in two volumes in Turin in 1908. In 1907 in the Annals of Psychic Science (Vol. V., p. 132) he wrote:
“The question of Spiritism has been discussed for over fifty years; and although no one can at present foresee when it will be settled, all are now agreed in assigning to it great importance among the problems left as a legacy by the nineteenth century to the twentieth. If for many years academic science has depreciated the whole category of facts which Spiritism has, for good or ill, rightly or wrongly, absorbed and assimilated to form the elements of its doctrinal system, so much the worse for science. And worse still for the scientists who have remained deaf and blind before all the affirmation, not of credulous sectarians, but of serious and worthy observers such as Crookes, Lodge and Richet. I am not ashamed to say that I myself, as far as my modest power went, have contributed to this obstinate scepticism, up to the day on which I was enabled to break the chains in which my absolutist preconceptions had bound my judgment.”
His psycho-dynamic theory of materialisation phenomena is a compromise between psychological orthodoxy and the spirit theory. It forms an important chapter in research history. An earlier book, more or less on supernormal phenomena, was published by Morselli under the title: Le Magnetisme, la fascination et les etats hypnotiques.
Prof. Johann Karl Friedrich Zollner (1834-1882) – University of Leipsic – professor of physics and astronomy. Prof. Johann Zollner worked with medium Henry Slade who was well known for his slate writing feats. The studied phenomena included knots tied in endless cords, materialisation of hands, disappearance and reappearance of solid objects and matter through matter experiments.
Alfred Russel Wallace – A surveyor and architect who explored the Amazon and Negro Rivers in Brazil. He wrote Miracles and Modern Spiritualism.He wrote a letter to the Editor of The Times (London) that appeared in that newspaper on 4th January 1873. For the sake of completeness (and, perhaps, posterity) the letter has been re-printed here in full.
Clamille Flammarion (1842-1925) – a noted French astronomer and the author of Death and its Mystery, is credited with the development of automatic writing.
Dr. Albert Von Schrenck-Notzing (1862-1929) – a German Physician who wrote Phenomena of Materialization.He worked with the medium Marthe B’eraud who was given the alias Eva C. to protect her real identity.
Dr. Crawford – conducted investigations into physical phenomena and became convinced of its reality.
Dr. Charles Richet – a French physiologist who was a researcher of physical phenomena. He coined the word “ectoplasm”. The researchers had nothing to gain and much to lose from announcing their conviction of the reality of physical phenomena and, indeed, in his book Thirty Years of Psychical Research he says: “To admit the reality of these phenomena was to me an actual pain.”
Dr. Gustav Geley – In his book Clairvoyance and Materialization he writes That during eighty séances with medium Jean Guzyk there was present a group of thirty eminent men, all of a critical turn of mind, comprising: “Professors of law and medicine, members of the Academy of Sciences, members of the French Academy, doctors, writers, engineers and police experts. They had no personal interest to serve, no religious belief or philosophical opinion to support. There were Catholics, materialists, spiritualists, idealists and indifferentists. Will anyone dare to say that they were all duped? It is obvious from the above testimony that all those present were persuaded that the phenomena were real.
Cesare Lombroso (1835-1909) – an Italian criminologist was a total materialist and sceptic who investigated Spiritualism and became convinced of life after death.
Some Tested Mediums
Mention should also be made of Rev.William Stainton Moses who approached Spiritualism with the intent to smash up the so-called science. Instead, he became a medium of great ability. He demonstrated apports, psychic lights, direct voice, levitation and materialisations and wrote Spirit Teachings and Spirit Identity through the phenomena of automatic writing.
The greatest and most tested physical phenomena medium of all time was Daniel Douglas Home who was born in Scotland in 1833. He demonstrated trance, materialization and levitation and could levitate objects and his own body. He was very influential in leading others to Spiritualism and he demonstrated his mediumship before Napoleon III and wrote Lights and Shadows of Spiritualism. It is important to note that during his lifetime, scientists and men and women of high repute all over the world tested him and no one has ever given a plausible explanation for his amazing feats of physical mediumship.
A Testing Procedure for Physical Phenomena Mediums
The testing of mediums, particularly materialisation mediums, was very thoroughin the early days. The following is the typical way testing was done and what normally happened:The medium is medically examined before and after the sitting. The examination includes checking every bodily orifice and even the administration of an emetic solution to induce vomiting, before and after the sitting, just in case the medium was hiding something inside their body. The medium is then stripped totally naked and then sewn up in a specially designed costume. They would then be taken to a séance room – a room that they had never been in before. A movie film (when such technology was available) would then be made of the materialisation including the extrusion of ectoplasm from the mediums body, the materialisation taking shape and finally the reabsorption of the ectoplasm into the mediums body. All this was conducted in light equivalent to 100 candle power so that everything that happened in the room was clearly visible. A record was kept of the position of every object in the room before and after the séance.
Recent Testing of Mental Mediums
In the late 1990’s, a series of scientific experiments has produced evidence that; quote: “spirit mediums” may indeed have paranormal talents: unquote. Scientists involved in a study at the University of Arizona, headed by Professor Schwartz, say that the findings are so extraordinary, they raise fundamental questions about the survival of consciousness after death.A serious laboratory study of a group of mediums has found that they share an uncanny ability to state facts about the deceased relatives of people who come to them. When analysed for factual accuracy, the mediums achieved a success rate of 83% with one achieving 93%. The same studies have found that when “normal” people are tested in the same way they produce an accuracy rating of around 30%.These results were achieved even when the medium was not allowed to communicate with the sitter. Professor Schwartz believes; such evidence is consistent with claims that mediums deal directly with the dead rather than merely with the minds of the sitters.
Research into the Near Death Experience (NDE)
A study into the Near Death Experience is currently under way at Southampton General Hospital in England and is being conducted by a team headed by Dr. Sam Parnia. Helping out with the studies is Dr. Peter Fenwick – a consultant neuropsychiatrist. Dr. Sam Parnia’s conclusions which are supported by Dr. Peter Fenwick, is that there is enough evidence to justify a definitive study as to whether the mind continues to exist after the death of the body and the closing down of the brain. A much larger study involving many more patients in a hospital located in the Netherlands has supported the results of the British study. The Near Death Experience could be the final piece of evidence that will finally convince the world that life does indeed continue beyond the death of the physical body.
Spiritualism, Science and the Future – A message from Spirit
The well known guide of Maurice Barbanell, Silver Birch, said many times that the teachings of Spiritualism are really the natural law of the universe. If this is so – as all Spiritualists believe it to be, then the forward march of science can only prove us to be correct. Science is dedicated to working out the laws of the universe and sooner or later they will recognise the spiritual realms. Glimpses of an entirely new way of looking at the physical universe are being provided by the new science of Quantum Physics. The newest of scientific theories on the composition of matter and, by extension, the universe, comes from a new set of mathematics called “String Theory” which suggests that the fundamental particle (the basis of the material universe) is in fact a tiny lump of energy that looks like a vibrating string or a loop of vibrating string.
These strings are very small – if an atom is imagined as being the size of our entire solar system then a string would be about the size of tree on planet Earth! The maths clearly shows that the strings “vibrations” produce 11 dimensions all co-existing at the same “time”. It is of great interest to note that you cannot remove those 11 dimensions from the string equations – if you try – the maths falls apart and ceases to make sense. These other dimensions appear to exist in a different “vibration” to ours. All this talk of “vibrations” brings to mind the many messages from the spirit realms telling us that everything is a “vibration” of one sort or other and that the spirit realms exist in a higher and “finer vibration” to ours.
Science has already started to bridge the gap between science and religion. Medical science is proving the existence of the soul. So there is no need to fear science! If we are right, science can only prove our case, it’s only a question of time.