AN ENQUIRER: As a young man I was a theology student, and have no trouble accepting that the vast majority of the world’s population – across scores of religions, denominations and sects – believe in the existence of life after physical death.
Admittedly with a focus on Christianity, why do you think there has been scant scientific research on the type of mediumship you have been involved in, and which could go some distance to prove the claims you write about? In recent years, that is.
DES: Some years ago a number of our most eminent scientific minds were carrying out research on the reality or otherwise of the psychic faculties. Latterly interest seems to have drifted in the direction of New Age Preoccupations, so-called New Age Ism; pretty much the same creature in different clothes. On the other hand, the scientific avant-garde leans toward sub-atomic physics and terms such as quark-gluon plasma, tetraquarks, proton decay, Yang Mills and lattice QCD. Much of this goes over my head, but has been referred to in explanations that shine light on communication between one mind and another.
During the decades before, researchers from Duke University in the US carried out hundreds of thousands of tests to establish that telepathic subjects with cards could project details over a large distance from one mind to another. Dr Rhine’s team reportedly satisfied sceptical observers that the odds against random chance were more than a million to one.
Not to be outdone sceptics from Cambridge University suggested that the results were caused not by telepathy but by an unrecognised factor influencing randomness itself. Nobody had heard of such a thing before!
In response a research project in London extending over a number of years, provided proof that could not be refuted, that communication between distant subjects had taken place where the results against mere chance were in the order of many hundreds of billions to one. Indeed, such a result could not be arrived at by chance if the entire population of the world had tried the experiment every day since the beginning of the Tertiary Period, 60 million years before! In all the decades since, nobody has seriously challenged the findings.
Of course the results in question relate directly to the psychic faculties, which involve contact between two “distantly separated” minds; that of the medium and that of the deceased personality. To further remove any chance of error or misunderstanding or fraud, it is common practice for an experienced medium to pass on information that he or she could not possibly know about: evidential details.
It has been suggested that there are as many shades of mediumship as there are mediums, but such a broad claim obviously cannot be proved.
Admittedly, some individuals have particular gifts which others lack. Uri Geller, the spoon bender, comes to mind.
Another is the Latvian psychologist living in Germany, Konstantin Raudive. He discovered that cassette tapes he used for recordings – either from a microphone or from the radio – contained a strange interference in the form of soft voices. When amplified they were found to speak in one of seven languages; significantly the seven languages the psychologist knew.
What intrigued Raudive and the researches most was the fact the voices could be recorded only when he was present, and that they answered questions put to them. Over six years, under international scrutiny, the psychologist recorded many thousands of conversations. Well-known scientists were present when the recordings were made, and they examined the equipment. The tapes were analysed. During the 1970s, testing programs were carried out at studios in England by engineers who used their own equipment. Instruments were installed to exclude freak interference. A separate synchronised recording was made of every sound in the studio. Both tapes were monitored constantly. However on playback there were more than 200 voices on the experimental tape. The phenomenon persisted even inside a Faraday Cage.
What did Raudive make of it? He had no doubt he was in contact with those who had passed beyond physical life. As explained in his book, Breakthrough; Taplinger, NY, he confidently identified some of the voices, including that of his own mother.
The marriage of psychism and electronics which Raudive pioneered is referred to as electronic voice phenomena (EVP). Research has been on-going, much of it co-ordinated by American millionaire George Meek – an engineer with scores of industrial patents to his credit. Assistance with the funding came from Jim McDonnell, chairman of the board of McDonnell-Douglas. Making up the organisation are nearly 40 professionals, comprising physicists, nuclear chemists, biochemists, psychiatrists and others.
Irrefutable proof was provided by the sometimes well-known deceased personalities who made themselves known via the EVP channel.