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Is physical mediumship fraudulent?
#1
Question 
The topic of physical mediumship and fraud was raised in another thread, so thought I would start a debate about it here.

I am not aware of any physical medium from the past who was not at some time or another exposed as a fraud by investigators or séance sitters.

For proponents who reply here, I guess I would be looking for strong evidence to why you think a physical medium has performed genuine phenomena.
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#2
(08-30-2017, 08:15 PM)Leuders Wrote: The topic of physical mediumship and fraud was raised in another thread, so thought I would start a debate about it here.

I am not aware of any physical medium from the past who was not at some time or another exposed as a fraud by investigators or séance sitters.

For proponents who reply here, I guess I would be looking for strong evidence to why you think a physical medium has performed genuine phenomena.

They ain't the everyday sort of phenomena which is more common (less open to suspicion), and which I think is in desperate need of a better explanation... so this sort of stuff doesn't really interest me, there is more interesting stuff to get ones teeth into. (I'm surprised I got involved with the Geller thread TBH)
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#3
QuaLeuders, you are so far out of your league with this topic. Yet it's the nature of a crank hypothesis. Build a vast superstructure on a combination of the flimsiest of evidence, misinterpretation, and heavy amounts of speculation, all bolted together by a remarkable confidence that you, YOU, are the one who has peeled away all the layers of the onion. Throw in a few "wake up, sheeple" statements and call it a day.

Remember, "A closed mouth gathers no foot".
Existence is not subject to time; time is subject to Existence.
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#4
(08-30-2017, 10:05 PM)Pssst Wrote: QuaLeuders, you are so far out of your league with this topic. Yet it's the nature of a crank hypothesis. Build a vast superstructure on a combination of the flimsiest of evidence, misinterpretation, and heavy amounts of speculation, all bolted together by a remarkable confidence that you, YOU, are the one who has peeled away all the layers of the onion. Throw in a few "wake up, sheeple" statements and call it a day.

Remember, "A closed mouth gathers no foot".

Your post is lacking evidence. Do you agree physical mediumship is fraudulent? If not what do you think it is evidence for?
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#5
Some of it definitely is, a lot of it probably is. A small list of phenomena I've read about seem nearly impossible to fake. Those phenomena are often from sittings that contained dodgy stuff, so it's hard to know what to make of it.
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#6
(08-31-2017, 01:44 AM)Leuders Wrote: Your post is lacking evidence. Do you agree physical mediumship is fraudulent? If not what do you think it is evidence for?

Your post in the reincarnation thread lacked any evidence. Pot calling the kettle black.
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#7
Sorry I didn't realize I posted to the wrong forum I've moved my post about the evidence for physical mediumship that used to be here to a different forum:

http://psiencequest.net/forums/thread-249.html

plesase review the forum rules before contributing to that new thread.

Thanks
The first gulp from the glass of science will make you an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you - Werner Heisenberg. (More at my Blog & Website)
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#8
Jim, are you arguing Helen Duncan was a genuine medium? She was exposed as a fraud by the London Spiritualist Alliance:


Quote:By far the best illustration of irrational faith in a proven charlatan, however, is provided by the followers of the notorious materialization medium, Helen Duncan. The first serious investigation of Mrs Duncan was by the London Psychical Laboratory (the research department of the London Spiritualist Alliance) in 1931. In consequence of impressive accounts of her mediumship that body invited Mrs Duncan to sit exclusively for them for a period of eighteen months, and signed a contract with her to that effect-a contract, incidentally, which she made no scruple to break. The investigating committee made particular efforts to discover the nature of the 'ectoplasm' said to come from the medium, from which the materializations were supposed to have been formed.

Test conditions were made progressively stricter throughout the series of séances, and as the degree of control increased, so the phenomena lessened and finally ceased altogether. When the one-piece garment, in which the medium was clothed from head to foot, was stitched on her by a special form of sewing, it was found after the séance that the 'code sewing' had disappeared and the dress had been restitched in a different manner. The committee had no doubt that she had got out of her dress on a number of occasions. 'When so-called full forms appeared, they were indistinct in outline, resembling masses of ectoplasm draped over a structure of some kind, which suggested the human form.' At one time three hands were seen, two clearly those of the medium and the third dark and solid. 'The only possible explanation,' reported the committee, 'is that Mrs Duncan had previously secreted about her person a rubber glove which was used for the exhibition of the third hand.'

Samples of the so-called 'ectoplasm' were submitted for analysis. One was found to consist of 'paper, cloth, and such everyday materials mixed with an organic substance which is in every respect similar to coagulated white of egg'. Another was found to be 'a piece of surgical gauze soaked in resinous fluid. The gauze consisted of typical cotton fibres. The resinous fluid had the odour of Canada balsam or one of the pine resins.' Another piece of 'ectoplasm' was found to be identical in pattern and texture with a sanitary towel which the medium left behind in the dressing-room.

The committee's final report stated: 'It was proved that the material was swallowed by Mrs Duncan at some time previous to the sitting and subsequently regurgitated by her for the purpose of exhibition.' After the final séance Mrs Duncan's husband, who had been at every sitting, told the committee that he believed the 'ectoplasm' to be the result of regurgitation.

Source: Simeon Edmunds. (1966). Spiritualism: A Critical Survey. Aquarian Press. pp. 137-138

Her ectoplasm was made of paper, cloth or eggs.


Quote:The Physical Mediumship of Einer Nielsen "This tribute comes from a pastor of the Swedish State Church ... 'Twice I have sat in the cabinet and kept hold of the medium’s hands. The ectoplasm came directly through his clothes. One figure that of Rita, rose up from the ectoplasm grasped my arm, and we went out together to the sitters and talked with them.'"

Einer Neilsen was exposed as a fraud at Kristiania University by members of the Danish Society for Psychical Research in 1922. Do you dispute their findings?

Universitetskomiteen, Mediet Einer Nielsen, kontrolundersøkelser av universitetskomiteen i Kristiania (Kristiania 1922). Anonymous. Rapport fra den av Norsk Selskab for Psykisk Forskning nedsatte Kontrolkomité. Norsk Tidsskrift for Psykisk Forskning 1 (1921–1922), pp. 110–125.


Quote:Houdini was invited to investigate Mina Crandon; in a series of sittings he was unable to debunk her. Finally, in one sitting, just as Mina was about to start she suddenly said (while allegedly in a trance and controlled by her spirit guide Walter) that Houdini's assistant had planted a folding ruler in the cabinet that she occupied and that he meant to produce this ruler as evidence that she was cheating.

You are not reporting the entire story. Houdini denied planting the ruler. The story that his assistant planted the ruler was second-hand. It is taken from a biography by William Lindsay Gresham years after Houdini had died. It is likely Crandon utilized the ruler to cheat during the seance.

Crandon was exposed as a fraud by the Boston Society for Psychical Research in 1932. The fingerprints of 'Walter' were discovered to belong to Crandon's dentist... You do not mention this.

Walter Franklin Prince (1933). The Case Against Margery. Scientific American 148: 261-263.

Quote:Medium Jack Webber Zerdini: "Leon Isaacs, who took the photographs at Webber’s circles, used two cameras placed at different angles…shots using this two-camera technique showed the disposition of trumpets and other objects, establishing that they were not held aloft by any material agency."

There is a problem with the Jack Webber photographs that appear in Harry Edwards book. According to Michael Coleman in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research:


Quote:"Edwards's book is essentially anecdotal, written from memory, often long after the events described. Thus we do not know where, when or for how long the individual sittings were held. We do not know how many sitters were present at each sitting, and we know the names of very few of them. But most importantly, we do not have those detailed sequences of events, with timings, that are necessary to arrive at a realistic assessment of any supposedly paranormal occurrences. Most of Edwards's account is unsupported by any independent witnesses".

Coleman, Michael (1998). Letter to the Editor. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 62: 372-374.
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#9
Quote:You should demand the same high level of proof from skeptics claiming fraud as you demand from people claiming evidence of paranormal phenomena. Sometimes people accept any accusation of fraud at face value but too often the assertions of skeptics do not hold up under close scrutiny (http://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/sk...sdirection).

Your website is useful but it is well out of date. Many of the website sources you link to are no longer active (answers.com etc). You also cherry-pick certain pieces of information but ignore the negative. You are not giving the full story.

You quote magician Will Goldston as endorsing Rudi Schneider but you ignore the negative. Will Goldston's Tricks of the Masters (1942) describes on a few pages how he detected Helen Duncan's slate-writing trickery. If you are going to quote Goldston should you not quote him on the negative as well?
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#10
Some of you might find these old illustrations and pictures useful:

[Image: Joseph_Dunninger_Tricks_of_Mediums.png]

[Image: Joseph_Dunninger_seance_mechanism.png]

[Image: Harry_Houdini_demonstrating_spiritualist_trickery.png]


[Image: Hereward_Carrington_mediumship_trickery.png]
If you want to see anymore let me know. They are all in public domain and out of copyright as they were published a long time ago.
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