Elephant in the room” or “Elephant in the living room” is an English metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth that is either being ignored or going unaddressed. The idiomatic expression also applies to an obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss
One of the most controversial aspects of mediumship and spiritualism is what is referred to as “physical mediumship” or “pm” for short.
Traditionally pm has a medium secured to a chair in a cabinet that goes into a trance state and produces physical phenomena in the darkened séance room. Phenomena can be lights, a levitating trumpet with fluorescent bands attached, ping pong balls, a tambourine or other instrument, and a small table. The objects have fluorescent bands attached in order to be seen in the darkened séance room by the participants in the séance circle.
The form of mediumship has been subject to much controversy over the years due to the fact it was held in a darkened room where trickery was possible. Another aspect of this form of mediumship is the production of “ectoplasm” from the mediums body which forms into hands, faces and even full body “apparitions” of the deceased.
Harry Houdini made it his later life’s work to expose fake séances and even published a book showing how to tilt tables, escape from ties and bounds, levitate trumpet’s and touch people’s heads in the darkened room even though he was securely bound to a chair and his hands and arms held and restrained by the other sitters.
The biggest issue with pm is that it is held in a dark room and therefore very easy to fake. Physical Mediums when challenged on this say spirit need this in order to manifest the phenomenon, attempts have been made with séances held in red light but it is still very dim for the onlooker. Many photographs have been taken over the years purporting to show ectoplasm flowing from a mediums mouth which is obviously cheesecloth or Muslim, today’s p.m.’s have moved with the times and use the wispy fake spiders web you can buy for Halloween, often secreting it about themselves or in the cabinet or with a confederate and producing it (in dim light) at the appropriate time.
Another “Trick” the Pms use is having a confederate in the circle. All eyes are on the medium during the séance who may well be sitting in a chair and tied in with rope or cable ties, but unbeknown to the sitter’s one of them is a confederate and can quite easily move around the circle in darkness causing trumpets to levitate, splash water over people’s faces and touch heads. It’s not unknown for a water pistol to be smuggled into the circle on occasions.
Spirit lights that flash on and off and dance around the room can be faked by using a magician’s prop called a D’lite. This small device is designed to fit over the thumb, and looks like a thumb as it is flesh colored but contains with it a small led that can be made to flash on and off by squeezing thumb to forefinger. Magicians use a micro fibre called invisible thread which is like a single strand of fibre from a pair of stockings. It is used by magicians to make objects levitate and cannot be seen even if you are only 2/3 feet away in daylight! Imagine what can be done in a darkened séance room.
I’ve read many séance reports where sitters have stated they sat in a circle and the mediums arms and feet were secured by holding hand with other sitters why phenomena occurred. Several years ago I attended a demonstration by the German Magician & Mind reader Satori in Essex where he showed how easily people are fooled. He sat at a table and asked for two volunteers to sit either side of him. They were instructed to hold his hands so he could not move and for the sake of the demonstration they were blindfolded so they could not see what was happening but the audience to much amusement could.
From the sitters point of view their heads were touched, they were splashed with water and other occurrences, they had no idea how Satori did it but the audience were shown that with a simple movement both sitters were in fact holding each other’s hands! Whilst Satoris hands were free to produce the phenomena! It’s that easy, imagine how much easier in a darkened séance room.
Everything about Physical Mediumship leaves a bad taste in the mouth, the excuses for darkened rooms being the biggest one. If Ghosts and spirits can appear in broad daylight throughout the world why do they need darkness in the Séance room? Why do they “spirits” insist on performing cheap party tricks like removing shirts without undoing buttons, or producing trinkets and babbles instead of helping humanity in these troubled times?
Everything in the Bible, the so called word of God is based on light. Let there be light God said and there was light, Jesus appeared surrounded in light, Angels appear in blinding light, yet in the Séance room light is banned! I ask you it’s ridiculous to the extreme.
Then there is the belief factor, people want to believe what they see so much that all sense of caution, discernment and intelligence flys out of the window. For example look at the well documented case of Colin Fry caught standing on a chair waving a trumpet about when he was supposed to be securely tied in a chair! He gave some bullshit explanation about a mischievous spirit called Daniel being behind the fraud and people swallow it hook line and sinker – I rest my case.
Recently well-known Physical Medium and Trance healer Gary Mannion was secretly filmed by Nic Whitham of the Banyan Retreat in Ashford Kent. The film was published online www.garyfiles.co.uk and sent shock waves throughout the Psychic and Spiritualist Community.
On the video Gary is alleged to be clearly seen walking around the darkened séance producing supposed psychic phenomena himself. He can be seen waving the trumpet so beloved of Physical Mediums for some reason around the sitter’s heads, waving his shirt to give the impression of a spirit breeze, pulling sitters out of their chairs, and most bizarre of all stripping down to his underpants to impersonate a giant man!
As you can imagine this secret video created much controversy and dealt a death blow to the public display of Physical Mediumship. You can read the full story in the July issue of Psychic News.
The secret filming poses several questions that have yet to be answered by Nic Whiting despite several public and one private request. I asked Nic;
1/Knowing IR (infra red) is “supposed” to be dangerous to PM was it not irresponsible to do this knowing the “supposed” risks to the medium? (unless of course IR is NOT dangerous as any rational person knows. After all we are surrounded by Bluetooth, WIFI, FM Digital, and a whole host of invisible rays that don’t seem to have ANY effect on our health either in or out of a séance room!)
2/If as the Psychic News article says “cameras are throughout Banyan” can we look forward to more exposures & revelations of other mediums? (If cameras are throughout you would reasonably assume Banyan Retreat film all séances as par for the course? If they do, then logic dictates if there are genuine displays of PM then Nic has it captured on film and it would be worth a fortune! Or, does Nic possess other tapes of obvious fraud he has yet to release for various reasons best known to himself?)
3/Why was Gary Mannion singled out over say Scott Milligan, David Thompson and others? Surely one rule for all? (I am not saying either of these upstanding mediums are Fakes or Frauds just pointing out it should be All or none) I can only assume Nic was somehow “tipped off” about Gary Mannion so decided to secretly film him, but rumors abound about others PMS due to the controversy of the subject matter, so I question why not others?
4/Re Question 2; cameras – are there videos in existence showing 100% phenomena occurring? If so the world and I would certainly like to see them.
5/Are all future displays of PM now going to be videoed? (You would think that any reasonably minded person that was going to spend £40 + to attend a séance held in near dark conditions would want a bit of confidence that they were not being shown party tricks but see genuine phenomena. Video by IR or low lux (light) cameras is THE only way forward, after 150 years of PM which started with the dubious *Fox Sisters in Hydesville you would have expected the spirits had evolved and moved on beyond moving trumpets around the séance room and splashing people with water or removing their glasses)
*In the August edition of Psychic News some of the points have been addressed
The big question over PM has always been the fact it is “performed” in darkness or near dark conditions. When Pms are questioned over this the usual response is “my spirit team won’t allow it” or “it’s dangerous to the medium” As far as I am aware not one single medium in the History of Spiritualism has been hospitalized in the séance room due to being exposed to a light source, If I am wrong please correct me with his/her name, the injury they suffered and the hospital they attended with the dates.
So where does that leave the future of the public display of Physical Mediumship? Psychic News published a report following the new protocols issued on the display of Physical Mediumship at The Arthur Findlay College http://www.psychicnews.org.uk/articles/The-death-of-physical-mediumship-as-we-know-it Which stated “ In principle there should be no séances held in total darkness. Subdued lighting including coloured lights or Natural light is preferable at all times”
The Protocol continues; “If there is to be consideration given to “Dark Seances” then the following is required”
a/They must be filmed with infrared cameras. It would be invaluable if the AFC invested in a video system that uses multiple cameras that could be linked not only to a recording device but also to a monitor outside the séance room.
b/night vision viewers are made available to watch events live during the séance and so have independent witness acting on behalf of those present. With these conditions in use there would be no need to secure the medium to the chair with cable ties.
I am 100% certain If I attend any Physical Séance as a guest that I would find trickery and fraud, I challenge any currently working Physical medium to let me sit in their circle and produce the same phenomena they advertise, let’s see how many invites I get.
- WIKIPEDIA – The Fox sisterswere three sisters from New York who played an important role in the creation of Spiritualism: Leah (1814–1890), Margaret (also called Maggie) (1833–1893) and Kate (also called Catherine) Fox (1837–1892). The two younger sisters used “rapping’s” to convince their much older sister and others that they were communicating with spirits. Their older sister then took charge of them and managed their careers for some time. They all enjoyed success as mediums for many years.
In 1888, Margaret and Kate confessed that their rapping’s had been a hoax and publicly demonstrated their method. Margaret attempted to recant her confession the next year, but their reputation was ruined and in less than five years they were all dead, with Margaret and Kate dying in abject poverty. Spiritualism continued as if the confessions of the Fox sisters had never happened.