Barbanell's Own Obituary

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Barbanell's Own Obituary

Post by zerdini on Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:01 am

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Zerdini removed this material but it is freely available on the web. You may download a pdf version here http://webzoom.freewebs.com/ebabeiknarf/Articles%20of%20Interest/Maurice%20Barbanell/Barbanell's%20Own%20Obituary.pdf


Barbanell's Own Obituary
Maurice Barbanell, always a keen journalist, prepared his own obituary. Who could better
tell this fascinating story? It also affords the reader the opportunity to compare his writing
style with that of Silver Birch.

I have been told that my psychic story really begins in a previous incarnation of which I have
no knowledge. Red Cloud, the guide of Estelle Roberts, who gave me my finest evidence of
individual Survival after death, and in whose séance room “Psychic News” was born, said I
had made a promise in a former existence. This was to reincarnate and devote my life to
spreading Spiritualism.
So far as I am aware my psychic story started undramatically at a meeting of the Ghetto
Social and Literary Club in London’s East End. I was the unpaid secretary with a twofold
task.
It was my job to obtain, without fee, famous literary and artistic figures to speak on a variety
of subjects, a feat I achieved with success. This was mostly because these eminent authors
were intrigued to find cultural yearnings in London’s darkest East End.
My other task was, irrespective of what the speaker said, to lead the opposition so as to
ensure a good discussion. My colleagues always told me that I managed to excel in this
direction.
During my secretary ship some friends invited me to be present at a séance, the first I had
ever attended. Only when it ended did they tell me it was a mock affair staged for fun.
Nevertheless, as a teenager it produced subconsciously an antagonism to Spiritualism.
Like so many young men I had abandoned orthodox religion. My mother was devoutly
religious. My father was an atheist who steadfastly refused to accompany her to any orthodox
services despite her lament that his absence would shock their friends.
In my youth I heard so many arguments about religion between my parents, in which
incidentally my father always won, that I adopted his atheism, which later changed to
agnosticism.
It is necessary to mention this personal background to set the scene for what followed. One
night at our social and literary club there was no eminent speaker. Instead our guest was a
young man named Henry Sanders, who spoke about his experiences in Spiritualism. When he
finished my colleagues turned to me for my usual opposing opening speech from the floor.
I surprised them. Despite my then fairly recent mock séance attendance, I said this was a
subject on which only those with experience could venture any worthwhile opinions. As I had
made no personal investigation my opinions were, therefore, valueless. Naturally the rest of
the evening was not a hectic one for discussion.
When it was over Sanders approached me. Was I serious, he asked, in my statement that only
those with experience based on inquiry should venture to declare their views? If so, was I
prepared to investigate?
“Yes,” I replied. Moreover I would reach no conclusion until I had spent six months on this
quest. I still have the diary in which I noted the date when the six months would end. Here I
am, a half a century later, still inquiring.
Sanders invited me to attend a home circle which met in a nearby tenement. The date was
arranged. I went accompanied by Sylvia, who was then my fiancée and now my wife. The
circle in this dingy block was composed of a mixture of young and old Jews who all seemed
earnest though unprepossessing.
The medium, a middle-aged woman, Mrs Blaustein, was said to go into trance. In that state, I
was told, entities belonging to differing nationalities would control and speak through her.
This happened, but did not impress me. So far as I could tell, there was no evidence which
would satisfy me that these indeed were “dead” foreigners speaking through her lips.
Nevertheless in view of my promise I presented myself at the second sitting where a similar
demonstration by her was given. It seemed to me that at one stage of the proceedings I fell
asleep, either through boredom or being tired. When I woke I apologised. I was told to my
surprise, “You have been a Red Indian.”
It was my first mediumistic trance, but what happened was a complete blank to me.
Nevertheless the guide known as Silver Birch had broken formidable earth barriers and spoke
a few words in a husky and almost guttural voice. It is far different from what I am assured
are the simple but eloquent tones that so many have now heard.
The sequel was the formation of my own home circle where the Silver Birch entity gradually
developed as his control became a seemingly simple process of merging his individuality
with mine. There were degrees of awareness in this unfolding process of my mediumistic
development. I was not keen on the trance condition, probably through my vanity in wanting
to know what was said and done through my bodily mechanism.
At one stage there was a fascinating happening. As I lay in bed on the night after sitting,
everything that had been said through me unrolled on a kind of cinema screen so that I
became familiar with all that the others had heard.
This no longer obtains because of the intervention of Hannen Swaffer, the famous journalist,
whom I came to know intimately. Our association began when we spent three years
addressing public meetings all over Britain, to audiences totalling 250,000, at weekends.
Sometimes there were two and even three meetings on one day.
Always we travelled by car from London on the Saturday morning; often we returned in the
early hours of Monday. The meetings had to be held at weekends because of my commercial
life, which virtually ended when “Psychic News” was launched in 1932. Then my association
with Swaffer took another form.
He was intrigued by my trance mediumship and came to love Silver Birch. Swaffer said the
guide’s teachings were being wasted as they were heard only by a handful of people. As a
natural propagandist he wanted them to be disseminated, reaching the largest possible
number of people, and thought the perfect vehicle was “Psychic News.”
I demurred. Obviously, I said, I would be open to criticism by publicising my own
mediumship in the newspaper I edited. Finally, after much argument, I agreed to do so,
provided my identity was withheld.
There was another problem to be solved. The guide was then known, as he still is to a few
intimates, by a nickname which was deemed unsuitable for publication. He was asked to
choose one for this purpose. Silver Birch was his selection.
The next morning, in my office, the mail included a postcard from Scotland with no name or
address of the sender, but with a splendid photograph of Silver Birch trees on it.
The teachings of what was called, as it still is, Hannen Swaffer’s home circle regularly
appeared in “Psychic News.” Curiosity was constantly aroused as to the medium’s identity
which for long was kept secret.
Swaff, however, brought so many visitors from among his famous friends that I felt the stage
was reached when the mystery should be ended. I wrote an article announcing that I was
Silver Birch’s medium.
I should mention in passing that, when you work in a confectionery factory, you soon lose
your taste for sweets. And when you are an editor you are not attracted by publicity as too
many humans are.
The Silver Birch teachings have been recorded by two shorthand writers. The first was Billy
Austen, then my assistant editor. His place was taken by Frances Moore, who still acts as “the
scribe,” the name by which the guide always calls her. Occasionally the séances have been
tape-recorded. There are several of these recordings obtainable today. Once even a
gramophone record was made for public sale.
Because all the sessions were being reported in shorthand, I was asked if I would forego the
practice of having the proceedings recalled for me later in bed. It was explained that an
expenditure of psychic power became involved. I agreed.
To test the state of trance Silver Birch once asked Swaff to stick pins into me. Though blood
was drawn I felt nothing. There are critics calling themselves psychic researchers who
dismiss guides as the medium’s secondary personalities. I am aware of all the problems
involved in trance mediumship. Mainly they stem from the fact that a guide has to control the
medium’s subconscious mind.
This, unlike a telephone, is a living thing and, therefore, is bound to colour to some extent
whatever is transmitted from the spirit world. Development consists in obtaining mastery
over the subconscious mind.
In my working life I use words every day. I have never yet written or dictated an article with
which I was satisfied when I read it. Inevitably I find, when looking at the typed material, that
I can improve it by altering words, phrases and sentences.
No such problem arises with the guide’s teachings. These flow perfectly, requiring usually
only commas, semicolons or full stops. Another interesting aspect is the occasional use of
words that I regard as archaic and do not form part of my normal vocabulary.
Silver Birch’s distinctive and separate individuality — I believe there is a spiritual
relationship — has been proved to me and to my wife many times. In the early days we had
what was probably our most remarkable evidence.
He told Sylvia that in connection with a certain matter which presented a seemingly insoluble
problem to us both, he would provide an answer. At the time we both attended the regular
direct voice sittings of Estelle Roberts. Silver Birch said at the next one he would speak
through the trumpet to Sylvia and mentioned the words he would say.
Of course Estelle was told nothing about this. You can imagine how curious we were to see
what would happen. Estelle’s guide, Red Cloud, was obviously in the picture because of the
references he made that only Sylvia and I understood.
As the perfect master of spirit ceremonies he staged the matter admirably by keeping us
waiting almost to the end. Then he said to Sylvia that the next communicator was for her. In
the darkness on which Red Cloud always insisted, the phosphorescent trumpet moved
towards her. Through it spoke Silver Birch and repeated the words he had promised to
pronounce.
Evidence of separate identity came frequently in another circle where I sat regularly. Here
with a non-professional medium named Nena Mayer we always had the direct voice. It was
fascinating for me after Silver Birch had spoken through me in trance to hear him
communicating through the trumpet.
There are other occasions I could mention, but one more will suffice. A Fleet Street editor
was bereaved when his son was killed in the last war. Without mentioning his name I asked
Estelle whether he could be invited to a voice séance.
She replied by reminding me that the rule was that only those whom Red Cloud had agreed
should be there could come. I said I would leave it and ask him when next we met.
The following day she telephoned me to say that Silver Birch had appeared to her and
pleaded for my friend to be invited. So she agreed. Needless to say the “dead” son
communicated to him and to his wife.


Last edited by zerdini on Thu May 31, 2012 6:29 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Barbanell's Own Obituary

Post by zerdini on Fri Jun 12, 2009 1:02 pm

tmmw wrote:
There was another problem to be solved. The guide was then known, as he still is to a few intimates, by a nickname which was deemed unsuitable for publication. He was asked to choose one for this purpose. Silver Birch was his selection.


Thanks Z for sharing that truly amazing story. I'm curious as to the nickname that Silver Birch was known as before he choose his name.

Take care,
Lynn

Hi Lynn

I missed your response to my post. I do not think it would be helpful of me to reveal Silver Birch's original nickname. It would comtribute nothing to the discussion and it goes back to the beginning of the circle. All the circle members have now passed to the Spirit World and the nickname is probably known to no more than a handful of people today. Probably better to let it fade into distant memory.

Kind regards

Z

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Re: Barbanell's Own Obituary

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 13, 2009 6:38 am

Thanks again Z
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Re: Barbanell's Own Obituary

Post by obiwan on Sat Mar 31, 2012 6:33 pm

I'm not sure it was a deception per se as I think silver birch always maintained he was not a native American.

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Re: Barbanell's Own Obituary

Post by Left Behind on Sun Apr 01, 2012 4:42 pm


I have been told that I have a spirit guide named White Buffalo. In meditation, I have on a couple occasions received a mental image of him as an older American Indian male, very dark complected: a side view of his face as he's looking to the left, eyes closed, very serious, perhaps slightly sad or annoyed expression on his face.

He sports a feather like SB does in the portrait you refer to - I sometimes wonder whether SB's portrait has influenced my mental image of WB, to that extent- but otherwise looks nothing like SB.

Jim

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Re: Barbanell's Own Obituary

Post by Left Behind on Mon Apr 02, 2012 12:30 am

obiwan wrote:
Left Behind wrote:
obiwan wrote:
KatyKing wrote:I agree. Cover pic on paperbcks shows the well known American Indian brave complete with feather who I rather think resembles an austere Home Counties provincial bank manager circa 1947.
Winnie Moyes Zodiac rather had the wise old Jewish guide angle sewn up and it never really caught on outside GW so a 'Red Indian' was maybe more marketable. The SB books were commercial entities and still selling.
Yes and we all know he designed the book cover don't we?

I don't know that story, Obi, but would love to hear it. Smile

Jim
It was an attempt at sarcasm Jim, sorry Smile

See, when you're new, like me, you fall for all this stuff. Laughing

Jim

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Re: Barbanell's Own Obituary

Post by Left Behind on Mon Apr 02, 2012 12:34 am

KatyKing wrote:Buffs was mainly an all male drinking fraternity. Handy when posted somewhere new you could pitch up at a lodge and immediately be amongst new chums. In London many lodges met at ten on a Sunday morning lodge rooms are generally in pubs and pubs could not open legally until noon so lodge brotherrs gained an extra two hours boozing every Sunday. Masonry in England then was for the wealthy unlike Scotland Scottish non commissioned soldiers who were Masons if posted in England would usually come to a Buffs lodge as Masonic lodges were too expensive and snobbish. In England officers were Masons other ranks Buffs.
The attraction for me disappeared at the same time as did my fondness for booze.
I suspect that one had to be slightly drunk to get the best out of Buffs lodge meetings.

Ah, that's very UNlike the Masons, at least in this country. Here, lodge meetings are dry. But in the early 18th century in London, where the Masonic fraternity started, lodges used to meet in pubs: private meeting rooms upstairs. But still supplied with refreshments from downstairs. Wink

Jim

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Re: Barbanell's Own Obituary

Post by _Leslie_ on Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:30 pm

I was under the impression that Masons were not allowed to visit the Buff's and vice a versa as the order is not recognised by UGLE. The same ruling I think applys to membership, as in 'being a member of one' debars the person from joining the other. The ceremonies ect.. being 'very' different.
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Re: Barbanell's Own Obituary

Post by zerdini on Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:15 pm

KatyKing wrote:We had Scottish Masons join our lodge in London which was Grand Executive Banner.
Not sure what the protocol was but my impression was that Masonry in Scotland was more inclusive than in England so they felt more at home with us. No one ever told me not to join Masons but I only got as far as Primo second degree maybe further up the line that came into it. S&S were the same I can spot a Mason via my Buff 'greeting'. Tile Passwords also certainly in Grand Executive Banner were identical so Scottish friends reported.
Buffs had
Grand Lodge of England
Grand Lodge of England Ltd [in London those were mainly Caribbean brethren]
Grand Executive Banner
Royal Surrey Banner
and we could and did visit and host Brethren from all groups especially for 'raisings'. Some attended lodges in more than one jurisdiction.
Got me thinking back this strand. Dug out my old Primo 'jewel' last night. Not handled that this twenty years and more past. Had forgotten what a thing of beauty it is. Lovely old fashioned workmanship.

What on earth has any of this got to do with Barbanell's obituary?

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Re: Barbanell's Own Obituary

Post by _Leslie_ on Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:40 pm

'Z' like virtually all conversations they tend to drift off topic as people discuss them Smile
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Re: Barbanell's Own Obituary

Post by obiwan on Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:52 pm

_Leslie_ wrote:'Z' like virtually all conversations they tend to drift off topic as people discuss them Smile

I agree with Z, it is "off topic" as per nettiquete. You'd be no good on just a minute. Smile

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Re: Barbanell's Own Obituary

Post by obiwan on Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:53 pm

[quote="Left Behind"]
obiwan wrote:
Left Behind wrote:
obiwan wrote:

I don't know that story, Obi, but would love to hear it. Smile

Jim
It was an attempt at sarcasm Jim, sorry Smile

See, when you're new, like me, you fall for all this stuff. Laughing

Jim
lol there are worse thing that can befall us.

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Re: Barbanell's Own Obituary

Post by _Leslie_ on Mon Apr 02, 2012 3:09 pm

Yes going 'off topic' can be annoying - but... its the nature of conversation (they develop). If we're to strictly adhere to the 'subject' and not expand on it - then 99% on the posts on this forum would be considered 'off topic'. No offence intended - Buts that's why they are called 'discussion forums' Smile
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Re: Barbanell's Own Obituary

Post by Quiet on Mon Apr 02, 2012 3:15 pm

I think this is a hilarious discussion!

Silver Birch himself says in one of the trance lectures that he is NOT an American Indian but that character was a symbol that would make it easier for you Brits to visualise him. Ramadahn said something similar to Ursula Roberts - that he wasn't an Egyptian King or Pharaoh as depicted by spirit artists.

As a relative newcomer to Spiritualism I was always a bit perplexed about the plethora of American Indian guides around the place and the most tenuous of grounds used by people claiming to have them Smile.

All this shows that our first British Spiritualists were quite canny marketers. Good on them. I am so glad those books remained in print because they have been life savers to me in terms of knowledge and guidance.

An ex-Catholic, I was delighted that those entities behind this promising new faith actually had something much more significant to say than the Roman Pontiff and his entourage. I also delighted in seeing the parallels between what Ramadahn, Silver Birch and Chan say with Catholicism and Christianity as distilled through history and other filters. Smile


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Re: Barbanell's Own Obituary

Post by obiwan on Mon Apr 02, 2012 3:26 pm

Quiet wrote:I think this is a hilarious discussion!

Silver Birch himself says in one of the trance lectures that he is NOT an American Indian but that character was a symbol that would make it easier for you Brits to visualise him. Ramadahn said something similar to Ursula Roberts - that he wasn't an Egyptian King or Pharaoh as depicted by spirit artists.

As a relative newcomer to Spiritualism I was always a bit perplexed about the plethora of American Indian guides around the place and the most tenuous of grounds used by people claiming to have them Smile.

All this shows that our first British Spiritualists were quite canny marketers. Good on them. I am so glad those books remained in print because they have been life savers to me in terms of knowledge and guidance.

An ex-Catholic, I was delighted that those entities behind this promising new faith actually had something much more significant to say than the Roman Pontiff and his entourage. I also delighted in seeing the parallels between what Ramadahn, Silver Birch and Chan say with Catholicism and Christianity as distilled through history and other filters. Smile

I agree Quiet. Whatever one thinks about SB, I enjoy reading his comments.

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Re: Barbanell's Own Obituary

Post by Quiet on Mon Apr 02, 2012 3:41 pm

Do you think it all coincided with the growth of the American Western in Hollywood? I remember watching some of those movies as a kid in the 1960's and reading the cheap paper back books. I loved them actually. In the back blocks of the Australian bush they were more important mythology than the old Greek and Roman stories.

Nowadays, White Feather seems to have a lot of people under his mantle but I guess he can handle it.

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Re: Barbanell's Own Obituary

Post by Quiet on Mon Apr 02, 2012 4:54 pm

I don't have any problems at all with the symbolism. The use of such symbolism is integral to our human nature. Symbolism is one of the Divine languages.

I always feel oddly comforted when people say (and it has been quite often) that there are nuns around me. Dunno why, but it somehow comforts me to know that. Maybe I was a religious in a previous life.

I think my guide is one of those white haired elderly and very powerful women. Not sure of her name, however.

Back to American Indians, they certainly had an affinity with the land and with their own understanding of Spirit that I deeply admire.

Peter, you are a compulsive poster Smile

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Re: Barbanell's Own Obituary

Post by _Leslie_ on Mon Apr 02, 2012 4:59 pm

Quiet wrote:

Peter, you are a compulsive poster Smile
Laughing I agree but they do make interesting reading (I think I'm becoming an addictive subscriber Embarassed )
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Re: Barbanell's Own Obituary

Post by Quiet on Mon Apr 02, 2012 7:40 pm

_Leslie_ wrote:
Quiet wrote:

Peter, you are a compulsive poster Smile
Laughing I agree but they do make interesting reading (I think I'm becoming an addictive subscriber Embarassed )

Yes, I enjoy them as well sunny

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Re: Barbanell's Own Obituary

Post by Quiet on Mon Apr 02, 2012 7:45 pm

obiwan wrote:
Left Behind wrote:
obiwan wrote:
Left Behind wrote:[quote="obiwanI don't know that story, Obi, but would love to hear it. Smile

Jim
It was an attempt at sarcasm Jim, sorry Smile

See, when you're new, like me, you fall for all this stuff. Laughing

Jim
lol there are worse thing that can befall us.

It's like architecture or some modern poetry. Or a paper aeroplane ...... people in full flight sunny

I'm not being sarcastic - really enjoying the discussion. Maurice Barbanell's books were the first I read and I admire him. I am reading and reflecting on what Silver Birch has said at this moment in my life. I do regard him as a teacher - there is something quite personal about it. Smile

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Re: Barbanell's Own Obituary

Post by Left Behind on Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:08 pm

Quiet wrote:I think this is a hilarious discussion!

Silver Birch himself says in one of the trance lectures that he is NOT an American Indian but that character was a symbol that would make it easier for you Brits to visualise him. Ramadahn said something similar to Ursula Roberts - that he wasn't an Egyptian King or Pharaoh as depicted by spirit artists.

As a relative newcomer to Spiritualism I was always a bit perplexed about the plethora of American Indian guides around the place and the most tenuous of grounds used by people claiming to have them Smile.

All this shows that our first British Spiritualists were quite canny marketers. Good on them. I am so glad those books remained in print because they have been life savers to me in terms of knowledge and guidance.




Hey, Indians are always good for marketing!

Indian Motorcycles, Savage Firearms (used to feature a picture if an Indian, till that became politically incorrect), Red Man chewing tobacco, cigar store Indians, the Cometa Indian air pistol. . .

Jim

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Re: Barbanell's Own Obituary

Post by Left Behind on Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:18 pm

KatyKing wrote:There seemed to be more Red Indian guides than there were Native Americans in the old days. I wonder how it came about?
Can't generalise I know but the Native Americans I met on visits to USA were running Bingo Halls, Casinos or Gift Shops.
When we went to Lily Dale last there was a dearth of old lady mediums....
'They're off to the Indian Bingo' we were told.
Sort of in keeping with Medium/Red Indian liaison tradition I suppose.

The theory is that before the white man materialized their culture, the Indians were Spiritualists Supreme: and that they are carrying this over into the astral plane.

Personally I think that their instant addiction for the white man's manufactured goods lead immediately to their inevitable demise, far more so than the white man's numbers, guns, disease, or whiskey. But, that's not for this Forum.

The Indians you'd meet today are not of this spiritual type.

The reason so many are involved with casino work is that Indian reservations are legally not part of the states in which they are located, so have been exempt from state laws prohibiting the operation of same, state taxes upon their revenue, etc.

Jim

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Re: Barbanell's Own Obituary

Post by Left Behind on Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:22 pm

KatyKing wrote:Or was it Colonel Cody's Wild West extravaganza?

It was Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show, Peter: but Wild Bill Hickock did tour with it for a time.

It's interesting that these Western lawmen and outlaws really were legends in their own time. Their exploits were the subject of shows and dime novels even as the events were unfolding.

Jim

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Re: Barbanell's Own Obituary

Post by zerdini on Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:15 pm

_Leslie_ wrote:Yes going 'off topic' can be annoying - but... its the nature of conversation (they develop). If we're to strictly adhere to the 'subject' and not expand on it - then 99% on the posts on this forum would be considered 'off topic'. No offence intended - Buts that's why they are called 'discussion forums' Smile

Going off topic is not necessary. There is plenty to discuss in Spiritualism without dragging in extraneous matter. Rolling Eyes

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Re: Barbanell's Own Obituary

Post by obiwan on Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:19 pm

On a serious note, I do think we ought to think about keeping the threads on topic as far as possible. I note the point Leslie makes but there are other threads for casual chats. Usually it is expected in forums that people will stick pretty much to the topic. Otherwise every thread starts to look like a ramble for visitors. Although some may find the digressions entertaining, it kills the topic under discussion sometimes.

It also breaks the serious discussion up and makes it harder to follow for those who want to discuss the topic raised in the thread at the beginning. This is after all Jim (Admin)'s website so if he doesn't mind all well and good but I have to say I find a lot of the threads are spoiled by going off-topic and staying there. It is a shame really as I have learned a lot from some posters on this forum over the years.

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