Mediocrity in Physical Mediumship An Inside View

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Re: Mediocrity in Physical Mediumship An Inside View

Post by mac on Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:17 am

mac wrote:"Anyway, I thank you for allowing me the freedom to express my long-contained feelings, and not be hung, drawn or quartered over them."

It's perhaps a shame you left it so long before expressing your concerns here or elsewhere - and this would be one website where you'd never be hung, drawn or quartered for doing it......

Well said Mac, on this forum, truthful statements, and heartfelt admissions of concerns will never be treated with casualness. We all have, at times, believed in a medium or a phenomena and subsequently found it not to be as much as or as genuine as it first appeared.

Lis
I'm baffled.  How have Lis' words and name ended up in the body text of my posted response to hood  Question 

I thought it looked weird at the time but couldn't figure why.

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Re: Mediocrity in Physical Mediumship An Inside View

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 22, 2013 10:11 am

I suspect our other Admin, Lis so respected your answer she edited her response into it. If not I have no idea how it happened but it seems quite appropriate.
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Re: Mediocrity in Physical Mediumship An Inside View

Post by mac on Thu Aug 22, 2013 10:31 am

Admin wrote:I suspect our other Admin, Lis so respected your answer she edited her response into it. If not I have no idea how it happened but it seems quite appropriate.
I'm not suspicious, Jim, but I wondered if there was a glitch in the software as I've never seen anything like it before.

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Re: Mediocrity in Physical Mediumship An Inside View

Post by Lis on Thu Aug 22, 2013 1:12 pm

Neither have I, Mac! And I have no idea how it happened either.

Lis
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Re: Mediocrity in Physical Mediumship An Inside View

Post by Lis on Fri Aug 23, 2013 7:01 am

Though some might say that the following material is not directly related to this topic, or more specifically to where the thread wandered off to with the post by 'Solomon,' I find what was written back in 1876, and Marc Demarest's comments found today on his blog http://ehbritten.blogspot.com.au/ quite significant.

I am sure, on this occasion, Marc will not mind my copying part of the material onto this forum, but do take the time to peruse Marc's other informative posts, if you have not yet taken the opportunity to do so. Note: For ease of reading the various points made by Harrison, and Marc, that follow, I have split the material into small paragraphs.

So Much Sameness: W. H. Harrison on Physical Mediumship, April 1876

From The Spiritualist Newspaper for April 7, 1876, the unsigned lead, almost certainly by W. H. Harrison:

The development of new Manifestations in Spiritualism

"The sitters in circles have considerable power over the kinds of manifestations which are developed -- a circumstance which is not generally known. If a physical medium obtains five or six kinds of manifestations in their incipient stages, one of these orders of manifestation could be specially developed if the sitters expressed strong wishes to that effect, and in the exceptional development of the one, most of the others would either fall off or remain at a standstill.

"The spirits are usually anxious to please the sitters, and to carry out their wishes, but more especially do they act in accordance with the desire of the medium. If the sitters desire a particular manifestation, and the medium does not do so, very little headway will be made in that particular phase.

"When the news of obtaining of materialised faces in America first reached England, there was a great desire to obtain that particular class of manifestation here, and it was found that those mediums who obtained spirit hands and spirit voices could by sitting for the purpose obtain faces, the one manifestation being but a further development of the other.

"The reason that there is now so much sameness in the physical manifestations throughout England is this: rising mediums have heard of the manifestations of those who have gone before them, and which the public throng to see, consequently their own spirits follow the example set before them; but Spiritualists having become tired of the common manifestations of fiddle-flying, and the materialisation of hands and faces in dark cabinets, it is high time something fresh were developed.

"There is a great want at the present time in the movement of mediumship like that possessed by Mrs. Mary Marshall, who could obtain strong manifestations in broad daylight, under the most adverse conditions. Although manifestations are usually stronger in the dark, there is nothing like good light séances for beginners. At present in England we have nothing in the spiritual movement to equal the light séances once given by Mrs. Marshall. . . .

"There is no difficulty in getting further developments of any manifestation which has once been presented at a circle in its incipient stage, if the sitters and the medium express their wish to have more of that particular phenomenon, and if endeavours are now made to bring new manifestations . . . to the movement, the mediums through whom they occur will meet with the full appreciation of their services on the part of the Spiritualist public."

Marc Demarest commented:

This is a description -- and, I think, an accurate one -- of a market, where supply arises in response to demand, where products become commodified as suppliers seek to emulate the successes of their competitors, where, periodically, innovation needs to occur merely in order to keep the buyers committed to the market itself. So much sameness, in 1876: hands, faces, full forms at the cabinet threshold and amongst the sitters. John King everywhere. Proofs of spirit identity are in sharp decline, and indeed the notion of the séance as the scene of experimentation, the frame for tests that establish proofs of the Spiritualist hypothesis, is in sharp decline.

Dark séances are spectacles. And séances in full light, for "beginners"-- new investigators -- are hard to come by, which chills recruitment, since dark cabinet séances for materialisation do not produce educated believers, by and large. There are, in the dark cabinet séance, few moments of profound and undeniable confrontation with the spirits of one's own life. Just Joey, cracking jokes and flattering the sitters from the cabinet, while Abdullah looks upon the sitters, or dispenses kisses or flowers. Dark séances produce consumers, phenomena-hunters.

And confirmed skeptics.

Marc comments: "So much sameness in 1876." We might well make the same remark about 2013. Indeed, much that Marc writes might just as well be regarded as reflecting the state of affairs today, as far as physical mediumship is concerned.

Today it is William and Timothy, Quentin and Louis that take centre stage rather than 'John King', the alleged pirate spirit, that seemed to materialise everywhere through a multitude of mediums in the 19th and early 20th centuries. But then again, perhaps, we will soon enough be treated to another appearance of this most famous (or infamous) spirit entity. I am rather surprised that certain physical mediums of today haven't yet taken the opportunity to 'manifest' this quasi-historical figure that allegedly had such materialising power in the dark séances of the past.

Lis
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Re: Mediocrity in Physical Mediumship An Inside View

Post by mac on Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:17 am

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose....

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Re: Mediocrity in Physical Mediumship An Inside View

Post by Lis on Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:16 pm

Indeed, Mac.

Lis
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Re: Mediocrity in Physical Mediumship An Inside View

Post by Lis on Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:35 pm

There is, however, also a deeper point that might be made. Perhaps there are young mediums, having shown some 'talent', who are encouraged to explore the possibilities of physical mediumship, and in doing so, look back at those who have excelled in the past, and feel the need to emulate, and reproduce what the greats may have done, and in the process forget the purpose of the activity, and, should things not progress as well as they hoped, begin to 'improvise' and 'enhance' what takes place in the séance room.

At first, not even fully recognizing the slippy path upon which they are treading, until, confronted with the reality of where their embellishments have taken them, they discover, amongst the adoration, they must pursue not only that which they have created, but also to continually create even more, and greater apparent phenomena, so that the adoring public will not lose faith or trust in them and the spirit world, which they after all first truly thought they were representing.

Sometimes, I fear, the need of some to feel 'special' and truly gifted, may overwhelm their higher instincts. Of course, on other occasions, I might more cynically reflect, they may have always known it was a con, indeed, a grand con, and until they are caught out, the excitement of the con, will drive them on and on.

Lis
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Re: Mediocrity in Physical Mediumship An Inside View

Post by mac on Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:29 pm

As we agonise, discuss, debate, argue and even fall out with one another at times, I wonder if we're on a hiding-to-nothing.....

I'm no historian but I've gained the impression that almost from the outset of the movement which eventually became Modern Spiritualism the lack of good mediumship has been a recurrent lament.  But what do our spiritual counterparts have to say about things from their vantage point?

Many speak about 'spirit' likes it's a single entity when really they're meaning discarnate friends or contacts.  What do they have to say about the situation in the physical - has anyone asked?  Is there a 'corporate spirit' view of things, an 'organisation' to promote contact between the physical and etheric worlds?  Or is communication random and unco-ordinated, something that's fine where it's successful but without anyone to oversee and guide it from the etheric dimension?

Are we expecting way more than we should for all forms of mediumship let alone the comparatively uncommon physical form that appears often to need years of dedication?

And are we expecting too much of some individuals here whose have insufficient, or no good, guidance by either incarnates and/or their discarnate counterparts?

We used to have an organising body which tried to help and guide wannabe physical home groups and mediums but it foundered and has not been replaced as far as I'm aware.  Is that of any concern to our discarnate friends and if so are there any other plans for the future?  

Or has this most recent incarnation of spiritualism run its course and we're battling in vain to breathe life into a movement which really has nothing more to offer?


Last edited by mac on Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:47 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : changed 'that' to 'which')

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Re: Mediocrity in Physical Mediumship An Inside View

Post by hiorta on Sat Aug 24, 2013 9:44 am

Great points Lis and mac.
SB often made the point that 'Spirit is Master, material the servant'. (or similar)

For a long time now, it seemed that this difference was being eroded - even reversed. Reverence of and for the Great Spirit being expressed in mere words, rather than from the heart or by deed.

I do not attend meetings any more, but it did seem the earlier sincere focus was missing, messages collected like trading stamps once were, but seemingly the words in them only, were temporarily valued.
The uplifting element, the inspirational input to get out and help the less fortunate, being missed or dismissed.
The realisation of just what is involved in delivery of such a communication also being missed, becoming like a routine phone call.

The question is: is this view generally accurate? if so, is it the cause or an effect of something deeper?

My personal view is that so much focus has been put on (relatively mediocre) mediumship and so little attention is given to the power of the Inspirational/ Overshadowed Address. The pristine signposts of past Mediumship have collapsed, out of sight, into the material undergrowth.

"We used to have an organising body"
We did mac, but they were deservedly bound to fail after they grabbed Findlay's magnificent offer without fulfilling their part of the bargain.
As is said: God - the Natural law - is not mocked.

However, perhaps someone younger in years and of spiritual calibre will lift the challenge. Here's hoping this discussion will run for a while
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Re: Mediocrity in Physical Mediumship An Inside View

Post by Admin on Tue Aug 27, 2013 7:22 am

Right this is back on track
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Re: Mediocrity in Physical Mediumship An Inside View

Post by Admin on Wed Apr 09, 2014 7:27 am

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Re: Mediocrity in Physical Mediumship An Inside View

Post by Admin on Fri Oct 07, 2016 6:19 am

Just to resurrect this topic
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Re: Mediocrity in Physical Mediumship An Inside View

Post by Admin on Fri Oct 07, 2016 6:46 am

Locked as an old and very important thread.
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Re: Mediocrity in Physical Mediumship An Inside View

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