Don’t Screw Up the Séance!

Physical Mediumship And Associated Phenomena ….One Of The Finest Forms Of Objective Mediumship And One Of The Most Rare

Phenomenal phenomena — if you don’t “screw up the séance.” As the book says, “they walk amongst us” (Emma Heathcote James)


This is suggested to be a science of the mind: a medium raising his consciousness and vibration to link with spirit. Mental mediumship affords no danger to the medium, whilst the level of and accuracy of evidence can be as superb as objective physical mediumship whereby the two worlds meet, one of matter and one of the fine vibration of the spirit world.

In reference to mediumship generally, it has many forms. Physical mediumship is one variable of communication where the two worlds collide in the séance room, for the allotted time spirit can offer. As some might say, “talking to dead people in the dark” — spooky stuff still known today as the séance. Fearful, never! Love, harmony, and fun abound — all wrapped in evidential package that there is no death, just a change of worlds.

Physical Mediumship
(My ramblings, combined with some explanations of a currently powerful publicly-practicing physical medium)

Physical mediumship is very rare, due to the punishment that your body takes when trying to allow spirits to materialize from their world into our world. To do this they take substances from the physical body to form what is called ectoplasm and photoplasm (a refined form of ectoplasm that can be used in visible red and blue light). This substance can also be taken from other physical objects like clothes, carpets, tables, or furniture, in a psychic circle, but it mainly comes from the physical medium’s body. Once the ectoplasm or photoplasm is formed, a spirit can clothe itself in this material to allow it to be seen in our world. This is usually done in a séance or psychic circle, as I prefer to call it. It can be painful and leaves the medium with a kind of psychic hangover the next day, or even couple of days. One feels sluggish, tired, and a bit paranoid, even sickly for a few hours the next day. One knows something is going on without seeing what actually occurs in a physical circle as the after effects are proof enough that one had an ordeal. It is never the same place or the same people and conditions can be warm or cold so you cant suggest that a person may be poisoned or allergic to something, thus the after effects are a related to the physical environment because they are not.

Physical mediumship offers the highest form of proof of life after death whereby those who have passed on are able to re-appear in solid form, exactly as they were when they lived on the earth. This is done with a physical medium, a person that has developed the ability to produce large amounts of ectoplasm from the physical body. This allows a spirit person to re-form their physical body just as it was on earth, warts and all. When one says warts and all, spirits appearing in physical mediumship can have any defects that they had on their body, such as missing fingers, scars, and so on. These defects give an added proof to a loved one, who knows that the person is who they say they are, and no fraud is taking place. Physical mediumship is done in darkness usually with a low red light or blue light. “I can affirm 100% that physical mediumship is real and is a wonderful unique gift” (quote)….To reiterate again, in my opinion, physical mediumship is the highest form of communication as it is objective in its evidential attempt to prove we live on after death of the physical body from this earth dimension.

There are many facets to physical mediumship. These are direct voice, materialisations, apports, transfiguration, psychic smells, raps, people being touched, levitation of the table and other objects, ectoplasmic presentation from the medium at different orifices (mouth, ear, solar plexus, for example). A medium usually goes into trance but this is not always the case.

Why is physical mediumship so rare? Physical mediumship was very common during the last century up until around the 1930’s but it declined rapidly in the 1950’s. In the early half of the 20th century, the power and range of phenomena seen was amazing. Unfortunately, these days it is quite rare to see it, people are just not dedicated enough to sacrifice their time and effort into developing physical mediumship. It really does take total selfless devotion to harness and develop this form of mediumship. In those early years of the 20th century, a psychic circle was a social event. Most of the great pioneer mediums began by sitting in a home circle. Nowadays, it seems as if there is an increase in development circles since the start of the 21st century, but not necessarily physical mediumship circles. We may be on the verge of a new growth in psychic development circles. Hopefully some of these may turn into some physical mediumship. It is noted that during the end of the 1990’s, there seemed to be a resurgence of interest in physical mediumship, but it still tends to be an underground movement with closed circles, whose members will sit for years to get the phenomena and do not want any publicity. I personally know of several circles today choosing to remain private, as either their choice or at the request of their spirit teams.

The strains of presenting in public can be a strain and hazardous, this can be a dangerous form of mediumship as in the ectoplasmic physical medium. There is an upserge of physical mediumship groups as evidenced by those I talk to and many other mediums. The observation at séances also of our public physical mediums developing rapidly at the moment, indicates to me that spirit world is also developing and eager for this to be taken to the world where ever possible.

So one goes back to the title “Don’t Screw Up the Séance” — it is always the inappropriate behavior of sitters that kill or maim the medium not spirit. Why was it thought physical mediumship hadn’t continued from the early part of the 20th century? More comments from a physical medium publicly practising today: The first point is this; when modern spirit phenomena started appearing in the Victorian and Edwardian period, it was relatively new and people of course wanted to see it live. They needed objective evidence of spirit’s presence, and of course spirit guides were quite willing to provide evidence of physical manifestations.

When people began to accept the reality of life after death and mediums evidence, the masses yearned for more spiritual teaching and philosophy. This gradually reduced the occurrence of physical mediumship. As a counter balance to physical mediumship, mental mediumship began to predominate. In other words, the needs of humanity through their “thoughts”, dictated how spirit responded to those needs. The conditions were created by the yearning thoughts of men and women. It is always the case with spirit that, if enough people think of these things then the thoughts start to create new realities.

The second point on the decline of physical mediumship is the basic fact that the development of physical mediumship can be a lengthy process, sometimes tedious, with no materialisations happening in the circle for years or longer. It requires great commitment on everyone’s part and, can generally focus around the development of one, maybe two, people in the circle having the necessary energies or vibrations, with the other people sitting contributing also to the energies and their own development. I would add that you usually have some very interesting things occurring while it may not be materialisations; you will certainly have raps, table movement, psychic smells, spirit lights, transfiguration, and other note worthy physical phenomena. Time, patience, effort and weekly sits are the key to a successful circle. Sadly so many find this tiresome. This mediumship takes selfless dedication as quoted above and repeated again (:-. As a few of our now retiring physical mediums of today have said “to sit in dedication with spirit friends and mortal friends is priceless, just to close the door and leave the world and problems behind, for a few hours. If any phenomena occurs that is the icing on the cake.” Wonderful to sit with love and open heart and no expectations.

Spirit so desperately want to use vessels to prove to the world survival after bodily death. It is the trust, the harmony, and the blending of energies within a group, that brings all possibilities forward. And the intent that one is sitting for spirit not self to take their word to mankind. It is always suggested that spirit teams are ready and waiting even before new physical circles commence, they know and are so excited. And more ingredients of wonderful spirit communication……….. No ego….ego = e xiting g od o ut.. All communication is spirit using the medium merely as the channel.

Quote from a physical medium of today: “I have seen so many things in the physical circles that I have led. Sometimes I heard some very unusual sounds, such as the clinking of a knights armour after he was seen clairvoyantly, or the shuffling of a Victorian woman’s pannier dress across the floor, some birds flapping their wings, foot steps walking around the wooden floor of a circle, voices from mid air, tables moving of their own accord, psychic smells that fill the whole room, lights turning themselves up and down, or off. But one of the most amazing phenomena would be the blue lightning figures. The blue lightning was seen by at least a dozen people in a red light and appeared set against an empty fire place for at least a couple of minutes. There were about two or three rod like lights about 15inches long, which had a wavy like appearance. Every night is different, but for me it’s extremely draining, physically and mentally. The next day I feel like I have a hangover. I am extremely sensitive to crowds, noise, and light. I only start recovering in the evening, which sounds a bit like the effects of a hangover. My energy is used and abused by the spirit guides; in the nicest sort of way of course (smiling and looking heavenwards as I write this). Seriously, you need a lot of tenacity to cope with the physical energies and rise above the harshness of the world before you try this. On the plus side though, the experiences you have will last a lifetime. Actually it’s an eternity, because we never die.

“What are the things that make a physical medium? Well, mediumship itself is not exclusive to a few people as it is a very natural aspect of the spirit body. Indeed, to a large extent, everyone can develop mediumistic ability to link with their spirit guides, thus becoming receptive to the influences coming from those in spirit. But, not everyone can become a physical medium. Physical mediumship requires certain elements to be present within the physical organism of the medium. Either you have those elements or you don’t.

“To become a physical medium you need to have the elements within you to create the substance, from which the fundamental building blocks of physical phenomena are formed, namely ectoplasm. Secondly you need an abundance of patience. Thirdly, a physical medium usually has increased sensitivity, so you need a strong will to cope with life and things that are thrown at you, this will help immensely. Studies in physical mediumship have recently found that illness, and physical exhaustion, tend to weaken the energies necessary for physical mediumship; as do long periods of cloudy weather. On the other hand, good health, sunny days and vigorous circle members helps the mediumship to appear more dazzling and energised. ”

Don’t kill the medium…don’t screw up the séance!

“One might ask what are the reasons for certain ways of practising in a physical mediumship mode in séance conditions. Controlled and professionally handled for the safety of the medium and to enable spirit friends the best environment possible.

Possibly a little known fact is that with the ectoplasmic medium one has to consider the total cleanliness of the séance room. Why might that be? one might ask. As cleanliness is next to godliness for all at all times. With the return of the ectoplasm to the medium after whatever the spirit team have manifested, any dirt dust debris or filth will return with it.

This has been seen in a medium of the past where the abdomen had been opened during surgical procedure, and debris from the séance room and sitters activities, had been found inside the abdomen, INDEED THE POINT IS THERFORE MADE, AND THE NEED FOR GOOD PRACTISE UNDERLINED.

Ready, steady, go…screw down the hatches and the cabinet…

Why the cabinet, why restraints, why this, why that. All healthy and sensible enquiry , if done so for education rather than condemnation. The medium is the torch and the focus as a rule, the sitters are the batteries to that conduit, as in the medium. One uses the cabinet in which the medium is seated to contain, concentrate, and accentuate energies. This can then enable spirit to use this for associated phenomena of their choice, and abilities, given the right energies, sitters, and environment. On occasion spirit friends themselves need the safety of the cabinet to materialise, as in small children we have here at the sanctuary with a public medium. These souls are now beginning to manage to leave the cabinet on occasion. I note that often as spirit materialise, they do this firstly in the cabinet where the concentrated power is, as the energy seems to dwindle they often return to that sacred space to re-energise again. Also when a medium is producing large amounts of ectoplasm, to stay in a confined space is going to afford greater safety. It has been known for a sitter to attempt to grab this, which in turn will fly back to mediums organism rapidly and kill or rupture organs…this has occurred and I will make mention further down the line. The ectoplasmic medium also often uses an ectoplasmic voice box produced by spirit often on the mediums shoulder area outside of their body.”

However it is cheering to note that on one occasion one of our public physical mediums has sat in a séance without a cabinet. This was on spirit’s wishes as an experiment, so as I always say, all is in spirit time, and wishes, and how best they feel they can keep their medium safe throughout in séance conditions. This would only happen if spirit team are happy with all the variables, sitters, environment, and an experienced control for the medium and themselves this side of life.

One has seen some double cabinet work with two mediums, overseas, both housed in one cabinet each, working together, in séance conditions where safety as always is paramount. All energy developed contained and utilised by two spirit teams, to evidence phenomena and activity they are able to manifest, for sitters to see we live on, there is no death.

The cabinet is a useful tool, also, for stored energy after séance sits. The energies generated by spirit can be stored in the darkness of such a confined space until one next sits. Curtains always left closed and on occasion, I place séance equipment in there also such as the trumpet, and other toys that spirit like. When Gilbert’s was being built spirit said to me “all is complete now just the robes of the room needed.” How wonderful — a confirmation that for us as group spirit did indeed wish for us to work with a cabinet in place for them. So this isn’t magic nor the work of the magician. This is spirit energy and mediumsitic work. The two are worlds apart.

So all is great for the future. Always in spirit’s time they are in control. All we need to do is support, listen, and learn with an open, loving, giving heart, and know the spirit world with their scientists, chemists, doctors, and all are also learning and developing their skills. This is team work, and together with respect and the sense of honor to be involved with this communication, all things are possible in time!

I would like to add here the perspective of a sitter who recently came to séance here at Gilbert’s, who as a scribe of some note, brings to the table fact, but also a light hearted and witty approach to the matter in her belief systems of the cabinet. Going, as always, a little off piste, I wanted to think a bit about the “cabinet”. In particular, why it can – in the minds of some – bring with it a little negative baggage. The word comes to us from the middle French for a small room, diminutive of the old French cabane (cabin). Originally referring to a secret storehouse or treasure chamber, it quickly evolved to mean a secure storage item for both valuables and secrets that were best kept away from prying eyes. Something, then, that was apart from. No surprise that the term was also adopted for a section of “government” that met in and to the exclusion of others. So, we have then a word historically used for something isolated, secret, even a little elite. Is it any wonder that the entrails of this definition still stick in the subconscious of modern day man? Particularly, when said item is draped in black cloth and plonked in the middle of a darkened room. What secrets lie within? What is in there that is being hidden, obfuscated? Very quickly, the imaginative and ill informed will grasp this notion with the eager and sticky fingers of the easily unimpressed and shout “chicanery!” To be fair, this isn’t helped when the leading proponents of spiritual communications themselves decry the use of a cabinet.

So why use it? Well, there is a little truth that some have had varying levels of success without one. However, these have tended to be the exception. (although there is work going on that may, one day, see a sustainable move away from the need of such an item). Having had the opportunity to use a cabinet, I can certainly testify that it is instrumental in the build up and containment of spiritual energies. Indeed, palpably so. Quite different to any results I’ve felt without it. Not to mention that it is them over there and not us over here that dictate these matters. Discussing this with a close friend of Native American extraction, she brought up the similarities with the sweat lodge. Obviously not a dovetail fit, and from a different cultural perspective, it isn’t altogether a bad comparison. The Native American sweat lodge is ‘a place of spiritual refuge and mental and physical healing, a place to get answers and guidance by asking spiritual entities, totem helpers, the creator and mother earth for the needed wisdom and power.’ A place where, with the help of medicine men and women, they could repair the damage done to their spirits, their minds and their bodies. It is also, needless to say, rather compact and bijou .It should be noted, however, that lighting a fire in the medium’s cabinet might be a little tricky to get past our current love affair with health and safety

Black or white ?The biggest gripe is…..Why black seances?…Why all lights out? Why all bulbs out? “I shall not commit the stupidity of regarding everything I cant see as a fraud” (Carl Jung) We have many scientists and investigators around the world now who are challenging skeptics…Everything has a reason and a purpose. With an ectoplasmic medium at this moment in time, it is necessary to work in the dark, as ectoplasm is light sensitive. Light produces heat and it will badly affect the ectoplasm that is attached to the medium that he/she produces by a kind of an umbilical cord. Any interference with this via touch or light will cause it to fly rapidly back into the medium and cause possible death or organ damage, as stated before.

One hears of so many developing mediums saying “well, I sit in the light.” Well, good for them, I say. Each medium’s organism is unique and spirit teams know how best to work with each individual medium; not all will work that way. Most are slowly getting to a place where they can on occasion use red/green/blue light or candle light, all in experiment always. It is the aim always to get back to full materialistion in the light. No one decides on the dark but spirit teams I have of late seen, fluorescent ectoplasm floating around the room, so for all to see quite clearly, how clever is that of spirit friends , to use their own light. Often they do bring their own light into séances for moments of time. This form of mediumship takes 6 to 12 years to achieve, there is no shortcut to this journey, and it is not for the faint hearted, one needs a skin like a rhino and heart like a butterfly. There are many factors to consider in trying to achieve the best possible environment for spirit friends to give us the most amazing energies. Why do they even bother? “Because,” as Silver Birch says, “we love you.”

Pure environment is so important for results, as is the right intent, and giving sitters for spirit to give their love and energy, to get the best results. Great saying: “Give me a room full of jealous mediums , with whom i can do nothing — give me a room full of healthy open skeptics with whom I can do everything”   Any personal veiled agenda or doubt will not afford the blending and harmony a physical group needs, and that a public séance ideally needs for the best evidential outcome. Expectations will cut everything dead.

Why are mediums restrained? Another common question. One can say that the spirit team request often the means they wish for this, as they understand that evidence is the name of the game, and since even our Helen Duncan rigorous testing of these chaps is so still expected at times. Restraints are generally used to tie the medium into the séance chair by strong cable ties, or velcro straps or rope, or sometimes all. This is suggested to put sitters at ease that the medium is indeed not engaging in any form of tomfoolery, and indeed the phenomena is purely spirit lead It is easy to say ‘why don’t they work on trust?’ . Indeed they do with their spirit teams, but public expect as much satisfaction of genuine phenomena as possible. A selected independent sitter will do the honors and tie the medium in, and all restraints seen by all sitters, to be satisfactorily in place. One marvels at it all really, as if spirit wish to remove these for any experimental purpose throughout the séance, they will and replace them again amazing…Policies and medium preference are changing all the time regarding this procedure, and one follows the stages that hopefully one day may eliminate the need for these items at all.

Moments where the séance has been screwed up do exist. We have as hosts of these public physical mediums, a list called the black list, this contains the names of people who have attended séances to do significant harm!! Not to prove to self the validity of them, but to prove the non-credibility of them. This is a sad affair. We had a medium last year flung up the aisle of a church still in the restraints in the chair as a sitter had purposely grabbed a materialised form, pure ectoplasm of course who had left the cabinet. How he was not damaged or passed over we knew not. It has been suggested that spirit saw what was coming, and were able to push their medium out, before the ectoplasm hit him full on as it returned to the body, as said before it does exactly this, if touched or exposed to light. I have seen séances halted because of very negative energies in sitters whereby spirit haven’t been able to proceed and have asked for a close down. One tries as best they can with disclaimers and thorough screening of potential sitters to acquire a safe genuine group of sitters, but this on occasion is not totally achieved, as this can reflect. Before deeming to go public these mediums give much thought to their level of development, and the strength of their spirit teams to work in this risky environment.

This is where the whole procedure of checking each sitter before they sit begins. Photographic ID having been checked. Metal detectors are used and people are body searched to exclude any metal content harmful to ectoplasm also, and potential for burning the medium if ectoplasm contacts the same. all metal is removed as is jewelry. Cameras have been taken into the séance room in the past, and again light sensitive ectoplasm is going to put the medium at risk also if flashes go off. It’s a tricky business this for sure. And even though the disclaimer has been seen , one becomes aware that not all people read and understand it, so the medium also gives a talk prior to the sit for safe sitter behavior… and to prevent “séance screw up” and “killing the medium”…Not today, please.

Education is the key big time in this form of mediumship. Sitters comments at their first séance re the strict screening and questioning process in order to obtain a place in one. Of interest this used to be done by an “agency”, and rather vigorous it was. Now it is done by the venue host and organiser. An ardent Belgian belle, also known as ‘sitter of the séance world’, says: “How did I feel re disclaimers: first time I had to sign one, I thought what the heck is all this, I’m going to see a medium perform not partake in anything to do with national security! I recall reading all the fine print very carefully, to see exactly what it was they were asking me to sign, and wondering to myself, why the need for one, and did I actually want to sign one. These days i can understand why they’re handed out, and why sometimes ID is asked for. How did i feel re the screening process the first time? We were asked to remove all jewelry, anything reflective, and our shoes(this got me a little baffled at first), then a quick body search, plus a metal detector was used to scan us all over. I recall laughing, and thinking ‘oh my god what is going on here’ what is actually going to happen in this séance, and i did feel a little guilty too, even though I had nothing in any pockets etc, so I asked, and was told, they were looking for any recording devices etc, so i could understand the need for the security. Everything made sense after that, first and foremost is the safety of the medium.”

One of U.K.western, now frequent sitters: “As a total newbie, no I didn’t get why everyone was being searched. Cos I had no idea what a séance was or anything lol. Closest I’d been to spirit was a spiritualist church. It did seem odd and I struggled to see the point because at that time I believed all spiritualists were sweet, loving people and why would they want to disrupt something they loved? And it felt personally uncomfortable… The disclaimer as I understand is only good to protect the medium from legal issues. But it is no good for much else in my opinion. You have people’s names, addresses and they sign, but it doesn’t protect the medium from harm or is able to be used against the sitter.”

Our Beefeater in Luton: “Hi, Susan. I think the disclaimer is very important because it is essential that the medium should be protected at all times. This should be emphasised. It is nothing new. Recently I was able to examine the séance disclaimer issued by Harry Edwards for sittings with Jack Webber in 1939. It followed similar lines to those I have signed with here in the U.K. with our current physical mediums. Today we got off lightly — there was a clause in it that said that if the medium died due to someone grabbing or breaking the protocol then the sitter had to pay to support Webber’s family!! I personally just accepted it as a condition of being allowed to sit. I suppose because I had read a lot about physical mediumship before sitting I realised the risks and appreciated the conditions under which i would be allowed to sit. I suppose someone completely new to it may find it off-putting.”

One of our experienced public physical mediums of so many years: “Now, here’s the thing: Yes, of course it is very important that people going into a physical séance should understand the potential dangers to the medium should any sitter act inappropriately. The ‘do’s and the don’ts must of course be presented clearly. This is absolutely essential particularly when people new to such séances are involved. However, if they are informed prior to the sitting – if they have an understanding of what they can and cannot do and understand why – then that is all that is necessary. When the Noah’s Ark Society operated then it laid down guide lines in regards to its pre-séance talks. They were simple – they were to the point – they were highly informative and they also resulted in all participants feeling comfortable and ‘together’. Sadly, in the years since its eventual collapse – the simple has been gradually converted into the complex much of which is, in my view, this situation has occasionally led directly to a certain amount of dissatisfaction amongst some sitters I imagine. I understand that some pre-séance talks have gradually been extended to such an extent that perhaps sitters enter the séance room filled with expectation which sadly does not match reality.” A valued view as with all debate . So basically for health and safety “Don’t screw up the séance — don’t kill the medium” and have a thoroughly good time with spirit friends….as much as one puts into a séance is as much as one gets back heart energy and effort. See many of you here soon I hope…on this side of life of course. May the force and spirit world be with you all.

Su and seen and unseen friends
…the Portsmouth crew


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