This Article was inspired yesterday by our Spirit Team who – after our (excellent) group sitting – had dug into our stored historical archives; taken out a copy of an old ‘Psychic World’ and then – almost like an apport – had deposited this on the table in the middle of our ‘Experimental Room’. I discovered inside an article about the launch of I.S.A.R.T.O.P. in 2005. So here goes………..
It all started one sunny afternoon in May 2004. Sandra – my lovely wife – had a night job with a local electronics company in Diss, Norfolk, and had then returned from her night shift to our farmhouse home in Scole for a well-earned sleep! I was myself already off to work – normally unlikely to return until 6 pm or later. However, on this particular day, I had a sudden unexplained feeling that I needed to get home early from work. Arriving at about 3 pm, I was extremely surprised to see a group of about 8 people standing in our driveway, who were just about to knock on the door. At this time of day, Sandra was still in bed. I met them and asked them what they wanted, then suggested that they went next door with me to the beautiful old Scole Inn (built in 1666) for a chat until Sandra could join us.
I soon discovered that these 8 people were Italian. Although they were all strangers, they were very friendly and seemed to know an awful lot about the 5-year long ‘Scole Experiment’ in the 1990’s that had taken place here at ‘Street Farmhouse’ in Scole. They were themselves sitting in a home circle to develop Physical Phenomena back in Grosseto, Italy, and the group included a well-known physical medium – Marcello Bacci – who regularly demonstrated his DRV (Direct Radio Voice) Mediumship in his Centre. He was there with his wife Marina, two friends; Alessandro Zampieri; Amerigo Festa (a lawyer) and their two wives. The seventh person – a Media personality – was Emanuel Toriello, who seemed to be the self-appointed ‘leader’ and spokesman for the group. Emanuel’s wife was also there.
The elderly Marcello Bacci was a veteran researcher in the field of EVP (he knew Konstantin Raudive, and had actually inherited Raudive’s equipment). His particular expertise lay in DRV, since he had been getting Direct Radio Voices for many years through an old-fashioned valve radio in his Grosseto Centre/Laboratory. Bacci demonstrated these voices on a weekly basis to around 70 or 80 people (mostly bereaved mothers, who were often able to speak a few words to their ‘deceased’ children) without ever charging a penny for his work. He told me that for some time prior to their surprise visit to Scole, Direct Spirit Voices through his radio had been requesting that Bacci and his ‘Research Friends’ travel to Scole to see us – and that is why they had traveled over to the UK on this occasion.
At this first meeting in the Scole Inn, whilst we were chatting, somebody asked me for a business card. I put my hand into my pocket and – as I took out the business card – three apports fell off my hand, having materialized in front of us all in full light!! At that point, I started to take the meeting more seriously, and listen more carefully to what they all had to say!
Consequently, Sandra and I were invited out to Italy as a result. We flew to Rome in September 2004 and were kindly driven up from there to Grosseto by Alessandro Zampieri. We were indeed greatly impressed by the people at Bacci’s Centre (his close research group included) and by the many and varied impressive ‘Radio Voices’ we witnessed, speaking to us clearly through his radio.
Many of the Italian contingents became firm friends, and I re-visited Bacci at Grosseto during early December 2004. Also, there on that occasion were: Paolo Presi (psychic researcher); Professor David Fontana (one of the main SPR investigators of the ‘Scole Experiment and co-author of the ‘Scole Report’) and Dr. Anabela Cardoso, a major EVP/DRV researcher and Portuguese Consul in Vigo, Spain.
Shortly afterward, Emanuel Toriello and Alessandro Zampieri were based in the UK for a while and began to sit with us in the ‘Scolehole’ on a fairly regular basis. We had a few instances of minor physical phenomena on the occasions that they sat, but there was no proper development of phenomena which is what we would have liked to see happen. In fact, despite several efforts of ours to re-create the Scole Group after the ‘Scole Experiment’ finished, with several different sets of sitters it soon became clear that neither the time, the sitters, nor the place was right to bring back the phenomena in profusion and – for several months before we left Scole to come and live in Spain in 2006, we could actually physically feel the spiritual atmosphere and positive feeling that had been the psychic heart of ‘Street Farm’ slowly seeping away from us.
Through regular meetings with my new Italian friends, and communication with a number of other serious researchers all over the world, the idea gradually came together to start a fully international association that could cooperate with research projects and serious experimenters internationally – helping one another with every aspect of development and demonstration of the various phenomena and different types of mediumship (in a word – SHARING); as well as acting as a forum for discussion and education regarding the latest and most successful techniques of research. It was hoped that – if the promised funding (and much was promised) proved itself in reality, then – eventually – the organization itself might even be in a position to help out with the limited funding of deserving research projects.
I was personally asked to help run the organization because of my long-term experience of all types of physical phenomena, plus my extensive knowledge – acquired over decades – of the very best examples of deep trance and evidential mental mediumship. I was also lucky enough to have made a great number of international quality contacts who would prove to be useful to the organization over the years.
Already promised from relevant sources (and eagerly anticipated) was a high level of funding from certain high-profile international bodies, which would help the organisation to improve collaboration between researchers and establish better human relations in the field of scientific transcendental research so – in order to protect the correct academic image, it was deemed important to keep the title of the organisation on a scientific level, and to go about the running of the organisation in a highly professional and thorough manner.
As a first step, a number of key international researchers, experimenters, mediums, and contacts attended two meetings at the St. Giles Hotel, London W1 on Sunday, February 6th, 2005 to ratify the organization’s name; discuss the setup and set the aims and objects of the project. The morning meeting consisted mainly of delegates who were serious ITC/EVP/DRV researchers and experimenters, with the separate afternoon meeting being attended by delegates whose interest lay mainly with objective physical psychic phenomena.
Amongst the morning delegates were: Professor David Fontana; Dr. Anabela Cardoso; John and Maryse Locke from Paris; Dr. Hans Schaer from Switzerland; Tina Laurent from Wales; James and Shirley Webster (James was a retired professional Magician) from Hastings; Chris Pettit; Lewis Elbinger; Marcello and Marina Bacci; Emanuel Toriello (who was to assume the position of the CEO of the new organisation); Alex and Maria Zampieri; Lawyer Amerigo and wife Rosella Festa, together with us – Robin and Sandra Foy.
The afternoon session also included: Denzil and Kay Fairbairn (Denzil is a nephew of famous physical medium Jack Webber); Paul Barker from David Thompson’s physical mediumship development circle – plus Dennis and Rosalind Pearman, who were the founders of the ‘Zerdin Fellowship’, following the demise of the Noah’s Ark Society.
Emanuel Toriello’s suggestion of the name I.S.A.R.T.O.P. was approved, which stood for the ‘International Scientific Association (for) Research (into) Transcendental Objective Phenomena. Looking back, it was certainly a mouthful !!! The mission statement of I.S.A.R.T.O.P – together with its aims and objectives – was to be issued shortly afterward, followed by the appointment of a board of trustees. Once the infrastructure of the organization was in place. membership details and invitations were to be published. It was envisaged that the first full meeting of I.S.A.R.T.O.P would take place a few months later, in May or June of 2005. As potential ‘trustees’ of the organization, it fell to Sandra and me to compile a list of interested researchers and members of the public for the early mailing lists. This was something we were happy to do.
The I.S.A.R.T.O.P organisation was to be structured as a number of departments working in parallel with one another, each dealing with their own speciality (sounds very familiar to me today, knowing that Jock Brocas has now – in the real world – very successfully achieved the reality of this vision with his practical and sensible creation of the ASSMPI !!!) For instance, there was to be an extensive ITC/EVP and DRV department; a department for physical mediumship and its phenomena; possibly a department for trance work; maybe even one for crop circles and UFO’s. Experience had already taught us that many of these were – in any case – inexorably linked.
It was hoped that there would eventually be two full-time administrator/coordinators, and other experts available to handle all aspects of members’ questions. The budding organization would pledge to help and oversee the development of both mental; trance and physical mediums, seeking to continually improve the general quality of mediumship internationally – with the provision of ‘ACCURATE EVIDENCE’ of an Afterlife being the constant objective for the organization to follow.
A major website was envisaged – operating as a ‘portal’ through which members could access their particular area of interest. There would be various educational and self-help instructional booklets available to members, covering all aspects of scientific research into this specialist subject – to help them develop their own research projects and phenomena.
Members were to receive a regular magazine (possibly quarterly initially), together with regular research reports from those members who were involved in relevant research projects. This would help with the SHARING of knowledge and information between members. In so doing, these would also encourage further development amongst members. A documentary was planned on the work of several prominent researchers, together with regular conferences, seminars, and social functions.
The whole I.S.A.R.T.O.P. project was very ambitious. It was a new concept on a massive scale – something that at that time had never been attempted and successfully achieved on such a grandiose and fully international scale. But – regrettably – it was not to be. The Italian contingent who had originally planned this concept (in particular, Emanuel Toriello, who was to be the CEO of the project) ceased to be available regularly for the project to go ahead fully. Sandra and I were personally asked to undertake (and did) much of the preparatory work to get the organization going. Our own funds were stretched beyond reasonable levels and funding was vital to achieve even the basic steps. Regrettably, the promised (and – we believed solid) source of income never arrived, despite the initial assurances.
Thank goodness that the motivation we had as the potential creators of the I.S.A.R.T.O.P project has not fallen by the wayside!!! Another man of vision – our own President and top-quality Medium Jock Brocas – was similarly inspired (several years later) to create a truly international organization – the ASSMPI – along similar lines. Not only did Jock have the vision to do so, but – against all the odds – Jock has succeeded almost single-handedly where we failed all those years ago!!! Congratulations and thanks are due from us all Jock – to you and your own special Spirit Team – for your truly inspirational achievement in really and truly putting the ASSMPI on the map!!!
A Note From The President:
When this came across my desk at the ASSMPI office, I was flabbergasted as I never expected to receive such an accolade. I want to make it known that behind the organization has always been service to Spirt and been guided by Spirit. Without Spirit answering prayers for help when all seemed impossible, we are only where we are because of the dedication of the whole ASSMPI team and we have a long way to go, but with each day, we take one step closer. We are in no rush and we always look for quality rather than quantity. The journey has just begun and we have a great band of brothers and sisters to travel on this journey together. Whilst I accept the accolade, I am nothing without the team on both sides of life and The ASSMPI was by Spirit – for Spirit – through Spirit – to Spirit and in service to Spirit. We are non-political, non-judgemental and welcome all with open arms.